Books On Sale

Books on Sale: Steampunk, Crimson Petals, Pennyroyals, and Napoleonic Historicals

Book Heart of Iron - woman in corset top hat and carrying parasol embraced by dude probably wearing goggles because it is steampunk

Heart of Iron is $2.99. This is book 2 in Bec McMaster's London Steampunk series. The first book, Kiss of Steel, has been on sale multiple times, so you may already own it. This series is much praised by fans of the genre because it blends familiar paranormal elements with intense emotion and layered worldbuilding. Have you read this series? Did you like it?

In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts.

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Book The Crimson Petal and the White

The Crimson Petal and the White is $2.51 at Amazon right now. This isn't quite a romance, but many readers have mentioned it here as a book that was fascinating and hard to put down, though many have said the ending was very unsatisfying.

At the heart of this panoramic, multidimensional narrative is the compelling struggle of a young woman to lift her body and soul out of the gutter.

Faber leads us back to 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape to a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society offers us intimacy with a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters.

They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose ambition is fueled by his lust for Sugar, and whose patronage brings her into proximity to his extended family and milieu: his unhinged, childlike wife, Agnes, who manages to overcome her chronic hysteria to make her appearances during “the Season”; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, Henry, foiled in his devotional calling by a persistently less-than-chaste love for the Widow Fox, whose efforts on behalf of The Rescue Society lead Henry into ever-more disturbing confrontations with flesh; all this overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions.

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Book The Sergeant's Lady - a man in military uniform embracing a woman with a landscape below them

The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser is .99c. This book is set during the Napoleonic War, with a commoner hero and a heroine who is related to some viscounts and/or earls (I don't think they are named Earl, however, which would be very silly). Readers who gave this book many stars really liked the depth of the historical research, and the conflicts that shift as the story continues. It has a 3.92 average at GR.

Highborn Anna Arrington has been “following the drum,” obeying the wishes of her cold, controlling cavalry officer husband. When he dies, all she wants is to leave life with Wellington's army in Spain behind her and go home to her family's castle in Scotland.

Sergeant Will Atkins ran away from home to join the army in a fit of boyish enthusiasm. He is a natural born soldier, popular with officers and men alike, uncommonly brave and chivalrous, and educated and well-read despite his common birth.

As Anna journeys home with a convoy of wounded soldiers, she forms an unlikely friendship with Will. When the convoy is ambushed and their fellow soldiers captured, they become fugitives—together. The attraction between them is strong—but even if they can escape the threat of death at the hands of the French, is love strong enough to bridge the gap between a viscount's daughter and an innkeeper's son?

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RECOMMENDED: Book It Happened One MidnightIt Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long is the 8th book in the Pennyroyal Green series and is $1.99 right now. The next book in the series comes out at the end of March 2014, so if you're going to catch up with the series, now is a good time – and that's a terrific price. Long's series is one of my favorites, and I'm not alone. This book has a 4+ star average on GR.

More than one beautiful woman’s hopes have been dashed on the rocky shoals of Jonathan Redmond’s heart. With his riveting good looks and Redmond wealth and power, the world is his oyster—until an ultimatum from his father and a chilling gypsy prophesy send him hurtling headlong toward a fate he’ll do anything to avoid: matrimony.

Intoxicating, elusive Thomasina de Ballesteros has the bloods of London at her feet. But none of them knows the real Tommy—the one with a shocking pedigree, a few too many secrets, and a healthy scorn for rakes like Jonathan. She is everything Jonathan never wanted. But on one fateful midnight, he’s drawn into Tommy's world of risk, danger…and a desire he’d never dreamed possible.

And suddenly he’s re-thinking everything…including the possibility that succumbing to prophesy might just mean surrendering to love.

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Dora says:

    The Crimson Petal and the White is a FANTASTIC book, but yes, the ending is so unsatisfying as to feel like you’re missing several chapters. It’s TOO ambiguous, and in such a fashion as to not keep with the writing of the rest of the book, so it makes me suspicious that the author simply ran out of ideas on how to wrap it up. However, the book is an excellent example in characterization and a DEFINITE must read for me personally. The way your opinions of the characters will shift drastically over the course of the story is remarkable, and the way nobody is wholly “good” or “evil” makes everyone realistic and relatable… if not likeable. It’s not a happy book, but it is a very good one.

