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Daily Deals: Soccer rivalries, porn stars, and workplace romances

Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the World's Greatest Sports Rivalry by Sid LoweFear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the World’s Greatest Sports Rivalry by Sid Lowe. $ 2.99 From the Jacket Copy: Fear and Loathing in La Liga is the definitive history of the greatest rivalry in world sport: FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. It’s Messi vs. Ronaldo, Guardiola vs. Mourinho, the nation against the state, freedom fighters vs. Franco’s fascists, plus majestic goals and mesmerizing skills. It’s the best two teams on the planet going head-to-head. It’s more than a game. It’s a war. It’s El Clásico. Only, it’s not quite that simple. Spanish soccer expert and historian Sid Lowe covers 100 years of rivalry, athletic beauty, and excellence. Fear and Loathing in La Liga is a nuanced, revisionist, and brilliantly informed history that goes beyond sport. Lowe weaves together this story of the rivalry with the history and culture of Spain, emphasizing that it is “never about just the soccer.” With exclusive testimonies and astonishing anecdotes, he takes us inside this epic battle, including the wounds left by the Civil War, Madrid’s golden age in the fifties when they won five European cups, Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona Dream Team, the doomed Galáctico experiment, and Luís Figo’s “betrayal.” By exploring the history, politics, culture, economics, and language—while never forgetting the drama on the field—Lowe demonstrates the relationship between these two soccer giants and reveals the true story behind their explosive rivalry.

The World Cup is over and I feel somewhat deflated. I enjoyed it but…what the heck happened to Brazil? I need a book explaining their last two game meltdown. Nonetheless, the sparse reviews say that this is a great futbol book chronicling a rivalry starting back in 1902 with the Spanish War. One reviewer said that it was a bit like Yankees and the Red Sox only bigger. I’m vaguely intrigued by the women’s World Cup to take place next year.

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Lessons in Rule-Breaking by Christy McKellenLessons in Rule-Breaking by Christy McKellen. $ 1.99 From the Jacket Copy: Journalist Jess has always followed the rules when it comes to her career: 1) Never say no! Trying to extract a tell-all interview from bad boy of the art world Xander Heaton might be her own worst nightmare, but she’s just going to have to grin and bear it! 2) Absolutely no flirting on the job—professionalism is key to a journalist’s success. Even if Xander does have her imagining the most unprofessional scenarios?. 3) If resistance proves impossible, remember the golden rule—never kiss and tell! One night with Xander and she’s broken at least one rule?and discovered it’s much more fun breaking rules than making them!

Brie from Romance Around the Blog pointed out that a number of Harlequin Kiss books were priced a $1.99 or even cheaper on the Harlequin website. I choose this book because it had one of the highest star ratings but then there are only three and I really didn’t glean much from the reviews. I’ve never read McKellen before so I have nothing insightful to add. Maybe a reader does?

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9780007541072_p0_v7_s260x420Melting Ms Frost by Kat Black. $ 1.99 From the Jacket Copy: How do you thaw the coldest of hearts? Find out in the sexiest romance to hit the shelves this year.When Aidan Flynn walks into Cluny’s Restaurant, he can’t take his eyes off his new boss, Annabel Frost. With his heart set on winning her over, Aidan can think of nothing but getting beneath her cold exterior.Known as one of the toughest women in the business, Annabel is impervious to Aidan’s many charms. His compelling grey gaze and persuasive Irish lilt do anything but captivate her.But Aidan senses there’s more to Annabel than meets the eye. And he’s not going to stop until he reveals all…A seductive tale that will delight all fans of romance.

This is a British set … romance? chick lit? The top rated three star review is a pretty good endorsement. “If you are looking for a fun holiday’ish book, with a lot of steamy romance, this is the book for you.”

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9781500136628_p0_v1_s260x420Decker’s Wood by Kirsty Dallas. $ .99. From the Jacket Copy: ** Reader Warning** – This novel is NOT a dark romance. There are absolutely no whips or floggers, no matter how much Andi wants to smack Decker over the head at times. There are no BDSM slavery themes, unless you can count that Decker is a slave to Andi’s hot cowboy boots and sexy Texan drawl. Decker’s Wood does however feature glitter rain, manscaping, vajazzle, tequila shots, roof-top dancing and one hell of a dick trick! Decker Steele had it made…Penthouse apartment, VIP parties, girls on tap. You see, Decker Steele is the Pornography Associations award winning, money making machine. But what does a self-confessed, pussy pounding warrior do when his prized package begins to fail? Freak the ‘F’ out, that’s what! Andi Jennings is the socially inept, geeky and awkward cousin of Decker’s best friend. Only she’s not so geeky and awkward anymore. Now she’s a smokin’ hot country bumpkin, with a smokey voice made for phone sex, and a pair of hot as hell cowboy boots. Everyone adores her, my porn star buddies, my mom and dad, my ‘equipment’. So, the prized package isn’t so failing anymore, the catch is, it will only perform for Andi…My friend WITHOUT benefits. What will the prince of porn do? The girl or the career? This book is recommended for mature reading audiences. It contains sexual references and language some might find offensive.

Despite not loving porn star heroes, I thought I would give this a try when it was talked up on an Amazon board. I ended up DNFing it fairly early on for believability issues. Decker is a porn king but wears condoms. He lives in NYC (I’m pretty sure porn isn’t legal to be shot in NY. Maybe Jersey?). The heroine buys a bookstore in Soho. When she arrives in SOHO, she knows she’s in the right place because there is a sign saying “welcome to SOHO”. Also, did I mention she bought an entire building in SOHO? I…yeah. But readers say it’s funny and sexy.

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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

25 Comments

  1. Ros
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 14:08:54

    The Kiss line has been pulled. I think all the backlist titles are now $1.99.

    I haven’t read that one but I read another book by McKellen and liked it.

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  2. Brie
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 14:11:15

    I bought the Sid Lowe book last week for $10… I am so happy right now /sarcasm.

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  3. Talia
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 14:35:14

    “welcome to SOHO”

    “WELCOME TO SOHO”

    *screams*

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  4. Janine
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 15:15:51

    @Brie: If it was a week ago or less, and you bought it at the kindle store, you can still return it and repurchase for the sale price.

    ReplyReply

  5. Sirius
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 15:31:44

    Add another scream about “Welcome to SOHO” thing.

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  6. MaryK
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 16:21:10

    Not that it’s my kind of book anyway, but the Kirsty Dallas blurb switches from third person to first person. Not promising.

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  7. mali muso
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 16:48:11

    Totally missing my World Cup fix now that it’s all over. What a great month of drama. May have to check out that first book.

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  8. Candice
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 16:56:16

    Great deal for Sid Lowe book. It is great to have football deals pointed out on this website. For more insight on Brazil, check out Tim Vickery on World Football Phone-In podcast.

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  9. Ducky
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:33:22

    I miss the World Cup already. I want it every year.

    The porn star cover model is cute. Stares.

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  10. Alexandra
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:35:37

    I’m so excited to see Fear and Loathing in La Liga. I recently spent some time living in Spain and before I went there knew absolutely nothing about soccer. You hear about how crazy it is but it doesn’t really compute until you’re there, living among the culture and craze. I’m definitely snatching this one up!

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  11. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:39:04

    There are some wonderful football stories!
    Brazil built a team around a star, and when Neymar broke his back and then Silva collected a red card and couldn’t play, they were done. That 7-1 defeat against Germany? Wow. Plus, they were all about flair and attack, and their defence was woeful. They werent as flexible either, so when their first game didn’t work, they didn’t have a fallback game. Van Gaal and others actually changed the formation during a game, so in one of the early matches, when the 5-3-1 wasn’t working, he moved back to the more traditional 4-4-2. Can’t wait to see how many new players arrive in European clubs next season as a result of the World Cup.
    Football rivalries – try Liverpool- Man Utd, Man Utd-Man City, and Rangers-Celtic in Glasgow, which has resulted in a few deaths over the years because of sectarianism. But the book about Real and Barca is really good.
    There’s a wonderful movie about the Munich Air Disaster (starring David Tennant!) called “United,” which is worth hunting down.
    The Kiss line is officially closing in January. It never quite worked for me, the line, that is, although some fantastic authors wrote for it and I loved some of the books. They mixed sweet and hot, light comedy and deep angst, and the launch of the line was disastrous. It didn’t really have the identity that other lines have.

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  12. Nicole
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:40:04

    Nth-ing the laughter at “Welcome to SOHO.” I keep reading these novels that get wrong all these really basic things about New York City. I’m not even knitpicking, I’m talking about things that visiting over a weekend could clear up (like the fact that you can call to order car service, but not yellow cabs). Why, authors??

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  13. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:50:18

    @Ducky: The real thing is starting in a month. See if you can catch the Premiership season. That has the money, the passion and the commitment. So many of the world’s best players weren’t at the World Cup because they don’t play for a country that qualified (some do that on purpose so they can concentrate on their clubs). Gareth Bale springs to mind, but he’s not the only one!

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  14. Anne
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 17:50:32

    I suspect “The Damned Utd” was recommended to me because of my penchant for baseball biographies and novels. From the reviews it appears this book is supposed to be a “fictional account of Brian Clough’s 44 days of failure at Leeds United” and is on sale at Amazon for $2.99. I could give it a try while waiting for real baseball to start up again or maybe I’ll just go for a reread of The Natural.

