Thursday, September 30, 2010

Join us Starting Monday at B&N.com's General Fiction Club For our October Feature Read

Join us for this in our conversations about this wonderful novel starting Monday October 4th.

Then stay with us for the month

The author Mary Sharratt joins us for the last two weeks of the month to chat with us, answer questions and comment with us about her book.


Here's a link to the club
http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Fiction-General-Discussion/bd-p/FictGeneral

Here's a little about her from her website




Mary Sharratt and Boushka, her Welsh mare

Mary Sharratt is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England for the past seven years. Her inspiration for her forthcoming novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2010), arose directly out of the wild, brooding landscape: the story of the Pendle Witches unfolded almost literally in her backyard.

Winner of the 2005 WILLA Literary Award and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue (Coffee House 2000), The Real Minerva (Houghton Mifflin 2004), and The Vanishing Point (Houghton Mifflin 2006). Her first two novels were Book Sense picks, and The Vanishing Point was a UK Guardian Readers’ Book of the Year. She is also the co-editor of the subversive UK fiction anthology, Bitch Lit(Crocus Books UK 2006), a celebration of female anti-heroes which was featured in The Guardian and on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. Mary’s short stories have been widely published in journals and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including the recent Twin Cities Noir (Akashic Books 2006).

A former Historical Novels Society Reviews editor, Mary writes regular feature articles and author profiles for Solander and The Historical Novels Review.

When Mary isn’t writing fiction, she is usually off riding Boushka, her beautiful and spirited Welsh mare who is making a cameo appearance in Daughters of the Witching Hill as Alice Nutter’s horse.

Mary returns regularly to her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota where she teaches workshops at The Loft Literary Center.

"The thing that gets me most excited is coaching my students on the power of story, the art of drawing the reader into the thick of the narrative. My job is helping my students discover the stories they need to tell and helping them develop their narrative voice. Then I stand back and listen to their stories unfold, spinning themselves on their own power."

More
.Fairy Tales for Women: Writing Exercise
By Mary Sharratt
.Through a Dark Forest: On Fairy Tales as Women's Stories and on Writing Summit Avenue
By Mary Sharratt
.Summit Avenue Author Uses Fairy Tales to Break Through Clich├ęs
By Mary Ann Grossman
.Moments of Enchantment (at strangehorizons.com)
By Christopher Cobb

Author photo at top, courtesy of Anne Bullen.






Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review of Water Bound



Water Bound
Christine Feehan
Penguin Group
443 pages

Water Bound is the first in Christine Feehan’s new series, a spin off of The Drake Sisters and based in Sea Haven.
Rikki is a sea urchin diver, she learned to like a solitary life as it beats being ridiculed for being “different”, until she goes diving and encounters a half dead man. What should she do with him, especially since he doesn’t want in spite of his grave injuries medical help. Lev Prakenskii can’t remember anything but his name and the fact that he’s a killer and yet Rikki knows she’s in no danger from him, that is until her heart is involved and then look out.
Ms. Feehan gives us a brand new series with some old friends and some new faces in her brand new series in Sea Haven the home town of the beloved Drake Sisters. Her plot is straight forward with just enough woo woo to make it interesting for us her paranormal fans. You’ll recognize her dialogue as she rarely strays from her unique style of storytelling and yet it’s different enough from her other series that it has it’s own flavor. Her characters are as usual over the top with personality and her readers won’t be able to help themselves but to love the hero Lev and her heroine RIkki, and we get the added bonus of catching up with our old friends too. The romance is sweet and the audience will be pulling for them every step of the way as you will not meet two characters in more need of a happy ever after. The love scenes are hot, spicy, sensual and leave little to the imagination, but you will know there’s love in every encounter.
So if you finished Elle and Jackson’s story and were a little misty eyed, this is your chance to go back to Sea Haven. If you love Christine’s other series, you will love this one. If you love a great series that thinks just a little out of the box and adds a little paranormal to the persuasion, you’ll love this. It’s a great new series and I can’t wait for the next volume.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review of The Immortals



The Immortals
J T Ellison
Mira
400 pages

The Immortals is the 5th in the Taylor Jackson series. A must read for the autumn and one you will not soon forget. A chilling tale of murder and mayhem and things that go bump in the night.

The Halloween decorations have been finished and the house is ready for the influx of ghosts, goblins and ghouls due on the 31st, now your only decision is your next read, something in tune with the season. Let me help you with that, pick a comfortable spot on the sofa, put your feet up and get ready to be scared out of your mind by The Immortals.

Taylor Jackson has been reinstated just in time for the bloodiest Halloween Nashville has ever seen and to make it all worse, the blood spilled is high school students, boys and girls who will never be able to reach their potential, never marry and never have children of their own. There is definite signs of the occult in the murders and it’s up to Taylor and her crew to ferret out the truth and find the killer.
While Taylor is up to her armpits in blood and gore John Baldwin is reliving his worst nightmare, the result of that nightmare is what brought him back to Nashville and to Taylor, his salvation. Now he’s alone at Quantico under orders to bring back to life a time that almost ended his career and his life.

J T Ellison is one of the most masterful storytellers I have ever had the privilege of reading and that fact is brought to life by this, her latest episode in her Taylor Jackson series. The story line is straight out of the worst nightmare ever imagined, added to that the practice of black arts that leads to the crimes. She brings about this with direct, descriptive, matter of fact dialogue that her readers have come to recognize as she takes us through the streets and neighborhoods of Taylor’s crime beat. Add to that the pleasure her readers will encounter as her scenes jump off the pages and embed themselves right in your minds eye so that you can experience along with the characters just what’s happening and relive with them every terrifying act. Her characters remain the heartbeat of her tales and as her audience has gotten to know Taylor and her team better they continue to become more and more real to us. Her main protagonist Taylor matures with every novel and every crime spree that she puts her heart and soul into solving until she becomes a friend to the readers who can’t help but empathize with her every emotion. And emotion is what sets apart this novel, the fact that readers will run through every emotion known to them as they turn page after pulse pounding, nail biting page. You can’t discount her co-starring characters either as they will wow us with the roles they play from the staunchest cop to the vilest of evil doers.

Do not walk but run to your nearest bookseller for this most extraordinary thriller that will appeal to all lovers of the genre and appeal to male readers as well as female. This is the 5th in a series and it does stand very well on it’s own, but my suggestion is that if this is your first foray into J T Ellison, go back and learn all about the life and times of Taylor Jackson, her friends and her enemies by reading the whole series.
This novel will not take long to top the best sellers chart.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review of Chasing The Night




Chasing The Night
Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s Press
362 pages

Chasing The Night is the 11th in the Eve Duncan forensic sculptor series, fans will be pleased with this action packed thriller and newcomers to the series will find this one will be the enticer to read the whole series.
Eve Duncan became a forensic sculptor because of the kidnapping and certain death of her daughter Bonnie, she wants to bring closure to parents of missing children by bringing them home by her reconstruction process and maybe in doing so will bring some comfort and closure where she’s had none.
Together with her long time mate and lover Joe Quinn, and CIA operative Venable they embark on a very different mission. Nine years ago former CIA operative Catherine Ling was enjoying domestic bliss when her world fell apart, as she listens on the phone her husband is brutally murdered and the sadistic monster responsible for it also kidnapped her 2yr old son Luke. Now eleven she needs the expertise of Eve to age her son in a last ditch attempt to rescue him. Will he still be alive and if he is will he be worth saving and through it all will Eve suffer the loss of Bonnie all over again by helping to bringing Luke home.
Ms. Johansen is her usual brilliant self in this edge of your seat, nail biting, chill a minute thriller. Her plot is as usual over the top, dealing with foreign politics, covert operations and operatives and death defying last minute rescues. Her dialogue is the matter of fact and in your face speak one would expect from hardened black ops, cops and evil villains, and her descriptive narrative will give her readers a bird’s eye view of the places she takes us to in the novel. Her characters will blow you away from the start and they all play their roles effortlessly and excellently. Her audiences will never tire of Eve and Joe and their continuing love story and the adversities they constantly encounter because Ms. Johansen keeps them fresh even after 11 novels in the series and this one is no exception. Her other protagonist Catherine is a character that will hold your interest all through the novel and the readers will feel all the emotions she goes through as she tries almost fruitlessly to rescue her son. But it’s always also a story of courage, of tenacity and of spirit that her characters provide for her readers.
Chasing The Night is one of those can’t put it down, pulse racing, page turners that will keep you under it’s spell until you read the words “the end”. If this is your first exposure to Ms. Johansen, believe me it won’t be your last. A must read for all you lovers of exceptional intrigue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review of Midnight Crystal



Midnight Crystal
Jayne Castle
Penguin Group
371 pages
Midnight Crystal is the third and final novel in Jayne Ann Krentz’s Dreamlight Trilogy, complete with a dust bunny, and the 11th in the Arcane Society series.
The Place, Harmony. The time, sometime far into the future. The problem, Nicholas Winter’s curse has manifested itself again.
Adam Winters is afraid he’s doomed, doomed to be the latest victim of the curse of his however great- grandfather Nicholas Winters and he’s looking for the Burning Lamp and the dreamlight weaver who can help him operate the lamp, now if they can just find it.
Marlowe Jones comes from a long line of Jones’ who’s conspiracy theorist talent has lead them to the head of J&J, Marlowe however doesn’t have that talent, no she’s a dreamlight talent. But she’s just the ticket to help Adam, now if they can just keep it professional it’ll be better all around, but the attraction they feel is almost as big as the danger they’re in.
Welcome to the ultra-alien world created by the fantastic imagination of Jayne Ann Krentz, who’s rare talent have brought us a multitude of wonderful novels past, present and in the future written as herself and her alter egos Jayne Castle for futuristic and Amada Quick for historical romance. The plot is as unique as they come complete with psi, rez and, of course the all important dust bunny. Your psi-senses will be tingling big time with this action filled adventure thriller. Her characters are a little bit out there, being from outer-space and yet they resemble their earth ancestors to a tee with a few minor differences which only add to the readers interest in the story. Her hero and heroine are full of life yet yearn for something they can’t name until they meet each other. As always on Harmony one of them has a dust bunny pal who has as much personality in his little dust bunny toe than a lot of the minor characters. Her romance is quaint even though it’s millennia away from us, but powerful and, make it very clear that the word love and forever are never far from the minds of the lovers. Her love scenes are heady and earthy, yet touching and tender.
So settle in for the long haul, because once you open these pages you won’t be getting up until you read “the end”. It’s not necessary to read the first two in the trilogy, as it stands very strong on it’s own, but then why pick up the third in a trilogy if you don’t want to read all three and get the back story and all the little things you’d never find out otherwise. So be sure to read Fired Up and Burning Lamp of the trilogy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review of Todos Santos



Todos Santos
Deborah Clearman
Black Lawrence Press
236 pages
Todos Santos is an evocative must read.
Catherine Barnes is at precipice in her life, her marriage is failing and her teenaged son Isaac is on a downward spiral leading to trouble. Her sister-in-law living in Antiqua Guatemala offers to give Isaac a job in her shop while Catherine goes on to the small town of Todos Santos to use local children to illustrate a book. Catherine is convinced that in using this time for herself, she’ll be able to answer some difficult questions about her life and allow her some soul searching as well. Will she like what she finds? Join her on her sojourn and find out.
It’s obvious that Ms. Clearman is definitely familiar with the people and regions of Guatemala and Todos Santos as is colorfully displayed in her novel of the same name. She does this with vivid descriptive dialogue that will take her readers on horrendous taxi rides through verdant scenery and witness some of the most kaleidoscopic characters you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Her audience will be enthralled by her unique story line as she takes us all on an adventure of a lifetime. We will witness one woman’s search for self healing and in Ms. Clearman’s brilliant mind she will also give us various sub-plots to unravel at the same time, some dealing with politics and others the misadventures of a teenaged male. Her characters are all amazing, clearly defined and well depicted as they play their prospective parts. You her readers will be especially charmed by Catherine, her protagonist as she wields her way into our hearts, we will be entertained by the inhabitants of the Town of Todos Santos where the ancient Mayan civilization is alive and well and then we’ll be absorbed in the maelstrom of events that Isaac gets himself into. Todos Santos is also a love story, a love of a people and a way of life that may seem foreign to most of us, but is non the less still precious and in need of saving.
This is an incredible piece of literary fiction that will appeal to a multitude of fans, from the coming of age fan, to the romance fan to the fan of learning about new people and places. But don’t let any of that steer you, just read it because it’s a wonderfully written novel.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review of A Kiss At Midnight



A Kiss at Midnight
Eloisa James
Harper Collins
370 pages
Well there’s no coach turning into a pumpkin and no horses turning into mice, but there is “ A Kiss at Midnight in this wonderful Cinderella tale.
Eloisa James has a rare talent when it comes to historical romance, she always brings her audience right into the story where we can feel the rasp of whiskers as they brush our cheeks and feel in our hearts the pain of letting go. Now the plot obviously isn’t new it’s Cinderella after all complete with a charming prince, a godmother and a wicked stepmother and yet unique in it’s twists and turns from the original tale. Her dialogue is witty and flowing, it’s prose like and detailed right down to those famous glass slippers. Her characters are quirky, funny and interesting from the top right down to the yappy little dogs and she gives each of them such personality that it’s hard not to get involved emotionally in her script. Her hero Gabriel and heroine Kate are the most impressive of her cast and as they fall in love we her readers can’t help but feel the passion and the pain of that love. Her romance is tragic and heartfelt and we wonder up til the end if they’ll get that sought after happy ever after. Her love scenes are inventive, detailed and physical in their intensity.
So if you’re in the mood for all the things you remembered from a little girl about Cinderella and add a few more to her repertoire A Kiss at Midnight is the next novel you should read. Also check out her other wonderful historical romances on her website at http://eloisajames.com/.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review of The 1st Wife



The 1st Wife
Tara Taylor Quinn
Harlequin
256 pages
The 1st Wife is the first of a four book series named The Kelly Files

Meet super successful magazine editor Jane Hamilton who’s been on a roll in her professional life but not so much in her personal life since her divorce from her philandering husband. With her platonic best friend Brad Manchester by her side she feels she can rule the world, there’s only one problem, she can’t until she shakes off her protective skin and comes clean about the too real skeletons in her closet. A call to testify in her ex-husband’s trial and a closer look at she and Brad’s relationship brings it all to a head.
Ms. Quinn has created quite a quandary for her readers in this her first chapter in the Kelly Files where Dr. Kelly Chapman expert witness psychologist is in the periphery of the story and we get to see it unfolding from a unique standpoint, which makes her story line a little different from the rest of the genre. Her characters are interesting and you’ll want to keep turning pages to get to the outcome. Her hero Brad and heroine Jane are oblivious to what the readers can see and so it makes it fun to watch them stumble their way to each other. The romance is sweet, mixed with intense feelings and utter confusion on the part of our protagonists. The love scene is tame and inoffensive to any audience.

So if you like contemporary romance, you will like this, if you like series, this is for you if you are a Harlequin fan, you can’t go wrong, so be sure and give The 1st Wife a try, it’s a strong romance and will attract a wide audience especially since the rest of the series is published by Mira, Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense division.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review of All The Pretty Girls



All the Pretty Girls
JT Ellison
Mira
411 pages

All the Pretty Girls is the first of the Taylor Jackson series and is an outstanding example of a thriller disguised as romantic suspense.

Taylor Jackson Lieutenant for the Nashville Police Department has her hands full as it is and the last thing she needs is a serial killer loose and in her backyard. Along with her “main squeeze” FBI profiler John Baldwin they will have to get into the head of this heartless villain and solve the mysteries of the bodies he’s leaving behind.

