Archive for July, 2013

Some Like It Hot-Susan Andersen

July 31, 2013

Some Like It Hot
Susan Andersen
Harlequin HQN, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN 9780373777761

Undercover for her mom’s philanthropy Harper Summerville plans to spend the summer in Razor Bay, Washington. Her assignment is to ascertain whether the Cedar Village home for troubled boys should receive a grant; while her cover is the inn’s activities chief.

Sheriff’s Deputy Max Bradshaw is a shy hunk attracted to Harper. She feels the same way about him, but has doubts about a summer fling though is tempted. However, she changes her mind when she observes the tough muscular law enforcement official work with a tough love attitude encouraging the Cedar Village teens to overcome their background and make something of themselves like he and his half-brother Jake (see That Thing Called Love) did

The second Razor Bay drama is a warm contemporary romance. The teens never come across as deeply troubled but instead seem more like the Sweathogs of Welcome Back Kotter who act clownish but listen to authority too easily for at risk boys. Still readers will enjoy this engaging tale of two polar opposites falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

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Hungry Like A Wolf-Christine Warren

July 31, 2013

Hungry Like A Wolf
Christine Warren
St. Martin’s Jul 2 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312357252

Manhattan-based Silverback clan Alpha Graham Winter considers his Beta Logan Hunter as a brother who he has always trusted with his life and that of their werewolf people. However, lately Graham realizes that his BFF wants to be number one; as his wolf has recently been increasingly out of control. With the death of the White Paw Clan Alpha Ethan Tate from cancer, Graham sends Logan to Connecticut to determine whether his former Beta, his daughter Honor who helped conceal her dad’s illness, can take charge of the pack. Both understand a female alpha is a dead alpha and a female beta is either dead or brilliantly cunning.

Honor’s longtime friend Paul Clark challenges her and she bites off his hand though she feels bad for doing so. Though she informed Graham of her father’s death and her revelation, Honor resents him sending Logan to look into her competency; though she is attracted to the unwanted intruder as he is to her. As she fights off Logan’s claim, Honor takes on challenges from clan members she has known for years, but a psychopath hides in sheep clothing.

The latest Others romantic urban fantasy (see On The Prowl and Drive Me Wild) is a hardcore entry that focuses on the violent werewolf pack succession to the Alpha position with a ferocious mating scenario that could leave either or both participants dead. Series fans will enjoy this entry with a surprising villain brings freshness though the coda deletes from the Alpha journey.

Harriet Klausner

Me Before You-JoJo Moyes

July 30, 2013

Me Before You
JoJo Moyes
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, Jul 30 2013
ISBN: 9780143124542

After working at the local café for six years, twenty-something Louisa Clark comes home depressed as she informs her parents the owner Frank shut the place down giving her no notice. Her boyfriend Patrick tries to be supportive and offers to pay for their vacation. At the Jobseeker’s Office to get her first allowance, Lou learns how limited her skills are until the worker Syed mentions the care assistant position feeding and caring (but no butt wiping) for a quadriplegic during daytime hours.

Will Traynor loved the thrill of closing out a multimillion dollar business deal. He also relished the adrenalin rush he received from mountain climbing and sky diving. Finally he had his choice of any woman he desired. All that ended when he suffered a spinal cord trauma that left him filled with rage and frustration. He believes his mom’s new employee is a twit who he would never have noticed before he became wheelchair bound. Filled with anger and morbidly depressed at his helplessness, Will lashes out at sweet Lou; but soon admires her refusal to quit though he rationalizes she needs the money. When Lou concludes that Will plans to commit suicide, she desperately tries to prove to him he can still have a wonderful life while she also looks closely at her settling for a bland existence.

Although the underlying premise is not new, Me Before You is a profound relationship drama with an underlying message to readers to live life fearless and to the fullest. Character driven by the protagonists and with a super support cast, fans will appreciate this pathos tale filled with humor and anguish.

Harriet Klausner

Three Little Words-Susan Mallery

July 30, 2013

Three Little Words
Susan Mallery
Harlequin HQN, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373777785

When she was fourteen, Isabel Beebe fell in love with Ford Hendrix, but he was dating her older sister Maeve who cheated on him with his best friend. He joined the military and over the next few years, Isabel wrote him letters but he never responded; so she gave up on her correspondence and settled on her heart when she married Wall St. Eric, but that ended in divorce.

Isabel comes to Fool’s Gold, California to take over the family bridal shop. Ford is also in town having left the SEALs. When they meet, she realizes she still loves him and he knows he wants her while recalling how her letters helped him emotionally in some dangerous scenarios. When his mother begins a campaign to find wives for her two sons, Ford persuades Isabel to be his pretend girlfriend in order for him to weather the storm. She wants to remove the adjective pretend from their arrangement, but he clings to no commitment.

This is an engaging Fool’s Gold romance with two wonderful love stories (the secondary love subplot stars Ford’s brother math teaching single dad brother Kent with kick butt Consuelo though their misunderstanding is weak) and humor provided by Mama Hendrix. Fans will relish this delightful second chance at love as the Hendrix brothers and their women make this tale twice the fun.

Harriet Klausner

Indelible-Dawn Metcalf

July 29, 2013

Indelible
Dawn Metcalf
Harlequin Teen, Jul 30 2013, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210732

In Glendale, BFFs Joy and Monica go to the Under 18 club at the Carousel. Whereas Monica goes for “Mr. Wide” Gordon Weitzenhoffer, Joy notices the teen with totally blackened eyes. He sees her too, but instead of friendly chatter, he tries to cut out her eye, but instead injures her cornea.

Indelible Ink had not planned for this outcome when he went after Joy; as all he wants is to feel and comprehend human emotions similar to his sister Inq’s understanding. However, he must adapt to having marked her as his lehman “slave” not as Inq insists “lover” or die. Joy must adjust to being his beloved helper and “seeing” the strange eerie environs of Twixt filled with monsters and weird girls or both will meet horrible deaths.

The first Twixt young adult urban fantasy is an exciting tale starring a courageous human female (whose mom deserted her and her dad) and an intriguing creature who is filling the void of lacking emotions with learning the good, the bad and the ugly. The support cast is solid, but the Twixt realm is never established beyond a superficial veneer and the romance too typical of the sub-genre in spite of the fascinating filling up the male lead’s blank slate. Still teen fans will enjoy Indelible Ink while looking forward to the tale of Invisible Inq.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Is Alive-Heather Graham

July 29, 2013

The Night Is Alive
Heather Graham
Mira, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315070

Two and half centuries ago Blue Anderson was a gentleman pirate. When Abby Anderson was a child she saw the ghost of her ancestor at times when family members needed him; she saw him when a killer was stopped and when her parents and grandma died. Now a FBI trainee, Abby comes home to Savannah because her grandfather Gus asks her to visit him. When she arrives at the family’s historical tavern Dragonslayer, she fails to find Gus waiting for her; instead Blue guides her to a tunnel where her beloved relative lies brutally dead. As Blue begins to make out of character frequent appearances, Abby informs FBI Krewe of Hunters unit chief Jackson Crowe.

He decides to send private investigator Malachi Gordon to Savannah as a beta test of the potential recruit’s paranormal skills though veterans will also be there. As more violent mysterious murders occur, Malachi and Abby struggle with their attraction and their life-long distrust of showing their otherworldly skills to someone else. To end a serial killer’s reign of terror they must rely on one another or become victims.

Though similar in tone to the previous Krewe of Hunters paranormal romantic mystery (see The Night Is Watching), this is an entertaining thriller due to Savannah (as fascinating as the Old West was in its “night” predecessor) and Blue the ghostly pirate; as they combine to give readers a flavor of the city’s history. Action-packed from the moment Abby calls Jackson and never slowing down; readers will relish visiting the haunts of Savannah.

Harriet Klausner

Bound Spirits-Karen Wiesner

July 29, 2013

Bound Spirits
Karen Wiesner
Writers Exchange E Publishing, Jul 12 2013
http://www.writers-exchange.com
ISBN: 9781922233035

On Lake Superior in Erie County, Wisconsin is Bloodmoon Cove Park with a reputation for the eeriest urban legends. After Park Ranger Dave Kotter died there last year, the county sheriff shut the park down warning people to stay out, but there is always some idiot like Troy and his Three Stooges followers who foolishly enter where Harrity Kotter and Dave vanished, many years apart. When a ghost dog comes to greet them, Troy joins the missing while his frightened mates ditch him.

