Archive for February, 2012

Exogene-T.C. McCarthy

February 29, 2012


T.C. McCarthy

Orbit, Mar 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780316128155


As the war between Russia and America continues unabated, both sides use genetic warrior exogenes.  Imprinted in these lab-created teen killers is strict adherence to “faith and death”.  These soldiers know deep in their DNA that death is their only path to honor and salvation.


Sixteen and half years old Catherine is a killing machine; the greatest lab produced soldier made in America.  However, Catherine begins to doubt her suicidal mission as she wants to live.  Her phobic fear of dying appears to be early ramifications of the “spoiling” that exogenes suffer when they reach their eighteenth birthday.  Catherine flees her sisters in arms and takes a chance she will survive the spoiling though her creators insist that is impossible.  She encounters Russian male genetically created soldiers, learns of the Russian Exogenic Enhancement and observes firsthand the folly of armchair warriors when she looks at the North Korean nuclear wasteland.  As she struggles to control flashbacks of her violent past that leaves her vulnerable, Catherine wonders if her only choices are death, the Americans or the Russians; she loathes all three options.


Though filled with plenty action especially combat, the superb second Subterrene War military science fiction (see Germline) is a great character study as readers get inside the mind of a former zealot born again as a doubter.  Ironically Catherine’s doubts are not about killing as that is wired into her brain; but instead she questions killing as a weapon of mass destruction deployed by fat cats rather than her selecting who her enemy is.  With a profound look at organized governments and religions tenet to kill in God’s name as a stairway to heaven for expendable soldiers, readers will relish learning who Catherine is. 


Harriet Klausner


Difficult People: A Gateway to Enlightenment-Lisette Larkins

February 28, 2012

Difficult People: A Gateway to Enlightenment

Lisette Larkins

Rainbow Ridge, Jun 2011, $17.95

ISBN: 9780984495566


Most people prefer to avoid difficult people who tend to make one’s life miserable.  However, Lisette Larkins makes a strong case that dealing with a DP strengthens a person.  Ms. Larkin states she learned a lot about her strengths and weaknesses while being a care provider to a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient that forced the author to look at her own reactions.  This SWOT led Ms. Larkin to find a spiritual awakening as she realized that everyone is a DP to someone.  Seeing an opportunity to turn a weakness into a strength; she gained an inner peace that enables her to act appropriately with any DP; but especially her most adversarial DP – herself.  Although some readers will object to mystical experiences as part of the path like what occurred on the drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, the concept of understanding and acceptance over denial is well written and enlightening as Ms. Larkins provides an interesting method in how to deal with the most DP mindful of the Grass Roots song Lets Live For Today, but much more.


Harriet Klausner

Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death That Changed the Monarchy-Helen Rappaport

February 28, 2012

Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death That Changed the Monarchy

Helen Rappaport

St. Martin’s, Mar 13 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9780312621056


This fascinating biography focuses on a pivotal event “that changed the monarchy”; the death of Prince Consort Albert and its subsequent impact on his grieving widow, which in turn affected the Empire.  Helen Rappaport makes the case that Queen Victoria not only loved her spouse, she needed him as a mentor and friend.  Detested by her subjects, the country mourned alongside their queen his death.  The Queen had replacement advisors but none came close to Prince Albert as her partner over the last four decades of her reign.  Whereas Victoria concluded that Albert’s trepidation over their son “poor Bertie” led to his death; Ms. Rappaport offers alternative possibilities.  Queen Victoria never came out of mourning nor did she allow the country to move through the phases of grief as the nation lingered along with their monarch in a forty years mass depression. 


This is an excellent refreshing biography with the focus on the impact of the death of Prince Albert in 1861 on his wife and their Empire.  Ms. Rapport makes a strong case that Prince Albert’s death is one of the key moments in British history.  The tone reminds me of The Taylor File: The Mysterious Death of a President by Clara Rising, who makes a case that the one person who may have prevented the Civil War died mysteriously; though her theory arsenic poisoning proved false.  Readers will appreciate this profound look at why the Queen needed her mate and a strong argument that his death was the first major step for the sun beginning to set on the British Empire.


Harriet Klausner

Moonlit Desire-Carolann Camillo

February 28, 2012

Moonlit Desire

Carolann Camillo

Camel Press, Mar 16 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781603818728


In 1759 Catherine Bradshaw leaves London to marry wealthy Jeremy Flint in the colony of New York in an arranged marriage.  As soon as she steps off the ship, he weds her immediately.  His behavior frightens her as they travel by coach to his Tarrytown estate.  However, French Army Captain Rive St. Clair and his associate stop the coach.  Rive abducts Catherine after informing Flint who he is and where he can collect his wife.


