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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 6, Number 3 March 2007 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Cowper's Bookshelf Dunford's Bookshelf Kaveny's Bookshelf
Klausner's Bookshelf Laurel's Bookshelf Shelley's Bookshelf
Shirley's Bookshelf Taylor's Bookshelf Vicki's Bookshelf
Vogel's Bookshelf    

Cowper's Bookshelf

All Time Is Now
Katie Letcher Lyle
Infinity Publishing
1094 New Dehaven Street, Suite 100, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
0741425203 $11.95

All Time Is Now: Adventures with Jennie is author Katie Letcher Lyle's family memoir the adjustments that she, her husband, and her son learned to make when her daughter Jennie graced their lives. Jennie was born with cerebral palsy and mental retardation; her arrival was the coming of an "imperfect" child into a "perfect" family. Yet Jennie's coming was a blessing that proved to them all they knew nothing about "perfect", and taught them everything about what it means to be human. Tracing the years of Jennie's life from early childhood to adulthood, the search to find the proper school for her, and the discovery that no family is truly "perfect" no matter how hard they try to maintain the illusion, and much more, All Time Is Now is a one-of-a-kind candid story, recommended for readers of all walks of life.

The Planets Align So Rare
Ray Sette with Carlo DeCarlo
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd. - 515, Parker, Colorado 80134
1598007203 $24.95

Written by psychic astrologer Ray Sette with Carlo DeCarlo, The Planets Align So Rare: Twelve Dimensions to the Human Potential offers the conundrum that all human potential already lies within the fabric of each individual's being, waiting for the choice to bring out the potential and make it real. Based on the concept that each person's astrology chart, choices, and free will are therefore unique, The Planets Align So Rare outlines astrological influence upon each of twelve aspects of human potential: the physical being of self, self-worth and abundance, thoughts, foundations, creativity, health and well-being, balance, transformation, beliefs and psyche, achievements, awareness, and knowing. Drawing connections between astrology and the spiritual realms as well as the earthly material realms, The Planets Align So Rare is a positive affirmation of the human will to destiny as well as a user-friendly introduction to the life-shaping influence of heavenly harmony. Recommended for astrology buffs.

A Drifter in the Mind
J. Roberts
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 E Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064-4421
1598864653 $14.95

A Drifter in the Mind is author and poet J. Roberts' memoir of adjusting to the challenges of his wife's bi-polar disorder. An honest account that does not varnish the difficult truth of day-to-day living with a person who almost literally has two faces and does not minimize the author's own human shortcomings, A Drifter in the Mind pulls the reader in with its candor and at times philosophical reflection. Written with a flair for almost lyrical description, A Drifter in the Mind is an unforgettable true-life story.

How People Change
Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp
New Growth Press
c/o The B & B Media Group
109 South Main Street, Corsicana, TX 75110
0977080722 $17.50

Written by Christian counselors and faculty Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change discusses the biblical pattern of change that any Christian can apply to the challenges of his or her daily life. Encompassing the principle that change comes not only from within, but also with the guidance of God helping the individual become what he or she was created to be, How People Change is embraces the qualities of love and redemption. "Without an awareness of Christ's presence, we tend to live anxiously. We avoid hard things and are easily overwhelmed. But a clear sense of identity and provision gives us hope and courage to face the struggles and temptations that come our way." A profound self-help guide grounded firmly in Christian faith.

The Legends of Bearlandia: Book One Escape From Innocence
Julio Romano
R&R Publishing House
1616 W. Chanute Pass. Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85041
0978968204 $18.99

The debut novel of a brand new fantasy series, The Legends of Bearlandia: Book One Escape From Innocence is the captivating chronicle of Ronin, a child prince who suffers repeated nightmares and blackouts. As he awakens in the land of Sequoia, the entire Kingdom of Foralgel searches for him - yet it is ultimately Ronin himself who must come to terms with destiny, when he awakens in a dark underground room without any memory of who he is. An evocative, emotional saga about coming of age and discovering oneself amid other people's hidden agendas.

What Feeds Us
Diane Lockward
Wind Publications
600 Overbrook Dr, Nicholasville, KY 40356
1893239578 $15.00

Winner of the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize 2006, What Feeds Us is former high school English teacher Diane Lockward's latest collection of brief, free-verse poems that embraces all forms of nourishment in life itself. From a petulant, invective poem against bumblebees to enjoying and celebrating the pleasure of an anniversary to the haunting analogy between creating a house for wrens to nest in and trying to become pregnant, What Feeds Us paints sublimely with descriptive language, sometimes plain-spoken, sometimes obliquely surreptitious. "Reconstruction": I am a house he would move into, / so framed for this man. With hammer / and nails he holds me together, / such tools he carries, his pliers, his adze, / gives me his awl, his drill and bits. / He puts a roof over my head. / I am shingled and waterproofed, / plumbed, mitered, and wired. He makes / of me a dream house, a cream puff, / my rough-hewn timber smoothed. / Broom-clean, in move-in condition. / I am two-storied now. He builds a fire in me.

No More Goodbyes
Carol Lynn Pearson
Pivot Point Books
1384 Cornwall CT., Walnut Creek, CA 94597
0963885243 $14.95

Written by award finalist author Carol Lynn Pearson, No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones is a collection of true vignettes about religious Mormon people who relate to their gay loved ones, who are in turn often condemned by the church (and according to some people's beliefs, by God) for their homosexuality. Though No More Goodbyes tells the stories of Mormon families adapting to the tumultuous change that a revelation of homosexuality brings, the stories are sure to strike a chord with all readers who have had to navigate the difficult waters between religion and sexual orientation. No More Goodbyes does not judge or condemn; Pearson loves and wishes well gay friends who choose lifelong celibacy, openly gay friends who attempt to preserve their heterosexual marriages despite the obvious difficulties, and gay friends who choose to pursue gay relationships. What No More Goodbyes does denounce are the tragedies of high suicide rates among gays, the terrible anguish that results from hiding one's sexual orientation in order to marry someone of the opposite sex, and any religious or simply bigoted promotion of hatred or suffering. Also highly recommended is Person's previous best-selling book "Goodbye, I Love You" about her own husband, whose homosexuality simply could not change and inevitably led to divorce, eventually followed by her caring for him as he died from AIDS in her home.

Mary Cowper

Dunford's Bookshelf

Doing Business With Saudi Arabia, third edition
Anthony Shoult, series editor
GMB Publishing
525 South 4th St., Suite 241, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Ingram Publishers Services, distributor
1 Ingram Blvd., La Vergne, TN 37086
1905050062 $143.00

Now in a fully updated third edition, Doing Business With Saudi Arabia: A Guide to Investment Opportunities & Business Practice is an in-depth guide written especially for foreign investors and business developers, both within and without the oil industry, about the practical realities, legal requirements, cultural necessities, and other factors of doing business with the oil-rich nation of Saudi Arabia. From banking, accountancy and taxation to profiles of leading Saudi companies and twelve key industry sectors, to the ramifications of the recent Foreign Investment Act that now allows foreign investors to have full ownership of their investment project and much more, Doing Business With Saudi Arabia is the absolute "must-have" comprehensive resource for anyone even considering the titular possibility. Highly recommended.

They Always Get A Pass, Don't They?
Rob Robinson, author
Jerome Sator, illustrator
105 Parkway Drive Hampton, Virginia 23669
0972797610 $24.95

The debut publication of firefighter, soldier, and public school teacher Rob Robinson, They Always Get A Pass, Don't They? is a no-nonsense look at the seamy side of the National Football League. They Always Get A Pass, Don't They? exposes how the thirty-two team owners of the NFL harm the quality of the game and exploit their fellow Americans in search of monstrous profit, as well as the racism that oddly pervades a sport in which the majority of players are black, and even offers step-by-step rules of thumb to effectively identifying winning teams (statistically speaking, the team that scores the first touchdown is most likely to win - and coaches that start the game holding something in reserve are more likely to have losing strategies). A tell-it-like-it-is, "must-read" for football enthusiasts everywhere.

Scatterlings of Africa
Peter Davies
Literally Publishing Ltd.
The Covert, Main Street, Claydon, Oxfordshire OX17 1EU, England
0955440904 $18.99

Written by African native and former part-time soldier Peter Davies, Scatterlings of Africa is an action-packed adventure, set in the early seventies during Rhodesia's war against terror (Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980). Lieutenant Ron Cartwright is committed to defending his nation against insurgents; while abduction, intimidation, and torture are par for the course during the brutal civil war, many cities, towns, and farms remain safe havens. Yet separation from his beloved wife is taking its toll, and the arrival of her cousin along with the impending threat of the war's escalation add further pressure to the situation. A gripping and severe novel of sacrificed paid struggling to defend, protect, and survive.

Investing Without Losing
Don Sausa
The Vision Press
6900-29 Daniels Pkwy, #147, Fort Myers, FL 33912
0978834607 $19.95

Investing Without Losing: The Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Tax Lien and Tax Deed Auctions is a no-nonsense primer to profiting from properties and tax liens that are sold every month in the United States, often at pennies on the dollar for their real market value. One doesn't need a real estate license or experience to get started in taking advantage of auctions for the sake of investment plans and strategies. Investing Without Losing offers auction bidding strategies, valuable checklists for investing like an expert, state by state summaries of tax auction types and redemption periods, quite title alternatives and avoiding court action to insure tax deeds, "flipping" tips, and much more. Black-and-white illustrations and sample forms round out this handy introduction to profitable real estate for readers of all backgrounds.

The Stone Garden Guide: Armenia & Karabagh
Matthew Karanian & Robert Kurkjian
Stone Garden Productions
PO Box 7758, Northridge, CA 91327
096721209X $24.95

The first edition of The Stone Garden Guide: Armenia & Karabagh was the 2005 Independent Publisher award finalist in the category of best travel guide. Now in an updated second edition, Armenia & Karabagh remains thorough, practical, and completely up-to-date in its information concerning this predominantly Christian nation that borders Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Written by Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian, two experts who have each spent a decade traveling in the region, Armenia & Karabagh is filled cover-to-cover with full-color maps, photographs, must-see sights, and solid general advice for business and pleasure travelers alike (drink bottled water instead of the local water unless it has been boiled, and also avoid using ice cubes in restaurants or using nonsterilized water to brush one's teeth). An all-inclusive, absolute "must-have" for anyone interested in experiencing the uniquely rich cultural heritage of Armenia for themselves.

Ronald E. Moore
608 East Greenwood, Enterprise, OR 97928
0915214431 $17.95

The debut poetry collection of composer and former health care executive Ronald E. Moore, Alterity is an anthology of brief, free-verse poems that evoke a musical quality. Contemplating history, art, legends, love, death, and psychological insights into the fleeting nature of a transient world, Alterity can be read quickly but is meant to be savored in its full mellifluous glory. "A Note from Nietzsche to Freud": Yes I heard / you helped Mahler / find the memories / oddly piping / in his music. / What makes / you think / you could / fix me? / Surely you understand / what ails me / has never been / subject / to tinkering. / The cure / for this angst / is another 10th Symphony / that doesn't / exist.

Cooking With Gas
Luke V. Saucier III
1419631896 $19.99

Written by restaurant business veteran Luke V. Saucier III, Cooking With Gas: The Official Guide for Restaurant Start-ups and Operations is a practical, no-nonsense manual to getting a restaurant business off the ground and running it successfully. Chapters cover deciding whether to franchise, organization types and paperwork that must be filed with the state, how to control food and labor costs, risk management, taxes and much more. An absolute "must-have" primer to read cover to cover before investing one's assets, time, and energy into a restaurant start-up or franchise.

The Selling Machine
Michael Canno, Michael Pace, & Landy Wingard
New Model Publishers
300 Hunting Hollow Road, Greenville, SC 29615
097858550X $19.95

Michael Canno, Michael Pace, and Landy Wingard present their combined 50 years of sales experience in The Selling Machine, a straightforward manual to regularly closing sales deals from small-time transactions to multimillion-dollar operations. Condensing the essentials of the sales process into 100 pages, without relying on gimmicks, The Selling Machine covers all dimensions of solid sales: planning, prospecting, qualifying, proving, proposing, and closing. "The best way to close the right way is to avoid closing the wrong way. Don't ever close with tricks or dishonesty. Anything gained in the short-term will be lost double in the long-term." An absolute "must-read" primer for anyone participating in or considering a career that has anything to do with sales - including and especially most entrepreneurs starting up a new business!

Michael Dunford

Kaveny's Bookshelf

A critique of Spinoza and a Defense of the Science Fiction Series Stargate SG-1.

A number of my academic colleagues love look down their rather long wrinkled noses at me, when I mention television, and to reply to me with a high degree self satisfied disdain when I mention a particularly interesting program I watched on television as follows. "Oh I never watch television." Some even go so far as to say, "We don't even own one." Of course the implicit sub text of these sorts of replies is either one of two things. The first of course is. "What makes you think that I would talk to you Philip, and the second, is a kind of pathetic attempt to position them with a taste culture that they really are not a part of. But, I think, the saddest thing of all is that they are missing out a lots of really fun and interesting stuff by not at least watching a science fiction channel The reason I say this is Science Fiction is still about really big ideas, and the don't get any bigger than ideas about cosmology, the universe and free will and determinism, which are the areas the philosophers have been reflecting for the last four thousand years.

All of this came together though, a little project I am working, my critique of Spinoza. The project grew out of a fascinating class I am taking here at U.W. Eau Claire in religious studies From Dr. Ned Beach called Critiques of God. What we are really doing is approaching some of the major thinkers in western, and eastern theology with an open and yet critical mind. Perhaps the most interesting thinker we have worked with so far is Baruch Spinoza who was born in Amsterdam in 1632 into a Jewish family and was highly educated in the Jewish faith and finally excommunicated for his radical pantheistic ideas of substance in which God was of single and complete substance and was both equal to and greater than nature. Further he states that it is an indifferent god that loves us not and perhaps cares nothing for humanity. In addition for Spinoza the universe is fully determined and the following proposition would always be true in the past present and future, he was one of the first to develop the watch maker view of the universe

What follows is my critiques of Spinoza's determinism from a Twenty First century based on my summary of his position on free will extrapolated from our classroom discussions and readings the material then inside the quotation marks is my own, and drawn from my dialogue with professor Beach.

"What ever decision you make in any given situation is the only one you could have made"

If decision equals choice for Spinoza and this statement applies to future choices and it is grounded in mechanistic enlightenment 17th century model of the operation of nature is he claims it. It follows for me that it is inadequate because precludes the probabilistic model of operation that is the paradigm for all modern science which includes within it quantum physics, theory of relativity, chaos theory, dark matter, and black holes. All of these must be understood with probabilistic, rather than a mechanistic model of nature, a probabilistic model which demands neither cosmological watch spring, nor watchmaker.

Last night Feb. 22, 2007 my wife and I watched an episode of Series Stargate SG-1 in which one of the main characters gained the power to see into the future as a result of head injury and was concerned that in the process off seeing the future he was making it the only future which was possible, the other female character must have read my critique of Spinoza because she responded to his concerns almost the same way as I did in my little project. So as we say in the business, thank god I am an atheist, and god bless science fiction, well I am not exactly an atheist, I am a Christian in some un Biblical ways a very literal one, but that will have to wait for my next Kaveny's bookshelf in which I promise I will actually write about some books.

Philip Kaveny
Senior Reviewer

Klausner's Bookshelf

Sex … and Shopping
Various authors
Black Lace
0352340762 $7.99

These eighteen stories focus on the link (some quite nebulous) between sex and shopping. Each of the entries was previously published in one of the Black Lace continuity anthologies (Wicked Women or Sex …). The tales are all fun and obviously hot as they run the gamut from exchanging your man for a new hunk to buying action toys to being a retail deviant to having sex with the shoplifter, etc. The stories are mostly amusing though the format of a short story does not allow for relationship development much beyond the tryst in spite of some superb writing. Still erotic fans will fully appreciate this heated compilation that might even get my significant other, who hates to shop till you drop, to go shopping.

Kim Vogel Sawyer
Barbour Books
PO Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
1597894044 $9.97

Over two decades ago her Mennoite family disowned Marie Koeppler when she married Jep Quinn, an outsider. She left Sommerfield, Kansas with her spouse knowing she will never see her parents again. She gave birth to Beth, became a widow and never returned; she lives with her daughter in Cheyenne, Wyoming. When Aunt Lisbeth dies, she leaves her estate to Beth. However, for Beth to inherit the house and cafe, she must live in Sommerfield for three months. Though she expects a shunning even from her mother, who never claimed her granddaughter as kin, Marie and Beth agree to try it. However, just after they arrive in Sommerfield, thefts occur; the locals blame Beth while Marie investigates to prove her daughter and her are innocent. Even Henry Braun, who came to Cheyenne to tell her Lisbeth died and whom loved Marie when she fled over twenty plus years ago, thinks either her and or her daughter are the thieves. Though she still owns his heart, he also refuses to allow BYGONES to move on as he fears she will break it again. Readers obtain a deep look at the modern day Mennonites in Kansas when a former resident returns home knowing she belongs there, but also assumes she will never be accepted as part of a community that condemned her for marrying an outsider. The cast brings to life this teriffic family drama as Marie and Beth try to do what is best for the other even sacrificng their own needs. The mystery and romance, though both well written and key elements of the deep story line, play supporting subplot roles to the prime theme of you apparently can't go home even to Mennonite Sommerfield once you have left.

Plain & Fancy
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Books
PO Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
1597893005 $9.97

Minneapolis resident Laura Meade uses the phone and her laptop to keep in touch with her family and friends as she attends the Lancaster School of Design in Pennsylvania. She plans to visit the Farmer's Market in Bird-in-Hand. Eli Yoder works in Strasburg at a store that makes handcrafted Amish furniture. Tomorrow he has rented a booth at the farmer's market where he plans to sell some of the items he crafted at his home woodshop. At the farmer's market, Eli of the People and Laura of the English meet and are immediately attracted to one another. The rare church going outsider and the member of the Amish church know they must not pursue their feelings, but neither can prevent love from springing up between them nor stop the vitreous jealousy of the acceptable Pauline Hostetler who wants Eli to court her. Either he leaves his church and face a shunning that means no longer seeing his beloved family or she must find God and give up her fancy life to become one of the Plain as his spouse. This is a somewhat expanded reprint of the third Lancaster Brides' tale though this reviewer does not know how much it differs from the original. PLAIN & FANCY is a fascinating modern day courtship tale starring two people in love with totally opposite lifestyles and belief systems. The story line focuses on each struggling to find a way to a permanent relationship though the adjustment by Laura is depicted as complex it still seems a bit too easy. Still readers will appreciate the comparisons between a Plain Person and a Fancy person while looking forward to the expansion of the fourth story, THE HOPE CHEST.

Looking for a Miracle
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Books
PO Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
1597892998 $12.95

Waiting in her Aunt Mim's carriage for a ride home, a tree snapped leaving preadolescent Rebekah Stoltzfus wheelchair bound. While physically her legs are paralyzed, no one in her Pennsylvania Amish community understands how thirteen years later she mentally remains crippled too. Rebekah knew within one month of the accident that she will always be a burden to her loved ones and still feels that way as she will never marry and raise a family since no man wants a cripple for a wife. Still she tries to be helpful and does write a monthly column for the Lancaster County the Budget newspaper. At a songfest Daniel Beachy admires Rebekah's courage but also sees the sadness of loneliness in her eyes; he wants to see her, but she refuses to believe a handsome man like him would court a half woman like her. When he keeps hanging around, though she falls in love with Daniel but she assumes he is either using her to attract one of her cousins probably Mary Ellen or pities the cripple. She will settle for nothing less than a shared love so she tries to drive her persistent suitor away. This is a somewhat expanded reprint of the second Lancaster Brides' tale though this reviewer does not know how much differs from the original. The story line focuses on Rebekah whose childhood accident (occurred in A MERRY HEART) has left her thirteen years later emotionally scarred. Daniel's patience to court and win the heart of his beloved makes for a superb Amish romance.

The Dinner Club
Saskia Noort
Bitter Lemon Press
1904738206 14.95, Meryl Zegarek, T: +1 917 493 3601, E:

The inferno destroyed the villa killing wealthy Evert Struyck; his wife Babette was injured but their two children, Luuk and Beau, managed to escape Babette's four female friends (Karen van de Made, Patricia Vogel, Hanneke Lemstra and Angela Bijlsma) who make up along with her the female part of "the dinner club" couples, try to help the distraught woman. Adding to the shock is that the police found Evert's "farewell" note in his car asking the others for forgiveness leading to the police to conclude suicide. However, not long afterward Hanneke falls from a hotel balcony. Unable to ignore what is happening to her friends and fearing her family is next, Karen begins to piece together the motive behind the two deaths as she begins to understand that The Dinner Club and its male spousal equivalent are tied not by friendship and caring, but by crime and adultery. The tale starts off as an extended family drama in which the audience sees how each of the surviving seven members of the Dinner Club and their offspring cope with the first death of one of them though that look is mostly filtered by Karen. Half way into the story, when Karen calls to speak to Hanneke, but instead gets an Amsterdam cop the story line turns into an amateur sleuth mystery. Thus the audience will know the key players at least through the Karen sieve before the thriller kicks into first gear. Well written but somewhat slow at first, this is a fine Dutch mystery.

Hostile Environment
Patrick C. Crowell
Synergy Books
2100 Kramer Lane, Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78758
1933538600, $21.95

In Orlando, Florida, Lou Scarlechek heads the legal department of the Western Town family oriented theme park. However, he also enjoys using his powerful position to score with subordinate females throughout the company. Lou does not care what the women want as he harasses them to give him what he desires through real threats. His current target for his sexual pleasure is a young secretary DeeDee Lane. However, her rejection of his advances are ignored by him as he threatens her employment with the theme park and work anywhere else in Orlando if she does not play his game. DeeDee finds inner courage and sues under the state's sexual harassment law. Already doing legal work for Western Town, successful competitive rower (against males) Adel Blair is expected to defend the company from the latest charge. However, as she prepares her case, she finds her client, the firm as well as Lou have mistreated and sexual harassed women for years while also placing a gender ceiling that says men only can enter. HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT is an exciting legal thriller that focuses on sexual harassment in the workplace, a demoralizer that hurts more than just the victim as data shows its negative impact on productivity. The story line is fast-paced as Lou finds herself in a dilemma caused by her belief that the opponent is legally right while her side is hiding the facts that would look bad especially to the customers they covet. Though the final confrontation seems over the top, sub-genre fans will appreciate this synergetic look at a major cause of the workplace turning into a HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT for those on the receiving end of harassment regardless of gender.

Somehow the 'info block' for this review didn't come through for some arcane reason. Please add the usual info block and then send it back to me.

Hot Rocks
Lev Raphael
Perseverance Press
c/o John Daniel & Co.
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
1880284839 $14.95 1-800-662-8351

After a week in the Caribbean with his life partner Stefan Borowski a writer in residence at the State University in Michigan, English composition Professor Nick Hoffman plans to relax until the semester starts. He finds out that is not to be when he enters the steam room in Michigan Muscle. There he sees Vlado Zamaria just sitting there not moving a muscle; the man is dead. Since he found the body he is a person of interest to the police. Juno, a professor who Nick is physically is attracted to even though he is gaywants to help him find the killer. Both of them like playing detective and they want to solve the murder. The first person Nick talks to is the victim's wife who doesn't seem broken up that her husband is dead. They find a box full of pictures of him copulating with different women. Also in the box is an expensive woman's watch. Besides the women there are plenty of suspects including the trainers who he treated as his servants, a former trainer who refused to have sex with Vlado so he fired him, and a member of Michigan Muscle who had a secret he wanted kept quiet. Lev Raphael is one of the most intellectual authors writing academic mysteries and he uses his brain power to have his protagonist, who is also brilliant, interview suspects, piecing together bits of information to get the real picture of who the killer is. Lev Raphael is a writer who imbues his protagonist with a dry wit which makes him see real even as he investigates a homicide in which the police hone in on him.

Girl Most Likely To
Poonam Sharma
Red Dress
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
037389550X, $13.95

In spite of making a fortune as a Wall St. investment banker living in Manhattan, her dad always compares his offspring to her mom. When her mom was twenty-seven she had a daughter, a dog, a spouse and a medical residency. Vina Chopra has a minimal hour workweek and no daughter (or son), no dog (or cat), no husband (or boyfriend), and no positive future beyond making money for her hard but boring work. Unable to find love and sick of Fred the ulcer, Vina allows her parents to choose for her a proper boyfriend. However the parade of Indian doctors makes her feel worse as none seem right. At the office her rise up the ladder of success seems in jeopardy as a scandal threatens anyone near its epicenter. Taking a sabbatical from her job, her Great Neck family and from her tedious life, Vina goes on a hunt to find her inner self not expecting to meet and like Mike. This is a coming of age chick lit romance starring a fast track Yuppie who finds her banking life inadequate, but has nothing else. The story line follows Vina as she leaps from one incidents to another (perhaps too many to lament over) while becoming increasingly despondent over having nothing that excites her. Poonam Sharma provides a fine character study of an Indian-American female who feels displaced at work, at home, and at life.

David Grant
BookSurge, LLC
7290 B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
1419636731, $17.99

Neuro-psychiatrist Dr. J.M.J.J. Watson first saw his newest patient Creighton Dumbstruck in Clara's Coffee Emporium in the historical district of Charleston, South Carolina. They sat at adjoining tables where they began a discussion on geography. Watson quickly realized that Dumbstruck was the perfect specimen as the retired military man preaches on anything and everything claiming in each case to be the world's greatest authority (Professor Irwin Corey aside), but never gets it quite right. The psychiatrist plans to use Dumbstruck's musings as the basis of a book on mental disorder that will make him renowned and wealthy. Since both of them love geography they agree to do a walking tour of the South Carolina barrier islands. However, as Watson dreams of grandiose fame on a level of Freud, Dumbstruck continues his dissertation on whatever strikes his fancy. However, Watson becomes dumbstruck when his patient introduces him to M. Hirsute and the members of the American Lycanthropic Association who are holding their annual convention nearby. Dumbstruck explains that their family histories intertwine with his. While Watson fears being the main course at the gala, Dumbstruck explains how the lycanthrope are misunderstood by the normals. As they move on, the psychiatrist wonders how to explain what he has seen, but the tour has just begun as Dumbstruck is an author of note amongst those living outside what Watson can perceive and accept. This is an interesting, entertaining but not easy book to read as the character driven plot lives up to the cover statement that "sanity is not all its cracked up to be." Readers will wonder just who is crazier as the doctor and patient tour together while also deciding whether the various "people" they meet are real or imaginary. Fans who want something wildly different will want to peruse David Grant's satirical paradox look at sanity from an insane focus.

The Secretary of Dreams
Stephen King; illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne
Cemetery Dance
132-B Industry Lane, Unit #7 • Forest Hill, MD 21050
1587671409 $75.00

"Home Delivery". Maddie knows the world may be ending with the dead returning to life, but she is handling her pregnancy, five months old, quite well on Little Tall Island. "The Road Virus Heads North". Novelist Richard stopped at a yard sale where he had to buy an odd looking watercolor by an artist named Hastings, who committed suicide. Richard soon finds he has a companion, the kid in the picture. "Jerusalem's Lot". In 1850 Charles writes letters to his friends Bones and Richard telling them about a deserted village Jerusalem's Lot that the Lord apparently abandoned as he describes pictures he found there that is closer to home. "Rainy Season". John and Elise arrive in Willow, Maine where they meet Laura and Henry who warn them that it is seven years to the day it last rained toads in town and they must leave before the torrent begins. "The Reach". Gram explains to her great-grandchildren that the Reach between Goat Island and the mainland was much wider when she was younger, but as people leave they die shrinking the distance and this is why she never stepped on the mainland. "Uncle Otto's Truck". He writes down what he knows about his Uncle Otto who he found grotesquely dead in an oily haunting way when he delivered food as is his weekly assignment since his own father died two years ago. These six tales are reprints of Stephen King short stories with one from 1978, two from 1985, two from 1993; and one from 2002. Thus the audience has an opportunity to see how much Mr. King has changed at least with his shorts over the two plus decades. The tales are refreshed by Glenn Chadbourne illustrations with three including pictures to enhance the vivid tales while the remainder are in graphic comic format. This is a terrific and unique anthology that fans of the grandmaster of horror will enjoy.

The School for Husbands
Wendy Holden
c/o Penguin Group, USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0452285887 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

Sophie and Mark are the perfect couple obviously in love with one another though he recognizes that his mother-in-law blames him for her not having a big hat moment at her daughter's wedding as they had no reception. With the birth of her first grandson Albert, Shirley tosses the big wedding reception that she did not have for her offspring even if it is to celebrate a christening. Shirley also demands that rich and successful Simon, Sophie's former boyfriend, be invited as Albert's godfather as the kid will need good male role models. Implications aside, Mark barely survives the gala. Simon agreed not because he loved Sophie, but because he loves money and its associated acclaim. He needs an in into top society, which the obnoxious Shirley who loathed him when he had a summer fling with her daughter, could provide if he was Sophie's spouse. The only obstacle is Mark. Meanwhile Mark gets a promotion that keeps him away from his wife and child. Sophie already feels abandoned so he hurts her even more so with accusations involving other men like his business partner and Simon. Outraged, she leaves him taking Albert with her. Knowing he made a monstrous error, a desperate Mark enrolls in the SCHOOL FOR HUSBANDS to learn how to treat his wife with love, dignity and respect before he loses her to Simon whose campaign is abetted by Shirley. This is a fascinating family drama starring a desperate husband whose wife has given up on him and her mother pushes a wealthy former boyfriend to the front of the line. The extended cast makes for a fine tale as each one of them except for Simon learn what really matters in life is your loved ones so Wendy Holden makes it quite lucid to honestly communicate with one another.

Grits Friends Are Forevah: A Southern-Style Celebration of Women
Deborah Ford
c/o Penguin Group, USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0641783558 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

This is an amusing yet adulating look at Grit Girls of all ages. The book provides insight as to how to recognize whether that female friend is forevah grit or just a catty short time discard. Also known as steel magnolias due to the movie or Southern Belles north of the Mason-Dixon line that in the twenty-first century is more in the minds of people than on maps. Explaining the difference between Instant GRITS, Seasoned GRITS, and Steeled GRITS, Ya Ya Sister Deborah Ford as she did with the previous Grits guide adoringly explains that GRITS are simply Girls Raised in the South who know her females buds and duds better than the spouse does. This reference book contains a deep underlying message that everyone needs friends, but done with a fun look at female southern living through the eyes of a native GRITS card carrying member.

Special Relationship
Robyn Sisman
c/o Penguin Group, USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0452288266 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

In 1992, Jordan Hope runs for the President of the United States, but has one secret that could derail his bid. In 1970 while he attended Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and played the sax, he met Annie. She was the right woman for him, but she just vanished from his life. Sad he moved on until he recently began a run for the top office in the world. However, Anne, a top London literary agent, is happily married with three offspring. She never forgot her first love and is proud of his accomplishments, but even if he was not a media darling, the evidence of their tryst lives with her, her oldest son Tom. However, following a comment related to a photo of a young Jordan that someone mistook as Tom, the lad realizes he could be the American candidate's twin as they look so alike at twenty. He realizes why Jordan sired him and rushes across the Atlantic to meet his biological dad. While the Secret service makes that seemingly impossible, Anne pursues her son and to warn Jordan using her dying mother as an excuse for saying her goodbyes to her in Chicago. The obvious Clinton (Bill that is) connection aside, SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP is a delightful contemporary tale that provides a fascinating spotlight on the late 1960s and early 1970s through a filtering look back 1992 "lens". Tom is terrific as he stirs the game to meet and confront his father while Anne tries to prevent a cross Atlantic incident that would derail her first lover's political ambition. Jordan adds to the mix of the past coming home to roost (along with a couple of other family secrets) as he never forgot his SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP.

The Perfect Royal Mistress
Diane Haeger
Three Rivers Press
c/o The Crown Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0307237516, $13.95 1-888-523-9292

Nell Gwynne grew up in impoverished fire and plague racked London. She supported herself selling oranges outside the King's Theater. There she gains a reputation for her intelligent tongue that uses double entendres that catch the extra attention of her male customers. Soon her lewd wit leads Nell onto the stage itself where her humorous bawdy asides and physical charm catches the attention of womanizing King Charles II, who has left a horde of illegit offspring wherever he visits. King Charles II not so shockingly makes her his mistress as many other men coveted doing, but the stunner is he also makes her his most trusted advisor. Even when French King Louis XIV sends a beautiful noble to court Charles, he may use the visitor's obvious allure, but it is Nell he turns to in crisis. This is a fabulous Restoration historical due to THE PERFECT ROYAL MISTRESS as Diane Haeger catches the era by capturing the essence of Nell Gwynne especially after her performance in a 1668 John Dryden play. The story line focuses on the heroine especially her relationship with Charles. Though the plot implies that if she was a blueblood she would have been Queen of England not just in the royal boudoir; that concept is based on her personality remaining as bawdy as it was when she sold oranges. Still readers will appreciate a deep look at late seventeenth century London through the eyes of a woman who went from barely surviving the 1666 inferno that destroyed much of London to becoming in just a couple of years the most influential woman make that person at the court of King Charles II.

Fringe Benefits
F.M. Meredith
Tigress Press
P. O. Box 30859,Columbia, MO 65205-3859
097716019X , $13.95

Rocky Bluff, California police officer Cal Sylvester detests his rookie partner Gordon Butler whose features seem so girlie to the rugged veteran. However Cal does cede the loser has one hot wife that he plans to make more than an acquaintance with. Soon after that first meeting, Cal and sexy Darcy begin a tryst as both seeks excitement not to be found in this sleepy town twenty miles from Ventura. However, after a few months of heat, Darcy makes it clear to Cal that she expects more from any man who desires her. Cal is obsessed, but does not earn enough as a cop to keep Darcy in the style she demands. In spite of having young daughters at home, Cal plots the perfect murder to obtain the money he needs to keep Darcy. He will kill his wife Lee Ann but set it up so a troubled teen Adler "Patch" Costello, Jr. would take the fall though a serial rapist that is stalking the town could prove handy also. The third Rocky Bluff Police Department (see FINAL RESPECTS) is a terrific tale of an egotistical cop who behaves amorally in the best of times but goes over the edge even for him due to the lure of an avaricious woman. Cal is an interesting protagonist whose ego is in the stratosphere, but it is the femme fatale that steals the show as Darcy uses men like puppets on a string. Mindful of the 1944 film noir Double Indemnity (based on a James M. Cain novel), sub-genre fans who enjoy twists in their police procedurals will appreciate this tense thriller as they wonder whether Cal will go through with the homicide-frame and if yes will justice fail.

Every Inch a King
Harry Turtledove
Del Rey
c/o Ballantine Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345487362 $14.95 1-800-726-0600

One night after a stellar performance given by Dooger and Clark's Traveling Emporium, circus performance Otto of Schlepsig reads in the paper that the temporary ruler of Shqiperi wants the Hassockian Empire to send Prince Hallim Eddin to be their new king. Accompanying the article is a picture of the prince who could be Otto's identical twin. Not one to miss such an opportunity, Otto and his friend Jim the sword swallower head for Shqiperi. On the trek they have to first fight off a sea serpent and a vampire which they ultimately do. When they arrive, Otto, masquerading as the prince, orders Essad Pasha to introduce him to the army. He also wants the treasury and his harem moved to his palace after he is crowned king. He shows Essad Pasha in various ways that he will not be a puppet ruler and earns respect for that. Otto shares everything with Jim but his friend worries that they will be found out and if they don't come up with a plan of escape if circumstances warrant, they will be killed. EVERY INCH A KING is a delightful, straight forward fairy tale that will definitely enchant the audience. The main character is an anti-hero scammer and con artist, who doesn't have a mean bone in his body and would be a good ruler given the chance. Readers will adore him and hope he doesn't get himself killed. Fans of Harry Turtledove's epic alternate histories should know he is a great fantasist of smaller scale alleged events as well.

Hat Duncan
Del Rey
c/o Ballantine Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345487331 $15.95 1-800-726-0600

The three main characters in INK are Jack "Flash" Carter, Thomas Messenger (known in some worlds as Puck) and Guy Reynard Carter (Jack's psychiatrist in one particular time and place). Other key players include Seamus Finian, Phreadom Messenger and Joey. The storyline is non-linear as it goes back and forth in time and jumps into different realities where the characters are shown in different times in the past and of course the present. Each story is told from the perspective of each participant, which can get confusing as the scenes jump without any notice so it takes the audience full attention and some time to figure out who the narrator of each particular scene is. The characters are larger than life and eventually become archetypes or avatars. Jack is fire, willing to see a mission through until he burns himself out. Finian is a firebird who is a revolutionary in the Vellum but disappears some when in the Vellum for much of the book. Guy thinks before he acts and when he does so he has a plan so he doesn't go off half-cocked. Thomas is doomed to die early in every time in every universe much to the horror of his friend. Phreadom evolves from a goddess to an earth mother demigod. In some worlds at times Joey is jack's friend or ally and in some places he is his enemy. These are characters linked together because of their reincarnations while traveling the universe as some worlds are not at all friendly and to further confuse the audience, not all names remain the same in the various worlds. A good example is that in some places England is called Albion. . One of the main plots of the story should be mentioned because in some form it occurs on most of the worlds. It is the rise of Hitler's fourth Reich and his land grab in Europe by conquering his neighbors. In some realms he fails while in other realms he is successful while in some world he is defeated by the Futuristics who are more fascist than the Germany of our 1930's and 1940's ever was

Donald McCaig
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
0393062465 $24.95 1-800-233-4830

Lee's surrender at Appomattox impacts all Americans, but especially those in the south, the border states and even out west. Everywhere people struggle to adjust to the new world order as lives and relationships have changed. In this post war era, on their Stratford plantation, family patriarch Samuel Gatewoods seems in shock as he adjusts. His son Duncan comes home having lost an arm and suffering from battle fatigue syndrome compounded by his fighting as an officer for the losing side. Instead of working the plantation, Duncan builds railroads for former Confederate General Mahone while Samuel supplies them with crossties. Mahone's financer northern carpetbagger Eben Barnwell audaciously courts Samuel's granddaughter Pauline. Samuel's freed slave Jesse gives up on his dream of reuniting with his wife Maggie sold by Samuel when he owned both of them. Instead he is elected a Virginia Assemblyman. Out west, Lakota woman She Goes Before talks about her father's hanging and her rape as she travels to Montana to marry a former slave, Union Sergeant, Ratcliff. As the years go by, Custer is in Montana along with some of those easterners like Eben who left his wife Pauline to seek a new fortune and Ratcliff returning to his military glory days. Though a lot is packed in this profound fascinating look at the grim Reconstruction Era, historical fiction fans will want to read Donald McCaig's CANAAN, the sequel to JACOB'S LADDER. Give yourself plenty of time as the back and forth action can turn complex and convoluted though always intense. The story line focuses on these harassed characters representing three races as each tries to survive a world no longer remotely what it was before the war. Americana readers will appreciate this strong look at what happened in the east, south and west from the day after Appomattox until Custer's Last Stand.

The Sultan's Seal
Jenny White
W.W. Norton
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
0393329208 $13.95 1-800-233-4830

In 1886 Istanbul social unrest is heating up especially with the numerous British expatriates living the good life in the city while many Turks struggle as the once mighty Ottoman Empire nears collapse. Many of the locals are especially outraged by the total disregard of native custom by these aristocratic British immigrants, who flaunt their immodesty. However, both groups are stunned when royal governess Mary Dixon is brutally murdered. The English demand swift justice while many Turks believe she deserved it as all English females are brazen. In reality few knew the reticent Mary. At the same time Magistrate Kamil Pasha investigates the homicide while also struggling to keep the peace between the angry groups, a local girl Jaanan is forced by her family to marry a man she fears almost as much as she loathes even as he is linked to the English victim. Jenny White paints a powerful and colorful panorama of late nineteenth century Istanbul at a time when national fervor is heated in every corner of the capital city. Though Kamil is a fascinating protagonist struggling with a difficult case made geometrically harder by English and Turkish demands, the whodunit takes a back seat to touring 1886 Istanbul. Fans will enjoy visiting the palace especially the harem, the various ethnic quarters and finally the affluent European section mostly English expatriates that anger the native purists with its gaudy brashness.

The Heir
Paul Robertson
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55438
076420324X $18.99 1-800-328-6109

Jason Boyer was somewhat estranged from his father Melvin over the business of the Boyer Foundation. Everyone assumed once Mel died that the company would pass to someone like Nathan Kern or even Melvin's younger progeny Eric. Everybody is proven wrong when a car accident kills his father and Uncle Fred says Jason is THE HEIR. The angry Jason has no time to decide what he will do with the Boyer Foundation. Politicians offer their services in exchange for campaign funding and other favors. His dad's cronies especially Nathan demands he join them by bloodying his hands or else face their wrath. Mel's second wife believes she was cheated and Eric feels left out. However, it is Nathan who anticipated wielding more power with Mel's death who is most irate. As Jason is tempted to abuse the influence as his dad did, he tries to hold on to his principles. However, he has not understood the corrupt game of power yielded by those with the mindset of a fanatical terrorist; they insist Jason play in accordance with the rules his father established or watch helplessly as his loved ones die one at a time that is unless they kill him. THE HEIR is an intriguing thriller in which a somewhat ethical person is forced into situations not of his making where he must act against his beliefs or watch loved one suffer perhaps die. The story line is driven by a cast who for the most part thirst for power with most willing to use it regardless of the cost to others. The temptation on Jason to simply join is incredible as fans wonder will he totally replace his father or will he keep his morality and sense of self.

