Hello, and welcome back! I just spent a marvelous weekend at the New Jersey Romance Writers' annual conference, soaking up all sorts of good info and visiting with writing friends, old and new. It was a fabulous weekend, filled with very informative workshops given by generous authors and romance industry experts, not to mention their terrific book fair. I hated for it to end, but I know they'll do another next year, and it'll be just as fantastic. This time out, I have two new releases to share with you.
Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake (Sourcebooks) by Laurie Brown is a debut, and one of the first romances to be released by this publisher. Josie Drummond is a ghost hunter, but there aren't all that many real ghosts, so she's not all that surprised that all her sophisticated equipment hasn't picked up any paranormal activity in Castle Waite, no matter the assertions of her hostess. She's ready to head back to the States, but at tea with her hostess, the castle's notorious ghost finally makes his appearance. Deverell Thornton, former Earl of Waite, has arranged things so that Josie can help him. His descendant, the current owner of the castle is running out of money to pay for the upkeep of the place, and they need to find some family jewels that disappeared before his own time. And Josie is just the person to help him. Of course, he just has to take her back in time to do it. Deverell is arrogant and high-handed, and Josie, despite her misgivings, agrees to help him, as long as he answers all her questions about his current state of existence. What neither of them knows is that his plans are going to go seriously awry once he gets her back to the past, that he isn't going to be able to do all he'd expected to do, and she's going to have to rely on his former mortal, rakish self, who has no idea who or what she is, just that she is an attractive and single female. This one has a lot going for it, including the unusual twist of the ghost man and the mortal man, and the smart, sassy heroine. I enjoyed this one immensely, and hope the author has a few more of these up her sleeve. It's earned four of Cupid's five arrows.
Chasing Midnight (HQN) by Susan Krinard is next. Griffin Durant doesn't run with a werewolf pack in 1920s New York, but is trying to make a better life for his young sister. Allegra Chase doesn't play to the vampire politics prevalent around her, but does as she pleases. When these two cross paths, sparks are bound to fly, but neither is interested in a long-term relationship, and neither should want the other, with their respective kinds barely tolerating one another in the city. Then Allegra discovers that her late maker has left her something that people are willing to kill to get their hands on, and she has to discover the truth before it's too late. And to try hard to resist Griffin's werewolf charms. This one has a lot going on, from the murder and mystery Allegra needs to solve, to Griffin's sister's exploits, as well as the complicated emotional tangle between Griffin and Allegra. And Krinard handles it quite capably, as her fans have come to expect, weaving each story thread together so that each is incomplete without the others and pulling the reader deeply in the tale, keeping them reading until the very end. I'm giving this one three and a half arrows. Paranormal fans who haven't read her yet should definitely pick this one up.
Until next time, happy reading!