Archive for February, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance-Aimee Carter

February 28, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance
Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen, Feb 26 2013. $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210671

Kate Winters spent the nine months of her pregnancy in captivity. For most of her incarceration, her beloved Henry was led astray by Walter and Ava to believe Kate accompanied James searching for the missing Rhea. Kate believes her Henry finally knows the truth re her fate. Everyone seemingly wants the unborn as perhaps the most powerful being ever since Cronus the Titan claims the fetus is his (though Henry sired the child) and the Queen of the Gods Calliope makes sacrificial plans for Kate’s baby once born.

Kate knows she can do nothing against either super God as Calliope takes away her newborn Milo. Cronus offers her a deal he knows that she cannot refuse. He will spare her and her newborn Milo and limit human collateral damage in the war of the gods if she pledges her total loyalty to him. She understands the cost of committing to Cronus means Henry, her mother and the Gods will die; failure to pledge means Milo is gone forever and she, much of mankind and her loved ones will probably die.

The final Goddess Test urban fantasy (see the Goddess Test and Goddess, Interrupted) is a strong twisting ending to a fabulous series as a distraught Kate finds herself caught between the love of her family and saving the world by self-sacrifice. Fast-paced and loaded with action, fans of the trilogy will enjoy the final confrontation though they will question Kate’s terrible decisions even factoring in the protagonist’s Olympus levels of stress and depression. Still Aimee Carter provides an engaging end to an entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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Angel’s Gate-P.G. Sturges

February 28, 2013

Angel’s Gate
P.G. Sturges
Scribner, Feb 26 2013, $27.00
ISBN 9781476712970

In Los Angeles, former cop and now a fixer, Dick “The Shortcut Man” Henry works odd cases using any means including peeing on a barred lawyer’s plant to obtain satisfaction for his clients and a fee for services for him. Producer Melvin Shea supplies cocaine and wannabe actresses like Rhonda Carling to Ivanhoe Studios chief Howard Hogue. Vicious Director Eli Navaria thrives in this den of inequity where he can get away with abusing women. Meanwhile Ex-marine Devi Stanton watches over the young starlets as the housemother. She needs help with a nasty situation so turns to the Shortcut Man to clean the mess.

Ellen Arden has not heard from her sister in years. She hires the Shortcut Man to find her missing sibling. The cases intertwine with a questionable death on a boat several years ago.

The latest Shortcut Man caper (see The Tribulations of the Shortcut Man) is an enjoyable Hollywood studio system satire. The engaging storyline is fast-paced with plenty of humor (including some gross smelly slapstick) yet with a serious undertone involving the abuse of power of the naïve ambitious and those in charge deem that satisfying.

Harriet Klausner

One Night With A Cowboy-Cat Johnson

February 27, 2013

One Night With A Cowboy
Cat Johnson
Kensington Brava, Feb 26 2013, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758285386

Dr. Becca Hart loses her assistant English professor position at Vassar at the same time her boyfriend moves out. A month after the seminar ended she remains unemployed with the only vacancy at Oklahoma State University. She tells her sibling Emma she will not apply. OSU English Department Dean Mark Ross asks Becca to come to Stillwater for an interview. Emma submitted her résumé. The sisters travel to OSU. The sisters attend the rodeo and meet bull riders Tucker Jenkins and Jace Mills. Divorced army sergeant Tucker and Becca are stunned by their attraction. The foursome goes back to the hotel where Becca and Tucker take out a room.

Becca teaches at OSU while Emma returns home. Dean Ross hosts a part welcoming Becca. On the faculty, Tucker attends. Both are stunned to see each other. He is upset as she never told him she interviewed for a job and she with his not mentioning the military. Tucker’s superior officer warns him of the non-fraternization rule. Still each agrees to become friends with benefits until he volunteers to return to Afghanistan so she would not be fired.

The latest Oklahoma Nights Romance (see Two Times as Hot and Three Weeks with a Bull Rider) is a fun military academic romance in which the attraction at first sight is deftly handled as each protagonist is fully developed. The rodeo scoring rules and ROTC training are deftly interwoven into the engaging plot due to a solid support cast. Although his logic for volunteering to serve in Afghanistan seems crazy and affirms the lead couple’s somewhat infantile behavior, readers will enjoy One Night (and many more) With A Cowboy.

Harriet Klausner

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days-Saranna DeWylde

February 27, 2013

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days
Saranna DeWylde
Kensington Brava, Feb 26 2013, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758269171

Irate Falcon Cherrywood believes his punishment does not fit the crime. He admits he shot that pest Cupid in the butt with a fireball, injuring the pink-winged angel. However, he feels replacing Cupid is cruel and anti-angelic punishment since he does not believe in love. To make matters worse, he also is assigned Parole Officer duty.

His criminal is Drusilla “Tally” Tallow, who was sentenced for ten days for knocking the temporary love angel off his broom out of frustration of always finding love in the wrong places with the worst heavenly misanthropes. As Falcon and Tally fall in love, she fears the replacement Cupid will prove a pain in the ass; she’s just not sure whose.

The latest amusing “How to … in 10 Days” romantic fantasy (see How to Marry a Warlock in 10 days) is an amusing madcap tale. A lighthearted frolic, fans will laugh at the antics of Tally and Falcon; as each has strong reasons to ignore their attraction.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight Blue-Light Special-Seanan McGuire

February 27, 2013

Midnight Blue-Light Special
Seanan McGuire
DAW, Mar 5 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407926

Though generations of her family have studied the Cryptid population and kept these “monsters” safe from the humans and visa-versa, cryptozoologist Verity Price is not a chip off the DNA block as she prefers ballroom dancing. However, Verity still proves Price blood flows through her veins when she came to Manhattan to competitively dance only to get sidetracked with the family vocation due to the snake cult (see Discount Armageddon). Still her recent caper led her to meet her maybe boyfriend Dominic De Luca although it is a star-crossed relationship as he is a monster-hunter for her family’s enemy the Covenant of St. George.

Dominic warns Verity that his bosses are coming to New York to inspect the progress he made in species cleansing and to finish the eradication of the Cryptid species from Manhattan. Putting aside her love of dance, Verity needs to prevent a bloodbath by concealing the monsters from the hunters including a traitorous blood relative seeking vengeance.

The superb second InCryptid urban fantasy is an incredibly fast-paced New York tale that except for an intrusive sidebar involving a psychic cousin never slows down as monsters, protectors, hunters and collateral damage humans converge for a Manhattan Midnight Blue-Light Special. Verity adds humor with her asides as she tries to keep a bloodbath from overwhelming the city. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this faster than the speed of light thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Seal Team Six: Hunt The Scorpion-Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo

February 25, 2013

Seal Team Six: Hunt The Scorpion
Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo
Mulholland Books/Little Brown, Feb 19 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316209601

Thirty-five miles off the coast of East Africa in a busy sea lane frequented by foreign vessels, prates hijack the MSC Contessa as the ship headed to the Island of Suqutra. Captain Jake McCullom feels guilt for bringing his wife Tanya on this voyage because he concealed the dangerous risk from her.

SEAL Team Six assault leader Warrant Officer Thomas Crocker and his unit who wait for the CIA sent drone in the middle of al-Qaeda held territory in South Yemen when the mission is abruptly aborted. They were contacted and flown to the USS Carl Vinson where he learns his new mission has higher need to know priority. Pirates captured the MSC Contessa, which contained yellowcake as part of the cargo. Securing this war grade uranium before terrorists obtain it has become their task; rescuing the hostages is acceptable as long as that does not impede their obtaining the radioactive material.

The latest Seal Team Six thriller (see Hunt The Wolf) is an exciting action-packed tale from the opening hijacking to the final confrontation. Though incredibly fast-paced, readers also obtain a deep look at how complex and convoluted (outside of Congressional sound bite hearings) foreign policy is even working with allies. Fans of high octane thrillers will enjoy this Seal team Six adventures as plausibility coming from political considerations interfering with mission accomplished and blood flowing from the heroes make for an enjoyable adrenaline ride.

Harriet Klausner

Three Sisters-Susan Mallery

February 25, 2013

Three Sisters
Susan Mallery
Mira, Feb 26 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778314349

Besides humiliation and pain of standing alone at the altar in front of 300 friends and family including both moms, Andi Gordon is also left paying the bills and returning the gifts. Thus three months later, Andi decides she needs a major makeover so buys one of the Queen Anne historical “Three Sisters” houses on Blackberry Island in Puget Sound with plans to open up a pediatric practice in her new home.

She meets her neighbor artist Boston King, whose husband Zeke she already met. Boston and Zeke struggle to move on after the death of their baby, but increasingly they appear to be moving on separately.

Also residing in one of the Three Sisters’ homes are Deanna Phillips, her husband Colin and their five daughters. Deanna fears Colin is having an affair. When she confronts him, he confesses but blames her; sadly she agrees with him.

