Alternative Worlds: Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews

03rd April 2015

Fantasy and sci-fi book reviews

Alternative Worlds 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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Latest Reviews

September 13, 2012

Boyfriend from Hell-Jamie Quaid

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: B

Boyfriend from Hell
Jamie Quaid
Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99
ISBN 9781451656350

Law student Justine Clancy works for Andre Legrande in the chemically contaminated Zone of South Baltimore to pay her student fees. She has a record after an arrest while leading a protest that turned into a riot at the undergraduate school in Pennsylvania. As she goes to deliver the day’s receipts to the bank, someone knocks her down and robs her while a limo runs a light hammering crossing students. Liebowitz the reporter refuses to state the Senator ran over the kids and claims no one was near Tina. Her boyfriend Max accelerates her vehicle aiming to kill her as stunned Tina wishes he was in hell. Her wish comes true.

Tina as the Daughter of Saturn finds dormant powers awakening that require her to deal out justice. Meanwhile Max haunts her mirror, insisting to her that he is innocent. Max also warns her someone wants to harm her. With Milo the kitten who leads with a paw, a thief with the perfect M.O of invisibility, Cora of Discreet Detection and Andre, Tina investigates several recent situations as she concludes she is Queen and with her team “We are the champions.”

This is an exhilarating urban fantasy starring a beleaguered heroine who has doubts about the impact of her new powers as she fears for each use, a piece of her soul peels away (think of the puzzle of the owner in the movie Major Leagues). With references to Support Your Local Sheriff adding to the fun, fans will appreciate this brisk, at times amusing thriller as the first Daughter of Saturn is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

May 15, 2012

Reincarnation: A Story About Love, Hate, Time and Pain-Edgardo Quinones

Filed under: Author: Q,Horror,Title: R

Reincarnation: A Story About Love, Hate, Time and Pain
Edgardo Quinones
Outskirts Press, Aug 30 2011, $12.95
ISBN: 9781432774899

In the present, Elizabeth lives with her parents in an isolated area. She recently made an older friend Zafael, who her parents do not know about. In fact when they see her talking to air, they assume she talking to an imaginary friend.

Fifteen hundred years before Jesus, brutal Jericho Commander Drakos leads an army of five thousand soldiers defending the walled city anyway has can. Only Elizabeth calms his raging soul. When Elizabeth’s parents died, Drakos’ lieutenant Vampros took her in as he loves her. Zafael the fallen angel also loves Elizabeth. He demands she leave with him, but she chooses Vampros. Irate Zafael touches Vampros before fleeing as three angels arrive. They discuss what to do about the paradox of Vampros who has been changed into a bloodsucker and suicide is not an option as either is holy sins against the Lord. The angelic trio does nothing and leaves. When Elizabeth dies at the hands of invaders, Vampros becomes a rabid animal until centuries later he learns his beloved is reincarnated. However, love proves weaker than hate as his ancient enemies from Jericho kept the soul mates apart. Now he tries once again in the twenty-first century, but Zafael is already there and Drakos will surely follow.

Reincarnation is a wonderful thriller that lives up to its subtitle. The use of <> to separate first person commentary from third person action is distracting to me though others more tolerant with diverse styles will appreciate the technique. Character driven yet loaded with action, Edgardo Quinones provides an engaging tale as eternal love is heavenly while eternal hate is hellish pain.

Harriet Klausner

January 2, 2012

Siren’s Desire-Devyn Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: S

Siren’s Desire
Devyn Quinn
Signet, Feb 7 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451236111

The three Lonike sisters tried to hide in Port Rock, Maine from the deadly mermaid queens, but their efforts failed as each became embroiled in the dispute between the humans and the mer. However, Gwen (see Siren’s Surrender) and Tessa (see Siren’s Call) have since found love.

The US Navy obtains the assistance of the third sibling Addison. They want her to negotiate a peace agreement with Queen Magaera who recently crossed the divide into the human realm with plans to establish a Mediterranean kingdom. Addison and Navy Captain Mason McKenzie are attracted to one another, but besides dealing with the queen, a race of male sea-shifters has surfaced with their leader desiring the last unattached Lonike sister as his chosen one.

The final Dark Tides oceanic romantic fantasy is a super finish to a stupendous saga in which the key to the series is the belief that the Siren and Mer species exists. Fast-paced from start to the finish, readers will enjoy the third Lonike sister’s escapades in love, tide and adventures as Devyn Quinn casts a charming spell on her audience.

