Sunday, May 26, 2013

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored-Allen Pollens

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored

Allen Pollens

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Feb 8 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781482011067

In 2014, the Guardians of the Universe ordered Professor Thomas Scribner to act as human witness to an inquiry. Seven pass judgment on the eighth, the Creator of planet Earth whose experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated (see Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth's Human Behavior Confronted).

In 2015, Harvard University History Professor Jeffrey Lerner agrees to go back in time to study human behavior in order to isolate the cause(s) that has led to endless violence; his findings are due to the Guardians of the Universe in 2024. From his home in Sudbury and with help from his teaching assistants Hank and Kathy, he makes his first stop in 3900 BCE, Jerusalem where he meets with Priest Jacob, Saul, David, Judith, Samuel and Laban where he uses the name Jethro and learns about the origins of the True One God religion(s) of Abraham and his offspring as well as female subjection to the rule of man.

The second Creator science fiction epic continues the look at irrational bellicose human behavior throughout history with a focus on key religious events in creating the Abrahamic religions and seeking why women were less than cattle. Though this entry can stand alone, reading book one enhances the understanding of the Guardians especially the Creator. With a fantastic late Hail Mary time travel twist to attempt to save mankind (and his heart), readers will relish this insightful look at humanity beginning with the origin of the Adam and Eve legend; as the Guardians paraphrasing H. Rap Brown believe that “violence is as (human) as cherry pie.”

Harriet Klausner

Magician’s End-Raymond E. Feist

Magician’s End

Raymond E. Feist

Harper Voyager, May 14 2013, $29.99

ISBN: 9780061468438

With the death of King Gregory, the Congress of Lords meets to select the new ruler of the Kingdom of the Isles. However, there are no blood ties so an obvious frontrunner does not exist. The Congress remains divided as to who should be anointed. While they dither, civil war seems imminent as the royal place in Rillanon is threatened. Hal the Duke of Crydee, his brothers Martin and Brendan, and Jim Dasher Jamison and his grandfather Lord James struggle to prevent the war.

Meanwhile Pug the Master Sorcerer, his son Magnus, Nakor, and Miranda struggle to escape the devious trap sprung by the Adversary. This foe has sent his only viable opponent to a different plane of existence with no chance of ever coming back to periled Midkemia. Inside the impenetrable Grey Tower Mountains, a deadly assault on the Star Elves has begun as the Adversary continues his plan to achieve his only goal: oblivion.

The supposedly final fantasy in the three decade long Riftwars is a fabulous fitting Feisty finish to an overall exciting saga of thirty books. The enjoyable storyline is for the most part fast-paced even with reflective asides and ephemeral encounters with characters not seen in a while. Although the fifth of the Riftwars series targets fans only as Magician’s End is no place to start nor is the Chaoswar Saga (see A Kingdom Besieged and A Crown Imperiled), Raymond E. Feist ends with a bang not a whimper.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Never-K.D. McEntire


K.D. McEntire

PYR, May 14 2013

ISBN: 9781616147716

In the ER as the ghosts watch, Piotr intervenes until the doctor resuscitates Wendy though the teen remains in a coma. Once the Lightbringer, Wendy lost much when the Reaper ripped away her Light. Now she unites with her friends to prevent Lady Walker’s evil scheme to allow the malevolence in between realms to enter and destroy Never.

Wendy must also find a way to hinder separate machinations by Reaper Matriarch Elise and Reaper Rogue Jane. To do this she looks to the past at the relationship between her deceased mother and Elise as well as Piotr’s background. Wendy may not have her full essence, but she is no quitter as her family and others are in great peril from a world no longer in synch.

The final Lightbringer teen fantasy (see Reaper and Lightbringer) is a fabulous finish to an engaging trilogy as readers learn more about the Reaper heritage while the heroine without much of her power sets out to save the realm. Ironically the fascinating history also intrudes on the thrilling present day end of the world storyline. Still readers will anticipate the multiple confrontations as Never may become no more.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Children of the Gates-Andre Norton

Children of the Gates

Andre Norton

Baen, May 7 2013, $13.00

ISBN: 978-1451638899

“Here Abide Monsters:” On this apparent parallel earth where elven roam, creatures in flying saucers abduct and enslave newcomers. Avalon the herald offers safety at a cost to recent travelers from various earth ages who unfortunately fell through the Gate; they must give to him part of their soul.

“Yurth Burden.” On the Zacar plains dwell the Raski farmers while in the mountain reside the Yurth with their Upper Sense. The two races are in a constant state of hostility with horrific wars occurring. When a Raski warrior Stans follows a Yurth woman Elossa on her coming of age quest, he knows he must kill her.

Children of the Gates contains reprints of two wonderful 1970s tales. Yurth Burdon is especially timely leaving the audience to ponder the long term impact of racial hatred.

Harriet Klausner

Portal-Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor


Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor

Baen, May 7 2013, $

ISBN: 9781451638967

After the Ceres disaster, the second space race seems over for the privately-owned Ares Corporation (see Threshold) though former Fed Madeline Fathom manages to land their disabled vessel Nebula Storm on Europa. Also crash landing on this moon of Jupiter is the European Union ship Odin. Neither craft can leave Europa though the crew of Nebula Storm hopes to find a way to fix the broken reactor or come up with an alternate solution.

Madeline, paleontologist Dr. Helen Sutter, sensor expert A.J. Baker and the rest of the survivors from both ships know the immediate mission is to stay alive though neither side trusts the other with good reason. At the station on the Martian moon Phobos, grieving the loss of his friends and his wife Helen, Interplanetary Research Institute of the United Nations Director Nicholas Glendale must make decisions on the mission; though he knows the EU caused the deadly explosion he cannot prove it and needs the alliance to remain in place. However, he is taken aback when Madeline sends him an encrypted message saying hello from sunny Europa. Meanwhile the stranded crews must work together as they explore this Jovian moon heading to the icecap seeking water underneath it while dealing with an orb filled with deadly radiation.

Though one must read Threshold and preferably Boundary to understand how the crews landed in this predicament, fans will enjoy this engaging science fiction thriller because much of the storyline focuses on survival and exploration in a hostile environment. However those twin themes also means the overarching plot moves forward slower than a glacier until the last quarter of the epic. Still fans will enjoy surviving on Europa.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Alien In The House-Gini Koch

Alien In The House

Gini Koch

Daw, May 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407575

Two Congressmen died in a car crash and a third is expected to pass way from pneumonia. New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District representative dies while attending a gala at the Centaurion Embassy. The odds of Congressional deaths due to accident or natural causes in a few months are extremely doubtful.

A-C married couple Ambassadors Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini become concerned as she held the Representative’s hands just before he died. Kitty’s fears multiply when her spouse is named to fill the vacant seat as she wonders if someone targets Congress. As Kitty leads the investigation, she vows that her husband will not join the count.

The latest Alien science fiction (see Alien vs. Alien and Alien Diplomacy) is an exciting A-C thriller that deftly merges humor (due to misunderstandings between the cultures) and peril (from an unknown predator(s). Although the size of the cast has expanded over the course of the fun series to a point of needing a Cecil De Mille scorecard, readers will enjoy Alien in the House of Representatives (Jeff will feel at home with some of the members).

Harriet Klausner

Hearts Of Shadow-Kira Brady

Hearts Of Shadow

Kira Brady

Zebra, May 7 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420124576

In devastated Seattle, shifters and humans reach a tentative accord to work together to rebuild the city and protect one another. Elite wraith killer Grace Mercer diligently works to keep her species safe, but rejects the latest demand on her time. City officials need her to team up with the dragon shifter regent Leif Asgard.

Realizing her potential, Leif believes Grace is the one who can save humans and shifters from horrific extinction. He wants to mentor her while she wants nothing to do with this abomination. As the threat grows, Grace’s skill improves immensely under Leif’s tutelage. However, to save their respective species, they must risk merging their souls or die trying.

The latest exciting Deadglass romantic urban fantasy (see Hearts Of Darkness) is an exhilarating thriller as readers will accept diverse paranormal running wild in the streets of Seattle. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this thriller from the moment Grace objects to Leif training her and never slows down as each must make the same joint sacrifice to save the world.

Harriet Klausner

Predatory-Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne


Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne

Zebra, May 7 2013. $7.99

ISBN: 9781420125122

“Out Of Control” by Alexandra Ivy. Ph.D. candidate Angela Locke is attracted to Professor Nikolo Bartrev. An immortal Sentinel, Nikolo protects Angela whose work on genetics marks her for death from a nasty predator. This begins a new series.

“Ties That Bind” by Nina Bangs. At the Eternal Rest Funeral Home in Philadelphia, Cassie Tyler does a favor for her BFF Felicity only to be rescued from an assault by a man inside a coffin.

“In Still Darkness” by Dianne Duvall. Immortal Guardian Richart d'Alençon saved the female human from a vampire attack and received a kiss from her that has gotten him craving for more. This is an entry in the Immortal Guardians saga.

“High Stakes” by Hannah Jayne. In New York City, vampiric fashionista Nina LaShay hopes to peddle her Drop dead designs at a contest only her prime rival is murdered; she and Pike the photographer are the Underworld Detection Agency’s only suspects.

These are four fun romantic vampire urban fantasies.

Harriet Klausner

The Crickhowell School For The Muses-Rachel Waxman

The Crickhowell School For The Muses

Rachel Waxman

Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, May 5 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781564745415

The men with wagons arrive at the small village, but are disappointed by the lack of talent until they hear singing. They abduct the source fourteen year old Awen and take her to Miss Nina who, in spite of too many singers, likes the teen’s voice. She accepts the frightened child as a student at her Crickhowell School For The Muses; training her under the patronage of Sir Robert Thomas.

Awen is mute as she is escorted around the school. Encouraged by her music teacher Mr. Whitewood, she sings leaving him elated with her golden range. However, she returns to her silent state after leaving the music room. When Awen learns the true nature of the Crickhowell School For The Muses, she knows she must escape before she loses her most beloved possession. Francis the Horseman plans to help her get away.

The Crickhowell School For The Muses is a wonderful fable starring a delightful frightened yet brave female who refuses to be someone’s muse instead of being herself. Character driven by the heroine, Rachel Waxman encourages young readers to take smart chances on life in order to soar; as one may fail but cannot make magical music if you don’t sing the song.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 11, 2013

As Twilight Falls-Amanda Ashley

As Twilight Falls

Amanda Ashley

Zebra, Apr 30 2013. $7.99

ISBN: 9781420130393

Free-lance writer-photographer Kadie Andrews gets lost in Wyoming while working on a story about ghost towns. She crosses a wooden bridge during a storm but runs out of gas. Her cell phone fails to work. Vampire Darrick Vaughn welcomes her and takes the reluctant human to a tavern for coffee. He then takes her to a vacant house for her to stay. Vaughn claims her as his. However, master vampire Rylan Saintcrow says she belongs to him.

Human Donna tells her no one leaves town. Kadie tries to walk across the bridge but cannot complete the trek. She notices a special house that gives her the chills. At night Vaughn takes her to a restaurant but he does not eat. She joins a reading group where she learns the town contains a vampire coven of eight males and one female. They warn her of Saintcrow who no one has seen in years. Kadie tells Vaughn she wants to leave. He says she cannot and calls her his private stock. Saintcrow arrives and informs her everyone in town belongs to him. Saintcrow wonders why he needs Kadie as she is the first woman he invited into his Blair House. As they fall in love, the couple learns her father is aligned with hunters as he needs Saintcrow’s blood to save his dying other daughter.

Readers will believe vampires run a city in which humans cannot leave (the Eagles’ Hotel California) though with the horror in Cleveland, the concept becomes much more nightmarish. The star-crossed romance is nicely developed as is the transformation of Saintcrow although he is too powerful; ergo limiting suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Undone-Sara Humphreys


Sara Humphreys

Sourcebooks, May 7 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402258527

Depressed by not finding her mate as she passes her thirtieth birthday, Pure-blooded Bear Clan Amoveo Marianna Coltari, a Kodiak bear shapeshifter, feels her powers waning. To avoid her race, she hides at the Vampire owned Coven, but Hayden arrives there anyway as he wants her as his Mate. Meanwhile her twin brother Dante (see Untouched) fears the violent Purists will assault his Pure Blood sibling for remaining Mateless with so many of their kind to breed with. Thus he orders human Pete Castro, a former cop who works at Dante’s Inferno Securities, to keep Marianna safe from the Purists.

As they hide from those who want to use Marianna, Pete is attracted to her but will not act on his feelings because his first need is to protect her; besides he believes a purebred human is a lesser species than a purebred Amoveo. Marianna dreams about Pete, which she knows means he is her mate and she will act on her feelings.

The fourth Amoveo Legend paranormal romance (see Untamed and Unleashed) is undeniably a fabulous entry as star-crossed soul mates fall in love while being in the crosshairs of an impending species civil war that will determine dilution or ethnic cleansing purification. With a fully developed cast that makes the Humphreys mythos seem genuine, series fans will appreciate Sara Humphreys’ latest super romantic urban fantasy as the Amoveo Legend saga continues to be great.

Harriet Klausner

Hair Raising-Kevin J. Anderson

Hair Raising

Kevin J. Anderson

Kensington, Apr 30 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758277381

In the Unnatural Quarter, Rusty the full-time werewolf hires zombie private investigator partner Dan Shamble of Chambeaux and Deyer (he being Chambeaux while Robin the African American lawyer is Deyer) to watch for suspicious behavior during cockatrice fighting family night. The client is especially concerned that Monthlies like bad bikers Scratch and Sniff will cause trouble. Shamble assumes the full-time is paranoid due to the prejudice between his type and the Monthlies. However, the action ends when Officer “McGoo” and other cops arrive.

While Robin assisted by Sheyenne the office assistance ghost work a father rights case for graveyard Steve against the Addams Family Practice; Dan investigates the assaults on werewolves that leaves them humiliatingly hairless. Bald werewolves prove less horrific to Dan than dealing with the human horde attending the Worldwide Horror Convention.

The latest Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. paranormal investigation (see Unnatural Acts and Death Warmed Over) is once again a superb satirical thriller as Kevin J. Anderson lampoons societal morality in which feuds over microscopic differences are the norm. Readers will enjoy this entry with added twisting freshness coming from the Unnatural Quarter residents fearing the dangerous denizen of paranormal human fans attending a horror convention.

Harriet Klausner

Defender of the Flame-Sylvia Engdahl

Defender of the Flame

Sylvia Engdahl

Ad Stellae Books, Apr 20 2013

ISBN: 9780615804347

Starship pilot Lieutenant Terry Radnor is irate and desolate when Fleet headquarters abruptly without explanation reassign him from his assignment at Centuri Ops Center where he was due to command on his next explorer mission to the desolate training base on Titan. He assumes the brass wants him to instruct future pilots to explore space. Drew Larrson welcomes Terry, but warns him he will go stir crazy like all of the other pilot exiles.

After seeing psychiatrist Dr. Aldren, Admiral Derham asks Terry if he would volunteer to be part of a top secret project involving a new type of psychological and physical training. He signs the life-binding Extraordinary Secrets Acknowledgment agreement, but is quickly transferred to the Shepard. As a contented Terry finds his life-calling and Allison, he suddenly loses everything except his need to regain what he once had in order to protect Ciencia.

The third Flame futuristic science fiction (see Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame) is a fabulous twisting outer space thriller that will keep readers wondering what next will happen to the protagonist. Character driven by Terry, readers will enjoy his exploits and also appreciate his ethics as he learns inconvenient truths that tear his core values asunder.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 6, 2013

Inferno-Sherrilyn Kenyon


Sherrilyn Kenyon

St. Martin’s Griffin, Apr 9 2013, $18.99

ISBN: 9781250002839

The Cajun-demon Nick Gautier turned sixteen with concerns that seemingly everyone wants him dead. He has no friends as he learned firsthand to trust no one. The nearest individual to an ally Death wants him dead but warns him even his loved ones will betray him. Stunned Nick confronts his girlfriend Nekoda Kennedy, who confesses she must prevent a future Nick from becoming the Malachai who ended the world by stopping him now. Dumping Nekoda, being a teen Nick turns to Casey the cheerleader.

Enemies attack Nick and his Malachai father with no regard to collateral damage as they rationalize all will die otherwise. However, as their adversaries deploy increasingly deadlier assaults without success, they desperately turn to an ancient they cannot control. Nick soon concludes he must risk his life to stop the abomination threatening the world and also keep the future Nick from ending the world from happening while dating.

The latest Chronicles of Nick (see Infamous, Invisible and Infinity) is an action-packed twisting fantasy as the protagonist struggles to survive, save the world and find a date who does not want to kill him. Action-packed, fans will enjoy this entry although feel frustrated with the abrupt cliffhanger climax requiring a wait for book five.

Harriet Klausner