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Daily Deals: Highly acclaimed mysteries and fantasies as well as romance

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeJonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

“Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.” “Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats.” But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

The was very highly reviewed and rather long but no one complained about the length – only that it was fabulous. Time says “”Ravishing…A chimera of a novel that combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien…What really sets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell apart is its treatment of magic. Clarke’s magic is a melancholy, macabre thing, confabulated out of snow and rain and mirrors and described with absolute realism”

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City of Dark Magic: A Novel by Magnus FlyteCity of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Cosmically fast-paced, wildly imaginative, and with City of Lost Dreams—the bewitching sequel—soon on the way, City of Dark Magic is the perfect potion of magic and suspense

Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

And now the story continues with City of Lost Dreams, the mesmerizing sequel that hits shelves this December, which finds Sarah in the heart of Vienna, embroiled in a new web of mystical secrets and treacherous lies.

Conan O’Brien is a weird cover quote and it sounds like the book itself is rather different. PW writes “Complicating an already tangled plot, an evil senator from Virginia with the U. S. presidency in her sights schemes to kill anyone between her and some incriminating letters she wrote to her erstwhile lover, a KGB officer, while she was CIA. In a story that abounds in mysterious portents, wild coincidences, violent death, and furtive but lusty sexual congress, Flyte (the pseudonym for TV writer Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey, author of Cranes Dance) also offers a veritable guide to Prague that includes such historical references as Rabbi Loew’s golem, the Golden Fleece, the Holy Infant of Prague, and a vault under St. Vitus Cathedral, where Sarah and Max find themselves in a tense denouement that promises a sequel.”

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Forever His Shelly ThackerForever His by Shelly Thacker. $ Free

From the Jacket Copy:

On New Year’s Eve, she tumbles 700 years back in time–and into the bed of a darkly dangerous knight.

Sir Gaston de Varennes wanted a docile bride who would fit into his plans for vengeance and justice, but a trick of time finds him married to a thoroughly modern American lady who turns his castle, his life, and his heart upside down. Will her desperate secret tear them apart after only a few bittersweet weeks of stolen passion—or will they conquer mistrust, treachery, and time itself to discover a love that spans the centuries?

Winner of the National Readers Choice Award: Best Historical Romance of the Year

“Irresistible, right down to the surprise at the end… One of the best romances of the year.” -The Detroit Free Press

“A Desert Isle Keeper. Touching, ingenious… I love this book. I’ve read it time after time, and even if I haven’t waited quite long enough between readings to forget all the details, I always get drawn back into the story so intensely that I can’t put it down. Grade: A (highest rating).” -Ellen Hestand, All About Romance

“Moving, riveting, magical. Forever His is destined to become an all-time favorite in medieval and time-travel romances.” -The Mediaeval Chronicle

A full-length novel of 125,000 words
Adult content: explicit love scenes
Originally published by Avon Books

The Stolen Brides Series: One falls through time and finds herself married to a dark stranger … one may never reach her royal wedding if she can’t resist her rugged protector … one is abducted by a mysterious swordsman and swept away to a secret island paradise. Three regal brides are about to discover that falling in love with a warrior is the most dangerous adventure of all.

The author emailed me this deal (and I appreciate it as always) and said that it was free in all 51 countries that Apple iBookstore has a presence in. So free for everyone!

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Noah (5th Street #1)  by Elizabeth ReyesNoah by Elizabeth Reyes . $ .99 | $2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

TEMPORARY price cut from now until the release of Gio, the second in the 5th Street series! Get your copy now!

Veronica Cruz has been through hell and back. After disconnecting with the world two years ago to be at the side of her dying mother, she’s left alone, unemployed, overweight, and feeling a decade older than her twenty-eight years. When her best friend coaxes her into joining the local gym to ditch her depression and rejuvenate her life, she meets Noah. Assigned to help Veronica lose weight, Noah is everything she expected a young trainer to be—perfectly chiseled, supportive and motivating. Add to that, he’s incredibly sexy. He’s everything she’s ever looked for in a man. What she least expected was for him to fall for her, but he has. There’s just one glaring problem: Noah is eight years younger.

