Sunday, June 30, 2013

Carrie’s Protector-Rebecca York

Carrie’s Protector

Rebecca York

Harlequin Intrigue, Jun 18 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373697021

In DC photographer Carrie Mitchel was taking pictures in Rock Creek Park for Wildlife Magazine when she overheard several men discussing a terrorist plot. She barely escapes. Her wealthy father hires a private firm to protect his daughter. That team escorts Carrie to her meeting with Federal Prosecutor Skip Gunderson as she is to testify against the only one of the gang caught Bobby Thompson.

Bobby’s four allies ambush Carrie and her protectors at a check in point. Quick reaction by security operative Wyatt Hawk saves her life though the other guards are dead. They flee from the deadly ambush, but a safe house proves dangerous and anyone who might help them is assassinated or vanished as Wyatt knows someone high up in the power structure is behind the pursuit; he trusts no one. At the same time, though he fights his feelings, Carrie and Wyatt fall in love.

Though the premise is not new, Rebecca York’s execution is super as readers will appreciate this exhilarating twisting romantic suspense. Fast-paced from the opening salvo, Carrie’s Protector risks his life and his heart to keep her alive.

Harriet Klausner

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island-Michael Phillip Cash

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

Michael Phillip Cash

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Jun 21 2013

ISBN: 9781484196090

Allison Russo dies from cancer leaving behind a grieving family. Long Island Mcmansion realtor Paul struggles with the death of his wife while needing to be there for their children, the teen twins (Jesse and Veronica) and their youngest Stella Luna. Paul suffers from nightmares in which a demon holds his beloved Allison captured; Stella sees and hears her mommy’s ghost; Jesse is filled with rage; and Roni feels alone as she cannot help her twin and feels guilt for feeling glad her mom died after watching her waste away.

Melissa Andrews commissions Paul to sell Stillwell Manor owned by her husband Craig. She tells him that she had the mansion cleaned from the gore caused by her father-in-law murdering his wife before committing suicide. Paul visits Stillwell, only to find blood splattered everywhere; but on a second look sees pristine rooms. He learns that during the Revolution John Wendover and Hannah Andrews fell in love; when she vanished, her father the squire had John hung. Hannah’s picture could have been Allison. As Paul obsesses with knowing the fate of what happened to John and Hannah; he feels solving that will solve many of his present day problems.

Stillwell is a fabulous haunted house ghost story as the widower struggles to help himself and his children cope with the loss of their mother. Although Paul’s difficulty to form a new normal without his mate is well written and adds depth and realism to the characters, it also slows down the exciting haunting storyline. Still readers will relish Paul’s quest to solve the mystery as he believes the truth will set him, his children, his late wife and several other spirits free.

Harriet Klausner

Cobra Slave-Timothy Zahn

Cobra Slave

Timothy Zahn

Baen, Jun 4 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451638998

On Aventine, following the Troft War, Nissa Gendreves, second in command to Governor-General Chintawa, accuses the extended Moreau-Broom family with sedition for providing ISIS technology to their allies the Qasaman Empire. Cobra Lorne Broom provides testimony explaining what happened to Chintawa, Commodore Santores head of a fleet of visiting Dominion of Man warships, DOM Marine Colonel Reivaro and Dorian warship Captain Barrington Jame Moreau.

After completing his sworn statement and answering questions, some very hostile, Lorne, his Uncle Corwin and other family members agree that the DOM seem more interested in the Qasama Empire than what happened during the recent war and control of the five Cobra worlds. Corwin explains he is erasing Qasama information. However, Lorne’s sister Jody knows the location of the Qasama and needs to leave Aventine ASAP. She is too late as DOM Marines abduct her and take her recorder that contains Qasama data. At the same time, their oldest sibling Merrick is undercover trying to destroy a Troft life and death gaming human enslavement ring.

The first Cobra Rebellion entry is an engaging military science fiction thriller as the DOM fleets make first contact in decades with the objectives to annex the Cobra worlds and look into the Qasama. The freedom fighting is fast-paced excitement on land and in space that series fans expect from Timothy Zahn though the enemy leaders are too pretentious in their superiority belief; ignoring the evidence by refusing to accept that century old technology defeated the Troft.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Accidents Happen-Louise Millar

Accidents Happen

Louise Millar

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Jun 25 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451656701

Kate Parker suffers from a severe case of PTSD caused by a series of personal tragedies. On her wedding night to her business partner Hugo, her parents died in a car accident. Other incidents not quite as traumatic occur, but they pile on stress until the next major incident happens when Hugo is murdered during a break in to their home.

Now she raises her ten years old son Jack while struggling with OCD that has her teetering on the deep end. She calculates the odds in every little event like a trucker tailgating her as the next calamity to challenge her sanity. Computing the odds of something nasty happening to her or Jack became an overwhelmingly powerful incentive for their leaving London for Oxford. When she meets Jago Martin, Kate finds a kindred numbers guru. He dares her to face her phobias by her taking on riskier and riskier challenges.

This is a gripping psychological thriller as Kate struggles with OCD caused by her PTSD reactions to a decade of traumas; while Jack the tweener struggles with keeping his mom from going off the deep end. Believability turns questionable as Kate begins to change too easily (even with Jack as her motive) after meeting her guru Jago. Still Accidents Happen is a taut tale with a surprising tense twist.

Harriet Klausner

Saving Laura-Jim Satterfield

Saving Laura

Jim Satterfield

Oceanview, Jun 25 2013, $26.95

ISBN 9781608090785

In 1979 twenty-one year old Bobby Shelby Lee is in Baggs, Wyoming hitching his way Aspen, Colorado. When two deputies enter a truck stop he was eating in, Shelby hitches a ride (after paying for the gas) with a couple heading his way. The cops tail them when a shootout occurs leaving one officer dead, another hurt and the woman hit. Instead of fleeing he stays with the shot cop who tells him he fit the description of an APB. Shelby soon learns law enforcement believes he is dangerous and linked to Bonnie and Clyde who gave him a ride.

Already in trouble for daringly stealing $75,000 and five kilos of cocaine from dealer Tim Tucker, Shelby hides in his grandfather’s remote mountain cabin to elude the law and Aspen’s leading drug trafficker. He struggles to come up with a Saving Laura plan; as Tucker holds her as his prisoner. Shelby visits his neighbor fiftyish Wilbur the poacher who welcomes “College Boy”. Wilbur, Davis the writer and Jaws help him with his quest; while DEA Agent Parker warns him even as he uses Laura as an expendable pawn; and the cops continue to search for him.

This is an exciting Rocky Mountain High thriller with stoic strong survivalists as the good guys, some wannabe cops as the bad guys and a vicious drug dealer and his thugs as the ugly guys. Clearly a rural outdoors tale yet with an underlying romantic premise as Saving Laura is Shelby’s heart's obsession. Readers will appreciate joining Shelby on his trek (along with his eccentric allies and cold-hearted adversaries) to accomplish his seemingly impossible quest for the woman he loves.

Harriet Klausner

Triggered-Elle James


Elle James

Harlequin Intrigue, Jun 18 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373697007

Ever since his wife and child died in a botched kidnapping last year, billionaire Raging Bull Ranch owner Hank Winchester decided justice needed help. He meets with four unemployable former law enforcement officials (Wild Oak Canyon Sheriff Thorn Drennon, Chuck “Big Tex” Bolton, FBI Special Agent Zachary Adams and Austin Police Officer Ben Harding) to discuss jobs at his new firm Covert Cowboys, Inc.

Ben’s first assignment is to protect the new owner of the Flying K Ranch, Afghan war widow Kate Langsdon and her four years old daughter Lily. Kate inherited the ranch from her father Kyle Kendrick whom she never knew. Undercover as a hand, Ben realizes someone wants to run mother and child off the ranch. The current Wild Oak Canyon Sheriff Fulmer ignores the threat in spite of several nasty incidents as drug trafficking is a big business in the area. Though Kate and Lily remind him of his late wife and child, Ben’s first objective to keep them safe and learn the mystery of a key his “employer” also inherited.

The first CCI romantic suspense is an exciting Texas thriller starring two strong protagonists who have in common the loss of a spouse and a too precocious child. Fast-paced from the moment Ben arrives at the Flying K and never slows down until the final confrontation, readers will relish Triggered while Taking Aim on the sequel.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Eye of God-James Rollins

The Eye of God

James Rollins

Morrow, Jun 25 2013, $27.99

ISBN: 9780061784804

At the DOD Space and Missile System Center in El Segundo, California, concerned Director Painter Crowe tells DARPA General Metcalf and key research physicist Dr. Jada Shaw something is wrong with the satellite studying the dark matter that birthed the universe. The vivid pictures transmitted show the eastern seaboard in total ruins from an apparent meteor. Ground control tries to shut down “The Eye of God” satellite, but fails as the IOG obtained an external energy source. The satellite crashes in Mongolia. Crowe and Metcalf agree IOG must be retrieved before the Chinese or worse obtain the satellite.

In Rome, Christian archeology and Vatican archivist of secrets Monsignor Vigor Verona receives an ancient parchment bound in human skin and a skull with eye lashes sent by long dead Fr. Josip Tarasco. Vigor tells his niece Rachel this is The Gospel of Thomas, which declares the end of the world in four days.

Sigma Force Commander Gray Pierce directs part of his team already in Mongolia searching for Khan Era artifacts to retrieves the satellite or what is left of it. At the same time he leads a unit accompanying Fr. Tarasco and his niece into China as DNA testing proved the skin and skull from the ancient tome was once Genghis Khan. They hope to learn why Attila turned away from Rome and why the empire fell anyway. All converge in a sacred home of Genghis Khan.

The latest Sigma Force thriller (see Bloodline) is an exhilarating action-packed tale that smoothly combines an end of the world scenario with quantum physics, and ancient Rome and Mongol history. Gripping throughout, readers will appreciate James Rollin’s taut thriller as the end of days countdown begins.

Harriet Klausner

Sling Shot-Matthew Dunn

Sling Shot

Matthew Dunn

Morrow, Jun 25 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062038029

In 1995 Berlin, Head of Russia’s SVR S Division Intelligence Officer Nikolai Dmitriev loathes every step he takes through myriads of security checkpoints manned by the elite special forces of his nation and the Americans at the abandoned Soviet barracks. When he reaches his destination, Nikolai is the only person in the room of top espionage and military officials who believe the Slingshot protocols are psychotic as hundreds of millions will die. He signs the document anyway. The evil genius behind Slingshot former East German Stasi Officer Kurt Schrieber tells his colleagues that Russia’s greatest assassin Kronos will kill anyone who betrays the plan. To bring fear to the conspirators Kronos shows them pictures of where he has been over the last few days: in their homes.

In the present in Poland all hell breaks loose leaving many dead over a defector. When the protocols are stolen, the signatories fear Kronos as much as they do the one who apparently plans to expose them. Kronos begins the hunt for the betrayer. Also on the quest are several of those who signed the Slingshot protocols; M16 Will Cochrane and his team; a CIA unit with a hidden agenda, and a Mossad operative.

The third Cochrane espionage thriller (see Sentinel and Spycatcher) is an exciting tale from the moment Slingshot is signed and never loses that exhilarating pace. Fans anticipate a showdown between Cochrane and Kronos with the latter the betting favorite as he seems more skilled. However, the other players in this convoluted life and death struggle make for a fabulous storyline reader as they add depth while also keeping the readers wondering who the good, the bad and the ugly are.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lethal Treasure-Jane K. Cleland

Lethal Treasure

Jane K. Cleland

Minotaur, Jun 25 2013, $24.99

ISBN 9781250026941

At an auction in Rocky Point, New Hampshire antique dealer Josie Prescott, accompanied by her boyfriend Ty, bids on unopened abandoned storage units. Also bidding on the units is Leigh Ann and Henri Dubois, owners of a newly opened interior design store. Expecting mostly worthless junk, Josie and the Dubois couple are overall pleased with what they find. After looking over what they purchased, Henri asks Josie to appraise his silent movie posters that he found in one of his units.

The next day a concerned Leigh Ann calls Josie with news that Henri is missing. Later they find his corpse inside one of the storage units he bought. Local law enforcement enlists Josie to help them with the antiques’ segment of the homicide investigation.

The latest Josie Prescott New England cozy (see Dolled Up for Murder) is an enjoyable whodunit made fresh by the insightful nod to the A&E Storage Wars. The fabulous whodunit is engaging, but it is the Storage Wars segue to include the casualty that makes for a brisk entertaining read.

Harriet Klausner

Into The Dark-Rick Mofina

Into The Dark

Rick Mofina

Mira, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315001

Single dad, LAPD Detective Joe Tanner has no time to grieve his wife’s death as he leads a Southern California task force dealing with a serial killer who murdered five people in the area though the culprit has been seemingly dormant lately. With media cooperation, Joe hopes to capture the psychopath soon, but instead this predator taunts him and his team with a message that says the next chosen one to die has been selected so “race the clock ... to save the next victim” from the Dark Wind Killer.

After an abusive childhood, psychologist Dr. Claire Bowen dedicates her life to helping victims like she was. While she is at a fertility clinic as a potential patient, her husband Robert the pilot saves a family from a car fire. When someone breaks into Claire’s office to steal records and a patient vanishes that brings her into the serial killer case, she realizes she knows nothing about her spouse’s background.

Into The Dark is a gripping psychological police procedural although readers will know who the psychopath is early on. The taut storyline is gripping once the fully developed cast (especially the troubled killer as the audience learns why the urge to kill) is introduced as Rick Mofina makes a strong case that the untreated abused child becomes the disturbed adult who can masquerade as a normal (whatever that is) person.

Harriet Klausner

From This Moment On-Bella Andre

From This Moment On

Bella Andre

Mira, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315575

In Napa valley, thirty-six year old Marcus Sullivan owns Sullivan Winery. He looks forward to marrying his girlfriend Jill who he met two years ago and raising a family with her. However, as his brother celebrates his engagement (see The Look of Love), she shatters his dream when he catches her riding Rocco with her face showing no surprise as she expected him. As he stoically leaves, Jill pleads with him to show any passion that he cares.

Pop star Nico wanders the streets of San Francisco after being betrayed and used by her then boyfriend Kenny. She enters a club as twentyish Nicola Harding. There she meets Marcus who thinks she sort of looks familiar but is unsure why; she fails to tell him who she is. They share an incredible night with no thoughts of tomorrow until the morning has each wanting more, but neither act on that urge. Not long afterward, Marcus goes to see his sister Lori the choreographer whose current client is Nico.

The second Sullivan romance (see The Look of Love) is a delightful contemporary starring lead protagonists sharing in common love for their respective siblings. Although ultra-responsible Marcus clubbing seems a stretch and two key coincidences (as described above) bring the couple together, readers will enjoy this engaging entry.

Harriet Klausner

The Newcomer-Robyn Carr

The Newcomer

Robyn Carr

Mira, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314523

In Thunder Point, Oregon single dad deputy sheriff Mac McCain and single mom Gina James are in love, but each accepts their respective children (his three and her one) must come before their happiness. Complicating their efforts to revise their longtime friendship into a committed relationship is Mac’s former wife he has not seen in a decade arrives in town.

Henry "Coop" Cooper Jr. left Virgin River, California for Thunder Point with no plans of staying after inheriting 200 acres of Oregon beachfront property and Ben’s Bar from his late military friend Ben Bailey. He remains in town after meeting Coast Guard pilot Sarah Dupre, single guardian to her sixteen year old brother Landon. They have become an entry, but Sarah conceals from her beloved that she soon transfers to another station and Hank meets a son he never knew he sired.

The second Thunder Point coastal community drama is an engaging contemporary with several rotating subplots that never gels on one main storyline, but looks deep into personal and social issues. The leisurely-paced tale is character driven as much by the teens as by the adults. Virgin River fans will enjoy following the escapades of coastal Oregonians (and recent transplants) though it behooves Robyn Carr fans to read The Wanderer before The Newcomer to know what previously happened to the cast.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Death of a Chef-Alexander Campion

Death of a Chef

Alexander Campion

Kensington, Jun 25 2013, $24.00

ISBN: 9780758268815

Rumors abound that renowned Chez la Mere Denis chef Jean-Louis Brault was going to be reduced to two-star Michelin status. Thus when his corpse is found with a shotgun inside a pre-WWI Vuitton portmanteau purchased by Cecile at the Paris Flea Market, everyone in the gourmet industry assumes he committed suicide as his ego could not cope with the demotion.

Cecile called her friend Paris Police Judiciaire Commissaire Capucine Le Tellier to look inside the portmanteau. The cop thinks a homicide occurred and begins an inquiry. A pretty TV talking head implies Le Tellier is protecting food critics like Lucien Folon who unmercifully assaulted Brault in print and the Commissaire’s husband Le Monde’s Alexandre de Huguelet. Looking forward to shoving the killer’s identity down the throat of the inane talking head, Capucine and her team investigate the death of a Chef.

The latest captivating Capucine Culinary Mystery (see Grave Gourmet, Killer Critique and Crime Fraiche) is an enjoyable leisurely-paced police procedural. The storyline deliciously connects the Elysee Palace with haute cuisine as Capucine and Brigadier-Chief Isabelle Lemercier work the case that ends with a twist of justice.

Harriet Klausner

Evening Bags And Executions-Dorothy Howell

Evening Bags And Executions

Dorothy Howell

Kensington, Jun 25 2013, $23.00

ISBN: 978075825334

In Holt’s Department Store employee Haley Randolph is euphoric after obtaining an events planner job at L.A. Affairs involving a Hollywood charity gala using a Beatles theme. However, her new boss Vanessa Lord wants her to quit, but stubborn Haley refuses to resign though she is under pressure.

Before she can start on the gig, Haley finds the murdered body of the event’s baker Lacy Hobbs; commissioned to create a six-foot yellow submarine cake. At the same time charity auction head Sheridan Adams accuses Haley of stealing a valuable collection of Beatles bobbleheads. Deciding the murder of the Lacy Cakes’ owner and the theft take precedent over the latest fashionable bag; as Haley knows she would not look good in prison garb, accompanied by the proper attire, she investigates.

The latest Randolph cozy (see Tote Bags and Toe Tags, and Slay Bells and Satchels) is a lighthearted zany amateur sleuth as the queen of handbag divas works the case her way. Fans will enjoy the humorous storyline commencing with Haley stumbling over another corpse.

Harriet Klausner

A Rose In The Storm-Brenda Joyce

A Rose In The Storm

Brenda Joyce

Harlequin HQN, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777709

In 1306 Highlands, Margaret Comyn accepts her fate to marry Englishman Sir Guy as arranged by her Uncle Buchan and King Edward. While her brother pleads with her to refuse, Margaret travels to Castle Fyne, her inheritance from her late mother who would have a fit if she knew of her daughter’s pending marriage to the English even to save their clan.

Alexander “Wolf of Lochaber” MacDonald leads his knights to Castle Fyne. There he and his men place the castle under siege. Alexander takes feisty Margaret hostage, but she proves versatile and clever as she escapes though he recaptures her. As their mutual admiration grows, so does their attraction; each know their love means nothing since a relationship would place their respective clans in danger.

This is a strong medieval Scottish romance that uses Robert the Bruce emergence as a backdrop to a wonderful love story. The protagonists are star-crossed lovers with no hope for a future together as readers will enjoy Brenda Joyce’s fabulous historical.

Harriet Klausner

Willowleaf Lane-RaeAnne Thayne

Willowleaf Lane

RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin HQN, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777693

An injury ended Spencer “Smoke” Gregory’s baseball career with the Portland Pioneers. The scandal of his wife’s death drove him and his twelve years old daughter Peyton back to his hometown of Hope’s Crossing where affluent Harry Lange hired him to run the new recreation center for six months.

Father and daughter stop at the Sugar Rush candy shop owned by Charlotte Caine, who hates Spencer. In high school, he humiliated the overweight Charlotte who had a major crush starring him. Spencer is shocked at how smoking hot Charlotte looks. As Charlotte struggles not to fall again for the rogue who broke her heart, she sees how nurturing he is towards his daughter. However this time both fall in love, but nothing will happen unless she lets go her anger towards him.

The latest Hope’s Crossing contemporary romance (see Blackberry Summer and Woodrose Mountain) is a warm second chance at love family drama. Though the premise is not new, the quirky storyline focuses on the three main characters learning love heals all wounds of the heart and soul.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Diet To Die For-Sarah Steding

A Diet To Die For

Sarah Steding

Pocket, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451684681

In New York City event planner Jen Stevens knows working for the Yummy Channel is not the best place for a serial dieter to be employed as cupcakes like those baked by popular Bess Brantwood are scrumptious and those eating it gain weight. Currently Jen works on the hundredth episode of the very popular Bess’s Bakery show, which means dining on delicious carbs while dealing with a diva; an occupational hazard of working at the channel since all the hosts are prima donnas who can cook.

As reporter Callie Rogers and station VIPs arrive for the gala at the bakery, Bess fails to show up and her assistant Giselle “Bess Wrangler” Martin does not answer her cell. Soon afterward Bess is found murdered tossed away like rotting food inside a nearby dumpster. NYPD Detective Philip Franklin leads the investigation into the celebrity’s homicide while Jen and her friends also make inquiries.

The first Skinny Mystery is an enjoyable culinary whodunit that is at its best when focused on the mystery and watching employees count their calories while working at gourmet heaven; ironically low carb recipes are included. Although the stereotyping of the celebrity chefs as divas is an overused sub-genre norm (especially as the murder victim), fans will enjoy Jen’s amateur sleuthing and budding romance with NYPD Officer Alex D’Alby.

Harriet Klausner

An English Bride In Scotland-Lynsay Sands

An English Bride In Scotland

Lynsay Sands

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061963117

Lady Withram arrives at night at Elstow Abbey to take her daughter Annabel home to Waverly for a night or two. A confused Abigail says her home is the abbey as she wonders why her mom has taken her from her bed of fourteen years; in all that time not a word from her family. Mother refuses to answer any questions except her sister Kate is the reason she must come home as her sibling has runaway just before a Scottish laird was coming to marry her.

Laird Ross MacKay has no problems which English Rose will be his bride. Annabel feels more comfortable at the stables than managing a home or sleeping with a man. Ross and his clan find her naive efforts charming and soon accept her as a Scotswoman. As they fall in love, Kate comes home.

An English Bride In Scotland is an enjoyable medieval romance due to the amusing relationship between the lead couple. Although the premise is overused and the protagonists are inconsistent (ranging from brilliant to moronic), subgenre fans will enjoy Lynsay Sand’s humorous historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh-Stephanie Laurens

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068651

By 1837, Mary Cynster is the only member of her generation to remain single now that her sister Henrietta married (see And Then She Fell). Perhaps because she is the youngest, whatever Mary wants Mary gets and she knows what she wants in a mate: someone she can control. Her first choice is gentle Randolph Cavanaugh while her last selection is his rowdy brother Ryder.

Ryder the rake is attracted to contrary Mary who rejects his overtures. However, as he continues his pursuit of her and she remains steadfast in eluding him, their gender war takes a different spin then ether expected when a lunatic goes after both of them. With help from the Cynster clan and their love, Mary and Ryder confront a maniac.

Almost two decades and twenty historical romances later, the Cynster saga comes to a wonderful but sad end with the second Cynster Sisters Duo tale (the family tree and the epilogue emphasizes that finality). The storyline is fast-paced even with the return of much of the extended family though that also can prove distracting. Still fans will appreciate this delightful entry while taking a page out of Mary’s spousal selection playbook by demanding of Stephanie Laurens, Cynster next generation Victorian romances.

Harriet Klausner

All Out Of Love-Lori Wilde

All Out Of Love

Lori Wilde

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062218964

In Cupid, Texas overweight high school student Lace Bettingfield wrote a letter asking Cupid for help with her unrequited love for football star Pierce Hollister. Her love letter ends up in the school paper; leaving Lace humiliated and alone.

Twelve years since Lace’s embarrassment, now in the NFL playing for the Dallas Cowboys, an injury cost Pierce and his team a chance at winning the Super Bowl. He comes home to Cupid to heal. Meanwhile Lace’s grandmother Millie Greenway believes in the Cupid legend with the proof that the prodigal superstar has come home. However, Lace is a non-believer who runs the botanical gardens and wants nothing to do with her former crush who is interested in her. While he struggles with family problems football allowed him to avoid, they begin a tryst. When she lacks money to keep the gardens open, she reluctantly asks Pierce to headline a fundraiser.

The second Cupid contemporary romance (see Love at First Sight) is an engaging heated affair between the botanist and the football player. Although fans will appreciate this second chance romance, too many references into their respective occupations adds humor but detracts from the relationship.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 23, 2013

April’s Promise-Karen Rose Smith

April’s Promise

Karen Rose Smith

Amazon Digital Services, Jun 9 2013, $2.99


Single dad Gabe Chronister thought he could work from his home while caring for his three year old daughter Stephie while the nanny is away on a family medical emergency. The CEO learned how wrong he was.

Gabe’s mother-in-law Winnifred Remmington calls her living daughter April to tell her that Gabe and Stephie need her. Taking vacation time, April heads from her temporary assignment in Los Angeles to Cedar Corners, Virginia to help. She also thinks back to when she dated him five years ago but was not ready to marry so instead fled to Singapore on a one year business assignment. While she was overseas, her late sister Vanessa captured Gabe’s heart. Eight months ago, Vanessa, dying from an accident, confessed to April that Stephie is not Gabe’s daughter. Feeling guilt for her death bed promise not to reveal Vanessa dying secret, April helps Gabe with Stephie even as both realize their attraction remains strong. However, she fears how he will react if he learns the truth and he fears she likes his BFF Nicholas.

The first Forever Love contemporary is a strong tale due to the fully developed cast; as readers get to know what motivated April and Gabe today and five years ago, and though them Vanessa. Fans will appreciate this engaging tale as no one writes family dramas better than Karen Rose Smith consistently authors.

Harriet Klausner

A Time Of Change-Aimée and David Thurlo

A Time Of Change

Aimée and David Thurlo

Forge, Apr 9 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9780765324528

Living on her People’s reservation, Josephine Buck attends classes at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico; works part-time at the Outpost; and is the youngest Navaho apprentice to the Hataaliis medicine man. The Outpost owner Tom Stuart is a kind elder statesman mentoring his devoted employees.

When the revered Tom is shockingly murdered, Jo need to know why and who. Almost as stunning Tom bequeathed the Outpost to Jo instead of his son Ben who comes home from Afghanistan on military compassionate leave to bury his estranged father. Feeling remorse for not reconciling and anger for not inheriting, Ben also needs to know the truth behind his dad’s killing. Having been high school sweethearts almost a decade ago, both wonder how their lives would have been if they remained together as the attraction remains strong. When someone breaks into the Outpost and Jo’s home, she and Ben fear more violence is coming.

While Clah takes a breather, A Time of Change is an exciting second chance at love romantic suspense. The comparisons between Navaho Nation and external law enforcement enhance the strong whodunit while a fabulous twist adds unexpected tension. With a super cast (including the deceased through the filter of the other characters) readers will appreciate Team Thurlo’s entertaining thriller that uses social issues like alcoholism to anchor a fabulous mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Michael's Angel-Karen Wiesner

Michael's Angel

Karen Wiesner, Jul 1 2013

ISBN: 9781300028888

Michael Fremont was a small child when his mother, who made it clear she never wanted him, committed suicide. Over the next decade he bounced around the foster family program as no one wanted him. The last few years he stayed with the Stern family in North Chicago while doing the blackmailing bidding of his foster sister Eliza. However, in two weeks he will leave the system and take his vulnerable fearful BFF LeeAnn Wagner with him. Her mother, accompanied by LeeAnn, spent a lifetime running from her raging husband Samson Oligee who wanted his cheating wife and someone else’s child dead; he is dead so Leeann is free. Meanwhile, feeling unworthy of LeeAnn, Michael panicked when his desire for her seemed out of control. After insuring her safety from her dad, Michael enlisted in the Marines.

After his four year military service is over, Michael returns home a civilian needing to learn how his LeeAnn is. In Peaceful, Wisconsin, Michael finds a much stronger LeeAnn who needed their time apart to blossom. Already in love with each other and both finding solace with the Lord, he prays she gives him a second chance and she prays he takes a second chance. In the darkness looking into Eden, someone else covets a second chance at LeeAnn and if necessary Michael.

The second Friendship Heirloom inspirational romantic suspense (see Clumsy Girl’s Guide To Falling In Love) is an engaging thriller starring two vulnerable lost souls finding each other twice when they needed someone to care about them and coming to God when they needed solace. His angel and her hero come together in a strong tale as Karen “the writing wizard” Wiesner provides another entertaining Peaceful entry.

Harriet Klausner

Darkness Avenged-Alexandra Ivy

Darkness Avenged

Alexandra Ivy

Zebra, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420111385

“Darkness Avenged.” At the Viper’s Vampire Club south of Chicago the paranormal celebrates the defeat of the Dark Lord. Santiago the vampire like others of his species is jubilant that the evil deity was vanquished as destroying a god is not an everyday happening. However, he also rages about his beloved Nefri returning beyond the Veil. Sally the witch gives a dagger to Styx the King of the Vampires that belongs to the traitor Gaius, who did not perish when his boss did. Styx orders Santiago to assassinate his sire who has deployed a vicious plague on the mortals. At the same time the Oracles between St. Louis and Chicago assign Nefri to end the reign of terror an escaped ancient malevolence teaming with Gaius released. Nefri and Santiago join together on their quests.

“Levet.” As a child, Levet’s family rejected him because of his short stature. His powerful mother was so humiliated by her offspring, she tried to kill him. Now, the only gargoyle hero in the defeat of the Dark Lord, Levet returns to Paris to confront the family that rejected him and gain entrance to the Gargoyle Guild with his name on the Wall of Memories. His only allies are Valla the nymph and Elijah the vampire chief as none of his species would defy his mother.

Darkness Avenged is an entreating Guardians of Eternity paranormal romance (see Fear the Darkness and Bound by Darkness) that fans will enjoy although the confrontation pales as the villains are not the Dark Lord (being the act to follow the Beatles on stage). Still this is an enjoyable tale that ties up one loose romance and the Levet bonus short novella is an interesting family affair.

Harriet Klausner

Avenging Angel-Cynthia Eden

Avenging Angel

Cynthia Eden

Kensington Brava, May 28 2913, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758267658

In New Orleans, the Angel of Death Marna awakened in fear and pain as the shifter ripped off her wings. She tells the face that stares at her that she will kill him once she recovers; her rage is unbound against the shifters who tore off her wings. Police Detective shifter Tanner Chance knows Marna could kill with a touch, but is unafraid of her as he has faced many monsters in his life.

Two months after their first encounter, he arrests her for multiple brutal murders, but she persuades him she is not a vicious serial killer. They team up seeking the real predator who cleverly frames the wingless Angel of Death and turns panther shifter Tanner into a fallen rogue cop in trouble with NOPD. On the run and simultaneously in pursuit, Tanner and Marna fall in love.

The latest Fallen angel romantic urban fantasy (see Angel of Darkness and Angel in Chains) is a terrific paranormal thriller as Cynthia Eden’s supernatural Big Easy seems real. Although the overarching premise is a gender changing of the Angel Betrayed theme, the fabulous protagonists make this an engaging storyline as they go from vulnerable and distrusting to confident and loving. Tanner and fans will sing the Tavares’ song Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” while playing cat and mouse with a diabolical adversary.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 21, 2013

Seducing the Highlander-Michele Sinclair

Seducing the Highlander

Michele Sinclair

Zebra, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420126518

In 1316 at Caereoch Castle, the laird’s married daughter Raelynd declares that the last man and woman standing in the dance contest must kiss. The game is rigged by Raelynd so that her twin sister Meriel and her husband Creven’s twin Craig are the ones kissing as she believes they are in love with one another but don’t know it. Best friends since their respective twins married, Meriel and Craig kiss. To their amazement they feel passion but each denies it afterward. Both fear losing their camaraderie so they talk in private. Craig declares no more kissing while Meriel feels their relationship is shattered as they knew it. She is hurt because she feels he is not honest about his feelings.

Meriel travels to the estate of Craig’s older brother Conor. Craig’s friend Hamish suggests to Meriel they pretend to be falling in love so as to make Craig and his beloved Wyendo jealous. Craig fears Meriel is falling in love with Hamish. Craig and Meriel kiss and discuss their feelings as each fear they lost their best friend to love. They marry but living together proves terrible as domestically they are opposites.

This McTiernay medieval Highlander romance (see Tempting the Highlander for the other twins’ tale) is a delightful family affair. The romance is built on the refreshing premise of a lead couple becoming BFFs because their respective twins marry but one kiss changes their dynamics. Although the after the marriage final quarter of the otherwise engaging storyline feels like well-written amusing padding, readers will enjoy this historical.

Harriet Klausner

Something Wicked-Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Something Wicked

Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Zebra, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420118483

Tillamook County Sheriff Department Detective Savannah Dunbar remains on the job though eight months pregnant as a surrogate mother for her sister Kristina and brother-in-law Hale St. Cloud. Savvy plans to take maternity leave shortly.

Fred Clausen and Savannah investigate a report of squatters residing at Bancroft Bluff, better known locally as Bankrupt Bluff since the houses began to fall into the Pacific; a place where the unsolved Donatella homicides occurred. The Donatella couple had been business partners in the Bancroft disaster with Hale and his family; the only lead being the red painted message “blood money.” A disheveled man Mickey races out of the building quoting the Bible and believing Savvy is the Mother Mary. At the station, Catherine Rutledge, the mistress of The “Colony” of female psychics residing at Siren Song in Deception Bay, asks Savvy to meet with her while Kristina has doubts that Hale wants the child. Meanwhile over the next few weeks, a serial killer targets Savvy and her unborn.

The latest Wicked Colony thriller (see Wicked Lies) is an exciting action-packed police procedural. The villain Charlie is incredibly wicked and in some ways steals the show from the psychics and the cops. Although Savvy is too strong as her pregnancy that is about to occur any day never slows her down (I averaged a pit stop per page), readers will anticipate her confrontation with Charlie.

Harriet Klausner

The Long War-Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long War

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Harper, Jun 18 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062067777

The Stepping process enabled mankind to cross into a seemingly infinite number of parallel Earths. None of these alternate earths contain human life while the farther you journey from the earth the weirder the planets become. Very few people have the ability to Step out without assistance; those like Joshua Valiente and Lobsang who can are in demand as they create the Long Earth.

Over a million steps from the origin Datum, the colony Valhalla has thrived in spite of the demanding control policies of the mother planet. Rage and frustration spread thought this colony as the Valhallans demand freedom. Lobsang pleads with Joshua to prevent the hostilities from going hot as war seems imminent across the Long Earth. Married to Helen for nine years with a son, Joshua prefers to remain home in Hell-Knows-Where, America, but duty calls especially with the trolls turning mute.

The sequel to the Long Earth is a fascinating science fiction tale that uses the dispute between Colonial America and Mother England in the eighteenth century as the basis for a parallel revolution. The parallel conflict to the American Revolution is clever and as with the first thriller the stepping premise is intriguing. However the anecdotal asides like taking a wrong step are more interesting than the main hostilities storyline.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wild at Heart-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Wild at Heart

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Harlequin Blaze, Jun 18 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797592

In Shoshone, Wyoming Professor Blake Scranton conducts research on Bald Eagle nesting behavior. However, being infirm he cannot study a nest at the edge of the Last Chance Ranch firsthand so after receiving permission from the owners, he hires Naomi Perkins to provide him the data he needs as the key focus of his paper.

Camping in the woods for the past week, Naomi on her camouflaged perch in a tree notices a cowhand under her. She drops her energy drink on him, which has Luke Griffin shouting he was slimed. Bugs attack him even while he admits he came to learn more about her fascinating work. Naomi and Luke are in heat from the moment he takes off his slimed shirt, but soon fall in love. However, Luke is a rolling stone and not even love makes him commit to a person and a place.

The latest Sons of Chance ranch romance (see I Cross My Heart) is a delightful contemporary enhanced by the Bald Eagle segue. Fans will enjoy the romance between the wandering cowboy and the local researcher as her energy drink spills make for a hot love potion.

Harriet Klausner

Free Fall-Karen Foley

Free Fall

Karen Foley

Harlequin Blaze, Jun 18 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797615

Photographer Maggie Copeland knows why she agreed to leave Chicago to run the family’s jewelry store on Whidbey Island; her twin brother Eric and his wife Danielle need a vacation. Still she hates this place after what Philip, a naval officer but not a gentleman did to her a decade ago when he jilted her at the altar for Pam.

While taking pictures of Puget Sound, she needs help to get down from her wet rocky perch. Naval Air Station pilot Lieutenant Commander Jack Callahan assists her. They are attracted to one another, but burned once Maggie fears committing her heart again to a military flyer.

This heated Uniformly Hot! romance engages the reader due to the changing relationship between the protagonists as distrust seemingly overwhelms love in a wonderful unique setting. Maggie and Jack are fully developed lead characters whose hearts teeter on the brink of Free Fall without a safety net if she takes the plunge that he already has.

Harriet Klausner

The Seven-Petaled Shield-Deborah J. Ross

The Seven-Petaled Shield

Deborah J. Ross

Daw, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756406219

The powerful Gelon army has Meklavar under siege. Severely wounded King Maharrad understands the invaders King Ar Cinnath Gelon will not negotiate as he needs the Meklavar monarch’s corpse to frighten the other small kingdoms into surrender. Maharrad tells his wife Queen Tsorreh she is the guardian who must flee with their fourteen year old son Zevaron and protect the te-Ketav heart stone of the legendary The Seven-Petaled Shield that must never fall into the hands of their adversary.

The city is overrun and her husband dead amidst the slaughter. The heir Prince Shorren tries to kill the Ar-King son in a suicide rush. As Shorren dies, Tsorreh and Zevaron flee with the te-Ketav praying they reach her home kingdom. However, the fall of Meklavar releases the Fire and Ice chaos that ancient King Khored and his six siblings defeated so many eons ago when they deployed the Seven-Petaled Shield.

