Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Moonglow-Kristen Callihan


Kristen Callihan

Forever, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455508587

In 1883, widowed Daisy Ellis Craigmore feels euphoric to have escaped the stranglehold of a lousy six-year marriage to an abusive mate though she knows that is not nice thinking. However, she did her time in marriage with 366 days, ten hours, fifteen minutes faking mourning. She considers herself no longer a Craigmore in sham mourning. Now she plans to enjoy life.

However, her euphoria ends abruptly when she witnesses a homicide. Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, pushes passed the crowd claiming to be a doctor though he had not practiced in almost two decades. He knows what happened here as he avoided his kind for seventy years but his kind has intruded on his self-imposed exile. When he smells a woman nearby, he moves the body to find Daisy underneath. Questioning her while keeping her safe, Ian knows he must eliminate the culprit before the law finds the rogue. However, his attraction to Daisy is an unwanted mistimed need that Ian cannot ignore.

This Darkest London Victorian historical fantasy (see Firelight) is a fabulous paranormal investigative thriller with an incredible opening scene. The lead couple is a nice pairing as the murder mystery plays matchmaker while neither feels comfortable with falling in love at this time. Kristen Callihan provides an entertaining paranormal whodunit as London remains dark even in a Moonglow.

Harriet Klausner

The Well of Tears-Roberta Trahan

The Well of Tears

Roberta Trahan

47North, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612183725

The Order of the Stewardry wizards have waited for centuries for the time for, them to adhere to the pledge of fealty they made in the magically concealed Fane Gramarye Temple in the remote village of Pwll. There they vowed to support the one king of Cymru

In 905, the time has come to anoint Hywel as the King of Cymru. Madoc the elderly Ard Druidh chief mage realizes that he must choose his successor at the Well of Tears, but before he does he sends Guard Captain Aslak to escort sorceresses back to Pwll. The soldier goes for Alwen, wife of King Bledig and mother of two teenage children (Rhys and Eirlys). Alwen, accompanied by her family, travels to Fane Gramarye. However, all is not smooth as traitorous evil from within also has begun to march preferring the chaos of war over the promise of peace if Hywel is crowned and also covets Madoc’s heritage.

Though at times the overall entertaining storyline slows down due to too much mundane detail, fans will enjoy this engaging post Arthurian fantasy. Character driven by a strong cast who makes the Trahan mythos seems real while also somewhat limiting the action, readers will wonder who the traitor(s) is as the time to crown the King and select the Ard Druidh successor have arrived with good and evil competing for both jobs.

Harriet Klausner

Time Untime-Sherrilyn Kenyon

Time Untime

Sherrilyn Kenyon

St. Martin's Press, Aug 7 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312546618

Many millennia ago, Ren Waya was the Keetoowah warrior Guardian chosen to keep hell sealed while resetting the celestial calendar. Instead his closet friend, half-brother Coyote killed him. However, Ren returned as an acrimonious angry Dark Hunter.

Her late grandmother left Kateri Avani with a precious stone to protect as the Keeper of legend. She scoffs at her grandma’s superstition until beasts like nothing she ever saw before attack her. When she meets Ren, Kateri recognizes him as the man who has haunted her dreams seemingly forever. However, she is not sure whether he is her fantasy savior-lover keeping her safe or the beast that kills her. With a depressed sense of déjà vu, Ren knows what he must do to keep the malevolence from arising but sacrificing his heart may save a world but kill him all over again as the Time Untime to reset the calendar is coming.

The latest Dark-Hunter urban fantasy (see Retribution and The Guardians) is a great fast-paced suspense thriller that uses the Mayan prophecy to great effect. Kateri is a wonderful scientist in distress unsure whom she should trust; while Ren is a fascinating haunted protagonist who has played this tune before but prays for an identical big picture ending and a better personal outcome. Fans will enjoy the countdown as time runs out.

Harriet Klausner

Angel Eyes-Shannon Dittemore

Angel Eyes

Shannon Dittemore

Thomas Nelson, May 29 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781401686352

Grieving Brielle Matthews the ballerina takes the train from Portland back to her hometown Stratus, Oregon, barely able to move as she suffers from PTSD after the death of her close friend eighteen year old Ali. Her dreams to make it as a dancer died when Ali died. Her family tries to help her cope with the heaviness that engulfs her heart and soul, but only offer platitudes.

At Stratus High school, she meets Jake Shield who moved into the previously vacant Miller house next door to her family home. He seems to be everywhere she is and she begins to heal from the death of Ali though she fears those she loves die as she is attracted to her teenage neighbor. However, the pair is caught in the middle of angels protecting them from demons wanting them dead.

This is an entertaining young adult good and evil urban fantasy as the Dittemore pantheon of angels and demons seems reasonable. The storyline starts slow as the audience meet the key players through rotation of viewpoints between the two teens, Canaan the guardian and Damien. Readers will enjoy this engaging tale as Brielle no longer trusts a God who allows bad things to happen to good people until she finds her life and soul (and that of Jake) depends on the angels of the deity she disavowed.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires-Alan Goldsher

My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires

Alan Goldsher

Dunne, Aug 7 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312640200

After six centuries residing at the Abbey in Saltsburg, Austria the Mother Zombie tosses Maria the vampire novice out from their order. Stunned to no longer live with the zombie nuns, Maria obtains work as the governess to the out of control von Trapp family.

She is attracted to the Baroness von Trapp the succubus and the clan patriarch. Maria changes the family into vampires and marries the father. The family that performs together sips blood together. However the hills are alive with the sound of Nazi Undeath Squads hunting the undead including trapping the von Trapp troupe.

Taking a sarcastic bite into the Sound of Music, Alan Goldsher provides an overall amusing satirical tale although there are too many gross jokes that overwhelm the storyline. Fans of rowdy jocular horror (see Paul Is Undead) will laugh at the performance of the von Trapp vampire troupe.

Harriet Klausner

Rivals and Retribution-Shannon Delany

Rivals and Retribution

Shannon Delany

St. Martin's Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312625184

In Junction Jessie Gillmansen and the Rusakova family including her boyfriend Pietr take the lycanthropic cure so that they can be "normal" and safe from the mob and the company whose headquarters in town was destroyed (see Destiny and Deception). However, Pietr has changed, which strains his relationship with Jessie.

Menwhile, Marlaena leads her Chicago werewolf pack to take over Junction. When someone abducts Jessie, Pietr goes berserk with an obsessive need to rescue his beloved. However, he turns wolf only to imprint with Marlaena. Like him she loves someone else so neither wants this bond. At the same a mutual enemy plots the demise of the Lycan while Jessie hopes to save her boyfriend and reverse engineer the terrible scientific experiments.

The final 13 to Life werewolf saga (see Secrets and Shadows and Bargains and Betrayals) is an engaging climax to an entertaining urban fantasy. The storyline is fast-paced, but the enemy who seems menacingly invincible early on fails to live up to their earlier reputation when the confrontation occurs. Still fans of the saga will appreciate Rivals and Retribution as time is running out to find the cure and deal with the adversarial assault.

Harriet Klausner

Dead Mann Running-Stefan Petrucha

Dead Mann Running

Stefan Petrucha

Roc, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780451464743

The state executed former Liveblood cop Hessius Mann for murdering his wife. After his death, suppressed DNA evidence proved his innocence. To atone for their blunder the state applied the Radical Invigoration Procedure (RIP) to reanimate Mann as a Chak in which he is tested every month to insure he does not go rogue. The side effects are horrid as his IQ is gone along with his memory; his bones break easily and no lotion can help with the dry skin. He needs money so Mann becomes a private investigator with Misty the Liveblood as his office manager.

He asks who is it to a knock on his office door, but no one responds. Mann opens the door to see a hand attached to an arm holding the handle of a briefcase; there is no rest of the body. The arm enters the office taking the case inside with it. Leaving the case behind on the floor; the arm jumps out of a window. Misty orders Mann to investigate why an arm left him a suitcase containing two vials of a blue liquid; while adversaries seek the bottles.

The key to this super Mann zombie detective is the RIP seem plausible due to little nuances that enable the reader believe a walking arm seem reasonable. The Livebloods consider the Chakz an inferior race. Only Misty is an exception as she treats her employer with tough love affection as if he is a senile uncle who needs bullying not because he is a Chak, but because he is filled with self-pity. The mystery is fast-paced from the moment the hand knocks and never slows down as there are several people who will kill to get their hands on the vial.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shadows Before The Sun-Kelly Gay

Shadows Before The Sun

Kelly Gay

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451625486

Atlanta police detective Charlie Madigan wants to get her partner Hank the siren released from the siren stronghold Fiallan where Circe tortures the prisoner. However, Charlie is stunned when she is informed that Hank was executed. Filled with denial, she vows to liberate Hank any way she can including using the power coming from being part of three races; though Charlie knows that her use of her talent brings Sachath ready to claim her in Death. Meanwhile mysterious Alessandra offers help again.

Charlie heads to heavenly Elysia with Fiallan just beyond. At the same time, jinn mob chieftain Grigori Tennin searches for the divine dormant Ahkneri. However, his actions awaken Ahkneri, which places Atlanta in peril.

The latest exhilarating Charlie Madigan urban fantasy has the heroine on another mission impossible rescue adventure (see The Hour of Dust and Ashes in which her sister is in peril in Charbydon). Filled with non-stop action, readers will appreciate this exciting thriller as Charlie risks all to save Hank who may not even be alive.

Harriet Klausner

The Map of the Sky-Felix J. Palma

The Map of the Sky

Felix J. Palma

Atria, Sep 4 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451660319

In 1898 H. G. Wells, author of the War of the Worlds and The Time Machine meets with American author Garrett Serviss who wrote a sequel to the Martian science fiction novel starring Thomas Edison leading an earth invasion of Mars. Serviss informs Wells that he believes Martians are real and that he saw the ruin of a space ship and an alien found frozen six decades ago in Antarctica in the basement of the Natural History Museum. Though he has doubts, Wells decides to confirm the assertion. A drop of Wells’ blood rejuvenates the alien. The Messenger from space walks out of the museum as H.G. Wells. Others from his planet plan on total genocide and terraforming earth for their habituation.

New York socialite Emma Harlow accepts millionaire Montgomery Gilmore’s proposal if he meets her one stipulation. Though she is attracted to her wannabe fiancé, she demands he brighten up her otherwise mundane existence by recreating the War of the Worlds. Montgomery would do anything for the woman he loves especially with her marrying him on the line so he sets out to make a Martian invasion happen. All the players converge on the day Gilmore is supposed to make this invasion occur.

The second Wells’ transformation (see The Map of Time) is a fascinating historical science fiction thriller with three fully developed subplots starring full blooded characters who change as time goes by. Flashbacks are used to tell the present day scenario while also leading to a different ending than previously observed (sort of like the movie Clue). Filled with paradoxical twists Felix J. Palma pays homage to Wells with this engaging convoluted thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ashes of Honor-Seanan McGuire

Ashes of Honor

Seanan McGuire

Daw, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780756407490

One year has almost passed since October “Toby” Daye can claim a good night’s sleep as she suffers nightmarish reminders of who she lost rather than the country she gave up ruling. Her total focus is on doing her duties as mentor to her squire Quentin and detecting to pay her bills.

Etienne the knight retains Toby to find his changeling sixteen year old daughter Chelsea that he recently leaned he sired. He is worried for the safety of Faerie and his offspring as the untrained teleport leaps into long deserted sectors; which places the barriers that keep the realm secure at risk. As Toby, Quentin and Tybalt King of Cats search for Chelsea, an unknown adversary seeks her too and will assassinate any individual who gets in the way; at the same time Tybalt needs Toby’s help with trouble in the Court of Cats.

The latest October Daye urban fantasy (see One Salt Sea) is a terrific noirish thriller as the heroine and her companions set out to save a teen changeling, a world, and a kingdom. Readers will want to join Toby and her team as they traverse Faery on this fast-paced, action-filled tale with a strong twist re the consciences of the second order effect of magic.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hearts Of Darkness-Kira Brady

Hearts Of Darkness

Kira Brady

Zebra, Aug 7 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420124569

Norgard assigns Hart the mercenary werewolf to obtain a necklace. He watches the grieving human, alleged wearer of the necklace when Hart notices the ancient adversaries nearby. He muses over the bloody war between the self-proclaimed human protectors Kivati and the Drekar while detesting both sides but feeling the latter are honest in what they want.

Nurse Kayla Friday flies from Philadelphia to Seattle to identify the body in the morgue; her pregnant sister Desi lies dead on the slab. Stunned Kayla begins to do something that has Hart warning her to stop before she dies. He demands she give him the necklace he claims she stole from his employer while shocked that she is human. Hart finds the card of nasty Kivati Raven Lord Emory Corbette amongst Desi’s final possessions. He tells her to run back to Pennsylvania, but his advice proves too late when Rudrick and his thugs enter the morgue. Soon they are teaming up investigating her sibling’s murder, seeking the necklace and falling in an uneasy love that shakes the Aether.

This is an exciting romantic urban fantasy that has a horde of diverse paranormal running wild in the streets of Seattle. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this thriller from the moment Hart tells Kayla to run and never slows down to even a walk as Kira Brady provides a fabulous first act.

Harriet Klausner

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault-Ari Marmell

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault

Ari Marmell

Del Rey, Jul 24 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345534026

They seek what is inside the Abomination Vault left behind by the Nephilim. If they achieve their objective they will have at their disposal weapons of universal destruction that will end the fragile cold war peace between Heaven and Hell.

The only surviving Nephilim are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Death recognizes the threat to the universe from the shadows. With memories of what happened when his species committed all types of atrocities, he and his brother horseman War set out to prevent the raiding of the Abomination Vault; knowing failure is not an option.

This is an entertaining companion prequel piece to the Darksiders and Darksiders II games. Part of the fun is comparing the personalities of Death and War as the former prefers stealth sniper while the latter is more an infantry charging the hill. Although Death's barrage of amusing asides detract from the tension as at times he acts more like the Grim Reaper in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey than a horseman assigned to prevent the end of days war, fantasy fans (not just gamesters) will enjoy the two Horsemen riding ironically to stop the Apocalypse from happening.

Harriet Klausner

Thirteen-Kelley Armstrong


Kelley Armstrong

Dutton, Jul 24 2012, $26.95

ISBN: 9780525952831

The barriers that separate dimensions rapidly are vanishing. Creatures no one has seen before have crossed over to earth as the Supernatural Liberation Movement has used their powers to batter the earth and shake Otherworld.

Investigator Savannah Levine still lacks her witch powers, but knows she must be there with her friends when the confrontation occurs. She needs to be with them though she knows she risks her life and that some of her loved ones will surely die. She joins with the man she wants as her lover Adam, her guardians; her two siblings (one of whom she recently rescued from the SLM) and others to defend earth from within and from the paranormal invaders who no one knows how to defeat. War as perhaps not seen in eternity has descended on earth

The final Women of the Otherworld is a great finish to a strong urban fantasy saga. The storyline is fast-paced while bringing to full circle the series starting with repeating the first chapter of the opening act (see Bitten) in a fabulous good and evil confrontation. Though it is preferably better to have read the entire series to see how far the Women of the Otherworld have changed over the years; at a minimum newcomers should read the previous two entries (see Waking the Witch and Spellbound) that lead directly to Savannah’s maturing into a responsible caring adult. Kelly Armstrong provides great final act to a wonderful long running show though fans will want curtain calls.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rift-Andrea Cremer


Andrea Cremer

Philomel, Aug 7 2012, $18.99

ISBN: 9780399256134

In 1404 in the Scottish Highlands, family friend Guard Alistair Hart arrives to collect a debt Lord Morrow owes to his group Conatus. To pay for healing his wife, Morrow hands over his sixteen year old daughter Ember to Hart who escorts her to where she will be trained as a Guard swordswoman working for Conatus.

Ember always enjoyed swords as her stuffed kirtle recently learned; so she relishes that aspect of her training. She also begins to learn about magic and the darkness taking over the world. Her teacher brooding Barrow Hess demands more and more of her as he seems never satisfied with her accomplishments. Though Ember wishes he would encourage her, she falls in love with her mentor. However, evidence mounts that one of the Conatus leaders Eira deploys dark magic. Ember and Barrow know they need to destroy her and her followers though the temptation is to join Eira in the nether realm.

The prequel to the Nightshade Trilogy is an entertaining alternate historical fantasy that focuses on the rise of the Keepers even keeping the expected romance limited. Ember is a superb protagonist who is a strong person able to team with others or go solo; she makes the storyline fun to read. Although fans of the saga know the ultimate outcome a few centuries into the future, young adult readers will enjoy the chronicle of how it all began for the Keepers.

Harriet Klausner

Clean-Alex Hughes


Alex Hughes

Roc, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780451464750

The Tech Wars destruction changed the social order as normal humans avoid telepaths. He seconds the motion as distance enables him to stay away from hearing the Mindspace thoughts of everyone nearby. The Telepaths’ Guild exiled him allegedly due to his addiction to Satin, but he believes they, like the humans, distrust him though he has been clean for three years.

The eighth level telepath works for the DeKalb County Police Department where the brass always makes sure a normal “baby-sitter” accompanies him to insure he does not break the rules of telepathic use on a subject. He and his partner Detective Isabella Cherabino investigate a case going nowhere. Six bodies have been found in two months with no apparent link. Thus Captain Paulson hopes the telepath can find clues in Mindspace. Recognizing he is Cherabino’s pet monkey performing Mindspace tricks, he finds a connection to the Telepaths’ Guild and sees a vision of the next victim: him.

The nameless telepathic detective brings to life an alternate Atlanta just after the Tech Wars. He and Cherabino work the investigation that their superior says is not a serial killer case while also providing insight into each of their backgrounds without intruding on the whodunit. Unequal partners, he accepts his second class citizen as a way of life while she struggles with hyperactivity when not in the field. Filled with a great late twist, the first Mindspace Investigations urban fantasy police procedural is a super mystery starring two wonderful protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kept by Seduction-Jaymie Holland

Kept by Seduction

Jaymie Holland

St. Martin's Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312386641

Three consecutive years on the same day, one of Awai Steele’s nieces vanished (see Annie in Bound By Desire, Alice in Taken by Passion, and Alexei in Claimed by Pleasure). She has no idea who or why, but Awai waits for the arrival of the culprit(s) to come for her on the anniversary date of their kidnapping is soon; she plans to make them pay.

