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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 9, Number 3 March 2010 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Cowper's Bookshelf Dunford's Bookshelf Greenspan's Bookshelf
Helen's Bookshelf Klausner's Bookshelf Laurel's Bookshelf
Lorraine's Bookshelf Micah's Bookshelf Shelley's Bookshelf
Shirley's Bookshelf Taylor's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf

Cowper's Bookshelf

The Pineapple Daisy Recipe Book
Lindy Orist
Zantia Archuleta Abeyta
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781438961675, $34.95,

What a florist does with flowers, the culinary team of Lindy Orist and Zantia Archuleta Abeyta does with pineapples -- arrange the fruit into the most extraordinary floral-like design arrangements that please the eye, pleasure the palate, and amaze the imagination! "The Pineapple Daisy Recipe Book" is a 100-page compendium of invaluable information and instructions beginning with the materials needed, choosing the perfect pineapple, and relevant nutritional information. Of special note are the step-by-step processes for cutting the fruit, chocolate dipping, and basket container prepping. The nine primary recipes range from 'Apple Indulgence' and Melon Bloom, to Berry Bliss and Strawberry Sensation. Along with providing sections dedicated to 'Additional Recipe Ideas' and 'Tricks of the Trade', "The Pineapple Daisy Recipe Book" is thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' and can enable even the most novice beginner to produce professional quality works of culinary art appropriate for even the most elegant of dining occasions.

Jazz Harmony & Improvisation
Herbert Silverstein, MD & Richard Drexler
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
1425136087 $25.00

Jazz Harmony & Improvisation: Scores and Recordings of Original Tunes is a pedagogical book packed cover to cover with brief musical scores, along with an accompanying MP3 format CD of the scores being played. The goal is to help students learn techniques of improvisation and chord voicing using author Richar Drexler's scale system. Richard Drexler and fellow composer Herb Silverstein have assembled a total of fifty tunes - most of which are represented in little more than one page of musical notation - suitable for practice, demonstration, and careful personal evaluation. The text expounds upon the chord scales and how to make the most of them while learning to play jazz with style and flair. A superb self-teaching manual or supplementary resource for intermediate to advanced piano instructors, Jazz Harmony & Improvisation is highly recommended.

Mushroom in the Sand
Farsheed Ferdowsi
c/o Jeremy Gossett
176 Thompson Lane, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37211
9781595943606, $16.95,

A scientist wants to spread his knowledge, but will he give it to the wrong people? "Mushroom in the Sand" tells the tale of an Iranian turned American physicist, a leading researcher on nuclear weapons. Hired to speak in front of his peers in Iran, he soon finds himself under the fist and threat of the Iranian government and their own researchers as they struggle ever more to gain control of the bomb. "Mushroom in the Sand" is a fascinating read of science and terror, highly recommended.

The Wedding Gift
Marlen Suyapa Bodden
c/o Susan Blond Inc.
Fifty West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
9781439255834, $18.99,

Slaves occasionally became more than tools to their masters. "The Wedding Gift" is a story set in pre-civil war Alabama, following the tale of the Allen family and how they collapse. An illegitimate product of patriarch Cornelius and one of his slaves, Sarah is given as part of a wedding gift to Cornelius's daughter. His legitimate and illegitimate daughters rejected, Cornelius's deeds may soon catch up to him and destroy his family. "The Wedding Gift" is based on a true story and a very highly recommended read.

Ladies League
Sandi Spaugh
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438937113, $15.99,

Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden is the urban legend often associated with golf, but these ladies will hear nothing of it. "Ladies League: Front Nine" tells the story of four women who through a day of golf, find strength and unity. Two widows meet with a fiercely independent woman and a woman who may as well be widowed, as the four share a game of golf where their lives seem to become one. A story of friendship in mature women, "Ladies League: Front Nine" is a fine read, well worth considering.

Mary Cowper

Dunford's Bookshelf

Get Out of the Way
Daniel Dinges
Tate Publishing & Enterprising
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
Stephanie Barko (publicity)
16100 Crystal Hills, Austin, TX 78737
9781615662746, $15.99,

Being a pacifist is a hard job when in a war zone. "Get Out of the Way" is a story of Tom Daniels, a man who despite fighting it kicking and screaming is drafted into the Vietnam war. Through his wits on Vietnam soil, Tom does everything he can to avoid combat, something he believes will send him to a greater peace than what he wants - an eternal one. "Get Out of the Way" is a fun and entertaining tale, not to be missed.

The Erroneous Talibani
Richard Asner
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533162161, $23.95,

The life of a covert agent is no where as glorious as James Bond makes it out to be. "The Erroneous Talibani" tells the tale of Greg Damet, a highly trained operative finding himself stranded in Afghanistan following a helicopter crash. Clawing through hell, he uncovers plots that threaten America and those around Afghanistan. "The Erroneous Talibani" is a fun and highly entertaining spy thriller, a top pick.

In Midway Thought
F. B. Cornell
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533161966, $24.95,

Some people leave behind massive piles of their life's works, and their can be treasure in that work. "In Midway Thought: Poems from a House of Glass" is a posthumously published second collection from Frank Biedler Cornell. A man with nearly one hundred years of life, he imparts much experience and wisdom from his life's work and gives readers some of that experience through his verse. "In Midway Thought" is a top notch collection, highly recommended. "Host"L Touch silken draperies;/sense the rug, Persian,/beneath your feet;/Occupy the gilded chair; his table is set for feast/But do not dare to look behind the tapestry of his eyes/Into unfinished apartments where broken plaster lies --/A secret room stripped of all warmth, expended for/this effect/Of rich outlay where he awaits the cash of your respect.

Leon Newton
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432720124, $10.95,

Man is weak to his own instincts. "Titus: The Death of an Emperor" is a two act play using the tale of Titus, a good man and Emperor of Rome. Faced with potential deceit from his own council and is led to believe his own son is out to kill him, in finding the truth, Titus makes actions he finds himself at the mercy of the god of vengeance. "Titus" is a fine drama presented in the style of a play, a top pick for fans of the ancient theatre style.

Even the Dead Are Coming
Mike Robbins
Broad Books
227 W 112th St, Apt. 2, New York, NY 10026
9780578035697, $17.95

Sudan is a country trying to find its identity, and Mike Robbins was there through one of its chaotic periods. "Even the Dead Are Coming: A Memoir of Sudan" tells his story of spending two years starting in 1987 as he watched the country try to get itself under control, trying and failing to adopt democracy, facing famine, war, and mass exoduses throughout the country. "Even the Dead Are Coming" is a western perspective of this African nation's endless problems with plenty of poignant insights.

Michael Dunford

Greenspan's Bookshelf

Dad, It's Time to Tell the Truth
Tony Rassini
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449007584, $21.95,

A parent who doesn't lie to their children is a parent who is lying right then and there. "Dad, It's Time to Tell the Truth" is a book from a father aimed at his children. Year by year, he comes clean with all the lies he's spilled over the years. Light hearted and brutally honest, Tony Rassini presents a unique read that is unlike anything else, and proves entertaining even if one isn't the target of said truth spilling. "Dad, It's Time to Tell the Truth" is a fascinating and recommended read, well worth considering.

The Dancing Porch
Harry Adams
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438992006, $18.99,

An idealistic life can turn sour real fast. "The Dancing Porch" tells the tale of Hank Schultz, a man who finds himself entangled with a crime syndicate through his career as an executive of a restaurant. He soon finds that the vanishing of his daughter makes it so that his involvement with the criminal syndicate is going to become more complicated as there are secrets everywhere around him. "The Dancing Porch" is a unique tale of mystery and intrigue, recommended.

Doc S's Tales
Robert C. Sartori
Privately Published
9781449504168, $17.95

Pain and suffering is still pain and suffering, no matter the species of the recipient. "Doc S's Tales: Stories from Fifty Years of Veterinary Practice" is a collection of memoirs from Robert C. Sartori, veterinarian by trade. A story of a man who loves animals and life, his tales are those of bring comfort and joy, not just to the animals but to their masters. "Doc S's Tales" is a fine read for any animal lover with an interest in veterinary medicine.

Charles Portolano
Privately Published

A poem is not simply an expression of ideas, but can be a fine storytelling medium. "Storytelling: A Collection of Poems" is a collection of poetry from Charles Portolano as he uses his poems to tell simple tales that will entertain and enlighten. "Storytelling" is a recommended read for those who like some story to their poetry. "An End to Our Innocence": It was a simpler time, having survived the Great Depression/and fought and won WWII,/nothing could ever end our dream.//We knew of prosperity/for we believed in hard work,/and we knew our God loved us/having stood with us through it all.

Plain-Written Poems
Anthony Antin
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432738174, $12.95,

A poem is not something that needs to be complex, it is something that simply needs to be. "Plain-Written Poems" is a collection of poetry from Anthony Antin, who hopes to offer readers simple poems with simple messages. "Plain-Written Poems" is a choice and highly recommended read for those who just love poetry. "Animal Adultery": Mr. Porcupine said to Mrs. Porcupine/after Mrs. Porcupine/gave birth to a little baby squirrel,/"Try as you may/and cry as you may,/but you can't stick this one on me, old girl!"

Healing Lily
D. Stephenson Bond
Alternative Views Publishing
2324 Erwin Road, 12th Floor, Durham, NC 27705
9780982307908, $23.95

9/11 tore lives apart, and finding the way to heal was never easy. "Healing Lily" is the story of Lily, a woman who lost her husband to the tragedies of that fateful day. Trying to find love once more, author D. Stephenson Bond uses his expertise in psychoanalysis to provide a thought provoking story of recovering from life changing disasters. "Healing Lily" is a worthy investment, well worth considering.

The Murdered Family
Vernon Keel
Wanamaker Press
PO Box 12294, Denver, CO 80212-0294
9780984284306, $15.00,

When an entire family is murdered, the motives of the perpetrator seem as if they can only be pure evil. "The Murdered Family" tells the tale of a North Dakotan family that was wiped out by a cruel act. One man is charged with the crime, and he is captured and quickly sentenced to life imprisonment. Stating his confession was under unlawful pressure, he maintains his innocence, as Vernon Keel crafts an intriguing story of pre- Depression law. "The Murdered Family" is very entertaining and intriguing reading, recommended.

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

Maryanne Comaroto
Bridge the Gap Publishing
9780974661001, $14.95,

Everyone wants to do it, but you have to be smart about it. "Hindsight: What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers" is a guide to those who want to make the right decisions before embracing one's newest squeeze to the next level of the bedroom. From keeping one's independence, to resisting pressure, picking out those who want more than just a one night stand to something greater, Maryanne Comaroto comes with a slew of advice, making for a treasure trove of knowledge for women. "Hindsight" is a fine addition to any sexuality or women's issues collection.

Sins of the Father
Catherine Shuler
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432749422, $18.95,

The more rare it is, the more shocking it is when it does happen. "Sins of the Father" follows Dillon Stone, officer of the law in the small town of Mt. Vista, Illinois. A mystery spanning two generations seems to have links to the recent attacks on police officers and firemen, as Dillon tries to protect himself and his people as he brings a madman to justice. "Sins of the Father" is a riveting tale that should not be missed.

Triumph & Hope
Barbara E. Joe
Privately Published
9781439222027, $18.99

Traveling the world, attempting to make it a better place is the call of the Peace Corps. "Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras" is the memoir of Barbara E. Joe, as she joins in the Peace Corps in her retirement years in the grief of losing her son. Her tale is a life of living much younger in her age and showing the difference one elderly woman can make in the world still. "Triumph & Hope" is an inspiring read that should not be ignored for personal memoirs collections and readers.

Trudy M. Johnson
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432743291, $15.95,

Abortion is not an easy choice for any woman. "C.P.R.: Choice Processing and Resolution" analyzes the harsh facts about coping with abortion, or as author Trudy M. Johnson terms it, VPT (a voluntary pregnancy termination). The decision to end one's pregnancy is highly emotional for any woman; Johnson hopes to help women gain a better understanding of their situation. "C.P.R." is a strongly recommended pick for any woman faced with this difficult decision.

Das Medallion
Kathryn Scarborough
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781439257067, $14.99,

Even when the truth looks to be painful, it cannot be ignored. "Das Medallion" tells the tale of Margaret Richardson, a woman looking back into her past, a past with strong ties to Nazi Germany. Unknowing of even her truth birth date, she travels to what she believes to be her homeland in order to find what really brought her into this world and the truth she finds may be hurtful. "Das Medallion" is a choice pick for literary fiction readers, recommended.

The Power of 4
Paula Owens
Privately Published
9780615257501, $18.95,

Keeping it simple is the basics of getting anything done. "The Power of 4" is a guide from Paula Owens designed to help people attain their health goals and attain a heather body and life. Drawing on holistic and applying them to nutrition and fitness, Paula Owens gives readers much in the avenue of inspiration and knowledge to help them attain the state of being they desire. "The Power of 4" is a fine and very highly recommended addition to health collections.

Alabama Studio Style
Natalie Chanin
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781584798231, $35.00,

Unique, engaging, informed and informative, "Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes, & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living" by Natalie Chanin (founder and head designer of Alabama Chanin, a fashion/lifestyle company that promotes sustainable style and design) is a superbly illustrated, 176-page compendium of twenty clothing and home decoration projects that will enable even the novice beginner to create skirts, carves, pillows, woven chair seats, a stenciled scrap-wood table, distinctive placemats and napkins, market bags, camisole and tank dresses, canning-jar covers, and eyelet doilies, as well as palate-pleasing, gourmet quality dishes suitable for any and all party menus. Thoroughly 'user friendly', step-by-step instructions are enhanced with a profusion of color photographs and line-drawings. The result is a remarkable tour-de-force with an underlying message of re-use, re-cycle, and re-purpose that is environmentally friendly. "Alabama Studio Style" is a highly recommended addition to personal and community library reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Dodging Traffic
J. Bradley
Ampersand Books
5040 10th Ave. S. Gulfport, FL 33707
9780984102525, $12.00,

Life is out to get you, and the best thing to do to it is laugh in its face. "Dodging Traffic" is a collection of poetry from J. Bradley, as he brings his honest and snarkily wise views of the world to his poetry, discussing many subjects of varying extremes and maturity. "Dodging Traffic" is a fine pick and very highly recommended read not to be missed. "Missing Person": Shoplifted picture frames/taught him how to smile.//He wore his skin/like a strop.//We poured him into/molds of keening bells.

Water Your Roots
Bernard Willemsen
Centre for Human Energy Studies
PO Box 4000, Tantallon, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3Z 4G9
9780968035146, $16.95,

Someone to point you in the right direction is what many people seek in life. "Water Your Roots: Walking A Spiritual Path" is a guide to finding a spirituality teacher in life and using the lessons one can gain in many aspects of life no matter what they are. Accepting oneself in the course of one's life is worth much peace of mind, and Bernard Willemsen outlines spiritual growth very well. "Water Your Roots" is a fine addition to spirituality collections.

Brazil: A Traveler's Literary Companion
Alexis Levitin, editor
Whereabouts Press
1111 8th Street, Suite D, Berkeley, CA 94710-1455
9781883513214, $14.95,

With lush jungles, sunny beaches, and beautiful people, Brazil has made itself the ideal tourist attraction in South America, but what lies beneath? "Brazil: A Traveler's Literary Companion" delves into the literary side of Brazil, using its many attractions and much of its unique folklore as many authors provide short stories surrounding the country, providing a unique and strong outlook of the Amazon rainforests and the people of Brazil. Riveting, scholarly, and informative reading, "Brazil: A Traveler's Literary Companion" is very highly recommended.

In an Uncharted Country
Clifford Garstang
Press 53
PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130
9780982441671, $14.00

Widely published, Clifford Garstang brings readers an inviting collection of short stories with "In an Uncharted Country". Each tale is unrelated to each other in origin, he keeps a common theme of unfamiliarity and exploration strong throughout his writings. With strong characters and plots driving his stories, "In an Uncharted Country" is a solid and highly recommended read not to be missed.

Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement
R. Jack Hansen & Jerry P. Haas
Upper Room Books
1908 Grand Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212
9780835810258, $15.00

With no direction, life can get pretty boring quickly. "Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement" is a guide to finding meaning in one's retirement, putting forth their goals and dreams that they may have been putting off in life, relating to one's family, preparing for the transition to retirement life, and facing one's own mortality. "Shaping a Life of Significance" is a choice pick for those who are unsure about their future when they don't have to work 9 to 5 any longer.

Helen Dumont

Klausner's Bookshelf

A Stain on the Silence
Andrew Taylor
9781401302849 $15.99

Lily Murtheston calls twice asking to speak to Jamie. Since he turned sixteen, everyone calls him James except for one woman back two decades ago when he was in his twenties; so he is taken aback but decides to learn what Lily wants. He muses about being thirteen when he met Lily through her marrying Hugh, the father of his best friend in school Carlo. Dying Lily is in a hospice in Wembley. He goes to see her; Lily informs Jamie that he fathered a child with her years ago; a daughter in trouble needing her father. He insists Katie's father is Lily's husband Hugh, but Lily says Jamie owes her.

James meets his daughter Katie just before he leaves the hospice for his home where his wife Nicky is leaving for her book club meeting. Pregnant Katie expects to be arrested for the murder of her former fiance Sean. She demands her biological father help her; James is confused what to do as his perfect life has been nuked but also fears telling his wife.

This is a fascinating character study of a man who seems to have his life together only to find it collapse with the first troubling intrusion, the knowledge of a daughter he sired during an affair over twenty years ago surfaces. Readers will be stunned by how far James will go to avoid confrontation even not telling his wife; though he fails each time he chooses dodging an altercation behind a denial of responsibilities as a defense mechanism to reduce his anxiety, which never works. Although suspense comes extremely late with a clever Hitchcockian psychological twist, fans will enjoy the aptly titled A Stain on the Silence

Black Hills
Dan Simmons
Little, Brown
9780316006989 $25.99

In 1876 following the battle of Little Big Horn, ten years old Sioux warrior Paha Sapa collects coup from the dead. However, on his last breath, the spirit of General George Custer leaves his dead body to enter that of Paha.

For the rest of his life, Paha heard Custer speaking to him inside his head. He also gained the uncanny ability to know someone's past and future by simply touching them. For himself he has remained patient having seen what will occur to the sacred Black Hills in the 1930s. Thus in 1936, the septuagenarian who worked on the monuments begins his final days of atonement and exorcism with plans to blow up Mt. Rushmore as FDR arrives on a visit.

This is a refreshing super paranormal historical thriller that grips the audience from the opening battle locale until the final confrontation inside and outside of the lead character's head. The story line is driven by Paha-Custer, but filled with plenty of action as events lead from Little Big Horn to Mt. Rushmore. Dan Simmons effortlessly switches from Ancient Greek and Dickensian mythologies to an American legend with this superb incredibly creative tale.

Revenge for Old Times' Sake
Kris Neri
Cherokee McGhee
9780979969454 $16.95

Opposites attract is proven with free-spirited Tracy Eaton and her straight-laced husband Drew. They are yin and yang balancing each other while fulfilling the needs of one another. That is why Tracy is shocked when she literally sees her husband fighting with his fellow attorney Ian Dragger in the garage of their office building. Drew insists to Tracy they attend the party celebrating their getting Skippy Sullivan off of a variety of charges that the two lawyers worked on together. At the gala, Skippy introduces Tracy and Drew to juror Riley who persuaded the other jurors that he was innocent.

The next day, they find Ian dead floating in the Eaton swimming pool. The picture of the fight is in the tabloids. Obviously Drew is the prime suspect. Drew's mother Charlotte calls his former fiancee attorney CeeCee Payne to defend her son. Through her connections, Tracy learns that a hit is put on Drew. With her mother, mother-in-law Charlotte and others allied with helping her, Tracy busts her Drew out of jail. She begins her own investigation so that the worst case scenario that her spouse is murdered doesn't happen. This leads Tracy and Drew in danger from a killer who is watching their every move.

The third Tracy Eaton revenge mystery (see Dem Bones revenge and Revenge of the Gypsy Queen) is as always a tremendous amateur sleuth mystery as the heroine is a courageous free spirit acting like a bloodhound on the scent of suspects. The scene in which a second corpse is found in the pool is humorous as the Tracy and Her mother and Charlotte struggle with what to do with the body. It is scenes like this that make Kris Neri one of the best whodunit writers as she takes her story line serious, but includes plenty of hum or that fits in nicely to the main storyline while entertaining the reader. Fans will enjoy Revenge for Old Times Sakes as we, along with the heroine, wonder if that is CeeCee's agenda with her erratic defense.

Venus Guy Trap
Shannon McKelden
9780765323354 $13.99

Venus "Aphrodite" Cronus may be the Goddess of Love and daughter of Zeus, but she is slaving on earth as a matchmaker. In Bander, Oregon she finds a sigma in a bookstore window that is her target for a love life makeover. Her name is Haydee Miller, whose parents she matched over three decades ago.

Haydee has been going out lately with losers and fears she will fail at the next step on her list; getting married at thirty-three. The list is sacred to her as it gave her comfort when her mom died when she was sixteen. Any deviation has been disastrous. She has six weeks plus to find her mate.

Venus introduces herself and for some unknown reason Haydee hires her and allows her to move into her home. Venus insists she is the Goddess of Love. Two days later Venus says Prince Charming is entering the store. Haydee has a convulsion as anyone but Derek Reed is acceptable. He deserted her to become a world famous photographer. Haydee tells Venus she stinks at matchmaking. They met soon after her mom died and he blew a knee ending his football ambition; they became an entry until he left abruptly. Haydee asks Derek why he is back. He says he missed her. Venus knows her mission is more than matching soulmates with a history; as she also needs to reconcile father and daughter while eluding men who want her and women jealous with Venus Envy.

The cast is extremely well drawn, Aphrodite owns the show as the matchmaker Goddess of Love insists the one man the lead female hates is her true love while she also deals with every male wanting her at a time she wants to go home. The rotation of lead between Venus and Haydee provides a wider perspective to this fun lighthearted urban romantic fantasy.

A Lucky Irish Lad
Kevin O'Hara
9780765318039 $24.99

In Ipswich, England on April 20, 1949, Kevin is born to Irish parents after giving his mom and the midwife fits as he refused to leave the comfort of the womb. His joining the growing fam ily brood as the fourth of eight kicking the third off the milk bar until the fifth kicked him to the table. A neighbor blithely said the poor lad shares birthday with Hitler, but his mom remarked her son will redeem the date by making it his day rather than that of that devil. With five in hand and prospects poor in Ireland and Great Britain, dad took the family across the ocean to New England where three more children joined the brood. Kevin served in Nam, became a psychiatric nurse and married Felita Suarez while struggling with being an Americanized Irish Catholic.

Although there seems to be a zillion coming of age in the 1950s-1960s memoirs on the market (see Angela's Ashes and 'Tis by McCourt, Little Boy Blues by Jones, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Janzen and Literary Life by McMurtrey, etc.) Kevin O'Hara refreshes his with witty humor. He states that his parents and siblings taught him the importance of health and family; as the latter needs to be there when the former is not. Interesting and well written, but not with anything unique, fans of autobiographies will enjoy. Mr. O'Hara's memoir as he uses engaging anecdotes with intelligence and wit.

Catch Of A Lifetime
Judi Fennell
9781402224287 $6.99

Mermaid Angel Tritone wants to be an advisor to her brother Rod the High Councilman on the Mer Council. However, he rejects her dreams of joining the ruling Council as he insists her safety is paramount. Upset, she goes on a swim by herself to get her thoughts straight.

Breaking the truce between their species Hammerhead Harry the nasty shark attacks her, but Angel escapes by climbing onto Logan Hardington's fishing boat. She claims to be a "maritime biology" student, but the single father is flummoxed by her arrival as the beautiful young lady is stark naked. He agrees to employ her as a babysitter since his son Michael likes her and he would do anything to make his child feel wanted by him as he only recently learned of his existence. Michael vows to keep Angel's secret that she is a mermaid from even his dad yet also believes she is the mermaid he wished for his birthday. As they fall in love in between arguments with his offsp ring matchmaking them, the duo rescues Michael from horrible Harry, but also must battle an evil sea monster with oceanic-forming world domination plans.

The third Tritone sibling Mer urban-oceanic romantic fantasy (see Wild Blue Under and In Over Her Head) is a terrific tale of the tail as the female sister takes the lead with her mission to save the world. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down for even ebb tide; as the unity of a father, a son and a mermaid who helps being the two males together while saving the earth makes for a fun Catch of a Lifetime.

Drive Time
Hank Phillippi Ryan
9780778327974 $7.99

Boston's Channel 3 investigative reporter forty-seven years old Charlotte "Charlie" McNally is looking into a nasty car theft-auto forgery ring. The story smells like an "Emmy" if she and the crew live long enough for air time. At the same time she has an offer to go to New York for the big time.

Charlie is concerned for her fifty-two years old fiance, Josh Gelston, a teacher at the Bexter Academy, and his nine year old daughter, Penny a student there. Unable to resist, the intrepid reporter makes inquiries that lead her to realize murders have occurred and so has blackmailing. She remains ignorant to the fact the killer is watching her progress with plans to get rid of a nosy investigative TV news reporter.

The latest "Time" after time investigative thriller (see Prime Time, Face Time, and Air Time) is another great entry in a strong series. Filled with non-stop action starting when Charlie is eight minutes away from starting the rest of her life except she and photographer J.T. stop on the highway to investigate an incident setting the tone once again for a fabulous tale. This time the prime story line has Charlie's professional life crash into her personal life as Hank Phillippi Ryan provides a superb thriller.

The Dead Travel Fast
Deanna Raybourn
9780778327653 $13.95

In 1858, writer Theodora Lestrange hates her life in Scotland as everyone she knows wonders why she remains a spinster though she enjoys writing spirited books under the pseudonym T. Lestrange. Needing to escape the misery, she heads to Transylvania to attend her best friend Cosmina's wedding in Hermannstdat, Transylvania.

Theodora is put up in a dilapidated castle that the locals whisper about in fearful ominous tones. She finds herself feeling different about the castle; perhaps because she is attracted to the owner Count Andrei Dragulescu. However, though he reciprocates her deep feelings, he has a secret that if she learns he will have to leave her dead.

This is a terrific gothic romance starring a wonderful courageous heroine who while in seeming danger reflects back to her last comment in Edinburgh: "What could possibly happen to me in Transylvania?", obviously everything. The story line is fast-paced as Theodora and readers unravel the truth behind the local legend of the vampire and of her enigmatic host. Although Andrei never seems quite worthy of Theodora, fans will root for the brave woman as she learns that The Dead Travel Fast when the heart is involved.

Angel's Peak
Robyn Carr
9780778327615 $7.99

U-2 pilot stationed at Beale Air Force Base, Sean Riordan remains in Virgin River after being the best man at his brother Luke's wedding (see Temptation Ridge) as he has six weeks of lose or lose leave to kill. He stops at a restaurant's bar for a drink when four women enter the establishment. One of them is flight nurse Franci Duncan who four year ago demanded they go to the next level in their relationship or end it; he reacted by telling her not to let the door slam into her butt. She left and vanished from Luke AFB in Phoenix; he went on to Beale regretting what he lost.

Sean demands Franci explain why she left so abruptly after they split up. She wants him to leave her alone though she still loves him. However, he is stunned when she explains he is the father of little Rosie who she has raised as a single mom. He wants in his daughter's life, but Franci distrusts Sean and wonders if he is mature enough to have the staying power to be a part of his son's life. Sean knows he has a second chance to rectify his biggest mistake as he wants both of his females in his life permanently.

Once readers accept the opening coincidence that the lovers when they were in Arizona meet by chance in remote Northern California, fans will enjoy the story line is emotionally driven by a strong cast. Sean is terrific as he regrets what he blew and is appreciative that he has a second chance. Franci on the other hand does not want to give him one. Well written, Robyn Carr provides a delightful Virgin River entry as she overcomes an overused trite premise of a dad unaware of siring a precious child with a super cast especially the lead couple who make for a fine tale.

Triumph In Arms
Jennifer Blake
9780778327486 $7.99

In New Orleans Christien Lennoir takes one look at Widow Reine Cassard Pingre and feels he took a sword to his gut as he instantly wants her; love at first sight. In 1847 in a card game with her gambling-addicted father, he wins her and the family home River's Edge.

Christien offers Reine a proposal of marriage. If she accepts, her family can stay in their home. She prefers to say no as one abusive marriage was enough, but she has to care for her five year old daughter Marguerite so she considers the proposition, but also reminds her suitor that rumor is she killed her husband while he slept. Christien remains resolved so Reine takes a chance on him when she watches how gentle the swordsman is with Marguerite who saw her papa murdered. However, all hell breaks loose during their wedding ceremony; leading to Christien having to choose between the Maitres D'Armes Brotherhood and Reine.

This sixth Maitres D'Armes historical romance is a terrific entry with a strong cast, but made fresh by the hero as he displays a wide range of feelings from fierce protectiveness of his beloved to loyalty for his Brotherhood and kindness to Marguerite, etc. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action including a super spin as Christien ironically got what he covets, but before he can win Reine's love his latest Brotherhood assignment will earn him her contempt. Jennifer Blake provides a Triumph in Arms.

Down River
Karen Harper
9780778327479 $7.99

The teambuilding event planned by Carlisle, Bonner & Associates at the Duck Lake Lodge near Bear Bones, Alaska could prove divisive as managing partner Graham Bonner will use the off site to choose the next senior partner. One of the three attorneys in the running for a senior slot is Lisa Vaughn, who feels strongly this is not a good way to select. She also has bigger personal issues with the location chosen by top management that overlooks the Wild River where her mom and baby sister drowned twenty-six years ago and the lodge is owned by Mitch Baxter, her former fiance who dropped her last year when he relocated from Fort Lauderdale.

Lisa falls into the Wild River with its strong rapids. Mitch knows something is wrong and follows her by kayak until he jumps in to complete the rescue. The powerful current had carried the pair several miles from his lodge, but they survive the water. As they struggle with the ordeal of getting back to the lodge, Lisa believes someone deliberately nudged her into the icy water. Though Mitch initially leans towards her accidentally tripping; he soon believes his Lisa is in peril from an unknown adversary who will try anything to kill her, but neither know why.

Down River is an exhilarating romantic suspense thriller as the audience wonders along with the heroine why this location and who wants her dead. Faster than the raging Wild River and yet filled with vivid descriptions of the Talkeetna Mountains, readers will feel transported to the home of Sarah Palin. Karen Harper provides a powerful who is doing it and why that sub-genre fans appreciate.

Rachel Vincent
9780778327608 $7.99

The civil war between Werecat clans seems imminent. Malone has challenged Sanders for the pivotal Chair of the Territorial Council. Although Sanders and his daughter Faythe wants to grieve the death of his son Ethan (see Prey), she will be there for her dad; as will the rest of their Pride.

As the other council members try to prevent clan war, the Sanders Alpha sends their tabbies (Faythe, Manx and Kaci) to safety. However, instead of reaching the haven, the thunderbirds catch the trio. To save Kaci's life, Faythe cuts a deal that sends her, her mate Marc Ramos and Calvin's stepson Jace, whom the two lovers do not trust, into Malone territory with no guarantees.

Though the plot is a bit thin, this is an exhilarating werewolf thriller as Faythe is at her best with her first person account of the seemingly inevitable civil war, her capture with the younger tabbies and her venture into enemy territory with her mate and the stepson of her dad's rivals. Fans will appreciate her latest escapades while newcomers will seek the backlist (see Pride, Rogue and Shift) as the former student knows werewolf blood will flow unless she and her two traveling hunks pull off a miracle.

The Cold Room
J.T. Ellison
9780778327141 $7.99

Nashville homicide detective Taylor Jackson arrives at a murder scene in which her fiance FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin is stunned by how similar the corpse is to that of an Italian serial killer, Il Macellaio, a case he has consulted on with New Scotland Yard Inspector James Highsmythe. In the Tennessee case and those throughout Europe, the Butcher starves his victims inside a glass coffin before strangling and finally having sex with them. He completes his horrific act by duplicating masterpieces of art with his dead.

When a second corpse is found similar to the first yet somewhat different than that of the Italian Butcher, the Americans wonder if there are two psychopaths loose. To verify their revised assumption, Taylor and Baldwin travel to Europe to join Highsmythe to uncover the truth they fear of a cross Atlantic contest of sorts.

The Cold Room is an exciting frightening serial killer thriller that grips the audience with the glass coffin scenario; a sort of Sleeping Beauty, but the Prince is Darkness not Charming; the artistic posing of the corpse adds to the eerie aura of the plot. The story line is fast-paced as cops on two continents struggle to prevent the next rape-murder, but are unsure if they are dealing with one or two psychopaths. Readers will be spellbound throughout, but don't snack as Jackson and Baldwin return for another gripping police procedural (see Judas, Kiss, All The Pretty Girls and 14).

Moonlight Road
Robyn Carr
9780778327684 $7.99

Although never a mom, attorney Erin Foley feels the empty nest syndrome as the younger siblings she raised have moved on. Taking a time out to reassess her life, she plans on a summer vacation in Virgin River.

After fourteen years with the Navy, Dr. Aiden Riordan has left the military. He comes to Virgin River to visit family with plans to stay around until his sister-in-law Shelby gives birth.

When the two visitors meet, sparks fly and not just from heads clashing into inanimate objects. Still she prefers some alone time and he never moved past his horrific former marriage to Annalee. When his ex wife demands reentry into his life and much more, Aiden goes back into his solitary confinement.

The latest return to Virgin River is a pleasant tale filled with humor and poignancy as neither the lawyer nor the doctor are ready for love, but love is ready for them. The support cast as always is solid with everyone except Annalee rooting for Erin and Aiden to find happiness with one another. Although Annalee and her antics are over the top of Mount Tamalpais, fans will enjoy the latest visit to Virgin River.

Out of Body
Stella Cameron
9780778327622 $7.99

Marley Millet is a psychic just like generations of her family before her. Lately she has suffered from a horrific nightmare; the underworld Embran torturing young women. Marley knows the Embran loathes her for what her ancestors did to the loathsome beast.

In New Orleans fearing for women, Marley visits NOPD Detective Archer who treats her like she is a crazy lady though much of her rumbling proves true. Meanwhile the Ushers inside her head mock her failure. Only reporter Gray Fisher, a retired cop, who talked with several of the surviving torture victims, believes her. As Gray and Marley team up to prevent the Embran from harming anyone else, they fall in love, which stimulates his previously unknown psychic skills.

This is a terrific paranormal romantic suspense starring a wonderful heroine, her distracting dog Willow and a former cop who finds her amusing and attractive as the colorful sparks they make confuse him and surprise her. The cast is fully developed to include the predator from beyond. Fans will enjoy this exciting fast-paced thriller as the crazy lady, Willow and her beloved reporter battle a nasty underworld serial killer.

The Summer Hideaway
Susan Wiggs
9780778327998 $7.99

Medvac helicopter pilot Ross Bellamy comes home after two years deployed in Afghanistan. His beloved grandfather, George, has terminal cancer, and refuses to receive any more medical treatment. Instead George has gone to Willow Lake in the Catskills to reconcile with his brother Charles before he dies; George's three sons had no idea he even had a brother.

George hires private-duty nurse Claire Turner, whose specialty is palliative care for the terminally ill, to accompany him. His family thinks Claire is using George and has the local cops thinking she kidnapped him. However, Ross observing very carefully knows otherwise as she is a caring professional. What he does not understand is why the beautiful Claire has buried herself with the Bellamy brothers and their kin in Avalon, New York; not that he is complaining as he is at tracted to her. She reciprocates, but romance is not in the cards of someone in hiding having seen a murder but is ineligible for the witness protection program as the homicide was not a federal offense.

Although Claire's teenage past as a homicide witness is over the Catskills, fans will relish the return to Willow Lake starring a feisty dying Bellamy, his family especially his grandson, and a brave heroine fearing who may find her in rural New York. The character driven story line grips the audience when the Auburn cop pulls over Claire and George because his daughter-law from California hysterically convinces the police he is a kidnap victim. Fans will enjoy The Summer Hideaway as love grows with the Bellamy brood.

The Life of O'Reilly
Brian Cohen
Rising Star
c/o iUniverse
9781440150258 $17.95 www.iuniverse.cpm

Because of the media brouhaha over bringing in millions and doing nothing for the community, Wall St law firm, Williams, Gardner & Schmidt decide to do some Pro Bono cases. They choose NYS Bar Associate Trial Lawyers Section Chairman and company junior partner Nicholas O'Reilly to handle their first case.

His client is twenty-six year old Dawn Nelson, a mother of not quite three year old Jordan. She wants a divorce and a restraining order to keep her abusive spouse Jimmy, a stockbroker, away from them. Nicholas meets mother and son at the offices of the NYC Legal Services. Though his expertise is corporate law and not family law, Nicholas pledges to do what is best for his client. At their first meeting, he gives Jordan a Thomas truck to play with, which Dawn appreciates. As they work close together, Dawn reminds Nick what matters in life as he finds no satisfaction helping odious fat cats get off from situations they earned. Instead he finds himself working so much harder with so much satisfaction for the indigent mother and child.

The Life of O'Reilly is a deep character driven legal thriller starring a man who learns what life is all about when he takes on his first pro bono case as he has a client with a human face as opposed to a corporate mask (recent Supreme Court decision aside). The story line focuses on the changing attitude of Nick who begins to question is that all there is once he realizes how beautiful a person Dawn is and how precious Jordan is. Readers will appreciate the gift the Nelsons give Nick when they replace his cynicism with hopeful idealism.

Sudden Threat
A. J. Tata
9781935142089 $9.99

9/11 will go down in infamy, but behind the scenes before, during and after, powerful forces have taken advantage to further secret agendas. Japanese Prime Minister Mizuzawa sees an opportunity in Pacific Asia with the Americans totally occupied with Afghanistan and seemingly Iraq. His New Japan has allies in DC especially with the "The Rolling Stones" who see the terrorist attack on American soil as a chance to redo the world in their image.

In Pakistan CIA Agent Matt Garrett hunts down Al Qaeda top level authorities closing in on bringing home the head of Bin Laden on a platter. As he gets closer to his target working his way through a series on concentric circles protecting Bin Laden; he is abruptly pulled from the region and sent on what seems to him as a minor mission in the jungles of the Philippines. However, once there he finds who should not be there: a dead American soldier. As Matt d igs deeper into this anomaly, he begins to realize that Muslim extremism is being used by Japan as a ploy to conceal their ambition to refight WW II with a different outcome.

This is a fast-paced alternate historical thriller that hooks the audience throughout as General (retired) Tata provides an intriguing conspiracy premise. The action never stops coming whether it is in the Middle East, the eastern seaboard or the Asian Pacific. Although readers will feel the New Japan scheme and several inside the White House power moves are over the top of Mount Apo, conspiracy fans and military buffs will enjoy this post 9/11 one-sided tale that clearly shows the American military living up to its values.

Rogue Threat
A. J. Tata
9781935142096 $25.95

Having survived the Battle of the Philippines against the Japanese, former CIA field agent Matt Garret heals from his physical wounds, but not mentally. He grieves the loss of brother Zachary who died in the Sudden Threat combat, but also remains outraged by the duplicity in DC that led to his sibling's death and an unnecessary war.

His new mantra of trust no one is put to the test by Peyton; who comes to his assistance. Meanwhile, effective and efficient terrorist attacks on American soil leave thousands dead. Those directing the assault begin an invasion deployment. Matt leads a counterinsurgency against the terrorists as both sides understand they will die for their cause.

From start to finish, General (Retired) Tata provides an action-packed twisting thriller that grips the audience throughout though the argument of deliberate action on the part of terrorists to suck the Americans into Iraq seems a conspiratorial stretch; a more logical premise is the stupidity of the superiority of the neo Ugly American. The part that feels plausible is the cautionary mantra to trust no one as mass murder on a scale that makes the Twin Towers look like a drive-by will frighten the reader because it seems so possible. Fans will relish this exhilarating military-political thriller as General Tata makes the Pogo case that the enemy is us.

The Selkie Bride
Melanie Jackson
Love Spell
9780505528346 $7.99

In 1923 recently widowed Megan Colbin believes that in death her late abusive husband did one good deed for her unlike what he did to her in life; he left her a cottage near allegedly cursed Findloss, Scotland. A storm buried the coastal village under tons of sand only fifty years later, Findloss resurfaced with all its buildings int act, but not a soul or human remains anywhere.

Lachlan arrives from seemingly the sea and introduces himself to Megan. He explains he is a Selkie warrior who is on a mission to prevent a nasty peer from causing havoc on land and at sea; and he is also seeking the human female whose heart has called him. As the widow and the Selkie investigate, they learn Megan's husband and his family were implicated in a wizard's evil that needs to be destroyed before more innocent people under the sea and on the coast die.

The Selkie Bride is a fascinating historical romantic fantasy with a delightful lead couple who holds the plot together. However, it is the evil villain who steals the show in this exciting early twentieth century paranormal thriller.

A Tale Of Two Demon Slayers
Angie Fox
Love Spell
9780505528278 $7.99

She may have been The Accidental Demon Slayer, but in spite of her lack of experience, Lizzie Brown proved that a preschool teacher can kick butt. However, she also knows she needs training if she is to continue to battle demons. Thankfully, her biker grandma and the coven agree to teach Lizzie all she needs to know about demons and other supernatural species in Greece where Lizzie's griffin lover Dimitri lives.

Dimitri owes Lizzie for breaking the curse that would have killed his sisters (see the Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers). Whereas his grateful siblings welcome the American, his former fiance Amara, hates her. However, her biggest problems are her dog has bonded with a dragon (try bringing that through Customs) and someone stole a piece of her magic, which means they might be able to manipulate her at a time when evil is spreading and except for Grandma and the gang Lizzie has lost confidence.

The latest dizzy Lizzie's urban fantasy thriller combines humor with supernatural suspense in an enjoyable tale. The story line is faster than grandma can ride her Harley and never decelerates even for a kiss. Sub-genre fan will enjoy Lizzie's Greek vacation as she confronts the most dangerous enemy of all, another Lizzie.

False Mermaid
Erin Hart
9781416563761 $26.00

Three years ago Triona Hallet was murdered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The police never solved the homicide. Now Triona's sister, forensic archaeologist Dr. Nora Galvin comes home after spending two years in Ireland working cases (see Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows) and loving Cormac Maguire, who is in Donegal spending time with his father who deserted the family when he was a child.

Nora is positive that her brother-in-law Peter killed his wife by smashing her face in before stuffing her in her car trunk. Neither her parents nor the local cops believe sly slick Peter would kill his wife as everyone insists he loved her. Nora's former lover and police detective is the only who believes her, but has no evidence linking Peter to Triona's murder. While Cormac investigates a reported half Selkie human, Nora finds the corpse of who appears to be a missing female member of the Twin Cities Rowing Club in a shallow grave. The case is eerily similar to that of Triona as both had the seeds of the false mermaid plant. Nora thinks if her former lover connects the second woman to Peter she has the chance to reopen the closed case; but she fears time is running out as Peter is remarrying.

Although mostly in Minnesota, this terrific cross Atlantic investigative tale is a fast-paced must read for fans due to predominantly Nora, but also Cormac. Redemption and vengeance are the twin engines that propel the action in the States as Nora is on a vendetta that turns to desperation to protect a mother and daughter from the man she believes is a killer. Readers will enjoy False Mermaid as Erin Hart is at the top of her game with this homecoming.

Her Mother's Hope
Francine Rivers
9781414318639 $24.99

In 1901 Marta Schneider leaves her family behind in Steffisburg, Switzerland as she refuses to tolerate her Papa's abuse towards her frail Mama, older brother, younger sister and her. Instead she plans to make it as an independent woman. She travels to Europe and crosses the ocean to Canada. Eventually she purchases a boardinghouse. She meets kind hearted German engineer Niclas Waltert.

The pair marries, crosses the Atlantic and works hard together while raising in a nice California lifestyle their three children. However, Marta thinks their oldest offspring Hildemara Rose is more like her cowardly maternal grandmother than her. Still she is surprised when Hildemara insists she wants to serve as a nurse during WWII because Mama knows her oldest child never displays her independence; Hildemara wants to gain the respect of her idol, her courageous Mama Marta.

This is an interesting family drama that focuses on a Mama and her oldest daughter in the first half of the twentieth century. The two women are filly developed while Niclas and the other two children serve as solid support players enhancing the understating of Marta and Hildemara. Although too many of the major events of the decades are highlighted so at times overwhelm the cast, fans will enjoy this fine epic as courage comes in many differing ways.

Beaded Hope
Cathy Liggett
9781414332123 $12.99

In Columbus Ohio, Gabrielle "Gabby" Philips, Heidi Martin, and Cassandra Albright have family issues that they must cope with. Still the trio and Heidi's daughter seventeen year old Katie are going on a missionary trip to help people in Mamelodi, South Africa. Complicating the trip at least for mother and daughter is Katie is pregnant.

In Mamelodi the quartet meet women suffering from AIDS. Their future is short, painful, and grim. Yet each one is upbeat and filled with faith while not wanting any help from the Americans. As the four Buckeyes admire their hosts, they want to do something for them without insulting these proud women who make them realize how minor their issues back home are. They may have found a way to help without stomping on pride with the incredible community beadwork, a skill handed down from one generation to the next.

Beaded Hope is a terrific inspirational tale as the visitors learn so much about what is truly giving and living once they stop being the know it all Ugly Americans. The plot also focuses on the African AIDS epidemic. Although issues' solutions are too simplified, fans will still cherish this fine tale as Nomvula and Tumi steal the hearts of Gabby and the readers.

Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant
9781439137765 $14.99

Two decades ago, Avery Lyons left her family and New York after a nasty argument. However, with the death of her mom in a horrible accident, Avery comes home to close her mom's estate. Her friend Alicia tries to be there for her.

Dwight Dixon has ownership as CEO of the family properties. He has moved them to Harlem where he built Dixon Plaza on Central Park North. However, his dream is beset by major construction problems, delays and costs. Avery's arrival reveals family secrets that their two families shared, which further devastate Dixon's empire.

Although there are some stereotyping especially among several key support players, the prime cast makes for a terrific urban family drama as secrets explode into the open threatening everyone. Dwight is terrific as an ambitious, successful and astute businessman wanting to bring something to the Harlem community though his aspirations have run into problems. Avery is ironically much more complex as she carries family baggage with her. Fans will appreciate this strong look at Central Park North due to a deep story line that makes the case solutions to problems whether they are family, community or borough not easy when people fail to find common ground.

I'm Still Standing
Shoshana Johnson with M. L. Doyle
9781416567486 $23.99

In 2003 in An Nasiriyah, Iraq, six soldiers (including Jessica Lynch who became the prime celebrity of the incident) assigned to the 507th Maintenance Company were captured by the enemy during an ambush. One of those taken in the firefight was unit cook Shoshana Johnson, who became the first ever African-American female POW. After three plus weeks as a prisoner, moving from place to place, the marines rescued her and the others (except Lynch previously rescued).

The key to this memoir is how profound Johnson describes her ordeal during captivity and even more so as a sudden celebrity of sorts. She makes the case that her abductees were kind giving her medical aid to her ankles hit by bullets and fed and clothed her. Yet throughout she lived in fear as a Black woman POW in a country in which gender and race matter. After being freed, her fame left others angry and resentful so she left the military. With a strong conviction, Ms. Johnson and M.L. Doyle tear into her accusers that she and the others deserved being prisoners and were no heroes as they simply made a wrong turn. Well written with the predominance of the memoir being her POW 22 days and her PTSD that still haunts her since becoming free; fans of military chronicles will want to read I'm Still Standing.

Omid's Shadow
Hitchkass Hamekass
MM Books
PO Box 665, Watertown, CT 06795
9780984156726 $18.00

In 1978, teenager Omid Mottahedeh and her three best friends distribute anti Shah Literature at school. The Savak catch one of them in the act and take her away. Her mom, University of Tehran Professor Azar Parham, knows her daughter is in trouble so over the objection of Omid arranges for her to live with her father Habib, his wife Carol and their twin sons in Wolcott, Connecticut. Shortly after that Ayatollah Khomeini overthrows the Shah to the elation of Omid who expects freedom and the despair of Habib who expects religious tyranny. As her mother vanishes, Omid knows her father is proven right by deadly events in Iraq.

In 2009 in Litchfield, Connecticut, Omid understands why her mom sent her away as she worries about her two daughters Hannah and Sayeh; more so the latter who is studying in Cairo. Unbeknownst to Omid or her spouse John, Sayeh has traveled to Tehran as the election for president occurs.

This is a super profound look at Iran through a sandwich generation expatriate whose mother dies for freedom in 1978 and three decades later her daughter is caught up with the cries for freedom. Readers will be spellbound with Omid's struggles as she knows first hand the cost in blood for human rights. Hichkass Hamekass is a pseudonym that represents every mother, sister , and daughter who fight for their family yet also mindful of Ayatollah Khomeini declaring a fatwa on Salmon Rushdie. Although obviously with a human rights political agenda, fans will fully appreciate this strong family drama as Omid knows grief with what happened to her mom and their cause, and fears history is repeating itself.

Time Meddlers: Undercover
Deborah Jackson
Lachesis Publishing
9781897562437 $14.95

In Ottawa, thirteen year old Matt Barnes and his best friend Sarah Sachs sneak into his home hoping to find clues to where his father is. They know he is caught back in time in the multiverse. They remain alert knowing his former caretaker and lab assistant Nadine is on the run. When Nadine breaks into the house, they observe her opening a hidden safe. After she leaves, they find microfilm inside the safe. Her father tells the two kids that the library has a reader. There they see highlights from WW II in Amsterdam.

After doing some research Matt recognizes the name of a Dutch undercover Special Operations Executive (SOE) operative Johanna "Celery" Van Duizen. They disobey her dad and reenter his father's lab only Nadine follows them. They push her into the time portal in which lands her in 1942 in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. The pair follows in terms of time, but switch location to England only to run into trouble with an elite British Royal Air Force unit who ignores their warning that the SOE has a deadly fate awaiting them.

This is a great time travel thriller with a super surprising final twist. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as Matt is obsessed with rescuing his dad lost in time and Nadine having his back end up in WW II England and Amsterdam at a key point in which the Dutch resistance is in trouble. Deborah Jackson interweaves the Dutch resistance to the German occupation especially hiding Jews like Anne Frank and her family and other targeted people from the Nazis as a key element in the strong plot. Middle school readers and anyone who read or saw the movie The Diary of Anne Frank (except Holocaust deniers) will enjoy this fine sequel to the Time Meddlers as courage is an equal opportunity trait that ignores religion, ethnic origin, age and gender.

You Can't Stop Me
Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens
9780786021345 $6.99

Field agent and criminologist for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, John Christian Harrow is at the Iowa State Fair helping protect the president of the United States. He sees a suspicious looking male with a hand in his pocket and reacts instantly. He becomes a hero for preventing an assassination of the President. However, he comes home to find his wife and son murdered; blood everywhere.

Six years later Harrow works for UBC's reality show Crime Seen! that has led to the capture of more than a dozen dangerous felons. An ambitious P.A. sees on the internet a crime where the victim's finger was cut off (Harrow's wife had her ring removed) a grain of corn grass found in the Heartland, but the crime took place in Florida.

Harrow gathers a team to track down a killer who is waiting to tell his story and killing will get the attention he wants from the cops and the media. He is killing certain targets and the TV coverage is being used by The Messenger who wants Harrow and the public to find him. Harrow wants this violent guy who has killed wives and children all over the country because his M.O. is identical to what happened to his loved ones and other families..

This is a terrific cat and mouse thriller in which readers anticipate the High Noon showdown even if the plot has been used numerous times before though reality TV refreshes it as ratings supersede justice. Whereas UBC counts viewers, Harrow and his team want to prevent more homicides by bringing the message of justice to the killer. Filled with shockers and twists throughout, fans will enjoy this fast-paced tale with the biggest stunner being pity for the psychopath.

Whisper of the Seventh Thunder
Larry Brooks
Sons of Liberty'
9780982403532 $17.00

Over two thousand years ago on the Island of Patmos where John the Divine was exiled, the Angel of the Seven Thunders showed him visions that he was unable to write down. In the present, Gabriel Stone stood in the cave where John saw the angelic vision and he knows what the Jesus disciple saw. In that cave, he meets his wife and upon her death, Gabriel writes down the vision.

Writing the book in nine weeks, Gabriel feels as if someone putting the words in his brain. He takes his book to an agent who sells it to a publisher, but before it can be published, the agent and the publisher are dead. Two groups who do not want his book released because they believe the theme is not for public consumption; they go after Gabriel. In Israel, a supercomputer with cryptology software breaks down the vision, which involves people and events leading to the ri se of the Antichrist. Gabriel's name is on the list of key players, but regardless of God's master plan and his role or any sect's religious dogma, his goal is to prevent the slaughter of the innocent.

This is a fascinating enthralling apocalyptic thriller that deftly blends Brown, Clancy and LaHaye-Jenkins. The hero is a courageous person mindful of Moses in his belief that a nonentity like him who rested from his first day on earth until he entered the cave could not be a key player in the Lord's plan, but like the Exodus leader does his best to do the mission and overcome his doubts. However, it is the fundamentalist Brethren group who grip the reader as these devout believers need the Antichrist to take his throne as they insist that is God's plan and if millions die in support of their belief; so be it as long as the end of days begins.

Two Redheads & a Dead Blonde
Lloyd L. Corricelli
Sons of Liberty Publishing
9780982403518 $15.99

Thirty-six years old Ronan Marino prevents three dumb arsonists from burning down a synagogue in Lowell, Massachusetts. While doing h is good deed, he reflects on what made him become a private sleuth. He had been in the military for fourteen years when he won the biggest payout ever in the California lottery. He quit the military and stayed in California, but never fit in t he dishonest lifestyle so he came home.

He met Karen Pommer who worked at a bar where he sang with a band. They became lovers. One night he took her home after he beat up some guy who played football without a helmet for harassing her. They made love in the car. The next day Lowell Police Detectives Markey and Garcia take him in for questioning. Karen was found floating down the Merrimack; her car contained a needle making it look like drugs were involved. Encouraged by his police chief brother Mark and his mentor police lieutenant Gary Shea, Ronan investigates what he believed was murder but the cops think was a horrible accident caused by drugs.

Two Redheads & a Dead Blonde is a terrific private investigative noir with Spiderman overtones though Ronan is about two decades older and his only bite was his beloved's death. His humorous discussions with Mark, other cops, arsons, mobsters and barmaids make for a fun time as the hero investigates his girlfriend's murder his style. If only he had a Bat-cave to hang out in early retirement; a cape and tights might be too much. Fans of kick butt private investigators will want to read this exciting Massachusetts whodunit sprinkled with the history of America's first industrial town Lowell.

Wind Warrior
Constance O'Banyon
9780843963014 $7.99

In 1859 in the Montana Wilderness, Blackfoot warriors led by Dull Knife capture thirteen year old Marianna Bryant. Dull Knife's brother recently renamed Wind Warrior after being called He-Who-Waits is attracted to the captive called Rain Song especially her courage and her adaptation to the tribal lifestyle. He knows she is his future mate, but is careful as his people know he is ordained to one day become their leader.

Envious with ire Dull Knife hates his sibling who he feels has not earned the adulation of the Council and the rest of the tribe; nor proven he can lead as prophesized because he believes Wind Warrior is too compassionately weak to kill their enemies. When Dull Knife claims Rain Song as his squaw, the sibling rivalry ignites to the point they endanger the tribe.

This is an exciting Indian romance starring a brave heroine and the two brothers who compete over everything including her. The story line is fast-paced yet provides a deep look at life in a Montana Blackfoot village. Fans will enjoy this engaging historical romantic triangle as Constance O'Banyon brings alive her villagers during the Civil War.

Pride Mates
Jennifer Ashley
9780843960051 $7.99

In Shifterstown in the Austin area, human attorney Kim Fraser is defending shifter Brian Smith from the charge of murdering his human girlfriend. Brian is the first shifter she ever met though their existence has been known for two decades. Like mots humans, she assumed shifters were beasts who needed collars to keep them from going berserk. In spite of her fears of shifters being violent bogey-beasts, she believes her client is innocent; so she comes to Shifterstown to obtai n the help of the go to shifters the Morrisey brood; father Dylan and brothers Liam and Sean.

Liam informs Kim that Brian never came to him so why should he help him. Kim explains she got the short straw as the junior lawyer, but believes Brian is innocent because the collar prevents violent crime. She also says the prosecution, cops, and judge have not played fair and her client has given up, but she has not. Although he has doubts about getting involved because of his attraction to the brave lawyer who came alone, Liam is forced to intervene when a shifter without a collar threatens Kim's life.

The key to the first Shifters Unbound romantic urban fantasy is the belief that the world of Jennifer Ashley exists; especially the racism with parallels to America as humans even those who never met a shifter believe they are deadly animals needing control. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the feisty lawyer challenges the powerful shifter and never slows down as love and the law clash in what is a terrific tale of people's rights and dignities.

A Midwife Crisis
Lisa Cooke
9780843963625 $6.99

In 1898 Wayne County, Virginia, midwife Katie Napier has a major crisis to face. Her family has decided she must be married so they have selected three viable candidates who they feel will make a proper husband. Katie feels like she suffers from battle fatigue disorder syndrome when she realizes three men claim to be her fiance.

Dr. John Keffer left the big city and tragedy to start anew in Appalachia. Katie asks John how to gently tell the three males no and more important prevent her matchmaking family from sending three new recruits. However John has a different remedy to solving Katie's problems than she expects: marry him instead.

This is an entertaining Americana romance starring a wonderful cast of eccentric characters. The lead couple is a nice pairing, but it is her family who steal the show as Katie and the audience knows from the onset when the brood sets its mind on something it gets done. With humor, Lisa Cooke bakes a fun lighthearted historical romp as the doctor makes a house call to help the midwife with her crisis.

Black Magic Sanction
Kim Harrison
9780061138034 $25.99

Having defeated various paranormal criminals and resolved the Kisten case, detective Rachel Morgan finds out she has been betrayed to a white magic coven who shun her for using black magic as a witch-born demon whose offspring will be demons. Stunned by the declaration and the sentencing, the coven offers her a choice of solitary incarceration at Alcatraz or sterilization.

Drug kingpin Trent Kalamack the elf offers Rachel a deal that would get the coven to back off of her but the cost is high. Her former boyfriend Nick Sparagmos arrives to make her situation worse as only he can while she wonders what game he is playing this time. Only her demon teacher Al seems to be on her side, but Rachel trusts no one as she realizes the coven that she has paid annual dues to for years can be bought and sold regardless of the buffoon announcements of the coven's Oliver to the contrary.

There is a lot going on in the Hollows as Kim Harrison shows her bewitching skills with a strong entry that follows up fresh and nice after all that occurred in the super The Outlaw Demon Wails and White Witch, Black Curse. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Rachel learns of the shunning sentencing and never slows down as she battles her "allies" who prove corrupt. As she and readers learn more about the coven and its history, fans will regale in the heroine's latest urban fantasy as the escapades keep coming at Rachel.

Werewolf Smackdown
Mario Acevedo
9780061567186 $14.99

Denver private investigator Felix Gomez is a Latino vampire who works for the Araneum a vampire group that polices its own. He is an enforcer who goes after rogue vampires who break their laws; especially the ones who threaten to expose the Great Secret that supernatural species exist.

In Charleston, clan alpha Eric Bourbon wants to hire Felix to kill his rival Randolph Colburn for control of the Lowcountry Territory. Bourbon explains his predecessor died in a plane crash ordered by Colburn. Before he can act, Felix is abducted by Colburn who tells his side of the story. Regardless, Felix knows a civil war is coming that will impact all supernatural species even the neutrals.

Felix meets to prevent the hostilities from igniting because if they do then the humans will know that they exist. Vampires try to kill Felix who believes his enemy Julius Paxton has surfaced to take advantage of the pending disaster. Julius wants to reveal the Great Secret in order to work with mortals to form a great society even though humans will be below on the food chain.. As Paxton's minions attack Felix and cause other problems, Paxton remains in hiding causing incidents that will lead to a werewolf civil war and Felix's death. The sleuth has to risk his life in order to stop a nasty war from occurring.

The latest Felix Gomez's serio-comedic urban fantasy noir (see Jailbait Zombie, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, The Nymphos Of Rocky Flats and The Undead Kama Sutra) is as zany as his previous Noir thrillers, but is the best yet. Readers obtain a profound in depth look at werewolf society especially the alpha leadership. Ironically, Felix obtains more allies amongst the were and more enemies amidst his own kind as the tongue in cheek hero risks his undead life for his convictions.

Raven's Ladder
Jeffrey Overstreet
9781400074679 $13.99

When he was a prince Cal-raven freed Auralia's Colors only to find their "house" collapsed killing his father. Still believing that the Keeper sent Auralia to them for a reason, he led his people to safety inside a stone labyrinth after overcoming the beastmen (see Cyndere's Midnight). However their refuge proves unsafe when something from underground is trying to drill through the stones. The people of Abascar flee again while their ruler King Cal-raven foretells the rebuilding of a New Abascar.

However, King Cal-raven is distracted by the Seers of the House Bel Amica. He fails to protect his people who have plans for the wanderers and having learned of Auralia's Colors from those they have trapped with their charms, they weave this into their lies. Only Cyndere as daughter of Bel Amica's widow Queen Thesera abetted by Jordam the House of Cent Regus beastman; and "Rescue" the mysterious ale boy can save the weary wanderers. However they must overcome the brutal cursed Cent Regus beastmen, the sneaky Seers advisors to the queen of Bel Amica and the wavering monarch Cal-raven having lost his faith in the colors and his vision.

The third colorful Abascar religious fantasy is a terrific entry with a powerful message of keep the faith at all times especially when you feel abandoned. The story line is fast-paced but character driven as Cyndere continues to believe even more so while Cal-raven is losing his beliefs. Although filled with action throughout, it is the King's questioning what the Keeper wants for the House of Abascar that he helped to collapse that makes this a strong inspirational fantasy.

The Prodigal Wife
Marcia Willet
9780312605308 $25.99

Renowned TV gardening show host Jolyon accompanied by his beloved girlfriend Henrietta returns to the family estate the Keep that has been owned and occupied by Chadwicks for several generations, to celebrate a birthday with family. However, he is unaware that his mother, whom has not seen in about fifteen years, has come to the Keep to spend quality time with him. Jo's father Henry and his stepmother Fliss worry how he will react to seeing the woman who abandoned him.

Maria feels alone since her spouse Adam died. She wants to make amends with her son as spending Christmas alone for the first time weighs heavy on her. Although Hal is receptive and Fliss kind, Jo refuses to believe his mother wants to end their estrangement; instead he assumes Maria wants a piece of his fame. Hal feels guilty for his role in the break-up as he never emotionally moved beyond his Fliss even after he was married to Maria and Henrietta struggles with the end of her parents' marriage. Although constantly rejected by her son, Maria refuses to quit trying as she knows she failed Jo.

The latest Chadwick Family Chronicle (see Looking Forward, Holding On and Winning Through) is an engaging entry that focuses on Jo and Maria as the latter tries to atone for the hurt she caused to the former. The story line is character driven as the Chadwick family look back to events already showcased in the previous entries, but with new perspective especially at Maria who came across as an uncaring rat whenever mentioned in the earlier tales. Although the Christmas Tree end ing provides some closure, it feels more of a set up for book five rather than a clean climax. Still fans of the saga will relish this fine entry.

In the Closet, Under the Bed
Lee Thomas
9780981863214 $16.00

This super collection contains nine new stories and six previously published in the past decades. Each tale explores the mobsters In the Closet, Under the bed that people prefer remain hidden from family and friends especially sexuality. That hiding one's inner desires inside the closet or under the bed hits home immediately with the first tale "All the Faces Change" when Tim learns life is a fairy tale with no happy ending unless you let your loved ones share all of you even when you are ashamed or fearful of revealing all to them; failure to do so means dying alone. This theme particularly with homosexual implications is key to these powerful psychological horror tales; for instance, the well written "Healer" and the exciting sexual asphyxiation tale "Dislocation". "Shelter" takes the spin into the erotic fantasy realm while "The Good and Gone" enters the erotic science fiction arena. Even the internet has closed closet doors. Readers will enjoy Lee Thomas' powerful compilation as the message throughout is simply to avoid the boogeyman In the Closet, Under the bed by coming out of them with your loved ones at your side; as you and they deserve the best of all of you if they truly are those who love you unrequitedly.

Secrets of Eden
Chris Bohjalian
Shaye Areheart (Crown)
9780307394972 $25.00

In Haverill at the Vermont Baptist Church, Reverend Stephen Drew baptizes Alice Hayward. Afterward, Alice goes home only her spouse George in one of his rages strangles her to death before shooting himself. The murder-suicide stuns the townsfolk, but not as much as the Reverend who was having an affair with the late wife and the deceased couple's fifteen year old daughter Katie. Stephen leaves town, but Vermont Deputy State Attorney Catherine Benincasa has doubts about what occurred and suspects the Reverend got away with murder.

Distraught Stephen meets author Heather Laurent whose parents died tragically like that of Katie when she was fourteen. She wants to help him and Katie adjust as she knows at least the teen will never obtain a closure. However, she, like Catherine, begins to wonder if her new lover Stephen killed the couple or just the husband. She leaves him to help the surviving Hayward.

Told in the first person in four parts, fans will be hooked throughout. Stephen importunes incredible levels of sympathy from readers who feel his pain in Part I, but that is peeled away in Part II by Catherine (the weakest section) and Part III by Heather until everyone converges with a great finish in Part IV when Katie tells her side of the story. Secrets of Eden is a tremendous character driven conundrum that looks deep at the battered spouse syndrome and its impact on an offspring and to a lesser degree the community that prefers silence from the lambs.

The Godfather of Kathmandu
John Burdett
9780307263193 $25.95

In Bangkok Colonel Vikorn assigns his willing subordinate Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep to protect his illegal kickbacks and recent major drug purchase from Nepal from his allegedly as avaricious boss General Zinna. However, as they work the counter attacks to bring down the vicious General, a nasty homicide occurs that forces the Buddhist sleuth to investigate.

Someone killed Hollywood director Frank Charles who regularly visited Thailand to enjoy sexual pleasures. The victim was sliced and diced and apparently his brains dined a la The Silence of the Lambs. At the same time he struggles with making progress in the investigation that has global interest, Sonchai has issues with wife who has left him to become a nun since their offspring died, the actress Tara of Tantric fame, and the amazing criminal Dr. Moi. All that aside, it is being Vikorn's consigliore to the man's Godfather that has him mentally counting cash. His enlightened Tibetan guru Doctor Norbu Tietsin insists the Godfather loot is irrelevant when the Tibetan invasion of China one thought at a time is almost as crucial as selling his stash of heroin.

This is an insane Thailand police procedural that feels like Elmore Leonard gave guidance to John Burdett. Unlike the previous Bangkok cases starring the felonious cop Sonchai (see Bangkok Haunts, Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo); the star's personal life overwhelms the investigation. Still this is a very enjoyable tale as Sonchai knows he made on major error in judgment when he gave his superior the Godfather DVDs.

Safe from the Neighbors
Steve Yarbrough
9780307271709 $25.95

In Loring, Mississippi Luke May teaches history at the local high school. His marriage is on the rocks as he and his wife college Freshman English Professor and poet Jennifer share no interests especially since their daughters now attends the U of Mississippi.

Maggie Sorrentino comes home to Loring to teach French. She left town after her father killed her mother in what was officially ruled self defense. The killing occurred the night before James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi; that same evening Maggie's father and Luke's dad were part of the White Citizens Council that drove to Oxford to p revent Meredith from attending class. Luke and Maggie begin an affair and he tries to uncover what happened on that fatal night over four decades ago.

The key to this strong look at the impact of historical racism and the Civil Rights movement on subsequent generations is that Steve Yarbrough does not condemn anyone; even those who spurred by hatred tried to prevent Meredith from attending the U of Mississippi. Instead he presents his cast in 1962 and forty years later as people with faults and flaws. Readers will enjoy the amateur historian's efforts to learn the truth from a silent generation in which even his father who was there refuses to say anything while those he teaches looks at the Meredith event as ancient history.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
Alan Bradley
9780385342315 $24.00

In 1950 in Bishop's Lacy, England, eleven year old (well almost eleven but at her age who quibbles except her siblings) Flavia de Luce assumes her sleuthing career after solving the Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is over. Still she figures there is no harm in expanding her knowledge of poisoning through her experiments; she understands she just has to hide her endeavor from her nosy big sisters Ophelia and Daphne.

However, while musing in dream land over her death funeral, she hears weeping. Awakened by the sounds of crying, Flavia meets Mother Goose who is actually Nialla the actress playing the part n Rupert Porson's puppet show, but their vehicle has broken down while on tour. Vicar Canon Richardson offers them lodging at Inglebys's Culverhouse Farm while their van is repaired. Thankful for the kindness Rupert offers to repay them by putting on a puppet production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" at St. Tancred's parish. Jack the puppet looks eerily like Robin Inglebys who died five years ago in what the police called a misadventure. Now it is Rupert who dies in another misadventure. Inspector Hewitt lets his tweener amateur sleuth make her inquiries as Flavia solved his previous homicide for him.

The eccentric cast especially her obsessed philatelist father, her two sisters, the inspector, and Rupert's assistant enhance a great whodunit in which Flavia is the weirdest of them all especially in her lab as she holds the story line together. For instance her doctoring her sister's chocolate is a timeless prank that will have readers laughing and wondering if Ophelia and Daphne are correct about her heritage. The investigation is clever and fun to follow, but it is the escapades of refreshing fabulous Flavia who makes The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag into an enjoyable historical whodunit.

The Endless Forest
Sara Donati
9780553805260 $27.00

In 1824 the Sacandaga River overflows its banks flooding what had been Paradise, New York. The devastation is everywhere with no family immune from what is described as the hundred year flood. However, after the storm comes calm as people go about the business of surviving, caring for one another and hopefully rebuilding.

Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner are sad about the destruction but euphoric that their thirty years old daughter Lily accompanied by her husband Simon has come home from Italy. Also adding to their elation is their adopted daughter Martha is back in town too. However, following Martha to Paradise is her biological mother Jemima, who abandoned her daughter over a decade ago. A cruel woman, she apparently caused the end of her daughter's engagement to Peyton. Lily's twin brother Daniel offers to marry Martha, but though she no longer sees him as a sibling but much more she does not want a pity marriage. He does not either as he sees her as a wife not a sister. Neither does his brother Ethan who proposes to family friend Callie.

The final Bonner family historical saga is an interesting tale that provides readers with a glimpse of Upstate New York around the time James Fennimore Cooper was writing the Leatherstocking classics. The story line ties up major loose ends, but the key cast next generation pale next to the villainess who steals the show from the Bonner brood who seem two dimensional in comparison. Still fans will enjoy The Endless Forest.

Alice I Have Been
Melanie Benjamin
9780385344135 $25.00

Octogenarian Alice Liddell Hargreaves leaves England on tour to receive honor from adulating American audiences. She finds the Americans nice though stunned that Alice of Wonderland is eighty and not eight. All were kind though disappointed with her age anyway except for some lad who offered her an oddity, chewing gum that one does not swallow, but just chews as if it came from Wonderland.

Alice muses on her life as a little girl when their neighbor Oxford Professor Charles Dodgson tells her and her sisters Ina and Edith stories in which she was the star. Over time after a dismal encounter with her hero Professor Dodgson falls in love with Prince Leopold, but she frets that he will reject her once he hears of her alleged indiscretions with the adult storyteller when she was a child. Years pass with the Great War intruding on Alice watching her three sons go off to fight and knowing most likely not all three will come home, but she is still remembered as That Alice.

This intriguing autobiographical fiction takes a deep look at the life of That Alice mostly through her eyes during three prime periods in her life. First and most influential (and almost half the novel) is as the preadolescent meetings with the stuttering Dodgson who makes her famous as That Alice. The other two periods are the royal romance and the WWI era. The gaps are filled with her looking back at events like her marriage to Hargreaves in 1880. However, throughout being Alice of Wonderland impacts her life as her highlight film occurs when she is a tweener in the late 1850s in Oxford. Fans will enjoy this tale that avoids the modern day moral posturing of concluding Dodgson was a pedophile though he still comes across as creepy weird.

The Road to Devotion
Cameron Kent
Press 53
9780982576021 $19.95

Two decades earlier, her mother died and now in 1860, thirty-four year old spinster Sarah Talton is burying her father, but cannot cry for him as she inherited or perhaps nurtured by him his iron determination to show no emotion. As the North Carolina dirt is paced on the coffin, she knows she must remain resolute for the sake of her twenty years old sister Rebecca who is hysterical but gets comfort from Dickens not Deuteronomy.

Near Winston, Sarah now runs the family farm and the slaves who work on it. To succeed as a farmer, Sarah must be even tougher than her hardened late dad as Civil War seems imminent, but still has to sell some acres and slaves. Landowner Braxton Smithwick covets Sarah, but when she meets Monsieur LeGare she finds herself in love though he does not speak anglais. When a bounty hunter dumps a battered runaway slave on Sarah, she takes the person in to heal them. Between these two people, Sarah begins to wonder about the truism of the lessons her father taught her re black skinned ignorant and the white man's burden, which has been accentuated by neighbors she has known all her life who with hostility breaking out demand total obedience to the cause of the Confederacy.

This is a super historical that showcases the importance of constantly questioning one's values as new experiences happen. The story line is fast-paced but driven by the powerful characters especially the siblings, their late dad, Braxton, LeGare and significantly Jacquerie the slave. Fans will relish this strong Civil War drama as the thirtyish Sarah learns the Road to Devotion is lined with "hope, grace, love and faith".

The Serialist
David Gordon
Simon & Schuster
9781439158487 $15.00

Harry Bloch is an author who works in many genres, but each book he writes has in common one thing: none were published under his real name. His first gig was writing porn for Raunchy magazine. While at a back cover photo shoot, he receives a letter from death row inmate Darien Clay, who offers to tell Harry a true story of his life if he visits him in Sing Sing.

Darien explains further that he will talk to Harry if the writer will interview his groupies and writes a story about them with the convict as the star and each woman having a chapter. Harry interviews three women, but after leaving the third female, he goes back to her place only to find her cut to pieces with her hand missing; just the way Darien described how he tortured and killed his victims. Harry calls the police who inform him the first women were killed in the same gruesome way. The cops believe Harry killed the three victims until he is shot at and almost killed. As the police look for new suspects, Harry also seeks the culprit before more of Darien's darlings turn up dead.

Told by Harry in the first person, The Serialist is an exciting but grim dark thriller that reads somewhat like an action-packed pulp tale. The protagonist is an average person except for his writing skill who finds himself in an extraordinary situation that requires him to rise to the occasion to extract himself from a deadly horrific mess. Even he is unsure he can do it, but like many a hero before him, Harry knows he must overcome his fears and shortcomings to face the enemy who is taking a page out of Darien's book.

Robert Harris
Simon & Schuster
9780743266109 $26.00

The stage is filled with competitors who know no ethics; the likes of Pompey and that upstart Caesar to name a few. However, as slick as his opponents are, in 63 B.C., Marcus Cicero is chosen as the Consul of Rome though not a good time to take over as ruler with all the unrest further enflamed by his opponents and even his allies.

Two days before the oath of office, a young male slave is brutally murdered with his organs removed in what appears to have been a human sacrificial ritual. Fear spreads through the city and Cicero knows even before he takes over he has issues. As the Empire grows, Cicero concludes the biggest threat to the fall of the Roman Empire is from within by the avaricious seeking personal power. He proves to be right when he is fortunate to prevent an assassination that would turn the Republic into a dictatorship, but his strongest rival Caesar survives the defeated conspiracy proving to Cicero this is his biggest threat.

As told once again by slave secretary Tiro (see Imperum), Conspirata is a superb complex Ancient Rome political thriller with ramifications to modern day America. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action that brings to life Ancient Rome in the first century BC, a place filled with riots, civil unrest, and corruption (could easily be DC). Fans will enjoy this strong saga especially Tiro's side commentary and observations as to why would anyone with a sane mind want this ruler job when you c an read a book or in modern Twitter text watch Rangers' baseball or Bull's basketball.

The Spellmans Strike Again
Lisa Lutz
Simon and Schuster
9781416593409 $25.00

In San Francisco, thirtyish Isabel Spellman knows the family rules rule having broken all of them at one time or another, but now she grooms herself to take over Spellman Investigations from her retiring parents Albert and Olivia. Her older brother David is downsized corporate America lawyer and her other sibling is simply Rae, no description necessary beyond she is seventeen.

Currently, in spite of the DNA, Isabel learns one rule of private sleuthing is tediousness. Accompanied by her friend Len Williams, she investigates the disappearance of Mason Graves (who she hopes does not live up to his surname), valet to wealthy Franklin Winslow and studying (alone) the garbage of Jeremy Pratt's former wife for proof she stole his screenplays. Izzy and her boyfriend bartender Conner O'Sullivan find time when they can. At the latest Eleventh Commandment thou shall attend the Sunday Family Dinner; Rae gives her the stare of Medusa for failing to investigate the case of Levi Schmidt defended by David's defense-attorney girlfriend Maggie Mason at a time when doorknobs and fixtures vanish from the house.

The final Spellman dysfunctional family tale (see Revenge of the Spellmans) is an entertaining entry as the "Recovering delinquent" understands family values (not just insane rules) with the help of friend Inspector Stone and of course octogenarian Morty. The story line is thin, but like the Spellmans zany and all over the place barely held together by the rules that govern plots. However the yes we can (except to felonies; that is most of the time) theme makes for an enjoyable insane finish as dizzy Izzy knows dad at sixty five may retire, but mom will always cross the line when it comes to sleuthing into the lives of her kids.

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers
Thomas Mullen
Random House
9781400067534 $26/00

In 1933 and the first half of 1934, a Great Depression frightened public adore the Firefly brothers though Jason and Whit Fireson are violent bank robbers. The siblings do what many dream of doing but are too afraid when they boldly commit robberies.

However, in August 1934, proud law enforcement authorities announce the end of these vicious felons as the bullet ridden corpses of the Firefly brothers lay in an Indiana morgue. Their girlfriend Darcy Veronica are heartbroken with grief as is their mom and though a straight shooter their brother Weston. However, the cops prove premature with their bloody announcement as Jason and Whit wake up and calmly leave the morgue to begin the further escapes in legends of The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers.

Although how the siblings stay alive through their dangerous capers is never explained, fans will not care as the Firefly Brothers adventures are a timely allegorical historical; desperate people have given up on a pathetic government and turned to antiheroes as champions. Action-packed, this is a terrific parable that uses the war on crime during the Great Depression in comparison with the war on terrorism during the Great Recession. The stark reality of the Great Depression on the lives of ordinary people is enhanced by the fantastic Firefly brothers who symbolize the frustration with government that fails to act (Henry Higgins Effect of Democrats in charge) or unwilling to act (Pygmalion Effect of Republic ans in charge) when the need is obvious, which implies in charge or not Republicans win and people lose so they turn to antiheroes.

Vienna Secrets
Frank Tallis
Random House
9780812980998 $15.00

In 1903 Vienna, having collaborated before (see Vienna Blood) Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt asks his much older friend psychoanalyst Dr. Max Liebermann to take a look at a gruesome corpse found on the grounds of Maria Treue Kirche. Max informs Oskar the victim a pianist monk Brother Stanislav had his head savagely ripped from his body. Before going on to the General Hospital to make his rounds, Max suggests Oskar interview strong men as well as the monks. Under questioning the monks insist Brother Stanislav was a good holy person until finally one breaks ranks and says the victim wrote anti-Semitic articles published in Vaterland.

Meanwhile two city council rivals Burke Faust and Julius Schmidt compete for favors from the mayor. Schmidt begins an anti-Jewish campaign using the homicide as justification. Rebbe Barash and his Kabala followers insist God's wrath descended on the monk which just enflames the city and encourages Schmidt. When Faust has his head torn off, the city reacts with anger and fear as anti-Semitism fever rises exponentially. While struggling with the case whose lone link is odd mud at the murder scenes, Max is in trouble at the hospital over Last Rites and Oskar dreams of dating a feminist.

Once again as in the Liebermann-Reinhardt previous collaborations (see A Death in Vienna and Fatal Lies), the time and place make for a great historical police procedural with the emphasis on the anti-Semitic atmosphere of 1903 Vienna. The murder inquiry is a terrific police procedural that will grip the audience wondering who and why. However, once again what makes Frank Tallis' latest tale and the entire series one of the best on the market is the sense of being in Vienna at the time of Freud.

The Fourth Assassin
Matt Beynon Rees
9781569476192 $24.00

Palestinian detective Omar Yussef arrives in New York City to give a speech at the U.N. on Palestinian refugee camp schools. Omar also looks forward to seeing his youngest son Ala who lives in Brooklyn.

However, instead of a family reunion, the police arrest Ala for murder. Inside his apartment is a decapitated corpse. Omar knows his son would not commit this atrocity and investigates, which leads him to Coney Island and the U.N. building

This is a great series (see The Samaritan's Secret and A Gave in Gaza), but this entry is the best to date as besides a strong whodunit, life for immigrants in a frozen aging Brooklyn neighborhood is made so real that Tancredo will empathize with the newcomers. The story line is fast-paced, but it is the picture of the Palestinian community in the northeast United States who make the tale work as Little Palestine competes with the old country (in spite of the corrupt politicians) and the glitter across the Bay that has captured their young as much as Manhattan has always captured generational Americans. This is a great Yussef mystery due to the personalization of his cast that Matt Beynon Rees brings to his strong plot.

The Unnamed
Joshua Ferris
Little Brown
9780316034012 $24.99

In Manhattan, successful attorney Tim Farnsworth thought he had beaten the Unnamed disease, but on a frozen wintry night he tells his beloved wife Jane that his walking addiction is back. He cannot stop himself from hoofing endlessly until exhausted to the brink of collapse. His second bout with the walking disease seems so much worse than the first trek. Jane tries to help him especially making sure he gets home safe though that proves almost impossible as his marches exponentially grow in time and distance. Their daughter Becka wants to keep as far away from her father whose ambulatory treks embarrass and frighten her.

Jane mentally struggles as the "caretaker" of Tim and Becka, but to avoid a breakdown she turns to alcohol. She finally falls apart when she learns she has cancer. Meanwhile, Tim's marathons get longer and longer with no relief in sight so in spite of his attempts to help his wife and daughter with their issues, he is not there for the two women in his life who desperately need him.

Although Tim's treks can feel a bit repetitive, each walk enables the audience to understand a different aspect of his family dynamics especially his relationships with his wife and daughter and to a lesser degree at the law firm. Fascinating though melancholy sad as seemingly Then We Came to the End of existence is the only path a person can travel. However, since an individual's life is relatively short especially in terms of the age of the cosmos, each step on the journey needs to be lived and relished to the fullest even when everything is so gloomy and dark that death might be a consideration.

Mia the Magnificent
Eileen Boggess
9781890862671 $19.95

Mia Fullerton had been Mia the Meek, but became Mia the Melodramatic when she spent the summer at Little Tykes Theatre where she enjoyed acting on stage. Starting her sophomore year at St. Hilary's, Mia considers whether she wants to try out for a part in the school's production of the Music Man. She would no longer hesitate to go for a minor role, but her former boyfriend Tim, who cheated on her while visiting his grandparents in Maine, is a stage hand and her first boyfriend Jake is in the show.

