Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, March 15, 2013

Week ending March 15, 2013

Duncan, Nikki. A Killing Touch. Samhain. (Sensory Ops, Bk. 4). Mar. 2013. 217p. ebk. ISBN 9781619214736. EPUB 4.50. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Lana and Aidan have grudgingly worked cases together before, he as a special agent FBI team member and she as a journalist. It was not the most pleasant of working experiences except for the steam they generated. Now Lana is on to a new story that she thinks will be big, if she can get anyone else to believe her. Aidan, against his better judgment, gets involved mainly to keep Lana from endangering herself. If readers haven’t dipped into the previous titles in the series (this is Book 4), they might be a little lost as to who is who and what is going on; it feels like the first ten chapters of the book are missing. There are moments when the wording makes one think this novel might have a fantastical side, too, but it never appears. The use of more derogatory names for acts of passion might make you think this work verges on erotica, but nothing comes of it. It’s intimated that the couple have a wild sex life, but there are no scenes for the reader. The whole book seems to be a contradiction, which is not a good thing.
Verdict If you have read/bought the rest of the series, go for it; otherwise, not recommended.—Ryan A. Franklin, Mattoon P.L., IL

James, Eloisa. With This Kiss. Avon Impulse. Mar. 2013. NAp. Pt. 1, ebk. ISBN 9780062276933; Pt. 2, ebk. ISBN 9780062276940; Pt. 3, ebk. ISBN 9780062276957. ea. vol: EPUB 99¢. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Quiet, self-contained, and properly behaved (as befits the dutiful eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Ashbrook), Lady Grace Ryburn has secretly adored dashing Colin Barry from the time he bound up her skinned knee with his very own handkerchief and pronounced her “brave.” But over the years, Grace has ceded the limelight to her effervescent and flirtatious younger sister, Lily. Although it is Grace’s enchanting, insightful letters that keep Colin on an even keel while he’s serving his country on the high seas, when he returns after a difficult tour of duty, it is lighthearted Lily who first captures his attention—almost breaking Grace’s hopeful heart.
Verdict In a move that is sure to please both fans who hate saying goodbye to favorite characters and those who enjoy the tease of installments, James takes the children of privateer heroes from two earlier stories (The Ugly Duchess [LJ 8/12] and the novella Seduced by a Pirate [Xpress Reviews, 10/5/12]) and spins a delightful romance that is sure to entice readers. The story is being released in three sections, each one week apart, beginning on March 12. Grace and Colin will find a way into your hearts—and hard-core James print collectors will be thrilled that With This Kiss, together with Seduced by a Pirate, will be published in paperback as As You Wish on March 26 (Avon. ISBN 9780062276964. pap. $5.99).—Kristin Ramsdell, Libn. Emerita, California State Univ., East Bay

Merrow, JL. Slam! Samhain. Apr. 2013. 278p. ebk. ISBN 9781619214859. EPUB $5.50. LGBT ROMANCE
At 22, Jude is still living at home with his mom, waiting tables at a vegan restaurant, and performing his original poetry. When he is saved from muggers by local karate instructor David, the distant object of his affection, Jude thinks his love life may finally be turning around. However, David is still in the closet at his day job, and Jude most definitely is not. Also, David seems to have a really close relationship with his ex, the hunky Knut. And let’s not forget that Jude’s mom is now dating David’s friend Kevin, who believes—thanks to dear mom telling tales—that Jude is only 15. Will Jude finally be able to pen a love limerick, or will his next lines be another sad sonnet?
Verdict Incorporating strong secondary characters, Merrow’s (Pressure Head; Hard Tail) comedic tale offers the inevitable tropes of younger/older men who are in/out of the closet but in dynamically humorous ways. Instead of bogging down the narrative, these typical issues are turned inside out by Jude’s cheeky outlook on life and his poetry.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA.

Ryan, Jennifer. Saved by the Rancher. Avon Impulse. (Hunted, Bk. 1). Mar. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780062268020. EPUB 99¢. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jenna Caldwell thinks that her life will be perfect when she marries the powerful and wealthy David Merrick, heir to the Merrick dynasty and fortune. What the marriage brings her, however, is the temper of a man who tries to control her through violence and pain. The divorce delivers no relief, as David delights in the hunt and the eventual beating that will be his retribution. With the help of her attorney, Jenna runs to the Colorado ranch home of Jack Turner, a cowboy with an army past. She arrives at the Turner ranch beaten, bleeding, hanging to life—and Jack immediately is drawn to the haunted, and hunted, beauty. While Jenna slowly heals, she is attracted to Jack: his strength, his safety, and his love. He is the perfect, modern-day cowboy, allowing Jenna to be strong and fight back on her own—as long as she ends the day in his bed!
Verdict This first installment in Ryan’s “Hunted” series presents a perfect example of a woman almost destroyed by the madman that is her husband. While Jenna is beaten many times, she is no victim; she refuses to accept this abuse and further learns that not all men are like her ex-husband. You will find yourself rooting for the battered Jenna and the sexy Jack, who fights so hard to win her bruised and battered heart.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

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"