Noah Quintanilla has his eye on a boxing title—someday. Down for a few months with an injury, his maintenance-boy pay at 5th Street Gym won’t cut it. He’s finally given the opportunity to train. The catch? His trainee is an out-of-shape woman with a free week pass. Taking on the challenge, Noah stumbles into one of the closest friendships he’s ever known, and before he knows it, he’s in love. But Veronica’s not having it—the age difference is too much. Their platonic relationship means having to watch her date other men—something that would make him crazy. Believing he’s the man for her, Noah sets out to prove that age is but an illusion, and there’s more to him than just a number.

A lot of readers love this series but I’ll admit I had a hard time getting into Noah. I’ve heard that Reyes has improved dramatically as an author so it might be worth picking up at 99c.

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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

23 Comments

  1. Janine
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 14:13:01

    I picked up the free Thacker since I recall liking the original version of the story years ago.

    The Susanna Clarke is well written, all right, but I found it very, very slow.

  2. hapax
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 14:20:54

    I was interested in the Thacker too, but it’s .99 at B&N, because the Nook store sucks moldy donkeys’ ears.

    I mean, 99 cents isn’t a bad price for a good book, but when everybody else has it for free?

  3. Kate K.F.
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 14:32:55

    City of Dark Magic is a weird book and I don’t think in a good way. I read it quickly but never cared about the main character who wasn’t nice and the plot made no sense at all.

    Strange and Norrell is one of my favorite books though not for everyone as its so long and written in a style that does a great job of mimicking books from the 1800s.

  4. Sunita
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:12:22

    Another vote for the Susanna Clarke book. Fantastic, imaginative, and rewards the effort in my opinion. Yes, it’s long and I can see why Janine and others might find it slow, but as Kate says, it’s written in a style that is mean to recall 19thC novels.

  5. KatieF
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:19:10

    @hapax: I’m with you. Clicked over to the B&N site, saw the $.99 price and sighed the eternal sigh of a Nook owner

  6. SusanS
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:27:38

    @Kate K.F.: I agree with you about City of Dark Magic. What a disappointment. I guess the plot was moderately interesting but there was no character development and the “romance” (I have to put it in quotes because it barely qualifies as a love story) was flat. Last time I buy a book on the recommendation of Conan O’Brien! (Actually, it was the first time I had done that as well.)

  7. Sirius
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:48:57

    @Sunita: What you said about Susanna Clarke’s book :).

  8. Julie M.
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:52:14

    Full disclosure: Shelly Thacker used to shop at the same Meijer’s as me before she moved out o’ state. I really enjoyed “Forever His.” And the heroine makes brownies when she goes back in time, which totally makes sense – who would want to be without brownies?!

  9. Lada
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 16:08:28

    I thought I’d try listening to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel and wondered if anyone had tried that and what they thought. I’m not used to narrations that last more than 32 hours but look forward to the experience.

  10. Susan
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 16:34:45

    @Julie M.: Where’d she get the choc?

  11. Darlynne
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 17:13:27

    After reading Jonathan Strange, I could not remember anything about the story, the characters, nada. Maybe it was a Jedi mind trick.

  12. Darlynne
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 17:14:55

    Oh, yeah, no editing button.

    I meant to add that for Amazon UK customers, The Rosie Project has been reduced to 3.99.

  13. Janine
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 17:25:46

    @Lada: I haven’t, but my husband and I tried to read it aloud, which slows the story down equally at least. Though I did like Clarke’s prose a lot, based on my experience I’d recommend reading silently over reading out loud or even listening, because the story will go by faster that way.

  14. Janine
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 17:28:12

    @Julie M.: Interesting; there’s brownie-making when the heroine of Jude Deveraux’ A Knight in Shining Armor goes back in time, too.

  15. DS
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 20:17:34

    I listened to the entire audio version of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and quite enjoyed the narration. At first I kept waiting for the plot to start then decided there might not be one and just sort of went along for the ride. (I was listening to it while driving so that seemed appropriate).

