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Daily Deals: Dark thriller, Hearne the Hunter, and a Pern Box...

The Blackhouse: Book 1 Peter MayThe Black House by Peter May. $ 1.99 AMZN | Apple

From the Jacket Copy:

From acclaimed author and television dramatist Peter May comes the first book in the Lewis Trilogy–a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, a formidable and forbidding world where tradition rules and people adhere to ancient ways of life.

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that has the hallmarks of a killing he’s investigating on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to see if the two deaths are connected. His return after nearly two decades not only represents a police investigation, but a voyage into his own troubled past. As Fin reconnects with the places and people of his tortured childhood, he feels the island once again asserting its grip on his psyche. And every step forward in solving the murder takes him closer to a dangerous confrontation with the tragic events of the past that shaped–and nearly destroyed–Fin’s life.

The Blackhouse is a thriller of rare power and vision that explores the darkest recesses of the soul.

Evocative title and cover. If I was a thriller reader, I’d probably pick this book up on those two elements alone.

The New York Times Book Review
Peter May is a writer I’d follow to the ends of the earth—which is where he takes us in The Blackhouse…May handles the split framework of this intricately plotted story by deftly adapting his style to the sensibility of the storyteller.
—Marilyn Stasio

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Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #1) by Kevin HearneHounded by Kevin Hearne. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

The first novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles—introducing a cool, new, funny urban fantasy hero
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

PW writes “Atticus and his trusty sidekick, Irish wolfhound Oberon, make an eminently readable daring duo as they dodge Aenghus’s minions and thwart his schemes with plenty of quips and zap-pow-bang fighting.”

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The Damaged Heroes Collection [Box Set #1: The Damaged Heroes Collection] Sandy JamesThe Damaged Heroes Collection [Box Set #1: The Damaged Heroes Collection] by Sandy James. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Box Set #1: The Damaged Heroes Collection (All 5 award-winning books for one low price!)

In Murphy’s Law, Seth Remington had a fortune at his fingertips, but Katie Murphy can give him something money can’t buy. In Free Falling, although Ross Kennedy never learned to enjoy life, he may have found his dream woman after being stranded in a blizzard. In All the Right Reasons, Lucas Mitchell returned home from Iraq a bitter and changed man, but Joy Kovacs could give him something to believe in again. In Faith of the Heart, when Joshua Miller turns his back on life, it’s going to take a determined faith healer to lead him back to love. In Twist of Fate, James Williams is drifting apart from his wife, and they must rediscover their bond after an unexpected supernatural event.

With faith and a little help from fate, can they all change their lives and find happily ever after?

5 Books are in this collection.

Some or all of these books contain time travel per one reviewer (she skimmed so its possible that this is incorrect).

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Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon by Anne McCaffreyThe Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon (Pern: The Dragonriders of Pern) by Anne McCaffrey. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Finally together in one volume, the first three books in the world’s most beloved science fiction series, THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN, by Anne McCaffrey, one of the great science fiction writers of all time: DRAGONFLIGHT, DRAGONQUEST, THE WHITE DRAGON. Those who know these extraordinary tales will be able to re-visit with Lessa, F’lar, Ruth, Lord Jaxon, and all the others. And for those just discovering this magical place, there are incomparable tales of danger, deceit, and daring, just waiting to be explored..
Bestselling author Anne McCaffrey’s astonishing world of the Dragonriders of Pern has captured the hearts and minds of over 4 million science fiction readers. Now, new fans and old can relive the magic of the first three Dragonriders books–all in one omnibus edition.

Is this too old for my dragon loving 10 year old?

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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. Isobel Carr
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:05:33

    I started the Dragon Rider books when I was pretty young, so I think your ten year old would be fine. If you’re really concerned, start with the Harper Hall books instead, which are YA and have a great female protagonist.

  2. Bonnie
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:09:31

    I agree. They are marketed as YA but the references to the sex that the riders have when their dragons “rise” and mate aren’t particularly explicit; if anything, the violence and injuries might be more disturbing to a sensitive child.

  3. Jody Wallace
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:20:46

    Just snagged the Pern set for my 12 year old. If she finds them disturbing, I can let you know? I have to be careful not to tell her they were my FAVORITEST BOOKS EVER, though, or she won’t touch ’em heheheh.

  4. Sheryl Nantus
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:27:23

    The Pern books are wonderful. I first read them when I was 16, in the hospital and in danger of losing my right leg from a staph infection. Mom brought in the boxed set and I devoured them along with LOTR. To say the two sets were lifesavers might be a bit much but they sure helped this little girl get through a trying time. (Kept the leg, btw).


