E-Originals from James, Leigh, Mecca, and Pace | Xpress Reviews

Any amount of James is worth the effort; a solid entry to a new series sure to be a hit with fans of bad boy rockers; this solid novel is for anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages; Pace scores a goal with this Cinderella story

Week ending February 16, 2018


James, Eloisa. Midsummer Delights. Avon Impulse. Feb. 2018. 92p. ebk. ISBN 9780062837813. $3.19. HISTORICAL NOVELLAS

In expectation of James’s (Wilde in Love) new print release, Too Wilde To Wed (Jun. 2018), Avon has gathered a few short Regency stories that have a fairy-tale vibe with a welcome happy ending. “A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace” sees a young woman in her third season courting scandal by flirting, then chatting, with the pianist at a house party musicale. Elias Hempleworth-Gray, an earl with pockets to let, doesn’t want to be around “At Midnight” when his longtime friend Reggie proposes to the woman Elias has always loved, their mutual childhood companion Penny. Violet Leighton, at 20, still believes in happily “Ever After” when it comes to marriage, despite having had her heart broken at age 16. Is Rothwell Talcott, the Duke of Cambridge, back in London after all this time? Could he expect her to welcome him when he hadn't written her more than two letters in four years?

Verdict Any amount of James is worth the effort. These sweet and entertaining tales will keep readers smiling and eager for the next book.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal Leigh, Tara. Rock King. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Nothing but Trouble, Bk. 1). Feb. 2018. 368p. ebk. ISBN 9781538712788. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Shane Hawthorne may be a rock king, but when his band goes on tour, he hires a girlfriend as a buffer to keep him away from his three weaknesses: Jack Daniels, cocaine, and groupies. Floundering since the car accident that killed her mother and landed her father in jail, Delaney Fraser is Jack’s latest hire. While she’s required to show affection in front of the cameras, there is nothing staged about the passion they feel for each other behind closed doors. However, both have guilt and secrets that can ruin everything; when lust might turn to love, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what isn’t. In the first of a new series, Leigh (Billionaire Bosses) balances well the twin conflicts of the survivor’s guilt that plagues both Shane and Delaney and the artificiality that surrounds their relationship. Their instant lust fuels the hot action and keeps the story from being weighed down with too much angst.

Verdict A solid entry to a new series sure to be a hit with fans of bad boy rockers and new adult romance.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington P.L., VA


Mecca, Cecelia. The Earl’s Entanglement. Altiora. (Border, Bk. 5). Feb. 2018. 323p. ebk. ISBN 9781946510105. $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Mecca (The Lord’s Captive) returns to the Middle Ages of Northumbria with the latest installment in her “Border” series. It’s 1273, and Lady Emma Waryn, a feisty young woman who loves horses as much as she loves her freedom, is determined to visit her pregnant friend. Her brother Geoffrey, eager to keep his younger sister safe, refuses to let her make the trip, until Earl Garrick Clave stops by on his way to an unwanted betrothal—unwanted even more when he sets eyes on Emma. What follows is an exciting story, filled with romantic near misses, stolen kisses, and forbidden moments that linger long past their conclusion. Will the Earl be able to end his betrothal to be with the woman he loves? Or will Emma make a rash decision that keeps them apart forever?

Verdict With a strong plot, engaging characters, and steamy love scenes, this solid novel is for anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages and the complicated relationship between the English and the Scottish.—Sonnet Ireland, St. Tammany Parish P.L., Slidell, LA


Pace, Alicia Hunter. High Stick: Jarrett. Crimson Romance: S. & S. (Nashville Sound, Bk. 3). Feb. 2018. 261p. ebk. ISBN 9781507205877. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Pace scores a goal with this Cinderella story, the third installment in the series (after Face Off: Emile and Slap Shot: Bryant). Nashville Sound hockey forward Jarrett MacPherson is an all-American boy. He idealizes his parents’ marriage (though his father died when he was young) and wants to live up to the example his NHL grandfather set for him. When he meets Merry Sweet, he thinks she’s the perfect girl. The daughter of a Baptist minister, she has a strong work ethic, taking on several jobs in order to pay off her student loans and make it through her last year of law school. Like everything else in his life, Jarrett idealizes her, until a mistake she made in her past is revealed, and she falls off the pedestal on which he’s put her. Will Jarrett put his pride and reputation first, or will he learn to forgive and let his heart lead the way?

Verdict Jarrett’s initial refusal to forgive Merry chafes a bit, and the story is somewhat slow moving, but, overall, this is still a solid read that works well as a stand-alone.—Nanci Milone Hill, M.G. Parker Memorial Lib., Dracut, MA

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