For The Right Reasons-Kara Lenox

April 9, 2014

For The Right Reasons
Kara Lenox
Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75
ISBN: 9780373608409

Knowing her ex-boyfriend Kelly Ralston is innocent of the rape and attempted murder conviction he received seven years ago, Dr. Bree Johnson asks Project Justice to take on his case. Project Justice Attorney Eric Riggs knows firsthand how violent and feral Ralston is after they spent time incarcerated in the same Huntsville cellblock (see In This Together) and the psychopath threatened to slice up his six year old daughter MacKenzie. In a team meeting headed by CEO Daniel Logan, Eric claims Ralston is a monster who tried to kill him, bragged about murdering others and raped the victim Philomene Switzer who testified against him. Logan accepts Eric’s claim and deep-sixes this case unaware his new employee lied to them.

Eric explains to Bree why they decided to refuse to work the Ralston appeal. She turns livid as she insists the gentle Ralston would not do this. Accompanied by his daughter, Eric meets Bree at a restaurant but Philomene, expected to join them to tell him she wants to recant her testimony, fails to arrive. Soon they learn she is dead. Feeling guilt Eric vows to protect the two females he loves from an unknown adversary targeting them.

The latest Project Justice romantic suspense (see One Night Alibi) is a fabulous tale due to the contrasting yet deftly interwoven subplots as the romance and the viable threat hook the audience. MacKenzie is a terrific child who suffers from loss but cannot hide her feelings (her reaction to meeting a doctor is priceless); thus she enhances the lead couple’s changing relationship. Readers will appreciate this enjoyable contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

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The Soldier’s Promise-Patricia Potter

April 8, 2014

The Soldier’s Promise
Patricia Potter
Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75
ISBN: 9780373608416

The Taliban ambushed the Ranger unit leaving Dave Hannity dead from a bomb blast. Dave leaves behind his cabin in Covenant Falls, Colorado to his BFF Josh Manning, who survived the deadly attack but suffers from severe PTSD. Accompanied by his fallen comrade’s retired bomb detecting K9 Amos who the veterinarians at Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dogs Hospital diagnosed with PTSD also, Josh heads to Dave’s cabin with plans to renovate and sell.

Covenant Falls Herald columnist Marilyn Evans complains to Mayor Eve Douglas about the stranger in the Hannity cabin while rumors abound about the man and his unleashed big dog. Eve visits Josh at the rundown cabin. He marvels that she is not afraid of him like yesterday’s visitor, but also dislikes he cannot intimidate her. Later Deputy Sam accosts Josh over a robbery that occurred yesterday. Attracted to one another from that first meeting, the mayor and the reclusive veteran fall in love; while he also enjoys time with her Little League aged son Nick and their menagerie, as Josh recognizes this crew brings Amos back to life.

The Soldier’s Promise is a delightful family drama filled with romance, a cold case drowning, suspense and PTSD. Insight into the real issue of canine PTSD brings freshness as Amos never received closure since he was not on the mission in which his beloved handler died. Readers will appreciate Patricia Potter’s engaging contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

When The Cypress Whispers-Yvette Manessis Corporon

April 8, 2014

When The Cypress Whispers
Yvette Manessis Corporon
Harper, Apr 1 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062267580

Now thirty-five years old, Daphne finds her once strong belief in the American dream shaken with the murders of her Greek immigrant parents in their Yonkers diner and the vehicular death of her husband by a drunk driver. Fleeing Westchester with her baby Evie, Daphne opens up a successful classy restaurant in Manhattan and recently became engaged to affluent Stephen the banker who approved her initial loan.

They agree to marry on the Greek island of Erikousa; where Daphne’s Yia-yia resides. The widow and her five year old daughter arrive on Erikousa early so that she can plan and arrange her marriage ceremony. However, as memories of loving her time on the island surface, Yia-yia tells her granddaughter and great-grand daughter classic myths in which Daphne feels an affinity to the beleaguered heroines. The only downers in Daphne idyllic return to Greece are her knowing her deceased loved ones would cherish being here; her discomfort with Yianni a Jewish friend of Yia-yia, whose family her grandma and other islanders saved from the Nazis; and fish out of water grumbling Stephen.

This is an entertaining though straight forward drama that looks at whether a second generation assimilated American can find her lost Grecian roots on a warm Greek island or is fated to an unhappy second marriage on a cold New York island . The fully developed single mom and her delightful grandma (mindful of a gender changing Zorba the Greek circa a century later) hold the storyline together. The key islanders are fascinating characters; while Evie behaves too perfect especially in spite of all the emotional tsuris in her young life and Stephen is stereotyped as a cold Manhattan suit.

