Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, February 10, 2012

Week ending February 10, 2012

Beecroft, Alex. Bomber’s Moon. Samhain. (Under the Hill, 1). Apr. 2012. 272p. eISBN 9781609287245. EPUB $5.50.
Beecroft, Alex. Dogfighters. Samhain. (Under the Hill, 2). May 2012. 212p. eISBN 9781609287252. EPUB $5.50. FANTASY, M/M ROMANCE
This two-part series begins with Bomber’s Moon, as Ben Chaudhry discovers elves riding through his backyard. He knows the police will assume he is mad if he reports the phenomenon, but calling in the Paranormal Defense Agency seems almost as crazy. The PDA is just a bunch of ghost-hunters, and leader Chris Gatrell’s expulsion from the RAF for insanity certainly does not inspire trust, even if the man is insanely sexy. Chris has had his own run-in with these elves‚ they shot down his World War II plane and then shot him 70 years into the future. As Chris and Ben grow closer, a warning of imminent danger appears in the image of Chris’s wartime sweetheart, Geoff. Trapped in Faerie, Geoff finds himself a pawn between two elven queens with different agendas. With feuding queens and war on the way, Chris realizes he needs not only to protect Ben but Earth itself.

As Dogfighters begins, Ben has been kidnapped by the faerie queen, only to discover that his past is inexorably entwined with her world, including a lover he cannot remember. Chris battles to find a way to bring Ben back and also to prove that Ben’s disappearance (and presumed murder) had nothing to do with him. Geoff also fights against his own capture and supposed prophecy, using the elves’ own dragons to do it. Now he just needs to figure out which elven queen is telling the truth and which one wants to take over Earth. When Chris gets his crew to help steal a bomber, he also raises his fallen wartime crew to help get through the portal to save the day, and Ben. However, there are always casualties in war, both in lives and in love.
Verdict From World War II to Faerie, ghosts to dragons, war to romance, there is a little bit of everything in these books. Beecroft (By Honor Betrayed) weaves together a wonderful pair of books with interesting characters and more than enough twists to keep the reader surprised until the end. The sexual encounters are mild, and the emotional encounters enhance the plot. Those who enjoy complex fantasy stories with nontraditional pairings will enjoy this ebook duo.‚ Kristi Chadwick, C/W MARS Network, MA

Matthews, Claire. An Unexpected Love. Samhain. Mar. 2012. c.69p. eISBN 9781609288723. EPUB $2.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In this short story romance from Matthews (O’Baby!; Making Summer Last), T&G investment analyst Lexi Watts spots an inebriated Jack Brogan at the bar next to their office. Jack, intoxicatingly handsome and oozing charm, is the type of guy who can seduce women with the snap of a finger, and Lexi is no exception, having crushed on Jack for years while they were both junior analysts. Jack practically falls over Lexi in his drunken state, yet a cab ride home leads to some passionate lovemaking and, before long, regular sex sessions. Lexi’s boss, Dan Yeager, isn’t pleased about the office romance to say the least. Lexi quickly tires of Jack when she learns there is not much behind the hunky façade. Despite his gruff demeanor, Dan may just genuinely care for Lexi. Is it possible that love might be right there under her nose?
Verdict The most obvious faults of this story are two-dimensional characters and an unoriginal plot. Still, Matthews’s honest writing shows promise, and readers can hope that she will improve.‚ Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Stevens, Shelli. Foreign Affair. Samhain. Feb. 2012. 672p. eISBN 9781609285579. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Assumptions, lies, secrets, and coincidences drive this story of 26-year-old Lena Richards, who is on a two-week bachelorette party in Europe with her fun-loving friend and struggling actress Stephanie. With their first stop in Amsterdam, the women meet Tyler Bentz, a fine-looking New York businessman. Stephanie is all about enjoying the scenery, including Tyler, while Lena plays the role of the bride-to-be who is finally marrying her high school sweetheart. Stephanie is called back to work to reshoot a few movie scenes while Lena continues her European trip. What starts as a vacation fling between Tyler and Lena in Amsterdam becomes a sizzling romp in Paris. As expected, the couple’s real lives get in the way of their vacation desires. This novel 2007 novel is now being released as an ebook.
Verdict Lena’s character struggles between being a smart-mouthed woman spouting off about periods, pantyhose, and pregnancy and an inexperienced girl whose dreary romantic life, up until this point, revolved around a man whom she began dating in high school. The plot is predictable, but the dynamic sex scenes between Tyler and Lena will keep readers turning the pages.‚ Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

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"