Sixteen years ago, Flint made his first killing when he stole pelts after arranging for a massacre at an Indian village.  Rive has waited for the right moment to lure back this sleaze to that village as he knows the coward will follow as he cannot accept such an affront to his reputation.  Flint behaves just as Rive expected, but Catherine is nothing like he anticipated.  As they fall in love, the honorable and loyal Rive escorts her to Quebec City as the British army begins to take the last major North American French stronghold; she will soon know what it means to risk one’s life for someone you cherish.


This is an exciting late Colonial Romance starring an intrepid hero and a woman with plenty of mettle as she adjusts to a life far different than what she had in London or expected with Jeremy.  Fast-paced from the moment of the kidnapping and never slowing down, sub-genre fans will appreciate this engaging tale though Flint proves an unworthy opponent with more than half the historical storyline left after his cowardly failed attempt at retrieval.


Harriet Klausner

Summer Rose-Elizabeth Sinclair

February 28, 2012

Summer Rose

Elizabeth Sinclair

Bell Bridge, Jan 2 2012, $12.95

ISBN: 9781611940893


Registered nurse Rose Hamilton agreed to be a surrogate mother to her foster care friend Beth and Patrick.  She carries twins, but is now responsible for them as Beth and Patrick died in an accident.  In Carson, West Virginia she applies for a position at Paws & Claws Animal Clinic.  Dr. Hunter Mackenzie hires her when she manages to get an orphaned lion cub to eat.  This is the first time she touched an animal not counting a cricket that her foster mother stepped on years ago.  Her only concern is the health insurance will not cover her prenatal care


Hunter and Rose are attracted to one another from that first interview and their attraction grows though she hides her delicate condition from him.  She assumes a man in love with the wild does not need three dependents; besides which she knows her employer has issues with Mayor George Collins over his lion cubs and wolf.  The vet wonders why he has a constant urge to kiss his new employee.


The return to Hawks Mountain is a warm regional romance.  The support cast is strong as people like Granny Jo brings a local flavor to the mix while the animals add compassion.  The lead couple is a tender pairing of two people fearful of relationships falling in love as he recognizes her as a natural and she realizes he is her hero.


Harriet Klausner

Stuck With You-Trish Jensen

February 28, 2012

Stuck With You

Trish Jensen

Bell Bridge, Jan 2 2012, $13.95

ISBN: 9781611940862


Paige Hart practices law in Macon, Georgia.  She is always there for her crazy large family though that leaves her more often than not in some sort of trouble.


Ross Bennett practices law too.  He does not have the large family that Paige does, but he devotes plenty of time to charity and avoids slimy clients.


Paige and Ross respectively represent a divorcing couple, Jasmine and Carmon Carbone arguing over ownership of Doodles the poodle.  However their snake shrew labels explode when a bomb ignites inside the courthouse.  They are rushed to a hospital in an ambulance contaminated by the Tibetan Concupiscence Virus which leads to intense sexual desire.  CDC quarantines the pair who turns to one another for relief and perhaps much more.


Mindful of Monkey Business starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, Stuck With You is a zany lighthearted courtroom-hospital romance starring two likable combatants.  The support cast from the medical to the court to the You Can’t Take it With You (by Hart and Kauffman) Sycamore family adds humorous lunacy to the mix.  Fans will relish a wild gender war between a snake and a shrew in viral lust and maybe love.


Harriet Klausner

The Expats-Chris Pavone

February 28, 2012

The Expats

Chris Pavone

Crown, Mar 6 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780307956354


Washington, D.C. based financial systems security expert Dexter Moore accepts a terrific job in Luxembourg.  As he, his wife Kate and their kids prepare to cross the Atlantic, Dexter is unaware that his spouse was a CIA operative for fifteen years, who resigned to accompany her husband and their two children to Europe.  Her plan is to be a caring wife and nurturing mother.


In Luxembourg, Kate struggles to adjust to a passive lifestyle.  However she awakens from the housewife blues when a stunned Kate learns the FBI and Interpol investigate her nerdy husband for allegedly stealing fifty-million euros in an illegal online banking deal.  Needing to know the truth about her spouse, while wondering whether she erred in giving up her espionage career to be a housewife, Kate investigates Dexter’s allegedly felonious activities.


