Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Day, Another Challenge

Last year, I participated in several challenges, unfortunately I didn't keep lists of all of the books I read in each challenge.  This year I am going to do that so I know which book I read for each one!

Since this is a romance and mystery blog, it only makes sense that I would join a romance challenge. This challenge is hosted by the Reading Romances blog and asks participants to read a variety of romance genres not a specific quantity. If you would like to join go to http://readingromances.wordpress.com/reading-romances-challenge-2012/

Sounds like fun to me!

Friday, December 30, 2011

January is Netgalley Month Read-a-thon

One of the advantages of being a librarian, besides meeting lots of readers and having access to tons of books, is being able to be a member of Netgalley. Netgalley.com is a site that allows librarians and bloggers to request egalleys-electronic advanced copies-of  upcoming books.  The egalley can come out up to 3 months in advance of the books actual publication date. I read the galleys on my Nook.

I love that I can read a book in advance so I can talk about it with patrons when it first comes out.  Getting the egalley also means RPL orders books that we might not have because one of us read it and loved it. It also means that I myself have bought books for my personal collection after reading it on Netgalley. There is also a bit of nyah nyah, I can read this book before you can- but only a little.......

I am going to join the read-a-thon and review as many as possible on this blog. January is going to be fun!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hidden Summit ( Virgin River # 15) by Robyn Carr

Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she's got Paul Haggerty's business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.
Just like Leslie, Conner Danson has been burned by love. But if Leslie was disappointed by her relationship going bad, Conner was decimated. He's got no time for women…although he spends an awful lot of time pretending not to notice Leslie. And she's pretty busy "ignoring" the chemistry between them.
According to Conner and Leslie, they have only one thing in common—they're done with love. But everyone in Virgin River can see that things are heating up at Haggerty Construction. And as far as Paul Haggerty can tell, the best thing he can do is hang on to his hard hat and watch the sparks fly! (synopsis from B&N.com)

Mira, paperback, 351 pages

Hidden Summit is Robyn Carr’s latest visit to Virgin River.  Connor Danson is in town under a false identity while he waits to testify in a murder trial.  He is the only witness to the crime and his custom carpentry business was torched in an attempt to intimidate him.  He decides to work for Haggarty Construction while in town.
Leslie Petruso has also come to Virgin River to get away from something- her ex-husband. I enjoyed the little twist Ms. Carr put in this relationship-rather than a nasty ex, Leslie has a too friendly ex.  She worked for Haggarty at a different branch and ends up in the same office as Connor.
Visiting VR is always fun. Readers of the whole series enjoy seeing what is new with familiar characters from past books.  New readers will enjoy the story of two people who think that love and life have chewed them up and spit them out. Both Connor and Leslie know that they should not get involved, but for different reasons. Reading the story, you know that this romance is going to have a major problem at some point but you root for this couple anyway. The chemistry between them is strong and they decide to throw caution to the wind and get involved. Connor’s real life will intrude on them and Leslie’s fear of betrayal will only be greater when the story comes out.  The whole situation with her wacko ex-husband doesn’t help keep things either.
Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop reading. There is a side story going with Connor’s sister and her children and you can see that it is the set up for the next book. Goody! I can’t wait!! I have read this series from the beginning and enjoy each new addition.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Number one bestselling author Janet Evanovich teams up with award-winning author Dorien Kelly to deliver a sparkling novel of romantic suspense, small-town antics, secretive sabotage, and lots and lots of beer  Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents’ summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene’s Harbor, Michigan. Kate’s plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane’s business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.
Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate’s family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun. (Synopsis from B&N.com)

St. Martin’s, Hardcover, 310 pages.

This was a nice light romance from the team of Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly. For readers used to the craziness of Ms. Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, this might seem a little tame, but it is an enjoyable read.  The two main characters are normal everyday people who find that they need help from each other to get their lives back on track. It is refreshing to read a book that is just plain fun to read.
Kate is divorced and trying to keep her family home so she can start a new life and career. Matt is focused on keeping his career successful and not interested in a relationship. He comes off as a genuinely nice guy, trying to help other business owners and not a cut throat kind of guy.  The reason why someone is trying to ruin his business is not immediately obvious. The story unfolds at an easy pace with just enough activity to keep the reader interested. Kate also seems fairly  normal, not a walking catastrophe, who finds herself attracted to her boss even though she knows it is not a good idea. There are supporting characters that are interesting but the main focus stays on Matt and Kate.
This is a great book to just sit in a comfy chair with it, drink a nice glass of wine (or hot chocolate), and spend a few hours enjoying a story that will make you feel good at the end.


Spice level- mild/moderate

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sleepwalker by Karen Robards

It’s not that Micayla Lange is afraid of the clinking she hears coming from the first floor of the empty McMansion she’s housesitting for her uncle Nicco. She’s a cop, after all. It’s just that finding out her boyfriend was cheating on her was enough drama for one night. Now she’s alone on New Year’s Eve, wearing flannel pajamas and wielding a Glock 22 as she zeroes in on the unmistakable source of the sound: Uncle Nicco’s private office.
Jason Davis steals things for a living, so unexpected developments are a natural part of the job. Getting caught red-handed by a hot, pigtail-sporting police officer in what is supposed to be a gangster’s deserted house is just one more twist in the game. Kind of like finding incriminating photos in Nicco Marino’s safe, only to discover the cop — and the security cameras — have gotten a real good look at his face.
Unfortunately for Mick, she also got a good look at the damned pictures. Her “uncle” might love her like family, but if he knows she’s seen evidence that implicates him in the murder of a city councilman, she doesn’t like her chances. Which is why she’s having a hard time reconciling her professional instincts with what she is rapidly concluding is an inescapable fact: She’s about to help a criminal get away with a suitcase full of stolen money. And she’s going with him. ( synopsis from B& N .com)

