Friday, September 30, 2011

Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman-Patricia Bosworth

Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Patricia Bosworth

Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, Aug 30 2011, $30.00

ISBN: 9780547152578

This is a deep biography that uses all types of reference material including Jane Fonda’s FBI file, her suicide mother’s psychiatric records, her relationship with her demanding dad the icon actor Henry and interviews to get inside the changing public images to the soul of Ms. Fonda. The book is divided into a prologue, five distinct eras, and an epilogue. Ms. Bosworth openly admits she and her subject have been friends since they met as students at New York Actors Studio in the early 1960s, but this does not prevent the biographer from writing about the good, the bad and the ugly. Perhaps the most fascinating theme is a need to find a father figure who cared about her. Ms. Fonda’s transition as reflected in the five periods of her life starts with being Henry’s “Daughter” (Tall Story) seeking his approval. In her early twenties having given up on achieving her dad’s okay, Ms. Fonda turns to becoming the consummate “Actress” (Cat Ballou). In the 1960s, Ms. Fonda is recognized as a “Movie Star/Sex Symbol” married to director Roger Vadim (Barbarella). Over the next two decades she becomes a “Political Activist” (Coming Home) speaking out against the Viet Nam War and ridiculed as Hanoi Jane. while married to Tom Hayden. Finally in the 1990s she becomes the “Workout Guru/Tycoon Wife” married to Ted Turner and running a multimillion dollar workout video company. Ms. Bosworth enables readers to get inside “The Private Life of a Public Woman” in a wonderful biography.

Harriet Klausner

Under the Skin-Vicki Lane

Under the Skin

Vicki Lane

Bantam, Oct 18 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345533654

In the Great Smoky Mountains, Elizabeth and Phillip are planning their marriage. However, her high maintenance sister Gloria calls from Florida informing Elizabeth she is coming to rusticate and hide on her sibling’s Full Circle Farm. An exacerbated Elizabeth believes Glory is delusional; nothing new in her mind, when she claims her third spouse Jerry is trying to kill her.

Her sister’s arrival has Elizabeth unhappy as she wants to plan her upcoming wedding to Phillip instead of serving her affluent sibling. However, a side effect of the arrival of “Princess” Glory is Elizabeth begins to question what she knows about her fiancé. As the two siblings turn to one another for the first time in years, each wonders who the man is tentatively in their respective lives.

Although the climax seems off kilter, Under the Skin is a fascinating tale of two sisters, opposites in every way, finally bonding after all these years. Character driven, including by the rural Appalachia setting, readers will enjoy Vicki Lane’s entertaining thriller as the Goodweather siblings need to find one another to survive an ordeal that tests their sisterhood.

Harriet Klausner

The Cat's Table-Michael Ondaatje

The Cat's Table

Michael Ondaatje

Kopf, Oct 7 2011, $26.00

OSBN: 9780307700117

Eleven year old Michael is leaving his home in Ceylon for the first time to join his divorced mother living in England. Michael is traveling alone though a first class passenger promised his uncles and aunts to keep an eye on him. The lad is taken aback when he sees the multistoried castle he will sail on lying majestically large in Colombo Harbor. His bunk on the Oronsay is under the waves so he has no porthole.

He is assigned Table 76 for his meals. There are nine people at 76 including two boys (extroverted Cassius who he knows from school and pensive Ramadhin) his age. Another table 76 occupant Miss Laqueri explains they eat at the Cat’s Table, which is to keep the dregs the furthest from the exclusive Captain’s Table. The lads run amuck getting into one stormy escapade after another while traveling the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea while being fascinated by the mystery of the chained prisoner. Meanwhile Michael is attracted to his older vivacious cousin Emily as she is kind to him, places deaf Asuntha under her protective wing and gallivants with a performer.

Award winning author Michael Ondaatje provides a strong coming of age thriller that contains a metaphysical undercurrent for those who know the background of the writer. Michael’s journey is filled with youthful adventures but also metaphorically symbolizes the journey of life as the adult is the child without the innocence. The Cat's Table is an excellent character driven drama, which, unlike Paradise Lost can become Paradise Regained, though innocence lost is gone forever.

Harriet Klausner

The English Patient-Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje

Everyman’s Library, Oct 4 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780307700872

Hana the Canadian nurse has cared for the English Patient for four months. She knows his body as well as a lover would, but knows very little about who he really is. The Bedouin found him in the Sahara when he ejected from his crashing blazing airplane. They put out the fire engulfing his body, wrapped him carefully and brought him to the Italian villa where the allies set up a hospital amidst undetonated Nazi bombs. Now the others have left except for the maniacal nurse and her English Patient.

Hana is not concerned with who her English Patient is and what he might have done or even if he is married; as he has given her a reason to live. Still grieving the death of her father, Hana feels that the unknown burn victim is her family. However, her idyllic parasite is invaded by thieving spy Caravaggio who was tortured and maimed by the enemy, and Kip the Sikh from India working as a sapper mine detonation expert for the British army in North Africa. The newcomers feel as displaced by the war as do the Canadian and her patient.

This is reprint of one of the most haunting classic war stories ever written. The story line focuses on displacement of four people who had diverse roles in WWII. Each character is fully developed coming from different cultures though all are part of the sun setting on the British Empire as the war closes. All’s quiet on the African front, but the aftermath of war remains as volatile as the unexploded ordinance; symbolized by these protagonists who come together over the mystery of whom is the English Patient.

Harriet Klausner

Nanjing Requiem-Ha Jin

Nanjing Requiem

Ha Jin

Pantheon, Oct 18 2011, $26.95

ISBN: 9780307379764

In 1937, the Japanese occupation force takes control of Nanjing with a brutal violence to insure the suppressed population could not rebel. American missionary dean of Jinling Women's College Minnie Vautrin is horrified with what she witnesses and what she hears as the Japanese army terrorizes civilians with mass slaughter and rape. She and her assistant Anling Gao open the college as a shelter to the homeless. While the Japanese threaten to destroy her school and her, Minnie continues to act as the "Goddess of Mercy" to over ten thousand battle fatigued women and children.

Anling bears her own demon in secret. Her daughter in law is Japanese so though she desperately wants to welcome her son’s wife and worse her grandchild as her kin, she cannot acknowledge them if she does not want to become a pariah in her community and ineffective in assisting Minnie. She takes solace with her work helping the Goddess of Mercy perform miracles by risking their lives. Still both women feel tormented by those they could not save from the horrific murdering and raping of Nanking.

With a nod to Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanjing, Ha Jin provides a powerful cautionary historical thriller with a focus on the real life missionary who the author makes a strong case deserves international legendary status for what she did at a sacrifice to herself. Reading somewhat like a biographical fiction, Anling tells the tale of her boss’ efforts and sacrifice to rescue the beleaguered unprotected civilians from a reign of terror.

Harriet Klausner

The Wedding Quilt-Jennifer Chiaverini

The Wedding Quilt

Jennifer Chiaverini

Dutton, Nov 1 2011, $24.95

ISBN 9780525952428

In 2028 Sarah McClure owns Elm Creek Manor where her daughter Caroline is getting married. Attending the wedding on the bride’s side besides her friends and family is the Elm Creek Quilters.

Sarah looks back to when Caroline and her twin James were born to her and Matt. Inheriting the manor, Sarah saved the Elm Creek Quilt Camp from insolvency. She recalls the Quilters being there for her during her pregnancy but Matt was away much of the time helping his father with his business. Musing about some of her cherished Quilters and their quilts, Sarah is caught by surprise when her bookworm daughter decides to create a special wedding quilt since Caroline never was passionate about quilting like her mom is. Sarah wants to help her daughter’s dream come true as she never made a wedding quilt, but is unaware that her historian loving son is secretly seeing Gina.

The latest Elm Creek Quilts drama is for die hard fans only as the story line consists of a series of flashback vignettes from previous novels. The cast is as always is solid and references to the “Founding Mother” Sylvia add to the tale. However, there is little conflict amongst the party; as The Wedding Quilt mostly summarizes much of the major episodic events from previous novels.

Harriet Klausner

All About Seduction-Katy Madison

All About Seduction

Katy Madison

Avon, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780062017352

Caroline Broadhurst has been married for fifteen years to an abusive mill owner who paid her family for her. Now with no heir and learning he is sterile, Broadhurst orders his wife to bed an aristocratic friend of her brother. She is appalled as her husband parades the who’s who of decadence passed her. However, Carline is an obedient wife so will do what is demanded of her even if she loathes sleeping with any of these rakes or for that matter her odious mate.

Caroline is attracted to mill engineer Jack Applegate who has loved her from afar since he first saw his employer’s wife. When Jack is injured at the mill, Caroline takes him to her manor house to heal. He learns of Broadhurst’s insidious scheme and volunteers to be the sire of her offspring. However, her husband learns of her duplicity with an unacceptable middle class worker so plots revenge as the cuckold spouse.

With a nod to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, readers will enjoy this entertaining Regency romance. The exciting story line is character driven mostly by Caroline who is refreshing with her pathetic inability to break out of what society and her family expects of a woman. Although over the top of the Tower especially once Jack is injured, fans will enjoy this engaging nineteenth century version of the Miller’s Tale.

Harriet Klausner

Adam-Jacquelyn Frank


Jacquelyn Frank

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781420109863

Four centuries ago, Adam the water demon and Jasmine the vampire met in an explosive encounter that was different than anything either species had witnessed. Instead of open hostile combat, they were in love. However, his niece Leah child of Time fearing for the lives of her parents Jacob the enforcer and Isabella the Druid snatched him from his idyllic era top bring him forward four hundreds to keep his younger brother and sister-in-law safe. Jasmine has her heart broken as if her essence has been drained from her.

