Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 20, 2012

Week ending January 20, 2012

Devon, Summer & Bonnie Dee. The Psychic and the Sleuth. Samhain. Jan. 2012. 237p. eISBN 9781609286972. EPUB $5.50. HISTORICAL PARANORMAL ROMANCE/LGBT
Inspector Robert Court has been unofficially demoted in the London police force for his inability to let go of the murder of his cousin Lily. A suspect was arrested and sent to the gallows for the crime, but Robert believes the wrong man was executed. Now, he is assigned undercover to investigate mediums and stop them from fleecing the gullible members of the ton. His latest investigation hits a snag when the medium, Oliver Marsh, connects with Lily’s spirit and mentions details only Lily, Robert, or the murderer could know. For his part, Oliver is horrified to discover that the psychic abilities he claims to have are real, especially since he relived the last moments of Lily’s life and her knowledge that she wasn’t the first victim. But if his gift is genuine, then he owes it to Lily to help her and her cousin find peace. His attraction to the determined inspector is a bonus. As the two men surreptitiously investigate Lily’s murder, they uncover evidence of a serial killer seeking his next victim.
Verdict The period detail and discussion of the Spiritualist movement evoke a sense of Victorian England, while our protagonists represent a departure for historical romance, wherein a wealthy lord would be the hero. The relationship between the men is portrayed unevenly as they go from barely speaking to light BDSM and back, until their emotions come more into play later in the novel. On the whole, though, a solid historical that will appeal to fans of the authors’ The Gentleman and the Rogue, which won the 2011 Passionate Plume Award for Historical Romance.‚ Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Knight, Julia. The Viking’s Sacrifice. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2012. NAp. eISBN 9781426892981. EPUB $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Wilda was the wild child of her village. She loved to walk barefoot along the shore, letting her hair tangle in the wind. Everything changed when the Vikings came and tore her world apart. Einar was a promising young warrior on his first raid when he witnessed the murder of Wilda’s mother, but he managed to keep the girl safe. After eight years, the heathens have returned to take over Wilda’s village, but this time they bring her back with them to the north to become a slave and to see how far Einar has fallen. Knight weaves an intricate tale particularly marked by her characters’ inability to communicate. It’s a bleak tale (to match the atmosphere of a Norse village), but the reader will sympathize with Wilda and Einar’s plight.
Verdict The novel could use a little comic relief, and the author switches point of view without warning. Still, overall, the story is compelling. An intricate historical romance that’s quite the tearjerker.‚ Emily Thompson, SUNY‚ Oswego

Reus, Katie. His Secret Past. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2012. c.173p. eISBN 9781426892943. EPUB $4.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Hunter Cassidy’s past has come back to haunt him…or has he come back to haunt it? Six years ago, Hunter left Alexis Baptiste behind, heartbroken and pregnant. Now, shortly before she is to marry, he returns out of the blue, bringing with him a flood of bittersweet memories. Determined to protect her and the son he never knew existed from his own secret past, Hunter must be careful about whom he trusts. A former DEA agent with ties to the CIA and drug cartels, Hunter has so much more to lose than he realized. And he won’t go down without a fight. Will Hunter reveal his need for Alexis despite his self-loathing? Will Alexis open her heart again to the man who broke it once before? The biggest question is, will they live long enough to answer the other questions?
Verdict Reus provides an action-packed story that keeps the adrenaline pumping. Whether the protagonists are dodging bullets or attempting to resist each other, the book keeps your heart racing. Reus keeps you guessing until the very end, with a conclusion that is both surprising and satisfying. Recommended for fans of Nora Roberts and those who love good romantic suspense.‚ Sonnet Ireland, Univ. of New Orleans Lib.

Sfetsos, Yolanda. Clash. Samhain. (Recast, Bk. 2). Jan. 2012. 184p. eISBN 9781609286873. EPUB $4.50. SF ROMANCE
In book two of Sfetsos’s thrilling Recast series, shape-shifter Ace Abu and his allies Colt and Brynn head toward the planet Fray to destroy the infamous Clash Arena, where slaves from all over the galaxy are forced to fight to the death for profit and sport. Ace is focused on his mission, but when he hears singer Ely’Shea in a local bar, he’s smitten‚ will she distract him from his goal of taking down the arena or become a salve to his wounded soul? Ely holds a lot of secrets‚ by night she’s a singer, but by day she’s a slave to Jenks Maine, the man responsible for the barbaric arena fights, and forced to serve as his personal assassin and right-hand woman. Yet when Ely sees Ace, sparks fly, and she starts to wonder: Could there be more to life than servitude?
Verdict Several sexy scenes, an interesting plot, and strong dialog make this a fun and compelling read. Recommended for casual sf and romance lovers.‚ Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Coll. Lib., Erie, PA

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. As an intuitive I was pleased to see a psychic portrayed in a positive light in “The Psychic and the Sleuth”