Friday, August 28, 2015

Feels Like Family - Sherryl Woods

Feels Like Family
Sherryl Woods
Mira, Aug 25 2015, $14.95
ISBN 9780778318408

In Serenity, South Carolina, she muses that perhaps it is seeing the happiness of her two best friends (see Maddie in Stealing Home and Dana Sue in A Slice Of Heaven) but divorce attorney Helen Decatur suddenly feels alone.  Her work always was enough, but now at forty two years old that reaction formation defense mechanism no longer works especially since her biological clock has abruptly set off alarms.  She decides to have a child, but has no one in her life to sire the infant.

If she was to choose, Helen would select pastry chef Erik Whitney as the father of her offspring.  The attraction between them is palpable as her buddies can sense it as well but he seems to ignore his feelings.  She begins a scheme to seduce the chef, but when she falls in love she realizes she wants to raise a family with him; Erik has personal reasons from his past to reject the love she offers that he so dearly craves.

This reprint of the 2007 third Sweet Magnolias tale is an enjoyable contemporary as series fans will delight in the often amusing witty repartee between Helen and Erik; who both have serious issues that surface while their relationship simmers before boiling.  The story line is entertaining due to the antics of the lead couple encouraged by Helen’s BFFs and their beloved mates. 

Harriet Klausner

A Little Bit Country - Debbie Macomber and Raeanne Thayne

A Little Bit Country
Debbie Macomber and Raeanne Thayne
Mira, Aug 25 2015, $7.99
ISBN 9780778318255

“A Little Bit Country” by Debbie Macomber.  Librarian and published author Rorie Campbell drives from San Francisco to Seattle to attend a writer's conference.  On a remote county road in Oregon, her car breaks down.  Stranded with no nearby motel vacancy, Clay Franklin invites Rorie to stay at his ranch while her vehicle is repaired.  Several days together leads to an attraction that shakes both of them up as he has a nice fiancĂ©e and she has a boyfriend back home.

“Blackberry Summerby RaeAnne Thayne. In Hope's Crossing, Colorado, single mom of two kids (Macy and Owen), a dog (Chester) and a pain in the butt mom (Ruth), Claire Bradford owns struggling String Fever beads shop.  She loves her town with the only blight being her ex Jeff with his new wife Holly.  Someone broke in to her shop in a robbery and also vandalized it by knocking the beads all over the floor and destroying the customized wedding dress of the mayor’s daughter.  New Police Chief Riley McKnight arrives at Claire's shop to investigate the fourth store robbery.  When he was in high school he had a crush on her that has continued secretly over the years even today.

The 1990 reprint of A Little Bit Country is an appealing country bumpkin-sophisticated urban romance that relies too much on happenchance.  The 2011 reprint of Blackberry Summer is an engaging police procedural romance due to the super supporting townsfolk.  Though I have doubts these novels belong together, these are two fine tales.

Harriet Klausner

Wildest Dreams - Robyn Carr

Wildest Dreams
Robyn Carr
Mira, Aug 25 2015, $8.99
ISBN 9780778317494

In Thunder Point, Oregon, single Vietnamese-American mom Lin Su Simmons works long hours as a nurse caring for ALS sufferer Winnie Banks; while she also raises her ailing teenage son Charlie.  Moving next door to the Simmons is world traveling triathlete champion and Neighborhood Club franchise manager Blake Smiley.  He became an endurance runner as a means of surviving a nasty neighborhood while a child.

Blake likes the mom and son next door and both feel the same way about him.  As Blake falls in love with both Simmons, they reciprocate.  However, Lin Su becomes angry and upset, even cursing in Vietnamese, and more protective of her child when she learns of the secret her new neighbor (and former love interest) and her son concealed from her. 

The ninth Thunder Point Oregonian romance (see One Wish and A New Hope) is an interesting family relationship drama that refreshingly focuses on an adopted Amerasian and those she loves.  Lin Su owns the storyline, but realistically is unsympathetic due to her understandably rigid, judgmental personality. 

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keeper’s Reach - Carla Neggers

Keeper’s Reach
Carla Neggers
Mira, Aug 25 2015, $24.95
ISBN 9780778317524

FBI agent Emma Sharpe is excited over a weekend retreat at the Sisters of the Joyful Heart in Heron’s Cove, Maine; as this was home when she was a nun.  However, instead of staying at her former abode, Emma decides to remain at the Rock Point home of her fiancĂ© FBI agent Colin Donovan.