In the midst of a losing battle against Ruth the necromancer and her consort Nicodemus, Adam abruptly appears. Totally confused with the changes he failed to be part of including enemy bedfellows as cross species is acceptable unlike when he met Jasmine, Adam struggles to adapt. His side is still losing until he and Jasmine reconnect in love and hope.

The latest Nightwalkers romantic fantasy (see Damien and Noah) is a great refreshing entry due to the powerful cast on both sides of the front lines. Adam especially makes the thriller work as his bewilderment with changes add a sense of realism while his heart and soul still yearns for Jasmine. In some ways she is the more fascinating of the time-crossed lovers as she is sort of bipolar with her mood swing from euphoric mania to depressive to euphoric feeder. Jacquelyn Frank is at her best with Adam’s saga.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reality Jane--Shannon Nering

Reality Jane

Shannon Nering

Bancroft, Oct 31 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9781610880282

The self help reality guru of media Ricky Dean hires Canadian journalist Jane Kaufman as a television producer. She travels to Hollywood where she is almost famous while on call 24/7. She became a caffeine addict with her daily coffee seemingly matching her age of twenty-eight; and learning the ropes of reality TV means throwing the innocent lambs like the obese seven child to the wolves dressed as fans.

After growing up in a loyal caring Canadian prairie family, Jane struggles with backstabbers and dealing with maniacal guests and their rapacious retinue. Her fill in when she can have a personal life limited to no sleep has faithful Grant as her boyfriend, but sexy Alex owns her fantasy libido. However, it is that seven year old fat girl whose hysteria is a wake up call to Reality Jane as she ponders how future generations looking back at her accomplishments would react.

Reality Jane is an entertaining satire on the survival of the nastiest in Hollywood’s reality shows written by an insider. Jane is terrific as she realizes who has her back and who is stabbing her back. With an is that all there is theme, Shannon Nering provides an intriguing portrait of a woman who enjoys the reality media concept, but loathes the belief that the attendees want blood from the participants; who are unwitting volunteer Christians facing lions inside the Roman Coliseum.

Harriet Klausner

My Christmas Cowboy-Shelley Galloway

My Christmas Cowboy

Shelley Galloway

Harlequin American Romance, Nov 1 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753833

His body battered from a bull, rodeo performer Trent Riddell comes home to heal from busted ribs, arm and other injuries that put his career in jeopardy. Childhood friend Jolene Arnold calls Trent who assumes she wants to start a tryst with him. He prefers not to follow up on their one night stand when he was last laid up. Instead she arrives with her three month old baby Amanda Rose who she says is his.

While Trent is in denial and demanding paternity tests, his dad arrives and accepts Amanda Rose as his granddaughter while telling Jo she will not be alone anymore. She explains she called him numerous times to tell him, but he refused to return her calls. Trent insults her offering her money and saying she slept around. Jo leaves. However, his dad warns him to make it right.

The latest Riddell cowboy contemporary is an engaging family drama though as Trent explains there is no engagement so the romance is muted to first comes, the carriage than comes the marriage and finally comes love. The Riddell patriarch is a superb role model as he welcomes Jo and Amanda as a daughter and granddaughter. Trent and his brothers are not quite as welcoming. The mystery involving missing farm equipment detracts from the prime story line of whether Trent mans up to make the two females in his life part of his family.

Harriet Klausner

Royally Claimed-Marie Donovan

Royally Claimed

Marie Donovan

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 978037379654

In Boston, Aunt Elva and Uncle Paul are injured from a car accident. Nurse Julia Cooper’s parents are flying from Sao Miguel Island in the Azores to Boston to help their relatives. Bostonian native Julia will remain in the Azores.

Portuguese Duke Francisco “Frank” Duarte das Santas Aguas returns to Sao Miguel where he owns a villa. When he and Julia were teens, they fell in love, but each went their separate ways. Now over a decade later, they meet on Sao Miguel with an attraction that is hotter than a Portugal summer. They agree to a dirty dog tryst with an understanding that this relationship is short term. However, as they share food, sex and much more; neither wants this time together to end.

The final Royally Prince romance (see Royally Romanced and Royally Seduced) is a charming contemporary set in an interesting North Atlantic locale as the Azores archipelago somewhat steals the show from the Duke and the Yank. With a late nod to the wedding movie The Best Man, readers will enjoy Royally Claimed.

Harriet Klausner

A Texas Ranger’s Christmas

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin American Romance, Nov 1 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753819

Divorced Texas Ranger Captain Caige Dawson considers leaving the force in order to spend more time with his special needs eight year old son Josh. Three years ago the accident changed the family dynamics leading to Liz leaving him to raise their son by himself; though thanks to angles like teacher Mrs. Wright and caregiver Elly, he knows his child is bring taken care of with love when he is away.

His supervisor Mac Leeson assigns Caige to work on a FBI five years old cold case. Agent Robbins explains that banker Nathan Farley left a branch of the Yellow Rose Bank only to vanish. His wife Blaire was a UT at Austin undergraduate when her husband disappeared. Blaire’s parents called asking for Robbins to bring closure to them and their daughter. Caige goes undercover at the Texas Forest Service where Blaire Kosolov works. He and his son are instantly attracted to the kind Blaire, but he fears she has killed her spouse as two more murders seem to converge on her.

This is a powerful family drama starring three likable individuals, but Josh steals the show from the adults. The mystery of the vanished spouse is deftly handled to blend in with the romance and the nurturing of Josh, who needs special attention. Readers will appreciate Rebecca Winters’ superb holiday thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Roped In-Crystal Greene

Roped In

Crystal Greene

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796533

Square W+W rancher Nicki Wade has a makeover that turns her from a tomboy into a sexy saloon girl. She and her cousin Candace are at the Pine Junction Grand Hotel Halloween party.

The male she has loved unrequitedly for years, neighboring rancher Shane Carter has come home to his family’s

Slanted C Ranch. Like Nicki, he hopes to save the spread that is in financial trouble.

Candace sees the pair eyeing one another at the gala. She urges Nicki, who she knows has wanted Shane since they were little girls, and Shane to have fun together. They begin a sexy role-playing fantasy that generates enough heat to keep both their ranches warm in winter. As they fall in love, each wonders whether the other would like to erase temporary from their relationship

Roped In is a fun Wrong Bed ranch romance. The fantasies create a heated relationship between the lead couple, but both fear reality. Cousin Candice adds depth to a strong contemporary as the audience wonders whether the fences will come down under a Wade-Carter collaboration as lust and love may not be enough to save the spreads.

Harriet Klausner

Model Marine-Candace Havens

Model Marine

Candace Havens

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796502

In under an hour Hannah Harrington Designs fashion show is to begin at the annual Fashion Week gala. However, Hannah’s assistant director Anne Marie informs her that the male models are all in jail. The problem is the show fails without them as the only males nearby are much shorter than the towering six foot plus female models. Hannah goes on the streets of Manhattan seeking two hunks. She recruits two marines, Captain Will Hughes and Lieutenant Rafael. They save the Lincoln Center design show.

While Rafe leaves with one of the models; Will escorts Hannah. They begin a two week tryst with the stipulation of no strings or regrets. As he gets in trouble with the brass especially a certain upset general, they fall in love. However, both realize their worlds do not overlap in the slightest; so neither wants to risk their heart by asking the other to break the no permanent clause.

This is a fun lighthearted military out of “Uniformly Hot” entertaining romance. The lead couple is a delightful charming pairing of total opposites. There is some suspense that adds tension to the plot. Fans will appreciate the Marine Model and the designer finding love in Manhattan.

Harriet Klausner

Promise Keeper-Mary Fremont Schoenecker

Promise Keeper

Mary Fremont Schoenecker

Five Star, Oct 21 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825379

Suzanne Petrone left the Monet masterpiece Les Bateaux rouges, Argenteuil at her boyfriend Paul Fontaine’s New York Cornerstone Gallery. She left for Sarasota, Florida, but two days later thugs broke into the gallery injuring Paul and stealing the painting. While Paul recovers from his severe leg injury at his ailing father Jacques’ place in Maine, Suzanne has vanished but a reputable Sarasota, Florida art dealer reports someone tried to sell him the stolen painting.

Paul travels to Florida to assist the FBI on the theft. He meets and confronts Suzanne who explains her paternal link to the painting, but he rightfully distrusts her. Paul also stays in touch with his Tante Margaret who is caring for his dad while Jacques’ young second wife is vising a sick relative.

The story line starts slow as readers meet the extended Fontaine family in the latest Maine Shore Chronicles (see Moonglade and Finding Fiona), but accelerates somewhat once Paul travels to Florida. Paul holds the story line focused as he searches for the truth about the woman he loves and worries about the health of his beloved dad; although the latter detracts form the suspense. More a character study than a suspense thriller, readers will enjoy Paul’s Floridian adventure.

Harriet Klausner

All Places That Are Not Heaven: Tales of Adrian Talbot and Genevieve de Monet

All Places That Are Not Heaven: Tales of Adrian Talbot and Genevieve de Monet

Anne Fraser; Inanna Arthen (editor)

By Light Unseen Media, Sep 21 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9781935303312

“Tales of Adrian Talbot.” The collection contains five fascinating tales starring the amoral “Brat Prince of Toronto” Shakespearean actor Talbot. Four of the entries from the mid 1990s involve Jake Fowler, who vampiric folklore Professor Talbot meets at a lecture he gives in which the only other attendees are four associates of the speaker (“Rosedale Vampires”). In the “Vampire Blues”, Jake feels Talbot stalks him, his roommate Max Scheer and his girlfriend Grace Webb; that is until he meets Melantha the singer. The other two (“Vampire Conventions” and Acting’s In the Blood”) continue to focus on the relationship between the self proclaimed master vamp of Toronto and the grad student. The final Talbot entry written in 2000 ("Speak Easy") has Adrian falling in love in 1928 New York with monster Darby Sullivan.

