Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hot Spell-Michelle Rowen

Hot Spell
Michelle Rowen
Harlequin Blaze, Nov 2009, $
ISBN: 9780373795079

Paranormal Assessment and Recovery Agency psychic Amanda LaGrange hates her skill as she believes her father deserted the family when she was a child because he loathed her abnormal ability. Empathic Jacob Caine only recently learned of his uncanny talent and relishes using it to help others.

They are attracted to one another, but her self-loathing leaves them with no chance to explore a relationship between two people with extraordinary skills as she sees it as a curse and he believes strongly both of them have a special gift. Although she prefers not to work with him because she knows she wants him but distrusts relationships as men leave, they unite to investigate an alleged haunted house. There they meet two ghosts who were lovers in life, but murdered and trapped by a curse until someone frees them.

This is a fascinating paranormal romance as the modern day couple become "cursed" so must resolve the mystery of the ghosts to free themselves. The story lien is entertaining although Amanda’s constant self deprecation after a while turns into a super whine. Still fans will believe in ghosts and the ghostbusters as Michelle Rowan enahcnts her fans with a Hot Spell.

Harriet Klausner

It Happened One Night-Lisa Dale

It Happened One Night
Lisa Dale
Forever, Nov 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446406901

Lana Biel dreams of seeing the world, but is devoted to helping her married sister Karin run their wildflower farm. Karin dreams of having a family but so far has not conceived. Lana ponders over living in Burlington and realizes she is not living her dream, but that of Karins’; she wants out without hurting her sibling but has no way to do so.

Lana becomes pregnant, but has doubts about raising a child especially as a single mom; besides she fears an infant will nuke her plans to leave Vermont. She turns to her best Eli Ward for advice as she has already ruled out an abortion. However, Eli has his own issue as he wants to tell Lana he loves her, but fears his revelation could result in the end of their friendship.

This is a fascinating Vermont contemporary extended family drama that is wildflower refreshed by the two sisters, who are realistic especially with their self indulgent whines (somewhat overdone with no cheese) making both of them not particularly likable. They make the tale as ironically Eli is a likeable player, but seems underdeveloped. Not an easy read, It happened One Night is a deep look at what happens to people when dreams are not fulfilled and even when they are.

Harriet Klausner

Christmas Diamonds-Devon Vaughn Archer

Christmas Diamonds
Devon Vaughn Archer
Harlequin Kimani, Nov 2009, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373861392

Her mother dumped her as a child on her grandmother who raised her with love. However, though beautiful and intelligent interior designer Paula Devine has a résumé of losers so has given up on a romantic relationship like that of her grandma whose husband proposed on Christmas.

Diamond jeweler Chase McCord misses his wife Rochelle who died two years ago. He hires Paula to redecorate a room in his home. However, before they meet formally, they encounter one another over cappuccinos in a cafe in Silver Moon, Washington which she, tired of trite males, rips his skin for staring at her. After he takes her down a peg or two, they meet formally in his office. As she works the renovation, they are attracted to one another, but he has doubts due to his feelings of deserting Rochelle and one of her ex boyfriends seems to have her on a string.

This is a fabulous holiday romance between a terrific female weary of the gender game and a wonderful somewhat fickle widower who is not afraid to exchange barbs. This pair makes a fine couple, but their respective pasts haunt them more than the ghosts visiting Scrooge. Readers will enjoy this fun tale as diamonds are a woman’s second best friend after the love of their life.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home For The Holidays- Sarah Mayberry

Home For The Holidays
Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 2009, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373715992

Two years ago his wife died in an accident that left Joe Lawson alone to raise his two children by himself. He decides to relocate them from Sydney to Melbourne so his mom can help him and her grandchildren thirteen year old Ben and tens year old Ruby though his daughter fears mom will not be able to find them if they leave their home.

His neighbor is mechanic Hannah Napier, whose fiancé dumped her after falling in love with her sister. Hannah is terrific with his kids while he fantasizes about her being with him. She is attracted to the family next door, but plans to leave Melbourne to follow her dreams. Christmas looks like it will be cold, as it has been since their mom died, to the Lawson family.

This is an engaging second chance at love Australian romance with a solid support cast and strong likable lead protagonists each with relationship demons. The two young children are terrific as they have doubts about the move and their father falling in love; Ruby will remind the audience of Abigail Breslin in No Reservations with her fear of losing her mom forever. While Hannah fears being dumped again, Joe is afraid of losing someone else he loves and the impact on his kids of his wanting to make Hannah their mom. Fans will enjoy this fine contemporary as the cast makes for an entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Conflict Of Interest-Anna Adams

A Conflict Of Interest
Anna Adams
Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 2009, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373783434

Dr. Maria Keaton testifies against a teenage client Griff Butler accused of murder in court, but his lawyer accuses her of having an affair with his client. She is suspended over the accusation of sexual misconduct. Her peers kick her to the curb and her reputation torn to shreds as she is temporarily barred from practicing psychiatry.

Maria turns to Judge Jake Sloan, who was hearing the Butler case. He has doubts about her professionalism, but quickly turns around convinced she is innocent except for being a good citizen. As they begin to fall in love, he pulls back when he learns she was his daughter Leila’s shrink.

A Conflict of Interests is a great contemporary romance as Anna Adams looks deeply at psychological issues, court proceedings, and extended family. Her mom and sister, and his daughter as well as Griff enhance the relationship between the lead couples as he is a control freak and she is an independent freak; their underlying respective philosophies of life are total opposites. Fans will relish Ms. Adams strong tale with a fabulous twist to the Butler case.

Harriet Klausner

Alaskan Renegade-Kate Bridges

Alaskan Renegade
Kate Bridges
Harlequin, Nov 1 2009, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373295685

In 1899 Victoria Windhaven provides nursing services to injured miners and others in the Skagway vicinity of the District of Alaska. Her work requires her trekking into some dangerous wilderness so a bodyguard is assigned to escort her.

Her current protector is Brant MacQuaid who jilted Victoria’s sister at the altar in St. Louis. He has been hired as her bodyguard and that of her associate medical student Cooper Sullivan as they tend to injured miners on Glitter Mountain. Victoria remains outraged with him and wishes someone else would escort her. He can feel the anger she emits at him, but refuses to allow anyone else replace him even the rival Philadelphian medical student as he needs her as his cover to capture a nasty felon besides being in love with her although keeping her safe comes first before the criminal and his desire.

This is another great Kate Bridges Alaskan Territory late nineteenth century police procedural romance. Fans will feel they are on Glitter Mountain assisting Kate and Cooper with the injured and observing the Mountie Brant as he gets his man (and more important his woman). Cooper is a strong likable support character who offers Victoria every quality trait she wants in a husband while Brant provides everything she detests in a spouse. Their spirited rivalry make for a fun historical.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Beauty of Surrender-Eden Bradley

The Beauty of Surrender
Eden Bradley
Delta (Random House), Oct 27 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780553385588

“Serving the Master: Desmond and Ava”. In San Francisco submissive Ava Gregory seeks the trance state, but dominant Marina Marchant failed to get her Bottom to achieve that at the Pinnacle BDSM sex club. Marina introduces Ava to her Nawashi expert peer in the play of the Japanese Shibari erotic ropes Desmond Hale as her guru. They achieve more than just the ultimate in play as they fall in love. Although she overcomes her embarrassment of being a submissive that has limited her contact with her family in Seattle, he never overcame his need for control since his sister Nessie drowned when they were children. Love means ceding some control.

“Soothing the Beast: Marina and James”. Marina Meets James Cortez at a lecture she gives on Shibari erotic ropes techniques. He pleads with her to play him until he achieves the shadow place so he can get respite from his demons that haunt him after the horrors he seen as a reporter covering the ugliness of the world. She informs him she only plays with women, but his need persuades her though he is not a submissive by nature and prays with her on top will give him freedom from his nightmares. As they enjoy the bondage and more, their attraction turns to love, but she fears the emotion ever since her Nathan died from cancer four years ago.

These are two well written erotic romantic novellas that focus on the characters more than sex though there are several heated rope scenes. Fans of BDSM romances will relish both well written tales but also feel each one could have easily been novel length as Eden Bradley’s exploration of the relationships beyond just top-bottom play went deep and profound especially the fears of the dominants but the resolutions seem rushed for such profound tales.

Harriet Klausner

Lady Blue-Helen A. Rosburg

Lady Blue
Helen A. Rosburg
Medallion, Nov 1 2009, $7.95
ISBN: 9781605420639

After living on a cattle ranch in America eighteen year old Harmony Simmons arrives in London following the death of her parent. She moves in with her grumpy older sister Agatha who loathes her energetic sibling’s lust for life.

The two sisters ride a coach that is robbed. Soon afterward Lord Farmington Anthony Allen arrives with a ring he insists he found. Harmony recognizes him when she stares into his eyes, but says nothing about his vocation. He thanks her by kidnapping her. Soon afterward he liberates her, but his efforts to court her as Lord Anthony is nearly impossible because Warden Agatha watches her younger sister like a hawk and distrusts the aristocrat who conceals something seemingly sinister.

This an enjoyable historical romance starring an intrepid caring heroine, a mysterious aristocratic highwayman besotted with her from their first ignominious meeting but unaware she knows his eyes anywhere from that first encounter, and her ogre older sister. The story line is fast-paced, filled with a whimsical mirth as Helen A. Rosburg tantalizes the audience and “Lady Blue” with her romantic felon while Agatha seethes and plots to rid them of Anthony Allen, lord or not.

Harriet Klausner

Wild Blue Under-Judi Fennell

Wild Blue Under
Judi Fennell
Sourcebooks, Nov 1 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402224270

When his father steps down as High Councilman, Rod Tritone knows his duty is to replace him running the Kingdom of Mer. However, the ruling Council directs Rod that before he assumes the position he will marry the lost daughter of Mer. Although he does not want to marry anyone nor go on land, Rod understands his people’s needs come before his desires.

He is given legs so he can walk with the landlubbers as his queen is on the surface in ironically land locked Kansas selling ocean tchotchkes at Therese’s Treasure Trove. Valerie Dumere scoffs at Rod’s instance that she is a hybrid human-mermaid as she has never had a tail nor can she even swim. However, when someone tries to kill her, Val knows something is not right, but still scorns her rescuer’s insistence that he lives under the sea.

The second Tritone brother Mer urban-oceanic romantic fantasy (see In Over her Head) is a terrific tale of the tail from the moment Rod arrives at the store knowing this can’t be Atlantis. Fans will enjoy the amusing banter between the disbeliever and the Mer trying to convince her to dive into the ocean as his mate while a predator wants her dead. This is a fun fantasy with readers wondering whether Val will there’s no place like home when you are loved by the one you treasure.

Harriet Klausner

Darkness Unleashed-Alexandra Ivy

Darkness Unleashed
Alexandra Ivy
Zebra, Nov 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420102970

After centuries of torture, vampire Jagr escaped, but now prefers being alone with his only companion being books. However, his superior amongst the Guardians of Eternity Chicago clan of warriors Anasso Styx assigns him a mission that Jagr would like to reject, but knows he cannot. He is to find and escort back to their haven recently discovered pureblood were-sisters of Styx's wife Darcy (see Darkness Everlasting).

Regan Garrett spent a seeming lifetime being tortured by a nasty imp. Whereas she wants to enact vengeance she knows she also does not want to ever beholden to a male. Worse Regan recognizes her wannabe rescuer is not just a soul she lusts over, but much more. Meanwhile other folks want the pureblood for their nefarious schemes, forcing two tortured souls to decide between a loving team up or two solo acts.

The latest Guardians of Eternity urban romantic fantasy stars two intriguing lead characters who have tasted the worst of the Darkness tale, but now face something even more horrific considering their respective pasts: love. Neither wants it nor welcomes it, but both cannot ignore it as each is used to being alone rather than have a mate, a sister or a friend. They make the tale as love devastates their hermit existence while a horde want the pureblood, but Jagr would die before he allows any of them to harm his soul mate.

