E-Originals, September 7, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

The focus on Catalina’s special talent set against the drama of the wedding makes this mystery a perfect page-turner; a lighthearted read with believable characters and a few steamy scenes interspersed that contemporary romance readers will likely enjoy

Week ending September 7, 2018

Andrews, Ilona. Diamond Fire. Avon Impulse. (Hidden Legacy, Bk. 3.5). Nov. 2018. 384p. ebk. ISBN 9780062878410. $1.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This novella is an interesting illustration of Andrews’s (Wildfire ) world of paranormal powers as well as an exploration of a unique character. Set against the backdrop of the marriage of telekinetic Connor Rogan and truth-sayer Nevada Baylor, the focus here is on Nevada’s sister Catalina. Catalina is enlisted to find the missing Sealight Tiara—part of the Rogan family jewels. The assumption is that the tiara has been stolen to derail Nevada and Connor’s upcoming wedding. Catalina is quite skilled in the investigatory process because all her relatives are professional sleuths. What she discovers goes far beyond the location of the missing jewelry, however; there are dire plots that threaten the entire wedding party. As part of her probe, Catalina learns to use her own hidden magic power. She is a prime “Siren,” which means she has a very intense way of influencing people.
VERDICT The description of Catalina’s evolving gift and its deployment are magical and captivating. The focus on Catalina and her special talent set against the drama of the wedding makes this mystery a perfect paranormal page turner; highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Hayley, Elizabeth. I Hate You, I Love You. Loveswept: Random. Sept. 2018. 272p. ebk. ISBN 9781524799700. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
At a picturesque Vermont university, Sebastian Blake and Naomi Price are faculty colleagues with very different approaches to departmental collegiality. What starts as a cordial wager to sign up the most students to their respective writing clubs shifts as underlying tension heats up between these “frenemies.” Suddenly head-to-head in competition as the two sole finalists for the prestigious Distinguished Professor Award, they find the stakes—and antics—raised. Hidden scars from their pasts threaten to prevent this unlikely yet magnetic coupling. The first half of the book, full of witty banter and development between Sebastian and Naomi, moves quickly, but after uncovering Sebastian’s past, the story line loses momentum and seems a bit adrift before rushing the former foes into love. A potential plot arc (Colvin) never materializes, the supporting characters don’t add much depth, and Naomi’s secret gives the impression of being either forced or an afterthought—either way, an unnecessary parallel to Sebastian’s pain. Still, this stand-alone following the authors’ (duo of Elizabeth and Hayley) other series (“Misadventures”; “Players”) and trilogy (“Diamond”) is a fun, flirty academic office romance infused fittingly with humorous quips.
VERDICT A lighthearted read with believable characters and a few steamy scenes interspersed that contemporary romance readers, particularly fans of the authors’ other novels, will likely enjoy.—Kat Landry Mueller, Sam Houston State Univ., Huntsville, TX

LJ Reviews

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