Friday, May 31, 2013

You Cannoli Die Once-Shelley Costa

You Cannoli Die Once

Shelley Costa

Pocket, May 28 2013

ISBN: 9781476709352

Since 1937, the successful Miracolo family restaurant in Quaker Hills forty minutes north of Philadelphia has served Italian cuisine to hungry patrons. The current head chef Eve Angelotta and the current diva her septuagenarian Nonna Maria Pia Angelotta tend to argue a lot over marriage and producing future chefs.

On Monday, Eve finds her cousin Kayla’s lover lawyer Joe Beck in her garbage looking for his missing wedding ring after three nights of late banging. Tuesday tops Monday when Eve finds a corpse with his head bashed in the kitchen on top of a classic Caruso 78. The police inform Eve and her horde of relatives that the victim is Arlen Mather, Nonna’s boyfriend. When Nonna’s alibi collapses, the police arrest her for the murder. Eve and her cousins know Nonna is a feisty pain in the butt, but not a killer so they investigate Arlen’s “Night at the Opera”.

The first Angelotta culinary cozy is an amusing Philadelphia shtick amateur sleuth. The cousins’ inquiry is fun to follow especially Eve’s humorous asides though readers need a scorecard to keep track of who’s who amongst the family horde. Still fans will enjoy dining at Miracolo.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Is Watching-Heather Graham

The Night Is Watching

Heather Graham

Mira, Jun 1 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315063

Lily, Arizona Sheriff Sloan Trent knows he is out of his league when a nineteenth century human skull is found amongst other props in the Old West tourist attraction the Gilded Lily Theater. He contacts his friend from his Houston police days, Texas FBI Krewe leader Agent Logan Raintree for help. Logan sends FBI forensic artist Jane Everett to Lily to work with Sloan.

As they team up though he has doubts about her paranormal skills, Jane encounters the ghost of Sloan’s ancestor who worked at the Gilded Lily. Meanwhile more deaths follow as the cop and the fed realize that am Old West gold robbery is at the center of the present day homicides. With ghosts assisting the couple on the case and matchmaking them, Sloan and Jane fall in love.

Though similar in tone to previous Krewe of Hunters paranormal romantic mysteries (see The Unseen), The Night Is Watching is an entertaining thriller due to the Old West as remembered by the ghosts haunting the town vs. modern day people producing their vision of what occurred. Readers will appreciate the deadly hunt for lost gold as the ghosts help the Krewe and the sheriff who seek a killer while finding love.

Harriet Klausner

The Look Of Love-Bella Andre

The Look Of Love

Bella Andre

Mira, May 28 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780778315568

Globetrotting photographer Chase Sullivan feels better now that he escaped from his beloved widow mother’s seventieth birthday party. Seven siblings proves to overwhelming even if his brother’s home has a great view of Sam Francisco Bay and he loves his family. He heads to Napa Valley where he will take pictures at his brother Marcus’ winery in the morning.

As a sudden nasty storm hits, battered Chloe Peterson’s loses control of her car on an isolated road and lands in a ditch. Chase stops to help her and persuades the cared woman to stay at his sibling’s guest house where others are. They are attracted to each other, but her bruised face shows why she distrusts men as her abusive ex-husband stalks her.

This is an expanded version of the first enjoyable Sullivan sibling romance (released in 2011). Although the premise of a raging psychopath hunting down his victimized former wife is an overused theme, readers will relish “The look of love; it's saying so much more than words could ever say” (Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Chris S. Botti); as it heals battered souls.

Harriet Klausner

The Sassy Belles-Beth Albright

The Sassy Belles

Beth Albright

Mira, May 28 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778315285

In Tuscaloosa, near hysterical Vivi Ann McFadden calls her BFF attorney, Blake O’Hara Heart as she desperately needs to speak with her. Instead she gets Blake’s husband and partner Harry who waits for his wife to join him at the Tutwiler to celebrate their tenth anniversary. She tells him she thinks she silenced the voice of Crimson Tide football, Harry’s younger brother Lewis Heart, who she insists lies dead in a room at the Fountain Mist. The police go to room 106 but there is no body only “Deputy Dick”.

As the married lawyers help Vivi, Blake feels her relationship with Harry is in trouble since he became distant while fostering his plans for a Senate run. When Blake’s high school boyfriend Sonny Bartholomew works the investigation, she finds herself dreaming of what if.

The Sassy Belles is an enjoyable Alabama tale starring Steel Magnolias and the men who appreciate their strengths and ignore their weaknesses if they want to remain with them. Although the behavior of the two attorneys after learning that Vivi failed to call the cops or 911 seems over the top of Bear Bryant Stadium, readers (except Auburn fans) will enjoy this fast-paced amusing Crimson Tide tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale-Sandra D. Bricker

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale

Sandra D. Bricker

River North, May 15 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802406286

In the enchanted village of Cincinnati, BFFs since childhood Julianne and Will are legal partners. Whereas she is pleased with their personal buddies’ relationship, he has loved her seemingly forever. With every man she dates, his heart breaks but he remains silent about how he feels.

At a near multiple car crash where she almost played caboose, Jules notices a hunk who she believes is her Prince Charming. He leaves before she can exchange contact information, but she picks up his toolbox and a boot that fell off his vehicle. Jules begins her quest for her charming “Prince” Paul while her desperate partner decides that “where there’s a will there’s a way to his beloved’s heart at the Bar Association gala.

This is an engaging contemporary version of Cinderella with the twist that sometimes you look so hard for the image you fail to see the gallant knight riding a ten speed bike. Although Jules comes across as too pathetic, readers will enjoy this modern day fractured fairy tale romance that pays homage with chivalrous puns to Jay Ward.

Harriet Klausner

The Cowboy’s Return-Susan Crosby

The Cowboy’s Return

Susan Crosby

Harlequin Special Edition, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373657483

Mitch Ryder has been away from his family ranch in Red Valley, California for three mostly out of country years. His father demanded he come home so after ignoring three previous orders, Mitch returns to Northern California, but he drives past the Ryder Ranch delaying seeing his family a little longer.

When his truck Lulu dies near Barney Barnard’s spread, he walks to the house only to have a woman accost him for being late. Instead of going home, he takes a job on a neighbor’s farm; but conceals from his employer single mom Annie Barnard who his family is. His work is top rate and her attraction powerful, but his patient tender treatment of her ten year old son Austin makes him perfect. That is until she learns he is the prodigal son of the family trying to buy her farm.

The first Red Valley ranch romance is a terrific contemporary due to the triangle dynamics between the fully developed characters (including Austin). The Cowboy’s Return is a wonderful family drama as a lie of omission affirms what Walter Scott said: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”; especially when the heart becomes involved.

Harriet Klausner

Too Close For Comfort-Heidi Rice

Too Close For Comfort

Heidi Rice

Harlequin Kiss, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207176

In a middle of a motel stakeout, private investigator Zane Montoya observes a woman in her early twenties enter the room he has under surveillance. Since his target is a male con artist, he needs her out of there immediately so Zane abducts Iona MacCabe before she destroys his inquiry. Iona explains she entered her ex-husband’s room to retrieve her passport. Over her objection, Zane places her under his protection. He also knows he fiercely attracted to the fiery redhead who does not believe the hunt wants her. As they fall in love, his childhood demons and her marital failure threaten to end their relationship. With a nod to the movie Stakeout, Too Close For Comfort is an engaging romantic suspense though several key scenes seem too clever and forced to bring the protagonists together.

“The Wedding Dress Diaries” by Aimee Carson is a bonus entry as Amber decides on following her heart for the second time with Parker though she believes he does not feel the same way as her. This is a fun short story included in all the June Kisses.

Harriet Klausner

The Right Mr. Wrong-Natalie Anderson

The Right Mr. Wrong

Natalie Anderson

Harlequin Kiss, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207169

Her parents and his parents want Victoria and Oliver to marry. Victoria knows he is a steady mate who she planned to accept his proposal until she met his magnetic BFF Liam. He goes on his knees and proposes. Victoria must decide between a lifetime of steady ennui that pleases her family or a lifetime explosive memory that will flame out rather quickly and place her in the family exile category alongside her no-name sister. The Right Mr. Wrong contains two clever related novellas that pivot from Victoria’s answer to Oliver’s proposal. Both are fun comparative tales as Natalie Anderson makes a strong case that choices matter as the heroine goes down two distinct paths over the next few years.

“The Wedding Dress Diaries” by Aimee Carson is a bonus entry as Amber decides on following her heart for the second time with Parker though she believes he does not feel the same way as her. This is a fun short story included in all the June Kisses.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cold Killing-Luke Delaney

Cold Killing

Luke Delaney

Morrow, May 21, 2013. $14.99

ISBN: 9780062219466

Sean Corrigan believes the best cop training he had was being a sexual abuse victim as a child. Now the lead Detective Inspector of one of the South London Murder Investigation Teams, Sean personally understands violence, which enables him to “see” much more than his peers or subordinates.

Detective Sergeant Dave Donnelly wakes him at three in the morning telling Sean that a young man Daniel Graydon was viciously beaten and stabbed to death in his flat. Initial reaction is a domestic dispute occurred between a gay couple; but murder scene anomalies including a lack of forensic evidence and Sean’s gut say otherwise. Soon Sean looks deeply at financier James Hellier as the suspect while more homicides occur with diverse M.O.s; as the case increasingly disturbs the DI who believes the serial killer keeps him going the wrong way.

