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Quilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love Series
Quilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love Series
by Jodie Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.53
34 used & new from $7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars charming inspirational contemporary, October 24, 2014
Quilted By Christmas: Quilts of Love
Jodie Bailey
Abingdon, Oct 21 2014, $13.99
ISBN 9781426796142

In Hollings, North Carolina, middle school teacher Taryn McKenna deeply believes that only her grandma Jemma loves her; the dumping by so-called loved ones, her parents and her high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, prove her assertion. Expecting nothing from others except her unconditional love showered on her by her grandma, Taryn’s life goal is for her students to remember how much she helped them.

When Jemma suffers a heart attack, tests show she is dying. An upset Taryn will do anything to comfort her grandma even as she fears being totally alone. Jemma’s only request is for her granddaughter to help her complete an Irish chain quilt that tells a family history. Having returned from the military, Justin wants a second chance with the woman he left behind so he assists Taryn with learning the story of the quilt and showing her how much he, Jemma and much of the townsfolk cherish and adore her, and that God never left her.

The latest Quilts of Love inspirational (see Hidden In The Stars by Robin Caroll and A Grand Design by Amber Stockton) is a charming contemporary. Taryn’s attitude about how others perceive her will remind fans of James Stewart’s George Bailey (surname coincidental?) in It’s A Wonderful Life. With a strong support cast and a likable troubled lead, this second chance regional romance affirms once again that this is a stupendous series.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 7:57 AM PDT


Blond Cargo
Blond Cargo
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars adrenaline pumping investigation, October 24, 2014
This review is from: Blond Cargo (Kindle Edition)
Blond Cargo
John Lansing
Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing eBook, Oct 20 2014, $5.99
ISBN: 9781476795515

Retired NYPD narcotics chief, Jack Bertolino, left the city for Los Angeles where he gardened, drank expensive wine and drove a Mustang. However, when Jack worked a homicide of an informant he knew back home, his efforts led to a Columbia Cartel retaliating against his Stanford University baseball playing son Chris. Mafia chieftain Vincent Cardona provided Jack with key info and protection for his hospitalized (and still recovering) offspring.

Expecting Vincent to call in the debt in the future, Jack is surprised how soon the mobster does. Fearing his daughter, if not dead, may be in trouble from a killer who murdered two look-alikes, Vincent explains Angelica recently vanished apparently from the Club Martinique. He wants the former cop turned P.I. with a bad back to find his missing daughter. Jack follows clues that lead him to an affluent Iraqi with deep connections in Southern California selling females at auction to wealthy patrons.

The second Bertolino investigation (see The Devil's Necktie) is an adrenaline pumping over the top of the Hollywood sign thriller that will remind readers of Liam Neeson’s Taken except for brief interludes when the hero tries to get still hurting Chris to forgive him and scenes with his GF. Incredibly action-packed but with a stereotypical support cast (especially the villain); readers will root for Jack to pay off his debt his way.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 9:30 AM PDT


Buried Under Clutter: A Tina Tales Mystery (Tina Tales Mysteries) (Volume 2)
Buried Under Clutter: A Tina Tales Mystery (Tina Tales Mysteries) (Volume 2)
by Jan Christensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.65
12 used & new from $8.39

5.0 out of 5 stars clever whodunit, October 24, 2014
Buried Under Clutter
Jan Christensen
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Apr 15 2014, $11.99
ISBN: 9781499165661

Twenty-nine year old psychologist Tina Shaw gave up her practice after a patient she thought was improving committed suicide. She returned to her family home in Newport, Rhode Island where her mom Laura and Uncle Bob with his dog Princess welcomed her back. Vowing never again to counsel people, Tina became a professional organizer.

When she hears a scream at the house of the next door neighbor elderly Mrs. Blackwell, Tina calls 911 and rushes over to help. A woman runs out the door knocking Tina over; shocked Jenny Tinsdale says her Aunt Olivia is dead inside. NPD Detectives Lisbeth Dotson and John Smith arrive at the scene and notice Tina whom they met on a previous case (see Organized to Death) before they enter the awfully smelling and astonishingly cluttered house. Meanwhile Jenny, after consulting with her agoraphobic but extremely neat mother in Quincy, hires Tina to clean out the clutter of her hoarding multi-millionaire late reclusive aunt. As Tina works through the horrid mess, she finds clues to what turned Olivia into an antisocial hoarder and who might have killed her especially after an assault in Quincy; the police suspect Laura, the victim’s family (her siblings, nieces and nephew) and two hired hands.

The second Tina Tales mystery is a clever whodunit that not only enables the audience to better understand how a person becomes an extreme hoarding hermit, but also uses the clutter to provide the ex-psychologist clues to the victim’s personality and the culprit. Leisurely-paced with an interesting cast, Jan Christensen authors an appealing amateur sleuth.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 6:56 AM PDT


Crooked River: A Novel
Crooked River: A Novel
by Valerie Geary
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.70
69 used & new from $6.15

4.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing coming of age supernatural whodunit, October 23, 2014
This review is from: Crooked River: A Novel (Hardcover)
Crooked River
Valerie Geary
Morrow, Oct 14 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062326591

Their parents separated almost a decade ago with their mom staying in Eugene while their bee-keeper dad rusticated near Terrebonne. Each August, the older daughter Sam stayed with her dad Bear while the younger child Ollie remained home with their mom.

In 1988, without any warning their mom died. The grieving sisters, fifteen years old Sam and ten years old Ollie, move in with Bear, but the tweener has been mute since the tragedy occurred. As the siblings struggle differently with their loss, they find a dead woman floating in the nearby Crooked River. Sam tries to pull her ashore, but fails. She obsesses over the death as she fears the law will come after Bear and consequently end her family; so Sam desperately tries to identify who murdered the woman in the river. Meanwhile silent Ollie sees the Shimmering haunting her that no one else notices.

This is a mesmerizing coming of age supernatural whodunit starring two wonderful sisters struggling with death, change and a bone marrow foreboding trepidation more ugliness is coming to haunt them. Except for Bear (especially his lack of parenting skills) and the mysterious Shimmering, the support cast comes across as eccentric over the top of Smith Rock. The amateur sleuthing adventures of Sam and the wonder of whether the Shimmering are a grieving frightened tweener’s psychological crutch or really stalking her make for a fine family drama.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 3:50 PM PDT


The Covered Deep
The Covered Deep
by Brandy Vallance
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.19
48 used & new from $6.84

4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining Christian historical romance, October 23, 2014
This review is from: The Covered Deep (Paperback)
The Covered Deep
Brandy Vallance
Worthy Publishing, Oct 14 2014, $14.99
www.worthypublishing.com
ISBN: 9781617953750

In 1877, Bianca Marshal fears she is doomed to be a spinster as the book she reads claims women between eighteen and twenty-four years old have a 52% chance of marriage; twenty-five to thirty the odds drop to 18%. Bianca is about to turn twenty-five and realizes her prospects of finding a husband who meets her seven criterion in Portsmouth, Ohio are much less than what the book states.

When she wins a contest that includes a trip to the Holy Land, Bianca’s mood dramatically improves as she believes Jesus steers her towards her soul mate. At the London home of her host, Sir Adrian Hartwith, Bianca meets another contest winner British historian Paul Emerson; both immediately feel they met their life-mate. They have fun in the city together before they journey to the Holy Land. All seems perfect until Paul confesses his sins to his beloved Bianca; she eliminates him as a husband due to his violation of her number one consideration.

This is an entertaining Christian historical romance based on the premise that a deep faith in Jesus includes forgiving sinners as "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The 1870s in the Holy Land is vividly described to armchair readers delight and the stopover in London amusing. Although rigidly religiously moralistic Bianca’s desperation for a husband seems to contradict her belief in the Lord (though I may be committing historiographical sin by bringing twenty-first century values to the late nineteenth century), fans will want the heroine to learn in time Alexander Pope’s admonition: “to err is human; to forgive, divine.”

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 1:55 PM PDT


The Terminals: A Novel
The Terminals: A Novel
by Royce Buckingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.54
38 used & new from $9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars action-packed thriller, October 23, 2014
This review is from: The Terminals: A Novel (Hardcover)
The Terminals
Royce Scott Buckingham
Dunne Books, Oct 14 2014, $18.99
ISBN: 9781250011558

Nineteen years old Cameron Cody lies in a hospital bed in disbelief while thinking how much changed in a short time. He reflects on how was about to take Kristi Banks to the ultimate party house and soon afterward start on Western Washington University soccer team. Instead according to specialist Dr. Singh he has one year to live because of some freaking brain tumor. While his parents are devastated and his friends awkward; his BFF Mason reminds Cam that he may be dying, but he always was a doer, so do. A stranger offers Cam an exciting exit strategy as a hero, but starting with his immediate fake death; Cam accepts.

Not long after he “dies”, Cam meets the other nine teen teammates who also share with him the one year death sentence. As the original ten Terminal teens work dangerous missions around the globe, some die during the execution while others prematurely perish under questionable circumstances that Cam and the others still alive choose to ignore. That is until Siena, who faked her death as the lone survivor of the previous team, arrives to paint an ugly picture of their handler and his associates to Cam and company.

The Terminals is an exciting action-packed tweener-young teen thriller. Although the key cast is underdeveloped, the young audience will appreciate these Teen Titans (nod to DC comics) globetrotting escapades; stealthy expanded by those dwindling still alive investigating the organization that recruited them.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 1:57 PM PDT


Changing Michael
Changing Michael
by Jeff Schilling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.07

4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing teen relationship drama, October 22, 2014
This review is from: Changing Michael (Hardcover)
Changing Michael
Jeff Schilling
Bancroft Press, Oct 15, 2014, $21.95
ISBN: 9781610881227

Alexander High School student Matthew is a hedonist who enjoys challenges as long as the adventure proves fun for him and avoids relegating him to the social outcast status of the bad weird lowlifes. His brilliance lies in his ability to project friendship by faking interest while caring for only one person, himself; even his mom falls for his seemingly compassionate facade.

While his friend and peer at the highest plateau in the teen hierarchy, Jack thinks he is crazy speaking to a nonentity; as an act of kindness Matthew decides to mentor Michael on being in and how to get others like parents to do your bidding as if it is their idea. As Matthew befriends his subject’s estranged dad and younger half-sister Chrissy, his Changing Michael project seems helpless.

This is an intriguing teen character study of the changing relationship between a king of the hill BMOC and the beneath the food chain cesspool dweller. Unlikable Matthew comes across as a poor cross between Bueller and Cher (of Clueless) because he lacks their good-natured charm; while Michael is cleverly captured as an apparent pathetic loser who looks forward to getting out of Alexander HS prison.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 10:49 AM PDT


The Corpse with the Platinum Hair (A Cait Morgan Mystery)
The Corpse with the Platinum Hair (A Cait Morgan Mystery)
by Cathy Ace
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.30
40 used & new from $8.82

5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant locked room whodunit, October 22, 2014
The Corpse With The Platinum Hair
Cathy Ace
TouchWood Editions, Oct 14 2014, $14.95
ISBN: 9781771510875

On the Vegas Strip, Tsar! Casino and Hotel majority stockholder Miss Shirley invites several people to join her for dinner at the owner's private dining room. While enjoying the meal, the lights go out. When the emergency lights turn on, hotel legal head Julie Pool screams in horror as she sees someone skewered with a Russian Saber Miss Shirley to her chair. Attendee Professor Cait Morgan remarks to her boyfriend retired homicide detective Bud Anderson that wherever she goes corpse follow (see The Corpse with the Golden Nose and The Corpse with the Silver Tongue).