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  15. HM
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:01:41

    As I’m in soccer player in Canada, I can’t wait for the women’s world cup. The style of play is different than the men and NO DIVING!!

    I really want to read that Sid Lowe book now!

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  16. Sunita
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:11:01

    @Anne: Just a heads-up on The Damned Utd: it’s by David Peace, a novelist, and it has his trademark, highly unusual style. I enjoyed it very much but it’s sufficiently idiosyncratic that you might want to check out the sample first. It’s definitely about Clough, and Leeds, and football, at a very particular time and place.

    There was also a film made starring Michael Sheen as Clough, which was quite well reviewed.

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  17. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:34:43

    “The Damned United” has an excellent performance by Michael Sheen, but that was about Leeds United in the 1970′s. Well worth seeing.
    “United” is a different movie, and a very different tone, is about Manchester United in the 1950′s and stars David Tennant.
    Then there’s “Looking for Eric,” with the great Eric Cantona. Really good film.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJySuZgRlEo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_QiKT-6hlo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgmTRuWMyeI

    For history buffs there’s a really interesting film from the 1939 called “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery.” It’s a fascinating curiosity, a cheaply made film set in Arsenal FC – very much a B movie!

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  18. Anne
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:47:54

    @Sunita: Thanks for the heads up on both the book and movie. I gave the sample a try and while I found it intriguing, I decided to spend my money on “Soul” by Tobsha Learner. It’s also on sale and I remember enjoying her “The Witch of Cologne” many years ago. It’s one I’d rebuy if it were available digitally but I worry that the memory may be faulty. If anyone else is interested, I remember romance with a lot of politics and violence. It’s certainly not for everyone.

    I didn’t see the movie available for streaming but I’ve put it on my watch list.

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  19. Alix Nowarra
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 20:59:39

    @Nicole: Are there different kinds of yellow cabs then? Because when I was in NY in 2010 the hotel called us a car to take us to the air port and I’m pretty sure it was a yellow cab. At least the car was yellow and the driver was completely and totally crazy :-D.

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  20. Kaetrin
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 22:29:55

    @MaryK: yes, exactly. It didn’t fill me with confidence.

    ReplyReply

  21. Elisa
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 00:49:24

    For a non New Yorker… Can someone explain the Soho sign thing? Thanks!
    Porn star hero sounds intriguing and I might try it…

    ReplyReply

  22. Anne
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:00:10

    @Lynne Connolly: Thanks for the movie suggestions, especially the David Tennant one. I should probably put everything he has ever done on my watchlist.

    ReplyReply

  23. CD
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:23:26

    @Lynne Connolly:

    Well, the Premiership is the most popular club football league in the world but if you’re suffering from World Cup withdrawal symptoms, it’s more fun to watch the annual European Champions league as it’s the most prestigious *international* football league, and you basically get to see most, if not all, of the world’s football stars strutting their stuff but this time in much better teams.

    I absolutely loved this World Cup – it had absolutely everything that you would want in an event spectacle. But in terms of football quality, then club football is most definitely better than national sides. For example, Barcelona FC has BOTH Messi and Neymar (and now Luis Suarez); and Real Madrid has Casillas , Khedira, Ronaldo and Benzema – it’s very difficult for any country to muster that sheer amount of talent in one national side. Also, as players spend the vast majority of their time playing club football, they work much much better as a team; national teams have comparatively little playing time together. One of the reasons why Germany are so good as a team is not only the quality of their players but because half of their players are year-long teammates at Bayern Munich.

    The thing about club football is that you need time to grow your allegiance so it’s a bit more difficult to get into than the World Cup. The oldest clubs in England date back to workers’ or miners/dockers’ clubs back in the 19th century so have a huge amount of history, particularly with their club rivalries which often have socio-political underpinings to them ala Madrid vs Barcelona (Liverpool vs Manchester United probably being the English equivalents). I think it’s fascinating stuff – even though, being QPR supporter, it’s generally made my life tether on the edge of bitter relegation…

    Oh well – only a month until the Premiership starts…

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  24. CD
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:46:27

    @CD:

    One thing I loved about the World Cup was seeing club team mates on opposite sides – especially when they were playing alongside national team mates on rival club team sides ;-). I always wonder about club loyalty vs national loyalty to your teammates…

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  25. Rachel
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:13:07

    @Elisa: Not a NYer, but I believe SoHo refers to a neighborhood area SOuth of HOuston (street?) So, it’s not like there’s a sign or anything defining the area, it’s just an area of the city (like Midtown, or Uptown or Northeast or Frogtown to use my Mpls/St Paul examples). It would be somewhat ridiculous to have a sign declaring you have entered SoHo.

    ReplyReply

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