E-Originals from Alexander, Allen, Loveless, Macnamara, & Robson | Xpress Reviews

Week ending October 24, 2014

Alexander, Dani-Lyn. The Perfect Gift. Pocket Star. Nov. 2014. 80p. ebk. ISBN 9781476773339. 99¢. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE NOVELLA
With only a few days before Christmas, single parents Jason and Leah both happen to grab the last Little Family Dollhouse off the shelf at the very same time. Neither is willing to cede the hard-to-find item to the other, so they come up with a solution: they will split the cost of the toy and spend the rest of the day searching for a second one. Their mission has them traipsing to every toy store from the city to the suburbs to locate the must-have gift of the season. They already had a mutual attraction at first sight, and now spending time together, they each learn what lengths they will go to for their daughters. When their efforts prove fruitless, the hunt extends to Christmas Eve. As time ticks away, the chances of them completing their task are nil, but Jason has an idea that will give Leah a Christmas that is memorable for both her and her daughter in more ways than one.
Verdict Alexander (Reluctant Prince) paints a reliable, feel-good romance for the season that hits all the right notes, which is exactly what readers will seek for the holidays.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L

Allen, Rebecca Grace. The Duality Principle. Samhain. Nov. 2014. 113p. ebk. ISBN 9781619223707. $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
dualityprinciple102414Gabriella Evans may be a mathematics PhD candidate by day, but by night she harbors dreams of being a very bad girl. So when her best friend sets her up on a blind date with Connor Starks, a local reformed bad boy, Gabby is left to wonder: How naughty is this new man? Connor is trying to clean up his past ways, but Gabby makes him lose all control. Will these two get beyond their differences? The theory is that opposites attract, after all.
Verdict The Duality Principle explores the naughty side of prim and proper Gabriella. It is a short and easy read, with plenty of action in unconventional places. Hot and spicy, this romance was written for all of those readers who like both the good—and the very bad.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Loveless, Ryan. In Me an Invincible Summer. Dreamspinner. Nov. 2014. 354p. ebk. ISBN 9781632162212. $6.99; pap. ISBN 9781632162205. $17.99. LGBT ROMANCE
Forty-four-year-old action star Joe Nestra survives in the film industry by concealing his sexual orientation, with the help of his assistant, Derek Simmons. When a knee injury sidelines Joe, he accepts a role in an indie film before realizing he will be playing a gay man with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic. Joe’s paranoia about being outed leads to clashes with his costar, Hunter Starling, an out and proud gay man married to his longtime partner. As Joe witnesses the relationship between the two men, he understands that he’ll never have one like theirs as long as he’s hiding from the public and himself. But in taking the first tentative steps to finding happiness, Joe discovers the hardest step is being honest with himself as pressure builds from family, friends, and the fickle movie industry.
Verdict Midlife crisis meets teen angst as Joe experiences his coming of age in his forties. Overall, his journey to discovering true love and acceptance is convincing, although low-key for an action star, since the emphasis is on his emotional growth more than on his career. Loveless (Ethan, Who Loved Carter) covers everything from living closeted and gay marriage to family reactions and the ongoing AIDS crisis without being banal. Recommended for libraries seeking contemporary LGBT fiction.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Macnamara, Ashlyn. What a Lady Demands. Loveswept: Random. (Eton Boys Trilogy, Bk. 2). Nov. 2014. 229p. ebk. ISBN 9780553393767. $2.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
A nearly tragic incident in Cecelia Sanford’s past left her troubled and untrustworthy in the eyes of those closest to her. So when the handsome but serious Viscount Lindenhurst has an opening for a governess, she leaps at the chance to prove herself. What she doesn’t expect is for love and lust to spark between them, even as Lind pushes her away and her past comes back to haunt her. Not looking for love, Lind is still reeling from the premature death of his wife, his guilt and concern for the son they had together, and tensions over his own tortured past. As such, he conceals his emotions behind a wall of stern efficiency and morality. Nevertheless, Cecelia’s charm and beauty are almost impossible to resist. Can she break down his barriers and allow love to seep back into his stone heart?
Verdict In her second installment in the “Eton Boys Trilogy” (after What a Lady Craves), Macnamara provides readers with an intriguing, dramatic, and sexually charged novel that is recommended for most historical romance lovers.—J. Harris, New Hampshire

Robson, Cecy. A Cursed Bloodline. Loveswept: Random. (Weird Girls, Bk. 2). Nov. 2014. 370p. ebk. ISBN 9780553394580. $2.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Now mated with Aric and pregnant with his child, everything in Celia’s life seems blessed. Then werewolf Elder Anara tortures her and threatens everyone she loves if she doesn’t abandon Aric. As her family struggles to understand Celia’s bizarre behavior, she must keep her secret while staying away from the one were she misses most. The sheer number of violent fight scenes here, many of which involve beating a pregnant woman nearly to death, take away from the plot development. As soon as everyone is healed from the last battle, they are attacked again, which gets a bit repetitive.
Verdict While an exciting new chapter for those familiar with the series, the dizzying array of characters and the fight, heal, repeat structure may be confusing for new readers.—Emily Thompson, SUNY Oswego