“Tales of Genevieve de Monet.” The collection contains two fascinating tales (written in 1997 and 2006) starring the savior of Gideon Redoak. Almost five centuries as a vampire, Genevieve has a major unidentified threat that has killed her offspring. Her ghoulish cousins and her vampiric children cannot tell her what is coming for her in “Watch and Ward.” French dragoon Jean de la Mare and Genevieve de Monet meet on a battlefield in Germany where he is dying. She offers him a cleaner death, but he chooses to be her Undead Guardian in “A Babe in Arms.”

Although the two stars possess different ethics, the seven tales are entertaining dark urban fantasies.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Queens of All the Earth-Hannah Sternberg

Queens of All the Earth

Hannah Sternberg

Bancroft, Oct 1 2011, $13.95

ISBN: 9781610880329

In Williamsburg, Virginia, a van has been packed with stuff for Olivia Somerset to begin as a freshman at Cornell. However, Olivia abruptly shuts down. Her older sister Miranda the accountant in a state of panic calls 911. The EMTs check out Olivia who physically is normal but emotionally has shut down. They cannot do anything for the catatonic Olivia, but their College of William and Mary professor mom who is giving a presentation tells her oldest daughter to call Dr. Simons. He explains to Miranda she is buried inside her brain and should not be left alone.

Months later, Olivia remains in Virginia struggling to be what she was before she broke down. She also knows she must cope with her father's death that she thinks triggered her collapse. Miranda suggests they travel to Barcelona where they stay at a coed dormitory style hostel. There they meet other quirky people with both sisters finding a romantic interest.

With a nod to E. E. Cummings' "Orientale," Queens of All the Earth is an intriguing character study that looks deeply at a young woman trying to get up from the rug (with her family’s help) where she metamorphic lies since her massive mental meltdown. Although the support cast is not very deep in spite of being important to the story line, readers will enjoy two sisters seeking their respective grooves in the Mediterranean.

Harriet Klausner

If I Tell -Janet Gurtler

If I Tell

Janet Gurtler

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781402261039

Westwind High-school senior seventeen years old Jaz believes she is a pariah because she is biracial; thus neither the black nor while students at school welcome her. However, she is also her own worst enemy with an angry temper that comes across like a terrible two tantrum. Her friend Ashley the lesbian insists her only problem is a lack of self esteem that leads to Jaz wearing a sign that says victim available for kicking down. She has other buddies like BFF Lacey who is always there for her even though she is unappreciated. Finally there is grandma who raised her.

Currently she is angry at her single mom for seeing Simon who Jaz saw kissing Lacey. Complicating matters is her mom is carrying Jaz’s future half-sibling. The teen wants to tell someone, but is unsure who. At a party, Jaz and new transfer student Jackson meet. They like each other and the kiss they share is heavenly. However, Jaz trusts no one so she keeps the former juvy drug dealing Jackson at a distance. Likewise, using temper tantrums, she does the same with her BFF, Simon, mom and her new baby brother. Only those who love her refuse to back away from Jaz.

This character driven teen drama is a terrific tale due to a strong cast. Besides Jaz on her self destructive path, her support group has fully developed characters who constantly remind the hurting teenager that they are there for her as they patiently encourage her to realize that the grass is green on her side of the fence due to her caring friends and family.

Harriet Klausner

Picture of Lies-C.C. Harrison

Picture of Lies

C.C. Harrison

Five Star, Oct 21 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9781432825065

Ever since her little girl Daisy was snatched on the San Diego beach, investigative reporter Keegan Thomas lives in a world of anger, rage and depression. The cops declared the abduction a cold case, but not to Keegan. The Offbeat Arizona magazine writer has gained numerous awards and national attention with her series on missing children; five of whom went home.

Her relationship with Jeffrey over, but still on vacation, Keegan decides to visit Monument Valley where her grandfather was a Bureau of Indian Affairs doctor on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Her cousin gave her an old photo of her grandfather with other people who she plans to meet and interview for a potential article.

The Navaho refuse to cooperate with the “Nosy Pants” reporter; who wants to chat with any of those in the photo still living. Jilly Wolf introduces the journalist to her grandmother. Keegan learns that missionaries took one of the children in the picture. Soon afterward someone murders Jilly's grandmother. Not sure why, Keegan knows an unknown predator will kill apparently to keep buried secrets interred. With assistance from archeologist Dante “Shovel Bum” Covelli, she begins to learn why but she may be the next victim silenced by those who want the truth to remain hidden.

The entertaining return to Monument Valley (see The Charmstone) with a different heroine is an engaging romantic suspense thriller that once again includes a deep look at Navajo customs and recent history. Keegan is a fascinating lead who has never been the same since the traumatic abduction. Although somewhat over the top of Kings Peak, fans will relish a dedicated no longer whole heroine trying to do what is right for the little victims of family disputes.

Harriet Klausner

Thawed Out and Fed Up-Ryan Brown

Thawed Out and Fed Up

Ryan Brown

Gallery, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781439171561

In a steady rain in Welshland, Texas Sam Bonham wakes up in the alley next to Rack ‘Em Up. He notices blood all over his clothing, not his; and he has his fillet knife tucked in his jeans. He has no idea what happened last night, but assumes he is back in a shitload of trouble; nothing new to him. Six months ago he walked out on his wife Georgia and became a deadbeat dad to their son Sam, Jr. At the Busy Bee Diner, he overhears two cops talking about the vicious stabbing death of Georgia’s boyfriend Slick on her lawn; the body was found by San, Jr.

Having had a fight with Slick Motley earlier in the day, he believes he killed Slick in a rage though he cannot remember anything from last night; Sam flees East Texas. He stops in strange Blistered Valley that looks like a movie set of a late nineteenth century town. An outlaw gang runs the town. However, the oddity that stuns him most is meeting cryogenically frozen John Wayne who insists he is Ethan Edwards. Although the septuagenarian Duke is in no shape for a High Noon brawl, he mentors Sam into what it takes to be an American hero like he was during The Searchers.

This whimsical fantasy follows the redemption of a badass who goes from selfish loser to risking his life for strangers as a hero. The transformation of Sam is deftly handled while his thawed out teacher helps him understand what makes any person a hero. This is an entertaining refreshing allegorical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Survivors-James Wesley, Rawles


James Wesley, Rawles

Atria, Oct 4 2011, $15.34

ISBN: 9781439172803

While politicians fiddled with fake solutions, the economic Crunch had begun. The debt officially at six trillion was over 3 trillion when obligations and off line credit card gimmicks were added to the calculation. Off budget was the only response DC had to the crisis. The dollar is useless; replaced by precious medals, bartering or stealing. People horded what they could, but looting and mob murder took over the streets.

In Afghanistan, Army Ordinance Captain Andy Laine realizes the Crunch will leave soldiers abandoned so he stashes supplies and begins an odyssey to get to his family in Farmington, New Mexico. His brother Lars, a 30-point veteran, tries to keep his wife Beth and their daughter Anelli safe on the family farm in New Mexico. Lars also takes in the three teenage Phelps siblings (Matthew, Reuben, and Shadrack). Not all maintain their humanity while trying to survive. Having established a warehouse near Houston to store his loot, Ignacio Garcia forms La Fuerza, a gang that raids unprotected communities in the southwest.

Survivors is a fascinating cautionary tale that extrapolates what his happening in DC, Wall Street and around the world to predict the collapse of the American Corporacy and how various people will act and react to the implosion rings true. Loaded with plenty of data to defend James Wesley, Rawles assertion a collapse is imminent (for instance fighting two wars on a credit card mentality). is believable. The intriguing story line follows a horde of survivors struggling with the ordeal of the aftermath of the Crunch. Although there are too many stories in the Rawles landscape making it difficult to keep score, fans will relish the “coming collapse” of America.

Harriet Klausner

Alterant-Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love


Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Pocket, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439195246

In just over an hour, Evalle Kincaid will face the Tribunal on charges that will lead to her eternal lock up. She feels it is unfair since she was too busy saving mankind from an eight-century old warlord to prepare her defense as the only freed Alterant. Her other half-breed species are dead or caged by the purebred Belador. However, Storm the VIPER tracker tells her of Alterant attacks from three escapees. Brina defends her at the Tribunal of Gods, but Evalle concludes protecting humanity is not enough for the biased Tribunal.

One of the Tribunal Loki, to anger another member Ares, suggests she prove herself by bringing in the escaped murdering Alterant. Brina tells her sixteen not three got out; eight are dead but the rest remain on a killing spree. Brina is aware that the Belador link is a death trap for her kind so she needs Evalle who she trusts with her life to hunt down the killers. To succeed in hunting down her now kind, Evalle knows she needs Tristan, an escaped Alterant she sent back to his jail. He is like Ares in that he wants Evalle dead.

The second Belador urban fantasy (see Blood Trinity) is an exciting thriller that once again makes the world of Kenyon-Love seems genuine with multiple species. Evalle is a terrific kick butt heroine while Brina and others show their trust of her by willing to put their neck on the line with the Tribunal. Although fans will get impatient with the Tribunal, the story line is filled with action and betrayal as Evalle knows when dealing with fickle superiors, deals tend to be flushed as excrement.

