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A New Hope (Thunder Point)
A New Hope (Thunder Point)
by Robyn Carr
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.10
49 used & new from $3.10

4.0 out of 5 stars terrific romance, July 3, 2015
A New Hope
Robyn Carr
Mira, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778317876

Following the SIDS death of her baby Josh and the subsequent collapse of her marriage, grieving Ginger Dysart heeds her father’s admonition to move to Thunder Point, Oregon. There her second cousin Ray Anne gives Ginger a room and obtains for her a job at Grace’s Florist.

At a Basque wedding between Scott Grant and Peyton Lacoumette, the intoxicated brother of the bride Matt hits on Ginger even after she says she wants to be left alone. When he grabs her boob, she punches the drunken professor. After he sobers up, appalled Matt Lacoumette apologizes to Ginger for his ghastly behavior. As they become friends; he wants more from their relationship, while she still mourns her loss and fears he still desires his former spouse.

The eighth Thunder Point Oregonian romance (see One Wish, The Homecoming and The Promise) focuses on two wounded warriors whose respective pasts hamper their future. Though Matt’s marriage breakup details feel forced into the plot, series fans will relish this terrific entry; character-driven by the leads and a deep secondary bench.

Harriet Klausner

Miss Match
Miss Match
by Laurelin Paige
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $4.79
34 used & new from $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining screwball comedic romance, July 3, 2015
This review is from: Miss Match (Mass Market Paperback)
Miss Match
Laurelin McGee
St. Martin's Paperbacks, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250059185

Fired and unable to obtain a position in her field due to her last employee’s horrific blackballing “reference”, out of work marketing analyst Andrea Dawson chose between paying the Internet bill and a new suit needed for job interviews. Her baby sister Lacey insists Andy answers a personal ad in the newspaper placed by a man seeking a wife. Though she believes her potential client seeks a pimp, Andy applies and to her surprise businessman Blake Donovan hires her to find him a spouse who meets his required, stringent and specific criteria.

Andy’s first reaction to Blake is that he is a heartless Mr. Robot (not the TV series) and his first impression of her is that she is a free spirit lunatic. As she finds him perfect female after female, he keeps rejecting them. Neither wants to face the truth; that the woman he desires as his wife is his matchmaker and the woman he wants as his wife is his matchmaker.

The key to this entertaining screwball comedic romance is Blake who over the course of the plot goes from a person who seemingly never used his heart to a likable Pinball Wizard (The Who). On the other hand irresponsible Andy is a fun protagonist in a sort of Holly Golightly (Truman Capote's Moon River) way. Readers will enjoy this lighthearted farce as the matchmaker makes him a match.

Harriet Klausner

The Mountain Story: A Novel
The Mountain Story: A Novel
by Lori Lansens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.62
63 used & new from $6.37

4.0 out of 5 stars dramatic terse thriller, July 2, 2015
The Mountain Story
Lori Lansens
Simon & Schuster, Jun 30 2015, $26.00
ISBN: 9781476786506

On his eighteenth birthday while residing with his aunt in her trailer, an extremely depressed “Wolf” Truly ponders about life’s unending cruelty. He thinks about his late mom who died violently when he was a child back in Michigan and his wastrel father who was never there for him. Already contemplating suicide, the severe injury suffered by his BFF Byrd has pushed Wolf over the edge. Wolf takes the tram to Angel’s Peak where he plans to leap to his death.

On the tram with Wolf are the three Devine females: matriarch Nola, her daughter Bridget and her granddaughter Vonn. They plan to spread the ashes of Nola’s recently deceased husband on the summit. However, they get lost on a cold November night and adding to their fears Nola breaks her leg. No longer contemplating ending it, Wolf and his stranded compatriots struggle to survive a wilderness filled with life threatening peril from the weather, the wild and Nola’s injury.

With a strong cast whose desperation and trepidations grow throughout, this is an exciting thriller that grips readers with a sense of urgency compounded by horrific choices needed to be made from the moment the leads get lost on the mountain. Although the flashback technique detracts at times from the mounting suspense, Lori Lansens writes a dramatic terse winner.

Harriet Klausner

The Silenced (Krewe of Hunters)
The Silenced (Krewe of Hunters)
by Heather Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.47
49 used & new from $3.89

4.0 out of 5 stars engaging urban fantasy romantic police procedural, July 2, 2015
The Silenced
Heather Graham
Mira, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778317999

Lara Mayhew calls her BFF newbie FBI Agent Meg Murray at 2:30 AM to tell her not to worry about her; as she is leaving DC to return home to Richmond. Ignoring Lara’s voice mail; Meg worries about her friend for abruptly leaving town in the middle of the night but is also compounding her concern for Lara is her failure to pick up her cell. Meg fears for Lara as her buddy seems to have vanished.

