Friday, July 31, 2009


Check out the new issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. It has a good article on the current crop of vampires and some f the better ones of the past as well.

Harriet is keeping me well stocked with reviews. Here are some more for you.

Fall of Thanes
Brian Ruckley
Orbit, May 2009, $14.99
ISBN: 9780316067713

With the monumental defeats at the hands of the more powerful Black Road armies, the True Bloods are in trouble. Adding to their seemingly inevitable annihilation is the alliance collapsed as each Blood Line chooses to save itself. At the same time Aeglyss’ mental state seems increasingly deranged.

Blood Thane Orisian realistically understands what he and his people face as he has few shieldmen warriors left with his line nearing extinction. While his sister Anyara remains with Aewult the Bloodheir of the Haig Blood who are also in trouble, Orisian travels with Ess’yr the Fox Kyrinin and her brother. He knows he is falling in love with Ess’yr, but must defeat Aeglyss. At the same time, Kanin the Horin-Gyre Thane raises a heretical force of half-breed soldiers to fight Aeglyss.

The third and final Godless World epic fantasy is a great ending to an overall terrific saga. The story line is fast-paced along several well written fault lines that ultimately converge in an anticipated epic center confrontation. However, the key to this entire trilogy is the cast. No one is a John Wayne like hero as everyone has prejudice and a willingness to sacrifice those they consider lesser. The battles are graphic and the other scenes vivid as history on this world seem destined to repeat itself with the flow of the True Bloods almost defiantly heading to extinction. With the exception of needing a glossary handy, Brian Ruckley completes his chronicle with a wonderful winner. Harriet Klausner

Darkness Calls
Marjorie M. Liu
Ace, Jun 30 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441017300

For generations, her female bloodline was nomadic never making emotional relationships especially with men. Instead each one hunted the demons until they birthed the next generation hunter and consequently die. Thus the current demon hunter Maxine Kiss has a problem as she has fallen in love with the former priest Grant, the last Lightbringer.

How much an issue an emotional entanglement can cause ignites when the Avatars attack Grant fearing his power. Instead of staying out of the fracas as her ancestors would have done, Maxine and her living tattoos enter the fight to protect her beloved. Now the Avatars have a bigger fear that the Lightbringer and the demon Hunter will unite in love and bring what to the world.

The second Kiss urban fantasy (see THE IRON HUNT) is a fabulous action-packed thriller starring a strong female superhero who is humanized by her love for Grant. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the Avatars attack and never slows down as Maxine risks her life for love; an unheard of action by any generation demon hunter. Marjorie M. Liu provides a powerful complex tale in which she makes her vivid paranormal world seem real. Harriet Klausner

Moon Burn
Alisa Sheckley
Del Rey, May 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780345505880

After what happened with her cheating husband in Manhattan last year (see THE BETTER TO HOLD YOU), veterinarian Abra Barrow relocates to Northside so that she can study the lycan infection he brought back from Romania and gave to her. She understands the problem of leaving a smog urban center for the pristine small-town air is that a full moon is a full moon for three days of uncontrolled behavior by a werewolf.

However, just as she has become comfortable with herself; Abra becomes emotional even with a full sun shining. She easily turns angry and shockingly drops her scores of inhibitions at any time of day or night; a behavior she only previously did when the moon is full. The local male population is all enthralled with her except her boyfriend shape-shifting expert Red Mallin, who knows what is happening to her, but is too busy to help her as he is totally focused on weird beasts apparently crossing the dimensional divide. Having been bitten last year by someone she trusted and now unable to rely on even herself; Abra feels fearful and doubtful amplified by her out of control emotions. Making matters stranger for her is a creature from the other side showing her an entirely different realm.

The second Barrow werewolf thriller is a fast-paced exciting tale in which Alisa Sheckley makes her magical world seems genuine starting with the lycan infection. The story line fast-paced starring a terrific heroine who feels her grip is slipping. Readers will enjoy her escapades as Abra struggles to regain her equilibrium while Red is preoccupied. MOON BURN is an enjoyable small-town fantasy.
Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday reviews from Harriet

Here's some reviews from Harriet.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Omen
Christie Golden
Del Rey, Jun 23 2009, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345509123

The Galactic Alliance and the Order of the Jedi have their home base on Coruscant existing in an uneasy peace. The leader of the Alliance government Chief of State Natasi Daala wants the Jedi under her control. The Jedi are giving her plenty of ammunition that enables her to paint them in a bad light. Three of the Knights went insane performing unacceptable inexplicable acts that have led to being frozen in carbonite. One of the fallen was able to see the future ( called flow-walking) enabling a person to make counter moves against an “adversary”.

This is a unique part of the force that previously was known by only the late Jacen Solo, who became Darth Caedus when he turned to the dark side killing millions as a Sith Lord. Luke Skywalker and his son Ben continue seeking Jacen’s secrets, which leads them to isolated xenophobic Aing-Tii. Luke is banned from Coruscant for a decade or when he learns how and why Jacen’s turn to the dark. Luke and Ben travel to the planet seeking clues of why Jacen turned evil. With a civil war imminent, the Aing-Tii allow father and son on the orb. Meanwhile the Sith are near extinct and those few survivors are in hiding except for a group that crashed on Kesh a millennia ago. A ship arrives giving them access once again to the stars and the ability to take it to their enemies, the Alliance and the Order.

The second of nine books in this Star Wars arc (see OUTCAST) takes place obviously after Vader and the Sith were defeated. Peace in our time seems shaky as the two prime groups distrust one another and ambitious Daala sees an opportunity to size more power as people are once again disenchanted with the Jedi due to Caedus and now crazed Knights. Christie Golden moves from Star Trek to Star Wars with this solid entry that does not move forward the big picture, but instead sets up several major subplots for the overarching saga; making OMEN a more critical read to followers than OUTCAST. Harriet Klausner

The Vanishing Sculptor
Donita K. Paul
WaterBrook, Jun 2 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9781400073399

In Chiril, Emerlindian Tipper has been left in charge of their family estate while her father the sculptor is away to the fear and consternation of her mom, his wife. However, she learns some of her actions she thought innocent have had a nasty impact that could destroy her father and ultimately their world.

With her dragon companion Zabeth who fears big snakes (and little ones too), Tipper tries to rectify her mistakes, but finds the endeavor to huge for her. She knows her mom cannot help her or her neighbors as they have nothing to assist her in fixing the errors. Desperate she gathers as allies Beccaroon the giant parrot and Prince Jayrus the dragon rider to help her. They work together to enable father and daughter to flourish under the love of the Creator.

THE VANISHING SCULPTOR is a super fantasy in a different land but the same world as that of the DragonKeeper Chronicles. The story line is fast-paced once the heroine knows what she must undo or at least mend. In some ways a relationship drama that focuses on a daughter who is chip off the old block of her father, readers will enjoy Donita K. Paul’s expansion of her realm to a place where the people are about to learn just who Wulder is and what he can do. Harriet Klausner

The Price of Spring
Daniel Abraham
Tor, Jul 21 2009, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765313430

Fifteen years have passed since the war to end all wars between the Galt Empire and the Khaiem left both sides as losers as the outcome is all Khaiem females are sterile the poet mages are dead along with their andat magic; while all Galt males were also sterilized (see AN AUTUMN WAR). Desperate the Khaiem Emperor Otah knows the hostilities must end before each nation becomes extinct with no next generation. With that in mind he seeks a political marriage of convenience between his offspring and that of a high ranking Galtish aristocrat.

Meanwhile former poet Maati comes out of hiding, in an attempt at redeeming his soul for what he and his peers caused, breaks tradition to mentor young female students in summoning and controlling the andat essences. His top student Vanjit manages the andat Clarity-of-Sight, but though good intentions the remorseful Maati fails to understand the impact of the great war on survivors; instead of saving her people, the traumatized Vanjit who saw her loved ones massacred becomes a mad dictator.

The final tale in the Long price Quartet saga takes a fantastic spin away from the three previous super but bloody and deadly seasons into a more personal thriller of individuals filled with contempt and guilt willing to pay THE PRICE OF SPRING to renew life. The story line is action-paved, but at a smaller scale yet much more complex as several people who directly caused the cataclysmic war seeks redemption for themselves though each knows they will never overcome what they caused. They also want to bring renewal for others. Daniel Abraham closes out the quartet with a terrific spring entry. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back to Work

Today was my first day back at a paying job. Orientation went well and my training has started. It was a good day although a bit tiring. There is a lot to learn, but I think I will do fine.

Here are some more reviews from Harriet to get you by until I get back in the groove.

Secondhand Spirits
Juliet Blackwell
Obsidian, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 045122745X

Lily Ivory is a bona fide witch; a powerful mage who can feel the vibrations emitted from old clothing, can smell and sense auras, and can cast spells through brewing. She has been on the run for most of her life; hiding her “witchiness” skills by never allowing anyone to get to close to her so that one would think she is a freak. However, now thirty-one Lily feels a need to settle down so she moves to San Francisco assuming she can fit in best in the City on the Bay. There she opens up a vintage women’s clothing shop Aunt Cora’s Closet.

Her friend Maya takes Lily to the home of Frances Potts who has a ton of beautiful vintage clothing. Lily senses evil directed at Frances by the demon La Llorona. Late that same night Lily returns to Frances’ home to cast a protection spell against La Llorana. The next day the woman is dead and a child is missing presumably by La Llorona who feeds on the souls of children. The magical community rallies around Lily who uses her skills to hopefully bring the child back and send the demon back to the Texas/Mexico border where she came from.

