E-Originals, January 4, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

Foster never loses her ability to strike a balance between the fresh and the familiar; debut author Grossman doesn’t shy away from tough topics—detailing anti-Semitic prejudices of Early American high society as well as drug addiction without overshadowing the romance and humor at the center of the relationship; Porter’s theme of the importance of family and community makes this a heartwarming read

Week ending January 4, 2019

Foster, Melissa. Trails of Love. World Literary. (Bradens & Montgomerys: Pleasant Hill-Oak Falls, Bk. 3). Jan. 2019. 300p. ebk. ISBN 9781370386963. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Morgyn Montgomery was not planning on a hilarious meet-cute when she encountered Graham Braden at a music festival in Romance, VA. But there they were, in a misconstrued (and compromising) position among their brothers and sisters. They were also not planning on falling into insta-smitten banter coupled with amazingly hot sex. Now, gathered for the wedding of Grace Montgomery and Reed Cross (Embracing Her Heart), readers will be in for Foster’s trademark authentically written it’s-a-small-world coincidences. Afterward, circumstances have level-headed producer/investor Graham coerced into assessing Morgyn as a funky shop owner. Normally not interested in mixing business with pleasure, Graham takes a chance on the free spirit who almost instantly turned his world upside down. Will suggesting that she consider consignment for her long-term plan separate them for good? Or will taking a risk and her dreams in another direction bring the pair closer than they ever thought possible?
VERDICT As far as a series go-to, Foster is a mainstay. That recognition can be comforting to readers, with characters about which to care and with which to stick. No one will feel lost in the middle of a series, and there is a natural ease for fans eager to continue the next book(s). With Morgyn and Graham, Foster never loses her ability to strike a balance between the fresh and the familiar.—Frannie Strober Cassano, Library Consultant, East Meadow, NY

redstarGrossman, Felicia. Appetites & Vices. Carina: Harlequin. (Truitts, Bk. 1). Feb. 2019. 345p. ebk. ISBN 9781488052187. $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
[DEBUT] Ursula Nunes and Hugo Middleton made a marriage pact to avoid ever facing Philadelphia high society alone. When Hugo’s parents arrange a union for him with someone else, Ursula devises a plan with Jay Truitt, the degenerate son of one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest families. If Jay and Ursula pretend to be engaged, Ursula will be invited to the city’s posh soirées despite her dubious reputation, enabling her to convince Hugo to honor their agreement. Ursula will then break off her engagement with Jay, gaining him the sympathy of his family and allowing him to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle in peace. Though their engagement is a sham, Ursula and Jay begin to wonder if they really know what they want after all. They are wonderfully vibrant and sensitive characters, ultimately gaining society’s approval through their wits.
VERDICT Debut author Grossman doesn’t shy away from tough topics—detailing anti-Semitic prejudices of Early American high society as well as drug addiction without overshadowing the romance and humor at the center of the relationship between Ursula and Jay; their chemistry is undeniable. This page-turner is highly recommended for all romance aficionados.—Eve Stano, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN

Porter, Jane. Not Christmas Without You. Tule. (Love on Chance Avenue, Bk. 4). Dec. 2018. 278p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707342. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
A chance meeting under mistaken identities begins this sweet, happily-ever-after novel. Charity Wright needs a break from her last dating mistake, with whom she still happens to work at a small real estate office in an even smaller town. After swearing off men, Charity is given the opportunity of a free getaway with the stipulation that posing as her travel agent friend she scope out a small resort. After bumping into a ruggedly handsome sports reporter at the locale, she knows she can’t let down her guard. Charity doesn’t realize that Quinn Douglas is from her hometown, as he rarely visits since becoming a professional baseball player. Quinn can’t get Charity out of his mind now that he’s out of a long-term relationship that wasn’t quite right. Impulsively, Quinn decides to go home to see if a future with Charity is possible and gets drawn back into the tight-knit community.
VERDICT Porter’s (Take a Chance on Me) theme of the importance of family and community, combined with overcoming personal hurdles, makes this a heartwarming read.—Nicole J. Suarez, Frankfort P.L. Dist., IL

LJ Reviews

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