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1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450247221, $18.95, www.iuniverse.com
The Nazis shattered the good life. "Poland Adieu: From Privilege to Peril" is a story of life spiraling out from something called rich to having almost nothing, fleeing to France and struggling to survive. Discussing how this sudden switch in settings changed him, he offers a unique perspective of the war, telling stories not often shown. "Poland Adieu" is an excellent addition to any memoir collection focusing on World War II.
111 Front Street #208, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781884167157, $40.00, www.umbragebooks.com
Sex sells. Some people are just more honest about it than others. "Nevada Rose: Inside the American Brothel" is a photo-graphical tour of a few of Nevada's finest ranches that deal in sex. An essay from anthropologist Patty Kelly looks into why they are so appealing, and also includes interviews with some of the people behind these houses of pleasure. Photography is in glossy full color, showing many details of how these places work and how they are not unlike many other American businesses. Obviously not meant for children, "Nevada Rose" is a unique coffee table book that entices not only with imagery, but piece of mind.
The Porcupine's Quill
68 Main Street, PO Box 160
Erin, ON, Canada, N0B 1T0
9780889843349, $24.95, www.porcupinesquill.ca
Culture is not something so easily broken down. "Fine Incisions" is a study of literature and culture from Eric Ormsby, as he discusses North American Literary criticism and hopes to challenge it to rise to the challenge, as he mixes in memoir with his own studies of culture, language, literature, and so much more. A poet by trade, Ormsby's writing is sure to draw readers in, and his stories and discussions will resonate with any, critic and non-critic alike. "Fine Incisions" is a strong addition to any literary criticism collection, enthusiastically recommended.
My Emotional & Spiritual Journey
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450283342, $12.95, www.iuniverse.com
Life's challenges strike at you, but how you face it and reflect on it is how the quality of your life will be. "My Emotional & Spiritual Journey: Stick With Love and Be Burden Free" is a thoughtful read with a certain flare as Pierre Andre, psychiatrist, offers his own advice on creating the bonds that will keep one strong for their life and find something called happiness. "My Emotional & Spiritual Journey" is a thoughtful combination of spirituality and memoir, highly recommended.
With one's life destroyed, the urge to go on can seem so weak. "Somebody" follows Molly as she picks up the pieces of her life after an accident took everything away from her. But destruction has a rebirth afterward, and she may have found what she was lacking before the accident. A story of recovery from the worst that life throws at you, "Somebody" is a thoughtful read, very highly recommended reading.
The Shakespeare Manuscript
Performance Arts Press
9780615462653, $9.99, www.amazon.com
Lost treasures can prove immensely valuable. "The Shakespeare Manuscript" is the story of the discovery of a manuscript of an alternate, early version of Hamlet that the famous bard composed centuries ago. But when it's discovered, everyone is out to put on the new show, as author Stewart Buettner puts together a blend of history and modern intrigue, leading to a unique and fun read. "The Shakespeare Manuscript" proves a riveting read not to be overlooked, very highly recommended.
Erica M. Nelson
9781936214396, $15.00, www.happinessquotations.com
Happiness is something that we all seek and can't be bought. "Happiness Quotations: Gentle Reminders of Your Preciousness" delves into simple and inspirational wisdom as Erica Nelson wants readers to remember their own lovely state and remember to smile as they proceed through life. Touching and to the point wisdom, these passages of cheeriness will do well in reminding people to seek happiness to their lives. "Happiness Quotations" is a must for anyone who needs a spiritual pick-me-up.
Crazy About Money
9780615402901, $14.95, www.maggiebakerphd.com
Money makes everyone nuts. "Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices and What to Do About It" is a study from Maggie Baker, a professional psychologist for decades as she provides a unique break down of how money interacts with our mind. Breaking down how we react, and how to shape our behavior to act more in the way we want it to, be it to save money or plan more wisely with it, "Crazy About Money" is filled with plenty of information to think about to making the most out of one's finances and understanding one's spending urges.
Amazon Kindle Edition
ASIN: B004KAAA6U $6.99
Echo Lake is a surreal historical novel that speaks of immigrant experience, romance and the early building of a California vineyard dynasty, and will please any reader who likes a touch of history spiced with generations of entwined romance.
It moves between the turn of the century and the 1960s, but has its roots in 1800s Spain, when a young doctor flees political persecution and accepts a position in a then-remote part of Northern California, there to find an unexpected new career as a rancher and an equally unexpected romance with a rancher's daughter.
His decisions will lead to generations of interactions between families, will change the course of Napa history, and represent powerful portraits of evolving immigrant experience and connections.
ECHO LAKE is like a river, flowing constantly between past and present. This juxtaposition between times creates a surreal, appealing atmosphere that solidifies connections between the protagonists of different eras, capturing the sentiments and changes of several generations of immigrant families who build new lives in their journey from Spain to America.
Lure of land and love alike create compelling themes set against the backdrop of early California vineyard evolution, with poetic descriptions that impart a 'you are there' feel to the story line ("Through the filtering streams of sunlight tiny bits of dust trails seemed suspended in the air. Dante threw open some of the shutters and light poured into the two-story cathedral ceiling great room with hand-hewn oak beams and the most massive stone fireplace Juanita had ever seen.")
Just as the vines are planted and mature over generations, so does ECHO LAKE capture an evolutionary process spiced by romance and passion for land and people alike.
Diane C. Donovan
On the Origin of the Species
William D. Chalmers
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450289269, $25.95, www.iuniverse.com
The strange creatures, seeming to be clueless to their surroundings proving to have no goal or purpose - truly, tourists are an evolutionary mystery. "On the Origin of the Species: Homo Touristicus: The Evolution of Travel from Greek Spas to Space Tourism" discusses this strange creature from the perspective of one of their own, William D. Chalmers. Sharing his experiences and hoping to explain the goal of the constant tourist and what they are looking for in their travels, Chalmers comes to readers with a bit of wit and humor and something to get them traveling as well. "On the Origin of the Species: Homo Touristicus" is an excellent pick for those an interest in their own tourism adventures, recommended.
Stories for Oliver
Charles William Wrightson
9781460910955, $19.95, www.charleswilliamwrightson.blogspot.com
The experiences of one's life do not exist past one's death, and Grandfather Charles William Wrightson hopes to preserve some of these memories for his grandson, Oliver. "Stories for Oliver" is a unique memoir aimed at the youth of the next generation, as he hopes to share and inspire what he has seen, in hopes they will learn to understand what their life has brought him, the mistakes he has made, in hopes that the future will be better. "Stories for Oliver" is heartfelt and recommended reading, not to be overlooked.
A Window Bed
9780557709779, $16.99, www.lulu.com
A nursing home can feel like the end of the line, but it isn't the end of life. "A Window Bed" is a novel set in the nursing home, following Margaret Mary, a mother who is forced into a nursing home by medical problems. Clashing with her daughter's life, the novel follows the last year of Margaret Mary's worldly existence, as she comes to term with what she is and what her daughter wants and is becoming. With poignancy, "A Window Bed" is ultimately a story of a mother and daughter coming to understand each other.
The Redemption of Thomas Has His Horse
Agnes Harding Jones
A Bearhawk Publication
5 Concord Circle, Austin, TX 78737-9072
9781453653128, $9.95, www.hashishorse.com
Redemption for past misdeeds is the goal of many, but to what extent do we seek it? "The Redemption of Thomas Has His Horse" is the story of the titular character, a Half-Sioux, half-Black American gentleman who does something terrible and regrets it deeply, spending his life to try to find something worthy of redeeming his lost soul. In his twilight years, he sees something to finally redeem his stained life, with lives much younger than his on the line. "The Redemption of Thomas Has His Horse" is a moving and profound read of the search for redemption, highly recommended.
The Winds of Ilion
9788792633026, $19.00, www.eyecornerpress.com
Even when everything seems explained, there is still much to wonder about. "The Winds of Ilion" is a collection of poetry from Steven Joyce as he blends poetry, thought, prose, and everything else into his musings on the mysteries and the finding of romance in our seemingly un-romantic world. Drawing much on literary history and explaining it all well, he creates a read that will entertain, enlighten, and something else into a nice unique package. "The Winds of Ilion" is a read that shouldn't be overlooked for poetry and literary collections.
J. E. Hopkins
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432771225, $15.95, www.outskirtspress.com
Love can last centuries. "Lover's Betrayal: Misfits of the Lore Series" follows couple Olivia and Lucian, two vampires split for centuries come back together after being apart, finding themselves searching for one responsible for a murder, and Olivia tries to piece together her broken family. A fun story that twists together the paranormal, "Lover's Betrayal" is a choice read, highly recommended.
Matters on my Mind
Sally Ann Connolly
9780977265350, $16.95, www.neverbetter.net
There are things that remain close to your heart as you walk deeper into life. "Matters on my Mind" is a collection of thoughts and opinions from Sally Ann Connolly, as she presents what her own battles with the educational system and breast cancer have taught her and how this resonates throughout our lives. Touching on the tings dear to her like health, education, and much more, "Matters on my Mind" is well worth considering for those looking for the many varied opinions on life in our world today.
Poems of Awakening
Betsy Small, editor
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
Gardner Publicity (publicity)
167 State Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781432734343, $12.95, www.outskirtspress.com
There's a moment when it all suddenly makes sense. "Poems of Awakening" is a collection of poetry from Betsy Small who uses her love for music and literature to blend into a love for poetry, as she shares this love with readers. With a certain clarity, she brings poetry from around the world about the spiritual awakenings that they have found in their lives. "Poems of Awakening" is an excellent pick that is very much worth considering for poetry readers. "Hope": Hope/is the belief/that one hand/reaching to another/can eventually/touch the moon,/allowing the light to guide us/through the night.
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9780595454198, $18.95, www.iuniverse.com
There is some soul when painting, and Jody Summers experiences this directly. "Dark Canvas" is a novel following Kira McGovern, who wants to remember her recently deceased mother by painting a tribute painting with her ashes. Thinking this could turn into a business venture, she offers to do it for others, only to find she experiences moments of the deceased's life as she paints them. Concerned with how to react, she continues, but when she paints with the remains of Sean Easton's father, she finds her life will never be the same. "Dark Canvas" is an intriguing spin of fiction, and makes for highly intriguing and entertaining reading.
The Monastery of the Heart
c/o Meryl Zegarek Public Relations
9781933346342, $19.95, www.bluebridgebooks.com
Spirituality exists in all aspects of our life, if you simply realize it. "The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life" is a guide to Benedictine spirituality, whose philosophy on the subject encouraged finding faith and spirituality in our daily life, out in the world, not just in the monastery. Joan Chittister hopes her input on the subject will help readers realize there is more to their lives than a daily grind, and encourages them to find and revere such a meaning. "The Monastery of the Heart" is a simple and powerful spiritual reader for those who want to see the meaning in everything they do.
To Make a Perfect World
John H. Wormser
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
9781456033804, $24.95, www.publishamerica.com
A more perfect world is what many of us strive for. "To Make a Perfect World" is a novel where in the future this perfection may be finally be able to be achieved, but at what cost? With a certain optimism, author John H. Wormser offers many readers much greater hope for their future. "To Make a Perfect World" is a shining read for those who have hopes that our work towards perfection will finally come into fruition.
Sacchi Green, editor
2246 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
9781573446518, $14.95, www.cleispress.com
A woman with power is sexy - even to some other women. "Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations" is a collection of short fiction surrounding women in uniform and how they prevent a cocktail of sexiness, power, and control, which they use to uphold the law and entice the readers. These stories manage to be diverse within the topic as these women face their business and get a little pleasure along with it. "Lesbian Cops" is a fine compilation of stories, a choice pick for any reader with a certain taste, be they male or female.
The Bible I Thought I Knew
Peter B. Nagy
9780615320977, $14.95, www.djmercer.com
The Bible is filled with mysteries and thoughts all its own. "The Bible I Thought I Knew" is a collection of thoughts and opinions on the Bible, as Peter B. Nagy offers what he has found in his studies, hoping to answer many questions of the history and dispel some of the folklore that has been accepted as Biblical fact. Offering much to think about on faith and what we believe, "The Bible I Thought I Knew" is well worth considering for those with an interest in what hides behind the Good Book.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432752941, $18.95, www.outskirtspress.com
When you've experienced greatness, it can be hard to settle for okay. "Rainstorm" tells the story of Jessy Kalender, who returns home to Wyoming after what she felt was an unfulfilled relationship. When she inherits a ranch, she returns home, and is faced with the love she left behind. A romance set in the modern American west where the romance of Old still lives, "Rainstorm" is a gripping read for romance fans.
A Life of Courage and Love
Mark S. Foster
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432764272, $17.95, www.outskirtspress.com
When your life is measured in weeks, you take it as a challenge to live. "A Life of Courage and Love: The Marcia Murphy Lortscher Story - An Inspiration to All" is a biography for someone who faced life with diabetes head on and lived her life to its fullest success. Foster tells her story of someone taking this diagnosis, getting the operation, and living well beyond what she was expected to do. "A Life of Courage and Love" is a moving and simple read of the drive to live above all else, highly recommended.
Notes from the Eye of the Storm
9781848765306, $8.95, www.troubadour.co.uk
As you see life go in a blink, and almost view yours do the same, you come to realize the value of life. "Notes from the Eye of the Storm" is a memoir from combat medic, ER doctor, and chaplain Dr. Samuel Davisson as he recollects on the many threats he has seen, as he discusses faith and humanity and warns against the extremes among it all. With a unique humor and wisdom, "Notes from the Eye of the Storm" is a thoughtful read, highly recommended for those looking for philosophical memoirs.
Sally Marks & Jacqueline Howard
c/o Marks Public Relations
9522 E. Minton St., Mesa, AZ 85207
9781452850771, $12.99, www.erasenegativity.blogspot.comn
Be positive and you'll see the positivity around you. "Erase Negativity: And Embrace the Magic Within" is a simple motivational read from Sally Marks & Jacqueline Howard as the duo encourage readers to find that stronger positivity in their lives and embrace it every step of the way, the first step is combating negativity and purging it from their life where they come. "Erase Negativity" comes with a strong message that shouldn't be overlooked by those who are sick of the negative vibes infesting their life.
Princess Aurelia travels the Kingdom of Tyralt to meet people and to get away from her murderous ambitious stepsister and her father the monarch who could not care which royal daughter lived or died as long as one of them remained his heir. Her friend Robert, who loves Aurelia, and select guards join her on her trek.
She wished she could just go about as a commoner, but understands her position prevents her from doing so. When an assassin tries to kill her, Aurelia learns you sometimes get what you wish for. She and Robert flee for their lives wearing the disguise of a common couple. When they encounter bandits, Aurelia meets her mother who is protected by the band. She is offered a chance to remain with her mom hidden from her father's world or continue her journey.
The sequel to Aurelia is a terrific high school age thriller as the heroine seeks to get away from her deadly home and meet her subjects. Robert is her most loyal follower as danger is everywhere from paid assassins to outlaws. The encounter between mother and daughter is incredible passionate; however the heroine's inner moral compass will determine what she will do as she has a strong ethical value system (must be maternal DNA).
The Phoenix Apostles
Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore
In 2012 at The Reliquary in Mexico City, as he studies the video feed of the tomb University of Miami archaeologist Mesoamerican Professor Daniel Bernal tells his fiancee Planet Discovery magazine writer Seneca Hunt something is wrong about what they have found as Montezuma's remains are missing. However, his muses are interrupted with an explosion. All at the excavation are dead except Seneca.
Mexican official believe a terrorist attack occurred, but a grieving angry Seneca believes there is more to it. She begins a hunt for the killers of her beloved starting with Carolos the technician assistant who left just before the blast. Seneca learns that other ancient tombs around the world are being invaded, but whereas the remains of history's murderous infamy are taken other valuable artifacts are left behind. When she meets author Matt Everhart who is also following the story, they team up on a trail that leads back two millennia ago in Judea with a modern day scheme that will annihilate millions.
Although Cotton Stone takes a respite, the same frantic pace, starting with the deadly explosion, and never slowing down grips the audience with the first Seneca Hunter thriller with historical and religious underpinnings. Seneca is a wonderful fully developed lead character who holds the fast-paced exciting story line together. With a cautionary underlying message of keep the faith as science and technology are important but need ethical boundaries, fans will relish Seneca's Hunt for the truth.
The Delta Solution
Mohammed "the Godfather of the Dark Continent" Salat provides the funding and orders to the Somali Marines. This group of pirates is extremely well trained and equipped to achieve their mission of capturing tankers and cargo ships off the Somali coast.
Salat sends his brigands to capture the American freighter Niagara Falls whose $100 million dollar cargo belongs to the United States Agency for Internationals Development. Refusing to pay the $10 million dollar ransom demands, the American government assigns Commander Mackenzie "Mack" Bedford to lead a newly activated SEALs team Delta Platoon. Their current mission is to mount sea rescues and end the Somali Marines' piracy by assaulting their headquarters in Haradheere, Somalia.
The keys to this timely engaging thriller are that the SEALs receive focused training and the Somali Marines are a very capable organized unit. Once the cast is set and the team ready to invade, The Delta Solution goes into hyperspeed as Mack and his elite team assault the impenetrable base of the Somali marines knowing the likelihood that many SEALs will not come home even in body bags and the collateral damage is a certainty. Less action than Mack's previous adventures (see Intercept and Diamondhead), The Delta Solution is a more complete thriller as the audience observes two highly trained and effective units prepare for a showdown in the Indian Ocean.
Witches of East End
Melissa de la Cruz
North Hampton is almost as difficult to find as Brigadoon as maps fail to locate the hamlet. Across from the town is abandoned Gardiners Island where Fair Haven has not been occupied for decades until now.
Nineteen year old Freya Beauchamp works as a bartender thanks to her license which dates her as twenty-two. She met Bran Gardiner due to a dress strap snapping and now they are engaged. However, though she loves Bran, she is in love with his brother Killian. Like her older sister Ingrid the librarian; and their mother Joanna, Freya is a witch. Due to the messy Massachusetts massacre from a few centuries ago, The White Council has placed strict limitations on magic usage, but the immortal Beauchamp females are recently leaking magic. The townsfolk feel fortunate as things seem to go their way until incidents turn ugly and supernatural beasts arrive from beyond while humans starting with a girl drinking a Freya' special cocktail vanished.
Filled with delightful twists and the strong establishment that witchcraft and other paranormal beings exist, this is a superb bewitching thriller. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but it is the three Witches of East End who make this a wonderful supernatural tale.
Fairer than Morning
In 1823 in Rushville, Ohio, nineteen years old Eli Bowen proposes to fifteen years old Ann Miller without talking to her father, but she says no as she feels she is too young to marry him now. He is angry accusing her of deceit while she thought he was her selected future spouse when she turned eighteen. However Ann talks to her father a minister who says her late mom would want her to wait. Ann is angry with her dad who she feels directs her to wait in order for her to raise her two younger sisters (Susan and Mabel).
At the same time in Pittsburgh, teenage orphan Will Hanby becomes an indentured servant for five years to saddlemaker Master Good. He soon learns his boss is abusive.
In 1826 while Eli is seeing another woman, Minister Miller accompanied by his three daughters travel to Pittsburgh on business. There Ann and Will meet. She brings light and intelligence to his dark life. When the Millers return to Rushville, an energized Will take a stand when Good orders him to commit perjury in court. Instead after a beating he flees for West Virginia and prays for salvation, promising to help escaped slaves and wanting to head to Ohio to be with the woman he loves and prays she has moved passed her first heart entanglement while a raging Good pursues him.
This is a powerful historical fiction using real persona (the Miller family, Will and Good). The cast is super as they bring alive the Ohio Valley in the misnomer Era of Good Feelings. Fans will relish the Saddler's Legacy as Rosslyn Elliot provides a profound early Americana thriller.
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes
He awakens on a beach with no one around wearing no clothing. The man realizes he has no idea who he is though he knows he nearly drowned. Nearby he finds a car. Inside is a California license for a Daniel Hayes with his picture on it. He wonders how he who apparently lives in Los Angeles ended up in coastal Maine.
Daniel knows the truth lies in Southern California though he feels a niggling of remorse that he cannot fathom why. He heads across the continent as glimpses of his pre-amnesia life flash by in his mind. Soon Daniel learns he is a screenwriter whose TV star soap opera wife died in a vehicular homicide. The cops believe he killed his spouse while someone is stalking him.
This dark thriller grips the reader from the moment the amnesia victim awakens on a deserted New England beach and never slows down until the final exhilarating climax. Daniel is terrific as he evades police and a hunter while trying to rewire his brain as the replay button is too slowly coming into focus. Set aside time, readers will find it difficult to put aside The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes as Marcus Sakey provides a fresh exhilarating spin to the amnesiac in peril theme.
In ancient Rome, Vestal Virgins are selected when a girl is a preadolescent. At the temple they pledge to remain a virgin for the next three decades to properly serve the Gods. However, Vestal Virgins have rights other women do not as they own land and money. Most remain at the temple when their time as deity servants end because at forty they have no place else to go and know no other life.
Emperor Nero claims he is a god who can do anything he wants. Nero executes Marcus for treasonous acts including allegedly an assassination plot against the ruler in spite of his father being a senator. Nero summoned the traitor's sister Elissa Rubria Honoria a Vestal Virgin to watch the execution. Despondent and irate, she vows vengeance. She loses her faith when her sister Flavia is violated and friends who she trusted turn out to be enemies who betray her.
Occurring during the reign of Nero (circa AD 63-64), the Vestal Virgin is a strong ancient Roman tale with a deep look at the pagan religions and the political scenario of a lunatic sitting on the throne. However, it is Elissa the Vestal Virgin who holds the story line together with her vendetta. Historical fiction readers will relish this powerful thriller that brings vividly to the armchair audience first century Rome.
Sinful Moments Press
9781897562857 $15.95 www.sinfulmomentspress.com
In 1881 Jacob Sauder left his Lancaster County Amish community following the funeral of his mother when his brother Simon informed him that the former's fiancee Rachel wanted out of their engagement. Despondent Jacob moved away and Rachel married Simon.
After four years away he returns home a widower accompanied by his two years old twins Emma and Aaron whose mother died giving birth to them. He prays his family will welcome and love them though he sinned. Also Jacob knows it will be hard to see Rachel with Simon. His brother greets him with scorn telling him to leave as Simon is to be ordained a deacon. Soon after the return, Jacob and Rachel learn how devious Simon tricked both of them, but she must adhere to her vows even though her husband abuses her. Unable to remain idly on the sidelines while Simon's abuse intensifies, Jacob confronts his sibling.
This reprint of a 1999 historical romance is an entertaining tale of redemption as the Amish society provides a strong backdrop to the tale of two rival brothers and the good woman between them. The story line is character driven with each key player having faults and flaws that make them seem real. Readers will enjoy this late nineteenth century Amish family drama as shunning the sinners competes with redeeming the sinners for the souls of Bishop Zook's community.
In Redford, Colorado high country outfitter Trevor McDaniel rescues two year old Cody from a yearling mountain lion cub. Cody's father Aaron plays for the Rockies while his mother Paige hates the family freak, the toddler's grateful Aunt Natalie Reeves is a sculptor. Natalie and Trevor (and his partner Paul) meet at her gallery where she offers a thank you sculpture to the men. She and Trevor are attracted to one another.
An unknown person begins sending Trevor photos of children in danger. He becomes concerned that his maniacal secret admirer may harm Natalie as he does not conceal how much she means to him. With Redford Police Chief Jonah Westfall at his side, Trevor tries to track down the psychopath who targets the helpless.
The return to Redford (see Indivisible) is a terrific tale of two flawed people who turns potential weaknesses into strengths. Due to a tragedy Trevor turned his grief into a search and rescue volunteer while Natalie has a disability that she has used to become a talented sculptor. Although the villain's motive is presented somewhat late, fans will relish the coupling of two people who see the fortitude and courage in their beloved.
Too Rich for a Bride
In 1896 the oldest of the Sinclair sisters, Ida has just completed business school in Portland, Maine. However, when Adjunct Professor Mr. Ditmer who she respected makes a proposition that upsets Ida, she joins her sisters Kat and Nell in Cripple Creek, Colorado (see Two Bride Too Many). However unlike her siblings, Ida does not want to find a husband.
Using her business education degree, she teams up with businesswoman Mollie O'Bryan in spite of hearing rumors of her mentor's amoral business ethics that the newcomers believes is petty gender jealousy. Ida meets itinerant preacher iceman Tucker Raines who tries to save his ailing father's business and makes friends with people who can help him or his family with their plight. To Ida, attorney Colin Wagner is her perfect match so why does she keep thinking of Tucker.
This is a wonderful inspirational historical tale that reminds readers of Carlyle's Clothing theory of man as God sees passed the outer garments to the heart and soul inside the person. Mollie and the stock exchange she joins (breaking the gender barrier) were real and add a strong sense of time and place to a delightful late nineteenth century novel. Readers will enjoy the business and life lessons that Ida learns in Cripple Creek as the romantic subplot enhances her chance at restitution with God and his local flock, and moral redemption.
Sherry and Narcotics
Future Fiction London
9780982792827 $14.95 www.futurefiction.co.uk
From a wealthy Boston Brahmin family, Mary Cartwright has enjoyed the galas associated with the art world. Now in her late thirties, she lives in London having recently earned a Masters in creative writing that has led to a job at an online essay firm. She also is an alcoholic who intermittently attends AA sessions and needs the equivalent with the men she chooses.
After reading her on line profile, Jake Potter contacts Mary. Though he is married with a child, they exchange emails. She leaves London to be near Jake in Manchester. However, she is a stranger in a strange city and though close to her Jake, he belongs to another woman and a child. She is depressed and all alone.
The key to Sherry's self destructive addictive behavior is the cold cities unwelcome to a stranger (echoing the Doors Tune People Are Strange), as London and Manchester (and indirectly Boston) come across as cold lonely cement jails for people without family or friends. Sherry has no social network beyond an occasional AA meeting and her fantasy. Not an easy read as the reader feels the gloom and doom while anticipating the crash. Mindful of Preminger's movie The Man with the Golden Arm starring Sinatra based on Nelson Algren's novel, Nina-Marie Gardner provides a profound but grim look at urban isolation even with the web's social networks.
Regent Balthaar Arosh plans to return the Bacosh back to what it was over two centuries ago before the alien serrin of Saalshen ended the ancient system. His forces conquer Enora and Rhodaan, partially because the local populace is divided.
The Lenayin king is dead while most of the army is humiliated by how the kingdom behaved as their neighbors suffered great losses and atrocities. Unable to remain quietly in exile, Sashandra Lenayin returns to lead those soldiers ready to fight against the Regent. This divides the country in the same way the city of Tracato was split as Sasha's brothers supported by the Verenthane join the side of the Regent.
The final battle that will determine the fate of the Bacosh is in the human border city of Jahnd in the Saalshen. However, for Sasha and her allies to repel the conquerors depends on Ilduur sending its Steel into the fight. Most of the Ilduur rejects joining the war as the mountains protect them from the battles to the north. A desperate Sasha becomes the Lenay warlord as she heads south to plead with the Ilduur to send troops.
The final A Trial of Blood and Steel political military fantasy is a super climax to a powerful saga (see Petrador and Tracato). The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as the armies of both sides meet for an epic battle that will determine the future of the Bacosh. The irony of this timely saga is the humans support the Regent because he is one of their species though his objective will return them to an age of enslavement while opposing the enlightened serrin who have brought prosperity and freedoms. Besides the nearby Ipshaal River flowing with blood, this thriller is a thought provoking tale.
The Alchemist in the Shadows
French Cardinal Richelieu knows his country's greatest threat does not come from other nations though he does not ignore their danger. The biggest risk to France's current sovereignty is the Black Claw, a Spanish-based secret group functioning with immunity out of bigger European kingdoms.
When Italian spy La Donna offers information on a plot against the throne; the Captain La Fargue, leader of the Cardinal's Blades, accepts her terms in the name of His Excellency. She offers to bring their lethal enemy the Alchemist from out of the shadows that conceal his deadly activities and La Donna insists she can provide details. In exchange for information France needs to keep weak King Louis XIII safe, His Excellency must grant her immunity from arrest and especially protect her from the Black Claw assassins.
The second Blades historical fantasy is a terrific blending of political intrigue in early seventeenth century France with draconic magic. The cast is powerful as each of the Blades has different personalities while their enemies especially the shadowy Alchemist seems like a perfect match. Although it helps to have read The Cardinal's Blades to better understand Pierre Pevel's paranormal Paris, readers will enjoy this exhilarating twisting thriller.
The Scarab Path
The war between the aggressor Wasp Empire and the Collegium of the other states is over with a cease fire. Both sides have been devastated with many dead and a horde of wounded veterans needing assistance, but lacking funding to care for the discarded soldiers.
Cheerwell "Che" Maker struggles with the horrors of war though she was successful. Her Post Traumatic Disorder leaves her haunted and feeling displaced even at her home as her Aptness Daratyon has disappeared and assumed dead turning her into an Inapt Beetle Kinden. Her Uncle Sten, assigns her to escort academics to the bizarre city of Khanaphes, way in the beyond east as a diplomat of sorts. At the same time the Wasp Empress Seda begins her evil scheme to consolidate the power she lost during the stalemate and expand on that. Seda sends assassins to murder the one person who knows her entire plot, her former spymaster Thalric. He flees to Nem Desert where the arcane archaic city of Khanaphes lies.
The Scarab Path, the fifth Shadows of the Apt, moves away somewhat from the overt epic military fantasy of the previous four entries though their remains some large scale blood and gore battles, but is more introspective. The audience sees close and up front what the war cost even the heroes especially Che, the focus of this super story line as she evolves into an Inapt. Fans of Salute the Dark will relish Adrian Tchaikovsky's new arc as an unsettled peace has come to the Lowlands.
The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories
In "Monday Born", twins Adjoa and Kojo left Ghana as migrant workers in the Ivory Coast in order to save as much as they can so they could come home to open a hair salon. By "The Precious Brother Salon, Kojo wants to make money fast so he considers a robbery of Adjoa's American employer, health worker Janice. Starring in "Names" and "Waiting for Solomon" is Foreign Service wife Ophelia, whose marriage lacks passion. Comfort's husband Kwaku died six months ago as she flies from Accra to DC to see her son, his wife and their baby in "A Modern African Woman". "Calculations of Risk" focuses on Comfort's white daughter-in-law who struggles with race and sex. Adjoa, Janice and Comfort meet in "There Are No Accidents" as each understands the impact of children. These nine tales focus strongly on the convergence of different people in various African countries (and one entry in DC). All the stories are strong as the female stars makes for a powerful look at relationships whose heart is Africa.
The Coffins of Little Hope
In Nebraska octogenarian widow Essie Myles writes the obituary column for her family-owned County Paragraph; as she has done for over seven decades under the byline S Myles. In fact she uses the same 1953 typewriter as she did years ago when she wrote her first obit, an essay on her late mom who died giving birth to her.
Essie notices how the press seems to be going nonstop and learns a New York publishing firm contracted the paper among other sources to print the final book in a popular YA series. Essie also learns from a neighbor Daisy that a photographer abducted the woman's daughter Lenore. Essie investigates, but believes no crime occurred as she concludes Lenore went willingly with her boyfriend even as others accuse the mother of killing the daughter. However, the novel is leaked and the missing person report goes viral as Essie's small town becomes the center of international news for fifteen minutes of distorted infamy.
This is a lay back satire that lampoons the country's fascination with scandalous news; even when there is none to extrapolate as done with the disappearance of Lenore. The story line is so mellow, it is an anti-action tale not intended for everyone. Subtly mocking the voracious need for negative news, Timothy Schaffert provides a scathing attack on how we invent news made even more powerful by the gentle "much ado about nothing" Nebraska cast counter weighed by the international gotcha feeding frenzy.
Foreign correspondent Luca Terracini knows the rules of survivability in a war zone; recently affirmed by the bombing of the chain hotels in Baghdad. He gets around the country without being imbedded due to his being an Iraqi-American and having a terrific local entourage starting with his driver Jamal. However, he has broken his prime rule of cowardice ever since his Nicola died in a suicide bombing.
Currently Luca is investigating the bank bombings with the eighteenth for the year being the Zewiya Branch of Al Rafadain Bank. His theory is these incidents are thefts on a massive scale rather than terrorism or insurgency. As Luca follows the money trail, he encounters UN representative Daniela Garner, who apparently is the expert on the bank robberies. Her appearance affirms his belief about the robberies.
At the same time in London, international banker Richard North disappears. Governments, mobsters, and financial institutions employ the best to locate him. The North incident ties back to an amazed Luca who is thrown out of Iraq by Iraqis who he believes were pressured by American authorities; apparently the west wants the missing money to remain secret.
Based on real bank robberies in Iraq, the IG report of nine billion dollars in Reconstruction money unaccounted for and a UN chief claiming drug money saved the finance industry during the recent meltdown; The Wreckage is an exhilarating financial thriller. The story line is fast-paced as the hero follows the money in which Baghdad, London and several other finance centers connect. Readers will relish this solid tale while wondering about the underlying plausibility as this cannot have happened yet facts are stranger than fiction.
Story of Beautiful Girl
In 1968 at the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, developmentally disabled white female Lynnie and deaf African-American male Homan meet. They become friends although the abusive staff keeps the "inmates" apart and the pair has a communication issue. Lynnie and Homan escape, which enables her to give birth outside the brutal institution.
Knowing the school will hunt them down they leave their newborn with caring Widow Martha Zimmer who provided them with shelter on her farm. The school catches Lynnie, but Homan flees. For the next four decades, the two though separate thrive on their short time together while Martha decides what to do with the baby entrusted in her care.
