Archive for December, 2010

Marrying Daisy Bellamy-Susan Wiggs

December 31, 2010

Marrying Daisy Bellamy

Susan Wiggs

Mira, Jan 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778329251

In Avalon, New York, wedding photographer Daisy Bellamy continues, as she has for years, strugglling to choose between two wonderful men who love her.  She adores both hunks.  Julian Gastineau could never live by Willow Lake while Logan O’Donnell could.

However, everything changes between the trio when Daisy gives birth to Logan’s offspring Charlie.  Yet nothing changes as in spite of having a child with a man who wants to raise a family with her, Daisy still has wet dreams involving Julian.  She knows one day she will have to select between two lovers; one safe and nurturing while the other is wild and carefree.

The latest Lakeshore Chronicles (see Snowfall at Willow Lake and Summer at Willow Lake) is a profound character study that looks deeply into the souls of three protagonists.  Daisy understands responsibility but desires running around the world as a crisis photojournalist.  Julian offers her the freedom to soar anywhere; Logan offers her a safe haven to raise their child.  Readers will enjoy this complicated relationship drama summed up by the Roy Orbison and Joe Melson song Running Scared.

Harriet Klausner

Off Kilter-Donna Kauffman

December 31, 2010

Off Kilter

Donna Kauffman

Kensington Brava, Dec 28 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758250896

On the Scottish island of Kinloch (see Some Like It Scot) businessman Roan McAuley cannot understand why he agreed to pose in the monty as he must drop his kilt for the ‘Men of the Highlands’ calendar even if the cause is worthy; he muses that he should have donated money not nudity.  Adding to his displeasure is the irritating iceberg photographer Tessa Vandergriff who he assumes is a centerfold fluff taker until he learns she is a highly regarded award-winning war coverage photojournalist who volunteered her time to raise money.

Tessa suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from the cruelty she witnessed while covering war.  She thinks Roan is a jerk until he shows his caring other side to her.  As they fall in love, although he has personal issues too, she must overcome her fear of death that began as a child and affirmed as an adult if they are to forge a permanent relationship.

The romance plays second fiddle to the strong character study of a shell-socked woman healing due to the patience of a kind hearted man.  Readers will enjoy the relationship drama as first impressions prove false as Roan revises his re the cold photographer and Tess alters her re the philandering hunk.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets and Shadows-Shannon Delany

December 31, 2010

Secrets and Shadows

Shannon Delany

St. Martin’s Griffin, Feb 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312609153

 

Jessie Gillmansen struggles to adapt to all she has recently learned about what she thought was were beings from horror movies and novels being real. This new reality occurred when she discovered werewolves exist.  She and Pietr Ruskova are apparently a mated pair but she has no time to pursue what that means as she has bigger issues than howling male hunks to contend with.

Jessie tries to negotiate a deal between the Ruskova werewolf pack and the CIA.  Her efforts seem futile, as progress is snail slow.  However, she is taken aback when Pietr begins behaving as if he no longer wants her.  Not one to be left out in the cold, Jessie debates whether to give Pietr one more chance or turn to Derek. She is soon in danger when the CIA apparently betrays her with only one male protecting her.

This is an engaging fast-paced young adult werewolf urban fantasy starring a heroine who has come a long way since entering Pietr’s world (see 13 to Life).  Though with all that has happened to her readers would expect a besieged Jessie to show more moxie rather than the Perils of Pauline.  Yet she still holds the entertaining tale together as she feels pulled from all sides with no one to turn to while dealing with agents, beasts and a boyfriend.

Harriet Klausner

The Demon Trapper’s Daughter-Jana G. Oliver

December 31, 2010

The Demon Trapper’s Daughter

Jana G. Oliver

St. Martin’s, Feb 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312614782

In 2018, Atlanta is like much of the country and the world in economic ruin.  The residents follow the Golden Rule of do unto your neighbor before they do unto to you as survival is the only game in town.  Adding to the misery index is Lucifer’s demonic minions are everywhere causing pain and suffering.

Seventeen years old Riley Blackthorne understands how miserable life has become.  Her mother died from cancer while she and her dad Paul owe so much they have no chance of escaping their debts.  However, like her father, Riley becomes a demon trapper joining the guild as an apprentice (while also attending school); as a way of bringing in income though from her hard childhood she always wanted to join her dad on the job.  However, when a demon kills him, she has no choice but to keep working handling Grade One demons.  However a Grade Five hellish killer attacks her as Lucifer targets Riley when she is most vulnerable while she grieves her loss.

