Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 11, 2013

Week ending October 11, 2013

starred review starCarmichael, CJ. Promise Me, Cowboy. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Rodeo, Bk. 3). Oct. 2013. 70p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296029. $2.99.
starred review starCrane, Megan. Tempt Me, Cowboy. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Rodeo, Bk. 1). 2013. 63p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296005. $2.99.
starred review starDarcy, Lilian. Marry Me, Cowboy. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Rodeo, Bk. 2). 2013. 78p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296036. $2.99. COWBOY ROMANCE
The “Copper Mountain Rodeo” series introduces readers to the small town of Marietta, MT, where cowboys stop in to ride the bulls and heat up the nights. Tempt Me, Cowboy starts the series with good-girl Chelsea Crawford Collier and bad-boy Jasper Flint, who rock the little town with their hot romance. Now with her reputation in tatters and falling helplessly for Jasper, Chelsea breaks it off to try to save her heart. But former vagabond Jasper realizes that this girl could change his wayward ways. Marry Me, Cowboy finds cowboy and hometown son Jamie MacReadie having his heart captured by Australian barrel-rider Tegan Ash. Jamie and Tegan come together like an explosion, but Tegan’s visa is running out, and she must return to her family Down Under. Yet Jamie decides that this is one filly he is not willing to let go. In Promise Me, Cowboy, the rodeo is back in town, and this time Dawson O’Dell has come along with it. Dawson is one of the top-ranked cowboys on the professional rodeo circuit. And when he walks into Sage Carrigan’s store, Copper Mountain Chocolates, Sage finds herself lusting after her old secret flame. Dawson and Sage must work through past hurts and turn their bad history into a promising future.
Verdict A quicker read than a lengthy novel, these short and sweet novellas are a perfect dose of love, romance, and hot dates! The familiar small town is the perfect backdrop to the larger-than-life cowboys who live in its mountain’s shadow. Readers of cowboy romances will enjoy meeting the residents of Marietta, where the days are rough and rugged and the nights are hot and steamy!—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Feuerman, Ruchama King.In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. NYRB. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781590177495. $9.99. F
Isaac Markowitz, a middle-aged haberdasher from New York’s Lower East Side, goes to Israel “as a vacation, an escape, just a place to recover.” Within a short time he finds lodging with a rebbe who ministers to all manner of misfits and ne’er-do-wells who collect daily in his courtyard. When the rebbe dies, Isaac somehow steps into his shoes with the blessing of the rebbe’s wife, Shaindel Bracha. Isaac has formed an intense relationship with a misshapen Arab named Mustafa who works as a janitor on the Temple Mount. The plot unfolds in chapters that alternate between Isaac and Mustafa, who has been accumulating artifacts uncovered by demolition on the mount. Isaac also encounters Tamar, an enterprising, modern young Israeli who’s determined “to marry someone [she] could roll down a hill with.” Feuerman (Seven Blessings) writes with authority and convincing detail that soon draws readers into her story with its “mishmash of cultures.”
Verdict With its colorful and believable cast of characters, this book is a hearty and flavorful chicken soup to warm the spirits of anyone interested in a close-up, folksy read about Middle Eastern society with all its blemishes and hopes.—Edward Cone, New York

starred review starLawson, Anthea. Sonata for a Scoundrel. Fiddlehead. 2013. 272p. ebk. ISBN 9781301757350. $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Clara Becker lives in two worlds—a family life of deteriorating poverty and an invisible world where music flows from her pencil to the page. Her compositions keep her father, brother, and their maid from starvation but nothing more. Each piece is sold under her the name of her brother, Nicholas Becker, an outstanding pianist whose recent fit of melancholy prevents him from attracting paying students. Entranced with the compositions of Nicholas Becker, virtuoso violinist Darien Reynard offers Nicholas a high-paying position as an accompanist and composer for his next tour. Nicholas arranges for Clara to join him on the tour, and the siblings work to keep Darien unaware of their deception. Relegated to the background, Clara sees her works inspire Darien to new heights of fame and glory. What she doesn’t see is how their mutual attraction inspires the truest music of all: love.
Verdict Mesmerizing and addictive, Lawson’s (All He Desires) Sonata blends elements of music fact with a sensual mix of historical fiction. Readers will identify with the accomplished but invisible Clara, who sacrifices professional recognition and love for the financial welfare of her family. Darien is a man of unrepentant passions and talent, qualities that will entice readers onward through the book. Balancing the elements of a good story with the sights and sounds of the music world in 1830s Europe, this highly engrossing read will keep historical fiction fans clamoring for more.—Debra M. Dudek, Fountaindale P.L., Bolingbrook, IL

Paolo, Theresa. (Never) Again. InterMix: Penguin. Oct. 2013. c.209p. ebk. ISBN 9780698143777. $4.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
Liz Wagner is finally back on track a year after Zach Roberts devastated her. Liz and her best friend Sadie are sharing a super apartment (thanks to Sadie’s parents paying the majority of the rent). Liz has a boyfriend who loves her. And even though last year’s breakup (can you even name it that when he just quit calling?) resulted in Liz’s grades taking a nosedive, state school is turning out OK, with a great adviser and a position on the beach cleanup committee. Then Zach comes waltzing back into Liz’s life, with no explanation. Falling into the old comfort that Zach provides could be so easy, but you can never go home again. Then Liz starts thinking that perhaps, “Whoever said you can’t go home again obviously had nothing to go home to.”
Verdict Debut novelist Paolo has drawn a protagonist who will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen who are ready to make that step from young adult to new adult romance. Liz is instantly likable and human as she navigates that delicate transition from high school to college. Recommended for larger libraries with new adult collection needs.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Scott, Jessica. I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Coming Home Novella. Forever Yours: Grand Central. Nov. 2013. 100p. ebk. ISBN 9781455554249. 99¢. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
As soldiers from Fort Hood, TX, gather for an evening out with their wives the night before yet another yearlong deployment to Baghdad, all minds are filled with dread, fear, worry, and, because this is a contemporary romance novella, sex. The story features multiple plotlines involving several couples who will be separated, but the focus is on infantryman Vic Carponti and his wife, Nicole, who works in the army’s Criminal Investigation Division. After deployment, the soldiers struggle with battle fatigue and the dynamics of the platoon, while the wives wait for emails and phone calls that will let them know that their husbands are safe. Scott, a former army captain who was in-country in Iraq, is able to provide much detail about the lives of the soldiers and their wives. She has previously written two works of nonfiction (To Iraq and Back and The Long Way Home) and seven novels. She was featured as one of Esquire magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.
Verdict Scott (Anything for You) provides a compassionate view of the separation experienced by military husbands and wives. The unfinished story lines allow for Scott to expand the “Coming Home” series of short stories and novellas.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

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"