Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, April 20, 2012

Week ending April 20, 2012

Bachar, Robyn. Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered. Samhain. (Bad Witch). 2012. NAp. eISBN 9781609289638. EPUB $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Catherine is having a very stressful month. She’s a fairy-blooded witch dealing with a challenge to her newly appointed title as Tatiana while trying to discover who or what is responsible for a string of murders and disappearances in the paranormal community. An unwanted bond with a vampire is wreaking havoc on her new marriage to her soul mate, Lex. Unfortunately for Catherine, sexual dreams about the vampire are much hotter than anything she gets up to with Lex. Bachar’s book is steeped in pop culture references with a distinct sense of humor that, while resonating with some readers, will quickly date the story. As this is the second in the Bad Witch series (Blood, Smoke and Mirrors), an included extensive glossary is absolutely necessary to provide background on this alternate universe, which features just about every possible supernatural being, including demons and dragons. A list of characters would have been helpful as well, as the extended and overlapping alliances are difficult to keep straight.
Verdict A confusing plot, lack of sexual chemistry, and cardboard characters make this a hard sell, especially in light of the burgeoning paranormal ebook market.‚ Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI

Donovan, Kate. Carried Away. Samhain. (Happily Ever After Company, Bk. 2). 2012. c.320p. eISBN 9781619210127. EPUB $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Erica Lane is engaged to Jack Ryerson. Though she loves Jack, she has two worries. The first is that he seems to have given up any thought of romance as soon as the engagement became official. Second, she wants her friend Sarah to be as happy as she thinks she is. Erica tries to solve both problems with a matchmaking scheme designed to find a husband for Sarah (Capt. Daniel McCullum) and elicit passionate jealousy in Jack. Soon Erica is journeying to an island paradise to meet Daniel‚ who may cause her to question everything she thought she knew about herself. Samhain is reissuing out-of-print romances as ebooks under its new Retro line. Carried Away is book two in Donovan’s loosely connected Happily Ever After Company series (the connection being the titular matchmaking firm).
Verdict Though the historical part of this romance is pretty sketchy, the characters are fully developed and charming. Readers of lighter historical romance (e.g., Julia Quinn, Kasey Michaels) who want something other then Regency England will find this appealing.‚ Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Gold, Robin. Once Upon a List. Avon Impulse. May 2012. c.267p. eISBN 9780062193711. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Gold’s (The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12) endearing protagonist Clara Black has lost her fiancé, Sebastian, in an accident just weeks before their wedding. Her depressed demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed, but neither her brother, her mother, nor her best friend can help. On a trip home to the Chicago suburbs, Clara finds a time capsule from grade school sent by her former teacher. Among other mementos, the capsule contains a list of all the things she hoped to achieve by the time she was 35, which is only a few months away. Setting out to complete one of the items on the list brings Clara to old high school friend Lincoln, who becomes a surprising but welcome comfort. Afraid that she will forget Sebastian, Clara has second thoughts about taking the romantic plunge with Lincoln and wonders if she will ever be able to find happiness again.
Verdict Absolutely charming and punctuated with humor at just the right moments, this book will have readers pulling for the sympathetic Clara as she attempts to triumph in the midst of unbearable loss. This light contemporary will satisfy fans of Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber.‚ Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

starred review starKnox, Ruthie. About Last Night. Loveswept: Random. Jun. 2012. 216p. eISBN 9780345535160. EPUB $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Mary Catherine Talarico has been Good Cath for two years, and her hard work has paid off. She’s managed to wangle her way into a temporary job as assistant to a curator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As much as she loves her job, Cath has no social life. She’s afraid one slip might lead to her former Bad Cath habit of falling in love with the wrong men. Then one disastrous blind date leaves Cath drunk at a bus stop and rescued by City, one of her fellow commuters, a handsome man who always wears beautiful, bespoke city suits. He’s also a man Cath has fantasized about but never spoken to. Drunk Bad Cath goes home with City (really Nev Chamberlain) for an absolutely glorious one-night stand. When Cath awakens, she realizes she has made one of Bad Cath’s famous mistakes. But was it really a mistake after all?
Verdict Knox (Ride with Me) has written a terrifically warm and funny contemporary romance using the classic sex into love theme with excellent results. Cath and Nev seem like they might not have anything in common, but, of course, they do. Watching them figure out what they need from each other is half the fun. Highly recommended for lovers of contemporary romance and chick lit.‚ Marlene Harris, Reading Reality LLC

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"