<i>Oversight</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Oversight: Exclusive Excerpt Santino Hassell "A broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze..." <i>Coach's Challenge</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Coach's Challenge: Exclusive Excerpt Avon Gale "Succumb to the passion that might cost them everything..." A Binge Guide to Tamsen Parker's Compass Series A Binge Guide to Tamsen Parker's Compass Series Tamsen Parker "I don’t like to think about where I would’ve ended up without him." <i>The Legend</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Legend: Exclusive Excerpt Donna Grant "Can Wyatt save Callie’s life—without putting her love in the line of fire?"
From The Blog
June 24, 2017
ICYMI: June’s Free E-Book, Psy-Changeling, Top Lorraine Heath, and more!
Team H & H
June 23, 2017
5 Reasons You Should Listen to Audiobooks
Nicole Leapheart
June 23, 2017
A Definitive Ranking of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson Books
Maggie Boyd
June 22, 2017
10 Dirty Football Terms You Didn't Know Are Legitimate
LizLincoln
June 22, 2017
Love on a Deadline in Liora Blake’s Second Chance Season
Janet Webb
Showing posts by: Janet Webb click to see Janet Webb's profile
Thu
Jun 22 2017 1:00pm

Love on a Deadline in Liora Blake’s Second Chance Season

Second Chance Season by Liora BlakeThinking over the very enjoyable Second Chance Season, the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine” kept running through my mind: “You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us…” Chicago-born writer Cara Cavanaugh takes the biggest chance of her life when she turns down a lucrative offer from a big-city newspaper and takes a freelance assignment in the small Colorado town of Hotchkiss. Is this going to be a small-town-life-rules trope tale? Particularly since the “Grand Valley series” encompasses the towns of Paonia and Palisade,

 

…where the wineries, orchards, and a bunch of crafty artisan businesses are the big draw in this once quiet part of southwestern Colorado. While the Grand Valley used to be nothing more than an afterthought in the state, now—thanks to whoever dreamed up the concept of agritourism—it’s a destination.

Not so fast on that prediction.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 18 2017 11:00am

If You Like Julie Garwood, Try Mary Wine’s Highland Hellion

Highland Hellion by Mary Wine

Did you cut your historical romance teeth on Julie Garwood’s memorable Scottish historicals? If so, you’ll relish the tempestuous and unusual heroine of Mary Wine’s Highland Hellion. Katherine Carew is unforgettable—“Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules.” Since her abduction she has been allowed to train with the young men of her adopted clan. Wearing the plaid, not dresses, Katherine is a tomboy, a trained fighter, a hellion in the Highlands.

Recently Marcus, the head of her clan, decreed Katherine would have to stop riding out and raiding with his warriors. She rails against her fate. No one is going to curb her wings.

The night beckoned to her with warm air and enough clouds to keep the moonlight low. It was just a ride. A few hours to restore her spirit before she had to resume the role Fate had decided was hers.

Hellion?

Perhaps.

Katherine is unworried about tempting fate, even though just days earlier she was almost captured by the men of another clan when she was adventuring at night. Why would she take that risk? Is there a man involved?  Oh yes. And she knows his name and his status: he’s “the heir to an honorable Highland laird.”

[Read more...]

Tue
Jun 13 2017 9:30am

First Look: Amanda Scott’s The Reluctant Highlander (June 13, 2017)

The Reluctant Highlander by Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott
The Reluctant Highlander 
Open Road Media Romance / June 13, 2017 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

Late one moonlight June night in 1431, on the North Inch of Perth, Sir Adham MacFinlagh spots a graceful lass, clad only in her shift, stepping into the waters of the river Tay. Adham is not a “fanciful man” but if he were, “he might have called it magical.” He is content to watch the water sprite float away from him, buoyed by the current, until “in an eddying swirl, she vanished beneath the sparkling dark surface.”

Suddenly fearful, he dashed after her. Heedless of rocks, the uneven terrain, and other such minor obstacles, he cast off his badric, belt, and heavy wool plaid as he ran.

Lady Fiona Ormiston savored the rare sense of freedom she felt deep beneath the surface, as her arms swept her forward and her legs kicked hard against the Tay’s strong current, heading back the way she had come. She was smugly pleased that she could hold her breath long enough now to count nearly to two hundred.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 11 2017 11:00am

Mira Lyn Kelly The Wedding Date Bargain Reunites Lovers

The Wedding Bargain by Mira Lyn Kelly

In the hands of the very skilled Mira Lyn Kelly, not one but two perennial romance clichés—the “one that got away” and “losing one’s virginity”—are combined into a delightfully frothy, occasionally serious, summer confection. The second book in Kelly’s Wedding Date series reacquaints the reader with a tight group of Chicago-based friends, with a wedding and romance (egged on by interfering, all-too-knowledgeable friends) as the backdrop. 

Once upon a time, the “Safewalk stud” aka Max Brandt walked Sarah Cole, a lovely dark-haired young co-ed, back to her dorm from the library. They became friends, and perhaps a little more, until the night that a kiss turned passionate and Sarah begged Max to be her first lover. Tempted though he was, Max turned her down, thinking such a momentous decision should be undertaken with at least of semblance of loving feelings on each side. And he didn’t love her.

Fast forward to Chicago eight years later. Sarah’s been engaged—that didn’t work out so well since her “I-respect-you-too-much-to-sleep-with-you” beau was all about playing around with other gals. Max too has come close to getting hitched but it didn’t work out. He’s very popular with the ladies but lately even that’s been losing its appeal.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jun 8 2017 1:00pm

Brenda Novak’s No One But You Heals the Wounded Heart

No One But You by Brenda Novak

Dawson Reed is recently out of prison and Sadie Harris is imprisoned on every side by her vindictive, cruel ex-husband.  Both constantly under scrutiny in Silver Springs, the small southern California town they call home, they have a lot in common. Still, being a housekeeper for Dawson Reed is not Sadie’s first choice.

The century-old farmhouse looked haunted…

Sadie Harris wasn’t particularly superstitious, but knowing two people had been murdered in an upstairs bedroom of this isolated white clapboard home didn’t make her eager to work here. She parked outside the gate and sat in her car, engine off, angling her head to see through the passenger window.

Sadie doesn’t have a lot of choice though. She and her five year-old son Jayden are “squeezed into a tiny one-bedroom guesthouse,” struggling to make ends meet, while her ex-husband Sly plays mind-games, and more, on her.

He was trying to keep her destitute so she’d have to come back if she wanted to be able to feed and clothe their child—and eat herself.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jun 4 2017 11:00am

2 Commitmentphobes Find True Love in Until You

Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Until You by Denise Grover Swank has the sassy appeal of a screwball comedy with a dash of a Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie. Two intelligent, attractive people meet at a wedding shower. Tyler Norris is a confirmed commitment-phobe, although he’s very popular with the opposite sex. Lanie Rogers is a workaholic with no fixed address, way too busy to settle down or settle for a permanent relationship. Aren’t those the perfect circumstances for a no-strings-attached-fling?

Avoiding all attachments, especially the bonds of marriage, are the order of the day for Tyler Norris, a founding member of the Bachelor Brotherhood. Not that all the members are footloose and fancy-free. Like his friend Kevin.

So when Kevin had moved back home two months ago after his last tour in Afghanistan, the three friends had commiserated on their extremely unlucky love life and decided to give up on marriage, imposing a ban on women and forming the Bachelor Brotherhood.

Kevin Vandemeer had lasted one fucking day.

That’s not going to be Tyler’s fate; you can put that one in the bank. 

[Read more...]

Mon
May 29 2017 9:30am

First Look: Jo Beverley’s Merely a Marriage (May 30, 2017)

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Jo Beverley
Merely a Marriage 
Berkley / May 30, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

It is an honor and a privilege to write about beloved author Jo Beverley’s final novel, Merely a Marriage. It is set in Regency London, the primary site of her Rogue world, which is so poignant for me since my first Jo Beverley was An Arranged Marriage, Nicolas and Eleanor’s story. Nicholas is King Rogue, not that knowledge of Beverley’s earlier books is necessary to enjoy Merely a Marriage.

Lady Ariana Boxstall is a statuesque red-head, intelligent and forceful, not in the least shy about pushing and prodding for what she wants. What she wants, in the wake of the tragic death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte, is for her brother Norris, the young Earl of Boxstall, to marry with all due haste and get his new wife with child. Ariana cannot bear to think of a fatal accident befalling her athletic younger brother before he is married, particularly since the heir to the earldom is Uncle Paul, a disgraceful sot. Norris is enjoying being a bachelor and emphatically rejects Ariana’s advice. She won’t let up, however, so he agrees…with the proviso that she marry first.

