Archive for March, 2013

Secrets Of A Runaway Bride-Valerie Bowman

March 28, 2013

Secrets Of A Runaway Bride

Valerie Bowman

St. Martin’s, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250008961

 

In 1816 Marquis Devon and Lily Morgan go on their honeymoon (see Secrets Of A Wedding Night).  However before leaving, the happy couple asks Devon’s best friend Jordan Holloway to watch over her sister Annie Andrews.  Although not his cup of tea the Earl agrees.

 

With her overly protective sister away, Annie plans to elope with Arthur Eggleston.  However whenever she works a scheme like climbing a convenient vine to get inside her intended’s house that pest Jordan inconveniently arrives to thwart her plots.  He finds her capers humorous but decides before one works and he has to explain to the wife of his BFF, Jordon abducts the beautiful dynamo; he takes her to his country estate.  There she causes havoc to his house and his heart as he falls in love with his temporary ward while she reciprocates having fallen in love with her diligent jailer.

 

The second Andrews Secret Brides Regency romance is a delightful jocular frolic.  The lead protagonists are intelligent and engaged in a humorous gender battle of wits that sub-genre fans will thoroughly appreciate though neither Annie nor Jordon consider consequences when they act.

 

Harriet Klausner

Royal Rescue-Lisa Childs

March 27, 2013

Royal Rescue

Lisa Childs

Harlequin Intrigue, Mar 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696840

 

Over three years ago, Josie Jessup, heir to a media conglomerate, died.  Pregnant she actually went into the Witness Protection Program after what she saw in Chicago to avoid her lover Brendan O’Hannigan, the son of a gangster.  Now as a single mom JJ Brandt raising her son Charlie, she learns of the assault on her father Stanley. 

 

With her U.S. Marshal handler Charlotte Green gone (see The Princess Predicament), Josie, knowing the risk and consulting with no one, visits her dad at the hospital.  FBI Agent Brendan O’Hannigan is shocked to find her alive and that he sired a child.  However, his American Princess is unaware that her father’s attack was a means to get her to come out of hiding.  Only Brendan, whose peers and beloved distrust him, vows to keep her safe while concealing his full agendas from everyone; as he reciprocates their distrust.

 

The latest Royal Bodyguards (see Protecting the Pregnant Princess), Royal Rescue, is a fabulous twisting romantic suspense starring two protagonists who prove love is not enough to forge a passionate relationship.  Action-packed from the moment the heroine steps out of the shadows, fans will appreciate Lisa Child’s terrific thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Star Witness-Mallory Kane

March 27, 2013

Star Witness

Mallory Kane

Harlequin Intrigue, Mar 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696833

 

Law enforcement believes Hasty Mart convenient stores owner and importer Ernest Yeoman violently murdered Congressman Freeman Canto in order to prevent an increase tariff on imports and greater security at the Port of New Orleans.  Freeman’s granddaughter Danielle Canto witnessed her grandfather’s homicide. 

 

Prosecutor Harte Delancey is assigned keeping the attorney safe from Yeoman.  As a hurricane bears down on the pair, each knows they are isolated from outside help.  Danielle, whose storm phobia has paralyzed her in the past, finds with Harte at her side she can cope.  As killers stalk the duet and trusting no one in law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office or even the US Senate and with his family out of reach, Harte and Danielle rely on themselves to survive the tsunami that targets them.

 

The latest Delancey Dynasty (see Private Security and Death if a Beauty Queen) is a great romantic suspense that showcases the consistently high quality novels by Mallory Kane.  Fast-paced from the onset and never slowing down, readers will relish the perilous adventures of two wonderful heroes.

 

Harriet Klausner

Jewel of The Pacific-Linda Lee Chaikin

March 26, 2013

Jewel of The Pacific

Linda Lee Chaikin

Moody/River North, Mar 15 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802437518

 

Rafe Easton decides to leave his beloved Hawaii and his soul mate Eden Derington to obtain medical attention in San Francisco for his blindness.  He sends his fiancée a note informing her of his decision, but she never receives it.  Heartbroken she concludes he no longer wants to marry her; she joins her medical father on setting up a leper clinic.  When she fails to respond he assumes that his first inclination that no woman wants a lesser man as a mate is true.

 

Eden learns from her cousin that Rafe returned, but since he failed to contact her and was seen with Bunny Judson, she believes he wants no part of her.  Ignoring Eden, Rafe works his coffee plantation and runs for a legislative seat on the anti-Royalist party that wants the Queen to abdicate and the kingdom to join the United States.  She also must choose which side of the debate she belongs to as the moment of reckoning has arrived. 

 

The latest Dawn of Hawaii historical thriller continues shine a deep light on the kingdom at a time of “crosswinds” changes sweeping the island through the impacts on two families (Easton and Derington clans) and their friends.  The story line is anchored in time and place by real persona like Queen Liliuokalani, locations like the leper colony on Molokai and historical tidbits like the fight between independence or the States.  Although it behooves fans to first read Hawaiian Crosswinds and Spoils of Eden (preferably recently) to understand how miscommunication led the lead pair (and others) to where they are at the start of Jewel of The Pacific, fans will enjoy Linda Lee Chaikin’s epic trilogy.

 

Harriet Klausner

Beauty-Brian D’Amato

March 26, 2013

Beauty

Brian D’Amato

Mulholland/Little Brown, Mar 12 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780316217248

 

New York City artist Jamie Angelo seeks the perfect Beauty, but fails to have found his muse.  With friends from his Yale days, Jamie meets his compulsion for the ultimate beauty by creating faces using artificial skin for the rich and famous as he did for fellow Eli grad Penny Penn.  However, instead of satiating his obsession, he feels unsatisfied as he needs much more than making loads of cash from the affluent vain.

 

His frustration finally ends when Jamie meets performer Jaishree Manglai.  He immediately recognizes her face as the canvas for his Mona Lisa.  Persuading her to allow him to turn her into the ultimate aesthetic “Minaz”; Jamie starts working on his “It Girl” masterpiece.  She soon becomes the toast of the town until his work begins to fall apart as the artificial skin he used turns cancerous ugly.

 

This reprint of a 1994 modern day Dr. Frankenstein tale that looks deeply into the American obsession with surface Beauty mostly holds up with the test of time although the overuse of pop figures from that era detracts from the otherwise profound storyline.  However, it is arrogant Jamie’s monstrous muses (shared by many) on what beauty is that makes Brian D’Amato’s first novel a winner.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Little Folly-Jude Morgan

March 26, 2013

A Little Folly

Jude Morgan

St. Martin’s, Mar 12 2013, $25.99

ISBN 9781250022271

 

 

Sir Clement Carnell was a bully with a temper and he lived to control others.  He married late, but his young bride proved weak and succumbed to death after a decade under his thumb.  She left him with two children Valentine and Louisa, who he raised with an iron fist; neither was allowed to leave their Devonshire estate.  Both in their twenties, the siblings are freed when in a rage Clement drops dead. 

 

However, adjusting to their liberation from the tyrant proves difficult as they know no other way to live except hiding from the wrath.  Still they throw small parties and welcome estranged cousins Tom and Sophie Spedding into their lives.  Valentine shows his gumption when he rejects his father’s chosen one.  The Spedding couple takes the Carnell duet to London where Valentine and married Lady Harriet Eversholt begin a tryst after meeting at her gambling parlor; while Louisa is attracted to Lieutenant Pearce Lynley.  As Valentine runs up a large gambling debt, Harriet’s irate spouse plans to destroy the country bumpkin with the siblings’ childhood friend, James Tresilian intervening.

 

Readers will feel they are in England just after the Napoleonic wars are over as a euphoric atmosphere of rejoicing has spread throughout London.  However the key to this strong enjoyable Regency is Jude Morgan captures the actions and reactions of the naïve brother and sister to their new freedom to do what they want for the first time in their over two decades of life. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Lady Of The House-Katherine Elberfeld

March 25, 2013

The Lady Of The House

Katherine Elberfeld

Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Mar 12 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781564745385

 

In Georgia without a warning, fifty-six year old Pearce died from a cerebral hemorrhage.  His stunned Widow Annie, four years his junior, buried her husband today even while expecting him to arrive for his funeral.  Their son Jimmy takes care of his shocked older sister Maggie; while both offspring try to help their grieving mom as death of the family patriarch was the furthest from the minds from Pearce’s loved ones.

 

Annie looks back at her life to the events and key people who nurtured her into who she is today.  She thinks of growing up on the orange clay of Georgia with her brother Cat and later when he married his wife Lily.  Her reflections of her past have her musing over her parents and grandmother, and the love of her youth Danny who she dumped.  Finally, Annie considers the impact of her oldest offspring as she knows she must move on, but cannot grasp why Pearce’s death leaves her feeling alone.

