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In regards to the MC books, I’ve read both of them and the first one is rather non romantic, but fairly gritty. The second one explains the male protags motivations better than the first one did. I liked the idea of the female protag as a “Lost Girl” or sweet butt because so often those ladies are used to slut shame and draw a contrast between the heroine and the rest of the coterie of women around the MC but I wasn’t convinced of the romance in the second one either. Still, they were interesting reads.

Bitter Sweet Love  by Jennifer L. ArmentroutBitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout. $ Free

From the Jacket Copy:

In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series The Dark Elements, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn’t just Jasmine’s crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything?right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn’t help that Jas’s father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he’s back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn’t taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again?

Don’t miss White Hot Kiss, book one in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s The Dark Elements series from Harlequin TEEN!

This is a prequel to the The Dark Elements series published by Harlequin Teen.

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The Lotus Palace by Jeannie LinThe Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China?

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she’s content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, let alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang’s position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine— will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

Jayne and Sunita did a dueling review of this book:

Jayne:The Historical Undone novella “Capturing the Silken Thief” introduced me to the world of Tang Dynasty courtesans and the people who worked with them. “The Lotus Palace” takes this many steps further and is a full-on immersion into this environment. Yue-ying lives in the background of this pleasure palace. She and her mistress Mingyu were sold into this life and share a bond no outsider understands. Yue-ying knows how lucky she is to have been redeemed from being a common prostitute in a brothel even if her marked face disqualifies her from the heights that Mingyu has reached.

I enjoyed reading about Yue-ying. She’s practical, hardworking and doesn’t stand for any nonsense from Bai Huang. She serves as his introduction to the world of these servant girls and teaches him some respect for those who aren’t rich and privileged. This is actually my favorite aspect of the book. An experience in Bai Huang’s past has already stripped away the veneer of the beautiful illusion the courtesans project but meeting Yue-ying makes him truly see the harsh reality behind the glitter.

Sunita: Yue-ying is a terrific character. She’s been dealt a very tough hand, but she’s neither downtrodden nor feisty. She accepts the world as it has been made for her and she appreciates the good things in her life. Her relationship with Mingyu (who is another nuanced, interesting character) is clearly more than just courtesan-servant, but we don’t find out precisely what it is until the second half of the book. Yue-ying is understandably unromantic, but she’s also loving and interested in the world around her.

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Lethal Confessions by V.K. SykesLethal Confessions by V.K. Sykes. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

A gripping new romantic suspense from USA Today Bestselling author V.K. Sykes

The brutal murder of her twin sister drove Amy Robitaille into a career as a homicide detective for Palm Beach County. When a serial killer targets the wives of local baseball players, Amy has more than just a professional interest at stake—her only surviving sister fits the profile of the other victims. Amy’s hell-bent on catching the killer, not only to protect her sister but to destroy the demons haunting her since the death of her twin.

Baseball star and former soldier Luke Beckett has just retired from the game and is looking to move on with his life. When he’s asked to consult on the serial killer case for the local police, he finds the challenge he needs—despite the objections of lead detective Amy Robitaille. But Luke has no intention of backing away from the job and every intention of getting to know the intriguing detective.

Amy has no time to babysit a celebrity consultant while trying to catch a serial killer. But Luke is not the man she assumed him to be and he threatens to become a powerful distraction. That’s the last thing she needs, especially when the killer starts closing in on her family. But without Luke’s help, Amy stands to lose everything.

There aren’t a ton of reviews for the book but a three star review said the French Canadian cursing was distracting but the storyline was good and the baseball references were believable. Another three star review says it is heavier on the suspense and police work. None of these things are a deterrent for me. Click and bought.

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

I know I’ve included this book before but it’s a really fantastic story and I urge you to pick it up. There’s a great relationship in it and while the ending is somewhat tragic (I’m not spoiling anything as it fits the myth) but it’s so moving and gorgeous that you can’t help but be engaged. Even if it doesn’t sound like something you would read now, pick it up and maybe in a few years when you’re trolling through your TBR pile you can pat yourself on the back for buying such a great book for such a good price.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

6 Comments

  1. Tanya
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 14:14:03

    Since I already got The Song of Achilles and am now reading The Lotus Palace, may I recommend a free short-story collection from Francesca Lia Block, Lay Me Out Softly”

    Also, the opening sentence of the Ride blurb says this: “Death comes in Armani. Salvation comes in leather.”

    So I’m guessing Purgatory is all about Chanel?

  2. Janine
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 14:30:22

    The Lotus Palace is terrific. Buy buy buy! You won’t regret it.

    I already have The Song of Achilles on my kindle, but it’s great to hear you loved it so much, Jane. We have a guest review from Sarah (Frantz, I think) which can be found here.

    @Tanya: LOL! And thanks for the heads up on the Francesca Lia Block.

  3. Sirius
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 14:37:39

    Lotus Palace was *fantastic”. Thank you Sunita, thank you Janine :). I keep looking at “Song of Achilles” for couple years now – but because it fits the myth (yes, I checked the ending in the bookstore lol), I just keep hesitating. I should just get it for this price.

  4. Andrea
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 19:37:41

    The Song of Achilles is a fantastic read. I hope a lot of readers pick that one up.

  5. Nicole
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 22:29:40

    Okay, guys. I bought Song of Achilles. Thanks to your warnings, I will wait until I’m already emotionally wrecked to read it (so….Thursday).

  6. Shelly
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 22:41:20

    I was so not going buy Song of Achilles, but Jane, you pitched it perfectly. Sold, and it’s now in my TBR, waiting for some special day.

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