Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, February 17, 2012

Week ending February 17, 2012

Fenske, Tawna. Believe It or Not. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Mar. 2012. 361p. ISBN 9781402257186. pap. $6.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Accountant Violet McGinn isn’t looking forward to filling in for her clairvoyant mom, Moonbeam, when she lands in the hospital. It doesn’t help that Violet is distracted by the music coming from the bar next door. Drew Watson doesn’t like the term strip club, but that’s what everyone calls his place now that his ex-brother-in-law has taken over the entertainment, which features male strippers. Drew does like Moonbeam’s daughter, though. While she knows she is a fraud, Violet somehow manages to make a few on-target predictions. Does she really have psychic abilities, as Moonbeam has been telling her since she was a child, or does it have something to do with her yummy bar owner neighbor? Whatever happened to having a normal life?
Verdict Fenske’s sophomore effort (after Making Waves) is another riotous trip down funny bone lane, with a detour to slightly askew goings on and a quick u-ey to out-of-this-world romance. Readers will be enchanted by this bewitching fable from a wickedly wise author.‚ Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Willis, Connie. All About Emily. Subterranean. Feb. 2012. ISBN 9781596064522. $20. SF
Emily is a public relations machine‚ literally. Her raison d’√™tre is to convince humans that androids are no threat to them or their jobs. Emily’s visit to New York City’s famous attractions is a success‚ until her human resemblance goes too far. She dreams of becoming a Rockette and enlists the help of aging actress Claire Haviland to overcome her physique, her creator, and the forces that would ban her from the stage. This slight and charming fable is saved from schmaltz because its self-aware protagonist, Claire, follows her heart yet remains cognizant of both her own motivations and the potential future pitfalls of her actions. Ultimately, the story, like Emily, exposes its own machinations, and both succeed all the better for it.
Heavily larded with references to such classic films as All About Eve, Willis’s (Blackout; All Clear) novella is likely to appeal to theater and classic movie buffs as well as sf fans and those who simply like a brief, heartwarming tale that’s just bittersweet enough to believe in.‚ Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal

Woods, Sherryl. The Summer Garden. Mira: Harlequin. (Chesapeake Shores, Bk. 9). Feb. 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9780778313090. pap. $7.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Luke O’Brien has one thing on his mind: to bring a little bit of Ireland to Chesapeake Shores and make a success of his new Irish pub. But with the unexpected arrival in town of Moira Malone, the exasperating and unforgettable woman Luke fell for in Ireland last Christmas (An O’Brien Family Christmas), his life takes an unpredictable turn as he and Moira are forced to deal with their intense feelings for each other and struggle to reconcile them with their conflicting life goals. Myriad characters from previous stories lend support, sow discord, and provide a welcome sense of continuity as a persistent villainess does her worst, Moira and Luke fight for their dreams, and Nell O’Brien, the beloved family matriarch, finds her own romance with a long-ago love.
Verdict With sassy dialog, tender humor, and plenty of sparks, this delightful romp reunites more than one happy pair and blissfully marries off the last of the O’Brien adults in a sweetly touching story that could easily be the final book in Woods’s popular series. Still, there is another generation of O’Briens in the making, and if fans have their way, this won’t be their last visit to this charming bayside community.‚ Kristin Ramsdell, Libn. Emerita, California State Univ., East Bay

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"