  5. Becky
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:28:37

    I agree with the suggestion to start with Harper Hall although even that series has one slightly dicey scene in Dragondrums. I read the series when I was around 13 and while it wasn’t precisely inappropriate, it was an eyebrow raiser- more than kissing… The other big issue is that I did find them to be somewhat dated when I revisited them when I was around 20. Since it’s sci-fi it’s not as obvious- more in the characterizations and that sort of thing- like watching the original Star Trek. While not a dragon series, I would suggest the So You Want to be a Wizard series by Diane Duane. I think she’s having a sale now on her website for St Patrick’s Day. She recently updated the first 4 books of the series but you can only get the updated version digitally through her site.

  6. Katie
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:39:17

    The second Pern book has a forced seduction scene. And they ARE dated. I love the couple in the first book, but the man is described as “shaking” the woman when she does something wrong.

    I was shocked by the (very mild) sex scene in the Harper Hall when I was around 13, but that might’ve been more because my mom handed them to me than anything else!

  7. Maria F
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:41:15

    Thank you for the Pern heads up!

  8. Janine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:46:11

    I read the adult Pern books at age 12 and loved them, but I read a lot of age-inappropriate stuff when I was young. The adult books contain a lot of adult themes, and although much of that goes over the kids’ heads (I didn’t pick up on the m/m stuff until a reread in my late teens) some of it will register. Also though I’m still very very fond of Dragonflight it is dated in some ways — F’lar has this habit of shaking Lessa that I wish I could excise out of the book. So I’m with the crowd who says read the first couple Harper Hall books, Dragonsong and Dragonsinger. Those two are appropriate for a ten year old as well as lovely.

  9. Sandy James
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:51:58

    Hi, Jane! Thanks for including my box set! I truly appreciate it!
    If readers would like to know the genres of the five books, Murphy’s Law, Free Falling, All the Right Reasons, and Faith of the Heart are all contemporary romances. The last book, Twist of Fate, is a time travel.
    Hope that helps!
    All best,

  10. Janine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:59:33

    @Katie: Re. the adult dragonrider books, I see we think alike about the shaking thing. I love F’lar and Lessa too, even with the dated stuff. I had forgotten the F’nor/Brekke scene in Dragonquest had an element of force. But I think you could argue that for the dragon matings too — the worldbuilding is constructed around the idea that these people are at the mercy of their dragons’ urges and their love lives involve personal sacrifices for the sake of saving the planet.

    And re. the YA Harper Hall trilogy, that scene in Dragondrums (that’s the one your mom gave you to read) doesn’t even make logical sense — they only had fire lizards. Dragonsong and Dragonsinger are the only ones with no sex whatsoever.

  11. Katie
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 15:17:11


    I think the dragon matings are problematic (there’s really no consent at all, is there?), but F’nor didn’t have that excuse and Brekke fought back (until she succumbed to passion!).

    I thought the fire lizard matings DID have the same affect as dragon matings? But it’s been a while since I’ve read any of the series.

  12. Lostshadows
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 15:25:48

    I read the Pern books at around 13* and yeah, there’s some iffy content for kids. I’d also recommend the Harper Hall trilogy as a better starting place, though it doesn’t seem to be available as ebooks.

    *Rereading Dragonflight this morning, the writing seemed much better at this age. :)

  13. Janine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 15:41:22

    @Katie: Re Dragonquest, You’re right, F’nor had no excuse but the book was written in the early 1970s and given the number of scenes along these lines in romance novels of that era, I think some authors and publishers were operating on the theory that heroines would be looked at askance by a lot of readers if they consented. McCaffrey went to great lengths to say that Brekke loved F’nor but premarital sex was against the values she was raised to have — and of course as dragonriders they couldn’t marry. It was sketchy nonetheless, no question.

    Re. Dragondrums, I think the lizards were supposed to have a fraction of the effects on their people as a dragon would on its rider. Supposedly just enough to give the Holders a small window into riders’ psyches. IMO McCaffrey just wanted to write that scene the way she did. This book came a bit later and it was Piemur’s book, not Menolly or Sebell’s, as well as a YA.

  14. Isobel Carr
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 15:59:21

    I still remember having to explain to all my friends that the male riders were getting it on with each other when their dragons mated. I was apparently the only kid in my crowd that got the very subtle reference to the men stumbling off in each other’s arms and connected it with what went on with the queen riders which was more obvious.