Harriet Klausner

Paige Turned-Erynn Mangum

April 7, 2014

Paige Turned
Erynn Mangum
Think/NAVPRESS, Apr 1 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9781612913223

In Texas Paige Alder loves her job as youth intern counseling younger girls. However, her work keeps her so busy that she has not helped her sister Preslee (see Paige Rewritten) or her BFF Layla (see Paige Torn) with their wedding plans as she promised both of them.

Feeling guilt over her lack of providing marital assistance especially since her nature insists she help others even at a cost to herself, Paige also knows her relationship with her BF Tyler remains shaky though she explained to him what he saw with her and her ex-boyfriend Luke. Beginning to have doubts, Paige wonders if Tyler conceals something from her that has nothing to do with Luke.

The third Paige Alder inspirational continues the warm look at a rule follower obsessed person who cannot “just say no” as this time she asks for divine intervention with her personal tsuris re Tyler. Although the entertaining storyline behooves the young adult audience to read the previous two entries in order to better understand the protagonist, series fans will appreciate aptly titled Paige Turned.

Harriet Klausner

Defending the Eyewitness-Rachel Lee

April 7, 2014

Defending the Eyewitness
Rachel Lee
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 1 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278657

Austin Mendez struggles with readapting to living as a civilian in Conard County, Wyoming after spending six years undercover in Mexico. Corey Donahue has doubts renting to Austin as she prefers college students to gruff dangerous looking men like him; but does so when Conard County Sheriff Gage Dalton vouches for his colleague and asks her as a favor.

To both their amazements, Austin and Corey are attracted to each other. They begin a heated relationship, but the cop inside him knows she hides more than her heart from him. When notes threatening Corey arrive, Austin vows to keep her safe.

The latest Conard County: The Next Generation (see Deadly Hunter and Reuniting with the Rancher) is an exciting romantic suspense. Especially fascinating is Austin’s adjustment to the light after years in the dark; Corey efforts also are intriguing but less developed as she struggles with lost childhood memory of a horror she witnessed; while the villain seems illogical (then again he is a psychopath). Readers will enjoy dining with these two troubled souls who find solace, love and ultimately trust with each other.

Harriet Klausner

Cavendon Hall-Barbara Taylor Bradford

April 6, 2014

Cavendon Hall
Barbara Taylor Bradford
St. Martin’s, Apr 1 2014, $27.99
ISBN: 9781250032355

Since the 1760s, the aristocratic Ingham brood has lived at Cavendon Hall in Yorkshire. For sixteen decades, the Swann family has been their loyal servants at the big house. In 1913 as WWI seems imminent, Lord Charles, his wife Lady Felicity and their six children reside at Cavendon Hall. Meanwhile Swann patriarch Walter is the Earl’s valet and his spouse Alice and their twelve year old daughter Cecily make fashionable clothing for the countess and their four daughters; matriarch Charlotte serves as the estate manager and her nephew Percy is the gamekeeper.

When a neighboring squire’s son Richard Torbett rapes Daphne, her irate parents want satisfaction until the Swann’s talk them out of causing a scandal that will harm sweet Daphne much more than the miscreant. When Daphne becomes pregnant, the plan’s goal remains to protect the innocent victim, but deployment changes to sending her to the continent. That is until family exile, second cousin Hugo Stanton the affluent tycoon, arrives and falls in love with Daphne leading to their marriage. Meanwhile other dangerous events caused by an angry adversary and ultimately the war leave both families wondering about the generations-old affinity between the two families.

This is an engaging Edwardian epic that explores the relationship between upstairs and downstairs families and compares their respective lives on the brink of WWI. The well-written fascinating storyline entertains the audience although the conflict is muted and the motive for the nefarious activity by the obvious villain never explored.

Harriet Klausner

Her Soldier Protector-Soraya Lane

April 5, 2014

Her Soldier Protector
Soraya Lane
Harlequin Romance, Apr 1 2014, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373742851

American singing superstar Candace Evans loves performing. She is currently in Australia where the government assigns active duty SAS Logan Murdoch (and his K9 partner Ranger) to protect Candace especially since she has received viable threats.

Though wary of anything but singing and of just about everyone, Candace feels relaxed for the first time in a long time once she meets Logan and Ranger. As they begin to fall in love, she must overcome her distrust of people especially men and he must move past his recent haunting Middle East assignment in which his friend Australian SAS soldier Sam Matheson died; if they are to achieve the permanency that Ranger desires for the three of them.

