Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) was an English novelist and poet. He tops today’s Buffet with Far From the Maddening Crowd, regarded as one of the finest novels of the 19th Century. It’s a classic tale of a woman brave enough to defy convention. The strong-minded Bathsheba Everdene and the devoted shepherd, obsessed farmer, and dashing soldier who vie for her favor move through a beautifully realized late nineteenth-century agrarian landscape, still almost untouched by the industrial revolution and the encroachment of modern life.

This story was adapted for a 1967 film starring Julie Christie, and a new version is slated for release in 2015 starring Carey Mulligan.

Most of Hardy’s fictional works – initially published as serials in magazines – were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.

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Far from the Madding Crowd

 Literary Fiction > Classics

Far from the Madding Crowd

Spirited, impulsive, and beautiful, Bathsheba Everdene arrives in Wessex to live with her aunt. She strikes up a friendship with a neighbor, Gabriel Oak, and even saves the young shepherd’s life. But when he responds by asking for her hand in marriage, she refuses. She cannot sacrifice her independence for a man she does not love.

Years later, misfortune has bankrupted Gabriel, while Bathsheba has inherited her uncle’s estate and is now a wealthy woman. She hires Gabriel as a shepherd but is interested in William Boldwood, a prosperous farmer whose reticence inspires her to playfully send him a valentine. William, like Gabriel before him, quickly falls in love with Bathsheba and proposes. But it is the dashing Sergeant Francis Troy who finally wins her heart. Despite the warnings of her first two suitors, Bathsheba accepts his proposal—a decision that brings long-buried secrets to the fore and leaves everything for which she has fought so hard hanging in the balance.

Published a century and a half ago, Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s first major success and introduced the themes he would continue to explore for the rest of his life. A love story wrapped in the cloak of tragedy, it is widely considered to be one of the finest novels of the nineteenth century.

Contingency (Sage Hannigan Time Warper Book 1)

 Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban

Contingency (Sage Hannigan Time Warper Book 1)

Eighteen-year-old Sage Hannigan wants to get back to her own time, preferably one that hasn’t been destroyed by an underworld plot brewing in Edwardian-era South Carolina. How hard can it be?

All she has to do is:

1. Learn to use newly acquired warping skills to bend time to her will.
2. Take out a few rogue vampires.
3. Join an ancient secret society.
4. Figure out who is putting the time stream in jeopardy.
5. Find and maim whoever invented the corset.

Sage never asked to be chosen by the Druid Priestess, Amerach, to become a Warper and she never asked to have the future hanging on her shoulders or to warp a hundred years into the past. She certainly never asked to meet Dr. Aldwin Blake, who would make her question her desire to get back to her own time. But if she fails her mission, people will die, history will change, and the present she wishes to return to will be no more.

Catch That Santa

 Romance > Holidays

Catch That Santa

When widow, Sara Marks, hears her Grams has gone on the lam from Happy Acres Residence on Christmas Eve – on Santa’s arm, no less — she teams up with sexy stranger, Francisco de la Vega, to chase the couple down with one thing in mind. Keep her Grams from becoming Mrs. Claus. Of course, Francisco’s grandfather is not really Santa Claus, but Grams did run off to Vegas to marry him and she’s obviously not in her right mind.

Sara leaves her seven-month-old baby, Lanie, with a friend and she and Cisco head west in the worst snowstorm in decades, chasing his grandfather’s ’57 Ford Fairlane over the river and through the woods.

Will they catch Santa and his crazy Mrs. Claus before it’s too late? Or will love stop them in their tracks?

Cross Country Christmas: A Woodfalls Girls Novella

 Romance > Contemporary

Cross Country Christmas: A Woodfalls Girls Novella

With the holiday season upon her, Jamie Foster is once again stressed about making her yearly visit back home to Woodfalls, still single. Fate intervenes in the form of Grant Johnson, a boy she grew up with, who catches the same flight while returning home from a business trip.

When a malfunction sends their plane crashing down on the runway upon takeoff, Jamie and Grant decide to rent a car and make the nine-hundred-mile drive home together. Ironically for them, anything that can go wrong does as they face one hysterical hurdle after another.

Christmas may finally bring Jamie the gift of love she has always wanted if she and Grant can manage to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Ho-ho-ho!

A Fox’s Love (American Kitsune Book 1)

 Humor & Satire

A Fox's Love (American Kitsune Book 1)

Boy meets fox. Boy rescues fox. Boy discovers that fox is a supernatural creature who appears to have popped right out of the pages to his favorite Shōnen manga and that “she” wants to jump his bones. Let the Fanservice commence.

Kevin Swift likes to believe he’s your everyday, run-of-the-mill teenager. Sure his mom is always out of the country for extended periods of time and he doesn’t even know who his dad is, but those are semantics he’s never care for. His life, for the most part, is the epitome of conventionality. He goes to school, spends time with friends, watches anime, reads manga, and cooks and cleans his apartment while wearing a frilly apron with pink hearts on it…Okay, so maybe cooking and cleaning isn’t something ordinary teenagers do, and I just made up that last part about the frilly apron with pink hearts. Don’t judge me.

But when Kevin accidentally saves the life of a Kitsune, his world turns topsy-turvy. Now he has to deal with a red-haired, emerald-eyed, overly amorous vixen whose sole purpose in life seems to be making zealous attempts at getting into his pants.

No More Brothers (A Serafina Florio Mystery Book 2)

 Mystery > Women Sleuths

No More Brothers (A Serafina Florio Mystery Book 2)

When Serafina discovers a body stuffed into a sack that’s listing on the shore, she plunges into the investigation despite dark secrets, diminishing funds, and a budding romance with the dashing Loffredo, count of Oltramari.
Evidence leads her to a forest on the edge of the Madonie Mountains where a harrowing encounter with a soldier living rough pitches her headlong into danger. Yet she continues with the search, galloping against the wind with her friend, Rosa, to the harbor of Messina where a ship bearing a strange cargo is about to disembark. Will she catch the killer? Will love prevail? Can she keep her family together?

100 Puzzle Quizzes HD (Interactive Puzzlebook for Tablets)

 Humor & Entertainment > Puzzles & Games

100 Puzzle Quizzes HD (Interactive Puzzlebook for Tablets)

Discover the 1st volume of the Top Rated Puzzlebook: Puzzle Quizzes series, HD versions for tablets. In this brand-new puzzle collection you will find 100 pictorial, hand-crafted puzzle quizzes in different themes: logic, visual, spatial, counting, geometry, matchstick, coins, searching, and much more.

Puzzlebook is specially designed for playing on any Kindle e-reader or tablet, as well on any other devices using a free Kindle app. Be sure to play it on different devices for more fun and comfort.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Emma Frost Book 6)

 International Mystery & Crime

Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Emma Frost Book 6)

In the middle of the night Alberto Alonzo sneaks out to play at the casino with his mother’s credit card in his hand. The next morning he is gone and no one knows where he is and, for his family, a real-life nightmare unfolds.

Emma Frost is with her family on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea when the boy goes missing from the ship. The boy is the son of a world-famous race driver. When the wife is killed shortly thereafter, everyone turns their attention to the race driver and thinks he killed them both.

But soon, another teenager disappears in the middle of the night and Emma suddenly finds herself leading a desperate manhunt to track down the killer before he strikes again.

Saint Nicholas, the Christmas Story

 Christian Fiction > Historical

Saint Nicholas, the Christmas Story

From his early days as a monk working with orphans, to his final days as Bishop, this historical fiction fantasy novel details the life of the true Saint Nicholas, as never told before.

In an effort to help the poor in Asia Minor, Nicholas makes a risky trip to Byzantium (soon to be Constantinople), but finds himself evading the evil Emperor, Diocletian, who tracks him down across the Middle East.