Readers who anxiously await the next works of Victoria Laurie or Madelyn Alt will appreciate SECOND HAND SPIRITS, an enchanting mystery that enables the audience to believe in the supernatural. A mysterious male witch Aiden welcomes her to the neighborhood by giving her a familiar, a goblin disguised as a pot bellied pig. Lily is a great character; a strong woman who believes in doing what she feels is ethically right though it might cost her. Juliet Blackwell provides a terrific urban fantasy with the opening of the Witchcraft Mystery series. Harriet Klausner

Where There’s a Witch
Madelyn Alt
Berkley, Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425228715

Nobody visiting Stony Mill, Indiana would believe there is a witch living there. Veteran Felicity Dow is mentoring rookie witch Maggie O’Neal, who is an intuitive, sensitive and a strong empath. Felicity gives her the gift of Maggie finally understanding there is nothing mentally wrong with her because her hunches that seem to always come true and her ability to separate emotions and thoughts of others always frightened her; now she knows she is not alone and what her skill means.

A carnival is operating as a fundraiser to enlarge the Baptist Church. The highlight comes when the machines start digging the first hole but almost immediately they must stop. A hole is found in the ground that leads to a room. The outside is decorated with all kinds of crosses. The next day they find the body of Ronnie Maddox who Maggie overhead in a violent argument with Tyler Barnett. An Ouija reading conjures up the spirit of Elias, a child who died in the underground room; he attaches himself to Maggie who has no earthly idea the danger she is about to face.

There is a certain magic brought to this fine book by caring Maggie, but she is not the only psychic in this eerie part of Indiana. Her interactions with the spirit are fascinating as the reader tries to comprehend what he wants of her. There is a strange case of conservatism and fundamentalism in the Baptist Church as they mount a hate campaign to ostracize and demonize Felicity and her friends. This breeds an atmosphere of hate and distrust of which the new witch on the block could a victim. Madelyn Alt places a social spin with hate crime in the middle of her terrific Hoosier fantasy that will have readers not just believing in the spirit world, but walking along aside the heroine in the spirit world. Harriet Klausner

The Shimmer
David Morrell
Vanguard, Jul 7 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9781593155377

Santa Fe police officer Dan Page is on a high speed car chase when the other vehicle an SUV crashes into a tanker; the ensuing explosion emits a fiery blast into the sky. Stunned, he returns home only to find his wife Tori gone. Already filled with remorse and questioning what he could have done different, Dan also fears for his spouse, but pulls himself together and follows her trail.

He tracks her to Rostov, Texas home of an observatory, a highly patrolled top secret science facility. There is unexplained night sky phenomena that make no sense as some people can see lights in the air while others see nothing. He finds Tori standing amidst other people staring into the sky as if she was beckoned there like in that old movie. Before he can figure out what is going on, a massacre follows when someone begins to shoot at the lights.

This is an exciting thriller with several major happenings going on that converge in Rostov, but fail to completely do so in the story line. Filled with action, conspiracy buffs will relish this engaging tale as the audience and the new Mexico sheriff want to know what is going behind the fence, under the ground and in the sky. Sort of combining Roswell with Marfa, David Morrell provides his fans with an entertaining but somewhat disjointed tale. Harriet Klausner

Killer Summer
Ridley Pearson
Putnam, Jun 30 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780399155727

In Sun Valley, Idaho, Blaine County Sheriff Walt Fleming goes fly fishing with his teenage nephew Kevin so both can escape the extended family woes that would fill up a months worth of Jerry Springer shows; the nastiest to cope with is the suicide of Keith’s father. At the same time, international wine experts are in town to bid on the best with the most acclaimed being three bottles that Jefferson gave to Adams.

As the auction begins, a bomb explodes as a cover to the scheme created by genius Christopher Cantell to steal the valuable wine by keeping the law enforcement occupied; as he knows how they will react. As Walt follows clues he feels himself being manipulated by a master puppeteer who has yanked him and his staff in a trillion directions with no leads coming together and following the same path. Meanwhile caught in the middle of the brilliant caper is Kevin who turns out to be the unanticipated fly in the ointment for law enforcement and super thieves.

KILLER SUMMER may be the best police procedural of the year so far as there are so many plausible twists that Walt and readers will wonder if they imbibed. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Walt notices the strange truck while fishing and never decelerates even when the plot takes a spin. Fans will enjoy Ridley Pearson’s terrific crime caper as the author keeps readers full attention throughout wondering what next. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This is post number One Hundred. Thanks for reading.

Got back and collapsed. Had to catch up on my sleep. Funny how you come home needing rest you didn't get on vacation. Had over a thousand emails to go through. A lot of them were the spam replies to my auto-responder. If you want to find out how many spammers are hijacking addresses just do an auto-respond and watch them flood in.

As soon as I finish the book I'm reading, I'll post a couple of reviews.

We had a really great time with Scott and Carey, but I ate too much as usual. Kathy and Carey got in plenty of shopping.

Here are some reviews from Harriet to keep you up to date on whats going on in the book world.

Amazon Ink
Lori Devoti
Juno, May 26 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439154274

A decade ago, her Amazon tribe killed her newborn boy because of his gender; irate with the priestess whom she believed killed her child and outraged by the silence of her warrior band of sisters, Melanippe Saka does the unthinkable and leaves. She takes her daughter Harmony with her; and is pleased when her warrior mom and priestess grandma leave with them.

Mel opens up a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin. Her idyllic life ends when someone dumps the murdered corpses of two Amazonians on her doorstep; each on a different date. Mel knows someone has given her a warning that she is the target of an unknown predator. She fears for her family especially her teenage daughter, but wonders if it is the priestess, rogue warriors, or someone even more devious. Unsurprisingly, the cops suspect her, but surprisingly her former tribe also suspects her. All this is going on with the vital need being to hire someone; preferably a female, for the shop.

This is an interesting urban fantasy starring a courageous amazon whose fumbling investigation seems apropos for an amateur sleuth as she is like a bull in a china shop once she begins her bungled inquiry. The story line is fast-paced but Mel makes it work as her actions bring the fantasy elements especially the nomadic Amazons alive and well in Madison. With a fabulous late twist, Lori Devoti sets up further AMAZON INK thrillers. Harriet Klausner

Jacquelyn Frank
Zebra, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420104233

The Shadowdwellers live underground in a complex metropolis of caves and tunnels underneath the mountains of Alaska. They are the Nightwalkers who avoid the rays of the sun which destroys them with the slightest contact; they thrive in the moonlight. The war is over and the monarchy is restored. There is new hope that the race will become more honorable, tolerant and technologically advanced like the other nightwalker races.

Daenaira has been treated as a slave by her uncle and aunt for eight years, forced to wear a shock collar to enforce her obedience. The day comes when she is sold and before she leaves her aunt’s home is shocked into unconsciousness. When she awakens she is in Sanctuary, the church of the Shadowdwellers led by High Priest Magnus who enforces the law and the morals of his people. He informs Dae that the goddess Drenna gave him visions that she was to become his handmaiden. Dae takes awhile but soon trusts Magnus and finds some serenity in Sanctuary even though treachery by unknown people wanting more power has her watching her back. He has enemies who want him dead, but they had not counted on the ferocity of the innocent in love protecting like a lioness her beloved; nor the priest also in love willing to die to keep the former slave safe.

The second Shadowdweller book (see ECSTASY) is more complex and delves deeper into the culture of the Shadowdwelllers that is much different than our own. Magnus and Daenaira are a fascinating coupling as he has justifiable doubts about having a hand maiden who has the duties of a wife since the last handmaiden tried to poison him while she fears people after the torture her aunt put her through. .Unlike his former handmaiden who he had for decades and was celibate with, he can’t control his desire for the woman the goddess chose for him. Jacquelyn Frank is one of the best paranormal romantic fantasy authors writing today and is a favorite of this reviewer.
Harriet Klausner

Desire Untamed
Pamela Palmer
Avon, Jun 30 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061667510

Preschool teacher Kara MacAllister lives a sedate life until Lyon, leader of the shapeshifting Therian Feral Warriors, tries to abduct her He and his band of eight guardian warriors need Kara, who as the Radiant has the power to channel energy to them so that these feral Warriors can find, fight, and kill the dreaded draden energy suckers.

Kara is attracted to her kidnapper, but still wants to go home and forget about Feral Warriors even after he tells her she is almost immortal like all Therians and is the chosen one who can save the world from the energy eaters. He further insists she must perform the ritual of mate choosing to accomplish her save the world mission; she wants to say no, but realizes she has no choice.

DESIRES UNTAMED is a fast-paced, graphically violent action-packed urban romantic fantasy. In some ways the exciting thriller feels like a mystery as the Feral Warriors, their Radiant and readers struggle to uncover the identity of their clever enemy. Ironically, the “Untamed” Palmer world is developed as is the passionate relationship between Kara and Lyon; yet none of the key characters including the lead couple, come across as more than two dimensional. Still sub-genre fans who relish a hot romance inside a vivid escapade filled thriller will enjoy reading the opening of Pamela Palmer’s “Untamed” world. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baryon 112

Pete just let me know that Baryon 112 is up on the website. The address is There are a ton of reviews there, many of which were not on the blog. See you on Monday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'll try to get another post up before We head out of town. But just in case I don't, it will be Monday the 27th before I'll be back online. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Kiss of the Phantom
Julie Leto
Signet, Jun 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451227362

In Germany, Australian treasure hunter Mariah Hunter gets to the artifact before her top rival, her former lover Ben Rousseau. He warns her that the hidden stone she has found is cursed, but she assumes he is pulling a ruse to steal the find from her.

