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The Hawley Book of the Dead: A Novel
The Hawley Book of the Dead: A Novel
by Chrysler Szarlan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.26

5.0 out of 5 stars an exhilarating urban fantasy, September 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Vegas stage performers the Magical Maskelynes performed the Defying the Bullets illusion many times. However, this time when Revelation fires the gun at her husband Jeremy, a stream of red explodes. Horrified that she pulled the trigger that killed her spouse, Reve knows someone tampered with the pistol. The most likely person is Wesley Knowles who a shocked Reve notices leaving the theater early with a big grin on his face, a jaunt to his step and a revelatory nod to her.

Grieving Reve, accompanied by her teenage twin daughters (Grace and Fai) and tweener child (Caleigh), returns to her childhood home abandoned Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Able to perform real magic by disappearing into another plane, Reve needs to protect her children from a revenging individual with a two decade festering grudge; she calls her enemy Fetch. Her adversary's plan is to destroy Reve by initially harming those she loves before the final act involving Revelation's permanent vanishing. Left somewhat ignorant by her family matriarchs, Reve needs to find The Hawley Book of the Dead to learn key truths and additionally locate four artifacts that could protect her and her offspring when Fetch and whoever controls him confront her.

The Hawley Book Of The Dead is an exhilarating urban fantasy that grips the audience from the opening act homicide until the final revelations. Although the motive for Fetch seeking revenge seems weak, readers will relish the journey to the expected confrontation. Chrysler Szarlan provides a wonderful tale filled with seemingly real paranormal species residing in Vegas; a haven for families with real magical skills to live in plain sight.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 12:10 PM PDT


Madame Picasso
Madame Picasso
by Anne Girard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
44 used & new from $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent biographical fiction, September 1, 2014
This review is from: Madame Picasso (Paperback)
Madame Picasso
Anne Girard
Mira, Aug 26 2014, $14.99
ISBN 9780778316350

In 1911, Eva Gouel rejects her family’s demand she marry Monsieur Fix. Instead she flees for Paris where her only friend is Polish speaking Louis Vollard who changed her name to Marcelle Humbert. To her elation, one of her goals is met when Madam Leutard hires her as a seamstress at the Moulin Rouge. There she sees a powerful man sitting at the front of the dance hall but surprisingly no woman with him.

Last night, after a fight with his beloved intoxicated mistress and primary model, Fernande Olivier the artist, Pablo Picasso went to the Moulin Rouge alone. The next day, Louis and Marcelle visit the Petit Palais to see an exhibition. Also there is the solitary man from the evening before, an up and coming Spaniard artist Pablo Picasso. Eva becomes his insecure muse; but his Montmartre crowd prefers feisty artsy Fernande who they consider as one of them to the upstart outsider. That same year Eva came to Paris, someone stole the Mona Lisa with Picasso considered a suspect. A few short years later, as war explodes across Europe, Eva suffers from tuberculosis.

This is an excellent biographical fiction that brings to life mostly Paris when the City of Lights was the world’s cultural center during the years leading up to and the beginning of WWI. Character driven by the triangular relationship between Picasso, Gouel and Olivier, subgenre fans will relish this vivid art historical.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 10:28 AM PDT


The Maiden of Ireland
The Maiden of Ireland
by Susan Wiggs
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
36 used & new from $4.15

4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable Cromwellian romance, September 1, 2014
The Maiden Of Ireland
Susan Wiggs
Mira, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN 9780778316466

In 1658, weeping women attend the execution of Father John the heretic. The condemned man muses that for six years John Wesley Hawkins worked undercover as Father John to remove the usurper Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell from ruling the land and restore the rightful king to the throne, but failed. As he is about to hang, he says his last words: “…God save Charles Stuart…”. At the very last moment with the rope tearing into his throat, Cromwell saves his life and that of his daughter but demands in remittance John uncover the identity of the Fianna Irish rebellion or else he and his family will die.

Wesley travels to Connemara, Ireland where Caitlin MacBride, daughter of the local chieftain, notices him walking near her home Castle Clonmuir. His shameful scheme is simply seduce Caitlin into revealing who the Fianna chief is. What Wesley failed to anticipate was falling in love with his target.

This “revised” version of 1993 The Mist And The Magic (don’t know how much was refreshed) is an enjoyable brisk Cromwellian romance with a unique locale; instead of the usual London, Ireland shines during the era when Parliament and the Lord Protector ruled the kingdom. Leisurely-paced, this is an entertaining seventeenth century historical even with the lead relationship being typical of the subgenre.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 7:40 AM PDT


Ultimate Sins (The Callahans)
Ultimate Sins (The Callahans)
by Lora Leigh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.78
35 used & new from $3.84

4.0 out of 5 stars edgy romantic suspense, September 1, 2014
Ultimate Sins
Lora Leigh
St. Martin’s, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312389109

After being away from his Colorado hometown for years Crowe Callahan returns to deal with the Corbin County attorney Wayne “Slasher” Sorenson, a diabolical serial killing rapist. Crowe also realizes he will have to see the only woman he ever loved, Wayne’s daughter Amelia.

Wayne loathes Crowe and his Callahan kin especially the cousins Logan (see Deadly Sins and Rafer (see Midnight Sins) who he feels stole something that belongs to him. He has an added incentive to detest Crowe when his daughter committed the Ultimate Sins, choosing to betray him by allying with his enemy. Fearing for his beloved Amelia, Crowe expects her father to attempt to commit filicide so he risks his life to keep her safe.

The latest Callahan Sins (see Secret Sins) is an edgy over the top of the Rocky Mountains romantic suspense in which newbies will be lost and returnees need a scorecard to keep track of the Cecil B. DeMille size cast. For Sins fans only, at times the heated sexual interludes that melt the mountaintop snow intrude on the anticipated showdown between father and lover.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 8:38 AM PDT


To Love and Protect: Shadow Chasing\For All My Tomorrows (Count on a Cop)
To Love and Protect: Shadow Chasing\For All My Tomorrows (Count on a Cop)
by Debbie Macomber
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.78
40 used & new from $4.15

4.0 out of 5 stars well written police procedural romances, August 31, 2014
To Love And Protect
Debbie Macomber
Mira, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN 9780778316459

“Shadow Chasing.” Washington State residents Carla Walker and Philip Garrison meet while on vacation in Mazatlán, Mexico. They are attracted to each other from the start and fall in love. However when she learns he is a cop, Carla ends their relationship as she knows personally the danger of his occupation.

“For All My Tomorrows.” As a single mom, Widow Lynn Danfort has raised their two kids alone ever since her husband Gary died on the job. She needed Gary’s partner Ryder Matthews to help her cope, but his grief led him to flee Seattle, a luxury she could not afford with her youngsters needing her. Three years since the tragedy, Ryder returns home hoping to atone for his desertion of the woman and children he loved even before Gary’s death. However, Lynn no longer needs a man in her life.

These are reprints of 1980s Debbie Macomber police procedural romances. Though similar in overall premise and straightforward, both are well written with a nice cast.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2014 2:15 PM PDT


The Way You Look Tonight (The Seattle Sullivans)
The Way You Look Tonight (The Seattle Sullivans)
by Bella Andre
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.78
32 used & new from $3.86

4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable romance, August 31, 2014
The Way You Look Tonight
Bella Andre
Mira, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN 9780778317302

Seven years ago Rafe Sullivan left the police to open up a private investigator firm. His office proved very successful and many in Washington believe he runs the best in the state. However, jaded Rafe also knows the downside as 100% of those he or his staff investigated were up to no good.

His sister Mia the realtor tells him the lake house near Seattle that they used to visit as children is on the market. Knowing he desperately needs a getaway R&R place, Rafe buys the rundown cabin. To his pleasant surprise, staying next door at her late grandparents’ house is no longer cute but instead beautiful Brooke Jansen, who aged perfectly. Having left Boston, Brooke is thrilled that her childhood crush is within reach. However, though as attracted to her as she is to him, Rafe hesitates as he has seen so many more relationships die though he admits his extended family have proven the exception.

Having left the San Francisco Sullivans in forever loving relationships, Bella Andre heads north for the first sexy Seattle Sullivans saga. Although the location changes, the quality of the leads remains strong even if their romance starts too quickly. Series fans will find the pleasant opening act very enjoyable and look forward to Mia who’s next on deck.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2014 2:12 PM PDT


Irresistible Force (A K-9 Rescue Novel)
Irresistible Force (A K-9 Rescue Novel)
by D.D. Ayres
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
34 used & new from $4.13

4.0 out of 5 stars exciting police procedural romantic suspense, August 31, 2014
Irresistible Force
D.D. Ayres
St. Martin’s, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250042170

One month ago, someone kidnapped Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD Officer James Cannon’s K9 partner Bogart. James followed leads in search of his missing police dog until he sees Bogart with a woman in an isolated cabin just outside of Raleigh.

Shayla Appleton fears her former boyfriend, outwardly charming to the world but abusive to her. Eric Coates refuses to accept it is over between them. Thus she “adopted” dumped for death Prince from the local animal shelter where she volunteers. James confronts her for abducting his canine Bogart, but Shay says she saved him from execution as the woman who dropped him off demanded they do. After Shay dials 911, Chief Deputy Sheriff Ward arrives to take control of the scene. Shay describes the woman wanting her Prince to die; James recognizes his crazy former girlfriend Jaylynn Turner. Both already cherish Prince Bogart and with help from their dog; James and Shay deal with their respective monstrous previous significant others, her childhood and worse love for each other.

