Monday, June 28, 2010

Review of On Folly Beach

On Folly Beach
Karen White
Harley House Books
390 pages
Emmy Hamilton is barely thirty but has known soul saddening loss, her husband Ben has been killed while serving in Afghanistan. Her mother Paige thinks Emmy has wallowed long enough and arranges for her to go to Folly Beach South Carolina where she’s to buy a book store and to get on with her life. But Emmy isn’t ready to get on with her life, according to her, her life ended with Ben’s death. But life had a way of surprising even the toughest of customers and Emmy soon finds a reason to get up every morning, it seems she’s found a mystery from WW11 concerning the family that previously owned the book store and she’s bound and determined to get to the bottom of it.
Karen White’s Lowlander novels have such heart and soul to them, they speak to the very deepest part of you and this one is no exception. It’s a story told in unfortunately thousands of households all across the country, a loved one dying while serving in the Middle East and the sacrifice of that solider often includes leaving someone he loves behind to try to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and try to go on, and Karen does this with grace, and heartbreaking honesty. She does it with her prose like dialogue where her vivid descriptions will take you on the beach and further into the Ocean where her visualizations will come to life for her readers. Her character Emmy makes your heart hurt and yet you want to push her on, cheer her up and embrace her as she takes baby steps back into life. Her co-staring characters are equally engrossing and we learn all we need to know about them from our very capable author. She seamlessly takes us from the early 1940s to the present as she spins her tale. She’ll keep your interest throughout the entire read and you’ll find yourself endlessly turning pages to find out what happens next. This is a poignant look at what secrets can cost their keepers and how it’s never too late to repent them.
Join those of us who have already learned all the secrets and solved all the mysteries, come back to the coast, smell the pluff mud, feel the sand between your toes, feel the pull of the tides all On Folly Beach. It’s The Must Read of this summer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review of Garrett

Garrett – McKettricks of Texas
Linda Lael Miller
376 pages
Garrett is the second in the McKettricks of Texas trilogy.
Garrett McKettrick is definitely a political animal being the go-to guy for Senator Cox and has always dreamed of a career in politics until a scandal makes him rethink his priorities. Blue River Texas is home for single mom Julie Remington and her aspirations are simple, everything she needs is right where she is, that is until the explosive attraction between her and Garrett reaches critical mass and threatens to detonate all her well thought plans.
The one thing we can always rely on Linda for is a great story and she does not disappoint with Garrett, she takes her readers on a larger than life adventure with larger than life characters who have larger than life problems. Her dialogue is full of Texas twang and mind your manners talk mixed with her unique brand of humor and tenderness. Her characters are like I said before larger than life, but also very down to earth, modest and oozing with charm. The supporting characters are a group of old friends, new acquaintances and a few enemies. The hero Garrett and heroine Julie have known each other forever, plus his brother is engaged to her sister so there is a certain amount of personal history that really adds to the romance, and what a romance it is so be prepared to turn down the air-conditioning while they tear up the sheets and yet you’ll be exposed to incredible tenderness too.
Come discover what they say is true, that everything is bigger in Texas, especially the romances. I also recommend Tate the first in the McKettricks of Texas series and look for Austin the third in the trilogy coming out soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Revie of If He's Wild

If He’s Wild
Hannah Howell
345 pages
Alethea Vaughn has seen his face since she was a small girl, but now he’s in trouble and she’s bound to help save him. Lord Hartley Greville top rake of the Ton and top government agent seems to attract trouble at every turn, and if he doesn’t heed Alethea’s warning it may just kill him. Headed for calamity and headed for passion that’s what these two can look forward to.
Hannah Howell is one of the best historical romance authors there are contemporarily and she will not disappoint her readers with this novel. It’s a story well told with descriptive dialogue and vivid imagery. Filled with colorful characters right out of Dickens or Austin, but also personable and seemingly real. Her hero Hartley and heroine Alethea are very much not your typical aristocratic English lord and lady, for one Alethea boasts of supernatural powers along with most of her eclectic and eccentric relatives. But entertained is how they will keep you as they jet set around the ballrooms and soirees of London trying to find proof to put some pretty vicious criminals behind bars. The supporting characters are equally interesting and we get to catch up on the Vaughns and Wherelocks from previous novels. The romance is sensual but sweet, while the love scenes are visceral yet tender.
So come reconnect with some of the wildest, most unusual yet personable characters you’ll ever meet in Hannah Howell’s series starring the Vaughn and Wherelock family that are always up to their eyeballs is trouble and romance.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review of Reckless