Simon& Schuster, hardcover, 370 pages


I wasn’t sure that I would like Sleepwalker because I am not a big fan of books where the main characters are on the run through the book.  Boy was I wrong about this one.  This book will keep you on your toes with suspense from beginning to end.
Micayla (Mike) Lange is a cop spending New Years at her Uncle Nicco’s house, when she wakes up after a nightmare. She is about ready to go back to sleep when she hears an odd noise.  When she goes to investigate it, she walks into a crime scene.  Jason Davis sees Mike and knows the plan has gone sour.  Over the next few minutes, Mike sees pictures that changes her life as she knows it.  Forced to make a run for it together, the two are in deep trouble with their lives in danger and not a lot of resources.  The trust issue looms large between them which isn't good when you are trying to outrun people who want to kill you.
Ms. Robards does a great job keeping the suspense level high throughout the book. The chemistry between Mike and Jason is hot but in a sense somewhat forbidden. Mike is a cop and an honest one to boot, so the reader wonders how a relationship will work between the two characters.  It is a romantic suspense book so you know that a romance will develop. I kept wondering how this was going to be resolved and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  There are twists and a big red herring before it all ends. I started the book and couldn’t stop.  A great new book from one of my favorite authors!
RPL Notes: This book will be available in the Adult New Fiction section after 12-27-11. Ms. Robards is a popular author so it is likely there will be a waiting list for this book. Other books by this author are available in the Adult fiction section.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spells and Stitches by Barbara Bretton

In the latest novel from the USA Today bestselling author, raising a baby is hard, but raising one with magical powers is even harder...
Sugar Maple, Vermont, knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs couldn't be happier about her pregnancy. But with the arrival of the town's newest resident, things are about to get a lot more magical.
Baby Laria is six pounds, eleven ounces of perfect, and Chloe and Luke are over the moon. But when they learn that Laria takes after her mom in the sorcery department, it becomes clear that their baby might have more power than even a pro like Chloe can handle... ( Synopsis from B&N.com)

This is the fourth book in the Sugar Maple series and it keeps getting better with each one. The premise of the series is that the town of Sugar Maple is populated with magical creatures of all kinds who have transplanted their village to Vermont after the Salem Witchcraft trials. Chloe Hobbs is half human and pregnant by her human lover, Luke, a policeman who has moved to the town.  She is the last in a line of Hobbs women who are the key to keeping Sugar Maple safe.
I love the varied people who live in the town and how Luke deals with them and they with him.  Chloe is a great character with her pregnancy hormones causing random disasters all around her. I would recommend reading the earlier books but the backstory is skillfully interwoven into this book and the reader is able to follow the relationships with no problem. Elspeth, the troll, is a riot, going around being a major meanie to human and "magick" folk alike. The stress of imminent child birth, meeting Luke's family, and keeping herself from wrecking things makes Chloe's story so much fun to read.  That said there are moments of suspense in the book and there lurks through the whole book portents of future trouble. The ending is big and emotional.I hope there will be more tales of the folks from Sugar Maple in the future.

RPL NOTES:  This book will be available in the Adult New Fiction section after December 26, 2011. The earlier books in the series are available in Adult Fiction.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Dropped a Blonde on Me by Dakota Cassidy

She was the perfect party-planning, haute-to-the max trophy wife. Now Maxine Cambridge is broke, unemployable and living with her mother and teenage son in a retirement village, with her self-esteem kicked to the curb.
Until her geeky former classmate Campbell Barker returns, all grown-up- and off-the-scale smokin' hot. Campbell refuses to believe Max isn't that smart, funny girl he's crushed on since high school. The more Max tries to show him he's wrong, the more she rediscovers her long-retired mojo. Now, she's ready to throw down some payback on her ex-life and fight for what she deserves.( Synopsis from Amazon.com)
Penguin, Trade Paperback, 357 pages
Romance level-Spicy
I recently saw a notice for a blog ARC tour featuring a book by Dakota Cassidy.  My little blog doesn’t have enough followers for me to be able to participate so I passed on entering.  However, it made me think about the first book in the series   You Dropped a Blonde on Me.  I remembered reading it and donating the book to RPL after I was finished. I decided to re-read the book and order the second book in the series so I could read that as well.
You Dropped a Blonde on Me is the story of Maxine Cambridge, the onetime trophy wife of Finley Cambridge, a major car dealer.  Maxine was once the face of the dealership commercials but found herself out when she began to show too much mileage. The final crack in the marriage was discovering that her husband was cheating on her again with his secretary who is also the sister of Maxine’s best friend.  Now, Maxine is living with her mother and desperate for a job to support herself and her son.  She runs into Campbell Barker, formerly geeky classmate, on her way out of Cluck-Cluck after she has humiliated herself in her job quest.
If this sounds familiar, it is because it is a tried and true romance novel plotline, but this book is still very enjoyable to read.  Maxine is not the typical spunky soon to be ex wife, full of fight and ready to take on the world.  She has been beaten down by years of putting her needs behind her husband’s and trying to be perfect to keep him happy.  Maxine has so little self worth that she is afraid to fight for what is rightfully hers and her son’s  because she cannot stand up to her bullying ex. Campbell remembers her as a strong, confident girl and can’t understand how she has changed so much.  Campbell has ex issues of his own but he has been able to put his bad experience behind him.  Their romance is full of misunderstandings and hurt feelings but they find that something inside to keep it alive.
There is a secondary plot involving Lenore, Max’s best friend and a mysterious man named Adam.  Lenore went through her own version of losing her trophy wife status and she is just a fearful as Max about relationships.  
It is a testament to Ms. Cassidy’s writing skills that a story that has been told before was still interesting. The characters were well drawn and you cared about their lives.  I am excited to start the second book, which I will also donate to RPL.
RPL NOTE: This book is available in Adult New Fiction.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's All Greek to Me by Katie MacAlister

Billionaire Greek playboy Iakovos Papaioannou knew his sister hired her favorite band to perform at her birthday party. He's just not sure how their six-foot tall, wild-haired, tempestuous manager has already ended up in his bed-and in his heart. Eglantine "Harry" Knight is so not his type. She's as infuriating as she is intriguing, and she's can't keep her hands off of him. But she just may be the woman who knocks him off the world's most eligible bachelor list for good...