Harriet Klausner

Shades of Midnight-Lara Adrian

Shades of Midnight
Lara Adrian
Dell, Dec 29 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780440245261

In frozen Alaska, nineteen year old Teddy Toms returns to his family compound only to find everyone dead. A gigantic humanoid creature appears and kills him too.

Bush pilot Alexandra Maguire lands at the Toms compound to deliver supplies only to be greeted eerily by corpses with bite marks on them. She has seen these bite marks before when her mother and younger brother were murdered. Alex and her father tried to move on and get passes what the monsters did to her family by leaving Florida for Alaska. The pilot notices a gigantic footprint in the nearby snow, but says nothing to the authorities.

After seeing a clip of the carnage, the Order sends warrior vampire Breed Kade to investigate what appears to be a rogue in bloodlust. He has lived his entire life on his family’s Darkhaven estate to take care of his brother who has an uncontrolled violent streak. Kade thinks the predator is his brother Seth who has killed humans before, but he soon realizes that this massacre is the work of the Ancient other worlder who escaped captivity. Alex and Kade meet with each incredibly attracted to the other. She realizes as she falls in love there are good and evil Breed and her beloved must be the former as he risks his life for her. She leads him to a defunct mine where the evil Breed reside led by the malevolent grandson of the Ancient: Dragos.

The seventh Midnight Breed tale is a compelling action-packed thriller from the onset with the slaughter at the Toms compound. Both protagonists have demons to overcome as Kade fears he will turn out like Seth did and Alex fears loving a monster like the vampire in her nightmarish past. Lara Adrian provides her fans with a strong tundra romantic fantasy as the human and the vampire find love and death in the frozen wasteland.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Mane Squeeze-Shelly Laurenston

The Mane Squeeze
Shelly Laurenston
Kensington Brava, Nov 1 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231666

Philadelphia street smart Gwen O'Neill is a hybrid shapeshifter of the lion-tiger combo. Suburban Lachlin "Lock" McRyrie is a calm purebred bear who is almost seven feet of muscle. These two are from opposite walks of life, but opposites attract at least in this case.

Gwen rejects their obvious desire for one another as she prefers the single life and also acts as protector to her loved ones. Besides which being inner city, she feels the burb is not strong enough for her. However, Lock shows his inner strength when someone commits hate-crimes trying to hurt his loved one Gwen apparently for being a hybrid.

The latest Mane urban romantic fantasy (see The Mane Event and The Mane Attraction) is a fabulous entry in a wonderful series. The story line is fast paced from the first meeting when the ferocious female basically growls at the gentle giant to get out of her heart and never slows down especially going over a mountain. Character driven by the lead couple and a nasty racist, fans will enjoy this fine tale while wondering whether the couple should buy Venetian blinds.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Instinctive-Cathryn Fox

Cathryn Fox
NAL Heat, Oct 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451227942

Jaclyn Vasenty knows in thirty five hours her true inner self will be dead. She no longer run the wild side of life having sex with Brian and Kane who make her want to forget the obligation she owes her adopted parents Ben and Marie Vasenty who rescued her from Chicago transit and foster care. She would do anything for the her parents so if she is to become head of her family’s company Vasenty Cosmetics as they want, she must change her image from bad girl to corporate exec starting by saving one of the failing stores in aptly named Serene, New Hampshire,.

However, her thought of boring serene rustication proves false when night falls on the gated community. The wild come out in the dark as all types of paranormal walk the streets. However, Jaclyn can indulge her Instinctive wild side impulse with shapeshifting panther Slyck as he takes her on runs to a nirvana she never tasted before. As her libido goes stratospheric with the troposphere next, the paranormals are having intra species issues and Kane arrives to claim her.

This erotic romantic fantasy heats up New Hampshire with a variety of sexual trysts including the incredible sexcapades between the panther and his “Impulsive” feral female, a ménage a trois and FF. However, the key to the torrid tale is the belief that the variety of paranormal species exists because the in-fighting seems genuine mirroring real life. Still it is the torrid sex scenes that will arouse sub-genre fans to want more Eternal Pleasure in the erotic realm of the Fox.

Harriet Klausner