Archive for July, 2010

Autumn’s Promise-Shelley Shepard Gray

July 31, 2010

Autumn’s Promise

Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon, Aug 3 2010, $12.99

ISBN: 9780061852374

Nineteen years old Lilly Allen remains grief stricken over her recent miscarriage.  She also feels guilty that her family relocated from their home in Cleveland so her out-of-wedlock pregnancy can be hidden from her friends.  Lilly knows she has moved by her negative reaction to the news that her forty something mom is carrying.

Twenty-four year old Amish widower carpenter Robert Miller grieves the death of his beloved wife Grace who died three years ago.  His caring family and friends want him to start courting Amish women, but he is not ready.  Instead he is attracted to the Englisher Lilly who he knows from stopping for breakfast at the Sugar Creek inn where she works.  As they begin to date to the consternation of their families, they fall in love, but an Amish and an Englisher has little in common.

The third Seasons of Sugarcreek (See Spring’s Renewal and Winter’s Awakening) is a terrific contemporary Amish romance starring two people who have lost loved ones relatively recently and know the barrier between them seemingly is impenetrable.  The support cast is super as his Amish friends and family and her family reject their relationship.  However, this excellent entry belongs to the lead couple who each strongly believes their love has healed their respective souls but will break their hearts.

Harriet Klausner


Deeply, Desperately-Heather Webber

July 31, 2010

Deeply, Desperately

Heather Webber

St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312946142

Although being able to read auras can be a hardship as not all are positive, the Valentine family uses it to enhance their Boston based matchmaking service.  Additionally, Lucy Valentine brings to the firm the ability to find missing objects; her focus recently has been on locating lost loves.

However, her latest lost love recovery turns shockingly into a murder case.  Even with her psychic ability, Lucy knows she is out of her element so she asks private-investigator Sean Donahue for help.  As the pair investigates the homicide, their attraction ignites, but her family’s curse appears too strong to be overcome by a mere wanting.

The second Valentine tale (see Truly, Madly) is an enjoyable lighthearted frolic.  The P.I. and the lost love finder make for a strong pairing as each uses different skill sets to find missing people or things.  The support cast, mostly her blood relatives, adds amusing zaniness over the top of the Green Monster as the lead duet works the case, the curse, and the coupling.   Readers will root for the Deeply, Desperate Lucy to find her groove this time.

Harriet Klausner

Love In The Afternoon-Lisa Kleypas

July 31, 2010

Love In The Afternoon

Lisa Kleypas

St. Martin’s, Jul 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312605391

In the mid 1850s while in combat in the Crimea, British Captain Christopher Phelan knows the one thing that keeps his morale high is correspondence from Prudence Mercer.  Pru tells her friend Beatrix Hathaway about Christopher’s latest letter that fondly tells about Albert, the regiment’s dog.  Beatrix tells Pru that she would like to reply, but they agree it should be under the latter’s name.  Over time as Beatrix writing as Pru sends and receives letters from the front, she falls in love with her Captain.

After being wounded in battle, Christopher is sent home.  He also suffers from battle fatigue having seen so many horrors.  He turns to the woman he loves, the author of the letters that saved his life, for solace.  However, he quickly realizes that his Pru could not write those letters as she has not one drop of intelligence near what was written to him.  He soon realizes Beatrix who he initially ignored is his beloved pen pal, but even love may not be enough to overcome the nightmares that still haunt him day and night.

The newest Hathaway’s historical romance (see Mine Till Midnight and Tempt Me at Twilight) is a great entry with a Cyrano twist to the strong story line.  Bea is terrific as she goes from support character in previous entries to lead protagonist while battle fatigue sufferer Christopher has his work cut out once he is home as he fell in love with his pen pal “Pru”.  Although the support cast detracts at times from this engaging mid nineteenth century tale, Hathaway fans will relish the animal lover and the vet falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Till Dawn With The Devil-

July 31, 2010

Till Dawn With The Devil

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312381257

In 1821 everyone admires yet also fears the notorious Lords of Vice.  Perhaps the most frightening of the friends is Lord Gabriel “Reign” Housely, who’s deriding of others since his wife died after a spat nine years ago, is beyond polite nasty.