This is a great opening urban fantasy as Jane G. Oliver deftly blends the creation of her mythos with non-stop action.  The fast-paced story line starts at an incredible pace and never decelerates as the armchair audience needs to wear seatbelts.  However, even with this faster than light speed, Atlanta and the heroine are fully developed while the support cast (a peer she romantically likes, her father, other trappers and demons) enhance the setting or the star.  Readers will enjoy a joy ride around Atlanta escorted by The Demon Trapper’s Daughter.

Harriet Klausner

Kiss At Your Own Risk-Stephanie Rowe

December 31, 2010

Kiss At Your Own Risk

Stephanie Rowe

Sourcebooks, Jan 1 2011, $7.99

http://www.sourcebooks.com

ISBN: 9781402241956

It is one week and counting before Trinity Harpswell will finally break the Black Widow Curse.  Nothing will stand in her way as she feels a sense of relief with the countdown occurring.

Blaine Underhill and three friends (Nigel, Jarvis and Christian have been tortured in the Den of Womanly Pursuits by Death’s evil Granny Angelica the witch for a century and a half.  They escape, but Christian fails to get away as his lover betrayed him to the malevolent witch.  Believing the motto no comrade left behind and fearing the level of torture Christian will face, Blaine wants to mount a rescue, but he knows for him and his comrades that is suicide.  They turn to Trinity to balance the odds.  Trinity wants to say no as this is a bad time for her; worse she is attracted to Blaine, which she knows activates the curse that leads to her murdering her beloved and joining Angelica on the dark side; that is if she doesn’t kill the evil witch too.

The first Soulfire jocular urban fantasy is an over top satire that hilariously lampoons the sub-genre (including Stephanie Rowe’s own comedic Goblet of Eternal Youth tales – you will never look at a pretzel the same way) with amazing cross-breeding species, killing star-crossed lovers and trained killer warriors relaxing with knitting.  Fast-paced readers who appreciate humorous urban fantasy will know already Ms. Rowe is one of the best as affirmed by her latest tale of love and misdeed.

Harriet Klausner

Blackveil-Kristen Britain

December 31, 2010

Blackveil

Kristen Britain

Daw, Feb 1 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756406608

On the surface Sacoridia seems like a powerful country ruled by the just benign King Zachary.  However, appearances can be deceiving because there is danger from within and without.  To the north in the lands not occupied by Sacoridian troops, descendants of Arcosia led by Mornhavon the Black invade as a first step in preparation for their war on Sacoridia. They now call themselves Second Empire.

The D’Yer wall has been breached, enabling the evil denizens from primordial Blackveil Forest to enter Sacoridian.  Before the Long War Blackveil was once known as Argenthyne, home to the immortal Eletians who now live in Eletia.  Besides kingdom headaches, Zachary and Green Rider messenger Karigan G’ladheon love each other, but know they have no future as he must marry his betrothed Lady Estora out of duty to his county.

Six Eletians want to return to the Blackveil to see their former home.  Zachary wants six Sacoridians to accompany them; Karigan is one of the chosen.  The Eletians are on the same mission that Second Empire is on; it will be a disaster if their leader Grandmother prevails.  Meanwhile the King is poisoned and a conspiracy begins by someone close the throne.

The latest Kariagan epic fantasy (see Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, and The High King’s Tomb) is a terrific entry loaded with subplots that provide the reader with both the big picture of the world of Kristin Britain and the small scale happenings that impact the larger scope.  The key to this grand epic is the movement back and forth between the Second Empire threat, the Eletians, the danger to the Sacoridians in Blackveil and to the king is done smoothly although few of the subplots are completed.  With a strong diverse cast (a trademark of Ms. Britain), fans will welcome the return to Sacoridia as the focus is on evil oozing Blackveil.

Harriet Klausner

After Dark with a Scoundrel-Alexandra Hawkins

December 30, 2010

After Dark with a Scoundrel

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin’s, Feb 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312381264

 

In 1823 Lord Hugh “Dare” Mordare, the second son of a Duke, is a close friend of Frost Bishop.  Through him he has known Frost’s sister Lady Regan for years, who is an honorary member of Nox’s Gentlemen’s Club.  All changes when Dare and Regan kiss as both are stunned by their reaction; that is far from sibling-like.

