Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, May 3, 2013

Week ending May 3, 2013

Davenport, Jami. Down by Contact. Boroughs Pub. Group. (Seattle Lumberjacks, Bk. 3). 2013. c.282p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876165. EPUB $3.99. SPORTS ROMANCE
Kelsie Carrington-Richmond, recovering mean-girl, is trying to make amends. First on Kelsie’s list: Zach Murphy, boy from the wrong side of the trailer park–turned–NFL football player. Kelsie is now the one who is down on her luck, having recently been living out of her car. Still, she hopes to make a success of her Finishing School for Real Men. Zach’s life seems to have turned around, but the team owner’s daughter, Victoria, has it in for Zach. His inability to fit into high-class society may give Victoria just the ammo she needs to release him before he has obtained that elusive Super Bowl ring. Suddenly, circumstances throw Kelsie and Zach together once again. Will Zach pass Kelsie’s charm school with flying colors, or will this business proposition end in failure, broken hearts, and a losing season for the Lumberjacks?
Verdict Change is hard and takes work. Davenport proves with Zach and Kelsie that humans are fallible, but true love can prevail. The early copy of this title had a number of copyediting errors, which, one hopes, will be cleaned up in the final release. With Book 1 of this series now available in paperback, this is a great purchase for your romance and sports fans alike.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Haymore, Jennifer. The Devil’s Pearl. Forever Yours: Grand Central. May 2013. c.120p. ebk. ISBN 9781455548002. $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
This novella is set up as an entree to Haymore’s new “House of Trent” series but has only a very tangential connection to those forthcoming books. In her introduction, Haymore tells of a visit she received from Lady Esme Hawkins (a future character in the series). Lady Esme publishes scandalous stories and can’t let anyone know that she does so. Haymore is publishing these novellas as “Lady Esme’s novellas.” In this first tale, Sir Devlin Vaughn is determined to get Julia Beaumont back. She’d been his lover but left abruptly and, according to reports, has been working in Paris as a courtesan. Now that Julia is once again in London, Devlin wants her, even if that means he must kidnap her.
Verdict This novella is short on character development mostly owing to its numerous passionate sex scenes. The motivations for the lovers’ initial affair aren’t believable, and Devlin’s current actions make it difficult to root for them as a couple. Recommended only for readers who intend to read the entire Trent series.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison Public Library, WI

Layle, Madison & Anna Leigh Keaton. Falke’s Renegade. Carina: Harlequin. (Puma Nights, Bk. 3). 2013. 140p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895388. EPUB $2.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
The Falke family is back (after Falke’s Peak and Falke’s Captive), and this time it’s long-suffering, only daughter Heidi’s turn in the spotlight. Javier Montero is too busy tracking a snow leopard to realize his jaguar form is in the crosshairs of a local hunter. Heidi, the local vet, is called in to attempt to heal the fallen big cat. A female carrier of the family’s shape-shifting abilities, Heidi quickly realizes there’s more to the black jaguar than meets the eye and is intrigued by the newcomer. Javier, though, has only one goal in mind: revenge.
Verdict: The latest in the “Puma Nights” series from the writing duo of Keaton and Layle is enjoyable and a fun way to spend an afternoon. For those unfamiliar with the series, the paranormal take and the dynamics of the pack may be a bit confusing—or in the case of the dynamics, cold—but if readers stick with it, the rest settles quickly. Those who have enjoyed the two previous installments will be delighted to see familiar characters continuing to evolve. A great read for those looking for a steamy, shape-shifting romance.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

Parr, Allison. Rush Me. Carina: Harlequin. 2013. c.263p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895333. EPUB $2.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
In Parr’s wining debut, Rachael Hamilton walks into the wrong party while looking for her roommate. Realizing Eva is nowhere and the exit is blocked by gyrating bodies, she heads upstairs and walks in on a cocky jock in a comprising position. If that isn’t humiliating enough, she returns the next day to look for her scarf and discovers that last night’s dumb jock is New York Leopard’s hunky quarterback Ryan Carter. Ryan has yet to meet a woman who doesn’t fall at his feet, and Rachael, a self-proclaimed nerd trying to make her way in New York City’s publishing industry, doesn’t believe Ryan could be her intellectual match. Getting to know each other first as friends and then as lovers, they are both taken aback at how compatible they are, but Rachael’s fierce sense of independence and deep-seated trust issues may be one game Ryan can’t win.
Verdict Parr successfully captures the core of new adult romance, which infuses the immaturity of young love with the sense of freedom and growing responsibility found in adulthood. Those who fancy Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster should pick up Rush Me as their next read.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Ryan, Jennifer. The Right Bride. Avon Impulse. (Hunted, Bk. 3). 2013. 416p. ebk. ISBN 9780062271341. EPUB $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In this family melodrama, successful businessman Cameron Shaw has a fling with a gold digger who resembles his late wife. Just as Cameron is about to break it off, Shelly fakes a pregnancy. All of his friends (the couples from the previous two books in the series) and his five-year-old daughter, Emma, warn him that the woman is out for his money, but he refuses to listen. Of course, then Cameron meets and falls in love with Martina, the perfect woman, but he feels obligated to honor his promise to marry Shelly. Not so obligated, it seems, as he also enjoys a one-night stand with perfect Marti and starts a real baby. Emma is the smartest person in the family, figuring it all out long before the adults do!
Verdict The Right Bride may be a disappointment to followers of the series (Saved by the Rancher; Lucky Like Us). The suspense of the first two books is lacking here, while the adults need to be hit with a “clue-by-four.” For readers who like family soap operas, this is a three-hankie special.—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"