December 1, 2016 Booklist 37 www.booklistonline.com
tale pushes him to seek this “treasure” at Ki-noch Abbey to prove his worth to his father.
Beautiful and feisty Jyne Campbell happens to
be visiting the abbey when Cormac’s unruly
band of ruffians barge in. Jyne is also ready to
prove herself to her own family, and she won’t
let their land be taken easily. She finds herself
at odds with the Fire Lord but discovers a companion in Cormac. Too bad they’re actually one
and the same, as Cormac finds himself playing
two parts—the hero and the villain. His madcap antics to keep the two personalities from
colliding add some laughs to Forester’s (If the
Earl Only Knew, 2016) latest Highland Trouble
tale, a sweet love story. —Amy Dittmeier
Seven Minutes in Heaven.
By Eloisa James.
Feb. 2017. Avon, paper, $7.99 (9780062389459).
The incredible irony of the whole thing is
not lost on Ward Reeve. He had been a holy
terror to all his governesses as a lad, and now
his young half-siblings, Lizzie and Otis, seem
to be perpetuating the same bad behavior. So
far, the two have managed to
drive away every governess
Ward has hired, including
Penelope Lumley, who came
highly recommended by
Snowe’s Registry Office for
Select Governesses. If Ward
can’t prove he is a responsible parental figure, he will
lose guardianship of Lizzie and Otis. So as
far as Ward is concerned, Eugenia Snowe
owes him another governess. Someone who
can effectively manage his two half-siblings
and restore order to his home and his life.
Someone exactly like Eugenia Snowe. RITA
Award–winner James (My American Duchess,
2016) woos readers with another irresistible
liaison of lushly sensual romance and deliciously wicked wit, and her flair for crafting
unforgettable, richly dimensional characters is
the satisfying center of this scrumptious literary confection. —John Charles
By Tamara Mataya.
Jan. 2017. 352p. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paper, $7.99
Melanie Walker is hyperorganized, loves her
job, and is notoriously uptight. So when, on a
whim, she uses a website to swap houses with
a stranger and jets off to Florida, it’s safe to say
that this is out of character. Worried about her
unusual behavior, her brother asks his best bud
and family friend, Blake Wilde, to check on
her. On a much-needed vacation from school
and his side gig as a masseur, Blake is happy
to make sure Mel is all right. But then he sees
her frolicking in the surf at the beach—a nude
beach—and he is certain that she is more than
merely OK. Indeed, she is sexy as hell. When
did that happen? Melanie is mortified when
Blake, her long-time crush, catches her top-
less. But when the embarrassment fades, she’s
pretty sure he liked what he saw, and with her
newfound confidence, she’s willing to test the
boundaries. Readers will feel the heat in this
spicy friend-turned-lover romance, the second,
after Missed Connections (2016), in Mataya’s
Summer Love series. —Patricia Smith
Wild Wicked Scot.
By Julia London.
Dec. 2016. 384p. HQN, paper, $7.99 (9780373789665).
As London (Suddenly Dating, 2016) begins
her new Highland Grooms series, readers
will see that the marriage between pampered,
spoiled Margot Armstrong and Scottish chieftain Arran MacKenzie is doomed from the
start. One can’t get much further from London
society than a medieval castle in the wilds of
Scotland, or from a passionate marriage to one
of convenience designed to
increase both Margot’s father’s
and her new husband’s wealth
and political power. After only
a few short months of matrimony, Margot flees Scotland.
Three years later, her father
forces her to return to the remote castle to determine if
Arran is plotting to remove Queen Anne from
the throne and replace her with James Stuart.
But when the only common ground between
them is their erotic nights between the sheets,
how can Margot get Arran to confide in her?
With well-developed characters who experience genuine growth, London is at the top
of her game in this thrilling tale of political
intrigue and second chances. This absorbing
and passionate romance bodes well for future
Highland Grooms titles. —C. L. Quillen
The Worthington Wife.
By Sharon Page.
Dec. 2016. 448p. HQN, paper, $15.99 (9780373788545).
American artist Cal Carstairs may have
inherited stuffy Worthington Park, but his
intentions are anything but noble, especially
when it comes to Lady Julia Hazelton. Set on
revenge against the Worthington family’s role
in his dark past, Cal threatens to ruin the estate that Julia is determined to save. When a
mutually beneficial deal of marriage is struck,
their nuptials awaken much more than unexpected and breathless passion. Rumors about
the alleged curse of the Worthington Wife begin to swirl, and they find themselves facing
imminent danger at the center of a case about
a mysterious disappearance. In the sequel to
An American Duchess (2014), Page returns to
the glamor and grit of English elites in 1925
in a tale featuring plenty of sizzling sexual ten-
sion, the trappings of aristocratic luxury, and
a whodunnit. Writing at a more subdued pace
than before, Page crafts a delicious balance be-
tween the instantly sexy Cal and proper Julia,
whose struggle with the allure of becoming a
truly modern woman drives the story to a sat-
isfying conclusion. —Kate Campos
SF/Fantasy & Horror
After the Crown.
By K. B. Wagers.
Dec. 2016. 432p. Orbit, paper, $15.99 (9780316308632);
Wagers keeps up the breathless pace of
Behind the Throne (2016) in a sequel that takes
new Empress Hail Bristol out of the throne
room and into the wider universe, where she
spent years as a criminal. War is brewing with
the neighboring Saxon Empire, and Hail does
everything she can to prevent it from happening—until she’s betrayed and forced to flee for
survival. Collecting a motley group of allies
from her gunrunning days and rallying her loyal subjects, Hail faces various threats, including
from the man who orchestrated the death of
her family. Wagers adds more depth to the portrait of Hail, now a fearless but haunted leader
still adjusting to her new role and bound by the
weight of responsibility to her people, and secondary characters to an already rich supporting
cast. For fans of Star Wars, action, and adventure. —Anna Mickelsen
By Max Gladstone and others.
Jan. 2017. 800p. Saga, paper, $21.99 (9781481485562).
This volume collects the first season of
the online serial fiction project Bookburners
in print format, consisting of 16 episodes,
with each episode being written by one of
four writers. The use of television terminology is appropriate not only for the structure
of the book, but also for the overall content
and feel of the series. The story follows a team
of occult investigators tasked by the Vatican
with fighting demons as well as collecting
and containing magical artifacts. The focus
on characters’ personal relationships as well
as the ways in which these demonic threats
range from the abstractly sinister to the slightly comedic will make comparisons to Buffy the
Vampire Slayer and its many television descendants almost inevitable for readers. However,
Bookburners has all of the positive qualities of
a good television series, such as a fun narrative
and engaging characters, and the print format
allows for visuals well beyond the constraints
of a television budget. This collection (and the
series as a whole) is recommended for those
looking for a breezy, entertaining, and exciting fantasy read. —Alan Keep
One can’t get much further from London society than a medieval castle
in the wilds of Scotland, or from a passionate marriage to one of con-
venience designed to increase both Margot’s father’s and her new
husband’s wealth and political power.
—C. L. Quillen, on Wild Wicked Scot