Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, June 15, 2012

Week ending June 15, 2012

Gaines, Alice. Heat Rises. Avon Impulse. (Cabin Fever). Jun. 2012. 89p. eISBN 9780062210500. EPUB $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANCE
Businesswoman Laura Barber ends up stranded at a small convenience store in the middle of nowhere when her car breaks down. With a snowstorm moving in and no motel nearby, she’s resigned to finding a local family willing to take her in for the night. Then an SUV pulls up and the last person she ever wanted to see again gets out. Ethan Gould was a classmate in graduate school and the object of her highly imaginative fantasies until the night she drunkenly propositioned him, and he rejected her. Ethan remembers that night differently. He refused to take advantage of Laura’s inebriated state, no matter how badly he wanted her, but then she avoided him afterward. When he offers her a place to stay during the storm, he hopes to get past any embarrassment caused by their past and see if Laura still harbors any feelings for him. As for Laura, she’s willing to work Ethan out of her system, any way and anywhere, as long as their association ends when the snowplow arrives.
Verdict Gaines takes the romantic trope of stranding two people together and kicks it up a notch. This short read is steamy but thin on plot, and readers looking for action beyond the bedroom (or living room, kitchen, bathroom) should look elsewhere. Gaines writes in a variety of genres, including historical romance (Always a Princess), paranormal romance (Sinful Wager), and contemporary erotica (Nightwatch). Libraries should purchase for demand.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Knight, Julia. The Pirate’s Lady. Carina: Harlequin. (Pirates of Estovan, Bk. 2). Jun. 2012. c.228p. eISBN 9781426893957. EPUB $5.99. FANTASY ROMANCE
Star-crossed lovers and fellow privateers Van Gast and Joshing Josie are back again (Ten Ruby Trick) with a new enemy in Rillen, the king’s son. With the highest price ever offered on Van Gast’s head, a quick capture of the pirate who can’t be held seems inevitable‚ especially when Van Gast returns to Estovan. Van Gast even considers turning himself in for such a price. It is soon apparent that there is another enemy assisting Rillen in the capture of Van Gast, and this new pursuer is close enough to Van Gast to provide the most secret of pirate information‚ his true name. Is Josie still playing the game, or was Van Gast’s betrayal more than she could forgive?
Verdict With one-dimensional characters and a setting so generic the fantasy elements seem like afterthoughts, this tale just plods along. Fans of Ten Ruby Trick or some of Knight’s other tales (e.g., The Viking’s Sacrifice) may ask for this one, but otherwise it is not recommended.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Kwan, Coleen. Asher’s Invention. Carina: Harlequin. Jun. 2012. c.94p. eISBN 9781426893988. EPUB $3.99. STEAMPUNK ROMANCE
England, 1870s. Miss Minerva Lambkin’s father has been kidnapped, and in order to save him she must now ask for help from Mr. Asher Quigley, the famous inventor and her ex-fiancé. Asher and Minerva had a falling out thanks to her father, who stole Asher’s Millennium Machine. Mr. Lambkin has yet to be successful in constructing a properly working device, and the kidnappers, most likely including a disgruntled investor, want this mysterious Millennium Machine and will do anything to get it. Asher and Minerva embark on this journey together, but will their relationship mend while on a timetable of terror?
Verdict With the thrill of a cat-and-mouse chase, this romance novella features only a little heavy petting‚ much is left to the sexual imagination‚ so if readers require more juicy bits to get their engine going, this may not be the read for them. Kwan does an excellent job of weaving together steampunk and romance. This subgenre is gearing up for the long haul, and Asher’s Invention is a fabulous introduction.—Leslie Jean Cerkoney, Elk Grove Village, IL

Lawson, Corrina. Luminous. Samhain. (Phoenix Institute, Bk. 2). Jun. 2012. 125p. eISBN 9781609288365. EPUB $3.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Noir is invisible and can glow with an intense light, giving her a two-pronged superhero edge. She is Subject Six to Jill, the mad scientist responsible for her condition. Jill has turned her own brother, Jack, into a giant rage monster (wow, Incredible Hulk much?), and Jack and Jill have begun a deadly crime spree. Noir teams up with Lt. Aloysius James to find and stop them. Despite Noir’s invisibility, Al is immediately attracted to her, and they initiate a heated affair. Luminous is derivative‚ damsel in distress with a comic book twist meets cop with a past‚ but with snappy writing and interesting side characters. Beyond the superhero elements, there are several jarring notes, including Al’s completely unrealistic reaction and pain level from a crushed hand, which more than skirts the edge of credibility, and the lack of talk about contraception before the invisible woman has sex with the jaded detective.
Verdict Quick reading with a superhero vibe, Luminous is a good start on the beachy book season.—Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Lib., MI

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"