Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Daily Deals: Romance and a Dystopian YA

Masque of the Red Death Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. $2.99.

From Jacket Copy:

Everything is in ruins.A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

There are a number of YA dystopians on sale. I suspect that publishers went on a buying spree after Hunger Games exploded and then realized that people just wanted to read Hunger Games and not necessarily an onslaught of dystopian novels. This book checks all those dystopian novels. Its the first in a series. It has a cliffhanger ending. It has a love triangle. What makes this interesting is that the female protagonist is essentially a drug addict. Jia didn’t think much of it, giving it a D:

But my biggest complaint about the book has to do with its execution. While I really did like the dark, gloomy feel of it, many aspects did not ring true. Like many other people, Araby goes to the Debauchery Club to forget her sorrows. For some people, this means having meaningless sex with strangers. For others, like Araby, this means getting high. Pretty edgy material, right?

Except it doesn’t read edgy. Nothing about how the club is portrayed is believable or authentic. Araby is constantly getting high but her drug trips never actually read like drug trips. She was always passing out or falling asleep. That’s not getting high. That’s being sedated or getting roofied, neither of which I think is the intention.


Come the Spring (Clayborne Brothers) Julie Garwood Come the Spring (Clayborne Brothers) by Julie Garwood. $2.99.

From Jacket Copy:

Julie Garwood triumphed with her phenomenal For the Roses and her #1 New York Times bestselling trio of novels, One Pink Rose, One White Rose and One Red Rose. Now, she brings her irresistible and heartwarming wit to a delightful new love story featuring the unforgettable frontier family, the Claybornes of Blue Belle, Montana.
Cole Clayborne had always walked a dark path and flirted with a life of crime. While his three brothers chose to settle into married life, Cole rebelliously refused to be tied down. Now, an elusive stranger draws him into a shadowy chase that will bring unexpected turns to his uncertain future — and may determine which side of the law the restless Cole favors.

A tragic, heartbreaking loss drives U.S. Marshal Daniel Ryan on a quest for vengeance — and leads him to a beautiful young woman, the sole witness to a terrible crime. But the lawman finds that love is the greatest trial of all as he unwittingly draws her into the line of fire. The power and drama of their blossoming passion, entwined with the surprising destiny of the wayward Cole, make Come the Spring a superbly entertaining adventure inside the heart of “a family whose love and loyalty will truly inspire” (Romantic Times)

Even though I am profiling this book for the deals, I have to share that this is one of my least favorite Garwood books. Cole’s story was hotly anticipated and maybe because of the anticipation, the book failed for me big time. I’ve re-read many of Garwood’s novels but this one never makes the cut. That said, others have enjoyed it and it is a very good deal.


A Darker Crimson by Carolyn Jewel A Darker Crimson by Carolyn Jewel. $2.99.

From Jacket Copy:

Just another day on the job for Officer Claudia Donovan of the Crimson City police department. Two guys dead in what looks like a paranormal kill, and now she has to deal with Tiberiu Korzha, a vampire who leads a notorious criminal enterprise. When demons kidnap her and her daughter, they work dark magic on her to enable her to open the long-closed portal to the demon world. After a dark demon bonds with her, her only hope for survival may well be Korzha.

Tiberiu Korzha has little use for humans until he’s trapped in the demon world with Claudia Donovan, the one human woman he’s tempted to bite. His puts his private deal with the demons on the line in order to help her rescue her daughter. Can he and Claudia survive the dangerous demons who’ll do anything to escape into Crimson City?

I am skipping books 2 and 3 because they are 7.99 and 4.99 respectively and those are no deals. The Marjorie Liu book is owned by Avon (they purchased Liu’s books from Dorchester along with a few other authors). Here is the list, in order:

Book #1: Crimson City by Liz MaverickBook
Book #2: A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu
Book #3: Through a Crimson Veil by Patti O’Shea
Book #4: A Darker Crimson by Carolyn Jewel
Book #5: Seduced by Crimson by Jade Lee
Book #6: Crimson Rogue by Liz Maverick
Book #7: Shards of Crimson (anthology)
Book #8: Crimson & Steam by Liz Maverick


Perils of Pleasure Julie Anne Long Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long. $1.99.

