Archive for October, 2008

Bedding Down-Kristina Wright, Gwen Masters, Alison Tyler, Marilyn Jaye Lewis, Isabelle Gray, Sophie Mouette and Shanna Germain

October 31, 2008

Bedding Down

Kristina Wright, Gwen Masters, Alison Tyler, Marilyn Jaye Lewis, Isabelle Gray, Sophie Mouette and Shanna Germain

Avon, Dec 2008, $13.95

ISBN: 9780061560637

 

“One Night in Winter” by Kristina Wright.  Susannah returns home to Minerva where her former lover Derrick reignites their heat.

 

“Six Weeks at Sunrise Mountain, Colorado” by Gwen Masters.  Stressed to the max, burned-out millionaire Fletcher flees for Sunrise Mountain to escape; there he rescues a frozen bruised Janine who in turn rescues his libido and heart.

 

“It’s Not the Weather” by Alison Tyler.  Shelly assumes it is her fault that her boyfriend Roger is cold regardless of what she tries; so she gives up on him only to find warmth and passion with Jeremiah.

 

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Marilyn Jaye Lewis.  Married couple Kaylie and Connor becomes snowbound, which gives them time to reenact some of their hottest moments.

 

“Northern Exposure” by Isabelle Gray.  Their marriage is over yet neither Alana nor Gideon can move on as each wonders if they should give it one more try.

 

“Hidden Treasure” by Sophie Mouette.  Brenda and Sean discover a treasure, but will they understand what the real treasure is.

 

 “Sweet Season,” by Shanna Germain.  After being away for awhile, Dulcie returns to her family’s maple syrup business only to find Travis is the real sweetener.

 

Although the plots are paper thin, the lead couples are developed enough to emit plenty of heat for fans to appreciate this wintry erotic septet.

 

Harriet Klausner


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A Baby in the Bunkhouse-Cathy Gillen Thacker

October 31, 2008

A Baby in the Bunkhouse

Cathy Gillen Thacker

Harlequin American, Dec 2008

ISBN: 0373752415

 

On his Texas Hill Country ranch, Rafferty Evans behaves like the Grinch who stole Christmas year round; he is a grump if you ask the other cowboys living there.  His new cook pregnant Jacey Lambert is driving him crazy with her kindness and caring for everyone even saying nice things to the grouch who makes Oscar look angelic.

 

However, Rafferty cannot prevent himself from looking forward to Jacey’s good cheer and to his shock he even likes A BABY INN THE BUNKHOUSE even if the infant is not his.  As Jacey begins to turn around the crotchety cantankerous cowboy, they begin to fall in love, but to have a happy ending she must persuade him to move past his tormented past into a loving future.

 

This entertaining Texas ranch romance stars a crank, a baby, and an angel.  Jacey’s optimism is contagious as she sees the glass as half filled while Rafferty would spill out the liquid and claim it is totally empty.  Although similar to many sub-genre tales fans will enjoy this fine contemporary as Jacey keeps filling up the glass refusing to quit each time Rafferty empties it.

 

Harriet Klausner


Once Upon a Christmas-Holly Jacobs

October 31, 2008

Once Upon a Christmas

Holly Jacobs

Harlequin American, Dec 2008

ISBN: 0373752423

 

In Erie, Pennsylvania, although only the legal guardian to her nephew Brendan, Michelle Hamilton acts more like the child’s mother and has for five years ever since her sister, his mom, dropped him off explaining she was dying.  She loves the lad and would do anything for him; even join the Erie Elementary PTA Social Committee; of course she volunteered when she was too sick to realize what she was doing.

 

However, when Brendan becomes determined to find his biological father, Michelle is hurt and worried as she fears if the child succeeds, the man will wants custody.  Brendan meets his dad Daniel McLean and to her shock Michelle sees he is a terrific male role model.  Even more stunning to the “single mom” is the realization she is falling in love with her nephew’s dad after spending several years hiding behind the mommy persona.

 

Holly Jacobs keeps this engaging Erie Elementary PTA (see ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING) contemporary romance fresh through three strong protagonists coming together as a family who supersede the often used plot of finding a biological parent.  The story line is driven by the changing relationships especially between the adults as each starts off wary and cynical but slowly observe how good the other is with Brendan before knowing they are in love.  The fully developed triangle and the support cast make for a fine ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS tale.

 

Harriet Klausner


Demon’s Hunger-Eve Silver

October 31, 2008

Demon’s Hunger

Eve Silver

Forever, Dec 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 0446618934

 

In New Orleans Dain Hawkins and his Compact of Sorcerer cohorts seek Hybrid humans who allow Demons to take over their bodies.  They are concerned that the Solitary special demon is making an effort to cross the line between his realm and the human world; and has the help of Asher the Ancient Sorcerer who betrayed his oath.  Dain collects gris gris voodoo bags with bones inside and plans to visit University of Toronto at Mississippi assistant anthropology professor Dr, Vivian Cairn for her take on his collection.  He and his peers also seek a serial sexual killer, who they believe is a rare succubus.

