Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Secret Admirer by Patricia MacDonald

Children's book author Laura Reed lives an idyllic life with her husband Jimmy in his childhood hometown of Cape Christian, New Jersey; that is, until, an intruder breaks into her house and murders Jimmy in his sleep. When it becomes evident that Laura is set to inherit half a million in life insurance, the police and town residents look at Jimmy's wife as having enough motive to commit murder, although they do not have enough evidence to arrest her at this time.

While adjusting to widowhood and trying to shield her son from their town's watchful eye, Ian Turner, a man from Laura's past who she hasn't seen since childhood, mysteriously appears in her life. Like Laura, Ian lost a spouse, only his was killed in an arson-related fire. Connected by their mutual grief, the much needed friendship blossoms to a romance in which Laura agrees to marry Ian. However, the marriage only adds fuel to the fire as another motive for Laura to kill Jimmy. In fact, the police start to investigate Ian's wife's death and question whether the two were in on it together.

Especially hurt by the abrupt marriage is Laura and Jimmy's close friend, Gary, who has been wheelchair bound since high school and who may have secretly coveted Jimmy's wife. Furthermore, Dolores, Jimmy's mother who has never really cared for her daughter-in-law, is less than pleased in with the knowledge of Laura's quick remarriage.

When an unsuspecting witness comes forward with new information, police arrest Laura for murder in the first degree. Readers can only hope that Laura, who protests her innocence, will be pardoned before her life is irrevocably destroyed forever and Jimmy's real killer walks free.

Secret Admirer is one of MacDonald's earlier and stronger suspense novels. The author sets up so many suspects from the beginning and with a few twists along the way, readers will be left guessing until the very end. MacDonald is a supberb suspense writer, and I wish that she could get the readership she deserves. Mary Higgins Clark fans should really give MacDonald a chance, as they won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Fiction Released the Week of 12/29/2009

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch
Altar of Eden by James Rollins
Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell
Crawlspace by Sarah Graves
Crimson & Steam by Liz Maverick
Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux
Deeper than Dead by Tami Hoag
Eternal Hunter by Cynthia Eden
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
Heard it All Before by Michele Grant
Honor of Spies by W.E.B. Griffin
Hunting Julian by Jacquelyn Frank
I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter
Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper
The Red Door by Charles Todd
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Sizzle by Julie Garwood
Spellbent by Lucy Snyder
Turned by Julie Kenner

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tainted by Brooke Morgan

Holly Barrett is a single mother who has met the perfect man. Jack Dane is handsome, charming, and has a British accent. Everything is going great on their first date until Jack finds out Holly has a 5 year old daughter, Katy. He tells her it isn't going to work and leaves. Holly is devastated. She is only 23 and this was the first guy who really showed an interest in her. Katy's father, Billy, was a one time encounter and when he found out Holly was pregnant he couldn't be bothered.

Now Henry, Holly's grandfather and only other family, sees how miserable Holly is and sets out to make things right. He casually meets Jack and invites him fishing. Jack accepts not knowing this is Holly's grandfather. When they go back to Henry's for coffee he finds out the connection. He is glad for the second chance because he really likes Holly.

Things are going well and after three weeks, Jack is moving in with Holly and Katy. Everyone is pleased except Billy. Billy has come back and is trying to get to know his daughter. He regrets everything that has happened and now wants to be apart of Katy's life. But Jack is in the way. Katy adores him and thinks that he is her father. But sometimes Jack gets mad about absurd things like Katy crying and will leave. Holly is upset about this but is always happy when he returns.

They get married and everything is great until Billy starts poking around in Jack's past. The past he won't talk about. And when someone close to Holly is murdered, everything is discovered. Is Jack a bad guy or just misunderstood? Or is Billy just trying to cause problems?

This was a good book. I liked how it went back and forth between the characters and the reader got to know what they were thinking. I will definitely read Brooke Morgan's next book.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Late night Denver DJ/covert werewolf Kitty Norville's life takes a dramatic turn when she starts counseling vampire and werewolf callers. The hike in ratings prompts her producer to create the radio talk show, "Kitty and the Midnight Hour," but not everyone is as enthusiastic as Kitty. Kitty's alpha Carl and the resident master Vampire Arturo want Kitty to quit the show for fear of the unwanted exposure it is bringing to the city's supernaturals.

For the first time Kitty is doing something in her life that is her very own, so she refuses to abandon her new found career success and offers Carl a cut of her profits. During one of her shows, bounty hunter Cormac, loaded with silver bullets, arrives intent on taking Kitty down. When it becomes unclear to Cormac and Kitty who hired him and what is the motive, the two decide to pool information for their own protection. Additionally, the entire showdown was caught on the air, revealing Kitty's true identity to the world.

To complicate matters further, a rash of animal-related maulings resulting in death have been occurring throughout the city. Detective Hardin enlists Kitty's help in order to solve the crimes and catch the killer. Kitty knows that the deaths were brought on by a werewolf, but is it a rogue or someone from her own pack? She questions who she can trust anymore and turns to a certain paranormal hunter for protection.

The multiple plot threads, including a mysterious religious zealot who claims to offer a cure for the lycanthrope disease and a potential government coverup report from the NIH on the study of the paranormal, make for an entertaining read. Although I do have to confess that Kitty's referral of her wolf self in the third person can grate on the nerves, Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the Kitty Norville series, still makes for a fast-paced urban fantasy. Fans of Patrica Briggs' Mercy Thompson series will eat this one up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tasting Fear by Shannon McKenna

Tasting Fear is three stories in one book. They are the stories about three foster sisters, Nancy, Nell, and ViVi, whose mother, Lucia, has died under unusual circumstances. The day of the funeral the girls are mourning their lose when a package is delivered. It contains three pendent necklaces bearing the first initials of the girls and surrounded by jewels.

The first story, Outside the Limits, is about Nancy. It is the day after her mother's funeral when she meets Liam, a carpenter hired by Lucia to make renovations to the house. It is instant attraction for both of them. Even though Nancy is weary of relationships and Liam is looking for the exact opposite of workaholic Nancy. Soon they discover that Lucia had been murdered and that Lucia had secrets that she never told the girls. When the house is robbed again Liam instances that Nancy stay with him. And when Nancy is almost kidnapped, Liam realizes Nancy is the only one for him.

The second story, Ask for More, is Nell's story. She is a student working on her PhD, teaching classes, and waitressing. It is while waitressing that she develops a crush on a mysterious customer. When she answers an ad about a job the mysterious customer turns out to be the boss. Duncan knows he shouldn't mix business with pleasure but he can't get Nell out of his head. When he sees her being abducted he rescues her and makes himself part of her business. The sisters still don't have a clue about what is happening but are getting close. And when Nell is kidnapped for real, Duncan will do anything to get her back.

The third story, Ready or Not, is ViVi's story. ViVi is an artist who travels the craft fair circuit. She longs to put down roots and open a store to sell her art and others. She finally gets the chance when Duncan convinces her to hide out at his friend Jack's place. Jack will keep her safe from the danger and she can work on her art. Sparks fly immediately but Jack is weary because he thinks she will eventually leave him. ViVi tries and tries to convince him that she is here to stay. They end up having a big fight and ViVi leaves the protection of his house. This of course leads to her being kidnapped. Jack rescues her and eventually they figure out the mystery of Lucia.

The mystery surrounding their mom is secondary to the love stories of the sisters. It was a great book that I couldn't put down. Just a warning there is very explicit love scenes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Fiction Released the Week of 12/22/2009

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Flagship by Mike Resnick
The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble
Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card
The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark
Rich Again by Anna Maxted
Suicide Kings by George R.R. Martin
Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Then Came the Evening by Brian Hart

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones

It's not easy to cook for one; they just don't make recipes for one person. Finally, here's a beautifully crafted cookbook designed for those solo meals.

While you may not immediately recognize the name Judith Jones, she is responsible for the publishing of some of the most renowned cookbooks in the world, including the Julia Child classic, cookbooks by James Beard, Marion Cunningham, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey and many more.

Ms. Jones is senior editor and vice president of Alfred A. Knopf and has published many cookbooks of her own as well as her beautiful memoir, The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food. Her newest cookbook, borne out of necessity after her beloved husband passed celebrates the beauty of food and how even the simplest meal for one should be cherished and enjoyed.

