Archive for September, 2012

Choices-Galia Ryan

September 29, 2012

Choices

Galia Ryan

Fanny Press, Oct 15 2012, $12.95

www.fannypress.com

ISBN: 9781603815147

 

After years of exorbitant spending on luxurious fashion that she rarely if ever uses, Anna faces personal bankruptcy; which is a horrible scenario for anyone, but exponentially worse for a banker.  She no longer can use her credit cards as they are maxed out due to her spending addiction.  Her efforts as a born again miser trying live frugally in order to pay off her debt barely have an impact as the accruing interest continues to overwhelm her.  Anna needs an additional revenue stream, but ponders what part-time occupation would pay enough to reduce her bills.

 

Like many financially strapped females before her, Anna knows of only one job that could prove lucrative; she becomes a private escort with plans to retire once her cards are cleared.  However, though Anna makes plenty of money enabling her to pay off her debt, she finds a new addiction especially with Jake and Adams.

 

Anna’s apparent addictive personality makes for a strong character driven BDSM tale as she goes from the ecstasy of serial shopper to the ecstasy of serial sex.  The two men she likes enhance reader understanding of Anna as they are opposite sides of the same coin.  However, this is Anna’s awesome adventure with her bouncing from one decision to another only to find new daunting options await her while she learns life is a series of Choices.

 

Harriet Klausner

Double Blind-Brandilyn Collins

September 29, 2012

Double Blind

Brandilyn Collins

B&H Books, Oct 15 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781433671647

 

The past two years of constant traumatic events has destroyed twenty-nine year old Lisa Newberry.  She suffered three miscarriages followed by the death of her husband Ryan in an accident and finally five months ago was nearly murdered by a robber in a parking lot.  Feeling all alone and abandoned by God, Lisa is severely depressed.

 

Desperate and unable to live a normal life, Lisa applies as a guinea pig in a medical research experiment in which a chip implanted in the brain emits electrical pulses to heal severe depression.  She is accepted as a participant but now fears the concept of brain surgery going awry and perhaps worse being a placebo in the double-blind study.  Though nearly mentally paralyzed by her bone marrow deep trepidations, Lisa becomes a study subject.

 

This is a great refreshing psychological thriller that grips the audience from start to finish.  Fans will feel empathy for Lisa who has suffered from one tragedy after another until she no longer functions.  Filled with stunning plausible twists, readers will appreciate Brandilyn Collins’ intense tale as we wonder whether Lisa is live pulses or the placebo effect.

 

Harriet Klausner

Eclipse-David Lehner

September 28, 2012

Eclipse

David Lehner

Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Oct 5 2012, $12.95

ISBN: 9781564745293

 

Amoral stockbroker Alex Jenkins tells his friend student Tom Jones that the latter’s ex-girlfriend (for one month) Sophia Weston wants to see him.  Alex persuades Tom for them to journey to the summer home of Sophia’s parents where the young lady is staying.  Before they leave, Alex steals signed first edition copies of works by Wolfe and Woolf from one of Tom’s professors.  They sell the autographed tomes to an unscrupulous bookseller who will tear the pages apart to sell to collectors wanting a piece of the classics.

 

They head to the summer house, but no one is there though Alex breaks in.  The neighbors see them and knowing Tom invite them into their home where Alex sleeps with the daughter to Tom’s horror.  As they party hop while desperately seeking Sophia, Tom feels disgust with the debauching and lying of his compatriot.  Soon he learns his image of virtuous Sophia is a lie as he is the only who has not slept with her.  With his life in ruins as the professor threatens to destroy him for the thefts, Tom struggles with the temptations of amorality.

 

As noted on the back cover, David Lehner modernizes Petronius’s The Satyricon (and pays homage to other classics) with this over the top morality drama starring two friends with opposite value systems.  Alex is a hedonistic amoral rogue while Tom is an ethical individual with the dilemma that his accompanying his buddy on an out of control odyssey makes him guilty of association and omission.  Although fans will find it difficult to accept Tom’s innocent naivety, Eclipse is a wild affair.