Making matters more complicated for Mia is her efforts to obtain a driving license as Mr. Corrgian the janitor gives instruction. In her mini student driving lessons group are Jake and Tim. All this excludes her problems with her enemy Cassie and younger brother Chris. Finally her friend from the theatre camp Zoa the Gothic dem ands she be Mia the Independent.

Older elementary school students will enjoy Mia the amusing as she narrates her latest misadventures. In between horrific singing that probably has Meredith Willson cringing in his grave, Mia the Murphy has everything that could go wrong go wrong; yet she remains optimistic and clever while working the battlefields of school, crushes, driving and sibling.

Burning Times
Ron Rash
Ecco (Harper Collins)
9780061804113 $22.99

This superb intense twelve story collection focuses on the people of Appalachia who though impoverished refuse to give up their pride even as they seek a shimmer of happiness. The well written stories are very short with the longest being 30 pages; yet each goes deep baring the darkness of the soul with slight flickers of light that sputter allegorically.

Opening with "Hard Times" in which a Depression Era farmer's wife insists the impoverished neighbors' dog is stealing their eggs; when confronted the patriarch neighbor slices the throat of his canine to prove he was not the thief. Fishing for the felon proves shockingly successful. In sixteen pages, Ron Rash provides a cast of poor people struggling with survival but doing so with pride. That theme is throughout the anthology whether it is the young turning to meth "Back of Beyond" in which a pawn shop owner knows who the addicts are as they are his best customers including his nephew. "The Ascent" focuses on a tweener who makes a family with corpses in a crashed plane he finds. Whether he centers on the Civil War with "Dead Confederates" and "Lincolnites", the Great Depression ("Hard Times") or the present, Mr. Nash provides his readers with a profound look at the people of Appalachia where pride and hard work battle poverty and drugs.

Not Art
Peter Esterhazy
Ecco (HarperCollins)
9780061792960 $14.99

In Budapest, the narrator knows his nonagenarian mom is ill, but still retains her incredible lust for living life to the fullest. He looks back over the decades to his childhood and early adulthood playing soccer. He recalls the Communist abuse towards his family due to their surname and his vivacious mom used soccer for her and her family to overcome the brutality from the State. She befriended the Hungarian players even knowing that at least one member of the team was an informant because that was a way of life under the Communists.

This is an odd well written but difficult to follow drama that reads sort of like a series of vignettes that tie together as a biographical fiction. The narrator looks back on his life and the most influential person in it over the decades, his mom and her life as helped her family survive the brutal regime through her soccer connections. Told in twelve short stories, Not Art is for fans of something totally different as Peter Esterhazy provides a deep look at Hungary under Communist rule and beyond through apparently a glimpse into his family history inside of the bigger soccer field.

The Vision
C. L. Talmadge
Healing Stone Books
9780980053739 $16.95

In Azgard, medical officer Lieutenant Helen Andros has come a long way in spite of her low social rank as an illegitimate half-breed. The country's caste system has little wiggle room for people of her race and background; in fact she is surprised her Turanian mother gave birth to someone with her pedigree.

From the mysterious Mist Weavers, she recently learns why her mom accepted the ostracism of bearing an illegitimate half-breed when she finds out who her father is. He is a very powerful Toltec lord. They also understand the meaning of the green gem she has worn since birth. However, her paternal heritage will not prevent the Supreme Lord of the Temple of Kronos from killing this impure hybrid; the only way Helen can survive is if she learns to use the gem.

This is a superb very complex character driven fantasy that takes a close look at religious and racial persecution. Helen is a terrific heroine whose need to learn more about her heritage puts her on a path in which her outcome will be either death or power. The Toltec State Religion demands purity and nothing else is acceptable; thus the audience receives an intriguing cautionary tale of a theocratic caste society in which DNA and religious obedience rule. Readers will appreciate this strong fantasy in which intolerance supersedes acceptance

Ted Dekker and Erin Healy
Thomas Nelson
9781595544711 $24.99

Salazar Sanso offers a deal to seventeen years old Gypsy Janeal Mikkado who feels like a fish out of water amongst her people as she hates the nomadic lifestyle of moving seasonally between California and New Mexico. He will help sponsor her lifestyle change in return for her stealing back some money her father possesses, which he insists will save her dad's life. She agrees, but the plot fails. Impatient Sanso and his followers attack the kumpania encampment, burning it to the ground killing most of the Gypsies in the inferno.

Janeal, her boyfriend Robert and her best friend Katie survive though they are separated. Fifteen years later they meet with Janeal still haunted by how she acted betraying her father, family, and friends. Now, she has a chance for some atonement though she believes redemption is beyond her grasp.

Readers will enjoy this intriguing allegorical thriller with a fabulous late twist. The story line is character driven as the survivors struggle even fifteen years later with what happened on that gruesome day. Although the Christian parables are at times jammed into the plot too frequently, as they did with Kiss, Ted Dekker and Erin Healy provides an engaging contemporary character driven Christian thriller as surviving the fire does not mean surviving the Burn imprinted in your brain.

Long Time Coming
Robert Goddard
9780385343619 $15.00

In 1976, sixty-eight year old Eldritch Swan arrives at his widow sister-in-law's home in Paignton after over three decades in an Irish prison. His nephew Stephen Swan is also heading to his mom's home having ended an engagement. Stephen is shocked to learn his paternal uncle is alive as he thought Eldritch died in the Nazi Blitz in 1940. He asks his Uncle Eldritch why he was incarnated all these years without anyone aware he still lived; the older man says he cannot tell anyone or he will die in that Irish prison.

In 1940 Eldritch worked as secretary to Antwerp diamond merchant, Isaac Meridor. He insists he is innocent of the traitorous charges that locked him away, but admits he helped Miles Linley steal his employer's Picasso collection and has a chance to make some money from a lawyer whose client insists tycoon Jay Brownlow owns a stolen Picasso collection that Meridor's granddaughter Rachel claims is rightfully hers.

This is a terrific thriller that effortlessly switches back and forth between 1940 and 1976 as what happened to obviously still roguish Uncle Eldritch is slowly answered with more questions arising. The two subplots are well written as Stephen and Rachel try to solve the modern day question of art ownership by deciphering the 1940 mystery with ties to Ireland's position on which side to support during WWII.

Blood of the Demon
Diana Rowland
9780553592368 $7.99

Beaulac, Louisiana police detective Kara Gillian fears for the life of her beloved Aunt Tessa who remains comatose as the cop's othersight showed her a part of her "essence" has vanished. Having once before summoned demon Lord Rhyzkahl (see the Mark of the Demon) and survived the mystical calling, she considers doing it again to ask for his help with her aunt. Rhyzkahl has reasons for wanting the mortal to summon him again.

Kara realizes the suicide of police officer Brian Roth who apparently murdered his wife was caused by the arcane as her oversight sees evidence that something dined on his essence. She vows to learn what committed this atrocity, but her inquiry leads to FBI agent Ryan Kristoff who does not want her to ask Rhyzkahl for help.

The second Gillian police procedural Bayou fantasy is a great thriller that grips the audience the moment the heroine stops at Roth's house to wake him up and never slows down as she works the case of the essence eater. Kara holds the arcane investigation together while her convoluted relationships with the demon and the fed enhance the strong saga in which forensics takes quite a paranormal twist.

Life As I Know It
Melanie Rose
9780385343992 $15.00

Jessica Taylor is walking her dog Frankie when the rain turned ugly with wind, lightning and thunder. She struggles to leave the Downs when a Labrador runs up to them. A man catches up to her and the two canines. He thanks her as his dog got loose and offers her a ride. She feels lightning strike her heart as Jessica falls in love at first sight; only lightning literally strikes her body leaving her dead.

Jessica awakens n a hospital in which everyone calls her Mrs. Lauren Richardson, wife to Grant and mother of four children (Sophie, Nicole, Toby and Teddy). The kids are well behaved, but Jessica feels their sadness as order is their life. She loves each of the children especially brain damaged Teddy and connects with Lauren's sister Karen who she confides in that her memories are that of single in love Jessica Taylor and not that of mother and wife Mrs. Lauren Richardson.

On the surface Life As I Know It is a lighthearted romp that compares and a single career woman with a married mother. However, Melanie Rose's contemporary is actually much deeper with a subtle profundity that stuns the audience even with knowing how the tale will end. The light touch enhances the sobering finish that will have readers understand the real intent is not comparing lifestyles, but instead making a powerful case that being a woman means sacrificing personal desires to make a better life for loved ones.

Night Tides
Alex Prentiss
9780553592979 $7.99

Two decades ago as a child in Madison, Wisconsin, Rachel Matre drowned. She somehow survived and as a result has a special relationship with the nearby lakes that caress her senses. The diner owner also uses her skill to provide the polic e undercover help in solving crimes as the author of the blog "The Lady of the Lake".

However, recently her unique connections with the spirits of the lake are confusing as women vanish and she is unable to provide answers to what is going on since her visions are foggy with the spirits pleading with her to save them. She fears her attraction to Ethan Walker may be interfering with her communication with the lakes. He feels that same regard as she does and wonders if she is the one to help him overcome his issues. Soon after she reveals her secret that she has concealed from everyone for twenty years, Rachel vanishes. Ethan must trust in his loving link to her to find and rescue her and hopefully the other missing women.

This is a fascinating paranormal suspense thriller starring an interesting lead protagonist whose special skill brings a special freshness to the mission of saving the abducted college age females. The story line is fast-paced form the onset while the romantic subplot enhances the amateur sleuth inquiry. Fans will appreciate Night Tides due to the heroine whose connection to the spirits of the lake makes for a unique enjoyable read.

Screen Play
Chris Coppernoll
David C. Cook
9781434764829 $14.99

Thirty something Harper Gray has wanted to make it in theater for years, but her break never occurred. Financially broke and depressed, she becomes excited when she is offered the understudy role to TV superstar Helen Payne in the Broadway revival of Arthur Mouldain's classic play Apartment 19.

At the same time as her career seems to survive, Harper decides to try on-line dating as she has not had a man in her life almost as long as she has not had a part. However, she finds no one in the New York metropolitan area or for that matter the East Coast of any interest. The best prospect is a zillion miles away, but that means choosing between a chance for love and a chance to perform on stage.

This is a warm inspirational romance starring a wonderful lead character, her best friend Avril, other players involved in the play, and Luke. With a first name mindful of author Harper Lee, which may be coincidence but I'd rather believe otherwise; the story line is driven by the heroine who must make monumental life altering decisions one way or another between love and fame. Fans will enjoy Chris Coppernoll's fine tale of free will to choose while also look forward apparently to Averill in sandy eggo.

Fang Face
Norm Cowie
Quake (Echelon)
9781590806203 $13.99

Her biggest issues had been math and acne until the bite. Now Erin's most pressing problem is how to explain to her parents that just because she is a vampire, she does not want to sleep in a coffin especially a coke bottle shaped coffin. She admits to herself the benefits of healthy undead living include perfect skin, flying like a bird, scaring the crap out of her obnoxious younger sister Alex who had voted for cremation as the resolution to the family problem of having one of them being of a different blood type, and going out at night knowing you are safe.

Ironically her Undead complexion apparently is in as everyone says she never looked better; perhaps not eating pizza helps. The girls at school are jealous of Fang Face as they call her because the boys want to exchange hickeys with her. Erin's deepest regret is now that she is a porcelain Goth beauty she cannot see how she looks as she has no reflection.

This is an amusing teen vampire tale that will remind readers more of the movie My Best Friend Is a Vampire than Twilight as Norm Cowie provides a tongue in cheek behind the overbite family drama. With a lighthearted jocularity and a somewhat anemic story line, Erin, her family, friends and fans learn the advantages and disadvantages of being a blood sucker while answering the most critical Undead question of all - can vampires cry?

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider
Ellen C. Maze
9781432751012 $17.95

Writer Beth Rider is ecstatic as her novel starring vampires seeking redemption is a best seller. In fact the book is so popular Beth begins a tour autographing her novel for customers.

At the Buckhead BooksAMillion store in Atlanta, a dark brooding Goliath warns Beth to watch her back. In her hotel room, that same giant Jack Dawn of the Rakum race taunts her before attacking Beth. Her bestseller places his concealed race the Rakum out for dangerous exposure by the mortals. He turns her into prey for the Rakum to torture her when he marks her with his blood as a Rabbit; as he leaves her he says Rabbits always suicide as his pups will feed off her.

Another Rakum Michael Stone smells the scent of the Rabbit as one of his kind turned her into a toy for their species. Something is wrong however as Rabbits are typically nasty mortals deserving of punishment; not an innocent writer. He also is attracted to Beth, which makes less sense so he goes against his upbringing to protect his Rabbit though he knows his people are coming for them.

Amazingly this is a fresh exciting rendition of the vampire mythos starring a stunned writer turned Rabbit, her champion and their enemies Goliath and his pups. The story line is fast-paced from the opening warning and never slows down until the final climax. The cast is strong especially the lead triangle as the beleaguered heroine and her protector try to evade Jack and the other Rakum who smell Rabbit. Fans will enjoy Chasing Beth Rider as Ellen C. Maze spins a superb unique vampire thriller.

Forget Me Not
Vicki Hinze
9781601422057 $13.99

A woman is painting a picture on her patio when Gregory appears and states he knows what she wants but will not give it to her. He kills her; walking away knowing he accomplished his mission and that Nina will be pleased.

In New Orleans, another female is working on a plan to help disenfranchised teens, but before she can complete her concept, she falls into the trap of the man she has run away from. She overheard him and others discuss bioterrorism and she realizes who two of them are. The woman knows that Nina a terrorist group is after her. They car jack her vehicle and take her unconscious to the Crossroads Crisis Center in Seagrove Village, Florida; there she sees a picture of one of the founders; a picture that looks exactly like he r.

Three years ago Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt lost his wife and son to a murderer; his faith was a victim too. He lives to die after he finds his family's killer. He had no clues until this woman arrived, who looks like his Susan, but suffers from amnesia. Finally he has interest in someone who breaths, they talk as she try to explain her predicament, but a bomb explodes inside the Crossroads facility. Benjamin obsesses over keeping Karen, as they call her safe from whoever wants her dead.

Vicki Hinze has written a superb thriller about a woman whose faith sustains her and a man whose faith died along with his wife and son. There is plenty of action throughout this fast-paced tale but Forget Me Not is a character driven by Benjamin and Karen ( and her real name) . Even with knowing who the villains are, fans will feel the stratospheric tension as double crosses and identity issues make for a powerful novel.

The Country House Courtship
Linore Rose Burkard
Harvest House
9780736927994 $13.99

In 1818 Beatrice Forsythe plans to follow in the footsteps of her sister Ariana, who happily married wealthy Phillip Mornay (see House on Grosvenor Square and Before the Season Ends). She plans to wed a paragon just like her brother-in-law.

Curate Peter O'Brien is nominated as the vicar in Glendover, but before he can assume the position, Phillip must approve him. When she was younger, Beatrice agreed to marry Peter one day, but since Ariana's lofty rise, he is no longer acceptable to her. Instead she wants the Mornay family to sponsor her a season in London although she believes Tristan Barton, who is staying at the manor House, with his looks and money is the perfect spouse for her. That is until Ariana become s ill and Beatrice learns family secrets.

The Country House Courtship is an entreating leisurely plotted Regency romance starring a young woman who wants what her older sister has; not understanding the cost. The strong cast makes for a fine historical relationship drama as each comes to the Country House with personal often conflicting agendas.

A Kiss For Cade
Lori Copeland
Harvest House
9780736927635 $12.99

In 1885 in Winterborn, Kansas John and Addy die from a disease leaving behind four small children. Addy's bounty hunter brother Cade Kolby comes home to pay his respects to his sister and deal with his orphaned nieces and nephews. Fifteen years he has stayed away, but the youngsters do not frighten him much compared with seeing Widow Zoe Bradshaw whom he loved and left anyway.

Zoe is caring for his kin as if they are hers. When Cade arrives, she makes it clear he is not wanted by her or his family. However, the townsfolk argue the kids come first and they need parents. They want the couple married. However as each of the two adults struggle with their past, a gunslinger arrives with one objective kill Cade anyway he can, which means a beautiful fiery redhead and children are expendable.

A Kiss for Cade is a terrific inspirational historical romance starring a community that believes it takes a town with caring parents to raise children. Zoe is a strong woman who can handle anything including raising four orphans, moving on from the senseless murder of her kind spouse and burying her best friend since childhood; anything except the return of Cade. He has a chance for redemption with her and the kids if he takes it. Reminiscent of the Glen Ford movie The Fastest Gun in the West, fans will enjoy this fun matchmaking Americana as a forgiving town encourages second chances.

Plain Jayne
Hillary Manton Lodge
Harvest House
9780736926980 $13.99

Her editor at the Portland Oregonian demands Jayne Tate take vacation time so she can regain her Mojo which was lost since her dad died and a promotion went to someone else. Reluctantly she agrees so she heads to Oregon's Amish country seeking a feature and some respite.

Jayne is taken aback by the throwback lifestyle though she conceals her shock behind a veneer of appreciative objectivity. However, Jayne is unable to remain cool when she meets former Amish carpenter Levi Burkholder. As they fall in love, she moves in temporarily with his estranged parents for a taste of genuine Amish living and quickly respects his family because they are hard working caring plain folks, but flees in panic when her Levi says he loves her.

This is an engaging inspirational romance of a woman who gave God the cold shoulder for allowing her setbacks until she meets the Burkholder clan. Fans will enjoy this terrific Plain & Simple character driven saga as Plain Jayne learns to deal with her fears not run away from them. She deserves being the title protagonist as she makes the story line fun to read.

Countess of Scandal
Laurel McKee
9780446544788 $6.99

In 1790 in County Kildare, Ireland, teenagers Lady Eliza Blacknall and William Denton are falling in love. However, besides the gap of social status, he joins the English army while she remains passionate in support of an independent Ireland. They go their separate ways with Will becoming a major and she the Countess Mount Clare.

In 1797, Major William Denton is sent to County Kildare to spy for the English military which is planning to put down an Irish revolt. He especially is to observe the activities of the widow Countess Eliza Mount Clare, who's believed to be an active supporter of a free Ireland. He detests the order, but is a good soldier so he goes to carry it out, but when he is injured her family takes him in to help him heal. As he recuperates, Will knows he still loves Eliza and is grateful to her family; he also believes he must atone for what he has done willingly to his people before he can express to his beloved how he feels about her.

Using the real rebellion of 1798 as a backdrop, Laurel McKee provides a deep historical romance. The star-crossed lovers come across as genuine as she has a passion for her cause and he struggles between doing his duty as a dedicated soldier spying on family, friends, and especially his Eliza. In spite of a strong lead couple and a deep support cast especially her family, the tumultuous setting owns the tale as fans will want more romances in this time and place perhaps starring Eliza's sisters starting with Anna who gets the last word in: finding true love is rarer than marrying a prince.

Montana Legacy
R.C. Ryan
9780446548618 $6.99

Coot McCord spent his life seeking gold lost on the family ranch. His endeavor destroyed the family, but in death his three grandsons, first cousins, return to the spread to pay their respects to the old Coot. His will simply states that the trio will earn a share if they remain on the ranch to search for the missing gold.

Jesse McCord remained on the ranch though his beloved Amy Parrish broke his heart when she left without a word. Besides his two cousins (Wyatt and Zane) who left years ago, Amy is also back in town caring for her sick father. To his chagrin he still loves her, but needs to know why she left and how she truly feels. He may not have time to learn what he wants to know as someone has plans for the ranch and eliminating a cousin or a girlfriend is no problem.

The opening act of the McCord cousins' trilogy is an enjoyable contemporary ranch romance with suspense coming in the second half of the story line; once the reader meets the key cast. This second chance at love is character driven with solid secondary protagonists and a wonderful lead pair although fans will think Jesse is using his wrong head with how fast he forgives his beloved Amy. Still that aside, the audience will appreciate this Big Sky Country opening act with Wyatt's Destiny and Zane's Glory to soon further enjoy R.C. Ryan's Montana tour.

Susan Kearney
9780446543330 $6.99

The Tribes destroy any planet in the galaxy who defies their edicts. Their current plan is to devastate the earth for rebelling as no one defies the Tribes.

Vesta Corporation CEO Vivianne Blackstone works on a spaceship to protect earth from the venomous Tribes. When she realizes her chief engineer, Jordan McArthur, submitted a phony resume, she confronts him with the evidence. Instead of denying what she shows him, Jordan sends the spaceship Draco into space with him, Vivianne, some workers and a dog on board. Jordan has a vendetta that goes back centuries when Trendonis of the Tribes destroyed his world. Once known as Merlin, he uses his Staff as the fuel source to propel the Draco, but he and his crew must obtain the three Keys of Space, Wind, and Soil to power up his Staff in order to link it with the Holy Grail or watch earth face annihilation. He is falling in love with Vivianne, but Jordan conceals his feelings because if he succeeds in saving the earth and beyond by destroying the Tribe, he dies too.

The third Pendragon Legacy (see Lucan and Rion) is an excellent finish to a strong romantic science fiction trilogy with a terrific Arthurian magical link. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two strong personalities who are in conflict as she wants to save her planet while he wants to save a universe. Fans will enjoy this exciting thriller in which the courageous heroes know that if they succeed in defeating the Tribe, he expects to die but harder on his soul, he fears she will too; a risk she willingly takes.

To Sin with a Scoundrel
Cara Elliott
9780446541299 $6.99

Single mom Lady Ciara Sheffield loves two things: her eight-year-old son, Peregrine and chemistry. The inquest into her husband's sudden death determined Sheffield died of natural causes. However, her in-laws insist he was poisoned by her and the rags initially call her a witch but soon accuse her of scientific homicide. Sheffield's sister and his nephew Arthur Battersham demand a new inquest as they spread the word Ciara used her brilliant chemist's mind as the "Wicked Witch of Pont Street" to kill her spouse.

Since the Battersham duet is big shots, they have a great chance of a second inquiry. Ciara knows why the Battersham want her declared unfit to raise her son so they can have access to his fortune as his guardian and consequently pay off Arthur's humongous gambling debts. Her close friends, the Circle of Scientific Sibyls, also known as the Circle of Sin decide Ciara needs a fiance with connections to shut everyone up with one aristocratic stare. They choose Lucas "Mad Bad Had-ley" Bingham, who cares about no one except his beloved Uncle Henry Phelps, confined to a wheelchair. Henry has found a manuscript allegedly written by Hippocrates and asks Lucas to visit Ciara to translate it. They cut a deal with her working on the manuscript and he escorting her. As they fall in love, accidents begin to occur too frequently to be accidents.

The Circle of Sin historical romance is a fun tale starring a beleaguered heroine, a rakish antihero, the Scientific Sybils, the wealthy child, the uncle and razor thin villains. The story line is fast-paced though it remains somewhat by the subgenre book in spite of the overall strong cast. Still fans will appreciate Lady Ciara as she challenges her in-laws, the Ton, and love with the incorrigible Mad Bad Had-ley at her side.

Ecstasy Unveiled
Larissa Ione
9780446556828 $6.99

A Seminus half breed demon Lore is a sexual fiend and assassin. He loathes what he has done, but his contract to Deth expires after his next kill and his beloved sister will live. Nothing stops this killing machine, but this time he is stunned when the target Kynan, whom he brought back from the dead at a cost of two sunsets of agony and lost reputation amidst the Assassins Guild for his master, has the protection of an angel.

Idess the earthbound angel has one last task to earn her wings and soar to heaven to be reunited with her brother. She must protect Kynan at all costs.

When the demon and the angel confront one another, both are stunned as neither has felt an attraction to someone else ever before. They want one another, but she has a vow of chastity besides her personal security mission; he has his duty. Both know the stakes of failure especially him. Yet each question whether an angel and demon teaming up in love to fight his master can survive the encounter let alone win; as Lore and Idess know one or both will most likely fail at their assignment.

The latest Demonica romantic fantasy (see Passion Unleashed, Passion Unbound and Desire Unchained) is a strong tale that has the audience believing that demons and angels walk the earth, have family issues (just ask the hero), and binding contracts. The story line is fast-paced, but the key is the dilemma confronting the lead couple as seemingly someone they love and cherish will be hurt for eternity. This is a great entry in a super paranormal series in which angels and demons soar with passion, ecstasy and desire as they fall in love.

Dare to Surrender
Lilli Feisty
9780446541930 $6.99

Joy Montgomery is desperate as her position at the Cartwright Gallery in San Francisco is in trouble. Her only hope to save her job is to find and persuade erotica artist Ash Hunter to host an exclusive exhibit at the gallery.

She locates him at the San Francisco Art Museum where he prowls like a predator seeking prey. Joy asks him, but he refuses. Shocking herself, she steals an explicit sculpture from him. Feeling guilty she tries to inform him what she did, but ins tead he ignores her efforts to tell the truth to him. Instead he makes her his submissive muse. She loves his spanking and more. He agrees to allow her to display his work until he learns of her theft. Knowing he feels betrayed, she must convince him love is the bond that ties them together.

This is an entertaining erotic BDSM romance. He is a brooding dominant while she is a desperate submissive as they fall in love on smack to they butt at a time. Although the story line is somewhat emaciated (except for his third leg) with the conflict caused by her out of character theft, fans will enjoy the muse and the artist daring to surrender to love.

The Silver Mage
Katharine Kerr
9780756405878 $24.95

The magically enhanced Horsekin are coming south with a religious fervor that threatens anyone who fails to join their crusade. Their powerful seemingly invincible force appears to be targeting the northern reaches of Deverry and resistance looks increasingly futile as these fierce warriors gain control of the Northlands. The elves and the humans of Deverry fear the deployment south will overpower their alliance to prevent the Horskin encroachment as Prince Dar expects to lose control of the Ghostlands and who knows what next.

Prince Dar, his supporters and his allies prepare for the final battle against an overwhelming adversary that will determine the fate of the kingdom and much more, a glimmer of hope arrives when the Dwrgi and the dragons join his side. Still the Horsekin are much stronger, but the humans take comfort that their ancestors in their darkest moment against a superior force survived the Roman invasion by coming to this land to establish a nation.

The Silver Mage is a terrific end to a saga that started when Reagan was in the White House. The story line is fast-paced and extremely complicated as Katherine Kerr ties up the major subplots. The Roman back story is engaging as is the deep look at the Horsekin, but they also take the audience away from the prime anticipated climax of the epic ending battle. Still this is an entertaining finish to the fifteen book Deverry saga.

Tad Williams
9780756405496 $27.95

Southmarch Castle is eyed by two opposing groups while its rightful ruler King Olin Eddon is taken hostage by the ruler of Hierosol. Hendon Tolly has become de facto ruler of Shadowmarch, but he failed to trap Olin's twin children Barrick and Briony The Autarch of Ixix kidnaps King Olin and they travel to Shadowmarch Castle for his own diabolical purposes.

Barrick is entranced by the fairy (Qar) Yasammez and goes behind The Shadow Line where the Qar live in perpetual twilight. He has a mission to perform for her but he has many obstacles to overcome and enemies to deal with as he travels across the fairylands. Briony travels to Syan where she is treated as a royal. She hopes to obtain enough support to return home with an army in order to dispose Tolly. Prince Enas is enchanted with Briony and she starts to have feelings for him which makes it impossible to use him and his army in to further her schemes.

The Qar surround Southmarch Castle until Yassammel orders the attack. Under the castle lies the city of Funderling Town populated by humanoid beings that are cousins to draws who live with and fight for the Qar. Briony is accused of treason, but escapes while the Autarch of Ixix reveals his plans for King Olin which if they come to fruition will allow him to be a god but he must he triumphs over the Qar, the Funderlings and an unexpected army friendly to Shadowmarch. Several warring forces converge all claiming a kingdom as theirs.

The third Shadowmarch saga (see Shadowplay and Shadowmarch) continues where SHADOWPLAY leaves off so it behooves newcomers to peruse those tales first even with a strong synopsis to remind readers what previously happened. Tad Williams has created a great storyline that adds much to his enthralling epic fantasy as several rivals are going to Southmarch Castle. Yet with plenty of sprawling action, the characters, especially the twins, drive the story line forward to the cliffhanging ending to be continued in SHADOWHEART.

A Local Habitation
Seanan McGuire
9780756405960 $7.99

Half Fae changeling October "Toby" Daye has become a private investigator in the world of mortals as she distrusts her Faerie heritage more than that of the sneaky humans. However, though her preference is to say no, Toby knows better than to refuse a request from her Fairie liege The Shadowed Hills Duke Sylvester Torquill. Coming to her abode in San Francisco, he asks her to insure that his niece, the Countess of Tamed Lightening, is okay as she has ceased all contact with her family.

The Countess January O'Leary runs an information management company in which she employs purebred and changeling fae. A serial killer is murdering the staff. Toby investigates trying to prevent more homicides from occurring; not expecting her inquiries to intertwine.

The second October Daye (Rosemary and Rue) private investigative urban fantasy is a wonderful one sitting read that hooks the audience from the first visitation to the last. Toby terrific is tough and spunky as she holds the dual investigations together with her Noir like scrutiny. Fans will enjoy the heroine's tours of San Francisco and the land of Fairie as she works a deadly whodunit case while wondering if October will survive long enough to see November.

Hastur Lord
Deborah J. Ross and Marion Zimmer Bradley
9780756406226 $24.95

The Terran Empire was no more having morphed into the Federation. With that change, the philosophy of choice ends so that those worlds like Darkover that fail to join the Federation will receive a special visit from the insidious World Wreckers whose mantra is join or die.

Darkover has had such a visit with the assassinations of the Comyn Council members. Only the Hastur of Hastur, Regent of Darkover, remains in the way of a Terran takeover that would exhaust the planet's natural resources as a military stop. The ruler however is old and dying. His grandson Regis Hastur is heir, but he prefers not to rule as that would mean giving up his beloved Danilo Syrtiss. However, on his death bed, the current ruler informs his grandson that he has an older half-brother Rinaldo hidden away in shame. Regis always wanted a sibling, but now feels he might have a way to give up being the heir at a critical time when the planet lacks strong leadership.

This is an exhilarating character driven Darkover thriller, which apparently Deborah J. Ross completed from a manuscript written by the late great Marion Zimmer Bradley before she died over a decade ago. The story line is fast-paced as the Terrans use any means to gain control, but it is the two brothers who make the novel work as in spite of their psi powers they seem real. With a super look at power, responsibility, accountability and leadership; fans of the saga will not be able to delineate what are Ms. Ross' touches and what was Ms. Bradley as we welcome a new Darkover entry.

The Conqueror's Shadow
Ari Marmell
9780553807769 $26.00

In Imphallion, Corvis Rebaine led an army that killed anyone in his path. He used his demon ax and Khandra the demon slave and allied with Davro the ogre and Seilloah the witch. They won victory after victory. However, on the verge of total conquest, the Terror of the East as he was called lost and vanished along with a noblewoman Tyannon.

Years later, Audriss the warlord has deployed Corvis' plan for world domination through mass damnation. Corvis has heard of his replacement, but ignores the conquests as he and his wife Tyannon raise their two children Lilander and Mellorin in love and peace. That changes when Audriss' thugs abduct Mellorin, which angers Corviss into action starting with killing those who grabbed his daughter. He gathers his former allies to ironically save Imphallion from the latest warlord.

This is an amusing timely fantasy in which an amoral (except with his family and buddies- demons don't count as pals) antihero and his even less ethical friends save the same realm they almost conquered seventeen years ago from the latest conqueror. The story line is fast-paced, action-packed and though jocular raises questions as to what are true values. Though how middle-aged Corvis retained his warrior skill that he uses immediately remains questionable, he and his partners make the tale as they are sly, slick and will do any stunt to achieve their objectives; his being to return to his family. Fans will appreciate the efforts of Corvis to complete the job and go home.

Elizabeth Bear
Spectra (Random House)
9780553591088 $7.99

The survivors on board the Jacob's Ladder know they are fortunate to be alive following the supernova destruction of their sun. However, as the injured like Tristen Conn learn from Angel their world dropped to 43 percent intact due to the explosion. There are areas of the space vessel that are beyond repair while the known zone suffers from all types of catastrophic deterioration. Newly appointed Captain Perceval struggles with the remaining rebels led by Arianrhod, who has fled to unknown areas and personal doubts about the right course of action.

Tristen and Benedick pursue Arianrhod through regions of the world they've never visited before. What they observe shakes both of them up while Arianrhod tries to find time to regroup the rebels. Neither pursuer realizes the danger to their way of life that surfaces.

The second Jacobs Ladder parable is a fabulous fast-paced space odyssey that fans of Elizabeth Bear will relish though newcomers must read the previous tale Dust to understand how the populace got to the point of the explosion. The reactions of Tristen and Benedick make the story line fun to read as they visit locations never seen before by either of them; observations that shake their belief system. The audience will relish a visit to the exciting Great Bear universe where the impossible is possible.

Searching for Tina Turner
Jacqueline E. Luckett
Grand Central
9780446542968 $24.99

In Oakland, wealthy Randall and Lena Spencer and their two children seemed to live the perfect family life. However, Lena who gave up her photography career to support her business executive husband as he worked his way up and to raise their two kids feels lonely and unfulfilled. She persuades Randall to go to marriage counseling, but he quits rather quickly and warns her to shape up as she should be grateful to what he has done for her over the two decades plus of marriage ignoring what she has done for him.

While Randall is on a business trip, a fuming Lena reads Tina Turner's autobiography with her focus on the rock star's life after kicking Ike to the curb. Knowing Randall is not the man she loved and married as he unsupportive but not physically abusive, Lena decides to call his bluff and they separate. The teens prefer affluence so they stay with dad; hurting her more that they chose materialism. She obtains a position at an art gallery and travels to France hoping to meet Tina, but instead runs into Harmon who dumped Lena for someone else years ago. They share sex and he proposes having always regretted his mistake even as Randall arrives to beg her come home.

Searching for Tina Turner is a charming interesting contemporary tale that looks closely at self actuation inside of family dynamics. The story line is driven by Lena, who ironically feels Randall does not listen to her needs while ignoring his side of the argument; just like he does hers. Although she never has to give up her luxurious lifestyle after leaving Randall (flying and staying in Nice, France cannot be cheap), readers will enjoy Lena's quest to find her self starting with moving out and seeking out her muse.

False Convictions
Tim Green
Grand Central
9780446401524 $25.95

Dallas attorney Casey Jordan works with the not for profit Freedom Project, who handle wrongful conviction cases. Billionaire Robert Graham, founder of the Freedom Project, offers Casey one million dollars annually for use by her legal clinic if she works a couple of well known cases a year. Casey agrees.

In 1989 in Auburn, New York black man Dwayne Hubbard was convicted of the murder of a white female college student; DNA analysis proves his innocence and implies a massive conspiracy by all those involved in the original prosecution. At the same time that Casey proves Dwayne did not commit the murder that he went to jail for, TV reporter Jake Carlson investigates Graham. He brings some concerns to Casey, who partners with him into looking at the philanthropist's business transactions and other past dealings.

The third Jordan legal thriller (see Above the Law and The Letter of the Law) is a terrific tale because the audience sees deep inside the heroine's soul as her passion for the law and helping the impoverished ring genuine. Thus Casey is lucid in her belief that Graham is wasting his money on the Hubbard case, but it is his cash though she still questions him why. Fans will enjoy the exciting False Convictions though some might question the fascinating climatic twists.

From the Grounds Up
Sandra Balzo
Severn House
9780727868305 $27.95

With the economy already hurting her Uncommon Grounds coffee shop, Maggy Thorsen is in disbelief when the freak May blizzard hammers Brookhills, Wisconsin destroying her store. Her caustic friend realtor Sarah Kingston takes her to the train station where a bistro was just closed and a commuter line to and from Milwaukee is to open. Sarah owns the depot inheriting half when her dad died years ago and the rest last week when Aunt Vi passed away. She offers a business partnership, which Maggy accepts.

Aunt Vi's husband Kornell Eisvogel arrives at the depot to hassle with Sarah. He sees the time on the depot clock so leaves as he must drive in daylight. However, the two women hear the train and crunch. They rush out to see that Kornell is dead. Maggy's boyfriend Sheriff Jack Pavlik leads the inquiry and learns the clock was switched and the victim's car tampered to stall on the tracks. When the two partners go to Brookhills Manor to pick up Vi's stuff, they are almost run over by Klepto Clara and her hot rod wheelchair. As they leave the women find Clara dead and Pavlik questioning them again. Someone is killing people associated with the depot, but whom and why remains darker than Maggy's strongest brew.

The latest Uncommon Grounds amateur sleuth (see Bean There, Done That and Grounds for Murder) is the usual terrific tale as the sheriff, his subordinates and readers know that wherever Maggy goes a corpse is bound to precede her. The lighthearted story line is fast-paced and breezy as Sarah provides humor with her in your face veracity and a killer wants to grind Maggy's coffee shop to the ground. Fans will enjoy this fine flavored brew, as Maggy, murder, and mayhem meet in the Brookhills Train Station.

Dark Secrets of the Old Oak Tree
Dolores J. Wilson
9781605421063 $24.95

After catching her husband David, a prominent Chicago attorney in bed with his paralegal, Evie Carson divorces him ending their fifteen years of marriage. She leaves Illinois to return home to Hyattsville, Georgia where she has a home and starts a business the Victorian Sampler Shop clothing emporium.

Evie is stunned when she sees mentally challenged Jake burying her naked best friend from high school Denise. When Jake leaves the gruesome scene, feeling slightly safer, Evie calls the cops. After giving her statement to the police, she learns Jake is dead too with his corpse found in her car. Circumstantial evidence leads the investigators to believe that Sheriff John Broday is the perpetrator, but lack the proof to arrest him. David arrives in town seeking a key to their safety deposit box. However before he can talk to his ex wife, he is killed. Attempts are made on Evie's life and a psychic who works with the police warns her and the cops that the culprit wants her dead; Georgia State Trooper Lyle Dickerson vows to keep safe the woman he is falling in love with even of she is cantankerous towards him.

No one will need a psychic to tell them Evie's life in danger or an oracle to learn this is an exciting thriller for fans who relish the works of Mary Higgins Clark. A romantic subplot between Evie and Lyle enhance the plot as she decries his relationship with Denise and he walks out on her when she needs his protection. Filled with action and a great twist, fans will enjoy learning the Dark Secrets of the Old Oak Tree.

Emerald Embrace
Shannon Drake
9781605420820 $7.95

In 1865, upon learning of the death of her friend Mary, Lady Creeghan, Martise St. James travels from war torn Virginia to Scotland on a mission. She plans to investigate Mary's death and search for the St. James emerald that she sent to her late friend for safekeeping while the Civil War had marauders from both sides stealing from civilians.

To obtain entrance to Castle Creeghan in the Highlands, she informs the widower Lord Bruce Creeghan that she is Mary's sister. Although she believes her host killed his wife, Martise finds she desires him. As she investigates the castle's secrets, Martise learns that most inside the keep believe murder occurred and the laird is the suspect. Although they fall in love in between arguments, he vows never again will someone he cares for be a victim while she fears being victim number two.

With engaging illustrations by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya that enhance the strong gothic plot, fans will enjoy this entertaining historical romantic suspense. The lead couple is a terrific pairing of a brave amateur sleuth and the prime suspect as she tries serendipitously to investigate the murder and the missing emerald while he tries to keep her safe. With a strong support cast, readers will relish this solid Victorian era romantic whodunit romance.

Butter Safe Than Sorry
Tamar Myers
9780451229106 $14.00

Magdalena Yoder Rosen is an original in her Amish town where most of the people try to blend in. She is married to a Jewish doctor, is a conservative Mennonite, and owns the Penn-Dutch Inn where the rich and famous stay. Besides being loudmouthed, her sister Susannah is doing twenty years as an accessory to murder and her brother-in-law Melvin the former police chief is a killer on the run.

Magdalena Yoder is in the bank with her four year old son Jacob when three Amish men burst inside to rob the place. One of the thieves uses employee Amy Neubruder as a hostage as they flee the crime scene. Magdalena Yoder wonders why the security guards did nothing while also hearing the bank president telling Amy to keep silent about the robbery and he will give her a raise and a new position. Not long afterward, Amy is killed and Magdalena Yoder's sister asks her to come see her. Susannah warns Magdalena Yoder to watch herself as Melvin is in the area and loathes her and anyone she cares about. Magdalena Yoder believes Melvin, murder and robbery go together and fearing for her observant son, she investigates.

Tamar Myers weaves her usual magic with her latest Pennsylvania Dutch amateur sleuth (see Batter Off Dead) as local trouble is escalating. There are many suspects in this enjoyable cozy leading to the heroine struggling with figuring out who is protecting Melvin as she is positive he is behind everything. Butter Safe Than Sorry relies on its strong Amish cast who makes the whodunit work.

Harlan Coben
9780525951582 $27.95

National TV investigative reporter Wendy Tynes exposes sexual predators on her show Caught in the Act. When a seventeen years old lacrosse playing high school student Haley McWaid vanishes without a trace, her hometown is stunned. Three months later, they remain shocked as the good girl never came home and there is no word about her.

Wendy investigates the case and finds evidence that links the missing teen to social worker Dan Mercer. She exposes him on national TV as a sexual predator of children, but soon begins to find discrepancies in the slam dunk evidence. When a father of another teen victim claims to have killed Dan in what is vigilante justice, Wendy wonders what she has wrought as she now reconsiders her instincts though too late as he is caught dead.

This will hook readers from start to finish with terrific twists throughout as Harlan Coben provides a great thriller. The story line is fast-paced and never stops for a moment; yet is also filled with deep characterizations especially the accused and his accuser. Fans will relish this powerful tale of justice is not blind when the media gets involved.

How To Seduce A Sinner
Adrienne Basso
9781420104332 $6.99

In 1818 London, Dorothea Ellingham establishes a test to determine who she will marry. The chosen one will be selected by her based on a kiss-meter as she expects passion to ignite between them.