Return of the Guardian-King
Karen Hancock
Bethany House
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55438
0764227971 13.99 1-800-328-6109

Like its neighbor nations Kiriath has fallen. The Shadow rules with an iron fist oppressing any opposition. While most of his countrymen assume he is dead, a few close advisors are fleeing with distraught Abramm Kalladorne as they are forced to take flight way from his beloved Kiriath to take temporary sanctuary in the desert. He hopes to reach his wife Maddie in Fannath Rill in the last realm of Eidon's Light, mountainous Chesedh. Once there he plans to assist his father-in-law fight the Black Moon legions of the Shadow. However no matter how hard he tries to reach his spouse's side, he stumbles until finally Abramm assumes that for whatever reason Eidon has a different fate in store for him. Meanwhile her family insist Abramm is dead having fallen nobly in combat and that to save their country from being the next and final domino to fall she must marry a suitor who can provide the realm galleys that could turn the tide in their favor. Without this aid, Chesedh will lose. Maddie tries to resist the pressure as she believes in her soul she would know if her beloved died, but saving her people and her family seems the right thing to do as the conquerors head in their direction. The fourth tale in the "Legends of the Guardian-King" (see THE LIGHT OF EIDON, SHADOW OVER KIRIATH and THE SHADOW WITHIN) continues the exciting fantasy war between the Dark Moon forces of the Shadow and that of the Light of Eidon. However in this tale the hostilities play more of a doomsday countdown backdrop to the dilemmas of Abramm and Maddie as each ponders what to do next as duty supersedes their personal relationship. Fans of Christian Armageddon sagas will enjoy the fight between the light and dark due to the quandaries confronted by the lead pair, who put human faces on the supremacy war.

Web of Evil
J. A. Jance
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
1416537074 $25.95 1-800-223-2336

Ali Reynolds provides emotional support to her cyber buddies with her web site though she has never met her electronic pals. However, now she needs the crutch of them as she must deal with divorcing her cheating spouse Paul. Her friends are all there for her as she leaves her new home in Sedona, Arizona to return to Los Angeles so her odious husband can marry his eight month pregnant girlfriend April Gaddis before she gives birth. Once she is back in Southern California her life takes a nasty spin when someone murders Paul. The police suspect she killed her husband in a crime of passion. Soon after his homicide April's mother dies with the cops looking at Ali again in spite of her solid alibi. Realizing she can not trust LAPD to do a thorough job beyond railroading her, Ali with the support of her crowd investigates. This is a fun amateur sleuth thriller that uses the modern version of pen pals and the blog to anchor the sense of time. The story line is fast-paced but requires a leap of faith wider than Evel Knievel's failed leap across the Snake River; that is LAPD narrowly looks at the heroine as the only person of interest even after the second murder. Still J.A. Jance provides the audience with a likable heroine (she even befriends the girlfriend) whose blog and stumbling sleuthing are fun to follow.

Hume's Fork
Ron Cooper
Bancroft Press
PO Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209
1890862509 $25.00 1-800-637-7377

In Florida AmWorld University philosophy Professor Legare Hume knows he is a fraud, but he has a job so what does it matter. Plenty, he must give a presentation at a professional convention to obtain tenure and has an opportunity at the American Philosophical Association's annual meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. The night before the convention begins, he informs his wife Tally that he is attending without her. She is irate and hits him with their best china; albeit a chipped dish. Still Legare calls his associate brilliant Saul Grossman to pick him up as they will go together. After a circuitous drive to avoid bad bridges, Saul and Legare reach the hotel only to find they have no reservation nor are there any rooms available. Legare reluctantly takes Saul to the home of his parents realizing the genius manipulated him to meet his sister Willie whose picture Saul has seen. As wrestlers give talks at the convention and his family wonder why Tally whom they cherish more than the prodigal son is not with him, Hume suddenly turns ill while deadly family secrets surface that leave him pondering to be or not to be that is not the question Descartes asked. Using philosophical debate including in the professional wrestling ring as a backdrop to a combo buddy trek and family drama, Ron Cooper provides a deep poignant tale that focuses on HUME'S FORK in life. The story line is character driven as Hume provides a series of simple treatises on philosophy interwoven with his extended family's antics, other philosophers' arguments, apocalyptic wrestling and NASCAR and the final Tally. Fans who enjoy something different and unique will appreciate Mr. Cooper's satirical take on the American way of I am therefore I don't think living philosophically that is.

The Physics of the Buffyverse
Jennifer Ouellette
The Penguin Press
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0143038621 $15.00 1-800-847-5515

Jennifer Ouellette analyzes the Buffy and Angel TV shows through the spectrum of science using several disciplines besides the obvious misleading title Physics to include zoology, and several branches of math (when did a curve become the shortest distance between two points?). Fans of the two related series will enjoy the deep insight into the biology of vampires, demons and other supernatural essences as much as the deep look into robotics. Also adding fun to the tale is the theory behind multidimensional portals such as wormholes and the energy displacement physics of a witch's spell. Obviously targeting fans of the Buffyverse, but within that circle to an even more limited cell of those who enjoy reading the complexities of how string theory applies to the multiverse of vampire slayers. In short this reviewer enjoyed the convergence of science and Buffy, but not as much as my husband who tries to keep current on the latest theories in science and math.

Sharon Carter Rogers
River Oak
4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
1589190971 $13.99

The Stranger attacks Father Michael Renault of St. Anthony's Cathedral with a strength and viciousness few could conceive in anyone human. Considering that the priest is a big man and former linebacker, the intruder's assault easily accomplished is shocking as he breaks Michael's ribs and arm and physically removes an eye; leaving one to see as a warning reminder to stay away from young Hector Gomez as the Father has failed to do with other youthful parishioners. Investigative writer CK Ivors is shocked at the fury of the attack and the symbol left behind that of the legendary Sinner, who allegedly meted out justice to those deserving of punishment but above the law of man and God since the Civil War. She obsesses with knowing the truth so using money earned from previous books she hires a team of experts to help her make inquiries into Sinner though she believes he is just a series of different people over the last century and a half using the cloak of myth to hide their vigilante justice. As she gets closer to the truth, she meets Loftis Johnson who seeks the Sinner for personal revenge motives. Meanwhile her target must decide what to do with the obstinate investigator who has not caused anyone harm yet may expose him to the light of day. This is a great suspense thriller starring two incredible "antagonists"; whereas Sinner is the Frank Miller dark Batman, CK is early Lois Lane needing to uncover the secrets of this super avenger; and Johnson adds a sense of impending doom and confrontation to the mix. Sinner pulls no punches when he cleanses evil as Sharon Carter Rogers is vividly graphic (my left eye still blinks). Fans will appreciate this stark tale of a collision between an avenging angel who believes God is a sinner, a tenacious writer and a third party with revenge on the mind.

By Slanderous Tongues
Roberta Gellis, Mercedes Lackey
Baen Books
PO Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471
1416521070 $25.00 1-800-223-2336

The prophecy is clear that Princess Elizabeth will eventually sit on the throne bringing an enlightened period to the mortals. The fairy realm remains divided as it has for several years over the now fourteen year old offspring of the late King Henry VIII who is being hounded eternally by a gaggle of executed spouses. The dark Unseleighe Sidhe Prince Vidal Dhu believes that preventing Elizabeth's ascension will mean a return to their glorious Dark Ages filled with horror and misdeeds that fueled these malevolent elves. However, to achieve his side's darkest objective of insuring Elizabeth's fall from grace, they must remove preferably by death her overly protective guardians, the traitorous Seleighe twin elves, Lord Denoriel and Lady Aleneil. Dhu assigns the elimination of the Princess' protectors to twins Rhoslyn and Pasgen; if anyone can get at Denoriel and Aleneil it is their Dark elven half-siblings. With them removed from the scene the prophecy will fail as Elizabeth will surely find a spouse or some way to alienate her half-siblings the recently crowned boy King Edward VI and the heir their older half sister Princess Mary. The third Scepter'd Isle Elizabethan historical fantasy (see ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT and THIS SCEPTER'D ISLE) is an excellent blending of mid sixteenth century English royal history and a fantasy thriller. The stakes are high as the rival elven groups battle not only for their future but that of the humans. The key players from the mortal and paranormal realms seem genuine including the target Princess Elizabeth due to the mixing of real events and known facts of her young teen years into the story line. Fans will cherish this top quality collaboration between two distinguished authors from differing genres who prove that adding one and one can surpass two when greatness join forces.

Rags and Old Iron
Lorelei Shannon
Juno Books
9710 Traville Gateway Dr. #234, Rockville, Md. 20850
0809556243 $12.95

In Arizona, college coed Amy Sullivan suffers from vicious nightmares that are destroying her sleep and consequently her health. In classes, she struggles to remain alert as she seems to drift into sexual dreamland with hunks. Her best friend Sarah worries about her "spewpuppy" roommate, but though always there for Amy, she feels helpless as her buddy seems to slowly lose her mind especially since she claims someone is stalking her, but no one is ever there. Amy senses danger and that a confrontation with her night stalker is imminent; one that she does not expect to survive. Another friend Xavier a Yaqui mystic tries to help her troubled soul as she too feels an evil presence persecuting Amy; he tells her she is not a lunatic as the malevolence is real and gives her a desert banded Gecko to remove her bad dreams; he also knows her nightmares are her past warning her that dejà vu is coming. Time passes and the dreams and stalking worsen. Childhood friend Louis Bouvier knows Amy needs him because what is happening to her occurred to his mother, a Voodoo Queen. Amy concludes that voodoo offspring Louis is either her salvation or the final straw. Fans of horror thrillers will want to read the terrific RAGS AND OLD IRON that grips the audience from the opening classroom sequence until the final dream occurs. Readers will wonder whether Amy is losing her mind and causing the terror that haunts her or is something wicked from beyond coveting her in a bizarre courtship. Lorelei Shannon provides a powerful tale that will have her audience desiring more as we wonder until the end whether this is a tense psychological thriller or a terrifying supernatural suspense.

Danielle Steel
Delacorte Books
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0385340222 $27.00 1-800-726-0600

The four sisters have come a long way from their affluent Manhattan home. The youngest twenty-one years old Candy is a supermodel working in Paris; twenty-six years old artist Annie is studying painting in Florence; twenty-nine years old Tammy works as a TV producer in Los Angeles; and finally the oldest thirty-four years old Sabrina is a hard working New York attorney. No matter where they are or what they are doing the siblings return to the home of their parents to celebrate Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. However during their latest family get together, a car accident leaves mommy dead and Annie blind. Sabrina suggests they grieve together in a New York brownstone. Over the next year each of the sisters are there for each other. The 6'1" 116 pounds Candy can no longer hide her eating disorder, Annie struggles with being unable to paint, Tammy adapts to having real life relationships and Sabrina deals with her commitment phobia. They bond as the four musketeers realize it is all for one and one for all. Danielle Steel has written her strongest tale in years with this inspirational saga of four sisters coming together seeking solace from a tragedy, but slowly with the help of one another obtaining so much more. Readers will appreciate each of the siblings as unique individuals with personality's flaws that hamper them from becoming a complete person. This strong novel hooks the audience from the opening scene in Paris to the final look back at the wager they made one year earlier.

The Strangler
William Landay
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0385336152 $24.00 1-800-726-0600

In 1962 Boston, someone shoots and kills Irish-American police officer Joe Daley, Sr. in an alley while he is on duty. His three sons, Joe the cop, Ricky the thief, and Michael the lawyer grieve the loss of the family patriarch while the widow, their mother Margaret, did her grieving gig for a year and now lives with the late cop's partner, Brendan Conroy. Her offspring detest Brendan and are angry with their mother for sleeping with the person they hold culpable in their dad's death as they wonder if he set up Joe to walk point into an ambush and why a cop killer has not been caught. However the three sons have their own issues to contend with. To pay off his enormous gambling debt to the mob Joe Jr., works for Vinny "The Animal" Gargano. Gangster Capobianco wants Rickey beaten to a pulp for stealing diamonds from someone who pays the hooligan for protection. Michael, who works in Eminent Domain Division of the Attorney General's Office insists that Albert DeSalvo is not the Strangler, but instead just a lunatic seeking fifteen minutes of fame. When Ricky's girlfriend Amy is murdered with the Strangler' MO while DeSalvo is a guest of the state, the Attorney General claims he did the crime anyway; Michael with the help of his siblings investigates the latest homicide. Using the Boston Strangler as a key link and reference point, William Landay provides a fascinating look at family bonds cemented by an odd form of honor and even stranger type of justice. The tale also implies that DeSalvo was not the Strangler, but Mr. Landay employs his theory more as an aside in support of his overall theme of unity during a crisis. Suspense thriller fans will appreciate this fine historical thriller.

Simply Magic
Mary Balogh
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0385338236 $22.00 1-800-726-0600

In Bath twenty-three years old Susanna Osbourne is contented with her life as a teacher at Miss Martin's School for Girls. To her the school is home because ever since her father left her over a decade ago she has felt alone and fears to love somebody as those who matter leave you alone. When Susanna meets handsome Viscount Peter Edgeworth, she immediately considers him an inconsequential flirt. He on the other hands thinks she is a rustic boob who never left the classroom. However he also finds her rejection fascinating and thinks there is a bit of a mystery behind the teacher that he plans to explore. Surprisingly, though somewhat disparaging of one another, they become friends although both fears exploring the attraction that simmers in each of their minds. The third Simply Regency romance (see SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE and SIMPLY DANGEROUS) is a delightful tale starring two interesting protagonists whom if first impressions mean anything should never have forged a loving relationship, but a game of cat and mouse gives them the needed time to do so. On the surface Susanna and Peter appear like typical regency characters; however Mary Balogh makes their relationship an engrossing SIMPLY PERFECT (next book) read.

Command Decision
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
0345491599 $24.95

In the very distant future whole galaxies have been colonized by humans and the ISC has created the ansible system which allows instantaneous communication between worlds and solar systems. Gammis Turek leads a pirate empire that has knocked out much of the ansible system making trade very difficult. One of the first targets of the pirate empire was Vatta Transport and Vatta Enterprises killing most of the family members. The remaining family members are determined to continue. Stella is now CEO of Vatta Enterprises the entire fleet has ship to ship ansibles so that a threatened ship can communicate with one another instantly. She is also successful in reviving the trading part of the company. Kylara has a fleet of three ships that make up the new Space Force and she hopes to get other worlds to join them and get the ship to ship ansibles put in their ships. The outcome of a battle between Ky's forces the ISC and the pirates will determine if Ky's enterprise will be a success. Readers who like the Honor Harrington works of military fiction will thoroughly enjoy the Vatta's war series starring a stubborn, dedicated heroine who intends to take the war to the enemy and defeat them. Elizabeth Moon's Vatta books are filled with plenty of action especially when a coup topples the ISC leadership and places a rebel in power which could help Ky succeed in her quest.

From the Notebook of Dr. Brain
Minister Faust
Del Rey
c/o Ballantine Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345466373 $13.95 1-800-726-0600

Most of the superheroes suffer from differing mental problems, but fighting their adversaries, supervillains, has proven a terrific release of aggression that enables them to stay emotionally healthy. It has also given this group of brave men and women a cause to live and occasionally die for. However, the worst that could happen occurs to the superheroes when they defeat their super foes leaving them with no one to vanquish and their quest ends. Now these renowned heroes who no longer have to save the world turn to therapist Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman for treatment for such problems as an inability to score without wearing a mask or having split personalities unless they happen to be in denial. This is an amusing satirical look at the psychological reactions of our greatest superheroes after they have won the war and are no longer needed. The members of the Fantastic Order of Justice need help to adapt to a peacetime environs so Dr. Brain tries to assist them in letting go of their anger. Fans of comic book superheroes will fully enjoy this lampooning while pondering the ultimate universe question of the boomers: what would have happened to Lois if Superman had a super orgasm with her.

The Poisoned Crown
Amanda Hemingway
Del Rey
c/o Ballantine Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345460804 $12.95 1-800-726-0600

In the English village of Eade lives an extraordinary group of people. There is the sorcerer who is several millennia old.; Anne who followed her dead lover into death and was raped by a man from another world; the fledgling witch Hazel and Nathan who contains a portal in his mind so that when he sleeps he travels to other worlds in spirit and sometimes in body. During his travels he meets the Grandir, the ruler of a cosmos that has died with only one planet Eos hosting some life. Nathan likes the Grandir and helps him to perform the Great Spell which will supposedly fix the problem of magic causing pandemic death of a cosmos. So far Nathan has retrieved the Sword and the Cup on two different worlds and now seeks the crown on the underwater realm of Widewater where it is held in an underwater cavern of air by the goddess Nefanu. The goddess wants the mermen folk to go to war with the beings in the north since she hates all air breathers. Nathan wants to prevent the war and retrieve the crown but his troubles are far from over; in fact, they are just beginning. THE POISONED CROWN, an interesting take on the great mythos of the Grail, concludes the Sangreal trilogy, tying up all the loose ends from the previous books in the series. Amanda Hemingway is a fantastic storyteller whose works will appeal to the Harry Potter Crowd and remind boomers of the early fantasy works of Andre Norton. Young adults as well as older discerning readers will find this book thoroughly enjoyable.

Un Lun Dun
China Mieville
Del Rey
c/o Ballantine Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345495160 $17.95 1-800-726-0600

London is connected to Un Lun Dun through a variety of ways including climbing up the shelves of a library to turning on a tap. Deeba and Zanna know nothing about this other realm until they find a way of reaching it. When she arrives there Zanna is welcomed as the chosen to defeat the very sentient smog. Unfortunately, she is knocked unconscious when she inhales it. To the rescue comes Brokenbroll, Un Lun Dun's greatest defender with umbrellas that blow away the smog. His friend Instable is working on a method of getting rid of the sentient smug paranormally. Zanna recovers and she and Deena are sent home to their world. Zanna has no memory of all the wonders and trials and tribulations she experienced. Deeba remembers and returns to Un Lun Dun where she finds her sentient milk carton Curdle waiting for her. The smog is spreading and growing more powerful and it is now up to Deeba to find a way to stop it. A sentient book says the only thing the fog is afraid of is the UnGun so she and her allies go to Webminster Abbey where they fight horrible monsters guarding the weapon. If she doesn't find it then Un Lun Dun will be a city of slaves to the smog. Cross Alice Threw The Looking Glass with the Xanth series and reader will have some idea of what Un Lun Dun is all about. Written for a young adult audience, it will be enjoyed by adults who find the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter charming reading experiences. The heroine is a very special young lady with the heart of a warrior and the dedication of Mother Teresa. The characters are very special and unusual including sentient umbrellas and words made incarnate.

Nancy Yi Fan
HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0061131008 $15.99 1-800-242-7737

Turnatt takes control over the hawk population of Stone-Run Forest. He demands loyalty and will punish those who disobey though he can be fickle and inconsistent with his commands. His goal is become the Evil Conqueror and Slayer known as the "Tyrant of Fortress Glooming" that will eventually encompass the entire forest. As his forces attack the other bird species, the blue jays and the cardinals think the other has attacked them. Their hostility is open and war seems imminent with the only winner being Turnatt whose minion caused the argument between the blue and the red. Unless a miracle occurs many will die and a free forest will become a vicious malevolent dictator's realm. However, only the Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, can prevent the tragedy and return the forest to domestic tranquility for all its creatures. The only problem is the Swordbird is a myth. This is a fascinating well written personification fantasy aimed at the 8-12 years old crowd. Readers will see differing personalities especially between the various bird species. As the non Hawks pray for a hero especially Swordbird, fans will enjoy the confrontation between evil and good.

The Bloomsday Dead
Adrian McKinty
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
0743266447 $24.00 1-800-223-2336

He has been on the run for twelve years ever since he turned informer, killed her father and her lover. He broke up the New York mob and went into the witness protection program because there is a bounty on his head put there by Bridget Callaghan. Though he was her lover, Michael betrayed the mob and killed her loved ones but so far he has escaped these assassination attempts. Now he is working as head of security for the Miraflores Hilton in Lima, Peru when two thugs grab him. They call Bridget who tells Micheael Foesythe that her daughter Siobhan disappeared and if he comes to Belfast and finds her, she will call off the hits. Although he doubts her sincerity, he travels to Dublin where two hits are made on his life. He escapes and gets to Belfast where he gets information he needs to begin a search knowing one of Bridget's men Marso will tell kill him regardless of whether he succeeds or not. His search takes him to many places where he kills in self-defense. What he doesn't know is that Bridget has an enemy she knows nothing about and Michael is the bait and her daughter is the prize. Talk about action, THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD starts off at light-speed and swiftly goes to warp drive in a matter of a few pages. None of the characters are very likeable because they rationalize their actions by insisting the end justifies the means. Readers get a pulse for Northern Ireland where one misstep could break the truce and hostilities are still simmering. Adrian McKinty gives the audience a thrill a second which is better than the fastest twisting roller coaster.

Death Pans Out
Ashna Graves
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590583736 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

Her mortality hammered at her mental well-being from two fronts. Forty-five years old Willamette Current reporter Jeneva "Neva" Leopold's mother recently died while she battles breast cancer with a double mastectomy. Needing to emotionally recover perhaps more than physical, Neva hides at the cabin of her Uncle Matthew Burt, who went missing fifteen years ago in desert town Billie Creek, Oregon. Besides healthy outdoor activity, Neva keeps her mind off of the stress of grief and cancer by investigating her uncle's disappearance after he claimed a gold mine and why he and her mom abruptly stopped talking to one another. Neva questions the locals, but soon uncovers the corpse of miner Roy DeRoos. Another miner whom Neva befriended Reese Cotter is accused of the homicide; an allegation that the newcomer refuses to accept as true. However, as she keeps digging, Neva finds strange phenomena while someone wants her to cease and desist or else. This is a terrific investigative thriller whose setting, the Oregonian desert, adds suspense to the tale. Neva is a fine person who turns to her experience and skill (inquiries) to help her regain a lust for life after taking two emotional blasts. The locals add regional eccentricities to a delightful "cold case" mystery, but Neva is the headline star of Ashna Graves' DEATH PANS OUT.

Murdering Americans
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590584139 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

The Mistress of St. Martha's College in Cambridge, England, Professor Baroness "Jack" Troutbeck accepts an invitation to become a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Freeman State University in New Paddington, Indiana. Leaving behind the House of Lords, Jack, accompanied only by her loquacious (some might say loud mouth – just not in front of Jack) right wing spouting Horace the parrot, expects hotbeds of philosophical debate as seen by 1950s classic movies. Instead Jack is appalled by what she finds in Indiana; and not just the prison food and chlorine water. The campus is owned by the liberal leaning politically correct police called Freeman State University academia who dumb down debate and threaten the essence of civilization dating back to Ancient Athens as no group has ever challenged it before. Ready to wrestle these miscreants into submission, the outraged outrageous right winger begins to make quiet inquiries into the death of the Provost Helen Fortier Pritchardson even as the Baroness struggles with the Americanization of thought starting with Randy the waiter and ending with an amalgam of anti alliterations. Ruth Dudley Edwards provides a take no prisoner satire that rips into the phoniness of political correctness and the perhaps even more phony anti-political correctness by the use of hyperbole and character comparisons. The whodunit is cleverly designed to support the Baroness' foray into life in the proper American Midwest. Lampooning liberals and stinging anti-liberals, Ms. Edwards writes an amusing tale in which the assimilated Americans don't know Jack even after the third war with the Brits ends.

Lipstick and Lies
Margit Liesche
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590583205 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

In 1943 Women Air Forces Service Pilot (WASP) Pucci Lewis flies planes around the country as needed by the military. Pucci also works for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a counter spy insuring no axis rings operate within the United States. She flies a B-24 to Willow Run aircraft factory near Detroit. There Pucci stumbles on the corpse of a worker when FBI Agent Dante finds her and informs her that the deceased was a Nazi spy. He further explains they are shadowing another factory employee Otto Renner suspected of giving the Germans aircraft information. Finally he drafts Pucci to go undercover as a caught jewel thief sent to prison. Her assignment behind bars is to determine whether exposed double agent Countess Grace Buchanan-Dineen is working for or crossing the Bureau as she is supposed to obtain evidence against her cohorts. The interrelated cases seem simple enough until Pucci ends up at the Cosmos Club, where she wonders if this spy and counter spy scenario consists of no Nazi sympathizers as the adversaries seem to belong to either the FBI or the OSS. LIPSTICKS AND LIES is a fabulous WWII espionage action adventure that gives the audience a taste of the era from a rarely seen focus; that of a WASP. Besides a fabulous spy thriller and a vivid look at Detroit in 1943, the tale also provides a fascinating undercurrent as the two federal agencies compete rather than cooperate as it is heresy to collaborate; apparently based on the 9/11 Commission that rivalry had not changed as of September 2001 except the OSS morphed into the CIA. Margit Liesche provides a soaring historical thriller that takes off at the onset and never lands until the final quite interesting especially because of who's who confrontation.

Amen Corner
Rick Shefchik
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590584112 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

On medical leave recovering from a gunshot to the knee two years ago that required surgery, Minneapolis Police Detective Sam Skarda played a lot of golf as rehab. Shockingly last summer he won the US Public Links tournament. Thus he receives an invitation to play at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia while his former partner Stensrud tells him to decide whether he is a cop or not. Also in Augusta is recently freed convict Lee Doggett, who as he stepped out of prison, had no one waiting for him because the only person, who cared, his mother, died while he was incarcerated. He blames his plight on his absentee biological father who never raised him. On the tenth hole someone burned the words "THIS IS THE LAST MASTERS" next to the murdered corpse of Rules Committee Chair Harmon Ashby. Doggett learns he killed the wrong person as his target is his father Ralph Stanwick. The media blame a women's protest group and the police look at club members. New Chair David Porter hires Sam to quietly uncover the culprit before anyone else is aced especially on Sunday when the world watches events unfold at AMEN CORNER. This sports mystery will be enjoyed more by golf aficionados than detective fans as the homage to the Masters is the prime theme of the eighteen holes. Readers know Doggett is the killer early on even before he confirms his identity when he watches CNN to learn he murdered the wrong balding sexagenarian white guy. Thus the suspense resides in the cat and mouse encounter between Doggett and Sam still a cop regardless of his doubts. This is an interesting thriller though cluttered with too many golfing and music references whether it is George Archer winning in 1969 paired with "Will You Be Staying After Sunday" or Billy Casper in 1970 teamed with "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", etc.

Disturbing The Dead
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590583787 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

Ten Years ago, Pauline McClure, a rich and desperate Melungeon widow, vanished from her country estate and hasn't been heard from or seen since. She was a child of poverty and racism but the wealthy McClures accepted her because she gave them an heir. In the present on top of the mountains a skeleton is found and dug up. Near the first burial site another skeleton is discovered. The dental records of one of the skulls match Pauline's; police Captain Tom Bridget is out to find the killer. His father was obsessed with the case because it was his first that he failed to solve. When he goes to question Pauline's mother, Mrs. Turner, he runs into her grand-daughter Holly. Holly's mother left the family though she supposedly sends money from time to time. When Tom mentions to veterinarian Rachael Goddard how great Holly is with animals, the vet hires her on the spot even though her grandmother tries to guilt her into staying and her father, Mr. Shackelford, the local drug supplier, uses threats to make her return to her grandmother. Both Holly and Rachel refuse to be intimidated but someone really wants Holly out of the way because she is shot at, the office is torched and her family tries to physically get away from Rachel. Tom is determined to protect Rachel but when another skull is found and he begins to hear rumors about his father's relationship to Pauline, he finds his objectivity is not what it should be. Sandra Parshall is a wonderful storyteller who creates a small rural backwater town where race and class divisions still exist and people of mixed blood are subjected to prejudice. Her characterizations are fantastic especially Tom, who is half Melungeon heartwarming and sensitive willing to give Rachel all the time she needs to figure out what she wants even as he investigates a mystery that creeps closer to home.

Secret Sins
Kate Charles
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103 , Scottsdale, AZ 85251
1590583566 $24.95 1-800-421-3976

In London recently ordained Anglican cleric Callie Anson is happy with her relationship with police officer Marco "Mark" Lombardi though he seems to avoid having her meet his Italian family. Callie tries to provide solace to new parishioner Morag Hamilton, who is worried about her beloved preadolescent granddaughter Alex who never goes outside unless she has to; her father Alex is to busy with work and her stepmother Jilly is too busy with her own needs to care that Alex lives on the Internet. While Callie worries about Morag and Alex, Detective Inspector Neville Stewart investigates a missing jogger, computer guru Trevor Norton whose wife is about to give birth. Though he hopes the runner is found okay, Neville fears the worst while welcoming the respite from his personal problems of a maybe romance with the woman he has always loved who dumped him a decade ago. Now Neville has a second vanishing to investigate; that twelve years old Alex whose grandmother reported her missing. The key to this exciting London investigative tale is the extended cast are fully developed three dimensional people who make the several plots merge into a terrific one sitting thriller. Alex is the link that ties the multitude of plots into one superior story line. Readers will want to obtain Kate Charles' fine character driven tale SECRET SINS and the previous novel with much of the same lead players EVIL INTENT.

Christine Falls
Benjamin Black
Henry Holt & Company
175 - 5th Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
0805081526 $25.00 1-888-330-8477

In Dublin after a few drinks at an office going away party for a nurse, pathologist Garret Quirke enters his prime work area the morgue only to be stunned by what he sees in spite of being drunk. His stepbrother Dr. Malachy Griffin was sitting at Quirke's desk writing in a file that the pathologist noticed is that of Christine Falls. Too tired to think any further Quirke leaves a nervous Mal behind. After several hours of sleep, Quirke wonders why Mal was at the morgue instead of home with his wife Susan. He begins to look closer at the death of the young maid, Christine Falls, who died during childbirth especially since he knows Mal changed the file. However, whenever he raises a point, he finds the Irish medical establishment protecting one another while the clues take him to Boston. This is terrific 1950s medical thriller that constantly pulls the rig out from underneath the reader with fabulous unexpected yet plausible twists. The subplot in Dublin is foggy and mysterious as the audience alongside the obstinate hero wonders what is going on. The shift to Boston turns more detective like in tone and less sinister, as the clues begin to come together though spins still will fool the reader. Benjamin Black provides a superior medical investigative tale that will have fans clamoring for more work by quirky Quirke.

Ace of Spades
David Matthews
Henry Holt
175 - 5th Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
0805081496 $24.00 1-888-330-8477

David Matthews provides an interesting memoir of growing up in racially mixed America. He is the son of an African-American journalist and a schizophrenic white Jewish mother, who deserted the two males just after David was born. Over the years he passed for white at school and in the middle class neighborhoods he and his dad lived in. While his dad spent most time at work, David's grandmother took care of him showering him with love until she died. Without her anchor, he turned to drugs, crime and not caring about anything or anyone. As he left his teens he began to turn his life around trying to come to grips on his mixed racial heritage that had no blocks on the EEOC classification. This is an interesting autobiography of a mixed racial person struggling with his identity and a need to belong. Mr. Matthews provides fascinating anecdotal bios from his life especially growing up in the 1970s and 1980s (pre Tiger Woods' opening the mindset of Americans). Though at times the language feels overly emotional and flowery to invoke reader compassion, ACE OF SPADES is a well written memoir of a zebraic man who is part Black Nationalist and part Jewish intellect in a country that prefers neater stereotyping.

Keeping It Real
Justina Robson
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591025397 $15.00 1-800-421-0351

No one anticipated what the reactor meltdown of the Texas Superconducting Supercollider would do but it led to a Quantum Bomb explosion that ripped open portals to other realms where magic instead of science was predominant. Five years have passed since the Quantum Bomb Lost Year of 2015, earth is no more at least as we knew it; in fact the name is now Otopia with five other realms while the former earth resides in the fourth area of I-space. Relations with the other realms remain top secret, but between us it is not so good so the Odonian Security Agency was created to combine espionage, antiterrorism, and criminal investigation especially with the third real Demonia sending agents into the neighboring fourth realm to cause mischief and to control magic leaking into Otopia. OSA Special Agent Lila Black, a bomb survivor who has become more than human due to all the technology imbued in her to keep her alive, provides protective services to an elf Zal, who is lead singer of the No Shows band. Zal's manager fears someone wants to kill his star attraction as the elf has received threatening notes. The undercover bodyguard and the obstinate lead vocalist argue over her protecting him because he wants no babysitter. One thing both hide is their desire for the other. The first Quantum Gravity KEEPING IT Real is a strong blending of science fiction and fantasy that fans of both genres will enjoy. The story line is action-packed with the heroine trying to keep the singer safe as attempts on his life occur. Though for someone born in the twenty-first century, Lila has quite history that at times overwhelms the prime plot, fans will root for her as she battles Otopian enemies who want to use Zal as an expendable pawn in a unique cold war that traverses the realms. Hopefully future books will provide fans with more insight into the other realms of elementals, elves, demons, death and fairy.

Fast Forward: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, Vol. 1
Lou Anders (Editor)
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591024862 $15.00 1-800-421-0351

In his introduction to what he plans as being a continual science fiction anthology containing all new stories, Lou Anders explains the premise is "making sense of a changing world" as "the implications of technology on society … makes it (SF) the most relevant branch of literature". Bias aside, the contributions of nineteen original shorts and two poems (by Robyn Hitchcock) live up to Mr. Anders' prime objective. The tales focus on people struggling with an exponentially changing world that leaves many behind. The contributors are a who's who of Sci Fi or fantasy to include Larry Niven (with Brenda Cooper), Justina Robson, Stephen Baxter and Louise Marley. All the entries are strong with the best being those concentrating on everyday people dealing with commonplace technology like Paul Di Filippo's Wikiworld" and Justina Robson' The Girl Hero's Mirror Says He's Not the One" (in Mappa Mundi world) and those bringing the past into the future such as Tony Ballantyne's "Aristotle OS and Ken McLeod's "Jesus Christ, Reanimator". This is a fun collection that forecasts where technology will take humans including those left behind struggling with yesterday's artifacts.

Adam Roberts
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591025389 $15.00 1-800-421-0351

Decades after the last moon landing, NASA still struggles with strategic objectives and vision. Many of the wealthy class feels NASA is a failed earthbound bureaucracy that cannot get a mission to reach the stars. In 2059, wealthy American Kristin Janzen Kooistra makes a deal to pay an exorbitant fee to hide from her government in the "Uplands". Now Gradisil's grandfather has the finances to turn over the paradigm caused by that former Nazi von Braun when he persuaded the Americans to go fixed wing aircraft in the 1940s and 1950s. Thus he builds airtight flying houses to orbit the earth with families residing inside them that will be free of government intervention and intercession on their lives. Over the decades however, the earthbound governments especially the tax hungry United States see things differently from the Utopian freedom lovers. Told in three parts with the first two sections being novel length and the final segment more of a coda novella, GRADISIL is a much more complex tale than the above paragraph provides in order to avoid giving away what happens to those orbiting the planet. The story line follows the orbiters over several decades as a stratospheric Utopia is under increasing scrutiny from below. Key players like Gradisil come across as fully developed yet lacking a motive of why anyone would voluntarily live such a limiting lifestyle. Sort of turning Swift's of Gulliver Part III, The flying island of Laputa, upside down, Adam Roberts captures the attention and imagination of cerebral science fiction fans with his tale of a nation in the sky formed from courage and conviction not continual conquest.

Nineteen Minutes
Jodi Picoult
Atria Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas , New York, NY 10020
0743496728 $26.00

It takes nineteen minutes to kill nine students and one teacher and wound 18 students to the extent that they need to be hospitalized. On March 6 2007, Seventeen year old student Peter Haughton put a pipe bomb he constructed n a student's car as a diversion than went to Sterling High School where he shot a student on the steps, went into the cafeteria wounded and injured a few more, walked the hallways leading to the gym and into the locker room where his killing spree ended when police detective Patrick DuCharme ordered him by gunpoint to drop his weapon. He was carrying two handguns, two shotguns, and some incendiary devices. Peter tells his lawyer that he killed those who made his life hell since he was in kindergarten when one of the bullies threw his lunchbox out of the school bus window. Peter has been systematically abused verbally, emotionally and physically for the last twelve years because he was a misfit who didn't fit in. His only friend Josie, the daughter of Judge Alex Cormier, was the catalyst that drove him over the edge. His only friend Josie dumped him to be one of the in-crowd and be Matt Reyson's girlfriend. Matt is the last person that Peter killed. His defense attorney Jordan McAfee has to plan a defense even though his client was caught on tape killing students and there were hundreds of witnesses who saw him do the shooting. Jodi Picard blends a legal thriller with a family drama and comes up with a fascinating (in a macabre way) work of mainstream fiction. The author doesn't ever excuse what Peter did but through the use of flashbacks and rotating perspectives shows how years of torture erupted in a killing spree. Although readers will loathe Peter for what he did, they will understand that it takes a village to raise a child and in the case of Sterling, New Hampshire, everyone, including his own parents, failed in some way.

Restore My Heart
Cheryl Norman
Medallion Press, Inc.
1020 Cedar Lane, No. 2N, St. Charles, IL 60174
1932815864 $6.99

Financial wizard Joe Desalvo regrets he did not come home to Louisville more frequently as he feels guilt that he failed to recognize the signs that his dad was depressed enough to commit suicide. Joe's mom believes her beloved Leo would never kill himself; she thinks he was murdered. Joe is unable to persuade his mother otherwise. Sally Clay's bought the Mustang Sally classic car restoration business from her Uncle Sal in hope that her dad would be motivated to get out of the house to work on the autos. Her business is in trouble due to new competition and the death of her best customer Leo of Bloom-Desalvo Motors. When Joe arrives with a rare 1954 Kaiser Darrin sports car that his dad bought the day before he died, Sally is excited until she looks under the hood and finds a Ford engine inside the vehicle. She notifies FBI Agent Ferguson and Joe. As they investigate how his knowledgeable father was conned, they fall in love. However, neither realizes someone is watching their every move in case they get to close to the truth. RESTORE MY HEART is an exhilarating romantic suspense thriller starring two likable protagonists. Sally is especially a fascinating lead character as she is wheelchair bound with a father who thinks of her as flawed. Her dad's scorn of her has led the heroine to believe a hunk like Joe would never desire her. Adding to the fine lead characterizations is the gender bending as she knows her cars while he knows how to drive an automatic. Though the villain seems out of left field and the late suspense takes away (can't explain further without a spoiler) from a wonderful contemporary, fans will want to ride with Cheryl Norman's fine Louisville slugger.

The Gold Covenant
Roberta Clark
1020 Cedar Lane, No. 2N, St. Charles, IL 60174
1933836016 $6.99

Renowned historical archeologist Gustav Nikulasson dies in a plane crash. The investigation concludes it is a tragic accident occurred. TV stars of the show Power Line Ivar Whelan and Lawrence Halvern meet in New York with Gustav's daughter Katherine, a reporter; they show her dad's last work, classified research papers with some pages missing, as they want her to join forces with them. She refuses, but assumes that the only person with access to Gustav's notes would be his friend and associate Sheppard Wilde. Katherine journeys to Sheppard's English country estate where she hopes to uncover the truth behind her father's death. However, before she can act on her Wilde suspicions, dangerous art smuggler Enrique Quisette arranges the kidnapping of Katherine. Once he knows she is abducted Wilde fears the daughter of his best friend is expendable if he fails to rescue her soonest. Only because Quisette thinks she knows the secrets he wants involving an ancient race is why he is keeping her alive. He also realizes that to save Katherine he would have to break a vow he made to protect the ancient people; thus he too accepts she is expendable. THE GOLD COVENANT is a fast-paced thriller in which readers like the beleaguered heroine will wonder who is friend and who is foe. The competitors with the exception of the heroine and to a degree Wilde will do anything including kidnapping and murder to obtain the ultimate treasure. Though somewhat convoluted as the story line races from New York to England to Athens and beyond, fans of exhilarating action-packed thrillers will hitch a ride on Roberta Clark's enthralling tale.

An Accidental American
Alex Carr
Random House
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0812977084 $9.95 1-800-726-0600

The first time she sees John Valsamis in her French countryside driveway, he says nothing before driving away. He returns the next day at the same time saying he needs her help. He wants her to find her former lover Rahim Ali, who he claims is a terrorist recruited by the Islamic Armed revolution; he also shows her pictures of what the LAR has wrought on innocent people. She agrees to help the DOD agent and journeys to Lisbon where he lives as a documents forger. Word gets around that Nicole Blake seeks Rahim Ali. When they finally meet, John shoots Rahim, but before he dies he directs Nicole to go to his office where she finds a suspicious looking document and its forgery. John plans to kill Nicole, but she eludes him while wondering what is going on and why evidence points toward Beirut just after the embassy bombings. Readers who like dark thrillers in the tradition of Le Carre will enjoy AN ACCIDENTAL AMERICAN. Nicole is a gusty quirky heroine who wants to be like her father even though he gave her up to the police. Her years in prison strengthened her resolve. Espionage thriller fans will enjoy her cat and mouse battle with a clever killing machine.

