Archive for July, 2012

The Kingmaker’s Daughter-Philippa Gregory

July 31, 2012

The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Philippa Gregory

Touchstone, Aug 16 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9781451626070

 

The Kingmaker Richard Neville, as the Earl of Warwick plans to see one of his daughters (Anne or Isabel) sits on the throne as wife to King Edward IV while the loser in his marital sweepstake would wed either royal brother George or Richard.  However, independent Edward destroys Warwick’s scheme when he marries his choice ofs a wife while ignoring the demands of the Kingmaker. 

 

An irate Neville arranges a marriage between George and Isabel while supporting his son-in-law’s revolt to take the throne from Edward.  Meanwhile Anne becomes a widow at fourteen with no protection until the other royal sibling Richard marries her.  Proving a chip off her sire’s block, she thrives on regal intrigue that places her, her husband and their children in peril as the War of the Roses continues unabated. 

 

The latest Cousins’ War of the Roses historical thriller (see The Lady of the Rivers, The Red Queen and The White Queen) is an exciting tale filled with political intrigue as no one is safe from betrayal.  Fast-paced, readers will relish observing the behind the scenes actions of a strong woman who like all females in the fifteenth century hides what she does in a male only world. 

 

Harriet Klausner

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Yankee Doodle Dixie-Lisa Patton

July 31, 2012

Yankee Doodle Dixie

Lisa Patton

Dunne, Aug 7 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781250007476

 

With her marriage over as he chose boobs over her and their daughters, Leelee Satterfield decides to leave Vermont and the Dixie B&B and restaurant she made successful with the help of Peter the Chef to go home to Memphis though she rationalizes her reason for leaving is that the inn was her ex’s dream.  Before she heads south, Peter stuns her with a kiss (see Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter).

 

In Memphis, she makes a home for her two young children with help from her late parents’ housekeeper Kissie.  Her BFFs welcome her back to the real world.  Leelee obtains work at a radio station and is attracted to a rock star Liam White who takes her with him on his tour until she realizes he has the cloned personality of her former husband in which the world owes them.  She just wishes Peter would become southern fried.

 

The storyline lacks the southern invasion of rural Vermont theme of the first tale, but still readers will enjoy the further complications in the life of Leelee due the eccentric cast who bring to life Memphis.  Although her return as a single mom seems too easy; as she gets by with a little help from her friends (paraphrasing the Beatles) and Kissie, and obtains the radio station position though her résumé lacks any reference to air waves, fans will enjoy the return of the prodigal daughter.

 

Harriet Klausner

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess-Alexandra Hawkins

July 27, 2012

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin’s, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001375

 

In 1812 in Diphill Green, Catherine Deverall survived a horrid childhood filled with abuse and the sexual assault by her foster cousin Robert Royles when she was fifteen.  Knowing her foster parents blame her, she fled for London, where she became a courtesan and five years later has become Madame Venna, the half-masked proprietress of the exclusive Golden Pearl brothel.

 

However, Madame Venna shares the most incredible night of her life with the Marquess of Sainthill, sinful Simon “Saint” Jefferes.  Needing to get the Saint out of her blood, she sleeps around with his friend and other customers; while also dispatching employees to satiate the Saint’s needs.  

 

The latest Lords of Vice Regency romance (see Sunrise with a Notorious Lord, Till Dawn with a Devil and All Night with a Rogue) is an entertaining historical with a unique spin.  The actions of the two fascinating amoral protagonists are intriguing as each throws other bodies at each other to keep their distance.  Though over the top of the Tower as no one will accept a permanent relationship can be forged between them even if they are in love; fans will enjoy the journey as the lead couple uses very wicked tricks to avoid that unwanted emotion.

 

Harriet Klausner

Almost A Scandal-Elizabeth Essex

July 27, 2012

Almost A Scandal

Elizabeth Essex

St. Martin’s, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250003799

 

In 1805 Richard Kent dishonored his stunned family when he vanished rather than board the HMS Audacious in Portsmouth.  To save the honor of her family his older sister Sally puts on the British Royal Navy uniform.  She joins the crew of the Audacious as a midshipman.  Sally loves sailing the High seas and being liberated from the rigid rules of polite society as she proves to be a super sailor. 