 

Harriet Klausner

Destined to Play- Indigo Bloome

September 27, 2012

Destined to Play

Indigo Bloome

Avon Red, Sep 11 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9780062243478

 

In Australia Dr. Alexandra Blake is going on a lecture tour while her husband Robert and their two children (Jordan and Elizabeth) are part of a Tasmanian Wilderness Foundation expedition.   In Sydney, Alexa meets her former lover renowned medical research doctor Jeremy Quinn.  His current work involves the female orgasm in which he states little is known. 

 

He persuades her to spend forty-eight hours “trusting” him.  He blindfolds and demands she remain mute.  Though she knows she is cheating on Robert, Alexa rationalizes that their marriage remains in place due to the kids as her spouse is gay.  Meanwhile Jeremy has begun his controlling experiment to break down Alexandra; concealing from her his true motive.

 

With a nod to R.L. James’ Fifty Shades phenomena (I am probably one of the few who has not read any book in the trilogy) Destined to Play is an entertaining erotica.  The storyline is character driven while focusing on mental health.  Alexa’s behavior seems bipolar as she leaps to and from ecstasy and rage with a latter insightful but detracting.  Her adulterous surrender makes for an intriguing tale of submission.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Wreath of Snow-Liz Curtis Higgs

September 27, 2012

A Wreath of Snow

Liz Curtis Higgs

WaterBrook, Oct 2 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781400072170

 

In 1894, Meg Campbell took the train from Edinburg to spend Christmas with her family in Stirling, Scotland.  Schoolteacher Meg, who had not visited in two years, hates coming home ever since her younger brother Alan became churlish following an accident that paralyzed him.  He is worse than ever when he calls her selfish for not selling the home her late Aunt Jean gave her for being her companion for two years.  Realizing her sibling adds avarice to his nastiness, Meg leaves intending to take the train back to Edinburgh though she knows she hurts her parents. 

 

Glasgow Herald reporter Gordon Shaw returns to town on an assignment after a dozen years away.  He remembers like it was today as a teen curling in Stirling when he lost control of his handle as a ten years old boy raced onto the ice.  The stone hammered the child in his lower back leaving the kid paralyzed.  Gordon became a pariah and slinked out of town just a short time after the accident.  As he waits at the station for the train to depart while the snow heavily falls making travel unlikely, next to him is his victim’s older sister.

 

A Wreath of Snow is an entertaining Christmas tale as a freak accident twelve years ago impacts two families.  The characters are fully developed with Meg sorrowful, Gordon guilty; Alan angry and the parents coddling.  Even with a late twist, the enjoyable storyline flows down the expected path.  Though neither Gordon nor Meg want to remain in town, on the contrary fans will appreciate spending the holidays in snowbound Stirling.

 

Harriet Klausner

Have You Seen Marie?- Sandra Cisneros and Ester Hernández (illustrator)

September 27, 2012

Have You Seen Marie?

Sandra Cisneros and Ester Hernández (illustrator)

Knopf, Oct 2 2012, $21.00

ISBN: 9780307597946

 

Grieving for her recently deceased mom, fiftyish Rosalind, accompanied by her weeping cat Marie, drove from Tacoma to San Antonio.  Upon arriving at their destination after a three day drive, Marie runs away.  Though she would prefer to hide in bed crying, Rosalind realizes she is the only person her beloved feline knows in Texas.  She begins a search for her missing cat while learning about the neighborhood by meeting the neighbors; some prove sympathetic; some coldly indifferent; and some sad and sorrowful.

 

This is an intriguing look at grief through a gritty urban lens of meeting the neighbors.  The illustrations add edgy depth to this insightful account of a woman in mourning since she became a middle aged orphan.  Some unnecessary Doolittle whimsical “talking” to the animals detracts from this otherwise strong tale of a frantic female’s search for her missing BFF at a time she barely copes with her loss.  Apparently based on Sandra Cisneros’ grief following her mom death, readers will appreciate Have You Seen Marie?

