Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skirmish-Michelle West


Michelle West

Daw, Jan 3 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9780756407018

In the Essalieyan Empire, the Terafin leader of the House Terafin is dead, a victim of demonic assassination. A power struggle ensues as to who will replace the head of the most powerful House. Former Averallaan street and Undercity urchin Jewel “Jay” ATerafin, encouraged by her late mentor, her den mates and her magical associates (two immortals, the Winter King stag and three giant winged cats who never shut up), considers applying for the vacant position.

Four candidates announce they want the job; Jay is not one of them. Demons stalk and attack her while she deliberates whether she wants the job. Peaceful transition is impossible as each side has human and magical allies that they deploy.

The latest House War political fantasy (see House Name and City of Night) is an engaging thriller as civil war to take charge of the most powerful House has begun. Jay has come a long way since Rath, the late Terafin’s brother, found her (see Hidden City) and brought her to his estranged sister. However, the key to this exciting thriller is the magic feels genuine and lethal as paranormal combat has begun. Although fans will be disappointed in how Jay employs her skills, the demise of a major figure in the previous three entries brings freshness with death a real possibility to anyone in the House War saga.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cobra Guardian-Timothy Zahn

Cobra Guardian

Timothy Zahn

Baen, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451637656

Governor-General Chintawa seeks the only female Cobra Jin Moreau Broom. Her second son Lorne pretends ignorance though he knows his mom and older brother Merrick illegally fought on the side of the Qasamans against the Troft invaders (see Cobra Alliance). Merrick remains on Qasama receiving treatment for severe injuries while Jin travels with Siraj Akim the Qasaman Djinn to Aventine. Chintawa assigns Lorne to find his mother; he also directs his new assistant Nissa Gendreves to help him.

Troft ships arrive at Aventine where they release deadly spine leopards. Meanwhile a family reunion on Caelian occurs as the Cobra and the Qasaman become tentative allies in the hostilities against the Troft who are not entirely monolithic combative as the Cobra World Council previously thought.

The Cobra War Book 2 (see Cobra Alliance) is a terrific military science fiction tale as the conflict with the Qasaman has somewhat abated due to the heroism of the mother-son team. The Troft show a schism as not all their houses are behind a second war. Although the characterizations are very thin, the Jin-Siraj relationship is fascinating. Still with plenty of personal courage, fans of the saga will enjoy the latest escapades of those deployed in space military soldiers.

Harrier Klausner

Galactic Courier-A Bertram Chandler

Galactic Courier

A Bertram Chandler

Baen, Dec 6 2011, $12.00

ISBN: 9781451637632

“Star Courier.” Former Federation Survey Service Commander John Grimes establishes the Far Traveler Couriers. As owner and solo operator he makes deliveries from his home base of Tiralbin to Boggarty on board his Little Sister vessel until the Shaara capture him and display him as a low level beast.

“To Keep the Ship.” Little Sister remains under arrest to be auctioned to pay Grimes’ fines on Pangst for taking native animals to the New Syrtis Zoo. Grimes needs money so he takes the tedious job on the Bronson Star. However, when he rescues Susie and her friends; they reciprocate by taking over the cruiser and threatening to kill him unless he cooperates.

“Matilda's Stepchildren.” On the Bronson Star, Grimes transport muckraker Fenella Pruin so that she can do a story on the sex industry of Venusberg. The pair mutually detest one another though the boring voyage is made fun by fighting for top potion. Grimes ends up in the midst of a clean-up operation and meets Underpeople Shirl & Darleen

“Star Loot.” After Little Sister is sold, Grimes buys Epsilon Scorpii; which he rechristens as Sister Sue. He joins the El Doradan Navy as a privateer.

The third exciting John Grimes omnibus saga (see To The Galactic Rim and First Command) reprints his adventures as a Galactic Courier. There is somewhat a sameness in tone as Grimes meets females fatales who "help” him step into the crosshairs of dangerous rogues. The best two tales are the fresh Star Courier in which Grimes starts his new career and Star Loot in which much of what is going on is deftly tied together with an exciting climax. Fans of Grimes will relish his time as a courier.

Harriet Klausner

Changeling Dawn-Dani Harper

Changeling Dawn

Dani Harper

Kensington Brava, Jan 1 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758265180

Archeologist Kenzie Macleod is a lone wolf shapeshifter because she has never forgotten her running away from raging human vigilantes when she was a fledgling in Scotland. That near fatal incident remains imprinted on her brain to trust no one even her kind as she conceals from both species what she truly is.

In the real final frontier of the Alaskan wilderness, Kenzie is driving towards a locale near Chistochina where she has permission to dig for Ahtna tribal artifacts. She gives a ride to Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife expert Josh Talarkoteen who was stranded with two flats. When a cub becomes endangered, c he fretfully thinks back to the nightmare of another child in Afghanistan. Josh soon comes to Kenzie’s camp to search for the lost cub that he knows is a Changeling just like Kenzie is as he belongs to the Tahltan tribe who read auras. As they try to help the frightened distrusting Changeling, Josh and Kenzie fall in love, but each has traumas to overcome while others have a different outcome in mind.

The latest Macleod werewolf romantic suspense (see Changeling Moon and Changeling Dream) is a superb thriller due to strong cast and location. Both protagonists suffer from Post traumatic Stress Disorder which motivates them to save the child while others in the area kidnap the young Changeling. Relationship driven with whether to trust or not to trust the key feelings, fans will enjoy this terrific taut tale.

Harriet Klausner

Well-Tempered Clavicle-Piers Anthony

Well-Tempered Clavicle

Piers Anthony

Tor, Nov 22 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765331342

In Xanth, Picka Bones lives a rather mundane life. His daily highlight is playing tunes on his ribs and exploring cemeteries with his sister Joy’nt.

The two skeletons meet three former pets (Tweeter the bird, Midrange the cat, and Woofer the dog) who recently crossed over from Mundania. The outside trio challenges the bony siblings to discover their magic. Thus the quintet agrees to find and ask Princesses Dawn and Eve. They soon learn Eve is visiting someone (or thing) in Hades while Dawn needs a prince charming (with a bit more substance). Eve joins the traveling ménage who visit the good magician Humphrey. He suggests they visit the very dangerous Caprice Castle guarded by Attila the Pun and the home of Pundora's Box.

This is an entertaining Xanth fantasy filled with the usual inane but fun puns. The zany story line is similar in theme to previous entries yet contains its own wild adventures. Xanthophyll fans will appreciate this amusing entry as once again the punster prince Piers Anthony provides an amusing action adventure, Xanth style.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shattered Dreams-Ellie James

Shattered Dreams

Ellie James

St. Martin's Griffin, Dec 6 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312647025

Sixteen years old Trinity Monsour was raised by her paternal Gran in isolation in the Colorado Mountains hoping to keep her granddaughter safe from her maternal heritage. When Gran died, Trinity’s Aunt Sara takes her orphaned niece to live with her in New Orleans. Gran’s hopes to shelter Trinity from her DNA had already failed in Colorado as she suffered horrific nightmares about her late parents and visions of catastrophic happenings; just like her mom did.

At the new high school she attends in New Orleans, Jessica the cruel popular girl makes sure the newcomer is a pariah especially after her boyfriend Chase shows interest in Trinity. Soon afterward, Jessica vanishes just as Trinity envisioned it. While NOPD suspects Trinity of enacting revenge, she and Chase mount a rescue attempt.

Mindful of My Lunatic Life by Sharon Sala, Shattered Dreams is an entertaining young adult urban fantasy. Narrated by the heroine, Trinity is a fascinating heroine who struggles to understand her paranormal skills and life in a New Orleans high school while no reader will look at Halo in the same way. Although the story line jumps from one subplot to another at a disjointed too rapid rate, the first Midnight Dragonfly novel is a fun middle school age paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Bitter Seed of Magic-Suzanne McLeod

The Bitter Seed of Magic

Suzanne McLeod

Ace, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007201

In London, with the witches deciding she is no longer a person of interest, Sidhe Genny Taylor welcomes a brief respite after recent harrowing events (see the Spellcrackers saga - The Sweet Scent of Blood and The Cold Kiss of Death). However, her R&R time ends rather quickly as the body of a dead faeling is taken out of the Thames; the cause of death is related to the Curse. Everyone knows that any curse is a bad thing especially to the recipients, but this one is horrific as the lesser fae become barren; losing their fertility means that magic will die along with the endangered species.

Genny is the focus of this insidious Curse. She contains the means to end the wicked Curse by becoming pregnant. The number of fae willing to do the deed could fill Wembley Stadium. As she tries to find an alternate way to prevent another victim of the Curse, the raging Gods intervene.

The third Spellcrackers urban fantasy is a terrific twisting thriller as Genny learns the roots of evil. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the faeling is found dead and never slows down as the beleaguered Sidhe heroine has run out of time to save several fae species from extinction.

Harriet Klausner

Dragon Fate-E.E. Knight

Dragon Fate

E.E. Knight

Roc, Nov 30 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9780451463562

They are siblings, but the three dragons had diverse values. AuRon the scale-less grey chose isolation with his mate Protector Natasatch and their offspring (Commander AuSurath, Aerial Host Varatheela and former Protector Istach) from the humans as he felt co-mingling was impossible and deadly to his kind; though he heeded his mate’s advice to get involved. His sister Wistala the Green believed dragons and humans could live in harmony together. Their brother Emperor RuGaard the Copper felt strongly that dragons were superior to humans who should obey their masters. Their values led to differing alliances and a war of mass destruction in which they were aligned against each other (see Dragon Rule).

