E-Originals from Brenner, Clare, Mac Nichol, and Shaw | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 16, 2014

Brenner, Jamie. Ruin Me. Griffin: St. Martin’s. May 2014. 260p. ebk. ISBN 9781466862135. $3.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
ruinme051614Anna Sterling is a legendary art dealer and discoverer of new talent. She has not only decreed that her daughter, Lulu, will follow in her footsteps by taking over her gallery, she also believes herself to be the arbiter of Lulu’s taste in art and in men. But Anna’s vision is locked in her own particular tastes, and she doesn’t see the changes in the art world. Anna is also convinced that because her college-age daughter has a different view, she must make Lulu conform. Instead, as the vise around her life tightens, Lulu breaks away, creating a new business around her own take on art and with the street artist who embodies that vision.
Verdict At the end of Brenner’s (Now or Never) latest, Lulu makes her own world and discovers that standing up for herself is the best way to get her mother to see her as an adult. The fascination and eventual romance between Lulu and the street artist known as GoST proceed in fits and starts as the young couple work out whether they can have a relationship, coming as they do from totally different worlds. But the story of Lulu’s growing independence from the smothering Anna is the one that sticks in the mind. Recommended for lovers of coming-of-age stories.—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

Clare, Jessica. Once Upon a Billionaire. InterMix: Penguin. (Billionaire Boys Club, Bk. 4). 2014. 263p. ebk. ISBN 9780698165465. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
The fourth title in Clare’s “Billionaire Boys Club” series stars Griffin Verdi, a member of the royal family of a small European country. Years ago he had moved to the States and now spends as little time as possible with his relatives. When his cousin is to marry in the “wedding of the century,” his presence is requested, and there is no way out of it, even when his much-valued assistant comes down with chicken pox. Desperate for any help he can get, Griffin accepts the use of his friend Hunter’s assistant, not realizing the joke is on him. Maylee Meriweather is a Southern gal, with the attendant drawl and charm, who may actually teach Griffin to enjoy the simple things in life.
Verdict This character-driven and fast-paced novel from Clare (The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed) features lots of hot, steamy sizzle. The protagonists are complete opposites, yet together they are very funny and engaging. Though part of a series, this title can be read on its own; a great summer read.—Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. P.L., OH

Mac Nichol, Susan. Double Alchemy. Boroughs Pub. Group. 2014. 280p. ebk. ISBN 9781941260043. $4.99. M/M FANTASY ROMANCE
Cade doesn’t know he’s a Sprite until he meets Quinn, the UK’s Grand Master Warlock. Cade’s fey blood creates an irresistible attraction between the two men, and what starts as a lustful affair evolves into a meaningful relationship. Just as the lovers begin to get comfortable with each other, De Vere, an old enemy and warlock whom Quinn thought he had killed, reemerges and uses every available path to destroy Quinn. Quinn realizes that he must finish off De Vere once and for all if he wants to keep Cade, his friends, and his fellow warlocks safe.
Verdict Mac Nichol (Worth Keeping) has created a complex and fully realized fantasy world. There are many love scenes here, but most of the juicy details take place off the page. Quinn is the star of this novel, taking out the bad guy and learning how to trust in Cade’s love enough to share his unsavory past. It seems likely that Cade will get more development in the follow-up book as Double Alchemy leaves our heroes in a happy-for-now situation.—Lizzy Klinnert, Barrington Area Lib., IL

Shaw, Rhonda. The Ace. Carina: Harlequin. (Men of the Show, Bk. 2). 2014. 203p. ebk. ISBN 9781426898204. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
There is no question that real estate agent Karen Bentley is Jerry Smutton’s number one fan, but her love of the Detroit Rocket’s ace stops at baseball. So she is unsure about the attention he gives her outside the tunnel while waiting for her friend Maddie’s fiancé and even more so when he asks her to help him find a house. Jerry finds Karen’s smart mouth intriguing and seems to want more than a professional relationship. Sadly for Jerry, Karen, after having her heart torn out by her ex, doesn’t do relationships. The best she can offer is a friend with benefits. Jerry, not quite ready to settle down himself, is more than happy to oblige, especially when their chemistry in the bedroom hits grand slam proportions. Yet despite their original agreement, Jerry wants the intimacy Karen can’t give. To make matters worse, his game isn’t what it once was, which doesn’t escape the notice of his coach or his fans. It may take a threat to Jerry’s health and career for these two lovers to follow their hearts.
Verdict You don’t have to care about sports or baseball to appreciate Shaw’s (The Changeup) latest contemporary romance. Like cheering for the home team on a sunny day at the ballpark, readers will be rooting for Karen and Jerry finally to work it out.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L, IL