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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October 29, 2011
Carole Nelson Douglas
Pocket, Nov29 2011, $7.99
Paranormal investigator Delilah Street saved the life of her lover Ric Montoya, but apparently he obtained some of her silver skills in the process. The former Fed Ric brought to life Maria, the silver robot from the classic sci fi movie Metropolis (see Silver Zombie). Lilah feels for her rival for Ric’s affection as Maria the CinSim robot is a virgin and will remain a virgin forever. Maria is the property of the owner of Metropolis, mysterious albino rock star Snow.
Ric and his former FBI partner Leonard Tallgrass battle the Immortality Mob, who run a zombie commodity exchange. At the same the powerful demonic drug lords see an opportunity to change Las Vegas into their image with Maria as the engine. While dodging paranormal psychopaths, Lilah and Ric must prevent the demonic take over of Sin City.
The latest Delilah Street Paranormal Investigator is an exhilarating thriller as the heroine, her lover and his partner battle the wicked in Post-Millennium Revelation Las Vegas. Although it behooves fans to read at least Silver Zombie, Virtual Virgin is a strong action-packed entry yet Carole Nelson Douglas also raises question of ethics and values.
October 12, 2011
A Vampire for Christmas
Laurie London, Caridad Pineiro, Michele Hauf and Alexis Morgan
Harlequin HQN, Oct 18 2011, $7.99
Enchanted by Blood by Laurie London. One year ago, Trace the vampire guardian and Charlotte the human fell in love. He left her erasing her memory of vampires. When his father a council member died Trace expected to inherit his seat but the others on the board stall his appointment. Trace rescues Charlotte from an assault and hires her to decorate his mansion, which feels like déjà vu to her. Trace must decide between his soulmate and the board.
Monsters Don’t Do Christmas by Michele Hauf. Olivia intercedes during a brawl between Daniel the vampire and werewolves. The human kisses him and promises another tomorrow night. He learns she is a star singer and she learns he is helping a mother of two stop turning into a vampire.
When Herald Angels Sing by Caridad Pineiro. The devil demands Captain Pedro bring him the soul of Damien the vampire who has never killed anyone. However, Damien’s beloved Angelina the angel sent to save him has died twice because of him. Pedro plans to use Angelina to force Damien to lose his soul by killing him.
All I Want for Christmas by Alexis Morgan. Undercover cop Eagan the vampire searches for a serial killer drinking the blood of human male teens. He stops at Della’s diner for a coffee. She believes he is homeless so she offers him meals in exchange for odd jobs. Eagan notices her but also realizes this is a perfect cover to end the killing frenzy of a young vampire out of control.
These are four fun entertaining paranormal holiday romances starring engaging protagonists.
September 24, 2011
Visions of Skyfire
Signet, Oct 4 2011, $7.99
Teresa Santiago has spent most of her life training to use her elemental powers. She feels almost ready though she is still somewhat fearful as she works with lightning in the desert near Sedona, Arizona. Like others in her coven, the recent Awakening by dormant witches has led to social and political crisis with those seeking power demanding incarceration camps of even American citizens (see Visions of Magic). She also knows who her destined mate is.
Although Teresa knows of Rune, she is stunned by her attraction to him; he likewise shares her desires. As they fall in love, government agents continue their patriotic acts to imprison American citizen witches. While eluding the Feds, at the same the duo must locate and control an artifact capable of biblical levels of mass devastation.
The second Awakening urban fantasy continues the powerful cautionary premise of “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security” (Benjamin Franklin). The burning of the Bill of Rights when it comes to witches makes for an enlightening tale; while the quest for the dangerous artifact enhances the overall excitement. With a strong lead couple and deep secondary characters, Visions of Skyfire contains a profound message (think of Japanese-Americans sent to camps during WWII), as Regan Hastings provides a poignant warning wrapped inside a super, fast-paced thriller.
September 6, 2011
The Vampire’s Seduction
Harlequin Nocturne, Sep 20 2011, $5.50
The Vampire’s Seduction. Nicholai and his vampire clan move to New York City, but months later he fears for his brethren who are vanishing. He traces them the Vindecare School for witches. Desperate to rescue his friends, Nicholai needs a witch to bestow on him demon essence. He chooses Mari Saguna the witch but quickly believes she has nothing to do with the abductions. She agrees to help him, but they soon realize her blood is what has paralyzed his clan members. He must choose between his beloved witch and his beloved clan while she must choose between her beloved vampire and her brother.
