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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March 27, 2013
Harper Voyager, Mar 19 2013, $14.99
Five decades ago someone murdered private investigator Griffin Shaw and his wife Evie; the case was never solved. On the bottom rung of the celestial ladder, Griff assists the purebreds by collecting the souls of murder victims; in exchange for his cooperation he has permission to investigate the homicides of him and his spouse. Recently, he met Las Vegas reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig when he was to collect her soul; but he broke the rules by failing to do so as he fell in love with the mortal after Anas clipped his wings due to defiance (see The Taken).
A new deadly drug eats away the flesh of the krokodil users. An obsessed Kit believes she and her beloved angel need to prevent further deaths, but Griff must collect the soul of krokodil user Jeap Yang, which angers his mortal girlfriend. Kit interferes, which leaves her vulnerable to fallen angel Scratch. Still, as is her personality, she leads the charge against the powerful Marielitos Cartel.
The second Celestial Blues bittersweet romantic urban fantasy (see The Taken) is a strong tale starring a hard boiled 1950s detective with a soft boiled heart and the “Impossible Dream” reporter “… willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause”; as defined by her and not heaven. With the angelic hierarchy seemingly real, fans will enjoy this super thriller; as the cold case murder mystery, Scratch and the drug war deftly come together.
February 1, 2013
The Love Of My Other Life
Traci L. Slatton
Parvati Press, Jan 17 2013, $14.99
Divorcee Tessa Barnum wonders what next will befall her as her already shaky world seems in the final stages of implosion. An artist who has not painted in three years while never having a showing, she struggles with paying her rent and buying groceries.
On another earth, brilliant scientist-mathematician Professor Brian Tennyson teaches at Yale though he prefers baseball. He pursued the love of his life Tessa Barnum the cello player who was his age as a student in his Calculus class. When he tests his decoherence theory based on quantum chromodynamics, Brian lands in a parallel universe in which the divorced Tessa Barnum is a failed artist.
This is an entertaining romantic science fiction frolic with a powerful philosophical theme of swing the bat even though you may strike out. Brian is a fun genius whose physics humor and Star Trek trivia add depth to his travelogue. Tessa is a bit more complicated as she struggles to get back into playing the game after making bad decisions in her life. Readers will enjoy their changing relationship as love proves to be the most powerful force in the Slatton multi-universe.
December 29, 2012
Love, Lust & Pixie Dust
Intrepid Reads, Dec 20 2012, $8.99
Daisy le Fey is an ambitious pixie who craves becoming a licensed Tooth Fairy. She has an opportunity to prove herself worthy with her first assignment to snatch the Angus tooth.
In the Costa Rican rainforest anthropologist Trevor Masterson leads an excavation that he knows must succeed; failure denotes no funding for future digs. He falls asleep with his face on the specimen tray only to abruptly awaken when he spots an unknown female with wings stealing his prize find a fossilized tooth that falls off his chin. He thinks she is a bespectacled Victoria’s Secret model while she insists he go back to sleep or she will leave him no money. As Daisy tries to fly away with the tooth, Trevor tries to prevent her. One magical fumbled attempt after another leads to turning his T.A. Katrina into a smoking pumpkin and several kisses; Trevor and Daisy reconsider their respective life goals even as her superiors take action against her for her felonious behavior with a mortal.
The first Nether-Netherland romance is a fun lighthearted farce that lampoons the urban fantasy’s relationships between humans and paranormal as the course of True Love flows uneven. Fast-paced, fans, who enjoy an amusing storyline that never takes itself seriously, will want to read this jocular frolic.
December 22, 2012
A Love Untamed
Avon, Dec 26 2012, $7.99
Once he was Kieran the Therian, but now he has become the latest rendition of Fox. He was the only one of the new shapeshfting Feral Warriors who did not attack the team veterans (see Ecstasy Untamed). Still as the rookie, Fox needs to prove as much to himself as his teammates he belongs as their equal in their endless war against the evil Daemons.
He is assigned teaming with Melisande the Ilena warrior who loathes shapeshifters. Expecting his teammate to be like all females wanting him, Fox is stunned by her hatred and distrust of him. As he begins to defrost the ice warrior, they become snared inside a daemon mage trap. Working together to escape before time runs out on them, Melisande and Fox find love and trust as the keys to freedom.
The latest exciting Feral Warriors romantic urban fantasy (see Rapture Untamed) is an enjoyable entry as two warriors, a newcomer and a shapeshifter hater, pair up. The storyline is fast-paced but has a somewhat déjà vu feel with the couple falling into a spirit trap. Still series fans will appreciate this tale as only love can save the lives of the Feral and Ilena Warriors.
November 21, 2012
Last Kiss Goodnight
Pocket, Dec 26 2012, $7.99
Michael Black found the three Otherworlder newborns just after their biological parents abandoned them on earth. He arranged for them to grow up with human families while he trained Solomon Judah, John No Last Name and Corbin Blue to be elite black operatives.
The bombing of Black’s office left Black fading and his three adult mentees missing. Evil Gregory Star captures the three Otherworlders. Solo awakens inside a magical cage as a freak attraction on display. The malevolent owner Lukas assigns his abused deaf daughter Vika to take care of the latest animal the Allorian they just purchased from Star as she does all of the captives. Solo recognizes Vika as his though his initial reaction is to kill her due to her carrying out the orders of her brutal father. He soon realizes she does her best to keep the “animals” safe and hopes this Allorian she wants can save her just like she tries to save him.
