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Daily Deals: Hugo nominees and historical romances

equoid strossEquoid by Charles Stross. $ Free

From the Jacket Copy:

A Laundry novella.

The “Laundry” is Britain’s super-secret agency devoted to protecting the realm from the supernatural horrors that menace it. Now Bob Howard, Laundry agent, must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They’re also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime…

Tor has made all its Hugo nominees available for free for a limited time, and without DRM (even at Amazon). The Hugos are one of the highest honors awarded in the SFF genre, and this is one of the nominated novellas, by an admired and respected author. The full list of free stories is here, with links to all the major retailers. Among them are a novelette by Mary Robinette Kowal and a short story by John Chu that look predictably fantastic, and that’s predictable in the sense that they are excellent writers, not that the stories are predictable. Oh, you know what I mean. Go forth and download!

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indiscreet jewelIndiscreet by Carolyn Jewel. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

After a lie destroys the reputation of Sabine Godard, a young woman raised by her Oxford Don uncle, she and her elderly uncle travel to Turkey to escape the gossip. In Constantinople, she meets Edward, Marquess of Foye, an outsized man who refers to himself as a beast. He fascinates her and then earns her admiration. He doesn’t care that she’s better educated than many men, and he, too, was hurt by the lie that forced her to leave London.

Foye knows Sabine is innocent of the disgrace that forced her to leave England and quickly finds himself captivated by her. It doesn’t matter that she’s beautiful and he’s far from handsome. Sabine is the woman who restores his heart. He can scarcely believe she returns his feelings. If he must wait for her, he will. When Sabine and her uncle fall into the hands of Turkish Pasha, Foye will do anything to make sure Sabine and her uncle are safe.

I love Carolyn Jewel’s books. They’re compelling, sensual, atmospheric historical romance. (Full disclosure: she and I follow each other on Twitter and we’ve had coffee and brunch together several times. But I loved her books long before I knew her). This was originally published by Berkeley in 2009 and Robin/Janet reviewed it when it came out. She gave it a B+ and said “There is just so much to admire about Indiscreet, from the restrained but lyrical prose to the depth of the protagonists’ characterizations, to the lovely surprises placed throughout the novel that challenged and shifted my expectations subtly but effectively.” If you haven’t read Jewel’s work, this is a great place to start. And for .99 for a full-length novel, how can you resist? You can’t. Resistance is futile.

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corinthian heyerThe Corinthian by Georgette Heyer. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A daring escape

Penelope Creed will do anything to avoid marrying her repulsive cousin. Dressed in boy’s clothing, she’s fleeing from London when she’s discovered by Sir Richard Wyndham, himself on the verge of the most momentous decision of his life.

And a heroic rescue

When Sir Richard encounters the lovely young fugitive, he knows he can’t allow her to travel to the countryside all alone, so he offers himself as her protector. As it happens, at that very moment Sir Richard could use an escape of his own…

This is another one of the currently discounted Heyers, which for some reasons doesn’t get talked about much. I like it quite a bit (big surprise) but it’s not one where I’ve memorized large chunks of it. Sir Richard and Pen (short for Penelope) are both escaping their families (he metaphorically, she literally) when they meet cute. Pen is dressed as a boy for easier traveling and Richard poses as her uncle. Adventures ensue. It’s sort a May-December romance, although not nearly as age-disparate as These Old Shades or The Convenient Marriage. The Young People get a bit cute at times, but it has some sparkling dialogue and plenty of humor.

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tempting a devil kaneTempting a Devil by Samantha Kane. $ 0.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

In Samantha Kane’s erotic tale of secrets and temptation, a woman whose only defense is seduction targets a rake who teaches her the true meaning of love.

As wealthy and beautiful as she is desperate, Harriet Mercer can have any man she wants—which makes picking the worst of the lot quite easy. By convincing the ton she is a ruined woman, Harry hopes to outwit the greedy, conniving cad blackmailing her into a loveless marriage. Roger Templeton is a rogue with a scandalous reputation, no expectations, and no shame. He is perfect for Harry’s fall from grace. Her brazen attempts at a very public seduction are delightful fodder for gossip . . . and pure torment for Roger.

With his pockets as empty as his heart, Roger is in no mood for games and decides to show Harry how foolish it is to tempt a devil. But behind her mesmerizing golden eyes, he sees something unexpected: a woman in trouble. Her scandalous behavior would be amusing if he wasn’t captivated by her lush, curvaceous beauty. Worse, every libertine bone in his body has turned traitorously noble. Only a rake would seduce her. But only a gentleman in love can save her.

At first glance this book looks too anachronistic and modern to appeal to my nitpicky self, but something about the blurb and the reviews grabbed my attention. A widow with a small son tries to ruin herself to avoid remarriage with someone she detests. She turns to her childhood friend for assistance. It doesn’t sound plausible in the least, does it? And yet it sounds fun. For 0.99, I say it’s worth a try.

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Sunita has been reading romances since she ran out of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and Chalet School books and graduated to Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. Other old favorites include Mary Burchell, Betty Neels, Elsie Lee, and Edith Layton. Among current writers, she reads and rereads Anne Stuart, Tamara Allen, Sarah Morgan, Marion Lennox, Josh Lanyon, and Susanna Kearsley. She blogs as VacuousMinx and tweets as @sunita_p.

