Saturday, October 25, 2014

Desert God-Wilbur Smith

Desert God
Wilbur Smith
Morrow, Oct 21 2014, $28.99
ISBN: 9780062276452

After a century of civil war, the adversarial Egyptian kingdoms face a deadly invasion from the Steppes.  The Hyksos horde defeated the Northern Kingdom and begun the assault on the Southern nation driving the people away from the Nile into the wilderness.  At Thebes, the Egyptian army defeated the Hyksos stopping further incursion, but the invaders occupy all of the North and parts of the Southern Kingdom preparing for King Salitis to renew the conquest.

Desperate Pharaoh Tamose turns to his top advisor, former slave Taita the eunuch, for guidance.  The geographical edge resides with the enemy as Taita realizes his kingdom controls no Great Sea ports.  Thus he informs the Pharaoh that the only way to beat the enemy is an alliance with the Sumerians and Cretans; though the latter already is allied with the Hyksos.  To anchor the pact, Taita persuades Tamos to offer in marriage his royal daughters, sixteen years old Tehuti and her fourteen years old younger sister Bekatha, to Crete’s Supreme Minos.  Accepting the plan, Tamos assigns Taita to safely escort the princesses to Crete.  As they travel the dangerous bloody trek with external and internal threats assaulting them, Tehuti informs Taita that there is a slight problem.

Desert God continues the engaging adventures of Taita (see River God and Warlock, etc.) in a fast-paced storyline that combines a strong sense of time and place with plenty of gory action.  The lead eunuch and princesses are fully developed with Taita somewhat a father figure to the royals; while he ironically misses the obvious that the audience will anticipate.  The well-written ending is a fine mystical finish to another pleasurable Novel of Ancient Egypt.



Harriet Klausner

To Everything A Season-Lauraine Snelling

To Everything A Season
Lauraine Snelling
Bethany House Publishers, Oct 21 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780764211041

In 1905 Blessing, North Dakota, Ingeborg Bjorklund worries about her husband Haaken (see An Untamed Heart).  She would like her daughter Astrid or her daughter-in-law Elizabeth to check him out.  Elizabeth says her father would not allow a female especially offspring to give him a physical.

Trygve Knutson considers quitting his traveling construction job to come home to Blessing to help his family though he takes pleasure in new experiences that his work provides.  Chicago-based student nurse Miriam Hastings comes to Blessing for on the job training before she leaves to work at a hospital.  Neither Trygve nor Miriam wants to be in Blessing, but family needs have both in town.  When the nurse- in-training and the driller meet, each feels the attraction.  As they fall in love, both struggle between pursuing their dreams and revising them.

Meanwhile a failed bank robbery leads to a band of brother outlaws captured with the youngest Manny suffering a broken leg.  Instead of jail, the tweener moves in with Ingeborg and Haaken.

Lauraine Snelling returns to her Red River Of the North roots with her first delightful Song of Blessing historical.  The ensemble cast is solid as they enable the audience to understand life on the northern Great Plains circa first decade of the twentieth century.  Even with an amazing Bjorklund family tree, newcomers will be lost with the Return to Red River (location of four previous series and a prequel).  On the other hand longtime fans will celebrate the opening act of Song of Blessing.


Harriet Klausner

The Hunk Next Door-Debra Webb and Regan Black

The Hunk Next Door
Debra Webb and Regan Black
Harlequin Intrigue, Oct 21 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697953

Belclare, Maryland Police Chief Abigail Jensen led her team in a recent bust of a drug ring that funneled profits to a terrorist group.  Believing the intrepid cop, who makes to clear her town is and will remain drug-free, is a retaliation target, CIA Specialists Director Thomas Casey (see Colby Agency: The Specialists - Bridal Armor by Debra Webb) assigns agent Riley O’Brien to go undercover in order to protect Abigail from an unknown threat.

Riley poses as a handyman who moves in next door to the chief.  The cop and the undercover cop are attracted to each other, but he especially knows the futility in a relationship between them as the protocol of don’t get romantically involved with the protected sounds alarms in his head that fight his heart (and other body parts).  At the same time Belclare Historical Society President Martin Fillmore objects to Jensen’s additional security measures that he believes will ruin the annual Christmas event while she insists will save it from a tragedy. 

The first Specialists: Heroes Next Door is a thrilling spin off from Ms. Webb’s Colby Agency: The Specialists series (see Would-Be Christmas Wedding and Ready, Aim…I Do!).  The storyline starts slow, but accelerates towards the middle until the climatic confrontation with a villain that readers will know long before the dynamic protagonists realize seemingly too late. 

Harriet 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quilted By Christmas: Quilts of Love-Jodie Bailey

Quilted By Christmas: Quilts of Love
Jodie Bailey
Abingdon, Oct 21 2014, $13.99
ISBN 9781426796142

In Hollings, North Carolina, middle school teacher Taryn McKenna deeply believes that only her grandma Jemma loves her; the dumping by so-called loved ones, her parents and her high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, prove her assertion.  Expecting nothing from others except her unconditional love showered on her by her grandma, Taryn’s life goal is for her students to remember how much she helped them. 

When Jemma suffers a heart attack, tests show she is dying.  An upset Taryn will do anything to comfort her grandma even as she fears being totally alone.  Jemma’s only request is for her granddaughter to help her complete an Irish chain quilt that tells a family history.  Having returned from the military, Justin wants a second chance with the woman he left behind so he assists Taryn with learning the story of the quilt and showing her how much he, Jemma and much of the townsfolk cherish and adore her, and that God never left her.

The latest Quilts of Love inspirational (see Hidden In The Stars by Robin Caroll and A Grand Design by Amber Stockton) is a charming contemporary.  Taryn’s attitude about how others perceive her will remind fans of James Stewart’s George Bailey (surname coincidental?) in It’s A Wonderful Life.  With a strong support cast and a likable troubled lead, this second chance regional romance affirms once again that this is a stupendous series.

Harriet Klausner

Blond Cargo-John Lansing

Blond Cargo
John Lansing
Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing eBook, Oct 20 2014, $5.99
ISBN: 9781476795515

Retired NYPD narcotics chief, Jack Bertolino, left the city for Los Angeles where he gardened, drank expensive wine and drove a Mustang.  However, when Jack worked a homicide of an informant he knew back home, his efforts led to a Columbia Cartel retaliating against his Stanford University baseball playing son Chris.  Mafia chieftain Vincent Cardona provided Jack with key info and protection for his hospitalized (and still recovering) offspring

Expecting Vincent to call in the debt in the future, Jack is surprised how soon the mobster does.  Fearing his daughter, if not dead, may be in trouble from a killer who murdered two look-alikes, Vincent explains Angelica recently vanished apparently from the Club Martinique.  He wants the former cop turned P.I. with a bad back to find his missing daughter.  Jack follows clues that lead him to an affluent Iraqi with deep connections in Southern California selling females at auction to wealthy patrons.

The second Bertolino investigation (see The Devil's Necktie) is an adrenaline pumping over the top of the Hollywood sign thriller that will remind readers of Liam Neeson’s Taken except for brief interludes when the hero tries to get still hurting Chris to forgive him and scenes with his GF.  Incredibly action-packed but with a stereotypical support cast (especially the villain); readers will root for Jack to pay off his debt his way.


Harriet Klausner

Quilted By Christmas: Quilts of Love-Jodie Bailey

Quilted By Christmas: Quilts of Love
Jodie Bailey
Abingdon, Oct 21 2014, $13.99
ISBN 9781426796142

In Hollings, North Carolina, middle school teacher Taryn McKenna deeply believes that only her grandma Jemma loves her; the dumping by so-called loved ones, her parents and her high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, prove her assertion.  Expecting nothing from others except her unconditional love showered on her by her grandma, Taryn’s life goal is for her students to remember how much she helped them. 

When Jemma suffers a heart attack, tests show she is dying.  An upset Taryn will do anything to comfort her grandma even as she fears being totally alone.  Jemma’s only request is for her granddaughter to help her complete an Irish chain quilt that tells a family history.  Having returned from the military, Justin wants a second chance with the woman he left behind so he assists Taryn with learning the story of the quilt and showing her how much he, Jemma and much of the townsfolk cherish and adore her, and that God never left her.

The latest Quilts of Love inspirational (see Hidden In The Stars by Robin Caroll and A Grand Design by Amber Stockton) is a charming contemporary.  Taryn’s attitude about how others perceive her will remind fans of James Stewart’s George Bailey (surname coincidental?) in It’s A Wonderful Life.  With a strong support cast and a likable troubled lead, this second chance regional romance affirms once again that this is a stupendous series.


Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Terminals-Royce Scott Buckingham

The Terminals
Royce Scott Buckingham
Dunne Books, Oct 14 2014, $18.99
ISBN: 9781250011558

Nineteen years old Cameron Cody lies in a hospital bed in disbelief while thinking how much changed in a short time.  He reflects on how was about to take Kristi Banks to the ultimate party house and soon afterward start on Western Washington University soccer team.  Instead according to specialist Dr. Singh he has one year to live because of some freaking brain tumor.  While his parents are devastated and his friends awkward; his BFF Mason reminds Cam that he may be dying, but he always was a doer, so do.  A stranger offers Cam an exciting exit strategy as a hero, but starting with his immediate fake death; Cam accepts.

Not long after he “dies”, Cam meets the other nine teen teammates who also share with him the one year death sentence.  As the original ten Terminal teens work dangerous missions around the globe, some die during the execution while others prematurely perish under questionable circumstances that Cam and the others still alive choose to ignore.  That is until Siena, who faked her death as the lone survivor of the previous team, arrives to paint an ugly picture of their handler and his associates to Cam and company.

The Terminals is an exciting action-packed tweener-young teen thriller.  Although the key cast is underdeveloped, the young audience will appreciate these Teen Titans (nod to DC comics) globetrotting escapades; stealthy expanded by those dwindling still alive investigating the organization that recruited them.

Harriet Klausner