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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 11, Number 5 May 2012 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

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

Cowper's Bookshelf

Sustainable Staffing
Theo Rokos & Greg Rokos
Avocado Press
9780615598635, $12.99,

Green is the name of the game and it may even take form in hiring practice. "Sustainable Staffing: How 'Thinking Green' Is Changing the Way the World's Leading Organizations Attract (and Keep) Top Talent" discusses the green revolution in hiring. Theo Rokos & Greg Rokos define what such a term means, and how many businesses are already in the process of embracing it, through saving on travel expenses and using other green methods to empower the process. "Sustainable Staffing" is a strong pick to any business and employer who thinks green in many forms is the way of the future.

Why Should Men Have All the Fun?!
DJ Johnson
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463762841, $14.95,

The search for love is a complex one for many of us. "Why Should Men Have All the Fun?!" is a dating guide from DJ Johnson who advises women to get out there and expand their dating options in their attempts to narrow down who might end up being Mr. Right, the man worth spending a life time with. "Why Should Men Have All the Fun?!" is a humorous and forward thinking relationship guide, much recommended.

Biker's Diary
Jan Meyer, Ph.D.
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781468541021, $15.99,

The bicycle has become a pillar of exercise and recreation for many. "Biker's Diary: The Best of Ten Years" is a selection of columns over a ten year period from Jan Meyer, Ph. D., who wrote of her love affair with biking in many locations and what she had learned all throughout her bike time. With humor and ideal and plenty to ponder for any biker, "Biker's Diary" is a strong pick for general memoir collections, highly recommended.

The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation
Belinda Vasquez Garcia
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466429796, $13.99,

The history of witchcraft runs deep. "The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation" is a novel of witches set in Depression-era New Mexico where Salia finds that her mother and grandmother are members of an ancient coven. These facts clash with her Catholic faith, her desire to become a great opera singer, and family, as she stands at a crossroads of her witch heritage. "The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation" is an engaging read for young fantasy fans.

David Schultz
Privately Published
9780615594200, $9.95,

Putting on a good song and dance has far outweighed issues in recent years. "Politainment: The Ten Rules of Contemporary Politics" discusses the world where politics and entertainment have merged where politics finds itself discussed much like a primetime television show, and candidates are marketed as if they were shiny new cars. Discussing the rulebook of success for what politics has become, "Politainment" is a read worth considering for those who want a better understanding of the modern political process.

A Shot of Brandi
David S. Tanz
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462066810, $15.95,

The flaw that hurts us the most is the flaw that doesn't let us move on. "A Shot of Brandi" is a novel from David S. Tanz, who presents a crime drama centered around Philadelphia and its neighbors, as Rick Grosse finds that he has much success in the world, but still can't get over his first failure. Witht he law closing in on him, the past that plagues Rick may slowly take him down as mistakes began to be made. A riveting read with twists and turns throughout, "A Shot of Brandi" is a fine and much recommended pick.

What is That Boy Going to Do Next?
George Hemingway Isom
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
0595338046, $13.95,

When were young, we think we know everything, but often realize how little we really know. "What is That Boy Going to Do Next?" is a memoir of author George Hemingway Isom as he recalls his own teenage life where he ends up seeing much of the world and what he learned along the way before finally settling in New York City. "What is That Boy Going to Do Next?" is worth considering for any personal memoir collection.

Emilie's Angel
Sonia Branchaud
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463749200, $13.95,

Those spurned from God only wish to return to him. "Emilie's Angel" is a supernatural romance following the bonds between Emilie Latour and the man of her dreams in Dante, who turns out to be descended from a group of fallen angels set on returning to Heaven. Dante seeks to protect Emilie from the corruption of his kind, but there may be a limit to how much one can guard from one another. "Emilie's Angel" is a hard to put down read for fans of supernatural fiction and romance.

23 Days of Intensive Care
Zon G. Quewea
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450223270, $17.95,

A mere hundred years ago, the mortality rate of giving birth was horrifying. Even in the modern day, it can be a major threat. "23 Days of Intensive Care: A Story of Miracles" is a memoir from Zon G. Quewea as he states the endeavor that he and his wife Daniella faced as she gave birth to their son, John. A near death struggle, Zon recounts the torment he felt that day, his faith, and the parade of disappointments that brought him fear of becoming a widower. "23 Days of Intensive Care" is a tragic yet moving story of the drive of faith and love.

Shepherd Girl
Cat L Needham
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467938389, $14.99,

Our dogs can be our best friends, as well as our heroes. "Shepherd Girl: A Dog Story" is a memoir from Cat L. Needham and her German shepherd Athena, and the humorous stories of adventure and life she has experienced alongside her favorite dog. With tales of mischief and a particular story of saving her life, "Shepherd Girl" is a remarkable story that any dog lover will relish, very much highly recommended reading.

Corinne and Me
Betty Ann Hoehn
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452060880, $22.50,

Friendship does not know race, money, or anything else. "Corinne and Me" reflects on Betty Ann Hoehn's bond the black housekeeper hired by her family when she was 5 years old in 1959. Staying with the family, Betty learned much about faith, and gave her something to understand during the tumultuous era of the 1960s. "Corinne and Me" is a touching read of the bond of youth, highly recommended.

A Fatal Misunderstanding
Marshal Taylor
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466499201, $16.00,

Art imitates life, and sometimes it's all too close. "A Fatal Misunderstanding" follows retiree Matt Talbot as he sets to writing. But as he draws on his life, circumstance makes what he writes all too real, and the chain of events will quickly make Matt reconsider his retirement hobby. "A Fatal Misunderstanding" is worth considering for fans of old fashioned mysteries and thrillers.

David Paul Collins
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462031832, $19.95,

The need for cheap labor cared not where you came from. "Shanghaied" follows Jack Sligo, a young Irishman who turns away from his family only to find himself kidnapped and working at sea on a long trade voyage. Life at sea has its perks, but it's definitely what Jack sought, and he looks everywhere he can for a way out from it all. "Shanghaied" is a strongly recommended pick for general fiction collections.

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

Deadman's Bust
Cory Marchese
Escargot Books Online Ltd.
9781908191335 $9.99 pbk
ASIN: B007KQ1D8A (Kindle) $4.99,

Set in the pot-growing culture of California's Humboldt County, DEADMAN'S BUST focuses on the experiences of two pot growers, brothers Mike and John, whose successful operation is busted by the Feds.

Mike hides under the house and escapes the fate of his brother John, who is hauled away - and Mike is left to wonder about the true identity of the 'agents', who have left behind some suspicious clues about their nature. The bust involved an unprofessional concern about the pot and how it was grown - and so Mike slowly comes to realize that the bust was more a robbery - and that his brother is likely not in jail, but in danger.

But how can he report a robbery in the form of a drug bust to the authorities - and can he rescue his brother and discover the truth?

A few good friends help him investigate and they uncover a trail that points to Mexico and draws Mike ever deeper into a conspiracy that involves revenge, international intrigue, and even murder.

DEADMAN'S BUST is replete with tension, twists of plot, and healthy dose of foul language paired with a realistic group of protagonists that constantly face their own abilities, limitations, and courage in the process of investigating a strange chain of events.

John hasn't vanished from the plot, either: his evolving story presents a different side of the picture and compliments Mike's recollections of his brother and their relationship, rounding out the plot and giving it a balanced focus from different perspectives.

Mike's journey will eventually change all their lives and comes full circle to evolve from a search for a lost brother and the truth to a search for self.

Author Cory Marchese has lived in Humboldt County, spent his time surfing and growing pot there, and faced his own drug bust - so if his novel sounds unusually realistic, it's flavored by his own personal experiences. A powerful novel of crime and redemption stems from familiarity with Humboldt County's culture and underworld - and contributes a powerful realism few other crime novels cultivate.

DEADMAN'S BUST is much more than a novel of intrigue, international espionage, drugs and family relationships. What begins as a simple story evolves into a satisfyingly complex set of inter-relationships that excel in an unexpected twist at novel's end, making DEADMAN'S BUST a top recommendation.

Rare Stamps: Reflections on Living, Breathing and Acting
Terence Stamp
Escargot Books Online Ltd
9781908191380 $14.99 pbk (trade paperback)
9781908191052 (ePub)
9781908191182 (Kindle) $9.99

RARE STAMPS provides a compelling autobiography and comes from an actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his part in 'Billy Budd' in 1962, but was soon cast away by a fickle industry concerned with cultivating younger actors. His ensuing search for meaning and a new objective in life led him to India, to a personal re-examining of the role of an artist in the world, and eventually to poverty: a far cry from the high points of dining in Paris with Orson Welles and associating with successful actors and artists.

Terence Stamp's passion for acting and its nuances permeates RARE STAMPS throughout his account of his life's journey, offering dramatic insights into the process of self-discovery through artistic change: "Could it be that any artist worthy of the title turns the spectator back on him or herself? Or, put another way, allows us to feel that what we are looking at is also what is looking."

From learning to breathe and deliver compelling dialogue to associating with and learning from Marlon Brando and other famous personalities, RARE STAMPS offers a fine opportunity to understand the connections between self and actor - and how the actor's art translates a bit of both into the process of creating fine art.

RARE STAMPS is replete with important insights, making it a powerful pick for any collection strong in drama and acting: "This is what Brando meant when he said he invested himself in a take; himself being the clear awareness from which his feelings arose. The presence of the very best of oneself, which cannot be summoned, yet can be awaited. Once it has announced itself, it is a thrill like no other. Hence the aforementioned adage: You can rehearse for tomorrow; not the moment."

Couched in the actor's autobiography are the hard lessons learned from extensive experience in the medium - lessons which translate, for Terence Stamp, to his ongoing life's journey.

From developing intuition and a deeper understanding of acting and roles to revisiting formal schooling, overcoming beliefs and limitations, and learning new skills from casting roles, chapters follow the dual evolution of Terence Stamp as an actor and as a man.

Even physical health is tackled as he learns his long-standing digestive disorders may be allergies - and discovers keys to identifying and overcoming them, with a resulting dramatic improvement in his overall health.

Stamp's ongoing associations with famous personalities around the world and the lessons he gleans from all these encounters are synthesized into passages that blend the actor's perception with a wider view of life: "There is often in the arc of a part a click. A keynote that sets the octave for the performance: a pair of shoes that gives the character purchase, a second-hand suit in a thrift store that misfits just right. In this case, the click came in the shape of a bow tie."

Rich memoirs combined with equally rich personal insights make RARE STAMPS a powerful testimony of one actor's evolving career and evolving life - and a fine choice for any who would understand the dynamic relationship between life lessons and acting.

The Scoop on Good Grammar
Margie Blumberg
MB Publishing
9780985081430 $9.99,

Any reader looking for a simple discussion of elementary grammar rules and how good grammar differs from barely acceptable grammar will find THE SCOOP ON GOOD GRAMMAR an enlightening survey that uses cultural icons as part of its education process.

Where other discussions of grammar provide dry rules or confusing admonishments, THE SCOOP ON GOOD GRAMMAR bases its lessons on entertaining, real-life examples. Trivia, color photos, popular cultural icons and more serve as the foundation for teaching these grammar basics.

Chapters such as 'The Definition of a Sentence' and 'The Functions of Words' thus hold attention-grabbing fun, as in a depiction of the oil-on-canvas painting PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR'S LUNCHEON OF THE BOATING PARTY, used as a key example to illustrate nouns AND art. Readers move on to receive insights on concepts of concrete, abstract and collective nouns and also receive a fun chapter covering plural nouns, which uses the image of San Francisco's twisty Lombard Street as an example: "As you zigzag down Lombard Street, you'll notice colorful flowers. Speaking of flowers, most nouns, such as flower, can be singular (i.e., one flower) or plural (i.e., more than one: two flowers). Another example: One driver . . . many drivers."

Color photos, sidebars of information, and concluding chapter quizzes enliven the entire presentation and make it simple and fun to absorb the basics of good grammar in an easy guide that can be used for ESL students, adults seeking a refresher course, or students learning grammar basics.

The focus is on non-intimidating chapters of explanation, which means there's no assumption of prior grammar knowledge. A lively format filled with contemporary examples links basic grammar skills to everyday experience and creates a useful and fun presentation: highly recommended for any who would learn or re-absorb the basics.

Old Dirt Road
Rob Heinze
ASIN: B006VEL292 $4.99,

Fans of horror, Stephen King, and novels of intrigue and terror will welcome OLD DIRT ROAD, a wonderful story that in true King-style weaves a complex and frightening story from a seeming common everyday environment. Thirty-year-old suburban resident Eddie has walked on an old construction road near his house for years - but finds reality warps one day when he notes an 'End Construction' sign has been altered to read 'End Life' - and lives up to its name.

Not only do animals die when they pass the sign, but the former construction site has become something much bigger: a time and space connection between life and death, with wider ramifications for his entire street - which may have been constructed to serve as a barrier between life and death itself - and which is now breaking down.

In true King fashion OLD DIRT ROAD weaves a fascinating story powered by strong protagonists who at first glance lead everyday normal lives, but in fact exist on the edge of chaos and the supernatural. Stephen King and Clive Barker are two of Rob Heinze's inspirations, but OLD DIRT ROAD goes to another level in providing a powerful, unsettling and vivid read that is nearly impossible to either predict or put down.

OLD DIRT ROAD begins with a walk into another world, with lovely description and tension woven into the fabric of its first few sentences: "On the right the highway wall began to curve sharply away to some unidentifiable point. The near muted din of the highway - the only source of life - grew distant and strange in this spot. It became a sort of low moan, not the sound of cars but something else. Sounds strange, he told himself. Sounds different somehow. Had Eddie known that walking into the declivity would begin the events of the next year - events that would mark him forever - he would have turned and walked back home."

Eddie's evolving fascination with the old road's latent but awakening powers makes for chapters packed with observation, intrigue, and insights: "He was certain there was an invisible line, and that it started just past the sign. And he was certain that whatever passed it would die.

Beyond that, beyond death, he had no idea what this place did."

As summer ends the reach of the force at the end of his road begins to consume Eddie's life, changing his personality, his passions, and even his purposes. His growing distance even from his beloved wife can't be changed by either truth or perception: "If he led her to the place, it would be too dark for her. She was not a carcinogen. She was a naive fighter against the down-spinning spiral of disorder towards which life trended. Her and Marie Rosse. They were agents of order in a world slowly circling down into madness, and without their power there was no hope. He, Eddie, was the

ward; he was there to protect them, to stop them from stumbling into the place down yonder dirt road, where the dead called from the highway stretching away to infinity."

Eddie is losing himself to something more powerful than love or life itself - and his reluctant search for the truth of what lies behind the force at the end of an old dirt road will change his perception of reality itself.

OLD DIRT ROAD is a 'must' for any fan of supernatural horror who wants the psychological complexity of a solid Stephen King novel. It's filled with satisfying twists and turns of plot and is a top recommendation.

The Chessman
Jeffrey B. Burton
MacAdam/Cage Publishing
155 Sansome Street, Suite 550
San Francisco, CA 94104
9781596923706 $24.00

The Chessman is at once a mystery and a thriller, and is a recommended pick for any interested in a crime story that assumes the complexity and actions of a chess game.

It opens with a strange Washington, D.C. crime scene: a shooting with no sign of a struggle leaves a soon-to-be chair-man of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission dead with only one clue as to his murderer: a chess piece left behind in the killing wound for investigators to puzzle over.

Chapters then assume the structure and intrigue of a chess match. From the opening murder move that leads retired special agent Drew Cady to drop everything to journey to Washington D.C. to relive his prior investigation of the Chessman murderer (which he never resolved) to an apparent new game with either the Chessman resurrected from the dead or a copycat murder, Cady finds his life once more taken over by an impossible series of moves.

Chapters center around Washington, D.C. politicians and events and move back and forth in time as events surrounding various politicians contribute an understanding to the Chessman's history and possible motives.

Cady's apparent recovery from The Chessman's last move has only brought him full circle back into the murderer's line of sight as he confronts new evidence and new moves.

Is The Chessman still alive, and what is the purpose of the new game he's playing? Cady's investigation takes the form of the back-and-forth check- and check-mate of chess as he probes kidnappings, assaults, and false statements designed to conceal underlying truths.

Chess players who love good murder mysteries will be particularly intrigued by the links between chess moves and pieces and the outcomes of Cady's probe, which discusses opening gambits and deadly cat-and-mouse strategies.

The complex chapters and interplay between protagonists leads up to the exciting 'Endgame' conclusion: here Cady faces his worst nightmares and murder for love or politics leads him to become an eyewitness to an even stranger game than he imagined.

Any enthusiast of political intrigue and mystery will find plenty of strong twists and turns of plot in THE CHESSMAN, a title recommended for readers who won't settle for less than high drama and intrigue in their reading.

Diane C. Donovan
Senior Reviewer

Dunford's Bookshelf

You Promised Never to Put Me in a Nursing Home!
Janis D. Lasser
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463769765, $14.95,

Nursing homes are always a difficult choice for many children faced with aging parents they cannot care for themselves. "You Promised Never to Put Me in a Nursing Home!: 5 Steps to Finding the Best Nursing Home" is a guide for parents struggling to do what's best for their parents and how to best set them up to get the care they can to spend their twilight years in comfort. "You Promised never to Put Me in a Nursing Home!" is a fine reference for this often tough decision that is rife with uncertainty.

The Land of Later On
Anthony Weller
Amazon Encore
PO Box 400818, Las Vegas, NV 89140
9781612182254, $14.95,

If life is a cycle, there are those who have chosen to break it. "The Land of Later On" is a novel from Anthony Weller, following the depressed Kip, a jazz pianist who tried to end his own life, but failed, instead gaining access to a land of those who have died yet have not chosen to begin life anew. Seeking a lost love who was taken from him too soon, "The Land of Later On" is a spiritual read of life and death and what we want out of the former.

The Harbinger Book I: The Raised
Jessie K. MacCoinneach
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463618247 $14.95

The Harbinger Book I: The Raised is a thrilling adventure about a collaboration between animals and humans to foil a plot to unleash terror among the inhabitants of Washington, DC. An Arabian stallion, a caustic avian, and other sly-footed, at times snarky creatures rapidly gain intelligence as they work with humans to combat malevolent street people, and a ruthless rogue scientist. A saga that prompts the reader to rethink the bonds between the human and animal kingdoms, The Harbinger Book I: The Raised is thoroughly engaging from cover to cover.

When Your Centerpiece is Made of Play-Doh and the Dog Has Eaten Your Crayons
Jennifer M. Koontz
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467906135, $12.95,

Motherhood is often wrought with making many unusual decisions to make it all work. "When Your Centerpiece is Made of Play-Doh and the Dog Has Eaten Your Crayons: A Mother's Perspective on Parenting" is memoir of parenthood with its own dose of advice on it all, as Jennifer M. Koontz shares her crusade for making it all connect and work against all odds. For any parent who seeks a knowing shoulder to cry on as well as sage wisdom, "When Your Centerpiece is Made of Play-Doh and the Dog Has Eaten Your Crayons" is a strong and solidly recommended addition to any parent's library.

Executive Deception
Pat Riley
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781458394972, $14.99,

One good deed may lead it all into chaos. "Executive Deception" follows Brian O'Brien who through one act saves the potential next president of Colombia and his daughter. But the candidate's brush with death may not have been accidental and Brian finds himself targeted by both the white house and other people who wanted the presidential hopeful dead. "Executive Deception" is a novel of politics and intrigue that should prove very hard to put down.

Growing up Italian in the 50s
Thomas Depaoli
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467992367, $15.99,

In fifty years, the world has radically changed more than ever before. "Growing up Italian in the 50s: Or How Most Us Became Good Wise Guys" is Thomas DePaoli's reflections on his childhood, and the values he believes are lost to the modern age from his good ole days. For those seeking an argument from a simpler time, "Growing Up Italian in the 50s" is a strong pick for general memoir collections.

Exodus into Evil
Stanley J. Brzycki
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462054435, $11.95,

Our brushes with evil are usually brief, but they leave lasting marks. "Exodus into Evil" is a collection of short stories from Stanley J. Brzycki as he presents this meetings with evil and what they leave behind. From the hidden mysteries of Halloween, to the real thing to fear in the job hunt. "Exodus into Evil" is a choice pick for any lover of Horror and everything about it, very much recommended reading.

Restaurant for Sale
Dan Crisafulli
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466341371, $18.95,

There's more to fast food success than good service. "Restaurant for Sale" is a memoir from Dan Crisafulli and his storied career as an restaurant entrepreneur who has done everything from fancier sit down restaurants to many franchise locations. He shares his experiences and obstacles to his career and invites readers to prepare themselves if they ever had their own dream of restaurant ownership. "Restaurant for Sale" is a strong pick for any memoir collection focusing on business exploits.

Rebellion of Silence
Brittney Martin
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432786250, $11.95,

As the final hopes fall apart, people try to get what justice they can. "Rebellion of Silence" is an entry into the Adon series telling of the struggles within the city of Kirave, at war with the vicious Rahion, and it seems, themselves. Avarah sees only violence, and joins the Silence, a group seeking to find justice before the city collapses on itself. Looking towards Sier, a man with the blood of the very creatures hunting them, "Rebellion of Silence" is an original take on fantasy, very much recommended.

The Concubine's Gift
K. Ford K.
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466287570, $10.99,

The secrets of joy and pleasure are not for one woman alone. "The Concubine's Gift" is a novel following Bernice Babbitt, a woman of middle age and little promiscuity. Coming across an old make up case, she learns its old owner used to be a legendary concubine, and using the contents within gives her visions of other people's sex lives. Faced with an unusual condition that requires her to speak about what she never touched on before, "The Concubines Gift" combines humor with a bit of raunch to make for a fun read.

Supreme Sacrifice
Rita Malie
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452539904, $17.99,

Tragedy jumbles one life, making them end up in situations they never dreamed of. "Supreme Sacrifice" is a novel from Rita Malie, as she presents a heart felt story of April Straka, faced with her fathers debts and regrets of amends not made. Seeking a new life in the deep south after life as a city slicker, she gains an unusual appreciation of where her father once called home. "Supreme Sacrifice" is an insightful exploration of heritage and a new way of living.

Safe on Third
D. F. Zorensky
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466320512, $14.95,

Defying tradition, heads turned as Franklin Delano Roosevelt went for his third term as President. "Safe on Third" follows a historical drama as Roosevelt approaches his third term. But as War in Europe begins to step up, there are those who want to derail his popularity through sabotage and espionage. Set amongst the backdrop of the tumultuous World War II period before American officially entered in, "Safe on Third" is a strong pick for historical novel collections.

Charlie's Hoot
H. Trussell Pyle
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432780753, $15.95,

The web of the drug trade runs deep. "Charlie's Hoot" is a novel of a small Florida resort town and the web of crime that lurks deep within the town. A mob boss brother is urged by his religious sister to go straight, and the corruption that plagues the town digs deeper. As a cop works with a technical ace to break the drug ring, "Charlie's Hoot" proves to be a suspenseful thriller of crime, punishment, family, and the punishments that go towards those who seek to do right.

Michael Dunford

Greenspan's Bookshelf

Memory Loss
Ronald Devere
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463602314, $16.95,

Loss of memory is loss of life. "Memory Loss: Everything You Want to Know But Forget to Ask" discusses memory, how it works, why memory loss happens, the effects of medicine as well as drugs and alcohol. It also evaluates it as a side effect to other disorders such as Diabetes and other ailments, and how to deal with a stubborn relative who you fear may be losing their memory. "Memory Loss" is a strong read for those who fear facing this topic or have a loved one facing it.

Pushing On
Joseph McCray
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467931748, $7.00,

The drive of the everyday person can touch and change lives. "Pushing On: Wondering Stories About the Life of Josephine Jordan" discussing the successes of Josephine Jordan, a woman who used her place in life to touch many lives as a friend, mother, and voice of the community in both Durham, North Carolina as well as Baltimore, Maryland. A powerful read of faith and making a difference, "Pushing On" is not a read to be overlooked, highly recommended.

The Shelter at Papa's Farm
Elizabeth M. White
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781613468524, $17.99,

The second coming of Christ is professed to be predated by a time of great tragedy. "The Shelter at Papa's Farm" follows one Christian's family as they are faced with the weight of these tragedies and the struggles that follow through during this dark age. James tried to plan for such a tragedy, but no one can plan for this, and he and his family work out of a remote shelter to piece together their family and look to what future awaits them. The Shelter at Papa's Farm" is a fine choice for general Christian fiction collections.

My Vacation in Hell
Gene Twaronite
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781470003036, $12.95,

Sometimes you just want to send everyone to hell. "My Vacation in Hell" follows young man John Boggle, who ostracized from the world uses his writing hobby, emulates Dante's work, descending into hell, populating it with those who have wronged him. But as he goes deeper, he realizes the truly evil are things that he wish he didn't remember, but must. Facing the tattered past he left behind, "My Vacation in Hell" is a darkly humorous yet profound read into the evil we can experience even at age 15.

Pier Shock
James W. Haddad
PO Box 151
Frederick, MD 21705-0151
9781462645619 $24.95

Pier Shock is a novel about pursuing one's dream - and suffering terrible heartbreak. A little boy loves to fish, and hopes to one day break a world record. Although his father supports his aspiration, his manipulative mother tries to subvert and sabotage him at every turn. The boy refuses to give up his goal, but when a horrific tragedy strikes, he is utterly shell-shocked, and bereft with bottomless grief. Not for the emotionally faint of heart, Pier Shock tells of the toughest blows life can deal to an eight-year-old child with an unloving mother, and will linger in the reader's memory long after the last page.

Beyond Fences
Helge Staby Deaton
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463727314, $15.99,

What draws a man to dive into what is unknown to most? "Beyond Fences: A Memoir 1937-1970" is a memoir from Helge Staby Deaton, speaking on J. W. Redecker, her grandfather who chose to venture into a pre-colonial African territory in 1867. This led to a long-standing relationship between her family and the region in South West Africa. A fascinating story of politics, family, and one's place in the world, "Beyond Fences" is not a memoir to be overlooked.

Mary Elizabeth Moloney
Heart Whisperings
9780984809707, $14.95,

The pressures of family sometimes push us in ways we shouldn't go. "Elizabeth: Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out" is a memoir from Mary Elizabeth Moloney as she learned to make her own path after being pushed by her mother for so long. Reflecting on what she learned from psychology to become her own person, "Elizabeth" is a fine read of becoming one's own person, highly recommended.

Opting In
Molly Fiore
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9780578095868, $16.95,

As life can push us to our limits, too often people are tempted to look for a way out of it all. "Opting In" is an inspirational memoir from Molly Fiore who reflects on her own struggles with depression and how she came close to taking her own life. Sharing her struggles on finding life worth living, she hopes her story will ring true with others on the brink, to help them reclaim their lives when all seems lost. "Opting In" is a choice pick for self-help and motivational collections.

River Memoir and Other Stories
David Hann
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781456582999, $12.00,

Everyday there is comedy, there is tragedy, there is danger. "River Memoir and Other Stories" is a collection of short stories from David Hann, who brings a wide variety of short fiction touching on the many angles of war, practical jokers, natural disaster, chasing the American dream, and most importantly, fishing. "River Memoir and Other Stories" is quite the novel that shouldn't be missed for general short fiction collections.

The Ordinary Adept
P. T. Straub
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781463427818, $15.19,

Reassessing life comes with the midlife crisis. "The Ordinary Adept" is the first entry into P.T. Straub's series following Tess, a woman being hit with trying to figure out what's going on all around her life. Drawing from her own experiences, she provides humor and a to the point exploration of life's challenges. "The Ordinary Adept" is a fine addition to any community library general fiction collection.

The Prophet's Scribe
Osman Kartal
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467950503, $14.98,

No man becomes a legend by themselves. "The Prophet's Scribe" discusses the role of Sergius, the Christian monk who followed the founder of Islam, Mohammed. A dramatized and fictionalized account, Osman Kartal tries to draw from history to bring a story of faith, devotion, and betrayal surrounding the time of the birth of Islam. "The Prophet's Scribe" is a riveting read and addition to any historical and religious fiction collection.

Visions 2012
Vincent Vizzaccaro
Conxm, Incorporated
9780983826927, $14.99,

The prophecies and legends of the past come surging back all too quickly. "Visions 2012: The Nostradamus Design" is the first book of Vincent Vizzaccaro's series that explores the prophecies that declare the end times as 2012, and how Max Medici, secret service agent and descendant of Nostradamus, finds that the preludes to the prophecies may be true and time runs short to stop it. "Visions 2012" is a strong pick for those who enjoy metaphysical fiction collections.

The Dead Soldiers
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463752446, $15.00,

Segregation baked a racism into America that couldn't be simply switched off. "The Dead Soldiers" is a memoir from Derrick M. Robins, who refers to himself as DMR1. He writes of his entry into these colleges of the early 1970s, as segregation was outlawed but the power of racism still burned strong through it all. Sharing the stories of what he had saw so they will not be forgotten by history, "The Dead Soldiers" is a strong pick for memoirs and Black Studies collections.

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

New Earth: The Sedna/Kern Incident
R.D. Pittman
Two Pitts Publishing, LLC
9781469948836 $11.95

The third and concluding volume in R.D. Pittman's New Earth trilogy, New Earth: The Sedna/Kern Incident matches the unflappable Alex Hanken against a threat that could potentially eradicate humankind. An implacable, soulless force that cannot be communicated with and knows no God threatens to raze the land, and as its menace becomes increasingly clear, individual humans must choose how they will spend what might be their final days. Ultimately a story of courage and patriotism, New Earth: The Sedna/Kern Incident is a satisfying conclusion to this futuristic saga, and highly recommended especially to fans of the series.

Democracy 3.0
Robert Weidenfeld
Privately Published
9780987940100, $20.11,

The US Constitution was a remarkable document for its time, but many state it needs revision, and maybe a complete rewrite. "Democracy 3.0: No Taxation without Self-Representation" is Robert Weidenfeld's study of the Constitution, written in 1787, needs an update and embrace the many thinkers of the modern world to create a democratic system true to all of its citizens rather than a few. Calling for direct democracy through the uses of technology, "Democracy 3.0" has many intriguing ideas and it is worth considering for followers of political philosophy.

The Commodore's Hat and His Majesty
Jack E. Jon
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432774257, $16.95,

The Tokugawa Shogunate called Japan its own for over two hundred years. Matthew Perry coming to the harbor was the beginning of their end. "The Commodore's Hat and His Majesty: A New Sun Rising" is a drama of the twilight of Feudal Japan from Jack E. Jon, surrounding a westerner rising through the social ranks of Japan and how it plays a role in the start of a new era. "The Commodore's Hat and His Majesty" is a fine read of historical fiction for those who enjoy Japanese history.

The Mothers of Country Day
Arlene Matthews
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467909075, $12.99,

The pressures of school life don't apply strictly to the students. "The Mothers of Country Day" is a novel from Arlene Matthews, following the pressures of her daughter overachieving her way to a private school where she quickly realizes she doesn't fit in with the rest of the parents. But when she finds another chance at love in the process, and gets a chance at high society, she realizes she may be in the deep end quicker than she knows. "The Mothers of Country Day" is a fine pick that will resonate with many a mother, highly recommended.

Valerie Storey
Dava Books
9780964328938, $16.95,

The allure of marriage is not something to rush into. "Overtaken" is a novel of gothic fantasy, following painter Sara Elliott who in a fit of fearlessness, dives into a marriage with Miles, a man who isn't much above stranger. What follows makes Sara question her sanity, the existence she has adopted, and what could have been. A thoughtful and psychological novel, "Overtaken" is a strong addition to general fiction collections.

Devin O'Branagan
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466428164, $14.99,

Tragedies happen. Tragedies are suppose to happen. "Threshold" centers around the tragic death of young Cole Dillon, or what was suppose to be. Elijah Thunderbird, a man with strong connections to the spirit world, brings Cole back to the world. But meddling in the natural order has consequences, and Elijah and Cole find themselves faced with the onslaught of dark spirits that have come. The answer to the forces of darkness may require great sacrifice from both of them. "Threshold" is a fine read of paranormal fiction, highly recommended.

Swimming with Barracudas
E. W. Lee
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466329706, $8.99,

The corporate culture can prove quite a shock to those right out of high school. "Swimming with Barracudas" is a novel following Mary O'Connor as she comes to work with one of the biggest corporations in the world. But office politics hit her hard, she tries to claw her way through the worst of it, and survive the office life. "Swimming with Barracudas" is an insightful and much recommended pick for general fiction collections.

Simple Pleasures
Natasha Simmons
Privately Published
9780615602783, $9.99,

As women forge their own way through the world, the idea of family is a constant crossroads for them. "Simple Pleasures" follows Alexandra Wyatt as she follows her father's wishes and is on the brink of a potentially successful career. But the emergence of who could be Mr. Right places her at a decision of being a family woman or a career woman. "Simple Pleasures" will resonate with many women who have been placed at such decisions.

In Search of an Army
Michael Howell
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463707200, $12.99,

As our world advances further and further, we may lose sight of some of our baser instincts. "In Search of an Army: Choosing a Reality That You Can Be Truly Proud Of" is a thoughtful delve into the advancement of technology, as Michael Howell sates his fear that people will lose sight of their awareness and free will as things are more and more done for us. "In Search of an Army" is an insightful exploration of spirituality and philosophy, worth consideration.

The Welcomer Edge
Richard R. Shapiro
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor
New York, NY 10016
9781936467242, $17.95,

Good business is repeat business. "The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business" is an advisory from business expert Richard Shapiro who explains how to get repeat business for years to come. Any business succeeds on its customers, and Shapiro does well on getting customers, keeping customers, and the countless benefits that spread from that. "The Welcomer Edge" is a strong pick for anyone looking for greater success with their business.

Stiletto Safari
Kate Metz
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467959049, $15.00,

Africa is not a place for those addicted to high society. "Stiletto Safari" follows Zara Hamilton as she has the weight of her life falling apart on her, with a boyfriend suddenly caught in scandal and her escape seems to be a wildlife volunteer in Africa. Separated from the glitz and glamour, Zara tries to get a more clear understanding of it all, and makes "Stiletto Safari" a humorous and hard to put down read, very much recommended.

Hollywood: Red, White & Blue
Roy Schreiber
I'll Tell You a Story LLC
c/o Susan Weinstein Public Relations (publicity)
41 Union Square West, Ste. 919, New York, NY 10003
9781105544095, $14.50 pbk. / $9.99 Kindle

McCarthyism was a modern witch hunt, and the ultimate result of fear. "Hollywood: Red, White, & Blue" is Roy Schreiber's story of one family that had the courage of standing against the tides of paranoia brought on by the Red Scare of the 1950s. "Hollywood" is a strong pick for those seeking memoirs surrounding this event that should not be forgotten.

Say Please
Sinclair Sexsmith, editor
Cleis Press
2246 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781573447850, $14.95,

For those who enjoy pain and pleasure as a sensual cocktail, the imagination has no limits. "Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica" is a collection of short erotic fiction from assorted authors as editor Sinclair Sexsmith compiles some of the best stories in the genre, focusing on stories of power, dominance, submission, humiliation, and punishment. "Say Please" is a strong pick for any assortment of fiction looking to add something that has a good deal of spice to it.

Helen Dumont

Klausner's Bookshelf

The Master of Heathcrest Hall
Galen Beckett
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553807608, $16.00,

The old king of Altania is dead, and the coronation of his heir has been delayed by competing political and mage leaders coveting power. The Ashen see the chaos as an opportunity to overwhelm the kingdom, but the power brokers squabble over their role in the new government rather than insuring what is best for the country.

Ivy Quent feels euphoric over her husband the mage's recent endeavors and her own in Evengrove. However, she will soon conclude her optimism is an illusion when her extended family is in peril from those willing to cause a civil war while an external threat intensifies; all for a little more power. Pregnant, Ivy tries to keep her family safe while dealing with betrayal. She finds allies in the mage Rafferdy and illusionist Garrit of the Theatre of the Moon.

The third Quent dark fantasy (see The House On Durrow Street, and The Magicians and Mrs. Quent) super thriller with several stunning bit plausible twists. The key to this entry and its predecessors is the Beckett mythology feels genuine due to the fascinating eccentric cast and the title abode. Ivy is a brave fabulous heroine who earns the respect of the audience. Galen Beckett scores the hat trick with her third entertaining Mrs. Quent quirky thriller.

The Impossible Cube
Steven Harper
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451464507, $7.99,

By 1857, the "clockwork plague" disease turned people into brainless zombies. A few of the inflicted become short-lived mechanical geniuses creating technological advances. England and China emerged from the calamity as superpowers, with both using clockwork geniuses to push their country to the top. However, in England a cure for the clockwork plague zombie syndrome was discovered but the government's top secret Third Ward rationalizes that deploying it to save lives will destroy the kingdom as China would still have its mechanical gurus. They try to hide the cure in The Doomsday Vault, but Lady Alice Michaels and Gavin Ennock steal the elixir and begin releasing it while agents of the now defunct Third Ward led by Lieutenant Susan Phipps chase them in France.

Phipps and her goons (Glenda Teasdale and Simon D'Arco) catch Gavin who has caught the plague thanks to Alice's late Aunt Edwinna. Alice, Click the Cat, Feng and Dr. Clef rescue Gavin. They flee to Luxembourg for supplies while on their way to China where they hope to find a cure for the clockwork mechanical genius syndrome before Gavin and Clef die. Using the new wireless communication technology invented by a clockwork genius, Phipps pursues the traitors.

The second Clockwork Empire steampunk alternate historical is an exciting adventure thriller that starts off with action and never slows down until a confrontation in the Ukraine. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the escapes of the Bostonian and the lady as she is apt to rescue him even more than he does her. With a nod to Jules Verne's Five Week in a Balloon (though an African crossing), readers will appreciate Steven Harper's exhilarating trek across the European continent.

Deadly Negatives
Russell Hill
c/o Pleasure Boat Studio
201 West 89 Street, New York, NY 10024
9781929355846, $16.00,

In California, photographer Michael McSwain visits Bill Fosberg's camera shop. Both are throwbacks to an era when a camera used film. Nonagenarian Bill worked for the San Francisco Call Bulletin and was a combat photographer in WWII; while Michael shoots B&W portraits.

Michael is euphoric when he notices a classic Leica M3 camera, which was made between 1954 and 1966. Bill says a friend's widow brought it in so he can sell it to a thirty-five years old dinosaur smelling of dark room chemicals. The camera belonged to Aaron Sturgis who made history with his photos. Inside the original box, Michael finds hidden negatives. He visits Aaron's widow Emma, who pleads with him to destroy the negatives before they destroy him. Unable to resist, he develops the film in his dark room. To his horror Michael realizes Sturgis captured American atrocities in Viet Nam to include a young soldier turned wealthy politician. Emma's daughter Olivia persuades Michael to team up with her in a blackmail scheme, but psychopathic Skinner makes a move to extort the money but hides his agenda while thugs continue to assault Michael.

Deadly Negatives is an exhilarating hard boiled amateur sleuth thriller from the moment the "messenger" visits Michael at his home and never slows down until the final confrontation. Action-packed while also displaying a fondness for a by-gone era, readers will enjoy Michael's escapades to learn the truth about what happened in Viet Nam decades ago that has made him a target of dangerous people.

Last Will
Liza Marklund
Emily Bestler Books
c/o Atria Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
9781451606928, $25.00,

In Stockholm, Evening Post investigative reporter Annika Bengtzon covers the Nobel Prize gala. American assassin "Kitten" arrives at the event. Using a silencer, she shoots five people, killing Karolinska Institute's Nobel committee chair Caroline von Behring and Israeli prize winner Aaron Wiesel.

As Annika tries to call in her story but cannot get through as the lines are jammed, Detective Inspector Q interviews her about the woman with the cold yellow eyes who pushed her and stepped on her foot. He also bans her from disclosing what she knows about the shootings during the investigation. Behind schedule to leave the "North Pole", the Kitten races to her escape locale before her cohort exits without her. Meanwhile placed on paid leave by her editor, Bengtzon investigates starting with the Karolinska Institute.

The second Annika Bengtzon investigative thriller (see Red Wolf) is an exciting but confusing tale. The storyline provides insight into the Nobel Prize past and present through Bengzton's inquiry as readers learn of scientific intrigue to garner the awards. Fans of Scandinavian noir will enjoy the intrepid reporter's Nobel Prize investigation.

White Horse
Alex Adams
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
9781451642995, $19.99

Thirty years old custodial worker Zoe Marshall cleans cages and floors at a pharmaceutical research center. Her biggest problem is to avoid naming the subjects of the experiments, mice. She is pregnant but her boyfriend vanished. Now the president announces that mankind is becoming extinct.

Stunned and realizing over the past year plus, she lived in a bubble while family, friends, acquaintances and fellow workers died from this plague, Zoe panics. She decides to see the world and begins an odyssey into the apocalypse; unaware that the White Horse has claimed victory with few left for conquest.

White Horse is an amazing apocalyptic thriller in which events rotate between before and after. Zoe is wonderful as a frightened individual on The Road (Cormac McCarthy) who finds a terrible world spiraling to death yet meets pockets of resistance by caring people helping one another survive. She learns during her travails what made humanity unique is compassion for the nurturing of others. Her lesson learned becomes her mantra that when one person defies the end with a kindness, hope remains alive for others.

Act of Terror
Marc Cameron
Pinnacle Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
9780786024957, $9.99,

In freedom of information databases, Jericho Quinn works for the USAF Office of Special Investigations; in reality the President deploys him as an "other government agent" (OGA) who works those scenarios in which the finesse of the security agencies fail and a hammer is needed; he and his OGA operative peers are the hammers.

Terror strikes have frightened the nation leaving many dead from suicide bombers and most people panicking. Allegedly loyal Americans like the Deputy Director of the CIA and a cop go on a mass murdering spree. The pending wedding of the vice president's daughter poses a great target for terrorists. Security will be at its highest to include Quinn and OGA, but he is also on the government's anti-terrorist assassination list.

