Books On Sale

Books on Sale: Royalty-Themed and Title-Having Titles

Book No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

RECOMMENDED. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean is $2.99! This book recently won the RITA© for Best Historical Romance and received positive reviews during our RITA© Reader Challenge. This is the third book in MacLean's The Rules of Scoundrels series and features a hero and heroine with some hefty past baggage (i.e. the hero thinks he's killed her). Elyse reviewed it back in December and gave it an A-:

I loved this book because Mara and Temple were complicated, interesting characters without falling into stereotypes. Temple is an alpha-male, but he displays his soft side in heart melting scenes. Mara is the feisty, independent heroine without any foot-stamping or TSTL moments. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished also features the hottest sex scene I've ever read in a Regency. It's scorching, but not explicit the way erotica is.

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.

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Book Lord and Lady Spy

Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen is 99c! A historical romance with an espionage twist, this is the first book in Galen's Lord and Lady Spy series. With a 3.7-star rating on GR, the book has been heavily compared to the Mr. & Mrs. Smith movie and some hated it, while others loved it. Sarah was right in the middle, giving it a C+:

As frustrated as I was with the investigative storyline, the emotional power of the romance between them was satisfying. Writing this review was actually kind of difficult because I did enjoy reading the book, but only upon having to think back and think about what I read did I find that my list of bothersome things was so long.

Let the games begin…

No Man Can Outsmart Him…

Lord Adrian Smythe may appear a perfectly boring gentleman, but he leads a thrilling life as one of England's most preeminent spies, an identity so clandestine even his wife is unaware of it. But he isn't the only one with secrets…

She's Been Outsmarting Him For Years…

Now that the Napoleonic wars have come to an end, daring secret agent Lady Sophia Smythe can hardly bear the thought of returning home to her tedious husband. Until she discovers in the dark of night that he's not who she thinks he is after all.

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Book Recklessly Royal

Recklessly Royal by Nicole Chase is 99c! Recklessly Royal is the second book in the Suddenly series and a new adult comtemporary romance. Elyse reviewed the first book, Suddenly Royal, earlier this year. Our heroine, a princess, meets the hero at her brother's wedding. While many enjoyed the light, fun easiness of reading Recklessly Royal, others found it too sugary sweet. It has a 3.7-star rating on GR. Has anyone tried this series?

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

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Book King's

King's by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is 99c at Amazon! At other vendors, it's currently listed at $3.99, but hopefully that'll change. Pamfiloff may be known for her Accidentally Yours paranormal romance series, but this is the first book in her new The King Trilogy. Our hero, King, and heroine, Mia, team up to find the Mia's missing brother, though she senses something isn't quite right about King. A few readers were turned off by the similarities to Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, but many like Pamfiloff's dip into a darker romance.

“I am the man who can find anything or anyone. For a price. And my price is you.”

When Mia Turner’s brother goes missing in Mexico, while on an archaeological dig, she believes that life couldn’t get much worse. But when she’s blocked at every turn from finding answers, by both local and U.S. authorities, she must turn to a man she swears is the devil.

Others might be fooled by his private jet, fine tailored suits, and disarming smile, but Mia knows something dark, sinister, and unnatural lurks behind those penetrating, pale-gray eyes. And the more she learns, the more she realizes she may never be free again.

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    RevMelinda says:

    OK Amanda, you got me. I will try Sarah MacLean again. I really, really didn’t like “Nine Rules to Break” which everyone except me seemed to love—I couldn’t wrap my head around how Calpurnia could set out to do shocking things and simultaneously be a chaperone/role model for Gabriel’s sister—and I just couldn’t believe that Gabriel could simultaneously encourage Calpurnia’s recklessness while still entrusting his sister’s reputation to her. (Plus the sexytimes in fencing gear?—frankly, it was all a hot mess for me. ) But here we go again—everyone seems to love “No Good Duke” and it won the RITA, and it’s only $2.99, so—I will try again!

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    @RevMelinda: I have a few authors like that, ones who everyone seems to love but I can’t seem to enjoy. But, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it works out!

  3. 3
    Vasha says:

    RevMelinda, you’re not alone, “Nine Rules” irked me too! If you look back through this blog for posts on bad sex writing, you’ll find that “Nine Rules” commits quite a few of the faults named.

