Archive for August, 2011

His Destiny-Diana Cosby

August 31, 2011

His Destiny

Diana Cosby

Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420109924

 

Her uncanny ability to play any undercover role and her unmatched skill with a knife makes Emma Astyn the best English mercenary as she can charm anyone to do anything for her.  Currently her assignment is to infiltrate the inner circle of rebel Dubh Duer in order to steal the writ the outlawed Scotsman is carrying to a supportive bishop.  To conduct her mission successfully requires her to pose as innocent Scottish damsel Christina Moffat.

 

However, while Christina prepares to charm Dubh, Emma is taken aback when she meets the man behind the legend Sir Patrick Cleary MacGruder.  He distrusts her but wants her.  She finds him a man of honor who gave up everything including his family who believe he is dead for his cause, the freedom of Scotland.  Love and honor clash with selfless duty.

 

The latest Diana Cosby “His” medieval romance is an exciting tale of late thirteenth century war torn Scotland in which key players from the previous historical thrillers (see His Woman and His Conquest) including real persona play major roles.  The lead couple is a fascinating pairing as love intrudes on their respective mission.  Although the ton of historical data at times slows down the story line, fans will enjoy His Destiny is hers.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Tempting a Highlander-Michele Sinclair

August 31, 2011

Tempting a Highlander

Michele Sinclair

Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420108569

 

In 1315 twin brothers reserved Crevan and extroverted Craig McTiernay kiss twin sisters in your face Raelynd and dainty Meriel Schellden.  Powerful clan leader Laird Schellden catches the two pairs.  However, instead of outrage over the affront to his family, the cagy politician sees an opportunity to protect their clan from scam artists.  He orders the quartet to pretend they have twin betrothals that would end in one month.

 

Raelynd is the most volatile against the concept, but appreciates that her partner is outgoing Craig as she cannot stand his mousy twin.  On the trek however, Raelynd begins to appreciate the strong reserved Crevan; he shares her attraction but is bound to her sibling.  When Raelynd learns his secret that makes him seem wimpy, she realizes she loves her sister’s pretend betrothed.

 

The latest McTiernay medieval Highlander romance (see Desiring a Highlander) is a family affair as a comedy of errors make for a delightful historical.  The two sets of twins are fully developed with diverse personalities.  As the best laid plans of mice and McTiernay brothers go astray, fans will wonder if the other twins can just remain friends.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

In the Barrister’s Chambers-Tina Gabrielle

August 31, 2011

In the Barrister’s Chambers

Tina Gabrielle

Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420122749

 

In 1814 London Lady Evelyn Darlington dreams of becoming a barrister, but society refuses to allow females to pursue scholarly intellectual endeavors; even one who loves the law like she does.  Her chosen betrothed Randolph Sheldon is accused of murdering a Drury Lane actress who is a distant cousin of his.  Evelyn asks her father’s former student barrister Jack Harding to defend Randolph.  She explains her intended was not having an affair, but was seen running from the brutal crime scene from the horror of what he saw.  Jack’s only stipulation is he will tell her father Lord Lyndale who he owes so much to that he is taking on a case indirectly involving his daughter.  Evelyn’s stipulation is she works the case with him. 

 

Jack has been attracted to his mentor’s daughter from the first time he saw her though she was taboo in his mind.  Whereas Jack insists he loves her mind though another part of his anatomy would beg to differ, Evelyn always admired Jack’s brain and passion for the law.  As they follow clues in exquisite and seedy neighborhoods while their client is not very cooperative, they fall in love, but first seek the rumored murder victims tell all journal of paying customers.

 

The first Barrister Regency romantic legal thriller is an entertaining tale starring two intelligent and obstinate protagonists.  Jack understands what he faces on the case; he must find proof to exonerate Randolph which could cost him the girl while failure will cost him the girl most likely anyway.  Although the fast-paced story line follows the anticipated path, readers will relish Tina Gabrielle’s enjoyable legal historical thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Deadly Little Lies-Jeanne Adams

August 31, 2011

Deadly Little Lies

Jeanne Adams

Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420108835

 

In San Francisco billionaire Davros Gianakopulos is happy for his business partner security expert Gates Bromley who married former CIA agent Ana Burton.  However, their happiness has Davros looking within his soul to see what he wants in life as he misses his home in Greece.  He decides it is not what but who and that is art gallery owner Carrie McCray.

 

He asks her out and she accepts a lunch date.  However, their first time out together with Gates no longer running his security turns nasty when thugs grab both of them.  Dav considers all that Gates taught him in a hostage situation but none included having the woman you want to make it with being held too.  Meanwhile the lead kidnapper his brother Niko has waited years for this opportunity to serve up the cold dish of revenge by dumping his two captives in an overseas hellhole prison.  Gates and Ana make a frenzied search for them as each knows time is running out on the prisoners.

 

The sequel to the superb Deadly Little Secrets focuses on the previous novel’s secondary character Dav and the woman he adores as they struggle to survive the ordeal of an abduction that is fueled by angry vengeance.  The story line is action-packed from the moment the kidnapping occurs and never slows down as readers will be hooked on this gripping taut romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

The Fat Kid’s Wolfy Revenge: Not for the Weak Hearted or Mature Minded

August 31, 2011

The Fat Kid’s Wolfy Revenge: Not for the Weak Hearted or Mature Minded

Kristian J. Hanson

Outskirts, Apr 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 9781432773151

 

In Gilbert, Arizona high school student Joe Winnie is as uncool as a teen can be even living in a predominantly Mormon town.  He loathes school; the girls treat him like a pariah when they ignore him.  He especially detests his female peers who when they were younger were his friend, but now treat him like he possesses a contagious disease.

 

As he faces the fact he has no one to take to the prom, Joe watches a seven foot plus werewolf rip apart a door to door (always during a football game) Mormon missionary.  Although terrorized he may be the dessert, Joe watches the Lycan tear into faked boobs Heather.  He decides not to be the lunatic savior from movies like the Howling, but instead starts a blog following the murderous and raping exploits of the American Werewolf in Gilbert.  As his blog becomes the in thing, his new BFF the beast that bites leads Joe to ask the rich Brazilian beauty Fernanda to the prom as he assumes she does not have werewolf catnip AKA silicon transplants.

 

This gory yet entertaining urban fantasy lampoons the sub-genre’s tendency towards either heroic passionate paranormal hunks in tune with their feminine side or amateurs risking their lives (and souls) to take down the maniacal beast.  Although women are the prime victims of this brutal werewolf; those grotesque assaults are a key element in mocking the compassionate caring hero of romantic fantasy.  Nothing is sacred in Kristian J. Hanson’s “Not for the Weak Hearted or Mature Minded” except Joe’s staying power went from 30 to 156 seconds.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

A Vampire Christmas Carol-Sarah Gray

August 31, 2011

A Vampire Christmas Carol

Sarah Gray

Kensington, Oct 1 2011, $5.00

ISBN: 9780758266835

 

Buried seven years ago, Jacob Marley visits his former partner Ebenezer Scrooge to warn him that all the misery and isolation the latter has felt has been caused by vampires who want to insure he fails to fulfill his destiny.  Marley explains he will have three ghosts visit him to affirm what he has told Scrooge that the undead bloodsuckers have caused his rift with those he loved like his family, his former fiancée Belle and his employee Bob Cratchit.

 

The spiritual journey Scrooge undertakes leads him to better comprehend what has happened to him as he finally understands what caused the estrangement with Belle and learns of the personal hardships Cratchit and  his family face, and finally his only living blood relative Fred his nephew who still cares about his acrimonious misery uncle.  This is Scrooge’s last chance to save his soul as his loved ones are in mortal combat against the vampires.

 

This is an engaging retelling of the classic holiday tale as Sarah Gray provides a fascinating cause for Scrooge’s acrimony.  The story line follows the ghostly guides but gravely focus on the war for Scrooge’s soul between the vampires isolating him and his loved ones trying to save him.  Although lacking the satirical humor of similar reenactments like Steve Hockensmith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Wayne Josephson’s Emma and the Vampires, fans who enjoy paranormal renditions of Victorian and Regency classics will want to read this exciting but bleakly grayish vampiric Christmas Carol.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

The Vengeful Dead-J. N. Duncan

August 31, 2011

The Vengeful Dead

J. N. Duncan

Kensington, Oct 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758255648

 

In Chicago FBI agent Jackie Rutledge struggles with all that has happened to her in a very short time (see Deadworld).  She grieves the death of her BFF Laurel Carpenter whose psychic skills apparently reach from the grave as she haunts Jackie in death almost as much as she haunted Jack when they were live partners.  Jack also knows she needs help for her Death Valley depression in which she feels stuck in a personal deadly version of Groundhog Day starring herself and Laurel; but choose to avoid the FBI therapist.  She also struggles with her new found paranormal skills that she does not want. 

 

When a murder victim pregnant Rosa wants revenge, the angry spirit chooses bodies to possess in her thirst.  One of Jack’s new undesirable talents is to sense ghostly homicides so she knows she must stop Rosa.  She ventures back into deadwood to confront The Vengeful Dead Rosa with her team (maybe lover vampiric private investigator Nick Anderson, his vampiric assistant Cynthia and his office manager Shelby the psychic).

 

The second deadwood urban fantasy police procedural is an enjoyable tale that starts slow as much of the first half focus is a deep look at Jack’s mental state.  About a little more than half way into the story line, the pace suddenly accelerates as the plot stops the mental case scenario to concentrate on the investigation; Jack and her paranormal crew try to prevent The Vengeful Dead with a cause that the kick butt heroine empathizes with from enacting her plan. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Bound by Blood-Amanda Ashley

August 31, 2011

Bound by Blood

Amanda Ashley

Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121322

 

As her college graduation present, her dad gives Kaitlyn Sherrad a little place in the country that happens to overlook Lake Tahoe.  Kaitlyn loves her father Drake the Master of the Carpathian Coven vampire and her once human mother Elena (see Bound by Night for their tale). 

 

Her parents return to the Romanian Old Country on urgent clan business so she goes to her luxurious cabin alone.  Kaitlyn meets and falls in love with casino owner Zackary Ravenscroft.  However, she initially is unaware that he is a six century old vampire whose family loathes the East European clan as much as hers detests these upstarts over a two decade old incident.  As the heir to the Carpathian Coven, Kaitlyn knows her beloved is forbidden fruit, but history apparently repeats the same mistakes especially with an unknown adversary plotting to take down the couple.

 

The second Bound romantic urban fantasy is a delightful tale of forbidden love starring fully developed protagonists and a well rounded support cast that deftly ties up threads from the first thriller.  The fascinating star-crossed second generation romance is fun to follow though the plot follows the expected course as there are no major twists.  Still sub-genre fans will appreciate Amanda Ashley’s wonderful paranormal romance.

 

Harriet Klausner

Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah- Ginger Garrett

August 31, 2011

Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah

Ginger Garrett

David C. Cook, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781434768001

 

In the Philistine city of Timnah, Astra and Amara are on the rooftop of their home when the former sees the bigger than an ox Hebrew who attended the heathen festival at the Temple of Dagon.  Astra throws a sharp rod at him trying to kill him.  Amara begs he forgives them as she says it was an accident.  He marks her house.  This gigantic Hebrew Samson, known for his legendary strength, informs Amara’s father he will wed her.  She has no say in the matter.

 

Samson informs his parents that he will marry the Philistine.  His Mother objects over his taking a flat chested Canaanite as a wife as she believes his God given strength is destined for greatness.  His Father is even more upset.  Samson marries Amara, but that ends in tragedy.  While the Philistines scheme to destroy the Hebrew legend, Samson meets Delilah.  They marry and she proves persistent with completing her mission to learn what the cause of his incredible strength is.  Soon his Mother’s dream of greatness will collide with his wife’s greed inside of the Temple of Dagon.

 

Told from the perspective of the three key fully developed females in the life of Samson, Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah is a great biblical tale.  The conflicting cultures are fully developed as the Philistines and the Hebrews distrust one another as each claims Canaan.  Readers will enjoy Ginger Garrett’s latest Old Testament thriller (See Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther) as Mother finally understands that God works the miracles of redemption by turning our weaknesses into strengths.

 

Harriet Klausner

Season for Temptation-Theresa Romain

August 31, 2011

Season for Temptation

Theresa Romain

Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420118957

 

In 1817 Lord Oliver approves of James Matison’s suit of the former’s daughter Louisa.  James arrives in Kent to meet Louisa’s family when he hears a women curse.  He thinks Louisa’s half-sister Julia is impulsive and cute.  She introduces him to her three younger sisters and brother while she eats the better snacks. 

 

James and Louisa met in a library at a party.  She was hiding amidst the books as she loves to read while he sought a bathroom.  He feels awkward as he now realizes he is attracted to her sister and enjoys the impish play between his fiancée and Julia.  Louisa’s parents arrive after a calf is born.  Dinner proves as lively; reminding him of his mother’s need for no scandal since his late brother-in-law died in his mistress’ arms.  James feels welcomed.  The next morning he is late for breakfast, but Julia sees he has a nice meal while he coaxes her to join him, which she does.  Feeling distraught as he wants to kiss Julia, he asks Louisa to set a date.  She acts skittish trying to delay him while also backing away from his attempt to kiss her.   Louisa explains she will come to London with Julia being sponsored by their Aunt Estella.  They will wed after that; he agrees though his attraction is to her sister.

 

A strong unique cast, especially Julia’s eccentric family, anchors this engaging romantic triangle between the two sisters and the Viscount.  Each adores and respects one another, which adds depth as not one of them deserves to be hurt.   In fact James’s mom is the villain, but comes across as inane and selfish while causing unnecessary conflict to an otherwise wonderful fresh Regency romance.

 

Harriet Klausner