When she touches the stone, she is shocked. Her caress releases Rafe Forsyth from his rock imprisonment; he and his brothers were incarcerated inside of stone by dark mage Rogan. Needing to provide priceless coins to a dangerous collector she foolishly agreed to work for, Mariah makes a deal with Rafe. She will help him get fully freed from his imprisonment and not just his current nocturnal liberty if in return he helps her find valuable loot to pay her debt. Besides her treacherous client, neither is aware of an enemy of Rafe coming to kill both of them.

The third Phantom urban romantic fantasy (see PHANTOM’S TOUCH and PHANTOM PLEASURES) is an engaging tale due to the lead female, a gender bending rogue who at a minimum stretches the boundaries of the law and ethics. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Mariah touches the prison stone and never slows as she and Rafe take the audience on a series of misadventures as love may not be enough to set him free.
Harriet Klausner

The Affinity Bridge
George Mann
Tor, Jul 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765323200

In 1901 London, automatons have taken over most of the manual labor replacing humans. In that environs British Museum anthropologist Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes investigate the crash of a zeppelin piloted by a cyborg in which pilot error is statistically impossible yet in this case somehow appears plausible.

At the same time, a plague is spreading throughout the city’s poorest sectors turning people into zombies. These revenants pose a major threat of destroying the British Empire from within. An expert on the occult, Maurice with Veronica’s able help connects the two incidents in between Earl Grey time.

THE AFFINITY BRIDGE is an odd alternate earth historical thriller that combines elements of horror, science fiction and mystery in a London at the start of the twentieth century filled with robot and zombies; yet in some ways sort of remains the same as our earth as there is always time for a bit of tea. That combination adds some realism to the story line, but tea for two is fun for the participants however can be tedious to the reader. Still filled with plenty of blood, the occult and automatons, George Mann provides his audience with overall an enjoyable tale of a London out of control except for the tea time outs that seem mindful of Holmes-Watson. Harriet Klausner

By Heresies Distressed
David Weber
Tor, Jul 2009, $27.95
ISBN: 9780765315038

For eight centuries plus on Safehold, the Church of God Awaiting has brutally censored technology. However, recently cybernetic avatar Merlin Athrawes as part of his job to protect the king of Charis introduced technological advances that enabled the island kingdom to accomplish the impossible, defeat the Church.

However, the Church has not run the world with an iron fist for eight hundred years without adapting. Its operatives steal the enemies weapons to mass produce them, encourage quislings to assassinate the adversary’s leadership, and buy mercenaries to massacre rebels and civilians alike. The Kingdom of Charis may find its new freedom not long lasting as the Church of God Awaiting begins a concerted counter insurgency.

The sequel to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER, BY HERESIES DISTRESSED is a fantastic science fiction political thriller. The Church demonstrates why it has succeeded for eight centuries with its stealing of the enemy’s war technology as well as the usual stirring up the masses with a minor social issue (straight out of the Republican Party playbook) and supplement that with assassins and terrorists (straight out of the Taliban play book to bring hell on earth). The monarchy and their allies cannot agree on anything except their opposition to the Church (straight out of the Democratic Party’s humongous tent strategy that invites all to join to get elected but fail to agree on solutions). The cast is solid though with the exception of Merlin and to a lesser degree the King of Charis none stand out; this especially enhances the saga as part of the Church’s long term strategy is facelessness except for God as much as possible. David Weber is at his best with this strong profound and relevant look at political plotting. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yard Work

Doing work out in the yard today but here are some reviews to tide you over.

Jordan Summers
Tor, Jun 2 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765359155

The war left much of the globe in dangerous chaos and many areas became deserts by 2010. During the hostilities scientists genetically engineered the Others; species with super or para normal skills like vampires, shifters and special elite Captain America soldiers. In the twenty-second century, on a mission sanctioned by her grandfather to Nuria, Arizona, super soldier Gina “Red” Santiago learns she is a werewolf (see RED) and remains in the town where she has fallen in love with the Sheriff alpha werewolf Morgan Hunter. He worries about Red as her survival will depend more on her learning to shift when awake than on him.

A commercial advertises buying clones as a wife, prostitute, child or slave labor. Morgan is shook because the clones in the ad are that of his dead family; he leaves town to find and destroy his late family’s cells. Immediately after he departs, someone commits murder; the townsfolk believe Red killed him. Another newcomer inflicts injuries on himself and accuses Gina of beating him up. A vigilante mob demands justice while an enemy from before whom she defeated manipulates behind the scenes emotions of the townsfolk; the goal is the death of Red, who faces everyone alone again, naturally.

The super SCARLET contains two strong subplots; that of Morgan seeking a needle in a deadly haystack and Red under a lethal threat from a nasty villain. The two segments merge into a strong post apocalyptic science fiction thriller that can be summed up by the heroes’ understanding that Others have to hide in plain sight as politicians play the genetics card like they used to use race in the twentieth century; especially one ruthless individual with ambitions to rule the world. The story line is filled with action while the lead couple and “Others” insure the decimated earth with paranormal and super species seem genuine. Harriet Klausner

Winter Duty
E.E. Knight
Roc, Jul 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451462749

In 2076 AD or the ffty-sith year of the Kurian Order, the Kur reside inside heavily fortified fortresses while their Reapers harvest human by drinking blood and transmitting the core essences of the people they kill back to their masters. A rebellion is slowly taking back the land from their reaper occupiers, but in Kentucky, Operation Javelin failed and now only a small regiment led by Major David Valentine control Fort Seng and little else.

They prove enough to enable the people of Kentucky to vote whether the state should be a free zone or part of the Kurian Order as some of Valentine’s former allies prefer. A modern day Bleeding Kansas explodes the state into civil war as the voters choose the free zone option. A preacher and a Kurian realize the Order will not tolerate a free sate inside their realm nor invade a second time; instead the Overlords have chosen Kentucky as an example for rebels with plans to exterminate the state. David and his men leave their refuge try to save the people who were wounded in the failed operation as the Reapers supported by the Moondagger try and destroy the rebels. A blizzard makes things worse for the rebels.

The latest Vampire Earth novel is an entertaining entry in a terrific saga. The action is not-stop filled with setbacks for the heroes as former friends choose to end their revolt with what they believe are a peace in our times solution while the Order selects mass termination. Valentine and his unit prove they are heroes as they risk their lives to overthrow the occupation force even as they are being called by their former partners, obstinate insurgents. The plot contains shockers and twists as E.E. Knight provides a powerful thought provoking suspense thriller that will keep fans up late into the night. Harriet Klausner

Wild Highland Magic
Kendra Leigh Castle
Sourcebook Casablanca, May 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402218569

The Athins were once a powerful clan ruling the Northern Plains. They fell into ruin when Cadmus ruler of the Daemons of the Blighted kingdom visited their High Mage to unite their tribes. To anchor an agreement, Cadmus demanded the High Mage give him his sister, but the Athins’ leader refused. Cadmus placed a curse on the Ice Mage males. They are a dying group down to their last male wizard Bastian an Morgaine, who hides away amongst the MacInees shapeshifting pack in Scotland.

Twenty-five years ago a dispute between brothers led to one taking his family across the ocean. Now he wants to reconcile so his daughter Catrionna MacInnes can learn to be a werewolf amidst family. When Cat and Bastion see one another for the first time they are attracted to each other. She recognizes hs as her lifemate; he fears his feelings for her as he believes Cadmus’ curse will activate as it did leading to his dad’s lament of regretting love and eventually his death.

This is a fast-paced romantic fantasy that sub-genre fans will appreciate. Although a cast of zillions with several major subplots like the feuding brothers add complexity to the tale, the story line belongs to the Cat and Bastian who will have readers humming the Flack version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. WILD HIGHLAND MAGIC is a tremendous romantic fantasy that will send new fans seeking Kendra Leigh Castle’s previous Highland stories (see CALL OF THE HIGHLAND MOON and DARK HIGHLAND FIRE; neither read by me). Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things Change

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Hopefully, most of the questions I have will be resolved by Friday.

The Bone Factory
Nate Kenyon
Leisure, Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 0843962879

Worried for the future especially their daughter Jessie, David and Helen Pierce are reaching the bottom of their savings. He is currently tring to get work having quit his last job when his superior stole his ideas without giving him any credit; his supervisor’s boss sided against David so he left. In retaliation they blacklisted him as a malcontent in the industry; no one will hire him due to the lies.

Hydro Development is building a hydroplant in an isolated area of Quebec. Michael Olmsted interviews and hires David for the position of completing the plan and overseeing the development of the reservoir in tiny Jackson. David and his family relocate to Jackson in the winter so can do little on the project. Jessie is clairvoyant, but her parents are in denial unable to accept the paranormal especially with their child. They soon learn the house they currently reside in, once had a little girl who just vanished without a trace; as did one of the searchers. Jessie and David see a shadow being, but both assume it is their active imagination while Helen fears she is being watched by a stalker though she sees no one. None of them understands the danger they face while a local deputy sheriff has stumbled onto a horrific site in the nearby woods that unless a miracle occurs could be the next stop for the Pierce trio.