When Lady Sophie Northam was a child she suffered an injury that wrecked her eyesight.  When she meets Gabriel, she is unable to  see him, but can hear his scornful cynical tone.  Instead of backing away like most do when Gabriel rips skin, Sophie senses the melancholy he conceals beneath a veneer of derision.  Still she also knows her imperfect body makes her an undesirable so she plans to stay away from the aristocrat she is attracted to in order to avoid the hurt she expects she would feel.  He refuses to allow her to run as he wants her too.  However, their parents’ deadly trysts leave both wondering if love is enough to surmount their interrelated heritage.

The latest Lords of Vice Regency romance (see All Night with a Rogue and After Dark with a Scoundrel) is a wonderful pairing of a seemingly Romeo and Juliet like star-crossed pair with additional personal issues that make each feels less than worthy of the other.  The story line is fast-paced but it is the tango between the female who cannot see yet “sees” into the soul of her beloved and the male who feels guilt over his late wife’s death.

Harriet Klausner

Plum Blossoms in Paris-Sarah Hina

July 30, 2010

Plum Blossoms in Paris

Sarah Hina

Medallion, Aug 1 2010, $15.95

ISBN: 9781605421261

Andy, her boyfriend in high school, college and graduate school, unceremoniously dumps Daisy Lockhart.  Heartbroken as she never saw it coming and assumed as her only boyfriend she ever had, they would always be together.  Daisy, unlike her Henry James’ namesake, travels to Paris rather than Rome.  There the American meets writer Mathieu, who grieves the recent death of his mother.

.Mathieu and Daisy become lovers.  He shows her a side of the city that few Americans ever see especially the arts and the legends that make Paris what it is.  As they remain together, Daisy  knows she delays the inevitable of choosing between being an American in Paris or an American in America.

This is an entertaining contemporary relationship drama in which Paris owns the story line.  The city is seen mostly through the admiring, adoring and to a lesser degree disapproving eyes of the American in Paris. The lead couple is a wonderful cross Atlantic pairing, but more so the blossoming Daisy; as readers will wonder whether Daisy will follow the dreams of her heart or the American dreams she left back home.

Harriet Klausner

Whisper On The Wind-Maureen Lang

July 30, 2010

Whisper On The Wind 

Maureen Lang

Tyndale, Sep 1 2010, $12.99

ISBN: 9781414324364

When the war broke out, her parents got the entire family out of Belgium before the German war machine invaded the small nation.  However, in 1916, Isabelle Lassone returns to war ravaged Brussels to persuade the man she loves Edward Kirkland to flee the continent with her.  Edward refuses to go but also demands she leave.  Isabelle tells him if he remains in the devastated country so will she.

Edward is irate with obstinate Isabelle for staying as he fears for her safety; he also admires her courage and knows he loves her.  However, Edward also worries what will happen to her, him and his “illegal” colleagues if she will learn he works for the underground newspaper, La Libre-Belgique, a dangerous occupation as the German invaders censor any news that places them in a bad light; truth be damned.

Whisper on the Wind takes the reader to Brussels during WW I when the Germans occupy the city and country.  Isabelle and Edward are intrepid souls because they know if caught they will probably be executed without a trial.  Readers will relish how the news traveled in 1916 as those who controlled the “free press” controlled the news.

Harriet Klausner

Black Magic Lover-Cynthia Cooke

July 30, 2010

Black Magic Lover

Cynthia Cooke

Harlequin Nocturne, Sep 1 2010, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373618439

The phone call stuns Laura Larame who had believed her mom was dead.  She considers someone pulled a sick joke on her, but must know the truth as to whether her mother Delilah, whom she had not heard from in two decades lives in the Louisiana bayou.

Laura Larame returns home where she meets her childhood friend Drew Michel, who saved her life on the night her mom vanished and was assumed drowned.  Drew and Laura are attracted to one another and he wants more than them just being friends; while she determinedly remains fixated on her mom.  Drew who sees ghosts, fears his beloved is going to be sacrificed by his mother, a voodoo priestess, who plans to use her death to bring her God back using her son’s body as the deity’s container.

