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Daily Deals: Lyrical reads for a snowy day

Daily Deals: Lyrical reads for a snowy day

A few Amazon only deals at 99c:

This is a Regency romance from an author highly regarded and reviewed. Books usually sell for around $9.99.

One of my favorite sports romances is One on One by Tabitha King featuring two high school basketball stars. Yeah, I bought it.

I don’t know why I included this one.

This one is $1.99 but I know there are a lot of Marchetta fans.

The Cove by Ron RashThe Cove by Ron Rash. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war

Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe–just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.

Then it happens–a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel’s heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.

But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything–and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.

This lyrical, heart-rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.(

The reviews say that the villain of the story is so marvelously drawn that you love and hate him at the same time.

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Holidays on Ice David SedarisHolidays on Ice by David Sedaris. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”).No matter what your favorite holiday, you won’t want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called “one of the funniest writers alive” (Economist).

Funny collection of essays which one person claimed made him pee with laughter.

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The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie WisemanThe Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath.“Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bölz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books — and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job — and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive — and finally, to speak out.

Set against the backdrop of the German homefront, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

PW ” Stories of WWII rarely look at the lives of the average German; Wiseman eschews the genre’s usual military conflicts in favor of the slow, inexorable pressure of daily life during wartime, lending an intimate and compelling poignancy to this intriguing debut.”

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Wintergirls  by Laurie Halse AndersonWintergirls by . $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

Leah writes that the prose is deliriously good but the twisted self-hating inner voice of the narrative was hard to read at times.

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REVIEW:  Beguiled ( Enlightenment – book 2) by Joanna Chambers

REVIEW: Beguiled ( Enlightenment – book 2) by Joanna Chambers

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A fleeting pleasure is the sweetest seduction…

Enlightenment, Book 2

David Lauriston couldn’t be less interested in King George IV’s first visit to Edinburgh. But with Faculty of Advocates members required to put on a minimal show of patriotism, David makes an appointment with his tailor for a new set of clothes—only to run into a man he hasn’t seen for two long years.

Lord Murdo Balfour.

Much has changed since their bitter parting, except their stormy attraction. And when Murdo suggests they enjoy each other’s company during his stay, David finds himself agreeing. After all, it’s only a temporary tryst.

Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit, Murdo’s seduction is more powerful than David ever imagined possible. But when other figures from David’s past show up, he is drawn into a chain of events beyond his control. Where his determination to help a friend will break his body, threaten his career, and put at risk the fragile tenderness he’s found in Murdo’s arms.

Warning: Contains a lowborn Scottish lawyer with no love for the aristocracy, but more than enough passion for this highborn lord. Political intrigue, kilts, explicit m/m trysts, and men who epitomize “knight in shining armor”.

Dear Joanna Chambers,

We reviewed the first book in this trilogy here. As you can see, the first book set a pretty high bar for me, and for the most part I think the second part of the story was just as good. This *is* the second part of the story – it absolutely cannot read be as a stand-alone, because you will miss out on the plot and character development that happened in the first book, and I do not recommend that.

As the blurb states, the book takes place during the first visit of George IV to Edinburgh. I had not known before that such a historical event took place, but I was pleased that amongst my total ignorance I spotted a *very* familiar figure: Sir Walter Scott, whose books I devoured as a child and young teenager. I do not have a good knowledge of Scotland’s history, but even without having such knowledge it was easy to figure out when I was reading his books that Scott’s portrayal of Scotland was a much idealized one. I still adored his books, though, so I can understand why so many citizens of Edinburgh got swept in his enthusiasm, if what he wrote was at least a partial reflection of his real life charisma.

I was pleased to see that in “Beguiled”, the story continued to pay attention to the social issues of the time, and the feelings of those who were not happy with the current political and economic situation were somewhat shown. I always feel that it is a delicate balance for a romance writer to strike when she tackles difficult political/economical/social issues, because she still needs to tell a love story amongst everything else that is happening. I think so far in this series this writer has achieved a very nice balance in this book.

