Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 13, 2013

Week ending December 13, 2013

starred review starCane, Emma & others. All I Want for Christmas Is a Cowboy. Avon Impulse. Dec. 2013. 384p. ebk. ISBN 9780062284723. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
allIwantforchristmas121313In Cane’s “Christmas Cabin,” Sandy and her son, Nate, get lost in a snowstorm and are guided to an old cabin. While they are lighting the fire and attempting to dry off, a frozen and very masculine form bursts through the door. Cowboy Doug Thalberg got caught in the same storm. Sandy and Doug fight their instant attraction to provide the best holiday for young Nate, while Sandy hopes for a Valentine Valley Christmas miracle. Jennifer Ryan’s “Can’t Wait” introduces Caleb Bowden, a cowboy and former soldier who has returned from Iraq to work the farm of his boss and friend Jack Turner. But Caleb can’t keep his eyes off of Jack’s sister Summer. He tries to avoid her, feeling that Summer is off-limits. But Summer sees Caleb: the soldier who is suffering, the wounded warrior who won’t open himself up to happiness. She decides that this Christmas, she wants a certain cowboy under her tree, and never doubt a woman who sets her sights on her man! “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” by Katie Lane, follows unlucky-in-love Alana Hale, who decides that this Christmas she is going to be adventurous and head to New Mexico to meet her Internet “perfect match.” Clint McCormick is one surprised cowboy when he discovers Alana almost frozen in the snow. Together, they heat up the room, and, this holiday, Alana might definitely have a “marry” Christmas.
Verdict When the holidays seem overwhelming, curl up in front of the fire with this perfect escape from the winter blues. Cowboys burn up the pages of these delicious short stories that all involve holiday snowstorms, rustic cabins, and hot nights. Fans of cowboy fiction will love this rugged collection, as will anyone who likes their holidays with a little spice!—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

DeLeo, Barbara. Last Chance Proposal. Bliss: Entangled. Dec. 2013. 127p. ebk. ISBN 9781622663859. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Ellie Jacobs has returned to Rata Cove to help renovate her hometown; as a successful architect, she hopes to revitalize the slumped economy of the once bustling village. When her first love, Cy Hathaway, shows up at her presentation, Ellie’s sure it’s just to help with the restoration. Surely he doesn’t have feelings for her since turning his back on her a decade ago. But Cy came home specifically to find Ellie. He helped hide her secret years ago and now has a secret of his own with which only Ellie can help. If she doesn’t, he could lose his son—and his long-lost love for Ellie—forever.
Verdict Although there were a few gaps in the backstory of DeLeo’s latest (Contract for Marriage; Dishing up Desire), such as Cy’s ex-girlfriend’s relationship with his son, the story is a true romance. And Cy’s son’s progress throughout is sure to melt any reader’s heart!—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Knox, Ruthie. Roman Holiday 1: Chained. Loveswept: Random. 2013. 40p. ebk. ISBN 9780345546975. 99¢. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Chained is the fun and flirty first part of one of Knox’ signature-style contemporary romances (e.g., Ride with Me), but readers should be warned that this is not a complete story: more like the first bite. For readers who are willing to try this serial in small nibbles, this first segment of the, one hopes, eventual romance between a much-too-buttoned-down property developer and the slightly flaky heroine determined to save the only home she’s ever known, even if she has to chain herself to it, is charming as it hints at unexplored depths in both characters.
Verdict Recommended for contemporary romance readers who like their stories in short installments and for Knox fans who can’t wait to get their hands on her latest as soon as it appears. The complete novel was to be released in mid-December.—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

Mae, Cassie. Switched. Loveswept: Random. Dec. 2013. c.218p. ebk. ISBN 9780345548825. $2.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
As if a love triangle were not enough, Kayla is stuck in a love square. She has been in love with Talon for as long as she can remember. But as Kayla keeps everything to herself (and her diary), her BFF Reagan had no idea about Kayla’s feelings when Reagan started dating Talon. Kayla is certain, too, that Talon’s best bud Wesley is completely smitten with Reagan. All Kayla has to do is pull Wesley in, get Talon and Reagan to break up, make sure it is amicable so they all can remain friends, and then accomplish the great partner swap—righting their sideways love geometrics. As tends to happen though when romantic plotting and scheming commence, nothing is as it seems and maybe this square was right side up all along.
Verdict Although it took this reader some time to connect with the protagonist, as her scheming does seem a little heartless at first, all is well that ends well. This latest romance from Mae (How To Date a Nerd) makes a nice addition to a basic contemporary romance collection; strongly recommended for those expanding their new adult offerings.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

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"