The first Corrigan British police procedural is a taut whodunit that grips the reader from the opening murder. Corrigan is a refreshing protagonist as he uses his traumatic childhood to solve cases but also fears his demons will lead him to abuse his children. Although the climax is weak especially after the super strong investigation leading fans there; readers will relish getting inside the head of the troubled DI as he looks into a Cold Killing.

Harriet Klausner

Another Heaven-Annu Subramanian

Another Heaven

Annu Subramanian

Apprentice House, Mar 20 2013, $18.95

ISBN: 9781934074879

In 2009 the nineteen years old female suicide bomber blows up a train in the Seloor District of South India; killing many innocent people. In Ashville, Pennsylvania, Tina Matthew chats with her faculty advisor Dr. Katz about the horrific mass murders in India; as she is soon going to stay with her paternal Aunt Rita and Uncle Theo in Chennai, India while conducting research into the motives of terrorists for her thesis.

In India, religious fanatic Usman seeks desperate victims for his schemes. He easily finds them amongst the downtrodden trafficked and gives them meals, a bed, and a purpose to die for Allah as “the end of all means is the beginning”. Meanwhile Tina rides the train to Chennai, but a detour leaves her several hundred kilometers away in Seloor where Usman learns of the American.

This is a strong timely thriller that looks deeply into the motives of suicide bombers and the lethal Svengali who psychologically manipulates these traumatized impoverish giving them “hope” for a better future in Heaven. Putting aside the early coincidence of the protagonist ending up in Seloor, aptly titled Another Heaven is an exciting tale as Annu Subramanian provides a profound yet thrilling story that answers why.

Harriet Klausner

No Stings…-Janelle Denison

No Stings…

Janelle Denison

Harlequin Blaze, May 21 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797585

For two years, Perry & Associates advertising executives Chloe Reiss and Aiden Landry kept their distance from each other except for harmless flirting as each hides their drooling attraction for the other. Besides the firm’s no- sleeping with your work colleagues policy, Chloe and Aiden have had failed relationships that leave each commitment phobic.

Richard Perry sends Chloe and Aiden to St. Raphael singles resort as competitors with separate marketing teams trying to win the account of the singles resort for their company. At St. Raphael, Chloe and Aiden break the no dating rule as they begin a tryst and discuss their relationship failures while falling in love.

Janelle Denison provides her audience with a heated conference room romance starring two driven competitors giving in to their respective libido and hearts in a for lovers’ exotic location. Readers will enjoy execs ignoring their No Strings agreement and office policy as two hearts beat as one.

Harriet Klausner

I Cross My Heart-Vicki Lewis Thompson

I Cross My Heart

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Harlequin Blaze, May 21 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797554

Following his divorce from Lindsay, Nash Bledsoe looks forward to never hear a quote from self-help author of Happiness Is A Choice Bethany Grace, who his ex-wife kept citing. He leaves California and obtains work at the Last Chance Ranch in Wyoming.

However, fate has a way of nuking the best laid plans of mice and Nash when ranch foreman Emmett Sterling sends him to check out smoke at the vacant neighboring Triple G whose owner Hank Grace drank himself to death. Nash finds the late Hank’s grieving daughter Bethany angrily burning her dad’s lounger. He agrees to help her fix up the poorly kept house and ranch so she could sell them before returning to the city while she seduces him. By the time he learns that Bethany Grace is Lindsay’s Bethany Grace, he has fallen in love.

The latest Sons of Chance ranch romance is an enjoyable tale due to the strong lead characters and the return of the heroes from previous entries (see Feels Like Home and lead Me Home). Although the storyline follows a path straighter than the Bonneville Salt Flats, fans will enjoy the heated irony of Nash falling in love with the woman he never wanted quoted again.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 27, 2013

Notown-Tess Collins


Tess Collins

BearCat Press, May 7 2013, $13.00

ISBN: 9781937356316

Randi Jo Gaylor grew up in the Appalachian hovel Notown, the poorest part of Kentucky. Everyone in impoverished Crimson County knows the hierarchy of Contrary being the “Big Show” all thrive for but few achieve; Quinntown being home to mostly white trash; and Notown residents recognized as retarded white trash.

Amazingly over her forty plus years and having a Seraph Fear Angel as a companion, Randi Jo always sees the glass full. She has been a guardian angel to her kin and friends by covering up homicides and other transgressions. However, someone threatens her and more important her beloved daughter Tallulah who lives with her father Connor Herne and his wife Rory. For the first time in her life, Randi Jo becomes a full citizen of Notown as she plots murder on that day but learns killing is not that easy once the whole truth is known or does knowing just the facts justify slaying a person trying to kill you.

The first Midnight Valley Quartet tale is a leisurely-paced engaging look at growing up in Appalachia. Character driven, readers will enjoy touring Notown with Randi Jo as their guide as she makes delicious Sno Balls seem like a gourmand’s delicacy while stalking with a prosthetic legged ally an adversary who wants her dead.

Harriet Klausner

The Sword Dancer-Jeannie Lin

The Sword Dancer

Jeannie Lin

Harlequin, May 21 2013, $6.50

ISBN: 9780373297429

In 848 China, Li Feng is a master sword dancer and clever thief in spite of being female in the male-exclusive dominated Tang Dynasty. When she steals treasure from a brutal general to help the rebel cause against this vicious overlord; two thief catchers, legendary Zheng Hao Han and Longxu pursue her. Han realizes Li Feng has skills never displayed by a woman and that she learned them in Wudang Mountain; as her sword dancing is top quality and her effort to escape brilliant. Still he catches her and takes her to the jail where the tribunal at Taining will determine her guilt.

However Han has one problem with dumping the talented Li Feng with the law. She saved his life when he slipped as he chased her on rooftops; she could have escaped and he be dead. Reluctantly because she has skewered his righteous belief in right or wrong, he agrees to help her with her quest to find her family. As they fall in love, the Thief Catcher realizes the thief stole his heart and hopes he stole hers too.

The latest Tang Dynasty romances (see My Fair Concubine, Butterfly Swords, and The Dragon And The Pearl) is an exciting action-packed historical with a fresh heroine who shakes up the heart and soul of the by the book hero. Action-packed, fans will enjoy Jeannie Lin’s entertaining ninth century Chinese thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets-Galia Ryan


Fanny Press, May 15 2013, $13.95

ISBN: 9781603815161

In 1989 France, fortyish Charles knows he should not as he has a fifteen years old daughter, but his Charlotte is a child while his business partner’s sixteen year old daughter Stephanie is a beautiful poised adult. Thus he cannot stop himself from offering her Choices between his funding her summer on the Cote d’Azur or her virginity. Both know if she chooses him as her lover, they must hide their tryst from Stephanie’s father Alain who has spoiled her as his favorite offspring especially after her mother Ulla abandoned her for a self-discovery quest and from Charles’ wife Antoinette.

They become lovers and through him she meets Olivia who mentors the teen on sexing her way to the top of high society. All is great in her world until she meets Giancarlo.

The second Luxuria erotica is a strong character study as Stephanie learns the lesson of social climbing via bedding until Giancarlo teaches her there is more to life than just sex (though slow dance smooching remains near the top of their tango). Readers will enjoy super Stephanie’s sexual saga and look forward to more of her sexcapades and that of awesome Anna (see Choices).

Harriet Klausner

The Altarpiece-Sarah Kennedy

The Altarpiece

Sarah Kennedy

Knox Robinson Publishing, Mar 6 2013, $27.99

ISBN: 9781908483478

In 1535 King Henry VIII sends soldiers to enforce the schism between England and Rome. His agents viciously destroy priories, churches and most remnants of the Catholic Church as the Church of England with the monarch as the Supreme Head has become the official religion of the kingdom. Priests, nuns and monks are tossed brutally onto the streets.

Lord Robert Overton arrives at the Priory of Mount Grace in Havenston, Yorkshire to claim his new property gifted to him by the king. However, he delays kicking the religious occupants out of their home when his younger brother William becomes seriously ill. Instead he orders a nun Catherine Havens the healer to save his sibling’s life. When William recovers, he and Catherine search for the missing valuable altarpiece that vanished at the same time as the siblings arrived at the priory; the prime suspects are the healer and her best friend Ann. Catherine and her former patient also investigate strange deaths that may be related to the Altarpiece.

The first Cross and the Crown Tudor thriller provides a deep look at the deaths, destruction and disarray caused by the shutting down of the Roman Church and the creation of the Church of England. The key cast is solid especially Catherine who faces moral dilemmas as she must choose between her past and an uncertain future. The leisurely-paced storyline enables the reader to believe we are there as Sarah Kennedy provides a wonderful spotlight on an age of deadly confusion.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Magician’s End-Raymond E. Feist

Magician’s End

Raymond E. Feist

Harper Voyager, May 14 2013, $29.99

ISBN: 9780061468438

With the death of King Gregory, the Congress of Lords meets to select the new ruler of the Kingdom of the Isles. However, there are no blood ties so an obvious frontrunner does not exist. The Congress remains divided as to who should be anointed. While they dither, civil war seems imminent as the royal place in Rillanon is threatened. Hal the Duke of Crydee, his brothers Martin and Brendan, and Jim Dasher Jamison and his grandfather Lord James struggle to prevent the war.

Meanwhile Pug the Master Sorcerer, his son Magnus, Nakor, and Miranda struggle to escape the devious trap sprung by the Adversary. This foe has sent his only viable opponent to a different plane of existence with no chance of ever coming back to periled Midkemia. Inside the impenetrable Grey Tower Mountains, a deadly assault on the Star Elves has begun as the Adversary continues his plan to achieve his only goal: oblivion.