Harriet Klausner

Marco: Book 3 of the Books of Insanity-KT Pinto

Marco: Book 3 of the Books of Insanity

KT Pinto

By Light Unseen Media, Sep 1 2011, $10.00

ISBN: 9781935303237

The Unseelie Fae Queen allows Celeste the vampyress and her companion Vanity the werecat to live. However, the Fae Queen gives them no choice where she dumps them. Knights loyal to Cai of Britannia capture the pair. Cai calls Celeste his sister Morgan and has Vanity locked away in his dungeon. Celeste knows Cai as the renowned Roman General and vampire Marco.

He explains why he changed his name and what he is plotting. He introduces her to Arturus who Marco believes will make a good king of Britannia, but wants to make him a legend. She agrees to assist him with creating the legend of chivalrous King Arthur and his knights. As she develops a money source of prostitutes, Celeste begins the scheme of turning an honorable warrior into a legend starting with the Lady of the Lake and the Sword in the Stone. With assistance from another vampyre Lucifer, eventually released Vanity, and a surprising third heavenly source, High King Arthur of Britannia will live forever.

The third "Books of Insanity" (see Celeste and Vanity) is an intriguing refreshing look at the development of the Arthurian mythos. Although on the surface Celeste’s history (and that of Vanity) will remind readers of Chelsea Quinn Yarbo’s Count Saint Germain; they are polar opposites when it comes to morality; as she has no qualms about drinking the pure blood of a three year old though even though the toddler will die and she has other choices. Celeste is a fascinating evil protagonist whose actions keep the story line focused as she and her comrades create a legend.

Harriet Klausner

Wolf Among The Stars-Steve White

Wolf Among The Stars

Steve White

Baen, Nov 1 2011, $25.00

ISBN 9781451637540

Five decades have passed since the alien Lokaron invasion. The earthlings responded to the annexation of the planet into the Lokaron Empire as a colony by either rebelling or becoming human quislings belonging to the Earth First party (see Eagle Against the Stars). As a result of the resistance, the mighty Lokaron Empire threatens to implode into a civil war.

Captain Andrew Roark investigates the strange death of his superior officer Admiral Arnstein. The victim’s grieving daughter Rachel, wanting justice for her father, joins him on his inquiry. They soon uncover a diabolical plan in which the alien shapeshifting Kappainu manufacture incidents leading to interstellar combat in which they will be the victors. In a strange bedfellows' way, Lokaron agent Reislon’Sygnath accompanies the humans; they seek a way to prevent the insidious shapeshifters from shifting the power in the galaxy.

Wolf Among the Stars is an exciting action-packed military science fiction thriller. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the hero investigates the admiral’s death and never slows down as a homicide inquiry turns into a save the galaxy conspiracy tale. Although there is too frequent use of passive commentary to describe the issues facing the lead trio, readers will enjoy this engaging tale while wondering whose side Reislon’Sygnath really is on.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Chocolate Castle Clue-JoAnna Carl

The Chocolate Castle Clue

JoAnna Carl

Obsidian, Oct 4 2011, $22.95

ISBN: 9780451234742

In Warner Pier, Michigan, TenHuis Chocolade is owned by Aunt Nettie, but run by her Texas niece Lee Woodyard. After delaying for months cleaning out the storage room, Lee begins the task finding stuff that are four decades old including a trophy and related paraphernalia form over forty years ago when the singing group Pier-O-Ettes won a contest at Castle Ballroom; Aunt Nettie and five other young girls made up the group.

The singing group is having a reunion and everyone associated with the sextet is elated except elderly angry Mrs. Rice, the wife of the late Daniel, owner of the long demolished Castle Ballroom. Mrs. Rice tells Lee and her husband Joe that her aunt is a slut just like the other singers and this time they will get what they deserved over forty years ago when Rice died from a gunshot to the heart. When someone murders Mrs. Rice, Lee becomes the next target as she learns the Pier-O-Ettes were tied to the death four decades ago, but the secrets of how and why remain concealed.

The latest Chocoholic cozy (see The Chocolate Pilot Plot) is an entertaining whodunit as Lee is caught at the angle of a death forty plus years ago and a murder today. The exciting story line includes chocolate trivia, but it is the two deaths of the Rice couple four decades apart that make for an enjoyable amateur sleuth as Lee learns reunions can prove deadly.

Harriet Klausner

Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock's Ultimate Survivor

Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock's Ultimate Survivor

Ozzy Osbourne , Chris Ayres

Grand Central, Oct 11 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9781455503339

Combing his advice columns in Rolling stone and the Sunday Times enhanced with additional memorable incidents, Ozzie Osbourne provides a humorous survivor’s handbook by a man recognized as the human drug experiment having tried every known elixir and not known potions. That does not include his cognac consumption. Known for biting the head off a bat, but not known for the rabies treatment that followed, Dr. Ozzy is at his irreverent best with this anecdotal collection that will have readers saying he did what. Perhaps the best section is the questions from fans asking Dr. Ozzy for advice, which he provides in spite of Dr. Malory Practice insisting he is un-certifiable to give consultations. Filled with humor and a don’t try this at home attitude, readers will enjoy the best “Advice from Rock's Ultimate Survivor”. To paraphrase former Indians Manager Mike Hargrove when he said "That's just Manny being Manny”; that’s Ozzy just being Ozzy. While his wife Sharon compares his survivor acumen to cockroaches, this amusing advice book proves Ozzy Osbourne is the ultimate Darwin Award winner as he challenges the survivor tenet.

Harriet Klausner

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

Ballantine, Oct 11 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345524966

The key to the twenty-two short stories collection is how the various contributors pay homage to Jane Austen in diverse ways; the authors stayed true to their prime genre but did it while honoring the great writer. A woman spends “A Night at Northanger” (by Lauren Willig) where she meets a famous ghost. Sara receives a gift of a locket with Austen’s hair inside as her boyfriend ends their relationship; when she wakes up she finds Austen;s spirit at her side to guide her as "The Ghostwriter" (by Elizabeth Ashton). In 2010 Austen sends her “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” (by Adriana Trigiani) to her engaged niece while Jo Beverly brings humor in "Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss" and Janet Mullany’s “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” shows one degree of separation between Jane and the Beatles. With hooks to the novels like Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” for Persuasion" and Laurie Viera Rigler’s law suits against Pride and Prejudice rip-offs (see “Intolerable Stupidity”), this is a fun anthology; sub title aside.

Harriet Klausner

I'm Not Her-Janet Gurtler

I'm Not Her

Janet Gurtler

Sourcebooks, May 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781402256363

In Washington State, Tess the brain is the younger sister of the most popular girl at Great Heights High School they both attend. Kristina is a beautiful athletic extrovert while Tess is a brilliant introvert. However, Tess’ I’m Not her attitude changes when her sibling’s volleyball career crashes with the diagnosis that she suffers from bone cancer. As the family relationships take on a new dynamic, Kristina receives chemo right way.

Kristina goes from the top of the world to the Grand Canyon of depression. Although she loathes being the center of attention, Tess suddenly becomes in at school as everyone wants news flashes on Kristina; Tess’ BFF Melissa seems to gloat with the fall of the school queen ending a friendship since fifth grade. Their mom exacerbates the situation with parties and shopping sprees as she is in denial refusing to accept her oldest daughter is deathly ill. Their dad avoids his three females hiding at work. However, while Tess works on winning the Oswald Drawing Prize, she finds boys like Nick Evonic interested in her, but receives emotional support from an academic rival Clark Trent who understands what she is going through; while Tess is there for Kristina.

Ironically Tess tells the tale of how her sister’s illness changes relationships in the family and community, Kristina though often off page holds the insightful story line together. The cast is strong as the actions and reactions of various townsfolk towards Kristina reveal their inner strengths and weaknesses. Young adult readers will appreciate this insightful tale as it takes a village to cope with a deadly disease assaulting a teen.

Harriet Klausner

Fires of Winter-Roberta Gellis

Fires of Winter

Roberta Gellis

Sourcebook, Nov 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781402255014

Bruno is the offspring of the holder of Jernaeve Keep Sir William Fermain and Berta the whore. His father refuses to recognize Bruno even as a bastard of his.

Lady Melusine of Ulle has been raised in luxury as the cherished daughter of Sir Malcolm and his wife. Though her dad has lineage to the Scottish throne, but not to Ulle, Malcolm owes his control of the keep partially because he is a fair honest leader and partially because he has the King's support.

Years later, civil war divides the country. Melusine’s father and brother support King David against King Stephen. Declared traitors, Bruno leads a unit of King Stephen’s army that takes Ulle. To anchor his stronghold, King Stephen orders his loyal soldier Bruno to marry the traitor’s daughter. On their wedding night, Melusine sets the tone of their marriage when she tries to kill her new spouse. As they begin to find common ground besides an unwanted attraction, Bruno remains loyal to his liege even becoming incarcerated with him, but he is looking forward to return to the wife he now cherishes.

This reprint of a classic twelfth century romance showcases the talent of the great Roberta Gellis. The terrific story line rotates perspective between the lead couple in an epic sweep of the years, but also maintains a strong medieval base as the protagonists are a sign of their times in a great historical

Harriet Klausner

Christmas at Timberwoods-Fern Michaels

Christmas at Timberwoods

Fern Michaels

Zebra, Oct 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780821775875

The holidays are always the busiest time of the year for stores. It is also the most hectic for security workers. Heather Andrews is the security manager at the Timberwoods Mall as the Christmas holiday shopping season begins; which means much longer hours requiring greater vigilance as besides shoppers coming out so do thieves.

