Archive for October, 2011

Oogy: the Dog only a Family Could Love-Larry Levin

October 31, 2011

Oogy: the Dog only a Family Could Love

Larry Levin

Grand Central, Oct 18 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9780446546300


The Philadelphia police raided a suspected drug dealer’s home in Montgomery County.  There they found a ripped apart canine barely alive.  They took the dog to Ardmore Animal Hospital where the battered animal fought for his life while Saint Diane insists Dr. Bianco save the dog with half of his face missing.  Apparently, the “owner” assumed the dog was not a fighter; ergo useless except as training bait for his fight dogs. 


Larry Levin and his adopted twin sons (Noah and Don) were taking their elderly ailing cat to the hospital to be put down.  They meet Oogy recovering from surgery when he escapes his cell to kiss the boys to the amazement of the veterinary staff as Oogy should have been an angry beast instead of a gentle trusting canine.  With Dr. Bianco insisting to a reluctant Jennifer that Oogy is “Mr. Happy Dog”, the battered canine joins the Levin family where he bonds with Larry and becomes the protective “third twin” to the boys.


This is an engaging memoir that focuses on a dog that beats the odds to bring joy to a family.  Canine lovers will appreciate Oogy’s story as the odious abusers could not rip the heart and soul out of this remarkable canine.


Harriet Klausner




Pharmacology-Christopher Hertz

October 31, 2011


Christopher Hertz

AmazonEncore, Dec 62011, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612181387


In the early 1990s, Sarah Striker is leaving Kansas City, Missouri to attend school in San Francisco.  However, before leaving home, over grilled cheese her beloved dad informs her he has cancer, but insists she go.  She promises to send home money to help pay for her father’s medical treatment.


In San Francisco, Sarah rooms with six people and obtains work at the Horseshoe Café.  She makes money selling weed to her sibling bosses, which Sarah sends home so her dad can undergo radical medical treatment.  Sarah publishes the Luddite issues which leads to a high paying gig for a pharmaceutical firm peddling its attention deficit disorder elixir through a blog.  However, as she begins to learn the side effects of the miracle drug, Sarah’s ethics and her father’s expensive treatment place her in an uncomfortable position even as she alleviates some of her guilt with a zine exposé.


Pharmacology is an entertaining character study that captures the essences of the early states of the internet information (and misinformation and disinformation) of the Clinton first term.  The support cast in San Francisco and the protagonist’s parents enhance a look at the era and at Sarah.  However, the heroine makes the tale work as she confronts her conflicting values.


Harriet Klausner

Roam: A Novel With Music-Alan Lazar

October 31, 2011

Roam: A Novel With Music

Alan Lazar

Atria, Nov 1 2011, $22.00

ISBN 9781451632903


Nelson the half beagle, half poodle lives with Katey and Don.  The canine especially loves his Katey though he fears the marriage between her and Don is falling apart.  When Don accidentally leaves a gate open, Nelson follows his nose and wanders outside the perimeter.  However, he soon becomes lost and his frantic efforts to sniff his way back to his “Great Love” fail, but he never quits trying to find his Katey.  Over the next few years, Nelson trucks with Thatcher and joins a wild wolf pack.  As Nelson survives still seeking his beloved Katey, he loses a leg before a widower’s young son saves him from state execution leaving his dream alive.


Roam is an engaging whimsical tale of lost love told mostly from the ultra loyal childlike canine perspective of charming Nelson.  The hero is placed in several perilous situations, but his obsessive quest keeps him going.  With seven songs (on the internet) enhancing Nelson’s search, readers will never listen to Here Comes the Sun the same way again as we root for the determined dog to reunite with his lost Great Love.


Harriet Klausner


If You Give a Girl a Viscount-Kieran Kramer

October 31, 2011

If You Give a Girl a Viscount

Kieran Kramer

St. Martin’s, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312374044


In crumbling Castle Vandemere in Scotland Daisy Montgomery lives a horrific life due to her cruel Cheapside London stepmother Mona and malevolent stepsisters (Perdita and Cassandra).  She dreams of a Prince Charming coming to her rescue, but knows that inanity only occurs in fairy tales not for someone like her.  When she finds a note that says she has a Godmother Lady Pinckney, she writes in hope of a recue.  Instead of her Godmother responding, the grandson Viscount Charles Thorpe does.


Cut off from his family funds and after a bet with his now married Impossible Bachelors pals (see Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage) Charles travels to the Highlands hoping for an adventure of a lifetime.  She wants to save her home but he lacks the funds to do so.  As they fall in love, the pair persuades a neighbor to use his estate to host a gala for outsiders to experience the Highlands.


The latest Impossible Bachelor historical romance stars a Cinderella heroine and a not so charming Prince Charming.  Filled with jocularity yet containing a deep poignancy as the lead couple finds they are more than just a victim and a wastrel, fans will appreciate the tale of a Godmother giving her goddaughter a viscount to love and be loved in return.


Harriet Klausner

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

October 30, 2011

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

Ian Mortimer

Touchstone, Oct 25 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781439112908


Using the refreshing format of a travel guide, medieval historian Dr. Ian Mortimer provides a profound look at living in fourteenth century England.  Besides a sense of touring, armchair travelers will learn much about diverse lifestyles beyond the typical warriors, farmers, and religious leaders as society is not just abuser-abused relationships.  Part of the fun is how easily Dr. Mortimer explodes contemporary myths about life six centuries ago starting with the belief that squalor was the norm although cottage smog was a norm.  With insight into medicine (or lack of) as the plague devastates England and the continent, readers will learn how people worked to put food on the table and the in your face with profanities sermons.  With corpses hanging on the edge of town and in water supplies, history fans will appreciate a tour of Medieval England with Dr. Mortimer as a super guide who amongst other tidbits provides “Ten Places to See in London” a city of approximately 40,000 as an example of what to expect in this strong “Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.”


