Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, April 5, 2013

Week ending April 5, 2013

Jacoby, Jacqui. With a Vengeance. Samhain. Apr. 2013. 332p. ebk. ISBN 9781619215757. EPUB $4.50. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
This plot-driven romance opens with longtime CIA team members Jaime, Stephen, and Collin in trouble in Argentina. Jaime witnessed a hit against a coworker gone bad, with the assassin another coworker. Now, she’s been framed for that murder and several others. Her high-ranking uncle gets her and her compatriots out of the country until the situation can be safely resolved. Jaime opts for a vacation in Hawaii and uncharacteristically invites Stephen along. Suddenly, the pair realize they’ve been in love for years and decide to elope. Sixteen months later, the story takes up again when Jaime goes to see her uncle. Arriving early, she overhears something she wasn’t supposed to, and her life is turned upside down once more. From there, the novel is fully plot driven, with our couple frequently in great peril and Jaime rescuing them both from improbable circumstances, Hollywood repartee zinging between them during those perilous situations, Stephen behaving like an ass, Jaime forgiving him in two pages’ time, and the reader having no emotional investment because there has been no time to get to know anyone. Because the relationship started well before the book and all quiet moments occur outside the action, the characters remain two-dimensional.
Verdict The nonstop action keeps reader interest if one is in the mood for an adventure novel that is a bit light on romance.—B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L., Goleta Lib., CA

starred review starLang, Lily. The Last Time We Met. Samhain. May 2013. 123p. ebk. ISBN 9781619214767. EPUB $3.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
As the daughter of Lord Thornwood, Miranda Thornwood grew up in the grandeur of Thornwood Hall, but her heart belonged to stable boy Jason. So when her brother is accused of the murder of her Uncle Clarence, Miranda turns to the one person whom she knows will help her—Jason Blakewell. But for Jason, who was sent to the hulks for attempting to run to the Americas with Miranda ten years ago, experience has made him into a different man. He blames Miranda for telling her father about their forbidden love, for abandoning their love, and for the two years he suffered at hard labor. Jason has used his anger well, amassing an unimaginable fortune. As the owner of the gaming hell Blakewell’s, Jason is the obvious person for Miranda to turn to rescue her home and her brother’s future. It takes only moments for the taciturn Jason to once again feel the same love and connection to his beautiful Miranda.
Verdict Set in London in 1832, The Last Time We Met is a quick read and a beautiful story that is both well written and intriguing. Readers will find themselves rooting for the wronged stable boy–turned–hardened business owner. Will he forgive Miranda for her father’s actions? Will she allow herself to love openly the owner of a gaming hell? Fans of Downton Abbey will love to see the TV world of historical London come alive on the electronic page!—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Maher, Rebecca Rogers. Hurricane Lily. Promised Land Bks. Apr. 2013. c.128p. ebk. ISBN 9781625395375. EPUB $1.99 CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lily Sawyer left behind high society and stifling family in New York to return to her private oasis on Massachusetts’s Cape Cod. But now the cottage has turned into a personal prison for Lily, until her father hires carpenter Cliff Buckley to remodel the place. Cliff is adamant that he’s not to be some service staff for the spoiled rich girl from the big city. It’s those same rich people who build expensive houses where once his father had built dependable homes. As Cliff strips the house, he begins to strip away Lily’s façade to find the vulnerable woman beneath. Now all they have to do is survive an impending hurricane.
Verdict At a little over 120 pages, this short novel from Maher (Fault Lines; I’ll Become the Sea) lacks some story development. Halfway through, however, things turn around, so that by the end the reader is fully invested in what happens to these characters.—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Title, Sarah. Kentucky Home: A Southern Comfort Novel. eKensington. Apr. 2013. 201p. ebk. ISBN 9781601831149. EPUB $3.99. WESTERN ROMANCE
Mallory Thompson is fed up with being the wife of a prominent physician in Washington, DC, especially after he gives her a black eye when he finds her making plans to leave him—even though one of his nurses is upstairs in their bed! Mallory turns for help to Luke Carson, bartender and man about town. Luke’s bright idea is to take Mal to his home in rural Kentucky, the Wild Rose Farm and Stables, and present her to his family as his fiancée while Mal decides what her next step will be. The Wild Rose is inhabited by Luke’s father, Cal, a cranky horseman reluctant to make changes to his business; Luke’s eldest brother, Keith, who is still grieving the loss of his wife and child in a terrible accident; his headstrong younger sister, Katie; longtime housekeeper Libby; and a three-legged dog named Peanut. While city girl Mal works hard to fit into a very different way of life on the Wild Rose, she finds herself falling in love with the land, the Carson family, Peanut, and, most of all, prickly widower Keith. When Mal’s husband comes looking for her and is determined to take her back to Washington, Mal realizes that there is nothing for her in DC and that she has found a new home in Kentucky.
Verdict The first entry in Title’s “Southern Comfort” series introduces us to the Carson clan and the Wild Rose. Mal and Keith get off to a rough start, but things soon heat up in the bunkhouse as Keith gets to know Mal, and her bright smile and sunny disposition make it impossible for him to hold onto his gruff manner and his grief. This reviewer is eager to find out what’s next for the Carson family!—Lisa M. Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., Gardner Neighborhood Lib., KS

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"