Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Anonymity-Janna McMahon


Janna McMahon

Koehler Books, Jan 1 2013, $15.95


ISBN: 9781938467233

Teenager Lorelei arrives in Austin by bus. She heads to the Tumbleweed Street Outreach young adult center where she can get some chow, pick up clothing and even shelter. She enjoys the food and selects some items to wear, but rejects the cot.

Twentyish Emily works as a bartender. When she meets David the reporter investigating the gutter punks who live as an unwanted underbelly of the city, she agrees to be his photographer. Emily meets Lorelei and wants to help the teen. The two women becomes friends, but Emily learns the true meaning of good intentions as every time she tries to get Lorelei off the street, danger surfaces from the teen’s past; Emily also tries to assist other young lost souls by bringing attention to their plight through her unforgiving harsh camera.

This is a deep look at the teen homeless living on the streets of Austin. The insightful storyline rotates perspective mostly between the two women though others like Emily’s mom Barbara take the lead at times. This character driven urban tale driven by a strong cast has readers wondering whether Emily has found her groove with photographing the gutter punks.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rosemary Opens her Heart-Naomi King

Rosemary Opens her Heart

Naomi King

NAL, Nov 6 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780451237972

Friends and family from nearby and other states arrive in Cedar Creek, Missouri to attend the wedding of Zanna Lambright and Jonny Ropp. The bride’s sister Abby, who thought she loved the groom, sits with James Graber. Zanna’s brother Matt enjoys the company of James’ sister Emma though he feels attracted to single mom Widow Rosemary Yutzy.

Matt tries to court Rosemary, but she declines as apparently she still loves her late husband. Knowing he loves Rosemary and her three year old daughter, Matt continues his pursuit of the two females. Abby and James consider becoming an entry, but each has a schedule that leaves no room for courting.

The second Home at Cedar Creek Amish romance follows up on Abby Finds Her Calling as two couples find the path to happiness contains many detours. The cast is fully developed as readers understand the motives of the protagonists. Readers will relish Rosemary Opens her Heart, but that may not be enough for her and Matt.

Harriet Klausner

The Ghost Of Christmas Present-Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton

The Ghost Of Christmas Present

Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton

Howard/Simon and Schuster, Oct 23 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9781451660395

In Manhattan Widower Patrick Guthrie still grieves the death of his wife Linda from an enlarged heart only he learns that the other person he loves in this world, their eight-year-old son Braden, is dying from the same condition. Adding pressure on Patrick is the loss of his job as a drama teacher and his affluent angry father-in-law Tom Cake is filing a custody suit based on his son-in-law’s inability to care for Braden; just like he feels his son-in-law failed his beloved daughter.

Child Protective Services social worker Rebecca Brody reviews the case at a time when a procedure could save Braden’s life. Thinking his son may be better offer with his grandfather, Patrick considers suicide, but concludes Braden needs him and he will do anything to be there for his beloved child. Needing a Christmas miracle, Patrick turns to Shakespeare and street performing to raise money before he appears in court.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is a charming holiday tale starring a desperate father seeking to make his own Miracle on 34th Street. His efforts change the attitudes of many as those who watch his performance are tenderly touched even coldly efficient Rebecca and Ted the scrooge begin seeing him in a different light. Readers will enjoy this warm Christmas tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Winter Dream-Richard Paul Evans

A Winter Dream

Richard Paul Evans

Simon & Schuster, Oct 30 2012, $19.99

ISBN: 9781451628036

In Denver, Jacobson Advertising is a very successful firm in which the four-time married patriarch Israel employs his twelve sons and one daughter. Israel’s favorite offspring is number twelve, twenty-nine years old Joseph AKA JJ. Joseph’s siblings are jealous of him especially when their dad names him as his heir though JJ is the second youngest. Joseph is not very close to his older half-siblings, but is with his younger full brother Benjamin.

His brothers mount an attack on JJ who finally succumbs and leaves his family, fiancée and home for Chicago. There Joseph succeeds at an advertising firm at a time many companies including Jacobson are in trouble due to the recession. He also meets and falls in love with April, but he feels betrayed again when he learns of her secret at a time his family begs him to come home and save the company.

The latest Richard Paul Evans’s holiday novel (see The Christmas Box) is a modern day rendition of the Genesis story of Joseph. JJ is superb holding the storyline focused while the support cast in Denver, Colorado, New York and Utah enhance the plot. Fast-paced from the moment JJ goes into exile, fans will enjoy this engaging contemporary version of the Old Testament tale as the Jacobson clan learns lessons on being a loving family.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Sins of the Mother-Danielle Steel

The Sins of the Mother

Danielle Steel

Delacorte, Oct 30 2012, $20.00

ISBN: 9780385343206

When Olivia Grayson was eighteen years old she went to work at her widowed mother’s local hardware business. She widened the scope and eventually replaced her mom as the CEO of the world wide home products The Factory. Worth billions, Olivia married Joe and had four children with him. While she ignored her kids as they were growing up, Joe and his mom raised them with love.

Now five decades since she joined the Factory, widowed Olivia wants to make amends with her adult offspring and her grandchildren; previous efforts having proven fruitless. With Joe dead from a heart attack and his mom in a nursing home Olivia has no buffer. Olivia arranges a super two-week vacation on a luxury yacht that will sail the Mediterranean. Her two sons (Phillip and John), who work for her look forward to the trip but their wives want out. Her oldest daughter Liz also wants no part of the sailing adventure as anytime she gets together with her mom and siblings, she feels ashamed of what she has done with her life. Finally her other child Cass outright refuses to join the family on any vacation. As the five adults battle their internal demons, the grandchildren enjoy the gala.

The Sins of the Mother is an entertaining dysfunctional family drama starring an ensemble cast that Cecil B. DeMille would be proud of though the exorbitant numbers overwhelm the storyline (keep a scorecard handy to keep score of who’s who). Still the insight into the theory that adult is the child makes for an engaging tale as the four offspring customize the error their matriarch made with them in how they relate to others.

Harriet Klausner