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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 5, Number 4 April 2006 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Betsy's Bookshelf Burroughs' Bookshelf Greenspan's Bookshelf
Jason's Bookshelf Klausner's Bookshelf Laurel's Bookshelf
Margaret's Bookshelf Michael's Bookshelf Sharon's Bookshelf
Shelley's Bookshelf Shirley's Bookshelf Vicki's Bookshelf
Vogel's Bookshelf Volk's Bookshelf  

Betsy's Bookshelf

Body for Life for Women Workout
Pamela Peeke & Ellen Barrett
Rodale Press
c/o 411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
0766225100 $19.95

Based on the best-selling book by Dr. Pamela Peeke and featuring fitness professional Ellen Barrett, Body for Life for Women Workout: A Woman's Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation is a guide to a simple 12-week fitness program especially designed for women of all ages. Thirty minutes of Body for Life for Women Workout is devoted to a fitness routine; the rest is packed with solid guidelines for improving fitness, fostering a healthy mental balance, and retuning one's lifestyle toward greater well-being. A bonus segment especially focuses on smart food choices, in this excellent total fitness guide for women. 87 minutes, color.

Tie Die 101 & Advanced Tie Die Techniques
True Tiedye
c/o 411 Video Information (publicity)
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953

Tie Die 101 & Advanced Tie Die Techniques presents the development and progressive exploration of the ever popular art and style of the Tie Dye in a two volume "user friendly" DVD series. Educating its viewers on veteran techniques and years of experience and expertise by Tom and Martine, Tie Die 101 (one-disc, 87 minutes, $24.95) covers the most basic, however imperative novice principles of tie dying, followed up with Advanced Tie Dye Techniques (two-disc set, 130 minutes, $36.95) inclusive of Tie Dye 202 and Tie Dye 303, and which is an increasingly informative and very knowledgeable presentation of many intricate and awe-inspiring designs such as hearts, arrows, peace signs, aliens, mandalas, suns, lotus blossoms, and more. Tie Die 101 & Advanced Tie Die Techniques is to be given high praise, and is very strongly recommended to all tie dye enthusiasts, producers, and craftsmen, regardless of prior experience, for its educational and informative content, sure to enrich the knowledge of any tie dye artist.

Travel With Kids Caribbean
Equator Creative Media
411 Video Information (publicity)
87 West State Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021
DVD $14.95

Travel With Kids Caribbean from Destination Travel Guides is a deftly condensed but completely accessible 63-minute DVD formatted guide for those wishing to knowledgeably explore Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda with their children. Introducing the viewer to a fun filled journey through Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, an insightful tour of the famed Fort at El Morro, a trek through the Rain Forest at El Yunque, and an exploration of the underground caves of Rio Camuy, Travel With Kids Caribbean is an informatively fun application of the Caribbean for everyone. Replete with numerous tips for traveling with a young child, Travel With Kids Caribbean is very highly recommended to all aspiring or prospective visitors of the Caribbean area with children of all ages for its exclusive presentation of information which will enable an enjoyable, successful, memorable family vacation for all.

Samba Party Workout 1
Razor Digital Entertainment
411 Video Information (publicity)
12031 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 3, Studio City, CA 91604
DVD $14.95 each

Samba Party Workout 1: Brazilian Rhythm Celebration is competently hosted by Vanessa Isaac and provides a lively and energetic 35-minute introduction to the amazing and passionate world of Samba dancing. Educating the viewer in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step, simplified instructional manner, Samba Party Workout 1 brings a surplus of life into the enjoyable activity of dance with this unique and invigorating style, engaging the viewer both physically and mentally. A welcome addition to any personal or music/dance school instructional DVD collection, Samba Party Workout 1 is very highly recommended for its "user-friendly" construct and intriguing content to all viewers looking for a fun and lively "how to" guide to dancing the Samba!

Lynne Robinson Pilates
Well Go USA Inc.
411 Video Information (publicity)
990 North Bowser Road, Suite 700, Richardson, TX 75081
DVD $14.95 each

Lynne Robinson (owner/operator of The Body Control Pilates Academy in England) has produced an impressive series of DVD formatted pilates exercises based upon her popular health and fitness pilates workouts. The eight titles comprising this "user friendly", step-by-step, illustrated workout system are based upon the popular pilates method and include: The Perfect Body (90 minutes); Pilates for Beginners (50 minutes); Pilates Express (90 minutes; hosted by Pat Cash); Pilates Powerhouse (90 minutes); Shape Up (90 minutes); Everyday Pilates (80 minutes, with Fern Britton); Pilates for Pregnancy (50 minutes); and The Pilates Body: The Pilates Way (90 minutes). Although each of these outstanding pilates exercise DVDs are available separately for personal acquisition and use, community libraries and health clubs are encouraged to acquire the entire series for their DVD health and exercise collections in order to best address the total spectrum of their patrons' needs when pilates is a part of their health and exercise routines.

Cooking With Aphrodisiacs
Vat10 JBS
11783 Borman Drive, St. Louis, MS 63146
DVD $19.95

Cooking With Aphrodisiacs: Create Passion On A Plate, from the studies and expertise of culinary expert Cheryl Blevins, is an ingenious instructional application of DVD technology showcasing educational information on the history and lore of asparagus, avocados, basil, grapes, oysters, strawberries and seven other aphrodisiacs. Teaching its viewers of wine pairings and mixed drink recipes, artistic presentation of food, ice bowls, and other garnishes, and "quickie" cooking tips, Cooking With Aphrodisiacs explores the culinary world of sensual cookery and seduction, and is very strongly recommended to all culinary inclined viewers searching for a "kitchen cook friendly" visual recipes reference for intimate eatery and delightful dining.

Bennet Watt Entertainment Inc.
13021 244th Avenue Southeast, Issaquah, WA 98027

New from Bennet Watt Entertainment come three new informative and enthusiastically recommended documentation of three interesting American locations, all part of the Discoveries...America DVD series. Maryland (1932978348, $24.95, 60 minutes) introduces the state's many eclectic and fun features ranging from Annapolis, the Woodwind Schooners, and PRS Guitars, to America's first sailing school, Ocean City, Assateague Island National Seashore, Blue Crabbing, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Crisfield, and so many more fun locations. New Jersey 1932978356, $24.95, 60 minutes) introduces the viewer to such remarkable sights and landmarks as Cape May, Baymen's Seafood and Music Festival, Atlantic City, a historical reenactment of the Springfield Battle of the American Revolution, and dueling knights and Andalusian stallions in Lyndhurst. The Discoveries…America: Special Edition feature of Super Museum (1932978100, $14.95, 30 minutes) is an outstanding exploration of the Metropolis, Illinois museum for America's greatest super hero, Superman. Capturing a significant amount of what makes up over three-million dollars worth of Superman memorabilia, Super Museum is an engaging interpretation of the creative and fun dedication to Superman's history, progression, and memorabilia detailing of the life and adventures of this American popular culture icon.

Chris Berry & Panjea
Wrasse Records
c/o Rock Scissors Paper
PO Box 1788, Bloomington, IN 47402
WRASS174 $TBA 1-812-339-1195

Dancemakers is an exciting new release showcasing the artistic and inspiring creations of Chris Berry And Panjea. Enrapturing its listeners with a conceptual interpretation and perspective of philosophical and thought provoking lyrics and musical compositions. Dancemakers includes the track list of Love On The Mountain (3:52), Are You Ready (3:25), Why Do We (3:07), Home (3:51), Proud Line (4:57), Break Free (4:05), Vanda (3:33), Every Day (3:39), Axe Forgets (3:35), 911 (3:37), and the title piece Dancemakers (3:41). The result is a superbly produced and near flawless album of potent and unforgettable vivacious multinational, multicultural music.

Betsy L. Hogan

Burroughs' Bookshelf

Bolero Records
18653 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 3144, Tarzana, CA 91356
BOL7130 $15.98

Enchanted is an eclectic new CD music collection of the intricate artistry of harpist and composer Swanyce, instilling poise and harmony into the hearts of the listeners with its progressive and individualistic style. Composed of varying pieces featuring strings, harps, flutes, synths, classic orchestra and percussion, as well as lovingly angelic vocal passages and lyrics, Enchanted creates an inspired and inspiring sound that will be appreciated by one and all. Included are In The Name Of Love (4:16), Nova Dies (5:06), On The Road Of Life (2:49), A Time for Heaven (3:43), For You -Orchestral Version- (3:58), The Memory (2:53), The Little Harp's Tale (1:51), Beyond The Mirror (3:30), Carillon (2:42), Long Is the Night (5:07), Bolero Of The Enchanted Forest (3:11) and the title track, Enchanted.

Bridging Textures
Jim Hudak
Brainstorm Records
The Creative Service Company (publicity)
PO Box 488, Clayton, CA 94517
B1005 $TBA

Bridging Textures is an new and impressively produced collection of lyrical and musical compositions drawn from the inspiring works of Jim Hudak. Introducing the listener to his unique edge and interpretive and conceptual lyrical mastery, Bridging Textures explores the intricate mind and perception of what is Hudak's most inspiring album yet. Included in the track list of Bridging Textures are the songs Running Stream (3:00), Wild Goose (3:45), Like To Go With You (2:36), Now You Must Choose (3:08), You Taught Me (3:39), That Special Light (6:11), Never Had A Bad Day (2:53), Out Of My Head (2:21), I'm With You (3:00), Bittersweet Passion (3:24), Put Some Money Away Boy (3:26), Steppes I (3:45), Steppes II (5:05), and Song Of Achievement (1:49).

World Without Windows
Kids Creation Music LLC
c/o Andrea Blain P.R. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
KRE05 CD $15.00

World Without Windows, the debut album of the inspiring young band Creation, is an engaging collection of modern pop music from the exclusive perspective of the 12 and 13-year-old members of the band. Unique in their combination of styles, youthful energy, and outstanding message, Creation has opened the world to access of their music through World Without Windows, vowing to donate all proceeds from the sale of their album to the We Are Family Foundation. Included on the tracklist of World Without Widows are the songs Ghost; Curiosity; Miss You; Only For You; Peer Pressure; Pool Games; Watcha Gonna Do; One Last Dance; We Are All The Same; and title track World Without Windows.

The House Of Scorta
Laurent Gaude
High Bridge Audio
33 Sixth Street, CC-2205, Minneapolis, MN 55402
1598870149 $26.95

The House Of Scorta by Laurent Gaude is deftly narrated by the team of Daniel Oreskes and Barbara Caruso in this High Bridge audiobook presentation. The House Of Scorta is a poetic narrative of an Italian family struggle over the generations, and the story of their becoming, their faith, and their eternal pursuit of life. The 6 hour, 5 disc audiobook is very strongly recommended to all general fiction fans for the unique style in which it has been presented. Indeed, this complete and unabridged CD audiobook would prove a popular addition to any community library collection.

Soft Stone Publishing
3674 Barham Boulevard, #L315, Los Angeles, CA 90068
CD $16.95 each

The "Inner Mastery Series" from the works of KRS Edstrom brings two new and helpful audio guides to better health via self-awakening. Sleep Through Insomnia: Meditations To Quiet The Mind And Still The Body (1886198187, 40 Minutes) is an audio aide specifically designed for the one-hundred-million Americans experiencing difficulties getting to (or maintaining) sleep. Educating the listener on a more natural and personable method of inducing a more relaxed and deep sleep, Sleep Through Insomnia acts as an invaluable and "user friendly" aid to a more thorough and fulfilling sleep through practical and unconventional methods of meditation and the intertwining of celestially intimate music. Defeat Pain: Meditations To Transform Pain To Peace (1886198160, 40 minutes) stems from the studies and understandings of KRS Edstrom and offers an interesting, intuitive and masterful presented production of emotional and physical pain suppressant tactics and strategies for the listener wishing for better sense of self and relief of their physical discomforts. Introducing its listeners to a world of meditation oriented, soothing music, Defeat Pain is exceptional collection of intuitive balance ideals and innovations perfect for the seeking mind's eye of pain and stress resolution.

John Burroughs

Greenspan's Bookshelf

A Most Accursed Religion
Greg Mogenson
Spring Publications
28 Front Street, Putnam, CT 06260
0882145525 $22.00

A Most Accursed Religion: When A Trauma Becomes God by Jungian analyst Greg Mogenson is an expansive collective study of the authors understanding of theological influence upon the human psyche in the midst of a traumatic experience. As an extension and revision of Mogenson's first book, "God Is A Trauma: Vicarious Religion And Soul-making", A Most Accursed Religion is an evocative and conceptual revision and expository of what the religious dimension of psychology might have in effect with traumatic or extensively painful experiences which human may inevitably be subject to. A Most Accursed Religion is to be given very high praise for its excellence in progressive study and detailing of content, and is strongly recommended to all students of Abrahamic theology (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), as well as students of psychology, as an invaluable understanding of the religious aspect and impact of trauma upon individual psychology.

Ritual in the Bronze Age Aegean
Evangelos Kyriakidis
c/o International Publishers Marketing
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
0715632485 $81.00 1-800-758-3756

Featuring 50 black-and-white illustrations, Ritual in the Bronze Age Aegean: The Minoan Peak Sanctuaries is an in- depth assessment of Minoan archaeology as witnessed in its so-called "peak sanctuaries". Since so little is known with absolute certainty about Minoan Crete, all speculations are constructed with minute attention to detail and supporting evidence. Archaeology Lecturer Evangelos Kyriakidis examines theoretical issues concerning the attribution of ritual value to prehistoric activity; further chapters scrutinize "Going Further with Ritual: Praxis and Belief" and "The Rise and Fall of the Minoan Peak Sanctuaries". An extensive appendix offers a great deal of data to help clarify scholarly perspectives, and a thorough bibliography and index round out this superior reference in its field. Enthusiastically recommended for college library and archaeology studies shelves.

Narnia: C.S. Lewis And His World
David Barratt
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
0825420172 $12.97

Narnia: C.S. Lewis And His World by David Barratt (Senior Lecturer in English at University College, Chester, England) is an intimate telling of the true depiction of the tale of Narnia and an exploration of the creative mind and fascinating life of author C.S. Lewis. Introducing the reader to an understanding of Narnia from the perspective of Lewis, as well as the untold tale of the famed professor, scholar and Christian apologist, Narnia: C.S. Lewis And His World intricately details the extraordinary life, from birth to death, of his accomplishments and acknowledgments. Narnia: C.S. Lewis And His World is very highly recommended to all general readers for its accurate and intriguing biographical content, particularly to readers and fans of the late C.S. Lewis' inspired and inspiring life.

New Home Plans For 2006
Hanley Wood Home Planners
One Thomas Circle, NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005
1931131457 $9.95

New Home Plans For 2006: Updated Classics For Today's Homeowner from the collection of Hanley Wood Home Planners is an in-depth and comprehensive presentation of 325 new home plans, each of which offers an innovative design as a contemporary structure. Introducing and exploring new design showcases houses, summer homes and cottages, rustic getaways and retreats, farmhouses and ranches, urban and traditional designs, homes with historic inspiration, English and Provencal manors, Mediterranean and Spanish styles, as well as second master suites, extraordinary baths, spectacular outdoor living spaces and space-saving laundry and storage areas, New Home Plans For 2006 is an expertly presented compendium of inspiring and interesting home-design very strongly recommended to professional and academic library Architectural Studies reference collections.

Donna Baily Nurse
McClelland & Stewart
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 2P9
0771067631 $21.95

Revival: An Anthology Of Black Canadian Writing, deftly compiled and edited by literary critic and journalist Donna Bailey Nurse, is an inherently interesting and informatively diverse introduction to the engaging dynamics of twenty-nine contemporary black Canadian writers. Educating its readers on the history and particulars of the cultural influence and timely contribution of Canadian blacks and their progression through a duration of barriers, Revival ably presents the development and expression of black Canadian writing, including themes, motifs, the communities from which it arose, and the exuberant intricacies of adaptation and cultural diversity, drawing from an extraordinary collection of writings, fiction, poetry, memoir, and prose, exclusively found in black Canadian culture. Revival is very highly recommended to all students of the Canadian culture, and most particularly those with an interest in Canadian literature.

The Essential Buyer's Guide: Volkswagen Bus
Ken Cservenka & Richard Copping
Veloce Publishing
c/o Motorbooks International
729 Prospect Avenue, PO Box 1, Osceola, WI 54020
1845840224 $19.95

Very highly recommended, The Essential Buyer's Guide: Volkswagen Bus by automotive experts Ken Cservenka and Richard Copping is an invaluable and profusely illustrated reference for any prospective buyer or collector of the Volkswagen Bus line of vehicles. Introducing the reader to an in-depth and extensively researched collection informatively covering every necessary detail of each model and year of the VW Bus, The Essential Buyer's Guide: Volkswagen Bus acts as an expansive and exclusive contribution and consumers reference. The Essential Buyer's Guide: Volkswagen Bus is very strongly recommended to all readers searching for a vivid and accurate compendium of the Volkswagon Bus and the how to guide for what to look for when buying, fixing, or collecting the popular vehicle.

Autumn Road
Brian Swann
Ohio State University Press
1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 4310-1002
0814251471 $12.95

Autumn Road is an eccentric and inspiring collection of the intuitive poet Brian Swann (Professor of Humanities at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, New York) and his most uncompromisingly vivid works. The Star: You're writing down next spring's/garden: beans, tomatoes, squash/and so on. Outside, snow sticks everywhere,/clogging everything up, hemming//You in. When don you pick up/the newspaper. In the obits/there's always someone you know./The come and go, and you never//Quite get used to it. Walking/slowly downstairs you call/to your wife: How about a game/of cards? OK. She shuffles, deals,//Lifts her head. Look, she says,/That huge star. I've never seen/anything like it before. It looks like,/who knows. You turn and see it,//Whiter than snow, insistent as stone./Imagine, she says, what a place/like that must be./And drops her hand.

Able Greenspan

Jason's Bookshelf

The Confederate LeMat Revolver
Doug Adams
Andrew Mowbray Inc., Publishers
PO Box 460, Lincoln, RI 02865
1931464200 $29.99 1-800-999-4697

The Confederate LeMat Revolver is an in-depth guide to the LeMat revolver, best known for its manufacture and use by the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The LeMat revolver was distinctive among firearms of its day because it was more than an ordinary revolver - in addition to bullets, it featured a shotgun blast under the barrel! Written for firearm history buffs, collectors, and Civil War scholars, The Confederate LeMat Revolver includes a wealth of full-color photographs and a highly accessible history of these unique firearms from their invention in New Orleans to the decline in their use after the Civil War and their modern role as antiques and artifacts of history. A top-quality, definitive guidebook.

The Battle Of Hampton Roads
Harold Holzer and Tim Mulligan, editors
Fordham University Press
2546 Belmont Avenue, University Box L, Bronx, NY 10458-5172
0823224813 $24.95 1-800-247-6553

Set during the American Civil War, The Battle of Hampton Roads: New Perspectives on the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia is the history of the first encounter between ironclad warships, the end of wooden warships, and the beginning of the machine-age navy. An anthology of essays by scholarly authors examine such topics as daily life aboard the USS Monitor, a historical debate of which side won the battle of Hampton Roads, and the battle as depicted in art. An insightful collection, enthusiastically recommended for college library and naval or civil war history shelves.

The Civil War
Grady McWhiney
McWhiney Foundation Press
McMurry University, Box 637, Abilene, TX 79697
189311449X $12.95

The Civil War: A Concise Account By A Noted Southern Historian from the collective studies and historical perceptions of Grady McWhiney (Founder of the Grady McWhiney Foundation) is an invaluable compendium providing the reader with an overall understandings and historical survey of the American Civil War. Diligently compiled within 144 pages, The Civil War is inclusive of 11 maps with very detailed and in-depth depictions and essays of the Civil War's battles, campaigns, victories and demises, vividly and accurately detailing key particulars of the conflict. The Civil War: A Concise Account By A Noted Southern Historian is very strongly recommended, to all students of American History, most particularly those with an interest in the Civil War for its informative study not found elsewhere.

While Washington Burned
Joseph Whitehorne
Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company
2055 Middleburg Lane, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
1877853186 $28.95

While Washington Burned: The Battle for Fort Erie 1814 is a close analysis of a key battle of the War of 1812, often dubbed the "second war of independence" for America. U.S. Army historian Lt. Col. Joseph Whitehorne applies his skills to meticulously re-creating the events leading to the first U.S. victory on land against an organized British force, including attacks and counterattacks that resulted in costly casualties. Maps, black-and-white photographs, and extensive appendices of the armies involved round out this excellent contribution to military history shelves.

The Teutonic Knights
William Urban
MBI Publishing Company
Galtier Plaza, Suite 200, 380 Jackson Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-3885
1853675350 $19.95 1-800-458-0454

The Teutonic Knights: A Military History is the true story of the Christian order of Teutonic Knights of central Europe during the medieval era. Covering roughly the 1200's through the 1500's, including the order's rise and fall, The Teutonic Knights examines both the order's strengths and its inequities, which have been to some degree exaggerated by propagandists, nationalists, secularists, and Protestants. A handful of black-and-white photographic plates illustrate this meticulously documented historical text, embellished with a bibliography and index. The Teutonic Knights brings the era and daily life alive, as surely as it illuminates power struggles between factions, Christian orders, noblemen, and nations, and is a superb contribution to medieval and military history shelves.

Another Side Of World War II
Juliana Fern Patten
White Mane Publishing Company
73 West Burd Street, PO Box 708, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0708
1572493771 $14.95

Another Side Of World War II: A Coast Guard Lieutenant In The South Pacific by Juliana Fern Patten is the engaging personal story of one man's experiences of World War II in the South Pacific Theatre. Compiled from letters, logs, and photographs of the time, Another Side Of World War II provides readers with an intimate and vivid detailing of events from the perspective of someone deeply involved with the progression of the war. A welcome contribution to the growing library of World War II military memoirs an and biographies, Another Side Of World War II is very highly recommended to all readers with an interest in first-hand accounts, as well as those in search of a better understanding of World War II and America's participation in the South Pacific combat zones.

Jason Warrant

Klausner's Bookshelf

Two Little Girls in Blue
Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0743264908, $25.95

In Ridgefield, Connecticut, Margaret and Steve Frawley love their preschool twin girls. When Kathy and Kelly turn three, their parents throw a mini birthday party. Once the children go to sleep they leave them with a trusted babysitter and travel to New York to attend a gala. Always checking on her beloved children, Margaret calls their home, but no one picks up the phone. Frantic, she calls her hometown police, who immediately arrive at the Frawley residence even as the frenzied couple rushes home. The children are gone and a ransom note demands eight million or else. The Frawleys pay, but the vehicle allegedly containing their children only holds Kelly and a dead driver whose apparent suicide note states that Kathy has died. Kelly insists otherwise as she has a special bond to her twin who she adamantly claims is sending her telepathic messages. Her mother is her only believer at first, but soon her father and the FBI begin to accept that something extraordinary is going on between two apparently living twins, which give them hope that they can rescue Kathy. No one writes suspense of the heart better than the grand mistress Mary Higgins Clark. Her latest is a terrific thriller that grips the audience from the moment that the phone is not answered and never slows down as law enforcement led by a preschooler chase the kidnappers along the northeast corridor. The action-packed story line works because the grief of the parents and the link between the siblings seem genuine. TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE plays on our worst fears of a stranger harming our children but does it so entertainingly well.

The Elixir
Thomas F. Root III
Twilight Times Books
P.O. Box 3340, Kingsport TN 37664-3340
ISBN: 1933353031, $16.95

Attorney Tom grew up in Long Island while his wife physical therapist Carole was raised in New Jersey. However ironically though both are almost equidistant from the Big Apple they met and fell in love at the Church of the Resurrection in Dania Beach, Florida as if God intended them to be soulmates. Though she is handicapped suffering from RSD (Reflex sympathetic dystrophy), they married and are currently renting a house from eccentric Lucille on Cape Cod. Tom meets Lucille who upsets him when she seems to criticize his walking of Carole's service dog Yukon. However, at dinner, Lucy joins them and Carole and she hit it off. Lucy, who sells teas and herbs, offers Carole an elixir that she believes will provide relief from RSD. A desperate Carole tries it and a seeming miracle occurs as the pain vanishes along with the debilitating illness. Now Lucy offers the unbelievable cure to beat death indefinitely to her guests though she and her well mannered companion Sammy the cat have recently found longevity tiring. Though there is a whimsical underlying fantasy element to this wonderful story line, the tale is a deep character study that focuses on the importance of love and faith even for those who could live forever if one is to remain human. THE ELIXIR centers on relationships mostly between the loving duo, but also between them and the strange Lucy; she with Sammy and she with her late family. Thomas F. Root III provides a terrific Shangri-la in the Cape tale that will leave the audience entertained and pondering what essentials are needed to live not just exist.

Come Together, Fall Apart
Christina Henriquez
ISBN: 1594489157, $23.95, 340 pp.

This terrific anthology consisting of eight short stories and a novella that provides the book's title is a superb deep look at life in Panama from the perspective of people wanting to be fulfilled and happy in spite of the adverse environment they live in during the reign of or since the fall of Noriega. Short stories. Throughout the shorts, families are disrupted and devastated by personality flaws of the adults (usually the patriarch) or from outside intervention; in some cases with good intentions. Yet somehow the young still hope for a better future for them and their offspring whether it is in Panama City, Gamboa in the rainforest or New Jersey. The novella: "Come Together, Fall Apart". In October 1989, Panamanians anticipate the American invasion and chaos has set in everywhere especially in the capital. Small bombs explode everywhere including one that harmed fifteen years old Ramon's Tia Reina. Ramon and his mother believe it is not safe anywhere as Noriega's reign is near collapse and their family edges closer to crumbling.

Prisoner of Memory
Denise Hamilton
ISBN: 0743261941, $24.00, 368 pp.

Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond accompanies California Fish and Game Tracker Jeff Knightsbridge as he investigates the reported sightings of a mountain lion in Griffith Park. Instead of a puma, they find a corpse of a teenage boy apparently executed. LAPD find a driver's license on the victim, Dennis Lukin of Studio City. Eve notices the kid wore a watch with the old Soviet symbol on it. The why seems odd as the victim was not a drug user, was doing well in school, and lived with caring educated parents. Denny's father Russian emigre scientist Sasha Lukin is grieving his loss, but though feeling a connection perhaps because her family are Russian emigres too, Eve feels he hides something critical to the homicide. Partnered with her rival police reporter Josh Brandywine who seems more interested in Eve than the story, she keeps digging for the truth though what she learns seems odd compounded by a man insisting he is her cousin and claiming that Russian mafia wants him. Even worse s the fact that the teen murder just does not intersect with anything else Eve uncovers even as a disgraced FBI agent, his KGB siren and a Russian gangster warn Eve to back off or else. The fifth Diamond investigative tale is a terrific entry as much of the case seems personal to the heroine though it is a different Russian family than her own. The story line is action-packed with readers wondering like Eve what is the link between the Fed, the femme fatale, the scientist, the Russian Mafia, and the dead teen as the latter does not seem to fit in with the other pieces of the puzzle. Fans will enjoy learning about Eve's personal life as she makes inquiries into the PRISONER OF MEMORY.

Second Sight
Amanda Quick
ISBN: 0399153527, $24.95

Knowing her family needs money, photographer Venetia Milton obtains a gig at isolated Arcane House where she plans to seduce her employer Gabriel Jones. She succeeds on both parts, but feels despondent when she has to leave as she believes she is in love. However, not long afterward, she reads in the newspaper that her beloved died. Feeling like a widow, Venetia pretends that she and Gabriel were married. To her shock, Gabriel arrives at her home. Apparently, he arranged his death to fool his enemies who want his secrets that he possesses as the current ancestor of an alchemist who formed a clandestine society to study psychic phenomena; Venetia hides the fact that she sees auras from her "guest". As they fall in love, they team up to uncover killers, blackmailers, and thieves who covet both their secrets in a world filled with masquerades in which SECOND SIGHT can prove misleading. This is a delightful Victorian romantic suspense with a touch of the paranormal. The story line balances the kissing scenes with the perilous escapades so that the audience obtains a quick-paced fun thriller. Venetia is a wonderful protagonist struggling with her secrets including her desire for her "late" employer while Gabriel battles his enemies but has revised his life goals as he reciprocates his employee's desires. Historical romance fans will enjoy this charming couple who either are in the fire or causing the fire.

Nick Sagan
ISBN: 0399152768, $24.95, 256 pp.

The Black Ep pandemic epidemic (see IDLEWILD and EDENBORN) has left few humans still alive. No part of the earth was safe from the ravages of the disease. At the same time in Victory City the few Posthuman survivors argue about the future with most wanting to adhere to the Doctrine of working as a collective to survive while the recently unfrozen prefer a return to the class power system for instance what else can a de-iced senator from Texas do but use authority even as far away as the Green Mountains of Vermont. As the debate rages over how to promulgate the species and organize society, a mutation strain of Black Ep causes new havoc. Finally science saves Homo sapiens from becoming extinct with the creation of a new organ that dramatically increases the immune system so that it can fight off the Black Ep and its various strains. However those still alive realize that the synthetic organ that wards off Black Ep is also a communication device that enables aliens to communicate with earthlings; aliens who brought Black Ep to the planet. Mankind has apparently past a morbid test, but the price still shakes those breathing; some want nothing to do with this ET superior; others want vengeance; while the remainder believes it is hopeless to do anything but continue to endure. In his third futuristic thriller Nick Sagan has written a compelling work that will appeal to fans of speculative fiction and apocalyptic thrillers though this time society is breaking into factions over the way to remake the future. Readers will admire those trying to live as they refuse to allow humanity to become extinct even when the odds are overwhelmingly against them and they disagree on what kind of society to have. Speculative fiction and apocalyptic thriller fans will enjoy the final fight of the fittest for survival of the species.

Grace in Thine Eyes
Liz Curtis Higgs
ISBN: 1578562597, $20.99

In 1808 in Glen of Loch Trool, Scotland, twin brothers Will and Sandy McKie feel a need to protect their wee seventeen years old mute sister Davina. Thus when their father Jamie arranges for the siblings to attend the university in Edinburgh, they and Davina are upset. Their older brother Ian understands that the family patriarch has to make difficult decisions when it comes to second born sons, but though he supports his dad, he and his mother Leana are also distressed just not as vocal as Will and Sandy. Jamie knows the twins will be fully occupied with their studies and his oldest son is courting Margaret McMillan, so his concern turns to his beloved daughter. He decides a trip to his cousins on the Isle of Arran will distract her until everyone settles into their new roles. At Arran, her family welcomes Davina and her skill with the fiddle becomes known. Rakish Highlander Somerled MacDonald and Davina meet, she flirts with him and he seduces her. Word of what happened that Midsummer's Eve reaches Loch Trool and Edinburgh. While Jamie fumes, the twins take action leading to Somerled and his father falling off the cliffs of Goatfell on Arran. Davina holds herself culpable as does everyone else because she brought shame to her family. GRACE IN THINE EYES is a superb inspirational historical propelled predominately by Davina, but somewhat by the twins and their father. The key is that the personalities of the McKie family is set early and remains consistent throughout. Fans of deep character driven tales will appreciate this strong Regency era novel starring a wonderful female poorly coping with tragic events as the scarlet letter of gossip follows her even at home; females take the blame for scandals.

Dark Water
Linda Hall
ISBN: 1578569540, $13.99

In Fog Point, Maine, jewelry designer Elise St. Dennis is happy with how far she has come in life as she raises her precious six grade daughter Rachel and sells her designs. Private investigator Jake Rikker comes to her store and buys two teddy bear necklaces for his eleven and thirteen year old daughters from Elise. However, her past has resurfaced when Wesley Stoller was released from prison having spent only ten years behind bars for murder. Needing help she turns to Jake and his partner May asking them to find Wesley before the psychopath finds her and especially Rachel. She insists the connection is through her late father who died in prison as she and Wesley have emailed one another for seven years, but now she fears he is coming for her, but more so her trepidation is for Rachel. Finally she wants no police. Though the story seems somewhat off kilter, Jake and May agree to find Wesley before he stalks Elise, but both sleuths assume they know who the dangerous one is and conduct their inquiry accordingly, which could prove dangerous. Though terrific Teri Blake-Addison is not the star, Linda Hall's latest Maine investigative thriller is a fabulous tale that grips the audience from the moment that Elise asks May and Jake for help and never slows down until the final whale sight seeing tour. The story line is filled with twists and turns that will surprise the audience yet feels plausible. Readers and the sleuths learn a near lethal lesson (read the novel for what that is) in what is a captivating character driven thriller.

Death in Vienna
Frank Tallis
ISBN: 0802118151, $22.00

At the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna is the hot spot of the new controversial science because its founder Sigmund Freud works there. A colleague of Freud, psychoanalyst Max Lieberman works with the hysterical, but also assists his friend his friend Police Detective Oskar Rheinhardt on investigations when requested. Oskar asks Max to help him with a difficult case that on the surface seems obvious. A beautiful medium, Fraulein Lowenstein, apparently shot herself in her heart inside a locked room with a suicide note near her body; simple except there is no gun at the scene nor even more enigmatic a bullet in her corpse. Since the death occurred on a day she was to conduct a seance, Max questions her servants and clients. He quickly concludes that several people actually had motives, but the opportunity seems beyond their possibility. As Oskar and Max struggle with the investigation, one of Lowenstein's clients is murdered in his sleep inside a locked room. The motives and means once again are obvious, but how someone made the opportunity happen remains beyond the understanding of the two sleuths. This is a terrific historical police procedural in which the intellectual atmosphere of Vienna circa 2000 is alive and in some ways the main character of the delightful tale though Max and Oskar are fully developed authentic protagonists. The lead pair struggles with uncovering the how to a murder mystery, but in doing so also add to the ambiance that controls the entire wonderful plot. Frank Tallis provides a powerful early twentieth century whodunit that will have readers waltzing with the investigators as they dance around Vienna seeking to identify the culprit before another homicide takes place.

The Mandarin Club
Gerald Felix Warburg
ISBN: 1890862452, $25.00, 320 pp.

The six (Rachel Paulson, Alexander Bonner, Branko Rosza, Mickey Dooley, Martin Booth, and Beijing exchange student Lee Tai Ling) first met at Stanford and realized they shared an interest in China; Barry Lavin served as a mentor father figure encouraging them. Thus these scholars formed the MANDARIN CLUB to discuss China and hopefully make a better world by understanding the culture. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter following up on President Nixon's opening the diplomatic door, recognizes trade with the People's Republic of China. Suddenly the club members are no longer inane nonentities as Wall St and Uncle Sam need experts, which The Mandarin Club members contain. Over time, each became a success. Rachel is a highly regarded Beltway lobbyist. Alexander is an investigative reporter following leads on intelligence leaks. Branko is chief of the China desk at the CIA. Dooley sells technology to the Communists. Martin works for the Congress. Lee keeps an eye on his country and his five associates as he still hopes for a free China. These six and their mentor will soon be caught in an international game of cat and mouse in which China and the United States appear heading to war; they are the only hope to prevent pandemic catastrophe. This is a terrific modern day thought-provoking character driven espionage thriller that enables the audience through the MANDARIN CLUB members to eavesdrop on the DC powerbrokers. The action is fast-paced and fun to follow, but it is keeping the sextet consistent and genuine that makes the tale worth reading. Gerald Felix Warburg will have the audience pondering over abstract concepts like what and who is truly the patriot and who is the ideologue wrapping exclusive labels within the flag. Anyone opposed to the Patriot Act is obviously an anti-patriot. This fabulous tale never slows down as the audience sees closely how DC and to a degree Beijing react to a potentially lethal crisis caused by one another.

James Patterson and Howard Roughan
ISBN: 0446696269, $13.95

Interior designer to affluent men thirtyish Nora Sinclair is a beautiful widow having killed her first spouse to inherit his wealth. Currently, in Briacliff Manor, Westchester, Nora is engaged to successful hedge fund manager Connor while also being married to bestselling author Jeffrey in Boston. She plans to kill both of them for the money starting with poisoning Westchester and then Boston. After poisoning Connor, Nora meets undercover FBI Agent John O'Hara, who pretends to be an insurance investigator but in fact believes she is a black widow who he needs to bring to justice though he admits that she is the total package of looks, brains, and charm. Quickly though he knows better and admonishes himself, John finds he cannot resist Nora's lure. She seduces him catching him in her web. John struggles to get past his obsession for Nora, as he needs to get on with the job, but she owns him. Nora and John are extremely complex characters who play a kind of cat and mouse game, but who is the feline and who is the rodent keeps the audience wondering how John will survive this case. A final spin adds to a powerful story line that when it centers on the black widow and her men, especially John, grips the reader as few books will. Though a running subplot involving money deposits to banks in the Cayman Islands requires a very late explanation to pull into and tie it back to the female serial killer prime plot, HONEYMOON is an enthralling thriller.

Cage's Bend
Carter Coleman
ISBN: 0446696293, $14.95

Southern Episcopal Minister Franklin Rutledge and his wife, Margaret raise three sons, born in the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. Though he once dreamed of a Ph.D. in Divinity Studies instead of father to three rambunctious boys, Franklin is pleased with what God has given him. He worries about the rivalry between his two oldest, Cage and Nick, born less than one year apart, but believes that is God's way. He thanks God that Harper was born a decade later. Cage is a terrific athlete, intelligent, charming and a hunk. Nick, except when competing against Cage, is reticent though he is as smart and handsome as his older brother. Harper worships his brothers and wants to be with them all the time. In 1987 Nick dies in a car accident. His surviving family struggles to cope with the loss. Cage blames himself as he was the last to speak with Nick; his mood swings soon are diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Harper makes it at Wall St. but hides his loss and his fear that Cage is next with alcohol and drugs. Franklin believes he has failed as a Bishop because he has unsuccessfully brought any comfort to his family. Margaret, though grieving her loss, knows she must help her dysfunctional family heal. Rotating perspective between the four Rutledges, readers obtain a powerfully poignant family drama that looks deep at interactions and interrelationships when the dynamics change due to the death of the fifth participant leading to new conflicts arising. The key to CAGE'S BEND is that the characters seem real especially as members of a competitive family. Carter Coleman provides a fabulous complex tale of people struggling to cope with loss often by destructive behavior.

A Sundog Moment
Sharon Baldacci
Warner Center Street
ISBN: 1931722641, $10.95

Michael and Elizabeth Whittaker are a loving well-balanced couple fluid like Astaire and Rogers in all they do. However, without warning, Elizabeth begins to become uncoordinated. Concerned they have her checked out fearing a brain tumor. Though not that, both are stunned when Dr. Jones informs them she suffers from multiple sclerosis. Their harmonious world will never be the same. Her family and friends react with horror only adding to Elizabeth's sudden feeling of isolation from the secure world she knew. Her mom is over the edge; her best friend has no idea how to act with her; and her loving spouse fears leaving her on her own. Needing understanding not trepidation, Elizbath joins the Northern Neck Neuromuscular Support Group, but some members turn to marijuana for healing and pain relief. Instead Elizabeth turns to Father Wells who advices her to seek the sun where sundogs provide halos of hope when things seem it's darkest. This insightful inspirational character study will grip the audience from the moment that the heroine begins to comprehend that she has more than just an illness to battle; as caring relatives and buddies drive her up a wall. Elizabeth's search for solace goes through the five steps of grief as she struggles spiritually as much as emotionally especially as her body fails her. Though the realistic portrayal that makes this a strong novel at times slows down the pacing, Sharon Baldacci, an MS sufferer, provides a wonderful tale of a courageous woman.

Mystic Empire
Tracy & Laura Hickman
Warner Aspect
ISBN: 0446531073, $25.95, 393 pp.

Calsandria is home to Mystics who have Deep Magic and to commoners who have no magic. The place can be only be reached through portals known to the denizens of the city because many outsiders would like to see the city destroyed again and the mystics scattered. Within Calsandria, clans jockey for more political power which is why Rylmar Conlan is having his daughter Valana marry into the powerful Arvad clan. Prince Treijan and his cousin disappear and Valana and her sister Theona try to track them down. A wily dwarf uses a secret portal to take the sisters to where the prince and his cousin are staying. However, soon that place will no longer be safe because the goblin horde from another world intends to conquer that land and the world of Fairy. The faery queen, besieged by the Kree and other enemies, throws her lot in with the humans in the hopes that a victory will give them a new place to call home. Theona who was thought to have no magic has blossomed into a seer who knows that the decisions certain people make will decide the outcome of the war. Book Three of the Bronze Canticles is a spellbinding tale of ancient prophecy about to be fulfilled. The writing team of Tracy and Laura Hickman are great fantasists who pull the reader into the storyline from the very first page. Readers will finish this book in one sitting because it is such an absorbing reading experience. It is this reviewer's fervent hope that the Hickmans return to Calsandria so the audience can see how the characters that we have come to love are doing.

Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle
Beverly Bartlett
5 Spot (Warner)
ISBN: 0446695599, $12.95

Isabella Cordage is your typical Yale University student except perhaps bit clumsier than most and has a childhood friend who happens to be royalty. That royal, Prince Raphael of Bisbania, proposes to Isabella, who accepts, which turns her into fish bait for the media sharks especially the tabloids. When she trips on a stairwell, they dub her "Princess Dizzy Izzy". Bella becomes sick of royal life, which is so formal she cannot breathe yet so under the microscope she feels like a pinned butterfly yearning for freedom. She needs to escape so Isabella decides to return to her carefree Connecticut college roots, but running away is not an option; besides knowing how much that would hurt her husband because royals don't leave. Instead she invites a friend from her college days, Geoffrey Whitehall-Wright, an American car mechanic, and his wife Mac to relocate to Bisbania. Geoffrey and Mac agree, but rather quickly the gossips believe the princess and the mechanic had an affair at one time and that they have reignited with a tryst as they seem more than just old friends while he just innocently sings her advice via Springsteen. This is an amusing chick lit look at being a royal in a media world that wants to expose everyone's mistakes, transgressions, and innocent encounters, all to titillate a buying public. Though at times inane with pratfalls that seem just silly, the story line overall is exciting, dizzying and fun as Isabella struggles with her role as a person of interest. Beverly Bartlett provides a regal tale that feels as if Princess Di in the earlier years of her marriage landed in a chick lit palace.

Parallel Attraction
Deidre Knight
ISBN: 0451218116, $6.99

Exiled monarch Jared Bennett struggles to free his people, the Refarians, from oppressors who overthrew his government and imposed dictatorial rule. He desperately wants to free his people and has a weapon that he believes can turn the trick. However, his vessel is under attack by the enemy forcing him to make a dangerous crash landing on planet earth, a place he once visited years ago during his first mating cycle, but his memory of that stopover was erased from his mind by the betrayal of his advisors who rationalized that by claiming Jared did not need a distraction when his people need him. Severely wounded, Jared receives perhaps his first break in years when an earthling geologist Kelsey Wells finds him. Instead of fleeing she is transfixed by the beautiful hunk she knows is not of this world or at least Wyoming. Jared is even more stunned as recognizes that he has found his soulmate. The kiss between them eliminates any lingering doubt especially on her part. However, he has a world to save and fears placing his beloved in danger, but Kelsey obstinately rejects his efforts to keep her safe even as she contains secrets that just might save his people if she can just remember them. The star-crossed lead couple turns PARALLEL ATTRACTION into a fabulous military science fiction romance. The story line focuses mostly on the relationship between the heroic single minded Jared and the amusingly satirical Kelsey. He has no time for a woman while she refuses to let him escape without her at his side. Readers will enjoy the soul-mating of the exiled Refarian ruler and the American geologist with a stellar war as the backdrop.

Love and Mayhem
Nicole Cody
ISBN: 0451218108, $6.99

In 1513, war weary Sir Iain Armstrong heads home to the Scottish side of the Borders to insure his family at Blackthorn and that of his neighbor at Fleet Tower remain safe following the devastating loss to the English at Flodden Field that cost the lives of his father and his future father-in-law. He stops at Fleet Tower to move the McCall family to his holding for their safety and informs his fiancee Lady Marion that she will be sent to the Covent of Newabbey on the Isle of Skye. She asks him to marry her now, but he cannot because she is only six years old. Twelve years later he sends for Marion so they can marry. She avoids him so he comes to Newabbey to get her. He explains her people need her as her cousin Jack Fitzwilliam is causing trouble by claiming she is dead, he is the heir and stealing from the poor. Iain says two monarchs want them wedded to bring security to the Borders. Marion begins to see her fiance is courageous and caring even towards the downtrodden unlike Jack who she remembers from childhood was a nasty villain. This amusing Borders historical romance stars a delightful cast of eccentrics who freshen up what is typically a graveyard serious sub-genre with their antics. The fun begins when a despondent exhausted Iain has no time to mourn the death of his father or comrades or even reflect on the battle defeat as Marion sets the tone when she tells him to marry her. At their next meeting she dumps a bowl of flour on her head and her excuses for avoiding him are classic. Throw in her zany family along with a tense normalizing subplot involving Fitzwilliam leading to a jocular sixteenth century tale.

Past Redemption
Savannah Russe
ISBN: 0451218094, $6.99

Susto is taking over the streets as the designer drug of the moment because the rumors have it that it embellishes sexual performance. Worth billions on the black market, the Feds assign its vampire squad team Darkwing to get the drug off the street. Darkwinger vampiric fashion plate Daphne Urban is hurting as her first love affair in almost two centuries with the then human Darius, whose life she saved when she converted him, ended when he dumped her (see BEYOND THE PALE). Though wallowing in self pity, her superiors could not care less as they assign her the key role to get inside what appears to be the first family of Susto distribution, the Fitzmaurice brood, who has connections to the highest levels of political power. Daphne quickly concludes the best way to go undercover is to go under cover with hedonistic party animal St. Julian Fitzmaurice. However, to her chagrin, Darius returns with demands that could if she heeds her heart, soul (?) and body could destroy her mission. This is more a fantasy undercover investigative tale than a romance but the second Darkwing Chronicle is an exciting tale starring a wonderful heroine who wants to left alone to drown in self pity, but has no choice but to do as the government wants which is putting her to work or will kill her. The story line is action-packed but controlled by the heroine who works the nightlife on the streets of Manhattan with some flashbacks to her previous lover prior to Darius, Lord Byron. Fans of fun urban fantasy romps with a pinch of romance and several cups of suspense will seek savannah Russe's delightful charmer PAST REDEMPTION.

October 31st
Eric J. Obmann
Publish America
ISBN: 1413749186, $16.95

In Clarion, the townsfolk plan on celebrating Halloween with costume parties. However, instead of fun and games, in different families someone loses it killing all the others. Nothing makes sense as these are good people slaughtering loved ones. The mass murderers all share one apparent common link besides their hometown; they all wore costumes designed by Wormwood Costumes. The FBI sends Agent Monar to assist Clarion Police Detective Thakien on the investigation into homicides that defies logic as these were happy caring people who committed the atrocities against loved ones. As they investigate what happened, how and why, a shocked Mayor Delcet joins the two cops. The only lead the costume making company Wormwood Costumes sends the investigators looking into the activities of its owner Lucas Grier though his software empire is worth billions making him seem above reproach. At the same time teen hackers Trial by Fire insist they know the truth. After insuring that the teens were not behind the atrocities Monar fears that Grier will come after them next because they seem to be the only threat to expose his evil. This exhilarating Halloween thriller starts off like a simple police procedural and in fact Monar assumes the case will be over in a few days at best; however the plot soon twists into a terrific horror tale with mystery overtones as the two cops and the mayor struggle with what occurred as much as why and how. The key threesome seem genuine especially their reactions to the calamities while the villain is creepy malevolence personified though the Trial by Fire teens seem a bit of stretch, but also a fun intriguing addition. Readers who appreciate a fast-paced action thriller will want to read OCTOBER 31ST which cleverly blends a delightful mystery inside a battle between innocent and 200 proof pure evil.

Time to Say Goodbye
Pat MacEnulty
Serpent's Tail
ISBN: 1852424680, $15.00, 288 pp.

Twenty-five years ago, teenage exotic dancer Vera Lee Gifford was convicted of murdering the owner of the bar where she worked, his bodyguard and the wife of her boyfriend's lawyer. Though she remembers nothing of what happened on that fatal day in 1976, she went off to prison, but managed to escape two years later. Vera Lee reinvented herself becoming a college graduate, wife, mother, and real estate agent as Patsy Palmer living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her idyllic life collapses when her younger sister Fancy Lee fixates on finding her at the same time that Gainesville, Florida Police Detective Rodney Ellis seeks Vera Lee, whom he arrested back in 1976. Someone recently murdered Thelma Jackson, a former cellmate of Vera Lee. He believes Thelma's death ties back to Vera Lee and he will use Fancy Lee as a pawn to find her. Patsy's past has returned with threats to her husband and daughter. Though the plot has been used frequently in the past, TIME TO SAY GOODBYE contains a certain freshness due to the interesting twists and turns that surprise the audience as revelations from then and now surface. The reactions of Patsy's spouse Tom is fascinating as he feels betrayed and wonders who he married and whether his marriage is a big lie; his reactions seem so plausible that they bring a reality to the thriller. Though coincidence occurs to often to move the suspense elements forward, fans will enjoy Pat MacEnulty's fine character driven thriller.

Allah's Fire
Chuck Holton and Gayle Roper
ISBN: 1590524055, $12.99, 400 pp.

After being severely injured in the Ivory Coast due to stopping to help a woman in labor whose father performed an honor kill, Special Ops Explosives Ordinance Detachment Master Sergeant John Cooper recovers at Fort Bragg. At about the same time at the Hotel Rowena in Beirut, a suicide bomber decides not to set off his liquidly devices because so many of those in attendance are innocent Palestinians, but the bottles are jostled and a fiery explosion occurs that kills many. Reporter Liz Fairchild originally believed her sister Julie Assan, married to a local, died in the blast, but soon finds evidence otherwise. The mastermind behind the suicide bombing Imad Hazari abducted Julie as proof that his group committed the "freedom" act in the name of Allah. John and his EOD unit head to Lebanon to capture terrorists with an undetectable bomb at the same time Liz begins her quest to rescue her sibling. When the true believer Liz and the doubter John meet, they argue over her insistence of finding her sister and the presence of God in their lives as they search for the same terrorist. ALLAH'S FIRE is a fabulous inspirational romantic thriller that provides readers with an insightful look at the hypocrisy of those who claim God as the rationale to kill whether that is an honor kill, a blowing up of an abortion clinic, or a suicide bombing. What is really interesting is the contrast between Liz and John. She turns to God for comfort while the doubter rejects a violent creator as not worthy of his adulation. The first task Force Valor novel is fast-paced from start to finish, but also contains a strong message that God is benevolent even if free will enables people to use his name to rationalize atrocities.

Better Days Ahead
Charlie Valentine
English Mill Press
P.O. Box 811, Woodinville. Wa. 98072
ISBN: 0977218708, $19.95

As the fifties begin, in Cleveland, alcoholic lounge singer Sarah Robbins learns she is pregnant. She changes her lifestyle from hedonistic drunk to caring single mom after giving birth to her son Billy. Sarah lives to provide him a comfortable middle class life at the cost of her own happiness. In Detroit, Neil Dvorak divorces his cheating wife Janet, but loses his daughter Amy as the mother, regardless of fitness and ethics, always gets the child. He remarries Anne and they have a child Victoria, but he soon realizes her abusive nature. Rather than risk harm to his beloved infant by depending on the courts, he flees for California with his daughter. In Alabama Dolores Drake works in a sweatshop to insure that her two teenage daughters, Sonya and Brenda, have a good future. She also keeps them away from their sexual predatory father, Thom. Now forty-seven Dolores is pregnant, when abusive Thom hits her she leaves fearing for her daughters and her unborn only to face racism. In California David and Karen Stratton are wealthy and seem to have everything going for them including the next family heir born in 1951. However, all their money cannot bring happiness and soon David turns to client Jessica Heisen for his. These four families are coming together as the materialistic innocence and hope of the 1950s turn into the idealistic cynicism and violence of the 1960s. This is an interesting look at the 1950s from the rotating perspective of four diverse families. The ensemble cast contains real individuals with dreams muted by disappointments. Though at times the switching viewpoints can become difficult to follow, readers will enjoy this powerful historical look back at a time of seeming innocence in the American dream not open to everyone.

Morning Sky
Judith Miller
Bethany House
ISBN: 0764229990, $12.99, 384 pp.

In 1880 Nicodemus, Kansas, two generations of Harbans live a quiet lifestyle when unwelcome Lilly Verdue arrives from New Orleans. Ezekiel, the Family patriarch, is unhappy to see his sister-in-law and demands she explain why she came to the quiet plains; Lilly refuses to say much about her past and her reason to hastily depart from the big city for a farming community. Though she plans to avoid scandal, Lilly thinks her niece Jarena is engaged to the wrong man, a soldier Thomas Grayson whom she loyally waits for his return while caring for her dad and her sister Grace. When Lilly meets Moses Wyman, she believes that though he is engaged to Truth, he is going to marry the wrong Harban, as she feels he and Jarena belong together. She decides to matchmake, which forces her to reveal the truth to her nieces. Needing escape, Truth travels to New York to bring home her ailing friend Macia Boyle from the academy she attends there only to find something more lethally sinister than illness there. Three years have passed since the events of FIRST DAWN, which enable the audience to see what has happened to the Harban family since then. They remain likable and for the most part admirable while along with a solid support cast bring the late Reconstruction Era Plains to life especially for Christian historical readers. Though the secret and the Truth trip to New York come late, these add suspense by "testing" the Harbans' Christian values including their core belief in God. Judith Miller in her second Freedom's Path tale provides a pleasurable Americana saga.

Nicotine Kiss
Loren Estleman
ISBN: 0765312239, $23.95

In Grayling, Michigan on the first day of the new hunting season, private detective Amos Walker is , undercover tracking a deadbeat dad when he is shot in the leg. An acquaintance, small time cigarette smuggler Jeff Starzek rushes Amos to a nearby hospital before he bleeds to death. As Amos heals with a limp, Homeland Security Agent Herbert Clemson believes that Jeff's two bit operation has grown into a vast terrorist supported counterfeiting ring and plans to hold him indefinitely under the guise of the Patriot Act. When Jeff vanishes, his sister Rose turns to Walker to find her brother whom she says still only works his small time cigarette trade. Amos believes he owes his life to Jeff so he makes inquiries that lead to a remote Lake Huron evangelical Church of the Inland Sea with the Feds telling him to stay out; a red flag that entices Walker to dig deeper as he believes the term Fed means liar. In his eighteenth appearance, Walker continues to be one of the best private investigator tales of the past decade. His latest case involves the post 9/11 world of the Feds who before the Patriot Act willingly stomped on rights and now he believes can do so legally. The story line is terrific as Walker and readers wonder if the church, the jihadist counterfeiters or the Feds have abducted and buried Starzek so that no one else, including the NSA wiretapping, can find him. Once again Loren Estleman has written a straightforward, fantastic mystery.

North by Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberley
Carrie Bebris
ISBN: 076531410X, $22.95

Family friend Captain Tilney invites Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy to stop at Northanger Abbey for a few days. Stunned by finding a letter written by Fitz's long deceased mother Lady Anne Fitzwilliam that shockingly implies a family heirloom was lost or stolen in some mysterious ways, the couple agrees to visit the Captain who knew Lady Anne. However, the married couple are shocked by how run down his house is and even more so by all the bandages the captain wears. Keeping the visit short, as Fitz wants his beloved pregnant wife resting at their country home, the Darcys continue their trek only to have a Gloucestershire constable arrest them for stealing jewelry that once belonged to the Captain's deceased wife. Fitz and Elizabeth worry about his potential incarceration as a jewel thief so they begin to investigate what is happening now and what had occurred in the past perhaps with his mother's involvement at Northanger Abbey. The latest Darcy Regency amateur sleuth connects five degrees of Jane Austen to Alfred Hitchcock in a well written exhilarating tale that the great author and excellent director would have appreciated. The inquiries this time are refreshed by a knowing growing desperation as the one year married couple begins to doubt they will have a second anniversary together. Fans who gain pleasure from SUSPENSE AND SENSIBILITY in their novels will enjoy this strong thriller and Carrie Bebris' previous mysteries that pay homage to Austen.

Thunder of Time
James F. David
ISBN: 0765307707, $27.95

Radical environmentalist Vince Walters has gained quite a following with his belief that science can rewrite the past and create Gardens of Eden. He and his loyal minion begin the process of changing time to achieve heaven on earth. Director of the Office of Security Science Nick Paulson and his staff must prevent Walters from causing anymore chaos as fooling with the past changes the present and future never in the manner that the time modifier expects. Nick must battle fundamentally true believers who ignore anything that impedes on their truth. Though experienced with time warps and other paradoxes from his dinosaur days of a decade ago (see FOOTPRINTS OF THUNDER) Nick assumes that by studying the causes and effects of three recently developed anomalies, he will learn how to repair the world damaged by what Walters has wrought. However, he also knows that time is running out on him at an increasingly geometric pace. Thus Nick must learn what he can at a crater on the moon, in Alaska and in the Yucatan Peninsula because at these three sites lie the answers to return the time continuum to some sort of norm, whatever that is. THUNDER OF TIME is a faster than the speed of light science fiction thriller starring a hero who knows what he must do to save the world but not how to achieve this. The action keeps coming at a hyperactive pace, but that also takes away from some of the paradoxical fears that the support cast worry will happen to them and their loved ones. Walters is a terrific villain who believes he is right and will stubbornly go the course to complete his mission regardless of the results. Fans of action, action, and more action will want to read James F. David's wild speed burner.

Fortunate Son
Walter Mosley
Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316114715, $23.95

In a West Los Angeles hospital, the wife of white heart surgeon Minas Nolan dies while giving birth to their son Eric. Also in the hospital at that time is one week old African-American Thomas Beerman, who has been born prematurely with a hole in his lung and not expected to live long especially outside a bubble. His single mother flower-shop worker Branwyn meets Minas in the hospital; the cardiologist persuades her to come with her son to live in his home with his baby along with their Vietnamese nanny Ahn. Six years later, Branwyn suddenly dies. Instead of Tommy staying with the man who raised him with love and nurturing, his biological father Elton Trueblood abruptly claims him as his. Tommy grows up on the streets under the violent tutelage of his abusive father though he "talks" to his late mother when he needs solace; Eric enjoys an upper middle class childhood though he is only sixteen when he sires a child. Eric and Tommy miss one another as they were siblings from birth until Elton entered the scene, but each has traveled a different path towards adulthood. This is Mosley at his best, telling an easy tale that seems so simple yet somehow is extremely deep as he makes the case that nurturing is more critical to making the adult than naturing. The "siblings" make the tale as they grow up in their early years as brothers regardless of the colors of their skins until they are suddenly separated and travel differing paths. Stereotyped as the golden boy and the ghetto boy, only adds to the allegorical depth of a great insightful character study of what makes the man

The 5th Horseman
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316159778, $27.95

Keiko, the mother of the newest member of the Women's Murder Club, Attorney Yuki Castellano collapses and is rushed to San Francisco Municipal Hospital. Apparently, Keiko has had a Transient Ischemic Attack, but seems to be recovering. After accompanying Yuki to the hospital, Police detective Lindsay Boxer goes home only to learn later that Keiko suddenly and unexpectedly died. A stunned Lindsay soon learns that the municipal hospital has been a place where too many recent deaths have occurred due to incorrect medication given to patients. Keiko apparently is the latest lethal mistake. Lindsay thinks a warped "angel" of not mercy is killing people just prior to their leaving the hospital. Though her plate is filled with an investigation into the "Car Girls" serial murders, she vows with the help of her Women's Murder Club members to take down the hospital killer. THE 5TH HORSEMAN is a terrific suspense chiller that starts off at hyperspeed with Keiko's collapse and subsequent death and picks up speed as beleaguered cop Lindsay struggles to stop two apparent serial killers. The story line is action packed as is the trademark of the series (and any work including collaborations that James Paterson writes) while the female members of the Women's Murder Club retain their individual personalities that make them seem genuine even while being super crime stoppers.

Angel in My Bed
Melody Thomas
ISBN: 006074233X, $5.99, 384 pp.

In 1873, David Donally is on his last mission for his country before retiring. He searches for stolen loot from a theft in India over nine years ago with the lone clue to its whereabouts a recently surfaced gem-laden earring. He questions Sheriff Skilling who sends his men to attack David. Afterward Skilling visits tall tough Lady Victoria Munro who realizes her past has found her. Instead of the booty he seeks, the earring leads David to the most beautiful woman he has ever known, his wife Meg Faraday, a woman he thought dead back in Calcutta. Meg cannot believe her luck that the man she has avoided for years has found her and believes others will follow. David demands the truth of why she faked her death while Meg believes he betrayed their love when he pawned her to get at her father, a smuggler. Both still feel the heated attraction, but neither trusts the other. However, neither realizes that if they want to live, they need each other as someone else has plans for the treasure and killing an estranged couple is not a problem for this avaricious assailant. ANGEL IN MY BED is an exhilarating Victorian romantic suspense tale starring two individuals burned by love as each assumes the other betrayed their relationship. The story line is action-packed as both struggles against their feelings while reluctantly joining forces to seek the jewels and to stop an unknown culprit from succeeding in putting them six feet under. Melody Thomas provides a fine nineteenth century thriller fueled by the distrustful lead couple needing one another to survive.

Sword of Darkness
Kinley MacGregor
ISBN: 0060565446, $6.99, 384 pp.

King Arthur is dead and Morgen has placed amoral Kerrigan of the darkest shadows on the throne of Camelot; Kerrigan, more demon than human, a soulless one that the Knights of the Round Table fear. The only hope for the future resides in a peasant Seren, but Morgen recognizes she, if allowed to grow, will be the next Merlin and a threat to her rule. Kerrigan captures the innocent Seren, who knows what she faces and boldly challenges her jailer even as she concludes that she must use her female charms to seduce Kerrigan in order to escape because wizardry will prove futile. Shockingly her courage and spirit reaches perhaps the last human cell inside Kerrigan's heart and to both their amazement the pure Seren and the evil Kerrigan fall in love, a feeling forbidden by Morgen. Camelot fans will want to read this terrific romantic fantasy, the Lords of Avalon's tale. The exhilarating story line contains a dark "villain" who has to choose between the redemption of love and the power of evil; both very enticing. As always Kinley MacGregor insures the unbelievable seems plausible while also employing humor to enhance an overall dark plot. Fans of the series will appreciate the "cat and mouse" lead couple as love is the last enchantment either expected between them.

Promise Me Forever
Lorraine Heath
ISBN: 0060749822, $6.99, 368 pp.

In 1880, the investigators hired by the Earl of Sachse to locate his relative, who vanished as a boy in America two decades ago and should have the title, succeeds. Thus the Texas barbarian Tom inherits the title because his distant cousin Archibald did the honorable thing. Tom arrives in London, but has a different agenda in mind than the title; he seeks his beloved Miss Lauren Fairfield to fulfill a vow he made to her in Texas. She is in town visiting her English aristocratic relative Lord Ravenleigh, Christopher "Kit" Montgomery (see NEVER MARRY A COWBOY). Lauren assumes Tom forgot his moonlight promise and now has a place amongst the Ton. She agrees to tutor him on the deportment of an aristocrat, not realizing he could not care one iota about proper behavior. Instead he plans to re-win the heart of the woman he still loves. Lorraine Heath has carved out a delightful niche in the historical romance realm with her Texas meets Victorian aristocracy tales. PROMISE ME FOREVER contains a fun fresh story line starring two wonderful Americans who feel out of place amidst the upper crust yet that is the milieu of his courtship. Victorian romance readers will gain vast enjoyment from Ms. Heath's wonderful late nineteenth century historical.

Sighs Matter
Marianne Stillings
ISBN: 0060734833, $5.99, 384 pp.

In Port Henry, Washington Dr. Claire Hunter is heading back to Seattle when someone forces her off the road. The next she knows a cop takes her in as she suffered a head injury and her purse with her license and other items were stolen; a bottle of open alcohol is inside her vehicle. The cop takes her to the station though she is not drunk. She mentions knowing Detective McKennitt so the cops send for him. However, the wrong McKennitt shows up as she expected Soldier wed to her best friend, but instead got his brother Taylor, whom she made love with eight months ago before Claire ran back home fearing her feelings especially for a cop. Taylor forces Claire to stay in his home over night to insure she is safe. He believes that her assault is tied to her beloved Aunt Sadie's fiance Mortimer of Mortimer Mortuary, who he and his brother believe is involved in illegal activities. This time Taylor will not let her run away as he insures she is safe from everyone but his assault on her heart. Marianne Stillings returns to Port Henry for the third time (see MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL and Soldier's story THE DAMSEL IN THIS DRESS) with another wonderful police procedural romance. The delightful story line contains two people in love, but one of them refuses to acknowledge that veracity while lasso battling against a dangerous enemy. The return of characters from the previous tales add to the overall depth of this plot, but this tale stands alone. Readers will appreciate this fine romantic suspense.

The Viscount's Wicked Ways
Anne Mallory
ISBN: 0060872926, $5.99, 384 pp.

Patience Harrington has never been able to behave to the standard of the Ton. So when she fumbles her Season, Patience is left with one option offered by her father. She is to visit ominous Blackfield Castle to appraise and catalogue the antiques. Viscount Blackfield, Thomas Ashe, does not want any visitors especially one as distracting as the lovely Patience even for a few nights. He wants her to leave, but she refuses insisting she will first finish her task of assessing the antiques he inherited even though he does not seem to care about anything except brooding and glaring at her. In reality, Thomas struggles to stay focused on uncovering who endangers so many lives. Still for the first time since he became a spy, Thomas is unable to keep alert and concentrate on his inquiries as he desires Patience who he believes has been sent by his enemy to spy on him. Perhaps he can kiss the truth out of her lips. This is a fun gothic historical romance that uses amusing scenarios to refresh and lighten the usual serious tone of the sub-genre. Thomas is out of patience with his desire that he fears hides his unwanted guest's nefarious activities while Patience ponders whether her host is the Frankenstein monster. Fans will enjoy this gender war starring two terrific combatants who misconceive everything about the other except love.

In the Bed of a Duke
Cathy Maxwell
ISBN: 0060740582, $6.99

In 1807 London, Duke Phillip Maddox blames Charlotte Cameron for her sister, his fiancee, jilting him at their betrothal ball. However, he learns that his older twin brother Justin, who died in childbirth, actually is alive. He was kidnapped by Laird MacKenna and was raised in the Highlands. Philip needs to know the truth. Charlotte travels by coach in a storm to see MacKenna who she met when he introduced himself by saying they share a common enemy. She sees a man needing a ride, but when he enters the carriage, Charlotte and Phillip recognize one another. They argue and soon physically fight. He suddenly kisses her and both lose control. Forced to flee an angry mob, they stop and make love. The next day eight Highlanders capture them and take them to MacKenna who has raised an army to free Scotland from the absentee lords that are selling out the land from underneath the long time tenant farmers. Mackenna's sister claims Judicium Dei, the judgment of God and selects Tavis as her champion to battle Phillip to the death. As they battle, Phillip knows he loves Charlotte. This sequel to Cathy Maxwell's superb THE PRICE OF INDISCRETION is a superb Regency because the fine lead couple who were key secondary players in the previous tale deftly change from enemy to beloved. The strong support cast adds depth to this tense historical suspense. Though the escape from the villain who has plotted for years seems too easy, fans will appreciate this terrific early nineteenth century thriller.

The Taming of the Duke
Eloisa James
ISBN: 0060781580, $6.99

In 1817 Suffolk, England, widow Imogen Essex lives at the home of Duke Rafe Jourdain, guardian to her and her remaining unmarried sister Josie; her other siblings Annabel (see KISS ME ANNABEL) and Tess (see MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU) recently wed. Imogen believes her contrary host is a drunk as he imbibes at any time. However, she feels a debt to Rafe who took them in when their parents died; she tries to help him overcome his alcohol dependency even as he obstinately rejects her aid because Rafe feels a forbidden attraction that is disloyal to the trust Lord and Lady Maitland bestowed on him. After meeting Rafe's illegitimate half-brother Gabe Spenser, Imogen decides he is perfect for a tryst. In order to thwart her attempts at illicit behavior and the subsequent scandal, Rafe pretends to be Gabe rendezvousing with Imogen but instead he finds himself in freefall needing to make love with his ward. To do that he will need to change the relationship of his protection from that of to a ward to a wife if he can persuade Imogen of his love for her. THE TAMING OF THE DUKE is a great Regency romance that stars two delightful lead protagonists whose flaws seem real and make them vulnerable (and perfect for us readers). The charming story line is as always in an Eloisa James' tale a battle between the sexes in which there can be only two outcomes possible, either both win or both lose, with the betting line at Whites being the latter. Book three of the Essex sisters' tales is a wonderful novel that sub-genre fans will appreciate, but also romance readers in general will enjoy THE TAMING OF THE DUKE as the "Professor" has another winner that is a sure shot bestseller.

Deep Sea Dead
Lori Avocato
ISBN: 0060837004, $6.99, 320 pp.

Insurance fraud inspector and former nurse Pauline Sokol is unhappy with her newest assignment, her sleazy boss Fabio Scarpello tells her to stop fretting about icebergs and forget the Titanic. Reluctantly she joins the medical team of the Golden Dolphin luxury liner as a nurse while the vessel sets sail for Bermuda because the alternative is unemployment. Pauline's tied for best friend Goldie and her squeeze Miles booked passage on the luxurious ship to provide her support though the former fears crossing the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Also on board are Pauline's parents, whom the undercover insurance agent assumes is coincidence; and the enigmatic Jagger, who insists he is her backup only. However, as she investigates what is going on the Golden Dolphin, someone prefers to eliminate the crew including nosy nurses. FBI Agent Tim Harwinton, attracted to Pauline, struggles to keep her safe while Jagger skirmishes with not beating up the Fed for trying to steal his role. Homage to Poe aside, only Pauline could go first class on cruise ship and find corpses in her room as once again she stars in her fourth delightfully wacky whodunit. Tim adds freshness as his interest professionally and personally in the heroine brings out the beast in Jagger who does not like the Fed poaching. The murder mystery as always is fun to follow as Pauline constantly lands in peril with two studs fighting over who should rescue her. DEEP SEA DEAD is a terrific cuckoo's nest homicidal investigative tale.

Dates from Hell
Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, and Lori Handeland
ISBN: 006085409X, $6.99, 416 pp.

"Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil" by Kim Harrison. Inderland Security Homicide Division cop and living vampire Ivy seeks a killer who knows her every move even as she evades the moves of her boss Art an undead vampire. The trail twists and turns leaving Ivy wondering who is the rogue serial killer. "The Claire Switch Project" by Lynsay Sands. No longer having patience with the slow progress of the experiments on molecular destabilizing animals, John turns the beam on Claire. Kyle returns to the lab to get Claire away from the beam. Neither know the longer term effect, but Kyle realizes how frightened and in love he is while Claire has loved him since high school. "Chaotic" by Kelley Armstrong. On Otherworld, half-breed demon Hope works for True News tabloid covering stories of the weird. At a party, she observes shapeshifter Karl stealing from a safe and catches him just as expected by an agent of the Interracial Council. Keeping him handcuffed without using her female wiles proves difficult and dangerous; not that she is complaining. "Dead Man Dating" by Lori Handeland. After months without a date Kit is with Eric, but is unaware that he died a few hours ago. She soon learns that her date is a demon, albeit a headless one, when hunter Chavez blows Eric's head off. Suddenly every soulless and a few "souled" folks are interested in Kit, perhaps the last virgin in Manhattan; only Chavez keeps her safe, but he wants her virginity too. These are four terrific romantic fantasies with delightful lead couples. The tales by Ms. Harrison and Ms. Armstrong occur in the locales of their continuing series adding to the pleasure.

Hex and the Single Girl
Valerie Frankel
ISBN: 0060785543, $12.95

In New York, Emma "Good Witch" Hutch is an enchanting matchmaker with a high level of success due to her gift. For a fee, she will track down a chosen male and telepathically send them seductive images of her customer who as dumb as men are will fall to their knees in thank you when they see the Goddess of their dreams come to life. Though extremely successful for other women, her love life is flat lined at zero. Most men flee from her out of fear of her renowned power. She has even found someone who she believes is her soulmate and he does not hysterically run from her. William Dearborn is perfect for her, but though she believes he is the right one, she met him because a client hired her as she wants him; one thing Emma knows is that customer is always right at all costs in this case her heart. HEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL is an amusing romantic fantasy that in spite of its paranormal elements, reads like a 1930s madcap comedic romance. The story line is fast-paced especially when the Good Witch realizes the object of her client's affection is her cherished lifemate. The support cast is very strong, but this fun screwball comedy belongs to lead female protagonist who places a charming hex on readers.

Tracy Groot
Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
ISBN: 0802463622, $12.99, 316 pp.

Tallis, servant to the great philosopher Callimachus, travels to the town of Kursi in the Roman Province of Palestine to find out what happened to the Academy of Socrates since the bills for its upkeep have stopped coming. He is incensed to learn the school was dissolved three years ago even though his employer continued to fund it. No one town or the Inn by the Lake overlooking the Galilee will discuss why it closed except to mention that a teacher committed suicide, another was murdered in a gruesome manner and the son of the owner of the Inn Kardus is insane. There is a miasma of evil hanging over the area that seems to emulate from Kardus, who apparently is the victim of demonic possession; this came about when one of the teachers Portia the high priestess of the Cult of Dionysus leads him into evil though the young man was unaware of his "choice" at that time. A child sacrifice to Dionysus led by the inn owner's servant and Portia is averted when the acolyte turn away from the Evil. Tallis should go back to Athens though he likes the innkeeper's daughter but feels unworthy because he can not stop the demonic attacks nor help Kardus. Yet he stays seeking a miracle. Tracy Groot imbues a powerful message inside this exciting ancient historical fiction novel and that is people must remain strong and dedicated to the side of righteousness and goodness to prevent evil from gaining a foothold on their soul. First century Palestine comes alive with vivid descriptions that provide a dynamic picture of the people, battling culture, and customs of the times. Readers will like this novel so much they will search for the author's backlist (see THE BROTHER'S KEEPER).

The Heat of the Moon
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen
ISBN: 159058256X, $24.95, 278 pp.

On the surface the Goddards, mother and therapist Judith, her veterinary daughter Rachel and her sister Michelle are a close knit family. Yet Rachel always felt that Michelle was the true daughter and she an afterthought. Visions that she had as a young child begin to reoccur; Rachel believes they mean something significant to her. Just like Judith refuses to discuss her husband's death or her family, Rachel feels her mother either lies or is so filled with remorse and guilt, she has raised them to not have friends especially significant others. Luke owns the clinic where Rachel works. He makes it clear that he cares for her and to her shock she feels the same way; for her this is the first caring deeply for someone else outside of her family. When Luke comes to her home for dinner, Judith subtly places him in a bad light. It takes him weeks to recover from the damage to his relationship with Rachel. When she suffers another vision, Judith persuades Rachel to allow her to hypnotize her so that they can learn the underlying cause. What mom fails to know is that her daughter is secretly taping the session so she can replay it later with Luke at her side. They will both be shocked what they learn. Fans of Patricia McDonald and Mary Higgins Clark will love this exciting psychological suspense thriller. The sense of foreboding gradually increases as the protagonist begins to question her family relationships and what her mother has told her and Michelle. Interestingly unlike Rachel who is obsessed to know the truth, Michelle prefers to not challenge the so-called facts, which might destroy her comfort zone. Sandra Parshall's debut novel will gain her award nominations and fan accolades.

How to Succeed in Murder
Margaret Dumas
Poisoned Pen
ISBN: 1590582608, $24.95, 276 pp.

In San Francisco, theatre producer Charley Fairfax and her spouse private investigator Jack meet Morgan Stokes, CEO of Zadkan, for lunch. Before the meal Charley pleads with Jack not to take a case involving computer geeks like Stokes. Ignoring his beloved Jack agrees to investigate who murdered his fiancee Clara Chen the firm's brilliant Vice President of Client Knowledge (a more interactive technical support cell). Charley persuades Jack to let her go undercover as an employee at Zadkan though his heiress wife cannot use a computer beyond turning on the CPU and monitor. However, even though she does speak the vernacular of the office, everyone assumes she is a genius though no one knows at what. When someone tries to kill her, Jack panics; when their families talk about infants Jack goes into cardiac arrest, but never loses sight of keeping Charley safe while uncovering a killer who has murdered again. Mindful of a modern day Thin Man due to the interplay between high society Charley and cynical Jack, HOW TO SUCCEED IN MURDER is a fine investigative tale. The whodunit is cleverly devised as the audience will wonder who the culprit and why. However, this fun mystery belongs to the newlyweds and the eccentric theatrical cast who turns Jack upside down and flattens Nob Hill.

Aharon Appelfeld
Schocken (Knopf)
ISBN: 0805211985, $13.00

Sixty-three years ago then teenager Katerina left her Ukraine village because her father's mountain of a second wife makes her uncomfortable with her demands and she fears the changes in her father since her mom died. She travels to Poland where she obtains work as a housekeeper to different Jewish families. Katerina finds her hosts treat her with respect and kindness unlike her own blood; she is horrified with how the non-Jewish Poles mistreat her employers even getting away with murder. When her son, raised Jewish, is killed, she knifes his murderer. Of course killing a Jew is not necessarily a crime, but killing the killer is so Katerina spends the next four decades incarcerated. She is shocked during World War II when her fellow prisoners gleefully applaud the transporting of the Jews to concentration camps. When the war ends, Katerina is freed and returns to her Ukraine family farm knowing no Jews live in Europe except those from her memories occupying a major place in her heart and soul as she writes her life's lament while closing in on her eightieth birthday. KATERINA is a terrific insightful look at a woman who believes one must never forget those you love martyred in your soul by a world filled with morally always right killers. The sad Katerina knows first hand that intolerance and prejudice in any form murders even the innocent. Aharon Appelfeld provides a strong poignant reflection on life and death.

Stumbling on Happiness
Daniel Gilbert
ISBN: 1400042666, $24.00

Children predict what occupation will make them happy when they grow up. That forecasting rarely holds up because humans have a poor track record of envisaging what will make a person happy. That is the premise behind Harvard psychologist Dr. Daniel Gilbert's treatise STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS. His concept is finding happiness can be sort of like finding a needle in a haystack as most people do not know where to start because the eye and brain do not always agree. He uses other amusing anecdotal and statistical evidence to make his case that individuals make errors when it come to deciding what will make them happy. Dr. Gilbert also employs thought provoking questions and puzzles as part of a survey to collect information and to get people to think what it is they desire. For instance, If Bergman stayed with Bogart at the end of Casablanca, would they have been happy together? Is the letter O or the number 0 easier to find in a haystack of other numbers and letters? Finally he provides steps to achieve personal happiness rather than stumble around like a drunk. Well written and easy to follow, this is a thought provoking look at how to attain happiness.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
ISBN: 0375831002, $16.95

During World War II near Munich, Germany, nine years old Liesel Meminger finds a tome The Gravedigger's Handbook while attending her younger brother's funeral. Unable to resist she takes the book with her. However, she is unable to read the book until fate steps in. Her father is missing and her mother cannot afford her upkeep so she gives Liesel in care to foster parents, acerbic Rosa Hubermann and her kindhearted spouse Hans, who owes a Jew his life. Hans helps Liesel cope with her nightmares and teaches his ward to read. His chance to pay the war debt to the Jewish soldier who saved his life finally occurs when the man's son, the artist Max, arrives at his house seeking shelter. As Max paints over pages of the Mein Kampf, Leisel steals books from Nazi burnings and begins to write about living at a time of misery caused by fellow humans. If the Nazis catch either one, Death will be a welcome guest. This is a complex book in which the narrator Death tells the tale of Liesel and Max. Interestingly Death is a cynic when it comes to human behavior especially kindness towards others; the apparition recognizes that his best suppliers of goods are people who in spite of their Golden Rule ramble contain homicidal tendencies rationalized by an ism of some sort. The fascinating asides to the readers are brilliant as they enable the audience to understand the cast he looks upon adding to his collection, but especially Death itself. Give yourself plenty of time, over a week or more, as Markus Zusak has written one of the most haunting tales of the human condition in several years.

The Dead Fish Museum
Charles D'Ambrosio
ISBN: 1400042860, $22.00

The amazing thing about this octet is how fully developed the key characters and in some cases the support protagonists are; this level of depth usually requires a novel and that often fails to produce well rounded players like Charles D'Ambrosio has done with his short stories (and a few short novellas). The prime players share in common a fatal flaw that they fail to recognize as each one deceives themselves on what is causing their woes and how to fix their unhappiness. Instead they tend to misread the tea leaves and compound their inner turmoil and discord. All the inclusions are excellent and the collection will be recognized as one of the year's best anthologies with its insight into human needs and desires thwarted by personal negative traits in which rationalization, passing culpability and coping become the norm. The fascinating tales such as the twisted obsessive "Up North" with the husband fixated on bringing justice to the unknown family friend who raped his wife when she was a teen grip readers as few compilations can.

Challenger Park
Stephen Harrigan
ISBN: 0307264742, $24.95

Envying her spouse Brian who has flow two missions, thirtyish Lucy Kinceloe waits for her chance to go into space on the shuttle. When her turn finally comes, Lucy, the mother of two, is euphoric even though the mission is a "simple" routine supply run to equip the space station. While Lucy and her teammates prepare for their mission, training team leader widower Walt Womack is attracted to her. She feels for the nondescript somewhat melancholy Walt, who is the opposite of her dynamic spouse. They have an affair before Lucy heads into space. However, an accident leaves Lucy stranded on the space station with help at least three months away. Her family and her lover worry about her while Lucy copes with her marooned status. CHALLENGER PARK is at its best when it concentrates on the space program as the audience obtains insight into Cape Canaveral, family members of the astronauts especially when they are on a mission or in training and the ground crew and astronauts' fears and elation about going up (no pun intended). When the story line focuses on the tryst, it loses some of the punch of an astronaut in trouble. Interestingly, as Lucy waits rescuing, the distance to earth is a little more than the mileage between NYC and DC yet seems so much further. Stephen Harrigan provides a deep thriller that literally keeps readers on the edge of their seats once the accident occurs and everyone knows she has a problem.

Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
ISBN: 0307262952, $23.95

They seemed like a well-adjusted family until their child passed away. Now fortyish writer Hollis Clayton and his wife Clare cannot talk to one another. While he hides behind his hedges with Jack Daniels as his companion in the dunes of the Cape, she flees to her sister's home in Maryland. That grieving summer of their separation, Hollis sends meaningless letters to his wife while his journal entries to himself contain the passion lacking in what he sends Clare. He torpedoes his career with his editors in Boston when his no care attitude is obvious and he turns to his mistress, wannabe author Marissa for comfort, but Hollis ultimately concludes that Jack makes a more suitable companion for someone like him who no longer embraces life. This is not an upbeat tale by any stretch of the imagination as the audience meets mostly an alcoholic dumped down Hollis who has not recovered from the shock of his son's death. Clare is predominantly seen through Hollis' stupor so rightfully she seems more of a filtered caricature. Interestingly, how the lad died comes later on in the plot as readers know he passed way and that his parents remain in denial. Though the story line is thin and Marissa even thinner, Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop provides an interesting character study of a man though breathing is as dead as his son is.

Elements of Style
Wendy Wasserstein
ISBN: 1400042313, $23.95

Not long after 9/11 much of Manhattan remains in shock and horror from the mass destruction. Still life goes on especially for those wealthy Upper East Side residents. Pediatrician Francesca "Frankie" Weissman, Manhattan magazine numero uno doctor in the neighborhood, sees that first hand as her affluent clients visit her wearing Manolo with infants out of a fashion magazine. Even the gas masks are designer label. As she services the babies of wealthy blue-blood Samantha Acton, Californian Judy Tremont; and movie giant Barry Santorini, all share in common the belief that with money comes life; as if 9/11 is an aberration or even a fantasy. As Frankie dates the icons of wealth, she see one of these rich guys as her ticket to Manolo and with it the ability to ignore suicide bombers and ground zero and sacrificing on the war on terrorism by supporting the economy through hedonistic spending. Renowned playwright Wendy Wasserstein recently passed away, but her final work, her first novel, is a fitting tribute as the book is a terrific look at the upper crust of New York just after 9/11. Except for the air pollution, life remains the same as wealth enables the support crust to hide from the ugliness or at least pretend that the world remains the same as it was before the towers came down. Frankie is an interesting protagonist who desperately wants the same lifestyle of her patients as she ignores the trappings of being a card (credit that is) carrying member of the affluent. It is sort of like living in Sodom and Gomorrah with Babel collapsing nearby as life goes on in the big city as long as you do it within the accepted ELEMENTS OF STYLE.

A Godly Hero
Michael Kazin
ISBN: 0375411356, $30.00

Though it lacks the wide opinion that William Jennings Bryan was a brimstone theologian who was an intolerant believer in the white man's burden, this biography shows the other side of one of the most influential Americans of the early twentieth century. Bryan is considered by many as the first great perhaps "founder" of populism, the basis of much thinking on both sides of the aisle today. The book insightfully digs deep into a complex religious political and social activist, but also lacks the criticism that many of his peers claimed about him especially during the epic battle with Darrow. On top of the Scopes trial, which by itself is fascinating and relevant in today's world of debating Darwinism, other Bryan topic seem so too. Whether it is eugenics and the Shiavo affair, corporate-government partnering for a few select lobbying interests making profit, or a firm belief that the government could improve the economic (liberals) and moral life (conservatives) of the people, this is a terrific look at A GODLY HERO.

The Way U Look Tonight
Dianne Castell
Kensington Brava
ISBN: 075821006X, $14.00

In Tennessee, fifty-two year old Rory O'Fallon knows the moment he sees the infant on his porch that he sired her; he also believes the mother, whom he loves, is in trouble for that is the only reason she would abandon her daughter Bonnie like this. Finally Rory realizes that he cannot help his beloved Mimi DuPont without help. To do this he asks his sons to come home to O'Fallon's Landing, Tennessee on the Mississippi. Soap opera fans love newest hunk Keefe O'Fallon, but the media is driving him crazy following his every move as if he was important. When his dad asks him to come home to help find Bonnie's mother, he leaves the Big Apple for two reasons. First his father asked him to which to Keefe is important. Second he can escape the press feeding frenzy even for a few days of rural relief. However, he finds himself immediately attracted to Bonnie's nanny Callie. She reciprocates. However, she fears that once he learns what she does for a living, their relationship will go kaput before it begins. Callie failed to inform Rory that her real reason for being here is an interview with his hunk of a son for Soap Scoops magazine that will in turn pay for her sister's education. The second O'Fallon sibling tale (see 'TIL THERE WAS U) is a fun contemporary romance starring two likable "star-crossed" protagonists, a tabloid journalist and the actor. The story line is lighthearted fun as the lead couple falls in love forcing Callie to decide between career and Keefe. Though the Mimi mystery was not moved forward that much, fans will enjoy this fine caper and look forward to the third sibling's tale.

She'll Take It
Mary Carter
Kensington Strapless
ISBN: 0758213549, $12.95

After every binge, Melanie Zeitgar vows never again. However, the cycle repeats itself whenever something goes wrong. So the wannabe actress fails to get a part that auditioned for, she steals from some store; she breaks up with a boyfriend, she shoplifts; visits from mom; monster thievery; her vibrator has no battery, "stealaholic" at work. Melanie is a kleptomaniac having an urge to purloin stuff whenever she perceives something has gone wrong in her life. Currently she is binging on chocolate and shoplifting as her squeeze, Ray the musician, has failed to call her. However, as she rationalizes his failure to communicate by wondering if her beloved might have been in an accident, she meets a hunk whose heart she must steal as he has purloined hers, but the problem is he is also the guy who could send her to jail for robbery. Though Melanie is an interesting character, she is also unlikable and consequently will not gains reader sympathy for her kleptomania. Still her thieving reactions to anything she deems negative makes her a fascinating protagonist especially how often afterward she vows not to steal again. The chick lit format allows some extra insight into her personality, but the underlying deep rooted psychological causes of her kleptomania are revealed in the latter half of the tale after the audience's opinion on the protagonist is cemented.

When Good Things Happen To Bad Boys
Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy & HelenKay Dimon
Kensington Brava
ISBN: 0758209339, $14.00

"Playing Doctor" by Lori Foster. Dr. Axel Dean likes self-assured, sensual, and sexy women in his bed. Though the kisses of his peer Dr. Libby Preston rush blood to his lower head, he prefers experience while she is a trainee who has chosen Axel to deflower her. He wants to just say no, but Libby makes offers that even a bad boy can't refuse. "The Lady of the Lake" by Erin McCarthy. Pro baseball player Dylan Diaz rescues a woman from drowning in a lake, bringing her onto his boat. However, instead of insuring she is okay, he feels an overwhelming almost obsessive need to make love to kindergarten teacher Violet Caruthers. Even when she makes him laugh, which is often, his desire for her grows. She, on the other hand uses her role as a prim and proper teacher to disguise the fact that she may just give in to her attraction to her rescuer. "Hardhats and Silk Stockings" by HelenKay Dimon. Architect Whit Thomas wonders if God is punishing him by making him a modern day Job. He wants to make love to contractor Hannah Bridges, but she rejects his advances as she spends her time proving she is as good as the boys. Whit knows he must discuss the project with Hannah, but he can only think of making passionate love with her even if it means using the blueprints as a mat. The latest Bad Boys anthology contains three delightful fun tales. In each case, the male is frustrated by his desires for a woman who seems virginal, yet sexy and sensual. Fans of the series will enjoy these women enticing their hunks.

Hell Kat
Vivi Anna
Kensington Aphrodisia
ISBN: 0758214952, $12.95

Nuclear explosions have left much of the Earth devastated and civilization on the brink of extinction. In this post-apocalyptic realm, deadly scavengers seek fortunes anyway they can in hopes of a better life. One such lethal treasure seeker is Hell Kat who scrounges the ruins of great societies in order to find loot worth selling; accompanying her on her forays is her partner and sometimes lover Damien. Hell Kat and Damien seek the Monmouth, a relic of the ancients worth a fortune. However to obtain the valuable technological device, they must enter Vanquished City, home to numerous mutants born in radiation. Joining them on their quest is her rival Hades, a man Kat secretly desires, and their guide Darquiel, who frightens Kat because her long time teammate Damien seems more loyal to him than her. The quest begins that only can be considered successful if they obtain the electronic gizmo, sell it, and use the money to escape the dangerous outer rim; the probability of success in each of the team member's minds: zero. The cover looks more like comic book art, but for those who believe that makes HELL KAT targeting children means you have not read comic books in decades. The dark story line is action-packed with an incredible descriptive concrete and iron wasteland as seen through the eyes of the four travelers. Besides learning the depth of the nuclear holocaust, fans also understand the motives of each of the prime players yet that never slows down the pace; neither does the few sexual encounters that in fact enhance the comprehension of morality. Vivi Anna paints a nightmarish gory tale of a future hell on earth. Those with strong stomachs will fully cherish and demand more such post-doomsday science fiction thrillers.

The Secret Lives of Housewives
Joan Elizabeth Lloyd
ISBN: 0758212755, $15.00

The four first met at the yoga class taught by one of them Angie, but it was Monica who suggested they stop afterward for coffee and chat. Angie, Cait and Eve agree. Rather quickly the quartet share their inner secrets and concerns. Cait is bored being a trophy wife to a wealthy spouse; tired of the being left on a mantle so she has found an online lover. Monica enjoys being single and the freedom that encompasses; though her doctor tells her to slow down a bit, she plays the field until she meets Dan. Eve loves sexual trysts that she engineers into role playing of her favorite movies; her afternoon partner happens to be her married boss, but she does not care as the fantasy is everything. Angie loves her husband and their twin babies, but frets that her spouse no longer seems to desire her perhaps because his ex is back in the picture. THE SECRET LIVES OF HOUSEWIVES is a fascinating look at relationships through the eyes of the quartet. Each of the lead females has different personalities and coping mechanisms when they feel something is wrong. Though proponents of the sanctuary of marriage will have cardiac arrest as cheating and bed-hopping are the norm in this tale, other contemporary fans will enjoy the sexual escapades of four females on the prowl.

What's Done in the Dark
Gloria Mallette
Kensington Dafina
ISBN: 0758211570, $15.00

In New York City sisters Celeste and Katrina are enemies. Whether it was cutting the violin strings of Celeste's instrument or battling over a banana, they fought. When Celeste was seventeen she and her parents attended a family wedding in Ohio while Katrina instead stayed home. The trio returns to New York where Celeste catches Katrina in bed with her boyfriend. Several years later Celeste is married to Willie Alexander; they have a little girl Justine while living in a brownstone in Bed-Stuy. However, Willie is murdered in a hotel room with his girlfriend Renee nearby. Though keeping an upper lip especially for the sake of her daughter, Celeste is stunned by the betrayal. Next the house is broken into as if someone was searching for something. In Washington DC, Katrina's husband Gordon is hospitalized in a coma caused by a stroke and non treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure. On top of that Joan arrives claiming to be Gordon's wife. The sisters need each other, but can they find each other? WHAT'S DONE IN THE DARK is a fabulous family drama starring real people. The story line borders on soap opera, but the skill of Gloria Mallette is in turning up the troubles yet never allowing her solid story line to turn into soapsuds. This is accomplished because of the robust extended cast that makes up key parts of the spheres of the sisters. Fans of sibling rivalry tales will enjoy this fine look at two sisters down in life who cannot depend on one another to help them through their respective traumas as blood may be thicker than water, but so is toothpaste.

Seduced by Crimson
Jade Lee
Love Spell
ISBN: 0505526727, $6.99

Crimson City is home to humans, vampires, and werewolves though fighting for supremacy keeps the three species somewhat divided. Now with the Crimson Veil devastated, a fourth race has begun to emerge; the demons are on their way back from Orcus and once they arrive little can be done to stop them even if the other three races set aside their difference in an alliance. Hope resides with the Draig-Uisge the Druid Patrick Lewis, who knows first hand how deadly demons are as they murdered his parents years ago. Before she died his mother told him to find the Cambodian Xiao Fei, the Phoenix Tear, because she believed the hemophiliac blood of the Asian combined with her son's powers can repair the rip in the mystical gate. Xiao Fei knows the demons are coming to kill her, but rejects Patrick's assertion that together they can stop the horde as she once did with many others, all dead, two decades ago. The fifth Crimson City romantic fantasy thriller (each by different authors) is an exhilarating fast-paced tale from start to finish yet still insures that the two lead protagonists are fully developed. Especially critical to the engrossing plot is the key respective traumatic incident from each of the lead protagonist's past that shaped much of their lives since is understood enough to know what motivates each of them. Fans of the series have already been SEDUCED BY CRIMSON; newcomers once they have a TASTE OF CRIMSON will want to see more THROUGH A CRIMSON VEIL to CRIMSON CITY where A DARKER CRIMSON is fun to read.

The Waterlord
Dawn Thompson
Love Spell
ISBN: 0505526735, $5.99

In 1815 England, Lady Rebecca flees from her martinet father, but suffers an accident when her coach overturns on an isolated moor. Count Klaus Lindegran arrives to rescue Rebecca, who is stunned to see what looks like a glowing light surrounding her savior. Klaus is a half human from another realm Fossegrim where he must return soon but first he must mate with a woman. He pledges to keep her safe from her father's nefarious plans for her and she feels secure on his estate. As they fall in love, he wonders what to do as he must return to his people who depend on him as THE WATERLORD, but doubts that his beloved could survive on mythical Fossegrim. However, before he can decide what is best for his people and his beloved, a traitor has other plans for the demise of both of them. Dawn Thompson shows the depth of her skills as she provides readers with a fantastic romantic fantasy inside a regency setting. The star-crossed lovers make the tale hum as their forbidden desire for one another could jeopardize his people or his beloved. Fans will believe that Fossegrim exists as Ms. Thompson makes her two realms seem real. THE WATERLORD is a terrific mythos thriller.

The Saint
Melanie Jackson
Love Spell
ISBN: 0505526441, $6.99

The Saint traveled the planet spreading good cheer, encouraging love between people, and destroying evil. More renowned as Santa Claus he abruptly vanished over a hundred-sixty years ago, but finally in 2006 he has been found wandering the northern wastelands living amidst polar bears and suffering from total amnesia. The Fey assume most likely the Goblins, who hijacked Christmas and painted the Ho Ho Ho fat boy image, managed to slip him a Mickey; the drug Fed wiped out his memory. Currently he recovers in the fey community of Cadalach. Appalled to know how the Goblins stole Christmas, Kris, as his friends and family call him, hires author Adora Navarra to write his biography though the writer's more popular works collect dust on library shelves. She, in turn, is concerned about accepting a job from an obvious nut case, but needs the money that his Armani suit represents. What really frightens her is her attraction to the lunatic who hired her. Adora begins to wonder if insanity is catching as she meets fey, dragons and goblins when he takes her to his hometown. She will soon learn this is only the tip of the magic iceberg as she plays a key role in an upcoming scenario. Fans will enjoy this fun whimsical Wildside romantic fantasy that adds depth to the chronicles that so many readers appreciate. The story line is action-packed as Kris plans to regain his original image of a hunk not afraid to fight for what he believes is right. Interestingly he finds himself fascinated by the mortal, having given up human females centuries ago. The key to this superb fantasy is Adora, whose reactions seem so perfect from initially questioning her safety with her lunatic client to pondering whether insanity is catching to falling in love while battling at her beloved's side against Goblins. Melanie Jackson provides a delightful charmer.

Talk Gertie to Me
Lois Winston
Love Spell
ISBN: 0505526840, $5.99

Honora "Nori" Stedworth cannot believe how fast her world collapsed. The young Manhattanite had a well paying job she likes at a firm until they downsized her; she lives in a delightful city apartment until her mom occupies the place; and finally she caught her handsome, nice and wealthy boyfriend synchronize swimming in the Jacuzzi with her best friend. In shell shock from the series of traumatic setbacks, Nori returns to what helped her through crisis as a child; she turns to her imaginary sarcastic friend named Gertie for help. Mackenzie "Mac" Randolph, station manager of WBAT talk radio for men ends up stuck with "Gertie", who becomes the toast of the Big Apple with her cynical show "Gertie Gets Even" telling men why they suck. At about the same time that Gerti is making Nori famous, Mayor Earnest Stedworth runs his town Ten Commandments, Iowa and his family like a 1950s time warp. His wife Connie has become frustrated with her designated role of housewife and seeks more. She leaves for New York where she becomes famous as the "Belly Button Artist to the Stars." This amusing contemporary tale rotates perspective between Nori and Connie so that the audience understands their frustrations that motivate their decisions. The humorous character study never slows down in spite of changing viewpoints though either subplot could have served up a delicious novel on its' own. The support cast is fun to follow adding to the enjoyment of a wacky tale of two women taking Manhattan.

Penelope and Prince Charming
Jennifer Ashley
ISBN: 0843956062, $6.99

In 1819 in Little Marching, England Penelope Trask lives a somewhat sedate life. That is staid and proper (most would say dull) until Prince Damien Augustus Frederic Michel of the kingdom of Nvengaria arrives claiming she is his princess. Penelope assumes that the handsome royal is either a lunatic or found the wrong female. Damien is not prepared for rejection as he anticipated the villager would jump at the opportunity of becoming a princess. Instead the obstinate princess to be distrusts him perhaps for good reason. He needs to marry her immediately if he is to fulfill an ancient prophecy and regain his kingdom from an usurper. As they trek to his remote nation, they fend off attacks mundane by assassins and magical by evil wizards; they even survive a battle with a shapeshifting Logosh. All this makes Penelope a believer that there is more to earth than her village even as she and her prince fall in love. PENELOPE AND PRINCE CHARMING is a fine romantic fantasy that shows Jennifer Ashley can leave the pirates behind. The story line is at its best when the lead couple struggles to survive against overwhelming odds, some mundane (assassins being an everyday occurrence) and some from the fantasist realm as the romance takes a back seat and at times feels intrusive to the fantasy. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this beguiling tale.

Luck of the Draw
Gail Link
ISBN: 0843956631, $6.99

Pinkerton and an assailant want to find Abigail Breckenridge with both interested in her; one because of what she did which led to a price on her head and the other for what he assumes she saw. Knowing she is in trouble, Abigail changes her surname to Butler heading west as a widowed schoolteacher. On the stage she meets Beau McMasters who recently won at a card game a saloon and a ranch in Heaven's Gate. Beau and Abigail are attracted to one another and the locals encourage their relationship. As they fall in love, Abigail's past shows up and to her horror Beau is shot. Refusing to leave his side though that leaves her in peril, Abigail knows she owes Beau two truths: who she truly is and that she loves him. This is a solid western romance that the audience will full enjoy due to the antics of the lead couple though it is the outsiders who bring the late suspense to the fine nineteenth century story line. LUCK OF THE DRAW is a fast-paced read though the climax seems off kilter as the chasers converge on Butler, which would seem more like a needle in a haystack. Still sub-genre fans will enjoy this fine tale as Beau tries to prove that he loves Abigail risking his life as his stake.

State's Evidence
R. Barri Flowers
ISBN: 0843955716, $6.99, 386 pp.

After winning a capital murder case in Judge Crawford's courtroom, Assistant District Attorney in Wilameta County in Northern California Beverly Mendoza and her co-chair and lover Deputy D.A. Grant Nunez celebrate. So does the judge and his young wife but their party dissolves into a massacre when a Latina male kills the judge and brutally rapes his wife. Through good eye witnesses testimony the wife is able to point out the killer, rapist Rafael Santiago, in two line ups. The judge had sentenced him to hard time; twelve years behind bars. he vowed revenge when he was sentenced. Beverly is the prosecuting attorney and Grant, who has been appointed as a judge, is on the bench for what seems like a slam dunk case. While at a Burger King with her son, Beverly spots a man who looks almost identical to Rafael. The police are looking for Manuel Gonzalez in the death of at least three women and he has singled out Beverly as her next target. He is arrested before he can harm her but he throws a monkey wrench into Rafael's case and causes Beverly to doubt her own beliefs. R. Barri Flowers has written an electrifying and enthralling legal thriller that will appeal to readers of Nancy Taylor Rosenberg and Barbara Parker. The courtroom scenes are very realistic and the heroine is someone readers will empathize with and admire as a role model for minorities and women. STATE'S EVIDENCE would make a great action packed move.

African Ice
Jeff Buick
ISBN: 0843957204, $6.99, 384 pp.

She has the reputation of being a female Indiana Jones, which is why Gem-Star President Patrick Kerrigan hires Samantha Carlson to locate a diamond vein in the Ruwenzori Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has the location down to a seventy square mile radius, but his team vanished, which is not shocking as the government is corrupt and the military is worse than the civilians. Knowing all this and more, she still accepts the job. Travis McNeil and his men will protect her as she seeks the diamonds. Unknown to either the geologist or the bodyguard is that Patrick has arranged with a local military officer and his troops to track them so that once the mission is achieved they will die. However, once the assault starts, Travis and his men win the day, but a deadlier team is on the way with another on standby. AFRICAN ICE is the ultimate cat and mouse thriller with Travis being Hans Solo and Samantha is Lara Croft. The story line electrifies the audience with its non-stop action reminiscent of the Indiana Jones' movies, but also provides insight into the poverty of the people and the corruption of the military and civil leaders in this poor African nation. Jeff Buick creates lead characters that readers will care about as they go from one deadly scenario to the next with the light at the end of the tunnel coming from the subsequent lethal fire they will end up in shortly.

After Midnight
Richard Laymon
ISBN: 084395180X, $7.99

Twenty-six years old Alice is staying at the exclusive house by the woods of her friend Serena as a favor while her pal is away. Alice looks forward to the luxurious lifestyle with the sunken tub, swimming pool and big screen TV. However, she also cautions herself never forget that danger lurks everywhere even in deluxe quarters like Serena owns. As if she jinxed her good fortune, a wrong number call enables her to notice a stranger dive naked into the pool. Alice expects the nude male to attack her like all men do, but this time she is prepared as she holds a Civil War saber that she took off the wall waiting for his assault. When the opportunity arises she uses the blade to split open a man's head. Thus a night of mayhem, sex, and death begins with Alice's gory adventures in wonderland. Though Alice is an intriguing protagonist, her story seems so outrageous that it goes beyond the realm of unbelievable perhaps exceeding Munchausen. Still she is a fascinating protagonist as she lives her motto of never again to be a victim, sort of like the Bride in Kill Bill. Fans who appreciate a somewhat deranged female swimming in a sea of blood will want to read Alice's adventures AFTER MIDNIGHT in a not so wonderland.

A Tale of Paradise
Connie Mason
ISBN: 0843954647, $6.99

In 1824, Sophia Carlisle was the center of a duel between two best friends. The survivor Christian Radcliff blames her for the death of his pal and for the subsequent scandal that erupted. Seven years later, Sophia flees for her life from Sir Oscar Rigby stowing on a ship about to head to Jamaica. When she is found Captain Radcliff is irate as she is the person he loathes most in the world. To pay her way across the ocean, he forces her into his bed where she turns into a willing partner, but to his dismay and shock he discovers she is a virgin. Christian is totally confused as he thought she gave her self seven years ago. When Sir Oscar arrives in Kingston, Christian knows he must act to keep the woman he loves safe. He persuades her to marry him though he still wonders what really occurred back in England over seven years ago even as slave unrest threatens to erupt into open warfare. This is a superb regency romance starring two individuals with a second chance at love if they both can move beyond their haunted past. The story line is action-packed mostly by the point and counterpoint caused by Sir Oscar. Though the plot device has been used a lot, fans will feel A TALE OF PARADISE is a refreshing historical journey especially with Jamaica providing a different milieu than the usual.

Crazy Kisses
Tara Janzen
ISBN: 0440242614, $6.99

Special Forces Operative Kid Chronopolous has lived the last few months in a berserker rage enacting revenge on the Columbians who brutally killed his sibling J.T. His efforts have made him public enemy number one of Columbian drug lord Juan Conseco, whose business has suffered because of the relentless assaults by Kid. Nikki McKinney is half in love with Kid, who though he desires her with his heart, stays away from her because he fears she would be a collateral damage target of his enemies. However, Kid's best intentions go awry when Conseco sends his best hit men after Nikki. Kid is willing to die to keep his beloved Nikki safe because Conseco believes she is his Achilles' heel. The fourth "Crazy" romantic thriller is a superb tale as the hero, already over the edge, now finds he has guilt to contend with as he knows he has inadvertently placed the woman he loves in danger from his enemy. Kid will do anything to insure that Nikki is safe, proving the love he denies himself. Nikki is his perfect partner as she knows he deserves love and plans to demonstrate that she in deed does love him. On top of a great romantic story line, there is the usual danger and thrills as lethal thugs come calling in Tara Janzen stupendous suspense.

Ex-Wife's Survival Guide
Debby Holt
Downtown Press
ISBN: 1416513299, $13.00

Forty-three years old artist Sarah Stagg is staggered by her husband of two decades Andrew dumping her for spunky twentyish actress Hyacinth Harrington, whom he met at the local theatre group. Adding to her despondency is his claim that he now knows what true love is though Sarah figures that Andrew's definition is lust. Their twin sons are backpacking in India so Sarah is all alone for the first time in her life. Still Sarah vows to move on though she feels anger and humiliation that Andrew leaves her. Still she turns to painting and refuses to hide from her neighbors attending all the social events in Ambercross. Shockingly she even gets the lead role in the Ambercross Players production of Rebecca where she meets fellow dumpee Martin. When she travels to Majorca for a week of sexual encounters, she is stunned when she gets home by the disapproval of Martin and Andrew. Still she refuses to back down from her pledge to herself to live life to the fullest. The EX-WIFE'S SURVIVAL GUIDE is a terrific quirky depiction of a woman rebounding from her husband abruptly dropping her for a younger, sexier and spicier model. Sarah is an intriguing individual as she goes through the five stages of grief until she realizes that she has a wonderful life of her own. Debby Holt provides a fascinating character study that the audience will appreciate.

Baby Brother's Blues
Pearl Cleage
One World (Ballantine)
ISBN: 0345481100, $24.95

Renowned R&B singer Blue Hamilton not only married communications expert Regina Burns (see SOME THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I'D DO), he quit the music industry to improve his neighborhood. The formerly run down West End of Atlanta has become a haven for blacks thanks to Blue and his top assistant General though some of his lethal tactics they employ upset those soft on criminals, as Blue defines what makes a crime. Whether it is raging hormones as she is pregnant, Regina fears someone will kill Blue when he takes cares of business his way as she believes he is righteously eliminating predators whose frightened females have come to the West End to escape. Meanwhile US Army deserter named Baby Brother moves into the West End and quickly becomes a favorite of Blue as he seems to have the former singer's back. However, Baby Blue is also extorting money from closet gay Kwame Hargrove, a married man with an infant; his mother is moving up the political ranks as a favorite of the morally right crowd. General has a new girlfriend after seeing what he perceives is a sign from the woman he loves, Blue's deceased mom, but Baby Brother makes moves on his squeeze. All comes to a head when someone kills Baby Brother whose corpse is found in Kwame's loft. This is a fascinating urban noir romance starring a charismatic hero who applies vigilante justice to clean the streets of his neighborhood. The story line is action packed with plenty of violence yet contains the message that it takes caring people to make a neighborhood a home. Though some readers will object to Blue's style of justice, fans of his in your face methodology will enjoy this gory sequel.

Every Reasonable Doubt
Pamela Samuels-Young
ISBN: 1583146695, $14.00

In Los Angeles, employment attorney Vernetta Henderson works at the prestigious O'Reilly & Finney firm with the goal of becoming a partner. A major victory in the Hayes case has given the African-American attorney quite a boost up the corporate ladder. O'Reilly assigns her to work with the only other African-American attorney in the office Neddy McClain on the highly publicized Max Montgomery murder case as the victim's wife Tina hired the firm to defend her. These two women are rivals with each wondering if this is a test of sorts. As the media watches every move the two women make, they agree to a temporary cease fire in order to do the best for Tina. Both spend extra hours in the office, which disturbs Vernetta's new husband Jefferson who believes that she chose work over him and his desire to have children. Jefferson demands more of Vernetta even as she provides him with less. She soon realizes that success in the office could mean failure at home making her ponder why she cannot have choice three: success in the office and at home. At the same time the case takes a strange relationship spin involving a man named Lawton. This tense legal thriller concentrates as much on the personal lives of the two female lawyers more so Vernetta as each struggles with their personal lives. Vernetta is a very interesting protagonist as she strives for a balance, but finds the office and her spouse pulling at her from opposite directions as if she is tied to a rack. Though a final twist will seem like overkill to some readers, many will believe that makes the perfect ending to a tale in which working a murder case impacts the lives of the key characters as it consumes all a lawyer's time and energy.

Finding the Forger
Libby Sternberg
Smooch (Dorchester)
ISBN: 0843955031, $5.99

The police believe that City Art Museum security guard and college student Hector Gonzalez is a suspect in an art forgery scam. Worried for her boyfriend, high school senior Sarah decides to hire private investigator Connie Balducci to prove his innocence. Connie's sophomore sister Bianca insisting she works for her sibling (well almost – she is on the short list for a summer clerk job) "interrogates" Sarah until the older woman breaks down and explains why she needs a sleuth. Emboldened by her recent success in helping Sarah (see UNCOVERING SADIE'S SECRETS) Bianca investigates to help Sarah. Bianca also tries to help her best friend Kerrie as her pal detests how much the newcomer to her family, Sarah, has become the focus of her parents. Connie wants Bianca to cease her inquiries, but soon helps her younger sister. Bianca becomes upset when her boyfriend Doug spends too much time with Kerrie and not with her. Still sleuthing is obviously in her genes so Bianca begins snooping as only a teen can. Though obviously targeted for teen readers, adults (especially us geriatrics who cut our teeth on Nancy Drew) will enjoy this solid amateur sleuth (sorry Bianca, but the pro gets paid) investigative tale. Bianca is a delightful lead character whose asides to the audience are witty as the "weight of the universe" pressures of loving relationships, complex investigations and botched home perms are wryly explained. The who-done-it is cleverly designed assuming that the audience can think rather than just dumbed down as Libby Sternberg respects the young crowd that serves as the center of FINDING THE FORGER and Bianca's previous appearance (see UNCOVERING SADIE'S SECRETS).

To Protect and Cherish
Karen Rose Smith
ISBN: 0373198108, $4.25

When his housekeeper retired at sixty-five, Tate Pardell, owner of Pardell Construction, advertises for a replacement to work and live on his nearby Texas ranch. Applicant waitress Anita Sutton is pretty, intelligent and a self starter, but also the mother of three small kids. During the interview Tate insists on meeting her five year old twin boys Corey and Jared and her ten and a half month old daughter Marie. He admires her spunk as their father Larry died in an accident one year ago, but Anita struggles to pay off the credit card debt he spent on his girlfriends. After meeting the kids and tasting her cooking, Tate hires Anita. On the day she is moving Larry's parents arrive to Anita's shock as she thought they were dead. They suffer from guilt as they let Larry run away when he was sixteen and never followed up until recently. Not long afterward, her wealthy in-laws sue for custody of children. Tate offers Anita a marriage of convenience to bolster her argument. She accepts. However, as the adults fall in love, both want more out of their marriage, but neither will take that first step that could break their fragile relationship. At the same time readers will believe that Tate is too perfect to be real, the audience will want their significant other to be just like him. Anita is an interesting character as she has goals to open up a graphic design business and insure her children attend college. The support cast augments a fine tale as the three kids, Anita's former sixty years old neighbor and the in-laws provide depth to a fine modern day marriage of convenience romance.

Facing the Fire
Gail Barrett
Silhouette Intimate Moments
ISBN: 037327484X, $4.99

Ten years ago Jordon Wells met Cade McKenzie in Mexico and sparks ignited. They married and moved to Montana. Everything was great until the summer when Cade, a smokejumper, abandoned her to fight fires. Even when he came home he was too tired to do more than eat and sleep. Alaska was the final straw, which sent Jordon to Virginia. Now she is back at her cabin in Montana for the first time in a decade planning to sell the place and marry safe Phil back east. Cade and his crew are fighting a dangerous forest fire when a rookie freezes as a tree crashes towards earth; Cade save the youngster's life, but breaks his collarbone. Knowing he is a handicap if the crew needs to escape, Cade heads towards the nearby cabin where he spent the greatest few months of his life to insure no one is there before evacuating. Cade and Jordon are stunned to see one another; she agrees to drive him to Missoula. She stops to pick up a dog, but that delay costs them their exit as the fire engulfs the road. Forced to go in a different direction, both realizes they still love one another, but disagree as to whom deserted who. FACING THE FIRE is an exciting contemporary romance starring a strong hero and the confused woman he loves. On the trudge through abandoned paths, fiery forests, and freezing water, Jordon realizes that Cade is not a thrill seeker, but a professional trying to do his job safely. Fans will appreciate their struggle on a personal level as much as the nature challenge as each especially Jordon learn what they failed to know about the other when the heat of their passion overwhelmed any other communication.

Sneak and Rescue
Shirl Henke
Silhouette Bombshell
ISBN: 037351395X, $4.99

Senior accountant partner Upton Winchester IV hires retrieval specialist Samantha Ballanger to bring home his delusional son, a runaway "Spacer" Farley. Though suspicious of all clients, Upton mentions that realtor Jayson Page Layton referred him to her so she accepts the job due to the reference. However when Sam finds the space cadet, she realizes something does not add up as the kid seems zoned out on a drug yet still appears normal. Instead of taking Farley home, she decides to enlist the help of her husband Miami Herald reporter Matt Granger to keep the teen safe though her spouse also bullies his way into her case in order to keep her safe. At the same Farley's friend DEA Agent Elvis Scruggs uses the kid to get at his father, who is under suspicion of racketeering. Unlike Sam who risks her life to keep Farley out of harm's way, Elvis wants to use the lad as a pawn though he hopes the kid comes out of it alive, collateral damage sometime happens in his line of work. SNEAK AND RESCUE is an entertaining action-packed retrieval tale starring a strong female assisted in this case by her spouse and to a degree (mission first) DEA Agent in a case in which nothing is what it seems on the surface. The fast-paced thriller is fun to read because of the solid cast as this time Matt is at her side more as an equal than the retrieved that he was in her last case (see FINDERS KEEPERS). Readers will enjoy Sam's latest snatch story.

Hell on Heels
Carla Cassidy
Silhouette Bombshell
ISBN: 0373513968, $4.99

Bounty-hunter Chantal Worthington prefers to keep her work separate from her upper crust social life though the heiress knows that cannot always be possible. Her latest skipper to chase down is a case in point. Her target wealthy Marcus Willowby heir to Willowby Whiskey fortune was arrested for raping his dates; a decade ago he got away with raping her friend Belinda Carlyle. The evidence is overwhelming as Marcus videoed his predatory activity so he skipped the state of Missouri. Chantal vows to bring the predator to justice. Bounty Hunter "Crazy" Luke Coleman is on the trail of the jumper and refuses to allow a claim jumper steal his case especially someone in designer heels. They both realize that Marcus is in Mexico so they head south battling one another every step of the way. Chantal is a strange mix as a socialite bounty hunter who always gets her man. The story line is amusing as Chantal and Crazy Luke (not the wrestler) battle one another from the first moment they clash over who was brining in a skipper and never slow down until the final lip lock confrontation. Though overall humorous the glimpse at what rape has done to a victim is handled deftly and compassionately. Carla Cassidy provides an entertaining battle of the sexes with the bounty being love.

The Diamond Secret
Ruth Wind
Silhouette Bombshell
ISBN: 0373513976, $4.99

San Francisco based Gemologist Sylvie Montague journeys to Glasgow, Scotland to evaluate jewels recovered from a dead drug dealer. However, instead of her bag she took with her, she finds she is carrying an identical looking luggage, which also contains a famous diamond that her former spouse Paul Maigny has always desired. She immediately goes all alert because she assumes Paul pulled a switch and whenever she is involved with him trouble follows. Sylvie proves right as gangsters chase her wanting the gem she found in the luggage. She quickly decides that her only way out of this mess is to trust no one including the man she always loved or the cops who hired her as a consultant and to return the diamond to its rightful owner. However, the path includes thugs willing to kill Sylvie to take the gem from her. THE DIAMOND SECRET is fast-paced and action-packed from the moment that Sylvie flies to Scotland and never slows down as the heroine quickly realizes trust no one as "nothing can bring out the evils of man like the lust to possess a particular jewel". She learns that first hand as even the man she loves seems to have betrayed her for a coveted gem. Fans who appreciate a strong character driven thriller will want to read Ruth Wind's terrific suspense filled tale.

Never Look Back
Sheri Whitefeather
Silhouette Bombshell
ISBN: 0373513984, $4.99

Shaman Allie Whirlwind paints a picture that partially conjures up a person who was cursed by her great-grandmother, an Apache black witch seeking vengeance against those who harmed her people, to spend a century as a raven. Allie wants to help the man break the spell completely, as he is only a half-human; besides failure dooms this dark creature to eternity. However, Allie knows she cannot go any further alone and her family cannot provide the type of help she needs. She turns to Daniel Deer Running to assist her in finding the talisman that could finalize the spell before the hundred years is over. As she works on the release, Allie ponders her fickleness feeling an attraction to the two new men in her life. After appearing as a secondary character in APACHE NIGHTS, Allie shows her strengths as she holds together this superb paranormal romantic thriller. The Native American mythology brilliantly blends into the excellent action-packed story line while the romantic dilemma that Allie faces between the two males in her life makes for a fine counterpoint to the thrills and chills. Sheri Whitefeather provides a well written powerful myth-laden tale.

Vows of Silence
Debra Webb
Silhouette Signature Select
ISBN: 037383702X, $5.99

A decade ago someone killed Charles Ashland. The police suspected the wife Melinda, a victim of spousal abuse possibly abetted by her three close friends Lacy, Cassidy and Kira. However, none talked and no evidence surfaced to point at the culprit; even the corpse was never found as apparently the four friends disposed of it and the murder weapon, Lacy's gun. The quartet as well as the townsfolk including Police Chief Rick Summer believes one of the women is the killer. When a body surfaces the Ashland family pressures the police to find the killer. However, someone decides to wait no longer for "justice" to take place. The assailant begins with midnight calls taunting the females and stalking to drive fear into them. Then Cassidy is murdered. Rick who has always loved Lacy, vows to keep her safe, but wonders if she killed Charles or knows who did as a second murder occurs. This thriller starts off at hyper speed (even the opening sentence) and never slows down until the final climax. The four prime females are fully developed characters with each potentially being the killer of Charles. That is the key to the suspense as even Rick who loves Lacy knows she might have murdered Charles out of compassion for her friend Melinda; now he feels he must keep her safe as someone apparently his avenging the decade old homicide. Debra Webb spins a delightful thriller.

Leslie Kelly, Heather MacAllister, and Cindi Myers
Silhouette Signature Select
ISBN: 0373836880, $5.99

Three women attend Warfield Bootcamp on a two-week tour to lean how to deal with relationships since their love life has deserted them. "Kiss and Make Up" by Leslie Kelly. Heiress Cassandra and her former spouse Wyatt allowed their family to break them apart. Since then Cass has dated losers. She decides that the only way to move on is to do an about face with Wyatt. "Sugar and Spikes" by Heather MacAllister. Rebecca "Iron Lady" Ironwood has earned her nickname because no one is colder than this armor plated businesswoman. She was fine with that until Cy Benedict entered her life. Now she wonders if she can be a business warrior and a lover too. "Flirting with an Old Flame" by Cindi Myers. Barbara Powers left Cut and Shoot, Texas to become a successful California CEO. Now she returns home as a sophisticate, but it is local yokel Scott Cadent that makes her want to shed her power suits. These are three lighthearted fast-paced romps starring strong women needing more in their lives so they become "trainees" in love seeking men who can provide instruction of the heart and accept their beloved are vigorous independent females.

Quiet as the Grave
Kathleen O'Brien
Silhouette Signature Select Saga
ISBN: 0373836953, $5.99

When Justine Milner vanished in Firefly Glen, everyone assumed foul play but no evidence not even a corpse surfaced. Still most residents believe that her ex-husband Michael Frome killed her probably out of passion or perhaps over custody of their son Gavin. Two years later, the body of Justine is found and Michael is arrested for her murder. He is convicted in the public opinion poll with only portrait artist Suzie Strickland believing he is innocent. She remembers what a SOB Justine was in high school ten years ago when they competed for Mike's affection and Justine coldly manipulated the game so that she won the prize. However, Suzie feels the solution to who killed nasty Justine lies with the enigmatic Mulligan Club, who play dark deadly games of seduction; Justine was a member who fit in nicely until someone felt otherwise. As Suzie digs deeper into the club, she risks her life to prove Mike's innocence. Mike and Suzie first appeared as teens in FIREFLY GLEN (I have not read), but though that tale might give a reader insight into their relationship back in high school, that is not a necessity to enjoy this fine romantic suspense. Suzie is a terrific heroine trying to prove that her beloved did not kill his former wife, but the evidence contradicts her belief. Mike is the beleaguered lead male protagonist who has lived for two years under a cloud of suspicion that now has turned into a torrential storm. Readers will appreciate this solid amateur sleuth romantic thriller though the mysterious Mulligan Club seems a bit over the edge albeit a suspenseful intriguing edge.

The Patron Saint of Plagues
Barth Anderson
ISBN: 0553383582, $13.00, 384 pp.

In the not so distant future on an alternate Earth, Emil Obregon is the president for life in a fascist Mexico thanks to the support of the Holy Renaissance Party. This theocracy has an alternate Pope who broke away from the Vatican and has much power over the country. Most of the population is hooked up through implants to the Pilone, an online form of the net that allows the government to keep track of its citizens. Mexico and the United States are at war with the former annexing Arizona and New Mexico as well as part of Central and South America. When Dengue Fever threatens to kill much of Mexico's population, doctors like Henry Stark from CDC rush over there to help. The airborne virus constantly mutates; after studying it the researchers conclude that it is manmade and someone is still spreading it around the country. If Stark and his team don't find the carrier, 80% of Mexico's population will die. This is as much a medical thriller as it is a futuristic alternate history tale. Readers will be fascinated by the theological fascist regime that has the church's blessing but the focus of much of the book is Stark, a man not interested in politics but in saving lives. Barth Anderson is a gifted storyteller whose debut novel is a roaring success. His descriptions of a futuristic Mexico are so vivid that readers can easily visualize it.

Kelley Armstrong
ISBN: 0553588184, $6.99, 464 pp.

She is the only female werewolf in existence and she is pregnant by her werewolf lover; something that has never happened before. The men in Elena Michaels' pack are smothering her in their need to keep her safe and protected; she understands their motives, but could use some action in her life. That occurs when half-demon Xavier Reese asks her to steal the letter "From Hell" supposedly written by jack the Ripper. In return Xavier will tell her where a rogue werewolf is hiding. The pack believes they can accomplish the theft with no danger to Elena so they travel to sorcerer Patrick Shanahan's Toronto home where the letter is located. They pull off the caper without a hitch but disaster happens when Elena's blood from an insect bite drips on the letter opening a dimensional portal. Two zombies enter from the other side bringing cholera to Toronto, contaminating the water supply and spreading other diseases. The sorcerer directs his zombies to kidnap Elena, who realizes she must find the practitioner causing the havoc that threatens her babies, pack and Toronto. The Women of the Other World story that stared with BITTEN and continued with STOLEN comes to a heartwarming conclusion in BROKEN. Elena is very happy with Clay and considers her pack as her family. Kelley Armstrong writes a fanatic urban fantasy filled with romance and mystery that will satiate fans of three genres. Nobody will guess the identity of the villain though that person is in plain sight for Monday morning quarterbacks. That is just part of the charm of this spellbinding, magical and delightful tale and miniseries.

The Cause of Death
Roger MacBride Allen
ISBN: 0553587269, $6.99, 496 pp.

In the far distant future when various races have colonized the stars, the BSI was formed to deal with human involvement in criminal cases outside the homeworld system. Agents Hannah Wolfson and Jamie Mendez are sent to Reqwar, one of the worlds colonized by the Pavlat, to escort a prisoner home. When they arrive there, they are greeted by troops who want to kill them; they barely make it to the surface alive. An official tells them they were not sent to escort George home, but to observe his execution. His crime is that he refused to kill his adopted father Thelm Lantrall, the leader of the world. When a murder occurs, various alien races must work together to solve the homicide before civil war explodes. The planet Reqwar and its inhabitants are described in colorful vivid detail so that the audience can easily visualize the planet and its occupants though that also slows down an exciting science fiction murder mystery. Fans of outer space police procedurals will enjoy Roger MacBride Allen's fine thriller containing realistic enigmatic alien races and two superb human cops struggling to deal with unfamiliar cultures in which the definition of what is a crime differ.

Living Next Door to the God of Love
Justina Robson
ISBN: 0553587420, $13.00

In Metropolis on Sankhara what existed yesterday does not exist today as every night the world is remade based on the dreams of those who reside there. For instance in a short period of time, Jalaeka has lived several lives from a prostitute, to a pilgrim, a pirate, a princess and a physics student. Through all his nightly transformations, he believes he deserves better though his dreams speak otherwise. Still he is determined to find a mage or God or something stronger to help him because his creator is coming for him. Teenage runaway Francine removes her identity chip and flees the emptiness of her AI sub world for Sankhara. Instead she finds a bone castle containing a scientist searching for the seemingly vanished light of the universe by mapping the human mind. Francine and Jalaeka meet are attracted to one another. However, instead of him having been chased by the minion of Unity, she serves as the focus of a war between the Gods that only she can prevent from destroying all who live in Sanhara by displaying love to others especially Jalaeka. LIVING NEXT DOOR TO THE GOD OF LOVE is not an easy book to read. The changing perspectives mostly between Jalaeka and Francine, but also including others like an intriguing female warrior is difficult to follow and the subject is complex. However, those who prefer a deep science fiction cerebral yet action-packed tale will want to journey to this odd world where change is more than the norm, it is life. With NATURAL HISTORY and now this thrilling tale, Justine Robson has carved out a niche starring her creative realms. Readers will want more works set in the Robson universe where physics does not necessarily repeat each time the experiment is run.

The Dairy Queen
Allison Rushby
Red Dress (Harlequin)
ISBN: 0373895747, $12.95, 336 pp.

In Melbourne, Dicey is depressed as she loses her multi-million dollar business pajama business and her husband Simon who was having an affair; thank goodness loyal Fergus the dog is there for her. Her sister Titch is heartbroken because she is unable to conceive even with IVF and her mate Andrew believes two strikes and your out. Their best friend Sally has broken her leg and depends on painkillers to get around. The three dejected women make matters worse when they see one another as misery loves miserable company. The trio agrees they need solace and where better than their black and white home town Moo. At home they each try to immerse themselves into the town's needs as a means of avoiding their personal woes. However, delaying what ails them does not make it better. Somewhere along the way each of these females will have to dump their troubles or get off the black and white pot to confront their tribulations. The lead three females provide readers with a wonderful tour of rustic Australia while coming home to lick their wounds and they hope get a respite from their anxieties. As each one struggles with major problems, the locals bring humor to the mix. Allison Rushby provides a strong character study starring a superb cast including the town in which everything is painted with black and white stripes.

More to Life than This
Carole Matthews
Red Dress
ISBN: 0373895682, $12.95

In England thirty-five years old Kate Lewis is the envy of everyone as she is married to a wonderful spouse Jeffrey and has two well behaved preadolescent children Joseph and Kerry. However, she is concerned that her kids are too perfect and her spouse no longer finds her desirable. A bored Kate and her best friend Sonia sign up for a week retreat at a tai chi course at the rustic Northwood Priory. Before leaving she hires a young sexy nanny Natalie to care for her family. Initially worried about Nat beguiling her husband, Kate is soon attracted to fellow student Ben while her husband finds female numbers to replace his golf scores and accounting spread sheets. Though readers get deep inside Kate's psyche in this interesting chick lit tale, her woes seems somewhat contrived. For instance her children are polite and well behaved, but do not appear to be suffering from any disorder; her husband may be more interested in golf than sex, but Kate fails to talk to him instead choosing to run away for a week. Still this is a deep look at a wife and mother struggling with the issue of is that all there is.

The Scoundrel
Lisa Plumley
ISBN: 0373293976, $5.50

In 1882 in Morrow Creek, Arizona Territory blacksmith Daniel McCabe loves the women when a clerk interrupts his latest dalliance with saloon dancers insisting he has a delivery waiting for him at the train station that cannot wait until tomorrow. Fearing the clerk will have a heart attack; Daniel accompanies him to retrieve the package though he is expecting nothing. His parcel turns out to be a four foot boy who recognizes his face from a picture his mom showed him. His nephew Eli has arrived from the east. Two months later, Daniel decides he needs a wife to raise his always in trouble nephew. He selects his friend capable spinster schoolteacher Sarah Crabtree who he knows is an expert when it comes to preadolescent children. He offers her a marriage of convenience, which she accepts, but hides her true agenda to turn their relationship into a loving family of three and hopefully more though that might mean causing problems for Daniel that will make Eli's look boyish in comparison. The sequel to THE MATCHMAKER, THE SCOUNDREL is an amusing western romantic romp that will keep the audience laughing with the antics that Sarah and to a degree Eli pull on hapless Daniel, who will not know what hit him as love for his woman blindsides him. The eccentric support cast enhance the fine historical with their escapades especially his nephew and her students in particular nine years old spelling bee whiz Emily. Sub-genre fans will believe that Lisa Plumley's fine tale is much more than OK.

Spring Break
Charlotte Douglas
Harlequin Next
ISBN: 0373880839, $5.50

In Pelican Bay, Florida, private investigator Maggie Skerritt and her beloved partner and fiance Bill Malcolm hate two periods during the year; college breaks when the students flood the state especially since they are drafted by the cops as former police, to work party patrol. However, so far this spring break has been relatively quiet though there is the usual minor misbehavior. Maggie and Bill hope it remains that way. Clearwater Police Detective Dave Adler informs his former partner at the now defunct Pelican bay PD Maggie about the recent murder of Deirdre Fisk. Maggie reflects back to sixteen years ago; Deirdre was the "lucky one" when as nine years old she survived abduction; the kidnapper who killed others was never caught. A cursory look takes Maggie and Bill while also on the trail of a dognapper back to that unsolved case from their police days that still haunt them. Neither are able to let go, Maggie and Bill begin digging into the connections not realizing as they get close to solving the two cases, someone wants to insure they fail even if that means killing the sleuths. The latest Skerritt Florida cozy is a fun tale that fans of the series and the sub-genre will enjoy. As always, the state plays a key role in providing background; albeit this time with the annual spring break invasion serving that purpose. The murder mystery is cleverly devised to link past and present while the dognapping of Roger is an amusing aside though that pays the bills. Readers will appreciate Maggie's latest escapades as she tangles with a murderer, a dognapper, and the most dangerous adversary of all, her irate octogenarian mom.

No Regrets
Cindi Myers
Harlequin Blaze
ISBN: 037379245X, $4.75

In Denver, twenty-seven years old Lexie Foster nearly died when her car skidded on an icy patch into the guard rail. Six months of therapy later, Lexie vows to live life to the fullest starting with quitting her tedious job at Culpepper and Pipe. That is followed by drawing up a list one hundred things for her to achieve to include having sex with six different men before she turns thirty. Lexie accepts work as an administrative assistant with private investigator Nick Delaney. She proves an invaluable help to him with several cases, but fears her risk taking outlook on life. She finds herself very attracted to her boss; he feels the same way, which adds to his trepidation about her taking unnecessary chances. As she reconsiders modifying her list from sex with a sextet to sleeping with one man forever, they fall in love. Readers will commiserate with Lexie who has learned that you have one chance at life so appreciate it and enjoy though she goes a bit over board as a reaction formation to her near death experience. Nick is a delight as he tries to keep his beloved assistant from taking chances, but he admires her spunk and determination. Fans of contemporary private investigative romances will have NO REGRETS if they read Cindi Myers' fine tale.

Basic Training
Julie Miller
Harlequin Blaze
ISBN: 0373792425, $4.75

In Ashton, Virginia physical therapist, Tess Bartlett asks her long time friend Marine Corps captain Travis McCormick, who is on leave recovering from injuries, for a favor. She wants him to teach her basic sex training and advanced boudoir maneuvers. The courageous marine thought he could handle anything, but her enlisting him shakes him to his core. She even barters with him. She will help with his recovery by providing him physical therapy if he trains her on sex therapy. Travis reconsiders his old buddy who is a beautiful desirable woman and decides he is the man for the job especially when an enemy sets his sights on destroying any relationship between Travis and Tess. What he does not know is that Tess selected him because she loves him and figures seduction with him as her drill instructor is her best strategy to win the campaign for his heart. BASIC TRAINING is a terrific contemporary military romance starring two likable protagonists whom the audience will want to find their way to each other. The story line is superb when Tess maneuvers her beloved into scenarios that he suddenly finds he wants to take that hill. The relatively late suspense is cleverly devised but actually takes away from a delightful tale of a strategic planning female carrying out her operation to win the heart of her beloved marine.

Family First
Margaret Watson
Harlequin SuperRomance
ISBN: 0373713371, $5.50

The department rules insist that when an officer uses his weapon he must see a psychologist. In the line of duty Police Detective Jake Donovan killed a dangerous murderer Doak Talbott before the killer murdered his own son and his aunt, but does not want to see the shrink especially to discuss his feelings. He just wants to go back to work, but the SOP forces him to talk with Dr. Kira McGinnis before he can return to field work. Jake makes the appointments, but does not open up to her about his inner feelings about the killing to the doc, whom he also finds quite attractive. Kira feels the same way about her patient, but hides her heart because she fears involvement and questions the ethics of an off the job relationship with a patient. Besides she has enough to do with raising her five-year-old daughter by herself and helping her troubled teenage brother. It is elementary that the key to this strong contemporary romance is Kira's relationships with her daughter and her brother as she willingly sacrifices her own needs and desires out of her love for them. Jake wants to do likewise for the shrink he loves, but also fears commitment. Margaret Watson writes a powerful character study of people caring for the wellbeing of others finding love, but fearing its intrusion.

Marriage in Jeopardy
Anna Adams
Harlequin SuperRomance
ISBN: 0373713363, $5.50

Josh and Lydia Quincy seem like the perfect American couple. That is until Vivian Durance, the wife of her spouse's client, assaults a pregnant Lydia near the courthouse. She miscarries. Psychologically Lydia fails to heal and is unable to remain in their expensive townhouse and needs to leave town. She believes Josh prefers keeping his reputation as best public defender in Hartford, Connecticut over her needs for them to feel safe; this was not the first incident only the deadliest. Lydia threatens to end their marriage if they fail to leave town and to return to his hometown. Josh agrees to the blackmail because he still loves Lydia, but this is a place he detests as this is where his worst nightmare occurred. His sister drowned because their parents were too drunk to rescue her. As soon as he reaches Maine, Josh begins to wonder whether staying with Lydia though he loves her is worth the price of coming to a place that hosts his nastiest nightmare. MARRIAGE IN JEOPARDY turns a light on the aftermath impact of a tragedy on a relationship even a loving one. There is no doubt that Josh loves his wife or he would never agreed to go to Maine yet he still may find her needs too overwhelming as he has his own demons fueled by guilt and grief to fight. This is not an easy tale to read even with a glimmer of light amongst the dark; yet no question this is a deep well written character study in which love may not prove enough to save a MARRIAGE IN JEOPARDY from a tragedy.

How to Get Married
Margot Early
Harlequin SuperRomance
ISBN: 0373713339, $5.50

Folk Musician Sophie Creed has come home to Ouray, Colorado wondering about her life since the virus has left her partially deaf. She meets the daughter she abandoned for her music, fourteen-year-old Amy, who believes her mother died in childbirth. At least that is the lie her father William Ludlow told her. Neither Sophie nor William plan to tell their daughter the truth, but Amy learns it anyway. The teen is hurt, angry, and confused that her dad lied and her mom abandoned her without a look back. As Sophie sees a second chance to atone for the biggest mistake of her life, she prays Amy will let her in and that William still loves her as she still does love him. The lead trio keeps Margot Early's tale from becoming overwhelmingly maudlin as each character seems real with genuine concerns especially on their current dilemma and relationships. William always thought he did the right thing by protecting his child from the hurt of abandonment, but has doubts now and feels guilt that he still wants Sophie. Amy feels betrayed by her dad for not revealing the truth and wonders what other lies he has told her while also depressed that her mother never wanted her. Sophie is the most unique as she is a combination of guilt and insecurity even as she wants a second chance with her loved ones though she believes she does not deserve it. Ms. Early provides a powerful family drama that grips the audience once Sophie returns home.

An Independent Woman
Candace Camp
HQN (Harlequin)
ISBN: 0373770979, $6.99, 384 pp.

They were once childhood friends before Lord Nicholas Barre fled to America promising Juliana Holcott he would return for her one day. She survived at Lynchwood Hall for several years based on that hope, but eventually that died when he never came home. Now she is a companion to Clementine, the daughter of minor aristocrat Mrs. Thrall and he is back in England for several months. At a ball Nicholas sees Juliana and dances a waltz with her. Not long afterward Mrs. Thrall fires Juliana when Nicholas courts her not her daughter. Nicholas proposes marriage to Juliana insisting he will protect her. Though she wants his love, she accepts. They travel to his estate Lynchwood where his odious cousin Crandall and his nasty widow Aunt Lilith reside. Also there are Herbert's daughter Seraphina and her spouse Sir Herbert, who warns Crandall to keep his gambling shenanigans away from his wife. When someone kills Crandall, everyone suspects Herbert, Nicholas, a female servant the victim assaulted or his gambling cronies collecting a debt; that is everyone except Juliana who eliminates Herbert and Nicholas as she recognizes two honorable men protecting their women, but neither being a cold blooded killer. She plans to uncover the identity of the killer while proving to Nicholas that he deserves love. This terrific nineteenth century historical amateur sleuth romance grips the audience from the moment that Juliana and Nicholas return to Lynchwood as a betrothed couple and never slows down. The story line contains several fabulous twists that will surprise the audience, but afterward seem the right course as the lead couple investigates the murder of an odious person whose enemies are everywhere. Readers will appreciate this clever will written tale starring AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN investigating murder in her new home.

The Dangerous Debutante
Kasey Michaels
HQN (Harlequin)
ISBN: 0373771517, $6.99

In 1812 her adopted father Captain Ainsley Beckett sends his oldest daughter Morgan from their home in Romney Marsh to London to have a season sponsored by his oldest adopted son Chance and the lad's wife Julia (see A GENTLEMAN BY ANY OTHER NAME) though he fears for the Ton when the outrageous high spirited woman takes the city. On the trek, Morgan decides she needs to ride her horse over the objection of her servant. This break from societal rules enables her to meet an Earl, Ethan Tanner of Tanner's Roost. Attracted to her beauty, intelligence and elan, Ethan persuades her to come to his estate so that she can prepare properly for her arrival in London with him as her escort. In fact he wants her to meet his eccentric mom who runs off any eligible female with her zany behavior. Instead Morgan and Lady Tanner hit it off as kindred sisters. As they make love and fall in love, Ethan wants to marry Morgan, but she refuses as she feels she is beneath his position in society as he an Earl and she an adopted street urchin. The second Becketts of Romney Marsh is a wonderful Regency romance starring a wild female daredevil and the Earl who matches her zaniness (after all it is in his blood). The story line focuses on their relationship as everyone including Ethan wants Morgan married to him; that is everyone except her. She assumes that you can take the girl out of the street, but you can't take the street out of the girl. The tale focuses on Ethan's efforts to convince her that he does not care using his eccentric mom as his proof. Kasey Michaels is two for two so far in what is proving to be an amusing well written historical series.

The Good Kind of Crazy
Tanya Michaels
Harlequin Next
ISBN: 0373880855, $5.50

When Neely turned forty, the Mason extended family and their neighbors assumed she would end up a crazed cat woman spinster. However, to the shock of everyone, the forty-five years old Neely announces she is marrying Robert Walsh. Her much younger sister, perennial wild child student Vi sums it up by asking if she is marrying a man. Her older sister Savannah issues "felicitations" from her spouse Jason. Finally her only brother Douglas teases his two commentary siblings while momma Beth announces wedding plans that would require a football stadium to host when all Neely wants is a quiet tiny affair. Mom takes charge like a general planning a military campaign. That concerns the reticent Neely. Usually bubbly Savannah seems upset instead of happy for her, which concerns Neely. However, what gets her in a panic state is Vidalia; her youngest sibling actually sounds logical and sensible leading to Neely to wonder if the world is coming to an end because she is getting married. The three Mason sisters make for a fine somewhat zany character study as each struggles in a different way with relationships. Neely has doubts and following her announcement leads to Vi wondering about the shallowness of absolute freedom and Savannah facing an empty nest syndrome wondering if she wants to grow old with Jason. Tanya Michaels provides deep insight into her female stars with a wonderfully deft light humor that makes for an appealing charmer.

My Perfectly Imperfect Life
Jennifer Archer
Harlequin Next
ISBN: 0373880847, $5.50

On her fortieth birthday, Dinah Dewberry received a surprised present that no one should get. Inside her husband's pants is a sexy 42-double-D bra; Dinah knows she does not quite fill a B. Feeling betrayed and angry, Dinah is forced to stop in mid rage when her estranged pregnant sister Dottie shows up to ask a favor. Once she gives birth, Dottie wants Dinah to raise her child. Instead of tossing Dottie on her butt to the curb as she normally would have, she feels a bit of camaraderie for the first time in years and tells her sibling about her lingerie discovery. The sisters commiserate with one another and soon agree to track down the owner of the 42 D to confront her. Dottie's avant-garde lifestyle proves to be a boom to the amateur sleuths who know that the lingerie's owner can be found in a club that they had not in their wildest fantasy suspected. MY PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE is a deep emotional family drama starring two sisters who turn to one another for needed mental support though they spent most of their lives detesting one another. Readers learn much of what disturbs Dinah besides her philandering spouse as she is unable to conceive and the zaniness of Dottie hiding her fears of rejection especially by her sibling. There is a lot of humor in this tale especially when the sleuth sisters are on the hunt like felines chasing a mouse. This adds to a wonderful affecting character study.

Where's Stanley
Donna Fasano
Harlequin Next
ISBN: 0373880863, $5.50

The cop at her chaotic door asks Fiona Rowland how come she failed to notice that her spouse Stanley has not come home in three days. Fiona explains to the hunk that between the kids, the carpools and life's curveballs who has time to notice that Stanley failed to come home. Though to her self that sounds interesting albeit a bit humiliating as she ponders why she not only failed to observe her husband went AWOL, but that she could not care less that he did though she is curious as to where in the world is Stanley? As Fiona reconsiders her marriage and what it means, Di Fleming, her best friend in high school arrives home after losing her job. She tries to help Fiona cope with Stanley's disappearance. However, Fiona soon learns that the comfort of her memories prove false too as revelations surface that make Fiona wonders just what is truth and how did she miss the signs that were in front of her face all these years. WHERE'S STANLEY? is an interesting character study that provides the reader a close look at a fascinating protagonist who is so aloof from people she supposedly cares about, she fails to notice that her spouse is missing. The story line focuses on Fiona who is outraged by Stanley's vanishing act and other secrets that are revealed, but never seems concerned about her husband's well being. Though Di's troubles take away somewhat from a strong glimpse at a detached person, readers will wonder what next by Donna Fasano?

The Amber Wizard
David Forbes
ISBN: 006082011X, $7.99

With his father just recently anointed King of Khedesh, Gerin Atreyano becomes the heir to the throne as the Crown Prince. Not long afterward, a stranger arrives claiming that Gerin is THE AMBER WIZARD the first to appear in at least a millennium. Though he has some doubts about the proclamation as the wizard race was assimilated over time by inbreeding with the general populace, Gerin trains to be a royal wizard. However, not everyone is elated over the prince's duality. Some do not want a return to an age of magical supremacy because the flip side of the prophecy of the reappearance of a great wizard is the return of the dreaded Asankaru the Storm King who loathes humans. Still much of the kingdom welcomes a chance to return to an allegedly more golden age. As civil war seems imminent, his most dangerous adversaries enchant him to fulfill their dire predictions of him going down a dark path by using taboo magic; this leads to Gerin doing so and opening an ancient portal that places the land on the brink of pandemic destruction. THE AMBER WIZARD is a terrific character driven fantasy in which the lead protagonist learns that for every action there is consequential reaction. Gerin inadvertently has brought death into the kingdom when his youthful arrogance and conceit led to his dabbling with forbidden magic. People die and more will too if he fails to rectify his mistake; he also knows that attempting to correct his error could make it exponentially worse. Though much of the key support cast is never fully developed (hinting at sequels though this is a stand alone read) and with religious overtones in the backdrop history, fantasy readers will take immense delight with this powerful look at the one person who instead of saving his world has accidentally placed it on the brink of destruction.

