RECOMMENDED: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran is $1.99 right now (along with two of Duran's other books, including a March 2014 pre-order,Fool Me Twice,and At Your Pleasure.) This was Duran's debut novel, and I reviewed it when it came out, giving it a B-:
“Duran’s use of color and symbolism is particularly deft, and simply marvelous. She references varying shades of color both in the reality of the madness in the Indian mutiny, and in the layers of color in Emma’s paintings which reflect that madness. Moreover, the use of the globe, which is a pivotal scene referenced by several reviewers, was particularly touching to me because it illustrated the dichotomy inherent in Julian: the world is so small it fits under your hand, and it brings them together through chance. But the world is so big that breaking it causes a wide range of rippling repurcussions, both literally and figuratively, and its size can get in the way of them finding each other again until it is almost too late. That scene alone is exquisite in its art. ”
From exotic sandstone palaces…
Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.
To the marble halls of London…
In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous — and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.
Destiny follows wherever you run.
A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned…and some passions never die.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld if $1.99 right now. This is the first book in a YA dystopian series set in the future. This book and the rest of the series has some very thought-provoking reviews behind it, and would make a good gift for the teen reader you know.
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney is $1.99 right now. It has mostly 3- and 4-star reviews, but it has everything I like in historicals, too: shipwrecks! Groups of male friends with a Special Group Name who are all sequel bait! Plus amnesia!
In the first of a dazzling series, Mary Jo Putney introduces the Lost Lords–maverick childhood friends with a flair for defying convention. Each is about to discover the woman who is his perfect match–but perfection doesn't come easily, even for the noble Duke of Ashton. . . Battered by the sea, Adam remembers nothing of his past, his ducal rank, nor of the shipwreck that almost claimed his life. However, he's delighted to hear that the golden-haired vision tending his wounds is his wife. Mariah's name and face may not be familiar, but her touch, her warmth, feel deliciously right. . .
When Mariah Clarke prayed for a way to deter a bullying suitor, she didn't imagine she'd find the answer washed ashore on a desolate beach. Convincing Adam that he is her husband is surprisingly easy. Resisting the temptation to act his wife, in every way, will prove anything but. And now a passion begun in fantasy has become dangerously real–and completely irresistible. . .
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole is .99 cents. This is the first book in a paranormal dystopian YA series called The Arcana Chronicles. Look, nothing says holiday reading like dystopia, right? Of course!
She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can't do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.