Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

starred review starAshe, Katharine. Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance. Avon Impulse. Dec. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780062229892. 99¢. REGENCY ROMANCE
kisseshewrote122713The Princess of Sensaire is shy and unremarkable, so when Charles Camlann Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, reads her diary and finds her sultry and saucy desires—about him—he is suddenly enraptured. They are both guests of the Comte de Rallis’s, her brother Reiner’s trusted friend. Princess Jacqueline is unlike any woman Cam has ever met; she is smart, funny, and courageous, and her secret diary, which explicitly details what she wishes him to do to her in private, has him completely boggled. With Jacqueline to be married by Christmas, and Cam’s great-aunt trying to announce his betrothal by the holidays, what is one confused earl to do? Will this shy princess catch her handsome prince?
Verdict Fans of Regency romance should already be familiar with Ashe and her “Falcon Club” series (e.g., How a Lady Weds a Rogue). This Christmas novella is a nice companion to I Married the Duke, the first title of her “Prince Catchers” series and includes glimpses of characters seen in her previous works. Readers not aware of the overlap among the series might be a tad nonplussed, as suddenly people are married who weren’t several pages before, but readers who enjoy romances and the season will delight in a Christmas story to get them in that holiday mood. Typical of Ashe, these characters are smoldering, drawn to each other as love and lust lead them on a precarious path to passion.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Dailey, Sara & Staci Weber. Web of Lies. Boroughs. (Red Ridge Pack, Bk. 4). 2013. 191p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876721. $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In this fourth installment in the series about shape-shifting werewolves (after Pack of Lies; Circle of Lies; and Born of Lies), the Red Ridge pack has invited members of the Crescent Hills pack for an extended stay. Little do they know that Crescent Hills has hatched an evil plan to take over Red Ridge. The novel is told from the point of view of three teens caught up in the drama: Luke, the future Red Ridge enforcer; Scarlett, daughter of the Crescent Hills alpha who is tasked with seducing Luke; and Drew, Scarlett’s unsavory half-brother. The plan is to drive a wedge between Aiden and Cade, both contenders to be the next Alpha of Red Ridge, but the scheme is foiled when Scarlett and Luke fail to hook up but instead fall in love. Scarlett spills the beans on the conspiracy, but will she escape with her life? Will Red Ridge survive as a pack?
Verdict A casual attitude toward hookup culture adds authenticity to this suspenseful young adult romance, but the couple’s choice to eschew indiscriminate sex in favor of a committed relationship provides an interesting twist; recommended for teens and fans of the genre.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Porter, Jane. Christmas at Copper Mountain. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Christmas). Dec. 2013. 88p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296074. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Harley Diekerhoff couldn’t have been more pleased when the agency placed her as housekeeper for the Brock Sheenan ranch in Marietta, MT. Leaving behind all her misery in California, Harley finds this temporary position working for a brusque widower offers no emotions and no holiday celebration, which is exactly what she wants. Harley is managing just fine until Brock’s two children escape from their New York boarding school and arrive at the ranch’s front door. Children are the last thing her broken heart can handle, so she plans to leave Marietta as soon as possible, but Brock, the kids, and the ranch hands need her more than she realizes. The growing physical attraction between Harley and Brock is enough to melt his tough exterior. Harley just needs to move beyond her sadness and accept the love that will be the greatest Christmas gift of her life.
Verdict Prolific modern lit and romance author Porter (Flirting with Forty; Take Me, Cowboy) unites with a band of romance authors to form Montana Born Books, an imprint of Tule, which features novellas that take place in the fictional town of Marietta, MT. This latest “Copper Mountain Christmas” offering (e.g., Katherine Garbera’s A Cowboy for Christmas; Melissa McClone’s Home for Christmas ) is a feel-good shortie, perfect for the season, that provides a bit more grit than your stock holiday romance.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Seaton, Annie. Tangling with the CEO. Bliss: Entangled. (Half Moon Bay). Dec. 2013. 180p. ISBN 9781622660902. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Anastasia Delaney is proud of the home restoration service that she runs with her two best friends. Sure, she didn’t graduate from college as she had planned—her mother’s sudden illness and death stopped that ambition. But with this new career, she not only gets to create homes but works for a small-town store that gives back to the community. That success is threatened, however, when a large corporation buys the little hardware store. New store manager Blake Buchanan hasn’t changed since Ana last saw him during their one-night stand in college. His biggest concern is still profit margins. Or is it? When Ana gets a glimpse of Uncle Blake, she finds that he does have a heart after all. So can the activist and the executive find a way to tangle happily?
Verdict Although this novel has a slow start, the middle and end are worth the wait.—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty P.L., Lovettsville, VA