Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 2, 2011

Week ending December 2, 2011

D’Arc, Bianca. Hidden Talent. Samhain. (StarLords, Bk. 1). 2011. c.167p. eISBN 9781609286392. EPUB $5.50. SF ROMANCE
Jeri, a woman who fled her home planet to escape the grasps of the Wizards of Mithrak, is living her life almost completely unnoticed on the planet of Pantur as a horse tamer until she meets a visitor named Micah. Jeri’s unusual bond with the horses is intriguing to him, as are her warm heart and hard bodice. Micah and Jeri are thrown together by their animal magnetism and their Talent‚ a psi energy of the mind that not all people have. It is an honor and a blessing to have such power. Jeri is whisked away on Micah’s ship, the Circe, where she is thrown into a lifestyle of sex, war, and‚ with some luck‚ love. In the middle of all the chaos, Jeri finds her long-lost sister, Jana, but is it too late to save her from the enemy armada?
Verdict The explicit sexual escapade among Jeri, Micah, and various others is a titillating pleasure. If you are looking for soft-core porn meets Star Wars, then may the force be with you‚ over and over again‚ in this latest from D’Arc (Half Past Dead).‚ Leslie Jean Cerkoney, Elk Grove Village, IL

Haimowitz, Rachel & Aleksandr Voinov. Break and Enter. Samhain. (Red Cell, Bk. 1). Dec. 2011. 123p. eISBN 9781609285586. EPUB $3.50. PARANORMAL THRILLER/LGBT
Bear, a paramedic and technology geek, answers a call about an unconscious man and finds an imposing figure in black kitted out with tech and bioware so advanced it doesn’t register on his medical databases. When the patient rouses and mumbles that his name is Cyke then demands to be released against medical advice, Bear reluctantly agrees. When he keeps running into an increasingly battered Cyke, Bear offers to help this man he is attracted to and finds out that Cyke is a security expert with a Special Forces background, which is where he acquired the high-tech tools bonded to him. Cyke is a white-hat hacker who tests company security for a fee, and his current client at Sentinel Tech is trying to frame him for the break-ins he was hired to perform. Cyke needs Bear to repair his cybernetics, but he finds a kindred spirit in the paramedic and a partner he didn’t realize he needed.
Verdict The emphasis on technology and corporate security overshadows at times the developing relationship between the two men but does not detract from it; the plot skips around at first as it gains momentum. The open ending leaves room for a deeper relationship and more cyberthrills in future novels. For now, this title is recommended for comprehensive collections seeking more espionage and cyberthrillers.‚ Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Nicholas, Erin. Hotblooded. Samhain. 2011. c.275p. eISBN 9781609287511. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Hotblooded cover imageIn Honey Creek, the Donovan women have a reputation of being hot-blooded, especially when it comes to men who can fulfill their needs. No matter how much the community despises her, the widowed Brooke Donovan is taking over her husband’s medical practice to prove this Texas town wrong. But an aggressive sex drive is hard to quell when confronted with the alluring San Antonio doctor Jack Silver. Believing he is responsible for the death of Brooke’s husband, Jack hopes that the check he is intent on giving her will allow him to make amends. Brooke, however, will not take a handout from any man, as she is determined not to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Jack quickly learns that he has his work cut out for him when it comes to convincing feisty Brooke that she needs him not only in the bedroom but also in her heart.
Verdict Nicholas (Anything You Want) is adept at creating two enthralling characters hampered by their pasts yet driven by passion, and she infuses her romance with electrifying sex that will have readers who enjoy the sexually explicit seeking out more from this author.‚ Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Rowe, Julie. Icebound. Carina: Harlequin. 2011. NAp. eISBN 9781426892592. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Dr. Emilie Saunderson spends the winter in the harshest and most isolated environment on Earth, the South Pole, where she hopes to find peace following her husband’s unexpected death by completing the scientific work he started. This isn’t the first winter that Tom Wolinski has spent at the South Pole. He finds the isolation and constantly rotating staff of the station exactly what he needs to keep from forming any personal relationships. Owing to a past history of family violence, Tom is hesitant to get close to anyone for fear of hurting them. So, neither Emilie nor Tom is prepared for the irresistible and immediate pull of attraction and friendship they feel when they first meet. Forced to work closely together as commander and physician at the station, spending time together is unavoidable, though both Emilie and Tom try to ignore the attraction and sexual tension building between them. Are the harsh and intense conditions at the South Pole responsible for their feelings, or are they ready to set aside the past and reach out to each other for comfort, friendship, and love?
Verdict Icebound may keep you housebound as you won’t want to stop reading. There is enough meat to this story to keep you interested, while the love scenes will warm you up but not melt the ice, so to speak. You can’t go wrong with great characters, a little romance, a little comedy, and a little drama. Rowe brings it all.‚ Lisa M. Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., Spring Hill, KS

Terry, Candis. Any Given Christmas: A Sugar Shack Novel. Avon Impulse. Dec. 2011. c.240p. eISBN 9780062105233. EPUB $11.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This second entry in Terry’s Sugar Shack series brings injured NFL player Dean Silverthorne (brother to Kate from Second Chance at the Sugar Shack) back home to Deer Lick to visit and recuperate. Even though he has an instant attraction to schoolteacher Emma Hart, and they spend a steamy night together, Emma knows he’s not the man she wants. He’s gorgeous and kind but also ambitious and commitment-phobic. As much as she likes him, she wants a husband, her own home, and babies. Additionally, she never wants to leave Deer Lick. So Emma spends most of the novel trying to stay away from Dean.
Verdict It’s a timeless plot. Confused man with a heart of gold finds his way with the help of a good woman and discovers true love. And, of course, love helps him to see the real purpose in his life. Terry throws in some interesting background characters, humor, and hot, steamy sex to give romance readers a fun cat-and-mouse game filled with lovable townspeople, descriptions of luscious pastries, and the inevitable but satisfying happy ending. Return to the Sugar Shack is scheduled for spring 2012.‚ Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI