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.
Please feel free to use the links below to navigate to book reviews alphabetically, either by Author Name, or Book Title, or else use the main left-hand links to main genres, or most recent reviews.
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April 27, 2013
Blood of Dragons
Harper Voyager, Apr 9 2013, $27.99
The Elderlings human-dragon hybrids reestablish the lost city of Kelsingra so that the young dragons they have pledged to protect can thrive. However, most of the fledglings cannot fly across the river to their new sanctuary, which leaves them exposed. The dying Duke of Chalced needs dragons to live; thus he has hunters stalking the beasts so that he can extract their life sustaining attributes.
Meanwhile the ancient dragon queen Tintaglia also struggles for her life after a vicious attack by Chalced mercenaries seeking blood for their duke. Her followers scream for war against the humans who committed this audacious atrocity. At the same time the Elderlings search for Silver so that the dragons do not lose their memories of their true form especially within a city filled with species’ memories.
The latest Rain Wilds Chronicles epic fantasy involves a vast rotating cast so that the engaging storyline always seems slightly off kilter yet works for those who read the previous entries (see Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons) as the depth makes the world of Hobb seem genuine. Fans will enjoy the confrontation between the good (Thymara), the bad (Chalced) and the ugly (Hest).
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 9, 2013
Harlequin HQN, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
His beautiful cold Mommy Cornelia hated him and sliced off his wings as a small boy before sending seven year old Koldo to live and preferably die with his even eviler father. He survived his father’s torture though psychology Koldo is damaged due to parental loathing and abuse. Koldo joined the on probation Angels of the Dark army led by Commander Zacharel (see Wicked Nights) whose brutal combat against demons has led to human collateral damage.
Koldo meets twins Nicola and Laila Lane while on an operation. Each sister suffers from chronic heart conditions with Laila dying; both also have been used as sustenance by demons. When Nicola has a concussion, she begins to see demons. Her only hope for her and her sibling to survive resides with the wingless avenging angel Koldo who she finds overwhelmingly attractive.
The second Angels of the Dark romantic urban fantasy contains refreshing unique romance as the embittered lead male (Freud would have had wet dreams fulfilled with Koldo as a patient) is the virginal one though their tryst comes across somewhat limpid. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment readers meet young Koldo and never slows down as this offshoot of the Lords of the Underworld saga provides fans with a grim exciting thriller starring a traumatized male whose heart was pulverized when his wings were clipped.
January 17, 2013
Melissa de la Cruz, Robert Venditti (adapter) and Alina Urusov (art)
Hyperion, Jan 15 2013, $19.99
Only the elite Blue Bloods attend Manhattan’s ultra-exclusive Duchesne School. However though the students are a special breed as offspring of the movers and shakers, there is a caste system at Duchesne like any school. Below in the ooze underneath the hierarchal ladder is where Schuyler Van Alen and her friend Oliver Hazard-Perry reside or as far from superstar Jack Force or his twin sister Mimi is possible. That is until they change as their reincarnated vampire genes manifest with nightmarish looks as far back as seventeenth century Roanoke.
Duchesne student Augusta Carondolet dies at a nightclub; also there with her were the Force siblings, new pupil bad dude Dylan Ward, student Bliss Llewellyn and sneaking in for the first time Schuyler and Oliver. Soon after Aggie’s death, other Blue Bloods die. As she learns the truth about who she is, Schuyler also inquiries about a schism that goes back to the original Virginia colony as an avenging group the Silver Bloods have begun a killing spree.
This terrific graphic novelization of the first Blue Bloods young adult vampire thriller captures the essence of the original storyline and its high school age lead characters. Fans of the series will appreciate Robert Venditti’s wonderful adaptation enhanced by powerful Alina Urusov’s art as Melissa de la Cruz’s entertaining vampiric teen lit suspense (with two mysteries) comes vividly alive.
January 9, 2013
Blood of the Sorceress
Mira, Jan 29 2013, $7.99
In 1501 BC in Babylon, the king’s favorite slave Lilia the witch fell in love with the ruler’s right hand man and best friend Demetrius. When the monarch learned of his beloved’s betrayal of his heart, Demetrius kills him to save Lilia. After a search of the harem, Lilia and her two sisters Indira (see Mark of the Witch) and Magadalena (see Daughter of the Spellcaster) are thrown off a cliff to the rocks below. The High Priest Sindar deploys dark magic to strip Demetrius of his soul and banish him to a formless nonexistence in the Underworld.
After three and a half millennia, her two reincarnated siblings returned parts of his soul to Demetrius who has escaped his horrid incarceration. As Lilia sees him for the first time since that bloody day in ancient Babylon, she knows her chance to return and complete Demetrius’ soul has finally arrived. However, he no longer wants his soul even if that means eternal damnation or her love, and besides Sindar, now a demon, stalks them.
The final Portal romantic fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring a strong lead female, a PTSD male struggling to adjust to a physical world and worse his refurbished feelings besides his only companion for ages: rage, and a powerful diabolical demon. As with the previous trilogy entries, Maggie Shayne casts a spell on her audience.
January 5, 2013
Daw, Dec 31, 2012, $25.95
In the Essaylieyan Empire capital Averalaan, eight weeks have passed since Jewel Markess ATerafin became head of the most powerful of the ruling Ten Houses, Terafin (see Skirmish). Since her rise, four assassination attempts, three by magic, have occurred. She knows how dangerous her position is as her predecessor who named her as successor was murdered by a demon. Her rivals for Terafin covet the seat, but her biggest fear is not feeling ready for the reasonability.
