Archive for August, 2013

Say Yes To The Duke-Kieran Kramer

August 30, 2013

Say Yes To The Duke
Kieran Kramer
St. Martin’s, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250009906

After several failed London seasons, Janice Sherwood must give up the waltz for rustication. Her despondent parents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Brady, exile her to the estate of the Duke of Halsey as a temporary companion to his grandmother. Secretly they hope their daughter catches Halsey, but fear her insistence on a love match will leave her on the shelf.

Recently Luke Callahan learned that he is the legitimate Halsey ducal heir but lacks proof. He obtains a servant position in the stables, and flirts with the Dowager’s guest as he believes Janice is a potential ally who can help him with his search. As they fall in love, Luke regrets what will happen to their relationship once she knows of his duplicity.

The third House of Brady Regency romance (see Loving Lady Marcia and The Earl Is Mine) is an amusing yet touching historical in spite of the not so subtle references to the TV show (though much less than previous entries). Readers will enjoy Janice’s search for love as she “knew it was much more than a hunch” (Brady Bunch theme song) when she found it with her duke.

Harriet Klausner

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Love Overdue-Pamela Morsi

August 28, 2013

Love Overdue
Pamela Morsi
Mira, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315377

Dorothy “DJ” Jarrow is euphoric when Verdant, Kansas hires her as the librarian. She knows before arriving in the rural town that she must maintain the image of the good girl librarian; which she muses should prove easy as only once eight years ago on vacation at South Padre Island did she let her inner bad girl out. On the other hand after her arrival, DJ is unprepared for the local social media in which unverified gossip travels faster than the speed of light since the truth is irrelevant.

DJ finds she has a dilemma as Sanderson the pharmacist is “the hot guy” from eight years ago; he is also the son of the board member who hired her. Ironically he does not act as if he had the sex of his life unlike how she still feels; Scott does not even recognize her due to her present librarian look instead of the past heated look. Scott’s mother and Melvil Dewey Jr. the terrier have plans for this couple.

Love Overdue is a charming amusing romance in which flashbacks to that heated vacation gives the tale a second chance feel. Though improbable without a humongous infusion of Serendipity (almost as much as the movie starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale), readers will appreciate the love story between the prim pharmacist and the proper librarian.

Harriet Klausner

Tear You Apart-Megan Hart

August 27, 2013

Tear You Apart
Megan Hart
Mira, Aug 27 2013, $14.95
ISBN 9780778314776

Fortyish art gallery employee Elisabeth Amblin knows something is wrong with her emotionally as she deals poorly with the empty nest since the twins left home and worse with a tundra-frozen marriage to a husband who loves his work not her; in fairness she reciprocates his feelings. At the gallery, Elisabeth and photographer Will Roberts meet with both attracted to each other, but neither feels right about an affair that both covet but know is wrong. Still each succumbs to the desire and they begin a tryst while Elisabeth and Will recognize their primary lives must never cross except at the gallery. Soon both must decide about the future together forever or never.

Tear You Apart is a super character-driven erotica as the protagonists are intensely fully developed and the significant others in their lives enhance the cheating relationship. Elisabeth’s synesthetic condition augments a powerful look at filling an emotional vacuum though no matter what she or her beloved decide to do, betrayal, anguish and pain battle belonging, passion and need; someone will be torn apart.

Harriet Klausner

The Hero- Robyn Carr

August 27, 2013

The Hero
Robyn Carr
Mira, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778314592

Accompanied by her three years old daughter Mercy, Devon McAllister walks towards the coast motivated to reach 101 before resting as she flees the Douglas County Fellowship religious compound that she once thought was safe for her and her child. Eight hours into her trek, Rawley Goode picks the pair up and takes them to the bar where he works in Thunder Point in Coos County. He serves them breakfast and afterward when Devon says she will pay his kindness back when she can, he insists she pass it on to someone else in need as he was in her shoes at one time.

With his tweener son Austin, Widower Spencer Lawson recently left San Antonio for Thunder Point as the high school athletic director and coach. He overhears Devon and reclusive Rawley chatting about relying on a stranger and fleeing the cult. When the bar’s owner Coop and his Coast Guard wife Sarah arrive, Rawley introduces them and Spencer to his second cousin once removed Devon; Coop knows his employee has no family. As Devon and Spencer fall in love, bot know their kids come first, especially when the cult abducts Mercy.

The third Thunder Point romantic suspense (see The Wanderer and The Newcomer) is a taut thriller that opens with a woman in peril receiving help from strangers before spinning into a romance and finally into a tense dangerous rescue mission. Although the villain is to unrealistically evil, readers will appreciate the return to Thunder Point where several heroes come to the aid of a beleaguered woman and her preschooler.

Harriet Klausner

Against The Mark-Kat Martin

August 27, 2013

Against The Mark
Kat Martin
Mira, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778314677

Briggs and Brodie Private Investigators are located on the Hollywood Hills estate of septuagenarian Ellie Stiles who recommends clients to the partners. An elderly man tries to break Ty Brodie’s nose while the ex-marine deftly avoids beating up the jealous sexagenarian whose wife Ellie convinced to hire the detectives to determine if her mate is cheating.

After resolving that by Ty taking a punch, Ellie introduces him to her grandniece Haley Warren from Chicago. Three months ago Haley’s estranged dad died when his powerboat exploded due to a gas leak. Her dad’s second wife Betty Jean, whom Haley has never met, begged Haley to come to Los Angeles because she is convinced her husband was murdered due to a multimillion dollar art theft case he was looking into. With John Briggs away, Ellie tells Ty that Haley will have his back as his partner on the inquiry to the sleuth’s chagrin.

The latest Raines of Wind Canyon (see Against the Fire, Against the Law, Against the Storm, Against the Night and Against the Sun) is an engaging romantic mystery as the case takes precedent over the attraction. Though Ty would prefer using his lower head, his upper head prevails because he diligently keeps his new partner safe from those who want the investigators buried with her dad even if Haley fails to cooperate. Haley’s Mother comes across as amoral making it easier for her father to abandon his family, readers will enjoy this taut romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

My Favorite Mistake-Chelsea M. Cameron

August 26, 2013

My Favorite Mistake
Chelsea M. Cameron
Harlequin HQN, Aug 27 2013, $11.95
ISBN 9780373778294

In a coed living facility at the U of Maine, since Darah and Renee were roommates last year, they would share one room while Taylor and the new girl the other. When the newbie arrives, she turns out to be Hunter, an obnoxious male douche.

Hunter “bets” Missy (his nickname for his favorite mistake) as he calls the acrimonious Taylor to prove to him she loves or hates him; while Taylor reacts to his cornering her by punching him in the jaw and knee lifting into his balls. She tells her sister Tawny who admonishes her for not just telling Hunter to back off though the older sibling knows first-hand why the bitter Taylor is filled with fear and anger.

Although the premise of a university sanctioning a coed room seems over the top of Katahdin Mountain, readers will enjoy the love and hate romance between the lead roommates. The support cast is solid but it is unlikable damaged Taylor who keeps the storyline focused as what happened to her (and Tawny) when she was a tweener still haunts how she behaves towards others.

Harriet Klausner

Twilight Hunter-Kait Ballenger

August 26, 2013

Twilight Hunter
Kait Ballenger
Harlequin HQN, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN 9780373777389

Execution Underground operative Jace McCannon feverishly hunts werewolves while concealing from his division mates that the reason he is the best is because his DNA includes half werewolf. The hybrid currently stalks a cowardly werewolf alpha preying on the weak in Rochester.

While tracking the serial killer, whose latest victim was raped before being murdered, he corners Rochester Pack Alpha Francesca “Frankie” Amato who insists she did not murder the victim. He affirms the female packmaster’s assertion that she has the wrong equipment and no blood on her; she further explains she hunts this psychopathic rogue poaching on her turf. Though neither feels any trust for the other as hunters like him over the centuries have reduced the werewolf population to near extinction levels; they agree to team up in order to end the serial killing werewolf’s reign of terror but under his terms of captivity.

The opening Execution Underground romantic urban fantasy is a terrific taut thriller as mortal enemies become beloved enemies though neither covets the concept that the other is their life mate. The hunt for the deadly predator takes center stage as readers anticipate the confrontations between the protagonists and the antagonist, and between the emotionally scarred lead couple in the enticingly dark Ballenger world.

