Week ending August 8, 2014
Adele, Danube. Dark Summer Dreams. Carina: Harlequin. (Dreamwalkers, Bk. 2). 2014. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781426898457. $3.99. NEW ADULT, SF/FANTASY ROMANCE
On a world other than Earth, the Sunan and Brausiian are embroiled in a bitter civil war. Shandria Langston, the only daughter of the leader of the Sunan, has been living in seclusion for the last 15 years with little interaction with others. Now Shandria has been tasked with saving the Brausiian king, who is scheduled for execution. Shandria does the impossible and breaks King Kraggon out from underneath the noses of the Sunan and gets him to safety. Kraggon, instead of appreciating Shandria’s sacrifice and heroism, takes her captive and holds her prisoner within his camp. However, the more time that Shandria and Kraggon spend together, the more drawn he is to her, wanting to keep her by his side rather than use her as a political pawn. As the attraction between them grows, so does the understanding that the forces at play within Sunan and Brausiian society must be stopped in order to return their world to peace and prosperity. Can Kraggon and his people overcome their dislike of all things Sunan and welcome Shandria as their future queen?
Verdict Book 2 of Adele’s “Dreamwalkers” series (after Quicksilver Dreams) shows naïve, sheltered, and timid Shandria that she can be strong, fearless, and forthright when she needs to protect herself and others, especially with a partner like Kraggon at her side. A great story about finding your inner strength, accepting others, overcoming preconceived prejudices, and fighting for justice.—Lisa Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., KS
Connolly, Lynne. Rogue in Red Velvet. Lyrical: Kensingon. (Emperors of London, Bk. 1). Aug. 2014. c.326p. ebk. ISBN 9781616505646. $2.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The last thing on Connie’s mind as she is cataloging her godfather’s ancient books is that she will catch the eye of a sexy aristocrat, especially since she is a widower already engaged to Dankworth. When the powerful Lord Ripley makes Connie’s acquaintance, he finds her to be charming and alluring, especially because she is the opposite of the young debutantes who chase him tirelessly. It quickly turns into a love match between the two, but there are quite a few obstacles tossed their way, including Connie’s diabolical fiancé, who sells Connie at a brothel. Lord Ripley is there to catch her when she falls, but will Connie be allowed to remain in polite aristocratic Georgian society?
Verdict The passionate side to this rags-to-riches romance is not bashfully told as Lord Ripley teaches Connie what lovemaking should be like. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced romance as well as the courageous main characters, who are honorable and easy to like, while the villain epitomizes evil. The subtle hints regarding the unresolved and suspenseful subplot are welcome teasers of things to come in the next “Emperors of London” novel.—Marie Burton, Rockwall, TX
Dee, Jess. Red Red Wine. Samhain. (Tastes of Seduction, Bk. 2). Aug. 2014. 165p. ebk. ISBN 9781619221826. $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Andrew has been banished to Hunter Valley for some much-needed relaxation. When he runs into Victoria in a vineyard parking lot, he begins to think the trip may have been a good idea after all. But Victoria is in the valley for her wedding—at least that was the plan. When left suddenly by her fiancé, Victoria thinks that Andrew—and a fair amount of wine—might provide an excellent distraction from her sorrows.
Verdict In a return to the Hunter Valley vineyard (Summer Wine), Dee (Office Affair) injects explicit heat into her most recent novel. Victoria and Andrew’s story isn’t exactly conventional, but in the end it works in the book’s favor.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash
Jamieson, Kelly. Reward of Three. Samhain. (Rule of Three, Bk. 3). 2014. 137p. ebk. ISBN 9781619222564. $4.50. EROTIC ROMANCE
Dag, Chris, and Kassidy are in a committed three-person relationship, living together and ready to take the next step: parenthood. In this final installment in Jamieson’s “Rule of Three” trilogy, fans will once again be faced with the trials and tribulations that swirl around this threesome. Dag is being pulled away with work demands, Kassidy struggles with pregnancy, and Chris is still seeking the approval of his parents. Forced to confront their splintering relationship, the trio must learn to overcome fear and doubt to build the family that they so desperately desire.
Verdict Fans of Jamieson will not be disappointed with the last title in the series: plenty of hot bedroom scenes leave nothing to the imagination! Get ready to dive back into the realm of polyamorous relationships, where Chris, Dag, and Kassidy create a new modern-day family unit. Be forewarned: this family keep things hot and very explicit!—Judy Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA
LeCoeur, Ursula. The Willing Widow. Royal Street. (Love in New Orleans, Bk. 1). 2014. 298p. ebk. ISBN 9781496103666. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Full of rich historical detail, The Willing Widow offers a glimpse of life in New Orleans in the 1880s. Renee Deselle is a widow, somewhat free of the social constraints of the time. She is a milliner with her own fashionable business. When the dashing William Collins, newly arrived from Ireland to join his family’s cotton brokerage, enters her shop, they face an instant attraction. Yet their love is thwarted by social strictures. Madame Soniat, Renee’s former mother-in-law, hates Renee and has been slandering her reputation. Based on a misunderstanding, Renee becomes convinced that William is a rogue. As if that were not enough, William becomes involved in a dangerous investigation of fraud at the Cotton Exposition. As Renee and William struggle to overcome the barriers to their happiness, both their lives are threatened.
Verdict This debut romance with a mystery element makes for a compelling read from mother/daughter writing team LeCoeur. Renee’s widowhood allows for believable and well-detailed sexual escapades within the historical context, and her status as an independent business owner underlines the restrictive plight of women of the time period.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA
Rose, Katie. Bring on the Heat. Loveswept: Random. (Boys of Summer, Bk. 1). Sept. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780553390476. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Darcy Hamilton is a struggling writer who pays her bills by house-sitting for socialite Lydia Logan. When Lydia jets off to Dubai, she offers Darcy the chance to attend a charity function in her place. Darcy objects until she learns that Chase Westbrook and other members of the New Jersey Sonics baseball team will attend. She’s been a fan of the game since childhood. With his dark hair and young, athletic body, Chase has earned the attention of the press and elite. He’s been around enough to know Lydia’s wild-child reputation and is surprised by her shyness when they meet at the fundraiser. A pair of lost earrings leads to a dance between Chase and “Lydia” that he can’t resist, particularly since her kindness and compassion contrast with her supposedly selfish nature. Darcy knows once she gets those earrings back, Chase will surely dump her. That’s what Lydia would do. Can Darcy keep up the charade, or risk it all for a possible home run at love?
Verdict Although Rose, in her first contemporary novel, taps into a commonly used story line of mistaken identity, it works here. The plot is believable, and, by the way, this story sizzles! Lots of hot yumminess to brighten any summer night.—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA