E-Originals from Flynn, Russell, and Uhl | Xpress Reviews

Week ending April 7, 2017

starred review starFlynn, Sara. Solace Island. Sweetberry. (Solace, Bk. 1). May 2017. 292p. ebk. ISBN 9780995811812. $3.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
solaceisland040717After learning of her ex-fiancé’s infidelities, a three-week vacation to Solace Island with her sister Eve is exactly what Maggie Harris needs. Unsure of how to find the cottage at night in the wooded Pacific Northwest, she pulls in to a neighboring driveway until daylight and runs into the owner, sexy Luke Benson. She’s wearing red long johns—not the greatest first impression. Eve and Maggie next see Luke, a baker, selling his bread at the Saturday market, and Eve decides to set them up on a date. Everything is going so well that Maggie considers Eve’s idea to make Solace Island their permanent residence—that is, until a car tries to mow them down on the sidewalk. Luke, a former military man and also a securities specialist, goes into protection mode to save the woman he has fallen for before it’s too late.
Verdict This fetching debut from Flynn (pseudonym for actress/author Meg Tilly; Gemma) sets up a satisfying romance in a cozy, small-town setting. The sex scenes sizzle, and an unexpected suspect raises the tension.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Russell, Charlotte. Beholden: A Regency Romance. Boroughs. Apr. 2017. 215p. ebk. ISBN 9781944262570. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Regretting his rash marriage to Eleanor Dryden, Lord Lexden exiled his wife and son to his country estate. It is now six years later, and Lex is bent on destroying the Drummond family, who betrayed him and his father. To do so, Lex must gain the approval of visiting Americans to seal a business deal, and so he orders Eleanor back to London and to pretend their marriage is one of bliss. After Lex threatens to take their son, Henry, away from her, Eleanor brings the child with her to town and reluctantly plays hostess. Eventually, Lex and Eleanor find that their sexual attraction is enough to overrule past wrongs and bridge misunderstandings. Russell (One Wicked Weekend) incorporates convincing historic detail accurate to the tumultuous start of the War of 1812. Less convincing is the passion between Lex and Eleanor, which strongly conflicts with Lex’s menacing behavior toward his wife and others, which overshadows much of the book. In the end, secondary characters and familiar romance tropes drive the plot forward, bringing about a predictable happy ever after.
Verdict Readers who enjoy love-hate relationships or who like their romances tied up neat and tidy may take to Beholden, but others will want to pass.—Eve Stano, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, IL

Uhl, Amanda. Charmed by Charlie. Boroughs. Apr. 2017. 159p. ebk. ISBN 9781944262655. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
It’s been two years since Valerie Wilson walked in on her fiancé and her best friend in a compromising position, and she’s finally feeling like she has her life back on track. She has a great job with a promotion on the horizon and a soon-to-be fiancé who is steady as a rock, is a great cook, is opening his own business, and has a solid relationship with his family. Then Charming Charlie appears on the scene. Charlie Solanger is a golden boy in all respects. He’s a creative genius who flits from company to company helping them out of difficult spots with his creative flair. He’s also fair of face and form, is from a wealthy family, and has a magnetic personality. Val wants nothing to do with Charlie and avoids even the slightest interactions. She has her safe fiancé and doesn’t need a playboy. Charlie can’t ignore the challenge and sets out to charm Val, the one woman who isn’t interested. Can Val resist Charlie? Can Charlie prove to Val that he’s not the typical ladies’ man and wants a real relationship with a real woman?
Verdict Uhl’s (Mind Waves) latest is a sweet and cozy romance with genuine feelings and experiences to be worked through and overcome. A lighthearted and engaging read.—Lisa Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., Overland Park, KS

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