 

Harriet Klausner

How I Came to Sparkle Again-Kaya McLaren

September 27, 2012

How I Came to Sparkle Again

Kaya McLaren

St. Martin’s, Oct 2 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250013873

 

In Austin, strike one was the miscarriage; strike two was the infertility; strike three was her husband’s cheating.  Work proved a failure as she was not ready mentally to return, Jill Anthony files for a divorce and travels to Sparkle, Colorado where she spent her troubled teen years with her Uncle Howard and home to her BFF Lisa.

 

Jill and Lisa spend time on the slopes while the former also makes some money babysitting tweener Cassie Jones, whose mother died from cancer.  As spring arrives, Jill, Lisa and Cassie each knows they can no longer put off decisions about their respective futures.

 

Though the reader will know what happened as the storyline is a straight-lined ski run, fans will enjoy how Jill came to sparkle again.  Jill is the prime player, but her two female cohorts add depth as all three protagonists are likable individuals.  Life in a seasonal ski town makes for an engaging fun cross country paced tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

One Final Step-Stephanie Doyle

September 27, 2012

One Final Step

Stephanie Doyle

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 2 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718108

 

Still reeling from the scandal that destroyed her career when she was caught with married POTUS, image consultant Madeleine Kane accepts Michael Langdon as a client.  Her job is to change his image from playboy to serious car designer.  Michael needs the change in order to team up with another vehicle manufacturer to mass produce his environmentally friendly car; she needs the job to redeem her image from the White House fiasco.

 

They are perfect for each other as she helps him move passed what happened when he served time as a teen and he helps her move past the scandal.  As they mentally heal, they fall in love.  However each is reluctant to change the professional to the personal, but especially Madeleine who went down that path.

 

One Final Step is an entertaining contemporary romance starring two flawed individuals who find their relationship helping them to heal even before love accelerates their respective will-being.  Character driven, fans will enjoy this engaging tale while wondering whether M&M can take that One Final Step.

 

Harriet Klausner

The New Hope Café-Dawn Atkins

September 27, 2012

The New Hope Café

Dawn Atkins

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 2 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718092

 

Cara Price’s plans for her and her daughter Beth Ann collapse when her abusive former husband Barrett is released after three years of a six year sentence.  She planned for his prison time to enable her to get a teaching degree and new identities for her and her child.  Now she is one the run because she knows the beast will come for them.

 

They end up stuck in New Hope, Arizona when their car breaks down.  Cara takes a job at The Comfort Cafe to earn the money to pay for repairs.  The owner’s nephew Jonah Gold the cook concludes the new help is poorly concealing her fear of someone.  When Barrett arrives in New Hope, cancer victim Jonah seems like the only hope (or is he?) to keep mother and daughter safe from a bullying psychopath who charms with ice cream and guns.

 

Though the premise has been used before, readers will enjoy this taut romantic suspense with the tension coming late.  The cast is solid as Jonah recovers from a cancer scare and the two females show their fears of Barrett in different ways.  Dawn Atkins provides an enjoyable tale as mother and daughter take their last stand at the New Hope Café.

 

Harriet Klausner

To Be A Family-Joan Kilby

September 27, 2012

To Be A Family

Joan Kilby

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 2 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718085

 

In Australia, schoolteacher Katie Henning finds her first book Lizzie and the Monkey on sale in the local bookstore.  Her publisher wants Kate to write more children’s’ books.

 

Her ex-fiancé John Forster comes back to town accompanied by his six year old daughter, Tuti, who grieves the recent death of her mom.  John feels guilt and shame for dumping Katie when he accused her of not fully fighting her breast cancer.  Katie agrees to help Tuti adapt to becoming an Aussie.  As John watches the loving interaction between his ex and his daughter, he wants to rectify the biggest error of his life.

 

This is a warm second chance at love relationship drama.  The two adults and the child are fully developed with each suffering from tragic circumstances though John’s is self-inflicted.  Although Katie seems to forgive John, fans will enjoy this Australian romance.

 

Harriet Klausner