Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, April 13, 2012

Week ending April 13, 2012

Dane, Lauren. Beneath the Skin. Samhain. (de La Vega Cats, Bk. 3). Apr. 2012. c.209p. eISBN 9781619210523. EPUB $4.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Owing of the colorful history between their families, the Porters have kept a wide berth from the de La Vegas, the ruling family of their jamboree of Boston shape-shifting jaguars. As the Bringer, Gibson de La Vega is the baddest cat charged with maintaining order, but when he finds himself in trouble, it is Mia Porter who comes to his rescue. Feisty Mia is willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone daring enough to take her on, and while she rarely shows vulnerability, she cannot deny that Gibson’s inner cat speaks to her own on another level. When the pair team to find the rogue cats trying to harm them, Mia must trust Gibson to protect her while letting him know she just might be tough enough to take on the role of his mate.
Verdict With this third installment in the series, prolific author Dane (Trinity) stays true to her niche by shaping paranormal figures in modern settings. However, while the premise is promising, the story is uninspiring, lacking in descriptive detail and rife with undeveloped, wooden characters. Not recommended.‚ Natasha Grant, New York

starred review starPatrick, Denise. The Scarred Heart. Samhain. Apr. 2012. NAp. eISBN 9781609288730. EPUB $5.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Emma Laughlin believes she has left her tumultuous past behind, until she runs into her husband, Lionel Cantrell, Viscount Lanyon, at a dinner party. After fleeing his family’s home five years before, Emma and her son, Jamie, have built a new life. But Lion has been searching for his wife and son and demands to know why she ran away during his absence and left her baby daughter behind. Emma confesses to the cruelty that she endured at his brother’s hands and begs Lion to leave her alone. Lion, however, cannot forget the love he feels for his wife and will do anything to rebuild his shattered family. As the story of Emma’s history unfolds, we see the healing aspects of a love like Lion’s‚ a love both steadfast and strong‚ on the brokenhearted Emma.
Verdict This quick and satisfying Regency romance from Patrick (The Scarred Heir) is mired in pain and suffering, redemption and love‚ and all the complexities therein. Fans of Regencies will welcome this addition to the genre, as will anyone searching for a great historical love story.‚ Judy Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Soliman, Wendy. The Perfect Imposter. Carina: Harlequin. Apr. 2012. 244p. eISBN 9781426893544. EPUB $5.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Soliman (A Scandalous Proposition) sets her latest historical romance in early 19th-century London. Eager to escape her shadowy past, Katrina Sinclair is trying to build a name for herself as a dress designer in London but is hindered by her low station and the sketchy location of her shop. Her well-off, well-married childhood friend Julia asks a devious favor of Katrina. They look so similar, would Katrina pretend to be Julia at a week-long house party filled with Julia’s high-society friends and a few men from her checkered past. Katrina feels indebted to Julia for supporting her business. She gathers the spectacular wardrobe she designed for Julia and attends the party, with Julia’s scheming maid. All goes well until Julia’s dashing former fiancé arrives to investigate a series of jewel thefts; not far behind is Julia’s husband. Katrina also is being hunted by someone from her past. Can she make it through the week without being found out as an imposter?
Verdict This novel of intrigue and deception is low on the heat meter. When the full story is revealed to Katrina, she forgives a lifetime of deception a little too easily. The romance exists primarily in its possibility and less so in the execution, so sensitive readers need not fear. A well-imagined time period and a sturdy plot are, unfortunately, filled with flat characters. Purchase where ebook romance has long reserve lists.‚ Rebecca Stine, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT

Stone, Alison. Random Acts. Samhain. Apr. 2012. 185p. eISBN 9781609288242. EPUB $4.50. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Wrapped around this sweet but never saccharine story about second chances is a romantic suspense tale dealing with small-town drug trafficking, domestic violence, and what happens when a town’s protectors become its predators. Danielle Carson left Mayport in her rearview mirror for the life of an Atlanta attorney. Much as she loves her grandmother and her sister, visiting only brings back the pain of being the daughter of an alcoholic who abandoned her in a town where everyone not only knew her business but was waiting for her to turn out just like her mother. Her sister’s car accident brings her back to her family and to her past. But Jenny’s accident was no accident. She was working undercover for police officer Patrick Kingsley, Danielle’s girlhood crush all grown up. He got away once, but this might be their second chance, if Danielle can convince herself to stick around. And if they can figure out what really caused that accident. Nothing about this case is as simple as it seems.
Verdict This romance with a slightly inspirational flavor is recommended for readers who are looking for a sweet, clean romance that still packs an emotional punch. The suspense angle works, too. This reviewer caught the red-herring but didn’t uncover the real perpetrator until the very end. Well done, Stone.‚ Marlene Harris, Reading

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"