Archive for March, 2009

Always a Scoundrel-Suzanne Enoch

March 31, 2009

Always a Scoundrel

Suzanne Enoch

Avon, May 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061456756

In 1815 Lady Rosamund Davies has no choice except to agree to marry Lord Cosgrove even though she detests him. He is the only person who can save her family from ruin so she is selling herself in unholy matrimony.

Notorious for gambling and womanizing, Lord Bramwell Johns overhears the sale of Rosamund as his alterego the thieving “Black Cat,” who robs the rich. Feeling out of sorts since his best friends have recently married (see BEFORE THE SCANDAL and AFTER THE KISS), knowing her younger brother, and feeling sorry for her being sold as cattle, he decides to mentor Rose in the art of passion. However, both are unprepared for that first incredible kiss; now he wants to marry Rose, but to achieve his new objective he must prevent Cosgrove from doing so without causing a scandal.

The third Notorious Gentlemen tale is an excellent Regency romantic suspense starring two fully developed protagonists and her fiancé who has his own agenda. In a battle of wits between Bram and Rosamund vs. Cosgrove, the jury is out as the latter has all the advantages starting with his being the intended. As always Suzanne Enoch provides a wonderful historical starring likable lead characters and a vile villain.

Harriet Klausner


The Angel and the Highlander-Donna Fletcher

March 31, 2009

The Angel and the Highlander

Donna Fletcher

Avon, May 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061712982

Lord Bunnock sends Lachlan Sinclare to escort his runaway daughter Lady Alyce home. To avoid marriage to a dolt selected by her father, Alyce fled to Everagis Abbey. At the convent, Lachlan is informed that Alyce died and that the sisters are in peril from outlaws. Lachlan vows to help the nuns, but is preoccupied with beautiful Sister Terese, who acts so different than the other occupants.

To hide from her sire, Alyce took the identity of a dead nun. She fears her attraction to Lachlan will prove her undoing. Alyce also believes she and the nuns are quite capable of protecting themselves from the bandits. As they fall in what he assumes is taboo love, she must soon decide between her independence and temptation.

The newest late sixteenth century Sinclare Brothers Scottish romance (see RETURN OF THE ROGUE) is a wonderfully amusing tale as the hero struggles between desire and sin while the sassy sexy “sister: struggles between desire and independence. The story line is fast-paced and very humorous as Alyce’s web of deceit implodes by her falling in love. Fans will enjoy the latest Sinclare entry due to the lead duo.

Harriet Klausner

The Virgin’s Secret-Victoria Alexander

March 31, 2009

The Virgin’s Secret

Victoria Alexander

Avon, May 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061449475

In 1885 Gabriella Montini grieves the death of her disgraced brother Enrico while also plotting revenge against the Harrington siblings who she believes stole the proof of his work. Enrico claimed an ancient seal proved the existence of the lost city of Ambropia. However, the seal was stolen, his reputation tattered and before he could prove otherwise he was dead. Gabriella plans to substantiate that Nathaniel and Quinton Harrington stole the seal.

During a gala to honor a Harrington sister, Nate catches Gabriella in their library searching for something. He confronts her and swears they are innocent. Nate also vows to assist on her mission though she distrusts anything Harrington. As they begin to fall in love, her endeavor turns dangerous from someone who will kill to keep the truth buried with Enrico.

This is a terrific Victorian romance starring an intrepid heroine with a death bed request and a daring adventurer joining her quest. The story line is witty especially when the lead couple exchanges barbs and is fast-paced as the action never ends. Fans will enjoy the dangerous late nineteenth century antiquities profession in which peril comes from rivals.

Harriet Klausner

Saints in Limbo-River Jordan

March 30, 2009

Saints in Limbo

River Jordan

WaterBrook, May 2009, $13.99

ISBN 9780307446701

In Echo, Florida Widow Velma True struggles to go out her door. Her agoraphobia has been getting worse as going to the mailbox is an incredible quest that she never achieves. She traces her fear of outdoors to when her beloved Joe died.

