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DAILY DEALS: Child Free, a Classic Reimagined, and an Upstairs/Downstairs Contemporary

If I StayIf I Stay by Tamara Morgan. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Ryan Lucas would rather be anywhere but Ransom Creek, Connecticut. After losing his high-adrenaline career as a Hollywood stunt driver, he’s had to tuck his tail between his legs and take up employment as a chauffeur for the Montgomerys, a wealthy hotelier family.

Amy Sanders has returned home to Ransom Creek to take over her mother’s former position as nanny to the Montgomerys–bringing her close to dashing Jake Montgomery once again. She grew up with a major crush on Jake, and it’s not easy to leave those feelings behind, even though her friendship with the hard-edged family chauffeur, Ryan, has a sizzling undercurrent of undeniable attraction.

Amy’s determined to prove to Ryan that life at Montgomery Manor isn’t all bad, but each time they draw closer Jake swoops in. Amy is torn between two men–and two worlds. And Ryan is rapidly coming to learn that if he wants to make Amy his, he’ll have to prove to her that life downstairs can be everything they both want.

This book is the start to my Montgomery Manor series, which continues in August with book two. If I Stay is a modern-day upstairs/downstairs tale that features a romance between the nanny and the chauffeur. It’s got hints of Downton Abbey and Sabrina, but is also very much a romantic comedy. Although the blurb hints at a strong triangle, it’s really more of a friends to lovers story.
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Night of Pleasure by Delilah MervelleNight of Pleasure by Delilah Mervelle. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.
To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charismatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

The middling reviews felt that Clementine was a very challenging heroine and that her hangups were too easily resolved at the end of the book. But the plot and emotional conflicts sound different enough to be interesting.
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Fuzzy Nation by John ScalziFuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

This is a “reboot” of “Little Fuzzy” by H. Beam Piper. (I’ve never read/heard of the original) One reviewer said that despite the complicated plot it wasn’t a good read for hard core SFF. Others said it was a worthwhile update to a classic.
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Heart Like Mine by Amy HatvanyHeart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover that there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.

I’m pretty intrigued by this book. It’s told in the voices of three different women and from the reviews, there appears to be a happy ending. Although one reader felt that Victor should have been a better husband/father and that Grace makes a quick turnaround in her view toward parenting.
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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. SusanS
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 14:29:47

    From my Goodreads review of Heart Like Mine – Amy Hatvany is carving out a nice niche for herself in the Barbara Delinsky/Jodi Picoult Women’s Fiction genre. Heart Like Mine is a well-written, thoughtful novel where there are no heroes or villains, just realistic characters dealing with incredibly difficult situations. Despite the difficult subject matter, the story moves quickly as the reader wants to find out the mystery behind Kelli’s death and see a positive resolution for the remaining characters. My one quibble is the unlikely premise that Grace, the director of a battered women’s shelter, would drive a Lexus (a fact that bothers Ava, given Kelli’s more modest lifestyle). But that’s a small point in an otherwise engaging novel.

    There is a happy ending, or as happy as it can be given the premise.

  2. Darlynne
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 14:50:24

    I read both the original LITTLE FUZZY and Scalzi’s version. Not hardcore SFF? Huh. Well, the fuzzys are undeniably cute–not annoying like Ewoks–but the world Beamer created and Scalzi refreshed is nicely done, fuzzy culture well-developed and the human characters are engaging; there’s really a great deal of tension in terms of how ZaraCorp and others will behave. If “not hardcore” means it isn’t dark and depressing, has a plot in which people actually learn something and evolve, I’ll go with that.

  3. HM
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 15:29:11

    @Darlynne agreed on Fuzzy Nation. I read it when it first come out and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  4. Lostshadows
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 15:54:00

    I still haven’t read the original*, but I really enjoyed Fuzzy Nation. Its only not hard SF in terms of being more character driven than tech driven, but that’s not really a bad thing in my opinion.

    *Which is in the public domain.

  5. Appomattoxco
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 21:26:08

    I liked audiobook Fuzzy Nation quite a bit. If I remember right it had both books on it.

  6. Kaetrin
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 21:41:12

    I bought the Delilah Marvelle – the premise looks great and for under a dollar it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    As for whether it will languish in my tbr with so many other books, well, that’s another issue altogether.

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