E-Originals, January 25, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

This second book in the series maintains the sass and mystical elements, but it attempts to cover too much; the mystery is complex, the relationships are developing, and readers will want to know what happens next; those familiar with the Harlow brothers will be glad to get to Judd’s story

Week ending January 25, 2019

Jones, Jennie. Lone Star Protector. Tule. (Calamity Valley Romance, Bk. 2). Mar. 2019. 187p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707465. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lauren Mackillop is heading home to Calamity Valley after her questionable business partner stole a controlling interest in her business and gambled it away before dying. For Lauren, Calamity Valley means accepting her fate, even if that also means accepting the visions and premonitions endowed upon all the women in her family. Unfortunately, it also includes more shady goings-on, this time from a real estate developer. Mark Sterrett is on his way to Calamity Valley to spy for the Donaldson developers. Not that he wants to, but the company is blackmailing him into it. He soon runs into Lauren Mackillop, and the two feel a literal spark. It will take a revitalization of a run-down town and the airing of the truth before the two admit their feelings for each other. Interspersed in this clean romance is some precognition, a little criticism on post-fact reporting, and the dreams of two people to start over.
VERDICT This second book in the series (after Lone Star Hero) maintains the sass and mystical elements, but it attempts to cover too much and barely focuses on the development of the romance. Buy for series completists.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Moore, TA. Skin and Bone. Dreamspinner. (Digging up Bones, Bk. 2). Mar. 2019. 240p. ebk. ISBN 9781640809406. $6.99. LGBTQ ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Cloister Witte returns with his K-9 partner Bourneville to investigate an attack on young tourist Janet Morrow. As Cloister delves into Janet’s past, he discovers she changed more than just her name, and wonders if her being trans is part of the reason for the assault. FBI Special Agent Javi Merlo uses Janet’s gender change to join the case since the mystery of Janet’s past is tied to a long-running history of corruption in the Plenty, CA, police department. As Cloister and Javi work together against mounting pressure to let the case drop, they also deal with their unresolved feelings for each other.
VERDICT The sequel to Bone To Pick dives right into the story and goes deep quickly. The mystery is complex, the relationships are developing, and readers familiar with the characters will want to know what happens next. Recommended for libraries owning the books, or looking to pick up a new mystery series.—Melanie C. Duncan, Washington Memorial Lib., Macon, GA

Newell, Kaylie. Judd’s Vow. Tule. (Harlow Brothers, Bk. 3). Feb. 2019. 168p. ebk. ISBN 9781949707540. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Judd Harlow is taking a break from his true love—flying—and returning to his small Montana hometown to help his two brothers raise their sister. Judd grew up with a mother who loved too much and gave too many chances. With this experience, Judd has chained up his heart and stuck with aviation. Savannah Casteele was raised in a similar situation: absent father, absent mother, a doting grandmother. Savannah thought she had a chance at the perfect family with Stephen, but when she their son was born with a cleft lip, Stephen took off. Now Savannah has to decide whether Stephen deserves a second chance or perhaps she deserves better. If Savannah wants to try building a family with Judd, though, she will need to break those barriers around his heart and show him that loving too much does not mean being a doormat.
VERDICT A nice beach read as we head into spring break season. Those familiar with the Harlow brothers (Tanner’s PromiseLuke’s Gift) will be glad to get to Judd’s story, but it is accessible as a stand-alone as well.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, SILS, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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