On her birthday, a stranger arrives at her door to give her a gift that does not look like much. However, somehow the mysterious present from this baffling stranger has Velma looking back over her memories with Joe and their son Rudy. She begins to appreciate what she had and still has through her memories though her reminiscences on the river of her life include some depressing moments. She begins to find herself pulled between her desire to have what she once had before Joe died and Rudy grew up, and what she has now. Finally her adventure into her mind leaves her vulnerable to a malevolence that wants the gift and will take away what she cherishes to steal her birthday present.

SAINTS IN LIMBO is a whimsical tale mindful of It’s a Wonderful Life with the addition of a nasty essence wanting to steal her gift. Filled with regret and remorse, Velma is fabulous as she goes on her adventure inside her mind. Although to many subplots that are left unresolved detract from this overall fine thriller, readers will enjoy accompanying the heroine as she tours her soul.

Harriet Klausner

The Nude-Dorothy McFalls

March 30, 2009

The Nude

Dorothy McFalls

Five Star, May 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594147678

In 1814 following the death of her husband in the Peninsular War against Napoleon, impoverished Countess Elsbeth Mercer moves into the home of her uncle, his wife and two daughters. Everything is fine until a painting of her is found. Upset, Elsbeth seeks out the artist, Dionysus, of whom she has never met, but fell in love with his landscapes years ago; he tricked her into thinking Mercer was the artist.

Marquess Nigel Purbeck refuses to divulge the identity of the artist to the demanding irate Countess who wants the artist to tell the Ton she did not pose for it. Still he is attracted to her and seduces the widow. However, his actions leave her in danger and he too from apparently a friend accused of smuggling while she struggles between her long time love of the artist and of the reclusive Marquess.

THE NUDE is a wonderful refreshing Regency romantic suspense starring two fully developed fascinating lead characters. Elsbeth is a delight as she demands the Marquess introduce her to the painter who has scandalized her. Nigel is the more mesmerizing protagonist as the audience will wonder why he is a semi-hermit with the influence he obviously has amidst the Ton. The artist comes alive mostly in the minds of Elsbeth and Nigel making for an entertaining historical triangular romance.

Harriet Klausner

Forbidden Moon-Elysa Hendricks

March 29, 2009

Forbidden Moon

Elysa Hendricks

ImaJinn, Mar 2009, $14.00

ISBN: 1933417218

Exiled from Dramon due to her father’s avaricious attempts to steal the throne, Laila DiSanti lives alone in the mountains distrusting everyone and killing slave raiders and bandits while rescuing good people who find themselves in trouble. She sells her services, but no one wants to buy them more than Pace Alastar, who lives in the magically hidden Andacor Valley where the residents are immortal due to crystals; they pay the price of no emotions or desires

When they meet, she believes his valley is a myth; he explains about the earthquake that led to the breaking of some of the crystals. However, the remaining crystals are failing and consequently the people are dying. Their only hope of surviving is with his daughter Aria who can return the crystals back to health, but left the valley when her mother decided to leave because immortality without feelings is like death.. Laila agrees to help him find Aria. On their quest, they meet dangerous foes including the mountains, but it is the attraction between them that is most lethal; as he begins to learn what immortality’s true price is, but to pay the fee of love means leaving his beloved as a widow.

Elysa Hendricks’s delightful updating of Shangri-La is a beautiful adult fairy tale filled with romance, danger form various sentient species, other obstacles, and a quest filled with spins and detours. Part of the tension comes from the romance as viewers of the final scenes of the classic Capra film The Lost Horizon will wonder if that is how this couple’s relationship will end. Filled with varying cultures, the return to the Hendricks Moon realm of crystals (see CRYSTAL MOON and SHADOW MOON) is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word-Linda Kelsey

March 29, 2009

Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word

Linda Kelsey

5 Spot, Mar 2009, $13.99

ISBN: 9780446195904

In 2003 Hope Lyndhurst-Steele believes strongly her upcoming fiftieth birthday is no milestone as nothing will change in her near perfect life. However, just after her birthday, her world collapses. Her mom announces she is dying with just a few months to live. Hope’s husband Jack says he cannot cope with her cynicism and upside down values accentuated when she is more upset that he told their son Olly before her that he is leaving her and moves out. She is also upset to see Olly hanging around with the neighborhood tramp, the older single mom Vanessa; Hope tells her to leave her son alone only to upset her son. Hope feels no hope as she flees for Paris to reassess her relationships.