His ducal father directs Viscount Carter Grayson to be wed by the end of the current season or else. Carter observes Dorothea kissing three different men and decides she will do to satisfy his father. He throws his lips into the ring and both are stunned by the force of fervor in their shared kiss. However an ardent kiss does not necessarily lead to a strong relationship as Carter and Dorothea soon learn.

This is an engaging fast-paced Regency romance from the opening first kiss to the last kisses. Starring two wonderful lead characters, who quickly learn there is much more to a relationship than a kiss, the story line focuses on the educating of Dorothea and Carter, but also is enhanced by strong related secondary subplots involving family members. Fans will enjoy the test as who is the sinner and who is the seducer when both feel the passion of being seduced.

Fall Into Me
Pauline Trent
9780821781425 $6.99

In Lambert Falls, South Carolina Sheriff Bobby Granger is euphoric to learn a favorite author Howard Michaels is coming to town to write a book on the law enforcement official's ancestor. When Michaela Howard arrives to conduct research on her next novel, Bobby is stunned not so much that he is a she, but how attracted he is to the big city author.

The widower knows not to get involved as he has his nieces to care for even with one getting married soon and the other attending community college; besides he has a lifestyle of being by himself except for the kids since his wife Abby died almost two decades ago. Finally he fears risking his heart because he expects Michaela to leave once she finishes her work here. Yet Granger cannot stop himself from wanting her though he doubts he has anything to offer her.

This is an entertaining second chance at love romance starring a nurturing widower and a nice successful writer. The support cast wants the best for Bobby, especially the nieces he raised, even as he blunders his way to love. Although a final airport spin should lead to firings and reprimands, and the overall plot is thin, fans will enjoy the return to Lambert Falls (see Falling in Love).

Too Wicked to Kiss
Erica Ridley
9781420109931 $4.99

In 1813 Evangeline Pemberton runs away from her abusive stepfather taking sanctuary at the home of family friend Lady Stanton. Her host's disgraced daughter Susan knows she will never marry any man not engulfed in scandal so decides alleged murderer Gavin Lioncroft will be her husband even though she believes he killed his parents. She orders guest Evangeline to help her catch the dark owner of grim gargoyle Blackberry Manor.

Evangeline attends a party at Blackberry Manor, which she finds frightening with ravens flying overhead to greet guests. She is bit surprised by her attraction to Gavin, who is as shocked by his feelings towards her. Even more stunning to Evangeline is that when they touch her psychic skill shuts down. When a murder occurs, she vows to prove her beloved is innocent by apply her paranormal ability to solving who committed the homicide.

This is an entertaining Regency Gothic romance starring a terrific heroine who holds the story line together, a brooding lead male with a mysterious past, a scandalous cousin, and a manor house with gargoyles on the roof and ravens flying around them. Overly dramatic yet so vividly fun to follow as the suspense filled story line is fast-paced from the moment Evangeline (Longfellow would be pleased) meets Gavin. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this dark romantic historical and look forward to a sequel.

Sinful Surrender
Beverley Kendall
9781420108699 $4.99

When Millicent "Missy" Armstrong' was ten years old she decided she would one day marry James Rutherford, best friend of her brother Thomas. She remained patient until her first London season in 1852 when she jumped him claiming a kiss. Although aroused by the no longer little sister, James pushes her aside and rejects her.

The kiss still haunts James as Missy begins her fourth campaign to make him surrender to her love. However, though he knows he wants her, James has several reasons to say no starting with Thomas who would never accept a rake like him as part of the family and the example set by his parents whose love turned to cheating. Thomas wants Missy married so he decides to let her see her romanticized hero as the wandering rake he is. Her sibling prefers she marry Lord Granville while Lady Victoria Spencer has set her sights on James. However, neither the Ton nor the selected respective suitors, the brother, nor the chosen one know how determined Missy is, but they will before her fourth season is done.

Sinful Surrender is a super Victorian romance starring a resolute obsessed heroine and the man of her dreams. Ironically James thinks he is in love with Missy, but because of his parents' example and his belief she can do better fostered by his friend, he rejects her and his heart. Although, his consistent refusal should have sent Missy in retreat, fans will root for the single-minded heroine as she knows who she wants and will accept nothing less than his Sinful Surrender to their love. Beverly Kendall provides an enjoyable historical.

To Tame A Dangerous Lord
Nicole Jordan
9780345510112 $7.99

In 1817 Madeline Ellis needs gainful employment quickly, but her immediate problem is that dreadful Lord Ackerby who is everywhere she is. Former British Intelligence operative, Rayne Kenyon observes her and her stalker; the Earl uses his espionage skills to figure out what is going on and intercedes warning Ackerby to stay away from Madeline.

With a connection to her father and wanting her, he offers to assist her in finding a suitable position, but quickly realizes she is perfect for a job he needs filling. Rayne suggests a marriage of convenience, which Madeline rejects as she dreams of a marriage of passion and love. He rejects her counteroffer having tasted the betrayal of love once before. However, desperate and realizing he is her one; she changes her mind hoping to win his heart.

The latest Courtship Wars (see To Bed a Beauty, To Pleasure A Lady, To Romance a Charming Rogue and To Seduce a Bride) is an enjoyable entry enhanced by the return of Rayne who has a second chance at love if he accepts his feelings. Madeline proves resolute as she decides To Tame a Dangerous Lord through her heart although both must overcome distrust, dangerous innuendoes and misunderstandings if they are to make it.

Brigid of Kildare
Heather Terrell
9780345505125 $15.00

In Ireland desperately in need of money, the Sisters of St. Brigid plan to sell valuable ancient relics. They hire art appraiser Alexandra Patterson to evaluate their collection. Exhilarated with the assignment, Alex begins to catalogue the collection. However, she is stunned when she finds a beautifully scribed tome from apparently the fifth century. She wonders if this illuminated text could be the legendary lost Book of Kildare. Her colleague and former lover Trinity College Professor Declan Lamb supports her belief.

Apparently the Church, fearing the imminent collapse of the Roman Empire could take them down too, turn aggressive against anyone who may cause dissension. In that regard, Brother Decius travels to Gael to accuse Abbess Brigid of heresy. Once there he finds her faith as inspiring and asks her to let him scribe her tale to convert the Gael pagans.

As Heather Terrell did with The Map Thief, the author weaves a past and present duality into a delightful cohesive tale. The Brigid of Kildare subplot is a terrific look at the Church's efforts to survive the collapse of Rome mostly told through the relationship between Decius and the title Saint. However, the modern day art sleuths fail to attain the same level of caring and passion that the ancient couple possesses especially Brigid's efforts to bring the Gael to Christianity. Still fans will enjoy this fine thriller starring a woman whose belief was so strong she not just converted the locals, she persuaded the Roman to join her quest and leave readers admiring her.

Red Inferno: 1945
Robert Conroy
9780345506061 $15.00

In 1945, the Allied forces prepare for victory over the Third Reich by jockeying for position in accordance with the Yalta agreement. However neither President Truman nor Prime Minister Stalin trust one another; while British head of state Churchill fears an Iron Curtain coming down across Europe if the west fails to act so he is pushing the new American leader to take action.

Truman is concerned that Churchill is right about Stalin. He sends two divisions across the Elbe River towards Berlin to counter the Soviet's control of Eastern Europe though that violates Yalta and General Eisenhower's advice. Stalin is outraged by the affront even as Truman claims it is for peace. Instead Stalin orders the Red Army to attack its former allies.

Red Inferno: 1945 is a super alternate historical thriller based on the premise that Truman crosses the Elbe extending the war in Europe. Ironically, though a WWII thriller, the super cast (military and civilian) on both sides of the continuing confrontation do their assigned jobs, but all especially the soldiers make it clear they prefer to give peace a chance; everyone wants to go home but not in a body bag. Fast-paced and loaded with action, Robert Conroy explores what if Truman sent units across the Elbe in 1945 as the war with Germany was all but over.

Capitol Betrayal
William Bernhardt
9780345503015 $26.00

After filling the vacant US Senate seat from Oklahoma, Ben Kincaid fails to win the election. His wife attorney Christina McCall establishes a practice in DC while Ben works on complicated legal issues such as energy for the new Democratic President Roland Kyler at a time when Republicans control the House and the Supreme Court.

Ben is at a White House meeting that includes Kyler, Vice President Swiburne, military advisor Admiral Cartwright and much of the cabinet when the Secret Service informs them of a nuclear incident involving stolen material from a secret Arlington armory. They are directed to take shelter in an underground bunker "PEOC" when word reaches that missiles are in coming. Kyler acts odd so the VEEP and Cartwright declare he should be replaced as the President as stated in the Constitution. Inside the shelter, Ben defends the president against the charges of mental instability in front of the cabinet who must decide who is in charge; at the same CIA Agent Seamus McKay tries to thwart a Capitol Offense assault.

The latest Kincaid thriller is an entertaining tale that fans of the series will enjoy especially the inner workings of the White House during a crisis when agents and physicians take charge. Fast-paced from the onset, readers will enjoy Betrayal even if it miles over the top of the Washington Monument as the plot fun to read anyway.

Do They Know I'm Running?
David Corbett
9780812977554 $15.00

During one of those INS sweeps in the Oakland port area, Faustino is picked up as an illegal alien. The Feds deport him back to El Salvadore leaving behind in their usual family values way his dependents to include his wife Lucha, his criminal son Pablo (AKA Happy) and his orphaned nephews eighteen year old Roque and disturbed war veteran Godo.

Using his contacts Happy works a deal with human smugglers to bring his father home to California. However, to pay the exorbitant price, he works another deal with the FBI. He sends Roque to El Salvadore to escort his Da back to the family; but the gang involved demand he also escort teenage Lupe to a Mexican drug lord and a Palestinian allegedly seeking political asylum as arranged by Happy to further muck up the trek from Central American to the States. Roque knows whenever dealing with Happy one learns the rest of the story trying to survive.

This is a strong thriller that tells the other side of the illegal immigrant story from that of a family mostly through Roque who struggles to keep alive his charges as they trek through a violent Central America and Mexico on the mule trail. The story line is action-packed but character driven as the hero finds himself caught in several nasty scenarios in which he must constantly choose between love (for Lupe and for his family) and survival as bartering humans is a way of life on this wagon trail.

Connie Willis
9780553803198 $26.00

In 2060, studying history at Oxford is a contact sport as historians conduct real field research. In that regard three historians are sent to different locations during WW II. Seventeen years old Colin Templer, who saved the life of project chief Mr. Dunworthy wants the faculty advisor's help so he can age enough in the past for older student Polly Churchill to notice him and how much he loves her. At the relative same time, Michael Davies is preparing to go to Pearl Harbor but the assignment changed after he obtained his American accent implant to be there for the Channel fishermen rescue at Dunkirk; Polly is going to London as a shopgirl during the Blitz; and Eileen works at a children's evac center in Warwickshire during a measles outbreak.

However something is not quite right with the Research lab equipment as assignments change abruptly and the historians face danger when they arrive during the early stages of WW II in England. Although Eileen insists she trusts in the future, something Mike did at Dunkirk should not have happened; at least base d on the prime premise of the History Department at Oxford in 2060 in which a traveling historian cannot change what has been.

This is a super time travel historical thriller that hooks the audience from the onset and never slows down especially when the trio land in 1939-1940. The story line is fast-paced yet loaded with vivid detail so that the prime subplots seem genuine as Polly struggles with working at a store and evacuating during air raids; and Eileen with twenty two kids and resentful locals including the sponsor especially during a measles outbreak. However, it is Mike who may have changed the outcome of WW II and the next century with his impossible actions that could not have happened at Dunkirk. Perhaps the only issue with this great saga is it never climaxes as the second book to be published later in the year contains the rest of the story.

In My Sister's House
Donald Welch
9780345501622 $14.00

In Philadelphia, African-American Storm Morrison spent three years in prison. Upon being freed she wants her share of the inheritance from their late father Dutch, which includes his restaurant that her twin sister Skylar converted into a successful night club, Legends.

Although she vows to go as straight as her bookworm sibling, Storm runs into her cheating street punk boyfriend, DuBoy. He wants to start over with and demands she do too or else. However, she knows if she returns to him, she returns to the street and probably prison yet the temptation is great. Storm must choose between patching up her relationship with Skylar or destroying what her sister has made with Legends by taking her share and DuBoy, a mix that could only end tragically.

The key to this strong inspirational family drama is the support cast who enhance the realism of the plot and the readers understanding of the twins whose values seem so different at first, but in many ways are identical. Although some stereotyping detracts from the sense of contemporary urban foreboding that disaster is coming, fans will relish Legends as to forgive is human, but to redeem is divine.

Original Sin
Allison Brennan
9780345511676 $7.99

Since escaping from the queen of the underworld her evil mother Fiona the black magic practitioner, Moira O'Donnell has trained mentally and physically for several years to reach the point of not just demon hunter, but confronting mommy dearest. Her mentor Father Philip of the St. Michael's Monastery has taught or arranged for Moira to receive lessons in magical combat.

Time has run out and though Moira feels unready she knows her mother plans to use a special incantation to open a portal to Hell that will enable the malevolent witch to control demons and the seven deadly sins. In Santa Louisa, California, Fiona begins her spell after an assault on a nearby mission left one survivor former seminarian Rafe Cooper. He leaves the hospital and interrupts the enchantment at a critical moment; allowing the seven deadly sins to cross as living essences. Moira, Rafe, demonologist Anthony Zaccardi, local sheriff Skye McPherson and two haunted teens unite to battle Fiona, her minion and seven deadly sins.

This is a terrific opening urban fantasy that contains a high degree of suspense. The allies are an interesting mix as each has baggage and distrust of one another while failure to unite means defeat. Fiona is super villainess with her thirst for power, which is thwarted by the bungling of Rafe leading to rage. Fans will relish this first of the Seven Deadly Sins as Allison Brennan makes her demonic invasion seem real.

Remember Me
Laura Moore
9780345482761 $7.99

On the Rosewood Virginia horse farm, the eighteen year old daughter of the owner Margot Radcliffe decides to make love with the man of her dreams, employee Travis Maher. Although he wants her he rejects Princess Margot. She leaves for New York humiliated and becomes a successful supermodel.

Eight years later, irate family patriarch RJ accuses his horse trainer Travis of cheating with his wife Nicole, which Maher denies, but is fired anyway. Soon afterward RJ and Nicole die in a plane crash. The three offspring are stunned as married Jordan, teen Jade, and Margot must decide what to do. Margot realizes the only hope to save the nearly bankrupt Rosewood is with the man who rejected her when she threw herself at him.

Believe Me (Jordon's upcoming tale) that the first Rosewood Trilogy is a terrific horse farm romance starring two strong lead characters supported by a solid cast to include steeds. Readers will empathize with Margot who still loves Travis; but root for him as he wanted her back then, never moved passed desiring her, and still needs her, but to this day feels he did the right thing for both of them when he rejected her. Fans will enjoy this fine tale as Laura Moore proves Virginia is for lovers.

Cape Disappointment
Earl Emerson
9780345493026 $7.99

Seattle private investigator Thomas Black knows he is fortunate to have survived the bomb blast in the school gym that left him hospitalized. However, he is also struggling with his memory as he unsure whether he is a widower or if his wife Kathy Birchfield is alive.

A lawyer, Kathy was a passenger on a chartered plane that crashed into the sea with no survivors; also killing Senator Jane Sheffield. Although he knows she is dead, he keeps seeing her and her cell phone is being used to call him late at nights. Twin brothers Bert and Elmer "Snake" Slezak try to keep Black safe. The former CIA sniper Bert believes the crash that allegedly killed Black's wife was deliberate.

Fans will appreciate the return of Black (see Fat Tuesday and Catfish Cafe) in a super over the Space Needle conspiracy thriller that hooks the audience from the onset when the confused detective cannot understand why he sees his wife whom he thinks died. The story line is fast-paced, has ties to 9/11 and makes the strong case that the government's prime role is to cover-up the mistakes of leaders. No one but politicians and their retinue will be disappointed with Earl Emerson's excellent return to Black.

Cowboy Comes Home
Carrie Alexander
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373716142 $5.50

In Treetop, Wyoming, Meg Lennox takes over running the family ranch with the death of her father. Her former lover who once took a fall for her when she ran away, Rio Carefoot arrives in answer to an ad she put in the Treetop Weekly offering a job at Wild River. Although Meg has doubts, she knows she owes him so hires the veteran.

Rio proves to be a super employee. However, their attraction to one another remains as strong as it was years ago. Meg wants a second chance, but needs to forgive herself for the errors she made while Rio also wants a second chance but distrusts the woman who still owns his heart.

This is a warm second chance at love ranch romance starring two likable endearing protagonists. Each needs to move on if they are to have a future together; but to do so he must forgive her transgression so that she can forgive herself. Fans of simple sweet stories will enjoy the rancher and her hand as the Cowboy and the Cowgirl come home to each other.

What Mother Never Told Me
Donna Hill
Kimani (Harlequin)
9780373831432 $14.95

Wanting to become a professional singer, Cora leaves her hometown Rudell, Mississippi for Chicago. There she obtain s work for an affluent Caucasian family. However, their son rapes her so Cora fled for Rudell unaware she is pregnant.

In Rudell, she marries her childhood sweetheart David, but hell breaks out when their offspring is white. That girl Emma learned to pass as white to gain acceptance. In New York, she marries a Caucasian soldier, Michael who soon afterward is deployed overseas. Emma gives birth to a baby with black features. She sends her daughter Parris to Mississippi to be raised by her mom while fleeing for Europe. However, as an adult, her dying grandma informs Parris that her mom lives so she travels with her Nick to France in search of her biological mother.

Though the saga of an African-American passing as white has been done many times, What Mother Never Told Me is a fascinating tale that focuses mostly on the third generation's search once she knows her "white" mom is alive. The cast is three dimensional as the three generations seem genuine especially their motives even if a reader disagrees with choices. Well written, the character driven story line grips the audience as Emma seeks her mom and she hopes her dad too.

An Impossible Attraction
Brenda Joyce
9780373774609 $7.99

Alexandra Bolton became a seamstress to bring in needed money for her family. However, in 1845 her wastrel widower father informs her he needs funds to pay debts so she will marry either wealthy middle aged Squire Denney or some other affluent member of the Ton. She reluctantly agrees to sacrifice her desires because of a death bed pledge she made to her mom to care for her two younger sisters.

Bolton and his three daughters attend a ball at the home of Sir Rex de Warenne and Lady Blanche. Alexandra realizes her arrival is a blunder as her friends treat her like hired help since she has been doing their sewing. When her father becomes too drunk, she tries to take him home. On the way out, Alexandra meets thirtyish wealthy Stephen, the Duke of Clare wood. They are attracted to one another until he has her. Her father tosses her to the street as a fallen woman and her Stephen rejects her believing she was trying to trap him.

This is a superb early Victorian romance starring a courageous woman and the man she loves who is in denial. The story line of a good woman "falling" to the street in rejection is not new (see Cheryl Holt's Spinster Curse saga), but incredibly refreshed by Brenda Joyce with her strong casting and not just the lead couple. Fans will admire Alexandra's moral fortitude while knowing she will survive her ordeal but wonder if she will be with Stephen or a new beau Owen. Brenda Joyce is at her best, which says something about this novel, as her historicals are always excellent.

A One-Of-A-Kind Family
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373716159 $5.50

Life-skills coach Anna Chapel is excited that the Sunrise Foundation has a home in Whedon, Pennsylvania. The not for profit group's motto is "Helping Exceptional People Lead Exceptional Lives".

Her newest client is developmentally-disabled Colm Franklin. His caretaker twin brother Liam assumes that Sunrise Foundation will provide his sibling with an adult sitter as he has some business to attend to. Anna believes Colm can do so much more, but Liam fears his brother will only be hurt by her encouragement; all he wants for his sibling is for Colm to have "normalcy" since their parents died two years ago. As Anna pledges to enable Colm to become all he can be starting with pouring his own drink into a glass as he has always been coddled, she also falls in love with his skeptical computer programmer brother.

This is a terrific timely contemporary romance that looks deeply at the needs of special adults although Liam's working out of his home is too convenient as caretakers don't always have that option. Colm and his two new friends, Gilly and Josh, make the tale as they teach Anna, Liam, octogenarian Mrs. Albright and the reader that they may take longer but are capable of not "shmoosing" the eggs when they pack bags at Mr. Keller's grocery store.

Betina Krahn, Joanne Rock and Lori Borrill
Harlequin Blaze
9780373795239 $4.99

"The Chase" by Betina Krahn. Samantha Drexel and her two friends attend the greeting card trade show. She is working on a special line of musical cards with rocker Nick Stack as the star. She always cherished his music and now Sam is looking forward to meeting her idol, but Nick fails to show up at the first shoot. When Nick arrives, he knows he needs to cheer up Sam in a special way.

"The Takedown" by Joanne Rock. Luke Owens knows he wants Tori Halsey, but avoids her as she is the younger sister of a friend. However the freelance photographer plans a special shoot to prove to her muse she is no longer the little sister.

"The Satisfaction" by Lori Borrill. Kitty Colburn knows her gift store is in financial trouble, but her monetary woes do not prevent her from wanting Chef Josh Beeker. She decides to persuade the restaurateur to taste her delicious delight.

These are three fun lighthearted contemporary romances starring women going after their respective man although the novella format never allows any of the characters to be fully developed (except for body parts), as expected from this talented trio.

Her Sexy Valentine
Stephanie Bond
Harlequin Blaze
9780373795260 $4.99

Director of Finance at Mystic Touch Greeting Cards Carol Snow enjoys her relationship thrills to come from a novel and not a real person ever since her former fiance burned her on Valentine's Day. As such she appreciates her time as a member of the Red Tote Book Club for romance readers. However, Carol is stunned when the other participants decide on each of them to select their favorite romance novel to guide them in seducing the man of their dreams; Carol problem is she has no man of her dreams outside of a novel as she distrusts ma les so she plans to fake her tryst.

The nearest male she can think of is her occasional day dreaming about her too oozing charm peer Luke Chancellor. When he shocks her by asking her out on a date, Carol wants to flee back to book reading. However, she bumps her head and soon lives over and over past and future Valentine's Day to include mind boggling sex with Luke. Soon even repeating the greatest sexual trysts of her life is not enough as Carol wants Luke to love her like she does him.

The sequel to Seduction by the Book is an erotic Jane Austen Book Club inside the movie Groundhog Day. Carol is a superb lead character while Luke is a wonderful male who wants his peer as he has for two unfulfilled years. Fans will enjoy this fun whimsical romantic fantasy.

Quarterback Daddy
Linda Barrett
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373716197 $5.50

Attorney Alexis Brown has no time to mourn the death of her sister Sherri who was killed by her former boyfriend. Sheri was nine months pregnant when the murder-suicide occurred but the baby was saved. Alexis has big debts due to college loans, mortgage and her sister's funeral, but also must take care of her infant niece Michelle. Alexis needs financial help so she decides to ask the baby's father New England Patriots starting quarterback Dan Delito for childcare funding.
A widower Dan does not deny his relationship with Sherri, but as a celebrity distrusts lawyers and aunts so demands DNA testing. When the results prove he is the father, he informs Alexis he will raise his child Michelle. This breaks Alexis' heart as she loves her niece, but legally with no grounds to stand on, Alexis leaves. However, Dan and Michelle miss Alexis, as she has sacked both their hearts; but will he beg her to come home?

This interesting New England romance stars two adults with issues as each has problems with their past; her with her parents and him with the death of he wife several years ago. The lead couple makes the contemporary tale work as the lawyer and the football star fall in love with each other and with Michelle, but unless they overcome their fears of trusting their respective hearts; their relationship is at fourth down and seconds to go with no more timeouts.

The P.I. Contest
C.J. Carmichael
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373716173 $5.50

NYPD cop Kate Cooper realizes her fiance police officer Connor Lowery is cheating on her. She not only kicks him to the curb, she quits the police department because she realizes she no longer trusts him or his two buddies, Max Beranger and Dan Bogart, especially her patrol partner Max. Instead Kate accepts an offer from her friend Lindsay Fox to work at the Fox and Fisher Detective Agency.

The other partner Nathan Fisher's friend, commercial pilot Jay Savage wants to spend time with his fourteen year old nephew Eric whose mom just died. He needs to stay home to be with troubled Eric who only has his uncle to help him; so Jay wants the same position that Kate has been offered and Nathan offers to help him. As Kate and Jay compete for the same job by working a case, they begin to fall in love.

The sequel to Perfect Partners, The P.I. Contest is a wonderful exciting private investigative romance as the competitors fall in love while working on the same assignment and seeking the same position. Fans will enjoy this engaging tale as another cop leaves the Twentieth Precinct to join Fox and Fisher where she finds true love if she is willing to take a second chance with her heart while Jay is in love but Eric must come first.

Once in a Blue Moon
Leanna Ellis
9780805449884 $14.99

While most of the world celebrated the Apollo 11 moon landing, nine years old Bryn Seymour grieved the death of her mom Jennifer. Four decades later, Bryn learns of some strange information re NASA and her late mother.

Needing to know the truth, as she begins to think perhaps NASA is concealing something about her mom, Bryn travels to Texas to confront Howard Walters, who knew her mother. She hopes he can and will tell her the truth about her mom's death and perhaps NASA cover-ups. In Texas, Bryn and Howard's son Sam are attracted to one another, but his dad's conspiracy theory involving Jennifer may keep them apart.

Once in a Blue Moon is an intriguing tale of a woman who never came to grips with the sudden death of her mother forty years ago and now has a chance for closure if she can obtain the truth; that is if anyone living knows the truth as Howard spins a conspiracy tale. Falling in love was not part of her plan, but fate intervenes. Fans will enjoy this strong romantic mystery due to a powerful cast, which besides the late mother and her adult daughter and the two Walters includes the late 1960s Apollo mission teams.

Shield of Duty
Scarlett Dean
Five Star
9781594148552 $25.95

Southfield Heights, Indiana Police Detective Kate Frost is not looking forward to Crier reporter Ed "Egg" Nog tagging along when she comes back from her Wisconsin skiing vacation with friends at White Crest Mountain. However, the fun in the snow turns ugly when Kate and pals finds the torn apart corpse of one of them Evelyn Jakes. The cop knows Jakes had enemies, but not who would go so far as to slice her like this and place her dismembered body parts into plastic.

Kate and her partner police detective Gerard Alvarez investigate. At the same the spirit of Kate's late sister Lindsay, a former cop, provides her sibling with otherworldly guidance that only Kate can hear; she also councils the newly departed like mobster Ricco DiCianni, who wants to hire Lindsay to solve his murder. However, even with this paranormal help, solving the Jakes case seems to be going nowhere.

This is a terrific often amusing paranormal whodunit with two police procedural subplots mostly handled by the sisters on different planes. The support cast is solid in support of the sibling cops with Lindsay telling much of the story from her otherworldly perspective. Fans will enjoy this entertaining mystery and seek the previous work when from beyond the late detective investigated the murder of Lindsay Frost (see Invisible Shield).

Feisty Family Values
B.D. Tharp
Five Star
9781594148491 $25.95

In the affluent Riverside neighborhood of Wichita, Kansas, widow Regina Morgan-Smith lives lik e a queen with her close friend chef Tillie Dawson. Her passion is painting, which she has been successful at, but outside of that her life is run by routines.

That changes when her impoverished battered frumpy cousin Annabelle Hubbard arrives seeking shelter having been thrown out of the house of her adult daughter Lydia. Whereas Tillie warmly welcomes the bruised Annabelle, Regina detests the impact on her regulated life. ; Adding to her troubles is her late mom begins lecturing her and Tillie's breast cancer returns. However chaos arrives in the form of Annabelle's frightened three grandchildren (thirteen years old Peggy, twelve years old Ted and ten years old Megan) with the boy having a broken arm. With Mr. Pickles the kitten and two men entering the lives of Regina and Tillie, the elegant widow wonders how her set lifestyle was nuked so quickly.

Although obviously a soap opera with too many critical topics being explored like breast cancer, abused elders and children, abandonment, drug usage and sexagenarian romances, fans will still appreciate Feisty Family Values as each of the ensemble cast comes across as genuine. The story line is obviously character driven with the audience pondering whether regal Regina will kick everyone to the curb as encouraged by her mom's spirit.

Bad Moon Rising
L.F. Crawford
Five Star
9781594148583 $25.95

After working a gruesome serial killer case with a paranormal spin that left her nearly killed (see Beverly Hills Voodoo), Beverly Hills medical examiner Dr. Mary Eclaire leaves town and her boyfriend Police detective Art Murry for her hometown to try to emotionally heal. Murry is heartbroken so his brother the opera star Lance and his police partner Billy Kidman persuade him to go with them on a cruise.

When a young passenger Nina Porter who went off with Billy is found dead in New Orleans, local detective Jean Gallant arrests Billy though she feels he did not commit the crime. While Murry investigates to prove his partner out on bail innocent, Billy disappears. Murry knows that ship employee Thomas Samson and his lover affluent Sylvania Benoit killed the woman, but struggles to prove it even with help from Marie LeVeau on some sort of mystical plane.

The second Murry paranormal whodunit is an entertaining mystery containing several supernatural twists. The story line is fast-paced once the NOPD hone in on Billy as the killer as Murry has no more time to lament and drink away his feelings of failing his beloved Mary as he over does at the beginning. Fans will know who the killer is early on, but the fun is watching what Murry deals with in proving his partner's innocence. Well written, Bad Moon Rising gives credence to the fact that justice comes in many ways.

Walking Homeless
Al Lamanda
Five Star
9781594148514 $25.95

In New York, homeless John Tibbets rescues NYPD cop Gary Nevin near the Manhattan entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge from a deadly assault; making him a city hero for also taking a bullet to the abdomen. Tibbets prefers to return to the shadows of the street. However, three decade police veteran Captain Walter Taft is shocked with a homeless person easily killing three thugs though he is extremely grateful the enigmatic man saved the life of his wife's nephew by do so.

Adding to the mystery of Tibbets is he has amnesia and is unable to explain his skills of a SEAL or Delta forces commando. Tibbets insists he cannot recall anything before arriving at a Bowery St. shelter. The media goes crazy over the reluctant hero who upon leaving the hospital realizes he is being followed for what he assumes is an assassination. He also fears for the life of shelter head Julie Warner. As they flee into the night, corpses are left behind like bread crumbs for the cops to follow their trail.

This is a super fast-paced action thriller that hooks the audience with wanting to know (just like Taft) who is Tibbets as he killed three muggers a couple of nights before the rescue incident made him famous and a target. Fans will appreciate this powerful action-packed tale with several great twists that lead to a one sitting need to know thriller.

The Traitor in Us All
Robert S. Levinson
Five Star
9781594148521 $25.95

In Eden Highlands, California, killer Emil Grass murders one teen in a pizza shop and abducts the victim's friend Tracy Collins. The assumption is she is a hostage. However, reporter Jack Sothern disagrees.

Instead he seeks a link between Grass and the extended Collins' family. He soon finds what he sought with Tracy's mother, Maggie. Sothern believes Maggie has seen, and perhaps possesses, the lost missing diary of the late Erich Mielke, the notorious deadly East German Ministry of State Security chief. Maggie had been married to Dan "The Turncoat rebel" Boone, who defected to the USSR but tried to return to the West before the Wall came down; only to be assassinated. Now the past transgressions of the adults have converged on the rightfully frightened teenage child.

The Traitor in Us All is an exhilarating action-packed thriller that has deep ugly ties back to the Cold War. The story line is fast-paced from the opening kidnapping to the final confrontation, but ignore your plausibility meter as the plot is over the top of the Kremlin (perhaps the Burj Dubai would be more accurate).

Live to Tell
Wendy Corsi Staub
9780061895067 $7.99

A man is being chased and he needs a place to hide a memory stick. He steals a young girl Sadie's rabbit and leaves it at the lost and found at the Grand Central subway station

In Glenhaven Park, New York Lauren Walsh struggles to cope with losing her husband to another woman. However, Lauren notices someone watching her house especially her daughter Sadie. Her child tells her mom someone entered her room because the invisible wire she put on the door is on the floor.

Republican gubernatorial candidate right wing Garvey Quinn has a secret if revealed would destroy his political career. He has someone seeking the individual with the information that would ruin him. One of his trusted aides says it is inside a pink rabbit dropped off at a lost and found. Sadie's father picks up a pink dog as that is what he though his angry ex ordered him to find. Quinn's aide targets the Walsh family as he will do whatever it takes to obtain the memory stick. Meanwhile Elsa Covington mourns her son abducted a decade ago; Quinn is the tie between these two moms.

This highly entertaining suspense thriller grips the audience who knows what is happening but not why as whatever Garvey conceals at any cost to others remains unknown but tantalizes readers into trying to guess the answer. Garvey makes the tale work as a fully developed villain who uses loyal people to commit crimes that cannot easily be tied to him so he can claim plausible deniability. Lauren is reeling with the ugly divorce, but remains strong especially a lioness protecting her cubs. Fans will root for her and Elsa knowing anyone who accidentally ends up inside of Garvey's circle either as a friend or not is an expendable pawn.

Secrets Of A Scandalous Bride
Sophia Nash
9780061493300 $7.99

In 1814 to hide from the person she believes destroyed her father and consequently her, Elizabeth Ashburton pretends to be a widow. However, escaping from her unwanted suitor only leads her to General Leland Pymm wanting her.

Escaping from the Ton's current favorite male, Elizabeth dives into a carriage. However, her latest flight leaves her with scandalous illegitimate Rowland Manning; whom she feels safe with unlike the General or the alleged killer of her dad. Rowland hides her from the blackmailer who threatens to ruin her; the lord who wants to marry her; and himself who wants to bed her. However, as they fall in love, he revises his options to include her forever if he can save his bus iness and keep her safe.

The key to the freshness of the latest Widows Club Regency romance (see A Dangerous Beauty, Kiss, and Love with the Perfect Scoundrel) is that the heroine has never wedded so she shams her marital status as a widow for protection amidst the Ton. That ploy works to a degree, but not as much as Elizabeth would like as she remains in trouble while wondering if she jumped into the fire (of love) with the most "unchivalrous blackguard" in England. Although the plot is somewhat as expected, fans will enjoy the scandalous secret of this widow.

The Vampire And The Virgin
Kerrelyn Sparks
9780061667862 $7.99

Vampire Robby MacKay heads to the Greek isle of Patmos to recover from his captivity by the Malcontents before seeking vengeance on those who held him prisoner. At the same time, FBI psychologist Olivia Satiris travels to Patmos to spend time with her grandmother and avoid a stalker.

Olivia and Robby meet with her stunned that her psychic skill of sensing emotions fails with him and he shocked to fall in love at first sight. However, her stalker has followed Olivia to Greece, which makes her wonder if Robby is her predator. As he vows to keep his true love safe, Robby knows he must reveal what he conceals from her though once he does he assumes she will flee from him out of fear of love at first bite.

The eighth sparkling Love at Stake urban fantasy romance is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, but belongs to the PTSD embittered Robby. He refreshes the story line from the onset with his need to avenge his torture by the Russians and with his falling in love with the virgin shrink. Fans will enjoy the latest entry (see Forbidden Nights With a Vampire and Secret Life Of A Vampire) though readers will wonder why Dr. Satiris as a shrink and a Fed so easily assumes the worst re Robby.

Winter's Awakening
Shelley Shepard Gray
9780061852220 $12.99

All the Amish residents of Sugarcreek, Ohio assume that Gretta Hershberger and Joshua Graber will marry soon. The pair has been seeing one another and seems so suited together. However, Joshua has some issues with the foregone conclusion of their relationship as if courting and feelings do not matter.

Part of his doubts is his attraction to his new neighbor, eighteen year old English Lilly Allen. She likes Joshua, but believes he will ignore once he learns her secret that she knows if they are to have a relationship she must reveal to him. As Gretta and Joshua drift apart, Roland Schrock tries to court her. Although she loves Joshua, Gretta accepts Roland's advances as he is calmer than the more volatile Joshua, of whom she still loves.

Although the plot of the opening Seasons of Sugarcreek Amish romance is typical of the sub-genre, the cast makes it fresh as the four prime players mature during the entangled courtships. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as the Winter Awakening that stormed the hearts of Joshua and Gretta is becoming Spring's Renewal.

Embrace The Night Eternal
Joss Ware
9780061734021 $7.99

Although the world is not what he remembers having undergone the change five decades ago when he and friends (Dr. Elliot, Quint, Wyatt, and Fence) were trapped in a cave near Sedona without aging, Simon Japp still feels guilty for what he did back then. Still he and his buddies struggle to adjust as they battle the evil Strangers and the deadly Ganga. Elliot having found Jade (see Beyond the Night) is doing the best in their new compound Envy once called Vegas.

Sage Corrigan was born after the "change," but like Simon has a nasty past that haunts her. To survive she and her cohorts at Envy need information on their enemy the Cult of Atlantis and the mysterious Remington Truth. What they know leads to Falling Creek, the last place Sage wants to return to; but she knows she is only one who can get inside along with her pretend husband Simon.

The setting in Awakening Heroes makes the tale as the futuristic world of Ware feels genuine with references back to the old world and the mysterious malevolent Strangers and the Ganga enhance that eerie feeling. Through the flawed lead couple, readers learn more about the post apocalyptic America. Simon and Sage are a wonderful pairing as their respective past psychologically intrudes on the mission and on a future together. Joss Ware is two for two with this terrific urban fantasy.

First Drop Of Crimson
Jeaniene Frost
9780061583223 $7.99

Over a year ago on New Year's Eve, they were attacked by something paranormal that frightened her best friend Cat; Denise knew that little scares a vampire even a hybrid bloodsucker. Denise's husband Randy went outside where the fray was on going, but told his beloved to stay inside with the runaway kids who take shelter with them and promised to be back. He never kept his promise dying during the zombie assault.

Over a year later, Denise's cousin Paul informs her that he does not believed the doctors or police are right when they insist twenty-three year old Amber died from a heart attack; he thinks she was murdered and he is "Destined for an Early Grave" too. Denise says no way, but the man comes out of the shadows and grabs Paul who stops breathing. She attacks the man who laughs and vanishes. Next she tries CPR as does a stranger, but both end up coughing and Paul remains dead.

Unable to reach Cat or her BF's mate Bones, Denise calls Spade the vampire. Bones' best buddy quickly arrives and realizes that the killer left behind a residual of demon essence from Raum, which proves Paul was right; dead right. They seek Nathaniel, who escaped from Raum. As they search for the predator, each feels an unwanted attraction to one another, which she rejects out of guilt and he denies out of a previous failed mortal relationship.

This is a great beginning of a sidebar series spun from the terrific Night Huntress saga as Denise and Spade have consistently appeared so fans knows each of them. The story line is fast-paced from the attack on Paul and never slows down on either the urban fantasy thriller prime plot or the supporting romantic subplot. Jeaniene Frost provides a powerful tale.

Nothing Denied
Jess Michaels
9780061657726 $13.99

Six seasons without getting married for most members of the aristocracy denotes being on the shelf for a young woman. However optimistic Beatrice Albright decides to take the bull by the horn between the male legs before her seventh season begins and ultimately ends with her being a spinster.

Realizing her desperation Beatrice selects widower Marquis Gareth Berenger, who is a notorious "pariah" amidst the Ton as the gossips believe Highcroft murdered his late wife. Beatrice proposes a marriage of convenience that Gareth tentatively agrees to if she passes his well-matched sexual test as he has atypical desires. . He suggests a trial affair, so he can be sure that Beatrice can accept his special sexual needs. As he trains her in his passionate world of domination and submissiveness, she proves a willing passionate student. When love enters the trial, both knows they passed the test, but someone wants to end their bliss doing whatever it takes as this perpetrator did once before.

The latest Albright sister erotic Regency romance (see Everything Forbidden and Something Reckless) is a terrific tale due to a strong lead couple who both may be desperate but each has values that the refuse to cede. Beatrice is intrepid and earns Gareth's admiration for her courage and eventually his love. Likewise Beatrice has doubts about her brooding chosen one, but though he dominates her submissiveness, he is kind and caring and risks his life for his beloved. Though the villain is a bit over the top of Big Ben, readers will appreciate this exhilarating BDSM historical romance.

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
Myrlin A. Hermes
9780061805196 $13.99

Horatio the scholar is a prideful intellect who enjoys debate at Wittenberg University. When he meets the impish, but darkly troubled student Prince Hamlet of Denmark, he feels passion for another person for the first time in his adult life. The royal is beautiful and Horatio desires him.

Wealthy merchant Baron de Maricourt hires Horatio to stage a play in honor of his wife Adriane, who has the hots for writers and performers. Horatio persuades Hamlet to perform as a young woman. The philosopher begins to author sonnets to his Hamlet, but Adriane wants him to write about her beauty. As the relational triangle forms, some unknown playwright named Will Shakespeare makes an unethical bid to win favor of Adriane as his muse and that of Hamlet too; angering Horatio that a no talented nonentity would dare to attempt to replace him.

Although some might insist a prequel to Hamlet is a tragedy, the aptly titled The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet makes for an entertaining tale. The story line is amusing as the lead triangle and the support cast (especially the cuckold spouse and the upstart bum wannabe bard) struggle with gender and sexual issues. The Hamlet citations are overused and abused, but overall fans will enjoy this tweaking of Shakespeare mindful that Tom Stoppard did likewise with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy
Dani Shapiro
9780061826696 $14.99

Raised by Orthodox Jewish parents in the New York City suburban part of New Jersey, Dani Shapiro gave up Sarah Lawrence to be a trophy girlfriend to an old er married attorney though Lenny Klein is the stepfather of her BF. One call while she enjoys a San Diego spa changes everything into before and after. Aunt Roz tells her that her mom and dad were in a car accident; both are in ICU at Overlook Hospital in Summit; no one has called her father's other daughter from his first marriage while a blizzard shuts down the airports. Uncle Hy tells has that her dad is in a coma and her mom may never walk again. Adding to her fears and suddenly found maturity is the blizzard has shut down the New York airports.

This is a fascinating heart wrenching memoir because the tragic incident proves a revelation for Dani Shapiro as no miracle saves the day yet she rises to the occasion with a maturity her family would not have believed she possessed prior to the accident. Readers will cry on at least two occasions re her father seeing her mother for the first time after the accident and her chat with her father in the cemetery obviously after his death. She realizes what her parents taught her about what matters in life and death is the truth.

The Devil's Star
Jo Nesbo
9780061133978 $25.99

Oslo police detective Harry Hole drowns his greatest professional and personal failures with alcohol. He tried to persuade his superiors that Detective Tom Waaler killed Harry's police partner Ellen Gjelten (see The Redbreast), but no one believed him; Harry also believes the dirty cop sells weapons on the streets. On the personal front, he has been inept in connecting with his girlfriend and her son.

Ironically, Chief Inspector Bjarne Moller teams up Hole and Waaler on the murder investigation of Camilla Loen whose finger was removed and a devil's star shaped diamond jammed under her eyelid. Harry is assigned a missing person's case that soon ties back to the Loen murder. Those corpses are followed by similar bodies as Hole realizes a serial killer is on the loose.

The third Hole Norwegian police procedural is a great whodunit as the hero struggles to sober up in order to work the case ALONG side his Nemesis. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as Harry struggles in all aspects of his life except investigating a homicide. Sub-genre fans will relish his latest caseload on and off the job.

Crazy Heart
Thomas Cobb
9780060915193 $13.99

At one time Bad Blake was a country-and-western superstar, but years of alcohol have taken its toll. In his late fifties, his best has long passed. Even his personal life has been a failure with four broken marriages and a son he has not seen in decades.

Bad once got Tommy Sweet gigs, but now the roles have reversed with the young superstar having Blake open for him. Reporter Jean Craddock meets Bad Black for an interview and they are attracted to one another. As they fall in love, her young son Buddy is the impetus for Bad to look up his son. That reunion like his entire life goes bad, but Bad moves on. Alone with Buddy, he loses his girlfriend's son when he stops for a drink, which will cost him much more.

With a nod to A Star Is Born, this is a character study of a self-destructive person who failed to cope with fame and fortune. The slight story line focuses on Bad, whose irresponsible behavior adversely impacts those who care about him, but learn quickly the cost is too high as he drives them away with his out of control actions. Fans will enjoy Thomas Cobb's bittersweet look into a Crazy Heart.

The Weight of Heaven
Thrity Umrigar
9780061472558 $14.99

Following the death of their seven years old son from meningitis, psychologist Ellie Benton persuades her spouse Frank that he should accept a position to run a HerbalSolutions factory in Girbaug, India as it will be easier to move past their grief if they leave Ann Arbor. He agrees.

In the small village, Ellie adapts rather easily working at a clinic while Frank remains filled with grief and drifts away from his wife. His only solace is tutoring his housekeeper's son Ramesh, which is resented by the lad's father Prakesh. Meanwhile Ellie and Frank are on different sides of the issue of the trees as she defends the locals' use and he claims his company owns them under a lease agreement with the government. Investigative reporter Nandita meets Ellie and they become friends, which further alienates the American woman from her mate. Tragedy seems imminent as hostilities in the village over the trees grow.

This is an entertaining tale of two kindhearted caring people whose outlook is different; as one adjusts while the other turns into the Ugly American who can only buy friendship with a replacement local child. The story line is fast-paced for the most part although a flashback to the Benton courtship feels like unnecessary padding as it adds nothing since the audience knows the couple is educated and liberal until a year or so passes in India. Still readers will appreciate this fine tale as the Benton couple serve as a microcosm of capitalist interests with opposite directions in how each adapts to residing in Girbaug.

The Leisure Seeker
Michael Zadoorian
9780061671791 $13.99

John and Ella Robina have few regrets, but know there time together is counting down. She suffers from cancer and he from Alzheimer's. Over the objection of their respective doctors and their adult children Cindy and Kevin, they decide to go on a final fling together.

They leave Madison Heights, just outside Detroit, to head west on Route 66. Their destination is Disneyland. On the trek they stop at inane attractions, eat cheeseburgers, and meet friendly and not so nice Americans. As a show of defiance, Ella tosses her wig away. When his mind is lucid they look at slides of their life together. When his mind is fogged, he drives while Ella has a mission for them in Anaheim.

Although the readers will anticipate the climax, this is a deep look at the near end of life for a loving couple. Ella knows it is a matter of time before she leaves John alone, but what she wants to hear one last time from her soul mate is he calling her name. Using humor and an eccentric support cast met while traveling in their RV westward to avoid overly melodramatic inanity; fans will appreciate this elderly couple on their final leisure fling together.

The Kindly Ones
Jonathan Littell
9780061353468 $16.99

In France, Dr. Maximilien Aue decides to write his memoir focusing on his war experience years ago. Now with a family, Max muses about when he was SS, not only did he oversee and report on the mass murdering of Jews in the Ukraine, he proudly and gleefully participated. He gave tours pf Auschwitz and Birkenau and survived Stalingrad and Hitler's final bunker. His big philosophical spin back in the early days rivals the middle ages how many angels on a pin as he mused how many bodies makes a grave mass?

Looking back at what he considers his only failure, his tormented love for his twin sister, Una, who wants nothing to do with her Herr Doktor brother. Like much of his peers, he anticipated the end of the Third Reich so now what. He knew the Russians make the SS look gentle so he chose the West as Berlin burned.

This is not an easy read as Aue is all over the place with his wandering dialogue that at times meanders more than the River Mosel and often feels like a particular sequence is eternal. Adding to the difficulty of perusing his account is that Aue is not likeable and does not seek redemption; in fact his dissertation is a matter of fact chat of a brutal way of life and death. In other words he is still a cold psychopath concealing his past inside a middle class family. Throughout readers will ask how a culturally aware doctor could commit atrocities but Aue never responds beyond his casual that's life, death and all the torture in between philosophy. Not for everyone, The Kindly Ones is a convoluted hard to follow essay that argues life is brutal, vicious and expendable with human predators hunting and torturing human prey.

The Bird Room
Chris Killen
9780061905902 $10.99

William is insecure when it comes to his girlfriend Alice. She is beautiful, sexy, and smart while he considers himself a loser. He has doubts she loves him though she insists she does. Will introduces his Alice to his extroverted friend Will the artist.

Meanwhile Helen, formerly known as Claire, claims to be an actress although she has never performed; instead she is a model for what increasingly seems to be a carrier in pornography over the net. Will the introverted non-actor looks back as to how his greatest relationship ends while Helen wonders if prostitution is her best bet.

This is not an easy read as the profound character driven story line is not just nonlinear, it is all over time with two key subplots starring Will and Helen respectively eventually merging with an unexpected spin. Chris Killian looks deeply into Internet relationships as cyber distance leads to increase isolation from needed personal contact, but instead creates a false sense of bonding in which no one has to give up any part of their soul. The Bird Room is depressing, but extremely well written as the dark side of the cyber communications and relationships are explored.

Henry Anatole Grunwald
9780061852503 $14.99

This is a reprint of an intriguing 1962 series of twelve round table essays exploring J. D. Salinger's life and contribution trying to determine whether the recluse was in the title of one topic a "Magician, Clubman or Guru". Many boomers read this compilation while attending college English Literature class drawing conclusions re Salinger's place in American literature history while appreciating his profound look at teen angst. Ironically, the editor Henry Anatole Grunwald died in 2005 while the reclusive nonagenarian author remains alive. Fascinating as Mr. Salinger has not published anything in over four decades and not interviewed in three, the entries feel somewhat dated yet well written and insightful nonetheless. Especially enlightening are the articles associated with "The Invisible Man" and "Holden and Huck: A Quest". However, unlike Mark Twain, The Catcher in the Rye published in 1951 is Mr. Salinger's only novel (although there were several well regarded short stories especially in the New Yorker magazine). Like the ducks in Central Park, Salinger continues to swim in a unique psyche of American literature pond with perhaps only Harper Lee somewhat nearby.

The Bad Book Affair
Ian Sansom
9780061452017 $13.99

Mobile librarian Israel Armstrong reaches Tumdrum, in Northern Ireland to allow locals to borrow books. The next day, Israel is open for business thanks to his coop mate Ted's nagging. Fourteen year old Lyndsay Morris borrows an adult only Roth's American Pastoral that she knows her parents especially her politically ambitious father Maurice would ban from their home.

When Lyndsay disappears, the local cops and the media believe Israel abducted her. Library director Linda Wei holds Israel culpable for lending a bad book to a child. Tabloid journalist Veronica threatens to turn him into red meat for a pack of rapid reporters and Maurice goes after him as a tool to regain his lost political seat. His traveling partner in the chicken coop Ted throws him out into the cold suggesting he get to work.

If you seek a strong amateur sleuth, don't bother with the Bad Book Affair as the whodunit investigation is at best a modest proposal. However, if you seek a terrific satire that skewers the lofty affectations and posturing of political, media, and religious leaders by lampooning their holier than thou prejudices and sham social issues (for instance ban the book), than The Book Stops Here. Fans who enjoy a wild witty swift impaling of the self-aggrandizing will want to read the latest adventures of the innocent Israel.

The Great Gamble
Gregory Feifer
9780061143199 $15.99

Anyone who has followed the historians' perspective on the Bush-Obama war in Afghanistan knows the mountainous country has been considered a graveyard for outsiders. Before the Americans, the Soviets became engulfed in a nine-year war there that many say was a much greater factor to the collapse of the Soviet Union than Reagan's build-up; as it exposed the weaknesses of the rag-tag nature of the Red Army. Using predominantly interviews with Soviet veterans and translations of released Russian information, Gregory Feifer provides an intriguing look at why the Russians' felt they lost and believe likewise the Americans will too. In some ways the anecdotal glimpse of the war is overwhelming as there is so much material from so many vets. Yet ironically this deep look from mostly the perspective of Russian war veterans lacks two critical interrelated elements in light of today's debate over whether the United States can win in Afghanistan. First why the Soviets felt they could win a protracted war when they issued rations stamped 1942 and second why did the Afghanistan resistance believe they could defeat one of the world's two superpowers. Still this is an interesting account of the Soviet war in Afghanistan worth reading over several weeks.

How Good People Make Tough Choices
Rush worth M. Kidder
9780688175900 $13.99

This is a super reference that provides readers with pragmatic guidance on making ethical choices when often a less moral short cut is available. Mr. Kidder uses specific examples deciding right from wrong in which most frequently neither is absolute and rarely are they the solo options or obvious which is actually right and wrong. In some cases, the dilemma in choosing what your values scream at you is right, but doing so places you in an uncomfortable position when not doing what your gut feels is right would be noticed by only one person. Loaded with specific examples of having to choose (for instance, the example of worried parents talking to their child's teacher about behavior when the child told the teacher a secret in confidence) makes this a winner. Even society and communities have difficult ethical choices between for instance the environment and energy or development and heritage as short term needs bump against long term goals. Sometimes the debate is personal and communal as is the case with abortion. How people look at the issues may change as for instance HIV when Magic Johnson told the world he had it and the economy influences decisions especially in recessions; still Mr. Kidder still feels strongly a person must eat or get their medicine while sticking to their personal values. Throughout Mr. Kidder makes this case to adhere to your personal values even when it hurts in the short run because you are being true to yourself, which in the long run will cause less pain to you. This is a strong guidebook due to the terrific pragmatic examples of making tough ethical choices.

Star Wars Imperial Commando #1: 501st
Karen Traviss
Del Rey
9780345511133 $7.99

The Clone Wars may have ended (see Star Wars Republic Commando quartet), but hostilities remain as the new Empire that emerged from the conflict presses the offense against the remnants of the Republic and the elimination of the surviving Jedi. Former allies face each other in combat as Republic Commandos are either in support of or opposed to the Empire. Many fled to Mandalore to join the resistance led by Kal Skirata, but Delta and Omega units converted into the Imperial Commando killing force under Vader's leadership with the mission to hunt and kill Jedi and Commando clone deserters.

On Mandalore, the Republic Commando clone deserters, mercenaries, and natives distrust the fugitive Jedi who they blame for the catastrophe. Especially angry at the Jedi are the Commandos who know they will soon be fighting their brothers at arms. However, although they loathe the Jedi, they know they must set aside their hatred because the Imperial Empire is coming to eradicate all of them.

To fully grasp what is going on, the reader needs to have read the four book Republic Commando series first; especially the last tale Order 66. The story line is a transition plot that sets up the changes in the galaxy with the Clone wars being over. No one stands out though Darmen the former Republic Commando is perhaps the most representative as he has no time to grieve and must choose which band of brothers he will fight alongside of against his former band of brothers. Fans of the saga will enjoy Karen Traviss' exciting entry, but newcomers will be lost in that far away galaxy.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth
Karen Miller
Del Rey
9780345509024 $15.00

The Galaxy is at war with the Republic fighting the Separatists Alliance led by Count Dooku who has an unknown Sith master. They are using the dark side of the Force with planets falling to them. Their latest assault is at Kothlis and its strategic Spy-Net Facility. Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead the land and space battle that leaves countless dead and injured while both Jedi know their side is losing the war even though they won this battle.

When they return to the homeworld of the Jedi Order and the political center of the Republic, Senator Organa tells the two Jedi Knights that the Separatists conquered the impoverished world Lanteeb, a place so isolated in the outer rim no one can fathom why the Seps went there. The senator knows their must be something of value on that remote orb, but what is unknown. Anakin and Obi-Ben travel to Lanteeb and learn why the Seps, led by General Durd, conquered Lanteeb and it is critical they stop him or billions will die.

This is the first of a duology starring two of the more fascinating Star War characters. The story line is fast-paced from the opening battle sequence and when the two Jedi are caught behind enemy lines on Lanteeb. The battles as always on screen and in books are vivid enhancing the non stop action. Anakin is a fabulous protagonist whose doubts abut the Jedi and their cause grows with the defeats. Fans will enjoy the opening of the Clone Wars Gambit and look forward to the continual adventures of Anakin and Ob-Ben trying to survive yet also must prevent Durd's plan from occurring as the setback would be impossible to overcome.

Antiques Bizarre
Barbara Allan
9780758234216 $22.00

After a horrible winter, the residents of the Midwest town of Serenity are rejoicing that spring has arrived. Unfortunately though the temperatures rises, the warmer weather leads to melting of ice and snow further north and the Mississippi is overflowing its banks. Serenity is flooded and as the river overflows its' banks and certain streets remain under water. Help the flood victims are septuagenarian Vivian Bourne and her thirtyish daughter Brandy who will host an auction at the Catholic Church.

They visit wealthy Madam Petrova to ask her to donate a Faberge egg although they expect a no from her. Instead she agrees to give them the last one commissioned by the Czar. Art expert Louis Martinette authenticated it decades ago and apparently wins the bidding with a million dollar offer. However, before the gavel comes down to end the bid, people fall to the floor ill. Both Madam Petrova and Louis Martinette are dead and the egg is missing. The cause of the sickness is the Mulligan stew made by Mrs. Mulligan, who commits suicide while Father O'Brien is stabbed to death. Vivian feels responsible as the deaths are related to her auction so with Brandy at her side; she investigates who the serial killing thief is.

The latest Trash 'N' Treasures mystery (see Antiques Flee Market) is an amusing whodunit with less of the cute asides than the previous tales as the mother and daughter team get down to investigative business almost from the onset. Off her Prozac, surrogate pregnant Brandy struggles to keep her bi-polar mom in line during their inquiry, which Brandy's boyfriend the police chief objects to their investigation for safety reasons.. Vivian is over the top with her interrogation methods while Brandy deals with morning sickness and her madcap mother's mayhem.

Petals From The Sky
Mingmei Yip
9780758241818 $15.00

Thirteen year old Meng Ning fell into a well. She survived her ordeal, but also had a revelation that she was fated to be a Buddhist nun. Now an adult Meng has not yet taken her vows as her mentor encourages her to take some time and study abroad, which she does in Paris while her mother is horrified with her daughter's decision.

At the Summer Buddhist Retreat, a fire places Meng in jeopardy until American Dr. Michael Fuller, who rescued her when her black-market monetary exchange proved counterfeit, carries her to safety. They become friends and companions. However, that ends when he proposes and she refuses as her dream is to be a nun not a wife. Although she changes her mind and accepts, she still wonders if she is making a mistake until a car accident opens her eyes.

This is an intriguing look at Buddhism in mostly Paris and Hong Kong; so there is a western flavoring. The story line is profound as Meng must choose between spiritual and mortal loves; while coping with pressure from others trying to influence her selection. Although Michael seems more like a stereotype of a westerner involved with an Asian woman whose belief system differs from his, fans will enjoy Petals From the Sky as Meng must determine the path her devotion leads her to.

Taming the Moon
Sherrill Quinn
Kensington Brava
9780758231918 $14.00

Holding six years old Zoe as hostage to force her mom to perform a deadly deed, New York werewolf pack alpha Eddy ordered omega Olivia Felan to kill Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Rory Sullivan or else have her daughter returned in a body bag. Olivia is attracted to the cop and instead of killing him, accidentally turned him into a furry shapeshifter like she is (see Seducing the Moon) though he is unaware she was the one who changed him.

However, crazy Eddy still holds Zoe so she warns Olivia to complete the mission before his patience runs out. She heads to the Southwest United States where she confesses everything except one biting mission to Sully; he persuades her to team up with him to rescue Zoe and kill Eddy; as well as for some wolfish sex. Once that mission is done, Sully plans to find the werewolf who converted him and kill the beast.

This is an entertaining werewolf romantic suspense starring a beleaguered omega who can turn lioness when it comes to her cub. The story line is fast-paced, but a bit thin especially for newcomers as the previous Sherrill Quinn Moon howlers (see Daring the Moon and Seducing the Moon) provide the depth as to how Olivia and Sully got to the point they have reached. Fans will enjoy this fun tale of an omega turning alpha to rescue her daughter.

Once Bitten, Twice Dead
Bianca D'Arc
Kensington Brava
9780758247292 $14.00

Police officer Sarah Petit investigates a routine call in an abandoned building that she assumes is being used by the homeless or teens drinking. Instead zombies assault her. She survives the assault, but is stunned by these B movie attackers.

She goes to a nearby hospital for treatment. Green Beret Captain Xavier Beauvoir visits Officer Petit at the hospital where he explains to her the zombie disease was accidentally created by the military and that Sarah is one of few people with natural immunity. He further elucidates that her immunity may prevent further mass calamity from occurring though the enemy continues to create more of these monsters.

This is a fun zombie romance in which the love subplot is shockingly between two humans. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of zombie action. Although the prime villain comes across as a Hollywood B level stereotype, readers will enjoy the cop and the soldier battle the paranormal, the brass (his and hers) and love in Bianca D'Arc's exciting supernatural military romance.

Battle of the Network Zombies
Mark Henry
9780758225269 $15.00

Not all zombies are disgusting creatures as depicted in the Night of the Living Dead saga. Take Seattle's Amanda Feral for instance; she is beautiful using makeup to cover rot like hiding acne, but when a part gets too nasty she can turn to the reapers who for an exorbitant fee (will health care reform cover this) will fix the blemish. Since her ad agency tanked thanks to a client who created a product that flopped once the public knew what is made of, Amada's "agent" Wendy KlarKaroff arranged a meeting with the despicable wood nymph Johnny Birch for some needed publicity by appearing on his reality TV show.

Johnny's new show "Minions Mansion" is overloaded with "guests" who hate him. When someone threatens him, he plans two hire a body guard from one of the contestants on his sh ow. Amanda becomes a judge on Minions Mansion and is one of the first people to find his corpse inside his locked safe. Many of the crew including the judges had strong motives to incinerate Johnny, but Amanda fears the killer will strike again; yet her warning is ignored as everyone assumes Johnny deserved to die and prefer Happy Hour of the Damned.

Somewhat chick-lit comedy, Amanda's latest urban fantasy amateur sleuth (see Road Trip of the Living Dead) is a unique reading experience as Mark Henry gives the zombie treatment to reality TV. Amanda is perfect for pulling off the satire with her sidebar commentary about life as a zombie diva which is expensive because image is everything and she must have expensive make-up and a classy wardrobe and she hope the publicity of being a judge will get her some clients for her ad agency. Fans will enjoy this refreshingly something different as Amanda judges the undead as deadly, but her philosophy is to die with your makeup on. The audience will like the switch from a reality show to a mystery who-done-it which Amanda hopes to solve

Apple Turnover Murder
Joanne Fluke
9780758234896 $24.00

In Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen's business The Cookie Jar is booming with orders as June is busting out with weddings and other events. When Mayor Bascomb and his wife Stephanie order one thousand and one hundred apple turnovers to sell at the Lake Eden Combined Charities Drive, Hannah is elastic but wonders of there is time to make that amount in addition to their other orders. Her partner Lisa's enthusiasm plus other bakers all chip in to fulfill the order.

The only real issue Hannah has with the gala is the emcee is community college professor Brad Ramsey; whom Hannah and her younger sister Michelle had relationships with at different times when the sisters were attending school. Ramsey has made a lot of enemies especially breaking the hearts of many coeds, but Hannah never expected someone to kill him when she finds his murdered body backstage holding a turnover. Hannah investigates hoping to identify the culprit without the police especially her other boyfriend deputy Mike Kingston, who leads the official inquiry, knowing that the Swensen siblings were part of Brad's conquests. She is also worried about her second boyfriend Norman acting peculiarly and out of character, as he left home warm and loving but has come back to the nest cold and aloof

Although the Swenson brood seem to find murdered corpses all over Lake Eden (see Lemon Meringue Pie for instance)that should run them out of town as jinxes, fans will fully enjoy Apple Turnover Murder as this is probably the best baked amateur sleuth of the series. Hannah has two mysteries to solve; first the whodunit and second what is wrong with Norman. Thus the heroine is at her best as she works the homicide trying to conceal from the town knowing her and Michelle were on the professor of love's hot list. Besides an entertaining mystery and a dozen recipes, readers will learn much more about how the heroine feels re her two beaus and a look at the family.

Secrets of Sin
Chloe Harris
Kensington Aphrodisia
9780758238535 $14.00

In 1745 Sea Captain, Reinier Barhydt sails the Caribbean without seemingly a care when he decides to divorce the wife he left behind in Bougainvillea four year ago. Thus he returns home, but is shocked with what he sees. First the plantation is thriving; second his wife Emiline du Ronde-Barhyd is also thriving with beauty, charm and intelligence; third she demands a divorce; and fourth the biggest stunner to the sailor is he uncertain he wants the divorce.

Instead of signing and filing papers, Reinier offers his spouse a deal. She gives him three full days in which she must obey his command in return he will sign the divorce document and sail away forever. She readily agrees as she feels she can handle anything on his body for seventy-two hours in order to be free. Neither expected what happened over those three days of sex to the nth degree, but in this Eden a friend of his arrives devastating the Captain's revised plans re his wife.

This is a super heated erotic historical romance starring two delightful lead characters whose exploits in and out of the boudoir make for an entertaining tale as each starts off competing to trump the other, but passion overwhelms both of them. As they fall from lust to in love with lust, each considers modifying their schemes as three days seems inadequate. Readers will relish this strong mid eighteenth century Caribbean erotica and look forward to the sequel.

Between the Sheets
PJ Mellor
Kensington Aphrodisia
9780758238184 $14.00

"Redd Hot". Whatever realtor Andrea wants she takes; so seeing the desire in her latest client Connor she decides to mix business with pleasure and take him all night.

"Just Right". Ashley is depressed as her love life is nonexistent until her friend Daryl takes her on a sexual adventure.

"Stroke Of Midnight". Diver Beth is investigating a sunken ship when she runs into a hunk under the sea who persuades her that dry land will prove a lot more exciting and satisfying.

These are three entertaining heated eroticas with diverse fully developed women and men who are one dimensional - penis only.

The Boleyn Wife
Brandy Purdy
9780758238443 $15.00

In the Court of King Henry VIII, plain Jane Parker may be shy but she is not stupid as she knows she cannot compete with the beauty and glamour of the women who toss themselves at the monarch; yet for some unknown reason men seemed to desire her. She was uninterested in any of them beyond furthering her position at court until she meets charming George Boleyn. When Jane and George are directed to wed, he obeys without much passion while she is ecstatic.

However, she quickly realizes that his devotion is entirely to his sister emotive Anne. Not one to cry over what could have been, Jane waits for Anne who has become queen to self destruct. When the moment arrives, she betrays her cold husband and her sister-in-law accusing them of incestuous adultery, which both denied even as they were executed. She outlasts the next wife Anna of Cleves and gives her support to Anne's cousin Katherine Howard as Henry's next wife. Jane arranges the trysts between Katherine and her lover Thomas Culpepper. However, when Henry learns he is cuckolded, he has his wife, her lover, and their go between executed.

The Boleyn Wife is an interesting work of historical fiction that provides a fresh look at the novelization of the court of King Henry VIII. Loathed by most historians as a false accuser and betrayer, Brandy Purdy brings a wider perspective of a jealous young wife who wanted the love of an uncaring husband, but learned she could not compete with her sister-in-law so she chose vengeance instead. Readers will relish this fine portrait of a "scorned" spouse whose reprisal against the Boleyn brood proved pivotal in the reign of Henry VIII.

Culture Clash
L. Divine
Kensington Dafina
9780758231116 $9.95

At South Bay High in Compton, California, Jayd Jackson is upset with how the school ignores Cultural Awareness Day beyond platitudes. Used to taking charge, Jayd persuades her friends to form the African Student Union, which leads to outrage from racists.

Jayd also learns she loves driving but not just her vehicle; she enjoys racing cars though her Bayou grandmother Mama Lynn Mae wants her to ease off the accelerator of boys and not just hot rods. On the other hand her mom Lynn Marie telepathically encourages her daughter to take chances but to do so knowing the risk. Finally there is the Latino newcomer Emilio who shares her attraction as mama fears her beloved granddaughter is heading for a big hurt as the males in her life like Rah and KJ have done before.

The latest Drama High teen tale is a fast-paced entry that gives new hope that Mom and Jayd have found men who will not cause the big hurt that Mama anticipates will happen to both of them. The support cast is as always fully developed and filled with drama queens and kings who make life for the heroine interesting but complicated. Although newcomers would be better off starting with book one (see The Fight) to learn how far Jayd and the gang have come in this divine series, Culture Clash is another strong character driven story as L. Divine emphasizes successful relationships need nurturing and caring attention or they atrophy.

Lay Down My Sword and Shield
James Lee Burke
Gallery Books (Pocket)
9781439165454 $15.00

Hackberry Holland was once a POW for thirty-two months as a guest of the Chinese-North Koreans, but now practices law in DeWitt County, Texas at a time when the Civil Rights movement has the south in an uproar few have seen in decades. His family and friends want Hack to run for Congress, which he agrees to do but he has doubts although his Republican opponent is a drunken racist bully and the Democrats always win in Texas. Besides he has the backing of R.C. Richardson, an oil zillionaire, who he kept out of prison.

However, any political ambition may be in trouble when he visits his war buddy Arturo Gomez, who has been convicted of assault of a Texas Ranger and heading to the state farm. Art tells Hack he was picketing with union organizers when the Rangers jumped them. His attorney is a local state selected lawyer who provided no defense for a Chicano. Now Art needs the relief pitcher to overcome his conviction. Hack comes out of the bullpen to try.

This is a reprint of an enjoyable Civil Rights era thriller that focuses on justice, Texas style. The story line is character driven, but not just by Hack as the ensemble support cast enhances the conflict between Chicanos wanting to organize into a union and the wealthy powerful ready to prevent it using legal chicanery. Fans will enjoy Hack's moral dilemma as he is caught between two worlds during a period of flux.

The River King's Road
Liane Merciel
Gallery Books, (Pocket)
9781439159118 $26.00

Once Oakharn and Langmyr were provinces of the same empire, but when the empire collapsed, both became kingdoms on opposite sides of the Seivern River. War has been a constant between the two countries with many dying on both sides. Sir Galefrid of Bull's March in Oakharn travels with his wife and infant son to Willowfield in Langmyr hoping to broker a peace. While they attend church, they and the locals are attacked; the only survivors of the atrocity are the infant Winston, son of Galefrid and brother to Leferic. The mercenary knight Brys Tarnell takes care of Winston until he can get him to safety.

The massacre is just the beginning as a red mist appears in the village killing everyone. Brys knows it is a Thorn's doing. A Thorn is a maimed witch, a cruel sadistic killer; void of human feelings. What he is ignorant of is that Galefred's acrimonious brother Leferic, coveting power, made a deal with evil. Leferic is now the lord, but learns Winston lives; he makes another deal with the devil to eliminate the heir. Brys and peasant woman Odosse seek a safe place for the baby as Leferic's hired Thorn gives chase. Every step is dangerous as Leferic needs Winston dead.

This is a delightful epic fantasy that will remind readers of the movie Willow in a Terry Brooks' early Shannon saga. The good guys and gals are likable and admirable as they sacrifice their safety to keep the infant safe. A key element is that the audience will understand Leferic whose sibling rivalry and jealousy has turned him into a sociopath with ambition and willingness to cut any Faustian deal to achieve his goal of power. Although more infant issues would have been a terrific addition, fans will root for the mercenary, the peasant and the baby as they try to stay alive.

The Truth About Lord Stoneville
Sabrina Jeffries
9781439167519 $7.99

In 1806 his mother screams at sixteen year old Oliver Sharper then soon after in a rage she rides off to the hunting lodge. Once there she shot and killed her cheating spouse and her self. In a scandalous instant Oliver became the new Marquess of Stoneville.

By 1825, Oliver has lived since the murder-suicide the life of a rake. His four younger siblings are as out of control as he is. Disappointed but understanding, their Gran hoped time would heal their wounds, but has not. Hence she informs them at the sight of the pivotal tragedy they will marry within a year or she will cut off their funds.

Oliver plans to meet his Gran's order by marrying someone inappropriate. He goes to a London brothel where he meets American Maria Butterfield who is in England searching for her missing fiance with a clue taking her to the house of ill repute. Oliver rescues her fro m a customer, but blackmails her into pretending she is his intended. As they fall in love, Maria must remain patient as her Hellions of Halstead Hall beloved seems confused by his feelings for her.

This amusing late Regency romance start of a new series is actually and offshoot of the "School for Heiresses". The story line is fast-paced and loaded with a strong cast especially the lead rake, his family and his beloved American. The fun once again is in the humorous gender war as Maria rips the haughty wastrel's skin baring his tormented soul filled with guilt and remorse for setting off his mom almost two decades ago. The Truth About Lord Stoneville is that this is a super historical.

Her Last Chance
Michele Albert
9781416531401 $7.99

Claudia Cruz was forced to resign from the Dallas Police Department when the brass failed to back her against an excessive force claim after she killed a rapist. Considered Tough Enough to be one of their operatives, Avalon art recovery agency hires her.

FBI agent Vincent DeLuca works art theft cases. He and Claudia clash when they become involved on the same case in Philadelphia where an ancient Greek Corinthian helmet was stolen in spite of tight security at Champions and Stone's. However, as sparks fly between them, she soon believes the felon for some reason is targeting Vincent though he rejects her premise. Soon afterward, he will regret his dismissal as the prey becomes the predators.

This is a terrific art theft romantic whodunit starring two beloved enemies who enter into instant verbal combat from the onset and never take a breather break except for kissing. With a throwback feel to the 1930s Hepburn-Tracy wars inside of a modern investigative thriller, fans will fully enjoy the latest Avalon tale as Vincent wonders if he is Touch Enough to not just compete with kick-butt Claudia, but to loosen his tie around her.

Ravishing in Red
Madeline Hunter
9780515147544 $7.99

Her father died during a scandal in which he never had time to prove his innocence. His faithful daughter Audrianna Kelmsleigh rejects the belief that her dad committed the heinous crime of sedition. She learns the sad truth that a woman who is independent must learn to protect herself as she travels to the Two Swords Coaching Inn near Brighton with plans to confront the man she blames for her father's death, prosecutor Lord Sebastian Sommerhays.

Sebastian is happy that Kelmsleigh is dead as the man deserved death. However, during a fracas at the Two Swords Coaching Inn, he is shot. Worse to avoid a scandal that would further destroy Audrianna's reputation, he is forced to marry her though he enjoyed stealing the kiss. She persuades her new husband to help her prove the innocence or guilt of her father. Neither expected to fall in love with one another nor begin to find information leading to traitors willing to kill two more people to keep their dastardly activity secret.

This is a super historical and a superb romantic mystery starring two likable beloved enemies. The story line is fast-paced whether the focus is on proving her father's innocence or guilt or on the romance. Madeline Hunter provides a powerful tale as an independent woman needs to protect herself with love.

Tonya Plank
Dark Swan Press
9780615280998 $17.99

Sophie Hegel left Florence to attend Yale Law School although her shyness makes public speaking a combat sport. At school during a debate she met decade older Stephen. In early 2001 with the Towers still part of the landscape, she graduates and passes the New York State bar Exam. Sophie starts work at New York City's Public defender Office and moves into Stephen's Manhattan apartment.

Engaged to marry, they are having dinner together when she suddenly cannot eat or speak and barely can breath. Her throat feels stuffed by a ball the size of her fiance's fist. She remembers as a seven years old having the first time the fist blocked her throat when she, her sister and mom left their dad in California to move to the Arizona penitentiary city of Florence. Finally deciding to learn what her condition is, Sophie finds out she suffers from a psychosomatic illness Globus Sensate; a condition that makes it difficult to represent her Sing Sing clients in a court of affluence, but 9/11 will soon teach her what terror truly is as she walks down sixteen flights.

This is a terrific character study of a mid twenties woman struggling with a psychological disorder that attacks her physically at importune moments in a world and in her mind already out of control with unfairness. Whether it is Arizona, New Haven, or New York, Sophie struggles to survive feeling like an outsider; enabling her to empathize with her poverty stricken clients. Fans will root for this wonderful heroine who refuses to allow her delicate condition and her sense of not belonging from preventing her from doing her best for her indigent clients who face a system that scorns them as losers for being poor.

How to Make Love Like A Porn Star
Jenna Jameson
IT (Harper Collins)
9780060539108 $16.99

This autobiography is intelligent and insightful yet also carries an implied cautionary message about looking before leaping, but if you dare leap never apologize nor lose sight of your prime life dream even if it seems to be drifting further away. Perhaps the most famous porn star of the 1990s perhaps since Deep Throat, Ms. Jameson was a Vegas cheerleader with a cop for a father. At sixteen she met and fell in love with Jack the tattoo artist, whose uncle raped her. Feeling guilt and unable to tell her dad, Ms. Jameson moved in with Jack. One year later her resume included stripper, drug user, nude model and porn film performer. Rather quickly in popular demand, she became the highest paid stripper and porn actress. Fascinatingly as she spiraled from one starring role to another, Ms. Jameson makes a strong case that her parents' family values never left her; as her ultimate dream remained to have a loving family although her life had been a landslide of XXX. That is until she marries for the second time.

Well written in a choppy style with a variety of formats that befits the author's life, readers will relish this entertaining yet morally uplifting memoir as Ms. Jameson instead of baring her body's Private Parts bares her soul. She especially digs deep into her well endowed thriving career in spite of crack and other drug addiction, and horrific relationships. This is a fascinating autobiography that could have used an update since its original released in 2004 as readers will want to know what she plans to tell her twins when they are older about her career.

On Deadly Ground
Michael Norman
Poisoned Pen
9781590586921 $24.95

Kanab, Utah contains two angry camps as the environmentalists and the ranchers argue over rights. The Escalante Environmental Wilderness Alliance (EEWA) directly opposes the Citizens for a Free West (CFW) as the former believe regulation is needed to protect the land while the latter believes the government should stay out of people's rights to use the land as they feel fit.

The debate turns ugly when the bullet-laden body of EEWA chief David Greenbrier is found hanging from a beam in a barn. Kane County Sheriff Charley Sutter asks native son J.D. Books, recently appointed as a law enforcement ranger at the Bureau of Land Management, to help with the investigation. The former Denver cop who was forced him to resign form the force finds blood on the door of Greenbrier's SUV. Although his initial reaction is to look closely at the CFW, Books uncovers evidence that points towards an EEWA member as a suspect. Lance Clayburn was having an affair with the victim's wife and physical proof ties him to the murder scene. However, Books' experience in the Mile High City makes him suspect the prime suspect as the killer as Clayburn is too easily linked to the homicide; so he looks elsewhere especially to the west where coal interests in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument reside.

This is a strong police procedural that looks deeply at the issue of development vs. individual rights, and the environment as they converge in Kane County. The investigation is fast-paced while making strong cases for mining, conservation and the rights of people; leaving it to the reader to decide what should trump the others. Fans will appreciate this deep thought provoking whodunit as Michael Norman entertains the reader yet also makes a strong case these are not sound byte drill baby issues.

Freeze Frame
Peter May
Poisoned Pen
9781590586945 $24.95

Expatriate Scotsman forensic scientist Enzo McLeod continues his pursuit to solving the seven-case bet he made with his daughter Kirsty's boyfriend Roger Raffin though he has some personal issues that could curtail his efforts. He heads to the Ile de Groix off of Brittany where septuagenarian widower Adam Killian was murdered in 1990 in his study.

Killian was a noted tropical disease expert and entomologist who allegedly used his skills to leave clues to identify his killer to his son Peter who was returning from Africa and had directed his wife Jane to touch nothing until he "reads" what his father left behind in death. However, he but died before he could do what his dad wanted of him. As such Jane has insured the den has not been touched since her husband and father-in-law died. However, t he island locals want Enzo to leave as the cold case has brought a negative light on the island while someone takes a more drastic approach to make the forensic expert leave.

The latest McLeod cold case mystery (see EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE, THE CRITIC and BLACKLIGHT BLUE) is a superb whodunit as a distracted Enzo seeks the clues left behind by the victim. The story line is fast-paced with Enzo's personal problems re his former lover Charlotte that distracts the hero but enhances the plot for the reader. The Enzo Files are a great series that is four for four.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
N.K. Jemisin
9780316043915 $13.99

Barbaric warrior Baroness Yeine Darr lives in the Northern Kingdom of Darr. When her mother dies mysteriously, she has no time to grieve or investigate. Instead she is "invited" to come to the center of the universe by the Emperor of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by her grandfather the Dekarta Arameri ruler of all. In the capital city of Sky, a bewildered Yeine learns her grandfather the ruler names her his third heir along with her cousins once removed twins Lady Scimina and Lord Relad.

Confused and bewildered over her selection to the competition to replace the aging Dekarta, Yeine soon realizes her role at court is to be an expendable pawn used by her cousins as each has ambitions to be the next ruler. However, she also learns more about her family's history and the gods serving them; losers in the Gods War eons ago who humiliatingly must bow to the mortals as their retribution for the crime of defeat. She proves to have backbone though all at court thought she would and intelligence that none thought she had while trying to save the kingdoms and free the god-slaves.

The first tale of the Inheritance Trilogy is a fascinating adaptation fantasy told through the filter of the heroine who uses her experiences as a chieftain and lessons from her late mother to understand the glamorous cesspool she has been tossed into. Yeine is a terrific lead protagonist who keeps the deep story line focused whether she deals with her grandfather, her amoral rivals, the slave-gods especially Nahadoth. Although the engaging story line is simplified too much between the forces of good and bad, readers will enjoy the opening account of a fully developed convoluted world in which debts of the soul are paid by losing your rights as Nahadoth the Nightlord One of the Three and now Yeine know the difference between the slave and the princess.

The Folding Knife
K.J. Parker
9780316038447 $14.99

Bassiamus "Basso" Severus was born to an aristocratic family in the Republic of Vesani. His father was First Citizen, but lost his position in the next election to an offspring of a sausage worker. He decided to buy up a bank's outstanding shares. When Basso grew up he married the woman his parents chose for him. When Basso comes home one day, he sees his wife and brother-in-law having sex; he kills both of them.

His sister who Basso loved more than anyone else turned her back on him. However, he is the First Citizen of the Vesani Republic and owns the bank so still does his best for her. The only demand she made of him that he could not fulfill was to cut all ties with his son Bassano. The people love Basso and the House passes all the bills he presents to them. He knows the Republic must annex their neighbors to become an empire because he fears the Empire of the East, once it stops rebuilding, will look westward to places like Vesani. His first invasion is mineral rich Mavortis which has no central army, but a traitor insures his plan fails to execute properly.

Based on Ancient Rome, The Folding Knife is a work of exciting speculative fiction. The fascinating story line focuses on idealistic Basso the Magnificent who is a brilliant pragmatic strategist. He knows his decisions will cost lives, but though he grieves what will occur, Basso feels this is only way to save his beloved Republic. What his idealism concealed from him is that it only takes one mistake to devastate even the greatest person. This is excellent because of the great storyline, well crafted characterizations and a look into a fascinating culture.

The Last Stormlord
Glenda Larke
9780316069151 $7.99

In Scarcleft City in the Scarpen Quarter, her father sells his twelve year old daughter Terelle to Opal's snuggery where she picks up dirty plates and mugs to be reused in the kitchen. Terelle knows that if she fails to escape shortly she will become a courtesan handmaiden just like her older half-sister Vivie who counseled her to ac cept the inevitable. However, the water painter gives her hope.

At the same time that Terelle considers how to escape, the Stormlord is dying and no one seems capable of taking over his critical duties. Shale the low life has the gift, but lacks the training and being an outcast means he will never receive the training to control being a Stormord bringing the needed rain to the desert. As he wanders around while the current Stormlord nears death, the son of Granlon the Cloudmaster Nealrith Almondine and Kaneth Carnelian check levels at water cisterns to find each one at dangerous low drought levels. They discuss moral options while Taquar leads the tribes to return to the Time of Random Rain; to achieve his goal he must kill anyone who displays the watergiver talent.

This is a terrific fantasy that uses a dangerous drop in water levels to set up the excellent opening act of what looks like will be a superb relevant thriller. The ensemble cast is incredibly deep so that even secondary characters like Kaneth and the water talented female Ryka that he should marry come across as fully developed enhancing the plausibility of the story line of doom. In fact Kaneth explains the two extreme choices between allowing everyone to die slowly and mass murder to enable a chosen few high up in the water hierarch to live. Fans will enjoy Glenda Larke's terrific relevant tale as the water wars seem imminent in the Quartern.

Prince of Storms
Kay Kenyon
9781591027911 $26.00

Titus Quinn of Earth from the Rose universe claims to be the Regent of the parallel universe Entire. He pledges to turn over control to his daughter Sen Ni, but procrastinates as he distrusts his estranged offspring especially since she has linked her destiny with Geng De the psychic. Quinn fears if he gives up the throne, the technologically advanced Entire will destroy his homeworld as part of the extinction of the Rose as his daughter has already proclaimed doing in order to save the failing Entire.

He is not a fool as he knows his control is shaky as the enemy resides near him enough to harass him, and the Tarig overlords remain hostile and evil with plans to overthrow his Ascendancy and devastate the Rose (see City Without End).just like his daughter will do to save their realm. However, it is the plotting of the navitar especially one who can alter the future that frightens him. His only hope is a pact with the opponents of the Long War, the Jinda ceb Horat who have Quinn's wife Anzi as a willing remorseful pawn. Still Quinn knows the real fight is with the navitar who forces the beleaguered earth champion to choose the fate of billions in two universes as a master plan of devious design unfolds.

This is an exhilarating finish to a great saga as The Entire and the Rose not just wraps up major threads, but keeps the audience thinking about life and death choices on a macro and micro level. The story line is fast-paced yet filled with memorable characters struggling to do what each believes is right; knowing whatever is selected dooms many. Fans will appreciate this strong entry to powerful quartet as Kay Kenyon makes it clear how difficult on a personal level it is to decide who will live and who will die when one faces a face.

The Hellhound King
Lori Devoti
Silhouette Nocturne
9780373618293 $5.25

Half-elf, half-witch Marina Adal does not want to return to her home realm Alfheim because she knows her uncle will take away her freedom and besides in Gunngar everyone hates her including Amma the witch she freed from a needle trap who now resides trapped inside her. She assumes even her former lover loathes her though she believes he betrayed her. Thus the Fairy princess works as a chambermaid while concealing her background.

However her former lover Raf Dolg the hellhound arrives to take her back to her uncle. The Svartalfar dark elves also want to capture the princess. In Alfheim, Raf tries to keep her safe, uncover who wants her dead and why, and who murdered his family.

This is an exhilarating romantic fantasy that grips the audience from the opening scene when Raf arrives to collect his bounty on the treacherous elf who he believes deceived him. The cast is solid and intrigue re the throne is superb especially with a terrific ironic twist. Lori Devoti provides a strong "fairy" tale in which love may not be enough to even keep the hellhound and the elf alive.

Red Wolf
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Silhouette Nocturne
9780373618286 $5.25

In Miami Tory McKidd stalks the park where her brother Mark's body was found six months ago as she obsessively seeks to bring justice to his murderer; were-style. Night after night she impatiently waits while dreaming of torturing the culprit like her sibling received from a rogue shifter, but no clue surfaces though she knows a werewolf pack is near.

Miami Police Detective Adam Scott investigates the park homicide and is following leads to the culprit. When he meets the amateur sleuth sister of the victim, they are instantly attracted to one another as she knows he is her mate. However, she also realizes the killer of her brother targets her soulmate for death.

This is an action-packed romantic urban fantasy in which from the onset, when Tory stalks Miami while Adam wonders who the mystery woman is and why she walks with purpose at night in dangerous areas, grips the reader to know whodunit. Fast-paced with an engaging lead couple though the plot is a bit thin, fans will enjoy this pleasant paranormal police procedural.

Wild Laws
Jim Hanson
Thriller Publishing Group
9780981999319 $13.95

Thirty-four year old Bryson Coventry, Chief of Denver Police Department Homicide Unit, has a photo of schoolteacher Paige Lake who brutally died two years ago. Last year he received an email that stated Johannesburg was next; he called South African police, but Jewel Brand was murdered. Apparently before Denver there was Paris and now next week Tokyo.

Unable to stay out of it, Bryson replies to the email that states Tokyo next by offering himself as the victim. He flies to Japan though his DPD boss Tanner fires him. In Tokyo local authorities warn him to stay out of it, but he refuses to do so. As the former cop tries to prevent the next murder, he and Sin whom he met on the flight over, are caught in a deadly convoluted ploy that is not just on four continents, but dates back to a previous century.

The Wild Bryson saga has been one of the best police procedural series for several years, but this is the best to date as the complexity is incredible with multiple subplots that tie together in ways the reader will be stunned. After overseas in Hong Kong Laws, Paris in Ancient Laws, and Bangkok Laws; readers will wonder about cases in Denver, but Jim Hanson easily sends his hero overseas again with a great thriller as Bryson quits the force, offers himself up as the victim and his only respite is Sinning. Filled with twists including a late spin that Bryson failed to see coming, fans will relish this terrific entry with a strong cast as WHERE is Tokyo and WHEN is next week; meaning the clock is ticking on Coventry.

The Winter Thief
Jenny White
9780393070170 $24.95

In 1888 Istanbul, Vera Arti carries the Armenian language version of The Communist Manifesto, ignorant that she is being followed. However attention is elsewhere in the tumultuous city when the Imperial Ottoman Bank is robbed and blown up. Secret Police Chief Vahid sees an opportunity for increasing his power so blames Armenian Communists as easy scapegoats, knowing they have a socialist commune nearby. He persuades the Sultan to allow him to destroy these separatists and any village in their vicinity as the locals obviously abetted their movement.

As Vahid leads a brutal deadly ethnic cleansing purge, Special Prosecutor Kamil Pasha heads the official investigation into the bank incident. However, instead of support Kamil and his police are treated with contempt, their families threatened, and the Special prosecutor accused by Vahid's agents of murder and seditious activities in support of the separatists. Meanwhile Vahid continues his massacre using ethnic differences as tools to manipulate the Sultan and the citizens.

The third Kamil Pasha late nineteenth century Ottoman Empire police procedural (see THE SULTAN'S SEAL and THE ABYSSINIAN PROOF) is again more a deep historical tale than a whodunit as the investigation enhances the insightful look at the era. The inquiry is strong as Pasha and his police subordinates bring out in depth a troubled era enhanced by the moral dilemma they confront of doing the job right vs. protecting their family. Pasha understands the innocent are pawns of an insidious, ambitious but brilliant fiend; whatever choice he makes someone will suffer unfairly from the wrath of injustice. This is a great historical with a powerful values' message involving personal courage at a time when the safer solution is to sa lute the Sultan and his sinister Secret Police chief.

Some Like It Kilted
Allie MacKay
9780451228932 $6.99

MacNeil's Folly is a medieval castle that was moved one stone at a time from Scotland to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Accompanying the relocation from the Isle of Barra are irate family ghosts who want MacNeil's Tower back in the Hebrides and not as some fool of a descendant's placing it in America.

Mindy Menlove lives in this mausoleum, which explains why thermal underwear is a big seller in Scotland. She plans to sell the castle that she inherited from her late cheating fiance over the objection of her sister. However, Mindy fears she is losing her mind when ghosts appear extorting her to return the castle to Scotland; except one the MacNeil Chieftain, Bran of Barra, who warns her to stay away from his homeland. Instead Mindy travels to Barra only to find enchantment and love with Bran who reciprocates, but also knows time will never heal their seven century displacement.

This is a fun romantic ghost story in which the spirits live a spirited lifestyle. The cast makes the tale entertaining as the ghosts play matchmakers as does her sibling. Bran knows she is his eternal love, but accepts nothing on earth can bring them together forever. Mindy wants nothing to do with cold Scottish islands until she arrives to find her heart warming and toes curling. Fans will enjoy this fun frolic as the ghost and the mortal find love in their mausoleum.

In Bed With The Duke
Christina Dodd
9780451229335 $7.99

In 1849 in Moricadia Michael Durant seeks revenge so as the missing heir to the Duke of Nevitt, he chooses a different way than the aristocracy would expect to enact his goal of justice. He becomes the grim Reaper riding at night while going after those who caused injustice.

Lady's companion Emma Chegwidden is unfairly fired from her position. She is in deep trouble until the Reaper rescues her. However, though he knows he must walk away from her, Michael cannot as he wants her. However, Michael especially gets involved with Emma when the malevolent Prince Sandre chooses her as his regardless of how she might feel.

This is an action-packed Victorian Era romance that takes place on the continent. The story line is fast-paced throughout as the Reaper brings havoc to the Moricadian aristocracy. Christina Dodd is at her best with this return to the Governess bride saga (See My Fair Temptress, My Favorite Bride and Lost in Your Arms) as no reader will ever think of roast pig the same way.

The Irish Duke
Virginia Henley
9780451229205 $15.00

As the Dowager matriarch of her family, in 1894, octogenarian widow Lady Louisa Jane Russell holds court as she always has while looking back over the decades of her life. In 1819 Lady Louisa loves her position in society, which allows her to enjoy life to the fullest. Irish nobleman James Hamilton went so far as to propose, but she ridiculed him for being Irish with a speech impediment; of course he was nine years old at the time and she was his age.

In spite of her putting him down, they become friends though he never has given up marrying his Lu. Other men want her too, but though she adores them, she prefers her independent gaiety more so. However, over a decade later, a family scandal leaves Lu with the choices of marrying her kindhearted Irish admirer, someone else, or face scornful disgraced exile.

Few if any writer can interweave historical information to enhance a story line as deftly as Virginia Henley can and does with the enjoyable The Irish Duke. The story line is driven by the heroine who tells her great-granddaughters about her life with her late beloved Irish Duke who to his death insisted B is pronounced as a V. Fans will relish Ms. Henley's fine nineteenth century historical romance as the exhilarating plot with its strong lead protagonists brings the era to life.

Come Hell or High Water
Michelle Bardsley
9780451228789 $6.99

In Broken Heart, Oklahoma single mom Phoebe Allen is looking forward for a short breather while her four years old son Danny is visiting Disneyworld with his dad. .However, her respite ends almost immediately after Danny leaves.

Half demon Connor Ballard courts the vampiric mom because he believes she is his only hope to prevent his purebred demon stepmother Lilith from escaping her incarceration in hell. However his pursuit changes when they are mated, but he knows he must stand vigilant because if Lilith escapes to earth all hell will break out. Phoebe realizes she must help the hunk, but does not have to consign her heart with new mate; now if only her heart would heed her advice.

As always with this chick-lit urban fantasy romance series, Michelle Bardsley combines humor with romance and this time literally the stepmom from hell. The story line is fast-paced as the wind comes sweeping down the plain is not sweet; almost as terrifying as the heroine's first night in town when a Consortium member welcomed her to Oklahoma sooner than she wanted. Fans will enjoy this thin but fun tale as the vampire mom figuratively insists "Over My Dead Body".

Katie MacAlister
9780451229311 $7.99

Computer research technician Jack Fletcher is experimenting with a nanoelectromechanical system in his lab. His sister Hallie, who sold him at a charity auction, accidentally moves the switches while spilling liquid helium on the connections, causing an explosion that burns the circuits and more. The boom also sends the siblings to another world; that of his favorite story Airship Pirates; a Victorian realm using steam power as the primary source of energy. .

Aerocorps Captain Octavia Pye is on her maiden voyage on HIMA (His Imperial Majesty's Airship) Tesla. However, she is shock to find two stowaways on her ship. Jack and Hallie tell her their story, but she thinks they are either insane or spies for the Black Hand Rebels or one of the European enemies as the Empire is on the brink of revolt. She also thinks the hunk is cute while he knows she is the woman he always wanted.

Steamed is an entertaining wacky steampunk romantic fantasy filled with humor as the computer guru with fantasies of being Indiana Jones lands in the adventure of a lifetime with the woman of his dreams. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Hallie sends them into this other realm and never slows down as Jack thrives to become a one-eyed patched first mate to the captain who has a few secrets of her own.

Joe Hill
9780061147951 $25.99

One year ago in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ignatius Parrish's perfect life as a second son of affluence died when someone murdered his beloved Merrin Williams. As he has much of the time since she died, Ig got drunk. Last evening intoxicated he visited the sight where her corpse was found. Outraged with the makeshift cross there as Jesus should have shown up a year ago, he rips down the artifact and urinates on it and his feet.

The next day he wakes up with a horrific headache, the "un-Merrin" Glenna Nicholson in bed, and horns on his head; the latter leads to his peeing on his feet for the second time in less than twelve hours. Ig assumes the horns are caused by either remaining drunk or mentally insane due to grief; a kind of pink elephant purgatory. Despondent, everyone even his family, who got the police inquiry aborted, assume he killed Merrin in a rage. He believes the horns are real and God has joined his family, friends, and others in deserting him; everyone except the devil. Ig realizes his horns come with power so he begins his investigation into who killed Merrin and his soul because he plans to send this monster on a one way ticket to hell shortly

This is a super parable supernatural thriller that looks deep at the dark side of humanity in which faith is not enough. Ig is a terrific antihero as he recognizes the devil's team cannot be the hero regardless since legend means more than good deeds. The support cast, especially the deceased Merrin, Glenna, and Ig's brother trumpeter Terry, add depth to an exciting paranormal whodunit. However, this is Ig's road to bear the trials and tribulations like a Job, but unlike a Job he chose the other side losing faith in a God who allowed his Merrin to die so horrifically.

Gator A-Go-Go
Tim Dorsey
9780061432712 $24.99

Spring Break has been a long American tradition going back to FDR as students from the north invade Florida for fun, sun, sex, and drugs. Joining the world's biggest annual party (and definitely not that cocktail football game restricted to Jacksonville) are Serge A. Storms and Coleman.

However, someone is killing students this year, which is a downer not found in a pill. In Panama City, Feds and mobsters seek out college student Andy McKenna. Serge, disgusted with a trail of corpses left by a rival head case at a time when he, Coleman, and the snow bird students just want to have fun, decides to go after the killer, the Feds and the mobsters his style. With stoned Coleman collecting kid trophies as a guru, Serge kills those he deems guilty of rude behavior, poor TV shows, and homicide while he personally becomes a one person protector of Andy after the FBI fails the kid.

This is a wild even for Serge over the top of the entire Sunshine State thriller as Gator A Go-Go is a fitting title as everything goes in this zany tale. Fans will enjoy the serial killer competing with an even crazier serial killer while also becoming a Serge protector of Andy. Insanity rules as Tim Dorsey provides his usual humorous human biting alligator tale.

Wild Laws
Jim Hanson
Thriller Publishing Group
218 S. McIntyre Way, Golden, Co.80401
9780981999319 $13.95

Thirty-four year old Bryson Coventry, Chief of Denver Police Department Homicide Unit, has a photo of schoolteacher Paige Lake who brutally died two years ago. Last year he received an email that stated Johannesburg was next; he called South African police, but Jewel Brand was murdered. Apparently before Denver there was Paris and now next week Tokyo.

Unable to stay out of it, Bryson replies to the email that states Tokyo next by offering himself as the victim. He flies to Japan though his DPD boss Tanner fires him. In Tokyo local authorities warn him to stay out of it, but he refuses to do so. As the former cop tries to prevent the next murder, he and Sin whom he met on the flight over, are caught in a deadly convoluted ploy that is not just on four continents, but dates back to a previous century.

The Wild Bryson saga has been one of the best police procedural series for several years, but this is the best to date as the complexity is incredible with multiple subplots that tie together in ways the reader will be stunned. After overseas in Hong Kong Laws, Paris in Ancient Laws, and Bangkok Laws; readers will wonder about cases in Denver, but Jim Hanson easily sends his hero overseas again with a great thriller as Bryson quits the force, offers himself up as the victim and his only respite is Sinning. Filled with twists including a late spin that Bryson failed to see coming, fans will relish this terrific entry with a strong cast as WHERE is Tokyo and WHEN is next week; meaning the clock is ticking on Coventry.

From Away
David Carkeet
9781590203040 $24.95

At night Denny Braintree was driving on the icy road going to fast for conditions when he lost control; his skid left the car rental damaged and he missing his flight. After dealing with a State Trooper and EMS, Denny gets a ride with grandpa and Walt who dump him at a hotel where the desk clerk knows Walter who leaves without a goodbye. However, the hotel is filled with legislatures wasting the taxpayers' money, but he gets the room because of Freckles whatever species that is. By phone his boss Roscoe fires him for his odd behavior interfering with his work. However, Denny is uninterested as he thinks he will have fun with Marge.

Instead just when he believes he has a one night stand, Marge leaves. Preparing to escape the insanity of the hotel and its town, people begin to call Denny Homer Dumpling, who vanished without a trace three years ago. When he realizes no one believes he is Braintree and that Homer remains popular amongst the locals, he decides to stick around for a while. This proves a smart move when Marge is found dead and the cops believe the "missing" Denny did it.

Readers will enjoy Denny's thought process starting with the State trooper interviewing him, his hotel stay and his time residing in Homer's home while the real missing man's girlfriend Sara is also there. The story line is breezy and fun as Denny's reactions and actions are seemingly abnormal yet enable him to survive crisis after crisis. Filled with twists including a brilliant encounter, fans will root for the antihero whose love for real and model trains enhance the audience inability to understand an eccentric fascinating individual who brings a fresh outlook to the Vermont crime scene.

Deep Shadow
Randy Wayne White
9780399156267 $25.95

During a robbery, ex-cons, King and Perry kill a family of five. They flee from a massive manhunt hiding in the swamps of Central Florida. Their plan is to wait till the heat cools down a little though both know that will be some time as the media has stirred the public and the police.

Doc Ford and his three friends (Tomlinson, Will, and Arlis) go to a small lake in search of the late Cuban dictator Batista's treasure plane, which vanished in 1958. However King and Perry capture Doc and company; and force them to keep diving in search of the plane. None are aware of what lurks in the nearby swamps.

Readers will knows the swamp is far from Dead Silent between Doc and his buddies, the two deadly thugs, and a Swamp Thing that wants to dine on divers. Fast-paced throughout the exciting story line, fans will be hooked from the moment everyone converges and readers will never stop reading as the tension mounts with anticipation of one hell of a climax. Who, if any of the four buddies, will leave Central Florida alive?

Karen Robards
9780399156274 $25.95

Having lost her position at a law firm that went bankrupt, Lisa Grant) leaves Lexington, Kentucky to go home to the family horse ranch Grayson Springs. Lisa does not feel bad about losing her job as she needs to care for her mom who is dying from ALS.

Lisa obtains work at the Fayette County District Attorney's office working as a research assistant to DA Scott Buchanan, whom she once loved. His attitude makes her realize he hired her under pressure due to her connections to her mom. Lisa looks into the files of a cold case in which Michael and Angela Garcia and their two children (Tony and Marisa) vanished without a trace in 1981. However, the case shakes her to her bone marrow when she sees the picture of Marisa and a doll the child clings to; she is looking at herself as a little girl and the doll is identical to one she had. Her inquiry with Scott's help turns ugly when an arsonist tries to kill her and her mom

This is a fast-paced legal thriller that after a prologue has Scott cursing out Lisa for failing to do her job; setting the tone of their relationship. The action never slows down as someone is out to harm Lisa and her mom although the younger has no idea why. Although the climax is over the top of Black Mountain with an incredulous denouement, fans will enjoy Karen Robards taut romantic suspense.

Clean Kill
Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis
St. Martin's
9780312551025 $25.99

In Scotland, representatives from Saudi Arabia and Israel are finishing up negotiations on a peace treaty when two TOW missiles hit the castle. As soon as the missiles hit their target, Wahabi fundamentalists attack the progressive House of Saud.

As civil war breaks out, U.S. Army Gunnery Sergeant. Kyle Swanson and his squad work closely with the Saudi military to keep them from buckling or changing sides. The unit also is assigned to track down the perpetrators behind the Scottish attack and bring justice Saudi style to them. However, his assignment leaves him in conflict with the dreaded Muttaween Saudi religious police and terrorist Juba a former British sniper.

With a great opening premise of what happens to those seeking peace with Israel, the third Sniper thriller (see Kill Zone and Dead Shot) is an exhilarating action-packed over the top of Jabal Sawda, but will keep readers in anticipated suspense awaiting a confrontation between Swanson and Juba. The story line is faster than a speeding missile as fans will root for Kyle and company in what is a fun thriller.

Stephenie Meyer: The Unauthorized Biography of the Creator of the Twilight Saga
Marc Shapiro
St. Martin's Griffin
9780312638290 $12.99

With the popularity of the Twilight saga - books and movies (aside to my niece Ashley - how many times have you read and seen Twilight?), it is not surprising to find an unauthorized biography of the author Stephanie Meyer. As he did with his J.K. Rowling bio, Marc Shapiro researches the literature and conducts interviews of peripherals associated with Stephenie Meyer. Although well written and fun to read, no major new revelation surfaces as most fans know that for instance the Twilight concept was created during a dream and the impact of the saga on Forks, Washington. Somewhat less known is the religious beliefs of this wife and mom writer. Still those fans ready to travel to Forks will enjoy this bio-lite.

Blood Vines
Erica Spindler
St. Martin's
9780312363925 $24.99

She earns a living as a San Francisco bartender while working on her thesis and insuring her bi-polar mom Patsy stays on her meds. However, one day Alexandra Clarkson finds Patsy dead from an overdose. She notices that her mother was reading about the mummified remains of a baby found in Sonoma Valley and calls Violent Drime Investigator Daniel Reed to learn more as he was the last known person to speak to Patsy before she committed suicide.

Daniel tells Alex that they used to play around together when her mother was married to Valley winemaker Harlan Sommer. When Harlan and Patsy's his infant son Dylan disappeared, his brother took over the winery. Alex is stunned as she does not recall ever living in Sonoma; for that matter she does not know who her father is either. Needing to obtain closure Alex moves to Sonoma after the cops identify the corpse as Dylan. However she begins to suffer nightmares that might be repressed memories of cowled figures, a baby screaming, the scent of saddlewood and a sense of being trapped in the caves where the wine is stored. Dan and his stepsister Rachel watch over Alex who obsessively tries to get answers. Witnesses are killed, but when someone close to her is murdered, the cops suspect Alex as does her lover Dan.

Readers who like the romantic suspense of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards will thoroughly enjoy Erica Spindler's fabulous thriller. The stars of this solid romantic mystery both seek the truth as to what happened years ago. Additionally, the beleaguered heroine fears she a chip off the maternal block as she feels she must be as crazy as her late mom was; yet she refuses to quit as she displays strength and fortitude with an obsessive need to see the inquiry through to the end. Alex refuses to allow people to run her off so skeletons remain buried as one of them was her baby brother.

Wild Ride
Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
St. Martin's
9780312533779 $25.95

Dreamland, located in Parkersburg, Ohio, is a rundown amusement park that is receiving a face lift. Mary Alice Brannigan is restoring the fading artwork and remaking the exhibits, but scoffs at the rumors that demons reside there. That proves misfortunate because Dreamland is more than just an aging amusement park; it is the prison for five of the most dangerous Untouchable demons to walk the earth. Each of these evil doers is restrained inside a chalice cup contained with a statue of iron with the keys to unlock their cells spread around the park.

The Guardia elite demon fighting team watch over the five Untouchables to make sure none escape, but if even one manages to get free, they unite to recapture the demon. Mab struggles to believe what she hears and that she will be the newest Guardia warrior now that Funflun the clown is restored the demon escape. She becomes the Seer when the present one dies and former Green Beret Ethan Wayne who has come here to die becomes the Hunter. As a child he lived at Dreamland, but never believed the story until now. As Halloween approaches, led by Kharos the Devil, the Untouchables plan to break out by taking advantage of two skeptical rookies.

This aptly titled book takes readers on a Wild Ride to a decrepit amusement park that serves as a demon prison. Mab fights against her destiny since she does not relate well with people so prefers being left alone to restore art; however she rises to the occasion when she is needed to help with the demon problem. This is an amusing roller coaster urban fantasy that is fun to read as Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer never takes the entertaining story line too seriously.

Rebels and Traitors
Lindsey Davis
St. Martin's
9780312595418 $27.99

Gideon Jukes is a printer, but that does not stop him from joining London Trained Bands in support of Parliament fighting against King Charles Stuart. Juliana Lovell supports the monarch in the struggle. Gideon and Juliana are falling in love, but these are dangerous times for allies let alone defenders of opposing camps.

In 1649, Charles Stuart is executed and Oliver Cromwell takes charge of England. In 1657 his Protectorate collapses. Through these deadly civil war decades, Gideon and Juliana have each other in spite of others trying to divide these beloved enemies.

Rebels and Traitors is an entertaining historical epic that occurs over the mid seventeen century decade of the English religious civil war. Gideon is a terrific lead character whose role as a printer is more intriguing than his heroism as a musketeer. He brings to life the use of printed material as a propaganda means to support your side of a hostile debate. Although his relationship with Juliana seems overly forced to bring beloved enemy bedfellows together, Lindsey Davis moves from the first century Ancient Rome mysteries of private informer Marcus Didius Falco to the 1650s England epic tale to the delight of fans of historical sagas.

All Night with a Rogue
Alexandra Hawkins
St. Martin's
9780312580193 $7.99

In 1820 London, the Ton calls Alexius Lothar Braverton Lord Sin partly because of his behavior and partly because he is the Marquess of Sinclair. His six Lords of Vice friends simply call him Sin.

Sin's half sister Belle is upset as she tells him that ruthless heartless Lady Juliana Ivers is trying to steal her suitor Lord Kyd. Belle asks Sin to seduce the upstart and then dump her. Sin likes the ploy so is indifferent to whether Belle is being honest with him. He makes her his next target. Juliana knows she and her older sisters desperately need a good match as the family is financially in trouble since their father died several years ago. Sin begins his seduction unaware that Juliana has wanted him since she saw him in action while she was hiding in a tree. Scandal explodes leaving the Ivers in trouble and Alexius seemingly living up to his reputation.

This Lords of Vice regency romance is an enjoyable tale due to a somewhat amoral cast surrounding the heroine starting with the lead male living up to his nickname and his sister and her mother causing havoc for the prime pair. In spite of a myriad of villains (and villainesses) intruding on the prime plot, the story line is fast-paced from the moment Belle begs her brother to ruin her rival and never takes a breather as he relishes the concept. Sin keeps this engaging plot brisk and fresh with his less than desirable scruples making him a cad in love with a woman who seems to prefer musical composition to accepting the love of a Lord of Vice.

Erica Hayes
St. Martin's Griffin
9780312578015 $14.99

In Melbourne, Ice the water fairy loves partying and petty thieving especially with her best friend Blaze the firefae. They heist some cash and diamonds from an apartment to pay their protection tab to the Valenti mob.

At a club where her beloved metallic fairy Indigo ignores her, Ice meets demon lord Kane. She steals a small mirror from him; an artifact he warned her not even look into, but the temptation proved too much. The mirror brought across from hell eliminates inhibitions as Ice learns first hand; everyone from mortal to supernatural want it. When she loses it, Ice fears Kane, rival demons, the mob and angels are coming for her and the missing mirror. Indigo, who stared at the mirror offers to find it, but to do so means betraying contractual partners, which Ice fears might leave her below the supernatural ooze since he has no inhibitions to adhere to any celestial code.

The second Shadowfae Australian erotic urban fantasy makes the supernatural and mafia landscape seem genuine. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the strawberry scented anti-heroine proudly wears the ice she stole and never slows down for a contractual moment. Fans will enjoy this entertaining tale as the mirror from Hell opens the soul to enable the viewer to seek what they wish for since nothing inside them will prevent them from trying.

Think Twice
Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin's
9780312380755 $26.99

They are identical twins separated at birth as their mom could not afford even one of them, but kept Bennie Rosato and gave up Alice Connolly for adoption. They met as adults (see dead Ringer) and now Bennie is at Alice's new rental home having dinner. Alice tells Bennie she quit her job as a paralegal at the Public Law Group in Philadelphia and asks her twin for a job at Rosato & Associates. Suddenly Bennie complains about a headache while hearing her sister mumble "Give it up. It's over."

Bennie awakens to find herself inside a box with a bleeding knee and no food, water, or air hole. Unbeknownst to Bennie, Alice had not rented the house, but instead knew the owner Ms. Sally Cavanaugh was in the Pocono's so she took it over to serve her sister wine with Rophynol. Alice had to vanish because she cheated on her drug dealing boyfriend Q who will kill her so she became Bennie but could not murder her sister as the thought of looking at her own face on a corpse was nauseating so she buried her alive. Now s he acts as Bennie to access her sister's wealth and Bennie's former boyfriend Grady. However, Bennie is coming with vengeance in her heart.

In spite of wondering why Bennie failed to learn her lesson re Alice after Dead Ringer, fans will enjoy her latest adventures from the moment she realizes where she is trapped as Lisa Scottoline explores nurturing vs. naturing with the separated at birth twins. This fast-paced thriller has the audience wondering what will happen when benevolent Bennie catches up to malevolent Alice. Although the premise of a twin killing and taking over the identity of her sibling has been used before (see Bette Davis' movie Dead Ringer) and the escape from the coffin is exhilarating over the top of the Pocono's, Think Twice is a terrific character driven tale.

Gone 'til November
Wallace Stroby
9780312560249 $24.99

In St. Charles County, Florida Deputy Sheriff Sara Cross is the first to arrive at the deserted highway where her former lover and current law enforcement partner Deputy Sheriff Billy Flynn killed a twenty-two years old black man from New Jersey. Flynn says he stopped the victim for running a stop sign. However, the badly shaken cop says the man pulled out a gun and refused to put it down so he shot him. The single mother of a child stricken with leukemia, Sara believes him not because she still wants Billy, which she does; but because the dead man had a gun in his hand and a trunk loaded with weapons.

Drug dealer Mikey-Mike sends his aging torpedo Morgan to learn why his deal in Florida has not been commenced. Suffering from cancer, Morgan sees this as an opportunity for an easy final payday before he retires. Sara investigates the apparently justified homicide while Morgan makes his own scrutiny of the situation. Soon their separate inquiries will crash.

The key to this fast-paced police procedural thriller is real people make real choices; often real bad ones. Sara and Morgan are super leads holding their respective subplot together until they converge into a terrific story line. The support cast in Jersey and Florida enhance the powerful tale as Wallace Stroby makes a profound case that being human means frequently making poor decisions even at times knowing the consequential outcome, but unwisely doing so anyway.

Gardiner Harris
9780312570163 $24.99

In Hazard, Kentucky, the Blue Gem Mine is flooded trapping several coal miners. Amos Blevins tries to rescue his peers in a frantic effort. However, in spite of his attempts, nine men die before the surface help can reach them.

Although his older brother Paul owns the Blue Gem Mine, Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector Will Murphy investigates the tragedy. Everyone assumes a whitewash, but Will detests his sibling so he digs much deeper than anyone expects. He finds problems that are beyond typical management neglect, which could close the mine; leaving his brother bankrupt and the town unemployed; but to do nothing condones unsafe conditions.

This thriller grips the audience from the opening sequence inside the mine and never slows down as the tragedy occurs, the media goes ballistic, and the inspector investigates. Readers will meet a vast cast but besides the brothers it is the surviving miners, their families and those who lost loved ones inside the Blue Gem who make the tale poignant. Will has a difficult choice to make as closing the mine destroys Hazard, but leaving it open destroys families when the next disaster occurs. Gardiner Harris hooks readers with a strong character driven relevant tale.

The Spies of Sobeck
P. C. Doherty
9780312533977 $24.99

In the fifteenth century BC, fundamentalist Nubian followers of Nema the hyena goddess led by High Priest Khufu want their freedom from the Great House of Egypt. They feel the opportunity is perfect as the country is run by a female pharaoh so make plans to liberate their province. The Nema worshippers believe they must cause fear and panic by assassinating prominent people in their homes or key locations.

In Thebes and in the nearby Oasis of Asiwah, elite people including imperial messengers are murdered behind locked doors; the city loses faith in Pharaoh Hatusu who has recently replaced her late father. She understands who is behind the murders and why, but not how. The Pharaoh also knows she cannot cede Nubia if she wants to keep the Great House united and soonest expanded. After consulting with her lover the Grand Vizier Senenmut, she turns to the Chief Judge in the Hall of Two Truths Amerotke to find the killers and their leader. However, both objectives prove difficult as the murderous criminal Arite sect are involved and seditious avaricious activity by several prominent citizens makes his investigation more convoluted than he expected.

As always this is a great Ancient Egypt police procedural (see The Poisoner of Ptah and Mask of Ra) that contains a powerful vivid look at life in the capital city Thebes and to a lesser degree in Nubia. The story line is fast-paced even with an incredible amount of background that has the audience feel they ar e working the case along side of Amerotke while visiting the reign of Hatusu. P. C. Doherty provides another Great House of Egypt tale.

Rescuing Olivia
Julie Compton
9780312378769 $25.99

In a remote forest in Florida, a hit-and-run motorcycle accident leaves victim Olivia Mayfield in a coma. Stunned upon learning his girlfriend lies in an intensive care unit, almost thirty Anders Erickson feels guilt and regret for not proposing.

Just prior to the accident, someone stole the helmets of Anders and Olivia. Anders also considers that Olivia thought they were being followed. Meanwhile her father pharmaceutical mogul Lawrence blames Anders for his daughter's coma and wants him to stay away from her; he refuses to allow "Andy" access. Later he informs him that Olivia died. Stunned, Anders has a hard time accepting the death of his beloved and begins an inquiry that leads to her hometown of Clifton, Connecticut where he finds clues that sends him to Kenya.

Clearly over the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Rescuing Olivia is a terrific amateur sleuth thriller starring a young man with issues from his childhood that match in some ways those of his beloved as both prefer to live in the present and future. Anders is a refreshing hero who rejects the premise that his beloved died as he feels he would know in his heart if she did. His efforts to find and rescue Olivia make for a wonderful drama.

The Last Illusion
Rhys Bowen
9780312385408 $24.99

In 1903 in New York City Molly Murphy and her fiance police captain Daniel Sullivan attend a magic show at the Miner's Theatre on the Bowery headlined by the great Harry Houdini. However, their night out on the town turns ugly when the stunt of sawing-a-lady-in-half by magician Signor Scarpelli goes awry even before Houdini was to perform.

Someone obviously tampered with Scarpelli's equipment before the performance. Even further shocking is the corpse of the magician's assistant disappears. Worried that the intended target was her spouse, Houdini's wife Bess hires Molly to investigate while Daniel directs his fiancee to stay out of the way of the official inquiry. When Houdini's act almost also ends fatally, Molly agrees with Bess that her husband is the prey for a maniacal predator.

Proving once again she is not a coddled women In a Gilded Cage, Molly investigates while Daniel, who also is on the case, pleading with her to stay out of it as it is dangerous. Their inquiries make for a superb historical whodunit that brings to life Manhattan at the turn of the previous century while also cleverly refreshed by having Houdini appear to be the victim.

Bellfield Hall: Or, the Observations of Miss Dido Kent
Anna Dean
9780312562946 $23.99

In 1805, affluent Richard Montague and his fiancee Catherine Kent dance at their engagement party when an unknown man approaches them. .He says nothing but somehow Richard understands and provides him with a secret message before silently leaving. Immediately, Montague informs a stunned Catherine that their engagement is over and leaves.

Distraught Catherine turns to a spinster relative Dido Kent for help as her aunt has a reputation for solving mysteries. She wants to know why her ex fiance ended their relationship abruptly when he seemed so happy, where is he, and if he is safe. At Bellfield Hall Miss Dido Kent begins making observations upon arrival, but even she is unprepared for the corpse of woman found in the nearby shrubs. As she digs into the death of the young female and into the Montague family history, she seeks answers to her niece's questions.

Using intelligent amusing letters to her sister Eliza as a means to explaining her observations, the first Dido Kent historical mystery is a delightful tale. Though the heroine arrives at the bequest of her niece to solve the disappearance, she also works the seemingly related (to her) murder mystery. Aunt Dido makes the tale as a sort of Miss Marple in Regency England with witty asides and observations. Although a few readers will feel her take is too contemporary, sub-genre fans will appreciate the spinster's effort to solve two mysteries.

I Spy A Wicked Sin
Jo Davis
9780451229113 $15.00

Allegedly homeland security Shado assassin Jude St. Lauren turned traitor when he supposedly stole a weapon of mass destruction and sold it to an enemy nation. However, Jude suffered a horrific accident that left him legally blind and unable to recall his sniper work. He becomes an artist living the good life.

Her boss Michael Ross who apparently enjoys psyche games assigns undercover secret agent Lily Vale to clean up the Jude fiasco. She becomes his personal assistant with her assignment to dispatch Jude the monster to obscurity in hell for betraying his country. As he begins to have nightmares about his previous occupation, they begin a tryst that has both surrendering to more passion between them. As she falls in love, she realizes that she must terminate him although she begins to believe he might not be guilty of seditious activity.

This is a terrific espionage erotica with plenty of action, sexual and otherwise, from the moment Lily meets Jude. The story line is fast-paced as Jude finishes his job knowing he might end up in five different oil canisters floating the ocean. The lead couple and Liam insure the sex varies and is heated, but it is "Crater Face" the villain who brings out the I Spy part of the title with his nefarious activities. Fans will enjoy this entertaining thriller.

Beth Kery
9780425232712 $15.00

Three years ago, her beloved Max asks Genny if she would like to try a menage a trois to include his business partner, Sean. Having been attracted to Sean even more than she was to her husband, she agrees. It was heaven. A few days later, Max is dead; the police and the couple's family and friends believe Genny killed her spouse.

Genny has stayed as far away from Sean because she fears exploring her feelings for him and his dominant desires. However, someone is violently stalking her and has burned down her home, broken into her office, and scoured her storage bin. She needs help so turns to security expert Sean though that also means dealing with her feelings for him.

With a super spin to the whodunit, fans will relish this strong investigative woman in peril erotic thriller. Genny is terrific as the vulnerable lead protagonist as her fears are from the stalker who wants to checkmate her for some unknown reason and from her heart (and libido) tied up in velvet knots by Sean. The blending of danger and sex is deftly done as Beth Kery's latest Release is a strong sexual suspense story.

Laced With Desire
Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, Joey W. Hill and Denise Rossetti
9780425232293 $15.00

"No Strings Attached" by Jaci Burton. In Hawaii Ella plans to have a vacation fling with Clay constructed on her belief that what happens on the islands stay on the island until it is time for them to leave.

"La Petite Mort" by Jasmine Haynes. Fortyish Sophia is dying so she wants to go out with a bang provided by her boss Ford.

"Honor Bound" by Joey W. Hill. Military deployments and a serious war related injury cannot keep Peter and Dana apart.

"Rhio's Dancer" by Denise Rossetti. Queen Sikara's Guardsman Rhio feels hypnotized by the Ambassador's slave-Dancer though he tries to stay alert to any attacks on her Highness except for one problem he wants to go under the covers with the Dancer.

These are four heated erotic romances starring likable mature characters whose personal issues enhance the heat.

Back In Black
Lori Foster
9780425232989 $7.99

At Roger's Rodeo bar where SBC fighters hang out, Gillian Noode observes the sport's league president Drew Black and fighter Brett Bullman tell no to two groupies. Gillian has been hired by the SBC financial backers Loren and Fran Ferrari to help Drew to clean up his act especially the public use of profanity. Drew tries to pick up Gillian who informs him who she is. He calls Fran who tell him to cooperate or else, but he also learns that Gillian needs this job. He offers his new handler a deal as he plans to have Gillian in his bed.

The Women Against Violent Sports arrives at the bar to protest and give out leaflets. Brett meets the WAVS president Audrey Porter. At the same time Drew says he will clean up his act outside, but wants Gillian in his bed. He kisses her to seal the deal. Gillian is impressed with Drew when he gives a talk to at risk boys warning them about fighting unregulated and informing them if they want a shot at the SBC they should start working out and no drugs. Audrey introduces Brett to her best friend Millie. After Millie leaves, Brett asks Audrey why she hates SBC; she swears she will one day tell him. As the two pairs of couples fall in love, each woman has issues to overcome with what the respective man in their life does for a living.

The lead couple is a terrific combination as she is finesse and he is in your face while the secondary couple is also set up nicely as he is a fighter and her cause is to shut down brutal sports. Although the villain is to over the top of the sport's arena, fans will enjoy Lori Foster's latest Supreme Battle Challenge romance.

Don't Kill The Messenger
Eileen Rendahl
9780425232569 $15.00

When Melina Markowitz was three years old she died. However, that was not the end of her life as she returned as a Messenger who made deliveries between the paranormal. She tries to stay away from her clients as her motto is to just pass on whatever.

However, in Sacramento her don't get involved mantra is devastated when her package given to her by a vampiric physician is stolen from her. Trying to retrieve it to finish her delivery, Melina heads to the Taoist temple where she was to hand over the envelope. There her don't get involved policy is bloodied when seemingly out of control Chinese vampires kill rival gangbangers while not caring if innocent civilians die. Police Officer Ted Goodnight struggles with the deadly chaos and how Melina somehow is constantly caught in the center.

This is an amusing urban fantasy in which the sardonic cynic wonders why her and to her chagrin her support cast responds with why not. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the cop is attracted to the messenger who likes him, but fears any mortal involvement as breaking cover. Don't Kill the Messenger is a fun lighthearted formic even with blood flowing freely on the California streets.

Revenge Wears Rubies
Renee Bernard
9780425233375 $7.99

In 1857 he survived imprisonment in Bengal, India. Now two tears later, Galen Hawke is in England still suffering nightmares only to find the fiancee of the late John, one of the other seven English prisoners, enjoying her first season rather than grieving his death. He vows to teach Miss Haley Moreland, engaged to Herbert Trumble, a lesson she will never forget.

Haley is ignorant that her childhood friend John felt they were engaged; as he never asked and she never had to respond. Her biggest issue is to keep her family from poverty, which means marrying wealth. However, upon meeting Galen, she is attracted to him while he wants to seduce and ergo destroy her. As he begins to reassess what he thought he knew about Haley, she ponders whether to marry for love or money that is if Galen even considers marrying her.

This terrific Victorian romance grips the audience with the opening nightmare as an enthralled audience watches how the vendetta of a Jaded Gentleman plays out. Fast-paced throughout as her sly father observes, fans will appreciate Galen's thirst for vengeance turn to admiration and love, but might prove too late. With "Sapphires" to follow, sub-genre readers will enjoy the first of the Jaded Gentleman tales.

Ladies Prefer Rogues
Janet Chapman, Sandra Hill, Veronica Wolff, & Trish Jensen
9780425233818 $7.99

"Man from the Moon" by Janet Chapman. In Maine four men abduct Isobel the veterinarian because their leader Daniel has a tree limb rooted into his body. She is to care for him although she is not a human doctor. They conceal they search for an extinct animal to save mankind in their time, 2243.

"Tomorrow is Another Day" by Sandra Hill. Navy Seals Cage LeBlanc and Sly Simms register their buddy Larry Wilson on the Extreme Dating web site. He is unaware why women keep showing up to date him until his buddies explain what they did to him. He travels to New Orleans to meet owner Margo Baptiste. When an elevator crashes with her inside, she ends up in 1870 where she meets siblings Lette and Laurent Duvall. Margo quickly become s a matchmaker though she is attracted to Laurent who looks like Larry.

"The Drowning Sea" by Veronica Wolff. In 1662, Iain sees his beloved love, Cassie die from a stab wound as her father prepares to hang him. He escapes becoming a cabin boy for a privateer. Two decades later he is notorious pirate Black John MacNab still waiting to avenge his loss.

"Sixteen Decades" by Trish Jensen. In Little Fork, Nevada, Sheriff Ty Coltraine is with Rooster Ranch madam Fannie Mae investigating a missing person's case. He hears a plea for help and finds Margaret "Maggie" Prescott who insists she was a teacher in 1850 who inherited a ranch from her father only to learn it was a brothel; someone knocked her out and locked her in a shed. She thinks his ancestor is the guilty party.

This is a strong time travel romance anthology starring wonderful lead characters, especially the displaced stars. The Chapman and Jensen contributions are super great while and the Hill and Wolff entries are well written very enjoyable fun.

Slow Heat
Jill Shalvis
9780425233665 $7.99

The Santa Barbara Heat baseball expansion team feels great about signing the best defensive catcher in the Major League's Wade O'Riley. Clearly he is a California mellow except when it comes to the women and baseball. However a conservative sponsor expects clean family values so public relations specialist Samantha McNead is hired to pull the rabbit out of the hat with cleaning up the recent media image bashing of Wade. With their fights about his responsibilities to the club owners, fans, and sponsors; she fears the rabbit will prove dead as he continually insists he never slept with Tia who accuses him of making her pregnant.

As they fall in love, she does not trust him as she assumes he wants to make her the latest notch on his bat. While Sam is great with his dad and Wade with her nephew, they fight and fuss with one another, as the catcher who gives signals to the pitcher and infielders fails to read correctly what signs Sam is sending him even when they play truth or dare.

This is an entertaining baseball romance starring a wonderful couple who keep hitting into a Double Play every time they swing the bat. Although the plot is thin, Wade makes the tale as a modern day superstar who struggles between his great play on the field and being a role model outside the park; similar to Barkley's commercials that parents are the heroic role models not athletes. Although the theme of a PR grunt and her clean the image athlete falling in love has been used before (see Back In Black by Lori Foster), fans will enjoy Slow Heat.

Laurell K. Hamilton
9780425235676 $23.95

Wealthy business man Mr. Tony Bennington enters the office of Anita Blake, vampire executioner and zombie reanimator. Grieving for the loss of his beloved wife, he asks her to reanimate her so they can be together again. She explains to her potential client that the individual who crossed over will not be the same person who returns. He begs her, but though sympathizing with him and wanting to say yes, she knows the consequences as the love of Tony's life will not come back the way he thinks. She continues to say no.

A few days later, Anita is at a restaurant when were-lions Nicky and Jacob join her. They are hired thugs who are to kidnap Anita in order to force her to bring back Mr. Bennington's wife. They explain why she should cooperate as her shapeshifting boyfriends are hostages. Anita gives them her weapons as she accompanies them to their lair. Although telepathically asking for help and being blocked by a witch from communicating, she now knows she will work this one alone as her loved ones are at stake.

Although a short novel, Flirt is Laurell K. Hamilton at her very best as it packs quite an emotional wallop from the moment a grieving Bennington begs her for help and that keeps the angst level high. Also keeping the tension level high is the heroine's love for her mates as she fights with all her strength and powers to end this High Moon confrontation. Throughout this tale the passions run stratospheric yet the plot is loaded with action as Anita must contend with powerful hooligan shapeshifters and their boss if she is to keep her boyfriends safe and not cause collateral damage; all she needs is a plan to deploy as she is buying time, but nothing else.

Storm Peak
John A. Flanagan
9780425235256 $15.00

In July 2003, Denver police detectives Jesse Parker and Tony Vetano were on a drug bust assignment when a DPD black and white patrol car stopped. All hell broke out, but by the time the bullets stopped flying Tony was dead from one of Jesse's bullets. Exonerated, he quit the force anyway and came home to Steamboat Springs, Colorado where he obtains a ski patrol position.

In Steamboat Springs Routt County Sheriff Lee Torrens needs help with a particularly brutal homicide as she knows she is out of her league. Although well aware of why Jesse quit the police force and personally knowing why he left town several years ago. Lee asks her friend to help with the investigation into the stabbing murder of thirty-four year old Alexander Howell. The former cop and the sheriff work together as more homicides occur and their feelings for one another as teens remain as strong as it did then.

This is an enjoyable police procedural with a simmering romantic subplot that enhances the inquiry, but never intrudes on the serial murder case. Lee is a wonderful dedicated Sheriff while Jesse has battle fatigue stress disorder coping with issues that he knows will never close. Although maniacal serial killers have flooded the market, sub-genre fans will appreciate this strong Rocky Mountains whodunit.

The Rose of Sebastopol
Katharine McMahon
9780425232224 $15.00

During the Crimean War, surgeon Henry Thewell and nurse Rosa Longwood are serving in the combat zone. His fiance and her cousin Mariella Lingwood remains in England worried about both of them especially with the letters from them in Turkey.

When Henry becomes severely ill, he is rushed back to Italy for proper medical treatment. Upon learning of her fiance's illness, Mariella rushes to be with him. However, she is greeted with the name of Rosa on his lips while he is delirious. H earing that Rosa is missing; out of character for a prim and proper Victorian lady; Mariella heads to the front to find Rosa to learn the truth re the relationship between her cousin and her fiance.

Putting aside the abrupt forced climax, The Rose of Sebastopol is a terrific unusual Victorian romance with a strong look at conditions on the front during the mid nineteenth century Crimean War with Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade coming to mind. The jump back and forth in time needs some adjustment but worth the effort as the cast brings to life the era from the perspective of the war. Rosa appears to be a Florence Nightingale clone of sorts while Mariella is changed by what she observes first in Constantinople and later at the front as she realizes that Love is a Battlefield (Benatar).

The Bliss Factor
Penny McCall
9780425233078 $7.99

In Holly Grove at the Michigan Renaissance festival someone apparently attacked armorer Conn leaving him suffering from amnesia. Accountant Rae Blissfield's festival parents volunteer her to provide Conn a place to heal, which he accepts.

Conn and Rae are attracted to one another, but he is unsure whether he should proceed unaware of whom he might have a relationship with already and she is prim and proper, the opposite of her festive parents. As he begins to regain his memory, they fall in love. However, he realizes he is undercover working to shut down a counterfeit ring operating inside the festival that will also be closed once he exposes the felons working with impunity from within. That is if he and his "partner" can continue to elude the "Three Stooges" sent to shut him down permanently.

This is an entertaining romantic frolic starring two likable lead characters, her charming parents (and the other festival players), and the slapstick thugs. The story line is fast-paced and filled with humor as well as romance (especially the heroine's fantasies re her new roommate. Fans will enjoy this zany amusing romantic suspense.

Sprinkle With Murder
Jenn McKinlay
9780425233429 $6.99

Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura own Fairy Tale Cupcakes along with silent partner rich Tate Harper. The trio has been best friends since grade school and soon the threesome will become a foursome when Tate marries fashion designer Christie Stevens, a spoiled fashionista diva and all around nasty person. She tells Mel and Angie to make five hundred cupcakes, but insists each have five original flavors that she will legally own.

Mel goes to the home of the queen of mean for a tasting, but finds the designer dead with a partially eaten cupcake nearby. The toxicology report shows the cupcake contained arsenic, but the victim's stomach did not. The police target Mel as the prime suspect while the media crucifies her and Tate when a photographer caught them in an innocent clinch in which she was comforting her friend, but the photo made them look like lovers. Not trusting the cops who want the case solved or the reporters who want a scandal Mel believes neither will seek the truth if that intrudes on their respective preference. Thus, Mel investigates knowing she better find the killer before she goes on trial and besides she needs to save their business. However, her plan was not to become victim number two although the culprit disagrees with her and perhaps as bad traps her with her adversarial rival Olivia.

Sprinkle With Murder is the opening culinary amateur sleuth of a new series that will elate fans of cozies. The three BFFs are fully developed with fun quirks making each different while the late fiancee is a malicious caricature of Cruella. With recipes and an egg nod to Kill Bill 2, fans will enjoy the fun Sprinkle with Murder.

Blood Magic
Eileen Wilks
9780425233054 $7.99

FBI Agent Lily Yu and Lupi Prince Rule Turner plan their mixed marriage over the objections of each of their respective families. Her side objects to a werewolf for an in law; while his side opposes a human as an in-law. Neither side will budge a fraction on the upcoming nuptials.

In San Diego at a baby shower for FBI Agent Cynna Weaver and Lupine Sorcerer Cullen Seabourne (see Blood Lines and Night Season for their mating) at the Nokolai Clan home, an assassin almost murders Cullen. As Lily investigates, she is shocked when her shapeshifting grandmother vanishes without a trace. Even more stunning to the Fed is all clues in the murder attempt lead to grandmother as an ancient blood enemy plans to kill her and anyone related to her.

The key to the latest Yu-Turner urban fantasy is the emphasis is on her enigmatic grandmother, especially the elderly shapeshifter's past. Though newcomers will need a scorecard, Lily fans obtain a terrific whodunit that includes the return of the C couple, but the fun is learning why the avenger is doing it because of the deep look at the Yu family roots.

Real Vampires Hate Their Thighs
Gerry Bartlett
9780425232231 $14.00

In Hollywood Glory St. Clair loves the nightlife especially hitting the bloody in spots with boyfriend, Jeremy Blade aka Jeremiah Campbell. When she meets Ian MacDonald, he swears he can help her meet her forever fantasy goal of losing weight. Being a vampire she assumes she cannot change her body type, but his diet works.

However, Jeremiah's clan has been blood feuding with the MacDonald brood for eternity. Glory has side affects from her diet like suffering nightmares that are even more shocking as she has not had a dream in four centuries. She protects Ian from Jeremiah and his kin as the loss of weight makes him her hero. Besides he is also working on another drug solution to enable vampires to remain awake in daytime.

Still obsessed over her waistline, Glory rejects the notion that Real Vampires Don't Diet when she accepts help from a MacDonald, which angers her boyfriend's clan as the feud has been on going for centuries. Lighthearted with an underlying message to diet healthily, fans of the series will enjoy this pleasant read as the lead character tries pharmaceuticals to lose the weight.

Accidentally Demonic
Dakota Cassidy
9780425232286 $14.00

Public relations specialist Casey Schwartz wakes up behind bars, but cannot recall getting arrested. She calls her big sister Wanda (see the Accidental Werewolf) to bail her out. Casey not only fails to remember beating up a cop, which led to her arrest, the normally mild mannered woman cannot understand her sudden short fuse and incredible strength.

Vampire Clayton Gunnersson arrives knowing why Casey has radically changed. In a bar someone accidentally dropped demon blood on her and she is changing into the genetic clone of Clay's demonic mate Hildegard. Casey is attracted to Clay, which if her "twin" finds out will make turning into a demon seem gentle and sweet.

This is a laugh out loud romantic fantasy as fans of the Accidental saga (See Accidental Human and Accidentally Dead) will understand the mantra may the Schwartz be with us. The story line is a breezy lighthearted frolic as a werewolf or vampire bite pale compared to being demonized. Zany throughout, fans of madcap paranormal tales will enjoy the meek will inherit the earth; if they live long enough.

Archangel's Kiss
Nalini Singh
9780425233368 $7.99

Elena Deveraux wakes up to see an odd alien city with angels in the sky. Archangel of New York Raphael fell in love with the human hunter and changed her into an immortal. After being in a coma for a year, she has been awake for three days. They argue over their relationship as he insists he is he master and she says they are equals. He says she must fly or die in the next two months as they have been invited to a ball by the oldest archangel Lijuan that they cannot afford to miss gong. Lijuan considers the hunter as Raphael's pet and the other living members of the Cadre of ten want to test her power too after what she did to one of them in New York and her being the first made human in millennia.

Raphael and Elena while flying over Refuge see a body near where Raphael's land touches that of Elijah. Loyal vampire Noel was battered and left to die with a warning to Elena as a Hunter Gild weapon was buried inside the severely injured man's chest. The trail is cold. Raphael wants to kill the violator who harmed Noel but needs proof as he knows the games to test him and his soulmate have begun and the danger increases with deaths and torture.

Although the terrific Archangel's Kiss is a direct sequel to Angels' Blood readers will have some problems during the first few chapters catching up with the back-story unless you read the previous tale recently. However, that will pass quickly as the exciting story line grips the audience while taking place entirely on the Archangel plane. The mystery is deftly handled as is the relationship between the archangel and the hunter he made while the strong support cast contains distinct different personalities. Fans will relish this engaging romantic fantasy as everything converges at Lijuan's ball.

Plaster and Poison
Jennie Bentley
9780425233450 $7.99

After inheriting her great Aunt Irene's home in Waterfield, Maine, New York designer Avery Baker decides to settle in the small-town. Her decision has a lot to do with Derek Ellis, who she has come to care about while renovating her new home; he reciprocates her deep regard. Avery joins Derek in his business Waterfield Renovation & Restoration. They are between jobs so when her best friend Kate asks her to redesign her carriage house that adjoins her B&B so she and her fiance Wayne can reside there, Avery agrees.

Kate is also worried about her daughter Shannon; Avery and Derek understand why as they have observed her with an older man on several occasions. One day at the carriage house, they find the body of the man seen with Shannon. He turns out to be her father who came to Maine to see his daughter after learning from the newspaper she was coming into a nice inheritance. The death casts suspicion on Shannon, Kate and Wayne who is the Chief of Police. Avery investigates in hopes her new friend's wedding can take place without a hitch. Derek's assistant Beatrice disappears without a word to anyone. She was last seen at her place of work which also happened to be the abode of Shannon's late father. Avery assumes the vanishing and the homicide are linked, but has no idea how.

The third Do-It-Yourself mystery (see Spackled and Spooked, and Fatal Fixer-Upper) is a delightful small-town Maine amateur sleuth with crimes that seem unrelated on the surface, but scraping at the grime leads to some interesting results. Avery is a caring person who risks herf life trying to solve the whodunit with less information available to her than the cops possess. Although her reasoning for sleuthing is shaky, her inquiry is solid and entertaining as Plaster and Poison is a pull no punches mystery.

A Rather Charming Invitation
C.A. Belmond
9780451229083 $15.00

American heiress Penny Nichols and her fiance London barrister Jeremy Laidley are planning their wedding when her French cousin Honorine arrives in England. They need to return her young relative to her parents in Mougins, France. There her Aunt Leonora and Uncle Phillipe offer the use of an ancient bridal tapestry and their chateau for their wedding vows.

However, Jeremy's very British grandmother wants the ceremony in England so the couple has to convince her to cross the Channel. As they struggle to persuade his family's matriarch that her specific demands will be met in France, the tapestry is stolen. Jeremy and Penny return to France to investigate who robbed her family's valuable heirloom.

The third Rather tale (see A Rather Lovely Inheritance and A Rather Curious Engagement) is an engaging contemporary that contains several mysteries re their respective families' secrets and obviously the missing tapestry. The story line starts slow yet is insightful as Penny is a nervous wreck and it picks up once the heirloom is stolen. Although the whodunit has too many holes, fans of the Rather charming saga will enjoy the latest entry wondering if Penny needs to wear rubber underwear when she says oui.

Moon Craving
Lucy Monroe
9780425233047 $7.99

The Romans called them Picts, but the Chrechte realized they had to adapt or become extinct as the human race multiplied much more rapidly. They became Highlander clan leaders, but were betrayed by the Scottish king. Their survivors took control of Celtic clans but these shapeshifters hide their animal nature from the humans they lead.

Scottish King David arranges a new bride for clan leader Tulorc, who rejected the last English one, Emily Hamilton. Tulorc agrees, but insists the marriage occurs in Scotland. When Tulorc and his fiancee Abigail meet she hides her deafness from him. She assumes once he learns she is imperfect he will send her to her beloved sister Emily. They exchange vows Chrechte style, but Tulorc says they will make love when they reach clan land. When they make love, he hides his wolf from her while she conceals her deafness. They make love again and he is shocked as he hears Abigail shout his name in mindspeak; she hears him too. He knows she is his true mate but when he learns of her affliction, he angrily howls betrayal like his stepmother did while his fiercest supporters insist Abigail is a warrior hiding her weakness.

The historical werewolf spin that is the underlying premise of the Children of the Moon saga is cleverly designed so that the readers will believe in the Chrechte. The return of the lead characters from Moon Awakening in critical support roles is a welcome addition, but the tale belongs to a strong heroine who as Barr the warrior says compensates for her deafness like a great soldier should. Although the lack of a strong villain limits the tension to hiding secrets between the lead couple, fans will enjoy this fine medieval romantic fantasy.

Cook the Books
Jessica Conant-Parks and Susan Conant
9780425232460 $23.95

In Boston Chloe Carter insures herself she is over the dumping by her former boyfriend Josh who left her and the restaurant scene to become a personal chef to an affluent couple in Hawaii. Chloe remains busy with her schooling as she works on obtaining a Masters in social work while spending time and a fortune on her godson Patrick. To pay her bills, sh e obtains a position of assistant to cookbook writer Kyle Boucher and his renowned chef of a father.

They plan to write a series of cookbooks with recipes given to them from lesser known chefs. Chloe plans to introduce them to her friend Digger, but a fire in his apartment left him dead. Several people insist the blaze was not an accident especially those who knew him well who insists Digger kept his kitchen pristine clean; and Chloe agrees as she has a hard time accepting an experienced chef like Digger would cause an out of control fire. Working with Kyle proves difficult as he keeps sloppy records and cannot delineate the good from the bad. Josh returns home for his friend's funeral and to find his killer, as well as see Chloe who he misses.

The fifth Gourmet Girl amateur sleuth is a truly scrumptious mystery that gives readers a glimpse at the dark side of the restaurant business with its bang -bang cutthroat competition as Chloe finds a horde of suspects with strong motives. Readers will admire her for putting friends first as she genuinely cares about people while also empathizing with her as she still loves Josh and his leaving does not Simmer Down her feelings and his returning to Turn Up the Heat complicates her need to move on.

The Teabury Strangler
Laura Childs
9780425232453 $24.95

In the back alley behind Church St. in Charleston, South Carolina, shopkeepers host a Dickensian evening wearing period pieces and selling bargains to enthralled visitors. The idea and deployment were that of Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning who serves a lot of Darjeeling and sandwiches.

After the gala ends, she is walking the alley glowing with success when she sees her friend Daria Shand owner of the Antiquarian Map Shop fighting with someone. She rushes to her friend's assistance, but by the time she gets there, Daria is dead and her killer gone. The store is a mess as someone, probably the killer, tore up the valuable merchandise. Theo is outraged by the homicide and the vandalism, but vows to stay out of the investigation until her Aunt Libby, a close friend of Daria's grieving mother, pleads with her to do otherwise. Theo snoops finding plenty of viable suspects, but dislikes CPD Detective Tidwell's theory that the intended victim might not be Daria, bur instead a proprietor of tea.

Laura Childs presents another spectacular whodunit set in an upscale shopping district of Charleston with specialty shoppes. Figuring out who the culprit is proves difficult as Daria had apparent enemies wanting to buy her store and the police theory that Theo saw the murder and might identify the killer too. Fans will enjoy sipping tea with Theo as she works the case in which she may have been the planned victim.

Avenging Angels
Mary Stanton
9780425233092 $7.99

When Brianna Winston-Beaufort took over her late Uncle Franklin's Savannah law practice Beaufort & Company, she had no idea what she let herself in for as she works legal matters in the Celestial Court. Her clients are typically spirits and her assistance angels as she is the only mortal (and lawyer) who can enter 66 Angelus St.

Her current case is a suicide victim banker Russell O'Rourke who allegedly killed himself due to the recession leading to his bankruptcy and shame. Although she struggles with the lack of a law library on line, Bree knows the heavenly law about killing one's self. However, she with Sasha her angelic guard dog at her side and her assistant angels investigate only to find Russell's widow euphoric with his death. As she begins to wonder if Russell's is a victim of a homicide, someone wants Bree needing a lawyer defending her in Celestial Court before she learns the truth of how Russell died.

The latest Beaufort paranormal legal thriller is an engaging tale due to a strong cast starting with the lead attorney. The story line is fast-paced on earth and in court as Bree and company investigate the suspicious death of Russell as well as appeal his sentencing in the heavenly court. Although similar in tone to the previous two defending their lives entries (see Angel's Advocate and Defending Angels), fans will enjoy this still unique quirky angelic spin n the afterlife.

A Brief Life
Juan Carlos Onetti
Serpent's Tail
9781852429782 $14.95

In Santa Rose, Brausen has mixed feelings about being the caretaker of his wife who has been ill for a long time. On the one hand he misses their caresses and kisses while on the other he feels guilt for being increasingly non-understanding and empathetic towards her.

To mentally survive, he has become a listening voyeur as he listens through the wall to the married couple next door making love. He fantasizes that it is he kissing the breasts, scar and long legs of Gertrudis. Over time that becomes not been enough; so in between the neighbors' sexual trysts, he fills the void by creating the adventures of Dr. Diaz Grey in the make believe town of Santa Maria. Tired, Brausen seeks emotional escape from his all too lonely "brief life".

This is a reprint translation of a super 1950 tale that remains relevant even more so today than when the late great Uruguayan author Juan Carlos Onetti wrote it. The story line is filtered through the battered mind of Brausen who emotionally, mentally, and physically is feeling the toll of his wife's illness and has turned to neighbors serendipitously and his imagination for escape from reality. Readers will appreciate this cautionary tale in which Mr. Onetti almost six decades ago warned society to not ignore the plight of a family caretaker who will feel immense stroke level pressure; as it is easy to sympathize with the sick person but not the seemingly healthy individual caring for the long term ill loved one.

The Golden Season
Connie Brockway
9780451412836 $7.99

In 1816 Lady Lydia Eastlake learns she is broke, but wants a final Golden Season before she is forced to marry an affluent lord. She assumes finding a wealthy match will prove easy as she is beautiful and has the proper pedigree though her age at a shelf life of twenty-four and never been under the control of any male or for that matter even a female but being an orphan might go against her.

War hero Captain Ned Lockton returns to England in search of a wife with money as his family estate is teetering on bankruptcy. When Lydia and Ned meet, they are attracted to one another while also believing the other is rich. Each learns the dire straits of their beloved's finances and sadly concludes they must pragmatically look elsewhere as love does not pay the bills.

This terrific Regency romance stars two strong lead characters (especially the pursuing female) who are both in financial trouble due to an economic recession and in her case too much spending. Ironically, his fighting against Napoleon left him and his family vulnerable to the economy's slump. Lydia and Ned make the tale as they want one another, but look to the odious Smyth types for marriage as neither can afford to wed for love.

See How Much I Love You
Luis Leante
Marion Boyers
9780714531540 $14.95

In Barcelona, teenagers Santiago and Montse meet and fall in love. However, he comes from a poor background while she is educated middle class. Although she is pregnant, they break up leading to a depressed Santiago leaving Spain for the Western Sahara where Spain's only African colony is located. By 1975 with Spain gone, war breaks out between Morocco and the Saharawi. Montse learns her beloved is dead.

However, three decades later a divorced doctor, Montse finds a picture of Santiago carried by a patient. She learns he lives and lost his spouse and child just like her. She realizes she never forgotten the love of her life. Deciding to find him, she treks to what was once Spanish Morocco in search of her Santiago. She thinks she knows the danger, but the Western Sahara remains dangerous especially the Saharawi refugee camps where he is escorting a family. Still she continues her quest for love.

Although there is a bittersweet romantic connection, the story line focuses on the little heard about plight of the Saharawi in western Morocco. The story line starts slow but takes off at the first reference to Santiago in Africa though the plot moves back and forth in time. Complicated, Luis Leante provides a profound look at Western Sahara where another people has been negatively impacted by imperialism, but ultimately devastated from neighbors within Africa.

Indian Summer
Tracy Richardson
Luminis Books
9781935462255 $11.95

Twelve-year-old Marcie Horton looks forward to the last day of school especially no math for the summer. The last day of school means the fun symbolic Children's Fair in which she always wins the foot race. However, as she pedals up the hill she dreads spending a few boring weeks at the isolated cottage of Mamaw and Poppy on Lake Pappakeechee.

At her grandparents' cottage, Marcie is bored until she learns university President Swyndall plans to have the nearby James Woods torn down for a development project. She feels strongly opposed to destroying this ancient thriving forest. Encouraged by a Native American Adena girl's spirit, Marcie pushes to find a way to prevent the destruction of the pristine woods. At the same time, she becomes friends with Kaitlyn Swyndall, daughter of her opponent, as they are part of the same team for the upcoming regatta. Finally Marcie fears her intervention could cost her parents their jobs as each works at the university.

This is an enjoyable young adult tale that focuses on how a courageous but frightened tweener sees things in an adult world. Marcie is terrific as she fears her intrusion will harm her parents since she does not fully comprehend tenure, but also feels she must do the right thing re the Adena girl's spirit. Although the solution to how she earns the respect of the Swyndall family simplifies a complex issue of development vs. environment and ultimately heritage, middle school fans will enjoy Marcie's charming Indian Summer.

Catherine Fisher
9780803733961 $7.99

Energy resources are severely depleted since the war occurred. To save what is left of civilization; Incarceron Prison was built to house dissidents, radicals and criminals. This was sealed up so no one can enter or leave. The idea led to a closed environment with excellent shelter, decent food and medical supplies so Incarceron would become a Utopia. Instead reality and the dream fail to match as the world became hell on earth.

Finn believes his visions are memories of a life outside the prisons. He wants to escape along with his oath brother Keiro, slave girl Attia, and sapient Gildas. On the Outside, time stopped and society has become medieval with advanced technology banned by the ruling Protocol. Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron is expected to marry the Queen's son and heir Earl Casper; she does not want to marry him. She was to wed his half-brother Giles who died in a freak accident whom she wanted to wed. When evidence surfaces that Giles is alive and inside Incarceron, she vows to get to him at the risk of her life.

Readers will quickly understand why the London Times calls this the book of the year as the story line plays out on several Orwellian levels that hook diverse age groups. Incarceron is a huge prison with an internal caste system and incredible security. People are there for life to include newborns. Finn is a loyal person taking care of friends inside a horrible containment zone risking his life to do so. Claudia likewise does the same when she tries to breach the great prison to save her beloved. Catherine Fisher provides a powerful futuristic as if the Knights of the Round Table took the Journey to the Center of the Earth only to find a 1984 setting.

Cat's Claw
Amber Benson
9780441018437 $7.99

Having rescued her father the CEO of Death, Inc, Calliope Reaper-Jones wants to go back to her vapid New York City lifestyle of designer shoes and designer hunks. However, before the immortal Callie can get back into the swing of Manhattan living, she learns her soul mate (don't use that term in front of dear old dad) Daniel thought long dead may be alive.

Finally after buying two cupcakes as directed, she also has visitors she would prefer stay out of her life. There is the old woman and her tart minx spirit demanding a human form and better behavior from her or else. Then there is Cerberus Hell's Guardian demanding Callie pay her debt by finding and bringing to the three headed watchdog an architect who varnished. Callie can handle Vegas, Purgatory, and Hell, but a discount department store is something that even Dante could not envision.

This is an entertaining frenzied fantasy frolic that will have the audience laughing at the chick lit voice of the heroine who is willing to go to heaven on a hellish cause, but discount stores are unfair. The story line is thin in spite of a vast richness of supporting myths and several subplots. Still fans will enjoy the amusing antics of Death's Daughter as she navigates between her work at TV Home Shopping and plenty of otherworldly demands.

Where Angels Fear to Tread
Thomas E. Sniegoski
9780451463142 $14.00

In Boston, former seraphim Remy Chandler struggles to control his heavenly power ever since his beloved Madeline died six moths ago. Deryn York, the frantic mother of six years old Zoe, pleads with Remy to find her missing daughter. The distraught woman shows the private investigator drawings she says her child drew that foretell her abduction by her father Carl and one picture of a male angelic savior with a big black dog in front of a brownstone that Remy recognizes in entirety.

Unbeknownst to Remy, cursed to walk the earth alone Delilah seeks the child as does the followers of the god Dagan. Blind Samson also joins the mix seeking the little girl with power to predict the future. Soon everyone converges in West Virginia.

This exciting urban fantasy is fast-paced and filled with action from the moment Remy sees the last drawing and never slows down as the hero realizes all hell is about to break out over a child. Remy is super as he struggles to contain his power though he would not mind burning a few worthless souls yet will move heaven, hell and earth to protect an innocent little girl. Delilah is a terrific villainess who will do anything to further her power; except for Remy, she makes the rest of the cast including her former husband look emaciated. Fans will relish this fine tale and seek the hero's back story (see, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse and Dancing on the Head of a Pin).

Rob Thurman
9780451463197 $7.99

The Auphe are dead and their home a wasteland; no one is more pleased with their demise than hybrid human-Auphe Cal Leandros and his purebred human brother Niko. Best friends as well as half-siblings, they no longer have to run and hide. In the open, they run their private investigation business without worry of an Auphe attack.

Both sleuths are shocked when the ancient gypsy granddame Abelia-Roo wants to hire them to find a coffin stolen from them that contains Suyolak the Plague of the World who if released causes horrific diseases. As much as the brothers prefer doing nothing for the backstabbing gypsy queen, they fear what Suyolak can do so follow the trail of Hevas. Rafferty the healer, his cousin Catcher, a were trapped in wolf form, Robin Goodfellow in between thoughts of monogamy and Cal's sex buddy Delilah join the Leandros on their quest; albeit though Cal and Niko have doubts about each of their teammates epically Delilah who might be trying to kill them. The trail is filled with death as even a trapped Suyolak can kill.

Readers will continue to feel empathy towards Cal who due to his genetic make up as no friends within the preternatural community. His only loving contact remains his brother as both fears what will happen if his Auphe side overwhelms his human DNA. Only those who have a Deathwish would set out on this trek to capture and deal with a mass murderer. Readers will relish this roller coaster ride filled with danger, sharp Madhouse spins and twists as the unexpected is the norm in this urban fantasy.

Shalador's Lady
Anne Bishop
9780451463159 $24.95

When she was Queen the first time, Cassidy of Bhad was too weak and plain so her retinue deserted her to join the stronger court of much prettier and more powerful Queen Kermilla. At the same she is dethroned, the deceitful Queens ignored the honorable Rules of the Blood and ruin Dena Nehele leading to revolt. Warlord Prince Theran Grayhaven desperately needs a partner to regain their lost rule so he and demoted Lady Cassidy marry making her the Queen of Dena Nehele. Shockingly she cleans the immediate territory of the tainted blood.

As the Rose-Jeweled Queen Cassidy expands her efforts to cleanse the entire realm and affirm she deserves being the ruler. Aiden the bard and his beloved Lyra the Muse know their world is in imminent peril. They fail to rouse the Fae and the sisterhood of witches to heed their warning of pending disaster. Desperate they must find a Fae who will listen and act.

This is an exciting quest fantasy with a wonderful frustrated couple who meet rejection, indifference, and denial on their journey to save the realm. Cassidy continues to grow in moral fiber (as does Theran), which enables her to grow in power to cleanse the land of the taint. Fans of the long running Black Jewels saga will relish this terrific entry; newcomers need to at least read the previous entry The Shadow Queen to better understand the action-packed entry though perusing previous books would be even better as Anne Bishop paints a complex realm.

Feathered Serpent 2012
Junius Podrug
9780765308351 $24.99

The Mayan prophecy that on December 21, 2012, Quetzalcoatl will return to begin the End Time countdown. Most scientists scorn the feathered Serpent coming out of the bowels of the earth to the surface, but a few are willing to risk professional suicide to explore the legend. Astrobiology archeologist Caden Montez firmly believes the Mayan "myth" is real and the count down to the end of days has begun.

She is currently exploring the ruins of Teotihuacan where she believes the end of the fifth age of history will begin the end; just like the Flood, Fire, Air, and Earth did previously. Caden finds the blasphemy at the site to entertain tourists appalling, but continues her work when a methane explosion in the Gulf causes havoc throughout the Western Hemisphere, but this proves the beginning of the end of days. Liquid logistics especially gas and water become desperately needed and friends turn to war as civilization collapses. Caden, former CIA chief Allen Holt, and first century Olli superstar Tah Heen unite in a last hope to save the fifth age of history from the End Time as t he Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are riding and Quetzalcoatl has escaped his imprisonment thanks to the methane break.

Although over the top of Mexico, Vegas, and a few other locations as well time, fans will enjoy the latest Mayan Doomsday thriller. Caden is moral courage personified as she has been scorned and ridiculed by colleagues and the media, but adheres to her beliefs although she prays she is not proven right; she will have a chance to prove combat courage as well. Fast-paced throughout though overly complicated, fans of the Mayan End Times omen will relish Junius Podrag's interpretation of the countdown to the end time of the fifth age of history.

The Intrigue at Highbury or Emma's March
Carrie Bebris
9780765318480 $22.99

While Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizbath are driving in their coach, they see on the side of the road a young woman who starts screaming. They stop to offer help. While on the carriage a light blows out and a raven screams scaring the servants. The young woman who says she is Miss Jones vanishes. The Darcys return to their coach to find their two servants unconscious and Mr. Darcy's christening gown and his mother's ring gone. They were going to give them to his cousin, but instead report the theft to the magistrate Mr. Knightly.

The magistrate and his wife Emma are having problems too. They are sponsoring a wedding dinner for Mr. Frank Churchill and his new bride Jane when his adopted father Edger dies. After Knightly meets the Darcys and learns he has solved several mysteries (see The Matter At Mansfield, Pride And Prescience, NORTH By Northanger, and Suspense And Sensibility) , he confesses he never liked Frank. As a magistrate he can not be objective so he asks Mr. Darcy to help him investigate the suspicious death which the Darcy's agree to do. They learn Edgar died from belladonna poisoning. As the Darcy's looks into the homicide, they also believe they can recover what was taken from them because they think the thief is still in the area. As more poisonings occur, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy focus on stopping a killer before others die.

The latest Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery is superb giving readers a look at what Jane Austen's England looked like. The audience will be shocked to realize that even intelligent people like the Darcys and the Knightleys are prejudicial against gypsies; all four believe that if a gypsy is in the neighborhood when a crime occurs the culprit is known even without any witness to the felony. The whodunit and why are very complex; with many suspects having motives as the reader and the lead quartet struggle t o decide who is the murderer.

Secret of the Dragon
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
9780765319746 $24.99

The power of the old gods led by Torval is waning and new gods led by Aelon and worshipped by the Sinarians and the Gods of Raj are challenging them for power. To regain their supremacy, the old gods must have the Five Bones of the primal Vektia Dragons, hidden and scattered across the world by the dragon goddess Vindrash during creation. One is owned by the Sinarions; one in the land of the ogres; and three are unknown. Whoever has the bones possesses the power of creation.

On the mortal plane, Skylan Ivorson and his sea raiding crew inclding the Bone Goddess Treia, and her sister Aylean are betrayed by Raegar, a Vindraisi turned warrior priest of Aelon who leads the enemy Sinarians to them. The crew is captures and sold into slavery while Treia who is Raegar's lover will do anything for him. They become the slaves of Lord Acronis and are expected to battle in Para Dix games in an arena especially built for the warrior battles. Skylan discovers how deep Raegar's treachery goes and luckily he finds where the dragon bone is interred foils his plan. Unfortunately Skylane may not be able to do anything to stop him permanently even with hi s knowledge because he needs the aid of the vanished dragon Kahg and the gods.

This book picks up where Bones of the Dragon ended so it behooves the audience to read the previous tale first, but also be aware that the climax of this thriller is a cliffhanger too that will require the next entry to resolve how the hero gets out of his predicament; if he does. Skylan is a sort of Indiana Jones character landing in one dangerous escapade after another with no chance to breath in between his adventures. He relies on his instincts and his crew to achieve their mission and stay alive. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman provide another superb Bones epic fantasy.

Serpent Moon
C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
9780765364258 $6.99

The Sazi still struggle with understanding alpha werewolf Eric Thompson's howling skill that somehow interferes with airwaves; his problem is though he can do it, he is unable to control his howling talent. Recently converted by a horrific assault into a Sazi, Holly Sanchez moved from Denver to the Outback where she has become a healer.

However, she has learned that a Sazi relatives support group plans to use an elixir on the werewolves that will return them to Homo sapiens. At the same time the scheme to resurrect Marduc the snake goddess is nearing fruition. Holly and Eric team up to prevent two probable tragedies from occurring.

This is a great entry in the Tales of the Sazi mythos as Marduc arrives on the scene seemingly invincible. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as previously secondary character Holly proves she with the Canadian wolf can hold an exhilarating story line together in Australia. With no time to catch a breath once the lead couple meets in the Outback, readers will fully relish the latest Sazi romantic urban fantasy as nothing less than love and saving the world at the same time is at stake.

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
9780765320483 $27.99

Through time memorial, Warriors have fought for and defended their country and will do so in the future. In fiction, Warriors appear in every genre; they turn up in the past, present and future; are various species; on diverse locations throughout the universe and beyond; and are of both human genders. George R.R. Martin points this out in the Introduction that Warriors play major roles in The Lord of the Rings, The Forever War, All's Quiet on the Western Front and Starship Trooper for instance. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois deployed well known authors to write Warrior tales in their particular genre and favorite period; however writers are an independent group so fans will find delightful surprises.

An entry sure to be popular is "The Custom of the Army" by Diane Gabaldon focusing on a seventeenth century colonial soldier who is being court-martialed and asks Lord John to speak up for him.. Joe Haldeman's "Forever Bound" takes place in the near future when warriors have implants that make them into a cohesive unit due to a group mind, but one soldier finds his partner, but though he thinks differently he continues to fight for his country. In Lawrence Block's "Clean Slate", Katherine has a more personal war to fight as her dad's Little Soldier. In 4577, "Seven Years From Home" (by Naomi Novik), Ruth the diplomat arrives on a planet to ignite a civil war betwee n the two local human species, one of which needs more land.

These are a sample of a strong diverse 20-story collection of new tales as Robin Hobb and Steven Saylor takes the audience to Rome and Carthage; Cecilia Holland has Vikings as her stars; Joe R. Lansdale highlights the "Soldierin" in the American Civil War. Readers will enjoy this varied anthology as the contributors use differing genres, era, locations, species, and genders, but share in common a deep look at the heart of Warriors.

Hawkmoon: the Jewel in the Skull
Michael Moorcock
9780765324733 $13.99

The Dark Empire of Granbretan has devastated their opponents who have tried to overthrow their harsh subjection. One such loser the Duke of Koln Dorian Hawkmoon attempted unsuccessfully to destroy the empire, but instead failed and became their pawn.

When Count Brass the lord of the city Kamarang rejects an offer of an alliance with Granbretan, imperial Baron Meliadus sends former rebel Hawkmoon to kidnap Brass' daughter, Yisselda. However, Hawkmoon has problems with carrying out the abduction order that goes against his values; besides his attraction to Yisselda, her father treats him with respect and kindness; reminding him of his original vow to destroy the evil Empire and his deep humiliation of bowing down to Meliadus.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed reprint of a 1960s sword and sorcery thriller that holds up nicely though contains little insight into life under the Black Jewel sorcery rule as the plot is linear. The hero makes the story line work as he believes his ultimate abjection is a betrayal of his own soul and when he meets the last holdout, Hawkmoon knows how far he has fallen in disgrace. Fans will enjoy Dorian's efforts to regain what he lost when the Empire defeated his army; his impetus is the father and daughter who shower him with adulation and respect while he feels he deserves contempt. Future Eur ope has rarely looked as dark as the continent that Hawkmoon traverses.

Able One
Ben Bova
9780765323866 $24.99

The North Korean army launches a nuclear missile into space. When they ignite the missile the subsequent explosion causes electromagnetic shockwaves. Several key communication satellites are destroyed and global communication is devastated around the world.

Intelligence is lacking and fearing an even further crippling of command and control communication, the American military prepare to launch ABL-1that can take out a missile though this laser system is untested. At the same time, POTUS tries to react to the crisis without starting World War III.

This is an interesting tale based on scientific electromagnetic pulse bomb theory as deployed by a military unit that goes ironically rogue inside of the most probably rogue country in the world. The story line is loaded with action; too much as seemingly important threads are left dangling. Still in spite of the over abundance of subplots, Ben Bova provides his audience with a fascinating geo-political technological thriller.

