Archive for March, 2014

The Amish Groom-Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

March 31, 2014

The Amish Groom
Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner
Harvest House, Apr 1 2014, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736957342

Tyler Anderson’s mom Sadie was Amish but left the People to marry Duke, an Englisch soldier. He was raised as a military brat until his mother died. When Duke deployed, he left his young child with his maternal grandparents in Lancaster County swearing he will come back for his son when he returns to a stateside assignment.

Now in his twenties, Tyler loves his grandparents who raised him Amish for a decade and a half, but always wondered why his dad abandoned him. Now Tyler must choose between living Amish with Rachel Hoeck as his wife, and Englisch with his father, half-brother Brady and Lark in California.

Following up the entertaining Women of Lancaster County series (see The Amish Seamstress) Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner provides readers with a marvelous new saga the Men of Lancaster County. In adherence to the miniseries title stating “men”, the strong opening act focuses on Tyler’s dilemma enhanced by a wonderful support cast; several folks in Lancaster and California deserve lead or at least where are they now roles in future tales. Readers will relish this entry as Tyler must decide whether to be or not to be Amish.

Harriet Klausner

A Match Made In Texas-Katie Lane

March 31, 2014

A Match Made In Texas
Katie Lane
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 978145557580

Tired of her four pain-in-the-butt brothers and fleeing from a naked internet scandal, Brianne Cates speeds through Bramble, Texas. Rigid law enforcer Sherriff Dusty Hicks pursues the dangerous speeder, demanding she pull over, which she reacts to by accelerating. When he gets her to stop, she sprays him with mace. Brianne mentions he will be sorry as her daddy and siblings are wealthy and used to getting their demands met. Her threat triggers an angry reaction from Dusty who arrests her though he knows it is because she behaved like his ex who used her daddy’s affluence to win full custody of their child.

Due to a mutual love of Elvis, Judge Seeley sentences Brianne to two weeks of community service as the sheriff’s housekeeper. Both are irate with the situation but soon their anger begins to turn to desire and attraction abetted by the Bed and Breakfast “Hens” who demand nothing less than love between the criminal and the sheriff.

This Deep In The Heart Of Texas romance (see Going Cowboy Crazy, Catch Me A Cowboy and Flirting With Texas) is an amusing heated contemporary. Fans will enjoy the lead couple, encouraged by caring town eccentrics, landing in one mess after another mostly due to the “Runaway Child, Running Wild” (Temptations). Although the fiery avenging Reverend Josiah Jessup subplot feels out of place, fans will enjoy this fast-paced, zany tale.

Harriet Klausner

What A Reckless Rogue Needs-Vicky Dreiling

March 31, 2014

What A Reckless Rogue Needs
Vicky Dreiling
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 978145552280

In 1821, frustrated with his thirtyish wastrel heir, Marquess of Chadwick tells his son Colin Brockhurst that he plans to sell the estate where they buried the latter’s mother years ago. Chadwick also says he will reconsider if Colin marries and ends his womanizing. Knowing he must prove to his father that he cares about their property especially this one about to go on sale; Colin decides to renovate it.

Colin asks his childhood friend scandalized Lady Angeline Brenham for help; she agrees to serve as the lead restorer with the goal of a wife would be proud to live there with him. As Colin and Angeline work together, they fall in love, but she rejects his proposal as burned her once and left her wary and his secrets also keep them from making a permanent relationship.

The latest Sinful Scoundrels Regency romance (see What A Wicked Earl Wants) is a delightful historical due to the pairing of two strong obstinate protagonists. Although both act too mature with rather quick logical acceptance leading to instant forgiveness of transgressions by the other as opposed to a fuming emotional tantrum, subgenre fans will appreciate What A Reckless Rogue Needs is mutual love and respect.

Harriet Klausner

Dash of Peril-Lori Foster

March 30, 2014

Dash of Peril
Lori Foster
Harlequin HQN, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373778577

In Warfield, Ohio police Lieutenant Margo Peterson diligently works on breaking up a vicious gang who videotapes their rapes to sell on the porno black market. Deciding the only way to get these brutal psychopaths is to offer herself as bait, Margo works the bar scene undercover. The brother of her subordinate Logan Riske (see Run The Risk) Dash keeps an eye on her over her objections. When Margo is attacked, Dash intervenes.

Already wanting to change their relationship from friend to lover, Dash nurses Margo as she recovers from her injuries. As she falls in love with him, Margo refuses to heed her heart as she knows first-hand how families behave.

The latest Love Undercover romantic suspense (see Getting Rowdy and Bare It All) is a fast-paced thriller that combines working the dangerous case with meeting the heroine’s family. Although the predators are underdeveloped, readers will appreciate this exhilarating tale due to the strong female cop who proves she has what it takes to readers, police, friends, sociopaths and especially her dashing beloved; everyone except perhaps her disapproving dad.

Harriet Klausner

Fire Inside-Kristen Ashley

March 30, 2014

Fire Inside
Kristen Ashley
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455599271

Near Denver, Chaos Motorcycle Club member single father Hop Kincaid considers advertising exec Lanie Heron crazy for ironically standing by her fiancé Elliot Belova. Hop thinks the late Belova must have been even more certifiable for getting involved with the Russian mob over the purchase of out of season flowers for their wedding. The Russians killed Belova and left Heron scarred physically and emotionally.

Seeking a one-nighter, Lanie propositions Hop and he euphorically accepts her no strings stipulation. However, as one night becomes another one night and another one night, Hop and Lanie struggle with accepting that each wants a more permanent relationship, but he doubts she can fit in with the danger of being part of Chaos and she hesitates after what happened to her Elliot.

With a nod to the Sons of Anarchy, the second Chaos romance (see Own the Wind) is an engaging tale due to the unique insanity of Lanie, whose crazy poor choices bring briskness to the storyline; while Hop is more of a traditional Kristen Ashley bad boy lead. Faster than a speeding bike (except for the plenty of sex encounters), readers will appreciate this second chance at hog-tied heaven.

Harriet Klausner

A Plain Man-Mary Ellis

March 29, 2014

A Plain Man
Mary Ellis
Harvest House, Apr 1 2014, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736949804

For five years, Caleb Beachy tried to assimilate into the Englisher world. Recently realizing his effort was doomed from the start, Caleb finally accepts that he is simply A Plain Man. Thus Caleb leaves Cleveland to move back home in Fredericksburg, Ohio where he works for his still disappointed dad Eli; who has not forgiven his son for deserting his Amish heritage and distrusts him not to leave again when he becomes bored.

When Caleb ditched his faith and family, Josie Yoder was a young teenager. Now an adult she and Caleb begin seeing each other. She keeps him calm when he becomes irate especially with his unmerciful obstinate father; and Josie reminds him that he temporarily may have turned from the Lord but the Lord never left him. As they fall in love, Caleb’s remorse for deserting his people and God leave him believing he is unworthy of Josie.

A Plain Man is a delightful Amish romance with a strong second chance at life subplot. Josie is typical of the subgenre women; while freshness come from Eli with his inability to accept the return of his prodigal son, and Caleb with his guilt for what he perceives is a betrayal to God, his family and his community. Readers will enjoy the Caleb’s tribulations (mostly self-flagellation); as he thinks his beloved Josie deserves someone better than him.

Harriet Klausner

The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell-Paula Quinn

March 29, 2014

The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell
Paula Quinn
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455519514

Early in the eighteenth century, England’s Parliament pushes the Act of Union that merges their kingdom with Scotland. Most Scots strongly object to this merger as they believe it is an undesirable annexation of their beloved country under English rule.

Edmund MacGregor and his clan deploy a plan to prevent the abomination from happening by forcing the two leading advocates, the Duke of Queensberry and the Chancellor of Scotland, to back down. Pretending to have a title, Edmund attends the engagement ball of Queensberry’s niece Miss Amelia Bell and the Chancellor. To his chagrin and to her elation, they are attracted to each other from that first unbecoming dance. Still he goes ahead with the plot by kidnapping Amelia. Both fall in love, but his passion for a free independent Scotland seemingly keeps them apart.

