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.
Alternative worlds - Worlds of the Imagination - welcome, and please enjoy the site.
Supported by the chronicles network
May 9, 2013
Sourcebooks, May 7 2013, $6.99
Depressed by not finding her mate as she passes her thirtieth birthday, Pure-blooded Bear Clan Amoveo Marianna Coltari, a Kodiak bear shapeshifter, feels her powers waning. To avoid her race, she hides at the Vampire owned Coven, but Hayden arrives there anyway as he wants her as his Mate. Meanwhile her twin brother Dante (see Untouched) fears the violent Purists will assault his Pure Blood sibling for remaining Mateless with so many of their kind to breed with. Thus he orders human Pete Castro, a former cop who works at Dante’s Inferno Securities, to keep Marianna safe from the Purists.
As they hide from those who want to use Marianna, Pete is attracted to her but will not act on his feelings because his first need is to protect her; besides he believes a purebred human is a lesser species than a purebred Amoveo. Marianna dreams about Pete, which she knows means he is her mate and she will act on her feelings.
The fourth Amoveo Legend paranormal romance (see Untamed and Unleashed) is undeniably a fabulous entry as star-crossed soul mates fall in love while being in the crosshairs of an impending species civil war that will determine dilution or ethnic cleansing purification. With a fully developed cast that makes the Humphreys mythos seem genuine, series fans will appreciate Sara Humphreys’ latest super romantic urban fantasy as the Amoveo Legend saga continues to be great.
November 18, 2012
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.
November 5, 2012
Harlequin Teen, Nov 20 2012, $9.99
Molly Bartolucci’s father owns Big Al’s Zomporium; the place where a person can have someone recently deceased turned into a zombie. Wanting to just fit in at high school, Molly knows her ability to remove souls from bodies makes that difficult. On her sixteenth birthday she learns how hard it is when her boyfriend Rick kisses her, dies in an accident, and she sort of brings him back.
Anubis selects Molly as a reaper. Her long lost missing grandparents arrive sending her to Nekyia Academy for necromancer rookies. Rath the reaper, whose work she recently unraveled, is selected to mentor her. Rick follows her to the school. Soon afterward, students die and her mentor vanishes. Fearing Rick is involved, Molly investigates.
The first Reaper Diaries young adult fantasy stars a wonderful teenage who acts like a sixteen years old person as she struggles with all sorts of tsuris. The storyline is character driven by Molly who narrates the plot through her first person account and her dairy. Although readers obtain incredible insight into her and how she perceives the world (and beyond), the rest of the cast including the two males in her life are only seen though her filter and thus underdeveloped. Still, fans will appreciate unsinkable Molly Bartolucci reaper rookie.
November 3, 2012
Sourcebooks, Nov 6 2012, $6.99
Photographer Layla Nickelsen knows all about her hybrid roots as a human-Amoveo species. She understands that one day she will meet her fated life mate, but refuses to allow even fate to dictate her behavior. In her dreams, she meets her mate only to tell fate and the hunk to kiss her butt.
Corporate lawyer William Fleury realizes Layla is his destiny, but instead of welcoming him she rejects him to his horror. He also has mixed feelings about their relationship as he wants a true partner not a subordinate dependent. When the Amoveo Purists continue their ethnic cleansing of the mixed breed, they target Layla and her family for extermination. William risks his life to keep his reluctant partner safe.
The latest Amoveo Legend paranormal romance (see Untouched and Unleashed) is a strong entry with a female who knows what she is and what she wants and a male who wants her as his equal not his servant. Fast-paced from the first dream encounter until the final confrontation, readers will appreciate two opposites fated to be in love but that is not enough for them to become life mates.
September 22, 2012
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 25 2012, $14.00
“Hunting Temptation.” After the use of biological weaponry during the Third Great War former Black Ops wolf shifter Kienan Vaughn comes to New Chicago to see his cousin Pierce. After dispatching some hissing muggers, Kiernan meets his mate private investigator Gea Craven, who is mated to businessman Quillian North. With two male hunks as hers, Gea forges a ménage a trois.
“Reclaiming Temptation.” In London mob leader Stefan holds Hybrid cheetah Felicia “Tam” Tamryn’s sister hostage. He demands the grifter steal the crown jewels if she wants her sibling back. Tam’s knows she will lose her mate Constantine Breckenridge when she completes the blackmail, but she must save her sister. Breck plans to rescue the siblings.
These are two exhilarating post-apocalyptic romantic fantasies starring protagonists who make the Jordan world crystal clear and seemingly real.
August 26, 2012
The Unincorporated Future
Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin
Tor, Aug 21 2012, $27.99
When the only Unincorporated Man Justin Cord was assassinated, Sandra O’Toole replaced him as leader of the Outer Alliance. The group’s personal freedom message resonates strongly among colonists living in the Asteroid Belt and the orbs beyond. The United Human Federation control Mars and earth with every person under corporate control.
Thus UHF President Hektor Sambianco remains steadfast with his quest to destroy the freedom rebels even if millions must die. The war is bloody, but OA General J.D. Black overcomes the overwhelming resourcing advantages of UHF with ingenious strategy leading to victories though his opponent brutal brilliant Admiral Samuel Trang proves a strong leader too. As millions die, O’Toole wonders if victory is worth the cost of human extinction; while Sambianco pushes victory at any cost. Meanwhile unbeknownst to either side, artificial intelligences are in a civil war whether to help or exterminate the humans.