Ms. Ellison has given us a brand new model for a strong woman protagonist in Taylor, a woman who’s not afraid to be female in the presence of a mostly male cast and an all male homicide department. Her plot may not be original in it’s contents but she spins her tale with the best of the thriller authors and keeps her audience guessing as we sweat the outcome of the various characters until the bitter end and in between the blood and gore you get real life dramas that only intensify your liking of these people. Her dialogue is just what you’d expect from cops and robbers, that no-nonsense and to the point speak with plenty of expletives, yet it’s not over done like with some authors who find the need to cuss in every sentence. Her characters are outstanding all of them especially the stable of homicide detectives that work with Taylor and of course Baldwin. And let’s talk about her protagonists for a bit, Taylor is a head strong and independent woman who is not a bit afraid to show her female side and her occasional vulnerability and then turn around and show us her very professional cop side as well, and Baldwin is this tortured soul who seems to be a better man with Taylor in the picture and is just fine with admitting it. And better than anything I like the characters and I think her audience will too. The love story is between two flawed individuals who are better together than apart. The love scenes are few, but are tempered to please any reader.

So do yourself a favor and if you’ve never read JT Ellison, make “All the Pretty Girls” your first foray, you will not be sorry you did. And, like I intend to do, immerse yourself into the series with the following books in the life and times of Taylor Jackson.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Review of Rebel




Rebel
Claire Delacroix
Tor
408 pages

The final installment of Ms. Delacroix’s trilogy is an amazing finish. Just remember “The Eyes of the Republic are Everywhere”.

Angels have voluntarily surrendered their wings to live as humans and to help earth regain some sanity and humanity after leaders of the Republic have insidiously removed it by creating a sub-human labor force and in this the 3rd and final episode is the story of the fallen angel now known as Armand and the wraith Theodora whom we have met in the earlier novels. They will take it upon themselves to destroy the status quo and hopefully bring about a new beginning for the entire human race.

Those of us familiar with the previous works of Ms. Delacroix will not surprised by the amazing storytelling ability she has and she outshines even herself in this horrific look at a post apocalyptic USA now known as The Republic. Her plot is unique in this time of many such popular novels and I love how she intertwines the regular dialogue with snippets from supposed news articles and other publications to give her audience a better and fuller look at the world she’s created. With her direly descriptive dialogue and horrific glimpses of what the world has become, her readers will be able to picture every frightening experience her characters live and some don’t live through. Her characters are all amazing and clearly thought out and portrayed from the smallest part to the main protagonists and finally to the vilest villain, where she gives us a peek at the ultimate of evil doers, Lucifer, and I like the fact that we catch up with the lives of the characters of the previous novels in the series. Her hero Armand and heroine Theodora are exquisite examples of her vivid and brilliantly creative mind as they will literally jump off the pages and into her reader’s hearts as they torturously find their way to each other and out of harms way. Her romance is full of heat and innocence in equal parts and her love scenes are descriptive and physical and yet tender and endearing.

So if you like me love that romantic suspense with an urban fantasy twist, this is definitely the one you should choose as you won’t find anywhere out there more vivid imagination that this series will give you. And finally you will love the exceptional climatic ending that will bring tears to your eyes and make you believe in the power of the divine. So I urge you to take a chance if you’ve never read her, and I know once you do you like me will become a fan for life.
This volume stands well alone, but I suggest to get all the history and events from the series read Fallen and Guardian also.
Also check out her other works in her alter ego Deborah Cooke as well as the many works as Claire Delacroix.
Claire kudos to you for one of the best in this genre that I have ever read!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review of Blood Born


Blood Born
Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Ballentine Books
466 pages
Blood Born is the first novel in a new paranormal romance series.
For as long as the earth has been populated by humans there have also been vampires, some created by turning, others the rare form of being blood born. Someone has decided to end the status quo and start a revolution so the vampire race can finally come out of seclusion and gain their rightful place at the top of the food chain. The immortal warriors trying to come into this plane of existence need help by their conduits, the only trouble is that the vampires know this too and are systematically taking them out.
Luca Ambrus is one of those rare blood born vampires and he’s been the chosen executioner for the vampire counsel for ages but there’s trouble afoot or afang and he’s uncertain which side to fight on. Chloe Fallon has been having strange dreams that seem all too real, she thinks she may be going nuts until one fateful night when everything that only lived in her nightmares became all too real.
Ms’s Howard and Jones each have a rich following and that will certainly increase with their foray into the wonderful world of paranormal romance. It’s hard to start a new paranormal series when they seem to be everywhere, but have no fear because these talented women keep it fresh with subtle twists to the legends. If you like the kind of novel where there’s cover to cover hard edged dialogue you will love this one. The characters really shine as there is a very thin line between the villains and the heros, they’re all full of malfeasance along with redeeming qualities. The hero and heroine Luca and Chloe are unlikely lovers and the authors have brilliantly brought them together in-spite of it and made it work because their audience will definitely be pulling for this couple. The love scenes are physical and visceral and include very descriptive scenes, so keep this on a high shelf but bring it down often to enjoy a truly good new paranormal series.
So with vampires exploding off the screen and pages of many books you might be asking yourself why should you try this one. I’ll say try it because you know the quality writing that preceded this work by these gifted storytellers and accomplished authors and stay tuned for the next installment In the series when Warrior Rising will be out in Spring of 2011.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review of Whisper Kiss



Whisper Kiss
Deborah Cooke
Penguin Group
391 pages

Whisper Kiss is the fifth of Ms. Cooke’s Dragonfire novels. It is Niall’s story and they just keep getting better and better.

Niall Talbot is a member of the Pyr a rare dragon shape shifter race of protectors of the earth and all her treasures including humans. His main objective is to hunt down and destroy the deadly Shadow Dragons who are trying to prevent the Pyr from doing their duties, In the midst of hunting these elusive creatures the last thing he needs is his firestorm, the one chance a dragon has to find his true mate and bring about an offspring and continue the line of Pyrs. And above that he doesn’t need or want a smart mouthed, trashy dressed tattoo artist as the one and only one the great Wyvern has chosen for him. Rox has lived a lie for years, hidden behind the goth make up and biker gang clothes is a heart of gold that’s still hurting from the betrayal at the hands of the one person in her life who should have protected her. Now she’s faced with a dilemma, she’s loosing her latest project, a lazy non-productive dragon shifter who’s been with her for three years, so isn’t she surprised to find out that the man her project is leaving her for is non other than another dragon shifter, only this one comes with sparks. Well let the sparks fly.

Ms. Cooke has created for us her audience a wonderfully creative and colorful alternate look at paranormal romance, where she gives us grand creatures with gem like scales who fly, breath fire and roar to protect their world, their friends and especially their loves. Her dialogue is no nonsense hard knocks and street savvy that one would expect from truly alpha male types and then she mixes it up with the eloquence and voice of reason of the women in her novels and as she spins the tale her readers can picture in their minds eye the brilliance of the flying mythological creatures, not to mention the fire they breath as they make mincemeat out of their opponents. Her hero and heroine in this episode of good vs evil are truly the ideal of opposites attracting and isn’t it good to know that the firestorm knows best because other wise these two would never have been the couple they were destined to become. Her other characters are equally well created and portrayed and I like the fact that we get to catch up on the couples that have come before and wonder who will get their firestorm next. The romance is sweet and it’s good to see old fashioned courtesy and chivalry as evidenced by Niall. The love scenes on the other hand are as earthy as the dragons themselves and physical in their intensity.

So give yourself a well deserved break from reality and treat yourself to a truly new concept in romance, that’s right fall in love with a dragon, you won’t be sorry you did. This novel stands well on it’s own, but to get all the nuances and the whole story check out the other novels in the series. Go to Ms. Cooke’s website www.DeborahCooke.com and get them all. And Deborah, I can’t wait for the next installment of the legend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review of Saving Max



Saving Max
Antoinette van Heugten
Mira
375 pages

Antoinette van Heugten may be a debut author, but her novel sings like a beautiful classic song. Saving Max is your next must read. It will be out in October 2010.

Danielle Parkman is a single mother with a troubled son Max, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome among other psychological afflictions. In an effort to give him the best help available, Danielle takes him to a renowned institution where her life and Max’s takes an abrupt and downward spiral and now the only thing that’s important to Danielle is “Saving Max”. But the real question is can he be saved or should he.