The Awakened City
Victoria Strauss
ISBN: 038097892X, $25.95

In Galea, the Empire of Arsace has begun to throw off the oppression of centuries and regain what was lost especially the First Temple of the Gods in Ninyaser. The Brethen, refusing to lose what they have held for centuries, attack the city of wizards Refuge beyond the Burning Lands. War is imminent on both the mundane and mystical levels. Ravar wants to be acclaimed the Next Messenger to the sleeping powerful deity Arata though he knows he is a false messenger. His plan is to cleverly use the assault on Refuge, the upcoming war and most critical the seer Axane to further his ambitions. He travels to Baushpar and abducts Axane. However, Ravar fails to take into account one important factor, Axane's loving husband Gyalo who cherishes his spouse. Gyalo risks his life to rescue his beloved, but his journey proves frighteningly enlightening as he begins to believe he is the true Next Messenger, a job he does not want. With religious intolerance geometrically on the upswing around the world including the United States, THE AWAKENED CITY is a timely cautionary tale that focuses on the impact of societies by de facto and de jure religious oppression. Readers see first hand what occurs when narrow-mindedness is the norm through the changing viewpoints of predominantly the two candidates for the Next Messenger position. The story line is action-packed but insures the key cast members are complete individuals so that the audience can understand their motives. Though better to have read the previous novel THE BURNING LAND this invigorating tale can stand alone in its fervent plea for forbearance of one another's beliefs.

Flight of the Night Hawks
Raymond E. Feist
ISBN: 0060792787, $25.95

In Midkemia, Pug the sorcerer is sleeping with his beloved wife Miranda when the nightmare awakens him. He envisions the deadly soldiers of Dasarti, but this time they attack him seemingly successful unlike what happened years ago in real life. Miranda as always provides him comfort as she knows her Pug has lived through lifetimes of tragedies and traumas cleaning up the calamities of others. Still very concerned with what he saw in his dream, Pug convenes the Conclave of Shadows to meet on Sorcerer's Isle ASAP to interpret what this means and prepare for the worst that he anticipates is coming. At the same time two teenagers, Tad and Zane due to some misadventures arrive at the Isle too. Though untrained they are now part of the sorcerers led by Pug preparing for unknown strife against an unknown adversary. However, as Nakor and Magnus interpret things including scrolls from the future sent back by Pug to Pug, they realize the enemy is the lethal Nighthawk assassins accompanied by Pug's life long enemy the evil wizard Sidi, who Pug thought was dead, but is back as Leso Varen. To the victors goes Midkemia. Two years have passed since Pug's last save the world adventure (see EXILE'S RETURN), but this time the opening tale of the Dark War saga seems more like a transition tale even with Sidi back (one time too often) as a personal adversary to the tired beleaguered hero. The story line is action-packed and introduces two new teen heroes who to them Pug seems like ancient history. Though well written and exciting, FLIGHT OF THE NIGHT HAWKS is clearly for those who have followed Pug from his juvenile days (see MAGICIAN) as he appears off kilter and seemingly (speculation on my part) set to pass the mantle to the next generation though he is in the middle of the fray.

Troll Mill
Katherine Langrish
ISBN: 006058307X, $15.99

Fifteen-year-old Peer Ulfsson still feels like an outsider perhaps because of his past when his evil uncles tried to sell children to the trolls (see TROLL FELL). Peer lives with the family of his only friend Hilde, but though they nurture him, he feels that he does not belong. Besides which he finds it increasingly difficult to hide his deeper regard for Hilde. He begins to wonder if he is in love. Bjorn's wife Kersten dumps her infant into Peer's arms before jumping into the nearby stormy sea. The locals insist that Kersten simply returned to her natural habitat as she was obviously a seal-woman, but Peer has doubts that this is true. At the same time, the millpond witch Granny Green-teeth demands possession of the so-called "seal baby" though Peer fears what she would do to the female infant. He also wonders who is running the abandoned mill that his uncles operated before they became trolls and whether that malevolent species is planning a new assault. Peer believes he must keep the child safe, uncover the secret to the mill, learn if the trolls are on the march and persuade Hilde to be his girl. Three of the four seem relatively easy to the teen. This terrific character driven fantasy sequel stars a troubled teen struggling with his heritage in light of the nefarious activities of his former guardians, his uncles whom Peer had to stop. He also has an apparent unrequited crush on Hilde to add to his internal confusion. The story line is action-packed as the hero hardily investigates the secrets of the old mill and the goings-on of the trolls. Along the way, middle school readers accompany Peer as he meets up with the witch, selkies and trolls, all who seem authentic.

The Lost Gardens
Anthony Eglin
ISBN: 0312328729, $23.95

Upon inheriting Wickersham Priory in Somerset from a person she never met or heard of, a Major Ryder, American winemaker Jamie Gibson hires retired botany professor Dr. Lawrence Kingston to restore the neglected gardens overrun with weeds. As he clears much of the underbrush, Kingston uncovers a ruined chapel and healing well that contains the remains of a human. Inside the chapel are more bones and some modern day coins. Kingston makes inquiries starting with why his client inherited the estate from a stranger and into the lack of information into the family history of the previous owner. He borrows books from a local historian and soon believes that the chapel built over a priory must contain a passage to what lies beneath it. Jamie tells him to forget ancient history and get on with his job only to be severely injured in a questionable car crash while someone murders the restoration foreman. When the history books are stolen from his flat, Lawrence returns to the investigation knowing he must find the clues in the past to uncover the crimes of the present. The second English Gardens mystery is a delightful amateur sleuth tale (see THE BLUE ROSE) that works on two levels, a superb whodunit cozy and a fabulous look at gardening. Kingston is terrific in the dual roles of horticulturist and detective while his client Jamie, though not sure why a total stranger bequeathed the estate to her, just wants to get on with fixing up the place and not deal with murder past and present. However, the stars of this superb British mystery are the gardens as Anthony Eglin takes readers on a delightful tour filled with flowers, weeds, and corpses.

Cocktails for Three
Madeleine Wickham
Dunne (St. Martin's)
ISBN: 0312349998 , $11.95

The three women meet on the first day of each month at the Manhattan Bar to share gossip and to release steam. Roxanne Miller, Candice Brewin, and Maggie Phillips work in the same department, the editorial office of the Londoner magazine. Roxanne is a freelance travel writer; Candace is a writer too; and Maggie is the editor. Each has personal demons to deal with. Roxanne has been having an affair for six years with "Mr. Married with Kids". Candice knows her late father was a con artist who destroyed the lives of pigeons. Maggie is about to give birth and afterward leave her beloved London to rusticate. Those personal demons turn more devilish. Roxanne's lover, the Londoner's publisher, dumps her abruptly without warning hiding from her that he is dying. Candice meets Heather Trelawney, whose family was destroyed by her father so to atone she mentors the woman; not knowing that Heather wants to destroy her. Maggie finds motherhood in the countryside tedious and boring as she needs her once a month cleansing with her two buddies. However each faces their personal hell alone. COCKTAILS FOR THREE is a fascinating look at three career women who use their monthly cocktail session to release some of the frustrations of work and in their personal lives. The storyline is amusing when it remains lighthearted in a chick lit style as the audience learns what truly bothers each of the key protagonists mostly from their jam sessions. In the latter half the tale twists into serious suspense, which feels disjointed as the fun resides in the misconceptions and misunderstandings between the trio in spite of being best buddies sharing secrets. Still overall this is a wonderful jocular sisterhood tale.

Statute of Limitations
Steven F. Havill
Dunne (St. Martin's)
ISBN: 0312336306, $23.95

On Christmas Eve in Posadas, New Mexico, Chief of Police Eduardo Martinez suffers a heart attack while confronting car thieves in a motel parking lot; the stories from the two witnesses seem off kilter. The next morning Sheriff Robert Torrez still in recovery from on the job injuries suffers from what appears to be a pulmonary embolism. That afternoon the fiance of one of his deputies is murdered. Finally that evening someone viciously assaults former sheriff Bill Gastner who is brutally attacked that night. Under-sheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman is left in charge to learn who brutally attacked her mentor Gastner, killed the fiancee, and to capture the car thieves. At the same time she feels overwhelmed and her spouse feels the same way as a doctor at the hospital with an abundance of law enforcement officials filling the beds albeit Robert's is in Albuquerque. In her latest police procedural Estelle feels overwhelmed with the recent medical track record of law enforcement as she and her shrinking staff struggle with a difficult caseload including murder, car jacking, and keeping score of how everyone is doing. She also has some issues at home, but that quickly takes a back seat to police matters. STATUE OF LIMITATIONS is a fabulous police thriller that fans of the series will immensely enjoy and newcomers will seek Steven F. Havill's resume.

A Mammoth Murder
Bill Crider
Dunne (St. Martin's)
ISBN: 0312323875, $23.95

In Blacklin County, Texas Bud Turley finds an enormous ancient looking tooth in a section of woods that only he and his friend Larry Colley frequent as both insist Bigfoot lives in the area and many residents either believe them or just fear these two crazy tough guys. Bud brings his treasure to the police station and asks Sheriff Dan Rhodes to safely hold it until a paleontologist from the nearby community college evaluates what Turley claims is a find that proves that Bigfoot lives in the woods; Rhodes assumes the object is the remains of a prehistoric animal. The next day Bud is found dead with Colley screaming he was the victim of Bigfoot trying to silence him; Rhodes assumes a more human culprit killed Turley or perhaps it was the work of feral hogs. When an elderly woman is murdered nearby, Rhodes ties that death to that of Turley and has no doubt a human is the murderer. However, his effort to determine who is hampered as the crime scenes have been tampered with by Turley and Colley telling the world they can prove Bigfoot exists leading to Bigfoot mania from people coming to Blacklin Country from around the country and a few other spots. Few authors if any can combine humor with a strong police investigation better than Bill Crider does. In Rhodes' thirteenth appearance, he serves as the serious element working on a murder case while a horde of eccentric outsiders are drawn to the area because of the alleged Bigfoot tooth finding and devastate the crime scene. As Rhodes ponders why him instead of the glamorous TV CSI dudes, A MAMMOTH MURDER is Mr. Crider at his best with a superb often humorous police procedural.

Murder in Exile
Vincent H. O'Neil
Dunne (St. Martin's)
ISBN: 0312352077, $22.95

Frank Cole files for bankruptcy as his computer business fails, but the judge shockingly decides any income Frank makes before the liens are settled will be considered part of the bankruptcy and subject to remittance to his creditors. Seeing no reason to make any money beyond sustenance survival and heeding his lawyer's advice not to bring in a lot of cash, Frank moves to Exile, Florida working not much more than minimum wage as a background fact checker for the insurance industry. Jogger Edward Gonzalez recently took out life insurance with Sun Provident Assurance just prior to a hit and run that left him dead. Harvey Webster of the firm hires Frank to investigate the death preferably to uncover a reason not pay Edward's beneficiary. Frank makes inquiries, but concludes that Edward was clean, but happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; someone else was the intended victim driver of the stolen SUV that killed Edward. That someone else will murder Frank if he does not end his investigation, which the former guru is willing to do though the assailant thinks otherwise. Frank is the reason that Vincent H. O'Neil won the 2005 Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Press best first traditional mystery contest. He is a fascinating mix as he tries to expedite himself from the murder case, but has no way of communicating his efforts to the culprit, who sees him as a threat. His investigative skills are lacking and are almost amateurish as he digs into the death of Edward. Fans will enjoy this fine whodunit starring a reluctant hero fearing another MURDER IN EXILE, his.

High Priestess
David Skibbins
Dunne (St. Martin's)
ISBN: 0312352336, $23.95

Almost four decades ago, radical Warren Ritter escaped the Greenwich Village explosion that killed many of his colleagues. He literally went underground leaving behind the Weather Underground and made a fortune in the seventies with Microsoft stock. Now for fun, Ritter reads tarot cards from an outdoor table in Berkeley. Edward Hightower founder of the Fellowship of the Arising Night satanic worshippers tries to hire Warren to uncover who is killing his followers. Ritter says no so Hightower reveals that he knows the fortune teller's Manhattan past as he is the twin brother to Ritter's girlfriend from back then Veronique. Unable to refuse and not wanting to go into hiding, which is a young man's game, plus the bribe of meeting the daughter he never knew he conceived prove too much. Ritter, enlisting help from his girlfriend wheelchair-bound Sally McLaughlin and his friend Police Officer James McNally, investigates even as he turns to the Tarot Cards to guide him, but his inquiries make him a person of interest. HIGH PRIESTESS is an entertaining amateur sleuth tale starring a fascinating individual whose past has returned to haunt him. The story line is action-packed from the moment that Edward visits Ritter at his table and never slows down through several intriguing twists. The thriller reads at times much like its excellent predecessor (see EIGHT OF SWORDS) with the anti-hero struggling with manic-depression especially when he thinks back to his radical days. There is a final climatic spin that will stun the audience. No one reads the cards quite as well as Ritter does.

The Burning
Susan Squires
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312998554, $6.99

By 1822 anyone in England especially in the Wiltshire area who knows of Ann Van Helsing assumes she is insane as she avoids human contact as if everyone else suffers from the plague. However, Ann's shunning of human contact is actually self-preservation; when she touches someone; she immediately learns everything about that person even their deepest desires hidden from themselves. Thus Ann hides at her uncle's estate, but principally in the nearby woods and caves. In Transylvania his arrogance led to his making an evil action that placed his world on the brink of extinction; his punishment is a millennium as a hunter. Thus vampire Stephen Sincai roams Europe searching and destroying those abominations made by others of his species. However, his last prey has left Stephen severely injured and bleeding in the woods frequented by Ann. When she finds him seemingly near death, she cannot stop herself from touching him. Now she knows his frightening history including that he is a vampire who has been cursed by his people for what he wrought back in the twelfth century. Instead of being repelling, Ann is attracted to Stephen, who though it is ataboo taboo reciprocates her feelings. As they fall in love, his evil transgression is near ready to destroy her creator and his beloved. The third Susan Squires' historical vampire romance (see THE COMPANION and THE HUNGER) is a terrific tale due to the full blooded lead couple. The story line is action-packed with readers anticipating a high noon (make that midnight) showdown between the hero and the malevolent one. Still this tale belong to the fine lead pair whose forbidden love is a double edged sword as the most powerful tool in their repertoire and their most vulnerable Achilles' Heel when the confrontation occurs.

Hardscrabble Road
Jane Haddam
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312353731, $24.95

Philadelphia radio talk show host Drew Harrigan is extremely poplar by the fanatical right-wing who appreciate his law abiding throw away the key approach to justice in which liberals are the cause of all things wrong in America as they are soft on crime; he especially goes after drug criminals from the users to the sellers to the growers. However, ironically the inflammatory rabble rouser is arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs; if convicted, the evidence is overwhelming, his show could collapse. An alcoholic homeless person Sherman is considered to be Drew's supplier. However, someone apparently wanted to reduce the evidence against Drew as Sherman Markey is poisoned and dies. The Justice Project's Edmond "Chickie" George hires former FBI Agent Gregor Demarkian to learn who killed their late "client" Sherman and whether as many believe it ties back to Harrigan and his arrogant supporters. What seem relatively simple turns out to be complex as Gregor and the Philly police and DA struggle through a labyrinth filled with suspects from all sides of the political, religious and academic spectrum. This is a terrific whodunit that readers will fully appreciate except perhaps a certain talk show host. The story line is fast-paced yet enables the readers to see the same event from multiple viewpoints. In his twenty-first appearance, the Armenian American sleuth is at his best seeking justice for the disenfranchised with an investigation that takes him all over the place. Fans of the series will take immense delight in Demarkian's efforts and newcomers will discover an American tradition.

One Night with a Spy
Celeste Bradley
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312939663, $6.99, 352 pp.

In 1810 twenty year old Lady Julia Barrowby is despondent when her beloved spouse septuagenarian Aldus collapses as she owes her life to him and his protection. She insures his time over the next few years is comfortable. In 1813, Aldus dies, but to the chagrin of his Royal Four mates, he as the Fox never trained an apprentice to become the Fox. Cobra, Lion, and Falcon and the Prime Minister travel to Barrowby concerned as the Royal Four has always been there to protect England from outside agents. At Barrowby, the widow Julia claims she is the Fox and has been for over three years. The Lion's protege Marcus Ramsay is sent undercover to learn the truth. Marcus, expecting a gold-digger, reads her secret diary and decides to use her desires against her. Instead he finds himself falling in love with the "Vixen", who he realizes is better as the clever Fox than he is while an enemy of the state from her past plans to take advantage of a mere female. The third book in the Royal Four series (see SURRENDER TO A WICKED SPY and TO WED A SCANDALOUS SPY) is a terrific gender bending entry starring a strong woman who believes her deeds prove a female can be a contributing member. The key to this fine Regency romantic suspense is the change in Marcus; initially he assumes that his female rival is cotton candy of an old man, but as he falls in love he begins to realize Julia is better at the job than he is and not only wants to be her spouse and lover, but also her student. Readers will enjoy this strong entry in an exhilarating series with the climax to come.

Victorian London: The Tale of a City, 1840-1870
Liza Picard
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312325673, $29.95

This is an in depth look at how London became a modern city through the early Victorian transition. The insight starts with the key to any city the revision of the sewage system to eliminate the health problems and the odor that permeated much of the city from cesspits. As fascinating is the role of women, which differs depending on social class; unlike romance novels, the author furbishes a powerful look at the growing factory and municipal working class, those below the poverty line, and the servant class too. In these cases diaries and the writings of chroniclers like Jane Carlyle and Thomas Mayhew provide insight. This is a terrific look at three decades of transformation of one of the world's greatest cities. Readers who enjoyed the recently issued LONDON'S THAMES: THE RIVER THAT SHAPED A CITY AND ITS HISTORY as well as the author's previous captivating London historicals (see ELIZABETH'S LONDON and RESTORATION LONDON) will appreciate this deep look at the historical era of transformation of an urban center that never slept in the middle of the nineteenth century and still does not.

Debts of Dishonor
Jill Paton Walsh
St. Martin's
ISBN: 031235536X, $23.95, 288 pp.

The Master of St. Agatha's College in Cambridge Sir William invites College Nurse Imogen Quy to the High Table for dinner with important to the school billionaire businessman, Sir Julius "The Takeover King" Farran CEO of the financial conglomerate the Farren Group. Though the "third" choice, she accepts as she knows the college could use a large donation. Accompanying Sir Julius to the dinner is his employee college graduate Andrew Duncombe, considered by most of the alumni as the school's greatest economist. Not long after the dinner, Imogen reads in the newspaper that Sir Julius died in what officially was declared an accident. However, Imogen thinks back to the dinner discussion in which Sir Julius informed her that he has made many enemies over the years with most wanting him dead and some willing to do so though the opportunity is slim. Julius' son-in-law Max takes over the business and fires Andrew. Subsequently, Andrew and Imogen visit Sir Julius' widow Lucia, who declares she is remarrying her late husband's doctor. This is followed by someone killing Max and then there is the announcement that serious financial improprieties occurred at the Farran Group. Unable to mind her business, Imogen, accompanied by Andrew, begins in earnest to investigate. In spite of the amateur sleuth illogical flaw of why Imogen investigates, fans of the sub-genre will gain immense pleasure from a superbly written thriller. The cast seems so academically genuine while the heroine is a wonderful central character keeping the tale focused. A dazzling twist will add delight to an enthralled audience as Jill Paton Walsh writes a fabulous investigative novel.

Days of Rage
Kris Nelscott
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312325290, $24.95

In 1969 Chicago is a dived city as the Chicago Eight stand trial. Businesswoman Laura Hathaway asks her sometimes lover black Smokey Dalton to investigate what happened to a now empty Queen Anne house that her father questionably purchased years ago and sublet into apartments. After filling up with tenants, over the years, the occupants dwindled until the only resident left was its manager Mortimer Hanley, who recently died. Not sure why Laura needs him to investigate the building, Smokey move slowly from room to room seeing nothing out of the ordinary. That is nothing until he enters the basement. It is bricked up with numerous rooms; inside of each are corpses. Laura hires criminologist Wayne LeDoux and funeral director Tim Minton to learn what happened and to take care of the bodies respectively. None of the men or their female patron realizes how deep and deadly racism cuts society, though Smokey for instance has been a victim, with skeletons taking them back to a 1919 riot. The latest Smoky Dalton late 1960s historical whodunit is a terrific entry in what is one of the best on going mystery series. The backdrop brings to life an era of protest through the powerful cast. The story line provides some insight into Laura's background, especially the criminal activities of her late father. However, the strong thriller belongs to the investigation into the bones that Smokey uncovers as readers obtain a historiographic look from a 1968 perspective to lethal DAYS OF RAGE four dead decades earlier.

Cinderella Lopez
Berta Platas
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312341725, $11.95

While her stepsisters are TV stars, twenty-four years old Cynthia "Cyn" Lopez is more of a maid to her siblings Lila and Ami at RTV; she is at the spoiled beck and call of the famous "devil diva" twins. However, in less than a year she inherits her late dad's wealth that her stepmother currently controls and wastes; at that time her deathbed vow to her dad ends and the stepsister divas and momma diva will be out of her life. At a gala, she manages to attend; Cyn meets AmerCon CEO Eric Sandoval, who is five years older than her. His company owns RTV. They begin to see one another, but each hides their profession from the other. Her stepsisters learn of her seeing Eric and dynamite her relationship. Desperate she turns to her friend, the makeup artist "fairy godmother" to help her win her Eric at the RTV Music Awards, but loses a glass Manolo and probably the man she loves. CINDERELLA LOPEZ is an adult style Latino chick lit telling of the fairy tale. The story line is fun to follow as each of the characters steps out of the fairy tale and into a modern role. Fans will enjoy Cyn's transformation from doormat to lovely belle of the ball as she goes all out to win her "prince". A fun tale as Berta Platas provides a unique chica spin to Cinderella.

The Memory Artists
Jeffrey Moore
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312349254, $13.95

Noel Burun is a rare individual who "suffers from "hypermnesic synaesthete" as he senses the world quite differently than everyone he knows as he sees incredible amounts of colors when he hears sounds, especially voices he hears. On top of his unique sensitivity, Noel also owns an astonishing CD-like memory that facilitates his ability to recall anything in minute details even the most obscure footnotes. Noel attends the University of Quebec as a psychology grad student and works with Montreal neurologist Emile Vorta, who originally diagnosed his condition when he was a child. Noel seeks a miracle drug to cure Alzheimer's, the disease devastating his beloved mom. Assisting Noel are his friends Norval Blaquiere whose goal in life is to seduce an alphabet worth of women with Stella being the current one as woman S though he would prefer his colleague; former Hollywood starlet Samira Darwish, whom Noel loves; and JJ Yelle, who hides a painful past with a euphoric fervor helped by chemicals. These four seek a modern miracle, but get something else instead. This is a terrific character study that looks deep inside several key cast members but especially Noel. The story line is filled with gimmicks that work as the audience learns through footnotes and other gadgetry what makes Noel and his pals tick. Fans of strong modern day irony will enjoy Jeffrey Moore's homage to the inspirational power of friendship.

Too Tempting to Touch
Cheryl Holt
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312937989, $6.99

In 1812 London, Ellen Drake plans to remain out of the limelight as companion to Lady Rebecca Burton. However, she becomes upset when she notices Lord Alex Marshall flirting outrageously with another woman. Unable to ignore the tryst as she cares for Rebecca, Ellen intercedes. Alex finds his stalker a pain in the butt, but quite attractive. He decides to seduce her as one of his acts of sowing his wild oats before he settles into marriage. He succeeds beyond his wildest imagination not realizing that Ellen was already in love with him. While Ellen is contrite and filled with remorse, Alex realizes he loves her, but knows Rebecca is too nice a person to be hurt by his ending their engagement; besides Ellen is irate with him and does not believe his sincere cries of love. TOO TEMPTING TO TOUCH is a great Regency romance filled with a comedy of errors much more complex than described above. The key players seem genuine to include besides the main triangle Ellen's brother and Alex's best friend and his sister. Each effort to straighten out who loves who while adhering to the manners of the great society only complicates the relationships in this zany historical romp.

Secret Life of Laszlo, Count Dracula
Roderick Anscombe
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312357664, $14.95

In 1866 Hungarian medical student Laszlo studies under Dr. Charcot in Paris at the Salpetriere hospital. However, his studies are interrupted when he obsesses over a female patient Stacia. Soon the Hungarian student and Stacia have a tryst that ultimately ends in ugliness with Laszlo in a rage killing her. Knowing he could be in trouble with the law if he remains in France, Laszlo flees for Hungary using the excuse of the death of his older brother George which makes him Count Dracula. In Hungary the Count marries his late sibling's widow and though it is not easy lives a somewhat abstemious sedate lifestyle though he finally succumbs to the passion of a beautiful young woman who he ultimately kills as he did in Paris. When typhoid threatens the villagers, Count Dracula serves as medical savior dispensing healing to one and all even as he takes and kills young ladies. This is a terrific version of Count Dracula who instead of being a vampire suffers from a psychotic disorder. Laszlo keeps the exhilarating story line focused as the audience follows his misadventures and ugly deeds as he sees them as euphoric. Fans of Dracula and those who appreciate a dark psychological suspense thriller will want to read the "humanizing" of the infamous count as Roderick Anscombe provides a powerfully tense one sitting tale.

Don't Look Down
Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312348126, $24.95, 384 pp.

Television director Lucy Armstrong has a perfectly happy working with animals; she has no desire to go south to film action scenes for four days. The pleadings of her sister fail to persuade her, but she cannot refuse the blandishments of her niece pepper. Lucy arrives on location near the Eugene Tallmadge Memorial Bridge where the action includes a helicopter and a hero trying to defeat the villains. However the previous director died of a heart attack and the support staff walked out while her despicable ex-husband is the stunt director. All Lucy could think of is cut. Bryce, who is switching from comedic roles to macho hero parts hires Green Beret Captain J.T. Wilder as his stunt double and advisor. The CIA orders Wilder to watch for James Finnegan, who has invested four million dirty dollars in the movie that he plans to launder in order to fund various terrorist organizations. Finnegan is also meeting a Russian Mafiosi to return art objects that he stole from him. The CIA want Travis to find out the location of their meeting because since the Russian is so close to American soil they can arrest him. He does not expect to fall in love with Lucy or that his beloved and Pepper will be in danger from various factions willing to kill to gain what they want. The team of Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer prove a delightful collaboration because their writing styles blend smoothly together, so much so that the audience will not know who wrote what but are enjoying reading a tense romantic thriller. There is plenty of intrigue, adventure and peril in this action thriller, but the authors do not neglect their characters. Heroes, villains, and innocent victims are fully developed with everyone containing some degrees of humanity. Some of the scenes include humor while the romance is red hot.

Shut the Door
Amanda Marquit
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312319304, $11.95

Harry is in Cleveland on business for two weeks. His wife Beatrice misses making him breakfast as their daughters seventeen years old Vivian and sixteen years old Lilliana make their own meals. To pass time as she waits for Harry to return, Beatrice continues to prepare her spouse's favorite meals. Harry, on the other hand, is elated to escape his two tedious roles of husband and father. He plans to risk everything to find some fun and perhaps even purpose while in Cleveland. Neither seems aware that two teens live in their household. For instance Lilli has sex with older males in her bedroom while mom cooks. However, she has met her match in her guitar teacher Paul who rejects her siren's lure so she reacts by mutilating herself. The studious virginal Vivian decides to reengineer herself with a piercing, dye, a tattoo, and a food disorder so that she can gain entrance to the in crowd, but that fails when high school Queen Katerina tricks her into lesbian posing. Still she is on her way to sexual freedom even as her sibling turns to chastity. SHUT THE DOOR is an intriguing look at a middle class family whose set roles no longer provide solace so except for Bea still making brisket each seeks something new that devastates the "truce" between them. The character driven story line is at its strongest in the first three quarters of the novel as the audience becomes intimately involved with each character as perspectives rotates between them. Ironically the tale loses a bit of steam once the cast is fully known though the plot contains a surprisingly powerful closing twist. Amanda Marquit provides a fascinating family drama starring four individuals who no longer know one another though they live under the same roof.

Dead Man Running
Rett MacPherson
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312334109, $23.95

In New Kassel, Missouri, reporter Sam Hill asks genealogist Torie O'Shea to investigate the background including family trees of the two candidates running for mayor in a close intense election. Though she hates the incumbent Bill Castlereagh and his opponent is her stepfather, Sheriff Colin Brooke, Torie agrees. She soon finds some interesting oddities in Castlereagh's past that do not add up. Before she can dig deeper, the mayor and his wife vanish. At about the same time a Mafioso from Chicago takes a room at the Murdoch Inn while bikers fire shots at people taking a hayride. Refusing to allow the Mafia to force her off her investigation especially since she has found ties between the gang and the missing mayor and upset with her husband who seems to want her also off the case, Torie keeps probing the past and the present while her marriage appears heading towards incineration. As always Torie drives the men including the newcomers (and some women) in New Kassel crazy with her escapades. The story line is interesting as the heroine's marital troubles take a back seat to her need to learn what is happening in her small town though Torie is more comfortable digging into the past then the present. She remains an amusing fascinating protagonist able to carry the fun tale, but most readers will have figured out the solution to the mystery early on.

Good Day in Hell
J.D. Rhoades
St. Martin's
ISBN: 0312334214, $23.95

North Carolina bounty hunter Jack Keller and sheriff's deputy Marie Jones are dating. Marie likes Jack and even wonders if her squeeze would be a good step-father for her son, but fears his scary flashbacks to his Gulf War days that frighten even his boss Angela, owner of H&H Bail Bonds, who has seen everything. Reluctantly Angela sends Jack after bail jumping Laurel Marks, who skipped with a 75K bond posted; she is charged with assault. At the same time Marie goes after Laurel and Roy who killed a gas station owner and apparently took his teenage son Stan with them. Soon mass murders occur at a church and factory. The police believe someone who has media savvy with an unknown ax to grind leads the coked pair on their savage trek. Jack and Marie team up even as the killers begin to take advantage of the media enabling them to tell their side of the homicide run. This regional thriller stars two intriguing individuals with post traumatic stress disorder syndrome as Jack still suffers from his military days and Marie from the killing of her partner. The story line is gory from the moment that Laurel pulls the trigger in the face of the stepfather and never stops flowing blood until the final gruesome confrontation. Fans of violent tales will appreciate this non-stop action novel and its predecessor (see THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND)while wondering who will be left standing and if both Marie and Jack survive will they remain together?

The Christmas Thingy
F. Paul Wilson
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
ISBN: 1587671352, $15.00

Jessica came from America to England because her parents have to work there for one year. There are no children where she lives and the leg brace that she needs if she is to walk limits her activities. She tells the housekeeper Mrs. Murgatroyd that she wants a friendly monster for a friend as a Christmas present. The housekeeper tells her that the last monster that was in the house a century ago THE CHRISTMAS THINGY stole the presents of the little boy who for him and took them to Thingyland. Still Jessica wishes for the monster and Mr. Thingy show up. The two have lots of fun together and he promises he won't steal her presents on Christmas Eve. Of course Thingys have to steal because it is instinctual for them but on Christmas Eve he sees a gift under the tree from Jessica to him. He is very touched but he has to steal something before returning home and when Jessica discovers what he took and why he took it she is very happy girl. Children will love this fantasy story that is meant by the author to be read out loud. It teaches the reader that the magic of friendship combined with the spirit of Christmas makes all things possible. Allan M. Clark illustrated the beautiful pictures that add an extra dimension to the wonderful story. F. Paul Wilson, famous for his Repairman Jack thrillers, enchants children just as much as he thrills adults.

Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear
Terry Dowling
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
ISBN: 1587671239, $40.00, 320 pp.

This eighteen short story collection lives up to its subtitle as each contribution leaves readers fearing the dark. The tales range from psychological suspense starring an individual who is dreading the worst is about to occur or worse not even aware of danger until it arrives as Mr. Rodan does with tea on The Bone Ship, the kind of horror that feels scary when the lights fail to shine through the blackness of bumps in the night. The horror stories contain a wide spectrum from ghosts (my personal favorite is "The Daemon Street Ghost-Trap) to The Gully where once you enter you can never leave. Fans who appreciate a strong compilation and do not mind leaving the lights on all night will enjoy this wonderful anthology in which Death is just another passenger riding with readers on Scaring the Train.

Poe's Lighthouse
Christopher Conlon (editor)
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
ISBN: 158767128X, $40.00, 330 pp.

The underlying theme of this superb collection is modern authors completing a fragment written by Edgar Allen Poe sort of like Natalie Cole singing Unforgettable with her father Nat King Cole. In the Introduction Christopher Conlon explains that just before his death, Poe, though depressed and an alcoholic, was still writing, but never finished his last work. That fragment (included in the Introduction) and his strong literary resumes serve as the basis for the twenty-three tales that make up POE'S LIGHTHOUSE. The contributions are fascinating just to follow the various interpretations that led to the stories. On top of that obvious allure, the compilation is well written with a who's who contributing their interpretation. Interestingly the stories run the speculative fiction gamut to include fantasy, gothic, horror (of course), romantic suspense, mystery and science fiction; all this from the fragment as the authors stayed true to Poe and to their particular writing style. This is a well written homage as the light shines on Poe evermore.

Simon Clark
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
ISBN: 1587670305, $40.00, 600 pp.

A stranger asks Rosemary Snow if she wants the kind of power that will make people do anything for her and she says yes. They drive to a distant area and something invisible but monstrous and huge comes to where the teen is. The stranger drives away and Rosemary is taken to the hospital badly injured. After months of non-stop work, Richard Young takes a vacation planning to do nothing but lounge around the house. All that changes when a bloody Michael arrives on the scene. He asks the family for help and although they try to aid him, the invisible Beastie keeps following them killing everyone that gets in its way. At one time the Beastie was inside Michael in a symbiotic relationship where it got to experience life and Michael got to have power and sways people's opinions due to the charisma that is a by-product of the symbiosis. When Michael came to England, the Beastie separated itself from him but he has a devised a plan that involves Richard's daughter Amy getting the Beastie back under his control. Richard with the help of Rosemary intends to stop Michael or die trying. Anyone who wants to read a big thick juicy horror novel that will snare the reader so much that they will want to go to sleep with all the lights on will definitely love DARKER. Simon Clark taps into the primal fears of his audience yet there are scenes when Michael seems like an ordinary man which makes him all the more frightening. If ever a book deserves a Bram Stoker award nomination, this is one that does.

Ted Dekker
ISBN: 1595540059, $22.99

Newly arrived in the isolated town of Paradise, Colorado, Marsuvees Black claims to be a preacher and says his car broke down two miles from town. He also insists that God sent him here to provide "grace and hope" to the lost residents. He can make dreams happen; just ask Chris whose wart behind his ear is gone after the Preacher touched it. Very quickly, to the locals, the Preacher is God-sent. Nearby Harvard University sponsors an experiment at an isolated mountain Monastery. Thirty-seven gifted young teens are undergoing a special study to understand and determine what causes evil in mankind. It is the Monastery that actually has brought Marsuvees to the mountains of Colorado for some believe this monk is the perfect teacher of the chosen thirty-seven, but his lessons will be the ultimate test of good vs. evil. Though the ethics behind the experiment in the Monastery is bothersome and seems unacceptable by society standards, in concession there have been plenty of "tests" in the free world and not just Nazi Germany; good and evil proves difficult to classify in the players. The two story lines keep building up the suspense as readers anticipate the moment that the Preacher enters the Monastery. At his best weaving Christian belief within a superb story line, Ted Dekker cleverly keeps adding to the intrigue while the audience expect a showdown between the forces of good and that of evil, but whose who remains the mystery until the climax and in some ways even after that.

Bump in the Night
JD Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan & Mary Kay McComas
ISBN: 0515141178, $7.99

"Haunted in Death" by JD Robb. In 2060 NYPD Police Detective Eve Dallas investigates two related homicides that happen to have occurred one hundred years apart with the prime suspect being a ghost even if the sleuth does not believe in apparitions. "Poppy's Coin" by Mary Blayney. In 1817 London, David is guardian to preadolescent Poppy and her infant brother Billy. He raises them as his own with love and tenderness. Poppy gives her "Papa" a gold coin that legend says makes wishes come true though not quite in the way that the beneficiary expected; just ask Papa and Lady Grace. "The Passenger" by Ruth Ryan Langan. The plane crash near Spirit Lake brought their lives rushing past them as each of the pair reflects on the ghosts of their past and what could have been. As athletic adventurer "fearless" Josh and photojournalist Grace begin to emotionally heal from more than just the crash they find more than surviving in common as they become lovers as each now knows how fragile life is. "Mellow Lemon Yellow" by Mary Kay McComas. Mellow Lemon Yellow has not visited Charlotte since she began to grow up and no longer needed an imaginary friend. However, Mel is there for his Charlotte when her father dies except this time he is a real person; either that or Charlotte has totally lost it. These are four fine science fiction-fantasy tales that fans will enjoy especially the whimsical poignant "Mellow Lemon Yellow".

Last Witchfinder
James Morrow
ISBN: 0060821795, $25.95

When curious Jennet Stearne was a preadolescent her beloved Aunt Isobel Mowbray encouraged scientific learning in her niece and nephew Dunstan; on the other hand Jennet's father General Walter Stearne was a zealous witchfinder, who severely applied the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act of 1604 to anyone behaving "peculiar" including inquisitive female scientists who happen to be his sister-in-law. When the thirteen years old Jennet watched the burning of her aunt at the stake as a witch, she knew better and vowed to see the ungodly injustice of that parliamentary act repealed. However, Walter apparently crossed the line when he killed Isobel as she was gentry. Forced to leave England in disgrace, a still fanatical Walter takes his two children to Salem, Massachusetts to continue his life's work to the point that he ignores the abduction of Isabel by Algonquin Nimacook because he had trials to conduct. Boston postmaster Tobias Crompton eventually rescues Isobel and marries and divorces her. Her passion to end the witch trials hits a crescendo when her brother, a chip off the old block, prosecutes her as a witch; her defense provided by Baron de Montesquieu employs Newton's Principia Mathematica. This terrific historical fiction novel brings to life the vast impact of the witchcraft trials in England and Massachusetts through the eyes of a heroine who chooses science over the mumbo jumbo of her father and brother. Isobel is courageous as she watches first hand the tragedy of her aunt and others, thrives even under Indian captivity, and ultimately risks her life to prove the nonsense of the witchfinders. James Morrow provides a strong tale of the late seventeenth century war between the enlightenment and the superstitious that seems so intelligently timed with politicians redesigning the same debate.

The Big Bamboo
Tim Dorsey
ISBN: 0060585625, $24.95

At THE BIG BAMBOO Serge Storms (who everyone agrees is not because he will kill you otherwise) is outraged by how Hollywood (California that is) depicts his beloved Florida in the movies; movies fail to get it right since the classic top ever state seller Deep Throat. His stoned partner Coleman tells him they ought to do something about that so Serge decides to write a screenplay starring Florida, which means Southern California, will have the pleasure of the crazed duo. In Hollywood, unprincipled agent Tori Gersh demands that the Glick twins, owner of Vistamax Studios, use her client Ally Street in their Werner B. Potemkin blockbuster movie All That Glitters or she will expose their coke and rape games. Before they can respond someone hires Serge to abduct Ally, which of course he succeeds in doing only to learn he is also involved in a homicide as the wannabe actress is found dead as Serge battles Hollywood vipers while taking the movie industry by storms. As always when Serge is in town, chaos rules even ironically in a town in which chaos is already the norm. As Serge torpedoes everyone in sight, Tim Dorsey satirizes, using hyperbole, the worst transgressions of Hollywood in the minds of the fundamentally always right. Fans of the series and anyone who enjoys an amusing out of control zany tale will want to join Serge takes Hollywood.

Night of the Jaguar
Michael Gruber
ISBN: 0060577681, $24.95, 384 pp.

Before the dead priest, murdered in a gangland slaying, can go to the spirit realm, he speaks to the shaman Moie, a member of the Runiya tribe in the Amazonian Rain Forest. He tells Moie that a group of Cuban-Americans in Miami are planning to cut down the trees in the government protected Puxto Preserve, which will yield to them millions in mahogany wood. Moie travels to Miami with Jaguar, one of the gods who will help him with his quest to prevent the destruction. Two men died with Jaguar's claw marks scratched on their front doors. Another man survived his experience with Jaguar. The police are baffled and ask former cop Jimmy Paz to help because he has experience with "weird' cases. He wants to decline because he fears acceptance could place his daughter in danger from the jaguar as they have dreamed of him. However, Jimmy realizes he must join the fray otherwise his daughter will be in danger from Jaguar though he knows he must confront deadly humans, a shaman and a lethal god. NIGHT OF THE JAGUAR is a supernatural thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering what happens next. The audience will also ponder whether Jaguar is a god, an alter ego of Moie, a shapeshifter, or something else. There is plenty of action but not at the cost of character development as the key players, Moie, Jaguar and Jimmy are fully developed and very complex. The support cast enhances either the action or the lead triangle. Readers will want additional Paz thrillers from Michael Gruber.

Midnighters #3: Blue Noon
Scott Westerfeld
ISBN: 0060519576, $15.99, 384 pp.

Every midnight in Bixby, Oklahoma time freezes for a blink enabling creatures to come out of the darkest shadows seeking human prey. Most people remain blissfully ignorant of this phenomena; however, five teens born at midnight and calling themselves the Midnighters, are keenly aware of how dangerous the Blue Time can be. Still they know it happens like clockwork and are prepared to help those ignorant enough to be outside in Bixby when the clock strikes 12. That is until now when the blue time occurs for the first time as far as they know in the afternoon leaving the school and other places frozen in blue that seems even eerier than the usual midnight scenario because everyone is about stuck in time; noise except for them and the prowling monsters is creepily silent. Jessica, Melissa, Jonathan, Rex, and Dess fear the monsters will soon begin a feeding frenzy like nothing ever seen at least in recent memory. This quintet that makes up the Midnighters need answers quickly to stop a catastrophe that has been in the making for centuries. This is a terrific entry in a fabulous young adult horror series due to a wonderful twist that brings the frozen blue light out of midnight and into the daylight. The five teen heroes know they up against it as this time their confidence wanes though they do not back down because failure leads to unbelievable consequences. Scott Westerfeld writes a wonderful suspense that can stand alone though enhanced by the previous two adventures. Adults and teens will fully appreciate this fine thriller.

How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life
Mameve Medwed
ISBN: 0060831197, $24.95

The earthquake that killed the two female lovers left the thirtyish daughter of one Abby Randolph with a chamber pot that once belonged to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Not long afterward, Abby shows her prize on the popular Antiques Roadshow that tours the Cambridge-Boston area, and her ugly porcelain becomes the star. However, soon after that event, Lavinia Potter- Templeton, daughter of the lover of Abby's mother, sues her over who is the rightful owner of the chamber pot. Feeling betrayed by her former best friend Lavinia, Abby takes another blow when her lover deserts her to elope with another woman. Finally, the shell-shocked Abby receives one more shot to her equilibrium when Ned, the man she has always loved, wants back in her life. This is a strange chick lit tale starring a somewhat stunned heroine wondering how a porcelain pot could prove that s**t happens. The prime storyline of what occurs to Abby contains too many subplots that loosely in a five degree way tie back to the lead protagonist. Still overall this is a fine often amusing contemporary tale starring a likable but bewildered female who got off the pot to showcase it only to be covered with excrement; Ned being the one potentially golden exception if she takes a chance though she fears he too will shower on her parade.

Tomb of the Golden Bird
Elizabeth Peters
ISBN: 0060591803, $25.95

In 1922 in Egypt, Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson begs Lord Carnavon and Howard Carter to let him excavate in the Valley of the Kings where the duo have exclusive digging rights. Because he is well known for his findings, Radcliffe's action leads to a feeding frenzy from some of his rivals who assume something of value awaits those who dig in the Valley of Kings. They are proven right when Carter uncovers the tomb of King Tutankhamen. The incredibly preserved burial chamber contains a wealth of artifacts that attract a global invasion of curators, collectors, amateurs, the media, government and grave robbers. Among the last group arriving at the sight is Emerson's shifty half-brother, severely ailing Sethos, who carries a secret document that if it gets into the wrong hands could cause unbelievable hostilities in the Middle East. Though he wants nothing to do with a sibling he does not trust, Radcliffe tries to help Sethos, which leads to increasingly dangerous attacks on his family. Not one to wait for an assault, Radcliffe's wife Amelia Peabody begins to look into who wants them dead and whether the motive is Sethos and his document or something to do with Tut. The eighteenth historical Peabody mystery is a refreshing superb tale that uses the Tut dig of 1922 as a backdrop to the action-packed story line. Radcliffe plays the prime role more so than Amelia, which adds to the feel of briskness in spite of the desert climate. The mystery comes a little later than usual, but is well worth the wait as the early plot provides insight into the renowned Carter excavation. TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD is must reading experience for Elizabeth Peters' fans while newcomers will fully appreciate a strong early twentieth century mystery with a powerful historical foundation.

A Dirty Job
Christopher Moore
ISBN: 0060590270, $24.95

In San Francisco, thrift store owner Charlie Asher is euphoric when his beloved wife Rachel gives birth to their daughter Sophie, but his happiness turns to grief when his spouse dies while still in the maternity ward recovery room. Afterward Charlie asks the hospital staff who is the incredibly tall black man in a green suit he noticed next to Rachel when she died? Everyone he asks says no one was there and no one fit his description. Even the video security camera shows no one. Soon after Charlie cannot explain why strangers abruptly die at his feet. That is until Minty Fresh visits him and explains that they are kindred souls known as Death Merchants, whose assignment is to collect souls before the Forces of Darkness steal them. Enlisting help with the mundane aspects of his life like minding the store and hiring babysitters from hell to watch Sophie, Charlie does A DIRTY JOB, but someone has to do it while believing that a showdown with Death is imminent. What he does not know is his adversary picks the time (the California Gold Rush) and place (San Francisco's financial district). This is a way out tale filled with a wacky eccentric cast and not just those from the other side. The story line is fast-paced as Charlie goes about his new profession with enthusiasm. He remains the focus that keeps the tale from losing steam as he goes through the stages of grief paralleled with the joy of a new child while doing A DIRTY JOB in which he anticipates a battle to the death against Death and the Forces of Darkness. This is insane fun Christopher Moore's tale grips the reader with its underlying angst laden human message that all there really are is life and death with nothing in between.

The Wrong Kind of Blood
Declan Hughes
ISBN: 0060825464, $23.95

Over twenty years have passed since Edward Loy left Dublin for the United States, but the private investigator returns home for his mom's funeral. On the same day his mother is buried, an old school chum, Linda Dawson tongue kisses Edward while asking him to locate her missing husband Peter gone four days. Though he struggles with the concept of tonguing one man while allegedly missing your spouse, Edward agrees to investigate as his mother's death serves as a reminder of his tragedy back in L.A. that has left him with a bottle as his only comfort; this is an opportunity to begin the climb back out of the alcoholic haze. Loy follows Peter's last known trail, which leads him to a corpse in town hall. From there he runs afoul of an organized crime mob, the IRA, and the Garda; each in their own style warning him to not just back off, but to go back across the ocean. Other murders and more kisses follow as Loy continues his inquiries refusing to allow anyone to scare him off as death seems easy compared to the fall into the ooze beneath the food chain that he already has taken. Although there are too many subplots intruding in this violent exhilarating Irish private investigative tale, readers will appreciate Loy's first person lament. What is fascinating is the comparison between Loy's "world" filled with hostility and cruelty vs. the pastoral setting of Dublin. Loy is an interesting protagonist whose hard boiled investigation makes for a fun armchair tour of the Irish capital.

And She Was
Cindy Dyson
ISBN: 0060597704, $24.95

In 1986, now thirty-one, Brandy has always been a drifter following whatever man she is with at that moment, but never becoming emotionally entangled with anyone. Perhaps it is in her DNA as "the daughter of a bum and a slut". Currently she is staying with kind fisherman Thad on isolated Aleutian island Dutch Harbor, Alaska. She obtains work as a bar girl at the Elbow Room bar. The place is known locally as much for its nightly fights that include some women as much as for the number of drunks. Brandy, in between sex, alcohol, and drugs is fascinated by enigmatic writing on the bathroom walls, which leads her to learn more about the history of the area. She soon learns how the Russians conducted ethnic cleansing in the early eighteenth century followed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by the Good Samaritans who in bringing civilization further destroyed a culture that is kept somewhat alive by the "secret powers" of two drunken regulars, Aleuts Bessie and Little Liz. AND SHE WAS is a haunting deep tale that grips readers on two levels. First the personal story of Brandy, whom the audience hopes will find a better way; second and perhaps even more memorable is the history of the Aleuts whose way of life is brutally devastated by initially the Russians and ultimately destroyed even more so by the "kindness" of do-gooders like nineteenth century missionaries and twentieth social workers. The story line moves deftly back and forth between 1986 and the past as Cindy Dyson provides a powerful indictment of cultural intrusion disguised as civilization.

The Ribbon Murders
Sharon Ervin
Five Star
ISBN: 1594144362, $26.95, 279 pp.

Twenty-three year old reporter Jancy Dewhurst plans to work one more year at the Clarion in Bishop, Oklahoma before joining her mentor as an overseas correspondent. Meanwhile she learns of a homicide in which the corpse was mutilated and a rubber band cut off circulation to the victim's penis. Sheriff Dudley Roundtree allows her to come to the crime scene where Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation Agent Jim Wills runs the inquiry. The victim is Pakistani student Charles Benuda. Not long afterward a second body is found with the same gift wrapping, but the campus police moved the corpse before the investigators arrived. The deceased is Francis Speir, who apparently was a friend of Charles. Thoughts of hate crimes against homosexuals end when the third death is womanizing state Senator Richard Crook. Though he prefers Jancy to stay out of the case because she distracts him, Jim needs her insider knowledge especially when a mutual friend is killed next by a serial killer. Jancy's youthful energy compares nicely against the professionals Dudley and Jim as the trio works on stopping a serial killer whose ribbon killing will haunt the audience (especially males) long after finishing the thriller. The sleuthing is first rate as Jim leads the inquiries with the help of the sheriff and the unwanted assistance of Jancy. The attraction between the two Js augments a fine police procedural though the motive when finally revealed seems off kilter.

Maitland Under Siege
James Patrick Hunt
Five Star
ISBN: 1594144400, $25.95

In Chicago, Charlie Mead of Mead's Bail and Bonds offers Evan Maitland an opportunity to make some serious money by bringing in a bail jumper; former convict Thomas Hicks killed two mob enforcers in self-defense, but knowing he is at risk in jail or on the street and expecting no justice in court, he fled. Over the objections of his antiques business partner and his police officer lover, Evan begins the search, which thanks to Kansas State University NCAA basketball leads to Kansas. Dallas resident Nina Harrows comes to Union City, Kansas seeking to find her missing sister. Instead she is stonewalled and warned at every turn. When Nina meets Evan and Thomas, she enlists their assistance. As they work together to learn what happened to her sibling, Evan becomes convinced that Thomas is not a street punk killer involved in a bad drug deal, but instead a person trying to keep his life straight; instead of fleeing again like he could, Thomas has the backs of Nina and Evan as the trio come under siege from local terror. Though the bad dudes are somewhat stereotyped, suspense fans will enjoy this fine modern day High Noon thriller. Maitland is terrific as he begins to understand what is important in life; learning that from his two teammates as Nina refuses to back down against overwhelming odds until she finds her sister and Thomas refuses to allow his past in the slums stop him from making something of himself. The confrontation is well done with the suspense building slowly to a crescendo, but the key to the tale is the insightful look at the three amigos.

Fugitive Shoes
Erin O'Rourke
Five Star
ISBN: 1594144443, $26.95

To save distribution costs, store owner Sally Jasper persuades her two married best friends Dawn Marie Johnson and Anne Obayashi to accompany her when she picks up a load of shoes in a Tucson warehouse. No one is there to meet her as promised until early the next morning. On the drive back across the desert to Fresh Waters, a man runs in front of their truck. Later the illegal immigrant dies in the hospital. Sally concludes the Juan Doe was seeking freedom. She also learns from Immigration Officer Leigh Surry that some patriots seek out the desperate Mexicans to provide their own brand of justice. Needing to do something and now part of a band called Radio due to a foolish bet by Sally with their adopted teen Jazmyn and her two best friends, she decides to help families cross the border even if it means the vigilantes come after them. FUGITIVE SHOES is an interesting thriller that takes a close look at border justice with the author making no apologies for defending the basic human rights of illegals trying to sneak into the country against adverse environmental conditions, hostile governments and lethal zealous patriots. The exciting story line seems implausible at times and the flashbacks to the female friends' youths feel disjointed. Still fans of strong caring women risking their lives to do what they feel is right will appreciate the three amigas and their "daughter" as they sing their way to fame and fortune while Sally assists those sneaking into the country.

Out of Cabrini
Dave Case
Five Star
ISBN: 1594143781, $25.95

Just out of prison Lonnie Huggins visits his boss Cecil Jones who as an act of loyalty to his goon taking the fall silently assigns him to open the Minnesota branch of the Cabrini Green Gang drug operations. He also gives Lonnie four kilos to start. Before leaving town, Lonnie beats up his girlfriend Latricia Gibbons who, knowing how safe she was when he was behind bars, informs her friend Chicago cop Stacey MacBeth that her boyfriend is carrying a gun; a clear violation of his patrol. Panicking that he left the stash hidden in his vehicle, Lonnie sends his associate to buy the car at auction. However, Jimmy Lewicki of the City Auto Pound already sold the BMW under the table to local businessman Robert Starr, who gives it as a present to his mistress. As the Huggins segment of the Cabrini Green Gang kills anyone in their way of regaining the vehicle, the Cabrini Tactical Force of the police battle to get to the car before someone else is dead. Fans of wild police procedurals will want to ride along with the Cabrini Tactical Force as they follow a trail of corpses due to the under the table sale of Huggins' BMW. The story line is action packed starting from the moment Stacey's partner Zito gets his tongue pierced and never slows down until after the final confrontation between the police and the gang. OUT OF CABRINI makes quite a case that the war on drugs is as dangerous as ever as urban warfare with" guerilla" tactics place cops and bystanders in peril at all times.

Treasure of the Amazon
Pinkie Paranya
Five Star
ISBN: 1594144303, $25.95

In Elliot, Virginia her wheelchair bound father, a history professor at Virginia College, worries about the Brazilian branch of the family that moved from the United States during the American Civil War after allegedly stealing money to bankroll their journey. He wants to insure that the Brazilian matriarch the Madrinha Sara is okay as he has not heard from her in quite awhile. He asks his daughter, learning-disabilities schoolteacher Marisa, to head to South America to learn what happened and to collect the treasure promised by the matriarch. In Brasilia, Marisa struggles to find a pilot willing to fly her into the remote Mato Grosso region. Reluctantly Scott Dunbar agrees to take Marisa though he warns her that the people in the area shoot first rather than ask why you are there. He assumes her relatives are either dead or assimilated. As they journey together to discover what happened to her kin and to find the treasure, Scott and Marisa fall in love, but he is a risk-taker while she is a homebody, or is she after this jungle trek? The lead couple relationship and the Brazilian setting will remind readers of Romancing the Stone. Romantic suspense fans will especially appreciate the descriptive locales; first in Brasilia and then in Mato Grosso that makes for a superb somewhat exotic and dangerous background rarely seen in thrillers. The historical perspective that ties Brazil to the American Civil War adds authenticity as it is based on a true migration. Readers will enjoy this fine amateur sleuth Brazilian romance.

Sanctuary Ranch
Junior Michael Ray and Corinne Joy Brown
Five Star
ISBN: 1594144508, $26.95

In Fairfield, New Jersey, Nashville promoters Mike Foxworthy and Mart Heistler think that with some polish singer Amelia "Tawny" Talbott can be their ticket back to the big time. Broke and at the end of her rope Tawny and her manager Terry Ann Hill agree to her being turned into the "Daughter of the American West". Their old army buddy Jess McLain owes Mike a favor so the former rodeo star and local musician agrees to house Tawny on his J Bar M Ranch in Wyoming though he would prefer to say no. He knows he needs the money if Mike's instincts prove correct and his ranch is to survive. When Tawny arrives, he hears her talent when she sings, but also knows she will fail because she is an alcoholic. Pushing her beyond her limit as if she was a new military recruit she cleans up but shocks him when she encourages him to be all that he can be by going back on the rodeo circuit even as they fall in love. SANCTUARY RANCH is a fascinating character study starring two individuals who seemingly on the surface have noting in common, but quickly realize they share plenty as each encourages the other to conquer their demons that hold them back. The support cast is solid adding to the feel of modern day life on a Wyoming ranch or the behind the scenes manipulation in the Nashville music world. However, this contemporary is the story of two people meeting with each bringing out the best in the other.

Death Is No Bargain
Michael W. Sherer
Five Star
ISBN: 1594143684, $25.95, 377 pp.

About a year ago in Chicago, writer Emerson Ward saw the twenty-three years old waif look in trouble so he took her to his home and was nice to her while Ellen Forrester regained her equilibrium before she finally left after five days there. Now her father Larry arrives in a rage accusing Emerson of seducing his daughter and tries to kill him, but fails. Apparently Ellen has run away again. A week later while Emerson and his girlfriend Nell ponder what to do about her pregnancy, Larry's former wife Audra Campbell asks him to find her missing daughter. Reluctantly he agrees because he feels a certain knight in shining armor mentality towards the lass. He starts at her private school, which leads to her friends and soon he learns she was pregnant but when he finds her she is dead. Emerson refuses to quit as he now needs to know who killed her. This is an intriguing investigative tale as the hero is unable to stay on the sidelines following twisting clues where they take him to include violent encounters at abortion clinic and a strange weave involving the Catholic Church. The story line is action-packed beginning from the moment that an apparently very accurate shooter misses seven times (hitting Emerson's newly finished table, etc.) and never slows down as the sleuth follows a meandering trail that climaxes with a fabulous final spin. Fans will appreciate this solid murder mystery.

The Cymry Ring
Michael Allen Dymmoch
Five Star
ISBN: 159414429X, $26.95, 321 pp.

Fifty-five years old English CID Detective Ian Carreg is still coming to grips over the death of his beloved wife Marjorie, who died when an out of control speeding car hit her. Though he "talks" to his Marjorie, he keeps himself busy though his two adult children Peter and Margaret worry about him. CID sends Ian to arrest escaped felon Dr. Jemma Henderson, daughter of renowned physicist Dr. Marcus Henderson, convicted of murdering her lover. He heads to her dad's home where he enters a shed in Cymry Henge just before an explosion occurs. He soon realizes that somehow Jemma sent both of them back seventeen centuries to Roman Britannia where they confront and then befriend three Welsh. Captured by the Roman legions, the pair with their new friends struggle to survive while trying to insure future history remains the same while trying to figure out a way to tell her father and his children they live albeit over a millennium before they were born. THE CYMRY RING starts off like a typical police procedural tale until her father's machine successfully sends them back seventeen hundred years and switches into a time travel thriller. The story line is action-packed especially in Roman times as the "settlers" from the twenty-first century fight to stay alive in a world so different than their birth time. Ian and Jemma are believable characters, easy to understand so readers empathize with their plight. This is a special tale told by a master storyteller.

Maggie's Story
Dandi Daley Mackall
Thirsty (Tyndale)
ISBN: 1414309783, $9.99, 303 pp.

He heals the sick and feeds the poor. He raises the dead and has charisma that attracts people to him from all walks of life. Those in his inner circle believe he is the Son of God. This is not Jesus Christ; instead this is Josh Davidson. Christ never came to earth as claimed by those in the first century, but now God sends his Son to protect and preach to the masses. Maggie is a sinner who uses sex, drugs, and alcohol to dull her pain. She once tried suicide but failed and now just tries to numb her anguish. When Josh's path crosses hers, she walks away from him, but then returns to him as she is drawn to him and his message of forgiveness. Maggie becomes a devoted follower preaching with him in Ohio. She knows deep in her heart that Josh forgave her sins even if she cannot forgive them herself. Yet she is the one who sees him first when he rises from the dead and when the time is right she will be one of hiss followers to spread his message. Although this book is aimed at young adults, older readers will enjoy reading Maggie's story immensely. Everything that happened to Jesus happens to Josh in the twenty-first century. Josh's message spreads around the world rather quickly because of advanced communications, which also means he is a threat to the powerful. Maggie represents a modern day Mary Magdalene as Dandi Daley Mackall makes the case that the Son of God could have come at any time and attracts the same followers and detractors. MAGGIE'S STORY will be cherished by readers.

Angela Hunt
ISBN: 1414310285, $13.99, 425 pp.

In the first century in Israel, nobody hates the Roman occupation more than Miryam. She is married to a fisherman and has her own business in the market place. Her oldest son Avram preaches rebellion and spits on a centurion's foot. In retaliation that soldier Gaius has his men including Atticus burn the house down killing Miryan's son, pregnant daughter-in-law and her beloved husband. Atticus Aurelius finds an infant and in direct disobedienceto his superior's orders gets him to safety. Miryam, who was spared because she was away from the house, goes mad with hatred and allows demons to possess her. It is only when Yeshua comes along and casts them out does the bereaved widow and mother regain her sanity and becomes a direct follow of the rabbi. She follows him as he preaches thinking that he will somehow avenge her for what Rome did for her family Miryam witnesses his resurrection and spreads the truth about his divinity to the people. However her hatred for Atticus and Gaius and desire for revenge almost causes her to commit one of the biggest sins of all. In case anyone hasn't guessed it by now, this is the story of Mary Magdalene. Angela Hunt has written a meticulously researched and well told story of Mary Magdalene one of the most controversial people in Christ's ministry. The author makes the era come alive, populating the storyline with actual historical figures and allowing the reader to visualize the turbulence during Christ's earthly ministry and the disciples who spread his word around the world. This is a fascinating work based on biblical and historical details.

Karen Kingsbury
ISBN: 1414307659, $22.99

In the DC area at one of her women's shelter, Mary Madison is briefed by her receptionist Leah Hamilton that her newest resident Emma Randall looks suicidal and ready to bolt. Battered and with no hope, the twenty-three year old Emma considers herself unworthy and ready to flee now that her two young children are safe from their abusive father Charlie. However, Leah softly gets Emma to meet with the legendary Mary while four years old Kami and two years old Kaitlyn play with dolls. Mary shocks the frightened Emma by asking if she should like to hear her story not just the media account. Hesitantly Emma agrees so Mary explains how Jesus loved her and saved her. She was a little girl when her hooker mother took them to stay with her maternal Grandma Peggy who gives the little girl a purse with scripture inside. However, her mother immediately removed them back to the streets. When she scores a three day job with out of town Johns, her mom leaves Mary with her pimp; the last time they saw one another. From that moment Mary battled the seven demons that lead to sin and helplessness until she meets a believer who introduces her to Jesus. This is a terrific modernization of Mary Magdalene living in Washington DC and using her story to encourage other people especially women that hope lies with Jesus. Mary's tale is told in flashbacks, which enhances how far she has come. Karen Kingsbury provides a deep character study of how one woman with help overcame seven contemporary demons (drugs, prostitution, etc.), but also makes no apologies that the author believes the path is with Jesus; readers who want a clear split between state and religion may find the religious message overbearing, but everyone will agree that Ms. Kingsbury provides an entreating parable starring a modernized Magdalene.

Expect the Sunrise
Susan May Warren
ISBN: 1414300883, $11.99

FBI Agent Stirling "Mac" MacRae is on vacation fishing with his brother Brody near the Trans-Alaska Pipe Line System when he observes a terrorist Ari Al-Hasid nearby. The two siblings go after Ari, but in the scuffle, Brody is shot. Mac pleads with a plane passing by to stop to transport his sibling to a hospital, but the pilot Andee MacLeod keeps flying as she has an emergency passenger, a mother of four who is dying. After his brother dies, Mac vows vengeance against the unknown pilot. In bad weather Andee, accompanied by the surprise visit of her best friend Sarah, flies five passengers, Nina Smith, Floyd Dekker, Martin Ishbane, Jake Phillips, and Stirling MacRae. However, Andee is forced to make an emergency landing. Sarah is unconscious and Floyd injures his leg. The chances of rescue are slim, but Andee's offer to get help is rejected by Mac, who has found evidence including a two way radio and a map that one of them might be a terrorist plotting to destroy the pipeline. As they struggle as a group to reach a village, unbeknownst to Andee her father the Fed is in trouble too. The third Team Hope thriller (see ESCAPE TO MORNING and FLEE THE NIGHT) is an exhilarating romantic suspense that showcases the vast Alaskan wilderness. The story line is exciting because key players must make life threatening judgments that do not necessarily turn out positive; for instance when Andee ignores Mac's plea both his brother and her patient die anyway and Mac's decisions on their survival could kill all of them. Susan May Warren once again provides a powerful character driven tale in which choices are life threatening with key players praying to God that they don't harm the innocent.

Nancy Moser
ISBN: 1414301618, $12.99

One century ago, her ancestors founded Weaver, Kansas, but now the place is dying. Town matriarch elderly spinster Madeline Weaver detests that her heritage is slowly eroding. She loathes how people drop spouses as if they are tossing the garbage. Finally she hates the constant people moving, people moving out as nothing seems stable except the decline of her hometown. Madeline has decided to do something to save Weaver. She buys up all the property and holds a contest in which she gives away land one lot at a time. Her plan is simple to control who lives in her town and how they live. At first the winners feel kind towards their benefactor, but as the rules become enforced many wonder if a mean spirited dictator runs their lives. However, Madeline has a past too that she has kept secret and that is about to be revealed leading to either redemption or humiliation depending on how she reacts. This is an interesting character driven tale as Madeline and an assortment of supporting players are at the CROSSROADS of their lives while coming together in Weaver, Kansas to start over. Madeline is an intriguing protagonist as the septuagenarian tries to cling to her heritage not expecting that part of it is a secret she prefers left concealed because it shames her. Fans will enjoy this fine look at people struggling with difficult decisions as no option is all right or all wrong with most containing pros and cons.

Savannah Breeze
Mary Kay Andrews
ISBN: 0060564660, $24.95

With three divorces notched on her belt and only thirty-five, Savannah high society BeBe Loudermilk is seeing financial consultant Ryan Edward "Reddy" Millbanks III. However, this time her poor choice in men haunts her without going down the aisle; he embezzles most of her money. Her only asset is the dilapidated Breeze Inn on Tybee Island. Her best friend antiques expert Weezie agrees to help BeBe convert her motel into a four star place (make that three stars). However, at the Breeze Inn, BeBe and manager Harry spend their time arguing over what should and should not be done. However, to everyone's shock, the cheap renovations work and the Breeze Inn becomes an in spot. When Reddy surfaces in Lauderdale, BeBe accompanied by Weezie, Harry, and her grandfather on hiatus from weather watching TV, head south to swindle the rat. This madcap satirical crime thriller is so much fun to read as BeBe and company set in motions a wild plan ironically to extort her money back from Reddy. The cast is eccentric, crazy, and enjoyable to follow their antics; mindful of a Maverick in which he sets up a swindle to trick the shark who originally conned him. Fans of an amusing way out jocular thriller will appreciate the sequel to the just as nutty entertaining SAVANNAH BLUES.

Deadly Will
Marion Moore Hill
ISBN: 0977191311, $17.95

In 1789, after seeing the will of his long time neighbor Ben Franklin, Nathan Henry, decides to emulate it yet make some refinements to it; Dr. Franklin is impressed with the document, but warns his friend that he does not know what two centuries from now will bring. Still, Nathan bequests his worldly values upon his ancestors to be distributed upon the start of the new millennium. The will is iron clad. In 2001 Texas, impoverished single mother Millie Kirchner and her son Danny receive a request from Henry's trustee attorney Arthur Pope to come to Philadelphia to learn about their inheritance. With Danny going off with the scouts, Millie is one of the nine other heirs to arrive. Being a history buff, she plans to see the city. However, her euphoria changes when she realizes someone is eliminating the heirs one at a time with a goal to be the sole beneficiary. Millie ponders fleeing for home, which she rules out as the culprit could easily follow her and consequently get to Danny; so she risks her life in Philadelphia accompanied by another heir Scott Wyrick, making inquiries to uncover the identity of the killer before she and her son join the obituary column. This Deadly Past Mystery is a fantastic blending of the past with the present using a will to make the connection. The story line is fast-paced yet insures the audience knows the heirs and provides a tour of Philadelphia without slowing down the pace. Though the romance seems more a requirement, the amateur sleuth investigation is cleverly designed leaving readers appreciating this refreshing homage to Christie's Ten Little Indians.

Waterfall Glen
Davie Henderson
ISBN: 193281583X, $6.99

In 1996 thirty-six years old Kate Brodie, owner of Kate's Crafts, is ecstatic that she will leave behind her dull life in Sausalito, California to be an elegant Highland lady now that she inherited an estate in Glen Cranoch from the late Colin Chisholm though she never heard of the place or the deceased. The Scottish solicitor explained the connection is from her late maternal grandmother. After discussing this with her widower dad, Kate quickly heads to Scotland to take possession of her property. However, the reality is nothing close to her romantic fantasy; her dreams are shattered as soon as she enters her new dilapidated home Greystane. Kate quickly hears rumors about the people who lived there and finds the eerie portraits of the previous residents down the centuries frightening as if someone wants her to leave. Worse is the general feeling of emptiness and loneliness as if the walls have seen and heard ugliness and tragedy with the abode feeling as if a curse has sucked out its life. Wondering if her imagination has run wild she contemplates returning to California, but instead Kate turns for help to Cameron Fraser, who she finds attractive. However, he has a history that makes him the last person she should trust. WATERFALL GLEN is a fine contemporary romance with a solid historical mystery and the seemingly hand of the paranormal to guide (some might say matchmake) the lead couple. The story line contains plenty of action once Kate moves into her new residence and never slows down as she wonders what happened to her logical albeit tedious life on the Bay. Fans will enjoy this fun tale.

Leather and Lace
Diann Mills
ISBN: 1597891274, $12.95

In 1884, Casey O'Hare is tired of her life as an outlaw and decides to leave the gang. However, though she tries to start over in a remote mountain of Utah, her past will not leave her alone to start over. First someone is blaming her for a crime wave with wanted posters containing a reward all over the west. Additionally her former gang leader Davis Jenkins accompanied by her brother Tim also a member, chase after her as no one rides out on them and lives to tell it especially his woman. However, instead of Jenkins abducting her, Morgan Andrews captures Casey in an isolated campsite. He insists he will keep her safe, but she believes he, like all men, is using her. She is not sure why at first, but soon realizes she is an expendable pawn for Morgan to get to Davis Jenkins. Though attracted to her warden, Casey plans to escape from him just as she has from the law and from the Jenkins brood. Morgan is reconsidering his values as he has fallen in love with his guest (prisoner if you ask Casey) and would die before allowing her to be harmed yet needs her as the bait to capture Jenkins. The first Texas Legacy western romance is a terrific tale starring a delightful lead couple, a nasty villain, and a sibling pulled in two directions by his love for his sister and his loyalty (and fear) of his leader. The story line is action-packed as readers expect a High Noon showdown and get this and much more. Sub-genre fans will want to read this strong late nineteenth century romance.

Watching the Tree Limbs
Mary DeMuth
P. O. Box 35002, Colo Spgs, CO 80935
ISBN: 1576839265, $12.99, 416 pp.

She has no idea who her biological parents are and up to three months ago nine years old Mara was raised by her Nanny Lynn on the family farm by Little Pine, Texas. When Nanny Lynn died, Mara moved to nearby Aurora to live with her only other known living relative Aunt Elma, who is dying from cancer. Unlike Nanny Lynn who enjoyed doing things with her granddaughter, Aunt Elma expects Mara to find things to do. The preadolescent makes friends with Camilla and enjoys pretending she is Nancy Drew investigating her own past. Camilla warns her to beware of the bad people and soon the bitter Mara observes first hand what her pal means when the thirteen year old malevolent General steals her childhood by raping her. The child's life twists again when Aunt Elma dies forcing Mara to move into an old mansion run by Mr. Winningham. She now knows that in spite of God's teachings, people do bad things; she also concludes as she learns more about her parents that sometimes good can come out of bad as Maranatha finds solace with the Lord and with him at her side, she finds the courage to confront her past and her present. This is a powerful inspirational character study that takes the audience inside the souls of several residents of a small town Texas in the late 1970s, but especially the beleaguered heroine whose lament and subsequent "redemption" will touch the hearts of the audience. Mara believes she caused the deaths of her family members including her mom and feels she has no adult to turn to even when bruises on her body prove someone is abusing her; instead she finds Jesus who gives her the inspiration to live. Mary DeMuth provides a deep puissant Inspirational fiction of salvation.

The Evidence
Austin Boyd
P. O. Box 35002, Colo Spgs, CO 80935
ISBN: 1576839443, $12.99

In 2011 American astronaut Commander John Wells and his crew watch from the space station the horror of the crippling terrorist attack that devastated DC and much of his nation's security with the brilliantly executed assault that has sent leadership into a tailspin on what to do. The predominant reaction around the earth is similar to the knee jerk reaction to Oklahoma City that a skillful knowledgeable group from the Middle East supported by a rogue government conducted the successful destruction. FBI agent Terrance Kerry begins to gather astounding information that seems to point otherwise than the Middle East; in fact off world. He contacts Wells to assist him in uncovering the truth as NASA has received telecommunications including pictures from Mars that seem doubtful that they could have come from an old probe. While many wonder about ET attacking the earth, influential Reverend Malcolm Raines claims it's a sign from God telling his flock to return to the fold and shepherd the aliens to the Lord. John is considered a key to the face to face contact, but he will leave behind a family who needs him. This is an interesting first contact thriller that grips the audience from start to finish on two levels. The obvious action-packed attack and its "Martian" overtones counter the personal dilemma confronting the hero who as a preteen child dreamed of soaring into space, but has earthly obligations. John is the key as he not only keeps the story line moving, he seems genuine (apparently somewhat autobiographic) wondering what to do to balance his world and country's needs vs. the pull of his family. NASA's loss is readers' gain as Austin Boyd takes his audience on a terrific science fiction tale.

Stealing Adda
Tamara Leigh
P. O. Box 35002, Colo Spgs, CO 80935
ISBN: 1576839257, $12.99, 464 pp.

New York Times best selling romance writer Adda Sinclaire suffers from an author's worst illness, a severe case of writer's block, which she wonders if is partially caused by her hate of her ex husband Richard "don't call me Dick" Demarco and the Stick Woman. Dick ran off with Adda's rival Birgitta Roth, whose sales have been much lower, but her deals much better than Adda's has been. Adda meets her new publisher Nick Farnsworth and finds she is attracted to him but since she was burned in marriage she never again even though Nick likes Adda. However both try to adhere to the maxim of not mixing office romances with real romances. When Stick Woman accuses Adda of plagiarizing her work, Nick assumes the worst of the first woman that has interested him in years. Though she knows the truth, Adda is upset by his rejection and the accusations so she hides trying to regroup. While recovering her balance, she receives a gift, a copy of the Bible and soon turns to Jesus for solace and begins to consider turning the other cheek when it comes to Stick Woman make that Birgitta. Chick lit readers will appreciate this fine look at an author struggling with stress caused by deadlines and writer's block. Adda's asides about her nemesis, her ex, her publisher, and ultimately Jesus showcase her metamorphosis from a prideful soul into a caring believer. The changes in her makeup seem genuine as evident of Stick Woman becoming Birgitta Roth, but the religious elements seem more like an overlay on top of a fine contemporary romance.

Three Little Secrets
Liz Carlyle
ISBN: 0743496124, $6.99, 384 pp.

Merrick "Black" MacLachlan is a self-made wealthy individual who is cold and uncaring except when it comes to attaining more money and with his brother and granny. He shows one of the new houses he designs to a customer, but inside is a woman whom a stunned Merrick introduces as his wife Madeleine who has purchased the house. Madeleine and Merrick argue as he insists she is still his wife and she claims her father annulled their marriage. Merrick formally meets her twelve years old son Geoffrey, who has Madeleine very worried as he seems more depressed each day. They had met earlier at Merrick's construction site where the kid saved several lives. He also knows what "ails" the lad, which means Geoffrey is his offspring as he has the "Gift" of sight and not the late Besset whom Madeleine married when she dumped him. He persuades Madeleine to take their son to his granny for her to teach him how to control his Gift. They both begin to learn what really happened in Gretna Green, but will the truth set each one free to grasp the love that still exists between them? The fine lead couple's past led to tragedy and bitterness and now makes for a wonderful historical romance with a touch of the paranormal as the "Gift of Sight" is deftly interwoven to enhance the tale. The return of characters especially the male leads from previous tales (see TWO LITTLE LIES and ONE LITTLE SIN) add to the overall understanding of Merrick. Though Madeleine's late father was a cold hearted villain whose actions including attempted murder seem over the top for preventing a marriage, romance readers will appreciate this delightful second chance at love romance.

Hey, Good Looking
Fern Michaels
ISBN: 0743477421, $25.00, 336 pp.

Thirty-three years old Darby Lane comes home to Baton Rouge to attend the funeral of her long time best friend Russ Gunn, who died in an accident. Darby and her three septuagenarian aunts, Dodo, Diddy, and Ducky are upset that Russ' stepmother Bella donated all his organs to donors. Though it seems like a kind gesture, the Lane brood know that the deceased was adamant not to have that happen to him because of an incident at college involving a friend and that Bella is using this to enable her to finally join the elitist "Rougies". Russ' siblings Ben and Mary also arrive, but she leaves almost immediately unable to deal with their estranged father. When Ben sees Darby for the first tin years he knows why he never got married or that involved with another woman; he loves her, but she has always been Russ' woman. As they and the aunts plot to destroy the evil stepmother and rescue the father, Darby begins to fall in love with Ben. This interesting contemporary romance emphasizes that the end does not always justify the means as the Lane females and Russ' siblings are horrified that his wishes were ignored by his wicked stepmother though his organs provide life to others. The ensemble cast for the most part is solid yet eccentric with fans realizing you don't mess with the three Ds. Bella on the other hand is so selfish she is a caricature of the wicked stepmother as every action she does is to further her personal objectives (perfect traits for Congress or the White House, but not for a mom and wife). Fans will enjoy this fine tale of matchmaking, rescuing, and honoring loved ones.

A Hunger like No Other
Kresley Cole
ISBN: 1416509879, $6.99

He searched for his soul mate for a millenium before the vampire horde captured him in the catacombs below Paris. However, after a seemingly endless captivity, Lachlain MacRieve senses the scent of his Beloved One; this gives the leader of the Lykae Clan the incentive to escape, which he does. Lachlain's euporhoria turns into a rage when he realizes the irony that fate has wrought to him. His chosen mate is a hybred vampire-valkyrie, two natural enemies merged inside her soul and body. Even worse following his abduction of Emmaline, he realizes she lacks the strength of either species. Instead she behaves like a frightened rabbit, which Emmaline is as she has heard horror tales about the torture and violence employed by the Lykae. However as scared as she is, Emmaline finds courage in her attraction to her chief kidnapper Lachlain. Her fortitude makes him realize that his beloved has an inner strength few contain. As the soulmates fall in love in his remote Scottish castle, the vampire horde seek both of them at the same time her irate valkyrie relatives seek to liberate her. Romantic fantasy fans will appreciate the return to Cole's world (see the novella "The Warlord Wants Forever" in PLAYING EASY TO GET) as this character driven star-crossed lovers tale is so much fun to read. The action-packed story line plays out on three levels: the lead couple's seductively sexual encounter while falling in love in his castle; her Valkyrie aunt coming to her rescue; and the vampires wanting to kill him and abduct her for her different blood type. A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER is a superb thriller that will allow NO REST FOR THE WICKED as this is a fast sensational read.

Hide In Plain Sight
Michelle Albert
ISBN: 0743485033, $6.99, 384 pp.

Five years ago in Los Angeles her husband Richard apparently drove in to the river, but no body was found so Kennedy Antiquarian Books storeowner Fiona Kennedy was left to linger in a nowhere zone between married and single. Now her time is up in marital purgatory and she can officially have the court rule that her spouse is dead. She plans to celebrate her widow status with fun and sun in the Bahamas. However, before she can leave town, Griff Laughton asks her to authenticate and appraise an old manuscript. Griff hides his real agenda from her, which is to capture his enemies von Lahr while also protecting the bookworm from enemies she does not know she has that her late spouse has brought her. He also conceals his work of fifteen years destroying art, artifacts, and antiquities smuggling rings. He is a bit disturbed to find he is attracted to the charming beautiful Fiona, but detachment is his middle name until someone tries to kill the woman he willingly would die for to keep her safe. HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is a fabulous fast-paced tale starring a courageous female and the male champion risking all especially his heart to keep her safe. The story line is filled with action from the moment Griff hires Fiona and never slows down as her past comes back to haunt her in spite of her innocence from Richard's dealings. The changing relationship between the hardened agent and the bookseller is deftly handled in a believable manner that in turn augments the prime plot of a woman in peril over something she knows nothing about. Readers will appreciate Michelle Albert's superb romantic suspense thriller.

Live Wire
Jay MacLarty
ISBN: 1416503471, $7.99, 354 pp.

The Director of the CIA has discovered that the president has committed many felonious acts to fill his financial coffers; if POTUS' actions become known, he will be impeached and probably convicted of crimes. Knowing the country cannot absorb such a traumatic crisis at this time, the CIA head comes up with a clever way of overthrowing the President and replacing him with the General, his superior in the army. Tucker convinces the President that North Korean possesses a nuclear bomb that the rogue nation plans to sell on the weapons market. To prevent that from happening, he convinces POTUS to back rebels who want a democratic unified Korea. For Tucker's hidden agenda to succeed, someone must be caught in North Korea with papers describing the President's intent to overthrow the regime, an illegal act. Courier Simon Leonidovich is the chosen fall guy, but he escapes the trap. Tucker's minions have orders to assassinate him on sight. Simon knows what has occurred and hopes to reach DC where he figures he faces further attempts on his life to shut him up. LIVE WIRE is a frightening thriller because the events seem plausible. The characters with the exceptions of Simon and the CIA Director are stereotypes symbolizing ideas and concepts rather than people; to a degree so are Simon and the CIA chief with the courier trying to do the ethically correct thing and stay alive while the spymaster wants the crook out of the White House. There is plenty of action and political intrigue in Jay MacLarty's cat and mouse thriller, which depending on who survives will determine the direction of the United States.

The Final Victim
Wendy Corsi Staub
ISBN: 0821779710, $6.99, 475 pp.

After losing her son in a drowning accident and her husband soon after in a divorce, Charlotte Remington thinks she will never be happy again. That is until she meets Royce Maitland, who suffered similar losses. They eventually fall in love and marry living in her grandfather's mansion on Achoco Island while their Savannah home is renovated. When her grandfather dies, Charlotte expects to inherit one third of his estate with the rest going to her cousins Gib and Phyllida. Nobody is more shocked than Charlotte when she learns at the reading of the will that she inherited everything. Her cousins are livid and threaten to sue; shortly after someone shoots Royce. Evidence lead to the arrest of Gib, but he is more concerned over what the police will find in his room than the assault charge that he insists he did not do. While her beloved daughter remains on the island, Charlotte is on the mainland discovering some devastating news that leads her to believe death is on the move with her the people on the island a likely target. Wendy Corsi Staub writes a psychological suspense tale that pulls the reader deeply into the exhilarating story line. The characters are fully developed whether they are the protagonists or the antagonists although the audience will not be sure who to classify where. THE FINAL VICTIM is fast-paced and action-packed while focusing on a heroine who though she has suffered traumatically has courageously rebuilt her life and refuses to allow anyone to destroy it or those she cherishes.

Quite Honestly
John Mortimer
ISBN: 0670034835, $24.95

Recently graduated from Manchester University with a degree in social sciences, Lucinda Purefoy feels good about her future. Perhaps because of her being an offspring of a caring liberal Anglican bishop, Lucinda believes she should thank society for her opportunities. Thus the idealistic Lucinda joins the volunteer group SCRAP (Social Careers, Reformers and Preceptors) that assigns one of their compassionate guides with a recently released former convict to expedite the ex prisoner's return into society. Lucinda meets her objective burglar Terry Keegan as he is released from Wormwood Scrubs after he spent three years behind bars for breaking and entering. Terry wants nothing to do with the do-gooder so he plans to dump her in the first fast food place he finds. However, stubborn Lucinda is like dry mustard refusing to come off even when Terry visits his childhood crony Leonard "Chippy" McGrath seeking work. Chippy is an environmentally concerned businessman, who Lucinda will soon learn runs a vast crime complex. QUITE HONESTLY is a fabulous look at society using a rotational point of view between how Lucinda sees her need to help Terry and his perspective that she is a pain in the rump. The story line is fast-paced and filled with amusement as John Mortimer looks closely in his ironic manner at incarceration and prison reform through his Good Samaritan and a former guest of the state. Rumpole aside, this is a fabulous thought provoking tale that will have readers laugh yet ponder the goal of imprisonment and what is best for both society and the ex-con (not necessarily inclusive) to return to the civilian world.

Your Big Break
Johanna Edwards
ISBN: 0425207846, $14.00, 320 pp.

In Boston, Dani Myers works as a communication specialist at Your Big Break, helping people end unwanted relationships and delivering other disagreeable news for clients. Though Dani is especially great at dumping other people's boyfriends and girlfriends, she has no significant other of her own so she turns to the imagined romantic woes of her family and customers in an attempt to play matchmaker and to resuscitate dormant dead relationships as she hates watching stunned in the headlights "insignificant others" dealing with the "five stages of breakup hell". Her latest interventions have caused her incredible trepidation. The customer Gretchen Monahan wants her to end her romance with the "Big Jackass", a married man, who turns out to be Dani's dad apparently cheating on her mom. Dani tries to uncover the truth as she plans to intervene with her parents to keep them together. Another client Erin wants to drop a kind hearted schoolteacher Brady whose bank account cannot support her in the style she demands. Dani likes what she hears about the teacher so uses a note rather than in person to end the relationship; thus allowing her to enter his life, but she hides her occupation especially how she "met" him. In spite of a too sweet ending, YOUR BIG BREAK is an entertaining chick lit tale starring a caring young woman who seems to be working at the wrong job as she wants to repair broken hearts not ripping further broken hearts. The story line is fun to follow as Dani breaks all the office rules by interfering when she should be in and out leading to a fine relationship drama except for its too simplistic overly optimistic ending.

The Spirit of the Wolf
Karen Kay
ISBN: 0425209202, $7.99, 304 pp.

In 1816, four preadolescents are chosen to try to lift the curse that haunts their respective tribal bands for killing four of Thunderer's children. Two days a year they will live on the mortal plane while the rest of the year they will be in an ephemeral existence. The only hope to escape the curse resides in the Chosen One who must perform a heroic sacrificial deed by the time he is thirty. In 1835, Grey Coyote knows he is running out of time to save his tribe but feels he is close to solving the riddle of gaining ownership of something that belongs to his enemy. He assumes his enemy is Jacques LaCroix for if he is not the proud Indian knows he will have failed. In a game of Cos-Soo, he wins everything that Jacques owns including Englishwoman Marietta Welsford, whose uncle exiled her to the "colonies" upon the deaths of her parents when she was a child. She has recently learned that if she claims their estate before her eighteenth birthday she will be wealthy; if she fails to do so her uncle gains everything. She needs his help, but though he wants to assist the woman he loves, time is his enemy. THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF is a terrific Indian romantic fantasy that readers will enjoy from the moment Grey Coyote tastes failure as his clock is running out yet also feels renewal with Marietta though he will give up love to keep trying to solve the riddle. . Though the emphasis is more on the romance, this fast-paced story line is driven by the desperation of Grey Coyote, who understands what is at stake. Similar in tone to its predecessor, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, fans will appreciate this fine tale.

The Mask of Atreus
A.J. Hartley
ISBN: 042520913X, $7.99

Atlanta based Druid Hills Museum curator Deborah Miller is on her way home from the opening of a new exhibit when the exhausted woman receives a cell phone calls from a distraught man insisting she go back. Ignoring it she enters her home where the near hysterical man calls again insisting she goes back before they take the body. Though little fazes the six foot plus striking Deborah, the word body has her, and though bone tired, returns to the museum. There she is stunned when she finds her sexagenarian mentor, museum owner Richard Dixon dead with what appears to be priceless Mycenaean Age artifacts that she never saw before surrounding him. He also left a note with the word Atreus on it. Based on what she knows of the legend of Atreus and some research, Deborah thinks a Mycenaean death mask is the only thing stolen. As she follows up including overseas trips to Greece and Russia, someone tries to kill her making her reconsider that the adversary either has or is after something much more powerful than a death mask. THE MASK OF ATREUS is a terrific amateur sleuth mystery starring a likable intelligent "amazon" struggling with her Jewish roots and Massachusetts family as her biggest "issues" until the murder of her beloved mentor, a father figure to her (Deborah's dad died two decades ago). Deborah keeps the exhilarating thriller focused as she conducts her investigation using what she knows, myths and antiquities. A.J. Hartley provides a fabulous whodunit made fresh by its deep historical and archeological base and an endearing heroine.

The Kiss
Elda Minger
ISBN: 0425296815, $6.99

Though she is twenty-nine, Tess still seeks approval from her stepmother and father though none seem forthcoming. She never makes any decisions as she allow her parents to more than just direct her; they control her existence. They arranged for her to marry Paul, who she knows she does not love and doubts she likes or respects and assumes he feels likewise about her. As the days to the wedding dwindle, Tess' misgivings grow. Finally the night before, she sneaks out of her home where she runs into Will, whom she knows as a friend of her maid of honor. Though she enjoyed dancing with Will, being the dutiful daughter she goes home to marry Paul. However, the day of the nuptials at the church Tess catches Paul with his former girlfriend in a compromising position. She considers ending it right there; ignoring her parents' pressure to marry Paul anyway. Tess knows her love is waiting for her in Los Angeles if she has the guts to make her own decision for the first time in her life. THE KISS is an interesting contemporary tale starring a cast that is purposely stereotyped especially in relating to one another. Will is the knight in shining armor; Tess is the damsel in distress needing rescuing; her parents control their daughter though rationalized as for her own good but turns them into an "evil" stepmother and a pathetic father; and finally Paul is the flawed "villain" failing to protect the damsel from bad things, but also causing them. This comes together nicely as the audience wonders if Tess will follow form and go down the aisle to wed Paul or find independence and courage to run off into the sunset with Will.

The Orkney Scroll
Lyn Hamilton
ISBN: 0425208001, $22.95, 272 pp.

Toronto antique dealer Lara McClintoch owns McClintoch & Swain in partnership with her husband Clive. She has a terrific reputation one that she proudly wants to keep because multibillionaires like Blair Baldwin buy from her as much for her honesty as her expertise. Blair is purchasing an expensive writing desk from dealer Trevor Wylie if Lara authenticates it as an original. Although she does not have enough time to examine the desk in minute detail, Lara believes it is genuine; Blair buys it and invites high society to attend a gala showcasing it. However, Lara realizes from the design of the lock that the desk is a fake. Blair goes berserk chopping the desk up with an ax, and soon afterward Trevor is dead and the wealthy patron is arrested as the person with motive and the weapon an ax. Lara checks Trevor's records along with the police and notices two object that look like the desks came from the Orkney Islands off Scotland. Wanting to repair her damaged name, Lara travels to the Orkney Islands not realizing the danger that awaits her there with a second murder occurring. Armchair travelers love the Lara McClintoch mysteries as she always visits an exotic locale that is vividly drawn so that readers will believe they accompany the heroine as she conducts a fantastic whodunit investigation. Filled with plenty of historical information cleverly interwoven into a fabulous whodunit, THE ORKNEY SCROLL is one of the best entries in a powerful amateur sleuth series as Lara knows what is at stake for her and for her client. Lyn Hamilton has produced another exemplary winner.

Chocolate Dipped Death
Sammi Carter
ISBN: 042520894X, $5.99, 264 pp.

After being away from Paradise for twenty years, Abby is doing her best to prove she can go home again. Her Aunt Grace left her the Divinity Candy Shop and Abby is working hard to make it as successful as her late aunt did. She is slow to make changes as she keeps much of the traditions including the three day Confectionary Competition. She prays all will go smooth but her hopes are dashed when the runner up Evie accuses the winner Savannah Horne of cheating by using a recipe downloaded from the web. That accusation proves to be the catalyst as other community members who were wronged by Savannah make it clears they want her to leave as she has before. Abby's cousin hates her because has on her she slept with her then fiance before they married and her sister hates her because she never came home to see her sick parents. When Abby finds Savannah's murdered body, she decides to investigate because her cousin is a prime suspect. Sammi Carter has written an exciting one sitting amateur sleuth tale that will have readers feel sympathy towards the vicious victim as no one should die without a soul mourning their loss. In fact most townsfolk celebrated her death. Anyone who knew Savannah is a person of interest because to know her is to hate her. Abby is slowly making a home in the community and with her family though she remains headstrong and rejects their advice. Readers will appreciate her spunk and desire to insure justice occurs.

Blood Orange Brewing
Laura Childs
ISBN: 0425208079, $23.95, 304 pp.

Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop in the historical section of Charlotte, South Carolina. Her business has become so successful that she caters civic events with her latest assignment taking place at Augustus Chait House, whose owner Charles Chait donated it to the Heritage House. The latter is hosting a gala to raise funds to restore the house to its former glory. Unfortunately the evening ends in a tragedy when the murdered body of retired businessman Duke Wilkes is found near where Theodosia and her friends are serving refreshments. Duke's widow Pookie, encouraged by Charlotte businesswoman Delanie, the organizer of the event, asks Theodosia to look into the murder of her husband. Theodosia wants to refuse, but cannot say no the bereft woman. When another high profile business mogul is killed and Theodosia finds the corpse, her dog Earl Grey is abducted. She thinks the dog-napping and the two homicides are related and believe that when she discovers how she will know who. Laura Childs has written an exciting who-done-it made more critical to the heroine when Earl is stolen as readers feel Theodosia's heartbreak and fears though she believes her beloved canine companion will lead her to the killer. The mystery is cleverly plotted so that the steps Theodosia takes to try to resolve the case and rescue Earl seems realistic. BLOOD ORANGE BREWING is a delightful invigorating cozy.

Duchess of Fifth Avenue
Ruth Ryan Langan
ISBN: 0425208893, $6.99

In 1882 at the Founders Home Convent in Ireland, the orphan thirteen years old Lana Dunleavy protects her sickly twelve years old best friend Siobhan Riley as best she can until they finally escape. Three years later, they are heading to New York with Siobhan pregnant along with her husband Billy O'Malley, who prefers to gamble and drink than be with his wife. In 1890 Lana works at the Blue Goose Tavern where she watches the expert card playing of Stone. When Siobhan tells her she is pregnant, Lana vows to help her as Billy is too busy gambling and obtains work as a Cook's assistant at a fine mansion where to her shock she sees Stone as a guest. She assumes he is going to con her employer, but has no idea how to inform them without losing her job. However, not long after telling Billy, Siobhan and the unborn die when a carriage hits her, but crashes also killing the driver too, her husband who deliberately murdered her. Lana adopts her godson Colin while Stone "adopts" her with a plan to make her not just part of the upper crust, but his DUCHESS OF FIFTH AVENUE while she thinks the mans she loves is a con artist. This terrific "Gay Nineties" New York romance brings to life in the city at a time when immigrants struggled to obtain work while high society enjoyed the good life with parties and galas. The story line is character driven especially by the intrepid loyal Lana. Stone will remind the audience of Sky Masterson from Guys and Dolls while the extended cast augments the deep look at the era. Ruth Ryan Langan provides her fans with a powerfully descriptive historical romance.

The Majolica Murders
Deborah Morgan
ISBN: 0425209261, $6.99, 240 pp.

Back in the days when Jeff Talbot was an FBI agent and John "Lanny" Smith was an informant, the two men got to know each other on a very deep level without knowing anything specific about their personal lives. Lanny gave honest, reliable and useful information about cases the Fed was working on and was instrumental in saving Jeff's wife when she was kidnapped. Now both men are pickers, searching for treasures to sell to antique stores or individual clients. Jeff asked Lanny to look for certain piece to give as a gift to his wife; Lanny locates it at Fiona Brock's store along with a piece that he wants for himself. Fiona promises to save it for him but she sells it to someone else for an outrageously inflated price. Lanny and Fiona get into a fight witnessed by four people. Later when Lanny goes back to apologize, he finds Fiona's murdered body. The police arrest him and Jeff bails him out. Jeff is determined to find the real killer. He interviews a street person who was one of the witnesses to the fight, but she is later killed in her hotel room. Jeff assumes the two killings are linked and sets out to prove it almost getting killed in the process. Readers get a fascinating glimpse into the world of antique collecting and pickers in THE MAJOLICA MURDERS. The protagonist is a hero in every sense of the world, a caring and understanding person especially to his agoraphobic wife, understanding and accepting her condition and loves her all the more because she is trying to overcome it. This tale is as much a drama focusing on the human condition as it is a well written mystery.

Bon Bon Voyage
Nancy Fairbanks
ISBN: 0425208591, $12.95, 304 pp.