While for me, some of the recipes are too "French" (liver pate, veal tongue, a cassoulet with duck fat and lamb), many more of the recipes are simple, healthy and delicious.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Evidence of Murder by Lisa Black

I saw this book on the Library's new book shelves and picked it up because I always wanted to try a Lisa Unger, but didn't realize until later that this was a book by Lisa Black! No matter, as I was extremely happy to have stumbled upon this intriguing, page-turning medical thriller.

The protagonist in Evidence of Murder is Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist for the Cleveland medical examiner's office, who is working the case of Jillian Perry. Jillian was discovered by some joggers in a wooded park near the lake. At first glance, it appears that she froze to death; however, the tell-tale signs of death of this nature are absent. The police want to close this case as a suicide, but Theresa refuses to give up that easily.

She starts investigating, with the occasional guidance of her detective cousin Frank, what she believes to be a case of murder and focuses in on Evan, Jillian's husband of three weeks who has money to inherit by getting custody of Jillian's baby daughter. Meanwhile two more bodies, in which the victims are found frozen, are brought into the Cleveland ME's office, leading the media to speculate a serial killer at work. Also added to the mix is Jillian's obsessed friend, Drew, who seems to have plenty of motive for her murder, even given the unlikelihood that he could commit the crime.

Readers who enjoy Michael Palmer and Daniel Kalla will make an easy transition to Black. This is the second book in the Theresa Maclean series, and they do not need to be read in order. However, Takeover is the first book for those wanting to start at the beginning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Julia and Valentina Poole are 20 year old American sisters who have an intense attachment to one another. At loose ends, not interested in college or getting jobs, they are intrigued when they recieve a letter from a London solicitor informing them that their English aunt has died of cancer and left them her flat - with the stipulation that they live in it for a year before they sell it, and that their parents do not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins, and so were their mother, Edie and their Aunt Elspeth, whom they had never met.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat in London, which borders on the Highgate Cemetary, final resting place to George Eliot, Karl Marx, and Christina Rossetti. Also living in their apartment building are Robert, Elspeth's lover, who is a scholar of the cemetary, Martin, a crossword puzzle setter, who is crippled by his obsessive compulsive disorder, Martin's wife, Marijke, and their Aunt Elspeth's ghost, who is finding it difficult to move on.

As the girls come to know their neighbors, they also become tangled up in their lives, and long held secrets come into the open.

Highgate Cemetary provides the perfect background for this unusual ghost story, and Elspeth Noblin makes an unforgettable ghost. Even if you don't usually read "ghost stories", give this one a try. Audrey Niffenegger is quite good at writing a multi-dimentional love story, and this haunting tale does not disappoint.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Fiction Released the Week of 12/15/2009

A very quiet week in publishing. Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
A sequel to The Nanny Diaries finds Nan returning to New York after 10 years abroad and getting approached by a drunken 16-year-old Grayer X, who describes his parents' brutal divorce and prompts her re-entry into child care for the elite.

Ticket to Ride by Ed Gorman
Struggling with his father's illness and the end of a relationship, small-town Iowa lawyer Sam McCain witnesses the return of his community's first Vietnam casualty while reuniting with old friends at a Labor Day party that is shattered by a double murder.

Too Much Money by Dominick Dunne
Writer Gus Bailey witnesses the disappearance of the old-money society that once occupied him and investigates the murder of one of the world's wealthiest men, an effort that is sabotaged by the man's calculating wife and schemers within Gus's own set.

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Touch of Topaz by Iris Johansen

Samantha Barton has been living in fear for 6 years on the island of St. Pierre. She has been hiding from rebels and during her part to help the revolution. Now it looks like the fighting is over and the rebels have won. Fletcher Bronson, billionaire businessman, happens to be in the area and is helping to get Samantha and her people out. But during the rescue Fletch and Samantha are left behind. They need to hide out for 24 hours until the helicopter can come back. During that time, Samantha gives herself to Fletch because she thinks that this is her last chance at happiness. She plans on staying behind to try and rescue a friend.

Fletch cannot believe that this strong, gentle woman is stupid enough to try and stay behind. He will do anything to get her on that helicopter. When the time comes, they are ambushed by the rebels and Samantha takes a bullet for Fletch. Fletch gets her on the helicopter and flies her to his private island. While there he makes her a proposition. They get married and he will send a rescue team to save her friend. She agrees because she is in love with him and hopes he will someday fall in love with her. After some miscommunication, there is a happy ending.

If you are in the mood for a quick read, then One Touch of Topaz is the love story for you. One Touch of Topaz is actually a reissue originally from 1988.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Fiction Released the Week of 12/8/2009

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Alone by Loren D. Estleman
Burning Desire by Aaron Relentless
Burning Shadows by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil by Drew Karpyshyn
The Disciple by Stephen Coonts
Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton
Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks
Final Exam by Maggie Barbieri
The Good Son by Russel Mclean
La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

While walking through the quad of the University of Chicago campus, graduate student Merit is attacked by one vampire set on killing her, but is rescued by another. The next thing she remembers is finding herself in the back of a limo being returned to the townhouse she shares with roommate Mallory.

The vampire who saved her is none other than the sexy Ethan Sullivan, head vampire of the Cadogan House. As the one who turned her, Ethan believes that Merit belongs to him and must serve the house as he sees fit. However, feisty Merit is resistant to belong to anyone but soon learns that she can not return to her life as a human. She has but a few days to decide whether to pledge her loyalties to the Cadogan House or to live as a rogue vampire on the fringes of the Windy City society.

Merit seeks solace in her grandfather, a former CPD detective who, once she confesses she is now a vampire, tells her that he is no longer retired. It turns out her grandfather covertly works as an ombud for the mayor, whose office is in charge of being the liaison for the supernaturals to the city. His employees include Jeff, a shapeshifter, and fourth grade sorcerer Catcher Bell, who promises to help train Merit as the fighter she now needs to be in order to stay alive in the vampire world.

Meanwhile, two more women, both similar looking to Merit, turn up dead with bite marks on their neck that suggest the killer is a vampire. Although Ethan dismisses the crimes as being done by rogue vampires, Merit can't help but wonder if the Cadogan house is somehow involved in the murders.

This book will appeal to romance readers new to the vampire genre, as the fantasy elements take a backseat to the potential love story between Ethan and Merit. The Chicago setting is also an added plus for readers of this area. Some Girls Bite is the first in the Chicagoland Vampires series. The next book is Friday Night Bites and Twice Bitten, the third book, is scheduled for publication in July of 2010.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ice by Linda Howard

Lorelei "Lolly" Helton is back home in Wilson Creek, Maine to sell her family home. Unbeknown to her a big ice storm is headed her way. While at the local mom and pop store the owner warns her of the upcoming storm and offers for Lolly to stay with her since Lolly's home is so isolated. Lolly accepts her offer and heads home to pick up some items before the storm hits. Unaware that she is being observed, Lolly is followed home by two drug addicts, Nikki and Darwin.

Gabe McQueen just returned home from North Carolina. He is on leave from his military job and eager to see his son. While there his dad, the sheriff, asks Gabe to go check on Lolly. Remembering Lolly from high school as stuck up, Gabe isn't too excited about the reunion. But he agrees to help his dad and wouldn't wish for anyone to be stuck in an ice storm. Halfway up the mountain, Gabe's truck gets stuck. When he finally reaches the house on foot the storm has started. He also notices Lolly has company. But as he investigates further he realizes it is company Lolly would rather not have.

Lolly cannot believe she is being held hostage in her own home. The two drug addicts have her locked up in her bedroom. But Lolly will not stay put. She starts planning how to escape through her second floor window. As she tries to open the window she hears a thump and then sees a face in the window. Gabe McQueen is staring back at her. He is the last person she ever expected to see. With his help she escapes.

Now the two are fighting through an ice storm and running from Nikki and Darwin. Just when they think they are safe the storm takes a turn for the worse and so do the two killers. This was a very quick read by Linda Howard. It is a good book to read while waiting for her next full length book to be released. Also a good read is her last novel Burn.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Fiction Released the Week of 12/01/2009

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The Bone Chamber
by Robin Burcell
Cobra Alliance by Timothy Zahn
Desert Lost by Betty Webb
The Farmer's Daughter by Jim Harrison
Full of Money by Bill James
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword of Avalon by Diana Paxson
The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry
Too Many Murders by Colleen McCollough
Trial by Fire by J.A. Jance
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Village of Ghost Bears by Stan Jones