[Read more...]

Sun
May 28 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Eva Leigh’s From Duke Till Dawn (May 30, 2017)

From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh

Eva Leigh
From Duke Till Dawn (The London Underground #1)
Avon / May 30, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

From Duke Till Dawn is a fairytale for adults. Two years before the start of the novel, a tall, resolute duke was abandoned by the winsome, impoverished widow who touched his heart, body, and soul…and his purse. Alex, the Duke of Greyland, never stops thinking about Cassandra Blair, his “Lost Queen,” or imagining he hears her as he walks down the street. Eva Leigh’s descriptions of London have an artist’s touch.

Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street. The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.

He’d done his duty.

Life does go on, especially for a duke who is expected to secure his succession, so a few years later, Alex is only mildly disappointed that his fiancée runs away with another. In the aftermath of the scandal of the abandoned duke, Greyland is persuaded to accompany his two best friends to London’s newest gambling hell, an elegant, bustling enterprise in a “slightly raffish part of Piccadilly” with “the slightly overdressed look of a prosperous banker.”  Imagine, if you will, a Regency pop-up gambling establishment. At the age of 38, Alex is on unfamiliar turf.

[Read more...]

Tue
Apr 18 2017 3:00pm

Love on Call in Alexis Hall’s How to Bang a Billionaire

How to Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

How does an almost-graduate of an Oxford college meet a billionaire? How about interview him for a college newspaper…oops, wrong story! Take two.

I was supposed to be doing this college fund-raiser thing where undergraduates called up wealthy alumni and connected deeply with them in a way that got them all nostalgic and wallet-opening or bank-transferring. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly an ideal candidate for the role.

Alexis Hall, though, is an ideal candidate to marry the fantasy of meeting a billionaire with an impressively realistic means to accomplish that feat. Noting that our student caller isn’t even supposed to be there since it his “best friend Nik was actually the one who’d signed up, but he’d come down with laryngitis.” Our hero is not temperamentally suited to cold calling, not well trained, and he’s surrounded by fellow students who are having “life-enriching, college-benefiting conversations.”

I dialed the next number. They’d told me you could hear the smile in someone’s voice, so I made sure I was grinning as if I’d swallowed a coat hanger.

“HelloImArdenSt.IvescallingfromSt.Sebastian’sCollegepleasedonthanguponme.”

Success at last. Who knew that abject desperation on the phone was the way to ensure that an “implacable, cut-glass voice” would actually converse with you?

God, his voice. From the moment I’d heard it, I’d thought it was pretty sexy, in a chilly, upper-class way, but amusement-softened, it was as rich as honey. Irresistible.

[Read more...]

Tue
Apr 4 2017 3:00pm

First Look: Julie Ann Walker’s Wild Ride (April 4, 2017)

Wild Ride by Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker
Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc. #9)
Sourcebooks / April 4, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Wild Ride is my first Black Knights Inc. book (9th in the BKI series) but not knowing the past stories of this rugged, iconoclastic band of brothers and sisters was never a barrier. Julie Ann Walker weaves in just enough back-story to clarify why underground operator, former Navy SEAL, Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes is between a rock and a hard place in his relationship with passionate, persistent Chicago Tribune reporter Samantha Tate.

First things first—Ozzie is “both beautiful and masculine.” Samantha draws on her journalistic chops to paint a compelling word picture of her friend.

Combine his mug with his boyish, flyaway blond hair, his half grin, and the kind of loose-hipped swagger that could only be pulled off by the supremely fit, and what you ended up with was the whole package. We’re talking the kind of package seen on the silver screen. The kind of package that—Oh, no he didn’t. As if he’d read her mind, he reached down and adjusted his package as he strolled past a table full of coeds.

A little bit Charlie Hunnam, a little bit Ryan Gosling—Whoa Nelly! Samantha and Ozzie have been friends but not friends with benefit for years. Initially, when she came sniffing around “Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop,” Ozzie was tapped to deflect her from unmasking BKI’s secrets. Easier said than done, because even though Samantha knows that boys are a distraction—hey, she has scoops to uncover, Pulitzer winning stories to write—it gets harder as the years go by.

