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Daily Deals: Redeemable heroes and villains in need of redemption

Last Summer by Theresa WeirLast Summer by Theresa Weir. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

A young widow…
A self-destructive celebrity…
A small town in Texas…

This book is an all-out unabashed, unselfconscious romance. No mystery. No suspense. Not a lot of external motivation. It’s all about two people. A lot of angst, a lot of drama, a lot of humor, and lot of great dialogue. It kind of has a sixties James Dean feel to it, where you have these tormented characters who just want to sob: “You’re tearing me apart!” James Dean could be the hero, and Natalie Wood could be the young widow. Or maybe Elizabeth Taylor. No, it should be someone quirky. A young Shirley MacLaine. Perfect. Mix that up with a little desert town and a bunch of gossips and a time period (of not so long ago) when sex for the fun of it was considered taboo and worthy of gasps behind white gloves.
“Unimpressed with hometown boy Johnnie Irish’s superstar status, widowed schoolteacher Maggie Mayfield nonetheless falls for the returning idol, who has only revenge on his mind.”
Yeah, well that happens. But so much more. Johnnie ruins the town of Hope’s homecoming parade. He passes out on Maggie’s floor. He leaves but can’t forget her. He makes a movie that bombs. He almost dies and everybody thinks he tried to commit suicide. He returns to Hope to get away from Hollywood for a while. He plays piano for Maggie’s play. He gets healthy. He falls in love. He’s haunted by demons. He almost dies again. He and Maggie fight. He leaves. He comes back.

This was originally published as a Harlequin category romance back in 1992. At one point I had bought and read all of Theresa Weir’s category books. They were a marvelous example of what a strong writer could do with category constraints.

In Last Summer you have a hero in great need of redemption and a sweet heroine. However, the characters are separated for a significant period of time in the book.

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle      By: Barbara KingsolverAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

This was a great review on goodreads. Kingsolver’s storytelling skills invite the reader to learn more about sustainable living but it tips over into the didactic.

On the down side, Ms. Kingsolver’s charming storytelling is laced with a rather heavy dose of preaching…The first quarter is particularly thick with commentary on the evils of our current food system. More than once, I found myself slogging through sections that left me feeling more guilty about the food currently in my kitchen than inspired to adopt her suggestions. This tone made the read much less effective for me than it would have been had she focused primarily on the very real value her family gained from choosing to forgo convenience in favor of such fantastically delicious food.

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French Silk by Sandra BrownFrench Silk by Sandra Brown. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Claire Laurent is a vibrant beauty and the founder of French Silk, a succesful lingerie company. But a TV evangelist has attacked French Silk as sinful and vows to ruin the company. When the preacher is killed, Claire becomes the prime suspect. Now nothing can save Claire unless she reveals a shocking truth that she has sworn to take to the grave.

In sultry New Orleans, Claire Laurent had fought hard to make her fabulous lingerie mail order business successful. But the murder of a TV evangelist could destroy her business and her life.

Originally published in 1993, this is a pre order deal. The ebook will be sent to your device on 4/30.

PW says Cassidy has one problem with fingering her as the villain: he is falling in love with her. Claire, who battles childhood memories of life with her mentally unstable mother, protects herself by building emotional walls to keep him out. Other characters, including Claire’s best friend and business partner, Yasmine, guard their own secrets, which may or may not be related to the murder. Despite occasionally stilted and didactic dialogue, the novel is adroitly plotted and sleekly paced, and has just the right mix of menace and sex to keep pages turning.

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Once a Ferrara Wife Sarah MorganOnce a Ferrara Wife by Sarah Morgan. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

For better?or for bedding?

Laurel Ferrara wouldn’t know a happy ending if she fell over it—of course her whirlwind wedding was always going to end in disaster. But it wasn’t as simple as just walking away. From the moment she is summoned back to Sicily, the shivers of unease set in?.

The command comes from legendary tycoon Cristiano Ferrara, the husband she can’t forget—but it might as well have come from the devil himself. The outrageously gorgeous Cristiano’s power is a potent reminder of this Sicilian dynasty’s unbreakable rule: once a Ferrara wife, always a Ferrara wife?.

Look for more Harlequin Presents books from this author and check out our six new titles available every month!

This was a finalist in the DABWAHA category and the #1 ranked book in that category. Sunita wrote: From the first scene you know this is going to be an angsty ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m not big on full-on angst, but it is well motivated here; this is a marriage in trouble book and the storyline is about their paths back to each other. Laurel Ferrara and her billionaire hotelier husband, Cristiano, have been estranged for two years. When they meet again at his sister’s wedding, they are forced to revisit both their unresolved conflicts and their reignited attraction for each other. Laurel still hasn’t forgiven Cristiano for the crisis that drove them apart, and watching him comes to grips with what a true apology is, not to mention accepting responsibility for his mistakes, is something to behold.

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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. Sunny
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 15:08:29

    I’ve just taken to gardening and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been a really delightful non-fiction read for me. I like that her whole family was on-board and add their thoughts to the book, and have learned a heck of a lot from reading it. I grew up on a farm so I had a pretty reasonable understanding of where food came from, but I’ll admit it’s had me looking at locations a little more carefully and eager to try planting some heirlooms veggies next year.

