Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Raven Stole the Moon: A Novel by Garth Stein

It's amazing what grief makes people do.  In this tale of the Pacific Northwest, Garth Stein describes the devastating effect of grief on a marriage.  After their young son drowns in a boating accident, Jenna and Robert drift.  One night at a party, Jenna decides to return to the Alaskan resort where her son died.  On the way she learns of the "kushtaka", Tlingit otter people who lure people to their death by drowning.  Was her son Bobby lured to the underworld by a kushtaka?  Read it and find out! 445 p.

"Blood Knot" by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Very unusual story about Winter, a professional thief, her partner, Sebastian, and his sire, Nathanial, a thousand year old vampire.  Winter is able to manipulate her biology and the biology of others by touch; that's how she changed Sebastian from vampire back to human . . . accidentally.  They split after that but reunite when Nathanial shows up with one last job neither can refuse.  Well written and surprisingly original story with unique characters that kept me reading.  271 pages (Kindle edition).

"Maiden Flight" by Bianca D'Arc

This is book one in the Dragon Knights series and focused on Gareth, a dragon knight, Belora, a young woman who lives in a forest with her mother, and Kelvan, Gareth's dragon.  Soon, the three of them become a sort of family and inadvertently help Belora's mother reconnect with the dragon who helped raise her.  The author built an interesting world that featured many different relationships between humans, dragons, and humans and dragons.  125 pages (Kindle edition).

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I didn't know what to expect from The Casual Vacancy but I was still surprised by the story.  I was sort of expecting a cross between Harry Potter and a cozy mystery.  What I read instead was about the impact of one caring adult on the lives of those around them.  Or I should say, the impact of the loss of a caring adult.  There are people who lift people up, who inspire us to be better people, and who do more than just take care of themselves and their families.  Barry Fairbrother was such a person.  He came up from the projects and became a council member and rowing coach.  He fought to keep providing drug counseling and other services for the projects and started a rowing team to help less popular kids succeed.  When he dies unexpectedly the consequences are unimaginable.  A great read! 503 p.

"Collision Course" by K.A. Mitchell

This is the story of Aaron, a paramedic, and Joey, a free spirited social worker.  The two don't seem to have much in common, especially since Aaron hates the social services system, yet they can't stay away.  I read this at the beginning of the year, and not much stuck with me except Joey's bleached hair and tiny car and my general dislike of Aaron.  264 pages (Kindle edition).

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

My nephew, who is a sophomore in high school, had to read this book over the summer and he said that it made him cry! I had to read this book!  And what a book!  I had read The Kite Runner so I was familiar with Hosseini's style and the often brutal depiction of events in Afghanistan.  But I was still unprepared for the impact of reading about two very different Afghan women whose lives become intertwined after the Soviets leave Afghanistan.  Miriam is an older woman, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, married at age 15 to Rasheed, an older man.  Laila is the daughter of a university professor.  Laila's future looks promising until the Taliban take over the country. How these two women become first antagonists, then sisters, is an unforgettable story.  372 p.

"Handle with Care" by Josephine Myles

Ben is a severe diabetic who rarely leaves his home, even for work.  He hates the way he looks due to his health problems.  One of the few people he sees on a regular basis is the young man who delivers the DVD movies he orders online, Ollie.  He's a skateboarder with purple hair and a dazzling smile.  Ben would like to get to know him better, but there's an age difference and Ben's lack of confidence in his disease-ravaged body.  Ollie has dreams of owning a business and doesn't know where to start, but Ben takes a chance and helps, leading to a fragile friendship.

I really liked this story and the two lead characters.  Ben's insecurities and Ollie's ability to overlook them made both men endearing and very likable.  149 pages (Kindle edition).

Anybody Can Do Anything by Betty MacDonald

Some of you may recognize Betty MacDonald as the author of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books.  But did you know that MacDonald wrote the Egg and I which was turned into a film starring Claudette Colbert and Fred McMurray? The book Anybody Can Do Anything describes how Betty MacDonald became a published writer after leaving her husband and the chicken farm so lovingly described in The Egg and I.  MacDonald packed up her two kids and hitched a ride back to Seattle to move back home with her mother, brother, and sisters.  The family survives the Great Depression in grand style, working every job they can, sharing their house and food with all they meet, and having a good time despite having no money!  256 p.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, read by Jean Gilpin


I love all things French so when I saw this book at the library I had to pick it up.  Rutherfurd tells the story of Paris through the experiences of various members of an aristocratic, a bourgeoise, a communist, a working class and a Jewish family.  The families intersect through time, taking turns betraying, saving, and/or working together to defeat a common enemy. One of my favorite parts of the book is the building of the Eiffel tower. The narrator, Jean Gilpin, does a great job of varying the voices of the different characters too. Anyone who loves history and a good story will appreciate this book. 38 hours, unabridged audiobook. 809 p.

