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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March 7, 2013
Harlequin Luna, Feb 26 2013, $14.95
Shaman Joanne Walker still grieves the loss of her estranged mother when FBI Agent Sara Isaac tells her that her dad vanished in the mountains of the Cherokee Qualla Reservation in North Carolina. She flies from her mom’s funeral in Ireland where she was called Siobhan Walkingstick (see Raven Calls) and drives from Atlanta to a place she vowed never to return when she left as Joanne Walkingstick a decade ago. As Joanne heads to the mountains, she wonders how she will cope when she meets her son Aidan who she left behind to reside there with his adoptive family.
Upon reaching her destination, Joanne learns that Aidan’s biological father Lucas has also disappeared and even the Elders have not prevented the malevolence from growing. As she begins her search, Joanne prefers not use her shaman skills but fears she has no choice as increasingly she concludes an evil has assaulted the Appalachians leaving the great chain weeping in pain as only a select few like Joanne can hear. Soon after her unwelcome arrival, Joanne’s former boss at Seattle PD and now love interest Captain Mike Morrison arrives.
The latest Walker Papers (see Demon Hunts and Spirit Dances) is another great entry as the heroine learns you can go home to face your past. Fast-paced, and perhaps the most complicated tale in this super series, fans will relish the Urban Shaman returning to her native roots that she fled almost ten years ago to fight an evil using time as a weapon of mass destruction.
February 28, 2013
Midnight Blue-Light Special
DAW, Mar 5 2013, $7.99
Though generations of her family have studied the Cryptid population and kept these “monsters” safe from the humans and visa-versa, cryptozoologist Verity Price is not a chip off the DNA block as she prefers ballroom dancing. However, Verity still proves Price blood flows through her veins when she came to Manhattan to competitively dance only to get sidetracked with the family vocation due to the snake cult (see Discount Armageddon). Still her recent caper led her to meet her maybe boyfriend Dominic De Luca although it is a star-crossed relationship as he is a monster-hunter for her family’s enemy the Covenant of St. George.
Dominic warns Verity that his bosses are coming to New York to inspect the progress he made in species cleansing and to finish the eradication of the Cryptid species from Manhattan. Putting aside her love of dance, Verity needs to prevent a bloodbath by concealing the monsters from the hunters including a traitorous blood relative seeking vengeance.
The superb second InCryptid urban fantasy is an incredibly fast-paced New York tale that except for an intrusive sidebar involving a psychic cousin never slows down as monsters, protectors, hunters and collateral damage humans converge for a Manhattan Midnight Blue-Light Special. Verity adds humor with her asides as she tries to keep a bloodbath from overwhelming the city. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this faster than the speed of light thriller.
January 14, 2013
My Lord Immortality
Zebra, Dec 24 2012, $7.99
Over two centuries ago, Nefri the most powerful vampire, used the magic of a Medallion to create the Veil that separates the world of mankind from the realm of the undead. Recently Nefri fears an undetermined threat that could destroy both planes. Knowing the Medallion is the avenue for the evil ones, she breaks it into three parts before hiding them amidst three young mortal ladies unaware of what they possess. However, Nefri also realizes three avaricious vampires plan to take the objects; so with the support of the Great Council, she sends trustworthy vamps to protect them.
Sebastian St. Ives protects amulet recipient Amelia Hadwell from Drake Ramone who will do anything to achieve his hedonistic objective of taking what he wants when he wants from the humans. Drake knows the way to Amelia’s piece of the amulet is through her family. She accepts her kind loving brother William is different but their parents want to lock him up so society never sees his gentle craziness. Two males from the other side with polar opposite objectives vie for her attention.
This reprint of the third Immortal Rogues vampire romance is an entertaining thriller starring a strong human female, a bewildered arrogant vampire, a vile villain, and a gentle-souled sibling. Fast-paced William brings freshness to the triangle that otherwise reads somewhat similar to the predecessors (see My Lord Vampire and My Lord Eternity).
The Mongoliad: Book Three (The Foreworld Saga)
Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and Cooper Moo
47North, Feb 26, 2013, $14.95
In 1241, the Mongol Empire horde continues their feral assault from the east on the European Christian countries. Only the Shield-Brethren company of warrior priests seems to offer any resistance to the Khagan Onghwe Khan and his invading army as the Holy Roman Church remains divided with Cardinals split into rival camps each claiming Jesus supports their quest for power. The resolute Shield-Brethren have doubts as they bury with honor fallen comrades like Finn.
