Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, September 14, 2012

Week ending September 14, 2012

starred review starHalliday, Candy. Dinner First, Me Later? Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Housewives Fantasy Club, Bk. 2). Sept. 2012. 232p. eISBN 9780446198097. EPUB $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Halliday’s (Your Bed or Mine?) upbeat entry brings back the Housewives Fantasy Club, a suburban Chicago neighborhood group who meet every Saturday to discuss their romantic desires. Alicia is the club’s newest member and a bit of an outcast, since she is the only one divorced and childless. When the newly single Cubs baseball player buys the house across the street, the club is determined to set Alicia up with Jake. Jake, in the midst of a custody battle, has promised his only focus will be the estranged teenage daughter who is coming to live with him, and Alicia will not risk her heart again by falling for her celebrity crush known for his playboy tendencies. However, it doesn’t take long for Alicia to win the hearts of Jake and his daughter. Can this self-proclaimed dog and kid hater accept a second chance at love that is literally right around the corner?
Verdict This delightful offering features likable characters and is so big on heart and friendship that readers will be left feeling as if they are a part of this intimate women’s club. Admirers of Jennifer Crusie and Carly Phillips will quickly fall for Halliday’s fun-loving story.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Patrick, Denise. Family Scandals. Samhain. Sept. 2012. NAp. eISBN 978169210400. EPUB $5.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
A lot of people think they have the family from hell, but if your relatives don’t actually try to kill you, then you have it made. Corinna Camden is not so lucky. Her brother Douglas married her to his best friend Marcus at age 14 as a way to protect her from her extended kin. Now age 21, Corrie needs help. She disguises herself as a governess and takes a job in Marcus’s brother’s household. When Marcus returns from India, will he recognize the girl he used to know as Amy?
Verdict A historical novel with a nice but predictable premise.—Ryan A. Franklin, Mattoon P.L., IL

Ramsay, Hope. Last Chance Bride. Forever Yours: Grand Central. Sept. 2012. c.61p. eISBN 9781455528011. EPUB $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sharon McKee has the next few years of her life planned out. In the fall, she will leave the town of Last Chance, SC, for college with her high school sweetheart. There she will study social work and then make a career of helping people. Unfortunately, her boyfriend Stone Rhodes has other plans. He’s secretly joined the marines, and when he tells her, she decides he’s best left behind with her judgmental mother and the rest of the town gossips. But before she can leave her small-town life, she needs to fulfill her duties as Watermelon Queen. This short novel takes fans of Ramsay’s “Last Chance” series back to the summer of 1990 and reminds them what it means to be young and in love.
Verdict From a bake sale to helping an ailing child to the couple’s innocent flirting around the movie Ghost, Ramsay’s old-fashioned love story is filled with wholesome characters. The plot of boy-loses-girl, girl-forgives-boy will appeal to readers looking for something light and sweet.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll. Lib., Boston

starred review starStacey, Shannon. All He Ever Needed. Carina: Harlequin. (Kowalski Family, Bk. 4). Sept. 2012. 384p. eISBN 9781426894336. EPUB $7.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This latest story in Stacey’s popular “Kowalski Family” series (Yours To Keep) is a contemporary romance about two adults finding their way through a little bit of pain to their happily ever after. Mitch Kowalski has spent his life away from Whitford, ME, running his demolition company and living out of a suitcase. He comes home because his brother has a broken leg, and his family’s bed-and-breakfast is in financial trouble. Mitch figures that while he’s in town, he’ll have a fling with someone on his usual terms: no strings, no ties, no tears when he leaves. Instead, he meets Paige Sullivan, the owner of the Trailside Diner, who’s sworn off dating—period. Paige is living for herself now, but Mitch tempts her off the wagon. After all, they both know the rules—until they both break them.
Verdict No one does contemporary romance like Stacey. The Kowalski family is one that readers will want either to be adopted by or marry into. Mitch loves coming home but hates returning to a place where everyone remembers every incident from his childhood. The town gossip is delicious and salacious. Mitch and Paige have a sweet and sensual chemistry, and the peripheral characters are marvelous as well. Very highly recommended.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality LLC, Atlanta

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"