E-Originals from Arend, Johnson, Linde, and Porter | Xpress Reviews

Week ending April 13, 2018

Arend, Vivian. A Rancher’s Song. Vivian Arend. (Stones of Heart Falls, Bk. 2). May 2018. 224p. ebk. ISBN 9781941456316. $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Walker “Dynamite” Stone is taking a break from the rodeo circuit to visit the family ranch in Heart Falls and finds himself participating in the annual Canada Day bachelor auction benefiting the Community Health Center. Little does he know that his high school sweetheart Ivy Fields is back in town after ten years and ready to settle down. When Ivy’s sisters successfully win a date with Walker, he doesn’t realize that it’s actually Ivy whom he will be taking out. Ivy was been gone from Heart Falls far longer than she had anticipated, but she is hoping that Walker will be interested in resuming their relationship. While she might be ready to pick up where they left off, Walker is struggling with personal demons that he must put to rest before he can decide where his future lies: in Heart Falls with Ivy and his family, on the rodeo circuit, or at the recording studio.
Verdict This latest series from New York Times best-selling author Arend (A Rancher’s Heart) has wonderful characters—some of whom are cowboys—and romance and will make readers want to know more about Heart Falls and the folks who live there.—Lisa M Jordan, Monticello Branch Lib., Shawnee, KS

Johnson, Kimberly Rose. The Sleuth’s Miscalculation. Mountain Brook Ink. (Librarian Sleuth, Bk. 1). Jun. 2018. 212p. ebk. ISBN 9781943959396. $3.99. ROMANTIC MYSTERY
Nancy Daley, the daughter of the police chief, has been secretly consulting with the department to solve various mysteries. She is still reeling over her last case, which resulted in Deputy Frank’s death. Nancy’s mom, Sheriff Daley, has not been able to convince her daughter that Frank’s death was not her fault so she has devised a plan to pair Nancy with Deputy Carter Malone, the newest member of the force. Carter has returned to Tipton, OR, after taking custody of his nephew. His childhood memories of the town are not the fondest, but he knows that this is a better place to raise his nephew than in Los Angeles. Carter is unsure of his latest assignment partnering with a civilian. When he starts to have feelings for this partner and her life is in danger, he again questions the entire setup.
Verdict The merging of Christian romance with mystery is a tall order and frequently unsuccessful. Indeed, this series launch seems to lack a clear path or central theme, though the romance and the forgiveness elements are sweet and heartwarming. Fans of Johnson’s (The Reluctant Groom) romances may be interested to try this new series, but it could be a tough sell for new readers.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, SILS, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Linde, K.A. Blood Type. Loveswept: Random. (Blood Type, Bk. 1). Apr. 2018. 290p. ebk. ISBN 9781524798086. $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In a desperate postcollapse economy, Reyna has decided to take a lucrative job as a blood escort for the Visage Corporation. Visage has discovered that if vampires feed from humans with the same blood type as their own then they don’t become violent and uncontrollable. Reyna is matched with the powerful vampire and Visage executive Beckham. She finds him attractive, but he is standoffish and doesn’t drink her blood. As Reyna tries to navigate the affluent world of vampires, she is continually rebuffed by Beckham. Eventually, the pair kiss and become intimate, but he pulls away at the last second. Reyna then discovers that Beckham has another human girlfriend. Reyna’s jealousy leads her into danger, though Beckham repeatedly comes to the rescue. When Beckham finally drinks blood from Reyna, the effect is unexpected and Reyna is launched into a new peril.
Verdict This is a fascinating and compelling world of vampire and human codependency. The uncertain conclusion and incomplete romantic consummation leave the reader wanting more in this captivating series by Linde (The Wright Secret).—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

starred review starPorter, Jane. Take a Chance on Me. Tule. (Love on Chance Avenue, Bk. 3). Mar. 2018. 167p. ebk. ISBN 9781948342407. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Tyler Justice is on a mission—he’s coming to Marietta, MT, to convince his beloved grandmother Bette to move with him to Austin, TX. He wants to make sure no one takes advantage of Bette’s generosity, for instance, Amanda Wright, one of her closest friends. Although she’s had some financial difficulties, Mandy is finally making it with her salon. She takes offense at Ty’s assumptions about her friendship with his grandmother—no matter how handsome he is. The two have to tolerate each other, however, as Bette wants Mandy’s help in showing Ty how much Marietta has to offer and why it’s the right place for her to live.
Verdict The latest in Porter’s “Love on Chance Avenue” series (Miracle on Chance Avenue) is her best yet. She does an excellent job of making Marietta itself a strong character, while adding humor, charm, and swoons to great effect. Mandy and Ty are engaging romantic foils, with Bette’s meddling sweetness always there to stir the pot. This series continues to get better and better.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

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