Escaping to the mountains east of Byzantium and north of Myra, Nicholas finds a winter wonderland where a community of dwarfs live to escape cruel treatment from Rome. The little people are gifted craftsmen and entrepreneurs. The Bishop also falls in love with a beautiful woman, challenging him with the choice of leaving a life of celibacy for an intimacy of a more earthly kind.

The Bishop discovers his monastery burned by Roman soldiers upon his return, and is later turned in by the Cardinal himself.

Imprisoned and sentenced to death, his only hope is the successor to Diocletian, the warrior Constantine.

More than just an adventurous love story, SAINT NICHOLAS, THE CHRISTMAS STORY comes alive with the spirit of Christmas as we follow the world’s greatest gift-giver, reminding us what giving is really about.

TODAY’S BARGAINS……………What’s this?

The Ladies’ Room

 Romantic Comedy

The Ladies' Room

Secrets told in the church ladies’ room are supposed to stay in the ladies’ room. But that doesn’t mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude’s funeral won’t change the rest of her life.

Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion, a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life, and a mother with Alzheimer’s residing in the local nursing home. She doesn’t really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That’s fine with Billy Lee, because he’s been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he’d never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies’ room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

St. Nick

 Mystery > Hard-Boiled

St. Nick

When Santa Claus is a cop, you better watch out.It’s not looking like a very merry Christmas for San Diego cop Nick Pappas. Suspended from his job, alienated from his family, and persecuted by the press, he’s sorely tempted to turn his gun on himself. Except for his first name, he couldn’t possibly have less in common with jolly old St. Nicholas. But when a local mall decides it needs a secret Santa to help collar some vicious muggers preying on its holiday shoppers, Nick’s persuaded to red-suit up so as to take the naughty punks down and avert a ho-ho homicide. For a chance to bust bad guys, Nick’s willing to deal with crying kids, pushy parents, and a chronically cheerful “elf” sidekick. But the biggest challenge for this cop-turned-Claus is one that would confound even the real Kris Kringle: making a pair of next-to-impossible Christmas wishes come true for two children in need…before it’s too late.

Taken, Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn)

 Romantic Comedy

Taken, Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn)

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ruth Cardello comes the steamy debut to the Lone Star Burn series.

Would-be writer Sarah Dery has just turned twenty-five and feels like her life is on hold. She’s done squat with her English degree and is just killing time working for her parents. So, when the opportunity to spend the summer working on a ranch in Texas comes her way, she jumps at the chance—figuring it might be just the jolt she needs to get her creative juices flowing.

Tony Carlton is a handsome and reclusive horse trainer with a tortured past and an eye for trouble, this time in the form of a naked blonde stranger he finds in his shower.

The wrong turn that led Sarah into the arms of this sexy, brooding cowboy turns out to be just what she needed to find her steamy inner voice, but will their connection be enough to break down Tony’s defenses?

The Scavenger’s Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters Book 1)

 Women’s Fiction

The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Book 1)

Having survived torture and imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs—Benfu’s work collecting trash. As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu—or possibly his band of headstrong daughters—must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.

Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.

The Tenth Cycle: A Thriller (A Rossler Foundation Mystery Book 1)

 Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Tenth Cycle: A Thriller (A Rossler Foundation Mystery Book 1)

For thousands of years the truth about human history has intentionally been suppressed and exploited.

For decades scholars have been saying that the truth about human history will be found inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, but up till now no one has ever been able to find it. Those who tried have been ridiculed and persecuted.

Will Daniel Rossler and Dr. Sarah Clarke be allowed to uncover the real and true message? As they come closer to the truth, skepticism out of the academic community is replaced by evil and malicious adversaries, dumping them into a very hostile world where violence, deceit and duplicity become their daily companions. The mysterious Orion Society with its deranged and psychopathic members, the CIA, the Marines, the Mossad and even the President of the United States become involved. Not all of them have good intentions.

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2

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