Archive for December, 2009

Angel’s Peak-Robyn Carr

December 31, 2009

Angel’s Peak

Robyn Carr

Mira, Jan 26 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327615

U-2 pilot stationed at Beale Air Force Base, Sean Riordan remains in Virgin River after being the best man at his brother Luke’s wedding (see Temptation Ridge) as he has six weeks of lose or lose leave to kill.  He stops at a restaurant’s bar for a drink when four women enter the establishment.  One of them is flight nurse Franci Duncan who four year ago demanded they go to the next level in their relationship or end it; he reacted by telling her not to let the door slam into her butt.  She left and vanished from Luke AFB in Phoenix; he went on to Beale regretting what he lost.

Sean demands Franci explain why she left so abruptly after they split up.  She wants him to leave her alone though she still loves him.  However, he is stunned when she explains he is the father of little Rosie who she has raised as a single mom.  He wants in his daughter’s life, but Franci distrusts Sean and wonders if he is mature enough to have the staying power to be a part of his son’s life.  Sean knows he has a second chance to rectify his biggest mistake as he wants both of his females in his life permanently.

Once readers accept the opening coincidence that the lovers when they were in Arizona meet by chance in remote Northern California, fans will enjoy the story line is emotionally driven by a strong cast.  Sean is terrific as he regrets what he blew and is appreciative that he has a second chance.  Franci on the other hand does not want to give him one.  Well written, Robyn Carr provides a delightful Virgin River entry as she overcomes an overused trite premise of a dad unaware of siring a precious child with a super cast especially the lead couple who make for a fine tale.

Harriet Klausner


An Irish Country Girl- Patrick Taylor

December 30, 2009

An Irish Country Girl

Patrick Taylor

Forge, Jan 5 2010, $24.99

ISBN 9780765320711

In Ballybucklebo, Ireland, Kinky Kincaid serves as housekeeper to small village’s two doctors (Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly).  On Christmas Day, Kinky turns storyteller as she spins a spellbinder to the children with the tale of the St. Stephen’s Day ghost.

When she was a child the age of her audience, Kinky was known as Maureen O’Hanlon.  She had the unique skill of seeing the future.  As Kinky tells about dark fairies to enraptured fans, back then Maureen must choose between her heart and her career.

The latest Ballybucklebo Irish County cozy (see An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Doctor and An Irish Country Village) is another superb tale with a neat twist as the previous support player housekeeper takes the lead effortlessly.  The story line has two key plots one of which is Kinky’s past when she had to make up her mind and choose one of two roads and the present when she tells the ghost tale.  Fans will relish this terrific twist as Kinky proves to be a superb storyteller as the top banana title lead character.

Harriet Klausner

A Highlander’s Homecoming-Melissa Mayhue

December 30, 2009

A Highlander’s Homecoming

Melissa Mayhue

Pocket, Jan 26 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439144251

In 1272 Scotland heroic Robert MacQuarrie is dying from battle wounds.  However, because of his valiantly risking his life to keep others safe, Faerie propel him into the present day where modern medicine saves his life.  His only regret over the next decade living in the twenty-first century was his inability to keep young Isabella MacGahan safe as he had pledged to her dying father Thomas who saved his life; death had prevented him from fulfilling his oath.

The fey asks for a volunteer to return to the thirteenth century so Robbie jumps at the chance hoping he can still achieve his vow.  However, he ends up 1292 where he meets a now adult Isabella who has faerie powers that has left her a pariah and with no understanding of what she possesses.  When he explains to her who he is, she scoffs at his contention.  However, as he tries to keep her safe from a hostile clan dispute, his wounds from two decades earlier leaving him dying.  Only Isabella combining her fey power with her love can save his life.

The latest Daughters of the Glen romantic fantasy (see A Highlander’s Destiny and Soul of the Highlander) is an enchanting entry filled with a terrific time paradox twist as the hero can fulfill his pledge except the girl he is to protect is now a beautiful woman by the time he has come back to her.  The lead couple makes the tale with their respective emotional problems as he feels he is betraying his friend by falling in love with Thomas’ daughter and she believes she is unworthy of love due to her paranormal proclivity.  A Highlander’s Homecoming is another master mage Melissa Mayhue’s marvelous medieval romance.