    I quite liked City of Dark Magic but I can’t remember why except some clever use of music and science. It was obviously a first book and had its share of bumps and scrapes, but I’ve read much worse. In fact I’ve read much worse this week so I may start the sequel this weekend. Not a romance though.

  16. Louise
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 01:41:55

    I think the Thacker book has been updated on B&N, it’s showing as free now!

  17. Heather
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 02:02:45

    In Australia Forever His by Shelly Thacker is 0.99c at Kobo but free at Amazon.

  18. Karen
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 05:59:38

    @KatieF: Have I made a mistake choosing the Nook? Bought it on sale during Thanksgiving and since it’s our very first e-reader, we’re enjoying it. But I’ve noticed e-books are more expensive at BN than anywhere else and I can’t figure out how to download books from other sources (except Gutenberg). We didn’t want a Kindle, but Amazon’s e-book deals are admittedly great.

  19. Karenmc
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 10:17:11

    I check out the preview of the Thacker book, because I’d read another of hers and enjoyed it. This one was fine until the hero said they were celebrating the new year on January first. In 1300? I think not. Decided I already have too many TBRs, and little errors like that one drive me crazy, so I’ll have to pass.

  20. Darlynne
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 11:12:22

    @Karen: Not KatieF, but it wasn’t a mistake. If you want to avail yourselves of other deals/formats/vendors and you don’t want to spread out your reading to desktop or smartphone apps, you do need to take some steps. (Hat tip to Ridley, who wondered why everyone wasn’t doing this. Best advice from the interwebs ever.)

    First is to download Calibre, which is free/donation, and allows you to organize your books in one place. Then read Apprentice Alf’s Blog on DRM for the Perplexed and download his toolkit.

    Now, if only it were all that simple. As someone else pointed out in another DA topic, you’ll spend a good part of a day doing this. I cannot say loudly enough how worth it the effort/swearing was. It unlocked and opened up everything for me as a Nook owner.

  21. Geert
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 12:10:12

    @karen
    The Nook supports not only ePub with the B&N DRM, but also ePub with Adobe DRM. This means you can buy ebooks from every ebookstore, except Amazon and Apple. And this also means Nook is compatible with all Overdrive library books.
    To read Adobe DRM ebooks you have to install Adobe Digital Editions, and register with Adobe.

    With popular fiction books B&N usually pricematches Amazon. But as you can see with the Thacker book, B&N often needs a few days to adjust the price.

  22. cleo
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 13:18:51

    @Karen: I second Geert’s reply. I have a Nook and I’m happy with it and I buy a LOT of books on sale – there are a few Amazon deals that I can’t find elsewhere, but not many. You do have to learn how to side-load files to take advantage of sale prices at other venues like Kobo and ARe, but that’s relatively easy. For non-DRM books, you just plug in your Nook into your computer using the charging cable (the the USB end out of the plug and put it in your computer), use your browser to buy your ebook (epub format) and then save the file directly onto your Nook.

    For DRM books, you need to install and set up Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, which is kind of a hassle, but once it’s set up, it’s fine. (And later on, as you get your feet under you, you can use Calibre to convert Kindle books to epub / strip the DRM and then you can buy all the Amazon deals you want and read them on your Nook).

  23. Julie M.
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 21:53:15

    Regarding the Shelly Thacker – I enjoyed it but I confess there’s definitely some silliness and I read it when it came out – 20 years ago. If I’m not confusing this book with another time travel book by Ms. Thacker then the heroine survives a medical issue because there is also a time-traveling doctor who can perform a pretty serious operation, with anesthesia and all. So it’s definitely a suspend disbelief kind of read. But hey – time travel! Also I was a new mom when I read it and just getting time to read was a pleasure. I never even registered the chocolate issue or the New Year’s day thing.

    Of course now I’m wondering if the brownie thing is from the Jude Deveraux book, and I’m just conflating the two plot lines, though I’m pretty sure the heroine of “Forever His” is a chef. Otherwise, I must confess that my aging brain doesn’t remembers plot details like it used to.

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