Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, November 22, 2013

Week ending November 22, 2013

Garbera, Katherine. A Cowboy for Christmas. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Christmas). Nov. 2013. 127p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296067. $2.99.
McClone, Melissa. Home for Christmas. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Christmas). Nov. 2013. 184p. ebk. 9781940296081. $2.99. HOLIDAY ROMANCE.
After a divorce and scandal left Annie Prudhomme in pieces, she has returned to her home in A Cowboy for Christmas to get back on her feet. She was hoping for a quiet return, but working at the popular diner immediately puts her in the sights of Carson Scott, her high school boyfriend and now a widowed single father. Rachel Murphy is Home for Christmas in Marietta to celebrate the holidays with her older brother, Ty, a foreman at the local dude ranch, Bar V5. She wasn’t expecting a last-minute gingerbread business to present itself, but as an aspiring baker, she jumps at the chance. Luckily, Bar V5 has a commercial kitchen and an owner with a history in business investments.
Verdict New publisher Tule has created a world filled with romance and country customs in its Montana Born line of titles. Though Garbera’s (Baby Business) plot gets a touch repetitive toward the end, and McClone’s (Expecting Royal Twins) characters have too frequent communication issues, both stories provide a warm, and occasionally hot, look at what is fast becoming a great fictional town to visit. It’s lovely to see how the two tales interconnect and provide much-loved glimpses of characters from other Copper Mountain books. Just the thing for readers to enjoy while curled up with a cup of cocoa for the holidays.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash.

Walker, Regan. The Twelfth Night Wager: A Christmas Novella. Boroughs Pub. Group. 2013. c.101p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876837. $3.99. REGENCY ROMANCE
With a sum of £1,000 pounds at stake, Viscount Eustace, known as the Redheaded Rake, is challenged by his happily married and wiser friend Ormond that by Twelfth Night Eustace must seduce, bed, and walk away from the lovely widow Grace Leisterfield. Grace and the Ton are well aware of the wager, although not the target, and so Eustace must deal with a very reluctant lady. As Grace begins to get to know Eustace, she trusts him enough to help her with a diabolical blackmail plot against her family, leaving the two to fall in love.
Verdict It’s a timeless plot: bad boy meets good girl who compels him to look at the superficiality of his life and embrace love. The author knows the period, the blackmail backstory adds interest, and the secondary characters are fleshed out in their own books (The Holly and the Thistle). During the busy holiday season, Regency readers will enjoy this short and sweetly sexy sugar cookie of a title.—Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI

Kelley, Inez. Take Me Home. Carina: Harlequin. (Country Roads). Nov. 2013. 165p. ISBN 9781426897504. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When Kayla Edwards bought her Appalachian property, it included a battered house as well as timberland. But her upgraded home now houses her growing business, Mountain Specialty Spices. And when hottie lumberjack Matthew Shaw shows up from Hawkins Hardwoods to harvest her timber, she believes her luck just can’t run out. The Edwards land was Matt’s childhood home before his family was evicted, a secret Matt hasn’t shared with anyone. Echoes of the past almost keep Matt from knocking on Kayla’s door. But he has a job to do, and it turns out that the woman on the other side of that door stirs his blood and his mind. Shame from the past fades into a bright possibility as the two become lovers and work partners. Then Matt’s past finally comes to light, and Kayla wonders if he really loves her or just the land.
Verdict A good love story that warms and stirs the heart!—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Short, Tabitha. Renewal. First Five Pages. 2013. 145p. ebk. ISBN 9781301764815. $3.99. ROMANCE
Grieving over the recent death of her husband, Grace goes to the one place she knows she can find comfort: her childhood home in Louisiana. What she did not count on were the memories of lost love and past mistakes cornering her at every turn. At a time when running away and shielding herself from the world seem like the thing to do, an old friendship sparks new love. Can she get past the pain and guilt of her husband’s death to allow a new love into her life? Country boy and childhood friend Morris certainly hopes so—he is bent on helping Grace stop running—right into his arms.
Verdict Mostly well written although a little wooden at times, this introspective novella has little romantic content. Often running off on somewhat random tangents, it reads more like the dramatic story of how one woman gets past her grief than a romance, though some readers might enjoy the plot and feel-good message. For romance lovers, however, the relationships and story are not substantial enough to satisfy.—J. Harris, New Hampshire

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"


  1. Regan Walker says:

    Thanks, Bette-Lee! I’m so glad you liked THE TWELFTH NIGHT WAGER!