Hunter's Moon
Randy Wayne White
G. P. Putnam's Sons
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0399153705 $24.95 1-800-847-5515

Doctor Marion Ford is a marine biologist who runs a store on Sanibel Island that supplies marine samples to labs and schools across the country. He is also something of a spy who came in from the cold although he occasionally gets his feet wet when the situation warrants. When former President Kal Wilson asks him and Tomlinson for their help in exchange for a presidential pardon, they both agree but not because they were coerced; they respect the man who has a one million dollar bounty on his head. The Panama Canal is owned by a radical fundamentalist and his mentor Allif Halibi is an Islamic cleric who ordered the Fatwa because of Wilson's beliefs that a group of religious fanatics want to start the apocalypse. Wilson's wife was murdered along with six others on aplane that he was supposed to be on. Wilson is determined to avenge his wife's death and he needs Tomlinson's mysticism and Ford's pragmatism to do it. Randy Wayne White has written a chilling thriller that will have readers feeling as if they are unable to catch their breath. Kal Wilson is one of the most likeable secondary characters in the Ford series. He needs to kill his wife's murderer who turns out to be Ford's enemy and has a limited time to achieve it. He also takes a stand in Panama on what he thinks of Islamic terrorists in a way that resonate with the audience. In other words, Kal steals the show.

The Long Road Home
Martha Raddatz
G. P. Putnam's Sons
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0399153829 $24.95 1-800-847-5515

This is a terrific true bird's eye view of life on the ground in Iraq especially starting with April 2004 Sade City bloodbath that killed eight American troops. TV journalist Martha Raddatz interviews the soldiers caught in street fighting against the Mahdi militia in what was considered a babysitting mission until all hell broke out. The author also takes the audience back to the states to meet family members who lost loved ones. There are no political spins like recent claims the bombing of the mosque last year started the insurgency. Or even a worse lie that the American people are sacrificing to bring democracy to Iraq, Ms. Raddatz makes it clear from one small concise chapter to the next that in the United States only the soldiers and their family members are sacrificing. What have I given up – nothing; not even taxes to pay the war costs or the subsequent reequipping bill; while the military in some cases have lost their lives or limbs.

Relentless Pursuit: A Story of Family, Murder, and the Prosecutor Who Wouldn't Quit
Kevin Flynn
G. P. Putnam's Sons
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
039915406X $25.95 1-800-847-5515

In 1993 Katrina Hawkins was only thirteen when she and her mother Diane Hawkins were brutally murdered in their Washington DC home. Still even with the horror of the killer cutting out Katrina's heart, no one would do more than a superfluous investigation as these were two poor inconsequential nobodies; that is proven when they were buried in Maryland with Diane having no marker as her family could not buy one for her and her daughter. However, federal homicide prosecutor Kevin Flynn, a father of a little girl at that time, was (and still is) haunted by the killings even as his father was dying from cancer. He needed to bring justice to the Hawkins extended family. Ultimately with the help of Detective Dean Combee, who was stunned by the domestic violence that took two seemingly innocent lives, they find the killer. This is a deep, moving and graphic at times account of the real investigation into the murders of the Hawkins females. However, the well written true crime book is much more as Kevin Flynn makes a heart felt plea that all of us must do much more to stop domestic violence especially against women and children. His RELENTLESS PURSUIT provided some closure for the family and for himself, but Mr. Flynn knows this is one case that he too will take to his grave; so will readers after this harrowing case of the "prosecutor who wouldn't quit".

There Goes the Bride
Lori Wilde
Warner Books, Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
0446618454 $6.99 1-800-759-0190

In Houston the upcoming marriage between Delaney Cartwright and her fiance orthopedic surgeon Dr. Evan van Zandt makes all of the societal pages of newspapers and magazines. However, the bride has doubts although she admits her fiance is a nice likable person; she wants sparks and there are none. She even agreed to his suggestion no sex until they marry because she does not expect to miss it at least with Evan. Delaney stops at a consignment shop that sells wedding attire; there she buys a veil that seems to be calling to her and makes a wish to get out of her nuptials. Her friends persuade her to abduct Evan and have her way with him. Instead she almost kidnaps Evan's patient, undercover Detective Dominic Vanetti, whom she has seen in a vision when she first touched the veil. Still her plan now is to hire someone to abduct her so she does not have to say I do, but someone else has the same agenda with a different outcome. THERE GOES THE BRIDE is a Wilde madcap contemporary romance with paranormal elements. Delaney is a nice person that readers will not initially respect because of her fear of behaving wrongly in the eyes of her societal mother. That includes avoiding telling her she does not want to wed Evan; this leads to her concocting this maniacal scheme even as she knows her fiance is a kind person deserving better treatment from her.. Ironically her plot becomes real with the cause inadvertently being the prime reason her mother demanded proper behavior from her, her late older sister and her father.

The Leopard Prince
Elizabeth Hoyt
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
0446618489 $6.99 1-800-759-0190

In 1760 twenty-eight years old Georgina Maitland is wealthy so she can enjoy being single; she has no plans for a spouse as that means giving up her independence. When her sister pleads with her to return to the family estate in Yorkshire, she flees London with her land manager Harry Pye. At her home she learns that their neighbor Magistrate Silas Granville blames Harry for poisoning his sheep and demands she fire him before he arrests him. George refuses and directs Silas to leave her home. As tension mounts because Silas and Harry have a history involving his father, George and her estate manager fall in love. However, he will do nothing to jeopardize her position while she fears losing her autonomy if she boldly goes after the man she loves. This is an interesting Georgian romance between an aristocrat and her commoner employee that showcases what happens when a person in authority abuses their public trust. The story line is at its best when it concentrates on the lead pair including incidents fostered on them by their odious neighbor. Silas is so nasty he is more a caricature of an abusive person though his actions serve as a warning not to allow one person so much authority even in a localized setting. He affirms Lord Acton's admonition on power and another of his cautionary commentaries that "Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity". Elizbath Hoyt provides an exhilarating historical romance that will have waiting for the next prince to appear.

Kitty Takes a Holiday
Carrie Vaughn
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
0446618748 $6.99 1-800-759-0190

Kitty Norville hosts a radio show that deals with the creatures of the night as she is an expert since she also happens to be a werewolf who was publicly outed when she changed in a visible place (KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR). After the Senate Hearing Committee she testified at and the events in Washington DC (see KITTY GOES TO WASHINGTON), Kitty decides to lay low taking time off to write a book. Her vacation abruptly ends when Cormac the bounty hunter arrives at her cottage with a friend. Ben was bitten by a werewolf in New Mexico and wants to die. Something that looks like a werewolf is following Ben and Cormac. This creature has killed farm animals. Kitty has been magically attacked by locals who do not know what they have wrought as they have brought evil to the area. She and Cormac know they must stop the malevolence, if they fail they die (if fortunate that is) while if they succeed they will still have to pay an exorbitant price. KITTY TAKES A HOLIDAY continues with the new twist of adding a humorous chick lit flavor to the werewolf mythos with another winning paranormal romantic suspense. When Ben turns, he becomes Kitty's pack of one and that adds a romantic element that rings true even in this supernatural setting. Kitty has become a modern day alpha woman even though she feels otherwise as she helps Ben with his initial conversion, tries to save the townsfolk from what they did, and is determined to kill or be killed when she battles the malevolence. Carrie Vaughn writes another biting thriller.

Sight Unseen
Samantha Graves
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
0446618381 $6.99 1-800-759-0190

Raven Callahan has a unique job description of legalized thief as she recovers stolen art for the Antiquities Preservation Institute (API) to return to the lawful owner. API management including Raven's immediate supervisor "Bigs" Bigley recognize that she is the best recovery agent in their firm. What they do not know is why she is so superior to the rest. She has psychometric skills sothat when she touches something her five senses receive images, sounds and feelings. A killing maniac has kidnapped her current partner Walter; threatening to kill him if Raven fails to steal Vassalo's self portrait from Matador's Auction House in Miami. However, also at the auction house is former cop David "Dax" Maddox who recognizes Raven. He is on a vendetta since he left the force following the murder of his police partner, which he blames himself for; he needs to destroy the killer. Reluctantly tied to a mad man's death threats, Dax and Raven must team up, but neither trusts the other as a thief and a cop, even a legal thief and a former cop, see the world from different perspectives. This is a refreshing paranormal romantic suspense thriller in spite of combining two overly used recent themes that of the art thief with that of the psychic. Though Raven's skills are more obvious and legit in some ways she will remind the audience of Blanche in Hitchcock's Family Plot. Dax adds to the investigation as he has his own agenda and as a cop distrusts burglars even those allegedly legit. Fans of psychic romantic investigative thrillers will want to read the brisk, unique and fun SIGHT UNSEEN in one sitting.

Dead Shot
Annie Solomon
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
044661632X $6.99 1-800-759-0190

People either love or loathe the gruesome self-portraits of photographer Gillian Gray. However, she has only one person that she wants to provoke, the culprit who murdered her mother years ago while she was nearby. She wants this unknown beast to come after her, which is why she has allowed a showing of her work in Nashville at the Gray Visual Arts Center sponsored by her wealthy grandparents. Carleco Security is assigned to protect Gillian especially from protestors who might turn violent. When an incident occurs during the opening gala, former cop turned personal security specialist Ray Pearce reacts instantly; no one is hurt, but Gillian's grandparents demand he personally keeps her safe. Her message to the killer has reached someone as people are being murdered and posed to emulate Gillian's images. As a confrontation seems in the works shortly, Ray and Gillian fall in love, but first she must complete her quest and he must keep her safe by preventing her from completing her quest. DEAD SHOT is an exciting romantic suspense thriller starring two individuals who differ on her quest with he worried about her safety while she offers herself as a target. The story line focuses on the relationship between these stubborn lead protagonists. Though using herself to coax out her mother's killer, who may be dead after all this time, seems a stretch, no one will care deeply as Annie Solomon hooks her audience with the first spilled blood and never lets go until the final DEAD SHOT reckoning occurs.

Knight's Prize
Sarah McKerrigan
1271 Avenue of the Americas, Room 913, New York, NY 10020
0446618861 $6.99 1-800-759-0190

In 1136 Miriel of Rivenloch is happy that her two older sisters, the Warrior Maids of Rivenloch have found men (see LADY DANGER and CAPTIVE HEART). With the addition of these strong males and their Knights of Cameliard, Rivenloch is defended apparently quite solidly. However, being the third Warrior Maid, though no one recognizes her as such since she is petit Miriel keeps a vigil as the outlawed Shadow. However her teacher Sung Li tells her in his cryptic way that the night comes to swallow the shadow. Soon afterward the Lord of Morbrach hires mercenary knight Sir Rand la Nuit to capture the notorious Shadow. She notices him lurking in the nearby forest while he hears her quiet movement. When he arrives at the castle, as a cover he claims he came to court Miriel, whose name he keeps saying wrong. She wanting to learn what he is hiding so she kisses him saying they met at a tournament. The game of love and sleuthing has just begun. The final Warrior Maids tale is a terrific ending to a wonderful mediieval romance trilogy as impressions prove false. The cast makes the story line. Sarah McKerrigan's appreciative fans will adore the hero who courts the third Maid. It is funny that unlike the audience he doesn't realizing she is also the criminal he hunts. Miriel is an interesting protagonist able to perform feats that most westerners cannot because of her teacher, the fascinating Sung Li. Fans will enjoy this Night's prize as he tries to capture the heart of the shadowy Warrior Maid.

Fit To Be Tied
Karen Kendall
Signet Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220781 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

In the Hartford area, this should be the happiest day of her life. Yet with each step towards the altar and the groom, Jen Canby feels like a condemned woman facing a firing squad. She wonders how she ended up on death row, as kindhearted Tom Brookhaven calmly waits apparently due to imbibing for her to exchange I do with him. Cowardly she goes through the vows rather than flee as her gut insists she do because $35,000 would go down the toilet. At the ceremony afterward, Jen's parents are living up to what she expects from them, causing havoc as they fight publicly over every nuance. Their upcoming divorce sounds like the Paris Peace Accords to end some war. Tom is drunk when an uninvited six foot amazon arrives claiming she is the groom's former wife. Perhaps Jen needs a divorce or an annulment though she admits to herself she loves Tom, but her only concern is who would gain custody of the dog. Though humorous, contemporary readers will want to admonish Jen for not taking the time to talk with her new husband instead of saying I do want a divorce as she insists after she feels he got drunk to marry her and hid his first wife from her, which reminds her too much of her parents. Tom tries to atone for his poor performance, but Jen refuses to listen to his apologies. Told from Jen's perspective only, the audience sees the dysfunctional relationships (there are several) from her limited tainted viewpoint. Karen Kendall provides a lighthearted chick lit tale that has amusing moments and asides, but Jen fails to obtain reader empathy.

Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Denise Swanson
Signet Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451221419 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

Scumble River school psychologist Skye Denison is now a paid consultant in the SRPD. Margot Avanti, owner of a beauty spa and resort on the old Brufeld Estate, asks the "Nancy Drew of Scumble River" to investigate vandalism with holes in the ground and walls that keep appearing. Margot assumes it is treasure hunters seeking the rumored buried jewels hidden by the former owner allegedly somewhere on the property or inside the converted building. Skye first says no but her best friend persuades her and asks to come along as her guest so she won't have to host Thanksgiving for a horde of relatives. From the very beginning she knows she isn't the stereotype type of the guest with the emphasis on beauty and being thin. When one of the women, a former high profile model is murdered, the chief of police wants Skye to help on the investigation. While she is delving into her inquiries, treasure hunters keep appearing on the property and valuable items go missing. The staff have secrets that they are hiding but which one has a secret so deadly he or she is willing to kill to keep it from being revealed. The Scumble River mysteries are one of the most satisfy cozy series on the market today. The heroine is a perfect role model for anyone. She sticks to her beliefs but isn't inflexible, is strong enough to accept her full figure size and is bold enough to solve a whodunit that has the police stymied. The romantic triangle between her, Simon the undertaker, and Wally the chief of police jazzes up an already satisfying storyline.

What's A Ghoul to Do?
Victoria Laurie
Signet Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220900 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

M.J. Holiday was always able to see and speak to ghosts so she became a medium and her clients would ask her to try to contact their loved ones. Although she was very successful and the money was rolling in, she changed directions and became a ghost buster helping spirits move on. She works with computer guru Gilley Gillespie who loves the computer world but is afraid to go into a haunted house. Dr. Steven Sable contacts M.J. because he wants her to contact his father's ghost (which he has seen) in his lodge. The police say he committed suicide by jumping off the roof but Steven is positive that his grandfather wasn't suicidal. When they arrive at the lodge M.J. contacts three ghosts but none of them seem to want to talk to her. In the meantime they have a bigger problem. Steven's father who had never acknowledged him is in town and it is obvious he wants something and will do anything to get it. Steven and Laurie intend to stop him but they need the help of the ghosts to do it. This paranormal cozy mystery is a ghost lovers' delight. They play a small but crucial plot in this fast paced tale. Victoria Laurie is a storyteller who charms her audience with benevolent ghosts, a romantic interest for M.J. and a smashing and surprising climax. Each ghost has their own personally which adds to the atmosphere of WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO? The writer uses words to create a novel so that readers see the paranormal with the mind's eye.

Dragon Lovers
Jo Beverley Karen Harbaugh, Mary Jo Putney, Barbara Samuel
Signet Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220390 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

"The Dragon And The Virgin Princess" by Jo Beverly. The people of Saragond choose Rozlinda as the Sacrificial Virgin Princess to the Dragon. Seyer Rouar the Dragoner marries Rozlinda. He takes his spouse to his home to complete the fertility sacrifice so the Dragons can lay eggs before they die out, but falls in love with the needed expendable female. "The Dragon And The Dark Knight" by Mary Jo Putney. William of Penruth promises Sir Kenrick of Rathbourne land if he kills a dragon. On Dragon Island, instead of slewing the beast, he rescues the beauty Ariane from mercenaries, but only her healing prowess saves his life when they nearly kill him. As the slayer and the protector fall in love, dragons divide them. "Anna And The King Of Dragons" by Karen Harbaugh. Soon after the Vanderzee family arrived on Kyushu Island, Japan, an accident kills her parents, leaving Anna alone to grieve. Near a pond, a noise startles her and Anna falls over the edge, but Ryu-kami-sama the Dragon Lord saves her life. He demands books in payment for her life. When thugs attack Anna, Samurai warrior, Nakagawa Toshiro rescues her. What will he want for her life? "Dragon Feathers" by Barbara Samuel. Following the death of her husband Penny Freeman moves to New Mexico where she becomes a student of renowned weaver, Senora Maria Lib'elula. Penny buys a fixer upper house at an incredibly low cost. Inside her new home she feels peace as the place smells of fresh sweetness and a white noise hum in the background enables her to relax even when pink feathers mysteriously appear. When she meets Maria's son Joaquin, Penny begins to think of love, but he has secrets that prevent them from exploring their feelings. These four romantic fantasies are lighthearted fun tales that take readers and the female lead characters soaring with dragons.

Dipped in Chocolate
Renee Luke
Signet Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220315 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

"Gimme Some Sugar". In California, Alexis is engaged to marry handsome, intelligent, caring and affluent Bryan when her best friend Jackson kisses her. Neither is prepared for the intensity and desire that ignites between them. "4U Sweetheart". Toni still dreams of sweet intimacy with her Prince Charming, but doubts speed dating will bring her a hunk to share a loving relationship. Still she tries anyway as her social life is in negative numbers. However, to her sweet surprise, she meets Isaac, who uses candy 4 for his sweetheart to know how much he wants and desires her. "Dipped in Chocolate". Nathan comes to Jayla's chocolate shop to place a special order for his beloved sister to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. However, neither he nor the delicious looking shopkeeper has chocolate on their mind (certain other body parts for sure) as their first sight attraction is sweeter than any concoction the baker can make. These three entertaining novellas will educate readers on all the practical use of chocolate (thank goodness I am not diabetic) with fully developed instructors providing delightful sweet tooth and more usage. Renee Luke provides three delicious tales that go beyond jus CHOCOLATE KISSES.

Blood Secrets
Vivi Ann
Silhouette Nocturne
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373617585 $5.25

In downtown Necropolis at a room in the Black Heart Hotel, Otherworld Crime Unit Chief Caine Valorian a vampire and his top aids Jace Jericho and Lyra Magice struggle with the case of a woman's throat sliced, but little blood at the crime scene. Though a bloodsucker apparently bit the human victim, the amount of blood apparently taken is way beyond the pint normally consumed; that amount should have left them with a comatose culprit lying in his or her vomit. This murder could be the final impetus leading to an interspecies war. Caine also has a new cop on his team; one whose assignment makes no sense to him to be working the paranormal crime beat. His superior at Necropolis Police Department Captain Mahina Garner has assigned human Eve Grant to work for him breaking a glass ceiling as no human has ever been placed on this squad. Though Eve proves to be a superior dedicated investigator, she poses a second problem for Valorian; he is attracted to her and struggles to contain his desire for her as he knows cross species romances normally fail and besides, one should never mix pleasure with work especially with a subordinate. As he holds his need in check, they work in close proximity on a homicide case that if not solved fast could expedite the impending interspecies war. The key to why BLOOD SECRETS is a superb paranormal romantic police procedural is that the lead couple and the support cast (on both sides of the law) make Necropolis seem genuine; thus the fantasy elements come across as real. The relationship between the vampire chief and his human detective enhances the whodunit with the fear of a dangerous civil war between species lurking on the horizon. Viva Vivi!

Touch of the Wolf
Karen Whiddon
Silhouette Nocturne
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373617593 $5.25

Werewolves have the ability to heal themselves, but changelings (half-breed shifters) cannot and therefore need healers. In two generations of Pack births no new healer has been born and some like Lucaine Herrick think healers are a myth. His pack disagrees with his assessment; so when three year old Lucy suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, he is sent to Anniversary, Texas to see if Samantha Warren a Healer. When he first sees Samantha, Lucaine is disgusted with his poor timing as he realizes she is his mate; he wants to escape and run like the wolf, but first he must fulfill the quest. Samantha is unaware that she is a Halfling who has the Healer's talent instead of the shifting trait. Luc tries to get Sam to admit she is a healer as he is convinced she might be the real thing, but she denies her "heritage" and having such ability. Another ailing Changeling needs Sam to save his life and he will do what it takes to force her to do so while Luc will risk his life to keep his mate safe. This paranormal romance is filled with excitement, intrigue, tension, and danger as Karen Whiddon creates a fine tale of a believable sub-society surviving within the larger purebred human environs. Luc is a strong-willed male, who proves he is a perfect match for the feisty vulnerable heroine. However, it is Sam who brings plausibility to this entertaining werewolf romantic suspense as she struggles with her universe turned inside out when she learns werewolves and changelings exist.

Lisa Childs
Silhouette Nocturne
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373617615 $5.25

Taken from her mother at an early age, Elena found solace and comfort living with her father and her daughter. Six months after his death, she made it plain to her husband Kirk that she was divorcing him. Elena, like her mother before her, is a witch and had visions of her husband cheating on her. She has also reconnected with her sister Ariel who sees ghosts. It is because of their meeting that Elena has come to believe in what she calls her curse. Elena is wary of Joseph Dolce, the CEO of Jones, Inc. He is there when she has a vision, which scares her and sends her running up to her daughter's room; her child is gone as Kirk took. Elena also knows that the witch hunter is coming for her and Alicia. Feeling desperate she is not to proud to accept Joseph's help. In her latest vision she sees her death as well as Stacie's and Joseph's but Elena is determined that they will live even if it means her own death at the hands at the insane witch hunter. Lisa Childs has written a spellbinding book about a woman who is forced to accept that not only is she a witch but her daughter is as well. This paranormal romantic thriller is full of action but it Elena, vulnerable yet fierce when it comes to her daughter who is the reason her abduction makes the tale move at such a rapid pace. The only quibble readers might have is the romance between the two protagonists feels too rushed.

The Dark Gate
Pamela Palmer
Silhouette Nocturne
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373617607 $5.25

Metropolitan Police Detective Jack Hallihan is working on a case that has him totally stymied. On three occasions several victims were knocked out, but when they all awakened simultaneously; one girl was raped and no one remembered anything. Jack also fears he is going insane because he hears voices in his head. He meets lawyer Larsen Vale who keeps a secret from everyone. She feels she is evil because she can forecast death. When Jack touches Larsen the voices stop making him need to get to know her in the hopes she has the power to rid him of his terror permanently. At a wedding she has a vision in which she sees an albino man enchanting people. No one else sees him but her. He wears the stone of Erzie, which is the key to another dimension. Jack arrest this male, but after locking him away and leaving, the culprit enslaves the entire police station occupants. When Jack and Larsen learn what the creature is they know they must prevent him from opening the portal that would allow magical malevolence to conquer the earth. Pamela Palmer has written a delightful paranormal romance in which mortals must first believe in the unbelievable starting with a monster out of the myths that really exists and that magic works. This is an action oriented thriller with a supportive romantic subplot that enhances the escapades turning THE DARK GATE into a great romantic urban fantasy.

We Shall Not Sleep
Anne Perry
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345456602 $21.95 1-800-726-0600

The year is 1919 and the allies are taking back what they have lost to the German soldiers. The Reavley siblings all play different parts in this war but all are united on figuring out who was the man they call the Peacemaker is. They call him that because he was maneuvering on creating an Anglo-German empire so that under their rule war could never break out. He failed but he is still trying to manipulate the outcome with England losing to Germany. If that fails too he has hopes that he can get good terms for Germany in the armistice so that in a few years it will be a power once again. Matthew Reaves gets word that one of the Peacemaker's top minions wants to meet with him and tell him and eventually the prime minister what is going on behind the scenes and who the Peacemaker is. They arrange to meet when Joseph, a chaplain in the trenches is administering to his men. When Matthew arrives there he finds the man he comes to meet is injured and a nurse has been brutally mutilated, raped and killed and the policemen in charge arrests Matthew since he can't explain why he is there. His sister Judith, an ambulance driver, starts asking questions and eventually is able to keep her brother from prison. Time is running out but the three Reaves siblings must find out who the killer is if they want to see England safe and ferret out a traitor. This is more than a mystery; it is a human epic saga that describes the effects of war on the line soldiers. As the war nears it ends, people are wondering how they are going to fit into a world that is some much different than the one they have known before the war began. The mystery is top rate but is the human drama that will move the hearts of the readers who empathize with the people adjusting to incredible societal changes. Anne Perry raises awareness as the audience will question their government's war decisions.

…and Baby Makes Two
Judy Sheehan
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345485580 $13.95 1-800-726-0600

Almost thirty-seven year old Jane Howe lives the perfect single woman lifestyle in Greenwich Village. Her apartment is the best, her job pays extremely well and she is treated with respect and she has terrific family and friends who are always there for her. Everything seems so right until she steps out of her apartment and sees "The Christ Child" being held perfectly by his mom. She suddenly has a need for her own child, but even if she could find the right stud that still takes nine months if they score the first time. Unable to move on since the vision, Jane decides her best course is to adopt a baby. To her shock her always been there family objects. Even worse she finds herself attracted to a man who she considers as a daddy. Still Jane goes through the adoption gauntlet along with other frightened females considering single parenthood until they go to China to meet and bring home their respective children. …AND BABY MAKES TWO is an emotional warm character driven tale that in some ways feels like a biographical fictionalized account of the author's real adoption. Fans feel the ups and downs that drive and frighten Jane especially when her family objects and her time in rural China. Filled with pathos, humor and intelligent insights, this is a powerful and perceptive look at a single person adopting an infant overseas that fans of contemporary tales will want to read.

Her Own Desire
Gaelen Foley
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345497287 $7.99 1-800-726-0600

In 1817 Marquess Ian Prescott cuts off his vacation to try to prevent a major war from occurring in India. The English plan to end the deadly assaults of the lethal Pindari Horde harming the Hindu and English. He needs to persuade King Johar the Maharajah of Janpor not to come to the aid of one of the other five kingdoms that make up the Maratha Empire as his compatriot and brother-in-law King Baji Rao protects the deadly horde inside his kingdom. Johar has a deep problem as he is honor bound to come to the aid of any Maratha Empire kingdom, but agrees with Ian that the horde is destroying innocent people including Hindus.
Prim and proper Ian reaches Calcutta where he watches the un-chaperoned Georgiana Knight rescue a close friend whose husband died so she is expected to commit suicide by their families. He is attracted to her and her to him, but he fears her independent feistiness could harm his mission while she does not trust him to do the right thing by the people of India. In Janpor they reach a tentative agreement to help prevent a wider contagion even as their desire for one another ignites only to get hotter when they travel to England together. Though the behavior of the out of control George could prove dangerous to others (good intentions aside), readers will enjoy this strong historical romance that brings to life India during the Regency period. The lead couple is a fine paring of a proper aristocrat expecting certain behavior from others and a wild woman used to having her way. Yet they share courage, caring of others, and love. Gaelen Foley provides a fast-paced early nineteenth century tale.

At Some Disputed Barricade
Anne Perry
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345456580 $21.95 1-800-726-0600

In 1917 in the trenches is France, thousands die to move the front inches. Passchendael is one of the worst of the hostilities as the British troops are losing lives and consequently hope. When their Commanding Officer dies, Major Northrup is called in to replace him, but it is the belief of the troops that he should not be in charge of such an ugly situation as he has no combat experience. He proves them right with bad decisions which lead to deaths and maiming of his soldiers as he rejects the advice of his experienced subordinate officers.
When Northrup is found dead, Chaplain Captain Joseph Reavley discovers that he was murdered by one of his own. The Major's father General Northrup demands justice while the captain wants to low key the mess knowing that internal violence could erupt if not carefully handled as everyone detested the deceased. However the general sets in motion events that could lead to eleven honorable soldiers shot by a firing squad and a mutiny on the line beyond that unless Joseph can find a legal way to find justice. and avert a tragedy tragedy. This is the third installment in Anne Perry's insightful WWI series in which the audience obtains a strong history lesson inside an exciting military whodunit. Readers will see the atrocities and horrors of trench warfare in which leaders sent men to their deaths to gain a few inches of land when the goal was as often successful as it was a suicidal stalemate. Good men were forced to do difficult things by a brass often comfortably entrenched in Paris, London, or Berlin while their soldiers were dying

Fear No Evil
Allison Brennan
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345495047 $6.99 1-800-726-0600

Five years ago, FBI Agent Kate Donovan and her partner Paige were after Trask who has been putting on shows on the internet for $50,000 a pop for users who want to see a woman raped, tortured, or killed. Paige and Kate thought they have himcornered but they have no back-up as was promised. Trask kidnaps and kills Paige, and kills Kate's lover. For the next five years she has used all her computer and hunting skills to find him. Five years later Trask is still putting on his shows and his latest victim is Lucy Kincaid. Lucy's brother Dillon a psychiatrist and he his brother Jack track Kate to her mountain hideaway in Mexico. Dillon persuades Kate to let them help her find Lucy before the time limit is up. Working together Dillon and Kate realize they are falling n love, but first they have to save Lucy and catch Trask; two situations that could end in their deaths. FEAR NO EVIL is a tense romantic suspense thriller in which the relationship between the two heroes is beautifully woven throughout the save Lucy storyline. Allison Brennan rotates perspectives between several characters, allowing readers to know what motivates them. The author cleverly imbues in the plot the danger of meeting someone from an online site and emphasizes the point subtly and cleverly several times throughout the latest Kincaid war against evil tale.

The Vampire's Secret
Raven Hart
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345479777 $6.99 1-800-726-0600

The old world vampires have tortured their offspring (vampires made by their sire) and each other but those who escaped to the New World formed an organization similar to the Underground Railroad to help the offspring escape. William Coyote Thorne has disposed of his sire and for the first time in five centuries he has fallen in love with Eleanor who wants to join him in eternity. After surviving her transformation they have only a brief time of happiness until trouble comes to Savannah. Hugo's clan has com to William's territory to find out what happened to his sire who happens to be William's sire. William is not prepared to see his wife Diana and his biological son Will in Hugo's entourage. He thought they were killed five hundred years ago. While he is dealing with this development, a plague breaks out that kills humans and vampires alike. Will catches the virus but and ends up killing the human friend of a fellow master vampire. How far will William go for his son and the wife he thinks he knows as those around him are hurt or destroyed? The protagonist is torn between two loves, his wife and Eleanor, the woman who won his heart. In trying to recapture the past, William alienates everyone he cares about but the worst blow of all is the kidnapping of a very immoral. There is plenty of action in this romantic fantasy but the heart of this tale remains the characters who realistically react to William's behavior. Raven Hart is a bloody good writer.

All's Well That End's Well
Gillian Roberts
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
034548021X $23.95 1-800-726-0600

In Philadelphia, the police rule that Phoebe Ennis most likely committed suicide from mixing alcohol and pills. Her friend, Philly Prep schoolteacher Amanda Pepper, is stunned by the death, but has no reason to think the official verdict is wrong especially since her spouse former homicide detective C.K. Mackenzie accepts the depressing fact that Phoebe killed herself though he is preoccupied helping his Louisiana based family recover from the hurricanes. However, her stepdaughter, Sasha from one of Amanda's previous husbands, insists the cops are wrong; that Phoebe is a murder victim. Mandy reluctantly reconsiders what she knows and soon finds reasons to question the official verdict. She drafts her spouse into investigating and soon finds many suspects with motives, but who had the opportunity remains the issue as C.K. continues to blow off her clues as inconsequential. The apparent last book in this delightful series is a fine entry in which fans will reluctantly agree with the title. Though not quite as peppery as some of the sly previous thirteen entries (see A HOLE IN JUAN and TILL THE END OF TIM), but in many ways more realistic since it is difficult to be droll when your best friend kills herself and you saw no signs. Amateur sleuth readers will enjoy Amanda's last "Agathism".

See No Evil
Allison Brennan
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345495039 $6.99 1-800-726-0600

In San Diego Emily Chandler Montgomery hates her creep of a stepfather, Judge Victor Montgomery. The teen knows he is a hypocrite espousing family values except at home and her mother is only interested in her image as an icon on the charity circuit. The only blood member who cares about Emily is her paternal Aunt Julia Chandler, a Deputy DA. When someone murders Victor in their home by cutting off his penis and shoving it down his throat, Police Detective Will Hooper assumes Emily with some friends killed her stepfather and then tried suicide. Julia hires defense lawyer Iris Jones whom she has opposed in court and asks former cop turned private investigator Connor Kincaid to help her prove her niece's innocence. Connor prefers to say no to the woman who got him kicked off the force, but as he did once before for Emily he agrees to help. SEE NO EVIL, the sequel to the first Kincaid tale SPEAK NO EVIL (with HEAR NO EVIL coming next month) is a terrific romantic mystery. The prime legal-private investigative story line is fast-paced and filled with action on several levels; this subplot brings out the key cast from the niece to her aunt to the investigator as well as the lawyer and mom so that the audience appreciates the functional and dysfunctional interrelationships. Though the romance between Julia and Connor is deftly handled to enhance the tale, it still intrudes on a great legal-private investigative thriller.

The Hopeless Romantic's Handbook
Gemma Townley
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
034548004X $12.95 1-800-726-0600

In London Kate Hetherington blames her best friend Sal (married to Ed) for her trying speed dating. Their other pal single Dr. Tom Whitson says Kate is a hopeless romantic who will be disappointed by love. Kate is upset over the teasing so she goes on to EBay for fun and buys the Hopeless Romantic's Handbook. Kate likes working as the interior stylist for the TV makeover show Future: Perfect. She detests the emcee, the odious one hit wonder Penny, tolerates the producer Marla, and likes the rest of the crew. The book arrives and Kate begins to apply its advice. It suggests she do something different so Kate takes the bus to work. The book says to confront cynics, not ignore them. So when Penny is nasty to Kate she stays professional. Kate goes out with American wannabe actor Joe. She forces herself to listen to him talk about his desires and does not to sleep with him just as the book recommends. She thinks she is in love but loses her job and her man to Penny. Meanwhile Tom worrying about Kate knows he loves her, but fears admitting that to her as he never recovered from when his mom walked out on him and his dad when he was eight. This is a terrific contemporary romance with a solid extended cast and believable relationships between the three best friends. However, the key to this fine chick lit tale is the sparingly use of The Hopeless Romantic's Handbook so that enhances the story line rather than takes away form it. Though a side issue between Sal and her spouse seems inane as they should have been talking, Gemma Townley provides a delightful charmer.

Capital Threat
William Bernhardt
Ballantine Trade Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0345470176 $25.95 1-800-726-0600

When the Senator from Oklahoma dies while in office the governor of that state appoints renowned defense attorney Ben Kincaid to replace him. He is doing his best to navigate the treacherous waters of Congress because he has never been interested in politics. There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court and the outgoing Republican president nominates Thaddeus Roush to fill the position. Everyone is surprised when Thad takes the opportunity to tell the world he is gay. The Republicans want him defeated and the Democrats want him to become the next judge of the Supreme Court. At a press conference at his home, a woman is found murdered and Thad's lover is standing over the body. Although it looks like he will lose, the Democrats especially Ben, act as his advocate at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and during the time leading up to it. The Republicans run a very dirty campaign and it is only Ben's eloquent speech that gets him the committee's approval. When certain events in Thad's past are made public, Ben realizes that there is a conspiracy to keep him off the bench so Ben mounts a defense for a very good man. Politics can get down and dirty and William Bernhardt shows just how ugly it can get in CAPITAL THREAT. The sad part is many readers will have no trouble believing the conspiracy, the murder, and the truly vicious smear campaigns as an everyday occurrence on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. The hero is his usual heroic self as he fights to help a good person defeat enemies he never knew he had. Mr. Bernhardt has proven time and time again that he is a great storyteller.

The Watchman
Robert Crais
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl. New York, NY 10020
0743281632 $25.95 1-800-223-2336

The key metric in robbing a bank is completing the full process with a cycle time of two minutes or under. Failure leads to trouble. For instance, when successful robbery team Marchenko and Parsons took longer than the two minute safety margin; they ended up dead in a police shoot-out. Another example of a pro who always finished his work under two minutes is Max Holman; his one time outside the upper control limit was stopping to provide CPR to a person suffering a heart attack. His reward for being the "hero bandit" was a decade in prison. Just freed from jail and nearing fifty, Max wants to reestablish a relationship with his son, Richard a Los Angeles cop. However, he is too late as his son along with three other officers is dead from what looks like a hit. Officially Warren Juarez is the killer with a revenge motive but commits suicide making this a closed case. However unofficially LAPD and FBI think the four cops were seeking the estimated $15 million missing Marchenko and Parsons loot hidden from their successful bank jobs. Max obsesses with a need to know so he turns to former FBI Agent Katherine Pollard, who sent him to prison, to help him learn the truth. The partnering of the former agent and the bank robber she sent up the river makes for a unique crime thriller that hooks the audience from the moment Robert Crais explains the two minute rule with no variance and never slows down as rival groups compete for the loot on the streets of Los Angeles. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non-stop action, but it is the teaming up of the fully developed strange bedfellows and a solid support cast that either warns each away from the other or competes for the loot that turns THE WATCHMAN into a fabulous suspense thriller.

The Quilter's Homecoming
Jennifer Chiaverini
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl. New York, NY 10020
0743260228 $25.00 1-800-223-2336

In 1925 Pennsylvania Elizabeth Bergstrom marries Henry Nelson. To show how much he loves her, Henry buys a ranch in Southern California sight unseen. Filled with apprehension, sadness and euphoria, they say their goodbyes to loved ones at Elm Creek Manor to take the train west.
Upon arrival at their ranch, they learn they own nothing as they have been swindled out of their savings from a crooked person. Broke, depressed and with no place to turn except perhaps returning to her family in the Keystone State, which the proud Henry rejects, they get a break from the real owners; the Jorgesons hire Elizabeth as a housemaid and Henry to work the ranch. Whereas Elizabeth moves on trying to make the best of their setback and elated to have meals and a roof over their head, Henry becomes angry and acrimonious towards everyone including his employer and his wife as if the scam were their fault. Elizabeth considers leaving her rancorous spouse and go home to her family without him. This Elm Creek historical tale contains three subplots of which the prime is the relationship between Henry and Elizabeth; the other two centers on the Rodriguez family losing their land in the 1880s and Rosa Rodriquez in an abusive marriage having an affair with Lars Jorgeson. Shockingly the Rodriguez tales are much more fascinating than that of the lead couple in spite of in some ways they feel like fillers especially the 1880s saga. Henry's ornery and angry nature turns off the readers more than he does even Elizabeth as he deserves scorn not for being duped but for taking out his misfortune on people kind to him.

Remember the Alimony
Bethany True
c/o Dorchester Publishing Company
200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
0843957883, $6.99 1-800-481-9191

Former Miss Texas Delaney Davis-Daniels met the hunk when she went out with her friends. They talk about lap dancing and more as the alcohol flows. Delaney and the stud end up in bed together. To her it was heaven until the "morning" after when she learns she was sleeping with the enemy. Her terrific bedfellow is her former spouse's divorce attorney Lucas Church. Delaney vows to never see Lucas again; Lucas vows to definitely see Delaney again. When their "matchmaker" is murdered, the police suspect Delaney killed her louse of a spouse in a crime of passion. She plans to prove otherwise by uncovering the identity of the real culprit. Lucas vows to help the woman he loves on her quest while praying for a miracle in which he keeps the girl out of jail, keeps his law license as disbarment is possible, and keeps the girl. REMEMBER THE ALIMONY is a wonderful lighthearted chick lit amateur sleuth romance starring two likable protagonists. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Lucas bids on her dancing but quickly twists into a murder mystery as Delaney knows the cops are only looking at her; for that matter so is Lucas but his motive is different. Disavowing Texas "truisms" of never sleep with the enemy and your ex's lawyer is clearly an enemy combatant even if you fall in love with him, fans will enjoy Delaney's motto REMEMBER THE ALIMONY not the hunk.

Some Like It Brazen
Deborah Raleigh
Zebra Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0821778579, $6.50 1-800-345-2665

Used to getting anything she wanted especially from her father, spoiled Lady Bianca Carstone is stunned when her sire informs her she will not marry the disreputable rake Lord Aldron. Deciding to teach her father a lesson and achieve her objective, Bianca sets in motion a plan to court Edward Sinclair, the new earl of Harrington. Until the recent death of an unknown distant relative, Edward was a simple gentleman farmer. Now a highly ranked aristocrat the Ton still belittles him as an upstart Peasant Earl. When Edward meets Bianca for the first time he feels an attraction like nothing he ever felt before. While she plays her scam out using him, he realizes she actually uses a hedonistic shell to hide how much she cares about others less fortunate than her. As they fall in love, Lord Aldron returns with a scheme to split the pair for his personal gain. Unless Edward trusts his beloved, Aldron will triumph. Regency romance readers will gain plenty of pleasure with this delightful tale starring two likable protagonists who on the surface seem a poor match, but deep inside both share in common plenty such as caring about others. The character driven story line is fast-paced gripping the audience all the way though the final confrontation seems a bit too hasty. Still Deborah Raleigh provides a wonderful tale of the Ton as her heroine proves SOME LIKE IT BRAZEN.

Michele Martinez
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
006089900X $23.95 1-800-242-7737

New York City based TV reporter Suzanne Shepard has made enemies with the people she covers as she seeks only scandals amongst the rich and famous. She exposes celebrities to ridicule. So when she is found raped and murdered in Central Park no one is shocked nor is anyone shedding tears. Federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas and her boyfriend, FBI agent Dan O'Reilly arrive at the Central park crime scene to witness a horrific sight. Someone using a hunting knife carved "bitch" into Suzanne's stomach apparently while she was alive and felt each etch made by the sharp weapon. Whereas the media nickname the culprit the "Central Park Butcher", a joint police investigation consisting of Dan, Melanie and NYPD Homicide Detective Julian Hay begins only to find a myriad of people with motives even sharper than the murder weapon as suspects run the gamut from stalkers including one observing Melanie to celebrities to everyday service people to friends and lovers with each possible person even aficionados sharing in common a keen loathing of Suzanne. This is a great police procedural as the potential motive leads to a sizable part of Manhattan wanting the insidious intrusive reporter dead as Suzanne had no morals or concern over collateral damage when it came to obtaining a story. Melanie is terrific as the prime star though ably supported by her lover and Julian. The investigation ad its related suspense make for a razor-sharp thriller, but it is characters especially Melanie and Suzanne who turn Michele Martinez's third Vargas tale (see THE FINISHING SCHOOL and MOST WANTED) into a great read.

The Book of Air and Shadows
Michael Gruber
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0060874465 $24.95 1-800-242-7737

Manhattan-based intellectual property lawyer Jake Mishkin enjoys the good life of the Big Apple until his life changed when his college roommate Columbia Professor Mickie Haas sent visiting Oxford Professor Andrew Bulstrode to see him on a legal matter. As he waits for the killers to pay their respects to him, Jake muses that if the woman with the long neck at the New York Public Library was not involved he would not have dived so deeply. The mess truly began with the fire in an antiquarian bookstore where wannabe filmmaker Albert Crosetti worked before Andrew's consultation with Jake and subsequent murder. Jake meets Albert and they soon follow encrypted clues left behind by sixteenth century British spy Richard Bracegirdle on 48 sheets hidden inside the 1732 six volumes of Churchill's Collection of Voyages and Travels that claims a Shakespeare manuscript exists. As they begin their trek from Queens to England where the encrypted Bracegirdle's letters send them to find this literary treasure, neither trusts anyone including their partner as double cross is everywhere while gangsters working for an unknown party also pursue them. The key to THE BOOK OF AIR AND SHADOWS is the characters whose personal lives interwoven into the suspense make them seem real as the audience understands much about Mishkin, Crosetti and even Bracegirdle. This leads to better comprehending the traitorous actions of the cast. Fans will enjoy this deep saga that uses Shakespeare as the focus of a twenty-first century thriller.

What the Dead Know
Laura Lippman
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0061128856 $24.95 1-800-242-7737

In Baltimore County, Maryland the Valiant skids on the icy oil slick nudging an SUV that flips down an embankment. The Valiant driver fails to stop until she is away from the accident scene with her car suffering front fender damage. She pulls onto the shoulder and begins walking from her automobile with her ribs hurting her. A patrolman stops her and reads her rights to her for leaving the scene of an accident. She claims to be one of the Bethany girls, but realizes he is too young to know what that revelation means. Her claim with no substantiation cannot be ignored by the police so Detective Kevin Infante, due to missing roll call, is assigned to investigate whether she is a wacko as expected. The two Bethany sisters, fifteen year old Sunny and twelve year old Heather, vanished three decades without a trace while going to a mall. Her story has some validity and a ring of plausibility to it, but also lacks key details though she swears Sunny's neck was broken in front of her. Kevin knows he must make further inquires because she asserts her sibling was murdered back in 1975. WHAT THE DEAD KNOW is a superb police procedural that effortlessly moves back and forth between the present and 1975. This enables the audience to obtain a variety of perspectives of what happened to the Bethany sisters when they vanished and compare that with the way "Heather" thinks and behaves today. The investigation is top rate, but this stand alone mystery (no Tess Monaghan) belongs to the claimant as the audience will want to know if she is the real deal, a nut case or a fake trying to avoid the car accident. The climax is superbly perceived with clues throughout leading to a reasonable conclusion to a great thriller.

If You Lived Here
Dana Sachs
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0061130486 $24.95 1-800-242-7737

In Wilmington, North Carolina, Shelley and Martin Marino are arguing over adopting a Vietnamese orphan. She strongly wants to while he says no as he has two adult children from his first marriage and does not want to raise someone else's offspring especially in his middle age years though he also hides from his wife a deeper fear of how he will react as he served in the military in Nam during the conflict. Shelley refuses to give up her dream so she turns to neighborhood Vietnamese grocery store owner Xuan Mai who fled the communist regime over two decades ago for advice. With her spousal rejection of the adoption including his refusal to accompany her to Southeast Asia, she hopes to persuade Mai to go with her. Mai wants to accompany her, as Mai has estranged family still living in Viet Nam, but hesitates over the welcome one would receive after being gone so long would receive. This is an interesting look at American-Viet Nam relationships from the viewpoints of the three protagonists. Fretfully Martin fears the awakening of the nightmares that he buried; Shelley innocently seeks completeness with the right child; and hesitantly Xuan wonders if you can really go home. The story line switches perspective and turns insightful once the players reach Viet Nam. However, though Dana Sachs' shows her love for the nation, everything and everyone ties up too neat. This subtracts from the merging of the disturbing storms of the three "outsiders" with locals into an emotional tsunami.

The Taste of Innocence
Stephanie Laurens
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0060840862 $24.95 1-800-242-7737

In 1883 Charlie Morwellan knows as the Earl of Meredith he must wed an acceptable aristocrat to insure the family line has the heir and the spare. However he vows to marry under his terms and not that of the matchmaking matriarchs who make him feel like a piece of beef. His wife will be quiet and reserved with love never entering the equation as he will not emulate his late father and almost destroy their proud line. Charlie chooses childhood friend Sarah Conningham as he knows she meets his prerequisite conditions of a wife. However, Sarah insists, unlike Charlie, she will only marry a man she loves even if that means becoming a spinster. She believes Charlie loves her though he denies that and she admits to herself she has always loved him. As he pretends to not care for her, an unscrupulous speculator has plans for Sarah's land, which means this rogue has a scheme to make her property his anyway he can. The latest Cynster tale contains two interesting lead characters especially the return of Charlie (see A SECRET LOVE); their disagreement over love makes their courtship fun though resolved too easily especially as this is the prime theme of this historical romance. The story line is fast-paced especially when the villain sets in motion his plan. However too many Cynsters (multiplied faster than rabbits) make cameo appearances slowing down and unnecessarily extending the plot. Still fans of the series will want to read the latest entry.

Nerve Damage
Peter Abrahams
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
0061137979 $24.95 1-800-242-7737

Though his wife Delia died fifteen years ago when her helicopter crashed during a mission sponsored by the Hobbes Institute in Honduras, Vermont sculptor Roy Valois still deeply grieves her death. Since that tragedy he has kept to himself, almost a recluse as he only makes contact when he absolutely has too. Now Roy is dying from asbestos poisoning that he was exposed to as a child; his doctor affirms he has no more than four months of life left. A comment he overhears has Roy looking at his already written New York Times obituary where he finds a tiny inaccuracy re the Hobbes Institute. He feels strongly though it is a minor misconception that he owes his beloved Delia a correction until he realizes the entry is correct and his knowledge as to who Delia was in error, a major fabrication established by his late spouse. Inside an action-packed thriller, NERVE DAMAGE is a deep look at how much we really know about loved ones. Roy's obsession to clean up the END OF STORY before he goes to OBLIVION drives the plot as he begins to uncover a truth of what lies BEHIND THE CURTAIN of his late wife's life that makes him feel he FELL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. Readers understand his motives while also obtaining the changing way he sees Delia. Peter Abrahams provides the audience with a strong psychological tale of a man whose revelations shake his deteriorating body to the bone marrow.

The Edge of Winter
Luanne Rice
Bantam Books
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0553805274 $24.00 1-800-726-0600

After a terrible divorce from Richard, Neve Halloran and her teenage daughter Mickey move to Rhode Island's South County where both hope to find solace. Neve meets Ranger Tim O'Casey and though recently burned by her ex-spouse, she is attracted to the caring kind hearted man. Mickey goes head over heels, albeit bike, when she meets Shane West. Shane and Mickey are also attracted to one another, cemented by a cause to prevent the removal of a sunken Nazi U-boat in the way of a development project. As the new relationships help all four heal from hurtful pasts, each wonders where they are going. With Tim's caring, Neve has moved past Richard; while with Neve's caring Tim has begun to reconcile with his estranged father. Mickey finds Shane's love of the coast helping her move beyond feelings of paternal abandonment while she a loner finds a companion in Mickey. No one including anyone in the community will realize that as spring comes to life, that u-boat will provide a fathoms deep secret of the past that will impact the present and future of everyone. THE EDGE OF WINTER is an interesting well written character study as four somewhat broken souls mend through love and the ecosystem cause. The quartet is fully developed protagonists so that the audience can see the healing metamorphosis of each of them especially when they band together to save the ecosystem. Though the two romantic subplots seem a bit too sugary, readers will enjoy this profound family drama played out on the beautifully described New England coast.

Sixty Days and Counting
Kim Stanley Robinson
Bantam Books
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
0553803131 $25.00 1-800-726-0600

Phil Chase is elected president of the United States because of his environmental platform though it might be too late as the climate has been devastated to the point that it behaves erratic with incredible swings. Still the upbeat President Chase insists it is not over yet that we can turn it around, but no longer can politicians hide in a bush from An Inconvenient Truth that doing nothing means the death of the third world from the sun. Chase sets things in motion with the biggest government effort since FDR; perhaps even greater than the Great Depression WWII battles. Things look a bit more positive when the stagnant Gulf Stream begins recirculating but that will not be enough to save our planet. He has brought together a top rate team of experts to end the trend of a speeding death and beyond that bring life back to earth. Charlie Quibler is on the squad though that means he no longer can spend as much time as he needs to with son. National Science Foundation scientist Frank Vanderwal is still recovering from a brain injury suffered when he and his beloved espionage agent Caroline Barr prevented a conspiracy to steal the election from Chase, and Caroline is now also on the team. However, as they seek scientific solutions and the President seeks the political will to do the tough decisions, others like the status quo that leaves them with affluence and power not caring about saving the earth, as they will be dead before the planet's final death. This is an exciting action-packed environmental thriller that makes a powerful case that global warming is destroying the planet. The environmental debates between key players augment the tale as they are lucid, intelligent and decisive, which in turn augments the belief to the reader that the end is near if we do nothing. As with FIFTY DEGREES BELOW, Kim Stanley Robinson turns up the heat on those who insist global warming has not been proven with this compelling tale that even with plenty of exhilarating escapades insists final proof will prove too late.

Vegas Nerve
Susan Rogers Cooper
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010
031235603X $23.95 1-888-330-8477

Although Sheriff Milt Kovak loves his life in Prophecy County, Oklahoma he is looking forward to going to Las Vegas with his wife, who is attending a psychiatric conference. He knows his third cousin Maida Upshank and her husband Burl are up their visiting their pregnant daughter Denise. Milt figures he doesn't have to see them because they have different agendas but when Burl is arrested, he goes to the sheriff's office to see if he can help. Burl saw his son-in-law beat up his daughter and punch her in the stomach. He beat up his daughter's husband and since the man is pressing charges he is arrested. Milt gets the sheriff to release Burl into his custody but when his son in law is found murdered, shot at point blank range, Milt is ordered to bring Burl in. He would but he skipped out forcing Maida to call her sons to come to Vegas to help Milt clear Burl's name. Milt believes it easier to find the real killer and he uses the help that is at hand even if they are unorganized and not too bright. This is a down home mystery that gives readers an interesting look at Las Vegas from a first time visitor. Susan Rogers Cooper creates interesting characters and the audience will have many chuckles following the exploits of Milt on a second honeymoon that winds up in the middle of a homicide looking for a killer. Vegas Nerve is a fascinating and creative mystery that makes readers want to stay up and finish this book.

Deadman's Switch
Barbara Seranella
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010
031236170X $23.95 1-888-330-8477

In Orange County, California recently widowed thirty-three years old Charlotte Lyon provides crisis management consulting services to companies with media or shareholder issues. She is highly regarded by her clients as following her advice can save the firm plenty of money and keep negative press to a minimum. Corporate lawyer Dom Cole hires Charlotte to assist Sun Rail Corporation whose train the Sunliner just derailed. The accident killed the engineer Bob Peterson and an elderly female passenger; twelve passengers are in the hospital. Charlotte takes charge of the spin control to insure the firm has the right image for public reaction starting with booting out the Red Cross. Meanwhile the Feds are all over the scene trying to determine whether what happened is mechanical failure, driver error, or terrorism. Charlotte unable to stay out of the inquiry soon begins to believe someone deliberately caused the derailment by tampering with the tracks. Switching from Munch to Charlotte, fans of Barbara Seranella will appreciate this powerful thriller starring an intelligent take charge woman; she serves as a fitting tribute to the late author who recently passed away from liver failure. Charlotte makes the fast-paced story line so much fun to read as she seeks the truth while taking charge of her client's publicity. Character driven readers will take pleasure in observing the behind the scenes work at managing a crisis even as Charlotte goes after the saboteur.

Shell Game
Sarah R. Shaber
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010
0312356021 $22.95 1-888-330-8477

When the Chairman of his department and a colleague are waiting outside his room at the college, he knows that someone he cared about has died. His intuition proves correct when they tell him that his close friend archeologist David Morgan past away. Police friend Detective-Sergeant Otis Gates tells him that David was murdered and when Simon Shaw examines the house he tells the detective that David was killed with an amethyst geode that was among other artifacts that are also missing on his shelf. The victim's sister comes in for the funeral and learns she is coming into more money than she anticipated. She makes no pretense of her happiness because her husband is an invalid and she has to work to support him and their three children. Her alibi doesn't check out but Simon is convinced his friends death is related the pending decisions as to the bones of the Uwharrie man. The acadenics want to examine to find out if the first settlers on the continent weren't those who crossed the Bering Strait. Additionally the Lumbee tribe wants the bones on the fourteen thousand year old skeleton buried. Simon decides to ignore Otis' warning and investigate. SHELL GAME is a fascinating academic mystery as the hero uses the techniques of a teacher to conduct an investigation. Police have used his knowledge in the past to solve cold cases, but this time Simon is emotionally involved, enabling readers to see how hard it is for him to separate his feelings from the investigation. The fact that he can do so makes him an admirable man who makes a believable sleuth. The debate between academics and the Native Americans enhances a totally fascinating whodunit.

Hog Wild
Cathy Pickens
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010
0312354401 $23.95 1-888-330-8477

After practicing law at Columbia and Charleston, attorney Avery Andrews returns to her small hometown of Dacus where she is about to open up her solo law practice. Even before she officially opens up, Maggy Avinger comes to her for help. It seems her husband, who died form lung cancer, ordered a contentious monument as his gravestone and on it conscribed an epitaph that says she killed him. Maggie doesn't want the monument but Avery is more worried about the accusation. Later that week she goes to a "plant rescue" on mountain land that Dot Downing sold to land developer Lionel Shoal. When she returns for another rescue, he is digging in the wetlands that he promised to turn into an environment conservation area. Avery wants to see if there is a way she legally cancel Dot's land sale due to Shoal's misuse of the land. A worker finds the body of a man in an abandoned mine shaft, a bullet in his chest. Later on Lionel is found dead in the same manner as Susie Knight. Both were poisoned and before they died they got a warning letter just like the man who was shot on Lionel's property. Creeping Avery out is she gets the same letter as does a friend of hers. Cathy Pickens has written a charming and delightful southern cozy that gives readers a look at small town living in the heart of South Carolina. The protagonist is a realistic, independent woman who says what is on her mind and tries to do what she thinks is best for her clients even if they have very little money to pay her. Avery is a good role model for youngsters and the audience will definitely admire her attitude.

Meow Is For Murder
Linda O. Johnston
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425214303 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

After an ethics violation, Kendra Ballantyne's law license was suspended and she became a pet sitter to pay the bills. Now that her license is reinstated she moved to the laid back law firm belonging to Border York and company where most of the lawyers are senior citizens. She works with Borden and is free to choose her own cases including those involving pets. She is still a pet sitter and has called her business Critter, TLC, LLC to prove she takes the business seriously. When her lover's ex wife Amanda Hubbard asks her to watch her two cats while she goes out of town Kendra very reluctantly agrees. The stalkers show up demanding to know where Amanda is and Kendra realizes how scary he is. She thinks he got into Amanda's home because the refrigerator was open. When Amanda returns home she sees her stalker dead in her house and the police think she is the killer. She begs Kendra, who has solved homicides before, to help her, and Kendra agrees when she promises to get out of her ex-husbands life. The problem is Leon was a serial stalker and had many enemies all glad to see him dead. Kendra comes up with a way to smoke the killer out and gets more than she bargained for with her intelligent but offbeat idea. MEOW IS FOR MURDER is a humorous, cleverly constructed murder mystery that fans who love and take great pleasure in intelligent and clever who done-its will thoroughly enjoy. Pet lovers will also appreciate Linda O. Johnston's latest crime caper with an eccentric cast that infuses the plot with a sense of jocularity and pets that readers would love to adopt. The heroine juggles her jobs yet still has time to help animals.

Atlantis Rising
Alyssa Day
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425214494 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

Virginia Beach human empathic Riley Dawson tries to use her gift to help improve the lives of people; her need to help is why she became a social worker. However, even Riley is unprepared when she meets the High Prince of Atlantis Conlan. The Warrior of Poseidon is on a mission to recover the missing trident before a war ignites. He has no time or inclination for the female human though he admits to himself she is attractive. Instead he believes his destiny starts with recovering the trident to save his people from the vampire horde already overwhelming them when they took control of the city. However getting rid of Riley proves more difficult than his quest as she knows he is her soulmate and that she is destined to help him and the Warriors of Poseidon fight the powerful bloodsuckers. The first Warriors of Poseidon book is a fascinating romantic fantasy that uses vampires and shapeshifters to create a unique vision of Atlantis in which sub-genre fans will want to follow their exploits way down beneath the ocean. The story line is action-packed starting with Conlon's return to the capital after a seven plus year exile and never slows down until the final confrontation. The attraction between the lead couple is magnetic, but the hero must choose between forbidden love and duty. Readers will welcome Alyssa Day's delightful ATLANTIS RISING.

A Lady of Scandal
Nicole Byrd
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425214257 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

Growing up in Northern Yorkshire, twin sisters Ophelia and Cordelia Applegate are total opposites. Ophelia constantly gets into trouble as she has a tendency to leap into the fire while chasing her dreams; Cordelia is pragmatic thinking things through before taking action except when it comes to bailing out her sister from her latest disaster. Ophelia's latest quest is to perform on the London stage. She tries to obtain work as an actress, but everyone rejects her. As she and her twin face abject poverty, the Sheffield cousins Ransom and Giles, a Reverend, come to their rescue offering them a place to stay while Ophelia continues seeking her break. As Cordelia falls in love with Ransom and Ophelia with Giles, each sibling worries they will be hurt; Ransom is a rake and a preacher would never wed an actress. A LADY OF SCANDAL is a fun historical romance starring likable sisters and the hunk cousins who fall in love with them. The lighthearted story line moves briskly as Ophelia lands the siblings into one problematic scenario after another while Cordelia struggles to get them out of her sister's latest fiasco. Though some might wonder why Cordelia fails to heed Einstein's definition of insanity (anachronism aside), readers will enjoy this jocular tale of love two times.

New Moon
Rebecca York
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425216020 $7.99 1-800-847-5515

Shapeshifter Rinna hides in the United States from devious Falcone, the leader of her alternate world. However, her enemy has set traps to capture her as he hunts her with plans to kill her. In one of the traps, Rinna finds werewolf Logan Marshall caught. Using her magical skills, she frees him. Logan is stunned because no female has ever been a werewolf as far as he knows; yet his rescuer is a beautiful woman. Even more shocking to Logan is that this Rinna is his mate. When they journey to her world, he knows he must keep his beloved safe from an evil that hunts her and by association him. The sixth Moon werewolf romance lives up to its adverb title of New as dimensional and time travel add a touch of science fiction to the mix enabling the introduction of a female shapeshifter into the York universe. Rinna and Logan are a fabulous pairing and his clan (stars of previous books) in limited support roles adds depth to understanding the hero. In some ways the brilliant diabolical Falcone steals the show as he comprehends that in order to keep or expand power much is show (think of the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. Fans of werewolf romantic suspense especially Rebecca York's bewitching series will appreciate the spin that NEW MOON takes.

Prince of Magic
Linda Winstead Jones
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425214486 $7.99 1-800-847-5515

Healer Ariana Kane Varden does everything she can to keep Emperor Arik from dying, but she knows she is failing. Making matters worse, his only child Prince Ciro is missing. Wizard Sian Chamblyn tells Arik that his grandfather is dead, but left a prophecy that darkness grows and only three fine women can stop it. Arik tells him that fine is actually Fyne, the witch women, and the prophecy means their first offspring, Ariana and her two cousins, Queen Keelia of Anwyn and Prince of Swords Lyr Hern are the champions. Sian says Ariana is too weak, but will teach her though he hides from the healer and his patient that she will die during the quest. Although he disdains her power, he teaches her to read the colors of souls. She takes him to floor thirteen, a special chamber where the previous Emperor tortured prisoners. The chamber is dark and the spirit Dellia takes control of Adriana demanding a kiss from the wizard for information as she states she knows her host desires him and he wants her. As they work together and he realizes her courage as they begin their quest, they fall in love, but he knows he must let his beloved die if they are to stop the Darkness spread by a demon. The lead couple is an enchanting pairing of teacher-student while the villain is a fascinating demon. The mystery of the missing Prince is a key element as the lead couple begins her quest. Though this is the opening book of the Prince romantic fantasy trilogy, the well written story line provides closure to Ariana's segue and sets the stage for the next Fyne witch to continue the war against the demon. Fans from both genres will appreciate this terrific first tale especially those who enjoyed Linda Winstead Jones' previous Fyne witch trilogy (see THE SUN WITCH, THE MOON WITCH and THE STAR WITCH)

Best Served Cold
Jimmie Ruth Evans
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0425213498 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

Wanda Nell Culpepper lives in Tullahoma, but lately has had a tough time of it. She has adjusted to the fact that her son T.J. has a significant other who is a male and her middle child Miranda has given her a black granddaughter and supports the two of them and her youngest daughter Juliet. Wanda works at the Kountry Kitchen and the supermarket to pay the bills. One evening while working at the Kountry Kitchen, her younger brother Rusty enters the premises. She has not seen him in over a decade, but he makes it clear that he has not come home to see her. Instead he is seen fighting with Reggie until his compatriot is found murdered. After the police interrogate him, Rusty vanishes. Bert Vines threatens Wanda to quit nosing around. Coach Scott Simpson commits suicide soon after he spoke with Rusty and Wanda Nell. The sheriff's son Marty Shaw threatens Wanda as he knows Rusty has come home to insure the piper is paid with people paying with their lives. BEST SERVED COLD is an old fashioned southern cozy that provides the audience with a sense of the darkness hidden beneath the façade of the small charming town. Jimmie Ruth Evans creates characters who readers care about especially the beleaguered protagonist, her three children, her grandson and her to the rescue gun totin' neighbor. Though exhausted from family demands, her two jobs, and now the threats Wanda proves she is quite the heroine as she adds on to her plate protecting her sibling.

Family Tree
Barbara Delinsky
Doubleday & Company
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
038551865X $25.95 1-800-726-0600

He dotes on his wife while she adores her husband. Both Hugh and Dana Clarke are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child but when Lizzie is born, both parents are shocked to see she has Afro-American features including skin color and hair. The Clarke family came over on the Mayflower and the patriarch is a rich published author who lives in a wealthy neighborhood whose residents are old money. When they come to the hospital to see their grandchild, Hugh's father becomes furious, claiming his daughter-in-law had an affair with a black man or if not she has black blood in her ancestry. Other relatives and friends comment on Lizzie's features and Hugh asks for a paternity test in the hope that it will shut people up. Dana is heartbroken that her husband made such a request and a schism in their loving marriage opens. Hugh needs to know what relatives in Dana's family are black and the only person it could be is her unknown father. Yet when they confront him, he provides positive proof that there is no African blood in his family. Dana doesn't care because she thinks how Lizzie looks is insignificant but Hugh pursues the subject and ends up shocked at what he learns. This is one of Barbara Delinsky's finest books because she raises interesting social issues and leaves it to the reader to form their own opinions. Hugh is not a bad man but is a product of his blue blood upraising. He loves his wife and daughter very much and is shocked at himself when he sees things differently because his daughter is not totally a Caucasian. Dana feels that a DNA test was irrelevant and loves her daughter just as she is and hopes Hugh can do the same. The protagonists are great characters because they are not saints but people who are products of their environments. FAMILY TREE is a heartwarming family drama.

For A Few Demons More
Kim Harrison
Eos Books
c/o Morrow & Company
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060788380 $21.95 1-800-242-7737

It was the virus in the tomatoes that decimated much of the human race, which led in turn to the Inlanders (the supernatural races) being outed. Now they co-exist with humans and like the mortals, some are good and others are very bad. Rachel, a witch, is one of the supernatural entities that try to do what is right even if she has demons marks from working with them and her souls is black scum. If she dies before it is removed, she will go straight to the place where the demons live. One morning the powerful demon Newt tries to possess her because he wants something she has. His keeper Minias comes to take him home but he needs Rachel's help. She gives it in return for him wearing her mark which means he has to do a favor for her when she asks for it. The FIB needs her help with the death of three werewolf women. Vampires and weres want the focus, a statue that changes humans into weres. Rachel has it but has no intention of giving it to either side because it would change the balance of power and alter civilization. The master vampire of the city is gunning for her as it was her testimony that put him in jail. When the demon Al flees to earth, he has a score to settle with Rachel and makes a deal with the elf Trent, a criminal mastermind. If she isn't careful, Rachel could be killed by any one of these beings or the two wolf packs who want the statue. Kim Harrison is one of the best writers of supernatural fantasy with great action-scenes and a fascinating heroine that has a heart of gold an even if her soul is a little dirty because she was forced to deal with demons. The support cast especially Ivy the living vampire, Junx the pixy, and Ceri the elf, add an extra dimension to the storyline as they watch Rachel's back and love her in spite of her stubborn nature.

The Taste of Night
Vicki Petterson
c/o Morrow & Company
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060898925 $6.99 1-800-242-7737

Joanna Archer was a mortal until her third life cycle and then she metamorphosed into a superhero, a member of Zodiac Troop 175 which consists of twelve members each a sign of the zodiac; Joanna is the Archer. Her troopers don't entirely trust her for two reasons. The first she is the fulcrum and depending on which side she belongs to, the light or the shadow, that side will win. The second reason is she is the Kairos a being of dark and light and while she sides with the light, the shadow inherited by her father the Tulpa wants to lure her to be one of their own. When she runs into a Shadow being, she worries her that his group has a weapon that will destroy her troop and mortals as well. She kills him and Rachel a shadow initiate, ready to undergo her metamorphous soon doesn't try to stop her but kisses and warns her not to go to the troop's sanctuary. At a fireworks show, a plague is released in the Las Vegas area killing people in horrific numbers. Joanna has to find the antidote but to do that she will have to deal with her father who she has never seen and who has the ability to crush her. THE TASTE OF NIGHT is supernatural fantasy at its very best. Vicki Petterson knows how to create flawed characters that feel realistic, even the support cast of the light who make mistakes but keep their mission on track. The heroine has to deal with a dual heritage of Light and Shadow leading to nobody knowing how to relate with her because one such as her has never been born before.

Fiona McIntosh
c/o Morrow & Company
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060899050 $14.95 1-800-242-7737

When Joreb, the Zar of Percheron, dies his fifteen years old son Boaz succeeds him as the ruler. However, he is not fully ready to take over form his late father. Instead he becomes the center of a power struggle between his mother Herezah now the Valide; the Vizier Tariq; and the Grand Master of the Eunuchs Salmeo. Few care about Boaz except to manipulate him to gain personal power. Former foreign slave turned security chief Lazar the Spur worries about his new boss. He distrusts those who insist they want to strengthen the Zar's powerbase especially Boaz's ambitious cruel mother, who Lazar is not sure whether she either desires him or sees him as an expendable pawn to increase her power through embellishing that of her offspring. He knows he wants her, but refuses to act on his feelings as Boaz must come first. Also concerned over the new Zar's safety is Ana the Odalisque purchased at the slave market by Lazar as Boaz's first harem entrant. No one supporting the lad or those using him realize he also has goals and ambitions, but soon all will confront one another in the beginning of a power struggle to rule Percheron. However, none yet realize the ancient cyclical enmity between the gods Lyana and Maliz has been renewed with the latter taking human form and the former sending the Messenger. The first book in the Percheron saga is a fascinating political fantasy in which a complex convoluted power struggle embellished by outside Gods make for a fine vivid (including some horrific scenes) read. Interestingly the ambitious protagonists like Boaz's mom are the more fascinating characters though those like Ana and Lazar are full dimensional. The two battling Gods add intrigue to the mix, but that also changes the tale from a medieval political power struggle into a fantasy that allows a climax to this tale and also sets up further escapades.

McKettrick's Pride
Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373771908 $7.99

On her drive from Chicago to Indian Rock, Arizona in a hot pink Volkswagen Bug, Echo Wells picks up a ragged dog who once she washes the dirt off the mutt turns out to be a female white Lab she dubs Avalon. In Indian Rock, Echo plans to open up a bookstore; the town's first, next door to the Curl and Twirl combo beauty parlor and baton-twirling school owned by her landlady Cora Tellington. When businessman Rance McKettrick learns from his mother-in-law Cora that an independent bookstore was coming, he tells her no way will it survive. Though he is a terrific father to her twin grandchildren, Rianna and Maeve, Cora worries that Rance has not moved on since the death five years ago of Julie, a woman they both loved; him as her husband while her as her mother. Echo hits it off with Cora and her grandchildren from the first meeting. However when she and Rance meet, sparks fly immediately as both are shocked by the attraction they fumblingly hide from one another though his female relatives gleefully see the obvious. The incredible cast makes Linda Lael Miller's contemporary romance a superior reading experience that will garner the superb author many award nominations. Cousin to the hero of the first McKettrick's Men tale (see MCKETTRICK'S LUCK), Rance avoids love treating it like a plague as he remains scarred from his Julie's death until now. The eccentric Echo brings joy into the lives of Cora and her grandchildren with her enthusiasm for life emulated by her sidekick Avalon. Readers will treasure this wonderful entry in the McKettrick saga as Rance and Echo insist they're not in love, but Cora, Avalon and the girls know otherwise.

My Favorite Earthling
Susan Grant
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373771924 $6.99

California States Senator Jana Jasper and Coalition Space Force Prime-Major Cavin of Far Star saved the earth from alien acquisition (see YOUR PLANET OR MINE?). To earthlings they are heroes; however his CSF superiors have sent REEF operatives to kill him. However while everyone celebrates the rout of the alien invaders, Jana's sibling Jared fears Lord-General Rakkuu will be back with an even more powerful Drakken Horde as he will not underestimate the enemy a second time. Jared looks for clues inside the dead REEF assassin's vessel, but unintentionally hits the wrong device that sends him to a world whose ruler is known for using a plasma sword to cut off male genitals. Warrior Queen Keira assumes Jared is the Prince of earth as his kin is the first family of California and his sister is the renowned planet savior. She and her advisors decide they must marry so that an alliance can form against the common enemy the Drakken Horde. Initially worried about his precious jewels, Jared soon realizes that he loves his Queen and Keira, to her disgust, reciprocates. However someone wants his wife to be known as the widow-maker though he believes it is not her trying to kill him; she would slice and dice in person not through an assassin. This is an exciting science fiction romance that delightfully lampoons the sub-genre with wit and humor yet maintains a hyper level of action. The fast-paced story line starts off fast as Jared finds himself out of this world and never slows down until the final confrontation with Keira's sharpest weapon (her tongue not her sword). Readers will enjoy the latest Jasper escapades especially with the ultimate kick butt female accompanied by her beloved male saving two worlds.

A Secret Life
Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin Hotel Marchand
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373389477 $4.99

Though he was her boss, New York based Prism Literary Agency agent Anthony Verdun fires his assistant Clarista Phillips for sexually harassing him via interoffice mail by sending him red lace panties and an explicit invitation. His feeling of freedom ends when he finds Jules Burrell's name on the front page of the Lifestyle section of the New York Times. Apparently vindictive Clarista informed the newspaper that Jules is Joan Bateman. Anthony knows Joan will fire him and the agency because all she has asked of him over the years is to protect her identity. Anthony travels to Indio, Louisiana to talk to Joan in person. However, the damage is out of control as her Boston Brahmin family is horrified by her writing pulp fiction mysteries even if they are bestsellers. As he deals with the media frenzy over the outing of Bateman, the fan uproar, someone wanting to harm Joan and him, alligator attacks, and the worst adversary of all her sister Heather, Anthony knows he loves Joan to the point that he is ready to take on her parents and even call Heather his sister-in-law, but he also believes he is not good enough for her. Joan has fallen in love with her agent, but does not realize how much she will miss him when he returns to New York. Though the connection to the Hotel Marchand is minimal at best as the story line focuses on the relationship between the writer and her agent, A SECRET LIFE is a fun Bayou tale. Joan and Anthony are a nice pairing as their business deal turns personal with her outing though more about why the heroine "fears" her seemingly Draconian parents (at least in the minds of the formerly uptight siblings) would have rounded out the thriller. Still this is a fine thriller starring an author who gets her groove.

Ralphie's Wives
Christine Rimmer
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373772300 $6.99

Former country singer Phoebe Jacks understands that "if it has tires or tentacles, you're going to have trouble with it". Her former husband Ralphie Styles is a prime example. The charmer married her and divorced her; married her best friend Cimarron and divorced her; married another close pal Tiffany and divorced her; and married for the fourth time Darla Jo. Though before he said I do to his current wife, Phoebe did not know her. Still the bartender remains a business partner of Ralphie and even became a friend of numero four. However in Oklahoma City at four in the morning on IRS day, a red van runs over Ralphie before leaving the scene. The OCPD suspects number 4, but Phoebe disagrees and wants to insure justice occurs. Ralphie's best friend private investigator Rio Navarro arrives in Oklahoma City to uncover who killed him. He suspects one of the ex-wives of the current pregnant widow, but soon exonerates Phoebe though he wonders if his lower head persuaded him as he is attracted to the courageous loyal woman as much as he realizes a killer stalks her. This is a fun romantic suspense with the emphasis on the Ralphie wives club more so than the investigation. Rio is amusing as he wonders how his late best friend put up with this harem of spousal hens while the Jacks wild witty words of wisdom will leave readers laughing. Although the whodunit never takes center stage until late in the plot, fans of lighthearted romps will enjoy the antics of RALPHIE'S WIVES.

A Dangerous Man
Candace Camp
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373771363 $6.99

On the coast of the Kingdom of Naples, Eleanor Scarborough cremates her beloved spouse renowned composer Sir Edmund. Still grieving her loss, the widow travels to London where his family, especially his drama queen mother Honoria quickly spreads the word that Eleanor is an unwanted "bossy American". When the Dowager learns that her son named his wife as estate trustee, she goes berserk that this gold digging adventuress holds the purse strings; when she finds ashes and not a corpse she accuses Eleanor of killing her offspring and burning the evidence. Melodramatic Honoria demands her brother Lord Anthony Neale investigate the outrageous American. He agrees mostly to shut her up. However, as he and his nephew's widow argue, an unknown third party begins causing problems that are becoming increasingly dangerous leading to Eleanor and Anthony to wonder if someone murdered Edmund. A DANGEROUS MAN is a delightful Regency romantic mystery starring two likable courageous and eccentric protagonists and the shocked Ton led by the mother-in-law who scorns their behavior. The whodunit is cleverly developed to bring suspense to the story line and serve as an impetus for matchmaking the lead couple. Candace Camp is at her best with this one sitting amateur sleuth romance.

To the Limit
Pamela Britton
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373771878 $6.99

Engineer Kristen Mckenna was jogging on the Florida beach when the helicopter landed because Mathew Knight, CEO of Knight Enterprises, wanted to see her immediately. After the initial shock, Kristen wonders why her as she is a nothing engineer in a minor R&D subsidiary looking into fuel efficiency based on improved aerodynamics. She refuses to accompany his security chief until Mathew steps out of the copter. Mathew persuades her to walk the beach with him promising her she will be back at her facility in time to show the wind tunnel to sixth graders. He tells her he needs her help as she combines her past as an open wheels driver with her knowledge of vehicles. He wants her on his newly purchased NASCAR racing team. Stunned she reluctantly agrees. Mathew knows from that first meeting on the beach when she showed her independence and he saw her big beautiful eyes behind the glasses he wanted her. To his chagrin and though used to getting what he desires, Mathew has competition for Kristen as the Team Knight driver Todd Peters also wants her. Kristen is stunned as hunks do not makes passes at girls who wear glasses especially female brains wearing oil smudges instead of mascara on their faces. This is a fun lighthearted NASCAR romance that will have the audience wondering who will get the victory flag, the owner or the driver as both are attracted to the engineer. The story line is fast-paced as expected with a racing car romance, but driven by the prime trio. Readers will root for Kristen to win the race as she carries Pamela Britton's tale from the starter's gun to the finish line.

Because of Our Child
Margot Early
Harlequin SuperRomance
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373714017 $5.50

In Colorado because two smoke jumpers died fighting a blaze on Storm King Mountain, TV news reporter Jen Delazzeri is sent to cover the tragic breaking story. Jen does not want to go there or have anything to do with covering fires as she can still smell smoke from the devastating 1994 blaze that took the lives of fourteen firefighters. Smoke jumper Max Rickman saved her life back then and soon after they made love. However, he ended their relationship immediately feeling guilty as one of the dead was his fiancee. Still if she wants to go network she needs to cover whatever the local station assigns her so Jen goes to the sight. There she meets Max again; he has never forgotten her, but becomes irate to learn he sired a child with Jen that she never mentioned to him before though he logically understands her reasoning. He demands time with his twelve year old daughter Elena and wants Jen to apply her investigative skills to what led to that tragedy almost thirteen years ago even as the adults fall in love. Though the plot of not revealing a child to the father until years later has been over done in romance novels, Margot Early refreshes it with strong lead characters starring in a powerfully vivid story line; readers will smell the smoke. Jen and Max are likable heroic protagonists who have that previous deadly fire between them. The love connecting them both wants the best for Elena; who realistically has major doubts that her parents should marry leading the pair prepared to ignore their attraction BECAUSE OF THEIR CHILD.

The Rancher Needs A Wife
Terry McLaughlin
Harlequin SuperRomance
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373714009 $5.50

Following a divorce, schoolteacher Maggie Harrison Sinclair returns to her hometown of Tucker, Montana with no plans of staying too long in a place the men here know her as "Ms. Hell on Heels". She came home to heal her hurt and pride while working temporarily as a high school teacher. Rancher Wayne Hammond and Maggie were childhood friends who are pleased to see one another. He, like her, is a divorcee too because wife Alicia hated ranching and the Big Sky winter. As they begin to spend time together, they fall in love with one another. However, both know the timing is wrong and besides he needs a rancher's wife who will be a real nurturing mother to his offspring. He rejects her as someone who will, like Alicia gallivant off to Southern California although he admits to himself love makes it difficult, to not find a way to make a relationship work. This is a fun Montana romance as Maggie still recovers from her divorce and Wayne is shy and filled with hesitation. Thus readers will enjoy their rocky courtship as neither is comfortable with the other yet neither can just walk away. THE RANCHER NEEDS A WIFE is a warm Big Sky contemporary romance starring two nice amiable protagonists.

The Boy Next Door
Amy Knupp
Harlequin SuperRomance
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373714025 $5.50

Twelve years ago Zach Rundle's brother Josh killed Lindsey Salinger's mother in a tragic DUI incident several years ago. Though Lindsey desired Zach back then as a teen and he wanted her; that deadly accident cut off any ties between them. That is until now. A social worker Lindsey calls Zach because his sibling has run away leaving behind his five year old son Owen with the lad's aging grandmother. Zach thinks Lindsey using his nephew to get back at the Rundles. However, he reappraises his initial assessment when he observes how kind she is with Owen. Meanwhile, the teen attraction between them remains hotter as adults, but though he wants to bury the past and move into a future with her, she fears the impact a relationship with her beloved would have on her widower dad, recuperating from heart surgery. The tragedy links their families in ways that make a loving relationship between the caring lead pair almost impossible as none of their relatives except for Owen would want such a connection. The story line is character driven by predominantly Zach and Lindsey while her father, her deceased mom, his sibling and Owen add depth to a tale that borders on soap operaish, but Amy Knupp due to her powerful cast instead provides a deep family drama.

Blink of an Eye
Rexanne Becnel
Harlequin Next
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373881274 $5.50

Forty-seven years old with her life in shambles having been divorced and losing her nursing job due to substance abuse, Jane Falgoust considers suicide. Meanwhile as public officials plead with people to leave New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina is expected to intensely hit, Jane decides to stay and let the storm make it look like an accident killed her so her Down's syndrome brother obtains her insurance money. However with the way her luck has run, Jane survives the storm. She soon rescues a dog struggling with the storm surge. Behind that Jane finds purpose helping the injured and the sick in Dr. Ben Comeaux's suddenly constructed street clinic. As she and Ben fall in love, they work together to help their city and its people heal. Helping those hurt by Katrina brings a new zest for life for the prime protagonist whose thoughts of ending it ends when others need her. The story line is incredibly powerful when Jane and Ben provide medical care to those left behind; however, the obligatory romantic subplot feels intrusive taking away from the insightful look at medicine in New Orleans just after Katrina as this tale does. Readers will enjoy this deep look at the impact of the hurricane through the eyes of health providers.

Late Bloomers
Peggy Webb
Harlequin Next
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373881282 $5.50

Her husband took care of everything like paying the bills so when he passed away, widow Emily Jones besides grieving fails to adapt. Instead of getting better things turns worse for helpless Emily who plays rockabilly at the Smithville Baptist Church and shoots a hole in her roof when she thought an intruder was inside her home. Her cousin Delta Jordan has issues of her own especially with relationships with men, but knows Emily needs her at least for now. Besides the blood connection between them, the two females are best friends so Delta, a travel writer, plans to help Emily adjust. She persuades Emily to accompany her on a business trip to Italy. There Emily begins to live again this time independently and Delta begins to believe that love does not mean abandonment as her dad did to her and the rest of her family and her two knucklehead ex-spouses did to her personally. LATE BLOOMERS is a delightful character study starring two hurting female cousins who find solace with initially one another and then others. Emily helps Delta overcome her male phobia while Delta helps Emily overcome her loneliness. Readers will root for these two Americans who find life worth living while in Tuscany.

Hot Moves
Kristin Hardy
Harlequin Blaze
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373793111 $4.75

Former model Thea Mitchell gave up the walk to regain her freedom from her totally controlling manager. One of her best friends Robyn Waller asks her to leave the plant nursery behind and come teach dance for a few months at her Portland, Oregon studio. Robyn further explains that her lead instructor left town with little notice and she does not want to give up her Australian vacation unless she has no choice; Thea who knows the female Tango moves perfect and other ballroom dances as well. Beer brewer and customized bar designer Brady McMillan meets and soon dances a tango with Thea that motivates him to want to design a new business with her as his partner. However, though she seems interested in him and his business venture, she rejects both as Thea fears relationships with men ever since a male took over her life 24/7 when she first began modeling. The fifth Sex and the Supper Club contemporary romance (see BAD INFLUENCE) stars a likable hero who knows what he wants, which is Thea and a woman once dominated by a controlling Svengali, who refuses anything male. The story line is fast-paced and heated as in spite of Thea's fear of becoming a Trilby again, the attraction with Brady is torrid. Fans of the series will enjoy watching Brady employ HOT MOVES on and off the dance floor in order to prove to his beloved they belong together as partners; while readers will also looking forward to Delaney Phillips' anticipated BAD BEHAVIOR.

Don't Look Back
Joanne Rock
Harlequin Blaze
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
037379309X $4.75

NYPD Detective Donata Casale learned a life lesson that men will use, abused and discard you before telling stories of their conquests; so after her reputations was guttered, she focused on her career. She has since overcome her infamous past as a loose woman and works hard to continue her career progression. However, she is irate when a "reality adult films" porno case lands on her lap as she believes the brass wants to embarrass her by reminding everyone of her sordid past. Still she begins the investigation, but becomes even more upset when private investigator Sean Beringer demands in on her inquiries as he claims his sister was a victim of the producer. Donata and Sean have a shared past and a present attraction, neither of which she wants to deal with as her career comes first. Donata and Seam turn this fascinating police procedural romance into a great tale. The action-packed story line grips the audience from the moment an upset Donata begins her case only to have Sean demand in; initially she assumed the investigation, but he wants much more. DON'T LOOK BACK superbly merges a heated love subplot with a deep official police investigation.

Dancing on Sunday Afternoons
Linda Cardillo
Harlequin Everlasting
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373654030 $5.25

Guilia D'Orazio thinks back over her life especially her two husbands. The presence of her second spouse Salvatore who died over three decades ago is everywhere in her home and her garden, her first husband Paolo left nothing not even a photo. Whereas Salvatore even when he was dying took simple pleasure with his offspring and his first granddaughter Cara Serrafini, Paolo had no children. Though she loved the warm comforting Salvatore, Guilia thinks of Paolo while lying in her bed that she shared with her second husband. When the family matriarch breaks her hip, her married granddaughter Cara, a Manhattan based caterer, who speaks fluent Italian, comes from America to Italy to help her paternal nana heal though that means leaving her husband and kids behind in Jersey. In Avellino, Italy Guilia shares with Cara the only legacy that Paolo left her, a cigar box filled with letters of love and troubles that remind the younger member of her own life for Nana remembers how her beloved Paolo took her DANCING ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS in New York that for the enchanting moment washed away their woes. This is a warm family drama whose prime characters (Nana and her granddaughter) and the support cast as seen through the eyes of the lead females make for a delightful poignant tale. The story line focuses on the letters, which gives it a sense of historical perspective, but also remains anchored in the present as Cara cares for her beloved nana while paralleling her relationship to that of her grandmother. Readers will enjoy Linda Cardillo's fine novel of how love can come in so many different ways.

Jennifer Crusie
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373772513 $16.95

Thirty-five years old Kate Svenson is a successful businesswoman, pretty and healthy but as she counts her blessings she is bored. When she tells her best friend Jessie Rogers that she is near the top of her list of personal blessings; the Audrey Hepburn look alike retorts that she is pathetically at the top. Three horrible engagements in three years have left her fearful of ever finding the right man. Jessie further states that Kate hates her job and has not been happily employed since she left the Small Business Administration. Realizing how good she is at planning business ventures and with Jessie bullying her, Kate develops a plan with specific objectives to find her Mr. Right. Jessie selects The Cabins Resort in Kentucky as a likely place to meet bachelors, who possess more money than she will inherit so wealth is not an issue, ambition to achieve life goals, and look reasonably decent is. At the resort she meets a horde of males who meet her criteria. Mellow Jake Templeton, whose brother owns the place, is sick of these inane fools half drowning in the pool because of her. Kate finds jackass Jake as the Mr. Right while he struggles to hide his attraction to kiss me Kate while love hijacks both of them. MANHUNTING is a humorous chick lit romance starring a depressed woman who in spite of her successes feels like life is passing her by and the hunk who tries to ignore her, but when that fails he attempts to masquerade his desire with indifference. The story line will have readers laughing due mostly to the antics of the wannabe mates at the cabins who will don anything inane to gain Kate's attention. Fans of lighthearted fun tales will want to visit the Kentucky cabins where the bantering between the lead "antagonists" is worth the admission price.

My Lord's Desire
Margaret Moore
Harlequin HQN
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373772289 $6.99

In 1204, wealthy Lady Adelaide D'Averette has vowed to never allow a man to own her lands, which means never being wed as a husband controls anything the wife brought into their marriage. As she fends off odious fortune hunters, she heads to King John's court. Lord Armand de Boisnaston has been a loyal knight to his liege King John protecting the monarch's land in Normandy. However, he and his half-brother Bayard were taken prisoner though he was freed to cross the Channel to raise a ransom liberate his sibling. At King John's court and time with his uncle, Armand obtains a taste of how expendable though defending the crown on the continent are as he fails to raise the needed money obtaining only 284 marks well short of the demanded 500. Armand needs a wealthy wife soonest. However he is attracted to Adelaide who reciprocates his feelings though she makes it clear she plans to marry no one. When they are caught in a compromising position, they are forced to become engaged, but it is not until they risk their lives to stop traitors that each knows love has sealed their fate. Fans of Margaret Moore's exciting medieval romances will enjoy her latest effort, the start of a new miniseries, due to the gender war fought between an energetic independent heroine and a respectable knight. The story line is at its best when this pair argue, fuss, and kiss as she wonders if he is using her to gain the 216 marks he needs while he ponders how to convince her that he desires her as well as wanting to rescue Bayard. Though the treachery subplot adds external tension, it takes the audience away from the prime fun, of observing Armand's efforts to prove she is his beloved desire.

Once a Cowboy
Linda Warren
Harlequin American
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373751559 $4.99

Dallas-based private investigator Alexandra Donovan has concerns over her latest case because she cannot see a happy ending no matter what she learns. Her middle aged client Mrs. Helen Braxton believes former Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association star Brodie Hayes is her biological son abducted from a hospital just two days after she gave birth to him about four decades ago. The client wants the sleuth to find out all she can about Brodie's life past and present. Alex meets Brodie and both feel a strong attraction that neither anticipated as such desire has never hit them before. When he learns just who Alex is and the information about him she believes is the truth, he is overwhelmed because he now wonders just who Brodie Hayes truly is even as he knows one thing for certain, he loves Alex. ONCE A COWBOY is a terrific private investigative romance as the attraction between the professional sleuth and the retired professional rodeo participant is overwhelmed by her findings that she knew before hand would lead to someone being angry and disappointed and ready to shoot the messenger. Thus it is a stunned Brodie going through a form of the steps of grieving while also schizoid like falling in love with the bearer of bad news. Linda Warren's latest contemporary into a must read family drama.

Her Perfect Hero
Kara Lennox
Harlequin American
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373751540 $4.99

South Dallas Firehouse 59 firefighters mourn the death of the owner of their favorite hangout Brady's Tavern, but also wonder if the place will ever reopen for business. However, the new owner Julie Polk plans to renovate the place before a grand opening to the elation of the firefighters until they learn it won't be a tavern but as a tearoom. The firefighting crew needs that bar to unwind so they decide to send an emissary to persuade Julie out of the conversion. They pick their top hunk the great womanizer Tony Veracruz to seduce her into running a bar not a teahouse. Though she cannot picture herself owning a tavern, Julie can see herself falling in love with dynamic Tony; to everyone's shock he seems reciprocate. HER PERFECT HERO, the sequel to the warm (no pun intended) THE FAMILY RESCUE once again cherishes our heroic firefighters who risk their lives when they battle blazes. This time the relationship develops between a civilian who has not been rescued by a firefighter on duty, but "saved" from loneliness by a firefighting hunk. The story line is fun to follow as fans of Kara Lennox's series will enjoy seeing Tony "Casanova" Veracruz fall in love.

Love: Quotes and Passages from the Heart
B.C. Aronson
Random House Trade Group Publicity
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0375722165 $14.95 1-800-726-0600

This is a gift book that would make a nice Valentine's Day (with chocolate of course – aside hint to fearless husband) present especially for the romance reader in your household or just someone a bit depressed. The quotes come from a vast range of the famous, almost famous, the non-famous the infamous, and the most famed Anonymous. Contributions from Gabran to Gaiman to Giacomo (Casanova) provide the audience with short quotes on what love is. Other cited individuals include the likes of Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, Jane Austen and Jonathan Swift, Fred Rogers and Mae West. The book is divided into eleven sections that run the gamut from family to friends to possessions to of course true love. This is simply a fun compilation that a reader will love to peruse over time keeping in mind in the immortal words of G. Marx: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read". This delightful compilation of loving quotes lives up to that credo.

Beware of Doug
Elaine Fox
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061175684 $5.99

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, Sutter Foley's newly hired private jet pilot Brady Cole moves next door to English Literature Professor Lillian "Lily" Tyler. When he introduces himself to her and another neighbor Nathan Williams, the pilot and the professor are instantly attracted to one another. However, as if he knows Doug the dog goes berserk when Lily and Brady meet as he hates any man who ventures inside Lily's circle as he is the only acceptable male. On top of that, the howling Tricia arrives to call Brady an SOB for leaving her without a word. Doug detests Brady and Brady detests Doug as each senses a rival for the affection of Lily. However having made many bad relationship judgments, including Tricia, Brady decides to stay away from his neighbor though he enjoys spending time with her. Lily desires him, but Doug rejects him so she follows her canine's instincts even if that leads to Gerald the lawyer, who she feels no passion for because it is Brady the pilot whom she fantasizes making love with. Contemporary romance fans will appreciate that Elaine Fox ignored WC Fields' admonition of never costarring with a child or an animal as Doug steals the show especially when he provides his first person account on his rivals for the affection of his significant other. The amusing story line is fast-paced from the first howling and never slows down until the "new guy" tries to persuade his canine adversary that he a "good guy" because to win Lily's heart he must win Doug's first.

Too Wicked to Tame
Sophie Jordan
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061235156 $5.99

Portia knows that the only way she can avoid the incarceration of marital imprisonment is to flee before her brother auctions her to the highest bidder. However, as she escapes from her ducal sibling, a terrible storm strikes. Heath sees the drenched rat on the road and offers Portia sanctuary from the weather, which she accepts. Heath wants his guest who reciprocates his feelings. However, he knows she is not for him as his family curse prevents his marrying. Not long after their first encounter, Heath accuses Portia of trying to force a marriage with him. Instead of breaking down hysterical, she realizes he has offered her a plan to elude her sibling and another horrendous season of being on display to the Ton. Heath soon realizes curse be damned as he wants to rescue her from the husband mart of London permanently. TOO WICKED TO TAME is a fun Regency romance starring two interesting protagonists. Portia gains courage from her predicament while Heath turns cowardly from his sudden desire for her. The story line is fast-paced and fun, as the lead pair struggles with love though her too avaricious brother still plans to sell her to the highest bidder.

Morning Comes Softly
Debbie Macomber
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061080632 $7.99

Louisiana librarian Mary Warner expects to never have a man in her life let alone a husband in her life because her reticence is crippling. So when she reads a personal ad from a Montana rancher Travis Thompson seeking a wife and mother, she shocks herself by responding. Travis needs someone to nurture the three young orphans that he has become guardian to ever since a tragedy took away their parents. If it means marriage to reunite them under his roof so be it as having them in foster care is killing him. However, a Southern belle in the cold remote Big Sky country seems an anomaly to him. He expects her to last less than a Montana summer heat wave, but when Mary meets the three grieving kids, she knows she has finally found her home. She falls in love with the rancher whose personal ad began her odyssey and Travis quickly reciprocates. This is reprint of a warm early 1990s contemporary ranch romance. The fun in the tale is to take the nineteenth century mail order bride theme and bring it into the late twentieth century. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as he is gruff and she is shy; yet the three kids steal the hearts of the audience. Debbie Macomber's fine tale feels a bit dated with the boom of all sorts of gadgetry to place personal ads over the Internet but still remains a strong tale due to a solid cast not understanding that "love will find a way".

Thrill of the Night
Julia Latham
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061235156 $5.99

In 1486 Gloucestershire, England, Lady Elizabeth Hutton rejects the courtship of Viscount Bannaster. However her persistent neighbor refuses to go away even when she insists she is betrothed to another; though she knows being betrothed did not stop her from marrying another man. Bannaster's knights take over her estate and lock her inside her bedroom. Sir John Russell has returned from Normandy as a Baron to wed his betrothed Elizabeth to keep her safe from fortune hunters and to use her wealth to rebuild his family's neglected lands as he only recently learned of the demises of his older brothers. However, instead of Elizabeth he finds himself attracted to her fiery maid. Still he may be half way in love with Anne Kendall, but duty comes before the heart so it is the lady he must "steal" from Bannaster. Meanwhile the maid begins to fall in love with the knight, but wonders how to explain to the intruder that she is actually Lady Elizabeth having switched places with her loyal Annie to thwart the ambition of King Henry's cousin Bannaster. This is an exciting fifteenth century romance due to the antics of the lead duo struggling to prevent the efforts of the arrogant royal cousin and other gold-diggers from abducting the widowed heiress. Sir John is a fascinating protagonist who has come home to see his estate in trouble, his betrothed incarcerated, and his prospects of returning to the tournament circuit nil. Elizabeth is an intrepid person who knows her wealth makes her a male magnet and plots accordingly to elude these greedy suitors. Though Bannaster is so egotistical that he seems genuine and worthy of reader scorn, fans of the King Henry era novels will appreciate Julia Latham's fun-filled historical intrigue.

Leslie Carroll
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060859954 $13.95

Speechwriter Tessa Craig is probably the most dedicated member of the reelect New York Congressman David Weyburn team because she enjoys being his discrete lover. However, during an aerobic exercise session at the Metropolitan Health Club, forty-three years old David collapses with Kelly Adonis the male instructor giving him CPR and saving his life. Rumors erupt that David is gay with Kelly as his male hunk lover. David's political manager decides he must stay sexually clean until the preference storm blows away so heeding that advice he severs his personal relationship with Tessa though he still wants her as his writer. Hurt by his choosing political expedience over her, Tessa decides to leave town with a trip to Dublin. There she meets kindhearted Star Trek aficionado fisherman Jamie Doyle. He soon falls in love with the American and shows her in many little ways how he feels; so opposite of her David who never showed inner affection towards her. When her vacation ends, Tessa returns to the Big Apple but Jamie follows and crashes on her couch as he seeks employment and ultimately open a pub. However, as David keeps reappearing and vanishing David's mother arrives from Ireland to begin a campaign to rid her son of the Jew that holds his heart. The moving of romance into the political world works quite nicely as heated issues like sexual preference and health make for a fine subplot. When the story line twists into Tessa running for her former boss' seat that stretches the believability of the audience as money, support, and preparations do not occur overnight for most people. Still the romance is top rate as Jamie constantly shows Tessa that he loves her even when his mom accompanied by his sister arrive to bring him home. Readers will enjoy this fine contemporary romance with its interesting political spin.

Arousing Suspicions
Marianne Stillings
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060850094 $5.99

In San Francisco respected business man Ed Figueroa complains to authorities that psychic dream interpreter Tabitha March is a con artist and solicitor. SFPD Inspector Nate Darling pretends to be her new client Nathan Damon. When they first meet both are stunned by the immediate attraction. When Nate tries his scam, Tabitha sees through his ruse and gives him insight into his life with his dad in Olympia while his two siblings lived with his divorced mom in San Francisco. After some miscommunication over her professional services to provide legal transcription not sex, he leaves. Another new client Jack Griffin describes scenes of a murder in his dreams, which she "witnesses". Afterward Tabitha informs Nate what she saw in Jack's dreams; the hard evidence sleuth remains a skeptic insisting she don't know Jack until she offers him details that only the killer or an associate would know besides the cops. As she slowly wins him over that she is the real deal especially when she "sees" his last dream, they and his partner try to capture a serial killer, whom Nate assumes is Jack and Tabby thinks otherwise. Meanwhile Nate falls fall in love with Tabby, who recognized him from his first visit as a client as her soulmate. AROUSING SUSPICIONS is a fine paranormal romantic police procedural starring the skeptic and the psychic. Though the theme has been used many times over especially of late, Marianne Stillings writes a brisk entertaining story line filled with wonderful twists that involve Jack's dreams. Fans will appreciate this delightful tale as Nate turns from "I'm Not in Love" skeptic to "I'm a Believer".

Night of the Huntress
Kathryn Smith
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060849916 $5.99

In 1899, the dishonorable man hires vampire slayer Marika "the Huntress" Korzha to capture and bring to him Bishop the vampire. Though she loathes the insulting worm she accepts his gold commission. Three centuries have passed since his beloved wife Elisabetta was murdered. Bishop has finally returned to the scene of her death, the Fagarus Mountains, for the first time since she died, as a favor to a friend whose brother has gone missing and probably fell victim to the Huntress. He continues his vigilance of destroying monsters as he vowed do so upon her death so he plans to end the Huntress' reign of terror against his kind. However, she and her associates defeat him, but fail to kill him. Instead he is her prisoner though he taunts her for being a Halfling. However, as her client learns she caught Bishop, he no longer needs her so plans to have her killed using a traitor as the mechanism. Bishop saves her life. As they fall in love, they must battle their mutual enemy and somehow deal with the enigmatic Order of the Silver Palm. As with BE MINE TONIGHT Kathryn Smith provides vampire romance readers with a delightful paranormal historical that contains two strong adversaries learning that they must team up against a common foe; neither wanted to love the other, but that strong tie makes their partnership bond even more powerful. The story line is fast-paced as sub-genre fans will believe that vampires, Halflings and other creatures exist and also wonder about the Order of the Silver Palm.

The Price of Desire
Leda Swann
Avon Red
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061176443 $13.95

Her banking father's death leaves Caroline Clemens and her younger siblings in monstrous debt. Her only hope to keep her and her brothers and sisters out of the workhouse is her pending marriage to Captain Bellamy. However instead of her fiance meeting her, he is courting a different female as the Clemens brood is no longer worthy of his social climbing ambitions. Dominic Savage introduces himself to Caroline and offers her a deal to pay off the debts of her late father Isaac and insure the future of her siblings outside of the workhouse in exchange for her fulfilling his every male desire. Reluctantly seeing no options she agrees to a deal with the handsome devil. Caroline refuses to wallow in pity or shame as she becomes Savage's mistress. He, in turn, teaches her the pleasure of sex including tough love. As she fulfills his desires with passion and he takes what she offers and much more, she falls in love with her "owner", but knows that soon he will discard her just like Bellamy did as a mistress has short bed cycle. Unbeknownst to Caroline, Dominic fell in love with her from the moment he recognized the beating of her courageous heart. This Victorian era (it may actually be Regency) erotic romance showcases the choices a poor person had as Caroline must choose between becoming a kept woman or along with her younger siblings go to the workhouse where the destitute work for room and board (think Oliver Twist). The relationship between the lead couple seems realistic for the nineteenth century (some will say today too) though some readers will be turned off as he bought her, pleasure trained her; and forced her to do things she did not want to do. Still sub-genre fans will appreciate THE PRICE OF DESIRE as Caroline's courage and sacrifice make a fine tale.

Good Groom Hunting
Shana Galen
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0061124966 $5.99

In 1811 England, eighteen year old Josephine Hale, who always believed her grandfather's tales about the high seas, treasures and female adventuresses, decides the time is right for her to prove if his tales are true. She owns half of what is allegedly a treasure map and plans to obtain, if necessary purloin, the other half though her nemesis Stephen Doubleday possesses it. Their families have been feuding since her kin killed his on their ship the Good Groom. Josephine assumes the only way she can get the map from Doubleday is to seduce it out of him. He, in turn, finds a seduction by a wild beauty intoxicating and the thought that he could get her half of the map to find the treasure invigorating. However, as they fall in love, the lethal pirate One Eyed Jack wants the entire map and is willing to kill two landlubbers for it. GOOD GROOM HUNTING is a fun Regency romance with a bit of a mystery involving the murder of Stephen's grandfather, a treasure hunt with a dangerous pirate in pursuit, and a love story between bitter enemies. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this wild ride from London to the High Seas as two sworn combatants find the greatest treasure of them all.

Bite Me If You Can
Lynsay Sands
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
0060774126 $6.99

In Kansas City, Kansas, Coco Restaurant owner Leigh closes her place down at three in the morning before heading home. This night however, Morgan a rogue vampire bites her, which converts her to one of the undead. Though a vampire Lucian Argeneau hunts down and exterminates rogue vampires with his current task being to end Morgan's reign of terror. However, he has a side assignment to assist Leigh on living in the vampire style. To his chagrin, he thinks Leigh may just be his soulmate after two millennium of existing with ennui as his partner. The teacher ponders how to woo his student when he last courted a female two thousand years ago. Everything tastes better with Leigh at his side, but he must not become too distracted as Morgan remains on the prowl. The fun in Lynsay Sand's latest vampire romance is observing Lucian as he suddenly needs to understand modern living after centuries of surviving if he is to win the heart of his beloved Leigh at the same time he must keep her safe from Morgan and teach her how to be a vampire. Fans of the Sands saga will enjoy BITE ME IF YOU CAN as love brings an ancient one into the twenty-first century; making readers wonder just who is the teacher.

Lover Revealed
J. R. Ward
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451412354 $7.99 1-800-847-5515

The war between good and evil has twisted as the Omega's Lessening Society sends its soulless minion the "lesser" to destroy vampires. To protect the undead from these killing machines, the Black Dagger Brotherhood was formed. These six special warriors risk oblivion to keep their species alive but each member of the sextet suffers from deep rooted personal anguish; that is before they have begun to find their soulmates. The only human that has been allowed entrance into the vampire realm including the Brotherhood is former police officer Butch O'Neal who has heroically saved vampires in particular the undead one he loves (Marissa) at the risk of his own life. However, as he knows she is beyond his reach and not just because of their differing blood, the Omega leadership, whose lesser he has defeated, believes he is more than human and plans to find out the truth about this mortal. The latest battlefield between good and evil is Butch, whose only chance to survive his ordeal is not with his skills or the Brotherhood, but instead is with haughty virginal Marissa. The fourth Black Dagger Brotherhood romantic fantasy suspense is a fantastic entry in what has become one of the best ongoing sub-genre series on the market. The story line is fast-paced and it never slows down but it is driven by the cast especially the lead couple. The changing of the relationship between these previously supporting characters, while the combatants war over the ex-cop, makes for a terrific tale. Fans already believe that vampires live in Upstate New York while newcomers will search for the previous thrillers (see LOVER AWAKENED, LOVER ETERNAL, and DARK LOVER).

Dead Past
Beverly Connor
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451412346 $7.99 1-800-847-5515

The explosion shook the neighborhood waking up forensic anthologist Diane Fallon. The chemicals spewed into the air leads to a full evacuation. At the same time as people leave, an apparent stoned college student tries to hijack Diane's car; thank goodness for child proof locks. However not long afterward she learns her car-jacking culprit is dead and that the explosion was a meth lab, which Police Chief Garnett directs she and her Rosewood Crime Lab investigators to filter through in order to identify the thirty plus dead students. At the same time she digs through the ruins, a new employee Juliet Price is shook by a real crime cold case TV show that awakens a buried trauma. Eighteen years ago as a little girl she watched a killer murder her family including her. However, the culprit made one mistake, Juliet survived the assault, but her mind shut down what she saw so that she could cope; that is until now. The only problem is the killer saw the show and plans to rectify the error. Soon the case of eighteen years ago and the meth mess will converge with Diane at the vortex. The latest Fallon investigative tale (see DEAD SECRET) is a fantastic investigative mystery that grips the audience from the opening heated explosion until the final frozen climax. Diane is terrific as she juggles several cases including that of her new employee Juliet. Few writers match the intense suspense of Beverly Connors especially when it comes to her "Dead" thrillers.

The Glass Houses
Jane Haddam
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312343078 $24.95 1-888-330-8477

In Philadelphia, the media calls this serial killer, the Plate Glass Killer as carves up the faces of his middle-aged female victims. His count has surpassed ten as he holds the city in fear. However, the police make an arrest as they have caught alcoholic Henry Tyder by the latest crime scene alley with blood all over him that came from the victim. He also confesses to the crimes though his blue blood family and their lawyer says he is harmless and could not murder anyone. The defense team hires retired former chief of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit Gregor Demarkian to help prove their client is innocent. With assistance from his long time lover Bennis, Hannaford, Gregor ponders why Henry confessed and if his lawyers and loved ones are right about his inability to kill. If this is so then the Plate Glass Killer still roams the back alleys of the city seeking prey. As he develops a profile of the killer over the jealous objections of the lead PPD detectives, Gregor concludes that the predator remains loose with middle age women at risk. Fans of the series will enjoy the latest Demarkian investigative thriller as the now retired civil servant takes his skills and experience into the private sector. His convoluted relationship with Bennis is handling deftly so that long time readers will appreciate their caring nurturing of one another while newcomers will understand the tender rapport between them. Though the ending is twisted more than a Philadelphia pretzel with mustard making it feel implausible even to this gullible reviewer, the audience still will enjoy the deepness on several levels of GLASS HOUSES.

Withering Heights
Dorothy Cannell
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
031234337X $22.95 1-888-330-8477

With her three children spending some time at their grandparent's home, Ellie Haskell is looking forward to spending quality romantic time with her husband Ben without the interruptions that kids often bring. Alas, her idea of a romantic week is not to be because thirteen year old Ariel, the daughter of Ben's second cousin Tom Hopkins arrives on their doorstep. Her parents won the lottery and moved to Yorkshire in the town of Milton Moore where they bought Cragstone from a lady who didn't have the many to afford living there. Ariel wants Ellie, Ben and their housekeeper Roxie Malloy to come to Cragstone House. Strange things are happening there like lights going on and off and doors found open. Ariel's step-mother Betty believes the former own Lady Fiona wants them out of the place because she killed her husband and buried him on the grounds. When they arrive at Ariel's new home, everyone tells her Betty's imagination is running away from her. Ellie senses evil in the air starting with Mr. Scrimshank, Lady Fiona and her husband's investment consultant who might be embezzling their funds. Mr. Gallagher's nanny dies and another death occurs which on the surface seem like accidents or natural deaths but Ellie feels there is more to it than meets the eye. She must be on the right track because someone tries to kill her, Betty and Ariel. It has been a long time since Dorothy Cannell has written an Ellie Haskell book but was well worth the wait. WITHERING HEIGHTS is a delightful and charming amateur sleuth tale with a gothic atmosphere that make the house seem spooky. An entertaining sub-plot involves the beautiful Valeria who has come to take care of Nanny but seems more interested in Ben which make the heroine jealous. Readers will love the eccentric and quirky support cast and eagerly await the next Ellie Haskell mystery.

With the Heart of a King: Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and the Fight for a Nation's Soul and Crown
Benton Rain Patterson
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312348444 $27.95 1-888-330-8477

King Philip II of Spain was also the King of England when his wife devout Catholic Mary sat on the throne. Like his spouse he loathed the Reformation and tired to end its pervasive insurrection while also building a powerful empire. When Mary Tudor dies, which means her widow is no longer an English monarch, her half sister Protestant supporter Elizabeth I becomes ruler of England. Philip proposes marriage, but she rejects his offer. Instead she challenges his Catholic ways with her Protestant ways leading her nation into being a rival maritime superpower until by 1588 he sends his powerful armada to conquer England. This is a terrific historical account of how personal alliances were amongst the sixteenth century European monarchies. In some ways the tome feels like a romance novel as the widower pursues his former sister-in-law who rejects his advances. However, their dysfunctional relationship represents the war between Catholic and Protestant domination of Europe and the New World. Well written and fun to read, Elizabethan aficionados (sorry Philip but history is written by the winner) will appreciate this insightful look at the latter half of the sixteenth century when national conflict was personalized.

Murder in the Celtic
Conrad Allen
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312356196 $23.95 1-888-330-8477

On land George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield are happily married, but when they work on a cruise ship they have to pretend they are single so they can meet a larger number of first class passengers. The latest voyage begins in 1910 in New York City abound the Celtic sailing to England. While they start the journey, they are mortified that a burglar and murder Edward Hammond might be on board. George is positive that if he is on the ship he will begin stealing valuables in first class cabins. The most famous passenger of all is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who ironically is the victim of the first theft on board the ship. His first edition autographed book A STUDY IN SCARLET with notes in the pages is stolen. Tragedy strikes when Jane Lowbury reports her husband David missing after she sent him to get her heart pills from their cabin. Evidence points to the fact that he was thrown overboard. A rash of robberies lead the ship's detectives to believe that Edward Hammond is responsible but they don't know what he looks like, what class passage he is staying at, or who his contacts are. It takes excellent detective work to break this case wide open. There is a lot of activity going on this ocean voyage. Readers get a look at how people cope in steerage and how arrivals report at Ellis Island. One group even made a bet as to who could make Genevieve fall for him first. Ironically a passenger in steerage and one of Genevieve's suitors point the detectives in the right direction to find the killer. This is a great sea cruise mystery.

In Dublin's Fair City
Rhys Bowen
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312328192 $23.95 1-888-330-8477

In 1903 New York's leading theatrical impresario Tommy Burke invites private detective Molly Burke to attend his bash at the roof cabaret of Madison Square. Molly is surprised because he is famous and they have never met before. Curious she goes to the party where he explains he wants to hire her. The next day at the Casino Theatre he tells her that he has recently learned upon the death of his mother that when his family fled Ireland during a famine fifty years ago, they left behind his ailing baby sister Mary Ann, whom he never knew existed. If she is alive, she will inherit his fortune instead of his always in trouble nephew Harvey (progeny of his other late sister). Though she may still be a criminal in Ireland, Molly welcomes the chance to go home. She sails on the Majestic along with actress Oona Sheehan, who she just met via Tommy. Oona convinces Molly to change cabins so when the actress' maid is murdered the police suspect the sleuth especially since Oona never sailed. As Molly seeks a killer as well as the sister, she searches Oona's trunks for clues only to find them loaded with rifles bound for a Free Ireland movement. As Molly becomes involved with the freedom fighters, someone else searches for Mary Ann to insure she does not inherit. This is a great historical mystery series starring a wonderful heroine who in this adventure goes home to learn that in many ways you can't go home again because nothing is quite the same. The story line is filled with action, a strong cast, and an incredible sense of time and location that are prime reasons the Molly Murphy mysteries are consistently some of the sub-genre's best. IN DUBLIN'S FAIR CITY Rhys Bowen provides her usual entertaining enjoyable MURPHY'S LAW.

Foiled Again
J.S. Borthwick
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312366558 $24.95 1-888-330-8477

At Maine's Bowmouth College, the Drama School Chair Vera Pruczak is producing a gender bending version of Romeo and Juliet, Romiette and Julio. Vera enjoys sticking it to the prim and proper English Department Chair Danton McGraw, which this production does as he holds Shakespeare sacred. However, this time Vera also annoys the local residents who feel she is going too far with poetic license. As Vera and Danton argue, English Professor Sarah Deane tries to bring a truce between her friend and her boss. During rehearsal talented Todd Mancuso is beaten up and his replacement as Mercutio Draco Malfoy, is almost killed. However, the show proves a success in Sarah's mind because no one else was hurt though anger simmered near the surface. Sarah soon knows her assessment was wrong when the curtain closes because Grover Blaine is dead backstage. Ignoring Maine State Police Sergeant George Fitts plea to stay out of the investigation, as she has done with other homicides, Sarah investigates the murder investigation Once again, Sarah proves the world's a stage where a murder investigation becomes the prime show. The story line provides readers with a glimpse at the rivalries often acrimonious amidst the "gentle" academia. As the Bowmouth drama school prepares for its next production, perhaps of Hamletta, Princess of Denmark, FOILED AGAIN is as the opening quote from Shakespeare says "a hit, a very palpable hit"

The Thief of Time
John Boyne
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312354800 $24.95 1-888-330-8477

In 1999, Matthieu Zela turned two hundred and fifty six years old though anyone seeing him would guess he is in his late forties. Matthieu has never understood why he simply stopped aging back in the late eighteenth century, but he has outlived nine generations of descendants of his late younger half-brother Tomas. That is not saying much since they all died in their twenties after siring a male offspring due to either insanity or events out of their control. Currently he resides in London where he earns a nice living as a satellite TV businessman. He worries about his nephew of the moment Tommy, a soap opera star, because he expects the lad to die soon especially since the youngster is out of control with a nasty heroin habit that makes him this generation's dolt. However, Matthieu vows not this time will his nephew pass on.. This is a fascinating historical fantasy that is fun to follow though the TIME THIEF never decides between a gallop through major Western historical events of the last two and a half centuries like the French Revolution, etc or a current thriller to save the life of the nephew. Matthieu is an absorbing protagonist with his employment over the years being similar but modified to the era while he grieves his losses. However, one strike is that the audience never knows why he is immortal. Still overall this is a fine rapid dash through history.

Real Men Do It Better
Lora Leigh, Susan Donovan, Lori Wilde, & Carrie Alexander
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312359799 $13.95 1-888-330-8477

"His Body Electric" by Carrie Alexander. The storm shut down Karen's phone sex business Cock-A-Doodle. It also brought Tomzak to her farmhouse seeking shelter. The attraction is electric. "Bed and Breakfast" by Susan Donovan. High strung corporate executive Kate left Los Angeles for a spiritual retreat in the New Mexico desert. However, she arrives just before a torrent occurs only to find the Windwalker Lodge closed for renovation. Jorey allows her to stay, but he soon teaches her more on the impact of the spirit of the flesh has on the mind. "For Maggie's Sake" by Lora Leigh. Joe believes the woman he loved and lost two years ago is involved with a dangerous drug lord who has killed some Navy SEALs. He reassesses his belief when his Maggie is abducted. "Siren's Call" by Lori Wilde. When her grandfather broke his hip, Annie comes home to St. Augustine to keep his dive shop afloat. As she expects to return to Manhattan, diving instructor Duncan enters the shop. He knows he made the mistake of his life when he decided he was not good enough for his beloved Annie and ended their fling. Now he has a second chance to rectify his error. These are four fun lighthearted contemporary romances starring reasonably developed likable protagonists.

The Dream Hunter
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312938810 $7.99 1-888-330-8477

Zeus cursed the Oneroi to drift through the dreams of humans for eternity. Arik is one of these Dream Gods, a demon who coldly preys on those who are sleeping as this is the only time he can feel emotions. Millenniums have past, but for Arik diverging through humanity's nocturnal fantasies have become tedious with no end in sight until now. He has found a fascinating target, Dr. Megeara Kafieri. She dreams of proving to her disgraced late father is right that Atlantis was real as she made him a deathbed promise to restore what his quest wrought the family name. Thus she is in Greece with plans to prove Plato's island is right where her dad said it is, but her quest seems doomed to failure as every possible misfortune occurs as if the Gods want to prevent her success. Megeara is shocked when she fishes out of the sea the man who has haunted her dreams seemingly forever as she assumed he was a figment of her imagination. Unbeknownst to Megeara, as she falls in love with Arik, he has cut a deal with Hades to allow him two weeks as a human in exchange for her soul. As she realizes he is a legendary Oneroi, he knows he must kill her since humans are prohibited from knowing about his "species", but his problem is that two weeks as a human is enough time to fall in love with the mortal, an even bigger taboo. A sidebar series to the Dark-Hunter tales, the first Oneroi romantic fantasy is a fabulous tale that showcases the complex Kenyon universe. The story line is action-packed, but owned by the forbidden relationship between the Dream God and his victim. THE DREAM HUNTER can stand alone as a superb thriller, but also provides tantalizing clues to the larger pantheon so this delightful saga of forbidden love is must reading for fans of the Dark Hunter tales.

Plum Lovin'
Janet Evanovich
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312306342 $16.95 1-888-330-8477

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum ponders how one second Diesel is not there and the next nano he is and then he is not. She assumes he is either a Houdini or some unmentionable. So when he pops up in her apartment like a master magician Steph does not blink even when he insists he behaved by not joining her in the bathroom when she was wet and naked. Diesel also asks her if she is still seeing her cop and her bounty hunter mentor; she says yes and maybe yes. He explains he is after Bernie Beaner who has gone over the edge since he began having marital issues. Bernie blames his troubles on relationship expert Annie Hart whom Diesel has stashed away. Steph has been hunting for Annie, who has been charged with armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He offers her a deal; he will help her bring in her only major runner of the moment, if she matchmakes five of Annie's clients. It is a simple exchange except when Diesel is involved nothing is simple and exchanges do not happen. This is an amusing lighthearted fun tale as Steph turns into a matchmaker with extraordinary clients whom nothing satisfies. The story line is fast-paced as her personal life becomes more complicated then ever with Diesel dropping more than just a few hints as they negotiate a full night vs. a beer with pizza. Fans of the series will enjoy this send-off to Valentine's Day novella.

Friends in High Places
Marne Davis Kellogg
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312337299 $24.95 1-888-330-8477

Former jewel thief Kick Keswick retired to Provence with her husband former Inspector Thomas Curtis. However when Thomas is called back by Scotland Yard to work a high profile case and Kick learns her former place of employment is in financial trouble, they both return to work. At Ballantine & Company Auctioneers, an appraiser made a mistake that led to a loss of millions and a firing. Also a person returning jewels substituted false stones causing the current fiscal crisis. Kick knows that her former fiance owner Owen Brace is the on who returned the phony gems, but she has no proof. Sister Immaculata wants to sell a jeweled Madonna so that the proceeds can be used to restore her order to health. She knows where the purloined jeweled Madonnas are but cannot get to them because the possessor of them is extremely powerful. When Constance Flynn comes in to sell all her jewels including one of which a fake which resides in Kick's safety deposit box, she is forced to attend the wedding of the woman's son in order to substitute the fake jewels for the real ones. Constance's beau turns out to be Owen while another woman who Kick likes is married to the killer who possesses the jeweled Madonna's. Kick wants to steal them and get them to Sister Immaculata whom she thinks might be her daughter. Marne Davis Kellogg has a hit series because of her heroine, a jewel thief with a heart of gold streaked with larceny. There is plenty of action as the support cast turns the storyline into a special cozy as they play major roles along side the kick butt heroine in the jeweled purloining "Olympics". Friends in High Places is a charming superb suspense thriller.

Died in the Wool
Rett McPherson
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0312362218 $23.95 1-888-330-8477

Genealogist Tori O'Shea loves her hometown of New Kassel, Missouri as she feels part of the community. She serves as president of the local historical society, enjoys working on the events committee and owns the historically registered Gaheimer House. Tori becomes euphoric when she learn that the Kendall House is on the market as she plans to buy the place and turn it into a textile museum with an emphasis on quilting. Glory, one of the daughters of the original Kendall occupants, was a highly gifted quilter, but there is also a mystery that engulfs the entire family as in a nine month period she and her two brothers allegedly committed suicide. One of the siblings, who fought in the trenches of WWI and suffered from battle fatigue, drew a mural of his combat horrors on the wall in his room. Tori can believe he perhaps killed himself, but not Glory although she did break up with the man she apparently loved for no known reason just before she died; yet began another quilt months after her brother's death so Tori wonders why she failed to finish it before she committed suicide. Tori begins to dig deep into the Kendall past as she thinks the quilter and perhaps one of her brothers were murdered. The latest Tori O'Shea thriller is a fascinating depiction of a genealogist decoding the clues to a cold case mystery. The upbeat heroine is a wonderful role model who believes a person needs to get involved as it takes people to make a village or remain on the sidelines as apart of the problem. The investigation is fun as she knows even if she proves her premise nothing but satisfaction for her (and perhaps the descendents) will occur. DIED IN THE WOOL is a terrific cozy.

