Thursday, January 24, 2013

Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar-Lexi George

Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar

Lexi George

Kensington Brava, Jan 29 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758263131

In Hannah, Alabama, hybrid demon-human Rebekah "Beck" Damian own and runs a dive that employs the gamut of paranormal species serving the gamut of paranormal species; this includes allowing Wampus Kitty inside her establishment though she hurts business with her gloom and doomsday soliloquies frightening the patrons, staff and even somewhat Beck. However her open door policy becomes challenged when Conall Dalvahni demon hunter enters as his kind is at war against her paranormal half.

To their respective chagrin, Beck and Conall are attraced to each other though neither trusts the other. Allegedly Conall searches for a mega-powerful demon-possessed weapon which his prey supposedly possesses that the hunter believes would result in genocide of his kind. As the odd couple fall in love, both know their natural inclination is to kill their beloved and grieve afterward.

The third Demon Hunting urban fantasy (see Demon Hunting In Dixie and Demon Hunting In The Deep South) is a fabulous action-packed thriller due to Lexi George’s ability to make her paranormals appear genuine. The star-crossed lovers are beloved enemies as everyone knows that a demon hunter and a half demon make war not love. While the protagonists fall in love, the overarching theme also moves forward as Beck’s brother Tommy would testify. Filled with danger and jocularity, fans will enjoy stopping at an equal opportunity dive bar in Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd).

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blue Bloods-Melissa de la Cruz, Robert Venditti (adapter) and Alina Urusov (art)

Blue Bloods

Melissa de la Cruz, Robert Venditti (adapter) and Alina Urusov (art)

Hyperion, Jan 15 2013, $19.99

ISBN: 9781423134466

Only the elite Blue Bloods attend Manhattan’s ultra-exclusive Duchesne School. However though the students are a special breed as offspring of the movers and shakers, there is a caste system at Duchesne like any school. Below in the ooze underneath the hierarchal ladder is where Schuyler Van Alen and her friend Oliver Hazard-Perry reside or as far from superstar Jack Force or his twin sister Mimi is possible. That is until they change as their reincarnated vampire genes manifest with nightmarish looks as far back as seventeenth century Roanoke.

Duchesne student Augusta Carondolet dies at a nightclub; also there with her were the Force siblings, new pupil bad dude Dylan Ward, student Bliss Llewellyn and sneaking in for the first time Schuyler and Oliver. Soon after Aggie’s death, other Blue Bloods die. As she learns the truth about who she is, Schuyler also inquiries about a schism that goes back to the original Virginia colony as an avenging group the Silver Bloods have begun a killing spree.

This terrific graphic novelization of the first Blue Bloods young adult vampire thriller captures the essence of the original storyline and its high school age lead characters. Fans of the series will appreciate Robert Venditti’s wonderful adaptation enhanced by powerful Alina Urusov’s art as Melissa de la Cruz’s entertaining vampiric teen lit suspense (with two mysteries) comes vividly alive.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Memory Of Light-Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

A Memory Of Light

Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Tor, Jan 8 2013, $34.99

ISBN: 9780765325952

The forces of the Light and the Darkness prepare for the final battle, which appears will occur north of the Mountains of Dhoom in Shayol Ghul. Meanwhile hostilities flare up elsewhere as Talmanes leads a depleted Band of the Red Hand in a fight against the Trollocs in Caemlyn; Elayne had taken much of their force especially the cavalry to the Field of Merrilor where the rulers will decide whether to support Rand al’Thor’s dangerous plan to free the Dark One or kill him before his insanity demoralizes the humans. Regardless of who stands victorious in the Last Battle, The Wheel of Time is moving to end this age.

This is an exciting finish to the two decade old Wheel of Time saga as Brandon Sanderson provides an action-packed final battle (and several precursor combats) in his third effort (see The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight). The battle scenes are top rate while making up the brunt of the 900 plus page tome, but also have a déjà vu sense after several war scenes occur. Not surprisingly, some of the numerous long-running subplots receive short shrift as do key characters and races. Still, this is a well-done climax as several fronts explode while the adversarial forces prepare and meet for the final battle that will determine the fate of humanity as the Wheel of Time turns.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Crossing-Mandy Hager

The Crossing

Mandy Hager

PYR, Jan 8 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781616146986

The islanders on Onewere in the middle of the Pacific survived the pandemic Tribulation that destroyed much of humanity. Trapped on the coral off their island is the Star of the Sea cruise ship. Residing on board this vessel are the revered Apostles of the Lamb deities who enforce the Holy Book Rules that the Onewere Chosen and other survivors must obey.

Marym believes in the Apostles and their scripture from the Holy Book. She is elated when she learns she is a Chosen to spread the Word of peace to other survivors. On board the Star of the Sea, Marym sees nothing close to the message of peace and harmony; instead she witnesses rape and murder of the darker skinned Chosen Islanders by the Caucasian Apostles in the name of the Lord; and betrayal including sacrifice of loved ones and neighbors by family and friends. Stunned Marym considers the Apostles are devils using the Holy Book to enslave her naïve believing people to do their bidding.

With a nod to Lord Acton’s wry commentary that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, this is an exciting profound dystopian post-apocalyptic thriller. The intense storyline looks deeply into organized religion propagandizing its message to further self-interests rather than that of the flock. The cast is developed and constantly changing as on-board death is the consistent final word for the Chosen. Readers will appreciate this extremely dark tale as the fabulous heroine concludes obeisance means rape and death and disobedience means rape and death.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sunset of the Gods-Steve White

Sunset of the Gods

Steve White

Baen, Jan 1 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781451638462

Temporal Regulatory Authority leader Kyle Rutherford asks his most experienced Ancient Greece time traveler Hesperian Colonial Rangers Commander Jason Thanou to lead an expedition to study the Battle of Marathon. The mission is to answer historical questions and to determine whether any alien Teloi survivors that escaped the Minoan entrapment were involved in the pivotal battle. Jason met the Teloi masquerading as gods like Zeus when he, geologist Dr. Deirdre Sadaka-Ramirez (who stayed behind with Perseus) and historian Dr. Sidney Nagel (who died heroically) traveled to three millennia ago (see Blood of the Heroes). Reluctantly, Jason agrees to lead the expedition consisting of historian Dr. Bryan Landry, soldier Alexandre Mondrago and xenologist Dr. Chantal Frey to 490 BC.

The quartet arrives in 490 BC weeks before the battle. They claim to be exiles from Macedon whose King Alexander I swore allegiance to the Persians. On the road top Athens, Jason and Alexandre see the mythological Pan. As they are given sanctuary by Themistocles, the budding Athenian democracy debates how to defend itself against the Persian military. They soon encounter Zeus and a stunning anomaly in which conspirators are using Pan and the Teloi to achieve their long term objective.

The clever second Thanou time travel science fiction is an exciting thriller that provides a deep look at the Battle of Marathon. The storyline uses too many passive explanations re the rules of time travel and 490 BC Athens though these explicatory soliloquies add a sense of scientific and historical genuineness to the plot. Still fans will enjoy learning the secret of Pan as Jason and his team must thwart a diabolical plot to influence the outcome of the key Battle of Marathon.

Harriet Klausner

‘Til The World Ends-Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre and Karen Duvall

‘Til The World Ends

Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre and Karen Duvall

Luna, Jan 29 2013. $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803491

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa. The Red Lung pandemic devastated much of the world. Kylie is a rare person immune to the horrible disease. As the lethal virus proves even more gruesome to the dead, Kylie finds a slight flicker of hope when she meets Ben. This prequel to the Blood Of Eden post-apocalyptic series (see The Immortal Rules) is an engaging tale due to the lead couple and the Kagawa world.

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre. Following the toxic chemical spill that destroyed the United States, the affluent and their corporations established safe zones for those who could pay for sanctuary inside of fortresses. Others like Mari Thistle reside as scavengers in the dangerous Red Zone where a friend will kill you for your bottled water. Mari and Thorne Goodman meet and soon uncover a diabolical lethal plot to exterminate Red Zone survivors. The keys to this exhilarating post-apocalyptic thriller are the lead couple and the Aguirre environmentally devastated world.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall. Sarah Daggot is a storm chaser who is outside when the worst solar flares ever recorded bombard the earth; leaving a devastated planet in its wake. She survives, but the immense radiant that blasted her changed Sarah into a Kinetic, who senses when storms from the sun and elsewhere are coming. When Sarah meets other Kinetics, they team up to prevent the final planetary destruction by the sun. However, to succeed, they need the only dissenter Ian Matthews to join them as they are one short. Sun Storm is an exciting doomsday thriller.

The three novellas contain strong protagonists, fabulous support characters and diverse dark earths.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blood of the Sorceress-Maggie Shayne

Blood of the Sorceress

Maggie Shayne

Mira, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314219

In 1501 BC in Babylon, the king’s favorite slave Lilia the witch fell in love with the ruler’s right hand man and best friend Demetrius. When the monarch learned of his beloved’s betrayal of his heart, Demetrius kills him to save Lilia. After a search of the harem, Lilia and her two sisters Indira (see Mark of the Witch) and Magadalena (see Daughter of the Spellcaster) are thrown off a cliff to the rocks below. The High Priest Sindar deploys dark magic to strip Demetrius of his soul and banish him to a formless nonexistence in the Underworld.

After three and a half millennia, her two reincarnated siblings returned parts of his soul to Demetrius who has escaped his horrid incarceration. As Lilia sees him for the first time since that bloody day in ancient Babylon, she knows her chance to return and complete Demetrius’ soul has finally arrived. However, he no longer wants his soul even if that means eternal damnation or her love, and besides Sindar, now a demon, stalks them.

The final Portal romantic fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring a strong lead female, a PTSD male struggling to adjust to a physical world and worse his refurbished feelings besides his only companion for ages: rage, and a powerful diabolical demon. As with the previous trilogy entries, Maggie Shayne casts a spell on her audience.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Dark Hunger-Joelle Sterling

The Dark Hunger

Joelle Sterling

Strebor, Jan 22 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781593094911

The cursed zombie Jonas LaRoche left his beloved teen witch Holland Manning in America to return to Port-au-Prince to protect his mother and sisters from the money lenders who demand payment for providing the cash for his ill-fated journey to the States. Meanwhile Holland becomes a new student at exclusive Stoneham Academy and becomes friends of Tami, Sierra and Giselle while concealing her only power, vampire killing blood.

While she goes to classes, back in her hometown of Frumbleton, Georgia, vampire Elson Chandler tells his flock that he will replace the missing Constable Sullivan and introduce a power hierarchical change with vampires on top and humans as their blood bank slaves. Former football star receiver Jarrett Sloan becomes enslaved to Elson’s vampiric follower Isene.

At a tea party thrown by Kate Leighton, the hostess bites a guest. In a nearby onion field, the foreman chews on a migrant worker. Soon afterward at the hospital the worker attacks a nurse and a patron in Dunkin Donuts. Hell has arrived in rural Georgia while Holland’s new buddies see her birthmark that affirms she is a first order witch; she proves this further by helping Sierra take back her stolen power from her thieving Aunt Jocelyn while all she wants is her forbidden lover back into her life.

The second Eternal Dead young adult rural fantasy (see Midnight Cravings) is a great entry with several strong subplots (perhaps too many) that anchor the Sterling mythology that make witches, zombies, and vampires seem genuine. Action-packed throughout, the star-crossed taboo romance between the Haitian zombie and the young witch is just one part of a terrific rotating teen horror thriller as Joelle Sterling moves her series forward on numerous fabulous fronts.

Harriet Klausner

Power Under Pressure-Andrew P. Mayer

Power Under Pressure

Andrew P. Mayer

PYR, Jan 8 2013, $17.95

ISBN: 9781616146962

In New York, the assassination of Sir Dennis Darby on the Brooklyn Bridge by the Automaton devastated the Society of Paragons. Sir Dennis served as the groups’ social compass; without his ethical leadership, the Society collapses as individuals chose self-interests over the good of the group.