With collateral damage an occupational hazard, the latest Quinn OGA thriller (see National Security) is an exhilarating and gory over the top of the Washington Monument thriller. Although the key players are stereotypical, the fast-paced storyline will excite fans who enjoy action, action, and bloody more action as Jericho terrorizes the terrorists.

Fat Is The New 30
Jill Conner Browne
Amazon Publishing
9781612181400, $14.95,

Living up to its title, "Fat Is The New 30: The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Coping with (the crappy parts of) Life", author Jill Conner Browne uses humor to guide her readers dealing with life's dreck (I'm from the south Bronx; not south of the Mason-Dixon). Ms. Browne provides insight on using proper manners when coping with economic woes as recessions, depressions and inflations are life cycles that require the wage earner and the unemployed to hide our feelings since the 99% we belong to prefer to suffer in private. Very critical to your well-being is to celebrate your birthday with a smile and allow others to pretend they revere you on your personal holiday as like all "The Holidays: Horrifying Tales of Human Sacrifice" (ours) is expected. Learn to reengineer the bad (as my husband says slice off the empty part of the cup so it is filled) or at least have fun by using psychologically accepted defense mechanisms like watermelon muses. Well written with funny anecdotes, no sane reasonable person can deny that Fat Is The New 30 is a fun guide as to how to cope with crap.

Elisabeth Naughton
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402262128, $7.99,

Being a hybrid daemon-Argonaut Orpheus is a pariah. Scorned because of his daemon blood, Orpheus has become a rogue who lives down to the image others have of him. Ironically, he is also an Eternal Guardian whose duty is to protect those same people who loathe him. Orpheus is on a personal quest to rescue his twin brother Gryphon from the hell of Tartarus.

Zeus sends Siren Order Skyla to destroy Orpheus. When she meets him he is in his daemon form so she attacks until she sees the inscription on him that proclaims him to be an Eternal Guardian; daemons cannot belong to that elite warrior group. He explains his mission starting with retrieving an orb that the Pantheon of Gods and the Underworld daemons crave possessing; she joins him. On their trek into hell, the vivacious siren and the morbid hybrid become lovers, but she conceals from Orpheus her agenda to kill him.

The latest Eternal Guardians romantic fantasy (see Marked and Tempted) is an exhilarating thriller that stars seemingly personality opposites in love. The fabulous Naughton Greek mythology is vivid and deadly as wary Orpheus believes you are safer amidst your enemies rather than your allies; his beloved will prove him correct.

Sara Humphreys
9781402258466, $6.99

Most people including her family believe Amazonian Kerry Smithson suffers from an obsessive germ phobia. That is far from the truth as her fear of touch has to do with severe pain and a look inside the brain of the other person that enables her to determine whether they are evil.

Recently she was assaulted in spite of her size; so her BFF Samantha (see Unleashed) hires Inferno Securities Dante Coltari to protect Kerry as she goes to New Orleans on a modeling gig. They meet at Samantha's wedding where Dante the Amoveo informs Kerry she will one day dance with him as he realizes from his dream walks that Kerry is his mate; however to avoid a breakdown she has erected barriers that prevent her from dream walking. Dante knows what attacks his beloved, but not who while the Punisher is also at the wedding for both of them. To her shock his touch brings peace and pleasure rather than pain and torment.

The second Amoveo Legend urban fantasy is an action-packed thriller starring two fascinating protagonists though her lack of knowledge is similar to Samantha. Filled with action as a deadly stalker hunts the lead couple, readers will enjoy the escapades of the Tarzan bodyguard and the no longer Untouched heroine while waiting for that first dance to occur.

The Wolf Who Loved Me
Lydia Dare
9781402263460, $7.99

In 1820, affluent ducal daughter Lady Madeline Hayburn has become wary of males as fortune hunters seem to do anything to force her to marry them. During a full moon, Maddie is shocked when she sees her new neighbor Mr. Weston Hadley turn into a wolf. However, Maddie is not half as stunned as Weston is that he carelessly let someone see him shift.

He believes they have no choice except to marry, but he expects her to decline his offer as he knows Maddy runs from the impoverished lords and besides beauty never marries the beast. Instead, Maddie accepts his offer but demands they immediately elope to Gretna Green. As they head to Scotland, there is plenty of pursuit and not all on her side.

The latest Team Dare Regency romantic fantasy (see Taming of the Wolf, Never Been Bit, It Happened One Bite and In the Heat of the Bite) is a bewitching historical. The storyline is a beguiling Lycan rendition of Beauty and the Beast with plenty of humor (mostly from the potential "mother of his mutts") and danger (even her father who loves and spoils Maddy wants to cut off Weston's head).

The Last Romanov
Dora Levy Mossanen
9781402265945, $14.99

In 1887 she was born an orphan in an ancient forest near the Romanov Palace. Still alive in 1991, Darya Borodina Spiridova has seen so much change in her hundred and four years especially in beloved Russia. She remembers how the Royal family adopted her as one of them and their advisor Rasputin the "Mad Monk" proclaiming she will be the cause of the Romanov downfall due to her paranormal gift granted by the Ancient One. Seeking redemption, Darya believes that can only come if she locates the long lost Last Romanov. On her journey for salvation, she looks deeply into her past focusing on her role when the Revolution and subsequent executions happened.

This is a great tale that provides the audience with a deep look at the end of the Romanovs though the quest of a centenarian as the Soviet Union disintegrates. Engaging from the moment readers meet Darya, Dora Levy Mossanen writes a wonderful mystical historical as the road to redemption has plenty of detours and roadblocks; many of which are created within one's mind.

Dark Eyes
William Richter
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, NY, NY 10014
9781595144577, $17.99,

Crying Mrs. Ivanova informs young Valentina Mayskova that the American Stoneman couple has adopted her. Called Wally, Valentina cries for her beloved Babushka before leaving with her new parents for the United Sates. She is raised in affluence in New York, but at fifteen Wally runs away.

One year later, Wally heads to Brighton Beach to learn more about her heritage. At the Miszic & Sons store, she receives a folder with her name on it. She finds the first clue to locating her biological mother Yalena since she left Russia. However, a friend with Wally's fake ID as Wallis Stoneman is brutally murdered even as Wally searches for Yalena. At the same time her viscous birth father Klesko searches for the jewels stolen by her mother. As a mob boss, he has no compunctions about killing his daughter; just visit the morgue to see what he and his thugs will do.

Dark Eyes is fabulous suspense thriller that takes readers all over the Big Apple. Although why Wallis left her home is never explained adequately as she would visit her now divorced mom from time to time, Dark Eyes is loaded with action from the moment the teen takes the train to Brooklyn and never slows down until the anticipated confrontation between father and daughter on the mean streets of New York City.

Paris in Love: A Memoir
Eloisa James
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781400069569, $26.00,

In December 2007, Fordham University Professor Eloisa James' mom died from cancer. Not long afterward, she is diagnosed with the same disease. Having read several memoirs written by stricken individuals, Eloisa feels ready to live for the moment. She persuades her Italian-American husband Alessandro to spend a year in Paris accompanied by their two children (eleven years old Anna and fifteen years old Luca). They take sabbaticals from their teaching positions, register the kids in a French ecole, and leave the Jersey burbs to become An American family in Paris. Paris In Love follows the quartet's escapades in France.

This is a warm compassionate memoir that provides insight into a family but it is the City of Lights that steals the show as Ms. James eloquently provides an intelligent witty tour of the restaurants, museums, and much more. A talented historical romance writer Ms. James displays her skill as readers will appreciate her candor as she provides the audience insight into her and her family loving Paris.

Vengeance is Mine
Douglass Mackinnon
Threshold Editions
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
978145164097, $25.00,

Two decades ago in Moscow's Lubyanka Prison, KGB Colonel Vladimir Ivanchenko tortured and killed pregnant Irena for giving test information from the Sary Shagan Proving grounds to her American boyfriend CIA operative Ian Wallace. Ian was tortured and in chains when Ivanchenko brutally murdered his beloved and their unborn. Shocked and filled with remorse, Ian escapes from the cell, Moscow and the CIA.

In Boston where Ian works as a private investigator, CIA agent and friend Phil Andrews approaches him with a Glock out to tell him that the Firm needs his help. They want him to baby-sit an Ivan scientist defector Barkagan as the Russian Mafia has sent to Boston their top international assassin former KGB Colonel Vladimir Ivanchenko. His partner will be Kathy Donahue, but this is one mission he personalized.

This is an exciting thriller starring an interesting protagonist who prefers the cold of the field rather than the desks filled with politically correct suits. When the storyline focuses on what happened twenty years ago, and the present day Ivan protection and the Vengeance Is Mine solo theme, the plot is terrific. When Ian pontificates with a zillion conservative talking points, the flow is disrupted as these asides mostly are not interwoven into the action. Still even coffee drinkers will root for the "Dirty Harry" hero to kick KGB Mafia butt.

White Lies
Jeremy Bates
Oceanview Publishing
595 Bay Isles Road, 120-G, Longboat Key, FL 34228
9781608090488, $25.95,

In a torrential downpour, Katrina Burton drives the curving road through the cascades to Leavenworth, Washington where she has been hired to teach high school English. Feeling sorry for a soaked hitchhiker, she picks him up though her brain screams not to. However, she becomes frightened by his drunken nastiness so she lies about her destination before throwing him out of her vehicle.

At Leavenworth High School, Kat meets her hitchhiker Zach Marshall, who also teaches there. Fearing Zach, Kat begins spinning a web of lies while he manipulates her and others. At the hardware store, Kat and Jack Reeves meet. He comes to her faculty party that Zach maneuvered for her to host at her rented cabin. Attracted to Jack, Kat feels he may be able to liberate her from her nightmare. Jack roughs Zach in a confrontation at the party that the intoxicated latter caused. Soon afterward, Jack loses control and in a rage kills the elderly owner of the cabin Charlie. He demands Kat help him cover-up the death.

Filled with suspense, the heroine learns Sir Walter Scott's mantra (in Marmion): "Oh what a tangled web we weave; when first we practice to deceive". - Fast-paced, the tense thriller grips readers as the beleaguered Kat learns to obtain background checks on males if she lives long enough to meet another man. Although readers will need to ignore their plausibility meter, White Lies is an exhilarating taut tale.

The Second-Last Woman in England
Maggie Joel
Felony & Mayhem
9781934609996, $14.95,

In May 1953, Great Britain is filled with energy for the future as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth is coming. Mr. Cecil Condor Wallis watches the gala from his home in South Kensington on his new television set. Family and friends are there also; as he and his wife Harriet host a coronation party. At precisely the moment that the newly crowned ruler steps on balcony at Buckingham while the thousands at the scene sang God Save the Queen and many more watching on TV, Harriet shoots Cecil six times. It took a jury forty five minutes to convict her. She was The Second-Last Woman in England to be hanged.

Nine months earlier, Mrs. Harriett Wallis looked forward to the future. Her spouse has a good paying prestigious job and their two kids are well behaved. It started when she hired Miss Corbett as a nanny to Anne and Julius. As she meets the kids, Inspector Harris arrives to talk with Cecil about Mr. Rocastle who worked at the same firm; he vanished after apparently embezzling funds. This is the beginning of the end for Cecil and Harriet Wall even while everyone is increasingly euphoric.

This is an enjoyable historical thriller that opens up with the murder followed by what led to the homicide. Harriet is like the rest of the country as life has begun to return to normal after the Depression and war, and the pending coronation brings fervor of renewal. Although the storyline never matches the opening psychological suspense, fans will enjoy reading this engaging tale wanting to know why.

Fatal Induction
Bernadette Pajer
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781590586129, $24.95,

In 1901 University of Washington Electrical Engineering Professor Benjamin Bradshaw believes he is a sure shot to win the competition to create a telephonic system that will transmit music from the Seattle Grand Theater to homes throughout Seattle. Bradshaw finds Ralph's abandoned wagon behind his house. He ponders where the peddler of miracle elixirs (and maybe deadly poisons) and his daughter went, but his musings are interrupted with news that President McKinley was assassinated.

The police show no interest in a missing child or a potential homicide case. So curious and unable to accept the national tragedy as real, Bradshaw tracks the trail left behind by the girl who the professor thinks may have witnessed a killing. As he enters the Tenderloin section, Seattle's seediest side, he concludes to save the child's life, he must do something drastic. Thus Bradshaw modifies his contest entry to catch a murderous predator.

The second Professor Bradshaw historical amateur sleuth (see A Spark of death) is a superb whodunit in which Bernadette Pajer uses the assassination of the president to anchor her storyline in 1901. Part of the fun is observing communication technological breakthroughs and the hero conjecturing what will come over the next century or so. The mystery is strong, but that supports a powerful poignant period piece as Ms. Pajer escorts her audience to Seattle circa 1901.

Powers of Arrest
Jon Talton
Poisoned Pen Press
9781590589991, $24.95

Having had a tumor removed from his spinal cord (see Pain Nurse), former Cincinnati homicide detective turned police public information officer Will Borders uses a cane to walk. Taking a walk on the Miami University campus, former Cincinnati Memorial Hospital Pain Nurse Specialist turned Professor Cheryl Beth Wilson sees a crowd including cops around two of her now dead students; a third student Noah is the prime suspect. Homicide detective Dodds asks Will to investigate a cop murder similar to that on the campus; and also tells his ex-partner to date cute Cheryl Beth. Will says he is a cripple so cannot do either, but will make inquiries on the homicide.

Though she knows better, Cheryl Beth investigates by thinking what her former patient would do. Her effort leads her to Will. The pair shares an attraction and deep abiding loneliness. They become lovers with hesitancy about their future. Meanwhile the serial killer observes the amateur sleuth and the crippled cop with glee, bragging about creating "deathscapes" starring the duet.

The second Cincinnati Casebook mystery is a superb whodunit starring two wary wounded warriors and a vile violent villain. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the sensational sightseeing of Cincinnati with Cheryl Beth and Will as our tour guides.

More Forensics and Fiction
D.P. Lyle, M.D.
Medallion Press
100 South River Street, Aurora, IL 60506
9781605423944, $14.95,

"More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered " is a fun educational compilation of answers to specific medical and forensic science questions crime writers have posed. The entries are entertaining though at times gory when responding to queries such as "What would a gunshot to the liver look like ...?" or "What would happen if my character is stabbed in the femoral artery?" Divided into five parts with each containing a multitude of Q&A, mystery writers, publishers and readers will relish the latest collection by Dr. Lyle. My favorites are the historical ones like "How were comas treated in the 1500s?", "How was CPR performed in 1949?" and "How was epilepsy treated in the 1940s?" Whether it is the coroner trying to solve questions in the 1930s and 1912 or the whimsical issue "Could DNA from spontaneously combusted vampires reveal their age"?, More Forensics and Fiction is a terrific guide, but likes its predecessors (see Forensics and Fiction: Clever, Intriguing, and Downright Odd Questions from Crime Writers, and Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers, this is an engaging reference book.

Dead Light
Mike Pace
River Point Press
9780615518428, $11.00,

In 1667 aboard the London Rose, Eli Creed travels with 562 manacled Africans taken from Gambia to be slaves in the New World. The Good Christian prays for these heathen even as he shared sex with the girls as part of a so-called ritual. When Captain Stigg tosses the dead into the ocean, Eli saves the life of a girl Abi still breathing. Her father thanks Eli by giving him a box that the man says contains the devil's light that he took from a dead shaman. He is warned not to open it or all will die.

Three and a half centuries later in Cumberton, Maryland, a cemetery dating back to colonial times is moved in order for Reverend Jimmy Starr to construct a dormitory on the hallowed grounds. Two teenagers Tony and Jill fall into a hole where he finds a box in the empty grave of Father William Cumber 1645-1713. They accidentally break the box releasing "Lucifer's Light" caged by Father Cumber centuries ago. Soon hell breaks out in Cumberton as student suicides occur. Sheriff Estin Booker and former Baltimore homicide detective Anna Tucci investigate what increasingly seems insane as the clues point to a two millennia Satanic myth in which humans must prevent the end of days, Lucifer's way.

Dead Light is an exciting good and evil horror thriller as readers will be caught up in the doomsday countdown. Fast-paced, the only hope for mankind is two cops with personal demons preventing them from fully committing to fighting hell. Mike Pace provides a tense thriller as increasingly the dark appears on the brink of winning the ultimate battle by using the light.

Gary Hardwick
9780972480468, $14.95,

In dying Detroit, an assailant assassinates hooker Rashindah Watson as she sits in her car with her gay best friend Quinten Forrester. He escapes the hit. Special crimes Chief Yvette Riddeaux assigns the murder inquiry to detectives Danny Cavanaugh and Erik Brown. They head to Rashindah's apartment only to see it on fire. Unable to sleep, Danny uses a street contact to track down the witness only to end up in a deadly shootout with Rakeif Simms; Forrester is dead too.

Riddeaux announces the case closed, but dedicated Danny thinks otherwise as someone hired Simms a two bit felon. As he continues to investigate Mayor Patterson orders Police Chief Tony Hill (see Cold Medina) to tell Danny to drop the case or else. Soon all hell breaks out as the mayor's seemingly illegal use of his office has him defended by attorney Marshall Jackson (see Supreme Justice) against criminal charges prosecuted by Jesse King (see Double Dead) . Meanwhile, Danny continues his investigation.

Filled with twists involving high level cover-ups, drug trafficking, sex peddling and questionable federal surveillance, aptly titled Citycide is a terrific Motown police procedural. Danny being white but growing up in the inner city is an interesting protagonist as he loves his endangered city almost as much as he loves his beautiful African American princess Vinny the ex-cop turned lawyer. Fast-paced, readers will relish Danny's tour of the mean streets of Detroit as he refuses to accept the politicians' obit that his hometown is already dead; they just have not announced the wake.

Travis Thrasher
David C. Cook
c/o Cook Communications
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9781434764171, $9.99,

Living with his divorced mostly drunk mom in Solitary, North Carolina sixteen year old Chris Buckley attends summer school with six other students at Harrington High in Solitary. He misses his life in Chicago suburb Libertyville where his dad resides. However part of that is his idyllic teen lifestyle ended in Solitary with Chris confused about recent events like the death and resurrection of Reverend Jeremiah Marsh, the disappearance of Iris Crag's inn, cousin Jared and the road it was on and Jocelyn Evans.

In Mr. Taggert's class, he makes friend with some of the guys and senior Lily. Attracted to the vivacious beautiful senior, he follows her down a path away from his inquiry into the darkness of Solitary as he has teenage interests far from the unknown responsibilities of what is expected of him dealing with the shadows. Instead he accepts a cell phone from his enemy Reverend Marsh and flees from his grave existence into the Temptation of fun with lovely Lily and new friends like Roger.

The third Solitary young adult tale is an intriguing thriller as Temptation for a normal teen life supersedes the quest to learn the haunting secrets of the small North Carolina town. Ironically, the atmosphere for the most part is lighter than its predecessors (see Gravestone and Solitary), but that is an illusion as the veneer of light is like an iceberg as the hero and readers see only the ten percent above water surface. Though it behooves the audience to read the pervious entries to contrast what is happening to the hero, Travis Thrasher shows his talent as he makes a strong yet entertaining case that Temptation can make evil look benign.

Wicked City
Alaya Johnson
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312565480, $25.99,

Six months ago, Amir the djinni prankster brought Faust to New York City as a practical joke. The alcohol-blood concoction has become a major hit among the vampire crowd. Mayor Walker wants the drink legal though it is already served in several locales. The Friends Against Faust formed to oppose the legalization on the grounds it might lead to vampires being out of control of their impulses.

However, the deaths of ten vampires after drinking Faust shakes up the city just before the Board of Aldermen are to vote on the mayor's proposal. Stunned Mayor Walker, using blackmail in the matter of her hiding an underage vampire, asks the daughter of a demon hunter Zephyr Hollis to investigate the mass murders in spite of her belonging to the Friends Against Faust committee and tied to Amir. However, the prime suspect in the homicides is Zeph.

The second Hollis 1920 urban historical fantasy (see Moonshine) once again will have readers believing in a paranormal 1920s New York City though Gentleman Jimmy is still is turning over in his grave. The amusing amateur sleuth story line never takes it self seriously even as blood and alcohol prove a deadly mix. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the Roaring Twenties Manhattan adventures of the Vampire Suffragette.

Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Fletcher Wortmann
9780312622107, $24.99

Fletcher Wortmann managed to conceal his undiagnosed (at that time) obsessive-compulsive disorder through his graduation from high school. To do so, he embraced OCD while in the third grade by developing coping mechanisms to hide his condition from his parents, other family, peers and teachers. At Swarthmore, his defense mechanisms began to fail. Mr. Wortmann also found comedy at college, which led to friends for the first time in his life. As his mental equilibrium collapsed from seemingly too much academic and dating pressure, he was admitted to McLean Hospital where Mr. Wortmann was diagnosed with OCD and began therapy.

This is an intriguing memoir that I can relate to having OCD and a family member diagnosed in his twenties with Asperger Syndrome. That late recognition is the key as a child wonders why they are wired differently than others and as a young adult needs to accept you will take OCD to the grave. Although Mr. Wortmann fails to provide enough insight into his wired standard operating procedures that drives a person to do things that seem improbable by the Neurotypical norm, Triggered is a wonderful look at a person accepting and coming to grips with his disorder.

A Temptation of Angels
Michelle Zink
Dial Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780803737266, $17.99,

Sixteen-year-old Helen fell asleep to the sounds of arguing in the family library when her frantic mother awakens her while it is still dark outside. Her mom gives her strange directions to go to a house before sending her child through a hidden doorway in her bedroom that the teen never knew existed. As her house burns with her parents inside, a shocked Helen flees to the address her mother admonished her to go to for her safety.

Brothers Darius and Griffin Channing welcome Helen into their London abode. They explain to the stunned teen that she, like them, is responsible to protect the planet as Keepers are descendants of an angel species. The siblings further explain they are the last ones as an assassin has killed all the others and targeted Helen before she can be skilled. If their kind becomes extinct so will the earth.

Although this exciting young adult fantasy starts confusing due to the introduction of a horde of characters forcing readers to need a scorecard, once the Zink mythos and cast is established, the storyline turns into a fast-paced High Noon thriller. Helen is terrific as she has no time to grieve due to the demands of gruff Darius; she also has two men attracted to her, Griff and her childhood friend Raum. Vengeance may be the Lord's domain, but the three remaining Keepers (the parents of the brothers suffered the same fate as those of Helen did) claim it as theirs.

Butterfly's Child
Angela Davis-Gardner and Giacomo Puccini
9780385340953, $15.00

In 1895, American Lieutenant Benjamin Pinkerton and his new wife Kate travel from Illinois to Nagasaki. There he learns that his geisha Cio-Cio-san committed suicide (see/hear Madame Butterfly by Puccini). Benjamin and Kate takes her three years old son Benji back to the States with them, but hide his heritage by introducing him to their rural neighbors as an orphan they adopted.

Over the years Benji works hard on the farm, but never forgot his samurai roots or his beloved birth mother. He yearns to one day return to Nagasaki where he hopes he will find his kin and they will welcome him home. When his geisha matriarchal background surfaces the townsfolk treats him with scorn. He leaves for the Japanese communities in California before seeking his biological family in Japan.

This terrific historical follows-up what happens to the key surviving protagonists from Madame Butterfly, especially her son. The storyline is character driven by Benji's search for identity, Kate's descent into insanity and Benjamin's inability to cope so turns to alcohol. Puccini would be honored with this deep second act.

Elizabeth Foley
9780803737068, $16.99

Everyone in Remarkable is extraordinarily remarkable except for ten years old Jane Doe whose claim to remarkability is being uber average. Her roots should insure greatness as her mother Angelina Mona Linda Doe is a famous architect while her father Anderson Brigby Bright Doe II is a bestselling novelist, but the genetic dice crapped out with Jane as she obviously is throwback to her forgettable ordinary grandfather John Doe.

Ten years old twin terrors Melissa and Edwin Grimlet are expelled from the Remarkable's School for the Remarkably Gifted as they once again prove they are remarkably mischievous. They join Jane Doe as the only students in fifth grade teacher Ms. Schnabel's Public school class for the less talented. Pirates like Captain Herring appear, who threaten some of the more infamous remarkable townsfolk with revealing insidious secrets. Ordinary Jane Doe is caught in the middle of the jelly war and much more as predicted by the pizzeria owner reading pizza pans.

Whimsical Remarkable is a delightful tweener fantasy starring an ordinary little girl, two evil twins and a horde of strange characters. Where else but in Remarkable would the vicious sea monster demand fig bars. Loaded with action and plenty of humor, once the complex subplots deploy, this is a remarkable young adult tale as readers follow extraordinary adventures that happened to Jane.

Hiding in Plain Sight
Amy Wallace
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North
Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736947312, $13.99,

With her older brother Eric's death still haunting her, Ashley Walters left the Gwinnett County police force to take a law enforcement position with the Montezuma, Georgia police department. She hopes the Mennonite community will help renew her lost faith in God; which died when Eric died.

On night patrol, Ashley catches thirteen year old Bradley Yoder breaking into a grocery. His family led by his Uncle Jonathan arrives to bring the teen home. Counselor Patrick James tries to help the emotionally hurting Bradley. Meanwhile both male adults are interested in the new cop; she feels fickle as she likes Patrick and Jonathan. As the townsfolk heatedly debates revitalization, arson occurs. Most residents blame the fire on one troublesome family.

The first Place of Refuge tale is an exciting romantic police procedural starring a strong triangle and a solid support cast. The fast-paced storyline contains two strong subplots as the wonderful romance and the tense investigation deftly intermingle. Although the villain and the motivation seem improbable, readers will enjoy Amy Wallace's fine Georgia Mennonite thriller.

A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder
Karen Spears Zacharias
MacAdam Cage Publishing
155 Sansome Street, Suite 550
San Francisco, CA 94104
9781596923751, $25.00,

In 2008 in Corvallis, Oregon, three year old Karly Sheehan was beaten to death. Shawn Wesley Field, the boyfriend of Karly's mother Sarah Sheehan was convicted of the toddler's murder. Using available electronic and written documents and interviews with Karly's father David, reporter Karen Spears Zacharias, a one-time friend of the mother, tells what led to the tragedy while making a case that society failed to protect Karly.

This is a sad but engaging "memoir of a murder" of a little girl though the entry lacks the full depth of what happened as Ms. Sheehan and Mr. Field refused to participate. Thus the account is based on public records and commentary from Mr. Sheehan, officials and the community as well as the author's knowledge; the latter is a two-edged sword as the author seems too personal with her condemnation of the mother). Additionally though a tertiary participant, Ms. Zacharias injects herself too much into her account of what went wrong as if she is writing a fictional family drama in which she is a key character. Still true crime readers will want to know what caused the tragedy that apparently most people believe was avoidable and led to a law based on the premise that adults must protect children

The Return of Edgar Cayce
C. Terry Cline
9781596923744, $17.00

C. Terry Cline was working at his computer when he realized he was not typing his own words. Instead he channeled the words of famous psychic Edgar Cayce who died in 1945. The Return of Edgar Cayce is what Mr. Cline says was provided to him. Even if you are like me skeptical about whether this happened especially since the near term predictions are not very extraordinary (climatic upheaval and increasingly impoverish populace) and those in future centuries impossible to prove, Mr. Cline provides a strong case for the haves to help the have not. He says Mankind has lost the righteous path to the "Universal Wave" as we fight amongst ourselves for material possessions at the cost of spiritual nurturing of our brothers and sisters. Like Mr. Cayce, Mr. Cline does not blame individuals or even groups for what has happened; instead he makes a plea that each of us needs to care about others. Leibnitz in his theocratic essays (see The Goodness of God, The Freedom of Man and The Origin of Evil) says this is "the best of all possible worlds", Mr. Cline agrees if we thrive as humans to make it so in order to regain the righteous path.

Shadow's Master
Jon Sprunk
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616146054, $17.95,

Caim knows the answers he seeks lies inside the dangerous Northlands. After burying his father's word, feeling compelled Caim leaves behind the place where his dad was assassinated and his mother abducted as he begins his quest into the wastelands to learn who he really is.

In Othir, Empress Josephine, escorted by soldiers, pursues Caim to inform him she is pregnant. Josey finds the journey difficult and how tough a life her people live outside the capital. However, Josey vows to be a good empress to all Eregoth subjects.

Like Josey, Caim finds the journey hard but for different reasons. Each step northward makes him feel sicker and he has lost contact with the shadows. Finally he loses control and kills like has not done in a long time. However Caim thinks he regained control.

Kit knows she and Caim love each other, but cannot ever be together as they cannot touch. Her heart broken, Kit resolves to find a way for them to be together even as she worries about her beloved heading into the Northlands to encounter his destiny, Lord of the Shadows.

The final Shadow Saga (see Shadow's Son and Shadow's Lure) is an excellent action-packed sword sorcery fantasy. Readers follow the escapades of the lead triangle whose adventures occur in three fabulous subplots before merging into a powerful finish. Wondering who Caim will choose if he survives his ordeal, fans will enjoy trekking with him and the two females in his life as all roads lead north.

Fair Coin
E.C. Myers
9781616146092, $16.95

Summerside High student sixteen-year-old Ephraim "Eph" Scott stayed a little later than usual at the school hoping to talk to Jena Kim. He came home to find his mom unconscious after taking pills and alcohol. He wakes her but she says he is dead as she saw his body. Eph dials 911. Hospital employee Mrs. Morales, whose twin daughters are in Eph's English class, informs him that a boy who resembled him carrying his library card was hit by a bus. His mother was shown the body.

Eph looks at the belonging given to his mom of the dead person. He finds his library card and a commemorative quarter stamped Puerto Rico 1998. He soon learns flipping the coin while making a wish will grant whatever you ask. Coping, Eph wants two things: his mom to be a better parent stating with going cold turkey and Jena the geeky brain to reciprocate his attraction. Excited, he tells his best friend Nathan who obsessively wants to use the coin and will do anything including kill to possess it as Eph's simple wishes have a monstrous butterfly effect on him and several degrees beyond his social circle.

Using hyperbolic teen stereotypes and chaos theory, E.C. Myers provides a terrific young adult science fiction tale. The coin's impacts are not always positive as Eph learns you get what you wish for. Readers will enjoy this teenage twentieth-first century version of the early twentieth century horror thriller The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs.

Jack of Ravens
Mark Chadbourn
9781616146078, $17.95

London based archeologist Jack "Church" Churchill walks out of the fog with one objective: to get back to his beloved Ruth. He is confused as he has no idea where he is, why he carries an ancient sword, and where all this blood came from as if he murdered someone with his weapon. His instincts tell him to keep moving, but he ignores this inner warning to focus on his situation when a giant at least twenty-five feet grabs Church. Six men speaking Gaulish Celtic attack the giant. Church kills him with his sword. Even more bewildering is the language his rescuers speak is only used in a university. They take the "giantkiller" to Etain the healer even as he notices no roads or planes.

Church realizes somehow he is in Celtic Britain. He wants to go home. Soon Church reaches the Otherworld home of the gods where he plans to relax over the centuries until he is back with Ruth. However, Church is unaware why he was exiled back in time; a malevolence needs him to never to return in order to complete the End-Times plan.

The first Kingdom of the Serpent is an action-packed epic thriller that races through time at rapid speed with chapters dedicated to different eras like the Romans, Elizabethan, and the Nazis air Blitz (and even Civil Rights movement twentieth century America). Spinning his own Brother and Sister of Dragons epic sword and sorcery saga, Mark Chadbourn provides a great thriller as evil does not want the return of Church to his biological era, but will soon learn they don't know Jack.

Killing Ghost
Christopher Ransom
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7
Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
9781587672569, $25.00,

In Los Angles, Stacey Hastings left for work when she is killed in a hit-and-run just outside her home. Inside the house is her spouse James sleeping in after a late night as a double for rap star Ghost. When James awakens, he goes outside to find his wife dead. The police case goes cold.

A year later, James has not moved on at all as he feels guilty for making them leave Tulsa for Southern California and remorse over a spat of silence the night before. Intoxicated as usual, he sees Stacey at the house of the new neighbor. James meets Annette Copeland, who could be Stacey's twin. As he behaves increasingly like Ghost, Annette seems to act more like Stacey. Stunned James wonders if he is haunted or losing his mind.

This engaging tale is at its best when the atmosphere is dark as readers wonder if James is going insane or is there ghosts haunting him. When the plot switches into a pure psychological thriller to kill the ghosts that haunt people; there are too many lunatics running free diminishing much of the foreboding suspense in spite of the increased action. Still Killing Ghost is an entertaining novel of a grieving man in trouble.

The Dropper
Ron McLarty
Cemetery Dance
9781587672750, $25.00

In 1922 in Barrow-in-Furness, England, Albert "Shoe" Horn finds himself left as the caregiver to his younger special needs brother Bobby following the death of their mom three years ago. She knows their alcoholic abusive dad could not care less about his offspring especially the retarded one. Shoe insures his sibling is fed, clean and away from their dad's brutal fists.

He watches out for the welfare of his childish sibling by taking their dad's fists. Additionally Shoe works as an apprentice to repugnant Lowden the plumber and a boxer whose nose has taken too many hits in bare knuckle bouts. As Shoe cares for his brother, he ignores his odious role models with an obsessive need to never lose his integrity. Friends like McAvey the giant encourage him to be more than his pathetic father, but opportunity in America and his desire for the love of a woman (who would need to care for Bobby too) causes a schism between the best buddy brothers.

This is a super historical family drama that focuses on the emotional costs to the caregiver. The brothers are fully developed so that readers will believe they are on coast of the Irish Sea just after WWII. With a nod to Rain Man, this character driven tale is a super early twentieth century tale that still resonates today.

Cynthia G. Neale
Lucky Press
9780984631711, $18.99,

In the 1850s in New York, Norah McCabe watched her mother work sixty hours a week for the affluent ladies of Manhattan. Observant, Norah watches closely how the wealthy women walk and talk. She vows to join their upper class society, which means killing her Irish heritage as that is considered filthier than street dirt from the quality.

Norah owns the Bee in your Bonnet used clothing store. Her best friend Mary works at her shop. Both has come a long way from their impoverish roots. They wear expensive clothing while walking the streets alongside the Astor family. Their upward mobility takes a hit when they become embroiled in a murder. This leads them to a potpourri of Irish-Americans like a cop who dropped the O' from his surname, an activist priest, and the Irish American newspaper editor; all in their way fighting against de facto and de jure racism.

An historical fiction novel, "Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York" is a great morality play as Norah learns the cost of her pretending to be what she is not. Character driven yet also filled with action, readers will feel they are in pre-Civil War New York as the audience tastes the contempt and prejudice held against the Irish. With strong messages to embrace your roots as well as the diversity of other groups, Cynthia G. Neale provides an entertaining insightful story of The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York.

Sacrificial Magic
Stacia Kane
Del Rey
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780345527509, $7.99,

Mob boss Sloberg arranged the fire in a locale that he should not have known about unless someone told him. Chess Putnam the Church of Real Truth is a ghost hunting witch who knows by just one look her boyfriend Terrible that he believes she is the stoolie as she and Sloberg's son Lex were recent bed mates even after she fell in love with Terrible; though now she is a one man woman.

The Church assigns Chess to look into a reported ghost haunting at a Downside school where she meets Lex's sister Beulah. Chess realizes an unknown adversary is using dark magic at the school. Meanwhile Lex sees this as an opportunity as he wants to help solve the case and offers the addicted Chess free drugs like he did before. Terrible's boss Bump who is Chess' dealer directs her to investigate a nasty homicide in which dark magic was the murder weapon.

The latest Downside Ghosts fantasy (see City of Ghosts and Unholy Magic) is a fresh exciting thriller as the heroine struggles to uncover the identity of a rogue practitioner while her relationship with Terrible turns terrible sending her back to drug dependency. Sacrificial Magic is a great entry in a special one of a kind saga as the ghost hunter becomes the haunted hunted.

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume One
Daniel Abraham (adapter)
Tommy Patterson (illustrator)
Bantam Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780440423218, $25.00,

The seemingly everlasting winter is beginning to arrive in the Seven Kingdoms after decades of summer. Winter emboldens some to grab power deploying various means from armed combat to magic to assassination. North beyond the Wall, the Others like feral Wildings and creatures much more bellicose begin to invade the south starting with assaults on the House Stark fiefdom loyal to King Robert Baratheon. In the capital King's Landing, the King's Councilor Eddard Stark of Winterfell is the actual ruler. South of King's Landing, the Hand of the King is mysteriously dead; leaving a power vacuum for those ambitious enough to make a move. Meanwhile King Robert and his extended family head to Eddard's home Winterfell. Across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys of the once proud House Targaryen, former rulers of Westeros, plans to regain what his family lost by selling his sister Daenerys to Dothraki the barbarian in exchange for his military support. Under the frozen gray of winter, loyalties will be tested.

This graphic version of the first A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy is a great adaptation as Daniel Abraham captures the essence of George R. R. Martin's opening act (the novel not the TV show; though both are superb). The art work by Tommy Patterson enhances the tale though there will be adjustment to his portraits as we have the HBO version of the key players and our own perceptions; think of the Jackson Lord of the Ring movies vs. how each of us perceived how the cast looked in the Tolkien books before the films. "George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume One" is highly recommended reading!

Pirate King
Laurie R. King
9780553386752, $15.00

In 1924 Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade sends Mary Russell to investigate rumored criminal activity by the Fflytte Film Company. Her husband Sherlock Holmes supports her going to Portugal to keep his wife and his soon to be visiting brother Mycroft from another combative round.

Mary arrives in Lisbon where she obtains a position as an Assistant's assistant on the documentary about The Pirates of Penzance so she can make her inquiries undercover. She detests Gilbert and Sullivan so the chore of working that production is difficult, but so are the day to day operations with so many pratfalls. Holmes joins her as they cross the Mediterranean on the road to Morocco.

As MRH says in the Author's Forward to the latest Russell memoirs (see The God of the Hive): "I fear that the credulity of many readers will be stretched to the breaking point" proves accurate as the exciting story line is over the top of the pirate ship's mast. Holmes arrives late (this is his wife's memoir), but Baker Street fans will enjoy his spouse's Peninsular adventures as this is an entertaining historical with Mary working the Pirate's King caper and dealing with a Gilbert and Sullivan production.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
Melanie Benjamin
9780385344166, $15.00

Her family encouraged dwarf Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Bump to stay out of the public's eye so as to avoid the stares and other rude behavior. Unlike her beloved also dwarf sister Minnie who preferred to a reclusive life, Vinnie decided to prove an adult woman in a body under three feet tall could thrive. She joined P. T. Barnum's freak show and married her dwarf peer General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the nineteenth century so covered that the Civil War took a back seat to the gala. This enable both to leave the troupe as the celebrity power couple toured the world meeting monarchs and presidents and other leaders. However, the cost of her being extroverted is the impact on her introverted sister.

This is an enjoyable biographical fiction tale that focuses on the "perfect woman in miniature" who becomes a superstar while belonging to the elite of New York high society. The best aspects of the tale are the triangle relationships between the General, Vinnie and Barnum although that limits insight into the title character's global escapades and ignores her last four decades of life even with Vinnie's superego being stratospheric. Still Vinnie's lust for life makes for an engaging historical story as she tells her story with the world as her oyster.

Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I
Tracy Joanne Borman
9780553808148, $30.00

In 1049, William the Duke of Normandy rages when the oldest daughter of the Count of Flanders Matilda refused to marry a bastard. Not one to sit idly back and accept this affront, William rushes to Flanders' castle where he viciously beats her. Irate with this affront to his family at his home, the Count raises an army to destroy William. Instead Matilda, still showing bruises all over her body, informs her dad she will wed no one but the audacious William. This begins the turbulent marriage between Matilda of Flanders and the future king of England. She proves his equal in ruling. While he was away at war, she ran Normandy. When he conquers England in 1066, she brought diplomacy to reduce the Anglo-Saxons' rebellions against the iron handed rule of her husband. They were a yin and yang team until they chose different children to become the heir to the throne.

Although William has been done a zillion times in fiction and nonfiction (see David Bates' William The Conqueror), historian Tracy Borman provides a great autobiography of an intelligent and strong Middle Age's woman who was educated like most of the high born females in the era. That insight into the eleventh century brings additional understanding to how the politically and socially astute Queen of the Conqueror behaved as her actions and reactions to her husband's brutal retaliation to any opposition helped one of their sons to ascend to the throne.

A Clash of Kings
George R. R. Martin
9780345535429, $8.99

The comet streaks across the sky of the fractured Seven Kingdoms. A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. The six prime rivals for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms interpret the bloody fiery trail to fit their needs.

Once the heir apparent, Stannis believes the comet means the time to attack Westros with sorcery and an army is now. In King's Landing, teenage King Joffery proves a poor abusive monarch leaving his uncle Tyrion the King's Hand to protect their subjects. In the north Tyrion's father Tywin battles against Stark and her militia while another son Jaime is a prisoner of war. From the South, Renly needs to eliminate his brother Stannis before he begins his assault on King's Landing. Finally in the distant east, resolute Daenerys leads her Khalhaser dragon horde towards Westros. The various hostilities by rulers against each other turn the Seven Kingdoms into a chaotic lawless land

The second A Game of Thrones fantasy (see A Song of Ice and Fire) is a superb entry in which political and military alliances mean little as ambition to sit on the Iron Throne remains everything for most of the competitors. The innocent are collateral damage as their plight from marauding soldiers and vicious outlaws are meaningless to most of the pretenders. Loaded with action while rotating effortlessly perspectives, the aptly titled A Clash of Kings is a powerful tale.

Caught In The Act
Jill Sorenson
9780553592641, $7.99

In the Old Town section of San Diego, Kari Strauss owns Zocalo; a shop that sells authentic arts and crafts from Latin American. She makes many trips to Tijuana in which she frequently drops off donations for Hands Across the Border; but this time her cargo back to the States makes her nervous as she crosses the border. Instead of going to her store, Kari heads to her house in suburban Bonita. There she frees Maria Santos from a cramped hot box inside her car and takes her into her home.

Kari also worries about her sister Sasha, held prisoner by her drug cartel chieftain boyfriend Carlos Moreno. However, her good Samaritan act gets noticed by Moreno and border protection agent Adam Cortez. Moreno demands she smuggle a package or else face a public expose; to sweeten the pot he also offers her sibling's freedom. Attracted to Kari, Adam warns her to stay away from Moreno as he knows firsthand what happens to someone dealing with the devil.

The key to this exhilarating yet insightful romantic suspense is the cast as the prime players (including another agent) stay consistent in their actions and reactions. Filled with plenty of suspense, Jill Sorenson paints a thorough picture of the Tijuana-San Diego greater metropolis; a mega city in which borders mean nothing when it comes to the complexities of illegal immigration, gun sales, and drug trafficking that make bumper solutions seem inane. As the romance takes a back seat to the anticipated confrontation, fans will enjoy the heroine's increasing dangerous dilemmas as one thing leads to another once she was Caught In The Act.

Atlantis God
David Gibbins
Dell Books
c/o The Random HousePublishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
9780440245841, $9.99,

Close friends International Maritime University marine archaeologist Jack Howard and submersible technologist Costas agree to pay their last respects to the underwater ruins of Atlantis in the Black Sea that they discovered and explored a few years ago. A volcano has left the ancient city on the brink of extinction. Their mission is not just nostalgic, but to interpret inscriptions, which provide insight into what destroyed this great ancient civilization and hint at a rebirth.

The pair knows of the work of the Nazi's Department of Cultural Heritage, but they are unaware contemporaries want the duo dead as they have plans for the Atlantis resurrection. Jack, Costas and their team search twentieth century horror in a WW II bunker, the Berlin Zoo tower that contains numerous remains of people massacred during the Third Reich and Himmler's strangely constructed castle as they seek clues to the palladion.

The latest Howard marine archeologist thriller has the hero, his buddy and their team returning to Atlantis after stints at Troy (see The Mask of Troy) and Herculaneum (see The Lost Tomb). The story line can be read alone, but builds from the previous entries. The action is fast-paced as readers join Howard and company following clues. Although the historical soliloquies are fascinating, their passiveness slows down the otherwise exciting plot but also prove how passionate David Gibbins is on his subject that he wants to educate as well as entertain. On Atlantis God as with its predecessors, he succeeds.

Texas Bride
Joan Johnston
9780345527448, $7.99

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left the six Wentworth children orphaned. The sextet have lived at the Chicago Institute for Orphaned Children for three years, but now the oldest Miranda is about to be sent away. Her five siblings fear her departure as she has been their strength to survive and their buffer from the wrath of abusive headmistress Miss Birch. Her sister Josie the bookworm arranged for Miranda to become a mail-order bride to a widower Texas rancher. Miss Birch catches them and hits Miranda several times with a rod.

Miranda takes her two youngest siblings (ten years old Nick and four years old Harry with her as she travels to the San Antonio area, but worries about the three teenage sisters she left behind. Widowed since his wife died in childbirth, Jacob Creed struggles to keep his ranch without the help of his affluent stepfather Alex Blackthorne. He is shocked when his new spouse arrives with two small children while she is shocked to find he is the father of a two years old daughter. Each is further shocked by their attraction, but he feels guilty for wanting her as he vowed to never endanger a woman with a pregnancy; while she will do what takes to make her his real wife.

This Bitter Creek western romance begins the Wentworth Mail Order Bride saga with a strong entry as readers learn the difficulty of life in Reconstruction Era Texas through the eyes of the Chicago transplant, her brothers and her husband. Although there is some exciting late suspense that detracts from the engaging changing relationships, the fully developed cast makes for a strong tale of love as readers will root for the pair to make it.

Darkest Knight
Karen Duvall
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373803446, $14.95,

One month ago, Aydin the warrior, bonded to a gargoyle, sacrificed his humanity to free his beloved Chalice from her master Shui the homicidal gargoyle before the psychopath dined on Chalice tartare. To fight Shui, he had to accept the curse. Now Aydin is a gargoyle and Chalice plans to bring her lover back to human form by facing her nightmares in the Vyantara Fatherhouse on the other side of the Veil.

Chalice has become a knight in The Order of the Hatchet. When something murders her sister knights while they sleep, Chalice investigates alone. At the same time, Aydin visits Chalice in her dreams. Soon she will be caught in a choice of competing loyalties no person should have to make.

The latest Chalice urban fantasy is an entertaining thriller as the heroine, filled with guilt and plenty of heart, struggles to adjust to her changed circumstances and what her beloved mentor did for her. Although newcomers will struggle with comprehending the Duvall realm (it behooves fans to have read A Knight's Curse in which the mythos is established), the beleaguered protagonist remains a confused adult who is unsure what to do now that her teacher is no longer there for her and her guardian angel Rafe refuses to coddle her. Filled with sorcerers, angels and the fallen, fans will enjoy this complex thriller as the heroine continues to learn good and evil tend to somewhat overlap.

Werewolf In Seattle
Vicki Lewis Thompson
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014-3658
9780451237323, $7.99,

In Scotland, Trevelyan Alpha pack leader Colin McDowell is disheartened to learn his Aunt Geraldine died in the States as he was fond of her. However, he also learns he inherited her estate in the San Juan Islands off Washington State. He prefers to stay home, but will travel to the American Pacific Northwest to take care of legal matters.

Colin meets Geraldine's secretary Luna Reynaud, who the late woman hired as a secretary shortly before she died. Luna explains her proposed plan to convert the estate into a resort, which Colin thinks has merit. Additionally he is attracted to her as she is to him; but she is a half-breed tainted with some human DNA and he knows Alpha pack leaders don't mate with hybrids.

The third Wild About You werewolf romance (see A Werewolf in Manhattan and Werewolf In The North Woods) is a fun frolic starring two likable protagonists. The witty storyline mostly focuses on the lead couple's relationship as Colin must overcome his species prejudice that human blood taints his soul mate.

Savage Awakening
J.D. Tyler
9780451236449, $7.99

Following an attack in Afghanistan changed them and after leaving the Navy, these shape-shifting former SEALs formed the Alpha Pack; their mission to battle the most dangerous deviants in the world (see Primal law). During their current assignment, the enemy captures member Aric Savage.

More dead than alive, he learns his pack mate Micah Chase is also a prisoner. Their Alpha Team never leaves anyone behind so they begin a rescue mission that Micah's LAPD Psy Dreamwalker Rowan plans to join. She wants her brother home safe, but while on the quest, she and Aric realize that they are mates. However, Rowan is not ready for this relationship so Aric goes slow while his wolf goes crazy. All changes when she finds out his life is threatened.

Savage Awakening is a totally enthralling Alpha Pack romantic suspense urban fantasy in which the wolf knows who he wants to bite as the means to make her his mate, but she is not ready for such a biting commitment. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the action-packed storyline while appreciating the bonding between the cop and the savage soldier.

Magic Unchained
Jessica Andersen
9780451236425, $7.99

Once a party animal adrenaline junkie, Sven the coyote mage Nightkeeper tracker has only one "friend" his coyote familiar Mac. As a teenager, her father bound Cara Liu to Sven as his winikin. She ended that unwanted relationship though she fell in love with Sven, who she knows always walks alone.

Under four months to go, Cara returns to lead the winikin as the Doomsday Clock is counting down. She knows how difficult her assignment is as the group is divided between the old and new. Additionally the fears and unpredictability of the end of days has devastated the bond between the winikin and Nightkeepers. Cara and Sven begin a tryst that could end the alliance between their respective groups. Worse they fail to realize the current threat comes from a betrayal within the ranks.

Magic Unchained is a great Nightkeepers urban fantasy (see Storm Kissed, Demonkeepers and Blood Spells) as time has nearly run out, yet the power struggle continues. The fast-paced storyline grips readers from the moment Cara comes to New Mexico and never slows down as the loner and the leader know they belong together while on the underground side of the barrier demons prepare for the inevitable. This series remains one of the sub-genre's best.

Party Of Three
Lacey Alexander
9780451235749, $14.00

Mira Adams feels she is losing her boyfriend Ethan West as he seems to have lost interest in her. Instead he focuses only on his work at H.O.T. His mother warns him he is blowing his relationship as she has observed that his work always comes before Mira who admires and respects what he does but would like to play first fiddle occasionally.

Heeding the axiom that mama knows best, Ethan knows he needs to do something special for Mira's birthday that will prove to his beloved she always is first. He takes her to an exclusive cabin overlooking Lake Superior in the Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Waiting for Mira is her surprise gift. Ethan, knowing one of Mira's fantasies, has arranged a menage a trois with her former lover Rogan Wolfe of H.O.T. as the third participant.

The second H.O.T Cops erotic romance (see Bad Girl by Night) is an enjoyable triangle tryst as the Wolfe brings out the darker sides of the "Divine Miss M" and the "Big E" (clarification aside - Bette Midler and Elvin Hayes made no appearances). Although Ethan's logic for setting up the erotic scenario seems warped especially since he also works with Rogan, fans will enjoy this tale while wondering who will be left together, if anyone, when the birthday bash is over.

The Princess and The Peer
Tracy Anne Warren
9780451236340, $7.99

In 1815 with the Congress of Vienna carving up the map so that the superpowers absorb the smear nations, King Rupert of Rosewold informs his eighteen year old sister Princess Emma she will wed King Otto, a man she never met. At Countess Hortensia's Academy in Scotland, her two best friends, Princesses Ariadne and Mercedes, commiserate with her as they aware they will be next receiving a royal decree of marriage. When her brother is delayed coming for her, Emma decides to enjoy one week of freedom before doing her duty. She sneaks away from her companion Duchess of Weissmuller, whose late husband was ambassador to England.

Former naval captain Nicholas Gregory misses the sea as he comes home to manage the estates he inherited when he became Earl of Lyndhurst upon his brother's death. When Nicholas and Emma meet, he believes she is a governess. With a deep need to keep her safe, he gives her shelter. When they fall in love, the princess knows duty supersedes the heart so she vanishes. They meet again, but this time he knows she is not a governess, but the royal he loves intended for someone else.

Although the storyline goes as expected, the first Princess regency romance is a fun tale made fresh by the impact of the remaking of Europe by the major players at the Congress of Vienna. Rupert and Emma understand they have little choice in the matter of her marriage to Otto, who is a nice person. Readers will enjoy the princess and the sailor as love is not enough to supersede the needed alliances of the smaller endangered nations of Europe.

The Blood of Heroes
Joseph Nassise
Harper Voyager
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062048752, $14.99,

The war fought in the trenches was the most brutal in history as men died to move the front inches. It became even more vicious when deadly gas was released onto the battlefield. However, the Germans, knowing they are losing, turn the combat evil when they deploy the ultimate weapon T Leiche; the "corpse gas" that reanimates dead soldiers to return to the western front. By late 1917, the Kaiser and his army of dead appear heading to victory.

His superior officers assign American Expeditionary Force Captain Michael "Madman" Burke with his artificial "clockwork" arm to rescue his estranged half-brother, legendary American ace Major Jack Freeman; captured behind the lines. Burke assembles a small team consisting of his top aide Sergeant Moore, big-game hunter Clayton Manning and Tesla protege and supernatural expert Professor Dan Richards. To reach the prison where Freeman is held, the quartet must travel across land controlled by the shamblers, undead soldiers and other monstrous German creations. If they miraculously reach the prison, they will learn why the brass sent them on a suicide mission.

The first Great Undead War historical urban fantasy is a fabulous fast-paced thriller that never slows down throughout. Filled with action, readers will wonder what harrowing stuff Joseph Nassise will next toss at his heroes. The military gadgets enhance the fun of a terrific steampunk paranormal historical military thriller mindful of Lester dent's Doc Savage.

Dakota Banks
Harper Voyager
9780062049988, $7.99

Three centuries ago Maliha Crayne sold her soul to Rabishu the demon who saved her when she was Susannah Layhem being burnt at the stake in 1692. Since then she has become Rabishu's prime assassin (see Dark Time). However, she recently learned of a path out of the darkness by balancing the scales between hits and lives saved. Thus she goes rogue choosing redemption over murderous torment.

However, her path to redemption proves troublesome when close friends begin to vanish and subsequently body parts arrive in packages delivered to her home. Trusting no one, not even her lover Jake, Maliha is given a horrid choice by an evil immortal psychopath; kill the innocent or receive the body parts of her friends. Regardless of what she decides, Maliha knows she still remains eternally damned.

The third Mortal Path urban fantasy (see Sacrifice) is an exhilarating thriller in which the assassin feels she jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Filled with deft twists, sub-genre fans will wonder how the beleaguered protagonist will handle the Mt. Everest size deterrence to her goal of redemption.

The Gathering of the Lost
Helen Lowe
Harper Voyager
9780061734052, $7.99

Five years ago, the unthinkable occurred when the elite Darksworn of the Darkswarm beached the impenetrable Wall of Night mountain range and assaulted the garrisons of the Nine Houses of the Derai. The attack forced the Heir of Night Malian and her best friend Kalan to flee separately into Jaransor. They have been missing since. Before fleeing, Malian pledged to Rowan to save Haarth and plans to act on her vow.

Whereas the Darkswarm's initial battles were with the Derai, violence has penetrated deep into Haarth's southern realms. In Ij, assassins attack a House of Heralds. South of the River at Normarch in Emer, dark magic gathers. However, even with all these troubles, most people in the central and south of Haarth refuse to accept the existence of the Darkswarm especially crossing the great Wall of Night. Instead everyone seems to look forward to the pleasures of the festivities of the Midsummer tournament at Caer Argent where the elite Darksworn have plans.

The second Wall of Night fantasy is a superb tale as political treachery and denial become key elements in which the people of Haarth may wake up too late to battle the threat. Readers follow the adventures of Malian and Kalan as both face hopeless causes. Aptly titled The Gathering of the Lost, this is a twisting taut thriller with a great stunning late spin as friends as the heir of Night learns to suspect everyone as allies may be treacherous enemies.

The Shoemaker's Wife
Adriana Trigiani
9780061257094, $26.99

In the Italian Alps, seven years old Ciro Lazzari is numb with denial as his grieving recently widowed mother places him and his older brother Eduardo in a convent before vanishing. At the same time Enza Ravanelli lives nearby while raised in a warm poor family.

As teens, they meet when Ciro digs the grave for Enza's sister. They are attracted to one another, but he observes scandalous behavior by the priest so the father exiles him and his sibling to Little Italy in New York where Ciro becomes the shoemaker's apprentice. Soon afterward Enza is also forced to go to America where she finds work in Hoboken. When they meet in Manhattan, they realize they still remain attracted to one another. However, he fails to act on his feelings before being shipped overseas to fight on the western front. While she obtains work as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House a reflective and despondent, Ciro prays he can go home soon to correct his greatest mistake; failing to ask his beloved to marry him.

This is a super historical epic thriller that grips readers with a welcoming of immigrants who have brought so much to this country but also contains a profound message in which living denotes overcoming what you lost. The early twentieth century storyline is brought alive by tidbits like the type of combat in WWI and the power of the Church in Italy (and to a lesser degree in New York and New Jersey. Readers will appreciate the escapades of two immigrants seeking the American dream.

Devil Colony
James Rollins
9780061785658, $9.99

In Utah, teenagers Charlie Reed and Trent Wilder explore a cavern filled with desiccated mummified humans. Amongst the horrid sight, the boys also find a gold-coated skull of a saber-toothed tiger. They report their findings. While Native Americans and scientists argue over the findings, archeologists remove the prehistoric artifact. However, instead of a simple excavation, the removal causes an explosion that leads to the release of a substance that erodes rock on contact.

During the blast, an archeologist is murdered; the police suspect Kai Quicheets a teen leader of the Native American protest group at the dig site who tossed the charges that caused the initial explosion. She turns to her Uncle Painter Crowe, leader of the Sigma Special Forces unit. His team uncovers a conspiracy that goes to the roots of the United States.

This is a great action-packed Sigma Force thriller (see The Doomsday Key) in which James Rollins ties together Jefferson, Mormonism and Native American lore into a save the world scenario. Fast-paced, Painter has to deal with the ooze released by explosion, his contrite niece and the "war" between the scientists and the Native Americans. Devil Colony is difficult to put down especially when the players converge.

A Hard Death
Jonathan Hayes
9780061691782, $7.99

New York City forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner has his medical license revoked by the State for his killing the Inquisitor (see Precious Blood). Stunned by the political culpability targeting him as the fall guy for rescuing a woman from certain death, Edward relocates to serve as a substitute for his former boss Doc Marty Roburn, chief medical officer of Douglas County, Florida. Doc and his beloved wife Roberta have gone on a fishing vacation while Jenner expects plenty of relaxation in the resort town of Port Elizabeth.

Jenner and a law enforcement team watch a car being removed from the Everglades. Inside are two corpses, Doc and Roberta. Jenner quickly knows this was not an unfortunate accident nor is the deaths of four more people. Grieving for his boss while in a near rage, Jenner investigates with one goal to find the perpetrator.

The symbolically titled A Hard Death (on the living Jenner) is an action packed forensic thriller as the hero is a knight in medical armor rescuing damsels and seeking a nasty killer while someone with a grudge stalks him. The story line is action-packed from the beginning but adds a major anguish to the mix when Jenner realizes who the corpses are. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this taut Everglades forensic mystery.

The Tyrant
Jacques Chessex
Bitter Lemon Press
37 Arundel Gardens
London, W11 2LW, United Kingdom
9781904738947, $14.95,

The Calmet patriarchal Tyrant Paul is dead. None of his five adult children feel grief as their father was an abusive martinet. The youngest of Paul's offspring, Swiss schoolteacher Jean actually feels nothing until he sees the urn of his dad's ashes; then he thinks he is at last free.

However though the schoolteacher is nearly forty, he will soon learn he has not been liberated by Paul's death. His father's activities still haunt Jean who has never moved passed the love of his life tuning to his greater than life virile father rather than him. So instead of flying free like a released butterfly, he depressingly continues what he has done for years hide from his odious sire at the Gymnasium of Lausanne where his students cherish his teaching subjects like Latin.

The Tyrant is a fascinating psychological study of the child is the adult as even in death Paul still torments his youngest child as he did for almost four decades. Character driven, the well written storyline keeps readers wondering when will Jean hit rock bottom and will he survive the spiral downward into numbing depression. This is not an easy read as the dead tyrannical patriarch still sucks the life out of his son.

Nights Of Awe
Harri Nykanen
Bitter Lemon
9781904738923, $14.95

Helsinki Police Department Violent Crime Unit Inspector Ariel Kafka is assigned to investigate the deaths of two Arabs. One died falling from a railway bridge while the other was stabbed and shot with his nose and ears removed. Ariel assumes the case is to test his work ethics as the only Jewish police officer in the city at a time he mediates during the high holy Nights of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

A mobile phone is retrieved leading vigilant Ariel to the Iraqi Ali's Body Shop where two more corpses are found. The initial mass murders look gang related, but Ariel feels something is off kilter. Digging deeper, he begins to uncover evidence linking the homicides to terrorism. Meanwhile the Finnish Security Police watch his every move while some members of the synagogue where he prays provide Ariel with information that sends him looking back at his younger days and others want him to remember he is a Jew so he must support Israel regardless.

This is an excellent Finnish police procedural starring a Jewish cop being yanked in several directions by his due diligence as a police officer and his religious affiliation that want him to drop the inquiry to "protect" Israel. Ariel makes the case work as he learns that it has been seven decades since the Holocaust yet that stll remains a powerful influence on Israel and Jews around the world; especially during the Nights of Awe by those living near where the Final Solution was deployed. Readers will appreciate this strong character driven mystery as my nephew would say that Jews in the West don't become big city cops.

Jonathan Kellerman: Silent Partner
Adapted by Ande Parks; illustrated by Michael Gaydos
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780440423638, $23.00,

In Los Angeles child psychologist and police consultant Alex Delaware attends a gala alone not long after his beloved girlfriend Robin Castagna leaves him to find herself. At the party, Alex's former love psychologist Sharon Ransom accosts him. She pleads with him to meet her. He says no as he does not want to restart their relationship that ended abruptly and badly a decade ago when Sharon began to behave oddly.

The next day Alex is stunned and filled with remorse when he reads in the paper that Sharon committed suicide. Being a psychologist only compounds his wondering if he had met with her she would be alive today. Needing to understand why, Alex, with his best friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis at his side, investigates the "many lives" of Sharon Ransom.

This graphic adaptation of one of the best Delaware thrillers is a great rendition of Silent Partner. Ande Parks captures the essence of the sensational convoluted Hollywood investigative storyline and Michael Gaydos enhances the psychological impact of the suicide and what he learns of the protagonist with powerful black and white drawings. In fact the B&W setting adds to the darkness of Hollywood and the brooding of the guilt-stricken hero as Delaware's self-esteem is extremely low as he doubts his skills. This is a great graphic novel.

The Long Stitch Good Night
Amanda Lee
Obsidian Mystery
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451236463, $7.99,

In Tallulah Falls, Oregon on Saint Patrick's Day, The Brew Crew pub owner Todd Calloway hosts a fraternity reunion of Oregon State's Alpha Sigma Phi. However, the fun turns tragic when someone shoots and kills Graham Stott in the back room. The people besides the victim in that room are Todd and his friend Blake Mackenzie. Both their fingerprints are on the murder weapon. The police arrest them; charging them with the homicide of Graham.

Former San Francisco accountant, Marcy Singer, owner of the Seven Year Stitch embroidery shop knows both males and refuses to accept they killed Stott although neither will say what happened. Knowing what it is like to be accused of murder (see Stich Me Deadly and The Quick and The Thread), and encouraged by her BFF Blake's wife Sadie, Marcy investigates. She learns the mysterious Tawny is somehow involved.

The latest Embroidery amateur sleuth (see Thread Reckoning) is an engaging whodunit filled with clues that are in plain sight yet difficult to knit together, and a solid cause for the spunky heroine to investigate the murder. The entertaining storyline grips the reader as Marcy embroiders the case one stitch at a time.

Let Them Eat Stake
Sarah Zettel
9780451236456, $7.99

When the vampires came out in public, humans reacted overall with equanimity. They granted all rights to vampires and the other paranormal species (weres, witches and warlocks) who followed except they must register. Just like humans have restrictions the paranormal do too. For instance, vampires can drink human blood that is given freely but cannot be sold as a commodity. The paranormal species are not a monolithic block as vampires and witches have been enemies for centuries. Clubs and restaurants cater to the paranormal. For instance, Nightlife, owned by Chef Charlotte Caine and her vampire brother Chet, serve "Noir Cuisine" to Nightbloods and Daybloods.

When celeb chef Oscar Simmons quits working a marriage gala, event planner Felicity Garnett begs Charlotte to cater the multispecies wedding of the decade between witch Deanna Alden and Gabriel Renault the Nightblood allegedly from Paris (not Hoboken). Charlotte accepts the job that could make the restaurant a success. Soon afterward, Oscar is dead from what appears to be a heart attack and the groom's side has begun to disappear. Charlotte realizes her boyfriend Brendan Maddox is related to the Alden family and everything turns sour when someone steals the anti- vampire weapon the Arall. Charlotte seeks the purloined object before she serves rations to the combatants.

The second "Vampire Chef" mystery is a delightful amateur sleuth fantasy that is much darker than its predecessor (A Taste of the Nightlife). The paranormal comes across as normal; especially enhancing that sense of "reality" is the heroine's egalitarian attitude as she believes all species are equal with each having the good, the bad and the ugly. Readers who want something different will enjoy stopping for something red served up by Sarah Zettel at Nightlife.

Kim Stanley Robinson
Orbit Books
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9780316098120, $25.99,

Early in the twenty-fourth century, mankind has spread across the solar system to other planets, moons and rocks. On Mercury, the city of Terminator is a technological wonder as it moves to elude the sun's lethal rays.

In Terminator, Alex, the Lion Of Mercury, dies from a brain aneurism after a fruitful one hundred and ninety one years. Her impact is far reaching as Alex strongly pushed societal changes to match the advances of technology to insure no one was left behind. Her significant other Mqaret struggles with his grief so he goes to his lab where mourning Biome designer Swan Er Hong visits him as she deals with the death of her beloved grandmother. Mqaret introduces Swan to League investigator Jean Genette. The asteroids cop was on Mercury for a conference. He questions Swan and Mqaret implying that Alex was murdered. Alex's close friend Titan diplomat Fitz Wahram arrives to pay his respects. Soon a series of unexplained phenomena starting with a meteor shower assaulting the city happens. The designer, the diplomat and the cop team to investigate only to find a dangerous scenario that threatens Alex's legacy, the current social, technological and economic interweave throughout the solar system.

This is a superb futuristic science fiction that deftly weaves the vivid Robinson solar system as the background platform for a terrific action-packed investigative conspiracy thriller. The protagonists possess differing personalities partly due to their diverse geography and occupations. Their tour guides the audience on a thought-provoking exciting adventure.

Emperor Mollusk Vs. The Sinister Brain
A. Lee Martinez
9780316093521, $19.99

Throughout the solar system and beyond, Emperor Mollusk is perhaps the most hated creature ever with one exception; that inane third planet's so called sentient species worship the retired former Warlord of Terra. However, the evil genius cannot relax in his retirement due boredom that rivaled his ennui when he ruled Earth.

Meanwhile assassins want to kill him and Venusian Intelligence sends Commander Zala and his guard to arrest Mollusk for crimes against Venusians when he invaded their planet. Realizing the Venusians provide a fascinating scenario, Mollusk cooperates with the arrest, but soon leads his captorrs on a bloody romp as he, his pet Snarg, and his new "allies" follow a trail set up by a brainy sinister enemy who takes no prisoners.

This is an amusing satirical spin on the save the universe science fiction thrillers. The storyline has a 1950s pulp fiction feel, but done so with a humorous wink. Fast-paced and entertaining even with knowing the twisted ending relatively early, fans will enjoy touring the solar system with the obnoxiously superior evil Neptunian emperor and the dedicated Venusian Commander.

Confessions From An Arranged Marriage
Miranda Neville
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062023056, $7.99,

Lord Blakeney spent two years away from London, but in 1822 he is back in the city with plans to enjoy the ladies. Lady Minerva Montrose hates the odious wastrel who once planned to marry her sister Diana; but thankfully her sibling wedded nice Sebastian instead (see The Dangerous Viscount). At her coming out ball, he, as the son of a duke, was supposed to dance the first number with her, but he failed to arrive in time; too busy with a tryst. Miranda steps away for a moment; intoxicated Blake does likewise. Mistaking her for his latest paramour, Blake begins kissing Miranda when they are caught in a comprising position.

They are forced to marry to the chagrin of each. Blake and Minerva go to Paris for their honeymoon where they fake respect for one another while involved in espionage. As they fall in love, she has seen the other side of her husband and both but wonder why he cannot commit his heart to her.

The latest Burgundy Club Regency romance (see Wild Marquis and The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton) returns the bad boy Blake as the lead male in a gender war with the bratty female he has detested since they were kids. The storyline contains some suspense especially in France and with his shameful secret, but overall follows the anticipated path. Still sub-genre fans will want to know what he conceals that leaves him abashed as Miranda Neville makes a case that the child is the adult.

Call Me Irresistible
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
9780061351532, $7.99

Since leaving the professional links former PGA star Ted Beaudine has become mayor of Wynette, Texas. He and the daughter of a former president Lucy Jorik are engaged. However, Lucy's BFF Meg Koranda, in town for the wedding, realizes her buddy has humongous doubts. So with a little persuasion on Meg's part, Lucy breaks it off as she feels she deserves a passionate lover and not a guy always stoically putting.

Meg's parents have cut off her financial backing before her arrival in Texas. With Lucy running away, Meg is stranded in Wynette with no way to pay her bills. The townsfolk who worship Teddy loathe her as a Hollywood snob who interfered with the happiness of the popular local guy. They take it out on Meg who tries to make it while also helping a raging Ted find his heart.

This amusing romance stars two antagonists who were secondary characters in previous tales (see Fancy Pants and Glitter Baby). Although readers will need to accept the implausible nasty reaction by townsfolk who hold Meg culpable for Lucy leaving; as she is the runaway bride's best friend and her arrival led to doubts. She also remains stranded in Wynette as a handy target to revenge the hole in one in Ted's psyche. Fans will enjoy her learning that good intentions pave the road to hell in Wynette as she takes a beating but keeps on ticking until Ted and his supporters realize she should be his bride.

The Cowboy Takes A Bride
Lori Wilde
9780062047755, $7.99

In Chicago, unemployed assistant wedding planner Mariah Callahan learns from her father Dutch's best friend Joe Daniels that her dad recently died. Joe tells her Dutch is already buried as he wished to have his daughter notified after his funeral. Mariah has never forgiven her late dad for deserting her (when she was seven years old) and her mom in Ruidoso, New Mexico though he sent child care payments and presents. The last she time she saw him was fourteen years ago in high school when he embarrassed her in front of her classmates. Though she feels remorse over their last encounter when mortified she ran away from him, Mariah would ignore his death though she grieves secretly overwhat they lost.

However he left her his horse ranch in Jubilee, Texas. She arrives in Jubilee where she meets Joe when he is naked and drunk in his ranch's horse trough as he struggles with his BBF's death on the two year anniversary of his late wife's death. She plans to sell the ranch and he plans to buy the ranch. However, as they possess differing opinions re Dutch, they fall in love a little bit at a time; a feeling neither wants.

This is a tender straightforward ranch romance as "Sleepless In Chicago" meets "Sleepless in Jubilee". Readers will root for the city girl and a rancher to make it as both are nice individuals struggling with death and love. Lori Wilde fans will welcome going from twilight to Jubilee.

Shelley Shepard Gray
Avon Inspire
9780062089700, $12.99

For several months in Crittenden, Kentucky Perry Borntrager was missing. Teenagers Abby, Jessica and Emily find his corpse the bottom of an abandoned well. Perry's Amish neighbors are shocked as violent crime does not happen in their community; at least not in over two decades.

Crittenden County Deputy Sheriff Mose Kramer knows he needs professional help with the homicide of an Amish man. He calls his friend Cincinnati PD Detective Luke Reynolds to help with the inquiry. On leave, Luke agrees and comes to Crittenden. Luke questions Perry's former girlfriend Lydia Plank and the victim's best friend Englischer Walker Anderson. Each insists they are innocent, but Luke knows they hide something important; both knows how much Perry changed just before he died; as they turn to each other for comfort they do not expect their relationship to change.

The first Secrets of Crittenden police procedural romance is an engaging whodunit in which an Englischer detective conducts his inquiry amidst the doubting Amish while the prime suspects fall in love. The clash of cultures is deftly handled so that differences don't overwhelm the delightful prime plot of falling in love while a murder investigation is occurring. Fans will appreciate this strong "Search" for a killer and look forward to the next Secrets of Crittenden County.

Wanted: Undead Or Alive
Kerrelyn Sparks
9780061958069, $7.99

Celebrity Vampire Phineas "Love Doctor" McKinney has become famous for his TV commercial on the Digital Vampire Network selling Blardonnay, a blood and Chardonnay concoction. Since good vampires saved his life, Phin has adjusted well to being a blood diner after the initial shock of being converted by having his throat ripped open by an evil Malcontent. While his stunned human brother Freemont takes him to the Brooklyn studio of DVN, MacKay S and I works on capturing Corky Courrant, the de facto new leader of the Malcontents following the death of Casimir whose head was cut off.

Not long afterward, Phin goes undercover in Wyoming to help catch Corky. The city slicker feels out of place in the mountainous state except that he shares a cabin with his obsession Brynley Jones the werewolf who to his chagrin loathes all vampires. She is his day bodyguard while her father Caddoc demands she marry one of their kind.

The latest Love At Stake romantic urban fantasy continues the post Casmir Malcontent era (see Vampire Mine and Sexiest Vampire Alive) with Phin's tale. The plot focuses mostly on the dysfunctional love story between the only known female alpha and Dr. Phang the Love Doctor though a second subplot involves the Malcontents. Although the Love Doctor is persona is somewhat muted and a late twist abates some of the tension, fans will appreciate this entertaining entry.

Perilous Pleasures
Jenny Brown
9780061976070, $7.99

In 1803 London, La Belle Isabelle is a beauty who spends more than she earns as a courtesan; her philosophy is why waste money paying rent on last month's lodging when you can buy a gown for this month's seduction. Her daughter Zoe Gervais, scared by smallpox, teaches at Mrs. Endecott's Female Academy because she cannot convince her mother to be frugal.

La Belle Isabelle thinks Lord Ramsey will be her next protector. However, instead he frightens her in front of her daughter when he reminds her that she sold her child nine years ago in France. She realizes he is Adam Selkirk whose sister Charlotte died during the terror in due part to Isabelle. Adam tells her that the dying Dark Lord Robert Montgomery named him heir and he came to claim remittance of what she promised him. Stunned, Zoe learns she has no choice as his master is her guardian and soon he will be in charge of her fate. Neither is prepared for the passion between them yet the astrologist knows their destiny is written by the Ramsey Curse.

The third Lords Of The Seventh House Zodiac Regency romance (see Star Crossed Seduction and Lord Lightning) is a terrific mystical gothic thriller. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment cold acolyte arrives to collect his even colder evil master's debt although it does slow down somewhat until the final confrontation between love and deity ascension.

A Week To Be Wicked
Tessa Dare
9780062049872, $7.99

Lord Payne is stranded in Spindle's Cove without any money. Blueblood Minerva Highwood thinks the rakish lord plans to marry her older sister Diana so she comes in the rain to persuade him to leave town. She offers him a deal. If he escorts her to Edinburgh where she wants to make a presentation to the Royal Geological Society symposium on her geological find of a giant lizard's footprint, she will pay him. Colin accepts her outlandish offer.

They share a carriage and a bed on their one week trek. Her family pursues them and outlaws accost them. He would never accept such an outlandish proposal, but he needs the money she offers. As they fall in love, she knows the biggest hurdle waits in Edinburgh where the Royal Geological Society's members are all gentlemen.

The latest Spindle Cove regency romance (see A Night to Surrender) is a wonderful tale starring two opposites in love. The rake and the spinster make for a delightful tale as each brings plenty to the relationship. Readers will want to know whether the all-male Royal Geological Society, of which she is a member, will allow a female to present the finding of "Francine" as gender and social class matters more to these scientists than the science.

The Art Of Duke Hunting
Sophia Nash
9780062022332, $7.99

The Duke of Norwich Roman Montague has a few rules about life: never marry and avoid ducks and water. He attends Lord Candover's bachelor party at Whites' Club in Mayfair along with five other dukes and the Prince Regent. They get intoxicated.

While a reporter reports their scandalous behavior that left one person dead and the nuptials ended, the Prince Regent informs his fellow partiers they will rusticate while finding brides. However, Roman is not amongst those reprimanded. Instead he wakes up with a vicious hangover during a terrible storm while at sea on The Drake. He has no idea how he ended up where he did, but is grateful to Countess Esme March, who helps him survive the weather and the sea. They are attracted to one another, but once they reach London it is over as neither wants to marry anyone at this time; she has rules too. Both know the Prince would order them to wed. However, love has both wondering whether to make new joint rules together.

The latest Royal Entourage (see Between The Duke And The Deep Blue Sea) is an amusing Regency version of the Hangover. The Duke and the Countess are a charming pairing as each adheres strictly to their respective life's rules and feel they can withstand the Prince's pressure by separation; however royal ignorance is not bliss since love proves more difficult to ignore. Fans who enjoy a fun historical frolic will want to read the zany escapades of the Royal Entourage.

Leaving Sophie Dean
Alexandra Whitaker
5 Spot
c/o Grand Central Publishing
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780446583947, $13.99,

At the Boston Back Bay cafe, Agatha Weatherby challenges her friend Valerie Hughes to give her married lover Adam Dean an ultimatum. She says he should be forced to choose between Valerie and his wife (and two very young kids (Matthew and Hugo)). Having no doubt that Adam wants her, Valerie accepts the dare. Just before a business trip, she informs her paramour he has forty-eight hours to decide who he wants.

Taken aback by the ultimatum and peeved with his wife, Adam informs Sophie he is leaving her for an older woman. Sophie, who is in the midst of a mid-life crisis, accepts his pronouncement but raises him two when she says she is leaving him and his mistress with their suburban house and the other two occupants. She moves into an apartment where her children visit after school and alternating weekends. Adam and Valerie are stunned by their respective new roles as the primary caretaker to his children as he never had that role before and she expected him to escort her in Bostonian high society instead of having a five years old lecturing her to quit smoking as that is unhealthy.

Leaving Sophie Dean is an intriguing family drama at a time when a marriage crumbles. The lead triangle and the key support cast (her BFF and the kids) are fully developed so that the audience knows what motivates each of them. However that also is two-edged weapon as readers will feel antipathy for the three prime adults for acting extremely selfish with no thoughts for the impact of their actions on the children.

Born Of Silence
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Grand Central
9780446573313, $24.99

Darling Cruel was heir to the Caronese Empire until his Uncle Arturo committed fratricide. Over the years since the assassination of his father, his uncle has brutally abused his nephew; he has accepted the torment and even pretended to be a homosexual to keep his mother Natale and his siblings (Drake and Lise) safe. Now twenty-eight years old, Darling is still considered a minor and under his uncle's vicious thumb.

Ever since her family was murdered, resistance leader, Zarya Starska is obsessed with destroying the cruel family running the empire with iron fists who killed them. Zarya has allied with legendary masked Sentella warrior Kere. She is perhaps the only one to see the warrior unmasked. However, when the Resistance captures Darling, they treat him as inhuman as his uncle has. As his mind teeters on a breakdown, Darling vows vengeance against the Resistance and his uncle.

The latest Born of League outer space thriller (see Born of Night, Born of Shadows, Born of Fire and Born of Ice) is loaded with action, intrigue and romance. Darling is an intriguing protagonist who shows signs of insanity from the latest betrayal. Zarya is the only hope to bring him back from the brink, but she has issues too. The lead pair makes for an exciting emotional roller coast ride. No matter what Ms. Kenyon writes readers know it will be a winner.

The Reverend's Wife
Kimberla Lawson Roby
Grand Central
9780446572477, $24.99

Though he knows he has sinned Reverend Curtis Black has decided to divorce his third wife Charlotte after he learns she has slept with two men in the past year. He will end their relationship once their son Matthew graduates from high school. In the meantime, he behaves friendly towards his spouse in public, attending to his 2000 plus flock, and caring for his three children (married Alicia from his first wife, Matthew from Charlotte, and little Curtina from an affair).

However, he underestimates Charlotte's resolution to remain married to him. Not only does she try to atone for her transgressions, she makes it clear she will do whatever it takes to remain Mrs. Black even though the Reverend has told her he forgives her sins but cannot forget those affairs. Even more so Charlotte also needs Matthew to forgive her, but the teen cannot. However, another congregational member Sharon Green has plans to become the fourth Mrs. Black and has offered seductive sin to the Reverend as her ticket. The Black marital crisis publicly explodes at a Deliverance Outreach.

The latest Reverend Curtis Black extended family drama continues the difficulties of people of deep faith in God remaining on the righteous path in a world filled with temptations. Character driven, The Reverend's Wife is an entertaining tale though the see Love, Honor and Betray theme has been done many times over in this series.

The Lucky One
Nicolas Sparks
Grand Central
9781455508976, $14.99

While deployed to Iraq U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds the picture of a woman with a dog half buried in dirt. Although he is unsure why he feels she is his lucky charm he keeps the picture, carrying it wherever he goes as he survives his third tour of combat. He believes she saved his life. He vows to find "E" once he returns to Colorado.

Back in America, Logan begins his hunt to find his lucky charm in person. In North Carolina, he has a nasty encounter with Sheriff Keith Clayton; but the former marine steals the law enforcement official's camera loaded with shots of underage girls. Soon afterward he succeeds in his quest when he meets "E", divorced mom Elizabeth Greene, whom he believes is the reason he is alive. Logan learns she is Clayton's ex so he hides from her the picture and his assertion of destiny as his brother in arms Victor insisted and encouraged his hunt. Instead he obtains work at the dog training facility of her ailing grandmother and begins to date Elizabeth. Already in love with his image of her, he also falls in love with the real person; she reciprocates. However, he begins to believe he owes her the truth of how she saved his life in Iraq.

THE LUCKY ONE is an engaging contemporary romance starring a nice single mom, her mean spirited former spouse and the vet who feels she is the destiny that kept him alive. The story line is character driven from the moment Logan finds the discarded photo that he believes is his lucky charm. Although the plot is thin especially after a strong first half and the climax too convenient fans of Nicholas Sparks will enjoy his latest love story.

Don Winslow
Grand Central
9780446561914, $14.99

The Americans have incarcerated twenty-something Nicholai Hel for over three years for assassinating his mentor. He is kept in solitary because his jailers fear his skills as an expert at the "naked kill" and his "proximity sense" of danger.

In 1951, the CIA offers him a deal. He kills the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China Yuri Voroshenin in exchange for his freedom and an opportunity to enact vengeance against those who brutally assaulted him while he was in prison. Though he realizes this is a suicide mission and does not to trust the Americans to enforce the contract, he accepts the terms. Able to speak several languages, Hel receives some training on how a French arms dealer would live, and meets and is attracted to Solange. In his guise as Michel Guibert, he assassinates the Soviet official in Beijing. Trying to escape Mao's China leaves Hel betrayed, but he makes it to French occupied Vietnam, where war seems imminent.

With an obvious nod to Trevanian's classic Shibumi, Don Winslow tells of the salad days of Hel with some insight into his heritage, almost three decades before he comes out of retirement. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action, deaths, action, sex, and Go theory. A sort of rookie gunslinger James Bond, fans will enjoy this historical thriller, but never quite catches the tongue in cheek underlying humor of the original.

Other Eyes
Barbara D'Amato
c/o Tor Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765326072, $19.99,

Northwestern University forensic anthropologist Blue Eriksen is known for causing controversy amongst her peers. Her latest assertion comes from her project on the use of hallucinogens in ancient religions. Her study of mummies has led her to conclude that the ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms psilocybin will cure drug addiction; which causes controversy beyond just her peers.

The international Leeuwarden Associates illegal drug consortium wants no interference with their multi trillion dollar industry so they hire assassin Felix Hacker to kill her. Although a top killer, he has trouble completing his mission even as he is part of her team at a field dig. His failure is because Federal agent Marcus Holton and art recovery expert Joseph Stryker have reasons to bring Hacker to justice.

Blue is a fabulous protagonist though some in the anthropology world would label her antagonist. Her family life as a mom and a romance enhances the thriller while the excavations will have armchair readers feel they on site in digs in Turkey and Peru. Although the final confrontation seems wrong as a professional killer acts out of character with death by a thousand words, fans will enjoy the escapades of Blue Eriksen.

Tom Epperson
9780765328922, $24.99

After years of abuse, Gina Cicala testified against her vicious mobster husband Joey. He is locked away after being convicted while she and their tweener son Luke disappear into the Witness Protection Program.

However, a U.S. Marshal takes a bribe from Luke's paternal grandfather Pat whose goals are to kill the traitor and bring Luke to him so he can raise his ten year old grandson as his heir to a vast criminal empire and introduce him to his comatose grandmother. In Brady, Oklahoma Pat's hit man kills Gina's date Rusty "the Cheater" Dieter while his target escapes with her son and diamonds. Gina and Luke meet Gray the "sailor" when he changes her flat tire. He joins their odyssey as both sides of the law give chase.

Though the storyline has been used before (see The Program by Stephen White) and the stratospheric death count requires an empty stomach, Sailor is an exciting action-packed thriller. Fast-paced with insane killers murdering people as a contact sport and some cops on the take in pursuit, Gray is the only hope of survival for mother and son.

Black Dawn
Rachel Caine
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451236715, $17.99,

Like much of Texas, Morganville suffers from a severe drought. The town is run by vampires with Amalie the final authority at the top of the food chain. However the arid conditions have led to the draug water vampires searching for water and other vampires to snack on. Morganville due to a deluge of storms is a place for the draug to stay and take over.

A Draug bit Amalie who is turning into a land-Draug. Her second in command, loyal Oliver refuses to let her go while his side also is losing the inter-species war. Most of the residents of Glass House (Michael, Eve, Shane and Claire) and a few allies take a last stand against the draug. Claire uniquely is the only one who can see the head Draug, which is why he needs her dead. Her friends (human and vampire) guard her while trying to figure out how to take the battle to the seemingly invisible enemy. Their only hope is to dangle Claire as bait to draw out the powerful leader of the foe.

The latest Morganville Vampires (see Last Breath) is a great entry in which a common enemy forces the humans and vampires to unite; failure to team up will mean death for all. The storyline provides a bit of vampire background as we learn how the draug came to be, insight into their hive-like culture and why they became cannibals. Saving Morganville appears unlikely but the Glass House quartet feels they must make the Son Quixote effort.

Trouble At High Tide: Murder, She Wrote
Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
9780451236326, $23.95

Following a grueling book tour, Jessica Fletcher accepts an invitation from New Jersey Judge Thomas Betterton to spend some time at his affluent estate in Bermuda. Upon arrival on the island, she hears tales of a Jack The Ripper copycat recently having killed three young females.

Thomas throws a parry in which Jessica meets her host's extended family. Not used to alcohol, Jessica is slightly intoxicated from a power island concoction so Thomas' assistant Adam escorts her back to her cabana where she snoozes on a porch swing. When she awakens Jessica decides to take a stroll in the beach where she finds the corpse of Thomas' twenty-two year old niece Alicia. Since her death mirrors the M.O. of the neo-Ripper murders, the local police turn the case over to visiting Scotland Yard Inspector George Sutherland as part of his investigation into the serial killings. Unable to do nothing, Jessica makes an inquiry too as she critically thinks something is not right about the Alicia homicide.

Bill Clinton was in the last years of his first term as president when Murder, She Wrote went off the air. Thirty-seven mysteries later (see Skating on Thin Ice) and the series remains incredibly fresh even with the storyline containing the same elements. Jessica has been on the road a lot lately (see A Slaying in Savannah, Madison Avenue Shoot, Queen Jewels and Nashville Noir), but her Bermuda vacation is an engaging entry in an endearing series as she works a case in which the locals whisper Ripper, the cops think a modern day Ripper copycat, and Jessica looks elsewhere.

The Wedding Beat
Devan Sipher
9780451235794, $14.99

The newspaper is a who's who of Pulitzer winners. Gavin Greene is one of the journalists at this prestigious paper. His column covers high society weddings, many of which are ostentatious; while his newspaper's credentials give him an automatic invitation.

Surprisingly Gavin is the right guy for the job as he is a fan of happily ever after. However, his beat also leaves him sad and lonely as a single guy attending a wedding on most Saturday nights and even on New Year's Eve. Gavin's "hope" of meeting the right one seems to come true when he meets Melinda. They chat and take a moonlit rooftop walk as she says she is a travel writer wannabe. However, fate throws a fastball at his head as she is with an Aussie. Depressed, Gavin realizes he made an error when he failed to ask for her number anyway. Desperately searching for his beloved, Gavin weathers his zany parents discussing his divorce with him though he has never married, attends garish weddings and potential downsizing until he finds Melinda. The only problem is he is covering her wedding to the Aussie.

The Wedding Beat is an entertaining witty gender bending romance as the storyline is predominantly told from the male perspective. Gavin holds the plot together as an "Urban Cowboy "Lookin' for Love in All the Wrong Places" (Johnny Lee). The support cast adds humorous New York shtick cynicism. Although the ending seems unlikely, fans will enjoy Gavin's unique tour of the Big Apple.

A Rising Thunder
David Weber
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781451638066, $26.00,

Though the war against the People's Republic of Haven is over, the Star Empire of Manticore knows peace is fragile. The Mesan Alignment proves this with a vicious assault in the Manticoran sector. In reaction to the hostilities, Manticore informs the Solarian League that they no longer will do business with them. The Royal Manticoran Navy escorts their merchant ships home and disallows any outside traffic in their sector; they place warships near vulnerable wormholes. Stunned the Solarian League takes the Manticore actions as a declaration of war and reacts accordingly.

Manticore Eighth Fleet Admiral Honor Harrington leads the navy against two threats. The Mesan Alignment has an advanced technology that gives them an edge while puppet masters behind the scenes manipulate the different sides in a scheme to turn humans into slaves. At the same time, the Solarian League has deployed its largest armada in its glorious history with plans to seize the strategic wormholes and more in the Manticore sector.

The latest Honor Harrington military science fiction (see Mission of Honor) is an entertaining tale though the action is muted compared to the past entries as A Rising Thunder feels like a set up book with the various factions preparing for war. Still this enables readers to see the political intrigue that goes on behind the scenes though that also means some repetition. Not as exciting as normal, Harrington fans will enjoy the Manticore actions as they prepare for a two front war.

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
Kelle Gordon
The Free Press
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781451616699, $14.00,

When Kellie was fifteen years old, she discovered the social intimacy of alcohol. Her life for several years afterward revolved around the next drink instead of school as she becomes an alcoholic who often went comatose in bars. At nineteen she gives birth to Tommy. However, her Uncle Mark and Aunt Julia take Tommy to live with him in Massachusetts as her parents insist she cannot take care of herself let alone a newborn. Fourteen moments later Tommy dies from leukemia, but his biological mother is kept in the dark as she struggles to sober up. Instead she is raped and turns to drink for solace. By 1984, Kellie dries out as she drops her drinking buddies. She finds employment and makes new supporting friends. Kellie graduates from college and obtains a position involving art. However, except for fleeting moments in her son's first days of existence and what her family has shared, she missed her child's brief life. Thus, she hopes this memoir will provide her some solace though she knows she can never fully gain that early wonder.

This profound memoir deftly rotates between the past and present as Ms. Groom shares how far into the abyss she fell and how difficult it was to climb out. Readers will empathize with the author as her grief, remorse and hope deeply surface when she muses about Tommy. Pulling no punches about the cost to her soul (and to her family) of her alcoholic years, Ms. Groom writes a heartfelt biography as she searches for her Tommy who she regretfully missed when he was alive.

Red Cell
Mark Henshaw
Touchstone Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781451661934, $24.99,

When the CIA mission in Venezuela turned ugly, field agent Kyra Stryker is reassigned to a desk job at Langley in the Red Cell unit. Her transfer doubles the number of agents working there. Kyra finds her new associate Jonathan Burke an unwelcoming acrimonious visionary strategic thinker. His record is impeccable when it comes to analysis as his suggested outcomes are always correct; but his gruff lack of political correctness alienates the politicians running the agency, the White House and the Congress.

In Taiwan, a raid on mainland spies turns ugly, angering the Chinese government and people. China prepares to retaliate with an all-out invasion without any trepidation that the American navy will do anything even though The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier is in the Taiwan Strait. CIA Director Kathy Cooke assigns her Red Cell duo to uncover out why the China leaders feel immune from any American retaliation. To do so they need information from in Beijing, Chinese CIA spy Pioneer who cannot help as he under vigilant watch. Stryker and Burke know they need to get him out of China safely in order to prevent a war.

The key to this great espionage thriller is the three governments (politicians, military officers, spies and analysts) make the escalating hostilities seem genuine. Fast-paced from the opening scene in Venezuela followed by nineteen days of super action, fans will enjoy the confrontation over Taiwan. Red Cell will be on most lists as one of the best espionage thrillers of the year.

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders
Gyles Brandreth
9781439153734, $14.00

In 1892, suffering from exhaustion on account of his publisher demanding he respond to all the letters sent to Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wonders if fame and fortune is worth the cost. Needing R&R, Holmes takes a ten day respite at a spa in Homburg, Germany though the notes to Holmes come with him. When the popular writer enters his hotel, he encounters Oscar Wilde who should be in Mayfair not in the foothills of the Taunaus Mountains.

Oscar offers to assist Holmes with the letters that came with Arthur on his respite. The pair finds much more than correspondence as some of the envelopes postmarked Rome contain a severed finger with a papal ring and a hand. Realizing that Doyle has been macabrely requested to come to Rome, he and Wilde travel to Italy to learn why and who owned the ringed finger.

The latest Oscar Wilde amateur sleuth (see Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders, and Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers) is an entreating whodunit that has the protagonist and his Watsonian sidekick investigating Vatican murders. Fast-paced from the moment the two Brits meet in Germany, fans will enjoy this entertaining late Victorian whodunit although the denouement is not quite as strong as the jaunty journey getting to the solution.

The Lost Years
Mary Higgins Clark
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451668865, $26.99,

In 1474 A.D. Pope Sixtus IV ordered the destruction of the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment; the only known letter written by Jesus, because he believes the document was a fake. Instead it was snuck out of the Vatican and disappeared for over five centuries.

In the current day, Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the original Arimathea Parchment. He obtains affirmation from peers and shows it proudly to close friends. Jonathan's twenty something daughter Mariah comes home to find her father dead from a bullet in the head and her mom Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer's, inside a closet holding the murder weapon and blood splattered all over her. The police believe Kathleen murdered her husband because in her lucid moments she knew Jonathan was having an affair and there are times when she is violent. While her mom is locked away in a psych ward, initially a depressed Mariah accepts the horrid conclusion that her mom killed her dad, but once the fog lifts from her mind, she logically begins to wonder whether the motive was the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment.

Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the "Queen of Suspense" with this exciting biblical archeological thriller. The evidence points increasingly towards her mom as the murderer, but with help from friends Wiley and Alvirah, the dispirited heroine starts to find other viable suspects as she seeks someone filled with pride and avarice; but even then Mariah still lacks proof. Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.

Strange Flesh
Michael Olson
Simon & Schuster
9781451627572, $25.00

Harvard dropout James Pryce works for RedRook Security. A hacker of note, James is brilliant at locating those who have seemingly vanished off the grid by finding their electronic fingerprints. He especially takes immense pleasure with using high tech vengeance against those who harmed a client.

Twins Blake and Blythe Randall hire RedRook Security with the stipulation that James takes the job. A decade ago, Blythe blithely broke James' heart, but though she should insist not him, he cannot say no to her. Their brilliant multimedia artist sibling Billy sent them a video of his "Bleed" performance in which he simultaneously commits suicide and reanimates as an avatar in a decadent online world NOD. Blythe gets James masquerading as a documentarian into the GAME media collective where Billy recently played. He begins to unravel the virtual reality existence of Billy until James realizes he needs to enter NOD to find Billy.

This is an odd Bleeding of reality and virtual reality as James finds himself as a stranger in a strange land. Filled with sexual encounters of many kinds and with Strange Flesh, fans who appreciate something enjoyably different will want to journey into the land of NOD escorted in the first person by James.

A Woman of Consequence
Anna Dean
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312626846, $24.99

In 1806 at her brother's Badleigh Vicarage, Miss Dido Kent writes to her sister Eliza that gentle Penelope Lambe fell hurting her head while visiting Madderstone Abbey; where allegedly the Grey Nun ghost haunts the ruins. Penelope insists that she glimpsed the Grey Nun before her fall.

Although she assumes the injury led to a delusional belief, a curious Miss Kent travels to Madderstone to investigate. There a skeleton lies at the bottom of a pool. Although she anticipates the arrival of her suitor Mr. William Lomax and knows that he, as well as her brother and ill-tempered sister-in-law, will discourage her from her investigation; but the curious Miss Kent looks into the human remains found at Madderstone Abbey.

The third wonderful Anna Dean Regency amateur sleuth (see Bellfield Hall and A Gentleman of Fortune) is once again much more than just a Regency whodunit as Miss Kent's observations, suspicions and deductions make for a delightful period piece. Character driven by the heroine with a strong support cast, readers will enjoy "A Woman of Consequence: The Investigations of Miss Dido Kent ", an exciting distinctively colorful historical mystery.

Kings of Midnight
Wallace Stroby
9781250000378, $24.99

Career felon Crissa Stone needs a big score to get out of the criminal business so she can regain custody of her child and arrange for her lover's parole. However, her latest gig falls apart when her two partners Rory and Hollis turn avaricious and kill each other. Crissa flees from the deadly scene.

In the Fed's Protection program, retired gangster Benny Roth works at Cafe Milan in Indiana using the name Leonard when two New Yorkers, Danny Taliferro and his nephew Frank Long, arrive. They make the sexagenarian go to his home where his twenty-something girlfriend Marta is being held by a third hood Dominic. They want Benny to lead them to cancer victim mob boss Joey Dio who hid millions from the Lufthansa theft over three decades ago that Roth was part of. Benny insists most of them were paid in death as he was lucky to survive and never got any of the loot. Benny turns the table on the trio and flees with Marta. As a raging Taliferro and his cohorts pursue Benny, he hooks up with Crissa to find Dio's stash.

The latest Stone crime caper (see Cold Shot to the Heart) is a great tale that combines the real 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the motivation to a present day cat and mouse chase. The storyline with the emphasis on the PDCA (plan, do, check and act) methodology of criminals will remind readers of Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder tales (see Get Real and Watch Your Back) though without the humor. Loaded with action but driven by Crissa and her two new partners, fans will appreciate this taut thriller.

A Teeny Bit of Trouble
Michael Lee West
9780312571238, $24.99

In Charleston, South Carolina Barb Philpot calls pastry chef Teeny Templeton to tell her to stop spying on her as lawyer Coop O'Malley is still hers. Teeny is upset as Coop is her boyfriend just like he was in high school until Barb stole him. Though she shouldn't Teeny goes to Barb's house in Bonaventure where she lives with her pharmacist husband Lester and their ten years old child Emerson, who might be Coop's offspring. She witnesses "Bill Clinton" murdering Barb. As she hides from the masked killer, the body vanishes.

The corpse resurfaces with what appears to be a suicide. No one believes Teeny as she makes inquiries with the help of her family and Emerson. Other deaths follow as Teeny wonders if a family member or an illegal chop shop is behind the homicides; as important to her is Coop's secret.

The second zany Teeny Templeton amateur sleuth mystery (see Gone with a Handsomer Man) is a terrific insane regional mystery that starts off with Teeny caught doing surveillance of Barb as lies fly. Filled with twists, fans will enjoy this madcap regional whodunit (murdering and siring) as the baker lands into plenty of banana pudding.

Ashes to Dust
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
9780312641740, $14.99

In 1973, a volcano erupts on Iceland's Heimaey Island. A village is buried under the lava. Included under the sea of ash is the family home of teenager Markus Magnusson.

In 2007, investors send a cleanup crew to excavate the site so it can become a tourist attraction. However, in the basement of the Magnusson home is found three relatively fresh corpses and a severed head. The Westmann Islands near retired Inspector Lieffson suspect Markus, who retained attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir to prevent the digging. The villagers offer little to repute the police assertion and the one person he claims who could vindicate him is dead. Digging for a viable alternative to her client, Thora defends Markus though she is convinced she represents a killer.

The third Thora Gudmundsdottir Icelandic legal thriller (see Last Rituals and My Soul To Take) is a great tale that uses the island nation's geography and history to anchor a fabulous present day murder mystery. The storyline is fast-paced with a deft investigation that leads to betrayal and secrets in a great setting. This series is a refreshing winner.

No Cooperation from the Cat
Marian Babson
9780312332402, $24.99

Aging London actresses Evangeline Sinclair and Trixie Dolan allow the latter's daughter friend Martha, with the help of author and editor Jocasta to finalize a cookbook in their home. They and their friend Dame Cecily think the invasion is intrusive. Banquo Fitzfothergill the Arctic explorer, accompanied by his sidekicks Tom and Mick, arrives at the house shouting for his wife Melisande. Jocasta panics as she fears how Banquo will react when he learns Melisande died while cooking as apparently no one has told him.

To their shock Evangeline and Trixie find a horde of uninvited guests as Banquo and his growing retinue to include his aunts demand to see Melisande, who was the original cookbook author. As Melisande's former assistant, Jocasta is the only suspect while Martha is upset to learn she was second fiddle.

The latest Sinclair-Dolan British cozy (see The Cat Who Wasn't a Dog) is a fun tale as the protagonists' home begins to look like Groucho's ship cabin in A Night at the Opera. The breezy storyline is amusing while readers and Cho-Cho-San and Frou-Frou watch the zanies spin out of control.

Death of an Artist
Kate Wilhelm
9780312658618, $24.99

Former NYPD homicide detective Tony Mauricio switched coasts after a disability retirement due to a shattered hip during a shootout that left a teen dead. Tony wants to become a craftsman in Silver Bay, Oregon. Gift shop owner Widow Marnie Markov and her granddaughter medical student Van befriend the ex-cop while the sandwiched generation Stefany is a troubled brilliant artist who will not sell her work.

Stef becomes angry when she learns her latest lover Dale Oliver is selling her work without her permission. Soon after she confronts him, the painter is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her studio. Dale does not wait for the body to be cold as he shows up with a signed contract granting him exclusive rights to sell Stef's work. Grieving Marnie and Van believe their loved one was murdered, but the local cops have no evidence that anything but an accident occurred. Tony investigates.

With Barbara Holloway taking a respite, Kate Wilhelm introduces a wonderful disturbed hero, a strong support cast, and a delightful coastal town inside a fabulous whodunit. The complicated storyline focuses on the world of art including the downside of fraud and theft inside of a murder investigation. Hopefully Ms. Wilhelm will return readers to Silver bay.

Blood in the Water
Jane Haddam
9780312644345, $25.00

In affluent gated Philadelphia suburb Waldorf Pines, Martha Heydrich is the epitome of ostentatious hedonism starting with her a pink sports car. That is saying a lot about her as most of the residents are known for their vulgarity. Martha belongs to all the right committees as a means to learning everyone else's scandalous secrets. Her own misbehavior is an alleged affair with teenager Michael Platte.

Her husband Arthur comes home at night to find his pool house on fire. The fire department put out the blaze only to find two bodies. One proves to be Michael; while the other remains unidentifiable due to the inferno. The police believe Arthur killed his cheating wife and her lover until the DNA proves the second victim is a male while Martha remains missing. Stunned, the cops ask former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian to help with the investigation.

This may be the murder mystery of the year with a great final twist that will stun readers with what happened though a key clue is left in plain sight for us to work with. Demarkian is at his best while working the convoluted whodunits and missing person case.

Dolled Up for Murder
Jane K. Cleland
9781250001849, $24.99

In Rocky Point, New Hampshire, antiques dealer Josie Prescott is showing her friend financial investor Alice Michaels her latest acquisition, a doll collection estimated at $40K. Alice tells Josie she is worried that she and others at ADM Financial Advisors, Inc. will soon be arrested by the DA for running a Ponzi's scheme. Not long afterward Alice leaves Prescott's Antiques and Auctions only to be shot to death in the parking lot while Josie watches in horror.

Not long after the homicide, a kidnapper abducts Josie's employee Eric. They demand Josie turn over her new doll collection if she wants her assistant back. Inside a classic Chatty Cathy doll with the mini-phonograph removed Josie finds a rare Civil War currency. Police Chief Ellis Hunter investigates the murder while reporter Wes Smith, who broke the Ponzi scheme accusation, does likewise; as does Josie.

The latest Josie Prescott antiques mystery (see Deadly Threads) is a superb whodunit with competing inquiries. Fast-paced from the opening murder scene until the final confrontation, the twisting storyline grips the reader throughout as Josie is reminded of her late dad's advice on trust.

Need You Now
Beth Wiseman
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781595548870, $15.99,

Fearing for the safety of their children (Chad, Ansley and Grace) housewife Darlene and CPA Brad Henderson relocate the family from Houston for Round Top, Texas where they move onto a family farm. Feeling alone except for a snake invader, Darlene obtains a position working with special-needs children.

Their three kids struggle with adjusting from the big city to a rural environment. Especially troubled is fifteen year old Grace. Brad becomes concerned that Darlene's first job outside their home is hurting their family and wants her to quit; she refuses. As she feels he is pulling away from her, temptation in the father of a student surfaces has Darlene considering what she never thought of in all her years of marriage.

Need You Now is an engaging timely family drama as the Santorum issue of women in the workplace rather than the hearth is a critical element. The Henderson quintet is fully developed as are a quirky neighbor and the temptation. Chad sums up this well-written warm inspirational when he thanks God for his kissing Skylar.

Alyson Noel
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312664855, $18.99,

Daire Santos struggles with being different. Animals follow her while crows mock her. Glowing strangers stalk her. Finally there is the boy with the blue eyes who stars in her dreams. Her widow mom Jennika is beside herself with worry. However, not as much as Daire's paternal grandmother Paloma Santos who knows the danger to the last of her line.

Sent to visit her grandma in Enchantment, New Mexico, Paloma explains to Daire that like her and her late dad, she is a Soul Seeker who travels between the mundane world of the living and the surreal world of the dead. Fated to either save or destroy the world of the living, Daire trains to control her paranormal skills. However, as her grandma mentors her, she adapts reasonably well until she meets Dace, the star of her dreams. Although attracted to him even before they met, she wonders if he is her soulmate or her Judas.

The first Soul Seekers urban fantasy is a superb thriller starring a "troubled" young lady who learns she holds the fate of the world in her hands. The key to this absorbing tale is the heroine who makes the Noel mythos seems genuine as she enters the underworld in a soul searching rescue mission while wondering whom does she trust. Filled with twists, this is a winning opening act.

Allison Brennan
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250005953, $7.99,

Seven years ago as a high school senior Lucy Kincaid met a seemingly nice man on-line. When they finally met in person, he proved to be a psychopath. He attacked her, but she survived while her molester died (see Fear No Evil). Since her assault, her ambition has been to become an undercover FBI agent exposing cyber predators. Her dream is about to become true as she has been accepted to attend the FBI Academy.

As she waits for the training to begin, Lucy works with her mentor agent Noah Armstrong; investigating the murder of Wendy James a high-priced call girl linked to Congressman Crowley. Lucy's analysis of the murder scene proves correct, but only angers Noah's boss, Supervisory Special Agent Matt Slater who does not want an untrained wannabe in the field. Assigned to a different case, Lucy concludes her investigation of the murders of several call girls and a social worker is linked to the James homicide. With her private investigator boyfriend Seth Rogan helping her, Lucy seeks the connection, Ivy, before the killers murder her too.

The latest Kincaid-Rogan investigative thriller (see Love Me to Death) is an action-packed thriller from the moment the heroine alienates Slater and never slows down until the final confrontation. Lucy has come a long way since her assault as she has strong instincts, but still lacks confidence about her skills that Slater plays on to demoralize her as he thinks she is unworthy. Readers will enjoy Silenced as Lucy struggles to ignore her doubt and follow her gut.

Through The Night
Janelle Denison
St. Martin's
9780312372316, $7.99

In Las Vegas, as part of her job as executive hostess at the Onyx Hotel, Valerie Downing watches for high rollers as you want to do whatever to get them to stay at the hotel where they would spend a lot of money. She observes Chase Pierson, who fits her classification in every way, as he has quite a crowd watching him play craps. She offers him comp at the hotel, but he explains he already has that; Val is stunned to learn owner Steven Wilkes approved Chase's free room.

However, though each has the hots for the other, Valerie rejects sleeping with a client while Chase accepts it's a matter of time before she does. The Reliance Group leader Caleb Roux tells Val that Steven hired Chase to find a Capone relic; he wants Val to help with her clairvoyant abilities assisting Chase's psychometric skills.

The latest TRG romantic suspense (see Night After Night and Into The Night) is a fast-paced tale starring two interesting lead characters who focus on the boudoir much more than the case. Still readers will enjoy this engaging thriller even with the protagonists lacking depth.

Temptations Rising
A.C. Arthur
St. Martin's
9780312549107, $7.99

Two years ago, a strange cat like creature saved the life of Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Kalina Harper from an assault. Confused by what happened, she still dreams of this beast, but has never told anyone about what she saw.

Her boss assigns Kalina to go undercover at Reynolds & Delgado law firm seeking connections between partner attorney Roman Reynolds and a South American drug cartel as he sends plenty of money to South America. Like all the women in the office, Kalina is attracted to Rome, but is unaware that as a jaguar he saved her life two years ago. However, his concern is with whom murdered Senator Mark Baines and his daughter three weeks ago as Rogues apparently have moved into his Faction as they have in the other zones too. Though he knows he must ignore Kalina to focus on the Rogues, Rome finds he cannot ignore her as he begins to believe she is his mate.

The first Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy is an exciting thriller as readers will feel the Arthurian paranormal DC world is genuine. Fast-paced with a courageous heroine struggling to accept what she is learning and a strong leader unsure whether to tell her the truth that residing amidst purebred humans are shifters.

Hot Under Pressure
Louisa Edwards
St. Martin's
9780312534400, $7.99

After a decade as the cook on a Navy submarine, Chef Henry Beck expects to easily win the Rising Star Chef competition. However, his confidence is shaken when the opponent is Skye Gladwell, the hippie whom he married and deserted a decade ago.

Beck is further flummoxed with his need for his wife. Never forgetting when he failed her at her neediest moment, she demands a divorce; instead he counters with a cook-off challenge she can't refuse. If she wins the contest, he will sign the papers, but if he wins he gets one last meal of a condemned man, her. A desperate Beck hopes to find a Recipe for Love (see Can't Stand the Heat).

The third Rising Star Chef (see Some Like It Hot and Too Hot To Touch) heat in the kitchen (and bedroom) romance is an entertaining tale starring two flawed individuals with a tragic history. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the competition between spouses as Beck knows he is on the toughest strife of his life, winning back the trust and respect of his wife.

Run Wild
Lorie O'Clare
St. Martin's
9780312534561, $7.99

Growing up in a family of bounty hunters Natasha King understands the danger of the profession, but it must be in the DNA as she joins her kin at Los Angeles based King Fugitive Apprehension. Her mother Nadine deserted her when she was little and her father George the con artist has not been around for years. Her uncle and aunt (until she vanished a few years ago) raised her alongside her cousins.

She receives a call asking where her father is; when she responds she did not know the man hung up. Soon afterward, Sheriff Trent Oakley of Weaverville, California calls asking the same question; followed by requesting she meet with him if she wants to help her father. In Weaverville, he explains to Natasha that her dad is the prime suspect in the Trinity Ranch killing. As they fall in love neither quite trusts the other as her father remains the toad in the road.

The latest Bounty Hunters family affair romantic suspense (see Play Dirty, Stay Hungry and Get Lucky) is an action-packed thriller from the moment Trent calls and never slows down as the tough sheriff and the even tougher bounty hunter work the case together while falling in love. Though very minor, his failure to identify himself until she asked who he is when he called pushes readers from the excitement, but quickly rebounds when the goes to meet him. Sub-genre fans will appreciate Natasha's turn as the lead with her proving she has the King mettle.

Taming an Impossible Rogue
Suzanne Enoch
St. Martin's
9780312534523, $7.99

Her marriage to Stephen Pollard was arranged just after heir birth. However, not once over the years did the marquis visit her. As he waited for her at the altar, Lady Camille Pryce decides she does not want to wed such an indifferent man. Instead she jilts him and knowing her family will disown her for the scandal she flees to the women run Tantalus Club, a gentleman's gaming house unfit for a lady.

One year later frustrated and still embarrassed Pollard asks his cousin Keating Blackwood to persuade Camille to marry him. When Keating meets Camille his mission changes from assisting his relative to wanting to bed the runaway fiancee. They become lovers, but he knows he needs more. However, Keating is caught in a bind as he owes his beloved the truth, but when he provides it he loses her trust; his delay may take that choice out of his hands.

The first Scandalous Brides Regency romance is a wonderful tale due to the protagonists who understand what a salacious relationship between them means to their already scandalized reputation as each knows they lose nothing (except their respective hearts). Fast-paced throughout fans will enjoy visiting the Tantalus Club (see A Beginner's Guide to Rakes) as the rake and the runaway fiancee fall in love.

The Hunt
Andrew Fukuda
St. Martin's Griffin
9781250005144, $17.99

Seventeen years old Gene feels he is the last of his species in the wild as he hides amidst the master race that craves his. He follows his late dad's rules such as avoid sports that make you sweat as they don't perspire, but also knows his father failed in his diligence only once. He is a heper who if found out will be eaten by his "friends" without an afterthought.

The government sponsors its rare "Heper Hunt" though Gene wonders why since the few if any survivors are either lab rats or cattle. His trig teacher puts him on the spot, but Ashley June as he calls the girl in front of him saves his neck. Soon afterward he and Ashley June are chosen by the lottery as hunters. Gene is concerned he will be caught as this is not riding a horse drawn school bus or avoiding beautiful girls with fangs; instead he will spend four days in a fish bowl environment; training at the Heper Institute of Refined Research and Discovery. Worse he is attracted to Ashley June who he assumes will know the truth.

The Hunt is a fascinating thriller starring two fabulous protagonists trying to stay alive in a world in which they are red meat for the vast populace that surrounds them. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with chilling action. Although the dystopian Fukuda world lacks sociological depth re the prime species and the hunted, fans will appreciate joining Gene as he tries to avoid becoming the prey of The Hunt.

True Sisters
Sandra Dallas
St. Martin's
9781250005021, $24.99

In 1856, The Martin Company is the last of the groups equipped by Brigham Young to enable Mormons to come to the promised land of Zion by using two wheel handcarts. A diverse group, many pray dreams of a new spiritually guided life will come true. Jilted Nannie, accompanies her brother and his wife, praying to find a mate of her own. Married to a pompous church patriarch, Louisa believes God tells her what to say to others. Non-believer Anne does not want to go, but her converted spouse left her with no other option. Finally Jessie and her siblings look forward to a farm of their own.

The Martin party leaves Iowa City on their thirteen hundred mile trek to Salt Lake City very late in the season. Additionally, the handcarts are not designed for the wear and tear of the arduous journey. Three companies have completed the trip, but in Wyoming, the band is tested by a blizzard that leaves many dead and others losing extremities to frost bite.

Based on a real tragedy, True Sisters is a fabulous historical fiction tale that tells the story of the catastrophe through the eyes of the four women who bond during the calamity. The storyline starts off by introducing the readers to the prime quartet and their respective family members, but quickly accelerates into a harrowing thriller. Fans will relish this strong story of a sisterhood that comes together as the deadly disaster due to arrogant male disregard for safety leaves all stranded and facing death.

Back From The Undead
D D Barant
St. Martin's
9780312545062, $7.99

Human FBI profiler Jace Valchek and her vampire boss National Security Agency chief David Cassius share one "lousy" night together when work intrudes on their office romance. David disappears on a top secret mission while NSA Intel Analysis Unit head Gretchen Petra the Pire mom with a teething fanged baby informs Jace that Aristotle "Impaler" Stoker wants to meet with her. The Impaler who has spent a lifetime avenging the slaughter of humans by the paranormal, is in crime ridden Vancouver where he swears to her he has found a Pire child trafficking ring.

Jace needs to capture the Impaler to fulfill the terms of her legal evil agreement and return to her earth. Accompanied by her golem field partner Charlie and Damon Eisfanger, Jace heads to Vancouver to meet Aristotle. In British Columbia, the evidence points to the Yakuza running the illegal child black market. Jace, with her former lover Tanaka the samurai and Charlie prepare to invade heaven for the heavenly cause of saving the children at the risk of losing her soul.

The latest Bloodhound Files investigative fantasy (see Death Blows) is a great entry as friends and foes do not know how to deal with the heroine's amusing alien shtick while facing danger. Fast-paced, fans will relish D D Barant's entertaining thriller as Jace's graveyard humorous asides enhance an exciting quest.

Letter From A Stranger
Barbara Taylor Bradford
St. Martin's
9780312631680, $27.99

Having completed a film documentary, director Justine Nolan returns to the Connecticut family home. Her mother Deborah, in China working a business deal, directed Justine to open her mail. Justine opens a letter with no return address postmarked Istanbul. Anita Lowe sent a note to Deborah that her mother is heartbroken and needs her to end their estrangement as the woman turns eighty soon. Justine is stunned as her mom said Gran Gaby Hardwick died ten years ago in a plane crash. She and her twin Richard have grieved their loss ever since.

The siblings agree to find Gran though Justine will go initially without her brother who will follow. Justine's pretense is a documentary on the city. Their neighbor Joanne Brandon arranges for Justine to meet her friend in Turkey, Professor Ifrit Ozgonal. In Istanbul, even with help from Ifrit, Justine cannot find either Gaby or Anita. Ifrit takes Justine on a boat ride on the Bosporus when the American sees her Gran in her camera lens. Justine rushes passed Anita's grandson security expert Michael Dalton to hug her Gran. Both are ecstatic. Justine tells Gran, Deborah said Gran died. Michael and Justine are attracted to one another as if struck by lightning even as the reunion continues.

This is a fabulous family epic due to deep insight into the beleaguered in Berlin during WWII and a wonderful tour of modern day Istanbul. The ensemble cast is fully developed with the romance supporting the prime relationship between Justine and Gran. Although conflict is limited to the bigoted mom as everyone else gets on too well in the present and in the 1940s, fans will enjoy learning Gran's Final Solution that turned Deborah against her.

Death, Taxes And A Skinny No-Whip Latte
Diane Kelly
St. Martin's
9780312551278, $7.99

Treasury Department Criminal Investigation Team field operatives Tara Holloway and Eddie Bardin share a great partnership though they are total opposites. He is a married suburban dad who knows the difference between a metaphor and a simile and votes Republican though he is African-American; she is a single white inner city woman who is the one person education left behind.

Their current assignment is to bring brutal loan sharking and money laundering felon with Mexican connections Marcos Mendoza to justice. Though there is no direct proof, Mendoza is good for graveyard business as anyone doing business with him has a death wish; his associates' body parts can be found in several states. He does not go after the two agents; instead he threatens Eddie's family. To their shock, their superior removes them from the case because of what happened to superstar agent Nicholas Pratt; forced into exile to stay alive. On a diet that has her cranky, Tara goes after Mendoza with Pratt as her partner.

The latest Holloway police procedural (see Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure) is an enjoyable investigative thriller that balances humor with danger. Tara is the Lone Star State's equivalent to Jersey's Stephanie Plum as she gets the job done while cracking jokes mostly about herself. The villain is as mean as one finds in a novel. Thus readers anticipate the gender battle, but the path to the confrontation is fun and perilous.

Jana Oliver
St. Martin's Griffin
9780312614805, $9.99

In 2018 seventeen years old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne struggles with abnormal teen angst thanks in part to her former boyfriend Simon; whose life she saved in a deal made in heaven and in gratitude he informed the Vatican's Demon Hunters that she made a pact with Hell. They are coming for her and she knows they kill first before asking questions. Riley has made a promise to Lucifer and continues her quest to save her father body and soul. Her friend Beck remains irate with her and has more reason besides a Fallen Angel when the Demon Hunters take him hostage.

However, as she attends school in Atlanta, Riley also realizes something is not right. Demons, eternal solo acts, are conducting joint operations like a precise Special Forces unit. Worse they don't die. Riley fears she knows who the puppeteer is; if she is right the final war between Heaven and Hell on battlefield earth is near.

Jana Oliver's third super young adult Demon Trappers urban fantasy (see The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief) is an exhilarating thriller starring a delightful heroine. The storyline is fast-paced as Riley deals with the paranormal kitchen sink while also trying to enjoy high school. Although Beck's chauvinistic double standard seems anachronistic inane, fans will relish Riley's school days in which she matriculates in demon trapping and saving the world.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Griffin
9781250002822, $18.99

Adult Nick Gautier informed teenage Nick Gautier that unless he can alter the time stream, he will destroy the world. The fifteen year old Nick has fought zombies to the death and has practiced necromancy so figures this can't be as hard as keeping a girlfriend especially when you are the pariah one day extinguishing the world. Even his father wants him dead as the easiest way to prevent future total annihilation.

Still Nick attends high school as a good education is important. With Caleb the demon bodyguard and Kody the maybe girlfriend, Nick survives school. However the trio becomes involved in investigating a website telling vicious lies about the students while the assaults on Nick exponentially grow from unlikely sources.

The latest The Chronicles of Nick urban fantasy (see Invincible and Infinity) continues the exciting tale of a teen who must save the world before he destroys the world. Under pressure, Nick remains calm and impertinent as he smart-mouths his way in battle against "friends" and foes. Readers will relish this entry and the clever chronicles as Nick to save the world has to "erase" the Dark-Hunter saga.

Three A.M.
Steven John
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765331168, $24.99,

Over fifteen years ago, a lethal pandemic breakout left millions dead; scientists failed to find the cause. Soon after the mass deaths, a fog engulfed the city; but this thick mist has never dissipated. No one can enter or leave the city as the fog is like a giant prison.

In spite of excessive use of alcohol and drugs to numb his overwhelming sense of hopelessness, having not seen the sun since he was twenty eight, private detective Thomas Vale, wakes up every morning at 3:00 AM. He never deviates from that time even though he could use more sleep and rarely has a reason to get up that early. He visits Heller to collect money owed him but accepts instead a tape of "Shoppin" (Chopin), Rebecca waits for Vale at his sh*hole office to retain him. Two to three weeks ago someone murdered Samuel Ayers. The police arrested Fallon Samson who she insists is innocent. He takes on the case though he assumes that Samson killed Ayers. His simple investigation twists into something more precarious involving the disease and the fog.

The atmosphere is thick as readers will feel they wander in the fogged bound city in which residents have given up on the present and future with survival the only objective and holding on to precious personnel relics from before as a token of what was lost. Thomas is a delightful hard-boiled detective though his opponents seem inept. Rebecca is more of a stereotyped of the femme fatale cotton candy rather than a full blooded slick user. Readers will enjoy this exciting noir as paraphrasing Carl Sandburg's Poem Fog, "... It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches", but never moves on.

Shadow And Betrayal
Daniel Abraham
Orb Books
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765331649, $17.99,

A Shadow In Summer. The city-state Saraykeht depends on the magic of detained Andat spirit, Seedless, compelled to do the biddings of the sorcerer Heshai-kyo as long as his owner lives, but once his possessor perishes, he dies too. The Galts Empire conquers everything in its path except for Saraykeht in spite of the powerful thrusts of the invincible military. Using trade as a means to get small forces inside the city, the Galts plot the murder of Heshai-kyo, which subsequently would lead to the demise of Seedless and ultimately Saraykeht. Teacher Milah-Kvo catches student Otah Machi sneaking out of the city and suggests his pupil become a black robe bodyguard to an andat and its owner. As Otah learns about the assassination, Seedless works to destroy the mind of Heshai-kyo.

A Betrayal In Winter. In Machi the realm is ruled by the Khai and when a new leader is needed the ruler's sons fight to the death to win the throne. The last one standing is the new Khai. The Khai has more than three sons; he has given them to the poets who keep the cities at peace and bring in wealth from other countries. Otah Machi, the sixth son, refused to take the brand, rejected the post, and has made a life for himself as Itani Naygu a courier loved by inn keeper Kiyan. When the eldest son is murdered, the two younger sons go into hiding while the people (commoner and noble) believe Otah was behind the assassination.

This omnibus collection reprints the first two terrific tales in the superb Long Price Quartet fantasy saga. Fifteen years apart, the powerful cast makes everything in this strange magical world seem plausible and exciting.

Blue Magic
A.M. Dellamonica
9780765319487, $14.99

In Indigo Springs, Oregon, arrested Sahara Knax is on trial for treason. Her former best friend, Astrid Letherwood struggles to end the wild spread of magic into the mundane world caused by her discovery and subsequent abuse by Sahara of the underground blue Vitauga River. Astrid understands why her late father hid his use of magic and his source though she was his apprentice; as she saw how easily power corrupted Sahara; turning her ex buddy into a megalomaniac. Others, including the government, demand to use the enchantments for their personal desires and needs.

