E-Originals from Austin, Husk, Quarles, and Debuter Garland | Xpress Reviews

Week ending November 10, 2017

Austin, Winter. Liar, Liar. Crimson Romance: S. & S. (McIntire County, Bk. 4). Oct. 2017. 360p. ebk. ISBN 9781507206928. $4.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
This fourth entry in the “McIntire County” series (after Sins of the Father) brings FBI agent Liza Bartholomew back in town to close that one case she has been chasing her entire career. But as Liza grabs a coffee pulling into town, she finds out from the locals that her suspect is dead, so she checks in with Sheriff Shane Hamilton to find out more about it. Sparks start flying between the agent and the sheriff, and when bodies start piling up, it doesn’t take much to convince Liza the cases are intertwined. Jumping into this latest installment as a stand-alone can prove difficult as the previous characters and stories of McIntire County factor into the action.
Verdict An author who can pair romance and suspense without losing completely to either is a rarity. McIntire County is definitely a place to visit for fans of both genres, but readers might want to begin at the beginning.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, SILS, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Garland, Deborah. Must Love Fashion: The Second Time Was a Perfect Fit. Roane Pub. (Darling Cove, Vol. 1). Aug 2017. 275p. ebk. ISBN 9781974287710. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
[DEBUT] After her husband leaves her, Gwendolyn Mallory accepts her dream job as a public relations specialist at Prada in New York. There, she shares an office with former model and brand manager Andrew Morgan. Andrew is still recovering from the death of his wife, Cate. He also resents that part of his responsibilities have been taken away, but spitfire Gwen nevertheless seems to ignite his fuse and slowly wins him over. When they are both sent to Milan, sparks erupt. Their newfound romance is tested by a health scare for Gwendolyn and the intricacies of the high-fashion business world.
Verdict Enchanting characters and witty banter make this debut and first in a new series a sure bet. Recommend to fans of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.—Nanci Milone Hill, M.G. Parker Memorial Lib., Dracut, MA

Husk, Shona. Maid of Ice. Lyrical: Kensington. (Blood & Silver, Bk. 3). Nov. 2017. 201p. ebk. ISBN 9781516100408. $3.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Stuntman-turned-actor Finley Ryder is Albah, an ancient magical race. He takes his air manipulation power very casually until he has to use it to save his life while filming. Was the accident a setup to flush him out? While recovering in the hospital, he meets Alina Nyx, a silver-medalist figure skater having a life crisis. Does she really want to continue skating when her broken arm heals? The instant attraction between them sets off alarm bells for Finley, but Alina seems to be just whom she appears to be—until Finley recognizes the innate magical ability to control water Alina didn’t know was her birthright. Unfortunately for the pair, there’s more to family and blood than meets the eye when Albah and their ancient vampire counterparts are involved.
VERDICT Although this is the third book in the series, new readers will have no problem stepping into the near-normal world that Husk (Warrior of Fire) has built. Smooth and suspenseful, with just enough sexual tension, this should appeal to those who enjoy their paranormal with a decent plot.—Charli Osborne, Oak Park P.L., MI

Quarles, Angela. Risking It. Unsealed Room. (Stolen Moments, Bk. 2). Nov. 2017. 160p. ebk. ISBN 9780996946025. 99ٕ¢. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jane is your stereotypical librarian: shy, easily embarrassed, and with a preference for books over social events. Her best friend Claire has created for her a scavenger hunt/road trip to some of the strangest places between Sarasota, FL, and Atlanta to distract Jane from the flirt she is trying to get over. Aiden is running late for his hurling team’s flight to Atlanta when a condenser at his bar breaks. Not only does he miss his flight, but the truck he borrows conks out a few miles outside of town. Luckily, Jane, the cute librarian who had set something on fire in his parking lot earlier that day, just happens to pass by and offers him a ride. That is, if he doesn’t mind a few stops along the way. So begins a journey filled with Vikings, dinosaurs, and a tinfoil castle. When the two aren’t taking selfies at kooky tourist traps, they find the start of something real growing as the miles pass.
Verdict Quarles (Earning It) offers the reader another story about her hunky hurling team, though the romance blossoms this time during a scavenger hunt. Unfortunately, most of the stops don’t feel as integrated as they could be.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

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