There is a growing sense of foreboding as animals and fish look strange and a psychotic person disappears. Jessie’s visions increase that feeling as the reader senses like she does something is coming for her. As the Pierces put together the puzzle pieces, their chances of survival decreases; their only hope to get out alive is if David can find the missing links that relate the incidents to the project. Fans will enjoy Nate Kenyon’s creepy horror thriller as the next stop for the Pierce family appears to be a one way ticket to hell. Harriet Klausner

From The Mists Of Wolf Creek
Rebecca Brandewyne
Silhouette Nocturne, Jun 2009, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618125

Hallie Muldoon decides to return to Wolf Creek after her late grandma bequeathes her the family farmhouse where Hallie remembers having spent great times growing up whenever she stayed there. However, still grieving her loss since only a month has passed since her grandma died, she ignores a Starry Night that van Gogh would appreciate. However as she drives on the two lane road in her sporty red Mini Cooper S, she sees a large black wolf.

Aunt Gwen greets her at the farm. Gwen has hired Trace Coltrane to repair the farm. However, soon inexplicable things begin to occur to include a stalker; with each incident the large black wolf appears ready to keep Hallie safe. Hallie begins to wonder if the strange occurrences including the wolf might be tied to her mom’s death several years ago.

This is an intriguing romantic suspense thriller in which the audience will wonder if the threat is psychological or paranormal as hints of both surface throughout the fine story line. Hallie and Trace are a wonderful pairing as she wonders just who he is. Although the ending is too fast and abrupt, fans will enjoy learning the secrets FROM THE MISTS OF WOLF CREEK. Harriet Klausner

Back To Life
Linda O. Johnston
Silhouette Nocturne, Jun 2009, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618132

During an assault with four other Angeles Beach SWAT officers, Trevor Owens is shot in the neck. The murder suspect Jerome Marinaro somehow escapes seemingly vanishing in thin air. K9 officer Skye Rydell saves his life by using her Valkyrie powers on Trevor because she senses he must complete something still on earth.

Skye knows she is also attracted to the SWAT officer, but avoids him because she fears he suspects his life was saved by paranormal means; something she keeps secret. However, Trevor has not forgotten his angel nor her dog (Bella) whom he knows saved his life somehow. He also believes he has things left to do on earth starting with following up on his attraction to that mysterious female.

Fans of paranormal romantic suspense thrillers will enjoy this engaging police procedural due to the actions and reluctant reactions of the lead couple towards one another. In fact Skye’s mixed feelings of wanting Trevor and avoiding him make the tale fun to read as she comes across so human in spite of her Valkyrie powers. BACK TO LIFE is a well written romantic thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx
Sally Koslow
Ballantine, May 19 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780345506207

Thirty-five year old upper class mom of a precocious preschool daughter Annabel, Molly Marx led a divine life until her battered corpse is found next to her bike near the Hudson. She arrives at Duration holding station in limbo unaware of what happened to her. As she awaits her afterlife fate, Molly watches the investigation by NYPD into her death.

Though it could have been a horrific accident or even suicide, the Manhattan detective Hiawatha Hicks believes murder occurred and look closely at everyone associated with Molly. The prime suspects range from her cheating spouse plastic surgeon Barry; her demanding catty mother-in-law Kitty; the victim’s lover Luke; her twin Lucy; her best friend Brie; and a chorus line of Barry lovers particularly his latest Stephanie who all want to be wife number two even before Molly is buried. Escorted by Bob the spiritual guide, Molly returns to Manhattan to insure her loved ones especially her child are okay and to learn why someone wanted her dead even as she recognizes her faults.

THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX is a terrific paranormal police procedural seen mostly through the eyes of the dead victim. Molly is fabulous as she holds the earthy and after life plots together. Readers meet the suspects through Molly’s lens; for instance her twin comes across grieving and deranged, her child misses her mommy, her spouse deserves the Wilt Chamberlain award for scoring; and Brie and Hiawatha seem attracted to one another. Although the ending is not quite as powerful as the visits to the celestial and Upper West Side neighborhoods, Sally Koslow provides a deep character driven crime thriller. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Next Baryon

I spent most of the day working on the next issue of Baryon. I'm trying to use different reviews in the online zine than I use in here. That way I can use more of Harriet's reviews and still use some in both places that need more recognition.

Phaedra Weldon
Ace, Jun 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780441017164

Zoe Martinique is a Wraith; a being who can travel in spirit form to the Abysmal and Ethereal planes. It has taken her a while to get used to having this new skill, which can occur spontaneously without warning. She is not sure if she is an Irin, the child of an angel and a human. However just when she needs her power to rescue her mother who is trapped on the Abysmal Plane, it vanishes without explanation and she has no earthly idea how to get it back.

The Archer aka T.C is a being from the Abysmal Plane who is linked to Zoe, and if she dies so does she so it is in his best interests to keep her alive. The Phantasm wants to use Zoe to enter the mortal realm where he intends to take control of the planet. TC believes the Phantasm is blocking Zoe’s power so they come up with a plan to get them freed. It is dangerous as the price of victory is extremely high; defeat means most likely death.

PHANTASM contains an exhilarating serpentine story line with so many puzzles to solve; readers will wonder how the paranormal can protect the newcomer. Zoe is a kick butt heroine who has finally accepted her heritage as the audience learns through flashbacks re her childhood. She proves formidable as she believes she can defeat the Phantasm though she understands little about her skills. Character driven though action-packed, Phaedra Weldon’s third Zoe urban fantasy (see WRAITH and SPECTRE) is fantastic. Harriet Klausner

Bernard Beckett
Harcourt, Apr 2009, $20.00
ISBN: 9780547225494

Anaximander “Anax” is a student studying the history of the twenty-first century in school. She learns that century was the period of human decline as the Last War proved to be an accurate title as much of the globe was devastated and led to plague, environmental collapse, terrorism, and the end of civilization on the continents.

She also knows that the only pocket of true governance left in the world is her homeland, the Republic, an island in the Southern hemisphere modeled after Plato’s classic Republic. On the verge of taking the four hour exam that will determine her future as an elitist or a drone as the test decides whether she gains admittance to the elite Academy, Anax has also serendipitously studied the outlawed works of rebel with a cause Adam Forde. She likes his stand on human rights and dignity in a society run by a strict code of conduct that bans anything deemed deviant, but especially appreciates his stance as a soldier guarding the Great Sea Fence when he did not kill a young female on a boat breaching the barrier; but Amax knows she must hide her feelings from the panel of examiners.

This is Brave New World meets Plato in a devastated world with several fresh spins as Bernard Beckett provides an intriguing philosophical science fiction tlae that Huxley would have enjoyed. Anax is a terrific student historian who holds the story line together, but does so by concealing her adulation of Adam from her examiners. Fans will enjoy GENESIS as Anax learns the origin of the end of the world. Harriet Klausner

Cry Mercy
Toni Andrews
Mira, Jun 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326489

In the Balboa Peninsular of California hypnotherapist Mercy Hollings has the mental ability to “press" people into doing what she wants them to do using her mind to coax a person. She has always struggled to control her ability because she knows it is not ethical to intrude even when you want to. Her friend Sukey has been helping her look back on her life while moving near the ocean has provided her with some solace.

Mercy wants to know why her adoptive parents eventually abandoned her. At the same time she wants to help former gangbanger chief Tino who wants to become a realtor. Tino also needs Mercy to help get his younger brother out of the gang lifestyle, but not all the punks are normal members as some come from the dark places where souls dare not go.

CRY MERCY is as always with this saga a fun but odd paranormal Mercy Hollings thriller (see BEG FOR MERCY and ANGEL OF MERCY). The story line is fast-paced but owned by the heroine who rips skin with her sarcastic retorts. Fans will enjoy the latest antics of Mercy as Toni Andrews provides an amusing refreshing beach fantasy.
Harriet Klausner

Saturday Collapse

Spent the day doing mostly nothing. Body went into collapse state. Harriet's reviews keep on coming, so here are some to keep you going.

Naamah’s Kiss
Jacqueline Carey
Grand Central, Jun 24 2009, $26.99
ISBN: 9780446198035

From the time she was a young girl in Alba, Moirin of the Maghuin Dhonn, an isolated clan of the Brown Bear worshippers, Moirin heard the voices and saw the faces of other deities. Although she did not know it, other Gods were worshipped in Terre d'Ange. She conducts a quiet inquiry and learns her unknown father was a D'Angeline priest serving Naamah, the goddess of desire. As a mage with power, Moirin also begins to explore and upon maturity travels into the spirit world where she will either be fully accepted or totally rejected by the Maghuin Dhonn

She accepts her and the divine spark, the diadh-anam stays in her essence. Moirin learns she has a destiny to fulfill. She goes to Terre d'Ange to meet her father, but is run over by Raphael de Mereliot whose lover is Jerhanne, the queen of the city of Eula. Moirin learns she has the power to heal people even from death though that drains her. Jehanne and Morin become lovers as the newcomer is the first person the queen has trusted in years; she would like to stay with her lover, but Moirin is asked by her mentor Lord Bo to return home with him to Ch’in because the emperor’s daughter and heir is demon possessed. In Ch’in, Moirin realizes what the problem is and asks Snow Tiger, the emperor’s heir to trust her. Neither was prepared for a coup d’etat by an evil sorcerere.