As she attempts to return the world to its natural balance, Astrid has only one person she can rely on to help her. Ironically hostage negotiator Will Forest was her jailer, but now is her biggest ally as love and understanding changed their relationship. Now all they have to do is first rebuild the world and then rebuild a family.

The sequel to Indigo Springs is a profound psychological urban fantasy that explores the impact of a new source of power, magic, into a technological world previously governed by the laws of physics. The heroine is superb as she tries to make things right but finds second and third order effects that convolute her efforts. Readers will appreciate A. M. Dellamonica's thought-provoking thriller as magic may be one person's nirvana but someone else pays the price (sounds like the American corporacy).

Wishful Thinking
Gabi Stevens
9780765365057, $7.99

The Council condemned the three Godmothers (Aunts Lily, Hyacinth and Rose) as traitors. Meanwhile the trio continues their transition quest to find new godmothers (see The Wish List and As You Wish). They select weaver Stormy Jones-Smythe of Carlsbad, California, raised by wizards but uninterested in her talent.

The Council orders Hunter Merrick to allegedly protect the newest godmother, but his job is to watch her to insure she does not act seditiously. They are attracted to one another, but their loyalties are divided as she owes her allegiance to the Godmothers and him to the Council. Stormy believes the only way for her have the godmothers and Hunter in her life is to expose the insidious plot against her mentors. However, her beloved is pledged to prevent her from investigating who has framed the godmothers.

The final Time of Transition fantasy is a terrific timely thriller starring an intrepid heroine who may not want to be a godmother (just like her predecessors in the previous novels), but seeks to expose those behind the war on fairy godmothers. Hunter is caught between his heart and his pledge as he must prevent his beloved from her inquiry while he wants to help her with her probe.

Last Rites
Lisa Desrochers
9780765328106, $9.99

Still raging over Luc Cain the demon turning traitor and becoming human (see Personal Demons), King Lucifer continues to send Hell's minion to collect the soul of Frannie Cavanaugh. However, she has some powerful protectors from Heaven as well as Luc formerly from Hell; Gabe the angel came to collect her soul, but defends her fiercely. She also has a guardian angel, her twin brother Matt who died in childhood.

Lilith killed her BFF Taylor and did something to Luc; Matt has also been destroyed. Before more family and friends die; Fannie must gain control over her magic. Time is running out on the teen who just wants to matriculate at UCLA instead of being the foci of a war between Heaven and Hell.

The third Personal Demons young adult romantic urban fantasy (see ORIGINAL SIN) is a terrific thriller as the heroine remains the rope in a swaying soulful tug of war. Action-packed with a cheeky protagonist keeping the exciting paranormal romantic storyline focused as she struggles with who to trust since Lilith entered the fray. Readers of all ages will enjoy Frannie's frantic fight to keep her soul on earth until she collects social security for a few decades.

Commedia della Morte
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
9780765331045, $29.99

Count Saint-Germain learns that the Revolutionary Tribunal of Avignon determines that Madelaine de Montalia will be guillotined. Determined to rescue his beloved from losing her head, something even a vampire cannot heal from, Saint-Germain joins Photine d'Auville and her Commedia del'Arte troupe as a musician (and a paying traveler) as they head to Lyon where Madelaine is under house arrest.

Though he loves Madelaine, Saint-Germain and Photine share a tryst that further irks her angry teenage son Enee. His resentment growing, Enee wants Saint-Germain dead and plots to betray the ancient vampire.

The latest Saint-Germain historical vampire thriller (see An Embarrassment of Riches) is an entreating tale that fascinatingly captures the changing morality of the French Reign of Terror from idealistic caring of all citizens to an insidious bloodbath. The troupe is terrific as they perform Racine's Phaedra while trying to stay out of the troubles. Although there is too much backstory from previous entries mostly involving Madelaine (see In the Face of Death, Out of the House of Life and Hotel Transylvania), saga armchair fans will enjoy touring Revolutionary France with the vampire count as our guide.

Yves Meynard
9780765330260, $15.99

Her Uncle told Christine when she was little that her Father was gone. Because of her violent tendencies she began seeing Dr. Almand. He persuaded her into believing her Father was abusive. At seventeen, Christine sees a young man hitting his brakes abruptly seemingly upon noticing her. Quentin of Lydia sends her note to meet him at Telzer Park. She knows who the author is and decides to confront him. Quentin says he searched for her for nine years as the lost Princess and heir to the throne of Chrysanthe. He explains she was kidnapped.

Quentin escorts Christine home. However, she loathes her sire King Edisthen, as she has the thoughts planted in her brain by Almand of her father sexually abusing and abandoning her. Christine also has an enemy lurking nearby; as Evered, who abducted her years ago, plots to take the throne that he believes is rightfully his. He refuses to accept the Law that deposed his father from the throne.

This is a complicated fantasy that philosophically questions what reality is. The fascinating storyline leisurely (and too poetical with so much darkness) peels away the false from the truth. Though none of the cast comes across fully developed as even the protagonist is limited to her flawed "memories", fans who appreciate a metaphysical psychological thriller will ponder whether the truth is Christine's implanted recollection since she believes them as being her own.

Wide Open
Deborah Coates
9780765328984, $24.99

Since a near death experience while deployed in Afghanistan, Sergeant Hallie Michaels sees ghosts. She is placed on compassionate leave to go home to South Dakota due to the suicide of her sister Dell. At the Rapid City airport, Dell's restless spirit greets Hallie. Dell continues to haunt her sibling until Hallie wonders if her sister is trying to tell her she did not kill herself; but instead was murdered.

Hallie asks questions, but the sheriff, friends, family and Dell's workplace believe the soldier cannot accept her sister killed herself. Sheriff deputy Boyd Davies has dreams that insist Dell was killed and the homicide covered up. Hallie and Boyd reluctantly team up investigating dell's death as other females ghosts congregate around her. When assaults and arson occur, Hallie knows someone desperately wants to end her inquiry. However, she will soon learn the enemy has an ancient powerful evil supporting their side.

The key to this engaging rural fantasy is the belief that ghosts exist as the spirits and living "comingle" in Wide Open South Dakota. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Dell welcomes Hallie home and never slows down as the soldier and the cop supported by ghosts and the living battle against an incredible malevolence. Although happenchance occurs too often, Deborah Coates provides a fabulous paranormal investigation.

Karin Tabke
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425243015, $15.00,

The Council rules that IAW the Blood Law, Rafael's half-breed wife Falon will become Lucien's mate. Neither twin is happy with the decision as Rafael loathes giving up his beloved spouse while Lucien demands his Blood right to kill his sister-in-law since his sibling killed his wife years ago. Neither accept the ruling, but both are warned by the elder Sharia to accept the Blood Law avenged or die.

Lucien is surprised by his feelings for the hybrid slayer Lycan who he marks as his. She, on the other hand, fears his primitive rage but paradoxically relishes his passion though she still loves her life mate. As two alpha siblings prepare to fight to the death and the houses of Moondragon and Vulkasin seem ready for open combat, other packs see an opportunity to take advantage of the hostile sibling rivalry.

This is a super fantasy starring Cain and Abel Lycan siblings and the hybrid who they battle over. Action-packed with a great incredible late twist that will stun readers, fans of the Blood Moon Rising saga (see Blood law) will appreciate Karin Tabke's powerful life mate triangle that brings fabulous freshness to the sub-genre.

Sweet Addiction
Maya Banks
9780425245651, $15.00

Cole has always regretted how poorly he ended his relationship with Ren when both realized they enjoyed a Dom-Sub sexual partnership. He wants her back but she loves another Dom Lucas, who treats her with the respect that Cole knows he should have when she was his though he rationalizes they were too young to appreciate what they had.

Lucas grants Cole and Ren two weeks together before she returns to him. Cole accepts the terms, but knows he will do anything to persuade his beloved to stay with him. He performs all her erotic dreams, but when the clock winds down, "Running Scared" (Orbison), Cole prays Ren chooses him.

The latest Sweet erotic romance (see Sweet Possession and Sweet Sensation) is a heated sub-dom tale. The storyline is very thin (except for the lower heads of the two Doms) so that the triangle relationship never gels outside the boudoir. Still erotica fans will enjoy the Sub having to make up her mind.

The Reason Is You
Sharla Lovelace
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425247129, $15.00,

Except for visits to her widower dad, Dani Shane never planned to return to Bethany, Texas as she knew she was the nutcase who did not belong. However, having lost her position as a graphic designer in Dallas due to downsizing, she and her sixteen year old daughter Riley move back home to live with Dani's Pop.

Dani is taken aback when she sees Riley chatting with her childhood friend Alex. As a teen she wanted him, but he was too old for her; and besides he has been dead for over four decades. She did not anticipate Riley inheriting her ability to see ghosts. Though she still is attracted to him, Dani's first concern is easing Riley's awareness of ghosts and how to conceal her unwanted gift so she is not labeled crazy. She obtains work at the Bait-n-Feed. Distracted, Dani rear ends Jason Mller's BMW. She says she will take care of the damage, but he is nasty. He follows her to the store where she learns he is the A-hole owner of Bait-n-Feed. Dani revises her original opinion of Mr. Miller as she soon finds herself attracted to her boss and her ghostly BFF.

The Reason Is You is a wonderful paranormal family drama starring a beleaguered heroine who wants to keep her teenage daughter safe from the anguish and ridicule she suffered. Her life is complicated enough from ghost morphing through walls, but made more convoluted when she feels fickle for falling in love with two males. Readers will enjoy Dani's homecoming as she learns life is the rose as much or more so as the thorn.

Tall, Dark And Dead
Tate Hallaway
9780425247006, $7.99

Garnet Lacey is a non-practicing witch, who remains in hiding after a Vatican hunter squad destroyed her coven. She has vowed never to use her talents again so that she cannot be traced. Perhaps for most people that would be a simple resolution, but for Garnet that is not easy to adhere to because part of dark goddess Lilith dwells inside of her.

To her chagrin Garnet is attracted to Sebastian Von Traum even as he frightens her because she cannot detect any aura emulating from him. Who is he she ponders as only limited creatures like vampires have no aura? Even more worrisome is the idea he could he be a Vatican assassin preparing to kill her.

TALL, DARK & DEAD is a reprint of the first fabulous Lacey urban fantasy romance that has readers believing in witches, vampires and ghosts oh my. The story line is driven by the lead pair as she is attracted to him, but doubts she can depend on him; on the other hand Sebastian desires Garnet, but knows that if he tries to keep her safe he could reveal his hiding place to dangerous enemies. If they fail to trust one another, their growing love will prove meaningless as their lethal foes are coming in a fabulous paranormal thriller that leaves readers with a one sitting winner.

Hunter's Rise
Shiloh Walker
9780425248379, $7.99

A century ago, Sylvia James was forcibly changed into a vampire. That predatory violence has become a rallying cry for her as she travels as a mostly hired assassin taking down evil. However, she has a code of ethics when accepting a client; including no lying; as Faith Dwyer learns when she tried to employ Sylvia to kill her husband. She also does personal not for profit jobs to kill the psychopaths hunting others.

Hired by the parents of a victim Toby, Sylvia travels to Memphis to kill Alan Pulaski, pedophile. A local enclave of Hunters is also after the same thug. The difference is in the outcome as Sylvia will assassinate the predator while the Hunters will turn him over to the cops; with one exception enigmatic two century at least old Toronto the renegade werewolf Hunter who will first beat the crap out of Pulaski. When Sylvia and Toronto meet, each is shocked by their attraction as both thought their respective hearts died over a century ago. After getting in each other's way, they team up to hunt a predator.

The latest Hunter romantic urban fantasy (see Hunter's Salvation, and Hunters: Heart and Soul) is a superb entry due to the lead characters, who share in common desire, outcast status and a disgust with falling in love. As they fall in love, they struggle to keep their eye on the mission but remain diligent to end a reign of terror. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this exciting fast-paced thriller with a fabulous late twist.

The Deadly Portent
Elizabeth Bailey
9780425245675, $15.00

To escape family, Lady Ottilia "Lady Fan" Fanshawe forces her husband Francis to leave just after a heavy rain. The soaked grounds leads to the axle on their coach breaking near the village of Witherley. The couple learns the blacksmith Diggleby is dead from a roof cave-in either caused by the storm or by the witch. Most villagers blame Mrs. Cassie Dale who predicted the collapse and death and the lads stoned her before she obtained sanctuary granted by the new vicar Reverend Aiden Kennerton.

While waiting for the repair, Tillie and Francis investigate. They quickly find evidence that the beams inside the forge were tampered with and the universally hated victim was killed before the roof collapsed. As Tillie digs deeper, she seeks the person with a grudge so powerful he or she killed Diggleby and has the perfect individual in the odd Cassie to take the fall.

This is an entertaining historical amateur sleuth as the protagonists are an engaging couple. The whodunit is clever with time running out for Cassie as the villagers want her burned as a witch though she has strong defenders in the vicar and the stranded traveling aristocrats. Readers will enjoy Lady Fan's latest detecting (see The Gilded Shroud) as The Deathly Portent is an enjoyable nineteenth century mystery.

If I Fall
Kate Noble
9780425247112, $7.99

In 1823, Lady Sarah Forrester is stunned when her fiance Jason becomes angrily passionate when he sees famous Miss Winfred Crane for the first time in a few years. Their engagement ends as he obviously loves Winifred. The Ton finds the break-up amusing as they blame Sarah for not being able to hold onto her duke.

She is not one to rusticate, but she also refuses to allow her heart to be hurt again, Sarah changes herself into the Golden Lady. Everyone wants the Golden Lady to attend their gala as she becomes the season's sensation. Family friend Lieutenant Jackson Fletcher wants the real Sarah to return as he loves the genuine article; but fails at his mission. Desperate he turns himself into The Blue Raven, which leads him into investigating Sarah's latest suitor who he fears may be a killer.

If I Fall is an entertaining late Regency romance as The Blue Raven and The Golden Lady fall in love, but Jackson fears how Sarah will react when the truth is unmasked. The murder mystery adds tension to a lighthearted fun frolic.

Sierra Falls
Veronica Wolff
9780425247952, $7.99

Most native born cannot wait to escape from boring Sierra Falls, California at the foothills of the Sierras. While her two siblings fled town, stoic Sorrow Bailey dreams of doing so too. However when her dad suffers a stroke, she remains behind to take over running the family owned Big Bear Lodge.

Sorrow finds a cache of love letters written by the Gold Rush era ancestor she is named for. Soon afterward accidents begin happening at the lodge that seem to target her. Still grieving the death of his wife, widower Sheriff Billy Preston investigates the accidents that he feels is sabotage and fears could lead to something lethal. Billy vows to protect the woman who ironically with her love pulled him out of his sorrow.

The first Bailey family drama is a wonderful romantic suspense that grips readers from the moment the sheriff and the hosteller meet. The charming rugged setting enhanced by the heroine's family is a delightful counterpoint to a nasty predator. Still, this super serpentine suspenseful storyline belongs to the lead couple as love stuns both of them.

Soul Bound
Mari Mancusi
9780425245477, $9.99

Identical twins Sunny and Rayne McDonald have totally opposite desires as one is all sun and the other is all rain. Rayne desperately wants to become a vampire; while Sunny wants to live a normal life. Due to Magnus the vampire biting Sunny instead of Rayne, the "wrong' twin is changed. Drinking from the Holy Grail returns Sunny to normal. Sunny and Magnus are on the run because they disobeyed a direct order from Pyrus, who plots to control the Vampire Consortium and then the world.

Pyrus hires Slayer Inc. to bring him the treasonous duet. Slayer Inc. assigns Rayne and her boyfriend Jareth to capture Sunny and Magnus to deliver them to the Vampire Consortium. Rayne is distraught as she would do just anything for her sister, but failure to complete the mission means the deaths of all the Blood Coven vampires as well as herself and her boyfriend. Complicating matters for Rayne is when she learns another slayer with a grudge is on the hunt too. Her life turns even more hellish when a god orders her to choose between Sunny and Jareth.

The latest A Blood Coven Vampire urban fantasy (see Blood Ties) continues the bloody darker spin that started when the twins attended Night School in Switzerland. Rayne tells the tale as she faces increasingly impossible dilemmas that shake her inner soul. Her growing maturity (she has come a long way since Boys That Bite and Stake That) shines through the darkness as she struggles with choosing the lesser of two evils. This is a character driven, fast-paced exciting teen urban fantasy.

The Cat, The Wife And The Weapon
Leann Sweeney
9780451236470, $7.99

After being away from her lake house in Mercy, South Carolina selling her home made quilts, Jillian Hart heads home worried about her boyfriend Tom Stewart who has not returned her calls to him. She learns from her stepdaughter Kara that he left town in a hurry. At Tom's house Jillian meets Tom's brother Bob Cochran, who offers no explanation as to where his sibling went. Instead he mentions Tom left his cat Dashiell behind, but the feline ran way two days ago. Stunned as Tom never leaves Dashiell behind; Jillian finds the cat and takes him to the vet for his diabetes shot. Jillian returns home to find a battered Tom there.

Tom explains to her that he rushed to North Carolina to search for his stepson Finn, but was in a car accident. Finn and Tom know the kid's mom Hilary does not love him. Finn also looks battered but recalls little about being in a car accident too. This proves significant because Finn's stepfather Nolan Roth is dead from a bullet to the head; his body in Tom's car. In Finn's knapsack is a gun that he has no idea how it got there. The police think he killed Nolan, but evidence proves contrary. His father comes to town, but is murdered. His mother comes to take him away while Jillian risks her life to uncover the killer's identity.

The latest A Cats in Trouble Mystery (see The Cat, The Lady and The Liar) is an amusing and enthralling regional amateur sleuth tale starring an eccentric cast led by the likable peacemaking heroine. Readers will feel for abused Finn, unloved by his mom and stepdad but he also knows Tom has his back.

Reap What You Sew
Elizabeth Lynn Casey
9780425247068, $7.99

She has always felt alone with no friends or any place to call home. That changes when Tori Sinclair becomes the Sweet Briar, South Carolina librarian as the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle welcome her as one of them. Three years later, she not only feels welcome, she is engaged to schoolteacher Milo.

Movie Director Warren Shoemaker comes to town for some location shooting of his adaptation of Memories of Autumn. The locals hope to be an extra, but Warren gives Tori one of the roles. That is how she learns the lead actress Anita Belise was murdered from anaphylactic shock caused by eating nut in a brownie. Everyone knew she was allergic to nuts. Suspicion falls on Sewing Circle member Leona Elkin who added nuts to brownies her sister Margaret Louse Davis made to keep Anita away from her and Warren. Unable to believe either twin killed Anita, Tori leads the sewing circle posse investigation.

The latest A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery (see Dangerous Alterations) is an entertaining and enjoyable cozy narrated by Tori who loves her adopted town and its quirky caring residents. She believes one of the cast is the killer so she focuses on the Hollywood horde. Readers will enjoy Elizabeth Lynn Casey's enjoyable regional whodunit as the sewing circle work their inquiry one stitch at a time.

Hounds Abound
Linda O. Johnston
9780425247051, $7.99

In the Los Angeles area, Lauren Vancouver, director of the HotRescues no kill shelter, loves her work as she loves animals. Dedicated Lauren especially relishes saving an animal from euthanasia in a kill shelter. Her only regrets are that she cannot save seniors or handicapped as her facility is over populated and ergo she must find good homes rather quickly. Thus Lauren is thrilled that Bella Frankovick has opened up Save Them All, a place specifically established to care for seniors and the handicapped.

Lauren visits Beth's shelter and is impressed and pleased with what she sees, Bella is worried that her former husband Miles will shut her down if he wins her money as part of a divorce settlement and his attorney's fees Leaving Lauren notices Miles in his car with a knife in his chest. She prays Beth is not the murderer and agrees to investigate when her friend asks her to look into the homicide. This proves difficult as the victim made a lot of enemies and Beth has a nasty one too.

The latest Pet Rescue Mystery (see The More The Terrier and Beaglemania) is a wonderful whodunit with much of the focus on animals, shelters and the people including volunteers who work there. Pet lovers will enjoy Lauren's amateur sleuthing as the animals steal the show.

Dread On Arrival
Claudia Bishop
9780425247075, $7.99

After a month away from Hemlock Falls Sarah "Quill" Quilliam-McHale and her three years old son Jack move back into the Inn at Hemlock Falls while her husband and Jack's father travel for his counterterrorism agency to a foreign nation. The town is excited with the news that Edmund Tree, the pompous acerbic host of Your Ancestor's Attic, is coming to film a show and marry his fiancee Rose Ellen Whitman, owner of Elegant Antiques.

T-shirted mellow Pawn-O-Rama producer Belter Barcini, whose show trails Ancestor in the ratings, also arrives in Hemlock falls. The bitter rivals agree to a cooking contest in which each will make their favorite dishes. During the cook-off, Tree drinks wine only to keel over dead. Quill knows the obnoxious Tree died from strychnine poisoning. She works around her promise to her spouse of "no more Snooping" in way that don't break her pledge. As always Quill's sister Meg and their staff at the inn assist her; but like the police her inquiry over several months fails to identify the killer.

The latest Hemlock Falls Mystery (see A Pinch of Poison and Murder Well-Done) is a delightful cozy filled with eccentric characters that bring plenty to the charming plot. Filled with red herrings and false leads, Quill is at her energizer bunny best as she uses her artistic eye to find clues in a case that seems to go nowhere. Fans will enjoy this fun whodunit as the polar opposite visiting TV personalities bring out small-town living.

The Duke's Perfect Wife
Jennifer Ashley
9780425247105, $7.99

Widower Hart Mackenzie may be an affluent duke well loved by his siblings and known for his love-making abilities, but he feels alone. He knows he can have just about any female he wants except his beloved former fiancee Lady Eleanor Ramsey. She is the only other living person who knows what he sacrificed to keep his siblings safe from their late abusive father.

Since the deaths of his wife and heir, he has turned from a compassionate person to a frozen heart. Now Eleanor arrives from Glenarden near Aberdeen to offer Hart a business deal while the journalist scribblers accost him. She shows him a picture of him naked that someone sent to her. Eleanor offers to help him find the unknown adversary before this person sends any to the scandal sheets. Hart agrees though he distrusts the motive of his only love as he assumes she seeks retribution for his treatment of her.

The fourth Highland Pleasures Mackenzie brothers' Victorian romance (see The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage) is a super tale. The lead couple is a great pairing as the reader feels the emotional tension from the moment Hart recognizes the voice calling his name and never slows down until the final confrontation as readers like the hero question the heroine's reason for coming to protect him even as she melts his tundra heart. That is why Jennifer Ashley's ardent character driven historical romances are so good as even when you know the usual course of true love, somehow the author has you doubting all the way.

Just Down The Road
Jodi Thomas
9780425246924, $7.99

Tinch Turner knows his life ended when his wife Lori Anne died. Now the widower rancher prefers booze and brawls. At the Harmony County Hospital ER after his latest barroom fight, he meets Dr. Addison Spencer who is town for a few months until her troubles end.

Sheriff Alexandra Matheson and Deputy Sheriff Phil Gentry investigate gun firing. Inside they find young Jamie Noble and his overdosed dead mom. Jamie's aunt was Lori Anne so his only known relative is his Uncle Tinch. Addison offers to help Tinch care for his grieving nephew.

Grieving the death of her beloved "Uncle" Jeremiah, Reagan Truman is the sole proprietor of Truman Apple Orchard. Firefighter Brandon Biggs and others offer her comfort as she mourns her loss while her beloved rodeo performer Noah MacAllen hides his feelings. Countering death is the birth of a baby at the Wright Funeral Home where Tyler Wright prays for the safe return of his beloved deployed Major Kate Cummings.

The latest tender Harmony small-town drama (The Comforts of Home, Welcome to Harmony and Somewhere Along the Way) continues the escapades of the residents with much more than just the above. The subplots are all entertaining and blend well together with the Turner second chance at love tale bringing freshness to the mix of mostly seeing what has happened to recurring characters; which in turn behooves newcomers to read the previous visits to Harmony.

Truth Like the Sun
Jim Lynch
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780307958686, $25.95,

In 1962 young Roger Morgan ambitiously wants to make Seattle the in place in the Pacific Northwest. He successfully creates the Seattle World's Fair.

As the fortieth anniversary of the landmark World's Fair is coming, septuagenarian Roger decides he wants to become the city's mayor, which means defeating the incumbent. At the same time Seattle Post-Intelligencer decides to do a series of articles on the Fair and the symbol of the city that was created as part of the 1962 gala, the Space Needle. Reporter Helen Gulanos investigates the Fair and the "Father of the Space Needle". However, she begins to find corruption, bribes and other shady behavior on the part of Seattle's golden boy including implications of a role in the cold case murder of a person ready to testify against Morgan. However, she has skeletons too involving libel charges that Morgan plans to deploy if necessary.

This is a super thriller that effortlessly moves back and forth between the Cold War era World's Fair and the age of the Dotcom bubble bust in Seattle. The story line focuses on the backroom political dealings fueled by ambition that makes Lady Macbeth look like Mother Teresa. Although money in politics naively seems deemphasized (in fairness years before the Citizen United ruling), fans will enjoy the simmering release of information as we wonder whether Roger is an enthusiastic idealist or a brutal realist.

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories
Rajesh Parameswaran
9780307595928, $24.95

These fascinating nine tales provide wonderful Kafka twists to "Love Stories." All the entries are well written with intriguing protagonists (not all human as a frustrated in love tiger stars in "The Infamous Bengal Ming" and an elephant writes her autobiography with footnotes in "Elephants in Captivity") giving readers insight into the foibles of love. In "The Strange Case of Dr. Raju Gopalatahan", CompUSA fires Gopie who takes out a shingle and becomes Dr. G. In the title story, the executioner pleads with his beloved that he is a bureaucrat doing his job, not a psychopath. Savirtri shows how much she loves her husband Ravi when she prepares for their Thanksgiving weekend with him lying dead on their floor. With the "Narration of Agent 97-1702' investigating Subject 243-66328 and love in the future "On the banks of Table River (Planet Lucina, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319)" fans will appreciate this anthology's amusing metaphysical satirizing of love.

The Beginner's Goodbye
Anne Tyler
9780307957276, $24.95

Thirty something Aaron works at the family publishing firm that prints the Beginners self-help series. He is happily mattered to older Dorothy, a doctor whom he met when she was working on a medical book published by his company. Aaron believes life is good in spite of a useless arm and leg until a tree crashes into their home killing Dorothy. The widower struggles with his grief.

Aaron moves back into the house he grew up in that sister Nandina owns in Baltimore. He begins seeing and hearing Dorothy's ghost though he knows that is probably a PTSD defense mechanism for him to deny she has moved on; he also realizes his perfect view of their marriage ignored cracks. Burying himself in his work, Aaron realizes the guidebooks on moving on in life are generalities as grief is customized.

This is an engaging character study of a man who struggles with loss until he begins to understand that the whole (of one's essence) equals the sum of all the parts (including the onetime microscopic). Complex as the audience learns much about Aaron, Dorothy and their marriage, as love does not denote happiness and camaraderie, as it can be destructive as well as constructive. Aaron's surreal path to enlightenment never quite gels as he seems more childlike rather than a thirty-six year old widower mourning the tragic death of his wife. Still readers will enjoy The Beginner's Guide to coping with grief.

Carolina De Robertis
9780307599599, $25.95

In 2001 in the Buenos Aires area, twenty two years old college coed Perla Correa is alone house-sitting while her parents are on vacation. Perla recently ended her relationship with Gabriel the journalist when he began looking into her family history as he thinks she was one of the stolen ones.

A naked man invades her home. Although she knows she should be frightened of the intruder, Perla finds herself fascinated with him. As she ignores school and friends, over the next few days he tells her that his life ended during the "Dirty War" when he was abducted leaving behind his beloved pregnant wife. As he relates his story of horror, increasingly Perla wonders who she really is as she examines her parents during the Dirty War state sponsored terrorism as her dad was a high-ranking military officer and her mom was at his side.

Perla is a haunting tale of identity lost maybe forever; as three decades have passed since the Argentina reign of terror, but the aftermath of the horrors still impacts the country. Character driven by the title character who needs to know the truth and the living "ghost" who knows his truth, readers will appreciate this heart-wrenching tale.

Nick Harkaway
9780307595959, $26.95

His father was infamous felon Mathew "Tommy Gun" Spork; his grandfather repaired clocks. Joe Spork admires his dad but fixes antique clocks. His current client, Edie Banister is a gentle elderly woman. When he repairs her clock, Joe inadvertently activates a Post WWII early Cold War era doomsday clock as Edie is a retired secret agent.

Joe becomes the target of the British government, John Ruskin's warrior-monks and a psychopath Asian dictator with robotic bees. On his side he has geriatric Edie, Frankie and most important his receptionist Polly. Though he prefers flight, he knows there is no place to hide. Thus he must fight in order to survive. Joe assists Edie complete her 1950s mission.

This is an engaging steampunk thriller in three parts as Joe becomes embroiled in the doomsday clock countdown, followed by a side trip (by the audience) into Edie's past (that never fully meshes with the rest), and brought back together by the fight or flight finish. Fast-paced but over the top of Big Ben, fans who appreciate something different will want to read Angelmaker.

Schmidt Steps Back
Louis Begley
9780307700650, $25.95

On New Year's Eve 2008, septuagenarian retired lawyer Albert Schmidt feels like a randy teenager as his late partner's wife Alice Verplanck is arriving from Paris to see him in the Hamptons. He thinks back to 1995 when her spouse mysteriously died and they began an affair that he destroyed with his accusations of betrayal. Although Alice has doubts about Schmidt, she agreed to see him if he steps back to evaluate his life.

Meanwhile Schmidt's dysfunctional relationship with his daughter Charlotte had turned worse when she married a pathetic man whose mother is a modern day Machiavelli shrink. The psychiatrist mother-in-law subtly worked a campaign that insured Schmidt became unacceptable to his daughter. Pregnant and with one child already, Charlotte offers her dad a reconciliation, which he accepts though that means dealing with a weak son-in-law and the man's mother from hell masquerading as a psychiatrist trying to widen the Schmidt chasm.

The third Schmidt character study (see About Schmidt and Schmidt Delivered) is a fascinating very dry humorous comedy of manners. The title character is terrific as he regrets some of his choices and fears he will rue his choice to reconcile with his daughter and meet his grandchild. Droll and witty, fans of the Schmidt saga will enjoy what symbolizes a senior citizen as the hero recognizes only he and two friends are still upright; while wondering who will be the last one standing at their funerals.

The Lost Fleet - Beyond the Frontier: Invincible
Jack Campbell
Ace Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781937007454, $26.95,

After being the hero leading the Alliance to victory against the Syndicate Worlds, his superiors distrust the legend Admiral John "Black Jack" Geary as the people would support him in a coup. Thus he and his First Fleet are assigned exploration beyond the Syndic sector. Though he believes .the mission is a death trap, he obeys orders. His gut proves right as they end up under attack by a previously unknown species (see Dreadnaught).

Black Jack has his fleet jump only to find a different alien species greets them with hostilities while the human ships struggle to organize and fight back amidst the chaos. This race's armada uses suicide missions while blocking the exiting jump point back into human space. With many on board the numerous vessels dead or severely wounded and ships in need of repair, Black Jack knows him and his crews must escape though the geared jump point; because staying here is death, but running the gauntlet may be as deadly. Especially since he is unsure of what awaits them on the other side.

The Beyond the Frontier Black Jack military science fiction is an entertaining thriller with great space battles between the First Fleet and the aliens. In fact, the trapped humans have found a third alien species who they are unsure of whether they will prove hostile too. Action-packed though linear, fans will appreciate the latest quandary as Black Jack follows the advice of Captain Desjani quoting her dad: When you find yourself going through hell, keep going."

Shadow's Fall
Dianne Sylvan
9781937007386, $7.99

Three years ago, Austin based singer Miranda Grey married the vampire prime of the Southern regions, David Solomon; becoming his Queen of Shadows. Since then she has kept her successful Grammy Award winning music career separate from her role as the Vampire Queen of the South.

As she is to perform at a major concert in Austin, the Texas capital is also host to the once every ten years vampire council meeting. Attending the session is their sworn enemy the Prime of the Northeast James Hart. Miranda and David assume he plans something insidious against them. Hart's thirst for vengeance leads to violence in Texas; while his archenemies receive help from a surprising source, but David has doubts whether he can trust his sire.

The third Shadow World urban fantasy (see Queen of Shadows and Shadowflame) is a great exhilarating entry with several stunning twists including a fabulous shocking cliffhanging climax. Fans will believe in the Sylvan mythos thriving in a modern technological world with cell phones and much more. Fast-paced with backstabbing and betrayal, Shadow's Fall is superb.

Stephen Wallenfels
9781937007430, $7.99

In Prosser, Washington, the screeching noise wakes up teenager Josh and his dad. They quickly realize they have no phone, internet, radio or TV service. They are stunned to see the humongous grayish spheres. Josh watches in horror as the newspaper delivery person Jamie vanishes into a light. Father and son quickly realize anyone outside is zapped so they rush back inside their home wondering what to do when their food and water are gone. The pair gets on each other's nerves as time slowly passes while under "house arrest".

At the same time in Los Angeles, tweener Megs says good-bye to her mom in a hotel parking garage. Soon afterward the sphere arrives. Megs quickly realizes anyone outside is zapped as she sits in her mom's car. She enters the hotel where those in charge brutally control supplies, viciously keep families apart and ruthlessly kill any opposition.

Rotating perspective between the protagonists, readers obtain a throwback survivor science fiction novel that is a sort of The Lord Of The Flies inside a pre-virus The War of the Worlds. The comparison between the subplots is enlightening as the lead pair considers how much their lives changed as they recognize their world will never be the same. The cast is solid especially Josh the teen and Megs the tweener who act their respective age, and while we never meet the aliens outside the POD that adds to the sense of terror. Ironically, humans behave eve more horrid towards each other than the POD invaders in an entertaining young adult thriller.

Caring Is Creepy
David Zimmerman
Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
9781569479773, $15.00,

In Georgia, sixteen years old Winn teaches fifteen year old Lynn Marie Sugrue and Dani Dunham how to pretend to be someone else on line. Lynn Marie, frightened over the activities of her mom the nurse and her mom's drug addicted boyfriend Hayes, finds refuge with Army specialist Logan Loy. After Loy punches his sergeant, he flees.

Knowing the MPs will pursue him for the punch and wanting to avoid the military for AWOL as well as the the punch, Loy arrives the home of Lynn Marie in rural Georgia where he believes no one will find him as long as his hostess conceals him. Lynn Marie places Loy inside a storage space behind her bedroom closet while insuring his basic sustenance needs are taken care of. Meanwhile, Hayes has angered some violent people, who have no qualms about breaking the limbs of his girlfriend and her daughter. As the danger mounts, Lynn Marie increasingly becomes a martinet ordering her military prisoner about while trying to keep him from bolting.

This is an exciting rural Georgia thriller as the two prime subplots of the teen-soldier and the Hayes-mob nicely merge into a coherent enjoyable tale. The cast is fully developed so that the events seem genuine except for the fiery, but too smooth climatic clean-up. Still fans will relish the trek as Lynn Marie learns first hand that Caring Is Creepy.

James Lilliefors
Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
9781616950682, $25.00,

Private sector intelligence contractor Charles Mallory analyzes data that shakes him up as he finds ties between billions of humanitarian aid dollars in isolated Africa villages and a genocidal virus that eradicates those same villagers allegedly being helped. A former CIA operative, Charles informs his brother Jon, an investigative reporter, as to what he believes is happening in Africa and other remote pockets of abject poverty.

Jon heads to Africa to investigate what his sibling told him; so that he can report to world on the atrocities he finds. Instead, Jon is caught in the crosshairs of a more insidious global power scheme in which the conspirators have deployed their virus to cleanse the Third World of poverty. Back in DC, Charles is the last hope to prevent a man-made pandemic catastrophe.

This is a great action-packed thriller starring two heroic siblings and a villain who for the most part is off page. Ironically, the cast including the Mallory brothers is overwhelmed by the incredible gripping plot. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Jon travels to Africa and never slows down as James Lilliefors technologically modernizes James Swift's A Modest Proposal.

Chicory Up
Irene Radford
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756407247, $7.99,

Pixies are alive and well with a tribe residing in Ten Acre Wood. Many of the nearby human townsfolk of Skene Falls know Pixies exist and are responsible for their beautiful gardens. The Pixies banished Thistle Down from their community and soon afterward a magical spell changed her into a human. She and Dick Carrick fell in love and will marry as soon as a judge issues Thistle a birth certificate.

While the couple waits, there is trouble amongst the Pixies as the tribes are at war against each other egged on by the magic of the fairies who still want possession of Ten Acres Wood that hybrid Haywood Wheatland failed to obtain for them (see Thistle Down). Though young and inexperienced, Chicory knows a civil war will lead to the destruction of the Pixies replaced in the woods by the fairies. He and his followers form their own tribe living in the attic of Dick's mother. Thistle Down returns to Pixie to end the belligerency, abate the out of control energy, and insure a new king is selected. Dick fears he is losing his beloved so he turns in to a Pixie due to Chicory's magic. He enters the fray to insure Thistle Down's back is covered.

Human or pixie, Thistle Down is a wise conscientious person who fulfills her obligations by going the extra kilometers. The Pixies bring plenty of amusing havoc unless you happen to be the human whose life is disrupted by the mischievous tribe. Filled with magic, intrigue and romance, readers will enjoy the latest entertaining lighthearted Pixie Chronicles woodland fantasy. Irene Radford is one of my favorite authors.

Banner of the Damned
Sherwood Smith
9780756406776, $25.95

Emras the Scribe always adhered to the three rules of her profession: do not interfere; keep the peace; and tell the truth. Now she writes her defense as she stands before the judges who determine whether she lives or dies. She scribes that she tried not to interfere; meant to keep the peace; and tells the absolute truth. She begins her story when she was fourteen working as a kitchen servant when a scribe teacher invited her to test for the Fundamentals.

Childless Queen Alian the Second of Colend names her sister Princess Lasthavais as heir to the throne. However, Princess Lasva's euphoria ends with the announcement that her sibling is carrying the heir. Despondent over her loss and with no future at home, Princess Lasva leaves the kingdom. She meets Prince Ivandred of Marloven Hesea whose kingdom's royal mage has dealings with Colendi's enemy, magical Norsunder. Attracted to Marloven, Lasva also is in awe of what he and his subjects can do especially with magic. They marry. Queen Alian, worried about her sister, sends well-regarded Emras to protect Lasva, but the scribe arrives too late.

Four centuries after the fantastic Inda fantasy (see INDA, THE FOX, KING'S SHIELD and TREASON'S SHORE), Sherwood Smith returns with another superb complex thriller. Filled with action, the story line is told from the point of view of the scribe who strictly makes a case that she tells the truth with this document though she may have crossed the line re rules one and two. Readers learn of Sherwood Smith's theory of relativity as new perspectives on previous key events (scribed in the Inda fantasy) surface. Fast-paced yet profound, Banner of the Damned is a terrific tale.

Michelle Sagara
9780756407421, $17.99

Anyone in Toronto seeing Emma in daylight would believe she is contented with her life; however at night she, accompanied by her dog, goes to the cemetery to visit her late boyfriend Nathan who died in a car accident. On one particular evening while visiting his grave, Emma notices two other people on the bench; an elderly woman seemingly made up of rags and Eric from school. They turn towards her and the woman touches her which leaves Emma scared and cold.

Eric receives a call asking if he found the necromancer. He says yes, but has not kill her yet as he has a week to complete the mission. However, Eric knows if he falters, Chase is nearby to complete the assassination assignment. The pair quickly like and admire kind Emma and realize she is not a necromancer, but something else. Instead of taking power from the dead for dark spells, she helps ghosts who for whatever reason walk the city streets. She tries to rescue the lost little boy who is enflamed in fire for eternity unless they get his mother to rescue him. Aware of Emma and her power, the Necromancer wants her power to use for his dark deeds.

Michelle Sagara writes an enthralling Canadian urban fantasy tale filled with action inside of an allegorical good and evil storyline while readers anticipate the confrontation. The first book of the Queen of the Dead contains a dark eerie atmosphere, which should surprise no one who ever visited a cemetery at night. However, it is Emma who holds the storyline together as Eric and Chase know first-hand she makes loyal friends (including the deceased) wherever she goes, which is fortunate for her as she will need them to survive the ordeal.

Foreigner: Intruder
C.J. Cherryh
9780756407155, $25.95

Assigned by Ilisidi the aiji-dowager grandmother of his friend Tabiniaiji the atevi leader of the Western Association, intelligent human diplomat of the alien atevi Bren Cameron continues to negotiate with the last of the powerful Marid rebel lords still fighting Machigi to end the hostilities by forging an alliance while also ceding his claim to the Western coast. Meanwhile Tabini's son Cajeiri the heir reluctantly has returned to Bu'Javid. His apartment looks more like a prison cell to the lad especially after spending time at his great- grandmother's opulence abode.

Several weeks since being tasked, Bren feels caught in the middle as he makes slow but steady progress with Machigi who never saw a human before his visit. However Lord Tatiseigi is another story as he loathes the off world foreigners and he firmly believes the only good human is a dead human.

The latest Foreigner Universe saga (see Betrayer, Deceiver and Conspirator) is a deep cerebral entry with limited action, as the political and ethnic machinations are the prime themes. The human diplomat struggles with his mission as he is close friends to one side and a victim of racism by the other side; yet he must put aside his personal feelings to broker a peace deal. Although you need to have read Betrayer to understand how far Bren has traveled to get in the mess he is in, fans will enjoy the latest excursion into the aptly titled Foreigner Universe.