 

Making a case that grief is customized; Katherine Elberfeld provides a deep drama of a widow struggling to cope with perhaps the greatest change in her life when her long time spouse suddenly dies.  With a nod to Reflections on My Life by Marmalade, although the ending seems too soft a landing, readers will sympathize with the grieving widow as she profoundly believes the present is “the changing of sunlight to moonlight” and the future only will be “sad tomorrows” so she goes home to reflect on her past. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Crash Landing-Lori Wilde

March 25, 2013

Crash Landing

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373797493

 

Working a business deal, affluent Gibb Martin is at Bosque de los Dioses in an isolated area of Costa Rica that can only be reached by bush plane as the nearest village to the resort Monteverde is twenty-five miles away.  However, he stops his efforts near the volcanic mountain range Cordillera of Tilaran when his best friend and partner on the venture Scott Everly tells him he will not be involved in the Coast Rican enterprise because he is getting married in Key West.

 

Stunned, Gibb needs to reach Florida to prevent his buddy from doing something stupid.  He hires local pilot Sophia Cruz to fly him immediately to Key West.  Although she would prefer to tell Slick City Boy in his suit to pound volcanic ash, she needs the money so agrees to take him to the Keys.  However, when they crash on a deserted island, he finds himself musing over the happiest times in his life (all before becoming a wealthy business mogul) and being with Sophia has moved to numero uno even as spider monkeys bomb them with fruits and orchid thieves invade their interlude.

 

The third Stop the Wedding! contemporary romance is a fun zany tale starring opposites (laidback mellow and hard charging obsessed) falling in love.  Although the premise is identical to the previous entries, readers will enjoy the madcap by air effort to prevent the Birchard-Everly nuptials from happening after the by sea (see Smooth Sailing) and by land (see Night Driving) attempts.

 

Harriet Klausner

Queen Jezebel-Jean Plaidy

March 24, 2013

Queen Jezebel

Jean Plaidy

Touchstone, Mar 12 2013, $16.00

ISBN: 978-1451686548

 

Catherine de’ Medici and her young son King Charles want to end the hostility between the Catholics and Huguenots that is destroying France.  Thus Catherine arranges a marriage of convenience between her reluctant twenty-something Catholic daughter Margot and the Huguenot King Henry of Navarre in an attempt to end the violence.  They wed in Paris; however, the marriage fails to bring about the peace that King Charles desperately wants.  Catherine, realizing that her control over her royal offspring is vanishing, convinces him that the Huguenots plan to assassinate him.  King Charles authorizes religious cleansing to rid the kingdom of the “pestilential Huguenots forever” while the heretics celebrate the wedding.

 

The reprint of the third Catherine De’ Medici biographical fiction (see This Italian Woman and Madame Serpent) is an engaging historical that showcases the manipulative protagonist involvement in the late sixteenth century French religious civil war.  The entertaining storyline paints a diabolical dangerous Catherine manipulating her children, but fails to fully paint the background of two strictly rigid (in their Godly beliefs) religious combatants.  Still aptly titled Queen Jezebel is an enjoyable finish to the De’ Medici trilogy.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Rule-Breaker-Rhonda Nelson

March 24, 2013

The Rule-Breaker

Rhonda Nelson

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN:  9780373797479

 

In Mosul, Army Ranger Micah Holland commits suicide after watching the enemy sends pregnant women with explosives strapped on them to enter a hospital.  Captain Eli Weston watches his best friend die.

 

Eight months later, a still haunted Eli heads to Micah’s hometown of Willow Haven, Kentucky for a memorial service, he does not want to attend as he concealed the truth about how his buddy died.  Still for Micah and his loved ones, Eli attends the dedication.  Eli also fears seeing Micah’s former fiancé Shelby Monroe after they shared a kiss that never should have happened while also shaking their souls.  Eli’s plan is to avoid Shelby as he has enough guilt from that kiss.  However, Shelby knows the truth as to what happened to Micah in Iraq as someone else told her with accusatory letters blaming her for her ex killing himself.

 

This Uniformly Hot! military romance (see Letters from Home) focuses on the aftermath of a soldier taking his own life after witnessing inhumane horror; soldier and veteran suicides are major problems for society (not just the military).  Character-driven with less heat than usual in a Blaze, readers will appreciate Rhonda Nelson’s strong look at honoring a fallen brother in arms by hiding the truth from his family.

 

Harriet Klausner