Archive for February, 2009

Glamour-Louise Bagshawe

February 28, 2009

Glamour

Louise Bagshawe

Plume, Feb 2009, $15.00

ISBN: 9780452289420

The three young girls meet at a posh Beverly Hills high school because they are the outsiders; undesirables not good enough to mingle with the rest of the affluent student body. Thus Texan Sally Lassiter, Englishwoman Jane Morgan and Jordanian Helen Yanna form their own pact to help each other survive the bullying barracudas and harassing sharks. However, finances force Sally and Jane to drop out and Helen is packed off in marriage to live in the Middle East.

Over the next few years separately all three obtain business success with Sally a designer, Jane a corporate officer, and Haya (formerly Helen) an international carpet seller. A decade later, the trio meets in Los Angeles; where they concoct a concept to combine their skills to open up a luxurious shop GLAMOUR. While the store is extremely successful, the partners never recapture the level of friendship they had as teens and drift in separate directions while taking potshots at one another.

The obvious homage to Sex and the City is throughout this intriguing character study, but Louise Bagshawe puts her own spin on affluence and trysts. The three prime players contain differing personalities. As teens they need to bond with someone in similar dire straits, but as late twenties with professional success, they no longer need one another. Although there are some cul de sac scenes that feel like padding, fans of women’s modern fiction will enjoy following the exploits of three women in Los Angeles.

Harriet Klausner

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A Flickering Light-Jane Kirkpatrick

February 28, 2009

A Flickering Light

Jane Kirkpatrick

Waterbrook, Apr 2009, $13.99

ISBN: 9781578569809

In 1907 in Winona, fifteen year old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves to take pictures of in Minnesota’s beautiful landscapes. Neither her family nor her peers understand the teenage girl’s obsession with photography. No one except that is professional photographer F.J. Bauer who feels an affinity with the young girl as he loves picture taking too. He hires her as his apprentice.

Jessie Ann proves adept at all the workings involving photography including the use of dangerous toxic chemicals in the backroom and the flash powder used as lighting. However, she feels out of her league as a woman and loaded with guilt when she falls in love with her married mentor as she knows his somewhat difficult wife Jessie is not a bad person. Although he knows not to act on his wants, Bauer finds himself increasingly desiring his apprentice especially her unabated enthusiasm for what he cherishes too, photography.

Reaching back to her family tree, historical novelist Jane Kirkpatrick provides readers with a terrific “biographical fiction” of her grandmother as a teen at the turn of the previous century breaking the gender barrier. The key to this super tale is that the prime three players based on real persona are not over the top nasty people; instead the audience will empathize with each. Readers will also obtain a deep look at the danger of photography in the first decade of the twentieth century and cannot help compare it with “danger” of the digital age; as exposure has different connotations. Ms. Kirkpatrick provides a profound look at an era when women were given limited options yet Jessie Ann refuses to allow societal restraints from preventing her from being what she wanted to be and open-minded Bauer encourages her.

Harriet Klausner

The Seduction of a Duke-Donna MacMeans

February 28, 2009

The Seduction of a Duke

Donna MacMeans

Berkley, Apr 2009, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425228067

In 1880 her mother ignores Newport heiress Francesca Winthrop desire to marry someone she loves as inane because social status is everything. Instead mom arranges a marriage for her daughter with an impoverished English duke.

William Chambers prefers to marry for love or not at all, but has no choice except to accept the Winthrop’s social climber’s offer for her wealthy daughter. Bitterly he accepts his title for her money.

William and Fran meet at a masquerade ball and each is attracted to the other. He gores so far as thinking marriage to an American if it is her will be okay; she thinks similar thoughts. However, both are anxious leading to a great misunderstanding they misconstrue what is happening until Fran reads a courtesan’s diary; given to her a few months ago when the American was in Paris by her former tutor. She applies the tips and soon has William out of control with desire. However, her past surfaces and threatens the marriage between the heiress and the duke.

The sequel to THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY, THE SEDUCTION OF A DUKE is a wonderful Victorian romance starring two likable protagonists who fall in love while she applies the courtesan’s diary to their relationship. The story line contains droll double entendres, a staple of Donna MacMeans. With a strong support cast and plenty of wit, sub-genre readers will enjoy this intelligent amusing historical.

Harriet Klausner

Enduring Justice-Amy Wallace

February 28, 2009

Enduring Justice

Amy Wallace

Multnomah, Apr 2009, $12.99

ISBN: 9781601420145

Twenty years ago, the ugly incident that still haunts Hanna Kessler occurred. She somewhat walled it way, but recent events have made her realize what a lie she conveniently made for herself.

Crimes Against Children FBI agent Michael Parker struggled emotionally with the cases he has worked; even the trauma specialist offers him little help though he religiously attends their appointments. His current case involves a white supremacist who escaped the justice system. With an Asian child snatched he realizes his beloved Hanna’s past has caught up with them as she is in the crosshairs.

