Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Life Apart-L. Y. Marlowe

A Life Apart L. Y. Marlowe BDWY/Broadway Books, Apr 22 2014, $16.00 www.broadwaybooks.com ISBN: 9780307719393 In 1940 Boston, Morris Sullivan and Agnes marry just before he enlists in the Navy. While he is stationed at Pearl Harbor, she remains in Massachusetts raising their baby with him making two short visits over the next eighteen months. At the same time Beatrice Dobbins follows her brother Robert leaving Mississippi for Roxbury where she trains as a teacher and he joins the Navy. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Morris’ ship the USS Oklahoma is hit. He loses his footing and slides into the ocean. His last thoughts are on his wife and daughter, but Robert saves his life. Soon after his heroism, Robert dies as the assault continues. Feeling he owes Robert, Morris sends a letter offering comfort to the man’s grieving sister. Beatrice responds thanking him for his kind note especially informing her that her sibling died a hero. However, both know a white married male and a black female cannot be friends so they end their correspondence. Two decades later, Morris and Beatrice meet and soon each admits to being in love with the other. They begin an affair as Morris struggles to maintain two families. Rotating perspective between Morris and the two women in his life over five decades, A Life Apart is an engaging timely (with the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and recent SCOTUS decisions on voting and affirmative action) family drama. The protagonists of the biracial triangle are fascinating with Morris acting fickle; Agnes knowing something is wrong; and Beatrice fearing consequences. Although the storyline fails to dig deep into the tumultuous background, readers will appreciate this enjoyable historical epic of a man and his two families. Harriet Klausner >

On The Rocks-Erin Duffy

On The Rocks Erin Duffy Morrow, Apr 22 2014, $25.99 ISBN: 9780062205742 As Abby tries on wedding gowns at Vera Wang, she and her BFF Grace discuss the former’s upcoming marriage to long time BF Ben. Grace looks up the fiancĂ© Facebook page. To both their horror and Abby’s consternation, Ben changed his status to single; using social media to end their engagement. When she confronts him, he is apologetic and explains there is no other woman, but a job offer in Arizona that he accepted. Heartbroken Abby feels worse because her younger sister Katie becomes engaged. For the next few months, Abby makes Ben and Jerry her BFFs until Grace persuades her to spend the summer together in Newport. Grace explains that she needs to leave Boston to escape an affair with a married man and Abby needs to accept and move on that Ben is yesterday. Confused over the single scene Abby struggles with dating in the age of social media changing the rules of engagement since she had been with Ben for a dozen years. On the Rocks is a fun lighthearted contemporary as Abby seeks her groove in a world in which she feels like a fish out of water; as technology radically changed the mores from what she recalls when she last was single on the dating scene in her twenties. The cast is quirky though not deep, but fans will enjoy most of their antics (except when realistic nastiness occurs on line for all friends to ridicule) as the singles scene has gone virtually naked for all to see. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everything to Lose -Andrew Gross

Everything to Lose Andrew Gross Harper, Apr 22 2014, $26.99 ISBN 9780062326379 Thirty-something single mom of seven year old low functioning Aspie Brandon, Hilary Blum is in financial trouble with enormous debt and no longer employed since losing her marketing position. With no other options, Hilary concludes she must confront Brandon’s affluent father Jim for child support though he abandoned them four years ago and since began a new perfect family. As she drives from Westchester to Greenwich on a back road she never uses, Hilary watches the car in front of her lose control and crash down an embankment. She goes down the slope to check on those inside the vehicle. Hilary finds the driver dead and a bag containing 5000 hundred-dollar bills. Desperate, Hilary grabs the loot and uses it to pay her bills. However, an angry killer seeks the cache that belongs to this psychopath. Realizing her theft left her and Brandon in peril from a deadly adversary, Hilary seeks the truth behind the cash in hopes to expose her predator before he murders her child. This is a strong thriller starring a beleaguered mom who would do anything to protect her son though she struggles to understand his behavior and fears for his future without her. Andrew Gross captures the essence of an NT caregiver raising an Autistic Spectrum child; as a mom of a high functioning Aspie I relate to Hilary’s efforts to deal with her child’s thought-processes she perceives as alien. However, why she failed to sue for child support is never explained as raising an Autistic Spectrum child is expensive and Greenwich denotes affluence. Readers will appreciate this tale as the caregiver’s prime personal value is do anything for her son even breaking all her other moral anchors. Harriet Klausner >

Untamed Wolf -Linda O. Johnston

Untamed Wolf Linda O. Johnston Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913934 General Greg Yarrow learns of feral friction between the established Alpha Force and the newly commissioned Ultra Special Forces Team. He wants the two units to cooperate in fighting the paranormal enemy and not each other. Thus he sends Lieutenant Sara McLinder to report to Alpha Force stationed at Fort Lukman on the Maryland Eastern Shore where the Ultra Special Forces Team also has its flag planted, with plans to join her. Sara arrives a day early, but soon afterward someone attacks the General. Sara and her direct reporting subordinate Sergeant Jason Connell investigate the assault, but she also finds out that rumors of shapeshifters are real as Jason turns out to be a wolf-shifter. As they work the case, their attraction grows until he risks all to keep his beloved superior officer safe. The fifth Alpha Force military romantic fantasy (see Undercover Wolf, Alaskan Wolf and Alpha Wolf) is an enjoyable tale due to the lead protagonists; especially Sara’s reaction to what she learns about Jason’s duality. Though somewhat similar in tone to Guardian Wolf, readers will enjoy this thrilling romantic suspense as Jason proves to be all he could be when it comes to fraternizing and accomplishing the mission. Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 21, 2014

Possessed By A Warrior-Sharon Ashwood

Possessed By A Warrior Sharon Ashwood Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913941 The attack left La Compagnie des Morts lead horseman Jack Anderson the vampire dead, but not before Death contacted his teammate Sam Ralston. The police ruled Jack’s demise was caused by a DUI. Attending his funeral are his niece wedding planner Chloe and three of his friends, Sam, Kenyon the werewolf and Dr. Mark Winspear. Sam turns out to be co-executor along with a stunned Chloe of Jack’s estate; both share in common love, respect and now grief for the dearly departed billionaire, and a disbelief that he died while under the influence; but apparently little else. At Jack’s Oakwood estate, Sam and Chloe find a wedding dress with valuable jewels sewed into it and a note to her to trust him. As the pair team up on an investigation as to who or what killed the leader of the Four Horsemen field agents unit and try to learn the secret of the wedding dress, unknown adversaries assault Chloe; causing Sam to put aside his thirst for revenge in order to protect the woman he loves. The paranormal elements, particularly the species, come across as genuine as does the inquiry while Chloe and Sam are a delightful pairing of seemingly star-crossed lovers. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy stepping into the Ashwood realm in a terrific romantic urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner >

Seduce Me-Jo Leigh

Seduce Me Jo Leigh Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798001 In New York City, twenty four women race to the table filled with the Hot Guys Trading Cards. Film archivist Natalie Gellar likes what she reads about librarian Max Zimm because of his reference to How I Met Your Mother before turning over the card to stare at the picture of a super hunk; other women are stunned by his looks too. However, due to a printer’s mix-up of card info, Max Zimm is not the librarian but instead the hunk never heard of Lilypad or Marshmallow; finally he is a disgusting lawyer. As Natalie learns more about her choice, she finds she loathes his personality and what he enjoys; likewise he feels the same about her. Still each agree to one-night but both know that is not enough. The latest It’s Trading Men (see Choose Me, Have Me and Want Me) contemporary romance is a strong entry; as the protagonists know their attraction is solar heated but each also accepts they have little else in common. Readers will enjoy this deep drama between diametrical opposites as love (and sex) may not be enough to forge a long-term relationship when nothing else binds the pair. Harriet Klausner >

Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918- John Baxter

Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 John Baxter Harper Perennial, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 ISBN: 9780062221407 Seeking to understand why his Grandpa Archie abandoned his family and quit his job that waited for him upon his return from fighting in the front during WWI to stay in Paris, John Baxter researched his relative’s time in France. Adding to the mystery of what happened to change Archie is how adamantly he refused to discuss the war though his diaries provide a glimpse into his soul. However, instead of just a memoir, Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 is also a superb historical that shines a light on how Parisians especially artists, who flocked to the city from around the world in spite of the horrors not far away, adapted to the fighting. Whereas the city’s residents kept the gaiety of the arts thriving in spite of shortages and the sounds of war nearby, the grim no nonsense Australian soldiers across the Channel prepared to take the fight to the Kaiser. Readers will appreciate this strong WWI account of Paris and the Aussies in Britain while also enjoying the search for Archie’s motivation. Harriet Klausner