The first tale of a new fantasy, the Seven-Petaled Shield is an exciting tale from the opening fall of the city though the adventures of the mother and son who are separated during their journey. Readers will appreciate this entertaining opening gamut as a critical inventive spin brings an exciting uniqueness to the good and evil quest theme.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Widow Of Conard County-Rachel Lee

The Widow Of Conard County

Rachel Lee

Harlequin Special Edition, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373657520

In Conard County, Widow Sharon Majors has begun to move on after her husband Chet died while serving in the military in Afghanistan. However Sharon realizes her resolve is weak when a limping man arrives. Liam O’Connor survived the war but suffered a brain trauma that altered his life and lost his best friend Chet to the hostilities that changed him even more. Just released from rehab he has come to Wyoming to deliver Chet’s last letter written to his wife.

Sharon sees in the brain damaged Liam a kindred spirit grieving the loss of Chet. She persuades him to stay and work on her ranch while they heal and deal with their grief. As the couple falls in love, both believe Chet would be pleased, but the vet and the widow fear their feelings.

The latest Conard County ranch romance is a superb second chance at life tale in which the protagonists mentally struggle with the personal cost of war. The stress on Sharon is powerful, but it is the incredibly profound look at brain traumatized Liam that brings a timely fresh discernment to the storyline. Readers will appreciate this home front romance.

Harriet Klausner

Hour of the Rat-Lisa Brackmann

Hour of the Rat

Lisa Brackmann

Soho Crime, Jun 18 2013, $25.00

ISBN 9781616952341

Twenty-something Iraq war veteran Ellie McEnroe works as an art dealer in Beijing. She loves her job and the dynamic city she has lived in for three years in spite of the air quality and her always in trouble mother residing with her; but also knows that the Chinese Domestic Security Department (DSD) secret police watch her every move because she is a foreigner who represents political dissident clients.

Two cops bring Ellie is for a spot of tea. Her “friend” John, Zhou Zheng’an and a DSD agent question her about her client Lao Zhang Jianlo. After they are finished for now with her, Ellie limps home on her war injured leg when John intercedes and drives her home. He suggests she leave Beijing for the moment so heeding his advice, Ellie and mom rusticate while searching for the missing American activist Jason, brother of her comrade in arms Dog Turner.

The latest Ellie McEnroe China mystery (see Rock Paper Tiger) is a fabulous thriller that vividly brings to life Beijing and the rural countryside. Ellie is terrific as she tours the country seeking Jason who has a raging business cartel perusing him. Readers will enjoy Ellie’s awesome adventures as she and mom share in common on thing besides DNA: getting into trouble.

Harriet Klausner

The Abomination-Jonathan Holt

The Abomination

Jonathan Holt

Harper, Jun 18 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062264336

In Venice, while people enjoy the feast of La Befana, a fisherman finds a body floating near the Santa Maria delle Salute. Carabinieri Detective Katerina Tapo leads her first homicide investigation into the Abomination desecration as the female victim wore a priest’s garb and had two bullets in her head.

At the nearby U.S. military Camp Ederle, Second Lieutenant Holly Boland searches for missing documents requested by Barbara Holton under the Freedom of Information Act. Boland’s inquiry and that of Tapo intersect at Daniele Barbo’s cyber Venice site As their superiors warn both women not to stray, the two female investigators team up on the murder and vanished documents.

The Abomination is an exhilarating Venetian investigative thriller starring three diligent individuals and obviously Venice. The entertaining storyline is loaded with several mysteries inside one another like Russian nesting dolls as one is solved only to lead to another even connecting to Croatia. Although none of the steadfast lead triangle is dynamic, readers will enjoy Jonathan Holt's tense tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sovereign-Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee


Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

Faith Words, Jun 18 2013

ISBN: 9781599953595

For over four centuries since the release of the Legion virus, the planet has been peaceful under the control of The Order. However, humanity died with Legion as everyone became human Corpses. In 471 since the Legion went airborne, Jonathan was born as the first throwback living human whose blood converted the Corpses into Mortals. Guardians like Rom Sebastian risked their lives to keep the new hope future Sovereign safe, but failed six years ago when Jonathan was assassinated. His most dedicated followers sipped some of Jonathan’s dripping blood and reverted to Mortal.

The Order has defeated most of Jonathan’s followers. The insurgents’ morale is low as their faith is gone since almost all no longer believe in Jonathan’s resurrection; as they originally did when he died. Rom leads a party of forty-nine doubting rebels struggling to survive against the all mighty Order that plans to eradicate them and the Corpses that distrust these living Mortals.

The third Books Of Mortals Christian allegory is an exciting action-packed finish to the symbolic laden fantasy. Fans need to have read Forbidden and Mortal to understand better the imagery (often seemingly vague) references and how the hero and others got to this point. Sovereign is a strong completion of the Circle of life with an emphasis on the color Red for blood.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What the Paparazzi Didn’t See-Nicola Marsh

What the Paparazzi Didn’t See

Nicola Marsh

Harlequin Kiss, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207220

In Melbourne Liza Lithgrow is an elite sportsman’s WAG (wives and girlfriends) in order to pay for the care of her disabled younger sister Cindy. The paparazzi love capturing her with affluent athletes like Jimmy. However, Liz feels good that she has finally made the money needed to insure Cindy’s care for life so plans to become an ex-WAG.

Qu Publishing CEO Wade Urquart and Liza meet and share an incredible night as she celebrates her liberation. The morning after is ruined when they learn who the other is. He wants her to write a scandalous kiss-and-tell autobiography that will save his company; while she learns her investment broker Walden Wren ran off with his clients’ money including her sister’s trust fund. As she agrees to write her story, they fall in love but Liza fears Wade will not see beyond what the paparazzi see.

This is an emotional Australian contemporary romance starring two protagonists with family issues that motivate both of them; as besides caring for her sister, her parents deserted Cindy, and he failed his late father so guilt drives his need to save Qu. Though readers should skip Liza Lithgrow’s “Style Tips for Maximum WAG Wow Impact” which opens each chapter with amusing cuteness that feels out of place, fans will relish this strong passionate tale.

Harriet Klausner

Once is Never Enough-Mira Lynn Kelly

Once is Never Enough

Mira Lynn Kelly

Harlequin Kiss, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207213

Accountant Nichole Daniels wants nothing to do with men after two broken engagements. Her best friend Maeve suggests she should set her up with her overly protective brother Garrett who raised her and three sisters to get him off her back. Nichole declines.

Construction company owner Garrett Carter and Nichole meet with each stunned by the attraction. When she learns he is her BFF’s older brother, she insists friendship only. As each falls in love, no touch becomes impossible while both reconsider their no commitment pledge especially Nicole who believes the third time is the charm though she fears strike three.

Once is Never Enough is an enjoyable contemporary romance though the storyline follows a narrow obvious course. Fans will enjoy the changing relationship between the fully developed main characters with each having doubts to overcome.

Harriet Klausner

Death of the Demon-Anne Holt; Anne Bruce (translator)

Death of the Demon

Anne Holt; Anne Bruce (translator)

Scribner, Jun 18 2013, $16.00

ISBN 9781451634808

Twelve year old Olav is sent to live in a group foster home with seven other children just outside Oslo because his mother could no longer deal with his hideous behavior. The home’s director Agnes Vestavik quickly realizes her newest charge is a troubled tweener, but she apparently underestimates how disturbed he is. Soon after Olav’s arrival, someone stabs to death Vestavik; the prime suspect is Olav who has vanished.

Hanne Wilhelmsen knows she is unsuited for her latest position as an Oslo Police Chief Inspector since the job requires political finesse, sharing information with staff and delegating duties to subordinates; key factors she prefers to ignore. With Detective Billy T., Hanne looks into the foster home’s employees while much of the force search for Olav who seeks his mother. At the same time her longtime partner Cecilie wants them to have a child.

The latest Hanne Wilhelmsen Norwegian police procedural (see 1222, Blind Goddess and Blessed Are Those Who Thirst) is a fascinating murder mystery that provides a powerful spotlight on when the country’s foster child system fails. Action-packed on both her professional and personal fronts as the protagonist distrusts everyone even her lover and her best friend, readers will enjoy this Norwegian Noir.

Harriet Klausner

More Bitter Than Death-Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff; Paul Norlen (translator)

More Bitter Than Death

Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff; Paul Norlen (translator)

Simon & Schuster, Jun 18 2013, $16.00

ISBN 9781451654608

In the Stockholm suburb of Gustavsberg, a man breaks into a home in which five-years old Tilda is coloring under the table. He batters Tilda’s mother and drags her body out of kitchen while a trail of blood follows them. She is witness to her mom’s murder, but she never saw the killer except from far below in her special coloring place.

Two months earlier in Stockholm, as a favor to their college mentor and friend Vijay, psychologists Siri Bergman and Aina Davidson host a support group for abused woman. Kattis tells the participants of her abusive relationship with Henrik. Soon afterward he dumps her for Susanne. Kattis believes the violent Henrik killed his latest lover. Bergman suspects Henrik too until another group attendee Malin provides reasons why she could be the killer.

The second Siri Bergman psychological suspense (see Some Kind of Peace) is an entertaining dark Swedish thriller starring a psychologist who hears the first hand accounts of the brutal side of love through her patients. The profound look into women’s issues should be required reading by politicians, but the depth also decelerates the intriguing intertwining mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 17, 2013

Twin Flames: A Love Story Across Time and Dimensions-Carolyn R. Prescott

Twin Flames: A Love Story Across Time and Dimensions

Carolyn R. Prescott

Outskirts Press, Apr 11 2013, $18.95

ISBN: 9781478715085

Seventeen year old twins Lily and Catrina Johentzen are total opposites except when it comes to the “Annoyance” AKA younger brother. The three siblings and their parents are on vacation in Browning, Montana when they wander into a closed area because the prohibition sign was misaligned. A shard of glass cuts Lily in her forehead. She is rushed to the hospital while over the next few weeks she has vivid visions of someone named Sings to Flowers of the First Nation People. The Wind knows who she is even as a stunned Lily tells nurse Mary Tall Chief about these dreams that seem more like memories especially of her loving Little Bear and having that love destroyed; yet not destroyed as she feels a deep resolve to find her Little Bear.

Little Bear died two centuries ago. He has transcended to the fifth dimension as Ahhatome but remembers his time on the third dimension called earth. Looking at the Record of his time as Little Bear, Ahhatome recalls his love for Sings to Flowers who remains everything to him.

Twin Flames is a fascinating look at a Native American belief system through mostly the filters of Twin Flames united in love. Character driven by the star-crossed lovers and to a lesser degree Catrina, readers who relish something different will appreciate this complex look at eternal spiritualism.

Harriet Klausner

In Thunder Forged-Ari Marmell

In Thunder Forged

Ari Marmell

PYR, Jun 4 2013, $18.00

ISBN: 9781616147730

In 605 AR Llael, war is on everyone’s mind but no one wants to talk about it as the Kingdom Khador aggressively moves into the western front, but that is far away from Leryn. Lyrran, Garland seduces Goodman Lyrran Tolamos the alchemist, but places something in his wine that puts him to sleep. Before he snoozes she questions him about Thunderhead Fortress, the Golden Crucible and Idran di Meryse. Not long afterward, she waits in the cold while holding two vials.

In Llael’s ally the Kingdom of Cygnar, there is shock over what transpired as the formula could change the war in favor of Khador. Sergeant Bracewell and her elite unit, Lieutenant Katherine Laddermore and Lady Dignity Underhurst the spy mount a desperate retrieval mission.

The first Fall of Llael military fantasy is an exciting Iron Kingdoms Chronicles based on the Warmachine game. Players will especially enjoy this opening gamut; while outsiders who appreciate an entertaining espionage military steampunk plot with strong women on both sides of the hostilities will also want to read Ari Marmell’s engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Plague Within-Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

The Plague Within

Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

Grass Valley Publishing, Jun 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781489534521

At Berkeley’s Brier Hospital, the ER recommends surgery for teacher Rachel Palmer as she suffers from a ruptured diverticulum, but afterward the patient continues to suffer from peritonitis, abscesses and other internal problems. Dr. Jack Byrnes recommends surgery again, which Rachel’s husband Tom and her father Richard Clarke reluctantly agree; but her mom Maxine says they should pursue alternative medicine.

Maxine wins the debate as the family insists on using an experimental antibiotic CT 1356. However, Rachel shows a major allergic reaction to the drug that if allowed to continue will kill her. Maxine goes ballistic when Jack decides to end the injections and perform surgery. Meanwhile new staff member Dr. Harmony Lane takes a short cut treating very ill patients like Rachel and Sandy Greer with early stages experimental PAT0075 over the objection of Jack.

The Plague Within is an exciting medical thriller that has the audience feeling we are at Brier Hospital (see The Sixth Sense for a previous visit). With an underlying message of doing full valid and reliable testing, the fast-paced storyline grips the reader as research shortcuts leave patients dying from the cure.

Harriet Klausner

A Man of Indeterminate Value-Ron Felber

A Man of Indeterminate Value

Ron Felber

Barricade Books, Jun 16 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781569804902

In New Jersey, Wall Streeter Jack Madson knew he must die when the SEC indicted him for improprieties. He planned is demise perfectly as he wants to escape his life. After killing himself, Jack leaves behind a non-grieving family he hates; a corporate raider job he hates; a mountain of debt to foster his family’s lifestyle he hates; and illegal selling of intellectual property to the Chinese he loves.

Jack travels to Mexico to begin a new life living off the 2.5 million he made with the Chinese while his wife and daughter would benefit from his firm Nu-Gen’s insurance policy. However, across the border he soon finds himself without a penny as his partner left him with zilch. Needing cash means returning to Wall break into the Nu-Gen biological medical information worth a fortune. While his partner and an insurance examiner pursue Jack with the former wanting to bury him and the later wanting to incarcerate him; corpses seem to follow him too.

This gritty thriller stars a fascinating introspective protagonist whose personal values had been usurped by his adopting the Wall St. bottom line greed value of profit with any cost to someone else as his own. Though one must wonder how Jack the suit survives his new world order; and with a nod to Hugo’s Les Miserable (Jack has his own inspector stalking him), fans will appreciate this dark crime thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Fade To Black-Jeffrey Wilson

Fade To Black

Jeffrey Wilson

JournalStone, Jun 14 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781936564859

In Fallujah twenty-six years old U.S. Marine Sergeant Casey Stillman knows he must remain icy calm so his younger men don’t panic while trapped in a lethal shootout with insurgents willing to die to kill the Americans. He fears he will never see his baby Claire or his wife Pam again, but must get them out of his head so he remains focused on him and his fellow marines surviving.

Jack screams that he has been shot. His wife Pam wakes him from a nightmare that seems so real he is bleeding. Shocked by how vivid his dream was, Jack the science teacher thought he was in combat as a marine trapped by Iraqi insurgents, but realizes he is home with his two beloved girls. However, news coverage of Fallujah frightens Jack who believes he is losing his mind as he knows too much about the marines dying on the streets while also even scarier he believes that his two females are unsafe.

Rotating between the States and Iraq, this terrific taut thriller will haunt readers with its deep comparisons while making a case that most home front Americans invested nothing in the Iraq War not even taxes though our economy eventually paid the price when the credit card came due. Character driven by the two male leads, the exciting storyline keeps the reader guessing as to what is happening to Jack and/or Casey with a terrific climax that brings the intertwined two subplots together.

Harriet Klausner

Stoker's Manuscript-Royce Prouty

Stoker's Manuscript

Royce Prouty

Putnam, Jun 13 2013, $26.95

ISBN: 9780399158551

In Chicago, an anonymous customer hires rare book dealer Romanian-American Joseph Barkeley to travel to London to authenticate and if so bid on the alleged original Dracula manuscript and related Stoker notes that are going on the auction block at Christie’s. A recluse who never got over his childhood in Romania so that he wanted nothing to do with the old country; he knows he and his brother Bernhard were fortunate to come to America to live in an orphanage run by nuns.

Now if the work proves genuine and he wins the bid, Joseph will be coming home to deliver the prize to his Romanian customer. Joseph learns that Stoker planned on including a prologue and an epilogue, but never did and wonders why. He will learn the truth about Stoker, Dracula and his own ancestry when he arrives at Bran Castle in Transylvania with no hope of ever leaving.

This is a super contemporary horror thriller that uses major events of the 1890s to anchor the “parallel” present day storyline. Action-packed from the moment the protagonist arrives in Transylvania, readers will appreciate this modern day conflict between a human and his host as each antagonist finds their true respective inheritance.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stroke Of Midnight-Olivia Drake

Stroke Of Midnight

Olivia Drake

St. Martin’s, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250002099

Over a decade ago, Alexander Ross, the Earl of Copley, accused the father of his fiancée of robbery. Laura Falkner and her father fled London for Portugal.

Laura has returned to London but not as a glamorous lady; instead she is Miss Brown companion to elderly Lady Josephine. She came back to investigate who set up her father ten years ago and who recently murdered him in Covent Gardens while she tended her gardens in Portugal. However, her masquerade is quickly uncovered when Lady Josephine’s nephew recognizes her as his biggest regret losing the fiancé he loved and hurt ten years ago. Both still in love, her inquiry places her in danger while Alexander plans to be there for his Laura.

The second Cinderella Sisterhood’s historical romantic suspense (see If The Slipper Fits) is an entertaining investigative thriller. The lead couple is an intriguing pairing while clues to the identities of the villains are provided yet cleverly difficult to notice as Olivia Drake provides an enjoyable nineteenth century second chance at love mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Death, Taxes, And Hot Pink Leg Warmers-Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, And Hot Pink Leg Warmers

Diane Kelly

St. Martin’s, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250023070

In Dallas, Treasury Department Criminal Investigation Team field operative Tara Holloway learns two things on her recent assignment: do not trust grannies with baseball bats and how hard her head is. Tara must be in court due to her role in the “Tennis Racketeers” tax evasion mortgage fraud.

Her field assignment is undercover at the Guys and Dolls strip joint to uncover unreported income earned from the sales of drugs and sex. Tara relishes this bookkeeping assignment as this may be the only place at this time in which she and Special Agent Nick Pratt can begin a relationship that both want. However someone wanting her dead intrudes on her desires and her ex reenters the picture (or not?).

The latest Tara Holloway IRS criminal investigation (see Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte; and Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure) is an engaging thriller filled with humor and dangerous issues involving unreported income. Ironically, the storyline inductively shows the timeline to bring a novel to print as the reference to Josh Hamilton (bat that Granny used) has him still as a Ranger but he left for the Angels). Fans will enjoy Tara’s latest cases as she works to bring down the sleaze and her relationships at the same time.

Harriet Klausner

Murdock Tackles Taos-Robert J. Ray

Murdock Tackles Taos

Robert J. Ray

Camel, Jun 15 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781603819251

On Angel Mountain near Taos, New Mexico, Matt Murdock tackles hiker Helene Steinbeck just before an arrow flies right where she had been standing. She lands on the corpse of a female while he explains two or three hunters want to make her and now him too their trophies. He shoots both of them. As the pair flees, a spotter makes a call.

