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Daily Deals: A homeless man, a GLBT biography, and two contrasting historicals

Daily Deals: A homeless man, a GLBT biography, and two contrasting...

Poughkeepsie by Debra AnastasiaPoughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him-just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.
Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls-certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

This is one of the famous early Twilight fan fictions. The middling reviews criticize the book for it’s huge cast of characters making it difficult for readers to follow but it’s an intriguing premise and antidote to the billionaire stories. The main male pro tag and love interest is a homeless man.

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Winning Miss Wakefield: The Wallflower Wedding Series by Vivienne LorretWinning Miss Wakefield (Wallflower Weddings #2) by Vivienne LorretWinning Miss Wakefield: The Wallflower Wedding Series by Vivienne Lorret. $ . 99

From the Jacket Copy:

She’s got nothing left to lose …

With her fiancé suddenly engaged to another and her reputation in tatters, Merribeth Wakefield needs a bold plan to reclaim her life. She must be brave. Confident. She must … kiss a rake? The suggestion is ludicrous! Yet when Merribeth finds herself alone with the dark and brooding Lord Knightswold, suddenly the plan doesn’t seem so farfetched. So she does something she never thought she’d do—she kisses him.

But he has everything to gain …

The Marquess of Knightswold—Bane to most—has no use for the affections of women. Well, none lasting longer than a single night. A plot for revenge weighs heavy on his mind, leaving no room for romance. But then a shy, witty miss borrows a kiss from him in a darkened room, and everything he thought he knew about innocent debutantes vanishes along with her.

When a twist of fate brings Merribeth within Bane’s grasp, he’ll have to resist her charms—or risk losing everything—for the sake of his heart.

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I find it weird that Avon is calling this the Wallflower series given that is the name of the series of Lisa Kleypas series also published by Avon.

One reviewer said she had a hard time because she’d not read the first book and that there were three pages devoted to embroidery thread.

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The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of "Joe" Carstairs, Fastest Woman on WaterThe Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of “Joe” Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water by Kate Summerscale. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

SYNOPSIS

A fascinating biography of the woman champion motorboat racer of the 1920s who in the ’30s bought and became ‘ruler’ of an island in the British West Indies. ‘Joe’ Carstairs was born in London in 1900, the daughter of a Scottish colonel and an American heiress. Educated in Connecticut, she returned to Europe in 1916 and drove ambulances for the Women’s Legion in France. She deserted her husband at the church door (marriage was a prerequisite of her coming into her $4 million inheritance) and settled in England where she took up racing, established a boat yard at Cowes and won nearly every trophy going.

In the 30s she started traveling widely, finally moving to the West Indies where she bought the island of Whale Cay. There she developed the island into a populated community, building everything from roads and schools to lighthouses and churches.

Carstairs then succeeded in establishing hegemony over the 500 islanders, controlling not only their sexual morals but also their diet. In 1944 she built a deepwater harbor for the Royal Navy’s use and, without a word to her population, left the island to build warcraft in Florida, where she settled for 40 years, having run a steamship freightline and set up a chain of airports. Kate Summerscale’s brilliant biography brings out of obscurity a woman whose very boldness took her beyond fame and notoriety.

One of the reviews said that cross dressing Joe Carstairs was interesting but the thin story doesn’t give a true picture of her life. I would guess that Joe identified as male and perhaps would be considered a transvestite by today’s standards. On the whole even of it is a short biography it is a fascinating glimpse at a queer person in the 1920s.

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The Devil of Clan Sinclair By Karen RanneyThe Devil of Clan Sinclair by karen Ranney. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

To Dance with the Devil . . .
For Virginia Traylor, Countess of Barrett, marriage was merely the vehicle to buy her father a title. Widowhood, however, brings a host of problems. For her husband deliberately spent the money intended for Virginia and her in-laws, leaving them penniless— unless she produces an heir. Desperate and confused, Virginia embarks on a fateful journey that brings her to the doorstep of the only man she’s ever loved . . .
He’s known as the Devil, but Macrath Sinclair doesn’t care. He moved to a tiny Scottish village in hopes of continuing his work as an inventor and starting a family of his own. He bought the house; he chose the woman. Unfortunately, Virginia didn’t choose him. Macrath knows he should turn her away now, but she needs him, and he wants her more than ever. Whatever game Virginia’s playing, Macrath intends to win— one wickedly seductive deed at a time . . .

I’ve always felt that Ranney’s romances were far more thoughtful and touching than the blurbs or covers convey. however a fan of hers noted on Amazon that this wasn’t her favorite Ranney novel in part because the hero and heroine engage in some pretty mean behavior toward one another. But hey, angst. Still Ranney’s prose is lovely and it’s a cheap price at which to try her out.

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Daily Deals: A highly recommended SFF, two historicals, and a gut wrenching story about love in a circus

Daily Deals: A highly recommended SFF, two historicals, and a gut...

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann LeckieAncillary Justice by Ann Leckie. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

From Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Award nominated debut author, Ann Leckie, comes Ancillary Justice, a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

Janine gave this

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9781565125605_p0_v1_s260x420Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

“Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.”

Jacob was there because his luck had run out – orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive “ship of fools.” It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act – in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

This was a bestselling book and a so so movie with Robert Pattinson! and Reese Witherspoon. The author’s note on the BN site gave some interesting insight on how the book came to be:

I was a day away from starting a different novel when the Chicago Tribune ran an article on a photographer who followed and documented train circuses during the 1920s and 1930s.The photograph that accompanied the article was stunning — a detailed panoramic that so fascinated me I immediately bought two books of old-time circus photographs. By the time I thumbed through them, I was hooked. I abandoned my other novel and dove into the world of the train circus.I began by getting a bibliography from the archivist at Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Most of the books were out of print, but I managed to track them down online and through rare-book sellers. Within weeks I was off to Sarasota, Florida, to visit the Ringling Circus Museum. I spent three days crawling under circus wagons, peering inside the trunks stored beneath them, and taking flash pictures to reveal the mysteries stashed in unlit corners.By the end of the first day, I was being shadowed. By the end of the third, an employee approached me and asked what on earth I thought I was doing. When I told her of my desire to write a novel set on a circus train, her eyes lit up and she walked me through the entire museum, regaling me with a rich oral history that was far more vivid than the information on the posted placards, and that answered many of the questions I had scribbled in my notebook.

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9781455520817_p0_v1_s260x420Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Once a heart is lost in shadow . . .
Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she’s been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case-and the last thing he relishes is a partner.
Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years.
He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights-even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack’s dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past . . . or risk losing Mary forever.

This is the fourth book in the series. I haven’t read anything but the first one. I know it’s a series much beloved by readers and romance critics. These books all feature a different set of main characters so I’m sure you can dive into the fourth one without reading the first two. This book is set in 1885. Both characters suffer sexual assault in their past and one reviewer felt it wasn’t dealt with enough.

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9781455508341_p0_v1_s260x420Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe-and won’t back down . . .

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady’s companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She’s even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn’t without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

I’ve read several books in this series but not this one. Set in the 1740s, Hoyts series takes you away from the glittery ton to the world that existed in the slums and alleys of St. Giles. The “Ghost” is akin to the Dredd Pirate Roberts as several men have served as the ghost throughout this series, but apparently Maximus is the first. Some reviewers were tired of the Ghost and others felt that the story read too short.

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