Wiser and war weary, the dragon siblings realize what they wrought to their dying species. Each leaves the troubles they helped cause behind as the fight cost them family and friends. Meanwhile the wars of man and dragon remain unabated as ancient sorcery is deployed. To save their rapidly expiring race, the three siblings must unite for the first time since they were hatchlings, but AuRon remains bitter for what Copper did to him when they were young and none of the trio trusts the other to protect their wings. Failure to come together means dragonkind will be no more as humans and even dragons fight against dragons as the second Civil War turns increasingly towards extinction.

The sixth Age of Fire is an exhilarating climax to a strong fantasy saga, as the story line soars from the opening act and never decelerates to the tense climax. Filled with political backstabbing intrigue and military combat, readers will enjoy the tale of the three adversarial dragon siblings as united might save dragonkind while divided they extinct their species.

Harriet Klausner

Himmler’s War-Robert Conroy

Himmler’s War

Robert Conroy

Baen, Dec 6 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451637618

In mid June 1944 Germany, an American air raid turns into a dogfight with German planes. The battle is fierce; frightened twentyish First Lieutenant Paul Phips flies away from the fight. The Americans need to release their bombs to preserve fuel for the return trip. They drop a cluster on a group of buildings, unaware that they kill Hitler and his inner command.

SS leader Heinrich Himmler becomes head of the Third Reich. He methodically eliminates those fanatically loyal and connected to Hitler as he cements his control. Himmler also liberates his generals allowing them to fight the war without Hitler’s tether. The allies, especially Great Britain, are weary from years of war. Many decide that Chamberlain not Churchill was right and push for a negotiated peace with Germany as the enemy has the atomic bomb, the American’s great leader FDR is dead and his replacement had only a few weeks to get up to speed.,. However Harry S. Truman proves he has the mettle as he tries to rally the Grand Alliance to continue the fight knowing now that the Americans have superior weaponry.

Fans of Robert Conroy’s alternate history Red Inferno thrillers (1945, 1942, 1901 and 1862) and Harry Turtledove’s War that Came Early saga will fully relish this terrific tale that pivots with the death of Hitler just after the Normandy Invasion. The fighting is seen through the eyes of the grunts on the ground and in the air. They die and lose limbs while the leadership from the comfort in DC, London and Berlin makes policy that kill or maim millions. The key to this superb tale is the flow of events following Hitler’s death seems plausible.

Harriet Klausner

A Perfect Blood-Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood

Kim Harrison

Harper Voyager, Feb 21 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9780061957895

She may have won the battle, but lost the outcome as Rachel Morgan suffers from PTSD having almost lost her aura by unwittingly creating a new ley line that causes havoc (see Pale Rider). Feeling the weights of failure and responsibility overwhelming her, the witch turned demon decides to vanish in plain sight by deploying an Elven bracelet that Trent made. Almost everyone assumes she died in the combat.

Being declared dead makes it difficult to obtain a driver's license as she learns first hand at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Nina the live vampire allows the dead vampire chief of Inderlander Security to cut a deal with Rachel. The ancient dead one wants Rachel and Ivy Tamwood to investigate demon-like murders of Inderlander in the greater Cincinnati area in exchange for a valid license and registration. Rachel will soon learn that fanatical Humans Against Paranormal Association (HAPA) operatives have worked on an Inderlander Species ethnic cleansing project by developing a weapon of demonic mass destruction using the blood of witches like Rachel containing the Rosewood syndrome.

This is an intriguing and enthralling entry as Rachel feels she is a magnet of hurt to her friends so has chosen isolation. She will soon learn what FDR meant when he said in 1933: “…that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The inquiry in Cincinnati is deftly handled as Rachel soon realizes she is both hunter and hunted. With a direct silver bracelet link to Pale Rider, fans will enjoy the .latest Hollows urban fantasy as the heroine comes back from the dead to battle the toughest, most sinister, and diabolical opponent to date: the dreaded humans.

Harriet Klausner

Immortal Hope-Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Hope

Claire Ashgrove

Tor, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780765367587

In 1119, the archangels warned the Knights of the Templar not to dig beneath the Temple Mount. They ignored the archangels and excavated holy relics. Their punishment for their disobedience is to combat Azrael’s demons until they become evil Knights of Azrael; as each demon slain places a darkness on their soul until they are engulfed. By 2011, six Templars remain loyal though time is running out. Their only salvation is to find the Seraphim before Azrael obtains the eight remaining relics needed to defeat the Almighty.

In Atchison, Kansas Professor Anne MacPherson has six weeks left to complete her Knights Templar thesis. Cursed Templar Knight Merrick du Loire believes Anne may be his salvation; as she possesses a relic that Gabriel gave to her to protect when he saved her from her Salem witch-hunt. Attracted to Anne, Merrick must take her to the Temple Mount for her to heal whomever she is supposed to save. If she chooses him, she has marked him for death while he fears for his cousin who is on the edge of turning. Meanwhile Azrael is coming.

The first Curse of the Templars urban fantasy is a super tale in which readers will believe in the curse, centuries old knights, demons, and a brave bookworm professor who cannot hurt a fly but carries a sharp sword. Claire Ashgrove deftly sets her background especially the curse and the Templar past in the first page. With a deep mythos, sub-genre fans will relish this action-packed thriller as Merrick faces twisting paradoxes before and after he meets his beloved salvation. Sub-genre readers will appreciate this terrific tense thriller as Merrick has a reason to live, but believes death not love is his salvation.

Harriet Klausner

The Rook-Daniel O’Malley

The Rook

Daniel O’Malley

Little Brown, Jan 11 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780316098793

In a London park, the woman awakens during a storm surrounded by corpses wearing gloves. She has two letters on her so opens the one identified as first. Inside a note is addressed to “Dear You from “Sincerely Me” as the writer explains the body hosting her was once that of the writer. Thus Myfanwy Thomas, as the note calls her, follows the instructions of finding a safe house before reading the second memo.

The second letter explains her choices. She can flee London to live a conformable life overseas or seek out those responsible for her lost memory. Thomas number two soon learns her predecessor was a Rook who fought for the top secret Chequy organization against supernatural evil. She also finds out she possesses a rare lethal paranormal skill. As she decides at least for now to learn the truth of who betrayed her, Thomas number two struggles on the mundane plane against deadly children warriors and on the dream plane from an aristocrat who easily enters him subconscious. The more Thomas two learns, the more convolute her inquiry turns as she struggles with what everyone she encounters assumes she knows; although that is a handicap Thomas two realizes she sees things differently than her Chequy mates enabling her to envision a diabolical conspiracy that others fail to fathom.

This may be the paranormal thriller of the year as Daniel O’Malley creates a fresh, fast-paced and entertaining tale. A sort of urban fantasy version of the movie Memento, readers will enjoy the escapades of “You” guided by “Me” in what is a fabulous fascinating fall though the "Rabbit Hole".

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sins of the Demon-Diana Rowland

Sins of the Demon

Diana Rowland

Daw, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407056

Beaulac, Louisiana Police Detective Kara Gillian a demon summoner remains concerned about the contract she agreed to with demon Lord Rhyskahl (see Mark of the Demon). In fairness, he has been most helpful providing key information on her cases (see Secret of the Demon and Blood of the Demon); on the other hand he brings with him many powerful enemies who target his human ally. Rhyskahl assigns Eilahn the demon to protect the police detective.

Several humans who hurt Kara at some time in her life are dropping dead. With her as the link between the deaths, her law enforcement peers on the supernatural task force wonder if she has gone rogue and become a serial killer. Kara and her normal and paranormal friends investigate what proves even more sinister and rooted in her past than she expected.

The fourth “Demon” police procedural is a terrific Bayou fantasy due to the depth of the Rowland mythos. Holding the exciting story line together, Kara is a fascinating protagonist who is a super cop with a little help from her friends and has intriguing relationships with demons. Fans of the saga will appreciate the tremendous Sins of the Demon, but feel frustrated with waiting for the next entry due to a cliffhanger climax even with the series theme moving forward.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Magic, Murder and Microcircuits-Karen McCullough

Magic, Murder and Microcircuits

Karen McCullough

Karen McCullough, Oct 28 2011, $1.99

Amazon Digital Services: B0060Y5IQ6; BN ID: 2940013212879

Wizard Ilene McConnell travels to a North Carolina’s Outer Banks Island to deliver a letter from her late father to exiled wizard Michael Morgan. The Diamond Council that she belongs to also wants her to learn what the loner is doing. As she muses sadly that twelve years ago he left her and her father without a word, she becomes under attack by powerful winds. Though not easily, Ilene makes it to Michael’s home. However, soon afterward Jim the handyman is attacked. He is a private investigator spying on Michael. Jim gives them access to his information but is murdered.

Michael a brilliant physicist explains he is building a shield to protect him from magic having been the victim of organizational torture. However, his gizmo is stolen. After reading his former mentor’s letter, with Ilene having his back, Michael begins a trek to retrieve his device that has the Diamond Council, the Ruby Council and other groups concerned with the balance of power. Their journey is filled with death, magical assaults and love.

The key to this great investigative urban fantasy is that magic seems real with Michael the physicist providing an intriguing scientific theory for how it works. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as the lead couple search for the shield and who is killing anyone associated with his project. Karen McCullough writes an entreating thriller filled Magic, Murder and Microcircuits.