Harriet Klausner

Nauti Deceptions-Lora Leigh

December 30, 2009

Nauti Deceptions

Lora Leigh

Berkley, Feb 2010, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425232552

Caitlyn Lena Rogue Walker relocated from Boston to Pulaski County, Kentucky when she accepted a teaching position.  However, she lost her job four years ago when she defended an innocent student leading to her being drugged with pictures of her in scandalous positions.  Her so-called sexual improprieties led to Principal Thompson with vindictive school board siblings Grace and Mackay pushing him into firing her.  Rather than flee back to New England she became a kick butt bar owner concealing her virginity.  The pictures end up on the Internet.

Sheriff Zeke Mayes is attracted to her, but believes not only is she hiding something with her acerbic exterior, but he is too old for her as he assumes his hard core desires will send her running back to New England faster than the Derby is run.  Still he owes her from when she lost her teaching position defending his son four years ago that led to the scandal.  However, his biggest hesitation is his fear for her safety which comes from the white supremacist group who killed his mom and spouse; and whom he is investigating.

The return to Somerset (see Nauti Dreams) is a heated romantic suspense thriller starring a tough lead female who when her family’s enemies destroyed the reputation of Caitlyn Walker they failed to comprehend how strong “Rogue” is.  Zeke has more issues than Rogue so she has her work cut out to win his soul; she has his heart.  Although overwhelmed with action that leaves the plot fast-paced and fun but emaciated, readers who relish plenty of fisticuffs and shooting disputes will enjoy fight nights in Kentucky.

Harriet Klausner

House Rules-Jodi Picoult

December 29, 2009

House Rules

Jodi Picoult

Atria, Mar 2 2010, $28.00

ISBN 9780743296434

Emma Hunt has dedicated her life to her son Jacob who suffers with Asperger’s syndrome.  Her sacrifice has come with personal lost and cost as her career was pushed aside; her ex-husband Henry the computer programmer left as he worked at home and could not concentrate with the tantrums; and her other son Theo three years younger than Jacob is expected to watch over him when mom cannot, but ignored otherwise by her as he cannot even get his permit.  She lives to protect Jacob and Theo understands that the prime house rule is take care of your brother.

However, her efforts to give her soon a life fall apart when the police charge eighteen years old Jacob with the murder of Jess Ogilvy.  His inability to understand non verbal signs and comprehend social nuances puts Jacob at risk.  Desperate, she hires Oliver O. Bond as Jacob’s lawyer.

This is a super look at Asperger’s Syndrome, but not just the person suffering from it, but also the impact on family members especially Theo.   The murder mystery tales a back seat even in the courtroom to how Henry thinks and reacts to senses overload, which can be simply crinkling of paper.  Rotating perspective between family members, the lawyer and others, fans obtain a deep look at the total impact of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Harriet Klausner

Blonde with a Wand-Vicki Lewis Thompson

December 29, 2009

Blonde with a Wand

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Signet, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451228925

In Chicago Anica Revere is a witch with a conscience.  She adheres strictly to rules enforced by the Wizard Council enhanced by her own code of conduct.  For instance, before dating anyone, she informs them up front she is a practicing witch though most scoff at her for joking; not realizing she is charmingly serious.

She breaks her rule of pre informing a date of her paranormal skills when she meets cute Jasper Danes.  After three weeks of charming dates, they have an argument over his lying to her; leading to her exploding in anger.  When he goes to kiss her, she ignites in fury casting a spell.  She turns him into a cat; a violation of the use of magic that costs her witchcraft skills.  She feels horrible especially when Jasper turns back to a human every midnight for a short spell.  Making her feel worse is that he does not hate her for what she did to him; contrary wise he is attracted to the Chick with a Charm.  The people who are expected to straighten out the mess are Dorcas and Ambrose (see OVER-HEXED and WILD & HEXY).

This is an amusing lighthearted charmer as Anica with remorse and Jasper with a Cheshire grin make a fine couple even if he has become her familiar rather than her lover.  Although thin, the story line is fast-paced from the first spell to a Cha-Cha to Frankie Avalon’s crooning symbolizing case closed as fans will enjoy this paranormal romantic romp.

Harriet Klausner

See How Much I Love You- Luis Leante

December 29, 2009

See How Much I Love You

Luis Leante

Marion Boyers, Jan 2010, $14.95

ISBN: 9780714531540

Hrrp://www.marionboyers.uk.

In Barcelona, teenagers Santiago and Montse meet and fall in love.  However, he comes from a poor background while she is educated middle class.  Although she is pregnant, they break up leading to a depressed Santiago leaving Spain for the Western Sahara where Spain’s only African colony is located.  By 1975 with Spain gone, war breaks out between Morocco and the Saharawi.  Montse learns her beloved is dead.

