Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everything to Lose -Andrew Gross

Everything to Lose Andrew Gross Harper, Apr 22 2014, $26.99 ISBN 9780062326379 Thirty-something single mom of seven year old low functioning Aspie Brandon, Hilary Blum is in financial trouble with enormous debt and no longer employed since losing her marketing position. With no other options, Hilary concludes she must confront Brandon’s affluent father Jim for child support though he abandoned them four years ago and since began a new perfect family. As she drives from Westchester to Greenwich on a back road she never uses, Hilary watches the car in front of her lose control and crash down an embankment. She goes down the slope to check on those inside the vehicle. Hilary finds the driver dead and a bag containing 5000 hundred-dollar bills. Desperate, Hilary grabs the loot and uses it to pay her bills. However, an angry killer seeks the cache that belongs to this psychopath. Realizing her theft left her and Brandon in peril from a deadly adversary, Hilary seeks the truth behind the cash in hopes to expose her predator before he murders her child. This is a strong thriller starring a beleaguered mom who would do anything to protect her son though she struggles to understand his behavior and fears for his future without her. Andrew Gross captures the essence of an NT caregiver raising an Autistic Spectrum child; as a mom of a high functioning Aspie I relate to Hilary’s efforts to deal with her child’s thought-processes she perceives as alien. However, why she failed to sue for child support is never explained as raising an Autistic Spectrum child is expensive and Greenwich denotes affluence. Readers will appreciate this tale as the caregiver’s prime personal value is do anything for her son even breaking all her other moral anchors. Harriet Klausner >

Untamed Wolf -Linda O. Johnston

Untamed Wolf Linda O. Johnston Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913934 General Greg Yarrow learns of feral friction between the established Alpha Force and the newly commissioned Ultra Special Forces Team. He wants the two units to cooperate in fighting the paranormal enemy and not each other. Thus he sends Lieutenant Sara McLinder to report to Alpha Force stationed at Fort Lukman on the Maryland Eastern Shore where the Ultra Special Forces Team also has its flag planted, with plans to join her. Sara arrives a day early, but soon afterward someone attacks the General. Sara and her direct reporting subordinate Sergeant Jason Connell investigate the assault, but she also finds out that rumors of shapeshifters are real as Jason turns out to be a wolf-shifter. As they work the case, their attraction grows until he risks all to keep his beloved superior officer safe. The fifth Alpha Force military romantic fantasy (see Undercover Wolf, Alaskan Wolf and Alpha Wolf) is an enjoyable tale due to the lead protagonists; especially Sara’s reaction to what she learns about Jason’s duality. Though somewhat similar in tone to Guardian Wolf, readers will enjoy this thrilling romantic suspense as Jason proves to be all he could be when it comes to fraternizing and accomplishing the mission. Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 21, 2014

Possessed By A Warrior-Sharon Ashwood

Possessed By A Warrior Sharon Ashwood Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913941 The attack left La Compagnie des Morts lead horseman Jack Anderson the vampire dead, but not before Death contacted his teammate Sam Ralston. The police ruled Jack’s demise was caused by a DUI. Attending his funeral are his niece wedding planner Chloe and three of his friends, Sam, Kenyon the werewolf and Dr. Mark Winspear. Sam turns out to be co-executor along with a stunned Chloe of Jack’s estate; both share in common love, respect and now grief for the dearly departed billionaire, and a disbelief that he died while under the influence; but apparently little else. At Jack’s Oakwood estate, Sam and Chloe find a wedding dress with valuable jewels sewed into it and a note to her to trust him. As the pair team up on an investigation as to who or what killed the leader of the Four Horsemen field agents unit and try to learn the secret of the wedding dress, unknown adversaries assault Chloe; causing Sam to put aside his thirst for revenge in order to protect the woman he loves. The paranormal elements, particularly the species, come across as genuine as does the inquiry while Chloe and Sam are a delightful pairing of seemingly star-crossed lovers. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy stepping into the Ashwood realm in a terrific romantic urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner >

Seduce Me-Jo Leigh

Seduce Me Jo Leigh Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798001 In New York City, twenty four women race to the table filled with the Hot Guys Trading Cards. Film archivist Natalie Gellar likes what she reads about librarian Max Zimm because of his reference to How I Met Your Mother before turning over the card to stare at the picture of a super hunk; other women are stunned by his looks too. However, due to a printer’s mix-up of card info, Max Zimm is not the librarian but instead the hunk never heard of Lilypad or Marshmallow; finally he is a disgusting lawyer. As Natalie learns more about her choice, she finds she loathes his personality and what he enjoys; likewise he feels the same about her. Still each agree to one-night but both know that is not enough. The latest It’s Trading Men (see Choose Me, Have Me and Want Me) contemporary romance is a strong entry; as the protagonists know their attraction is solar heated but each also accepts they have little else in common. Readers will enjoy this deep drama between diametrical opposites as love (and sex) may not be enough to forge a long-term relationship when nothing else binds the pair. Harriet Klausner >

Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918- John Baxter

Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 John Baxter Harper Perennial, Apr 15 2014, $16.95 ISBN: 9780062221407 Seeking to understand why his Grandpa Archie abandoned his family and quit his job that waited for him upon his return from fighting in the front during WWI to stay in Paris, John Baxter researched his relative’s time in France. Adding to the mystery of what happened to change Archie is how adamantly he refused to discuss the war though his diaries provide a glimpse into his soul. However, instead of just a memoir, Paris At The End Of The World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 is also a superb historical that shines a light on how Parisians especially artists, who flocked to the city from around the world in spite of the horrors not far away, adapted to the fighting. Whereas the city’s residents kept the gaiety of the arts thriving in spite of shortages and the sounds of war nearby, the grim no nonsense Australian soldiers across the Channel prepared to take the fight to the Kaiser. Readers will appreciate this strong WWI account of Paris and the Aussies in Britain while also enjoying the search for Archie’s motivation. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Make Me Melt-Karen Foley

Make Me Melt Karen Foley Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798018 Judge William Banks gave sixteen years old Jason Cooper a choice between a path to college and a stay in juvenile detention. Jason accepted William’s offer and moved in with the judge and his family. Five years later, William’s sweet sixteen daughter Caroline is attracted to Jason who is so different than the nearby Stanford law students who work for her dad and her high school cronies. Though he wants her, out of respect for his mentor, Jason rejects her advances culminating when he refused her in his bed seduction. A dozen years since Jason did the most difficult thing he ever did by saying no to Caroline, someone shoots the judge. While William is in ICU, now a U.S. Marshal Jason returns from San Diego to keep Caroline safe. The desire he barely controlled over a decade ago that she raised in him explodes as both succumb to their attraction. The latest U.S. Marshals romantic suspense (see Hard To Hold) is a thrilling heated second chance contemporary starring two wonderful leads. The romance and mystery are well written fun, but Jason steals the show with his at risk youthful selecting the difficult moral high road over instant gratification and continues to display strong ethics when it comes to the Banks. Harriet Klausner

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful- Katie Ganshert

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful Katie Ganshert WaterBrook Press, Apr 15 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781601425904 Feeling all alone, abandoned by family and God, fourteen year old Ivy Clark left Greenbrier, South Carolina to become a fashion model. Over the next decade she proved to be very good at her vocation since clients sought her out. She is also hurt by the people in her life as she desperately needed someone who would break down her barriers to love her as Ivy and not just for being a success. Now at twenty-four, Ivy’s career is in rapid decline as the camera shows her age to those who pay the bills demanding a younger face. Ivy returns to Greenbrier and works at her deeply devout stepmother Marilyn’s bridal shop ironically to include modeling the purity white gowns that constantly remind her of being unwanted damaged goods. Ivy’s former photographer Davis Knight left his camera behind to follow her to Greenbrier where he also once lived; he obtains maintenance work at a church. He always could see passed her mask to her inner insecurities and makes it clear to her he wants more between them; but she rejects him though she feels the same. This is a wonderful Christian inspirational drama starring three emotionally lonely people. The lead trio’s relationship with the Lord will fascinate the audience as Marilyn remains a true believer though disappointed while Ivy and to a lesser degree Davis feel God wants nothing to do with them leaving them in exile. Though the climax is too neat even for a romance, the journey to redemption is incredible. Harriet Klausner