Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance-Aimee Carter

The Goddess Inheritance

Aimee Carter

Harlequin Teen, Feb 26 2013. $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210671

Kate Winters spent the nine months of her pregnancy in captivity. For most of her incarceration, her beloved Henry was led astray by Walter and Ava to believe Kate accompanied James searching for the missing Rhea. Kate believes her Henry finally knows the truth re her fate. Everyone seemingly wants the unborn as perhaps the most powerful being ever since Cronus the Titan claims the fetus is his (though Henry sired the child) and the Queen of the Gods Calliope makes sacrificial plans for Kate’s baby once born.

Kate knows she can do nothing against either super God as Calliope takes away her newborn Milo. Cronus offers her a deal he knows that she cannot refuse. He will spare her and her newborn Milo and limit human collateral damage in the war of the gods if she pledges her total loyalty to him. She understands the cost of committing to Cronus means Henry, her mother and the Gods will die; failure to pledge means Milo is gone forever and she, much of mankind and her loved ones will probably die.

The final Goddess Test urban fantasy (see the Goddess Test and Goddess, Interrupted) is a strong twisting ending to a fabulous series as a distraught Kate finds herself caught between the love of her family and saving the world by self-sacrifice. Fast-paced and loaded with action, fans of the trilogy will enjoy the final confrontation though they will question Kate’s terrible decisions even factoring in the protagonist’s Olympus levels of stress and depression. Still Aimee Carter provides an engaging end to an entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Midnight Blue-Light Special-Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special

Seanan McGuire

DAW, Mar 5 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407926

Though generations of her family have studied the Cryptid population and kept these “monsters” safe from the humans and visa-versa, cryptozoologist Verity Price is not a chip off the DNA block as she prefers ballroom dancing. However, Verity still proves Price blood flows through her veins when she came to Manhattan to competitively dance only to get sidetracked with the family vocation due to the snake cult (see Discount Armageddon). Still her recent caper led her to meet her maybe boyfriend Dominic De Luca although it is a star-crossed relationship as he is a monster-hunter for her family’s enemy the Covenant of St. George.

Dominic warns Verity that his bosses are coming to New York to inspect the progress he made in species cleansing and to finish the eradication of the Cryptid species from Manhattan. Putting aside her love of dance, Verity needs to prevent a bloodbath by concealing the monsters from the hunters including a traitorous blood relative seeking vengeance.

The superb second InCryptid urban fantasy is an incredibly fast-paced New York tale that except for an intrusive sidebar involving a psychic cousin never slows down as monsters, protectors, hunters and collateral damage humans converge for a Manhattan Midnight Blue-Light Special. Verity adds humor with her asides as she tries to keep a bloodbath from overwhelming the city. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this faster than the speed of light thriller.

Harriet Klausner

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days-Saranna DeWylde

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days

Saranna DeWylde

Kensington Brava, Feb 26 2013, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758269171

Irate Falcon Cherrywood believes his punishment does not fit the crime. He admits he shot that pest Cupid in the butt with a fireball, injuring the pink-winged angel. However, he feels replacing Cupid is cruel and anti-angelic punishment since he does not believe in love. To make matters worse, he also is assigned Parole Officer duty.

His criminal is Drusilla “Tally” Tallow, who was sentenced for ten days for knocking the temporary love angel off his broom out of frustration of always finding love in the wrong places with the worst heavenly misanthropes. As Falcon and Tally fall in love, she fears the replacement Cupid will prove a pain in the ass; she’s just not sure whose.

The latest amusing “How to … in 10 Days” romantic fantasy (see How to Marry a Warlock in 10 days) is an amusing madcap tale. A lighthearted frolic, fans will laugh at the antics of Tally and Falcon; as each has strong reasons to ignore their attraction.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Immortally Embraced-Angie Fox

Immortally Embraced

Angie Fox

St. Martin's, Feb 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312546670

Having been drafted during the war between the Old and New Greek Gods, Army MASH Dr. Petra Robichaud, a hybrid fairy, pulled off a miracle; not the oracle prophesy she fulfilled that led to the cease-fire she fostered as the peacemaker, but instead finding love in Demi-God Commander Galen. As a reward for her valor and diligence, she becomes a part of a special MASH unit to the paranormal.

Her current patient is an over three thousand years old pregnant gorgon who fears telling her parents. After Petra informs Medusa of her delicate condition and telling her to come back for an ultrasound, Galen embarks on a needed but suicidal mission after ending their relationship. Meanwhile her former lover Mark arrives pleading with Petra to investigate a ghost causing havoc amidst the enemy. Neither is prepared for what they confront and learn nor another Oracle Prophecy.

The latest Robichaud MASH unit military urban fantasy is fast-paced from the opening scene in which the Doctor to the Gods (and wannabes) explains to Medusa that she got pregnant the old fashion way and never slows down until the final confrontation. Filled with satirical humor especially with placing the Greek pantheon in a modern day environment and loaded with action, readers will relish the adventures of the Army doctor though it helps to have read Immortally Yours to best understand the Fox mythos.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Office Of Mercy-Ariel Djanikian

The Office Of Mercy

Ariel Djanikian

Viking, Feb 21 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780670025862

Three centuries ago in reaction to Malthus proven right by 59 billion residents, domed biospheres like America-Five were created. Soon after those who went inside, the Alpha release the Storm that causes pandemic destruction reducing the planet’s population to a few hundred thousand and making the surface hostile. Inside, there is abundance. To achieve their merciful vision of World Peace, Eternal Life, and All Suffering Ended, America Five established the Office of Mercy. Their mission to perform mercy killing sweeps of the starving tribes just outside their dome in order to end the suffering of these plighted poor souls.

Twentyish Citizen Natasha Wiley an Epsilon is assigned to the Office of Mercy as a tracker of the tribes who venture within fifty miles of the dome. Her boss and love interest Jeffrey a Gamma assigns her to reset monitoring sensors on her first venture outside the dome while reminding her that the key to stepping outside is to adhere to the Ethics Code especially no rapport with the tribes. However, her trek outside the dome does not go according to procedure.

This futuristic dystopian thriller is an exciting plausible tale in which the heroine finds the beliefs that she and all of Epsilon and those Generations before them has grown up with contain false premises (sort of like learning the Ten Commandments were a Genesis hoax). Somewhat a coming of age story inside a somewhat muted action storyline, readers will appreciate the 1984 logic of the America Five’s “burden” of saving the external masses by mass mercy murders.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Arena Man-Steve Englehart

The Arena Man

Steve Englehart

Tor, Feb 19 2013, $28.99

ISBN: 9780765325006

In between his war against supernatural evil, former Vietnam grunt Max August the immortal but destructible magic practitioner and his apprentice lover Pam continue their unsuccessful search for the lost soul of his first wife Val. The pair ends their current investigation when they learn troubling information. The Necklace cabal of international magickal societal leaders and the demonic Belia’al have united. The powerful malevolent union plans to deploy Black Ops and magick to cause an attack that will gain everyone’s focus as thousands will die from their mass murder against man.

At the same time Alexsandra the diabola pretends to be the lover of the Gemstone leader of the Necklace Lawrence Breckenridge. She hides her real agenda behind her farcical tryst as her plot is to defeat Belia’al. Max takes over the identity of a dead conspirator (whose body he places in the Collective Unconscious) in order to get inside to learn what the cabal and the demon plot. At the same time, Pam seems trapped inside the Subconscious even as she needs to bring the Key to Max.

The latest Max August fantasy (see The Plain Man and The Long Man) is an exhilarating hyper-paced thriller. With a comic book style of non-stop action, series fans will relish this rousing entry as Max knows he must be a mad man playing the superhero to save those who disdain him against a seemingly invincible enemy who has the support of those same people he tries to rescue (to the PR goes the masses).

Harriet Klausner

Supernatural: Fresh Meat-Alice Henderson

Supernatural: Fresh Meat

Alice Henderson

Titan Books, Feb 19 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781781161128

This part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains has an infamous history as here inside the Tahoe National Forest is where the Donner Party resorted to cannibalistic survival. In the present something evil emulates the Donner Party by dining on humans with a paranormal dessert. Those losing their lives reanimate while an unidentified flying monster continue unabated attacks.

After learning about the supernatural killer in the Sierra Nevada’s, evil hunters Bobby Singer and brothers Sam and Dean Winchester arrive to end the malevolent murderer’s malice. Trapped by a blizzard and trusting no one but themselves, the intrepid threesome must survive the weather while also avoiding becoming Fresh Meat for a diabolical adversary who can shapeshift into a human.

The latest super Supernatural novelization takes place in between season seven’s “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” and “Slash Fiction” episodes as Alice Henderson in her first outing deftly fits this thriller inside the series. Fast-paced from the first assault, fans will enjoy this action-packed urban fantasy as the overwhelming odds of survivor reside with evil over the outgunned hunters.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wolf Hunter-J. L. Benet

Wolf Hunter

J. L. Benet

Belfire Press, Dec 3 2012, $10.99

ISBN: 9781927580035

Aware that the Third Reich was losing the war, Himmler authorized the creation of super soldiers. In a remote part of the Forest of Rhineland at Castle Schlosshuelchrath, scientists experiment in turning into werewolves Karl “Bear” Wahlsevski, Luther “Mountain” Grutzmann, Dr. Albrecht “Spy” Pactwandler and Hitler Youth Viktor Huelen. Luther dies while the other three succeeds but as Lycan they are uncontrollable. Viktor escapes settling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In the present, University of Michigan student Steve Williams is an obsessed genius researching the werewolf mythos with a particular interest in Dr. Worklauf's Nazi Lycanthopker experiments as he has a compulsive need driving him. At the same time, Jack the Ojibwa shapeshifter, hunting the Lycan abominations, kills a dying Albrecht in Chicago. Meanwhile, knowing what Viktor is, Steve demands the Lycan convert him; while Jack seeks to kill the werewolf and the wannabe.

Fast-paced, the gripping brisk Nazi experiment subplot affirms that war brings out the best and the worst in people as each side will have amoral people willing to do anything to gain the victory. When the storyline changes into an exciting modern day urban fantasy, the well-written horror plot becomes typical of the genre. Wolf Hunter is an entertaining though provoking thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Omega-Susannah Sandlin


Susannah Sandlin

Montlake Romance, Feb 5 2013, $12.95

ISBN: 9781612183596

Vampire Tribunal leader Mathias Ludlam remains frustrated over his failure to destroy the Penton community established by Aidan Murphy as a haven for vampires and untreated humans to live together in harmony and a home to his traitorous son Will. However, diabolical Mathias uses his defeats as a means of winning the final fight against the Alabama abomination. He persuades the reluctant Vampire Tribunal to deploy an all-out assault on Penton for the crimes they committed against their kind; cleverly concealing his duplicity in causing their reactions.

The residents retreat into Omega, an underground bunker. Will assigned to protect the humans as his vampire allies cannot risk his symbolic capture, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. Ordered to help Will is former US Army officer Randa Thomas who was forcibly changed. She sees her partner as an elitist dilatant while an upset Will seethes over being underutilized. As the attack begins, Will and Randa prepare to fight to the death.

The third Penton Vampire Legacy (see Redemption and Absolution) is an exciting romantic urban fantasy. Randa remains a dedicated soldier as a vampire just like she was when she was human; however, Will owns the paranormal storyline (and in many ways the series) with his constant growth. With a deep look inside the heads of the key players during the Omega crisis without crimping the action, sub-genre fans will relish Susannah Sandlin super vampire mythos.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cold Light-Traci L. Slatton

Cold Light

Traci L. Slatton

Parvati Press, Jun 27 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780984672684

The white miasma Mists burned except chlorophyll. Billions died when the Mists sucked out metals from humans and other beings on the planet during the Day. Arthur saved Emma, her young daughter Mandy and seven lost little orphans attached to her when he dispatched the Mists and brought them into his safe camp. Emma assumed her husband Haywood and their oldest daughter Beth are dead. She and Arthur become an entry while leading their settlement. However, Haywood found his wife and child in France and brought them home to Edmonton leaving Arthur behind despondent from his loss (see Fallen).

In Canada, raiders abduct Beth. She and Haywood search for their child. Clues lead them to Arthur and his townsfolk; all of whom are angry at their former first lady for leaving them. Still everyone joins in on the quest to find and rescue Beth; while Haywood and Arthur demand she choose between them as neither will voluntarily leave her. At the same time, everyone mentally prepares for the confrontation with the Mists knowing many of their loved ones will die in the final battle for survival.

The second exciting “After” post-apocalyptic thriller moves forward on two fronts: Emma’s relationships and the anticipated suicidal Armageddon Mists war as Traci L. Slatton deftly blends both subplots into a superb dystopian tale through her quality cast. The triangle participants fear the repercussions on the young at a time when nightmares are prevalent yet none of them can leave. Readers will wonder who will quote Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

Harriet Klausner

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sword-Bound-Jennifer Roberson


Jennifer Roberson

Daw, Feb 5 2013. $25.95

ISBN: 9780756407964

Trained at the Alimat Southron School, Tiger swore his allegiance to the sword-dancer code of honor. His mate Delilah comes from the north where vengeance led her to training as a sword-singer. They are considered the best at their respective skill; together they seem invincible as legends while outlaws in their respective lands.

However, Tiger’s adult son Neesha accuses him of becoming too "domesticated" and challenges him to prove the legend on a quest with the lad and Del. Irate at the affront, the sword-dance instructor insists they cannot leave because of his two years old daughter Sula. Neesha scoffs at his alibi claiming his dad had become a soft family man. As sword-dancers challenge the teacher to the death, Umir the Ruthless offers a reward for the capture of his enemy Tiger, who used magic to render useless his grimoire. Loved ones make perfect hostages.

The latest Tiger and Del fantasy (see Sword-Sworn and Sword-Born) is more a family affair as the twenty-something Neesha brings out the best and worst in his dad while Sula manipulates both her parents. Initially leisurely-paced, the storyline accelerates as Umir seeks revenge against his adversary, but never forgets forcing Tiger to deploy magic to free his tome of spells. Series fans will enjoy the superb Sword-Bound.

Harriet Klausner

The Ship Who Searched-Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey

The Ship Who Searched

Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey

Baen, Jan 1 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781451638738

Archaeologists Doctors Pota Andropolous-Cade and Braddon Maartens-Cade conduct an evaluation at a Salomon-Kildare site with no one else on the planet except their school aged daughter Hypatia “Tia” Cade. For the most part Tia is by herself at camp while her parents work though she has her own excavation site in the nearby trenches. Just after Tia’s seventh birthday, Moira and Brawn Tomas arrive with supplies and a blue teddy bear gift for the child who calls her present Theodore Edward Bear.

Tia finds a real artifact that she seals inside a container before showing it to her parents. However, the container leaks dust into the child’s face. While her excited parents look for more artifacts in the locale Tia found her relic, the child becomes paralyzed. The Institute accepts Tia as a shellperson installed in a brainship delivering supplies to excavations with her Brawn being Alexander Joli-Chanteu. Accompanied by Theodore Edward Bear, they specialize as first responders on controlling diseases until the medics can arrive. MedCen assigns them to search for smugglers importing diseases into the Central Worlds even as Tia seeks the source of her paralyzing ailment.

The reprint of the entertaining third Brainships entry (see The Ship Who Sang and Partnership) is an engaging science fiction. Tia is a super protagonist who keeps the storyline steady and on course with help from her Brawn and her teddy bear. Filled with compassion, courage and chutzpah, The Ship Who Searched remains a fabulous outer space thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crimson Rain-Jaye Roycraft

Crimson Rain

Jaye Roycraft

ImaJinn, Jan 29 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781610261067

Dens telepathic exile Rayn DeStar and Interplanetary Investigation Bureau agent telepath Mondina “Dina” Marlijn met in their dreams before they joined forces in person to prevent a calamity (see Rainscape). She went home to Glacia to tell her father she found her mate and on probation he went home to B’harata for the first time in twenty years. Their plan was for her to join him on his planet as he is not allowed to leave B’harata.

However, raider Alecto Kylariz and his Roven first mate Sandy Sanjan take the Palladia whose most valuable cargo is Dina. They flee with her as a prisoner as Kyl plans to use “Hellfire” to force the hand of his despised enemy Dhagaz. However, instead they run into problems with Synergy’s Space Division forcing Kyl and Dina to leave his ship the Tisiphone using the smaller vessel Megaera to escape. Another raider Vaizya attacks the Megaera, but Kyl lands them safely on Ror, a hellhole.

Meanwhile Rayn whose cousin Cyonne and her mate Sage welcome him, but his brother Ryol D'Anthara still holds him culpable with what happened two decades ago to their late sibling. When Rayn learns Dina has been abducted, with the help of Sage, he ignores the rules of his probation to rescue his beloved.

The second Rain science fiction tale is an engaging outer space thriller that rotates leads between the two star-crossed telepathic lovers. The Dina subplot is more exhilarating especially in the first half than the intriguing insight into Rayn’s culture, but the latter goes into hyperspeed once the rescue attempt begins. Readers will enjoy the triangle between Kyl, his Hellfire and her telepath.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dead Things-Stephen Blackmoore

Dead Things

Stephen Blackmoore

Daw, Feb 5 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780756407742

Fifteen years ago necromancer Eric Carter fled Los Angeles with no plans ever to return as too many essences wanted him dead. Estranged from his family, over the decade and a half he used his paranormal skills to make a nice living mostly helping spirits move on and occasionally some more dangerous missions, but he always adhered to his vow until now. Something ripped to shreds his sister Lucy in her home. Feeling guilt as he may have been the motive for her torturous death, Carter needs to know who did it so he can bring Lucy justice.

Carter comes home to learn his worst fears seem true when his sibling’s killer left a message that only he could read. Anguished Carter knows Lucy was an avenue to get to him. However, he knows so many want to perform the act of his gruesome murder, but who was amoral enough to use Lucy as an expendable tool? His answer to his rhetorical question leaves him with numerous suspects as he woks the blighted streets.

Dead Things is a great hard-boiled detective thriller inside an urban fantasy landscape. Fast-paced from the moment the kick butt necromancer comes home to the “Mad City” to investigate his sister’s murder and never slows down, readers will appreciate this terrific paranormal mystery as few writers capture Los Angeles as the City of the Lost as well as Stephen Blackmoore does.

Harriet Klausner

The Silent Dragon-Irene Radford

The Silent Dragon

Irene Radford

Daw, Feb 5 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780756407940

In Coronnan, Dragon Crown King Darville and the Council of Provinces argue over allowing magic to return to the kingdom and over whether the monarch’s fourteen year old daughter Rosselinda should immediately marry in order to birth the male heir. Recently Darville has been beset by accidents that as a pattern indicate assassination attempts.

At the University of Magicians, Chancellor Jaylor refuses to promote his son Glenndon to journeyman in spite of the power the lad possesses because the apprentice is mute. Jaylor ignores that Glenndon’s telepathy is so powerful he does not need to speak to communicate. Darville orders Glenndon, the illegitimate son he had with Brevelan the witch, to come to court as the ruler names the lad his heir to protect his young daughter from an unwanted marriage. Confused as he always thought Jaylor was his sire, Glenndon arrives in Coronnan City greeted by raging councilors who loathe the outsider for his blood interferes with their plans. They barely understanding they and the citizens will turn deadly hostile if they learn of his magic or his silence.

The latest Dragon Nimbus tale (see The Glass Dragon, The Perfect Princess, The Loneliest Magician and The Wizard's Treasure) is an engaging political fantasy. The interesting beleaguered hero becomes abruptly caught up in ugly court intrigue that makes the university in-fighting look tame. Although the theme of a naive youngster becoming overnight the successor to power has been used before, readers will enjoy Glenndon’s efforts to adapt as an unwanted stranger in a strange land.

Harriet Klausner