The supposedly final fantasy in the three decade long Riftwars is a fabulous fitting Feisty finish to an overall exciting saga of thirty books. The enjoyable storyline is for the most part fast-paced even with reflective asides and ephemeral encounters with characters not seen in a while. Although the fifth of the Riftwars series targets fans only as Magician’s End is no place to start nor is the Chaoswar Saga (see A Kingdom Besieged and A Crown Imperiled), Raymond E. Feist ends with a bang not a whimper.

Harriet Klausner

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored-Allen Pollens

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored

Allen Pollens

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Feb 8 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781482011067

In 2014, the Guardians of the Universe ordered Professor Thomas Scribner to act as human witness to an inquiry. Seven pass judgment on the eighth, the Creator of planet Earth whose experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated (see Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth's Human Behavior Confronted).

In 2015, Harvard University History Professor Jeffrey Lerner agrees to go back in time to study human behavior in order to isolate the cause(s) that has led to endless violence; his findings are due to the Guardians of the Universe in 2024. From his home in Sudbury and with help from his teaching assistants Hank and Kathy, he makes his first stop in 3900 BCE, Jerusalem where he meets with Priest Jacob, Saul, David, Judith, Samuel and Laban where he uses the name Jethro and learns about the origins of the True One God religion(s) of Abraham and his offspring as well as female subjection to the rule of man.

The second Creator science fiction epic continues the look at irrational bellicose human behavior throughout history with a focus on key religious events in creating the Abrahamic religions and seeking why women were less than cattle. Though this entry can stand alone, reading book one enhances the understanding of the Guardians especially the Creator. With a fantastic late Hail Mary time travel twist to attempt to save mankind (and his heart), readers will relish this insightful look at humanity beginning with the origin of the Adam and Eve legend; as the Guardians paraphrasing H. Rap Brown believe that “violence is as (human) as cherry pie.”

Harriet Klausner

Angel Baby-Richard Lange

Angel Baby

Richard Lange

Mulholland/Little Brown, May 14 2013, $26.00

ISBN: 9780316219822

In Tijuana, the first time Lutz tried to escape from her violent husband Mexican drug lord Rolando “El Principe”; her dog Pepito paid the price as he viciously stomped to death the toy poodle in front of her. Heartbroken but not totally helpless, Luz knows she must do a much better job with her next attempt. Thus she takes her time working out a plan until she executes it by killing two of his troops and taking his safe’s money.

Raging Rolando liberates American “El Apache” from a Mexican prison. He orders him to locate his wife in the States and to bring her back to him; failure or refusal are unacceptable as El Principe threatens to kill the man’s wife and child. El Apache knows this is no idle threat so he goes to California seeking Luz who in turn searches for her four years old daughter Isabel whom she left behind in the Los Angeles area.

Angel Baby is a taut thriller as a brutal killer forces a felon to go after his missing wife; fans will shudder at what the psychopath will do if he catches his spouse and what he will do if he does not in This Wicked World of his. Character driven, readers will enjoy this tense tale as increasingly it seems an innocent(s) will be maimed or killed.

Harriet Klausner

Questions of Travel-Michelle de Kretser

Questions of Travel

Michelle de Kretser

Little, Brown, May 14 2013, $26.00

ISBN: 9780316219228

In 1966 in Sydney, Australia, her older twin brothers tried to kill two year old Laura Fraser after her mom died as they blamed this female “alien” for her death. In the 1980s her brother Cameron dies, but she has no grief as he clearly hated her. When the only person who cares about her Aunt Hester died, Laura inherits a lot of money. She begins a travel odyssey around the world seeking someone who would love her.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ravi Mendis dreamed of seeing the world though he has no hope to escape his Sri Lankan village except perhaps to live in nearby Colombo. He marries and has a daughter, but the brutal civil war forces Ravi to flee his homeland. In 2000s he and Laura meet in Australia.

Questions of Travel is a fascinating look into journeys (of the mind as much as the body). The underlying premise is that the treasure is not always at the end of the rainbow; instead you may trek from and to sh*t. Character driven by the fully-developed lead pair within rotating subplots, readers who appreciate something different will enjoy this tale of leaving home.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Never-K.D. McEntire


K.D. McEntire

PYR, May 14 2013

ISBN: 9781616147716

In the ER as the ghosts watch, Piotr intervenes until the doctor resuscitates Wendy though the teen remains in a coma. Once the Lightbringer, Wendy lost much when the Reaper ripped away her Light. Now she unites with her friends to prevent Lady Walker’s evil scheme to allow the malevolence in between realms to enter and destroy Never.

Wendy must also find a way to hinder separate machinations by Reaper Matriarch Elise and Reaper Rogue Jane. To do this she looks to the past at the relationship between her deceased mother and Elise as well as Piotr’s background. Wendy may not have her full essence, but she is no quitter as her family and others are in great peril from a world no longer in synch.

The final Lightbringer teen fantasy (see Reaper and Lightbringer) is a fabulous finish to an engaging trilogy as readers learn more about the Reaper heritage while the heroine without much of her power sets out to save the realm. Ironically the fascinating history also intrudes on the thrilling present day end of the world storyline. Still readers will anticipate the multiple confrontations as Never may become no more.

Harriet Klausner

Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol-Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol

Gyles Brandreth

Touchstone, May 14 2013, $16.00

ISBN 9781439153758

In 1895 London, Mr. Justice Wills sentences noted playwright Oscar Wilde to two years of hard labor for gross indecency with young men. While forty year old Oscar head to jail, his wife and two kids flee England and the scandal for the continent, and the production of the Importance of being Earnest continues on stage.

His time in Wandsworth Prison is physically and mentally hell; made worse by his wife’s forgiveness visit and the knowledge that he is financially broke. Just before his transfer to Reading Gaol, Warder Braddle comes to his cell in a rage, blaming him for his diseased body just before he dies. In Reading Gaol, Wilde learns of another Warder dying violently. Soon afterward others die so the Governor asks Wilde to look into the Murders at Reading Gaol.

The latest late Oscar Wilde Victorian mystery (see Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders, and Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders) may be the best in the series, but not because of the clever whodunit. Instead Gyles Brandreth provides a deep look into the two years of Wilde’s torturous incarceration and a powerful condemnation of the British gaol in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Wilde’s murder inquiry is terrific but it is the jailhouse that rocks.

Harriet Klausner

Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour-Carla Kelly

Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour

Carla Kelly

Camel Press, May 15 2013, $13.95

ISBN: 9781603819138

After being jilted at the altar by her fiancé Lord Matthew Bering eight years ago, then lady but now Miss Omega Chartley went into self-exile becoming a schoolmistress to sea captains’ daughters in Plymouth. She left her town only once to attend her sibling Alpha’s wedding. Now she is moving to a new teaching position in Durham teaching the daughters of the mill owners.

However, Omega intervenes when Bow Street runner Timothy Platter chases after runaway orphan Jamie Clevenden as the lad flees an abusive uncle for another uncle. War veteran Hugh Owen and his adopted daughter Angela abet the escape as Omega tours the countryside with the lad dodging the angry runner until they reach the home of his other uncle, Viscount Matthew Bering.

Readers will enjoy the reprint of a fun second chance at love Regency romance due to the misadventures of by the itinerary Miss Chartley. Although the mystery of why Matthew failed to show up at his wedding (nor helped his financially strapped beloved) is over the top, fans will enjoy Miss Chartley's (not so) Guided Tour.

Harriet Klausner

Ray of Light-Shelley Shepard Gray

Ray of Light

Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire, May 14 2013, $12.99

ISBN: 9780062204424

Needing to escape his recent family drama (see Daybreak), Roman Keim leaves his New Order Amish community in Berlin, Ohio to spend vacation time at his Uncle Aden’s condo in Siesta Key, Florida. He feels like a stalker as he cannot take his eyes away from his neighbor widow Amanda Yoder. She and her four year old child daughter Regina live in the nearby town of Pinecraft where she works at her in-laws’ bakery.

They are attracted to each other, but he feels embarrassed when she asks questions about his troubled family back home. As the time together draws to a close, Amanda knows she loves Roman; and he realizes he loves mother and daughter. Now they must decide between one state, a distance courting or ending it now.

The second Days of Redemption is an engaging Amish romance in which the overarching family theme also moves forward with a Ray of Light that the divided Keim clan might be coming together. Although it behooves the audience to read Daybreak first to learn how the schism occurred (as well as a wonderful romance); Shelley Shepard Gray authors another awesome tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Step of Faith-Richard Paul Evans

A Step of Faith

Richard Paul Evans

Simon & Schuster, May 7 2013, $19.99

ISBN: 9781451628296

Advertising executive Alan Christoffersen left Seattle when his beloved wife died and his partner Kyle Craig destroyed their business leaving the grieving widower with nothing but a need to get as far away as he can from the Pacific Northwest. His goal was to walk to Key West.

Alan awakens in a St, Louis hospital after falling unconscious on a roadside. He finds out that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor; so heads to Los Angeles for treatment. There his father, his loyal former employee Falene, and Nicole who nursed him after a mugging in Spokane are there for him, but he drives them away as Alan reflects on his life while pondering whether he should give up as he feels like a failed Job or continue his trek until he realizes what he lost.