This is a great espionage investigative thriller filled with red herrings, and super twists that keep the audience wondering what next.  Fast-paced, fans will appreciate Kate’s inquiry with fervor as she ponders the ennui and lack of satisfaction in being a housewife.  Although the relationship between Kate and Dexter never quite gels, The Expats is a terrific thriller.


Harriet Klausner

Worlds Collide-Karen Wiesner

February 27, 2012

Worlds Collide

Karen Wiesner

Whiskey Creek, Mar 2012, $17.95

ISBN: 9781611600193


For twelve years Dr. Marcus Samuels has worked as a pediatrician at Nagasaki’s Children’s Christian Hospital, but feels as he turns forty it is time to go home to Chicago.  He has missed family events like the death of his sister-in-law and his widower brother finding love again (see Foolish Games) and the rape of his sister and her finding happiness (see Glass Angels).  He prays his return will end his severe anxiety attacks that only kept in check by his belief he does God’s work and his close friend Dr. Keiko Oichi.


When he learns his mom suffered a heart attack, Marcus has one more compelling reason to go home though he knows he will miss Keiko and her older brother Haruki who as foreign exchange students in the States converted to Christianity.  However, he is shocked when Keiko informs him she is accompanying him back to the States as she is engaged since she was seven to older Ryu a porno manga superstar.  She is attracted to Marcus who held back because of her engagement.  As they recognize their love, her family patriarch demands she honors her commitments in marriage and faith.


The latest Family Heirlooms Christian family drama (see Shards of Ashley) is a fabulous tale as two cultures collide with the focus on Keiko.  Readers will relish this fine entry as traditional Japanese collides with modern day American while Marcus fears he is casing a rift between his beloved and her family; failing to understand he is not the cause as she chooses.


Harriet Klausner

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VI-Tori Carrington & Kate Hoffmann:

February 27, 2012

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VI

Tori Carrington & Kate Hoffmann:

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 20 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796793


“Maid for Him” by Tori Carrington.  Off the coast of Southern California, Kieran Morrison is taken aback when he finds Daphne Moore on his ship.  She came out of the Pacific and is a mermaid, but that species only exists in movies.  Daphne is attracted to the human, but knows that always ends badly for her race.  When they meet on shore, they make love.  She must decide between love of this landlubber and her love of the sea.


“Off the Beaten Path” by Kate Hoffmann.  They met seven years ago at work at Johnson-Jacobs Advertising; Alex Hansen and Greta Adler became best friends.  He invites her to join him at a cabin owned by his top client Thea Michaels.  However, Thea is also there with plans to take Alex.  Instead Alex persuades Greta to pretend to be his lover; only in his case he has wanted that since they made love four years ago while drunk.  Greta fears relationships having watched her parents’ marriage collapse as a child.  However, Alex’s kisses make her forget her commitment phobia.


The latest “Blazing Bedtime Stories” contains two well written romances with engaging characters; although the fun storylines are somewhat linear and the sub-genres different.


Harriet Klausner

One Man Rush-Joanne Rock

February 27, 2012

One Man Rush

Joanne Rock

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 20 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796823


The client Phil Goodwell placed Philadelphia Phantom hockey star Kyle Murphy on the top of his list for those he considered as a match for his twenty-four year old daughter Stacy.  Matchmaker Marissa Collins attends a Phantom event at the suburban Normandy Farms Hotel to arrange an introduction between the client’s daughter and the hunk on ice.  However, when Marissa sees Kyle and him her, the sparks between them destroy their respective professional goal; as she loses sight of the needed lucrative fee and he loses sight of the Stanley Cup.


However, as Kyle and Marissa fall deeper into lust and god forbid love, the team makes a strong run towards making the playoffs, but the couple has problems as she panics over her need to earn money to take care of her ailing mom.  Phil is upset with the matchmaker and with his daughter who is attracted to non-athlete graphic chips maker Isaac Reynolds.


This delightful “Double Overtime” sports romance is an entertaining contemporary as two couples fall in love though the hockey player and the matchmaker are the prime lead.  The protagonists are a wonderful pairing with their fears keeping their relationship in peril; while the support cast is solid especially the other couple, his “Wrong Bed” family (see Riding The Storm), his teammates (especially his foster brother Axel –his tale to come) and her mom.  Readers will enjoy Joanne Rock’s engaging tale.


Harriet Klausner