This is not an easy read as the third Defenders of Hope inspirational thriller (see RANSOMED DREAMS and HEALING PROMISES) is extremely dark and gritty as pedophile and racial hate crimes take center stage. The story line grips the audience as time is running out to save a child. At the same time, Michael wants to execute justice so the perp cannot fall through the cracks. He and a hurting Hanna may be in love, but their future together looks grim unless they can heal; only God can help them achieve this, but neither seems ready to embrace the Lord as each feels deserted instead.

Harriet Klausner

Second Thoughts-Bobbie O’Keefer

February 28, 2009

Second Thoughts

Bobbie O’Keefe

Five Star, Apr 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 1594147728

In California, Hayworth gives Petey $10 for a valuable pre WWII SteelMan comic book. He got away with his transaction because mentally-challenged Petey is an adult with the brain of an elementary school child while his caretaker brother Max an alcoholic was on a binge. With the help of their pal Moose, a bank investor they rob Hayworth’s convenience store three times in two days; as Max wants to harass Hayworth to return the comic book or give him $5K.

At about the same time, Kristy and Kevin go on a honeymoon in Hawaii leaving their three kids watched by their former sister-in-law Connie. Her ex TV newscaster Derek arrives to take the oldest five year old Chris fishing though he apparently mixed up the dates. He invites Connie to join them as well as the fourteen month old twins Andy and Abbie. When they run out of gas, they walk back to a nearby house they noticed. Inside are the three robbers who kidnap them. However, they are made to feel at home as Petey and Chris become playing buddies, Moose enjoys watching the twins, and Max appreciates Derek’s great cooking. While Derek is working on one master recipe to win back his Connie, she has SECOND THOUGHTS about their divorce and first thoughts about stealing the purloined comic book for Max and Petey.

This is a madcap romantic suspense thriller that the audience will relish as long as they understand they will have to ignore the plausibility gauge; the fast-paced story line is fast-paced but stratospherically over the top of the Sierras. The five adults and Chris have distinct personalities while the changing relationships between the kidnappers and the victims are fun to follow as Connie and Derek adopt the siblings’ quest as their own. Fans will have no second thoughts about this comedic screwball contemporary as zany is the name of the game.

Harriet Klausner

The Vampire’s Quest-Vivi Anna

February 28, 2009

The Vampire’s Quest

Vivi Anna

Silhouette Nocturne, Apr 2009, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373618088

When Otherworld Crime Unit bomb specialist vampire Kellen Falcon was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder Sangcerritus, he researched it to learn more about the disease that is killing him. He learned two doctors were considered experts and rumor of a cure. Thus Kellen left Necropolis and traveled to the Otherworlder European city Nouveau Monde because Dr. Bueller, one of the premier experts practiced there.

Kellen arrives at Nouveau Monde Medical Center for his appointment with Bueller. However, after stepping back into the reception area for a moment, he recognizes the ticking sound and covers the receptionist with his body when a bomb explodes killing several people including the doctor. Inspector Bellmonte leads the investigation and informs Kellen not to leave town, implying he is the prime suspect. He also assigns Lycan police officer Sophie St. Clair to drive Kellen to his hotel. They are attracted to one another, which surprises him since an alluring vampiress was standing next to Bellmonte. Somewhat cleared because killing the doctor meant Kellen was committing suicide though still a suspect as the disease makes him grumpy and angry, he and Sophie team up on the investigation when other bombs also explode.

The latest Otherworld police procedural romance (see BLOOD SECRETS and DARK LIES) switches locale from the States to Europe, but retains the belief that Nouveau Monde like Necropolis is a real city filled with paranormals (and humans). By simply having the paranormals and humans interact in a progressive positive way, Vivi Anna distinguishes the two continents from one another. The story line is explosive from the opening scene and never takes a break on two fronts: preventing more terrorist killings and the death watch of the hero as he falls in love. THE VAMPIRE’S QUEST is a great thriller as ironically time is running out on the lead male when he used to have all the time in the world at a time he has found his life mate.

Harriet Klausner

I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing

February 27, 2009

I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing

Kyria Abrahams

Touchstone, Mar 3 2009, $25.00

ISBN: 1416556842

Kyria Abrahams was raised as a Jehovah Witness, which she explains means humans are divided between the have and have nots; the have true believers will live forever in a new Eden on earth while the “worldly” will be shunned though ironically the Jehovah’s Witness extended community pray for their salvation. She did not celebrate Halloween or her birthday except with thank you prayers to the Lord. Every night she would go to bed expecting the end so had her end of the world pack ready for expeditious movement. She shunned a friend for having a devil’s device, an Ouija board. However, when she married as a teen she began to have doubts as she hated her spouse and turned to drugs and alcohol. When that failed she went on line where Ms. Abrahams discovered a whole new world out there including adultery. Now in her twenties, she is a shunned fallen one having kicked Jehovah out of her life and having the Jehovah Witness “fire” her.