When Emma fails to arrive at his home and does not respond to his increasingly frantic calls, Colin fears the worst.  At the same time Emma’s disappearance frightens Colin; his brother Mike’s former military comrades in arms come to Maine to recruit him to join their Cooper Global Security company.  Among them, Mike’s former lover Naomi “magnet for trouble” MacBride explains she just arrived from England where she tracked the same art thief Emma pursued.  The siblings agree that all this coincidence adds up to Emma in trouble.

The fifth Sharpe and Donovan FBI romantic suspense (see Harbor Island and Heron's Cove) is an exciting action-packed thriller as the Donovan siblings and friends search for the missing loved one and those who dare abducted her.  Carla Neggers authors an awesome search, rescue and destroy storyline enhanced by a kick butt second chance romance.

Harriet Klausner

Starlight on Willow Lake - Susan Wiggs

Starlight on Willow Lake
Susan Wiggs
Mira, Aug 25 2015, $24.95
ISBN 9780778317951

In Avalon, New York, single mom of two young daughters (diabetic Ruby and older Cara) Faith McCallum struggles with insuring food is on the table.  Filled with despair, Faith feels she finally got a break when the Bellamy family hires her as an in-house caretaker for Alice; whose husband died in the skiing accident that left her an acrimonious paraplegic whose anger has driven off several health care employees and household staff.

Knowing she cannot run from this chance to better the lives of her children, Faith faces Alice’s rage head on while encouraging her charge to not just accept her paralysis but to live again.  Alice’s son Mason arrives at the mansion to insure a smooth transition so that he could avoid this place he detests and return to his preferable geographical electronic checkbook support to his mother and the Bellamy brood.  Whereas Faith’s courage re Alice deserts her when she meets Mason; he keeps rationalizing why he has not fled Avalon for Broadway. 

The eleventh Lakeshore Chronicles contemporary (see Candlelight Christmas and Return to Willow Lake) is a highly emotional family drama.  The cast is three dimensional especially caused by the dysfunctional dynamics of ire and angst.  The romance serves as an impetus into a profound look at the negative impacts of loss and anguish, and the healing of love and compassion.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bad News Cowboy - Maisey Yates

Bad News Cowboy
Maisey Yates
Harlequin HQN, Jul 28 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373788538

Bad News Cowboy.”  In Copper Ridge, Oregon, Kate Garrett loves horses and playing cards especially with her brothers Eli (see Part Time Cowboy) and Connor (see Brokedown Cowboy), and their best friend Jack Monaghan.   Although she knows Jack extremely well to avoid flirting with this womanizer’s fire, Kate is attracted to him.  She convinces a reluctant Jack to mentor her on the art of romance.  Jack’s problem changes from avoidance to wanting to be the kid sister’s only beau.

“Shoulda Been a Cowboy.”  After being away from Copper Ridge for a decade and a half, Jake Caldwell comes home following the death of his estranged father.  Coffee shop owner Cassie Ventimiglia tutored Jake in high school, but concealed how much she wanted this bad boy.  Now he is her landlord, but her puppy love feelings still remain only more hopelessly adult.  Jake never told her how much her support meant to him and how much he adores her now, but plans to leave anyway.

The third Copper Ridge Garret romance is a fantastic contemporary as two support players prove they can deliver a wonderful romance.  Shoulda Been a Cowboy is the first hard copy printing of a delightful Copper Ridge e-book prequel.

Harriet Klausner

Tough Love - Lori Foster

Tough Love
Lori Foster
Harlequin HQN, Aug 25 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373788484

Tough Love.”  Vanity Baker knows what she wants is MMA light-heavyweight Stack “The Wolf” Hannigan.  However, she also realizes to become his permanent she-wolf, Vanity has to overcome his aversion to commitment.  Hoping he will make a move, Vanity remained patient only outrageously flirting with her secret love for a few months.  When that strategy fails, she persuades him to accept a casual deal: if he escorts her to a family wedding, she will have no string sex with him.  Though the lessons learned growing up as part of a disturbed dysfunctional family prove difficult to overcome, Stack needs to convince Vanity he wants more than a friends with benefits relationship.

“Back to Buckhorn.”  Pet groomer Zoey Hodge left Buckhorn, Kentucky the first chance she had with no plans of returning except for short visits to see her mom.  When her mom becomes very ill, Zoey comes home to help her recover.  Firefighter Garrett Hudson loved Zoey’s wit in high school, but desires her even more now.  His mission is to persuade her that they belong together forever.

The third Ultimate (see No Limits and Holding Strong) is an enjoyable contemporary due to the fascinating protagonists plotting their respective next steps though ignoring a serious discussion when one is desperately needed.  Series fans will relish the first print copy of this pleasant Buckhorn e-book prequel even if the stars’ love overcomes their tsuris rather abruptly.

Harriet Klausner