Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, February 1, 2013

Week ending February 1, 2013

Jameson, Lauren. Surrender to Temptation. InterMix: Berkley/NAL. ea. vol: 50p. EPUB $1.99. Includes: Pt. 1: Tempted To Submit. 2012. ebk. ISBN 9781101620700; Pt. 2: Tempted To Rebel. ebk. ISBN 9781101620717. 2013; Pt. 3: Tempted To Obey. ebk. ISBN 9781101620724. 2013; Pt. 4: Tempted To Entice. ebk. ISBN 9781101620731. 2013; Pt. 5: Tempted To Reveal. ebk. ISBN 9781101620755. 2013; Pt. 6: Tempted To Possess. ebk. ISBN 9781101620762. Feb. 2013. EROTICA/BDSM
When full-figured office assistant Devon Reid discovers her law partner boyfriend was cheating on her and their entire office probably knew about it, she packs her bags and her insecurities and flees to coastal Cambria, CA, to recapture the joy of a favorite childhood destination. At a local diner, she meets “Zach,” a dark, mysterious man who attracts her sexually but repels her with his attitude, which fluctuates between interest and aloofness. Devon spills her recent woes to this stranger, who seems less than sympathetic when he abruptly leaves. As she walks back to her motel, Zach reappears, and after telling Devon he’s ruthless in pursuing what he wants, he proceeds to kiss her and fondle her before warning her to stay away as he leaves again. The next morning, Devon receives a note from the front desk telling her to go to Phyrefly Aviation, where a job is waiting for her. She visits the company and discovers her mystery man is the owner, Zachariah St. Brenton. Devon and Zach delve quickly into intimacy as strangers, and the erotic exploration of spanking, toys, and bondage drives the emotional roller coaster Devon is on as she vacillates about her feelings for Zach.
Verdict This serial novel features the requisite good girl insecure about herself and the bad boy billionaire, but it differs from those stereotypes as Devon often takes the more outspoken role and Zach dithers between obsession and indifference. The serial format capitalizes on dramatic ups and downs in plotting but is recommended only for readers planning to purchase all of the parts—no single episode stands alone. Readers who enjoyed Beth Kery’s Because You Are Mine (2012) will likely find this an even stronger serial. Jameson also writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary titles as Lauren Hawkeye.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

starred review starMarion, Isaac. The New Hunger. Zola Bks. 2013. 128p. ebk. ISBN 9781939126047. EPUB $4.99. HORROR
The landscape of human society is decaying, littered with corpses that are slowly returning to life. The living are all but obliterated, but small pockets of people remain. Twelve-year-old Julie travels from city to city with her family, searching for a safe zone. Abandoned, 16-year-old Nora and her younger brother Addis are on a similar journey, seeking sanctuary amid the chaos. The world has collapsed, and yet, within the wasteland, hope has awakened in the shape of a tall zombie who has risen somewhere in the forest, not sure why he’s alive when he’s supposed to be dead. He can’t even remember his own name, but he thinks it starts with an R.
Verdict In rich, evocative prose, Marion transports his readers back into the postapocalyptic parable he first brought to life—or death—in his brilliant debut Warm Bodies. This ebook exclusive, which works both as a prequel and a stand-alone novella, is certain to captivate fans of his original rom-zom-com masterpiece, as well as zombie aficionados in general. Harrowing, hopeful, and highly recommended, this title bows just in time for the film adaptation of Warm Bodies, which premieres on February 1. [For the moment, this ebook is only available for sale on the publisher’s website, www.zolabooks.com.—Ed.]—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY

Peterman, Robyn. How Hard Can It Be? eKensington. 2013. c.273p. ebk. ISBN 9781601830623. EPUB $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Rena is ready to try something new. Her attempt at becoming the local weather girl didn’t exactly work out, so she’s decided to write best-selling romance novels. Joining the local writer’s group doesn’t go exactly the way she planned, either—Rena quickly finds herself conned, blackmailed, and arrested for violating that pesky restraining order from the news station. Determined to clear the writing group’s good name and prove to the hot cop she is not a criminal, Rena embarks on writing the story of a lifetime.
Verdict Peterman goes for madcap romance in her debut novel but doesn’t quite hit the mark. Starting awkwardly, it takes a long time to find the frenetic, zany pacing necessary to sell the chaos surrounding Rena. Many of the subplots seem out of place and could have been removed to help keep that pacing at an even level. While there are funny passages (specifically in the novel Rena is writing) and a hot romance, these elements don’t quite make up for the book’s problems.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

Roberts, Wendy. Grounds To Kill: Latte, Espresso, Cappuccino & Murder. Carina: Harlequin. 2013. 261p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894893. EPUB $4.99. MYSTERY
Thirty-year-old Jen Hanby works as a Seattle barista. She’s celebrating her six-month anniversary with Arthur, a traffic cop, when she gets an inkling from her spirit guide that he may be cheating on her. Readers are quickly thrown into Jen’s complicated life when her half-sister is murdered, and their homeless, mentally ill father is considered a suspect. Jen is aided by Mallory and Beth, two high school girlfriends, and Mitch, the sexy guy she works with at the coffee shop, to figure out who the killer is. Roberts is also the author of the “Ghost Dusters” series (e.g., Drop Dead Beauty).
Verdict Roberts creates likable, believable characters with complex lives. The mystery has twists and turns that keep the reader engaged. Fans will be cheering for Mitch and Jen in the inevitable sequel.—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"