The mall’s holiday designer Angela Steinhart informs Heather she has visions of doom at Timberwoods. Angela insists her premonitions come true. Although Heather wants to ignore the obviously upset and disturbed woman as a nut, she knows to never ignore any possible threat. However, pressure mounts on Angela to be quiet to the point the loner who is unable to cope vanishes. Heather and her boss Felex Lassiter take serious any possible threat but keep it low keyed so as to avoid causing a panic when in all probability Angela’s visions are delusional.

This is a strong romantic suspense with the security during the packed mall season being the lead subplot. Fast-paced and cast driven by troubled Angela, dedicated Heather, and loyal Lex; readers will enjoy the countdown to death and destruction for those enjoying Christmas at Timberwoods.

Harriet Klausner

The Cheaters / Dial M for Man-Orrie Hitt

The Cheaters / Dial M for Man

Orrie Hitt

Stark House, Oct 28 2011, $19.95

ISBN: 978-1933586359

“The Cheaters." Big twentyish Clint Mayer leaves his hometown of Beaverkill for working class Wilton. He meets Charlie Fletcher, owner of a bar near the docks. Charlie also runs a prostitution ring, in which he pays Police Detective Red Brandon extortion money. Clint offers to buy out Charlie’s businesses until he meets the man’s wife Debbie. He revises his business plan to include Debbie. However, he failed to understand how ambitious and lethal Debbie is.

“Dial M For Man.” TV repairman Hob Sampson makes a house call to fix the set of Doris Condon, wife of wealthy Ferris who holds a grudge against him. Upon seeing the beautiful blonde bombshell, Hob knows she is trouble for him. He tries to focus on his Kathy, but like a moth to a light he cannot resist Doris. Although he knows what he does is amoral, Hob needs Ferris eliminated so he can be with Doris; who has a different ending in mind for her new knight in shining armor,

These two exciting 1950s pulp fiction reprints share a common theme as outlined in the Afterward (by Michael Hemmingson) of a man losing his moral compass to a femme fatale married to a rich older person. Both entries are mindful of James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, as Orrie Hitt provides two exciting character driven thrillers that will have readers seeking more from an author who brings out the gritty sleazy side of 1950s towns; Brian Ritt's Introduction provides more on Mr. Hitt's sense of place.

Harriet Klausner

Reunion-Carl Brookins


Carl Brookins

Echelon, Aug 31 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9781590806685

Jack Marston is the student services director at City College in Minneapolis. He lives with his beloved Lori Jacobs. When she receives an invitation to attend the Riverview class of 1989 twenty year high school reunion, Lori hesitates as she says little about her teen years. Jack agrees to accompany her though she seems reluctant. He figures he will learn so much about the woman he loves when they visit her roots.

The first night dinner and icebreaker is held at Georgina’s 40-Mile Club. However, the return home proves brutal as someone murders former quarterback Elroy Guteman near the club. More homicides follow as Jack and Lori become embroiled in Sheriff Arnason's investigation into a vicious pack eating alumni.

The latest Jack Marston amateur sleuth (see Bloody halls) is an entertaining whodunit as a serial killer with a vendetta attacks the class of 89. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the lead couple arrives in Riverview and never slows until the final confrontation. Readers will enjoy this strong Minnesota thriller as Jack learns you get what you wish for as he knows a lot about his girlfriend’s past now since it is deadly haunting the present.

Harriet Klausner

The Chocolate Castle Clue-Joanna Carl

The Chocolate Castle Clue

Joanna Carl

Obsidian, Oct 4 2011, $22.95

ISBN: 9780451234742

In Warner Pier, Michigan, TenHuis Chocolade is owned by Aunt Nettie, but run by her Texas niece Lee Woodyard. After delaying for months cleaning out the storage room, Lee begins the task finding stuff that are four decades old including a trophy and related paraphernalia form over forty years ago when the singing group Pier-O-Ettes won a contest at Castle Ballroom; Aunt Nettie and five other young girls made up the group.

The singing group is having a reunion and everyone associated with the sextet is elated except elderly angry Mrs. Rice, the wife of the late Daniel, owner of the long demolished Castle Ballroom. Mrs. Rice tells Lee and her husband Joe that her aunt is a slut just like the other singers and this time they will get what they deserved over forty years ago when Rice died from a gunshot to the heart. When someone murders Mrs. Rice, Lee becomes the next target as she learns the Pier-O-Ettes were tied to the death four decades ago, but the secrets of how and why remain concealed.

The latest Chocoholic cozy (see The Chocolate Pilot Plot) is an entertaining whodunit as Lee is caught at the angle of a death forty plus years ago and a murder today. The exciting story line includes chocolate trivia, but it is the two deaths of the Rice couple four decades apart that make for an enjoyable amateur sleuth as Lee learns reunions can prove deadly.

Harriet Klausner

Skeleton Letters-Laura Childs

Skeleton Letters

Laura Childs

Berkley Prime Crime, Oct 4 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9780425243893

Memory Mine scrapbooking shop owner Carmella Bertrand and JuJu Voodoo store owner Ava Gruiex visit historic spooky St. Tristan’s Church in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The friends hear a noise followed by a scream and a crash. A hooded figure pushed a statue onto Byrle Coopersmith, a regular attendee at Carmella’s scrapbook group. The culprit escapes as Ava calls 911. They also learn that an ancient crucifix apparently was stolen also.

NOPD Detective Edgar Babcock warns his girlfriend Carmella to stay out of the investigation as he knows she is prone to snoop. He also tells her the killer used blunt force with St. Sebastian as the murder weapon. However when Babcock fails to take the lead and encouraged by the scrapbook regulars who do not trust dispassionate detective Bobby Gallant to dig deep, Carmella and Ava investigate the murder of a friend.

Although amateur sleuths coincidentally finding a corpse and feeling compelled to behave foolishly by investigating are not new concepts (see Death Swatch), readers will enjoy the latest scrapbooking mystery (see Fiber & Brimstone) as the BFFs place themselves in danger with their inquiry. The cozy is fun to follow and there are plenty of scrapbooking tips. Fans of the series will root for the dynamic duo as they work the case of a regular murdered in a church.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 26, 2011

Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn-Persia Woolley

Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn

Persia Woolley

Sourcebooks, Nov 1 2011, $16.99

ISBN: 9781402246432

Queen Guinevere lies in a cell awaiting her execution looking back to how far she has fallen for trying to do the right thing by her people and her liege. After years of civil war, King Arthur has brought a tenuous peace to his kingdom. Unable to bear a child, his lonely wife raises her stepson Mordred, the offspring of Arthur and his half-sister Morgause. Mordred adulates his father emulating Arthur until he learns his maternal roots. Arthur’s other half sister the Lady of the Lake Morgan le Fey believes she should rule the kingdom so she sets in motion a deadly conflict between father and son.

Over the years she supported Arthur as few had though his Knights of the Round Table and his ambitious family with few exceptions scorned her. She respected Arthur while she loved Lancelot, but kept her distance from the King’s Champion. However, Arthur’s half-brother Agravain who believed he should have been king set in motion the scenario between Guinevere and Lancelot that has her in her death cell.

The third Guinevere trilogy is a terrific finish to the legend of Camelot through the eyes of an alleged betrayer of the king’s heart and soul. The story line is fast-paced partly because of the modern day speech that enables the audience to easily enter post Roman Britannia. The cast is solid as the knights come to life, but like its predecessors (see Child of the Northern Spring and Queen of the Summer Stars); the telling of the legend comes from the unique filter of the pagan Queen (who thinks the hunt for the Holy Grail is a foolish waste of treasure for a shaky cause).

Harriet Klausner

Tango's Edge-Carol Bellacera

Tango's Edge

Carol Bellacera

Beautiful Evening Books, Sep 2 2011, $12.95

ISBN: 9780615532011

In Park City, Utah, ice skating pairs prepare for their event at the Winter Olympics. The favorite team is the Russian duet Mikhail Kozlof who is considered the world’s best and his partner Elena Boiko who has political influence that she used to become his skating mate after hers died. In fact Mikhail is unhappy that his long time coach and his partner were removed from his team while forcing him to ice dance with snotty Elena.

American Kerry Niles and her lazy partner Adam Cutter are the best chance for the home country to win a medal. Kerry meets Mikhail’s friendly former partner Tanya Novokiva who with Sergei Isavenivic is good but not great. Tanya introduces Kerry to Mikhail who she was attracted to when she saw him at the World’s two years ago. Mikhail stuns Kerry when he asks her to help him deflect. If she helps him, Kerry knows this will cost her only chance at medalling.

Tango's Edge is a strong romantic suspense thriller starring two likable lead characters, a super support cast, and a powerful world stage ice dancing background. The story line contains more twists and spins than a dance routine as the course of freedom to love is not easy with both American and Russian interests involved in a Cold War revision. That segue seems real even if two decades has passed since the Iron Curtain collapsed as the audience will score Carol Belacera’s tale with a 10.

Harriet Klausner

Winter Hawk’s Legend-Aimee Thurlo

Winter Hawk’s Legend

Aimee Thurlo

Harlequin Intrigue, Nov 1 2011, $5.99

ISBN: 9780373746378

Twentyish Holly Gates runs TechTalk, Inc. providing consulting and public relations services to her clients. He largest current customer is Navaho Nation. Ahead of schedule, she takes a time out to enjoy the Mew Mexico landscape. She notices a coyote and several humans before returning to her vehicle to complete her drive. Holly begins a talk to the Navaho on extraction of natural gas when activist Clyde Keeswood interrupts her talk and lifts a chair but Navaho security specialist Daniel Hawk intervenes.