Andrew Gross
William Morrow
404 pages
Ty Hauck is back to take on terrorist of the financial persuasion.
A murder in a quiet neighborhood in Greenwich gives ex-Greenwich cop Ty Hauck pause when he discovers that one of the victims was an old friend. Now he’s up against some pretty heavy hitters as the plot thickens. He teams up with desk jockey Dept. of Treasury Fed Naomi Blum who discovers a plot that threatens to destroy the US economy and as they travel farther out of their comfort zone and across the globe the threat escalates and pretty soon they find themselves in the crosshairs.
Andrew Gross is no stranger to hard hitting crime thrillers as he shows in his first two explosive novels staring Ty Hauck, his plots always amaze me how he takes something contemporary and spins it to use in a crime spree. His dialogue is to the point and direct without being blunt, it’s descriptive without being overly wordy and yet it’s effect on readers is visually stimulating. His characters are fresh and alive well developed and three dimensional this is never more apparent than in his protagonist Ty Hauck who’s life we learn a little more about with each episode and we unwrap his many layers. His supporting characters are equally entertaining and use their time well to add to the story. The villains are truly the worst sort that humanity has to offer, and as their crimes become apparent you wish the worst on them with every page you turn.
Get ready for the biggest, meanest, highest roller coaster ride of this summer, get ready for action, adventure, suspense and just a touch of romance. Get ready for a nail biting, stomach churning, edge of your seat page turner. Get ready for your next MUST READ – RECKLESS!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review of Daughters of the Witching Hill

Daughters of the Witching Hill
Mary Sharratt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
331 pages

Daughters of the Witching Hill is a realistic look at life soon after Reformation in England and based on the testimonies of the 1612 Pendle Hill witch hunt and trial.
A blend of fact and fiction that will leave you wondering how humanity has survived with all the inhumanity that it’s been plagued with. Ms. Sharratt’s tale of these men and women of Pendle Hill is bewitching in it’s telling. We start with the matriarch Bess Southerns who is a local cunning woman who for a simple bag of oats or a laying hen will cure ills of man and beast alike. She remembers vividly the times when she was a young girl, before the papists were forbidden to worship and she’s seen the times changing. She only uses her talent for good, never for evil for she never wants the badge of witch, she’s very careful to teach her family the same. But sometimes fate can be a hard task master and loyalty can turn to betrayal.
Mary brings us a haunting tale that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned. Her story line is unique giving her readers an authentic look at England at the height of Reformation where long after Henry VIII’s death the Stuart King of James puts his own mark upon it. His mark was a stain that was smeared all across England. It was dark days and times for the simple folk and Mary stresses that with her wonderful dialogue, dialogue that can take us to the hills of England of the middle ages where we visualize the settings, people and doings. Her starring characters Bess Southerns and her family are all imaginatively portrayed, her supporting characters are as well, especially during the trial when the antiheros show their true colors.
You will laugh, you will cry, you will empathize and sympathize, you will abhor, but most of all you will feel, feel for these amazing people and what they lived for and some died for. It will make you learn the history of the times without even knowing your actually learning because she makes it so entertaining. This is a definite must read for any lover of history, any lover of literary fiction, any lover of a great read.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review of The Search