 

Vivian feels relief that her mom’s latest visit ended though she loves her single mom.  Still she wonders why her dad left them when she was two years old leaving behind a velvet bag and a photo of him.  Over the years she has found more gris gris bags.  However, her big fear is once again twelve hours of her life vanished without her knowing what she did.

 

Dane and two other sorcerers arrive at Vivian’s home to consult with her.  Dane and Vivian are instantly attracted to one another, but he refuses to act on these feelings fearing the same fate for her as his human wife and daughter who were murdered centuries ago.  Vivian realizes he is her dream lover.  A demon and hybrids attack them; Dane kills the demon and his friends the hybrids.  She is not sure what is going on, but uses her skill to stay emotionally detached though she desperately wants Dane, who insists she stay at his home so he can protect her.

 

This excellent romantic fantasy works because of the relationship between the lead couple and the belief that demons, half-breeds, sorcerers and succubus are genuine. The lost time is a brilliant spin that will leave readers marveling and there are other terrific twists involving the heroine and her mom.  Although a pet peeve that the villain Asher boasts to one of his former cohorts much of his plan instead of acting, the audience will enjoy this superb thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

 


Wicked is the Night-Catherine Mulvaney

October 31, 2008

Wicked is the Night

Catherine Mulvaney

Pocket, Dec 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 1416525580

 

Racing car driver Patrick “Trick Granger is fortunate to be alive even though his career is over because he injured his knee.  He and his assistant Marcello Bellini are driving from Tahoe to Placerville where he recently inherited a home that was once a brothel and is now haunted by nineteenth century hooker turned ghost Blanche. 

 

Nevada White knows two men are after her since she escaped from the Appleton Institute.  When a trucker tosses her from his van, Trick notices and gets Marcello to rescue her.  She is upset as she lost a gold amulet; her only item from her mom, whoever she was.  Nevada has some psychic skills, but they are not helping her remember.

 

They stop at a truck stop and she leaves them.  When she sees the two thugs pursuing her at truck stop, she sneaks back into Trick’s car.  Trick finds the man who deserted Nevada on the road dead with tons of blood everywhere.  Trick and Marcello continue their drive, but are stopped by Detectives Branson and Collier who insist they are looking for an escaped killer who murdered her father.  Trick sends them towards Sacramento as he refuses to believe Nevada is a killer.  Over the next few days he tries to protect her, he knows someone wants her dead, but not whom; as they struggle to figure out just who is Nevada White.

 

The relationship between the lead couple is terrific as they are attracted to one another, but her lack of a past makes her hesitate to trust anyone. Critical to the strong paranormal romantic suspense plot are vampires seems real; especially how messy they can be when they dine on humans.  Although not enough explanation on the Appleton Research Facility is provided and for someone with a bad knee, Trick gets around rather easily, sub-genre readers will relish this fine thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner


Scarpetta-Patricia Cornwell

October 31, 2008

Scarpetta

Patricia Cornwell

Putnam, Dec 2008, $27.95

ISBN: 9780399155161

 

Kay Scarpetta and Benton Wesley are married and for the first time in their long relationship, they are not only in the same state, they share the same house.  She is the medical examiner for the Northeastern District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and both are guest lecturers at NYC’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  They also provide free consulting services for agencies to include NYPD.

 

Oscar Bane, a little person, checks himself into Bellevue after seeing his lover, also a little person, dead; a homicide victim.  Benton does a pre evaluation and Oscar reveals he will not talk to anyone except Scarpetta.  When she arrives Oscar tells her that “they” are watching him and know every move he makes.  He also tells her to find a disc hidden in his apartment so she will know he is not paranoid.  The police believe Bone killed his significant other, but Scarpetta based on forensics does not even believe he warrants a warrant.  Further research reveals other people were killed in a similar fashion; each wearing an ankle bracelet.  Kay, Lucy, prosecutor Jaime Berger, and investigator Pete Marino begin to seek a serial killer who enjoys torture and murder.

 

It has been two decades since Scarpetta was introduced and over that time the characters have changed and grown.  Bonds have formed and others broken; now Kay and Benton take the next step in their relationship.  However as always in this great series, SCARPETTA is first and foremost a superb crime thriller filled with action though character driven.  Readers will fully enjoy the heroine and her horde’s latest adventures as Patricia Cornwell affirms why she is this reviewer’s favorite crime thriller author.

 

Harriet Klausner

Maximum Exposure-Alison Kent

October 30, 2008

Maximum Exposure

Alison Kent

Kensington Brava, Dec 2008, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758217561

 

In the South Beach section of Miami Beach, Key Largo based private investigator Finn McLain is taken aback when a total but lovely in a “Latina hot” way stranger comes up to him to ask a favor.  Olivia Hammond wants Finn to photograph her for an erotic exhibit.  Finn quickly changes his plans from a quick stay in Miami seeking information for a client watching out for Jodi Fontaine a Splash & Flambé boutique manager that is manager of the Flambé half. Roland Green, a shady character, .is the Flambe part.