They arrange to meet for dinner in Hartley to discuss security when someone grabs her and places a rope around her throat. Daniel intervenes again. Someone obviously wanted her dead as this was not a simple mugging. She has no idea why or whom. Her Navaho POC Martin Roanhorse assigns Daniel to keep her safe as he considers her work on their behalf important. As the assaults continue with increasing intensity; in order to keep her safe and buy time to learn what is going on, Daniel takes her to his remote New Mexico cabin. Meanwhile Daniel and Holly fall in love; but he prefers soaring free like an eagle while she needs roots.

Winter Hawk’s Legend is a superb Native American mystery starring a woman in peril who she has no concept as to who wants her dead or her unknown adversary’s motive. Thus readers have an innocent doing an innocent thing leading to her danger mindful of Alfred Hitchcock. Daniel is a terrific bodyguard who begins to learn to follow his heart if he is to soar like an eagle. Readers will relish team Thurlo’s enchanting New Mexico thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Unleashed-Sara Humphreys


Sara Humphreys

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402258435

Critics ripped her work for the lack of heart and she failed to sell her art until this morning when her favorite painting was purchased, orphaned as a child Samantha Logan is leaving Brooklyn to return home to her Nonie and the beach; based on a dream of the beach and more. However before she can go home, her affluent spoiled former boyfriend Roger Van Douson accosts her. Though scared, something rumbles inside him and she frightens him into leaving her.

Malcolm Drew is the last of his family of the Eagle Clan Amoveo shapeshifters. He knows Samantha is his soulmate having danced with her in their dreams. Her next door neighbor, he looks forward to her return home though he must be cautious as she is unaware that she is one of his kind. However, as she learns, rejects and accepts the truth re her DNA; the ancient Caedo clan of Amoveo hunters stalks Malcolm and watches his mate to see if she displays the infection.

Although the romantic urban fantasy story line takes time to set the players on the stage, fans will enjoy Sara Humphreys’ Unleashed. The entertaining story line grips readers once the beleaguered heroine returns home and never slows down while containing a powerful plausible late twist. Sam is a refreshing lead protagonist as she struggles to adapt to all she abruptly learns about herself, her late parents, and being the guy next door’s little wolf soulmate.

Harriet Klausner

The Goblin King-Shona Husk

The Goblin King

Shona Husk

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402259852

A thousand years ago the druid exiled Celtic King Roan and his warrior horde including his brother into the Shadowlands. A lump of symbolic gold replaced his heart, but time is running out on the former monarch; if not saved by the love of a human he will either vanish into nothingness or join the soulless Goblin Horde.

Eliza Coulter summons Roan to protect her from the rage of her fiancé Steven Slade. An heiress she trusted Steven after her dad died, but no more. She knows he has stolen from her and fears his temper. Thus she has turned to the Goblin King. Roan hopes to make Eliza his queen, but she would have to give up so much for him. Destroying his wardrobe will not keep her safe from the abusive Steven, which he knows is his prime mission.

This is an intriguing romantic fantasy with an interesting psychological spin in which the duo worlds of Sharon Husk seem real yet also metamorphic. Roan is a heroic individual who willingly sacrifices his chance for the return of his soul to keep his beloved safe. Eliza is the more fascinating protagonist as she is the ultimate damsel in distress unable to function without a man’s protection. However, her passivity to the nth degree helplessness is two edged as readers observe an emotionally crippled person failing to take action beyond calling for help to protect hers even when facing peril but also makes her too damaged to be the lead female in a contemporary setting.

Harriet Klausner

Utterly Charming-Kristine Grayson

Utterly Charming

Kristine Grayson

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402248511

Ealhswith the witch and Aethelstan Blackstone the wizard are in a custody battle over who cares for Emma the Sleeping Beauty. In Portland Blackstone accompanied by Sancho Panza hire near impoverished lawyer Nora Barr to represent the wizard in court, but once she hears him admit he has no legal relationship to the comatose woman, Nora says she cannot help him. Two weeks later, she is his lawyer as Blackstone faces criminal charges of arson and murder in a fire fight. Soon after that mess is cleaned up she is retained by the pair to hide the minibus containing Emma in her coffin.

A decade later, after a one millennium sleep, Emma awakens. Blackstone knows he is her Prince Charming, but she rejects him; blaming her so called champion for costing her a thousand years of life. Emma also wants no part of Ealhswith, the other party that has made her the rope in a tug of war. Instead she asks Nora to mentor her in living in modern day Portland starting with a social security card. Prince Charming finds himself attracted to Nora but knows his fate lies with Emma.

The second charming fractured fairy tale (see Wickedly Charming) is an engaging humorous satire that the late cartoonist Jay Ward would have appreciated. Filled with jocularity as Emma, Blackstone, Ealhswith and Panza converge in modern day Portland in an epic battle of magic in which the warriors learn modern day combatants require a lawyer. Readers will enjoy this amusing take on Sleeping Beauty sleepless in Portland.

Harriet Klausner

The Storm That Is Sterling-Lisa Renee Jones

The Storm That Is Sterling

Lisa Renee Jones

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402251597

Renegade soldier Sterling Jeter is a take the hill at any personal cost warrior. His current assignment is to keep NASA astrobiologist Rebecca Burns, who he knew and admired in high school over a decade ago, safe from rebel leader Adam Rain and his Zodius super soldiers. Knowing she is dying from lung cancer, Becca comes out of her three month medical treatment in Germany to return to her home in Houston. Waiting for her at her door is Sterling whose GTECH senses warn him of a Zodius assault.

He protects her from the abduction attempt and explains why he and his Special Forces unit needs her help with an addictive drug made from an alien DNA sample found in the 1950s. Sterling vows to keep the woman he adored as a teen safe and help her find a cure. Rebecca soon discovers the experimental treatment has her addicted to the new drug, but also possesses new skills. As the enemy Zodius ramp up the attacks, Sterling and Rebecca must trust in their love for one another to survive the ordeals.

The second Zodius romantic science fiction (see The Legend of Michael) is a superb second chance at love thriller. Loaded with action as the enemy keeps on coming, fans will root for the lead couple to Lifebond, but to complete the ritual means reaching a safe zone and curing her cancer. The Storm That Is Sterling is a great tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Doomsday Vault-Steven Harper

The Doomsday Vault

Steven Harper

Roc, Nov 1 1011, $7.99

ISBN 9780451464293

The “clockwork plague” has left many sort of dead as most victims of the disease become brainless zombies. A few of the inflicted turn into mechanical geniuses creating the technological advances that are all over London.

Twenty-one years old Lady Alice Michaels has no marital prospects amongst her aristocratic class as her family died from the plague and she is a blueblood clockwork expert. She still hopes to make a good match but knows this is unlikely.

Privateers attack the airship USS Juniper. Gavin Ennock is fortunate to survive though he is trapped with no place to go in London. The British government’s top secret Third Ward recognizes his musical and air talents worthy of exploitation, but hold off abducting him when Gavin and Alice meet as her estranged aunt left her with something they want to possess. As the beleaguered technological geniuses flee from the government, they learn of the intent of the Third Ward that shows a love of empire right or wrong.

The Doomsday Vault is an engaging steampunk thriller. Alice feels like she fell through a rabbit hole; while Gavin is as confused by the let them drink tea cavalier attitude of the Third Ward. Although the use of coincidence enables much of the key escapades involving the lead pair, sub-genre readers will enjoy Steven Harper’s guided tour of the Clockwork Empire.

Harriet Klausner

Kris Longknife Daring-Mike Shepherd

Kris Longknife Daring

Mike Shepherd

Ace, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007034

The seemingly endless war between the United States and the Iteeche appears over with the signing of a peace treaty. Both sides can return to what they were doing before the two species collided, exploring space. However, scouts probing a particular sector vanish with no bodies, ship fragments or anything belonging to the Iteeche anywhere in the vicinity.

The two species collaborate with an investigation into what happened to the vessels. Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife volunteers to lead a Fleet of Discovery into uncharted regions. At a jump point, they find aliens who destroyed a sentient planet. Kris and crew learn who this creepy enemy is as they fight and if they loose commit suicide. Still she must remain calm as she decides to stop the aliens, who can pass for human, from destroying the orb where the sentient bird like species live knowing if she goes ahead with her plan it will lead to another interstellar war.

The eighth Kris Longknife outer space military science fiction (see Undaunted) will elate fans of the series who know how far the heroine has come from her rookie ensign salad days to leading a flotilla. The story line is faster than the speed of light as the humans and their former enemy the Iteeche debate how to deal with a third species while Kris deploys the Eisenhower principle of exploring all other viable options before sending soldiers to die.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Dark and Lonely Place-Edna Buchanan

A Dark and Lonely Place

Edna Buchanan

Simon & Schuster, Nov 8 2011, $26.00

ISBN 9781439159170

In 1904 West Florida, Joe Ashley comes home late informing his wife Leugenia that they and their nine kids must leave immediately as a man was shot and he will be accused. His son John grabs his guitar and banjo before running to see his girlfriend Laura Upthegrove to say goodbye for now. However, John is falsely accused of murder and with Laura at his side flees with much of the state’s law enforcement in pursuit.

