Monday, June 30, 2014

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back-Diana Rowland

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back
Diana Rowland
DAW, Jul 1 2014, $7.99
ISBN 9780756408220

Angel Crawford muses that human life was ugly for a white trash junkie like her.  However, as a zombie dead head she is clean; earned her GED; raises her baby Philip; and even earns a legitimate living as a coroner’s morgue assistant and as a lab rat working for Dr. Nikas.  She has come so far Angel considers attending college, a word she thought was a profanity not too long ago.

As she congratulates herself on how far she has come, Angel worries about Philip especially when Dr. Zikas’ untested but needed medical procedure fails to fix an imbalance.  Not long afterward Saberton deploys a new assault, which leads to the kidnapping of zombie Tribe leader Pietro Ivanov, Dr. Nikas and others.  Angel escapes assassination, but knows more killers will pursue her and other still free zombies.  At the same time Saberton uses Ivanov as a pawn to insure his girlfriend Congresswoman Jane Pennington supports certain legislation.  One thing that remained with Angel from her human days is distrust as she wonders who inside her community are quislings selling out zombies and their supporters for blood money.

The latest White Trash Zombie urban fantasy (see White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, My Life As A White Trash Zombie and Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues) is a superb entry as ethical questions re loyalty vs. perfidy merge with science and gory humor.  Filled with blood, guts (literally and metaphorically) and deep moral existential dilemmas in the bayou, readers will root for Angel as she tries to do the right thing while unsure what that is since personal conflicting needs clash between each person and zombie.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Fire Rose-Mercedes Lackey

The Fire Rose
Mercedes Lackey
Baen, Jul 1 2014, $18.00
ISBN 9781476736501

In 1905, Chicago heiress and medieval scholar Rosalind Hawkins has no time to grieve the death of her father as she finds herself in financial straits.  With no choices she accepts a position as a governess of Jason Cameron’s children in San Francisco.

However, her new job proves strange since her enigmatic employer has no children or for that matter apparently any family either.  Instead Jason hired her due to her medieval language translation skills.  She translates ancient French texts through a tubular gizmo to him but never sees Jason, who explains to the scholar that he suffered a horrific disfigurement.  Jason conceals from his employee that a spell he cast contained a fatal flaw that leaves this Fire Elemental Master in a werewolf-human abominable convergence.  She is his only hope, but neither expected to fall in love before she saw his visage.

This reprint of the wonderful first Elemental Masters fantasy is a delightful rendition of Beauty and the Beast in early twentieth century California.  The enchanting storyline retains its magic due a terrific cast; starting with the changing relationship between the protagonists enhanced by strong support characters and a natural disaster about to shake the City On The Bay.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Heir of Khored: Book Three of The Seven-Petaled Shield-Deborah J. Ross

The Heir of Khored: Book Three of The Seven-Petaled Shield
Deborah J. Ross
DAW, Jun 3 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756409210

Nomadic warrior Shannivar of the Azkhantia Steppe joined exiled Prince Zevaron of Meklavar, as each shared in common a loathing of Cinath and the Gelon Empire after this vile ruler led his forces in the violent destruction and brutal annexation of their respective nations.  On their quest to defeat the seemingly invincible Gelon Empire, they fell in love (see Shannivar: The Seven-Petaled Shield).

Although Shannivar prefers to focus (with her beloved at her side) on destroying the Gelon Empire, she must go it alone ever since Fire and Ice liberated from a Far North incarceration turned Zevaron into a minion.  Thus while Zevaron loses focus of the bigger menace by “passionately” concentrating on killing Cinath for murdering his mother and their people, Shannivar confronts Fire and Ice before this malevolence devastates the world in its image.

The third Seven-Petaled Shield fantasy is an exciting fast-paced thriller as the loving partnership appears dead at a critical time when the protagonists need each other.  Fast-paced, series fans will relish this apparent final Good and Evil entry that engagingly ties up the major subplots.

Harriet Klausner 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shaman Rises-C.E. Murphy

Shaman Rises

C.E. Murphy

Mira, Jun 24 2014, $14.95

ISBN 9780778316916

Cabbie Gary Muldoon calls his friend Joanne Walker the Shaman with the news that his wife Annie Marie is alive in a Seattle hospital. The Urban Shaman is shocked as Annie died long before she and Gary met. She assumes her evil enemy the Master has resurrected her friend’s wife for some nefarious purpose; as her vile adversary probably observed Gary rode with Cernunnos the God of the Wild Hunt.

Thus Joanne and her former boss at Seattle PD and current love interest Captain Mike Morrison head back home to Seattle where their adventures began. Her assumption proves correct as the Master abetted by the Raven Mocker and other malevolencies have begun the final confrontation. Risking her soul, Joanne applies her Shaman skills to attempt to defeat her near invincible foe and his minion in order to save the world.

The final Walker Papers epic (see Mountain Echoes and Raven Calls) is a great good and evil fantasy thriller that enthralled fans who journeyed with the coming of age heroine will appreciate. Going full circle, Joanne prays she proves her worth as her destiny reaches a climatic finish.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Darkness Bound-J.T. Geissinger

Darkness Bound

J.T. Geissinger

Montlake Romance/Amazon Publishing, Jun 24 2014, $12.95

ISBN: 9781477820100

Though she never met an Ikati and based solely on events in Rome, New York Times senior war correspondence Jack Dolan’s column on the "Enemy Among Us" puts fear and anger in the minds of this shapeshifting race. She exposes them as being a deadly threat to mankind. Her muckraking demand for extinction has the shapeshifters going deeper into concealment because they know the humans will stalk them mercilessly. The Ikati also deploy a two-step counterplan to bring a death and destruction offensive to their adversaries who are led by ambitious cold politicians and religious fanatics, and abetted by quislings.

While his species gathers deep inside the Brazilian rainforest, illegitimate outsider Hawk Luna launches step one: the seduction of Jacqueline Dolan in order to blackmail her into writing a friendly retraction article. However he realizes he don’t know Jack when they meet; as she turns out to be a complex flawed individual who touches his heart. Jack feels the same way re Hawk unaware he is one of the dreaded species that her yellow journalism claims needs ethnic cleansing. Soon the pair teams up to prevent a cross species war but betrayals leave both in peril and the world teetering.

The fifth Night Prowler romantic urban (and jungle) fantasy (see Edge of Darkness, Rapture’s Edge, Shadows Edge and Edge of Oblivion) is an exciting action-packed thriller that grips the audience from the onset and never loosens that hold; as danger mounts, and relationships and loyalties change. Series fans will relish this taut drama; while newcomers should start at the beginning as each entry builds up on the previous’ international events.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vicky Peterwald: Target-Mike Shepherd

Vicky Peterwald: Target

Mike Shepherd

Ace, Jun 24 2014, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425266571

The emperor loathes the Longknife family and prefers every one of them dead. He told his worthless daughter, (whose only use is as a marital commodity) Her Imperial Grace the Grand Duchess Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe- Peterwald, that the family feud was over a century old, but personal since Lieutenant Kris Longknife killed his heir in battle as the latest affront by these upstarts.

When his unwanted daughter failed to assassinate his enemy, the irate Emperor assigns her to serve in the military to learn to be a ruthless killer or die. She developed skills and confidence to be more than a male magnet by observing her adversary and others. Yet ironically Vicky feels safer serving on Longknife’s ship the Wasp than at home especially since the young empress Annah wants her dead.

The first Vicky Peterwald science fiction is an engaging hyper-speed thriller obviously located in the Longknife galaxy. The entertaining coming of age storyline focuses on Vicky’s growing awareness that she can be much more than her father’s pretty pawn if she survives her vicious stepmother’s attacks. Although more a set-up opening act, Longknife fans will welcome this female rival who sees her enemy as a role model. Increasingly Vicky believes she and her gender can be much more than society allows; but also frequently reverts back to her seductive charm persona hammered into her brain all her life (until her sibling died) that is all she is good for.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Long Mars-Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long Mars

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Harper, Jun 17 2014, $25.99

ISBN 9780062297297

Three decades have passed since Step Day occurred. Five years ago Yellowstone began the cataclysmic destruction of Datum Earth. Yet by 2045, there remain seemingly infinite planets making up The Long Earth for US Navy Commander Kauffman and her crew of the USS Benjamin Franklin to visit. Many of these orbs have proven hostile so they proceed with extreme caution.

Stepper inventor Willis Linsay contacts his daughter Sally for the first time in years. He wants Sally to help him search the recently discovered planets of the Long Mars. His stated objective is to find sentient life though Sally wonders if her dad has a hidden agenda.

Joshua Valiente fears hostilities between his people and the Next humans he met in the Long Earth. This brilliant group thinks radically different than Joshua and his peers. They don’t hide their disdain of Valiente and his kin as intellectually inferior, which fills his side with rage towards the Next.

The third Long Earth science fiction (see The Long War) is a fascinating entry that thrillingly widens the Long universe with a wonderful step into parallel Mars. Though the tale comes across as similar to that of The Long Earth, this is an exciting saga.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Leopard-K.V. Johansen

The Leopard

K.V. Johansen

Pyr, Jun 10 2014, $18.00

ISBN 9781616149031


Though none except one has seen or heard the God The Lady of the Deep Well, Lady of Marakand, she is the most worshipped of the deity triad.  Her followers believe she speaks to them through the Voice of the Lady of Marakand, also cloaked in dark secrecy.  Claiming their God ordered them, the Voice of the Lady of Marakand commands the Red Masks to violently attack their neighbors; anyone who resists is to be slaughtered brutally except for the chosen ones who will serve as mockeries bowing to the Lady. 


Heir to Queen Catigga of Suina Catarina and sister of High King Durandu of Duina Andara, Deyandara has felt the wrath of the Red Masks as her royal aunt failed the Goddess Catairanach and paid the price along with most of her subjects.  Deyandara knows she is fortunate to have survived the carnage, but thirsts for revenge knowing only one being might be able to succeed.  Deyandara travels to Sand Cove in the Tributary Lands to plead with the multi-cursed assassin Ahjvar the Leopard to eliminate the Voice.  In return to murdering the abomination, Catairanach will grant Ahjvar his one wish: death.


The Leopard introduces readers to a fascinating fierce fantasy world filled with an intriguing cast especially the mysterious vile villain.  Several threads are begun, but none completed as this opening act comes across as an interesting prequel to a good and evil saga.


Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 16, 2014

Memory Of Water-Memory Of Water

Memory Of Water

Emmi Itäranta

Harper Voyager, Jun 10 2014, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062326157


The period now known as the Past World ended with dramatic climate change that started with fights over oil, but ended with battles over water as the global ice totally melted.  When the Past World died, humanity adapted to a new earth without oil.  After this Twilight Century of adjustment ended, the present New Qian era began with China using an iron fist controlling much of Eurasia.


New Qian oversees the Scandinavian Union; where seventeen years old Noria Kaitio apprentices as a highly respected tea master.  Understanding the importance of her vocation because tea masters know the secret water holes, she hopes to be as admired one day as her father by her villagers.  However, when her dad dies, the military seeks his special spring that provided water to the locals.  Noria feels unready as she must choose between personal safety and challenging the army, government and some villagers.


This is a bleak future as Emmi Itäranta extrapolates the long term impact of climate change on what remains of Scandinavia in which water is the prime commodity.  The cautionary speculative fiction storyline starts slow as the background is established, but once that is done, the Memory of Water flows at a very fast pace.  Teen readers and adults (except deniers) will appreciate this strong dystopian saga that warns mankind that unless we act now the world we know will die.


Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rebels: City Of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia-Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Rebels: City Of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia 

Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing, Jun 3, 2014, $17.99

ISBN: 9781451694420


In Indra, Lex the orphan lives just above the rock bottom layer where the rejected mutants live.  She prepares for the day she persuades authorities that she is useful to society rather than being banished to reside with the dregs beneath her.  Her chance to prove her worth occurs when she is selected to train as a Population Control Force cadet.


At the other end of the spectrum, Livia lives at the top in a lofty home on a floating island above the city.  Though she seems to have everything, Livia feels imprisoned with no freedom when all she wants is to run around with her horse.


At basic, Lex the loner makes one friend Kane.  When her only buddy is in trouble at the top of the world, Lex deserts her special ops post to protect his back.  However, standing in her way is affluent Livia who proves flexible and intelligent as she forces Lex to allow her to join her on the rescue mission.  Neither realize they share the same mark that if discovered places both in danger as they share much more than this and the need to save Kane.


This tale focuses on the coming of age of two young women with polar opposite backgrounds who sacrifice all initially to rescue a friend but soon learn TMI.  The storyline is light fun but the key title character city never feels developed especially the zones where the lead pair grew up and The Prince(ss) and The Pauper prove interchangeable. 


Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 13, 2014

1636 Commander Cantrell in the West Indies-Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

1636 Commander Cantrell in the West Indies

Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

Baen, Jun 3 2014, $25.00

ISBN: 9781476736785


Knowing his nation needs petroleum for their up-time machines USE Navy Lieutenant Commander Eddie Cantrell proposes to his superior officer Admiral Tom Simpson that they sail to Trinidad, a place where the oil can be relatively easy to extract.  Simpson approves the ocean voyage.  Eddie, accompanied by his wife Denmark King Christian IV’s non-princess daughter Anne Catherine whose diplomacy skills are needed, sail to the Caribbean on the Intrepid cruiser.  The Resolve cruiser and the Courser destroyer complete the naval entourage that will require evasive maneuvers to avoid the Spanish and French who own the Caribbean.


The Earl of Tyrconnell and Colonel of the Wild Geese grieving with guilt Hugh Albert O'Donnell stays with retired ailing miner Mike McCarthy, Sr. and the latter’s family in Grantville while learning more about his wife’s recent death.  Hugh rescues his host’s son technical instructor Mike, Jr. from an assault.  Afterward Hugh and Mike, Jr. travel to French General Henri de la Tour d'Auverge Turenne’s testing facility in Amiens, France with a proposal to extract petroleum in Trinidad.


The fourteenth Ring of Fire alternate historical (see 1636: The Kremlin Games) is an enjoyable thriller that provides readers with plenty of operational military maneuvers at sea and in Trinidad, and understanding of strategic concerns though the latter sometimes turns boring due TMI detail.  Still fans of the saga will relish this entry as empires collide in the New World.


Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tenth Degree Of The Paranormal-Brenda Stinnett

Tenth Degree Of The Paranormal

Brenda Stinnett

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, May 2 2014, $14.98

ISBN: 9781495390807


Barbara Stevens knows how difficult it is to deal with powers that the normal like her former husband Russell would say do not exist or if they believe label as paranormal.  Though she conceals her abnormal ability by refusing to use it, Barbara’s concern is not for herself but for her tweener daughter Tiffany; as like she genetically inherited her talent from her recently deceased mom Katherine so has her child from her.  Before her death Katharine warned Barbara that Tiffany appears to have the rare tenth degree of psychic Power that others will covet for their personal avarice.


Over the objection of Russell who insists Tiffany is normal, Barbara takes their offspring to Dr. Karlovsky for testing.  Not long afterward, Barbara and Tiffany are abducted by fanatics seeking to create a super master race.  While the pair remains incarcerated near Russia, Tiffany begins to display abilities in all ten paranormal disciplines in which the few with talent rarely can perform two skills.  If true and not controlled, she inadvertently will open the abyss and bring hell to earth.


With a nod to the three-generation female relationships of the Ghost Whisperer, Tenth Degree Of The Paranormal is a great thriller; as a mother who spent decades running from her talent will do anything including embrace her skills to keep her cub safe.  Sub-genre fans will appreciate Brenda Stinnett’s exciting good and evil tale as the Momma Grizzly risks her life to protect her beloved daughter.


Harriet Klausner

Death’s Redemption-Marie Hall

Death’s Redemption

Marie Hall

Forever Yours, Jun 3 2014, $17.00

ISBN: 9781455549917


Mila O'Fallen is the last known human seer whose visions enable her to see other people’s past and future fate.  As for herself, she knows her life is harsh if anyone, especially the paranormal, learn of her ability; as they will pursue her.  However to save a girl’s life, Mila exposes herself.


Following her Good Samaritan deed that awakens others to her skills, vampires trap Mila when a big person arrives at the scene.  Frenzy the Grim Reaper plans to harvest another pathetic human soul but is stunned as this mortal has the eyes of his late beloved who perished centuries ago.  Though Mila pleads with him to leave her to die, Frenzy refuses as he feels an attraction like no other since his soul mate left him bereaving.  As they flee together, evil pursues her with a diligence because she is the tool to destroy multiple species.


The second Eternal Lovers romantic urban fantasy (see Death’s Lover) is a fabulous grim (no pun intended) paranormal thriller.  Readers will appreciate the supernatural species (fae, vampires, and werewolves; oh, my) as each of them as well as the skills of the lead power couple come across as genuine.  However, the key to this entertaining tale is the relationship between the good seer and the bad reaper because to our delight love melts his tundra frozen heart.


Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane-Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Neil Gaiman

Morrow, Jun 3 2014, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062255662


Obsessed, he heads back to the house in rustic Sussex that he has not seen since his parents sold it three decades ago.  The artist thinks back to when his family moved into their new home at five year old and left seven years later. 


When he was a loner at seven, the child met tweener Lettie Hempstock the Daughter, the Mother and the Grandmother who lived near the pond that turned out to be The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.  A suicide enabled evil to take residence in their home in the form of the housekeeper.  She easily charmed his mother and siblings, and seduced his father; only he was immune because he believed whom his only friend was and her family still is.  In the present he meets Mother and Grandmother, but he blames himself that the Daughter apparently remains lost.


This is a super fantasy that grips readers from the moment the nameless protagonist returns to the site of his greatest triumph and loss.  Character driven, readers will relish the tale of the artist remembering when he as the child and the Daughter fought the malevolence.


Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shimmer-R.L Hayden


R.L Hayden

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Mar 4 2014, $16.00

ISBN: 9781496105370


Elderly Howard and Marge Masting search for their Uncle James’s mine.  They stop for cold drinks at a frontier town before returning to their hotel in nearby Kingman, Arizona.  To their shock the couple thought they were gone for hours only to learn days passed.  Kingman Police Officer Billy Gomez accompanies the couple to the location of the town, but nothing is there except their drinking glasses.  Looking back as they leave, the couple sees a shimmer and a 1940s village that quickly vanishes.


Rick Prescott learns what the Masting couple claims they saw and that they disappeared one year ago, three months after their encounter.  He buys from their distraught daughter a detailed diary of their find and visits Sarina Lake who has kept her distance from Rick after the flying saucer violent mishmash (see Cover-Up).  They travel to the site accompanied by Gomez and repeat the Masting phenomena of shimmering in and out towns.  This leads them to a saucer and its survivor “Wilma”.  Soon the couple heads to Yellowknife, Canada where a retired and an active Mounties help them with an underwater find while the American military stealthily and Reverend Franklin’s Church of Blinding Light clumsily threaten their lives.


The second Rick Prescott and Sarina Lake paranormal thriller is an action-packed investigative tale in which the Masting couple takes the opening sprint before handing the baton off to the lead couple as two is the magic number in this fast-paced story.  Readers will appreciate this exciting entry with the major alien threads tied up intelligently and the American military behaving as expected when conducting an illegal action in Canada; only the Rev’s team comes across as stereotypes.


Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thorn Jack-Katherine Harbour

Thorn Jack

Katherine Harbour
Harper Voyager, Jun 24 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062286727
In San Francisco Serafina “Finn” Sullivan was seventeen when she and her eighteen years old sister Lily Rose argued one evening.  The words they exchanged in heat proved to be their final discussion; as that night Lily Rose committed suicide.  The siblings’ father sees the haunting memory of his late daughter everywhere so he moves the family to Upstate New York.
In Fair Hollow,a grieving Finn meets Jack Fata.  They are attracted to each other, but his affluent family objects; especially irate is Reiko Fata.  As they begin a romance, Finn and Jack try to help her friends.  However, Finn has new concerns when an omen proclaims she will unite with her sister on Halloween.
The first Night and Nothing Novel is an enjoyable atmospheric romantic ghost story while containing a strong fascinating cast.  The delightful storyline is filled with twists and sudden 180 degree spins as nothing appears as it first seems.  Although the finish disruptively whirls from much of what previously occurred, subgenre fans will appreciate Finn’s fight for love and friendship against a mysterious malevolence.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Sea Of Time-P.C. Hodgell

The Sea Of Time

P.C. Hodgell

Baen, Jun 3 2014, $15.00

ISBN: 9781476736495


Highborn Jamethiel heads to Overcliff to visit Kothifir King Krothen in the Rose Tower.  While Jame strolls through the village, she prevents Byrne from pickpocketing her.  The lad and his grandfather Gaudaric inform her of the Karnids infestation and mention the Change before she leaves them. 


Inside the Rose Tower, Jame watches the obese monarch warn the Gemma to stop the raids or else.  Afterward Jame sends greetings from her twin High Lord Torison but Krothen’s Aunt Amantine intrudes scathing her nephew for the lack of an heir.  Forced to leave, Jame mentally seeks her servant-spy Graykin throughout the towers, but when she reaches Intelligencer Hall, someone shoves her down an opening that lands her in the Undercliff caverns underneath the city. There she catches up with Graykin, and meets Kroaky the Undercliff Master and the Old Gods while learning more about the Change and what happened when Tori was here fifteen years ago.


The latest Chronicles of the Kencyrath (see Honor's Paradox and Bound In Blood) is an engaging still coming of age fantasy mostly because of the heroine’s visit to fascinating Kothifir though the overarching theme barely moves.  Jame remains a resolute banished protagonist keeping the storyline focused as she tries to do what she believes is right while bewildered with what she observes and learns.  Series fans will want to accompany her on her quest to save her world where her being female with power makes her a pariah.


Harriet Klausner

Possessed By An Immortal-Sharon Ashwood

Possessed By An Immortal

Sharon Ashwood

Harlequin Nocturne, Jun 1 2014, $5.75

ISBN: 9780263913972


The killers target the witness Brianna Meadows who fears her luck may run out as she feels fortunate to have escaped her adversaries in Chicago and the Twin Cities, but prays she can take her ailing four year old son Jonathan to safety.  Bob the fishing guide dumps mother and child in a remote wilderness during a storm before cowardly running from his passengers.  Adesperate Bree notices a cabin with a light on and carrying Jonathan she heads there.


Dr. Mark Winspear’s vampire senses realize a human female is nearby.  He reluctantly welcomes her and her child into his abode.  Though attracted to each other, he wants nothing to do with her conflict and Bree prefers he stay out of it.  When he learns who chases her, Mark has a powerful motive for involvement after what happened to his La Compagnie des Mortes leader Jack Anderson (see Possessed By A Warrior).  Still both adults agree saving dying Jonathan’s life from his strange illness and taking the fight to kill their mutual enemy come before their needs to become better acquainted.


The second La Compagnie des Mortes romantic urban fantasy is an engaging thriller in which much of the focus is on the threat.  Fast-paced, readers will appreciate Possessed By An Immortal; as the vampire and the mom in distress fall in love, but know their priorities.


Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rescue Mode-Ben Bova and Les Johnson

Rescue Mode

Ben Bova and Les Johnson

Baen, Jun 3 2014, $25.00

ISBN: 9781476736471


A Chinese unmanned vessel shakes up the world when it finds organic material on Mars.  Scientists from several nations persuade their leaders to support a manned mission to Mars in which the Americans fund the Russians to build a nuclear powered ship.  As one of a seemingly zillion political compromises Canadian Benson Benson is named Commander of the Arrow.  The rest of the flying team consists of American mission pilot Ted Connover, Japanese psychologist Dr. Taki Nomura, French geologist Catherine Clermont, American geologist Hiram McPherson, American communications specialist Virginia Gonzalez, American biologist Amanda Lynn and Russian meteorologist Mikhail Prokhorov.  Also “flying” virtually is American reporter Steven Treadway who will interview the crew during the trip.


Problems occur in the final days before liftoff, but NASA scientists with cooperation from their participating peers manage to correct all of the equipment issues.  The astronauts have problems also, but the octet accept mission first.  However, far from earth, a tiny meteorite slams into the ship with such velocity as to cause terrible damage.  While the crippled Arrow continues to Mars as the team agrees that is their best chance to survive, politicians back home insist this proves the danger and cost of space is too great. 


Taking place twenty years into the future, Rescue Mode is a super timely science fiction thriller that will remind readers of Apollo 13, but with a deep focus on the science to get to Mars and political decisions on earth that impact the mission before and during flight.  Filled with action especially after the rock hammers the Arrow, fans will appreciate this strong entry as the naysayers back on earth use the accident as a reason to end space travel.


Harriet Klausner

eHuman Dawn-Nicole Sallak Anderson

eHuman Dawn

Nicole Sallak Anderson

Story Merchant, Mar 26 2014, $14.95

ISBN: 9780989715485


By 2242, mankind conquered life and death due to the great Neuro global network in which humans reside as part of a complex network.  However, increase Global Resistance activity leads World Leader Rosario Donahi, with support from Guardian Enterprises and more important from her boss “King” Edgar Prince, to begin a campaign to silence the opposition by using the Energy Grid against them.


For two centuries since the Great Shift, Newsreel host Adam Winter, like all humanity, has lived as an eHuman.  For the past five decades he lived with Miranda Valentine in New Omaha, North American Province, but she has left him.  Distraught Adam soon learns that the World Government has begun a vicious assault on cities beginning with unplugging Chengdu and New Chelyabinsk with New Omaha on the list for annihilation.  He joins the Global Resistance led by first eHuman Dawn and Origen who shock him with their revelations of who he is and what he means to their saving mankind.


With a nod to the Zager And Evans’ In The Year 2525, the allegorical eHuman Dawn looks deeply into what defines a human; what life is and what living means.  Although the action starts slow with mass murdering occurring off page, readers will relish this character driven science fiction morality tale; as the good, the bad and the ugly compete with different visions re the future of mankind.


Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blood Red-Mercedes Lackey

Blood Red

Mercedes Lackey

DAW, Jun 3 2014, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756408978


In the primeval Black Forest, werewolves murder an elderly Earth Master.  The dead woman’s ten years old student Rosamund escapes the carnage, but also suffers from what she witnessed happened to her adopted grandmother.  Not long afterward, the Schwarzwald Foresters Hunt Master rescues the in shock child.  Seeing potential in little Rosa, her “Papa” Earth Magician tutors her to be more than a healer.


Years later, Rosa has become the first female Earth Master.  However, gender groundbreaking means nothing to obsessed Rosa as she never has forgotten the brutality that occurred to her grandmother.  Thus her fixated mission in life is to eradicate the malevolent especially werewolves who assault the innocent.  As she becomes a super slayer, Rosa struggles with etiquette when forced to join society.


The ninth Elemental Masters fairy tale (see Steadfast) is a delightful twisting rendition of Little Red Riding Hood after the wolf swallowed grandma.  Rosa is a terrific protagonist who keeps the engaging nineteenth century storyline with its rich Central European background focused as she is great at killing evil but horrible at a gala decorum. 


Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Night Shifters-Sarah A. Hoyt

Night Shifters

Sarah A. Hoyt

Baen, Jun 3 2014, $14.99

ISBN: 9781476736518


“Draw One in the Dark.”  In Goldport, Colorado, the George waitress Kyrie the panther-shifter hears a scream so she steps outside and follows the odor of blood to a corpse.  Near the body is Tom the Nordic dragon with blood on him.  They shift to human form and she takes him home to his devastated apartment where three Oriental dragons attack them.  The panther fights back until Tom takes them out of harm’s way.  At her place, Rafiel the lion shifter tells her that the ancient great sky dragon apparently is breaking shifter canon by massacring their kind with Tom as the focus of a hunt for the Pearl of Heaven.


“Gentleman Takes a Chance.”  While a blizzard paralyzes Goldport, GPD officer Rafiel investigates homicides at the Aquarium in which his lion essence smells a shifter.  At the same time, while Tom showers the great sky dragon telepathically communicates with him; terrorized he loses control and shifts destroying the room.  He and Kyrie head to the George for shelter.  Conan the red dragon explains to Kyrie that the great sky dragon ordered him to keep Tom safe.


This omnibus contains the first two enjoyable Shifter urban fantasies.  Draw One in the Dark is slower than Gentleman Takes a Chance as much of the opening act introduces readers to the civilian lives of former foster child Kyrie and kicked out of his family home as a teen (for shifting) Tom.  With an engaging overarching theme involving dragons and a myriad of other shifter-types, the twisting exciting fun comes from the downside of shifting; i.e.; the bathroom.


Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Banishing The Dark-Jenn Bennett

Banishing The Dark Jenn Bennett Pocket, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN 9781451695090 Arcadia Bell has no time to heal from her severe wounds or celebrate her triumph over the now dead Hellfire Club Chief Ambrose Dare (see Summoning The Night) as she still has to challenge her murderous mom Enola Duval before time runs out on her. With her recently activated power growing exponentially, Cady continues to search for pertinent information on the Moonchild ritual performed by her malevolent mage parents when she was conceived; enabling Enola’s soul to steal her offspring’s body. As she prepares for her confrontation, her only allies are Hellfire member and her lover Earthbound demon Lon Butler and his teenage son Jupe. To insure evil Enola does not learn from his beloved Cady that she carries his child, Lon erases her memory of being pregnant, but also accidently deletes her knowledge of their love. The latest Arcadia Bell urban fantasy (see Kindling the Moon) is an action-packed exciting thriller that will please series fans. Fast-paced yet character-driven especially by the heroine whose coming of age with her new growing powers, increasing confidence and self-esteem, and love with those who have her back; while preparing to commit justifiable matricide before “Mommy Dearest” sacrifices her. Harriet Klausner