The opening Otherworld Assassin is a super ultra-dark urban fantasy starring two soulmates trapped in cages as their relationship positively evolves until they recognize that “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon). With biblical citations like that just mentioned to enhance the sense of something epic going on, fans will appreciate this thriller as the warm romance and the brutal viciousness serve as counter weights to a strong introduction to Gena Showalter’s newest realm.
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.
St. Martin’s Griffin, Nov 27 2012, $17.99
In order to keep her family and friends safe, teenager Gemma Fisher decides to swim with the sirens though she plans to control her evil unlike her new sisters (Penn, Lexi and Thea). However, leaving behind her loved ones was an extremely difficult decision, but controlling her urges seems increasingly impossible as her supernatural prowess grows stronger and her compulsion to kill turns obsessively.
Gemma’s boyfriend Alex, her older sister Harper, and Harper’s boyfriend Daniel refuse to give up on bringing her home. The trio knows that will entail the seemingly impossible act of eliminating the three surviving sirens. Stunningly, they bring Gemma home, but the siren trio pursues those who abducted one of them with plans to exterminate their newest sister’s loved ones.
The second Watersong urban fantasy (see Wake) is an exciting thriller as two teams vie for the “affection” of Gemma. The key is that the three sirens are fully developed with Thea displaying a fascinating feeling that differentiates her from Penn and Lexi. Filled with action, Lullaby is a fast-paced horror tale.
November 17, 2012
Legends of Darkness
Georgia L Jones
BlackWyrm, Mar 1 2012, $15.95
While her husband Rob is away on business, cosmetologist Samantha Garrett drops her six year old son Chris off at school before driving to Springfield to pick up supplies for her shop. On the interstate heading home, an out of control car swerves across the medium crashing into Samantha’s SUV; her last thoughts before she dies are of her loved ones.
She awakens recalling her final moments. This Death proves confusing as she feels healthy while walking to a funeral in which the body inside the coffin is her and her loved ones deeply grieving their loss. However, her initial thoughts of this neo-existence could not be hell change when she learns what she has become in her afterlife. Samantha is Samoda a blood thirsty warrior in the army of Nuem though she refuses to give up on what she once was as a mom, wife, sister, daughter and beloved human; unaware that failure to move on leaves her, her loved ones and her new comrades like Drake in peril from an avarice traitorous avenger.
Legends of Darkness is a refreshing paranormal thriller that spins an intriguing afterlife premise. Sam is terrific as she holds the engaging storyline together while struggling to adjust to a new world order until she realizes the threat to humanity including her loved ones and to her new species. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate Sam’s efforts to save two realms from a sinister traitor.
Bancroft, Dec 17 2012, $21.99
The plague struck the city with biblical proportions. Teenage best friends Daniel and Katie know very little beyond the quarantine that isolated them and that medical personnel were evacuated out early on. They also know what Katie’s dad said about the monstrous Listeners who cut off an ear as a ritual of joining. The police, including Katie’s dad, take over rationing supplies but those like Daniel and his mom are beneath the ladder so they receive little. It turns worse for Daniel when his mom went out to the store but never returned, and the broken window allows the airborne virus to enter their apartment.
With no hope, the Listeners, led by Adam the prophet, arrive and give Derek a reason to live and take what they insist should be his rather than hide until the disease turns him into an evil abomination before it horribly kills him. Giving up an ear is worth the price as Daniel joins the Listeners.
This is an exciting horror thriller with a fascinating premise that when civilization caves monsters come out of the holes in diverse packages. Fast-paced, the atmosphere grips the audience as Daniel struggles with adapting to the Listener morality that uses the concept of how young suicide bombers are recruited to die (purpose, food and shelter). Fast-paced fans will enjoy this dark thriller from the opening knock to the final decision Daniel makes.
November 16, 2012
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The Lady of Secrets
Ballantine, Dec 11 2012, $15.00
In 1605, healer Margaret Wolfe feels relief with the death of her mad mom Cassandra Lascelles the witch. Now the Lady of the Faire Isle following the death of her beloved mentor Ariane, Meg returns home, accompanied by Contessa Seraphine Beaufoy, knowing everyone is wary of her power due to her mother’s mad misuse. She plans to lay low and enjoy the sense of feeling safe at last.
King James dispatches Sir Patrick Graham and Dr. Armagil Blackwood to Faire Isle to escort Lady Meg to his court where a witch’s curse devastates the royals. Meg is attracted to the kind Sir Graham while keeping her distant from the sullen physician. Trusting no one especially anyone engaging her heart, Meg deploys her bewitching powers to identify the culprit behind a dangerous magical spell that has placed the monarch, his family and his retinue in peril.
Though the Dark Queen is dead, Susan Carroll superbly continues her historical romantic fantasy saga (see Twilight of a Queen) with a fabulous entry that follows the adventures in magic and love of the newest Lady of the Faire Isle. Fast-paced from the moment Graham and Dr. Armagil Blackwood come for Meg, readers will appreciate this deep thriller as the heroine knows the risk she takes by deploying her paranormal skills at a time when curse phobia has led to witch burnings.