Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, June 1, 2012

Week ending June 1, 2012

Morgan, Tamara. The World Is a Stage. Samhain. (Games of Love, Bk. 2). Jun. 2012. 350p. eISBN 9781609289539. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Highland Games athlete Michael O’Leary is sidelined with a knee injury, so his good friend Peterson jumps on the chance to fill Michael’s time. Convinced to join the local adult-themed Shakespeare production as an understudy, Michael undertakes keeping the prima donna lead actress, Rachel Hewitt, busy so Peterson can woo Rachel’s sister, Molly. Rachel will do anything to protect Molly, even hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on Peterson, thus harming innocent people. When the lead actor is injured, Michael agrees to take over only when Rachel agrees to take his place in the games. Unfortunately, the hardest part for Rachel isn’t the grueling Scottish games, it’s resisting the one man who has opened her heart.
Verdict Morgan’s second book in her Highland Games of Love series features well-developed protagonists whose chemistry builds and builds and builds, much longer than necessary, while other characters become peripheral. Sexual innuendo is plentiful, but spicy romance takes a backseat to Rachel’s discovery that you cannot indiscriminately destroy people’s lives. The ending is satisfying and believable. For most romance collections.—Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. P.L., Amelia, OH

Porter, Katie. Double Down. Samhain. (Vegas Top Guns, Bk. 1). Jul. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781619210851. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Like most visitors to Las Vegas, Major Ryan Haverty decided to live out his most hidden desires‚Ķand finds a willing partner in Cassandra Whitman. This woman loves the part she plays when acting out all of Ryan’s secret fantasies. But playacting doesn’t sit well with this straitlaced fighter pilot, who has been burned by the rigidity of his past. He cannot admit what he wants, even when Cassandra confronts him. Forced to choose between acceptance and a life without Cassandra, this major learns that love‚ and the acceptance of love‚ knows no bounds.
Verdict With steamy romance set in the sultry desert of Vegas, this book takes costumes and performance to an all-time high. Readers who are looking for handsome pilots and long, fun-filled nights will love this descriptive ebook. It is fun and sassy hotness; a quick read sure to get your jets off!—Judy Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Reed, Alexia. Hunting the Shadows. Carina: Harlequin. 2012. 219p. eISBN 9781426893735. EPUB $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Knowing nothing but isolation and brutal physical and mental testing, Amy finds a tenuous freedom in her telepathic abilities. With her extraordinary skill to keep human memories in her own mind, Amy saves the sanity of rogue Centre agent J.C., who displays not only his own paranormal abilities but a fair share of dark emotions as well. Under the pretense that Amy’s skills can help him discover a murderer within the Centre’s organization, J.C. is inexplicably drawn to the woman who may be the key to finding a sadistic killer. Amy has known little human contact during her life, but the only person who doesn’t send her paranormal senses haywire is the handsome agent who is torn between pursuing his suspect and forming an attachment with the woman by his side.
Verdict Well-written suspense and paranormal themes make this book an interesting read. The quasimilitary and corporate backdrop introduces a full spectrum of characters, which adds depth and history to each one’s development. The sheer number of characters can be a bit confusing at times; however, this is overcome by the dialog and interaction written into each role. The suspense is tangible, and the hunt for the killer will keep readers on edge until the end. This is a good bridge for readers who enjoy military romances to try the expanding world of paranormal.—Debra M. Dudek, Fountaindale P.L. Dist., Bolingbrook, IL

Terry, Candis. Somebody Like You. Avon Impulse. (Sugar Shack, Bk. 3). Jun. 2012. c.247p. eISBN 9780062105257. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This third offering in Terry’s entertaining Sugar Shack series (after Second Chance at the Sugar Shack) focuses on the middle Silverthorne sibling, Kelly, a straitlaced Chicago prosecutor who is consumed with guilt for losing a case in which a killer now walks free. She returns home to Deer Lick, MT, for a much-needed getaway, and while she is helping her sister at the Sugar Shack, in walks sexy and dangerous police officer James Harley, the man with whom she shared a drunken one-night stand that she would like to forget. James may give the appearance of a playboy, but deep down he knows that Kelly is the woman for him. With the spirit of her deceased mother as her guide, Kelly will learn to let go of her failures, discover how to touch the lives of those around her in ways she never knew, and, finally, let in love.
Verdict It doesn’t matter that Terry (Any Given Christmas) doesn’t break new ground here since readers will quickly be enamored of the affable Silverthorne siblings, their unpredictable mother, and the quaint, small-town atmosphere. With a dash of sexy, this light but substantial story will please just about any romance reader.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL


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"