Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 6, 2012

Week ending January 6, 2012

Andrews, Vivi. Ghosts of Boyfriends Past. Samhain. Jan. 2012. 180p. eISBN 9781609285647. EPUB $4.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
It’s the off-season on Parish Island, and hunky journalist Mark Ellison is looking to bag the story behind the resident Black Widow, Elizabeth Biz Marks. As a witch and the resident matchmaker, Biz knows a lot about love, but when she cast a love spell on herself three years ago, she inadvertently cursed herself as well. Every man she falls in love with is tragically killed on Valentine’s Day, and their ghosts haunt her home. But when Mark enters her life and sparks start to fly, she knows that without the elusive counterspell, they can’t fall in love or he’ll die‚ but how long can she resist his charms? Andrews (Shifting Dreams; The Sexorcist; Serengeti Shifters series) offers her readers a charming paranormal love story with an interesting plot, likable characters, and cleverly written, humorous dialog.
Verdict Paranormal fans and romance lovers will love this playful story; its light sexual content yet heavy emotional substance provides a delightful, satisfying read.‚ Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Coll. Lib., Erie, PA

Dare, Tessa. Once Upon a Winter’s Eve: A Spindle Cove Novella. Samhain. 2011. 112p. eISBN 9781609288822. EPUB 99¬¢. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
It’s Christmas in Spindle Cove, a seaside village epithetically referred to as Spinster Cove that serves as refuge for young women who are ill, awkward, unconventional, or‚Ķscandalous. Quiet and reserved Violet Winterbottom is heartbroken over her past love, the Disappointment, and has come to heal among the other resident wallflowers, now gathered at the officer’s ball in December 1813. Suddenly, the assemblage is disturbed by the appearance of a wounded, wet, and muddy man, speaking a language no one understands, who collapses at Violet’s feet. Violet is versed in many tongues and is asked by the commander of the militia to find out what is going on. Violet is able to translate the stranger’s words as he continues to hold on to her for dear life. But something about him is all too familiar.
Verdict This novella reprises the setting and characters of Dare’s Spindle Cove launch (A Night to Surrender) and is a fun and easy read, with many clues and personae to follow. Though having read the first book is not a necessity, it might bring more depth to this delightful series offshoot.‚ Norah Xiao, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles

Jane, Missy. Day Shift. Samhain. 2011. 339KB. eISBN 9781609286941. EPUB $4.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This intriguing paranormal romance starts out well, taking place in a True Blood‚ inspired universe with synthetic blood and an uneasy truce between vampires and humans. Day is night and night is day in a world where the sun is hot enough to cause immediate burns. Heroine Zaria is caught up in an increasingly bizarre murder investigation of vampires sucking humans dry. Her intended romantic partner is a good-hearted but crooked vampire cop. The murders are related to the machinations of Zaria’s comics-writing ex-husband re-creating comic book scenes in real life. This seeming allusion to the TV series Heroes does not really work, and the promising beginning is quickly eclipsed by the numerous awkward plot twists. The romance between Zaria and the cop develops very gradually and never gets much beyond a kiss. Colorful descriptions of the Huntsville, TX, area and the immense statue of Sam Houston as an attempt to ground the plot are ultimately unsuccessful.
Verdict A contradiction in terms, this is a violent, somewhat suspenseful, vampire cozy romance. Might be appropriate for die-hard fans of the genre but ultimately a frustrating read.‚ Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA

Johns, Rachael. One Perfect Night. Carina: Harlequin. 2011. 170p. eISBN 9781426892912. EPUB $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Johns is an active member of Romance Writers of Australia and has finaled and placed in a number of romance writing contests. Her first novel, One Perfect Night, is a warm, heartfelt story about two people who are strongly attracted to each other, but the past often stops them from doing what their hearts desire. Peppa Grant is the children’s entertainment at the annual office party. Her boss, Cameron McCormac, is drop-dead gorgeous but cold and aloof and uncomfortable when it comes to the holidays. In her hurry to get to the employee Christmas party, Peppa sideswipes her sexy boss’s expensive car. When she tells him about the accident, he offers to forgive the damage in exchange for her accompanying him to his family’s holiday get-together. While their mutual attraction is instant and undeniable, they both want different things. Peppa wants love and a family, while Cameron wants temporary pleasure. A serious twist changes their future relationship forever.
Verdict Featuring hot, steamy sex, the story takes place in Australia and is filled with local slang, though that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. A promising debut.‚ Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. Lib., Amelia, OH

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"