From within the Mongol Empire, the desperate few surviving Shield Brethren holy knights (Raphael and Percival the initiates, Yasper the alchemist companion and exiled Old Man of the Rock knight master Feronantus) deploy a drastic dangerous plan to get to the Khagan. While each expects to die on the mission in the middle of the enemy’s ever expanding empire; in the Holy City of Rome the angrily splintered Cardinals turn to Father Rodrigo Bendrito who insists he has found the savior. In Hunern, the Shield Brethren led by Rutger the Quartermaster of the Rock Knight Master prepare for the war to come to them.
The Mongoliad: Book Three is an action-packed climax to an entertaining alternate historical saga. The storyline never slows down whether it occurs in the East, Rome or Hunern; yet also provides insight into thirteenth century beliefs as the forces of Christ are divided while the Mongols appear more monolithically in support of the Khan of Khans. Ironically, the myriad of subplots mostly are tied up in the 700 plus pages, but also several seem short-shifted. Still this entry and its Foreworld predesescors provide fans with a great epic.
November 25, 2012
St. Martin’s, Nov 27 2012, $7.99
A decade has passed since Tara Kincaid thought she could rely on Declan Wallace to have her back at a time when her family went to the dark side of druid magic and became Drough. When she realized he betrayed her with his scheme to manipulate her into turning into a Drough, she fled. For the last ten years she has been in hiding in Scotland looking back over her shoulder for deadly Druids and the wicked Warriors.
Now a tour guide, Tara fears that Wallace and his minion have found her. However, she remains ignorant that the Warriors have also located the skittish Tara. Powerful Druid Warrior Ramsey MacDonald is assigned to protect the reluctant Tara who trusts no one. As they fall in love, he knows he owes the truth about his extraordinary hybrid magical skills but fears his beloved will flee into the night at a time when Dark Warriors, Darker Drough and the darkest Druid Declan come for her.
The latest Midnight’s Warrior continues the Dark Sword spin off series (see Midnight’s Lover and Midnight Masters) with another terrific wicked Wallace entry (see Midnight’s Seduction). The protagonists are a fascinating pairing as each is motivated as much by their respective fears as by love; Tara is afraid that love weakens her chance of survival and Ramsey is afraid of deploying his full power. Although the threat by the evil Declan does not seem different from his assault by the lead avengers of Midnight’s Seduction, series fans will relish adventures of Midnight’s Warrior and his reluctant Druid.
November 11, 2012
BlackWyrm, Jul 31 2012, $19.95
United Bay Autonomies Lieutenant Dr. Macintyre knows his side lost the war that truly ended war as was previously known as the seeming victors Northwest Alliance was left with an apocalypse. Still he drives behind enemy lines seeking to help any survivors of the doomed Lost Patrol and also gives aid to others. The Medic Macintyre battles Seeker robots who kill randomly due to lacking ethical codes and insane fanatics still are fighting a war in which everyone lost except perhaps war lords; at the same time he brings health care to those in need.
He comes across severely injured UBA Corporal Jacob Markowitz who says he and five others hid in a bunker for three years. He admits he killed his captain as he felt her order was suicide. Macintyre executes Markowitz as enforcement is his other duty. Though an AI red ambulance, Macintyre remains wary yet optimistic that humans will come out of the ruins stronger though he also fears the brutal suppressors remain violently in charge.
This is an exhilarating post-apocalyptic thriller starring an intriguing AI who sees life in a stark black and white code; as he is prepared to provide medical care to the ailing yet also mete out justice to those who deserve punishment in his mind. The thrilling storyline takes too long to deliver the prime premise; yet fans will appreciate the non-stop action and the Hardoc landscape vividly bleak as readers will believe they ride the Macintyre ambulance tour guided by the Medic!
November 10, 2012
St. Martin’s, Nov 27 2012, $7.99
Edie Spence works as a nurse on floor Y4 of County Hospital. The patients on this floor are diversly paranormal. She and her friend Charles head to Rock Ronalds for lunch. They enter a crosswalk as does a silver haired man on the other side of the street. A truck slowing down for the light abruptly accelerates and hits the pedestrian. Charles and Edie rush over to help the injured Hit and Run victim; a werewolf still is alive due to the quick response of the nurses, but remains in critical condition.