NAAMAH’S KISS takes place in the same world as the Kushiel saga only decades later. Once again Jacqueline Cary shows her skill at world-building in this super cerebral yet action-packed fantasy. The cast is solid especially the mages and the characters with supernatural powersl, but anchored in time and place by everyday people and political leaders. In many ways a coming of age thriller as the heroine learns of her illustrious roots (not just dad), the story line belongs to the vivid descriptions especially of the dark sides of Ch’in and Terre d’Ange as Morin explores both with energy and love. Harriet Klausner

Black and White
Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittridge
Bantam, Jun 2 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780553386318

The extrahumans attend the Academy where they obtain intensive training learning how to control their super powers before going out amongst civilians to stop crime. Five years after graduating from the Academy, Joannie “Jet” Greene tries to catch her former school roommate Callie “Iridium” Bradford for dealing with unsanctioned (by the ruling Corps) criminals. The pair was once best friends, but their differences over brainwashing by the Academy and the Corps abuse of extrahumans led to a dispute. Jet believed what she was told while Iri saw a dark commercial purpose behind the institutions. This acrimonious split might be a legacy of their fathers with Jet’s dead and Iri’s jailed or more to the point could be their powers as Jet uses shadows and Iri the light.

The former BFFs separately begin to uncover a dangerous conspiracy in New Chicago. Meanwhile Jet meets and teams up with normal human Bruce Hunter who brings a metaphoric light to her heart while she thinks Iri is part of the treachery. Iri meets and teams up with vigilante Taser who brings a bit of the dark into her heart while she deems Jet is part of the treachery. Soon these two BFFs and their new sidekicks will learn that neither is all light or all dark as the universe has an abundance of colors and shades; that is they will learn if they stop fighting one another and live long enough.

Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittridge provide a fun super friends fantasy that blends elements of romance, thriller, and science fiction into an exciting BFF (in this case BFF was best friend forever but has become best enemy forever) superhero tale. The cast is solid as Jet and Iri begin to understand that the whole is greater than either part. Although fast than a speeding bullet story line lacks depth, graphic comic book fans will enjoy the action-packed quarrel between two former super friends. Harriet Klausner

Edge of Desire
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin HQN, Jun 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774234

Sheriff Riley Buchanan left his home in Henning, Colorado to come the Pacific as he fears what he is becoming due to the Merrick blood flowing through him. In Purity, Washington, he knows his gut insists he needs a woman, any female; but his heart and head only wants Hope Summer whom he lost years ago. Ironically what he needs is on her land.

Watchman Kellen Scott has accompanied Riley to the Northwest to ostensibly keep an eye on the sheriff who is losing control. They believe the third marker is interred on Hope’s property. Riley had wanted to come and go without intruding on Hope, but he has failed as she will know about his darkening nature and loathe him. However, Hope is also concealing her inner nature and hiding from her ruthless former spouse obsessed with destroying his ex wife and her kind.

The third Primal Instinct tale (see EDGE OF DANGER and EDGE OF HUNGER) ends the current trilogy with an excellent urban fantasy second chance romantic suspense. The story line is action-packed from the opening moment when Riley reaches Purity and never slows down while the overall theme takes a few wonderful spins. However, as in the previous two entries, the edgy characters make for a great finish and perhaps set up some more Primal Instinct Edge of novels. Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Follow-up

I've been working on the book proposal and have gotten positive feedback from my first submissions. I'll have to keep on writing and see how it comes out.

Had a follow-up interview for gainful employment today. I'll set in on the job next week to see if it is going to fit. Keep thinking good thoughts.

More reviews from Harriet follow. I'm working on some, but right now it's a slow go for me with the other things going on.

Sea Changes
Gail Graham
Jade Phoenix, May 01 2009, $15.99
ISBN: 9780692001004

In Australia, Felicity no longer comforts her mom Sarah; she insists her mother move on with her life instead of still grieving her late husband Charles as almost two years have passed since the heart attack killed him. She tells her mom Charles was her dad and even his mother has moved on beyond mourning. The daughter also coldly lectures her mom over the annuity she accepted in which Sarah took care of herself only and complains that her mom’s shrink Dr. Kahn holds her back.

Sarah feels isolated from her family and decides to end her life at Bondi Beach with a final drowning swim. Instead of dying she finds an underwater civilization in which the occupants especially Xaxanader welcome the surface dweller. She soon is back on the beach wondering if what she saw is real until she returns to the sea world; especially afterward when Bantryd of the sea moves into her home with her in order to search for her parents who came ashore years ago. This happens at a time when missing teen heiress Jennyfer Blanchard who resembles Bantryd vanishes. Everyone sees the videotape that shows Sarah with Jennyfer; so Felicity, Kahn and anyone in the Brisbane area believe she killed Jennyfer.

This is an intriguing character driven fantasy with a deep message pleading with the survivor to seek a new groove when a life mate dies. Sarah’s overwhelming depression drives away her loved ones. Ultimately after finding life underneath the sea, Sarah must decide between memories fueled by grief and starting a new life to build new memories. She is a terrific protagonist who holds the whimsical yet melancholy story line together although the support cast feels too stereotypical on land and at sea as they exist only in terms of her. Readers will enjoy Sarah’s sea saga as she struggles to move on in her life following Charles. She considers suicide as the only solution, but learns there is so much more out there. Harriet Klausner

The Demon’s Librarian
Lilith Saintcrow
ImaJinn, Mar 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417448

She is the librarian in Jericho City who found a secret room filled with books of magical instructions and information. When Francesca “Chess” Barnes sees a demon eating a child, she vows to do something about that. She reads the books written by the founder of the Order, an organization pledged to keep humans safe. Chess learns spells including casting a demon out and owns a magic knife called Fang that can kill hell’s spawn, which she uses to eliminate one of these ugly amoral creatures.

Two men claiming to be from the Order arrive and ask if the founder of the Order’s library is in her library and she denies it. They smell the use of sorcery and Paul the Malik,, a human mage with magical powers, and Ryan, the Drakul half demon, which makes him a second class citizen in the Order, are in the front line war with the demons. Ryan follows Chess while Paul turns to another human he believes is using magic. Ryan realizes that Chess is using magic, but is much more as a Golden almost pure Phoenicus practitioner who if she attains her full potential will be able to kill even the almost invincible demonic High Ones. To his shock, Ryan falls in love with Chess, which may be the only reason she might survive as a traitor inside the Order knowing who she is wants to give her to the Inkani demons as a sacrifice for a rare rite.

The outwardly prim and proper (and underpaid) librarian gets down and dirty when she realizes the lethal threat to schools kids as her library is a battle zone between the paranormal and the normal. Ryan is the more intriguing character as he always assumed he was tainted with bad blood and the Order enforced his lack of self esteem (outside of his fighting demons); but Chess soothes the troubled beast through love. Lilith Saintcrow has written an enjoyable romantic urban fantasy in which the book world will agree don’t mess with THE DEMON’S LIBRARIAN as she silences the evil ones. Harriet Klausner

The Empress Of Mars
Kage Baker
Tor, May 12 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 0765318903

After terraforming a moon colony into a mega profit, the British based Aerean Company has done likewise on Mars. However, unlike the great success on the moon, the Martian project has run into financial trouble as the profits have not been anywhere near the projections. Unable to retain the current workforce, Aerean downsizes many of the colonists, who have no alternatives once they are terminated.

Those unemployed must create work like Mary Griffith did as owner and brew-master of the only bar on the forth planet from the sun, The Empress of Mars. Others do likewise as Cochevelou forms an agricultural cooperative and Crosley establishes a casino-dental clinic. Others residing in the Martian Motel must find work as life on the aptly named Angry Red Planet for those discarded by the company is to generate a profit making cottage industry or die; Darwin is proving to be right as most of the stranded survivors know big business, Great Britain and mega religion except perhaps to the Ephesian Goddess worshippers are irrelevant.

With the Company taking a needed R&R, Kage Baker provides an intriguing look at a cast of outcasts struggling to survive, but those who do so throw away social convention (as defined by Aeran Company and Great Britain) in order to apply unconventional means. Rebellion seems impossible as the fired employees have no major market to buy weapons (this is not the Mexican cartels crossing into the United States and ironically applying their second amendment rights). The prime players have differing personalities yet share in common courage to make it; their mantra ought to be if I can make it on Mars I can make it anywhere even Manhattan. With a vast history hinted at like Luna terraforming and Great Britain winning the space race, fans will enjoy toasting these unlikely champions with a beer at the Empress of Mars. Harriet Klausner

Pleasure Dome
L.F. Hampton
ImaJinn, Mar 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417455

At thirty-eight years of age, Warship Captain Soledad Scott of the Icarus faces mandatory retirement. She travels to the Straits at the end of known space to visit the Pleasure Dome. Soledad is a maternity client who will be teamed up with a sex toy male with the DNA she wants for the sire who will make her pregnant. Due to worm-hole dyslexia, she misreads room 660 as 990; the hunk waiting in the wrong room is expecting a sterile female sex toy.