Life Guards In The Hamptons
Celia Jerome
9780756407254, $7.99

Sitting in her Manhattan apartment graphic novelist Willow Tate hears of a massive crime wave in her childhood home of Paumanok Harbor, Long Island. Apparently violent dolphins are hunting people. She refuses to go back there as she flees from her feelings for Matt Spencer until the chiggers get her and her Pomeranian buddy Little Red forcing them to return home.

As a Visualizer, Willow finds her latest hero's companion Oey alive on the island sent there from the sea god M'ma who lives in a dimension where magic is normal and is adjacent to ours. The rare bird is tearing apart the town by the birders who want to find it. The dolphins, lile Oey are there to avail her and the other espers in town and the dolphins too came from the magical dimension. A hurricane is coming that connects the evil sea serpent N'fwend with the robbers that are cleaning out the town. The Visualizer Willow knows if her side loses, her hometown is wiped off the map.

The latest Willow Tate Visualizer island fantasy (see Trolls in the Hamptons and Night Mares in the Hamptons) is a fun tale that amusingly lampoons paranormal powers and the sub-genre's tendency to polarize the concepts of good vs. evil. The eccentric cast brings humor with the problems of using their psi talent to include the heroine forgetting the byproduct of her art. Although similar in tone to Fire Works in the Hamptons, fans will enjoy this delightful tale summed up by the police chief who must have stock in an antacid company, which he chews like M&Ms when Willow is in town.

Blood On The Bayou
Stacy Jay
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781439189870, $7.99,

Fairies became human blood seekers biting mortals. The Fey toxin leaves 75% of the humans insane; 10% physically misshapen before dying; and another 10% instantly dead; the remaining populace contains immunity. Katrina exacerbated the fairies assault for those living on the Delta (see Dead on the Delta).

Immune to the toxin, Fairy Control and Containment evidence collector Annabelle Lee works the bayou beat. Her former lover Hitch asks for her help in finding stolen Fey toxin, a secret lab using human guinea pigs and an FBI traitor. Annabelle hesitantly agrees to assist him though she fears a meltdown as she still loves Hitch. Complicating her life further is she must deal with her attraction to the mysterious Tucker, who has his paranormal skills like invisibility, his elixir and his lethal warning.

The latest Annabelle Bayou fantasy is an interesting thriller starring a kick butt heroine with issues mostly caused by the three males (including a current BF) competing for the title of "Master of Her Vagina". Filled with action, the storyline is thin yet fans will enjoy trekking the swamps guided by an energetic irreverent protagonist.

Wicked As They Come
Delilah S. Dawson
9781451657883, $7.99

Two weeks ago, Nurse Tish Everett found the body of elderly Mrs. Stein. Now she is at the deceased woman's estate sale where she finds a ruby locket. Before she can pay for it, an elderly woman and then her beeper interrupts her. She rushes off to deal with an emergency forgetting the locket in her pocket without paying for the item.

Tish cleans the locket, but struggles to open it before she finally plies it apart. She is unaware that the locket was sent by a magician to her. When she awakens, Tish finds herself in Sang dealing with circus ringmaster Criminy Stain the fanged bludman. Everyone except Criminy looks at her with suspicion as she lacks fangs. Meanwhile Tish realizes she has the "glancing" skill which enables her to tell fortunes. As she considers staying or not, her key the locket home is stolen Criminy and Tish search for the locket, but find the deadly anti Blud racist Magistrate plotting evil.

This is an entertaining steampunk fantasy starring a modern day "Alice" falling through the rabbit hole. The storyline is fast-paced with the key (besides the locket) being Tish's awe with what she sees and the obvious distrust by the Blud community towards her. Fans will relish her escapades with roguish Criminy as she must decide to blud or not to blud that is her question.

Laura Griffin
9781451617375 $7.99

FBI profiler Mark Wolfe has spent years trying to end the serial killing spree of the Death Raven. He learns of the apparent latest victim Stephanie Snow who the San Marcos, Texas police believe was killed by her ex-boyfriend Joshua Bender. At a convenience store, in San Marcos, Mark saves the life of police detective Allison Doyle.

Her police peers refuse to help the Fed, but Mark persuades Allison that a psychopath killed the young woman and this predator is due to kill again soon. With help from the Delphi Center forensic research facility, Mark and Allison try to prevent another homicide by the Twisted Death Raven.

The latest Tracers forensic romance (see Snapped, Unforgivable, Unspeakable and Untraceable) is a fantastic action-packed thriller that never slows down as time is running out to prevent the next murder. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as his Death Raven case has left him with commitment phobia since he sees the faces of the little girls who will never see their mother while she is vigilant on taking down the killer. Fast-paced but interwoven with forensic science, sub-genre fans will appreciate this strong tale.

Cherry Adair
9781439153833, $7.99

In Monte Carlo, Maguire Security expert Rand Maguire knows his business and career ended with the celebrity wedding that he and his team secured. The guests apparently were drugged last night leading to an orgy of monumental proportions. The morning after has a bunch of angry remorseful celebs demanding answers that he cannot provide.

Lodestone chief Zak Stark sends top chemist Dr. Dakota North to investigate. She fears someone released Rapture, a drug she worked on with Rand's father in the lab; a magic pill that sent his dad to prison for the homicide of his mom and was allegedly destroyed in a lab explosion. Although their past is much more estranged and he does not trust her because of it, Dakota and Rand team up tracking who procured and tested Rapture as they fear more incidents will follow.

The latest Lodestone (see Hush) romantic suspense is an exciting and fabulous action-packed thriller with a fabulous late twist. Fast-paced from the opening morning after the wedding scene and never slowing down until the final confrontation, readers will not need a sixth sense to know this is a super storyline.

At Your Pleasure
Meredith Duran
9781451606959, $7.99

In 1715 England Lady Leonora knows that the German King from Hanover forced her father Lord Hexton to flee to France and her brother David to join the Jacobite cause when the ruler unjustly impeached her dad and stripped away his title. Her late husband Lord Towe is the only reason she still has the family estate Hodderby, but now her former lover the king's agent, Earl Adrian Ferrers, arrives to confront David over his seditious activities. She knows he is on an act of vengeance and he looks forward to destroying the woman who betrayed their love.

Adrian informs her he and his men will stay in her home and neither she nor her staff will leave. He waits for David to arrive so he can arrest him as a traitor. However, as he holds her prisoner in her family home, Adrian and Nora realize they never lost their youthful attraction. However, as he realizes there is a greater conspiracy that threatens the monarchy, war breaks out.

This is a terrific second chance Georgian romance in which the backstabbing political intrigue brings a tense sense of foreboding doom. Character driven yet filled with action, historical readers will relish the gender war between the King's Agent and the traitor's daughter.

The Seduction of Lady X
Julia London
9781439175477, $7.99

In 1809 despondent Lady Olivia reflects on her six miserable years of marriage to the Marquis of Carey. Edward is a vile drunk; so much so the twenty-eight employees at Everdon Court and his wife know to keep her contact with him to a minimum. Her abusive spouse wants one thing from Olivia, an heir, but she so far has failed.

The only sunshine in Olivia's gloom is steward Harrison Tolly, who is kind to her. However, Harrison conceals he loves her; as nothing can come of it. When her unmarried pregnant sister Alexa Hastings arrives from Spain, Edward ridicules the siblings. Harrison heroically steps in leaving him with the sister he does not want. Not long afterward Mr. Fish informs Harrison that his father the Earl of Ashwood died and he is the heir in spite of being an illegitimate son. A lethal accident further complicates matters. Finally there is the matter of Lady X.

The latest Secrets of Hadley Green Regency romance (see The Revenge of Lord Eberlin and The Year of Living Scandalously) is an engaging tale of forbidden love starring a wonderful cast. The storyline uses too much happenchance in rapid fire, but fans will enjoy the delightful Seduction of Lady X.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
Alexander McCall Smith
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780307378408, $24.95,

Owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana, Precious Ramotswe repeatedly dreams of a tall stranger. However, Precious wastes no time dwelling on quirky dreams as she and her partner take on the case of Fanwell, the top apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors who is in trouble with the law due to a "friendly" association. The two sleuths also are looking into the shenanigans a contractor is pulling on Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti.

The star of her recent dreams, American Clovis Andersen arrives. He is the author of Precious' precious guidebook, The Principles of Private Detection. Finally, joined by Clovis, Precious inquires into the firing of highly regarded Mma Potokwane, as matron at the orphan farm.

The latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency tale (see The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party) contains strong detecting subplots, but these are used to bring out life in Botswana. The leisure storyline is fun to read, but as Precious finds out a veteran can learn new tricks. Fans will enjoy the latest fascinating trip to Africa as Precious is a caring guide.

Blood Secret
Sharon Page
Kensington Aphrodisia
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9780758250957, $14.00,

Though irate at her foolish brother, Lucy Drake knows his gambling debts are a family obligation requiring repayment. Lucy has no money to make remittance, but has one item of value, her virginity. She offers her body to the man holding her brother's markers Sinjin, the Duke of Greystone. He accepts her terms of a fortnight but conceals his real agenda from her.

Greystone has two causes, which Drake unwittingly abets. A vampire, he plans to seduce the information as to the whereabouts of kidnapped nephew taken by her father. Once he rescues his blood, he will fulfill his vow to kill shapeshifting dragons like Lucy Drake. Fourteen nights later, Greystone finds he craves more with Lucy.

The latest Blood Deep heated historical romantic urban fantasy (see Blood Deep, Blood Red and Blood Rose) is a fabulous paranormal thriller as the male protagonist hates that he thinks "I love Lucy." He must decide between his heart's oath and his heart's desire. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as the vampire and the dragon shifter face dilemmas that could end tragic.

Naked Angel
Logan Belle
Kensington Aphrodisia
9780758261625, $14.00

Performer Mallory is ecstatic as her new burlesque club The Painted Lady opens tonight. While she performs on stage, her boyfriend of four years Alec proposes. However, he also added a stipulation that she stops performing.

Though it hurts her deeply, costume designer Gemma knows she is frozen tundra in bed. Encouraged by a dominatrix, when she meets the married financial backer of the Painted Lady, Gemma proves she can be equatorial hot.

Nadia left the stage as a ballerina due to an injury, but takes to the stage of The Painted lady. Men love her show except the one she secretly loves who owns the ballet company.

The third Club Burlesque erotic tale (see Fallen Angel and Blue Angel) is a wonderful contemporary that intertwines the three sexcapades subplots into a cohesive engaging albeit torrid novel starring three fine couples.

Rebecca Zanetti
Kensington Brava
9780758259271, $14.00

Moira Dunne the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter witch deploys quantum physics to move around in time and space. One century ago she had a one night stand, but though she immensely enjoyed the tryst that was in the "past".

However, Moira is unaware that her rendezvous with Connlan Kayrs turned out to be much more when he marked her as his mate. He has patiently waited decades for her to mature before Conn can claims Moira as his. Now Conn is back in a stunned Moira's life as he insists he needs her and by the way her family's support against a vampire clan creating a customized virus to attack the mates of the undead.

The third Dark Protectors romantic urban fantasy (see Fated and Claimed) is an engaging thriller that moves forward the overarching theme of a pending war; which is a two edged sword as the motive for the paranormal hostilities is not very lucid. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced as Conn claims the witch he is fated to mate with while betrayal leaves their relationship and their family and friends in peril. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Rebecca Zanetti's exciting novel as the vampire and the witch prove absence makes the heart (and other body parts) grow fonder.

Kiss The Bride
Deirdre Martin, Christie Ridgway, Laura Florand
Kensington Brava
9780758272881, $14.00

"Early Bird Special" by Deirdre Martin. Dane Fine is in Palm Beach working on opening of an upscale boutique while staying with her grandparents in their retirement community. They believe their granddaughter and Josh Green the landscaper are a perfect match, but her next assignment is Paris.

"Wedding Ink." by Christie Ridgway. Wedding vows writer Charlotte Bond reluctantly agrees to the bride Audrey Langford's demand that she attend with the best man Luke Harper. A year ago after a fight he fled to Qatar on an engineering project.

"All's Fair in Love and Chocolate" by Laura Florand. Food blogger Eloise "Ellie" Layne goes undercover in Paris to learn the secrets of French chocolatier Simon Casset. Although he knows who she is, he loves kisses.

These are three entertaining contemporaries starring nice lead characters who learn what love is.

Invitation to Scandal
Bronwen Evans
Kensington Brava
9780758259219, $14.00

In 1809 Kent, although he knows he does this to prove his father's innocent of a treason charge, Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore thinks what sacrifices he does for his country as he plots to capture the notorious smuggler "Dark Shadow." Rheda Kerrich plans one more shipment before the Dark Shadow fades into local mythology. However, her final mission falls apart when she becomes trapped by a barrel of French brandy. Rufus finds her pinned down and helps her up.

Attracted to Rhe, he plans to seduce her while continuing his hunt for the Dark Shadow. Rhe feels likewise about the viscount, but knows her loyalty is to save her family from disgrace and her village from poverty during these difficult times. As he begins to uncover the identity of the Dark Shadow, Rufus and Rhe fall in love, but her persona stands in their way.

This is a fabulous Regency romance (see Invitation to Ruin) starring two strong individuals. Both strongly believe in honor and loyalty, which ironically may keep them separated as each has other people to care about. The internalized conflict between different loves makes for a strong Napoleonic Era tale.

Don't Die Under The Apple Tree
Amy Patricia Meade
9780758267580, $7.99

During World War II, thirtyish Mrs. Rosie O'Doyle Keefe works as a riveter at the Pushey Shipyard in Brooklyn. The work is demanding especially on petite Rosie. The men despise women doing physical labor at their shipyard as they believe the females could never do a man's job and will drive down wages. Rosie gets into an altercation with heater Hansen. Foreman Finch fires Rosie as he has a dozens of women ready to replace her while he has no one to match Hansen's skills. She pleads with him as she cares for her widow sister and baby niece. He agrees to keep her on board if she meets his personal job requirement. She escapes his grab, but is unemployed.

After she leaves, someone kills Finch. Police lieutenant Jack Riordan investigates the homicide in which his supervisor gives him five days to make an arrest. Rosie, knowing she is the prime suspect, also makes inquiries and soon learns many of the seventy or so employees had strong reasons to kill Finch.

As Marjorie McClelland (see Black Moonlight) takes a respite, Amy Patricia Meade introduces readers to her new Rosie the Riveter series. The storyline takes readers back to WWII in New York City where male chauvinism rules yet women prove to be an equal partner in the greatest generation as they perform a "men only" job; setting the stage for their daughters to "come a long way baby" by breaking down glass barriers. Rosie is a great protagonist and the whodunit cleverly devised. However, it is 1940s mostly Brooklyn that come incredibly alive as armchair warriors will believe they have traveled back to where the women's equal rights movement took hold in society.

Fern Michaels
9780758266040, $15.00

In California, Sophie performs a seance for the state's First Lady who needs to contact her assassinated uncle. Afterward Toots and the three Godmothers (Sophie, Ida, and Mavis) learn that two people are missing. They are Toots' stepson entertainment lawyer Chris Clay and actress Laura Leigh have vanished. They were reported seen together.

Toots daughter Abby, editor in chief of the tabloid Informer (bought incognito by her mom), investigates for her paper and because she likes Chris. The four golden girls abetted by friends ranging from the streets to the governor's mansion make inquiries too as they each love Chris. Back in Georgia, long time housekeeper and friend Bernice needs by-pass surgery.

The Steel Magnolia middle age version of the Sisterhood is a fun but extremely thin thriller as the ensemble cast limits any depth since each of the fearsome female foursome frolic with small personal growth. Still fans of the series will wonder what the Scoop is re Chris and Laura as like Toots and the Godmothers they hope he and Abby make it.

Words Get In The Way
Nan Rossiter
9780758246684, $15.00

With her widower dad suffering a stroke, single mom Callie Wyeth, accompanied by her three years old son Henry diagnosed with autism, comes home to new Hampshire to care for her father. Callie thinks of Henry's dad Linden Finch. She ended their relationship before she knew she was pregnant. When Callie tried to inform Linden, she learned he left New England for California.

An intoxicated friend Katie informs Linden that Callie dumped him because she was pregnant with a married man's baby. When Linden and Callie see each other for the first time in years, both know the attraction remains strong. However, that break-up remains between them though they try to move on together while Henry and Linden's rescued animals become buddies.

Nan Rossiter captures the essence of a young high functioning autistic child who suffers from a speech disorder making communication that much more difficult. The romantic subplot never quite gels as Callie and Linden learn W.C. Field's commentary: "Never work with animals or children" if you want to be the star.

Night Games
Crystal Jordan
Kensington Aphrodisia
9780758261564, $14.00

Dedicated Seattle Police Department's Magickal Task Force officer Selina Grayson is a centuries old elf who remains haunted with the death of her cousin by a still out there serial killing bloodsucker. Her superior assigns Selina the investigation into a serial killer drinking blood from the Magickal and from the Normal aware of the Magickal. The FBI Magickal Crimes Unit assigns human agent Jack Laramie to work with Selina.

The elf and the human are attracted to one another immediately. They begin a heated tryst while working the case. As they fall in love, he wants more, but she chooses less. However, both agree that ending the blood-draining reign of terror comes first, but Selina and Jack fail to realize they fit the profile of a diabolical malevolence.

The second Night urban fantasy police procedural (see Embrace The Night) is an exciting serial killer thriller that deftly blends a tense investigation with heated multispecies sex. The storyline starts slow as Crystal Jordon goes over the ground rules of her mythos, but that also enables fans to believe in witches, vampires, werewolves and Normals (who mostly unaware of the paranormal). Once completed, the plot accelerates into a fast-paced arousing whodunit.

Rest in Pizza
Chris Cavender
9780758271501, $23.00

In Timber Ridge, North Carolina, Eleanor Swift owns and operates A Slice of Delight pizzeria; while her sister Maddy Spencer works there. However, their small-town reveille is wrecked when obnoxious TV celebrity chef Antonio Benet comes to Timber Ridge to sign his latest book. Chef Benet concocts a menu of scorn and insult with no one escaping his vitreous ridicule.

Soon after nasty Benet arrives in town, his murdered corpse is found in A Slice of Delight. Since the body was found in her establishment, the siblings anticipate being on the short list of suspects. From experience they know not to wait so the pair investigates who had the motive and opportunity to kill the odious chef.

The latest pizza regional cozy is an engaging whodunit though there is a deja vu feel to the plot; Eleanor has been accused before (see A Pizza To Die For) and a dead body has been found in the restaurant (see Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder). Fans will enjoy Rest In Pizza; as the "sauce" and "dough" sisters conduct their amateur sleuthing, while their respective love life sinks.

Antiques Disposal
Barbara Allan
9780758263605, $23.00

In Serenity overlooking the Mississippi River Big Jim Bob, owner of the Lucky Four Leaf Storage, auctions the contents of a sealed unit whose owner failed to pay their rental fee. Vivian "Mother' Borne wins the prize with her $100 bid. Mother and Brandy the daughter are excited as they find a Bix Beiderbecke cornet amongst the mouse drippings boxes. They plan to return later to pick up the remainder of their treasure.

When they come back, they find their unit empty except for dead Big Jim Bob inside of a rolled up rug. The Borne pair hosts an auction for the cornet, but someone steals it. The pair soon finds a second body and fear they could be next sharing one rug.

The latest Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery (see Antiques Bizarre and Antiques Knock-Off) is a fabulous madcap murder mystery starring a dynamic duet dueling each other over who gets the last word in (spoofing Shakespearean tragedies of modern day relationship) as they also concurrently search for a killer. Fans will enjoy this amusing cozy due to the jocular relationship between Mother and Daughter.

Too Tempting Too Resist
Cara Elliott
Forever Romance
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9780446584562, $7.99,

Lord Connor Lynsley gave his employee Sara Hawkins ownership of the Wolf's Lair when the former married (see Too Wicked To Wed). Just turned thirty, frequent customer Lord Gryffin Dwight wonders if his best friend's happiness has left him feeling like an aging wastrel.

Lady Eliza Brentford enters the men only brothel gambling den in an attempt to prevent her brother Harry, Lord Leete from leaving the family impoverished. Raging, she immediately meets Harry's role model Gryff. Harry invites Gryff to a house party, which he accepts but conceals his agenda to explore the estate. One kiss and handcuffs leave Gryff and Eliza in need, but as she falls in love she fears her heart will break when the rake leaves her for his next conquest.

Though protagonists are similar in tone as the first tale, the second Lords of Midnight historical romance is a fun story starring an impudent ripping skin heroine and a rake ready to retire from debauching,. Readers will enjoy aptly titled Too Tempting To Resist at any time, but especially when she is handcuffed in his room.

Deadly Dance
Dee Davis
9780446582940, $7.99

The Consortium plan to infiltrate A-Tac failed but left Jason Lawton dead. Intelligence specialist Hannah Marshall mourns the death of her friend, but has a mission dedicated to her fallen comrade. She poses as the inheritor of a valuable art collection including a Monet painting Le Jardin lost in WW II that she wants to sell to Alain DuBois tied to the Consortium in Montreal. However, the ruse fails when DuBois is killed and she and her teammates including new member Harrison Blake are fortunate to escape with their lives as the Consortium blows up his estate.

Hannah returns to teaching at Sunderland College. Her grad student assistant Tina Richards shows her a disturbing podcast she received in her phone depicting a man cutting up a woman. Assuming its real, Hannah shows it to Harrison, the new head of the computer science department. Almost immediately afterward, another agent Avery informs Harrison that history major Sara Lauter is missing. They assume she is the victim of the gruesome torture murder that reminds Harrison of the homicide of his sister Eileen. As Hannah and Harrison fall in love, they and other A-Tac personnel on campus, investigate while the predator targets the political science teacher as the next target.

The latest A-Tac black ops romantic suspense (see Desperate Deeds, Dangerous Desires, Dark Deceptions and Deep Disclosure), is a delightful Dee Davis thriller that brings the action mostly home with a fabulous serial killer case. The fast-paced storyline grips the audience with the failed opening scenario followed by the excellent murder mystery as the D to the second power series continues to deal A's.

Catch Me a Cowboy
Katie Lane
9781455508150, $7.99

In Bramble, Texas, Widow Shirlene Dalton is living proof of the rise and fall of a person. She went from growing up in a trailer park to being married in an oil man's mansion to back to her roots as a widow in a trailer park. While she copes with how fast one can fall after rising, Shirlene detests her redneck trailer park neighbor Billy "Bubba" Wilkes; as he is living proof of her descent.

Shirlene finds four young orphans have squatted in her old trailer. She vows to protect the kids while learning that Bubba has plans to turn Bramble into Wilkesville". As Shirlene learns of his scheme and Bubba observes how nurturing she is with the kids, each drops their stereotypical first opinion of the other; allowing love to flow between them.

The return to Bramble for the latest Deep in the Heart of Texas romance (see Going Cowboy Crazy and Make Mine a Bad Boy) is a fun tale due to the eccentric cast especially the children. The tender but leisurely paced storyline is lighthearted fun as the protagonists are not very neighborly even while falling in love.

How to Ravish a Rake
Vicky Dreiling
9780446565400, $7.99

In 1818, Amy Hardwick recognizes that this is probably her last season to secure a loving husband. Amy understands to procure a mate; she can no longer be a shy wallflower. Intelligent, affluent and a skilled designer, Amy knows Will "the Devil" Darcett is not for her as the rake will never settle down though he courts her.

Will's seduction fails to move Amy, but he believes under her shy icy exterior resides a passionate woman waiting for the right man to release her fervor; he plans to be that right man. However, when they are locked inside a wine cellar, they are forced to marry. As they fall in love, she learns why her spouse desperately perused her; knowing he hurt his beloved, Will must persuade his disillusioned wife that his original motive was insidious but his love is genuine.

Though a frequently used premise taming a rake (see How to Seduce a Scoundrel), Vicky Dreiling provides a fun regency romance due to her charming cast of characters. The storyline is fast-paced as the protagonists wage a gender war in which each wants to unconditionally surrender but pride keeps them apart.

Highland Lover
Amanda Scott
9780446574327, $7.99

In 1403, nineteen years old newlywed Lady Alyson MacGillivray travels with her husband Niall Clyne in the Maryenknyght from Edinburgh to France. Pirates stop their vessel and take the heir to the Scottish throne Jamie Stewart and Niall with them. Before leaving with their human prizes and the cargo, they sink the ship.

On the command of the Scottish king, the Sea Wolf led by Captain Jake Maxwell secretly followed the Maryenknyght and rescue those still on board. Jake takes them back to Scotland while preparing to rescue the captured prince. In their attempt to save the hostages, Jake and Alyson watch in horror as Niall is tossed overboard. Soon afterward Niall's widow and the captain already attracted to one another know they are in love, but first the king's mission must be carried out.

The latest Scottish Knights romance (see HIGHLAND HERO and HIGHLAND MASTER) is a wonderful early fifteenth century swashbuckling adventures. As always with an Amanda Scott historical, real events are critical elements in the exciting storyline. With a superb twist to add to the fun, readers will appreciate this super saga.

Boneyard 11
Linton Robinson
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469951768, $9.99

Drug lord Gaspar feels lonely while in Boneyard 11. His wife divorced him and he knows no family member especially his tweener daughter Magdalena and his other kids will visit him; while his gang is banned from any contact. He needs civilian company so Gaspar arranges to marry thirtyish Nan the hooker. This way she can make conjugal monthly visits to him in the Boneyard and he can use her to pass messages with his Chicano gang.

While cops at all level pressure her and try to manipulate her in any way they can, Nan and Gaspar forge a fond relationship as they begin to know one another. Sean Reach and Ray Ray Mobley think they can use her to make Gaspar a permanent prison resident, but she is smarter than they realize. Soon she becomes the target of law enforcement and a drug war between gangs who care not one iota when children die. When someone stabs her spouse, Nan needs to decide whether to watch him die in the hospital or save his life by bringing about a reconciliation with his children.

Boneyard 11 is an action-packed thriller, but clearly character driven mostly by Nan. She is terrific as she learns to live life to the fullest means adhering to her code of ethics, which brings with it hope for something better. The support cast including her mom, the law, the gangs and her spouse are cynics until her seemingly angelic naivety whimsically touch a part of them they thought withered and died. Linton Robinson writes a fascinating but gory tale of a woman of strange influence.

Die By Wire
Lewis Purdue
9781468018813, $14.99

In 2003 in Al-Kut, Iraq, Army Provost marshal Corporal Mira Longbow knows when she fell in love with her superior officer Sergeant Jackson Day. It was during a firefight against the Mahdi army ending with the disaster of an errant jihadi missile in which a soldier pushed her onto Day's prone body, saving his life though he died three times. Sometime after that the horrible deaths of her sister and newborn nephew from bacteria in Elmira and a kangaroo military court left Mira to believe God and the rear brass didn't give a damn.

In the present, Mira is in Amsterdam on a mission to assassinate shipping mogul Khan Nasiri, the chief of an international child bride trafficking cartel. After a bloody incident with a female jihadist and appeasing sycophant Inspector Harsten, she returns to her task. However, Mira comes across something sinister and brilliant; a high tech jihad by remotely changing fly-by-wire aircraft will make 9/11 seem minor. At the same time Army's Asymmetric Warfare Command Captain Jackson Day comes to Amsterdam from the Middle East seeking Mira's help in translating a recording at a remote Iranian locale. Nasiri is the matchmaker who connects their quests.

This is an action-packed thriller that grips the audience with the powerful premise of a cyber-attack as Richard Clarke the former anti-terrorism czar has said may be the next Jihad, and the governments rationalizing the trafficking of children as a cultural matter. The lead protagonists are dedicated warriors who have no patience for armchair generals; their romance plays second fiddle with the battle against Nasiri. Fast-paced from the shootout in Iraq until the final confrontation, Lewis Purdue writes a sensational soaring story that fans will relish.

Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark
Tilly Babshawe
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062073419, $26.99,

In Beverly Hills, the police respond to a domestic violence call. They enter the Jakes mansion to find the elderly art dealer Andrew Jakes dead from knife wounds and his head nearly decapitated. Tied to the body of the deceased is his much younger wife Angela, who was battered and brutally raped. Detective Danny McGuire investigates the homicide while falling in love with Angela. As the case turns cold, Angela vanishes shortly after leaving the hospital and the estate eventually goes to children's charities.

Danny leaves LAPD to join Interpol. Ten years since the Jakes murder, he lives in France with his wife. Jakes' son Matt Daley visits Danny with evidence that three other homicides contain the identical M.O. as that of his late father to include the raped bound to her dead spouse younger wife vanishing and the money going to charity. Stunned Danny and Matt make inquiries, but soon learn of another similar murder in Hong Kong. They race there to meet the widow Lisa Baring before she disappears. While Matt falls for the widow just like Danny did with Angela, a clue sends the cop to Mumbai hoping to prevent the next homicide by an internationally diabolical serial killer.

The latest Tilly Babshawe homage to Sidney Sheldon (see Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness and Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game) is by far the best of her entries. The fast-paced storyline combines glamour and desire with wrenching crime scenes in a fast-paced global twisting cat and mouse thriller.

Oklahoma City
Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles
9780061986444, $27.99

The premise of "Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed--and Why It Still Matters ", a deeply researched look at the 1995 home gown terrorist attack of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, is that there were more active conspirators than just Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The two journalists insist the investigation focused on two low hanging fruits as for instance several eyewitnesses claimed there was "John Doe Two" with McVeigh when the truck was rented. Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles provide a detailed though somewhat convoluted investigation into the background leading to the tragic event, the bombing and its aftermath with first responders acting with courage to save lives. The authors are insightful with their vivid descriptions of the right wing rabid anti-government militia who vowed vengeance for Ruby Ridge and Waco; McVeigh and Nichols were part of this fringe. They make a strong case that the Feds (FEMA, FBI and ATF) fumbled the full inquiry but name no one specifically as active in the deadly attack. Using tons of documents and interviews, readers and Congress will be reminded by this excellent tome that not all terrorist attacks come from radical Islam as the second worst murderous assault on our soil was caused by extreme non-Muslim Americans.

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir
Kelle Hampton
9780062045034, $24.99

Brett and Kelle Hampton were euphoric with the birth of their second daughter Nella. However, their initial euphoria turns to shock and dismay that their newborn was born with Down syndrome as their first child two years old Lainey was a healthy baby. Once Ms. Hampton moved pass the denial phase to acceptance, she, her spouse and Lainey realized how wonderful Nella is and that they were fortunate that God chose them to raise her. The author of the Enjoying the Small Things blog is her daughter's champion as she has become an advocate for Downs' syndrome people. Her optimism is addicting though some of the difficulties of raising a special needs child is glossed over by the upbeat philosophy (try getting a baby-sitter for a night out when your family lives a thousand miles away). With great photos and expanding on entries from her blog and adding much more, Kelle Hampton provides a wonderful from the heart memoir that encourages families to mentally hug the upbeat moments as "Beauty in the Unexpected" can be our inspirational norm.

The First Warm Evening Of The Year
Jamie M. Saul
9780061449727, $24.99

Voice over freelancer Geoffrey Tremont enjoys his New York City singles lifestyle when he receives a registered letter from attorney Frank Remsen of Shady Grove, New York. His client Laura Stevenson wants him to act as her estate executor. Geoffrey remembers her as Laura Welles who attended Juilliard while he went to Colombia before she moved to Paris twenty years ago as a jazz musician. Curious he calls Frank who says she did not want him to see her like she was just before she died a week ago.

Stunned while thinking back to why they drifted apart, he goes to Shady Grove where Geoffrey meets Laura's best friend widow Marion Ballantine. He falls in love with her with the way she warmly welcomed him. However, he has a Manhattan girlfriend Rita and she has Eliot Wooten though attracted to the man whom she previously seen in a caricature owned by their mutual late friend.

This is a warm character driven romance starring two protagonists struggling with their shocking instant attraction to one another. Each has a significant other and some baggage with hers being much more serious than his. Although there is no action, fans who relish a profound insightful psychological relationship drama will want to read The First Warm Evening Of The Year, wondering how it will end.

The Bond
Wayne Pacelle
9780061969805, $16.99

I am biased as a pet lover who found "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them " as a fascinating cautionary call for mankind to better understand its past, present and future link to animals and the need to protect animals from humanity. Divided into seven chapters and an appendix, The Bond is an easy well written read. Wayne Pacelle, the head of The Humane Society of The United States, assumes his audience is intelligent and open minded; as besides a biochemical tie, animals have been pets even in ancient societies and some species were domesticated millennia ago; people refused to leave New Orleans knowing Katrina would be devastating because they could not leave family behind (that family were pets). Anecdotal entries enhance Mr. Pacelle's call to arms as he explains the history of man and animal bonds and how to protect species like the California condor from lead poisoning. Perhaps the most interesting chapter is the last as Mr. Pacelle analyzes opponents of animal protection who argue everything from second amendment rights to human needs. There is also a warning not to fall for "altruistic" groups with positive sounding labels asking for help as some of these are animal abusers. Instead the author provides "Fifty Ways to Help Animals" with contact information.

Ted Bell
9780061859304, $27.99

MI6 agent Alex Hawke learns that his beloved Anastasia Korsakova, whom he thought long dead, allegedly lives in a maximum security Siberian KGB facility. Although he feels this is a retaliatory trap for his role in the death of Czar Korsakova, Alex has to know the truth about whether the daughter of the recently deceased Russian czar is alive; and if yes how to rescue her. In Siberia, Alex finds Anastasia who tells him to take their three year old child Alexi back to England with him in order to keep their son safe.

Meanwhile an inexplicable catastrophe occurs at Disney World that was not an accident; and the veteran pilot of a USAF F-15 escorting another jet in the Midwest loses control for no explainable reason. At about the same time, the most renowned AI expert Dr. Waldo Cohen vanishes in California. Hawke and his associates (former inspector Ambrose Congreve, Stokely Jones and ex-CIA Harry Brock) search for an adversary, who can be anywhere; an extraordinarily intelligent computer fights a cyberwar to bring the West to its technological knees.

The latest Alex Hawke (see Tsar and Warlord) thriller is a terrific nonstop action tale although the two subplots never quite gels as the AI cyberwar overwhelms the Russians are coming segue. Gripping from the vivid Disney World disaster until the final confrontation with a brilliant Phantom, fans will appreciate Ted Bell's great tale.

The Thirteen
Susie Moloney
9780062117663, $14.99

In Haven Woods, The Thirteen witches run the town. Each has sacrificed their soul to their Master in order to insure their family goals are achieved. When Bill Henderson dies in an accident, his wife Chick, one of the thirteen, grieves deeply before dying in an inferno, At about the same time, Chick dies, another coven member rebellious Audra Wittmore suffers a heart attack while a third witch Isadora Riley watches gleefully.

Izzy arranges for Audra's "exiled" for over a dozen years daughter Paula to come home to care for her mom. Paula who has had bad luck since her banishment arrives back in haven Woods with her child twelve years old Rowan. The witch sisters need a thirteenth to sacrifice; their first choice is the granddaughter coming to town for the first time in her life.

With a darker nod to The Witches of Eastwick, the key to this super horror tale is the little things that make Haven Woods seem like a quiet safe suburb. However, beneath the beneath the family oriented veneer is a nasty place in which human sacrifice, demonic assaults and blood flow are the norm. Readers will relish The Thirteen as Susie Moloney provides a bewitching thriller.

Before The Poison
Peter Robinson
9780062004796, $25.99

After three decades residing in California, following the death of his wife Laura after a bout with cancer, Oscar winning film composer Chris Lowndes returns home to Yorkshire. He purchases Kilnsgate House because he wants the isolation to grieve in peace. However, Heather Barlow the realtor failed to inform Chris that his new home was the site where Grace Fox poisoned her husband Ernest in 1953. Following her conviction Grace hung for her murder of her spouse and a true crime book Famous Trials became a popular seller.

Chris learns about the infamous incident and curious, he conducts a little research. He becomes fascinated by Grace who was a dedicated nurse in France and the Pacific during WW II and begins to investigate what drove her to kill her physician husband. As he follows Grace's trail, Chris composes a sonata to honor his late wife while also guiltily attracted to neighbor Heather.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and company take a breather as Peter Robinson provides an intriguing character study that contains three interrelated subplots from different eras. Readers observe the modern day sexagenarian widower struggling to move on with his grief while his inquiries into Grace circa 1953 (excerpts from Famous Trials) and WWII (Grace's diaries). Although Heather's attraction to Chris never comes across as real, Before The Poison is a terrific moving first person tale of grieving widow stepping out alone for the first in decades.

Hide Me Among The Graves
Tim Powers
9780061231544, $25.99

In 1819, John Polidori is part of the romantic writers' inner circle led by Byron and Shelley as he writes a vampire tale. Two years later he is dead, allegedly a suicide victim.

In 1862 London the Rosetti siblings are very talented artists. Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a wonderful pre-Raphaelite painter and Christina is a well-regarded poetess. However, they fear their late Uncle John haunts them from the grave. Dante and Christina ask for help from former prostitute Adelaide McKee; her veterinarian lover John Crawford and Polidori's romantic writing peer Edward John Trelawny. Polidori and his kin plan to terrorize London starting with those who share their blood.

This is an engaging refreshing vampire Victorian thriller with an incredible twist in which the siblings' talent is at its "immortal" for the ages' best when the vampire "controls" them. The time and place is incredibly developed so much so that readers will believe they meet a who's who while walking the foggy streets of London; however that depth also slows down the pace of a wonderful loose sequel to The Stress of Her Regard.

Voyagers of the Titanic
Richard Davenport-Hines
9780061876844, $26.99

"Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From" is a refreshing different spin to the Titanic tragedy as Richard Davenport-Hines provides an insightful look at the motives of the various classes on board with an emphasis on why they were on the vessel. The author divides the nonfiction into three parts: "On Land", "At Sea" and "Life and death". Inside each part, Mr. Hines further divides into chapters with an emphasis on five categories: sailors, crew and passengers (further divided into first, second and third class) though there is also insight into ship-owners and builders as part of the pre-sailing "On Land". Thus readers obtain a wonderful series of biographies on not just the rich and famous on board, but on those like chattel in steerage, the crew working in unbearable heat, and the shipbuilder Lord Pirrie and owner Pierpont Morgan. The Edwardian values led men to choose honorable death so that their women can live; but ironically the women unused to going alone were too afraid to leave without their men; thus unfilled lifeboats deployed leaving many unnecessarily to die. The doomed voyage symbolizes wake of Edwardian society (with WWI being the burial).

Stolen Prey
John Sandford
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399157684, $27.95,

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension chief Lucas Davenport is determined to find and arrest the thin man and big woman who robbed him of $500 at an ATM and broke his wrist. He assigns his best detective Virgil Flowers to track down the pair. St. Paul leaders want Davenport's team to locate the Naiads of the North valuable bronze statue before it is melted to sell as ore.

The case that garners media attention happens when the police are called to the affluent Brooks family home in Deephaven. A husband, wife, two daughters, and their dogs are tortured and murdered. The father Patrick owned Sunnie software that would make an ideal money laundering locale. .Three Mexican thugs come from their country searching for their missing 22 million. At the same time a computer gamer and his female accomplice tries to convert money into gold. Nothing comes together, but Davenport and his team diligently work the cases.

Nobody writes a police procedural better than John Sandford consistently does. The glimpse into Davenport's home life humanizes the super cop; as does his need to incarcerate the two thieves though he will learn revenge can turn humorously horse sh*tty. The prime murder mystery is a cleverly devised serpentine whodunit that twists like a Mobius band. It keeps readers up late to learn what happened.

Beatriz Williams
9780399157646, $25.95

In 1916 in Amiens, France, a woman waits outside a church for British Army Captain the Honorable Julian Ashford. When he leaves the church, she calls his name. He turns to her without any recognition of who she is as she keeps saying to herself don't faint before falling into his arms.

In 2007 in New York City, Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson meets billionaire investment genius Julian Laurence at a meeting. Though she is pretty and intelligent, he could have any woman in the world. To everyone attending the meeting including Kate, Julian seems to have fallen in love at first sight. Kate feels the same powerful pull; so she wonders why he abruptly ends their relationship just as she is accused of leaking him proprietary information. Julian has been waiting since 1916 for the woman who saved his life to during the trench warfare to catch up to him while modern day Kate struggles with his WWI British officer's sentiment re women.

Mindful of Somewhere In Time by Richard Matheson, this is a great time travel romance that deftly moves back and forth between 2007 and 1916. The protagonists are fully developed, which enables the audience to ignore plausibility and enjoy a tender love story that defies time and much more.

Red, White and Blood
Christopher Farnsworth
9780399158933, $25.95

Since President Andrew Johnson in 1867 pardoned Nathanial Cade the vampire, he loyally has served American presidents in the war against horror (see Blood Oath). However, the Boogeyman has returned; Cade partially defeated this evil centuries ago, but knows how close he came to permanently dying. This "spiritual parasite" has a sinister malevolent teammate as they plan to get to Cade through President Samuel Curtis, his staff and his re-election committee.

Cade and his human liaison Zach Barrows work closely with Secret Service as Curtis campaigns in the Midwest. At the same time, zealot anti Curtis reporter Megan Roark begins to uncover some weird things that could expose Cade. However, Cade knows his prime missions are to destroy his invincible foes and keep Curtis safe even as the incumbent may lose his reelection bid.

The third paranormal Cade thriller (see The President's Vampire) is an exhilarating taut twisting tale with a stunning great finish. Fast-paced readers observe the 2012 election from a different perspective of an individual who might have problems with voter ID and illegal immigration laws. Gory, this is an entertaining thriller from start to finish.

Crystal Gardens
Amanda Quick
9780399159084, $25.95

On Lantern Street in Victorian London, Mrs. Flint and Mrs. Marsh are the respectable owners of an agency that provides companions to customers. There are two rules to become an employee of the agency which really deals with inquiries: the prospect must not be afraid of danger and must possess psychical powers; as the firm employs inquiry agents disguised as governesses and paid companions to find items and prople.

