Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, May 18, 2012

Week ending May 18, 2012

Barnes, Sophie. Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure. Avon Impulse. May 2012. c.384p. eISBN 9780062190345. EPUB $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
While her peers may be content to learn the womanly arts of landing a great catch and keeping house, Lady Alexandra Summersby is far more interested in sharpening her sword skills and indulging her penchant for wearing pants. After all, she has no interest in getting married but rather yearns to go off on adventures in the course of serving her country during wartime. When she and her brother accompany Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton and future heir to a dukedom, on a secret retrieval mission to Paris, Alex is thrilled at the opportunity to explore her passions, but she is also wary of Michael and the feelings he stirs within her. Like Alex, Michael has no interest in marriage, but despite Alex’s hoydenish ways, Michael begins to reconsider how they could function just as well in times of peace as they do while fighting side by side and facing danger.
Verdict In this first installment of the Summersby series, Barnes (How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back) creates in Alexandra a strong-willed heroine more daring than her male counterparts. All of the elements of a good romance are present‚ face-paced action, romance, beautiful scenery, and interesting characters‚ but there are moments where the dialog rings false for the time period. Further, the scenes are so tightly focused around a few characters that this reviewer found it challenging to get a real sense of the climate in London and Paris at the time. Still, fans of the genre may be interested to see how the stories of the male Summersby unfold in subsequent novels.‚ Natasha Grant, New York

Croix, Callie. Let Me In. Carina: Harlequin. May 2012. 87p. eISBN 9781426893773. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANCE
In this sequel to No Holds Barred (2011), Liam Brodie returns with a plan to win the woman of his dreams. Marine lieutenant Talia Barnett is on leave stateside at Thanksgiving, and the last person she expects to see at the airport is her best friend’s brother, Liam. She’s been in love with him since they met two years ago, but her overseas deployments and her secretiveness about her family have kept them in the friend category. Liam understands her commitment to the military; he became a military contractor after his enlistment in the marines ended. He doesn’t understand why Talia won’t let him or his family too close, until he ends up in the middle of a dispute between Talia and her mother. When Liam attempts to console Talia afterward, they cross the line from friends to lovers, but Talia runs scared from her feelings and her need to submit to his control in the bedroom. Only by confronting her fears will she find happiness in herself and in Liam.
Verdict Croix lightly explores themes of dominance and submission in an otherwise average novella. The romance between the main characters builds quickly and unevenly as they race to happy ever after, with secondary characters providing needed support or drama. Libraries with a demand for more erotic romance in the wake of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey but that shy from purchasing the more risqué titles, or where Croix has a strong following, may consider for purchase. Croix recently wrote as Kaylea Cross her first paranormal romance, Darkest Caress.‚ Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Hart, Arianna. Waking Up. Samhain. May 2012. 156p. eISBN 9781609288563. EPUB $2.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Thirty-five-year old Ciara Mary Callahan travels to New Orleans for Labor Day weekend to celebrate her divorce and wakes up naked among tossed sheets in a strange hotel room where a man is singing in the shower. Mortified, she slinks out of the hotel but can’t get Declan and their luscious night out of her mind. Back in Connecticut, where Ciara works as an emergency room secretary, Declan appears. Mysterious events occur, and Declan reveals he is a 1000-year-old man cursed by Morrigan, the goddess of death, because he chooses to be a warrior instead of husband and father to Fiona and her unborn child. Can Declan and Ciara find the love needed to break the millennium-long curse? Of course they can, but it takes lots of steamy sex to make the discovery.
Verdict Waking Up is a quick, sultry read, but it is missing sufficient plot development to support the story’s conclusion. Still, Hart, the author of more than 20 romance novels (Snowy Night Seduction, etc.) and a member of the Sizzling Scribes (www.sizzlingscribes.com), knows how to write lusty, passionate sex scenes.‚ Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Ione, Larissa. Apocalypse: The Lords of Deliverance Compendium. Forever Yours: Grand Central. May 2012. c.116p. eISBN 9781455525126. EPUB 99¢. PARANORMAL ROMANCE/REF
Ione (Immortal Rider) will soon release the last book in her Lords of Deliverance series, which follows the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who have the power to save, or destroy, humanity. Before that book’s publication, the author has released an inexpensive compendium to help readers catch up on these new additions to her massive Demonica world. Similar to the handbook she offered for her first series, Apocalypse is Ione’s definitive guide to the new characters, demons, grounds, and weapons of her fictional land. Filled with behind-the-scenes information on the creation of the series as well as character outlines, the book shows how much planning the author puts into her stories. Ione also provides Eternal Damnation, a new short story on the origins of the horsemen and an extended preview of the forthcoming Lethal Rider.
Verdict For fans of the series or new readers, this guide clarifies the intricate relationships among characters and provides a glimpse into the expansive lands and weaponry the author has designed for her battle between angels

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"