The children of food columnist Carolyn Blue send her on a food cruise sailing the Mediterranean with stops in Spain and North Africa as a Mother's Day present. Carolyn is disappointed that her husband Jason cannot accompany her, but he has a conference to attend in Canada. She asks her friend Luz, an ex cop, to go with her. Luz reluctantly agrees because it is impossible to refuse any request by Carolyn. Carolyn is dismayed that Jason asks his mother to go with Carolyn since two women do not get along. Carolyn enjoys the cruise until an obnoxious passenger disappears and she is determined to find her even sending telegrams to the authorities in Majorca where the woman allegedly disembarked. She does not know that five of the ship's officers including the chief steward and head of security are planning a mutiny to take control of the ship and then blackmail the owner into paying a fortune to prevent them from blowing up the vessel. Carolyn, Luz and a few other passengers soon realize that the captain is no longer in charge. They come up with a scheme to regain control from the mutineers, but need plenty of help from other passengers and the loyal crew members if they are to succeed; failure probably means death. The luscious description of food served on a cruise ship (recipes included) will make readers' mouths water, but this novel contains plenty intrigue and action as well some amusing counterpoints. BON BON VOYAGE grips the reader as Nancy Fairbanks has written more of a thriller than her usual amateur sleuth mystery especially since the audience knows the villains from the moment the ship sets sail and the answers to motives.

Daughter of the Bride
Francesca Segre
ISBN: 042520880X, $14.00

Twenty-nine years old financial news broadcaster Daniella enjoys her work covering the testosterone New York Stock Exchange, loves her family, and has close supportive friends. However, when it comes to men, Daniella lacks the confidence that shines through her professional efforts and every other aspect of her personal life. As Daniella's mom Maya nears her sixtieth birthday she calls her to inform her that she is engaged to be married to Stanley and would like her daughter to help her with her wedding plans. Daniella is stunned that she will be giving her mom away instead of visa versa, but though already over-worked will make time for her beloved mother. Still she wonders if any of her current men might come close to meeting the criteria of her imaginary boyfriend though the standard of her I.B. is stratospheric quality. Readers will appreciate the insight to the single ambitious woman achieving success in a male dominated arena at perhaps the sacrifice of her personal life, but not because she fails to meet men. Instead Daniella applies her high quality criteria she thrives for on the job to men and so far they seem lacking. This chick lit takes Wall St. is a fine character study of a strong woman who in spite of her mother remarrying causing her doubts refuses to lower her standards.

Bleeding To Death
Susan Wittig Albert
ISBN: 0425207994, $23.95, 304 pp.

When Pecan Spring's resident and entrepreneur China Bayles is asked by her stepson's principal to investigate high school football Coach Tim Duffy, she is unable to say no because she hates sexual predators who abuse their power with a passion. An anonymous caller claims Tim left his job in Friendship because Margarita Lopez was talking to the school and the police about his seduction of her daughter Angela using his position, power and authority to seduce her. Angela tore up all evidence of the affair and blamed herself because the coach said she was sending out signals that he couldn't resist. Ironically, Angela goes to college in Pecan Springs and China learns that the coed met a high school student who was being hit on by Coach Duffy. She doesn't want to go to the authorities for fear nobody would believe that the popular worldly coach would seduce a minor. Angela's roommate tells China that Angela was going to force him to stop his sexual deprivations but instead she commits suicide in a high priced hotel room. There are too many questions that are left unanswered but China is determined to find them so Angela can obtain justice even in death. This is another entertaining, exciting and enjoyable China Bayles mystery in which the heroine discovers that she has a half brother who wants something from her and learns that her buddy Ruby's boyfriend is not what he seems. There remain open cases that will probably be dealt with in the next book in this series and fans will be eagerly waiting the next installment in this incredibly refreshing series. The heroine, a former lawyer, is a very likeable character and when she investigates something, readers find her actions very plausible. Susan Wittig Albert has written a creative who done it in which things and people are not as they seem.

Body of Evidence
Stella Cameron
ISBN: 0778322785, $7.99, 416 pp.

In Pointe Judah, Louisiana, Emma Lachance is unhappy with her marriage to the town mayor as Orville is a womanizing cheat who verbally abuses her in private while adoring her in public; she knows his rages having witnessed dishes and TVs smashed. She considers a divorce, but has feared to do so until she found an encouraging support group. Meanwhile she receives a pleasant surprise when she runs into Finn Duhon, who once had a crush on her. However, as Emma and Finn talk and walk, they are stunned when they find the corpse of local reporter Denise Steen, who has ripped into the corrupt mayor and town council. Not long afterward other corpses of influential females follow. Emma ponders whether the link is Secrets, a support group for women as each of the dead persons belonged to the organization. She also wonders if she, as a member, could be next and whether her spouse is behind the homicide growth industry. Emma turns to Finn, a former special ops soldier, to help her investigate what is happening to her town. BODY OF EVIDENCE is an action packed romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience the moment the lead couple discover the first corpse and never slows down until the final confrontation. Emma is a courageous individual who because she is smart and brave will keep the audience wondering why she stayed so long with odious abusive Orville. Finn is a classic type hero coming to the aid of the woman he loves (though it is convenient that his former occupation is special ops and his timing in terms of coming home impeccable). Still this is an exhilarating thriller that has several Stella twists to keep readers wanting to know what next.

The Crown Rose
Fiona Avery
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023122, $25.00

In 1234, the stranger uses one word to halt a rapid dog from attacking nine years old Princess Isabelle, heir to the French throne. From that moment on she believes she will do great things for God and country. Six years later Isabelle's older brother King Louis IX rules in France. Lethal rivalries are everywhere as chivalrous knights join religious orders with each competing to be the One as well as battling the fledgling state for control while secret societies seem everywhere ready to fill any power void. While her sibling is a perfect role model as a pious individual setting an example for Isabelle, by 1844 she feels her destiny is elsewhere. Isabelle begins her life's quest accompanied by the mysterious Jean Benariel. He somehow knows what she seeks, who she is to him at long last and fully supports her on her endeavor. She also recognizes her companion from his one magical utterance that not only saved her life several years ago, but set her on this hallowed mission that is dangerous as knights battle one another claiming God's will and non-believers control the Holy Land. Three fourths historical novel and one fourth fantasy subplot come together in a fabulous thirteenth century thriller. Isabella is a terrific protagonist who holds the exhilarating story line together. Jean adds a touch of mysticism into the mix. The support cast includes many real personages of history that add to the feel of realism such as correspondence with Thomas Aquinas. THE CROWN ROSE is a fabulous fantasy historical thriller that grips readers from the moment the young Isabelle believes she knows her life's work and never slows down until the final codicil.

The Crooked Letter
Sean Williams
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591024382, $25.00

Mirror twins Hadrian and Seth Castillo hate the fact that in some unexplainable way they are linked to one another; each wants to be an independent soul, but that psychic connection they share never allows that to be as together the polar opposites are whole. That changes when someone kills Seth while Hadrian sees the stabbing occur. Yet though he remains in the realm of the living, Hadrian feels the psychic connection to Seth stronger than ever. Seth's spirit exists in the Second Realm, a containment area filled with monsters wanting to breach the "wall" and enter the First Realm where Hadrian exists. Yod notices that the chasm between the realms is diminishing; he realizes why and plans to use the brothers to enable him to conquer the First Realm. If the twins, even with guides to help them, fail to come together, Yod will breach the barrier and bring hell on earth. While Seth struggles to live, Hadrian considers death as a possibility to reunite with the sibling he never wanted to be near. Set in the same realms as the Books of the Change series, the first Books of the Cataclysm, THE CROOKED LETTER, is a deep fantasy mindful of Dante with the numerous realms, though predominantly only two are vividly described through the twin poles. The story line is filled with plenty of action, but as is the case with most opening novels in a series, the background needs explanation whether it is delightfully descriptive especially that of the Second Realm or the challenges confronting the twins require "guidance". The cast makes the tale as the siblings and their connection seem real, which in turn makes the rings of realms feel genuine. Fans of a strong fantasy thriller will appreciate Sean Williams' superb opening tale.

Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia
George Zebrowski
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023408, $15.00

In 2021 the apparently recently discovered durable element bulerite becomes the prime material in construction on earth and in space. That is until bulerite proves unstable leading to biblical destruction; millions die along with the death of the planet. The only hope for survivors is in space as we finally killed earth with technological progress. Those who escape into other areas of the solar system begin building habitats inside hollow asteroids. By 3000 (earth calendar) the new mobile environments that serve as home to the exiled earthlings lead to radical changes in society and prove once and for all evolution rules; eventually those mobile space residence comes into contact with planet bound life as they revolve around the galaxy. Perhaps a billion years into the future humanity and its macrolife existence has turned into mini mobile utopias, but now confront the first pandemic threat since the death of earth, the death of the galaxy. This is a reprint of a fabulous cerebral outer space thriller that seems even more relevant today than its 1979 release thanks to the recent debate between intelligent design vs. evolution and the administration attack on science; for instance a censuring of a NASA science report deletes reference to our sun dying in 5 billion years as being too depressing. The novel contains a new introduction and pictures, but the prime story line told in three ages over the eons remains the same and as puissant as ever. Each of the periods, 2021, 3000, and "The Dream of Time" provide a deep look at humanity where it was, where it is, and where it is going through the cycle of one family, the Bulero brood. George Zebrowski provides a thought provoking winner that remains pertinent today.

Keith Brooke
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023335, $25.00

In the ancient settlement Trecosann, Flintreco Eltarn notices by her playful flirting with the Tallyman that his younger sister by four years Amberlinetreco is on the verge of maturing into a young woman. Still he rejoices that there remains enough of the child that he grew up with. However, during a Treco clan gala, Flint cannot find Amber; he soon concludes that she is simply gone. No one seems concerned except Flint who knows she may have decided she had enough abuse from their cruel father and left on her own accord; however more likely Flint assumes the worst that slavers abducted her thinking she is a mutt for market. Feeling nothing toward any other member except perhaps hatred of his father, Flint decides over the objection of his kin, to search for the only family member he cares about, Amber; when he finds her as expects to do he will insure her safety even if he has to battle slavers and slave owners. The above two paragraphs are the opening gambit in a futuristic tale in which biotechnology has gotten out of control. There are a few purebred humans who are subject to being tossed into the changing vats. There are also Mutts who are slaves whispering that one day they will be free; obvious parallels to the slavery of this country add depth. This is a thought provoking science fiction story that is more a coming of age tale that condemns any "ology" or ism that cause harm. The fascinating story line contains several interesting spins. For instance ironically the audience knows up front what happened to Amber while Flint can only conjecture while he learns who he is in a world off kilter, as Amber is just the mechanism to propel the hero to begin his quest. Fans of deep thrillers will appreciate this fine parable of a man frightened by what the future holds, but sets forth anyway.

Here, There & Everywhere
Chris Roberson
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023319, $15.00

In 1980 British physics Professor Bonaventure sends his brilliant daughter to attend a top school in California. As Roxanne struggles to adjust to no longer being the superstar, a flash of light followed by an elderly woman suddenly appearing startles the child. The woman seems near death, but gives Roxanne the Sofia bracelet placing it on the child's arm. The light flashes again and the woman is gone with blood stains on the grass and the Sofia on her arm as proof that she had been there. Roxanne begins to learn some of the properties of the Sofia when she travels back in time to the Victorian age and ultimately ancient Egypt. She soon finds that her devices also has the capability of taking her to alternate Earths populated by various other sentient species or just slight twists of ours like a twenty-first century retro on John, Paul, George and Pete. However, vertically back and forth through time and horizontally traversing space and dimensions leave Roxanne wondering about the device, the woman, and herself as she begins to feel alone though she meets all sorts of interesting people and creatures as she journeys the multiverse. Rather than ignore time paradoxes, Chris Roberson cleverly uses them to enhance the feeling that Roxanne and readers are in deed trekking the multiverse. The heroine is terrific as a courageous spirited protagonist who ventures into the unknown with daring fortitude, but becomes lonely as the vastness of time and space seems overwhelming with no one except to a minor degree her father to share what she sees. Roxanne's personality keeps the episodes fun as she undertakes one adventure after another boosted by humorous sidebars. This is a strong time travel thriller starring a wonderful lead character who the audience will want to be her companion.

Prodigal Troll
Charles Coleman Finlay
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023327, $15.00

The invaders overwhelm Lord Gruethrist's castle. However before they complete their assault, Gruethrist assigns brave knight Yvon and trusted nurse Xarragitte to take his infant son Claye to his grandmother's home. The two day trek is filled with danger as both adults are exhausted and much that is dangerous prowl the woods. Tragedy occurs when Yvon and Xaragitte are killed by a lion. However, Claye is saved when a female troll finds and adopts him over the objection of her clan, who dub him Maggot due to his small size and sickly looking skin color. As Maggot grows up amongst the trolls who consider him inferior though he is much more intelligent than any of them, he concludes he needs to return to his species because something is lacking. He begins a trek to find himself by finding humans. This need leads him into war, a seemingly normal human occupation in which the bringers on, claiming ethical right, use other people's children to fight. That morality lesion leads him to the marauders, specifically Portia, but where that will go only time and reading the book (and sequels?) will tell. Though this coming of age fantasy starring a tremendous protagonist (Tarzan of the trolls) is a fun tale, the story line never decides between jocularity and biting social commentary. Still Maggot makes the tale as he as an "innocent" stranger when it comes to human behavior who observes the hypocrisy of people especially those claiming a higher moral position to defend violent acts. Overall thought provoking, PRODIGAL TROLL is a fine tale with the hero's quest to continue in future adventures that is if Charles Coleman Finlay is not under NSA surveillance for communicating with alien trolls.

The Healer
Michael Blumlein, MD
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023149, $25.00

At eleven years old Payne, a "Grotesque" shortened to "Tesque" is upset when they came for his older brother. Three years later, they come for him because Tesques are special as they have the uncanny ability to absorb disease from an ailing person into their body and then excrete the ailment as a "Concretion" from an organ on their side. For the next five years Payne is trained to become a healer. He feels good about his lot as he wants to help others, but also notices the bias against his race starting with his first assignment with the Pannus Mining Company being at the whimsy of his human overseers. However, over time, humans and Tesques realize that Payne is unique. Unlike his healing peers who suffer and ultimately die young from "the Drain," he seems unaffected though overworked by even the slavish Tesque standards. He even tried to cure a peer from the Drain; of which there is no return. The pressure on Payne suddenly grows as everyone wants him; used to being told what to do Payne feels lost, but refuses any longer to be a puppet on a string pulled by humans or Tesques demanding freedom. This science fiction novel is a terse character study of an idealist losing his optimism due to the demands on his skills from his handlers and his race with no one deeming him a person; THE HEALER actually even goes deeper than that with a powerful indictment of society's needs superseding the individual's rights including dying. The ending points that in darkest night, there remains a glimmer of the light of hope. Fans who enjoy a complex societal parable will appreciate this superb thriller starring a wonderful protagonist whose simple caring for the wellbeing of others becomes a burden.

Scott Mackay
PYR (Prometheus)
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023343, $25.00

The two moons make the water rich planet seem like two different worlds as tidal conditions does not allow travel beyond the imaginary barrier, the equator that divides the orb in half. On both sides of the watery "line" lie great continents with each containing an intelligent species unbeknownst to one another. Renowned sea captain Hab Miquay has made it to the "edge" of the world and returned safely. He has recently learned of a theory from a volcanologist studying ash that there must be another great land mass besides Paras on the other side of the giant tides. Miquay is euphoric as he plans an expedition to crash through the great tides to the other side. Called foolhardy with few backers, he risks his fortune to fund the quest. Miquay and a few courageous yet foolish souls survive the perilous trek crossing the impregnable barrier and indeed find the other continent, Ortok, a volcanic pocked wasteland inhabited by intelligent devious reptiles. One of them drillmaster Ortok uses the naive Miquay to help him with his plans to hop the tidal barrier to the Golden Land beyond. Though the action is non-stop and fast-paced, it is the planet and its two dominant species that make for a stupendous science fiction thriller. Hab is a fabulous protagonist who enjoys exploring the unknown, but will learn some things are best left alone once he understands how deceitfully wily Ortok and his species are. Scott Mackay provides a strong science fiction thriller in which his age of reason humans and his sentient reptile race seem real perhaps the latter because of the stereotyping starting with Genesis but more likely due to the actions of the star performers.

The Affinity Trap
Martin Sketchley
PYR (Prometheus)
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197
ISBN: 1591023394, $15.00

In the twenty-fourth century, under the previous regime of General Smythe, former military intelligence officer Alexander Delgado was a hero highly regarded by all as earth served as an "intergalactic arbitrator". However, when a bloody coup made General William Myson the earth's Commander Supreme, Delgado fell from grace and the planet became an "intergalactic bully". To solidify his control of the planet, Myson needs an alliance with the tri-gendered alien species Seriatt as they live near a wormhole that provides access to another species the Sinz whom he sells weapons to. He has begun his efforts with a deal that led to his fathering a child with Vourniass Lycern, a Seriattic Royal Household child bearer. When Lycern flees to Vulsc, the home planet of the Affinity Group, Myson orders Delgado to bring her and the baby to him as he believes their presence will secure the alliance as he anticipates an intergalactic war exploding. Delgado sees this as the first step to destroy Myson. What he never expected was the attraction to his prisoner, who after sharing sex has infected him with her secretion assissius that makes him emotionally and physically dependent on her for his release. The descriptions of a toxic earth in which those of wealth and power live above the crippled surface where the masses reside feel genuine and the other species in the galaxy are developed enough so that they appear real. Especially intriguing is the close look at gender identity in light of the Seriattic species, which also leads to sex as a key ingredient in the exhilarating plot especially as Delgado finds himself in "bondage" to Lycern. Not for everyone, this is a dark science fiction thriller with extremely close encounters of the fourth kind.

In The Eye of Heaven
David Keck
ISBN: 0765313200, $25.95, 416 pp.

Durand considers himself lucky as a second son to gain the title and the lands of a widowed and childless knight in his father's barony. All his training has gone for naught when the dead knight's son makes his appearance leaving Durand with very few choices concerning his future. He decides to fight in a tournament in hopes of obtaining a place in a powerful lord's household. He joins the household of Lord Radomor, the son of the duke of Yrlac. When Radomor learns he has been cuckolded, he locks his wife and her newborn child into a room without food or drink. Disgusted by this ugliness and wanting no part in the conspiracy to overthrow the king of the Errest and leaves to join the retinue of Lamoric the youngest son of the Duke of Abravanal. While traveling, they stumble into the otherworldly place where Durand wins a favor from THE LADY OF THE BOWER. When they enter the real world Lamoric and the man he fought in a tourney, Lord Moryn along with Durand join forces to prevent Radomor from stealing the crown through guile and treachery. If Radomor takes the crown, the Banished led by the Son of Morningstar and his Host will gain a foothold in the kingdoms and that is something Durand and Lamoric will prevent at any cost. There are plenty of battle scenes, much political intrigue and a touch of magic in this excellent sword and sorcery fantasy. The characters are well developed especially Lamoric as a king Arthur archetype and Durand embodies the Sir Lancelot mythos. The audience will want more works starring this champion.

Sara Douglass
ISBN: 0765315181, $27.95

The forests of Minstrelsea of Tencendor have been devastated and with it the magical protection disintegrated leaving the land open for attacks from demons and Hawkchildren feeding on the unprotected. Those still alive hid in Sanctuary, but remain under attack from the TimeKeepers. In the Maze, Queteb vanquishes Caelum SunSoar, killing his adversary, but remains in a rage as the Starson somehow escaped. Queteb knows this is the last essence alive that can prevent his final conquest. Thus he and his horde of demon-men and beasts begin the quest to kill the last hope. In Sanctuary, those still living grieve the death of their champion Caelum and detest knowing who Drago is, but believe they must go on the offense using guerilla tactics against a more powerful opponent. They are led by Drago the DragonStar who is also the StarSon. The war of attrition begins with Tencendor being the last stand. Treachery from within threaten the rebels. The sixth book in the WAYFARER REDEMPTION series, CRUSADER, is a must read tale for those fans of Sara Douglass who have read the previous novels. Newcomers should obtain preferably all the prequels, but at least those two tales that along with CRUSADER make up THE AXIS TRILOGY (see SINNER and PILGRIM). The superb story line is complex as allies form shaky alliances filled with doubts that they can persevere and that they have chosen wisely. Ms. Douglass is at her best with this concluding tale to an extremely powerful and magnificent mini series.

An Old Friend of the Family
Fred Saberhagen
ISBN: 0765314983, $12.95, 207 pp.

In Chicago, the wealthy Southerland family struggles to persuade Police Detective Franzen that something bad has happened to their beloved Kate Southerland. He agrees with them once her corpse is found. Unbeknownst to the family though they descend from Wilhelmina Hacker she is not just dead. At the same time, someone abducts Kate's younger brother Johnny leaving a bloody finger behind as evidence of foul play. Since CPD failed them with Kate, the family matriarch Clarissa turns to a long time family friend Dr. Emile Corday for assistance. He investigates the murder and the turning of Kate as well as the kidnapping on the assumption they are linked beyond sibling coincidence. He soon concludes that the assailants are using the Harker descendents as pawns in a deadly blood feud over a century old and a continent away with the ultimate target being Dr. Emile Corday. This is a reprint of Fred Saberhagen's fine first vampire tale with 1980's references like the Pointer Sisters. The story line is action-packed starting off as a mystery that turns into much more especially when Dracula arrives on the scene to protect the Harker brood from an evil sorceress only to realize that there is much more on the agenda. Fans of Mr. Saberhagen's vampire thrillers will appreciate AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY, which readers know lives up to its title.

The Plot to Save Socrates
Paul Levinson
ISBN: 0765305704, $25.95

In 2042 Classics Professor Thomas O'Leary shows Manhattan's Old School doctorate candidate Sierra Waters a recently discovered fragment of a Socrates Dialogue. Sierra is stunned when the great philosopher discusses an opportunity offered by a visitor Andros to his prison to escape his impending state sponsored death by traveling in time. After discussing the Dialogue with her boyfriend Max, Sierra talks to her faculty advisor who says he is going to a Wilmington hospital for an operation on an aneurysm near his heart and that he trusts Sierra to do the right thing when it comes to Socrates. Sierra and Max soon investigate the reality of time travel not just the theories and learn of a machine in London. There they begin a journey through time to several BCE eras, the nineteenth century and two decades into their future in an attempt to persuade Socrates to escape imminent death by hemlock. However the great philosopher has other plans for the leadership of Athens even while Sierra is attracted to the "enemy" and there is no guarantee that the two graduate students will return to their doctorate present. THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES is a fun lighthearted time travel romp that in some ways will remind the audience of Bill and Ted though Sierra and Max are a lot more intelligent than the latter two. The story line is fast-paced as the twenty-first century travelers move back and forth in time with several intriguing surprises to include meeting real historical figures and a terrific final spin. Paul Levinson provides a strong science fiction thriller in which readers will have all the time in the world to join the quest to save Socrates.

The Dance of Time
Eric Flint and David Drake
ISBN: 1416509313, $26.00

Though they have suffered a setback, the Malwa Empire of India led by a human-computer with the mind of a demon from the future regroups to plan a new attack on the Byzantine Empire in order to change the future so that the "New Gods" will rule. General Belisarius leads the forces opposed to the Malwa scheme. He too has an entity from the future to guide him, but that being will not direct him so Belisarius must make life and death decisions; he also has the armies of the known world behind him. The Malwa know that if they can eliminate Belisarius, the opposition will crumble as he has become the rallying cry as well as the prime strategist. Assassins try, but fail. Meanwhile Belisarus prepares for the final confrontation that will decide humanity's fate as slaves to the New Gods of Malwa or remaining the prime species on the planet. The climax to the six-book Belisarius legacy is a terific military alternate history thriller. As always in this series, the action is non-stopped yet faster than the speed of light. Fans of the previous novels will immensely enjoy the finale while pondering what if historical questions; newcomers should start at the beginning to taste the full flavor of this epic saga. Accolades will go out to Eric Flint and David Drake for this excellent science fiction rendition of the renowned sixth-century General Belisarius, who comes off the history pages during the reign of Justinian, to try to save the world.

Life Changing Books
ISBN: 0974139424, $15.00

During the Christmas break from Pennsylvania's Lincoln College, Carlie Stewart met Devon at Club Nuevo. He is nice and charming besides being a hunk at 6'5" 300 plus pounds of muscle. They start seeing each other and he gives her nice presents. Their lovemaking is heaven leading Carlie wondering if he is "the one" for her. Carlie soon meets the dark dangerous side of Devon. Besides selling drugs, he starts hitting her. Her dad, a former hitman who turned to God, insists she stay away from Devon. However, she defies her father believing Devon when he insists he loves her and will never hit her again. Not long afterward he batters her so bad she is hospitalized. This time she heeds her father's advice to stay away from him before he kills her. Devon stalks her though his "partner" Kirk Fenner pleads with him to forget Carlie, but the bruiser ignores him. Carlie knows she will have to confront her abuser though she still wants to believe he will change, but feels good that so many people insists on being at her side because they care for her. From the opening paragraph to the climax, BRUISED pulls no punches as it vividly describes the mental, emotional and physical impact of abuse not just on the victim; the stirring character driven story line also shows the psychological impact on those who love the sufferer and want to act on their behalf but feel helpless. Carlie is a wonderful protagonist who knows she must end her relationship with the violent Devon, but finds this difficult to do; interestingly it is not the physical threat of harm, but her need to believe that this time he will change and never hit her again. Her support group helps her deal with the vicious Devon as it takes the courage of a village of caring people to stop abuse.

Overnight Sensation
Trish Cook
ISBN: 0451217586, $9.99

After successfully finding out who her biological father is, helping her best friend learn the identify of the anonymous boy madly in love with her, running a marathon, and breaking and making up with Z, Trace finds dipping into ice cream containers eight hours a day at the Mixed Up Creamery tedious. Though her retro 1980s Mom Bebe does not like it, Trace ponders spending the rest of the summer in Southern California with her dad Shamus before heading to Fairfield, Connecticut for school. Finally deciding she needs quality time with Shamus, Trace decides to go west. Z begs her to stay as they will soon drift off to separate colleges. Bebe tries the guilt trip insisting she needs her help as she listens to 1980s tunes deciding which will play at her wedding. Trace, a courageous sleuth, handles the pressure and leaves to spend the last few weeks left of vacation time with her father. Shamus provides Trace with a room, material comforts, and a nasty punk haircut so she can hide her identity from the tabloids though it was her butt that has become an OVERNIGHT SENSATION. She makes friends with teen rocker K.C. who is the only sunshine in her California stay as she fails to receive what she most needs, her dad's love; instead she gets his disproval for screwing up. The sequel to the delightful teen tale SO LYRICAL is a wonderful character driven story of a girl seeking the fatherly love of a parent she recently met. The cast is wonderfully eccentric yet seem genuine as each has an impact on Trace just like she influences them. Just for the record, fans will appreciate this amusing family drama that will send teens jamming to ancient recordings by Queen.

Romantically Challenged
Beth Orsoff
ISBN: 0451217748, $13.95

In Los Angeles entertainment lawyer Julie Burns feels good about her life overall with her success as an attorney and her close friends. However, Julie's current boyfriend is Tickle Me Elmo, as she has not dated since being dumped though her loving mom and her caring buddies want her to find someone. Julie figures if she serial dates enough men, the probability is that she will meet "The One" though her rule about not dating those in the business dramatically reduces the available population. She considers Joe the bartender and Steve the lawyer, but rejects the wannabe actor. Julie tries matchmaking Just A Date, but none of her perspective mates seem right as either the date is from hell, the man is from hell, or the chemistry is in limbo. On the verge of accepting that she is ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED, Julie is ready to give up the fight as there cannot be a single male for her left in Southern California, but cheerleading friends led by her mom will not let her give up. This amusing satirical chick lit tale stars a likable protagonist who represents the struggles of many women skirmishing in the dating arena. The story line focuses on Julie's lack of dating success with the dates keeping the refreshing plot moving forward. Beth Orsoff provides an amusing contemporary tale that though filled with poignancy and angst never loses its focus of a self-deprecating female wondering where her prince, make that jester, is.

Engaging the Enemy
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
ISBN: 0345447565, $25.95, 416 pp.

Vatta Transport Ltd is a trading family that deals with several different systems in the far distant future when communications in the vastness of space are conducted by ansibles. The Vatta Compound on the planet Slotter Key is bombed to oblivion followed by an assault on their fleet that leaves few vessels operational. One of those still flying is Fair Kaleen captained by Ky Vatta who killed her cousin Osman for crimes to horrific to mention. Ky is not alone as her cousin Stella flies nearby even as pirates attack a planet just as Ky leaves it. At her next stop she learns that the pirates control that solar system and communication destroyed because he devastated the ansibles. Ky finally concludes the pirates are organized and led by Gammis Turek. She also figures out that the attack on her fleet and the compound come from the same pirates. Ky hopes to gather a counter force to fight back and restore interstellar trade. Elizabeth Moon writes military science fiction that is so good new readers will scramble to buy her back list soonest while fans will anxiously wait for the new moon to arise. There will a sequel to ENGAGING THE ENEMY because many questions still remain to be answered. This book is a totally exhilarating sci fi thriller starring a delightful somewhat roguish spunky female reminiscent of Princess Leia not afraid to plunge into the center of the hostilities.

The Book of Skulls
Robert Silverberg
Del Rey
ISBN: 0345471385, $12.95

The Manhattan Jew Eli found THE BOOK OF SKULLS in a Columbia University library. He and is three Harvard University mates, Timothy, Oliver, and Ned agree to head to Arizona where the monks reside who control the secrets of the tome. The four know that two must die for two to gain immortality. They drive from New England for the southwest on a fifty-fifty chance of eternal life and youth. In Arizona, the quartet meets the monks and become postulants in the monastery. They already know that three must murder one and one of the three must commit suicide for the other two to "pass" the test. As they reveal their inner secrets to one another each wonders will they die before they turn twenty-one or live as a twenty year old forever? This is a reprint of a terrific early 1970s tale that once begun a reader cannot stop until the novel is finished. Robert Silverberg, before Valentine became a fantasy icon, provided a deep look at the human condition especially life and death in an early game of survivor. The story line rotates viewpoint though purposely not equally so that the audience can see inside the soul of each participant. Interestingly Mr. Silverberg stereotypes his foursome also on purpose so that the reader must ponder even more so why. THE BOOK OF SKULLS remains a powerful glimpse at human desires.

Star Wars: Outbound Flight
Timothy Zahn
Del Rey
ISBN: 0345456831, $26.95

Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth argues with the Appropriation Senate to support his project to send fifty thousand colonists to another galaxy accompanied by Six Jedi Masters and twelve Jedi Knights along with the crew for six Dreadnaught vessels tied together around a central core. Just as it looks like his project will not go forth, Jorus stops a deadly conspiracy that he finds too convenient and lucky to occur at this moment; he wonders who, perhaps evil Sith Lord Darth Sidious or even manipulative Palpatine, orchestrated the potentially lethal incident but also ponders why. Still Jorus gains supporters in influential circles and the mission is on. When the Outbound Flight reaches the edge of Unknown Space, the alien Chiss Ascendancy attacks the ship wanting to repel the "invaders". Meanwhile brilliant strategist Thrawn has his own agenda that could include destroying the mission or worse. Thus instead of the peaceful first contact with alien races and colonization of unknown worlds that Jorus envisioned, the Outbound Flight project members face hostilities and all out war with survival in question. This is an exciting tale that brings to life one of the most legendary sidebars in the Star Wars mythos. The action-packed story line showcases Timothy Zahn at his best as the readers will see glimpses of the varying personalities in the early days of power struggles that make up the latter years conflict. Though the inclusions of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on the flight itself even if they depart before the non political challenges arise seems an unnecessary pampering sidebar to garner readers this is one escapade that does not need extraneous albeit short force as fans will appreciate Mr. Zhan providing the rest of the story.

Treasure Forest
Cat Bordhi
ISBN: 0441013694, $14.00, 304 pp.

When the grandmother of Ben and Sara dies from a heart attack, the children wonder if they will ever be able to play in the woods again that adjoined Daphne's home. Their mother Lily hates the woods and left home as soon as she could, never to return and only reluctantly sending her children to visit their grandma. Daphne leaves her home to Lily asking her daughter to live there for one year. Hesitantly Lilly agrees with the stipulation, but also arranges for someone to watch over Ben and Sara when they enter the woods. The children absorbed the Zen-like teachings of their grandmother and feel connected to the woods and each other. Ben receives a letter from his grandmother at the time the will was read; she asks him to figure how to find a treasure at the bottom of a pond without moving the water. Sara was advised to heed the teachings of Daphne's mentor Esther. When Sara disappears with Esther to a place no one else can go, searchers seek the missing child, but only Ben connected to his sibling can find her if he can solve his grandmother's riddle. Even before the family moves into grandma's house, magical occurrences happen and the woods seem filled with an essence of an otherworldly mysticism setting, a fascinating atmosphere within a mundane world. The entire family learns from Sara's disappearance especially the young girl who seems destined to fill her grandmother's legacy. Cat Bordhi has written a somewhat different thought-provoking fantasy that magically charms her readers into needing to know what comes next.

Definitely Dead
Charlaine Harris
ISBN: 0441014003, $23.95, 336 pp.

Since the vampires have came out of the closet, Bon Temps, Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse, a very powerful telepath, has bounced from one life threatening incident to another. One of her biggest problems is the Van Pelts who want to know what happened to their daughter Debbie. Sookie doesn't want to tell the shifter family she killed her in self-defense yet they continue to hound her through representatives to get her to talk to them. On a date with were-tiger Quinn they are attacked by teen-Weres who were recently bitten. Neither Quinn nor Sookie know who was supposed to be the target. It's almost a relief to travel with the queen of New Orleans's lawyer the mostly demon Mr. Cataliades to New Orleans to settle her cousin Hadley's estate. Sookie is the only heir but someone is going to extraordinary lengths to keep her from looking at Hadley's possessions. Sookie thinks it is because she was the queen's lover and in trying to avoid danger, Sookie once again finds herself in the middle of deadly vampire politics. Take a dose of mystery, a cup of fantasy and a pinch of romance blended together and readers will have some idea what the Sookie Stackhouse novels all about. Charlaine Harris has created her own sub-genre with tongue in cheek (or should I say fang) humor that pops up the oddest times yet is used brilliantly as a tension reliever during the height of intense action scenes. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this special one of a kind series and after reading this book, will definitely want to obtain the backlist of books in this wonderful series.

To Serve and Submit
Susan Wright
ISBN: 0451460685, $14.00, 304 pp.

At birth Marja was touched by the Otherworld growing up able to see the tiny magical beings, the olfs, and being able to commune with the water spirits. One day, Lexander the slave procurer and trader, who teaches young folks to give pleasure in Vidaris, spots Marja and offers two cows for her. A year later he returns and the deal is made with Marja's agreement. Marja takes to the exotic arts like a duck in water. On the day she graduates, a winged boat comes for her but Lexander stops her from boarding. He tells Marja he loves her and he wants to be with her forever away from his evil consort Helenas. He sends her to stay with Silveta in Markland until he comes for her. Silveta owes Marja because she was raped by Birgin who wants to have relations with Silveta and would have if the two women hadn't changed places. When she arrives at Silveta's estate, she is the reason that Birgin and Silveta's husband dual. Her husband dies and Birgin becomes the leader of Markland but Silveta is determined with Marja's help to find a band of warriors who will fight on her side in return for land. Marja is reunited with Lexander and together they seek to defeat Birgin even though Marja fears him. He admits though he walks among man, he is not a man but an entity more powerful and intends to put a stop to the buying of slaves for his masters. Although there are many graphic sexual scenes in TO SERVE AND SUBMIT they blend in nicely to the storyline and are sensual rather than pornographic. This spellbinding fantasy has plenty of political intrigue and battle scenes. The heart of this work lies in the characters of Marja who accepts her sensual nature as a normal personality trait and Lexander who realizes what he is doing is wrong and hopes to rectify it in the second of this two book romantica fantasy series.

Proven Guilty
Jim Butcher
ISBN: 0451460855, $23.95, 416 pp.

Although Harry Dresden, the only wizard who outed himself, has been at odds with the White Council of Wizards, he finds himself in the position of being a regional Warden. The war with the Red Court vampires has decimated the ranks of the wizards and every full powered one is needed to protect mortals from the supernatural. Harry, like every other wizard, is wondering why Faerie hasn't gone to war with the Red Court since they entered the land of the Faerie without permission. Harry has contacts in both courts of Faerie and is asked by his superior to find out why at least the Winter Court hasn't gone to war. Harry eventually learns that the White Court wants to go to war against the vampires but has to protect its borders from the Winter Court. Harry also has to find out why supernatural entities from Nevernever wearing the faces of monsters from horror films are entering the mortal realm and feeding off the fear of humans. When one of the entities take someone Harry cares for into the Winter Court, he and his allies risk their lives to bring her back. Mix elements of fantasy, mystery and horror and readers will have an idea how unique and spellbinding the Dresden novels really are. PROVEN GUILTY is one of the best books in the series because as much action as there is in the book, the protagonist with his vulnerability makes the audience care about him and want him to find happiness in his personal life and peace in his professional one. Jim Butcher is one of the best authors writing urban fantasy today with his refreshingly original tales.

The Shining City
Kate Forsyth
ISBN: 0451460804, $7.99, 544 pp.

Half human-half satyricorn, Rhiannon killed one of Righ Lachlan's favorite Yeoman Guards Connor the Just in order to save her satyricorn mother. She is now in the Sorrowgate Tower prison awaiting trial for murder along with the Laird O Fettercain who Rhiannon helped capture. His crimes include murder and necromancy as he tried to raise his dead brother. The Laird's servant seatie Deidre is placed in the household of Joanna the Mild, Connor's sister and the head of the College of Healers. Rhiannon's lover Lewen, an apprentice-witch and squire to Lachlan, promises her he will be there for her but Olwynne NiaCuinn bewitches him will a love potion leaving Rhiannon desolate. At her trial, she is found guilty but Lachlan is going to pardon her but before he can do that well placed conspirators act to free the imprisoned laird, unseat Lachlan and spirit away his heir. Rhiannon is the only one who can help undo some of the damage the conspirators caused and she is willing to do it if it means freeing Lewen from Olwynne's spell. Book Two of Rhiannon's Ride is a fine fantasy that magically charms the audience. Fans of the Shannara series and the works of Raymond E Feist will love THE SHINING CITY, a work where species of myth and legend live side by side with humans. In fact there is so much inter-species mating that it is hard to tell who is a pureblood anymore. This is a character driven work but there is just enough action to please all fantasy lovers.

Once Upon an Autumn Eve
Dennis L. McKiernan
ISBN: 0451460693, $23.95

The knight with blood pouring from his wounds enters Autumnwood in the magical land of Faery. Goblins pursue him until he falls from his horse as if dead. Princess Liaze quickly chases the goblins away from the fallen warrior. Realizing he still lives, she takes him to her home to heal while shocked that somehow he already has entered her heart. Sieur Luc and Liaze fall in love at first sight. However, someone abducts Luc from the safety of Liaze's demesne. Clues provided by the Fates point towards Liaze's enemy the Wizard Orbane and his three witches Hradian, Iniquí and Nefasí though why Luc is taken makes no sense to Liaze. She begins a quest to rescue her beloved with only the limited help of the Fates and the true love connection between their hearts to guide her. The third once upon a season fantasy (see ONCE UPON A WINTER'S NIGHT and ONCE UPON A SUMMER DAY) contains a delightful gender bender heroine coming to the rescue of the captured knight rather than the other way as happens in the somewhat similarly plotted fairy tale Glass Mountain. The story line is fast-paced, but the villains seem more like caricatures than fully realistic evil people. Still with a terrific twist involving Luc and a fabulous female champion, young fans of feature length fairy tales will enjoy Dennis McKiernan's latest trek into the land of Fairy.

Jennifer Roberson
ISBN: 0756401720, $25.95, 640 pp.

The province of Sancorra has been occupied by the Hecari horde and when too many native inhabitants congregate in one place the victors cull the natives, killing one in ten. Davyd and Audrun with their four children flee Sancorra to make a new life for themselves in Atalanda province where they have kin. At the tent city settlement where the caravans set off from, Audrun talks Master Jorda into taking them with his team until they get to the shortcut. From there they will go on alone. The only problem is that the shortcut is near Alisanos, a land that is sentient and according to Rhuan, a member of the mysterious Shoia race, is planning to destroy everything in its path. The Shoia consider themselves superior to men with mysterious powers including the ability to die six times before their final death. Rhuan likes humans unlike his kin Brodhi who is also in the human world . When Brodhi communicates through his blood bond Rhuan learns that the tent city settlement was culled by the Hecari. The Karavans turns around except for Davyd and his family. After warning the settlement that Alisanos is on the move, Rhuan rushes to find Davyd and his family so that he can rescue them if he can. In this exciting and enjoyable high fantasy novel, Jennifer Roberson creates a world that is so meticulously detailed, readers can actually visualize it. Lyrical prose combined with brilliantly developed characters make Karavans a magical treat. The point of view rotates between various characters so the audience knows at all times the moods and feelings of the protagonists. Like any book written by Ms. Robertson there is some stunning surprises that catch the reader off guard. The audience will look forward to the next book in this exciting series.

Harriet Klausner

Laurel's Bookshelf

recorded at Blackdog Studios
Rochester NY
180 Slab Cabin Lane, State College PA 16801
ID # 89076 60402, $10.00, CD with 9 tracks

I rarely review music CDs, and when I do they have to be distinctive in some way. Elwyn is definitely unique. Their sound is sophisticated, bluesy and jazzy, an addicting blend of sounds and rhythms. The members of this exceptional group are, in alphabetical order: John Adamski, drums; Dave Anderson, guitar; Ryan Ford, vocals and guitar; and Brian Miroff, bass; with guest saxophone by Ben Masters on tracks 3 and 9. All songs on this CD are written by Anderson and Ford.

This group is not a clone of a hundred others you can name. Their music has the sound and feel of classic improv sessions in the New York City and L.A. club scene. Exciting combinations of sly lyrics, penetrating guitar riffs and musical nuances rarely found in young groups surprised me. Elwyn's sound communicates the raw sexual vigor rock and roll brought to music decades ago, and yet this CD contains far more than simple rock sounds. "Bittersweet", for example, features smooth and sexy vocals and music. In contrast, "Castle in the Sky" scores hotly erotic Latin rhythms and the sensual vocals to back them up. And "Smoke" features guitar and drum work that stood my hair on end. To paraphrase one lyric, Elwyn is breaking their fall with their hearts. That is, they don't hold back anything in lyrics or music and present themselves with passion, skill, and a musical sophistication that surely must drive live audiences to a frenzy.

Elwyn has gained a devoted following online and in the Penn State area, but I predict
it's only a matter of time before their fan base spreads. On St. Patrick's Day they
will participate in the second round of the Emergenza Music Festival in Cambridge
Mass. I wish them luck. This is one new fan who will be pulling for them and
listening to their music from now on. Meanwhile, their first CD is highly recommended.

L. A. Despair
A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times
John Gilmore
Amok Books
1764 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027
ISBN: 1878923161, $19.95, 339 pages

In his introduction, Anthony Mostrom describes this book as "Portraits of the Unredeemed: John Gilmore's Desolate Landscape." And a desolate landscape it is for certain. These five stories of the famous or near-famous are raw, shocking, and written in the best Gilmore "true crime" style. These are true crime classics, painstakingly researched and told from an insider's perspective.

"Bad Eddie and Other No Good People" details the life of John Holmes and his benefactor, sometimes friend Eddie Nash. In his heyday, Holmes was hailed as the God of Porn, for reasons that will be clear to readers. Eddie Nash was a ruthless hood who knew how to grease wheels and make piles of money. Their uneasy alliance forms a backdrop to Holmes' doomed career and final years as pathetic has been flunky to Nash.

"Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" is a Hollywood success story gone horribly bad. Barbara Payton showed up in Hollywood an electrifyingly beautiful young girl and left as a ruined shell, feet first. Her early promise fizzled fast thanks to drugs, alcohol, and insatiable sexuality. Franchot Tone thought she was just what the doctor ordered and was briefly married to her. Bob Hope enjoyed her wildness for awhile. Barbara had an untamable wild streak and took whatever she wanted, but in the end Hollywood showed her who was boss.

"Hard Luck" shares the awful life journey of Billy Cook, a soulless young man with H-A-R-D L-U-C-K spelled out on the fingers of one hand. Those who knew him said Billy lived in his own world, totally lacking in human compassion, feeling, or sentiment. The murderous rampage he cut through life is brilliantly written and powerfully told by Gilmore. Cook comes off as what he was: an unloved stray cur that somehow survives to adulthood with no reason to love or trust anyone. From birth to death, he caught no breaks and gave none.

Barbara Graham is the infamous "Ice Blonde" with an angelic face, curvaceous body, and emptiness where her conscience should be. Graham followed her impulses, used people for her own ends, and was never sorry for anything. Except for her outward beauty, she had no saving graces. She liked to hang with criminals and murderers and no amount of pretending to be sweet and innocent could save her in the end. Her part in the vicious slaying of an elderly woman takes Graham to the gas chamber.

In "Shame on You" we follow the meteoric rise and spectacular burn out of Spade Cooley, Hollywood's King of Western Swing. The popular "Fiddlin' Cowboy" entertained his fans in movies and on TV, was a friend of Roy Rogers, and built an empire with his musical talent. But like so many other phenomena before and since, his weaknesses ruined him. The shocking murder of Cooley's wife ends his career, and his privileged life.

A review of Gilmore's work in Maximum Rock 'n Roll says, "John Gilmore is one of the best nonfiction writers of our time, the type of writer that grabs you by the throat and by the heart." I agree totally with that assessment. His topics may be unsettling, and not for the squeamish, but his writing is pure Grade A.

Matt Arnold
Iceni Books
610 E. Delano Street, Ste 104, Tucson AZ 85705
ISBN: 1587363216, $13.95, 155 pages

Taylor Weir is an intelligent, perceptive young man who enjoys expanding his mind. He's easily bored, tends to flit aimlessly from one college course to another until he lands a job at Bean's. Taylor is perfect for Bean's. After all, serving up customers with their coffee and muffin in a pleasant atmosphere is an important social contribution. Taylor has no money worries, thanks to an inheritance that provides a tidy interest for his needs. And he lives simply, does not require much in the way of creature comforts. Taylor is an easygoing guy who's happy with his life.

Responsibility slowly molds Taylor. Gone are the marathon drinking binges, and in their place he settles into a predictable routine at Bean's. Nothing much rattles him, until his dying mother makes a shocking deathbed confession. Taylor is still reeling from his mother's confession and death when he meets Ging, who compounds his shock by blurting out a psychic truth. Ging is tired of being seen as a freak, but can't ignore her psychic gifts any more than Taylor can forget his mother's confession.

Over several month's time, Ging and Taylor fall in love. They hike the beautiful Cascade Mountain range, and travel from one end of Washington State to another as Taylor seeks the truth about his mother's confession. Along the way he matures and gains new perspectives on life and human strength.

The natural wonders of Washington State add depth and beauty to this novel about love, trust, and a young man's quest for truth. Crossroads is Matt Arnold's first novel. His writing style is easygoing, like Taylor, and the characters are well developed and believable. This is an excellent first book. I hope it won't be his last.

Menage A Trois with the 21st Century
Eileen R. Tabios
Tatartie 3A4, 02620 Espoo, Finland
No ISBN, $13.95, 128 pages

As a reviewer, writer, and poet, I enjoy words and their combinations. Occasionally, a writer or poet stuns me to silence and Ms. Tabios accomplished that with ease. Her work is voluptuous, sensual, incredible impressionist brush strokes of words, colors, tastes and scents. She believes poetry must burn, and burn it does in every possible way.

In Part One she brings a poet-princess, daughter of the King of Sumeria, into the 21st Century. Enheduanna was the first documented female poet. Her work was recorded 43 centuries ago on cuneiform tablets. Part Two introduces readers to Gabriela Silang, a heroine martyred in 18th century Philippines. Ms. Tabios intends that readers become the third participant in this figurative menage a trois as Enheduanna and Gabriela experience modern life through poetry. This concept was brilliantly conceived and presented, thanks to Ms. Tabios' skillful use of words.

"Enheduanna #1" represents the ethereal nuances of timeless spirits, with city streets as a backdrop in this excerpt:

"And are you thinking of me as you pace the streets of a city whose sidewalks have memorized the atonal rhythm of my footsteps? Surely you have waked through the spaces I have hollowed out from the air and left behind in anticipation of you. Through the years I have lightened the forlorn dimness of many alleys by leaving behind single- stemmed red roses -- has your shoulder been tapped by their perfume? Has my scent threaded itself yet through the circles wind-drawn with the ink of your curly hair?"

Tabios weaves the abstract and surreal into Enheduanna's world. I chose this excerpt from "Enheduanna #13" as example:

"I see the jade line of the horizon as my armless hands continue to play the piano, where fingers tend to move towards the highest scale immortalized in pale ivory. There is a reason today why our eyes know each other's faces as abstract. There is a poem awaiting my tears of white salamanders. There is a reason why you brood over realizing the sky is an image. There is a reason for certain secrets and why they should not exist. There is a reason why a poem lacks a body but already wears a title: Eternal Love."