  4. 4
    Lynnd says:

    RevMelinda and Vasha:  I am also in the “I didn’t like Nine Rules” camp.  The second one in that series was a bit better, but the third also irked me to no end.

  5. 5
    ceeka says:

    I loathed loathed Duke. The writing was bad, the heroine was irredeemable and the hero was a humongous idiot. This was the book that made me remove MacLean from my to-buy list. And it won a RITA? Guess I wouldn’t be looking there for recommendations anymore…

  6. 6

    IIRC, I loved “Nine rules…” and I liked “Ten ways…” though I don’t remember them well enough to discuss them :) I would buy “No Good Duke Goes Unpunished,” but alas, like many books, it doesn’t seem to be on sale where I live. I do mean to go back to reading Sarah MacLean, but I just haven’t read a lot of historical romance lately.

  7. 7
    Vasha says:

    Okay, I just finished reading a book that was so amazing that, even though it’s not on sale, I have to tell you guys about it. “The General and the Horse-Lord” by Sarah Black (Dreamspinner Press). Two guys, one a top military strategist and the other a hotshot helicopter pilot, who’ve been in live since forever (but secretly) and had each other’s back in conflicts all over the world, have just retired from the military and are trying to figure out what that means for their life and relationship. Here’s something you don’t see too often in romance: john and Gabriel are 50 years old, they’ve been together 25 years, and they just have this deep instinctive harmony between them that’s lovely to see. So there isn’t any real conflict between them, when they have to sort out confusing feelings they do it by talking like they understand each other down to the ground. Drama is provided by external mess like Gabriel’s divorce (yeah, I forgive him for marrying when he was with John the whole time), parenthood, and John taking on the corrupt administration of the university where he now teaches. The whole thing is from John’s point of view, and he has a conbination of melancholy and regret conbined with being proud of the work he’s done and an absolute joy when with Gabriel, described in quietly beautiful language. I swear to God, I just sniffled the whole way through the book.

  8. 8
    PamG says:

    Wow!  I’m stunned by the negatory reactions to MacLean.  I thought everyone loved her, and it was just me.  [Sigh of relief]  I don’t hate her stuff; it’s just sort of forgettable.  There are at least half a dozen writers of historical romance that seem totally superior to me, and several of them were nominated for RITAs both last year and this year.  Oh well, chacun à son goût!

  9. 9
    MsCellanie says:

    @RevMelinda – “Nine Rules to Break…” was a big fat DNF for me.  I didn’t like the heroine, I didn’t like the hero, and the author kept getting Regency wrong with a lot of jarring little mistakes.
    I liked the First Book of Scoundrels enough to finish out the series. The one that’s on sale is the weakest of the three.

  10. 10
    Sue says:

    I adored Sarah MacLean’s original trilogy, and finished the first two books of this series, but I DNF this one on sale, and frankly, I’m thinking I won’t buy the last one. Will wait for a new series to start. Sometimes, a series just doesn’t do it for me, and none of these books in this series stands alone.

  11. 11
    Judy865 says:

    @Vasha:  Thanks for the heads-up on The General and the Horse-Lord.  Not sure how I missed this one as I read a fair amount of Dreamspinner titles.  Being former military myself I like a book with military elements, and the sample on the website looks very good (and romantic as well).  Appreciate the recommendation.

  12. 12
    DonnaMarie says:

    I have loved most everything Sarah McLean, though not No Good Duke, and shall be waving cash at her for the next one because OMG SPOILERS!!!

    If we’re touting non-sale books, I’m 3/4 through Molly O’Keefe’s latest, Never Been Kissed ($4.27 Amazon Kindle Store) and I am gobsmacked that I’m just discovering this writer. Wild Child is my second favorite romance this year and this one is coming up hard behind it. And despite the cover image, hero is mixed race. So if that’s your catnip, have I got a book for you!! After you get past ranty pants for the cover image.

  13. 13
    Christiana says:

    I like Sarah Maclean and have read most of her stuff, although I love many other HR authors more. I think if you don’t care for Sarah then you will probably DNF Suddenly Royal (and the aforementioned sequel Recklessly Royal) by Nichole Chase. I borrowed the audiobook for Suddenly from the public library due to decent reviews and finished it only because it was short and I was hoping against hope that it was going to improve. Alas, that didn’t happen, so I’m definitely not going to read/listen to the next 2 in the series, much less spend 99 pennies on it. For a heroine who was supposed to be in grad school, I felt she spoke and behaved like someone in junior high. The prince was bland and forgettable.

