Archive for June, 2012

The Girl’s Still Got It-Liz Curtis Higgs

June 30, 2012

The Girl’s Still Got It

Liz Curtis Higgs

WaterBrook, Jul 10 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781578564484

 

In circa 1200 BC (give or take a century or two) in Moab, three women stand by graves grieving the deaths of two brothers.  The widow mother of the deceased Naomi has decided to travel to Bethlehem.  One daughter-in-law hysterical Orphan selects to remain in Moab; the other Ruth chooses to accompany her mother-in-law on her journey.  Impoverished, the two women meet Boaz who takes both of them into his home and soon weds Ruth.  Their great-grandchild becomes the King of Israel.

 

This is an excellent retelling of the biblical tale of Ruth using contemporary idioms and metaphor to tell the backstory while also extracting line by line the Old Testament entry; for instance Liz Curtis Higgs explains how Naomi the Jew ended up in Moab not explained in the bible.  The three prime stars are fully developed as readers will understand their motives and their beliefs especially in the Lord.  Though some fundamentalist might take exception as heresy this entertaining breezy treatment of the story of Ruth, I found the tale refreshing, insightful and lighthearted yet reverent to the Lord.  Ms. Higgs takes her audience back over three millennia ago (without a DeLorean) as she provides a unique way to tell the Lord’s message.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Deception-Kris Kennedy

June 29, 2012

Deception

Kris Kennedy

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439195918

 

In 1294 in Last Fells, England, Sophia plans to steal her odious late father Judge Roger Darnly’s ledger on the wealthiest merchants; a tome that would destroy many people.  Kier recognizes her by just seeing her neck as they were once lovers until he abruptly left her after being outlawed. 

 

He is on a vengeance quest so has no time to deal with an obstinate Sophia.  However, he quickly realizes she has not changed at all when she persuades him to team up with her on both of their missions.  She comes up with a scheme to gain access to information; Sophia will masquerade as a shipping magnate with Kier as her trusted employee.  However, neither anticipated that their love remains strong or that an unknown powerful adversary wants Darnly’s damning ledger to become the most powerful person in England.

 

Deception is a super medieval romantic suspense starring two lead characters who find their second chance at love more dangerous than their first time.  With a fully developed cast, Kris Kennedy provides a fabulous historical as Sophia and Kier follow clues to try to identify the villain who will kill for the ledger.

 

Harriet Klausner

Getting Over Mr. Right-Chrissie Manby

June 28, 2012

Getting Over Mr. Right

Chrissie Manby

Bantam, Jul 10 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345529022

 

After years of failing at the dating game while her friends paired off with their respective Mr. Right with a tsunami of weddings, a financially and emotionally broke perpetual guest Ashleigh decides no more men.  However, kismet strikes almost as soon as the thirty-something muttered no males when she meets Michael with his odd attire at a party. 

 

They hit it off and months later, Ashleigh thinks of their future with children.  Everything changes when her hunk obtains a promotion.  Instead of Ashleigh and offspring, Michael upgrades into a player.  She learns he dumped her when he changes his relationship status on Facebook and defriends her.  While in denial as she refuses to accept he ended it, Ashleigh stalks Michael giving him flowers, messages on-line and casting paranormal spells.  Her friend Becky and her brother Lucas warn Ashleigh to move on as the rat has a new girlfriend Miss Well-Sprung.

 

Getting Over Mr. Right is a witty look at the end of a relationship in the social networking era as Ashleigh goes through the five stages of grief customized with voodoo spell-casting.  Readers will appreciate Chrissie Manby’s profound storyline as moving on by Getting Over Mr. Right seems wrong to Ashleigh.

 

Harriet Klausner

Pride and Pyramids-Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb

June 28, 2012

Pride and Pyramids

Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb

Sourcebooks, Jul 1 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781402265341

 

In their thirties, Elizabeth and Darcy have been happily married for fifteen years.  They are raising six children ranging from fourteen years old bookworm Beth to six years old Margaret (William, John, Laurence and Jane in between).  Darcy’s cousin Edward Fitzwilliam unexpectedly visits saying he needs a place to stay for a week before he leaves for Egypt.  The kids adore their favorite cousin while Meg ends up with a wooden doll of Aahotep that Edward possessed.  All of the children state they would love to join him on his travels under the tutelage of British Museum Egyptologist Sir Matthew Rosen. 