Agent Evangeline Ames recuperates from a brush with death in Little Dixby. A noise awakens her from a peaceful sleep and she instantly knows she is no longer alone in her rented cottage. She assumes the intruder wants to kill her so she runs to Crystal Gardens, the haunting old abbey filled with paranormal energy next door. Owner Lucas Sebastian is on alert when the stalker arrives, but flees into the night garden where deadly vegetation and flowers are everywhere. Sparks fly and Lucas realizes the killer will not haunt anyone anymore. Luca vows to protect Evangeline while using his paranormal skills to track down a psychic killer. Evangeline normally finds the good in people, and she is attracted to her rescuer, but cannot explain why she is a target as she has no known enemies.

This Ladies of Lantern Street thriller is an enthralling paranormal historical romantic suspense filled with danger and intrigue from the onset. Readers will like the fascinating protagonists and appreciate the mysterious Crystal Gardens, which brings a Gothic like feel to the exciting storyline. Amanda Quick has written a superb paranormal take on the Victorian romance suspense.

A Deeper Darkness
J.T. Ellison
Mira Books
c/o Harlequin
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780778313205, $14.95,

In DC, former major Eddie Donovan is meeting his wife Susan and their two daughters (Ally and Vicky) for a stroll along the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. However, their fun ends when Eddie receives call. Not long afterward two Metro cops arrive at their home in McLean to inform her Eddie was shot dead in an apparent carjacking.

Eddie's mom Eleanor calls Dr. Samantha Owens, head of Forensic Medical for the state of Tennessee. Sam used to date Eddie when she attended Georgetown medical school. That seems like a different life as now Sam buries herself in her work to numb the grief of the deaths of her husband and children due to flooding. Though she hesitates to deal with the violent death of another loved one, Sam travels from Nashville to DC to perform a second autopsy. She finds anomalies that lead her to believe the motive for the homicide had nothing to do with a carjacking. Following notes left behind by Eddie, Sam finds a string of murders in Afghanistan and the States as a killer observes her investigation.

With Taylor Jackson taking a respite (see So Close The Hand Of Death), J.T. Ellison introduces her myriad of fans to another super heroine starring a depressed woman who still is in the early stages of grief. Sam is a terrific protagonist as her flaws (crippling grief) and skills (mentoring the staff on forensics practices) humanize her. The whodunit is top rate as Ms. Ellison provides another powerful investigative thriller.

The Good Father
Diane Chamberlain
9780778313465, $14.95

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, twenty-three year old Travis Brown is a single dad raising his four year old daughter Bella alone; as he has since her birth. Desperate to bring in some needed income since the dearth of construction jobs in the area, he takes on a risky illegal job in Raleigh; leaving Bella with thirtyish Erin, whose baby daughter recently died in an accident.

Not far away, Bella's mother Robin regrets her decision four years ago. She struggles with adapting to being the fiancee of charismatic Dale running for the mayor of Beaufort. Robin, Travis, and Bella each in their own way focus on what they respectively believe is the best for the toddler; not grasping by doing so they feel a bit better about themselves.

Rotating perspective between the three prime adults, The Good Father is an engaging character study as the trio want to do what is best to the child who ties them together. Readers learn the past and present and future hopes of the prime trio (and to a lesser degree game-maker Mike) as each is fully developed with doubts and trepidations but encouraged by Bella to be better than they think they can be. Although the ending is over the top of Mount Mitchell, fans will agree "nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina ..." (Carolina In The Morning by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn) with Diane Chamberlain as our hostess.

The Unseen
Heather Graham
9780778313298, $24.95

In 1835 in San Antonio, someone brutally murders a woman in room 207 of the Longhorn Saloon. One year ago in the same location as the nineteenth century homicide, another woman was apparently killed, but her body vanished. One month ago, battered dead young female bodies begin to appear all over city; some disappeared a long time ago.

Texas Ranger Logan Raintree leads a task force of paranormal law enforcement operatives investigating the murders. While he communicates with the dead, on his team is U.S. Marshal Kelsey O'Brien who sees the past. She is staying at the Longhorn where the 1835 and last year homicides occurred. The pair combines their extrasensory perception skills to obtain clues from the deceased in order to end a serial killer's reign of terror.

The Unseen is an exciting paranormal police procedural starring two dedicated individuals with special talent and San Antonio. The city comes alive during The Texas War of Independence and in the present; especially vivid is the Alamo. Although the gory killings somewhat diminish the frightening level, fans will enjoy Heather Graham's entertaining ghost story.

The Kingdom
Amanda Stevens
9780778312772, $7.99

Amelia "Graveyard Queen" Gray is renowned for her talent to restore lost respect to neglected cemeteries. Luna Kemper hires her to repair Thorngate Cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina at the foothills of the Blue Ridge. She soon learns there are two Thorngate cemeteries. The original one is below locally named Bell Lake, found on maps as the Asher Reservoir; the other was once called Asher Cemetery.

Amelia also feels drawn to a remote concealed but reverently kept grave in woods near a cave. She senses evil throughout the dying rural town that lost everything when prominent Pell Asher sold his soul for the reservoir. However, Amelia is uncertain whether what she feels is caused by the irreverence towards the dead or by her growing consciousness of her past. One thing she decides is to help the dead rest easy and mend the broken souls of the town; but first the Restorer needs to know what has caused the slow death of Asher Falls.

The second chilling Graveyard Queen thriller (see The Restorer) is a great urban fantasy that makes ghosts feel real alongside of predatory breathers. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action that grips the reader from the moment she meets the grandson of still living Pell, Thane Asher, who says the dead want to not be forgotten. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this dark yet somehow hopeful tale.

Barefoot Season
Susan Mallery
9780778313380, $14.95

A decade ago, Michelle Sanderson fled in anger from her family inn on Blackberry Island in Puget Sound to enlist in the Army. She spent multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, but has recently left the service due to a badly injured hip.

When her mother died, Michelle former high school BFF Carly Williams manages Blackberry Island Inn. Single mom Carly feels this is only appropriate as she seeks redemption for betraying her friends like Michelle by sleeping with their boyfriends. Michelle returns home suffering from PTSD. She wants to fire the woman she loathes, but has no choice except to work with Carly to stave off the bank foreclosing on the inn.

This is a great character driven drama as readers observe what happened to the best buddies in the past, which has left both emotionally traumatized as each grieves the death of their friendship and much more; and what is occurring in the present. Filled with two wonderful estranged friends, a strong support cast and plenty of angst while keeping the romance as a secondary subplot, fans will appreciate the first visit to Blackberry Island.

Somebody To Love
Kristan Higgins
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373776580, $7.99,

Parker Harrington Welles' preschool age son Nicky spends time with his father Ethan and his new stepmother Lucy who is also her BFF (see The Next Best Thing). Meanwhile the kiddie lit author of the Holy Rollers, Parker struggles to accept her father is in prison and her once affluent family is broke; he even lost his grandson's trust fund.

Unprepared for financial ruin, Parker plans to sell her remaining asset a fixer-upper in Gideon's Cove, Maine. Her father's "Thing One" boot licker James Cahill the attorney asks if he can accompany her to help flip the place. She has no respect for him while he has loved her from a distance for years. As she takes a job as a floral assistant, Parker begins to learn living without a gold spoon means accepting decisions you hate. James proves he is more than her dad's lackey, but will that be enough to overcome her iconic image of him as a butt kisser.

This entertaining contemporary romance is a fun tale due to the female lead who begins to understand life for the 99% of the population who having to eat means accepting decisions you may dislike as economic freedom (and subsequent social freedom) belongs only to the 1%. Enhancing the heroine's likability is her "chats" in her head with angelic characters from the Holy Rollers. James has issues too starting with a terrible mistake he made as a child cost his loved ones' plenty. Fans will enjoy Parker's revelation that " When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies ... You better find Somebody To Love" (Jefferson Airplane).

Sunrise Point
Robyn Carr
Harlequin HQN
9780778313175, $7.99

Her boyfriend Chad abandoned Nora Crane and their two infant daughters (two year old Berry and nine month old Fay) in Virgin River, California. Stranded without a car, the townsfolk help her and her babies. She sees a notice at the Virgin River Presbyterian Church for seasonal full time employment picking apples at Cavanaugh Orchard. Though she works at the clinic, Nora needs the money. Reverend Noah Kincaid drives her 3.4 miles so that she would need to walk only one way to the Cavanaugh Orchard.

Manager former marine Tom Cavanaugh takes one look at Nora, hears her story of need, and says no. Noah persuades Tom's septuagenarian grandmother Maxie the owner to hire her. Tom is attracted to his new employee, but her kids are baggage he does not want to deal with. In turn, she ignores her feelings for her boss as she needs money not a tryst. Both are stubborn about their attraction, but former significant others and meeting her father Jed for the first time in years enforce their love for one another.

The latest Virgin River rustic romance (see Redwood Bend) is an entertaining and delightful contemporary as Nora learns it takes a caring village to raise a child and Tom learns that most mothers can and will do anything for their younglings. Although Nora's mom was certifiable (and a counselor no less), readers will enjoy romance in the apple orchard.

To Love You More
Wayne Jordan
Harlequin Kimani Romance
9780373862559, $6.25

At the Lodge School in Barbados, George Simpson asks Rachel Davis out; she refuses saying he is a player. He tells her he will prove he is not as he plans to marry her one day. They become an entry. Several years later George ends their engagement as he is not ready to marry before leaving for Australia on a fellowship; unaware the love of his life carries his child. Rachel leaves the island married to her older boss Edward St. Clair who agrees to raise her child as his on Antigua where his new job is located. When George learns what she did, he rages about Rachel's quick turnaround.

Thirteen years later, widower Rachel returns to Barbados as a prosecutor; George is a partner in a private law firm. They meet in court where he suffers the first defeat in his legal career. Rachel is concerned how George will react when he sees Gregory, who looks just like him. After a court case, a young man stabs Rachel with a knife; George saves her life. As she heals at the hospital Rachel knows she still loves the man who dumped her; scared by her assault, he knows he has never moved passed the biggest mistake of his life. Now George meets Gregory.

Though the storyline of a man unaware of siring a child has been done many times, Wayne Jordan keeps his latest Barbados romance (see the Knight saga) fresh with a strong support cast and two delightful protagonists who make the trials and tribulations of love inspiring. Fans will enjoy this second chance at love romance, Barbados style.

Protecting Her Son
Joan Kilby
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373717729, $5.50

Seven years ago, police detective Paula Drummond went undercover to find proof to send drug lord Nick Moresco to prison. However, she finds his caring of his family nice and soon she breaks a cardinal rule by sleeping with him. Paula completes her mission resulting in the slime ball ending up behind bars. However, her subsequent pregnancy cost her job.

After struggling to find law enforcement employment over the next few years, single mom Paula works in Summerville, Australia where she raises her son Jamie and hopes to regain her lost rank. Now Nick is out of prison with two obsessive goals: he wants his son and he wants revenge. Knowing he is coming as he called her, Paula turns to her police partner Constable Riley Henning for backup.

Protecting Her Son is an exciting romantic suspense starring two strong cops although the villain is too stereotyped as he behaves as expected by readers. The story line is fast-paced from the first phone call and never slows down as readers fans will enjoy High Noon coming to Summerville.

That New York Minute
Abby Gaines
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373717712, $5.50

Just around the corner from her Madison Avenue office, in a New York minute Rachel Frye's boyfriend Piers ends their relationship before they even slept together. Seeing her Key Bowen Crane creative director peer Garrett "Shark" Calder who watches her humiliation makes her feel worse. Instead of ridicule as she expects, Garrett makes it clear he is interested in her. They begin seeing one another.

A partnership vacancy at their advertising firm opens up. Rachel and Garrett are two of the top contenders for the position that each has coveted for a while. As they compete for the high level executive job, their relationship seems to be coming to an end; as she is an obsessively stubborn soul and he has commitment issues.

The keys to this entertaining Madison Avenue gender war romance are the protagonists are nice people whose flaws make them seem human. Character driven by the warm lead couple, fans will enjoy reading That New York Minute, which with the right person lasts a lifetime filled with happiness.

On His Honor
Jean Brashear
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373717750, $5.50

Movie star Violet James is despondent after her second marriage to actor Barry Marsden collapses when he is caught cheating. Her best friend Avery Lofton, who saved her butt four years ago when she naively arrived from Tennessee, invites her to chill in Austin, where he co-owns with Sage Holland The Danger Zone nightclub. She heads to Texas where he puts her up in the exclusive boutique Serenity Hotel, but Avery is distracted with something else though he buys her presents every day.

Meanwhile Violent Crimes Task Force police detective JD Cameron is frustrated with seven women and two girls dead due to trafficking. His only clue is The Danger Zone where he believes the partners are money laundering and involved in the trafficking murders. His friend Sophie Cameron owns the Serenity, which enables him to meet Violet at a birthday bash. They are attracted to each other. However, already distrusting of males, Violet begins to believe JD is using her for something else.

This is a great romantic police procedural that grips the audience from the moment JD sees Violet at the party and never loosens its hold until the final confrontation. Fast-paced and filled with suspense as time is running out on female victims, fans will wonder who the villain is and what will happen to love once she knows he used her even in a good cause.

The Marshal's Prize
Rebecca Winters
Harlequin American Romance
9780373754021, $5.25

At The Orthopedic Specially Hospital in Salt Lake City, Dr. Samuels informs Marshal Services operative Mitchell Garrett that his rotator cuff injury has healed and he will inform his client's superior in Florida that he can go back to active duty. While the federal marshal waits for the bureaucracy to catch up, he takes on one last case at Roman Lufka Private Investigators.

Bauer's Incorporated CEO octogenarian Bruno Bauer, still recovering from his stroke, informs his great-niece Human Resources Director Heidi Bauer Norris that he believes his nephew Jonas and great-nephew Lucas are stealing from their Sweetspuds Donut firm as bags of mix have gone missing and their jobs would enable the thefts to occur. Unable to easily get around he asks Heidi to visit Roman Lufka Private Investigators to discuss his concerns. There she meets and hires Mitch to uncover who is stealing from her family owned company. Mitch and Heidi are attracted to each other from that first meeting. He is also enthralled by her close knit family especially her six years old son Zack; as he was abandoned as an infant. She wants him but knows he will leave soon so she will ignore her feelings.

The latest Roman Lufka Private Investigators romantic suspense (see Undercover Husband and The SEAL's Promise) is a terrific family drama. Readers will wonder if Bruno is right about the thieves are while enjoying the romance between the protagonists. Fast-paced, Rebecca Winters provides a fun Utah romance.

The Baby Dilemma
Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin American Romance
9780373754045, $5.25

In Safe Harbor, obstetrician Dr. Paige Brennan wants a baby, but prefers no man in her life. Thus she chooses artificial insemination. She may have reconsidered if she knew the sperm donor was Mike Aaron who called the six- footer an amazon (see Falling for the Nanny). Their next encounters were not much better.

Paige needs a roommate while Mike needs a room since his brother is married (see The detective's Accidental baby) and does not need a chaperone. Reluctantly, she allows the irritant private detective to move into her place though she sets rules. As their attraction grows, Paige begins to believe Mike is the anonymous sperm donor while Mike begins to want to become the father of the child she carries by marrying the mother.

Although the plot has been used frequently, fans will enjoy the roommates' gender war as Jacqueline Diamond returns to Safe Harbor. The romance between sleuth and the doc is fun as an unborn serves as the matchmaker between two fighters falling in love.

Cara Lynn Shultz
Harlequin Teen
9780373210503, $9.99

Four months ago in Manhattan, Vincent Academy students Emma Connor and Brendan Salinger broke a centuries-old curse that haunted them when he risked his life to save her from an evil student (see Spellbound). They have become a happy couple.

However, their little Upper east Side Eden has serpents. Emma's witch mentor Angelique seems upset whenever she hears Brendan's name. His mother pressures him to end his relationship with the Jersey orphan. Finally Angelique senses an unknown adversary stalks Emma while somehow revealing inner secrets of the couple in order to force a wedge in her relationship with Brendan. This foe plans to dine on her blood to gain her untapped power unless Brendan and Angelique can put aside their differences to keep her safe.

Spellcaster is an exciting teen romantic urban fantasy with a strong cast who makes the paranormal seemingly normal. Initially breezy with cute (don't say that world to Brendan) young love, the storyline turns dark as a nasty powerful malevolence begins preying on the lead couple. Readers will enjoy Cara Lynn Shultz's sensational Spellbound story.

Much Ado About Rogues
Kasey Michaels
Harlequin HQN
9780373776399, $7.99

Don John Black Jack Blackthorn has done many dangerous secret missions for the Crown. However, his current assignment is personal. His mentor the Marquis of Fonteneau vanished. Knowing the insidiousness of the enemies they made over the past few years, Jack fears the worst has happened to Sinjon; regardless he vows he will find his teacher.

Sinjon's daughter Lady Thessaly knows something is not right re her father. Having lost her twin and her beloved Jack when he betrayed her four years ago, she plans to find her missing dad. Unable to talk her out of it, they team up trying to follow Sinjon's enigmatic clues; even as each knows their love remains strong but he refuses to act on his feelings while she refuses to accept his denial.

The third Blackthorn Brothers historical romantic suspense (see A Midsummer Night's Sin and The Taming of the Rake) is a fabulous twisting thriller that grips readers from the moment the lead couple realize Sinjon appears to be in trouble. Filled with three action-packed subplots and plenty of spins and double crosses, the storyline somewhat decelerates as the various truths are revealed. Still readers will relish this engaging nineteenth century investigative espionage romance.

Dead Silent
Shirley Wells
9780373062638/B005CRQ5DW, $7.99

In Great Britain, dying from lung cancer, desperate Rob Hunt, knowing that private investigator Dylan Scott recently solved a case in Dawson's Clough (see Presumed Dead) hires him to find his missing daughter Samantha. Ten months ago in Dawson's Clough, Sam headed to work, but vanished instead. Assisting Dylan on the inquiry is his former boss, ex DCI Frank Willoughby.

On his way to Dawson's Clough in Lancashire where Sam lived and worked, a big man assaults Rob in a public bathroom; warning him not come to the town. Refusing to cower, Rob investigates Sam's activities though the case is cold. Everything he learns about Sam insists she was a nice girl; for instance kind to her younger stepsisters. However he soon believes the missing young woman had an affair with her boss that angered her raging boyfriend and her stepfather conceals something significant.

The second Dylan Scott mystery is an enjoyable investigative thriller starring a dedicated hero. The major plot is tense as no one except a grieving father wants Dylan back in town while his family adds acerbic jocularity as his estrange wife and his eccentric mother still take bites out of his butt. With several taut twists and a strong climax, Shirley Wells provides an entertaining British detective story.

Perfect Storm
Lori Foster
9780373776566, $7.99

Spenser Lark and Arizona Storm met a month ago when both were on a separate avenging sting operation. They were attracted to each other immediately and still are, but she has relationship trust issues from a traumatic experience.

On her birthday she sneaks into his bedroom watching him sleep. When he wakes they fight again, but soon afterward she announces she plans to destroy a human trafficking ring having first-hand experience with these predators. Knowing Arizona would go it alone, Spencer agrees for her to act as a lure while he and his comrades protect her back as they deploy their sting.

The latest Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor (see When You Dare and Trace of Fever) is an engaging entry starring a strong caring hero and a traumatized woman slowly healing but also obsessed with a need to take the attack to these abusive beasts. The storyline is filled with action, but it is Arizona who still has an uncontrollable storm raging inside her brain who makes the plot work as there is no instant magic elixir to invoke emotional healing.

Woodrose Mountain
RaeAnne Thayne
9780373776375, $7.99

In Hope's Crossing, Colorado, intoxicated teens crash while fleeing a police siren; Layla Parker dies and Taryn Thorn suffers brain injuries. Months later, the Birch Glen rehab facility informs Taryn's father realtor Brodie not to bring his ill-tempered daughter any more as they cannot work with her since she refuses to cooperate. Desperate he pleads with former Los Angeles physical therapist Eveline Blanchard to provide Taryn with home therapy.

Evie reluctantly agrees to help for a few weeks as she still grieves the death of Cassie. Rather than her former occupation, she prefers being left alone beading at the String Fever bead shop or mountain climbing with Jacques the dog. As she works with the teen, Taryn and Brodie begin to fall in love; a feeling neither wants.

The latest Hope's Crossing contemporary drama (see Blackberry Summer) is an engaging tale that continues look deeply at the impact of the car accident on all the townsfolk as for instance Brodie and others blame the driver Charlie who agrees with their condemnation of him. The romance is low keyed and more of a supporting subplot to the prime tale of rehabilitation (and not just Taryn). Readers will appreciate this warm story.

The Columbus Affair
Steve Berry
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780345526519, $27.00,

Columbus pleaded with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to fund a fourth trip to the New World, but they refused for four years until suddenly they agreed. Suspicious, he and his friend de Torres make it to Jamaica where they pray no one finds what they hid.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan cannot accept how far he has fallen in disgrace since he filed a report on a war crime eight years ago that subsequently was proven false. He lost his family, his friends, his vocation and now he considers his life. Tom never reconciled with his late wife or deceased father after each cut him out of their life. The one that hurts most is his daughter Alle who demanded he leave when he showed up at the funeral of her mother and his ex-wife two years ago.

As he has a gun to his head, a man taps his window showing him a picture of a bound Alle. Zachariah Simon informs Tom, Alle is his prisoner and if he failed to cooperate she will be raped. Simon orders Tom to dig up the body of his deceased father, a devout Jew as he believes that the disgraced reporter's renowned archeologist grandfather left him with Columbus' secrets that would rock the world.

This is an exciting action-packed over the top of the Wailing Wall thriller that readers will struggle to put down. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Simon shows Tom his IPad displaying the threat to Alle and never takes a respite until the final confrontation. Fans will be hooked as Simon seeks much more than just Columbus' secrets while Tom seeks his daughter's safety as redemption means little to him anymore.

Trouble Me
Laura Moore
9780345482785, $7.99

Her sisters Jordan (see Believe in Me) and Margot (see Remember Me) have already returned to the Radcliffe family horse farm Rosewood in Warburg, Virginia when the youngest sibling Jade decides to move back there too. Jade plans to open up a children's equestrian club and teach at the elementary school. Due to a nasty storm and a car accident, Jade fails to complete the drive from Ocala to the farm so she takes a hotel room near Norfolk. At the hotel bar, she meets a stranger also stranded by the weather and shares a great night with him.

However, the stranger is Warburg police officer Rob Cooper, who was in Norfolk attending a law enforcement conference. His seven years old daughter Haley is in Jade's second grade class at Warburg Elementary School. Worse, though attracted to her, he holds Jade culpable for, during her delinquent teen years, the death of his wife Rebecca though logically he knows his belief is stupid. She wants him too, but their past remains a wedge between them as her college articles and her high school foes intrude on her happiness.

The third Rosewood contemporary romance is a wonderful tale starring two fascinating protagonists and a strong support cast. The storyline focuses on how disinformation leads to distrust even between people in love. Readers will want to visit Rosewood as Laura Moore provides a warm relationship drama that strongly informs the audience if you have doubts about someone you care about, talk to them to clear up the misunderstanding or at least to obtain the truth before your doubts turn into a hemorrhoid or a bleeding ulcer.

The Saint
Monica McCarty
9780345528407, $7.99

In 1305 Magnus MacKay asks Helen Sutherland to marry him. She loves him, but as her brother Kenneth informs her, nuptials between them will lead to clan warfare. Heartbroken, Helen says no as she cannot condone deaths on account of her happiness. Hiding his despair, Magnus MacKay accepts Robert The Bruce's offer to become a member of his elite Highland Guard.

Three years later, having served loyally with courage, his unit teammates call him "Saint" for his virtual refusal to banter about women; he knows the truth. To make matters worse for Magnus is his Helen is betrothed to his best friend, Guardsman, William "the Templar" Gordon. Immediately after their wedding, William dies in an explosion. Just before his death, he makes Magnus pledge to take care of Helen. Tormented from her decisions three years ago, Helen plans to regain Magnus' heart, but to do so she must earn his trust first as he refuses to allow her to thaw his frozen heart. However, someone else uses their distrust as a weapon of betrayal.

The fifth Highland Guard (see The Viper, The Ranger, The Hawk, and The Chief) is an excellent fourteenth century Scottish romance that showcases the uncanny talent of marvelous Monica McCarty. The second chance at love is fueled by the death of The Templar as a raging Magnus mourns the loss of his BFF and regrets his death bed pledge as he still loves the woman he believes betrayed him. Readers will appreciate this strong saga as the death of a Guardian reminds them of their mortality.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
Deborah Rodriguez
9780345514769, $15.00

Thirty-eight-year-old Alabama expatriate Sunny Tedder runs the Kabul Coffee House while her boyfriend Tommy works as a mercenary. Sunny expected her customers to be Westerners. However, she offers a job and a room to pregnant widow Yazmina, whose uncle sold her to pay off a debt; they dumped her when they realized she was pregnant. Her landlady profanity spouting widow Halajan cuts her hair short, wears jean skirts, and carries love letters while using the traditional burqa as a disguise; while the woman's son Ahmet is angry at his mom for her relationship with Rashif the tailor.

While Bashir Hadi the street corner philosopher manages the coffee house, others join the group. BBC journalist Isabel reports on the poppy fields' addicted female workers arrested for "moral crimes" and Candace in town to raise funds for a school, but thinks her boyfriend has other motives. Then there is married Jack the contractor.

This is a deep tale that puts mostly female faces to Afghanistan. When the focus is inside the heads of the women, the audience obtains a profound look at the cross cultural interests of people who bring to life an attempt at normalcy in Kabul during a horrific conflict. When the men take the lead, some of the insightfulness dissipates. Still this is an engaging glimpse into Kabul, a remarkable place considering its history.

No Longer A Gentleman
Mary Jo Putney
Zebra Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9781420117233, $7.99,

In 1803 Paris, English Lord Grey Summers enjoys a tryst with Madame Camille Durand when her husband Ministry of Police high level official Claude Durand catches them together. With the Treaty of Amiens expired, instead of deportation or even the guillotine, Durand is locked away in a dungeon in Castle Durand.

In 1813, Lord Kirkland discusses the Summers disappearance with one of his best agents Cassie Fox, who lost her family and her faith during the Reign of Terror. Cassie accepts the difficult mission of "Rescuing Grey." She succeeds in getting him out of the cell and castle, but they must cross enemy territory and the Channel. However, even in London they are unsafe from Durand and from their hearts as both survived harrowing experiences that has left their hearts shattered.

The latest Lost Lords Regency romantic suspense (see Nowhere Near Respectable, Loving a Lost Lord and Never Less than a Lady) is a super historical due to the protagonists who suffer from PTSD. Although Durand is over the top of the Tower of London and the Bastille as a monster, sub-genre fans will appreciate Mary Jo Putney's enjoyable tale.

Logan's Outlaw
Elaine Levine
9781420118674, $6.99

1875 Dakota Territory, the Sioux abduct Sarah Hawkins after slaughtering her husband and her parents. Their leader marries her and is brutal to his squaw; but she finally escapes from her tormenter. Whites, for the most part, treat her with disdain or desire.

As she leaves Fort Buford by coach, trader Logan Taggert shares eye contact with her. He learns her story especially about her "husband" hunting her, and decides to protect Sarah over her objections. Sarah keeps asking him to go, but he refuses. As they fall in love, her enemies from both sides of the Indian Wars come after her and by default him.

The latest Men of Defiant western romance (see Rachel And The Hired Gun and Leah And The Bounty Hunter) is a terrific tale starring a driven woman suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and her self-proclaimed champion. Filled with action, these two ethical individuals makes a wonderful pairing as he understands the Indian side of the hostilities while teaching her not to profile everyone into groups. Logan's Outlaw is a fabulous historical.

Kate Douglas
9781420110029, $6.99

Lemurian Taron enjoys being an academic, but since the philosopher is partnered with the sentient sword CrystalFire, he must learn to act like a warrior too. He understands he must help the humans near Mount Shasta and his people deal with the demon invasion though CrystalFire feels his scholarly Lemurian is unsuited for combat against the Demon King, who plans his return from the abyss to breach the barriers between dimensions.

In combat with the Demon King, Taron is taken aback by a stunning side effect. Willow the sprite of the mists becomes a beautiful normal sized female though inside her is also Bumper the dog. Meanwhile the Demon King shows his adaptability when he possesses Ed Marks' body while Eddy and her sentient sword DarkFire are trapped in the Void; a place her lover Dax the former demon knows firsthand and guiltily knows his calling her led to the demon King sending her there. While Dax works on rescuing his beloved human, Taron and Willow begin falling in love as they team up to prevent the Demon King's diabolical scheme from happening.

The latest DemonSlayer romantic fantasy (see Starfire, Demonfire and Hellfire) is a super thriller that contains two strong prime subplots with each flowing nicely and converging to the delight of Kate Douglas' fans. Fast-paced and filled with action yet a strong romance, CrystalFire is an entertaining twisting tale.

The Slayer
Theresa Meyers
9781420121254, $6.99

In 1883, although he was trained from childhood like his siblings (Remington - to follow and Colt - see The Hunter) Winchester Jackson prefers being the sheriff of Bodie, California than fighting vampires and demons. His Vampiric Imperial Majesty sends Lady Alexandra Porter to persuade Winn to work with her in retrieving a part of the Book of Legend that his sire hid decades ago.

Though he has doubts as his mantra has been the only good vampire is a dead vampire who cannot rise from the grave, Winn agrees to join Alexa on her mountainous quest in Transylvania to save her people. With steam gadgets created by brilliant inventor Marley Turlock to assist them on their journey, the pair confronts many adversaries demonic, vampiric; gizmos and mortal, but the most challenging is love.

The second Book of the Legends Chronicles is a terrific steampunk historical romance starring a western sheriff and a vampire battling a variety of paranormal and normal foes. Fast-paced from the moment Winn thinks he is rescuing a damsel in distress and never slows down as the twisting exciting storyline will prove a fan favorite with the only subtraction being the wait for Rem's entry.

Highland Avenger
Hannah Howell
9781420118797, $7.99

In 1480 off the coast of Scotland, a large ship plows into a smaller vessel. Arianna Lucette knows her vicious brother-in-law Amiel, who she believes murdered his sibling Claud and Claud's legal wife Marie Anne, and the vicious DeVeaux clan seek her two stepsons (Adelar and Michel). She and the boys use barrels to make it ashore.

Smuggler Brian MacFingal and his brothers were waiting for Captain Tillet to deliver cargo. They rescue the captain and four others and find the lads protecting Arianna. She tells him she is a Murray trying to take her husband's children to safety while an evil army comes for them. Brian directs his brothers to separately take the lads to their keep Scarglas while he escorts Arianna in order to split the adversaries into three groups. Arianna tells Brian that her husband was a bigamist as he was already married before he wed her. She cannot explain why the DeVeaux are involved. He admires her loyalty and love for someone else's children. As the enemy pursues them, they fall in love, but she was burned once and apparently abandoned by her clan so is wary of relationships.

The latest Murray Highlander romance (see Highlander Protector) is a strong entry starring two fully developed protagonists with the female lead an interesting heroine. The story line is fast-paced and filled with suspense as the enemy is like the Energizer bunny. Although some of the hero's actions are inane for an intelligent leader like their stopping for a tryst or his rejecting a scout while in peril from adversaries hunting them down, fans will appreciate the return of Arianna Murray from her horrible French "marriage".

The Job
Cramer Louis Jackson
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432784584, $8.95,

Joe's search for employment has turned into a frustrating full time job as he checks want ads, sends out resumes and shows up for announced vacancies; only to return to his walk up dumpy small apartment unemployed with his self-esteem dropping. After his latest humiliation, he opens the mail, which adds to his debasement with overdue bills.

However, the last letter is from a firm he never heard of, who offers him an interview. Instructions were sent to him by e-mail as this company provides no address or phone number. He goes on line, thankful he did not hock his computer, to obtain directions. Joe arrives for the interview and learns that if he takes the job, Joe Jamieson will no longer exist as he will have a new identity and compensation is one million annual. He agrees to become Zann General Morgan briefs him that his position and new identity ties back to 1947 Roswell and soon finds another perk when he rescues the other selectee Layone from some nasty folks who have other plans for the pair.

There is plenty of action in this thought provoking science fiction romantic novella. The story line starts with a depressed everyman struggling to pay his bills and keep a dilapidated ceiling over his head before the plot moves into an exciting thriller with its Life Energy connection to Roswell. Encouraging people to take a radically fresh look at their options reminds me of my husband's reengineering teaching and mentoring position in which he destroyed a zillion paper cups claiming they were not half full or half empty if you slice off the top the cup is filled. The Job is a quick engaging thriller.

Karen Wiesner
9781105201189, $13.50,

Ayodele left her beloved hometown of Peaceful, Wisconsin years ago when her husband Declan relocated to Chicago as part of a business deal when he and his partner Hannah sold their ownership of a furniture design company. Dec demands Della obtain full time work since their eight year old son River will be out of school for the summer. Irate as she has sacrificed so much for her husband to include residing in a dangerous neighborhood and working part time at a diner, Della realizes Dec cheated with Hannah. She informs him she is going home with River.

Hannah calls to inform Della that Dec died in a car crash just after their warehouse went up in flames. His ailing parents driven by their nephew Cade Somers drive to Chicago for the funeral and take their daughter-in-law and grandson home. Hannah pleads with Della to share the insurance payout on the firm with her as she is pregnant with Dec's child. Though un-Christian, Della says no. In Peaceful, River and Cade become buddies while he loves Della. However, burned once, Della suffers from a major relationship phobia.

Home is a wonderful inspirational romance in which Karen Wiesner displays her immense talent as she overcame a major pet peeve of mine; Dec's death makes everything seem easier for the heroine, but instead Della is haunted by guilt and other debilitating emotions though she logically believes she was doing the right thing. With a late suspense adding tension, fans will enjoy returning to Peaceful (see Family Heirlooms and Friendship Heirlooms sagas) as Della affirms you can go home if love embraces you.

The Dogwalker
Corwyn Alvarez
Bell Bridge Books
c/o Belle Books
PO Box 67, Smyrna, GA 30081
9781611940961, $14.95,

In Mayfield, Maryland, mentally challenged Benny drops out of high school. His mom is upset with him and he expects an extended silent treatment. She demands to know what he plans to do with his life. Benny, whose first word was doggy, says he will become a dog walker as he has a natural affinity with canines.

At the pound benny meets death row inmate Noodles. With forged documents from his friend Zach and his mom's approval, Benny rescues Noodles. They become BFFs. As his new business is a success, his brother Jerome at Boston Medical School causes tsuris for their beleaguered mom. Meanwhile through Zach's prepayment, Benny meets and is attracted to Chloe. No human or dog is immune to kindhearted Benny's caring honest nature.

This is an engaging character study of a mentally challenged person escorting dogs (and readers) around his hometown. The protagonist's independent behavior indicates he is intelligent but wired differently. Fans will enjoy his naive maturing as he changes his life and that of others in his expanding circle.

Vicki's Vegan Kitchen
Vicki Chelf
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757002519, $17.95,

"Vicki's Vegan Kitchen: Eating with Sanity, Compassion and Taste " starts off with an insightful look at Vegan 101 as Vicki Chelf describes healthy eating with a glossary of what is good for you, what to avoid and basic kitchen equipment. The author quickly gets into Vegan recipes as Ms. Chelf provides a variety of meatless meals that range from difficult to extremely easy to prepare. There are over 375 "kitchen-tested vegetarian recipes" that include soup, pasta, pizza, dessert (the tofu-carob brownies are scrumptious reminding me of my late mother-in-law's brownies) and chili, etc. Her recipe on rutabaga and sweet potato casseroles remind me of one of my late grandma who used to make similar casseroles. There are also instructions for instance on how to make a wrap and a crust, etc. With pictures to enhance the step by step book, more than just vegan aficionados will appreciate this excellent cookbook that is summed up nicely with a remarkable meatless "beef stew".

The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook
Judi and Shari Zucker
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road
Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757003462, $15.95

Although the target is kids, "The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook: Over 100 Kid-Friendly Recipes for the Allergic Child" serves as an easy to use guide by adults as it contains much more than just recipes. The first chapter provides detailed information on offending foods, cross contamination (I am well aware of reactions due to this), and precautions to take at home and outside like at school. A table involving eight common allergens is easy to follow and very enlightening as sometimes the offender is hidden in a product you would not expect to contain that ingredient like the peanut protein may be in pie crust. The second chapter includes what to stock in the kitchen with advice on using cold-pressed fats instead of heat processed and steps to thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables. Finally there are, as advertised in the title, the healthy snacks recipes targeting allergic children, but also can be used by adults and allergy-free children. Although our allergy free adult child (hope I have not caused a kunahara) no longer lives with us, we tested a few of the recipes; (OMG over a dozen tasty sugar free smoothies) as Judi and Shari Zucker provides an easy to use cookbook that adults as well as children can make and enjoy the snacks.

Pat Cooper: How Dare You Say How Dare Me!
Pat Cooper with Rich Herschlag and Steve Garrin
Square One
9780757003639, $24.95,

Born in Brooklyn as Pasquale Caputo Cooper in 1929, Mr. Cooper received a life lesson from his father when he was four years old about eating sh*t. He took that to heart as he began his personal battle of Brooklyn. Mr. Cooper dropped out of school to work as bricklayer and longshoreman before being drafted. He also performed as an amateur impersonator (professional gets paid) and even won an award on the Amateur Hour radio show. In his thirties, he became an overnight sensation when he performed on The Jackie Gleason Show. He became a fixture in Vegas and Atlantic City as the "angry comic" doing urban guerilla humor. Finally he continued to perform his Brooklyn shtick as an octogenarian on The Howard Stern Show and other radio shows.

This is a great, often amusing, but definitely takes no sh*t autobiography as Mr. Cooper irreverently tells his story at times in what seems like rapid fire standup comedy. He leaves no sacred cow untouched including his parents' divorce leading to his father's mostly abandonment when he was in his twenties and the Dodgers' desertion still mourned by Brooklyn bum fans even after five plus decades of abandonment. The author makes a strong case he is not a raging comic as analyze by this and that but instead a standup comedian who uses anger to tell his New York shtick.

Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life
Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte
Square One
9780757002939, $24.95,

Eliot Tiber was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father earned money as a roofer while his mother ran a housewares store. He had a successful career as an interior designer in lower Manhattan while hiding his gay lifestyle from his parents. They stun him when they buy a dilapidated motel in the Catskill town of Bethel New York. Their son helps them run their motel on weekends while working his designer business in the city during the week. Elliot tossed a mobster birthday bash attended by Judy Garland and Mayor Lindsey on the Hudson River Day Line; this left him near bankrupt when the birthday boy refused to pay the tab (see Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland & Interior Decorating) as he suffers from the "Teichberg Curse". He moves in with his parents at the motel. Elliot becomes the head of the local Chamber of Commerce and controls the yearly permit to hold music concerts. He learns of promoter Michael Lang's need for a location to host the Woodstock Festival and arranges a permit to use Max Yasgur's farm. The rest is history.

Obviously the highlight film is Woodstock, but there is more to this witty memoir including his part in the infamous raid of Stonewall and growing up as a homosexual in homophobic Post WWII. Written with self-deprecating shtick and hilarious hebonics, Mr. Tibor provides an enjoyable anecdotal recollection of his life (read his autobiography to learn what the "Teichberg Curse" is) with his fifteen minutes of fame being the chaos before and during Woodstock.

African-American Healthy: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Health
Richard W. Walker, Jr.
Square One
9780757003615, $15.95,

Though this super health book guide targets African Americans who as a group are afflicted by cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer much more than any other ethnic group. Richard W. Walker, Jr. provides an insightful easy to follow book that anyone can use. In fact the author makes his case for everyone to follow a healthy lifestyle; as he provides in his easy as "1, 2, D3" self-help book. Dr. Walker explains the different at risk issues and related simple preventative applications that he learned as a physician to mostly African-American patients. He focuses on the impact of obesity and that of Vitamin D deficiency especially on those with high levels of melanin. The change from a culture out in the sun to an inside lifestyle by African-Americans (and many other Americans like me) requires modern day remedies that Dr. Walker offers. As a Sephardic Jew with a relatively high level of melanin, I found the sections on high blood pressure (which I suffer from), stroke and heart attack especially enlightening as did my much whiter skin Ashkenazi husband. Living up to its title, this is an instructive tome that facilitates an uncomplicated approach towards a healthier life.

Palm Trees on the Hudson
Elliot Tiber
Square One
9780757003516, $24.95,

"Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland & Interior Decorating" is a wonderful memoir that chronicles events in the life of Elliot Tiber up until Taking Woodstock. The author realized early on he was gay, which in the homophobic Post WWII Happy Days was an unacceptable sexual preference, especially for a Jewish kid in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. His mother, traumatized by the Russian pogrom, controlled the roost with an iron fist until he moved to Greenwich Village where he found a gay lifestyle was welcomed. Mr. Tiber became a highly regarded interior decorator though that did not sit well with his mom who expected him to be a doctor, a teacher, Hank Greenberg or a rabbi; sadly he admits he never won their approval though he worked at their motel in the Catskills on weekends. The highlight film is Mr. Tibor's account of hosting the title escapade as he tossed a mobster birthday bash attended by Judy Garland and Mayor Lindsey on the Hudson River Day Line; this left him near bankrupt when the birthday boy refused to pay the tab but his head is still attached though allegorically he argues otherwise as he physically moves to his parents' motel. Readers will enjoy Mr. Tiber's amusing but poignant anecdotal recollection of the key events in the first three and a half decades in his life.

Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail
Raymond Chang, M.D
Square One
9780757002328, $16.95,

Oncologist Dr. Raymond Chang makes a strong argument that when you fight the terrorism of cancer you need to use all available counter weapons. A strong believer in practitioner of integrative medicine, Dr. Chang states that the "Magic Bullet' has not arrived in spite of dedicated efforts of scientists in a declared war in which billions have been spent since 1971. Instead he suggests to think outside the crypt before the patient is buried inside a box by deploying a multi front fight to include acceptable traditional Western approaches like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, combined with other Eastern treatments to include expanding the use of accepted drugs used for other health needs, nutritional supplements and herbal teas and soups, and homeopathic, etc. in an anti-cancer cocktail. As Chinese medical practices have accepted for over a millennia, throw the kitchen sink at deadly cancer. Although peer group review of scientific data of much of Dr. Chang's cocktail is limited, it provides hope for those who are in deadly combat against a killer. Easy to follow with anecdotal case studies like the septuagenarian prostrate victim and an analysis of each element of the cocktail, Dr. Chang provides a powerful alternative approach to the traditional queuing of treatments stacked one after another; by fostering a concurrent scatter attack of multiple treatments in an individual's war against cancer.

Cat Calls
Jeanne Adlon and Susan Logan
Square One
9780757003448, $14.95

"Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter " is an excellent memoir and guide book in which the cats (to the delight of the two authors) steal the show disproving W.C. Fields' comment: "Never work with animals or children." In 1974, Jeanne Adlon in Manhattan opened Cat Cottage for felines and their human pets. Over the next thirty-five plus years, she has dealt with a variety of cats, not all likable or friendly as she became a cat sitter making house calls. The anecdotes are often amusing while we feline fans can relate with our own tales of purr-fection. My favorite anecdotes are Eloise turning on the TV to watch sports as my dog Max did, and that of Princess as my Angel was caught in a plastic bag too. The authors also provide tips on keeping your pets (many will apply to dogs) safe when moving and afterward, a safe environment and how to work with special needs cats (I had a loving dog who suffered from epilepsy; we learned how critical hugs were to him) including seemingly terrorists and sociopaths. Illustrations enhance this engaging insightful cat book that this useful guidebook offers tips on how to care for happy, healthy cats while discouraging them from wrecking the furniture, and other anti-social behavior. Like me cat lovers will appreciate Cat Calls while comparing Ms. Adlon's tales of tails with our own experiences (my strictly kosher late mother-in-law always gave us made for Pesach cat treats.

Border Run
Simon Lewis
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781416596059, $22.00,

Howard takes affluent British youngsters Will and Jake on a special tour of Yunan Province near the Chinese border with Burma. He promised to show them a special waterfall in the forest and introduce the visitors to tribal girls who enjoy sex with handsome young westerners.

However, their dream fantasy turns ugly nightmare when they reach the waterfall and the women. Howard has used the two morons as a cover to his smuggling operation; and the females are hired help. Increasingly in deepening trouble, a customs official challenges the Brits for being near the border. Jake uses a crossbow to kill him, but efforts to conceal the crime sends the pair into even more tsuris. As the BFFs become best enemies forever, their chances of escape seemingly diminishes to zero.

This tense thriller focuses on how easily civilization (and friendship) is stripped away from the affluent when removed from their familiar taken for granted safety net and left in a ferocious jungle to fend for themselves in a reality survival of the deadliest scenario. Fast-paced from the moment the foolish lads meet Howard, fans will enjoy the Border Run as the adage "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" proves lethally valid.

The Singles
Meredith Goldstein
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780452298057, $15.00,

In Annapolis, bride to be Beth Eleanor "Bee" Evans works on placing the singles at a tables who are attending her wedding to Matt Fee. She considers where to seat Vicki, Hannah, Rob, Joe and Nancy.

New York based casting director Hannah is upset as she hoped her first lover Rob would help her through the weekend of seeing her second lover Tom for the first time since he dumped her. Instead she turns to Vicki as Rob is staying in Austin with his epileptic dog Liz. Bee's divorced with child Uncle Joe knows his sister-in-law Donna does not want him at the wedding; when he sees Rochester based grocery store interior decorator Vicki, he thinks she is the woman he had sex with in Reno; while she carries a guitar case containing her social affective disorder lamp. Widow Nancy sends her son Camden Yards security chief Phil to attend the marriage. The dynamics of the Singles will shake the wedding weekend.

The escapades of the Singles at the wedding reception are fun to follow with an engaging rotating viewpoint. However, the prime ensemble cast is underdeveloped so some of their aberrant behavior like taking a pill from a stranger or jumping the bones of someone you just met is hard to gauge in full context of who they are and prevents readers from caring for the characters. Still the evolution of the Singles over that weekend is an enjoyable character driven tale as each of the quintet begins to move on with their lives.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Lorraine's Bookshelf

A Princess and Her Garden
Patricia R. Adson, Ph.D.
Jennifer E. Van Homer
Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc.
2815 NW 13th St., Suite 401, Gainesville, FL 32609
9780935652932, $19.95,

"A Princess and Her Garden: A Fable of Awakening and Arrival" is an delicately illustrated self-awareness fable with key epiphanies to help teach all readers better ways to care for themselves and live happy lives. Section 1, titled 'Then' in "Becoming the Queen of Yourself," follows the gentle telling of the fable, with guided journal entry spaces for further expansion. This is followed by Section 2, 'The In-Between,' Section 3, 'Now,' and Section 4, 'From Now On.' The inspiration for the guided journal part of "A Princess and Her Garden" was assisted by Jennifer E. Van Homer, daughter to the author. The idea of the inner self as a garden is an effective metaphor to teach healthy practices of self care such as forgiveness, building and maintaining boundaries, and asking for help, also suggesting or implying learning patience with the process of allowing desired outcomes or simply beauty to grow. Including Becoming the Queen of Yourself, guided journal, "A Princess and Her Garden" is a beautiful tale of awakening, with much to help guide readers to ways to protect, nourish, and enrich their souls with mindful sharing with others.

Fairy Houses... Unbelievable!
Barry & Tracy Kane
Light -Beams Publishing
10 Toon Lane, Lee, NH 03824
9780970810489, $19.95,

"Fairy Houses... Unbelievable! A Photographic Tour " is an astounding, entrancing photographic tour of fanciful but real fairy houses imaginatively constructed from found natural treasures. Here are a fabulous array of exquisite fairy houses, including fairy gardens and vegetable houses, fairy tale themed houses, seaside homes for mermaids and fairy friends, whimsical villages, and fairy arts and amusements. Children are encouraged to create their own fairy houses from seed pods, sticks, nutshells, sea wrack, and other natural components. Exquisite detail in the color photos of miniature fairy homes is enchanting. A favorite is the fairy library, featuring tiny, birch bark covered volumes, with signs proclaiming glitter recipes, a lullaby lounge, and a handicap area. Hours of creative activity are portrayed in each photo treasure, encouraging children to activate and use their capacities for imagination, creativity, fun, and free play connecting with nature. "Fairy Houses...Unbelievable!" is part of the Fairy Houses Series, which can be found at, Here is good fun for children of all ages.

Plugging In
Joe Denizon
Mel Bay Publications
PO Box 66, Pacific, MO 63069
MB22035SET, $32.99,

"Plugging In: A Guide to Gear and New Techniques for the 21st Century Violinist" is a manual for modern electronically enhanced violin performers written by a master hailed as "the Jimi Hendrix of the violin." Including both a CD of performance techniques and a DVD as well, "Plugging In" presents valuable electronic performance enhancing information for intermediate or advanced level violin performers. Beginning with an introduction explaining how the landscape has changed for 21st century violinist, the book continues through 10 chapters of electrifying your violin, amplification and monitoring, basic blues and pentatonic scales, modal madness, fiddlefunk, rhytholin, rocking out, and eventually, putting it all together. An interview with Blaise Kielar, electric violin shop owner, recaps key learning techniques and performance origins of the development of the electric violin style and sound. Conventionally written music for 8 chapters of music provides text for the student to work on and learn further in the accompanying CD and DVD. For an electrifying change of pace, try "Plugging In:" to learn where the next stepping off point begins for jazz/improvisational string artists extraordinaire.

Essential Piano Chords
Robert Hartz
East Coast Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 13142, Hauppauge, NY 11788
c/o Santorella Publications, Ltd.
13 Pleasant Avenue, Danvers, MA 01923
#78474, $14.95,

Beginning with an explanatory introduction to piano chord notation, construction, and theory, "Essential Piano Chords: Complete Keyboard Library with Easy to Read Chord Diagrams" continues with a complete, concise, clear visual representation of 28 commonly used chords in each key, beginning with C and progressing to all 12 keys in order of difficulty. In addition to providing a handy reference for the construction of any desired specific chord or inversion, "Essential Piano Chords" explains the theory underlying chord construction, inversions, and notation. A handy two-page Chord Quality key in the beginning lists all C chords characterized by chord quality, musical symbol, chord tones, and written (spelled) piano chords. This gives a clue to all the available chord charts for all keys that follow in order of increasing difficulty. Each page of the Chord Catalog is divided equally into four sections to fully display on piano keyboard diagrams the root, first inversion, second inversion and third inversions of each chord, following the bass and treble clef notated chord(s). Thus, "Essential Piano Chords" is a tool to make full chord theory available and applicable for pianists, performers, and jazz improvisers who may not be familiar with traditional music notation. "Essential Piano Chords" is a handy text for musicians who are attempting to branch into improvisation as well as non-reading musicians, or less experienced pianists. It's simple design, clarity of style, and brief but comprehensive approach make its content completely desirable for both the experienced and the less formally taught pianist.

Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel
Paul Roberts
Amadeus Press
c/o Hal Leonard
7777 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee, WI 53213
978154672022, $24.99,

"Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel" is a sensitive, artistically centered biography and interpretation of the magnificent piano repertory of the fabulous Impressionistic composer. "Reflections" delves into some of the background and history of the more famous piano works, in addition to presenting key pedal techniques and other details for the performance of 20 seminal piano solos and also a chronological listing of Ravel's piano compositions. Another appendix includes discussion of Ravel's literary sources, including authors Fargue, Bertrand, Regnier, and others. Of course, interpretation and use of the sostenuto pedal are two key components to any approach to the performance of any Ravel piano literature. One of the most illuminating chapters is 5, titled the Perfection of Style - Valses nobles et sentimentales. In this compelling chapter, Roberts describes Ravel's aesthetic in solo piano as polarized, with Valses nobles et sentimentales to the north (representing a cool, accurate, intellectual approach, and Gaspard de la nuit at the south, representing a passionate, sexually charged, more dramatic approach. Further analysis and discussion is fruitful and enlightening, and the heading to the chapter is also compelling: "It is at the piano that a poet of sound often finds his most beautiful rhymes, testing with his own ear multiple audacities of acoustical reaction, so as to calculate the finest effect for future listeners. It is where he measures, with exquisite delight, differing degrees of seductiveness or astringency, where he develops his alchemy of sound in which is distilled his most intoxicating perfumes or his most fatal poisons (Emile Vuillermoz, 'L'oeuvre de Maurice Ravel' 1939, p. 91)." "Reflections" is a fascinating text for piano performers, teachers, and serious music lovers alike. A gleaming key to the mysterious and entrancing complexities of a great composer, "Reflections" is a gift to be cherished from a master performer.

The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook
Elise McDonough, and the editors of High Times Magazine
Sara Remington, photographer
Chronicle Books
680 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107
9781452101330, $18.95,

An informative medical treatment cannabis cookbook with added background on traditional uses of edible cannabis, "The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook" comes from Chronicle Books in San Francisco, California, where California Proposition 213 has effectively legalized medical use of marijuana since 1996. In addition to mover than 50 creative recipes designed to make cannabis ingestion both pleasant and healthful, this collection includes an educational chapter on active ingredients as well as an introduction to cannabis cookery. There are a variety of illnesses or common disorders that can be effectively and safely treated by use of cannabis, and cannabis ingestion has a number of advantages over cannabis smoking. Cannabis cuisine has a very ancient, fascinating history. But on to the recipes: Here are presented chapters and stunning color photos on Irie Appetizers, Munchie Meals, Stoner Sweets, High Holidays, and Cannabis Cocktails. Every recipe is preceded with an introductory note about the origin or history of the recipe, followed by a list of ingredients and step by step instructions. All text is written in two-tones of ink, with recipe amounts and titles in highlighted persimmon colored ink. Examples of cannabis cuisine recipes include Hookah Lounge Hummus, Obama's Sativa Samosas (named after President Obama because it includes foods from Indonesia, Hawaii, and Kenya, or mangos, tilapia, and kale), Ganja Guacamole, Medicated Balsamic Vinaigrette, Reggae Rice and Bean Soup, Psychedelic Spanikopita, Time-Warp Tamales, Bobby Blackout Cake (for Yule celebrations), Vegan Cannabis Carrot Muffins, and Great Ganja Pumpkin Pie, the featured cover recipe. "The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook" is a perfect guidebook for novice "stoner chefs," with scattered tips, tricks and techniques to appeal to the more experienced cannabis creator-chef.

My Gym Trainer 2, Intermediate Level
LeAura Alderson & Jill Coleman, MS, ACSM, CPT
MTF Publishing
9780982182222, $ 49.95,

"My Gym Trainer 2" is the intermediate level training and workout notebook containing 24 removable workout cards to provide instructions for up to 8 weeks of professional gym training workouts, to continue improving health and fitness through workouts designed by a personal trainer. Contained in a handy, compact three ring notebook, "My Gym Trainer 2" has specific exercises and instructions for four weeks of workouts, each targeting different specific muscle groups for optimal fitness. Nutrition guidelines and training schedules and suggested times are included as well as diet journal, cardio training journal, and circuit training journal pages. All pages are glossy-encased heavy cardboard and easily detachable from the notebook. Compact color photos of models demonstrate each circuit exercise, and model credits and additional resources are listed at the end. "My Gym Trainer 2" provides a responsible, economical alternative to the benefits of hiring an individual personal trainer. As always, a physician's permission and recommendation are best for starters. "My Gym Trainer 2, Intermediate Level" is part of a series that includes "My Gym Trainer 1, Beginner Level (9780982182215, $40.00) and "My Gym Trainer 3, Advanced Level (9780982182239, $38.11).

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Micah's Bookshelf

Angry E-Mail
Dona J. Young
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463545895, $9.95,

Anger can lead to many consequences if acted on quickly and recklessly. "Angry E-Mail: How to Put a Lid on it" is a guide to better dealing with one's e-mail and coping with the problems that can arise surrounding the use of e-mail. Dona J. Young advises readers on cyber anger and how to manage it, see things from the other perspective, and keep e-mail cordial and communications open. "Angry E-Mail" is a strong addition to general self-help and communications collections, recommended.

Hassan B. Abdelwahab
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781467883177, $16.95,

The world shrinks and many countries struggle to find their place in this world. "Influence: Supremacy of Religion on Sudan's Foreign Policy Decision Making" discusses the influences that Sudan faces on the world stage, and how religion is, for better or worse, dominating Sudanese foreign policy. "Influence" is a strong pick for any religious studies collection, highly recommended.

Something to Say Right Now!
Michael Horton
AR Publishing Company
9780980036114, $18.95,

Wisdom on demand seems like an oxymoron for some, but sometimes it's what's asked of us. "Something to Say Right Now!: 101 Ready-to-Use Brief Speeches and Presentations for Anyone Who has a Talk to Give and Needs Something to Say Right Now!" is an advisory on public speaking from Michael Horton, who presents plenty of inspirational ideals. "Something to Say Right Now!" is a strong pick for anyone who may be put on the spot with a microphone.

The Creation
Donald Jordan
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432774875, $21.95,

There are virtues that we wish upon our children to carry with them when we are gone. "The Creation: A Letter" is a book of spiritual thought from Donald Jordan, as he writes to his grandchildren, aimed at anyone of a younger generation to empower themselves and drive the world forward towards a better tomorrow. With a strong dose of faith, "The Creation" is worth considering for those seeking a faith driven and spiritual read of morality.

Heart of a Hero
Billi Tiner
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781470110147, $7.99,

A dog's loyalty isn't without its own tests. "Heart of a Hero" is a novel from Billi Tiner, surrounding Irish Setter puppy Lady, an aspiring hunter dog who wants to serve her owners well. But doing so won't be easy, as Lady learns about love and loyalty. "Heart of a Hero" is a treasure for dog lovers.

To Love, Honor, & Cherish
Anastacia Faraci
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456722883, $29.95,

Love is an inspired emotion. "To Love, Honor, & Cherish: A Love Story of All Time" is a story from Anastacia Faraci, as she writes a story she states has come to her in a dream, that she feels was pushed to her by God, to share her own struggles of facing two bouts of breast cancer in her life. "To Love, Honor, & Cherish" is a personally driven story, not to be overlooked, highly recommended.

52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss
Terri L. Cunkle
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432776244, $14.95,

A bit of joy in life isn't something to be missed just because you're too busy. "52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss: Activities Sure to Bring Joy Back into the Lives of the Super Busy" is an inspirational read from Terri L. Cunkle as she presents a schedule of 52 two weeks invented to put the joy back into our lives on many levels, with ideas for even more. For those who want to make sure they smile everyday, "52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss" is a read to embrace.

The Unlikely Career of Sonny B. Feelright
Dwight David Morgan
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432780111, $19.95,

When someone throws you money fresh out of college it takes a lot to resist the temptation. "The Unlikely Career of Sonny B. Feelright" is the story of college graduate Sonny Feelright as he lucks out into a job at a Chicago Investment bank. When fabulous fortune tempts him in the guise of cruel and unethical Nancy Black, who could set him for life. Faced with trying to do what's right, he relies on what friends he can find, making "The Unlikely Career of Sonny B. Feelright" a fine read that should prove hard to put down.

Weather's Store
Thelma Giomi
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781460930588, $14.99,

When we set out looking for answers, we can often be surprised in what we find. "Weather's Store: Encounters with the Sacred" is a novel from Thelma Giomi as she presents the story of Jessie Eaton, lost in her own life's thought, setting out on a drive to nowhere in particular. As she meets Weathers and their unusual store, she is met with an onslaught of new age mysticism and reconsiders her stances in life. "Weather's Store" is an original and much recommended pick for fiction collections with a spiritual twist.

The Duke Don't Dance
Richard Sharp
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467949163, $12.95,

Between two great generations, the seeds of change came. "The Duke Don't Dance" is a novel from Richard Sharp as he presents a story of seven of the Silent Generation, the generation between World War II and the Baby Boom, having no time of greatness. Through the triumphs and failures, Richard Sharp presents an enticing read of the 1950s and 1960s in life. "The Duke Don't Dance" is not to be overlooked.

Ash Wednesday
Harold Eppley
Oconee Spirit Press
9780984010905, $14.95,

Faith is important, but at what cost of sanity? "Ash Wednesday" follows the pressures that Gerald Weiss is facing as a pastor at a small Lutheran church, the Abiding Truth. Losing his congregation to a mega-church, losing his job to a hellfire and brimstone preacher, and losing his wife to a lesbian, Pastor Weiss has no idea where he is faith is going and tries to cope with the sudden shock of the world. With humor and a unique view of faith, "Ash Wednesday" is a fine read, very much recommended.

Micah Andrew

Shelley's Bookshelf

Dutch Me Deadly
Maddy Hunter
Midnight Ink
c/o Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd
2143 Wooddale Dr, Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
9780738727042, $14.95 US/$16.95,

Maddy Hunter decided to begin penning mysteries after a series of travel disasters. A colorful aunt provided an idea of characters from Iowa who literally stumbles through various booked tours, and Maddy's writing career was launched. Her "passport to peril" mysteries scored with the public, but she lost her publisher. Midnight Ink stepped in, and Maddy was back in business. She has been nominated for an Agatha Award and also a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. HULA DONE IT? PASTA IMPERFECT, and TOP O' the MOURNIN' were also named to the Independent Mystery Bookseller's Association. Maddy Hunter lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Emily Andrew-Miceli is a travel escort for seniors. Her present group is off to tour windmills, see Rembrandts, and stroll along the canals of Holland. Emily has a track record for solving mysteries, which precedes her. True to form, the group starts disappearing faster than a line of firecrackers attached to the same fuse. A sullen group from Bangor, Maine wreaks havoc from day one, and Emily's grandmother, Nana, and her friends have their heads buried in their smartphones. A night in the red light district, a few laced brownies, and her seniors are feeling no pain:

"'To reiterate,' I announced pointedly. 'Dutch cafes serve light meals. Dutch COFFEESHOPS serve bakery items laced with marijuana and God only knows what other drugs!'

They exchanged sheepish looks with each other before dissolving into giggles again.

I eyed them accusingly. 'You're all high as kites, aren't you?'"

Maddy Hunter has a gift for storytelling with humor and irony. It's all tongue-in-cheek, which makes it so fun. She loves to lace her writing with metaphors that are snappy and right on the mark. Her characters are lovable or menacing, or are they?

Black Wings
Kathleen Toomey Jabs
Fuze Publishing LLC
1350 Beverly Road, Suite 115-162, McLean, VA 22101
97800984141272, $19.95

Kathleen Toomey Jabs graduated in the 1988 class of the US Naval Academy. She earned an MA from the University of New Hampshire, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her writing credentials are impeccable, as is her background and knowledge of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Her short stories garnered awards, and remarkably, BLACK WINGS is her first mystery.

LT Bridget Donovan is a graduate of the US Navy Academy at Annapolis. Her best friend, roommate, and competitor for the attention of a certain young Midshipman, Audrey Richards, have been killed in a jet crash aboard an aircraft carrier. Donovan currently works as a deputy assistant for media operations in the Pentagon. Her boss, Captain Fangmeyer assigns the story to her, with an admonition to handle it discreetly

"'This story's going to pull a lot of attention. More if it's not handled right.' Bridget opened the folder. The floor began to tilt. She leaned back against the couch.

'What is it?' Fangmeyer asked.

'Nothing,' No one was going to see her fall apart."

Kathleen Toomey Jabs' writing style lies somewhere in between David Baldacci and Clive Cussler. But there is one important distinction. She's lived through the rigorous training imposed on Midshipmen at the Academy. It's not been so long since women have been allowed to attend the academy, and Jabs captures the subtle harassment of her story, which led to murder, perfectly. Add an exciting plot, great characters, and we have a great debut mystery. This review can't wait for more!

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

Witiku The Shape Shifter: The 3rd Ely Stone Novel
David Walks-As-Bear
Whiskey Creek Press
PO Box 51052, Casper, WY 82605
9780965615181, $15.00,

I am not quite sure how to write this review. I want to give you a small look into the story, yet I do not want to reveal the mystery. The story takes place in Manistee, Michigan, mainly in the forest. A beautiful place where many enjoy all the activities it presents to them, however an evil has seeped into the gentle flow of nature, an evil that takes lives, destroys families, and is determined to complete its destiny, and perhaps it will do just that. In this read we are privileged to again see Tribal Cop Ely Stone in action as he is summoned by Amos, the true Spiritual leader of their tribe through the Spirit world they share. As the horror continues these men, with several others, from Detectives, to FBI agents, begin

to join forces to fight an evil that few know how to defeat. Through all of this Ely takes much of the responsibility for victory, not by choice, but by destiny. Things become more complicated as Ely becomes involved with a woman who touches his heart with emotions that do not need to come forth at this time, especially when her life is on the line. What a ride.

I have come to know the writings of, David Walks-As-Bear, and I am always impressed with what he brings forth. This story is laced with Native American mysticism, weaving into the story frightening century old legends and bringing them to life. The locals are so vivid, the forest, the huts, the different places they stay and interact in. Small details often bring stories to life, some authors forget this. Each character plays an important part, none are castaways, but each ones actions and words help build the drama, the suspense, the mystery, and even the personal touch. Now let me warn about one thing, this has some strong sexual content in it, but as strange as this may seem I did not find this offensive. If it became too strong I simple moved ahead a little bit, but I understand it had to be in place to complete the story. This book is a page turner, one of extreme suspense, adventure and mysticism that will keep you reading to the end. Great job, David, very well done. Recommended.

Venice Lost
Gorden Snider
Helm Publishing
P.O. Box 9691, Treasure Island, Fl 33740-9691
9780983010913, $17.00,

Inside the pages of this adventure, Venice Lost, we meet, Robert Grey. Robert is about to celebrate his 50th birthday and he and his wife, Rachel take a trip to Venice, Italy. This trip is a two sided coin for Robert. It is not just his birthday celebration but this trip holds hopes of renewing what his life is all about. Venice is where Robert came of age twenty-seven years ago and deep inside he hopes Venice will awaken within him what he once had, but now seems lost. Something is calling him, deep within his soul.

Something strange happens to Robert on his first night there as he takes a walk passing by landmarks from so long ago, remembering happenings and experiencing feelings he had long forgotten he ever had. Suddenly he is trust into the past once again, but this time he must fight through extreme dangers, relationships that are forbidden, and wrongs that must be made right. Will Robert even return to his own time and be reunite with the true love of his life, Rachel, or is he destined to change his life forever.

It is not easy to write a story that involves time travel, if not written correctly the events can become muddled and confusing. I am happy to say this was not the case with "Venice Lost." Mr. Snider carefully brought you into the soul of Robert Grey, his very essences This was important to the entire story because you had to understand his frame of mind, his intentions, the turmoil and struggles within his being that were being battled throughout the read, both before he was thrown into the past and after. It is a story of love, danger, convictions, and life changing decisions. It is one of battles within the soul and in the natural. It is one of danger and adventure, love and commitment, sorrow and joy, a rich mix that must be read to be appreciated. One man's journey that touches the lives and the destiny of many. Very well done, recommended.

Charlie The Cello & Phil Harmonic
Deborah Nicholson with Philip Hansen
Illustrations by George Yacos
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
978146092638, $14.99,

Inside the pages of this outstanding read we meet, Phil Harmonic. Phil is looking for a special cello that he will play at the Concert Hall. After much looking he finds the perfect one and names him, Charlie. Phil takes Charlie home and begins to practice with him. Phil takes his time, is loving and caring as he takes Charlie into the very essence of the music. Soon the big day is upon them and Charlie is afraid. He knows there are so many things that could go wrong, but Phil's love and direction pull him through and Charlie does an outstanding job.

I loved this book for so many reasons. Definitely one was the exceptional way our author, Deborah Nicholson, gave the reader a tour and explanation of so many instruments. She worked different ones into the story line, telling what sounds they made, what they themselves were made of, where they came from, and the part they played in the orchestra. Each one was brought alive as they made their introductions to, Charlie. It was great and what a smart way to teach the reader. I also liked the way Ms. Nicholson showed the interaction between Charlie and Phil. Charlies fears and lack of confidence were quenched by the support, love and direction of Phil. Our author even allowed a mistake to be made during the concert and showed how victory can be present even when an error occurs. This act should definitely show adults that the same action towards children would help them overcome fear and lack of confidence in any area. The illustrations definitely brought the story to life. All in all I am happy to recommend this read. I really enjoyed it and believe the plus is that it is also a great learning experience

Etiquette For An Apocalypse
Anne Mendel
Bracket Press
25 NW 23rd Place, Suite 6 209
Portland, OR 97210
978098489003, $14.99

Everyday the world seems to crashing in around us in one way or another. Most of us wonder just how long things can go on as they are, scary but true. Inside the pages of this wonderful read our author, Anne Mendel, takes us to the possible future. We meet a family, Sophia, her doctor husband, Bertrand, her daughter, Sasha and her mother, LuLu. As we travel through the story we experience the after world of horror, little food, little water, no electricity, and danger everywhere. It is through this time that Bertrand discovers that someone is killing young women and he enlists the help of his wife to find out who and to stop it. This puts into play the entire storyline.

I have to tell you I have never read a book quite like this, and I've read a lot of books. Our author sweeps you into the after world of 'normal' living and consumes you with the hard facts of hell. Is it because you know this could, at any time, well be a reality? Perhaps! She introduces characters that are both charming and alarming. With grace, humor, and grit our author takes us into Sophia's world. Sophia struggles trying to keep all her loved ones alive and have some form of order in what is now an upside down world. Craftily she weaves each character into their role as the story progresses. I was amazed that I was actually drawn into this fearful world, and I felt as if I was part of the drama, I shuddered at the thought of ever staying there. The story takes some surprise turns, goes down dark corridors as the struggle to survive and bring some order into this new world is waged. This really is a great story, one that grabs you and keeps you until the end, or is it the end? Well done, Ms. Mendel.

Zero Balance
Ashley Fontainne
World Castle Publishing
Penascola, Florida
9781937593933, $14.95

This is a book that is filled with villains, half crazed women, misguided men and I will not go on. These are the characters that make up for a book that is cleaver in so many ways. Each character is pumped with their own shadow in the story, each fitting a niche that only they can fill, one of mystery, one of hate, one of misguided love, one of revenge all swirled together inside the pages of this book. Death runs rapid as the trail for Olin draws near, will the end come and if it does how many more will it touch.

This book was definitely different as each character painted a part of the entire vision set before you. It had bitterness and revenge keeping the pot stirred towards the final feeding. The author takes you into the minds and perhaps souls of the different players, letting you dwell in their midst and become part of their being. It is a dark read that twists and turns along dark recesses of minds and taking you on the journey with them. Perhaps you want to go, perhaps you don't, but you will be pulled into the cavern and hope you can come out. Quite a ride.

Angels at Sunset
Tom Mach
Hill Song Press
P.O. Box 486, Lawrence, KS 66044
9780974515953, $16.95,

This book is about a woman, Jessica Chandler, of notable interest from the late 1800s, early 1900s. During some of the times of this story woman were anything but honored. The battles for their rights were being fought, and won, but not without true hardships. As you read this work, you truly understand how it felt for a woman to live in this time and experience taking part, for the first time, in issues that mattered, like voting. Jessica was a strong woman who faced much adversary, as she struggled for women's rights As I read this story so many emotions flooded my soul, and I was thankful to be living in my times. Although Jessica never looked at herself as accomplished, her family does. Her daughter writes a biography about her, shared in this book, and as Jessica reads it, she relives the torment and the accomplishments of her life.

The author has woven a lot of historical facts and details within the pages of this read. I found those to be interesting and definitely brought light to the story, that fact makes this book a must read for historians who like fiction. I also feel this is a story that our youth would benefit from reading. To end, it is somewhat like Titanic - the movie was to the real Titanic, this novel is to the real struggles faced by women in that day. And you are treated to a bit of mystery. Unknown to our lady, there is a man following her who is trying to kill her and her family. Will he succeed? All in all, an exceptional read, great story and history all wrapped up in one.

HealthyHair Rehab
Jacqueline Tarrant
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Rd, Parker, Colorado 80134
9781432784065, $12.95,

I have to say when I first received this book to review I wondered how could anyone write so much about hair, I was very pleased at what I found. Our author, Jacqueline Tarrant, will open your eyes to the whys and how's of hair management. This wonderful author knows her hair and has many years of training behind her, so you can be assured that what you are reading is from someone who knows. There are many topics in this book, here are but a few that I found fascinating: Can Prescription Drugs Cause Hair Loss? The Link Between Your Health and Your Hair; When Should You See A Doctor. She gets right to the root of these problems and helps with solutions. Ms. Tarrant explains so many areas concerning our hair, from thinning, graying, frizzy, to types of hair and what you should eat to help your body and your hair. I could go on and on about the information that is packed in this read, but that's for you to find out.

Let me say this, every woman, and man for that matter, should have this book in their home. The information inside will shed so much light on questions we all have asked but never knew the answers to. This is an outstanding read and one I am proud to highly recommend. Well done, Ms. Tarrant!

The Persian Gambit
Eugene Bull
Silent Rivers Press
2971 Bellmore Avenue
Bellmore, New York 11710
9780615547695, $14.95,

Within the pages of this read, we are introduced to, Peter Graser, a mid-level U.S. State Department analyst. To me, Peter fit the part to a t, and I liked him immediately. He reminded me of a James Bond and I enjoyed that in the read. I liked his personality and his love for his mother, and respect for his deceased father. That may sound strange but true. Peter is attending a party, but not one that he is enjoying, but one that his sensitive work has given to him to do as part of an assignment. While at the party he talks with Assistant Secretary Cox, who dies at the party from a peanut allergy. Suspicion is thrown Peter's way, but that's just the beginnings of his woes. As the story continues more and more problems begin to develop for him, as he becomes accused or suspected of things he had nothing to do with. Definitely Peter is being set up as a fall guy, but by who and for what reason? The clock is ticking and Peter has to find the answers and find them fast.

I enjoyed this read, mainly because as I said I liked Peter Graser and wanted him to solve the puzzle that was surrounding his life. It is a pretty fast paced read, with quite a few characters and a lot of things to keep in place. Who has a piece of the puzzle and who does not? The story twists and turns as the author connects the dots, with each player adding a little spice, a hint or more. It is definitely a novel of mystery, suspense and intrigue, that moves you along with anticipation. Well done.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

Let Love Be the Victor
Jack R. McClellan
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456736729, $20.51,

Patience only wanted a life of peace, but violence seems to follow her everywhere she goes. "Let Love Be the Victor" follows Patience, a seamstress who has fled a trail of accusation. As she believes she has finally found a bit of peace in her life, it all falls apart and her life in London may never find the peace she desires. "Let Love Be the Victor" is a riveting read of intrigue that should prove hard to put down.

Transcendental Basketball Blues
Mike Pemberton
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463730697, $10.95,

In the short time that is had, we often find something to treasure and lock on to. "Transcendental Basketball Blues" is set in the late 1970s, as Jack, entering high school, tries to deal with a mother with paranoid schizophrenia, finding bonding in those brief moments where their love of music and basketball come together. With humor and a strong poignancy, "Transcendental Basketball Blues" is a choice and much recommended pick for general fiction collections focusing on the family and recent history.

On the Count
Michael Boccia
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781467060264, $14.95,

Working at a maximum security prison is a job not for everyone. "On the Count: Madness, Humor and Mental Health Care in a Maximum Security Prison" is a memoir from prison psychologist Dr. Michael Boccia, working with law enforcement author Peter Mars to present a unique insight into the staff of a Maximum security prison and what they face on a daily basis. "On the Count" is a fine addition to any memoir collection, highly recommended.

E. S. Coakley
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466349414, $5.99,

Man did not come easy to the kingdom of Heaven. "Croquis" is a novel from E. S. Coakley as she explores the genesis of Genesis, where God the Father and God the Son clash in Heaven over the Son's request to create man. As Lucifer looks on from afar and grows jealous, he plans his infamous rebellion. Granting a soulful look of the heavenly figures who make up Christian legend, "Croquis" is a novel that fans of Biblical fiction will more than enjoy.

Kaiser Brightman 082314
Michael Springer
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432783846, $15.95,

In a time of war, imaginations can create much trouble for youths. "Kaiser Brightman 082314" is a story of youths during World War II. A trio of twelve year olds are attracted to the PoW camp in their hometown in Minnesota. As their scout training makes them notice something unusual, they find they may be onto a massive plot, and it's up to them to convince those around them that the threat is there. "Kaiser Brightman 082314" is a fine read that shouldn't be overlooked, very much recommended.

Securing the C Level
Michael D. Peters
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781467968829, $20.95,

Corporate Culture is a strange thing that often proves ludicrously difficult to understand. "Securing the C Level: Getting, Keeping, or Reclaiming that Executive Title" is a guide from Michael D. Peters as he presents an exploration of Corporate culture, as he explains its nuances to those who want to get ahead in it, and how to avoid the common pitfalls through it all. Direct and to the point, "Securing the C Level" is a strong pick for anyone entering the Corporate jungle, very much recommended.

Phil Bowie
Privately Published
9780615553870, $7.99,

The elements of mystery and tragedy reside all too closely together. "Dagger" is a collection of short stories from Phil Bowie who explores a wide cast of characters each faced with the unknown, from their own lives, from beyond, and from their own actions. With plenty to keep readers glued and reading for much time to come, "Dagger" is a strong pick for general short fiction collections.

My Father Had This Luger...
Evangelos Louizos
Montagu House
9780982373439, $19.95,

Greece faced a tough road to reclaiming independence following World War II. "My Father Had This Luger..." draws on Evangelos Louizos' own story of being a young boy during the violence of World War II, from Greece's stand off against Italy, the Nazi Occupation, and how the Allied liberation did not prove to be all that liberating. Offering the Greek perspective in the war, one not often heard, "My Father Had This Luger..." is a read that will do well in any personal memoir collection focusing on World War II.

Talcon Star City
Gary Caplan
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781460966501, $12.90,

Survival can only be attained through finding the right allies. "Talcon Star City" is a science fiction adventure from Gary Caplan, who tells of the threats of the Accads and Varlons, leaving Talcon having to seek new allies for the alliance of Worlds. But time is short and they have to stand against the onslaught for time to come, "Talcon Star City" is a must for those seeking space-opera inspired tales.

Fidelity is for Swans
Shanne Sands
Footsteps Press
9780956634948, $13.00

We collect our thoughts, and it may be some time before we let it all be known. "Fidelity is for Swans" is a memoir from Shanne Sands as she puts forth her experience in other forms of writing to create a more comprehensive work of poetry. A strong addition to any literary poetry collection, "Fidelity is for Swans" is a fine and much recommended pick. "In Sadness": Be thou my sight if blindness comes to me,/Be thou my hearing if my ears strike deaf./Let thy thoughts speak for me if dumb/I should become./And if some dread disease falls upon my bones/Let it be thy hands that soothe the wounds.//For if with joy your love I do not hold/Then well I shall be blessed/If when in death 'this thy gaze/That leads me to my rest.

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

Blues for Planet Earth
E. O. Kean
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463645380, $15.00,

We face our world dead on, with wonder and humor and hope for the best. "Blues for Planet Earth: Poems and Prose Poems" is a collection of writings from E. O. Kean as he presents his own take on the world and the push for a greater boost of knowledge and facing the worlds evils. "Redress": redress one wrong/create another/kill one kind/displace a brother/seize t(his) land/your god said to you/your big brother/will see you through/no matter what wrong/you have ever done/you are in fact/the chosen one.

Titanic: The Tennis Story
Lindsay Gibbs
New Chapter Media
9781937559045, $12.95,

Two similar paths through life come with very different results. "Titanic: The Tennis Story" tells the story of two tennis players who survived the tragic sinking of the ship one hundred years ago, and who both went on to have legendary careers. A unique story of mirrored lives through time, united by tragedy and the sport both men loved, "Titanic" is a strong analysis of history with an added element of sport and biography.

Real Health, Real Life
Jillian Lambert
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466392311, $23.99,

No one is perfect, so you should stop trying to be. "Real Health, Real Life" is a health guide from Jillian Lambert who advises readers to stop striving for the impossible and accept real health, something that is attainable through good fitness, good diet, and positive thinking. Touching on spiritual ideas and thoughts, "Real Health, Real Life" is a strong pick for general health collections, highly recommended.

A Matter of Conscience
Fergal Nally
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
1425160956, $26.95,

The cure for cancer is the holy grail of modern medicine. "A Matter of Conscience" is a novel from Fergal Nally, as he focuses on the pursuits of doctor John Nicholson as he pursues chemotherapy in his attempts to find his own solution to the scourge of cancer. But his pursuit isn't without walls, and his opposition may be the very people who should also follow his goals. "A Matter of Conscience" is a strong pick for anyone seeking a medical thriller.

Leslie Brudvig
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432767273, $21.95,

War can forge bonds that last a life time. "Elco" is a novel as Leslie Brudvig creates a novel of a troop of soldiers who through their friendship, splits and reunites years later to create a business with their wide array of experience o found a business, and test their friendship and drive to do good in the world. "Elco" is a fine novel focusing on the extent that friendship can go, highly recommended.

He Answered
L. V. Robinson
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432784508, $9.95,

Tragedy leaves us with many questions, and many of them start with: Why? "He Answered" follows Lia, as she is faced with a major traumatic event that leaves her questioning her life, the goodness in humanity, and her faith. Insightful, "He Answered" presents an intriguing breakdown of life's many questions, recommended.

Referendum for Murder
Mickey Polansky
Abbott Press
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781458200112, $24.95,

The Death Penalty has been a hot button issue of the past fifty years. "Referendum for Murder" follows the story of State Senator Thomas McCormick, faced with Wisconsin's fight over this topic, with raging debates on both sides of the field. As he finds romance in the protests, he gets the issue put to referendum, as both sides of the issue rage hotly, and it may turn nasty quickly. "Referendum for Murder" is a strong pick for any collection looking for legal and law thrillers.

Journalism Primer
Jim Pumarlo
Romeii LLC
9781937391027, $14.95,

Local journalism is the first few steps to something bigger. "Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage for Beginning and Veteran Journalists in the Age of New Media" is a guide to creating community news publications that can reach and can be easily accessed by the community. Encouraging the use of New Media, "Journalism Primer" is a wise read that shouldn't be overlooked for any aspiring writer or experienced one who wants to get with the times.

The Big Picture
J. Lamarr Cox
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466357501, $14.95,

There's more to life than the here and now. "The Big Picture: What's True and Good About Life" is an inspirational read from J. Lamarr Cox as he advises readers on how to gain a more complete view of their lives, their emotions and their barrages they often face in their lives, and how to take it with the right stride, finding the joy and humor they keep facing int heir lives. "The Big Picture" is an empowering read, a choice addition to self-help collections.

Kate and Spirit Wolf
Littlewolf Griffith
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432779221, $15.95,

Between worlds, the truth can be seen from many perspectives. "Kate and Spirit Wolf: The Spirit World Does Exist" is a novel from Lorraine Littlewolf Griffith who draws on her own experiences with Native American spirituality and standard American culture to provide a novel that dives into the divide of this world, as private detective Kate Cody must reach across worlds and work with the spirits and an Elder of a Monacan tribe to find the truth they seek. "Kate and Spirit Wolf" is a strong pick for those seeking a spiritual novel that edges into mystery.

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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