Using his communicating with the dead skill, experienced Krewe of Hunter Agent Matt Bosworth investigates the serial mutilation of women. His inquiry into stopping a deranged killer entangles him with rookie Krewe Agent Murray’s search for Lara. They team up unaware that the psychopath targets Meg next.

The latest Krewe of Hunters urban fantasy romantic police procedural (see The Betrayed, The Cursed and The Hexed) is an engaging entry starring two interesting Feds whose respective paranormal abilities seem genuine (wonder about the skills of any offspring). The deranged serial killer seems more like a weak caricature, but the cats and mouse (and dog) hunt makes for a solid Krewe thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft)
Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft)
by Lori Handeland
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
42 used & new from $4.24

4.0 out of 5 stars exhilarating romantic urban fantasy, July 1, 2015
Heat of the Moment
Lori Handeland
St. Martin's Paperbacks, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250020130

In Three Harbors, Wisconsin, veterinarian Becca Carstairs fears she is losing her mind when she begins telepathically hearing animals “talking” to her. Perhaps even more frightening is Becca’s unwanted attraction to wounded warrior Owen McAlister; as he broke her heart when he left town a decade ago.

Owen knows he hurt Becca badly ten years ago, but though he wants to reconcile, he focuses on recovering from his Afghan war wounds with the help of his BFF Reggie the bomb detection K9. However, Owen is stunned when he and Reggie enter his house to find dead animals in what looks like ritual mutilations. Meanwhile Prudence the wolf saves Becca’s life from a deadly assault. While she has no idea why someone wants her dead; supported by their four-legged companions Becca and Owen investigate.

The second Sisters of the Craft romantic urban fantasy (see In The Air Tonight) is an exhilarating coming of witch age paranormal thriller; as the two human and three animal (to include Grenade the kitty) leads come together in an overall exciting paranormal. Though appearances by the stars of previous series will please the author’s fans and hint at wider implications in the Handeland world; they add little to the good (women learning their DNA contain previously dormant witchcraft, and the loyal men and animals dedicated to keep them safe) and evil (hunters and probably much worse) plot.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 7:13 PM PDT

Virtues of War (The Astral Saga)
Virtues of War (The Astral Saga)
by Bennett R. Coles
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.30
44 used & new from $6.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tremendous military science fiction, July 1, 2015
Virtues Of War
Bennett R. Coles
Titan Books, Jun 30 2015, $14.95
ISBN: 9781783294206

Terran Astral Forces Captain of the Rapier Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane assigns Lieutenant Katja Emmes to lead a strike force of nine on an assault of Cerberus with no Corps backup. Emmes and her crew successfully complete the mission when they assassinate the target, a Centauri spy.

Thinking her military dad would be pleased with her first kill; Emmes’ elation proves short-lived when the attack ignites hostilities between Terran and the Centauri colonies. Surprisingly, Centauri’s military technology contains advance weaponry that quickly impairs the Terran’ generals from achieving their expected quick victory and subsequent glory. Instead the war leaves many civilians dead from targeted kills and collateral damage; while many military grunts die or are maimed in combat. Stunned by the horrors of war, Emmes reconsiders her initial goal to earn her dad’s approval.

This is a tremendous military science fiction that brilliantly combines awesome battles with a profound look at people on both sides of the conflict (more so the Terrans) especially their motives, goals and fears. The action-packed storyline looks into the hearts and minds of leaders whose personal objectives of fame and fortune often supersede their side’s vision; and that of expendables (sacrificial military pawns and throwaway civilians) whose personal goal is to survive the battles with no loss of limbs supersede their side’s vision too. Readers will appreciate this superb outer space thriller

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 7:18 PM PDT

A Duke but No Gentleman: A Masters of Seduction Novel
A Duke but No Gentleman: A Masters of Seduction Novel
by Alexandra Hawkins
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.79
46 used & new from $4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerful Georgian, June 30, 2015
A Duke but No Gentleman
Alexandra Hawkins
St. Martin's Paperbacks, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250064721

Though best friends, their competiveness at everything also makes the Duke of Blackbern and Marquess Norgrave heated rivals in which all third parties beware of the fallout. By 1792 Norgrave fears he lost the game to his long-time foe.

They never competed for the innocent until now. Desperate to regain the edge he believes he lost, Norgrave bets Blackbern that he will have sex with virgin Lady Imogene Sunter first. Though he has some qualms about this amoral wager, Blackbern reluctantly accepts the bet as he cannot allow his buddy to win. As the wastrels seduce Imogene, she finds both attractive. However, Blackbern does the unthinkable when he falls in love with the stake while Norgrave obsesses over “owning” the stake.