    The only relationship that ever really bugged me was in The White Dragon. Jaxom just seemed like a user to me.

  15. Janine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 16:09:54

    @Isobel Carr: I hated Jaxom. A Marty Stu character if ever there was one.

  16. Janhavi
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 16:23:11

    I recently tried Dragonflight and Dragonquest and found them… meh. I do think I would have loved it at 12-13 though. I found the set-up a bit disturbing- mainly because there never seems to be any consent- the dragon rider stuff bothered me more than the scene with F’nor and Brekke. I am pretty sure it would have gone over my head at 12-13 though, even now I was initially not quite sure that Lessa and Flar were really having sex! I was just so startled by such a concept in what I thought was a old-fashioned YA book!

  17. Eleri Stone
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 16:42:46

    I just re-read the Pern books a few months ago. I still love them but they’re dated and I wouldn’t give them to my twelve year old. In the second book, it’s not a dragon mating and Brekke fights F’nor. “He wasn’t gentle but he was thorough.” Still remember that line.

  18. cleo
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 17:10:29

    I have a love-hate relationship with Pern. I loved them when I discovered them in middle school. I revisited Pern when I was 20 and I was shocked (outraged! hulk smash angry!) by the misogyny – which I completely missed when I was 12. I did a memorial re-read of the first 6 Pern books a couple years ago, after she died, and I found a lot to still like, but also a lot of issues.

    I think it’s a good example of an author being ahead of her time, but behind ours. There are consent issues, lots of slut-shaming, some weird misogyny, and I don’t even know what to say about the portrayal of homosexuality (and can I just say, I had NO IDEA what the blue and green riders were doing when I was 12).

    I agree with the recommendations for the first two Harper Hall books – Dragon Singer and Dragon Song. They hold up the best, imo and are most appropriate for a 10 year old. The rest, not so much.

  19. Katie
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 17:17:49


    I think it’s a good example of an author being ahead of her time, but behind ours.

    That really sums it up for me. Like you, there was a ton I didn’t pick up on as a kid (definitely had no idea what the blue and green riders were up to–or even that they WERE up to something), but I still find a lot to enjoy.

    I still like to recommend them to people, but with some warnings.

  20. neyronrose
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 18:12:04

    @Isobel Carr: I completely missed what was going on with the blue and green riders when the blue and green dragons mated. I think I was probably in my mid-teens when I first read the books. I made the connection years later.

    I think the m/f relationship dynamics can be compared to the content in mainstream romance at the time, but with even less consent. Forced seduction novels were very popular then.

    I’d recommend Dragonsong and Dragonsinger as YA books. I’d go with New Adult for the Dragonriders of Pern series, with warnings about forced seduction and many other consent issues, and a male protagonist shaking a woman when he disapproved of her actions.

    I liked the books as a teen, and there are still things I like about them, but they are dated.

  21. kristine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 19:24:54

    The Black House is 1.99 @ B&N (thank you, PriceMatchingFairies!)
    And if you’re a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you’ll enjoy the Iron Druid.

  22. moody
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 19:24:55

    My dad gave these to me to read as a kid (10-11 or so) and I loved them. He was trying to steer me away from the age inappropriate romance novels I picked up from my grandmother (a seriously lost cause). Reading these comments though, I might need to re-read them. I never picked up on any sex, misogyny, etc. Apparently, I read strictly for the dragons. The first two Harper Hall books are my favorites and I still pick them up to read on rainy days.

  23. Amanda
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 19:43:27

    I haven’t read the Pern books, so I can’t comment on those, but I DID read the Dealing with Dragons series when I was a kid, and I loved Cimorene (the heroine). If she hasn’t read them yet, I highly recommend them.

  24. DS
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 20:44:07

    I’ve listened to a couple of books by Peter May, specifically the second book in the Lewis series, Lewis Man. I’m not very taken with his way of telling a story. His books do tend to be less gory that some of my other favorite Celtic noire authors but very bleak. I’d pick him up the library but I wouldn’t buy his books.

    On the other hand I really enjoyed Hounded. It is a romp with a strong comic book feel, probably because the author is a comic book/superhero fan– reminded me a bit of the Marvel Comic Thor (the one that started in 1962 not the movie) but with a sense of humor and the hero is a druid, not a god. Ok, maybe it’s not a whole lot like Thor after all. But I still liked it.

    As for Pern, the first book was published as two novellas in Analog magazine, so there isn’t any sex– Analog’s readership did not approve of sex in their sf. That was all too New Wave. I read and re-read it and the sequel though, but never made it through The White Dragon. I was 12 when I read the first story in 1967. Have never really reread them since becoming an adult though so I can’t tell how they have worn.

  25. Jane
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 21:18:54

    I think I’ll buy these digitally but have her hold off reading them for now. She’s not a big electronic reader and currently her nose is stuck in the Harry Potter series (it’s so fun having her tell me things from the book).

  26. Janine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 22:17:18


    As for Pern, the first book was published as two novellas in Analog magazine, so there isn’t any sex– Analog’s readership did not approve of sex in their sf. That was all too New Wave.

    I don’t know about the novellas but the book does have sex. It just isn’t very detailed.

  27. Fiona McGier
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 01:03:04


    For a girl? Definitely the Dealing with Dragons quartet by Patricia Wrede. Published in the 70s they might be kind of hard to find, but definitely worth it! And the only romance is HEA, nothing explicit even hinted at…just good clean fun, strong women, heroic men, and dragons who can talk! For either sex my kids also loved the Christopher Chance books…I can’t remember the author’s name, but there were about 3 of them. Magical moments, great stories. And of course, Eva Ibbotson’s stories are great too.

  28. Fiona McGier
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 01:05:01

    And don’t forget the Artemis Fowl books! There are about 8 of them, I think. More strong women, clever and brave men/boys, and lots of elves, centaurs, a hungry/gassy dwarf, and lots of other hilarious, magical creatures in very well-written stories.

  29. Willaful
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 01:37:16

    @Fiona McGier: I think you mean the Chrestomanci (Christopher Chant) books by Diana Wynne Jones. There are 5 or 6 now.

  30. Marguerite Kaye
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 11:31:09

    I read the Black House because it is set in Port of Ness on Lewis, where my mum’s family comes from. I wanted to love it, especially since one of her cousins is the actual Guga Hunger in the book, but it was not for me. First of all, the island was described in the sort of detail you only need from a satnav. Then there was being inside the head of a child who thought like a very adult adult. And finally, there were the twists and turns. For me, part of the fun of reading a whodunit (and I read loads) is guessing whodunit. This plot was so convoluted, there were so many things the reader simply couldn’t know and wasn’t told as to make it impossible to guess. I felt cheated. But my mum loved it and read all of the series, and looking at the Goodreads reviews (apart from mine!) it seems I’m in a real minority. And Port of Ness is lovely, incidentally, I’ve used it in a rather prettier context myself.

  31. Kate Y.
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 12:33:24

    I second the recommendations for Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing with Dragons) and Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci books (although I’m not sure those have dragons – doesn’t matter, still awesome). Diana Wynne Jones wrote two books with gryphons that are would be great for kids who like dragons.

    Like a lot of other readers who have posted, I first read Anne McCaffrey when I was 12 or 13 – I started with the Harper Hall trilogy and went right on to devour all the adult Pern books. I have to say that at the time most of the sex references went completely over my head. The one scene that I do remember noticing – and it bothered me at the time – was in The White Dragon. Jaxom is sleeping with a local village girl and there are really squicky dynamics about the whole relationship, one scene (in a field?) in particular. Ah, Pern. I was madly in love with Anne McCaffrey for middle school and the first half of highschool, and read every single book of hers that I could find. I still have my favorites in a box, because while I’m much more critical rereading them now, my nostalgia sentiment is very strong. McCaffrey’s books do still circulate very well at my local library – we have three shelves full!

  32. Elizabeth
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:48:16

    Anne McCaffrey published romance thrillers before she found greater fame with the Pern books. (Ring of Fear, The Lady, The Kilternan Legacy, etc)

    I read some Pern books first and then, being an obsessive completist, found and read her earlier work. I THINK it was consistent with what was common at the time of its publication, but since I was reading it some 20 years late (in my teens), I found much of it kind of off-putting, especially the level of violence against women. It made Pern seem tame, though. It established patterns of power dynamics that I could see in the Pern books too and that turned me away from McCaffrey completely. The Pern books kept coming out through my teens (there are about a dozen, all told) but I never finished the series.

  33. Willaful
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 18:54:31

    @Elizabeth: Just FYI, the power dynamics and treatment of women in the series changed significantly over time. (Our time that is, since some of the later books are actually set in earlier periods.)

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