E-Originals, December 21, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Libraries where the “Reluctant Royals” series and books by Cole are popular will want to add this to their collections; complete with sleigh bells, beautiful horses, snowy skies, and Christmas joy, this brief seasonal story from Richardson is sure to put readers in the holiday mood; Watt introduces readers to dynamic characters that have not always had it easy, but, together, things begin to look much jollier

Week ending December 21, 2018

Cole, Alyssa. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy. Avon Impulse. (Reluctant Royals, Bk. 2.5). Jan. 2019. 128p. ebk. ISBN 9780062931863. $1.99. LGBTQIA, CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When Likotsi, the main adviser to Prince Thabiso ( A Princess in Theory), unexpectedly receives a day off, she decides to explore New York City. She hopes a new year will help her forget the woman she started falling in love with back in the spring, the woman who suddenly ghosted on her before a big date: Fabiola. As Likotsi sits in a stalled subway car, she receives a message on her phone asking to send her a video. She decides to accept as part of her adventure, not expecting to see an image of herself on the train, then a message from Fabiola saying she wants to swipe right again. When the doors between the cars open, Likotsi is surprised to see Fabiola standing there, but a different Fabiola from the fashion plate she once knew. And when Fabiola asks to spend the day with her, Likotsi is not certain her heart can take it, but she knows she needs answers before she can move forward. However, Fabiola plans to show Likotsi she can trust her to stay. Likotsi is a strong, genderqueer character, with her masculine clothing and style preferences contrasted with Fabiola’s flamboyant pinup girl femininity, but they mesh well, and readers will be hoping for a happy ending.
VERDICT Cole here delivers a bittersweet novella of second chances. It falls in publication order between A Duke by Default and the forthcoming A Prince on Paper, but it can be read as a stand-alone. Libraries where the “Reluctant Royals” series and books by Cole are popular will want to add this to their collections.—Melanie C. Duncan, Washington Memorial Lib., Macon, GA

redstarRichardson, Sara. Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas. Forever Yours: Grand Central. Dec. 2018. 116p. ebk. ISBN 9781538713358. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY HOLIDAY ROMANCE
Kenna Hart has been divorced and humiliated by her swindling ex-husband, who now resides in prison, but that won’t stop her from trying to give her boys, Benny and Jake, the best Christmas they have ever had! When Birdie McGrath falls while directing the Christmas pageant and ends up in the hospital, Kenna is the first person to step up to volunteer to take her place. Except Birdie’s son, Tucker, is feeling guilty about not sharing past Christmases with his mother, and he knows his mother would be miserable if the Topaz Falls pageant doesn’t go on as scheduled. Thrown together to deliver magic to the town’s children, Tucker and Kenna find themselves succumbing for their own special holiday magic. Sharing the tree trimming and hot cocoa is one thing, but can these two get over the past and start creating new memories with a future—together?
VERDICT Complete with sleigh bells, beautiful horses, snowy skies, and Christmas joy, this brief seasonal story from Richardson (True-Blue Cowboy) is sure to put readers in the holiday mood. Settle in to Topaz Falls and the magic it holds.—Judy Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Watt, Jeannie. A Marvell Country Christmas. Tule. (Men of Marvell Ranch, Bk. 2). Nov. 2018. 172p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707304. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Murphy Anderson was determined to get the most out of her Christmas holiday. With three weeks off from work, she planned to make peace with her past and prepare her deceased father’s house for sale. She had her dog, a small tree, holiday tea, and a holiday playlist ready to go. But as soon as she saw Cody Marvell driving up her driveway, she knew dealing with the past was about to get more complicated. He was the boy she always had a crush on but was devastated when he bought her horse from her dad, the one thing she loved. This year, it was Cody’s turn to stay back at the ranch and make sure it was taken care of while his brothers visited family. He was prepared to hunker down, be alone, and skip Christmas altogether. He went to check on his neighbor’s house, and when he saw Murphy, he acknowledged the connection. The house was at risk of flooding, so he didn’t hesitate to bring her home with him. Now they must learn to get over their histories and embrace the future. But Murphy has a lot to learn about herself and her reality, and Cody needs to see he is ready for the long-term.
VERDICT Watt (The Cowboy’s Last Rodeo) introduces readers to dynamic characters that have not always had it easy, but, together, things begin to look much jollier. Holiday romance readers will enjoy this cozy escape.—Jessica M. Perovich, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington, DC

LJ Reviews

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