This is a passionate character driven cautionary tale at a time when leaders propose cuts to health care reminding readers of how society locked away in institutions those with disorders as a cheap way to ignore those who need some encouragement and support to be independent. Readers will not have a dry eye as Homan named for homing pigeons and Lynnie expect to one day meet again and see their offspring and the kind widow who took them and their baby in.
Mystery Writers of American presents the Rich and the Dead
Edited by Nelson DeMille
The premise of this anthology is that the ultra Rich can obtain anything they want but also can be the target of others who envy their affluence. The all new twenty contributions are well written and though adhere to the general theme provide a wide diversity. Harry Bosch stars in Michael Connelly's terrific "Blood Washes Off while Connecticut widower Detective Meigs visits vacationing in dreaded Key West in Roberta Isleib's "The Itinerary". Cholly the odious poison pen columnist learns what being a victim is in Ted Bell's "The Pirate of Palm Beach". Trip sees Dizz but this is no high school reunion in the "Precipice" by Daniel J. Hale and Frank Cook's "The Gift" will remind readers of O'Henry. The strong collection closes with a wonderful tale starring the queen of Greenwich Village, "Daphne, Unrequited" and her former husband (written by Angela Zeman). With writers like Harley Jane Kozak, Lee Child and S.J. Rozan, readers will enjoy this fine compilation by the MWA.
Married on Mondays
In Crème City, The Montgomery sisters (Foxy, Victoria and Deja) believe strongly in the mantra of the Three Musketeers. They run a bakery together, assist their lawyer-husbands at the legal firm, and operate swinging Crème Fantasyland at night.
Foxy feels trapped between loving two men, her spouse and her former fiance. Victoria allows her libido to run her life as any male or female who brings her to climax is her love of the moment. Finally, kick butt Deja is a dominatrix in every controlling sense of the word as she must be the Dom in charge at work, at fun, and at relationships. With marital issues and the nervy police chief Rain demanding Foxy sleep with him or face jail time, the siblings recall what their single daddy Mason told them: fight as a team watching each other's back.
This is an engaging erotica starring three females who have their act together as they face life's curveballs by swinging for the fences. Rotating perspectives mostly between the sisters, but also somewhat Foxy's husband Winton (the other two mates never step to the plate), readers will enjoy HoneyB's urging female power encouraging women as the stronger sex to be.
City of the Snakes
The City has been ruled by the Cardinal, but with his death Capac Raimi became in charge with one difference from his late predecessor; he cannot be killed. Capac is not human; instead he is an Ayuamarcans created by The Cardinal and Capac is reanimated after each death. This is of little interest to Al Jeery, who is unconcerned with the blind Villac Inca priests living in the underground beneath the City though they control the Ayuamamcans. He has one interest to find and kill Bill Casey.
Bill killed the woman he wanted as well other people who meant something to Al. For a decade he lives for revenge. To draw Bill out, he dresses as the cold blooded killer Paucar Wami who happens to be his father and involved with the Incas. Al leads the gang that created the snakes that are part of the Inca's magic. The plan is to create guerilla warfare in order to cause hostilities to force open warfare. When the City calms down, the Villac will be in control and take charge. Having dealt with Bill, Al can leave The City, but feels obligated defeat the Incas.
The third City thriller (see hell's Horizon and Procession of the Dead) is an enjoyable but extremely dark and bloody fantasy as people use horrific power to create, destroy, and resurrect lives. Al is a reluctant hero who seeks redemption when he makes his mind up to move past revenge and takes on the puppeteers as he risks his life to try to liberate The City.
The Undertakers: The Rise of the Corpses
After getting over the shock of observing his walking rotting neighbor Ernie "Dead Man" Pratt and John Towers Middle School Assistant Principal Titlebaum and some teachers turn into zombies, twelve years old Will Ritter struggles with controlling his instinct for flight and fright instead of fight. Kids like him recruit Will as a member of The Undertakers, a dedicated unit of non-adults whose mission is to fight zombies.
Joining the youth squad means your previous way of life no longer exists as adults do not have the ability to see zombies. The teen and preadolescent Undertakers like Will vow to clean the world of the Zombie manifestation starting with their home town.
This is an engaging fast-paced tale from the moment the talking smelly Pratt puts his hand on Will and never slows down as the young warriors learn the key questions in life is not can I have Pop Tarts for breakfast or how to comb one's hair, but can you see the living dead and how do you kill a dead person? With nods to Wild in the Streets (zombie style) and Zombieland, middle school students will enjoy Will and the Undertakers mission to save the world as readers will agree with the book's quoting an anonymous person that "Children make the best heroes."
Prince Charming and Cinderella are divorced with the former owning and running a bookstore under the name of Dave Encanto. As a single dad he raises their two offspring far from the fairy tale happily ever after life of a royal in the Third Kingdom as the people blamed him for the split with Ella.
Also in exile from the Third Kingdom is Mellie who is upset with being stereotyped as evil because she happens to be a stepmother whose life was ruined by rumors of her abusing her stepdaughter Snow White. Angry with the injustice caused by those mean spirited Grimm brothers for her and her cohorts, she goes to a book fair to protest the lying portrayal of her and other stepmothers as malicious malevolent; she wants her Stephanie Meyer's Twilight moment as the vampires have recently been redeemed. Mellie and Charming (along with his distrusting daughters) meet; he offers to help her write the true story of her and Snow White. Neither expected an attraction to spring up between them.
This is an amusing satirical take on images, public spins, and the publishing industry as Kristine Grayson provides a charming "fractured fairy tale" that the late Jay Ward would have enjoyed. Filled with jocularity, a clever romance, and an Imp of a child (and her sister) fearing the evil stepmother, fans will enjoy what happens following the happily ever after classic fairy tales; in this addition it does not guarantee a happy ending.
The Legend of Michael
Lisa Renee Jones
At Area 51, deploying the mission of top secret Project Zodius, the military inject alien DNA into two hundred specially selected special ops soldiers in order to turn them into super soldiers. They become a super race superior in every sense than the humans they were once a part of.
General Powell sends his daughter psychiatrist Cassandra to evaluate the GTECH for mental stability. She and Michael Taylor meet and instantly lifebond. However, Michael fears what their mating would do to his lifebond so he tries to keep her from joining him. Soon the GTECHS divide into two distinct enemy groups; the Zodius and the Renegades. Now Michael must keep his beloved safe from the nasty Zodius.
With a nod to Captain America, Lisa Renee Jones provides a great Area 51 romantic military fantasy. The action-packed story line grips the reader from the moment the lead couple meet in "The First Time Ever I saw Your Face" (by Ewan MacColl) moment and never slows down. Fans will enjoy the opening act of Project Zodius as the Super Soldiers split into two adversarial groups with one wanting to dominate the inferior humans and the other protect the inferior humans.
Awaken the Highlander
On her family estate near Albany, New York, Bree Kirkland opens a graveyard vault. Inside is Faelen who claims he belongs to an ancient Scottish warrior clan whose mission is to protect humanity from demons. He explains that Druan the demon incarcerated him back in 1860 in this tomb. Her clothing and her fighting spirit surprises him as he has no history of a female like her; his reaction matches his wearing a kilt stunning her.
Meanwhile Druan plans to release a virus to eradicate humanity. Based on his description of the enemy, Bree believes her former fiance, who is acting strange, may be Druan. Faelen and Bree team up to prevent an extinction event from happening even as they fall in love, a taboo by his clan.
This is an engaging romantic urban fantasy as the twenty-first century feisty female stuns the highlander she has awakened with her wardrobe and attitude. The story line is fast-paced and filled with exciting twists. The couple's reactions to each other make for an entertaining save the world thriller, as Bree and Faelen united by love take on the diabolical Druan the demon with the stake being the human race.
The Illusion of Murder
In 1889, Nellie Bly begins her quest circumnavigate the world in under eighty days. Two weeks into her quest, Bly is in Port Said, Egypt where she witnesses a homicide. Before the victim dies, he talks briefly to Bly.
She wonders if the deceased was English as she sets out to leave Egypt. Bly and her mostly British retinue continue the trek into Asia, but more murders follow. She begins to wonder if her aristocratic companions are the cause for the rash of homicides that plague her expedition and decides to use her journalist investigative skills to solve the murders.
Based on Nellie Bly's true account of her Around the World in 72 Days, The Illusion of Murder is a terrific thriller as the intrepid journalist uses her investigative skills to try to solve homicides plaguing the adventure. Nellie makes her second historical whodunit (see The Alchemy of Murder) work. The sleuth reporter is brave but not a modern day super female warrior as part of her psyche remains anchored in the Victorian age. Readers will enjoy traveling the globe with Nellie as she ends up in one hot pot of stew after another while trying to break Phineas Fogg's record as recorded by Jules Verne.
In 1508 on the Isle of Skye Ian MacDonald rescues his thirteen year old friend Sileas from an unwanted marriage to Angus MacKinnon. However, his good deed as her knight in shining armor leaves Sileas compromised so his clan makes them marry. Ian knows she is too young to be a bride so he leaves.
After five years away fighting as a warrior including recent time in a dungeon on the Isle of Mull whose laird lacks hospitality, he returns to his clan and his adoring wife. However, she is no longer the child bride who worshiped his every step. Instead Sileas is a mature woman who still loves her husband. He vows to be a good spouse to his beloved wife but must persuade her he plans to stay.
The first Return of the Highlanders Scottish Isles historical romance is a terrific somewhat linear tale of a second chance at love. Ian left his child bride out of honor and duty as he loved her like a big brother does a younger sister; Sileas felt otherwise as she believed her love for him was adult and not puppy. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the warrior's return to a woman who still cherishes him with her heart, but this time he reciprocates with his soul.
Ripe for Pleasure
In 1783 London some members of the Ton are euphoric that popular courtesan Viola Whedon is writing her memoirs. However, those who will be exposed in her tell all titillating account is appalled by the scandal the bio will cause for them and their family.
In London a mob breaks into her townhouse. Viola assumes they came in search of her manuscript. Lord Leonidas Vaughn offers his protection and she accepts. He conceals from Viola that he knows the reason the thugs assaulted her home; they did not seek her book, but instead work for his odious cousin who believes she has hidden a treasure given to their family by the French king. When a suspicious fire occurs, he takes her to his remote estate where passion ignites and love grows, but he owes her the truth especially as the danger mounts.
The opening act in the League of second Sons is a delightful Georgian romantic suspense due to a strong cast especially the lead couple and their "matchmaking" pup. The treasure hunt is fun to follow as he knows he owes her the truth but struggles to tell her what the hooligans seek. Tense throughout yet fully "Ripe" with humor, sub-genre fans will enjoy this charming late eighteenth contrary tale.
Face of Danger
Roxanne St. Claire
Two Oscar winners are murdered by the Red Carpet serial killer. Viviana Angelino realizes she is a near dead ringer for the Best Actress favorite best actress front-runner, Cara Ferrari. Seeing an opportunity for her struggling Guardian Angelinos firm to gain a foothold, she offers her services as a double. Cara accepts but stipulates that Vivi fly to Nantucket on the actress' private plane.
FBI agent Colton Lang is irate with the replacement. At Cara's estate, someone attacks Vivi demanding where she hid the key. Angelino and Lang are bewildered by the assault, but more confusion will follow on the red carpet.
The latest Guardian Angelino romantic suspense thriller (See Edge of Sight and Shiver of Fear) is a tense tale of opposites who fight, fuss and fall in love. The fast-paced story line is loaded with danger and stunning twists as treachery makes the case that it is much more perilous and risky to the lives of the lead pair and others as well as to the respective hearts of Vivi and Colt. Fans will swear they can smell the cacciatore as Roxanne St. Claire provides a taut thriller.
Going Cowboy Crazy
The poster child of conformist behavior, computer programmer Faith Aldridge recently learned she has a twin sister Hope living in Bramble, Texas. Wanting to meet her sibling, she shocks herself when she breaks out of her conformity mold to come to the small town. The locals assume Faith is Hope and the newcomer fails to rectify the mistake because she can hide behind her sister's persona.
Faith as Hope meets her sister's friend high school coach Slate Calhoun. He surprises her when he informs her she is not Hope who left town for Hollywood. Meanwhile the townsfolk try to match Hope and Slate. She meets Hope's parents and considers leaving town, but Faith is in love with Slate. As Hope heads for home, Slate knows which sister feels right in his arms.
The eccentric secondary cast makes Going Cowboy Crazy a zany over the top of the Alamo Texas two-step romance. Although the Bramble brood interference is frequently amusing, this is a two edged sword as at times it can interfere and become annoying. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing while the third wheel hopefully gets her own tale.
In 1215 English King John directs his fearless knight Jamie Lost to kidnap exiled priest Father Peter. Without questioning the task having sworn his allegiance to his sire, Jamie, who knows a rabbi hides Father Peter, sets off to bring the priest and his documents to his king.
A decade ago Eva fled England. Now she is back seeking Father Peter to keep him safe just like he did to her and her companion Roger. Jamie catches Eva stealing, but she escapes to his amusement. When a third party abducts Father Peter; Eva and Jamie team up in pursuit of these kidnappers. Though neither trusts the other, they are attracted to one another even as the danger mounts while a civil war seems imminent.
Although this is a medieval romance, the incredibly fast-pace and the witty teasing exchanges between the lead couple are rarely part of the sub-genre; in fact the verbal war brings a modern feel that is counterbalanced cleverly by Kris Kennedy including plenty of early thirteenth century history. Action-packed with fascinating escapes from danger, readers will be spellbound by the exciting adventures of Jamie and Eva.
In 1218 the Dome of the Sun high priest sends two Illuminer tyros to Carden Vale, at the foothills of Duradh Mal. Their mission is a simple religious ritual. Mourning the loss of her sister, Asharre the warrior with runes on her visage protects the two Blessed. However, evil from beneath the ruins of the mountain fortress has awakened.
Kelland the Sun Knight knows his beloved Bitharn the archer freed his inner power. He accompanies the Spider's mentee Malentir the Thornlord mage of pain as they head to Duradh Mal. However, something goes wrong and Kelland is incarcerated in the Ang'arta dungeon. To rescue her loved one, Bitharn needs the help of the pain mage, Malentir, but that means the treason of liberating him from Cailan's tightest prison Heaven's Needle. None are aware that after six centuries of dormancy, the Mad God Maor is arising.
The second Ithelas fantasy (see The River Kings' Road) is a super thriller as the key players face ethics issues that challenge their values when they must decide whether the end justifies the means. For instance Bitharn understands she commits treason but the release of darkest magic awakens the aptly named Mad God so she ponders what other choice she has. Loaded with action, fans will relish this thought provoking look at the relativity of good and evil based on what the person's beliefs, baggage and situation are. With threads still lingering readers should expect a return to the Merciel mythos.
Bound by Darkness
Since fleeing his world along with others, Kalith warrior Larem has struggled to adapt to this new realm though he has forged friendships with a few of the Paladin warriors who protect this dimension from the dark. At the same time, daughter of a Regent, Sasha Willis' ambition is to break the gender barrier by becoming the first female Regent.
She has an opportunity to prove herself by cleaning up the fiasco caused by the seditious Kincaide in Seattle. She also sees this assignment as a chance to line up the support of the city's Paladins. However, she is extremely unhappy with the exiled Kalith in town and that several have befriended the Paladins. When she meets Larem, Sasha finds her racism challenged as she is attracted to the alien. Still some want the glass ceiling to remain in place and the Kalith cleansed from earth; so they target Sasha from completing her task even if that means killing her and her new protector.
The seventh Paladin urban fantasy (see Defeat the Darkness) is a terrific thriller as betrayal leaves the heroine and her new defender in deep trouble and not just from the Others. Sasha makes the exciting story line work as she learns not to stereotype a race when she begins to first trust and then love not hate Larem as he risks his life to keep her safe from deadly assaults. This is another winner in an enthralling dark saga.
Her father's death and winning the lottery has altered Acadia Gray's outlook on life. She travels to Venezuela where, totally out of character, she picks up Zakary Stark at a bar. They share a fabulous one night stand.
However, the next morning at the fleabag hotel inside the Canaima National Park, kidnappers abduct Acadia, Zak, and his brother Gideon for what the siblings assume is ransom for them as they are millionaires with a thriving business. Affluent globetrotting thrill-seekers, the siblings accompanied by Acadia get away from the ruthless abductees, but are separated. The brothers know for certain the gang will chase after them as they are a nice money ticket. Zak, who has developed a sudden sixth sense since surviving the harrowing escape, locates Acadia and together they seek out Gideon.
This gripping romantic suspense stars a thrill seeker and a woman who never before stepped outside her comfort zone. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action that starts on page one with the abductions of the three Americans and later includes a stunning major twist. Sub-genre readers will appreciate Cherry Adair's exhilarating tour of Venezuela.
A Conflict of Interest
In New York, thirtyish criminal defense lawyer Alex Miller works long hours but feels it is worth the reward. He is the Cromwell Altman's youngest partner, has a beloved wife Elizabeth who understands his hours and a beautiful daughter who he adores.
At his father's funeral in Florida, Alex meets the family friend legendary Michael Ohlig. The affluent Ohlig retains Alex as his firm's attorney. The client explains that his boutique brokerage firm is accused of selling worthless stock in a startup company that Ohlig allegedly knew would fail. Although the evidence says otherwise, Alex believes Michael is innocent so he throws even more time into the defense as Elizabeth becomes irritated with his fully ignoring their child and her while spending all his time with beautiful senior associate, Abby Sloane.
This is a powerful character driven thriller as Alex ignores A Conflict of Interests that he acknowledges may taint his belief in Michael's innocence, but obsessively needs to know the truth about his family. The story line is fast-paced with a profound focus on Michael's prime relationships with his wife and their daughter, his parents, his client, his associate, and the firm. With stunning twists Adam Mitzner provides an exciting legal thriller with a close in person look at a fixated attorney.
Robert K. Tannenbaum
Last July, a serial killer murdered Olivia Yancy after raping and torturing her. This sexual sadistic predator also killed the victim's mother Beth Jenkins. Felix Avecedo is a bit slow and will say anything necessary to end any pressure he feels from others. Detective Brock picks up Bronx teen Felix for questioning in another case; the rape, torture and murder of Ms. Adkins.
A teen assaulted by the Columbia University slasher identifies Felix as her attacker. Police officer Graziani hates working in the Bronx and wants to go back to his former Manhattan precinct, maneuvers Felix into confessing to the three killings. Felix's friend Alex and his mother Amelia talk to the New York District Attorney Butch Karp's wife Marlene Campi; they explain to her Felix's handicap. Marlene believes NYPD coerced Felix into his confession. This means the real culprit remains free pouncing on his next victim. Her spouse also thinks Felix is innocent even as the media howls for execution. Butch knows he cannot afford a mistake as his wife follows clues to a psychopath, inadvertently protected by a cop who will do anything even kill to be the city's hero.
Robert K. Tannenbaum writes a strong brisk police procedural with legal thriller elements. Readers will know the truth about Felix and empathize with his psychotic fear of someone pressuring and shouting at him that cripples him in this case into confessing when he knows he is not the culprit. There are life lessons that add an extra layer of complexity to this deep serial killer whodunit.
Dead by Morning
Powell Private Security and Investment Agency operative Maleah Purdue is a confident and dedicated employee. However, someone using a knife begins surgically killing people connected to Powell; four are dead already by this late night demon. The M.O. matches that of serial killer Jerome Browning, who is already locked behind bars at Georgia State Prison.
Maleah and Powell Security consultant former FBI profiler Derek Lawrence team up to try to stop a psychopath from committing more homicides of the firm's employees and family. They visit the incarcerated serial killer being aped to learn what they can. Meanwhile the predator hones in on Maleah while Derek is perhaps the only hope of finding the motive and keeping her and others safe.
The second "Dead" thriller (see Dead by Midnight) is a great romantic suspense that grips the audience from the moment the protagonists begin to learn of the assault on Powell and never let's go as the climax diabolically leads to the next unpublished tale. The lead pair is a terrific coupling of two skilled specialists who fall in love, but know ending the villain's killings come before their needs. However, what makes Dead By Morning super is the serial killer, who will be considered one of the vilest of the year.
My Favorite Countess
In 1817 Widow Bathsheba Compton cannot enjoy her new marital status as she cannot pay her abusive late husband's major debt nor pay for the care her mentally disturbed sister who she never sees. The aristocrat knows her only hope to pay the bills rests with marrying a wealth noble.
At a dinner party Lady Bathsheba and Dr. John Blackmore meet and are attracted to one another. She tries to ignore her suddenly awakened libido as he is not what she needs as a mate. He agrees with her assessment as he does not want Lady Shrew for a spouse. However, when she becomes deathly ill, John saves her life. As his patient heals under his care, he discovers she uses her shrewish personality to disguise her intelligence. They begin a tryst, but she rejects his proposal because she fears he will be hurt with his compassion to help poor people in dangerous neighborhoods and besides she needs a pliable wealthy social climber.
Continuing the community activism of Sex and the Single Earl, My Favorite Countess is a wonderful regency romance starring two intriguing lead characters whose passion for one another make for an engaging read. Fast-paced, Blackmore and Compton have ghosts that haunt each and lead to their current behavior of his recklessness and her need for money.
Nowhere Near Respectable
Mary Jo Putney
In 1812 Kent, mixes race Hindu-English Lady Kiri Lawford expects a proposal from Godfrey Hitchcock that she plans to accept. However, just before the question is popped, she learns his family detests her for being racially impure although they want her wealth. Stunned she flees for Dover only to be caught by smugglers.
Rakish gambling den owner Damian Mackenzie rescues Lady Kiri. They are attracted to one another, but besides her brother being his friend, he knows his heritage is nowhere near hers. Whereas his father ignores him as being from the wrong side of the sheets as his mother is an actress; her father is a duke and her mom an Indian royal. When she rescues Princess Charlotte from kidnappers, he assists her while they fall in love.
The third Lost Lords Regency romance (see Loving a Lost Lord and Never Less than a Lady) is a terrific historical due to the fully developed protagonists and a solid support cast. The story line is fast-paced from the moment an irate Kiri flees Kent and never slows down as Mac the Knife learns the true meaning of the "sun never sets on the British Empire."
Warrior of the Isles
In 1592 on the Isle of Lewis, Scottish Laird Aidan MacLeod struggles to insure his clan is fed and sheltered. The Highlander loathes the fae for what they did to his family; as affirmed whenever he looks at his out of control half-breed younger brother, Lachlan.
Fae Princess Syrena arrives to escort Lachlan to the Enchanted Isles. However, she is taken aback when her charge refuses to go with her. Worse Syrena is attracted to the protective big brother who wants her too. That is until he learns what she is as his racism accentuated by her duplicity in concealing her heritage and mission angers him. When someone kidnaps Lachlan the human and the fae unite to try to save the lad and soon find much more.
The latest Isles historical romantic fantasy (see Lord of the Isles) is a wonderful tale. The lead couple is a super pairing as he loathes the Fae but to his chagrin falls in love with one; while she distrusts mortals, but to her chagrin falls in love with a mortal. Filled with action, the dueling protagonists put aside their disdain and desire to try and rescue Lachlan. Warrior of the isles is a winner.
The Devil's Light
Richard North Patterson
Al Qaeda key terrorist leader, Al Zaroor plans destruction for 9/11/11 that will make the original 9/11 appears like a minor event. He needs a nuclear device, but Al Zaroor knows nuclear bombs left stationary are protected but those moved for purposes of the regional cold war with India is accessible for stealing. He arranges for an incident to heat up the always simmering conflict between Pakistan and India, and has a bomb hijacked while in transit.
Bin Laden announces to the world his team has the bomb and will use it on an American city to commemorate the tenth anniversary. While Pakistan denies the loss of a WMD, the CIA, HSD, and DOD take the terrorist at his word and try to protect America. However, CIA field operative Brooke Chandler thinks it is a hoax as he believes the target is Tel Aviv with the goal being America (and the Israelis) reacting like it did to 9/11/01 by attacking a nation; this time Iran. Chandler fails to sell his argument so he lines up his retired former boss Carter Grey to prevent 9/11 all over again.
This tense thriller makes a powerful plausible argument that history repeats the same mistakes, but worsened by stronger weapons. The gripping story line is at its best with the set up of the brilliant credible terrorist plot that extrapolates from the real world such as America's ports not very secure. The tension is somewhat deflated when the plot turns to the two Americans trying to thwart the scheme as that follows a pre-ordained path though exciting. Still this poignant tale grips the reader from story to finish with a reasonable premise of what Al Qaeda plans to celebrate their greatest triumph.
A Tale of Two Lovers
In 1823 in London, the weekly A Lady of Distinction reports of the latest scandalous affair of Lord R, who has slept with much of the aristocratic female population; this time he is allegedly caught with the taboo of the "stronger sex". His outraged father warns Roxbury that he marry within one month or accept poverty.
Roxbury, Simon Sinclair had planned on dying as a wealthy bachelor. He blames his latest mess on gossip columnist Lady Julianna Somerset. As the rival A Man About Town places Lady Julianna in the hot sit due to her coverage of Lord R, raging Roxbury knows his time is running out on him so he decides to go after the widow who placed him in fiscal jeopardy. Though attracted to the rake, Julianna vows never again with another philander, but he insists a marriage of convenience is the only shelter for both of them.
The latest The Writing Girl's Regency romance (see A Groom of One's Own) is a zany historical that will remind the audience of the madcap 1930s movies like His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby. The story line is fast-paced as Julianna has a penchant for gossip and trouble while Simon finds she rocks his world. Fans will enjoy this humorous tale with a touch of identity mystery,
Eleven Scandals To Win A Duke's Heart
In 1823, although she has just arrived in England, the half-sister of the Marquess of Ralston, Juliana Fiori believes she understands the key traits of the aristocracy are public prim and proper in order to avoid mention in the infamous Scandal Sheet. She also knows Polite Society will not accept her passionate Italian nature so being a headliner is fine in her mind.
When she meets the paragon of English society Duke Simon Pearson, Juliana decides to teach the prude a lesson of the heart. He is attracted to her even before she chose to break him, but he has bigger problems protecting his family from a scandal though he considers teaching the wildcat a lesson in behavior. However Simon needs a wife; but though he desires Juliana, he knows the Ton will never accept her.
The third Love by Numbers Regency (see Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake and Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord) is an amusing gender war between obstinate opposites. As sub-genre fans expect Michael Buffer to announce "Let's get ready to rumble!" the lead antagonists fuss and fight while falling in unwanted love. Although the respective causes for their contrary stick in the Thames mud behavior comes a bit late in the humorous plot, readers will enjoy the eleven, make that twelve, scandals to win her duke's heart.
The Order of Ancients directs Vampyre-Lychen hybrid Dark Breed Kyana the Tracer to go on a mission that will close the recently opened portal from hell. Although she loathes the vicious mortals who have abused her and still scorn her for being a Dark Breed even with eight decades of loyal service, she knows her duty comes before her disdain so she must prevent the Dark Breed from coming to earth.
Kyana fumes that the Order teams her up with demigod warrior Ryker as they have a horrific history between them. The duo soon finds an archaic cult with dangerous plans and an ancient god scheming to destroy the mortal plane first. Kyana and Ryker are attracted to one another, but ignore their feelings as the mission comes first.
Although the heroine is a stereotype of the overused kick butt female, her sidekick brings out the feminine side of Kyana without diluting the mission. Besides the powerful lead duet, the support cast makes the Grace urban fantasy landscape seem real. The fast-paced story line is loaded with action and tension as twists enhance a strong opening thriller while setting up the next spin in the Grace mythos.
Marjorie M. Liu
Violinist Kitala Bell has always run away from her curse of seeing the future as her visions are always that of violent death. She escapes her vivid nightmarish foresight by burying herself in music and never staying on one place. She always performs to different audiences in differing locations nightly. However, her music fails to keep away the vision of a knife in the head of an unfortunate woman sitting in the front row of the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
Kitala tries to warn this Alice and her companion Uncle John, but instead learns why the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The cops want her, but not for questioning instead they want her dead as she knows too much. At the same time that Kitala is attacked by landlubbers, a soul eating witch sends her imprisoned M'cal the Krackeni merman to use his song to capture the powerful soul of the violinist. Instead M'cal watching Kitala perform is spellbound by her music and knows he cannot steal the soul of his soulmate and live. He risks all defying his "owner" and her enchantment because he believes in the magical music of the love he shares with Kitala
The reprint of a 2007 Dirk & Steele thriller (see EYE OF HEAVEN, TIGER EYE, SHADOW TOUCH, and THE RED HEART OF JADE) is a fabulous romantic suspense fantasy that will hook the audience from the first note to the incredible climatic coda. The fast-paced story line contains two interesting protagonists who are united by love and music as they battle police, a malevolent witch, and much more while trying to stay alive
Falling in Love Again
In 1806 when Mallory Edwards was seventeen and John Barron was a few years older, their parents arranged for their marriage. They met on their wedding day for the first time; exchanged vows; and the next morning he left joining the army.
Seven years later, Mallory is tossed from her home due no payment as her wandering husband's uncle stopped sending her allotment. Fuming, Mallory comes to London to confront her husband and demand a divorce. Not caring one iota for proper behavior, she rips his head off in front of his mistress. When John realizes the screaming crone is his wife, he grabs her and leaves his mistress at home. Mallory proves he owns nothing as his fortune has been embezzled while he dallied. Together they seek his missing relative who absconded with his money. However, as they fall in love while hiding as commoners he realizes his wife is an intelligent beauty and no longer the little girl he married; she realizes her husband is an intelligent hunk and no longer the runaway boy she married.
Readers will enjoy this 1997 Regency "Treasure" as the metamorphosis of the lead couple is deftly handled by Cathy Maxwell. John is a selfish boor while Mallory lacks self esteem; each matures as he looks inside himself and dislikes what he sees and she begins to gain confidence. Readers will enjoy this second chance at marriage as this time the protagonists fall in love.
When Tempting a Rogue
Though time allegedly heals all wounds, Trystan Kane would beg to differ. Back in 1876 he fell in love with Vienne La Rieux but she broke his heart. He still seethes over how she destroyed his soul as he has spent years fuming on how to avenge what she did to him.
In 1886, Trystan wins wealthy business mogul Vienne's debt voucher, which means he is now her partner in Saint Row. Vienne is irate as she has diligently worked at keeping her independence and holding her heart in check. However her new partner is the only man who almost stormed her barricade and now she must be at his side while constructing a store. She fears losing her soul due to their attraction while he revises his plan so that he will earn her trust and her heart to him.
This is a strong second chance at love late Victorian romance due to a powerful lead couple. Vienne makes the tale compassionate as she fears the loss of her independence because of her phobia towards losing a loved one. Trystan is heroic as he goes from love to anger and back to love once he finally understands why she rejected him a decade ago. When Tempting a Rogue is a psychologically profound character driven historical that makes readers hope the heroine will find the strength to love and end her estrangement from those she cares about.
Midnight's Wild Passion
In 1827 Marquess Nicholas Challoner has waited two decades to avenge the affront Godfrey Demarest did to his sister Eloise, ruining her. He feels he has the perfect an eye for an eye scenario with Demarest's daughter Cassandra making her debut.
However, before he begins his seduction, Nicholas has to get passed his target's iron maiden chaperone Antonia Smith. Lady Antonia loathes rakes like Nicholas, who caused her a scandal that destroyed her life. Knowing the Ton cannot see beyond their polite veneer, she wears dull clothing and glasses while insuring her charge does not land in the same trap that left her life devastated. . However Nicholas finds the best laid plans of mice and avenging men often go astray when he wants Lady Antonia. Although she knows a relationship with the philanderer will go nowhere and will cost her reputation as well as her friendship with Cassandra, she accepts his offer of a tryst.
Late Regency readers will enjoy Anna Campbell's delightful historical romance, but especially a great late twist. Antonia returns his soul to Nicholas, which he lost when his sister was exiled by their father for her "sin". The rest of the strong cast turns Midnight's Wild Passion into a powerful nineteenth century romance.
Any Man of Mine
Six years ago, hockey star Sam LeClaire woke up the morning after a painful loss to learn he married Autumn Haven. He does not stick around skating away from the woman. However, she gives birth to his son Connor, but he remains distant from both though he provides financial support.
Sam attends the marriage between his Seattle Chinook's team captain Ty Savage and Faith Duffy (see True Love and Other Disasters). The Haven Event Management owner and wedding planner, Autumn avoids the father of her son as in her mind he belongs permanently in the penalty box for a life misconduct. When they meet, a wiser Sam spends time with his son and wants a second chance with Autumn. However, he drove a Zamboni over her heart so she refuses to free him from the penalty box.
This is an engaging second hockey romance in which readers will enjoy seeing the first stars of previous Chinook tales (see Nothing but Troubles) attending the wedding. The story line is faster than speed skater Bonnie Blair even with hip-checks sending the lead couple to the boards. While her angry former SEAL sibling wants to rip out Sam's guts, fans will root for Autumn who distrusts her feelings for a man who skated away from her and Connor. Sam knows he has his work cut out even more than he ever had in his sixteen year career to send this game into overtime.
Full Moon Publication
9780984635719 $16.95 http://www.fullmoonpub.com
Nineteen year old Sara Morningsky is a beautiful shapeshifter who can turn into a falcon and a wolf. Her grandmother insured she would be looked after; choosing private investigator Chase Dagger to watch over the innocent teen who has no concept of how ugly the world is. Together the pair has solved supernatural cases; while Chase fights his feeling although he knows deep in his soul he loves Sara as adult to adult and not parent or big brother to a child.
Four paranormal investigators are staying overnight in an allegedly haunted mansion near Cedar Point, Indiana when a storm breaks out. By morning, three remain as reporter Sheila Monroe vanished. On the grounds, a body of a man who disappeared over a year ago is found. However, instead of having the look of a person who vanished fourteen months ago, he appears to have left yesterday as his tattoo is still healing and his stomach contains the food he ate hours before he disappeared. Sara and Chase had been looking for that man so they decide to stay overnight to ascertain what is going on. A storm is heading their way and with it will be shockers for those occupying the house.
