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Daily Deals: Manga, Mystery, YA and Beer for the Holiday

One Piece OdaOne Piece #1 by Eiichiro Oda. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

As a child, Monkey D. Luffy was inspired to become a pirate by listening to the tales of the buccaneer “Red-Haired” Shanks. But Luffy’s life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit and gained the power to stretch like rubber…at the cost of never being able to swim again! Years later, still vowing to become the king of the pirates, Luffy sets out on his adventure…one guy alone in a rowboat, in search of the legendary “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world…

We don’t feature much manga here at DA and I’m almost entirely unqualified to recommend works in the genre, but when I saw the description I knew I wanted to read it. According to Wikipedia (so obviously it’s true), One Piece is the bestselling manga series in history. It’s about pirates. And there are fishmen. And reindeer. This volume is where it all began. I know I’m not the target audience but how can I resist?

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

A YA historical fantasy set is Russia definitely qualifies as unusual. Janine reviewed this and said that the book was “addictive. There is something about [the author's] voice that crackles with energy and invites the reader into the story.” The ending was a big letdown for her, but despite that she wanted to read on.

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Antiquarian Julian SanchezThe Antiquarian by Julian Sanchez. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

In this gripping historical thriller, the search for a mysterious and powerful object hidden in the heart of Barcelona leads to ambition, desire, love—and murder

An intriguing letter from his adoptive father, Artur, turns novelist Enrique Alonso’s world upside down. Artur, a well-known antiquarian in Barcelona, reveals that he has discovered an ancient manuscript, but he feels uneasy, as though he’s in over his head. But before Artur can piece together the final part of the puzzle, he is attacked and murdered. Enrique rushes to Barcelona to investigate his father’s death and retrieve the book. His ex-wife, Bety, a philologist, comes to his aid and the two set about translating and deciphering the encrypted text. Written in Latin and Old Catalan, the manuscript holds the key to the location of a priceless object dating back to the Middle Ages, and a secret closely guarded by the Jewish community living in the city’s Gothic Quarter. When Enrique and Bety realize they are not the only ones following the trail, it becomes a race against time to find the mythical object that has the power to transform lives.

I love mysteries that involve ancient manuscripts and other kinds of artifacts, and this one is set in Barcelona and features a divorced couple who join forces to solve a murder. It’s translated from the original Spanish, and apparently comparing it to Carlos Ruiz Zafon wasn’t the best idea because some of the negative Goodreads reviews complained that it was nothing like Zafon. I’m hoping it’s a bit like Arturo Perez-Reverté’s mysteries (and yes I know all Spanish-authored mysteries are not alike, but there’s that present-and-past thing going, plus the manuscript).

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Love chocolate beer violet dukeLove, Chocolate, and Beer by Violet Duke. $ 0.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…

Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission. After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success–by taking the romance market by storm. But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull. Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of.

In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.

Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up. It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling–the kind her world has been crushed by before–is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés. What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.” The nerve of that man.

Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war. The stakes…very likely, her heart.

Chocolatier meets brewer in what has to be an opposites-attract romance, and the heroine is the beer maker! The negative reviews say there are too many secrets muddying up the storyline and there’s a lot of detail about beer and chocolate production, but the positive reviews call it cute and fun. Oh, who am I kidding. She had me at “beer.”

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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.

14 Comments

  1. cleo
    May 26, 2014 @ 14:14:49

    Oh, who am I kidding. She had me at “beer.”

    I’m really enjoying your commentary Sunita.

    I read that title, and had the uncharitable thought that they mad-libbed it (and then I went on a side tangent about Love and Bacon, and how I’d probably read that romance).

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  2. Liz Mc2
    May 26, 2014 @ 14:24:16

    My daughter (almost 12) and husband are reading comics together every night, and her verdict on One Piece #1 was “pretty good and funny.” (For comparison purposes, their favorites so far are the webcomic Bad Machinery, The Lumberjanes, and Marvel’s Runaways. They don’t do much manga, even though my daughter follows a number of anime series).

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  3. Brian
    May 26, 2014 @ 14:25:26

    Kenyon’s The Dark-Hunters (The Collection Thus Far) is on sale again for $19.99 at Amazon US and Google, still $147.xx at B&N. Didn’t last long the last time so grab it if you’re interested.

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  4. LG
    May 26, 2014 @ 15:25:07

    I dislike One Piece’s artwork enough that I’ve never been able to get into it much. Lots of people are fans of the characters, though.

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  5. Darlynne
    May 26, 2014 @ 16:59:16

    I started reading Zafon because I loved Perez-Reverte’s work, especially THE FLANDERS PANEL, and anything involving artifacts and art. I started reading Perez-Reverte in a desperate search to find something as intriguing as Peter Watson’s LANDSCAPE OF LIES, an X-marks-the-spot caper involving a very old painting. All three writers have, in completely different ways, captivated me. And now there’s more. Ready the squee cannon!

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  6. Sirius
    May 26, 2014 @ 17:05:16

    Of course I wanted to check out the story inspired by Russian culture, but negative amazon reviews claim such a horrible research that I don’t want to anymore :(. A pity.
    I love your commentary too Sunita.

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  7. Julie M.
    May 26, 2014 @ 17:08:22

    Second try – apparently basic math is eluding me today. Yikes!

    My younger son, now 17, read and enjoyed “One Piece” for quite a while. He has since moved on, but collected quite a few volumes a few year back.

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  8. Lostshadows
    May 26, 2014 @ 17:38:15

    I’m tempted by that last book, but mainly as a reason to use my beer tag on LT a second time.

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  9. Sunita
    May 26, 2014 @ 17:59:02

    @cleo: Thank you! I’m enjoying writing them. And I hereby give my word that if Bacon shows up in a title, it is automatically going into the Deals post.

    @Brian: Thanks, Brian!

    @Sirius: Oh well, good to know, though!

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  10. Sunita
    May 26, 2014 @ 18:00:51

    @Liz Mc2: @LG: @Julie M.: Thanks so much for the knowledgeable input! I am beyond ignorant on manga but I try to be on the lookout.

    @Darlynne: Oh, I hope you like it!

    @Lostshadows: I am so impressed that this would be the SECOND book with a beer tag.

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  11. BRNZ
    May 27, 2014 @ 00:53:23

    @Darlynne: Have you tried The Eight by Katherine Neville? Its the ultimate in that genre, I had a bookstore recommend Landscape of Lies when I was picking up an extra copy of The Eight as I am always lending it to people. Its a bit dated now but the historical stuff is very good.

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  12. Kaetrin
    May 27, 2014 @ 03:28:21

    @Sunita Well, you had me at “You had me at beer.” So I bought it too!

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  13. Janine
    May 27, 2014 @ 17:43:55

    Re. Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, it was interesting to read your summary and be reminded of my reaction to the twist that comes late in the book. Having now read book two (Siege and Storm), I’ve had more time to accept that the pairing I wanted when I read the first half of book one is likely never going to happen (at least I fervently hope not now).

    Bardugo is doing some interesting things with YA tropes and I admire her willingness to subvert readers’ expectations. With that said, I wouldn’t go into her series looking for a satisfying romance. Maybe the upcoming Ruin and Rising (book three) will change my mind about that but right now I’m in this series for the coming of age and fantasy aspects.

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  14. hilly
    May 28, 2014 @ 07:23:36

    @BRNZ: OMG! The Eight! Ditto on the buying extra copies to lend/give away! When Dan Brown was all the rage, I handed people Neville’s book. (However, I hated the sequel, and it rather tarnished my adoration for The Eight.) I also quite liked her A Calculated Risk, tho’ I’m not sure why, as it is very dated.

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