Harriet Klausner

September 5, 2011

Haunting Embrace-Erin Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: H

Haunting Embrace
Erin Quinn
Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425243138

Aedan is the name he uses now as his family did when he was born. However, Aedan knows he is the Brandubh Black Raven Druid feared by his kind and mortals for many millenniums. He is the entity of the ancient Book of Fennore that he created before the tome enslaved him.

In the cavern where it all began Aedan sees Meghan Ballagh alive on the floor. They met only a few days ago, but he is disgusted with his relief that she lives. Knowing betrayal by his loved one turned him from the most powerful Druid ever to a pathetic Mr. Brady, he fears Meghan lured him to a trap in this cave three decades before she was born. He distrusts love and she is advised by a female who warns her at a time when her inner sorcery skills arise to never fall in love with an evil Druid.

The latest Haunting Mists of Ireland romantic fantasy (see Haunting Warrior and Haunting Beauty) is a wonderful tale of two people with no reason to trust the other must find a way to rise above their trepidations that love means betrayal. The Book of Fennore story line grips the reader who wonders what the tome has in mind for its creator and the woman who seemingly captured his soul.

Harriet Klausner

July 23, 2011

Darkness Descending-Devyn Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: D

Darkness Descending
Devyn Quinn
Signet, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781101517215

Jesse Burke dreams of avenging what a vampiric Fallen Angel did to her last year by becoming a slayer. She has kept her infection somewhat under control but knows time is running out for her as those abominations she wants dead want Armageddon now by infecting humans with demonic parasites. Her first attempt in the Metairie cemetery almost costs her life as she learns none of these monsters is easy to kill; Maddox deValois the demon interceded and saved her life.

He invites the tyro lone wolf to join his slayer team keeping New Orleans somewhat cleansed of these predators; reluctantly she does. However, soon after joining his squad and still struggling to understand that “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’, but there is in ‘win’.”(Michael Jordan), neither is prepared to find out that Jesse has a greater destiny than that of a slayer.

The first Vampire Armageddon urban fantasy is an exhilarating action-packed thriller from the opening graveyard battle until the climatic finish. Overall the story line is fast-paced but somewhat slowed down by the background ancient religions thesis that enhances the dark world of Devyn Quinn. This is a terrific opening act.

Harriet Klausner

March 23, 2011

Haunting Desire-Erin Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: H

Haunting Desire
Erin Quinn
Berkley, Apr 5 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425238950

Seven years ago her mother died in a car accident, but the body was never found; her grave site in Ireland empty. Seeking closure Shealy O’Leary wants to come from Phoenix to visit the grave site though her father has a fit insisting it is unsafe for her to return to Ireland. As they argue, a man attacks her and her father. Almost immediately after a giant and a teen boy suddenly appear and her father vanishes.

The arcane Book of Fennore sent Shealy O’Leary and her father into an ancient mystical land. Fennore is a cursed place unsafe for either O’Leary. Separated, she must learn to use her innate sacred force that remained dormant until now in order to save her father from the likes of The Druid who wants to possess her power. She finds an ally in Tianan the Warrior as his enemy the Druid who cursed him is hers though his companion has doubts about her. Having failed his people, he sees the beautiful frightened female from the future as a chance to regain his honor if she believes in herself and her power. Neither expected love to come before trust.

The latest Haunting romantic fantasy (see Haunting Beauty and Haunting Warrior) is a wonderful tale that hooks readers from the onset as Shealy knows this isn’t Arizona anymore. Although the lead coupling of a contemporary and an ancient Celtic has been used before including this series, sub-genre fans will enjoy visiting Fennore as Erin Quinn provides a fast-paced time travel tale.

Harriet Klausner

July 7, 2010

Siren’s Call-Devyn Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: S

Siren’s Call
Devyn Quinn
Signet, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451230935

Kenneth Randall was so filled with grief from the murder of his wife, the shocked man wandered into the ocean and nearly drowned. A woman saved his life leaving him on the beach supposedly with no memory of her saving his life.

Ten months since the good Samaritan rescued him, Ken returns to Point Rock Harbor on barrier island Little Mer, Maine to thank his angel and to put to rest his recurring dream of a sea nymph saving him. Little Mer Island lighthouse keeper Tessa Lonike is unhappy with the arrival of the man she pulled out of the sea almost a year ago. He should not have remembered her or what happened to him on that day. However, her sister Gwen is euphoric when the visitor offers to repair things. As Ken and Tessa become acquainted he figures out her deep watery secret and becomes protective when her former fiancé archeologist Jake Massey arrives claiming he has information on the heritage of the sisters.