  14. 14
    HollyS says:

    @ceeka….right there with you. I DETESTED this book. I will never pay money for another Maclean book, and she used to be an autobuy for me.

    And she won a RITA for this tripe?? Thats the best they can do? It will be a good while before I take those awards seriously. Ugh.

  15. 15
    EGS says:

    I’ve tried Maclean but have only felt rather meh about her stuff. I tried Nine Rules but the premise was so silly I couldn’t get beyond a few chapters.

    Also, I know she has zero control over them, but Maclean’s titles are SO STUPID.

  16. 16
    laj says:

    I was stunned No Good Duke Goes Unpunished won a Rita…..the book is just awful!

  17. 17
    kkw says:

    I love MacLean in general, she’s a phenomenally talented writer, but this one, this one…let’s just say I was surprised it won the RITA. I don’t know why, given that I’m always mystified by awards and award shows.  Maybe they felt like they should have given it to her other years? It definitely seems to work that way for the Oscars.

  18. 18
    Tam B. says:

    @ Vasha
    I checked out your recommendation and sent myself a sample to try. 

    But I have to say, one of the worst covers ever!  I thought I was looking at an add for insurance, not a book about two highly skilled military men.  It wasn’t that I needed guns and ammo but hot air balloons???  Just as well I buy e-books or that cover would scare me away.

    I liked the Rules of Scoundrels series but found No Good Duke… to be the weakest.  I didn’t like the heroine or the way their story played out.

  19. 19
    Vasha says:

    @Tam B.: Well the balloon thing comes from very late in the novel… but you are so right about the cover looking dorky. The modern availability of Photoshop that allows anyone to slap together an image has its downsides: on the one hand, people who aren’t artists can execute their nice ideas in ways they once might not have been able to; on the other hand, poor ideas can likewise be done slickly enough hat they seem good enough to use.

  20. 20
    Joy says:

    King’s isn’t 99c at Amazon.  Thought I’d try it at that pricepoint but guess I’ll skip.

  21. 21

    @EGS: I agree about her titles. They are a little ridiculous to me…

  22. 22
    Kim says:

    I liked Nine Rules, but didn’t like this one at all. As others have said, it has a really unlikeable heroine. I was surprised about the RITA win.

  23. 23
    Dibs says:

    I read some reviews after reading No Good Duke and I don’t agree with the notion that Mara is a horrible heroine because she drugs Temple.

    When Mara first reveals who she is, Temple is one shocked, angry dude – one shocked, angry, large, very muscular man named The Killer Duke who beats men up for a living and who has a reputation for never losing a fight.  She had a knife and laudanum with her when she approached Temple.  He took her knife and told her,

      “You might as well sit.  You’re not going anywhere.”

      Unease threaded through her at the words.  “What does that mean?”

      “It means that you turned up outside my door, Miss Lowe.  And I have no intention of letting you escape again.”

    I totally understand Mara feeling threatened by that statement.  She uses the only weapon she has and doses Temple with laudanum,  leaving him a note that says, “I had hoped it would not come to this, but I will not be intimidated, and I will not be strong-armed.” I wonder what else she was supposed to do when Temple threatened to keep her against her will.

    Mara’s a very literal woman – that’s simply how she understands the world, and it’s a common enough character trait in fiction.  Early on Temple tells Mara, “Nothing you could say will make me forgive.”  It makes so much sense that Mara believes him, she takes him at his word, and doesn’t even try to tell him what her motivations are/were.

    Mara’s father was abusive, beating her and her brother for infractions.  If that were my childhood, I suspect I’d be very slow to trust – as Mara is slow to trust Temple.  Yes, this is one of those, “If they’d only talk to each other, this mess would be cleared up” stories.  But I found the reasons for not talking understandable – frustrating, yes, but understandable.

    And when she does fulfill her promise, I thought Mara’s courage was impressive.

    Like others, I couldn’t put this book down.  I thought the characters were believable, the plot riveting, the setting unique.  Like others, I also found the end over-worked.  Overall: very enjoyable.

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