Harriet Klausner

The Thirteen Hallows-Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

The Thirteen Hallows

Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

Tor, Dec 6 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765328526

Twentyish Londoner, Sarah Miller hates her life. Her tedious job goes nowhere, but she cannot afford to quit as Sarah supports her widowed mom while living together.

Having heard of the murder of her long time friend Millie and an apparent Good Samaritan, septuagenarian Judith Walker fears what the old man warned them seven decades ago not to bring the Hallows together is happening. Millie, Tommy, Georgie, Nina and Bea have been tortured and murdered for the artifacts they protected as Keepers. She expects to be next as she possesses Dyrnwyn, the broken sword of Rhydderch. She proves right when Skinner assaults her. However, Sarah intervenes and between them they batter her mugger. She pleads with Sarah to deliver her Hallow sword to her American nephew, Owen. The Dark Man is furious with his first setback, but takes his fight to Sarah with a gas leak explosion. He will soon realize she is not just a minor irritant as an angry Sarah with Owen at her side prepare to fight the evil Dark Man and his malevolent mistress while the cops seek her and the Yank for questioning in a string of murders.

As Nicholas Flamel takes a deserving respite, Michael Scott and Colette Freedman provide a strong exhilarating urban fantasy. This tale is fast-paced from the moment Judith defends herself and never slows down and fans will enjoy the adventures of the newly drafted Keepers against an amoral psychopath with paranormal powers and no compunctions to use them. Filled with twists and a vile villain, readers will enjoy touring London with Sarah and Owen as their guides.

Harriet Klausner

The Daemon Prism-Carol Berg

The Daemon Prism

Carol Berg

Roc, Jan 3 2012, $16.00

ISBN 9780451464347

In 883 Year of the Sabarian Realm, most knowledgeable people know to fear acrimonious blind practitioner Dante, the Queen’s Sorcerer. Sabarian King Philippe, the leaders of the Temple and the Camarilla Magica have condemned him for what he did to the Veil between life and death. For two years he desperately trains his student Anne de Vernase with hope for his redemption if she will repair what he wrought as she saved him from insanity.

However, Anne suddenly leaves him for her family. Stunned while feeling betrayed and hopeless, Dante turns to a puzzle for solace. He is unaware that what he dabbles in is a trap for him to trigger a magical pandemic that could turn Sabaria into a wasteland. As his mind turns increasingly mad, Dante needs Anne and other allies who loath him to prevent the disaster.

The third Collegia Magica epic fantasy (see The Spirit Lens and The Soul Mirror) focuses on a necromancer considered by everyone as the vilest soulless person in Sabaria. The universal detesting of Dante leads to an intriguing profound look at relationships when life is at stake and the truest meaning of evil. Filled with action and feeling as if it occurs in a Berg version of the an Age of Reason, fans will appreciate this stupendous story and the rest of the super saga while newcomers need to read the first two terrific thrillers to better understand the Berg realm and how her world got to this point.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sisterhood of Dune-Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Sisterhood of Dune

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Tor, Jan 3 2012, $27.99

ISBN 9780765322739

Over eight decades ago, humanity defeated the tyrannical sentient cybernetics at the key Battle of Corrin. Debate rages over the use of safe machines in the everyday lives of people.

First Reverend Mother of the Sisterhood Raquella Berto-Anirul opens the Bene Gesserit School on the rainforest planet of Rossak as a place to teach women to use technology to improve their lot. The Venport descendants deploy mutated Navigators to fly early versions of Heighliners. On the other side of the argument is the Butlerian opposition, led by Manford Torondo and Swordmaster Anari Idaho, against technology as being dangerous. Soon everyone will have to pick a side as a human civil war over machinery seems imminent.

This is an exciting, fast-paced but thin Dune science fiction thriller as two diametrically opposite visions of the future surface even eighty plus years since the war against the machines. With what is going on in DC, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson provide a timely tale built on the premise that idealism without pragmatism can turn into uncompromising tyranny.

Harriet Klausner

Once Bitten-Stephen Leather

Once Bitten

Stephen Leather

AmazonEncore, Nov 22 20111, $$14.99

ISBN: 9781612181479

LAPD hires British psychologist Dr. Jamie Beaverbrook to apply his Beaverbrook Program testing to determine whether suspects are insane or acting the part. The results of his examine will decide whether a person undergoes mental health treatment or an expensive investigation and court case. At the same time, Jamie’s marriage is over following the death of their infant child.

The police arrest teenager Terry Ferriman for murder as she has blood on her mouth while standing over a corpse whose throat has been ripped apart. Terry tells Jamie she is a vampire but denies taking blood from the throats of mortals. She insists she is much older than she looks. Her comments sound sincere but are insane; yet she passes Jamie’s sanity test. Unable to resist even as he tells himself to not investigate, Jamie needs to help Terry. He brings her to his home and searches her apartment where Jamie finds an old picture of an actor from what appears to a 1950s movie. Jamie has entered a world he never knew existed until now.

Jamie tells the storyline in the first person as his investigation nukes what he believes is truisms. Depressed over his daughter’s death and the ugly divorce, he fears for his sanity as he obsesses over desire for his client and learning the truth about her and her claims that immortals need blood. The rest of the cast including Terry is seen through Jamie’s biased eyes. His mental struggles between his belief system and what he learns makes a strong intriguing theme. However, the storyline loses some of its grip when the focus becomes a federal national security agencies intrusion. Still Once Bitten is an entertaining vampiric psychological thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Leaves of Flame-Benjamin Tate

Leaves of Flame

Benjamin Tate

Daw, Jan 3 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407049

For several hundred years the three species have co-existed in a tentative peace by avoiding one another. The Alvritshai, Dwarren and Human races rarely have contact as none trust the others.

Much more than a human, Colin Harten notices the wraiths and their Shadow allies have increasingly posed a threat to the three races. Having mastered three of the five known magic’s while in the wilderness for decades (see Well of Sorrow), he has arranged for his friends the magical Trees to provide some protection to the separate but equal races. However, he knows that is not enough as he realizes he needs them to unite before it is too late; once the insidious enemy gains control of the magic nothing Alvritshai, Dwarren, Human, the Faelehgre spirits of light or even him will survive.

This is a terrific social-military-political fantasy but pales in comparison to the excellent thought provoking Well of Sorrows as the colonization theme of the first tale is replaced by a more standard genre scenario. Still fans will appreciate the exciting escapades in the Tate realm as an increasingly desperate but capable and cynical Colin (instead of the enthusiastic rookie) knows if he cannot motive all three species to unite, the dark Shadows will put out the light.

Harriet Klausner

The Bride Wore Leather-Simon R. Green

The Bride Wore Leather

Simon R. Green

Ace, Jan 3 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781937007133

After trying to escape from Darkside, John Taylor has accepted his place in the darkest part of London. He has become the new Walker Voice of the Authorities and is marrying his beloved Suzie Shooter, the most dangerous bounty hunter in town.

However, before settling down, John wants to work one last case as a private investigator. He learns of a plot at the annual Ball of Forever to destroy an immortality serum. John gets inside and finds himself investigating the murder of the King of Skin. As the Walker, he and his friend Julien Advent search for the Sun King who believes that this locality abomination and its denizen need ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile nothing goes right; everyone hunts John including his leather clad fiancée who he fears might choose the bounty over love.

Although a bit thinner than usual, the latest Nightside thriller (see A Hard day’s Night) is a fast-paced exhilarating thriller. John tells the tale of how he goes from the fire into the frying pan while someone in the shadows manipulates the scenario. Fans will enjoy John’s tsuris as Darkside and the Sun King come after him while he wonders if he knows Suzie.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Demons Like It Hot-Sidney Ayers

Demons Like It Hot

Sidney Ayers

Sourcebooks, Dec 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402251771

The Fore-Demons Council assigns Rafael DeLeon (see Demons Prefer Blondes) the Paladin as handler to Matthias Ambrose. Irate with the choice Matthias has personal reasons to object as DeLeon has ties to purebred caterer Serah SanGermano who has gotten under his skin. DeLeon informs the brooding Matthias his job is to protect his fiancée Lucy’s BFF Serah SanGermano. Matthias considers Siberia instead of Connolly Park, but acquiesces.

Serah conceals her new supernatural skills that she finds as a nuisance rather than a convenience. She focuses on her try out for the American Chef IV reality show. Enter Matthias Ambrose, demon mercenary. Lucy arranged for Matthias to protect Serah, but her bodyguard wonders who will protect her from him. As they fall in love, they team up to try to save mankind.

This Demons Unleashed urban romantic fantasy is an engaging entry due to the wry banter between the lead couple; actually Serah is the protagonist who brings humor with her chats with her beloved demon and others to include some asides. Although the story line is slow for much of the first half, fans will enjoy Serah the chef and her demon lover cooking a tasty repast.

Harriet Klausner

Dreaming of the Wolf-Terry Spear

Dreaming of the Wolf

Terry Spear

Sourcebooks, Dec 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402245558

In Breckenridge, Colorado, pack sub leader (to his older brother) Jake Silver stops at Cliffside Art Gallery to leave his latest popular photographs. However, the gallery is closed until later in the morning due to a family emergency. With time to waste, he notices a beautiful woman acting suspiciously before entering a restaurant. Jake follows her inside as she piqued his wolf. However, a brute accosts her and other brutes are outside. Unable to sit idly by, Jake enters the fray. He extracts her from the mess without a fight for now.

Alicia Greiston explains she is a bounty hunter after Danny Massaro and Mario Constantine as this case involves the mobsters who arranged the murder of her mother. Attracted to one another, Jake joins Alicia’s quest. As they fall in love, they face the mob. At the same time the lovers wonder if they survive the gauntlet will their love endure too.

The latest exhilarating urban romantic werewolf thriller (see heart of the Highland Wolf) is a great entry starring a fabulous duet battling against mob goons. Filled with an intriguing paranormal twist, the queen of werewolf dramas Terry Spear provides a powerful tale as she makes her mythos seem real due to the author’s blending of wolf pack culture into a great tale of love and war.

Harriet Klausner

How to Worship a Goddess-Stephanie Julian

How to Worship a Goddess

Stephanie Julian

Sourcebooks, Dec 6 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781402251504

Lucy Aster happens to be Lusna the Etruscan Goddess of the Moon. She is a big hockey fan going to She goes to every Railers’ game as she enjoys the gracefulness of the sport even at the minor leagues’ level of her favorite team; as she has for the past two years. However, Lucy knows Brandon Stevenson born in 1976 as opposed to her two millennia plus life is the puck she follows.

Most fans are unaware that the players perform bird watching. Brand has only looked at one fan in the stands for the past two years. Feeling like a stalker, he finds her remote quaint bar, Brand and Lucy meet following her singing. They make love, but she erases his memory though he has quite a hangover. The next day while playing Trenton he is distracted because his goddess is not in her seat. After the game and a vicious hit, he works his way through last night and returns to the bar he should not have remembered. At the same time, an underground stalker plans to devour Lusna whose power is waning. However neither her hunter from hell or the Etruscan Goddess of the Moon factored in her brave soulmate; who is ready to do more than hip-check their opponent.

The latest Forgotten Goddesses (see What a Goddess Wants) is an entertaining amusing urban romantic fantasy starring two wonderful protagonists and a vile villain coming for her. The sex mixes enhances the improbable pair in love as he remains resolute as her defenseman against a seemingly invincible foe. Stephanie Julian writes a delightful twisting paranormal Stanley Cup winner.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angel of Darkness-Cynthia Eden

Angel of Darkness

Cynthia Eden

Kensington Brava, Nov 29 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758242174

Keenan the Angel of Death stalks Nicole St. James as he has for weeks waiting to collect her soul as he has done countless times over several millennia. The moment he has anticipated is at hand with a vampire attacking Nicole. She pleads with him to save her life; though he knows he cannot. Keenan kills the vampire instead of the human female he is attracted to.

For failing to complete his mission, Keenan is exiled as a Fallen. He searches for her over the next six months and finally “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks” (Casablanca) into this dive he drinks away his depression. He remains wanting her though he knows she is now a vampiric fledgling, but Keenan is unaware that Nicole is wanted for murder. Nicole wants her savior, but is unaware that if Keenan completes the kill he regains his former angel essence. Meanwhile besides NYPD, a horde of the paranormal and hunters of the paranormal stalk the pair

The first Fallen urban romantic fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring a beleaguered pair as seemingly everyone in the Big Apple wants to take a bite out of both them. Fascinatingly, neither of the protagonists acts with typical human morality although Nicole is a recent convert to the other species. With too many adversaries cluttering the overall exciting but dark story line, sub-genre fans still will enjoy Cynthia Eden’s opening entry.

Harriet Klausner

A Million Suns-Beth Revis

A Million Suns

Beth Revis

Razorbill, Jan 10 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781595143983

Eldest is dead along with the lies (see Across the Universe); Elder reluctantly takes charge of the Godspeed. He quickly learns their food supply is reaching critical scarcity levels, which makes reaching their target that mush more difficult.

Amy was unplugged from her cryogenic chamber fifty years earlier than her scheduled three centuries sleep. She struggles to adapt to her world on board the vessel, but though she distrusted Eldest, wants to trust Elder who she is attracted to. They begin to investigate what is going on with the living and dead while trying to prevent the use of the drug phydus at a time when the feeders are gaining control.

The Across the Universe young adult futuristic science fiction thriller is an exciting “locked” shop mystery in which the audience will feel they are on board the gigantic yet claustrophobic Godspeed. Amy the freak is a super protagonist who feels anxiety and panic with the close vessel, but refuses to allow her emotions to cripple her. Elder is a fascinating leader as readers and Amy wonder if he is the hero or the villain. Fans will enjoy the middle book as the walls are closing in on Elder and Amy.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Switched-Amanda Hocking


Amanda Hocking

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan 3 2011, $8.00

ISBN: 9781250006318

In the Hamptons when Wendy Everly was five years old, her dad died. One year later her mother tried to kill Wendy with a butcher’s knife; claiming her offspring was a monster who switched places with her baby. Wendy physically survived the assault thanks to her older brother Matt’s intervention, but mentally she was not the same. Aunt Maggie is her legal guardian. Over a decade later, emotionally distant loner Wendy is filled with rage, has weird eating habits and just comes across as different.

In a new location after being expelled from school for punching out the Dean’s bullying daughter, Wendy promises Matt she will stay out of trouble and even try to make a friend or two. Wendy has a telepathic skill in which she can get people to do what she wants as teacher Mr. Meade learns. She meets the other school newcomer Finn Holmes, who Wendy confronts for his constant staring at her. When Wendy becomes angry at Finn, she gets kind student Patrick to take her home. That night Finn climbs into her room to tell Wendy what she is and to escort her on a journey to a realm she does not want to visit.

The first Trylle teenage tale is an enjoyable paranormal thriller starring an enigmatic dichotomous protagonist who suffers from PTSD after her mom’s attack while turning into a strange combo of in your face heroine who chooses flight over fight almost every time. The surfacing of her powers is not fully explained as to why now, but fans will enjoy her self discovery into what she is; yet also feel disappointed that the engaging Switched climaxes with a cliffhanger.

Harriet Klausner

Within the Flames-Marjorie M. Liu

Within the Flames

Marjorie M. Liu

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062020178

Dirk and Steele Detective Agency operative pyrokinetic Eddie nearly flamed out when he somewhat lost control of his fire. He remains shaky at his near death and at his struggle to contain his skill.

The Agency’s Roland orders Eddie to go to New York to find and protect Lyssa the dragon shifter on the run from the Cruor Venator witches who she witnessed murder her parents. Eddie locates the frightened orphaned shifter in the city sewers where she has taken refuge. Though he was reluctant to take on the assignment as his talent remains unreliable and he knows to fear the powerful adversary, Eddie bonds with Lyssa over their flaming problems as orphans.

The latest Dirk and Steele Detective Agency paranormal suspense (see In the Dark of Dreams) is a great thriller due to the neurosis of the lead couple; both are PTSD sufferers. Readers will feel the danger of confronting the powerful enemy whose name denotes nightmares for victims. However, it is the tenuous mental states of the lead characters who make this super action packed story line into a profound tale.

Harriet Klausner

Beyond the Darkness-Jaime Rush

Beyond the Darkness

Jaime Rush

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018915

Pope the Callorian “Shine” assassin disobeyed a command to kill Eric. He returned to his dimension where his superiors at the Collaborate order his execution for failing to carry out his orders. Fleeing back to the human dimension, Pope knows the C will dispatch assassins to kill him as he has been declared Scarlet.

Pope turns to Eric’s sister hybrid Petra for help in finding her former boyfriend Cheveyo the shapeshifter who dumped her out of fear his dark innerness will destroy his beloved. The renegade Callorian fears that if the C learns about the Offspring’s genetic tie to the Callorians, they will send a horde of Shine to kill the hybrids. Yurek the assassin learns who Petra is, forcing Cheveyo to come out of the shadows to protect the female he loves.

The latest Offspring romantic urban fantasy (see Touching Darkness and Out of the Darkness) is a super suspense thriller as the adversaries come from another dimension rather than arrogant government agents. The story line is action-packed throughout as readers anticipate a High Noon confrontation that when it comes will please fans of Jaime Rush.

Harriet Klausner

Beyond the Darkness-Jaime Rush

Beyond the Darkness

Jaime Rush

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018915

Pope the Callorian “Shine” assassin disobeyed a command to kill Eric. He returned to his dimension where his superiors at the Collaborate order his execution for failing to carry out his orders. Fleeing back to the human dimension, Pope knows the C will dispatch assassins to kill him as he has been declared Scarlet.

Pope turns to Eric’s sister hybrid Petra for help in finding her former boyfriend Cheveyo the shapeshifter who dumped her out of fear his dark innerness will destroy his beloved. The renegade Callorian fears that if the C learns about the Offspring’s genetic tie to the Callorians, they will send a horde of Shine to kill the hybrids. Yurek the assassin learns who Petra is, forcing Cheveyo to come out of the shadows to protect the female he loves.

The latest Offspring romantic urban fantasy (see Touching Darkness and Out of the Darkness) is a super suspense thriller as the adversaries come from another dimension rather than arrogant government agents. The story line is action-packed throughout as readers anticipate a High Noon confrontation that when it comes will please fans of Jaime Rush.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nightshift-Kate Douglas, Crystal Jordan and Lynn LaFleur


Kate Douglas, Crystal Jordan and Lynn LaFleur

Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 29 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269362

"Dream Catcher" by Kate Douglas. Mac has the greatest night of his life with the mysterious Zianne, but is unsure whether she is real. Zianne hopes this human hunk helps her free her energy race.

"Taken Between" by Crystal Jordan. Kira the shapeshifter guard protects her queen with her life, but loves her highness’ brother-in-law Max who shares her passionate regard. As they enjoy their romantic interlude, they need to prevent a lethal threat to the Royal couple.

"The Right Number" by Lynn LaFleur: Jay the shapeshifter dials the wrong number, but enjoys his phone sex chat with Roni. He believes he got lucky as he knows this woman he has not met is his mate. When they do meet in person, his belief is affirmed but a pack feud leaves their love and their lives in peril.

These are three engaging erotic paranormal romances. Although the various realms require “New Rules” (with a nod to Bill Maher) that slow down the pace of the novellas and the endings are abrupt, readers will enjoy these heated couplings.

Harriet Klausner

City of the Lost-Stephen Blackmore

City of the Lost

Stephen Blackmore

Daw, Jan 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780756407025

In Los Angeles Joe Sunday and his partner Julio Guerrera are enforcers working for mobster Simon Patterson. Though they mostly break a few bones, each has killed targets without a second thought. In a North Hollywood bar, Julio violently attacks Joe and the bartender before cutting his own throat. LAPD Detective Frank Tanake arrives and tells Joe to report anything suspiciously odd.

Simon explains to Joe that Sandro Giantetti who he killed decades ago murdered Julio. He assigns Joe to retrieve a stone from the elderly man. Julio’s wife Mariel returns Joe’s earlier call to tell him her spouse is home when she becomes hysterical. Julio smashes his beloved spouse into a wall as Joe enters the house. Sandro arrives and directs Julio to attack Joe. When Joe regains consciousness he realizes none of years of aches hurt. Sandro explains that Joe is his first success at reanimating a dead man. All hell breaks loose as Joe kills Simon for betraying him and Tanake shoots Sandro in the head. However, Tanake shows the non breathing Joe that Sandro posed in a Renaissance Era painting so will probably return to life. Joe knows the talisman he took from Sandro means a horde of zombies led by Sandro will come for him.

This is a brisk engaging zombie urban fantasy starring am antihero who has a strange values system as he has no compunctions being a hit man or cannibalizing a hooker, but feels he owes his partner by telling Julio’s wife that he is dead. Although the reason for Sandro’s experimentation comes late as this intuitively appears to conflict with his centuries-old longevity, sub-genre readers will enjoy the reanimated hit man takes Southern California.

Harriet Klausner

Charmfall-Chloe Neill


Chloe Neill

NAL, Jan 3 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780451230805

In Chicago, Lily Parker attends St. Sophia School for Girls. The sophomore, the rest of her high school group and her BFF Scout protect the residents of the city from the Reapers; adepts who refused to give up the magic once they use their allotment so they absorb the soul from people to give them more time as practitioners.

One day Lily applies her firespell, but it fails to work. She soon learns that all the adepts in the city no longer possess magic. The adepts blame the reapers, but Lily finds out that the rogue practitioners have lost their talent too. Although the two groups distrust one another, Lily needs a reaper to help her regain what has vanished. Sebastian the reaper who does not follow the party line agrees to team up with Lily while the Enclave chief decides to take a chance on the rogue loner. Lily takes the biggest risk when she attempts to break the spell in order to bring back the magic; while the caster’s plans sneak up on the teen.

Wiser than her age, Lily is the bridge between the two rival magical using groups as she rejects the black and white assertions of each side. This concept is critical for her and Sebastian to team up. She is a true heroine who takes dangerous chances to keep her Enclave safe. The third Dark Elite urban fantasy (see Firespell and Hexbound) is spellbound twisting winner.

Harriet Klausner

Honor Among Thieves-David Chandler

Honor Among Thieves

David Chandler

Harper Voyager, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062021267

Fate chose Malden the thief as the savior of the people of the Skrae Kingdom when he obtained one of the seven Ancient Blades. However being the chosen one (of seven) does not automatically denote success; Malden failed to prevent the horde from the East devastating Skrae. The mass destruction taught the clever thief several lessons as he flees from the Dwarven Kingdom southward towards the Free City of Ness. Understanding a thieves’ first principle to never trust an ally to have your back, his associates who jumped on his bandwagon have leaped away from him as if he is a pariah. Everyone with a few exceptions abandon Malden though many from the King of Skrae and the leaders of the Free City of Ness like Cutbill of the thieves’ guild (that is before he abruptly vanished after receiving a message from his operative in the always squabbling Northern Kingdoms) covet the loser’s magical power.

Malden has an army of harlots and thieves, along with Cythera the sorceress and Slag the dwarf. However, all is not lost though it looks hopeless; Malden may have a sword of magic, but he applies his thieving experiences to concoct a plan.

The final Ancient Blades military fantasy (see A Thief in the Night and Den of Thieves) is a fast-paced thriller as the beleaguered hero learns honor and dishonor among thieves and political leaders (who many will say are thieves). The story line is fast-paced with a great early hook involving Cutbill. Although the swords that were prevalent in the previous entries (especially the first one) plays a lesser role than expected, quest fans will appreciate Malden’s final stand.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Myth-Fortunes-Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye


Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye

Ace, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007072

Having competed for the presidency of M.Y.T.H. Inc., Skeeve the Klahd magician and Aahz the Pervect eliminate each other leaving more capable Bunny running the show (see Myth-Chief). Samwise the Impish salesman offers a deal to Skeeve and Aahz to join in on making a fortune with the construction of a pyramid in Aegis.

The three visit the site where accidents have slowed down the work. The Imp eventually sells his memorial stones concept to Aahz. They soon see first hand the accidents that hinder the building of the pyramid, but must return to the M.Y.T.H. Inc. office to attend Bunny’s weekly staff meeting. They explain the contract to Bunny who approves the deal with the Imp. While Aahz dreams of eternal memorial at the top, Skeeve seeks the source of the accidents that seem deliberate.

This is an amusing entry, apparently the last one in which the late Robert Asprin was involved as capable Jody Lynn Nye takes over the reins solo. The pyramid scheme story line is fast-paced though the plot is thin even with Skeeve giving readers a tour of the kingdom. Filled with the usual fun satirizing, fans will enjoy Myth-Fortunes, a fitting homage to Mr. Asprin.

Harriet Klausner

Left Hand Magic-Nancy A. Collins

Left Hand Magic

Nancy A. Collins

Roc, Dec 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464309

Metal artist Tate Eresby the purebred human and Hexe the Kymeran sorcerer are in love. They reside together in the Lower east Side’s supernatural ghetto Golgotham. However, a drunken riot has the supernatural, especially the Kymera, raging and the humans ready for a fight.

The heir to the Kymeran throne, Hexe is angry at his acrimonious Uncle Esau who pushes a-human cleansing endeavor, as he demands interracial relationships banned. At the same time the Sons of Adam want to cleanse the Kymerians from Manhattan. Meanwhile Tate is under suspicion for murder as people on a project she works on are being killed. Tension is stratospherically high between the two species even before someone murders two Kymerans. Tate and Hexe know they must act to prevent deadly riots, but neither know how to defuse the enflamed situation.

The second Golgotham urban fantasy (see Right Hand Magic) is an excellent tale as racial prejudice fuels anger. Hexe and Tate are a wonderful couple who wonder if love is enough to overcome the taboo of mixed species relationships. However, it is the vivid description of the Golgotham that will send readers joining other tourists visiting this ghetto.

Harriet Klausner

The Demi-Monde: Winter-Rod Rees

The Demi-Monde: Winter

Rod Rees

Morrow, Dec 27 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9780062070340

In 2018 British develop ABBA, which can create a realistic nineteenth century cyber-world. The American military applies ABBA to simulated military training in which units enter the Demi-Monde; a place where ABBA is the supreme God, war and racism are constant parts of society. To enhance the combat experience by real soldiers, avatars of history’s most psychopathic genocidal mass murders like Beria, Heydrich and Torquemada etc. are part of the mix of normal cyber people whose only quirk is a need for blood as a critical sustenance; the prime sources are banks and the black market selling of drained real soldiers’ blood.

Shutting down ABBA will fry the brains of any real person trapped inside; although the soldiers are expendable, First Daughter Norma Williams is not. Teenage jazz singer Ella Thomas is trained to enter Demi-Monde to bring Norma out. Inside of Noirville on the cyber world Ella learns the frightening metamorphic truth about Demi-Monde as a “millennia” has passed since the creation.

This exciting science fiction thriller is owned by the richly textured cyber world in which a glossary is a necessity. The famous and notorious from history are part of the structured caste system while landmarks enhance the sense of a distorted image of nineteenth century Earth as a millennium has passed since Demi-Monde was created; ergo this world has changed somewhat from the original model. Thus Ella learns that fact the hard way as her training missed critical information. Readers see Rod Rees’ world though Ella’s eyes as The Demi-Monde: Winter is a fascinating creative futuristic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 14, 2011

Night Reigns-Dianne Duvall

Night Reigns

Dianne Duvall

Zebra, Dec 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420118629

Eight century old Immortal Guardian Marcus Graden is concerned with the recent military precise pack attacks by vampires; as that is out of the norm for the insane bloodsuckers who rarely work together. In Chapel Hill, Marcus meets Ami, a weapons expert, when both battle a vampire pack.

To his chagrin his Guardian superior Seth wants Ami to serve as a human Second to Marcus. She is appalled with working with this cold Guardian and he prefers to work alone; both make their feelings known to each other. However, as they team up to counterattack the new vampire king and his deadly shocking allies, Marcus and Ami fall in love but she owes him the revelation of the secret she conceals from everyone.