[Read more...]

Mon
Apr 3 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Kianna Alexander’s Back to Your Love (April 4, 2017)

Back to Your Love by Kianna Alexander

Kianna Alexander
Back to Your Love (Brothers of TDT #1)
Sourcebooks / April 4, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Back to Your Love opens with a familiar refrain for women of a certain age—the curse of being a perpetual bridesmaid (but don’t assume the problem is that the bridesmaid wants to be walking down the aisle herself). Dr. Imani Grant has a business to open, a painful episode in her past to forget and she is fine, just fine. Even a room overlooking a “wide, sandy band of beach below as well as the soft, rising waves of the Atlantic lapping at the shore,” doesn’t ease her troubled mind. She wants to be there for Georgia, “her college roommate and constant companion through four years of undergrad at Spelman.”

This was the third time in fourteen months she’d been asked to serve as a bridesmaid for one of her friends. At this point, her nerves were beyond frazzled. If her mother inquired just once more about whether she was seeing anyone, she was pretty sure her head would explode.

Her mother isn’t a guest at the wedding, but there were sure to be “well-intentioned older ladies present for the joyous event.” Questions about her single status will be impossible to avoid. Like the memories flooding Imani’s consciousness.

[Read more...]

Mon
Mar 27 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Jamie Pope’s Hope Blooms (March 28, 2017)

Hope Blooms by Jamie Pope

Jamie Pope
Hope Blooms
Dafina Books / March 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $4.99 digital

Is past prologue? For childhood friends and once long-ago lovers Cassandra Miller and Wylie Everett, perhaps so.

It takes a massive tragedy to bring Wylie back to Cassandra’s side. The angry, embittered father of one of Cassandra’s students shoots Cassandra and her husband Terrance in the hallway outside Cassandra’s classroom. Terrance dies; Cassandra loses her unborn child, and, her mother Miss Cora fears, her sanity. So Cora tells Cassandra, “speaking” for Terrance.

 “He wouldn’t want you to be like this.”

“He would want to be alive if he had a choice.” She rolled over, away from her mother’s touch, her worried eyes. Suddenly the exhaustion returned again. It was the only thing she felt anymore. Tired and heavy.

“You can’t go on like this. You haven’t left the house in weeks. You haven’t smiled since it happened. You didn’t die that day. Your life is meant to be lived.”

Miss Cora pleads with Wylie Everett to come back to Harmony Falls, Connecticut, for the sake of the friendship—and more—he once had with Terrance and Cassandra. In high school they were an unbreakable trio. But it has been ten years since Wylie has been home. Even though Cora is ageless, so much has changed.

[Read more...]

Fri
Mar 17 2017 9:30am

First Look: Christine Feehan’s Bound Together (March 21, 2017)

Bound Together by Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan
Bound Together (Sea Haven Series #6)
Berkley / March 21, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Bound Together reads like a three act play. The first act, Viktor Prakenskii and his loyal band of warriors take down an ineffably evil motorcycle club from the inside. Viktor aka Czar tells his people to leave him to it, that they’ve walked into a trap. He doesn’t want them to follow him “straight to hell.”

Dmitry “Storm” Koval sighed heavily. “We all voted, Czar, just like always. Stop trying to carry us on your shoulders. We chose this life. All of us.”

Viktor clenched his teeth. That was a blatant lie. None of them had chosen their life. Not a single one. They all shared a common beginning. Each of them had parents murdered by a man named Kostya Sorbacov, because their parents hadn’t agreed with Sorbacov’s politics.

The children were tortured unmercifully but under Viktor’s leadership, they became a fearsome fighting unit. Bound Together opens at a climatic crossroads. For five years Viktor’s life has been devoted to stopping one man.

Evan Shackler-Gratsos was the number-one human trafficker in the world. Viktor knew he couldn’t stop everyone, but he was determined to take the man down. That decision had cost him five years of his life, possibly his marriage and the knowledge that the men he called brothers had made the choice to follow him into hell, just as they always had.

Viktor surrenders to the inevitable and the fight is on. Christine Feehan portrays the battle between good and evil in stark, poignant, excruciating detail. When it’s all over, Viktor decides there’s only one person who can give him peace, give him a reason to live—his estranged wife Blythe. In a wry aside, “ice-cold, expressionless” Reaper gives Czar some relationship advice, after Viktor makes the pronouncement that they “can get out of this life.”

