Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stolen Remains-Christine Trent

Stolen Remains Christine Trent Kensington, Apr 29 2014, $15.00 ISBN 9780758293244 In 1869, English Viscount Raybourn, Anthony Fairmont, is sick of Egypt as he can’t wait to go home; he cannot fathom why The Prince Of Wales Bertie loves this place. Still with his mission negotiating a deal to construct the Suez Canal finished, Fairmont will soon sail for England. Just a few hours after reaching England, Anthony commits suicide. With her mom ill, undertaker Violet Harper leaves America for London. Never forgetting how caring Violet was when her beloved Albert died eight years ago, Queen Victoria orders her to treat her late close friend Viscount Raybourn with the same respect and look for clues as to how he died as the ruler doubts he took his life. Violet finds the grieving extended family not upset with the patriarch’s death or very nice. When his corpse vanishes and his housekeeper Mrs. Peet found hung, Violet also uncovers ties between the deceased, Egypt and the British Kingdom’s highest hierarchal level. The second Lady of Ashes Victorian mystery is an entertaining complicated whodunit. The storyline uses nineteenth century Egyptology, Victorian above and below the stairs mores, and the Suez Canal project to provide the audience with a strong backdrop for a fascinating investigation although the climax seems contrived. Harriet Klausner >

Antiques Con-Barbara Allan

Antiques Con Barbara Allan Kensington, Apr 29 2014, $24.00 ISBN: 9780758263643 Accompanied by blind Shih Tzu Sushi, septuagenarian Vivian “Mother” Borne and divorced Brandy “Daughter” Borne leave Serenity, Iowa overlooking the Mississippi River to attend a comic book convention in New York overlooking the Hudson. The dealers plan to sell an original Superman drawing from the 1940s. Due to a reservation fiasco at the Hotel Pennsylvania, they obtain a free room; convention organizer Tommy Bufford’s suite. That first night in the suite, the Borne pair frightens a room invader. However, Bufford has no such luck, as someone murders Tommy by stabbing him in his chest with an award shaped like a pen. Knowing from his brother (Brandy’s lover) the duet’s tendencies towards trouble by investigating crimes, NYPD Detective Cassato warns them to stay out of his inquiry. Vivian heads to New Jersey to meet the local mob chief at the Badda-Boom Club while Brandy learns who had motive to murder Bufford and killed the organizer’s assistant as well. The latest Trash 'n' Treasures amateur sleuth (see Antiques Disposal and Antiques Bizarre) is the usual fabulous mirthful madcap murder mystery starring a dynamic duet dueling each other over who gets in the last word though they go separate ways straddling the Hudson. Fans will enjoy this amusing over the top of Washington Heights cozy due to the jocular rivalry between Mother and Daughter. Harriet Klausner

Tell Me You’re Sorry-Kevin O’Brien

Tell Me You’re Sorry Kevin O’Brien Pinnacle, Apr 29 2014, $9.99 ISBN: 9780786031603 In 2008, thirtyish Sandy Ingalls dies from a stroke leaving behind her husband Dick and their three kids. One year later Dick married Vanessa. An intruder explains to him she killed his wife, and paralyzed him and his children by what she put in their sauce. As she leaves she asks him if he is sorry while burning down the home with the Ingalls inside. In 2012, Stephanie Coburn cannot believe her older sister Rebecca Hamner committed suicide. Not long afterward, Rebecca’s grieving husband Scott remarries only to have his new wife kill him and his kids from his first marriage before committing suicide. Though she did not know the second wife, Stephanie knew her sister did not hate her spouse as a suicide note said; nor would she take her life as family meant everything to Becky. Stephanie soon learns of two other families in which a widower remarried shortly after his first wife died; only to be murdered along with his second spouse and their children. When police ignore her claim of a serial killer, Stephanie investigates; which leads her to Ryan Farrell, whose family was a victim of the same M.O. From the opening murder scene to the final confrontation, Kevin O’Brien hooks the audience with the psychopath intruding on families. Although the villainess’s appearance for most of this strong suspense is limited, she makes a macabre impression on readers as she always leaves the helpless male knowing that he and his loved ones will soon die with the taunt “are you sorry now?” Even as the female killer's skills seem improbable, Tell Me You’re Sorry is an exciting taut thriller. Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 28, 2014

Breaking Point-Lindsay McKenna

Breaking Point Lindsay McKenna Harlequin HQN, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778676 In Operations Camp Bravo FOB, SEAL Chief Hampton introduces the latest team member 18 Delta Medic Baylee-Ann Thorn who he explains is part of a top secret program Operation Shadow Warriors testing whether women can perform as part of a cohesive unit in combat. Her Alpha Platoon new teammates are less than welcoming as none accept a woman on their squad; that is with one exception E-6 Gabe Griffin who believes her size, apparent skill and demeanor will make her an asset in a hot fire scenario. As the SEALs reject her, Bay loses confidence that she can do the job. Only Gabe, who believes in her, encourages her. As they fall in love, a deadly taboo in the amorphous frontlines, Bay is baptized under fire. This Operation Shadow Warriors military romance (see Risk Taker) is a strong timely tale as women increasingly are in combat situations due to the nature of modern day on the ground war conditions in the Afghan theater and elsewhere. Bay makes the storyline realistic as she understands their macho reluctance and the Degree of Risk she faces if her comrades in arms fail to have her back. On the surface, Gabe is the typical male lone wolf (with a few surprises like an MBA), but finds his heart resuscitated by his love for Bay. This author always writes a great tale. Harriet Klausner

When We Met-Susan Mallery

When We Met Susan Mallery Harlequin HQN, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778652 In Fool’s Gold, California, though he lost his wife Marie and their son Marcus several years ago, Widower Angel Whittaker still grieves for them even while attracted to newcomer public relations specialist Taryn Crawford. Knowing he needs to become part of the community, the CDS bodyguard school trainer offers his services to Mayor Marsha. She assigns him as Grove Keeper of the Acorns. Believing he can handle any mission after years in combat and expecting to meet teenage or tweener boys, the former Special Ops officer panics when his unit turns out to be eight seven-year-old girls. Angel offers Taryn a deal that would benefit both of them. She helps him with his girls and he cooperates with her company Score’s campaign to persuade CDS to hire her and her three ex jocks partners as their PR firm. As she struggles with adjusting to the relocation from Los Angeles to this welcoming town, Taryn and her veteran agree to be partners with benefits. However neither expected a deep need to turn those benefits into a lifetime shared entitlement. The latest Fool’s Gold contemporary (see A Fool’s Gold Christmas and the “Only” trilogy, Etc.) is an engaging amusing romance with each bringing special “bodyguards” to the mix; though his little girls easily tackle her former NFL players. Series fans will enjoy the latest stay in this magical town while also anticipating the sacking of the jocks to follow. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Dance In Blood Velvet-Freda Warrington

A Dance In Blood Velvet Freda Warrington Titan Books, Apr 8 2014, $14.95 www.titanbooks.com ISBN: 9781781167069 Following A Taste of Blood Wine, Charlotte decides to unite for eternity with her beloved Karl by converting with his assistance from human to vampire. Though physically successful in her change, Charlotte struggles with mental issues as she feels schizoid with the blood lust that ecstatically quenches her needs but also leaves her with a remorseful bitter aftertaste. Still Charlotte rationalizes that being with Karl is worth giving up her humanity. After ages away, Karl’s former lover Katerina escapes from frozen Weisskalt into the Crystal Ring with one objective. She will do anything, including killing Karl’s present paramour, to get her ex-lover back at her side. Filled with anguish and believing she cannot compete with her beautiful and glamorous rival, Charlotte turns away from her vampire and towards mesmerizing Violette Lenoir the prima ballerina. However, as an ice maiden descendant of Lilith, Violette is a dangerous individual for human and vampire to associate with. The reprint of the second exciting Blood Wine Sequence romantic fantasy is an entertaining sequel though it lacks the briskness of the incredible opening act; which as an aside to newcomers should be read first. Character driven by the competing three strong paranormal females while on the other hand Karl the blood sucking hunk seems comparatively anemic in need of a transplant when being compared to this dynamic trio. Subgenre fans will enjoy Charlotte’s adventures as a vampire in love (and lust). Harriet Klausner

The Closing-Ken Oder

The Closing Ken Oder Skipjack Publishing, Apr 23 2014, $14.99 www.SkipjackPublishing.com ISBN: 9781939889164 In 1968, former Selk County Commonwealth Prosecutor Nate Abbitt tells death row inmate Kenneth Deatherage that his lawyer Swiller died from a heart attack before filing an appeal and the Supreme Court put a moratorium on state executions while studying the constitutionality. Finally the defrocked DA, who as an alcoholic fixed several cases before being removed, says he will act as Deatherage’s defense attorney. Deatherage insists the Buck County oligopoly framed him for the rape and murder of Darlene Updike. Nate rejects Deatherage’s conspiracy theory; as he believes his client is guilty, but knows as the defendant’s attorney that should not matter. He obtains Swiller’s file that contains almost nothing and reads the court record to find the attorney did nada for Deatherage. When he calls Deatherage’s mom for information, the woman refuses to get involved with her son she claims is evil. Even more shocking is the executor of Swiller’s estate mentions three other Buck County capital offense cases in which the lawyer mounted no defense. Stunned by what he read and not read, Nate heads to Buck County to meet with Commonwealth Prosecutor Maupin and others; but is unprepared for the nightmarish reality he faces there. The Closing is an intriguing legal thriller that looks deeply at corruption in the jurisprudence system. The recovering alcoholic protagonist is a fascinating lead as he begins to regain his lost life when he accepts the harm he committed to innocent people, his wife, his mother, his mentor and himself. Although the enjoyable storyline spins from a superb capital case to a more conventional David vs. Goliaths thriller, fans will appreciate Ken Oder’s strong historical fiction. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Live To See Tomorrow-Iris Johansen

Live To See Tomorrow Iris Johansen St. Martin's, Apr 29 2014, $27.99 ISBN: 9781250020048 In Hong Kong CIA operative Catherine Ling looks forward to spending time with the two males she loves. She hopes to connect with her tweener son Luke who recently escaped from an abduction and does not know how to relate to her; but knows her mentor Hu Chang, who saved her from her teenage life on the streets of Hong Kong (See What Doesn't Kill You), will help both of them. When CIA supervisor Venable asks Ling to mount a rescue in Tibet, she says no just as she did on the Guatemala mission. However Chang feels a debt obligation so accepts the assignment; Catherine reluctantly joins him though she fears Luke will feel his mother abandoned him again. Chang and Ling journey to Tibet where they attempt to free American journalist Erin Sullivan from evil Kadmus whose Himalayan fortress seems impenetrable. Ling meets an enigmatic ally who may prove to be an adversary, Richard Cameron; as the CIA agent notices many locals worship this “Guardian" while others want him dead. The latest Catherine Ling CIA paranormal mission (see Chasing the Night costarring with Eve Duncan) is an exhilarating over the top of the Himalayas thriller. The relationship between Ling and Chang is fatherly, and with Luke estranged; but hers with Cameron melts the snow though the heroine remains undecided as to friend or foe in spite of their heated telepathic connection. Series fans will appreciate Ling’s journey to what may turn out to be Shangri-La or a frozen hell. Harriet Klausner

Freehold-Michael Z. Williamson

Freehold Michael Z. Williamson Baen, May 6 2014, $25.00 ISBN: 9781476736341 UNPF Sergeant Second Class Kendra Pacelli looks forward to the end of her short-term admin assignment providing assistance to the Logistic Support Function stationed on Mtali. Besides cramped working conditions and lousy quarters, troops on eighteen month deployments loathe short termers like her. Her old lover MP Tom Anderson calls from his personal line to hers with a warning that the UN Bureau of Security pursues those named in the conspiracy of stealing millions in weapons to include an innocent auditor who reported the discrepancy named Pacelli. She realizes she may not survive the interrogation as the Bureau of Security does not allow innocence to get in the way of insuring the government is not embarrassed or scandalized and that only one planet would not expedite her back to the UN. Thus Pacelli flees to the independent twenty-third century old Freehold of Grainne Embassy requesting asylum. Soon after her arrival, Kendra obtains permission to travel to the independent planet. There she must adapt to an entirely different culture based on very limited government intrusion into people’s lives; her new BF Rob and her new BFF Marta help her. Still with her only skill being the military, Kendra enlists fearing that the powerful totalitarian empire will hunt her as no one lives who can humiliate the government. The special edition reprint of Freehold is a fascinating comparison between two polar opposite societies. Whereas the UN is a rigid totalitarian empire, Freehold is a libertarian former UN colony. Michael Z. Williamson pulls no punches as to which side he is on as the overall exciting storyline (except for some passive pontifications) is an entertaining good and evil human rights science fiction thriller. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Watch-Sergei Lukyanenko; Andrew Bromfield (translator)

New Watch Sergei Lukyanenko; Andrew Bromfield (translator) Harper, Apr 22 2014, $15.99 ISBN: 9780062310071 Young Innokentii Grigorievich Tolkov and Higher Other Anton Gorodetsky meet at the Moscow Airport. To the Light Magician’s shock, the child displays signs of being the extremely rare Prophet Other, who foresees his own future when Innokentii shouts at his mom Tamara that the plane they are about to board will crash. Anton intervenes by persuading Tamara that she left the iron on at home; so she and her son race back their abode to keep the place from burning down. Soon afterward the plane crashes. However, the child’s public hysteria also awakens a sleeping beast arising from the darkness. This predator targets the child-clairvoyant while Anton vows to protect the lad, his mom and keep his loved ones especially his tweener daughter Nadya the Absolute Enchantress safe; while the world stands on the brink of extinction. The fifth Watch urban fantasy novel (see Twilight Watch and The Last Watch) is a superb entry that combines end of the world danger with well-placed humor and wry musings. The hero struggles with decisions in which regardless with what he selects most likely beloved family, allies and civilians (including people he “influenced” to ignore their free will and heed his “advice”) will die. Readers will relish Sergei Lukyanenko’s powerful tale as Twilight may be falling if Anton, who knows the world is at risk but his concerns are personal re Nadya, and the Others fail at their mission. Harriet Klausner

Rise & Shine-Sandra D. Bricker

Rise & Shine Sandra D. Bricker River North, May 1 2014, $14.99 www.RiverNorthFiction.com ISBN: 9780802406309 In 2005 Shannon Malone and Edmund Ridgeway married. Their bliss ends on their honeymoon in Fiji when Shannon is injured on a dive that left her comatose. At the Draper Long Term Care Facility, Neurologist Dr. Daniel Petros welcomes Shannon back when she awakens from her nearly ten-year coma to learn she missed most of her twenties and that her Edmund died from cancer. Turning to her faith for guidance, Shannon struggles between her true memories and her favorite TV shows she “watched” while comatose. Daniel, her three aunts and her friends help her adapt to a world that has radically changed while she was sleeping as cell phones rule the planet and books are read on e-readers like Kindle. Meanwhile Edmund's sister Millicent demands her former sister-in-law relinquish any right Shannon thinks she may have to the Ridgeway estate. However fate strikes Shannon again when she is knocked out by a tornado. Using a different remedy than the one he used for most of those ten years, Daniel hopes his kiss will wake up his Sleeping Beauty. This contemporary Sleeping Beauty is a fun lighthearted romance due to the wonderful protagonist whose troubled adjustment to the changes in the world (including her husband’s death and how old her beloved aunts have become, and technology) makes for a delightful read. Whereas Shannon is Sleeping Beauty; Daniel is a caring Prince Charming who watched over her for most of her coma; her aunts are fairy godmothers; and her sister-in-law the villain. Readers will enjoy this sweet second chance at life tale. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hanging By A Hair-Nancy J. Cohen

Hanging By A Hair Nancy J. Cohen Five Star Publishing, Apr 18 2014, $25.95 ISBN 9781432828141 Dalton and Marla Vail are excited to move into their new house in the Royal Oaks neighborhood. However, the couple runs into problems with their next door neighbor Alan Krabber who parks a boat in his driveway and begins construction of a fence on Vail property; both in violation of the Royal Oaks Home Owner Association's rules; which he as the pompous president believes need not apply to him but strictly enforced for everyone else. At a meeting to resolve the conflict, the home owners force an angry Alan to adhere to their constitution. The day after the tumultuous meeting, Krabber is found dead in what looks like a suicide. Palm Haven Police Department Detective Dalton initially leads the official inquiry, but is quickly taken off the case when the Home Owner Association incident between the victim and him becomes known. Though her mom designated her as Seder hostess for this Passover, which will eat up a lot of the hairstylist’s time; not one to sit idly when her spouse is a prime suspect, Marla investigates only to find several Royal Oak homeowners and business owners with a grudge towards the vile obnoxious Krabber. One of them wants Marla only to taste bitter herbs. The latest Bad Hair Day Mystery is an enjoyable, timely (with Passover just ending) amateur sleuth as marvelous Marla balances solving the case without too many knocks and preparing for the family horde to descend on her and Dalton for the Seder. The whodunit is entertaining with many viable suspects and red herrings; while adding depth and deftly interwoven into the plot are references to Passover including recipes. Harriet Klausner

Secrecy-Rupert Thomson

Secrecy Rupert Thomson Other Press, Apr 22 2014, $16.95 ISBN: 9781590516850 In 1691, Sicilian artist Zumbo sculptures in wax masterpieces of victims who died violent deaths. Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III admires his craftsmanship and invites the artist to come to Florence. Zumbo understands the importance of a powerful patron’s protection so accepts the offer. In Florence, Cosimo still misses his wife Marguerite-Louise d'Orléans who deserted him. He secretly commissions the sculptor to create the perfect life-sized female beauty. Zumbo obtains a corpse from the mortuary of a woman found in a canal. He wonders who killed the victim, what the motive was and is the mysterious dog’s head etched deeply into the top of her spine the work of the dangerous Dominican persecutors. Padre Stufa the Dominican wants Zumbo’s head, but impatiently waits for the artist to fall out of grace with the duke. When the Sicilian falls in love with Faustina, her secrecy may be the avenue for Stufa to achieve his objective as the Padre seeks to uncover what she diligently hides. This is a great historical biographical fictional account of the real Baroque sculptor Gaetano Giulio Zumbo. The atmospheric storyline transports the audience mostly to Florence towards the end of the seventeenth century though there are other references to France and Sicily with Zumbo telling much of the tale in a flashback while dying from natural causes a decade later. Readers will relish this strong entry as life in 1691 Florence is very dangerous even for a favorite of the Medici Duke. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Life Apart-L. Y. Marlowe

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

On The Rocks-Erin Duffy

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everything to Lose -Andrew Gross

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

Untamed Wolf -Linda O. Johnston

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Possessed By A Warrior-Sharon Ashwood

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

Seduce Me-Jo Leigh

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

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

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Make Me Melt-Karen Foley

Make Me Melt Karen Foley Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798018 Judge William Banks gave sixteen years old Jason Cooper a choice between a path to college and a stay in juvenile detention. Jason accepted William’s offer and moved in with the judge and his family. Five years later, William’s sweet sixteen daughter Caroline is attracted to Jason who is so different than the nearby Stanford law students who work for her dad and her high school cronies. Though he wants her, out of respect for his mentor, Jason rejects her advances culminating when he refused her in his bed seduction. A dozen years since Jason did the most difficult thing he ever did by saying no to Caroline, someone shoots the judge. While William is in ICU, now a U.S. Marshal Jason returns from San Diego to keep Caroline safe. The desire he barely controlled over a decade ago that she raised in him explodes as both succumb to their attraction. The latest U.S. Marshals romantic suspense (see Hard To Hold) is a thrilling heated second chance contemporary starring two wonderful leads. The romance and mystery are well written fun, but Jason steals the show with his at risk youthful selecting the difficult moral high road over instant gratification and continues to display strong ethics when it comes to the Banks. Harriet Klausner

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful- Katie Ganshert

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful Katie Ganshert WaterBrook Press, Apr 15 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781601425904 Feeling all alone, abandoned by family and God, fourteen year old Ivy Clark left Greenbrier, South Carolina to become a fashion model. Over the next decade she proved to be very good at her vocation since clients sought her out. She is also hurt by the people in her life as she desperately needed someone who would break down her barriers to love her as Ivy and not just for being a success. Now at twenty-four, Ivy’s career is in rapid decline as the camera shows her age to those who pay the bills demanding a younger face. Ivy returns to Greenbrier and works at her deeply devout stepmother Marilyn’s bridal shop ironically to include modeling the purity white gowns that constantly remind her of being unwanted damaged goods. Ivy’s former photographer Davis Knight left his camera behind to follow her to Greenbrier where he also once lived; he obtains maintenance work at a church. He always could see passed her mask to her inner insecurities and makes it clear to her he wants more between them; but she rejects him though she feels the same. This is a wonderful Christian inspirational drama starring three emotionally lonely people. The lead trio’s relationship with the Lord will fascinate the audience as Marilyn remains a true believer though disappointed while Ivy and to a lesser degree Davis feel God wants nothing to do with them leaving them in exile. Though the climax is too neat even for a romance, the journey to redemption is incredible. Harriet Klausner

The Steady Running Of The Hour-Justin Go

The Steady Running Of The Hour Justin Go Simon & Schuster, Apr 15 2014, $26.00 ISBN 9781476704586 In 2004, JF Prichard of London-based Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors contacts American Tristan Campbell. He explains to the recent college graduate that he may be heir to a trust fund established in 1924 by mountain climber Ashley Walshingham, but never claimed by his beneficiary at that time Imogen Soames-Andersson. Over the next eight decades the firm searched for the rightful heir, but until recently found no clues. Even now the solicitors remain unsure if Tristan is the one though they have some evidence pointing in his direction. Tristan arrives in Europe where he seeks proof that he is Ashley’s descendent. In 1917, Ashley and Imogen share a tryst fueled by love before he goes off to the continent to fight in the trench war. Though fortunate to survive, Ashley is not the same. By 1924, the daredevil mountaineer decides to climb Mount Everest. He dies in the attempt leaving behind his vast fortune to his beloved Imogen though he never saw her after he left for the war. Now with two months to go before the trust fund is turned over to charity on the eightieth anniversary of Ashley’s death, Tristan is spellbound by the man’s adventures. This terrific character-driven tale deftly rotates the two subplots though the WWI and post war eras being the stronger with a timely reminder that combat veterans’ damaged souls may lead to many unable to return to the civilian life even to waiting love; Ashley suffered from a harrowing stint in the trenches of France that changed him. Although Tristan’s romance feels unnecessary and forced, readers will appreciate this entertaining drama especially Ashley’s awesome adventures. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Scene of the Crime: Return to Mystic Lake- Carla Cassidy

Scene of the Crime: Return to Mystic Lake Carla Cassidy Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373697618 FBI special agent Jackson Revannaugh works a missing persons’ case involving a family of three in Bachelor Moon, Louisiana. However, as he struggles to make progress, he is reassigned to help FBI agent Marjorie Clinton on a similar investigation in Mystic Lake near Kansas City, Missouri that includes a vanished Fed and her second husband. The pair of agents are total opposites in demeanor, which enhanced by an unwanted attraction rubs each the wrong way. However, their inquiry into the missing couple leads to an unknown adversary trying to kill them. As Jackson and Marjorie have each other’s back, they fall in love, but each also fears their respective dark secrets triggered the attempts on their lives. The latest Scene of the Crime romantic police procedural (see Scene of the Crime: Return to Bachelor Moon and Scene of the Crime: Deadman’s Bluff) is an exciting action-packed investigative thriller. Fast-paced the search for the missing people grips the reader from the moment we meet the leads and never let’s go while setting up future tales too. Although the romance is more subgenre standard, fans will enjoy this taut mystery. Harriet Klausner

Fearless Hope-Serena B. Miller

Fearless Hope Serena B. Miller Howard Books/Simon and Schuster, Apr 8 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781451660371 In Holmes County, Ohio, Titus Schrock spends $10,000 on a bull that frightens his wife Hope who pleads with him to sell the violent animal even at a loss. He refuses as he believes the bull will enable him to buy a farm instead of renting two acres. After tucking in bed their five years old daughter Carrie and four years old son Adam, pregnant Hope watches in horror when the bull gores her husband. Using the name Nate Scott, author Logan Parker turns to alcohol to cope with the pressure from his fiancée Marla and recent bad reviews on his latest work. Marla has to go Holmes County to buy Amish goods for a client and insists Logan accompany her. Logan notices a farmhouse that for no reason seems familiar though he never has been to Ohio before. Marla is cynical, his mother acts strange and his agent fears he lost his mind; yet Logan buys the house. He hires Hope as his housekeeper while he frighteningly finds other familiarities. As the Amish widow to her chagrin and the New York writer to his awe fall in love, Logan finds other anomalies that shake his world almost as much as Hope and her children do. This Buckeye State Amish romance (see An Uncommon Grace and Hidden Mercies) is an engaging tale due to the delightful déjà vu mystery haunting the hero; though readers will guess what is happening. Due to the fully developed lead couple, her children and the Amish community, the romance also is fun even as the subplot follows the expected course. Additionally there is a bonus account of An Amish Wedding Invitation to a real ceremony. Harriet Klausner >

The Hurlyburly's Husband-Jean Teulé and Alison Anderson (translator)

The Hurlyburly's Husband Jean Teulé and Alison Anderson (translator) Gallic, Apr 15 2014, $15.95 www.gallic.com ISBN: 9781906040659 In 1663 the Marquis de Montespan Louis-Henri de Pardaillan Gondrin and Françoise de Rochechouart de Mortemart, who begins to use the name Athénaïs, marry. In love with each other, the newlyweds feel blessed to have found one another. However, love is not enough to pay the bills of an aristocratic couple living the good life well above their means. To bring in needed income and become a favorite of King Louis XIV, Louis-Henri enlists in the army though he finds the front unappealing. In the new Palace of Versailles, Queen Marie-Thérèse employs Athénaïs as a lady-in-waiting. Feeling out of place in the decadent Sun King’s palace, Athénaïs pleads with Montespan for them to leave immediately for Paris, but he refuses. Soon afterward, the monarch sees ‘hurluberlu’ blond curled Athénaïs and makes her his royal mistress. While his wife becomes the talk of the kingdom, as the latest lover of the king, Montespan is expected to ferme la bouche and quietly enjoy the benefits. Instead unlike the cuckold behavior of his peers who take the money silently, he publicly displays his dismay as the victim who wants his beloved wife returned to him immediately. Based on a true seventeenth century triangle, The Hurlyburly’s Husband is a dark comedy starring a fascinating hero who will remind readers of Quixote and his changing from innocent to obsessed. Character-driven by the lead couple, readers will appreciate Jean Teule’s latest witty tale (see The Suicide Shop) as Montespan rejects the acceptable norm and “willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause” (The Impossible Dream lyrics by Joe Darion). Harriet Klausner

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride-Caro Carson

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride Caro Carson Harlequin Special Edition, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373658169 In Austin, West Central Texas Hospital cardiologist Dr. Quinn MacDowell meets realtor Diana Connor at a major charity event in which her boss assigned her as his next to last choice (eight before her rejected the ticket) to give a business card to every doctor in attendance. Though he feels the time is right to find a woman to forge a relationship with like his brother recently has (see The Doctor’s Former Fiancée), he limits his pool to the medical world and definitely not a crazy realtor. Known for her matchmaking proclivity, Diana believes she has found her life mate in Quinn. However, the heart doctor rejects her as he finds the effervescent Diana too distastefully vivacious for him. Diana tries her best to get Quinn to recognize her as the only woman for him, but he refuses to acknowledge her as his beloved. Finally giving up, Diana concludes her cardiologist will never mend her broken heart. This Doctors MacDowell Texas romance is an amusing lighthearted contemporary starring seemingly total-opposites in every way, even apparently when it comes to falling in love. Mindful of the 1960s movie Tammy & The Doctor but with a twenty-first century spin, readers will enjoy this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

The Argentine Triangle-Allan Topol

The Argentine Triangle Allan Topol Select Books, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 www.selectbooks.com ISBN: 9781590791417 Former CIA assassin Craig Page lost his position as the agency’s director when President Treadwell needed a sacrifice to keep a scandal out of the White House. Distrusting POTUS and his advisors especially Edward Bryce, Page ended his relationship with his girlfriend out of concern for her safety and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Instead of spying, Page drives racing cars in Europe. However, someone Page trusts, current CIA Director Betty Richards contacts him as his nation and a close mutual friend need him. While undercover seeking proof that Dirty War General Alfredo Estrada plans a coup d’etat, CIA agent Ted Dunn vanished in Argentina. Additionally, attracted to Buenos Aires La Nación reporter Gina Galindo, Bryce arranges arms shipments to loyal supporters of Estrada. The latest Craig Page CIA thriller is an action-packed tale; as the hero tries to expose the ugly history of Estrada during the vicious Dirty War so this brute loses support while also preventing the arms reaching him. Although the exhilarating storyline is much more straightforward than his previous missions (see The Russian Endgame, The Spanish Revenge and The China Gambit), readers will appreciate globetrotting Page’s South American escapades. Harriet Klausner >

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement-Tracie Peterson

A Sensible Arrangement Tracie Peterson Bethany House Publishers, Apr 1 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9780764210587 In 1892 Martha Olson knows she needs to move passed her grief that has crippled her since her beloved husband Thomas died in a ranching accident several years ago. The Widow believes to do so she must find a new spouse outside of Texas; especially leaving their ranch where the memories of happier times and the tragedy are everywhere. Thus Marty responds to a Dallas Daily-Times Herald add in which a Texan living in Colorado wants to meet a Lone Star lady. Affluent banker Widow Jake Wythe and Marty exchange correspondence and soon agree to marry once she arrives in Colorado. As they fall in love, her only regret at being Mrs. Wythe is his insistence they return home and buy a ranch. She also feels guilt for concealing one major secret from her spouse that she still owns the spread where her first husband died. A Sensible Arrangement is an entertaining inspirational Americana romance starring two lonely people finding love and solace with each other, but lies of omission threaten their happiness; both believe the truth will not set them free. Although the late nineteenth century storyline slows down with too much detail about the behavior of the upper class and the era’s banking (though I enjoyed the tidbits seemingly related to the upcoming Great Depression Panic of 1893). Readers will enjoy this tender tale of second chances. Harriet Klausner >

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride-Caro Carson

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride Caro Carson Harlequin Special Edition, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373658169 In Austin, West Central Texas Hospital cardiologist Dr. Quinn MacDowell meets realtor Diana Connor at a major charity event in which her boss assigned her as his next to last choice (eight before her rejected the ticket) to give a business card to every doctor in attendance. Though he feels the time is right to find a woman to forge a relationship with like his brother recently has (see The Doctor’s Former Fiancée), he limits his pool to the medical world and definitely not a crazy realtor. Known for her matchmaking proclivity, Diana believes she has found her life mate in Quinn. However, the heart doctor rejects her as he finds the effervescent Diana too distastefully vivacious for him. Diana tries her best to get Quinn to recognize her as the only woman for him, but he refuses to acknowledge her as his beloved. Finally giving up, Diana concludes her cardiologist will never mend her broken heart. This Doctors MacDowell Texas romance is an amusing lighthearted contemporary starring seemingly total-opposites in every way, even apparently when it comes to falling in love. Mindful of the 1960s movie Tammy & The Doctor but with a twenty-first century spin, readers will enjoy this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

The Argentine Triangle-Allan Topol

The Argentine Triangle Allan Topol Select Books, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 www.selectbooks.com ISBN: 9781590791417 Former CIA assassin Craig Page lost his position as the agency’s director when President Treadwell needed a sacrifice to keep a scandal out of the White House. Distrusting POTUS and his advisors especially Edward Bryce, Page ended his relationship with his girlfriend out of concern for her safety and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Instead of spying, Page drives racing cars in Europe. However, someone Page trusts, current CIA Director Betty Richards contacts him as his nation and a close mutual friend need him. While undercover seeking proof that Dirty War General Alfredo Estrada plans a coup d’etat, CIA agent Ted Dunn vanished in Argentina. Additionally, attracted to Buenos Aires La Nación reporter Gina Galindo, Bryce arranges arms shipments to loyal supporters of Estrada. The latest Craig Page CIA thriller is an action-packed tale; as the hero tries to expose the ugly history of Estrada during the vicious Dirty War so this brute loses support while also preventing the arms reaching him. Although the exhilarating storyline is much more straightforward than his previous missions (see The Russian Endgame, The Spanish Revenge and The China Gambit), readers will appreciate globetrotting Page’s South American escapades. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ember Island-Kimberley Freeman

Ember Island Kimberley Freeman Touchstone, Apr 15 2014, $16.00 ISBN: 9781476743509 In 2012, highly regarded author Nina struggles with writer’s block of which she believes she knows the underlying cause that she conceals from everyone especially her agent Marla. She rationalizes to Marla that she needs to get away to complete her book. Although she knows her grandmother Eleanor’s house Starwater on Ember Island in Brisbane's Moreton Bay suffered storm damage, Nina heads there to oversee the repair and hopefully complete her writing; unaware of what she will find there. In 1891 Dorset, Matilda and Jasper marry but the ceremony turns tragic when her beloved grandpa dies. Grieving her loss, Tilly obediently follows her husband to the Channel Islands off of Normandy, but instead of solace and loving comfort in Guernsey she finds terror. Fleeing another trauma, Tilly arrives on Ember Island seeking inner serenity. There she becomes the governess to the prison superintendent’s daughter, Nell. Tilly diligently hides her past, but Nell observes everything and keeps journals that she hides all over the house. Although there is a thematic similarity to Kimberley Freeman’s previous Australian novels (see Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill), the three fully-developed key females provide a fascinating look at two women separated by over a century struggling with similar issues. Rotating the lead between Nina and Tilly, but linked by Nell, Ember Island is an engaging tale focusing on efforts regardless of the era to surmount heart-wrenching tragedy. Harriet Klausner

The Bodyguard-Lena Diaz

The Bodyguard Lena Diaz Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373697632 Suffering physical and mental spousal abuse from the moment she married financier Richard Ashton III, Caroline plans to flee her cruel husband who throughout Georgia has been anointed a saint and her pathetically needy. Fearing Richard’s reaction and knowing he uses Stellar Security, Caroline hires rival firm Savannah-based Dawson’s Personal Security Services owner Luke Dawson as her bodyguard when she runs away. When Caroline and Luke arrive at the safe cottage she leased, they find Richard’s murdered corpse there. Chatham County Police Detective Cornell considers the victim’s siblings Daniel and Grant as persons of interest, but his main focus is on the wife who discovered the body and her bodyguard. Luke believes in his heart his client is innocent especially when someone makes several attempts to kill Caroline. He vows to keep her safe from her unknown lethal adversary while also investigating the identity of her attacker who he assumes killed Richard and soon afterward others. The Bodyguard is an exciting action-packed thriller in which keeping the heroine safe and uncovering who the deadly enemy is supersedes the frequently used romantic premise of love between a bodyguard and a client. Filled with red herrings and several surprising twists, readers will enjoy Lena Diaz’s strong intrigue. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Given Time Living Our Last Months Together-Helene Park Bigelow

Given Time Living Our Last Months Together Helene Park Bigelow Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Apr 7 2014, $14.95 ISBN: 9781564745538 In 2005, seventy-one year old Helene and sixty-eight years old Ed, a couple for over three and a half decades, enjoyed walks on the Maui beach though he always wore a hat to keep sun radiation off a spot on his head. When he went to the doctor for a routine biopsy of that spot, neither were concerned as both had skin biopsies before that came up negative; though Ed was warned as a teen that this spot, probably harmed by swimming and sunning at Lake Michigan and he diligently protected for fifty years, could someday be a problem. Ed’s prognosis was the dreaded “M Word” Melanoma. He soon found out that the cancer had spread and with chemotherapy he could live a few extra months. Wanting to spend as much time as he can with his beloved Helene, Ed chose chemo. This profound memoir provides a powerful look at a loving couple sharing their last few months together as much as possible in the same upbeat manner they had for the thirty-five years before Ed’s death sentence. Besides a brief look into their shared lives together (including raising three children) before the M Word, Helene Park Bigelow provides a deep glimpse into the impact on the caregiver as she watched Ed’s deterioration; if God forbid I am in the same situation as her I hope to be as strong as her. Though the Bigelow’s wanted another thirty-five happy healthy years together, they know what the Navaho told Ed at Window Rock that “There are blessings, there are blessings , there are blessings”; and they surely were blessed. Harriet Klausner

A Dark Song Of Blood-Ben Pastor

A Dark Song Of Blood Ben Pastor Bitter Lemon Press, Apr 15 2014, $14.95 ISBN: 9781908524300 In 1944 Rome, German Embassy Secretary Fraulein Magda Reiner falls from her apartment window to her death. Italian Police Inspector Sandro Guildi investigates although his superiors, fearing accusations of collaboration with the Nazis as the American military victory in Italy is assured rather soon, insist that National Confederation of Fascist Unions official Ras Merlo killed the now cremated woman. As Guildi looks into the homicide, he begins to believe someone framed Merlo. Wehrmacht Major Martin Bora surprisingly reappears in his life to assist on the inquiry, which concerns the cop as he does not want to be associated with a German when the Americans take the city. Bora’s wife Benedikta arrives to inform him she filed for divorce as the war ended their five year marriage. While Bora feels gut punched though not shocked; at the boarding house where both reside Guildi meets and is attracted to Francesca Lippi. As the case turns even more complicated with additional killings and ties to the Vatican, Gestapo and other high ranking Germans; Rome increasingly turns violent with the Resistance mounting bolder assaults. The third Martin Bora WWII drama (see Liar Moon and Lumen) is an intriguing historical that uses a police procedural to enable readers to look inside the heads of those in Rome at a time when the Nazi control is almost over. Suffering from physical ailments and PTSD, Bora feels ancient due to being divided between his moral sense of right and wrong, and patriotism; while Guildi also wants to do the right thing but fears the consequences. Readers will relish this entry in one of the best WWII series. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ten Thousand Things-John Spurling

Ten Thousand Things John Spurling Overlook, Apr 10 2014, $27.95 ISBN 9781468308327 While sitting on a cold stone floor waiting for judgment, septuagenarian Wang Meng knows the bad times are back as he muses on being arrested for suspicion of conspiracy due to his visiting the art collection of the late prime minister executed five years ago for the same charge he faces. He thinks back over the decades of his life when he ignored his wife’s harangue to better their lot by choosing painting landscapes and a low level bureaucratic job over using his direct family connection to the emperor. During those years Wang watched the once invincible Mongol Dynasty that he and his Great Family ancestry supported collapse into lawlessness until the rise of the Ming Dynasty brought order. Still with all the turmoil, Wang loves to paint nature, which led him to other artists, a teenage Buddhist novice, and White Tigress and her bandits who roamed the countryside. This enchanting biographical historical fiction is a superb look at fourteenth century chaotic China through the eyes of a renowned influential artist. Though there is some action especially with what is happening in China, readers will appreciate more the sense of walking the mountains alongside of Wang Meng as he captures nature with his inks. Harriet Klausner

Driving Lessons-Zoe Fishman

Driving Lessons Zoe Fishman Morrow, Apr 8 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9780062059826 Married four years, Sarah and Josh hate the New York grind. When Josh receives an offer to teach at a small liberal arts college in Farmwood, Virginia the thirty-something couple agrees to accept the position, leaving behind Brooklyn and her marketing job. Sarah hopes to find more to life while fearful of Josh’s desire for children. As terrifying to the native New Yorker is to raise a child, she is just as afraid to drive, though a necessity, for the first time in two decades since there is no public transportation. While Josh loves his job and is very contented with the area, Sarah feels lost as she cannot find work compensable to her experience and education. When her BFF Mona tells her she has cervical cancer that requires a hysterectomy which will leave her barren and perhaps lead to her boyfriend Nate leaving; Sarah returns to the city to be there for her. Back in the Big Apple, Sarah also spends time with her sister-in-law Kate and her new baby nephew Franklin. She notices the pair enjoys being together though the infant leaves his mom exhausted and even at times frustrated. By observing the euphoria and the heartbreak, Sarah knows she must conquer her phobias to achieve whatever she decides she wants out of life. Though extensively Sarah’s tale, Driving Lessons is a profound look at three realistic flawed women with diverse fears as each thinks the others’ grass is greener (yes A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith). Character driven by the strong portrayal of the females, readers will enjoy Sarah’s sarcastic New York shtick journey to her awakening though her epiphany is expected even before she raced back to New York. Harriet Klausner

Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion ... So Far-Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs

Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion ... So Far Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs Harper, Apr 8 2014, $27.99 ISBN: 9780062292551 The latest edition of the Discworld companion book (previous edition published in 2003) targets diehard fans of the phenomenal series as four hundred plus pages are an enormous glossary of terms, biographies, geography (including maps) and illustrations taken from the forty or so books. These are fun to read entries (over an extended time as it can turn tedious) reminding us of the brilliance of the puns and quips making social commentary that satirizes and puns our world in novel format for the last three decades. In addition to the enormous amount of information, the reference tome contains two small segments published in the 1994 original companion: an interview with Terry Pratchett and how he deals with readers and fan snail mail (stored in cardboard boxes); and an updated essay on translating the saga into other languages. Finally there are also rules for playing "Cripple Mr Onion." Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cauldron of Ghosts-David Weber and Eric Flint

Cauldron of Ghosts David Weber and Eric Flint Baen, Apr 8 2014, $25.00 ISBN 9781476736334 Republic of Haven Foreign Intelligence Service operative Victor Cachat and Star Kingdom of Manticore agent Anton Zilwicki exposed the shocking centuries old plot of the Mesan Alignment that successfully manipulated the two former enemies into a debilitating war. Leaders of Manticore and Haven forge an alliance between them while creating new internal ones to counter the now known common adversary, but need more information about their foe. Thus, undercover, Cachat now assigned to the Foreign office, and Zilwicki, accompanied by Steph Turner, return to Mesa. The two spies begin collecting data that stuns both of them as they learn more about the brutal opponent who will do anything to anyone to achieve its genetic BHAG. As the spies create havoc and help enflame a slave rebellion, Cachat and Zilwicki realize how diabolical the foe has been and still is. The third Crown of Slaves Harrington sidebar science fiction (see Torch of Freedom and Crown of Slaves) is for the most part an exciting tale that requires readers to ignore logic and lacks depth into the home-fronts’ reactions to a seemingly unnecessary war. The fun in the storyline is the antics of Cachat and Zilwicki who both live up to the latter’s previous boss describing him as an out of control lion made even crazier by this partnership. Harriet Klausner

Hotelles-Emma Mars; translated by Alexis Pernsteiner

Hotelles Emma Mars; translated by Alexis Pernsteiner Harper Perennial, Apr 8 2014, $15.99 ISBN: 9780062274175 In 2008 France, though she insists to herself this is temporary Annabelle drops her dreams of becoming a reporter because she needs money to pay for her mom’s exorbitant medical bills. Thus she becomes a high end paid escort Elle, who over the next year becomes an expert on pleasing men and on the best hotel rooms in town like those at the historical Hotel des Charmes. When businessman David proposes marriage, Annabelle accepts as she believes her financial problems are over. However, David’s brother Louie turns out to be a client of Elle who uses blackmail to continue their arrangement. This leaves Elle filled with guilt not so much because of the tryst, but more because she loves the way her future brother-in-law pleases her sexually. At the same that she struggles with her desires and relationships with the siblings, someone sends her erotic notes describing her fantasies in detail. Hotelles is a fabulous erotic romance due to the charmante belle femme and a wonderful unique tour of Paris at its seductive best. Subgenre fans will enjoy Annabelle’s arousal awakening as she finds herself engaged to one brother but turned on by the other. Harriet Klausner

A Promise In Pieces-Emily T. Wierenga

A Promise In Pieces Emily T. Wierenga Abingdon, Apr 15 2014 ISBN: 9781426758850 In 2000, Clara tells her grandson Noah about her time as a combat nurse in WWII. Clara explains she enlisted in the military and was assigned to the Women’s Army Corp Nursing Team where she helped the dying and wounded in Europe. Sometime after bloody D-Day, she and dying soldier Gareth meet. He dictates a farewell letter to his beloved wife Mattie and obtains Clara’s pledge to deliver the note in person once she is stateside. Back in America, Clara suffers from PTSD and feels inadequate to cope with the grief she anticipates when she brings the letter to Mattie. Still she made a deathbed promise so visits Gareth’s widow. Mourning her loss but grateful to the nurse who helped ease her husband’s passing, Mattie gives Clara the baby quilt she created for the children she planned to have with Gareth. Over the years Clara the nurse used the gift to snuggle newborns including her own. The latest warm Quilts of Love inspirational romance (see A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare and Scraps Of Evidence by Barbara Cameron) is a wonderful epic that the audience will enjoy as Clara provides readers with the highlight film of her life over the decades with the baby quilt serving as the key. Character-driven, readers will appreciate this engaging entry as some relationships never end. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 11, 2014

Illusion-Sherrilyn Kenyon

Illusion Sherrilyn Kenyon St. Martin's Griffin, Apr 1 2014, $18.99 ISBN: 9781250002846 With his Malachai father’s death (see Inferno), Cajun-demon Nick Gautier inherits powers that frighten him. He feels haunted by what his former girlfriend Nekoda Kennedy admitted to him that her mission was to prevent him from becoming the Malachai who ended the world. Desperate to not harm his loved ones and just be a normal raging hormonal teen even also while thinking of Death’s warning to trust no one, Nick turns to friends to firmly create a safety control on his powers. When Nick next awakens, he possesses no paranormal skills and lives in a different world. His parents are Cherise and Bubba; and demons and even his BF deity he knew in his previous life have turned into mortal high school students like he has become. Confused, Nick soon finds the mundane proves dangerous, but made more lethal by those he used to call buddies might be his deadly enemies and those who previously wanted him dead might prove his loyal friends. The fifth teenage Chronicles of Nick (see Infamous, Invisible and Infinity) is a terrific action-packed fantasy as the protagonist struggles to survive what he wished for. Filled with twists especially due to the radical 180 degrees changes in the protagonist’s relationships with friends and foes that leave Nick bewildered as to who he should trust and what to believe. Series fans will relish this strong thriller as Nick obtains a powerful lesson that he fears his epiphany came too late about not dodging your responsibilities even those you loathe. Harriet Klausner

The Intern’s Handbook-Shane Kuhn

The Intern’s Handbook Shane Kuhn Simon & Schuster, Apr 8 2014, $25.00 ISBN: 9781476733807 Human Resources Inc. recruited seventeen year old John Lago to join their company as he fit the profile of hiring only emotionally damaged teenage orphans. Like other young assassins employed by HR, Lago uses the cover of an insignificant intern floating through various companies requiring a hit by a professional killer working from the inside. As he nears mandatory retirement age of twenty-five, Bob assigns Lago his last murder to perform inside prestigious Manhattan law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke. BML caters to a special who’s who clientele known for a propensity for disappearing inside the Federal Witness Protection Program. At the same time Lago writes his Intern’s Handbook rules and values such as never forget you are the bad guy with no moral compunctions for his replacement to use or die young. After joining the law firm, Lago tries to determine who of the three legal partners is selling WPP names at “auctions”; as that individual will meet the same fate of his sales’ “products”. At the same time Lago thinks the Feds are closing in on him and the associate he loves Alice who may be the person fingering him to the FBI. With a nod to Grosse Pointe Blank especially an affinity with John Cusak’s Martin Q. Blank character, Lago’s actions, wry commentary, and rules and their explanations are poignantly amusing. The amoral protagonist holds the engaging jocular though violent storyline focused while surprisingly looking deep into the child is the adult; but in this case the children are expendable orphans filed away by society similar to expendable interns filed away by companies. Readers will relish this dark humorous twisting caper. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Wolf Siren-Karen Whiddon

The Wolf Siren Karen Whiddon Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780373885930 Her abusive stepfather, Church of Sanctuary preacher Jacob Gideon, treated wolf-shifter Lilly Gideon as an evil abomination due to her body containing a demon inside. For a decade and a half, she was incarcerated and tested like a lab rat with the objective being either to kill the evil wolf and or kill the host body. Her twin brother Lucas Kenyon (see The Lost Wolf's Destiny) with the help of Pack Protectors like Kane McGraw rescued his sister whom he thought was murdered by Jacob fifteen years ago. Living in Lucas’ Seattle home with his mate and daughter, Lily struggles to adjust to her freedom after fifteen years in captivity. She psychotically refuses to free the wolf ever; as she had been tortured all those years she was imprisoned to fear the beast inside her. Already concerned for Lily’s mental state, when a viable threat from the cult that tormented his sister surfaces, Lucas asks Kane to come from Texas to help him keep his family especially his sibling safe. The latest Pack romantic urban fantasy (see The Wolf Prince) is a great character-driven thriller that series fans will appreciate even with the action somewhat toned down compared to previous entries as much of the focus looks deeply into the traumatized heroine’s psychosis. Readers will root for Lilly to heal from her phobias after years of torment while fans will accept love is the elixir cure if she learns to trust her heart, her wolf, her twin and especially her shifter. Harriet Klausner

Operation Shield-Joel Shepherd

Operation Shield Joel Shepherd Pyr, Apr 8 2014, $16.95 ISBN 9781616148966 On Droze, Cassandra Kresnov retired from the Federation’s military to work as a field operative for the Federation Security Agency. Sandy’s mission is to free android super-soldiers like she once was who were illegally created and are lethally misused by corporations as expendable pawns. However, a clever adversary leads a vicious campaign naming her as a vile enemy of the GIs she tries to rescue. Complicating matters, the League takes away from her the three orphans she considers adopting. When a battle between the Fleet and the League occurs leaving many casualties especially among the GIs seeking asylum, the Federation Grand Council demands full retreat as they want to avoid at all costs another war. The latest Cassandra Kresnov military science fiction (see 23 Years on Fire, Crossover and Killswitch) is a complex timely thriller with many more subplots than briefly described above; Joel Shepherd cleverly interweaves real issues into this action-packed storyline. Besides the dandy Sandy prime plot, especially fascinating are the effort by some politicians to change the Constitution in order to restrict the rights of others and the related hit on a lawyer working to expand the constitutional rights to the GIs. Add in the fascinating arrival of a non-soldier GI along with Sandy’s contemplating retiring into motherhood leading to a strong entry with plenty to follow. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Balance Point-Robert Buettner

Balance Point Robert Buettner Baen, Apr 8 2014, $15.00 ISBN 9781476736440 “Balance Point.” The second Cold War between the Earth and the Yavi seems over as cooler heads from both sides push for peace. Mort the Grezzen telepath mentally tells American Intelligence Officer Captain Jazen Parker that Earth Trueborn Bartram Cutler was pardoned. With the presidential ban on raids of the Yavi, Jazen informs his partner Trueborn Army Colonel Catherine “Kit” Born and Lieutenant General Howard Hibble that if the Yavi obtain the C-drive, he believes his planet unfairly, as most of the populace has no hostilities towards Earth, will be nuked into oblivion. On Rand, Cutler undercover as "Quartermain" and Yavet Director General of Internal Security Maxillian Polian as "Hitchcock" barter over the former providing the latter with C-drive data to make the device. Meanwhile Jazen receives a deathbed request he cannot refuse from his adoptive mom Orion who wants to see him before she dies. Thus he rushes home to Yavet unaware of a trap by ambitious warmongers. "Mole Hunt." Otman the Yavi covert operative takes a crew to Dead End with plans to change human history by salvaging a crashed fighter’s C-drive. He and his mates are unprepared for the Grezzen and the orb’s other unwelcoming species. The third Orphan’s Legacy military science fiction (see Overkill and Undercurrents) is an engaging twisting timely thriller with hawks believing the end justifies the means and doves wanting to “Give Peace A Chance” (John Lennon). Readers will appreciate this gender bending entry as Jazen rushes home with Kit rushing after him as she knows it takes an intelligent female to rescue a foolish male. Mole Hint is a reprint of a very short entertaining story in the Orphan’s Legacy realm. Harriet Klausner

For The Right Reasons-Kara Lenox

For The Right Reasons Kara Lenox Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75 ISBN: 9780373608409 Knowing her ex-boyfriend Kelly Ralston is innocent of the rape and attempted murder conviction he received seven years ago, Dr. Bree Johnson asks Project Justice to take on his case. Project Justice Attorney Eric Riggs knows firsthand how violent and feral Ralston is after they spent time incarcerated in the same Huntsville cellblock (see In This Together) and the psychopath threatened to slice up his six year old daughter MacKenzie. In a team meeting headed by CEO Daniel Logan, Eric claims Ralston is a monster who tried to kill him, bragged about murdering others and raped the victim Philomene Switzer who testified against him. Logan accepts Eric’s claim and deep-sixes this case unaware his new employee lied to them. Eric explains to Bree why they decided to refuse to work the Ralston appeal. She turns livid as she insists the gentle Ralston would not do this. Accompanied by his daughter, Eric meets Bree at a restaurant but Philomene, expected to join them to tell him she wants to recant her testimony, fails to arrive. Soon they learn she is dead. Feeling guilt Eric vows to protect the two females he loves from an unknown adversary targeting them. The latest Project Justice romantic suspense (see One Night Alibi) is a fabulous tale due to the contrasting yet deftly interwoven subplots as the romance and the viable threat hook the audience. MacKenzie is a terrific child who suffers from loss but cannot hide her feelings (her reaction to meeting a doctor is priceless); thus she enhances the lead couple’s changing relationship. Readers will appreciate this enjoyable contemporary. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sea of Shadows-Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows Kelley Armstrong HarperCollins, Apr 8 2014, $17.99 ISBN: 9780062071248 From their birth, twins Moria and Ashyn were respectively anointed as the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood; considered the most dangerous spot in the Empire as spirits roam nearby due to proximity to the Forest of the Dead where the barrier between dead and living lacks depth. This is also a place where the guards dump undesirables to die. One other Keeper-Seeker pair works at the court; while two other couplings roam the empire. Accompanied by her Hound of the Immortals Tova, Ashyn the Seeker enters the Forest of the Dead to collect corpses and send their spirits on; while Moria and her wildcat Daigo protect her sister and the villagers. However, instead of just dead bodies, Ashyn finds living people and hellish monsters. As the feral beasts overwhelm Edgewood in a bloody slaughter, the twins and their bonded animals flee to warn the emperor. Joining them on their dangerous trek are Ronan the con artist and Gavril Kitsune the disgraced warrior. The first Age of Legends young adult quest fantasy is an exciting tale as the two sisters have been trained to do their jobs; but not mentored in relationships besides with each other, their family and their familiars or adapting to radical change making mission accomplishment impossible. Their difficult adjustment while traversing a vividly lethal landscape turns Sea of Shadows into a strong opening act. Harriet Klausner

When The Cypress Whispers-Yvette Manessis Corporon

When The Cypress Whispers Yvette Manessis Corporon Harper, Apr 1 2014, $25.99 ISBN: 9780062267580 Now thirty-five years old, Daphne finds her once strong belief in the American dream shaken with the murders of her Greek immigrant parents in their Yonkers diner and the vehicular death of her husband by a drunk driver. Fleeing Westchester with her baby Evie, Daphne opens up a successful classy restaurant in Manhattan and recently became engaged to affluent Stephen the banker who approved her initial loan. They agree to marry on the Greek island of Erikousa; where Daphne’s Yia-yia resides. The widow and her five year old daughter arrive on Erikousa early so that she can plan and arrange her marriage ceremony. However, as memories of loving her time on the island surface, Yia-yia tells her granddaughter and great-grand daughter classic myths in which Daphne feels an affinity to the beleaguered heroines. The only downers in Daphne idyllic return to Greece are her knowing her deceased loved ones would cherish being here; her discomfort with Yianni a Jewish friend of Yia-yia, whose family her grandma and other islanders saved from the Nazis; and fish out of water grumbling Stephen. This is an entertaining though straight forward drama that looks at whether a second generation assimilated American can find her lost Grecian roots on a warm Greek island or is fated to an unhappy second marriage on a cold New York island . The fully developed single mom and her delightful grandma (mindful of a gender changing Zorba the Greek circa a century later) hold the storyline together. The key islanders are fascinating characters; while Evie behaves too perfect especially in spite of all the emotional tsuris in her young life and Stephen is stereotyped as a cold Manhattan suit. Harriet Klausner

The Soldier’s Promise-Patricia Potter

The Soldier’s Promise Patricia Potter Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75 ISBN: 9780373608416 The Taliban ambushed the Ranger unit leaving Dave Hannity dead from a bomb blast. Dave leaves behind his cabin in Covenant Falls, Colorado to his BFF Josh Manning, who survived the deadly attack but suffers from severe PTSD. Accompanied by his fallen comrade’s retired bomb detecting K9 Amos who the veterinarians at Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dogs Hospital diagnosed with PTSD also, Josh heads to Dave’s cabin with plans to renovate and sell. Covenant Falls Herald columnist Marilyn Evans complains to Mayor Eve Douglas about the stranger in the Hannity cabin while rumors abound about the man and his unleashed big dog. Eve visits Josh at the rundown cabin. He marvels that she is not afraid of him like yesterday’s visitor, but also dislikes he cannot intimidate her. Later Deputy Sam accosts Josh over a robbery that occurred yesterday. Attracted to one another from that first meeting, the mayor and the reclusive veteran fall in love; while he also enjoys time with her Little League aged son Nick and their menagerie, as Josh recognizes this crew brings Amos back to life. The Soldier’s Promise is a delightful family drama filled with romance, a cold case drowning, suspense and PTSD. Insight into the real issue of canine PTSD brings freshness as Amos never received closure since he was not on the mission in which his beloved handler died. Readers will appreciate Patricia Potter’s engaging contemporary. Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Color of Light-Wendy Hornsby

The Color of Light Wendy Hornsby Perseverance, Apr 7 2014, $15.95 ISBN 9781564745422 TV host of "Maggie MacGowen Investigates”, film documentarian Maggie MacGowen is back in her childhood home in Berkeley cleaning out her late father’s stuff. Inside his desk, she finds film shot thirty years ago by her dad that provide leads to solving the cold case violent murder of Vietnamese immigrant Trinh “Tina” Bartolini. Though she believes her father hid the evidence to protect her especially from her biological mother, Maggie investigates the late Mrs. Bartolini’s past. Helping her with her inquiry are high school boyfriend BPD Detective Kevin Halloran, current boyfriend French diplomat Jean-Paul Bernard and her agent Uncle Max. While the lack of cooperation from family and friends who make it clear they want her to stop snooping; another schoolmate sleazy Larry Nordquist lurks nearby while also implying to Maggie that he knows who and why. The ninth Maggie MacGowen Investigates (see The Hanging, The Paramour's Daughter and In the Guise of Mercy) is a fabulous whodunit that deftly goes back and forth between the present and what happened in the college town three decades ago. The sleuthing is strong with red herrings, twists and non-cooperation as this homicide shook the community in the early 1980s and Maggie’s search for the truth proves it still remains very sore with residents. Harriet Klausner

Madness In Miniature-Margaret Grace

Madness In Miniature Margaret Grace Perseverance Press, Apr 7 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9781564745439 On summer vacation, tweener Maddie enjoys spending time with her grandmother retired English teacher Geraldine "Gerry" Porter in Lincoln Point, California. The pair carries Gerry's latest dollhouses to the soon to be opened craft chain store SuperKrafts. However, as they walk together, they overhear a heated debate between shopkeepers Maisie Bosley of Maisie’s Card Shop and Bebe Mellon of DIY Ceramics; both sold their stores for different reasons to the giant chain. Gerry and Maddie also meet returning native Catherine Duncan who is selling the concept of the superstore to the locals. Arriving from New York for the Grand Opening is CEO Craig Palmer III. He is barely in town when a minor earthquake strikes leaving him the only one dead. Gerry’s nephew LPPD Detective Skip looks into the visitor’s death, which turns out not to be from the quake but instead a homicide with apparently Bebe as the prime suspect. Not believing her friend is a killer, Gerry and her eleven year old sidekick investigate. The latest Miniature Mystery (see Mix-up in Miniature, Mourning In Miniature and Monster In Miniature) is a wonderful cozy starring a dynamic amateur sleuth team. The case is fun, but takes a back seat to the interesting look into town relationships especially with the schism caused by the dispute over the pros and cons of the new superstore. Harriet Klausner

Defending the Eyewitness-Rachel Lee

Defending the Eyewitness Rachel Lee Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 1 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373278657 Austin Mendez struggles with readapting to living as a civilian in Conard County, Wyoming after spending six years undercover in Mexico. Corey Donahue has doubts renting to Austin as she prefers college students to gruff dangerous looking men like him; but does so when Conard County Sheriff Gage Dalton vouches for his colleague and asks her as a favor. To both their amazements, Austin and Corey are attracted to each other. They begin a heated relationship, but the cop inside him knows she hides more than her heart from him. When notes threatening Corey arrive, Austin vows to keep her safe. The latest Conard County: The Next Generation (see Deadly Hunter and Reuniting with the Rancher) is an exciting romantic suspense. Especially fascinating is Austin’s adjustment to the light after years in the dark; Corey efforts also are intriguing but less developed as she struggles with lost childhood memory of a horror she witnessed; while the villain seems illogical (then again he is a psychopath). Readers will enjoy dining with these two troubled souls who find solace, love and ultimately trust with each other. Harriet Klausner

Paige Turned-Erynn Mangum

Paige Turned Erynn Mangum Think/NAVPRESS, Apr 1 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781612913223 In Texas Paige Alder loves her job as youth intern counseling younger girls. However, her work keeps her so busy that she has not helped her sister Preslee (see Paige Rewritten) or her BFF Layla (see Paige Torn) with their wedding plans as she promised both of them. Feeling guilt over her lack of providing marital assistance especially since her nature insists she help others even at a cost to herself, Paige also knows her relationship with her BF Tyler remains shaky though she explained to him what he saw with her and her ex-boyfriend Luke. Beginning to have doubts, Paige wonders if Tyler conceals something from her that has nothing to do with Luke. The third Paige Alder inspirational continues the warm look at a rule follower obsessed person who cannot "just say no" as this time she asks for divine intervention with her personal tsuris re Tyler. Although the entertaining storyline behooves the young adult audience to read the previous two entries in order to better understand the protagonist, series fans will appreciate aptly titled Paige Turned. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Upon A Sea Of Stars-A. Bertram Chandler

Upon A Sea Of Stars A. Bertram Chandler Baen, Apr 1 2014, $14.00 ISBN: 9781476736365 “Into the Alternate Universe.” Although ridiculed for what many proclaim a foolish dangerous one-way ticket, Commander Sonya Verrill persuades Commodore John Grimes to accompany her on field research into two dead people and the Rim Ghosts on a no return trip to the galaxy’s rim. “Contraband From Otherspace.” As Rim Mamelute Commodore Grimes knows accepted principles of time-space continuum physics do not apply at the galaxy’s outer rim; still the eerie ship Distriyir is solid matter but the crew odd and the vessel strangely off kilter. As Grimes learns the truth about the Distriyir and those on board, he must make a decision that could impact his time-space continuum. “The Rim Gods.” Bored with his tedious office job as the Astronautical Superintendent of Rim Runners and desk jockey commanding officer of the Rim Worlds Naval Reserve; Grimes jumps at a chance to go back into space even with the mission at the rim of the galaxy. “The Commodore at Sea.” At the galaxy’s rim where the time-space continuum bends in incomprehensible ways, Grimes and Verrill go kinsolving where they meet Holmes, Watson, Lady Chatterley, William Cody, Lord Greystoke and Jane, and A. Bertram Chandler, etc. The fifth Grimes omnibus space adventures (see Ride The Star Winds) briskly focuses on escapades outside of the space navy at the galactic rim where the time-space continuum twists in weird ways to the delight of readers. Into the Alternate Universe and Contraband From Otherspace are exciting novellas while The Rim Gods and The Commodore at Sea are entertaining small anthologies. Harriet Klausner

Immortal Cowboy-Alexis Morgan

Immortal Cowboy Alexis Morgan Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913910 While visiting her Uncle Ray in his mountain cabin near deserted Blessing, Rayanne Allen becomes spooked when she sees impossible happenings in the “empty” ghost-town. Uncle Ray tells her like him she has the gift. With Uncle Ray’s passing, Rayanne inherits his estate if she meets the stipulation of his will. While her mom goes berserk over the will, Rayanne takes a leave of absence from the university where she teaches and heads to her late uncle’s cabin to spend the summer there. In Blessing, she meets the ghost of Wyatt McCain, who turns solid for a few days every year to relive the gunfight that left him and a child dead. As the professor and the ghost fall in love, both accept they have no future together, but each tries to help the other as he wants her to inherit and she wants him to move on. Immortal Cowboy is a wonderful paranormal romance which enables subgenre fans to believe in the love between the star-crossed protagonists. Readers will relish this delightful ghost story as Alexis Morgan spins a warm tale in which love breaches seemingly impenetrable barriers between the living and the dead. Harriet Klausner

A Biscuit, a Casket-Liz Mugavero

A Biscuit, a Casket Liz Mugavero Kensington, Apr 1 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780758284808 In Frog Ledge, Connecticut, Happy Cow Dairy Farm owners Hal and Emmalee Hoffman host a Halloween gala. Among those participating is Pawsitively Organic Gourmet Pet Food baker Kristan “Stan” Connor who caters the canine costume caper. However, the party ends with the murdered corpse of Hal found stabbed to death with a scythe amidst the field of maze he planned to sell to attendees. State Trooper Jessica Pasquale leads the official inquiry. Already in financial trouble but unsure how much, a distraught Em asks Stan to look at the farm’s books, which she does. Stunned with what she uncovers as several people had reasons to kill Hal, Stan heads to Izzy’s coffee shop to learn what else she can about people’s motives and opportunities. Unlike the first A Pawsitively Organic Mystery (see Kneading to Die) in which the heroine has cause to investigate as Pasquale and the locals suspected the newbie poisoned their pets, this enjoyable amateur sleuth lacks a solid rationale for Stan risking her life. Still fans will appreciate this New England cozy as Stan the Gourmet Pet Food queen works the Halloween homicide. Harriet Klausner

Cavendon Hall-Barbara Taylor Bradford

Cavendon Hall Barbara Taylor Bradford St. Martin's, Apr 1 2014, $27.99 ISBN: 9781250032355 Since the 1760s, the aristocratic Ingham brood has lived at Cavendon Hall in Yorkshire. For sixteen decades, the Swann family has been their loyal servants at the big house. In 1913 as WWI seems imminent, Lord Charles, his wife Lady Felicity and their six children reside at Cavendon Hall. Meanwhile Swann patriarch Walter is the Earl’s valet and his spouse Alice and their twelve year old daughter Cecily make fashionable clothing for the countess and their four daughters; matriarch Charlotte serves as the estate manager and her nephew Percy is the gamekeeper. When a neighboring squire’s son Richard Torbett rapes Daphne, her irate parents want satisfaction until the Swann’s talk them out of causing a scandal that will harm sweet Daphne much more than the miscreant. When Daphne becomes pregnant, the plan’s goal remains to protect the innocent victim, but deployment changes to sending her to the continent. That is until family exile, second cousin Hugo Stanton the affluent tycoon, arrives and falls in love with Daphne leading to their marriage. Meanwhile other dangerous events caused by an angry adversary and ultimately the war leave both families wondering about the generations-old affinity between the two families. This is an engaging Edwardian epic that explores the relationship between upstairs and downstairs families and compares their respective lives on the brink of WWI. The well-written fascinating storyline entertains the audience although the conflict is muted and the motive for the nefarious activity by the obvious villain never explored. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Peacemaker-C. J. Cherryh

Peacemaker C. J. Cherryh DAW, Apr 1 2014, $25.95 ISBN: 9780756408831 The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, Cajerji celebrates his ninth birthday with his people and select human friends he made. At the same time a deep schism inside the Assassins' Guild explodes into the open between the traditionalists like the Atevi dowager Ilisidi who demand the foreigners including Cameron leave and the modernists like Tabiniaiji who want increased contact. This split especially endangers the party attendees as the Guild provides security to the gala. All this occurs while Cajeiri's mother Damiri will soon give birth to a royal daughter and his grandmother Ilisidi believes she knows who has assassinated family members. She plans to avenge these murders starting with breeching the impregnable Assassins’ Guild Headquarters. Paidhi-aiji Bren Cameron knows his mission is to protect Cajerji and the guests as he promised his friend Tabini. However, the diplomat fears he can do little to prevent a civil war that apparently was deployed long before he arrived here; although he also knows who the enemy is and that this foe probably will take the fight to the party. The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Protector, Intruder and Betrayer) is an entertaining entry with numerous fascinating but passive explanatory essays on hostile politics and ethics based on the end justifies the mean with diverse ethnic beliefs being the underlying cause. Cajerji remains the focus of enemy camps sharing in common only that the heir is a pawn to further personal agendas. Series fans will enjoy this entertaining bash as the major threads of the Cameron saga are tied up and contains the additional bonus of “Lord Geigi’s History of the Aishidi’tat with commentary by Lord Bren of Najda, paidhi-aiji”. Harriet Klausner

Deadly Echoes-Philip Donlay

Deadly Echoes Philip Donlay Oceanview, Apr 1 2014, $26.95 ISBN 9781608091096 A diabolically brilliant psychopath viciously murders targeted people while placing the homicides on YouTube to insure the world believes that the environmental protection and research activist group Eco-Watch has turned to terrorism. Eco-Watch founder Donovan Nash knows his organization is not behind the lethal brutal assaults and that most likely his militant ecological enemy from three decades ago Garrick Pearce is. The violent Pearce holds Nash culpable for the death of his beloved Meredith Barnes. With no regard for collateral damage to people or the planet, his plan for avenge attacks Eco-Watch and his despicable foe’s loved ones; but will climax that with the environmental disaster of the century in Nash’s name. Erica offers the beleaguered Donovan with information he needs to prevent Pearce’s scheme while assassins, Feds and Eco-Watch pursue him as he is considered deranged and dangerous. Donovan takes a last stand in Alaska to stop Garrick from an ecological-devastation whose biblical scope has not happened since dinosaur times. The fourth Donovan Nash saga (see Category Five, Code Black and Zero Separation) is an exciting action-packed thriller that never allows Nash (or readers) a moment of respite. Although the lead antagonists come across as typical genre casting of a beleaguered hero and an insane villain, the secondary characters bring freshness to a fast-paced running out of time to save the world tale. Harriet Klausner

Evil in the 1st House: A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery-Mitchell Scott Lewis

Evil in the 1st House: A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery Mitchell Scott Lewis Poisoned Pen, Apr 1 2014, $24.95 ISBN 9781464201899 In Manhattan Dr. Ethan Williamson offers nationally known Starlight Detective Agency chief David Lowell $1 million in cash if he searches for his missing wife Gloria Greenwood; if he finds her the surgeon will give the astrologist-private detective another million. Williamson further explains they have been separated since just after their twin sons were born. After a nasty fight following the births, she vanished with now fifteen year old Kevin while leaving behind Edward with Ethan to raise by himself. Edward will soon die if he fails to receive a compatible kidney as the lad has an extremely rare blood type and his dad has only one good organ; leaving his sibling as the obvious suitable match. While working this case and another inquiry, Lowell obtains help from his six foot daughter Melinda the lawyer, hacker guru Mort, office assistant Sarah and bodyguard-driver Andy. Others from California also become embroiled into the inquiry; as nothing is quite like the client claimed. The third Starlight Detective Agency case (see Murder on the 11th House and Death in the 12th House) is an engaging twisting mystery with the paranormal seeming so genuine due to normalcy brought to the storyline by the staff; for instance Lowell needs legal advice on transplants instead of the stars. As fans, Lowell and his staff accept karma, Evil in the 1st House is a fun fascinating astrology private investigative thriller. Harriet Klausner

Her Soldier Protector-Soraya Lane

Her Soldier Protector Soraya Lane Harlequin Romance, Apr 1 2014, $5.99 ISBN: 9780373742851 American singing superstar Candace Evans loves performing. She is currently in Australia where the government assigns active duty SAS Logan Murdoch (and his K9 partner Ranger) to protect Candace especially since she has received viable threats. Though wary of anything but singing and of just about everyone, Candace feels relaxed for the first time in a long time once she meets Logan and Ranger. As they begin to fall in love, she must overcome her distrust of people especially men and he must move past his recent haunting Middle East assignment in which his friend Australian SAS soldier Sam Matheson died; if they are to achieve the permanency that Ranger desires for the three of them. Her Soldier Protector is an entertaining Australian military romance starring two wonderful seemingly PTSD suffering protagonists. Readers will relish Logan’s return as the male lead after a key support role in The Returning Hero. In this sequel, Soraya Lane once again pays tribute to the soldiers and their family members who sacrifice so much. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flesh And Blood-Daniel Dersch

Flesh And Blood Daniel Dersch 47North, Mar 4 2014, $14.95 ISBN: 9781477817469 At the hospital, Dr. John Harris explains to New York reporter Claire Hagen that her sister Amanda should remain under their medical watch at least until they can calm her down as the distraught twentyish woman suffers from either a severe nervous breakdown or schizophrenia. Harris furthermore explains Amanda’s deep delusional fear is of a vampire drinking her blood. Although horrified with what mentally has happened to her younger sibling especially when she thinks back to the guilt of failing Mandy when they were little; Claire needs to know why this has happened to her. Soon Claire finds impossible evidence that vampires apparently are real and bloodthirsty while Mandy seems to be changing into something nonhuman. When Claire comes under attack, which she concludes is to silence her investigation, George Powell, a survivor of Nazi blood science research, saves her life. The pair forges an alliance to rescue Mandy while also being attracted to one another. Meanwhile powerful adversaries, some with the backing of the Vatican, target her for execution and him for further experimentation as the source to eradicate the unholy undead. This is an exciting action-packed vampire thriller that for the most part never slows down (except for occasional overdrawn clarifying soliloquys) from the moment a shocked Claire learns from Harris that her sister suffers from delusional fear of vampires until the stunning climatic twist. The fast-paced storyline insures the feral vampires come across as genuine as does the Vatican demanding their extermination while the lead couple is caught in the middle. Harriet Klausner

Panthers Play for Keeps: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir-Clea Simon

Panthers Play for Keeps: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir Clea Simon Poisoned Pen, Apr 1 2014, $24.95 ISBN 9781590588727 In Beauville, pet guru Pru Marlowe walks Spot the service dog in training. Spot interrupts their sojourn when the canine finds a battered, severely mauled female corpse. The shape of the body leads to the conclusion that a large most likely feral feline attacked and murdered the young woman. However, no animal that fits the description has been spotted in this section of the Berkshires in many years. Pru’s lover Police Detective Jim Creighton leads the investigation while the animal expert vows to stay out of the inquiry though she uses her uncanny skills to consult with her cat Wallis and Spot. The amateur sleuth turns active when Jim vanishes. The fourth Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (see Parrots Prove Deadly, Dogs Don't Lie and Cats Can't Shoot) is an enjoyable psychic mystery. The engaging investigative storyline is made fresh by the heroine left confused rather than lucid after discussing the case with her detecting partner Wallis and her trainee Spot; forcing her to rely less on her anthropomorphic buddies and use more “normal” human abilities. Harriet Klausner

The Black Sheep’s Inheritance-Maureen Child

The Black Sheep’s Inheritance Maureen Child Harlequin Desire, Apr 1 2014, $5.25 ISBN: 9780373733071 At a law office in Wyoming, the family and some employees of deceased affluent J. D. Lassiter gather to hear the reading of his will. The terms anger and shock everyone especially when the late patriarch left his nurse Colleen Falkner three million dollars and placed his son-in-law Evan McCain in charge of Lassiter Media instead of the obvious choice his daughter Angelica who deserved the CEO role rather than her husband. A fuming Sage accosts Colleen accusing her of manipulating her dying patient into turning her from a nurse into a millionaire in three months. Irate Colleen, who has been attracted to her accuser since she first heard about him from J.D., makes it clear she is surprised too. Deciding to learn what Colleen had on his adopted father and why J.D. shorted his daughter who he trained to run Lassiter Media, Sage investigates only to learn the truth sets the heart free if one takes a chance. The first Dynasties: The Lassiters Wyoming romance (there is a prequel e-book Beauty and the Best Man; not read by me) is an engaging contemporary starring a stunned in the headlights lead female and a scornful suspicious male. The premise has been used often, but fans will enjoy Maureen Child’s leisurely-paced storyline as innocent Colleen embraces love while skeptical Sage ignores his name with his “I’m Not In Love” (10Cc) denial. Harriet Klausner

Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story ... and Why It Matters Today-Edouard Kayihura and Kerry Zukus

Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story ... and Why It Matters Today Edouard Kayihura and Kerry Zukus BenBella Books, Apr 1 2014, $24.95 www.benbellabooks.com ISBN: 9781937856748 Over a period of about 100 days in 1994, the Hutu genocidaires slaughtered one million Tutsi and left many other Rwandans injured and displaced until Paul Kagame led an army from exile in Uganda to end this Holocaust. In 2004, the movie Hotel Rwanda was released to critical acclaim and a fixture since in school curriculum, describing the Hotel Milles Collines as a safe haven and its manager Paul Rusesabagina as a hero. In that same year, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who had been UN peacekeeping mission commander during the atrocities, wrote his harrowing memoir Shake Hands with the Devil. Now Edouard Kayihura provides readers with a grim insider look at what truly happened to those 1200 plus refugees like the author living in the Hotel Rwanda during the horror. Adding to Mr. Kayihura’s first-hand account are disturbing comments from other occupants telling what occurred to them and their family outside and within the hotel. Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story ... and Why It Matters Today aligns closely to General Dallaire’s haunting account rather than the film. Furthermore, Mr. Kayihura (and other survivors) shockingly makes a strong case that Mr. Rusesabagina was not the African Schindler-like savior risking his life to protect others, but as a profiteer in cahoots with those committing the genocide. Not an easy read as this insightful memoir is much grimmer than the haunting Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, but important at a time when Holocaust deniers rewrite history as if “Never Again” never happened in Nazi Europe, Cambodia, Rwanda and elsewhere. Harriet Klausner