In 2011 Miami Beach, homicide detective John Ashley leads the investigation into the high profile murder of politically connected Indian lawyer Ron Jon Eagle. However, he is stunned when he notices a model Summer Smith at a photo shoot who looks identical to the woman who has haunted his dreams for years; though he has never mentioned his fantasy female to his fiancé cop Tracy Dominguez. He also believes she sort of recognized him too by her reaction. John catches up with his model, but soon is accused of murder and forced on the lam with Laura (Summer’s real name) at his side while many of the state’s law enforcement pursue.

This is an exhilarating thriller as the premise to A Dark and Lonely Place is history repeats the ugly scenarios because humanity fails to truly understand the lessons instead preferring to forget. The two subplots are fascinating with the historical segue based on a real Sunshine State Bonnie and Clyde. Although at times the contemporary plot seems stretched to make it appear identical to what happened to the first John and Laura, readers will enjoy Edna Buchanan’s taut thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Scotched-Kaitlyn Dunnett


Kaitlyn Dunnett

Kensington, Nov 1 2011, $22.00

ISBN: 9780758238818

In Moosetookalook, Maine the Spruces Hotel hosts the First Annual Maine-ly Cozy Con for mystery fans who prefer limited violence and no graphic sex. The headline at the May gala is actress turned mystery writer Yvonne Quinlan. Also attending is odious blogger J. Nedlinger, who described the actress’ book as trash to be tossed out. The town’s storekeepers look forward to the gala as they expect plenty of cozy aficionados will buy items from shops such as at Liss MacCrimmon’s everything plaid Scottish Emporium.

However, the Con turns graphically ugly when Nedlinger falls off Lover’s Leap cliff. While no one liked the vicious unscrupulous blogger, everyone assumes it was a horrible accident. However, Liss reconsiders that

Scotched is an engaging MacCrimmon amateur sleuth as the heroine and her BFFs look into the homicides. The background of a cozy Con makes for a fun retinue as does springtime in Maine. Cozy fans will enjoy premise when she realizes how many people celebrate the death of J. Nedlinger. When another victim surfaces, Liss and her town cohorts investigate who is murdering the Con.
attending the First Annual Maine-ly Cozy Con.

Harriet Klausner

Bad Moon-Todd Ritter

Bad Moon

Todd Ritter

Minotaur, Oct 11 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312622817

In 1969 as Neil Armstrong steps on the moon, the parents of nine year old Charlie Olmstead go to get him to watch on TV, but he is not in his bedroom as they thought. Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania Police Chief Jim Campbell leads the search that ends when they find the lad’s bike at the bottom of a nearby waterfall. Although his body was never found, the cops assumed he drowned.

Four decades later, Charlie’s brother Eric has returned to Perry Hollow to bury his mother. In honor of his mom who never gave up the hope her son would come home, he asks his high school girlfriend Police Chief Kat Campbell to reopen the cold case disappearance of his sibling. Eric also hires injured former state police officer turned cold case investigator Nick Donnelly to look into his brother’s disappearance. The trio finds newspaper clippings in the house of Eric’s late mom. Kat does a follow-up having a much better data base than her dad had; she uncovers the fact that several children vanished in what was called accidents during moon landings. As the threesome connect the dots of an apparent serial killer, Kat’s fifth grade son James resents his single mom spending all her time on the inquiry and none on him.

The second Kat and Nick collaboration (see Death Notice) is a terrific investigative thriller that grips the reader from the onset and several stunning but plausible spins later leaves fans satiated yet craving a third team-up soonest. The story line is fast-paced while rolling back the years using the successes and failures of NASA as a launch into political upheavals over forty years. Bad Moon is a powerful serial killer whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

The Blood-Red Indian Summer-David Handler

The Blood-Red Indian Summer

David Handler

Minotaur, Oct 11 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312648350

The NFL suspends volatile New York superstar linebacker Tyrone "Da Beast" Grantham for the season due to his off the field “beasted” assaults that are detrimental to the league’s image. Da Beast takes his six children from five women and his fawning horde from the Big Apple to a mansion in Dorset, Connecticut.

However, his idyllic time out of the limelight to allow civil suits against him to be settled and maybe get him reinstated ends when his teenage sister-in-law Kinitra a popular singer is rescued from certain drowning by neighbor scrawny Jewish-American film critic Mitch Berger and his moving parents on the Gold Coast; she is bloodied and battered. The cops suspect Da Beast who has a reputation for Beasted behavior. Even his pregnant wife Jamella, sister to the victim, believes her spouse battered her sibling. As the media drives north from New York to invade Dorset, two of the linebacker’s biggest critics are executed. Berger’s lover six-foot plus African-American Connecticut state trooper Desiree "Des" Mitry leads the investigation assisted by her depressed dad the Deacon recovering from heart surgery and Mitch.

The latest Des-Mitch investigation (see The Shimmering Blond Sister) is a great whodunit that combines a strong inquiry with human interest. Besides the well written whodunit, there is Da Beast’s legacy mindful of NFL stars' legal problems, another neighbor turning into a demented voyeur, and the tsuris the parents of the lead protagonists face as age is catching up to them. Readers will enjoy this engaging Connecticut murder mystery as David Handler provides a super combo of sports headline news with personal problems inside of an attempted murder and homicide investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Burned-Thomas Enger


Thomas Enger

Atria, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451616453

In 2007 Oslo, the arsonist set the home of investigative reporter Henning Juul ablaze. Henning survived with sever burns to his face and other body parts while his young son Jonas died in the inferno. His marriage to reporter Nora Klemetsen also went up in smoke. Unable to work Henning takes a two year hiatus before returning to work at 123news.

His current boss Heidi Kjus was one of the many journalists he mentored. She assigns him to work with Iver Gundersen, who is stepping out with Nora, on the homicide of twentyish Henriette Hagerup. The victim was found inside a tent on Ekeberg Common where she was partially interred, her body battered and a hand severed. OPD Detective Investigator Bjarne Brogeland focuses on the Westerdals School of Communication film student’s Pakistani boyfriend Mahmoud Marhoni with the motive being a sharia honor kill as her texting implies she was dating someone else and he tried to flee from the cops. The virtual tips from 6tiermes7 Juul centers his inquiry on Henriette’s screenplay A Sharia Caste co-written with Anette Skoppum.

This is an intriguing Norwegian whodunit as the motive is the key to solving the case. All the circumstantial evidence points to a Sharia kill by her boyfriend, but Juul helped by an on line informant looks at the screenplay as the cause. Juul’s mental state surfaces when he and the killer witness one another while the latter murders again. Although the mystery contains too many headline issues especially involving Muslim expatriates living in Denmark, readers will root for Burned out Juul to solve the homicide.

Harriet Klausner

The Immortality Engine-George Mann

The Immortality Engine

George Mann

Tor, Sep 27 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765327758

Although special agent Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes have solved some complex cases (see The Osiris Ritual), he has turned to opium. Part of his rationalization is the drug gives him psychic powers. However, deep down he knows the cause is his belief that his sidekick is an informer to Queen Victoria. In fact Veronica remains clueless that she is a prime cause for her partner’s addiction as her focus is on her frail sister Amelia who suffers from seizures that include prophecies. At the Grayling Institute, Dr. Lucien Fabian provides Amelia with special experimental care to induce her visions.

Scotland Yard Chief Investigator Sir Charles Bainbridge drags Newbury from an opium den to identify a murder victim; the CH believes the corpse is that master thief Edwin Sykes. Newbury confirms the deceased is Sykes, but something seems off kilter though he is unsure what. When a robbery that only Sykes could have done with the technology deployed leaves the three sleuths stunned.

The third Victorian Newbury-Hobbes mystery is an exciting alternate historical thriller. The lead protagonists have personal issues as he has become an opium eater and she is paralyzed by fears for her failing sister. The Sykes enigma is deftly handled as The Immortality Engine is a wonderful steampunk who and how investigation; vastly different yet as much fun as the occult themed The Osiris Ritual.

Harriet Klausner

Laddertop-Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card; Stefan Rudnicki (illustrator)


Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card; Honoel A. Ibardolaza) illus.

Tor Seven Seas, Sep 27 2011, $10.99

ISBN: 9780765324603

At the Deerfield Middle school tweeners reticent Robbi Holton and aggressive Azure Miles are BFFs. Whereas Robbi expects to remain at Deerfield, Azure wants to attend Laddertop Academy where children are trained at maintenance of the humongous ladders that rise 36000 miles from the surface and the four power space stations where the steps end. A quarter of a century ago, the alien Givers arrived at earth and before abrutly vanishing left behind special energy technology with the ladders and stations.

Azure is euphoric to hear her name called to attend Laddertop; Robbi on the other hands has doubts longer than the ladders because she leaves behind her siblings under the abusive watch of their stepfather. At the academy, a strange beast bites Robbie leaving her with an odd mark that bleeds on and off for no apparent reason. She also struggles with eerier dreams that shake her well being. The pair soon begins to look into the enigma of the Givers; unaware that their investigation could destroy mankind.

This is a great first act middle school graphic science fiction comic book. The lead protagonists are intrepid but display their courageous in totally opposite ways. They make the entertaining Card dad and daughter collaboration fun to read while Honoel A. Ibardolaza's illustrations enhance the space adventures of two preadolescent feisty females.

Harriet Klausner

The Faerie Ring-Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring

Kiki Hamilton

Tor, Sep 27 2011, $17.99

ISBN: 9780765327222

Following the deaths of her parents and needing to avoid her odious uncle, teenager Tiki lives on the streets of London. She and other street urchin pick pockets while they reside in a dump near Charing Cross Station.