Her Soldier Protector is an entertaining Australian military romance starring two wonderful seemingly PTSD suffering protagonists. Readers will relish Logan’s return as the male lead after a key support role in The Returning Hero. In this sequel, Soraya Lane once again pays tribute to the soldiers and their family members who sacrifice so much.

Harriet Klausner

Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story … and Why It Matters Today-Edouard Kayihura and Kerry Zukus

April 4, 2014

Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story … and Why It Matters Today
Edouard Kayihura and Kerry Zukus
BenBella Books, Apr 1 2014, $24.95
http://www.benbellabooks.com
ISBN: 9781937856748

Over a period of about 100 days in 1994, the Hutu genocidaires slaughtered one million Tutsi and left many other Rwandans injured and displaced until Paul Kagame led an army from exile in Uganda to end this Holocaust. In 2004, the movie Hotel Rwanda was released to critical acclaim and a fixture since in school curriculum, describing the Hotel Milles Collines as a safe haven and its manager Paul Rusesabagina as a hero. In that same year, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who had been UN peacekeeping mission commander during the atrocities, wrote his harrowing memoir Shake Hands with the Devil. Now Edouard Kayihura provides readers with a grim insider look at what truly happened to those 1200 plus refugees like the author living in the Hotel Rwanda during the horror. Adding to Mr. Kayihura’s first-hand account are disturbing comments from other occupants telling what occurred to them and their family outside and within the hotel.

Inside The Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story … and Why It Matters Today aligns closely to General Dallaire’s haunting account rather than the film. Furthermore, Mr. Kayihura (and other survivors) shockingly makes a strong case that Mr. Rusesabagina was not the African Schindler-like savior risking his life to protect others, but as a profiteer in cahoots with those committing the genocide. Not an easy read as this insightful memoir is much grimmer than the haunting Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, but important at a time when Holocaust deniers rewrite history as if “Never Again” never happened in Nazi Europe, Cambodia, Rwanda and elsewhere.

Harriet Klausner

The Black Sheep’s Inheritance-Maureen Child

April 4, 2014

The Black Sheep’s Inheritance
Maureen Child
Harlequin Desire, Apr 1 2014, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373733071

At a law office in Wyoming, the family and some employees of deceased affluent J. D. Lassiter gather to hear the reading of his will. The terms anger and shock everyone especially when the late patriarch left his nurse Colleen Falkner three million dollars and placed his son-in-law Evan McCain in charge of Lassiter Media instead of the obvious choice his daughter Angelica who deserved the CEO role rather than her husband.

A fuming Sage accosts Colleen accusing her of manipulating her dying patient into turning her from a nurse into a millionaire in three months. Irate Colleen, who has been attracted to her accuser since she first heard about him from J.D., makes it clear she is surprised too. Deciding to learn what Colleen had on his adopted father and why J.D. shorted his daughter who he trained to run Lassiter Media, Sage investigates only to learn the truth sets the heart free if one takes a chance.

The first Dynasties: The Lassiters Wyoming romance (there is a prequel e-book Beauty and the Best Man; not read by me) is an engaging contemporary starring a stunned in the headlights lead female and a scornful suspicious male. The premise has been used often, but fans will enjoy Maureen Child’s leisurely-paced storyline as innocent Colleen embraces love while skeptical Sage ignores his name with his “I’m Not In Love” (10Cc) denial.

Harriet Klausner

Deadly Liaisons-Elle James

April 2, 2014

Deadly Liaisons
Elle James
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 1 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278671

In Cape Churn, Oregon, Molly McGregor owns and operates McGregor’s Bed and Breakfast where several strange deaths occurred over the years and rumors abound of ghosts residing there. Staying at the B&B are several Feds who prevented a potentially deadly terrorist assault (see Deadly Engagement). One of them Casanova Valdez and Molly are attracted to one another.

Someone tampers with the brakes of a car driven by Nova, but he and operative Tazer survive though she broke her nails. Molly and Nova share a wonderful night, but soon afterward she is hurt in an odd accident. Nova insists on staying with Molly especially as more and increasingly dangerous events occur as the rest of the team head home. As they fall in love, Nova vows to take down the vile thug targeting his woman before the pair becomes part of the deadly legend of McGregor Manor.

Returning to the picturesque (except in fog) Oregon coast (see Deadly Reckoning), Elle James provides another wonderful romantic suspense with hints of ghostly happenings. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of a local innkeeper and a Stealth Operations Specialist while the villain (spirit as the heroine thinks or human as the hero believes) lurks nearby.