Books On Sale

Old Skool, Paranormal Romance, & More

  • Death Below Stairs

    Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

    RECOMMENDED: Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is $2.99! It was a previous book club pick and Sarah has great things to say about the series:

    I love the whole series and it’s on my short (very short) list of books to give to friends who are grieving. Competence porn, women looking after one another, and a wonderful set of characters. And food porn too. High grade. Proceed with caution if hungry or do yourself a big gifty favor and read with snacks.

    Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

    Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.

    Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

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  • The Flame and the Flower

    The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss

    The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss is $2.49! This is an Old Skool romance and for many, was their intro to the genre. I will warn you that there is rape and talk of it. For some, this book will hold a special place in readers’ hearts, while others say this one does not age well. What do you think?

    The Flower

    Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

    The Flame

    A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.

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  • A Devil of a Duke

    A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter

    A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter is $1.99! This is the second book in the Decadent Dukes Society, but can be read on its own. If you are a completionist, the first book is also on sale. Readers say this one has a great pace to the romance and action, but wish it had more emotional depth. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads.

    From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes the latest sexy tale of three untamable dukes and the women who ignite their decadent desires . . .

    HE MAY BE A DEVIL

    He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

    BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .

    Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

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  • Kiss of Steel

    Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

    RECOMMENDED: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster is 99c! This is a steampunk romance and the first in a series. The next two books are also discounted. Elyse gave an A+ grade:

    McMaster’s London Steampunk series is everything I want in a steampunk world–richly imagined, gritty and dark, and full of hot heroes and hot sex. Also, the hero is a cockney-accented, leather-clad, bad-boy vampire, so if Spike from Buffy gave you tingles? Yeah, go buy this book.

    Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

    Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

    When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

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Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    DiscoDollyDeb says:
    84+

    If you didn’t read THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER the first time around, no reason to read it now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s best to view Old Skool bodice rippers like puberty: something we had to go through to get where we are today, but not necessarily something you’d want to repeat.

  2. 2
    Star says:
    23+

    I’ve said many times that fantasy romance basically never works for me, but Kiss of Steel was a rare exception. There was a good romance/fantasy plot balance, and the world-building (something I’m very picky about) was very good. Sadly, the rest of the series didn’t work for me, but I definitely recommend this first book.

    The Hunter I read fairly recently and found alarming. Though clearly not what the author intended, it’s a well-drawn portrayal of a toxic relationship. The psychology of the characters and how that shaped their dynamic was quite realistic, and if it had been a very different genre of story, I’d have been impressed. But it was a romance, so instead I really liked the heroine and felt protective of her, and absolutely hated the hero, and did a lot of inward screaming at her to get away from him while understanding why she was drawn in. The book ends with them firmly in the honeymoon phase, but I just saw so many problems lurking that it really freaked me out. That said, at the time when I read it, I was in the middle of a six-month deep-dive into non-fiction about abuse, narcissism, and dangerous people, so if that’s not your situation, the book might work much better for you. The first book in the trilogy, though, I really enjoyed.

  3. 3
    Laurel says:
    41+

    When I was a teenager in the ’70s I read The Flame and the Flower (and practically everything else Kathleen Woodiwiss wrote) and loved it. I read it so many times, I probably could still recite to you all the major plot points in order. I have posted here before (probably the last time it went on sale) that I tried to read it a few years ago and it was a horrible experience. I ended up throwing out my paperback copy of it, which was probably from one of the first print runs. It is rapey, the villains are all one dimensional and very stereotyped, and the hero is an alphahole. Read the sample before you buy. It holds a place in my heart for being my first memorable romance, but it has not aged well. If you want to read a Woodiwiss book, Shanna is probably easier to read now as it is not as rapey, but it still has lots of cartoonish villany. I feel sad that something I once loved so much now fills me with revulsion, but I guess the positive spin is that society has made positive changes since it was published, and this book no longer represents the best of romance.