The second super Immortal Guardians romantic urban fantasy (see Darkness Dawns) is a fantastic thriller filled with twists that bring freshness to the action-packed story line. The protagonists are a delightful pairing of arrogance and butt kicker though neither are unique characters. Fast-paced from the moment the lead pair meets in Chapel Hill, fans will enjoy this vampire thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shaedes of Gray-Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray

Amanda Bonilla

Signet, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235299

A hundred years ago, her husband abused Darian. Her lover Azriel the immortal Shaede changes Darian into the gray shadowy walker that he is and informs her they are the last two of their species. He vanishes without a trace.

Feeling “Alone Again (Naturally)” (by Gilbert O’Sullivan) Darian becomes a skilled assassin whose current handler is Tyler. However her latest assignment stuns Darian as a key premise that she believed in for the past century proves false. Her kill target is King Xander Peck ruler of the Shaede Nation. Darian is caught in the crosshairs of supernatural combat as she carries out her task to assassinate the monarch while wondering what other transgressions her creator told her.

The first Shaede Assassin is an excellent urban fantasy starring a strong survivor. Intrepid Darian holds the exciting story line together as she learns the truth about the existence of the Shaede nation and tries to find out why Azriel lied to her and deserted her to her own wiles. Fast-paced, readers will believe in the existence of Shaedes of Gray as Darian professionally goes about completing her mission.

Harriet Klausner

Killing Rites-M.L.N. Hanover

Killing Rites

M.L.N. Hanover

Pocket, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439176344

Jayne Heller realizes her recent victories against more powerful paranormal creatures (see Darker Angels and Vicious Grace) is improbably at best and impossible at most likely. She considers why she has such powers that she adeptly deploys in spite of only recently learning her affluent uncle’s occultism.

Jayne believes a rider demon possesses her, in which a second rider effect is kicking butt. Needing help, Jayne turns to Ex the former priest who she trusts with her soul; that is if she still has a soul. Agreeing with her assertion, Ex knows the rider must be removed before his friend loses everything. In New Mexico, he takes Jayne on a journey to locate his teacher and his friends so they can exorcise the rider before it’s too late. However, when the rite failed, Jayne finds her friends hunting her to kill her and the demon while another rider is nearby ready to take control if her current demon is removed from her. Realistically Jayne knows her only comrades in arms are the beast inside her and a vampiric exile she saved.

The latest Black Sun’s Daughter urban fantasy is a gothic atmospheric introspective thriller in which the heroine has less fights and more time looking inside her soul. Jayne is terrific as she fears an evil rider owns her. Although the action is somewhat abated especially compared to the previous entries, fans will enjoy It Happened to a creative and tantalizing uran fantasy thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Touch of Power-Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power

Maria V. Snyder

Mira, Dec 20 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313076

The plague spread across the Fifteen Realms killing many people as the once adulated healers failed to prevent the pandemic. Raging at their plight, people held the healers culpable; some leaders accused them of causing the deadly disease. Healing became outlawed and healers are hunted and executed.

The last breathing healer Avry of Kazan used her power to save a dying toddler as she could not stop herself from interceding. However, her reward was being turned in to the law for execution by villagers collecting the gold bounty placed on healers. Derrick of Alga and his men free Avry, as he believes the people need her skill while the royal leaders battle with one another for power.

Touch of Power is the exciting opening act of Maria V. Snyder’s latest fantasy (see the author’s “Study” and Glass” trilogies). The world-building is superb with class distinctions; while the political machinations by the aristocracy are insightful as the upper crust seek power and wealth while using healers as scapegoats for their failures when it comes to the plight of their subjects. Kerrick is somewhat stereotypical of the genre as a charismatic caring roguish hero. However, this is Avry’s saga as the last healer who cannot stop herself from deploying her skills though she knows the cost. The romance between them is somewhat muted as both know the objective is to help the people so their desire for one another takes a back seat in an engaging fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

77 Shadow Street-Dean Koontz

77 Shadow Street

Dean Koontz

Bantam, Dec 27 2011, $28.00

ISBN: 9780553807714

In the nineteenth century, Pendleton built the luxurious Shadow Hill. After the tycoon died, his palatial abode was broken into apartments in which only the one tenth of one percent of the affluent can afford to reside there. In 1888 the disappearances of his wife and their two children broke Andrew North Pendleton’s spirit. Every thirty-eight years since, people simply vanish from this grandiose building never to be seen or heard from again.

In the 1970s, the impossible begins again with fluctuations that enable the current residents to glimpse into the history of this imposing edifice. The security cameras pick up images that cannot exist and communication in tongues that seem arcane as no one understands them. The cycle of darkness that has engulfed this magnificent mansion has begun once again in 2011and those inside will soon feel abandoned as hell has come to them.

This exciting haunted mansion thriller rotates perspective between several characters so that the reader obtains a variety of views as to what is happening inside their current residence. However that technique proves somewhat confusing as the transitions are choppy and no one stands out except for 77 Shadow Street until late in the story line. Still Dean Koontz provides his fans with a tense horror thriller as fans will wonder who will be left standing on this plane and why those who are not were chosen.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Slade-Sarah McCarty


Sarah McCarty

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425241394

The Vamp Man Slade Johnson raids the research lab of scientist Jane Frederickson. He takes her prisoner as he believes she can save his people especially his dying nephew. Slade escorts Jane to his home Sanctuary where he and the other Renegades live.

Jane is shocked to realize Slade, a a technological genius is her intellectual equal and her sexual fantasy. Slade is stunned when he realizes Dr. Jane may be the savior of his people, but she is also his Mate. As they fall in love, she makes him promise not to convert her; as she has issues involving her stepfather and he has issues with what their relationship can do to her physically and to him emotionally. Finally there is her formula that everyone wants.

The latest Shadow Wranglers ranch romantic fantasy (see Jace, Jared and Caleb) is an engaging tale starring two geniuses falling in love. The irony of the story line is neither of the brilliant pair knows what to do with being each other’s Mate. The exciting somewhat thin story line contains an insightful relationship drama inside an action-packed plot; as the lab rivals the boudoir for dominance.

Harriet Klausner

Hearts and Swords-Robin D. Owens

Hearts and Swords

Robin D. Owens

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243411

“Heart and Sword”. As supplies and calm temperament run out, Captain Kelse Bountry confronts a mutiny while seeking a planet for his earth fleet to colonize while his wife Fern has his back.

”Heart Story”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in Druida City Blush Willow hid her Heartmate Dri Paris from her murderous insane mother. Now a year after her mom died, she hopes to have a second chance with her Heartmate, but their past remains an obstacle and his family’s dire straits make her even more unacceptable.

“Heart and Soul”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in small Gael City Tinne Holly’s ex wife Genista Furze obtains work assisting a clockmaker as Nista Gorse. GentleSir Cardus Parry is attracted to her, but she has no wish for any mate after her scandalous divorce shocked the FirstFamilies.

“Noble Heart”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in Druida City during the Passage, Walker Clover learns he has the Flair, which is so prevalent his family rises to GrandLord level. He must wed a member of the FirstFamilies, but wants none of them as he only desires the enigmatic Sedwy Grove.

This is a strong quartet as Robin D. Owens fills in some of the gaps in her terrific Celta romantic fantasy saga.

Harriet Klausner

Daybreak-Ellen Connor


Ellen Connor

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243400

A dozen years ago the Change brought the Dark Age Dawning of evil into the world (see Nightfall). Most magic practitioners turned to the amoral side with no thoughts of mankind beyond expendable pawns. Penelope “Orchid” Sheehan remains persistent with her belief to help the surviving humans against the forces of General O’Malley, especially his hellhounds.

Pen wants to destroy the O’Malley murdering raiders, but is a prisoner of her enemy who plans to sell her as a slave to the highest bidder. Her childhood friend Tru Daugherty the lion skinwalker rescues her. She pleads with him to joins forces to take the battle to O’Malley. However, although attracted to Pen, Tru is a loner so he wants to say no though he fears for the life of the woman he always loved. Separately they will die; together they can change the world.

Daybreak, the final Dark Age Dawning romantic fantasy (see Midnight), is a great finish to a strong post-apocalyptic thriller. Extremely fast-paced throughout, yet vividly descriptive of the dark landscape and starring two fascinating heroes, fans will appreciate the climax as Pen will go after O’Malley with or without the shapeshifter she loves.

Harriet Klausner

That Old Black Magic-Michelle Rowen

That Old Black Magic

Michelle Rowen

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244913

In Toronto, psychic Eden Riley loves Darrak the cursed demon whom she met when he possessed her (see The Demon In Me). They still seek a way to end his centuries old curse, which would free him, keep her alive, and have a happy new beginning together in two separate bodies. Though tempted especially when his body surfaces Eden avoids using her recently required new black magic, but finds increasingly controlling her skills very difficult as she sets her blackberry on fire.

The psychic and the demon agree they need help as her soul-destroying black magic deploys without her employing it. They find a cure for the curse and control of her magic, but the risk to Eden is her life.

The third Living in Eden Canadian urban romantic fantasy (See Something Wicked) is an engaging finish to an enjoyable trilogy. The amusing story line is fast-paced from the moment the heroine lights up her blackberry and never slows down until the final manifestation; that ironically fans of the series will intuitively know before the lead couple does. That Old Black Magic is a winning climax to a fun series.