The Brain Thief
Alexander Jablokov
9780765322005 $24.99

Wealthy Muriel Inglis sends an odd message to her only employee executive assistant Bernal Haydon-Rumi. Unable to comprehend what his employer wants and why she failed to go to the art gallery as planned; although he just came home from a South Dakota business trip, Bernal rushes over to her home, but she is not there and the house looks like a cyclone came through it.

However, as he ponders what next he notices a woman he realizes is her fleeing the house in a nightgown. He chases after her, but she escapes by stealing her neighbor's Mercedes. The vehicle's owner prevents Bernal from following by knocking him out. When Bernal regains consciousness he notices that his car is gone, but after cleaning up in his employer's home, he sees his car is back. Frantic for Muriel's safety and receiving messages from her he does not understand, Bernal visits Madeline Ungaro, who is working on a space exploratory AI project Hesketh funded by Muriel and loathed by private investigator Charis Fen who warns the desperate amateur sleuth to watch his back.

Although over the top of the Black Hills, The Brain Thief is a fast-paced thriller that grips the audience from the moment Bernal receives the first odd message and never slows down as he follows clues and receives happenstance assistance to learn what is going on. Fans will enjoy accompanying Bernal and fully appreciate the irony of his sleuthing throughout the hero's cat and mouse chase.

Dust of Dreams
Steven Erikson
9780765316554 $17.99

East of the Letherii Empire lies the Wastelands and the Glass desert where Malazan 14the Army Commander Adjunct Tavore leads her troops, the Bonehunters into exile. Joining them on their excursion is the Letherii imperial legions under the command of Brys Beddict. Expected to meet them are the Perish Grey Helms and Khundryl Burned Tears, but they are betrayed as they try to cross the Kingdom of Bolkando at the same time on the Ar'kryn plains while the Barghast White Face clans deal with treachery from within also. While all this military movement and treachery occurs, the Shake seeks their ancestral home the First Shore, which will cause an ancient reawakening.

As these various races of mortals and ascendants come together, the sky is on fire. Also as the heavens seem under a growing inferno, a god has escaped imprisonment to return to regain his lost power spreading Darkness over the continent. The allies know they go to war to die as the enemy is much more powerful, but ironically though they bravely face their mortality, each knows they fight to protect an empire that has exiled them.

This is the first of the a two part climax to the Malazan Book of the Fallen saga and though much of reaching the finish line will be in the last half, Dust of Dreams has plenty of action including a superb cliffhanger. There is the usual too much internal introspection by seemingly a zillion of the quadrillion cast, which makes keeping score as always complicated and convoluted. Still fans of the saga will enjoy the set-up as Steven Erikson seems ready to end the epic on a high note if the quality level of first part of the final duology is held up in part two.

The Scorpions Strike
C.L. Talmadge
Healing Stone Books
9780980053753 $16.95

The priests of the powerful Temple of Kronos continue their domination over the Toltec empire because King Kefren is too weak-minded to challenge the fundamentalist wing. The priests accuse Lord James Mordecai of heretical crimes against the Temple of Kronos by violating the purebred code when he sired a half-breed daughter Helen.

Both are punished for this gregarious transgression as James is brutally whipped and the Supreme Lord applies the Toltec death-mark to Helen, which allows a legal murder of her. Although festering with anger, James fails to act for fear of causing a civil war at a time the barbarians are attacking the borders. Meanwhile; Helen's secret lover Colonel Jackson Orlando keeps her alive until with the help of Maguari the Mist-Weaver and Academy Grand Master Isaac Sudras she finds a deadly toxin buried in her father's welts. When her stepmother Lady Samantha Poseidon becomes pregnant Helen saves her life and that of her unborn half-brother from an attack intended to kill Helen as the priests are still after the half-breed.

The third GREEN STONE OF HEALING fantasy is an engaging tale that has a unique feel to the plot as the key lead players are tied up by their ethics. James must choose between the kingdom and his daughter so does nothing beyond feeble protection of his offspring. Helen struggles with her fears for her father and his land as she has become a focus of those who would demonize the opposition; so like her dad is unsure what is best for him and his people. With an easy to manipulate ruler, Temple of Kronos fanatics proclaim religious supremacy enable them to assert heresy even knowing they emaciate the kingdom. Father and daughter only respond to their machinations making for a fascinating entry.

C.L. Talmadge
Healing Stone Books
9780980053746 $16.95

On Azgard, Lord James Mordecai recognizes adult physician Helen Andros as his daughter from a liaison with Miriam Andros (see Vision). However, their union is not harmonious as each brings a different past to the father daughter relationship. He demands offspring loyalty and she wants much more from him.

Meanwhile Exalted Lord Toltec King has healed from his debilitating drug induced coma and is interested in Helen's skills as a natural healer and as a surgeon as she brought him back to the living. He orders her to marry her second cousin Lord Justin Atlas. She now knows the Green Stone she wears enhances her medical abilities, but is unsure why. However, she is worried about what will happen to her father, who stands trial for seditious acts. At the same time Justin's father Prince Enoch Atlas believes he is finding the secrets of the priests of the Temple of Kronos in the use of life and death kura energy, which if successful will further his ambition.

The second Green Stone of healing tale is a terrific fantasy starring a large cast held strongly together by the confused heroine. The story line is fast-paced throughout and never slows although much goes on in several subplots. Enoch is a great villain with plans to raise himself and his House to the Exalted Lord level as C.L. Talmadge continues to expand on her deep political fantasy that requires the audience to read the first tale in what is so far a great saga.

Shalador's Lady
Anne Bishop
9780451463159 $24.95

When she was Queen the first time, Cassidy of Bhad was too weak and plain so her retinue deserted her to join the stronger court of much prettier and more powerful Queen Kermilla. At the same she is dethroned, the deceitful Queens ignored the honorable Rules of the Blood and ruin Dena Nehele, leading to revolt.

As the Rose-Jeweled Queen Cassidy expands her efforts to cleanse the entire realm and affirm she deserves being the ruler, Cassidy continues to grow in moral fiber, which enables her to grow in power to cleanse the land of the taint.

Fans of the long running Black Jewels saga will relish this terrific entry; newcomers need to at least read the previous entry The Shadow Queen to better understand the action-packed entry though perusing previous books would be even better as Anne Bishop paints a complex realm.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Laurel's Bookshelf

Do You Really Need to Write a Book?
Carol Adler, MFA
Dandelion Books
1960 W. Keating Ave. Suite 236, Mesa AZ 85202
9781934280782 $20.00

Creating a book is a labor intensive, full time job. Harried professionals, beleaguered CEOs, and busy entrepreneurs may have helpful information to share with the public, but where will they find the time to write a book when every waking hour is packed with other activities? And even if they find the time to write a book, do they have the creative energy, computer skills, and writing ability to complete the project? Professionals and entrepreneurs have many beneficial gifts and stories to share, but not everyone can write a book. This how-to guideline is for every skilled professional and gifted entrepreneur who wants to share their story but wouldn't know where to begin the process. Carol Adler provides simple guidelines here. As an entrepreneurial publisher, author, teacher, editor, book doctor, and ghost writer, she certainly has the credentials and experience to qualify as an expert.

Adler believes that successful people are their own best asset. It's possible for their life and work to inform, inspire, enlighten and entertain others, if only they can get the word out. The best way to accomplish this is by honestly and sincerely sharing yourself and your gifts with the world. Strengths and weaknesses, quirks and foibles, successes and failures, plans and dreams are all an interesting, integral part of each person, what Adler calls "visuals and sensuals." Topics include:

The Who, What, Where, When, Why, How of writing.

Why should YOU write a book?

The many types of publishing.

Should you contract with a book doctor or ghost writer?

Publishing and promoting your book.

Marketing your book online.

If you've ever considered writing a book, the information here is practical and sensible. Adler provides realistic guidelines in a humorous, personable style. Do you need a book doctor or ghost writer? Does your work-in-progress need an editor's eye? Are you confused by terminology such as print-on-demand or self-publishing? Is your heart set on finding a literary agent and a traditional publisher? You'll find answers to every question here. This book is helpful, entertaining, inspiring, and highly recommended.

Laurel Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Lorraine's Bookshelf

Tea Culture
Beverly Dubrin
Imagine! Publishing
25 Whitman Road, Morganville, NJ 07751
9781936140053, $18.95

"Tea Culture: History, Traditions, Celebrations, Recipes & More" is an aesthetic, elegant tea lover's guidebook with carefully presented information about proper tea brewing and preparation techniques plus history of tea traditions around the world and also fabulous recipes for both a variety of tea beverages and also favorite afternoon tea delicacy/accompaniments. "Tea Culture" has a world wide scope and beautiful full color photography as well as black and white illustrations of some of the many varieties and forms of tea available today. Carefully researched and written by an experienced, widely traveled tea-drinker and food journalist, "Tea Culture" is the perfect answer to the worldwide tea enthusiast's growing interest. Some of the things discussed in "Tea Culture" include tea protocol and graces, how and when and where to drink tea, distinctions between five different colors of tea and between loose and bagged tea, some intimate information about Japanese Zen Buddhist "the way of tea" celebration, and best of all, a tidy bunch of delicious tea beverage recipes, plus some family favorites for tea parties, including Green Tea Madeleines, Lemon Chive Chicken Salad, Cranberry Orange Wheat Scones, and more. "Tea Culture" is the tea lover's dream of a book and definitely belongs on the shelf of everyone who ever has enjoyed a fragrant cup of hot or cold delicious tea.

Better Homes and Gardens Scrapbooking for Baby
editors of Scrapbooks Etc.
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
9780470548028, $14.99, 1-800-225-5945

"Scrapbooking for Baby" is a fabulous BHG collection of 200 scrapbooking projects for mothers-to-be to make in celebration of their baby's birth and first year of life. "Scrapbooking for Baby" is from the editors of Scrapbooks Etc. and the purchase price includes a year's subscription to the magazine, a true bargain for any scrapbook enthusiast. The pages of "Scrapbooking for Baby" are filled with creative ideas, color photographs, and simple step-by-step-examples of special album display techniques and more. There are milestone projects, make-ahead albums, first-year albums, sibling assisted project suggestions, and much more, all cleverly and creatively packaged and presented to appeal to both the experienced scrapbooker and the novice/new beginner. "Scrapbooking for Baby" would make a heartwarming gift to either a new mother or a mother to be, and is sure to be the source of hours of pleasant craft/memento activity and fun for the whole family.

Everyday Content-Area Writing
Kathleen Kopp
Maupin House Publishing, Inc.
2416 N.W. 71st Place, Gainesville, FL 32653
9781934338667, $23.95

"Everyday Content-Area Writing: Write-to-Learn Strategies for Grades 3-5" is an innovative, practical teacher's manual filled with helpful concepts, games, strategies and ideas to teach elementary students well-rounded content-area writing skills. The overall goal of the book is to improve writing performance and skills of intermediate grade students by incorporating writing into daily activities. Author Kathleen Kopp is committed to the belief that "students must be taught how to use writing as a means to learn...content areas." to this end, "Everyday Content-Area Writing" is armed with suggested ways to incorporate writing into daily activities, detailed instructions to help teach content-area vocabulary, ideas for lesson plans that target writing skills, guidelines for assessments, suggestions for integrating technology into the writing process, and sample projects, prompts, and problems across content areas. A helpful appendix A offers writing resources and templates, including a Question Cube Template, while Appendix B offers sample unit assessment plans for math, science, and social studies, including a blank unit assessment plan. In addition, a bibliography of professional resources lists four pages of writing and teaching resources, finishing with an impressive and convincing Target Skills Cross- Index that matches specific skills to suggested learning activities and writing-related projects. "Everyday Content-Area Writing" is sure to be a touchstone tool in the business of teaching writing to mid-elementary students.

The World in Your Teacup, Celebrating Tea Traditions, Near and Far
Lisa Boalt Richardson, Certified Tea Specialist
Lauren Rubenstein, photography
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736925808, $24.99

"The World in Your Teacup" is a beautiful gift book filled with tea traditions and practices from all over the world. China, England, Kenya, Russia, Iran, France, Morocco, and even the United States of America are each represented with a full chapter including tea rituals and practices specific to the country, history of tea drinking, hospitality gestures and niceties, and of course, delicious recipes and menus for a lovely ethnic tea specific to the area. All chapters are beautifully complemented with gorgeous full color photographs, and the bibliography and resource guide list additional sources of information about all things tea. Recipes are given with standard American measurements rather than metric measurements, which make the recipes easier to prepare for those of us used to cups and tablespoons. "The World in Your Teacup" is a beautiful book that takes its reader on a round the world journey in the exploration of tea and its civilizing ceremonies and delights.

101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders
Tara Delaney, M.S., OTR
McGraw Hill
Two Penn Plaza, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10121-2298
9780071623360, $16.95 1-877-833-5524

"101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders" is a compendium of practical games, exercises, and activities specially chosen or designed to enhance sensory integration and development in children with sensory processing disorders. The games are interactive, easy stimulating, and fun. Best of all, they will help the child to grow, learn social skills, and communicate. The model used by author Tara Delaney (M.S., OTR) is partially described as "Using three-dimensional learning as a way of imprinting preacademic and academic concepts in your child's repertoire of information will increase your child's opportunity for success in the classroom (p.138)." The book is divided into 10 chapters covering such areas as engagement, sensory development, gross and fine motor skills, communication, social sense, school readiness, home activities, outdoor activities, and adapting brand-name games. All the play-game activities are presented in a compact format that highlights aspects including whether the game is indoor/outdoor, equipment, how (first and second levels), purpose, and why. An excellent explanation of the Brain Library in the introduction explains the different areas of the brain catalogued for different types of learning, and how best to access them. Fundamental to Delaney's teaching philosophy is the discovery that "play has (an infinite) power to teach, develop, and connect children to the world (p. viii)." "101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders" is an excellent resource for parents, teachers, and caretakers of children with sensory processing disorders.

Gravity Pulls You In: Perspectives on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum
Kyra Anderson & Vicki Forman, editors
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606130025, $19.95 800-843-7323

"Gravity Pulls You In" is a remarkable anthology of essays by parents of children with autism-spectrum diagnoses. Written by parents for parents, "Gravity Pulls You In" has a special resonance and immediacy that frequently read like poetry and even music. Each child described is unique, with a particular poignancy to the uniqueness. Part of being a parent to such a child seems to include a journey towards a totally different experience of the world. Being able to empathize with your child can open you to new worlds and new experiences. "Gravity Pulls You In" is well worth reading for all educators and child development related professions, as well as other parent. Here is one quotation that is both typical and striking in its originality: "Living with Jacob is about more than allowing the language of his mind to erase the chalk lines of my own patterns. It is about unexpected intersections, the willingness to walk blind, to discern shadows in the lay of the land. It is about the painful unburdening that comes when the mind expands to see anew (p.91)."

Living in Two Worlds, The American Indian Experience
Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) Including Contributions by Other Notable Indian Leaders
Michael Oren Fitzgerald, editor
World Wisdom
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781933316765, $24.95 812-332-5177

"Living in Two Worlds, The American Indian Experience" is a balanced edition focused on bicultural experiences of American Indians, containing extended excerpts from a number of Eastman's 11 published books in addition to writings of other Indian voices, famous American Indian leaders up to the present day who are in the "Contemporary Indian Voices" chapter of "Living in Two Worlds." The first four chapters deal with views of American Indian philosophy through examination of the life and writings of Eastman. The fifth chapter on "Contemporary Indian Voices" consists of transcripts of interviews conducted by the editor over a period of 20 years. They add to the information shared by Eastman about "living in two worlds." the final chapter is number VI, "Historical Timeline," which gives a "chronological outline of selected key events in four centuries of the American Indian experience of United States history, including all of the important circumstances in Eastman's narrative and events after 1915 (p.xi)." Both sepia- toned and colored photographs of American Indians in history and modernity stud the edition. An appendix contains a list of additional free supplementary study materials and biographical notes of other Indian voices plus a note on Eastman's bibliography. A handy map of Indian Reserbations in the Continental United States presents complete, condensed information and adds the concept that Indian reservations form part of a "cultural mosaic," with additional questions to be considered about that concept. "Living in Two Worlds" is an amazing achievement, a powerful ingathering of knowledge and wisdom, and a significant offering to the growing field of Native American cultural studies and history.

My Florida Facts
Russell W. Johnson and Annie P. Johnson, authors
Michael Swing, illustrator
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3889, Sarasota, Florida 34230
9781561644308, $14.95

"My Florida Facts" is a Florida state travelogue and resource list in the form of colorfully illustrated song verse and accompanying CD, with performance of "My Florida Facts" song by the authors. All Florida elementary school kids learn their Florida facts by singing this easy, fun song, which allows music and rhythm to support learning in a kid-friendly way. Filled with brightly colored illustrations of the sights and scenes of Florida, "My Florida Facts" contains loads of fascinating facts about this historic and beautiful state. For example, St Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S.A., and Florida is the 27th state, dating to 1845, and there is even a final recipe for Key Lime Pie included with either a meringue or a whipped cream topping! All together, "My Florida Facts" is a winner for students, teachers and parents.

Girl in the Know, Your Inside-and-Out Guide to Growing Up
Anne Katz, R.N., Ph.D., author
Monika Melnychuk, illustrator
Kids Can Press
29 Birch Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 1E2
9781554533039, $18.95

"Girl in the Know" is a great handbook for pre-and post-pubescent girls, designed to help adolescents navigate their way through the tricky world of growing up with grace and style. "Girl in the Know" has three main sections, including Your Body, Your Mind, and Taking Care, each packed with great practical tips for coping with emerging maturity, sexuality, changeable moods, self health practices, and more. Some interesting areas of discussion include, breasts and bra sizes, piercings and tattooings or body art, menstruation, healthy nutrition, bullying, and sound mental health practices. There are pages on moodswings, crushes, cliques, relaxing and sleeping, and getting along with your family. "Girl in the Know" is also filled with appealing, multi-racial pictures of all sorts of different girls, all going through growing up. "Girl in the Know" is a great resource for parents, teachers, libraries, health care professionals, and girls. Pick up a copy for the young girl in your life. She will thank you.

How to Survive a Pisces
Mary English
O Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing
The Bothy, Deershot Lodge,
Park Lane, Ropley, Hants, SO24 OBE, UK
9781846942525, $16.95

"How to Survive a Pisces: Real Life Guidance on How to Get on and be Friends with the Last Sign of the Zodiac" is a down-to-earth guidebook on living, loving and gettling along with persons born under the last sign of the zodiac, for some the most challenging and confusing sign to interpret in daily behavior patterns. Mary English is clearly an experienced practitioner of many occult arts, but she is also a self-confessed Pisces, which may account for her wealth of knowledge about the ins and out of the signs confusing characteristics. "How To Survive a Pisces" is full of practical specific suggestions, like the following found under survival tactics dealing with a Pisces mum: "If you start finding empty bottles of wine or spirits in the recycling, ask Mum what's troubling her, then ring a favorite Auntie, (all Pisces have favorite Aunties) and explain that Mum is getting lost and leave it to her to sort it out. It's never your job to parent your PIsces Mum. They're quite capable once they feel spiritually in-tune again (p. 83)." "How To Survive a Pisces" also has specific helps for other close relationships with a Pisces, such as your boss, your friend, your sibling, your child, your lover, etc., in addition to basic instructions in how to make a chart, with the ascendant (sign), the moon, houses, problems, and solutions. Specific Bach flower essences are also suggested for certain moons, giving another bit of practical direction to the mystified person dealing with another Pisces. All in all, "How To Survive a Pisces" is a very useful book, with just enough astringency to be healthful in its effect.

Cooking Well
Chef Marie-Annick Courtier
Hatherleigh Press
5-22 46th Avenue, Suite 200, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781578263134, $11.00

"Cooking Well: Wheat Allergies, Over 145 Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes" is a delicious aid to the folks who are seeking a healthy, gluten -free lifestyle and diet. Filled with more than 145 delicious recipes, chapters include sections on Breakfast, Soups & Salads, Fish/Seafood Entrees, Meat/Poultry/ Vegetable Entrees, Side Dishes & Snacks, and Desserts. In addition, there are chapters explaining wheat allergies and the importance of nutrition, plus appendices with suggestions for a meal diary, sample menu, substitutions, and references and resources. Tips on shopping and restaurant choices are recommended, and best of all, the recipes sound so tempting that there will be no need to feel deprived while embarking on a tasty, healthy, gluten-free diet. Special recipe selections include Melon with Figs and Prosciutto, Chickpea, Tomato and Rice Soup, Poached Eggs Over Spinach, Grilled Sea Bass With Mango Salsa, Spinach With Walnuts and Pomegranate, and Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis. "Cooking Well:Wheat Allergies" provides a much needed resource for people with food allergies or people who simply want to follow a healthy diet.

A Child's Grief: Surviving the Death of a Parent
Judy Strong
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983087, $16.95

"A Child's Grief: Surviving the Death of a Parent" is a resource for bereaved children and adults who care for them. From the starting event of death, to the emotional ups and downs of accepting the grieving process, to an examination of the ongoing process of mourning as it specifically applies to children, to a general reference to ethnic, cultural and religious models (of death acceptance), "A Child's Grief" contains a thorough catalog of tools and facts to help steer a child through the devastation of parental loss. Particularly handy are the small shaded paragraphs on the upper right portion of the right page containing significant hints or tips for how to help the grieving child or telling what to expect when dealing with a grieving child. "A Child's Grief" is a small sensitively written handbook that packs a valuable range of resources for those working to comfort bereaved children into a compact form.

Story Times Good Enough To Eat!
Melinda Rosetti Folini
Libraries Unlimited
P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116
9781591588986, $32.00

"Story Times Good Enough To Eat!: Thematic Programs with Edible Story Crafts" is a wonderful collection of suggested thematic programs with edible story craft objects. Organized into seven chapters by theme (the four seasons, insects and animals, miscellaneous, and non-food theme programs), the book presents simple edible craft activity suggestions or recipes to go with stories selected from a list of recommended children's books pertaining to the theme. The story times and activities are geared for children from age 3-8, and include practical program guidelines for the teacher/leader, including a suggested food allergy form to give parents to fill out on their children prior to the first craft/story session scheduled. "Story Times Good Enough To Eat!" is filled with imaginative, simple thematic snack-treat creations such as a pretzel heart necklace for Valentine's Day, leprechaun treats for St. Patrick's Day (cereal and tic-tacs put in snack bags), pumpkin cupcakes for Halloween, and many more. Black and white photos illustrate each craft activity, and the Booklists are filled with great suggestions for story time read-aloud's by children's librarians and teachers. "Story Times Good Enough To Eat" is a great resource for teachers, librarians, and parents, Many a child's birthday celebration could be easily enhanced with just the right story time activity and storytelling.

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Micah's Bookshelf

Win With The Stonewall Dutch
Sverre Johnsen & Ivar Bern
Gambit Books
9781906454074, $29.95,

One of the major attractions of chess is the almost infinity variety of patterns that can be played. Among some of the most traditionally popular is the 'Stonewall Dutch', which prior to the late 1980s as controversial at the grandmaster level, but has been gaining steadily in favor with the new generation of players to emerge over the past two decades. In "Win With The Stonewall Dutch", a 208-page compendium devoted to this form of chess maneuver and play, Norwegian chess analyst and researcher Sverre Johnsen teams up with Ivar Bern (a Correspondence World Champion and an International Master over-the-board) to provide a superbly illustrated and comprehensive instruction guide suitable for novice and seasoned players alike. Of special note are the additional contributions of Norwegian Grandmaster Simen Agdestein. "Win With The Stonewall Dutch" is an impressive and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library gaming reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Operation Neurosurgeon
Barbara Ebel
9781441481375, $13.95,

In "Operation Neurosurgeon", novelist Barbara Ebel brings a very special expertise to her writing because her 'day job' is being a board certified anesthesiologist. The result is a meticulous and knowledgeable accuracy in background details making for an especially riveting read from first page to last. Neurosurgeon Danny Tilson's medical expertise wasn't enough to keep his beloved daughter from dying from complications associated with her asthma. This family tragedy is compounded when he becomes the target of seductress. The affair shatters his life further as leaves his job and family and becomes a vagrant to avoid the lawyers and their lawsuits. The only thing remaining is to deal with the evil woman who preyed upon him in his grief and led to ruin. "Operation Neurosurgeon" is a highly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction collections.

New Jersey Shipwrecks
Margaret Thomas Buchholz
Down the Shore Publishing
PO Box 100, West Creek, NJ 08092
9781593220501, $26.95,

Most people are unaware that the coastal waters along the New Jersey shoreline is one of the world's most treacherous areas of navigation and the site of demise for thousands of ships. This is superbly documented by Margaret Thomas Buchholz in "New Jersey Shipwrecks: 350 years in the Graveyard of the Atlantic", a 200-page compendium that provides an historically accurate record from 1642 down to the maritime disasters of today. This is also the fascinating story of those who attempted rescue of the men and women aboard those doomed ships, beginning with the use of small boats, simply bayous, and ordinary rope, to the modern era of the Coast Guard (which began as the U. S. Lifesaving Service). The informed and informative text is chronologically presented and enhanced with the inclusion of 142 historic photographs and illustrations. Of special note is the listing of hundreds of wrecks along the New Jersey Shore. Enhanced with an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive index, "New Jersey Shipwrecks: 350 years in the Graveyard of the Atlantic" is highly recommended reading and an especially commended addition to both academic and community library American History collections.

The Truth of the Modern Recession
Dr. Alec Feinberg
WE-Economy Press
9780615315294 $19.95

The Truth of the Modern Recession: Root Causes & Reliable Solutions presents the fundamentals underpinning America's current economic problems and issues in plain terms for readers of all backgrounds. Chapters discuss the root causes of "tight money" (why is there so much economic hoarding?), how certain aspects of national policy (particularly a tax policy which essentially neglects to tax more than 35% of an individual's wealth) could be altered to provide for a more robust economy, a seven-year plan to eliminate national debt, recommendations for job creation and retention investing, problems with free trade that have caused job losses, and much more. A surprising chapter suggesting long-term solutions for problems in the Middle East rounds out this opinionated yet persuasively argued compendium of economic definitions, explanations, and recommendations - filled with positive suggestions to implement both on an individual and a national level. Highly recommended.

Micah Andrew

Shelley's Bookshelf

Web of Deceit
Darlene Cox
9781432746148 $16.95

Darlene Cox hails from Seattle, Washington. WEB OF DECEIT is the follow-up to her first novel, A LITTLE BIT OF LARCENY.

Peter Brock came from humble beginnings, and has worked himself into an enviable position as partner in an exclusive New York firm. He has everything on the surface: looks; money; women; prestige. But, as so often is the case, money and greed take over his life. Peter has what he calls THE PLAN, and he enlists Delilah, a stripper, and Jenny, an airline hostess to assist him:

"She listened, mesmerized, as Peter crooned his siren song. As his mouth caressed her eager body, he promised her the time with the old man would be short, just long enough for the PLAN to work. A year, maybe two, tops. The best part was that she would no longer have to expose her body in a dingy strip club. She would be the wife of a respected businessman, pampered with expensive gifts of diamonds and furs, a maid serving her every need - all at the small cost of making the old man feel young again. And Peter would not desert her."

Darlene Cox's books tell tales of out-of-control plots and greed that have permeated our society. The extremely wealthy have the power to control both people and their bodies, but the price is unbridled devastation and a sacrifice of our own humanity.

Cox writes in a smooth, knowing cadence that pulls the reader in from the very first word. Her insight into the psychological world takes center stage, and the players all plot

against one another in a macabre dance that is similar to a vampire stalking his or her victim. The reader wants the horror to stop, but can't look away.

WEB OF DECEIT is a great follow-up to A LITTLE BIT OF LARCENY, and Darlene Cox is a first-rate story teller. Cox shows why "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive" is as applicable in today's world of unregulated finances that are threatening the very life blood of our country. An excellent read!

A Slaying Song Tonight
Fran Stewart
Doggie in the Window Publications
PO Box 1565, Duluth, GA 30096
9780981825144 $17.00

Fran Stewart is the author of the Biscuit McKee mysteries. She lives on the back of Hog Mountain, Georgia with her cats. Like Miss Marple, she likes to knit.

Set in 1932 during the Great Depression, A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT is the story of a farm woman named Susannah Lou Packard. Susannah is such an unprepossessing woman that her family calls her Slip, because she tends to melt into a crowd. So why is she on trial for two heinous murders? That's the question that fledging news reporter Nancy Remington tries to answer, as she gains permission to interview the now matronly Susannah Packard in jail. The prisoner's revelations come as a big shock:

"Nancy put down her pen and pushed her hair back from her face. She almost couldn't believe that she kept asking for more of these stories. The woman sitting across the table from her was far more cold-blooded than in the newspapers - including the CLARION - had reported. Nancy wanted to leave and never come back. She wanted to applaud Slip for protecting her family so diligently. She wanted to print these stories and get that woman convicted to seven consecutive life sentences. 'So, how did you manage it?' She wanted, despite her reservation, to hear the answer."

Fran Stewart's book is not really a murder mystery, although it does deal with murder. It's more of a courtroom drama, and Ms. Stewart did extensive research, into what conditions have to be present to turn a little slip of a girl into a cold-blooded killer. It's therefore a bit of a psychological study, and the twists and turns in the story give the reader insight into what conditions were like during the Great Depression. More importantly, Fran Stewart provides the reader with a picture of what life was like in the 1930's for women, and how they were almost prisoners in their own homes and lives. Which begs the question of what remedies did women have from sexual and physical abuse. The plot glues the reader to the book, and the last half provides the explanation.

Ms. Stewart's answer to all of these questions not only chills the reader, but should act as a wake-up call to anyone who would have us reverse the progress that we've made.

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

The Adventures of PJ and Split Pea
S.D.Moore, author
Bobbi Switzer, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd, Parker, Colorado 80134
9781432712884 $14.95

PJ is small for his age, being small means he is often teased and that makes him sad. However, PJ is in for a treat as his mom takes him to chose a pet for his very own. PJ sees all the animals longing for a home, but one stands out above the rest, a parrot named, Split Pea. Split Pea got his name because his wings are partly gone and he can no longer fly, nobody wanted him, but PJ did and so home they go. Soon they learn to love each other just the way they are and a really great friendship begins.

This is an adorable story, the illustrations are bright, cheerful and definitely bring the tale to life. The moral value of the story is exceptional, told in a very easy and free way that any young child will be able to understand. A very nice book.

Angels Are Watching Over Us
Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Pete Publishing
P.O. Box 282, Tyngsborough, MA 01879
9780972030168 $16.95

Do you ever feel a gentle touch, or hear a whisper and suddenly feel protected and loved? Are there times when you see a light, sense movement around you and wonder who is there? Truly you have experienced the presence of angels. I was thrilled that author, Niki Behrikis Shanahan, blessed us with a book on one of my favorite subjects, angels. Angels are such an important part of our everyday lives that it is imperative we fully understand who they are and what part they play in our lives now and in eternity. Niki leaves no questions unanswered in this exceptional work.

Taking us by the hand she answers questions like: Do angels eat? Do they die? Where do they live?What do they look like? Are there different types? Do they have names? and the list goes on. She also explains in detail about the Fallen Angels, Lucifer, and what part they played and still do play in our lives. Niki's information is backed by the Bible, our author gives Scriptures throughout the work that definitely help you to see clearly into the world of angels by the written Word of God. It's straightforward yet written with a true tenderness letting you know the author is being led by the Spirit of the Lord in this work. That is comforting. Then she ends this book with Angel Encounters, an encouraging section where others share their angel experiences. I loved it.

I have been in the ministry for thirty years. I personally have had encounters with angels, yet I definitely learned a great deal from this outstanding work. I like the idea of having a book where all the information I need on this subject is close at hand, and I am sure I will use this book over and over again in the ministry. I feel this book will not only be useful in learning and understanding angels, but is a God send in opening our hearts and realizing we do have help all around us. This book will leave you encouraged, uplifted, and excited, wondering just what your angels are working on, just for you. You will become more aware of your atmosphere and surroundings and will learn to welcome the unseen help sent from a God who loves you. Now that is a true blessing.

Thank you, Niki, for again giving us a book that surely will uplift and encourage all who read it.
Great job, exceptional and highly recommended.

Aurora of the Northern Lights
Holly Hardin
Outskirts Press Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd, Parker, Colorado 80134
9781432724399 $18.95

In this tale we meet, Mistletoe who dwells in the ice and snow. She meets a handsome man and leaves her country for his. They marry and have a daughter who they name, Aurora. Unfortunately Aurora's parents became ill and died and Aurora had to travel to find her home, but she didn't know where it was. After meeting many people and wondering far she finally found her home and her happiness.
In this story we find love and loss but we also see hope. I believe it shows that each of us have a place where we belong if we will have the will and strength to seek it, we will find it. The story is written in rhyme and very well done. The illustrations are bold and colorful. A very nice tale.

Ed Lynskey
Mundania Press Productions
6470A Glenway Avenue #109, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211
9781594267215 $13.95

Diplomat Sylvester Mercedes has come up missing in Turkey and his wife wants to know why. Our favorite character, P.I. Frank Johnson, reluctantly agrees to take on the job. His last adventures in Turkey didn't leave him with a good taste in his mouth, but right now he needed the money, and the money was good.
As he digs deeper and deeper into Sylvester's mysterious disappearance he is taken to the tunnels in the ancient troglodytes subterranean cities and his very life is once again on the line.
Hold on to your hat readers you're in for quite a ride!

I have read several of our gifted author, Ed Lynskey's P.I. Johnson mysteries and have yet to be disappointed. He hits the mark again in this one whirling you around in a maze of adventure, colored by interesting people, leaving you wondering just who is good and who is evil. The story definitely has all the elements of a true mystery, leaving clues and making your mind struggle to figure it out before you reach that part in the book. The local just adds some sweet icing to the read and sparks interest with the flavor of people and places it brings. The pacing is good, not too fast, yet not lagging and as always P.I. Johnson leaves you with a giggle and waiting for his next adventure.

Another winner, well worth your time. Well done.

Roaring Tree Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
978596434257 $19.95

I was in awe when I opened this amazing pop-up book. It is a three-dimensional look at the alphabet that stands alone in excellence. The cover is holographic. You are intrigued right away as your eyes feast upon a shiny red cover that changes its letter upon movement, but the real pleasure awaits you inside the pages of this work. Within you will find the alphabet set before you with the most imaginative use of paper that I have ever seen. With the flick of your hand or the movement of a page one letter will turn into another, one spins around, the letter B slides out to greet you. Every page is an exciting surprise, an adventure for your mind and a morsel of delight for your eyes. Children learning their alphabet will be encouraged to look at this book over and over again. It has a drawing power like none other that I have seen. Adults as well will not be able to resist the urge to study each letter and be in awe at the imagination of this author.
I am impressed and am proud to give this book a hearty recommendation. New invocative work that every household would benefit from having, definitely an investment that will continue to bring pleasure and learning for years to come.

The Number Garden
Sara Pinto
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781599900483 $16.99

This delightful book screams out 'Welcome," to any toddler that opens its pages. It is a book of numbers from one to twelve shown in a new and fun way. The numbers are big, colorful, and bold and on the opposite side children get to open a fence and peek behind it seeing how many objects that particular number makes. For example, open up the fence for number three and you will find three lawn chairs. The entire story is based on the theme of a garden. Of course the numbers are the Stars of the show, but also added to the visual are 'critters' that all of us adults know are never far from any garden, rabbits. I particularly liked the drawings of the rabbits they look realistic and in some scenes comical going about some of our activities. Such as setting up and sitting in the lawn chairs, or for the number eight, wearing sunglasses with seven gnomes. Funny!

I liked the way the author counted up to the number twelve instead of the usual ten, and the surprise foldout at the end was fun to find. On this foldout the author shows the numbers again, and the objects featured and also adds them all up to give a final tally of numbers Smart idea.
This is a great book for toddlers, colorful, educational, and make well.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

What "Back Then" Was Like
Roget C. Elliot
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432750121, $14.95,

The knowledge of the past is vital to learning for the future. "What 'Back Then' Was Like: And Stories Passed on by Ancestors" is a collection of memoirs from Roger C. Elliot reflects on the importance of saving those personal stories for generations to come to see and appreciate. Encouraging other readers to transcribe their own stories for the future, "What 'Back Then' Was Like" is a memoir with an important message, recommended.

The Aukmondi
H. D. Higgins
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533161522, $24.95,

There are few positives without negatives. "The Aukmondi: Secret of the Yululu Bone" tells the tale of a tribe of Africans in the 1700s on the run from a slave trader. Finding the Aukmondi, a highly advanced African civilization. On their trails is Captain McIntyre, a slave trader with the Yululu Bone. This ancient artifact which gives him power over the Batushi, but this power does not come without its drawbacks. "The Aukmondi" is an intriguing novel of the African slave trade, recommended.

The Midnight Special
Edmond G. Addeo & Richard M. Garvin
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438975788, $17.99,

Music is a major part of someone's life, and music is everything about someone's life. "The Midnight Special" is a novel delves into the life of Leadbelly, a man who took the blues and became a legend through his love of music and his performances. Designed a dramatized autobiography, the story of Leadbelly is told, from his early roots to how his adeptness at music freed him from prison. "The Midnight Special" is a top pick for fiction collections with a focus on music.

The Eagle and Miss Stopiac
Jerry Price
Publish America
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
Patti Minnillo (publicist)
2122 Murray Hill Road, Cleveland, OH 44106
9781615825349, $24.95,

You can be a professor of quantum physics, but the finer points of love can still elude you. "The Eagle and Miss Stopiac" is a love story swirling around high science as people of science grapple with one of man's most primal and basic emotions, the one called love. With plenty of wit, wisdom, and more, Jerry Price creates a novel well worth considering in "The Eagle and Miss Stopiac".

Sport in Ancient Times
Nigel B. Crowther
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806139951, $19.95,

Humanity at its very nature is a competitive species. "Sport in Ancient Times" looks at the ancient sports of the Eastern and Western worlds where people fought one another in sport. From early forms of golf in China, to the original Greek Olympics, to countless other early sports scattered through the ancient world and how they have evolved into the games of today. "Sports in Ancient Times" is a scholarly and fascinating look at humanity and its sports.

The Boy Behind the Door
Sanford L. Batkin
930 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306
9781602801349, $16.95,

The genocide of Nazi Germany was ruthlessly efficient and unrelenting. "The Boy Behind the Door: How Salomon Kool Escaped the Nazis" tells the tale of Saloman Kool, a young man before his Bar Mitzvah has to derail his coming of age and grow up a lot faster as he must evade Germany as it conquers the Netherlands, his homeland. Drawing must inspiration from a true story, author Sanford L. Batkin provides a vivid and enticing, if tragic story of survival under the oppression of Germany. "The Boy Behind the Door" is a top pick for literary fiction collections.

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

The Prodigal Executive
Bruce A. Heller
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438960265, $14.95,

It happens all too often, when you get someone who against your first instincts, you have to keep. "The Prodigal Executive: How to Coach Executives Too Painful to Keep, Too Valuable to Fire" is a guide for business leaders who are dealing with executives who have lost their way as employees and how to get them back on track to the productivity and use that they once had. Feedback, coaching them back to their game, and when to cut your losses and run, "The Prodigal Executive" is a smart and enticing read, well worth considering for business leaders who want to manage their management better.

Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek
David Greven
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640
9780786444137, $35.00,

Star Trek didn't get where it was due to being unoffending science fiction. "Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films" looks at the series that led to the first interracial kiss on television and the other sexuality aspects that the series and its spinoffs have touched on many aspects of human nature and sexuality, such as homosexuality, gender issues, and romance between different races. "Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek" is a fascinating read for those trying to understand pop culture and sexuality in today's world.

Indiana InDecision
Mark Akers
University of Indianapolis Press
1400 East Hann Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227-3697
9781880938751, $29.95,

Indiana is a state in a unique position of mediocrity. "Indiana InDecision: Hoosiers at An Economic Crossroads" is Mark Akers's argument that Indiana, while doing just fine in its own average way, is showing a lot of elements of age and decay in a day and age where average simply is not good enough for the world. Urging for a resurgence in growth for Indiana, "Indiana InDecision" is a plea to hoosiers of any sort to help make for a better Indiana tomorrow.

Plagues Past and Present
J. H. Hacsi
Champagne Press
502 Cedar Crest Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
9780578002668, $14.00

Plagues are far greater than any disease, killing thousands, if not millions. "Plagues, Past and Present" delves into the history of plagues that have ravaged countless populations across the world. Discussing their potential origins, it covers from the black death to the modern plague of cancer and how they were fought at every step of the way. "Plagues, Past and Present" is an insightful look at history and its maladies, highly recommended.

Mr. Rhythm: A Tribute to Franie Laine
Richard Grudens
Celebrity Profiles Publishing
PO Box 344, Stonybrook, NY 11790
9780976387763, $29.95,

Some people do more than make a name for themselves, they inspire those around them. "Mr. Rhythm: A Tribute to Frankie Laine" tells the story of Frankie Laine, known as Mr. Rhythm as he makes his way through the music scene and inspiring those around him with his dedication and telling his unique show business story. With a foreword from film legend and director Clint Eastwood, "Mr. Rhythm" is a top pick to those who want to truly know who Frankie Laine was.

Figuring Ground
Robert Moore
Wolsak and Wynn
69 Hughson Street Suite 102, Hamilton, ON Canada L8R 1G5
9781894987325, $17.00,

One's own philosophy comes from everything around oneself, even livestock. "Figuring Ground" is a collection of musings and poetry from Robert Moore as he reflects on his place in life, growing up in a rural family. His wit and ideas provide many intriguing ideas, making "Figuring Ground" an excellent and fun choice for readers. "Tree in Fog": The backyard maple: willow/in an ancient Chinese love poem.//The only difference distance/from the Emperor's armies./The direction of their approach/the one constant.//Soon its leaves will translate sun/and breeze into the sound of water,//water - which meets itself/no matter which way it turns.

Paul T. Vogel

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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