Archive for July, 2010

Autumn’s Promise-Shelley Shepard Gray

July 31, 2010

Autumn’s Promise

Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon, Aug 3 2010, $12.99

ISBN: 9780061852374

Nineteen years old Lilly Allen remains grief stricken over her recent miscarriage.  She also feels guilty that her family relocated from their home in Cleveland so her out-of-wedlock pregnancy can be hidden from her friends.  Lilly knows she has moved by her negative reaction to the news that her forty something mom is carrying.

Twenty-four year old Amish widower carpenter Robert Miller grieves the death of his beloved wife Grace who died three years ago.  His caring family and friends want him to start courting Amish women, but he is not ready.  Instead he is attracted to the Englisher Lilly who he knows from stopping for breakfast at the Sugar Creek inn where she works.  As they begin to date to the consternation of their families, they fall in love, but an Amish and an Englisher has little in common.

The third Seasons of Sugarcreek (See Spring’s Renewal and Winter’s Awakening) is a terrific contemporary Amish romance starring two people who have lost loved ones relatively recently and know the barrier between them seemingly is impenetrable.  The support cast is super as his Amish friends and family and her family reject their relationship.  However, this excellent entry belongs to the lead couple who each strongly believes their love has healed their respective souls but will break their hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Deeply, Desperately-Heather Webber

July 31, 2010

Deeply, Desperately

Heather Webber

St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312946142

Although being able to read auras can be a hardship as not all are positive, the Valentine family uses it to enhance their Boston based matchmaking service.  Additionally, Lucy Valentine brings to the firm the ability to find missing objects; her focus recently has been on locating lost loves.

However, her latest lost love recovery turns shockingly into a murder case.  Even with her psychic ability, Lucy knows she is out of her element so she asks private-investigator Sean Donahue for help.  As the pair investigates the homicide, their attraction ignites, but her family’s curse appears too strong to be overcome by a mere wanting.

The second Valentine tale (see Truly, Madly) is an enjoyable lighthearted frolic.  The P.I. and the lost love finder make for a strong pairing as each uses different skill sets to find missing people or things.  The support cast, mostly her blood relatives, adds amusing zaniness over the top of the Green Monster as the lead duet works the case, the curse, and the coupling.   Readers will root for the Deeply, Desperate Lucy to find her groove this time.

Harriet Klausner

Love In The Afternoon-Lisa Kleypas

July 31, 2010

Love In The Afternoon

Lisa Kleypas

St. Martin’s, Jul 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312605391

In the mid 1850s while in combat in the Crimea, British Captain Christopher Phelan knows the one thing that keeps his morale high is correspondence from Prudence Mercer.  Pru tells her friend Beatrix Hathaway about Christopher’s latest letter that fondly tells about Albert, the regiment’s dog.  Beatrix tells Pru that she would like to reply, but they agree it should be under the latter’s name.  Over time as Beatrix writing as Pru sends and receives letters from the front, she falls in love with her Captain.

After being wounded in battle, Christopher is sent home.  He also suffers from battle fatigue having seen so many horrors.  He turns to the woman he loves, the author of the letters that saved his life, for solace.  However, he quickly realizes that his Pru could not write those letters as she has not one drop of intelligence near what was written to him.  He soon realizes Beatrix who he initially ignored is his beloved pen pal, but even love may not be enough to overcome the nightmares that still haunt him day and night.

The newest Hathaway’s historical romance (see Mine Till Midnight and Tempt Me at Twilight) is a great entry with a Cyrano twist to the strong story line.  Bea is terrific as she goes from support character in previous entries to lead protagonist while battle fatigue sufferer Christopher has his work cut out once he is home as he fell in love with his pen pal “Pru”.  Although the support cast detracts at times from this engaging mid nineteenth century tale, Hathaway fans will relish the animal lover and the vet falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Till Dawn With The Devil-Alexandra Hawkins

July 31, 2010

Till Dawn With The Devil

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312381257

In 1821 everyone admires yet also fears the notorious Lords of Vice.  Perhaps the most frightening of the friends is Lord Gabriel “Reign” Housely, who’s deriding of others since his wife died after a spat nine years ago, is beyond polite nasty.

When Lady Sophie Northam was a child she suffered an injury that wrecked her eyesight.  When she meets Gabriel, she is unable to  see him, but can hear his scornful cynical tone.  Instead of backing away like most do when Gabriel rips skin, Sophie senses the melancholy he conceals beneath a veneer of derision.  Still she also knows her imperfect body makes her an undesirable so she plans to stay away from the aristocrat she is attracted to in order to avoid the hurt she expects she would feel.  He refuses to allow her to run as he wants her too.  However, their parents’ deadly trysts leave both wondering if love is enough to surmount their interrelated heritage.