The fourth Walk saga (see The Walk, Miles to Go and The Road to Grace) is an entertaining entry as Alan realizes what he wrought with his caustic behavior towards those who love him. Except for a visit to a cult that slows down the pacing, for the most part this is a strong character driven tale; as each step on the journey requires faith if the protagonist is to refill his spiritual void.

Harriet Klausner

Sweet Dreams-Carla Stewart

Sweet Dreams

Carla Stewart

Faith Words, May 14 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781455504275

In 1962, cousins Dusty and Paisley are best friends though they live different lifestyles. Dusty is the daughter of a Texas oil millionaire who has given her roots and all the material things she desires, but she envies her BFF’s freedom as she wants to make meaningful choices. Paisley has the freedom of the road having spent her years traveling with her roaming mom; but envies her cousin-friend’s permanent home as she wants real roots.

Dusty wants to go to college, but her dad insists she go to Miss Fontaine’s Finishing School. To appease his daughter, he sends Paisley to attend too. As the buddies adapt to the school, they have each other until Jack enters their lives followed by a trauma that shakes the cousins.

Sweet Dreams is an enjoyable historical drama that brings to life Texas in the early 1960s through a diverse but solid cast. With its “grass is always greener on the other side” premise, readers will enjoy this leisurely-paced tale.

Harriet Klausner

Catch A Falling Star-Beth K Vogt

Catch A Falling Star

Beth K Vogt

Howard/Simon & Schuster, May 7 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781451660272

In Colorado Springs on her thirty-sixth birthday, her mom calls Dr. Kendall Haynes telling her that her younger sister is getting married and the ring bequeathed to her needs to go to her sibling since she has no intended. Upset as she wants a family, Kendall considers Dr. Heath Parker, who just returned from Africa, a perfect match,

Kendall goes to On The Border to celebrate her birthday with friends; only to learn that her buddy Rachel is also engaged. At the restaurant, Kendall notices sixteen year old Ian Walker acting strange. She goes over to his table only to realize Ian suffers from an allergic reaction to avocado. Kendall gives him an EpiPen injection while lecturing his “father” for not knowing his son’s allergies. The dad is Ian’s older brother Griffin, an air force pilot grounded to desk jockey to raise his sibling ever since their parents died. Suddenly from none, Kendall has two hunks in her life.

This is a refreshing inspirational romance as the triangle is older characters than usual with successful careers. Kendall sets the tone wondering why God’s plan seems to leave her single while everyone around her has found their soul mate. Although the storyline follows the path readers expect (even a secondary subplot plot focused on the office assistant does likewise); Catch A Falling Star is an enjoyable Christian contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Afloat-Erin Healy


Erin Healy

Thomas Nelson, May 7 2013, $15.99

ISBN: 9781401685522

Architect Vance Nolan designed Eagle's Talon as condos afloat on a peninsula jutting into the Rondeau River. Developer Tony Dean made Nolan’s dream reality. Now the construction is almost finished and some of the residences are occupied.

Vance senses something wrong but the usual suspects seem okay until he realizes no longer is there any bird sounds. A sinkhole has begun to form; made worse by horrific storms and subsequently flooding. The survivors huddle in one building arguing over what to do. Nolan says to wait for help to arrive while Dean says leave before it is too late. Single mom Danielle Clement wants to keep her son Simeon safe so insists they remain together.

Afloat is an exciting thriller that grips the audience once the key cast each provides their opening perspective as the trapped people struggle to survive against nature and each other. Although the rotating viewpoint slows down the pace, readers will enjoy Erin Healy’s enjoyable disaster tale that would make an engaging Irwin Allen-type movie.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Confession-Richard Freis


Richard Freis

Sartoris Literary Group, May 7 2013, $19.95

ISBN: 9780988947412

As successful attorney George Burden reaches his double-5 birthday, he seems to have the perfect life with a wonderful caring family especially his adoring wife Julia and is a highly regarded member of upper class society in Jackson, Mississippi. However, George feels differently as he knows everything came too easily.

George does the unthinkable by leaving his safe zone to begin an affair with Becca Talbot, divorced mother of a five year old son who is also younger than his youngest child. When George falls in love with his paramour, he decides to obtain a divorce to marry his beloved. He is stunned when Becca refuses his proposal. Raging George goes berserk when he sees his Becca with a man her age and will do anything to make her his wife.

Taking place in under 100 hours, Confession is a taut psychological suspense starring a fascinating violent protagonist who tells his Confession by letter to a priest. Ironically as he confesses his sins (and readers learn his history from his perspective) George has everything except spiritual connections. Richard Freis provides a strong character-driven thriller; as George has achieved the four lower steps of Maslow’s Hierarchy, but fails at Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence leading to his placing his (and his family) Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, and Esteem at risk.

Harriet Klausner

Seduction-M.J. Rose


M.J. Rose

Atria, May 7 2013, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451621501

Emotional fragile, mythologist Jac L’Etoile was fourteen when she met fellow teen patient Theo Gaspard at the Blixter Rath Clinic and though neither knew the other’s surname they were attracted to one another. Now a grieving widower, he explains he read her book and found an intriguing 1855 letter that discusses Druid activity. Theo invites her to join him on Isle of Jersey to find a Hugo missing journal describing his contacts with the Shadow of the Sepulcher; his conversations with Jesus and other notables having been published.

Fascinated by Hugo’s efforts to contact his deceased teenage daughter and seeing Theo for the first time in years at his home front, Jac decides to go over the warnings of her therapist. On Jersey, the intrepid but troubled pair begins to unravel the mystery of Victor Hugo and the Shadow of the Sepulcher, but will either mentally survive solving this paranormal case.

The second Jac L’Etoile mythological thriller (see The Book of Lost Fragrances) is an exhilarating tale that rotates between the mid-nineteenth century and the present. Fast-paced in both eras, danger mounts then and now as evil stalks the past and the contemporary human seekers.

Harriet Klausner

Indivisible? The Story of the Second American Civil War-Paul Martin Midden

Indivisible? The Story of the Second American Civil War

Paul Martin Midden

Wittmann Blair Publishing, May 7, 2013, $18.99

ISBN: 9780985922320

In 1861 Abraham Bellamy dedicated his life to the Confederate cause. In 1865 after his side lost, a despondent Abraham proved his dedication by suicide.

In the present, Abraham’s descendent Abner Bellamy believes the federal government is a sham tramping on the rights of the states. His mission is to resurrect his ancestor’s dream of for the people being not one size fits all but 50 diverse ways and has begun to find powerful supporters who agree with his assertion the government is too powerful. Though their motives differ from Abner as avarice is their driver, wealthy George and David Blinder join the cause. Fundamentalist Daniel Keenan also enlists as he knows the atheist DC government has destroyed religious and family values. Other also throw their lot in with the Sovereign Citizens group whose mission is de-evolution or if need be revolution.

CIA agent Max Grabel and contract workers (and lovers) Marie LeBrun and Samantha Stranger uncover a viable conspiracy to overthrow the United States government and return it to pre-Civil War states domination. Evidence implies this threat unlike previous ones has money, arms, and a wide range of influence. They must identify the diverse cabal of enemies of the USA before it is too late for the Union.

This is an exciting thriller that extrapolates the rage many have against the federal government turning into action to tear down DC. Although a sequel is set up that will disappoint fans wanting a final confrontation, readers will enjoy this fast-paced tale while trying to identify who’s who.

Harriet Klausner

Once Upon A Prince-Rachel Hauck

Once Upon A Prince

Rachel Hauck

Zondervan, May 7 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780310315476

After being together for over a decade dating back to college, Adam ends his relationship with Susanna saying he fell in love with someone else while on his latest Afghan tour. Stunned more than heartbroken, Susanna drives away onto St. Simon's Island wondering about her future when she has to deal with her present, a flat tire near the legendary Lover's Oak

Nate stops his vehicle to gallantly change the damsel in distress’ tire. Feeling fickle having her engagement just ended, Susanna is attracted to her chivalrous knight and him to his lady. As they fall in love, he fails to tell Susanna that he is Prince Nathaniel of Brighton; and that as the heir to the throne he must only marry someone from his kingdom.

The first Royal Wedding romance is an engaging tale that begins like a Christian Roman (albeit Georgian) Holiday, but spins into a Christian Princess Diaries. The storyline focuses on whether the lead couple can accept self-sacrifice in order to adhere to God’s plan(s) for them. Although the plot follows the anticipated path to include a royal villainess, fans will accept an invitation to the coronation of Nate.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Windy City Neighbors Grounded-Neta Jackson and Dave Jackson

Windy City Neighbors Grounded

Neta Jackson and Dave Jackson

Worthy, May 7 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781617950001

Grace Meredith enjoys singing contemporary Christian music. Currently the successful singer travels the country encouraging the young to wait until marriage in her New Year, New You tour. However, as she makes her plea, she suffers from a sore throat and a broken heart. Lozenges and tea help the throat a little, but her fiancé Roger, tired of her stay a pure virgin message, ended their engagement.

Grace stops at her home in Chicago only to be grounded by a blizzard. As she thinks about her youthful indiscretions, Grace feels like a con artist peddling her wait theme as she muses over do as I say not as I did. However, as the neighbors she ignored for years like the Bentleys welcome her as a friend not a celebrity and encourage her to live up to her name with the Lord’s help, Grace begins to heal.

The first Windy City Neighbors inspirational is an entertaining tale of God giving believers a second chance to do the right thing. Ironically while the opening on tour scenes are slow; once the protagonist becomes Grounded and truly meets her neighbors, the pace accelerates into a warm second chance at a pure life drama.