This Bayou romantic suspense is an exhilarating tale that grips the reader with a need to know what happened to Laura’s mother.  The story line provides an in depth look at voodoo without slowing down the plot.  Although the ending seems abrupt, Black magic Lover is a fast-paced horror thriller as Cynthia Cooke shows her Mojo.

Harriet Klausner

Silver Serenade-Nancy J. Cohen

July 30, 2010

Silver Serenade

Nancy J. Cohen

Wild Rose Press, Jun 17 2010, $15.99

ISBN: 9781601547828

Earth Centrum Security Integrated Network field operative Silver Malloy is assigned to eliminate ruthless Tyrone Bluth, leader of the brutally nasty gang Tyrone’s Marauders.  S.I.N.’s top assassin, Silver almost completes her mission when Kurashian Jace Vernon interferes by tackling her.

Ace pilot Jace is after Tyrone also, but unlike Silver needs his prey alive if he is to prove his innocence on his home planet where he is wanted for murder.   He does not want to work with Silver who wants the beast dead, but has no choice if he is to achieve his objective as his enemy’s enemy is his ally; if he does not team with her they will get in each others’ way.  She reluctantly agrees with his assessment.

This is a fun romantic science fiction thriller as the lead couple targets the same person, but disagrees with the output as each has a different outcome in mind.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment Jace makes the hit on Silver and never slows down as love between them complicates their already complex relationship.  Sub-genre readers will enjoy this outer space tale of a lethal gang lord serving ironically as a matchmaker between two people who disagree on what to do with him as the options are life in a maximum prison or assassination.

Harriet Klausner

The Mists Of Time-Susan Squires

July 30, 2010

The Mists Of Time

Susan Squires

St. Martin’s, Aug 31 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312943554

San Francisco romance writer Diana Dearborn meets a stranger who gives her an ancient tome.  Somehow the old book propels her to Dark Ages Camelot.  She returns to the present with no time elapsing, but has brought forward with her severely injured Medraught of Orkney.

Diana feels no desire towards the hunk she brought into his future.  Instead she feels an attraction to a stranger who she has noticed in the shadows seemingly stalking her or her guest.  His father ordered Gawain to keep Diana safe, but he arrived in San Francisco a few years later than he needed to be there; as he learns her trip in time periled her.  To begin correcting the scenario they must return Medraught to the past, but he refuses to go willingly as he loves the modern world.

The Mists of Time is a well written complex time travel Camelot romance that grips the audience from the moment a feral teen Diana is in lock up and never slows down as the readers learn what happened to her.  The story line is fast-paced with intriguing paradoxes and a wonderful link between San Francisco and Camelot while the lead pairing and the knight they need to send home seem real though their flaws are reiterated too frequently. Fans will admire Susan Squires as she refreshes the Camelot legend.

Harriet Klausner

Damage Control-Amy Fetzer

July 29, 2010

Damage Control

Amy Fetzer

Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2010, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758231390

Archeologist Olivia Corrigan investigates an ancient Celtic legend.  Her research tracks the routes of twelfth century Viking and Chinese traders that lead to the Arctic Circle polar cap where she believes an ancient ship is under the ice.

However, her efforts turn ugly when people associated with her project begin dying.  Apparently, Russian agents want to know the secret of the Celtic legends and are willing to kill to succeed.  Dragon One mercenary team assigns her former husband explosives expert Sebastian Fontenot to safeguard the woman he still loves while also trying to rescue from kidnappers a colleague of hers who knows much about legend snatched in his hotel room.  As they team up to save the life of the abducted English bookworm scholar from adversaries who cold-bloodedly murdered innocent bystanders in the hotel, Olivia still wonders if she would be safer with the Russians than with her former spouse who she still loves.

The latest Dragon One (see Fight Fire With Fire and Come as You Are) is an action-packed romantic suspense that circles the globe as Olivia hops seemingly everywhere.  The second chance romance starts towards the middle of the story line and enhances the dangerous adventures the lead couple and his cohorts confront.  That is the key to this entertaining thriller that never stops for a respite.

Harriet Klausner