Archive for the ‘Contemporary Romance’ Category

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale-Sandra D. Bricker

May 29, 2013

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale
Sandra D. Bricker
River North, May 15 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780802406286

In the enchanted village of Cincinnati, BFFs since childhood Julianne and Will are legal partners. Whereas she is pleased with their personal buddies’ relationship, he has loved her seemingly forever. With every man she dates, his heart breaks but he remains silent about how he feels.

At a near multiple car crash where she almost played caboose, Jules notices a hunk who she believes is her Prince Charming. He leaves before she can exchange contact information, but she picks up his toolbox and a boot that fell off his vehicle. Jules begins her quest for her charming “Prince” Paul while her desperate partner decides that “where there’s a will there’s a way to his beloved’s heart at the Bar Association gala.

This is an engaging contemporary version of Cinderella with the twist that sometimes you look so hard for the image you fail to see the gallant knight riding a ten speed bike. Although Jules comes across as too pathetic, readers will enjoy this modern day fractured fairy tale romance that pays homage with chivalrous puns to Jay Ward.

Harriet Klausner

A Step of Faith-Richard Paul Evans

May 24, 2013

A Step of Faith
Richard Paul Evans
Simon & Schuster, May 7 2013, $19.99
ISBN: 9781451628296

Advertising executive Alan Christoffersen left Seattle when his beloved wife died and his partner Kyle Craig destroyed their business leaving the grieving widower with nothing but a need to get as far away as he can from the Pacific Northwest. His goal was to walk to Key West.

Alan awakens in a St, Louis hospital after falling unconscious on a roadside. He finds out that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor; so heads to Los Angeles for treatment. There his father, his loyal former employee Falene, and Nicole who nursed him after a mugging in Spokane are there for him, but he drives them away as Alan reflects on his life while pondering whether he should give up as he feels like a failed Job or continue his trek until he realizes what he lost.

The fourth Walk saga (see The Walk, Miles to Go and The Road to Grace) is an entertaining entry as Alan realizes what he wrought with his caustic behavior towards those who love him. Except for a visit to a cult that slows down the pacing, for the most part this is a strong character driven tale; as each step on the journey requires faith if the protagonist is to refill his spiritual void.

Harriet Klausner

The Rule-Breaker-Rhonda Nelson

March 24, 2013

The Rule-Breaker
Rhonda Nelson
Harlequin Blaze, Mar 19 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373797479

In Mosul, Army Ranger Micah Holland commits suicide after watching the enemy sends pregnant women with explosives strapped on them to enter a hospital. Captain Eli Weston watches his best friend die.

Eight months later, a still haunted Eli heads to Micah’s hometown of Willow Haven, Kentucky for a memorial service, he does not want to attend as he concealed the truth about how his buddy died. Still for Micah and his loved ones, Eli attends the dedication. Eli also fears seeing Micah’s former fiancé Shelby Monroe after they shared a kiss that never should have happened while also shaking their souls. Eli’s plan is to avoid Shelby as he has enough guilt from that kiss. However, Shelby knows the truth as to what happened to Micah in Iraq as someone else told her with accusatory letters blaming her for her ex killing himself.

This Uniformly Hot! military romance (see Letters from Home) focuses on the aftermath of a soldier taking his own life after witnessing inhumane horror; soldier and veteran suicides are major problems for society (not just the military). Character-driven with less heat than usual in a Blaze, readers will appreciate Rhonda Nelson’s strong look at honoring a fallen brother in arms by hiding the truth from his family.

Harriet Klausner

Her Man In Manhattan

March 23, 2013

Her Man In Manhattan
Trish Wylie
Harlequin KISS, Mar 19 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207114

NYPD Vice Detective Tyler Brannigan leads the daughter of Mayor Kravitz, Miranda, out of a club being raided by the cops as the tabloids would have a field day with her arrest. He fulfills his duty when he kisses her to keep two of his peers from taking her to a cell.