  4. 4
    DiscoDollyDeb says:
    41+

    @Laurel: I’m not sure how old you are, but for someone my age (I was a teenager in the 1970s), bodice rippers were the first books that combined history (of a sort), gothic sensibility, romance, and sexually-explicitly activity—and the first sexually-explicit books that were written (primarily) by women, about women’s experiences (sexual and otherwise), and focused on a female readership. They struck a chord with my generation and that’s one of the reasons why we consumed them en masse for over a decade. But however much they informed my youthful reading, you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to read SWEET SAVAGE LOVE or books of that ilk today.

    #AnOldLadyLooksBack

  5. 5
    DiscoDollyDeb says:
    47+

    @Laurel: sorry—I didn’t see that you said you were also a teenager in the 1970s. So we’re of that initial bodice-ripper-reading generation. And now we’re Matriarchal Bitches, as it were.

  6. 6
    Kareni says:
    9+

    I’m another who read (and reread) The Flame and the Flower shortly after it was published. I’m reluctant to read it now.

  7. 7
    Laurel says:
    19+

    @DiscoDollyDeb, I love “Matriarchal Bitches”! (I actually tried to read Sweet Savage Love when it was new & I couldn’t get through it – way too rapey for me then, I can only imagine how I’d feel if I tried to read it now.)

    @Kareni, don’t try rereading it. Keep your fond memories instead.

  8. 8
    LML says:
    13+

    The friend of a friend passed The Flame and the Flower along to me – in the late 70s when I was in my very early 20s – this was the first romance I read. Entranced, I went to the library looking for another and still recall the look of utter distain with which the librarian greeted my request (because I couldn’t find any Woodiwiss on the shelves). Like many of my fellow SBs, I soon tired of unpleasant rapey heroes and abandoned romance novels for decades.

  9. 9
    Arijo says:
    11+

    @Laurel: Shanna is a slave-owner, another kind of trigger…

    I fell into the Woodiwiss cauldron in the 80s, with Ashes in the Wind, when I was 9 years old. She stayed my favourite author for many years. Her books were sweeping romance much more elaborate than other authors popular at the time (from what was translated in French back then). I liked her heroines because they were strong-willed without becoming mule-headed idiots, and her heroes ended up completely and utterly devoted to them. My favorite was The Wolf and the Dove (if that’s the title in English?), then when I was a bit older, A Rose in Winter.

    That said, I’ve got no urge whatsoever to revisit these oldies. I’ve got boxes full of old K.E. Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. I know I’ll never read them again, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away… I loved them so much! They also were my sex ed 😉
    (NB: I always hated Rosemary Rogers though, even back in the 80s.)

    In short, I’d recommand to pass on the Flame and the Flower unless you’re curious, and to get Kiss of Steel instead. It’s a fun read.

  10. 10
    Lexica says:
    8+

    Apparently “debaucherous” is a real word (even if Firefox’s spellcheck doesn’t know it). TIL!

  11. 11
    Karin says:
    9+

    I did read all the Woodiwiss books back in the 1970’s because we didn’t have a lot of romance choices back then. There was no internet, the library didn’t carry so-called “bodice rippers”, we were starved for content. There was no way to even find good authors except by trial and error, or word of mouth. The one thing that sticks in my mind was a scene in one book where the heroine gets deflowered in a stagecoach. Also there were some plantation settings that are worse than problematic.

  12. 12
    Laurel says:
    10+

    @Arijo Thanks for the reminder. I was thinking more about the factor of consent for sex, but you are correct. Probably none of the Woodiwiss books is a good read today. Sigh.

    @Karin The deflowering in the stagecoach is in Shanna.

  13. 13
    Maureen says:
    17+

    So, I’m also someone who started reading romances in the 1970’s-I think Shanna was the first book I read that was a bit more explicit than the Harlequin romances I got from my boyfriend’s mother. I remember so distinctly, it was a book that was passed around one of my social studies classes, by the time I got it, almost threadbare! I have a real affection for the authors I read during this time in my life-I know the content is now something most people wouldn’t read-but please put in context-I wasn’t allowed to wear pants to my public school until I was in 6th grade. Times were very different, and these authors were shaped by their own times. The fact they actually talked about sex, and the satisfaction that comes from having sex? To an Irish Catholic girl born on the south side of Chicago? It was a revelation.

