Archive for January, 2013

The Closer You Get-Kristi Gold

January 30, 2013

The Closer You Get

Kristi Gold

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718337

 

Nine years ago, Brett Taylor began his ascent as a country music superstar at the same time his wife left him taking their daughter with her.  Cammie Carson obtains the bus driving position on Brett’s tour.  She is attracted to Brett, but realizes that he leaves broken hearts in his wake.  When a band member becomes ill, Cammie is drafted as the replacement.

 

Brett and Cammie become an item even while she expects he will dump her very soon.  Still they fall in love, but she remains consistent expecting her heart to break as she knows he has commitment trust issues having failed to move on with what happened almost a decade ago.

 

This is a warm second chance at love romance starring a charming angel and an emotionally scarred devil.  The enjoyable storyline will have readers feeling they are on the bus touring along with Brett and his retinue; while also answering the Lovin’ Spoonful’s question “Do you believe in magic?” with only when love is “in a young girl’s heart.”

 

Harriet Klausner

Reservations For Two-Jennifer Lohmann

January 29, 2013

Reservations For Two

Jennifer Lohmann

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718344

 

In Chicago, Chef Tilly Milek opens up Babka, a restaurant serving Polish cuisine.  Her life is going great as her restaurant has had some early success and she meets Dan Meier who is attracted to her like she is to him and shares with her a love of food.  However, her optimism collapses when the Eater food critic rips Babka in CarpeChicago. 

 

As her dream along with her confidence collapses, Tilly vows to find the Eater and rip his or her guts out.  That changes when she learns her Dan betrayed her as he is the anonymous Eater.  Dan realizes he erred with how he handled the review as he broke protocol; he also concludes someone inside wants Tilly to fail.  Knowing he lost the trust of the woman he loves and may have destroyed an excellent Polish restaurant, Dan tries to make amends.

 

Reservations for Two is a delightful foodie romance starring two “star-crossed” lovers as critics and chefs don’t mix.  The Polish cuisine in many ways steals the show as irresistible Chicago pierogies remind me of the Bronx delis’ knishes.  Readers will enjoy this scrumptious contemporary.

 

Harriet Klausner

Bending The Rules-Margaret Watson

January 29, 2013

Bending The Rules

Margaret Watson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718320

 

Restaurant owner Nathan Devereux and Department of Children and Family Services social worker Emma Sloan meet at the teen center FreeZone, which his sister Frankie and her beloved Cal established.  She notices his limp, which Frankie says came from a car hitting him.  Frankie also teases Emma as she, Cal and others saw how the social worker and Nate looked at each other.  Meanwhile his FBI brother Patrick asks Nate for documents related to his restaurant.

 

CPD Officer Trenton calls Emma to inform her that her best friend single mom Sonya Michaels died suddenly while riding a bus.  Emma, licensed as a foster parent, takes in Sonya’s grieving teenage daughter Harley.  Lawyer David Sanders tells Emma that Sonya named Harley’s biological father, Nathan Devereux.  Having handled paternity cases for DCSF, Emma tells a stunned Nathan and a shocked Harley.  Nate knows Emma wants to adopt Harley, but he wants in the life of his offspring; and for that matter her foster parent too.

 

Though a father not knowing he sired a child is an old theme, Margaret Watson provides an engaging family drama starring three likable lead characters struggling with what Sonya left behind and a strong support cast.  A taut fresh subplot involving a menace to the extended Devereux family and anyone in their sphere enhances the contemporary with suspense; as Nate fears his presence in the lives of the two new women he just met and loves places them in danger.

 

Harriet Klausner

That Night on Thistle Lane-Carla Neggers

January 28, 2013

That Night on Thistle Lane

Carla Neggers

Mira, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780778314202

 

 

In Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, librarian Phoebe O’Dunn lends vintage dresses she found in in the library’s attic to her sister Maggie and their BFF Olivia Frost so she can attend a charity ball in Boston.  Phoebe will not attend though Olivia’s fiancé, Dylan McCaffrey, invited her too.

