Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 27, 2012

Week ending January 27, 2012

Husk, Shona. Brightwater Blood. Samhain. Feb.2012. c.88p. eISBN 9781609285791 EPUB. $3.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
As the last Were-lion of his bloodline, tracker Lachlan has a talent for finding difficult items. When he is tasked with locating two shamans suspected of murder, he cannot refuse. His mission is simple: track down the Brightwater sisters and report their whereabouts to Fendrake and the Shamanic Council. While he is successful in locating the witches, his animal instincts scream for him to eschew further investigation, but, to his detriment, Lachlan is hopelessly drawn to the witches’ home. When Dayna returns home to find her sister, Clarissa, lying dead with a lion standing over her body, she leaps to the obvious conclusion and quickly sets about capturing it with her magic and her gun. She is unprepared when her captive morphs into a man, but she is even more frightened by the information that he shares about her family’s history and their abuse of magic. While Dayna grapples with Lachlan’s news, he must work fast to secure his release from her trap before dark magic consumes them both.
Verdict In this brief novella, paranormal romance author Husk (The Goblin King) has crafted a tightly controlled story that is moderately paced and marginally interesting but left this reviewer underwhelmed.‚ Natasha Grant, New York

Jay, Emma. Off Limits. Samhain. Feb. 2012. c.126p. ISBN 9781609285784. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jay’s latest novella promises a bad-boy hero and lots of sex. It delivers on the sexual content but not much else. Zach Purser will have sex with just about anyone, and his best friend, Adam Clark, knows it. So when Zach starts eyeing Adam’s sister, Paige, he is very firmly warned off. But what Adam doesn’t know is that Paige has her eye on Zach. Paige Clark has had a crush on Zach since she was a teenager. Now that she’s grown, she’s determined to get his attention and make him see that he can be happy with just one woman‚ her.
Verdict Jay (Wild Wild Widow) certainly delivers on the strong sexual content, but the story, such as it is, suffers for it. Zach and Paige are pleasant enough protagonists, but the resolution to the conflict is rushed and unbelievable. Still, this is a quick, pretty easy read that might appeal to some readers.‚ Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Lynn, J.B. Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman. Avon Impulse. Feb. 2012. c.489p. ISBN 9780062134662. EPUB $6.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
The newest title by Lynn (The First Victim) in what appears to be the first in a very promising series brings us the story of Maggie Lee, the mob’s latest hit woman. As the tale begins, Maggie has just survived a car accident that killed her sister and brother-in-law and left her three-year-old niece, Katie, in a coma. Now, Maggie not only has to deal with a murdering father in prison, a mother in the looney bin, a no-end job as an insurance adjustor, and a best friend who claims she is clairvoyant, she also discovers she can talk to animals (making her think she is the next one headed to the funny farm). Meanwhile, Katie’s medical bills are becoming unmanageable (re: dead-end insurance adjustor job). What else is a girl to do but turn to a life of crime?
Verdict Fans of Kasey Michaels’s Maggie series will definitely enjoy this book as Lynn similarly and masterfully joins the genres of suspense and romance with a tale that is sure to please fans of both. Readers will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.‚ Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

starred review starMcLeod, Anitra Lynn. Runner. Samhain. (Fringe, Bk. 3). Jan. 2012. 253p. eISBN 9781609285623. EPUB $5.50. FUTURISTIC/SF ROMANCE
This third in the Fringe series (after Thief and Overlord) takes place in the same slightly dystopic future. The Fringe surrounds those planets ruled by the IWOG; the Inner World Government. This authoritarian system controls its citizens by encouraging rampant consumerism. Foster Nash is a bounty hunter and his innocent prey is Dr. Jynx Brennan. Jynx has been framed by the evil Roberts for spreading the Tyaa plague; Roberts also wants to control Jynx’s psionic ability. The excruciating sexual tension between Jynx the captive and Foster the captor builds to a fever pitch. Plentiful descriptions of explicit sex are artfully done with just a hint of a little bit of vanilla BDSM power play. The gently twisting plot brings the reader through a good bit of suspense where all seems lost but delivers the goods in a very satisfying way; evil is defeated, the world is saved, girl gets guy.
Verdict A solid and compelling sf world makes a great setting for this intense romance focusing on personal dynamics. Hits all the right notes.‚ Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA

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"