Sol acts as if half-breed Chakkra empath Commander Gabriel Merriweather is her sex toy and he acquiesces enjoying the role change. However, in the morning she learns of her mistake and sneaks out of his room. Most species believes that Chakkra are violent barbaric mercenaries who prefer to fight to the death than negotiate. The empath cannot forget Sol, but fears she will reject him because of the reputation for violence his Chakkra heritage has in spite of the irony that he works in the Diplomatic Corps. He uses his empath skills tring to find Sol but they fail him because his target is a tranq; a person with the ability to mute the emotions that empaths like Gabeare bombarded with. Still he is coming for the woman who ran away with his sperm and his heart.

This is a sizzling, energizing science fiction romance that takes place far into the future vividly described by L.F. Hampton to the point that readers will believe they are at the Pleasure Dome. The heroine is a brave combat veteran who displays vulnerability once she embarks on her first post-retirement deployment. Gabe is her wonderful counterpart showing the same leadership caring qualities along with a liability (in his mind) of being half-breed Chakkra. Together they bring to readers a pleasurable romantic outer space thriller. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Charles N. Brown, 1937-2009

Charles N. Brown died in his sleep on July 12 while returning home from ReaderCon. He was publisher of Locus for all these many years and was the leader in the way new was passed along to science fictions fans all over the world kept up with the events in fandom. We had met only a couple of times over the years but he was an inspiration to most of the fan editors I know.

Locus will continue.

Like Clockwork Review

A special review of a special book that will be available soon.

LIKE CLOCKWORK: Steampunk Erotica, edited by J. Blackmore, Circlet Press, 118 pages, ISBN: to come, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is the second volume of three that began with the groundbreaking LIKE A WISP OF STEAM. The third volume, LIKE A CORSET UNDONE: More Steampunk Erotica!, will be released in September. For those who have not experienced the wonders of steampunk erotica, it is not necessary to have read the first volume, but it is highly recommended. As its title implies, LIKE A WISP OF STEAM, is light and airy compared to the harder, more polished tone of this volume.

This volume contains seven stories that show a polish and mirror reflection, much like the gleaming metal creations that are the topics of consideration for the reader to ponder and wonder of the alternate Victorian era filled with steam powered dirigibles and clockwork mechanicals, some which apparently have minds of their own.

The book opens with “The Yearly Scientifiction Colloquium” by Eric Del Carlo in which the first gathering of scientifiction writers’ takes place and Roland Creely discovers that he has a fan that shows him her understanding his writings of “robotics” better than he does. The ending is a delightful surprise. “Caged Dragons and Explosions” by Helena Weiss tells the story of Juliana who is married to Albert who creates fiery dragons and trotting unicorns. Albert has not gained success with his lovely creatures, but when Juliana returns from a trip, she finds he is giving it up in order to go to work for an armaments maker; she looks for a way to save her marriage.

Elizabeth Schechter’s “The Succubus” is the story of the mechanical mistress in the House of Sable Locks. In order for the clients to partake of the pleasures of the house, their first visit is to the fourth floor home of the Succubus. The Succubus is lonely. Although she is extremely proficient in her duties, she is rarely visited more than once. She was created to be the best and she takes her job seriously. Monique Poirier crafts a tale of a mechanoscientist who inherits his uncles’ laboratory and creations. One of the creations, an automaton, has been boxed up for many years and after being reassembled he discovers the answers “Concerning the Ars Mechanica”. Jason Rubis tells us of a “Nightingale”. In the Far East, a nightingale’s song was well loved and longed for. In this story, our nightingale is Lady Jane, the mistress (?) of the Jupiter Club. Her job was to keep the members happy and she had no voice to tell anyone of her dalliances. Then one day she is given a voice…

“The Clockwork Theater at the Midnight Fair” by A. N. Cortez is about a night at the theater when the Nobles bring out their Gentles for a night to remember. Thanks to the Clockwork Theater and a week of chastity, it is a night of anticipation and release. “The Beast in the Machine” by Lionel Bramble is possibly the most interesting story in this collection. It is a blockbuster of a finish to the volume. Herein Lady Cheyenne is enlisted to endure the testing of a new interrogation device for the Empire. Only after she is in the middle of the test does she find out her arch nemesis is now in charge and will go to any length to break her resolve.
This is a very solid and well done addition to the offerings of Circlet Press. Be sure to check out all of their offerings at I would also like for J. Blackmore to consider adding some fiction to her resume. Her introduction to the volume is not to be missed.

Monday, July 13, 2009


How's This For Nostalgia?

All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?

It took five minutes for the TV to warm up?

Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?

Nobody owned a purebred dog?

When a quarter was a decent allowance?

You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?

All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?

You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?

It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?

They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . . and they did it!

When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?

No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends?
and saying things like, 'That cloud looks like a... '?

Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?

Stuff from the store came without safety caps! and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?

And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?

Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.

.. as well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, Hula Hoops, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yeah, I remember that'?

I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.

Can you remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys,Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Know s, Nellie Bell , Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.

How Many Of These Do You Remember?

Candy cigarettes

Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.

Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.

Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.

Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.

Newsreels before the movie.

P.F. Fliers.

Telephone numbers with a word prefix...(Raymond 47601). Party lines.


Howdy Dowdy.

Hi-Fi's & 45 RPM records.

78 RPM records!

Green Stamps.

Mimeograph paper.

The Fort Apache Play Set.

Do You Remember a Time When..

Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'?

Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, 'Do Over!'?

'Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest?

Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening?

It wasn't odd to have two or three 'Best Friends'?

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was 'cooties'?

Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot?

Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?

'Oly-oly-oxen-free' made perfect sense?

Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a team?

War was a card game?

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?

Taking drugs meant orange - flavored chewable aspirin?

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

Gay meant happy or joyous.

If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Science Fiction Reviews from Harriet

The Lost Fleet Relentless
Jack Campbell
Ace, Apr 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441017089

A century ago the Syndicate Worlds attacked the Alliance who fought back. Captain John "Black Jack" Geary’s ship the Meron was destroyed but he escaped in a pod in suspended animation; only to wake up a hundred years later to learn he is a legend and that the war continues unabated. The Alliance sends a fleet into the heart of Syndic Space, but due to a series of dreadful circumstances, Jack becomes the commander.

After some fierce battles, the fleet is ready to use Jump Points to return to Alliance space. Jack and a few others learned the Syndicate worlds were manipulated into going to war by a mysterious race of aliens who want the two combatant groups to destroy one another. It is urgent that Jack and his crew return home because they possess the Syndic hypernet key that can be used as a weapon. While fighting and eluding the Syndic fleets, Jack tries to convince those who have admired him that he dos not want to be the leader of the Alliance and explains to his supporters he is a warrior not a politician.

This exhilarating action packed outer space military thriller will remind the audience of the battles in Star Wars. Jack is terrific as he realizes his past glory can carry him so far with his demi-god celebrity status, but he caught in a conundrum of what his fame means to the Alliance and what he has learned while in Syndric Space about the true enemy. Many believe he is the only one who can end the hundred year war though he has his doubts as to what should be done next. Harriet Klausner

Flinx Transcendent
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, May 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345496072

Flinx still recovers from the demoralizing events that have shaken his soul (see QUOFUM). Filled with self loathing and galaxy wide doubts he can do the mission he must do, Flinx with his loyal sidekick Pip prepares for the eventuality of the final showdown against the Great Evil. Adding to his growing uncertainty is the reality he is the only individual who can stop the Great Evil if he can avoid the Order of the Null assassins who need him eliminated to achieve their mission.

With his confidence at an all time low and shrinking and on his way to the final confrontation, Flinx, with Pip accompanying him, stops off to negotiate a truce between the human Commonwealth and the AAnn; and. He also reunites with his beloved Clarity Held and his teachers Truzenzuzex and Tse-Mallory in hope that they give him inspiration, hope and a renewed fighting spirit even as he expects to go it alone in the last battle.

Long time fans of the saga will relish the finish besides the obvious strong tale, the return of key players in Flinx’s escapades seems appropriate for the end game. The story line starts a bit slow as the strange bedfellows need introduction, but once the plot accelerates, FLINX TRANSCENDENT never slows down until the final spin. With a nod to the homage my enemy’s enemy is my friend, Alan Dean Foster provides a triumphant climax to a wonderful series as Flinx learns the same lesson constantly of be careful who has your back (besides Pip). Harriet Klausner

Stephen Baxter
Roc, May 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451462718

In 2016 in Barcelona, the religious fanatics still hold four hostages snatched several years ago. USAF Captain Lily Brooke, British military officer Piers Michaelmas, NASA scientist Gary Boyle; and Helen Gray are losing hope of ever regaining their freedom, but each vows to help one another through the ordeal and if they ever become liberated afterward. Affluent Brit AxysCorp security CEO Nathan Lammockson pulls off the impossible by rescuing the foursome after they were held for several years.

However, during their captivity, the world has radically changed as the water levels have reached pandemic flooding leaving whole countries beneath the sea and high points as exclusive property for those who can afford it and security. In a desperate gambit as he expects the entire land masses to go under the water, Nathan has moved his operation to the high Andes Inca capital of Cuzco where he has hired experts to build a new Queen Mary, he dubs Ark 3. He chooses who lives and who dies. In four decades, the ocean average depth above sea level rises exponentially as flood walls costly are overwhelmed. Nathan’s dream of Britannia ruling the waves again may happen, but outside of Ark 3 there may not be a human alive much longer as the end is near.