Former member Sarah "the Adventuress" Stanton possesses the steel clockwork heart of her killing friend the Automaton; having hidden the mechanical beater in an obscure Brooklyn junkyard. Craving to gain favorite status from Sarah though he knows her heart is filled with revenge for the deaths of her father and mentor, Emilio vows to reconstruct the Automaton over the objection of his angry victimized sister Viola. Also needing the steel heart to complete his plans to industrialize the world under a thick blanket of smog is Lord Eschaton. His plans near fruition with the creation out of death of the Shell and the capture of Nathaniel, Eschaton must prevent the Adventuress from thwarting his scheme; while she must find a way to bring back together the Society of Paragons enhanced by reformed supervillains and still crazy mad scientists to forge the Society of Steam dream team to stop her adversary from achieving his world domination objective.

The third Society of Steam Steampunk Victorian fantasy (see Hearts of Smoke and Steam, and The Falling Machine) is an exciting tale as the frustrated beleaguered heroine wonders if she made a poor decision when she left high society to join the Paragons with vengeance filling her heart. Readers will appreciate this entry as Fortified Steam serves as the technological base for a fast-paced alternative nineteenth century New York thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 7, 2013

For The Love Of The Goblin Warrior-Shona Husk

For The Love Of The Goblin Warrior

Shona Husk

Sourcebooks, Jan 8 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402262098

His humanity died when his wife and children died. Once a noble warrior and caring family man ages ago, Meryn the DeCangli was cursed to roam along with his King Roan (see The Goblin King) and Prince Dai (see Kiss of the Goblin Prince) with avaricious Goblins in the Shadowlands. Thanks to Roan falling in love freeing them from their Roman era Druid curse and Dai rescuing him from the Shadowlands, Meryn knows he has a second chance as a human if his mind will let go of his ugly past that he and his former beastly comrades did over two millennia.

In Perth, Australia, Nadine the nurse suffers from nightmares too since her mother died. The cops bring the scruffy looking man (Meryn) with a head injury to the hospital where they ask Nadine if she understand the language he uses as she also speaks French and Nuer besides English. She thinks he uses Latin. As he recovers from his injuries, Meryn and Nadine are attracted to each other, but each has a violent past that makes both reluctant to consider a relationship.

The latest Shadowlands romantic urban fantasy is an engaging entry with the emphasis on the respective fascinating histories of the lead protagonists and Meryn’s struggles to cope with modern society. Fast-paced fans of the series will enjoy For The Love Of The Goblin Warrior though the romance rightfully is relegated to a support role.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Battle-Michelle West


Michelle West

Daw, Dec 31, 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756407957

In the Essaylieyan Empire capital Averalaan, eight weeks have passed since Jewel Markess ATerafin became head of the most powerful of the ruling Ten Houses, Terafin (see Skirmish). Since her rise, four assassination attempts, three by magic, have occurred. She knows how dangerous her position is as her predecessor who named her as successor was murdered by a demon. Her rivals for Terafin covet the seat, but her biggest fear is not feeling ready for the reasonability.

The Kings order an honor celebration for the armies returning home after winning the war to the south; attended by the royal twins, the Ten and the people. During the parade, another demonic attempt to kill Jewel occurs. With help by Meralonne and telepathic advice from Avandar who says she is not ready for Battle with the Kialli as she must accept at times killing is right in order to protect the common good; Jewel escapes by flying on Snow the winged cat. The Kialli pursues while destroying anyone unfortunately in its path. Jewel confronts the demon in the forest near her Family manse. The Kings demand she present herself to them, but she becomes victimized by the pandemic sleeping plague where she must elude the Warden of Dreams and her treasonous Terafin House Council.

Though in many ways Battle is a transition tale in the House War series, fans will enjoy this fascinating entry as the heroine matures in her new role while even taking what she learned about power into the realm of Dreams. The subplots of other players like Meralonne APhaniel and Angel move forward also, but book five focuses on Jewel’s coming of age on the job training in the use of political and magical power.

Harriet Klausner