The Naming of the Dead
Ian Rankin
Little, Brown & Company
1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
0316057576 $24.99 1-800-759-0190

In 2005 as the world awaits the Group of Eight summit in Edinburgh in a few days, Scottish law enforcement is in overdrive to protect world leaders and to insure the city and country are not embarrassed as the G8 meetings can have some active protestors. Two days before the session begins, security is already tight when Scottish delegate Ben Webster is found dead leading to an already wary police questioning whether he was murdered, but keeping the attendees safe is the prime objective so a thorough investigation will be delayed. Meanwhile Inspector John Rebus investigates the murder of violent sex offender Cyril Colliar, just freed from prison over the objection of his superiors who cannot spare a cop for the homicide of a nasty mob muscle. However, Rebus refuses to ignore the murder and his inquiries connect to Webster's death. While Colliar's boss crime kingpin Cafferty watches Rebus as he has danced with the Inspector before, the sleuth believes a vigilante is on a BLOOD HUNT meting out justice by killing rapists. Rebus is at his obstinate flaunting supervision best as he investigates the murder of a person he agrees with the vigilante deserved death to the backdrop of the 2005 G8 summit in Edinburgh. The fast-paced story line contains two fine subplots. The conference and its impact on the city and the services especially police provided by the city and country is a classic maniacal freak show; Rebus' sole act investigation into the mob enforcer's homicide is cleverly done. However these themes and their link, Webster's death, never clearly tie together except for time and place. Still fans of Rebus will enjoy his latest police procedural as he is in full form causing havoc for the preoccupied brass.

The Marcelli Princess
Susan Mallery
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl., New York, NY 10020
0743499581 $6.99 1-800-223-2336

In California Mia Marcelli is used to sleeping alone ever since her beloved Diego died several years ago. So when she awakens to find a man in her bed she threatens to harm him as her brother is a SEAL. Her two grandmothers charge into the room with Grandma Tessa holding a fire poker and Grammy M a rolling pin. He says to her let us talk over breakfast insisting he is alive and is Rafael, Crown Prince of Calandria. He explains his death was a fake but he also hides the reason for his reappearance from her and her Marcelli clan because he knows they will strongly object that he has come to take home their offspring Danny, his four year old second in line to the throne. He even pretends not knowing he sired a son with her when she was in Calandria. If he gets the kid back to his kingdom, Mia has no legal rights there unlike here in California. As he continues his sham, he falls in love with the commoner making his duty feel shameful. The final Marcelli tale is an interesting contemporary romance starring a likable courageous heroine and a royal with an agenda that makes him seem despicable. Thus the audience will dislike Rafael for staging his death though he has good cause to do so and for his efforts to abduct the child. Still this is a well written contemporary tale in which the audience will be spellbound as the Prince must choose between love and duty.

How to Abduct a Highland Lord
Karen Hawkins
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl., New York, NY 10020
1416525033 $6.99 1-800-223-2336

In 1807 Scotland, Fiona MacLean fears the feud between her clan and that of wastrel Black Jack Kincaid will soon turn murderously hot as both sides claim righteous grudges. To avoid bloodshed, Fiona asks Jack to come home. Though she exiled him in the first place due to his rakish behavior, since he loves her, Jack leaves his latest London female to rush back to Scotland. However, he awakens to learn he is married to Fiona who claims she is pregnant with his child. Jack is unhappy with the pregnancy ploy to force a peace between the clans, but is euphoric with a second chance to prove he is worthy of his beloved. He plans to go along with her scheme including turning her fabrication into the truth. However, Jack may succeed in bed, but fails to earn Fiona's trust as she always believes the worst of him. Even more difficult is keeping the clans from killing one another. However Jack is willing to risk his life to achieve everlasting love in peaceful environs. Though the theme of a rake and a passionate female struggling with a relationship between themselves and their clans has been used quite often in Scottish regency romances, Karen Hawkins refreshes her story line due mostly to Black Jack who hides how much he cares behind his womanizing. The story line is fast-paced as Fiona rips into Jack while needing him to foster her lie. Readers will enjoy this fine historical as love is the only means of preventing a feud turning deadly.

No Safe Place
JoAnn Ross
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl., New York, NY 10020
1416501665 $7.50 1-800-223-2336

Chicago homicide detective Kate Delaney testifies in the Justice Department's police corruption case, which makes her hated by her peers. However, she has no time for the reaction of others because New Orleans Police Department has informed her that her twin sister, Tara, is dead. NOPD claims Tara killed herself though some detectives think murder might have occurred; none have the time to investigate what could be a suicide in a city still reeling from the hurricanes. Kate also refuses to accept the ruling that her sibling killed herself. She plans to investigate Tara's death, but knows the Big Easy is not her turf so she needs local rule breaking muscle. She enlists former NOPD Nick Broussard, who was fired by the police department, to help her uncover the truth about the death of her sibling. However, as the pair team up Kate feels a bit of dejà vu as she alienates the police of New Orleans. She and her partner also upset the local mob trying to regain their grip on a post Katrina city. The investigation is terrific as readers obtain a taste of the troubles confronting NOPD and the residents of New Orleans in the post Katrina environs where things taken for granted no longer are easily available. The impact of the hurricanes on the city effects the position taken by NOPD and the inquiries made by Kate and Nick. The six weeks romance between the lead pair is extremely well written, but in the context of the star of the novel, New Orleans no longer an easy city to live in, seems intrusive. Still this is a great mystery investigation that the audience will devour in one tense sitting.

The Rossetti Letter
Christi Phillips
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl., New York, NY 10020
1416527370 $24.00 1-800-223-2336

PH.D candidate Claire Donovan's thesis focuses on the role courtesan Alessandra Rossetti played in preventing a Spanish Conspiracy to overthrow the Venetian Republic government in 1618. A letter written by Rossetti is the primary source for Claire's paper and related efforts to obtain recognition for the seventeenth century heroine amongst historians. Cambridge University History Professor Andrew Kent disagrees with Claire's basic premise. He feels the evidence is rather strong that Rossetti abetted the Spanish cause to remove from power the Venetian government. His efforts if proven correct destroy her thesis. Andrew and Claire agree to work together to uncover the truth behind the renowned Venetian courtesan. Mindful in some ways of Lauren Willig's Eloise Kelly tales, THE ROSSETTI LETTER is a delightful combination historical fiction and contemporary academic romantic mystery. Due to rotating perspective, readers ironically know more about Rossetti and the 1618 Spanish Conspiracy than the history professor and the graduate student. Though some minor subplots like those involving Andrew's Italian girlfriend and Claire's Italian suitor and her chaperoning a fourteen years old teenage "ward provide some insight into their characters, these feel intrusive as the prime theme is for the modern day academic "sleuths" to uncover the almost four century old secrets of what occurred. Overall fans will enjoy this entertaining historiography tale seen through rose colored glasses.

A Babe in Ghostland
Lisa Cach
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl., New York, NY 10020
0743470907 $6.99 1-800-223-2336

In Seattle, Washington, Case Lambert stops at Megan Barrows' store Antique Fancies giving the owner palpitations of the heart. A realtor who restores old houses before selling them, he does not want to buy any of her items that only contain happy memories except her services to rid his new purchase of an apparent ghost; though first he tests her with his family heirloom, a watch owned by his doting grandmother. Megan, having almost lost her soul during her ghostbusting days, passes the test easily but refuses to intervene especially when he mentions parapsychologist Eric Ramsay recommended her. Megan's best friend Tracie Thomas accepts the job for her at an exorbitant fee, dinner with his cute butt. He already lives in the mansion though it is not renovated and has two reasons for wanting her to stay there with him. First he is very attracted to her and second though a skeptic he is taking no chances that ghosts share his home. She quickly concludes he has several ghosts residing there including a ghost who has the hots for the hunk almost as much as Megan wants him. Of course the Smithson sister spirits have other plans with Eric as their milieu, but no one can prevent Megan and Case from falling in love. A BABE IN GHOSTLAND is a fun paranormal romance starring a likable lead duet who fall in instant lust even before the first ghost appears. The story line is fast-paced as Megan's rival is from the beyond. Though the tale is somewhat to romantic fantasy form, sub-genre readers will enjoy Lisa Cach's fascinating tale of ghosts trying to prevent a mortal romance.

A Respectable Trade
Philippa Gregory
Touchstone Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
0743272544 $16.00 1-800-223-2336

In 1787 Bristol ambitious two bit trader Josiah Cole wants to join the respectable business elite of the city, but knows he would need plenty of investment money to achieve his goal. His only source would be a marriage of convenience to a rich wife with the right social ties. He chooses thirty-four years old on the shelf Frances Scott and persuades her to marry him. After exchanging their vows, he assigns her the task of metamorphosing the African slaves into house servants. One of her trainees is Yoruba priest Mehuru, whom in spite of his fall from grace retains a dignity that stuns Frances. Soon the slave and slave trader's wife fall in love. However, besides her marriage vow of fidelity Frances always though the dark Africans were beneath her Anglo white race yet Mehuru seems so much the better person than her or her spouse, but will she risk her liberty for his? This terrific historical thriller uses a forbidden romance to bring to readers a deep look at the British triangle trade of slaves, sugar and rum. The story line is fast-paced yet driven by the fully developed threesome; ably augmented by the support cast that opens up the late eighteenth century to readers. Phillipa Gregory is at her best with her profound look at two types of late eighteenth century triangles (relationships between people and trade relationships between countries).

Fenzig's Fortune
Jean Rabe
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145679 $25.95 1-800-223-1244

At 3 feet 2 inches, Fenzig is considered a giant amongst his gnome peers while his relative lack of size allows him to break into the heavily fortified castle of King Erlgrane of Burlengren. Although he has never before been sterling, the jewel thief trips magical alarm and the wizard who set it up locks up the gnome until the morning. The king meets with Fenzig and tells him he will spare his life if he will steal the three sapphires possessed by Duke Rehmir of K'Nosha. He agrees to perform this errand and the wizard puts a spell on him so if he isn't back by a certain time he will die. After running away for the haunted woods to escape from those whose clothes and food he stole, he has a run into with a pack of deadly cravens which are very poisonous animals. He joins forces with the peddler Carmen who turns out to be the duke's daughter. She steals the jewels and when he goes after her, he learns that the jewels are the Duke's three oldest daughters, enchanted by Erlgrane's wizard. Enmeshed in the families' troubles Fenzig goes with Carmen to Erlgrane's castle to capture the wizard so he can turn the jewels into daughters. More trouble follows when the king comes to K'nosha and is captured and held helpless in the dungeon, a situation that places two kingdoms and all the inhabitants in deadly peril. This is an entertaining, jolly and exciting gem of a fantasy that has readers laughing at some of the situations. Fenzig finds himself in. The gnome faces death so many times he begins to wonder if he should give up thieving. There are plenty of surprise twists in this magical tale that is filled with protagonists easy to like especially Carmen the princess con artist and Fenzig the honorable gnome thief.

A Wrinkle in Crime
T. Dawn Richard
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145346 $25.95 1-800-223-1244

When sixty-seven years old May Bell List reads in the Spokane about the death of Gerty Peach from a heart attack, she has problems accepting that the bouncy woman who ran in a race two weeks ago died from natural causes. She decides she must do something about what the police choose to ignore. May visits the deceased's two sisters, Inez and Bertha, in the suburb of Harvest as she knows them. They seem gleeful over the death of their haughty odious sibling, who planned to shut down their business the Poochie Hooch dog grooming facility. As she continues to dig and drive the small town police over the edge with her arresting innocent people, shooting tires, and hobnobbing with hookers, May finds herself in trouble with a killer who wants the geriatric silent and there is nobody to help her because the cops believe this menace to society is the offspring of Typhoid Mary and Peter of the wolf fame. The antics that May Bell does makes her a menace to society and herself deserving lock up as she crosses a safety line that endangers others with her shoot from the hip actions. Readers will admire this courageous sexagenarian who feels it is her civil duty to investigate a homicide while everyone else prefers the official position, but would also prefer she did it in someone else's state. May's need to do what she perceives is the right thing is commendable, but her missteps turn this into a lighthearted whodunit that clearly says leave sleuthing to the professionals.

Liz Osborne
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145384 $25.95 1-800-223-1244

Near Seattle, forty years old widow and single mom Robyn Kelly works as the Patients Relations Manager at Madrona Bay Hospital and Medical Center. However, an emergency occurs due to a multiple car accident that requires everyone available work the emergency room. One well-dressed patient is upset that he has not been treated first, but his injuries were deemed as not serious. Later Congressman Jake Hamilton formally complains that Robyn was rude and down-played his injuries. Not long after she learns about the Congressman's unfair and ungrounded complaint, he is found dead in his room at the facility. Police Detective Mathew Pierce leads the investigation into the chameleon who was a smooth charmer in public, but an abusive vicious slug in private. However, not taking any chances with her reputation, Robyn conducts her own inquiries not realizing that unmasking the killer could prove dangerous. MASQUERADE is a fascinating amateur sleuth starring a dedicated heroine who believes she is not just the prime suspect, but the only suspect. The story line is action-packed as Robyn and Mathew trip over one another while investigating a media frenzy homicide. Readers will appreciate Thanksgiving in Seattle as Robyn rips away the masquerades of everyone she works with in an attempt to uncover the real culprit.

A Real Basket Case
Beth Groundwater
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145476 $25.95 1-800-223-1244

In Colorado Springs, middle aged Claire Hanover suffers from an empty nest syndrome with her two children Michael and Judy at college and her spouse Roger, the Chief Finance Officer working late hours and ignoring her. She has some satisfaction with her gift basket business, but that fails to overcome the loneliness. Her best friend Ellen Kessler suggests she have a fling with her aerobics instructor Enrique Romero especially when he offers her a home massage, which she accepts. Enrique comes over to her house, but someone shoots and kills him in Claire's bedroom. Immediately afterward, she sees Roger standing next to the bed holding the gun. Police Detective Wilson feels he has an ironclad case of a cuckold husband catching his wife with her lover, but Roger insists he is innocent. Claire believes him though he believes the worst in her. She begins investigating who would have a motive to kill Enrique besides Roger. As she fumbles her way through hookers, drug dealers, irate aerobic students, and some jail time, she soon concludes someone close to her fits might be the culprit. Though Claire should have hired a professional investigator, readers will know her motives to risk her life are solid as she blames herself for causing the immediate mess by going outside her beliefs when she invited Enrique to her home. The story line is fast-paced as she follows clues that the police ignore because their case against her husband is overwhelmingly solid. Readers will appreciate this fine amateur sleuth as Claire knows if she fails she will become A REAL BASKET CASE.

Calling for a Funeral
Christine T. Jorgenson
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145353 $25.95 1-800-223-1244

With the death due to a meth lab explosion of her fiance Dave McGraw, Francie Starzel left Chicago for Denver when her college roommate Helene Fortier offers her a position as a finance analyst at Techlaw. She takes with her Dave's nine year old son Mac, who she is the guardian of as they both need to start over. However, Helene fires Francie after a financial report shows discrepancies. Irate, Francie threatens to kill Helene if they ever meet again. Francie obtains work as a telemarketer selling funerals while Mac buys a pet tarantula Spike. When Helene is found dead in Francie's car trunk, the fired employee realizes her former employer canned her to keep her safe. Meanwhile Detective Dominic Wolfe sees her as the prime suspect especially when he learns she is related to the infamous Starlinski family renowned for cat burglary and forgery. Not willing to trust the law, as it is in her blood to think that way, and fearing she will lose custody of Mac if she goes to jail, Francie begins inquiries into who killed her former boss. The key to this humorous amateur sleuth is Francie who likes Dominic, but has a "DNA" aversion to cops. Her motives to prove her innocence by finding the killer feels right with her upbringing and with her love for Mac. The body in the trunk is a neat way to remind readers how well our senses adapt to environs like pungent odors. The story line is fast-paced with a unique hero coming to the rescue and a fascinating coda involving Francie's mom "welcoming" the detective Starlinski style. Francie's follies are a winning whodunit.

A… My Name's Amelia
Joanne Sundell
Five Star Books
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
1594145652 $26.95 1-800-223-1244

In 1874, young Amelia Anne Polley lost her hearing and in some ways her dreams. However, instead of wallowing in self-pity, Amelia decides she must find her way as she attends the Colorado Institute for the Education of Mutes. There she became the school's newspaper printer, which lands her a job at the Gazette. Rancher Aaron Zachary arrives at the paper to take out an ad for a mail order bride. Amelia takes the order since the editor Benjamin Steele and the ace reporter Harvey are covering a fire. He is fascinated by the female printer, but assumes she is not cut out for ranch life; being a wife is not in her plans either as she assumes no man wants a woman who cannot hear his whispers of love. Still they marry and fall in love in spite of the language barrier. However, he hides his inability to read from her while she conceals her fears that he would be better off with a wife who can hear as opposed to someone who lives in silence. Amelia is a refreshing lead protagonist as she is deaf, but overcomes her "handicap" with her printing skills. Aaron is a fine lonely rancher who needs someone who can handle his taciturn personality as well as the remoteness of his spread. Benjamin is also a wonderful support character whose original bias is gender oriented and not the hearing issue; but as a favor gives Amelia a chance and quickly realizes how talented she is. His adjustment in outlook and making their working relationship successful is a key to the heroine achieving her independence. These characters and other secondary players make for a fabulous western romance.

David Morrell
Vanguard Press
387 Park Ave. South,12th Floor, NY, NY 10016
1593154410 $24.95

When a hand written invitation to attend a lecture on time capsules given by the Manhattan History Club arrives, Frank Balenger and his live in lover Amanda decide to go. During the lecture, people start getting up and leaving in the middle of the speech; Frank zones out and wakes up in Asbury Park and Amanda is nowhere to be found. She awakens in a house in the middle of nowhere while the same speech given by the lecturer is playing. Four other people are with her and in one way or another they are all heroes. The game master expects them to go on an obstacle race and scavenger hunt and find the time capsule the Sepulcher of the World if they want to live. The game master has ways of keeping track of them and is able to kill them long distance if they don't obey the rules. While they race against time to find the time capsule, Frank is following clues that will lead to Amanda if he deciphers them right. Their goal is getting out alive before the game master's time limit expires. David Morrell is a thriller writer on a par with Dean Koontz, Greg Iles and P.J. Tracy. His protagonists are ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstance but they are determined, and strong-willed enough to help each other survive the game. The author writes about characters under fire and how it brings out the best in some and the worst in others. There is plenty of action in this fast paced pulse thumping powerful thriller.

Bitsy's Bait and BBQ
Pamela Morsi
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324230 $13.95

Emma Collins doubts her ancient car will make it, but she, her sister Katy Dodson, and her six years old nephew Josh are heading to Bitsy's B&B in the Ozark Mountains because her enthusiastic dingbat sibling bought the "combined business" using her divorce settlement money over the Internet. When they arrive at Warbler Lake, Missouri, they learn that B&B does not mean bed and breakfast, but stands for bait and barbeque. Even worse the place is a dump near nowhere and all their money is sinking into worms and breakfast. Though she loves Katy and adores Josh, Emma looks forward to returning to her life as she dreams of returning to college, but will help her blood relatives settle into their new lives. She plans to stay for now helping Katy make a success of the business and a home for Josh. When Katy's ex-husband hedonistic Sean arrives demanding custody of their offspring, Emma knows she has her sister's back even if college never comes. This is a fun contemporary tale starring two sisters, a nephew, a former spouse with a secret agenda, a town of eccentrics, and a variety of nightcrawlers (worms that is). The amusing story line grips the audience better than a hook grips fish due to the sundry cast who make for a fine read as everyone delightfully contrasts with the serious minded Emma. Pamela Morsi provides a wonderful gateway to the Ozarks.

The Dollmaker
Amanda Stevens
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324281 $6.99

Since he left the New Orleans Police Department seven years ago, Dave Creasy has worked as a private investigator. He meets at her request his former police peer Detective Angelette Lapierre who was once his lover; that indiscretion on top of his drinking and the abudction of their child led to his wife Claire divorcing him and ultimately remarrying someone else. Angelette says that Graydon Losier wants to hire a PI with connections to help find his missing daughter Nina. She further insists the case parallels the Renee Savarin investigation that proved futile and led to Dave's resignation after he abetted the criminal who kidnapped his seven years old daughter Ruby; she was never returned as promised. Dave agrees to talk with Graydon, but will probably reject the case as it will bring back memories he wants buried. However, upon meeting the distraught Graydon, Dave cannot walk though he knows he returns to the nightmares that haunt him espcially after Claire informs him of the haunting doll with topaz eyes she had seen in a shop window. The tension in THE DOLLMAKER hits the audience from the opening sequence when a thief steals a doll that looks real except for the topaz eyes and never slows down until the final confrontation. The cast is key to this exciting suspense thriller as readers will feel Grayon's anguish, Dave's guilt, Claire's doubts, and the Dollmaker's insane skills inside a New Orleans that feels anything but the Big Easy. Not for everyone as depicted events can turn quite vivid, readers will appreciate this taut private investigative thriller.

Point of Departure
Laurie Breton
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324273 $6.99

Boston realtor Kaye Winslow is meeting a potential buyer of the 6.5 million dollar Worthington House. However, when the client Philip Armentrout arrives he finds a male corpse and no Kaye. Police detectives Doug Policzi and Lorna Adams head the inquiry into the John Doe homicide and the missing realtor. The cops interview Kaye's spouse Sam, a college professor up for tenure, and his sister Mia Delucca, Kaye's business partner. Soon evidence begins to appear that Sam may have killed Kaye, his second wife, but the detectives wonder why someone is going out of their way to hang him by sending them evidence that includes hints that he killed his first wife too. POINT OF DEPARTURE is an action-packed police procedural with a series of mysteries such as who is the dead John Doe, where is Kate, why does she have no history prior to five years ago, and what is Sam hiding from his sister and the cops. No question that Sam is the prime suspect as he has no alibi and his rosy description of his marriage is destroyed by the divorce papers he receives. Only the doubts of Mia and the two cops especially Doug seeing a too perfect frame keep Sam from being arrested. Filled with twists and unexpected turns mystery fans will enjoy this strong thriller that keeps the romantic subplot in the background.
A Slice of Heaven
Sherryl Woods
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
077832415X $6.99

Two years ago in Serenity, South Carolina, Dana Sue Sullivan caught her spouse Ron cheating and kicked him out of her home and her life. He knew he was wrong so he put up no fight and just left though that means he deserted their daughter too. After he departed in disgrace his wife developed an eating habit unable to resist her own delicious deserts at her cafe that has led to adult diabetes though she still cannot resist the sugar and worse their teenage daughter Annie became anorexic. As Dana Sue gains weight by noshing on her sweets in a dietary Dorian Gray scenario, Annie loses weight. However, now Annie's condition has turned critical as she is hospitalized for the impact on her body her eating disorder has wrought. Desperate Dana Sue asks Ron to come home hoping her father might be able to save their daughter's life. Ron welcomes the chance to make amends as he knows he blew his slice of heaven when he cheated. His plan is to win back the love of his wife and daughter, but the guilt is compounded when he sees the condition of his little girl and making matters worse he does not understand he that both of his women never stopped loving him; instead he needs to gain their trust. In spite of the help, encouragement, and admonishments of her two best friends Helen (next tale star) and Maddie (see STEALING HOME), Dana Sue knows Annie needs her father and she would do anything including begging him to come home for her. This is a deep family drama as the three prime players carry baggage that has turned them beyond dysfunctional into harming themselves. The look at diabetes and especially anorexia is as deep as a novel gets as this in trouble family is not starring in a rose colored tale; instead they each need to move past their recent history so that they might have a future.

The Kommandant's Daughter
Pam Jenoff
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778323420 $13.95

In Warsaw, scholar Jacob and Emma Bau have been married three weeks when the blitzkrieg devastates Poland. The Nazi tanks quickly take over the Polish capital forcing Jacob into hiding amidst the underground resistance while leaving his nineteen years old spouse to survive in the rotting Jewish ghetto along with her parents. However, she is snuck out of the city and taken to the home of Jacob's Christian relatives in Krakow as the non-Jewish Anna Lipowski. Kommandant Richwalder meets Anna and demands she work for him as his personal assistant because he insists the former librarian can speak Polish and German fluently; more important to him he is attracted to her. Though reticent, she reluctantly accepts reality that she has no choice; she accepts the job. The Polish Resistance is euphoric as they plan to use Anna to obtain occupation information while the Kommandant wants to court her. This is a deep look at WWII from the unique perspective of a young female Jew hiding as a Christian in Occupied Poland. Anna is a super lead protagonist whose struggles with her fear of being caught as a Jew or as a spy frightens her almost to the point of inactivity, but courageously tries to do the right thing for her people: the Poles. Her attraction to the Kommandant adds to her confusion. Readers who want a refreshing slant on the impact on individuals in occupied countries will want to follow the exploits of Anna as she struggles with loyalties involving religion and national origin as much as her personal desires knowing that a reckoning that could lead to the deaths of her loved ones seems imminent.

The Dead Room
Heather Graham
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324303 $24.95

Last year urban archaeologist Leslie MacIntyre and her fiance Matt Connolly were exploring Manhattan landmark Hastings House when the explosion killed him and left her near death. She recovered physically, but still bears the emotional scars of a survivor. Making it even worst Matt was her first friend when the southern "Rebel" as a kid moved with her family to Brooklyn. A year has passed and though she till grieves, Leslie has returned to her work of exploring historical edifices, but since she cheated death has a new skill. She communicates with the ghosts still haunting some of these places and helps them move on. Leslie has a need to return to Hastings House, which she does only to find the specter of Matt greeting her. He insists she gained her gift to talk with ghosts and her obsession to return to this personal house of horror to solve his murder. However, as he visits her in her dreams because for some reason he cannot manifest in front of her, his cousin private investigator Joe Connolly has followed the clues of a missing person to Hastings House. Joe and Leslie team up as their cases link; neither knows that evil awaits them within a burial ground containing the sprits of those who suffered from injustice and from those breathing who prey on women. This gripping paranormal romantic suspense hooks the reader from the moment that Leslie steps inside Hastings House for the second time. The story line is fast-paced whether the heroine is finding a corpse, a ghost, or other supernatural essences. Adding to the gripping tale is the triangular romance as the audience will wonder whether Leslie will find a way to be with Matt or walk off with Joe as she is attracted to both of them. THE DEAD ROOM is a wonderful ghostly investigative romance.

The Survivors
Dinah McCall
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324354 $6.99

US Senator Patrick Finn begs his colleague Darren Wilson to support his legislation, but the latter says no as his constituency would go berserk. Patrick is irate with Wilson's refusal because failure will mean the mob will kill him as his proposed law pays off his enormous gambling debt to them. Both are on the same plane heading from DC to Atlanta. Also on that flight among other passengers are five year old Johnny O'Ryan accompanied by grandparents Frank and Shirley Pollard and child welfare worker Molly Cifelli. When the plane crashes in the Appalachian Mountains near Chandler, Kentucky, Johnny's guardians die but he lives. Molly also survives and takes charge of the stunned youngster. However, both are further terrorized when they observe Finn kill Wilson. The two witnesses to the homicide flee while the killer chases after them. Meanwhile local psychic Deborah Sanborn "sees" the plane crash, the murder, and the subsequent cat and mouse game. She helps Johnny's father Evan and his grandfather Mike with the search though she is attracted to the fortyish older O'Ryan, but first they must save the child and his protector. Though too much chance sets up the opportunity for the murder to occur, fans will appreciate this tense paranormal romantic suspense. After introducing the readers to the key players, the fast-paced story line soars as the plane crashes. Readers will appreciate the O'Ryans coming to Kentucky in search of the missing next generation, but also finding love in the mountains.

The Return of Jonah Gray
Heather Cochran
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778323609 $13.95

Thirty-one years old IRS senior auditor Sasha Gardner knows trivia facts like no one does especially if a number is associated with the information. She is highly regarded at work, but recently feels ennui partly because she has no social life. She begins getting calls from irate citizens complaining about her upcoming audit of Jonah Gray, a former Wall St. Journal finance reporter turned Stockton Star journalist and popular on his online gardening site. As the new archivist Jeff Hill provides her information on Gray, Sasha finds herself wanting to understand why he gave up a thriving career to become a minor reporter especially since his social security number reflects his birth in the same area of Virginia hers was. She calls him under the name Jeffrine Hill saying her boss Sasha needed information. As Jeffrine and Jonah become acquainted, Sasha finds herself breaking the primary taboo of an auditor not to cross the professional line of the audited. This is an amusing yet sad tale as readers will feel empathy towards the lonely Sasha whose knowledge of tidbits enables the audience to understand her better than most lead characters in a contemporary tale. Interestingly like Sasha fans will want to know why Jonah gave up journalistic stardom. This book is more a refreshing character study with a telephone/web attraction than a straight romance Heather Cochran provides a terrific tale that grips readers once Jeffrine begins discussing manatees with Jonah.

The Bloodmoon Curse
Karen Wiesner
Samhain Publishing
2932 Ross Clark Circle #384, Dothan AL 36301
1599982501 $TBA

When Amberlyn Lyons trips and falls, she miscarries. This is not the first time she has lost a baby, but Amberlyn blames herself as she grieves her loss. However what hurts more is that, though she agrees with him, she believes her beloved spouse Cain holds her culpable for the death of this offspring. Despondent Amberlyn leaves her beloved spouse and their home. She obtains work as a temporary nanny to three children (Simon, Jack and Lydia) at Bloodmoon Manor. Once she meets her charges, Amberlyn is appalled that the Bonavaris family would allow the mistreatment of three of their young. In fact the brood seems to take better care of their dead relatives than these children. As Katerina Bonavaris taunts Amberlyn that soon she will be one of the family, the nanny realizes she was not brought here for the kids' sake; she knows she must run away again, but this time with the burden of three living kids instead of the memory of one deceased baby. However, she has no idea how to escape Bloodmoon, which is built more like an isolated fort miles from nowhere before her wards are further abused and she is used as a vessel to add to the nearby graveyard of stillborn babies. This modern day Gothic thriller grips the audience from the moment that villagers warn Amberlyn not to go to Bloodmoon Manor where no taken for granted conveniences exists; and the gripping plot never slows down until the expected final confrontation. The contrast between Amberlyn and Katerina adds to the feel of foreboding that grips readers who anticipate bad things happening to the heroine and her three wards. The final twist to this tense tale will stun readers as few suspense thrillers can, as Karen Wiesner provides, a frightening paranormal novel starring a woman who risks her life to try to save three small discarded orphans.

Intimate Danger
Amy J. Fetzer
Kensington Brava.
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0758216556 $14.00 1-800-345-2665

Proud of her progress, research scientist Clancy McRae has worked hard on her nanotechnology project to enhance animal capabilities. However, she is outraged to learn that the military took her advancements and placed them inside four marines. That alone would be unethical, but so far her experiments on animals have resulted in a 100 percent identical effect of each test case going insanely berserk regardless of species. She fears these soldiers will follow suit and desperately wants to help them before they become so dangerous they must die so Clancy steals classified documents to begin her quest. Marines Spec Ops leader Mike Gannon finds out that while he healed from an injury on their last assignment, his squad worked a dangerous mission in the Peruvian jungle. They failed to return so Mike plans to go bring them home dead or alive as no marine is ever left behind. However before he goes too far Clancy informs him that their government has turned his men into guinea pigs. He assumes she is a nut because his country would never commit such an atrocity especially on patriots like his team. He soon changes his mind when someone tries to kill her. He must keep Clancy safe because she is the only hope for his men, but nether knows what awaits them in the Andes. It will prove far more dangerous than unethical federal agents. INTIMATE DANGER is an exciting romantic suspense thriller with the emphasis on the escapades and adventures starting even before the lead duo hook up. Once they meet, sparks ignite, but after he is convinced she is legit and his men in trouble, they both agree the team comes before the attraction. Though some might scoff at the Feds conducting human experiments to produce super Captain America soldiers (remember NYC subway testing in the 1950s and rendition to abusive regimes including so called public enemies), those of us who believe the government capable of anything will appreciate this action-packed thriller.

Without A Word
E.C. Sheedy
Kensington Brava
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0758215614 $14.00 1-800-345-2665

Though he knows he made a mistake when he married Holly, Dan Lambert loves her little daughter Kylie who calls him "daddy" as is if he sired her. He plans to keep the child safe as he does not want to lose another one; and he is determined she be raised by a mother and father who do not cheat on one another. Craig Bruce informs his wife Camryn that he is leaving her as she is too obsessed with becoming pregnant though the doctors have told her chances are less than zero; he tells her he will no longer be a sperm donor and nothing else in her life. She helps him pack. Holly's father Paul Grantman calls Dan with the news that someone killed Holly while she was jogging in the woods. To the shock of Holly's parents and Dan, Cam is named as Kylie's guardian. Dan is outraged even more than the kid's grandparents as he plans to raise her in safe environs unlike what happened to his Billie years ago. As someone tries to take Kylie anyway from her using any means possible including attempted murder, Cam finds herself attracted to Dan, but she wonders if she loves a psychopathic killer. Romantic suspense readers will enjoy this powerful thriller that centers on a tug of war with a little girl as the rope being yanked in three obvious directions and a few other pulls. The cast makes the tale believable as the Grantmans demand blood rules over wills and Dan has an inner demon that insists he is the one while Cam always wanted to raise a child. Though the climax seems abrupt E.C. Sheedy will keep her fans reading this book in one tense sitting because they need to know who killed Holly and why and how that relates to an innocent little girl caught in an adult power struggle.

Accidentally Engaged
Mary Carter
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0758215398 $12.95 1-800-345-2665

Psychic Clair Ivers hates her gift as people classify her as a kook, a con, or a conduit with few belonging to the last category. Her current client offers to pay Clair a sizable sum of money if she would provide a false reading to her future sister-in-law Rachel Morgan that would send the superstitious bride into the night. When Clair refuses, her extortionist vows to commit hari kari when the preacher asks the question of the audience if anyone takes exception. Her reading sends the bride away in panic with her engagement ring left behind. Clair returns the jewelry to its owner, the groom Jack Heron, who to her shock, especially after several failed marriages, is her Jack of her Hearts. Not sure what to do he provides her the time and opportunity she needs to prove they are soulmates. He surprises himself 4when he drafts her as his pretend fiancee for the sake of his grandma and some investors. However, she also fears he will never speak to her again once she tells him the truth that her reading broke his engagement. Putting that classic TV show Occasional Wife aside, this is an amusing contemporary fantasy romance starring a likable psychic and her Jack of Hearts. The amusing story line focuses on Clair's pratfalls as her skill fails to warn her when she needs it most. Readers will appreciate this funny lighthearted tale of the psychic who found love.

The Assassin
Andrew Britton
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0758213344 $24.00 1-800-345-2665

Ryan Kealey was written off by the American espionage agencies as yesterday's news, but they brought him back as the only person capable of defeating a protege turned rogue killing machine. Though some died, he saved the lives of many world leaders (see THE AMERICAN). Now over a year has passed since he faced his mirror image and though a hero, he is classified once again as unusable though the brass honored his request to return to the fold. The CIA learns from a reliable source Iran plans to bomb the United Nations just in time to influence the tight presidential election between the incumbent saddled with the Iraq war albatross and the popular Governor of California. However, whereas all American Intel tries to prevent the catastrophe from happening, Kealey thinks that a UN bombing is a red herring. He believes there will be a bigger target on a 9/11 scale though he is not sure what is intended with his worst nightmare being international terrorist and grandmaster criminal William Vanderveen is behind the horrific event; no one in any of the western intelligence agencies take his theory seriously except England's assistant chief, Naomi Kharmai. THE ASSASSIN is a non-stop action thriller that never slows down from the opening moments in the White House and in Baghdad. Readers will wear seat belts as they come along for a ride that makes DC superhero The Flash look like the Turtle. Though characterizations are either thin or stereotyped including the lone star hero, fans of terrorist vas counterterrorist chess matches will want to read Andrew Britton's incredibly exhilarating novel.

Au Paris
Rachel Spencer
Kensington Citadel Press
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0806527978 $12.95 1-800-345-2665

After three years working in the Houston Chronicle's Ad sales Department, Rachel Spencer knew she needed a change as this was no what she planned on so she accepted a job as an au Pair in AU PARIS. Her sister Sarah had arranged for her to serve as nanny to the affluent Vladesco famille. This book is her memoir of almost a year in France of an American employed by a French family. The entries are often humorous from the first pratfall as Ms. Spencer adapts to the reality of being a servant caring for a young teen and two preadolescent children and not a member of the family. The descriptions of Paris are top rate, her realization of chic is out and practical is in. This will remind many readers of similar incidents (don't do an audit of a helicopter repair mission in a light brown suit), and her troubles keeping her fourteen year old charge Rachel away from males is complex and difficult as the nanny just wants to be an older buddy to the fille. Though some of the reactions seem naive (perhaps because this reviewer has too many decades of work), and the ethics of a memoir that, though exposing nothing scandalous does expose an employee's family, seems questionable; this is an interesting look at An American in Paris working as a nanny to a French family.

Believe In Me
Jessica Inclan
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0821780840 $13.00 1-800-345-2665

They live among us and look like ordinary people but the Croyant are powerful sorcerers who can walk through matter (teleport) and they are strong telepaths. They are able to weave spells and use their powers as weapons although they don't because the leadership's dearest wish is to come out of the closet to the Moyenne (non magical people) who have killed them throughout the ages. The leadership thinks the time is right to work with the Moyenne however Quain, the most powerful sorcerer of them all doesn't agree with the plan. He sees a world where he is the leader, the Croyant are in control or enchanted into obeying him and the Moyenne their extendible slaves Sayblee Safipour and Felix Valasay go to France where Quain is gathering new members in his power in another attempt to take control of the Croyant leadership. Sayblee and Felix believe they have found him and walk into a trap. They both get separated for a while. Sayblee is under Quain's control and Felix will do whatever it takes to get her back but he doesn't know where she is or how to find her. This is the third and final tale in Jessica Inclan's superb romantic fantasy. Felix was a lothario until he saw Sayblee with a lover's eye and knows that his roaming days are over. Sayblee fears she is just another notch in his belt when they realize that they love each other. They both are powerful sorcerers and have the power to do what must be done in the leadership's overall plan. The author has created great characters and a world so much like ours except that it has magic. An excellent worldbuilder, Ms Inclan has created a believable society hidden within a larger society.

Knock Off
Rhonda Polero
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6222
0758215576 $19.95

In West Palm Beach paralegal assistant Finley Anderson Tanner, known as FAT to her adversaries, works in the Estates and trusts Department of Dane, Lieberman and Zarnowski law firm. She does enough at work to not get fired by her boss Mr. "Vain" Dane. Instead of handling estates and trusts as expected, she prefers extended lunches, coffee by the gallon, and shopping for designer clothing in discount or consignment stores especially on the lookout for irregulars. Dane dumps a particular pain in the butt client on Finley. Mrs. Evans believes her spouse Marcus was murdered though officially he had a heart attack that led to his death in a car accident. To quiet the nuisance client, Finley plans to do just enough to affirm it was an accident. However, with the help of private investigator Liam McGarrity, she begins to uncover strange happenings. Three members of a medical malpractice jury including Marcus have died in accidents in a short time. Could the accused Dr. Kent Hall be killing those who exonerated him though no motive seems apparent? In between coffee, shopping and ogling Liam's butt, Finley plans to prove Dr. Hall is a killer, but must be careful that the surgeon does not KNOCK OFF a suddenly active underachiever. Finley is a fascinating protagonist whose efforts to keep up appearances will have the audience shaking their heads in amusement. Though at first she seems inane leaving fans to wonder what her friends see in her; she soon display an inner strength to uncover the truth as much for herself as her client. Readers will appreciate the impatient Finley as she, while hiding the nasty spot on her designer bag outlook, shakes up the legal, medical, and private investigative worlds of West Palm Beach in this lighthearted chick lit mystery.

The Winter Lodge
Susan Wiggs
Mira Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0778324141 $7.99

In Avalon, New York weekly food columnist Jenny Majesky mourns the loss of her grandma Helen, who died two weeks ago. Gram along with her late spouse Leo raised Jenny with love after her biological mother deserted her as a small child; she never knew who her dad was until recently. In spite of the townsfolk who pay their respect, Jenny feels alone. She suffers from insomnia and depression that leads to anxiety and panic attacks; her only haven is the Sky River Bakery that she inherited with Gram's death. A fire breaks out in Jenny's residence while she visits the bakery. Chief of Police Rourke "Loverboy" McKnight panics thinking she is inside as all his years of pretending indifference melts away with the inferno. Once he calms down, he realizes she is at the bakery. He goes there, hugs her tightly and takes her to her fiery home. Rourke then takes her to his home to recover and get her house in order. Their failed past relationship leaves both wondering how they will survive their time together and even more so how will they survive their time apart after they separate as they are and have always been in love. This is a terrific character driven contemporary romance that must be read on a full stomach because the recipes will have the audience baking all sorts of pastries. The relationship between the baker and the cop is fun to follow as each insists they're not in love, but everyone knows otherwise. Whereas Jenny meets her biological father and half-sister that adds apprehension to her issues; that also takes away from the prime plot of an amusing debate between two wonderful protagonists each pondering whether love is enough to forge a permanent relationship.