  2. 2
    Heather S says:

    I got the Pennyroyal Green book and “The Crimson Petal and the White”. I’ve been meaning to read that one for a while, yet somehow the prospect of reading 900+ page book was both exhausting and dangerous – you drop a book that size on your face while reading in bed and you’d end up with bruises, maybe a busted nose. LOL Kindle format is WAY more reader-friendly.

  3. 3
    Lostshadows says:

    I almost picked up The Crimson Petal and the White at a book sale, but put it down when I noticed the beginning, at least, was written in the second person. Does that go on for the whole book?

    Kind of dubious about buying it based on the comments on ending. The other book I read by him had a terrible ending as well. Not ambiguous, just bridge droppy. (Also kind of dubious given how much I hated the other book, but it sounds like this one would avoid my biggest problems with it.)

  4. 4
    Joanna says:

    Just downloaded The Sergeant’s Lady. 37p! For once a UK bargain.

  5. 5
    Bamaclm says:

    Bec McMaster has become an auto buy author for me. I love this series, especially the first book , Kiss of Steel.

    These books offer a new insight into vampirism and shifters, one that makes perfect sense. The society that is built around it is unique and deadly and endlessly fascinating.

    I bought The Crimson Petal and the White. Not sure if I’ll get through it, but it sounds like my cup of tea.  :-)

  6. 6
    Cordy says:

    It’s strangely relieving to me to hear that other people had a hard time with the ending of Crimson Petal. I remember feeling like, wait, is that it? Is this copy missing the last fifty pages? What just happened? What am I supposed to take away from this?!?

    Also, um, I’ve always wondered: when the main male character approaches some prostitutes who eventually send him to Sugar, they do so because he asks them for a specific sexual act they don’t do, and Sugar does. And it was never clear to me what was actually happening. (I realize this makes me sound like I’m in middle school…)

  7. 7
    peggy h says:

    A friend and I who both read Crimson Petal and the White a few years ago had a funny conversation trying to decide if the book ended without finishing, or finished without ending.  Either way—-I felt a bit put out.  It’s not like I mind open-ended or ambiguous endings in general (I have enjoyed a number of books with endings like that) but this one was just a bit too head-scratchy for me.

  8. 8
    Dread Pirate Rachel says:

    Julie Anne Long is an autobuy for me, so thanks for the heads up. Also, I love the couple on the cover of The Sergeant’s Lady. Not fond of the way they are slightly transparent, but that man is dreamy, and they seem legitimately into each other. Well done, cover models.

  9. 9
    Sarah Winter says:

    When I read The Crimson Petal and the White, it was such a fascinating book that I got to the ending and turned the book over in my hands, like I could have flipped the missing chapters under or something. After you read almost 1000 pages, you just need more of an ending than that. Otherwise, I would highly recommend that book because it’s fast-paced for it’s size and presents a fascinating study in good and evil. Reading it, you might not like the characters or their choices, but they are very imperfect and human. Awesome price for it, too. I will pick it up!

  10. 10
    Trai says:

    For those who were dissatisfied by the ending, Faber wrote a companion book of short stories entitled The Apple. It doesn’t wrap everything up in a neat little bow, but it does give some clues as to what happened to some of the principal characters after the events of Crimson Petal.

  11. 11
    Bamaclm says:

    Even though I haven’t started Crimson Petal yet, I thought I’d get The Apple, just in case. But I can’t find it in ebook, at least not on Amazon.

    Damn.

  12. 12
    Trai says:

    Yes, unfortunately (and oddly), The Apple isn’t available in any e-format, and seems to be pretty scarce generally. I should have mentioned that; I apologize! I found it pretty cheap on half.com.

  13. 13
    garlicknitter says:

    I picked up The Sergeant’s Lady since it sounded like my catnip, and so far it’s awesome.

  14. 14
    hm says:

    Love, love bec mcmasters’ books. I’ve bought all 4 (or 3.5 depending on how you count). Her take on vampires is interesting and different from other series I’ve read.

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