Tea Together by Marjan Kamali is $1.99 pretty much everywhere. This is a contemporary novel about a young woman born in Tehran but living in New York and her matchmaking mother, determined to see her daughter married well. When they both decide to go back to Iran for a bit, Mina finds what she thinks is the man of her dreams – but he wasn't on her mother's spreadsheet of approved bachelors.
What caught my attention about the book was the number of readers who said in their reviews that they loved the glimpse of Iran through the characters (as opposed to the glimpses we get through the media, which tell an entirely different story). Some readers say the romance plotline is not the strongest part of the story, despite it being highlighted in the cover copy.
In Together Tea, Marjan Kamali’s delightful and heartwarming debut novel, Darya has discovered the perfect gift for her daughter’s twenty-fifth birthday: an ideal husband.
Mina, however, is fed up with her mother’s years of endless matchmaking and the spreadsheets grading available Iranian-American bachelors.
Having spent her childhood in Tehran and the rest of her life in New York City, Mina has experienced cultural clashes firsthand, but she’s learning that the greatest clashes sometimes happen at home. After a last ill-fated attempt at matchmaking, mother and daughter embark on a return journey to Iran. Immersed once again in Persian culture, the two women gradually begin to understand each other.
But when Mina falls for a young man who never appeared on her mother’s matchmaking radar, will Mina and Darya’s new-found appreciation for each other survive?
The Next Always by Nora Roberts is $3.99 at Amazon right now. This is likely to be an Amazon-only deal, I suspect. The Next Always is the first book in the Inn Boonsboro series, which is set at the hotel in Boonsboro, MD – and just about everything about the setting is real.
There's also a ghost in the story, and, depending on your beliefs about paranormal elements, the ghost may be real, too. So this is a contemporary ParaNora trilogy, and some readers loved the fact that so much of the setting and location exists, while others found it bothersome and intrusive.
The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.
After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.
With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour – one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new – and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .
The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is $1.99 at Amazon – though I'm crossing my fingers for the price matching fairies to pay us a visit.
This is a YA fairy tale/fantasy novel about a young maid, Dashti, who is sent into a tower for seven years with her mistress, Lady Saren, after said mistress refuses to marry a rather evil dude. The story is told through Dashti's journal entries through their imprisonment, and the book is described as for grades 5-9. The reviews are very, very good (it has a 3.9 average) with many saying that the story and the writing were incredible – there's a lot of Good Book Noise in those reviews, is what I'm saying.
Imprisoned in a remote tower after Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father has chosen, the maid and the lady have almost nothing in common.
But the loyalty that grows between the two, the man they love in different ways for different reasons, and the lies they tell because of and in spite of each other, combine to evoke the deepest bonds, transcend the loneliest landscapes, and erupt in a conclusion so romantic, so clever, and so right that no reader will be left dry-eyed.
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier is $1.99 at Amazon and BN right now. This is a paranormal YA novel – the description says think of it as Robin McKinley's SUNSHINE but with werewolves instead of vampires. This book was published in February 2014, and this review, from Andrea, made me really, really curious about this book (it's a fantastic review):
This is one of those pick-it-up-and-read-til-done books, gripping and engrossing. Something of a surprise to me, given that I am generally not at all interested in werewolf stories, which are too often a morass of gender essentialism, abuse treated as sexy, and all the things I just don't like to read at all.
That is not this book.
Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge–the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases–like for Natividad's father and older brother–Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.
But before Natividad's mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.
In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them. Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master.
Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister's Pure magic. Natividad's twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected.
And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate.
Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon is $1.99 at AMZ and BN (hello, fairies! I have cookies!). This is science fiction YA about a young woman studying to be a veterinarian – for aliens. On Mars. (Did someone's catnip alarm go off?) This is book 1 of a series, and many readers were completely sucked in, though some found the heroine a little too typical.
When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.
Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams.
But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems.
As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course.
Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling. Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….
The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd is $1.99 at Amazon as a KDD, and as of this moment hasn't been pricematched yet. This is historical Inspirational fiction about a young woman running a boarding school and the man who has loved her for awhile, but who hasn't gotten his life together yet. This book has a 4+ star average, and readers say it is very atmospheric.
Patience Creighton will finally find the peace she lost years ago–if she can open her heart and forgive the man who loves her.
Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she finds contentment teaching at her father's school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to keep her father's dream alive.
Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin's edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of land but possesses little money to manage the upkeep. He is desperate to find a new source of income, including the sacrifice of land connected to Rosemere.
When her brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience is heartbroken to no longer be responsible for her beloved school and is forced to reassess God's purpose for her life. After her sister-in-law's matchmaking brings Patience and William together, they both learn new truths about their character and find a common goal in restoring Eastmore's legacy.