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Three recommended romances and a critically acclaimed debut

The Winter Sea, by Susanna KearsleyThe Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. $0.99

Jacket Copy

History has all but forgotten…

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…

Sunita gave this an “A” review. “And make no mistake, this *is* a romance novel. Although there are not one but two plots which are distinct from the romantic story arcs, the romantic relationships share the spotlight with their respective plots, and the romances are propelled forward and shaped by what the characters are going through. I loved the way the two romances were intertwined, as well. Although each of the storylines can stand on its own, the reading experience is enhanced by the way they play off each other. Sometimes the relationship is a bit eerie, such as the times Carrie knows names and events because they have come to her as part of the story. And sometimes it is humorous, such as when she was angry at Graeme and wanted John Moray to stop resembling him.”

Kearsley’s three other novels are also on sale: The Rose Garden, Mariana, The Shadowy Horses.

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Sultry with a Twist by Macy BeckettSultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett. $0.99

Jacket Copy

Welcome to Sultry Springs, Texas: where first loves find second chances…

Nine years after June Augustine hightailed it out of Sultry Springs with her heart in pieces, one thing stands between her and her dream of opening an upscale martini bar: a bogus warrant from her tiny Texas hometown. Now she’s stuck in the sticks for a month of community service under the supervision of the devilishly sexy Luke Gallagher, her first love and ex-best friend.

If Texas wasn’t already hot enough, working side-by-side with June would make any man melt. Luke wants nothing more than to strip her down and throw her in the lake-the same lake where they were found buck naked and guilty as sin all those years ago. In their heads, they’re older and wise. But their hearts tell a different story…

For .99c, I’d definitely recommend fans of the contemporary romance genre. It’s got a small town sweetness that isn’t too treacly, a tortured hero, and a determined heroine.

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9780778314356_p0_v1_s260x420Dirty by Megan Hart. $1.99

Jacket Copy

Amazon has a number of Hart books on sale for $1.99. Dirty isn’t a book that resonated with me, but Janine loved it. Her review is here and she writes: “Myself, I wish that more contemporary romances were more like this book. Gritty and real, with flawed characters who make mistakes. Characters who don’t feel generic or whitewashed. Characters I care about, because they seem like people I might sit across the room from in a restaurant. Characters who don’t have to be stamped with some mythical Middle American seal of moral approval to qualify for a happy ending.”

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9781401340926_p0_v1_s260x420The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. $2.99

Jacket Copy

“The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.”

So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl’s search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how one town holds the secrets of a family.

In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster’s death changes the fabric of the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn’t the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town.

As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.

One dark summer dawn, at the exact moment that an enormous monster dies in Lake Glimmerglass, twenty-eight-year-old Willie (nee Wilhemina) Upton returns to her hometown of Templeton, NY in disgrace. She expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but Willie then learns that the story her mom, Vi, had always told her about her father has all been a lie. He wasn’t the one-night stand Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town.

As Willie digs for the truth about her lineage, voices from the town’s past — both sinister and disturbing — rise up around her to tell their sides of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present blur, old mysteries are finally put to rest, and the surprising truth about more than one monster is revealed.

Library Journal calls this an irresistible adventure but other reviewers found that it was slow and complicated.

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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. Darlynne
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 13:47:06

    I can’t speak to the other books, but am thrilled to see Kearsley’s on sale. For anyone who hasn’t read her books yet, this is a great opportunity.

    One of my crime fiction favorites, Christopher Brookmyre’s Quite Ugly One Morning is on sale at Amazon for $1.99. If you’re in the mood for dark, edgy tartan noir, which also happens to be quite funny, this is excellent.

  2. leslie
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 14:10:17

    I bought all four of Kearsley’s books. I have them in paper, but at this price how could I resist.

  3. cordelia
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 16:44:16

    On the Kearsley titles, you can add the Winter Sea companion audio for $6.99, and the Rose Garden companion audio for $3.99. Both are well narrated.

  4. Frannie
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 06:44:18

    I must be missing something….when I clicked on the buy buttons for the books I only see the regular prices, not the deal prices, i.e., at Kobo, the Macy Backett book is priced at 5.79. How do I get the sale price? Sorry to be so dense!

  5. Jane
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 09:59:42

    @Frannie: Sometimes the deals aren’t represented at all retailers. The Macy Beckett is .99c at B&N and Apple if you need an ePub copy.

  6. juliette
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 11:24:53

    I’m getting the full price for BN & Amazon for The Winter Sea . . .

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