Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, September 28, 2012

Week ending September 28, 2012

Bonita, B.L. Dark Sun Rising. Samhain. Oct. 2012. 122p. eISBN 9781619211636. EPUB $3.50. HISTORICAL EROTIC ROMANCE
This is the story of a forbidden romance between Charlotte, the unmarried emporium owner, and Avery, the Buffalo Soldier whom she rescues from a savage beating. Even though Charlotte knows that she should not be drawn to the former slave, their hearts are connected from the start. Surrounded by the racism and bigotry of Hatchet Creek, CA, Avery plans to head to Idaho and escape to a mountain in the woods. When Charlotte’s betrothed suddenly arrives in town, Avery leaves, thinking that it would be the best for all concerned.
Verdict Set in California at a time when cowboys and outlaws run the streets, the novel is a tale of protagonists trying to resist their growing attraction to each other while lust pulls them into forbidden temptations. They endure racial struggles and fight to stay together in their paradise in the mountains. This read is for those who like their love stories both explicit and explosive, with a mix of strong women and sexy men!—Judy Taylor Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Coi, J.K. Broken Promises. Carina: Harlequin. (Seasons of Invention). Sept. 2012. 94p. eISBN 9781426894350. EPUB $3.99. STEAMPUNK
This sequel to Far from Broken continues the story of Callie and Jasper Carlisle. She is a famous ballerina who, injured in a fire, has replacement parts to rival the Six Million Dollar Man. He, a lord, has been devastated by the transformation of his formerly perfect wife. They both inhabit a steampunk era of iron, biotechnology, and airships. A central theme is the tortured couple’s struggle: Callie is afraid to admit that the microscopic robots in her bloodstream (nanites) seem to be malfunctioning and that she cannot get pregnant. Jasper is afraid to own up to his own feelings of inadequacy in relation to his superhuman wife. The sex is surprisingly good between cyborg and human, and the couple manage some death-defying escapades before falling into a trap.
Verdict A satisfying love-romp with just the right mix of danger and torrid bed-play set in a workable steampunk world.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Donahue, Tina. Illicit Desire. Samhain. (Outlawed Realm, Bk. 2). Oct. 2012. NAp. eISBN 9781619210837. EPUB $5.50. PARANORMAL
On E4, genetically engineered slaves are kept in ignorance; their only function to satisfy the sexual urges of the ruling class. Arez is trapped in an existence of forced, unsatisfying orgiastic group sex. Lukan has a bit of an advantage, as he was a prototype and more educated. Escape is necessary, because, as in Logan’s Run, the slaves are killed at 26 (females) and 30 (males). Lukan will stop at nothing to free the woman who opened his eyes to love.
Verdict Everything is here explained eventually, but a fairly intricate setup spanning present-day Earth and parallel linked Earth plains makes Illicit Desire difficult to dive into, leaving new readers at a disadvantage. Start at the beginning of the series, or the subtle humor, steamy hot sex, and tenderness that make Lukan and Arez a couple to root for will be lost in the confusing morass of moral ambiguity about eugenics and a valiant effort at some semblance of a plot.—Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI

Sparks, Kerrelyn. The Forbidden Lady. Avon Impulse. Oct. 2012. 295p. eISBN 9780062128775. EPUB $4.99. COLONIAL ROMANCE
When the American independence movement needed a hero, Quincy Stanton answered the call. As a neglected son of an English aristocrat, Quincy was raised by a shipping merchant uncle in Colonial Boston. Donning the habits of a Tory sympathizer opens social doors to spying but also opens his heart to the beautiful Virginia Munro. Quincy knows spying is a dangerous game, but the consequences for disaster of becoming involved with Virginia are even higher, as her family is conducting a spy operation of their own. With so many obligations, plots, and daring deeds, can two people work together to protect their love and support their fledgling country?
Verdict This ebook is a reissue of Sparks’s 2002 paperback For Love or Country and includes all the elements of a charismatically written and very enjoyable novel. Employing humor, mystery, and elements of time-appropriate spy gadgetry, Sparks has created a dynamic cast of characters who are not above partaking in romantic hijinks as time and opportunity allow. This Colonial romance will satisfy a wide range of readers and will keep them asking for more.—Debra M. Dudek, Fountaindale P.L. Dist., Bolingbrook, IL

Webb, Debra. Power. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Faces of Evil, Bk. 3). Sept. 2012. 230p. eISBN 9781455527557. EPUB $399. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Fortysomething deputy chief Jess Harris has been working for only two weeks in Birmingham, AL, and is already sleeping with the chief of police, Daniel Burnett, who just happens to be her high school boyfriend. Jess is investigating two cases: the mysterious death of Darcy Chandler, an established dance instructor, and the disappearance of DeShawn Simmons, a promising college scholarship recipient. Jess bends the rules to solve her cases and routinely faces the disapproval of her fellow officers. To help find DeShawn, Jess calls her ex-husband in California for gang information, while Daniel deflects advances from a recent girlfriend who is going through a divorce. As the story ends, Jess’s ex arrives on the scene.
Verdict Most of this latest novel from Webb (Obsession) explores Jess’s emotional balancing act between her tough professional image and her sexual attraction to Daniel. The plot is bogged down with Jess’s and Daniel’s thoughts about what used to be, but Jess’s criminal investigation skills keep the reader interested.—Joyce Sparrow Kenneth City, FL

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"