Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 5, 2012

Week ending October 5, 2012

Austin, Lyn. The Auction. Boroughs Pub. Group. 2012. 154p. eISBN 9781938876028. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Kat Blake wants a child, and her time is getting short. There is really only one person she wants to be the father of her child: her ex-husband, Michael. When she learns he will be participating in a bachelor charity auction for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Kat develops a plan. She tells Michael that she bid on him in order to finish a room in the house they had bought together, but even he knows that isn’t the whole truth. Throw in a curmudgeonly grandfather figure, and the plot is complete. Add the snowy slopes of Park City, UT, and you have beautiful vistas.
Verdict Solid characterizations make the story move along quickly. The bachelor auction is an interesting premise, but there are no surprises in the plot. Still, even with the steamy sex, this is basically a very sweet, traditional romance.—Susan Hayes, Chattahoochee Valley Libs., Columbus, GA

James, Eloisa. Seduced by a Pirate. Avon Impulse. Oct. 2012. 89p. eISBN 9780062259912. EPUB 99¢. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Even with a royal pardon in hand, Sir Griffin Barry knows that returning to England will not be easy. Not as a pirate and not as the long-lost husband of Lady Phoebe Barry. Fourteen years have passed since Griffin ran from Phoebe’s bed on their wedding night, and he has no idea what to expect from his homecoming: certainly not a wife who wants nothing to do with her absentee lord—or the surprises that meet him on the other side of his front door. Griffin finds that there are rough waters beyond those of the high seas, but he is willing to weather these storms to gain the treasure he left behind.
Verdict James (The Duke Is Mine) once again indulges her penchant for intertwining plots and characters with this e-novella that is an offshoot of her latest title, The Ugly Duchess. This quick read brings the same passion and humor as do James’s novels. Highly recommended for libraries that carry her other works.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

James, Sandy. The Reluctant Amazon. Carina: Harlequin. (Alliance of the Amazons, Bk. 1). 2012. 278p. eISBN 97811426894305. EPUB $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE, FANTASY ROMANCE
Rebecca Massee never expected that her walk down the aisle would result in being left there by her fiancé. Neither did she expect to cause an earthquake, discover she’s an Amazon warrior with power over earth, or meet sexy, kilt-wearing Scotsman Artair MacKay. All this is enough to make a woman’s blood boil—with frustration and with passion. Artair has been charged with safe-guarding and training Rebecca and her lost Amazon sisters in the ways of using their powers to protect humanity from other less-divine gods and demons. Stalwart in his focus for the last 400 years, Artair finds himself drawn to the vulnerable yet steadfast Rebecca, even though a relationship between them is against the rules. As the stakes rise, Rebecca ends up facing an evil that could destroy all that she has discovered with her new sisterhood. Yet claiming her full powers could destroy the new love she has found.
Verdict James (Rules of the Game) meshes mythos in a fun romantic fantasy with strong characters and an appealing narrative. Rebecca’s emotional range rings true through her disbelief and discovery of her powers. While the passion between Artair and Rebecca is palpable, it is the Amazons’ relationship that will keep the reader turning the pages. Fans of Anya Bast and Lauren Dane should enjoy this first of a new series.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Long, Heather. Yesterday’s Heroes. Carina: Harlequin. 2012. c.89p. eISBN 9781426894367. EPUB $3.99. FANTASY ROMANCE
The author of the “1 Night Stand” books here introduces her newest series, which begins with the president sending Michael Hunter and his team back in time to save the future world. It is quickly evident that their mission is very possibly a suicide mission, with no real indication that there is any hope of success. Michael’s target is Aurora “Rory” Graystone, but some unstoppable force results in Michael’s first target miss and a steamy romance between hunter and target.
Verdict Pivotal events in American history are woven into the plot of this fantasy, making the story relevant and compelling. Yet Michael’s team attemping to prevent the registration of heroes feels a little too borrowed (“The X-Men” series). Ultimately, this mixture of fantasy and romance falls flat.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

starred review starNorthcutt, Nancy. Renegade. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Protectors, Bk. 1). Nov. 2012. 384p. eISBN 9781455526659. EPUB $2.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This first installment in Northcutt’s “Protectors” series starts with a bang and just keeps on humming. Locked in a car trunk, her magic powers dampened by an evil amulet, the mage Valeria has been kidnapped by ghouls, servants of evil. They plan to drain her power and force her into their breeding program. Sensing her magical cry for help, outcast mage Griff Dare comes to the rescue. Now a wanted fugitive, Griff was the former shire reeve (sheriff) of the Collegium, but he uncovered a conspiracy between mages and ghouls and has been living underground protecting Mundanes (nonmagical people) for several years. Valeria is the current shire reeve and feels duty-bound to bring him to justice. As Valeria and Griff struggle with their attraction and competing loyalties, they stumble upon more evidence of the plot and work to unmask the traitors. Their romance blooms but with heavy costs to all parties.
Verdict This exceptional novel features outstanding writing coupled with a compelling plot set in an intriguing magical universe. Genre fiction at its best.—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"