This is a well written autobiography that provides insight into the lifestyle of a former member and her family. The keys to this intriguing account are that the author uses humor and clearly remains fond of her apparently dysfunctional family and even the religion; she avoids acrimonious nastiness. The memoir changes in tone from semi-humorous to totally serious at the point Ms. Abrahams married as she quickly detested her husband and turned to escapist self destructing activity. Although the author seemingly has turned her life around as evident by this fine book, she fails to explain how and what helped her overcome two plus decades of upbringing. Still Ms. Abrahams provides readers with a profound anecdotal look of growing up as a Jehovah Witness.

Harriet Klausner

Hold Love Strong-Matthew Aaron Goodman

February 27, 2009

Hold Love Strong

Matthew Aaron Goodman

Touchstone, Apr 2009, $24.95

ISBN: 9781416562030

In 1982 in the Ever Park project in New York City, thirteen year old Jelly Singleton gives birth to Abraham on the bathroom floor of her grandmother’s apartment while her mom thinks her daughter is having a gas attack. The rest of the family that includes his nine year old Uncle Roosevelt, his Aunt Rhonda and her brood especially the oldest four year old Donnel are at the movies watching ET.

Over the tweener years, Abraham dreamed of becoming a member of the Huxtable family in Brooklyn while his mom turned to crack and Roosevelt went to prison. During that period grandma kept the family together. When Donnel, who was more like an older brother to his younger cousin, goes to prison, Abraham is ready to give up. However, his girlfriend Kaya keeps the pressure on that education is their tickets out of the projects. His hope for a scholarship resides more on his basketball skills than his classroom success, but with encouragement he tries to improve his academic standing.

HOLD LOVE STRONG is a powerful look at inner city life and survival in the projects as a poor family struggles to overcome addiction, deaths, incarcerations, and broken dreams. Grandma is the key to keeping her family together and giving hope to all even addicted Jelly and Donnel who through away an NBA career. Character driven, Matthew Aaron Goodman provides a profound family drama of living in the projects where daily existence easily snuffs out the hopes and dreams of those who want the life of the Huxtables.

Harriet Klausner

Madame Bliss-Charlotte Lovejoy

February 27, 2009

Madame Bliss

Charlotte Lovejoy

Signet, Mar 2009, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451225979

In the eighteenth century waif Marianna Wren is taken into an aristocratic home where she became a servant. However, as she blossomed into a beautiful woman, she is accused of unbecoming behavior when her owner took her virginity and consequently fired her. Marianna tries to hitch a ride and is picked up by Calliope. They hit it off and the more experienced woman tutors her new friend in the vast delights of a wide variety of sex with male and female partners

Marianna loves her new freedom and changes her name to Madame Bliss. She enjoys seduction and being seduced, but deep down in her heart, Bliss knows Marianna is still that stray trying to belong to someone; she wants to love and be loved by her own personal Eros.

As Signet states, MADAME BLISS will remind readers of Fanny Hill and Tom Jones. This is the amorous adventures of a woman of pleasure in a delightfully lewd coming of age historical. Marianna is like a wren until her mentor teaches her the love and joy of blissful bisexual bawdy encounters of all kind. Fans will enjoy Madame Bliss’ erotic escapades.

Harriet Klausner

Mischief 24/7-Kasey Michaels

February 27, 2009

Mischief 24/7

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Apr 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780373773664

As always the oldest Sunshine sister, Jade remains the responsible last one standing trying to prove their father Teddy did kill Melody Brainard or commit suicide. She refuses to give up while Jolie has found a distraction (see DIAL M FOR MISCHIEF) and so has Jessica (see MISCHIEF BECOMES HER). Jade worked for her dad in his private investigative agency and assumes his last cases contain the key clues.

She is stunned when her former husband, Courtland Becket offers to help her. His ulterior motive is for a second chance at their love now that high maintenance Teddy is gone. As they investigate the cold case files that Teddy was searching before he died, their attraction remains strong, but not quite as powerful as Jade’s obsession that Teddy goes to his grave a hero not a killer.

Although the readers will know early on what Teddy did and did not do in his last moments, fans will relish this often amusing romantic suspense thriller. The current day cases are resolved while the ties back to the Regency saga Romney Marsh is brilliant. Jade is the most convoluted of the Sunshine siblings as even in death her father comes before her needs; Court hopes to gain that role on his second chance, but knows Teddy must be more than just exonerated; he must receive homage from the Philadelphia police, the media, and the sisters.

Harriet Klausner