Harriet Klausner

The Barbed Crown-William Dietrich

The Barbed Crown

William Dietrich

Harper, May 7 2013. $26.99

ISBN: 9780062194077

Crossing to France on the Phantom, American adventurer Ethan Gage feels he owes his one-time employer Napoleon for nearly killing his wife Astiza and kidnapping their young son Harry (see The Emperor Storm). He plans to destroy Napoleon while his spouse schemes to prevent the little dictator from becoming crowned Emperor by using the Crucifixion Crown of Thorns.

When their effort fails to prevent the coronation, the married couple returns to England. Gage stops in Walmer Castle where he joins Sidney Smith, inventors Robert Fulton and William Congreve, and smuggler Tom Johnstone to keep Napoleon from invading England. This escapade soon leads Gage to the Battle of Trafalgar.

The latest Ethan Gage Napoleonic Era thriller (see The Barbary Pirates) is an exciting over the top of the Admiral Nelson Statue and column in Trafalgar Square (built decades after the famous battle). The storyline is fast-paced though the hero’s swashbuckling role seems diminished as he is less actively involved than usual with him on the sidelines for the most part during the coronation. Still fans will enjoy this engaging mix of history and action as The Barbed Crown is an enjoyable early nineteenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

Portal-Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor


Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor

Baen, May 7 2013, $

ISBN: 9781451638967

After the Ceres disaster, the second space race seems over for the privately-owned Ares Corporation (see Threshold) though former Fed Madeline Fathom manages to land their disabled vessel Nebula Storm on Europa. Also crash landing on this moon of Jupiter is the European Union ship Odin. Neither craft can leave Europa though the crew of Nebula Storm hopes to find a way to fix the broken reactor or come up with an alternate solution.

Madeline, paleontologist Dr. Helen Sutter, sensor expert A.J. Baker and the rest of the survivors from both ships know the immediate mission is to stay alive though neither side trusts the other with good reason. At the station on the Martian moon Phobos, grieving the loss of his friends and his wife Helen, Interplanetary Research Institute of the United Nations Director Nicholas Glendale must make decisions on the mission; though he knows the EU caused the deadly explosion he cannot prove it and needs the alliance to remain in place. However, he is taken aback when Madeline sends him an encrypted message saying hello from sunny Europa. Meanwhile the stranded crews must work together as they explore this Jovian moon heading to the icecap seeking water underneath it while dealing with an orb filled with deadly radiation.

Though one must read Threshold and preferably Boundary to understand how the crews landed in this predicament, fans will enjoy this engaging science fiction thriller because much of the storyline focuses on survival and exploration in a hostile environment. However those twin themes also means the overarching plot moves forward slower than a glacier until the last quarter of the epic. Still fans will enjoy surviving on Europa.

Harriet Klausner

Children of the Gates-Andre Norton

Children of the Gates

Andre Norton

Baen, May 7 2013, $13.00

ISBN: 978-1451638899

“Here Abide Monsters:” On this apparent parallel earth where elven roam, creatures in flying saucers abduct and enslave newcomers. Avalon the herald offers safety at a cost to recent travelers from various earth ages who unfortunately fell through the Gate; they must give to him part of their soul.

“Yurth Burden.” On the Zacar plains dwell the Raski farmers while in the mountain reside the Yurth with their Upper Sense. The two races are in a constant state of hostility with horrific wars occurring. When a Raski warrior Stans follows a Yurth woman Elossa on her coming of age quest, he knows he must kill her.

Children of the Gates contains reprints of two wonderful 1970s tales. Yurth Burdon is especially timely leaving the audience to ponder the long term impact of racial hatred.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Crickhowell School For The Muses-Rachel Waxman

The Crickhowell School For The Muses

Rachel Waxman

Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, May 5 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781564745415

The men with wagons arrive at the small village, but are disappointed by the lack of talent until they hear singing. They abduct the source fourteen year old Awen and take her to Miss Nina who, in spite of too many singers, likes the teen’s voice. She accepts the frightened child as a student at her Crickhowell School For The Muses; training her under the patronage of Sir Robert Thomas.

Awen is mute as she is escorted around the school. Encouraged by her music teacher Mr. Whitewood, she sings leaving him elated with her golden range. However, she returns to her silent state after leaving the music room. When Awen learns the true nature of the Crickhowell School For The Muses, she knows she must escape before she loses her most beloved possession. Francis the Horseman plans to help her get away.

The Crickhowell School For The Muses is a wonderful fable starring a delightful frightened yet brave female who refuses to be someone’s muse instead of being herself. Character driven by the heroine, Rachel Waxman encourages young readers to take smart chances on life in order to soar; as one may fail but cannot make magical music if you don’t sing the song.

Harriet Klausner

Predatory-Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne


Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne

Zebra, May 7 2013. $7.99

ISBN: 9781420125122

“Out Of Control” by Alexandra Ivy. Ph.D. candidate Angela Locke is attracted to Professor Nikolo Bartrev. An immortal Sentinel, Nikolo protects Angela whose work on genetics marks her for death from a nasty predator. This begins a new series.

“Ties That Bind” by Nina Bangs. At the Eternal Rest Funeral Home in Philadelphia, Cassie Tyler does a favor for her BFF Felicity only to be rescued from an assault by a man inside a coffin.

“In Still Darkness” by Dianne Duvall. Immortal Guardian Richart d'Alençon saved the female human from a vampire attack and received a kiss from her that has gotten him craving for more. This is an entry in the Immortal Guardians saga.

“High Stakes” by Hannah Jayne. In New York City, vampiric fashionista Nina LaShay hopes to peddle her Drop dead designs at a contest only her prime rival is murdered; she and Pike the photographer are the Underworld Detection Agency’s only suspects.

These are four fun romantic vampire urban fantasies.

Harriet Klausner

Hearts Of Shadow-Kira Brady

Hearts Of Shadow

Kira Brady

Zebra, May 7 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420124576

In devastated Seattle, shifters and humans reach a tentative accord to work together to rebuild the city and protect one another. Elite wraith killer Grace Mercer diligently works to keep her species safe, but rejects the latest demand on her time. City officials need her to team up with the dragon shifter regent Leif Asgard.

Realizing her potential, Leif believes Grace is the one who can save humans and shifters from horrific extinction. He wants to mentor her while she wants nothing to do with this abomination. As the threat grows, Grace’s skill improves immensely under Leif’s tutelage. However, to save their respective species, they must risk merging their souls or die trying.

The latest exciting Deadglass romantic urban fantasy (see Hearts Of Darkness) is an exhilarating thriller as readers will accept diverse paranormal running wild in the streets of Seattle. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this thriller from the moment Grace objects to Leif training her and never slows down as each must make the same joint sacrifice to save the world.

Harriet Klausner

Alien In The House-Gini Koch

Alien In The House

Gini Koch

Daw, May 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407575

Two Congressmen died in a car crash and a third is expected to pass way from pneumonia. New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District representative dies while attending a gala at the Centaurion Embassy. The odds of Congressional deaths due to accident or natural causes in a few months are extremely doubtful.

A-C married couple Ambassadors Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini become concerned as she held the Representative’s hands just before he died. Kitty’s fears multiply when her spouse is named to fill the vacant seat as she wonders if someone targets Congress. As Kitty leads the investigation, she vows that her husband will not join the count.

The latest Alien science fiction (see Alien vs. Alien and Alien Diplomacy) is an exciting A-C thriller that deftly merges humor (due to misunderstandings between the cultures) and peril (from an unknown predator(s). Although the size of the cast has expanded over the course of the fun series to a point of needing a Cecil De Mille scorecard, readers will enjoy Alien in the House of Representatives (Jeff will feel at home with some of the members).

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 20, 2013

Taming The Demon-Doranna Durgin

Taming The Demon

Doranna Durgin

Harlequin Nocturne, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885701

At night her boss Sawyer Compton sends his personal assistant Natalie Chambers to an address in the southwest quarter of Albuquerque that frightens her. While she mumbles to herself, several bad asses accost her. Devin James and his Demon Blade arrive to rescue Natalie.

Compton hires James to protect Chambers. However, he conceals his agenda from his two employees. He hired the thugs who assaulted her to bring Devin into his sphere. His goal is to kill the Demon Blade owner in order to gain control of the power; as Compton denies that the Demon Blade controls Devin equally if not more so in a sort of codependency. However Natalie has modified the equation by providing her rescuer with a needed anchor fueled by love.

This Demon Blade romantic urban fantasy is an exciting thriller that grips the reader from the moment Natalie encounters the first thug and never loosens that hold until the final confrontation. Action-packed, readers will relish this entertaining tense tale story, as love may not be enough to prevent Devin from falling to the same fate as his sibling.

Harriet Klausner

Keeper of the Shadows-Alexandra Sokoloff

Keeper of the Shadows

Alexandra Sokoloff

Harlequin Nocturne, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885695

Courier crime reporter Barrie Gryffald, like her two cousins Rhiannon Gryffald (see Keeper of the Night by Heather Graham) and Sailor Ann Gryffald (see Keeper of the Moon by Harley Jane Kozak), is a Keeper of the Los Angeles’ shapeshifters. When World International Pictures head Saul Mayo dies from an overdose, she thinks good riddance to this former human slug.

However, she changes her tune when she connects his demise to the filming of Otherworld; as fifteen years ago the shooting of that movie led to the murder of an actor that never was solved. More deaths follow while newbie reporter Mick Townsend seems everywhere she goes. He suggests they team up but hides from his partner that he is a shifter who had a part in the original filming of Otherworld and one more personal secret.

The third Keepers: LA romantic urban fantasy is an engaging investigative thriller starring two fascinating protagonists. Their hunt for a diabolical killer makes for a fun paranormal whodunit with kissing interludes.

Harriet Klausner

Second Chance With the Rebel & Her Royal Wedding Wish-Cara Colter

Second Chance With the Rebel & Her Royal Wedding Wish

Cara Colter

Harlequin Romance, May 7 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780373742424

“Second Chance with the Rebel.” Years ago, Lucy Lindstrom and Macintyre Hudson were an entry, but their different backgrounds and demeanors ended their relationship; especially when he could not commit. Lucy serves as the chief fundraiser for the Mother’s Day gala; where Harriet Freda will be honored. She asks Mac to be there for his foster mom. Though he failed her, he would do anything for his beloved foster mom. As they work together to make this the best gala ever, each realizes they remain in love with the other, but though they know so much more about their partner’s motives, neither wants to take a second chance on love.

“Her Royal Wedding Wish.” The B'Ranasha royalty hires personal protection expert Jake Ronan to provide additional security for the guests at the wedding of Princess Shoshauna. However, an attempt on her life leads to Jake keeping her safe at a secret location for a week. As the Australian soldier and the B'Ranasha princess fall in love, duty supersedes the heart.

Second Chance with the Rebel starts slow and muddled, but once the lead characters begin working the event, the storyline accelerates into a wonderful contemporary romance. With a nod to Roman Holiday, Her Royal Wedding Wish is a reprint of an engaging tale in which love may not be enough.

Harriet Klausner

Cavanaugh On Duty-Marie Ferrarella

Cavanaugh On Duty

Marie Ferrarella

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, May 7 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278213

Chief of Detectives Brian Cavanaugh informs Detective Esteban Fernandez that his three years stint undercover as Juan Dominguez ended when Jorge Lopez learned that his dealer was a cop. With a bounty on his head, Brian reassigns Esteban to Homicide in Aurora to replace a retiring veteran. His partner is Brian’s newly discovered niece Detective Kari Cavelli-Cavanaugh.

Esteban broods over his failure to take down the cartel who killed his mother and stepbrother and sent his stepfather to prison; and now is assigned to what he deems is a “demotion” especially partnering with Kari which seems like nepotism. Kari prefers working alone, but being flexible she plans to make their teaming a success. She also wonders if Esteban is Steve from high school. As they work cases together, they begin to fall in love, but he knows firsthand that love hurts.

The latest Cavanaugh Justice romantic police procedural (see Cavanaugh Surrender) is an enjoyable suspense; as fans will feel how depressed Esteban is from the onset. Fast-paced and filled with angst, Cavanaugh On Duty is an engaging entry.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Prior Engagement-Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement

Karina Bliss

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718498

New Zealand attorney Juliet Browne is elated to learn that her deceased "fiancé" New Zealand SAS officer Lee Davis was coming home after being reported dead in Afghanistan as the Americans rescued him. However, Jules also is concerned over misleading everyone into believing she and Lee were engaged including wearing his ring. In truth she said no to his proposal before he deployed and became a POW.

At the airport, Jules thinks Lee has PTSD-driven amnesia and accepts his latest proposal, but ponders how to tell him the truth. However, she soon concludes he does not suffer from memory loss; but instead is avenging her rejection of him. As each knows they remain in love, Jules and Lee wonder how to tell the other they want the engagement to be real.

The latest New Zealand combat veteran romance (see Bring Him Home) is an engaging second chance at love tale. Lee comes back from the dead (see Here Comes The Groom for his reported demise) to see his family, renew friendships and get even with the woman who hurt him more than the enemy ever did. He and readers learn what he missed while the key to this welcome home party is Lee’s PTSD feels genuine and accentuates his ire at Jules.

Harriet Klausner

April Showers-Holly Jacobs

April Showers

Holly Jacobs

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718528

Former marine Sebastian Bennington takes his injured body and mind home to Valley Ridge, New York to attend his friend Colton’s wedding (see You Are Invited…). He also plans to spend time with his grandfather Hank who still runs the diner in town.

However, living in the apartment above the diner is nurse Lily Paul, who loves Hank like a grandfather though she never had anyone like him when she was a child. When Lily and Sebastian meet, she yells at him for ignoring his grandfather who she knows adores his grandson. However, Sebastian is filled with rage and nothing like the happy child his grandfather describes. Lily tries to help him with his mental and physical traumas while he soon loosens up enough to tell her what happened. As they fall in love with Hank’s blessing, each has major doubts.

The second VALLEY RIDGE WEDDING contemporary romance is a warm drama starring two wonderful hurting (in different ways) protagonists, a kind grandfather and a caring town overlooking Lake Erie (a Holly Jacobs’ delightful trademark). Readers will relish the relationship between the wounded warrior and the wounded nurse series while looking forward to the story of the third amigo.

Harriet Klausner

Jane’s Gift-Abby Gaines

Jane’s Gift

Abby Gaines

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718504

Driving to Pinyon Ridge, Colorado, Jane Slater is late to the funeral of her best and only friend Melissa who had beaten cancer in her twenties only to die at thirty-one when her date crashed in a DUI accident. Melissa wanted Jane to be in her young daughter Daisy’s life over the objection of the child’s father Pinyon Ridge Mayor Kyle Everson who has full custody.

Kyle has always felt that Jane and her kin were bad influences. However, he admires her gumption as she refuses to quit on her late BFF’s request while both place the interests of Daisy over their own desires. As the adults fall in love, each remains in denial while Daisy disagrees with both adults as she has different dreams for the future.

Although the early denying feels overdone, readers will enjoy this romance as Melissa’s gift to Jane is love. Character-driven, fans will relish visiting Colorado as Abby Gaines provides a warm family drama.

Harriet Klausner

The Wyoming Cowboy-Rebecca Winters

The Wyoming Cowboy

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin American, May 7 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373754557

At Walter Reed, three wounded warrior marines (Lundgren, Buck and Ross) suffering from survivor guilt and respiratory problems caused by their Afghan deployment agree to convert Carson Lundgren’s spread into a dude ranch for the families of fallen servicemen and women. When the trio completes the renovation step, they begin to invite surviving family members of deceased comrades in arms.

In Sandusky, Ohio, Widow Tracy Baretta and her elementary school aged son Johnny accept an invitation to visit the renovated Wyoming ranch for a week where the mom hopes her son will heal somewhat over the loss of his father. Tracy and Carson are attracted to one another upon their first meeting while over the next few days Johnny worships the kind and patient ranch owner. As they fall in love near the Grand Tetons, both adults consider the future with the child’s needs most important.

Though the romance is a somewhat standard contemporary, the insight into the mental health of returning soldiers and surviving family members brings freshness to the warn storyline. The lead couple and the child seem real with each struggling to deal with varying degrees of PTSD as Rebecca Winters opens her Daddy Dude Ranch series with a tender family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rocket Man-William Hazelgrove

Rocket Man

William Hazelgrove

Koehler Books, May 1 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781938467585

A decade ago, Dale Hammer, Jr. was a successful author. That was ten unproductive years ago as he has lost his place as a writer though he unsuccessfully tries. He, his wife the breadwinning lawyer (except for an apartment building rental with pain in the butt renters) and children move to the burbs where he is the househusband.

Dale’s welcome to the expensive financial trap called a subdivision is his angry neighbors accusing him of tearing down the distasteful sign that identified the boundary. Adding to his depression besides his wife hammering him for his inadequacies as a househusband is Dale, Sr. moves into the house while waiting to find his quadrillionth bride. However, the most egregious affront is when the neighborhood assigns Dale the unpopular ignoramus job of Rocket Man organizing the scout troop annual show.

Rocket Man is an intriguing look at when the American dream turns into a nightmare. Filled with a De Mille size cast, but focused on Dale and his interactions with them, readers will enjoy this satire; as bitter Dale learns the hard way what Ferris Bueller tried to show Cameron: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

Harriet Klausner

Cowboy Fever Series-Karen Wiesner

Cowboy Fever Series

Karen Wiesner

Whiskey Creek Press, May 2013

ISBN: 9781105199165

“Wings of Love.” In Fever, Texas Mac falls in love with interior designer Amanda and asks her to join him on his ranch. However, he finds himself frequently working away from home until an injury forces him back on the ranch only Amanda gave up on him.

“Losses and Gains.” Four years ago, rancher Lance lost his wife Colleen and infant in a fire. Like his sister-in-law Janaya, he grieves his loss until each finds comfort (and guilt) with one another.

“For Always.” Ranch foreman Jared and Alana loved one another but she married Holt. However, when she needs help from her abusive husband, Jared wants to be there for her.

“Taming April.” Rancher Shawn is a ladies’ man until his former classmate April comes home for her dad’s funeral and asks him to train her father’s only possession a horse.

“The Only One.” Five years ago, ranch owner Ken and his wife Karla lost their unborn child and their relationship when he acted silently aloof while she anguished. Now Karla comes home seeking either a divorce or his opening up he feelings.

These five fabulous Triple Acres Ranch romances contain strong protagonists struggling with issues while falling in love. Karen “the wonderful writing wizard” Wiesner provides her fans with a terrific Texas anthology.