 

Dylan’s BFF San Diego based NAK CEO Noah Kendrick calls Loretta Wrentham about a stalker, but she knows nothing.  He goes to the ball dressed as a swashbuckler where he meets Phoebe who changed her mind.  They dance and kiss though neither knows who the other is; she is his princess and he is her swashbuckler.  When Noah takes a call, she leaves but overhears someone on a cell talking about her and her swashbuckler.  Later Noah asks Dylan and Olivia if they know who his princess is.  Instead of flying home as he planned, Noah remains in town seeking his princess.  When they meet again, she realizes he is her swashbuckler and he knows she is his princess.  As they and others identify who stalks him and research who left the dresses and more in the library, Phoebe and Noah fall in love.

 

The latest Knights Bridge tale (see Secrets of the Lost Summer) is an enjoyable romance due to the fully developed ensemble cast enabling a close look at relationships in a small New England town (and to a lesser degree Southern California).  The resolution of the dress making mystery is brilliant yet simple while the stalker suspense fizzles.  Contemporary fans will enjoy spending that night and much more on Thistle Lane.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Forgotten Queen-D.L. Bogdan

January 27, 2013

The Forgotten Queen

D.L. Bogdan

Kensington, Jan 29 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758271389

 

Margaret Tudor understood early in her life that she was a pawn to help her younger brother the “treasured heir” Prince Henry especially when he sits on the English throne.  Thus she accepts her fate as a young teen when her father King Henry VII arranges her marriage to King James IV of Scotland.  To her amazement, Margaret loves her spouse and a country she grew up to believe were barbarians to the north.  A decade together, they have a son who becomes king when James dies during a battle at Flodden Field against King Henry VIII.  Her goal changed to insuring her son sits on the Scottish throne and she becomes entangled with the Earl of Argus.

 

The latest Tudor D.L. Bogdan historical (see The Sumerton Women) focus on the oldest sister of King Henry VIII.  Margaret is a fascinating individual who does her duty, but adapts with each change in the stormy winds.  Filled with vivid detail, readers will feel they are in late fifteenth and early sixteenth century England but mostly Scotland.  Tudor fans will appreciate The Forgotten Queen whose legacy is her great-grandson’s Union of the Crowns when he became King of Scotland, England and Ireland.

 

Harriet Klausner

Austensibly Ordinary-Alyssa Goodnight

January 27, 2013

Austensibly Ordinary

Alyssa Goodnight

Kensington, Jan 29 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758267450

 

Cate Kendall teaches high school English in Austin, Texas.  Her favorite author is Jane Austen whose novels she uses in her classes.  Though she dreams about an Austen brooding male sweeping her off her feet at a ball, Cate feels alone as she has no Darcy in her life and feels jealous of Elizabeth; though she enjoys her weekly scrabble games with teacher Ethan even if she never wins.

 

When Cate obtains a journal in which she writes an entry followed by something odd as if the book has ties to Jane Austen.  Suddenly following Austen advice, Cate attends galas where she meets a mysterious brooder while noticing Ethan acting different towards her.  From none to two admirers almost overnight, Cate will need Austen, Texas style, to navigate her romances.

 

The latest Austen in Austin romance (see Austentatious) is an engaging tale as Cate finds her groove confusing rather than enlightening but with Jane to guide her through the fog of relationships.  Although the storyline starts very slow (may be a down side to the unique approach as Austentatious v likewise) as readers meet Cate, once the teacher has the journal and Jane as her coach, the plot accelerates from Austensibly Ordinary to Austensibly fabulous.

 

Harriet Klausner

Sex And The Single Fireman-Jennifer Bernard

January 26, 2013

Sex And The Single Fireman

Jennifer Bernard

Avon, Jan 29 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780062088987

 

As she has done for the past thirteen Thanksgivings, Sabina Jones turns up the volume while fleeing San Gabriel, California for Reno hoping her mom will finally call her.  She receives a ticket for running a red light and a lecture from single dad Rick Roman who calls her insane for drowning out his first call with his son in two thousand miles.

 

A few days later, Rick arrives at the San Gabriel fire station as the new captain.  Rock hard when it comes to enforcing the rules, he was hired to end the “Bachelor Firemen” (see One Fine Fireman) ending up as centerfolds in the tabloids.  One of his firefighters is Sabrina.  Attracted to each other, Rick tries to control his libido unaware that Sabrina feels the same way about their attraction and their desire to keep the distance; in her case exposure of her famous past could end her firefighting career.

 

The latest Bachelor Firemen tale is an amusing romance between two obstinate firefighters proclaiming not to be in love while the strong support cast knows otherwise from the heat they emit.  Fast-paced, readers will appreciate two firefighters fighting the fire in their respective hearts that they cannot put out.

