Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, June 22, 2012

Week ending June 22, 2012

Beecroft, Alex. His Heart’s Obsession. Carina: Harlequin. Jun. 2012. 58p. eISBN 9781426893964. EPUB $2.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE, LGBT
On board the HMS Swiftsure near Kingston, Jamaica, in 1752, Lt. Robert Hughes is known as a prankster and a bit of a rake, but if his fellow crewmen knew the truth about his rakish reputation, he would be executed. Hughes is in love with another officer, Hal Morgan, but Morgan is in love with their captain, a man who will never return his affection and who would execute them both if he knew, since homosexuality is condemned in the British Royal Navy. When Hughes confesses his feelings for Morgan, Morgan demands proof of his love. However, as the British face French forces on the open seas, death may come courting before Hughes gets his act together.
Verdict The emotional relationship between Hughes and Morgan barely has time to deepen before this novella ends, and their sexual relationship is fledgling also. The period details add depth and authenticity, but libraries should consider purchasing where demand warrants or where Beecroft’s previous historical titles (e.g., By Honor Betrayed) are popular.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Roberts, Teresa Noelle. Fox’s Folly. Samhain. (Duals & Donovans: The Different). Jul. 2012. 132p. eISBN 9781619211049. EPUB $3.50. PARANORMAL, LGBT
This prequel to Foxes’ Den takes place approximately eight years before the events of that book. Here, readers learn more about how Paul Donovan, a powerful witch, meets his shape-shifting husband, Taggart Tag Ross. In Las Vegas, Paul has come to settle a familial debt of honor with the half-fae owner of a casino where several magically committed deaths have occurred. He literally runs into Tag and notices his dual nature, of man and fox. The dual-natured are second-class citizens feared by the general populace, but Paul is intrigued by Tag and soon learns he has also come to Las Vegas to investigate the murders. The men team up personally and professionally to find the killer since Paul’s magic is fueled by sex and Tag is a willing partner.
Verdict Even though this is a prequel, some of the terms used (wordside for the human side of a shape-shifter, normy for regular humans) were defined in the earlier published books and are not redefined here, which makes for an awkward start for new readers. Roberts captures the youth of her characters, who are more mature in Foxes’ Den, and the exhilaration of their new relationship as they work out some of the kinks in taming a polyamorous fox into a potentially monogamous relationship. She manages to give a unique twist to the heavily populated paranormal romance field with her take on shape-shifting and magic, but the prequel is most likely to appeal to fans of the first two books in the series (Lions’ Pride; Foxes’ Den). Recommended for libraries owning the series or where demand for paranormal romance is high.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Stacey, Shannon & others. Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice. Vol. 1. Carina: Harlequin. Jun. 2012. 219 p. ed. by Angela James. eISBN 9781426893834. EPUB $7.99. ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
This anthology offers a chance to sample three of the publisher’s most popular authors. Cindy Spencer Pape’s Kilts & Kraken is the latest in her steampunk series Gaslight Chronicles (Steam & Sorcery; Photographs & Phantoms). In this world where steam powers mechanical marvels, magic also performs wonders, and the descendants of the Knights of the Round Table still serve the Crown. Dr. Geneva MacKay (descendant of Sir Kay) is sent by the Order to a remote island in the Hebrides to treat its magically enhanced Laird, who was battered nearly to death by an unnatural sea monster. Adrienne Giordano’s Negotiating Point is the latest in her Private Protectors romantic suspense series (Man Law; A Just Deception; Risking Trust). It’s a gritty, emotional story of what happens in a security firm of hot-shot alpha male ex-military men when it all gets personal as a terrorist group takes one of their wives hostage. And how the negotiating team, Gavin and Janet, discover that they are stronger together than apart, even if an office romance is every kind of stupid. Stacey’s Slow Summer Kisses is the type of story Stacey does best, a contemporary romance about two people who have some history. Cam and Anna were friends when they were kids. Now Anna is back at her grandparents’ summer camp because her fast track derailed, and she’s out of a job. Cam’s been back for awhile, having left the fast track before it killed him. They drive each other crazy‚ Anna can’t relax for a second, and Cam is laid back to the max‚ but they fit, even though they both fight it‚ hard. What happens when Anna goes back to her career?
Verdict The Giordano and Stacey stories are recommended for all romance collections. Kilts & Kraken is recommended wherever steampunk is popular. Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles is a terrific introduction to the subgenre, so if your readers are interested, get them all.—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"