The first K-9 Rescue police procedural romantic suspense is an exciting action-packed tale that deftly combines falling in love (due to the efforts of a matchmaking dog) with the nefarious activities of the two over the top of Mount Mitchell exes (neither have a redeeming quality). Prince Bogart steals the show from his human partners as D.D. Ayres provides a terse opener.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2014 2:18 PM PDT


The Winter Guest
The Winter Guest
by Pam Jenoff
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.45
36 used & new from $8.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic WWII Poland thriller, August 30, 2014
This review is from: The Winter Guest (Paperback)
The Winter Guest
Pam Jenoff
Mira, Aug 26 2014, $14.99
ISBN 9780778315964

In 1940 in Biekowice, Poland the Nowak patriarch died in a cart accident while the matriarch was hospitalized with severe injuries. Though acrimonious rivals with diverse opinions about the German invasion; the oldest children, twins Helena and Ruth take charge of their younger siblings (Michal, Dorie and Karolina) even as the Nazis blitzkrieg Poland.

Though she knows she should ignore the wounded foreigner, Helena rescues Jewish American soldier Sam Rosen. Initially telling no one about him she hides the paratrooper as he heals. When Helena and Sam fall in love, jealous Ruth reacts with bitterness; while opportunistic neighbors plot against the family.

The latest Pam Jenoff WWII Poland thriller (see The Kommandant's Girl and The Diplomat’s Daughter) is another excellent historical as readers obtain a vivid sense of life during the Nazi occupation. The strong cast makes for a powerful drama enabling us to see the deadly era through the eyes of the five Nowak siblings (especially the diverse bias of the twins) and Sam. As the truth fails to set them free, The Winter Guest is a fantastic 1940s war novel.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2014 4:18 PM PDT


The Devil in Denim (Saints)
The Devil in Denim (Saints)
by Melanie Scott
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.22
30 used & new from $4.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars winning game one, August 30, 2014
The Devil In Denim
Melanie Scott
St. Martin’s, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250040428

Maggie Jameson believes her father mentored her for years to replace him as the owner of the New York Saints baseball team. Thus when her dad sells her beloved Saints to three former college jocks (Alex, Lucas and Mal), Maggie feels betrayed; made even angrier when she learns of the Judas sale at the purchasing contract signing.

Alex Winters and his two friends saw their college baseball careers go up in smoke when they were injured rescuing people from a fire. Being from Queens, Alex wants to turn around the fortunes of the Saints; but understands that for the players to accept him and his partners, they need the support Maggie who has the team’s sympathy. Irate Maggie loathes the upstart and considers a better offer (at least for her) that would make her the team’s CEO by using the league’s Executive Committee. As Alex tries to convince Maggie to join the new management team, the former college catcher and the previous owner’s daughter fall in love.

The series opener is an exciting baseball romance that cleverly combines on field action, boardroom action and bedroom (also locker room) action into a terrific sports tale. Fans will enjoy the gender war between opponents in love as Melanie Scott provides a winning game one.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2014 4:18 PM PDT


Locker Rooms
Locker Rooms
by Patty Lesser
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.26
12 used & new from $15.25

5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing, very creative look at the afterlife, August 30, 2014
This review is from: Locker Rooms (Paperback)
Locker Rooms
Patty Lesser
iUniverse, Dec 4 2013, $16.95
ISBN: 9781491713365

In Dundas, Canada thirty-eight year old Alida wins 10 million dollars in the lottery. After collecting her check in nearby Toronto, Alida buys the Michael house, which is near the home where her parents live in Dundas. When she cleans out the fireplace, Alida finds a tunnel behind it. Stepping inside, Alida locates three rooms filled with lockers. Opening one locker, a voice begs her to help free them from the boite.

Stunned and frightened as the voices warn her of Shad who locked them away, Alida escorts Barbara to her grave so that her soul can move on. She takes two others to their final resting site while wondering why these good people who suffered sad deaths were locked away like sinners. As Shad tries to kill her with a train derailment, a plane accident and a taxi’s breaks failure, and goes after her mind through her parents; Alida believes God watches over her. Her fourth rescue Oliver asks to stay with her for a while. As Alida and Oliver fall in love, her only hope to save these souls resides with Lucifer.

Locker Rooms is a refreshing, very creative look at the afterlife through the eyes of a courageous bi-polar (though that illness is downplayed) heroine, those victims she rescues and a devil who makes Lucifer seem heavenly. Character-driven, readers will enjoy this leisurely-paced good, innocent and evil thriller especially as we learn a little about those souls Alida saves. I would like to read more about those trapped inside the boite in perhaps a prequel short story collection.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2014 4:20 PM PDT


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