The Kings order an honor celebration for the armies returning home after winning the war to the south; attended by the royal twins, the Ten and the people. During the parade, another demonic attempt to kill Jewel occurs. With help by Meralonne and telepathic advice from Avandar who says she is not ready for Battle with the Kialli as she must accept at times killing is right in order to protect the common good; Jewel escapes by flying on Snow the winged cat. The Kialli pursues while destroying anyone unfortunately in its path. Jewel confronts the demon in the forest near her Family manse. The Kings demand she present herself to them, but she becomes victimized by the pandemic sleeping plague where she must elude the Warden of Dreams and her treasonous Terafin House Council.
Though in many ways Battle is a transition tale in the House War series, fans will enjoy this fascinating entry as the heroine matures in her new role while even taking what she learned about power into the realm of Dreams. The subplots of other players like Meralonne APhaniel and Angel move forward also, but book five focuses on Jewel’s coming of age on the job training in the use of political and magical power.
November 14, 2012
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
WMG, Dec 2012, $18.99
Six months ago on Anniversary Day, nineteen cities were bombed. Those who committed the atrocities got away as authorities have no idea who did the nefarious mass murdering of civilians or why. However, the leadership believes another wave is imminent.
Making no progress on her inquiry and fearing a second round of deadly terrorism, United Domes of the Moon Chief of Security Noelle DeRicci asks former Retrieval Artist Miles Flint to investigate. Though retired to spend time with his daughter Talia, Miles accepts the job. With the help of shady individuals and Talia, Miles begins to uncover an inconvenient truth as increasingly the evidence points to terrorists close to him.
The latest Retrieval Artist science fiction thriller (see The Possession of Paavo Deshin) is an engaging investigative whodunit starring popular Miles Flint on a comeback mission. The suspenseful storyline is fast-paced and filled with twists as the hero comes out of retirement to confront his worst nightmare.
November 13, 2012
Bleeding Edge: Cyberpunk Short Stories
BlackWyrm, Oct 31 2011, $11.95
“Information Super Highway.” Rachael is a driver on the police force. She seeks the only other driver in the city as this rogue breaks the law while apparently working for the hacker the Code Master.
“Captain’s Quarters.” Pirate Captain Lopez captures Navy Ensign Spearman whose father owns a major ship yard. She demands a ransom accordingly.
“Binary Angel.” When Cybernetic Research Institute security guard Yawako is near death after an assault on the facility, Cyan the cyborg demands they save the life of the female he loves.
“Dead Zone.” Near Jacksonville, Loki enters Green Oak, a dead zone area where no signal occurs. He meets with bank owner Slim who hires him to investigate a bank robbery.
“Children and Emperors.” In twenty second century Japan, Tenriki demands the long vacant emperor’s throne as a 49. Four 3s children challenge his claim.
“Fable of the Fox and the Crow, Version 2.0.” On Mars, Raven and Vixen are a team of bounty hunters with her being the brawn while he is the face. Stritous Pen captures and crucifies Vixen. Though Raven knows his Vixen could easily kill him which means Stritous is even deadlier, he confronts the enemy as he risks death to save the female he loves.
These are six exciting violent entries in realms in which society has no heart but individuals prove they do. Filled with action and solid protagonists, fans will enjoy this entertaining twisting anthology as Ramsey Lundock’s Cyberpunk realm will remind readers of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.
November 11, 2012
Tor, Nov 27 2012, $25.99
For millennia, the Dragonlord dragon-human shape-shifters have ruled the world with a caring kindness. However, in this paradise evil ambition emerges.
Years ago, a loved one’s death left the heart of Master Bard Leet filled with rage and loathing as he vowed vengeance against those he blamed including his brother-in-law. He became adept at dark magic until he deployed his plan by using a blood-drinking harp that musically enslaves listeners to do anything even murder. Evidence overwhelmingly proclaims horse breeding Bard Raven Redhawkson of a homicide though he swears he does not recall killing anyone. Dragonlord Linden Rathan believes his friend would never commit murder so he investigates the homicide; even as the human leaders prepare to execute Raven.
The first Dragonlords fantasy in years (see The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix) is an engaging investigative thriller that enables the audience to see close up the Bertin world enhanced by the concept that the music is the magic. Although the storyline is low-keyed as Leet’s scheming seems minor (unless you are the victim or the accused), fans will enjoy Rathan’s magical murder mystery tour.
November 3, 2012
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Body and Sold
BlackWyrm, Jul 23 2011, $11.95
They arrived on Pree, an earth-like planet sixty light years from their home world. Their message to the technologically inferior cat-morphs is that we are from earth and come to help. When one of the aliens Barret and native Paum met, they fell in love. The Star-crossed pair found the road to a loving relationship devastated by their respective races proclaiming their mating taboo; even her loving older sister Col loathed having an earthling as a brother-in-law. Along the way they also confronted zombies, his military peers, vampiress, other ilk and his imprisonment to stay together.
Now Paum and Barret are on trial for crimes against nature. The Prosecuting Examiner goes for the jugular while in space feral invaders target Pree, earth and points in between as these deadly plundering warriors have done so before. Meanwhile mad geneticists crave time to study Paum and her cat-morph people as the trial goes badly for the dependents with increasingly the kept-apart star-crossed lovers realizing they have no hope to be together unless a miracle occurs.
The sequel to The Starcrossed is an exciting Pythonesque thriller in which a Romeo and Juliet couple confronts racism in a science fiction-fantasy stew. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced from the opening courtroom drama until the final clever denouement. Readers will enjoy Body And Sold as Paum and Barret face the most lethal species in the universe, lawyers.