Fortune's Fool
Mercedes Lackey
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
0373802668 $24.95

Katya, the Sea King's daughter, is the only one besides her father who can breath while walking on land or swimming under the water. It is her trait that makes it easy for her dad to use her as an agent when it appears trouble is happening on the mortal land. He directs her to the realm of Led Belarus to learn why things are too quiet there since historically whenever that has occurred epic catastrophes follow. When she arrives at her destination, Katya meets Prince Sasha, the seventh son of the king, who is both a Wise Fool and a Storyweaver. The land is peaceful because he coaxes with music and song the Tradition (Fate) to move wherever he deems it should go. They fall in love rather quickly while realizing they must part for awhile because her father wants to know as taken residence at the Katschei' Castle. Whatever that entity is, it has abducted young female magic users and soon includes Katya as one of the kidnapped. Sasha must go though many trials to find his soulmate. This romantic fantasy is a beautiful charming adult fairy tale. The love at first sight between the protagonists showcases the magic of Mercedes Lackey as the reactions between Katya and Sasha seems genuine, which in turn brings believability to the plot. There are various types of magical beings populating the tale, some good and some bad and some both, but all fascinating especially FORTUNE'S FOOL.

The Whyte Tiger
Paul Park
Tor/Forge Publicity
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765315297 $25.95 1-888-330-8477

Massachusetts resident fifteen years old Miranda Popescu continues to be yanked in two directions since she was drawn into the German occupied Roumania, a world where she is a princess instead of a mall teen and alchemy is a working science. In Roumania, two factions skirmish over controlling the American as her Aunt Aegypta Schenck tries to keep her safe while the power hungry Baroness Ceaucescu and her ally evil alchemist Elector of Ratisbon. Accompanying her from her old Berkshires world are Peter Gross known in Roumania as Chevalier de Graz and the shape-shifter Lieutenant Prochenko formerly a female named Andromeda. Meanwhile Miranda just wants to return to being a normal New England teen even though she begins to understand the mage like powers she possesses like when she studies the souls of animals (Penguin Island aside). However, normalcy can never return for someone battling the likes of the wickedly astute Baroness Ceausescu, as Miranda soon learns when Miranda meets her biological mother as both are captives of their adversaries. The third Roumania fantasy (see THE TOURMALINE and A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA) is a fabulous entry in one of the better genre series. Miranda, her fellow "displaced" pals, her enemies; and her relatives make the worlds of the Berkshires and that of alternate Europe seem real as each key player feels genuine. The action never lets up as Miranda, Peter and Andromeda learn more about just who they are even while trying to survive a devious brilliant opponent.

Sword of the Deceiver
Sarah Zettel
Tor/Forge Publicity
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765304228 $27.95 1-888-330-8477

The Hastinapura Empire has been the superpower ruling Isavalta with its military might and has forced its neighbors to pay tribute for five centuries. While celebrating her womanhood rite with her family before she royally marries, Sindhu Princess Natharie learns that the Empire demands her parents King Kiet and Queen Sitara send a regal human tribute. Father and daughter conclude the only reasonable person that would be acceptable as a hostage to Pearl Throne Emperor Chandra is her as why else would he time his demand as the rite of passage begins. Thus on what should have been a most joyous occasion, Natharie instead start a dangerous journey. At the Hastinapura court, everyone ignores the teenage barbarian from the south as being beneath them, This enables Natharie to learn that her host and his followers worship the Mothers, whose gory abusive High Priest, Divakesh has begun a campaign to bring his religion to the outer nations including Sindhu. Her only hope to save her family and her people from a massacre resides with Chandra's brother Prince Samudra, but he just returned home after a one year diplomatic mission and his influence has been superseded exponentially by Divakesh. Fans of romance and epic political fantasies will cherish this terrific Isavalta saga that can stand alone yet also adds to the lore of the previous tales (see THE FIREBIRD'S VENGEANCE). The action is fast and furious as the countdown for a blitzkrieg backed by religious fervor is nearing the doomsday second with only two people trying to prevent a bloody ethnic cleansing even as their love for one another blossoms but takes a back seat to saving the lives of innocent people. Sarah Zettel shows she is a superior fantasist.

Hellstrom's Hive
Frank Herbert
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765317729 $14.95 1-888-330-8477

In Oregon, filmmaking entomologist Nils Hellstrom establishes the human hive in which 50,000 peoplewill live together based on how insects work as a unit regardless of size. The Agency is concerned about the influence of the Hive and has begun spying on the entity especially wanting to steal a metallurgical technology for their personal gain. Early information proves hard to gather as the agents are easily uncovered by the Hive. Those captured are placed in the dying vats and used as food for the members. Realizing that their first intrusion failed, the Agency sends in a more professional team of experts to learn more about Project 40 and the stunwand. This is a reprint of an interesting 1980s tale focusing on two societies. Frank Herbert goes deep into the Hive so the audience obtains a discerning look at how humans could behave like the social insects that Nils wants to emulate in order for the members to work together for the common good. Within the Hive, a caste system exists for instance the scientists are out of 1950s B movie monster thrillers with all sorts of physical problems. On the other hand, the Agency remains in the shadows so that the audience knows little about them except their obsession over Project 40 and that they appear to be a secret part of the Feds. Science fiction readers will enjoy the HIVE that wants to spread out and assimilate the Outsiders.

Wolf's Blood
Jane Lindskold
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765314800 $27.95 1-888-330-8477

The plague that eradicated the sorcerers who ruled the Old World was contained by the magical gates to this one realm only. That is until now when Firekeeper and her allies inadvertently open the gates between the Old and New Worlds. The plague arrives in the New World and begins the devastation of magic practitioners. While leaders of government and commerce want more gates opened as they foresee an economic boom, the mages want the deadly to them portals shut. As the nations of the New World are divided with civil war imminent; Firekeeper, feeling guilt and fear, searches for the first case of the plague in the hope to destroy it. Raised by wolves, Firekeeper is a terrific lead character as she knows she must stop what she wrought, but has doubts she is capable of succeeding yet steps into "hell for her heavenly cause". That is the spin that makes this complex fantasy so good as the heroine believes in her cause while so many others oppose her position as trade between both sides of the gates mean economic boom (think contractors in Iraq). Though newcomers would be better off starting with the first Wolf book (see WOLF'S EYES) and working through the remainder of the saga, long time fans will take immense delight in the climax as Jane Lindskold provides a strong finish to a fabulous series.

The Serpent and the Rose
Kathleen Bryan
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765313286 $24.95 1-888-330-8477

A thousand years ago in the Kingdom of Lys, followers of the Young God imprison the malevolent Serpent. Over the ensuing centuries, peace and prosperity flourish. However recently, the forces of the incarcerated Serpent clandestinely led by Lys King Clodovec have begun a coup to destroy the Young God's supporters the Knights of the Rose and Ladies of the Isle so that they can liberate their deity and return the evil one to the power usurped from him. The Duke of Quitaine Urien leads the supporters of the Young God, but is poisoned by Clodovec. The King knows he must also eliminate Urien's daughter, Averil a powerful mage trained by the Ladies of the Isle. She flees with the aid of the Knights of the Rose; on her trek to safety she meets commoner Gereint, an untrained powerful magician. Meanwhile as the Serpent's minion grow stronger and appear ready to conquer, allies Averil and Gereint turn to the magical taboo by trying to cut a deal with the ancient ones. If they defeat the Serpent's horde, it would leave them vulnerable to their new partners. This is a terrific opening epic fantasy due to a powerful fully developed cast on both sides of the Godly dispute. The story line obviously sets the stage for the confrontations in the future novels, but also provides a deep plot of insidious betrayal from within leading to a need for the heroine to escape to fight another day. Kathleen Bryan provides a wonderful first tale in the War between Order and Chaos.

Rob Thurman
ROC Books
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451461398 $6.99 1-800-847-5515

Man's conception of elves is based on the Auphe, but unlike the former, the Auphe were on the highest ring of the supernatural food chain. Unlike the depiction of elves the Auphe were evil, power hungry and could travel through portals they sliced into the air enabling them travel to different dimensions and different places in the same world. Cal Leandro was a breeding experiment for the Auphe who wanted to destroy earth and replace it with another world. Cal's humanity suppressed his Auphe heritage and he withstood everything they threw at him. Now he and his brother Niko are supernatural detectives and their latest gig is getting close to a certain werewolf to see if he is thinking about making a move against the pack leader Cerberus. Caleb hired them for $50,000 and when they successfully complete their mission, they learn that Caleb was testing them to find out if they could steal a crown held by Cerebrus. As an incentive to get the brothers to do what he wants, he kidnaps Georgina a seer and a prophet who loves Cal and is the only person besides her brother that he cares about. With the help of a Puck, a supernatural being who loves forever, Niko's vampire lover and a pack reject, the team works on getting the crown before the deadline is up. Rob Thurman writes excellent supernatural fantasy in the tradition of Jim Butcher's The Dresden files. Reading about the various supernatural entities is fascinating as is the way enemies' cooperate against a bigger foe. Intricate and fast-paced plotting, well developed characters and a storyline that is actually a sword and sorcery treasure hunt makes MOONSHINE a wonderful reading experience.

Anne Bishop
c/o New American Library
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451461266 $23.95 1-800-847-5515

Glorianna Belladonna is happy for her Incubus cousin Sebastian who has found eternal love with his Lynnea. She feared for him when he challenged the Dark Guides, allies of the Eater of the World, but prayed that Lynnea's love would keep him safe, which it did (see SEBASTIAN). However, while he basks in the glow of love, she feels a deep boned loneliness that is almost as horrific as her doubts and fear of failure. Still she must overcome her concerns and qualms because she knows in spite of almost everyone considering her a troublesome rogue she must still face The Eater of the World before the darkness spreads fear across all of Ephemera. However, Glorianna will soon learn that she is not alone. Somehow in her dreams, her needs have traversed Ephemera reaching the heart and soul of Michael the Musician. He knows he must find the sorceress who has haunted his fantasies as she needs his help while he needs her heart. At the same time his all alone sister Caitlin Marie has become the target of those who support the Eater of the World. This is an extremely complex fantasy. Newcomers need to first read SEBASTIAN to understand all that is going on in this stupendous serpentine story line. Michael is an interesting hero as he finds himself increasingly caught in a Hobson's choice between caging the Eater of the World but by doing so killing his beloved. Anne Bishop writes an incredible epic romantic fantasy in which her heroes are humanoid even with magical skills and other inhuman traits as they fight against overwhelming odds in which any offense they take could mean death for their beloved.

The Fortune Quilt
Lani Diane Rich
New American Library
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220277 $12.95 1-800-847-5515

TV Producer of Tucson Today Carly McKay is the best at finding terrific stories for the show; as for her personal life she is a loser. The oldest of three sisters, when her mother abandoned them and their dad, she, as a teen, had to take over raising them. Thus she has no trust in relationships lasting. Carly has no idea how much she loathed being a teenage mom until her show decides to profile quilter Brandywine Seaver, who states she has psychic skills. On TV Brandywine explains how she quilts psychic energy into her work so that the owner has secret messages waiting for them to unravel. Brandywine surprisingly provides a quilt to Carly with a related psychic reading that insists she will soon be "towered". Not long afterward, Carly learns what "Towered" truly means in Tarot cards when her mom returns home wanting to turn back the clock fifteen years as if she never left her daughters and on top of that she loses her job. Stunned Carly blames Brandywine, who lets her crash on her property. Brandywine's neighbor Will, an artist, encourages Carly to open up her heart and soul to him as he does to her. This is an interesting character study starring a woman with issues caused when her mom deserted the family leaving her in charge of her siblings as a kid raising kids. Will is the first to reach Carly as he coaxes her to find her feminine side after years of being a take no prisoner (or friend) type of person. Readers will have difficulty liking the lead character because of her gruff aggressive personally until Carly learns that "where there's a Will there's a way".

Defining Moments
Jacquelin Thomas
New American Library
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220285 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

Sheila Moore fled Columbia, South Carolina allegedly to open up the New York branch of Madison Moore Creative Visual Solutions Inc. However, business did not send her from her hometown. She left because Sheila is ashamed of the stunts she pulled to break up Jake's marriage especially when she finally realized her love for her business partner Jake Madison will always remain unrequited; as he cherishes his wife Tori (see THE PRODIGAL HUSBAND). Four years since she turned Tori's life into hell, Sheila has seemingly moved on until a doctor informs her during a routine physical that she suffers form multiple sclerosis. Now she not just a broken hearted women; she is a broken woman. Still as Sheila has throughout her life, she will gather information and begin a campaign that the military would be proud to call their own. At a bookstore seeking information on MS, she meets author Nicholas Washington, Tori's best friend. As they become better acquainted an attraction grows, but her self image refuses to allow her to accept his kindness and love. Worse she and Tori still have issues that cause pain and confusion for the two men they both care about and who in their ways love each of them. Though a sequel, DEFINING MOMENTS stands alone as a terrific contemporary inspirational tale using reflection to tell the key points of the first story, which this reviewer has not read. Tori knows she forgives her spouse for his indiscretions but still detests her rival; Sheila remains jealous of Tori who won the prize Jake while she fled in self exile. Now they tug on Nicholas, who tries to help both females by bringing God into their lives. Though apparently Sheila was the evil wicked woman in the PRODIGAL HUSBAND, this time she must overcome her self-loathing and humiliation as Nicholas offers her redemption in a strong character driven tale.

Too Great a Lady
Amanda Elyot
New American Library
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
0451220544 $14.00 1-800-847-5515

Before she became known as "The Notorious Emma", "Lady Hamilton", or "That Woman") Emma Hamilton was born in poverty in the 1760s in Wales. She escaped to London Town by the mid 1780s by performing as famous women of history or mythology like Circe on the stage. There she perfected the lessons she learned in Welsh country of the Attitudes of affectation as not even Cleopatra could perform the role of herself better than the overly pretentious sexuality that Emma displayed. By the early nineteenth century "That Hamilton Woman" became the lover of the Napoleonic War hero Lord Nelson. After his death, she fell back into poverty before dying in exile in 1815 with young Horatia (who might have been the offspring of Emma and Nelson) as her only companion; her beloved's family only provided part of her Bronte pension as they cut her out of Lord Nelson's will. This is an interesting historical "autobiography" as Lady Emma Hamilton tells her story in a mostly first person account. The tale showcases a woman who uses her sexual lures as a means to feed her and her mother via a strong of protectors until her last one Lord Nelson is apparently the one. Though not for everyone, fans of Georgian-regency romances will want to read the tale of the most notorious kept woman of the era; she used her siren skills to keep food on the table for herself and her mom in just about the only way a single unprotected female could during that period while eventually with Nelson forming one of the great romances of all time.

Supersonic Thunder
Walter J. Boyne
c/o Tor Books
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765308436 $24.95

The Great War has been over for a decade but a new Cold War between the Soviet Communist blocs and the West is frighteningly on the brink of turning hot with atomic weapons that will make the fire bombings and the two atom bomb blasts of WW II look like a picnic. In this new world order of hostile rivalry with both sides wanting to bury the opponent, competition is on the land, sea and air. The American aviation industry with powerful political pressure and support knows they must reengineer (anachronism that fits) their design to produce faster and more mobile fighter jets and a spy plane that can take pictures of Russian activity, but fly above radar. In that environs, family patriarch Vance Shannon and his twin sons, Tom and Harry, work on the new technology that leads to spy planes, supersonic jets and other flying vessels but it is Sputnik that changes the interrelation dynamics. Though the plot is thin, the story line is exciting and faster than an SST as Walter J. Boyne uses a family of flying aces aviation engineers to showcase the Cold War in the sky circa 1955- 1973 (Nixon is the bookends). Readers will feel the pressure that every Russian advancement and every Khrushchev shoe-stomping bravado causes the Americans to feel inadequate and in need to do more than keep up if they are to win the Cold War, which is at one of its prime peaks of enmity. SUPERSONIC THUNDER provides insight into the beginnings of the Jet Age as former enemies from WW II become bedfellows while former allies become deadly adversaries in a changing world that is difficult for people living during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Administrations to comprehend as they did not have this entertaining novel to guide them.

People of the Nightland
W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
c/o Tor Books
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765314401 $27.95

The ice age ended when the glaciers began receding 20,000 years ago. All was normal for the next seven millennia, as the earth warmed and a Great Lake formed from the receding ice near where Wolf Dreamer brought his people to live. A thousand years have passed since Wolf Dreamer led his followers to the Promised Land, but his clan has split into different sects. The People of the Nightland live on the edge of the ebbing glacier worshipping the god Raven Hunter; the Sunpath People live in pelt lodging to the south while worshiping Wolf Dreamer as their God. With the great animals dying out and the waters threatening to flood both people, hostilities break out between the clans. Raven Hunter dispatches a leader to take his followers through a hole in the ice; Wolf Dreamer transmits dream messages to a child, the orphan Silvertip to take his People east away from the flooding and encroaching Ice Giants while the Nightland fighters want to complete their ethic cleansing before entering their new paradise. The latest First North American "People" saga is a superb Paleolithic America thriller that provides the audience a glimpse of two competing conflicting lifestyles during the Younger Dryas Interval. Using archeological facts and theories, the authors are in first gear throughout this exhilarating prehistoric saga with seemingly paranormal elements that some might deduce as beliefs driving the two rival clans. Educational yet excitingly entertaining, PEOPLE OF THE NORTHLAND like its Ice Age predecessors (see PEOPLE OF THE WOLF) is a superior chronicle.

Homeland Security
Alexa Hunt
c/o Tor Books
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
076531150X $24.95

President Samson testified at a Congressional session that repealing the Martial Law Act, established eight years ago in reaction to the Columbian Cartel Slaughter terrorist attack, is the right thing to do for the country. Apparently the Bureau of Illegal Substance Control (BISC) abused its authority that the law granted it when it allowed instant execution of drug traffickers due to it being classified as a treasonous offense. Former Senator Adam Manchester, who was one of three members of Congress to oppose the law and now is running for president, claimed BISC was ripe for a coup. A week after Samson's testimony, Islamic Fundamentalists overthrow the Saudi royal family and establish Holy Arabia. This coup upsets the United States at a time the country is divided and an acrimonious presidential election season has begun. Meanwhile reporter Elliott Delgado and former assassin Leah Berglund learn that dirty suitcase nukes have been smuggled into the country through the porous Mexican border. They wonder if perhaps a group loyal to the new Holy Arabia nation plans a terrorist attack on American soil; or could it be the Cartel back for a second round? They join with FBI Director Paul Oppermann and Senator Manchester in an attempt to prevent another Slaughter. The sequel to the fantastic CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY, HOMELAND SECURITY is a tense thriller that readers will enjoy as Alexa Hunt continues to look at the long term effect of the Global War Against Terrorism deteriorating liberties. The story line is fast-paced with the intrepid duo knowing that besides the two prime suspected groups, others like the Fidelistas might be the cause. Though the teaming up of the FBI Director, the leading Republican candidate for the White House with the reporter and the former assassin seems no way possible, fans will enjoy this fascinating look at the war between security and freedom.

Venus Envy
Shannon McKelden
c/o Tor Books
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
0765315858 $12.95

In the Puget Sound area, though surrounded by family members with their loving partner like her parents, her brother and now her younger sister, Rachel Greer believes she must have inherited a recessive trait that only brings losers into her life as her former boyfriends are a pathetic lot. With love everywhere she goes near her family, Rachel feeling like a Trogg hides as much as possible, doing good deeds for people whether at work as a customer service employee at a bank or volunteering at the dog shelter or soup kitchen. Because of her track record with males, Rachel buries her attraction towards firefighter Luke Stanton, who monthly opens up new accounts. Ann irate Zeus has demoted his offspring Venus to the fairy-godmother community service on earth for cheating on her spouse. She detests this punishment that she feels is too harsh, but also knows she better complete the sentencing or find a home on Mount Hood instead of returning to Mount Olympus. Venus sees an easy pickup wit Rachel "Loser List" Greer matched up with Luke the hunk though she would not mind a side snack of him. Venus applies her sure shot "Extreme Love Life Makeover" on a reluctant Rachel while telling the mortal's best friend Hannah to butt out. When that somewhat fails Venus physically and verbally bullies and blackmails Rachel to force her to fall for Luke. Rachel and Venus alternate first person accounts leading to the audience obtaining a chick lit romantic fantasy. Whereas Rachel is out of chick lit stereo-casting, Venus is a refreshing takes no prisoner acerbic fairy godmother (think of the Carol Kane character, the Ghost of Christmas Present, in Scrooged). Readers will appreciate VENUS ENVY as she does what she does best, cause havoc with the heart.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Laurel's Bookshelf

The Light Within: A Travel Log of India
Joseph L. Anderson
Press 53
6610 Shallowford Rd., Suite 202, Lewisville NC 27023
0977228398 19.95

In December 2004, the author left his home in North Carolina to study yoga in India. Anderson found enlightenment in the land of Gandhi and Mother Teresa, but not in the way he expected. The moment he stepped foot in India, his lessons began. To quote the author directly:

"India asks existential questions, and demands immediate reply. How can you square what you see here with your omnipotent, benevolent God? You can't. What will you make of your life? What purpose do your many pleasures serve when millions suffer unrelenting pain?"

Anderson's odyssey begins in Delhi and proceeds through several cities, including Calcutta. Calcutta, especially, left an impression on his body, mind, and spirit. Five-star hotels co-exist there with squalor beyond American comprehension. Caustic pollution burned his eyes and seared his lungs as he walked the streets of Calcutta. Emaciated street children fought with feral dogs over scraps of rotting food on mountains of trash. People with leprosy, birth defects, and infections begged from every street and gutter. And yet, despite living in such unspeakable conditions, the sweet spirit and inner light of the people shone clearly through their eyes and smiles.

Yes, walking the slums of Calcutta enlightened the healthy, successful American lawyer and writer. After days of experiencing the sounds, scents, sights of horrible human suffering, and toxic air, Anderson was too sick to stand, too emotionally drained to weep. He returned home determined to do all one man could to offset the suffering he saw in Calcutta.

The Light Within is beautifully written; Anderson shares his experiences powerfully with readers. He speaks not only for himself but all humanity – the armless and legless, the perfect and healthy. Along with writing this book, Anderson established the Calcutta Children's Permanent Fund, an endowment providing medical and nutritional support to the street children of Calcutta.

This book is exceptional and highly recommended. To learn more, visit

The Black March: Book Two of the Soldier of the Legion Series
Marshall S. Thomas
Booklocker, Inc.
P.O. Box 2399, Bangor ME 04402
1601451008 $15.95

It's been a long wait for the second in this exciting series of sci-fi books. I must admit that the attraction for me is Marshall Thomas's writing style and story telling ability. This book picks up where the last left off, with the Legion facing a scourge that threatens all life forms throughout the universe – the Omnis. Once again, the action is heart pounding, the characters believable and well developed. This time, adding interest to the plot, the Legion juggles political intrigue and betrayal along with fighting the Omnis.

Thinker and his fellow Legionnaires are battle weary and beaten down, although their courage is never in question. The Confederation of Free Worlds can replace their shattered limbs and perforated organs, keep their warriors immortal in most cases, but little can be done to repair their psyches. The warriors are little more than walking wounded as they gear up to face the Omnis on a volcanic planet of primeval chaos. The Omnis are a plague on the Universe, a creature with psychic powers and an arsenal of weapons the Legion can't easily overcome.

Arch enemy, the United Systems Alliance, is willing to make a truce with the Confederation to defeat the Omnis. Will Thinker and his Unit survive betrayal and defeat the Omnis? Readers experience breath taking action and frightening battles on alien worlds before learning the outcome. Sci-fi fans or readers who enjoy good writing should love this book. This series is highly recommended.

Laurel Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Shelley's Bookshelf

Deadly Lessons
David Russell
Napoleon Publishing/RendezVous Press
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201,Toronto, Ontario M2N 4Y8, Canada
1894917359 $12.95

David Russell's career roots began with the Vancouver Theatre Sports League, a world champion improv theater company. He has hosted both television and talk shows. He is a freelance writer for several publications. As if that wasn't enough, he also teaches high school law and history.

Winston Patrick is a disaffected lawyer who strikes out in a new career direction by taking a high school job teaching law. He and his socialite wife also part ways, although he still remains close to her highly successful brother-in-law, who is also a lawyer. Just as Winston is getting his feet wet in the teaching profession, a colleague pulls him back into his law role with a personal problem between him and one of his students. Did he; did she? Who is lying? When the co-ed is found strangled, Winston finds himself involved in a case of International proportions:

"'Yes!' Sandi declared. 'I've been dying to talk to you all day after I woke up and saw your picture splattered over the SUN this morning. You even made the front section of the POST. They barely know the west coast exists.' Andy had shown me the front page of the VANCOUVER SUN when she'd arrived in the morning. I was unaware the Toronto-produced NATIONAL POST had carried the story as well. I was quickly becoming coast-to-coast infamous."

Set in Vancouver, British Columbia, Russell's no doubt somewhat autobiographical mystery brings together a range of characters from mobsters to high school students in this fresh and engaging mystery. Winston Patrick is a known insomniac who runs to maintain some semblance of sanity in his world. His best friend is a female cop who "watches his back," and as this tale brings in more and more unsavory characters, he relies heavily on his friends in high places. He constantly takes his licks, and his smart mouth adds spice to the already engaging story.

Russell creates a plot that is intricate and fascinating; non-stop action; a psychological layer that encompasses all the characters; and just good old-fashioned sleuthing. This is a "can't put it down" mystery that is enjoyable and mysterious. It's a sure winner!

The Youth Hostel Murders
Glyn Carr
The Rue Morgue Press
87 Lone Tree Lane, Lyons, CO 80540
0915230984 $14.95

Glyn Carr is actually a pseudonym for Showell Styles used for his Abercrombie Lewker mysteries, featuring a Shakespearian actor/mountain climber. Styles' first Lewker mystery, entitled DEATH ON MILESTONE BUTTRESS, which was published in 1951, was such a success that his British publisher Geoffrey Bles, immediately signed him on for more. The net result was fourteen more mysteries, until Styles ran out of ideas. Lewker gets to travel to Switzerland, the Himalayas, Austria, Scandinavia, and Majorca, as well as Cumberland fells, the setting of THE YOUTH HOSTEL MURDERS .

As well as his credentials as a noted Shakespearian actor, Abercrombie Lewker, deceptively short and stout, also served in Department Seven of the Special Commando Branch of British Intelligence during World War II. He and his lovely wife, Georgina are a devoted and playful couple. Georgie calls Lewker Filthy, but not for matters of hygiene. Lewker and Georgie are headed to stay with Sir Walter Haythornthwaite in Birkerdale near Gosforth. Almost at once they begin hearing stories about the place, which eventually will lead Lewker into a murder investigation of two young climbers:

"'Ay.' The landlord, leaning across the bar with a cautious eye on the shadows by the fireplace, spoke in a confidential whisper. 'There's some folk hereabouts says 'twas witchcraft as sent my truck off that road. Coffin's Pike's an evil place, they say–'twas why the lead mines failed. I'm not one to believe in such things, but it's got about as witchcraft made that young fellow fall to his death, too. Old Ben says–'"

Carr/Styles goes to great lengths to describe the mountain village, as well as the art of climbing, in this compelling whodunit. Lewker is an unlikely hero, but his obvious talents and the magnetic force of his personality endear him to the youth hostel where he goes "undercover." Styles' talent for the "red herring" jumps out at the reader. He tucks his murderer so far into the plot that the reader spends an inordinate amount of time guessing and revising guesses as to who and where the murderer lurks. Characters are entertaining; the plot and action are non-stop; and yet there is a relaxed style that makes this mystery an enjoyable experience.

The Exclusion Zone
Noel Carroll
Allen-Ayers Books
4621 S. Atlantic Ave., #7603, Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
096587026X $8.99

Husband and wife writing team Noel Carroll are the embodiment of the American Dream and the American Retirement. Being successful enough to be able to sail around the Caribbean for a dozen years is quite an achievement, but the enterprising couple morphed into writing thrillers, as well as short stories and a couple of satirical novels.

In their latest, young college grads and partners Loni Santo and Jim Hanson are on a post college graduation sailing trip and are cruising by the island of Montserrat when two unlikely events occur: 1) Montserrat's jittery volcano is once again active, after a major rumble wiped out the southern part of the island, which became "The Exclusion Zone," and 2) a U.S. navy transit satellite is burning out and heading towards a rendezvous with Loni and Jim's boat. Add to this scenario a looming visit to the beleaguered island by the Queen of England and a four-person terrorist plot timed to end her life and the lives of as many hapless islanders as can be blown up by some pretty nasty characters. Jim and Loni quickly find themselves in a nightmare from hell from which neither of them can wake up:

"Loni awoke with a start. A sound, loud, frightening and terribly realistic, was running loose in her head. Whatever it was, it was also affecting her eyes. The brush, the ash, even the air, all of it appeared to be in motion. It combined blurry with dizzy, and she shook her head wanting very much to clear it, to prove to herself that this was all an illusion, the upshot of being yanked too quickly from a deep sleep. Lying against the scrub of a creosote bush, her head and neck wedged on a painful angle against her chest, she tried to wait it out. The shaking would stop once she managed to wake herself fully."

THE EXCLUSION ZONE picks up the reader from the first page, similar to the volcano its authors weave into the non-stop action plot, and does not let the reader down until the end of this thoroughly thrilling tale. Strongly character-based, the reader can just go along with the missteps of the beautiful young couple as they try to make sense out of the fact that the sky is indeed falling and they'd better act. Hang on to your hats, as this book will blow you away!

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

The Third Day Bible Code
Kermit Zarley
Synergy Books
PO Box 141630, Gainesville, FL 32614
1933438430 $17.95

I was amazed to read the information in this outstanding book, "The Third Day Bible Code," by author Kermit Zarley. Inside our author examines a third day motif that occurs in some of the events in the history of Israel that are recorded in the Bible. What could be so important about the third day and just what does it mean anyway? Many of these recorded events show where God rescued His people or Israel on the third day. Even Jesus rose again on the third day. Could this be a key to open knowledge for the Christian even in their personal lives?

There is so much information in this wonderful book that it would be impossible for me to relate it to you. However, if you are a Bible scholar, a truth seeker or just love to know hidden secrets in God's Word, you will love this work. Not a fast read, this is one that needs to be savored, read slowly, meditated upon and thought about. Very interesting and perhaps even a little hint of when Jesus will return? Of course this reviewer hopes that we won't have to wait that long. One can only imagine.

Life Ahead
J. Krishnamurti
The Theosophical Publishing House
PO Box 146093, Wheaton, IL
B000GRB3X0 $12.95

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 Krishnamurti'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, question and wonder.

The Man of Her Dreams-The Woman of His #2 Livin' It and Lovin' It!
Joel & Kathy Davisson
Joel & Kathy Publishing
244 Pine Grove Drive, Palm Coast, Florida 32164
0976638851 $15.00

It is said that 'the proof is in the pudding,' and I believe this well relates to the books by Kathy and Joel Davisson in their quest to help couples have a fulfilled happy marriage. According to the testimonies, many couples have been helped by their books. I had the privilege of reviewing their first work, "The Man of Her Dreams The Woman of His," and found their advice to be both Biblical and well presented.

In this second work, "The Man of Her Dreams The Woman of His 2," the couple again take some tough problems that all couples face Biblically, and break them down to a layman's understanding . Often this topples many misinformed concepts and man's interpretations which have left many couples at the brink of destruction, frustrated and with nowhere to turn but Divorce Court. Some of the topics are headship, adultery, and one I feel is vital , past baggage. I know that this can lead to insurmountable problems if not dealt with in any relationship. They do an excellent job in bringing this problem to light, explaining how it can truly bring upheaval in the marriage and they also give some well founded advice in dealing with it.

Again, as in their first work, they are down-to-earth and real in their presentation and solutions to many destructive areas in a marriage. They use examples from their own life and also incorporate stories from those they have had the privilege of ministering to. In doing this the reader feels comfortable and will be able to relate on a more personal basis. All in all a very good ministry tool that if the points given for improvement are implemented they should certainly bring about a more fulfilled married life.

Bound By Blood
T.C. Lotemptio
Whiskey Creek Press
PO Box 51052, Casper, WY 82605-1052
978-193746599 Ebook $5.95 Paperback $12.95

I knew from the moment I began this read that I was absolutely going to love this book, and I did. Right up front we are gripped by a terrible murder and left with the question, who did this and why. We meet Charlotte Barett who is at death's door and one who holds a terrifying secret within her that at her death will cause ripples throughout the small community where she lives.
Lives will be changed, especially those of her red-headed niece Leigh Hartley and her daughter, Rory. Leigh, a big city crime reporter was going through a tough divorce and having problems with her teen-age daughter as well. She needed a change and the wind certainly was bringing one her way. At the death of her aunt she inherited her estate, however she had to live there for 6-months in order to claim it as her own. Leigh saw this as a welcome break from all the trauma she had been going through, but was it? Real Estate Agent David Pryce filled in Leigh and her daughter about the Ravencrest Estate they had just inherited and the Legend behind it, including it being haunted. Not a Legend that the already frazzled Leigh wanted to hear.

Murders had been taking place, young red-headed women killed for no apparent reason. Investigating this is a Detective Lopez and the young reporter Luke Rawlings, who insists on working the cases with the police department. Two very interesting men who will hold major playing cards in this story. Strange neighbors befriend Leigh and Rory, a mother and daughter who are insistent in being part of their lives and who more than dabble in the Occult. Why are they forcing their attention on their new neighbors? Both will play important roles as this supernatural mystery unravels. Interested yet? You should be.

I have had the privilege of reviewing several of Ms. Lotempio's books and I have to tell you her writing has become fine tuned and her storylines just keep getting better and better. In this new book she has captured all the elements of a master mystery, thrown in some unsavory characters, some endearing and some down right creepy ones as well, and spiced up the read with hair-raising supernatural undertones that will keep you glued to the pages. The ending leaves you both satisfied and anxious because you know this story is only just beginning. Excellent read! One of her finest!

Judas and the Gospel of Jesus: Have We Missed the Truth A Christianity?
N.T. Wright
Baker Books
69 State Rd, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
0801012945 $18.95

Being a Christian I was very interested in what author N.T. Wright had to say about the newly discovered book of Judas. I learned quite a bit and certainly had my mind given peace in the explanation given by Mr. Wright. Our author goes in detail of Gnosticism a form of putting emphasis on oneself instead of Jesus which before I read this book I did not understand the concept of Gnosticism. He explains what this "Gospel of Judas" tells us and does not tell us. the answer may surprise you. As far as knowing more about Jesus it falls short.

Understand this is not an easy read and should be undertaken when you have the time to sit quietly but it is very interesting and will definitely answer your questions about this "new gospel," that has been thrown before us and should set your mind at ease especially if you are a Christian.

The Wheels on the Bus
Scholastic Books
Scholastic Cartwheel Books
31 Chart Lane, Surrey, United Kingdom
0439839823 $5.99

I believe almost everyone knows the song, " The Wheels on the Bus," and this is what this little book is based on. It has adorable illustrations and a wheel built right into the book that will put the children in the driver's seat. Great fun! As they turn the wheel and the pages they can pretend that they are driving through the town. This is a great little book that the children may interact with! It's even more fun if you sing along as they turn the pages. Very sweet little book.

Joseph J. Neuschatz, Inc.
P.O. Box 2399, Bangor, ME 04402
160145015X $14.50

In this outstanding read by Joseph J. Neuschatz, M.D., we are introduced to an anesthesiologist by the name of Philip Newman, and taken into his life, both personal and professional. I liked Dr. Newman right away; his true concern for patients shone from the beginning of this work and made the character quite endearing and approachable. A large part of the storyline takes place in the OR room of a modern hospital where we are taken through the day to day duties of an anesthesiologist, his challenges and the pressure of keeping his patients alive through any operation from large to small. As you read this work you will learn much of the ins and outs of the procedures done before, after and during surgery. I found this to be quite interesting, although a little unnerving. I never realized how much weight for the patients well-being is placed on an anesthesiologist and it was quite an eye-opener.

As the story unfolds, Dr. Newman loses one of his patients from cardiac arrest during a routine tattoo-removal. He can't seem to shake the question of why this seemingly young man died. It also troubles him why his father seemed almost aloof over the news of his son's death, why the family refused an autopsy and on top of that he feared he would be facing a malpractice lawsuit. When this becomes a reality, Newman decides to follow his instincts that something just isn't right and begins to investigate whether other deaths of similar circumstances have been reported at hospitals across the country. He enlists the help of the internet and soon has a network of fellow anesthesiologists and some very interesting, and downright suspicious facts before him. Learning this is not an isolated incident, the cards are stacked in the favor that perhaps there is TerrO.R. in the OR room, a terror that would effect the very core of our country's security.

Our author, Joseph J. Neuschatz definitely brings to the table his expertise as an anesthesiologist in this read, taking you right into the heart of the characters and the world in which he lives, and the world that we live in as well. I don't want to give away any more of the storyline but I have to tell you it is quite ingenious and definitely has a conclusion that you just won't be looking for. I will say this, Terr.O.R. does have a name, and definitely does have a purpose in this book. Dr. Neuschatz does an outstanding job on his character development, local descriptions and storyline. The read is flowing and quick paced, with just the right amount of intrigue to keep you guessing and pressing on to find out the answer. This is one outstanding medical 'chill' read that I certainly hope will be followed by another. Hats off to our author and let's hope this story never becomes a reality.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

A Line Between Friends
Michele VanOrt Cozzens
McKenna Publishing Group
425 Poa Place, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
1932172262 $19.95

Written by former journalist Michele VanOrt Cozzens, A Line Between Friends: Can a Man and a Woman Remain Friends After Each Marries Someone Else? is a different kind of romance novel. A Line Between Friends poses the question: Can former lovers remain friends, even when each one is happily married to someone else? Joel Rolland and Noelle Moncada, close since childhood and lovers for one night, share a friendship spanning twenty years - until Joel sends Noelle a terse, three-line letter requesting that she end all contact. Confused and hurt, Noelle tries to make sense of the ultimatum; it is her loving and supportive husband who points out the that the changes wrought in Joel's and Noelle's relationship when they crossed the line of being "just friends" have far-reaching consequences. A thoughtful, moody novel about the complex dynamics of human relationships, highly recommended.

The Innkeeper Tales
John L. Herman, Jr.
HSB Press
11615 Greenspring Avenue, Lutherville, MD 21093
Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists (publicity)
2100 Kramer Lane, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78758
0979020409, $19.95

"The Innkeeper Tales is a compendium of true stories about a group of strangers who are snowed in at The Abacrombie (a bed-and-breakfast located in the cultural district of Baltimore, Maryland). These are stories told by the guests as they candidly share their life experiences with another – experiences that range from the heartbreaking to the heartwarming. It should be noted that entrepreneur John L. Herman, Jr. Owns and manages the Abacrombie Bed & Breakfast and so brings a great deal of personal experience and expertise to "The Innkeeper Tales", which is highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library collections as being an entertaining collection of stories that reveal life lessons for obtaining true success and happiness in our lives.

Beyond the Storm
William T. Close M.D. with Malonga Miatudila, M.D., M.P.H.
Meadowlark Springs Productions, LLC
PO Box 4460, Marbleton, Wyoming 83113
0970337140 $25.95

William T. Close M.D., Beyond the Storm: Treating the Powerless and the Powerful in Mobutu's Congo/Zaire is the true-life story of William T. Close M.D., the former personal physician of President Mobutu, the former dictator of the Democratic Republic of Congo (called Zaire while under his rule). Close sought to feed the hungry, aid the sick, and improve quality of life for the nation's people, and was personally responsible for maintaining Mobutu's health; his testimony tells of a dictator who governed with a ruthlessness worthy of the tactics described in Machiavelli's classic treatise for autocrats, "The Prince." Yet the slide from hope into despair for the nation under Mobutu's rule was not immediate; it was provoked by a gradual incursion of kleptocracy, corruption, and cronyism. Close was one of few people both willing and able to tell Mobutu the unvarnished truth; as years progressed and the nation's situation worsened, Close finally had to leave, and let history take its course. Enthusiastically recommended as a primary source detailing events great and small in Congo's history and the life of its dictator, as seen through a principled, compassionate, yet often exasperated medical doctor in its center.

Bluewater Seven: Terror at Sea
Don McLain
Blue House Publishing
1439 Dagg Rd., Yoakum, TX 77995
0977677524 $29.95

Written by Air Force veteran Don McLain, Bluewater Seven: Terror at Sea is an action-packed novel of two life-and-death struggles - one between murderous terrorists who claim the Bluewater Seven offshore drilling rig and the captured crew that suffers horrific atrocities, and one in corporate backrooms as JP Rimes struggles to hold on to his position as CEO of Bluewater Drilling. A dark, severe novel about power jockeying and human cruelty, and the desperate courage to stand and fight against all odds, that keeps the reader in suspense to the very end.

Software Without Borders
Steve Mezak
Earthrise Press
213 Garcia Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
0977826805 $39.95

Written by experienced outsourcing businessman Steve Mezak (founder and CEO of Accelerance Inc), Software Without Borders: A Step-By-Step Guide to Outsourcing Your Software Development is not a computer programming guide per se; rather, it is a business guide to making offshore outsourcing computer programming projects a success, especially given that over half of all offshore outsourcing projects do not achieve their cost-saving goals or timelines, if they succeed at all. Chapters outline how to choose the right vendor, stay in control of outsourced software development projects, achieve results on-time and on-budget, protect one's intellectual property, choose when to create a subsidiary for greater savings, and much more. Occasional black-and-white diagrams illustrate this no-nonsense, "must-read" guide for every executive before they commit thousands or millions of dollars' worth of resources to an offshore outsourcing software project.

