Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, March 29, 2013

Week ending March 29, 2013

Anna, Vivi. League of Illusion: Prophecy. Carina: Harlequin. (League of Illusion, Bk. 2). Mar. 2013. 130p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895159. EPUB $2.99. FANTASY/STEAMPUNK ROMANCE
Illusionist Rhys Davenport knows that time is running out to find his brother Sebastian. With the League of Illusion leadership up for grabs when their father dies, Rhys’s only lead is part of a map and knowing that the trail to his brother exists somewhere in the magic of Stonehenge. However, the other half of the map lies with psychic Corina Stratton, and she is not planning to hand it over. In fact, she heads to London to steal Rhys’s fragment so that she can heal her mother’s spirit before it turns dark. When their separate goals lead to a united path littered with elves, airships, and otherworldly portals, Rhys and Corina must face facts: they will have to work together to save both her mother and Sebastian, and their attraction will not be forsworn.
Verdict Anna’s second title in the series (after League of Illusion: Legacy) brings the next Davenport brother face to face with both hatred and love. The fast-paced plot builds successfully on the first book, leaving readers eagerly awaiting the next title. This exciting romp through a magical London will please both fantasy and romance lovers.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Cross, Kaylea. Tactical Strike. Carina: Harlequin. (Bagram Special Ops, Bk. 2). Mar. 2013. c.247p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895180. EPUB $2.99. MILITARY ROMANCE
In this second entry in the “Bagram Special Ops” series, Capt. Candace Bradford is still reeling from the operation that ended with her friend Devon in the hospital. Although she is grateful for Staff Sergeant Ryan Wentworth’s help during Devon’s recovery, Ryan should know better than to flirt outwardly with an officer. After all that Candace has worked for, she can’t allow this flirtation to go any further. Ryan is known as a player, but he feels something more for Candace. When Candace’s team responds to his call for help in the field, Ryan doesn’t know whether to be relieved that he knows where she is or terrified that she has joined him in this hellish situation. Enemy forces on three sides, an uncooperative weather front, and a dangerous mountain throw Ryan and Candace together to fight for their lives and the lives of their crew members.
Verdict Cross expertly builds both the romance and the suspense in this novel that should appeal to fans of both genres. The buildup of the secondary story line involving Maya and Jackson will have patrons anxiously awaiting the next series entry. The heat level here is intense, which may exclude this title from some conservative romance collections.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Mitchell, K.A. Bad Attitude. Samhain. (Bad in Baltimore, Bk. 3). Mar. 2013. 265p. ebk. ISBN 9781619215313. EPUB $5.50. LGBT/CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When Gavin Montgomery fell off a bridge trying to save an inebriated friend from killing himself, he thought his life was over until police rescue diver Jamie Donnigan saved Gavin and his friend. As Gavin is a trust fund baby and the publicly gay son of a prominent family, his brush with death captures media attention and is seen as a suicide attempt. Trying to change the public perception of his son, Gavin’s father hosts an elaborate party to celebrate Gavin’s heroism in helping his friend, and Jamie is invited to receive public recognition of his bravery. Jamie resents Gavin’s seemingly easy life and lack of responsibility but is attracted to him physically and is willing to use him to alleviate his lack of a regular lover. Gavin starts out attracted to his rescuer as his hero, but the more he learns about Jamie, the more in love he falls.
Verdict Gavin and Jamie are mismatched at the start, as most romances seem to begin. They connect only sexually, until the final chapters, but then their professions of love fall into more of a happy for now rather than a happy ever after. Fans of Mitchell’s Bad Company (2011) and Bad Boyfriend (2011) will enjoy catching up with Nate, Kellan, Quinn, and Eli, but libraries not owning the first two books may want to pass on Attitude since the titles should be read in series order.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Pape, Cindy Spencer. Cards & Caravans. Carina: Harlequin. (Gaslight Chronicles, Bk. 5). Mar. 2013. 269 Kb. ebk. ISBN 9781426895227. EPUB $2.99. STEAMPUNK/PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Book 5 of the “Gaslight Chronicles” features the dashing Connor McKay and opens with his rescue of widow Belinda Danvers from a jail cell. She has been wrongly accused of witchcraft and slated for a hasty burning. Connor uses his magick to spirit Belinda away, and they fall into bed as they escape to his family home. Still smarting from his rejection by Wink in Moonlight & Mechanicals, Connor marries Belinda as a way to keep her safe from the law. Connor and the Order of the Round Table then realize that there is a pattern of persecution in the north of England and Scotland. As they set a trap for the perpetrators, they are attacked, and Connor is injured, while Belinda foils a kidnapper and a powerful wizard. Through their shared adventures, Belinda and Connor realize their true love and shared passion.
Verdict Excellent writing and a lively plot balanced with bubbling romance make this another outstanding contribution to this steampunk series.—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"