Paula Quinn starts a new MacGregor clan saga (see Children of the Mist miniseries) with the wonderful first Highland Heirs historical romance. Amelia is a fascinating albeit typical heroine while Edmund suffers from divided loyalties to his nation and his woman. However, what makes this pre-Georgian romance super is the strong background into the controversial (and timely with Crimea) Act of Union 1707 law that grips the audience throughout even knowing the historical outcome.

Harriet Klausner

Come Home To Me-Brenda Novak

March 28, 2014

Come Home To Me
Brenda Novak
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315919

Two years ago, just after her mom died, pregnant Presley Christensen fled Whiskey Creek leaving behind her true love Aaron Amos. She went for drug rehab and to have an abortion in Arizona (see When Summer Comes). However, instead of ending the life growing inside her, Presley decided to raise her baby Wyatt. Expecting Aaron to leave town to manage a new family auto body repair franchise and encouraged by her married sister Cheyenne and her brother-in-law (Aaron’s sibling) Dylan (see When Snow Falls), Presley, accompanied by her child, comes home to open up a yoga studio.

Aaron has come a long way from when he used drugs while having a heated affair with Presley. He still wants her, but fears he will revert back to being an addict again. However, when he sees the child with her, a fuming Aaron wants to know who the dad is. Meanwhile Cheyenne offers her sister a plan re Wyatt.

This Whiskey Creek second chance at love romance is an enjoyable contemporary though the premise is not new and some behavior unethical. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of two recovering addicts still in love with each fearing a return engagement could lead them back to using while cherished Wyatt adds a fascinating dilemma. The series’ audience will appreciate Come Home To Me that closes an intriguing relationship thread.

Harriet Klausner

Sweet Talk Me-Kieran Kramer

March 28, 2014

Sweet Talk Me
Kieran Kramer
St. Martin’s, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250009913

In Atlanta, True Maybank arrives on Peachtree to pick up her wedding gown as she will soon marry to the delight of her parents her affluent childhood friend Dubose. However, also on Peachtree on that fated day is country music legend Harrison Gamble to the delight of a horde of fans. The only one unhappy in the crowd to see Harrison is True.

When True and Harrison were growing up in Biscuit Creek, South Carolina they were trailer park BFFs before becoming lovers as teens. He broke her heart when he left her behind for the music. Harrison never forgot his beloved True, but though he desperately wants a second chance he refuses to interfere with her upcoming nuptials. Their respective somewhat eccentric siblings think otherwise.

Sweet Talk Me is an engaging Low County romance that Southern regional readers will enjoy in spite of the entertaining storyline never veering from the anticipated path of least resistance. Although the unconventional secondary characters steal the show, fans will enjoy the bad boy miserably trying to act honorable “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; …” (Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities).

Harriet Klausner

Four Friends-Robyn Carr

March 27, 2014

Four Friends
Robyn Carr
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9780778316817

Marin County Child Protective Services case worker supervisor Gerri Gilbert learns her husband Assistant District Attorney Phil had an affair. Upset by his betrayal, she wonders what to do about him and their so-called perfect marriage, and if she acts like her gut wants her to the impact on their son Mathew.

Andy Jamison files for her second divorce this time from her immature second husband Bryce over several issues but mostly his treatment of her teenage son Noel (from her first marriage). She and marital-separated Bob the carpenter working at her home become lovers.

New Age fanatic Sonja Johanson seeks balance for herself and her family and friends. However, her husband George the financial planner has had enough with her incessant endless shtick so he walks out on her and her mumble jumble lunacy.

B.J. moves into the Mill Valley neighborhood where best friends Gerri, Andy and Sonja reside. The trio makes overtures to befriend the newcomer, but B.J. prefers to jog solo as she still runs from her nightmare. Yet her arrival proves a catalyst leading to changes in the lives of the three buddies and her.

This is a profound neighborhood drama as the incredibly fully developed Four Friends come across in public as having their respective acts together; but in private each falls apart to varying degrees under the weight of diverse tsuris. The support cast (male lovers and exes, and teenage children) enhance the deep look into the lead quartet as each of the protagonists deals not always successfully with major social issues directly confronting themselves or indirectly their loved ones (including their BFFs).

Harriet Klausner