The Search
Nora Roberts
488 pages
In her latest novel Nora takes us to the Pacific Northwest in an adventure you won’t soon forget.
Fiona Bristow started her dog training academy and canine search and rescue unit as a way to honor and recover from her past, a past that includes grisly details that after seven years she still has nightmares about and the last thing she’s looking for is love with a cantankerous, blunt and handsome wood artist named Simon Doyle. Simon Doyle moved to the picturesque island in Washington State to have peace and quiet after living with the bustle and noise of the big city, what he doesn’t need or want is a dog, unfortunately he’s got one, now he needs to decide how to handle it. That’s where dog trainer extraordinaire Fiona comes in, every one says she’s got magic when it comes to training dogs, but Simon finds that the magic doesn’t’ stop there. The question is does he believe in magic.
This is classic Nora Roberts equal parts adventure, suspense and romance, it’s why she is the Queen of romance and it’s a title that is well earned. She will wow her audience with her story line that’s fresh and exciting. Her dialogue is classic Roberts too, with her no-nonsense narrative and wonderfully visually descriptive scenes. You will live through her eyes the majesty of the San Juan Islands and specifically Orcas Island while she navigates us through the twists and turns of her plot. Her characters are amazing from the stars Simon and Fiona to all the supporting characters that make the whole tale come together to her villain(s) who’s creep factor is up there with the best thriller authors. Her hero and heroine are two totally different characteristics and it’s fun, interesting and heartwarming to see how they fall in love. Her love story is funny and uplifting as we watch these two most unlikely to fall in love characters do just that. Her love scenes are hot, spicy, sexy and very visual and will take you from cold to sizzle in seconds.
So if you’ve never read Nora Roberts, you must live in a cave. If you have read her you won’t be disappointed as this is one of the best novels of hers I’ve read. If you love, romance, suspense and adventure in equal measure than this is for you. It’s a must read this summer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review of Running From The Devil

Running From The Devil
Jamie Freveletti
William Morrow
307 pages

Jamie Freveletti is a new voice in a very crowded choir, but listen carefully because she will definitely be heard over the crowd.
Emma Caldridge is on her way to Bogota to right a grievous wrong only to find herself a part of an act of terror. She escapes, but for how long and can she do what she came for and live to tell the tale.
Running From The Devil is a fast paced, heart accelerating, leave you breathless read. It’s story line could be taken off any CNN or major network headline “Terrorists Hijack Plane Full Of Civilians”, but what sets this apart from the headlines is the mystery there, the reason hidden behind the crime and Jamie spins her tale like a pro. Her dialogue is intense, informative and colorful as you visualize the habitat and inhabitants of her tale. Her characters are amazingly imaginative some being exceedingly cruel and evil and others inordinately honest and good and some a little of both. Her protagonist Emma is a well developed and well rounded character who’s welfare we’re constantly hoping changes for the better and yet we fear for the worst. Her supporting characters are a must for the development of the novel and we get to know the major players intimately so we can either hope for them or hate them in equal measure.
If what you want in your read is an action packed, nail biting, edge of your seat roller coaster ride thriller this one’s for you. Be sure to see her Jamie’s newest adventure starring Emma Caldridge Running Dark.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review of Kentucky Bride

Kentucky Bride
Hannah Howell
358 pages
What do you get when you add one brawny Scotsman and one Philadelphia fallen socialite, more fireworks than the 4th of July.
Clover Sherwood had at the age of nineteen lead a quiet respectful life. The suicide of her father has left the family not only desolate but desperate and destitute, not only that but with no money her fiancé drops her flat on her face too. Ballard Macgregor has come to Pennsylvania to not only trade horses but to find a suitable wife, one that help him feel comfortable in polite society. When Clover proposes marriage he thinks all his prayers have been answered, she’s a dream come true but she brings with her a curse from her past.
Hannah Howell has made her livelihood with historical romance, but it’s nice to see where it all began too. Not a lot has changed in those many years since she started. She’s still a gifted storyteller, her characters are still amazingly larger than life, her romance is sweet, hot and sexy and her love scenes sizzle. Sometimes no change is good.
If you know and love Hannah reacquaint yourself with where it all started. If you’re new to her this is a great place to start.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review of a Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapel

A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel
Mel Starr
Monarch Books
287 pages
Who said the Middle Ages was boring. Well if you ask Hugh Singleton, surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbot he’ll tell you, not so much. As he was awakened at dawn to be notified of a murder, now he has to solve it and with the help of his tenacity, his curiosity and his puzzle solving ability he just might do it before the culprits make a corpse out of him.
Mel Starr gives us a unique look at the mid 1300’s in his new novel A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel, through the eyes of surgeon and bailiff Hugh Singleton. Being a teacher of History and student of medieval surgery and English Mel gives us a realistic feel of the life and times of that era, filled with language, rituals and lifestyle. After the first few pages you’re able to pick up on the dialogue, which is rife with humor as well as vivid narratives of the community and surrounding countryside of Brampton England, which is a town that still exists today in the Cumbrian countryside. His characters are wonderfully portrayed in commonsense and earthy detail and you’ll soon know them well as the author is gifted in his descriptions and knowledge of them. Hugh is such a likable fellow he is obviously always in search of justice, his faith in God is indisputable and his wish and search for a wife is funny and heartwarming.
So if you’re in the mood for a little something different in your search for a good mystery read I think this one might be right up your alley.
A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel is Hugh’s second adventure, it reads well as a stand a lone. Make sure to check out the first in the series The Unquiet Bones and his third in the series is due out soon and is titled A Trail of Ink. Check him out you’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review of A Mother's Touch

A Mother’s Touch
Linda Howard – Sherryl Woods – Emilie Richards
315 pages

A Mother’s Touch is a grouping of three classic romances from three wonderful authors and storytellers.
Long ago at the beginning of careers these three gifted women started by writing classic romance and here in A Mother’s Touch we have a sampling of their early works. As you read these tales you will see why these ladies are best selling authors today as you get just a glimpse of the way it was.
The Way Home – Linda Howard
This is the romance of Saxon and Anna. Saxon, a boss who gives Anna an ultimatum, she can be his secretary or his mistress. Saxon has ghosts he’s outrunning and perhaps with her love Anna can exorcise them, but the cost may be too high, it may cost her heart.
The Paternity Test – Sherryl Woods
Jane Dawson is always the invited guest to baby showers, never the mother to be. Perhaps it’s because her long time love Mike Marshall escaped small town life for the big city and the job of his dreams. But maybe there’s still sparks in the old flame that can be brought to life. We’ll just have to see.
A Stranger’s Son – Emilie Richards
On a fate filled night two lonely people come together, only that encounter produced more than either of them bargained for. Well now fate takes another turn at bringing them together, the only question is can the insecurities of the pasts of Devin and Robin be overcome in time to save what may be the love of their lives.

This amazing anthology will warm the heart of the coldest individual, so just think what it will do for you. Be sure to check out the latest releases of all three of these incredibly talented women.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review of Fortunate Harbor

