E-Originals from Hall and Hunting | Xpress Reviews

Week ending March 24, 2017

Hall, Alexis. How To Bang a Billionaire. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Arden St. Ives, Bk. 1). Apr. 2017. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781455571345. $4.99. LGBT, CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, NEW ADULT
When Arden St. Ives is roped into participating in a phone bank fundraiser for his university at Oxford, England, the last thing he expects is to end up talking to alumni Caspian Hart. Billionaire alumni Caspian Hart. Arden’s stumbling attempts at conversation are the antithesis of fundraising and intrigue the aloof Caspian into showing up for the annual dinner to thank the volunteers and donors. Arden thinks he’s found a man who might be his Prince Charming, but Caspian’s emotional distance puts their relationship on a more commercial footing; he’ll support Arden while he decides what to do after graduation as long as Arden is available at his beck and call. Arden agrees, thinking he can break through Caspian’s shell, but what will he do if there’s nothing inside the shell?
Verdict Arden is hilarious and peppers his thoughts and speech with pop culture references that go over the business-focused Caspian’s head. Caspian is more two-dimensional, in a Fifty Shades of Grey parody sense, and just when he starts fleshing out, the book ends. Fans of Hall’s amazing debut, Glitterland, and the breadth of the author’s work since will demand this latest, but it is recommended for libraries where Hall is already popular.—Melanie C. Duncan, West Bibb Lib., Macon, GA

Hunting, Helena. Shacking Up. Swerve: St. Martin’s. May 2017. 304p. ebk. ISBN 9781250133328. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
shackingup032417Ruby Scott has a dream: she wants to make it on Broadway. Or maybe Off-Broadway. Even Off-Off-Broadway would be fine. In fact, any play will do that would pay the rent, allow her to stay in New York, and prove to her father that she can make it on her own and not go back to work at his pharmaceutical firm. Bancroft Mills is part of a real estate dynasty and in the haze of cold medicine and alcohol accidentally kisses and coughs on the wrong girl, one Ruby Scott. When he finds out that his mistaken kiss cost Ruby her big shot, he offers her a job as a live-in pet-sitter for his ferret and tarantula while he takes care of a project in London. Ruby and Bancroft flirt for weeks across the Atlantic, but when he comes home, the fireworks really start. In this new romance, Hunting, author of the “Pucked” series (Pucked; Pucked Up), replaces her hockey player with a retired rugby player, but Ruby embodies the sass and independence her readers have come to expect.
Verdict Shacking Up plays with the reader’s patience as Hunting keeps her lovers an ocean apart for a good portion of the novel. Yet when the two reunite, the sparks fly.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston