Archive for August, 2008

Feast of Saint Bertie-Kathleen Popa

August 31, 2008

Feast of Saint Bertie

Kathleen Popa

David C. Cook, Sep 2008

ISBN: 9781434799876

 

In Saratoga, Roberta “Bertie” Denys buries her famous in Silicon Valley husband Larry who suffered from Parkinson ’s disease.  Her only regret is their adult son Garrett failed to show up at the funeral; Garrett vanished four months ago.  After the burial, Bertie comes home to find her house on fire; an arsonist struck.  Her neighbor Suzanne takes her into her home.

 

Bertie moves into a rural shed where she plans to pray every three hours and learn what her visions mean.  There she meets pregnant general store owner pregnant and single India, Russ, his ex wife Brenda and his ex partner Gil who is Brenda’s second husband.  Russ and his former father in law Boyd repair Bertie’s roof.  Bertie also helps at a food kitchen for the homeless where she sees Garrett who came in for a meal.  He promises to visit her soon even as letters from her late spouse begin to arrive once a week to help her move on.

 

This inspirational character study stars a strong female protagonist trying to move on after the death of her beloved spouse who suffered for quite awhile with his debilitating illness.  Part of her adjustment is from taking care of her late husband.  As she seeks an inner peace through prayer, Bertie wonders if she can find this need for “all shall be well” without first finding her son.  With a strong eccentric support cast, fans will enjoy Kathleen Popa’s fine contemporary. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Advertisements

The Secret’s in the Sauce-Linda Evans Shepherd and Marie Everson

August 31, 2008

The Secret’s in the Sauce

Linda Evans Shepherd and Marie Everson

Revell, Sep 2008, $13.99

ISBN: 9780800732080

 

In Summit View, Colorado following the wedding of Evangeline and Vernon catered by the Potluck Club members, the women believe they have proven how good they are as everyone enjoyed the food.  They decide to open up a catering business.

 

They find success preparing meals for galas.  However, while their cooking and catering are proving triumphant, each has personal issues to face.  One of the members turns to alcohol; another’s torrid ancient history affair surfaces; a third just lost her beloved parent; and finally a fourth must choose between two lovers.  They turn to one another for solace.

 

The Potluck Club crowd decides to become professional caterers at a time when each of the members have personal issues.  The rotating lead never gets deep into anyone’s particular woes so their problems are minimized; almost trivialized.  Still fans of the series will enjoy the latest optimistic entry as the Potluck Club turns professional.

 

Harriet Klausner

Come The Night-Susan Krinard

August 30, 2008

Come The Night

Susan Krinard

Harlequin HQN, Oct 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 9373773153

 

In 1927 Ethan Warbrick comes from England to New York City to warn fired and disgraced former NYPD cop Ross Kavanaugh of a visitor he will soon receive.  During the war, Ross met and fell in love with English werewolf Gillian Maitland, but though she reciprocated her prejudicial dictatorial father declared him unfit as only a purebred was acceptable.  Fearing her abusive dad would harm or kill her beloved Yank, Gillian ended their relationship and she became Mrs. Delvaux to insure the family line remained purebred.

 

However, she was too late and now her son Tobias who assumes Ross is his sire is coming to meet him.  Gillian, whose husband died in the war, follows her offspring to New York to bring him back to Cambria before his paternal grandfather does something despicable to them; which means mother and son must be home to attend the upcoming werewolf convocation.  When his preadolescent son followed by Gilliam arrives, Ross, a quarter-werewolf, knows he wants both of them as his beloved family.  He follows them to England in time for a serial killer to begin a murderous campaign that leaves the ex American cop as the prime suspect.

 

This cross Atlantic paranormal romantic historical suspense works on all levels because the audience will believe that in 1927 Anglo-America the werewolf hierarchy is based on racism depending on the amount of “impurities” in one’s blood.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Ross has the visitor followed by his police pal calling him to tell him an eleven year old English lad claims him as his father.  The tale never slows down from there even as the lead trio (and readers) crosses the ocean.  Susan Krinard provides a strong paranormal private investigative 1920s thriller.

 

Harriet Klausne

Angel’s Pain-Maggie Shayne

August 30, 2008

Angel’s Pain

Maggie Shayne

Mira, Oct 2008, $7.99

ISBN: 0778324982

 

Briar the Vampiress vows to never forget the cruelty of her former instructor in the ways of their species.  She initially accepted his brutality as drinking blood is not an herbivore lifestyle.  However when Gregor betrayed her she pledged to get even; when he tortured her she became preoccupied with the need of vengeance flowing through her blood starting with her odious stepfather Martin and then Gregor.

 

However, she is realistic that she cannot defeat Gregor and his minion by herself.  Brian reluctantly joins Reaper and his warriors (vampires, Chosen and humans) based on the theory that Gregor’s enemies are her friends.  Once Gregor and Rose are dead, Brian plans to leave though she is attracted to her charismatic leader who shares a blood bond to child vampiress Crisa.  When Gregor captures Crisa, Briar knows she must save her little “sister”.  Reaper risks all to help her succeed.

 

The latest Maggie Shayne vampiric thriller (see LOVER’S BITE and DEMON’S KISS) is a superb paranormal romantic suspense tale.  Briar appears more thorn than Rose, but Reaper sees past her pain and her bravado to the inner person he desires even if she keeps singing the refrain from “I’m not in love”.  The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as Briar needs to be the one to kill Gregor until Crisa is taken; her priorities change. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Ms. Shayne’s fine vampire tale especially those who soar with the author’s “Wings in the Night” saga as several players take a bite or two in ANGEL’S PAIN.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Private Concierge-Suzanne Forster

August 30, 2008

The Private Concierge

Suzanne Forster

Mira, Oct 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 0778325458

 

In Los Angeles, the rich and famous go to Lane Chandler to discreetly handle their whims and desires.  Lane’s firm THE PRIVATE CONCIERGE has earned a superior reputation for subtly and tastefully taking care of the legal needs of the elite.

 

However someone must have either hacked into her client database or is a TPC employee because in a short time customers have been exposed to scandal and one is murdered in a scandalous way.  LAPD investigates the homicide suspecting another TPC client Ned Talbert.  His friend former cop Rick Bayless thinks otherwise and begins to investigate starting with TPC and its owner whom he recognizes as arresting back in 1993 when she was the juvenile Lucy Cox.  She was innocent then and innocent now, but being innocent means nothing when it comes to the criminal system where money and power enable Lady Justice to look away.  Although she loathes cooperating with the man who forced her to change her name, Lane has no choice as Rick is her only hope to end the reign of terror.

 

This is a fascinating investigative romantic suspense as the beleaguered heroine knows her options are limited to working with a man she detests though to her chagrin is attracted to him.  The story line is action-packed from the opening salvo and never slows down as the predator assaults TPC with insider knowledge.  Nick is a unique protagonist who regrets what he did fifteen years ago as he falls in love with Lane; however what makes him refreshing (pun intended) is he a slob who leaves dirty plates on the floor for a mouse to clean.  Fans will enjoy Suzanne Forster entertaining tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

The House Of Allerbrook-Valerie Anand

August 30, 2008

The House Of Allerbrook

Valerie Anand

Mira, Oct 2008, $13.95

ISBN: 0778326012

 

In 1535 unmarried Sybil Sweetwater is unable to take her post at court because she is carrying the child of married tenant farmer Andrew Shearer.  Her parents send Sybil into family exile and their sixteen year old daughter pragmatic Jane is to serve at the court of King Henry VIII.  Jane enjoys her time there especially as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne of Cleves but, her monarch’s persistent sexual assaults frighten her so she flees the court for Allerbrook assisted by Peter Carew.

 

Jane’s brother Francis, now the family patriarch, is irate with his sibling’s failure to appease the appetite of the king and bring acclaim not disdain on the Sweetwater family.  Additionally, a witness at the court fabricates what occurred.  To punish Jane and appease King Henry, Francis forces Jane to marry much older farmer Harry Hudd.  Although not used to the hard working of the land, Jane adjusts in part because of their son Tobias.  When her brother suddenly dies, Allerbrook becomes Jane’s; she plans changes in the lifestyles of her and her child.

 

This engaging sixteenth century historical tale pulls no punches when it comes to the plight of women of all walks of life in England as females are less valuable than cattle except in terms of bearing an heir.  Told over five decades, fans who enjoy a sweeping saga will appreciate the impact of royal intrigue on the HOUSE OF ALLERBROOK.

 

Harriet Klausner

Broken-Daniel Clay

August 30, 2008

Broken

Daniel Clay

Harper, Sep 2008, $13.95

ISBN: 0061561045

 

In Southampton eleven year old Skunk Cunningham lives with her father, brother and au pair.  Skunk watches bully Bob Oswald batter teenager Rick Buckley; a few minutes after beating Rick up badly, Bob reports to the cops that the nineteen years old Buckley raped his thirteen year old daughter Susan.  No one messes with one of Oswald’s five daughters as the patriarch is not concerned with the truth; in this case the police Dr. Mortimer affirms Susan is a virgin.  Charges were dropped.

 

Skunk avoids the Oswald girls like they have the plague as they are as insane and violent as their dad.  Meanwhile Rick is afraid to go outside because he knows Oswald is not through with pummeling him.  Finally unable to remain self incarcerated as he is going crazy, Rick reenters society looking for someone to beat up.

 

Although the plot is skeletal, this is a dark bleak character study.  The Oswald brood is a fascinating family as Bob’s argument that Rick harmed his daughter is based on fear she overtly displays; he is unable to take responsibility that her fear is of him.  However, it is the metamorphosis of Rick from frightened shadow to avenger against those he feels affronted him like the female his age who told him his pecker was microscopic as well as the Oswalds.  Not for everyone as the desolation and hopelessness oozes throughout, fans who appreciate the dark side of human interactivity will want to read aptly titled BROKEN.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Cedar Cove Christmas- Debbie Macomber

August 29, 2008

A Cedar Cove Christmas

Debbie Macomber

Mira, Oct 2008, $16.95

ISBN: 0778325911

 

On Christmas Eve, pregnant Mary Jo Wyse comes to Cedar Cove, Washington seeking the father of her unborn David Rhodes.  There are no commercial accommodations available in town, but Grace and Cliff Harding allow Mary Jo to sleep in the loft of their stable.

 

When Mary Jo goes into labor, paramedic Mack McAfee attends to her.  The three Wyse men, her bumbling brothers (Linc, Mel and Ned) arrive to help their sister.  Meanwhile Mary Jo has decided that instead of confronting David, who she has not found, she would prefer to be held by kindhearted Mack.  However she doubts even this nice EMT would want to get involved with a woman who has just given birth.

 

A CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS is an amusing and angst account of the Christmas saga with Puget Sound serving as the locale instead of Bethlehem; as a stable is still a stable when it comes to hospitality for a pregnant woman.  The cast is solid but it is the visitor Mary Jo who provides the anxiety, focus and equilibrium to the plot.  Fans will relish Debbie Macomber’s latest very Merry Christmas romp.

 

Harriet Klausner


Risking Her Heart-Liz Allison & Wendy Etherington

August 29, 2008

Risking Her Heart

Liz Allison & Wendy Etherington

Harlequin HQN, Oct 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 0373773196

 

Parker Huntington is attracted to Rachel Garrison and believes she reciprocates.  Thus the sponsor of her family’s Garrison Racing NASCAR team cannot understand why she rejects his advances.

 

Rachel is attracted to Parker and believes he reciprocates.  However, she refuses to have anything to do with him outside of racing as he is known for his love them leave them attitude; besides she firmly believes in not mixing pleasure with business.  Instead she begins dating someone else; although when she believes someone is stealing from her family’s business she asks Parker to help her determine who.

 

The second Garrison sibling NASCAR romance (see NO HOLDING BACK) stays off the track for the most part focusing more on the business aspects of racing.  The story line can stand alone, but is clearly enhanced by reading the first tale as the overarching plot moves forward.  Those who read both tales will appreciate the forming of the balanced scorecard as first there was the mission perspective and now the finance view.  In each novel Liz Allison & Wendy Etherington insures their characters are solid so that fans will enjoy watching whether Rachel and Parker risk their heart.

 

Harriet Klausner

Lucky Charm-Carly Phillips

August 29, 2008

Lucky Charm

Carly Phillips

Harlequin HQN, Oct 2008, $7.99

ISBN: 0373773315

 

In Stewart, Massachusetts, they were in love with one another through high school.  However, upon graduation, Derek ended his relationship with Gabrielle though he still believed she was his soul mate.  He dropped her out of fear of the Corwin Curse that has haunted all his male ancestors since witch Mary Perkins cursed the family in the nineteenth century when a member eloped with the fiancée of her son; Mary declared the Corwin males would lose their beloved and their fortune.

 

Derek did marry, but not to Gabrielle.  His marriage and his business failed even though he ran from love; however, he also has a tweener daughter, Holly, who he loves very much.

 

Gabrielle never mended her broken heart; instead as a psychological defense mechanism she turned to writing and avoided any relationships.  She debunks myths and curses, but has returned to Stewart to use her skills to prove the Corwin Curse is a sham.

 

This is a charming lighthearted romantic romp starring two likable protagonists; some might say antagonists.  The second chance story line is fast-paced and filled with humor and angst due to deep characters, but although the plot is slim. Carly Phillips fans will enjoy visiting the town 1.5 miles west of Salem.

 

Harriet Klausner