 

Harriet Klausner

Reunion-Mary Daheim

January 26, 2013

Reunion

Mary Daheim

Camel Press, Feb 1 2013, $16.95

http://www.camelpress.com

ISBN: 9781603818896

 

In 1860 Massachusetts, business mogul Marcus Farrar arranges a marriage for his headstrong daughter Serena to sea Captain Brant Parnell, who needs money to save his ship.  Outraged by her father selling her to a fortune hunter, Serena makes it clear to both men she does not wish to marry him; instead she wants to become a reporter in Springfield though she settles for the New Bedford Mercury. 

 

After they wed, Serena’s rejection sends an angry Brant back to the sea while a scandal ends her journalism career.  Fleeing New England to stay with her sister Cecelia, who is married to a half black in New Bern, North Carolina, Serena obtains a local reporter position seeking the truth.  As war breaks out and her cousin provides medical care to both sides, Brant arrives in town to see his wife who he loves in spite of her condemnation of him.

 

This is a reprint of an engaging 1980s release Pride’s Captive as the storyline focuses on northerners residing inside the Confederacy while married to southerners.  The three female blood relatives and their mates bring alive the Civil War in North Carolina.  Although the vile sadistic Stanbroke siblings add tension, they are stratospherically over the top of Mount Mitchell with their stereotypical maliciousness.  Fans will enjoy Mary Daheim’s historical over a century and a half, and across the continent from Hillside Manor.

 

Harriet Klausner

When She Said I Do-Celeste Bradley

January 26, 2013

When She Said I Do

Celeste Bradley

St. Martin’s, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250016126

 

In 1816, the storm in the Cotswolds swelled the river pouring vast amounts of water over a bridge and flooding the carriage carrying the Worthington family from London.  Calliope, her brother Dade, their Mama and their now unconscious dad seek shelter in a nearby seemingly abandoned mansion.

 

However, the dusty abode has a resident, cynical recluse Ren Porter who watches the Worthington brood make themselves at home.  While her parents sleep and her sibling went back outside to help their manservant Morgan with the horses, Ren’s first reaction to Calliope is she is an angel until he sees her taking a pearl necklace.  Revealing himself to her, Ren demands his angelic thief pay for the jewelry.  His price is marriage and nights of lovemaking for each pearl.  Although frightened of her host after seeing his monstrous scarred visage, Calliope steps between her brother and the hermit as they begin a duel.  She intercedes by stating to her family and the beast that she accepts his proposal.  After marrying in nearby Amberdell village, the newlyweds settle in his mansion.  As the pair fall in love, a killer obsesses over eliminating an obstacle.

 

This entertaining Regency fairy tale romance stars a brave spinster, a hermitic caring “monster” and a maniacal compulsively-driven villain whose motive seems over the top of Cleeve Hill yet enhances the delightful storyline.  Readers will enjoy what happens after the Beauty said I do to the Beast.

 

Harriet Klausner

How To Get Over Your Ex-Nikki Logan

January 25, 2013

How To Get Over Your Ex

Nikki Logan

Harlequin Kiss, Jan 22 2013, $2.59

ISBN: 9780373207022

 

On Valentine’s Day in London at Radio EROS, Georgia Stone proposes to Daniel.  To her chagrin, he says no.  EROS station manager Zander Rush feels for Georgia having been jilted, but his sympathy only goes so far as he must face advertisers seeking happily ever after.  Thus he demands she complete her one-year contractual obligation though both thought it would involve her wedding plans.

 

Instead Zander plans to turn naive Georgia into a sympathetic heroine while leaving Daniel looking shallow.  She agrees to allow the station follow her exploits as she moves passed the on air REJECTION.  With Zander at her side, Georgia enrolls in spy and belly dancing classes even as he begins to wonder if he could be Prince Charming with Georgia as his happily ever after soul mate.

 

This is a fun British coming of age frolic as humiliated Georgia finds her groove over the year.  Zander proves adept and flexible by turning a PR disaster into a win-win-win for the station, him and Georgia.  The romance is sweet and slow like it needs to be as the storyline focuses on the greater relationship between the protagonists.  Although reality radio seems so late 1930s Orson Wells as TV or the Net would be better venues, fans will enjoy how Georgia got over her ex by finding real love.

 

Harriet Klausner