Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 21, 2012

Week ending December 21, 2012

starred review starBell, Dana Marie. All for You. Carina: Harlequin. (Nephilim, Bk. 1). Dec. 2012. c.223p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894848. EPUB $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
The newest series by author Bell (“Gray Court” series and “Halle Shifter” series) introduces readers to the world of the Nephilim and Shemyaza, two warring factions of angel-born. These angel-born live among us with everyday jobs, fighting one another on their off-time—unbeknownst to most mere mortals. But a few mortals now have the knowledge of the angel-born. After the mortal Marian saw her son, Seth, display his wings at the tender age of six, Gabriel has allowed the Nephilim to decide for themselves whether to reveal their true selves to their mates. Years later, Seth has been assigned to guard Abby, the younger sister of a mortal childhood friend, as she is being stalked, possibly by a Shemyaza. Abby’s heart is still recovering from her last tragic breakup, which resulted not only in emotional scars but severe physical ones as well. Abby soon falls for her protector as he falls for her. Now Seth must push to find the truth about Abby’s previous breakup and decide whether she should know his true self and the facts behind her stalking.
Verdict The conditioned reader may repeatedly make simple assumptions versus looking for an intricately developed plot. However, Bell will prove readers wrong. The depths of the plot and character development here provide the perfect setup for what should prove to be a strong series. The steamy sex scenes may be a bit much for some traditional romance collections, but, otherwise, this title is highly recommended.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

starred review starHackett, Anna & others. A Galactic Holiday. Carina: Harlequin. Dec. 2012. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781426894787. EPUB $7.99. SF ROMANCE
This trio of holiday stories feature halosuits and blasters instead of sugarplums and stockings. Hackett’s “Winter Fusion” brings trade negotiator Savan Bardan to the ice planet of Perma. He knows that Perma’s fusion crystals will benefit Rendar but isn’t sure whether pitting himself against Brinn Fjord will end up with him in the deep freeze. Brinn holds him responsible for her father’s death, and all she wants is to finish the deal and get home for the holiday. But when the negotiations fall prey to accidents and icy weather, Brinn and Savan discover they have enough heat between them to counter any cold. In Stacy Gail’s “How the Glitch Saved Christmas,” Det. Reina Vedette finds that her unwillingness to perform body modifications and enhancements is a detriment to her position on the Chicago police force. When she is partnered with “bod-mod” enthusiast Edison Wicke to investigate a “reverse Grinch” during Christmas, Reina discovers that even cyberenhancements can be hot in the Chicago wintertime. Together, Reina and Wicke explore the idea that technology and humanity can coexist. In Sasha Summers’s “Galileo’s Holiday,” Riley finds herself marooned on Galileo after her ice mining ship is destroyed by raiders. Usually a solo flyer, Riley isn’t sure that she wants to be assisted by trader Leo and the rest of the settlers. Yet the settlers are a close-knit family, and as they prepare for Galileo’s holiday, Riley finds herself drawn to the group, especially Leo. When it is revealed that Leo has something the raiders will return for, Riley will stop at nothing to defend her new friends and her new love, no matter the cost.
Verdict As holiday tales delight many during December, having something a little more “out of the box” than the usual romantic collection is a wonder to behold. Each one of these stories features a strong female protagonist, a smart plot, and sex scenes sure to melt any ice. These tales will please romance readers who enjoy galactic encounters.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

McKade, Mackenzie. Sand Angel. Samhain. Jan. 2013. 204p. ebk. ISBN 9781619212848. EPUB $4.50. EROTIC ROMANCE
After freelance photographer Drew Thompson returns from Iraq, his first order of business is to reclaim the relationship he left behind three years ago. But Zoë Davis is not the same person Drew once knew. Her youthful innocence has been replaced by a wild toughness she created as a wall to her emotions when Drew walked out of her life. Zoë now lives for danger, and even as a professional biker, her antics have left everyone worried. This weekend in the sand dunes of Glamis California may be Drew’s only opportunity to convince her that he made a mistake, but will Zoë’s craving for adrenaline have her spiraling out of control before it’s too late?
Verdict McKade (Wild; Bound by an Angel) knows how to push the bounds of erotic romance with a story that contains a steady stream of carnal sex and, when coupled with the thrill of fast machines and daring drivers, makes for a wild ride. Readers will be drawn to the rarity of the female protagonist’s passion for a male-dominated sport and will be rooting for Zoë to have her desires fulfilled by something more lasting than the rush of danger.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Walters, N.J. Damek’s Redemption. Samhain. (Legacy, Bk. 6). 2012. c.200p. ebk. ISBN 9781619212909. EPUB $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Sonia Agostino’s fascination with myths and folklore has led her around the world to conduct research on paranormal creatures like werewolves, shape-shifters, and vampires, and she, along with members of her large Greek family, offers aid to these otherworldly beings through a secret society. Throughout her travels, Sonia has had little opportunity to encounter the creature who fascinates her most—the vampire. Sonia’s intuition leads her to mysterious Chicago nightclub owner Damek, and she immediately sets out to confirm her suspicions that he is a vampire. Yet that proves more difficult than she anticipates. When Damek first sets eyes on Sonia, he knows that she spells trouble, and it is not only because of the vampire hunters who have been tracking her every move. As a powerful vampire, Damek is capable of handling anything that comes along, but he is concerned about keeping Sonia out of harm’s way because he knows that Sonia has the potential to make him feel things he has not felt in decades and can change him forever.
Verdict In this latest “Legacy” title, Walters (Alexandra’s Legacy) continues to feature tight-knit werewolf families and shifts slightly to spotlight a vampire as hero. The erotic elements are no less present, and while the romance between Sonia and Damek is touching, the action sequences wrap much too quickly and the plot drags on a little too long thereafter. Still, fans of the genre might be interested in exploring earlier books in the series.—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"