 

By the end of the week, Elizabeth and Darcy decide to join enthusiastic Edward accompanied by their brood when he heads to Egypt.  Also coming with them are jilted Sophie Lucus to watch the children and artist Paul Inkworthy to draw their memories. 

 

Putting aside how easily and quickly Darcy puts together their adventure, the sequel to Dear Mr. Darcy is a fun Egyptian Regency.  There is some suspense and hints of the paranormal, but for the most part the storyline is a lighthearted extended family drama as each offspring has their own unique personality and a triangle between Sophie, Edward and Paul.  Fans will enjoy this entertaining historical as Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb takes Jane Austen to the pyramids.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

A Summer of Seduction-Candace Camp

June 28, 2012

A Summer of Seduction

Candace Camp

Pocket, Jun 19 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451639513

 

Aristocratic friends Alec Stafford and Gabriel Morecombe got into a brawl over the late Jocelyn who had been the former’s fiancée and the latter’s sister.  Jocelyn left behind baby Ruth with Thea Bainbridge before she died.  The father is not Alec but another friend (see A Winter Scandal).  Married, Gabriel and Thea raise his nephew in a happy home.

 

Alec and Thea’s friend Widow Damaris Howard met during his estrangement with Gabe; but she remains an enigma to her neighbors in Chesley including her best friend.  Damaris and Alec meet in London starting at the theater and their already strong attraction explodes.  However, her past makes her know she must stay away from him and passion; while he still reels from his late fiancée’s infidelity with a close friend.  Everything changes in an instant when an unknown predator abducts Damaris.

 

The second Legend of St. Dwynwen Regency romance is an enjoyable second chance at love tale.  The storyline starts slow with a feeling out round as the lead couple wants to engage but their respective relationship histories make each fearful and too pensive over I’m Not In Love (10Cc).  The plot accelerates somewhat late with the kidnapping.  Fans will enjoy Alec and Damaris as neither wants love, but the heart fails to heed the brain.

 

Harriet Klausner

Madame Serpent: A Catherine de’ Medici Novel-Jean Plaidy

June 27, 2012

Madame Serpent: A Catherine de’ Medici Novel

Jean Plaidy

Touchstone, Jul 3 2012, $16.00

ISBN: 9781451686203

 

In Florence, her father Pope Clement VII arranges for his fourteen years old daughter Caterina de’ Medici to marry the second son of the King of France Prince Henry of Orléans; as she leaves behind her beloved Ippolito.  However, when she meets her fiancé, Caterina quickly realizes Henry has no interest in her as he loves his mistress Diane de Poitiers. 

 

Prince Henry ignores his wife for his mistress even after they have children.  When his older brother the Dauphin and then his father die, Henry becomes the king.  Diane’s influence is even stronger as visiting dignitaries pay her homage by kissing her hand rather than the Italian wife.  However, bitter Caterina accepts the affronts as she stoically plans to insure her offspring one day will sits on the throne while also patiently waiting for the right moment to remind the manipulative Diane just who the queen of France is.

 

This reprint of the first Jean Plaidy Catherine de Medici tale (released in 1951) is an engaging historical that brings to life the French court during the middle of the sixteenth century.  The key triangle is fully developed as fans will understand what motivates the lead to act as each does.  However, the action feels tame compared to contemporary written historical biographic fiction.  Still readers will know why the late Ms. Plaidy is highly revered by the sub-genre as the author enables her audience to get deep into the heads of the three protagonists especially the maligned queen.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Girl in the Blue Beret-Bobbie Ann Mason

June 27, 2012

The Girl in the Blue Beret

Bobbie Ann Mason

Random House, Jul 10 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780812978872

 

In 1944 over France, the Germans hit an allied B-17 bomber heading to Frankfort.  Co-pilot Marshall Stone lands the crippled plane in Belgium saving much of the Dirty Lily crew.  The resistance enables him and others to get back to England safely.