[Read more...]

Tue
Feb 21 2017 1:15pm

First Look: Lisa Renee Jones’ Damage Control (February 21, 2017)

Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones
Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)
St. Martin's Griffin / February 21, 2017 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

The second book in a four-part series is always tricky. Damage Control,  the second in Lisa Renee Jones' Dirty Money series, is no exception. Fans on the hook after reading Hard Rules want reassurance that the couple they took to their hearts is going to make it but the plotline has to maintain suspense and tension so that readers devour the story avidly and wait impatiently for Bad Deeds and End Game to arrive. A hard task, but Jones’s latest Dirty Money tale satisfies on every level. 

Shane Brandon has fallen hard for Emily Stevens, but it turns out that she has as many secrets as him. Deeply hurt, Shane confronts her.

[Uh oh...]

Mon
Feb 20 2017 11:00am

First Look: Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Spring (February 21, 2017)

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3)
Avon / February 21, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Is there a book that is more eagerly anticipated by the romance community than Lisa Kleypas’s Devil in Spring? Why is that? The beloved protagonists of Devil in Winter, Evangeline and Sebastian, are now the Duke and Duchess of Kingston and they do a star turn as preternaturally youthful and passionate parents, now grandparents. Their oldest son Gabriel, the new Lord St. Vincent, inadvertently gets into a serious scrape with Lady Pandora Ravenel, the season’s most reluctant debutant. Pandora is her generation’s wallflower, much more interested in her budding board games business than looking for a husband at a ball. Gabriel has a very satisfying relationship with a sophisticated married lady. Marriage is the last thing on the mind of either Gabriel or Pandora. Shades of Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub, no?

Inevitably the news of his oldest son’s indiscretion brings Sebastian to town. Over a game of pool at Jenner’s, Sebastian tells Gabriel that if need be, they’ll “buy a husband for her,” since Gabriel seems to believe that his only honorable option is to marry Pandora. Why then doesn’t Gabriel leap at the opportunity to avoid “a lifetime shackled to a girl,” that he seemingly can’t abide? That question certainly intrigues Sebastian, particularly after Gabriel pronounces Pandora “bloody ravishing.”

[That's a high compliment indeed!]

Fri
Feb 3 2017 3:00pm

Does the Fifty Shades Darker Movie Live Up to the Book?: A Fan Review from the World Premiere (SPOILERS)

Fifty Shades Darker

Is Christian and Ana's Second Big-Screen Romp Worth the Wait?

Note: This post contains spoilers from the premiere of Fifty Shades Darker, the film adaptation of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey sequel of the same name.

Fifty Shades Darker

When a popular book gets made into a movie, every reader wants to know what stayed and what didn’t make the cut. What characters don’t have their moment in the sun? What iconic scenes are brought to life and which ones lay on the cutting room floor? What locations are too complicated or expensive to film and which are absolutely vital to the success of the movie?

I was privileged to attend the Fifty Shades Darker Hollywood premiere as the plus one of my friend Lish Fish aka @50shadesgirlPDX. I will attempt to answer all the questions I posed above in this book to movie recap. If you’re curious about anything else, please ask me in the comments section.

Fifty Shades Darker has been described as a love story within a thriller and it lived up on both counts. Christian Grey wants Anastasia Steele back in his life and there’s nothing he won’t do, no changes he won’t make, to get her back. Difference number one: there’s no romantic sunset helicopter ride to Portland in Christian’s chopper so that Ana can get to José’s gallery opening: Ana never leaves Seattle. Christian shows up at the show and persuades a not-very-reluctant Ana to have dinner with him. This slight variation is a pattern that continues through Darker: although the details and scenes don’t always match up 100% with the book, the essence of Christian and Ana’s relationship moving forward is true to E.L. James’ vision. That is surely not at all surprising, since James’ husband, screenwriter and novelist Niall Leonard, wrote the script.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jan 1 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Catherine Anderson’s Mulberry Moon (January 3, 2017)

Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson

Catherine Anderson
Mulberry Moon (Mystic Creek #2)
Jove / January 3, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

For Sissy Sue Bentley, childhood wounds—particularly living with an alcoholic father—have made her wary of attachments to men. She’s doing just fine on her own and she doesn’t need help, thank you very much. There is one man though, Ben Sterling, that has her taking notice, if not of him, then his gorgeous dog Finnegan. Catherine Anderson has a way of describing the relationships between people and animals that melts the hardest heart. And friendly Finn is a bachelor’s best asset.