The social issues and problems which were present in book one have not gone away by the time this one begins, and of course they could not have – only two years have passed. I really enjoyed that David tried to change certain aspects of the system from within by working with the rule of law, but when push came to shove he would not hesitate to get personally involved to help a friend he cared about and push the boundaries a bit.

I also liked that only two years had passed since the men parted the ways in book one. I can easily believe that in two years they were not able to forget each other – the more time had passed the harder it would have been for me to suspend disbelief. I liked the changes in David, in this book; especially that he no longer viewed himself as somebody who would go to hell for his attraction to men. I mean, it makes all kind of sense to me in a historical that the men would berate themselves especially if they grew up in the Christian religion, but since there were men and women who managed to live their lives under the radar, I have to believe that these people eventually realized that no matter what the religious zealots say there is nothing wrong with them feeling attracted to people of the same gender. That is why David’s slow change was believable to me and made sense.

I thought that the romance between David and Murdo definitely advanced in this book – I mean, neither of them are thinking about their relationship as “together forever” yet (I say yet, because I certainly hope it will happen at the end of book three, not because I know that it will), but Murdo admits to himself and to David that to him this thing between them is something more than casual, and I got the impression that even at the end of book one David already had a strong feelings for Murdo.

I did wonder, though, whether Murdo had changed. I mean it was clear to me that he always had strong feelings for David whether he himself realized it or not: his actions spoke louder than words. But Murdo had never been depicted as thinking that he should go to hell for being attracted to men, so I thought his character’s evolution would be him realizing that he wants to spend his whole life with David, not just part of his life and I have not seen that happening yet. On the other hand, there is still book three to come.

I do think that I know Murdo better after this book, despite the fact that he is not a POV character, but overall I am still not sure whether I have a good grasp on his character, or on his world views. Here is one of the “political” conversations between him and David, for example. I mean, David’s views are no surprise for me, considering that he so vehemently defended the weavers in book one and his further interactions with Euan in the first book and this book, but is this how Murdo truly feels or was he just arguing for the sake of arguing? If these are his true feelings – he is a member of a privileged class after all – I know there is still time for him to change and I *know* from his actions that he is a good man. All I am trying to say that his character overall still feels a bit like unknown in my mind.

“Well – this is the Scotland I inhabit now, I suppose.” David gestured around them, at the elegant New Town with its clean lines and gas lamps and private gardens. “Rational. Modern. Just think – who lives in these houses?”
“I do, for one,” Murdo said, his white teeth gleaming as he flashed a grin at David.
“True, but most of them are occupied by merchants, lawyers, bankers. Professional men. Sir Walter might like to promote the fantasy of noble highland chiefs, but these are men of the new Scotland. And they don’t look to aristocrats to guide them. They’re more interested in what Adam Smith and David Hume have to say.”
Murdo snorted. “It sounds to me like you’re swapping one kind of privilege for another. Does it really matter whether our kingmakers are aristocrats or bankers?”
“Ah, but this is only the beginning.” David retorted. “One day we will have universal suffrage. And then how things will change!”
Murdo merely shrugged. “We’ll see. I have always found that men are defined more by their desire to do each other down rather than to lift each other up, but time will tell.”
“You are a pessimist,” David accused, smiling. “I think we are better than that.”
“I’m not so sure,” Murdo replied. “And I’m not sure the general population wants the changes you think they do.”

I thought it was especially refreshing that while neither David nor Murdo forget about how society treats the men who are attracted to other men, that they could be in danger if they ever publicly demonstrate their affection, that they do not forget that there were some people (or a lot of people) who were even more vulnerable than they were in many ways. As I am sure you can guess those people are women and I cannot tell you how pleased I was that a certain plotline revolved around that issue. I wish I could talk more about this plotline, but the blurb is silent on that matter and since I am trying hard to avoid spoilers whenever I can in my reviews, I should be silent too. I want to say that this plotline made me extremely happy, made me love David even more than I already loved his character and leave at that.

I loved the men together and certainly keep hoping that they would find the way to be together permanently in book three and I keep my fingers crossed for happy ending for Euan, because I really liked him.

Grade B.

 

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