Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 23, 2011

Week ending December 23, 2011

Cornwall, Lecia. All the Pleasures of the Season. Avon Impulse. Dec. 2011. 340KB. eISBN 9780062121417. EPUB $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
This Regency romance from fledgling author Cornwall (Secrets of a Proper Countess) is perfect for the holiday season. Lady Miranda Archer has foolishly agreed to marry Lord Anthony Stanwood, Earl of Kelton. Miranda envisions a beautiful Christmas wedding at her grandfather’s lavish estate. Kelton is a good match, and he is handsome, but he doesn’t love Miranda and is a rake and a scoundrel to boot. Kelton shows his true colors when he steals Miranda’s jewels and starts a flagrant affair with a rich widow. To the reader’s relief, Miranda promptly realizes her mistake and dissolves the engagement. Luckily, Gilbert Fielding, a poor second son, loves Miranda for herself rather than her jewels. Even luckier is Gilbert’s ability to convince Miranda’s grandfather the powerful Duke of Carrington of the sincerity of his intentions.
Verdict The gradual and steady buildup to a warm-hearted though somewhat predictable conclusion creates a nice holiday glow. The romance evolves slowly but catches fire after the wedding of these star-crossed lovers. Sure to ring in the Christmas cheer for fans of Regency romance.‚ Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA

Duncan, Nikki. Tangled in Tulle. Samhain. (Tulle & Tulips, Bk. 1). Dec. 2011. 104p. eISBN 9781609285937. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lori and Trevor met under the most unusual circumstances. In order to make extra money, Lori signed up to be an undercover government agent. Trevor is a high-power businessman. They became acquainted when Trevor paid for Lori’s escort services, and they found themselves attracted to each other. Then Lori’s job almost gets Trevor killed. Lori desires to escape her past and live free of shadows and fear. Now her dream job as a wedding planner and the need for capital takes her to back to Trevor, the one person who can help her this time, too. Trevor will agree to her proposal only if he is made a partner and if Lori will help plan his wedding. But the past is a powerful deterrent for Lori.
Verdict Duncan (e.g., Sensory Ops; Scent of Persuasion) is known for her romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and now contemporary romance. Tangled is a predictable read, featuring hot sex, a balloon-toting rat, and a man willing to do whatever it takes to be with the woman he loves.‚ Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. Lib., Amelia, OH

Maguire, Meg. Headstrong. Samhain. Dec. 2011. c.388p. eISBN 9781609286774. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This newest novel by Maguire (Reluctant Nude) tells the story of Libby Prentiss, who has traveled halfway across the globe to New Zealand hoping to escape the clutches of her overbearing/overprotective father. Soon after her arrival, however, Libby discovers Reece Nolan, the hunky amateur detective her father hired in an attempt to keep tabs on her. Libby then sets her sights on romancing her stalker and employing him as a double agent. Libby is welcomed into the Nolan family fold, finding a true best friend in Reece’s brother Colin. Libby finds herself questioning which Nolan brother truly holds the key to her heart.
Verdict The pretend makeout parties between Libby and Reece are scarcely believable‚ making for a contrived love triangle. Fans of Maguire’s previous works may be interested, but this is not a great entry for other readers to this author’s work.‚ Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead.

Rainey, Anne. Sam’s Promise. Samhain. (Blackwater, Bk. 1). Dec. 2011. NAp. eISBN 9781609287788. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sam’s Promise introduces us to the likable Sam Jennings and his four brothers, who return to their childhood home to share Thanksgiving with their mother. Over dinner, Wanda introduces her sons to Julie, a waitress who has been helping her at the family business, the Blackwater Diner. After Wanda is rushed to the hospital with chest pains, Sam is surprised by his strong desire for the innocent waitress. Julie, too, is drawn to Wanda’s dangerous son, and together they fall into each other with the hot and heavy passion of newfound love.
Verdict This is a simple love story between a lonely, shy waitress and the hunky carpenter who sets out to win her heart. With both Sam and Julie scared of the attraction, will they risk their hearts to be together? As Sam tutors Julie in the art of lovemaking, this first entry in the Blackwater series by Rainey (A Diamond at Midnight) heats up, making this the perfect romance to chase away the winter blues.‚ Judy Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

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"


  1. Anne Rainey says:

    Thanks for such a terrific review!! I’ve posted it to Facebook and Twitter. :-) Happy Holidays!