The return to Blackberry Island (see Barefoot Season) focuses on three women with emotional issues bonding like the Three Musketeers with each believing in “All for one, one for all” mantra; as the trio knows they have “sisters” who have their back during their personal crisis. The ensemble cast is fully developed due in part to the rotating storyline and mostly because of the “Three Sisters” sharing their tsuris with each other and readers.

Harriet Klausner

The Garden of Stones-Sophie Littlefield

February 25, 2013

The Garden of Stones
Sophie Littlefield
Mira, Feb 26 2013, $14.95
ISBN 9780778313526

In 1978 San Francisco, someone murders fifty-nine year old Reginald Forrest in his office near his gym in the basement of the De Soto Hotel. SFPD Inspector Torre visits Forrest’s acquaintance Lucy Takeda as a witness placed someone who looks like her with her pink scarred face at the gym when the murder occurred. Lucy admits knowing the victim over three decades ago.

Lucy tells her upset daughter Patty about what happened to her when she was fourteen and to her mom Miyako. Her father just died when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans were taken to internment camps. Mother and daughter went to Manzanar Relocation Camp run by ruthless George Rickenbocker, who rapes and impregnates Miyako. When he targeted Lucy, a distraught Miyako scarred her daughter’s beautiful face to try to keep the guards from raping her child. She then kills Rickenbocker and herself.

Rotating between the 1978 mystery and the WWII internment in the California desert, Garden of Stones is a deep historical that shines a timely spotlight on a dark period in American history; the terrible mistreatment of American citizens rationalized by homeland security needs. The three generations of Takeda women are fully developed with Lucy connecting family and eras. Although Rickenbocker is stereotyped as a ruthless individual, he also brings a belief that the interred are not real Americans so are subject to abuse. Readers will relish this profound storyline as one must “Never Forget” the heritage horrors caused by “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one” (Benjamin Franklin).

Harriet Klausner

Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria-Diane Kelly

February 24, 2013

Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria
Diane Kelly
St. Martin’s, Jan 29 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250023063

Treasury Department Criminal Investigation Team field operatives Tara Holloway and Eddie Bardin share a great partnership though they are total opposites. He is a married suburban dad who knows the difference between a metaphor and a simile, and a near extinct African-American Republican; she is a single white inner city woman who is the one person education left behind. However, when it comes to catching tax cheats, they are the best (see Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte; and Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure).

Tara toasts the destruction of the “Deduction Diva” especially after the cheat kneed Eddie so that his wife will be celibate for a while. The remaining three frauds involve a retired incompetent IRS auditor the “Tax Wizard”, and the owners of Beauregard Financial services and Bulls-eye Taxidermy and Tax Processing. At the office, her associates look for love at the online Big D Dating Service. She can deal with her boss “The Lobo” and the virgin Josh going on line for a date, but not her secret attraction for bad-ass Senior Special Agent Nick Pratt even if she has Brett in her life. Eddie and Tara are assigned to the most dangerous death and taxes case yet; working with CIA agents Zardooz and Wang to take down the financiers of terrorists.

The latest Tara Holloway Death and Taxes thriller is an engaging suspense with the heroine’s asides adding humor. The storyline is fast-paced while the CIT officials bring depth and jocularity to the mix. Fans will enjoy the antics of the fastest gun in the IRS as she deals with terrorists, ball-busters and obtaining a perfect Peach Sangria.

Harriet Klausner

All He Ever Desired-Shannon Stacey

February 24, 2013

All He Ever Desired
Shannon Stacey
Harlequin HQN, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373777563

After graduating from college, Ryan Kowalski fled his hometown of Whitford, Maine when the love of his life Lauren married his best friend Dean Carpenter. The couple divorced eight years ago after she caught him cheating; their sixteen year old son Nick lives with Lauren who works as the office assistant at Demarest Insurance.

After years away from town, Ryan returns to help his family renovate their Northern Star Lodge. When he catches teenager Nick vandalizing Kowalski property, Ryan must confront the woman he loved and lost. They agree to allow Nick working for Ryan to pay for the damage he caused. Both remain attracted to one another, but each is wary of a relationship. At the wedding of his brother Mitch and Paige (All He Ever Needed), she takes the risky first step.

The latest “Killer” Kowalski contemporary romance (see Yours To Keep and Exclusively Yours) is an enjoyable third chance at love tale (he unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to take her then infant and go away with him). The storyline is the usual warm madcap mania as the extended Kowalski brood celebrates a wedding in their boisterous style. However, the key to this entertaining entry is the pace as Ryan and Lauren take their time to regain trust and faith in love.

Harriet Klausner