A long poem ties the 19 journeys of Enheduanna together and brings them full circle before the Gabriela couplets are introduced. Gabriela's story is far different from Enheduanna's. I've tried to choose couplets that reflect that difference in time and space. Spanish colonizers of her land hanged Gabriela. Written records then were scarce. In these couplets, Ms. Tabios speaks for and inserts herself into the persona of the widowed martyr who protested the annihilation of her people. I chose one powerful excerpt from "Treason's Etymology" for example:

No metaphors exist
for genocide --

"Disguise" clearly portrays a woman -- Tabios or Gabriela? -- who knows how to present herself to public scrutiny:

Barely an inch on the rims
of water and wine Baccarats

bear pink souvenirs
smudged by my tip-toeing lips --

Occasionally, my palms lie
beneath cream damask

folded on my lap
whose knees never spread –

In "Nightmare", Gabriela sleeps uneasily, dreaming of physical and spiritual hunger:

I turn Hunger into an ivory-handled knife
slicing into pears and honeydews

at the apex of ripeness --

And in "False Theorems", Gabriela weeps helpless couplets to gods who rarely listen to human pleas:

I could whisper to you
the grinding

sound of weeping

when one unthinkingly

clouds and hawks
from mountaintops to clear away

the table of the sky --

Eileen Tabios is a multi-published poet, an editor, and a publisher in her own right. These poems are gently or ferociously bitten into tender flesh by females from ancient to modern times. Ms. Tabios' work is highly recommended.

Campaigns of the 53rd OVI: 1861 – 1865
Earl Saunders Elliott, Jr.
2021 Pine Lake Rd. Ste 100, Lincoln NE 68512
ISBN: 0595360521, $13.95, 96 pages

In this follow up to Three Days at Shiloh, the author describes a chronology of battles fought by the 53rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and their comrades. Through references that include personal letters, historical documents, and daily logs, Mr. Elliott provides a stunning picture of daily life for troops during the Civil War.

The focus, of course, is the Union Army in general and the 53rd OVI in particular. Included is the official list of battles, locations and dates, and a day-by-day chronology of conditions faced by troops. The lot of foot soldiers was difficult. In addition to marching many miles per day, they experienced horrible extremes in weather, chronic illness, lack of food and potable water, and rarely had a peaceful sleep. Still, the 53rd fought in every seceded state except Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. They battled their way through Tennessee and Mississippi, rebuilding burned bridges as they went. They won the 47-day siege of Vicksburg and the 7-day assault on Jackson. Mile by bloody mile they advanced on Atlanta, facing entrenched snipers and battling hand to hand. Marching for hundreds of miles on blistered, bleeding feet, they cut and burned their way across Georgia, crushing the will of the Confederacy in the end. At war's end, many had nothing but tattered rags to cover them and were forced to march shoeless, half starved and sick, but victorious in preserving the Union. I was humbled to read of the losses and sacrifices made by both sides in this bitter war.

Young Nathan Saunders Elliott, who enlisted as a Private in 1861, had advanced in rank to First Lieutenant by war's end. He survived to return home, marry, and raise a family of children. The author shares this history so all descendents of Nathan S. Elliott will understand the sacrifices made for them. Campaigns of the 53rd OVI is not only a Civil War chronology. It's also the history of one man and family that helped shape our country.

Three Days at Shiloh
Earl S. Elliott, Jr.
2021 Pine Lake Rd. Ste 100, Lincoln NE 68512
ISBN: 0595277004, $10.95, 67 pages

A grandson of one Union combatant wrote this historical perspective of the 53rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry involvement at Shiloh. The author is a scholar. His painstaking research and references add depth to the historic details.

Nathan Saunders Elliott was a raw recruit when he volunteered in October 1861 as a private at the beginning of the Civil War. Shiloh was the first major battle fought by the 53rd OVI, under the command of U.S. Grant and William T. Sherman. Among the military commanders and officers were glory seekers, cowards, patriotic warriors, and political hopefuls. At Shiloh, in April 1862, inexperienced Union troops with outdated rifles and limited ammo faced superior firepower. Confederate troops were entrenched in rolling timberland along the Tennessee River. Complicating infantry maneuvers, the rivers and creeks flanking Shiloh battleground were near flood stage.

Looking back on Shiloh from our modern era, it's sobering to consider what these officers and men on both sides endured. Disease and diarrhea from drinking tainted water decimated the 53rd. Food and supplies were limited due to swampy ground and muddy roads. Medical care for the sick and wounded was rudimentary at best. Over three days' time at Shiloh, Union troops were overrun by the Confederacy but went on to fight 67 battles over 6400 miles through six states to eventually win the war. There were no troop trains, wagons, or mounts to transport them. The 53rd walked, slogged, and battled their way to victory over four years' time.

At Shiloh, Nathan Saunders Elliott earned a battlefield commission advancing him to Corporal. This would be the first of several such commissions earned through his intelligence and courage under fire.

Earl S. Elliott, Jr. wrote this memoir for relatives, but it will definitely appeal to anyone interested in Civil War history.

Unfinished Book
Deborah P. Kolodji
Shadows Ink Publications
1209 Milwaukee Street, Excelsior Springs MO 64024
ISBN: 1932447555, $6.95, 22 page chapbook

Deborah Kolodji is a member of The Haiku Society of America, The California Federation of Chaparral Poets, and The Science Fiction Poetry Association. Her poems have appeared in many publications, and she is the winner of the Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Award Chapbook Contest. This chapbook, called a "harvest of poems" and an "unfinished book" by the author, features work that ranges from subtle to stunning.

A skillful haiku poet can communicate much in few words. "corn silk" is one example of haiku's simplicity and beauty:

corn silk
a child's face peeking out
behind the stalks

Roses become a stunning reflection of one woman's life in haiku form. This series haunted me long after each haiku had been read and contemplated:

he picks a rose
from her mother's garden
first date

dried roses
the yellowed sash
of her prom dress

dozen red roses
she examines the bruise
in the mirror

stray rosebud
from the office companion
another re-org

"Infidelity" is a free form poem, powerfully written about a woman who divorces her husband after finding a paper trail to hotels and restaurants shared with his young lover. I chose one excerpt as example:

and each paper became one more skin
to peel away, the round illusion slowly shrinking,
a perfect marriage becoming memory –

"Gingko in November" combines reality with metaphor to create a pleasing word picture:

yellow leaf fans
waving autumn goodbye
hitchhiking on wind gusts dropping

The work inside this chapbook emphasizes why Deborah Kolodji is a poet honored and respected by her peers. Unfinished Book is exceptional and highly recommended.

Cow Tippers
Linda Simone
Shadows Ink Publications
1209 Milwaukee Street, Excelsior Springs MO 64024
ISBN: 1932447571, $6.95, 20 page chapbook

Linda Simone's poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. In this chapbook she shares her world and moments of her life with humor, clarity, and poignance. Her poems are equally pleasing whether read silently or aloud.

In "Day Laborers", the poet looks out her window and records what she sees so clearly that every reader can share in the vision. I quote one excerpt:

They tear down and they build up.
Three men,
with rhythmic revolutions
of sledgehammers, smash
the shifted wall to rubble –
the wall that no longer retains.

"Plum" is sensual and humorous as Ms. Simone shares her delight with readers:

Even the word tastes
firm and cool,
makes you open to bite
a chunk that rests
luscious on your tongue…

Ms. Simone excels at creating striking metaphors. I read and reread "Black Birds", where birds become "…black clots in leafless arteries and veins." And in "Log", a sentimental favorite, a fallen tree takes on human spirit:

She leans, diagonal, a gray lady
nearly fallen. Around her neck,
a choker of putty funghi.
Wrinkled skin peels like old wallpaper
and weedy hair hangs
disheveled. Underfoot,
slugs and black armored bugs
fester. No one watches
or cares as she rots
back to black earth.

"Toss-aways" addresses the mundane in life and does this in ways so beautiful we rethink what may be trash or treasure. I quote one verse in excerpt:

The detritus of our lives
could fill five museums: all the balled
tissues that blotted tears of despair,
the perfectly good friendships abandoned,
the times we used to sleep late
or consciously breathe in air –
when air was fresh.

The everyday visions and thoughts in Cow Tippers are memorable because Linda Simone writes poetry everyone can understand and appreciate. Words and sounds are skillfully combined for maximum impact as she recreates the world around her. This chapbook is highly recommended.

The Night Journal
Elizabeth Crook
Viking – The Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 0670034770, $24.95, 454 pages

I must compliment Ms. Crook because this book totally absorbed my interest from start to finish. Some critics labeled The Night Journal "chick-lit" but the story certainly goes far beyond that. This novel featuring four generations of women mesmerized me, and I'm rarely mesmerized by anything these days.

Meg Mabry is a 37-year-old biomedical engineer devoted to her work maintaining dialysis equipment. Her love life is less than spectacular. Meg suffers migraines and has dissociated herself from life in general in an attempt to maintain some sort of control. Over shadowing everything Meg does is her domineering maternal grandmother, Claudia Bass, known as Bassie to her fans. Bassie is a respected author and historian, a once beautiful woman still trying to paint a fresh face over her wrinkled one. Documenting her mother Hannah's life from journals has always been Bassie's raison d'etre. Nina Witte is Meg's much-married mother. Being between husbands is a chronic condition for Nina. Bassie raised Meg because Nina's alcoholism and penchant for men interfered with child rearing.

Bassie is curmudgeonly, opinionated, and demanding. She resents her advanced age and failing health and focuses much of that resentment on Meg. Meg grudgingly juggles her job and Bassie's needs but stubbornly refuses to do the one thing that would please her grandmother – read Hannah Bass's journals about life in New Mexico. When Bassie is forced to travel to her birthplace in New Mexico, she asks Meg to accompany her. Meg refuses at first but finally gives in. Bassie would drive a saint to drink, but despite her pretenses to the contrary, Meg loves her. What both women discover in New Mexico alters their world in stunning ways.

In New Mexico, voices from the past seem more real than those in the present. In fact, the present seems like a pale imitation of life when Meg finally starts reading Hannah Bass's journals. Hannah was a woman of sensuality and strength, a skilled chronicler of life in the Desert Southwest and Victorian era. Hannah's courtship and marriage to Elliott Bass and her friendship with Vicente Morales enthrall Meg. Elliott is intense and self-assured, a railway engineer and secretive man who loves Hannah with passion. Despite that love, and his devotion to their daughter Bassie, Elliott is gone from home for long periods of time. Hannah's journaling ends when she dies at age 31 of consumption, but Meg and Bassie discover key parts of her story remain untold. Truths lie buried in the desert southwest. Shocking mysteries are revealed. And Meg finally learns the importance of genuine love and family ties.

I loved this book, every word of it. The past lives through Hannah's journals and melds itself inextricably with the present. If The Night Journal is an example of Elizabeth Crook's work, I want to read more.

Laurel Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Margaret's Bookshelf

Fallen Angels
Bernard J. Bamberger
The Jewish Publication Society
2100 Acrch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
0827607970 $18.00

Fallen Angels: Soldiers Of Satan's Realm by Bernard J. Bamberger is an interpretive exploration of Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) story of angels as recorded in Genesis, and its role in shaping western religion, philosophy, art, and literature. Providing the reader with a compelling and interesting collection of scripture based and Talmudic lore, including Lilith's creation and Satan's fall, and subsequent misinterpretations and misguided beliefs over the millennia, Fallen Angels deftly brings readers through some of the most engaging tales from the Abrahamic faiths otherwise hidden or forgotten, as well as what effects they may have on society in the west. Fallen Angels is very highly recommended reading, especially for students of the Abrahamic religions, including those searching for a more knowledgeable approach to Jewish traditions and teachings particularly, but the Muslim and Christian faiths as well.

Festival Of Freedom
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
KTAV Publishing House
930 Newark Ave, Jersy City, NJ 07306
0881259187 $25.00

Festival Of Freedom: Essays On Pesah And The Haggadah from the deftly written works of the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993) is an outstanding collection essays, studies and documentation of the great author's interpretation of Passover and the Haggadah. Consisting of ten knowledgeably written essays: An Exalted Evening; The Seder Night; Slavery and Freedom; The Symbolism of Matzah; The Inner Transformation on Pesah Night; Seders of Denigration and Praise; Arami Oved Avi; Jewish History and Destiny; The Plague of the Firstborn; Moses and the Redemption; Pesah and the Omer; and Counting Time, Festival Of Freedom opens its readers eyes to an exclusive and scholastic understanding of the Haggadah and Passover. Festival Of Freedom is very highly recommended to all students of the Judaic religion for its outstanding seminal and theological collective documentation of an iconoclastic entities greatest and most intriguing works.

The Alter Rebbe
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Merkos Publications
291 Kingston Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
1881400794 $20.00

Deftly compiled by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon, The Rebbeim: The Life Of The Alter Rebbe is the latest title in "The Rebbeim Biography Series" from Merkos Publications. An in-depth study of the influence and advisory wisdom of Rabbi Zalman during the political struggles of the 1700's in which time Napoleon engaged his power driven pursuit of military dominance over Europe and Russia., The Rebbeim details every move of the Alter Rabbi in his council of his fellow Russian Jews and a near futile escape from the army of Napoleon. The Alter Rebbe acutely and knowledgeably informs readers of the pure holiness and decency of the Alter Rebbe's life and work in behalf of his community. A work of impressive scholarship, The Alter Rebbe, enhanced with a detailed mapping of his family, is very highly recommended to all students of Russian History and European Judaic History, and most particularly commended as an invaluable, seminal contribution to Judaic Studies reference shelves and supplemental reading lists.

How To Be A Perfect Stranger
Stuart M. Matlins & Arthur J. Magida
Skylight Paths Publishing
Sunset Farm Offices, Route 4, PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091
1594731403 $19.99

Deftly edited by Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur J. Magida, How To Be A Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook is an outstanding compendium and documentation of what is ultimately the religions of the world. Inclusive of a great detailing of the African American Methodist Churches, Assemblies of God, Bahai, Baptist, Buddhist, Christian Church, Christian Science, Churches of Christ, Episcopalian and Anglican, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite/Amish, Methodist, Mormon, Native American/First Nations, Orthodox Churches, Pentecostal Church of God, Presbyterian, Quaker, Reformed Church in America/Canada, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ, How To Be A Perfect Stranger acts as a reference and well researched guide to a significant understanding of many of today's religions and their progression from historical backgrounds. How To Be A Perfect Stranger is very strongly recommended to all students of religion, those searching for a religion which may righteously favor their beliefs, or those merely seeking a greater understanding of societal religious perspectives.

The PR Buzz Factor
Russel Lawson
Kogan Page US
525 S 4th St, 241, Philadelphia, PA 19147
0749444681 $27.50

The PR Buzz Factor: How Using Public Relations Can Boost Your Business by Russel Lawson (Head of Public Affairs for the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales) is an superbly written, organized and presented instructional guide to effective communication for greater results in sales and representation. Inclusive of a structure based upon reaching the target audience, communicating key messages, differentiation of competition, and position of self as an authoritative voice within the company and the marketplace, The PR Buzz Factor introduces its readers to a thoroughly "user-friendly" reference for achieving the greatest results possible in public relations and company representation. The PR Buzz Factor is very highly recommended reading, especially for PR representatives, corporate executives, and publicity/marketing staff members searching for an effective strategy for their next sale.

A Nature Guide To Northwest North Carolina
Stewart Skeate
Parkway Publishers
PO Box 3678, Boone, NC 28607
1887905960 $24.95 1-828-265-3993

A Nature Guide To Northwest North Carolina by Stewart Skeate (Professor of Biology at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina) is an in-depth, 215-page, profusely illustrated reference and guide to the flora and fauna to be found in the natural areas of the northwestern counties of North Carolina, and a well-written collective mapping of the landmarks to be found. Introducing the reader to an expertly informed and soundly informative text, A Nature Guide To Northwest North Carolina provides a descriptive summary of Grandfather Mountain, Pisgah National Forest, Roan Mountain, Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Jefferson State Park, the New River, and many more interesting places. Inclusive of 260 color plates for animal and plant identification, specific locations highlighted with descriptive details of habitats, trails, directions, and a precise text for each location focusing on the varied habitats of the region, a Nature Guide To Northwest North Carolina is very highly recommended to all campers, visitors, or naturalists visiting the northwestern landscapes of North Carolina.

Lonely Planet
150 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607
1740599861 $21.99 1-800-275-8555

Florida from Lonely Planet is an invaluably informative and easily portable reference for aspiring travelers to the state Florida whether for business or pleasure. Introducing the reader to a wealth of restaurants, hotels, tours, and other attractions, Florida offers vacationers and travelers of all budget levels an indispensable reference for Miami, the Florida Keys, Orlando, Tampa, St. Pete, Amelia Island, Bahia Honda, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Ocala National Park, and so many more Floridian communities, all in a superbly organized, completely "user-friendly" and easy-to-use guide which is confidently recommended to anyone anticipating their next trip to Florida.

Margaret Lane

Michael's Bookshelf

The Open-Hearth Cookbook
Suzanne Goldenson & Doris Simpson
Alan C. Hood & Company
PO Box 775, Chambersburg, PA 17201
0911469265 $15.00

The Open-Hearth Cookbook: Recapturing The Flavor Of Early America by Suzanne Goldenson and Doris Simpson is an interesting (and even inspiring!) collection of recipes drawn from the early times and kitchens of America. From Cornmeal Biscuits; Soft Gingerbread; and Pumpkin Pudding, to Wild Blueberry Tart; Oatmeal Cinnamon Bread; and Green Lip Mussel Stew, The Open-Hearth Cookbook reinvents the ideals of nostalgic cooking, educating the reader of how to use roast, toast, bake, broil and more with such devices as dutch ovens, fireplaces, waffle irons and many more, as well as the proper wood to use in particular procedures. From first page to last, The Open-Hearth Cookbook is increasingly informative for all readers interested in age-old cookery practice, as well as those merely intrigued by historical innovation in the culinary field of American culture.

From Harvest To Dinner Table
Varney A. Kanneh
American Literary Press
8019 Belair Road, Suite 10, Baltimore, MD 21236
1561679291 $12.95

In From Harvest To Dinner Table: Food Safety Education, Varney A. Kanneh draws upon his many years of professional experience and expertise in food safety to present an in-depth study of the dangers so often encountered in public dining and general eating both inside and outside of the home. Taking focus on Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Point (a world-known method aimed at promotion of health and safety as well as suitability in foods), From Harvest To Dinner Table is a superbly organized and informative, providing a positive reenforcement of good and less neglected foods for the betterment of all consumers health and safety. From Harvest To Dinner Table is very strongly recommended to all food industry officials, individuals in fear of food poisoning/illness/death as a result of improper consumption, students of culinary, agricultural, trade and general food sciences, as well as a highschool home economics curriculum supplement.

Home Schooling Methods
Paul & Gena Suarez
The Old Schoolhouse
c/o Broadman & Holman Publishers
127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 143, Nashville, TN 37234
0805440178 $14.99

Home Schooling Methods: Seasoned Advice On Learning Styles offers an in-depth and comprehensive methodology for homeschooling a child's education, deftly edited, and is replete with consistent of contributions drawn from the expertise and experience of Paul & Gena Suarez, as well as additional words from Ruth Beechick, Clay and Sally Clarkson, Christine Field, Diana Waring, and others. Introducing the reader to varying approaches and perspective student attributes, Home Schooling Methods grants the reader a concept of classical and principle approaches, the traditional textbook, unit study, special needs, car schooling, eclectic students, unschooling/delight directions, and whole-hearted learning. Home Schooling Methods is very strongly recommended especially to all parents of homeschooled students for its extensive understanding and comprehensive guide to selecting the proper process of education for your student.

The Vocabulary Book
Michael F. Graves
International Reading Association /NCTE
800 Barksdale Road, PO Box 8139, Newark, DE 19714-8139
0807746274 $21.95

Expertly authored by Michael F. Graves (Professor of Literacy Education and Guy Bond Fellow in Reading in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota), The Vocabulary Book: Learning And Instruction is an excellent instructional reference guide for classroom teachers wanting to provide their students with a more a expansive and proper understanding of English linguistics and proper manipulation of their given vocabulary. Introducing the reader to relative advice and comprehensive examples for the students' education, The Vocabulary Book acts as an effective reference for all teachers, kindergarten through high-school. The Vocabulary Book presents the reader with an invaluable and highly recommended introduction effectively guiding their students through common problems and conundrums of the English language.

The Teacher Quality Index
James H. Stronge & Jennifer L. Hindman
1703 North Beuregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
1416602720 $27.95

The Teacher Quality Index: A Protocol For Teacher Selection by James H. Stronge (Heritage Professor in the Education Policy, Planning, and Leadership Area at the College of William and Mary in Williams Burg, Virginia) and education consultant Jennifer L. Hindman is an informed and informative introduction to the process of selecting a classroom teacher who will understand, relate to, and educate their students. With its focus on hiring methodology and interviewing protocols using the "Teacher Quality Index" as the easiest, most reliable and informative way to achieve the standards of the interviewing school, The Teacher Quality Index is very strongly recommended reading, especially for district superintendents, elementary and high school building administrators, and faculty members involved in the hiring process for acquiring the services of new teachers.

The Complete Copyright Liability Handbook For Librarians And Educators
Thomas A. Lipinski
Neal-Shuman Publishers
100 William Street, Suite 2004, New York, NY 10038-4512
1555705324 $125.00

The Complete Copyright Liability Handbook For Librarians And Educatorsby Tomas A. Lipinski, J.D. is an in-depth and detailed understanding and study of the very intricate process and practice of valid and legal copyright. Introducing the reader to the nuances and significance of direct infringement and an accurate depiction of copyright infringement with the innovation of modern technology and the practice in whole, The Complete Copyright Liability Handbook For Librarians And Educators explores the decency of copyright workers in a scholarly and acute manner. The Complete Copyright Liability Handbook For Librarians And Educators is very strongly recommended to all professional copyright workers for its precise and definitive presentation of every detailed understanding and perceptive grasp of the copyright business exclusively found within its contents.

Encyclopedia Of Educational Leadership And Administration
Fenwick W. English, editor
Sage Publications
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
0761930876 $325.00 1-800-818-7243

Knowledgeably compiled and expertly edited by Fenwick W. English (R. Wendell Eaves Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), the two volume Encyclopedia Of Educational Leadership And Administration provides more than six hundred entries covering the most recent theories, research, terminologies, concepts, ideas and histories in the field of education as taught in contemporary college and university courses. Drawing upon invaluable contributions from more than two hundred professors, graduate students, practitioners, and association officials, the Encyclopedia Of Educational Leadership And Administration is a compendium of practical information on all aspects of curriculum, budgeting and finance, law, personnel management, psychology and motivation, research, statistics, supervision, teaching and learning, and a great deal more with the framework of education today. No academic library Education Studies reference collections can be considered complete or up to date without the inclusion of this seminal, core, superbly organized and "user friendly" set.

Cambridge To Paris And America
Donald R. Maxwell
The Edwin Mellen Press
PO Box 450, Lewiston, NY 14092
0773458638 $99.95

The sequel autobiography to "A Journey from Wartime Europe to self-Discovery", Cambridge To Paris And America: A Second Journey Of Discovery by Donald R. Maxwell (Faculty of Medicine, University of Cambridge, and French Literature doctorate, University of Michigan) offers the reader a blend of narrative scholarship that showcases the life of a research scientist from having earned his doctorate at Cambridge University, to his work in the Curie Institute in Paris, to his having earned a second doctorate in French literature back in America, and finally settling down in Ann Arbor with his wife Catherine with whom he had eight children. Enhanced with a block of period photographs, Cambridge To Paris And America is a finely presented and highly recommended memoir showcasing both academic and family life.

Michael Dunford

Sharon's Bookshelf

Studio Ceramics In Canada
Gail Crawford
Goose Lane Editions
469 King Street, Fredericton, NB, Canada, E3B 1E5
0864924283 $35.00

Studio Ceramics In Canada, knowledgeably compiled by fine craft journalist and studio ceramics expert Gail Crawford, is an extensive 311-page survey collection and informative study of the art of ceramics inspired by Canadian culture and the Canadian art-scene. Inclusive of succinct biographies, detailed descriptions, illustrative photographs, and approximate pricing for hand-crafted ceramic products, Studio Ceramics In Canada opens its readers to nearly a hundred years of the creative practice of clay arts in the provinces of Canada. Studio Ceramics In Canada is very highly recommended to all students of the ceramic arts as an inspirational, informative, and productive collection of an exclusive and timely art -- and a seminal contribution to personal, professional, and academic library Ceramic Arts Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Geology Of Southeast Alaska
Harold H. Stowell
University of Alaska Press
PO Box 756240, Fairbanks, AK 99775
188996381X $19.95

Geology Of Southeast Alaska: Rock And Ice In Motion by Harold H. Stowell (Professor of Geology at the University of Alabama) is an impressively informative and thoroughly "reader friendly" documentation of Alaska's southeastern landscapes hallmarked by fascinating geological landmarks and natural beauty. Engaging the reader with 152 pages of educated writing enhanced with the inclusion of maps, gorgeous colored and b/w illustrations, Geology Of Southeast Alaska ably serves students and travelers alike as a comprehensive introduction and guide to one of Alaska's most endearing and timeless areas. Geology Of Southeast Alaska is very highly recommended as 140-page compendium of awe-inspiring sights and area maps of Alaska's great geographical underpinnings.

Pride Of Palace
David Taylor
The University Of North Texas Press
PO Box 311336, Denton, TX 76203-1336
1574412086 $16.95

Pride Of Palace: A Contemporary Anthology Of Texas Nature Writing, ably edited by David Taylor (Academic Advisor in the Honors College at the University of North Texas and teacher in the Philosophy and English Departments), is an insightful collection from travelers of Texas' vast natural landscape. As an inspirational compilation of a variety of cultural, perspective, and geographical understandings from writers with a complete and solid understanding of their surroundings. Pride Of Palace is very highly recommended to all explorers of the great natural offerings of Texas as well as readers who enjoy a perspective of nature oriented writing.

Rethinking Holy Land
Marlin Jeschke
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
0836193172 $16.99

Rethinking Holy Land: A Study In Salvation Geography by Marlin Jeschke is an in-depth study of the Abrahamic Holy Land and the ideals and vision of what the land may be most productively used for. Introducing the reader to the theoretics and collective knowledge of Jeschke's investigation of the history and worldly understanding of the land and its predetermined value and use, Rethinking Holy Land educationally determines the most favorable and progressive solution for the Holy Lands compromising position. Rethinking Holy Land is very strongly recommended to all reader with an interest in Judaic and Christian particular studies, as well as to those seeking a greater understanding of the turmoil and upset in the Holy Land's front.

Streams Of Grace
Abbe de Tourville
Continuum International Publishing Group
PO Box 1321, Harrisburg, PA17105
0826479596 $11.95

Streams Of Grace: A Selection Of The Letters Of The Abbe de Tourville is an outstanding collection of the great spiritualist's intimate personal understanding of the greater spirit within us and the God above us. Insightful and inspiring, Streams Of Grace introduces the readers to the work and thought Abbe de Tourville unlike any other published documentation before it. "Be happy to smile and even laugh at yourself when you feel this hubbub going on inside, it is all baby-talk, cowardly and unreasonable grumbling, which we shall never cease to carry around with us. It is a splendid habit to laugh inwardly at yourself. It is the best way to put oneself in a good temper and to find God again, without more ado." --Abbe de Tourville

The Gnosis of the Light
Fletcher Lamplugh
Ibis Press
c/o Nicolas-Hays, Inc.
PO Box 1126, Berwick, ME 03901-1126
0892541180 $12.95

The Gnosis of the Light is one of the few surviving original texts of the Gnostic sect of Christianity, once persecuted to virtual extinction for heresy. Presenting Gnostic theologians' speculations concerning the nature of heaven, the meaning of life, and God, The Gnosis of Light treats complex precepts as living spiritual texts, scrutinized through Fletcher Lamplugh's interpretation and exposition, rather than as the tenets of a dead belief system. The Gnostic emphasis upon seeking the truth is preserved in this brief yet informative, enlightening, and deeply spiritual compendium.

Losing A Lost Tribe
Simon G. Southerton
Signature Books
564 West 400 North, Salt Lake City, UT 84116-3411
1560851813 $24.95 1-800-356-5687

Losing A Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, And The Mormon Church by Simon G. Southerton (Senior Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia) is an impressively accessible study of the Native American's pre-migration origin. Deftly exploring the modern sciences and the recent discoveries made through ground breaking DNA research which provides confirmation of Siberian and Polynesian genetic heritage with respect the bloodline of Native Americans, which is a great counterpoint to the 175 years of teaching from the Latter-day Saint Mormon church which argued the decent of Native American peoples from seafaring Israelites. As a work of extraordinary scientific, biological, and DNA research , as well as its progressive compromise of Mormonism's theological concepts as to Native American origins, Losing A Lost Tribe is thoughtful and thought-provoking reading.

Sharon Stuart

Shelley's Bookshelf

Deep End: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz
Harry G. Pellegrin
PAB Entertainment Group
P.O. Box 2369, Scotia, New York 12302
# 012152005 $17.00

Harry G. Pellegrin is the product of a sixties upbringing in New York City. He earned a degree in music from the prestigious Mannes College of Music in Manhattan in what he jokingly refers to as "museum music." Literature is his second love, and he has written for both music and motorcycle magazines as well as publishing in the mystery genre. He presently lives in upstate New York, and DEEP END is his second Gary Morrissey mystery, following on the delightful LOW END.

Gary Morrissey is a session musician who feels that his life has been seriously derailed by the death of a band mate and the rejection of several women in his life. His buddy Dave pulls him into a salvage operation in the "Sound" that yields brass spikes (or are they something more valuable) from the wreck of the "Eddie Fitz," as Gary and Dave refer to it. But the discovery of the body of a gorgeous blond sets Gary on a totally different mission when his old friend/nemesis Detective Brad pulls him into a murder investigation:

"Holding the mug by the rim, he gingerly put it down on the stove. 'Well, for one thing, I can't expend any real time chasing clues on cases outside my jurisdiction. They don't appreciate too much initiative on the City's time. Other jurisdictions don't appreciate initiative from outside their departments at all. I could just happen to let you look at the case files as I have them now and you could do the legwork and snooping for me. Listen, I know what you're going to say, you're no pro, but even you have to admit you figured out the Devon Jones/Melissa Tomanelli case pretty well. You managed to stay ahead of O'Brien. Hell, you managed to stay ahead of the whole Yonkers PD. And THAT'S why you're going to take the job.'"

Pelligrin sets this mystery thriller between New York City and New Orleans, mixes in music, love, motorcycles, and the angst of life's regrets to produce an amalgam of diverse elements that leaves the reader guessing and fascinated until the very last page. Gary Morrissey is just the right mix of tough guy and sensitive, poetic soul to make him unpredictable and heroic at the same time. Let's hope that Pelligrin eventually gives Gary his soul-mate and fame. Great!

Deadly Will
Marion Moore Hill
Pemberley Press
PO Box 1027, Corona del Mar, CA 92625
ISBN: 0977191311, $17.95

It's amazing what fruits can come out of forming a writer's group. Marion Moore Hill was the mystery writer in her particular group, which met a couple of times a month. But Hill brought a wealth of expertise to her group, including experience as a journalist, teacher, ad copywriter, and legal secretary. Hill has a dog named Aragorn and uses her animals in her mysteries. Her books include: BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER, a cookbook entitled A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER, and now DEADLY WILL. Hill has also published short stories.

In 1789 Ben Franklin's neighbor, Nathan Henry, decided to write a will as unusual as Franklin's. Over 200 years later, Millie Kirchner, single mother, student, and nursing home aide, receives a letter inviting her for a week in Philadelphia, where an inheritance will be given. The trip includes a stay at Nathan Henry's home; a drawing for Henry's priceless heirlooms; and the reading of the will. Millie meets her distant cousins; some of whom are intriguing, some of whom are criminals. Then the murders begin, and Millie turns into a sleuth:

"She paced repeatedly, circling the table while considering the question of opportunity. Koontz had been in the parlor when she and Brad had left the mansion. Then they'd wandered the yard a while before arriving at the pond. And when she's returned for help, Koontz had been on the patio. If he had come outside just after them, he might have had time to slay Johns, hide among the shrubbery and reappear at the French doors."

Marion Moore Hill has obviously researched antiques from Ben Franklin's era thoroughly to add to her saucy tale. It's always fun to have a mansion as a backdrop for a mystery, and when there are so many well crafted characters running around, well it just makes the book hard to put down. Hill paces the mystery nicely, and Millie is a heroine everyone can relate to. She is a doting mother, a rueful divorce' who is afraid to enter into a new relationship, a budding intellectual who is just beginning to develop through her schooling, and a compassionate human being whose emotional attachment to an elderly resident of her nursing home is a touching story.

DEADLY WILL has all the elements of a spine-tingling cozy: a deadly murderer lurking around the mansion; suspicious and squabbling relatives; and a darn good puzzle to solve. Excellent!

Glass on the Stairs
Margaret Scherf
The Rue Morgue Press
87 Lone Tree Lane, Lyons, CO 80540
ISBN: 0915230909, $14.95

Born in 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia, Margaret Scherf's father was a high school teacher. The family eventually moved to Montana, and Scherf graduated from high school in Cascade, Montana (which sounds lovely) and went on to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She left college before graduation to take a job as an editorial assistant with the Robert M. McBride publishing company in New York. She spent much of her life traveling, and also held positions as a secretary and copywriter before quitting to become a full-time writer. During World War II she took a job as Secretary to the Naval Inspector at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Brooklyn. She eventually returned to Montana and married at age 57, and was elected the same year as a Democrat of the Montana State Legislature.

Mrs. Otis Carver apparently shot herself in Link Simpson's gun shop after he had run up to Henry and Emily Bryce's apartment for help, as Madge was a decidedly depressed person. Her husband, Otis, didn't seem to grieve as he should, and then there was the matter of Lucille Marsh. Lucille was an "actress" being directed by Otis, and his caustic sarcasm forced her to collapse during a performance. Or did it. It is up to Henry and Emily to sort out the murder, based on their only evidence...a pink glove found in Link's shop after an apparent burglary:

"Henry didn't say anything, and Emily dialed Hilda's beauty shop across the avenue. 'Did you leave a pink cotton glove over here, Hilda?' Emily inquired. Hilda evidently said no, and Emily went on. 'I knew you didn't. They were the burglar's, but Henry hates to admit it because it was my idea.' Link came in as this conversation ended, and he had to be shown the glove and the invisible marks on the stairway. 'I don't want to make light of your interesting deductions, Emily,' he said, 'But I find the idea of a burglar in pink gloves a trifle bizarre.'"

Margaret Sherf's idea of great mystery writing consisted of entertaining people and keeping it light. She did this to perfection. The interaction between Emily (an gifted artist who dabbles as people eagerly wait for her projects to come to fruition) and husband Henry are hilarious and intentionally disjointed. Scherf wrote original, witty, and engrossing tales.

Death at the Opera
Gladys Mitchell
The Rue Morgue Press
87 Lone Tree Lane, Lyond, CO 80540
ISBN: 0915230844, $14.95

Charged with the mission of capturing mystery writers from the Golden Age, the Rue Morgue Press has now reprinted such greats as Dorothy Bowers, Constance & Gwenyth Little, Maureen Sarsfield, Margaret Scherf and many others. Gladys Mitchell is among those greats, having been compared to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Mitchell's output was 66 mysteries featuring Mrs. Bradley, a dashing and colorful woman with knowledge of both psychology and the law. DEATH AT THE OPERA was filmed for British television, although details of the book were changed. Diana Rigg portrayed Mrs. Bradley.

Calma Ferris, the unassuming arithmetic teacher in Hillmaston Coeducational Day School, has decided to underwrite the school's latest production, THE MIKADO. She is pressed into service as Katisha, a part for which she is woefully unprepared. Ferris has an uncanny knack of offending people, and thus ends up murdered before the second act of the opera. Enter Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, called in by the publicity-minded headmaster to ascertain just who killed the quiet and virtuous Miss Ferris. But first, Mrs. Bradley has to take matters in hand:

"'It seems to me,' Mrs. Bradley remarked, 'that the evidence in support of the theory that Miss Ferris was murdered in the lobby is sufficiently strong to warrant further investigation, but not sufficiently tangible to offer to the authorities. I have reason to believe'–she took out her notebook–'that, as the result of a collision in the corridor, Miss Ferris had her glasses broken and sustained a small deep cut just beneath one eye. She went into the water lobby to bathe the cut, and I have not found out yet that anyone went with her.'”

Mitchell's style of writing is quite formal and extremely articulate, and her command of the plot and facts points to an exacting and logical mind. Mrs. Bradley is a kind woman who has no time for fools, and her character is at once a little repulsive (with claw type of hands and a beak like face) and fascinating. She puts her suspects at their ease until they reveal themselves. DEATH AT THE OPERA is an engrossing whodunit that is suitable for a nice day at the beach or for translation into a PBS movie. Angela Lansbury might be a great Mrs. Bradley!

Without Consent
J.P. Cardone
Xlibris Corporation
ISBN: 1413401821, $18.69

J.P. Cardone writes educational video programs and interactive CD-ROMs, and his company, Hospital Video Network, serves hospitals in New York. John presently lives in Long Island, New York, and is married with two children, who are now young adults and are pursuing careers.

Dr. Elaine Edwards is beginning her medical career as Director of the Golden Shores Nursing Home. Because of a loving relative, Elaine has a deep understanding of the hardship of "the golden years" and is determined to take Golden Shores to a new level of service. But as she arrives for her first day of work, she is faced with two patient deaths and the murder of a health care worker. Something is amiss, and Dr. Edwards quickly becomes the target of murderous thugs intent on keeping the secrets of Golden Shores from prying eyes. Elaine quickly realizes she is over her head, and enlists the aid of an ex-cop named Henry Monroe whose brother was one of the murder victims:

"Then it hit her. There was one cop who could help. That person was an ex-detective with an interest in this. She forced herself to remember the forms. Seeing the Monroe name, her memory recalled the information on next of kin having a Lower East Side address. Yep, she thought, she would ask Henry Monroe for help."

WITHOUT CONSENT is a fast-paced, eminently readable thriller that keeps the reader turning page after page as Elaine journeys from innocent new staff medical director to hunted victim. It seems there is no end to the possible abuses of the pharmaceutical industry, and those in the know have created an entirely new genre of medical mysteries to keep us all on the edge of our seats and wondering about that next prescription we need filled.

J.P. Cardone writes convincingly and well. Elaine is a likable, if somewhat naive, character who is forced to come to terms with the thugs around her. She rises to the occasion admirably and unlocks the key to not only the murders at the nursing home, but uncovers the big picture as well. WITHOUT CONSENT is a timely mystery that hits a sweet spot. J.P. Cardone should be proud of his first effort. He is a clear and effective writer.

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

Succeed At Work Without Sidetracking Your Faith
Amy C. Baker
New Hope
P.O. Box 12065, Birmingham, AL 35202
ISBN: 1563099632, $17.99, 196 pages

It is not easy for a woman in the work world but top that off with being a Christian woman and the ball game gets a whole lot harder.For this woman, she now not only has to compete in a man's world, but she also knows she must play by rules that most of the others in the game don't even know exist. What is she to do?

Author Amy Baker takes a hard look at this problem in her work, "Succeed At Work Without Sidetracking Your Faith," and has come up with some top-notch faith related answers.

If you are wanting to be a successful working woman and also a woman of faith you could not find a betting help book than this one, nor a better teacher than our author because you know you are learning from one who has been there, experienced what you are experiencing and has come out a winner. You realize that God indeed wants you to succeed and that you will not fall behind or if I may say, be a wimp, because you conduct yourself and your business in God's principals of success. Ms. Baker gives us humorous stories, mixing biblical wisdom in her words to bring us up to speed in our decision making.

If you are a Christian working woman wanting to succeed in the business world and still maintain the integrity of your walk with God this book will indeed encourage you and help you. However, this is not just for the Christian woman, every morsel of advice in this work is written to help and can be used by all women who are mingling in the work world.

The Dark And Bloody Ground
Roberta Webb
Turn Key Press
2100 Kramer Lane, Austin, Texas 78758
ISBN: 1933538082, $19.95, 384 pages

I believe you can tell when an author's heart is in their work, and so is the case with author Roberta Webb and her creation, "The Dark And Bloody Ground." This story set in Kentucky is one of family, spanning five generations and the saga of their lives. The author does an outstanding job of describing locals and characters, keeping them well in line as she moves through time, and craftily weaves them into a perfect flow of storyline, from one generation to the next, one event to another.

You are taken through wars, bootlegging, coal mining and all the birth pains that this family endures in this raw and growing land and in their growing family in the passing of life.This work is the story of a part of America, it is the story of an American family, their struggles, victories and losses; it is a story of battling the land, the times, it is one of love and life. It will grab your attention and your heart. Very well done.

Identity Crisis
Debbi Mack
Quiet Storm Publishing
PO Box 1666, Martinburg, WV 25402
ISBN: 0977007022, $14.95, 212 pages

In this quick moving novel we meet Sam McRae, an attorney who is about to have her life shifted in ways she never imagined when her domestic case turns into a murder investigation and somehow she is smack in the middle of it. Attorney turns investigator in this swift moving adventurous read with curving twists and winding mystery that literally leave you scratching your head and wondering just who is the villain.

Author, Debbi Mack, does a great job drawing you into the lives of her characters with vivid description of their physical appearance, their emotional conflicts and yet keeps you in the shadows trying to figure out what part they play in the murder and mystery set before you.
A very good read awaits you in this work and perhaps the thought that you too could have your identity stolen and the ramifications could be deadly. This was a smart move on the author to use a problem that we all can identify with and work it so well into a top-notch mystery read. Great book, recommended.

Katie Brown's Weekends: Making The Most of Your Two Treasured Days
Katie Brown
Bulfinch Press
1271 Avenue of he Americans, New York, NY
ISBN: 0821262092, $30.00, 192 pages

Let me say first off that I really liked this book. To me, in this read, Katie Brown not only gives us some great recipes and project ideas, but also opens her life to us with some heartwarming stories of her childhood, her revelation of the importance of spending time with family and friends, and capturing moments of life. I felt the book was extremely colorful, the photos bright and cheery, the recipes mouth watering and the projects interesting.

I certainly may not want to do the projects shown, but I don't believe that was the full idea behind this work. I believe Ms.Brown wanted us all to stop and smell the roses, enjoy life and appreciate those we love and do it all in fellowship and fun. My opinion is that this work is well worth your time and money; you will enjoy it.

Joan Bochmann
Raven Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 2866, Norris, Montana 59745
ISBN: 0971416184, $10.00, 200 pages

What an absolutely wonderful book this is, it was a delightful reading pleasure from beginning to end. Set in Wyoming, we meet Matt Reed as he is returning from Vietnam. He desperately needs the peace and security his families ranch will bring to him, but soon that is shattered and Matt is left with another war to fight. Jake, Matt's father dies shortly after his return and Matt learns that their beloved ranch has been mortgaged and the deed is held by none other than Matt's arch rival from years ago, Paul Pringle. Why is it so important for Paul to own Matt's ranch? Is it just revenge against Matt or is there a more sinister plot beneath it all? You'll be surprised.

Now Matt has six months to come up with $100,000.00 plus in order to save his homestead. The odds of winning this war are totally stacked against him. However, miracle do happen I am happy to say.

A form plans in Matt's mind, a form filled with wild horses, the help of a Indian named Joe Little Hawk, a family friend named Hank and a woman who will be more than a friend to Matt, Jill King. You are in for a treat as this story unfolds. This book is extremely well written, keeps your attention, has characters that wrap around your heart and a storyline that resembles the great movie, "Rocky." I had to smile as I put the book down, sometimes the good do win.

Don't miss this one. Highly recommended.

Angela Hunt
WestBow Press
Nashville, Tenn.
ISBN: 0849944848, $19.99, 320 pages

As we begin this read we become familiar with the lives of six people who were college friends at one time, but now have parted to live their own lives. One of these friends dies and the rest travel out of respect to his funeral. All have had a dream or vision of their departed friend before they knew he had died. Why? What did this mean? Was it a warning and will they heed his frantic cries? The answer will surprise you.

It is somewhat difficult to review this work without revealing the shocking ending. I will say this; the remaining friends find themselves on an uncharted island after an accident. What they discover there about themselves and their lives will shake you up; cause you to rethink your own life and hopefully make some changes. This work has an outstanding storyline, great character development and quite an emotional ending. I give it a five star and a thumbs-up review.
This is a wonderful book, not only a great read but one that has eternal heartstrings attached to it that you will remember for a long time to come. Don't miss this one.

When Crickets Cry
Charles Martin
WestBow Press
Thomas Nelson Publishing
Nashville, Tenn.
ISBN: 1595540547, $14.95, 320 pages

What happens when you have a broken hearted man and a small child who is clinging to a thread of life and somehow, through an act of God, their lives touch and connect? This is the essence of this outstanding work by Charles Martin, "When Crickets Cry."

Annie has very little time to live, she has a heart problem, but she is a strong little girl, one determined to either win or go down fighting. Reese is a medical doctor who could not save his wife and keep her heart beating; his sorrow runs deep over the agony of losing her. He meets Annie while in town one day as he buys a glass of her lemonade; a drink she is selling to help pay for her medical bills. Suddenly a truck goes out of control and hits Annie right before Reese's eyes. Neither of their lives will ever be the same.

We watch this story and this relationship develop; two souls grabbing onto each other, almost like two drowning victims who fight to reach the surface and suck air into their deflating lungs. They become each other's air and God merges the two souls together as a healing balm, one for another, in a way that neither knew existed. The emotions in this read run deep, the storyline is captivating and the ending will surely bring a smile and a tear. Very well done Mr. Martin. Recommended.

The Inheritance
Annabel Dilke
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
ISBN: 031233477X, $24.95, 384 pages

In this work we meet the Chandlers; an aristocratic British family and we are taken into the closet of their world. We follow them as their lives go from noble to normal. We see that even with those who have 'blue' blood,' life still throws some curves as the family struggles with lifes events, both good and bad. If you enjoy works that are full of the times of aristocratics, their challenges from financial demise to romantic joys and sorrows; this one is for you. A book showing no matter what status we hold in life,life will still have its way. Very good storyline.

Beyond Imagination
Bill Monday
Taylor Ridge Publishing
PO Box 743, Armuchee, GA 30105
ISBN: 141164977X, $14.95, 244 pages

Four Stories: Eavesdropping; Murder by Evidence; The Garden; The Stemless Clock

It certainly has been quite a while since I have enjoyed a read as much as I have this one. Bill Monday has penned four stories that will keep you glued to the pages from start to finish. We have three short ones and one novella, all excellent in their own right. I will just wet your whistle so to speak about each story without giving away the endings, but trust me, you do not want to miss this read.

In our first story titled, "Eavesdropping," we meet Bill, a young man who stops to get a bite to eat and overhears a couple speaking in the booth behind him. This may not seem unusual, but there is something tender and soothing about the woman's voice, and their love for each other cannot go unnoticed. Bill soon finds out he is experiencing something supernatural, is being privileged to hear a conversation that should never be happening. The reason behind this may well bring tears to your eyes and will definitely surprise you. Great read.

In our second story, "Murder by Evidence," we meet Mary Wilson as she is calling the police to report an attempted murder, her own by the hands of her son. When the police arrive Mary is found dead and her drunken son passed out on his bed. Bob, the son, is convicted of the murder of his mother and awaits his execution. Time passes by and Bob's day of death is nearing, only days away when Donna, his sister, receives a mysterious letter in the mail. This letter is from her mother written ten years ago on the night of the murder. What this letter contains could save her brother's life, but may well destroy many other lives. What will Donna do with this letter? All I can say is this is one outstanding story and you simply must read it. I wonder what you would decide to do with the information that Donna receives concerning her brother. In one word this story is "OUTSTANDING." One of my favorites.

In our third story we meet Jack and Barb. Jack has made a good life for himself and his family; he has it all. One day he gets a call from a Tommy Lonewolf from North Carolina who tells Jack that some property is available in that area. Jack is uninterested until he is told the history of the land stems back to their family line. The couple decide to take a trip and see the land. It is a beautiful piece of land and while there they decide to take a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon enjoying it. Suddenly a ghostly sight appears, a woman who seems to be in terrible agony, screaming she flashes before them and then vanished. Who was this ghostly woman and what does her appearance have to do with Jack and Barb? A disturbing ending awaits you in this one.