Harriet Klausner

Spells & Stitches-Barbara Bretton

Spells & Stitches

Barbara Bretton

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425241059

In Sugar Maple, Vermont, Sticks and Strings knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs, a sorceress in training, struggles with her out of control half-human hormones as she is over eight months pregnant with her first child that comingle with her magical DNA. Chloe owes a zillion favors from her otherworldly pals for clean up duty such as sending two women from Boise on a magical mystery tour and sending a fire ball at her mate’s mother Bunny when caught by surprise by the woman entering her establishment; apparently someone leaked to the MacKensie brood that a grandchild is coming. Chloe’s significant other Police Chief Luke MacKensie, the only purebred resident of the town, is ecstatic over the upcoming birth of his first child.

Laria is born healthy while the parents and others go gaga over her. However, raising a baby and running a business or enforcing the law is difficult. Raising a baby with magical skills is impossible especially trying to conceal the paranormal from his family.

This bewitching charmer is filled with humor as it takes a village to raise a baby sorceress. Fast-paced the collision between the MacKensie human horde and the paranormal residents of the Vermont village is jocularly entertaining. However, it is Laria who makes this a fresh tale as she has typical baby needs and some extraordinary extras as Laria has unique ways of “communicating. Although it behooves sub-genre fans to read the previous A Knitting Mystery romantic Green Mountain village fantasies (see Spun by Sorcery) to understand family dynamics, Barbara Bretton provides an engaging tale of parenthood.

Harriet Klausner

Spells & Stitches-Barbara Bretton

Spells & Stitches

Barbara Bretton

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425241059

In Sugar Maple, Vermont, Sticks and Strings knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs, a sorceress in training, struggles with her out of control half-human hormones as she is over eight months pregnant with her first child that comingle with her magical DNA. Chloe owes a zillion favors from her otherworldly pals for clean up duty such as sending two women from Boise on a magical mystery tour and sending a fire ball at her mate’s mother Bunny when caught by surprise by the woman entering her establishment; apparently someone leaked to the MacKensie brood that a grandchild is coming. Chloe’s significant other Police Chief Luke MacKensie, the only purebred resident of the town, is ecstatic over the upcoming birth of his first child.

Laria is born healthy while the parents and others go gaga over her. However, raising a baby and running a business or enforcing the law is difficult. Raising a baby with magical skills is impossible especially trying to conceal the paranormal from his family.

This bewitching charmer is filled with humor as it takes a village to raise a baby sorceress. Fast-paced the collision between the MacKensie human horde and the paranormal residents of the Vermont village is jocularly entertaining. However, it is Laria who makes this a fresh tale as she has typical baby needs and some extraordinary extras as Laria has unique ways of “communicating. Although it behooves sub-genre fans to read the previous A Knitting Mystery romantic Green Mountain village fantasies (see Spun by Sorcery) to understand family dynamics, Barbara Bretton provides an engaging tale of parenthood.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ghoul Interrupted-Victoria Laurie

Ghoul Interrupted

Victoria Laurie

Obsidian, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235503

Ghoul Getters TV reality show investigator M.J. Holliday, her lover Heath Whitefeather whose late grandfather Sam is her spirit guide, and her BFF Gilley Gillespie are on ghost busting tour. The trio is on their way to Dunkirk when the spirit of Holliday’s mom warns her that she will soon be on the most dangerous hunt of her perilous career. Sam informs her that a horrific evil attacks the Pueblo and if not stopped will kill all Whitefeather kin just like what happened to Heath’s late uncle.

Heath receives the call his uncle is dead. He informs M.J. he must go to the Zanto Pueblo in New Mexico. M.J. and Gilley accompany him. They learn that a demon, freed from a long incarceration, is causing deadly havoc. No one believes the threesome’s assertion even after a humongous claw mark is found embedded in a tree. The dragon-shaped demon continues its killing spree while the trio risks their lives to end the murders even though most of the tribe including the elders thinks they are loco.

The latest Ghost Hunter mystery (see What’s A Ghoul to Do?) is a fantastic paranormal serial killer thriller as the group battle against a demon of Native American mythos. Heath fears for his kin (and himself) while Gilley brings eccentricity, humor and loyalty as he supports her Georgia childhood friend in dark deadly scenarios; this time with no local help. However, once again M.J. is the star who rushes in where the brave dare not enter as she takes the hill first and thinks afterward how crazy her actions were. Victoria Laurie is one of the best at creating exciting supernatural mysteries.

Harriet Klausner

Tricks of the Trade-Laura Anne Gilman

Tricks of the Trade

Laura Anne Gilman

Luna, Nov 15 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803316

Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations (PUPI) top dogs assign Paranormal Scene Investigator Bonnie Torres as part of the team looking into two cases. First there is an affluent Null human claiming a Talent broke into his home damaging two rooms and stealing two objects. Second there is the murder of a floater found by NYPD, but who turns out to be a fatae so it becomes PUPI’s inquiry. Both cases go nowhere while pressure mounts on PUPI to resolve them.

At the same time, Bonnie and her supervisor Ben Venec struggle to ignore their respective magical essences that want them to merge in order to create their offspring. Finally in the Electric Apple is frustrated rock-in Roblin who wants to destroy Bonnie and her teammates.

The third Paranormal Scene Investigations (see Hard Magic and Pack of Lies) is an exciting urban fantasy mystery that employs magical forensics. Bonnie is a terrific protagonist while her teammates especially Big Ben enhance the thriller. Although the three prime PSI detecting subplots never quite merge, readers will enjoy touring the Electric Apple with Bonnie and the pups.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The White Fox-James Bartholomeusz

The White Fox

James Bartholomeusz

Medallion, Dec 1 2011, $9.95

ISBN 9781605424620

In Birchford, England sixteen-year-old orphan Jack Lawson is walking with one of his few friends popular Lucy when he sees the glowing white fox; she fails to notice anything as she was babbling in teen speak. A few days later, the pair notices dangerous looking hooded figures stalking the town. The White Fox introduces himself to Jack as his guardian and warns him to remain vigilant. Not long afterward members of the Cult of Dionysus attack Jack and Lucy and his other friend Alex vanishes.

The Apollonians rescue the teens by taking them to the planet Rauthr where elves are at war with demons at a time when the Darkness is spreading across the universe. Although they have doubts that Jack is the savior, the practical Apollonians know he is there only hope to use the magical shards of starlight against the encroaching Darkness.

This is an entertaining quest fantasy written by a teen for a teenage audience. Jack is an intriguing hero who burns beans while living in an orphanage that is more a prison than a home; his sidekick Lucy sums up their escapades together as he is Gandalf the young and she is the karate Kid. Mindful of Michael Ende’s “The Neverending Story” though targeting an older audience, readers will enjoy James Bartholomeusz’s exciting The White Fox while looking forward to more of Jack’s adventures.

Harriet Klausner

Magical Alienation-Kris Neri

Magical Alienation

Kris Neri

Red Coyote Press, Nov 15 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9780976673316

Pseudo psychic Samantha Brennan obtains a spiritual advisor gig to rock star Rand Riker of the ban Devil’s Disciple. As his personal psychic, she travels with him to Sedona, Arizona where he will gives a benefit concert showing his support to Normal Frankly, a militia advocate who sent a vial of toxin to the state’s junior U.S. Senator Kenny Campbell killing his aide. While Frankly was being transported from the courthouse, his militia kidnaps a judge, cops and jurors as well as

a Military convoy.

At about the same time, Samantha and Celtic Goddess FBI Agent Annabelle Haggerty meet. Annabelle has been assigned to protect Senator Campbell. However, her mission changes to getting the hostages safely out of Frankly’s compound without letting the killer go free. Once again Annabelle needs Samantha’s help (see High Crimes on the Magical Plane); especially with her power at an ebb due to draining by “aliens” from Area 51 in reaction to the Frankly militia demands. The pair of opposite females must figure out who is mortal, alien and deity before the Harmonic Convergence occurs in which anything can happen.

The second Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mystery is a witty irreverent and enthralling paranormal thriller starring a seemingly unlikely duet who have a bond that neither can explain yet both knows they have their partner’s back. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the fascinating return of Brennan and Haggerty on their latest magical mystery tour.

Harriet Klausner

Bride of the Night-Heather Graham

Bride of the Night

Heather Graham

Harlequin HQN, Nov 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776153

In 1865 Pinkerton detective Finn Dunne believes Confederate spy Tara Fox plans to assassinate President Lincoln when Tara tries to run the Union blockade of her hometown of Key West. She fails as her ship and Finn’s vessel become shipwrecked on an island. However, the half-vampire is wrong about her intentions. Instead of wanting him dead, she follows her visions in an effort to prevent the killing of the president.

Tara explains to him what her mission is, but he distrusts her. As they fall in love, vampires attack them. They survive the assault and begin a perilous journey to DC hoping to arrive in time to prevent the murder of President Lincoln and expose the diabolical leader behind the conspiracy

This is an entertaining Civil War era paranormal romance in which Heather Graham merges historical facts with a vampire thriller. The story line is fast-paced except when Tara goes into vision mode, which detracts and slows down dramatically rather than enhancing the plot. Still in spite of being over the top of the Key West Lighthouse, fans of the author will enjoy this overall entertaining Americana thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Space Between-Brenna Yovanoff

The Space Between

Brenna Yovanoff

Razorbill, Nov 14 2011, $17.99

ISBN: 9781595143396

In the silver city of Pandemonium, Hell, Daphne lives a luxurious life as the youngest daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. However, in spite of her golden spoon lifestyle, Daphne feels adrift. She considers following the leads of her Succubi half-sisters stalking mortal souls while dodging Azrael the sadistic angel and his ogre BFF Dark Dreadful, but that thought gives her no pleasure.

