Archive for December, 2012

The Marriage Campaign-Karen Templeton

December 31, 2012

The Marriage Campaign
Karen Templeton
Harlequin Special Edition, Jan 22 2013, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373657247

The three cousins called themselves the Summer Sisters as they spent vacation time together at their late grandma’s house near St. Mary’s Cove on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. April Ross (see A Gift For All Seasons) and Melanie Duncan (see The Doctor’s Do-Over) are brides in a double wedding ceremony attended by the third “Sister” maid of honor Blythe Broussard. Also there are Blythe’s childhood nemesis widower Congressman Wes Phillips and his young son Jack.

Blythe recognizes a troubled kindred spirit in Jack whose mom died in a car accident two years ago. She warns Wes that Jack has self-destructive issues like she once had. Attracted to the Congressman and caring about Jack, Blythe plans to keep her distance from father and son until she makes her escape back to DC as fourteen years ago on Valentine’s Day her heart (and virginity) broke. Wes has other ideas as he is falling in love with Blythe and believes strongly she is perfect for him and Jack though her rocky past negatively impacts his reelection chances.

The Marriage Campaign is an engaging contemporary second chance at love romance starring a relationship-phobic designer, a Congressman whose campaign focus is Blythe not the voters and a disturbed eleven year old boy. Filled with compassion and passion, readers will enjoy this wonderful contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

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The Dead Shall Not Rest-Tessa Harris

December 31, 2012

The Dead Shall Not Rest
Tessa Harris
Kensington, Dec 24, 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758266996

In 1782 at the Oxfordshire annual spring fair, Lady Lydia Farrell asks her betrothed American Dr. Thomas Silkstone to examine attraction eight-foot-tall Charles “Irish Giant” Byrne. The anatomist concludes that Byrne is dying. Not wanting to be a dissected freak in death especially after learning that unscrupulous Dr. John Hunter plans on grave robbers snatching his body, Byrne arranges his burial at sea; Thomas vows to insure the man’s wishes are met.

In London, someone removed the larynx from Signor Cappelli after murdering the castrato. Because of his unsavory grave-robbing reputation and the surgical precision, Hunter becomes the prime suspect though he swears he is innocent. His rival Silkstone believes the anatomist is innocent so in spite of his preference to see the amoral doctor sent to the gallows, he investigates the homicide.

The second Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery (see The Anatomist’s Apprentice) is an outstanding late nineteenth century whodunit. The investigation is top rate with clever clues and anchored by a strong sense of time and place; for instance Byrne and Hunter were real persona and grave-robbing was a thriving occupation as the opening transaction depicts. The Dead Shall Not Rest is a fabulous historical investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The King Next Door-Maureen Child

December 30, 2012

The King Next Door
Maureen Child
Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373732227

Griffin King and Nicole Baxter met at the wedding of his cousin Rafe King and her best friend next door neighbor Katie Charles last year. Affluent Griffin is house-sitting while Rafe and Katie are in Europe for three weeks and his beachfront condo is on the market. Though he admires how sexy all work and no play is except with her three years old son Connor Griffin adheres to his vow to end his serial affairs lifestyle and especially avid women with kids.

A fire in Katie’s kitchen forces her and Connor to temporarily vacate. He invites mother and child to move into his cousin’s home. Nicole decides a short tryst is just the thing for her as the divorcee shares in common with the bachelor: no marriage. As Griff proves kind and caring towards her son though an easy mark for Connor’s child con; neither adult knows how to react to falling in love.

The latest Kings of California romance (see King’s Million Dollar Secret) is an engaging romance starring two protagonists whose theme song is 10 Cc’s “I’m Not in Love” and a too precocious matchmaking toddler. Contemporary fans will enjoy this warm tale as the King falls in love with the single mom and her child next door.

Harriet Klausner

Free From Guilt-Pat Simmons

December 30, 2012

Free From Guilt
Pat Simmons
Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780802403896

Brilliant MIT graduate Cameron Jamieson completed ten generations of his family roots tracing his ancestry back to African royalty and to previously unknown Boston kin. However, his genius also leads him to question the simplistic embrace of God’s love and offer of salvation by his entire St. Louis family except for the septuagenarian matriarch Beatrice “Grandma BB” Beacon, the terror of the city. Cameron accepts her belief that life is meant to enjoy today and worry about redemption far into the tomorrows.

