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lawson-icon.jpgLawson’s Quick Quack Reviews of Three Contemporary Romances by Sherrill Bodine, Elizabeth Bevarly, and Candace Havens
All released Nov 08

I’m sure Sybil would much rather I did three full reviews of these books…  but I just can’t. Maybe it was the Thanksgiving Holiday, maybe it was the fact that I was drugged up while reading these due to some sort of cold, or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t want to.  But these three books had some of the same sorts of issues to me. Lumping them all together probably isn’t the best idea, as they really are three totally different sort of plots and settings, but they’re all in my head in one spot. That and I’ve got a headache from the cold’s hangover and I don’t want to look at a computer too long.


Book Cover Talk of the Town by Sherrill Bodine
Contemporary Romance released by Grand Central Publishing 25 Nov 08

I don’t know what sort of market this was going for, but it kind of hits that 40-something, “Sex and the City”-loving, late edge baby boomer that may be a little dissatisfied with the 21st century so far. Or maybe that’s just cynical little me, I don’t know. Rebecca Covington has been demoted and sent to the Home and Food Section by her paper’s new owner after one too many blind items that expose someone that doesn’t want the attention.

Rebecca finds herself overly attracted to David Sumner, the new owner, and he feels the same. There’s some good sparks and sweet moments, but neither character seemed very fleshed out. The time spent to explain motivations with backstory was glossed over, but repeated over and over. Rebecca’s loved ones abandon her, David is still mourning his wife who died of cancer, but neither is expanded on enough to give any emotional depth to the characters.

There are some good secondary characters, who seemed a bit more fleshed out than Rebecca and David, and it is a sweet story, but there just wasn’t enough there to make a heartfelt story. It was rather like Entertainment Tonight: bombardment with the “Top Story” but when it comes in the last 5 minutes, the 2 minute story is just a fluff piece.

Grade: C-



Darlings, what a to-do at the Daily Mail today! After fifteen years as Chicago’s gossip guru, Rebecca Covington has been demoted from divulger of secrets for the city’s elite to headlining recipes in the Home and Food section. Apparently, a touchy senator is threatening legal action for Rebecca’s latest extramarital scoop. But Windy City rumor has it that new CEO and dreamy Pierce Brosnan look-alike David Sumner downgraded Rebecca in favor of fresher, younger blood on the social beat.

Industry insiders expect Rebecca to fight her denouement, and inquiring minds have already seen the feisty maven trading quips and searing glances wtih her arresting new boss. Rebecca swears she’ll reclaim her shining star status, but can the dishy diva even cook? And how can she ignore David’s arousing effect on her sensibilities?

Don’t miss a trick, darlings. Sparks are going to fly.

Read an excerpt.


Book Cover Ready and Willing by Elizabeth Bevarly
Contemporary Paranormal Romance released by Berkley Sensation 4 Nov 08

I know this is the second book Bevarly has set in Louisville, KY during the time of the Kentucky Derby. It’s obviously something I should go see, just to say I’ve been. Audrey Magill is trying to make her living, moving from being an accountant to a milliner. The Derby is one place where that most likely would happen. She’s also a widow still grieving for her husband. When she’s sent on a mission to save the soul of a descendant of Silas Summerfield, the previous owner and ghost in her house, she doesn’t think it will work out, but she does it anyway.

Nathaniel Summerfield thinks she’s off her rocker, but starts to believe her when a couple of things happen. I don’t know if it was meant to be more suspenseful than it was, but there was no real threat to me of Nathaniel loosing his soul, other than him feeling cold all the time. Why Audrey was chosen for the job is never really addressed, aside from the fact that she bought the Summerfield house and Silas’ portrait. The chemistry between the two was pretty good and sexy, but the emotional connection never seemed to really take off.

The reason things never did seem to take off was the secondary storyline about Silas (yes, the ghost) and Audrey’s neighbor Cecilia. Every time things would get going in a good direction, Silas and Cecilia would have a scene and Cecilia’s issues would be brought forward and though they are important, the book was about Nathaniel and Audrey. They got shortchanged for a ghost and… well I can’t be mean about Cecilia, as it’s a sad story, but again, not her story.

Grade: C-


When Audrey Magill stumbles onto a portrait of a 19th-century riverboat captain, she thinks it’ll be perfect for her new hat shop. She doesn’t expect to meet a ghost who insists Audrey must help save the soul of his great-great-however-many-greats grandson. Now in addition to scrambling to open her shop in time for the Kentucky Derby, she must convince a complete stranger that he’s in danger of losing his soul — and that everlasting love does exist.

No excerpt available.


Book Cover The Demon King and I by Candace Havens
Contemporary Paranormal Romance released by Berkley Trade 4 Nov 08

The title of this book is a little silly, especially with the cover, but it was different than I expected. It’s set in Austin, mostly, and there are some definite girl-power vibes. The Caruthers family is part of a supernatural group that guard the Earth and other planets from the things that go bump in the night. It’s a bit complex, but it’s an interesting world that Havens has built and I wouldn’t mind some more trips there to follow the many Caruthers sisters and other family members.

What didn’t work was the first person. It was distracting from the rest of the story because there were times it seemed to go over into third person and the snap back to first. I don’t know really how to describe it, but this is one first person book that… perhaps it’s just trying to hard. The other thing that didn’t work was the love story. Arath, the titular Demon King, would appear out of nowhere for a short time, then disappear again. There didn’t seem to be a lot of time where Gillian and Arath spent any meaningful time together to form anything other than a lusting relationship.

I’d go back to the world of the Caruthers sisters though, as Alex (who gets her book next, I’m assuming) and maybe another sister get set up for their own stories.

Grade: C


The Caruthers sisters are heiresses with privilege, wealth, beauty, and brains. But these party girls have something extra. As the Guardian Keys, possessors of an ancient family secret, they hold the fate of the world in their hands.

Gillian, the eldest, is a sensation in the art world— this world, that is. In her other world she’s the Assassin, a knockout who snuffs out dimension-jumpers who foul up her personal space. She never expected to join forces with one. But when a plague of murderous demons plunges the earth in darkness, she has no choice but to get a little help from a being who knows his stuff.

No excerpt available.