Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, August 23, 2013

Week ending August 23, 2013

d’Abo, Christine. Choose Your Shot: An Interactive Erotic Adventure. Carina: Harlequin. (Long Shots, No. 5). Aug. 2013. c350 p. ebk. ISBN 9781426896231. $3.99. EROTIC ROMANCE
This fifth entry in d’Abo’s “Long Shots” series is hot and heavy on the kinky erotic components of the story and, unfortunately, short on the romantic sides of the equation. Tegan’s journey through the newly reopened Mavericks sex club lets the reader consider several kinky possibilities, some repeatedly, as she decides which aspects of the BDSM lifestyle she’ll explore for the evening, as well as who she’ll explore them with. The “choose your own (sex) adventure” mechanics of the ebook allow readers to play the story multiple times and experience different endings, but the middle of the story can get repetitive.
Verdict Readers who have enjoyed d’Abo’s “Long Shots” titles will want to read what happens next. The novelty of the “choose your own adventure” works very well in ebook format, but it seems more like a gimmick than a good way to tell a story. We don’t have enough time to invest with Tegan to discover why she wants what she wants, or why we should want her to get it. This one is for readers who don’t mind if their erotica barely has the blush of romance to cover it.—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

starred review starGary, Codi. Things Good Girls Don’t Do. Avon Impulse. Aug. 2013. 352p. ebk. ISBN 9780062292919. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Katie Conners is the classic perfect lady. She is kind to strangers, rescues kittens, and never raises her voice, so when she hooks up with the local tattoo artist/bad boy, they capture attention of everyone in Rock Canyon! Katie is nursing a broken heart when the hunky Chase Trepasso steals her to-do list, complete with one-night stand and handcuffs, and is suddenly taken with the squeaky-clean Katie. Despite the town proclaiming Chase unworthy, Katie finds herself hopelessly in love. Undaunted by scandal and gossip, Katie fights for the reluctant Chase, who can’t give up his explosive “firecracker.”
Verdict Katie is the beautiful beauty queen; Chase is the man from the wrong side of the tracks. But together, they make perfection! Gary’s (“The Trouble with Sexy” in Kiss Me: An Avon Valentine’s Day Anthology) second tale set in Rock Canyon is a captivating romance that is the perfect read for a day at the beach, a cozy bed late at night, or flying through the sky.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Kade, Skylar. A Love Worth Living. Samhain. Sept. 2013. 164p. ebk. ISBN 9781619216129. $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Psychologist David Cameron is infatuated with his workaholic neighbor and coworker Carrie Farrow, a forensic anthropologist who has just returned from an excavation in Rwanda. Carrie’s boss requires her to take some time off to restore herself after the grueling Africa trip. David decides to be Carrie’s tour guide around the Washington, DC, area while she is on her enforced vacation. As the two PhDs get to know each other, their respective family baggage is revealed. Carrie regrets a selfish teenage moment that ended in tragedy. David lives with his failure as a student of psychology to connect with his younger brother who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. The only place David and Carrie can truly unwind is in each other’s arms, again and again and again.
Verdict This title is ultimately a collection of steamy sex scenes bogged down by David’s and Carrie’s personal tragedy, nightmares, and analysis.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Latham, Kat. Knowing the Score. Carina: Harlequin. (London Legends, Bk. 1). Aug. 2013. 252p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895920. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Caitlyn Sweeney passes by an elderly gentleman in the throes of a heart attack on a London sidewalk. As luck would have it, her training as an international emergency aid worker has prepared her for just this kind of thing. Grateful for saving his life, Philip introduces Caitlyn to his grandson Spencer, a hunk of man who is well known throughout London for being not only a tough rugby player but also as the feature in a sexy underwear billboard ad. As an American, Caitlyn knows nothing about rugby, let alone Spencer. What she does know is that despite the attraction, she can’t allow herself to get too close. Spencer is willing to take it slow, which means that his feelings for Caitlyn go beyond the usual superficial relationships he has always known. With his coddling, Caitlyn slowly overcomes her fears of intimacy, but a secret from Spencer’s past may keep Caitlyn from ever fully trusting him with her heart.
Verdict A curvy girl with emotional baggage paired with a playboy who has a sordid past is a well-worn motif, but Latham keeps her debut fresh, with characters whose unique careers play a role in their relationship, and the romance runs at a strong pace. Readers will be eager for the next series offering, Playing It Close, which is set for release in April 2014.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L. Dist., IL

starred review starMiller, Madeline. Galatea. Ecco Solo: HarperCollins. Aug. 2013. 20p. ebk. ISBN 9780062319654. $2.99. F
It’s lovely to see Miller back after her triumphant and critically acclaimed Orange Prize–winning Song of Achilles, even though it’s only in short story form. For those familiar with the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion and his obsession with his own artistic creation, the foundation of this work will come as no surprise. As the story goes, Pygmalion fell so deeply in love with his beautiful statue he clothed her, brought her gifts of jewels and flowers, and, finally, prayed to Aphrodite to give him a woman just like Galatea (which translates to “sleeping love”). Instead, Aphrodite brought the statue to life, and they lived happily ever after. Or did they? In Miller’s retelling, true love turns sour and poor Galatea has been confined to a hospital where her husband visits her occasionally for conjugal relations, insisting that she pretend to be the statue she once was until he chooses to wake her with sex.
Verdict Many Greek myths end tragically. Miller explores this theme in an e-original story that will invite readers to return again and again. This would be a perfect high school or college assignment for those studying the classics. [This story will also be published in the forthcoming print anthology xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, edited by Kate Bernheimer (Penguin, Oct.).—Ed.]—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK

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"