Unlike Cameron who can quote scriptures, Gabrielle Dupree believes God comes first above all else. She prays that one day the Lord delivers to her a man of equal faith to share a love of one another and Jesus. Gabrielle and Cameron are attracted to one another at first sight. However, the strength of their polar opposite religious convictions places a relationship between them in peril as each struggle with love.

The latest Jamieson Legacy urban Christian inspirational (see Still Guilty, Guilty of Love and Not Guilty of Love) is a terrific contemporary romance with a fascinating triangle consisting of Cameron, Gabrielle and Jesus; Gabriele especially feels the tug on her heart and soul. As in the cousins’ tales (see The Guilt Trip and Guilt by Association), genealogy plays a key supporting role enhancing the engaging storyline. Readers will appreciate this strong entry as temptation and God-fearing converge with Gabrielle knowing the right path is with Jesus but the damning alternate seems so good.

Harriet Klausner

All He Really Needs-Emily McKay

December 29, 2012

All He Really Needs
Emily McKay
Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373732265

Dying Hollister Cain informs his offspring that they take charge of Cain Enterprise and prevent a missing heiress from stealing their billion dollar legacy. Dalton the CEO hunts for the woman; while his brother Griffin the International marketing VP performs little except in bed with beautiful women and overseas travel; and their illegitimate sibling Cooper is the outsider. Dalton informs Griffin that he quits as the CEO as he has a more important mission: winning the heart and regaining the trust of his beloved Laney Fortino (see All He Ever Wanted). Before leaving, Dalton tells Griffin, whom their dad scorned as a wastrel do-gooder, that his assistant Sydney Edwards will take good care of him.

Stunned Griffin the underachiever has been Sydney’s secret lover, but now he is her boss. He believes they can combine the boardroom with the bedroom, but though she loves Griffin she informs him no more trysts. As bad as that thought is since he loves being with her; he also fears he will have little time for his vocation of helping Hope2O.

The second At Cain’s Command contemporary romance stars a seemingly unambitious hedonist and a dedicated administrative assistant. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy learning of the hidden depths of Griffin (and for that matter Sydney too) as he makes a case not to judge a book solely by its cover while also encouraging the audience to look up Hope2O’s real counterpart Water.org.

Harriet Klausner

Greenwood and Archer-Marlene Banks

December 28, 2012

Greenwood and Archer
Marlene Banks
Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780802406217

In 1921 in Tulsa, taking advantage of the rage of the white community over a newspaper accusing black Dick Rowland of raping white Sarah Page, the racist White Glove Society screams for the lock up of all colored especially in the affluent Greenwood District. Their bigoted shrill wins causes a race riot in Greenwood leaving over 300 dead (see Son of a Preacherman).

Engaged couple, son of a preacher Billy Ray Matthias and oil heiress Benny Freeman are dismayed since the former’s brother Ethan defended Rowland. Benny’s ex-fiancée Jordan Franks returns; his dumping her turned her into a recluse until Billy Ray intervened. While believing God wants him to preach, Billy Ray prays for his beloved.

Federal agent DP Dooley believes the race riot affirms his rage with God. He vows to destroy the “Godly” White Gloves Society even as they gain new supporters. Ignoring immense pressure to lock up the colored, fervent racist Police Chief Jake Gilbert saw the Greenwood massacre first-hand. He joins with Dooley to end racial hate crimes in his city with support from the newly created Interdenominational Christian Clergy who wants God in everyone’s life; while the Chicago mob sees an opportunity to expand their operation into Tulsa.

This is a powerful historical that looks deep at the aftermath of the Greenwood race riots. With a present day relevancy, the underlying irony of the tale is the diverse cast believes that God is on their side as so many invoke the Lord’s name in defense of whatever they do. Besides a fabulous look at devastated 1921 Tulsa, Marlene Banks makes a case that claiming Jesus has your back is not soul-deep believing in Jesus.

Harriet Klausner

A Real Cowboy-Sarah M. Anderson

December 28, 2012

A Real Cowboy
Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373732241

Oscar winner James Robert Bradley left Hollywood at the height of his fame several years ago. Though many including his agent Bernie Lipchitz expected him to come back after a respite, James remains on his Bar B Ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Thalia Thorne has a chance to produce her first movie, Blood for Roses, if she can persuade James to play the role of Sean; she believes he could win another Oscar with this part. When she reaches his ranch, she sees nothing California in the boorish cowboy who wants her to leave as she disturbs the peace he has found in Big Sky Country by reminding him of the bad things he did in Southern California; worse he is attracted to her as she is to him. Thalia refuses to go away as she needs him or her career dies for failing to deliver. Trapped by a blizzard, J.R. and Thalia begin to fall in love.

The lead couple makes for a rousing redemption ranch romance as he has demons from his past that haunt him while she needs him if she plans to remain in Hollywood. Though the device of a snow storm stranding the protagonists has been used a lot, fans will enjoy this entreating character-driven contemporary

Harriet Klausner

Night Driving-Wilde

December 27, 2012

Night Driving
Lori Wilde
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373797417

In Bozeman, Montana, former Army Captain Boone Toliver recuperates from his third right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered from a bomb in Afghanistan. He feels like an invalid as he was forced to hire help though he can afford it having invested wisely the millions he inherited millions from his beloved late wife. The only tsuris besides his knee is his ditzy neighbor Tara Duvall, a sexy irritant. He is busted when he pretends to be on the cellphone only to have his half-sister marine biologist Ph.D. candidate Jackie Birchard call. Before leaving Tara says she is moving home to be with her ailing mother; while Jackie says she is marrying the man she loves and trusts, Coast Guard Lieutenant Scott Everly whom she has known just over a month. He reacts poorly as Jackie says she will marry her fiancé in a few days in Key West before hanging up on him.

Boone has less than five days to save Jackie from herself, but cannot fly due to the threats of blood clots and he can’t drive that distance while local car service says no. He places an ad on the internet and gets a response by someone going to Miami. They negotiate terms of leaving tonight; afterward he learns his driver is the ditz. The road trip has misadventures as time is running out, but also opens up Boone’s heart as he begins to fall in love with his zany neighbor.

Night Driving is a fun zany romance starring two opposites falling in love while on the road. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy the changing relationship between Tara and Boone.

Harriet Klausner

The Mighty Quinns: Logan-Kate Hoffmann

December 27, 2012

The Mighty Quinns: Logan
Kate Hoffmann
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373797394

Ninety-six year old Irish author Aileen Quinn is writing her autobiography of a rags to riches orphan girl making it big; when she asks her assistant Ian Stephens to find the descendants of her older brothers, siblings she never met. Assuming her brothers are dead, Aileen wants to leave her fortune to their children and grandchildren. She learns the youngest Tomas sailed to Australia in 1916; so Ian hires Capley and Drummond of Brisbane to investigate.

In Queensland, Australia, struggling horse breeder Logan Quinn faces bankruptcy. Logan drives to deliver his favorite horse Tally to a buyer. He stops at affluent Williamston Farm where his old mate Ed Perkins the stable manager invites him to stay for a night. Ed lectures him for not letting his boss Simon Grant bid on Tally. Simon’s daughter Lucinda introduces herself to Logan as Sunny. She knows she failed her dad when she flopped at the equestrian event at the London Olympics. Refusing to compete in Brisbane, Lucinda decides to escape her father’s disapproval and pressure by hiding in Logan’s camper. As they travel the continent, the poor hose-breeder and the heiress fall in love.

The latest Mighty Quinns’ series (see Ronan and Cameron) is a fabulous Australian romance starring two wonderful protagonists on a journey of love. Though financially polar opposites, the pair share a deep love of horses and soon of each other. Readers will look forward to more tales of Aileen’s relatives as the nonagenarian who has always felt alone for over nine plus decades has found family.

Harriet Klausner

Ever After-Kim Harrison

December 26, 2012

Ever After
Kim Harrison
Harper Voyager, Jan 22 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9780061957918

Elf Trent Kalamack’s top security expert, Quen Hanson wants to hire witch-demon Rachel Morgan to protect his employer so he can spend quality time with Ceri and their babies (Lucy and Ray). Though she knows she desperately needs the money, Rachel declines the offer due to her bi-polar history with the mogul.

The ley line Rachel created is rapidly eroding the demon Ever After realm. At the same time, Rosewood syndrome infected children start vanishing with Rachel as the only suspect after the ley line disaster; while an insane extremely powerful demon abducts Ceri and Lucy. With no choice, Rachel teams up with Trent and Quen to prevent the end of the demonic realm (and her life) and rescue the security expert’s family while betrayal awaits their efforts.

The latest Hollows urban fantasy (see A Perfect Blood) is a great entry that series fans will relish as the transition to the end game countdown has begun. Filled with action and numerous exciting subplots containing a sense of pending doom (including Rachel’s convoluted AFU personal life and insight into the demon-elf hostilities), the Hollows readers will enjoy this thriller.

Harriet Klausner