Awai has become a Dom who still yearns to be a sub but refuses to give into her nature after the torture of marriage to an abuser when she was very young. Kingdom of Clubs ruler Ty comes for his bride Awai, but he senses she refuses to ever submit though that is what she desires. He explains she is his queen and that her family is safe and married to monarchs and raising were-children in the other three kingdoms of Tarok. Still danger stalks the kingdoms perhaps from allegedly dead sorceress Mikaela, sister of the four kings who never accepted female rivals.

This reprint of the final Wonderland (as Cheyenne McCray) BDSM fantasy romance is a delightful erotica as Ty must persuade his Awai they can enjoy love and life if she sets free her inner sub. Ironically she is the one who believes that the true power is with the sub over the dom. Readers will enjoy the titillating gender war as the King of Clubs tries to persuade his queen neither has to bust genital parts to have a wonderful SM life together.

Harriet Klausner

Wake-Amanda Hocking


Amanda Hocking

St. Martin's Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781250008121

On summer vacation sixteen year old Gemma Fisher swims all day at the nearby pool where her coach observes her laps. However, she prefers her late night swims at Anthemusa Bay though her father and her older sister Harper disapprove because three people have recently vanished. When her car breaks down, her neighbor Alex takes her to the bay. At the cove, three girls begin singing, which has Alex swimming towards them until Gemma gets him to leave with her. Gemma wonders about the beautiful newcomers (Penn, Thea, Alexi and Arista) who have interrupted the tranquility of her nocturnal swims.

One night Penn, Thea and Alexi lure Gemma to join them near the water. When she awakens the next morning she is battered from head to toe but has no lucid memories of the night before. Gemma realizes she is no longer just the best swimmer locally but so much faster with greater endurance than she was. She also has uncanny healing skills that she had not possessed before that strange night and though already beautiful has become even prettier. The three girls explain that curses are blessings in disguise, but Gemma’s gut warns her that her new friends are concealing the downside.

This is an engaging opening act of the Watersong horror thriller starring a fascinating protagonist who must choose between her previous life she loved and a new existence that makes her even stronger as a creature of the sea. The fast-paced storyline ends with a fabulous cliffhanger but the characters are not fully developed so that key relationships like between the siblings seem shallow. Still with tugs on her heart, fans will wonder whether Gemma swims with Alex or with the sirens.

Harriet Klausner

Glitch-Heather Anastasiu


Heather Anastasiu

St. Martin's Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781250002990

The planet surface was poisoned by the dwellers making it inhabitable for humans to reside there. In the underground Community, inside of everyone’s brains are computer chips that wirelessly connect all residents to the Link. Feelings are dampened to the point that emotion is nonexistent so that the rivalries that destroyed the outside will not devastate the inside.

Seventeen years old Zoe glitches, which at time disconnects her from the Link. She knows her duty is to report her new status so she can be fixed, but she enjoys thinking in a world filled with colors. Zoe also has telekinesis ability. She conceals her rebirth from authorities until she meets Max and Adrien who are just like her and learns about the Resistance trying to free humanity from electronic slavery.

This is a taut 1984-like dystopian thriller in which teenage readers will accept the premises of the Community. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with exciting unexpected spins. Although the cast is not developed to include the critical triangular relationships between the three glitchers, fans will enjoy this action-packed drama.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sour Lake Or, The Beast-Bruce McCandless

Sour Lake Or, The Beast

Bruce McCandless

Ninth Planet Press, Dec 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780615544861

In 1911, East Texans live in fear as a monster is viciously ripping people apart while draining the victims of their blood. Ochiltree County Sheriff Reeves Duncan knows he must end this reign of terror, but realizes all the advantages belong to the unknown malevolence who owns the night in this depressed area called Big Thicket for an obvious reason.

While the good citizens of Acheson and other towns blame Sheriff Duncan in spite of his almost two decades of dedicated law enforcement, he puts together a posse of undesirables and second class misfits (as the good citizens refuse to help). The team of unacceptable pariahs methodically searches the slough of Big Thicket seeking to end the gruesome beast’s horror unaware that this monster has quisling allies and that there is an even greater danger to mankind.

This is an exhilarating gory early twentieth century horror thriller in which the taut storyline is enhanced with short backstories re the posse and the victims. Fast-paced with a sense of doom on every page, fans will appreciate this dark tale as 1911 East Texas comes to depressing light through grisly deaths and the eyes of a team suffering from PTSD with every mutilated body they find.

Harriet Klausner

The Sundered-Ruthanne Reid

The Sundered

Ruthanne Reid

4th Floor Publication, Jun 22 2012, $14.99


ISBN: 9780985260002

The world is a terrible place to die. The darkened water is deadly if touched; and much of the planet is inundated by it except for a few small islands with those diminishing every day. There is no place to grow food so what you have must last. Finally there are the watery Sundered slaves, who most feel are needed to survive but are limited by how easily they die in this dismal realm.

Harry knows the final pandemic flood is coming soon; extinction is humanity’s near future. Still he leads a team to include a highly intelligent Tier 1 Sundered seeking to save the planet before the orb becomes totally under water. The only chance is to find the long lost legendary Hope of Humanity; an artifact that enabled humans to obtain the top rung of the food chain and allegedly can cure the planet. Harry has a nightmarish choice between saving the Sundered and humanity dying rather quickly; and committing genocide by eradicating the Sundered so humanity can linger a little longer before expiring.

This is a superb cautionary environmental science fiction thriller in which earth takes center stage as the planet is changing by becoming uninhabitable for humanity who has abused it and is increasingly home to the Sundered. The fast-paced storyline grips the audience from the moment Harry explains the survivor rules and continues to hold readers spellbound as he takes us on a tour of a radically modified deadly for humans but thriving for Sundered earth.

Harriet Klausner

Sin’s Dark Caress-Tracey O'Hara

Sin’s Dark Caress

Tracey O'Hara

Harper Voyager, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061783159

The three NYPD cops at the murder scene are not feeling very well as the homeless victim was ripped open like a can of corn to remove the baby inside of her. This is the second horrific homicide in two weeks. Detective McManus asked magic expert Dr. Bianca Sin the Forensic witch to look at a symbol. When she does, Bianca becomes sick as she realizes the Dark Brethren seal is on the alley wall.

She calls shapeshifter Oberon DuPrie with the news the worst that could happen has begun. He and the team race to the murder scene. War is coming in which the paranormal species and the humans will take enormous losses, but must unite or face even worse as evil is on the march. Bianca understands this as she opens her locket to meet her familiar Kedrax the dragon who warns her dark magic plans to enable the Dark Brethren to cross over.

The latest Dark Brethren urban fantasy (see Death’s Sweet Embrace and Night's Cold Kiss) costars a nasty malevolent being who uses magic to impregnate chosen “fallen” women and then guts them to take the baby from them; this evil has great plans to bring hell on earth. Bianca, Oberon and the crew investigate in hopes of preventing the pandemic threat from happening. Their inquiry allows the audience to learn more about the secretive witch clans and to a lesser degree vampires and shapeshifters. This is a winner in the O’Hara mythos as time is running out on earth.

Harriet Klausner

The Dirty Streets of Heaven-Tad Williams

The Dirty Streets of Heaven

Tad Williams

Daw, Sep 4 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756407681

Though ostensibly Bobby Dollar is an angel, he understands sin first hand from his travails on that wicked oasis planet earth as he has tasted most if not all of the seven deadly sins. Bobby is a defense attorney advocating for the placement of souls as Heaven and Hell debate the merits and demerits of a lesser being in judgment. He trusts neither side as Heaven works in mysterious ways with hidden agendas and hell is like a dog catcher. A newcomer sent from Heaven makes Bobby feel as if the rookie is from internal affairs with his unrelenting questions. In fact the only person he believes tells him the truth is the Countess of Cold Hands and he is unsure whether lust is filtering her responses.

However, recently things have gone terribly wrong when souls vanish prior to their judgment. Hell lies and Heaven obfuscates as the advocate tries to learn the truth. At the same time a monstrous Babylonian demonic avenger stalks Bobby with plans to dine in his soul.

This is a wonderful fantasy in which heaven and hell are not good and bad but filled with gray matter. Bobby is terrific as he recognizes that both sides in the eternal war are collectors with Hell more open with their BHAG than Heaven is. With an exciting investigation and an end of days feel to the storyline, The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a serious version of Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life but with the Rip Torn advocate telling the tale of life in the afterlife bureaucratic judicial system at a time when all hell (or heaven) breaks out.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 20, 2012

Night Forbidden-Josh Ware

Night Forbidden

Josh Ware

Avon, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018649

In 2010, the five men entered Ferrester’s Pocket a cave near Sedona, New Mexico. Fifty years later, they left the cave to find a world gone mad. They made it to Envy where each of them except Fence shows a paranormal skill. In the time since they resurfaced, the quintet and their allies have learned that under the sea Atlantis and the Elite caused the apocalypse as a new evolution and that to survive they must maintain a diligent vigil against the corral deploying “Strangers”.

Once an extreme sports advocate in his previous life, Fence may not have any otherworldly talent, but easily adapts to the new world. However, when he and Ana meet they are attracted to each other. There is one problem that keeps them apart; she needs the ocean while he psychotically fears water. When she realizes something or someone is altering her beloved ocean, Ana must act to keep Envy safe while Fence must overcome his phobia to assist the woman he loves.

Though the overarching theme does not move much forward, the latest Envy Chronicles romantic apocalyptic fantasy (see Night Betrayed) is an intriguing tale as love may not be enough for the protagonists who are oceans apart in everything but desire. Fast-paced yet character driven by the lead couple who keep secrets and hide their respective flaws that make a permanent relationship seem doubtful. Fans will enjoy time in the night of the vivid Ware Mythos where a malevolent “matchmaker” rises from the depths of the ocean.

Harriet Klausner

The Lady Is A Vamp-Lynsay Sands

The Lady Is A Vamp

Lynsay Sands

Avon, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062078070

Argeneau Enterprises Widower Paul Jones is desperate to save the life of his dying five year old daughter Livy. His only hope is with his knowledge of what species the Argeneau clan is. Thus he targets vampire Jeanne Louise Argeneau after she leaves work; he tranquilizes her at a stop light before abducting her.

When Jeanne awakens in chains she is unconcerned with her plight as she knows she can mentally control the mortal hunk who kidnapped her. However, her tranquility ends when she realizes the connotation of her failing to make him do her bidding; her kidnapper is her life mate. Paul demands she change his daughter; Jeanne agrees to turn both of them into vampires and mentor them even while the Enforcers pursue them.

The latest Argeneau vampires’ romantic urban fantasy (see Under A Vampire Moon) is an engaging tale as Jeanne fears her beloved accepts changing only for the Girl’s sake and not enhanced by an eternal love of her too. Fans will enjoy The Lady Is A Vamp though ironically the adults need to “work on their people skills.”

Harriet Klausner

The Book Of The Night-Pearl North

The Book Of The Night

Pearl North

Tor Teen, Sep 4 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9780765320988

Now that the Libyrarians and the Singers realize they come from the same root, the longtime enemies end their hostilities. The former adversaries look forward to peace and plentiful throughout the land. Alas that is not to be when Po the healer finds the ancient Lion’s Bloom (a pen); this artifact can alter reality with the strokes of a pen.

Arrogant Queen Thela abducts Po and steals the Lion’s Bloom. She uses it to scribe her first sentence forbidding Po from harming her and turns him into her consort. Po uses advanced Kinseology techniques to keep her occupied and ergo not using the pen. However when someone challenges her for her throne, an irate Thela concludes that Po has cunningly manipulated her. Raging she uses the pen with everything she writes occurring and ripping the fiber of what was reality. As a new order begins to supersede the world that the Libyrarians and the Singers know, Redeemer Haly finds no way to end the never ending story of the Libyrinth as the only hope to prevent eradication rests with the mystical Book of the Night.

The third and final Libyrinth teen fantasy (see The Boy from Ilysies and Libyrinth) is a thrilling finish to a strong saga. The action-packed storyline contains a fully developed cast starting with the “You’re So Vain" (Carly Simon) queen who tries to ignore her sparks of decency and a resolute Po who vows to stop her insanity.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cuttlefish-Dave Freer


Dave Freer

PYR, Jul 24 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9781616146252

In 1976 the world understands that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" except in urban centers like London where smog from coal blocks out much of the light. In Fermoy, Ireland malicious Menshevik spies and brutal Imperial soldiers stalk St. Margaret’s School for the Children of Officers and Gentlemen student Clara Calland and her mom who has secrets that if revealed would insure the sun sets on the Empire.

Mother and daughter flee Cork for London while pursued by airships and trusting no one as anyone can be a traitor. They feel fortunate to be picked up by the crew of the Cuttlefish, a smuggling submarine sailing from the flooded London's canals to Fortress America while evading the imperial steamships. On board, Clara meets underpeople crew member Tim Barnabas who lived in the tunnels beneath the city as the treacherous journey for freedom begins.

This is a faster than the speed of light steampunk alternate twentieth century thriller that never decelerates from the moment the Calland pair flee Ireland until the final confrontation. With a fascinating premise, readers who relish action to the nth degree will want to join the adventures of the Cuttlefish though none of the cast including Clara and Tim are three dimensional and most of the key players stereotypical typecasting.

Harriet Klausner

The Kill Order-James Dashner

The Kill Order

James Dashner

Delacorte, Aug 14 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 978-0385742887

The solar flares bombarded the earth with radiation and intense heat leading to the melting of the ice caps quickly. This in turn caused flooding on a Noah scale that left millions dead from the tsunamis. Marc and Alec were in the subtrans when the floods began. Alec rescued Marc, Tina and other teenagers.

The teen group makes it to the 90-story Lincoln Building where they hope to survive the sun flares baking the planet. Eventually the survivors arrive in Appalachian North Carolina with renewed hope as the water and radiation levels ebb. A Berg low level flying ship attacks their settlement with a virus that spreads rapidly from person to person leading to insanity or death. There is only one possible way to prevent extinction, but the obstacles remain insurmountable.

This prequel to the bestselling Maze Runner young adult saga is an action-packed thriller in which surviving the apocalypse ordeal supersedes any deep character development; even Mark the narrator who tells the trek to the Appalachian Mountains in flashbacks has limited depth. Still the storyline is fast-paced and to reiterate filled with action, action and more action. Fans will enjoy this engaging tale though series readers know the outcome.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shadow Rising-Kendra Leigh Castle

Shadow Rising

Kendra Leigh Castle

Forever, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455511648

The Grigori vampire clan resides in strongholds in the deserts of the West. This mysterious group knows their destiny is watchers observing others but forbidden to intrude on the activities of the other bloodlines or the humans.

Sammael vanishes, but Grigori leader Sariel makes it clear to the clan not to follow him. Ariane, Sammael’s best friend, defies the decree as she does the unthinkable and sets out to find the wayward vampire. The House of Shadows commissions egocentric shapeshifting bounty hunter Damien Tremaine to bring in the rogue vampire. The pair collides and agrees to team up in their search for Sammael. Neither anticipated the attraction nor the evil chaos that stalks them and the Dark Dynasties of the United States.

The third Dark Dynasties romantic urban fantasy (see Midnight Reckoning and Dark Awakening) is a super star-crossed thriller starring two fascinating individuals coming from polar-opposite backgrounds inside of a deadly divided United States. The action-packed story line grips the reader from the moment a determined Ariane disobeys her leader (not an easy act) and never slows down as heated star-crossed lovers confront their respective hearts and a vicious ancient.

Harriet Klausner

The Dragon Reborn-Robert Jordan

The Dragon Reborn

Robert Jordan

Tor, Jul 3 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765334350

Three millennia ago the Dragon and the male mages sealed the Dark One in an unbreakable prison. However, the mages paid the cost of their involvement as all of them went insane; males mages since also become mad.

The unthinkable is starting to happen as the binds containing the Dark One is breaking apart. If freed, nothing can prevent the disaster. However, there is some hope that Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn. Though he battles madness, Rand knows he must obtain the sword Callandor. He, his allies and his enemies travel the dangerous path to Tear where Callandor is guarded.

The reprint of the exciting third Wheel of Time epic fantasy (see The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt) is an action-packed adventure thriller in which good and evil clash. The fast-paced storyline grips fans of the saga throughout although there is too many happenstance moments especially the miraculous appearance of an individual obtaining the right skill at the right time. Ironically Rand plays less of a role than the Aes Sedai novices (Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne) and even Mat in Robert Jordan’s thrilling tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Queen’s Hunt-Beth Bernobich

Queen’s Hunt

Beth Bernobich

Tor, Jul 17 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765322180

In Tiralien City, Varaene lovers Ilse Zhalina and Raul Kosenmark break up after a quarrel. In fact their highly visible argument was a sham in order for them to prevent war between the kingdoms of Károvi and Varaene.

Thus Ilse leaves town allegedly to escape her former lover, but actually to find one of the three magical Lir jewels to counterbalance that held by Károvi King Dzavek. At the same Raul, once upon a time a royal court attendee seeks information on the plans of two kings. Their enemy Markus Khandarr captures and interrogates Ilse; who escapes with an incognito queen seeking peace and a disgraced female soldier.

With a late medieval feel to the plot, the second River of Souls fantasy (see Passion Play) is an engaging entry; as the lead couple spends most of the storyline on separate exciting adventures with each trying to save the world from dark and light magical and mundane hostilities. The secondary cast, especially the two female companions of Ilse and allies of Raul, are fully developed as they enhance an entertaining thriller.


Harriet Klausner

Heart Secret-Robin D. Owens

Heart Secret

Robin D. Owens

Berkley, Aug 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253144

On Celta the Iasc sickness spreads rapidly killing everyone except private investigator Garrett Primross. Although he lived through this lethal plague, Garret grieves the loss of his woman and her baby while also struggling with survivor guilt. Celta healers want to learn why he lived when everyone else dies; he just wants to forget the nightmare but the Iasc sickness returns with a vengeance.

Several years ago healer Artemisia Mugwort Panax’s life imploded when her family was wrongly accused of participating in the Black Magic Cultist murders. Her blood went underground while she struggles to make a career out of being a healer as she is tainted by association. Garrett reluctantly agrees to be infected while Artemisia will serves as his only healer. Each knows they are HeartMates, but he remains in denial and rejection is a way of life for her. When the last missing Black Magic Cultist is executed, the pair and their Famcats are forced to investigate.

The latest Celta romantic fantasy (see Hearts And Sword and Heart Search) centers on two HeartMates, who are so traumatized they reject relationships as each knows even destined love hurts. The pair makes the tale as the guinea pig and the tester must learn to relate if they are to find the cure and identify the killer.

Harriet Klausner

After The Apocalypse: The New Way-David Anderson

After The Apocalypse: The New Way

David Anderson

Lulu, Mar 26 2012, $28.30


ISBN: 9781105532887

Humans became the dominant hunter for one-hundred millennia because people remained in harmony with Enger. Then ten millennia ago, civilization is created and over time people became lost until on 12-21-2012 everything imploded under the weight of avarice as science and politics supersede Enger. However, some prepared for life After the Apocalypse. Led by the prophet David and his apostles, these blogger monks created the Hidden Node waiting for the right moment to emerge and guide the remnants of humanity on thriving in the New Way harmony with Enger.

Over two centuries later the monks surface to guide the remnant who survived. Their Supreme Council sets rules by consensus for the monks in Harmony; the mass remnants in Greater Harmony; the Hero remnants who show promise as aspiring monks moving back and forth between the two centers; and the banished. Supreme Council leader Jules fears a crisis as the Heroes are increasingly not choosing the path to monkhood. Two Monk offspring tweeners Joicila and Sort are the latest needing to make a decision, Jules fears they will reject the righteous path. Could the New Way go the same as the old way?

This is an intriguing allegory as David Anderson focuses on a New Way of life based on healthy harmonious relationships with others and with Enger. As expected with parables, most of the cast even the council symbolize aspects of life; except for the concerned Jules and the enthusiastic Joicila. Readers will appreciate this thought provoking cautionary tale mindful of Walt Kelly’s Pogo stating on Earth Day over fifty years ago: "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us".

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 16, 2012

Desire After Dark-Jo Carlisle

Desire After Dark

Jo Carlisle

Heat, Aug 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451237040

Just like her Valkyrie hard ass sisters Kassandra loves starting the day with taking her sex slave Taryn followed by breakfast before doing her mission. Kass is diligent when it comes to collecting and delivering the souls of the fallen.

In New Orleans, the three Fontaine vampire siblings (Aldric, Soren, and Luc) own La Petite Mort, an adult resort that caters to the fantasy desires of a variety of beings, not all human customers. Normally diligent, Luc takes a breather with a ride when a feral werewolf attacks him. As he fights for his life, he sees a sword yielding beauty arrive. Kass has come for Luc, but after centuries of loneliness waiting for her mate, the warrior ironically must deliver his soul into the afterlife. Stunned she must choose defying the Gods (and her vow) or defying her heart.

The second Lords of Pleasure romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation at Twilight for Soren’s sensational saga) is a wonderful paranormal as the Valkyrie and the vampire risk all for love. The heated Carlisle mythos is anchored by promiscuity as demons, werewolves, Valkyries, vampires and uninhibited humans go after what they want. Fans will enjoy Kass’ potential career breaker as she chooses to chain her mate rather than deliverance.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eternal Beast-Laura Wright

Eternal Beast

Laura Wright

Signet, Aug 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451237729

Having been a captive at Mondrar prison, impure vampire leader Gray Donohue vows his peers will become free and equal or he will lead the rebellion to destroy the oppressive biased Eternal Order. However, he has one obstacle to his Resistance cause; his attraction to the mutore jaguar-shifting pureblood vampire Dillon who saved his life though she is destined to die for her shapeshifting ability which is considered a bad breeding omen.

Former Eternal Order member Cruen raised Dillon and her Duro foster brother Beasts. He has diabolical plans for his Beasts though Dillon is out of control as the jaguar seems to have taken control. She seeks vengeance on those who raped her while only Gray can calm the savage beast; but that intrudes on his leading the revolt for equal rights. Besides she rejects anyone interfering with her mission even her True Mate.

Expanding from the Roman Brother’s Mark of the Vampire trilogy (see Eternal Captive, Eternal Kiss and Eternal Hunger), Laura Wright provides another super romantic urban fantasy as the prejudice of the Purebloods come under increasing attacks by those who demand freedom. The lead couple are a rare breed as each is filled with rage and acrimony as the cowardly senator learns, so that even being in love the True Mates seem destined to fail. The Eternal Beast is a strong thriller with a brilliant shocking late twist.

Harriet Klausner

Whispers Under Ground-Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground

Ben Aaronovitch

Del Rey, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345524614

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector and registered wizard Thomas Nightingale assigns sorcerer apprentice London Constable Peter Grant to follow up on the lead of archivist Postmartin as to the whereabouts of two illegally trained evil magicians. Detective Inspector Miriam Stephanopoulos asks Grant to look at the murder of an unidentified male at the Baker Street Underground Station. He finds no vestigium but checks the nearby tube tunnel where he finds the murder weapon is a magical potsherd.

The victim is American exchange student James Gallagher, a son of a U.S. Senator demanding answers. Stephanopoulos’ boss taunting cynical Soewell informs Grant he is now part of their murder investigation team since his Nightingale, who usually leads magical inquiries, is tied up with tracking the Faceless Man malevolent magician. FBI Agent Reynolds joins the team as does the other Folly member Constable Lesley May, who recently lost her face to a magical assault.

The third Peter Grant police procedural urban fantasy (see Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho) is an exhilarating tale in which the actions and reactions of the cast starting with the “Hogwarts Express” make the Aaronovitch mythos seem real. The murder mystery is clever with ties to the Victorian age construction of the underground. Although the overarching premise widens with no forward progress, fans will enjoy the antics of the apprentice constable as he and his cohorts work the Whispers Under Ground whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Escape from Eternity-Nate Scholze

Escape from Eternity

Nate Scholze

Outskirts Press, May 29 2012, $15.95


ISBN: 9781432789060

University of London math Professor William Nolan investigates an object that fell from the sky near his home. He returns to the house ordering his wife Katherine to give him his passport before leaving. Shocked by his out of character behavior she calls family friend John Barrington.

Calling himself Adrian, William flies to Chicago and from there goes to Ephraim, Wisconsin to see Teddy Bitterman. Adrian tells Teddy that Caleb lives in the Cycle and demands he help him rescue him. Teddy refuses as he lost his beloved wife Audrey and his sibling Caleb when he tried to assist Adrian years ago rescue the alien’s missing brother Menonan. Pleading for his sister and him to be left alone, Teddy tells his visitor to look for the oldest Whitmore sister. Adrian locates depressed Laura Whitmore and asks for her assistance, but she refuses as her dreams died in a car accident. He explains why he needs her to find Menonan who vanished after putting down a coup attempt by creative aliens on planet earth many millennia ago. While she turns to her younger sister Michelle and her BFF Colin Benton, her father Howard vows to kill the alien and Katherine and John follow William’s trail to Door County only to learn he killed Laura's abusive Adam Blake.

Escape from Eternity is a gripping science fiction thriller starring a strong cast with diverse tsuris in a Close Encounters of the Third Kind scenario adding to their woes. The complex twisting storyline built on an eternal cosmological premise is character driven starting with Adrian’s possession of William’s body and never slows down as the audience anticipates a confrontations in Wisconsin and beyond.

Harriet Klausner

Rage of Lions -Curtis Jobling

Rage of Lions

Curtis Jobling

Viking Juvenile, Jun 5 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780670013890

Simple shepherd Drew Ferran learned he is the missing Werewolf heir to the throne of Lyssia and led a successful revolt against tyrant King Leopold the Lion and his cruel werelions who killed his father (see Rise of the Wolf). Now he and his supporters must turn from rebels with a cause to rulers with a cause though he prefers to return to the meadows as a free man instead of a king making royal decrees.

However, the reluctant king’s halfbrother Prince Lucas the Werelion escapes kidnapping Drew’s beloved Gretchen the Werefox. Leaving everyone concerned as his advisors insist save the kingdom before saving the girl, Drew pursues them with only Whitley the Werebear at his side. At the same time that Lyssia faces a leadership crisis, the Catlords led by Onyx the Werepanther invade the kingdom.

The second Wereworld young teen fantasy is an action-packed thriller starring a Were who knows he is unprepared to lead a kingdom as his flock has always been sheep not people (though some might argue his subjects behave like sheep). The kingdom is fully developed as young adult readers will enjoy touring the land with Drew as their guide. Although the dual cliffhanging climax will leave the audience disappointed, fans will enjoy the bloody trek getting there.

Harriet Klausner

The Donors-Jeffrey Wilson

The Donors

Jeffrey Wilson

JournalStone, Jun 29 2012, $16.95


ISBN: 9781936564460

Steve was already in a near rage when his woman had not returned home from work to watch over her brat. When he sees almost six years old Nathan cooking spaghetti O’s in the kitchen he goes berserk. Steve breaks the child’s arm and grabs Nathan’s hand screaming he will teach him what a stove does; he burns the kid’s fingers. Nathan refused to cry because he didn’t want his mommy sad and alone. Hysterical; Sherry takes her “little man” to the ER where Dr. Gelman tells her the burns are full thickness which means Nathan will need the dead skin replaced by a skin graft. Sherry wants her now ex-boyfriend arrested, but he insists Nathan hurt himself.

Two lizards from another dimension garbed as humans Mr. Clarke and Mr. Smith work the hospital where they use suffering to harvest organs though they rationalize that they only punish abusers deserving torture. The pair fear little kids who can see what they are, but also know adults assume children have wild imaginations. A doctor Jason, whom never moved on from believing he failed his late mom when he was a kid, tries to prevent them from using a nurse he loves, and the mom and child as a tool to get at Steve though his gut screams the SOB deserves the same punishment he gave Nathan.