He explains to her he is a private investigator searching for friends' missing daughter, Barbi Bellini who vanished without a trace three weeks ago from an artists’ colony in which all of them insist she was never there. A daughter of an NYPD cop, Helene joins Matt on his mission as they are now prey for hunters who seek out the weak in "The Most Dangerous Game" (Richard Connell); while having affluent connections.

The latest Matt Murdock Mystery (see Murdock for Hire and Bloody Murdock) is an exhilarating thriller that grips the audience from the opening shooting sequence to the final confrontation with a vile villain whose amoral behavior is summed up in a shocking coda. With a fast-paced investigation and romance, readers will enjoy the thrilling Murdock Tackles Taos.

Harriet Klausner

Sleeping With The Entity-Cat Devon

Sleeping With The Entity

Cat Devon

St. Martin’s, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312591465

In Chicago, Danielle Delaney plans to open up Heavenly Cupcakes, but the neighborhood business association led by bar and grill owner Nick St. George oppose Little Miss Cup Cake. Danielle cannot fathom why, as Nick hides his real reason from her. He and his clan of vampires want to stay below the radar and she would be the first crack in their concealment.

He tries to compel her to obey his order to leave, but shocking Nick and his clan she ignores his efforts. Instead Danielle uses her red velvet cupcakes to win support, but shocking her no one seems to have a sweet tooth for her sugary concoctions as this group prefers liquid red. As she opens up Heavenly Cupcakes, Nick becomes her protector only wondering who will keep her safe from his desire to taste her.

Sleeping With the Entity is a fun lighthearted vampire romance. The protagonists are a delightful coupling while the support cast is eccentric. The storyline cleverly uses irony to add humor (for instance, Danielle tells her friend that “all the good men are taken … the rest are vampires.”) to an engaging paranormal romance.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Well-Stephanie Landsem

The Well

Stephanie Landsem

Howard Books, Jun 4 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781451688856

In Sychar, teenage Mara keeps her Samaritan family together as her mother Nava is an emotional cripple and her younger brother Asherand is a physical cripple. The villagers treat the trio as pariahs mostly because of Nava’s transgressions including multiple husbands and lovers. Alexandros the pagan visits at times to spend the night with Nava. These escapades frightens Mara as she knows if their neighbors learn of Nava’s nocturnal activities, they will stone her and run her children out of town.

After getting into trouble with the Romans at home in Caesarea, Shem’s parents exile him to live with his grandparents in Sychar. In the village he rescues Mara from three bullies. Meanwhile at the Well, Nava meets Jesus who knows of her sordid past, but instead of judging her as a sinner he welcomes her. Nava changes, but the villagers still treat her with contempt and stone her for her sins. Mara, accompanied by Shem, seeks Jesus, who already left Sychar, in hope her can perform a miracle and save her dying mother.

This is a wonderful inspiring rendition of Jesus forgiving the woman at the Well if she repents as God forgives our sins. Mara holds the storyline together being a victim of her mother’s sins she must avoid confrontation and scandal though Shem is a temptation as she does her best to care for her brother and her mom. Readers will appreciate Stephanie Landsem’s version of Jesus and the lowest class woman at the Well.

Harriet Klausner

Spree-Kristine Kathryn Rusch


Kristine Kathryn Rusch

WMG Publishing, Apr 25 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780615802602

Moira Clarkson drives through the Nevada desert heading to Hawthorne, Nevada in a vehicle that should have been scrapped two years ago. She is accompanied by little Kasey who holds on to her Barbie doll as her only friend in the world. Thirsty, hungry and tired, Moira finds the isolated town disconcerting with bombshells as lawn ornaments, but having lived near Fort McCoy she understands the influence of Hawthorne Army depot and Ammunition Dump though the town is nothing like Sparta, Wisconsin or other military locations.

She reaches her destination, the home of her former Wisconsin neighbor Gary Storvick. He initially does not recognize her, knows the kid is not his and wants her to leave before his wife Jenny comes home to ask questions. However, he soon realizes she is the victim girl he felt sorry for when he lived near Fort McCoy, but still wants her gone ASAP so he plans to give her some money. However, she has a goal that involves allegedly stolen money from the military and the trail leads to Gary.

Spree is an exciting crime thriller that purposely starts slowly, but accelerates as readers realize talented Kristine Kathryn Rusch sets us up with a super spin. Moira is a terrific protagonist who makes Spree a winner as everyone who meets her concludes she is a victim and needs to help her.

Harriet Klausner

Shadow People-James Swain

Shadow People

James Swain

Tor, Jun 11 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765329950

New York City-based Peter Warlock the renowned stage magician is also a real warlock who conceals his psychic skills from the public. He uses his abilities to see into the future in attempts to prevent horrific crimes from occurring.

During a séance he hosts, Shadow People abduct Peter in order for him to deal with Dr. Death, who kills Good Samaritan females. He arrives in the future just as Dr. Death is about to murder his next victim. Returning to the present but shook up by his encounter, Peter concludes that the Shadow People and the serial killer are connected and that the murderer belongs to the Order of Astrum evil psychics who made Peter an orphan years ago when they butchered his parents. With help from his assistant Liza and FBI Agent Garrison, Peter must find the killer before he murders again but is distracted by Rachel the mage.

The second Peter Warlock Manhattan urban fantasy (see Dark Magic) is an engaging paranormal thriller starring an intriguing hero who is not an angel; yet bordering on PTSD, he diligently seeks the serial killer before good people die. The villains are two dimensional or evanescent as they feel underdeveloped, but readers still will enjoy Warlock’s Manhattan (and Pelham) magical mystery tour.

Harriet Klausner

The Man-Kzin Wars-Larry Niven, Poul Anderson and Dean Ing

The Man-Kzin Wars

Larry Niven, Poul Anderson and Dean Ing

Baen, Jun 4 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451639001

“The Warriors” by Larry Niven. The Golden Age’s three centuries of prosperity and peace come to an end when humanity and kzinti meet for the first time as the former are tranquil and the latter belligerent. Shockingly the humans survive.

“Iron” by Poul Anderson. In an undeveloped sector, the humans and the kzin learn of a ship belonging to neither side that allegedly has ancient technology that would give the side that possesses the vessel the edge in the hostilities between the races. Both sides send a retrieval force to Tiamet.

“Cathouse” by Dean Ing. The human Locklear finds himself on a strange planet struggling to survive while the kzin hunt him. When he stumbles into creatures locked in suspended animation, he takes a chance by awakening one. Kit is a female kzin, but not the usual obedient breeding cattle as she lived millenniums before the change.

This is a reprint celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first The Man-Kzin Wars science fiction thriller. Although showing some aging and with flaws (Lloyds of London would have made the kzin overwhelmingly favorites), each tale is fun but very different as Larry Niven introduces the first encounter; Poul Anderson provides a synopsis of Known Space; and Dean Ing writes about a rare sentient female kzin.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Allegra Jackson: Sex, Booze and Designer Shoes-Amelia Benjamin

Allegra Jackson: Sex, Booze and Designer Shoes

Amelia Benjamin

Fanny Press, Jun1 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603815284

In London, Allegra Jackson is the best headhunter for finding talented models. She worked for six years at the Valentina Blackheart Models, but her boss asks her to clean up the messy Los Angeles branch. She agrees and heads to L.A. where she is shocked by how poorly Dominic Rosenberg runs the place although his assistant Atlanta seems willing to learn. She calls her assistant Oliver and tells him to cross the pond ASAP. The two Brits take charge and begin to change the branch starting with reducing the number of models and making those kept high end.

All is perfect in her new Southern California world until Allegra meets realtor Sebastian Beaumont. Always adhering to her love them and leave them mantra, she knows something is wrong with her as she considers a committed relationship.

Allegra Jackson is a unique refreshing lead character who enjoys all types of sex, being a field general in the modeling world, expensive champagne, designer clothing and more sex. The storyline focuses on her lifestyle, which enables the audience to observe how a high end modeling firm operates. The marvelous modeling subplot competes for supremacy with the torrid trysts; although both are engagingly well written as Amelia Benjamin provides an entertaining erotica.

Harriet Klausner

The Center Of The World-Thomas Van Essen

The Center Of The World

Thomas Van Essen

Other, Jun 4 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781590515495

In 1857 art critic John Ruskin rips painter J.M.W. Turner for his vile erotic work. Whereas the critic calls the Center of the World portrait a Jezebel, Turner thinks of her as Helen of Troy though both agree he will end up in hell. Turner thinks back over twenty years ago when he discussed his work at a dinner party his patron Lord Egremont hosted. In 1837, the late Lord Egremont’s son called The Center Of The World “infamous” and claiming it no longer existed.

Contemporary art dealer Arthur Bryce seeks what most people today believe is a masterpiece. The work surfaced in the early twentieth century when affluent American Cornelius Rhinebeck brought Helen from England to his Adirondack lodge. Years later Henry Leiden finds it by accident while closing his late father’s estate.

Based on Turner’s erotic drawings, The Center of the World is a terrific refreshing look at how art impacts people and people impact art with the boundaries of acceptable tastes as to what is pornography changing between generations. Using an imaginary portrait, Thomas Van Essen provides a thought provoking tale of how important and influential art is to society.