After Anna the living vampire visits her to tell her she will be at a gala, Edie rests before starting her next shift where she learns her new patient is Karl Winter, the werewolf king. His daughter Helen, nephew Lucas and pack member Jorgen arrives demanding information from Edie who offers nothing to them. They howl at her and warn her to keep their king alive or else. Attracted to Lucas, Edie trusts none of the weres as bellicose adversarial packs are at war with one another.
The second Edie Spence urban fantasy (see Nightshifted) is a fabulous paranormal thriller starring a fascinating heroine who tries to stay outside the fray, but no one including dead relatives allows her to remain detached. Fast-paced from the moment the hit and run occurs and never slowing down, readers will relish a visit in the fabulous realm of Alexander the Great while looking forward to the next entry in the life of Edie Spence, nurse to the paranormal.
October 26, 2012
St. Martin’s, Oct 30 2012, $7.99
Three years ago, the evil Druid Declan Wallace captured the Druid-seer Saffron Fletcher. He tortured and blinded her as he did what he wanted to her to break her spirit as Declan planned to exploit her rare seer skill.
Three years after her captivity her friend Danielle Buchanan the Druid helps Saffron regain her sight as Declan’s dark spell is broken. At MacLeod Castle, Saffron struggles with her sight and her freedom. She also obsesses over revenging her trauma by destroying Declan and his evil ally Deidre the Drough Druid. Finally there is her unwanted desire for Camdyn MacKenna. He offers to help her as he too seeks to avenge what Declan did to him. Additionally both struggle to ignore their attraction for one another as vengeance may be served cold but each believes that comes before the warmth of love.
The latest Dark Warriors (see Midnight’s Lover and Midnight Masters) continues the Dark Sword spin off series with an awesome entry starring two individuals who fear love weakens their chance for avenging affronts committed by the devilish Ds. Midnight Seduction is another winner.
September 22, 2012
Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, Oct 9 2012, $15.00
With her BFF Naomi going to a private school after her parents learned of the bullying she suffered, Holland Manning decides to do a makeover from nerd to edgy beaut so that her high school crush football star Jarrett Sloan notices her though she knows she will compete with his ex Chaela Vasquez. The teen asks her mom Phoebe the witch to cast a spell to turn her into an alluring beauty though Holland knows the risk as her mother rarely has an incantation work properly.
With his family depending on him teenager Jonas left Haiti for Miami on a voyage in which evil Captain Henri performs human sacrifice and trafficking. When Jonas awakens in in Frombleton, Georgia, he finds himself changed to something his mom and sisters would fear and loathe while he detests the abomination he has become. Holland discovers her sorcerer skills so she and the Haitian team up to fight vampires assaulting the locals.
This is an engaging young adult rural fantasy that never decides whether it is a star-crossed teen romance and a horror thriller. Ironically the fast-paced storyline is at its best when the malevolents attack rather than when the lead characters muse over their woes; as the heroine spends too much time on her new looks and boys (she acts like a teen girl not having to save the town) and the undead hero who reflects on being despicable). Still overall the first Eternal Dead tale is an engaging teen thriller.
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Pinnacle, Sep 4 2012, $7.99
Brilliant Stage IV zombie Red Man leads a horde of human and undead. Their current assignment, besides the relentless hunt for their dwindling food supply requiring precise military like tactics, is Niki Booth the notorious zombie killer. Niki, accompanied by Avery Harper and Sylvia Carnes are meeting with Dr. Don Fisher, who allegedly has a cure for zombie fever. Reporter Ben Richardson follows their story.
As zombies starve, the tyrannical Red Man demands his followers kill Niki and her cohorts. Meanwhile the intrepid humans battle the zombies without a respite as they get closer to their destination, Fisher’s lab.
The fourth Dead World urban fantasy (see Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters) is an exciting thriller. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with action, but the non-stop fighting escapades between the Red Man and his minions vs. Niki and her allies supersedes the twin premises of the Malthusian theory’s “population increase would outpace increases in the means of subsistence” and the potential cure. Still diehard deadheads will be grateful for the entertaining albeit improbable Mutated.