Harriet Klausner

Marina Melee-Lynne M. Hickey

October 30, 2011

Marina Melee

Lynne M. Hickey

Casperian, Jun 1 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781934081327


George Marshall learns the true meaning of three strikes and you’re out when his lawyer Uncle Bernie loses his third divorce case.  His father, CEO of Marshall Enterprises, is sick of his playboy son so he ends his allowance as the firm’s alleged CFO. 


Deciding to leave Texas, George sails the Caribbean where he learns that American expatriate Tracker is selling his Sao Jorge marina at a cheap price in order to go home.  George buys the marina unaware of its deficiencies.  He soon is overwhelmed with code violation fines and local operating fees that leave him teetering near bankruptcy.  As he sleeps with the governor’s wife, George hires three maybe capable locals while his mom hires a private investigator to check in on what trouble George has fallen into this time.


Filled with mirth, Marina Melee is a wonderful Caribbean adventure starring a silver spoon slacker who matures while stumbling away from home as he did back in Texas.  Character driven by a strong cast to include George, his family, the islanders, and his mom’s hirelings, fans will appreciate this jocular tale of an “Ugly” American in Sao Jorge.


Harriet Klausner


A Pinch of Love-

October 30, 2011

A Pinch of Love

Alicia Bessette

Plume, Oct 25 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780452297111


In Wippamunk, Rose Ellen Roy, known better as Zell, remains grieving for her deceased husband Nick, who died one year ago while on a volunteer mission of relief in New Orleans following Katrina.  With her dog Ahab at her side, she wears his camouflage apron as a means of remaining connected to Nick though she does not cook, but cannot enter the attic filled with their memories. 


A fire caused by Zell’s first use of the stove since Nick’s death brings Garrett Knox, his replacement at the Wippamunker to her place.  She informs the Chief that the cooking fire was caused by the postman bringing her Meals in a Cinch with Polly Pinch.  Zell says she was baking cookies for her new neighbor, Garrett’s motherless nine year old daughter Ingrid.  The two females soon plan to enter the uplifting cooking contest that the Polly Cinch flyer proclaimed.


This is an interesting character study of a woman who is beginning to move through the phases of grief due to her new neighbors especially the somewhat too precocious Ingrid encouraging her to bake meals and treats.  The cast is fully developed including the late Nick and even Ahab has a personality as readers will enjoy Zell baking a new recipe for life though she still feels survivor guilt.


Harriet Klausner

Deliciously Sinful-Lilli Feisty

October 29, 2011

Deliciously Sinful

Lilli Feisty

Grand Central, Dec 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446571555


Phoebe Mayle took over her family owned Green Leaf café in Redbolt, California, but her cooking incompetence has her fearing she will put the restaurant out of business soon.  She desperately needs a chef so she hires British expatriate Nick Avalon currently of Los Angeles in spite of his unsavory reputation.


Over the next couple of months, the pair argue over the menu as he loves butter and she prefers organic cuisines that the café is known for.  Nick muses how much he feels like he belongs in the small town, but also fears his attraction to his employer; as relationships end.  Phoebe also struggles with her needing her chef, but expects him to ride his hummer into the sunset sooner than later while also trying to be there for her grieving brother whose wife recently died.


With a nod to the movie No Reservations, Deliciously Sinful is an entertaining culinary romance starring two seemingly opposites falling in love in the middle of nowhere.  The amusing lighthearted is fun to read as love appears to not be enough to keep the big city Brit and the small town Californian together.


Harriet Klausner

Brazen-Margo Maguire

October 18, 2011


Margo Maguire

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018410


In 1816 widow Lady Christiana Warnick’s parents and brothers are in Italy mourning the death of their brother Lang Jameson in a ship explosion.  Christina has received her second blackmail note having paid the first from someone who insists Lang lives.  She is practicing target shooting when Gavin Briggs arrives seeking the estranged granddaughters, Christina and Lily Hayes, of elderly ailing Lord Sunderland.  Christina accidently shoots him.  Gavin ignores the wound and explains her relationship to Sunderland.  She asks if he can locate anyone which he says yes.  She asks him to come to London to help her find Lang.  After London, Christina agrees to go to Windermere to meet the grandfather she never met as he kicked her pregnant mom out of his house.  He mentions the heir Lord Chetwood is nasty having already tried to kill Lily. 


Gavin needs the reward money to buy a place for his sister and baby niece to live since their father tossed them out for her getting pregnant out of wedlock.  He also remains hurt that his fiancée Lady Amelia married someone else while he served in the military.  While Christina and Gavin head to London, he knows he wants her but accepts he cannot have her as the granddaughter of a duke is way above his station.  Still they make love though both agree this is a bad idea. 


The lead couple is a strong pairing of star-crossed lovers while the Regency woman in peril story line is entertaining and the Lang mystery cleared up with a nice spin.  Although a coincidence involving the magistrate helps the lead couple and Gavin ignores his bullet wound, readers will enjoy this entertaining historical romance.


Harriet Klausner


October 17, 2011