Miranda knows she must behave especially since her dad is considering a run for governor, but rebels over constantly being in the fishbowl and having no time of her own. To his chagrin, Brannigan is assigned personal protection duty of the brat when he prefers investigating major crimes. Though attracted to the cop especially after the kiss that also shook his core; Miranda has plans to elude her jailer through seduction; while he will use cuffs if needed to keep her grounded though his thoughts have better uses.

Her Man In Manhattan is a fast-paced bodyguard romance starring seemingly two opposites though both share in common rule-breaking; an asset they will need if the pair is to make it. With a nod to the movies First Daughter and Chasing Liberty, readers will enjoy this contemporary although Miranda acts more like an out of control teen than an adult.

Harriet Klausner

Driving Her Crazy-

March 22, 2013

Driving Her Crazy
Amy Andrews
Harlequin KISS, Mar 19 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207091

In Sydney, photojournalist Kent Nelson shocks Sunday On My Mind magazine editor Tabitha Fox when he informs her he would like to drive a few thousand kilometers across Australia to take photos. Tabitha believes the freelancer has not taken a picture since the accident in Afghanistan. Still she agrees to the Outback photos and a feature on renowned artist Leonard Pinto whose nudes of ballet dancers are considered national treasures; the catch being the recluse demands journalist Sadie Bliss be included in his exclusive though the editor cannot explain why he wants this rookie.

Neither Kent nor Sadie wants three days on the road with their new companion. He thinks she is a curvy green groupie while she thinks he is a pretentious brooding hunk. As they cross the continent, the dysfunctional couple share lust that soon turns into love, but neither trusts the other. Sadie knows her road buddy hides something that shattered his equilibrium though she conjectures that it ties to his work; while Kent wants to know what her relationship with Pinto is that she hides from him though he conjectures what that must have been.

Driving Her (and him) Crazy is a fabulous amusing Australian romance that deftly uses the Outback as a wonderful backdrop. The protagonists with their flaws and fears, and the support cast (including the Outback) are fully developed as Amy Andrews provides a fun road with serious undertones.

Harriet Klausner

You’re Still The One-Janet Dailey, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Elizabeth Bass

March 19, 2013

You’re Still The One
Janet Dailey, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Elizabeth Bass
Zebra, Mar 5 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420124194

“The Apple Orchard” by Cathy Lamb. The injury Allie Pelletier suffers sends her to the emergency room. The physician is the love of her life Dr. Jace Rios, who wants a new chance with her but Allie knows there is no second chapter for them.

“A Kiss Before Midnight” by Mary Carter. Over two decades ago, then sixteen year old Rebecca Ryan spent the best and worst night of her life with musician Grant Dodge in New Orleans where she also was cursed. Now she seeks the father of her son in order to remove the curse.

“Romeo & Juliet … and Jane” by Elizabeth Bass. A decade ago, Jane Canfield and Roy McGillum were a couple, but eventually ended their relationship. When Roy returns home, he and veterinarian Jane recall their performances as Romeo and Juliet in a school production. As Roy asks: “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, (and Jane) is the sun;” that is if she agrees to be his forever Juliet with a happily ever ending to their drama.

“The Devil and Mr. Chocolate” by Janet Dailey. In Santa Fe gallery owner Kitty Hamilton feels like a serial spouse as she has three divorces to her name and is engaged to number four, Belgian chocolatier Marcel Boulanger. However husband number one Sebastian has plans to be Kitty’s mate for the rest of their lives and no sweet “Muscles from Brussels” (apologies to Jean-Claude Van Damme) will stand in his way.

These are four engaging second chance at love romances starring wonderful protagonists though the relationship gap is underdeveloped.

Harriet Klausner

Back Where She Belongs-Dawn Atkins

March 18, 2013

Back Where She Belongs
Dawn Atkins
Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 5 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373718412

The car accident left her father dead and her beloved older sister Faye in the hospital comatose. Business consultant Tara Wharton left a meeting in San Francisco to come home to hold her sister’s hand just like Faye used to do when they were kids. Adding to her fears is something felt wrong with how Faye’s husband Joseph Banes, CFO and number three person at Wharton Electronics (after his wife and father-on-law) told her the bad news.

