Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 12, 2012

Week ending October 12, 2012

Alward, Donna. Into the Fire. Samhain. (First Responders, Bk. 3). Nov. 2012. 93p. eISBN 9781619211629. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Ally Gallant is a 25-year-old with big dreams but no plans. A college dropout, she works at a drug store and oversees her all-volunteer animal shelter. She lives with her overly protective parents, who continue to mourn their daughter Becca, the victim of an accidental drowning. As the story opens, Ally’s pet shelter is engulfed in flames. Ally releases the animals, and she, in turn, is rescued by Chris Jackson, her former fiancé. Chris is everything Ally isn’t: independent, with a home and steady employment. Although Ally can’t make career decisions, she knows what her sexy goals are when Chris and she are on the couch or in the bedroom as their romance is rekindled.
Verdict Alward (In the Line of Duty) is known for emotional, feel-good romance, and that is what she delivers.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Andrews, Vivi. Finder’s Keeper. Samhain. (Karmic Consultants, Bk. 6). Nov. 2012. 304p. eISBN 9781619212176. EPUB $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Take one female scientist (think Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory) and a surfer dude with a tragic past, add in a magic watch, and get ready to have some fun. Andrews (Ghosts of Boyfriends Past) has created two very enjoyable characters in Dr. Mia Corregianni and Chase Hunter. Mia is incapable of spontaneity and emotion, unlike most of the members of her huge and chaotic Italian family. Chase is a psychic detective who can usually find lost objects for people just by touching their hand. However, when he touches Mia, he reads her innermost thoughts and learns that she is much hotter inside than her nerdy scientist demeanor might suggest. When Mia loses the watch believed by her family to bring love to each Corregianni, she enlists Chase’s help. What follows is a lot of amusing dialog and some real character growth. Mia remains the ultimate scientist but learns to open herself to Chase and romantic love. She is often laugh-out-loud funny, while Chase views her with a combination of humor and affection.
Verdict A fun, fast romance with appealing characters, great dialog, and loads of appeal; with the promise of several sequels.—B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L. Syst., Goleta Branch, CA

Lynn, JB. Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman. Avon Impulse. Oct. 2012. 240p. eISBN 9780062233073. EPUB $3.99. F
Maggie Lee has four men who want to kiss her: a former high school crush, a cop, a hired killer, and her boss. But she is too busy trying to hold down her job at an insurance agency and visiting her three-year-old niece, Katie, who is in a coma because of a brain injury she sustained in the car accident that killed her parents. Maggie was in the accident, too, and is now “bestowed” with the ability to talk to animals. She is taking care of Katie’s lizard, Godzilla, and Doomsday, the dog. Maggie has agreed to another kill because she needs the money to pay her niece’s medical expenses.
Verdict In this sequel to Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman, the plot is frenzied, but the characters are amusing. Maggie reminds the reader many times that she has killed two people and that her life is too complicated. The writing suffers from an abundance of forward slashes: and/or, dater/marry-er, etc. Savvy readers will chuckle when Maggie asks Godzilla, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Maggie.” The banter among Maggie, Godzilla, and Doomsday makes the story memorable.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Porter, Katie. Came Upon A Midnight Clear. Samhain. Dec. 2012. 266p. eISBN 9781619210882. EPUB $5.50. LGBT ROMANCE
Kyle Wakefield is in London at the end of December to finish producing his next big action film. Watching over a temperamental director and a stunt crew full of ex-cons is not really filling him with holiday cheer, nor is sparring with his childhood love Nathan Carnes. Thirteen years ago, Kyle and Nathan were torn apart by Kyle’s conservative family life and Nathan’s self-destructive tendencies. Although their affair immediately rekindles when they meet again, Kyle still will not come out of the closet, and Nathan struggles with Kyle’s inability to go public. As their tempers ride as high as their passions, it seems that only a Christmas miracle can keep these two together.
Verdict The writing team of Katie Porter (Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty) offers a complex gift, portraying the rebuilding of a damaged relationship against the backdrop of English holiday spirit. While some raw sex scenes and emotional banter may be too frank for some, readers who enjoy two strong personalities engaged in rediscovering love will find this book intriguing.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Rodale, Maya. Three Schemes and a Scandal. Avon Impulse. Oct. 2012. 477KB. eISBN 9780062230799. EPUB $1.99. REGENCY ROMANCE
Lady Charlotte Brandon—sister of a duke—keeps a fox as her pet, can induce crying jags and fainting spells at will, and has a penchant for schemes that often go awry despite her best intentions. In an effort to undo the damage wrought by her latest shenanigans, Charlotte concocts yet another idea that calls for the unwitting assistance of her childhood friend James Beauchamp, but where Charlotte is concerned, things rarely ever go as planned. Having recently returned from an extended trip to the continent, James is surprised to see what a beauty Charlotte has become, but he has no doubt that she is still the same troublesome minx whom he shared many childhood adventures with and whose machinations often landed him in a world of trouble. Surely he cannot be entertaining romantic feelings toward her and thinking of taking on such a handful. Yet when James sees the opportunity to turn the tables on Charlotte with a scheme of his own, he is hard-pressed to resist.
Verdict In this charming novella, Rodale (The Tattooed Duke) creates in Charlotte a character whose meddlesome ways can frustrate, entertain, and test one’s patience all at once. Fans of the author will recognize Charlotte from the author’s “Writing Girls” series and will rejoice to see her as the lead in her own story. Recommended.—Natasha Grant, New York


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"