 

In 1978 his wife Loretta suddenly died and soon afterward he is forced into retirement as being too old to fly planes.  Two years since his Loretta passed, feeling alone, sexagenarian Marshall compulsively decides to fly to France and Belgium to thank those who saved his life as he scurried from one house to another like a rat.  He hopes the Vallons who kept him safe in Paris, Robert the planner of his great escape from France through Spain, and Annette the teenage school Girl in the Blue Beret who lived in one of the safe houses still live as he prays he can find them.

 

Rotating between the war and 1980, this is a moving historical as the memories and the realties do not often gel.  Like Marshall, readers will want to know what happened to those who risked their lives for the pilot.  Although a 1980 subplot involving Marshall and Annette feels unnecessary; fans will enjoy trekking from Paris across the Pyrenees as he retraces his trail.

 

Harriet Klausner

Bond Girl-Erin Duffy

June 27, 2012

Bond Girl

Erin Duffy

Morrow, Jul 17 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062065902

 

In 2006 hoping to prove a chip off the financial block of her dad, Alex Garrett feels euphoric when the Street’s brokerage firm Cromwell Pierce hires her after she graduates from college.  However, the fulfillment of her dreams starts off nightmarish when she arrives at her job on the trading floor to finds she has no desk or office chair; instead she has a folding chair and a boss Ed “Chick” Ciccone who calls her “Girlie” as her tasks are obtaining coffee and lunch while learning.

 

When she arrives late, Chick punishes her by sending her to the Bronx to buy heroes and a fifty pound parmesan wheel; she is left with the hefty bill.  However, she survives her first year and is pleased with receiving an $110,000 bonus.  Alex and colleague Will Patrick begin a clandestine tryst though he vanishes every weekend.  Hedge-fund manager Rick Kieriakis stalks her, but Alex knows she cannot win in a confrontation with this powerful psychopath.  In 2008 the market collapses leaving Alex a chance to regain her soul or continue with the devil’s money

 

This is an engaging chick lit look at macho Wall Street right before and during the financial collapse.  The vivid descriptions of the Street’s office politics is nauseating with an only the strong survive the devouring of the rookies but seems genuine; while the insight into the finance world reads more like a quantum physics primer.  Still fans will enjoy the Bond Girl escorting readers around the Street.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VIII-Kimberly Raye and Julie Leto

June 27, 2012

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VIII

Kimberly Raye and Julie Leto

Harlequin Blaze, Jul 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797042

 

“The Cowboy Who Never Grew Up” by Kimberly Raye.  Western America leatherworks firm executive Wendy Darlington thinks wild child eight-time Professional Bull Rider champion Pete Gunner is perfect as a spokesperson for their Outlaw Outfitters line.  Pete agrees to sign on condition they spend the night together.

 

“Hooked” by Julie Leto.  Since they were sweethearts in high school, former rodeo star James Hooker and Allie Barrie have broken up more times than Mark Twain gave up smoking.  However, this time Allie is determined to take their relationship beyond just the greatest sex either has known, but to do so they need to overcome their history.

 

These two heated Texas rodeo romances are fun short stories starring fully developed protagonists.

 

Harriet Klausner

Guilty Pleasures-Tori Carrington

June 27, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Tori Carrington

Harlequin Blaze, Jul 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797073

 

Veteran Jonathon Reece knows that in spite of his Army Ranger experience, as the rookie at Lazarus Security, he starts over again proving he belongs.   His boss Darius Folsom assigns Reece his first solo task in his hometown of Winslow, Arizona; where he is to bring in bail jumper Mara Findlay, murder suspect.

 

He assumes he will have no problem catching the bobcat.  Jonathan’s assumptions prove partially correct as he quickly catches up to Findlay; so have Feds and a militia who agree that this hot female must die.  Mara realizes that her only prayer to get out of the frame-up rests with the hunk who seems to have only two things on his brain: sex and incarceration with the latter might be fun in combo with the former, but that is not his intent; thus she must work his lower head.

 

This is an exciting heated romantic suspense as Reece learns that “the best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry” (John Steinbeck) especially when dealing with a hot chick.  Fast-paced and filled with action though over the top of Humphreys Peak, fans will appreciate this entertaining thriller as the bounty hunts the hunter right where he is vulnerable.

 

Harriet Klausner