Romance Reviews | December 2013

DRIVEN TO DESPERATION? Genre fiction protagonists must have a goal, as otherwise there would be no story—or at least no story that would draw readers in and keep them turning the pages. However, not all romance heroes and heroines are equally goal driven, well, perhaps not at the outset anyway. Then again, others are desperate from the get-go, and this month’s column features a few who meet that requirement and even go a bit beyond.

warrior Romance Reviews | December 2013OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Austin, Lori. The Lone Warrior. Signet Eclipse. (Once Upon a Time in the West, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. c.336p. ISBN 9780451242327. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101635797. HISTORICAL romance

Rose Varner will do anything to find her three-year-old daughter, kidnapped by the Cheyenne. She will even venture alone into the deadly Smokey Hills in search of the only man who can help her, the elusive, mysterious White Ghost. Haunted, hunted, and wavering at the edges of reality, loner Luke Phelan would just as soon kill an intruder as not, but Rose is a surprise in more ways than one—and his ultimate salvation. ­VERDICT A fearless, persistent woman and a nearly broken man tormented by the past struggle against unbelievable odds to find healing, forgiveness, and belonging in this heart-wrenching, deeply complex tale that brings the stark beauty and brutal reality of the times into vivid focus through well-integrated historical detail and flawlessly refreshing prose. RITA Award winner Austin (An Outlaw in Wonderland) also writes under her own name, Lori Handeland; she lives in ­Wisconsin.

entity Romance Reviews | December 2013OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Devon, Cat. Love Your Entity. St. Martin’s Paperbacks. (Entity, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. c.336p. ISBN 9780312547813. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466837645. Paranormal romance

A gorgeous, stark-naked guy and a corset-clad ghost surprise Sierra Brennan when she walks in the front door of the vintage Chicago house she has just inherited from her great-uncle. But vampire Ronan McCoy has called this house home for years and is as set on remaining as Sierra is on his leaving. But the ghost, Ruby, tells Sierra that Ronan must stay or they will all die at the hands of the evil gangster ghost Hal, who killed Ruby during the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. VERDICT A fiction writer who sees ghosts, an alluring, century-old vampire intent on saving his sister’s soul, and a cadre of old and new characters make this latest addition to Devon’s creative series a perfect choice for those who like their vampire tales sexy, offbeat, and funny. The wonderful old Chicago ambience is a bonus. Devon (The Entity Within), an award-winning author who also writes contemporary romances as Cathie Linz, lives in the Chicago area.

heart Romance Reviews | December 2013OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Florand, Laura. The Chocolate Heart. Kensington. (Amour et Chocolat, Bk. 5). Dec. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780758286345. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 9780758286352. CONTEMPORARY romance

Taking the handsome head chef pâtissier for a bellboy, demanding he show you to your room, and then propositioning him is probably not the best way to meet the culinary icon whose restaurant is in the luxury hotel your controlling daddy gave you for Christmas. But when travel-weary Summer Corey does just that, Luc Leroi decides to teach her a lesson. VERDICT A Paris-hating, sweets-averse heroine who is not always as shallow as she seems and a self-controlled perfectionist hero who’s out to prove a point send the verbal darts flying in this smart story that is just the thing for Valentine’s Day. Chocolate, Paris, and a Greek god for a hero; this delectable confection has it all! World traveler Florand (The Chocolate Touch) now lives in Durham, NC.

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

A Little Bit Desperate?

Barnes, Sophie. The Scandal in Kissing an Heir. Avon. (At the Kingsborough Ball, Bk. 2). Jan. 2014. c.384p. ISBN 9780062245175. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062245106. HISTORICAL romance

Lohmann, Jennifer. A Promise for the Baby. Harlequin Superromance. (Milek Siblings, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. c.321p. ISBN 9780373718993. pap. $5.75; ebk. ISBN 9781460324547. CONTEMPORARY romance

OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013MacLean, Sarah. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. Avon. (Rules of Scoundrels, Bk. 3). Dec. 2013. c.400p. ISBN 9780062068545. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062065407. HISTORICAL romance

Or Not Quite Yet

Callihan, Kristen. Shadowdance. Forever: Grand Central. (Darkest London, Bk. 4). Dec. 2013. c.464p. ISBN 9781455520817. pap. $8; ebk. ISBN 9781455520824. PARANORMAL romance

OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Cooper, Isabel. Legend of the Highland Dragon. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Dec. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781402284670. pap. $6.99; ebk. ISBN 9781402284687. PARANORMAL romance

Kennedy, Kathryne. Everlasting Enchantment. Sourcebooks Casablanca. (Relics of Merlin, Bk. 4). Dec. 2013. c.284p. ISBN 9781402269912. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781402269929. PARANORMAL romance

OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Krentz, Jayne Ann. River Road. Putnam. Jan. 2014. c.352p. ISBN 9780399165122. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101620984. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Miller, Linda Lael. Big Sky Secrets. HQN: Harlequin. (Parable, Montana, Bk. 6). Jan. 2014. c.384p. ISBN 9780373778317. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460323762. CONTEMPORARY romance

OrangeReviewStar Romance Reviews | December 2013Morgan, Alexis. More Than a Touch. Signet Eclipse. (Snowberry Creek, Bk. 2). Jan. 2014. c.336p. ISBN 9780451417725. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101605752. Contemporary romance

Scott, Regina. The Wife Campaign. Love Inspired Historical: Harlequin. (Master Matchmakers, Bk. 2). Jan. 2014. c.290p. ISBN 9780373829927. pap. $5.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460323380. HISTORICAL romance

Terry, Candis. Sweetest Mistake. Avon. (Sweet, Texas, Bk. 2). Jan. 2014. c.384p. ISBN 9780062237248. pap. $5.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062237255. CONTEMPORARY romance

Thomas, Jodi & others. Boots Under Her Bed. Berkley. Jan. 2014. c.352p. ISBN 9780425267844. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101623176. HISTORICAL romance

Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers

Hart, Jillian & Janet Tronstad. Mail-Order Mistletoe Brides. Love Inspired Historical: Harlequin. Dec. 2013. c.288p. ISBN 9780373829910. pap. $5.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460323373. HISTORICAL romance

Miller, Julie. Yuletide Protector. Harlequin Intrigue. (Precinct: Task Force, Bk. 6). Dec. 2013. c.224p. ISBN 9780373697298. pap. $5.50; ebk. ISBN 9781460323106. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Second Time Around

Brockmann, Suzanne. No Ordinary Man. Severn House. Jan. 2014. c.256p. ISBN 9780727883360. $28.95. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Kelly, Carla. Miss Billings Treads the Boards. Camel. Dec. 2013. c.266p. ISBN 9781603819152. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603819169. REGENCY ROMANCE

Lowell, Elizabeth. Reckless Love. Severn House. Dec. 2013. c.256p. ISBN 9780727883162. $28.95. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

South, Sheri Cobb. The Weaver Takes a Wife. CreateSpace: Amazon. Jan. 2014. c.266p. ISBN 9781492261216. pap. $12.99. REGENCY ROMANCE

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About Kristin Ramsdell

Kristin Ramsdell is Librarian Emerita, California State University, East Bay. She is the author of the romance section of What Do I Read Next? A Reader's Guide to Current Genre Fiction (Gale, annual) and Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (Libraries Unlimited)

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