E-Originals from Arthur, Beattie, and Cole | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 6, 2016

Arthur, A.M. Body Rocks. Swerve: St. Martin’s. (Off Beat, Bk. 1). Jul. 2016. 300p. ebk. ISBN 9781250105851. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, LGBT, NEW ADULT
bodyrocks050616Trey Cooper plans to celebrate his 21st birthday with his band, Fading Daze, when they compete in a national competition for a recording contract. But with only weeks before the event, their drummer defects to competing band XYZ, and Trey escapes from his worries by attending an open mike night at his part-time bar gig. When Dominic Bounds takes the stage with his violin and a keyboard incorporating an automatic track, audience response is so favorable that the bar’s owner drafts Trey to play keyboard for him in a jam session. The two men hit it off so well that they decide to hang out afterward, and a mutual music appreciation sparks a mutual attraction. But Dominic is only supposed to be in town for the night, and when his secrets impact Trey’s life, he’ll have to decide if their newfound attraction is worth the trouble he’ll have when Trey finds out the name of his band—XYZ. Arthur’s new series “All Saints” is coming out at the same time as this one starts. While “All Saints” is tied into her “Restoration” and “Belonging” titles, the unrelated “Off Beat” is a good jumping on point for new readers with its Romeo and Romeo plotline: warring bands, star-crossed lovers, and supportive family and friends.
Verdict Arthur continues to redefine family and acceptance in her novels, making her a solid choice for public libraries looking to expand romance or new adult collections.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Beattie, Michelle. In the Arms of a Pirate. Tule. (Sam Steele Romance, Bk. 2). May 2016. 281p. ebk. ISBN 9781944925314. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The second installment in the “Sam Steele Romance” series sees the latest occupant of the pirate captain role, Aiden Bradley, grappling with the realization that his true father is not whom Aiden thought he was. Aiden, his father, and his foster father are all “noble” pirates united in their hate of Roche Santiago, a truly evil buccaneer, who raped and killed Aiden’s mother and sold Aiden into slavery. When Aiden finds out that Roche has a daughter, Sarah, he kidnaps her to force Roche into a confrontation but can’t help falling for her despite her family ties. Ignorant of her father’s evildoing, Sarah slowly comes to realize how bad Roche really is. Will Aiden be able to love the daughter of his mother’s murderer?
Verdict A nice continuation of the “Sam Steele” series, though the romantic details are overly discreet. The dualism of good pirate vs. bad pirate seems a little contrived but that is to be expected in the overall context.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Cole, Scarlett. The Purest Hook. Swerve: St Martin’s. (Second Circle Tattoos, Bk. 3). May 2016. 343p. ebk. ISBN 9781466886698. $3.99. ROMANCE SUSPENSE
Pixie, who arrived at Second Circle Tattoos in Miami years ago strung out on drugs, was saved by Cujo and Trent, the shop’s owners. Although they helped her get clean, gave her a job, and treat her like family, even they don’t know the truth of her sordid history. One of the shop’s regulars is Dred Zander of the heavy metal band Preload, which was formed by a sort of brotherhood of guys from the same group home. Dred has always had a thing for Pixie, but she has yet to say yes to one of his date requests. All that changes when she finally gives in to a sexy kiss backstage that leaves her wanting more. Because of past abuse at the hand of her stepfather, Pixie has trouble with trust, but Dred is different. The passion and care they feel for each other is evident from the beginning, but that is threatened when her stepfather blackmails her and reveals a secret about her that Dred may not be able to forgive.
Verdict Cole (The Fractured Heart) balances well multiple plot threads, including secondary action about a band member leaking stories to the media and a woman claiming Dred is her baby’s father. Yet, more important, the author delivers a rock star romance fantasy with hot love guaranteed to entertain.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL



  1. Thank you so much, Kara, for taking the time to read THE PUREST HOOK, and to write such a wonderful review. I really appreciate it.
    ~ Scarlett