Bonus story – His Magic Touch. Eight years ago, demon hunter Trent Drouillard realized his beloved family was unsafe due to his occupation. Though it ripped his soul, he left Sera Barnhardt and their daughter Aimee. However, he realized his departure has left his two females vulnerable to the demon hunting him. He also knows he regrets what he lost with his loved ones while his former wife tells him he gave up his rights as a husband and dad when he left.
The Vampire’s Seduction is a terrific urban fantasy romance starring two wonderful star-crossed individuals who fight, fuss and love while trying to find a way to resolve what seems like a paranormal Gordian knot without a sword. Originally published as a Nocturne Bite e-book the bonus short story His Magic Touch is an entertaining tale starring a remorseful Good Samaritan who learns the road to hell is paved with good intentions as he needs to keep his women safe while winning back their trust.
August 31, 2011
A Vampire Christmas Carol
Kensington, Oct 1 2011, $5.00
Buried seven years ago, Jacob Marley visits his former partner Ebenezer Scrooge to warn him that all the misery and isolation the latter has felt has been caused by vampires who want to insure he fails to fulfill his destiny. Marley explains he will have three ghosts visit him to affirm what he has told Scrooge that the undead bloodsuckers have caused his rift with those he loved like his family, his former fiancée Belle and his employee Bob Cratchit.
The spiritual journey Scrooge undertakes leads him to better comprehend what has happened to him as he finally understands what caused the estrangement with Belle and learns of the personal hardships Cratchit and his family face, and finally his only living blood relative Fred his nephew who still cares about his acrimonious misery uncle. This is Scrooge’s last chance to save his soul as his loved ones are in mortal combat against the vampires.
This is an engaging retelling of the classic holiday tale as Sarah Gray provides a fascinating cause for Scrooge’s acrimony. The story line follows the ghostly guides but gravely focus on the war for Scrooge’s soul between the vampires isolating him and his loved ones trying to save him. Although lacking the satirical humor of similar reenactments like Steve Hockensmith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Wayne Josephson’s Emma and the Vampires, fans who enjoy paranormal renditions of Victorian and Regency classics will want to read this exciting but bleakly grayish vampiric Christmas Carol.
The Vengeful Dead
J. N. Duncan
Kensington, Oct 1 2011, $7.99
In Chicago FBI agent Jackie Rutledge struggles with all that has happened to her in a very short time (see Deadworld). She grieves the death of her BFF Laurel Carpenter whose psychic skills apparently reach from the grave as she haunts Jackie in death almost as much as she haunted Jack when they were live partners. Jack also knows she needs help for her Death Valley depression in which she feels stuck in a personal deadly version of Groundhog Day starring herself and Laurel; but choose to avoid the FBI therapist. She also struggles with her new found paranormal skills that she does not want.
When a murder victim pregnant Rosa wants revenge, the angry spirit chooses bodies to possess in her thirst. One of Jack’s new undesirable talents is to sense ghostly homicides so she knows she must stop Rosa. She ventures back into deadwood to confront The Vengeful Dead Rosa with her team (maybe lover vampiric private investigator Nick Anderson, his vampiric assistant Cynthia and his office manager Shelby the psychic).
The second deadwood urban fantasy police procedural is an enjoyable tale that starts slow as much of the first half focus is a deep look at Jack’s mental state. About a little more than half way into the story line, the pace suddenly accelerates as the plot stops the mental case scenario to concentrate on the investigation; Jack and her paranormal crew try to prevent The Vengeful Dead with a cause that the kick butt heroine empathizes with from enacting her plan.
August 24, 2011
Daw, Oct 4 2011, $7.99
Struggling actress Esther Diamond dreams of making it big on Broadway, but also knows that mythological and supernatural creatures exist (see Unsympathetic Magic and Doppelgangster). For instance one of her closest friends is bookstore owner Max, a three hundred and fifty years old retired vampire slayer who drank an alchemist elixir that does not make him immortal but he ages very slowly makes him look a normal middle aged man.