Obvious extrapolation of global warming and a theory on the mantle containing more water than the crust and with a nod to Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, FLOOD is an exhilarating rapidly rising cautionary science fiction thriller. The section titles tell much of what is happening as the mean sea level of 1.5 meters in 2010 rises to 1800-8800 meters above sea level between 2041 and 2052. The cast is solid with an ensemble of many more critical players than the five above. Though somewhat repetitive as cities and countries constantly drown, Stephen Baxter hooks his audience with his no hope for humanity tale; as the bible turns out to be a false prophet re the pledge to Noah never again by sea. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Romantic Fantasy

Reviews of Romantic Fantasy this time. Spent the day doing yardwork. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Man After Midnight
Devyn Quinn
Kensington Aphrodisia, Apr 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758228512

Guardian of the Light Witch Dani Wallace seduces the hunk who oozes forbidden darkness to her that she cannot resist. However, she is clueless that he is Prince Casedren who comes from an underworld where Lucifer’s offspring thrive. He teaches her passion and demands her surrender as his consort, but though tempted and craving his touch, she refuses to obey his order.

Casedren also refuses to back away as his slightest caress sends her into ecstasy and him with an out of control libido; he knows Dani will be his royal mate once he seduces her soul like he has her body. As they play their gender war of lovemaking and denial, his younger twin tries to usurp the throne from him, but with Dani and the sex magic they create, he believes they can save her world and his realm.

MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT is an excellent romantic fantasy due to the powerful fully developed star-crossed lead lovers. Dani is spirited and brave while Casedren knows what he wants and goes after her. His chip off the old block twin brings skillful sinister malice to a terrific tale that will have readers rooting for the heroes and craving for more entries in the dark paranormal romantic world of Devyn Quinn. Harriet Klausner

Dangerous Ties
Devyn Quinn, Jodi Lynn Copeland and Anya Howard
Kensington Aphrodisia, Apr 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758228741

“Personal Possessions" by Devyn Quinn. During a drug deal, Nikki is shot. When she awakens she is in bed naked with nude hunk Jackson who welcomes her to his Helle.

"Captive Heat," by Jodi Lynn Copeland. The explosion knocked Leia out. When she regains consciousness she finds herself naked and tied down by vines in the underground abode of Sebastian. He plans to wakes up naked, underground and bound with vines as Leia's captor teaches her acceptance as he explores her sensual boundaries

"Liaison" by Anya Howard. Marcel tries to keep his beloved Carina safe from the ancient vampire using a magic collar; while the villagers, as they for ages, perform sexual rites to restrain the evil that resides in their monastery.

These three romantic fantasy novellas are dark well written heated thrillers, but not for everyone as the hunks in the Quinn and Copeland tales teeter on the line between mutually accepted bondage and abuse; on the other hand that also makes them seem plausible as they somewhat remain in character even when they find a love mate. This also leaves the Howard entry different as the lead male is a pure hero fighting a pure evil over the woman he cherishes. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the DANGEROUS TIES that bound the lead characters to one another. Harriet Klausner

Blood of Ambrose
James Enge
Pyr, Apr 21 2009, $15.98
ISBN: 9781591027362

His uncle Lord Urdhven killed his parents leaving the twelve year old heir to the throne of the Empire of Ontil, Lathmar, under his blood-soaked relative’s protection. The frightened pre-teen feels alone, expecting his ambitious Protector to kill him one day if he objects to any decisions. Dismayed and depressed Lathmar has no hope as he knows he is just an expendable puppet.

Everything changes when two of his ancient magical kin arrive at Ontil to raise Lathmar and help him one day regain the throne and depose his odious usurper. Ambrosia is calculating but reachable while her irritable companion Morlock is sinister and frighteningly unreachable. As Lathmar becomes a young man ready to claim his throne from his Protector, Urdhven revises his gory plans for his nephew; as the lad is becoming increasingly rebellious. Lathmar constantly tries to please his beloved relatives who have raised him as if he was their child; which in their mind he is.

BLOOD OF AMBROSE is a strong coming of age fantasy as the key four players in this waltz seem genuine. Urdhven comes across as a combination Lord and Lady Macbeth merged with Hamlet’s uncle while his nephew grows in confidence with maturity and nurturing from his ancient relatives. Although typical of the sub-genre, this excellent tale is worth reading as it’s the lad’s journey that makes for a superb fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting Reviews

Mundane things taking up all my time. At least Harriet is keeping me well supplied with reviews.

The Betrayal
Pati Nagle
Ballantine, Mar 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345503855

Eliani's spirit was shattered when her beloved rejected her after their after cup bonding. Despondent and feeling like she wasted a year and a day, Eliani enlists as an Alpinon Guard warrior, one of the most dangerous jobs an aelven can accept as death is a typical outcome but that no longer matters to her. She vows no male will ever get her heart again except her father whom she has become his top aid.

Turisan leaves Glenwhollow feeling upbeat about life as he goes to deliver a message from his father to congratulate the daughter of a family friend on her election as governor. He journeys through the invigorating woodlands but realizes someone is following him, whom he identifies as an Alpinon Guard. However, instead of an assault, he is taken to Hightstone where he receives great honors.

When he and Eliani meet they are not just attracted to one another; they share the legendary mindspeech. Both are appalled and frightened yet euphoric. Neither realizes their paranormal connection as much as their respective heart ties will be the main hope when the outlawed exiled former aelven clan Darkshore led by the bloodsucking Queen Shalr are crossing the Ebon Mountains to reclaim more than their lost status; they come to conquer and dine on the blood of their once allies.

This is an exciting romantic fantasy starring two intriguing protagonists and a solid support cast who add societal depth to the aelven clans or the vampiric alben. The reactions to the mindspeech between Eliani and Turisan are terrific as each covets the link but also fears what is going on. Fans will appreciate Pati Nagle’s appropriately titled tale and look forward to me adventures in Alpinon and beyond. Harriet Klausner

Night of Knives
Ian C. Esslemont
Tor, May 2009, $25.95 (hardcover); $14.95 (trade)
ISBN: 0765323699 (hardcover); 0765323710 (trade)

Every generation the isle of Malaz suffers from the convergence of the Shadow Moon when the real world becomes a shadow to other realities and these other realities come as shadows to Malaz. Rumors fly that this time will include the unique returns of Malazan Emperor Kellanved and his master assassin Dancer; neither has been seen in ages. Surly the Mistress of the Imperial Assassin the Claw ruled over the empire and is not taking any chances of losing her power so has traveled to the island to insure Kellanved and Dancer do not return.

As the moon rises, islanders stay in doors hoping to remain safe from the evil invaders, demon-hounds, walking dead and even more dreaded others things. Wanting to leave Malaz, Kiska feels joining the Imperial Forces is her only exit; battle tested veteran Temper hides from his past with a new identity on Malaz. Neither believed in the myths, but soon both become embroiled in the encroaching malevolence when a corpse asks Kiska to deliver a message as the ancient power of the Shadow Moon has arisen.

Ian C. Esslemont collaborated with Steven Erikson to create the multiple cultures of the Malazan World (see Mr. Erikson’s Book of the Fallen saga). In NIGHT OF KNIVES, he extrapolates on the prologue to Mr. Erikson’s the Gardens of the Moon to create a rich history that in the Book of the Fallen becomes mythical history. Fans of Malazan will be stunned with this super dark fantasy as Mr. Esslemont stays true to the essence of the latter years’ saga while providing a terrific tale. Harriet Klausner

Lover Avenged
J.R. Ward
NAL, May 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451225856

In Caldwell, New York, drug dealer Rehvenge is happy for his sister Bella to be married to one of the vampire King Wrath’s Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires, but he tries to remain above the fray between them and their enemies the Lessers because he fears the secret he conceals could harm his sibling and his mom. However, his dark secret is known by at least one person who uses it to extort emotional and sexual Rehvenge.

His only light in his personal storm is Havers Clinic vampire nurse Ehlena who has cared for his injuries but rejects his efforts to court her. Instead her focus remains on earning money to care for her ailing father. Responsible for her ailing father, nurse Ehlena struggles to make ends meet. However his latest visit to the clinic makes Ehlena, who hides her attraction to Rehvenge, concerned about his health as he is a victim of someone extremely nasty.

The latest Brotherhood vampire romantic suspense is an excellent entry in one of the great sagas on the market today. The story line moves forward on several overarching plots while also telling the tale of love between an antihero and an angelic vampire. Fans of the series will recognize LOVER AVENGED as one of the better stories in several books, which is saying a lot, while newcomers will be somewhat lost in the complex multifaceted thriller. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday News

Some more interesting reviews from Harriet. I'm working on the book idea and have a second interview for a job lined up for Monday. Things may be looking up.

Sea Lord
Virginia Kantra
Berkley, May 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425226360

Because she is the only family member without magical skills, Lucy is never included in any Worlds End demon hunting debates. Instead she is expected to remain a good girl teaching school and cleaning after her seemingly always drunken dad.

Her world radically changes when half-Selkie Prince Conn abducts her as she is the vision of his dreams that he prays will keep his people safe from a threat. Soon afterward a demon lord tries to kill her dog. Outraged Lucy decides no one will harm her or her loved ones; that is when the real odd events occur starting with the improbability of a Selkie lord falling in love with a mortal.

