Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, July 20, 2012

Week ending July 20, 2012

Adair, Marina. Tucker’s Crossing. eKensington. (Sweet Plains, Texas). Aug. 2012. NAp. eISBN 9781601830197. EPUB $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Cody, the oldest of the three Tucker boys, is returning to Sweet Plains, TX, and the family ranch, Tucker’s Crossing, following the passing of their father. To preserve the homestead, one of the Tucker boys must live on the ranch for 365 days. Cody drew the short straw and will have to face his demons while turning the ranch’s finances around. Little does he know that waiting for him there are his former love, Shelby, and a nine-year-old surprise. While Cody may have wanted to forget that Sweet Plains existed, Sweet Plains hasn’t forgotten the Tucker boys, and Cody is welcomed home by everyone‚ everyone but Shelby. As Shelby and Cody rediscover their past attraction and sort out a nine-year-old misunderstanding, someone is trying to run Cody off so that the brothers’ inheritance is forfeit. Who is behind the trouble at Tucker’s Crossing? Can Cody move beyond his difficult past and live there for at least a year, or will the past pull him and Shelby apart again, leaving Shelby and the ranch to fall into another’s hands?
Verdict Adair’s debut novel is the first in a trilogy about the Tucker boys and their family home. She has built here the foundation for a great contemporary Western, with great characters and an intriguing story set in a small town. You’ll want to visit Sweet Plains and the B-Cubed for some biscuits and to meet the locals; they’ll make you feel right at home.—Lisa Jordan, Gardner Neighborhood Lib., Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

Laurens, Stephanie & others. Royal Bridesmaids. Avon Impulse. Jul. 2012. 180p. eISBN 9780062209795. EPUB $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
This follow-up to last year’s Royal Weddings features several standouts from these established romance authors. In Gaelen Foley’s The Imposter Bride, Princess Giulietta of Saardova is set to marry Prince Tor of Rydalburg in order to form a truce between the two countries. When Giulietta flakes out and runs away, her stoic best friend Minerva must step in‚ in a culture where women are veiled‚ and honor her friend’s duty to her country. In Loretta Chase’s Lord Lovedon’s Duel, plucky heroine Chloe overhears at her sister Althea’s wedding to a foreign prince man-about-town James Bransby, the Earl of Lovedon, loudly gossiping about the prince marrying Althea for her money. Chloe confronts him and then challenges him to a duel. They meet on the field at dawn, and the result is not at all what she expected. In Laurens’s A Return Engagement, Lady Nell Daughtry is busy with her sister Frances’s wedding to the Prince of Lautenberg. Unfortunately, the government’s emissary to ensure all goes well is none other than Robert Knightley‚ her former fiancé.
Verdict For the price, this anthology makes a pleasant afternoon’s entertainment with some very enjoyable characters and high-drama plots of deceit and forbidden attractions in a satisfyingly fast read.— Rebecca D. Stine, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT

Rae, Beverly. Sexual Shift. Samhain. (Magical Sisters, Bk. 3). Jul. 2012. c.172p. eISBN 9781609288754. EPUB $4.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
The last entry in Rae’s Magical Sisters trilogy focuses on the oldest sibling, shape-shifter Hilly. Now that the younger Tristan girls, Meg and Allie, have settled down and found love (Magical Sex; Sex with a Hex), they are on Hilly constantly about doing the same for herself. Hilly had been concentrating on her sisters since their parents’ tragic death, but now it’s her turn. Tanner Cage has come into Hilly’s life at just the right time, but will this half-angel/half-demon playboy turn out to be the right one, or is dealing with a demon mother-in-law more than Hilly can handle?
Verdict Rae’s title is aptly chosen as the sex certainly takes center stage here. The romance between Tanner and Hilly races along, while the reconciliation with the Tristan sisters ties up a little too easily at the end. Fans of the earlier titles will be sure to grab this one, but other readers can probably pass.— Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Rogers, Moira. Impulse. Samhain. (Southern Arcana, Bk. 5). Sept. 2012. 231p. eISBN 9781609287672. EPUB $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This next title in Rogers’s ongoing series (following Cipher) continues the story of a group of shape-shifters set in the Southeast. Sera is a submissive coyote recovering from an abusive marriage to another coyote. Julio is an alpha wolf who has successfully challenged his uncle and father for leadership of the pack. Regardless of numerous taboos against interspecies mating, Julio and Sera fall for each other and the sparks fly. Though Sera’s issues with submission fuel a running plotline related to her difficult marriage, the submissive-dominant tension between herself and Julio ignites into some mild but spicy BDSM. In addition, Julio’s precognition ability and the outdoor shape-shifting sex scenes keep the action interesting. The looming threat of attack from unfriendly relatives adds suspense as does Julio’s existence as a Hispanic in a predominantly white Southern culture.
Verdict The excessively complex plot may be confusing to readers unfamiliar with the series; however, the compelling interspecies romance and the friction between human emotion and animal instinct keep the story sizzling.— Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., 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"


  1. Paul says:

    Why so many strange characters on this page. Examples:

    • Bette-Lee Fox says:

      Sorry, Paul. Our move to another server brought in some wild characters in place of quotation marks and apostrophes. We’ll try to fix them, but thank you for the keen eye.