is a science fiction and fantasy book review site, written and published by accomplished reviewer Harriet Klausner. For more information, please check the About page.
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May 11, 2013
As Twilight Falls
Zebra, Apr 30 2013. $7.99
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.
May 9, 2013
Kevin J. Anderson
Kensington, Apr 30 2013, $15.00
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.
April 2, 2013
Bite Me, Your Grace
Sourcebook, Apr 2 2013, $6.99
In 1821 Duke Ian Ashton is going crazy for two reasons. First, as the Lord Vampire of London he must deal with the crazy fad caused by Dr. John Polidori’s tale “The Vampyre” written over a weekend with the Shelley couple and Byron as the aristocracy goes vampyre. If he has to take any more bites of garlic, show up in daylight or prove you can see his reflection in a mirror, he may drain his host.
Second his neighbor, wannabe writer Angelica Winthrop, has been sneaking into his home and asking questions as she seeks a theme for her novel. Ian decides she will be the perfect cover of his true identity after he bites and marries her. However, even that goes wrong forcing him to find that damn Polidori and more difficult not to love his spouse while a slayer stalks anyone who acts differently with a stake first and questions later attitude.
Bite Me, Your Grace is a refreshing amusing yet dark Regency urban fantasy romance that uses the famous weekend ghost wirting contest as the springboard for a fun tale. Fast-paced with a strong cast and a wonderful twist, readers will enjoy Brooklyn Ann’s fabulous fang frolic.
March 28, 2013
St. Martin’s, Mar 26 2013, $7.99
FBI Agent Xavier Santos-Markland the Topetenia jaguar-shifter works the deadliest predator cases mostly in the Washington D.C. area. He drops in at Athena’s topless where he watches Caprise Delgado perform an exotic dance that has him and the other patrons drooling. Though his senses are overwhelmed by his desire, Xavier realizes Rogue shifters, who abandoned the Etica code of ethics and deserted one of the five tribes to most likely join drug dealing Topetenia Sabar Tavares’ gang, are nearby. With no explanation, he escorts the hybrid dancer to safety where their mutual attraction is temporarily satiated though each craves more.
Xavier knows Caprise conceals something that frightens her from him. He offers his help but she rejects his aid, which angers and frustrates him as he fears for the woman he knows is his life mate. Her stalker continues to threaten her; as this hybrid killer also claims Caprise as his mate.
The latest Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation Rising and Seduction’s Shift) is an action-packed entry; as A.C. Arthur expands her realm by introducing other tribes and a new hybrid. The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed feisty mates though their first encounter following her performance seems very doubtful; while the psychotic villain adds sinister tension to an exciting triangle of life and death.
March 15, 2013
The Spellcaster’s Grimoire
ImaJinn, Feb 28 2013, $14.00
In Maynard, Georgia, bestselling author Trish Sinclair writes her third tome on recreational witchcraft. Her sources have been the local coven, which has angered all except leader Benton Moorcroft although he is upset that she mentioned the Spellcaster’s Grimoire in book two; as he wanted its existence kept secret with almost everyone believing the tome destroyed.
Benton arrives at Trish’s house to warn her that evil witch Kate Cavanaugh is coming to claim the Spellcaster’s Grimoire; for Trish to obtain help from loner warlock Aidan McCarthy, and for her to run. Instead of Aidan the loser, Trish heads to coven member Sondra Patton with Kate in pursuit. Sondra and other coven members tell her to fix what she wrought by using her manipulative skill before Kate gets the book and the crystal that will enable her to kill all the witches, but also assigns novice Rain Devereaux to assist. The two women race to Aiden’s home with Kate chasing after them. The powerful raging Kate confronts the two pathetic female practitioners and the drunk.
The latest Witches of Milton County (see Mystic Witch) is an exciting fast-paced urban fantasy starring four flawed individuals in a coming of age story. Trish has no confidence in her skills while Rain has too much as both never seem to succeed yet must; Aiden is a sop due to an ugly magical incident he shared with Kate years ago while came out of that life changer thirsting for more power. Fast-paced and filled with confrontations and a simmering back burner romance, readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller.
March 8, 2013
Edge of Dawn
Delacorte, Feb 26 2013, $25.00
Mira witnessed her beloved Breed Kellan die in a warehouse explosion. The veiled child, whose eyes prophesize the gazer’s future, grew up that day with a loathing of the rebels. Over the next eight years, she became a warrior and now is a captain in the Order who believes in killing first.
When Mira crosses the line of acceptance on an assignment, her superior punishes her with a fluff task that her boss knows she will hate but do well. Mira serves as bodyguard to award winning human inventor-scientist Jeremy Ackmeyer while he attends the GNC Summit. However, the task goes wrong when rebels abduct her and Jeremy while scheming to blow up the conference. Seeking a way to expedite herself and her charge, Mira is stunned when she meets the leader of the kidnappers.
Two decades have passed since the human masses became aware of the Breed (see Darker After Midnight); Lara Adrian refreshes her romantic urban fantasy saga with new issues of surviving the coming out party. Yet the threats from rebels and humans, who both demand the top rung of the food chain, remain palatable. Readers will enjoy watching how the children as adults become the warriors still led by Lucan as the Order’s next generation takes over though the paradox of prophesy means the journey not the outcome matters. Lara Adrian is one of this reviewer’s top ten authors
January 11, 2013
‘Til The World Ends
Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre and Karen Duvall
Luna, Jan 29 2013. $14.95
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.
November 30, 2012
The Eldritch Conspiracy
Tor, Jan 8 2013, $14.99
Siren Princess Adriana and Rusland King Dahlmar agree to a political marriage of convenience to the delight of their respective families. However, the Guardians of the Faith oppose the merger as their mission is Siren genocide. They have killed several individuals with close ties to the royal bride.
The family enlists Adriana’s cousin hybrid vamp-siren Celia Graves as a bodyguard bridesmaid with the threat from the Guardians growing. Celia proves her value when she prevents an assault on the bride’s wedding party at a bridal salon. Adriana returns home to prevent a coup from occurring while Celia stalks the terrorists and the mage abetting their ethnic cleansing agenda. She also needs to set aside time to find a dress for the wedding.
The latest Blood Singer urban romantic fantasy (see Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, and The Isis Collar) is a superb thriller starring a fabulous soul-searching heroine who wonders where she belongs as a no longer human hybrid. While she ponders her place in one of three societies, the impact of feeling like an outsider on her personal life is negatively immense. Fans will appreciate her latest escapades as she hopes to make it to the royal wedding in a kick butt dress after sending the Guardians and their mage to well-deserved graves.
November 18, 2012
Luck of the Draw
Tor, Dec 24 2012, $25.99
Magic relocates ailing octogenarian widower Bryce from Mundania to Xanth where he becomes a twentyish person who can see the future. Princess Dawn informs the confused Bryce that Demons placed a bet on him and others over who will win the affection of sixteen years old Princess Harmony; he being a long shot. Furthermore she explains his quest is dangerous but he has no choice as he is compulsively spellbound to compete although he feels some remorse as an ex-geriatric with a young man’s bod but the mind of a geezer courting a teen.
Given the mighty weapon of a pen, Bryce on his mission with two allies; Rachel the talking German short-haired pointer and nineteen year old Mindy join him. However, as he enjoys his fountain of youth and loves to draw, the teen object of his desire rejects his and her other suitors.
The latest Xanth fantasy (see Well-Tempered Clavicle) is duh a fun pun filled entry. Fast-paced with amusing (and some awful) bon mots, fans of the series will enjoy the Luck of the Draw.
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Kevin J. Anderson
Kensington, Dec 24 2012. $15.00
Residents of the Unnatural Quarter work dead end jobs trying to eke out a living especially during the graveyard shift. A golem, who like his compatriots cannot read, enters the office of Chambeaux and Deyer which includes African American lawyer Robin Deyer and her zombie private investigator partner Dan Shamble. He complains about sweatshop conditions at Smile Syndicate in order for Golems to make trinkets for the tourists to partners African American lawyer Robin Deyer and zombie private investigator Dan Shamble, and their office manager Cheyenne the tireless ghost. Learning his name is Bill as inscribed on his back, the golem demands human rights for the inhuman.
The Smiling Syndicate buys Goblin Tavern while a senator pushing the Unnatural Acts Act leads a crusade against the inhuman abominations with a protest against the production of Shakespeare in the Dark. While Robin works the rights issue and Cheyenne the office, Dan juggles his caseload between protection of an interracial couple and a madame mummy, and investigating something evil happening in the Unnatural Quarter; however his biggest concern is the renovation of Goblin Tavern.
The latest Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. (see Death Warmed Over) is a superb satirical paranormal thriller. Filled with jocularity, Kevin J. Anderson lampoons societal morality of discriminatory convenience with this delightful tale as the natural and the supernatural contain nasty unequal opportunity a-holes.