Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, April 12, 2013

Week ending April 12, 2013

starred review starAicher, Lynda. Bonds of Need. Carina: Harlequin. (Wicked Play, Bk. 2). 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781426895142. EPUB $2.99. EROTIC ROMANCE
Kendra Morgan attends a sex party at a local club at the request of one of her closest friends, but she is driven by more than curiosity. A submissive recently out of an abusive relationship, Kendra finds that her fears succumb to her need to play. Deklan Winters, co-owner of the club and Kendra’s neighbor, watches the obviously troubled Kendra and struggles with his own desire to give her what she needs in a Dom/sub relationship and release Kendra from the bonds of her past experience. However, that past is catching up to Kendra, and Deklan must figure out a way to protect Kendra from her previous master and also balance the pleasure and pain that they find in each other.
Verdict Aicher’s second book in the “Wicked Play” series (after Bonds of Trust) leads the reader into a club where pain can also mean pleasure and healing. Explicit BDSM scenes are balanced by sweet connections between these strong characters. Aicher’s vivid story line will wrap readers in the bonds of words.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Clare, Jessica. Stranded with a Billionaire. InterMix: Penguin. (Billionaire Boys Club, Bk. 1). Apr. 2013. c.259p. ebk. ISBN 9781101621233. EPUB $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When she wins a trip to the Bahamas, philosophy major and Kansas City waitress Bronte doesn’t imagine that she would spend her vacation inside while awaiting a hurricane. To make matters worse, she becomes stranded in an elevator with the resort’s manager, Logan Hawkings. After escaping, they discover that everyone else has evacuated and they will need to fend for themselves until rescue arrives. Logan is extremely handsome and a tender lover and protector. When help finally shows up, Bronte learns that Logan isn’t some working-class employee but the owner of the resort—and a billionaire. His past has taught him that women are only after one thing. He puts Bronte to the ultimate test to determine if she is trustworthy, but that seemingly harmless exercise could destroy everything.
Verdict Clare’s (Jill Myles and Jessica Sims) latest contemporary (The Girl’s Guide to [Man]Hunting) is gratifying for its likable but flawed hero and heroine, sexy love scenes, and philosophical quotes Bronte perfectly articulates at the right moments. The next series offering is Beauty and the Billionaire, coming in July.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Navarre, Laura. Magick by Moonrise. Carina: Harlequin. (Magick Trilogy). 2013. 228p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895197. EPUB $2.99, HISTORICAL, PARANORMAL
Set during the reign of Mary Tudor, the first book in the “Magick Trilogy” is a fascinating historical glimpse into these troubled times. The book opens with a stupendous chase scene evoking the ride of the Nazgûl in The Lord of the Rings. Rhiannon, half-faerie, half-human daughter of King Arthur, is on a mission to prevent the catastrophic Convergence, the mixing of the faerie lands with the human lands. She is saved from death by fallen angel in disguise Beltran Nemesto. As a papal Blade of God, his goal is to root out heresy. Inconveniently, he falls in love with Rhiannon and cannot consign her to torture and death. They work together to save the world and each other—she via her magick and he with his awesome powers as the archangel Uriel.
Verdict Simmering sex on the island of Avalon is icing on the cake of this well-crafted plot, with highly imaginative descriptions of genitalia: Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes meets Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon meets Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Seasons, Jennifer. Stealing Home. Avon Impulse. (Diamonds & Dugouts, Bk. 1). Apr. 2013. 100p. ebk. ISBN 9780062271440. EPUB 99¢. SPORTS ROMANCE
Lorelei Littleton thinks that major league baseball catcher Mark Cutter is just another overindulged, superrich ballplayer who cheated on his ex-wife and deserves a little payback. And she desperately needs the $100,000 his ex is going to pay her to finance her niece’s open heart surgery. But Mark’s ex is the cheating liar, and his past isn’t any more privileged than Lorelei’s. He just has major league talent that’s taken him to some very high places, like being the star of Denver’s baseball team. Yet when Mark meets Lorelei as she seduces and robs him, he discovers that he wants something real, and Lorelei, along with whatever reasons she is hiding for her deception, just might be it.
Verdict This sports romance is based on a series of classic “misunderstandammits” because neither party trusts the other—and with good reason. But they have seriously hot chemistry from their very first meeting, and it keeps this enemies-into-friends story cooking as they slowly reveal their vulnerabilities. Just in time for baseball season; if you like the “boys of summer,” you’ll root for these two finally to make it “home.”—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

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"