The Dark Tides oceanic romantic fantasy is a fun tale starring a thorny acerbic shapeshifter who learns where good intentions lead and the obstinate man she rescued from the icy sea. The story line is fast-paced, but the villain is a caricature with no redeeming quality rather than a real adversary. Still readers will enjoy this entertaining tale due to the relationship between the lead couple.

Harriet Klausner

December 9, 2009

Thereby Hangs a Tail-Spencer Quinn

Thereby Hangs a Tail
Spencer Quinn
Atria, Jan 5 2010, $25.00
ISBN: 9781416585855

Chet’s human pet Bernie Little is a private investigator, whom the canine helps solve cases by using his nose and bark. Their current client is Countess Adelina di Borghese from Passaic, New Jersey, who lives on an expensive ranch with plenty of horses also residing there as she has come a long way from being an urban Jersey girl. Bernie has been hired because of threats to her and her pampered dog show-dog Princess. The case is an utter bore to Chet and tedious to Bernie as nothing happens and barking is disallowed.

However, the situation on the ground changes when the Countess and her royal canine princess are kidnapped and dog-napped respectively. The search and rescue mission goes badly as Chet is separated from Bernie only to be snatched and sold to a punk running away to Alaska. Escaping this miscreant Chet ends up having the military try to kill him when he accidentally wanders on to an exercise site to take a decent leak. However, Bernie becomes truly motivated when reporter Susie Sanchez disappears while covering the abduction of Princess story. Chet’s motive is doggie treat and a hero’s welcome, canine style from one of the snobbish victims.

The key to this canine noir told mostly by Chet in between bodily needs is that first and foremost he comes across as a dog and not a “human” inside a canine’s skin. Chet makes the tale of the tail as he relates stories or follows clues partially only to be sidetracked by a need like a good tree or a cat. The kidnapping story line is well written and entertaining as fans will enjoy Chet’s escapades Dog On It in a world in which humans make stupid rules of where to pee, mount, bark, bite, and eat as if canines are the ones not doing what comes natural.

Harriet Klausner

November 10, 2009

Gaea-Robina Williams

Gaea
Robina Williams
Twilight Times, Sep 2009, $18.95
ISBN: 9781606191835

Gaea the earth goddess fears mankind has gone too far in destroying the planet. The sea, land and air are toxic. The forests are barren. Animals and fish have no home and those who still survive are hunted or fished for play. Earth has become a wasteland for the avarice humans.

Gaea decides the time has come to teach mankind a lesson to force humanity to change its wicked ways. However Gaea’s partner, Quant the seraph worries she may go too far; besides his “employer” The God of All created Mankind with the hope that humanity will find their own but just way. Other gods from places like Mt. Olympus agree with Gaea that time has run out so they try to bring a scare to the shaken sons and daughters of Adam.

This is an intriguing vivid allegorical fantasy as mankind is being judged by the Gods. Ironically the cul de sacs that detract from the prime plot are fascinating in of themselves as the audience will be spellbound with a tour of the design laboratory where species for new planets are created as well as other locales like the Court of the Serpent and of course Mt. Olympus and Hades. Although too many engaging detours happen in this entertaining tale, fans will appreciate this fine look at Judgment Day. Whereas Gaea and her allies find humanity guilty of planetary destruction, the God Of All prays whether divine intervention either with a miracle or the apocalypse is a fair judgment on his part when his beloved favorite was bestowed with free will, which includes potentially species suicide.

Harriet Klausner

August 13, 2009

Possession-Devyn Quinn

Filed under: Author: Q,Fantasy,Title: P

Possession
Devyn Quinn
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758228529

Following the shocking sudden death of her father and the breaking up of her engagement to Michael, Kendra Carter suffers a nervous breakdown; in fact many believe she tried to commit suicide by mixing wine with pills though she denies it. As she struggles with her equilibrium, her stepbrother Gerald Carter shows his demon collection to her especially his latest addition, a copy of Delamelanicon, a kind demon occult “Unholy Bible”; allegedly written by Satan. Only thirteen copies were ever produced and few of those exist.

After exasperation for his spending two million from their dwindling trust fund, Kendra heeds the whispers to open the extremely rare tome. By doing so she liberates Remi the demon, who was trapped inside seemingly for eternity. Remi and Kendra are tied together in ways that Peter can only imagine. The demon seduces his disbelieving hostess with his touch and whisper yet though she screams for more; she assumes her mental health went further south though that part of her body is enjoying every sexual moment.

Kendra the disbeliever makes this super erotic romantic urban fantasy work on all levels. Remi and Peter are strong support characters with the former having a unique relationship with the lead heroine. The story line is fast-paced with several great twists as POSSESSION is much more than just nine tenths of the law.

Harriet Klausner

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