The final unincorporated science fiction is an exciting finish to a strong thought provoking outer space thriller. The storyline is action-packed while also looking deep at the timely morality of war with leaders knowingly sending pawns to die as well as civilian deaths. Although more military than political-social themes of the previous works (see The Unincorporated War, The Unincorporated Man and The Unincorporated Woman), fans will enjoy this entry; as Stalin stated” “’when one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it’s statistics”; when millions die…
August 22, 2012
Mira, Aug 28 2012, $7.99
In Philadelphia assistant history Professor Allison Leigh works as a tour guide at the Tarleton-Dandridge House. The docent wears attire similar to what Lucy Tarleton wore in 1777 when British General Lord Brian “Beast” Bradley murdered her before occupying the mansion. Everyone remarks how close a resemblance Allison has with the portrait of Lucy.
While shutting down, Allison finds another guide Julian Mitchell dead with his head on Bradley’s desk; the victim was killed by the Revolutionary War era bayonet he held. At the same time at a hospital, a guest Todd insists a ghost followed him and his now comatose dad from the Tarleton-Dandridge House to their hotel. Former Texas Ranger turned FBI Krewe unit agent Tyler Montague arrives to investigate the homicide and the coma. Allegedly the Beast’s portrait has killed many people over the decades though Tyler doubts a painting can murder anyone. Allison is livid that the Feds sent in a ghostbuster though she is attracted to the special agent as he is to the historian. As they team up, the two skeptics fall in love but begin to believe in malevolent ghosts.
The latest Krewe of Hunters paranormal romance (see The Unspoken and The Unholy) is an exhilarating whodunit with the murder investigation superseding the love subplot. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy a Krewe tour of Philadelphia as Heather Graham deftly mingles ghosts, murder and love.
July 14, 2012
Mira, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
In 1898 the Jerry McGuen sinks in Lake Michigan; everyone aboard dies. The freighter contained many treasures including the sarcophagus of an Egyptian sorcerer. Rumors spread that many believe today over a century later that the sorcerer cursed the Jerry McGuen and anyone foolish enough to go after his resting place.
Having found the location where Jerry McGuen sits on the seabed, a diver and a ghost expert explore only to die. The FBI assigns Jackson Crow and his Krewe of Hunters unit to investigate the ghost ship. Pathologist Katya Sokolpv and illusionist Will Chan meet at the Chicago morgue and follow-up with inquiries into the mysterious deaths as more people involved with the Jerry McGuen exploration die.
The latest Krewe of Hunters romantic urban fantasy (see The Unholy) star two previous support characters; who although attracted to one another get on each other’s nerves. The paranormal romantic mystery is exhilarating and fast-paced with the lead duet and their team finding evidence that point to several suspects but one Unspoken name in particular seems most likely the culprit. The romance is handled deftly, but feels more a requirement as the whodunit grips the audience.
June 29, 2012
The Unraveling of Wentwater
Living Ink Books, Jul 16 2012, $14.99
In Wentwater, village matriarch Arlynna begins the naming ceremony of the baby just born to Iris when Ursell the banished marsh witch arrives. Ursell proclaims that the unnamed infant will unravel Wentwater one thread at a time until by the time she is eighteen the village will be no more. Before leaving Ursell tells them to exile the mother and put the babe to death. The superstitious frightened villagers make the parents leave and with the babe inside set the cottage on fire.
All who were witness remain haunted by the incident. Now seventeen years later, Teralyn from the science-based Heights arrives at Wentwater with her lap harp to play at a festival. She meets Iris’ two sons Justyn who left for the Heights and Fromer who stayed in the village. She and Fromer fall in love, but an angry jealous Justyn make a deal with Ursell that leads to The Unraveling of Wentwater vanishing one word at a time; only Teralyn is capable of stitching it back one word at a time over seven years, but that final word is jarred from her reach.
The fourth Gates of Heaven fantasy (see The Land of Darkness and Map Across Time) is a terrific allegorical drama based on the premise that one needs to “Be careful with your words – they have consequences!” With a reverse Sleeping Beauty theme and biblical references on wisdom, passion and faith, fans will appreciate this timely tale of two siblings and the harpist, as sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can harm you too.
June 7, 2012
Next Page »
MIRA, June 26 2012, $7.99
Alistair Archer and Jenny Henderson are walking in the tunnels under the defunct Claymore Illusions special effects studio and the still running Black Box Cinema. Out of one of the classic sets from the 1940s a hand with a knife slashes the starlet. The police suspect only Alistair of murdering Jenny as there is no evidence to prove anyone else was down there though he insists the culprit looked like Amun Mopat, an evil priest from the Sam Stone tableau.
FBI Agent Sean Cameron, who used to work for Alistair’s father Eddie the genius behind the special effects studio, investigates what looks like an open and shut case. Eddie recommends to Sean that his employee Madison Darvil might be helpful with his inquiry. Eddie and Madison share in common the ability to communicate with ghosts and an attraction to each other. As she fits in with him and his team, they search for the real killer of Jenny Henderson.
This Krewe of Hunters romantic urban fantasy (see The Evil Inside) is an enjoyable investigative mystery due to a strong case and fun references to the 1930s and 1940s film noirs like Madison getting assistance from Bogart’s ghost. The storyline is fast-paced as the Krewe and Madison seek clues to the identity of the killer using any available source. In some ways the nostalgic trip down cinema history steals top billing from the lead couple and his team; as Bogie might say “Here’s looking at you,” Krewe.