Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, July 19, 2013

Week ending July 19, 2013

Newton, Christy. Begin Again. Crimson Romance: F+W Media. Aug 2013. 113p. ebk. ISBN 9781440571633. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In this earnest tale from Newton (Stolen Hearts), Indiana diner waitress Maisie Scott doesn’t think that love is in the cards. She lost both her husband and the baby she was carrying in a tornado. Now her focus is on saving enough money to move out of her sister’s basement. Her sister means well by giving her a pet hamster for company, but Maisie can barely take care of herself, let alone another living thing. Exotic-pet veterinarian Ryan Tucker moved to Pleasant Valley in hopes of starting a new chapter in his life and has a thing for the cute redheaded waitress who serves up homemade pie at the diner down the street. Maisie is attracted to Ryan, but she doesn’t know if she can open herself to love again. Ryan also harbors a secret from his past that may jeopardize the relationship with Maisie before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
Verdict Newton shows promise as a storyteller as demonstrated by her knack for developing a strong hero and heroine whose love story, with its mild romantic scenes, quickly immerses the reader. The ending seems a bit far-fetched, but that is a small blemish on what otherwise is a sweetly charming read.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Seasons, Jennifer. Playing the Field. Avon Impulse. (Diamonds & Dugouts, Bk. 2). Jul. 2013. c.241p. ebk. ISBN 9780062271464. $1.99. SPORTS ROMANCE
Sonny Miller and her son, Charlie, are a team of two, and that is how they both plan on keeping it. Sonny insists that she is not superstitious, but Charlie knows better (especially when it comes to Saturdays). Saturdays are only for cleaning since things like breakups and abandonment are the only memories of Saturdays that Sonny has. But when Charlie joins a Little League team, Sonny has to break out of her routine to attend Charlie’s Saturday games. The next thing you know, Charlie has Sonny at a fundraiser for the Colorado Rush professional baseball team (on a Saturday) and the Rush superstar shortstop, JP, starts making all sorts of plans to fill Sonny’s weekends. Ego and bravado are perfect and perhaps required for a sports professional but can certainly cause problems in romance (especially with a protective single mother).
Verdict Fans of Luanne Rice will appreciate the complexities of the family and life dynamics and their impact on new romance in this latest series entry from Seasons (after Stealing Home). Recommended for sports lovers and romance fans in general.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Zuzulo, Kellyann. The Genie Smolders. Boroughs Pub. (Zubis Chronicles, Bk. 2). Jul. 2013. 208p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876158. $3.99. ETHNOCULTURAL, PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This second installment in the “Zubis Chronicles” (after The Genie Ignites) continues the story of the forbidden love between Zubis, a jinni or genie, and Bethany O’Brien, a human woman who is the reincarnation of a priestess from the time of Solomon. Zubis has loved Bethany for 3,000 years, and Bethany has recently given birth to Zubis’s daughter, Fia. Malevolent forces have conspired to keep them apart by kidnapping Fia in order to force Zubis to help the evil jinni Iblis—also known as “Shaitan” or Satan—to conquer the world. A varied cast of human and jinni plotters take advantage of Zubis’s further vulnerability: he is in thrall to an Arabian family because he owes them the third of three wishes.
Unexpected angelic help and the power of sexual healing add layers of interest, while well-crafted romantic interludes and the use of Arabic phrases and locales lend authenticity and depth. The complex plot and multiple characters would make reading the first book in the series essential for most readers.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA


Annalisa Pesek About Annalisa Pesek

Annalisa Pesek (apesek@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor, LJ Book Review
[photograph by John Sarsgard]