 

Lieutenant David Colyear knows the Kent family having sailed with them over the years.  He suspects something not quite right about Richard so he keeps an eye on the lad until Col realizes Richard is Sally.  Col keeps it secret as he knows she is a superior sailor than most of the crew.  However in sea battles with the Spanish and French navies, he becomes concerned for her safety and ready to batter a sailor for bullying her.  As they fall in love amidst the war, neither is ready to deal with this undesirable feeling.

 

The first Reckless Brides Regency romance is a delightful high seas thriller as love and war merge.  Fast-paced from the moment Sally becomes Richard, fans will enjoy the scandalous behavior of Sally as she is more comfortable in sea battles than in aristocratic balls.

 

Harriet Klausner

Naked Games-Anne Rainey

July 25, 2012

Naked Games

Anne Rainey

Kensington Aphrodisia, Jul 31 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269034

 

Two months ago Catherine Michaels’ fiftyish parents died in a horrible car crash.   Now family friend Dr. Cabel informs a grieving Catherine that she was adopted.  She and her BFF Mary go through documents until they find a letter from Catherine’s biological mother thanking the Michaels.  Catherine also learns from that note that she has an older sister Gracie Baron in Zanesville, Ohio.

 

Six weeks and several emails later, a scared Catherine visits Gracie (see So Sensitive).  The latter introduces her visiting sister to her fiancé Wade Harrison and his younger brother Dean who accepts she is a lost sister of Gracie but also thinks Catherine is a con artist, which upsets him because he is attracted to her.  Soon afterward Wade’s twin sister Deanna and her boyfriend Jonas (see Pleasure Bound) arrive.  Dean and Catherine cannot resist their need so begin a boudoir BDSM tryst, but he remains wary about her motive for coming to Ohio,

 

The sisters’ subplot enhances a strong erotica as Dean and Catherine fall in love, but he still looks for her angle while she has doubts about relationships after feeling her late parents failed to tell her the truth.  Fast-paced, fans will relish returning to Zanesville, Ohio, the BDSM capital of the world. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Simply Voracious-Kate Pearce

July 25, 2012

Simply Voracious

Kate Pearce

Kensington Aphrodisia, Jul 31 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 978-0758269461

 

In 1826 London, Jeremy sexually assaults Lucinda “Lucky” Haymore.  Her friend Emily Ross takes her to her stepmother notorious owner of the Pleasure House Madame Helene Delornay.  Lucky sees compassion in Helene’s eyes as the older woman says the animal will try to blackmail her and her ducal family into forcing her to marry him or face scandal.

 

Jeremy threatens Lucky if she fails to marry him.  Her best friend Paul St. Clare offers to wed Lucky though he has no plans to end his tryst with Lieutenan. Colonel Constantine Delinsky.  However, he also wants Lucky in his bed so proposes a ménage a trois.  Meanwhile a raging Jeremy plots to expose the trio.

 

The latest House of Pleasure (see Simply Carnal and Simply Forbidden) is once again simply a pleasurable historical.  The cast, especially the FMF triangle, is fully developed except for one trick Jeremy.  Though the storyline is thin, Lucky, Paul and Constantine provide readers with an enjoyable post Regency erotica.

 

Harriet Klausner

Sneaky Pie For President-Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

July 25, 2012

Sneaky Pie For President

Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

Bantam, Aug 7 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345530462

 

The title says it all as Sneaky Pie Brown adopted by Rita Mae Brown is tired of the humans destroying earth and harming the non Homo sapiens population with their chemicals.  Like any caring politician, Sneaky Poe listens to his constituency (consisting of the creatures on land, in water and in the air) for their concerns.  The woodpecker dines on bugs, but the sprays kill their food.  Others agree that pesticides must be banned.  Fish state that the humans must end their polluting of the waters and land animals decry the hunter stalking mentality to claim a trophy.  Sneaky Pie even gains the support of the rodent population as the non-humans rally behind their feline candidate.

 

Her friends (Pewter the gray cat, Tee Tucker the Corgi, and Tally the Jack Russell) support her bid because they believe that if Sneaky is president she can end the human destruction and make the world a better place.  With a nod to Furry Vengeance and Animal Farm, fans will enjoy Sneaky Pie for President as she and her buddies make her case in this cautionary anthropomorphic tail.