However, three decades later a divorced doctor, Montse finds a picture of Santiago carried by a patient.  She learns he lives and lost his spouse and child just like her.  She realizes she never forgotten the love of her life.  Deciding to find him, she treks to what was once Spanish Morocco in search of her Santiago.  She thinks she knows the danger, but the Western Sahara remains dangerous especially the Saharawi refugee camps where he is escorting a family.  Still she continues her quest for love.

Although there is a bittersweet romantic connection, the story line focuses on the little heard about plight of the Saharawi in western Morocco.  The story line starts slow but takes off at the first reference to Santiago in Africa though the plot moves back and forth in time.  Complicated, Luis Leante provides a profound look at Western Sahara where another people has been negatively impacted by imperialism, but ultimately devastated from neighbors within Africa.

Harriet Klausner

The Golden Season-Connie Brockway

December 29, 2009

The Golden Season

Connie Brockway

Onyx, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451412836

In 1816 Lady Lydia Eastlake learns she is broke, but wants a final Golden Season before she is forced to marry an affluent lord.  She assumes finding a wealthy match will prove easy as she is beautiful and has the proper pedigree though her age at a shelf life of twenty-four and never been under the control of any male or for that matter even a female but being an orphan might go against her.

War hero Captain Ned Lockton returns to England in search of a wife with money as his family estate is teetering on bankruptcy.  When Lydia and Ned meet, they are attracted to one another while also believing the other is rich.  Each learns the dire straits of their beloved’s finances and sadly concludes they must pragmatically look elsewhere as love does not pay the bills.

This terrific Regency romance stars two strong lead characters (especially the pursuing female) who are both in financial trouble due to an economic recession and in her case too much spending.  Ironically, his fighting against Napoleon left him and his family vulnerable to the economy’s slump.  Lydia and Ned make the tale as they want one another, but look to the odious Smyth types for marriage as neither can afford to wed for love.

Harriet Klausner

McKettricks Of Texas: Tate- Linda Lael Miller

December 28, 2009

McKettricks Of Texas: Tate

Linda Lael Miller

Harlequin HQN, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373774364

When Libby Remington was a child, her mom deserted her.  She was still young when her father died.  Finally she fell in love with Tate McKettrick, but he ended their relationship to marry the woman Cheryl he made pregnant when he got too drunk to know better.

In Blue River, Texas divorced Tate visits Libby at the Perk Up Coffee Shop to beg for a second chance.  She wants to say yes, but refuses as she fears he will break her heart again even though he swears he would do anything for her except give up his beloved six years old twins Audrey and Ava.  However his former wife uses their kids as emotional blackmail to make Tate do what she wants which leaves a wedge between him and Libby.

The first McKettricks Of Texas tale is an entertaining second chance at love romance although there is a soap opera feel to the plot.  The story line grips readers when Tate’s brother Austin is hurt at the rodeo and never let’s go until the finish.  Although Cheryl is a drama queen and the twins too precocious, McKettrick fans will enjoy the opening act of a new trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Down River-Karen Harper

December 28, 2009

Down River

Karen Harper

Mira, Feb 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778327479

The teambuilding event planned by Carlisle, Bonner & Associates at the Duck Lake Lodge near Bear Bones, Alaska could prove divisive as managing partner Graham Bonner will use the off site to choose the next senior partner.  One of the three attorneys in the running for a senior slot is Lisa Vaughn, who feels strongly this is not a good way to select.  She also has bigger personal issues with the location chosen by top management  that overlooks the Wild River where her mom and baby sister drowned twenty-six years ago and the lodge  is owned by Mitch Baxter, her former fiancé who dropped her last year when he relocated from Fort Lauderdale.

Lisa falls into the Wild River with its strong rapids.  Mitch knows something is wrong and follows her by kayak until he jumps in to complete the rescue.  The powerful current had carried the pair several miles from his lodge, but they survive the water.  As they struggle with the ordeal of getting back to the lodge, Lisa believes someone deliberately nudged her into the icy water.  Though Mitch initially leans towards her accidentally tripping; he soon believes his Lisa is in peril from an unknown adversary who will try anything to kill her, but neither know why.

Down River is an exhilarating romantic suspense thriller as the audience wonders along with the heroine why this location and who wants her dead.  Faster than the raging Wild River and yet filled with vivid descriptions of the Talkeetna Mountains, readers will feel transported to the home of Sarah Palin.  Karen Harper provides a powerful who is doing it and why that sub-genre fans appreciate.

Harriet Klausner