She is shipped off to Miss Swann’s Academy for Young Ladies boarding school while he returns to being a rogue.  Five years later Regan comes back to London with plans to drive Frost crazy and to seduce Dare.  Frost is ready to pull his hair out with his sister’s antics while Dare remains resolute to keep Regan away from the Lords of Vice like he is.  However, she proves a worthy adversary and soon they marry.  As she learns of his dark secrets, she finds herself in the midst of madness.

The latest Lords of Vice (see Till Dawn with a Devil and All Night with a Rogue) is an engaging Regency gothic romantic suspense as the brave heroine finds herself in peril; perhaps from the man she loves.  Fast-paced from the moment they kiss even before she is exiled, After Dark with a Scoundrel grips the reader as Alexandra Hawkins’ fans will think of Hitchcock’s Suspicion placed in an early nineteenth century milieu.

Harriet Klausner

Absolutely, Positively-Heather Webber

December 30, 2010

Absolutely, Positively

Heather Webber

St. Martin’s, Feb 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312946159

 

Lucy Valentine knows she is the odd duck in her family as everyone else has the ability to play Cupid matching people up.  Her talent is to find lost things.  Lucy’s current task is to locate a man who may be near death if he even still lives and to find a former criminal for a client of her family’s firm Lost Loves.

Lucy and her private investigator boyfriend Sean Donahue work on both cases.  However, their efforts are turned complicated by the masked Lone Ranger who at the Commons throws money into the air before vanishing.  As Lucy and Sean conduct inquiries, she has an attraction to the masked hombre until she suffers a horrifying vision of her boyfriend lying lifeless on the street.

No one will care that the third Valentine tale is similar in tone to Truly, Madly and Deeply but, Kemo Sabe brings freshness to the mix.  Though over the Green Monster yet filled with quirky family humor and a touch of the paranormal readers will Absolutely, Positively find Lucy’s latest bodacious Boston brouhaha desperately zany yet truly scrumptious.

Harriet Klausner

I Dream of Genies-Judi Fennell

December 30, 2010

I Dream of Genies

Judi Fennell

Sourcebooks, Jan 1 2011, $7.99

http://www.sourcebooks.com

ISBN: 9781402241895

Her three thousand year anniversary of confinement is arriving soon with no end in sight.  Eden has begun feeling more than just claustrophobic living inside a bottle for almost two millennia though her abode is quite comfortable.  Her problem is watching the hunk run past her everyday from the window of Murphy’s Antiques as she wants him with an uncontrollable lust.

Matt Ewing is a nice person who believes his perfect brother has all the Luck of the Irish; whereas Matt, irritated by the comparison, lives under a dark cloud.  Eden wishes to escape at the same Matt wishes his luck changed.  When she lands in his lap unconscious, he thanks the Lord for dropping the lovely miracle on him and considers receiving her with a kiss.  However, he soon believes his luck remains twisted; as the woman he now cherishes turns out to be the world’s most incompetent genie, but in his mind the world’s greatest lover.

I Dream of Genies is a terrific romantic fantasy that pays homage to the TV show that made belly buttons in NASA.  The story line is brisk lighthearted fun with seemingly incompetent boobs as the lead couple who prove that a minus times a minus equals a positive.  The support cast (including her BFF Wilson the tree outside named after a stowaway volleyball) adds to the endearing romantic comedy.

Harriet Klausner

Taken-Lilith Saintcrow

December 30, 2010

Taken

Lilith Saintcrow

Harlequin Nocturne, Jan 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373618538

In Jericho City, Sophie Wilson is a free woman though her abusive ex husband Mark still refuses to accept the divorce as he stalks her.  Her BFF Lucy persuades her to go to a club.  However, something kills Lucy and forces Sophie on the run with vampires pursuing her.  She fears her fate will be like that of her murdered friend until the Carcajou shapeshifting werewolves take the purebred human under their protection; keeping her safe from the blood sucking Upir who killed Lucy.

The Carcajou believes Sophie is their shaman who will save them from becoming wild animals.  One of the pack members Zach realizes Sophie is his life mate.  He vows to keep her safe.  Meanwhile the vampires dispatch a new convert to kill her; he was chosen because he knows Sophie’s weaknesses being her abusive former husband who manipulated her vulnerabilities.

Readers will be taken into the exciting world of Lilith Saintcrow with this fast-paced urban romantic fantasy.  The story line is non stop action from the murder of Lucy until the final anticipated confrontation.  Although the plot is somewhat linear, readers will appreciate the transformation of Sophie.

Harriet Klausner