Julie enters the codes to prevent a twelve hour security lockdown of the room as occurs when the lights go out; but her effort fails in spite of her doing it recently twice. While LVPD cannot enter, Cait and Bud investigate the homicide and soon other deaths with several in the room having strong motives to kill Miss. Shirley.

The Corpse with the Platinum Hair is a classic-style (no CSI forensics available), yet modern day (brilliant use of an electronic shutdown) locked room whodunit. As we meet the trapped suspects and the deceased through the inquiry by Cait and her sidekick, readers will relish this wonderful investigation by the dynamic Canadian couple.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 10:58 AM PDT


Eat Him If You Like
Eat Him If You Like
by Jean Teulé
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.00
48 used & new from $2.40

5.0 out of 5 stars exciting historical, October 22, 2014
This review is from: Eat Him If You Like (Paperback)
Eat Him if You Like
Jean Teulé, Emily Phillips (translator)
Gallic, Oct 14 2014, $12.95
ISBN 9781906040390

In 1870, Beaussac, France Deputy Mayor Alain de Monéys soon will join the French army at the not so quiet eastern front in the war with Prussia. However, today he plans to enjoy the day in spite of the unbearable August heat and the relentless drought. Thus Alain rides his horse towards the Saint-Roch Fair in Hautefaye.

He comes across his arrogant cousin Camille de Maillard, who mocks the Emperor and the Minister of War for their claim Berlin soon will fall as he points to the recent massacre loss at Reichsoffen and the need to retreat. Someone in the angry patriotic crowd replies no retreat as the Prussians will fall just like the Austrians in Italy and the Russian in Crimea before. As the crowd grows increasingly hostile accusing Camille of being a Prussian sympathizer, Alain intervenes explaining his cousin's comment but terribly misconstrued. Suddenly Alain's friends and neighbors who he just exchanged salutations with pummel him before burning and eating him while the authorities fail to intervene.

Based on a real event that seems surreal, Eat Him if You Like is a cautionary historical novella that hooks the audience with how quickly a group of friends turn into vicious out of control monsters. Mindful of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's classic The Ox-Bow Incident with its thoughtful yet exciting look into the mob mentality when civil society breaks down. This is not an easy read as friends and neighbors not only batter and lynch the victim, they roast and eat him.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 11:23 AM PDT


Cattle Kate
Cattle Kate
by Jana Bommersbach
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.60
22 used & new from $15.22

5.0 out of 5 stars tremendous biographical fiction, October 21, 2014
This review is from: Cattle Kate (Hardcover)
Cattle Kate: A Mystery
Jana Bommersbach
Poisoned Pen, Oct 7 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464203022

On July 20, 1889 in the Wyoming Territory, a mob led by her accuser affluent rancher Albert J. Bothwell ignores Ella “Cattle Kate” Watson’s claims of innocence. They lynch the almost thirty year old homesteader for rustling cattle. As she dangles towards certain death, Ella tries not to die, but her efforts are hopeless unless someone intervenes, which increasingly is unlikely.

As she nears death, Ella thinks back to 1877 when her parents left Ontario for Kansas with a horde of kids including her. Almost a decade later, she came to the Wyoming Territory where single women were welcomed. She worked hard and married postmaster Jimmy Averell and soon afterward became a homesteader who alienated the big ranchers leading to a rope around her neck.

This is a tremendous biographical fiction that provides readers with an interesting glimpse at an “outlaw” never accused of any crime in what Jana Bommersbach argues is an injustice perpetrated by the rich and powerful. The storyline opens with a gripping first scene and never let’s go of the captivated audience whether the plot occurs during the heroine’s childhood in Canada, the teen years on the Great Plains or as an adult in The Equality State.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2014 10:47 PM PDT


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