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault
David K. Lynch
Thule Scientific
PO Box 953, Topanga CA 90290
0977993507 $39.95

Written by astronomer and planetary scientist David K. Lynch, Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault is a collection of twelve self-guided tours that enable both visitors and residents to take in the sights and natural splendors of California's San Andreas Fault. Though a vehicle is undeniably necessary for swift travel to most of the locations, Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault is filled with hikes and walking tours to follow and take in the experience at one's own pace. Color photography illustrates this spiral-bound, reference, which easily lays flat or folds over, and an introduction outlining basic safety measures for dealing with earthquakes is very welcome. Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault is especially recommended for its highly detailed maps and directions. Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault is of course not an all-around tourism guide, and readers looking for in-depth hotel and restaurant information should look elsewhere. For anyone seeking to experience the San Andreas Fault in all its majesty, Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault is a "must".

John Taylor

Vicki's Bookshelf

Vanishing Act
John Feinstein
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
037583592X $16.95

Last year, bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein broke away from his traditional non-fiction beat to tackle children's books with a mystery set at the famed NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four. Now "Vanishing Act: Mystery at the U.S. Open" gives an inside look at the cut-throat professional tennis circuit. Teen journalists Susan Carol and Stevie are back in business. After thwarting an attempt to fix the championship basketball game, the duo have earned a chance to cover the U.S. Open. The preliminary matches have barely begun when Russian tennis phenomenon Nadia Symanova is kidnapped. The national media is abuzz with the news, but nobody seems to know what really happened. Can two kids scoop the pros?

Small Beauties
Elvira Woodruff
illustrated by Adam Rex
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0375826866 $15.95

Set in 1845 in a small country cottage on Derry Lane, "Small Beauties" is a touching story of courage, family, emigration and one young girl's gift. Darcy heart O'Hara has the special gift of noticing all the small beauties in her quaint town of Pobble O'Keefe. The O'Haras are tight on money and food, but Darcy barely realizes it as she is nourished by beautiful spiders webs wet with dew, bright yellow buttercups and heart-shaped pebbles. But soon a potato famine is upon them, and with nowhere else to turn the O'Haras are forced to cross the ocean to seek a better future in America. Sadly, Darcy's grandparents are too old and tired to make the trip, but Darcy will make sure they are remembered, in the small beauties she carries with her. "Small Beauties" is filled with charming details and a loving family.

Babysitter's Business Kit: Be the Best Babysitter on the Block
Harriet Brown
illustrated by Jodi Preston
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691866 $12.95,

This helpful kit, which includes an updated version of "The Babysitter's Handbook," provides enterprising girls with practical ideas for developing their own successful babysitting business. The kit also features checklists, a client address book, safety tips, stickers, notepads, business cards, and other necessary tools to become a competent and professional babysitter. For ages 10 and up.

Girls and their Dogs
Sara Hunt
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691696 $8.95

This book includes tales of real dogs and their girls who love them, including stories about a seeing eye dog-in-training, a show dog, and a dog who survived a hurricane. The book also features information about how dogs communicate, a list of great pooch names, and mini posters and trading cards.

The Light in the Cellar: A Molly Mystery
Sara Masters Buckey
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691599 $10.95,

Molly wishes that she and her English friend Emily had exciting volunteer jobs that really helped in the fight to win World War II. Instead, they're magazine delivery girls at Oak Knoll Hospital. Soon, however, Molly and Emily start to suspect that something very un-patriotic is going on at Oak Knoll – and their snooping leads them in deep trouble. For ages 8-11.

Minute Mysteries 2: More Stories to Solve
Teri Witkowski and Jennifer Hirsch
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593692005 $5.95

There are 11 new tales to untangle in this second Mini Mysteries book. Girls can check for clues and see if they can spot the secrets in every story. Each of the mysteries, featuring American Girl's popular historical characters, can be solved by true super sleuths in a matter of minutes. For American Girl fans age 8 – 11.

Midnight in Lonesome Hollow: A Kit Mystery
Kathleen Ernst
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691610 $10.95,

In this new addition to the mystery series, Kit is visiting her Aunt Millie in Mountain Hollow, Kentucky, in 1934. When a professor arrives to study Kentucky mountain traditions, Kit is thrilled to help with her research until it becomes clear that somebody doesn't want "outsiders" nosing around. Kit decides to find out who's making trouble, even if it means venturing into Lonesome Hollow in the dark of night. For Kit's American Girl fans ages 8-11.

Petal Perfect: Flower Crafts to Color Your World
Patricia Doherty
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691858 $17.95

Girls can let their creativity bloom with the fun flower crafts in this kit. Project ideas, such as "bitty bud" earrings and big blossom covered lamp shades, will bring a breath of spring to any room, or make great gifts for friends and family. A clever gift package addition to American Girl's popular crafts line for girls 8-11.

Real Families: Figuring Out Your Family and Where You Fit In
Amy Lynch
illustrated by Carol Yoshizumi
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
159369167X $9.95

A companion to "Real Beauty," "Real Spirit" and "Real Fitness," this advice book helps better understand and deal with their own unique family dynamics. The guide includes tips and advice on living, communicating, and having fun with parents, stepparents, brothers, sisters and other family members.

Shadows on Society Hill: An Addy Mystery
Evelyn Coleman
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691637 $10.95,

In the winter of 1866, Addy's poppa gets a new job and his employer, Mr. Radisson, even offers the Walker family a home of their own on the grounds of his fine house in Society Hill. Addy's delight quickly evaporates as she realized that Mr. Radisson's house holds frightening secrets – one of which leads straight back to the plantation where Addy's family was held in slavery only two years before.

Samantha's Magnetic Mini World
illustrated by Dan Andreasen and Mike Wimmer
American Girl / Pleasant Company
8400 Fairway Place, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
1593691807 $9.95

American Girl fans will love playing with their favorite AG character with "Samantha's Magnetic Mini World" or one of several others featuring the beloved American Girl characters. In this one, Samantha interacts with her best friend, Nellie, in scenes girls set up themselves, from Samantha's bedroom to her classroom at Miss Crampton's Academy. Perfectly designed for travel, these play sets include two dolls in four different outfits; two magnetic scenes; 24 magnetic furniture pieces and accessories; and a book about traditions. Other sets feature the characters Moly and Emily; Kit and Ruthie; Addy and Sarah; Kaya and Speaking Rain; Felicity and Elizabeth; Josefina and Claira; and others.

Saving the Liberty Bell
Megan McDonald, illustrations by Marsha Gray Carrington
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
0689851677 $16.95

Some tall tales are actually true, and this is a grand one, told (picture book style) with rightful pride by a boy who was there in the city of Philadelphia in 1777 and was lucky enough to play a role in the American Revolution. John Jacob Mickley, 11 years old, and his father were in the city when the Great Bell began ringing from atop the State House to warn the citizens that the redcoats were coming with their cannons and muskets to try to keep the colonies for the King of England. They looted the town for any metal they could find to melt down for more weapons. The prize above all others? The Great Bell itself. But the clever locals had other plans for keeping the Bell safe from the British. A fun and carefully-researched picture book for ages 5-8.

The Silver Crown
Robert C. O'Brien
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
068984106X $17.99

In this reissue of the children's literature classic "The Silver Crown" Ellen wakes on her 10th birthday to find a silver crown on her pillow. She happily wears her strange, new crowd to the part that morning, but when she returns she is horrified to find that her house has burned down and her family has disappeared. Ellen must go to her Aunt Sarah's house for help, but the only way to get there is to travel the unforgiving mountains by foot. Her journey turns treacherous when she and her travel companion, Otto, stumble across an ominous castle where evil rules and everyone who enters falls prey to the darkness within. Everyone, that is, except Ellen. She alone must conquer this mysterious force – but how? Will the power of the silver crown save her?

Drawing Lessons
Tracy Mack
Blackstone Audiobooks
P.O. Box 969, Ashland OR 97520
0786159766 $24

Twelve-year-old Rory is an artist like her father. Through a hundred drawing lessons, he has guided her hand, trained her eye, taught her how to mix colors and achieve perspective. Together they plan to paint a beautiful mural for Rory's mother, maybe a sunset because she always misses the real sunset while she's at her job, supporting the family. Rory goes to find her father in his studio so she can show him her sketch for the mural. But when she arrives, she finds him kissing his model. Outraged, she tries to hurt him by burning up her sketchbook, and her father leaves. Rory is devastated and stops painting altogether. Finally she realizes that she has to talk to her father. This young adult book-on-tape audio production was read by actress Marguerite Gavin.

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates
Mary Mapes Dodge
Blackstone Audiobooks
P.O. Box 969, Ashland OR 97520
0786174951 $72

Set in The Netherlands, the beautiful land of windmills, tulips and wooden shoes, this timeless story relates the adventures of the impoverished by virtuous Brinker family. Young Hans and Gretel work toward two goals: finding the doctor who can restore their father's memory, and winning the competition for the silver skates. Their good deeds help to bring about good fortune for their whole family. With many interesting details about Dutch family life and history, this charming tale published more then 140 years ago continues to delight with its inspiring story that encourages us to pursue our dreams. This book-on-tape audio production was read by actress Christine Marshall.

Saving Manatees
Stephen R. Swinburne
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church St., Honesdale, Penn. 18431
1590783190 $16.95 www.boydsmillspress

This picture book pays homage to the lumbering manatees that have been swimming in the ocean near Florida for ages. Their bones have been found in sediment dating back more than a million years, but today this ancient animal faces an uncertain future. Author Stephen Swinburne takes young readers into the underwater world of manatees as he assists marine biologists who monitor the health of manatees in Homosassa Springs, Florida; observes a necropsy to determine the cause of a manatee's death; and snorkels in the Crystal River with a dozen fourth-graders to observe manatees in the wild. Filled with fascinating facts and up-close photographs of manatees, this book is a fine introduction of a unique marine animal to young readers.

The Forest in the Hallway
Goron Smith
Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin
251 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
0618688471 $16

The gothic artwork of illustrator Jaime Zollars drew me into the pages of author Gordon Smith's fascinating "The Forest in the Hallway." Fourteen-year-old protagonist Beatiz comes home from school one day to find that her parents have vanished without a trace. After being shipped off to New York City to stay with her uncle, she receives a very peculiar invitation to visit the nineteenth floor of his apartment building. Hoping for clues to her parents' whereabouts, Beatriz ventures upstairs – and finds herself at the starting point of a strange and magical journey. The mystery of her parents' disappearance deepens as Beatriz travels into a forest filled with being both enchanting and sinister. Dodging miscast spells and encounters with a not-so-deadly Death, Beatriz begins to fear that her long, frustrating search has been in vain. But as she presses on, the line between this world and the one she knows starts to blur, and she begins to sense that her parents may be nearer than she first believed. Rich in wordplay, literary allusions, and deadpan humor, this imaginative novel introduces an original fantasy world.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Daria Snadowsky
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0385733208 $16.99

Daria Snadowsky's debut novel reveals the agony and ecstasy of first love and every emotion in between. "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" is a laugh out loud funny, but is also brutally-honest in its depiction of love's many firsts. The novel is also the contemporary counterpart of Judy Blume's "Forever" in its exploration of the intense emotional and physical experiences of a first serious relationship. Protagonist Dominique Baylor ahs it all figured out: she's going to graduate from her small private school with top grades and then take Stanford Medical School by storm. But a massive wrench is thrown in her plans when she slips in a huge mud puddle and lands at the feet of Wesley Gershwin. As he flashes his winning smile and helps her up, Dominique is instantly hooked. Going on dates, holding hands and experiencing the rush of new love are fun. But knowing what to do next hardly comes easy, especially when they both discover neither of them has had any experience with the opposite sex. No matter how many times she pours over her copy of "Grey's Anatomy of the Human Body," nothing could ever prepare her for the ins and outs of Wesley Gershwin. Now Dominique is about to get a crash course in love and everything that comes after. For mature teens, age 14 and up.

Better Than Yesterday
Robyn Schneider
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0385733458 $15.99

At the prestigious Hilliard Preparatory School, summer session isn't for slackers, SAT scores are near perfect, competition is fierce and gossip isn't for the timid. A wry, honest look into the boarding school world, "Better Than Yesterday" examines the challenges and friendships that shape a group of young students' lives. Told in alternating viewpoints by smart, hip fashionista Skylar Banks and guitar-loving brainiac Charley Morton, "Better Than Yesterday" captures the social and academic pressures of four rising seniors. As summer session kicks off, Skylar is the most likely candidate for valedictorian, but despite her academic success, she struggles with her reputation for taking things straight from JV to varsity. Charley plans to get in to Harvard, just like his parents plan, and hopes to win over Skylar, his dream girl. Summer session is thrown a curve when Charley's freshman year roommate Blake appears after an unexplained two-year absence. Skylar can sense that their old friend Blake is in trouble, and her suspicions are confirmed when Blake takes off for New York City. Charley, Skylar and her roommate Marissa, have no choice but to risk their perfect transcripts to find him. Written when she was 17, author Robyn Schneider's quick-witted narration demonstrates a keen understanding of the insecurities and idiosyncrasies of the teen years she just left behind. For readers age 14 and up.

Briana's Gift
Lurlene McDaniel
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
978038731607 $10.95

The cycle of life is rarely more vivid than in bestselling author Lurlene McDaniel's latest novel, "Briana's Gift." As one life ends, another begins in this heartfelt story about life, death, love, and family. Thirteen-year-old protagonist Sissy Scanland has been through a lot of heartache in her short life. She's lost her father and her grandmother, has a mother with rheumatoid arthritis, and now her older sister Briana has run off to Los Angeles to live with her boyfriend. And even though she has the support of her two best friends, Melody and Stu, Sissy still feels a void in her heart left by Briana's departure. And then one day Briana returns – pregnant. Sissy is ecstatic at the thought of a baby in the house, but her mother wonders how they will be able to take care of a newborn. She even suggests adoption, but Briana is adamant about keeping the baby. And just when Sissy's family is getting back on track, another tragedy occurs. An illness leaves Briana brain-dead and on life support so that her baby girl can survive. McDaniel fans will devour this tear-jerking yet hopeful story about the fragility of life and the importance of family. Sissy's story is a compelling one, and readers will remember it long after the last page has been read. "Briana's Gift" is sure to keep McDaniel fans satisfied. For ages 12 and up.

Corydon & The Fall of Atlantis
Tobias Druitt
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0375833838 $15.99

In this action-packed sequel to "Corydon & the Island of Monsters," mother-and-son writing duo Diane Purkiss and Michael Dowling (writing under the pen name of Tobias Druitt) spin another fascinating, mythological adventure starring Corydon, an unassuming, young goat herder who has the body of a boy and hooves for feel, and whose fierce loyalty to his fellow monsters sends him on a dangerous journey. When the stoic, peace-loving Minotaur is captured and taken from the quiet Island of Monsters, Corydon and his fellow beasts – Medusa's son Gorgos, the winged sisters Euryale and Sthenno, the five-headed Lady Nagaina and Snake-Girl – set off to rescue him. They are convinced he has been taken to the legendary, far-away city of Atlantis. But the farther they travel the more foreign and hostile the waters become. As they narrowly escape various dangers, the monsters draw closer to Atlantic and to an epic battle between Gods – a battle in which the monsters may be mere pawns. For readers ages 10 and up.

Forever in Blue
Anne Brachares
Delacorte Press / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0385729367 $18.99

"Forever in Blue" is the fourth and final novel in Ann Brashares' #1 New York Times bestselling series "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Once again it finds the four childhood friends – Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bridget – having just completed their freshman year in college. The time the summer brings new surprises in love and relationships for the girls and the Sisterhood saga is brought to a surprising conclusion. For ages 12 and up.

Un Lun Dun
China Mieville
Del Rey / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0345495160 $17

"Un Lun Dun" is a tripped-up vision of a city we all know and a fantasy for all ages, imagined by China Mieville, an award-winning maser of dark, literary fantasy. It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up…and some of its lost and broken people, too – including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book. When 12-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

DK Experience: Extreme Weather
John Farndon
375 Hudson St., NY, NY, 10014
0756628370 $15.99

DK's "Experience" series uses panoramic storyboard sequences to help readers dive into the printed page and learn in a whole new way as the action unfolds. The astonishing story of "Extreme Weather" begins far out at sea, as clouds build up into towering thunderheads, growing and gathering strength. As the winds climb, the storm is ready to unleash terrible destruction as it heads for a seaside town. Fantastic digital imagery takes readers right into the heart of devastating tornadoes, hurricanes, storm surges, monsoons and blizzards. Eyewitness accounts, thrilling stories, and fantastic facts guarantee that this learning experience is an unforgettable one.

Pick Me Up
David Roberts and Jeremy Leslie
375 Hudson St., NY, NY, 10014
0756621593 $29.99

"Pick Me Up" is a reference book revolution that could change the way kids and teens want to learn about history, science, nature, and culture outside of the classroom. Takeing cues form the internet, video games, and television, "Pick Me Up" appeals to modern kids and teens. The book is organized like a miscellany, brimming with engaging information. Where else can you randomly flip the pages and discover the meaning of life? Or that a new species of fish is discovered each week? Or what a Viking girl would post on her blog? Sure, it dumbs things down, offering sound bites and interesting tidbits rather than detailed discourse, but this truly makes reading a captivating experience – especially for time-strapped kids with short-attention spans. A serious boredom buster for kids of all ages, and a gift book worth giving.

Thomas Marent
375 Hudson St., NY, NY, 10014
0756619408 $40

Up-close and uniquely personal, this exquisite book showcases the world's rainforests, as seen through the lens of nature photographer Thomas Marent, who spent 16 years traveling through five continents. A hauntingly beautiful photographic portrait of the planet's richest and most diverse habitats, and their inhabitants, "Rainforest" will open your eyes to the wonders of life under the canopy. "Rainforest" celebrates the fascinating behavior and incredible variety of rainforest animals and plants – from resourceful colonies of leafcutter ants and poisonous frogs to the multi-hued clouds of butterflies and birds that flutter high in the tree tops. Incredibly, more is known about our universe than the millions of plant and animal species that teem inside these great hothouses of life. "Rainforest" takes you inside this mysterious realm, with stunning photographs on every page, accompanied by informative detail and the personal stories behind the images. Gorgeous.

Anything But Ordinary
Valerie Hobbs
Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374303746 $16

Winifred and Bernie are individualists. All through high school, they pride themselves on being different. They like to read Shakespeare. They wear green hats. And they stick together. So when the time comes to consider college, they look at catalogs and apply everywhere together. But then Bernie's mom passes away, and Bernie begins cutting class and starts working at a tire shop. And instead of making college plans with Bernie, Winifred goes to school about as far from New Jersey as she can: the University of California at Santa Barbara. While there, Winifred is persuaded by her three socially savvy roommates to leave her book-loving ways and spend more time fitting in. When Bernie catches up with her, he finds that Winifred has become. . . ordinary. Can they rediscover their true selves—and true love?

The Room of Wonders
Sergio Ruzzier
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374363439 $16

Pius Pelosi, a young pack rat, loves to collect things and arrange his findings in a special room, which attracts curious visitors. His very favorite item is a plain-looking gray pebble, and it baffles everyone. They all ask why he would keep such an ordinary stone. Bowing to public opinion, Pius gets rid of it, but in doing so, he discovers he's lost much more than just the pebble. Italian picture book author/illustrator Sergio Ruzzier's philosophical tale about a small creature who has the eye of an artist is brought to life in droll illustrations.

Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen
Cari Best, pictures by Christine Davenier
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West, NY, NY 10003
0374363862 $16

Sally Jean was born to ride. And her bicycle, Flash, is just about her best friend. But one day something terrible – and wonderful – happens. Sally Jean grows. And suddenly she finds herself too big for Flash. Sally Jean tries walking places, skipping, and even jumping, but nothing feels as good as riding. Her parents tell her she must wait until next year to get a new bike. But she can't wait. "What do I do now?" she asks. Can Sally Jean, who is always so clever at fixing other people's bicycle problems, fix her own, and in true Bicycle Queen style? A picture book for young pedal pushers ages 4-7.

Evil Genius
Catherine Jinks
Harcourt Inc.
15 E. 26th St., New York, NY 10010
0152059881 $17.00

"Evil Genius" is the story of Cadel Piggott, a boy with a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven he was illegally hacking into computers, and now at 14 he's studying for his World Domination degree at the Axis Institute, taking courses in embezzlement, forgery, infiltration, and the like. At heart, Cadel is a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to realize the moral implications of his studies. But has he gone too far into the world of evil to escape alive? An engrossing thriller, "Evil Genius" explores the fine line between good and evil in a strange world of manipulation and subterfuge where nothing is as it seems.

Flora Segunda
Ysabeau S. Wilce
Harcourt Inc.
15 E. 26th St., New York, NY 10010
0152054332 $17

Women generals, magical butlers, dainty pirates a house in disrepair – all of these elements are woven together in Ysabeau S. Wilce's fascinating new novel. "Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog." Flora Fyrdraaca, just shy of her 14th birthday, should know better than too take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall. The house has 11,000 rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler – and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Juvenille readers will appreciate the seemingly original setting, but savvy adult readers will recognize the devices from previous fantasy novels including the highly-original "House of Leaves."

Only You Can Save Mankind
Terry Pratchett
Harper Collins
1350 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10019-4703
0060541865 $15.99

Johnny Maxwell is playing the video game Only You Can Save Mankind when the alien spaceship he is trying to destroy sends a message: We surrender. Huh? There's nothing in the manual about messages, much less about requests for safe conduct. And what is a 12 year-old boy supposed to do with a fleet of alien prisoners? Before Johnny realizes what is happening, he is completely immersed in the game and determined to save the underdog aliens from extinction. Meanwhile, in the outside world, the Gulf War wages, with video coverage constantly playing on the TV, and the video images look frighteningly similar to video games. Too many parallels have him asking "What is reality?" and his friends wondering about his sanity. The first book in the award-winning Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, "Only You Can Save Mankind" is a fast, funny, and thought-provoking introduction to Johnny Maxwell and his extraordinary adventures. Written in response to was in the Middle East, its themes and questions are familiar and relevant. For ages 8 and up.

The North Pole Was Here
Andrew C. Revkin
Kingfisher / Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Ave. So., New York, NY 10003
0753459930 $15.95

The North Pole is one of the world's last uncharted frontiers and has long been surrounded by legend and intrigue. In "The North Pole Was Here" a New York Times book for young adults, seasoned Times reporter Andrew Revkin examines the past, present, and future of the floating sea ice at the top of the world. Revkin, who has been to the Arctic three times in all, traveled to the North Pole in the summer of 2003 with a group of scientists who are trying to determine what's behind the dramatic warming of the Arctic climate. Most experts say at least some of the change must be due to global warming from the atmospheric buildup of heat-trapping pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes, but the region defies easy answers. Intertwining his own story with those of explorers past, Revkin vividly chronicles science conducted at the edge of the possible and aimed at deciphering an urgent puzzle. "The North Pole Is Here" quite interestingly bridges the gap between the generation that is currently influencing the climate and the one that will grapple with the consequences. For ages 10 and up.

A Kid's Guide to Giving
Freddi Zeiler
illustrated by Ward Schumaker
Innovative Kids
18 Ann Street, Norwalk, CT 06854-2258
1584764899 $9.99

Written by a 14-year old for kids, "A Kid's Guide to Giving" is an excellent handbook for instilling interest in self-less public service in every child. The book began when young author Freddi Zeiler decided to donate the money from her piggy bank to a worthy cause, but found that there were so many to choose from that she didn't know where to begin. So she set out to research them all. Here, Freddi has broken down her findings in a comprehensible guide to giving money, volunteering, donating goods, and organizing charity events. The included list of charitable organizations makes it easy for kids to get involved in the charities that mean the most to them. A very good source guide for community, school and scout groups.

Just In Case
Meg Rosoff
Wendy Lamb Books / Knopf Delacorte Dell
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0385746784 $16.95

With "Just In Case," Meg Rosoff ("How I Live Now") introduces us to another utterly beguiling 15-year-old. Convinced fate has it in for him, Justin Case is like watching a train wreck. After rescuing his younger brother who is teetering on the edge of his balcony, David Case realized the fragility of life and senses impending doom. Without looking back, he changes his name to Justin and assumes a new identity, new clothing, and new friends, and dares to fall in love with the seductive Agnes Bee. With his imaginary dog Boy in tow, Justin struggles to fit into his new role and survive in a world where tragedy is around every corner. He's got to be prepared. Just in case. Hugely dramatic, darkly funny, subversive and sophisticated, "Just in Case" upends reality as it captures the true essence of one teenage boy. For readers 14 and up.

American Symbols: The U.S. Constitution
Norman Pearl
illustrated by Matthew Skeens
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd. Suite 232, Minneapolis, Minn. 55416
1404826432 $23.93

Both real and fictional narrators serve as your tour guides on this fun and factual trip into American Symbols. Francis Scott Key, Ben Franklin, and James Madison offer insight on their roles in history and the resulting symbols, such as the National Anthem, that are still honored today. Designed for school library use in grades K-2, each book includes labeled diagrams, stanzas and melody line, glossary, biographies of Constitutional Signers, fun facts, index, book list, and safe internet sites for further research. Other titles in the series are: "The Great Seal of the United States," "Our American Flag," "Our National Anthem," "The Statue of Liberty" and "The White House."

Amazing Science: Composting: Nature's Recyclers
Robin Koontz
illustrated by Matthew Harrad
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd. Suite 232, Minneapolis, Minn. 55416
1404821945 $23.93

How does it work and why? These fun, elementary science books answer kids'questions about the world around them – and encourage them to ask more. Written for ages 5-10 (grades K-4), each book includes side bars, experiments, an activity, table of contents, index, fun facts, booklist, glossary, and safe internet sites at for additional research and reading. The series includes five additional titles: "Erosion: Changing Earth's Surface," "Magnification: A Closer Look," "Science Measurements: How Heavy? How Long? How Hot?," "Science Safety: Being Careful," and Science Tools: Using Machines and Instruments."

Dinosaur Find: Aletopelta and Other Dinosaurs of the West Coast
Dougal Dixon
illustrated by Steve Weston and James Field
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd. Suite 232, Minneapolis, Minn. 55416
1404827447 $23.93

This series by renowned dinosaurs author Dougal Dixon, looks at dinosaurs and the different places they lived more than 65 million years ago. The series features some of the biggest, fiercest, fastest, and brainiest dinosaurs ever to roam the earth. Written for readers ages 5-9 (grades K-3), each library-bound book includes standard non-fiction components for elementary non-fiction research: table of contents, glossary, index, pronunciation guide, booklist, and side bars, plus size comparison charts, and safe internet sites at for further research. The series also includes five other new series extension titles: "Allosaurus and Other Dinosaurs of the Rockies," "Coelophysis and Other Dinosaurs of the South," "Dromaeosaurus and Other Dinosaurs of the North," "Maiasaura and Other Ddinosaurs of the Midwest," "Nodosaurus and Other Dinosaurs of the East Coast."

Field Trips: Out and About at the Theater
Bitsy Kemper
illustrated by Zachary Trover
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd. Suite 232, Minneapolis, Minn. 55416
140482280X $25.26

Field trips are so much fun! This series of books invites young readers ages 4-9 (grades Pre-K-3) to join a class as they tour new places and learn things about different field trip destinations. The books are nice ways to cure the field-trip-jitters by letting young students know what to expect, and boost their enthusiasm for learning about new places, businesses, and what happens behind the scenes. Includes glossary, index, activity, fun facts and safe internet sites at for further reading and research. Three other new titles in the series extension are "Out and About at the Dentist," "Out and About at the Greenhouse," and "Out and About at the Stadium."

Word Fun: If You Were a Conjunction
Nancy Loewen
illustrated by Sara Gray
Picture Window Books
5115 Excelsior Blvd. Suite 232, Minneapolis, Minn. 55416
1404823859 $25.26

Conjunctions, interjections, prepositions, prepositions, and pronouns – which part of speech would you want to be? Life as a word can be wild and a lot of work. Discover how these lexicons live and how they help build sentences. Written for ages 7-10 (grades 2-4), each book includes basic non-fiction sections including glossary, index, booklist, side bars, activity, and safe internet sites at Three additional new titles are now available in this series extension: "If You Were an Interjection," "If You Were a Preposition," and "If You Were a Pronoun."

A Pickpocket's Tale
Karen Schwabach
Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
037583379X $

Illuminating the often neglected history of Jewish culture in colonial life, "A Pickpocket's Tale" uses richly detailed descriptions and authentic period language bringing the sights and sounds of history to life. Molly Abraham is a ten-year-old orphan who can pick a pocket in seconds without getting noticed. Or so she thinks. A rival thief rats her out and it's off to Newgate prison to await her sentencing. Her punishment proves far worse than starving to death on the streets of London. She is sent to the American colonies and survives a treacherous journey only to be sold into servitude upon her arrival. Molly is bought by a Jewish family that wants her for more than household chores. The Bells want to nurture her and develop a part of Molly she wasn't even aware of. Molly is Jewish and her new "family" wants to teach her about her faith and culture. But Molly isn't concerned about religion – she only wants to return to London. Molly's life with the Bells shows her that it's not where you come from that's important, but what you believe in.

Dirty Magic
Carol Hughes
Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0375831878 $17.95

After a night of terrifying dreams, Joe wakes to find a young girl, dressed in an all gray uniform, in his bedroom. Katherine has come to take Joe on a journey through her war ravaged land. She tells Joe that he must come with her if he wants to save his young sister, Hannah, who is gravely ill. Katherine leads Joe to her gray world, which is in the midst of a twenty-year-old war fueled by jealous sisters and the power of machines. There Joe dodges bullets, fearsome motion-tracking tanks, and the secret police as he searches for his sister. In "Dirty Magic," author Carol Hughes has created a fantasy world filled with iconic images of World War I and II including no man's land, secret police, and an underground resistance. Filled with unique characters, "Dirty Magic" is a real page-turner. For ages 10 and up.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, NY, NY 10012-3999
0439813786 $22.99

Orphan, clock keeper and thief, Hugo lies in the walls of a busy Paris train station where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks – like the gears of the clocks he keeps – with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train station, Hugo's undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. With 284 pages of original drawings, and combining elements of picture book, graphic novel and film, Brian Selznick breaks open the novel form to create an entirely new reading experience. Here is a stunning, cinematic tour de force from a boldly inventive storyteller, artist, and bookmaker. The book was optioned prepublication for a film to be directed by Martin Scorsese, so kudos to Selznick.

The Bunnies Are Not In Their Beds
Marisabina Russo
Schwartz & Wade / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
03755839615 $15.99

"The Bunnies Are Not in their Beds" is a bedtime book that is rhythmic and soothing, and filled with fun. "Nighttime has come, and the little bunnies are in bed. Good night, good night, sleep tight." But wait, what's that noise? Sounds like the bunnies have left their beds. Mama and Daddy come to their room and lay down the law. No more getting out of bed to play train, they say. And all is quiet until…sounds like the bunnies are at it again. Will Mama and Daddy ever get them to sleep? Or will the parents fall asleep first out of exhaustion? And then just think of the trouble those mischievous bunnies will get into.

Duck, Duck, Goose
Schwartz & Wade / Random House
1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036
0375840680 $15.99

They're quaa-aaack! Tad Hills, creator of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling picture book "Duck & Goose," returns with an irresistible sequel, "Duck, Duck, Goose." This charming and hilarious follow-up deals with an issue close to the heart of children everywhere: What happens when your best friend makes a new friend? With the arrival of a little duck (aptly named Thistle), the two birds face a big challenge to their newly-formed friendship. Duck thinks Thistle is fantastic, but Goose does not. Any child who has ever felt left out will empathize with Goose's predicament and ALL will instantly recognize themselves in these funny and eternally optimistic characters. A deliciously funny read-aloud.

Art Academy: Collage It
Silver Dolphin Books
5880 Oberlin Dr.
San Diego, CA 92121-4794
1592234674 $16.95

Did young Henry Matisse create faces out of the peas and carrots on his dinner plate? Probably. Now here's a chance for kids to release their inner "artists" and create modern collage masterpieces of the own. Each practical kit comes with a set of basic collage essentials, as well as a 48-page book filled with the inspiring stories of famous collage artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Joan Miro, Gustav Klimt, and contemporary artists like Nam Jone Paik. Kids can challenge their creativity with the 20 art projects suggested here, including their own Matisse-inspired disco dancer collage. For ages 8 and up.

Art Academy: Paint It
Matthew Rake
Silver Dolphin Books
5880 Oberlin Dr., San Diego, CA 92121-4794
1592234666 $16.95

With this addition to the Art Academy series, kids are encouraged to explore the exciting world of modern art and create their own masterpieces at the same time. This complete kit includes a set of artists' tools and a 48-page book providing an interesting introduction to modern art and its masters with a special section covering ten of the most famous artistic movements of the 20th Century. Twenty projects are features in the "Paint It" kit, including c Warhol-inspired pop art painting, and surreal Dali dreamscapes. For ages 8 and up.

The Secret World of Unicorns
Pat Perrin
Silver Dolphin Books
5880 Oberlin Dr.
San Diego, CA 92121-4794
1592233694 $

Legend has it that, if you're very lucky, you might see the K'i-lin, a Chinese unicorn considered to bring great fortune. If this addition to the "Secret World" series is to be believed, unicorns have even been glimpsed in New York's Central Park. In "The Secret World of Unicorns," young readers will discover where unicorns live, what they ear, and how to decipher myserioys unicorn hoof markings. This gorgeously illustrated book features scrapbook pages, postcards, news clips, and treasured mementos that weave a charming tale of these magical horned beasts.

The Floating Island
Elizabeth Haydon
illustrated by Brett Helquist
Starscape / Tor
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
0765308673 $17.95

"The Floating Island" introduces readers to Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme -- known as Ven -- the youngest son from a very large family of shipbuilders. Unlike the rest of his family who prefer to stay close to home, Ven dreams of sailing one of their ships and exploring far-off lands. Little does he know he'll soon get his chance. When Ven is chosen to oversee the test-run of the family's latest ship he is overjoyed. But once out to sea they are attacked by fire pirates and the Polyphemes' beautiful ship is destroyed, Ven, the only survivor, is rescued by another ship on its way to the island of Serendair. Thus begins his amazing adventures. Along the way he will befriend a mermaid, get thrown in jail, help to solve an old murder mystery, and find the mystical floating island, the source of the Water of Life.

Vicki Arkoff
Senior Reviewer

Vogel's Bookshelf

Guide To Getting It On
Paul Joannides
Goofy Foot Press
c/o Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
1885535694 $21.95

Written by research psychoanalyst Paul Joannides, who has served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Sex Education, Guide To Getting It On is the award-winning, comprehensive sex manual, written in plain, sometimes informal terms for lay readers and illustrated with occasional black-and-white drawings (which are often sexually explicit, but are intended specifically for educational purposes, not titillation). Guide To Getting It On does not moralize, nor does it proselytize. The purpose here is strictly to inform at length, from basic topics such as birth control and sexually transmitted disease protection to oral sex, anal sex, kinky sex, pregnancy and explaining sex to kids, sex in history and popular culture, and much more. If you get only one book about sex for your personal edification, make sure it's Guide To Getting It On. Highly recommended.

Creating A Healing Society
Susan Lawrence, M.D.
Elite Books
c/o Gulotta Communications
341 Lexington Street, Newton, MA 02466
1600700217 $15.95

Written by Susan Lawrence, M.D., Creating A Healing Society: The Impact of Human Emotional Pain and Trauma on Society and the World is far more than an individual self-help book, focusing on the ills of human emotional pain and trauma as the root cause of societal and world problems. Without support, traumatized individuals engage in self-destructive and antisocial behaviors, from spreading disease such as AIDS to engaging in drug addiction to perpetuating cyclical ills such as child abuse and neglect - to international atrocities of terror and war. Creating A Healing Society offers a personal insight to suffering, as the author describes her own alienated childhood and her efforts as an adult to help those most in need, and examines how society can be practically and spiritually improved, and offers a list of resources concerning trauma and recovery. Enthusiastically recommended.

How To Take Charge Of You Feelings, Your Actions, Your Life
Philip Roos, Ph.D.
DNA Press
PO Box 572, Eagleville, PA 19408
1933255099 $19.95

Written by mental health professional Philip Roos, Ph.D., How To Take Charge Of Your Feelings, Your Actions, Your Life is a candid self-help guide keyed to helping the reader identify and overcome automatic reactions to events that relegate humans to little better than the role of powerless robots, unable to shape their own destiny or dreams. Chapters discuss how to take charge of one's own anger, depression, anxiety, actions, self, and overall life, resisting the impulse to let momentary emotion dominate all. "We are never totally in charge. It's a matter of degree. We can increase control of our feelings, actions, and life, using the approaches and tools discussed, but complete control is an unrealistic goal." A handy appendix of do's and don'ts, a bibliography, and an index round out this compendium of tips, tricks, and techniques for attaining genuine freedom of choice in one's life. Highly recommended.

Dying to be Young
Dr. Eric Kaplan
Nightengale Press
10936 N. Port Washington Road, Suite 206, Mequon, WI 53092
Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicist (publicity)
2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274, Nashville, TN 37203
1933449403 $19.95

Written by businessman and retired chiropractor/acupuncturist Dr. Eric Kaplan, Dying to be Young: From Botox to Botulism is the true-life story of the horrific ordeal the author and his wife endured because the botulism inflicted upon them through medical malpractice. Both had been getting botox injections to hide the advance of age; when an unscrupulous physician allowed them to receive improperly diluted treatment, and then lied to them about their symptoms, both of them suffered acutely as bacterial toxins paralyzed their bodies, leaving them unable to breathe unassisted. Because of their doctor's refusal to admit that they suffered from botulism, they did not receive antitoxin in time to lessen the severity of the damage to their bodies. Only after the long course of months could they gradually regain use of their bodies from a state of total paralysis - all while nightmarishly aware of their surroundings. This is the story of their recovery, their Christian faith, their efforts to seek legal justice against the physician who wronged them; perhaps above all, it is the story about the extreme dangers of botox and all cosmetic surgery, and a cautionary tale against modern over dependency on drugs. Dying to be Young also offers insights into the true nature of youth as a state of mind, not a physical illusion, and warns that the extreme toxicity of botox makes it a potentially dangerous chemical weapon that could be used by terrorists - a strong reason to more strictly limit its distribution than the currently lax guidelines, or even outlaw it entirely. Highly recommended.

The Crook'd Staff
Peter E. Roller
Tiyospaye Publishing
8965 Hwy. 12, Suite #44, Fall Creek, WI 54742
0978503538 $14.95

History teacher Peter E. Roller presents The Crook'd Staff: An Adventure of Ireland and America, an engaging novel that opens in British-occupied Ireland in 1823. The strain of dire circumstances lead Evan Ryan and his sister Ana to immigrate to America; earning a living in the fur trade, Evan connects with the lives and cultures of the Lakota and Cheyenne Native Americans. Cross-cultural values of honor, commitment, responsibility, and love, symbolized in the passing of a crook'd staff, form the core theme of this absorbing drama about a family's perseverance, determination, and strong moral convictions.

Last Resort
John E. Carson
Aspiarions Media, Inc.
7755 Lakeview Lane, MN 55432
0977604330 $14.99

Last Resort is a haunting novel about a bestselling author, bereft of his wife and co-author, struggling to fulfill his publication contract and create another novel. As he rents a long-vacant house for a summer retreat, he discovers a surprising secret about the dwelling - the house is not quite so vacant after all. He's never truly believed in ghosts before, yet believing in them now just might be his Last Resort! An at times witty, at times darkly serious novel in first-person perspective, about the struggle to create and learning how to adapt to new challenges - and unexpected mysteries.

Grandest Illusion
Norman Haughness
Echo Park Press
PO Box 2222, Tehachapi, CA 93581
0975929917 $33.00

Grandest Illusion: The Seductive Myth of Free Will is an extensive philosophical treatise vehemently arguing against the concept of free will as it is popularly held. Instead, author Norman Haughness insists that human choices are fueled primarily by biological and environmental determinism and conditioning, and that one's experiences growing up firmly shape one's choices far and beyond whatever "will" lies within. As a practical outcome of this theory, Grandest Illusion emphatically protests an American justice system that emphasizes retribution, incarceration, and punishment over rehabilitation and crime prevention, especially given the high recidivism rates of offenders and the effect prisons have of serving as "crime schools" where offenders learn more about crime from other offenders. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the philosophical, psychological, and behavioral principles discussed at length, Grandest Illusion remains overall a powerfully worded argument, and even those who would reject Haughness' conclusions cannot deny the value of his evidence.

The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum
Michael Lane
Expert Publishing, Inc.
14314 Thrush Street NW, Andower, MN 55304-3330
Tabor Communications Consulting (publicity)
9155 Cavanuagh Court, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076
1931945705 $24.95 www.expertpublishinginc.vom

Written by successful marketing executive Michael Lane, The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum is a memoir-style novel following the path of the author's fictional alter ego, an overworked businessman who suddenly finds himself amid a workplace flare-up that could spell the beginning of the end. His frequent business trips take him far from his wife and three children, one of whom is autistic with special needs. Just when his life seems bleakest, he forms a friendship with an old jazz musician and learns about seven basic principles, which help him come to a turning point to positively change his life. Set in New Orleans prior to and during Hurricane Katrina, The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum combines the candid tone of a memoir, the perplexity of real-life dilemmas, and the optimism of the resilient human spirit to create a truly satisfying read.

Paul T. Vogel

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

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