The latest Lords of Vice Regency romance (see All Night with a Rogue and After Dark with a Scoundrel) is a wonderful pairing of a seemingly Romeo and Juliet like star-crossed pair with additional personal issues that make each feels less than worthy of the other.  The story line is fast-paced but it is the tango between the female who cannot see yet “sees” into the soul of her beloved and the male who feels guilt over his late wife’s death.

Harriet Klausner


 

It’s Murder, My Son-Lauren Carr

July 31, 2010

It’s Murder, My Son

Lauren Carr

CreateSpace, Jun 2010, $14.99

ISBN: 9781452819433

writerlaurencarr@comcast.net

In DC Homicide Detective Mac Faraday cannot believe the judge’s ruling in his divorce from his wife of twenty years; she left him for another man but got their home and everything else of value.  As he left the courthouse stunned, elderly lawyer Ed Willingham accosted him, but sick of his ex wife’s attorneys he flees until he stopped feeling sorry for the man struggling to follow him.  Ed informs him that he is the child and heir of the late Queen of Mystery Robin Spencer.  She gave him up for adoption over four decades ago as an unmarried teen who knew kids can’t raise kids.

Mac moves into the closed gated community in Spencer, Maryland.  As he takes first step towards his new home, Gnarly the German shepherd attacks him; Archie as Robin’s assistant who comes with the manor, saves him from sever injuries.  Archie tells the retired Georgetown cop that three months earlier, someone killed multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton who would have been his next door neighbor.  The police believe the “Pay Back” stalker murdered her, but have not found any evidence as to who this individual is and whether he actually killed her.  Reading his mom’s novels, plays and journals and assisted by Archie and a brother he never knew existed, Mac investigates what is turning into a cold case murder.

It’s Murder, My Son is an enjoyable amusing murder mystery starring a likable cast and a few avaricious nasties.  The story line is lighthearted fun as Gnarly brings jocularity to the mix while every time Mac and Archie try to kiss they are interrupted.  The whodunit is top rate, but the entertaining plot belongs to Mac and friends and family as he leads the inquiry into the death of the next door neighbor.

Harriet Klausner

The Thieves of Darkness-Richard Doetsch

July 31, 2010

The Thieves of Darkness

Richard Doetsch

Atria, Aug 24 2010, $25.00

ISBN: 9781416598954

Having gone straighter after a career as an art thief Michael St. Pierre uses his experiences as a criminal as a security consultant.  Almost forty years old, Michael remains shook by the death of his wife Mary over a year and a half ago.  His friend Father Simon Bellatori arranges a blind date with Katherine “KC” Ryan, who happens to be a thief. 

As he is falling in love with KC, Michael learns that his best friend Simon has been locked away in the brutal Middle Eastern Chiron Prison in the Akbiquestan Desert; where he is to be executed.  Michael flies to the country and breaks into the prison to rescue Simon and shockingly KC.  As the trio flees for Istanbul, maniacal businessman Philippe Venue searches for a fabled treasure and he knows Simon possesses key information.  Soon everyone rushes off to the Himalayas on a treasure hunt.

The third St. Pierre thriller (see The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith) is an exhilarating over the top of the Himalayas tale that grips the audience the from the moment Michael develops his plan in depth to save his friend and never slows down on his Asian tour.  Fast-paced throughout, but requiring the locking away of plausibility, sub-genre readers will stay up late to follow the action-packed adventures of Michael and his two cronies.

Harriet Klausner

The Superman Project-A.E. Roman

July 31, 2010

The Superman Project

A.E. Roman

Minotaur, Aug 3 2010, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312375010

With his marriage of a decade crashing, Bronx private investigator Chico Santana has moved into his small office.  Obese eighteen year old janitor Pablo Sanchez and his mom Esther enter Chico’s office seeking his assistance.  They want him to find a missing estranged Brooklyn couple, artist Gabby Gupta and her husband, Joey Valentin.

The police believe Joey probably killed Gabby before vanishing.  Chico knew Joey as children, but his childhood friend left for the Pacific years ago.  Pablo explains Joey went to The Superman Project (TSP) Island run by Gabby’s dad, Father Ravi who accuses Joey of murder.  The mother and son client believe it is a frame and offer Chico a valuable Superman comic as payment to find out what happened to the Williamsburg couple and if she is dead who killed her.  Chico assumes Pablo has sniffed too much cleaning fluid as the conspiracy theory seems inane.  However, as he uncovers leads, he begins to reconsider his scorn of paranoid Pablo’s pathetic pabulum especially when someone murders Esther.

