Isn’t It Romantic? | United for Libraries, ALA 2014

Coonts, Deborah. Lucky Bastard. Forge: Tor. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9780765370440. pap. $8.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Wanna Get Lucky? Lucky Stiff. So Damn Lucky. Three Lucky novellas. And now Lucky Bastard, next in Deborah Coonts’s fast-paced, relentlessly witty, neon-bright series set in her hometown, Las Vegas. Our heroine is Lucky O’Toole, now Vice President of Customer Relations at the Babylon, and she’s got a problem: a blonde stretched across the hood of a Ferrari at the resort’s on-site dealership with the heel of a very expensive shoe stuck in her neck. The blonde has an unfortunate connection to Lucky’s would-be squeeze, Paxton Dane, but as Lucky looks for the murderer, romance still hangs in the air: there’s that very attentive new French chef, and wouldn’t you know Lucky’s ex, on-tour singer Teddie, is having second thoughts. Lucky’s a terrific heroine, with sass, strong convictions, and a refreshing touch of self-doubt. Let’s also note that Wanna Get Lucky? was a New York Times Notable Crime Book” and a double RITA award finalist, and Lucky Stiff got starred LJ and Booklist reviews. coriellshelleyStill, an LJ review says it best: “Think Janet Evanovich, of course, but Coonts owns Vegas.”

Coriell, Shelley.  The Broken. Forever: Hachette. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781455528493. pap. $8. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and author of YA novels as well as the “Detective Lottie King Short Stories” series, Shelley Coriell has just launched her romantic suspense series, “The Apostles,” with The Broken—and what a terrific start. It’s already been named one of the Best Romances of Summer 2014 by PW and a Top Pick with 4.5 Stars by Romantic Times Book Reviews. The Apostles are a small group of FBI specialists who work outside the box—and maybe the law—to catch the bad guys. Right now, apostle Hayden Reed is looking for the Broadcast Butcher, who’s knocking off female broadcasters with a very nasty knife jab, then breaking all the victims’ mirrors. Hayden is also after Kate Johnson, the Butcher’s first victim and the only one to survive, but she’s been on the run for three years, hiding from her attacker as she hides the scars left from multiple lacerations. Once Kate and Hayden start working together, you’ll be entertained by the relentless twists and turns of the case just as you’ll be entertained by their growing relationship. Tough, do-it-herself Kate and cool, brilliant Hayden: It’s like fire meets ice—but, hey, we all know that creates a lot of steam.

Douglas, Penelope. Rival. NAL: Penguin Random. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780451472427. pap. $14. NEW ADULT
Penelope Douglas is author of the New York Times best-selling “Fall Away” series, a New Adult series as scorching as her Las Vegas hometown. Now, after Bully, featuring Tate’s dismay when Jared goes from her friend (and more) to her tormentor, and Until You, told from Jared’s perspective, we have Rival, which takes place three years later and opens up the story, focusing on Madoc Caruthers, a rich and polished It boy, and his stepsister, Fallon. They had a hot-and-heavy relationship, but Fallon was suddenly shipped off to boarding school without a word since, and now she’s back for a week after high school graduation, going after Madoc with a purpose that will surprise you. Theirs is the ultimate love-hate relationship, with enough barbs thrown back and forth to down an army, but also lusciously detailed sex that’s hot enough to boil the sea. Oh, and finally these two youngsters have something important to teach the beautifulashesself-serving adults about how really to care.

Frost, Jeaniene. The Beautiful Ashes. Harlequin. Sept. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781312625211. pap. $9.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Jeaniene Frost has already given us the New York Times best-selling series “Night Huntress,” “Night Huntress World,” and “Night Prince” series, but why stop there? The Beautiful Ashes launches a new series, “A Broken Destiny,” that’s as much wicked, otherworldly fun as the first three. It’s bad enough for resourceful series heroine Ivy when her sister Jasmine vanishes and her parents die in a car wreck trying to discover what’s happened. Then she’s both saved and kidnapped by a six-foot-six hunk with a silver-and-sapphire gaze that shouldn’t be so melting, and she learns that her sister is being held captive in a demon realm, the better to snag Ivy. Why do the demons want Ivy, how is she trouble for not-exactly-human Adrian, and what’s with the angel in a hoodie? You want answers? You’ve got to read the book.

Winfield, Ryan. Jane’s Harmony. Atria. Aug. 2014.352p.  ISBN 9781476771250. 352p. pap. $15. ROMANCE
Readers who made Ryan Winfield’s Jane’s Melody a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal best seller are going to be thrilled. Ryan’s back with a continuation of the story, and it’s as sweet, steamy, and refreshingly hopeful as its predecessor. In Jane’s Melody, 40-year-old Jane, who has lost daughter Melody to a drug overdose, takes in a 25-year-old homeless street musician named Caleb, first as a paid laborer on a garden project, then as something a whole lot more. In Jane’s Harmony, they’ve moved from awesome Seattle to Austin, where Jane scrambles for work and helps get Caleb a shot at fame on the new Singer-Songwriter Superstar TV show. There’s some dissonance as Caleb contends with the show’s rampant commercialism, and Jane contends with her fear of having another child, but in the end everything’s in tune. Can guys really be as sunlit and supportive as Caleb? Check it out with Ryan!

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.