Archive for January, 2012

Stand By Me-Neta Jackson

January 31, 2012

Stand By Me

Neta Jackson

Thomas Nelson, Mar 13 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781595548641

 

University of Arizona pre-Med student Kathryn Davies attends the Midwest Music Festival in Illinois.  Following the Resurrection Band concert, Kat has given her heart to Jesus.  She knows she must tell her family who will go ballistic as her DNA imprint says medicine; but she enjoys working with kids as she did with ESL students.  She plans to transfer to Chicago Crista University to major in Christian Ed.

 

Three years later, Kat and her school friends attend the SouledOut Community Church, a multi-cultural place of worship where she meets elementary school Principal Avis Douglass.  Kat’s mouth gets her in trouble with Avis and others as the student’s tendency to say what she thinks is grating.  However, what divides the pair is their path to God as Kat is flamboyant while Avis is reserved.  Still they share estrangement from loved ones; Kat from her family in Phoenix and Avis from her MIA youngest daughter.

 

The first SouledOut Sisters contemporary urban inspirational tale is a great story starring a strong cast especially the lead females who on the surface seem polar opposites but share two essential elements: their love for Jesus who they pray stands with them and the estrangements.  Using real social issues like dumpster diving, racism and HIV, Neta Jackson provides her Yada Yada fans with a powerful tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Bond Girl-Erin Duffy

January 31, 2012

Bond Girl

Erin Duffy

Morrow, Jan 24 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780062065896

 

Alex Garrett always dreamed of taking Manhattan by storm; not song as the latter is Sinatra’s gig whiles hers is Wall St. having just graduated from the University of Virginia in the class of 2006.  She feels great about landing a position on the “Street” and getting an apartment in the West Village.  Besides no sleep due to the noise of the city that never sleeps, Alex is treated as a female tyro by her office.  Instead of trading, she fixes her boss’ spreadsheets, and takes food and drink orders from the males in the office.  Although bored, she survives due to a wicked sense of humor.  Ultimately Alex begrudgingly earns respect from her colleagues and begins to date a huggable even as the financial tsunami threatens to drown the Street.

 

This is a fascinating look at Wall St. just prior to and during the Great Recession crisis.  The storyline starts breezy and satirical focusing on the pitfalls of a single female newcomer living in the Big Apple and working the Street.  When Alex gets her break she spins into Putt’s Law of Failure recommendation to fail big so you can keep your job by learning from your mistakes.  However, though timely and entertaining, the trials and tribulations of the newcomer in Manhattan is a typical amusing chick lit with the tsuris level relatively low considering what is going on the Street.

 

Harriet Klausner

When Scot Loves A Lady-Katherine Ashe

January 31, 2012

When Scot Loves A Lady

Katherine Ashe

Avon, Feb 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062031662

 

In 1813 London, Lambert Poole ruined Lady Katherine “Kitty” Savege.  She pretends to still want him but instead she wants to learn his secrets.  She attends a masquerade where she sees Lord Leam Blackwood back from overseas and is attracted to him; as he is to her.  Kitty drops her plans to destroy Poole until the rat threatened her brother six months ago.  She gives information to the Home Office about Poole’s illegal dealing.  He flees to France to live in poverty.

 

In 1816 Leam informs Colin Gray he quit the Falcon Club as he plans to spend time with his son in Scotland.  Gray asks him to perform a last mission to learn whether member Captain Jinan Seton also quit and to look into French activity in Scotland.  Wyn Yale accompanies Leam.  A blizzard strands Kitty and her friend Lady Emily Vale at an inn.  Also stopping due to the weather are Leam and Yale.  Leam and Kitty recognize each other and the attraction remains strong.  David Cox comes to the inn to stay until the snow melts.  He flirts with Kitty which make Leams jealous.  Kitty and Leam play strip cards before making love.  Later a sniper wings Kitty, but gets away; she demands the truth from Leam.

 

This entertaining Regency is a wonderful historical as the romance seems real while the suspense enhances the plot.  The lead couple and the support cast are fully developed.  Although I personally do not like local vernacular, but the use of the Scottish brogue adds authenticity to the engaging tale.  Although the climax is a bit weak, sub-genre fans will enjoy this exciting nineteenth century romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess-Jennifer Haymore

January 31, 2012

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess

Jennifer Haymore

Forever, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446573153

 

A Marquis used to easily bedding the women, Maxwell Buchanan is frozen in place for the first time in his thirty years of life when he sees the angel Olivia Donovan for the first time.  Leonard Reece catches him staring at the beautiful fragile Olivia for ten minutes.  Competitive with Maxwell, Leonard who failed to persuade Olivia into a tryst bets him he will not succeed either.  Though he knows he should not accept the wager, Maxwell agrees on a hefty bet over his seduction of his angel.

 

The middle sister, Olivia knows her siblings, Jessica and Margaret (See Confessions of an Improper Bride), are overly protective of her ever since she suffered from malaria as a child in the West Indies.  However, though she still looks frail, Max soon learns quickly that Olivia has a steel backbone, which amplifies his desire for her.  As he falls in love with his angel, he fears for the safety of the three Donovan sisters especially his angel when they rescue an abused spouse that enrages a psychopath who targets them for their intrusion.

 

The second Donovan sisters’ historical romance is an exhilarating tale that grips the reader from the moment a spellbound Donovan can’t take his eyes off of her and never blinks until after the final confrontation.  The storyline is fast-paced as the Marquis learns the mouse he has a tendre for is actually a lioness.

 

Harriet Klausner

With This Kiss-Bella Riley

January 31, 2012

With This Kiss

Bella Riley

Forever, Mar 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446584227

 

In Emerald Lake, New York, innkeeper Rebecca Campbell hosts the wedding of her Lake Yarns’ friend Andi Powell to Mayor Nate Duncan (see Home Sweet Home).  This happens to be a difficult time for Rebecca as she forced her fiancé Stu Murphy to end their engagement as she wants a love like Andi and Nate share rather than just a nice friendship.  Since he is generational family and she decided to hide his secret, she is blamed by the townsfolk except for her Lake Yarns’ Knitting group for the end of their relationship.

 

Stu’s younger brother Sean returns home for his sibling’s wedding after being away for almost two decades following seeing something that broke his heart when he was fourteen.  To his chagrin, Sean finds himself attracted to his sibling’s former fiancé.  Rebecca feels the same way about him.  Neither wants to make that first move as secrets keep them apart.

 

The second Emerald Lake contemporary romance is an engaging story of secrets estranging a family.  Second chances surface but the Murphy family and Rebecca must dive into the opportunity; which means having confidence that your loved ones will keep you from drowning in a sea of distrust and encouraging you into swimming in a sea of love.  Fans will appreciate this engaging family drama.

 

Harriet Klausner

Last Chance Beauty Queen-Hope Ramsey

January 31, 2012

Last Chance Beauty Queen

Hope Ramsey

Forever, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446576086

 

English Baron Hugh DeBracy comes to America with a plan to build a textile machinery factory.  U.S. Senator Rupert Warren wants the plant in his home state of South Carolina.  He sends his aid former Watermelon Queen Caroline “Rocky” Rhodes to escort the aristocrat around the state; especially since Lord DeBracy considers her hometown of Last Chance as his last chance to avoid a marriage of money.

 

Hugh needs to purchase land, but the locals never sell to carpetbaggers.  However, Ricky’s mom Ruby considers an exception as she knows her daughter could lose her job if the deal falls through and besides the pair are obviously attracted toe on another.  However what clinches the deal for Ruby is his earthly behavior at the Watermelon Festival.

 

The third Last Chance contemporary romance (Welcome to Last Chance and Home At Last Chance) is a zany, jocular and over the top of Sassafras Mountain frolic.  The lead couple is a nice pairing while the townsfolk are an amusing eccentric crowd.  Timely with the textile industry having left the state, fans will enjoy riding the Rhodes to Last Chance.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision-James Redfield

January 31, 2012

The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision

James Redfield

Grand Central, Feb 9 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780446575942

 

Now in the final countdown year, on December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar predicts the world as we know it will end.  Wil and his best friend receive an odd segment of an ancient manuscript; other fragments are also being released around the globe to chosen ones who have displayed a potential enlightened soul.  Wil and his buddy know they need the rest of the document to understand how to use the mind and spirit to achieve universal contentment and harmony though deployment of the twelve integrations.  As the enlightened 144,000 converge in the spirit of synchronicity and integrity to reach the plateau of world unity theyt must contend with powerful political and religious leaders; fanatics who prefer the status quo as well as preventing a nuclear terrorist attack.

 

The fourth Celestine spiritual thriller (see The Celestine Prophecy, The Secret of Shambhala and In Search of the Eleventh Insight) is a fascinating uplifting tale.  When the focus is on the integrations, readers learn the steps that James Redfield recommends while the protagonists and other chosen struggle with world leaders who oppose any downgrading of their status.  When the storyline turns to the terrorists it loses some momentum as this feels forced.  Still fans will enjoy Mr. Redfield’s enlightenment re the Mayan doomsday prophecy.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Way-Kristen Wolf

January 30, 2012

The Way

Kristen Wolf

Crown, Jul 12 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9780307717696

 

In 7 A.D. Palestine, the young boys taunt handsome seven year old Anna for looking more like a boy than a girl.  Her mother Mari explains that she a boy and a girl.  When Mari gives birth to a stillborn boy, Anna’s dad Josef filled with anger and grief stones elderly healer Zahra to death while his daughter watched in horror.   Three years later, with her dad still raging and Anna looking even more like a boy than a girl, the child wonders why a dead son is worth more than a living daughter.  Josef beats his wife who soon dies and sells Anna as a boy to a visiting shepherd.

 

In the desert the Sisters secret sect abduct Anna from the shepherds.  In their caves, they mentor her in the ancient belief “The Way,” which releases dormant power within her.  When the Sisters become endangered, the inner Circle sends Anna on a journey to spread the word of the Way among the people.  Taking advantage of her male looking physique, she begins her missionary work, which places her at odds with the priests and the Roman overseers.  By 33 A.D. in Ancient Palestine, word spreads about a Healer who walks amongst the people helping the downtrodden but refusing any gifts; while betrayal and redemption battle to claim their souls.

 

 

This is an intriguing coming of age retelling of the Jesus story starring a flawed heroine who has doubts that she is the one to spread the word of the Way to the masses as she has always been the outsider.  The support cast like Judas is shone in different lights than the typical renditions.  Fascinating, fans will enjoy the “truth” of Anna’s journey.

 

Harriet Klausner

Colorado Fireman-C.C. Coburn

January 30, 2012

Colorado Fireman

C.C. Coburn

Harlequin American, Mar 6 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753994

 

Only having returned home in Spruce Lake, Colorado a week ago,, firefighter Adam O’Malley enters the burning apartment to rescue a an elderly woman and eighteen month old Charlie.  The boy’s three older siblings were taken outside by the babysitter.  However, Adam learns that Molly remains inside.  Though Molly is a dog, Adam goes back in and rescues the canine.  The widow working mom Carly Spencer, a masseuse at the Spruce Lodge Spa, thanks the firefighter who just wants to catch his breath.  His mom offers the apartment over the stables to Carly, her four kids and the dog to the shock of Adam; who happens to be living there.

 

Adam and Carly are attracted to one another.  However, he has a secret that he concealed from everyone that keeps him distant from relationships while she has doubts about having another firefighter in her life and that of her kids as her late husband Michael was one in San Diego.  When Carly is charged with arson, Adam intercedes.

 

The latest contemporary romance (see The Sheriff and the Baby and Colorado Christmas) is a warm second chance at love O’Malley drama.  Neither of the lead couple wants to fall in love, but they cannot help themselves as they do.  The two extended families add depth to their romance especially mom who brings humor (and aggravation if you ask Adam) to this wonderful tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

Cowboy to the Rescue-Trish Milburn

January 30, 2012

Cowboy to the Rescue

Trish Milburn

Harlequin American, Mar 6 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754007

 

Merline Teague, proprietor of the Vista Hills Guest Ranch in rural Texas, interviews Brooke Vincent for the position of a cook.  Mrs. Teague remarks that the applicant’s résumé is thin, but will give her a trial of cooking for the family.  If that works out she will also cook for the guests who can number upwards of forty.  The food is so good that Merline’s son Simon jokingly proposes.  Brooke Vincent is hired while she laments that Brooke Alder no longer exists.

 

Another Teague son, Ryan was a loner before he served in the Iraq War; now he is all but a hermit except for his family.  However, he feels more than just attracted to the new cook, Ryan senses a fellow wounded warrior.  Ryan also knows he cannot compete with Simon who is interested in the new employee.  Brooke hopes hiding on the ranch will eventually force publicly squeaky clean lobbyist Chris Franklin to stop stalking her since she no longer resided in Arlington though she misses her family in West Virginia.  However, no one walks out on Franklin who will use any tool including threatening the Teague clan and Brooke’s extended family including her young nieces to force her to return to him.

 

The latest Teagues of Texas (see The Cowboy’s Secret Son) is a tense romantic suspense starring two hurting souls and a psychopath.  Readers will appreciate love healing the protagonists even as she fears she owes him the truth at the cost of her job, haven and him.  Fans will relish this exciting taut thriller as readers anticipate that Franklin is coming for Brooke.

 

Harriet Klausner