This is a powerful horror thriller in which readers will root for the vigilante justice of the lizard men to rip Steve one organ at a time while rooting for intrepid Nathan to not fall under their dark “spell”. Fast-paced throughout and a strong cast, fans will appreciate The Donor, which questions what evil and heroism truly are.

Harriet Klausner

A Witch Before Dying-Heather Blake

A Witch Before Dying

Heather Blake

Obsidian, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451237637

Infamously known for their witch trials, Salem, Massachusetts contains a tourist attraction Enchanted Village in which practitioners of the Craft (witches) can practice their skills without mortals knowing it. If a witch tells a mortal what she is, she loses her Crafty power. Visitors enjoy seeing “magic” performed but assume it is illusions by magicians as everyone knows there is no such thing as magic.

Sisters Darcy and Harper Merriweather relocated here from Ohio after their Aunt Velma told them they were witches. Working for her aunt’s concierge services As You Wish where “No Job Impossible”, Darcy the wishcrafter can make wishes come true. Elodie Keaton hires Darcy to clean up the house of her hoarder mother Patricia who vanished a year ago. Darcy stumbles over a pile that collapses against a suitcase, which opens. Inside is the mummified body of Patricia. Everyone assumes the motive for the murder was to obtain Patricia’s possession the Anicula Stone, which grants wishes to whoever holds it as long as that wish is not evil. Petty break-ins with nothing stolen follow, which leads Darcy to believe someone is searching for the stone. She starts to investigate and almost gets killed by someone who believes she has the Anicula Stone.

Readers will enjoy visiting Enchanted Village, which lives up to its name as a sort bewitching tourist attraction (think Disneyland) as familiars like Pedro the mouse and Archie the bird soar freely. Although most of the residents use their otherworldly skills for good, a few practice evil dark magic. Having met personally the t village police led by her boyfriend, a caring Darcy feels compelled to help investigate as part of the “No Job Impossible” mantra. Though the usual elements of an amateur sleuth urban fantasy occur in the second A Wishcraft Mystery (see It Takes a Witch), fans will enjoy this entertaining paranormal whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Seduced By Blood-Laurie London

Seduced By Blood

Laurie London

Harlequin HQN, Jul 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776696

In British Columbia Guardian regional Commander Tristan Santiago (see Bonded In Blood) is impressed by a friend of Lily Degraff (see Embraced by Blood) tracker Roxanne Reynolds when she took out two Darkbloods with no weapon of her own to rescue a sweetblood human. Reluctantly he knows he needs her unique skill to uncover the traitor who has betrayed him and his unit. The Darkbloods know more than they should without an informant giving them information.

Roxy agrees to pose as Tristan’s lover while they internally investigate his team. Both are appalled by their attraction to each other and secretly vow to his or herself not to act on these undesirable desires though since he cannot read her he hopes she is the one to prevent him from turning into a Darkblood. As they close in on the mole, a lost Guardian blade that vanished when Roxy’s lover died several years ago resurfaces.

The latest Sweetblood romantic urban fantasy (see Tempted by Blood) is an entertaining tale starring two obstinate lead characters used to getting their own way until now as they butt heads. Similar in tone to Christine Feehan’s Carpathian tales, fans will relish this Pacific Northwest vampire thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Dragon Justice-Laura Anne Gilman

Dragon Justice

Laura Anne Gilman

Luna, Jul 24 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803484

PUPI (Private, Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations) investigator Bonnie Torres is exhausted from too much work and too little rest as she and others bring justice to those who commit crimes with magic as the means. After informing his partner Ian Strosser, Bonnie’s boss Benjamin Venec invites Bonnie to join him in Philadelphia for a few R&R days while they explore their magical “Merge”.

However, their time off including their deep look at their bond ends before it begins when the cops ask them to look into two odd homicides. The pair soon realize they are dealing with diabolical serial killing paranormal practitioners whose murders span decades. The rest of PUPI join them as they hunt for killers using magic as a deadly weapon before someone else dies.

The latest PUPI PSI (paranormal scene investigation) urban fantasy (see Tricks of the Trade and Pack of Lies) is a magical mystery tour of Philadelphia in the land of the Gilman mythos. The engaging storyline focuses on the changing relationship between the Merge pair though the serial killings soon supersede the destined inevitable.

Harriet Klausner

The Unspoken-Heather Graham

The Unspoken

Heather Graham

Mira, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313618

In 1898 the Jerry McGuen sinks in Lake Michigan; everyone aboard dies. The freighter contained many treasures including the sarcophagus of an Egyptian sorcerer. Rumors spread that many believe today over a century later that the sorcerer cursed the Jerry McGuen and anyone foolish enough to go after his resting place.

Having found the location where Jerry McGuen sits on the seabed, a diver and a ghost expert explore only to die. The FBI assigns Jackson Crow and his Krewe of Hunters unit to investigate the ghost ship. Pathologist Katya Sokolpv and illusionist Will Chan meet at the Chicago morgue and follow-up with inquiries into the mysterious deaths as more people involved with the Jerry McGuen exploration die.

The latest Krewe of Hunters romantic urban fantasy (see The Unholy) star two previous support characters; who although attracted to one another get on each other’s nerves. The paranormal romantic mystery is exhilarating and fast-paced with the lead duet and their team finding evidence that point to several suspects but one Unspoken name in particular seems most likely the culprit. The romance is handled deftly, but feels more a requirement as the whodunit grips the audience.

Harriet Klausner

Fallen Angel-Eden Bradley

Fallen Angel

Eden Bradley

Harlequin HQN, Jun 19 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373777174

On the beach in Mendocino, Declan the forest ranger and his dog Liam walk as they do every morning so he can clear his head and prepare to deal with people; something he hates as he has become a recluse. He hears a loud thump just behind him; when he turns around he sees a battered naked woman covered in blood and tattoos, and a leg at an impossible angle. Though he wonders where she could have come from he calls 911.

Feeling obsessed and definitely out of character, Declan visits Jane Doe at the hospital. She informs Declan that she has no name, only knows of Asmodeus and The Grandmother who raised her, and has no concept of what a hospital is. He calls her his Angel and takes her home with him to teach her to survive a cruel world. She fears her mentor will come for her to finish the job for her failing at the gift of seduction that he trained her for and he will also hurt her current benefactor.

This is a fascinating romantic urban fantasy starring an intriguing female lead; Declan’s issues with his father and others seem minor compared to Angel’s hellish existence. Fast-paced from the moment Angel seems to have fallen from the sky, fans will enjoy this drama but a deeper look into the heroine’s state of mind after rejection and abandonment by those who she believed love her and whom she loved would have intensified the storyline. Still with a twisting climax, readers will want to know where Angel fell from “grace” onto the beach near the sea.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 13, 2012

Biting Cold-Chloe Neill

Biting Cold

Chloe Neill

NAL, Aug 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451237019

In Chicago, Cadogan House vampire master Ethan Sullivan’s return has Cadogan sentinel Merit rejoicing though wary of her feelings (see Drink Deep). However, the Merit has bigger concerns than the turmoil inside her heart as she learns her former best friend Mallory seeks the Maleficium; if misused it would free evil upon an unsuspecting world.

Ethan and Merit head to Nebraska where the ancient tome is safely stored. However, though aware of Mallory’s misguided magic, neither vampire realizes that anti-vampire Tate wants to possess the Maleficium so he stalks Merit. At the same time the powerful Greenwich Presidium plans a coup to take over Cadogan House.

The latest superb Chicagoland Vampire urban fantasy (see Twice Bitten and Friday Night Bites) relocates the storyline from Chicago to the Great Plains as betrayal and duplicity leave the master and the sentinel in peril. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the heroine learns what Mallory intends and vows to prevent this pandemic horror from occurring and never slows down as she and her “sire’ struggle to keep the nightmare from happening while others prefer the alternative.

Harriet Klausner

Two Weeks’ Notice-Rachel Caine

Two Weeks’ Notice

Rachel Caine

Roc, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464620

Serving in Iraq as a soldier, Bryn Davis learned she handled corpses without her stomach betraying her so as a civilian she obtains the position of Funeral Director at the Fairview Mortuary where her boss Lincoln Fairview IV and his thug Freddy killed her. However, Pharmadene security chief Patrick McCallister revives her using the firm’s top secret drug Returne. To obtain future daily doses of Returne, Bryn acquiesces to work for McCallister (see Working Stiff).

The FBI takes control of Returne while Bryn works at the Davis Funeral Home. She and Patrick begin seeing each other romantically and in supporting a Returne group to help users adapt. However, when the chemical zombies including her sister Anne start to vanish, Bryn fears the Feds are behind the activity, but will do anything for her next dose controlled by the FBI to extort favors and to find and rescue Anne.

The second Revivalist urban fantasy is a strong chemical Zombie thriller as the Working Stiff heroine finds her ultimate undying loyalty is to the government; no group manipulates the pharmaceutical “free” market more than the Big Pharma-Fed complex. Readers will enjoy this action-packed thriller starring two caring protagonists swimming in a sea of Federal and Pharma sharks.

Harriet Klausner

Seawitch-Kat Richardson


Kat Richardson

Roc, Aug 7 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780451464552

Over a quarter of a century ago, the Seawitch set sail with four passengers and one crew. The vessel never returned to the marina nor found; until now. Twenty-seven years after the yacht vanished, in a Grey fog the Seawitch returns to the same dock in the Sound that it left from, but with no one board and in terrible condition.

The insurance company hires Harper Blaine the Greywalker to investigate the “ghost ship.” Seattle Detective Sergeant Rey Solis leads the police inquiry. She is pleased that she will work with Solis who may be uncomfortable with the “creepy” that seems to come with Blaine cases, but always is professional. They jointly explore the Seawitch; Harper and Solis find ritual symbols written in blood. He focuses on what appears to be a murder while she follows clues that are as insidious but also arcane.

The latest fabulous Greywalker investigative urban fantasy (see Downpour) is a fabulous at sea “locked” yacht ghost story that hooks the audience from the moment the diverse detectives meet at the dock and never slows down as they work their respective cases. Spellbinding throughout, readers will relish this entry as the Greywalker and Solis, who is slightly less stressed with the creepy, follow the clues to what happened to five people on board the Seawitch.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wicked Business Janet Evanovich

Wicked Business

Janet Evanovich

Bantam, Jun 19 2012, $28.00

ISBN: 9780345527776

In Salem, Massachusetts Diesel informs pastry chef Lizzy Tucker that his cousin, Gerwulf Grimoire has a lead on one of the seven stones of SALIGIA that each contains a deadly sin. He also says that Harvard University English Professor Gilbert Reedy was tossed off his fourth-floor balcony with a hand print on his neck that most likely belonged to Wulf.

They learn the late professor spent two decades in search of the Luxuria Stone that contains the sin of lust. Lizzy and Diesel accompanied by Carl follow clues found in a Romantic Era book of sonnets that leads them into the Boston catacombs, the Brahmin and the government while Wulf and his loyal follower Hatchet track his cousin and the tracker waiting to snatch the prize once they find it. Neither rival is aware that lurking in the shadows is Anarchy.

The second Lizzy and Diesel urban fantasy (see Wicked Appetite for gluttony) is a fun lighthearted romp. The storyline is fast-paced as the two teaming "Unmentionables" seek lust before Wulf obtains it. The Evanovich trademark jocularity seems off and distracting; still fans will enjoy touring Boston with Lizzy, Diesel and Carl as our guides.

Harriet Klausner

Master Of Darkness-Angela Knight

Master Of Darkness

Angela Knight

Berkley, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425247938

Based on a prophecy, werewolf mage Miranda Drake believes she is the only one who can prevent her alpha father Warlock the werewolf sorcerer from killing King Arthur and destroying Avalon. While Warlock rallies the werewolf hordes to his cause, Dire wolf William Justice the cop is despondent that he failed to stop his enemy’s Machiavellian maneuvers that have the werewolves prepared for war.

William vows to keep Miranda safe though she makes it clear to him she does not want another abusive alpha in her life after years of being on the receiving end from similar werewolves especially her father. Though Justice and Drake are attracted to one another, they need to trust and rely on each other in order to interpret the enigmatic prophecy before Magekind becomes extinct.

The ninth and final Mageverse fantasy (see Master of Dragons) is a great finish to an excellent saga. Fast-paced and loaded with action including heated lovemaking, fans will appreciate the final confrontation (turning T. S. Eliot’s "The Hollow Men" upside down), as the Knight Mageverse world ends not with a whimper but a bang.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stygian’s Honor-Lora Leigh

Stygian’s Honor

Lora Leigh

Berkley, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425246078

Jonas Wyatt the Lion Breed rescue his soul mate Rachel’s baby daughter Amber from Philip Brandenmore who injected the infant with an unknown elixir. Though Amber is Devon’s biological child, Jonas considers her his offspring ever since he knew she recognized his voice while she was in the womb. He vowed to find the antidote to the experimental drug that is killing his baby (see Lion’s Heat).

Jonas believes only locating two women who survived injection by Brandenmore Research with similar toxin is the only hope for his Amber. With help from the Navajo Nation’s Liza Johnson, Wolf Breed Stygian Black searches for the missing Honor Roberts and Fawn Corrigan who both vanished several years ago. Stygian starts his search for Honor who was last seen when she was a young teen in Window Rock, Arizona. However he also senses the Navaho and their agent conceal something important from him, but he remains resolute in finding either of the females while refusing his recognition that Liza is his breed mate until after Amber is saved.

This is an exciting Breed romantic suspense urban fantasy as Jonas sets the tone with his willingness to do anything to save the life of his child but also vows no one involved in those horrific experiments will live if Amber dies. The thrilling storyline is filled with twists as individuals find themselves yanked in opposite directions by people they care about. Lora Leigh continues to provide quality thrillers

Harriet Klausner

Darklands-Nancy Holzner


Nancy Holzner

Ace, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007706

In Boston’s Deadtown, Victory Vaughn wonders whether her successful demon-slaying operation has put her out of business as the demonic population is dwindling rapidly. While searching for a stolen ancient Celtic cauldron taken from the Peabody Museum, Vicky also looks into the disappearing demon horde.

The dragon slayer soon finds evidence that her demi-demon cousin Pryce is behind the snatch and the vanishing, which means he seeks to regain the demon shadow abilities that Vicky removed from him. However, she remains ignorant to the fact that Pryce has an ally also with an ax to grind preferably in Vicky’s head.

The latest Deadtown urban fantasy (see Bloodstone and Hellforged) is a terrific entry that continues to build on the rights of minorities vs. the security of fearful majorities. The storyline is fast-paced as obstinate Vicky battles her cousin and a more dangerous adversary with a no retreat manta. Readers will appreciate the latest tour of the Deadtown ghetto as the demon exterminator follows the clues unaware if she continues on this path leads to her extinction.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Second Spy-Jacqueline West

The Second Spy

Jacqueline West

Dial, Jul 5 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780803736894

Ever since tweener Olive Dunwoody and her mathematician parents moved into fixer upper Victorian mansion left vacant when elderly Ms. Annabelle McMartin died, she found the house odd especially the paintings that she entered led her to Elsewhere. After dealing with the evil Annabelle (see The Shadows), Olive knows she must stay grounded as she starts school soon.

However, when she falls through a hole in the backyard, she lands in an Elsewhere mess. Instead of staying dead, Annabelle McMartin remains a threat and even more malevolent are other evil essences. None of that frightens Olive as much as how her allies behave. The three cats (Harvey, Horatio and Leopold) are misbehaving rather than protecting Olive and the house; her only friend Rutherford Dewey wants to run away from her; and her Elsewhere buddy Morton seems upset with her.

The third Books of Elsewhere (see Spellbound and The Shadows) fantasy is an engaging thriller as upper elementary school readers get deep inside the head of the beleaguered heroine. Olive feels like Gary Cooper in High Noon as her allies apparently deserted her while she confronts some nasty adversaries. Action-packed yet profound due to Olive’s disappointment that those she thought had her back apparently forsaken her, fans will relish the superb Second Spy.

Harriet Klausner

Thieftaker-D.B. Jackson


D.B. Jackson

Tor, Jul 3 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765327611

In 1765 Boston Ethan Kaille the thieftaker conjures spells to track stolen goods for a fee. Abner Berson hires Kaille to locate the brooch stolen from his murdered daughter Jennifer.

Ethan, assisted by his familiar a ghost garbed in medieval armor, works the case. They start with Jennifer’s corpse that shows no signs of physical trauma but Ethan detects magic performed by a sorcerer much more powerful than the thieftaker. Kaille finds clues that tie the unknown conjurer to rebellion, something he prefers to avoid after spending time in a penal colony for his role in a mutiny though he supports the concepts of the Sons of Liberty who he meets. As he digs deeper, Ethan deals with his thieftaker’s rival Sephira Pryce who will use any means to eliminate the competition.

This is an exhilarating opening act of a wonderful pre-Revolutionary War historical fantasy starring a wonderful hardboiled detective who prefers brains to brawn. The vernacular, real events like the reaction to the Stamp Act and other details of life in Colonial Boston enable armchair readers to believe they meet notables like Samuel Adams. Although the use of Latin in conjuring feels too gimmicky and distracting, fans will enjoy the entertaining Thieftaker.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 9, 2012

Earth Unaware-Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Earth Unaware

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Tor, Jul 17 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765329042

An extended family affair, the mining ship El Cavador travels deep inside of the Kuiper Belt. When an object is detected decelerating, the crew knows this is a visit by a vessel from outside the solar system. On an asteroid, they debate what to do with Victor Delgado insisting they warn everyone. Captain Concepcion questions who while the leaders proclaim no one as they fear claim-jumping corporates.

Corporate miner Lem Jukes tests a machine that breaks down an entire asteroid into its various molecules. He chooses the locale where the El Cavador is, but starts with a sneak attack on that ship. Several days later, Victor and others finally fix the prime systems but lack communications to warn the imminent invasion by aliens. While on Earth, Captain Wit O'Toole seeks the best of the best from the military to join the U.N.-backed Mobile Operations Police.

This prequel to the Ender’s Game outer space thriller is an exciting tale that fans will enjoy though it covers the same time, space and theme as Marvel’s Formic War saga. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action as the aliens attack as do the corporates. Fans of the series will enjoy reading the events of what led up to the Enders Game though if you read the comic books the plot comes across as déjà vu with more depth.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Elfhome-Wen Spencer


Wen Spencer

Baen, Jul 3 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451637830

An orphan from Pittsburgh, Tinker knows the second order effect of her actions left 60,000 Steeler (and Pirate) residents isolated in the Ghostlands rather than Pennsylvania. Tinker’s cousin Orville “Oilcan” Wright notices a young female Stone Clan elf drumming with olianuni sticks in front of a soda machine in the train station. He warns her that Pittsburgh has become dangerous, but Merry the elf insists she has a letter to give to the Earth Son. Oilcan informs her that the Earth Son is dead. He escorts her to the Stone Clan embassy where Thorne Scratch tells him to keep her safe. She soon joins the Naekanain band of mixed breed musicians.