16 Comments

  1. cleo
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 14:27:48

    I downloaded all the Tor freebies. I just read the John Chu short story (The Water from Nowhere) and it’s so, so good. It’s one of those deceptively simple stories – about a closeted Chinese American man taking his white American boyfriend home for Christmas. Both the sf/f aspects and the romance are understated and it’s just lovely.

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  2. Tanya
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 15:18:00

    I, too, just snatched up all the TOR freebies, the Jewel and the Heyer. The pile keeps growing, but that TOR deal was too good to pass up, especially the short stories.

    ReplyReply

  3. Janine
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 15:45:38

    Carolyn Jewel’s historical romances are a mixed bag for me (I couldn’t get through Lord Ruin and thought Not Wicked Enough needed more conflict) but at 99 cents Indiscreet is a steal (also worth a look is Scandal, my favorite of her books). In addition to Robin’s review, Jennie and I also reviewed Indiscreet. So at least four of us here at DA recommend the book.

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  4. Sirius
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 16:00:17

    I downloaded stories from Tor too thanks :). I have not read this story by Samantha Kane, but I loved her writing in m/m romances. I also thought her ménage “Brothers in arm ” series were pretty good considering that I usually do not do m/f/m ménage at all. Besides several book in this series,I only enjoyed one other story.

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  5. EGS
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 17:15:56

    Corinthian isn’t my favorite Heyer, but it has probably the best last line/scene of any of her books.

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  6. Brian
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 18:02:36

    and without DRM (even at Amazon)

    Just in case anyone doesn’t know, all Tor published books are DRM-free everywhere. Also, Amazon doesn’t DRM books unless a publisher wants it.

    ReplyReply

  7. leftcoaster
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 18:24:26

    @Brian: Because Tor is awesome that way!

    ReplyReply

  8. Sunita
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 20:22:50

    Thanks to everyone for confirming the fabulosity of the Tor deal! And also to Lindsay and Hapax for bringing it to readers’ attention in comments to yesterday’s deals post.

    @Janine: Thanks for weighing in, Janine. When I googled to see who had reviewed it at DA, Janet’s review popped up first, so I went with that. It’s good to know (although not totally surprising) that so many DA reviewers enjoyed it. I still have a soft spot for Lord Ruin and The Spare but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

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  9. Sunita
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 20:25:36

    @Sirius: Aha, I knew I recognized her name, but I couldn’t remember where I’d heard it. I reviewed an m/m of hers, and while I didn’t love it, it was overall a good read. Thanks!

    @EGS: I had to go read the last page to refresh my memory, and I can’t believe I forgot that! But yes, you are absolutely correct.

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  10. Kaetrin
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 22:55:33

    I picked up the Tor books and bought Indiscreet and Tempting a Devil.

    I’m sure I’ve read Indiscreet before but it didn’t make my Goodreads catalogue for some reason so I thought I’d buy it (possibly again) just to be sure I actually had it.

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  11. Jennie
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 23:39:50

    @Janine: We did? Ruh-roh. I just bought it. What can I say, my memory is terrible at this point. :-)

    Oh, well – maybe I’ll read it again.

    ReplyReply

  12. Janine
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 23:53:56

    @Sunita: No worries! Robin’s review came first, too– I think it was just one of those books that a lot of us wanted to read when it came out.

    @Jennie: LOL!

    ReplyReply

  13. SAO
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 00:15:02

    Does Goodreads have a private shelf? Or a way of showing only some shelves to some people?

    And what happened to the First Page?

    ReplyReply

  14. delta888
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 12:49:47

    Love the shout out for Tor, and especially for John Chu, who is a friend of mine. Love all of his stories, and I’m thrilled to pieces about his Hugo nomination.

    I’ve got a full set of Heyer, and now have nearly all of it in eFormats, mostly at discounts that weren’t as good as this, alas.

    ReplyReply

  15. SonomaLass
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 14:05:35

    I’m sort of a collector of cross-dressing characters, particularly women — it was the subject of my dissertation research many years ago, as well as a specialty of mine when I still did on-stage work. When Indiscreet came out, I said that it was the best example I’d read in romance of using cross-dressing to really look at gender; it’s still one of my top two, the other being Pamela Rosenthal’s Almost a Gentleman. I highly recommend it! And while the cross-dressing in The Corinthian is to my memory much less introspective, it’s still a fun book.

    Disclaimer: Carolyn Jewel is a friend of mine; we met because I was complimenting her work in comments here on DA, and she figured from my screen name that I might live near her. So I can definitely attest that my appreciation for her writing predates our friendship.

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  16. carmen webster buxton
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 19:10:58

    The Tor deal is fantastic! How nice to see a publisher be farsighted about freebies as marketing instead of pinching virtual pennies, like Orbit Books is doing.

    The Corinthian is only in the middle of my Heyer list– which is not a bad place to be because it’s a frickin’ huge list of books, for one thing. I had more trouble with the cross dressing in this one because Pen hacks off her hair herself and steals some clothes, which makes me think she would not pass as male as successfully as other Heyer heroines who had more help and more time to plan. But on the whole, I liked the book, because it had likable characters and an interesting dynamic.

    ReplyReply

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