Esther performs as the love interest in the off Broadway production of The Vampire starring Daemon Ravel as a man who believes he is a bloodsucker. She dislikes the narcissistic phony Daemon. One of his groupies Jane dresses up like his love interest and attacks Esther. The police find the corpse of Jane drained of blood. Esther’s sort of boyfriend warns her she could be in danger as Jane is not the first victim. Concerned and frightened Esther Consults with Max as she believes a real Undead is the serial killing predator.
Vamparazzi is a laugh out loud urban fantasy satire that lampoons the excesses of fandom, paparazzi and the sub-genre. Intrepid Esther is fearless as she chooses fight rather than flight by facing danger. The support cast adds humor or peril while anchoring a New York City where vamps, slayers and retirees reside. Laura Resnick writes an entertaining “bloodless” serial killer thriller starring a delightful kick butt (and other bodily parts) heroine.
August 21, 2011
Dunne, Sep 27 2011, $24.99
NYPD police officers Jack Murphy and David Rodriguez work a Brooklyn beat. The global drought and food shortages left the planet on the brink of pandemic disaster; that was until a miraculous manna was distributed. However, soon afterward the feral cannibalistic Can Heads began appearing. Politicians, refusing to accept blame, insisted to the human masses that a survival war between us and them requires patriotic measures. This night the Can Heads attack the two patrol cops; leaving David dead and Jack injured.
Needing to heal, Jack, his wife Christie and their two kids (Kate and Simon) go on Vacation to the Upstate fortified Paterville Family Camp where people eat old fashion real food, drink pure water, and have fun. When Jack helps with preventing a Can Head assault, he is rewardeed with a job offer and a permanent move into Paterville with his family, who all vote yes. However, Jack will soon learn the truth about the miracle of Paterville.
In an already bleak world in which the Yankees are no longer in the Bronx as the Can Heads own the borough, the atmosphere turns brighter in Paterville when soon afterward it drops to its darkest. Readers will think trice about vacationing in idyllic rural areas as Jack and his family learns that Paterville has a nasty side under the glitter of a Vacation oasis as it is the Eagles Hotel California with a gruesome addition. This is a gripping post apocalyptic horror thriller.
August 16, 2011
Virtue and Vice
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
New King Jarron Bydelay of the Second Province, requests the Order of Solace send him a Handmaiden. The Order assigns Sister Redemption to bring solace to him.
The royal fails to recognize the Handmaiden but she knows who he is. A decade ago, Sister Redemption was Notsah a kitchen maid who was caught stealing by the Captain of the King’s Guard Erekon. To escape she ran into the chambers of the then prince who showed her mercy. Erekon recognizes her as the ragged thief and plans to use her to further his agenda with the new monarch. Meanwhile Redemption falls in love with her regal client, but Jarron, who is also in love, has bigger political intrigue issues to cope with than that of his heart.
The latest Order of Solace (see the Pleasure And Purpose three novellas, Selfish Is the Heart and No Greater Pleasure) is an engaging erotic thriller. The heated romance is more of a support subplot as the political intrigue and the unique culture of Hart’s world take center stage. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing of a king and a Handmaiden who were once the “prince and the pauper”. Love may not be enough to keep them together.
August 3, 2011
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Veronica and the Vampire
Harlequin Nocturne Bites, Jun 21 2011, $ .99
Barnes and Noble ISBN: 2940012882387; Amazon ASN: B0057AI6IQ
In Los Angeles, her cubicle mate at the legal firm Annie sends law clerk Veronica Davis to V.A.M.P. Inc. so the latter can choose an escort to take her to her nasty sister Charlene’s wedding. The choices of men reside inside coffins, but it is Christopher who she wants. Veronica does not believe Christopher is a vampire, but marvels with how he deals with her shocked sibling and her stunned mother. He is the reason she is not wearing the scarlet letter of L for loser.
However, Christopher wants more from Veronica than a “dead-end date” at her sibling’s wedding. As she begins to accept what he is, the vampire must persuade the law clerk they are destined soumatesl.
Veronica and the Vampire is a fun lighthearted paranormal romance starring a woman who find a male that like the Electric Company’s Letterman changes the meaning of L from loser to lover. Although the novella format leaves the plot thin, sub-genre fans will enjoy Linda Thomas-Sundstrom’s amusing frolic similar in tone to the author’s engaging Barbie and the Beast.