Crazy in Paradise by Deborah Brown

Madison Westin has inherited beach front property and a bunch of wacky friends from her aunt. She has also inherited a heap of trouble and a romantic interest. The writing was a bit uneven. The plot took some abrupt turns. This author was touted as being as good as Janet Evanovich, so figured I would give her a try. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations.Only an okay read. 370 pages.

"BTW I Love You" by Nico Jaye

Aiden and Jake meet online through Chatroulette and find they have a lot in common.  They're both college students in California but Jake is studying in Australia, so they can't meet for many months.  Will they get along in person as well as they do online?  This was an OK story, but Jake seemed to be too good to be true while Aiden was the only one with anxiety about meeting in person.  76 pages (Kindle edition).

"Winton's Strays" by Hollis Shiloh

Miles has been injured in the Great War and is on his way to visit relatives for Christmas by train.  These are people who've never treated him well, but he has no where else to go.  Winton, a college student, boards the train on his way to his aunt's for the holidays.  He has two passengers with him, a baby squirrel and a canary.  The two young men hit it off, and Winton invites Miles to spend Christmas at his aunt's house.  She lives above the bookstore that she runs, where she raised Winton.  But what will happen to their friendship when the holidays are over?  Miles can no longer do physical labor, and Winton will go back to college.  Will Miles' self-doubt and shame over his injury ruin the best thing he's ever had? I really liked this sweet story and its characters, especially since stray animals were involved!  58 pages (Kindle edition).

Good, Clean Murder: A Plain Jane Mystery by Traci Tyne Hilton

Jane Adler is down on her luck and looking like she will have to drop out of Harvest School of the Bible before completing her missionary training. Working as a house cleaner to get through college, things go from bad to worse when she arrives at her first house of the day and finds her employer dead in bed. The movement between cozy mystery to light romance to Christian fiction is a bit clumsy. Still, the characters were for the most part likeable. It didn't catch my fancy, but I can see it being enjoyed by young adults. 315 pages.

"Yours, Johnny" by Hollis Shiloh

Johnny is a soldier serving in Vietnam when he receives a letter from an eight-year-old girl that her teacher assigned.  Her brother, Daniel, takes over writing to Johnny when his sister gets too busy, and the two young men become pen pals.  Both are nineteen, but Daniel is ineligible to join the military.  He works in a factory, lives with his parents, and is miserable.  He and Johnny keep each other going long distance, but will their friendship survive when they meet in person?  This is another interesting, heart-tugging novella by Hollis Shiloh.  63 pages (Kindle edition).

"The Keeper" by Hollis Shiloh

This is a sweet and unusual novella about a lonely lighthouse keeper named Cole who finds a man washed up on shore after a storm.  The man has amnesia and can't even remember his name but knows he's a magician.  The two men get along well and soon Cole doesn't want his new friend to leave when the supply boat arrives.  However, he does.  As his friend is sailing away from the island, Cole discovers his true identity and is frantic to get him back.  What a lovely, well written little story with a touch of fantasy; I really enjoyed it.  52 pages (Kindle edition).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pirate Alley by Stephen Coonts

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

The pirates add a cruise ship to their collection for ransom.  The Muslim brotherhood wants the passengers killed, but America can't be seen by the world as the aggressors.  320 pages.

WE THE CHILDREN by Andrew Clements, FEAR ITSELF by Andrew Clements, THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES by Andrew Clements, IN HARMS WAY by Andrew Clements



BOOK ONE
BOOK TWO
So now I’m on to more middle school fiction by Andrew Clements.  One weekend during breaks with laundry, I read what I thought was the entire series:  Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School.
Sadly, for me, there’s one more and it won’t be out until Dec. 2013. I’m left hanging on the very well written cliff of this series.
Oakes School is about to meet the wrecking ball and a team of “Keepers” assembled by 11(and one half) year old Ben Pratt through the mysterious guidance of the school’s founder, Captain Oakes (1783).
BOOK THREE
BOOK FOUR
There is not one hint of writing-down to a middle school audience in this series and it tackles with great sensitivity death and dying, parental separations, and the always-there angst of classmate relationships. There are lovely passages about how to sail.  Oh, and no small part of the action takes place in the library!


