Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, November 18, 2011

Week ending November 18, 2011

Anderson, Toni. Edge of Survival. Carina: Harlequin. Nov. 2011. NAp. eISBN 9781426892639. EPUB $5.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Dr. Cameran Young is out to prove herself as a research scientist in a remote Canadian mining camp full of secrets. Not only is she a woman in a male-dominated world, she also struggles with a chronic disease. Helicopter pilot Daniel Fox is a former SAS officer whose last mission resulted in a disgraceful dismissal from the service. He just wants to forget who he is. When Cam stumbles across the body of a prostitute in the restroom of the outpost’s bar, she and Daniel are thrown together in a somewhat predictable thriller. A focus on Cam’s straightforward and detailed approach to managing her diabetes creates an unusually realistic character. Daniel’s alcohol dependency makes him an interesting, flawed hero. Side plots of ecoterrorism and the plight of aboriginal peoples combine with alternating points of view to keep the action moving. Supporting characters, including the police investigating the murder, are fairly well developed.
Verdict At the core of the story is Cam’s belief in herself and her determination to be independent without compromising her health. This very interesting tack gives the book a bit more substance than one would expect from a romantic thriller.‚ Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI

Grace, Sable. Before the Fall: A Dark Breed Novella. Avon Impulse. Nov. 2011. 98p. eISBN 9780062117588. EPUB $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Zach Merchant has been living a mortal life in Florida since his retirement from the Order of Ancients. After ten years, he is pulled back into service as the gates of the underworld are opening and all of humankind will have to battle for survival against the Dark Breed. The one person Zach refuses to leave in danger is Shanna, even though she left him months ago owing to his insistence that monsters were real. With Vampyres and Lychens afoot, Zach and Shanna will have to face many monsters to escape Key West and get to the Order’s headquarters alive before all hell breaks loose.
Verdict In this prequel to the Dark Breed series (Ascension; Bedeviled), Grace (the writing team of Heather Waters and Laura Barone) crafts a fast-paced story with some interesting characters. However, owing to its brevity and a glaring typo (R.L. Stein?), invest only if you are purchasing the rest of the series and have devoted urban fantasy readers.‚ Kristi Chadwick, C/W MARS Network, MA

Meyers, Barbara. A Forever Kind of Guy. Samhain. (Braddock Brotherhood, Bk. 2). 2011; 388p. eISBN 9781609286781. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Ray Braddock and Hayley Christopher are on the rebound and rebuilding their lives near Jacksonville, FL, where they both attended Jannings High School nearly 15 years ago. Ray is the owner of the apartment where Hayley lives with her four-year-old nephew, Fletcher, who is waiting for permanent placement with an adoptive family after the death of his mother from a heroin overdose. Hayley is recouping from her public divorce from an NFL star quarterback, and Ray is grieving the death of his wife and child. Reminders of Ray’s and Hayley’s pasts seem to show up with each knock on their apartment doors. A few sensuous sex scenes build the romantic tension between these two hesitant lovers.
Verdict Meyers (A Month from Miami) offers a solid plot that is, unfortunately, bogged down by Ray’s and Hayley’s rambling thoughts as they separately try to determine if they are right for each other. Still, several subplots, twists, and humor support the main story and maintain reader interest.‚ Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Rogers, Moira. Demon Bait. Samhain. (Children of the Undying, Bk. 1). Dec. 2011. 242Kb. eISBN 9781609285548. EPUB $3.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Rogers is the pen name for a prolific romance writing duo (Some Like It Haunted; Cipher) who were early adopters of the ebook format. This first in their Children of the Undying series is described on the authors’ website (www.moirarogers.com) as postapocalyptic paranormal romance. Bait is set in a United States plagued by demons, with most humans underground living safe‚ thanks to technology‚ but circumscribed lives. The underground Marci works with antidemon electronics. Gabe, the outsider, lives adventurously up top. Thrown together when Gabe needs to visit Marci’s lab and a lockdown occurs, they subsequently escape and passion and adventures ensue. The title phrase is a graffito in a virtual reality and refers to the protagonists’ magical traits revealed during these adventures. The review PDF defaulted to a very small font on the Amazon Kindle 3G, which could be a function of the file, however, and not of a subscribed edition.
Verdict Effectively advancing the active plot almost entirely through dialog, this fast-paced future-setting romance is an engaging and quick read for lovers of romance, sf, and vampire stories.‚ Sara Tompson, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles

Woods, Serenity. White-Hot Christmas. Samhain. Nov. 2011. 244p. eISBN 9781609285869. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Merle Cameron comes to New Zealand for Christmas to get away from it all. For two weeks, all she wants to do is visit her sister Bree and temporarily escape from her responsibilities as a university lecturer and as her manipulative mother’s emotional prop. She isn’t planning on a holiday fling, until she meets hunky firefighter and surfer Neon Carter and is very attracted. Merle thinks Neon couldn’t possibly be interested in her and assumes they have nothing in common. Also, she just doesn’t do one-night stands. But Bree reminds her that what happens in Kiwi, stays in Kiwi, and bets Merle that she doesn’t have the nerve to ask Neon for sex. Neon thinks Merle is perfect; she’s only here for a couple of weeks, so she can’t nag him for commitment after the third date‚ like the women he usually meets. Then the one-nighter turns into a very special holiday fling, one that neither of them wants to end. But Merle must return to England on New Year’s Day. For Merle and Neon to have a future, first they have to admit how much they really feel.
Verdict This heartwarming holiday romance is for those who like their sex hot and their endings happy. The relationship between Merle and Neon starts out as a no-strings holiday affair, but when they unexpectedly fall into love, the story packs a surprising emotional wallop. Highly recommended.‚ Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC