Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 25, 2013

Week ending January 25, 2013

Anderson, Sarah M. Mystic Cowboy. Samhain. (Men of the White Sandy, Bk. 1). Jan. 2013. 278p. ebk. ISBN 9781619212145. EPUB $5.50. WESTERN ROMANCE
Dr. Madeline Mitchell is leaving behind Columbus, OH, and her thriving medical practice, an unsatisfying relationship, and her sister to become the only doctor within 100 miles of the Lakota Sioux on the White Sandy reservation in South Dakota. Jonathan Runs Fast, aka Rebel, is a successful Native American artist who has returned to his childhood home on the reservation and the traditional Lakota way of living as the tribe’s medicine man. Rebel and Madeline butt heads her first day when he discourages patients at the clinic from accepting medical treatment in favor of traditional Lakota remedies to combat a strange “flu” that has been running through the tribe. While Madeline searches for a medical reason for the illness, Rebel investigates a possible cause closer to home. Things heat up between the pair as they work together and come to understand each other’s ways. When the epidemic comes to a head, Madeline and Rebel must trust each other in order to save others. In doing so, they realize that while they come from different backgrounds, they can blend them into a relationship that nurtures them both.
Verdict There is so much more to this story than hunky-cowboy-who-just-happens-to-be-a-Lakota Indian meets white city girl. Cultural differences create difficulties in Madeline and Rebel’s relationship beyond just medicine man vs. doctor of medicine. However, the attraction between Madeline and Rebel is there from the start and heats up nicely. Don’t miss Mystic Cowboy, and be on the lookout for the next installment in the series.—Lisa Jordan, Gardner Neighborhood Lib., Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

Kwan, Coleen. Asher’s Dilemma. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2013. c.105p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894886. EPUB $3.99. STEAMPUNK ROMANCE
In a sort-of sequel to Asher’s Invention, Asher and his love, Minerva, return for a bit of steampunk-tinted time travel. Asher has finally completed his time machine but now has a weird feeling in his gut and head that something is missing from his life. An accidental trip eight months in the past suddenly brings an ominous plot to the fore: it was Minerva who was missing, as if she no longer existed, from Asher’s future. Asher and Minerva race against the clock to solve the problem before Minerva is entirely wiped from existence.
Verdict In this fun romp that explores and exploits the constraints and capabilities of time travel, Kwan manages to make it all seem possible. The novella does move quickly through scenes and emotions, but the fast pace of the plot and time travel twists make up for it. Never reaching too much more than heavy petting, Asher’s Dilemma creates an entertaining hour or two with a complicated romance in steampunked 19th-century England.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

Nantus, Sheryl. Claws Bared. Carina: Harlequin. (Blood of the Pride, Bk. 2). Jan. 2013. 269p. ebk. ISBN 9781426894954. EPUB $4.99. PARANORMAL, SHAPESHIFTERS
This second title in Nantus’s “Blood of the Pride” series continues the story of Canadian shape-shifter and private investigator Rebecca Desjardin. She is what is known as a Felis, a shape-shifter who turns into a human-sized cat. Sadly, she is an outcast who cannot actually change into a cat and has a human boyfriend named Bran. Rebecca is also a sought-after investigator. She has been hired by the pride’s grand council to look into a murder of a human by a Felis in Pennsylvania. Things get interesting when it turns out the dead man was a male stripper. Bran follows Rebecca to Pennsylvania and steps in to help solve the mystery. He proves his worth when he stands up to the villain and to a male Felis interested in Rebecca.
Verdict The romance here is G-rated, but the mystery is well wrought and very engaging. Owing to top-notch writing from Nantus (Blood of the Pride), Rebecca Desjardin rivals Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone as an interesting female PI. Recommended for both fans of the genre and newbies to paranormal romance.—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"