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Daily Deals: Fantasy, hallucinatory books, and romance

Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy) by Kate ElliottCold Magic by Kate Elliott. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

The Wild Hunt is stirring – and the dragons are finally waking from their long sleep…

Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. Though they are in beginning of the Industrial Age, magic – and the power of the Cold Mages – still hold sway.

Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlessness of the rule of the Cold Mages. What do the Cold Mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them?

Jia is a big fan of the Kate Elliott books. I even believe that one year, Kate Elliott’s book was a DABWAHA finalist. Jia reviewed the book:


Cold Magic is touted as Regency icepunk although if it’s set in 1837, shouldn’t it be early Victorian icepunk? Regardless, I hesitate to call this steampunk although I can see why that label could also fit. I actually think gaslight on the verge of becoming steampunk is more accurate. While the novel is very much devoted to Catherine’s story, we are treated to rising tensions in the background between the established order of the cold mages and the impending Industrial Revolution which promises flying dirigibles and other technological wonders. I suspect these will come to the forefront in the sequels.

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A Scanner Darkly      by     Philip K. Dick A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

“Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream.”—Roberto Bolaño

Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. Substance D doesn’t just alter the mind, it splits it in two, and neither side knows what the other is doing or that it even exists. Now, both sides are growing increasingly paranoid as Bob tries to evade Fred while Fred tries to evade his suspicious bosses.

In this award-winning novel, friends can become enemies, good trips can turn terrifying, and cops and criminals are two sides of the same coin. Dick is at turns caustically funny and somberly contemplative, fashioning a novel that is as unnerving as it is enthralling.

The negative reviews point to a sometimes incoherent narrative which may be explained by the fact that the narrators are high a lot of the time but also that it is hard to connect emotionally because, well, the narrators are habitual drug users who don’t see what is happening to their lives.

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Going Bovine Libba BrayGoing Bovine by Libba Bray. $ 3.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

It’s kind of ironic that we have two books here about characters with hallucinations. For many readers, even Bray fans, this book was a bridge too far. Either you are going to love this book or think that you haven’t had enough acid to understand it (which is how I felt when I watched “Eyes Wide Shut”).

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Married By Midnight MacleanMarried by Midnight by Julianne Maclean. $ Free.

From the Jacket Copy:

Sometimes a marriage of convenience becomes something more…

For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night….

Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?

Reader Kim emailed me about this deal. It is free at BN and Amazon. This is a novella. I’ve never read anything of Maclean’s (that I can recall)

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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. An
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 14:44:06

    SQUEEEEE! Kate Elliott!!!!!!

  2. MaryK
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 15:17:00

    I noticed that ARe is doing their 40% rebate on Ellora’s Cave again. Anything good come out there recently that I need to get?

    Not that I need more books. I’m at the point where I think I have too many which is not a place I ever thought I’d be.

  3. Darlynne
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 16:38:04

    I’m intrigued by Going Bovine even though I couldn’t get through Bray’s book about the stranded teen beauty pageant contestants. For some reason, impending death, a bad sugar habit, a dwarf and a yard gnome sound fascinating, which may say more about me than I realize.

    For Amazon UK customers, Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw is on sale for 99p. The Book Smugglers are very fond of this book, IIRC.

  4. MaryK
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 16:45:26

    @Darlynne: I think The Book Smugglers reviewed Going Bovine some years back. Don’t remember the verdict.

  5. Dabney
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 20:54:05

    I like Bray, but Going Bovine did not work for me.

  6. Carolyne
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 22:45:00

    Friends recommended Going Bovine enthusiastically to me, but I found it hard to finish. I did push my way through and finish it, because it’s such an acclaimed book and I wanted to see if it would all click in the end.

    Reading the first few chapters won’t give you much of a sense of how the book evolves–I actually found the beginning very promising. But, to me, it quickly began to feel overwritten and smug; sometimes as if the author just put in a random event or character out of a Mad Libs description, hoping it would come across as surreal and hallucinatory, or deep and revelatory, or Hunter S. Thompson-esque.

    I noticed that some of the 1-star Amazon reviews complained about the sex and references to sex and body parts, but that was one part of the book I thought was effective and which impressed me–showing an adolescent’s obsession with an unruly new sex drive.

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