Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 18, 2013

Week ending January 18, 2013

Flaherty, Liz. Jar of Dreams. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2013. c.208p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894930. EPUB $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Boone and Crockett, like peanut butter and jelly, are said in one breath for they were always together in Taft—causing trouble more often than not. More than 20 years later, though, Crockett is now known as Father and Boone is a nationally syndicated cartoonist. They each make it home to Taft at least twice a year, but civility, not friendship, is all they expect from each other now. A woman tore them apart many years ago and now another woman just may bring them together. Lucy has come to Taft under the advice of Father Crockett. A devastating fire not only destroyed her livelihood but also her only family left in the world. In Taft, she soon finds love and a new family with Boone, Crockett, Aunt Gert, and Sims. But upon Lucy’s arrival, fires start popping up in Taft. Will she lose her new life and new family as well?
Verdict This tender-hearted romance is the perfect light read whether you are on the beach or in front of a winter fire. The steam level is low, making it appropriate for a wider audience.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Kendall, Beverley. When in Paris…. Season Pub. 2012. c.339p. ebk. ISBN 9780983800644. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Olivia Montgomery is looking forward to college life until walking into her freshman French class and finding Zac Pearson, the guy she secretly desired all through high school. But since he ignored her all through high school, she accepts that he’ll ignore her again. Zac sure did notice Olivia in high school, but owing to family secrets and school rumors, he was coached back then to avoid her. Now, fate keeps throwing them together, finally sending them both on their class’s one-week trip to Paris. In the city of love, sparks fly, but upon their return home, those old family secrets and Zac’s ex-girlfriend threaten their new love.
Verdict Although When in Paris… is Kendall’s first contemporary romance—she’s better known for her historical romances (e.g., An Heir of Deception)—she has a clear grasp of the subgenre. The story is well layered and moves at a good pace. Romance readers will definitely enjoy!—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Packard, Alison. Love in the Afternoon. Carina: Harlequin. 2012. 254p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894831. EPUB $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Packard’s debut features a refreshing venue for her two protagonists, Kayla Maxwell and Sean Barrett, soap stars on A New Dawn. Sean, a veteran of the show, is a Hollywood heartthrob who has been burnt from women using him to get to his famous father. Kayla, still trying to prove herself as a serious actress, also carries emotional baggage from her ex and vows never to date another actor again. When the writers start scripting a new romance featuring Kayla’s and Sean’s characters, it’s clear that the chemistry is just as hot off screen as it is on. While the couple are navigating this new relationship, Kayla starts receiving hate mail that indicates the threat is more serious than the ranting of just another crazy fan. Sean and Kayla look to each other for safety as they work to stop the person who endangers more than just their relationship.
Verdict Most readers will peg Kayla’s stalker early on, but that is a minor defect in a novel that succeeds in crafting an engaging and substantive romance with likable characters. Packard’s next book (The Winning Season), featuring Kayla’s sister Kelly and Sean’s best friend Matt, is set for release in July.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Rushdan, Isis. Kindred of the Fallen. Samhain. (Kindred Chronicles, Bk. 1). Jan. 2013. c.470p. ebk. ISBN 9781619212893. EPUB $6.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Serenity’s ability to sketch a person’s true soul has helped her to save a failing tattoo parlor. Between the demand for her work and the rise of her fiancé at his law firm, Serenity is finally feeling safe from the troubling visions that plagued her childhood. Cyrus has been searching for his Blessed mate for years. Their union will break the curse on the Kindred, an ancient race hiding among humans. When strange men with earpieces interrogate Serenity the night after she meets Cyrus, she finds herself thrust into a journey of discovering her true nature. This hefty paranormal romance takes the reader from posh parties in Manhattan to bloody battles in dark warehouses with a stop here and there at bedrooms of palatial estates. At points, the book’s pacing slows for lengthy exposition on the history and mythology of the characters. The mix of demons, angels, and Middle Eastern lore is a welcome break from the European mythology that has become de rigueur in this genre.
Verdict At 470 pages, this title provides readers with the mythology and groundwork for a compelling new series, and the relationship between Serenity and Cyrus keeps the romance in this fantasy.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

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"