This is an interesting character study of a fifty year old woman whose world implodes and has to look closely at her set ways and decide whether changing is worth the cost. Hope is a fascinating protagonist but the use of her viewpoint abates the impact of how the others feel as we only know them through a Hope filter. Still this is a difficult read as the heroine learns fifty is a four-letter word and changing one’s spots is extremely difficult; that is if a person truly wants to change.

Harriet Klausner

Hungry Woman in Paris-Josefina Lopez

March 29, 2009

Hungry Woman in Paris

Josefina Lopez

Grand Central, Mar 2009, $12.99

ISBN: 9780446699419

The suicide of her cousin Luna shakes Los Angeles based Mexican-American journalist Canela to her bone marrow. She needs to escape so she leaves behind her family, her fiancé Armando and her job to find passion, something that has mysteriously vanished form her life. She goes to Paris where she enrolls in the internationally famous cooking school Le Coq Rouge and rents an apartment.

Canela has a string of lovers and makes friends with other students. Though she does not quite retain the passion that died with Luna she moves on in her grief for her cousin and feels her soul healing. Upon graduating from the culinary school, Canela returns to Southern California, but her life before Luna’s death is no longer enough.

This is a fascinating character study of a young woman who seems to have everything only to feel she has nothing and must do something about the void in her soul made self aware by her cousin’s suicide. Canela is a wonderful lead character who provides a profound first hand account that is entertaining and engaging as she uses élan and sass to hide her inner doubts. Fans will appreciate Josefina Lopez’s terrific contemporary while rooting for Canela to make it.

Harriet Klausner

5 Bodies to Die For-Stephanie Bond

March 29, 2009

5 Bodies to Die For

Stephanie Bond

Mira, May 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327059

Atlanta remains gripped with terror as The Charmed Killer continues to intimidate the city. Meanwhile Carlotta Wren hides at the home of her former fiancé Peter, but his late wife’s presence dominates his residence; besides his elite pals hold her culpable for sharing the DNA of her father who pulled a few fiscal stunts on them; ergo she is unwelcome.

Her body-mover friend Cooper and his assistant her brother Wesley are finding business a bit slow in spite of the antics of the Charmed Killer. In spite of the down turn in the economy causing less professional corpse transportation, as always, Carlotta finds life out of control.

The fifth body movers’ thriller continues Carlotta’s adventures as a corpse and hunk magnet as the dead pile up while police detective Jack, her former fiancé Peter, and Cooper the professional body mover want her. The overarching plot makes snail progress leading to whether Carlotta is losing her Mojo or just filler. Still the lighthearted romp retains its graveyard jocularity that is a trademark of the series while fans will wonder who the last man standing will be in the Carlotta sweepstakes.

Harriet Klausner

Summer on Blossom Street-Debbie Macomber

March 28, 2009

Summer on Blossom Street

Debbie Macomber

Mira, May 2009, $24.95

ISBN 9780778326434

In Seattle at the Blossom Street yarn store, A Good Yarn, owner Lydia feels great about overcoming cancer for the second time. To celebrate and to bring in new clients she and her sister Margaret decide to start a new group “Knit to Quit”. However, Lydia also notices her sibling is extremely careful with her words, but Lydia expects that will pass soon enough.

Lydia and her spouse Brad discuss adopting an infant. In the interim, Lydia allows twelve year old Casey to move into her home with tom’s agreement. The baker Alix wants a baby too, but her spouse Pastor Jordon demands she give up smoking first so she considers joining the new class. At the advice of his doctor who is worried that chocolate CEO Hutch will suffer a stroke or heart attack if he does not slow down, he joins the group. Finally concerned bookstore owner Ann Marie needs a stress releaser so she also attends Knit to Quit so she can get away from the demands of her adopted daughter’s biological father, a recovering addict, wanting to see her child.

The latest Blossom Street tale is an engaging entry due to a strong cast struggling with issues and traumas. The multiple subplots are all engaging and tie together at the Knit to Quit group. Fans will enjoy this warm SUMMER ON BLOSSOM STREET as Debbie Macomber stitches a multifaceted good yarn.

Harriet Klausner