Harriet Klausner

The Doll-Taylor Stevens

The Doll

Taylor Stevens

Crown, Jun 4 2013, $24.00

ISBN: 9780307888785

In Dallas, the Doll Maker sends his nephew Valon Lumani to abduct Vanessa Michael Monroe, but warns him to be on alert as this woman can kill with her hands within a nanosecond. He succeeds in snatching her in front of her lover Miles Bradford. At about the same time the Doll Maker also arranges the kidnapping of Michael’s best friend Logan to insure she behaves.

Valon Lumani escorts Michael to Zagreb, Croatia where his uncle the Doll Maker tells their captive she will deliver live merchandise to a customer to repay the debt. A professional killing machine, she does the Doll Maker’s bidding after he shows her a video of a battered Logan. Michael knows the time to repay the debt will come, but believes Miles and his employees need time to rescue Logan.

The third Vanessa Michael Munroe gritty noir (see The Informationist and The Innocent) is a dark thriller due to a sociopathic vile trafficker and a psychopathic heroine dancing a deadly tango. Perhaps the key difference between them is she tries to keep the innocent out of the fight while he willingly, even going out of his way, sacrifices the innocent as expendables. Readers will appreciate the grim The Doll from the opening abduction to the final confrontation.

Harriet Klausner

Shapeshifted-Cassie Alexander


Cassie Alexander

St. Martin's, Jun 4 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312553418

Nurse Edie Spence is depressed ever since she was shunned from working at the County Hospital’s secret Y4 ward. She loved her exciting job especially helping the paranormal patients. Her loss has impacted her brother Jake as the Shadows used their magic to keep his heroin addiction under control, but her unemployment removed the magical protection. Strike three occurs when her mom tells her that she is dying from Stage Four breast cancer.

Edie learns the only way to save her mother’s life is with an infusion of vampire blood. However, she no longer has access to anything paranormal as she is considered an outcast. She applies for a job at a clinic, but Dr. Tovar tells her she in unqualified. As she leaves she gets involved with a shooting victim while thugs are waving guns and a grandmother is praying to Santa Muerte in Spanish; she gets the job where she hopes to find vampire blood as gang turf wars are rampant while her werewolf maybe boyfriend has come home.

The third Edie Spence urban fantasy (see Nightshifted and Moonshifted) is a fast-paced noir as the heroine, who tried but failed to stay out of the fray, needs to jump into the fray. Filled with action and noirish humor, series fans will enjoy Edie trying once again to save her world but as Asher asks who saves Edie.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Never Say Never-Victoria Christopher Murray

Never Say Never

Victoria Christopher Murray

Touchstone, Jun 4 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451695779

In Los Angeles, a fire breaks out at a charter school. Michellee tells her BFFs Emily and Miriam that over twenty children and three firefighters were rushed to the hospital. Miriam’s husband Chauncey and Emily’s spouse Jamal were part of the team fighting the blaze. Chauncey dies.

Miriam mourns her loss while feeling all alone as life without Chauncey is unlivable though she knows she must be there for their three sons. Chauncey’s best friend Jamal grieves deeply too as he struggles with survivor guilt that he lived and his buddy died. Miriam and Jamal find solace in each other’s arms though if Emily, counseling the survivors, finds out about the betrayals by her beloved mate and her best friend she will be devastated.

The cast is incredibly genuine as the affair participants know logically they wrong his caring wife/her BFF who deserves better from them; yet readers will sympathize with two mourners as their emotional traumas and the comfort in each other’s arms seem real. Readers will appreciate Never Say Never as grief overwhelms Miriam and Jamal whose respective faith has been shattered except when they are together.

Harriet Klausner

Sniper Elite One Way Trip-Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar

Sniper Elite One Way Trip

Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar

Touchstone, Jun 4 2013, $26.99

ISBN: 9781476746050

In Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan Warrant Officers Sandra Brux and Billy Mitchell fly their UH-60M Black Hawk as Night Stalker pilots of the 160th Special Operations Aviation regiment. They were part of a rehearsal exercise but on the ground within so-called secure lines when an attack occurs. The Taliban kill the Rangers and grab Brux as a prize since she is the first female pilot of this elite unit. They take her into the Hindu Kush.

Claiming to be the target of an illegal kidnapping by her associates, Hezb-e Islamic Khalis leader Asdif Kohistani questions Brux on CIA activity. A video arrives in DC showing a raping of Brux that angers the female Speaker of the House who wants the 24 million ransom demand paid. The CIA wants a black ops rescue, but the Commander In Chief feels the risk to great so says no. The Special Ops forces believe POTUS fears the risk to his reelection and not to those willing to die to bring home a sister in arms. Special Ops sniper Gil Shannon is home in Montana when his friend Chief Steelyard informs him to expect the CIA to bring together the SOG to mount a rescue. Knowing time is of the essence, Shannon, Steelyard and a peer Crosswright, along with Tajik fighters go rogue to mount an extraction inside hostile territory.

This is an exciting action-packed military thriller once the players are set. The combat scenes are brutally realistic as blood and gore flow. While the heroes, Brux and Kohistani are full blooded, those in DC seem like political caricatures. Sniper Elite One Way Trip is a superb tale especially in Afghanistan.

Harriet Klausner

Phantom Wolf-Bonnie Vanak

Phantom Wolf

Bonnie Vanak

Harlequin Nocturne, Jun 4 2013, $5.85

ISBN: 9780373885725

Arcane Mage Kelly Denning and Elemental Mage Sam Shaymore were in love though their relative class status made a permanent relationship near impossible. Sam plans to tell his martinet father that he planned to marry Kelly, but an inferno at his family mansion leaves everyone inside dead. Her father rushes out of the blaze ending any chance between Kelly and Sam.

Over the years, Kelly has dedicated her life helping Mage children. When she learns of abductions in Honduras, she mounts a failed rescue. Navy SEAL Sam and his mates rescue her with the objective to bring her home. The female he never stopped loving persuades the male she never stopped loving to team up in order to save the children. They find evidence that Arcane rebels are assaulting Elementals. Like her father, Kelly appears to be the culprit.

The latest Phoenix Force romantic suspense (see The Covert Wolf) is a super second chance at love urban fantasy. The lead couple is a nice pairing of star-crossed lovers struggling with a fiery past and a dangerous present. Readers will relish Bonnie Vanak’s thriller as the Elemental SEAL must decide whether to trust his heart or his brain.

Harriet Klausner

Darkest Desire of the Vampire-Rhyannon Byrd & Lauren Hawkeye

Darkest Desire of the Vampire

Rhyannon Byrd & Lauren Hawkeye

Harlequin Nocturne, Jun 4 2013, $5.85

ISBN: 9780373885718

“Wicked in Moonlight” by Rhyannon Byrd. Reporter Ryan Martin was on a story in Moonlight Bay, California when he vanished. His sister bookstore manager Lainey Maxwell comes to town searching for him. Werewolves who recognize her smell attack Lainey. Vampire Nick Santos rescues her but not before she was bitten.

“Vampire Island” by Lauren Hawkeye. Isla Miller travels from Colorado to Ile de Nuit in Tahiti on vacation. A vampire needs her blood, but mechanic Sloane Goldhawk the vampire saves her.

These are two fast-paced fun paranormal romances starring hot blooded protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Patchwork-Kate Lloyd

Pennsylvania Patchwork

Kate Lloyd

David C. Cook, Jun 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780781408738

Thirtyish Holly Fisher accompanied her mother Esther when the latter left Seattle to return to her family home in Lancaster County (see leaving Lancaster). Holly is welcomed by all her Pennsylvania relatives especially her Old Order Amish maternal grandma Mommy Anna and considers joining her church. She also has fallen in love with Mennonite Zach Fleming, a local veterinarian. They plan to marry soon.

Esther and Mommy Anna fear Holly needs more time to consider converting from Englisher to Amish as she wants, and rushing into marriage too soon after meeting Zach. Holly meets neighbor Nathaniel King’s younger bruder Armin just returned home from Upstate New York who admits he had wavered about joining the church; he mentions Zach’s lost love has come home. While Nathanial and Esther are attracted to one another, Larry the Englisher arrives interested in a second chance with Holly.

The second Legacy of Lancaster Amish family drama is an engaging tale that rotates perspective between the three generations of women. Though the storyline lacks the freshness of Leaving Lancaster and the suitors not as developed as the female trio, readers will root for the likable full blooded women to obtain what their respective heart’s desire.

Harriet Klausner

Pieces of the Heart-Bonnie Calhoun

Pieces of the Heart

Bonnie Calhoun

Abingdon Press, Jun 1 2013, $12.99


ISBN: 9781426752728

In 1938 Cordelia Grace and Bernard Howard met when both were young as he interceded when the five Wilson bullies attacked her. He was her hero and she planned to one day marry her knight in shining armor. In 1942, about to turn eighteen years old Bernard joins the army after he confronted his abusive father for hitting his mother. He promises Cordelia they will marry when he comes home.

She begins to construct the Pine Cone quilt that she plans for their marriage bed. For the next three years her work on the quilt kept her dreams alive that once he returns they will live a fairy tale forever life together. At the same having come from an integrated community, Bernard struggles with the segregated military. When Bernard comes home, he does not seem like the amiable caring man Cordelia loved before he left for war. Instead over the next few years he struggles with battle fatigue while she struggles to be there for him like he was for her when they first met.

The ninth Quilts of Love inspirational (see A Healing Heart by S. Dionne Moore and Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane) is an enjoyable WWII drama that focuses on the impacts of war and racism on a loving couple. The storyline insightfully looks at the lives of Bernard and Cordelia; starting with the racism she receives for being a lighter skinned Black from darker skinned Blacks and what he dealt with in an under-equipped colored only unit risking their lives. Although the coupling of the protagonist never comes together (except early and late), readers will enjoy this tale as love seems not enough.

Harriet Klausner