In Ms. van Heugten’s brilliant debut novel we see evidence of greatness as she weaves her complicated plot for her audience. A plot where the incredible family drama will hook you and the imaginatively amazing mystery/thriller will reel you in and then culminates with a riveting court room scene of epic proportions that are award worthy. Her dialogue is intense in it’s contents while her prose like narrative will pull extreme emotions from her readers as she describes dramatically and descriptively a parents worst nightmare and the process in which to rectify it. Her characters are beyond capable and near perfection as each of them play their roles with clarity and excellence and each of them is as necessary a component as the next for the telling of the story. And you, her readers will expel every emotion you have before the end of the novel as we pull for the good and cringe at the evil. And let me be clear, this is not a romance, but it is a love story, a love of a mother, a love of a friend and yes the love between a man and a woman. And to that point there are love scenes, but they’re done with exceptional class and imagination. But the essence is the strength of one woman, a mother who wants nothing but the best for her child and would go to the ends of the earth even to hell and back to accomplish it.

Saving Max is a rare find in literary fiction. It’s a realistic look at mental health and the facilities that treat it. A heart wrenching drama of the frailties and strengths of our species. So if you’re looking for your next Must Read that will take you through a whole specturm of feelings from horror to joy to edge of your seat, nail biting suspense, run don’t walk to your nearest bookseller for “Saving Max”. You won’t be sorry!
And to you Ms. van Heugten, I can’t wait to read your next adventure.
Kudos!!!

Now I have to stop and say a word about Mira, yes it's a division of Harlequin, a publisher that's been around for 60 years. But this is not a publisher to be snubbed by so called book snobs, the last few novels I've read by this publisher have been excellent and not romance at all but great literary fiction, great pieces of women's fiction that would be very appealing to our male readers also. So you book snobs out there get your head out of the sand or where ever else it's hiding and I promise you won't be sorry if you give this novel and other's published by Mira a try.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review of Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage



Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage
Jennifer Ashley
Penguin Group
316 pages
Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage is the second of Ms. Ashley’s Mackenzie brothers series.
Being an estranged wife on the ton is all too frequent, being an estranged wife of one of the rakish, disreputable Mackenzie brothers is pretty much expected. Of course what the ton doesn’t know is that Isabella is still madly in love with Mac and madly is a good description of what their married life has been so far, a few great times followed by sadness, hurt and abandonment, but despite all that Mac needs her help and by God he’s going to get it. Mac Mackenzie a rake by reputation and an artist and lord of the ton by trade really does love his wife that’s why when she finally had enough of him 3 years ago he took a vow of celibacy, which wasn’t too hard to keep since the only woman he wants is Isabella. Now someone is forging his name on their work and Isabella is bound and determined to help him whether he needs it or not and maybe that will be his opportunity to get her back.
Alright, I admit to not being a fan of “most” historical romance novels. I don’t find young lovers exciting to a “woman of a certain age”, but whenever Jennifer Ashley, a favorite author of mine in different genres, comes out with a historical I have to get it, why, let me tell you.
There is no better spinner of a tale then Ms. Ashley it shows in her unique humor, her flowing dialogue and her storyline. The plot is older than time, boy gets girl, looses girl, wants her back and plots to make that happen. But underneath that plot is the many subplots that she so wonderfully gives us, the love felt by both the hero and heroine, the heartache, the sadness, and the lives that they touch and touch them. It all comes out through her words and into the hearts and minds of her audience. Her characters are world class and larger than life and yet she makes them more human by giving them many faults then goes on to show her readers that dealing with those faults is what gives her characters, character. And oh the characters, they are amazing in their detail as she intimates us with them and even the ones with the smallest parts leave an impression on us, plus one of my favorite parts is that we get to reacquaint ourselves with the characters we’ve met in the previous novel. Her hero Mac and heroine Isabella are one of the most unforgettable couples you will ever cry for, hurt for and get angry at as they ineptly find their way back to each other. Her love scenes are very sensuous and blazing in their intensity, and her readers will feel the love, tenderness and longing in every coupling.
So if you’ve never met the Mackenzie brothers, have no fear this can easily be read as a stand-a-lone, but do yourself a favor and get The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie as soon as this one is finished. Then go to Ms Ashley’s website http://www.jennifersromances.com/ and discover what an incredible talent she has in all her endeavors, you won’t be sorry. Oh and Ms. Ashley great job on Mac and I can’t wait until next August 2011 to read Cameron’s tale.