From Jacket Copy:

A rescued rogue . . .

Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.

A captivating captor. . .

Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin’s vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they’ll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.

This is the first book in the Pennyroyal Green series. Janine wrote the 2008 review of the book.

In this case, plot, heroine and language all felt fresh and new, which is why it is frustrating that the book did not fire me into the stratosphere as a couple of your others have. Perhaps the challenge for authors is one of high expectations. Unfair is it may be, the truth is that the more you blow me away with one book, the harder it becomes for the next book to please me. Despite that, I still enjoyed The Perils of Pleasure, and I believe that other readers will, too. B.

Let me note that if Long doesn’t write about the main couple soon, I may give up on the series. This endless dragging out of a story between two of the eldest competing families is wearing my joy of the series down.


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. Joanna
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 14:22:22

    I only read a couple of the Crimson City books when they were first published, but the one I remember is A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie Liu – so of course it isn’t available on sale darn it!! It was the story of a vampire and a werewolf breaking lots of taboos and falling in love but was so well done – as all of her works are. I highly recommend it!

  2. LeeF
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 15:46:43

    If you want to listen to some Garwood classics, Honor’s Splendour and Gentle Warrior are on sale at for $4.95

  3. Rosie
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 16:24:41

    Under the Never Sky is one of the dystopians on sale. I really enjoyed it, and if my bad memory is correct, it lacked a dreaded love triangle.

  4. Dabney
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 16:39:45

    Let me note that if Long doesn’t write about the main couple soon, I may give up on the series. This endless dragging out of a story between two of the eldest competing families is wearing my joy of the series down.

    So with you. And sadly, her recent two books do nothing to truly advance Lyon’s and Olivia’s story. Sigh….

  5. Danielle
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 17:06:47

    Reading the description of Masque Of The Red Death I was struck by the similarity to the set-up for Edgar Allan Poe’s story and Corman’s film version. Did the publisher/author really have to borrow same title, too – or does the book acknowledge Poe or the film as a source of inspiration?

  6. Janine
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 18:03:24

    @Dabney & @Jane,

    I feel your pain and frustration. I Kissed an Earl was the only book with a significant development on that front, and ever since I’ve read it I’ve wanted more Lyon. When oh when will that relationship come to a head? I have to admit that while I crave the Lyon/Olivia story, I’m also wondering how Long will handle the abolition/slavery conflict between Lyon and Olivia’s dad. She hasn’t dealt with a social issue on that scale in her prior books, so I’m curious about whether she’ll pull it off.

  7. Dabney
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 19:05:18

    @Janine: I too wonder if Olivia’s dad will be a villain. Plus there’s the whole him and Fanchette thing. I need closure. I’m looking forward to discussing her most recent book with KatiD.

  8. Jane Litte
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 19:25:14

    @Janine: and @Dabney: I just feel like I am being strung along a bit and frankly the more build up, the greater the chance of disappointment. I’m still going to read Julie Anne Long if she writes Lyon/Olivia’s book. I’ve stopped reading her though until that story comes out.

  9. Dabney
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 19:28:47

    @Jane Litte: KatiD asked her about the O/L book on Twitter and Ms. Long was very coy.

  10. Jia
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 09:06:00

    @Danielle: IIRC, the book does acknowledge Poe’s story as a source of inspiration. There are references to it everywhere so it’d be ridiculous not to. However, being a lifelong fan of Poe myself, the references are superficial at best. At worst, they demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the source material.

  11. Danielle
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 09:43:36

    @Jia: Thank you very much, Jia, good to know. There seem to be so many brash exploitations of older material in the book market right now, with the rules of homage being re-written by authors and publishers alike, that I didn’t know what to think when I saw the title.

%d bloggers like this: