E-Originals, September 28, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Blake’s series opener is excellent for readers who enjoy plot-driven mysteries; this latest from Dean features exceptionally strong characterization and a captivating plot; holiday romance fans will love this sweet story of a budding romance and a family beginning to form

Week ending September 28, 2018

redstarBlake, Marnee. Tempt the Flames. Lyrical Liaison: Kensington. (Smokejumpers, Bk. 1). Sept. 2018. 240p. ebk. ISBN 9781516107681. $2.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Meg Buchanan and Lance Roberts have history. Their fathers were best friends who worked together as part of a smokejumper team. They’ve known each other forever, but the tangled wreckage of their fathers’ deaths in the line of duty spills over into their families and that connection is severed. When Lance returns to town ostensibly to train as a smokejumper himself, with a side interest of looking into the accident that ended his father’s life, a series of new “accidents” puts his own life in danger. Stubbornly, he refuses to stop looking for the truth, and the stakes are raised at every turn. The background of smokejump training highlights Meg and Lance’s rekindled relationship, along with lots of secrets, family drama, and plenty of red herrings. There is nothing perfect about the very realistic character interactions, grudges, and hurt feelings, though they end with a happy-for-now resolution that’s worth the wait.
VERDICT Blake’s (Avenged) series opener is excellent for readers who enjoy plot-driven mysteries with well-developed, sympathetic characters and slow-burn romance.—Charli Osborne, Southfield P.L., MI

Dean, Kimberly. Haunted Hearts: A Ghost Story. Kimberly Dean. Nov. 2018. 256p. ebk. ISBN 9781723102271. $3.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Callie Thompson, a syndicated advice columnist, is moving to an inherited home in rural Shadow Valley. On the way into town, she is stopped for speeding by the police chief. Immediately, sparks fly. On top of that Callie discovers her new home is the local haunted house. Does a ghost really exist or could it be vandalism? Callie believes one thing and “her” police chief another. Which one is right? The differences between the two protagonists just add depth to the tale.
VERDICT This latest from Dean (Solace in Scandal) features exceptionally strong characterization and a captivating plot. Readers will care about what is happening, making this a quick experience. Add in the hot sex, and you can’t go wrong.—Susan Hayes, Columbus, GA

Marks, Erika. Rescued by Christmas. Tule. Sept. 2018. 142p. ebk. ISBN 9781949068832. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jackson Wilder cannot wait to escape the limelight this winter. Known as one the hottest country singers around, he just needs some time alone and a chance to relax. As soon as his last holiday obligation is over, he jumps into the car, Santa suit and all, and heads to the mountains. But when he crashes his car on the way and awakens in a stranger’s barn, this adventure may not turn out the way he anticipated. Miranda O’Keefe and her son, Oliver, have been fine on their own. Running a horse rescue program and raising her child have been very rewarding if a little lonely. But Miranda cannot risk letting someone into her life or her heart. When Oliver runs into the kitchen saying Santa is in their barn, Miranda may not need to be lonely anymore. Marks (Christmas Comes to Snowfall) creates a lovely story of two dissimilar people realizing how great life is together. Everyone just needs to believe and have faith in one another.
VERDICT Holiday romance fans will love this sweet story of a budding romance and a family beginning to form. A great way to get ready for the holidays.—Jessica M. Perovich, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington, DC

LJ Reviews

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