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

Week ending April 6, 2012

Conn, Phoebe. Captive Heart. Samhain. 2012. eISBN 9781609289805. EPUB $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Celiese has been a slave since Vikings kidnapped her and gave her to Olgrethe. She never thought she would have a chance at love, so she is surprised to be offered as a bride to a neighboring group of Vikings. Celiese only has to pretend to be her mistress. Mylan was instantly taken with his pretty bride, until his enemies used their wedding as a means to invade his home. This battle sets their tumultuous, passive-aggressive relationship in motion. Though meticulously researched, the story, unfortunately, is marred by unlikable characters who behave inconsistently and spend most of their time bemoaning how the other misunderstands their motives.
Verdict Lots of adventure, but the characters make it difficult for the reader to get lost in the story.‚ Emily Thompson, SUNY‚ Oswego

Couper, Lexxie. Love’s Rhythm. Samhain. Apr. 2012. 182p. eISBN 9781609287023. EPUB $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Rock god Nick Blackthorne is finally back in the studio and recording music for the first time in two years. When an invitation arrives for a wedding, Nick realizes he still has some unfinished business‚ a simple apology for walking out on the woman he loved in exchange for fame. Lauren Robbins, a kindergarten teacher, is quite content with her laid-back lifestyle. After experiencing the harsh realities of dating a rock star, watching movies on the couch seems like bliss. When Nick returns unexpectedly, spouting apologies and declarations of love, Lauren is thrust back into the harsh media spotlight, with all her secrets on display.
Verdict Couper returns to Nick’s story (Tropical Sin in the Bandicoot Cove series) in her latest passion-filled novel. The characters may go from clothed to naked a bit faster than expected, but, overall, the story is sexy, charming, and fun. While the book holds up on its own, the reader will be better served by trying the earlier title first.‚ Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

Redford, Jodi. Breaking Bad. Samhain. (Midnight Justice). May 2012. 131p. eISBN 9781619210271. EPUB $3.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In the latest installment of the Midnight Justice series, Ruby Winston and Teague Younger, the last two Light Guardians, fight the evil Shadow Network for the freedom of the human race. Ruby has only recently come into her powers and recognized herself as a force for good, but all her solo attempts to bring down the Network have failed. Hiding his powers away, Teague spends his time focusing on his anger and desire for revenge, avoiding the call to join the fight against evil. But when circumstances force them together in a battle to fight the alien source of the Network and save the planet, Ruby and Teague will have to become allies‚ and maybe more.
Verdict Unlikable, vapid characters and an abhorrent overuse of the word Shadow to identify all bad elements make this novella difficult to take seriously. Still, some romance readers, particularly those interested in paranormal or sf romance, might enjoy the unique adventure and fun sexual encounters.‚ Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Rush, Jamie. The Darkness Within. Avon Impulse. 2012. 347Kb. eISBN 9780062121431. EPUB $1.99. PARANORMAL, SF ROMANCE
Rush (The Offspring series) brings us another installment in the world begun with A Perfect Darkness. A civilian has been brutally murdered, apparently by a shape-shifter, generating undue publicity. Powerful and secretive beings from another dimension are planning to clean house to eliminate more unwanted attention. Caught up in the maelstrom are Del and Tucker, star-crossed lovers whose budding romance ended years before. Both Del and Tucker have special inherited traits: Del is an empath with telekinetic power; Tucker holds Darkness (not to be confused with traditional evil), giving him command to shape-shift. The plot makes some wild gyrations as the scene is set but settles into a satisfying hum, alive with romantic tension. Del and Tucker engage the enemy, save the day, and end up in bed in a sweet and tidy way.
Verdict Good enough to cause the reader to want to delve further into the world of The Offspring. This is a unique take on shape-shifting romance, with just the right mix of paranormal and sf.‚ Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA

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"