by Christie RidgwayMay, 2008
Tried and true favorites
Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle's Blossom Street in her latest book, Twenty Wishes. A gentle and uplifting story, it chronicles four lonely widows who decide to spend Valentine's Day together at Anne Marie Roche's bookshop. Out of their celebration comes the idea that each will create a list of 20 things they want to do but have not done, 20 things they now will work to make come true. For Anne Marie, one wish is "buy red cowboy boots" and another widow writes she wants to "fall in love," but for all four women, the wishes are a way to a new, happier future. It's impossible not to cheer for Macomber's characters, and there's a story in this book for a woman of every age. When it comes to creating a special place and memorable, honorable characters, nobody does it better than Macomber.
The Third Circle is the latest Arcane Society novel from Amanda Quick, the pseudonym of Jayne Ann Krentz. Late in the Victorian age, a fast-paced intrigue is set in motion when heroine Leona Hewitt stumbles across a body as she's trying to retrieve a stolen crystal. She stumbles across hero Thaddeus Ware, too, a famed mesmerist who finds his hypnotic talents don't work on beautiful Leona. That might complicate things for him because the two must now team up to find a killer and the elusive crystal. He fears Leona won't be easy to control and he's right - and their growing passion for each other is not controllable either. Another unstable element in the mix is the Arcane Society itself, a secretive group dedicated to the study of the paranormal that may have a dangerous conspiracy brewing within its ranks. Mystery, danger and the otherworldly come together in this compelling read.
STRONG AND SEXY
Suspense novels often use emotionally and physically isolated characters to up the fright ante. In her latest, Scream for Me, Karen Rose instead gives the hero and heroine a caring cast of family and co-workers to support them, without losing an iota of the spine-tingling chill. This thriller pits Special Agent Daniel Vartanian against a killer re-enacting an old murder, at a time when heroine Alex Fallon, twin of a former victim, comes to town. Alex is looking for her missing stepsister, who may or may not be part of Daniel's case. Clues create circles in circles, and Daniel and Alex are caught within them as they try to solve the case as well as the reasons why they are so drawn to each other. The body count is high and the crimes truly frightening, but it's the heroine who stands out as she discovers just how strong and ruthless she can be to save those she loves.
SUNSHINE AND MISCHIEF
Kasey Michaels has called up a winner in Dial M for Mischief, which bills itself as a "romantic caper" and is the first in the author's new trilogy. Retired cop and veteran PI Teddy Sunshine is dead, and it looks like the second half of a murder-suicide. But not to his three daughters, Jade, Jolie and Jessica. They're sure their dad was murdered because of something to do with one of his four old, cold cases. As "Teddy's Angels" they decide to work the unsolved crimes themselves in order to find out what happened to their beloved father. But there's a guy for each of these girls, and this book brings up-and-coming actress Jolie Sunshine back together with her ex-fiance, millionaire Sam Becket. The story speeds along almost as fast as the pulse of former lovers Jolie and Sam, and rooting for them to restore their romance is as easy as the banter between the characters. In a nod to these alliterated sisters, this is a super start to a sly new series.