Fortunate Harbor
Emilie Richards
Mira Books
520 pages
Fortunate Harbor is a mystery, a romance, a women’s fiction read, and most of all a story about the strength we find in friendship.
In Fortunate Harbor Emilie has us re-visit the ladies of Happiness Key Florida, they’re all doing well and of course that’s when all heck breaks out.
Tracy is just about to proceed to the next step in her romance with environmentalist Marsh Egan, that is until two things happen almost at the same time, Tracy’s ex and Marsh’s ex show up. But why?
Wanda is still slinging hash at the Dancing Shrimp, but changes are on the way when new owners take over.
Janya is finally in love with her husband and he with her amazingly after starting out in a shaky arranged marriage. So what’s the next logical step for a loving couple, you guessed it and that’s when the trouble starts.
Dana Turner is new in town she and her daughter Lizzie need a place to stay and the empty cottage at Happiness Key seems to be a perfect fit. But every silver lining starts with a dark cloud and Dana definitely has one hanging over her head. She’s keeping secrets and they could be deadly.
Emilie Richards, New York Times best selling author, is one of my all time favorite go to novelists. One of the things I love about her is the passion and substance you will find between the pages of her novels, you can tell that every word comes from her heart. This read tops her charts. The plot could be easily read about in any newspaper or be the basis for any crime drama TV show. Her dialogue is fast paced, easy to read and very visually descriptive, so much so that you can feel the trade winds as her characters walk along the beach or feel the aguish of a particular scene. Her starring characters are all equal in importance and all well developed, multi-dimensional and realistic, I could easily picture myself living next door to any of them. Her supporting characters are very engrossing and fascinating and could easily star in a story of their own, the villains are left to be discovered until the very last so that you’ll have your nails bitten to the quick by then but don’t worry it reads much like a cozy so while there’s mayhem at work she won’t go into gruesome details about it. There’s romance going on all over the place and it’s sweet and touching, frustrating and heart wrenching and you will share hope with each couple for their Happy Ending. The love scenes are winsome in their depiction so they offend no one, but those of us who don’t mind the heat tuned up will get the picture.
This is one of the best novels I’ve read in a while, it’s an excellent summer read, a perfect beach read or just what the doctor ordered when the vacation plans are homebound. Emily is that rare author who writes with sentiment and it’s obvious she loves what she does because the product is always phenomenal. So run do not walk to your nearest bookseller and try Emilie for the first time, or like me re-discover the reason you love her so much. It is a long read and believe me by the time you reach page 500 the only thing you’ll regret is that there aren’t 500 more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review of Storm Prey

Storm Prey
John Sanford
408 pages
Lucas Davenport is still the top cop after all these years.
Lucas has his hands full when a group of bumbling thieves knock off the pharmacy of University hospital and in the process kill one of the pharmacy techs. University Hospital is where Weather, Lucas’s wife is a surgeon and she has no time to be scared, she’s got conjoined twins to save, so when she sees one of the possible villains she’s in harm’s way. Now she and Lucas are in a constant battle as she tries to go about her normal hair-raising day and he tries to keep her safe.
You’d think that after this long in a series that there would be staleness, you’d be wrong. In this the 20th in the series John gives us as usual in his exceptional style of storytelling a whopper of a tale. A plot that could be and probably is taken off the front pages of a newspaper and yet with his particular flare gives it it’s uniqueness. His dialogue is precise and clear-cut, the man does not believe in over wordy novels, there’s an enormous dose of cop-speak so be prepared for large amounts of cursing and other crass behavior, it’s also descriptive in detail as he takes us through various parts of Minneapolis during the winter season. You will also get a taste of his incomparable humor don’t be surprised that one minute someone is dying and the next moment you’re laughing out loud. You will have a reunion with all the characters associated with the Prey series that you’ve come to like, and the co-star in this one is Virgil Flowers who now has a series of his own. The villains are an example of why you shouldn’t have children with your first cousin and yet in their stupidity they get unbelievable breaks.
Those of you addicted to Lucas will get your all deserved fix. Those of you who have never read him, what is wrong with you and better yet what are you waiting for. Be prepared for a chilling thriller to keep you cool in this summer heat.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review of Web of Lies

Web of Lies
Jennifer Estep
Simon & Schuster
400 pages
Gin Blanco formerly the acclaimed assassin known only as “The Spider” is enjoying her retirement, running The Pork Pit, trying to stay in sight of Donovan Caine and out of trouble. The problem is, trouble seems to find and follow her no matter what and it could be deadly.
Web of Lies is the second in Jennifer’s Elemental Assassin series. Gin’s had a lot on her mind since we last saw her, still reeling from the death of her adoptive father and mentor and still trying to find out who killed her blood family all those years ago. In this episode of the life and times of Gin Blanco she finds herself up close and personal with two of Mab Monroe’s thugs and they can mean only trouble at the least and her death at the most as she gets involved in two separate battles.
Jennifer continues her excellent series with Web of Lies where she lets her readers re-connect with all the characters that we’ve come to know and love or love to hate in the first novel Spider’s Bite. This plot is just as unique as the first as she takes her audience on a wild ride of adventure and terror. She does so with her imaginative, colorful narrative where even though this is an urban fantasy read she makes her readers believe her and what her characters do. Let’s talk about her characters, especially Gin who is an enigma herself, very complex, confusing and yet very believable, she’s also flawed which gives her more character in my eyes. Her co-starring cast is a small number of Gin’s friends and enemies and the story wouldn’t be complete without them. And then there’s the cast of many of her supporting characters who make the tale more interesting and entertaining. And entertain us is exactly what Ms. Estep does. This is definitely not a romance, but there is a love story from hell going on here with Gin and her pseudo beau detective Donovan Caine. It’s doomed from the start, but the romantics of us can’t help but hope. Donovan is such an engrossing character that she could easily build a storyline just on him and his complexity. Her love/sex scenes are very physical and descriptive.
So my friends Run, do not walk to your nearest bookseller and pick up, if you haven’t read it Spider’s Bite first and if you have Web of Lies. You will not be sorry. This is a first rate new urban fantasy series by the author of the Big Time series.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review of The Keys to The Vault

The Keys to The Vault
Jim Colombo
Strategic Books
196 pages
It has espionage, it has intrigue, it has international villains and it has romance, what more could you ask for in this cozy mystery.

Caroline Baker lives a quiet life, she enjoys her seat on the Chicago Board of Trade left to her by her grandfather. She enjoys her family and friends, but one August day when she decides to skip work in lieu of a day of shopping that all ends. It starts with the chance meeting of a mysterious stranger who needs a favor. That meeting will change her life forever, the question is will she survive it.

In his debut as an author Jim Colombo gives us a fast paced read that takes us from the heart of Chicago to the heart of Europe as he wings his readers on an adventure filled journey, unravels his mystery and solves the crimes for his audience. His dialogue is precise, easy to read and descriptively visual, so much so that you can easily view the scenes in your mind, from the streets of Chicago to the breathtaking vistas of England and on. His protagonist Caroline is sweet, a little naïve but with a lot of moxie as she takes the reins as a sort of young Jessica Fletcher. His supporting characters are all well thought out, interesting and crucial to the story from the enigmatic David to the villain of the century. The romance is heartwarming and simplistic as his hero and heroine have enough to battle without angst in their relationship.

You’ll get a lot of satisfaction with this action filled, nail biting, roller coaster ride of a mystery. A real page turner. I see nothing but good things in store for Mr. Colombo in his writing career. A must read for all mystery lovers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review of Hot Southern Nights

No one says Hot and Southern better than Dianne Castell

It always seems the way that the smartest, most honest and nicest girls always falls for the town bad boy. Well that’s exactly what happened to Churchill McKenzie, it started 9 years ago in the backseat of a classic Mustang and she’s never been able to grow out of it or him. Town bad boy and ex-con Cal Davis has been in love with Churchill since they were kids, he knows he’s not good enough for her but that doesn’t stop him from being drawn to her. But there’s more going on than meets the eye and the question is, will love cure them or kill them.

Dianne gives us a new twist to the rebel and the librarian in her latest Low Country romantic suspense novel. Her dialogue is classic southern charm meets Jersey thug and locker room speak mixes with highfalutin society. She wows us with her plot as she solves the crime no one wants solved and delves into secrets best left buried. Her hero Cal and heroine Churchill are very believable three dimensional characters who her readers will cheer on hoping they get that all elusive happily ever after. Her supporting characters are colorful, some more than others, but all equally important to the novel and wouldn’t be complete without them. Her romance is sweet, heady and full of pitfalls and the kind that most appeals to me that of reacquainted or rekindled love. Her love scenes are physical, visceral, hot and spicy.

So honey get down to your nearest local book seller and pick up this here wonderful novel and you will be mighty glad you did. That’s Low Country speak for this is a must read.