  14. 14
    Heather says:
    8+

    I read The Flame and the Flower when I was 13, and fell in love with Brandon Birmingham! Plus being Heather too made it all the better! The book was larger than life and opened my eyes to the power of writing so that I could see it happening in my mind, and it was way more exciting than Nancy Drew! But I guess it did not age well, even though the trope is still done now–rich, handsome guy sweeps beautiful, naive, poor girl off her feet and gives her a life of luxury. It just doesn’t approach it the same way and the age difference isn’t so alarming.

  15. 15
    Alexa says:
    7+

    Yes it hasn’t aged well I reread it a few years ago when I was writing stories about highschool years . I was 15 when I read it: the first romance read with explicit sex . I was A very late bloomer; and had no experience but intense crushes. this book blew me away. I mean really I certainly never encountered the phrase “ruched nipples” before! And what about the hero’s breeches that left nothing to the imagination! I tell you I imagined plenty!

  16. 16
    Kit says:
    7+

    Ok, so I downloaded a sample of The Flame and The Flower and even in that the heroine is raped three times by the so called hero. Reads very similar to a dark romance except that this is meant to be a regular romance and we’re supposed to the rooting for the hero here? Ugh. Also very stereotyped villians (who are obese and ugly of course). Having said that, I’ve read a few modern romances with similar heroes (especially in the glut of erotica we got after fifty shades) with similar attitudes though generally more subtle in nature. So it hasn’t quite been consigned to history yet.

  17. 17
    Jesara says:
    9+

    @ Arijo – actually Shanna doesn’t have slavery while Flame and a Flower does – which is why I can no longer reread FaF, especially because of the oblique way the slavery is treated. It wasn’t until the third reread or so that I realized that the servants on the hero’s plantation are SLAVES. This is completely elided over and ignored in the text. Plus the alphaholedom.
    In contrast, Shanna has indentured servants which was a way for poor white people to pay off a debt or emigrate to America. There was a fixed term for their labor and some contracts provided some money when your term was up. Not perfect but not slavery.
    Plus Shanna has pirates! And the deflowering in the coach! And a heroine who is kind of unlikable with a hero who slowly and patiently wins her over! And no rape!
    But overall I would agree it is probably best just to remember these books fondly rather than read them now

  18. 18
    Arijo says:
    4+

    @Jesara: sorry, my mistake. I remembered she bought him in prison, and I remember sugar cane plantation (or distillery?) – it translated into slavery for me. Also, do I misremember it, or did Shanna NOT enjoy her deflowering in the coach?

    Pirates! I’d forgotten. *blink blink* That’s right, and Ruark got hurt in the thigh and he treated it by pouring rhum over it. I thought it was an acceptable way to treat a wound in emergency situation for years, until I had a first aid class… the things you learn in books, hey?

  19. 19
    Lizzy says:
    3+

    @Star I thought the same thing after reading a Hunter book years ago. I tried a couple and I can’t get into her books. Toxic, abusive, mean men aren’t romantic.

  20. 20
    Jesara says:
    2+

    Ariji – no, you are right – Shanna is set on an island in, I think, the Caribbean and Ruark starts off in the cane fields when he first arrives – but it was still indentureship. I have no idea if this ever really occurred on sugar plantations.
    And he was purchased from prison – but this was something illegal one of the antagonist’s was doing to skim off the money for himself. I suppose Ruark could have told someone on the island he was there illegally but since he was going to be hanged for a murder he didn’t commit (how do I remember all these crazysauce details?) there wasn’t any point in it.
    Finally, the scene in the coach is definitely problematic but it is presented as seduction rather than the outright rape Woodiwiss wrote in other books – to the point that Shanna is approaching orgasm right before the scene ends. (From first time sex in a moving coach, of course)
    Probably more than anyone wanted to know!

  21. 21
    Jesara says:
    2+

    Ack! @Arijo not Ariji!!! Sorry!

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