We the Children:  Book One 2010, 142 p.
Fear Itself: Book 2, 2011 204 p.
Whites of Their Eyes, Book 3, 2012 207 p.
In Harm’s Way Book 4, 2013, 209 p.
Athenum Books for Young Readers

BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM by Kate Atkinson


How’s this for an inspired opening:  I exist!  I am conceived to the chimes of midnight on the clock on the mantelpiece in the room across the hall.  (A fellow fan of this author reminds me that this is sorta like first line of David Copperfield: I am born)

I love this author’s ability to weave together people, time and place.  Beginning w/Chapter One:  1951 to the last line of Chapter 13: 1992, this is the story of Ruby Lennox.  Following each chapter is an appendix consisting of footnotes from Alice, Ruby’s grandmother’s time and/or footnotes from Berenice (Bunty), her mother’s time.

A totaling engrossing tale with a huge and unexpected revelation about the family in Chapter 11: 1968.

St. Martin’s Press, 1996 333 p.

THE LITTLE FRIEND by Donna Tartt


A faceoff between two eccentric Mississippi families, told mostly through the eyes of 12-year old Harriett (of the Cleve clan) against the Ratliff clan.  Robin, her brother is murdered when Harriett is a baby and she dedicates herself to find the murderer and seek retribution.

I reread this book after coming across a quotation from it.  I couldn’t remember how the story is resolved.  After re-reading, I know why.  Author writes characters that are both odd and (mostly) believable.

“To grow up is to acquire the knowledge of cruelty and pain, to be initiated into the grim mysteries of experience and to live to tell the tale.”

Knopt 2002, 555 p.

FRINDLE by Andrew Clements


My 9-year old grandson needed to finish this book while visiting me this summer.  We took turns reading out loud each chapter and I was hooked on this author.  Wonderful story of a boy with imagination (Why is “frindle” not a perfectly good word for a pen?) and a teacher who knows what to do to nourish a creative mind.

Athenum Books, 1996 105 p.

OLD CITY HALL by Robert Rotenberg


Another crime novel with detectives and lawyers and lots of local color, this time it’s Toronto…am I in a genre rut?  First chapter opens with a murder that appears to be simply solved, of course, it isn’t.  Although I enjoyed the book and did want to know who really was the killer, at the end, was there were just too many characters to cleanly wrap-up into the storyline.

Touchstone, 2009, 372 p.

1222 by Anne Holt

This novel was recommended to me by someone who knew I enjoyed Norwegian crime fiction. Translated by Marlaine Delargy.

A train accident, the passengers are taken to the nearest railway station in Finse which happens to be the highest station on the entire Norwegian railway system, 1222 meters above sea level.  An historic snow storm follows the collusion, wind speed the worst in over one hundred years, and renders the passengers and the staff isolated in this remote place.  A murder occurs, then another, sounds a bit like Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” doesn’t it?

Characters are vividly written and I really enjoyed the parts about the storm. Alas, the end was too neatly summed up for my taste.

Scribner 2011, 313 p. 

The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! by Mo Willems


When the pigeon finds out that Duckling got a cookie just by asking, and one with nuts, no less, he isn't very happy at all! After all, he asks for things all the time, and he never gets them.






MLA Building Block Award nominee, 2013


40 pages

Princess Kim and Too Much Truth by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

At school one day, the lesson is Honesty. Kim takes it to heart. She decides she isn't really a Princess, so she puts away all her pink. She is brutally honest with her Grandmother about her new necklace, her friends about their new boots, and her classmates about their paintings. And when Mrs. Reilly  brings her new baby to school, she says it is the ugliest baby she has ever seen!

Her teacher finally  has to take her aside and explain that being honest doesn't mean saying everything you think! Kim has a lot of fences to mend.

MASL Show Me Award nominee, 2013-2014.

32 pages

Willow and the Snow Day Dance by Denise Brennan-Nelson


Willow loves her new home. She loves her house, her neighborhood, and her neighbors. But Mr. Larch, across the street, isn't very neighborly. No one ever comes to see him. His house is gloomy, and he never decorates for holidays.

When winter comes, Willow finds the perfect hill for sledding. She waits for a snow day. And waits...and waits...and waits. One day she sees Mr. Larch and tells him she really wants it to snow. Can Mr. Larch help Willow?

Read this MASL Show Me Award 2013-2014 nominee and find out if Willow (and Mr. Larch) get to go sledding.


32 pages












The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova

From Amazon:

The day Dirk Yeller came to town, the wind curled its lip, cattle quit lowin’, and tumbleweeds stopped tumblin’ along. Townsfolk whispered. “He starts stampedes!” “He holds up trains!” “He’s trouble!”

When Dirk Yeller scours the town for something to stop his itchin’ and twitchin’ and jumpin’ and rattlin’, no one seems able to help. But Sam, who’s been following Dirk all day—and who can sometimes be a little fidgety, too—knows the perfect solution . . .

Which is a secret...but think books.
 

MASL Show Me Award nominee, 2013-2014

36 pages

The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen


Rosalie March lived in an oil compound in Saudi Arabia during her childhood. After her family returned to the States, and she started college, she met Abdullah, who was a wealthy Saudi. They fell in love, married, and returned to Saudi Arabia. Rosalie saw it as going home; she felt it was where she belonged. His family wasn't too accepting of her at first, but eventually they saw her as one of them. She bore two children.

On her daughter's 14th birthday, she went into a jewelry store to buy her a bracelet. The shopkeeper asks her how she liked the onyx necklace her husband got her for their anniversary in December. Her anniversary is in May. She questions the shopkeeper, asking for more information, and then confronts her husband. He finally admits he took a second wife two years before this. This is unusual in their community; none of his family has taken a second wife.

In the meantime, their teenage son has gotten involved with a radical sheik, who is preaching jihad. In the midst of their personal turmoil, they have missed the fact that he is becoming radicalized. He becomes involved with a plot that can destroy them all.

352 pages

Obese From the Heart: A Fat Psychiatrist Discloses by Sara L. Stein


 

Sara Stein is a psychiatrist who has battled her weight her entire life. Here she tackles obesity with a holistic approach, saying losing weight is the result of treating the whole person, mending mind, body and spirit. She stresses healthy, balanced and energetic living.


291 pages

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle

A cozy mystery, in the Bibliophile series, featuring Brooklyn Wainwright as a bookbinder and foodie who happens to keep getting involved in solving murders.  This time the story revolves around an old cookbook and a group of diva chefs, one of whom is Brooklyn's sister. One of the chefs, the bad boy of the group, is killed on the opening night for his new restaurant. Brooklyn's sister, Savannah (yes, the siblings are all named after cities), is found with the bloody murder weapon in her hand. The plot has a few interesting twists but Brooklyn does way too much gushing about her divinely sweet and handsome boyfriend and how she doesn't deserve him.  A few recipes are included at the end.  305 p.

Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack

The Tucker farm was perking along nicely. Occasionally a car stopped at the roadside stand, and someone bought a tomato or two, maybe a cucumber. Then one day, a crate fell off a truck, and what tumbles out but a peacock!!

The peacock starts strutting along the road, causing excitement for motorists, and soon the Tuckers are doing a booming business, selling vegetables right and left; people stop to admire the peacock, and buy veggies while they're there.

But the chickens get jealous. They think THEY are doing all the work on the farm, and the peacock is getting the credit for its success. So they dress up and go to the road.

This is a very cute little book about doing what you do best.

A MASL Show Me Award nominee, 2013-2014

32 pages

Fat People by Bill Schubart

This is a book of short stories about people who are morbidly obese. Most of them have an eating disorder, and all the associated problems that go with extreme obesity and health problems. Not an uplifting book; there are no good outcomes for any of the characters in the stories.

214 pages

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hidden by Helen Frost


 

When Darra is 8 years old, her father carjacks a van. He doesn’t know that Wren, an 8-year-old girl, is hiding in the back.  Darra hears about the carjacking on the news, and wonders where Wren could be.  She thinks Wren may be in their garage, so she leaves food for her, but never sees her.  She tries to figure out a way to help Wren get away. After a couple of days, Wren manages to escape, and she is able to lead the police to the house where she had been. Darra’s father goes to prison.  

When the girls are 14, they both end up in the same camp, in the same cabin. Talk about an awkward situation! They ignore each other as long as they can, but eventually have to decide whether to hold on to the resentment (Darra blaming Wren for her Dad going to prison, and Wren blaming Darra’s for her father’s actions), or put it aside and become friends. 
 
2013-2014 MASLMark Twain Award nominee

160 pages

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King


Lucky Linderman’s Grandfather is MIA in the jungles of Laos. His father is emotionally distant,  and Nader McMillan has been bullying him since grade school. His father prefers not to get involved, and his mother swims a hundred laps a day and pretends they have a normal family, even as the bullying intensifies.

But Lucky has his own way to deal with it: he escapes to the jungle to rescue his grandfather. There he has great adventures, fighting the Viet Cong for his grandfather’s life. There, he can be brave and strong, and a hero. There, Nader McMillan can’t intrude.

Eventually, of course, reality crashes in, and Lucky has to decide how he will handle Nader.

2013-2014 MASL Gateway Award nominee

 288 pages

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"The Seduction of Elliot McBride" by Jennifer Ashley

This is book five in the Highland Pleasures series and tells the story of Juliana St. John, a proper Scottish woman who's been jilted at the alter, and Elliot McBride, the brother of Juliana's best friend.  She's loved Elliot since she was a girl, but he's very different since escaping 10 months at the hands of  brutal men in India.  They decide to marry after her fiance fails to show since they are both 30 and have known each other most of their lives.  Juliana is thrilled to be with Elliot even though he wanders the highlands and loses track of time and memories periodically.  Today, he'd be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.  Soon Elliot begins to believe that a man he thought dead, the man who'd caused his months of captivity and torture, is following him.  Is he imagining it or could he be right with his family and friends in danger.

Another good installment in the series, with lots of intrigue and mystery.  The secondary characters are interesting, and Juliana and Elliot have great chemistry.  She's a typically strong heroine who loves to make lists and put things in order.  They each have their quirks which play nicely off of each other.  Several of the characters from the previous novels make appearances, but I would liked to have seen more of them.  309 pages.

"Promises" by Marie Sexton

This is book one in the Coda series and takes place in Coda, CO, where hometown boy Jared Thomas runs an auto parts store with his brother and sister-in-law.  He's not in the closet but does nothing to make waves since it's such a small town.  Matt Richards has moved to Coda to join the police force, and he and Jared become friends by biking in the mountains and watching football together.  Even though Matt knows Jared is gay, it doesn't bother him until co-workers and family start harassing him.  Can a gay man and a straight man be best friends surrounded by small-minded people?

This was an excellent story told from Jared's point of view.  He's very lonely but loves Coda enough to deal with it.  When Matt walks into his store to ask about a used Jeep for sale, Jared knows he's something special.  The author does a great job of describing the evolution of their friendship and how they each deal with prejudice.  There were several unexpected twists which made their story even better.  228 pages (Kindle edition).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block

Matthew Scudder, a private detective, former police officer and recovering alcoholic, becomes involved in investigating a murder mystery involving a childhood friend.  There are over 15 novels in Block's Matthew Scudder series; this tells the story of an early stage in his work as a private detective.  The characters, plot, and setting ring true; it's gritty enough to be realistic, but not gruesome.  I will probably try another other these. 319 pages.

The Lady of the Rivers by Phillippa Gregory

Jacquetta, a young French noblewoman is married off to an English lord, the Duke of Bedford, who is only interested in her inherited ability to see into the future.  In fact, he even thinks he has to maintain her status as a virgin in order to preserve her powers.  His interest is in foretelling the location and outcomes of future battles with the French.  This tells the embellished story of a historical character, during the Wars of the Roses in 1400s England and France.  Jacquetta soon tires of her solitary husband and his narrow interest in her as a fortune teller, and of course falls in love with one of his squires.  Conveniently, the Duke falls ill and dies, leaving Jacquetta free to marry her lover, an act which results in a heavy fine from the king and loss of her wealth.  The story follows the intrigues of the royal court of King Henry VI.  While Gregory is a well-respected writer of historical fiction, I found a number of the plot twists to be implausible, and she puts modern criticisms of the place of women in the culture into the mouths of the characters. She does paint a very vivid description of the setting and the historical characters.  435 pages

Blossom Sisters by Fern Michaels


(Posted for Paul Mathews)

His grandmother and his two aunts raise him, buy him a large house, and pay for his college education.  His wife is a two times married gold digger who wants the house and car.  His childhood buddy and his lawyer help him through this and in the end he is back with his now happy family.  266 pages.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Unintended Consequences by Stuart Woods


(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Stone Barrington wakes up in Paris and doesn’t know how or why he’s there.  He comes face to face with the European underworld there and back in America. 

Audio:  6 hrs. 50 min.
Print:  320 pages.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Her Favorite Temptation" by Sarah Mayberry

This very well written book focuses on Leah Mathews, a cardiothoracic surgeon who has decided to switch specialties.  However, her parents, who are also physicians, are disappointed and don't understand why.  Leah has always been the good daughter, dutifully minding her folks and doing her best to be what they want her to be, unlike her older sister, whom they treat as an afterthought.  Will Jones has moved into the apartment next to Leah for a short stay, and they become friends after she overhears him singing and playing the guitar on his balcony.  Little does she know that he's part of a Grammy winning duo and about to undergo a major operation that could change his life.

I really enjoyed the writing and the slow evolution of Leah and Will's friendship.  The reader especially sees the vulnerabilities in both characters and how their interactions with their families and each other either exacerbates or relieves them.  Leah and Will see each other at their worst and offer support like true friends do.  That's not always the case with the couples in romance novels, but this one is a step above most and very sweet.  I highly recommend it and am looking forward to reading more by this author.  179 pages (Kindle edition).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

" Honeymoon For One" by Chris Keniston

When Michelle Bradford's longtime fiance leaves her for her best friend a few days before the wedding, she decides to take the nonrefundable cruise that they had booked for their honeymoon to get away from the gossip in her small town.  While on the ship, she meets Kirk, an adventurous hunk who takes her parasailing and rock wall climbing, two things she'd never been adventurous enough to try on her own.  She also does something else out of character . . . she has a short-term affair with him, sure that they'll never meet again once she returns to her boring life.  However, when she gets back home, the newspaper where she works has been taken over by a large corporation, and a new boss has been brought in to clean house.  One guess who it is.

This was a cute, short story with a sweet and insecure heroine trying to raise her teenage sister while dealing with the betrayal of her fiance and best friend and the potential loss of her job.  Things happened a little too quickly to be believable, but it was an easy and free read.  178 pages (Kindle edition).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Raveled by Anne McAneny

Kevin Fennimore begs his sister, Allison, to go back to their hometown to discover the real story behind the two murders their father is accused of committing. The story weaves between the past and the present as Allison breaks through the plethora of secrets to unravel the truth. This book had me hooked from page one with its tight writing and well-defined characters. 334 pages.

"The Duke's Perfect Wife" by Jennifer Ashley

Book four in the Highland Pleasures series focuses on the eldest of the Scottish Mackenzie brothers, Hart, the Duke of Kilmorgan.  He's a hard, dark man who's done everything he can to protect his three younger brothers from their brutal father and his legacy to see them all happily married to wonderful women.  Now, Hart is close to becoming the next prime minister of Great Britain, but his former fiancee, arrives with disturbing news.  Someone has been sending her risque pictures of Hart taken by a now dead courtesan when he was a young man.  Although he broke her heart many years ago, Lady Eleanor Ramsey still cares for him and knows that these photos could ruin his political career.  Still unmarried and needing money, she offers to investigate the source of the photos for a fee.  Hart is reluctant, but when he realizes that this will allow him to move Eleanor and her father into his home under the guise of being her employer, he accepts.  But Hart has another motive . . . to win back Eleanor and marry her.

I didn't much like Hart at the beginning because he's a bit of a bully and is used to getting his way, but his interactions with his brothers, their wives, and Eleanor shows that he is a three dimensional character.  Everything he does is done to prevent him from turning out like his father.  Eleanor is a strong and smart heroine, one of the few people who is not afraid of Hart and can diffuse his darkness.  They make a great, classic, romance couple.  Luckily, the author keeps the series going by moving to a Mackenzie brother-in-law for her next book, which I'll definitely read.  309 pages.

See my reviews for books two and three in the series.  (I read book one before we started this blog.)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The President's Henchman by Joseph Flynn

Patti Darden Grant is the first female president of the United States. Jim McGill is her husband. He also happens to be a private investigator. The plot has plenty of twists and turns--some political, others maniacal. I was almost overwhelmed with the number of characters and subplots involved, but persevered just because I liked the main characters. Book 1 in the Jim McGill series. 343 pages.

Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe

Matilda leaves Australia to arrive in Hobin, Wisconsin, clad in her wedding gown, clutching her wedding cake and fully expecting to be greeted with open arms by her fiance, Barry. But, nobody has heard of him! Enter Marc, our reluctant hero. It isn't long before sparks start flying. A light, humorous contemporary romance. 352 pages.