Her half-brother Obie, son of Adam, is her best friend. He saves the souls of the Lost Ones, human-angel hybrids. His current rescue is that of alcoholic suicidal teenager Truman Flynn who Daphne feels attracted to though his time in hell is short. When Obie vanishes on earth, Daphne and Truman search for him while struggling to elude Azrael and DD.

The Space Between is a great romantic investigative fantasy that hooks young adult readers (and others) with a sense of realism as if the city exists and the paranormal cast genuine; especially the female who wants to feel love and the male who wants to abate his overwhelming emotions. The story line shifts perspective between Daphne’s first hand account and Truman’s third person viewpoint as they team up on a rescue mission while the nasty angel of death and his even more brutal sidekick stalk them.

Harriet Klausner

Endurance-Jay Lake


Jay Lake

Tor, Nov 8 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9780765326768

Green was sold by her father as an infant to the Immortal Duke. She was trained as a courtesan assassin, but instead of using her skills to further her owner’s ambition, she killed her owner and created the God Endurance before fleeing (see Green).

The Interim Council of Copper Downs needs her assistance. Bittern Court diplomats have arrived from Green’s homeland. They conceal their agenda except for the demand that pregnant Green return home to them. At the same time, magical practitioners are murdering the deities. Green is confused even though she understands a fight to fill the power vacuum is occurring. Mother Vajpai the assassin dedicated to the Lily Goddess like Green is has teamed up with the brutal Surali; and the Pardines non-humans declare war over the stolen Eyes of the Hills jewels. Finally the God of Pain demands her son once born and powerful murderous priests Osi and Iso have plans to use the chaos caused by the death of the Immortal Duke.

This is an entertaining fantasy starring an unlikable fresh heroine who has no qualms with assassinating her enemies though she does not revel in the kill. There are several exciting subplot that are held together by Green who struggles with her pregnancy reducing her skills (think of Frances McDormand in the movie Fargo). Although the Jiminy Cricket like “mentoring conscience” leads to overly long soliloquys, genre fans will enjoy the latest adventures of Green; struggling

Harriet Klausner

A Fighting Chance-William C. Dietz

A Fighting Chance

William C. Dietz

Ace, Nov 1 2011, $24.95

ISBN: 9780441020720

In the war against the Ramanthian Hive, the Confederacy of Sentient beings are losing. Earth has fallen to the enemy although some Ramanthian military leaders feel the cost of occupation is not worth the waste of soldiers when the orb Cab can be glassed while the units can be redeployed to help complete the victory, which will allow home planets for the five billion recently hatched by the Mother.

After hitching a ride on the humongous Lictor supply ship, Major Antonio Santana and his unit drop onto O-Chi 4 but receive “friendly” fire from the surface. Santana meets with Colonel Anton who explains the planet is divided between the Ramanthian bugs, his loyal to the Confederacy force, and the self-appointed Governor Temo’s traitors. Santana’s mission is to assault Headstone where many humans have died while the bugs control the high ground. Meanwhile his beloved Foreign Officer -2 diplomat Christine Vanderveen arrives on planet with a mission to protect the Ramanthian Queen wounded from an assassination.

The superb finish to the great Legion of the Damned military science fiction (see When Duty Calls and For Those Who Fell) is an exciting, action-packed tale. Fast-paced, the key to the final thriller is the ease in which William C. Dietz provides various perspectives to the war; ranging from a convicted killer turned into a cyborg, a Hudathan, the locals, the Ubatha hive, and the lead couple, etc. What happens on O-Chi 4 gives the beleaguered Confederacy A Fighting Chance; albeit still somewhat of a long shot.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Wedding Gift-Kathleen McKenna

The Wedding Gift

Kathleen McKenna

Bell Bridge, Oct 7 2011, $14.95

ISBN: 978-1611940527

In December 1975 in Dalton City, Oklahoma, thirtyish Robina Willets murdered her spouse Roger and their five young children before committing suicide. Empty since the mass murders, on Halloween 1986, two teenagers Charlie Worthier and Donald Readle are found severely injured and in comas in the Willets House swimming pool; Charlie dies the next day while Donald survives their harrowing experience.

In 2004, pregnant Leeann Worthier the beauty queen and George Willets the heir to Willets Petroleum Services marry. As a wedding present to his bride, George declares the still empty Willets House is where they will reside so that the can have their own home. Leeann is concerned with moving into a place with such a recent tragic history, but does so. When unexplainable eerie and nasty events happen including seeing when awake and asleep Robina’s restless spirit, Leeann refuses to leave; instead she vows to risk her life to learn the truth as to what haunts Willets House.

The superb opening and closing sections use newspaper clippings that read like real deadly incidents, which sets the atmospheric tone of the small-town supernatural thriller. However, much of the story line stays away from the exciting Amityville like Sooner state haunting to focus on the dysfunctional relationships between egocentric Leeann, stoic George and their respective families. Still overall this is an engaging haunted house tale.

Harriet Klausner

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart-Richard A. Knaak

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart

Richard A. Knaak

Gallery, Sep 13 2011, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451605754

Fleeing Gilneas, the Worgen plead with the Alliance to accept them as a member. Filled with guilt over the Worgen Curse, Malfurion supports their position. However, King Varian opposes their entry and wants their ruler Genn dead. Although the monarch struggles with the recent merging of his two personas, the king has a short memory of Gilneas' role during the Second and Third Wars when they hid behind the Wall while Scourge devastated Lordaeron and the Forsaken conquered that kingdom.

At the same time the Highborne seek the Night Elf community who accepts them as an equal. Instead of being allowed to join, a serial killer assassinates the Highborne. Back from the Outland following the Illidan incident, Maiev investigates the murders.

Although the key characters act inconstantly and make strange decisions (one could claim they were under magical stress), Wolfheart is an interesting World of Warcraft sword and sorcery fantasy. The story line contains several more subplots than those above, but the theme predominantly is to join or not to join. Richard A. Knaak provides an overall solid entry with this Warcraft thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Feral-Sheri Whitefeather


Sheri Whitefeather

Heat, Dec 6 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9780425243329

In late nineteenth century Mexico, Lareina stalks Noah. She sets her trap in a cantina forcing him to follow her as she exits the bar. As he takes her, she changes into a beast who turns him into a were-lion.

In present day Santa Clarita Valley, California, Jenny Lincoln runs Big cat Canyon, a rescue mission. She lacks funding until a donor gives her a large infusion of cash. Noah offers more if she spends one night at his BDSM sex club Aeonian in Los Angeles. Attracted to him, but also needing the money to keep her grandfather’s dream afloat, she shows up. He has wanted her ever since he saw her image on her Cat Canyon web site. Noah gives her a tour that stuns her as sexual activity in animal costumes is everywhere. Then Noah changes into a lion as he goes after his fantasy.

This is an exciting romantic urban fantasy starring two likeable individuals in love and heat. The story line is fast-paced as the road to mating is easy but to being mates proves complicated. Sheri Whitefeather provides an engaging BDSM romance with a shapeshifting Native American mythos as the foundation.

Harriet Klausner

Bound by the Vampire Queen-Joey W. Hill

Bound by the Vampire Queen

Joey W. Hill

Heat, Dec 6 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9780425243442

Leaving Atlanta following her fall from grace with the Council, Lady Lyssa and her servant Jacob investigate her paternal fae ties even as their attraction intensifies with the birth of their son Kane. Ironically whereas Jacob has converted to vampirism to be closer to his beloved, Lyssa has lost her vampire abilities.

However, the fae world proves unwelcoming as her half-sister does not want another sibling rival. Other perils from those resenting a vampire and a half-breed in their midst has single minded Jacob on full alert to keep his queen safe from the machinations of the cunning fae royalty while he silently prays their offspring remains protected back in Atlanta by Mason the vampire..

The latest Vampire Queen romantic fantasy (see Mark of the Vampire Queen and The Vampire Queen’s Servant) is a superb entry that has two strong loving individuals having each other’s back as they venture into hostile territory. The excellent story line is fast-paced while once again the Hill mythos expands as the audience learns of the vampire queen’s other roots while touring the realm of the sly fae.

Harriet Klausner

Stands a Shadow-Col Buchanan

Stands a Shadow

Col Buchanan

Tor, Nov 8 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765331069

The Roshun order sent aging master assassin Ash and his apprentice Nico on a suicide mission to kill the son of the Holy Matriarch ruler of Mann Empire. They succeed but Nico dies at the hands of Sasheen in the endeavor (see Farlander). In retaliation the Holy Empire of Mann destroys the Roshun before turning its full attention to the siege of the city of Bar-Khos.

Sasheen leads the empire’s armies against thr besieged city Bar Khos. General Marsalas Creed defends the city, but lacks the force to defeat the invaders; while his allies fear assisting him knowing how brutal Sasheen retaliates. Ash feeling survivor guilt and a need to avenge his late acolyte, vows to kill the Matriarch or die trying. His plan is to “join” the army of Mann as they prepare to breach Bar Khos.

The second Heart of the World military fantasy (see Farlander) is an exciting epic thriller that focuses on war in the fully developed Buchanan world. The story line is action although frequently changing viewpoints slows down the overall pace. Still readers will enjoy joining the raging suicidal assassin as he converges on Bar Khos in order to kill Sasheen.

Harriet Klausner