Finally we come to our novella with a story called, "The Stemless Clock." In this work we meet Tom, a lonely hard working young man who decides to take a well-earned vacation to Vermont. What happens to him there will truly change his life. While walking the streets he sees a store that is going out of business, the only item left is a clown clock that sits alone in the window. For some reason Tom is drawn to this clock and evidently buys it from a Mr. L.C. Furr, not for money but for the price of his soul. Mr.L.C. Furr is a strange little man and tells Tom that he must wind her clock every seven days and if he is good to his clock he will receive much in his life. Tom at first thinks it is all a joke, and get a good laugh out of getting a clock for nothing, but soon learns that he has truly sold his soul to the devil and only through an act of love will he be released from the curse. What a ride, what a story!

I'll tell you right now I don't know where this author has been hiding but his work definitely needs to be discovered and enjoyed by the reading world. Mr. Monday's characters are so well defined you can see them clearly in your minds eyes. His storylines are well constructed and smooth flowing with crests to ride in anticipation. This is one exceptional read and I give it my highest recommendation.

Dead Men Don't Leave Tips
Brandon Wilson
Pilgrim's Tales, Inc.
P.O. Box 791613, Paia, Hawaii 96779
ISBN: 0977053644, $16.95, 280 pages

This was my first experience reading about the travel adventures written by Brandon Wilson and I have to say it was one enjoyable one. We are taken with Brandon and Cheryl Wilson as they travel the length of Africa. We start our adventure right from the beginning and all the woes that transpire in preparation and sometimes some of the unfortunate, like Brandon catching the flu. Once aboard for the true beginning of their adventure they are grouped with nearly two dozen people who in themselves are a story ready to be written.

Then our couple goes it on their own and it is here that they truly get into the meat of their journey, meeting natives, experiencing incredible landmarks and truly tasting of Africa.
This work is very well-written, is brimming with giggles and down to earth reality and the photos bring the reality of the read to life. I enjoyed this one; I believe you will too.

Life Ahead
J. Krishnamurti
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
ISBN: 1577315170, $13.95, 208 pages

This is a book taken from transcripts of lessons given to Indian students on the meaning of many aspects of life by Krishnamurti. Many, many topics are covered, for example, what is the root of fear, why are the poor happy and the rich unhappy, what is obedience, and the list goes on with many questions asked and answered according to Krishnamurit's theory on the aspects and meaning of life. For the person that maybe searching some life answers this would be quite an enlighten read and one that will hold your attention. It is very in-depth and will leave you with much to think about.

Daughter of Prophecy
Miles Owen
Creation House
600 Rinehard Road, Lake Mary, Florida 32746
ISBN: 1591857996, $12.95, 375 pages

As we begin this read the author immediately draws you into the saga of the Rogoth family, the poorest of the Dinari clans; this family is above the rest in integrity. We witness the birth of a red-haired baby girl, whose arrival seems to shake the universe as upon her arrival a prophecy is spoken forth that she will be a Protectress of the Covenant, a promise given by the Eternal to protect the people from the evil Mighty Ones and their demonic forces that thurst to control the world. At that moment death enters the room and her mother and several monks, who were in attendance at her birth die; the prophecy is tucked away in the minds of those present for a time; however never forgotten and waiting to be awakened.

Nearly sixteen years later the baby girl Rhiannon is about to come of age and as she is on a journey with her father they are assaulted by Winged Horrors, evil demons sent by the Mighty Ones, who speak their purpose, "Kill the red- haired girl." We are introduced to other clans and their leaders; we learn their purpose and their hearts intent on matter of commerce and see where their allegiance lies concerning the worship of the Eternal. For some Rhiannon and the prophecy spoken long ago must be eliminated from the equation so their evil purposes may be fulfilled. The battle begins, good against evil as Rhiannon awakens to the emotions of becoming a woman and the fulfillment of her destiny.

It would be impossible to explain the entire storyline of this novel to you as it has countless twists and turns and complex character development. However, I will tell you that author Miles Owens is a master at weaving together a story, that although has great depth it flows almost seamless and guides you down the river to a very satisfying conclusion.

You have good against evil, characters that drip with personalities that you can love and hate. Those who chose The Eternal, you admire and cheer for their victory, as they struggle to not only overcome demonic forces without, but overcome their own demons within. And the ones whose allegiance is to The Mighty One you find yourself wrapped in emotions as real as if you were living the moment. The author teases you with mystery, lures you with romance, shocks you with supernatural and gently weaves within his words, in a very subtle way, Christian concepts that would not take away from the storyline for those who are not Christian, yet certainly add to it for those who are. This is an outstanding work, a novel that you will certainly enjoy reading from start to finish. Well done and recommended.

Christopher Bullfrog Catcher
Christopher Shiveley Welch
Scribed by Debra Shivelely Welch
Saga Books
164 Erin Woods Drive SE, Calgary, T2B 2S, Alberta, Canada
ISBN: 1894936469, $10.95, 20 pages

There are times when a book will capture your heart; it can happen in many ways, but each time it is fresh and new. This is the case as I read this delightful work by 13 year old Christopher Welch as scribed by his mother, Debra Welch. Christopher has learning differences but this has not quench the fire of life within this special young man, nor his desire to share adventures of his life with others. We begin this read with a poem, a simple one, yet one whose words say volumes because they shine forth with the love of one young boy for his lake and the activity that awaits him there.

As we share in the adventure of Christopher, we learn how to catch a Bullfrog and care for it, even if it is injured; and he even shares the four stages of a frog's growth with us. Along with the story we are treated to some wonderful pictures of Christopher, his frog hunting and his beloved lake. I actually learned some things about frogs that I never knew. Thank you Christopher.

I believe what makes this book is the passion that is within this young man as he writes of his frog hunting experience and his desire to share this information with others. It truly is a joy of his life and even for someone like me, who won't find much pleasure in touching a frog, I had to smile at Christopher's achievement in Bullfrog hunting.

I feel this book is for both young and old and all those in-between. First we certainly see the achievement of a young boy who has something to share and despite difficulties does just that. We have some top-notch information on Bullfrog hunting and great pictures that help bring the story to life; plus a work that is sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. Good job Christopher! Thank you for sharing!


author of "A Very Special Child," and Scribe for Christopher Shiveley Welch's book, "Christopher Bullfrog Catcher."

Thank you Debra for doing this interview with me. I just completed your work, "A Very Special Child," and I have to say it truly touched my heart, please let's begin.

SPJ: I know this work was written about and for your son Christopher and it is a work from the heart. Please tell us a little about him and his reaction to your book.

Debra: Chris was born with cleft lip and palate and so his placement was difficult; that is until they called us. We couldn't wait for them to bring that sweet baby home. He was seven days old when they placed him in my arms and as beautiful and precious as any mother could hope for.

Chris has been a constant joy to us. He is warm and loving, kind, considerate, whimsical and full of fun. He is also a beautiful child inside and out. Chris' passion is animals. There is a strong desire within him to protect them. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he chooses animal care of some kind for his career. Chris is thrilled about the book and thinks it's "really cool” that Mama has a book out about him.

SPJ: I would love to meet him one day; he certainly is a special child. Please tell us, what, if any reaction did you receive after your decision to write your book from friends and family.

Debra: It was a mix. Most of my family and friends were thrilled and very proud of me. Others, well, if you're not a reader, I guess another book coming out is not a big deal.

SPJ: How long did it take you to complete your book?

Debra: The main story took about 20 minutes. I think it had been "growing” inside of me for a couple of years and so it just flew from my pen. The poems and essays are a collection over the years which include my mother's, who passed away in 1997, and various works I have completed from about age eleven to present.

SPJ: I have to say it is an excellent heartfelt story for only taking 20 minutes and I agree it certainly was your heart-felt words for a special child. Please tell us, what was the most difficult part in writing your work; I certainly feel it had to be quite emotional.

Debra: I would say the emotional involvement was the most "difficult” part. The main story came to me almost complete, but I have to admit that I cried some while writing it, mostly from the pure joy of being able to do so. Being a mother is the most important part of my life.

"My Blessings” was an emotional write as were a few of the other essays. "The Perfect Dish” used up a few Kleenexes simply because I was so proud of what Chris had done to inspire it. The entire book was a work of love to be sure.

SPJ: I am sure you did cry, thank you for sharing. Now please tell us what was the most enjoyable.

Debra: The most enjoyable was seeing my son's face when I read it to him. He literally glowed!

Chris knows that he is, indeed, a Very Special Child, and being able to reinforce that in print is a blessing. It thrills me to know that he can hold in his hands physical evidence of how special he is; evidence that he can pass on to his own children. I can say that the greatest source of my joy is the knowledge that my son will walk this earth until his last breath knowing that, not only did his mother love him completely, but her love of him and joy in him was so great that it had to spill over onto the pages of a book to be shared with others.

It just doesn't get any better than that.

SPJ: It sure doesn't Debra, the glow on your son's face was all the reward you needed. Please tell us, if you were starting over, what do you think you would do different? Anything or would you leave the story exactly as is?

Debra: I think I would probably leave it the way it is. It's simple and sweet and uncomplicated.

SPJ: That it is! Did you find it difficult to obtain a publisher?

Debra: Amazingly, no. Not because the story was so amazing but I got a good lead and my publisher and I hit it off from the very beginning.

SPJ: Debra, that was definitely a blessing and a big plus. What advice would you give to authors who are looking for a publisher?

Debra: Just don't stop trying. No matter who tells you it can't be done, don't listen to them. If you really want to be a writer and that is all you can think about, then write, put your work out there and look and look until you find someone who has as much faith in yourself as you do.

Also, join writing groups and practice. Writing is like anything else – if you don't practice, you'll get rusty. Join the groups, do the exercises and keep your work out there for people to see. Be open to criticism. Good, honest criticism is the most precious gift a friend or family member can give you. Listen to it, evaluate it and then make your decision as to whether it is to be taken or not.

Conversely, family and friends can also be prone to undeserved praise simply because they love you. Be sure to show your writings to people who you know will be honest. If you hone your craft, and never give up, you'll make it.

SPJ: Out of the accomplishments in your life where would you rate being a published author and why?

Debra: On my tombstone it will say "Mother, Wife, Author.” Becoming a mother fulfilled a dream and a vow I made at age 14. I couldn't wait to hold my baby and will never get over the joy I felt when he was placed in my arms. Becoming a wife fulfilled yet another dream and the life I lead now is truly amazing considering that I came from a childhood of poverty and neglect. Becoming an author fulfilled a dream that I have had since age nine. I still can't believe that I'm published and, like holding my son for the first time, the feeling of holding my own published book in my hands for the first time is a thrill that will never diminish or die.

So, although I rate becoming a published author third, still, it has fulfilled a life-long desire just as the other two have. Why? I'm not sure. We may as well ask why I feel the need to be. It is who I am.

SPJ: Do you have an agent? A publicist? How important do you feel this is to an author?

Debra: No, I don't. I've been so busy writing I haven't taken the time to look. I think it's very important to have a publicist at this time and I wish I had one.

SPJ: Now, would you please share with us how much promoting you do? What works best for you? Any tips for other authors?

Debra: I put together a press release and submitted it through PRWeb. This in and of itself did a lot to promote the book as some online book stores picked it up. I also sent press releases to every major newspaper in my state. I am getting ready now to contact all of the local book stores and local schools to see about doing fundraisers for my community.

Another good idea is to google sites that are related to your book. For instance, I contacted adoption agencies, etc., and sent them the press release as well. You just have to use your imagination and try to figure out who would be looking for your book if they knew it was out there and where they would look.

SPJ: Good advise, thank you. Do you belong to a writer's group?

Debra: I belong to Story Time Tapestry, published through Zinester, a wonderful on-line e-zine, and to "42 Days of Writing Passionately,” a Yahoo group which promotes writing exercises and improving your writing skills.

SPJ: Would you tell us how supportive your family is in your writing experience and how important do you think this is to a writer?

Debra: Support was pretty much what you would expect it to be. I got a lot of support from my husband and son and some of my friends but that was about it. People have their own lives to live and lose interest fairly quickly unless it affects them personally.

Support from your family is extremely important but if you don't have it and if this is absolutely what you want to do, you have to go on in spite of the nay-sayers. Maintain your focus and keep your eyes on your dream. You have to believe in yourself and, no matter what, give it your best shot.

SPJ: Please tell us about any works you have in progress and when you think they will be released.

Debra: I have co-authored a novel with my cousin titled "Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams” which is a murder mystery. It is in editing now and should be out by summer. "Christopher Bullfrog Catcher,” scribed by me and including an introduction by me but authored by my son, will be out some time this summer. I am now working on "The Adoption of Christopher” which will probably be out around summer of next year and am also writing "Cedar Woman,” a Native American based romance. I'm not sure when "Cedar Woman” will be out but hope it will be late next year.

SPJ: Thank you Debra, and again readers please find my review of "Christopher Bullfrog Catcher," in this column. Now, would you tell us how many hours a day do you write?

Debra: I write six to eight hours a day; often more. I'm a "junkie.”

SPJ: Is there a special place that you write, one that inspires you?

Debra: At my planning desk in my kitchen: my favorite room!

SPJ: Has having a book published changed your life in anyway and if so please share that with us.

Debra: Well, it certainly has been exciting! I have a very real feeling of accomplishment and know that I have given my son a great gift that will last him a lifetime. Other than that my life is pretty much the same. I am working hard to prepare my son for life on his own. He is the joy of my life and renews my soul each and every day.

SPJ: Where do you hope your writing career will be in 3 years and what are you doing to achieve that goal.

Debra: I hope to be fairly well known and a successful writer. I would love to do a screen play and have several ideas. I just keep on writing! You can't succeed if you don't do the work!

SPJ: Thank you Debra, now a question a little off the beaten track, do you read and if so what genre is your favorite?

Debra: Do I read! Books are mother's milk to me! I like it all. My absolute favorite authors are James Michener, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Colleen McCullough, Father Andrew Greeley, Steven King and a couple of oldies but goodies, Taylor Caldwell (my roll-model) and Nora Lofts. I also very much enjoy books on history – England from 700 to 1603 A.D., Early American history and the Civil War. And cook books…I read them, I actually read them.

I also love to read the older books, from about the late 1700s to 1910 or so. They're antiquated in language and thought but I think that's what I love about them. A good example, of course, is Little Women, but I re-read Kings Row, Emma, Vanity Fair and others every year simply because I enjoy the language. I also go to used book stores and buy old novels that no one now has ever heard of like The College Girl and April Gold, both written in the late 1800s.

SPJ: Would you tell us a little about yourself, outside of being a published author?

Debra: I am 53 years of age and have been working since age eleven. I grew up very poor and am a veteran of child abuse. I left my home at age 17, three hours after graduation, and entered the work force full-time to take care of myself and to take control of my environment. At age 28 I finally took my first college course and after four years of night school graduated with a degree in Business Management. Okay, so I'm also very practical. My grandfather was a poet and wrote "My Get Up and Go” and many other works, under the pen name of Proxy, that were published in local newspapers in Southern Ohio. My father also wrote poetry as did my mother. I began to write at age nine and have never gotten over the addiction! When I'm on a roll, I can make you laugh until your sides split, I'm a sucker for anyone who is crying and there are times when watching a flock of geese take off from the lake, or seeing the sun play in the fountain sprays, I simply cannot breathe. I am now married 19 years; I love to cook; I cry when I hear bagpipes or hear a singer hit a "glory note” and I think God made old movies, tomatoes and snap dragons just for me!

SPJ: I know you have been the 'scribe' for your son Christopher's work, Christopher Bullfrog Catcher, would you care to tell us a little about that? I believe our readers will be thrilled to know the achievement that Christopher has accomplished in completing this work.

Debra: Christopher has several learning differences: he is ADD and Dysgraphic (trouble with the skill of writing) and has Working Memory (short term memory) and Executive Function (making a plan, following a plan) Deficit. He is, however, incredibly intelligent and is blossoming into a very good writer and poet.
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder which interferes with the fine motor skills needed in the physical act of writing. Therefore, when Chris writes, that is, when he puts pen or pencil to paper, he will drift off of the line, some letters will "float”: be too high or too low, and his penmanship will be too large and very difficult to read. In addition, because it is so difficult for him, he cannot write his thoughts with as much fluidity as he can when speaking.

Allow me to give you an example. As a test, I once asked Chris to write a sentence describing a fire engine racing to an emergency. He wrote "The fire engine goes fast,” which I could barely read. When I asked him to describe it to me verbally he replied "The fire engine tears down the street, the tires screaming, the lights flashing, the siren whaling 'Here I come! Here I come! Here I come!'”

When I scribe for Chris, I act as his secretary. He will dictate to me, just as in a business setting, and I type what he says. Chris is a very good reader, way above his grade level, and has an extensive vocabulary, and I'm very careful not to change any of his words. I will, obviously, make sure that spelling and punctuation is correct, although Chris is also an excellent speller.

Chris is an awesome child and is trudging on in spite of several learning differences. The important thing to remember is that he is not Learning Disabled (I hate that phrase!): he is not incapable of learning, he merely learns Differently. He also has excellent social skills and a charming and witty personality.

I see a bright future for Christopher and I often say to him, in the words of Quincy Jones to Oprah, "Your future is so bright, it burns my eyes!”

SPJ: Thank you Debra for sharing that information with us. Christopher certainly is a special child and one I believe has a great future ahead of him. In closing, if there is anything you wish to add or information you would like to tell our readers, perhaps a questions I did not ask, please do so here.

Debra: When my cousin and I had been working on "Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams” for about three years, we got an offer from a published author. "Let's meet for dinner and I'll tell you how to get published.” Well, we couldn't believe it! Wow! What a break!

You cannot begin to imagine the disillusionment when we found that, yes, this author was willing to share her secrets with us….for a price. On top of it all we paid for the dinner!

If you are determined to write; if you are determined to make it, you will. When you do, do not be stingy. Don't be like the cook who has this fantastic cake recipe that she will not share with others: she loves to cook, she loves to eat, she loves to see others enjoy her cake, but she will not share the joy of making it with other cooks? What is missing here?

Once you finally get published, share what you know. Help others along. Give them a hand up on the ladder. It's only right. If you love literature and you love writing, how can you not share the recipe for success? There's always room for another book.

SPJ: I want to thank Debra Shiveley Welch for allowing us to know her better. I believe she is an author that writes with heart and soul and that is a very special trait. I wish her the best in the future with all she puts her hand to.


Saga Books
164 Erin Woods Drive SE, Calgary, AB, T2B 2S1, Canada

Debra - Mitakuye oyasin - We are all related.
Author of "A Very Special Child" - An Adoption Story

I firmly believe that I have received the same child I was meant to receive whether I gave birth or adopted. The same soul, the same entity was meant to be mine from the beginning of time. Debra Shiveley Welch "A Very Special Child"

We love our life on the lake where birds and animals of every description abounds

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous -- it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone."

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Vicki's Bookshelf

A Smart Girl's Guide to Money
Nancy Holyoke
illustrated by Ali Douglass
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
ISBN: 1593691033, $9.95, 95 pages,

This addition to the popular "Smart Girl's Guide” format shows girls the ins and outs of money smarts. Quizzes, tips and quotes from girls make learning about money, saving and smart shopping fun. The book includes a special section with 101 money-making ideas, and a special link at offers girls the opportunity to print business cards, flyers, and other materials to get her moneymaker up and running with style.

The Manny Files
Christian Burch
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
ISBN: 1416900399, $15.95, 296 pages,

"Be interesting.” That's what the manny (i.e., a man nanny) tells Keats Dalinger the first time he packs Keats's school lunch, but for Keats that's not always the easiest thing to do. Even though he's the only boy at home, it always feels like no one ever remembers him. His sisters are everywhere! Lulu is the smart one, India is the creative one, and Belly, well, Belly is the naked one. And the baby. School isn't much better. There, he's the shortest kid in the entire class. But now the manny is the Dalinger's new babysitter, and things are starting to look up. It seems as though the many always knows the right thing to do. Not everyone likes the many as much as Keats does, however. Lulu finds the manny embarrassing, and she's started to make a list of all the crazy things that he does, such as serenading the kids with "La Cucaracha” from the front yard or wearing underwear on his head or meeting the school bus with Belly, dressed as limo drivers. Keats is worried. What if Lulu's "Manny Files” makes his parents fire the many? Who will teach him to be interesting then? A delightful mix of contemporary sardonic wit, and old-fashioned Mary Popppins charm. Highly recommended.

Cynthia Kadohata
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
ISBN: 0689865740, $16.95, 260 pages,

Twelve year old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to. That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States. As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the country. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home.” Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend…if he can ever stop being angry about the bact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land.

"Weedflower” is not the first middle grade novel to tackle this emotional chapter of history, nor will it be the last, but it is certainly one of the most eloquent, operating on multiple levels and offering unique multi-perspectives.

Prince William, Maximillian, Minsky, and Me
Holly-Jane Rahlens
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0763627046, $16.99, 316 pages,

Nelly Sue Edelmeister is a brainy 12-year-old who has a few things to work out. There is the bat mitzvah conflict with her mom. Then there are the tensions between her parents and the dark past their wise family friend, Risa, will never discuss. All this gives Nelly much to think about before she falls in love for the first time – with Prince William. The Prince William. Living in Berlin, Germany, and setting her sights on the most gorgeous royal in England might discourage a lesser girl. But Nelly is certain that taking basketball lessons from a boy who dresses like a vampire is the way to win a prince's heart. And, in a way, she is right. In her first YA novel, author Holly-Jane Rahlens combines a brilliant sense of comic timing with thoughts on the really big questions of God, faith, and love.

Janey and the Famous Author
Mary Downing Hahn
illustrated by Timothy Bush
Clarion Books
251 Park Avenue South, NY NY 10003
ISBN: 0618354085, $15.00, 32 pages,

Eight-year-old Janey always has her nose in a book. She enjoys reading so much that she often gets into trouble at school for not paying attention. Janey especially loves stories about Bob the Dog Detective by Lily May Appleton, her favorite author. So when her teacher announces that the class will be attending a book festival where Lily May Appleton is speaking, Janey can hardly contain her excitement. This will be her chance to prove that she really is Ms. Appleton's number one fan! Nothing goes right at the festival though. Janey becomes separated from her classmates and misses all of Lily May Appleton's presentation. She thinks the day is ruined, until an understanding stranger demonstrates that author photos aren't always accurate. Just the right beginning chapter book to generate classroom interest in visiting authors.

Jon Berkeley
Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
ISBN: 0375833099, $16.95, 32 pages,

How can one small mouse bring a dragon to life? In a busy harbor on the faraway island of Hong Kong, there can be found a floating restaurant. It is many stories high with hundreds of windows, and two enormous wooden dragons stand guard at the entrance. In this restaurant lives a tiny gray mouse named Chopsticks. During Chinese New Year, on the night of the full moon, one of the dragons speaks to Chopsticks, asking a favor of our bewhiskered friend. Jon Berkely has painted a magnificent story of friendship and exotic adventure shared by unlikely companions that sparkles like a jewel and warms the heart like a cup of green tea.

A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life
Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
ISBN: 037583611X, $14.95, 32 pages,

This moving first novel is an emotional reflection on family secrets and truths and the power of unexpected blessings. Simone has always known that she is adopted but has never been particularly interested in exploring the issue. She's happy with her own family and doesn't struggle with her identity. She's off to a good start with her junior year of high school and despite the fact that her best friend has a new boyfriend and her own crush spends all of his time with another girl—life is going pretty well. So when Rivka, Simone's birth mother calls unexpectedly and asks to meet her, Simone's world is turned upside-down. She learns that her birth mother was a 16-year-old Hasidic Jewish girl whom her adoptive mother, an ACLU attorney, befriended during the teenager's secret pregnancy. Simone's parents are pushing her into meeting Rivka and she can't figure out why, but their eventual reunion opens up feelings of love and anguish that Simone could have never expected. Full of both comic and heartbreaking moments, "A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life” is an extraordinarily emotional journey not to be missed.

Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything
E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
ISBN: 0385732813, $15.95, 192 pages,

Sixteen-year-old Gretchen Kaufman Yee attends Manhattan's High School for the Arts, a place where being different is cool -- and where being normal makes a girl invisible. In her latest novel, E. Lockhart once again gives her readers a teenage heroine they can relate to. "Fly on the Wall” is an honest look at one girl's quest to understand herself -- and members of the opposite sex. Gretchen does not stand out at school or to her crush, Titus. Her parents are getting a divorce, she's moving into a smaller apartment with her Mom, and her best friend Katya is suddenly remote. Gretchen feels more alone and confused than ever. What makes her the most confused? Boys. Why do they do the things they do? Are they all the clueless cretins they appear to be? One day, Gretchen wishes she could be a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room, just to see what really goes on when boys are alone. Her wish comes true, and Gretchen learns more about the male animal than any human female ever could. But just how long will she remain a "Fly on the Wall”-- and will the knowledge she uncovers help her gain the courage to finally talk to Titus? Readers are 12 and up can find out in E. Lockhart's latest novel, which is sure to get readers buzzing.

Pompeii Lost and Found
Mary Pope Osbourne
illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
Alfred A. Knopf / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
ISBN: 0375828893, $16.95, 40 pages,

Mary Pope Osborne's "Pompeii Lost & Found” is a retelling of a fantastic moment in history that began with an enormous volcanic eruption and ended with the destruction of one of the richest towns in the Roman Empire. Readers ages 6 through 10 will be taken back in time to AD 79, when Mount Vesuvius unleashed its fury on the ancient city of Pompeii, and forever changed the course of history. Following the eruption, Pompeii lay frozen in time under tons of volcanic ash for almost 1,500 years. Since then, archeologists have uncovered the ruins of many buildings, thousands of objects and artwork, and even the remains of some of its 20,000 inhabitants. With meticulous research, Osborne describes what daily life was like, and Bonnie Christensen illustrates each scene using the same technique as the ancient wall paintings unearthed at Pompeii.

Duck and Goose
Tad Hills
Schwartz & Wade Books / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
ISBN: 037583611X, $14.95, 32 pages,

Bold, playful art coupled with a universal friendship story brings together the sweet pairing of Duck and Goose, a darling tale for the youngest of readers from the inaugural list of Schwartz & Wade Books. Duck "saw it first”, but Goose "touched it first” so who will care for the special egg that they've discovered? Duck and Goose are not getting along and all this fighting is sure to bother the baby bird inside their colorful egg. They'll have to agree long enough to keep the egg warm and all that waiting for the egg to hatch forces Duck and Goose to find some common ground. But when a tiny blue bird approaches and asks if he can join in their "game”, Duck & Goose discover that things are not always as they first appear but can still be lovely nonetheless. "Duck and Goose” has the feel of a classic tale with timeless themes including friendship, sharing, and humor. Tad Hills has created two irresistibly charming characters and his vibrant, accessible art brings both Duck and Goose to life. This "just ducky” story time read-aloud will have children laughing out loud.

The Fashion Disaster That Changed My Life
Lauren Myracle
Dutton Children's Books
345 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
ISBN: 0525472223, $15.99, 136 pages,

Seventh grade was supposed to be Alli's breakout year – only her big debut ends up being a big disaster. Then queen bee Rachel Delaney takes Alli under her wing, and Alli finds herself – astonishingly – in the inner circle of seventh-grade cool. But nothing is as Alli expected, and there's ugliness lurking behind the prettiest faces. Alli bares it all in her journal as she figures out where she fits in and, most important of all, what it means to be a real friend. Chick lit lite for middle grade girls.

The Hero and the Minotaur: The Fantastic Adventures of Theseus
Robert Byrd
Dutton Children's Books
345 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
ISBN: 0525473912, $17.99, 40 pages,

Worthy quests, marvelous rescues, and timeless adventure: this is the story of Prince Theseus and the amazing trials that befall him when he vows to become a hero, then sets out to prove his courage. On his journey, Theseus will meet Ariadne, a brave princess, and a remarkable boy named Icarus. Together the three devise an exhilarating, desperate plan to slay a strange and terrible beast, known to all as the Minotaur. Theirs is an unforgettable story of friendship and love, of beautiful dreams and brutal truths. In a tale that holds both thrilling victory and tragic loss the hopes and separate destinies of three young adventurers splendidly unfold. A wonderful introduction to readers who have not yet discovered the fascinating world of the ancient Greeks.

A Subway for New York
David Weitzman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
ISBN: 0374372845, $17.00, 32 pages,

Many thought the idea was ridiculous. "New Yorkers will never go into a hole in the ground to ride!” they scoffed. But on October 27, 1904, after years of hard work, the city's very first subway train took passengers almost from one end of Manhattan to the other – on only twenty-six minutes! And after a century, the New York City subway is still America's most famous rapid transit system, ridden by millions of people every day. From digging and blasting tunnels to making a gigantic power station, the construction of the subway was a daring and demanding project. Incredibly detailed pictures and diagrams by gifted technical artist David Weitzman bring the mechanics to life. "A Subway for New York” is a true American story appealing to fans of transportation, tunnels, and tracks.

Mind Your Manners!
Diane Goode
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
ISBN: 0374349754, $16.00, 32 pages,

You are cordially invited to come dine with the Abbotts -- but watch out for their rude behavior. They speak with the mouths full, they spit, they fall out of their chairs… Their manners are simple atrocious! Thank goodness their guests know how to behave, but this is one invitation they will wish they had refused. Diane Goode's picture book sends up a nineteenth-century etiquette primer in this lively celebration of good manners.

Wiseguy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates
M.D. Usher
illustrated by William Bramhall
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
ISBN: 0374312494, $16.00, 32 pages,

"All I know is that I know nothing!” with this classic statement, uttered over two thousand years ago, Socrates set the standard for the future of Western philosophy. By day, Socrates soaked up the sun in the Athenian marketplace, where he'd converse for hours on end about the meaning of wisdom, right and wrong, courage, justice, and love. By night, he feasted and danced with friends. He was charming, bur not handsome, happy, but not rich. Socrates was in every way a perplexing and controversial figure. How can it be that the man who claimed to know nothing came to be regarded as the wisest man of his day? His method – that of asking tough, probing questions about the world in which we live – did not sit well with everyone. In the end, his fellow Athenians punished Socrates for supposedly corrupting the youth and disrespecting the gods. It's not often that someone comes along who challenges popular opinion and has a lasting impact on the way people think. Indeed, thinkers all over the world continue to be inspired by Socrates' life and philosophy. In this book, Socrates practically leaps off the page as the story of his life and thought unfolds through comical illustrations and a two-tiered text, the one layer quite simple, the other full of juicy details about the philosopher's life and times.

Lilly's Big Day
Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins
1350 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10019-4703
ISBN: 0060742364, $16.99, 32 pages,

In 1988, Lilly made her first appearance in Kevin Henkes's picture book, "Chester's Way.” Eight years later she charmed children in her own picture book, "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.” In April 2006 Greenwillow marks the ten-year anniversary of that classic book with a brand-new picture book about the lovable mouseling: "Lilly's Big Day.” In it, the most amazing, thrilling and life-changing thing happens to Lilly: her beloved teacher, Mr. Slinger, announces he's getting married. To Lilly, this means an even more amazing thing will happen: she will be his flower girl! Did Mr. Slinger ask you to be his flower girl? Doesn't he have a niece” Lilly's parents ask. Well, no, as a matter of fact, he didn't ask Lilly. And yes, he does have a niece. A niece named Ginger. Uh-oh. The most terrible, awful, disappointing thing is going to happen: Mr. Slinger is getting married! Lilly is not going to be his flower girl – Ginger is. But as only Lilly can, she turns heartbreak into smiles and sheer disappointment into friendship and happiness. And as only Kevin Henkes can, he has created yet another classic story in "Lilly's Big Day.”

The King in the Window
Adam Gopnik
Miramax Books / Hyperion
114 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10011-5690
ISBN: 078681862X, $19.95, 412 pages,

Written with wit and descriptive richness, Adam Gopnik turns his talents to a fantasy novel for children and adults in an intelligent adventure story set in the city he writes about so magnificently: Paris. Twelve-year-old Oliver Parker is miserably stuck in Paris. He is bored and lonely with Parisian teachers who are too strict, American parents who are too caught up in their own lives, and one beautiful French friend who no longer speaks to him. On a cold winter night, he puts on the silly paper crown from the Epiphany festival. Catching a glimpse of something in the window, he sees not his own reflection, but instead a boy hovering in front of him, dressed in an ancient French doublet. The boy informs Oliver he is the new king of the windows and must help defeat the evil forces who are stealing people's souls. Piecing together clues, Oliver sets off on a fantastic mission to reclaim a sword of glass from the Louvre, lead his subjects living at Versailles, and make his way into another dimension through the stained glass of Sainte Chapelle. Oh, and write an essay for school homework. A magical adventure story and good-vs.-evil morality tale.

The Warrior Heir
Cinda Williams Chima
114 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10011-5690
ISBN: 0786839163, $16.99,426 pages,

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohi town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than before. And it feels great – until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people. At the head of this society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White rose, whose power is determined by playing the Game: a tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre heritage weren't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind – he's one of the last of the warriors, at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jacks performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he's in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack's official sponsor, there are no limits to what they'll do to get Jack to fight for them. An epic contemporary-fantasy for ages 10 and up.

Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company
1271 Ave. of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
ISBN: 031611491X, $14.99, 32 pages,

Art creates lines, squiggles, dots, and whole new worlds in this imaginative picture book from the creator of "Mutts.” The wild splashes of primary watercolors and bold use of outlines and white space are brilliantly, and simply – employed to demonstrate the spare text, making it clear that creator Patrick McDonnell not only knows his stuff, but had a ball putting it on paper.

Aesop's Fables
Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0735820686, $6.95 paperback, 32 pages,

This reissue of Lisbeth Zwerger's gorgeously illustrated edition features 12 Aesop favorites, including "The Fox and the Grapes,” "The Fox and the Crow,” "The Hare and the Tortoise,” "The Milkmaid & Her Pail,” and "Town Mouse and Country Mouse.” Less familiar fables round out the collection, from "The Ass and the Lap Dog” to "The Moon and Her Mother.” Each is presented in a succinct, condensed format to fit on one page, with a graceful watercolor illustration presented on the facing page. Available in hardback or an attractively budgeted paperback edition.

Holey Moley
Marcus Pfister
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0735820643, $16.95, 32 pages,

Two mole brothers want to play, but they can't agree on what to do. One wants to dig a deep hole, the other wants to make a hill so he can climb up and see what's out there beyond all that grass! Each stomps off to do his own thing – until they discover that they are really both doing the same thing. A sweet, simple tale of brotherly love and cooperation from the creator of the immensely successful "The Rainbow Fish.”

Hubert and the Apple Tree
Bruno Hachler
illustrated by Albrecht Rissler
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0735820449, $15.95, 32 pages,

Hubert loves the apple tree in his garden. Hubert grew up with the tree, climbing into its leafy branches to hide when he was a child, enjoying its luscious fruit for many years. And now they have grown old together. Then one night the tree is struck by lightening. Hubert is heartbroken to see his apple tree looking so crooked and miserable. This English-language translation of "Hubert and the Apple Tree” is a moving story about devotion and growing old gracefully. For Pre-K – 2nd grade.

Invisible Visible
Katja Kamm
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 073582052X, $12.95, 36 pages,

Post-punk hipsters, cool kids, nuns, and bike riders are rendered in bold contrast in this entertaining and intriguing wordless book. Depending on the background, things seem to mysteriously disappear, then reappear as you turn the page. A boy's T-shirt melts into the background, nuns seem to float in mid-air when their purple habits become camouflage, and a bike rider crashes into an invisible tree trunk. This edgy, unique picture book (in the true sense of the word) will appeal to adults as well as kids, with its outrageous art, witty approach, and surprise ending.

Xaviere Devos and Gerard Moncomble
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0735820627, $15.95, 32 pages,

Pippin is a kitten who hasn't yet learned to purr. Worried, his parents take him to the doctor who suggests an operation. "No way,” thinks little Pippin who decides to take things into his own paws. It isn't until his parents realize what their kitten really needs that Pippin purrs in relief. This book will strike a chord with parents and children looking for gentle refuge in a fast-moving world. A lovely bedtime tale to put young lap-readers in a purring mood of their own.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ernst A. Ekker
illustrated by Doris Eisenburger
North-South Books
11 East 26th Street, NY, NY 10010
ISBN: 0735820562, $20.00, 32 pages,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart remains one of the most intriguing historical figures ever. By the time he died at the early age of 35, he had already left behind some of the most important music ever created. Just in time for the 250th anniversary of his birth, this picture book for the whole family tells the tale of Mozart's life, from child prodigy to Imperial Royal Chamber Composer for Emperor Joseph the II to his work as one of the world's first freelance composers. Mozart's life and his music are virtually inseparable, since so many of his experiences and observations came out in his music. Listen to the selection of Mozart's music on the book's enclosed CD as you read along, and you'll see how Mozart's life influenced his music – and his music influenced his life. Richly told and illustrated, it's clear this sophisticated picture book biography was created by true classical aficionados. It rises above commonplace, hitting all the right notes to inspire young readers 6-11.

Spacer and Rat
Margaret Bechard
Roaring Brook Press / Millbrook Press
2 Old New Milford Rd., Brookfield, CT 06804
ISBN: 1596430583, $16.95, 184 pages

Jack has spent his whole life on Freedom Station, providing food, shelter, and ship repair to the people who live in the Asteroid Belt. He knows exactly what it means to live out in the Black. And working in the station's pub, he sees everyone who passes through: the geeks and the mechs, the miners and the sci guys. And the Earthies, fleeing the problems back on Earth, coming out of the new colony worlds. Jack knows who belongs out in the Black…and who doesn't. Until Kit comes walking into the pub. It challenges everything he believes about the Black, about the people who live there, and about what it takes to be a human being.

Estrella's Quinceanera
Malin Alegria
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
ISBN: 0689878095, $14.95, 264 pages,

Estrella Alvarez is turning 15, and she's not happy about it. For as long as she can remember, he mother has been planning an elaborate quinceanera, complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Estrella is so over it. She'd much rather have an understated dinner party at a posh restaurant downtown – that way she can invite her two best friends from private school, who have no idea Estrella lives in the barrio. Even though Estrella tries to keep her home life a secret, things get even more complicated when she falls for Speedy, a cholo whom her new friends – and her parents – would definitely disapprove of. Caught between her family's wishes and the allure of her sophisticated friends, Estrella is forced to make some tough choices. This funny, touching book follows one girl's struggle to figure out who she really wants to be.

Leonardo da Vinci
Kathleen Krull
Viking / Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers
345 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014
ISBN: 067005920X, $15.99, 128 pages,

For more than 30 years – half his life – he was obsessively devoted to investigating everything in the natural world. Nothing escaped his interest – how our eyes see, why the sky is blue, what forces build mountains, how light travels, where water comes from, and – most fascinating of all to Leonardo – the inner workings of the human body. Nothing stopped him. It was illegal to dissect human corpses, so he did autopsies in secret, even devising a clever way to slice through eyeballs (notoriously squishy!). Scrupulously researched and juicily anecdotal, Kathleen Krull's portrait of Leonardo will not only change children's ideas of who he was, but also what it means to be a scientist. For ages 10 and up.

Vicki Arkoff
Senior Reviewer

Vogel's Bookshelf

The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy
Rich-Heape Films
5952 Roayl Lane, Suite 254, Dallas, TX 75230
DVD $34.95 1-888-600-2922

Produced and directed by Chip Richie, The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is an engaging two hour documentary exploring one of America's darkest periods in which President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830 consequently transported Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation to the bleak and unsupportive Oklahoma Territory in the year 1838. Deftly presented by the talents of Wes Studi, James Earl Jones, and James Garner, The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy also includes narrations of famed celebrities Crystal Gayle, Johnt Buttrum, Governor Douglas Wilder, and Steven R. Heape. A welcome DVD addition to personal, school, and community library Native American history collections, The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is strongly recommended for its informative and tactful presentation of such a tragic and controversial historical occurrence in 19th century American history.

Soccer Shooting Drills
Marty Schupak
Youth Sports Club
9 Florence Court, Valley Cottage, NY 10989
DVD $24.95

Knowledgeably presented by Marty Schupak, Soccer Shooting Drills is an informed and informative instructional documentation of over thirty creative, fun, and technical shooting drills for youth soccer athletes in a flawless produced 34-minute DVD format for the purpose of aiding in the perfection and enhancement of scoring fundamentals. Inclusive of individual and team shooting drills, real game situations, fun games, comprehensive breakdown of how to strike a ball, offensive plays, heading techniques, and bonus tips, Soccer Shooting Drills is an easy-to-follow instructional guide for the enhancing and effectively employing the basic tactics of soccer for youth players. Soccer Shooting Drills is a very highly recommended to all coaches, teachers, parents and referees of youth soccer as an invaluable reference for their young players.

Mastering The Trade
John F. Carter
Two Penn Plaza, 11th floor, New York, NY 10212-2298
Jane Wesman Public Relations (publicity)
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1702, New York, NY 10001
0071459588 $55.00 1-877-833-5524

Mastering The Trade: Proven Techniques For Profiting From Intraday And Swing Trading Setups by commodity trading advisor John F. Carter (President of Trade the Markets, Inc.) is an extensive collection of the career-long interpretation and studious understandings of the known and successful tradesman of an author. Granting the reader a guide for becoming a successful full-time trade master, Mastering The Trade provides superior strategies to transform one's self into a professional using five psychological truths, proven setups with ideal markets and non-negotiable trade rules for greater effectiveness as a salesman, a comprehensive grasp of precise entry, exit, and stop levels for the trading of stocks, bonds, etc., an authoritative set of seven important entry setup tactics, and much more. Mastering The Trade is to be given high praise, and is very strongly recommended to all aspiring or contributing big businesspeople in the trade or sales division of a company for its persuasive and on-task format and the existence format providing the reader with a complete understanding of their business.

High Maintenance Employees
Katherine Graham Leviss
Sourcebooks, Inc.
PO Box 4410, Naperville, IL 60567-4410
Jane Wesman Public Relations (publicity)
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1702, New York, NY 10001
1402206232 $18.95

High Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult… And What You Can Do About It by Katherine Graham Leviss (Founder and President of XB Coaching) is an informed and thoroughly "user-friendly" guide to being an effective employer and able to properly identifying the greatest employee potential and how best to utilize it in your staffing. Focusing upon properly and effectively maintaining their best employees by identifying and appreciating high-maintenance high performers, understanding their behavior, creating the best work environment, rewarding and leading high-maintenance high performers, and integrating them into teams, High Maintenance Employees is very strongly recommended reading for business executives and managers as an instructive reference for obtaining the most productive and progressive workplace possible.

The Laws Of Lifetime Growth
Dan Sullivan & Catherine Nomura
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
235 Montgomery Street, Suite 650, San Francisco, CA 94104-2916
Jane Wesman Public Relations (publicity)
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1702, New York, NY 10001
1576753352 $16.95 1-800-929-2929

The Laws Of Lifetime Growth: Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past knowledgeably co-authored by Dan Sullivan (President of Strategic Coach, Inc.) and product development and strategic planning expert Catherine Nomura is a "user-friendly" guide to growing in and experiencing the love and appreciation of life which enables us to truly live. Offering readers an insightful and thoughtful resource toward the attainment of enduring satisfaction, enlightened meaning, practical accomplishment, and steadfast progress, The Laws Of Lifetime Growth produces a compendium of veritable and reliable information useful to all. The Laws Of Lifetime Growth is very highly recommended to all readers searching for a better understanding of their own mind, in pursuit of personal success and contentment.

John Hasnas
CATO Institute
National Book Network, dist.
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20001
1930865880 $12.95

Trapped: When Acting Ethically Is Against The Law by John Hasnas (Associate Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington DC) focuses upon ethical dilemmas arising from the over-criminalization of commonplace behaviors, demands of the law and ethics considerations for its violation, and the seemingly culturally sanctioned allowance of unethical behavior amongst corporate executives and businesses. Deftly exploring the impracticalities and seemingly inane concepts which restrict our citizens and fill our penitentiaries, Trapped is very strongly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in business ethics, white color crime, and their impact in a highly competitive marketplace.

Baseball Before We Knew It
David Block
The University of Nebraska Press
1111 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68588
0803262558 $16.95

Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The Game by baseball historian and expert David Block is a well researched, expertly written, inherently interesting, reader engaging, in-depth study of baseball and its historical roots. Baseball's actual origin is in Europe and Baseball Before We Knew It resents a wry and informative authorship of Block's intricate study of the great 'American' sport. Baseball Before We Knew It is very highly recommended reading for baseball fans and students sports history for its invaluable documentation and seminal, groundbreaking collection of information compiled and comprised to create what may easily be seen as the ultimate book of baseball. No personal, academic or community library Sports History collection can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of David Block's Baseball Before We Knew It!

Architecture, Town Planning And Community
Cecil Scott Burgess, author
Donald G. Wetherell, editor
The University of Alberta Press
Ring House 2, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2E1
0888644558 $39.95

Expertly compiled and knowledgeably edited by Donald G. Wetherell, Architecture, Town Planning And Community: Selected Writings And Public Talks By Cecil Burgess, 1909-1946 is an outstandingly collection of many speeches and documents germane to this dedicated architect's life work and accomplishments. Exploring the understanding and insight of Cecil Scott Burgess' seminal observations and adaptive ideals, Architecture, Town Planning And Community is a work of impressive scholarship. Architecture, Town Planning And Community is very strongly recommended to all students of Cecil Scott Burgess' work, as well as to aspiring architects and practicing architectural historians.

Estimating Home Building Costs
W. P. Jackson
Craftsman Book Company
6058 Corte del Cedro PO Box 6500, Carlsbad, CA 92018
0910460809 $17.00 1-800-829-8123

Estimating Home Building Costs is an instructive guide to practical material design and building using unique techniques discovered by the innovative design of author W. P. Jackson, who draws upon his more than 30 years experience and expertise as a builders of quality homes and a developer of subdivisions and even garden apartments.. As an easy-to-use reference for professionals and do-it-yourselfers wanting to embark on their own home building project, Estimating Home Building Costs showcases the intricate detailing of construction involving site purchasing, acquiring permits, services, foundations, superstructure, roofing, wiring, plumbing, insulation, trim and appliances Estimating Home Building Costs even discusses overhead, contingency and profit. Estimating Home Building Costs is very strongly recommended for its subversive and progressive, effective, and efficient perspectives to all home builders, as well as students of the Architecture.

Paul T. Vogel

Volk's Bookshelf

Worm In The Bud
June Duncan Owen
Indra Publishing
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 NE 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786
1920787127 $20.95

Worm In The Bud by June Duncan Owen is an engaging tale a man called Lewis, and his peculiar despondence from his beloved wife and family upon approach of their wedding anniversary. Vividly granting the reader a superb perspective from the emotionally deprived on behalf of Lewis' long suffering wife, Worm In The Bud details an incredible creative progression from first page to last as the reader feels more empathy, more truth in the personalities of the characters. Documenting the storytelling talent and originality of author June Duncan Owen, Worm In The Bud is very highly recommended reading, particular those who favor a mildly thrilling mystery for its intuitive and eccentric style and its unique story.

The Jasmine Isle
Ioanna Karystiani
Europa Editions
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003
1933372109 $14.95

Creatively authored by Ioanna Karystiani and expertly translated by Michael Eleftheriou, The Jasmine Isle is a conceptual and metaphorical tale of contemporary Greek literature. Mina Saltaferou forcibly weds her eldest daughter Orsa in spite of a love her daughter already feels for another. In a classic style and with a particularly vivid depiction of memorable characters, The Jasmine Isle narratively embodies the truths and barriers of women and men as set by society's predetermined constructs. Especially recommended as a work of exceptional talent, The Jasmine Isle is very highly recommended reading for its intricate and intimate telling of a deep tale, persistently focused on the unjust social constraints felt by so many.

Inner Lives Of Deaf Children
Martha Sheridan
Gallaudet University Press
800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695
1563682893 $45.00 1-800-621-2736

Inner Lives Of Deaf Children: Interviews And Analysis by Martha Sheridan (Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at Gallaudet Univeristy) is an informative exploration into the lives and minds of deaf children based upon interviews with seven very different deaf children between the ages of seven and ten. Outstanding for its exclusive perspective and invaluable documentation of a deaf child's struggles in contemporary society, Inner Lives Of Deaf Children is an invaluable and seminal collection of studies and research into the psychology, lifestyle, and personal adaptation of deaf children. Inner Lives Of Deaf Children is very strongly recommended to parents, teachers, social workers, counselors and anyone else involved in the lives of deaf children.

Scale Down: Live It Up
Danna Demetre
Revell/Baker Publishing Group
PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
0800731271 $15.99

Very highly recommended to all readers searching for the one weight loss program that might work for them, Scale Down: Live It Up by Danna Demetre (a Registered Nurse and host of the weekly radio show "Health Solutions Today") is an effectively innovative "Wellness Workbook" guide to losing weight, and then keeping off those extra pounds. Introducing the reader to proven methods which enhance a positive attitude, as well as aide in granting good health, as well as a more trim and fit body, Scale Down: Live It Up shows how to apply practical tactics enabling the reader to overcome bad habits, energize their personal lifestyle, renew their spirit, burn fat effectively, and loose weight for life. Scale Down: Live It Up offers the reader an easy-to-follow format enhanced with helpful charts, questions for reflection, and suggested resources for further study.

Carol Volk

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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