E-Originals from Castrovilla, Hewitt, and Swift | Xpress Reviews

Week ending March 31, 2017

Castrovilla, Selene. Luna Rising. Last Syllable. Apr. 2017. 450p. ebk. ISBN 9780996430609. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Luna Lampanelli is in her late thirties when her marriage falls apart. She realizes that she will now be alone and can’t bear the idea (not least because her sex drive is certainly not dead). She sets out on a course to make up for lost time and find love and companionship. What follows is a series of relationships, hookups, and disastrous dates as she attempts to find if not the man of her dreams then one she can honestly care for and who will care for her as well. Would that be the ex–crack addict? The guy she met on Craigslist? Or the emotionally distant Troy? Luna has to kiss a lot of frogs before she finds out.
Verdict Castrovilla’s (Melt) portrayal of a woman who has to learn (or perhaps can’t learn) that being with someone just for the sake of being with someone isn’t a great goal is perhaps a bit too spot-on. The idea behind this fairly lengthy read is solid, but the book takes a long time for Luna to come to her realizations, and in the meantime it becomes increasingly hard for readers to root or care for her.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Hewitt, Kate. Find Me at Willoughby Close. Tule. (Willoughby Close, Bk. 3). Mar. 2017. 399p. ebk. ISBN 9781945879746. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
findmeatwilloughby033117Harriet Lang’s perfect world is shattered when her husband, Richard, reveals he lost his job six months prior and they are swiftly going through the family savings. The Lang family is, in short, broke. Harriet and her three children move to Willoughby Close to hold onto the remaining pieces of her life while Richard looks for work. But Willoughby Close isn’t as bad as she first thought, and she finds a peace that allows her to contemplate a different but better future for her children and herself. Hewitt’s (A Cotswold Christmas) third entry in the “Willoughby Close” series is a charming tale of how a perceived perfect world shatters to reveal a less perfect but more fulfilling life. The romance is a slow but realistic burn, with any steamy scenes happening off the page.
Verdict While it is not necessary to read the earlier books in the series, those characters make cameos, and Lady Stokeley’s mysterious life continues to intrigue. Overall, a lovely series set in the English countryside.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

Swift, Parker. Royal Disaster. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Royal Scandal, Bk. 2). Apr. 2017. 336p. ebk. ISBN 9781455598076. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Brooklyn-born and UK transplanted Lydia Bell has landed herself a duke—the Duke of Abingdon, to be exact. Dylan Hale is also a brilliant architect and regularly hobnobs with the Queen! But all of that power and prestige come with a steep price, as Lydia discovers as their private lives are splashed across London’s dailies. Fame and fortune ruined Dylan’s love life before—he knows the outside forces that will pull this new love apart. Explosive sexual heat keeps these lovers burning for each other, as Lydia finds herself in turmoil. Who is she to be with Dylan Hale? But then, who will she be without him?
Verdict While a steamy sequel to the “Royal Scandal” series (after Royal Affair), Royal Disaster continues the love story between Lydia and Dylan, two unlikely suitors who push the boundaries in the bedroom and become bound to each other, in more ways than one. A Fifty Shades story that explores fame, passion, and tradition, all set in the glittery world of royal society in London.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

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