Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady. A Hellions of Halstead Hall Series #3. Pocket Star Books. February 2011. 384 pp. ISBN #: 19781439167557. $7.99

Minerva Sharpe is a Gothic novel writer. Anyone who is respectable doesn't read her series published in "The Ladies' Magazine," at least that's what they say. Yet Giles Master has been following each addition as it seems he's the rapscallion star of her stories, under a pseudonym that is.

When Minerva is in danger of losing her inheritance, she posts an ad for an eligible gentleman to marry. Giles realizes he must appear for an interview as a prospective bridegroom because her stories are getting far too close to the truth about his secret activities that could destroy some very high-positioned people in the British government.

What follows is a funny, passionate, and intriguing journey in which Minerva's grandmother agrees to Giles's engagement to Minerva. A whole new world opens to the couple as Minerva sees her fiance in action at a murder trial and he begins to investigate the mysterious death of her parents. Even better, their occasional romantic kisses fuel the passion both feel but refuse to acknowledge.

Giles, however, is a very smart pursuer as well as a more than capable barrister. How he wins Minerva's heart over her previous antagonism is a glorious romp full of mystery and romance that will delight every reader. Yes, even villains can make their victims scream...

Terrific story, Sabrina Jeffries

Most Valuable Victim: A Gloria Trevisi Mystery by A. R. Grobbo

Most Valuable Victim: A Gloria Trevisi Mystery. A. R. Grobbo. Double Dragon Publishing. October 2010. 285 pp. ISBN #: 9781554047796 pb.; 155404779X - e-book.

Gloria Trevisi is nearing the end of her pregnancy and plans on temporarily retiring from her reporter job. Stuck in the ladies' room at the Peewee Hockey Tournament, Gloria realizes chaos is breaking out as the arena's ceiling begins to collapse. Thinking the lady in the next booth can help her, Gloria calls out but gets no response. After working her own way out, she tentatively opens the next door and finds a female dead body and barely makes it out of the arena herself.

Work is difficult, to say the least, with a domineering editor and some unwilling criminal investigators who constantly veer between wanting Gloria's advice and reluctance to tell her what they know. Her home life is no better, with her mother-in-law in residence because of financial problems and Gloria's husband seems more interested in going away for his musical career than being present at the birth of his child.

A missing body on the trails, some very questionable behavior at another place where a fire occurs and a roof collapses, and other mysterious clues these begin to show definite connection.

Gloria as always will figure it out but takes the reader on some outrageous, dangerous, and intrigue-filled pages before all the major and minor conflicts are sorted out.

A. R. Grobbo's latest novel is a tautly plotted story that never loses the reader's fascination. She is expert at eliciting relevant facts in the most subtle manner and her easygoing, professional, and caring style make her the very skilled writer and investigator readers love.

Great story, A. R. Grobbo!!!