Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Bourbon Kings (Series #1) by J. R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings (Series #1).  J. R. Ward. New American Library: Penguin Group USA. July 2015. 432 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451475268.

Move over, creators, actors and actresses of the singular TV series, Dallas, depicting the oil and cattle families in all of their glory, glitziness, and scandal! For now we have a Novel, The Bourbon Kings, taking place in Kentucky where the production of bourbon and prize-winning horses rules.  The Bradford family is quite a collection with characters and outrageous scenes that will keep you up very late at night and feeling that you can’t put this soon to be bestseller down until you’ve finished the whole story.  And this is only Book One of a series to follow!

Lizzie King, the Bradford’s head gardener, made a big mistake in falling in love with Tulane, the family black sheep.  Their breakup was bitter and crushing for Lizzie and is now uprooted when Tulane appears after drinking and gambling away his life in New York for two years.  He’s come back because the family cook, Aurora, is ill, possibly dying.  Lizzie spends her time fighting her desire and repulsion, determined not to be entrapped again by Lane’s charm and entrancing sexiness. But somehow this is the least of the Bradford problems.

Another brother, Edward Bradford, sets himself apart after being kidnapped and tortured in South America.  His hate for his brother, William, the ostensible family leader, is volatile and unending.  Edward raises horses and wants nothing to do with the family business of producing high quality bourbon for the world.   But Edward will be forced to come out of his reclusive stance and face family problems beyond his ken.
Gin Bradford is probably the most spoiled character in this novel.  She uses sex as a tool and is now about to be challenged by a forced marriage. 

There’s a rival family to the Bradfords and the female leader of this clan will be called upon to save William and his clan. For William has been keeping so many secrets that no one is even slightly suspicious of the cliff-hanging crisis about to be unleashed and needing immediate intervention!

Murder, theft, betrayal, and unbelievable acts fill this novel with unending and tension-riddled moments that could also make for a phenomenal movie or series.  As this novel is the first in a series, such a possibility seems ripe for the taking.

You will either absolutely love or hate this tome of dysfunction, romance, sex exploitation, violence, and more!  All in all, The Bourbon Kings is bound to be a hit!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Devil’s Bridge: An Alexandra Cooper Novel #17 by Linda Fairstein

Devil’s Bridge: An Alexandra Cooper Novel #17. Linda Fairstein. Penguin Group (USA). August 2015. 384 pp.  ISBN#: 9780147538932.

Alexandra Cooper’s job isn’t pretty but it’s all about justice.  She’s the chief prosecutor of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit and has made more enemies than she can count on both hands.  So no big shock when she’s called into the scene of a murder of a pimp, a creep who was so passed out from booze that he probably never knew that the gal who clambered over him was just aiming for a guaranteed hit!

Mike Chapman, one of Alexandra’s peers, quickly becomes involved in finding the murderer.  A series of events will quickly connect a very well-known Reverend to not only the murderer but also many other connected crimes.  The problem is the so-called “Reverend” is connected to just about every high politician and their family members in New York City.  So the job is clear but where it will end up and through how many mazes before they get there is for the reader to discover.

The plot becomes rivetingly more intense when Alexandra disappears. Since she and Mike have recently become a “couple,” everyone seems to think he knows precisely where she’s gone.  More deaths will follow and the investigators will have to ramp up their skills to capture the elusive killer, who is not who the reader thinks committed the brutal kills.

There’s a story behind the term “Devil’s Bridge,” a story obviously connected to the practice of evil, a connection all too real and too well-known, a fact of life that grossly tarnishes what is otherwise a remarkably lovely view along the Manhattan waterfront.
Devil’s Bridge… is fine crime fiction with just the right amount of tension, tenderness and humor.  Finely crafted, Linda Fairstein!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel by Kate Hewitt.

Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel.  Kate Hewitt. Penguin Group (USA). August 2015. 368 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451475589.

Lucy Bagshaw’s life has been shattered by her mother’s embarrassing public commentary on Lucy’s art, the public response and Lucy’s boyfriend who drops her like a hot potato to protect his own children from the bad press circulating both online and print media. So Lucy decides to take a temporary receptionist position in a school in Hartley-By-The-Sea and live with her half-sister, Julie, for the duration. But the welcome she receives is less than lukewarm, in fact downright cool. Add to that the fact that Lucy’s new boss, Alex, is sexy hot in looks but colder than stone in professional affect.  The weather is cold and bleak on most days, albeit the good days are glorious and gorgeous.  So much for a happy escape for Lucy!

This is the story of how Lucy and Juliet learn to become true sisters, but initially there’s nothing easy.  Juliet feels even more hated by their mother, artist Fiona, and is angry at and jealous of Lucy who supposedly got all the mothering Juliet never had.  Juliet runs a bed and breakfast business but that’s about all the socializing she’s done in the ten years she’s been a resident in Hartley.  However, that’s about to change as Lucy, despite constant disappointments, is a hopeless optimist and easily makes friends.  Lucy’s also got a soft spot for many of the troubled kids in the school where she works.

Lucy’s compassion also extends to her boss, Alex’s children who are really hurting since the death of their mother two years earlier.  Her efforts with one of them will open up a whole new world.  Lucy’s outgoing nature will change Juliet’s world as well, forcing her to open up to new friends and neighbors in small increments that will be the beginning of a far better life.

Rainy Day Sisters… is a lovely read that is full of secrets to be learned, healing to happen and a beautiful environment in which all good things will emerge for those willing to move past self-imposed boundaries.  Nicely crafted, indeed, Kate Hewitt! Recommended contemporary fiction and romance fiction reading for sure!

No Comfort for the Lost: A Mystery of Old San Francisco by Nancy Herriman.

No Comfort for the Lost: A Mystery of Old San Francisco.  Nancy Herriman. New American Library/Penguin Group (USA). August 2015. 384 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451474896.

British-born Celia Davis became a nurse and served in the Crimean War, a womanly career frowned upon by late 1800 society. Now Celia has become the caretaker of her half-Chinese cousin, Barbara, and has opened a free clinic where she cares for anyone in need. Her concerns compel her to visit even the ill Chinese prostitutes in Old San Francisco, acts that further ostracize her from “decent” society.  In 1867 there is a huge and growing anti-Chinese segment of society that is part prejudicial and part fear as the Chinese laborers are accused of taking jobs that would normally go to Caucasian workers.  So the story opens with Celia’s visit to the bedside of a very physically abused and ill Chinese prostitute.  The setting is starkly described and we quickly come to understand Celia’s compassionate attitude for those living in such poor conditions.  Later she will become involved with Li Sha, a young woman who escaped this way of life and whose horrific murder becomes the source of Celia’s quest to find the killer.

In her initial appearance at police headquarters, Celia makes clear her assertive demand to see Li Sha’s body will not be denied. While most of the police she encounters dislike her attitude, Detective Nicholas Greaves finds her feisty attitude amusing.  They quickly begin a prickly yet close bond in their investigation into Li Sha’s death.  They also have painful backgrounds of loss that they slowly reveal in their chats, a force that compels them to care more for others and which also places each in considerable danger!

 Their inquiries bring them into the seedier side of Old San Francisco, including Chinatown and the Barbary Coast area, where secrets are gradually revealed that involve smuggling, prostitution, gangs, bribery, and the political machinations that ruled the City and protected the guilty from discovery and prosecution – at least until Celia and Nick aggressively pursue their case.  Their insistence will bring both sleuths close to death and the mounting threats and attacks make for riveting scenes! The anti-Chinese riots, attacks and fires are based on actual historical facts!
No Comfort For the Lost… is fine historical mystery reading with surprises at every turn (not spoiled by above description) and an exposure of a social atrocity within the late 19th Century California area. Very finely written and highly recommended reading!!!