Harriet Klausner

The Lotus Palace-Jeannie Lin

August 25, 2013

The Lotus Palace
Jeannie Lin
Harlequin HQN, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373777730

In 847 China, the ground shook the Lotus Palace several times but though frightened none of the courtesan residents, their maids, customers or Madame Sun were hurt. As she has her hair being done when another tremor occurs, top courtesan Mingyu tells her maid Yue-ying that she fears something happening to her but not from an earthquake. Taizhu the court historian visits Mingyu while drunken scholar Lord Bai Huang flirts with Yue-ying in spite of the red birthmark on her face and does so openly calling her Little Moon. When Bai claims a kiss, Yue-ying cuts him.

Magistrate Li Yen and Constable Wu Kaifeng investigate the murder of Huilan, one of the Four Beauties of the House of a Hundred Songs. Bai is a suspect because the victim possessed his official permit allowing her to travel at night outside the gated walls. As Bai and Yue-ying become embroiled in the murder inquiry, his family demands he wed their chosen aristocratic bride while he chooses the maid. However, she believes he is too above her station for anything except being his concubine; a position she cannot accept as that would break her heart.

The latest Tang Dynasty romance (see The Sword Dancer, My Fair Concubine, Butterfly Swords, and The Dragon And The Pearl) is an exciting action-packed historical murder mystery. The lead couple is a terrific taboo pairing that showcases the significance of class distinction in ninth century China; as no one brings this era to life better than Jeannie Lin consistently does.

Harriet Klausner

High Country Rebel-Lindsay McKenna

August 25, 2013

High Country Rebel
Lindsay McKenna
Harlequin HQN, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN 9780373778515

Honorably discharged Navy SEAL Talon Holt left the military suffering from PTSD after the enemy tortured him and killed his buddy Hayden while in captivity in Afghanistan. Zeke, his retired K9 partner, saved his life in the theater and remains at his side in Wyoming. He came home to be with and help his mom dying from cancer. Meanwhile Talon and Zeke are caught in a late spring freak blizzard above Jackson Hole. As Talon lies dying on a nameless Wyoming road, Zeke remains at his side when firefighter-paramedic-wrangler Cat Edwin arrives; she takes them to the nearby Bar H in her SUV.

As Talon recovers from hyperthermia, he is attracted to his rescuer; Cat reciprocates but loathes the feeling as she distrusts men especially Type A brutes (as she assumes SEALs must be) due to her violent father and odious former boyfriend Beau Magee. As he heals, Talon falls in love with Cat, but she still fears her attraction while Zeke turns to her as an easy mark for treats. Meanwhile Magee deploys intervention plans.

The latest Wyoming military vet romantic suspense (see The Loner) is a delightful thriller due to the relationship between two fully developed wounded warriors. Though their respective source of their mental problems differs, Talon and Cat heal due to love but not completely. Whereas the late suspense brings tension but also feels unnecessary as the changing relationship makes the tale. Readers will appreciate the story of the veteran, the firefighter and the dog falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Days In The History Of Silence-Merethe Lindstrøm

August 25, 2013

Days In The History Of Silence
Merethe Lindstrøm
Other Press, Aug 27 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781590515952

Eva the schoolteacher mother of three small children (Kirsten, Greta and Helena) let the intruder in by opening the door to his ringing the bell. Frightened by her blunder she gave him money and he left. Years have passed since the Event and the kids are adults while Eva and her physician husband Simon grow old together.

However, her fear over the last few months is that Simon has over time disengaged himself from her as he slowly stopped speaking until now he is totally silent. She looks back at other key incidents like the hiring and firing of extremely tall Marija as their housekeeper, Simon’s childhood hiding along with family from the Nazis, and her other offspring a son she gave up for adoption while concealing his existence. Eva ponders whether these ghosts or others led to Simon becoming mute or does he suffer from dementia?. Increasingly Eva feels isolated from her long time mate as she is no longer part of him and inversely he is detached from her; retired from teaching and the kids gone, she is alone even with Simon silently with her.

This is a powerful character-driven Norwegian family drama told from the viewpoint of beleaguered Eva the elderly caretaker of her silent husband. Readers will ponder the cause of Simon’s slow descent into total silence as first he used a few words like thank you before going absolute mute. Merethe Lindstrøm provides a strong philosophical tale as she makes a profound argument that the past never fully vanishes since the ghosts of yesteryear haunt the present.

Harriet Klausner