Though bets have been used too frequently in historical romances, in this Georgian it feels fitting as an impetus of love; and psychopathic rage of rape and beating (of innocent Lady Charlotte). Not for everyone, as the villain, who makes the Lords of Vice seem like aristocratic paragons, “do not go gently into the good night” (Dylan Thomas).

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 1, 2015 7:19 PM PDT

Redemption Bay (Haven Point)
Redemption Bay (Haven Point)
by RaeAnne Thayne
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.79
50 used & new from $2.79

4.0 out of 5 stars delightful small town contemporary, June 30, 2015
Redemption Bay
RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin HQN, Jun 30 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373785063

Five years ago, following the death of his father and just before he left his hometown permanently Ben Kilpatrick shut down his family factory in Haven Point, Idaho. Two hundred residents lost their jobs. Current Mayor McKenzie Shaw knows her beloved Haven Point has not recovered economically from what the pariah did.

His techie partner Aidan Caine (see Snow Angel Cove) insisted affluent businessman Ben return to a place he hates almost as much as the townsfolk loath him. Though he doubts this is the right spot, Ben considers whether Haven Point should be the locale for their new hi tech venture. Reluctantly McKenzie must eat her spittle and sell their town to the man who nuked the economy. After their opening war of words, neither McKenzie nor Ben expected to fall in love, but two dogs knowing no human boundaries thought otherwise.

The latest Haven Point Gem State contemporary is a delightful small town drama due to the colorful locals like the former Mayor. Though the storyline starts slow, once the cast is set and the gloves come off; the bout between the protagonists balances jocularity with serious economic and social issues, and romance.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 1, 2015 7:27 PM PDT

Hope Harbor: A Novel
Hope Harbor: A Novel
by Irene Hannon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars engaging inspirational second chance contemporary, June 26, 2015
This review is from: Hope Harbor: A Novel (Paperback)
Hope Harbor
Irene Hannon
Revell, Jul 7 2015, $14.99
ISBN: 9780800724528

Since the death of his wife eighteen months ago, Michael Hunter wallows in self-pity and loathing of God. Taking two months leave from St. Joseph Center not for profit, Michael drives almost non-stop from Chicago to his seaside destination, his late spouse’s hometown Hope Harbor, Oregon. Tired and frustrated to learn his motel is closed due an electrical fire, when he steps onto a street without looking Michael causes a cyclist to crash to avoid hitting him. At Charley’s food truck, Anna Williams thinks the stranger looks remarkably like someone she has not seen in two decades; thus the sexagenarian offers Michael a place to stay.

Bruised from her bike crash caused by the daydreaming pedestrian, Widow Tracy Campbell blames God for the death of her late husband and ignoring her furtive prayers. At her family’s 80 acres farm Hope Harbor Cranberries, Tracy, works alongside her uncle on the 20% of their spread dedicated to cranberries. She also provides accounting services and volunteers at Helping Hands. After their first encounter, the widow and widower find commonality in their anger towards God and their grief. With help of townsfolk like Anna, Charley and her uncle; Michael and Tracy begin to move on from their respective deep loss as their broken spirits mend and restore their trust in God and in love.

This leisurely-paced inspirational second chance at faith, life and love is an engaging contemporary ironically due to the newcomer’s invigorating impact on the townsfolk though they affect him even more than he does them. Containing humor mostly from Floyd the seagull and mysteriousness (Charley’s perceptiveness and Anna’s past), readers will enjoy visiting coastal Oregon with mostly Michael, Tracy and Anna as our guides.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2015 1:18 PM PDT

Antidote to Venom: A British Library Crime Classic (British Crime Classics)
Antidote to Venom: A British Library Crime Classic (British Crime Classics)
by Freeman Crofts
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super 1938 British police procedural, June 26, 2015
Antidote to Venom: British Library Crime Classics
Freeman Wills Crofts
Poisoned Pen Press, Jul 7 2015, $12.95
ISBN: 9781464203794

Birmington Zoo Director George Surridge fears his life is near collapse. His marriage appears to be dying; he owes too much money; a disease threatens the animals in his care; and he loves Nancy Weymore. A desperate Surridge considers various options out of his spiraling worse quagmire while praying his elderly rich aunt dies.

New Scotland Yard Inspector Joseph French (see The Hog's Back Mystery) leads the investigation into the murder of a pathology professor. French believes he knows who the culprit is and the weapon; but cannot prove the prime suspect killed the victim in spite of a timetable that affirms the opportunity. French also struggles with how a venomous viper escaped from its Birmington Zoo totally sealed cage.

Told initially by the person who abetted the murderer and ultimately by the inspector, readers know very early on in this 1938 crime mystery the killer’s identity, but not how the homicide was executed. Though the climax feels forced (in fairness part of the era’s approach to justice), the tremendous storyline grips the audience as we learn the methodology.

Harriet Klausner
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2015 6:02 PM PDT

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