Signet Paperback 352 pages

Katie MacAlister has a winner in her newest book. Eglantine (Harry) Knight is filling in for a friend and managing a singing group playing at a birthday party on a small Greek island. The party is being held for the sister of hunky billionaire Iakovos Papaioannou. When the two meet, sparks fly and they embark on a spicy affair.  The relationship starts early and heats up fast in this book, and I wondered how Ms. MacAlister would sustain the reader’s interest. It wasn’t a problem, I couldn’t stop reading. In the middle of the book, it seemed as though the story was going to use an old romance novel plot but it was tweaked enough to keep the story going. I really enjoyed Harry’s inability to remember “Yacky’s” real names.  All through the book she comes up with some really ingenious versions. Although there is some conflict in the book, it is handled maturely with none of the annoying misunderstandings that drive the couple apart and really frustrate the reader. The secondary characters are fleshed out enough to drive the story and create interest. I hope a future book will focus on Theo, the troublemaking younger brother in the family.
All in all, an enjoyable book that is a departure from the usual paranormal books that Ms. MacAlister writes. (I am a big fan of her Dragon series).  It would be great if this is the first in a trilogy about the Papaioannou siblings.

RPL Note: This book will be available in the Adult New Paperback section. We also have several of her paranormal novels.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich or Stephanie's wild ride!

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
 
Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
 
Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated. ( synopsis from Amazon.com)

Bantam books, Hardcover, 320 pages


Ah Stephanie, could your life get any more messed up!  Our intrepid heroine finds herself on a plane flying home from Hawaii all alone. She sits next to a noisy guy who misses the connection and disappears. Later, at her mother's she finds a photo that isn't hers and tosses it in the trash. Everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii and there is a lot of speculation about the stripe of white flesh on her tanned ring finger.

As usual, Stephanie finds herself in the middle of a big mess with little to no understanding of why.  She has lots of bad dudes, good dudes, bad dudes posing as good dudes and the like chasing her around Trenton.  She and Lula go after some interesting FTA's which leads to more confusion and trouble for Stephanie. Joyce Barnhart makes a significant appearance and continues to be a major fly in the ointment. A good part of this story we have seen before in other incarnations but it still works.

I have to admit I did not have any laugh out loud moments but I did find the suspense level was kicked up a bit to compensate.  The never ending question of Ranger vs Morelli continues but I think there are some definite leanings in this book. Ms. Evanovich is not completely back to the hilarious early books but this one is an improvement on the lackluster numbers 14-16 books. 
RPL Notes: This book will be available on November 22, 2011 in the Adult New book section. The audio version will also be available around that time

Monday, November 14, 2011

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

A woman with a murky past who kills herself-or was it murder? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt who thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring working for the Mob, racking up millions from stolen goods. A wandering husband, rich and ruthless. A dirty cop so entrenched on the force he is immune to exposure. A sinister gangster, conscienceless and brutal. A lonely widower mourning the death of his lover, desperate for answers, which may be worse than the pain of his loss. A private detective, Kinsey Millhone, whose thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.
And an elegant and powerful businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the magus at the center of the web.
V: Victim. Violence. Vengeance.   ( synopsis from B&N.com)

Penguin Group (USA), Hardcover , 400pp

V is for Vengeance starts off with the story of a young man who meets a bad end at the hands of a loan shark and his brother. The book then moves to the present day of the book (1988) and starts off with Kinsey Milhone witnessing a shoplifting incident with two women.  One gets caught and the other literally drives over Kinsey in the parking lot making her escape.  Two days later, the woman who was arrested ends up dead in the same spot as the young man in the beginning of the book.  Kinsey is hired by the man who was engaged to the dead woman to find out what really happened because he does not believe she committed suicide. Kinsey is soon involved in uncovering a ring of professional thieves, a police conspiracy, blackmail, and a man with interesting family connections known as “Dante”. All the while she has an obnoxious reporter dogging her investigation and causing trouble.
Also weaving through the book is the story of an unhappy wife named Nora, who realizes her husband is cheating and takes steps to protect herself.  In the course of covering her bases financially, she meets Dante and begins an unlikely relationship with him. There is an interesting twist in the book that involves both of these people and ties into the modern day activities.
One of the things I enjoy about this series is the fact that it is set in the 80’s. Kinsey has to rely on research, hard work, and legwork to get her job done.  She has no internet or cell phone to do work for her.   I love it when she needs to get to a pay phone to call someone when she is out working on a case or making a carbon copy of something.  I find myself thinking “If she only had a ………”
Kinsey is a solitary person who has very few real relationships in her life.  She can only rely on herself this book reinforces that fact.  Her ex-boyfriend Cheney is working with a cop who hates Kinsey so she feels cut off from one of her resources. Her neighbor and best friend Henry is gone to visit an ailing relative so Kinsey doesn’t have him to run things by. She works and lives alone with the occasional acquaintance that comes into her life.  Her solitary nature is a running theme through all 22 books in the series and I felt she was particularly alone in this book.  It is a common theme for a male detective to be a “loner” but not so common for female sleuths.  It is possible the lack of people distracting her contributes to her strong intuition about cases and her excellent observation skills.
This book has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The continuity of the story from earlier books makes it enjoyable for long time readers but it can be enjoyed by a new reader as well. I wonder what we will all do when Ms. Grafton reaches the end of the alphabet!
RPL NOTE: This book will be available after 11-14-2011 in the Adult New Books section.  The audiobook will be available later in the month.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wyoming Tough by Diana Palmer

A cowboy through and through, ranch owner Mallory Kirk knows what it means to put in a full day's work. But does his new cowgirl? He has his doubts that Morie Brannt will be able to pull her own weight, even if the petite young woman does seem to have a lot of spirit. As they spar over events at the ranch and a past that threatens their hopes for the future, sparks begin to fly, and Mallory can't help but notice Morie in a new light. But is this tough Wyoming man ready to love? (synopsis from B&N.com)
 
 Harlequin. Mass Market Paperback , 320pp

Wyoming Tough is the first in a Trilogy by Diana Palmer. It features Morie Brannt and Mallory Kirk. Morie is the daughter of Shelby & King Brannt from "To Love and To Cherish" an older Diana Palmer favorite.
Morie is working at the Kirk ranch as a ranch hand. She has kept her real identity a secret because she is trying to be herself not the rich daughter of a well-known cattle baron. Mallory Kirk is her boss, one of the brothers who own the ranch. The chemistry between them is strong ,but Mallory has been betrayed before and is cautious. Morie is inexperienced in the love department but knows how to handle a rough, tough cowboy, having grown up with one for a father.
As happens in many Palmer books, there is a poisonous girlfriend who does everything she can to destroy Morie and turn Mallory against her.
Even though we have seen this before, it still works in this book because Ms. Palmer does such a good job of setting up the inevitable confrontation between the two would be lovers and again between the two women. There is nothing as satisfying as when Ms. Palmer makes the hero and villainess pay for their actions against the usually spunky heroine.
The Kirk brothers have lots of issues between them and I can't wait to read the books about Cane and Dalton Kirk. After I read this book, I had to go back and read the original book about Morie's parents. I enjoyed it as much as this book. That is the great thing about Diana Palmer, many of her books are connected and you can read them over and over and still get a lot of enjoyment out of them. This book will not be any different in that regard.