In December 1871, Tiki grabs a ring. However this bauble is not just an ordinary piece of jewelry. The ring belongs to the rulers of England and symbolizes the peace between the humans and the fey. If lost, the fey no longer are bound to idly observe the encroachment of the mortals into their realm. Tiki learns the truth and wants to return the ring to Queen Victoria in order to collect the reward that will enable her and her orphans to leave the streets. However, the faerie stalk her as they want the ring so that the truce ends with her blood as the catalyst in a dark magical assault on mankind. Only Rieker the thief as a sort of guardian angel and her urchin comrades have her back; while Prince Leopold stunned by the “ring” he sees etched around Tiki’s wrist wants to know who she really is.

With an in your face gleeful nod to Oliver Twist (Rieker is even reading the book) and the Prince and the Pauper, but starring a Cinderella heroine, readers will appreciate this engaging historical fantasy. Tiki is a super protagonist who cares deeply for her “children” while Rieker is an enigmatic thief who seems to always have her back. Although the ending feels more like a setup for future tales rather than a climax, young teenage readers will enjoy visiting Kiki Hamilton’s Dickensian fantasy realm.

Harriet Klausner

The Children of the Sky-Vernor Vinge

The Children of the Sky

Vernor Vinge

Tor, Oct 11 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312875626

A decade of survival problems have passed since Ravna Bergndot and the cryo Children of the Sky escaped the near extinction Blight of humanity by landing on Tines World (see A Fire Upon the Deep). They build a civilization of sorts with the help of telepathic Tine canines.

However, humans remain scornful of the Blight peril as a sham to obtain and maintain power, and some local Tine inhabitants want the off-worlders to leave as they believe the outsiders are a blight to their world. Although natural enemies, these diverse groups hold in common one thing: the failure of Bergndot and her hundred children at any cost.

The Children of the Sky is a strong science fiction thriller that focuses on how far humanity has fallen in technology since the adventures in A Fire Upon the Deep. The human skeptics will remind readers of climate change deniers while the Tine is divided between friendly and hostile towards the newcomers. Although the climax is disappointing as it ends with another novel to follow, fans will appreciate Vernor Vinge’s follow-up to what happened to those who fled the Blight.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Little Gale Gumbo-Ericka Marks

Little Gale Gumbo

Ericka Marks

NAL, Oct 4 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780451234650

In 1977 Camille Bergeron accompanied by her two daughters Dahlia and Josie left New Orleans to escape her abusive husband Charles as she fears he will harm their children. She opens up the Little Gale Gumbo Café on Little Gale Island, Maine. On the barrier island, she rents a room from Ben Haskell. He is instantly attracted to the best praline maker in New England while his teenage son Matthew is gaga for Camille’s daughters. While most of the islanders do not welcome the three Creole females, they cannot resist her food. The three Bergeron females and the two Haskell males become a close knit family.

By 2002 Camille and Ben live together in love and harmony. Josie eagerly learned her mom’s recipes and remains attracted to Matthew who desires Dahlia; while Dahlia has become a loose woman sleeping around and hurting her high school boyfriend Jack Thurlow. Charles the drug dealer visited his girls periodically since his females deserted him. When he returns to Little Gale, Charles assaults Ben; Charles dies while lying next to him Ben is in a coma. The three next generation come back home to be there for the patriarch; while secrets concealed for years surface tearing apart an extended family.

Little Gale Gumbo is an entertaining family drama starring a strong cast as the key sextet are fully developed and the islanders add local color to an intriguing suspense. The story line is well written, but does slow down with vivid descriptions of the island and the café’s food. With a deft late twist, fans will enjoy stopping at the Little Gale Gumbo for good food and to learn the secrets.

Harriet Klausner

It Happened One Christmas-Kaitlin O’Riley

It Happened One Christmas

Kaitlin O’Riley

Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420112399

In 1873 Lisette Hamilton and architect Quinton Roxbury approach the same corner in haste from a converging right angle. Thus they collide. Yet both find warmth on this wintry day, but she plans to marry her childhood friend Henry Brooks and he is to wed Lady Emmeline Tarleton, the daughter of a Duke.

They meet the next day on the train heading to Brighton where he is conducting business and she is going for pleasure. Both know their desire is scandalous but the urge to kiss is difficult to stop. Neither wants to hurt others and he fears what will happen to his financial backing and political aspirations, but each feels the blood rush of falling in love over the cold days of December.

The latest Hamilton Sisters Victorian romance (see When His Kiss Is Wicked and Desire In His Eye) is a warm sweet holiday tale. The key to this engaging historical is the respective partners of the lead protagonists as both Henry and Emmeline are nice individuals who make it that more difficult on Lisette and Quinton to dump them even for love. Readers will enjoy this charming holiday romance as it will take a Christmas miracle for this seemingly fated couple to make it together without hurting others.

Harriet Klausner

Slow Ride-Erin McCarthy

Slow Ride

Erin McCarthy

Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425243961

Hysterical at her father’s funeral, former racing driver Daniel “Diesel” Lange provides a shoulder for Tuesday Jones to weep in. She thought her dad would beat cancer like he did other incidents in his life; but finds it ironic that her father’s favorite driver attended his burial; though he actually was there for his cousin Pete Briggs who died in a crash. Diesel gives Tuesday solace as he says it will get better in time before limping away; showing the remnants of the wreck that broke his neck forcing him to retire.

At a wedding in which she is the maid of honor, Tuesday gets drunk. Diesel is there too so he takes her home as he understands that with her grief comes a special grace. They are attracted to one another, but the timing is off. She grieves her loss and fears the kind ex driver is a convenience while he has issues with his battered body and deaths in his family so is not ready for more than a fling. Neither can prevent the heated encounters, but both refuse to explore their feelings.

The latest Fast Track romance (see The Chase and Hot Finish) stars two fascinating protagonists struggling with recent traumas. Whereas hers is emotional with her loss; his is emotional and physical with his losses. Fast-paced yet tender, readers will enjoy going around the track with Diesel and Tuesday are our drivers.

Harriet Klausner

Animal Attraction-Jill Shalvis

Animal Attraction

Jill Shalvis

Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244005

In Sunshine, Idaho, for the past eighteen months, Jade Bennett has worked for veterinarian Dr. Dell Connelly as a temp office manager at his animal clinic. She is superb at what she does loke keeping order. She knows she must return to Chicago where her family and profession are, but finds Sunshine helps her heal from the trauma that drove her from the Windy City.

Dell and Jade are attracted to one another, but each conceals their desire from the other. Jade becomes frightened when she learns of attacks at animal clinics, but Dell calms her down and shows her how to defend herself. As they fall in love, one of them must take that treacherous first step if they are to avoid a lifetime of regretting what could have been perfect.

The second Sunshine “animal romance (see Animal Magnetism for the tale of Jade’s friend kennel owner Lilah Young and pilot Brady Miller) is an amusing tender contemporary. The characterizations including the animals like the pussy the hero asks to give it up to him and Gertie the St. Bernard. Sub-genre fans will relish a visit to this ranching community while looking forward to more Jill Shavis’ charming animal crackers romances.

Harriet Klausner

Belong to Me-Shayla Black

Belong to Me

Shayla Black

Heat, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243152

Twelve years ago on Tyler, Texas, sixteen years old Logan Edgington and Tara Jacobs wanted one another. He took her cherry, but dumped her with no explanation. Hurt badly by him, Tara is unaware he left her to keep her safe from the predator who murdered his mom and threatened his girlfriend.

Logan enjoys being a Dom at Club Dominion especially when he comes home from the latest hellhole the US Navy sends SEALs like him who enjoy seeing the world. FBI Agent Tara is on her first field assignment going undercover inside a sex trafficking ring as a Sub to mount a rescue of another agent who went in as a Sub but untrained; a third agent will be Tara’s trained Dom. Tara may be a Sub in reality, but remains angry with Logan for his cavalier mistreatment of her back when they were in high school. Still attracted to one another, Logan replaces the Fed as her Dom on the dangerous undercover assignment.

This second chance at love BDSM romantic suspense is a heated thriller that never slows down from the moment Logan recognizes his Cherry as the Sub he must train. Fast-paced, the key to the entertaining tale is trust or lack of as she must depend on him to survive and complete the rescue mission but cannot bring herself to do so; failure to believe in her partner could prove fatal. Meanwhile he savors the opportunity to protect and make Cherry his life Sub.

Harriet Klausner

The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion-Carrie Bebris

The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion

Carrie Bebris

Tor, Sep 27 2011, $22.99

ISBN: 9780765327970

Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, accompanied by his sister Georgiana and their infant Lily-Anne, travel to Lyme on a combination holiday and family matters. Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are at the seaside village to collect the personal items left behind by their naval cousin William who died in combat.

Not long after they arrive in Lyme, at the base of the Cobb seawall, they find the body of pregnant Mrs. Clay, who had just married Sir Walter Elliot. Apparently the victim was carrying the offspring of William. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth believe the loose woman was pushed to insure inheritance did not change. As they investigate the pair begins to believe William was a murder victim too. Allied with Captain Frederick Wentworth, the Darcy detecting duet make inquires into the death of a woman at the seawall and the death of a sailor at sea.

The latest Mr. and Mrs. Darcy amateur sleuth (see The Matter at Mansfield and The Intrigue at Highbury) is a delightful Regency mystery in which characters from Jane Austen’s Persuasion play key roles. The lead couple and his sister are fully developed; while the rest of the cast is solid to the delight of Janeites. With insight into naval matters in the early nineteenth century enlightening and adding to an exhilarating whodunit, too much overseas activity slows down the otherwise fast-paced strong historical investigate thriller.

Harriet Klausner