 

Olivia owns the boutique and Finn would not mind her owning a piece of him.  However, using his upper head in spite of his lower rampaging like a teen, Finn believes Olivia is hiding something from him and so is Roland.  He plans to explore every inch of her through his camera’s lens and through his touch; his goal is more than getting inside her as he wants to get inside her soul.  As they begin to fall in love, Finn’s investigation of Roland becomes dangerous for him and his beloved as they inadvertently get involved in Operation Bebe Bust.

 

The four prime characters make for an entertaining South Florida investigative romance with some late suspense enhancing the relationships.  Each of the key quartet members, especially Olivia and Finn, are fully developed in and out of bed.  Fans will relish this sunny romantic suspense while ironically knowing early on whether Roland is a rat; something the others will learn the hard way.

 

Harriet Klausner

Divorced, Desperate and Dating-Christie Craig

October 30, 2008

Divorced, Desperate and Dating

Christie Craig

Love Spell, Dec 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 9780505527325

 

The kiss was everything but proved to be nothing.  Houston Detective Jason Dodd kissed writer Sue Finley leaving her wanting more from him and wasted for anyone else.  Thus when he fails to follow up, Sue is heartbroken calling him a jerk for never calling her and plotting murder with poison.

 

Jason grew up as a foster child so does not trust relationships even if his heart pleads with him to take a chance on Sue.  He feels safer to keep his distance.  However, when he learns someone is stalking Sue, he can no longer run from his feelings.  Still in spite of protecting her Jason keeps his heart hidden even as Sue wants to know why because she can see by his looks he wants her too.

 

This is an entertaining character driven romantic suspense sequel to DIVORCED, DESPERATE AND DELICIOUS.  The stalking subplot serves as a matchmaker of sorts as Sue does not hide her desire from Jason whom obviously wants her too, but flees even when next to her somewhere inside his mind.  Jason makes the tale with his fear that relationships end rapidly and poorly so as a psychological defense mechanism he avoids them as if they are the plague.  Fans will enjoy Christie Craig’s charming lighthearted frolic as the author refuses to accept no thanks even if their relationship proves to be a bridge to nowhere.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Deadly Silver Sea-Bob Morris

October 30, 2008

A Deadly Silver Sea

Bob Morris

St. Martin’s Dec 2008, $24.95

ISBN 9780312377250

 

In Florida, former NFL player and ex con Zack Chasteen is contented to run a palm tree nursery, as long as his beloved travel magazine owner Barbara Pickering is with him.  He especially looks forward to the birth of their first child in about a month.

 

Zack, Barbara and many affluent people are sailing on the luxurious cruise ship Royal Star on its maiden voyage; his invitation comes from being classy Barbara’s escort, which serves a reminder of how far he has come.  Soon after the Royal Star embarks from Miami, gunmen kill most of the crew and take control of the vessel.  After the passengers are separated by gender, Zack tries to get the men to join him on a blitzkrieg, but he end up in the drink while Barbara goes into premature labor.

 

The latest Zack Casteen thriller (see BERMUDA SCHWARTZ, BAHAMARAMA and JAMAICA ME DEAD) is as fast-paced as its predecessors, but lacks the originality of the previous tales with Cussler’s Pitt novels and movies like Under Siege.  Zack’s usual amusing cynical asides also seem out of place in a scenario in which his about to give birth beloved is in deep peril.  Still he is an interesting mix as a sarcastic moralistic antihero struggling to rally the civilians at sea against deadly pirates making his current under siege escapade fun for his fans.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Body to Die For-G.A. McKevett

October 30, 2008

A Body to Die For

G.A. McKevett

Kensington, Jan 2009, $22.00

ISBN 9780758215543

 

In San Carmelita, California, plus-sized Moonlight and Magnolia Detective Agency private investigator Savannah Reid and police detective Sergeant. Dirk Coulter team up to catch a peeping Tom at Clarissa’s House of Pain and Gain.  Soon after that success, insufferable diet queen Clarissa Jardin informs the police that her rascally husband Bill is missing.

 

Not long after that Bill is found dead with a bullet in his head; Dirk leads the official investigation.  Bill’s mother believes her daughter-in-law killed her son.  She hires Savannah expecting her to prove Clarissa was involved in Bill’s homicide.  Savannah agrees with her client’s theory as the victim was cheating on his spouse and spending her hard earned money gambling.  Cooperating, Savannah and Dirk uncover several other people with strong motives especially Clarissa’s obese twin sister.

 

Filled with humor and terrific asides, the latest Reid whodunit is a fabulous investigative tale in what is consistently a strong entertaining series (see POISONED TARTS).  The investigation is cleverly designed to keep readers guessing re the twin vs. someone else, but the fun comes from the teaming of Reid and Coulter as the heroine makes it clear you can have your cake and eat it too (in moderation and with not guilt or remorse).

 

Harriet Klausner