Harriet Klausner

Kneading To Die-Liz Mugavero

Kneading To Die

Liz Mugavero

Kensington, May 7 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758284785

When Warner Insurance downsized her public relations position, Kristan “Stan” Connor, accompanied by her significant other Nutty the Maine Coon cat, left West Hartford for a simpler life in Frog Ledge, Connecticut. While her boyfriend Richard wonders if she lost her mind by leaving the big city for Sleepy Hollow, Stan hears the neighbors brawl while she moves into her Victorian.

Stan likes her new neighbors; especially Char Mackey, homeopathic animal nurturer Amara Leonard and "Pet's Last Chance" director Nikki Manning while they seem to welcome her and her special food that she makes for Nutty and soon the other town pets. Town veterinarian, Dr. Carole Morganwick visits Stan demanding she bring Nutty in as a patient before office hours. Though her stomach churns and her mind tells her not to, Stan and Nutty arrive for the early appointment only to find unpopular Morganwick buried dead in kibble. State trooper Jessica Pasquale and the locals look at the newcomer as the suspect when their pets become poisoned; so Stan seeks answers especially the source of what is harming the animals.

The first Pawsitively Organic Gourmet Pet Food amateur sleuth is an engaging whodunit with two mysteries for the heroine to resolve. Although the love of pets feels like a hammer used to frequently to even a cat and dog lover like me, readers will enjoy Stan’s investigative asides into the poisoning of pets and as a byproduct the vet’s homicide.

Harriet Klausner

Silent Voices-Ann Cleeves

Silent Voices

Ann Cleeves

Minotaur, May 7 2013. $24.99

ISBN: 9781250033581

Northumbrian Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope enters the sauna at the Willows Health Club in Newcastle only to be greeted by the corpse of social worker Jenny Lister. Someone strangled the victim. Stanhope and her team interrogate employees at the club and talk with residents of Lister’s village Barnard Bridge.

The prime suspect is temporary cleaner Danny Shaw though several other employees and villagers surface with motives for killing Lister. Heeding local gossip, Vera finds a connection between Jenny’s work with foster kids and adoptions, and the villagers; which obfuscates the case by increasing the list of potentials who is the killer.

Relocating from the Shetland Islands to Northumbria, Ann Cleeves provides readers with an enjoyable British police procedural (see The Crow Trap). The investigation is a fun mess that makes no sense yet is entertaining due to the crusty, at times irritating alcoholic heroine. Vera keeps the whodunit focused as she and her team works the homicide inquiry using unique listening devices, ears.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Heartbeat Away-S. Dionne Moore

A Heartbeat Away

S. Dionne Moore

Abington, May 1 2013, $12.99


ISBN: 9781426752704

In 1862 at the Battle of South Mountain, Confederate soldier Joe Madison is shot. He is fortunate that runaways brought the severely wounded rebel before he bled out to the farm of Gerta Baumgartner, who provides nursing care to anyone hurt.

Gerta’s granddaughter Beth is at the farm over the objection of her parents who prefer she stay out of the war. Instead she wants to help with the healing. However, Beth refuses to nurse a Confederate soldier. Her grandma persuades her that God ignores people’s stupid labels as the Lord tends to all his flock. Beth nurses Joe back to health while both work on the quilting blocks her mom gave her as pieces of home.

The latest Quilts of Love inspirational (see Threads of Hope by Christa Allen, Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee and Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane) is a great Civil War drama. The romance between the protagonists deftly supports an insightful look at mid nineteenth century combat medicine as the audience obtains a deep look into soldier pain and suffering as love and death are both A Heartbeat Away.

Harriet Klausner

The Prince's Bride-Julianne MacLean

The Prince's Bride

Julianne MacLean

St. Martin's, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312552817

In 1815 Paris, the European leaders debate the fate of Napoleon. Amongst those in the city for the political meetings is infamous womanizer Prince Nicholas of Petersbourg. At a ball, he meets the charming masked Veronique. However, instead of a tryst, the rake’s head pounds from being drugged as he awakens a prisoner.

Veronique Montagne feels remorse for what she did to Nicholas, but had no choice as she needed to pay her father’s gambling debts in order to keep the family off the street. Making her feel worse is her attraction to Nicholas. Although irate at her duplicity, Nicholas wants her too and convinces Veronique to abet his escape. To avoid scandal they marry and head to Petersbourg where the past places both in peril in the present.

The third Royal Trilogy (see Be My Prince and Princess In Love) is an enjoyable Regency era romance in which a French siren and a philandering prince fall in love. Readers will understand Veronique’s dilemmas and choices though not necessarily agree with them; but not Nicholas who seems flighty with his mercurial mood swings between to be or not to be with Veronique. Still fans will enjoy touring Paris and Petersbourg just after the defeat of Napoleon.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Detectives-Jon Talton

The Night Detectives

Jon Talton

Poisoned Pen, May 7 2013, $24.95

ISBN 9781464201325

In Phoenix, Arizona, Felix Smith visits the office of private investigators David Mapstone and Mike Peralta. The former historian and ex-deputy sheriff, and at one time sheriff notice how much the elegantly garbed Smith stands out in their dumpy office. He retains the partners with $10,000 in cash to look into the reported suicide of Grace Hunter.

In San Diego the retired hooker leaped from a nineteenth floor balcony to her death. Smith admits there is no evidence to the contrary to make a case for an accident or murder. The client leaves only to have his face blown up by an AK-47 in their parking lot. The two sleuths begin their inquiry in San Diego seeking Grace’s boyfriend Tim Lewis in Ocean Beach where Mapstone once lived. Tim says Scarlett, as Grace was called in America’s Finest City, is his girlfriend and mother of his child; unaware she is dead. He also admits that he and his Scarlett have deadly financial trouble with America’s Finest Pimp.

This tense David Mapstone mystery (see South Phoenix Rules) is an exciting whodunit that keeps the audience in suspense wondering what next. Although the bad guys are out of casting 101, readers will relish the two Night Detectives’ superb investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Night Terrors-Dennis Palumbo

Night Terrors

Dennis Palumbo

Poisoned Pen, May 7 2013, $24.95

ISBN 9781464201318

In Pittsburgh, the FBI quietly asks psychologist Dr. Daniel Rinaldi to help former FBI special agent Lyle Barnes deal with his experiences of hunting serial killers. Barnes was the best because he could get inside the heads of these predators, but now in retirement they get inside his head every time he tries to sleep. Adding to his Night Terrors is a serial killer targeting anyone involved in ending John Jessup’s homicidal reign; which includes Barnes who captured the psychopath and by extension Rinaldi may be on the murderer’s list.

At the same time, Wes Currim confesses to decapitating businessman Edward Meachem in Wheeling. Wes refuses to show the body unless the shrink who works with the Pittsburgh PD accompanies them. Thus at the request of Chief Block, Daniel arrives in nearby West Virginia as an obviously disturbed Wes takes him and WPD to the severed corpse. Wes’ mom Maggie believes her troubled son never killed the victim and pleads with Rinaldi to prove her contention while in Pittsburgh, the Jessup body count rises and Barnes vanishes from federal protective custody.

The third Daniel Rinaldi mystery (see Fever Dream and Mirror Image), is a fabulous police procedural as the protagonist struggles between patient confidentiality and law enforcement needs. Fast-paced throughout, readers will relish this twisting thriller as Wheeling and Pittsburgh keep Dr. Rinaldi and two police departments overworked trying to prevent further homicides.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel-Ginger Garrett

Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel

Ginger Garrett

David C. Cook, May 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781434765963

Phoenician King Eth-Baal arranges a marriage between his daughter Jezebel and Samarian King Ahab. Jezebel worshiped a pantheon of gods that ordered followers to sacrifice infants. Ahab worships the one God who always lives with us.

The prophet Elijah warns the royal couple, but Queen Jezebel is a non-believer and King Ahab lives to please his beautiful wife. Ahab’s top advisor Obadiah begs his king to care for his people’s needs and heed the words of the great prophet, but initially fails to move him as his wicked wife has him captured with desire. When Ahab begins to realize how cruel his spouse is; his love turns to loathing especially when she dares to challenge the God of the Jews who she assumes will bend to her will. Elijah accepts her challenge.

The latest Lost Loves of the Bible (see Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah) is a super rendition of the Old Testament story of Jezebel in which Ginger Garrett fills in the blanks with a reasonable explanation as to how she became the biblical queen of mean. Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Yesterday’s Echo-Matt Coyle

Yesterday’s Echo

Matt Coyle

Oceanview, May 7, 2013

ISBN: 9781608090761

Eight years ago in Santa Barbara someone murdered Colleen Cahill. The media and the police suspected her husband Rick, a cop. Though never convicted of any crime, feeling guilty Rick was forced to leave the police as pariahs like him never receive back-up.

In the present, his wife’s homicide has become a cold case while Rick co-owns with Turk Muldoon’s Steak House in La Jolla. When Rick meets TV reporter Melody Malana, he believes he has a second chance until she is arrested for murder. Melody pleads with Rick to help her, but he knows he must say no. Instead, he tries to help her only to become once again the prime suspect in a murder with cops and others hunting him like a rabid dog.

Yesterday’s Echo is a terrific thriller starring a protagonist who understands first hand déjà vu. Rick’s options are surrender, die or find the killer as his ex-peers salivate with a second chance to destroy him; the woman he loves he distrusts; and clues lead him to people who wants secrets kept buried along with him. Readers will enjoy Rick’s investigation that also takes him back eight years.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Star Dawning-Elyse Hendricks

Dark Star Dawning

Elyse Hendricks

ImaJinn, Apr 30 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781610261272

Victoria Hart grew up a wanderer as her mother could not stay in any one place for very long. When Tori managed to stay in a residence for more than a cup of milk, she was with a foster family. She relishes settling at one address in Hope, Ohio where she runs an antique shop.