The latest Chico Santana investigative thriller (see Chinatown Angel) is a superb hard-boiled detective story starring a likable protagonist.  The TSP charter seems like lighthearted foolishness by Peter Pan types, but soon proves dangerous and nasty by Captain Hook types.  Filled with twists and a great final spin, fans will enjoy A. E. Roman’s tour of the boroughs as The Superman Project merges the South Bronx with Nietzsche, Hinduism, and DC comic mythos inside a strong urban noir

Harriet Klausner

The Grimrose Path-Rob Thurman

July 31, 2010

The Grimrose Path

Rob Thurman

Roc, Sep 7 2010, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451463494

To look at Las Vegas bar owner Trixa Iktomi, one would assume she is a beautiful female human.  They would be wrong as she is a shapeshifting trickster who is not immortal but witnessed Pompeii die.  Her partner is Leo, better known as Loki the Trickster God.  Now this couple is human ever since Trixa used an artifact to kill the being who murdered her brother (see Trick of the Light).  The artifact The Light of Life took their powers as it thought Loki might being with Trixa who needs four years to recharge her powers so she can use them again..

The demon Eli calls on Trixa to find out who are mass murdering demons.  Angels, demons and Trixa and her friend Zeke the angel who left heaven and Gabriel the demon who left hell  (the latter seeks redemption) map out the massacre of nine hudred and fifty-six demons in six months. If one thousand demon wings are put together they will form a map to where Lucifer hides in hell and the entity that is doing this will gain hell’s power.  Trixa’s friends and enemies expect her to find out who is doing this and take the deity down.

The second Trixa the Trickster urban fantasy is a terrific thriller as twists and questionable alliances make for an enjoyable entreating tale.  Some angels believe Trixa is evil and needs to be destroyed with the end justifying the means in this case as betrayal and lies are acceptable to achieve the mission; ironically some demons logically understand they need Trixa to uncover the identity of the serial killer so pragmatically keep her safe.  Rob Thurman is at his best with Trixa the trickster caught in the middle of a supernatural Vegas.

Harriet Klausner

Plum Blossoms in Paris-Sarah Hina

July 30, 2010

Plum Blossoms in Paris

Sarah Hina

Medallion, Aug 1 2010, $15.95

ISBN: 9781605421261

Andy, her boyfriend in high school, college and graduate school, unceremoniously dumps Daisy Lockhart.  Heartbroken as she never saw it coming and assumed as her only boyfriend she ever had, they would always be together.  Daisy, unlike her Henry James’ namesake, travels to Paris rather than Rome.  There the American meets writer Mathieu, who grieves the recent death of his mother.

.Mathieu and Daisy become lovers.  He shows her a side of the city that few Americans ever see especially the arts and the legends that make Paris what it is.  As they remain together, Daisy  knows she delays the inevitable of choosing between being an American in Paris or an American in America.

This is an entertaining contemporary relationship drama in which Paris owns the story line.  The city is seen mostly through the admiring, adoring and to a lesser degree disapproving eyes of the American in Paris. The lead couple is a wonderful cross Atlantic pairing, but more so the blossoming Daisy; as readers will wonder whether Daisy will follow the dreams of her heart or the American dreams she left back home.

Harriet Klausner

Whisper On The Wind-Maureen Lang

July 30, 2010

Whisper On The Wind 

Maureen Lang

Tyndale, Sep 1 2010, $12.99

ISBN: 9781414324364

When the war broke out, her parents got the entire family out of Belgium before the German war machine invaded the small nation.  However, in 1916, Isabelle Lassone returns to war ravaged Brussels to persuade the man she loves Edward Kirkland to flee the continent with her.  Edward refuses to go but also demands she leave.  Isabelle tells him if he remains in the devastated country so will she.

Edward is irate with obstinate Isabelle for staying as he fears for her safety; he also admires her courage and knows he loves her.  However, Edward also worries what will happen to her, him and his “illegal” colleagues if she will learn he works for the underground newspaper, La Libre-Belgique, a dangerous occupation as the German invaders censor any news that places them in a bad light; truth be damned.

Whisper on the Wind takes the reader to Brussels during WW I when the Germans occupy the city and country.  Isabelle and Edward are intrepid souls because they know if caught they will probably be executed without a trial.  Readers will relish how the news traveled in 1916 as those who controlled the “free press” controlled the news.

Harriet Klausner