Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 16, 2011

Week ending December 16, 2011

Andrews, Vivi. Reawakening Eden. Samhain. 2011. 50p. eISBN 9781609286378. EPUB $4.50. POSTAPOCALYPTIC ROMANCE
Short and fast paced, Reawakening Eden is 50 pages of postapocalyptic dystopia with romantic overtones. After a virus wipes out over 99 percent of the world’s population, librarian Eden Fairfax gathers two orphan children and heads south from Alaska to search for a place where they can live more comfortably. They join a ragtag community in Seattle that turns out to be a religious cult. As Lucas and Hannah Rose are the only children whom anyone has seen alive since the epidemic, Eden’s appearance with them gives the cult leader the idea to use Eden as a new Eve to begin repopulating the earth. After barely escaping his clutches and fleeing to Idaho, they run into Connor Reed, a widowed former Army Ranger who offers them shelter. But Eden’s pursuers haven’t given up and are willing to do almost anything to get her back.
Verdict Owing to the brevity of this latest story by Andrews (Serengeti Sunrise), plot takes precedence over characterization, and everything is drawn in light pencil sketches. More depth would have served Eden and Connor’s intense romance better and expanded on the melancholy of a lost world.‚ Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI

Harte, Marie. Closing the Deal. Samhain. Jan. 2012. c.136p. eISBN 9781609287580. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Harte’s newest contemporary (after Enjoying the Show) features the second of the Warren brothers. Derrick Warren has it bad for Sydney Fields. He and the sexy realtor had one disastrous date, and though Sydney says she’s not interested in trying again, Derrick isn’t giving up. He’s so desperate that he enlists the help of his brothers and his therapist mother. With their advice in mind, he’s able to reconnect with Sydney. Once the connection is made, Derrick is sure that Sydney is the one, though Sydney isn’t so sure. Having experienced a chaotic childhood, Sydney doesn’t trust in ever-after. She’s willing to have a fling with Derrick, but anything more permanent is strictly off the table. As the couple maneuver, they realize that the sexual attraction between them may be more then either can resist.
Verdict Because this is a shorter ebook with strong sexual content, the author takes a few shortcuts in her characterizations (telling the reader rather then showing), but, for all that, the relationship is still nicely drawn. Fans of Lisa Marie Rice and Lauren Dane’s strong alpha heroes will find something to like here.‚ Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Lanyon, Josh & others. Men Under the Mistletoe. Carina: Harlequin. Dec. 2011. 297p. eISBN 9781426892745. EPUB $9.99. ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY/LGBT
Carina presents four novellas in this solid male/male anthology. In the bittersweet My True Love Gave to Me by Ava March (Convincing Leopold), a Regency buck returns to right a wrong choice made during a Christmas past, if only he can convince the man he loves to take him back. In the haunting Winter Knights by Harper Fox (Scrap Metal), a lonely Arthurian legend historian whose lover dumps him on Christmas Eve becomes lost during a snowstorm on a Northumberland moor and meets two sexy rescuers who share a steamy night with him and encourage him to follow his heart. In Lone Star by the award-winning Lanyon (Mummy Dearest), a talented ballet dancer comes back to his small hometown to settle his father’s estate and is rescued after a car crash by his first love, a handsome Texas Ranger, and given a second chance. And in The Christmas Proposition by K.A. Mitchell (Bad Boyfriend), a Christmas tree farmer who has lost his love for the season reunites with the millionaire who offered to show him the world.
Verdict Each title is available individually, but the anthology provides a more economical means of increasing a library’s ebook offerings. Recommended for collections where the authors, Christmas-themed novels, or M/M novels are popular.‚ Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Stacey, Shannon & others. Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection. Carina: Harlequin. Dec. 2011. 279p. eISBN 9781426892738. EPUB $9.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
In this holiday anthology, four contemporary romance authors bring happily ever after just in time for Christmas with stories of second chances. Alison Kent’s (At His Mercy) This Time Next Year is about an ex‚ army vet who has become the hermit doctor on the mountain in North Carolina and the stranded nurse on her way to visit her grandmother who gives him a second chance at rejoining the world and forgiving himself for the men he couldn’t save in Afghanistan. Jaci Burton’s (The Heart of a Killer) A Rare Gift is the tale of a younger sister who sees that the man her older sister threw away is just perfect for her, if only he’ll take a second chance at love. It’s Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon (The Big Guns) features two young lovers who need to give each other a second chance at compromise. She dreams of working for a big-city museum, he wants to stay in their small town, running his dad’s business. Lastly, in Mistletoe and Margaritas by Stacey (Yours To Keep), after being a widow for two years, a young woman starts seeing her best friend in a new light, unaware that he has loved her forever. A little Christmas spirit allows them to give in to what they’ve both been feeling. Can friends become lovers?
Verdict These holiday stories all feature strong heroines who know what they want. The sensuality level is high, but the stories are definitely about the happily ever after more than the sex.‚ Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC

Wilde, Lori. The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie. eISBN 9780062116949.
Wilde, Lori. The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Raylene. eISBN 9780062116963.
ea. vol: Avon Impulse. (Twilight, Texas). 2011. ePUB $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
The First Love Cookie Club has returned with a vengeance, bringing Christmas cookies to supplement the holiday festivities around the small town of Twilight, TX. In the first of two short stories, Carrie is taxed with preventing her ex-husband’s new reality show from debunking the Twilight legend of first love enduring when a penny is thrown into the town’s famous fountain. Meanwhile, stalwart Raylene is trying to figure out how to move on after her first love, Earl, left last Christmas. Thrown into the mix is Shannon, who gets more than she bargained for when she goes to confront her missing mother.
Verdict These are both fun titles that bring holiday cheer and hot romance to the hands of the reader. The town of Twilight and its quirky residents continue to shine in this duo, adding a nice depth to the engaging main characters. Any fan of Wilde (The First Love Cookie Club) will be attracted to these titles, especially with the bonus reappearance of beloved characters from earlier titles.‚ Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska‚ Fairbanks Lib.

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"