At the same time Tinker’s mate, Wolf Who Rules Wind invites former slave, Oni hybrid leader Tommy Chang and his brethren to join the Wind Clan as Beholden. Tommy distrusts the Windwolf’s motives, but Jin Shoji the Tengu freed from captivity by Tinker suggests the Wind Clan leader offers the Oni a seat at a special table. As he considers what the Tengu says, Tommy searches the forest for oni.

The latest Elfhome fantasy widens the super Spencer world as other species like the purebred stranded humans, the Tengu and the hybrid Oni take the lead from elves; even the featured elves focus on other clans besides the Wind Clan in this entertaining story line. The prime subplots are the coming of age of Oilcan and Tommy as responsibility for the well-being of others makes you mature rather quickly. Character driven by racism triggered by a history of hostilities including genocide, fans will enjoy meeting the other species as major change has come to the Ghostlands with many preferring the pre Tinker status quo.

Harriet Klausner

Bared Blade-Kelly McCullough

Bared Blade

Kelly McCullough

Ace, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007676

In Tien, Zhan Aral Kingslayer sits in his office in the Gryphon’s Head Tavern with his best (and only) friend and secret partner Triss the shade in his shadow, musing how far he fell when his Goddess of Justice and the Downtrodden Namara was assassinated. He was a Blade of Namara delivering justice to affluent and impoverished alike. Now he earns a living as a jack of all shadow trades to clients beyond the fringe of society which is a step up from where he was one year ago when he became a Broken Blade with a price on his head.

Two women enter the tavern; one is very tall and muscular while other a lithe dancer. When Cobble Runner Shadow Lieutenant Boguin offers money to do both of them, Triss, acting out of character, insists Aral intervene, which he reluctantly does as he tells the officer they are with him. Stel and Vala order Aral to leave them alone. Almost immediately afterward, a magical assault hammers the Gryphon’s Blade. The four survive though bystanders and assassins do not. Attracted to Vala who reminds him of his former fiancée Jax, Aral and his Shade find themselves in the crosshairs of a battle for an artifact.

The second Fallen Blade fantasy stars an interesting hero with an irreverent, self-deprecating attitude as he no longer has a purpose to live. Ironically, Aral and Triss struggle to help the extremely competent females who come to their aid as often if not more than they do for them. Fans will appreciate the magnificent McCullough mythos as the BFFs learn the mantra the road to Shadowside is paved with good intentions.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Libriomancer-Jim C. Hines


Jim C. Hines

Daw, Aug 7 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9780756407391

Isaac Vainio is a rare magic practitioner as a Libriomancer who makes real objects from things in books manifest in reality. However, needing to earn a living, he turns in magic for bar codes as he accepts employment at the Copper River Library. Meyerii vampires materialized from a book attack him, Isaac is fortunate to survive.

He soon learns the vampiress have assaulted other magic users as they target the Die Zwelf Portenaere “Porters” in retaliation for attacks on their kind. The six century old Libriomancer founding father of the Porters Johannes Gutenberg vanishes. Isaac, dryad Lena Greenwood and Smudge the fire-spider begin a mission to end the war and free Gutenberg, but are unaware of a diabolical and hostile third party.

With a nod to the movie Inkheart, Libriomancer is an exciting urban fantasy starring a wonderful hero, a fabulous kick butt sidekick and a burning lunatic “pet” who left Jig the Goblin’s shoulder for a new fiery gig. Fast-paced and filled humor, readers will enjoy the escapades of Isaac and his two allies as they leap off the pages of Jim C. Hines terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Grass King's Concubine-Kari Sperring

The Grass King's Concubine

Kari Sperring

Daw, Aug 7 2012. $7.99

ISBN 9780756407551

The world is divided into two parts between the World Below where elemental spirit Grass King rules and the World Above where humans reside. The two realms never intertwine until Marcellan ventures into the World Below. The Grass King and his inner Cadre think nothing much about the human visitor except as a curiosity. However, he proves inadvertently insidious when he introduces human concepts of rights to the masses. Marcellan’s impact on the World Below also affects the World Above.

Her visions of a magical court haunt heiress Aude Pèlerin des Puiz and propel her to seek the source of her family's incredible wealth. She finds a sea of thin gray grass where once rice paddies flourished as to her horror she concludes that the droughts that dried up the rice paddies connect to her wealth. Her inquiry leads Aude and her lover Jehan end up in the World Below where the Cadre demands she become the Grass King’s Concubine.

Readers will enjoy this entertaining fantasy that occurs several centuries after the events of Living With Ghosts. The engaging storyline tends to accelerate and decelerate as the pace is uneven especially the transitions between Marcellan and Aude. Still with a strong cast, a deep environs and a fascinating mystery, fans will want to know what happened to Marcellan and what is happening to Aude.

Harriet Klausner

Shadowlands-Violette Malan


Violette Malan

Daw, Aug 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780756407407

In the Land of the Faerie, Dragon born High Prince Cassandra and her supporters have defeated the usurper Basilisk Prince to become the rightful ruler. However, winning the war does not denote winning the peace as healing must come to the land and those trapped in the Shadowlands on the other side must be given the opportunity to come home.

Prince Cassandra sends former Hound Stormwolf the Rider she healed to Shadowlands to welcome home the exiled. He meets Nighthawlk in Spain who sends him to Toronto where Alexjandro Martin AKA Graycloud resides with his human fara’ip ward Valory Martin a psychic who he helped escape from the Collector. Meanwhile Stormwolf learns to his horror that the Hounds of the Wild Hunt assault the souls of humans, draining their dra’aj, which leaves the victims extremely lethargic. He meets Valory when he thinks he is rescuing her from an assault that was planned to catch those who stalk her. They, other Riders and mortal victims take the fight to the Hounds while also in the Shadowlands Foxblood and his pack seek the girl as a means to obtain the Horn and keep the High Prince in Faerie.

This is a fabulous urban fantasy sequel to The Mirror Prince as the war may be over in Faerie but the healing has just begun as some especially in the Shadowlands reject the Cycle of Prince Cassandra as the high ruler. Action-packed, the irony of this strong tale is summed up by those who never crossed over from Faerie believing that humans are mythological creatures. Fans will enjoy Valory’s tour of Toronto as Violette Malan writes a strong thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Blood of the Empire-Tracey Hickman

Blood of the Empire

Tracey Hickman

Daw, Jul 31 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780756407322

The five heroes arrived on dragons but it is the human Drakis on Marush who has rallied the diverse rebel species like the manticore, dwarves and humans, etc. to revolt against their oppressive conquerors the elves of the Rhonas Empire. Drakis is considered the Man of Prophecy who will lead the overthrow of the Rhonas Empire. However, he is a man with doubts and a heavy heart as he has seen personally the cost of the insurrection with the death of his beloved Mala. Without Drakis as the rallying point the revolt will end in crushing defeat.

His fellow dragon riders (Lyric the human, Jugar the dwarf, Ethis the Ephidrian crimerian and Urulani the Forgotten Ones free human encourage him to take charge of the Army of the Prophet though each has their own hidden agenda for joining the freedom cause. However, the keys to victory especially deploying Drakis plan are Braun the human wizard who is working on negating the aether wells source of elven magical power and Soen the elven inquisitor seeking the truth though that outs him questioning the Imperial Will of Queen Chythal.

The final Annals of Drakis fantasy (see Citadels Of The Lost and Songs Of The Dragon) is a great tale due to the strong cast starting with the hero who has doubts sending so many to die (kind of like Ike leading up to D-Day). Drakis, encouraged by Urulani and Soen, begins to understand that “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) as he reluctantly leads the final encounter. Fast-paced with a strong cast, fans will relish this saga.

Harriet Klausner

Forged in Fire-J. A. Pitts

Forged in Fire

J. A. Pitts

Tor, Jun 19 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9780765324696

In the Seattle area Sarah Beauhall muses about her difficulty previous months since the blacksmith and budget movies props guru working on Elvis versus the Goblins forged a sword that turned out to be the Nordic legendary Gram (see Black Blade Blues). Since then, all sorts of supernatural creatures accost her and her significant other Katie over ownership of the blade that allegedly Sigurd used to slay Fafnir the dragon Jean Paul. She now believes it as she and her friends defeated a dragon twice (see Honeyed Words).

However, Sarah has no time for R&R with Katie because a necromancer serial killer deploys deadly magic in Washington State. She knows all of the dead and Sarah concludes this evil adversary who has no compunction about killing the innocent is stalking her and must be stopped by her before more die. However Sarah remains ignorant of another insidious threat to the well-being of herself, her beloved Katie and their allies and friends.

The third Sarah Beauhall urban fantasy is an exciting action-packed thriller that works because of Sarah and her cohorts still struggling to rationally accept an altered “physics”. The storyline is fast-paced while the prime villain is a powerful diabolical threat to the heroine. Although the climax is abrupt, fans will enjoy Sarah’s daring feats Forged in Fire.

Harrier Klausner