Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, September 20, 2013

Week ending September 20, 2013

Andrews, Vivi. Naughty Karma. Samhain. (Karmic Consultants, Bk. 7). Oct. 2013. 233p. ebk. ISBN 9781619215559. $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Prometheus has long enjoyed tormenting the psychics and ghost hunters of Karmic Consultants, but now he needs their help. If he doesn’t get his heart back from the devil he sold it to, he’ll die. Against her better judgment, Karma agrees—but only if Prometheus behaves himself and helps the agency while the staff figure out how to solve his problem. Fortunately for Karma and Prometheus, he doesn’t quite fulfill his promise….
Verdict Full of banter and arguments, this latest from Andrews (Finder’s Keeper) will be enjoyed by readers who like seeing who gets the upper hand. There’s nothing better than watching two smart people unlock each other’s secrets!—Emily Thompson, SUNY Oswego

Dominic, Cecilia. The Mountain’s Shadow. Samhain. (Lycanthropy Files, Bk. 1). Oct. 2013. 278p. ebk. ISBN 9781619218109. $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE, FANTASY
After Dr. Joanie Fisher is fired from her research project on chronic lycanthropy syndrome, she inherits her grandfather’s remote mansion and laboratory in the Ozarks and sets out to examine the place with her best friend as well as learn about the disease that is her family’s “curse.” She uncovers more about herself in the process through harrowing adventures and her involvement with local werewolves, good, bad, and handsome.
Verdict Debut novelist Dominic is also a clinical health psychologist and has wisely chosen a subject area familiar to her, a choice that places this story above the average paranormal romance in plot, as well as in characterization; unfortunately, some of the dialog is a bit stilted. The book has elements of mystery, too. All in all, fans of romance, the paranormal, and mysteries should enjoy this book.—Sara Tompson, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA

Knox, Kim. Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death. Carina: Harlequin. (Agamemnon Frost, Bk. 1). 2013. 87p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895999. $2.99. SF ROMANCE, HISTORICAL, LGBT, M/M.
In 1891, Edgar Mason is forced to leave his work as an artilleryman when the British Empire moves from men to machines. Recruited as a personal servant, Mason is dismayed to find himself in the employ of the foppish Agamemnon Frost—dismayed but also aroused. Then Frost tells Mason he is not just some elite dandy, he is sworn to protect the earth from alien invasion by the shape-changer known as Pandarus. Mason’s incredulity is overturned when Pandarus captures both men and tortures them in the chambers below his house. With the fate of humanity in the balance, Frost may be the only one who can stop their minds from being destroyed as well.
Verdict: As Knox (Gambit; Bitter Harvest) gives a slight steampunk edge to alien invasion, readers may still find themselves having to suspend disbelief over the amount of information that Mason is willing to accept about his master and lover. However, the story steadily picks up momentum through these intriguing characters and a plotline that leaves readers asking, “What is next?” Recommended for libraries that collect LGBT and sf romances.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

starred review starMcCarthy, Erin. Sweet. InterMix: Penguin. (True Believers, Bk. 2). Oct. 2013. 249p. ebk. ISBN 9781101623169. $3.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
College student Jessica Sweet doesn’t return home to the rigid Christian household where she never quite measures up, leading her parents to believe she is building houses for the needy this summer. There is only one problem: she has nowhere to stay. Fortunately, friend Tyler offers up his house for the week, but that means she would be sharing the space with Riley Mann, Tyler’s older, sexier, and cockier brother, while Tyler is away with their younger siblings. The week gets off to a rocky start, with plenty of snarky banter, until Riley finally takes it to the next level. Jessica’s sex drive demands more from Riley than what he is willing to give, but he is about to teach her that slowly exploring each other’s bodies and hearts is even more satisfying and may lead to a passion unlike anything either of them has ever experienced.
Verdict Known for steamy contemporary and paranormal romance, McCarthy has written a second foray into new adult territory (following True) that expertly depicts the ubiquitous time of life when independence and self-discovery meet an uncertain future, which is as equally exciting as it is terrifying. This riveting addition to the rising new adult category will gratify the genre’s intended audience, “for reals,” who will find themselves craving a Riley Mann of their own.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Selvig, Lizbeth. Rescued by a Stranger. Avon Impulse. Oct. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780062300362. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jill Carpenter has to make some decisions this summer. Should she continue with vet school and fulfill one dream or move from Minnesota to Florida and start training for the Olympics? Busy thinking about the future, Jill swerves to miss a dog in the road and rolls her SUV. Not to worry; Chase Preston just happens to be passing by and stops to help. Chase is in the area doing some thinking and healing of his own and is intrigued mostly by Jill but also by the characters he meets in the small town of Kennison Falls, MN. As Chase and Jill spend time together, their feelings build, but each is hesitant to move forward—Jill because of the future and Chase because of the past. The crisis facing Kennison Falls is what intrigues Chase and keeps him there fighting for a positive outcome for both the town and Jill.
Verdict Horse and dog lovers alike will enjoy this delightful contemporary American romance. Great characters like Angel the dog, crotchety Mr. McCormick, a famous rock star, and a number of horses contribute to this great story. Just enough sexual tension and flirting keep readers on the edge of their seats and rooting for Jill and Chase to work things out. Selvig’s The Rancher and the Rock Star is next on this reviewer’s reading list.—Lisa Jordan, Gardner Neighborhood Lib., Johnson Cty. 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"