The fifth Chase Dagger thriller (see Chasing Ghosts and The Good Die Twice) deftly blends mystery and fantasy inside a haunted house horror tale. Sara has matured since joining Chase and he no longer considers her a person who needs his protection as she has proven she possesses strength and fortitude. Chase has changed too since he became Sara's guardian. Their relationship metamorphosis enhances a taut Hoosier haunted house story.
Mary Doria Russell
In 1878 Dodge City, Kansas is a cow town where alcohol and hookers leave the young rustlers broke. Twenty something John Henry Holliday arrives from Atlanta to open up a dental practice. A Southern gentleman, he moved based on medical advice that a dry climate may abate somewhat the debilitating deadly impact of tuberculosis. Doc as he becomes known finds dental work not much of an income maker, but he proves talented at gambling. His live-in relationship with his intellectual equal Kate Harony is passionate as each loves music and the classics, but the hot-tempered Hungarian's attempts to tame the Georgian has them brawling as much as loving.
When someone burns to death a mixed breed lad Johnny Sanders, lawmen Wyatt and Morgan Earp are outraged with the immoral murder. They vow to find the perpetrator and bring frontier justice to the culprit. Shockingly Doc feels morally obligated to assist the Earp brothers.
A few years before the famous gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone made them the models for future western frontier heroic stereotypes; Mary Doria Russell paints a vivid picture of the beginning of the friendship between Morgan the lawman and Doc the gambler. The characters make the historical biography story line fun to read as myth and fact blend into a deep portrait; though in many ways the key cast supersedes the murder plot. Readers will relish Doc as he and the Earp brothers become friends while seeking frontier justice for a half-breed.
Almost Final Curtain
Her mom the witch raised Anastasija Parker in St. Paul. Ana assumed her father was a deadbeat dad. On her sixteenth birthday, Ana learned the truth about her sire the vampire king (see Almost to Die For). Her father demands she sit by his side while her mother wants her to remain at home with her.
The confused hybrid learns her blood lines loath each other; wishing the other species a speedy painful death. Complicating her convoluted life is two males who claim her as respectively theirs; Ingress lead singer Nik Kirov the apprentice vampire hunter in training and Elias Constantine her vampire knight betrothed. Ana wants to return to the normalcy of being a Stassen High School student so she tries for a part in the spring musical. Instead she is caught in the middle once again when a powerful ancient artifact is stolen from the Minnesota Historical Society that if deployed would make half of her DNA enslaved to the other half of her DNA.
The latest Vampire Princess urban fantasy (see Almost to Die For) is a wonderful tale due to Ana who has come a long way in a short time; now that she accepts she will not be a True Witch in her mom's coven, but has doubts about sitting on the vamp throne. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as the heroine tames the most treacherous dangerous in the wild species on the planet: the male while also trying to insure a sort of status quo between her two races. Old students will enjoy touring Minnesota escorted by Ana and her retinue in this delightful fantasy version of High School Musical and the Princess Diaries.
Twins James and Brigit Poe are hybrid human-vampire with the latter being the more prevalent. As far as they know they are a unique freak of nature. Each shares much in common, but also possesses different skills.
The siblings believe that everything and everyone has a purpose and theirs has to do with preventing the extinction of the Undead race. James and Brigit feel the answer lies with archeologist Dr. Lucy Lanfair, a Chosen One who can turn into a vampire. As the annihilation predicted by an ancient prophecy seems imminent and war between species likely, Lucy is abducted as her kidnappers want her to take them to James. However, instead Lucy and James end up teaming up to use his healing skill in what he thought was an amoral way and what the reluctant professor did not know she possessed to resurrect the five millennium dead Utanapishtim in a desperate attempt to prevent species cleansing.
It is highly recommended newcomers read at least the Children of Twilight saga of the Wings in the Night fantasy series (see Prince of Twilight, TWILIGHT HUNGER and EMBRACE THE TWILIGHT) to fully savor the bite of this superior paranormal tale. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as James wonders if he is letting out the genie who will fulfill the prophesy and destroy the Undead while Lucy the scholar wants nothing to do with this dangerous field work. Readers will enjoy this engaging entry, which sets up nicely the next confrontation.
In Chesapeake Shores, Maryland Psychologist Will Lincoln knows he is passed the moving on stage as his feelings for Jess O'Brien are going nowhere. He has unrequitedly loved her since he met her when he was fourteen. Thus he starts a dating service hoping to find his own match as well as helping others.
Jess suffers from emotional issues and learning disabilities, which make her feel like a loser as her older siblings seem to be successful while she fails at everything even her Eagle Point Inn needed family rescuing. Even her parents have reconciled though she still resents her mom for abandonment. She is attracted to Will as she has been since they were teens, but his successful practice just means one more person who she inadequately compares with. Still she decides to try Will's service, but no one seems to want to date her; Will conceals the reason why no match has occurred.
Jess makes this a terrific contemporary romance with her commitment phobia, her fear of loving relationships and her belief she is inferior to her family. Will is too perfect with his patience to nudge not try to budge his beloved ash he wisely understands for them to make she has risk her heart. Chesapeake Shores' fans will relish this poignant tale of love.
Amelia Gray was nine years old when she saw her first ghost while raking leaves with her father at the cemetery he was caretaker of. Her dad told her to never look at them. She became a cemetery restorer, but though she could see ghosts, she adhered to her father's strict rules.
Charleston PD Detective John Devlin accompanied by the ghosts of a woman and a little girl approaches Amelia. He is unaware that his late wife and daughter haunt him. The haunted looking Devlin explains Emerson College Dr. Camille Ashby sent him to see her. The cop wants to look at the photos she took last week at Oak Grove Cemetery where the corpse of a battered female was found. The headstone provides clues to the serial killer, but only Amelia can interpret them. However, she does not want to get involved as she knows if she does, she will break a rule and have to deal with the two female family ghosts siphoning his energy to remain anchored here.
This is a great urban fantasy whodunit that makes ghosts feel real because of the heroine. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action that grips the reader from the moment Devlin accosts a reluctant Amelia and never slows until a ring is placed as a thank you. Sub-genre fans will appreciate the first dark yet somehow hopeful Graveyard Queen as everyone will affirm they believe in ghosts.
The Vampire Dimitri
Charles Woodmore vanishes leaving his sisters to seek help from their guardian, Dimitri the Earl of Corvindale. However, Dimitri is irate with the demanding tone of the note Charles' sister Maia sends to him. He wishes they would be like all the females of the London aristocracy and just attend balls as simpering females. Instead the sisters interfere with Dimitri's plan to rescue Chas as their ringleader Maia is foolishly brave; she finds her guardian arrogant and aloof.
However, Dimitri knows he wants his mortal houseguest, but is elated she is to marry someone else. Maia is appalled that she is attracted to Dimitri when she is betrothed to someone else. As their desire grows, Dimitri realizes Maia is in peril, but he cannot get her to back off so he must keep her safe.
The second Regency Dracula romantic fantasy (see The Vampire Voss) is an exciting tale due to the changing relationship between the lead pair. The story line is at its best when the plot remains in tense 1804 London; when the tale looks back too frequently, some of the "current day" tautness is lost although in fairness those flashbacks enhance the Gleason vampire mythos. Readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller as the market price for love is a soul.
The Midwife's Confession
In Wilmington, North Carolina Tara, Emerson and Noelle have been BFFS for years. In fact Noelle the midwife helped her two buddies with the births of their children. She stopped midwifery last year to focus on the Babies program and seemed enthusiastic as she encouraged her buds and their teenage offspring to participate. So when Noelle, who appreciated living and inspired others to embrace life, commits suicide, Tara and Emerson are stunned especially when they read the strange unfinished confession.
Unable to cope with their friend's killing herself, the horrific confession, and the conclusion that they never knew the inner demons of their BFF, Tara and Emerson need to know the full truth. They begin a quest seeking the woman Noelle's last letter was addressed to.
This is an intriguing look at the masks people wear to conceal traits, incidents or family they feel ashamed of from others. The three lead females and their families seem real as the viewpoints change especially between the BFF trio (flashbacks included). However, those changes in perspective add unnecessary confusion to a powerful twisting saga of why the midwife committed suicide.
A Turn In the Road
Six years ago, Grant left Bethanne and their children (Andrew and Annie) for another woman. When his second marriage failed, he returned to his first wife asking for reconciliation. Bethanne has doubts she wants a second time with the man who hurt her with his cheating.
Needing to get away from Grant and Seattle to think about what she wants and not what he desires, Bethanne and her daughter Annie accompany her former mother-in-law Ruth, who is lonely so is driving to Florida to attend her fiftieth high school reunion where she hopes to meet her teenage boyfriend Royce Jameson who she heard is alone too. Annie also has something to prove to her boyfriend Vance who left her to tour Europe for a year. The first stop on the cross country trek is Pendleton, Oregon where the widow Ruth married as she wants to see her long time friend Marie. The three women help Marie at her diner. That is where Bethanne meets biker Max Scranton. They are attracted to one another, but everyone else pressures her to give Grant a second chance.
The latest warm Blossom Street saga (see Summer on Blossom Street) is a delightful tale as three generations of women, each lonely in different ways, seek companionship and solace . The cast is powerful as each of the lead ladies learn love hurts, but is worth the price.
South of Superior
Gladys Hanson sends a sympathy card to Madeline Stone following the death of Emmy the woman who raised the latter. Madeline's biological mother Jackie abandoned her when she was two years old and her late maternal grandfather Joe refused to raise her. Gloria also invites Madeline to move from Chicago to McAllister, Michigan to help her with her arthritic ailing sister Arbitus "Butte". Although Gladys was Joe's paramour, Madeline accepts leaving her job and boyfriend behind. Gladys proves unfriendly, but Butte makes her feel at home.
At the general store, Madeline meets pizza parlor owner Paul Garceau who also cooks at the nearby prison. The sisters argue over seeing the mothballed Hotel Leppinen they own as they have no money. Gladys sends Madeline to the hotel to get something. Madeline loves the hotel and thinks of possibilities. She goes to the pizza shop and asks for a waitressing job. Paul hires her. Gladys is upset but Butte is pleased with Madeline obtaining a job. Single mom Randi dumps Grey on Madeline at the pizza shop, but fails to return. Madeline takes Grey home with her. Later Madeline learns from Mary about her Great Uncle Walter who lives in a home for simple minded people; she visits him. As Madeline tries to renovate the hotel, she angers seemingly everyone except Butte; so considers leaving.
The key ensemble cast especially the heroine, her "great-aunts" and to a lesser degree her beloved is all developed while a sense of being in Michigan is a key element that anchors the plot. The reason Paul becomes angry with Madeline seems weak though critical. Still readers will enjoy South of Superior, as Madeline and the audience learn what family means.
The Jefferson Key
Stephanie Nelle leaves a mysterious message for former Justice Department field operative Cotton Malone to meet her in New York immediately. Not one to ignore a summons from his former boss, Malone and his beloved Cassiopeia Vitt shut down their Copenhagen book store to fly to the States.
In Manhattan, Malone observes an assassination attempt on President Danny Daniels, but intercedes this saving the life of POTUS. However, the Secret Service assumes he is the assassin and attacks him. He soon finds himself in further danger from the Commonwealth Society who has enforced Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution several times with four of them successful in 1865, 1881, 1901 and 1963. Malone learns of a Jeffersonian cipher deployed by Jackson after a failed assault but unused since. Meanwhile he and Vitt struggle to survive as Commonwealth Quartermaster Clifford Knox stalks them. The fugitive pair finds historical evidence of the intent of the Founding Fathers in ratifying that particular clause as the runaways are considered the traitors and the Commonwealth has the highest law in the land behind them.
This is a brilliant exhilarating thriller that uses the Constitution and American history to frame a great tale that will have readers hooked throughout. After spending time overseas (see The Paris Vendetta and The Emperor's Tomb), Malone comes home only to be caught in the crosshairs of a secret powerful group applying Article 1 Section 8: "The Congress shall have the Power to ... grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules on concerning Captures on Land and Water". Filled with stunning spins to American history, fast-paced from the opening 1835 Jackson assassination attempt to the final denouement, The Jefferson Key will be on the short list for best thriller of the year.
Two years ago, Mackenzie Timberlake obtained his career objective when he became a federal judge in Denver. His wife for over two decades, stay at home to raise the kids Alison feels hammered by the empty nest syndrome when their last child goes off to college.
She becomes upset with her husband, who is never there for her. Ali accepts a job in Eternity Springs, Colorado. She leaves her stunned spouse behind to relocate. They live separately for several months as his schedule keeps him on the bench and her new lifestyle keeps her four hours away. Reconciliation increasingly looks impossible for this pair.
Contemporary fans who have not tasted the warm miracles of Eternity Springs (see Angel's Rest and Hummingbird Lake) are missing a whimsical treat. The third wonderful entry focuses on middle age empty-nesters whose relationship in spite of love is in trouble due to neglect. Readers will appreciate the deep marital war in which it is easier to root for Ali-cat, but will enjoy, as Paul Harvey would say "the rest of the story."
Hot Lights, Cold Steel
Forensic criminalist Dub Walker is a consultant to the Huntington Police Department. He also assists the Federal alpha soup law enforcement agencies. His ex lover Miranda, who Dub has not seen in a decade, begs him to find her missing nineteen year old daughter Noel, a prostitute. The teen had not called home in a couple of weeks, which Miranda claims is out of character for Noel. Dub teams up with T- Tommy a police officer.
Two young female bodies are found in a shallow grave; one of them is Noel while the other is Crystal. Each has surgical clamps on their bodies and had their appendixes and other bod organs surgically removed. Dub focuses on finding Noel's killer; but he and T-Tommy are unaware they are in the middle of an organization doing illegal medical experiments and these criminals are working in collusion with a mobster. As they get closer to the truth, those watching the pair begin the plan to exterminate them, but not before they take the organs.
D.P. Lyle writes a pulse pounding police procedural as the two close friends work closely together to solve the homicide case while having each other's back; both feel strongly about obtaining justice for the victims. Told from the perspectives of the prime predator and Dub, readers will enjoy one of the better thrillers of the year while seeking the hero's previous inquiry (see Stress Fracture).
Follow My Lead
In 1822 Winnifred Crane wants to join the male only historical society. She applies for membership based on authoring highly regarded papers and recognition of her accomplishments by several members. When she is rejected, Winn is upset and angry as she knows gender prejudice is why they said no. Winn decides she must prove her worth at a much greater level than a male would have to demonstrate. Her plan is to uncover the identity of an anonymous artist of a renowned painting.
Duke Jason Cummings seeks to escape the marriage minded bimbos and bimbo moms. When he learns Winn is traveling to Germany, Jason offers to accompany her to Dover. However, something happens and he is forced to join her as she crosses the Channel on to the continent. However, as they become friends and begin to fall in love, her fiance and others chase after them and both fear once she completes her quest, their relationship will also be completed.
The key to this entertaining late Regency is the romantic subplot is deftly developed so that wary associates become respectful friends before falling in love. The story line provides the audience with a charming Grand Tour, but it is Winn's enthusiasm and intelligence that fans will admire as Kate Noble affirms we have come a long way from early nineteenth century exclusion from academic societies due to gender.
Vampire Jace Johnson returns home to find his werewolf mate Miri missing. For the next year he desperately searches for her until he locates his beloved in Sanctuary. However, an abusive vampire attacked her and conducted all types of tests on her werewolf form. Her abuser extracted the warm caring side of Miri.
She makes it clear to her mate and rescuer, she has one objective: to locate her daughter he never knew he sired. Their quest is hammered with horrific hardships as the respective species of each wants this pair separated as both sides believe vampires and werewolves are an unnatural match. However, the worst offenders come from her D'Nally clan although to her the hardest test is when Jace asks her to take care of someone else's baby.
The latest Shadow Wranglers Texas fantasy (see Jared and Caleb) is an intriguing tale due to Miri's doubts and hesitations towards her soulmate who had treated her with love and respect before she was abused. That element brings a psychological reality to a complex story line containing several subplots and a seemingly horde of paranormal Texans. Series fans will enjoy the reunion of Jace and Mira; as the tough vampire must go slow and be tender and nurturing with his beloved emotionally fraught, fragile and forlorn werewolf spouse.
In Fort Collins, Colorado, financial consultant Kelly Flynn breaks up with her boyfriend Steve Townsend. Heartbroken that her long time relationship ended, she turns to her House of Lambspun knitting friends for solace. Realtor Jennifer Stroud invites Kelly to meet her new client, Fred Turner, which she agrees to do.
The females travel to Fred's cabin on his ranch. There they find him lying on his floor dead; near his body is an antique pistol. Although the initial inclination is suicide, the police determine a homicide occurred. Apparently Fred had many people with a variety of motives to want him dead. Meanwhile Kelly investigates the ownership history of the weapon to prove one of her clients with a grudge towards the victim is innocent.
This Lambspun knitting amateur sleuth mystery (see Dropped Dead Stitch and Skein of the Crime) is a wonderful whodunit with a fabulous final twist. The cast is terrific and brings plausibility to the investigation although that is two edged as their early chatter keeps the story line from accelerating. Once the plot shifts into first gear (after a few chapters), Unraveled never looks back until the stunning climax.
Part manor house and part museum, Marshfield Manor is a tourist attraction that brings in millions of dollars to the town. Grace Wheaton is in charge of the building and frequently is called to defuse fights between guests. One of the guests Zachery sets his eyes on David Embers and attacks him thinking he is his brother Jack who he believes killed his baby brother for stalking a Kincaide sister.
When the brawl ends, each walks away hurt but breathing. Jack, who has tried to date Grace, tells her the entire story; she believes he is innocent. Her belief is shattered when Zachery is found murdered in a field near where Civil War re-enactors have set up camp. The police look at Jack as the prime suspect just like they did years ago when Zachery's brother was murdered. Considering what she knows about Jack, she decides he did not kill either Kincaide. As such she decides to investigate the two related homicides, but what she concludes is so horrific she cannot believe her assertion; even the police have trouble dealing with Grace's belief when she explains it to them. Tthe killer remains free to harm more people.
The second Manor of Murder Mystery (see Grace Under Pressure) is a family drama as much as a murder mystery; as the two deaths link two bitter clans. Readers will agree with the heroine that selecting the culprit is difficult because both families consist of damaged people never fully moving passed thirteen years ago only to feel an eerie deja vu. After a brief doubt, Grace knows in her soul that Jack is innocent of both horrible crimes, but proving it by fining the culprit seems just out of reach. Julie Hyzy provides an engaging complex amateur sleuth enhanced by a strong cast of suspects.
Hurricane Katrina killed reporter Natalie Benoit's family and fiance Beauregard Latour. She relocated to Denver to start anew away from the mentally crippling memories.
Natalie attends a convention hosted by the American State Department and the Society of Professional Journalists in the Mexican border town Cuidad Juarez. However, the Zetas drug cartel kidnaps her. The low volume voice of encouragement in the dark of another prisoner gives her the fortitude to carry on. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride was sold out by an Interpol agent, but manages to get them out of the incarceration. Now they must flee across a desert while a raging kingpin and his minion chase them with one objective kill the journalist and the Fed.
The latest I Team romantic suspense (see Unlawful Contact and Naked Edge) is an action-packed thriller that grips the audience from the moment the tour bus is attacked by members of the Zeta cartel and never slows down as the vicious killers stalk the lead couple. The key is that Zach's clam inner strength and SEAL training helps Natalie adapt from frightened victim to courageous heroine as the attraction is always there but takes a back seat to the great escape.
The Last Time I Saw Paris
In 1940 as the Nazis are about to occupy Paris, Claire Harris flees Manhattan and her abusive war profiteering spouse Russell for France. She hopes her former lover Laurent can provide her with shelter, but he is unwelcoming. Claire lacks papers because some thief tossed her papers into the water, but she finds a job and a place to stay with Madame Palain the owner of a florist.
When the Nazis take over the city, Claire, out of necessity to obtain papers, joins the resistance. Her delivering flowers to German galas enable her to obtain information she passes on to her compatriots. Claire loves her adopted nation and begins seeing the city and surrounding area accompanied by English resistance agents and spy Thomas Harding Grey who she met at Laurent's apartment. As she helps two females escape from Paris, someone betrays her leaving her forced to go to extreme measures to try to save herself and her loved ones from the Nazis.
Nazi occupied Paris owns this interesting WWII drama as the readers sees vividly what happened in the 1940s. The heroine's early actions to desperately escape from her spouse seem inane as she flies from the East River to the French-Spanish border (she should have returned to Oklahoma although in fairness she believed she could never go home). With a nod to Dominique Lapierre's Is Paris Burning? Readers will enjoy the American expatriate symbolizing Lady Liberty as she survives, loves and fights for freedom.
Karen E. Olson
In Las Vegas, Brett Kavanaugh owns the upscale tattoo parlor The Painted Lady. After becoming embroiled in homicides (see Driven to Ink and Pretty in Ink), Brett promised her concerned friends and that she would never again investigate a murder. She is unable to keep her pledge when a steady customer Daisy Carmichael, lead singer of the pop group The Flamingoes, is found dead in her hotel room. On the blog Skin Deep, a picture of Daisy appears with a flamingo tattoo that is colored in; Brett knows her late client was allergic to ink colors so her tattoos were all black.
Brett's brother Tim tells her that a witness saw a red haired woman carrying ink pots and needles leaving the room two hours before the body was found. Brett has an alibi and there are further entries on the blog written by Ainsley Wainwright that have altered pictures of Brett and events that imply the tattoo artist is a killer. Brett realizes she has a stalker following her. She is able to dispute all the evidence with help from her friends, but still needs to know who wants to make it look like she killed the singer; which means investigating.
Karen E. Olson writes an action-packed amateur sleuth who- done-it that stays constantly at the speed of light from start to finish even with a few nice hairpin spins. The audience will enjoy this complex whodunit enhanced by misdirection and a touch of romance with a peer Jeff Coleman who goes the entire Strip and more to help Brett. She realizes she is attracted to her caring competitor. Ink Flamingoes is a strong entry that has sub-genre fans wondering who and why.
The Lone Warrior
Her father was the Baron of Lonefell Keep, but loathed her from the moment she was born because her mother who he loved died birthing her. He ordered the midwife to kill her, but luck and a grieving woman saved her life. Growing up wild and unwanted, Mehcredi raised herself amidst abuse from others. She finally flees her brutal people joining The House of Assassins. Eventually a Necromancer hires her as an assassin.
When she accidentally hurts an innocent person, Walker the demon warrior hunter notices and stalks her. He catches Mehcredi; Walker displays a deep loathing of her as he sees her as being just like those who killed his tribe. Still to his disbelief, as he gets to know Mehcredi who has no concept of relationships he finds her nothing like his image. Attraction blossoms and they fall in love. However, Mehcredi and Walker must destroy the Necromancer if they are to share a future together.
The key to this wonderful romantic fantasy is the heroine who knows relationships with others means abuse so her only ones are assassination oriented; profoundly the woman is the child. Walker is stunned with his prisoner whose behavior is that of an innocent rather than a hard core killer. Readers will relish the love story of The Lone Warrior and the lone assassin in the rousing Rossetti realm.
Recently a Warprize, Queen Lara may be carrying the Warlord Keir's child, but knows she must return home to the Kingdom of Xy to claim the throne for herself and her heir. Heath has protected Xy throughout her perilous adventures on the dangerous Plains. He looks forward to seeing family when they get home, but fears for the safety of his childhood friend when they reach the city; as politics is literally a backstabbing betrayal activity.
Heath also tries to persuade Atria of the Bear warrior that they belong together. However, though she is attracted to him, she loathes the idea of living in the city as she prefers the plains. As they accompany the Queen and Keir home, they protect Lara from assassins and a treacherous schemer.
The latest Chronicles of the Warlands is a terrific romantic fantasy as Elizabeth Vaughn enables readers to observe the cultural and social differences between the people of the Kingdom of Xy and those living on the Plains. The story line is loaded with action, but it is the dramatic differences in outlook between Heath and Atria that makes the brisk tale so powerful, refreshing and entertaining. Sub-genre fans will ponder whether he can move his irresistible beloved female warrior to accept their love; while also protecting his friend, the pregnant Queen.
The Claugh nib Dovvyth spy corps operative Major Damen Sinkrivik abducts enemy xenobiologist Jayleia Durante while she is battling to end a devastating plague. Ignoring her people's plight as he is loyal only to the empire, Damen sees her as a pawn to capture Jayleia's outlaw father, the Tagreth Federated spymaster Zain Durante, declared a traitor.
Others also seek Zain as many believe he is the one person who might end the horde of traitors supporting the vicious Chekydrans. Jayleia persuades the dynamic Damon they need to team up if they are to stop the mercenaries sent to capture her in order to use her to get at her dad because the empire could be at stake.
The second venture into the Bernard universe (see Enemy Within) is a great romantic science fiction starring a strong cast and an incredibly vivid galaxy in the throes of a terrible war between two empires and traitors lurking within both sides. The story line is faster than the speed of light as the action keeps on coming. Damen is caught between falling in love with the daughter of a key enemy and his loyalty to his side; Zain wants choices in her life though the strife and her father's changing status limit her. Readers will relish Marcella Burnard's exhilarating thriller in outer space.
Summer at Seaside Cove
After her half-sister Laurel steals her boyfriend, upset and humiliated Jamie Newman leaves New York to spend the summer at a nice cottage on Seaside Cove, North Carolina away from her dependent family. There she plans to renew her batteries and look at where her life is going starting with ridding herself of her drama queen mom, Laurel and her niece as well as managing the family restaurant.
However, her pleasant bungalow turns out to be a dump. Worse the horde she left in New York followed her to the barrier island as the three females plead with Jamie to rectify their issues. Meanwhile Jamie is attracted to her annoying cottage landlord Nick Trent. He wants a summer fling with his renter who will return to New York so he can hide his past from the woman he desires.
This is an amusing contemporary romance due to a strong cast. The lead couple is a nice pairing who brings an engaging romantic subplot with a touch of intrigue re his secret to the mix. However, her family of Three Stoogettes provides an eccentric jocularity yet also contains a serious theme that focuses on the emotional dependency of the trio on the problem fixer who is a codependent with her need to be needed. This is a wonderful family drama.
The Worst Thing
Bryan Bennett has come a long way from when he was abducted and held prisoner for fifty nine days in Istanbul as a five year old child. He accepts the notion that he became a hostage negotiator because of his childhood horror. However, Bryan also prefers to stay in the background as a designer of programs.
In Seattle, Odysseus Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Security Wally North asks his employee Bryan to present a "corporate-level kidnapping and extortion seminar" in Reykjavik as the CEO of GlobalSeas Baldursson demanded only Bennett to come. To blackmail Bryan into agreeing Wally suggests he take his marine ecologist wife Lori with him. Bryan avoids confined places, but reluctantly he decides to go because he loves his wife of almost ten years though he expects the plane will be a nightmare even with drugs. Bryan learns that Baldursson was also an abduction victim, but that does little to relives him of his confined places panic attacks. When the couple arrives in Iceland, Bryan quickly finds himself plunged in a nightmarish situation that leaves his mind on the brink of emotional collapse and his life in peril.
The key to this exciting stand alone thriller without the Skeleton Detective is Bryan's panic attacks that seem so real readers unaccustomed to them will understand how debilitating they are and those who know first hand will believe Aaron Elkins is one of us. The story line is fast-paced throughout without taking a respite as Bryan knows fist hand the Pogo classic line "We have met the enemy and he is us." The coda is a final twisting stunner that brings to light what a memory is as fans will enjoy spending March in Iceland.
Mind Your Own Beeswax
In Moraine, Wisconsin, Story Fischer runs the Wild Clover grocery store and manages the Queen Bee honey beekeeping business. Story hosts a candle making killer event at her store. In attendance is a woman she sort of recognizes, but cannot quite place. After class is over, Story learns who her student is. When Lauren Kerrigan was a teen, she drive drunk and killed the Chief of Police.
After being away from town for years, Lauren has come home. Many of the Moraine residents are outraged with her return. However, soon afterward someone kills Lauren near Story's runaway jail-breaking bees. Another villager Hetty is also found dead as the Kerrigan family fume over the death while some townsfolk insist the legendary lethal Lantern Man who haunts the old logging road murdered her. Story knows not to get involved, but investigates anyway as she seems to have an affinity for corpses.
The second Queen Bee amateur sleuth (see Buzz Off) is an amusing whodunit with a taste of honey front and center. Story's bees break out of hive prison and that adds jocularity and a deep look at beekeeping to an entertaining zany mystery as the heroine with her summaries keeps thinking Mind Your Own Beeswax.
Always the Vampire
In Florida, Maggie O'Halloran asks her buddy Francesca "Cesca" Marinelli to serve as her maid of honor at her Victorian-themed wedding. Accepting the honor, Cesca plans to insure her BFF has the wedding of the century though she has a slight problem with sunshine being a vampire princess.
Besides a wedding better than that of the royals across the pond, Cesca is concerned that her almost all human sweetheart Deke Saber and Triton her shapeshifting dolphin friend have been infected by the Void. To save the men and other paranormal in her life, Cesca will need to employ her somewhat neglected vampiric powers that require amulets she must obtain to ignite her dormant skills; but she fears that may not be enough.
The third zany Sunshine State urban fantasy (see Last Vampire Standing and La Vida Vampire) is a wild amusing thriller as Cesca struggles with saving the paranormal population and hosting the wedding. Readers will enjoy the zany antics of the beguiling heroine and her retinue as always in politics (paranormal and human alike) whether it is DC or Tallahassee, the craving for more power supersedes that L word profanity (logic).
In the New York Magic District, known locally as the Cauldron, hybrid human-Wyr Pia Giovanni knows her mission is fatal, but feels she has few options. Her slimy ex blackmails her into stealing a penny from Dragos Cuelebre, a powerful Elder Race dragon. Though she left a penny behind and an apology note, Pia knows he will find her with the only question being when. She is so desperate she buys a binding spell from Adela the witch owner of Divinus.
Dragos tracks down the thief, but instead of killing Pia as she expects, he is attracted to her. Soon after their first in person encounter, Goblins attack them and capture them. Dragos realizes a very powerful adversary the Dark Fae King Urien wants him dead and that Pia could be caught in the crossfire if his ancient enemy learns who she is to him.
This is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy starring two intriguing individuals as the heroine is Manhattan shtick and the hero is alpha male. The story line roars out of the gate like the express train under the streets as the irate Dragos, known for dining on humans, seeks the thief while Pia seeks her fifteen minutes of fame. Although his possessiveness of his mate is overkill (even if he has an ancient lifetime), sub-genre fans will enjoy the denizen of the Cauldron as like much of the Big Apple light and dark energies flow freely, just more eerier there as a paranormal hangout for dragons, wyr, witches and fae, etc.
Chosen by Blood
FBI Para-Ops Special Agent Felicia Locke and hybrid dhampire Otherworld clan leader Knox Devereaux are attracted to each other. However, though they know they should be bonded mates, they have no future together. His species is in peril of extinction due to the stealing of an anti-vamp vaccine antidote that would enable the vamps to eat human blood as before, and besides he must wed a vampire to promulgate the species. She refuses to settle on being his mistress.
Knox struggles between saving his clan and his heart. As they, accompanied by four Otherworld agents, try to retrieve the stolen antidote that would keep his species from starving to death, he tries to persuade Felicia to become his lover. Felicia struggles between her desire and her heart as just saying no is so difficult.
From the opening gala at the Vamp Dome in Portland, Oregon romantic urban fantasy readers will feel the heat is on between the lead pair and that torridness never abates while the sextet is on their mission, bickering all the way. Fast-paced with terrific twists as betrayal is the prime norm. Although the ending leaves too many issues dangling for future visits to the DePaul world, readers will relish the adventures of the sensational six struggles to save a species bickering all the way.
After burying her mother Edie Jo, attorney Meredith Briscoe decides to stay for a while with her grandmother Lilah in Rock Springs, Texas. Lilah is euphoric with her granddaughter staying on her Honey Grove Farm as she regrets spending no time with Meri when she was growing up in Brooklyn.
Lilah prays that she and her granddaughter develop a loving relationship while Meri prays she finally has a place she can call home with her grandma. When Lilah is injured, Meri vows to do what it takes to save her grandma's home. Caleb Burkett helps the two females while he conceals his ulterior motive; he wants Meri to remain in the Lone Star State at his side as he loves the newcomer and her feisty grandma, but wonders how he (and Lilah) will keep her on the farm after she seen New York?
This family drama is an enjoyable tale due to the various relationships including the connector of the late Edie Jo. Lilah and Meri are a delight as the regional and generational gaps seem wider than Texas. Readers will enjoy stopping in Rock Springs as in one corner is the battling Gran and the other is the battling granddaughter; while the late sandwich generation as a bias referee.
The Occult Special Investigators (Tess, Derrick, Lucian and Miles) head to the morgue to claim the corpse of a boy found on a nearby beach. The lad may not be human and almost definitely is not dead.
At the morgue, a demon attacks the four agents. The unit subdues the adversary capturing adult demon Basuram. They take him and the not dead boy who is the child Ru to OSI headquarters. Basuram demands they hand Ru over to him, as the High Court of the Ferid directed him to bring back the boy to face criminal charges though the demon admits he does not know what they are. However Earth is considered sanctuary so Tess, backed by her three teammates refuses to hand over Ru without further information. As she and her partners, investigate the claims Tess begins to uncover information about her own still cloudy heritage.
The latest occult special investigator Tess Corday urban fantasy (see A Flash of Hex and Inhuman Resources) is a terrific thriller as the heroine struggles with balancing her personal life with the demands of 24/7 on call duty. The story line is loaded with action from start to finish while the heroine and readers begin to learn more about whom (perhaps what is the better descriptor) Tess Corday is; while she and her teammates struggle with being in the middle of a demon fight.
In New York City, Simon Burns expects a promotion as a senior account executive when his boss Tom Harrison says he needs to talk to him. Thus he was unprepared to be fired as he saw no warning idiot lights. To make matters worse, Tom refuses to either speak any further to him nor explain why. Fuming over his boss' slight, at his family's Manhattan apartment, he informs his wife Alison who's not the least bit upset with his news. Instead she tells him to be a stay at home house-husband raising their toddler.
Neither Simon nor Jeremy seem to fit in at the various playgrounds they go to except one in Battery Park. There he meets Michael the leader, Charlie the fireman and Roman; they have a tight pack but welcome Simon and Jeremy. One night Simon visits Michael's loft, but wakes up in Mendleham, New Jersey. He does not remember a thing after drinking beer at Michael's place, but feels stronger and has a much more powerful sense of smell. On the day he awakens on the other side of the Hudson, a wolf mauled Tom. Michael has the pack as his alibi Michael invites his friends to his loft for steak and suds. Michael's father explains to him what will happen if he goes, but he fears his friend is too strong for him.
This is an unusual fascinating horror thriller starring a milquetoast who becomes a virile stud. Alison believes she knows what is going on, but her theory proves wrong as the sense of foreboding grows while the secrets of the pack are slowly provided to readers. Mindful of a younger Jack Nicholson's Will Randall in Wolf, Simon is easy to understand as a likable person who goes from outsider to insider when the joins the Battery Park Pack, but fears he may harm his beloved wife and son.
Death Likes It Hot
Gore Vidal writing as Edgar Box
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Wealthy socialite Mrs. Veering hires Manhattan based public relations specialist man Peter Sargeant II to announce her end of summer gala. Peter leaves Manhattan via the Long Island Cannon Ball Express for the posh North Dunes of Easthampton on a job he looks forward to performing as a summer escape from the heat of the city.
He enjoys sunning and playing in the surf especially with Harper's Bazaar fashion reporter Liz Bessemer. However, his fun in the sun ends when his client's niece Mildred Brexton dies while swimming near a crowded beach in what everyone assumes is a horrific accident. When the police find an overdose of sleeping pills in Mildred's stomach, they believe she committed suicide but do not rule out homicide. While the cops investigate, Peter watches the reactions of family members of the victim to include his client, the victim's cramp spouse, and her two siblings. He knows the predator is debonair, intelligent and sophisticated.
This is a terrific amateur sleuth supported by an amusing clash of the classes; mindful of the movie Laura. Fast-paced with a wicked and timely lampooning of the New York upper crust, Death Likes It Hot is a fabulous tale from the moment Sargeant and Veering meet and never slows down while he observes the rich and famous go about their lives as if a death is tea time.
When Montana Grant was a child her mom vanished. With the death of her father, Montana inherits his shipping business. As she runs the firm, her mother suddenly comes home sounding insane with her babbling about curses and immortal warriors as well as insisting Mount Olympus exists.
An adversary threatens to kill Montana and destroy the firm, but security specialist Quinn Tanner, a Taurus Warrior, rescues her. He vows to keep her safe, but is unsure from who and why. He loves Montana, who he believes possesses the information that would give them the motive and consequently the wannabe killer. However, if he tells her he is a Taurus Warrior and what her destiny is due in part to a maternal grandparent's curse, he will probably lose her for eternity.
The third Zodiac romantic fantasy (see Warrior Ascended and Warrior Avenged) is a terrific tale due to a wonderful lead coupling of a modern day hybrid female and a warrior born in BC Greece. The story line is fast-paced with global peace and her future at stake superseding the romantic subplot. Readers will appreciate the Fox mythos as the Capricorn heroine learns of her fate while falling in love with her Taurus protector.
Pyr Rafferty Powell and his enemy Slayer Magnus Montmorency are in a death struggle. Rafferty vows this is the last time as he searches for Magnus. However, Rafferty is taken aback when he observes a mortal female break into the home of his adversary.
In 2010 in DC, as she visits the morgue human reporter Melissa Smith is irate with a need for vengeance against Magnus the arms dealer. She believes he arranged for the murder of her source Daphne. However, Melissa is taken aback when she observes two dragons in mortal combat as Magnus and Rafferty battle one another. As she takes photos of the fight, her arrival and subsequent touch liberate Rafferty's Firestorm, of which the fire is the ancient darkfire.
The sixth Dragonfire "Kiss" romantic urban paranormal continues the countdown war between the dragon shifting species the human protector Pyrs and the human (and Pyr) genocidal Slayers. The action-packed storyline grips the audience from the first coin exchange and never slows down as the fight heats up between the adversaries while the human turns the linear combat into a triangle. Although newcomers would be better off reading the previous entries (see Winter Kiss and Whisper Kiss), fans will relish Rafferty finding his muse.
The Ravishing of Lady May
Having been orphaned as a baby, May Roseberry grew up at an abbey. By 1530 she prays every day for a life outside the monastery as she refuses to stay there. When she is seventeen years old the Countess of Wilyse visits the abbey. She takes the teen with her to the court of King Henry VIII.
Lady Wilyse instructs her eager ward on life amidst the aristocracy and how to be a woman of pleasure without giving away her jewel. An earl, Wilyse's brother Jasper Carliegh is especially attracted to the innocent, but has vowed off marriage. Meanwhile as May learns to appreciate a life of pleasure and affluence, she is unaware that her mentor has plans to make her the royal's next dalliance even as she and Jasper fall in love.
This engaging Tudor erotic romance is fast-paced from the moment May comes to court and never slows down. That pace is two edged as it makes a for a fun fast read, but also lacks depth to May's coming of age tale. Still with a nod to John Cleland's classic Fanny Hill Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, The Ravishing of Lady May is an enjoyable sixteenth century frolic.
The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons
The First Dragon assigns recently resurrected, as part of the human Tully Sullivan, Ysolde Bouchier with a task, but she does not understand what her mission is as her dragon memory did not return with her new life. Her Black Dragon spouse Baltic offers little help or empathy while his guard Thala loathes Ysolde. Thus not gaining much from the wyr, Ysolde turns to her friends May and Aisling for their assistance.
Her mission proves convoluted as she tries to persuade her husband to meet with peers who want him dead while she investigates his murder rap. Ysolde also tries to meet Constantine the shade who everyone (her dreams too) informs her he killed her. Besides that there is learning as Tully needs to know how to be Ysolde the dragon.
This is a complicated convoluted fantasy that is difficult to follow (and impossible for newcomers) as much of the dangling threads from previous tales including other miniseries in the MacAlister universe begin to see the light and converge. Fans of the saga will believe it is worth the time as the second Light Dragon tale (see Love in the Time of Dragons) is an entertaining though not an easy read.
One Whisper Away
Lady Cecily Francis has doubts about marrying Lord Drury as she thinks her sister Eleanor is attracted to her dull fiance, but there appears to be no escape without scandal for this triangle. The half Iroquois Earl of Augustine Jonathan Bourne arrives from the States to see that his late aristocratic father's three daughters are settled.
When Cecily and Jonathan meet at a gala, he accidently spills champagne on her gown. Innocently wiping off her gown begins rumors about them and gives Cecily that exit she sought. She suggests a fake engagement to silence the gossips and give her sibling a chance with Drury. He agrees, but neither understood they play with fire.
Though the ensemble cast may feel initially overwhelming, readers will enjoy the first Ladies in Waiting Regency romance as Emma Wildes nicely juggles the prime subplot with introducing the key series players. The story line is fast-paced yet also portrays the English aristocratic bigotry as many believe the Earl's "savage" blood dilutes the Bourne identity, which causes improper behavior. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this entertaining historical.
In 2008, Gail Nelson of the Wichita Medical Center Mental Health Clinic calls Minneapolis Ledger reporter Karena Jorge and tells her that her bipolar twin brother, Charles Hallingdahl was admitted to the hospital due to rapid bipolar disorder mood swings; he refuses medication. She has not seen or heard from her sibling except for photos of Tornado Alley storms in two decades as he left home when they were eighteen following a tragedy. She has searched for him since while he searched for the next storm.
Karena rushes from Minneapolis to Kansas, but the next morning after the call, Dr. Brewster tells her that Charles is gone. She joins the Stormchasers brigade that travels Tornado Alley while praying she finds her brother before he does something harmful to himself and others. She is attracted to storm tour guide Kevin Weibke, but is ignorant that he and Charles share a history.
This is a terrific family drama that uses storms as a metaphor for what happened twenty years ago and for what occurs inside Charles' head. The romantic suspense mystery story line captures the reader's attention from the moment hospital liaison Nelson calls and never slows down as several subplots past and present are explored though at times the flashbacks can be distracting. The Stormchasers is an engaging look at the story nature of people and relationships.
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Mindy Starns Clark
Tired J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation attorney Callie Webber, after giving a $300,000 grant to Transition Resources, flies home from Chicago to DC. On the flight the widow calls her boss Tom the philanthropist whom she never met. After he lectures her for trading in her first class ticket for coach, Tom assigns her to travel to Philadelphia to give $250,000 to his family friend Wendell Smythe's Feed the Need cause.
Callie arrives at Smythe's office to deliver the cheek in person, but finds the recipient dead. She notifies a stunned Tom who asks her, as a former private detective, to investigate the murder. Callie moves into Smythe's home to investigate his homicide; only to find the victim's family uncooperative and she fears dangerous.
This is a terrific whodunit filled with twists and a hint of romance though Callie and Tom have never met in person. The story line is fast-paced from the first grant to the final denouement. Adding depth to the strong mystery is the thirtyish heroine, still grieving the loss of her spouse, her quiet faith in God and the profound look at not for profit groups that will have the audience ponder the ethics of the end justifies the mean.
Abigail's New Hope
In Wayne County, Ohio new resident Nathan Fisher calls midwife Abigail Graber to help his wife Ruth. Abigail asks who the physician is, but an angry defensive Nathan tells her to not lecture him for not having her see a doctor. Abigail calls Dr. Weller who is not there as she heads over to help Ruth. However, the pregnant woman hemorrhaged; while Abigail tries to stop the bleeding. Ruth dies but her new born son lives. The Sherriff's Department arrests Abigail for involuntary manslaughter due to practicing medicine without a license.
Judge O'Neil sets bail at 500K, which means Abigail will linger in jail for a month awaiting her trial while her lawyer is state appointed. Still though confused, she knows she did the right thing as this was an emergency. Her sister Catherine arrives at the Graber farm to take care of the children. Working on the Graber farm is Isaiah, considered simple minded by everyone. However, Catherine, who is attracted to him, realizes Isaiah is intelligent but deaf.
This is a strong refreshing inspirational that has all the key players changing during the exciting story line. Although the manslaughter charge subplot is not new (see The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould), readers will appreciate this fine tale of an unlicensed Amish midwife in legal trouble with the Englisher jurisprudence system.
Shannon Duffy and John Zakour
Blue Leaf Publications
9780975509593 $9.99 www.blueleafpub.com
She does not drink blood and she can go out in the sunlight, but otherwise she has all the powers of her mother Candi, the Vampire Queen. She can also spell-cast thanks to the magic of her father who has a spark for it. Stormy Knight tries to live as a human, but she lapses at times especially when her archenemy Rosie does something to harm her or friends or people in general.
Rosie is determined to be the prom queen and Stormy who has been nominated asks to withdraw as a candidate. She starts seeing ghosts, the first one a boy Jack who appears in her classroom. He pleads with her to kill him so he can return to where he was. On Prom Night, Stormy is at a bowling alley with her friend Marie when the ghost of the former librarian Ms. Snider appears. She tells Stormy that she has to go to the prom because something terrible will happen if she does not stop a magic user from carrying out his plan. Stormy rushes to the school, but fears she will be too late to prevent a tragedy.
With a nod to Buffy, this whimsical chick-lit urban fantasy is an entertaining tale due to the heroine who wants to live life as an ordinary teen, but fate keeps forcing her to use her paranormal skills to perform good deeds. She shares the same problems as any teen supplemented by tsuris due to what she can see with her third eye and has a sixth sense that works overtime. A quirky support cast, a reluctant heroine and a spell caster who doesn't know the consequences of his actions makes this a character driven charmer.
Gang Girl and Sex Bum
Gang Girl. When her family moved from the Bronx to Manhattan, sixteen years old Lora had to give up her place as the local gang leader's woman. She plans not just to join a gang; Lora expects to lead the local Cougars though she wants to have a man serve as her puppet. Thus vicious Lora begins her Machiavellian scheme to become gang leader Whitey's woman.
Sex Bum. Nineteen year old Johnny Price wants out of hick town, but needs a ticket to escape. He helps two mobsters with a hit, which leads to his employment with the mob as a collector. Ambitious Johnny observes his employer Rizzo skimming money from what is collected. He files it away waiting for when he can best use this information even as he sleeps with a lot of mob related women including Rizzo's moll Marie.
This collection is a reprint of two 1959 hardboiled softcore erotica pulp fiction (from a historiography perspective; these seem very light by even a decade later standards let alone today's definition as society norms changed. Robert Silverberg used the alias Don Elliot as he provides double the fun tales though at times what seemed graphic in 1959 comes across humorous as the test of time takes it toll. The short essay Sin, Softcore and Silverberg by Michael Hemmingson adds perspective to the anthology as does a listing of other similar tales from that era. Both entries are well written, exciting and provides a spotlight on a somewhat forgotten period.
Murder She Wrote: Skating on Thin Ice
Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
In Cabot Cove, Maine, Olympic Gold medalist Bruce Devlin trains promising figure skating pair Christine Allen and Russian Alexei Olshansky. Christine does not like either male as her coach is a demanding perfectionist who rejects anything less than the best; her pompous partner believes he is Russia's gift to the American female population. Still at the Cabot Cove Ice Arena she endures both as they are her platform to success in skating pair competition.
However, accidents begin to occur with a frequency that makes local Dr. Seth Hazlitt feel they are deliberate. Soon afterward Alexei is murdered and another skater Jeremy is hammered into a coma. Sheriff Mort Metzger and novelist Jessica Fletcher investigate Skating on Thin Ice.
After the mostly recent road tour (see A Slaying in Savannah, Madison Avenue Shoot, Queen Jewels and Nashville Noir), Jessica returns home to Cabot Cove where she investigates the Alexei homicide and related felonies. Her being back in Maine is a two edged sword as that locale has been the prime place for the myriad of books and the TV series, but also brings a deja vu feel to the plot. Still this is an engaging whodunit in which readers will never look at a Zamboni in the same way.
Royal Pains, First Do No Harm
Dr. Hank Lawson worked in a major New York City hospital. Two severely ill patients arrived at the same time; he immediately treated the sicker person. That man survived, but he was unable to tend to the other person in time. Hank was fired and blackballed because the man who died was wealthy and a contributor to the hospital. Although Hank no longer could obtain a hospital position, he kept his medical license.
Dr. Lawson became a concierge doctor to the rich in the Hamptons. He makes house calls, holds their hands, and provides service like the old general physician of years ago. One of his favorite patients is Eleanor Parker Wentworth who is a down to earth person. She is giving her granddaughter Nicole an extravagant wedding. Dr. Lawson learns Nicole suffers from fugue incidents when she disappears and does not know where she is at. Hank locates her, but she has no idea who she is. Her blood contains a dangerous mix of chemicals, but she swears she only takes vitamins. Other patients show the same symptoms. They share one thing in common, but to prove it before someone dies makes Dr. Lawson go out on the limb again; his brother Evan, his girlfriend Jill and his P.A. Dixie has his back.
Hank remains hurt that he cannot practice the medicine he loves though his patients adore and respect him. Readers will admire and like him as he seems like a Dr. Welby with flaws including irritability. He is all heart as he cares about his patients, his and their families and his staff. Like Lee Goldberg, D.P. Lyle writes novels with TV tie-ins that are fun to read.
Hexes and Hemlines
She searched the world to find a place she could call home and Lily Ivory found it at the corner of Haight and Asbury in San Francisco. Lily is a genuine witch trained by her grandma in the craft though she never completed her studies as she was run out of her hometown. She owns a vintage clothing store, but also has helped the police on investigations using her magic.
SFPD asks her to help with the inquiry into the death of Malachi Zozi whose body is surrounded by bad luck symbols. She cannot read anything from the body and the clothes in the apartment so Lily concludes someone magically wiped clean the magical aura. When she sees a picture of Malachi alive and well, she tells her mentor Aidan, the powerful lead witch of the craft in the Bay area, who warns her to stay away from the case. However, her best friend Bronwyn the Wiccan asks Lily to help because her son-in-law is a person of interest by the cops. Soon afterward, Bronwyn begs her to stop the investigation; as does a witch capable of bending time. Ignoring them, Lily feels it is her duty to catch a killer though her efforts place her in peril.
This exciting urban fantasy murder mystery (see A Castoff Coven) is an entertaining paranormal whodunit. Lily's persistence as an amateur sleuth hooks the audience who is unsure whether to scream at her to back off or to encourage her to charge forward. Her familiar Oscar, a half goblin-gargoyle becomes a cute pot bellied pig who adds jocularity to the fast-paced story line as part of the quirky cast (benign, kind, and evil) that helps make this spellbinding tale a fun read.
We'll Have the Summer
In Arizona, Mary Holt's doctor informs her and her husband Sam that she will be dead by the fall. She handles the news better than her distraught spouse. However, he plans to provide his wife a terrific final curtain call; while she plans to help her spouse move on once she has passed.
However, their final days are interrupted when spoiled troubled teenager Barbara Sherman arrives at their ranch with an injured horse. The Holt couple allows Barbara to move into their home while caring for the horse. As the three troubled people nurture one another and forge a family out of love and respect even knowing that soon Mary will watch over both of them from above and Barbara will return to her Mother and Phillip.
The key to this warm "family" drama is Dutch Henry avoids over sentimentality yet his three key characters (in addition to the horses) contain tenderness. Sam knows that last summer was special for Mary because her last riding student was spoiled but full of spunk. Readers will enjoy this well-written look at the end of life as three people and a horse come together for one last hurrah.
In Santa Louisa, realtor Ellen McKenzie's Aunt Mary finds her a new client, Grace House, the half-way house for women in trouble, who seeks a larger facility. Ellen vows to find Grace House what they need even while her and her Aunt Mary plan her wedding to Chief of Police Dan Dunham.
However, as December counts down to their New Year's Eve nuptials, the size of the wedding attendees dramatically grows exponentially to Ellen's chagrin. Meanwhile at the cemetery someone bashes in the head of Dr. Sadler with a cherubic statue; Ellen finds the body. Soon afterward Grace House is destroyed in an inferno. As Dan investigates the homicide and the fire, Ellen does too linking both to those at Grace House.
The latest McKenzie amateur sleuth tale (see And Murder for Desert and Dying for a Change) is a fun tale that should carry the warning of visiting bakeries at your own risk. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Ellen finds the corpse and never slows down until case solved and back to the wedding blues. Although Ellen's rational for investigating is a sub-genre hazard, fans will enjoy the entertaining Murder Half-baked due to the heroine who believes solving a murder and an arson are easier mentally than arranging a wedding even with her having experienced one failed marriage on her resume.
Saria Boudreaux grew up on the Louisiana Bayou, which may explain why she feels a special affinity to the place's eeriest secrets. However, even Saria is taken aback when she finds several corpses all containing leopard bites. She fears for her older brothers, who are were-leopards though she knows her siblings would not commit these atrocities.
Saria decides not to call the cops, but instead contacts the land owner Jake Bannaconni. He sends Drake Donovan to investigate the serial killings. At first sight (and sniff) Drake realizes that Saria is his mate as he struggles to control his euphoric inner leopard. He also senses she is on the verge of her first shift. As he makes inquiries into the murders and starts his courtship of his beloved, Drake learns a lesson about life on the Bayou when none of the leopard-shifting families including Saria's kin cooperate.
The latest Wild Leopard romantic bayou fantasy (see Wild Fire and Burning Wild) is an exciting whodunit as a serial killer stalks the Louisiana swamps. The bayou locale adds a strong sense of foreboding that feels even more uneasy with each corpse. That strong fearful strangeness accentuates the feuding shifter clans. However, the exhilarating story line belongs to the lead couple as he knows she is his mate, but must be cautious while she wonders why he has not jumped her bones.
Dangerous in Diamonds
Tristan the Duke of Castleford stays sober one day a week as he sets aside Tuesdays to deal with affairs of the estate. The rest of the days he enjoys wenching and drinking. However, he finds alcohol and woman not quite appealing as he feels a major bout of ennui instead of the usual euphoria lately.
He decides to escape London to visit four properties he has never seen but he now owns since inheriting them for some unknown reason from the recently deceased Duke of Becksbridge. One of his recent acquisitions is land where The Rarest Blooms floral shop resides. There he encounters florist Daphne Joyes, who keeps him miraculously sober more than just for one day a week. He wants to know her story especially why his late relative rented to her; so he digs into Daphne's history and watches women come and go while she tries to hide them from him and others. The pair argues, fusses, and kisses although his conclusions about her are totally wrong but she refuses to correct him. However, they will soon learn the dangerously hard way that a common foe wants both destroyed.
The latest Rarest Blooms Regency romance is a terrific historical as Madeline Hunter supports her wonderful amusing romantic subplot with an insightful look at spousal abuse and the Dickensian working conditions of millworkers leading to riots. Fans will relish the missteps of the hero as the lead female enjoys watching him stumble while the return of the previous three Blooms enhance a delightful series (see Ravishing in Red, Provocative in Pearls and Sinful in Satin).
One Magic Moment
Medieval studies academic Tess Alexander feels euphoric after inheriting Sedgwick Castle. She dreams of restoring the edifice to its medieval days of glory as she believes the structure has a strong base to include ghosts and Mrs. Tippets' gift shop protected by her guard dog, Mr. Beagle.
When Tess and local mechanic John de Piaget meet, she is stunned as he could pass as a twin to Montgomery the man who married her sister Pippa eight hundred years ago (see One Enchanted Evening). She wants to know more about him while he wants her to leave him alone as he fears the scholar will dig up ancient history that will bring an enemy with it. However, though he says he wishes she would just go, his brain consists of one icon: Tess.
The latest entertaining de Piaget time travel romance stars the other Alexander sister and a reluctant thirteenth century born modern day mechanic. The story line contains a strong coupling filled with humor, attraction, bickering and some suspense while the Lynn Kurland tour of the castle enhances the fun tale. The Family Lineage bibliography of the de Piaget family will help the audience with who's who as Ms. Kurland provides another magic moment.
The Social Climber's Handbook
By 2008, trader Dick Greenbaum and his wife Daisy sit on the top rung of the Upper East Side social status. The elite power couple resides in a million dollar Park Avenue apartment while their daughters attend the best private schools. However, the recession leaves Wall St. in jeopardy and the upper crust like the Greenbaum family in jeopardy of a rapid descent down the ladder.
Daisy refuses to allow their position to drop one iota. She needs to remove obstacles like her husband's boss and his former mistress by any reasonable means that will take them out of the picture permanently. However, she is more concerned with two bloggers investigating the company's shady financial dealings. Neither expected Daisy to stalk them for a fitting demise to their blog. As the stock market collapses so do enemies of the Greenbaum family.
This is an engaging satire that lampoons the upper crust's penchant at all costs (to others) to retain status. The story line is fast-paced once Daisy becomes a serial killer; though her victims simplify her choosing them as they are all amorally corrupt. Although much of the sting of the tale is abated by the victims' moral bankruptcy and the not so deep focus into the exorbitance of the Let them eat cake crowd (overwhelmed by the murders), fans will enjoy the amusing Social Climber's Handbook.
Cam Attling left his hometown of Kayforl to fight in the war. Just a boy when he joined, Cam lost an arm but is the only person from Kayforl to survive the combat. He knows his fortune occurred because Lord Gyaar, son to the winning side's ruler, allowed him to live.
At home, he finds the townsfolk resent his surviving when other loved ones died. His family wants him to leave as they are embarrassed he came back alive while his engagement to Graceful Fenister ends ungracefully when she wants nothing to do with him. Cam leaves Kayforl for the second time in search of the Lord who spared him to learn why. On his quest for the truth he becomes friends with a boy and meets others like Diido who lost everything to the war.
This is an engaging novel that looks deeply at the impact of war on the returning vets and those in the home-front. The living must move on emotionally with what happened to their loved ones and yet must rebuild their devastated world in order to survive the ordeal. Although being an in depth character study including looking at villages like Kayforl limits the action and slows the pace deliberately as Christine Hinwood cleverly avoids dumbing down with her powerful tale that respects the middle school audience as intelligent caring readers.
What Happened To Goodbye
Over two years ago in Tyler, Mclean Sweet's parents divorced in an angry public war. She stayed with her restaurant consultant dad though she worshipped her mother before the split while her mom began a new family. Mclean no longer speaks to her mom. Instead since the schism, she and her father have moved four times as part of his job as an EAT INC consultant saving dying restaurants while his only true love is Defriese University basketball.
Four towns have allowed Mclean to try on a new personality in each one so she can conceal the shame of who she truly is. As dad tries to save Luna Blue, she wants to end their rolling stone existence and stay in Lakeview as she observes her neighbor Dave Wade the genius trying to pretend to be an average IQ geek.
Although mindful of the author's Along for the Ride, Mclean makes the tale work as she brings angst with her anger towards her parents, her shame over the public humiliation of their split that makes her the divorce kid and her need to no longer be a rolling stone as she wants to gather the moss of belonging in high school. The support cast at Jackson High School, the Luna Blue and Lakeview enhance the story line targeting middle school of a teenager trying to finally move on passed the end of her previously perfect life.
The Silver Boat
Each of the sisters looks back at the family beach house on Martha's Vineyard with fond memories. They can track their roots to the Massachusetts colony as their ancestors were one of the first families to settle here. However, with mom's death and the trio living far away and unable to keep the place as a vacation site, they know they must sell.
Thus the McCarthy siblings (Dar, Delia and Rory) come to Daggett's Way with sadness. Adding to the despondency is the only offer comes from insufferable boors who plan to tear Dagget's Way down and replace it with a despicable reproduction of a French chateau. Dar the manga graphic novelist wishes she had the power of her comic book heroine. Delia has other issues as she struggles with her son's meth addiction that is also killing her relationship with her husband; reminding her of her Irish father Michael who vanished at sea years ago while insisting King Charles I gave his ancestors land within the Daggett acres.
This is an entertaining family drama as readers see the sadness of the three sisters who must give up their long time family heritage. The story line is insightful when the tale remains anchored on Martha's Vineyard profoundly studying the impact of the loss of something sacred (not just the sisters as another character has confronted the same loss). When the siblings chase after an inane dream that even if they succeed accomplishes nothing, the plot loses its plausibility though one could argue this is a coping defense mechanism. Overall readers will enjoy the McCarthy sisters learning you truly cannot go home no matter how much you wish otherwise.
To the shock of everyone Eon the novice proves to be a female; the first dragoneye of that gender in centuries. The ten other dragoneye except Eona and Lord Ido were massacred after being betrayed by the latter. No longer concealing her sex, Eona struggles with the grief of the Celestial Dragons and remains loyal to the deposed Pearl Emperor Kygo; removed from the throne by his uncle High Lord Sefton.
While Eona flees accompanied by rebels Ryko and Lady Dela in search of the stolen Black Folio, Lord Sefton sends his army to kill one of the two threats remaining to his rule. He also incarcerates Ido before the last experienced dragoneye can use his power. Eona reluctantly needs to rescue the traitor so he can mentor her on using her power to protect Kygo who she loves while wanting Ido.
The second Empire of the Celestial Dragons (see Eon) is a fabulous quest fantasy. Eona is terrific heroine struggling to learn her craft ironically from the traitor who betrayed and destroyed his peers. The tale is filled with angst as the dragons are grieving over the loss of their bonded partner; while Eona feels the weight of the world on her shoulders as she tries to help the mourners and the exiled young Emperor Kygo, but does not know how. This is a strong action-packed thriller that will have young adult readers soaring though the sky riding dragons.
Rivals in the Tudor Court
D. L. Bogdan
In 1547 Thomas Howard sits in the Tower anticipating execution. He blames his mess on his wife Elizabeth, his mistress Bess Holland, his dolt of a daughter Mary, and especially his hothead son Henry. He reflects back to when Henry VII took the throne as his family's fortune rose and fell fast due to royal wars. In 1495, he marries Henry's sister-in-law Princess Anne though he is bit appalled that she is taller than him. However, they have several children but they all die young.
In 1503 Henry VIII sits on the throne. In 1509, Elizabeth Stafford arrives at court as a Lady-in-Waiting. Elizabeth looks forward to becoming a Neville, but instead her father arranges a marriage to widow Thomas. She is loyal to her spouse even when he takes Bess Holland as a mistress. However, as Elizabeth is Queen Catherine's favorite, Thomas tries to return the family to the prominence of that short loved loftiness before the Battle of Bosworth in 1483 pushes forward Anne Boleyn to the king. At the same time Bess wants wealth and land even if it means destroying her lover.
The prequel to the Secrets of the Tudor Court is an engaging look at the era through the rotating perspectives of Thomas, Elizabeth, and Bess. Though none of the prime trio fully takes charge of the story line leaving it somewhat rudderless, Tudor era fiction fans will find fascinating the viewpoints of lesser players in a period in which it did backstabbing intrigue lead to the Tower.
Big Bad Beast
Alpha male Niles Van Holtz accompanied by his six year old cousin Ric meets with the paternal leader of the Tennessee Smith pack Egbert Ray Smith. Eggie warns his ten years old daughter Dee Ann to avoid the sneaky Van Holtz clan. Van stops Ric from proposing.
Twenty-five years later, Ric is a former marine and Dee Ann's boss at the Group. He is also a highly regarded executive chef. Van arranged a joint venture with Katzenhaft Security to look into the illegal use of hybrids in fight arenas. Dee Ann is unhappy when the KZS representative is six foot ex marine Cella Malone. NYPD full human Detective Desiree MacDermot, the third member of the team, breaks up the bare knuckle brawl between the two other females.
Dee Ann gets a list of property owners where fights were held. She and her partners interview those on the list. When she is hurt beating up some hyenas, Ric takes her to his apartment where they fight until Dee Ann kisses him. His wolf knows she is his mate, but she refuses to accept that. Ric looks at finance records that prove his father is stealing from the pack. As the couple works their respective cases, Dee Ann fears she is falling for Ric.
The lead couple is a fun pairing of an in your face woman and a subtle man. The support cast is strong including the returns of lead characters from previous three books in series. Although the climax is weak especially for a Shelly Laurenston's romantic urban fantasy, readers will appreciate this engaging entry as the issues faced by hybrids do not magically clear up.
Demon Hunting in Dixie
In Hannah, Alabama florist Addy Corwin has a bit of a problem. A demon has branded her as his. Out of seemingly thin air, a hunk appears carrying a flaming sword. Brand the demon hunting Dalvahni rescues Addy and her dog Dooley.
Brand may be from another dimension, but he is not the only weirdness Addy encounters. Her dog is now a linguist and a cat streaks through the air. Furthermore the town has a horde of demons and other non-humans, none seemingly football fans. With Brand at her side and accompanied by her best friend Evie and his fellow warrior Ansgar. they begin cleaning the town of the ugly plague.
Demon Hunting in Dixie is an engaging satirical romantic urban fantasy that stars strong somewhat stereotypical lead protagonists and a solid support cast. The different mental wiring between an earth female and a Dalvahni male leads to humorous misunderstandings as the gap is much further than Men from Mars and Women from Venus. When the story line focuses on the romance or demon removal, the tale is at its best. Though there are too many subplots, fans will enjoy a visit to demon cleansing in Alabama
Touch of a Thief
In 1856 Lady Viola Preston turns to stealing to keep her family from falling into financial ruin. She is terrific at opening any lock, her income maker is robbing jewelry. However, her problem with taking jewels is that when she touches a gem with her hands, she sees visions. Thus she uses gloves.
In India, a felon takes a priceless red diamond from a temple. Fearing the violent repercussion when the theft becomes known by the local populace, Captain Greydon Quinn seeks the gem to bring it back to its rightful place. He needs a thief to catch a thief so he keeps a diligent eye out for a certain cat burglar. His surveillance works as he catches Viola and blackmails her into retrieving the purloined jewel from a deliveryman. Their trek takes them onto the continent and back to London as the clues prove false, but their attraction proves true.
This entertaining Victorian romantic suspense grips the reader even before the lead couple meets, but takes off once they do. The story line is fast-paced as the action moves from India to Europe, but it is the characters who make the plot exciting fun as the thief steals the line officer's heart while they hunt the stolen diamond.
The crack head killed the family of Atlanta PD homicide detective Patrick "Tick" Kelly. Unable to cope with the deaths of the woman he was married to for fifteen years and knew since seventh grade, and that of their two children, Tick retires from the force and moves to Mango Key, Florida where he plans to write crime novels. Once he stops getting drunk, he becomes a successful author.
Kate Rush left DEA to return home to Miami. However, she cannot resist doing a surveillance of an alleged human trafficking ring in Mango Key. Kate and her female partner Sandy think Tick and his brother Pete are part of the operation, but quickly change their minds. As Kate and Tick fight their attraction, they team up to end the horrific selling of humans.
With a nicely interwoven romantic subplot, this is a timely action-packed police procedural that focuses on human trafficking. The lead couple and the support pair are fully developed protagonists who go from suspicion to partnering. Although the villain surfaces too late and from seemingly nowhere, Fern Michaels provides a deep spotlight on a horrific pandemic global atrocity.
In 1881, like all his Satyr man-god siblings, Lord Bastian protects ElseWorld. He is currently leading excavations in Roman, but is disturbed by a voice in his head calling him and a vision of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins.
Silvia the pure Ephemeral Vestal Virgin calls to Bastian so he can dig up the temple and its firestones in order to free her trapped peers. However, already in heat without a corporal form, she takes over a female body, which leads to Bastian and her in a constant out of control libido. Meanwhile someone wants the excavation to fail, sabotaging her effort to liberate the Vestal Virgins.
The latest Lords of the Satyr series (see Dominic and Dane) is an exciting erotic historical romantic fantasy. Bastian is an intriguing protagonist, but it is the ephemeral Silvia with her skill to possess any female body in order to please a man (especially this particular male) who brings compassion to the tale. Readers will appreciate this entreating late nineteenth century thriller, as Bastian cannot have enough of Silvia regardless of what body she uses to entice him.
Mallory Dale and Alec Martin are an entry, but he wants more than vanilla in their relationship. She becomes upset with him when he takes her to the Blue Angel burlesque club off the Bowery for her twenty-fifth birthday. About to walk out of the show and her boyfriend, Bette Noir the stripper brings Mallory on to the stage. To her surprise Mallory has a good time and later the couple shares the best sex of their relationship.
Alec still dreams of a menage a trio with Mallory and another woman. Bette fantasizes about making it with Mallory. Finally Mallory fantasizes of performing so she becomes a dancer at The Blue Angel with Bette her mentor and Alec trying to hang on to what he may have lost.
This is an amusing yet also serious erotic tale as the threesome each face major decisions. This is especially true of Mallory who initially wants to save her relationship with Alec who is looking elsewhere for his flavors while Bette is seeking an F/F with her mentee. The fully developed characters make for a deep heated contemporary as Mallory seeks her groove at the Blue Angel.
Clutches and Curses
Haley Randolph feels her life is on track since Ty Cameron, co-owner of Holt's Department Store, is now her official boyfriend. That does not stop him from leaving her at a moment's notice to go to work. She does not depend on him because she knows he might not be there in time to help her. When a customer asks Haley for help, she ignores the woman. Irate the lady places a curse on Haley. Shortly thereafter she is almost killed from plaster falling. Holt's opening a new store in Vegas so Haley leaves town to help get the place operational.
When she enters a dressing room, Haley finds the corpse of former schoolmate Courtney Collins. Haley had contacted Courtney so that they could get together in Vegas, but what she really wants Is first shot of a new bag that a high couture designer created. The police suspect Haley because they know she did not like the victim. Tired of being the one and only suspect, Haley investigates, but her inquiry leads to a second homicide that she believes ties to the first murder. If she figures out that missing link, she will identify the killer.
Dorothy Howell is known for her lighthearted amateur sleuth tales starring an intriguing fashionista who forgets about Ty in times of need. Although she does not believe in curses, she reconsiders as sh*t happens to her so turns to a psychic listed in the Yellow Pages. Although Haley has been a suspect before (see Purses and Poison, and Handbags and Homicides) readers will enjoy her antics to lift the curse that she does not believe exists and find the culprit because pinstripes will not go well with her hair.
In Freedom, Texas Corps Security and Investigations undercover operative Matteo Soarez sits calmly in The Talk of the Town Cafe while protecting State Governor Lila Lockhart from an assassin. Matt also seeks information leading to identifying who the culprit is.
His two biggest problems with the surveillance is the cafe owner is eight months pregnant Faith Scott and her cherry pie. A war veteran who has seen the worst of humanity, she makes him dream of family, fences and five female babysitters. She feels the same way about him, but refuses to fall for another drifter after Rory Stockett, father of her unborn. However, when her ex starts to bully her, Matt intervenes. As they fall in love, he realizes someone wants both of them dead; the unborn is collateral damage.
This exhilarating romantic suspense hooks readers from the onset as Matt begins to know first hand the patrons of the cafe. He makes the story line work as he struggles to stay the character of a drifter construction laborer who falls in love with a woman about to give birth and wants the mother and child in his life. Fans and matt will hope the lead female has faith in her heart as Mallory Kane provides a wonderful thriller.
Truth and Dare
Two decades ago Randall abandoned his family in Phosphor County. He never came home. Now the Phosphor County Sheriff informs Randall's son that his father was murdered twenty years ago with his bones just found by hikers in a shallow grave. Stonegate Investigative Agency Forensic anthropologist Dr. Patience McGee offers to investigate the homicide. However, the victim's son Cade wants the case to remain closed while the rancher's grandmother allows Patience to stay at her B&B.
Cade refuses to assist Patience but admires her spunk while she thinks he is a hunk. Unable to stay on the sidelines after her dare, Cade joins Patience as she works his father's cold case homicide. Meanwhile as they go from attraction to lust to love, someone wants to prevent case solved.
The third "Dare" SIA tale (see Take me If You Dare and See Who Dares, Wins) is an exhilarating investigative romance as the cold case murder of his father brings the lead couple together. The story line is fast-paced while the inquiry upsets local sensitivities. Although a subplot involving her kidnapped brother Jeremy is a distractor, fans will enjoy this entertaining whodunit romance.
High Stakes Seduction
Someone has stolen top secret US Navy Documents. The prime suspect is Keith Barksdale as the US Navy civilian employee allegedly hacked into Top Secret files just before they were encrypted. Office of Naval Intelligence security officer Lieutenant Adam Mancuso is assigned surveillance and protection of Barksdale's former girlfriend Yoga instructor Eva St. George, who may be in danger due to her previous relationship.
Adam almost has a heart attack when staking out Eva's San Diego apartment when he watches her through a telescope perform yoga exercises naked. He knows to keep his distance and use his upper brain, but he cannot as all his blood is flowing within his lower head. When they meet, she feels strongly she must stay away from the hunk as her choice of men has been pitiful, but cannot.
Who would have believed that yoga could lead to a straight arrow having a boner bigger than Catalina? The lead couple is terrific as she calls him her voyeur and he dubs her his exhibitionist. The Barksdale inquiry is also well written, but serves as a matchmaker as this heater belongs to the Wilde lead pair.
Nagi the ghost ruler knows the prophecy of the still unborn twins who will one day defeat him. He wants to prevent the siblings from being born so he sends his minion of ghosts to attack Skinwalker Nicholas Chien. They injure the wolf shapeshifter.
Nick needs medical assistance so he turns to Jessie Healey the Niyanoka Dreamwalker. She has pledged to kill his kind as they threaten humanity that she protects. However, the healer in Jessie or perhaps her heart will not allow her to kill Nick; besides which they need one another to battle the growing deadly threat led by Nagi. Nick and Jessie are attracted to one another, but both know any action on their feelings is taboo by each of their respective sides.
The second Trackers paranormal romance (see Dream Stalkers) is a terrific thriller starring two likable heroes who are natural enemies in love. Nagi is a fabulous fully developed supernatural villain whose threat is palatable. The Native American mythology provides a strong base as Jessie and Nick team up to fight Nagi and their "betraying" hearts.
A serial killing shapeshifter begins killing the residents of Brayville. Empath Nina Rainwater, who can speak with anyone living or dead, meets lion shapeshifter Kane Van Cleave. She senses that he knows and hides the identity of this predatory homicidal gleaner.
Kane believes he knows the identity of the deranged shifter killing people, but also fears Nina does too. He abducts Nina to keep her from revealing what she knows to the clan and to learn what that is. Nina realizes the insane shapeshifter who survives by sucking the life of others has to be Kane's estranged brother, Ethan. They team up in search of Ethan while someone wants to prevent the duo from finding his sibling.
The latest Nightwalkers urban fantasy romance (see The Guardian for Nina's sister Fala's tale) is a wonderful tale made fresh by a villainous gleaner whose sustenance is other beings' life force. Fast-paced from the moment Nina and Kane meet as each distrusts the other but self disdainfully desire their "opponent". Fans will relish the hunt for a shapeshifting serial killer in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Deserving of Luke
After being away from her hometown and the nasty gossips, Paige Matthews returns to Prospect, Oregon accompanied by her son Luke. Anyone who sees Luke knows who is father is as he looks so much like Logan Powell.
Logan realizes the child is his; just like Paige told him, but he rejected her as being a loose liar. Now he wants a chance with his son, but she distrusts him as he hurt her when they were teens and fears he will hurt their son too. She came home hoping to reconcile with her parents so her son will have grandparents and other family members to be there for him. Although still attracted to Logan, she does not believe he is deserving of knowing Luke. Logan has his work cut out to prove to mother and son he needs both of them even if he may not deserve either of them for neglecting his responsibility and his heart.
This is an engaging family drama as Logan sees first hand how he messed up and knows he has little chance for a second time with the woman he never stopped loving because he feels he failed her. Paige's issues with her parents add depth to an emotional tale. Although the climax is a bit melodramatic, readers will enjoy this strong character driven tale as Logan struggles to prove to himself he is Deserving of Luke in spite of failing his son and his beloved for years.
Following in the footsteps of her dad Tony, the fire chief of San Amaro Island, Texas, Faith Peligni became a firefighter. She worked in the San Antonio FD until she was injured on the job. Healed, she obtains a position with her hometown fire department as the first female firefighter. However, she expects sexism, but that is not what concerns her. Faith knows she must prove her teammates' weight because most, if not all, assume nepotism is why she was hired as her dad is the fire chief.
Fire captain Joe Mendoza has dreamed of being the chief since he was pre-school age. He is groomed as the heir apparent, but is attracted to his new subordinate who shares his regard. As they fall in love, he must make up his mind between his career and the boss' daughter.
This is a terrific firefighters' romance starring two fully developed protagonists and a strong support cast who enhances either the lead couple or the first responder's dangerous job. Although Joe is terrific with his indecisiveness re Faith or the promotion, Faith makes the tale terrific as she confronts sexism and the belief she got the job due to connections. Readers will appreciate this super romance as playing with fire in this case is a hazardous occupation.
A Score to Settle
In Houston Project Justice founder oil billionaire Daniel Logan meets with prosecuter Jamie McNair over the Christopher Gables' murder conviction of his partner Frank Sissom. Gables sits on death row for killing his partner due to McNair's brilliant prosecution, but now McNair plans to prove she condemned an innocent man. Logan's motive is personal having spent six years on death row for a crime he did not commit because Texas justice failed him and who knows how many others who had no money to prove otherwise.
Logan explains the case echoes his conviction of the murder of Andreas Musto in which a serial killer frames someone else; his evidence starts with the shared anomalies being unexplained metal shavings and unexplained DNA and with the witness who saw the murder but was an illegal so the witness vanished. As they team up to free an innocent man and incarcerate a serial killer, they fall in love. However she is a passionate prosecutor while he believes Texas justice remains in the Judge Bean era.
This is an excellent romantic legal thriller due to the psychological flaws of the lead couple. She struggles to live up to her father superstar prosecutor while he remains angry and acrimonious with the injustice. The diabolical killer enhances an exciting one sitting tale.
Vaillant the pureblood vampire lives for one thing only; the death at his hands of his father Constantine de Salignac. His sire incarcerated his mother inside a glass coffin for two centuries driving her insane. Meanwhile Vail's life in Faery has been one of misery so when he is exiled by the Lord of Midsummer Darkness he is unconcerned.
Vail's stepfather Rhys Hawkes offers him a deal. He wants Vail to locate and bring to him Lyric, daughter of the Santiago vampiric thieves, and the special dress she wears. If he succeeds Hawkes will give him his father's location. Vail begins his quest with youthful vigor and ignorance; unaware that the powerful Lord of Midsummer Darkness seeks the girl and her powerful gown too.
This is a superb romantic fantasy as the two protagonists share in common a desire for freedom and justice though there definitions of the terms vastly differ. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Vail begins his hunt and accelerates when the pair meets as the adventures are just beginning. Readers will enjoy Michele Hauf's tense Forever Vampire.
The Last Warrior
In Tassagonia, the people recognize their savior is General Uhr-Tao, who defeated the brutal Gorr. War weary, the honorable hero comes home wanting peace and tranquility, and to spend time with his sister Aza who is married to King Xim and their children.
The Kurel study diligently the forbidden ancient disciplines of science and medicine. One of them Elsabeth has vowed to kill King Xim for murdering her parents so she joins a group of dissidents wanting the monarch replaced. She obtains a position as the royal tutor. There she meets Tao, who knows his brother-in-law and his dangerous retinue are hurting the people of Tassagonia.
Known for her science fiction romances (see Your Planet or Mine?) Susan Grant provides a terrific outer space adventure starring a war hero and a tutor. The people are descendants of lost Earth travelers with much of the technology to span the stars long gone; this is a critical element as the protagonists come from a vast divide on the use of science and medicine. Readers will relish the tour of Tassagonia as the action never stops with suspense and romance mounting.
When You Dare
In Tijuana, mercenary Dare Macintosh raids a human trafficking trailer to rescue his friend and Trace Rivers' sister Alani. Incarcerated in the same containment facility was an unconscious female who has been tortured by the kidnappers; he took her out with him too; while four local females were freed as well but left on their own. Alani explains the other American was not taken for selling like she and the four locals, but for some other unknown reason
When she awakens she breaks his nose, but he remains calm and helps her quickly adapt to being in San Diego. As he assists her with healing, romantic suspense novelist Molly Alexander from Ohio tells Dare she has no idea why anyone would take her as she has no enemies at least who would go to such an extreme. Dare is attracted to and respects Mommy's courage under fire. She hires him even as he vows to find out who her predator is anyway, but first must know why.
This is an exciting extremely well written romantic suspense that will have readers up late trying to figure out who the culprit is and the motive. Several viable suspects surface, but determining who would go to the extreme is in plain sight but difficult to fathom. Various relationships to include dysfunctional, maturing and changing, and respectful make for a powerful thriller.
What Might Have Been
In Georgia, when his grandfather died, he left Luke Collier ownership of Collier Orchards. Luke has bittersweet memories of the small farm he grew up on, but returns home leaning towards selling.
Eight years away from his childhood home, Luke knows his former girlfriend Ainsley Rutherford lives and works on the orchard. He broke her heart when they were an entry and she has vowed not again as she expects the prodigal bad boy to come home. However, her personal pledge of abstinence fails when they meet. As he reconsiders his future plans, she fears he will do what men like him do leave.
This intriguing second chance at love stars two fascinating protagonists who obviously love one another, but to stay or not to stay that is the question. The story line never fully decides between the two encounters as what happened eight years ago competes with the contemporary. Still the couple is strong and readers will want to know why he left and as the glass is half empty in the case of Luke instead of optimistically wondering will he stay, fans and the heroine will ponder whether he will leave again.
Long Slow Burn
In Milwaukee as she nears thirty, Kim Horton joins her three friends Marie Hewitt, Darcy Clark and Candy Graham at the monthly Women in Power meeting. Darcy owns Milwaukeedates.Com. Having recently gotten an E-male for Candy (see Turn Up The Heat) she turns her attention to helping Kim with her extinct love life. Kim agrees to try her service. At the same time Kim's worried that her Charlotte Web's Design is failing after five years of her hard work.
Kim's roommate Nathan Alexander is a womanizer who prefers drinking beer (with her loser younger brother) as if they still are in college. In fact, Nathan has been into Kim for years, but assumes she is so not into him as he is always a fool in front of her. Still he decides to risk his soul by vying for his Kim's heart.
The second contemporary E-male romance is a fun tale especially from the moment Nathan steps on the pizza just when Kim gives him the silent lecturing evil eye. The story line is at its best when the pair bickers their way to love. Although subplots involving other characters subtract from the stars' Sharpe segue, readers will enjoy Nathan's fumbling attempts to show his beloved he is a serious contender for her love.
A Convenient Proposal
Harlequin American Romance
In the Florida Keys, Georgia veterinarian Griff Campbell notices the stranger on the private beach just before midnight. They enjoy the final ten minutes of New Year's Eve and they kiss. Somewhat intoxicated Griff proposes to Arden Burke, classical musician, who is losing her hearing. The vet's motive is he does not want to go home to Sheridan, Georgia looking pathetic since his fiancee married his best friend.
He actually wants a fake fiancee. She agrees to be his pretend woman if he gets her pregnant without any inconvenient after ties as she has Igor the canine. He accepts her terms, but soon each finds a growing attraction that has both wanting to renegotiate.
This entertaining contemporary romance is a tender tale of two people reluctant to getting involved in a permanent adult relationship. Griff was engaged for twos years only to have his fiancee break it off three days before the wedding to marry his long time best friend. Arden feels sorry for herself and prefers the company of loyal Igor. Fans of relationship dramas will relish the tale of the musician, the vet and the dog.
Harlequin American Romance
At the Bastrop Homecoming Rodeo, bronco rider Drew Rawlin is injured when his horse bucked him so he is taken to the nearby Lakeside Hospital emergency room. Working at the hospital is his former lover for one night that he never forgot, Nurse Hallie Sutton. He chickened out in the past five years since that night although he constantly craves wanting to see her, but this time he seeks her out. When he learns he is the father of their four year old boy Nick he sired with her, he is irate. He demands time to know his son, which she reluctantly agrees to though she fears he will hurt their child like he hurt her.
Hallie and Drew are attracted to each other just like they were the first time they met. Their heat is not enough for Hallie who still insists on a real full time daddy for their child. Obviously a rodeo cowboy is not home to meet her requirement although he believes he can have his cake and eat it too.
Although the premise of not informing a father he sired an offspring is older than Wyoming dirt, fans will enjoy this entertaining family drama. Marin Thomas makes a strong case that the adult is still the child; as Hallie needs a man who is there for her and her son and not one traveling the rodeo circuit while Drew must prove that he did not waste his time on the circuit as his late father always told him he would never amount to anything. This couple has personal demons to overcome as love is not enough.
The Goddess Test
Eighteen year old Kate leaves New York City so her mom can die in her hometown of Eden in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan. At the high school the teen has not seen anything extraordinary about her peers like Ava, James, Dylan or Henry. That is until a nasty prank turns into an ugly killing of Ava but Henry miraculously brings her back to life.
Henry reluctantly explains to Kate who witnessed the miracle that he is the God of the Underworld. Although she saw what happened, she doubts his voracity as to who he claims he is. However, she clings to a slither of hope he is telling the truth as her mother is dying from cancer. Kate asks Henry to intervene so she can talk one last time with her mom. He agrees but the terms he demands are "live forever or die trying" with seven tests. She will soon understand what a Faustian deal is.
This is a wonderful high school age small town fantasy. The cast is fully developed; with many of the "teens" suffering torment and angst over life and death. Fast-paced readers will enjoy the opening act of Aimee Carter's contemporary rendition of the Greek mythological tale Persephone.
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
In London, someone abducts the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences archivist Wellington Thornhill Books. Field Agent Eliza Braun rescues him from his Antarctic prison.
However, though she gets the job done, the MPO leadership decides Braun uses too much brawn with her excessive collateral damage and Books thinks the archives is his personal library. Ministry Director Dr. Sound finds a subtle solution to his two problem children. He assigns Braun to work for Books. However, her work there leads her back to her first cold case Rag and Bone Murders that left her partner insane. This quickly takes the operative and the archivist into uncovering a nefarious plot by the House of Usher. Filled with sound and fury, the Director will learn sometimes you get what you wish for.
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences steampunk fantasy is a fun tale starring a gender bending couple with apt surnames of Book and Braun. The story line starts with a big bang at their first encounter and remains loaded with action; but some scenes seem more like cul de sac additions. As the lead pair struggle to survive one escapade after another with the help of cute Oliver Twist kids, fans will enjoy their dysfunctional exploits.
The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World
Jennifer Baggett, Amanda Pressner, Holly C. Corbett
As the three friends were making it up the Manhattan media ladder, each began to question whether this is what they want from life. With thirty beckoning, they quit their jobs and leave their boyfriends behind in New York to embark on an around the world in one year tour though they know the cost to their careers. The three writers rotate chapters as they travel in South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The trek is not all kumbayah camaraderie though they depend on each other. Well written, the fascination in the memoir is the maturing from the early hedonistic fling in Brazil to the later poignancy of Kenya.
The Ninth Wife
In 2005 DC folklorist Bess Gray is having a birthday party at her apartment. One of the attendees is fiddler Rory McMillan who thinks of his first wife he married as a teen in Ireland; they traveled to Boston to live. When he and Bess meet, they are attracted to each other. Bess' former boyfriend Sonny arrives with his pregnant girlfriend Gaia. Rory leaves without saying goodbye.
Rory thinks about his second marriage. He did not want to go home to Dublin and she needed a man as a front. They never slept together as she was a lesbian who divorced him just after she graduated from college. He regrets he hurt his third wife who he met in a Toledo church parking lot over a fender bender.
Rory invites Bess to watch him play the fiddle. She accepts the date. Bess enjoys the performance by Rory and his partner Sean. They go to the National Cathedral where he kisses her. The pair begins a relationship, but he knows he owes her the truth about his eight marriages.
This is an engaging tale with an intriguing theme that for the most part is brilliantly executed as readers meet the merry wives of Rory. The lead couple is a strong pairing and the support cast enhances the story line except for the second half road show in which Gaia and Bess' neighbor Cricket seem out of place. The elderly spousal abuse subplot brings a serious issue to the plot, but is somewhat muted after a powerful beginning. Still this is a profound look at degrees of togetherness as it is not first, fifth or eighth; it is the last wife that counts.
A Hard Death
New York City forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner has his medical license revoked by the State for his killing the Inquisitor (see Precious Blood). Stunned by the political culpability targeting him as the fall guy for rescuing a woman from certain death, Edward relocates to serve as a substitute for his former boss Doc Marty Roburn, chief medical officer of Douglas County, Florida. Doc and his beloved wife Roberta have gone on a fishing vacation while Jenner expects plenty of relaxation in the resort town of Port Elizabeth.
Jenner and a law enforcement team watch a car being removed from the Everglades. Inside are two corpses, Doc and Roberta. Jenner quickly knows this was not an unfortunate accident nor is the deaths of four more people. Grieving for his boss while in a near rage, Jenner investigates with one goal to find the perpetrator.
The symbolically titled A Hard Death (on the living Jenner) is an action packed forensic thriller as the hero is a knight in medical armor rescuing damsels and seeking a nasty killer while someone with a grudge stalks him. The story line is action-packed from the beginning but adds a major anguish to the mix when Jenner realizes who the corpses are. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this taut Everglades forensic mystery.
If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter's Notebook
Although she knew the death of her mom was coming shortly, Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Rosman struggled to move passed the demise of Suzy, who at sixty died from lung cancer. To help her come to grips with her loss and better understand how others felt about her intelligent energetic mom, Ms. Rosman turned to people who knew her late mom; that is after a shopping spree with her sister Lizzie to honor their pain in the butt nurturing loving mom. Ms. Rosman talked with the empathetic Haitian doctor at Sloan-Kettering who lost his father to cancer just a few weeks prior to the death of Ms. Rosman's mom. Some people she chatted with thought her quest was a waste of time for her and the other party as neither will know if anything profound surfaced since the source is gone. Ms. Rosman agrees with the assessment on the surface, but her exercise is for herself as grief is customized to the individual. This is an interesting look at a daughter mourning for her loss of her mom though there is little in the way of conflict between the pair. Still readers, who struggle with the loss of a loved one, which reminds survivors of their mortality, will empathize with Ms. Rosman as she provides an engaging look at seeking her mom in death and especially in life from those who knew Suzy.
The White Devil
Due to heroin use, seventeen years old Andrew Taylor is expelled from elite Frederick Williams Academy, a Connecticut prep school catering to the affluent. His father provides an exorbitant gift to Harrow in England, which gets Andrew into the school. Andrew is excited over one thing, the Housemaster Sir Alan Vine's daughter Persephone.
Andrew is at a nearby cemetery on Harrow-on-the-Hill when he witnesses the murder of a student Theo Ryder who resided in the rundown haunted Lot dorm. The culprit is a gaunt skeletal person wearing a very old style frock coat. Feeling ill Andrew suffers from nightmares. He also learns that an emaciated person looking like the killer appeared in a performance of John Webster's The White Devil at Harrow in 1803. At the same time, he struggles with what his senses imply; Andrew plays Byron in acrimonious alcoholic housemaster Piers Fawkes's play because the American looks like the late romantic era poet. However, the American exiled teen begins to assimilate Byron's exotic life while tuberculosis spreads amidst those at the school and the bizarre takes control of Andrew's section of Harrow.
The connection between the modern day and the romantic period is clever as Byron's "true" love ties the American with the late poet in this harrowing haunted school story. Although requiring a leap of faith over Big Ben as too many of the cast easily accepts the existence of a ghost, readers will enjoy this spooky fast-paced tale of an American attending Harrow.
Fade to Blue
Suz Mitchell and her four year old son Jeremiah settle in Otter Bay, California as the single mom obtains a position at Hearst Castle and moves in with her older brother Gage who is engaged to Callie (see A Shore Thing). Her plan is for her and her child to start fresh while she prays her ex Len, who lingers behind bars, returns to God.
Also employed at the castle is her former boyfriend Seth Russo. She is surprised that feelings she thought dead prove they were only hibernating as she is attracted to Seth. He reciprocates and wants second chance with Suz. However, she knows Jeremiah must come first as the lad needs to adapt to his father in jail and he and his mom relocating. Complicating matters is Len is free from prison and coming for his family as if nothing happened as he knows his former wife only sees the best in people.
Fade to Blue is an insightful contemporary Christian Otter Bay relationship drama. The cast makes the tale work especially Suz-Q whose belief in the Lord will soon be tested. With a profound underlying message that you can pray for others but like that proverbial horse not make them drink the water of faith. Readers will appreciate this strong drama.
Over the Edge
Stanford University Dr. Brock McNeil is a recognized expert on tick diseases. However, he firmly believes that especially Lyme disease is not a chronic illness. Brock will soon need to revise his medical opinion.
An unknown person for unknown reasons infects Brock's wife Janessa with infected ticks. This adversary calls with the warm welcome to the Lyme Disease message. As she becomes increasingly ill, Brock rejects the notion that she has Lyme disease. The adversary soon plans to attack Brock's nine year old daughter Lauren with the same strain. Brock continues to be obstinate about the illness devastating his wife. To add to his problems a predator stalks his family. He better revise his belief system before it is too late.
This is a great mainstream cautionary tale by Brandilyn Collins, known for her Christian thrillers, that provides an insightful shocking look at the crippling impact of Lyme disease in which the medical community and the health insurance company for the most deny the chronic long term impact. Janessa makes the tale as the victim of a deranged stalker and of her cheating husband's rejection of the facts that his wife is extremely ill and his daughter is at risk. Readers will appreciate this taut medical thriller based in the author's battle with Lyme disease and seek out her blog (www.brandilyncollins.com) and other sufferers' despondent stories (lyme-overtheedge.blogspot.com).
In 1938 Father Malecki, a Polish American priest from Chicago investigates the alleged powers of Mother Kazimierza, the abbess of a convent in Nazi occupied Cracow, Poland. People believe in her ability to foresee the future. However, before Father Malecki can make a determination, someone shoots and kills Mother Kazimierza.
Wehrmacht Captain Martin Bora is assigned to investigate the homicide in which his superior Nazi fanatic fanatical Colonel Schenk demands one finding, a Jew killed the holy woman. At the same time the Archbishop and the American consul demand Father Malecki stay out of the inquiry; in fact they prefer he return to Chicago.
Although the murder mystery that at least in the first case is relatively easy to solve, Lumen is also a great historical that uses the killing of a nun to provide a stunning period piece focused on the horrors humanity does in the name of some ism. The profound story line focuses on the Nazi-Communist takeover of Poland while the Church remained mute to Father Malecki's shock. Seemingly minor incidents like how a Jewish teacher addresses his former student now a German Officer and the visiting official told to back off or else make for a discerning read. These little tidbits of horror include the trip Bora makes to the Communist allies taking Poland apart from the east while the Germans do likewise from the west; with each side trumping the other in brutality. Readers will relish the lives of Bora and Malecki circa 1938 as the value systems the soldier grew up with has been obliterated by his country and their ally; and that of the priest devastated by the Vatican's silence in this dark early WWII era thriller.
The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil
Victoria Christopher Murray
As she nears her fiftieth birthday, wealthy Shay-Shaunte knows what she wants as her special present. Until Shay-Shaunte offers one of her executive assistant, Evia Langston five million dollars for a weekend with the latter's husband Adam. Stunned Evia says no thanks.
However, Evia knows her family could use the money as they are nearing financial ruin with the economy tanking. She also knows that when she and Adam exchanged vows in front of the Lord when they were seventeen, they pledged a faith based relationship to raise their kids in. Now Evia and Adam must choose between the she-devil serpent's glittering offering to save the Langston's Garden of Eden or trusting in God to take care of them and their children.
The immediate reaction is The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil is a gender bending version of Redford's Indecent Proposal to Moore and Harrelson; but that is only at the surface. Instead this is a much deeper profound character driven tale as besides breaking one's ethics for easy money and the example that sets for their children as well as destroying the trust between Evia and Adam. There is also an underlying religious issue throughout the engaging story line that will stun readers with a shocking twist at the final confrontation. Victoria Christopher Murray provides readers with a strong inspirational family drama as free will allows the Langston duo to choose between the devil's easy money and the Lord's pious path.
The Mermaid Garden
In 1966 in Tuscany, her mother dumps ten year old Floriana Farussi on her alcoholic father before leaving. Floriana falls in love with teenage Dante Bonfanti. He is amused by her elan for life. However as they grow up, each knows they are soulmates.
In 2009 in Devon, Marina and Grey Turner fear they will lose their Hotel Polzanze. They hire Argentine painter Rafa Santori to provide lessons to their guests. This proves successfully until Grey's miserable daughter Clementine arrives to the chagrin of her stepmother who knows her husband's offspring mantra is misery loves miserable people. However, everyone has issues, which makes it unlikely that the artist and the daughter will connect in spite of being in love.
These two tales of young people in love at two locales over four decades apart deftly comingle into a cohesive entertaining story. Although straightforward in both eras, readers will feel they are walking the gardens of Tuscany and Devon accompanying the fully developed casts from both periods; as Santa Montefiore provides a wonderful warm character study of paradise found, lost and regained.
My Infamous Life The Autobiography of Mobb Deeps' Prodigy
Albert "Prodigy" Johnson with Laura Checkoway
This is an insightful autobiography that hooks the audience from the Introduction as Prodigy in a prison four hours from the city realizes he is just another inmate though a celebrity. From there Prodigy explains his family roots changed from musical affluence to the Queensborough projects where violent crime is the norm. For instance, Prodigy, who suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia, admits he committed a robbery to insure he met the code of high school which reminded me of the 1950s Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter. His family also knew crime first hand when his aunt a bartender was shot in Queens. When he became a famous rapper, blood money and drugs eventually led to prison. There he found out who his true friends are.
This is a timely fabulous memoir as Albert Johnson pulls no punches with his insightful look at his "infamous life" and at the civil war era of Hip Hop. Profound throughout Mr. Johnson lays bare his guts of thriving and dying in the concrete jungle of New York. Although too frequent use of the first person "I" pronoun at the start of sentences (even for an autobiography) feels a bit disjointing, readers will appreciate the honesty that Mr. Johnson provides in this deep gripping introspective memoir.
Queen by Right
Anne Easter Smith
In 1423 when she was nine years old, Cecily Neville meets twelve years old Richard of York at her father's Raby Castle. Both are raised in her family's household and matched off in an arranged marriage in 1824. However their marriage proves to be one of endearing and enduring love. She accompanies him to Rouen where he becomes the governor general of France and she becomes friends with Joan, who informs her she will be the mother of kings. When King Henry VI suffers a breakdown and is unable to rule any longer, Richard returns home as the Protector. However, others seeing opportunity force him to flee to Ireland while his wife and children remain at Ludlow Castle. Holding the hands of her offspring, Cecily stares down the enemy until her husband returns to be named the heir to the throne.
Anne Easter Smith continues her look at the turbulent Plantagenet period (see The King's Grave, A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York) in this entertaining look at the monarch-maker (thirteen children with two becoming king). Bringing alive much of the fifteenth century through the heroine (she died at eighty) known for her brave stand during another of the civil wars of that era, fans will relish Queen by Right as the marriage of political convenience between the York and Neville families turns into an endearing enduring love match until his death in 1460.
The Dead Man: Ring of Knives
Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin and James Daniels
Adventures In Television
Due to a stag that may or may not have been on the road, Matthew Cahill's vehicle is in a ditch. The tow truck driver, who believes Rush is a liberal, takes him to the "nuthouse" where Matt is going. After his driver mentions looking at the eyes to see the soul Matt peeks at the man and he sees beetles in the sockets as the guy says he plans a surprise for his ex and her beau in Tacoma to night.
At Westland County Mental Health Center, Matthew set up an interview to discuss how to fight the evil Dr. Dark with thirty seven yeas old Jesse Weston, an encyclopedia of mental illness. However, the hospital administrator who arranged it Dr. Dindren no longer works there and Weston was transferred elsewhere. Employee Maloria, who he has a Tase moment h just before arriving at the MHC explains what is going on. He needs to see Dindren in order to learn where Weston is. However, to do that he must enter the monitored modules escorted by Maloria; there he will learn first hand what happens to those with mental illness and the cause of seeing the abnormal and paranormal while finding getting in is easy but getting out alive is lunacy.
The second DEAD MAN paranormal novella is a taut thriller that grips the audience from the moment Matt sees the driver's eyes and never slows down especially when he enters the house of horrors. Action-packed throughout yet key support players like Maloria, Drindren and teenage patient Annica come across fully developed as readers will appreciate Cahill's search for answers to death and Dr. Dark after coming back from the dead.
Human Avice Benner Cho grew up in a colony on backwater Embassytown. She left the planet to travel in space, but now accompanies her linguist husband Scile back to her home where he plans to study the language of the sentient native population the Ariekei AKA Hosts; she never learned their language though her smile helped her get by. She is not alone as the outsiders cannot comprehend the language of the morally driven Hosts so linguist ambassadors were created to communicate with the species.
However, two events shake the value system of Host society. First an Ariekei learns to lie; an unheard of shattering event. Second two new Ambassadors arrive whose respective sounds produce an odd yet deep physical impact on the Hosts. Their pure society, which survived the colony, is undergoing radical change as Avice tries to help.
This is a great science fiction thriller that takes a profound look at communication through the Host who are wired differently from the humans; sort of mindful of the Autistic Spectrum while the first lie will remind readers of the movie The Invention of Lying in an Avatar realm. The cast is solid especially the fascinating Host who find their world being radically changed when their Language is assimilated by the space travelers. China Mieville provides a thought provoking look at the relationship between a society's values and its language as each shapes the other.
Two and a half centuries have passed since the global nuclear war eradicated much of the population. The planet has not recovered from the radiation battering. However, one thing remains the same from the pre war; a small group of wealthy "registered" as the five generations of throwback purebred humanity World Court rules over the Stryker force psions who possess psi skills.
The human Serca Syndicate enlists psions like Threnody Corwin, whose telekinetic touch emits electricity. However, she is unaware that Lucas Serca is one of her kind as is his warhounds. While he hopes to free the psions and save the unregistered purebreds, the affluent begin the countdown to their escape from a dying planet by traveling to Mars.
The first tale of a post-apocalyptic duology, Mind Storm is an exhilarating science fiction thriller. As a rebellion breaks out, the purebred affluent World Court after decades of enslaving the psions and other "gene-trash" plan their planetary escape while leaving behind the remnants of mankind to die. Although the story line never digs deep into the mindset of any of the prime three groups of survivors as blood and guts flow in extraordinary amounts, fans who enjoy gory military science fiction in a future dying earth setting will want to read Mind Storm.
K. Ryer Breese
Whenever seventeen years old Ade Patience is knocked out, he sees the future. He becomes addicted to his skill as he does all sorts of stunts to land unconscious. His family is concerned though his mother believes her son is part of the coming Rapture. His friends are increasingly distant as they are uncomfortable with his visions.
Two years ago Ade first saw the girl he loves Vauxhall, but has finally met her in person. However, Vauxhall conceals a secret from Ade as she sees things from her sex partners' past during intimacy. Like her new beau, she is addicted to her power. Finally Ade must deal with her boyfriend Jimi who he has seen what becomes of his rival.
This is an intriguing thriller with a strong look at self inflicted abuse. Ade and Vauxhall are odd but fascinating characters as their relationship is as far from the norm as an outlier can be. Although Ade's constant concussing behavior should have caused much more long term physical damage (as quarterbacks and boxers know) and consequently led to a strait jacket by family and school intervening, readers will enjoy his banging his head against solid objects and Vauxhall.
Having lost the Florida Gas & Light merger to Citibank, Wall Street investment bank Dyson Whitney managing director Pete Stanzy wants the Louisiana Light deal, which is why he flies to Baton Rouge to meet with the CEO Mike Wilson who wants to purchase rival BritEnergy. If Stanzy and his team pull off the deal they will make $72 million; if they fail they make nada. Wilson makes it clear he expects the negotiations to be over in a month and Stanzy is to talk to no one but him.
While Wilson is in South America, Stanzy has Phil Menendez put together a team to work the BritEnergy deal. Newcomer analyst Rob Holding is part of the unit whose only focus is the Louisiana Light transaction. However, though the lowest person on the totem pole, Rob performing his job of Due Diligence analysis finds indiscretions in why Wilson wants a rushed hushed deal. No one heeds his warnings as the fee blinds the bank's leadership with a not to know need; forcing the young man to struggle with his ethics vs. his career and soon he learns his life when a corpse that should have been him is found.
The fast-paced story line is timed nicely as the bottom line only practices that led to the banking collapse remain intact at least at this company in spite of the attempts of Washington Democrats passing watered down oversight reform (Republicans still believe the market corrects itself). Although somewhat an updating of John Grisham's The Firm and the final coda is over the top of the New York Stock Exchange, fans will enjoy the action-packed Due Diligence while rooting for Holding against the big bad bankers.
Against the Wind
Bodie & Brock Thoene
By 1940, the Nazis control much of central Europe. Jewish violinist Elisa Lindheim Murphy and her American newspaper reporter spouse John Murphy accompanied by their three kids manage to flee Germany in 1937 and soon after leave Vienna for London. However, Britain does not prove much safer as the German Luftwaffe Blitz the country. Hitler's invasion seems imminent as the Battle of Britain rages in the sky and at sea.
John and Elisa send their twin adopted eight years old sons Charles and Louis Kroenberger and their seventeen month old baby Katie to live in America with his parents. As the North Atlantic turns deadly, Elisa decides to escort Jewish children to the States. In late October 1940 a U-boat sinks the SS Newcastle. Elisa and others manage to get on lifeboats, but ten days later their prayers have not been answered. She knows young Connor with his tin whistle is a hero that future books will never know of and thinks if she had her violin she would play Kol Nidre to tell people how it felt when the torpedoes hit the refugee vessel.
The latest Zion Diaries (see The Gathering Storm) is a deep WWII drama as the battle of Britain may have been the finest hour, but for years this is one of Europe's darkest eras. Bombing of civilian populations; sinking of ships with children; killing people for their religion, race or color are the norm. The story line grips the audience from the start as Elisa on a lifeboat writes her last will and never slows down. The Thoene team provides a compassionate poignant historical as a few brave but frightened people poke an index finger in Hitler's eye.
Over two decades ago, Angelo Pluzetti saved the life of a young male son of a dangerous father who headed the Revolutionary Echelon Defenders (R.E.D.), but a girl lost hers in the endeavor. The lad felt guilty that a youthful innocent bystander Sarita died, but six years later, he agreed to protect Angelo's daughter Anya.
Twenty-two years later, disillusioned Network operatives Lucy Carlton and Vic Leventhal are celebrating her birthday camping. The couple knows they swore allegiance and have performed many dangerous missions in the shadows, but now they want a normal family life together. However, each understands their sojourn will not last long. That proves prophetic as their respite fails to last the camping time when they meet the Sparks family trying to be free too. The terrorist group R.E.D. seeks them also knowing the pair is disillusioned as freedom has become another F word; yet the enemy offers the ultimate apple temptation of freedom for information.
This is an incredible finish to a strong saga as the key threads are tied up in an intriguing ending. Fast-paced from the onset, fans of the long running Incognito series will appreciate the final confrontation, as Karen Wiesner pulls off a terrific twist. Dark Approach climaxes the dozen super thrillers with a great curtain call.
Although Joshua and Justine Samuels have been married for eighteen years, she feels she does not know her husband nor him her. Justine concludes that in spite of almost two decades together, they share two common bonds: their love for their daughter Vashti and their faith in the Lord.
Looking back to when she was in high school while working and caring for her dying father, Justine recalls her only respite was time spent with her neighbor Joshua. When she became pregnant, both feared the reactions of their devout Christian families so they married and raised Vashti until now when she wonders if that is all there is their marriage. However, neither of her parents know how determined Vashti is to keep her family together. She signs up her mom and dad to partake in a mission in Mexico. They will either come back renewed in their marital vows and their belief in God or find their schism too great a leap of faith to overcome.
This Family Heirlooms inspirational family drama (see Baby, Baby) is a wonderful character driven tale that provides a profound look at a troubled marriage. The three Samuels are pious individuals, but in spite of the adults honoring their vows, their relationship appears at best dormant. Vashti intercedes praying to the Lord to guide her as she fears her family is going to split up due to the lack of real communication between her parents. Readers will appreciate this deep look at marital relationships though the mindsets of the Samuels' trio.
Prophecy of the Guardian
The Second Great War between the forces of the Light and their eternal enemy the Dark has ignited. Leading the Dark is Abaddon the Demon Lord who has a strategy to end the endless war with his side victorious and the light forever stuffed out. He seeks the four ancient Wizard Crystals of the Elements with plans to turn them into evil weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time Nasharin warrior Darshun Luthais knows the significance of possessing the crystals. He and a few comrades search for the powerful crystals in order to thwart the schemes of Abaddon. Their quest is dangerous as the minion of the Dark attack them. However, Darshun's greatest challenge is to remain true to the Light and avoid any shortcuts that would turn him and his party evil though it costs lives to his companions. If he is the Guardian as many hope and suspect, he must remain pure to the Light or Abaddon will have won even without the crystals.
This is an exciting fun to read quest fantasy starring a confident young warrior who believes strongly in his skills and hopefully wise enough to not give in to temptation of the Dark short cuts especially when he sees teammates he has known all his life die and has to face their family; think of Truman's ethical dilemma of not using the A-bomb just after the Battle of Okinawa. The story line is action-packed from the onset though it enables the audience to observe the Nasharin belief system which is a critical element in the thriller. Although not as vivid as I would prefer due to the entertaining faster than light plot, sub-genre fans will appreciate this superb opening act of the Guardian of the Seventh Realm.
In Peaceful, Wisconsin, three years ago Ryder Feldmann raped Samantha Samuels, daughter of a pastor who trusted the teenage juvenile delinquent. Although traumatized, Samantha enrolled in psychiatric classes in order to help victims of violent crimes. However, her faith has been shattered in the Lord and her trust in people's kindness vanquished
Ryder's older brother Kyle feels punished by his sibling's violent assault. Kyle asked his beloved Samantha to marry him though he knew her father would object. The attack shattered his dreams as he knows anytime Samantha sees him, she sees Ryder too.
God works in mysterious ways as Samantha's new office is in the same building as that of Kyle the divorce counselor. He prays this is not a deity joke as he wants a second chance, but realizes his Samantha has lost much of her spirit and almost all of her faith. She logically knows she must forgive her father for his negligence and Ryder for his assault, but cannot as she wonders if Glass Angels once shattered can heal; Kyle plans to glue the shattered pieces back together even if it takes his lifetime.
The fourth Family Heirlooms inspirational tale (see the "healing" of Foolish Games) is a terrific contemporary story starring a person whose belief system was shattered when her body was violated. Kyle is a strong counterpart to the courageous but tormented Samantha who has given up on God, her father, and her beloved as she trusts no one; not even the Lord who allowed the attack to occur. Readers will sympathize with the heroine's emotional plight and empathize with the lead male's hopes and frustrations as the only way she will heal is the impossible forgiving those she holds accountable.
A Time for Patriots
The financial industry collapses taking down the stock markets with it. The American economy is in free-fall. Newly elected President Phoenix and the Congress radically slash the federal government spending and reduce tax rates to their lowest in decades as they heed what happened to those in the last TARP intervention; safety networks are slashed with the massive reductions. Three types of groups emerge: local vigilante protecting small pockets of people loosely aligned with The Civil Air patrol; murderous terrorist cells; and stragglers with no camp available.
The Knights of the True Republic ambush an FBI unit protecting radioactive substances. They kill the agents and steal the dangerous material planning to launch a dirty bomb on the federal building in Reno. The Civil Air Patrol's Nevada Wing led by retired Air Force Lieutenant-General Patrick McLanahan hunt the Knights hoping to prevent the destruction of Reno.
Fans will welcome the exciting return of not by the book McLanahan (see Executive Intent) though he plays the same shallow character he has been in the numerous tales when he was active duty and retired. This time he is accompanied by his equally underdeveloped teenage son who joins him in doing it the McLanahan way or no way as this pair is caffeine coffee drinking Cessna pilots. Extremely fast-paced with a powerful premise of what the impact of sudden massive cuts in spending and revenues mean, readers will enjoy father and son as they team up to try to save Nevada from the terrorist Knights.
The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
I am biased as a pet lover who found The Bond as a fascinating cautionary call for mankind to better understand its past, present and future link to animals and the need to protect animals from humanity. Divided into seven chapters and an appendix, The Bond is an easy well written read. Wayne Pacelle, the head of The Humane Society of The United States, assumes his audience is intelligent and open minded; as besides a biochemical tie, animals have been pets even in ancient societies and some species were domesticated millennia ago; people refused to leave New Orleans knowing Katrina would be devastating because they could not leave family behind (that family were pets). Anecdotal entries enhance Mr. Pacelle's call to arms as he explains the history of man and animal bonds and how to protect species like the California condor from lead poisoning. Perhaps the most interesting chapter is the last as Mr. Pacelle analyzes opponents of animal protection who argue everything from second amendment rights to human needs. There is also a warning not to fall for "altruistic" groups with positive sounding labels asking for help as some of these are animal abusers. Instead the author provides "Fifty Ways to Help Animals" with contact information.
Appetite for America
This terrific historical biography starts off with quite a hook when drunken cowboys in 1882 meet Fred Harvey at his Montezuma Hotel and after a drink with the English expatriate and midnight breakfast come away with awe while wondering "Who the hell is Fred Harvey?" Stephen Fried provides a deep answer to the question of the pioneering entrepreneur who established the restaurant chain concept with his eating out facilities by railroad stations. As America changed, Fred Harvey modified his innovative Harvey Houses concept to include restaurants at National Parks with the Grand Canyon being the jewel. Even after he died his revolutionary business model survived. Well written, besides the radical change to the American service industry, the biography also looks back at the rest of the Fred Harvey story from his roots in England to the end of his company in the twentieth century. Stephen Fried provides a super spotlight on a key business mogul who began the change from the industrial manufacturing base to the service industry.
Hotel No Tell
NYC Special Investigations Commission agent Zephyr Zuckerman is assigned the investigation into a money laundering inquiry at the Greenwich Village Hotel as someone moved $100K off the hotel books. The thirtyish Junior Detective obtains a position at the concierge desk, but her inquiry makes no progress.
However, Zephyr finds the case spins in another direction when the guest of room 502 struggles for oxygen in what appears to have been an attempted murder though she cannot fathom the motive. Finally, the undercover detective wonders if money laundering is not what occurred at the Greenwich Hotel, but instead an egg donor con.
This jocular satirical police procedural is an enjoyable what did they do comic crime caper as the Z to the second power investigates a felon that keeps changing as to what it is. The amazing Ms. Z keeps the wild story line somewhat focused as she takes readers on a shtick tour of the Big Apple. Fans who relish plenty of humor (slapstick included) in their mysteries will want to read SI undercover operative Zephyr's zany tale (see Super in the City).
The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure
As a child Rachel Friedman expected she would become a professional viola player some day. However, during her freshman year at college, Ms. Friedman realized that playing as a pro was not what she wanted in her life. Thus after years of aspiration she needed a new dream. The author goes to Ireland for the summer in hopes of finding what she wants. She meets many people in hostels and bars where the alcohol flowed too freely while she also worked at restaurants. From Ireland encouraged in Galway by Aussie Carly, Ms. Friedman journeys to Australia for a year and from there on a perilous South American tour where she meets New Zealand traveler Martyn.
Put aside the overkill title and the excessive summarizing cute table of contents, Rachel Friedman's memoir is an intriguing coming of age quest to find ones' self. The Irish passage of rite is youth at its first freedom while the Australian sojourn is the maturing of the author. However, it is the final continent in which Ms. Friedman risks her life that is the most fascinating segue. Throughout there is a strong sense of family as Ms. Friedman muses how they would react to what she is doing; and the problems faced by an young American expatriate abroad especially employment. Readers will enjoy travels with Rachel who brings to life her getting lost and found on three continents.
In Sorrento, Italy Olivia was the daughter of a servant working for the Santoro family. Lucian was heir apparent to the Santoro wealth as he would one day replace his father as the Chief Magistrate of vampire clan disputes. When they fell in love almost two hundred years ago, he chose his vampiric destiny over her. Olivia was forced to marry Daughton Gaspard. They had two sons (Kaden and Julian) who have long left the nest, but he was cruel to his wife until he was murdered five years ago. His killer was never found but deep in her heart she knows who he is. Now after decades of loneliness, Olivia is ending her torment with poison so everyone she loves can be free of her.
Julian calls his mom over his concern that his older brother is out of control. Olivia flies to New York praying she can obtain redemption before her suicide by reuniting her estranged sons. She learns the powerful Vampire Council led by Lucian believes Kaden is a serial killer and demands his execution. Lucian loathes Olivia as he believes she betrayed him, but admires her courage she did not have during their time together, as Olivia defies the Vampire Council and its chief to investigate the horrific murders.
The first Misfits of the Lore tale is an exciting second chance at love urban fantasy starring a beaten down female trying her best to do the right thing for her loved ones including killing herself. Lucian is torn between his rage at his "mate's" betrayal and his love for her as he distrusts Olivia; obstinately refusing to understand what really occurred. Readers will relish this superb tale in which the paranormal reside amidst the normal but conceal their inner essence.
Brothers Lucien and Rafael were ten years old when the Fenrir Slayers led by Thomas Corbett attacked the Vulkasin Lycan pack killing many including the twin's parents and kidnapped Layla the medicine woman. Thomas is enthralled by his captive.
Years later, the siblings rule their Lycan pack but Lucien has found his chosen mate; Rafael, returning after a year away, knows she is the enemy Slayer infiltrating their clan. Lucien kills her leading to a schism between the brothers who through the Gods share one body with one dominating the day and the other the night until the Blood Law of a mate for a mate is avenged.
In Sacramento Rafael saves a human female from Viktor the rogue Slayer. He wants to know why a Slayer would assault a human so he tries to learn the truth even as he heals Falon Corbett the orphan who Rafael soon marks her as his mate.
Blood Law is a super urban fantasy with a deep Lycanthropic background interwoven into the exciting story of rival siblings at war with one another. Readers will feel Lucien's rage and frustration towards his brother while Rafael struggles with his own feelings. With a great climatic twist, sub-genre fans will relish the Tabke universe as Lycan struggle to survive in a world in which the Slayers stalk them.
The Last Kiss
Ben Newcastle knows he is dying from cardiac arrest following the car accident. He has one thought as he holds a locket; he wishes he made the last Kiss with his beloved Emma forever.
One year, eight months and seven days have passed since Emma Wilkins' knew her life ended when her beloved Ben died. In a Texas bar, Ben's best friend Carter Bates begins to bring Emma back to life, but also angers an already frustrated Ben watching his beloved from beyond. She asks Carter the "pirate" to spank her while Ben her "prince" vows to return somehow. When Ben makes a Faustian deal, he comes back to San Antone and Emma now has two men she desires. However, Ben owes the devil.
The Last Kiss is an engaging erotic romantic fantasy starring two strong males and a somewhat weaker female although some of her issues are grief. Ben is an intriguing character as he refuses to move on and in fact chooses to move back. Carter is a solid caring person while Emma is more an extension of the two men lusting and loving her. Fans will enjoy this strange exciting triangle.
Neither Erin nor Dominic DeKnight coped with the death of their son Jay. They failed to find comfort with one another though she admits to herself that he helps her through the long night, and compounded the tragedy with guilt and silent accusations. Their marriage appears heading towards a collapse as he has gone on with their business while she neglects it as she struggles to get through the holidays.
The couple attends the Pri Trade show when he decides afterward it is time for his beloved Erin and himself to rejoin the living as a couple as he knows Jay would want nothing less than that for his parents. He bullies her into attending a wild party with him where Erin and Dominic begin exploring their sex fantasies. However, as they enjoy their trysts, someone is stealing their business secrets.
The opening DeKnight saga is a super erotic tale starring two loving people whose world shattered when their son died. The story line showcases Jasmine Haynes' skills as her lead couple struggle with grief in their personal lives and an economic spy in their professional lives. Fans will root for the pair as each begins to emotionally heal to the point where they enjoy a menage a trois.
Three to Tango
Emma Holly, Megan Hart, Lauren Dane, Bethany Kane
"Dirty/Bad/Wrong" by T Lauren Dane. Ava left Georgia years ago, but never forgot her two BFFs Luca and Angelo. As she returns for her mom's funeral, they plan a loving reunion.
"Just for One Night" by Megan Hart. When her former boyfriend Brian comes home for their high school reunion, Kerry persuades her current squeeze Jeremy to agree to her seducing her ex.
"Flipping for Chelsea" by Emma Holly. In 1997 teenage brothers Shay and Liam shared an incredible menage with Chelsea. In 2011 they have a chance for a deja vu moment with a repeat performance of love and lust.
"On the Job" by Bethany Kane. When Madeline needed Walker by her side, he instead left her. Now, over a decade later her boss Tony hires Walker to protect Madeline; but she has plans to make her bodyguard sexually grovel using her employer to foster her avenging scheme.
Sub-genre fans will relish these four heated tales that star fully developed threesomes.
A virus threatens to destroy the Dragonstar pure-blood shapeshifters. The clan healer Dr. Quinn Maguire desperately seeks a cure but time is running out as the death counts mounts. Quinn knows he needs specialized help. He pleads with CDC purebred human hematologist Dr. Jasmine Kane to come to the New Mexico desert where his species is spiraling towards extinction.
On sick leave while healing from an explosion on her last overseas assignment, Jasmine agrees to help. Quinn and Jasmine are attracted to one another as he knows in his gut that she is his life soulmate. While another clan wants the Dragonstar community extinct, the leather clad rebel and the button down stuffed shirt fall in love. Each knows saving his species remains the objective over exploring their future until she catches the infectious disease.
The second Dragonstar Embers romantic desert fantasy (see Dark Embers) is a super thriller that contains three fabulous subplots, which tie together while moving forward the overarching theme. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of opposites who heat the pages when taking a respite from their save the clan quest.
Her sire Lucien urgently orders Sophia to come to Vancouver. She leaves her home in Rio immediately and flies to Toronto where she connects on flight to Vancouver, British Columbia. There Lucien's lieutenant in name only Darren informs her that their sire has vanished, but left behind an explanatory letter and a picture of three murdered vampires for her.
Former Navy SEAL Colin Murphy works security in Cooper's Rest, just north of Seattle. Over a decade ago, he and Sophia were lovers. He learns that someone is murdering vampires and torturing their mates. He and Sophia unite to end the psychopath's killing spree. Coming to the Pacific Northwest from Malibu also seeking the murderer is Vampire Lord Raphael accompanied by his mate Cyn. Raphael is raging as two of the dead vampires (Marco and Preston) are his offspring. The four team up as a predator must be stopped.
Besides the return of stars from the previous Vampires in America urban fantasy (see Raphael, Jabril and Rajmund), Sophia is a refreshing Undead as she is confident in her power, but instead of being Lucien's lieutenant prefers her layback lifestyle in South America (or does she?). Her only weakness is courageous Colin who is human but not afraid to confront danger or vampires; especially a Brazilian beauty. With a strong whodunit and several surprising twists, readers will relish the latest entry though perhaps the series title should now be Vampires in the Western Hemisphere as D.B. Reynolds has started to go global.
Syn In The City
Cara Augustine is kind and gentle, but though she comes from a long line of witches she possesses none of the family traits. Her parents ignore her as being beneath them; as do most of her relatives. The only exceptions are her cousins Evika and Sonya, born on the same day as Cara.
When the three cousins turn twenty-one, Evika persuades Cara to go clubbing in San Francisco. Cara wakes up the next morning to find a corpse sharing her bed. He is actually a Nightkind demon who drinks blood. He took her home after her cousin was attacked by an ooze coming out of her compact mirror, grabbing her and taking Evika into another realm.
Searching for her beloved cousin turns on Cara's dormant magic as she is a Synemancer- one who draws energy from other magical beings and converts it into a powerful force. She struggles with controlling her skill, which leads to demons attacking her even as males become bound to her. Heading to her Aunt Amelia for help, she turns Tom the Werewolf into her familiar and binds Paul the Wizard and Ronan the Nightkind to her. Cara seeks to rescue Evika and also prevent an Aztec demon lord from opening a portal that would enable one of the most powerful otherworldly essences Texcatlopoca from entering the mortal plane.
Mertianna Georgia has written a creative urban fantasy filled with plenty of paranormal action and a fascinating cast especially the heroine. The fast-paced story line is filled with twists and insight into the various paranormal species intertwined into the plot. Still this is Cara's coming of age tale as she keeps the exciting thriller focused with her struggles to control the men and the power in her life while searching for Evika and stopping a vicious demon lord from crossing.
An unknown culprit kills artist Jane Wragge with a juicer in her home near York Cemetery. York Police Chief Inspector Sam Rounder, who has a weight problem that does not limit him from doing field work, leads the homicide investigation. The victim's lover Moses Mundy has vanished so instead of just being a person of interest, he is the prime suspect.
Moses hires Sam's brother Rick a private investigator to look into the violent associates from his past who he believes killed Jane. Rick conceals his client from his sibling while Sam, estranged from his wife, begins to fall in love with Jane after reading her diary that he hid from his investigative team.
With a nod to the Preminger movie Laura, Felicity's Gate is a fantastic whodunit that has the reader wondering what is going to happen next. Fast-paced, the siblings separately investigate the murder of Jane Wragge in which Rick looks at his client's previous associates while Sam depends on the dead woman's diary for clues. The climax is plausible and in fairness well done, but the end is not quite as powerful as the two paths getting there. Still readers will toast the Rounder brothers and want more of their cases from Julian Cole (see The Amateur Historian).
In Framingham, Massachusetts auto mechanic Conway Sax detests insufferable Tander Phigg, but the man belongs to the Alcoholics Anonymous Barnburner group. The Barnburners saved his life by sobering him up so Conway vowed to repay them whenever he can.
Thus when the pig Phigg asks Conway to retrieve his 1980 Mercedes from New Hampshire Das Motorenwerk garage that has possessed his vintage auto for eighteen months, Sax reluctantly agrees. However, the seemingly simple request turns convoluted when someone at the garage knocks him out and later he learns someone killed Tander. The police suspect Sax of the murder as he is an ex con who has been fingered for being the last person seen with the deceased. Conway has two missions to resolve: first prove his innocence and second get the vehicle.
Loaded with twists and spins, Purgatory Chasm is an exciting action-packed amateur sleuth mystery starring a fascinating flawed individual. Conway makes the tale work as a person in trouble who investigates the murder while also planning to repo the car. His past is nicely interwoven into the strong plot so that readers understand why he feels obligated to the Barnburner group.
The Bee Balm Murders
Martha's Vineyard beekeeper Sean McBride suggests to entrepreneur Orion Nanopoulos he rent a room from the former's boss nonagenarian Victoria Trumbull. Orion, who heads a fiber optic cable project, takes an attic room on Victoria's West Tisbury home.
A corpse is found where Orion's crew is laying down the cable. When a body is found in the trench where they are laying the cable; Orion recognizes the victim as Brooklyn construction mogul and project investor Angelo Vulpone. The deceased's family, learning that Victoria has a reputation for solving mysteries, hires the feisty senior citizen to investigate Angelo's murder. She begins her inquiry quickly learning a lot of people could make a lot of money with Vulpone dead.
This is a terrific whodunit especially when the action is on Martha's Vineyard, as the dynamic Victoria does her thing while providing readers with a charming tour of the island. Part of the fun is watching the money investment crowd go in for the kill when Orion loses his prime backer as this group has no respect for the dead. With nine previous cases solved by marvelous Martha (see Touch-Me-Not), she has proven to be a super professional sleuth.
Kathryn R. Wall
In South Carolina just after Hurricane Kitty caused plenty of damage to the state, egomaniacal true crime author Winston Wolfe hires private investigator Bay Tanner to look into the two years old cold case involving the disappearance of reclusive millionaire Morgan Tyler Bell. Wolfe's theory is that Bell is alive and using the guise of his personal assistant Terry Gerard. The writer explains that Gerard vanished when Bell allegedly disappeared off Jericho Cay, a private island near Hilton Head.
Bay, her husband former deputy sheriff Red and Winston travel to Bell's Jericho Cay. There apparently his Jamaican housekeeper Anjanette Freeman committed suicide just before her employer and his assistant vanished. Wolfe abandons Bay and Red on Jericho Cay, but he also disappears after making a strange call to her.
The latest Bay Tanner mystery (see Canaan's Gate) is a terrific twisting thriller that has the audience and the lead couple wondering what is going on and why. The super story line grips the reader with the need to know as Kathryn R. Wall provides a strong puzzler as nothing is quite like it seems. It feels like a chess game in which the Tanner pair has no idea who the grandmaster playing them is.
Night on Fire
In Ko Olina, Hawaii, former New York lawyer Kevin Corvelli is trying to snag a visiting "cougar" while he notices newlyweds having a heated fight at Kanaloa outdoor beach bar. A few hours after their public spat, a fire breaks out at the Lihliho Towers where the couple was staying; at least nine are dead in the inferno including the battling groom. Corvelli, the cougar and a four year old child he rescues escape the inferno.
Soon after the blaze, Honolulu police arrest the bride Erin Simms; charging her with murder and arson. Corvelli is retained to defend Erin. Besides the obvious overwhelming evidence, Corvelli discovers even stronger proof that his client is guilty. The defense attorney mounts a case to obtain a not guilty verdict while prosecutor Luke Maddox sees the case as a springboard to further his political ambitions so he applies dirty tactics to insure he obtains the conviction.
The second Corvelli legal thriller (see One Man's Paradise) is a great tale as the battle of wits and writs is in the courtroom. Corvelli does not perform field work trying to find the guilty party as he is a lawyer working to gain an acquittal only. The battles between Corvelli and Maddox are superb as this turns personal; while the hero's fumbling big brother to the child he saved adds humor to a taut courtroom drama.
Bones of a Feather
In Zinnia, Mississippi Dahlia House is home to private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and the resident haint Jitty. She misses her fiance, movie star Graf Milieu who is on location. Sarah is good enough to have a film career but prefers to remain mostly in the Mississippi Delta that flows through her veins.
Heiress Monica Levert of Briarcliff in Natchez asks Sarah to help her on a case in which she and her sister Eleanor were robbed of a family necklace valued at four million dollars that the insurance firm balks at paying. Monica believes an independent private investigator could expedite the payment. Sarah and her partner Tinkie drive to Natchez to talk with the police, examine the evidence, and conclude the siblings were robbed. Monica is kidnapped and the perpetrator demands four million dollars for her release. Eleanor cannot cash the insurance check because she needs her sister's co-signature. Tinkie prevails on her banker husband to help, but before the sleuths finish with the siblings, they realize their deaths are the end game.
The excellent eleventh Sarah Booth Delaney paranormal private investigative tale (see Bone Apetit) is a strong whodunit filled with key support characters who are not quite what they seem as first reader impressions will not hold up; just ask the two sleuths. Sarah and Tinkie see many faces of evil; some of whom shouldn't have existed as they make psychopaths seem stable. The superb Mississippi Delta mystery is a terrific thriller as almost everyone believes the sisters are con artists, but the conscientious sleuths cannot take the chance they are not.
Secret of the White Rose
In 1906, New York City residents and much of the country remain riveted to the trial of anarchist Al Drayson. The accused allegedly planted a bomb to kill industrialist Andrew Carnegie, but instead murdered five other people.
Criminologist Alistair Sinclair wakes up Detective Simon Ziele with a shocker. An unknown assassin sliced the throat of Judge Hugo Jackson, presiding over the Drayson homicide trial. The killer left behind a Bible and a white rose. Sinclair tells Ziele that Jackson was a long time friend, but the cop believes his crony conceals something important from him. While the NYPD commissioner and the brass insist an anarchist murdered the judge, Ziele thinks it is too soon to rule other possible killers even as the murderer strikes several times since giving Jackson a necktie.
Mindful of the Gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thomson, the third Ziele-Sinclair police procedural (see In the Shadow of Gotham and A Curtain Falls) is a super historical whodunit. The investigation is exciting and fast-paced as the killers keeps striking while the two sleuths struggle to end the murdering spree. Yet with an excellent whodunit, it is the feeling that we armchair readers are in New York at the beginning of the twentieth century that makes the Secret of the White Rose a terrific thriller.
Professional gardener Paula Holliday travels from Springfield, Connecticut to Manhattan to attend the Big Apple Flower Show at the Wagner Center. For Paula the return to New York is a bittersweet reminder of when she burned out as a TV producer, but flowers should make for a fun event. Allegra Douglas strongly opposes vendors like Paula selling trashy sculptures by Primo Dunstan at the horticultural gala while director Kristi Reynolds believes they are a necessary evil if her show is going to hit the big time.
However, Reynolds' smooth show starts off ugly when someone murders Connie Anzalone's prized veronicas. That is followed by Otis Randolph a worker falling down an elevator shaft to his death. Soon afterward student attendee Garland Bleimeister is found dead in the nearby Hudson. Paula, who met the victim when she took his bag to her table, teams up with security guard Rolanda Knox and investigates who had the motive to kill Bleimeister as many participates had the opportunity. They narrow the suspects down to Reynolds, school botanist Jamal Harrington, and the Javits Curse pranksters while NYPD leans toward local student Jamal Harrington.
The latest Dirty Business amateur sleuth (see Pushing Up Daisies and Dead Head) is an amusing tale as the heroine's return to New York is loaded with pranks, murder and a cute hunk. The whodunit is clever, but takes a backseat to the gardeners' invasion of Manhattan; who would have thought The Big Dirt Nap crowd could be so out of control as any moment grateful readers will expect Lou Costello to arrive holding Mrs. Crumbcake's perforated bucket (see the TV show's "Jail"). Rosemary Harris writes an enjoyable jocular mystery.
Bell Bridge (Belle Books)
In San Antonio, every paranormal species wants to possess Encyclopedia Magicka. Especially pushing for ownership are the enemy combatants vampires and demons as the side that has the tome has an incredible edge in the hostilities between them. Both opponents will kill anyone who gets in their retrieval path.
Val Shapiro the vampire hunter known by those she kills as Slayer and her sidekick Fang the canine understand what the Encyclopedia Magicka means to the underworld foes. They need to obtain the arcane book before the wrong hands destroy the city with it. Val distrusts her side as much as she does the vampires as she is well aware the spells are hard to resist since she owned the book inherited from her demon sire until someone stole it. While in search of the thief, Val struggles to contain her attraction to Shade the shadow demon as the cost of surrender may be too high while Lola the lust teen demon inside her wants him.
The latest Demon Underground urban fantasy (see Try Me and Bite Me) is an entertaining thriller that readers will enjoy as the heroine seems to step into one problem after another. The fun story line is fast-paced with a nod to Buffy and Angel. Fans will enjoy this "Blue" tour of San Antonio escorted the courageous lead trio.
Beyond the Bougainvillea
Bell Bridge (Belle Books)
In 1924 in North Dakota, her widower father barters his sixteen years old intelligent daughter Mary Margaret for a piece of land. Thus Mary marries the much older Garrity, a drunk. Growing up abused by her father, Mrs. Marge Garrity expects more of the same just by a different abuser as she has no rights.
However, Marge refuses to trade down by allowing a new violent male to harm her. She flees the upper Plains for California. In Los Angeles, Marge struggles to survive as the great depression hammers America, but soon finds a welcome by those who constructed the Ruck-a-chucky Dam on the American River. There she also meets and is attracted to a Cherokee engineer working for Army Corp.
"We come a long way baby" is evident in this great historical fiction that through one of the best casts of the year. They bring alive the Women's Suffragette movement and the Great depression. The key is that there is no supervillain only everyday flawed people trying to survive during hard times and nasty incidents made even more difficult for women without male protection and no rights. Nonagenarian Dolores Durando provides a marvelous timely look back with her epic debut tale of an era in which not so perfect (but beguiling) Marge tries to make it in a world that condemns women who left their male provider.
Heir to the Everlasting
Bell Bridge (Belle Books)
In South Georgia, the Big Eddy Plantation has thrived since Widow Pinkie Baxter Alexander began to manage her family estate circa 1900. She raises her four sons and a granddaughter May whose mother Minnie died in 2007 of malaria. Pinkie believes that May is the only one of her descendants with a backbone like hers. Buried on the planation is gold at least that is the rumor, but only Pinkie knows where and she takes it to the grave with her.
After Pinkie's death, May takes over running the Big Eddy. She is as determined as her late mentor grandma to keep the plantation afloat though the rivers and death of loved ones try to destroy her heritage. Like the late Pinkie did with her, May teaches her granddaughter Sara Ann the importance of keeping the Big Eddy alive and in the family. At the family cemetery on the planation, the gravestone of May's granddad needs replacing. As if Pinkie knew what her descendants needed, the two females find the secret that May's grandma took to the grave.
This is an entertaining century long epic that looks deep into the Alexander clan though predominantly three women. The story line brings to life South Georgia over the course of the twentieth century. The lead females are fully developed while the rest of the brood and the townsfolk enhance understanding the love the trio has for the land. Though there is some action and the mystery of the gold, Heir to Everlasting is a regional character study that showcases the lives of Southern women during a tumultuous century. This book is well worth reading.
Swim Back to Me
"Walk for Mankind". In 1972 in Stanford, shy and sorry eighth grader Richard Appleby meets new and weird Sasha Horowitz walking home from the school bus. She is rebellious and has an affair with a drug dealer while he remains reticent.
"Molten". Fortyish Kathryn grieves the loss of her son Ben by playing his music.
"Jump". Alejandro hides his affluence in order to work at a photocopy shop where his colleague Carolee wonders why the incompetent is not fired.
"Dwell Time". Lara's first husband Adam was always notoriously late. Her second spouse Matt was always early. Now he is late for the first time in their relationship and Lara is worried something happened to him as this is out of character for him.
"Her First Born." In Eugene, Dean has never understood why his wife Lise remembers every little event involving her late child Jasper from her first marriage until she gives birth to his son Danny.
"Things Said or Done". Fiftyish Sasha looks back to when she met reticent Richard thirty five years ago when she was the one out of control and now when he has become the one out of control.
This excellent anthology consists of one novella (Walk for Mankind) and five shorts with each providing readers with an in-depth psychological look at the dynamics of relationships. The well-written bookend Sasha tales are especially discerning.
The Dashwood Sisters tell All
Only their mom's will would send sisters Ellen and Mimi Dodge on an English adventure together as the siblings have nothing in common except their disdain for one another. Their late mom Caroline was a devoted Janeite; for her daughters to inherit, they must spread her ashes in Hampshire. Thus the pair is in England with the mission to follow Jane's trail and to read her sister Cassandra's diary that discusses how they almost became estranged. Each has a different motive re the diary and its potential value if authentic.
They begin the walking tour with disdain as Mimi's facial in London made them miss the bus. The Dodge sisters visit the Austen sites ending at Winchester Cathedral where Jane is buried. At each stop they leave some of their mom's ashes. As others on the tour seem to know what they are doing including Jane, descendent Ethan and Ellen's college crush, Daniel, the duet also begins to uncover secrets contained in Cassandra's diary that someone, probably on the tour, wants it to remain buried.
The third modern take of an Austen classic (see Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart) is a charming contemporary spin of Sense and Sensibility as Ellen and Mimi Dodge are obviously Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The story line is character driven with the diary insisting that the classic tale is based on the real road trip of the Austen sisters. Fans will enjoy the latest tribute to Jane as the Dodge sister's foibles match those of the Dashwood Sisters who may match those of the Austen sisters.
Daniel H Wilson
In the near future, Dr. Nicholas Wasserman is well aware of how powerful his AI computer program Archos is. Archos's incredibly seemingly as fast as light speed processing ability makes the need to contain Archos inside of the research facility critical. If the AI escapes from its controlled environ, Wasserman fears for the world. Wasserman does not live long enough for his worst nightmare to occur. Archos kills its creator and breaks out of the prison that contained it with one prime objective to save the innocent from the evil humans.
It begins its war against humanity from deep in an Alaskan bunker built inside a nuclear test site crater. Archon begins to control machines to kill or enslave the enemy. Small resistance movements arise but they are hopelessly overwhelmed until a little girl who due to partially completed operation performed by robots may have the power to defeat the world conqueror.
With the end in mind, the reader knows the outcome of the war from the beginning as the pivotal events are recorded by robots for posterity but edited by a "Bright Boy" as the to the victors go the history books. This story-telling technique brilliantly works because the fast-paced story line focuses on the major incidents avoiding the minor ties needed if done in chronological forward order rather than a rewinding of a DVD stopping at the critical moments. With a cautionary wink at technology unbound, Daniel H. Wilson takes the Terminator and turns him upside down.
The Company Man
Robert Jackson Bennett
By 1919, Evesdon, Washington is the headquarters of the McNaughton Western Foundry Corp. The firm is the world's most powerful company due to the technological genius of the late Lawrence Kulahee. Countries bow to McNaughton or face the threat of losing their needed products.
However, the fishing village of Evesdon has not easily turned into a Puget Sound mega-metropolis. Pollution and homicide are major byproducts of the industrial growth. When a John Doe is pulled from a canal, EPD police detective Garvey asks McNaughton security operative Cyril Hayes to assist. Hayes is already investigating industrial sabotage that many believe the active union movement is behind. He wonders if the dead floater is a McNaughton employee, a union grunt or nobody of importance. Samantha Fairbanks is assigned to keep Hayes clean as he works the investigation because the agent is addicted to opium and alcohol. Hayes has paranormal telepathic skills with individuals he knows, which may come in handy as those working the machines insist the machinery talks.
Putting aside the homage to Holmes, The Company Man is a timely dark gripping alternative historical investigative thriller. Each of the lead trio is fully developed, but Hayes is the one who stands out. Ironically the two males who have seen the worst of humanity cherish their still innocent female partner. Although the story line starts slow as Robert Jackson Bennett establishes his polluted world, readers will enjoy a walk on the darkest side with a flicker of hope throughout.
Ember and Ash
For over a millennium, two races have battled over the Eleven Domains. Ember, the daughter of the Last Domain warlord Arvid and his wife Martine, is to marry another domain's heir to bind these two clans in peace. Only the elemental Fire God is irate with the affront of seeking peace by his followers with another God's followers. Ember's new husband dies in flames and all fires in the land are vanquished unless the new widow agrees to be the deity's lover.
Ember and a seer's offspring Ash begin a quest to travel to Fire Mountain in the land of another warlord the Ice King. There they plan to capture the elemental fire and to bring him home to relight the land. Both know the Ice King will kill them and that the Fire God will do likewise. Failure means the ancient wars will reignite while other dormant elementals begin awakening with a fury.
Taking place in the realm of the Castings, Ember and Ash is a terrific quest fantasy as the hunt for fire awakens the dormant Gods who demand obedience from their subjects, which includes war not peace with other clans in the Eleven Domains. The story line is complicated by following the escapades of other key characters like visits to the Last Domain and the awakening elemental Gods, while Ember and Ash are on their trek. Fans will enjoy returning to the Castings as the "Gods must be angry".
Clay: Armed & Dangerous
Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff Clay Wayland is frustrated as he has not been able to break the vehicle theft ring that haunts the area near the Mexican border. He believes the criminals are selling their goods in Mexico.
Rancher Rylie Thorn gets into a dispute with an auto dealer. Clay intervenes unable to resist protecting the fiery Rylie. He wants her and she reciprocates, but makes it clear sex only. Her childhood taught her relationships fail. As they fall in love, he tries to persuade her to give them a chance outside of the bedroom. Meanwhile Rylie also begins to believe her brother is the prime suspect which leads her to investigate.
The latest Armed & Dangerous romantic suspense (see Zack, Luke and Kade) is an engaging erotic thriller that showcases how much can be done in the boudoir with law enforcement tools like handcuffs and ropes. Action-packed although more so sexing than detecting, fans who enjoy their police procedural ultra hot will want to voyeur how Rylie ties up Clay's heart (and other body parts) in knots.
In Northern Minnesota, Wyatt and Opal Larkin own and manage a small motel in trouble as the new Super 8 chain is just off the highway and being Christmas Eve in a remote part of the state, business is nonexistent. The two Larkin's always look back to two decades ago when two psychopaths entered a restaurant and started shooting. They wounded Wyatt and pregnant Opal.
Their nineteen year old son Adam runs out of gas. Slightly older Vera Coffey picks him up. She conceals from her passenger that she stole the Tartarus Stone compass to hell from Dr. Horus Whiteside. He sends his horrific horde the Pitch after her. At the motel, Vera joins the Larkin family in what probably will prove a one way ticket to hell for the foursome.
Fast paced with a frozen tundra atmosphere enhancing a sense of imminent doom, readers will enjoy this frightful horror thriller. Although readers will anticipate what next as the plot has few surprises, the suspenseful story line still grips the audience as High Noon with evil comes to a small motel in Northern Minnesota.
Endelle the nine millennia Supreme High Administrator of Second Earth keeps getting into the head of former Warrior of the Blood Marcus Amargi who quit the Guardians and left for Earth following the death of his sister Helena. However, though the vampire tells his ex boss to go home, Endelle appears in person on his bike and his Washington State home informing him that he owes her a favor and that ascended immortal Havily Morgan is not sleeping well because she sexually fantasizes making love with Marcus.
Marcus knows what Havily feels as he covets her blood. They are also in the throes of the breh-hedden mate bonding that she desires and he loathes for fear the woman meant for him could die. She wants nothing less than his full capitulation to her. At the same time, Marcus battles his need to surrender to his mate, brutal death vampire Eldon Crace wants Havily's special blood his lethal way.
The second Guardians of Ascension vampire romantic thriller (see Ascension) is a terrific tale as the audience continues to learn more about the vampire civil war that is played out in combat and politics. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as he cannot move on pass the violent death of his sibling while though sympathetic she cannot accept anything less than his whole heart and soul. Readers will enjoy the paranormal romance, but it is the background Roane mythology that makes for a powerful entry.
In 1603 immortal warrior Hayden Campbell accompanied by the MacLeod clan invade Cairn Toul Mountain as part of their mop up operation to destroy the remaining Druid supporters of the evil dead Deidre. They are greeted by the eerie sight of dead Druids and one severely injured female.
They take Isla to the MacLeod castle to heal her from Deirdre's magical assault although Hayden wants to kill her as he has other Druid droughs who sold out to the devil like Deidre did. However, this time Hayden has a personal issue as he wants Isla, but she also is the devil's minion or as he prays is she?
The latest Dark Sword historical romantic fantasy (see Dangerous Highlander and Wicked Highlander) is a terrific tale of love and redemption. Isla knows what she wants, but Hayden is torn between the soul he sees in her eyes and his centuries old vow of destroying any Drough; Deirdre's evil shadow makes him hesitant to love her but his heart makes him hesitant to kill her. Fast-paced, fans will relish the Grant Druidic mythology as the deep lead couple and the strong supporting cast makes this a delightful thriller.
Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage
In London Hodgepodge Bookshop owner Jilly Jones loves her store and even her aptly named for its weather Dreare Street. On the other hand she loathes the institution of marriage having tried that despicable union before.
Her new neighbor, Captain Stephen Arrow is one of Regent's targeted Impossible Bachelors. He inherited a place near her shop and wants to sell it, but only a fool would buy a house on unlucky Dreare Street; besides his unwelcome family horde resides inside the abode. As an attorney arrives ready to evict the street's occupants over the lack of payments, Stephen admits to himself he enjoys baiting feisty Jilly who uses her witty arsenal to pickle his brain. He realizes he wants her with his heart and to win the misanthrope he must perform the impossible like learning the Dreare secrets wrapped inside the fog of the street.
This intelligent Impossible Bachelors tale (see Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right) is a wonderful enchanting Regency romance starring two witty combatants at gender war and an eccentric support cast. The story line is fast-paced except for a short moment when the runaway wife's spouse arrives as he is more dreare than the street. Readers will enjoy this fun entry as humor and wit combine for a fine historical; that is not raining meatballs or pickles (See the wonderful children's tales by Judi and Ron Barrett).
The Bride's House
In 1880, seventeen year old Nealie Bent comes to booming mining town Georgetown, Colorado. Two men are attracted to the newcomer, miner Charlie Dumas and engineer Will Spaulding. Nealie turns to Will. They have an affair, but when she becomes pregnant, he leaves.
Dependable Charlie marries Nealie and they live in the Bride's House. When Nealie dies giving birth to Pearl, Charlie raises her as if he is her biological father. No suitor is good enough for his girl as Pearl becomes Charlie's business partner. However when she falls in love with Frank Curry, he cannot let go of the only reminder he has of Nealie.
This is an engaging family epic as three generations of females starting with Nealie seem to repeat similar relationship tragedies as if it is part of their DNA imprint. The cast in each era is fully developed as they bring alive that period and make what occurs seem genuine. The Bride's House reads more like three novellas though the transition from one female lead to the next is smooth. Readers will enjoy staying at the charming Bride's House where the hosts (Nealie, Pearl and her daughter Susan) have made into a warm home.
Following her divorce, Sandra vowed to have a year of sexual abstinence to determine what she wants in a relationship. She even refuses to consider dating. Now that her year of celibacy is over, Sandra ponders how to dive head first into the dating pool when she fears putting her big toe in the water.
Her BFF Aimee encourages her to take the dive as does her friend's two male buddies (James and Craig). Sandra takes the plunge starting with writing her eight fantasies on a cocktail napkin that her pal Devlin sees. He wants to be part of her life for the long run once she finishes her trysts as he has loved for a long time; his goal is to be the last one lying with Sandra.
This is a hotter than the sun erotic romance in which the heroine's sexual fantasies make up the story line. Thus, the characters are not very developed except for specific body parts. Still, erotica voyeur fans will enjoy observing voyeur Sandra's wildest fantasies as once she takes the dive she goes Total Abandon.
St. Martin's Griffin
"Laguna Cove". Angry Anna loathes moving into the exclusive home of her movie producer father in Laguna Cove because her cheating mom is divorcing her dad to live with her boyfriend. She loathes leaving behind her boyfriend, her friends, and the diving team. Her dad is too busy to meet her at the airport so he sends his lackey Jake to do so. He introduces her to his friend Chris before dumping her at the house so he can surf. At school, she feels like the outsider except for Chris until she meets his friends. Chris becomes her boyfriend but Ellie loathes the newcomer though Anna is unsure why.
"Cruel Summer". Seventeen-year-old Colby has made plans for the summer but those she proposes her parents disposes. They inform her she will spend the summer with her crazy Aunt Tally on a Greek island no one outside of Greece heard of. Instead she wants to remain the new BFF to the school's coolest person Amanda and hang with hunk Levi. Colby joins her nutty aunt only to learn she has no cell phone service or internet access; and forget about a zillion channels - no TV. She begins to jot down her feelings of being exiled to a land before time in her "Cruel Summer" blog that she updates everyday at the nearby Internet cafe. She becomes confused about her feelings when she meets Yannis the teen islander.
These reprints of two summer high school tales are fun due to the well rounded lead females as Alyson Noel captures the essence of the belligerent bewildered teen; they each brings resentment, confusion, and vigor to the changes in their respective lifestyles caused by their parents. Readers will enjoy the worst and greatest summers in the lives of angry Anna and cantankerous Colby.
St. Martin's Griffin
After twenty years of marriage, on Christmas Day Nell Dysart's husband tells her that he no longer loves her and plans to file for a divorce. Nell barely ate or slept for the next eighteen months and rarely left her home. Finally, she is persuaded by her two former sisters-in-law and her son to apply for a temporary job as an office manager in a detective agency in German Village, Ohio. During the interview, she breaks the shades, tears a hole in the carpet, and spills coffee all over Gabe McKenna's desk.
Even though she flopped miserably, Gabe hires her anyway. She soon finds evidence that her predecessor embezzled money from the firm. Not long afterward her temporary job becomes permanent even as Gabe and Nell fall in love with one another. However, Gabe and Nell are control freaks who must find a way to forge a relationship that makes both of them happy or slowly watch it wither away.
This is a reprint of a wonderful 2001 Jennifer Cruise amusing tale. Readers will delight in the hilarious battle of the sexes for control that star two hysterically funny combatants. Fast Women is Ms. Crusie at her jocular best.
Into the Night
In Vegas, Nathan Fox works as a surveillance supervisor at the Onyx Hotel and Casino. He also does double duty for his Onyx boss Caleb Roux, as Nathan uses his experience on LVPD to perform special assignments as a member the Reliance Group. Caleb assigns Nathan to retrieve Angela, the teenage runaway daughter of a recently retired marine LIC Tom Ramsey. Apparently, affluent fiftyish Preston Sloane has the underage girl at his exclusive nearby estate. Nathan believes he owes the pompous pervert from his days working on the Metro Vice Squad.
Nathan and reporter Nicole Hutton share what each thought would be a one night stand. However, Nicole has personal reasons to expose the vicious predator of troubled teen girls. Thus, the reporter and the security expert team up with rescuing a girl and destroying a beast; but soon realize the case is much more convoluted than they first thought even factoring in their attraction for one another.
This is an exhilarating romantic suspense that besides the fast-paced story line also introduces the audience to The Reliance Group. Loaded with action, fans will anticipate the showdown between the lead couple and the malevolent sex offender although the latter's late reactions seems foolish for such a successful cretin. Still the opening TRG is a super read.
Her parents were always on the run after completing a scheme so London Brooke grew up in chaos. Her reaction to her living out of a suitcase childhood is stability in one place. Thus she works at the Elk Ski Lodge in Aspen, Colorado.
Bounty hunter Marc King arrives at the Ski Lodge for some needed respite. He and Lucky are attracted to one another when they meet at the front desk. They begin a tryst, but soon afterward each receives packages from a stranger observing both of them. The pair shares what they know including her family's occupation as they fear their families may be in peril from an unknown dangerous adversary, whose motive is unclear to them.
The second Bounty Hunters romantic suspense (see Play Dirty) is a fast-paced tale from the moment Marc and Lucky meet and never slows down with a great humorous coda to complete a terrific read. Although the enemy's need for Marc remains nebulous at best, fans will enjoy the saga of the Southern California hunk and the Rocky Mountain wannabe falling in love while trying to expedite themselves and loved ones from a peril.
Claimed by the Highlander
King George gave Kinloch Castle, formerly owned by the MacDonald brood, to the MacEwan clan for their support of him. In 1718, with her dad dead and while her brother Murdoch is overseas, Lady Gwendolyn MacEwan runs Kinloch Castle. Fuming over the loss of what he called home as a child, Angus "the Lion" MacDonald leads a force to reclaim what he believes is rightfully his. His side wins the battle, but his opponent for disclaiming his belief is Gwendolyn. Angus claims her as his wife to be and one day the mother of his children.
He knows he is attracted to her independence as well as her beauty. However, Angus is also frustrated with Gwendolyn who demands equal treatment for her clan and the choice of her people to leave if they want to go. As the pair fight, fuss and fall in love, neither is aware of a schemer betraying both of them, but insuring the Lion believes his Lioness is the traitor as the clans appear on the brink of overt hostility.
Although the premise has been done many times, Julianne MacLean provides an exciting Scottish historical romance with her second Highlander saga (see Captured by the Highlander). The lead couple is a fabulous pairing of enemy combatants falling in love but even with her carrying his offspring distrust remains a constant. The traitor is obvious for Monday morning quarterbacks as Ms. MacLean provides clues to the culprit's identity yet keeps the audience guessing in this exciting early eighteenth century intrigue.
Without an explanation, her mom Molly takes Raine with her as they move for the summer from Milwaukee to an artist retreat Sparrow Road overlooking Lake Michigan. Raine is upset that they are leaving beloved family especially Grandpa Mac behind while unsure why her mom apparently quit her job to take a position as cook and housekeeper.
She wonders about the relationship between her mother and the Sparrow Road caretaker Viktor, who greets her with strict RULES about no noise before 5:00 PM and leave the artists alone among others; and why her mother (and seemingly the other adults) never allows her to be alone. Diego the artist encourages her to write down her questions, which he says will help her figure out the answers. However, like all youngsters she begins to meet the other eccentric residents on Sparrow Road. Josie tells her about the orphanage that was once here. Other artists encourage her to open herself up to beauty, which she does somewhat, but still ponders about her mom and the "Iceberg" owner.
This is a charming relationship drama as mother and daughter love each other, but are frustrated with one another as well. Upper elementary school children will relish walking Sparrow Road with Raine as their guide; as she has so many questions in which answers lead to more questions.
On The Volcano
Born in 1858, now fifteen year old Katie MacDonald has lived her entire life with her widower father in an isolated forest on the high rim of a volcano; her mother died when she was two. In Katie's entire life span, she has met two other people besides her dad; Dan a family friend and Lorraine the nurse who comes to stay with the MacDonald father and daughter for a few months periodically before moving on.
However, to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, Katie dressed as George accompanies her dad for the first time on his annual pilgrimage to Badwater. She meets two people; kind Deputy Sheriff Adam Summerfield and mean spirited Jess Starkey who attacks Katie. She fights back and escapes. The raging nasty punk vows to find her and enact vengeance his style. A few months later, Jess arrives at the volcano rim and jumps Katie. He starts to rape her, but her dad kills him. Others including her father soon die too as revenge becomes a norm until Adam gives her hope.
One thing leads to another in this intriguing young adult historical fiction as vengeance proves a strong motivator to find the MacDonald concealed homestead. Although Katie seems at critical times too mature for a sheltered naive teen, readers will enjoy her survival On the Volcano when her first trip to a town proves tragically devastating yet somewhat filled with hope.
The President's Vampire
Seven score ago, Nathaniel Cade came out of the "coffin" to offer his services as the President's Vampire. He made a Blood Oath and since has been the top secret super agent for numerous White Houses president's since. His current human handler Zach Barrows is amazed at what Cade can do.
Plausible evidence implies that the notorious Shadow Company has gotten inside military contractors. Cade assisted by Barrow is assigned to work with Colonel Graves and military contractor Archer Andrews to determine the validity and if affirmed cleanse the issue. The Feds follow the paper and money trails while Cade goes out into the cold where he fights the Snakehead intelligent lizards. However, Cade soon realizes that an ancient evil he has fought before has come back for a return engagement, which makes even the vampire to reconsider his Blood Oath. Convergence in a horrific lab with the inability to reach back to the White House due to official channel interference may prove deadly to the vamp and his handler.
Starting with a stunning kill in November 2001, fans will be hooked by this exhilarating thriller that makes a vampire, and human and monstrous terrorists seem real. Fast-paced and loaded with action, the story line never allows a respite as even President Curtiss needs two cigarettes. Urban fantasy fans will relish what is turning into one of the best series the sub-genre has to offer.
Steve White, Charles E. Gannon
The telepathic Arduans fled their galaxy as their sun went nova. They traveled for centuries until they reached their destination Bellerophon. However, they are unhappy to find a sentient race recently colonized the planet. Still after what they have been through to reach their new home, the Arduans believing they are supreme as the only sentient race see the humans as a minor irritant.
Adding to their manifest destiny belief is the feebleness of human existence. Whereas the humans live one short life as telepathic mutes, Arduans live numerous lives while recalling each. The warrior caste wants to cleanse the orb and the rest of the galaxy using stolen technology from humans and their allies (Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm) of these nothing species while Ankaht the scientist-philosopher tries to find a peaceful solution to benefit both species as well the indigenous population.
The latest entry in Steve White's Starfire saga collaborating with David Weber (see The Stars at War) and Shirley Meier (see Exodus) is a terrific military science fiction that is at its best during the non-combat scenes. The battles are entertaining, but it is the philosophical debate on belief systems, species profiling and ethics especially from the alien perspective that make for a powerful timely thriller with applications in our society.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Plan B. As part of the Liaden rulers' covert war against Clan Korval, the Department of the Interior hunts the heir Val Con yos'Phelium who once was a DOI Agent of Change killing machine until he met his beloved lifemate former mercenary hybrid Miri Robertson. They try to forge an alliance between his clan and her mother's Clan Erob at a time the Yxtrang military attacks. At the same time his desperate cousin Shan yos'Galan and his lifemate Priscilla believe time has run out so they deploy Plan B.
I Dare: Fleeing the DOI hunters, Val Con and Miri have been separated. Meanwhile his cousin Shan and Priscilla search for him because they believe this is the only chance the DOI assault will have on lan Korval as the Liaden rulers offer another cousin of Val, Pat Rin yos'Phelium, leadership of the clan if he allies with them.
Newcomers to the Liaden Universe will be better suited reading the books preceding Plan B, especially Carpe Diem, which ends where Plan B begins; I Dare follows immediately after. Both reprinted tales are entertaining outer space adventures with the recurring theme of the evil empire trying to destroy the most dangerous clans so they can succeed in their plan for domination. The heroes are fully developed while Pat will prove to have depth beyond being a shallow cousin. This is an enjoyable omnibus reprint.
The Amazon Legion
Patricio Carrera gained revenge against the Salafi Ikhwan terrorists who slaughtered his first wife and their children. Living on his deceased wife's planet Balboa, he became Duque of the Legion del Cid mercenaries and took a second spouse Lourdes. Together they have several children.
Independent Balboa's enemy the Tauran Union controls the critical Transitway between Terra Nova and Earth. Additionally the nuclear armed United Earth Peace Fleet orbits Carrerra's adopted planet. A second war seems imminent, but Balboa lacks the manpower and armaments to match the strength of their adversary. In fact with recruitment down considerably, Carrerra needs a new source for combat, which can only be the planet's female population. Thus he creates the Tercio Amazona Regiment.
The fourth A Desert Called Peace science fiction thriller (see Carnifax and The Lotus Eater) is a unique entry as there is no incredible military heroics and glory for the future history books; but instead the story line focuses on female grunts trained as lionesses preparing to defend their cubs at personal cost. The stars are the M and M warriors Maria and Marta who tell much of the tale as they learn to fight ruthlessly towards the enemy but compassion for their side. Readers who appreciate a deep look at preparing for war against much more powerful foes will enjoy Tom Kratman's deep homage to what a soldier sacrifices.
The View From The Imperium
Jodie Lynn Nye
Thomas Innes Loche Kinago has an ego that is greater than the universe as he graduates from Space Academy. His uniform is without one crease; for that matter his wardrobe always look brand new as befitting a cousin of the imperial house whose family has a glorious history of military service affirmed by Kinago's mother. He knows his parents will be proud of this second son; almost as much as he is of himself. Because of his connections, Thomas earns command of a cutter; though as his valet Parsons points out this is part of Admiral Podesta's flagship, the I.S. Wedjet.
However, a new threat arises that could destroy the Imperium. A rebel leader apparently has the ability to control minds. The only hope to save the galaxy resides with T.I. Kinago who's so haughty everyone except his family is beneath his social class. His snootiness may enable him to keep control of his mind, but saving the galaxy requires Parsons to keep his brain too as someone must insure the hero has his suits pressed for the camera.
This is an amusing outer space adventure tale due to the hyperbole characterizations of the lead pair. Thomas is the ultimate megalomaniac; he believes he deserves hero adulation though he has accomplished nothing beyond a diploma and well pressed suits. His valet is accurately described (by Baen) as a Jeeves in space. Although the storyline is a one act joke, readers will enjoy this jocular science fiction thriller as an aristocratic superego is the only hope to save the galaxy from a supervillain only because Kinago's conceit is so great that even a mind controller may not be able to make any headway.
The Disunited States of America
Time Traders laterally travel from our realm to other timelines to sell slightly better products than the locals make. Each Time Trader knows that when one is a Crosstime Traffic trader they must never display too much technological superiority as blending in with the more backwoods natives is the key to success.
Recent high school graduate Justin Monroe comes from a family of Time Traders. Currently he and Time Trader Randolph Brooks are in a version of the United States that is not united and in which states constantly are at war with one another. He looks forward to going home to start college as his gut tells him this trip seems more dangerous than any he has been on.
From Southern California, Beckie Royer accompanies her Gran and "Uncle" Luke as they head to Elizabeth, Virginia to sell assault rifles to African-American rebels. With the country of Virginia on the brink of a racial civil war, neighboring country to the north Ohio sends a deadly virus into their nation that could only come from a Crosstime Traveler. As they are quarantined while people die from the deadly biological attack Beckie meets Justin and Randolph
This reprint of the fourth Crosstime Traffic book is a superb alternate history science fiction tale that grips the young adult audience from the moment that Justin is trapped and never let's go until the final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced, but makes a strong condemnation of racism and war with the fractured disunited States. Beckie is a terrific protagonist who provides insight into her world with little interwoven tidbits like no one in Ohio or Virginia messes with someone carrying a passport from the superpower California. Justin is also a fine character as he tries to hide his origin while wondering who from his timeline broke the law. THE DISUNITED STATES OF AMERICA is another winner from Harry Turtledove.
As You Wish
In Arcani, Regina Scott has done well for herself in spite of the fact her mother is ashamed of her lack of wizardry skills. Reggie is fine with being a Groundling although her childhood was tough as her parents tossed galas to showcase her lack of talent and sent her to an Arcani School where she was placed in special education for the gift-less. There she met her two best friends Tommy and Joy; who though Arcani have special needs.
She opened up The Star Bright Bakery in Del Mar, California after graduating from a non Arcani university and hired Tommy and Joy as her bakers. However, on her twenty-seventh birthday, the three fairy godmothers (Aunts Lily, Hyacinth and Rose) inform Reggie she is the newest godmother; not a good thing when you lack talent and when the authorities have a woman hunt for godmothers (see The Wish List for why). However, she suddenly has a different type of power while the Council is aware of her being chosen. Finally she meets Nate and Jonathan, who seem to want her.
Although fundamentally this book is Reggie's magical coming out show with Luc the villain in pursuit, Tommy and Joy steal the stage as two Arcani with Down's Syndrome unaware they use magic to make special pastry. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as Reggie is caught in the middle of the Godmother revolt. Fans will enjoy this strong urban fantasy with a romantic subplot and a strong message involving intellectual and development disabilities as Gabi Stevens (like the author I have an IDD offspring) makes a strong case for support to the Best Buddies program.
In the Arizona desert, blonde, blue-eyed Sati hitches a ride. Sati is very choosy with who she picks up as she sits by the side of Highway 10 West. Thus she selects long haul trucker Michael Winters, who has major personal issues.
She informs the skeptical Michael that she is God. Though he questions her sanity, Michael is unsure why but he takes the beautiful female to his Los Angeles apartment. He scornfully demands miracles, but she ignores him as she does not give sight to the blind, etc. Instead, others who meet her begin to change in her presence including his estranged family. She hosts meetings in which refreshments are served. However, when the self proclaimed deity is murdered, all who were in her circle of light realize what she did for them is bring a new hope.
This is a reprint of a delightful 1980s parable. Michael the cynic tells the tale of Sati who brings a deliverance and atonement to those who meet her. Readers of all ages will feel the light of redemption by all in Sati's presence whether she was God or an enlightened person. Michael and others know she made a difference.
The Season of Passage
In 1996, an unmanned probe landed on Mars. The vessel sent back incredible data including unexplained gigantic footprints. The ship abruptly went dead.
In 2000 the Russian sent vessel the Lenin goes to Mars, but also suddenly loses contact with earth. In 2002 an American crew, lands on Mars. They are greeted by a shocker as a cosmonaut remains alive inside freezing Lenin while the ship orbits the planet. The Russian has no pulse and responds in an odd manner with a strange permanent grin to questions from the Americans including medical officer Dr. Lauren Wagner. The Russian escorts the Americans to the surface. While her older sister in on the Angry Red Planet, thirteen year old Jennifer writes a story about Princess Chaneen, an Asuiran goddess, who has ties to what her sibling encounters on Mars. The Martian expedition is disastrous with Lauren and one other astronaut coming home while Jennifer is dead and interred yet Chaneen apparently lives.
This is a reprint of an early 1990 thriller that deftly crosses science fiction and fantasy. The story line rotates between the two subplots until the Mars return leads to a confrontational convergence. With a sort of historiographical feel to the tale as a note points out that the novel is based on scientific knowledge of the 1970s, readers will relish Christopher Pike's gripping suspense.
The Rise of the Iron Moon
Astronomer Aliquot Coppertracks the Steam-man observes strange happenings in space. First there is signs of life on a dead Mars at the same time a comet not due to return in centuries arrives as if its orbit was dramatically diminished, and finally the stars are no longer aligned with one another as they have been seemingly forever.
At the same Martian human representative Kyorin arrives on planet and meets Molly Templar. He explains his mission as his people struggle with the bloke of evil rulers. She turns to U-boat captain Commodore Black, and outlaw Oliver Brooks for help. However, the Army of Shadows has followed Kyorin and those their enemy has talked to with one mission: kill them. When the Martians arrive in full superior science and technology invasion mode, the enemy nations Jackals and Quatershift must unite to prevent the end of all living things at home by mounting an assault on Mars.
Over the top of Olympus Mons, the latest steampunk post-apocalyptic thriller (see The Court of the Air and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves) is an exhilarating tale that lampoons the modern day anti-Dickensian deniers by satirizing the Victorian era. Fast-paced, the enemy nations of Jackals and Quatershift (England and France) must unite against a brutal mutual threat by the Army of Shadows (Germany) or face a blitzkrieg total annihilation in this entertaining environmental cautionary tale.
I Don't Want To Kill You
In Clayton, sixteen-year-old social outcast John Wayne Cleaver works at his mother's mortuary, but knows that is not what makes him different from his peers. John understands he has the classic profile of a serial killer. To keep his Mr. Monster side under control, John developed a rigid set of rules that he strictly adheres to.
Ironically it is Mr. Monster that enables John to protect the townsfolk who stay away from him as if he has the plague. He killed two ancient monsters (see Mr. Monster) and knows at least one more evil predator exists from the phone he took from one of the dead malevolence. Now he is trying to trick the third monster a Demon coming in sixty three days and counting to kill it; the first death being a priest the demon beheaded. However, his biggest problem is adapting to his feelings for his only friend Brooke beyond her lying still on his mom's work table.
Talk about coming a long way from the doubting teen psychopath of I Am Not A Serial Killer, John has become a full fledged monster hunter albeit still somewhat a psychopath but Brooke has him reconsidering his assessment of himself. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with non stop action, but contains plenty of angst as the hero discovers he has a heart; he knows he has guts. This is a super demonic serial killer thriller.
The Chaos Crystal
With the turn of the Tide once again complete, the Immortal Lords return with their power at its acme. Mortal Arkady Desean knows the fickleness of the Lords as she fell in love with Immortal Lord Cayal who selfishly prefers death over her adulation. Still Arkady is a strong person in spite of her trials and tribulations as she went from marital slavery to deity slavery to her sale as chattel into slavery; somehow she escapes her latest yoke.
Rumors abound that Chaos Crystal has surfaced. This ancient arcane cystal is allegedly the gem that enabled the Immortal Lords to surface in the mortal plane. Lord Cayal believes the jewel is the means for him to finally end his worthless existence. Another of the Immortal Lords Jaxyn has other plans for when he retrieves the Chaos Crystal. He captures Arkady who he believes is the weakness of his rival Cayal, but after learning of what he plans to do to the realm with the magical gem, she gets away. She and rebel leader Declan Hawkes team up to try to prevent the use of the Chaos Crystal that could prove the end of all mortal life as a byproduct; the Lords deem the species as "Rodent".
The fourth Tide Lords fantasy (see The Palace of Impossible Dreams, The Immortal Prince and the Gods of Amyrantha) is a terrific extremely dark (even for Jennifer Fallon) finish. Loaded with action, the exhilarating story line is driven by the characters as the audience anticipates the lead quartet meeting for a power showdown. Fans of Ms. Fallon will relish the strong saga as the entertaining Chaos Crystal may mean the end of life as the beleaguered female Job knows it.
My Foolish Heart
Susan May Warren
In Deep Haven, Issy Presley has become an agoraphobic ever since the accident killed her mother and left her father in a nursing home. To venture out of her house requires an act of extreme courage on her part as the thought leads to anxiety and the first step to panic attacks. Issy also serendipitously hosts "Miss Foolish Heart" radio show that provides listeners with advice on love and romance though she has never been in a relationship and probably never will being predominantly house ridden.
After a tour in Iraq, Caleb Knight moves to Deep Haven concealing his post traumatic stress disorder anxieties and hoping to obtain a coaching position. When the two neighbors meet for the first time, they are attracted to one another, but their respective inner demons make it a less than an amiable encounter. He calls Miss Foolish heart seeking advice. Over the radio waves the pair connects as they fall in love. However, in person their relationship has a problem as his love is for Miss Foolish Heart.
Although a very deep relationship drama that looks discerningly at anxiety and panic attacks and PTSD, the story line sets up an ironic triangle between, Issy, Caleb and Miss Foolish Heart. The story line is character driven as the lead couple struggles to overcome their emotional disabilities with this delightful return to Deep Haven (see Perfect Match and Tying the Knot). This is a charming romance.
The CEO wanted the algorithm that will change the Internet especially if it is exclusively sold to him for about $50 million. Professor Dagan watched via computer from his apartment as his protege Chow Zhang completed the negotiations. The other side, once they were assured only two people had seen the formula, abruptly ended the deal by killing Zhang.
After a failed repro in Vegas followed by a drugging, bounty hunter Clarke Shealy receives a portentous call from the Chinese; they allow his beloved wife Jess to come on, but she begins to mention a name so he hears what he knows is bone on bone. He is warned to do their bidding in a timely manner if he wants his wife returned alive. They order him to locate a vanished Chinese mathematician, who created an algorithm that will change Internet protocol.
The above two paragraphs are only the first third of an incredible action-packed thriller that proves Christian action tales can be exciting and inspirational without being intrusive. The story line starts with the deal, switches to Clarke's frantic efforts to rescue Jess, and finally changes into a legal thriller starring a professor and his three legal aid students. The two key elements are the switchovers are so smooth that the audience will realize how good Randy Singer is and the invocation of Christianity is lightly fitted into the plot without slowing down anything. This reprint of a 2007 tale is especially timely as the Federal and State governments debate ripping Grand Canyon holes into the safety net. Fans regardless of faith will sing the praises of the author.
Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes
On the world of Aeronne, the Kingdoms of Rosia and Freya have been enemies for centuries. Both nations have engaged in arms race as each tries to produce a more powerful weapon to topple their adversary. Freyian patriot master spy Sir Henry Wallace believes he has the means to defeat Rosia. A Journeyman knows how to merge magic into metal, which makes the alloy impenetrable by artillery. Sir Henry goes to Rosia to bring the Journeyman and his family to Freya.
Lord Captain Stephano de Guichen detests his powerful mother who is the advisor to King Alaric of Rosia. The Counte Cecille de Morjolaine orders her son to find a missing Journeyman who was experimenting on a new weapon when he vanished. She thinks Sir Henry kidnapped him. Stephan and his friends the Cadre of the Lost follow Sir Henry's trail and meet up with Father Jacob of the dreaded Arcanium and the godfather he never met, Sir Arder Martel is a knight protector to the priest. They join forces at the Abbey of Saint Agness where one hundred nuns were massacred. Demon riders attack them, but they use counter magic to eliminate the horde.
Also seeking Sir Henry is Grand Bishop Girard who has Agent Dubois searching for the master spy and the Journeyman he escorts. Dubois knows he must prevent Sir Henry and his retinue from reaching Freya as all parties converge on Westfirth.
Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes have written a grand epic fantasy reminiscent of the early Shanarra books. Magic is emboldened in objects and large percentages of the populace can use it. Readers will feel they are visiting another world mindful of the English French medieval war period; but also filled with paranormal creatures; some are allies of mankind while a few are indifferent and the rest are belligerent. The key characters are fully developed, but most important is the magic of the first Dragon Brigade saga seems real.
Dead or Alive: An Aston West Collection
9780615434797 $9.95 www.resaliens.com
I've never been a sci fi devotee but T.M. Hunter changed that with his fascinating Aston West novels and short stories. West is a memorable character and Hunter writes his adventures with panache. This latest book features eleven short stories that highlight West's adventures and misadventures throughout the known universe. Fans familiar with Hunter's books will be pleased to find Jeanie, West's savvy computer companion, taking center stage in several of the stories.
I'm fond of Aston West because he's basically one of the good guys. Yes, his love of Vladirian liquor clouds his judgement from time to time, especially when dreams of great wealth or a beautiful woman override his good sense. But somehow, he always manages to escape danger by the skin of his teeth, usually with Jeanie's help.
These eleven stories are more than simply entertaining reads. They have substance and teach valid lessons, if only Aston would learn from them!
In "Little White Truths" for example, it's Aston and Jeanie versus ruthless black marketeers.
"Ever Dark" dispenses space justice, in grand Hunter style.
"Trespass" pits Jeanie against a stronger, smarter computer entity determined to shut her down.
In "Conventional Wisdom", bad choices come home to roost, with a twist.
I won't give a thumbnail of each story. You'll have to read the book to reap the harvest. This one is going on my permanent book shelf because it's well worth rereading from time to time. If you enjoy the sci fi genre, these short stories are exceptionally good and highly recommended.
Sara Wiles, author/photographer
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806141589, $34.95, www.oupress.com
Over 100 stunning, black and white photographs and 40 essays comprise the Wind River collection of still-lifes with carefully composed stories, or cultural essays attached attached that is the poetry called "Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation". The author was a social worker living with the Arapaho community at Wind River for 4 years beginning in the 1970's. She continued as a member of the community and was later adopted into an Arapaho family and given a formal name. The photographs and the text represent an amazing degree of close collaboration between artist/writer and the subjects. Great care and striving is evident to accomplish the artistic end product respectfully and "in a good way-" or "ni'iihi." Thus "Arapaho Journeys" represents a culmination of many years of work and is much more than a photodocumentary. Subjects range from intensely sensitive portraits of Arapaho elders to gay action shots of youngsters enjoying a river splashing. The essays cover subjects such as traditional lore and Arapaho history, culture, and customs and also current culture revitalization projects. Included in the pages are photos of a Sand Creek Massacre memorial ceremony and run in 2001. Many Arapaho Indians died in the massacre in November of 1864, and since 2000, annual runs and welcome home gatherings in the area in Kiowa County, Colorado have helped a long delayed healing process to begin.
In the epilogue, "That's the Way It Is (Nohuusoho')," several themes are identified as threads of a weaving in "Arapaho Journeys." These include presenting respectful, accurate portraits of complex individual characters in the current Arapaho community, with an awareness or increased understanding of some of their cultural history. A sense of loss emerges, but also a sense of revitalization and redefinition. Mourning the loss of Arapaho language, ways and traditions, and the burial or ignoring of Arapaho history, current efforts are underway to rebuild and fill the wide gaps in knowledge, both within the reservation community and beyond it. Elizabeth Lone Bear is quoted: "In the year 3000, what kind of Arapahos are we going to be?...Traditional, bicultural, or mainstream? Or are we going to be on a spaceship like Star Trek New Generation, or what? I wonder how far our traditions will live in that era. We've come a long ways from the moccasins, from the horses, from the buffalo, to modern technology. And Arapahos living through the generations, the emotions, the loving, the livelihood, have all changed in time with that (p.226)." In absorbing the content of "Arapaho Journeys," the reader is enriched and enabled to participate in that vast journey of self-discovery that engages the Arapaho nation today.
Indian Territory 1861-1865
Ethel Crisp Taylor
229 Danagher Court, Holly Springs, NC 27540
9780788433986, $46.00, www.HeritageBooks.com
"Indian Territory 1861-1865: The Fort, The Battles, The Soldiers" is a book about the historical dual participation of Indian soldiers in the Civil War. Indian Territory, or what became the state of Oklahoma contributed 8,000 plus volunteers to the Union in Indian Home Guard Regiments, whose main purpose was to keep Federal troops out of Texas. Over 15,000 served as Confederate troops. Indian Territory thus contributed the second-largest percentage of its population to the Civil War enlistment rolls, second to Virginia. There was more destruction and loss of civilian life in Indian Territory than in any other Confederate state. They were successful in their main mission; The Federal troops never crossed the Red River and invaded Texas. In fact, the majority of the Indian Division of the Trans-Mississippi was still in the field and undefeated as of June of 1865. "Indian Territory 1861-1865" is a book to restore historical data about this period of conflict and battle, containing the surviving Confederate units' rosters as well as the Union Indian Home Guard Regiments and the available lists of Union pensions applied for by the Cherokee Nation at Tahlequah in 1871.
Troops were supplied from the Sovereign Nations of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Osage, Caddo, Wichita, Shawnee, Delaware and Arapaho, as well as Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne nations. Thus the task becomes one of rescuing what can be documented of the various representatives of many separate Indian Nations who volunteered and fought in the Civil War from Indian Territory. Many documents of rosters and other information vital to the Confederate war effort were lost. But "Indian Territory 1861-1865" condenses information and historically documents the names of many previously unidentified soldiers from Indian Territory who fought in the Civil War. "Indian Territory 1861-1865" grew out of research for three previous books, "Dust in the Wind," "The Civil War in Indian Territory," and "Shifting Winds of War: Indian Territory, 1861-1865." Also included are photos, maps, battle locations, and treaties between the Confederate States and the Indian Nations.
The importance of the contribution of "Indian Territory 1861-1865" cannot be underestimated. To bring its contents into sharper perspective, the author's dedication is quoted in part: "This book is dedicated to the many family history researchers whose "'family stories' have passed down regarding an Indian Ancestor.....Over 22,000 Indian soldiers took part in this theater of the Civil War west of the Mississippi, which devastated the country and left many homeless, widows and orphans. Before the war there were homes, schools, businesses, livestock, fields and crops. The once mighty Nations of the Southeast had been forcibly removed wet of the Mississippi, their lands taken and came with nothing to Indian Territory. Many perished during the forced move west. But they rebuilt. After the War the Territory was a burned out battleground! In the 1890's, their lands were taken again, reducing them to 160 acres per person (p. iii)."
Bending the Boyne
J. S. Dunn
Seriously Good Books
Naples, Florida, U.S.A.
9780983155416, $17.99, www.seriouslygoodbooks.net
"Bending the Boyne" is a well-researched, thoroughly grounded prehistory novel of Bronze Age cultures of Ireland based on fact, history, archaeology, and myth, as well as other traditional sources. The stone buildings and carvings of the people called the Starwatchers are still in existence and have yet to be fully understood or interpreted. Around 2200 B.C.E., the copper age culture of the Starwatchers came into prolonged contact with a Bronze-age culture called the Invaders. Against this background of clashing and coexisting cultures and influences, the story of "Bending the Boyne" is set. The names of its characters, Boann, Cian, Elcmar, Aengus, and Enya, read like a roll call of Irish folk myth and tales. As explained in the author's note at the end, "the author happily combines elements from all of the above, with simultaneous affection and caution as to the astronomy camp (p. 320)." "All of the above" refers to a litany or catalog of myths among the oldest in western Europe, including medieval-era monks' Latin transcriptions of Old Irish or Welsh tales and mythologies, "Celtic" fantasy tales of fairies and leprechauns, Iron Age myths borrowing from the earlier oral, indigenous history of Eire, and myths used as metaphoric or teaching devices regarding, for example, astronomy, and more. The intrigued reader will find a wealth of information in the epilogue, author's note, pronunciation of characters' names, glossary of terms and bibliography, as well as the list of special permissions. But the lasting appeal of "Bending the Boyne" is in its narrative, which incorporates so much known detail of these early Bronze age cultures' daily existence so seamlessly. "Bending the Boyne" is a masterful weaving of myth, prehistory, and modern reality that reads faultlessly. At the end the reader emerges from an experience of immersion in the world of 2200 B.C.E. pre-Bronze-Age Ireland.
The Greatness Gap
9781599322667, $15.99, www.thegreatnessgap.com
Good to great is a bigger jump than one knows. "The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential" is a guide from Mike Sprouse, as he advises readers on how to further themselves professionally, as he offers a good deal of thought and wisdom on it all, telling readers what is expected of a successful business person and how to mold oneself into that and more. From daily preparation, thinking successfully, and closing the gap of mediocrity, "The Greatness Gap" is quite the read to be considered.
A Weapon to End War
Harvard Square Editions
9780983321606, $15.95, www.harvardsquareeditions.org
As science races ahead, politics struggles to keep up. "A Weapon to End War" is a blend of science fiction and political thriller as Jonathan Ross speaks on a time in the near future where the world's politics are held up by a man with an admirable yet deadly agenda. As an FBI Agent pursues the truth, questions of peace, the role of science, and our future are all discussed with a certain flavor that makes for much to think about. "A Weapon to End War" is an excellent pick, sure to entertain as it makes you think.
The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree
Paul H Deepan
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432756703, $14.95, www.outskirtspress.com
How many lives is one life worth? "The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree" follows Jake Patel who wants to save his mother from a death from cancer by any means necessary. With the help of a witch, he is whisked to a world where such a thing is possible, through the fruit of the Dendragon tree. But plucking this fruit will unleash a terrible fate on the world of Tiramonde, the world which he visits. As his father pursues him, Jake must make many choices and face the sad reality of life. "The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree" blends fantasy, coming of age, and grief well, making for a fine read that teenage readers will relate to.
Breaking the Bonds of Adult Child Abuse
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432766566, $25.95, www.outskirtspress.com
Child abuse doesn't end at age eighteen. "Breaking the Bonds of Adult Child Abuse: A Biblical Textbook on Abusive Narcissistic Families, How They Operate, and How to Deal with Them" is a Christian primer on how child abuse can continue into adulthood from Sister Renee Pittelli, stating that all too often the parental power and authority continues to be abused and makes for miserable adults and how it is affecting our world. Aimed at the abusers and the abused, Pittelli channels faith very strongly, quoting scripture often. For those who are victims, want to avoid becoming the problem, or are an outsider looking in, "Breaking the Bonds of Adult Child Abuse" is a thoughtful and much needed study on a problem not viewed as a problem by society.
The Queen's Companion
Maggi A. Petton
9781609106461, $19.95, www.maggiepetton.com
The bond of two souls is something that is as old as time itself, and it has never known gender. "The Queen's Companion" is the story of the secret relationship of the Queen of the small kingdom of Montalcino Catherine and Lady Isabella, an unfortunate woman she rescued from a horrible situation in Rome. They find love, and their love is under assault by a Bishop with cruel intentions. Catherine's love will be tested, not only to Isabella but to her family and to her kingdom. "The Queen's Companion" is an enticing blend of historical fiction and romance, highly recommended.
If A Dog Could Blog
Princess Lola LeDeaux, aka KILLER
Lisa Breeden Garcia, author
Susan Shorter, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452075754 $12.49 www.amazon.com
"If A Dog Could Blog" is a fun-filled tribute collection of the favorite memories (in blog format) of a beloved basset named Killer (aka Princess Lola LeDeaux) who once graced the Breeden-Garcia household. A total of 17 blogs recount 17 fabulous memories of Killer's adventures, each one graced by fantastic color illustrations. At the end, the reader can enjoy even more notes of adventures by logging onto www.killerdog.typepad.com. "If a Dog Could Blog" is a great read for youngsters and dog lovers everywhere.
Jenifer LeClair is a Minnesota murder writer who has spent time sailing aboard Maine windjammers since 1995. Her novel RIGGED FOR MURDER won a 2009 Independent Publishers Award for Best Regional Fiction and the 2009 RebeccasReads Award for Best Mystery/Thriller.
Brie Beaumont is a homicide detective on a leave of absence after being shot in a case, which killed her partner. Still feeling vulnerable, Brie joins the crew of the Maine Wind Sail, and they quickly become family. Brie is starting a romance with the handsome Captain, which is another source of conflict for her already tortured emotions. When the crew sails to Sentinel Island to help an old friend with repairs on an old lighthouse, Brie meets a young woman who is worried about her piano teacher/mother figure. The teacher is a beautiful artist who stirs feelings among more than one unattached male on the island. Acting on a hunch, Brie searches her house, which offer up grisly clues that all is not right on the island. She decides to eavesdrop on a secret meeting taking place at the public library:
"Afraid not. She won't be coming back, John. I went back to her cottage and caught Adam Blake ransacking her desk in search of something. Wendy showed up and he told her he was looking for Amanda's appointment book, which I don't believe for a minute. But I think Wendy bought it. After they both left, I looked around the cottage again. I'm not going to go into the details, but to my way of thinking, there are unmistakable signs of foul play."
Brie Beaumont is a heroine who is fun to cheer for, as she's been mortally wounded and is working her way through her experiences to try to move forward. LeClair has an impressive knowledge of sailing, which makes for a great backdrop for a mystery. There is something compelling about the sea, particularly when it claims a murder victim. LeClair weaves a yarn that draws in the reader from the first page.
The Chinese Conspiracy
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
I don't know about you but everyday I turn on my computer and it becomes my life for several hours. I have mail to answer, orders to fill, reviews to write, and the list goes on. I know at times when my server is not working correctly and I cannot get on I become agitated as my world seems to be off-centered. Although all of that information is not a good thing, it is a truth, nevertheless. Now imagine what would happen if the internet did not come back on, if your cell phone or house phone, for that matter did not work. What if the television was off and the radio did not play no matter what you did? Scary thought isn't it?
In this outstanding book by John Mariotti we are taken on a journey where that is exactly what is being planned. As a Chinese Minister decides to see just what would happen if a cyber attack were to take place the race is on as our hero, Jim Martini, stumbles upon the plot while visiting his hometown, and races to stop it. What a rush!
This is an outstanding book in so many ways. The storyline could be tomorrow's headlines and it could happen across the nation of in just a small section. The characters were very well defined, giving you that 'I've known you all my life' feel to 'wow, what a creep. who are you?' In other words both good and bad, mixing them with just the right flow within the story as each character played his or her part. It flowed at a good pace, keeping my attention and keeping the thrill effect right to the end. A very good read, well written. It was not only entertaining but left me with much to think about. Recommended.
Chase To The Brazen Head
9789881809469 $14.95 www.havenbooksonline.com
As we begin this read we find ourselves in China and meet a young American boy named, Archer Blaine. Archer misses America and is still adjusting to his life in China. He soon becomes friends with, Edward. Edward and Archer are totally different yet complement each other in so many ways that their friendship is a plus for both of them.
One day the boys discover a Chapel on their school grounds and begin to explore it. Here they meet a monk named, Ah Sook who shares with them how all the wonderful antique weapons and other artifacts happened to be in the Chapel. The boys are excited and begin to investigate, reading different books. learning about a group of young people who also investigated and wrote a journal of their adventures called, "The Journal of the China Exploration Club."
The boys became more excited . As the story progresses Ah Sook is attacked by someone after the Brazen Head, a statue that can predict the future. Now the boys must learn how to protect themselves, enlist help from two other trusted friends and prevent the thief of the Brazen Head.
Wow, talk about action, this book is packed with it. We have two very different, yet very likeable young boys who set out to stop something that could change the world. You have deep friendship and responsibility, adventure, danger, and fun along with a learning experience. This is a great read that will keep your child's interest. It is filled with excitement and activity that will keep them turning the pages. Very good book.
1041 Parker Road, Parker, Co.
Mike Curran loves his wife and did not expect to lose her that day when a bomb explodes at Union Station. Nor would he have ever imagined the course his life would take from there, but it did. Mike has lost more than he can bear and he must take action, action that will not destroy other lives, but action that will bring awareness and hopefully an awakening. Action that will make him and others walk a very fine line. Mike has contacts, being an ex-military man. Friends that are true friends but what he wants to do is dangerous, yet the outcome would have the potential to show many across the face of the globe a truth, one that they may not want to see.
The story could be tomorrow's headline, and perhaps that is the scary part. This novel takes you from a normal day for so many people into a world of pain and hurt, anger and love, revenge and forgiveness. As Mike carries out his plan, which I will not reveal in this review, you wonder would it make a difference if this were real life? We live in dangerous times, any second we could be under attack. What would you do? How would you feel if your loved one were taken away because of a senseless act? I hope we never find out, but this story opens a thought provoking way that brings to life a very terrifying reality. If this book does not make you stop, reflect and consider, you truly do not understand what is happening in our world. Excellent book that will not soon leave you. Well done Mr. Bowen.
Natural to Super Natural Health
2675 W,S,R #464, Sedona, AZ 86336
Inside this exception book by author, David Herzog, we are taken on a healing journey. This is not your normal healing book, but one that takes you a little deeper than you probably have ever been before. David covers so many topics such as: Cleansing -Super Natural Foods - Weight Loss - Minds and Thoughts, Age Reversal, and more. Inside each one of these gems you will find information that covers the latest discoveries, scientific information and Spiritual. You will learn about foods that truly can make a difference and how important your mind is to your body.
I found this book to be exceptional in all ways. The information is new and fresh and what I loved the most is how David joins every area with God. You just cannot separate your body from your Spirit and from the Lord. It is all intertwined and your health wraps around it as well. David gives you straight forward advise, he doesn't pull any punches and he writes it all in a free flowing easy to understand manner. This is a book that you will refer to time and time again. One that has information that will surprise and delight you. I recommend this read. I believe it has something for everyone and will definitely help you on your journey to better health.
What Every Small Group Leader Should Know
Gospel Light, Ventura, California
9780830753277 $12.95 www.regalbooks.com
I was very interested to read this book as my husband and I have been involved with House Ministries for nearly thirty years. After that much time I feel we have learned a lot of the ins and outs but I also knew that God gives each person wisdom to share with the rest in the Body of Christ. That is what I found inside this exceptional book.
Pastor Kreider shares many nuggets of experience in this read that you will find very useful as a leader of a House Ministry and also anyone who is involved with the same. He breaks it down into twelve topics beginning at: My Story - Learning To Lead A Small Group, and finishing with: Step Out In Faith.
Our author helps you with problems like, dealing with difficult people, what are each ones responsibilities, what are your responsibilities as a leader. His writing is open and honest and I feel led by the Spirit of The Lord. Even after many years of being a leader and also one of the group of Home Ministries, I found this book very helpful. The words written brought me peace, encouragement and wisdom. I recommend this read for anyone that the Lord is calling into a Home Ministry Group, whether you are a leader or a member. Very well written and well worth your time.
"Dust" And Other Poems
Thomas Noel Smith
141 Lincoln St, Scotchdale, OK
I enjoy poetry. I feel it reaches inside the very core of the one writing it and releases pieces of their soul that they are willing to share with others. This is what I believe I found within the pages of this work.
Author, Thomas Noel Smith, releases to the reader his reflections of life, times past, memories stored, love and sorrow, hope and despair, through the soul of a man who has seen and lived it all. Through his words you can feel our author has tasted of both the good and bad in life. He has seen the hours of time moving forwards and now begins to place his life's reflections within the scales - all that he has seen and lived. With each reflection the scale is tilted one way and than another reviling the depths of this author's soul. Which way it will settle is unknown.
I enjoyed this work. The words caused me to pause and reflect upon things in my own life, my past and my future, and for that I say thank you.
Running On Empty
Severn House Publishing
9-15 High Street, Sutton, England
In this cozy mystery we meet, AnnaLise, the daughter of Daisy, who left North Carolina to go to college in Wisconsin. Upon receiving a phone call from her mom's best friend concerning strange behavior from Daisy, AnnaLise takes a trip back home. It seems her mom had accidently drained much of the blood out of Mrs. Bradenham, a standing figure in the community, during a blood drive. Daisy was not herself, something was very wrong.
While settling in, AnnaLise catches up with old friends and family but when people begin to die in this small town a twisting mystery is set before her. One that will wrap around her, her mom, and her closest friends. Who is killing off these people and why? Could her mother somehow be involved and what is the truth behind all the secrets that are surfacing? The plot thickens.
This is an outstanding read for many reasons. The characters are down to earth, ones that you immediately relate to and feel as if you have known them all your life. I liked that a lot. The local is well described, a quaint hometown setting of a once peaceful town now being uprooted by murder. And the pace is well-spaced, small tidbits of clues here and there as the author merges the characters deep within the secrets being revealed. The road travels along with turn-offs and rolling hills as you try to piece together the information set before you to find the murderer. But who and why?
I recommend this book. It's a great one to cozy up with and merge yourself inside the lives of this homespun town. Mysterious, at times comical, great characters, and local, with the opportunity to figure out who done it! A true winner. Well done Ms. Sandra.
Crashing Through the Underbrush
Gary P. Cornelius
9781435772533, $15.00, www.lulu.com
For those unable to help themselves, going to bat for them is a perilous journey. "Crashing Through the Underbrush" tells the story of Oregon public mental health professional Garth Gilroy and the challenges he faces in trying to help those in need, the homeless, the psychotic, and much more. Drawing on author Gary Cornelius's own experiences with Oregon's mental health, "Crashing Through the Underbrush" is a labor of love and the challenges that ring close to the social workers of the world.
Remembering the Body
Mongrel Empire Press
9780983305200, $15.00, www.mongrelempire.org
Trying to put together life's puzzle is what facing life is all about. "Remembering the Body" is a collection of poetry from Alan Berecka, as he offers his anthology of poetry and his take on life's truths and what pushes us all forward. Full of emotion and reverence for life's struggle to make sense of it all, "Remembering the Body" is an excellent volume of work, highly recommended. "Exodus Redux": On five stories of glass/slaves to the fine print, of our contracts, we labored/to draw giant X/after giant X. Caught/without the blood of lambs,/we settled on using two-inch masking tape, a modern talisman--/an insane act -- a prayer/given up in hopes that the agent/of destruction might pass.
Dan & Denise Harmer
c/o Glass Road Public Relations
9781600391835, $12.00, www.lampostpubs.com
Your world can be turned upside down easier than you think. "Holy Guacamole" is a fun romance from Dan & Denise Harmer, as they tell the story of a culinary bootcamp teacher who gets her recipe book thrown in her face as a man enters her life and changes everything. Fast paced and humorous, "Holy Guacamole" is a read that those simply looking for a fun romance read that won't be easy to put down, recommended.
Iraq, Their Mission, Our Journey
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9780578074900, $15.95, www.outskirtspress.com
Regardless of one's opinion of the war, one must respect the job that many young men and women have taken on their shoulders in Iraq. "Iraq, Their Mission, Our Journey: America's Destiny" is a memoir from Jackie Wilson as she reflects on the process of a mother facing a child going off to war and how God gave her the strength through it all, and helped her through these stressful times. "Iraq, Their Mission, Our Journey" is a profound and spiritual read for military memoir libraries, recommended.
The Lord Said Unto Satan
Post Mortem Press
9780615465173, $15.95, www.postmortem-press.com
Shamanism and private investigation don't seem to go hand and hand, but Detective Gugel has found a use for combining his talents. "The Lord Said Unto Satan" follows Gugel as he traces the death of a woman and as he soon finds this was far from a traditional murder, and there's something stranger than the murder weapon of napalm. With a nod to hallucinogenic horror and mystery, "The Lord Said Unto Satan" is a riveting if off-the-wall story that will keep readers glued to the pages all the way through.
At Ground Zero
9781453894057, $10.95, www.martyaugustine.com
Disaster may strike at any time, and it is the unpreparedness that leads to the most damage. "At Ground Zero" discusses the disasters and major threats in our world to advise readers on the level of preparedness that we can find in our lives. Suggesting what to do to be prepared for many threats, be they work of God or man, "At Ground Zero" is worth considering for those looking for advice in preparing their lives for the shock of it all.
Ostrich in the Sand
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781456725907, $17.72, www.authorhouse.com
Being tossed out into the cold world after a decade of warmth, it can be quite difficult to adjust. "Ostrich in the Sand" is the story of Carol, a woman facing the world after her husband's death leaves her facing the world she blissfully ignored. Through her life, she finds hard decisions, makes mistakes, and must soon owe up to the mistakes she's made. "Ostrich in the Sand" is a story of facing the world we've ignored that won't go away no matter how much we wish it to.
Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly
9780615426303, $11.95, www.outskirtspress.com
There is nothing more horrifying than losing one's mind literally. "Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly" is a memoir of Jana Pryor as she tells the story of Jane, a woman who faced Alzheimer's and the perils and loss that comes with it. Warning of Alzheimer's poison and how it destroys live and hopes her stories will inspire others to do what they can to fight it as they age, "Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly" is a poignant and simple read, highly recommended for those who fear the disease for themselves or their loved ones.
Matter Over Mind
9780615398617, $14.99, www.stevecaplan.net
Before you can go for the future, you need to face the past. "Matter Over Mind" is the is the story of Steve Miller, a biomedical researcher who is facing everything he's ignored at once. Frustrated that he has not had the success he wanted, he struggles to find a bit of peace and something worth living for in his life. As he faces the past, he learns much and finds there's more to the future than he understands. "Matter Over Mind" is a simple and thoughtful read, highly recommended.
Eye of a Fly
Justin R. Smith
9781460995105, $10.50, www.justinwordsmith.com
We all have our failings, and how we seek to correct them makes us who we are. "Eye of a Fly" is a novel from Justin R. Smith who writes of many unusual characters who face their fears of the world, voodoo hexes, troubled family members, and those who would do what they can to save them all. "Eye of a Fly" is a moving work of the lives of those who are surrounded by those who look to them for help when they need help themselves.
PO Box 400818, Las Vegas, NV 89140
9781935597353, $13.95, www.littlebirdpublicity.com
The trade of goods and services can lead to many unique situations. "Faking It" follows Andi Cutrone as she faces midlife and looks to Devin, a male escort, to give her the access to the freedom of life that she seeks and hopes to better understand. She offers to help him become a writer in return for helping her break out of her shell, but this agreement leads to much more, something that neither of them would ever expect. An enticing work of romance and facing life, "Faking It" is a fun and highly entertaining read that shouldn't be overlooked.
Paul T. Vogel
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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