 

Harriet Klausner

The King’s Damsel-Kate Emerson

July 23, 2012

The King’s Damsel

Kate Emerson

Gallery, Aug 7 2012, $16.00

ISBN 9781451661491

 

In 1525 Glastonbury, thirteen years old heiress Thomasine Lodge mourns the losses of her father Sir Arthur from a fever and her brother Stephen in a hunting accident.  A letter arrives from a stranger, Sir Lionel Daggett who claims he is her legal guardian.  A stunned Thomasine and her gentle stepmother Blanche meet with him as he explains he purchased her guardianship from King Henry VIII.

 

Sir Lionel assigns his ward as a Lady-In-Waiting to Princess Mary as a means to get inside the court where he orders her to become the monarch’s mistress.  She disobeys his command as she has no desire to help the ambitious amoral Sir Lionel gain insider advantages though she ends up in the Anne Boleyn’s circle where she learns of the personal advantages of becoming the King’s Damsel.

 

Based on a 1534 letter, this is an engaging Tudor historical fiction that brings to life the insider machinations during the 1520s and 1530s reign of Henry VIII.  Thomasine proves to be a strong protagonist who seems real as she more than just survives the intrigue of a court in which innuendoes lead to executions.  Although the romantic subplot feels out of place as the heroine learns lessons in manipulating others and surviving the manipulation by the same others.  Still fans of Kate Emerson’s Secrets of the Tudor Court will enjoy her latest sixteenth century thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Johnny Hiro (Half Asian, All Hero)-Fred Chao

July 22, 2012

Johnny Hiro (Half Asian, All Hero)

Fred Chao

Tor, Jul 17 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780765329370

 

In Brooklyn, Johnny Hiro lives with his Pollyanna girlfriend Mayumi while he works across the Bay as a busboy in a Lower East Side sushi restaurant owned by Chef Masago; she accepts her role is that of the pretty sidekick GF to the hero.  One night while they are sleeping, Gozadilla the monster that destroyed Tokyo crashes through their paper thin apartment wall seeking vengeance against Mayumi’s mom who was a limb of giant Super A-OK Robot that kicked his butt.  However, Johnny has experience battling urban blight waiters demanding greater tips for inadequate service or samurai carrying businessmen.  Thus Johnny ruining Mayumi’s bunny slippers leaps in a single bound at the humongous lizard hoping his reflexes keep him from an extended hospital stay as he lacks insurance.  Thank goodness for Mayor Bloomberg or Johnny would not be there to play catch with a gigantic tuna, battling sushi ninja, arguing the law with Judge Judy in Night Court and dealing with the government failure to bail out that critical too big to fail capitalist industry, high heels; all part of everyday living in New York City.

 

This graphic version of the award winning Johnny Hiro survivor of New York City comic books showcases the amusing satirical adventures of a young man trying to make it in a city that never sleeps (as Gozadilla proves).  The entries are fast-paced short clips with the B&W drawings lampooning the misadventures of the working class couple as nothing is sacred when it comes to life in the boroughs.

 

Harriet Klausner

Pittsburg Landing-Robert Burns Clark

July 22, 2012

Pittsburg Landing

Robert Burns Clark

Definitive Words Cyber Publishing, Feb 15 2012, $19.95

http://www.definitivewords.com

ISBN: 9780985537500

 

Fortyish West Point graduate widower Will Moore knows the horror of war having served in the Mexican conflict.  He opposes the War Between the States that have Americans fighting Americans.  However, he joins the Union army and trains a unit in Indiana.  There he meets twentyish surgical assistant “little Sarah” who years ago he taught to jump her horse.  They fall in love and marry just before he leads his troops into battle.

 

Mexican War vet Amos Bingham vowed to never kill again after he killed over thirty soldiers in one horrible night.  When the Confederacy called for soldiers to enlist, he refused.  His family and neighbors called him a coward and his teenage son Noah, disgusted with him, joined the Southern army.  Fearing for his son’s life, Amos pursues Noah vowing to kill anyone who gets in his way.

 

On April 6, 1862, the two armies collide at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River.  The fighting is brutal with Will and his unit at the front; while Sarah joined a field surgical team also near the fighting.  Noah and Amos are on the other side of the combat that by the end of April 7, 1862 left 23000 dead.

 

The two soldiers and the surgical assistant put faces to the horror of war as the bloody battle at Pittsburg Landing (AKA Battle of Shiloh) proves a key victory for the Union and made the early reputations of Grant and Sherman.  Character driven, military historical fiction fans will relish this insightful look at one of the most pivotal bloody Civil War fights as none of the lead characters want to go to war but each feels compelled they must. 

 

Harriet Klausner