Walking to his vehicle, he saw his dog, Finnegan, watching him through the back cab window. Eight months old, the blue merle Australian shepherd had the mottle of black, gray, and white fur common to blues…He bounced from side to side on the bench seat, acting as if he’d been alone for hours.

Ben made his fortune on the rodeo circuit but at the age of thirty, he hung up his spurs and returned to his ranch. For a guy who grew up in a large, noisy family, a rambling, empty house felt pretty lonely.

[Read more...]

Tue
Dec 27 2016 11:00am

First Look: Jeffe Kennedy’s The Edge of the Blade (December 27, 2016)

The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy
The Edge of the Blade (The Uncharted Realms #2)
Kensington / December 27, 2016 / $9.99 print, $7.99 digital

The Edge of the Blade opens with a rollicking, adventurous feel—the sparring between Jepp, formerly of the High Queen’s guard and Prince Kral of Dasnaria, brings to mind Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. They have challenges on board Kral’s ship (I challenge readers not to shudder at the “carnivorous fish-birds) but when the pair reaches the kingdom of Dasnaria, Jeffe Kennedy’s newest entry in her Uncharted Realms series takes a decidedly dangerous and provocative turn.

Jepp had been responsible for the safety of her friend Dafne who now laid “prisoner in the clutches of the dragon king.” Instead of being imprisoned for her failure to protect her charge, Jepp is named ambassador to the Dasnarian court, even though she has sampled “the pleasures of their prince’s bed.” A less likely ambassador is hard to imagine. Jepp draws deep on the messages of her youth to keep her mind focused.

[Read more...]

Mon
Dec 19 2016 10:30am

If You Love In Death’s Eve and Roarke, Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid and James Are for You!

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

In 1993, Deborah Crombie published A Share in Death, her first Kincaid and James mystery. This February she’ll release her 17th in the series, Garden of Lamentations. As I discuss why this series is utterly compelling, beware of spoilers!

A Share in Death, set in a “luxurious Yorkshire time-share,” felt like one of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries, with a closed cast of characters and a restricted setting. Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is gifted a week in an up-market time-share by his cousin, who is unable to go away at the appointed time. Unfortunately, Kincaid’s vacation quickly turns into a busman’s holiday when a member of the staff is found dead in the pool. After a second death, Kincaid reaches out to his assistant, Sergeant Gemma James, to have her do some off-site research. I re-read it recently and realized that the Marple comparison was off and that all the elements that make Crombie’s series so irresistible were there in microcosm. To quote from the “New York Times Book Review,”

“Charming…An intricate puzzle plot…To balance Kincaid’s cool reserve as an imperturbable observer of human folly, Ms. Crombie gives him a warm, outgoing sergeant in young Gemma James. Like everything else in this first mystery, it’s a well-calculated move that pays off smartly.”

[Read more...]

Sat
Dec 10 2016 2:00pm

Once a Trophy Wife, Always a Trophy Wife? Noelle Adams’ Alison Faces Major Change

Trophy Wife by Noelle Adams

Is the past bound to repeat itself? If you were once a trophy wife, are you always going to be a trophy wife? That’s the question Alison Davies seeks to answer once she’s free from her “wealthy jerk” ex…Arthur, the man she had once thought was so charming.

She’d been an eighteen-year-old trophy wife to a rich older man. She’d thought she could live with it.

The marriage had been fine in the beginning, but it had slowly declined until she couldn’t live with it anymore. Pretty soon, if she stayed, she would start to anesthetize her deep unhappiness with alcohol or prescription drugs.

After Alison overhears Arthur tell a business associate about the benefits of having a “young, gorgeous, vulnerable, and completely dependent” wife, she leaves him the next day. Six months later, divorce decree in hand, she moves into the house her grandmother left her, in the mountains of North Carolina; a hick town, according to her friend Vicki. Her wheels are “her father’s old tank of an Oldsmobile.” Because of an iron-clad prenup, Alison is going old-school and down-market—because that’s all she can afford.

[Read more...]