She and her high school boyfriend Dylan Ryland reconnect though she never forgot how he chose his father’s company over attending college with Tara and that their families were at war back then and remain hostile. The pair looks into the fatal accident even as each knows they still love the one that got away.

This is a strong family drama with a deep mystery enhancing the business rivalry and the romance. Fast-paced from the opening heart wrenching scene of the siblings at the hospital until the climax, fans will wonder what happened as Dawn Atkins provides a terrific contemporary in which the heroine learns you can go home if love greets you.

Harriet Klausner

Maybe This Time-Joan Kilby

March 18, 2013

Maybe This Time
Joan Kilby
Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 5 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373718399

Two years ago in Melbourne, Australia little Holly dies in an accident. Her grieving parents Emma and Darcy Lewis are filled with guilt over their baby’s death; leading to their marriage dissolving.

Encouraged by his two best friends to take some R&R after nonstop work since the traumatic tragedy, Darcy goes on a singles cruise where he runs into Emma. Still deeply in love with each other and in spite of their remorse, the couple succumbs to the attraction and shares a night of sex. Emma becomes pregnant and plans to raise her child alone as Darcy never believed he was a good father to Holly. However, after giving birth to Billy, Emma becomes ill. Darcy must step to the plate and take care of his beloved ex-wife and his cherished infant though he never did so with Holly.

This is a deeply emotional second chance at family contemporary drama. Putting aside the odds of the lead couple going on the same cruise, readers will root for the fully developed lead couple and their newborn to make it as a family.

Harriet Klausner

First Time For Everything-Aimee Carson

March 17, 2013

First Time For Everything
Aimee Carson
Harlequin KISS, Feb 19 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207046

Miami Assistant U.S. District Attorney Blake Bennington leaves the courthouse distracted wondering why he rejected the come-on of beautiful classy Sara. Not paying attention to where she is going, music therapist Jacqueline “Jax” Lee accidentally plows into Blake. She apologizes to the suit who thinks she barely is old enough to vote. Jax and others are arrested when they do a flash mob dance number at the courthouse in an effort to raise public awareness that The Teen Center’s music program funding was severely cut.

She calls her law student friend Nikki Bennington, who asks her brother Blake to bail Jax out of jail. Blake hires downsized Jax to help his sibling as her live-in caretaker as Nikki wears a long leg cast. As Blake the contained one and Jax the free spirited one fall in love, both ponder the age old question of boxer vs. brief.

This is a humorous entertaining opposites attract romance starring two fully developed protagonists whose mutual lust has both of them reeling so each hides behind a war of the words. Although the key support cast (his mom and sister, and the Teen Center) never seems fully developed, readers will relish the gender combat between the suit and the free spirit.

Harriet Klausner

The Taming Of A Wild Child-Kimberly Lang

March 17, 2013

The Taming Of A Wild Child
Kimberly Lang
Harlequin KISS, Feb 19 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207053

In New Orleans, socialite Lorelei LaBlanc knows she has the reputation polar opposite to her sister Vivi; held in high esteem as a paragon of how the affluent should behave. As her sibling marries Connor Mansfield and about to on her honeymoon (see The Downfall of a Good Girl), Lorelei vows to change her well-deserved image of being the wild girl into a good girl.

The morning after her sister’s wedding, Lorelei wakens with a horrific hangover and mortified that journalist Donovan St. James shares the bed with her. She thinks back to the tequila and its aftereffect as she cannot recall the tryst while he knows every inch of their coming together. As Lorelei muses in horror over the first day of her makeover with a tabloid reporter, she tells him no more, but instead the pair begins an affair. As they fall in love, Lorelei chooses her makeover image over her lover.

The second LeBlanc sister romance is a fun matching of a tabloid favorite and a tabloid reporter. Fast-paced from the moment Lorelei wakes up to realize she still is the wild child with her prime regret not knowing how good or bad it was. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted contemporary.

Harriet Klausner