  2. Stephanie Scott
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:05:57

    I really liked Animal, Vegetable, Mineral and I frequently recommend it. But, I’m also not going to shame somebody for eating a banana. In fact, I just ate one.

    I do make more an effort to buy locally, and I grow some vegetables and herbs myself.

  3. Nicole Jane
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:28:27

    I very much enjoyed the Sarah Morgan. I picked it up based on the fact it made the DABWAHA cut and I had not read it – it was worth the full price.

  4. cecilia
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:34:48

    I don’t want to give too specific a spoiler, but for people who don’t like certain endings for infertility stories, the Sarah Morgan might not be their cup of tea, though.

  5. Karla
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:43:47

    I’m pretty sure Last Summer was not a category. I have my original copy from 1992 and it seems to be a stand alone.

  6. Jolie Jacq
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:47:50

    For those outside the US: if you’re interested in the Sarah Morgan and don’t have any luck with the links above, I just bought it for $2.99 from the Harlequin eBook Store.

  7. Susan
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 17:58:21

    Dear Theresa Weir: I want a new Max/Cat Tattoo book! Thank you for your consideration. Susan

  8. Sally W.
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 18:26:35

    Oh Susan, I so concur.

  9. Kaetrin
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 20:04:56

    I listened to French Silk on audio recently and not even an excellent narrator could save it for me. I disliked the hero and the heroine and though the whole thing was very dated. It was my first Sandra Brown and while I’m told there are some excellent books of hers out there, I must say it didn’t leave me feeling like I wanted to try any of them.

    I am going to try the Sarah Morgan though :)

  10. Laura Florand
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:17:43

    @Susan: I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be a trilogy. But I’m thinking Max’s cat-sister and cat-brother are the main cats in the next two, and I’m not sure where she’s at with them. I can’t wait, though. :) Seriously, if you haven’t read The Girl with the Cat Tattoo and you want to have your socks charmed off by a cat, I highly recommend it. I picked it up during the DABWAHA when I was interested in the other novellas I was up against, and it was wonderful. The couple’s love story is primarily told from the cat’s POV, which is really the best part, it’s just too charming.

  11. Jayne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:26:04

    @Laura Florand: Yes, yes, and yes! I can’t wait for the follow up books. If anyone has a direct line to Theresa Weir *please* tell her we’re all eagerly waiting for them. >^._.^< Rule!

  12. Laura Florand
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 16:39:03

    @Jayne: I FB’d her. She’s going to do a blog post to answer the questions, she says. Waiting with bated breath…

  13. Theresa Weir
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 17:39:51

    I left a comment and it didn’t show up. I’m an idiot. I’m going to be really embarrassed if it suddenly appears. First of all, major hugs all around!!!!!!!!! And Laura — DING!! You are absolutely right about the brother and sister!! And thank you for all of your enthusiasm for Cat Tattoo!! In my first comment, I included a link to my blog where I’ve tried to answer questions. That might be why the comment didn’t show up. I’d just post the explanation here, but I want to be in control of the content in case I’ve revealed too much of the plot. I always worry about that, which is why I haven’t said that much about it. So I’ve addressed the questions about the second book in my blog, monkey with a pen. I’ve linked to it in the website area up there above the comment box. So now I’ll try this again. :D :D

  14. Laura Florand
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 18:56:37

    @Theresa Weir: I’m hooked already! The Geek with the Cat Tattoo! But not until 2014…oh, sad me. Still…I will wait. If I have to.

  15. Jayne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 19:13:06

    @Theresa Weir: I think it was the link though one shouldn’t have triggered the spam blocker. Anyway I got the link off of it and will post it here.

  16. Jayne
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 19:16:34

    @Laura Florand: 2014 – noooooeeesss. I’m pulling into a fetal curl of distress at this and will have to go pet my kitties to calm myself.

  17. Susan
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:09:13

    @Jayne: No kidding! 2014?!? Pulling covers over my head to silently weep. But it gives me something to look forward to–and many re-reads of Max’s book (and other backlist books) ’til then. Thank you, Ms. Weir.

  18. Theresa Weir
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 20:57:19

    Thanks Jayne, Laura, and Susan. :) The biggest reason for the delay is that I’d actually decided not to write the other two stories after the first book didn’t sell very well. I simply couldn’t invest the time. But little Max continued to have a slow build, and then DABWAHA came along, and pow. At that point I was already considering writing the second book, and had in fact started it, but the buzz from DABWAHA solidified my decision to write it. But by then I was under contract for something else. :D

  19. MaryK
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 21:00:39

    Discovering buried treasure reads is my fav thing about DABWAHA.

  20. Jayne
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 06:19:42

    @Theresa Weir: Even though it means Max fans will have to be patient, it’s excellent news that your writing is in such a demand. :)

  21. Victoria Paige
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 06:55:47

    Just finished “Once a Ferrara Wife” based on this recommendation. It was indeed an angsty read but in a good way. The stages by which Cristiano came to terms in his part in the breakup of his marriage as well as how much he was willing to try to make their marriage work again tugged at my heartstrings. So yeah, I enjoyed this book.

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