Dave’s son John quits his park ranger position in Arizona to come home as he knows there is no one but him left to replace his dead dad at Bloodmoon Cove. At the campgrounds, John, accompanied by his dad’s dog Robert, is shocked to find someone living there though the place had been closed since his father’s death. Instead of making Esmeralda “Esme” Dumas leave, he allows her to stay without asking her why she is a recluse though she obviously knew his dad and Robert. He accepts she is not ready to tell him her tale of being locked away with rodents as her companions. The couple learns that Troy went missing near where Harrity Scaritty allegedly haunts Bloodmoon Mountain. As homicides occur, Esme goes in search of the hidden cave while a worried Dave goes in search of her.

The Bloodmoon Cove Spirits urban fantasy is a fabulous ghost story that grips readers from the moment Troy and his friends enter the forbidden zone. Fast-paced, the romantic subplot is anticipated but kept low-keyed as Karen Wiesner focuses on the hunt for angry avenging spirits.

Harriet Klausner

Home to Whiskey Creek-Brenda Novak

July 28, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek
Brenda Novak
Mira, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 978-0778315452

Adelaide Davies returns to the one place she vowed never to go back to Whiskey Creek, California; coming home only because her Gran needs her at the restaurant. When she goes into the spot where Cody Rackham and others gang raped her while they celebrated their high school graduation fifteen years ago she becomes trapped inside. The fraternal twin of Cody, who died that same night, Noah rescues her.

Adelaide feels like a traitor to herself when she finds she is attracted to the brother of the rape ring leader. The owner of Crank It Up bike shop, Noah cannot understand why Addy, who he wants, rejects him. As each falls in love, those involved with the incident and their families keep the inconvenient truth buried while shockingly so does Addy for a different reason.

The latest Whiskey Creek romance (see When Summer Comes, When Snow Falls and When Lightning Strikes) is a strong character driven contemporary although the antagonists are not fully developed beyond their role in the brutal incident or their blood ties to those involved. Whereas the fascinating female protagonist struggles with the trauma of what happened to her that night while her male counterpart feels betrayed by his parents and some friends as almost the entire town without pity prefers the brutal night kept secret.

Harriet Klausner

Can’t Help Falling In Love-Bella Andre

July 28, 2013

Can’t Help Falling In Love
Bella Andre
Mira, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315582

San Francisco Station 5 firefighters battle a terrible blaze destroying the 1280 Conrad Street apartment building, home to two dozen people. Firefighter Gabe Sullivan enters the inferno where he rescues the Thompson elderly couple who tell him their neighbors Widow Megan Harris and her almost seven years old daughter Summer are inside. In spite of station Captain Todd Phillips telling everyone to evacuate the building, Gabe and his partner Eric go in. While he gets them to safety, a beam hits Gabe in the head; he is carried away on a stretcher to the hospital.

Megan and Summer visit Gabe at the hospital to thank him. The two adults feel the instant attraction that neither wants. Her late husband David was a pilot who died in a flying accident while he dated a rescued woman that ended badly. Complicating their relationship is Summer idolizes the man who saved her life and that of her mom.

The entertaining latest Sullivan siblings’ romance (see The Look Of Love and From This Moment On) focuses on the healing power of love to provide second chances. Although the trysts distract from the adults’ relationship drama made much more complex by Summer the precocious matchmaker, readers will appreciate the tender tale as the first responder and the rescued damsel in distress fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Wedding Belles-Beth Albright

July 28, 2013

Wedding Belles
Beth Albright
Mira, Jul 30 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778315292

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Vivi Ann McFadden has two wonderful reasons for being euphoric. First she is seven months pregnant carrying the child of the man she loves Lewis Heart; and second her and her beloved are marrying soon.

However, her bliss crashes when Myra Jean the trailer park psychic warns Vivi that the voice of Crimson Tide football has another woman. She learns her Lewis is married. As she always does, heartbroken Vivi turns to her best friend, Lewis’ sister-in-law Blake O’Hara Heart for solace and legal advice. The attorney investigates Lewis’ marital status even while the University of Alabama home opener is about to begin.

The latest Sassy Belles relationship drama is an enjoyable tale as the Steel Magnolias and the men who appreciate them engage in a gender war. Readers (except Auburn fans) will enjoy this “Yea Alabama” contemporary as Vivi’s over the top of Bear Bryant Stadium frantic hysteria makes for an amusing Crimson Tide romance.

Harriet Klausner