Widower Captain Reese Taren arrives in Hope seeking the Heart of Destiny, an artifact he does not believe exists but his Emperor sent him to find it to save what is left of his world from alien invaders. He kidnaps Tori who Reese thinks is the key to destroying the feral enemy he loathes for killing his wife, child and others. However, he never expected her to be his Heart of Destiny, but knows what must happen to his beloved to save a world and perhaps a universe.

Dark Star Dawning is an entertaining science fiction romance starring a heroic male and a bewildered female feeling out of her element within a worlds collide setting. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the dilemma the lead couple confronts as the risk for Tori is almost certain death, but doing nothing means billions die. Although the plot contains several inconsistencies, Elyse Hendricks provides an engaging sci fi love story.

Harriet Klausner

Shield of Sea and Space-Erin Hoffman

Shield of Sea and Space

Erin Hoffman

PYR, May 7 2013, $18.00

ISBN: 9781616147693

The Tesseract magic practitioner Vidarian Rulorat wants to avoid conflict for two powerful motives: his partner Ariadel and their newborn. However, desires do not always happen in real life as Vidarian knows his time at Calphille is ending soonest due to the devious machinations of the Alorean Import Company merchant cabal who want to control all magic on Andover. The affluent diabolical Alorean Import Company has goaded kingdoms into wars leaving nations bankrupt and in debt; forcing Vidarian to leave court seeking allies against the merchant cabal.

Vidarian opened the gate between worlds and freed Starhunter the goddess of chaos. She brought back wild magic to Andovar; leading to shape- changers and elemental technologies. The evil cabal needs to cleanse the realm of most of the newcomers in order to control all of the magic so as to complete their plan to rule the world.

The third Chaos Knight fantasy (see Sword of Fire and Sea and Lance of Earth and Sky) is an exhilarating thriller as a final war will determine the future of a world. With a shot at the military-industrial-congressional complex, fans will relish Kate Hoffman’s fabulous mythos as readers will believe in species like gryphons due to the actions of Altair and Khalesh who make the unbelievable believable.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Paige Torn-Erynn Mangum

Paige Torn

Erynn Mangum

Think, May 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781612912981

In Texas, Paige has no time for herself not even to properly sleep, eat or read the bible. She works at an adoption agency, teaches Sunday school, and volunteers/volunteered for all sorts of activity like planning a wedding anniversary party and administering a fund raiser. Now her BFF Layla is engaged to Peter, a man Paige dislikes and wants her to help plan her wedding. Naturally Paige agrees as she cannot say no.

At church, Paige meets new member Tyler. She is attractive to him and though a pensive person by nature he shows his interest in her. However, mentally fatigued Paige has no time to see anyone so she tries to keep her distance.

The first Paige Alder inspirational is a warm look at a person who’s DNA insists she help others even at the cost of herself; First lady Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” is not in her vocabulary. The message is am addition to the Golden Rule "Do unto others (and yourself) as you would have them do unto you". Paige needs to learn to take care of her body, mind and spirit while also balancing the demands of others; as God gave us our humanity to treasure as sacred.

Harriet Klausner

The Sound of One Hand Killing-Teresa Solana, translated by Peter Bush

The Sound of One Hand Killing

Teresa Solana, translated by Peter Bush

Bitter Lemon, May 7 2013, $14.95

ISBN 9781908524065

In Barcelona detective twins Eduard Martínez and Borja Masdéu return to their office only to find someone broke in and trashed the place. Heeding the advice of a friend, best-selling noir author Teresa Solana hires the siblings to investigate alternative therapies for a noir she plans to write while she stays in a vacant apartment upstairs.

Instead they find the apartment’s occupant Brian Morgan dead inside, but Borja’s Assyrian statue, the Lioness of Baghdad, he stashed there remains safe there. Although unaware that the corpse is CIA, the brothers sign up for various New Age classes. Only they find a director Dr. Horaci Bou murdered by a Buddha statue.

The third Borja and Eduard Barcelona satirical Noir (see A Shortcut to Paradise and A Not So Perfect Crime) continues to lampoon the sub-genre while this time also mocking New Age saviors. The enjoyable storyline rotates between the two homicides and Borja's smuggling efforts. However it is the amusing skewing of con artists (especially believers who con themselves) preying on those struggling to find healing for even regular life ills in order to live as a norm in an abnormal land.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Days-Caitlin Kittredge

Dark Days

Caitlin Kittredge

St. Martin's, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312388263

The Prince of Hell Belial pleads with Jack Winter to help him remain on his throne in Hell; the demon’s best argument is that his pretender opponent is much worse. Jack prefers to refuse as he knows never to deal with a demon as lying is natural for Hell’s denizen; but visions warn him that the demonic rival is the most powerful ever known and plans to cement control by causing the barrier between the Black and the human realms to shatter. However, it is one detail in the omen that has Jack agreeing to assist Belial; he sees his beloved wife Pete Caldecott dead if the adversary takes the throne.

To succeed in saving Pete’s life, Jack realizes he has only one option. Breaking a personal vow of never, Jack pledges allegiance to a malevolence worse than Belial though he knows the likely cost will be never seeing Pete or their cherished daughter again; but he also believes that is the only way she lives.

The latest Jack Winter urban fantasy (see Devil's Business, Street Magic and Bone Gods) is a dark violent affair in which enemies become allies without any trust. Dark Days (and nights) is a strong entry as Caitlin Kittredge sends our hero through a Hell of a story as the noble Jack stubbornly struggles to more than just survive, but to be with his beloved females.

Harriet Klausner

The Eternity Curse-Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Curse

Julie Kagawa

Harlequin Teen, Apr 30 2013, $16.99

ISBN: 9780373210695

After Allie and her beloved Zeke reached the sanctuary of Eden; she had to leave the island because she was a vampire following a brutal rabid assault forced Kanin the vampire to change her to save her life (see The Immortal Rules). She also has a second reason for her departure from the only known human stronghold as she heeds the call of Kanin’s blood.

Sarren the crazed vampire has attacked Kanin. Allie feels a compulsion to rescue her sire. The Vampire Prince Jackal reluctantly joins her on her quest as he prefers to stake her again than ally with her. As she follows her blood’s call, she returns to the outer Fringe where she scavenged for scraps as a child. Her welcome home is a new strain of the Red Lung plague that devastated humanity but this strain also threatens vampires.

The second Blood of Eden teenage fantasy continues Allie’s journey in a fully developed changing dystopian world. Fast-paced from the moment the heroine follows the blood, readers will relish the twisting storyline as the audience and the protagonist wonder who should she trust.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pastors’ Wives-Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

Pastors’ Wives

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

Plume, Apr 30 2013, $16.00

ISBN: 9780452298828

Protestant Jerry and Catholic Ruthie met at NYU. He became a successful Wall St. executive and thus they led an upper class Manhattan lifestyle until Jerry read the ad for an Associate Pastor at the Greenleaf Evangelical Megachurch in Atlanta and decided he found his calling. Though Ruthie has doubts greater than that reported about Thomas in the bible she honors her husband by going with him.

The Greenleaf Pastor Aaron and his wife Candace lead a major flock. Candace is ferocious when it comes to her family and her church; but also expects total loyalty, obedience and Godly perfection from those she protects. She sets up an Interfaith Council consisting of her husband, an Inman and a Rabbi.

Ginger dreams of being a widow raising her children though she insists she does not want her beloved husband Timothy. She struggles with being his pastor’s wife as Timothy who runs Newleaf sees his mother as the ideal and no one can come close to Candace’s paragon level; especially someone with Ginger’s sordid past.

Pastors’ Wives is a deep look at living inside a religious fishbowl in which everyone diligently watches your every move though motives vary from emulation to envy to gotya. Though the males are not as developed as their spouses, fans will enjoy this leisurely paced storyline that rotates the lead as wifely secrets lead to conflict and doubts of faith.

Harriet Klausner

Not By Sight-Kathy Herman

Not By Sight

Kathy Herman

David C. Cook, May 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780781408042

In Arkansas, Jimmy Dale Oldham goes out hunting as a sign of passage though he loathes killing anything. However, a bearded older man tells the lad he shot and killed a person. The man tells Jimmy Dale to go home while he cleans up the mess.

Five years have passed without a word since the Cummings patriarch Micah and their youngest daughter Riley Jo vanished; leaving behind his wife Kate and three other children. Kate runs the Flutter’s Café though she has given up hope of her spouse and child coming home and like her kids suffers from a lack of closure. Her oldest child sixteen year old Abby sees a girl who looks like Riley Jo. She takes a picture of the girl just before a bearded man hustles her away. Abby tries to convince her mom with the cellphone picture, but Kate rejects the premise that Riley Jo lives nearby. With her BFF Jay, Abby makes inquiries but soon someone threatens the pair to back off or else.

The first powerful Ozark Mountain inspirational tale is a terrific tense thriller that readers will relish as the incomparable Kathy Herman combines a family tragedy with survivors who gave up on their “unkind God” for abandoning them. Action-packed with a fabulous twist, fans will enjoy Not by Sight as the Cummings brood lost their faith, but Abby, with a foxhole mentality of praying for divine help, refuses to give up on finding her sister and her Daddy.

Harriet Klausner