RPL NOTES: This book is available in the Adult New Paperback section. RPL has many of Diana Palmer's other books in the Adult Fiction section.
 

Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle


Clare's Village Blend coffee beans are being used to create a new java love potion: a "Mocha Magic Coffee," billed as an aphrodisiac. The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite's Village, one of the most popular online communities for women.
But at its launch, one of the website's editors is murdered. Clare is convinced a bitter killer wants the secret formula. Can she catch who's gone loco for mocha? ( synopsis from B&N.com)

Penguin Group, Hardcover , 384pp


Clare Cosi finds herself embroiled in yet another murder in this, the 10th book in the Coffeehouse Mysteries.  Clare gets a call from her ex mother in law to come to a hotel and help with a sticky situation.  The situation turns out to be a dead body, which subsequently disappears when the police arrive.  The supposed murderer is Alicia, a woman that Clare is working with on an aphrodisiac coffee using beans from the Village Blend.  The Magic Mocha coffee has an interesting effect on several characters in the book and the company distributing it, Aphrodite’s Village, is central to the murder and mayhem in this book.  Aphrodite’s Village is quite the little hotbed of
intrigue and backstabbing as Clare learns to her dismay.

Like the earlier books in the series, this is a solid mystery with interesting characters and more than one subplot winding through the book.  Clare is finally in a stable romantic relationship but her history makes her unable to commit to the other person.  In this book, she works through many of her issues and the relationship grows in a realistic way. Madame Dubois, Clare’s former mother in law, plays a big part in this book and we learn more about her earlier life. In previous books, she spoke about events in her past and we get a look at the history behind the events in this book.  Madame is the driving force behind the contact with Aphrodite’s Village to sell the Magic Mocha coffee, as she is friends with Alicia. Clare has doubts about the whole deal but has to go along, as Madame is the boss. 
A twist in this book is that the murderer has a point of view in the book and we get to see the motivation for the crimes beforehand.  Ms. Coyle skillfully blends all of the twists, turns, and keeps the reader guessing right up until the end. One of the best things about this series is all of the information about coffee and the recipes that are included in the book.  I myself am not a coffee drinker but I still enjoy all of the information so I can play coffee snob with my friends and have the facts to back it up.
RPL Notes: This book is available in the Adult New Book section. Earlier books in the series are shelved in the Adult Mystery Section.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Next Always by Nora Roberts- Inn Boonsboro Book 1

The launch of a new Nora Roberts romance series always raised pulse-raising possibilities, but the first of her Inn Boonsboro trilogy is a pleasure onto itself. At its center are Beckett Montgomery, an architect with ambitious plans and a longstanding crush, and Clare Brewster, a young widow bookstore owner who has returned to her hometown. Roberts places readers inside the crosscurrents of small-town...  ( Synopsis from B&N.com)
Penguin Group (USA), Trade Paperback , 352pp
Nora Roberts has written a sweet romance for her first book in the Inn Boonsboro series. Clare Brewster is an Iraq war widow who has returned to her hometown and opened a bookstore. Beckett Montgomery is part of a family business that is rehabbing the once decrepit Inn Boonsboro. Beck has had a thing for Clare since their teen years and his opportunity has finally arrived. Ms. Roberts does her usual fine job of portraying a really nice guy who likes Clare's children and gradually becomes an essential part of her life. Clare has a harder time getting used to a new relationship but she falls eventually.
 I loved the descriptions of the Inn and how it was being renovated. I know Ms. Roberts has based this trilogy on the Maryland Inn she herself has purchased and I so want to go after reading this book and stay in the Eve & Roarke room! The main characters are a great match and Beck's two brothers are obviously the focus of the next two books along with Clare's two friends. Can't wait! I also enjoyed the hint of paranormal with the Inn's resident ghost. I am hoping the next two books will tell us about her and how she came to be haunting the Inn. No Robert's romance would be complete without a villain and this book has one, but it is really a small part of the book. The main focus of the story is what Ms. Roberts does so well- two relatively average people with their own faults and issues manage to work things out and find each other. It's believable and sweet and you wish it was you having this wonderful romance
RPL Notes: This book will be available on November 1, 2011 in the Adult New books section under F-ROB. It will also be located in the Books on CD section under R.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Three Day Town by Margaret Maron-Great blend of 2 mystery series!

Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant are on a train to New York, finally on a honeymoon after a year of marriage. January in New York might not be the perfect time to visit, but they'll take it. The trip is a Christmas present from Dwight's sister-in-law, who arranged for them to stay in an Upper West Side apartment for one week. While in New York, Deborah has been asked to deliver a package to Lt. Sigrid Harald of the NYPD. Sigrid offers to swing by the apartment to pick up the box, but when they reach the apartment, they discover that it is missing and the doorman has been murdered. Despite their best efforts to enjoy a blissful getaway, Deborah and Dwight soon find that they've teamed up with Sigrid and her team to catch the killer before he strikes again. ( summary from B&N.com)

Grand Central Publishing,  Hardcover , 288pp

Three Day Town is the latest in Margaret Maron’s Judge Deborah Knott series.  Deborah and Dwight, her husband of about one year, are finally getting away for a mini-honeymoon in NYC.  As part of the trip, they are bringing a parcel to be delivered to the daughter of one of their friends. They are staying in an apartment owned by the wife of one of Deborah’s relatives. The first night there, they attend a party next door and come home to the body of the building’s superintendent in the apartment.
Now, the story gets interesting! The investigating police officer is Lt. Sigrid Harald, the protagonist from an earlier Maron series.  Ms. Harald is an acerbic, somewhat humorless detective with a past tragedy in her life.  She is also the granddaughter of Deborah and Dwight’s elderly friend who asked them to deliver the parcel.  The contents of the parcel are somewhat shocking and may be connected to the murder.  There are all kinds of interesting characters woven throughout this story.  Well to do society types, art lovers and artists, service workers in the co-op, and New York’s finest all play a part in this mystery.
One of the interesting things about this book was seeing Deborah work away from her home base.  She and Dwight contribute to the solution but not with much cooperation from Ms. Harald.  The taciturn detective’s character becomes more likeable as we learn more about her, but she is the opposite of Deborah’s open, earthy personality. I have to say that I decided to go back and read the older series after reading this book. I asked the author if future Harald books were planned and she said no but that there would be appearances in future Knott books.
This book has plenty of suspense and the characters are well done.  One of Ms. Maron’s strengths is the believability of her characters.  They add to the story and don’t distract the reader with useless red herrings. As usual, the interplay between Dwight and Deborah is wonderfully romantic even in the midst of a murder. I have to say that I will be glad to see them back home in the next book. I just love the family dynamics and the southern ambiance in these books.  Can’t wait for the next book in the series!!
RPL Note: This book will not be available in Adult New Mysteries until November 21, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An Angel for Christmas by Heather Graham


Christmas has never brought out the best in the MacDougal family. Still, year after year, they gather together in the Blue Ridge Mountains to try to make the season merry and bright. But this year is an especially strained one, with Shayne's impending divorce, Morwenna's slavish devotion to work and Bobby's reluctance to face what life has to offer. They've never felt less like a family.
Then, in the midst of a snowy sibling shouting match, a mysterious stranger appears. He could be a criminal, a madman—or something far more unexpected. Despite their fears and the growing danger in the dark woods around them, the MacDougals take a leap of faith. But when another stranger arrives on the mountainside, they don't know which of them to believe. One of these men can't be trusted. And one is about to bring Christmas into their hearts. ( Synopsis from B&N.com)

Published by Mira, Hardcover , 336pp

An Angel for Christmas is a sweet holiday story with a message. The three MacDougal siblings are coming to their parent’s vacation cabin in the woods for Christmas. Shayne, the oldest, is bitter about his recent divorce and missing his children for the holidays. Morwenna, the middle, whose boyfriend has gone to Cancun without her and she is debating her choice to come home. Bobby, the youngest, has just decided to leave a college that is not preparing him for the future he wants.
Into the middle of this holiday bliss, Shayne’s children turn up and then the family finds an injured stranger on their property. The man Gabe Lange, claims to be a State Trooper chasing a white collar criminal who injured him and then escapes.  Lange states the man, Luke Defeo is not a killer but he would be dangerous he if turned up. The rest of the story proceeds with Gabe being cautiously brought into the family’s holiday celebration.  Gabe seems to have a talent for talking to people and helping them see their inner self and what they would like to have their life be about.  Defeo turns up and becomes the worm in the apple. He claims to be the good guy but he spends all of his time spreading poison into the ear of whoever is nearby. There is a dramatic rescue of another family member and a final fight between Gabe & Luke before the resolution.
I enjoyed the whole Gabriel/Lucifer allegory in this book. The family is fractured but loving and they need someone to help them see how they have been allowing negativity to take hold in their lives. For example, Shayne needs to realize he can’t slam his ex around his kids because the children love both parents and it hurts and confuses them to hear the comments. Gabe really helps the family get the spirit of Christmas in spite of Luke’s attempt to pull them apart.  The message of love and hope is especially nice in the crazy time we are living in. 
RPL Note: This book is available in Adult New Fiction 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolfe

Gabriella “Ella” Graham is a portrait artist in her mid-30s, living in present-day London, whose dedication to her artwork precludes her developing personal relationships, in this latest from Brit author Wolff (A Vintage Affair). Ella refuses to paint from photographs and instead requires her subjects to spend long hours sitting for portraits, so intent is she on revealing their true natures. She’s also keenly aware that “I’m drawn to people who are a little bit dark—who haven’t had happy-ever-after sorts of lives. I like painting people who I sense are... complex.” As Ella learns more about the people she paints, she allows herself to reflect on secrets that have haunted her family since she was a child. She remembers sketching her father’s face when she was a little girl in order to preserve his features, but despite repeated inquiries, Ella’s mother refuses to provide her daughter with much detail about the past. The powerful combination of Ella’s professional success along with her sister Chloe’s upcoming wedding causes Ella to turn her focus inward and face startling revelations about herself. Wolff’s heroine is an excellent conduit to understanding how art can reflect the true essence of those being depicted, while the story delivers all the charm and romance readers have come to expect ( Publisher's weekly)

Random House Publishing Group,Hardcover , 336pp

The Very Picture of You is a pleasant and satisfying read. The main character, Ella Graham, is a well known portrait artist whose personal life is somewhat disordered. She is happy with her career, not so much with her romantic life. She is having tiffs with her mother about her biological father, who walked out on the family when she was only five. Her mother was a famous dancer, now remarried, who is still bitter about " the other woman" causing the breakup of the family. Ella loves her stepdad but is beginning to wonder about her father.
Ella has a half sister, Chloe, who has met a new man, Nate and is rebuilding her life after a doomed affair with a married man. Ella is very antagonistic towards Nate after overhearing something she shouldn't have but ends up having to paint his portrait after Chloe wins her services in a charity raffle. After she starts the work on the painting, Ella learns there is a great deal more to Nate than she originally saw.
Besides Nate, Ella is painting three other portraits. One is of an elderly woman named Iris, who has a painting in her house that leads to the telling of a poignant story that resonates with Ella. Another portrait is of a local politician who is going through an emotional crisis that changes his appearance and personality. There is a mystery about this man that may be tied to the hit and run death of a local woman. The third portrait is of a soon to be forty woman who is totally not into the idea of the portait her husband has comissioned. Initially she appears to be shallow and selfish-all surface and no substance.
Ms. Wolfe skillfully intoduces the four"sitters" and little by little gives us glimpses into their lives and personalities. Ella's interactions with the four leads to changes in her life and attitude. Just like in a picture, there are things that have happened and are happening that are not what they seem on the surface. Ella will need to delve deeper into her past in order to have a better future. There are characters in this story we may find unlikeable but we understand in the end why they acted as they did. Ms. Wolfe doesn't excuse bad behavior nor does she punish it. The characters have punished themselves when you really look at them and how they have lived their lives. This books has some parts that are a little formulaic but for the most part it is an interesting look at how people present themselves,how deep those outer layers can go and the work it takes for people to keep those layers intact.

RPL Note: This book is available in the Adult New Fiction Section

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Blood Red Indian Summer by David Handler

This newest mystery featuring Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Trooper Des Mitry presents Des with her first genuine racially charged case in the historic New England village of Dorset, the gem of Connecticut’s Gold Coast.
Tyrone “Da Beast” Grantham, the famously volatile NFL superstar linebacker, has just been suspended for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the league.” When Tyrone and his entourage decide to spend his season in exile in bucolic Dorset---much to the dismay of his early-to-bed, ultra-white neighbors---Des is put on the spot. And when Tyrone’s eighteen-year-old sister-in-law, Kinitra, washes up on Mitch’s beach one morning, bloodied and barely alive, Des is on the case. Especially when it turns out that Kinitra is eight weeks pregnant. Good thing there’s nothing else serious going on in our heroes’ lives right now.  Like, say, Mitch’s parents arriving from Florida at long last to meet the new woman of color in their nice Jewish boy’s life. (summary from B&N.com)

 St. Martin's Press , Hardcover , 256pp

I love this series. I enjoy that it takes place in Connecticut and I can visualize the places that are mentioned. I enjoy the little digs that the author makes about the power structure of the Connecticut State Police and about the moneyed life of the residents of the fictional town of Dorset. This book, which is the eighth in the series, continues the story of Mitch Berger and Des Mitry. The opening chapter starts the book off with an emotional situation and outcome that gets your attention immediately.
Des and Mitch are rebuilding their relationship after a rough patch and the ultimate test is coming. Des is going to meet Mitch’s parents. She is worried about the upcoming meeting and about her father, who is recuperating from surgery. Mitch has worries of his own as his parents have been behaving strangely and he is convinced there is something they aren’t telling him.
In the middle of all this, we have the family of Tyrone Grantham temporarily staying in Dorset. The description of how the prickly, native Nutmeggers react to a bad boy African American NFL star in their midst is very realistic. Des is in the middle of the residents and the “outsider” and she feels the pressure. When a Grantham family member washes up on the beach in a bad way, all kinds of possibilities are exposed. There is the angry neighbor, the nutty neighbor, the sleazy relatives, and a money grubbing, publicity seeking, gadfly all of whom make plausible suspects..
A long running theme in the books is how the female troopers are treated by the good old boy network and how that hampers their ability to do their job. Des has survived by being very good at her job and by keeping a few aces up her sleeve when needed. In this book she gets to work with 2 other female investigators and it adds interest to the story, especially as one is the sister of Des’s nemesis in the Department. Des also gets input from her father, the highest ranking African American officer in the CSP.
Mitch is his usual movie geek self, reframing life situations in terms of favorite movies. He helps his neighbors, enjoys his life in the neighborhood, and helps Des when he can. Their relationship is so enjoyable to read about. I love it when she calls him “doughboy”. In this book she picks up another interesting nickname much to Mitch’s chagrin. They balance each other in so many ways, which helps her get through some rough situations, including the conclusion of this investigation.
It has been a while since the previous book in the series. I hope the next one won’t be as long coming.
This book is available in the Adult New Fction section. Previous books in the series are in the Adult Mystery section.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hometown Girl by Mariah Stewart- Nice addition to the series!

Life was always just about perfect for Brooke Madison Burke. She was the prettiest, most popular girl in small-town St. Dennis, Maryland, a prom queen, local pageant star, and the pride and joy of her loving parents. She even married the man of her dreams. But the promise of happily ever after fell to pieces when her husband was killed while serving in Iraq. Brokenhearted and longing for the solace of better days, she returns to the idyllic world of St. Dennis, and the familiar comfort of the family farm. Surrounded by her loving family and friends, she’s determined to build a new life, complete with her own cupcake bakery. She’s equally determined never to fall in love again.
For Jesse Enright, life has been a challenge. A fourth-generation attorney, he’s spent his life fighting to escape the shadow of his irresponsible father. Now he’s moved to St. Dennis to run the family law practice, and he’s ready to find the right girl, get married, and settle down. But his carefully laid plans go out the window when he meets Brooke and finds himself caught between the unbreakable law of attraction and Brooke’s resolve to go her way alone—despite the undeniable feelings Jesse stirs in her. But just like catching lightning in a bottle, is it possible to fall head-over-heels, heart-and-soul in love all over again? ( Synopsis from Barnes & Noble.com)

For readers who have read the earlier books in the Chesapeake Diaries Series, this book will be like coming home and visiting old friends. If you haven't read the books, this book can stand on it's own. 

Brooke has a full plate, widowed at a young age, single mom, and starting her own business. She has been widowed for four years but still keeps herself aloof from relationships. She is the queen of first dates with no follow ups. The book is realistic in portraying her ambivalence about her husbands death and the emotional toll it has taken on her and her son. Brooke has progressed throughout the series from a "mean girl" to a genuinely nice person in part because of the difficulties sh has faced.

Jesse has his own demons to slay as well. His father is heading for wife number 4 and has no relationship with his son. Jesse comes to St. Dennis to work at the family law firm and is treated like a pariah by his grandfather.  He is attracted to Brooke but unsure about his ability to maintain a long term realtionship.

Characters from earlier books make appearances in this book but the focus is mostly on Brooke & Jesse and how they interact with those characters.  They both learn a little bit about themselves from the people around them and from each other. Family members play a role in helping the relationship get off the ground and the fact that they have some business in common helps.

I enjoyed this book and the glimpses of the characters I had read about before. Like all good books in a series, lots of doors were opened for future relationships that I look forward to reading about.

RPL Notes: This book is available in the Adult New Paperback Section.  The earlier books in the series ( Coming Home and Almost Home) are in the Adult Fiction section and also in Large Print fiction. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves


HE'S THE MAN OF HER DREAMS . . .
In a world full of frogs, Alison Carter is determined to find her prince. Maybe her dating past is more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's seen enough happy marriages to know that true love is possible. No matter what, she won't give up on happily-ever-after. If she can't find Mr. Right, she'll simply hire someone who can.
SHE JUST DOESN'T KNOW IT YET
When Brandon Scott inherits a successful matchmaking business, he thinks his prayers have been answered. Set up a few lonely ladies, collect the fee, how hard can it be? No one needs to know he's not really a professional matchmaker-especially not his first client, the beautiful, spirited Alison. Soon he's falling for her-and her dreams of kids and carpools. But Alison is getting close to figuring out his secret, and if she learns he's deceived her too, she'll walk right out the door, taking Brandon's heart with her. (synopsis from publisher)

 

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings begins with Alison Carter on a date with her boyfriend of 8 months. She is sure he is going to pop the question and he does.  Unfortunately, the question is would Alison be willing to do a threesome with some bimbo they both know. Right off the bat we know Alison has baaaad luck with men. She is looking for Mr. Forever, the white picket fence, and a pack of children.
Brandon Scott has inherited his grandmother’s matchmaking business and life use of her house. He usually is a real estate developer, but the economy has wiped him out and he’s laying low, trying to get enough capital together to work on another deal. He is NOT looking for a permanent relationship.
Through a variety of circumstances, Alison becomes the new businesses first client.  The story starts with a bang and continues moving along to the very end. Brendon learns the matchmaking trade slowly but surely with help from Alison. The descriptions of her first few dates are hilarious and each new experience helps Brandon hone his skills. Both of them learn to see what it is that they really want in life and what they need to do to get their heart’s desire. They have well-meaning buttinsky friends who help them along the way.
This book has romance, humor and some heart tugging parts to it.  The dates are a little over the top but enjoyable and the book is a good read. Both of the main characters are likeable and sympathetic, even when they may be doing something not so nice. When the book is done, you feel satisfied. Ms. Graves has another winner to add to her list.
Grand Central Publishing, Paperback, 448 pages
RPL Note: This book is available in the Adult New Paperback section.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Revenge at Bella Terra by Christina Dodd -Loved It!

Eli Di Luca lives in Bella Terra, but now the family vineyard he runs is in financial trouble. Enter Italian magnate Tamosso Conte, who makes a proposition Eli can't refuse: marry his daughter, and Conte will solve Eli's money problems.
Unfortunately, the beautiful Chloe has no intention of getting married without a fight. Soon she discovers Eli's been keeping secrets from her, and the truth will put them both in mortal danger. (Synopsis from Barnes & Noble.com)

Revenge at Bella Terra is a fast paced romantic suspense novel, the second in a series. I love the fact that Ms. Dodd has incorporated two tried and true romance concepts- secret baby and marriage of convenience-into a book you cannot put down. Eli DiLuca is in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his family winery. He needs 4.5 million dollars and if he marries Chloe Robinson, her father, Tamosso Conte, will give it to him.
In the typical forced marriage novel, the heroine is a shy, retiring, young thing who can't attract a man and whose father finds her a husband. Chloe is feisty, independent, and fully aware of her father's plots. She and her father have only met recently and he is old school, wanting to plan her life. Eli is closed emotionally and focused only on work. He has a conscience, which makes him hesitate to follow through on the marriage, but circumstances force his hand. The chemistry between Eli and Chloe is combustible (in more ways than one). There is just the right amount of backstory to make both characters believable. The supporting characters are fleshed out as well, so all of the interactions add to the plot moving forward rather than distracting from it.
The first book introduced a mystery plot involving a feud between families and a missing item that seems to be a key component to the feud. In this book the mystery is unraveled a little more, but there is still enough left to keep your interest peaked. The set up for the third book made me want to read it NOW, not wait for several months. I will definitely be in line to buy it when it comes out.

Paperback; 431 pages

RPL note: This book is available in the Adult new paperback section. The first book in the series" Secrets of Bella Terra" is also in that section.

Prey by Linda Howard- Disappointing


In this captivating novel of romantic suspense, New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard brings us deep into the wild, where a smart and sexy outdoor guide and her ruggedly handsome competitor must join forces to survive—and avoid becoming what they never expected to be:   PREY   Thirty-two-year-old Angie Powell has always spoken her mind, but in the presence of Dare Callahan she nurses a simmering rage. After all, why give Dare the satisfaction of knowing he can push her buttons and push her to the edge?Three years ago, Dare returned home to rural western Montana and opened a hunting business to rival Angie’s. Complicating matters is the fact that Dare has asked Angie out (not once but twice) and has given her a gift of butterflies in the process. Angie has no patience for butterflies. They only lead to foolish decisions. And now the infuriatingly handsome Iraq war vet has siphoned away Angie’s livelihood, forcing her to close up shop. Before Angie is to leave town, she organizes one last trip into the wilderness with a client and his guest, who wants to bag a black bear. But the adrenaline-fueled adventure turns deadly when Angie witnesses a cold-blooded murder and finds herself on the wrong side of a loaded gun. Before the killer can tie up this attractive loose end, a bear comes crashing through the woods—changing the dark game completely.Luckily, Dare is camping nearby ( Synopsis from Barnes & Noble, com)

Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors. I own every book she has written, so it pains me to say that I really did not like this book. Angie and Dare have minimal interaction throughout the first half of the book. She thinks about him. he thinks about her but they don't really talk to each other. There are some fairly gruesome descriptions of bear attacks and the aftermath. Yuck! Once Angie and Dare meet up, the book gets better, but by then I really didn't care. In all honesty, I have to say I am not a big fan of books where the heroine has to trek through the woods or the steaming hot jungle for a good part of the book so that may have influenced how I felt about this book.  Since Death Angel, the once reliable Ms. Howard has not been the author I have loved for over 25 years. The last 5 books have been 2 good, 2 bad and 1 so-so. I hope she comes back with the next one.

RPL Note: Prey is available in Adult New Fiction. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

This series just gets better and better!

“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”
But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light.  Where nothing is as it seems.  Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart.  And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they've found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light. ( Overview from B&N.com)

I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Penney at author talk recently, and she is just as wonderful to listen to as her books are to read. Her latest book is the seventh in a series set in Canada, primarily in Quebec and the fictional town of Three Pines.
One of the best things about her books is the extraordinary character development. The murder is always central to the plot but the interactions of the people involved in the situation are just as important. In this book, the people of Three Pines are like old friends involved in a messy situation. The murder rips open the scabs on relationships that have been damaged.  Some will re-heal and some appear to be beyond repair.  Ms. Penny gives just enough back story that first time readers will have an enjoyable read, but the long time reader will get the subtle nuances of the book.
Clara and Peter have always had a complicated relationship and I have always had a lot of antipathy towards Peter’s character. In this book, he is his usual jealous self but we see some of the history behind that and I felt some sympathy for him. Poor Clara finally has her own art show and then the body of her childhood “frenemy” turns up in her garden and takes all of the sparkle out of the occasion. Ruth, the town’s crusty poet, is her usual nasty self but in an almost loveable way in some instances. Chief Inspector Gamache and his second in command Jean-Guy Beauvior have made it through a terrible shared experience with their relationship intact. Or have they?
Every new book in this series is a treasure. This book continues in that manner. As a reader, I could not put the book down and when it was done, I was ready for the next one. Being obsessive about reading books in a series in order, I would recommend reading the earlier books, starting with Still Life. However, if that is not possible, a new reader would still find this a great book to read.
RPL Notes: This book is available in the Adult New fiction section.  We will also have the audio version in the near future.  All of the earlier books in the series can be found in Adult Mysteries,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs ( Temeperence Brennan # 14)

Kathy Reichs—#1 New York Times bestselling author and producer of the FOX television hit Bones—returns with a riveting new novel set in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring America’s favorite forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan. Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble’s sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi’s? Or Cale’s? At the time of their disappearance, the FBI joined the investigation, only to terminate it weeks later. Was there a cover-up? As Tempe juggles multiple theories, the discovery of a strange, deadly substance in the barrel alongside the body throws everything into question. Then an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes missing during Race Week. Tempe can’t overlook the coincidence. ( Synopsis from Barnes & Noble.com)

I am a huge fan of Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series and look forward to each new book. This book does not disappoint. Like Ms. Reichs herself, Temperance is a forensic pathologist who works both in NC and in Quebec.  This book stays in NC and centers on a body found near a NASCAR racetrack.  The story builds on this initial premise and gets more and more intense as it goes on. Temperance finds herself in the middle of feuding cops, the FBI, and her fellow lab staff.

One of the things I enjoy about this series is all of the information that is woven into the plot. In addition to forensic pathology information, this book has a lot of the NASCAR history written into it. Information on the beginnings of NASCAR, history of the drivers, and even a little on how the present day race world functions.

The side story of her ex-husband's fiancé Summer needing Temperance's help in planning her wedding adds a touch of humor to the story. It also gives Temperance some great lines full of sarcasm that go over the beleaguered bride's head.

One of the best parts of this book is the way Ms. Reichs makes her characters so believable whether it's a disgraced former cop or a cranky, humorless coworker. Even the two missing people who we never meet become real to the reader. The ending is not telegraphed earlier in the book and is absolutely believable.

My only gripe-not enough Ryan. Longtime readers will know what I mean.  I can't wait for the next book!

RPL Note: This book will be available on Tuesday, August 23 in the Adult New Books Section.

Thursday, August 11, 2011





Abby Cooper's next mission may truly be impossible...
Abby Cooper, the FBI's newest Civilian Profiler, is adding Spy to her resume. The military's digital photography software that captures one's aura- just like Abby can-sits in a drone aircraft that's been stolen. It's a major breach in security as every country's leader can be identified by their aura...
Abby springs into action to stop the criminals before they set their diabolical plan into motion, while making herself a prime target. ( Synopsis from Barnes & noble.com)

Victoria Laurie takes her series in a new direction in her 9th book of the Psychic Eye series. Abby Cooper and her fiancé Dutch Rivers are recruited to work with the CIA to recover a new technology weapon that has fallen into the wrong hands. Abby and Dutch will be playing with the big boys- foreign weapons dealers and crime bosses.

I have enjoyed the earlier books in this series. This book upped the violence factor and the mystery was not so much about a murder as it was focused on espionage.  I missed the characters from earlier books. There was plenty of action in this book and the bad guys were really BAD. Dutch, in particular, has a tough time in this outing. Abby seems to have some doubts about setting a wedding date and there are some attraction issues with one of the baddies. There were lots of characters in this book, some of whom may turn up again in a future book if Ms. Laurie continues with the CIA involvement. 

Abby's psychic crew helps in the tight situations but aren't the driving force in the book.
As mentioned before, the book is the latest in a series, but can be read by someone who hasn't read any of them and still be enjoyed.

RPL NOTES: This book is available in the Adult New Book section. The earlier books are available in the mystery section in paperback.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Merciless by Diana Palmer


Can she convince a man to let down his defenses when he's set on guarding his heart? Tall, dark and eligible? That's all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he'd be at the mercy of husband hunters—but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is… While Joceline can't deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she's determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid—fueling the spark that is growing between them. As the attempts on Jon's life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?  ( Synopsis from Barnes & Noble.com)

MERCILESS 7/26/2011
Long, Tall Texans
Hardcover
HQN Books
ISBN-13: 9780373775798
Diana Palmer’s latest book keeps her string of hits alive.  Jon Blackhawk is an FBI agent and one of the most straight laced heroes that ever graced a Palmer book.  He is working on wrapping up the investigation into the murder of his brother’s first wife and child (Kilraven from Dangerous).  Joceline Perry is Jon’s administrative assistant and she DOES NOT do coffee.
Ms. Palmer has a formula for her books and it has been a very successful one- she has alpha males and women who are generally shy, undereducated or from the poor side of town. The men roll all over the women until the women capture their hearts and then they fold like cards.  Palmer fans, of which I am one, unabashedly enjoy it when the big, tough, mean, man gets his comeuppance.  In this book, Jon is actually a pretty decent guy who treats Joceline fairly decently.  His mother, Cammie, takes over the meanie role and does a spectacular job at it.
The way Jon and Joceline dance around each other makes the outcome satisfying if not predictable. ( It is a romance after all!) The murder case adds suspense to the story and there are some interesting characters throughout the book. Joceline has a son whose paternity is unknown and has health issues which are realistically portrayed. The problems of having a sick child who needs expensive medicine not covered by insurance are also accurately written.
Those of us who have read all of her books have been waiting for Jon to get his own story after getting little glimpses of him in earlier books. This book should make all of the fans happy until we get restless for the next book!
RPL Notes: Merciless is available in the Adult New Fiction section and as an audiobook on CD .