Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 26, 2012

Week ending October 26, 2012

Copland, Diana. A Reason To Believe. Carina: Harlequin. Oct. 2012. 217p. eISBN 9781426894534. EPUB $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE, LGBT
Det. Matthew Bennett responds to a missing child call early on Christmas morning. After the police have spent hours scouring the house and yard searching for clues, Matt hears a childish giggle no one else seems to hear. He follows the sound to the basement, where he sees Abby, or rather her ghost, which leads him to her hidden body. In shock, Matt tells his captain about the ghost and is immediately sent for a psychiatric review and ordered to take time off. When Matt’s sister-in-law finds out about his ghostly experience, she drags him to a program featuring Kiernan Fitzpatrick, an internationally renowned medium and host of his own cable show. The unconventional Kiernan is not exactly the charlatan Matt was expecting as he watches him interact empathetically with his audience. When Kiernan approaches Matt after the program, calling him “detective” without having been introduced, and asks him to return later to discuss the little girl who is following Matt around, Matt realizes Abby may be more than a figment of his imagination. As Kiernan works unofficially with Matt on the case, the two discover more commonalities than differences in their lives, including their growing attraction to each other. But Abby won’t rest until her murderer is caught, and she won’t let the men rest either.
Verdict Copland builds a solid relationship between Matt and Kiernan in a short period of time under trying circumstances without resorting to stereotypes or losing plot momentum. Recommended for libraries where Carol Lynne and T.A. Chase’s The Haunting of St. Xavier (2011), Josh Lanyon’s A Ghost of a Chance (2012), or other titles by these authors are popular.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Jackson, Myla. Boots and Bareback. Samhain. (Ugly Stick Saloon). Nov. 2012. c.158p. eISBN 9781619212183. EPUB $4.50. WESTERN ROMANCE
Isabella Severs is working at the Ugly Stick Saloon in order to raise money to buy back the horse she lost. All the women who work at the saloon have to help with the entertainment, dancing, singing, stripping; it’s their choice. Isabella dances a bit and is the first to ride the new mechanical horse. Her act draws the attention of the O’Brien brothers. Gabe, Sean, and Tanner O’Brien would each love to get the sexy Isabella alone. Isabella’s last relationship was disastrous and shook her sexual confidence. When she has a chance to be with all three brothers (at once), she thinks it may help her get past her hang-ups. What she doesn’t anticipate is how difficult it will be when it looks like she’ll have to choose among the siblings. Hmmm. Perhaps she won’t have to choose at all.
This latest in the “Ugly Stick Saloon” series (Boots and Leather) presents a scenario that could only happen in the pages of an erotic romance (strong sexual content). To quote Al Franken alter ego Stuart Smalley, that’s okay. Jackson’s characters are appealing enough to carry this Western fairy tale.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Lacey, Meg. Million Dollar Mi$take. Samhain. (Million Dollar Men, Bk. 1). Oct. 2012. 234p. eISBN 978161921170-4. EPUB $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Besides being financial advisor to the wealthy Kristoffs, no-nonsense Nicholas Demetrious has been tasked with keeping a tight rein on the boisterous family. His number one challenge at the moment is his distant cousin Raven Rutledge. The tabloids love Raven’s bad-girl escapades, but this time she has gone too far. She has agreed to spend the weekend at the Exeters’ Adirondack home as a change of pace—until she learns that Jackson Exeter has invited his entire family and his ex-girlfriend to witness his proposal to Raven. The elder Exeter has employed Nicholas to remove Raven from the house, or lose a very profitable business deal with them. The pretend relationship between Nick and Raven undertaken to throw the Exeters off the track suddenly becomes something much more.
Verdict Character development and a solid plot are bonuses in this hot, steamy romance. There are no promises of happy endings, but there is hope that makes this book fun to read and leaves a good feeling about human nature and the need to trust in fate. Recommended.—Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. Lib., Amelia, OH

Rai, Alisha. Night Whispers. Samhain. Nov. 2012. 345p. eISBN 9781609285449. EPUB $5.50. POSTAPOCALYPTIC ROMANCE
When the Illness infected humans, turning them into the cannibalistic zombie/vampire hybrids called Shadows, the world collapsed into chaos. Jules was lucky to survive and now roams what used to be the West Coast of the United States, looking for survivors and keeping in touch with what remains of the government through her handler, James. Scarred by his past, James hasn’t left his underground bunker on the East Coast in years, watching out for his agents by monitoring their vitals and locations through his technology. Although they’ve never met in person, James and Jules develop a close bond that promises to become something more when Jules suddenly goes missing. James must brave the outside world to rescue his charge and, more importantly, his love.
Verdict Steamy scenes featuring charmingly human characters, witty dialog, and excellent world-building will have any romance reader cheering for Jules and James. The book’s unique premise of a long-distance relationship connected by technology and threatened by danger works wonderfully and will appeal to sf lovers, too.—–Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

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"