Archive for April, 2013

Amity and Sorrow-Peggy Riley

April 29, 2013

Amity and Sorrow
Peggy Riley
Little Brown, Apr 16 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316220880

The First Wife, Amaranth did the unthinkable when she fled with her bound to each other at the wrists daughters (Amity and Sorrow) from her husband Zachariah as he did the one thing she rejected. Four days of no sleep constant driving in fear that her spouse will come for her and their kids as none of his fifty wives ever fled the patriarch. The road escape ends in a crash in Oklahoma on Bradley’s farm.

Grieving the loss of his wife, Bradley allows the strange three females to remain on his failed farm though he cannot understand their odd polygamous belief system. Amaranth feels welcome by the farmer; while Amity enjoys the chance to see the world beyond the confining compound; but suffering with stomach problems. Sorrow misses her home desperately. As the foursome forge a family of sorts, each struggles with a faith that is tested by the others.

Amity and Sorrow is an intriguing look at the effect of a polygamous lifestyle on the next generation. The sisters make the tale as their different reactions to the outside world seems deftly genuine as do the flashbacks to life in the compound. Although the fascinating storyline turns too twisting and complex at times; overwhelming the insightful glimpse at what a family and a community is, readers will appreciate Peggy Riley’s deep character-driven novel.

Harriet Klausner

From Ashes-Molly McAdams

April 29, 2013

From Ashes
Molly McAdams
Morrow, Apr 16 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062267726

In California, Ty and Cassie grew up as BFFs. Whereas Ty’s parents are nice and supportive; Cassie’s mom and stepdad are abusive drunks. For the next decade Cassie’s parents batter her, but she made her buddy promise not to tell anyone. Ty leaves for the University of Texas at Austin where he will room with his cousin Gage. Cassie goes with him. When Gage and Cassie meet, they each are stunned by their reaction. He also sees bruises on her body. Ty explains he feared leaving her behind with her abusive parents.

Gage feels protective of Cassie and lectures his cousin for not interceding to keep his girlfriend safe. Ty shows Gage pictures he took over the years in which Cassie shows no emotion. Ty sees how Gage and Cassie look at each other. When he tries to kiss her, he upsets her. Ty tells Cassie that Gage sees her as a sister and hates chauffeuring her to work like he does every morning. Cassie is upset but drives herself to work, which upsets Gage who likes taking her to her job. Gage tells Ty he loves Cassie. Ty says he loves Cassie too. Eight months since Cassie crushed Gage’s heart when she ended his driving her, he tells his concerned family he loves Cassie but she loves Ty.

Cassie’s resiliency makes her an inspiring heroine as she grows up a victim, but refuses to remain a victim although excessive melodramatic tsuris is piled on her. The key support cast like Cassidy’s BFF, her mom and a cop act out of character at pivotal moments, but fans will enjoy the touching relationship between Gage and Cassie.

Harriet Klausner

Blood of Dragons-Robin Hobb

April 27, 2013

Blood of Dragons
Robin Hobb
Harper Voyager, Apr 9 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9780062116857

The Elderlings human-dragon hybrids reestablish the lost city of Kelsingra so that the young dragons they have pledged to protect can thrive. However, most of the fledglings cannot fly across the river to their new sanctuary, which leaves them exposed. The dying Duke of Chalced needs dragons to live; thus he has hunters stalking the beasts so that he can extract their life sustaining attributes.

Meanwhile the ancient dragon queen Tintaglia also struggles for her life after a vicious attack by Chalced mercenaries seeking blood for their duke. Her followers scream for war against the humans who committed this audacious atrocity. At the same time the Elderlings search for Silver so that the dragons do not lose their memories of their true form especially within a city filled with species’ memories.

The latest Rain Wilds Chronicles epic fantasy involves a vast rotating cast so that the engaging storyline always seems slightly off kilter yet works for those who read the previous entries (see Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons) as the depth makes the world of Hobb seem genuine. Fans will enjoy the confrontation between the good (Thymara), the bad (Chalced) and the ugly (Hest).

Harriet Klausner

Secrets From the Past-Barbara Taylor Bradford

April 24, 2013

Secrets From the Past
Barbara Taylor Bradford
St. Martin’s, Apr 9 2013, $27.99
ISBN: 9780312631666

Thirtyish Serena Stone chose to follow her dad’s dangerous occupation as a photo-journalist rather than her late mother the actress. After working in the Middle East for several years and with the death of her hero her father in France, Serena feels burned out and decides to go to New York to grieve and to honor her father by writing his biography.

However, Serena revises her plans when she finds out that her ex-lover Zac North suffers from PTSD. She travels to Venice to help nurture Zac and persuades him to join her on her paternal homage project. Together they go to her family home in Nice to look over her father’s work. However, Serena is stunned to find information that contradicts what she believed about her and her parents. Needing the truth, she follows the clues to Civil-War torn Libya.

Secrets from the past is an entertaining tale starring a woman seeking the truth though she fears in her case this will not set her free. With a strong cast, especially her father’s boss and Serena’s twin sisters, fans will relish accompanying the heroine and her one-woman man as they investigate a family mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Dangerous Refuge-Elizabeth Lowell

April 16, 2013

Dangerous Refuge
Elizabeth Lowell
Morrow, Apr 9 2013, $26.99
ISBN: 9780062132710

When Uncle Lorne Davis died, LAPD homicide detective Tanner Davis returns to the family ranch in Refuge, Nevada to settle the estate. However, Tanner quickly becomes suspicious of the cause of his late relative’s death as increasingly he believes someone murdered Uncle Lorne and he uncovers several suspects with motives.

One of those who had reason for murdering his uncle is historical heritage protector Shaye Townsend. To their chagrin, each feels a heat hotter than a Nevada desert summer for the other. As they agree to jointly investigate what happened to his Uncle Lorne, they also share intense love-making; but neither wants to acknowledge that love is the impetus. That changes when the diabolical killer goes after Shaye as Tanner willingly risks his life to keep his beloved safe.

Although as much a romance as a mystery, readers will enjoy this exhilarating suspense thriller especially the fabulous climax in deserted Sierra Nevada mines. Fast-paced though Dangerous Refuge never deviates from the expected romantic suspense path, readers will appreciate Elizabeth Lowell’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Daddy’s Gone A Hunting-Mary Higgins Clark

April 16, 2013

Daddy’s Gone A Hunting
Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster, Apr 9 2013, $26.99
ISBN: 9781451668940

Retired Gus Schmidt meets CPA Kate Connolly at four thirty in the morning at her family-owned Connelly Fine Antique Reproductions in Long Island City; where he once worked. An explosion leaves Gus dead and Kate unconscious. While Kate lies comatose and unable to defend herself, rumors abound as to why she met with a former employee before the place was open.

Her sister, fashion designer Hannah, wants the truth, which she believes will exonerate her sibling. Clues lead to the disappearance almost three decades ago of an aspiring actress from Illinois whose attorney brother has just moved to the city and to a two years old cold case murder of a Barnard student.

Readers who can ignore the quadrillion happenchance plot forwarding moments will enjoy this suspenseful tale; as Hannah, bungling her amateur sleuthing endeavor, brings tension to the entertaining storyline; more than the villain and the felonious few abetting the culprit. Though not one of Mary Higgins Clark’s stronger thrillers, fans of the author will want to know what is going on in this exciting mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Chihuahua Confidential-Waverly Curtis

April 15, 2013

Chihuahua Confidential
Waverly Curtis
Kensington, Apr 2 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780758274960

Partners Geri Sullivan and Pepe the Chihuahua she rescued from the local pound drive from their home in Seattle to Hollywood as contestants on Dancing With the Dogs. Geri, used to Pepe never shutting up, listens to her canine friend tell her about his time living in Southern California as a pampered pet of starlet Caprice Kennedy.

Pepe expects to win the dance contest if Geri can keep up with his steps. However, when they go on stage, they are greeted by one of the three judges being dead. A second corpse follows and several canines vanish. While the Washingtonian duo dances together, they also investigate the murders and dognapping.

The latest Barking Detective mystery (see Dial C For Chihuahua) is a lighthearted engaging whodunit as the reality show humor provides a fun counterbalance to the homicides and canine abductions. Readers will appreciate Pepe’s antics as he seems to have a nose for trouble that match paw to hand to the stratospheric levels of tsuris attained by Geri’s boss, private investigator Jimmy G.

Harriet Klausner

Protector-C.J. Cherryh

April 11, 2013

Protector
C.J. Cherryh
Daw, April 2 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407988

The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, eight years old Cajerji celebrates his birthday with his people and select human friends he made. Meanwhile the Assassins’ Guild, responsible for security, is divided with many opposed to Tabini’s rule, preferring traditionalists like Ilisidi and others.

Not knowing who to trust, Tabini asks his friend human diplomat Bren Cameron to work with his aiji-dowager grandmother Ilisidi to protect his child and other guests. Tabini and Bren believe the enemies of the Atevi leader will use the gala to make a deadly statement with both of them, the heir and specific guests as the targets.

The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Intruder, Betrayer and Deceiver) is an entertaining tale with somewhat limited action, as once again C.J. Cherryh deeply develops political and ethnic themes with young Cajerji as the focus of opposing forces with diverse motives. Few besides his father and Ben care about his well-being as most see the lad as a pawn to further personal agendas. Fans will enjoy Cajerji’s happy birthday bash with unwanted fireworks part of the gala.

Harriet Klausner