The third Selkie-human “Children of the Sea” romance (see SEA WITCH and SEA FEVER) is a fantastic romantic fantasy as Virginia Kantra enables the readers to look deep into the souls of a lonely single human and a Selkie. The story line is similar to the previous entries as the plot enables the reader to look deep into the hearts of the lead couple and believe in the existence of Selkie and half-breed Selkie. However, Virginia Kantra refreshes her saga by escorting her grateful fans into the realm of the Selkie. Harriet Klausner

A. Lee Martinez
Orbit, May 2009, $19.99
ISBN: 9780316041263

Monster runs a specialized pest control agency that advertises he catches pesty yeti; what he catches is placed in special in cryptobiological containment facilities as these are not rodents. One night Monster stops at the Food Plus Mart where Judy eats Rocky Road ice cream while working the late shift. He saves her life from a runaway yeti who was running wild in the frozen foods aisle.

Soon after that evening incident, Monster has to remove an infestation of trolls in Judy’s apartment. As with the yeti, Judy almost immediately forgets the paranormal events, which proves she must be a person whose mind cannot accept the existence of magic so she dumps those encounters as not being real. However, Monster does not accept coincidence as Judy seems to be the foci in the rise of deadly cryptobiological activity. Not long after her denial, Lotus, who possesses a stone linked to Judy, abducts her. Used to battling dragons, trolls and ogres, Monster follows her to save her life, but quickly realizes he is in deep trouble even more when he fights with his girlfriend who is literally from hell.

This humorous satire lampoons those street corner philosophers agonizing over how the universe began when people are malnourished, un-sheltered, and receiving no health care. The story line is fast-paced from the opening yeti assault and never slows down as Judy seems to have become the center of zany paranormal activity. Readers who believe in boiling the ocean to see what lives on ground below will pass, but the rest of the universe will enjoy Lee Martinez’s biting thriller that amusingly mocks social cosmologists who fail to see a tree in the forest. Harriet Klausner

Dead If I Do
Tate Hallaway
Berkley, May 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425227534

In Madison, Wisconsin, Mercury Crossing bookstore manager Witch Garnet Lacey and her vampire fiancé Sebastian are making wedding plans when his dhampir son Matyas manages to wake up his mother, Tereza, who has been in a coma for centuries. Tereza is irate to learn her husband considers her his ex-wife. Her plan is to kill Garnet and Sebastian; as a special combo zombie, vampire and witch paranormal she might be able to achieve her objective.

In the meantime Tereza curses the engaged couple. This proves instantly successful as wedding plans collapse when everything is abruptly canceled. Losing her cools, Garnet is ready to tackle the ex as her inner Goddess Lilith is fuming for vengeance, but the bride also has new people problems to harass her with the arrival of her clueless mortal parents.

The latest Garnet Lacey urban romantic fantasy (see DEAD SEXY and TALL, DARK & DEADLY) is a lot more amusing than the previous tale (see ROMANCING THE DEAD), as Madison’s favorite witch learns a basic truism that Murphy was an optimist; nothing goes right. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Tereza curses the happy couple. Filled with angst yet amusing, DEAD IF IT DO is a terrific bewitching tale.
Harriet Klausner

A Special Review

An African Portrait Revisited
Peter E. Randall, Publisher & Photographer
Documentary Photography, full color, cloth with jacket
10.25" x 10.25", 168 pages, 2007
ISBN: 978-1931807579

An African Portrait Revisited
On July 10-11, President Obama will visit Ghana on his first official trip to sub-Saharan Africa. For those who wish they could tag along on the President's historic visit, award-winning photographer and editor Peter Randall's lush book, Ghana: An African Portrait Revisited offers a vivid virtual tour of the West African nation.

In the spring of 2006, inspired by the work of master American photographer/film maker Paul Strand, Randall invited five fellow photographers to journey with him to Ghana - to document the country on the eve of its fiftieth anniversary of independence. The result is a stunning portrait that documents that nation Obama's administration refers to as "one of our most trusted partners in sub-Saharan Africa."

Ghana: An African Portrait Revisited has been recognized by "Shutterbug Magazine" as one of the top photography books of 2008. Ghana was also one of three finalists in the coffee table/large format category for a 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award given by the Publisher's Marketing Association, now the Independent Book Publishers of America.

More than 150 full-color photographs juxtapose Ghana's traditional character with its entry into the competitive global marketplace, with images ranging from bead makers and wood carvers, to Accra's urban skyline and Tema's modern port facilities. Ghanian poetry and commentary gives depth and perspective to this beautiful and timely book, with a featured essay by poet and scholar Abena P.A. Busia, daughter of a former Ghanian prime minister and faculty member of Rutgers University.

Ghana: An African Portrait Revisited captures the color, warmth, and vitality of contemporary Ghana. In the words of Minister of Tourism J.O. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Randall's book "gently exposes Africa's best-kept tourism secret with such art that you will be tempted to visit and see for yourself." -Skye Wentworth

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Alternate Historicals and Fantasy

i was contacted about writing a book, so I'm looking into that. Meanwhile, here's some more from Harriet.

The Pretender's Crown
C.E. Murphy
Del Rey, Apr 28 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780345494658

In 1588 Belinda Primrose, THE QUEEN’S BASTARD daughter of the Virgin Queen of Aulun Lorraine Walter, inherited her witchfire magical prowess from her father Robert Drake. She uses her mage skills as the best royal espionage agent and assassin.

However, the Echon continent seems poised for war when Queen Sandalila of Esandia is killed by poison. Belinda wonders if her mother created the tension that grips the continent in a ploy to gain power over the neighbor across the channel Gallin or a diabolical ruse by the alien Heseth to divide the continent in a bloody hostility. As armies prepare to mobilize, Belinda struggles with what to do next as she decides whether or not to break from her mom. Since she has sampled the dark magical lure of Dmitri, Belinda also reflects about her shaky relationship with Prince Javier de Castille of Essandia and Gallin, whose mom’s assassination makes him the uncrowned king of Essandia.

The second Inheritors' Cycle alternate historical fantasy is a fabulous tale anchored by a realistic portrayal of the lead character, as Belinda is no angel. A map makes it clear these countries are part of Western Europe; which enhances the deep look at backstabbing machinations that make up Elizabethan era political intrigue. With plenty of magic, sex, and debates over who the heirs are and who the pretenders to the thrones are, fans will relish C.E. Murphy’s fine late sixteenth century saga as lurking behind the scenes remain the Heseth; perhaps too easily stalking their prey. Harriet Klausner

Enchanting the Beast
Kathryne Kennedy
Love Spell, May 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527646

In 1861 London, Lady Philomena Radcliffe hosts a séance when Baronet Nicodemus Wulfson barges in. Although he is skeptical about her ghost whispering skills, he will try anything to save his brother, dying from an unknown ailment. He demands she help him by her interrogating the ghosts who reside in his family castle.

Phil realizes Nico is a shapeshifter and agrees to accompany him back to Grimspell. Almost as soon as she enters accompanied by her otherworld contact Tup she meets a spirit in battle armor whom she follows as he walks down to the dungeon. There she finds a locked door and a crypt; once she opens the door she heeds the voices whispering her as she walks a tunnel underneath the castle. She also sees the ghosts of a courtesan and her customers. As she gets closer to naming the person responsible for the condition of Nico’s sibling, she falls in love with her host; not heeding Tup’s warnings that a mortal wanting to hide his or her identity wants her dead.

The third Relics of Merlin alternate history saga (see DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT and ENCHANTING THE LADY) is a fabulous romantic whodunit fantasy. The electrifying story line stars an intriguing descendent of the Camelot wizard and a brooding werewolf who with the foreboding castle brings a gothic feel to the tale. Fast-paced from the moment Nico crashes Philo’s séance and never slows until the final goodbye, fans will enjoy this fun Victorian. Harriet Klausner

The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers
Angie Fox
Love Spell, May 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505527707s

Though she has become a bit more at ease with her magical DNA heritage (see THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER), Lizzie still has problems adjusting to what is expected of her from her odd blood relative mentor as no one tells her anything. Just before turning thirty she was a Happy Hands Preschool teacher; at thirty she turned into a genetic demon slaying witch.

When Uncle Phil angers a succubus, her witch tattooed grandmother Gertie and her Red Skulls biker coven decide they must go to Las Vegas to rescue Phil; Lizzie has no choice as she is ordered to join the cavalry. Upon reaching Vegas, the Department of Intramagical Matters refuses to allow Lizzie to enter the city as she has no license to practice magic. To obtain a license, she must pass a test, but she has little experience and no training. On the bright side her shapeshifting griffin boyfriend Dimitri is accompanying Lizzie and Red Skulls; she might reconsider her joy if she understood that succubae love shapeshifters and there are a dirty dozen living in Vegas.

With a nod to The Greatest American Hero, the second hilarious Exalted Demon Slayer of Dalea urban fantasy is an amusing tale starring an unlikely demons slayer and a horde of eccentric characters either driving her crazy or trying to kill her. Lizzie is almost clueless re her talent, but courageously does her best as fighting deadly demons is safer than riding a Honda with her grandma. Filled with humor, fans will enjoy Angie Fox’s lighthearted frolic as the Atlanta teacher takes Vegas; that is once she gets past the immigration rules for magical practitioners. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 5th of July

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. Had a lot of fun watching Wimbledon and spending time with Scott and Carey. Here's some reviews by Harriet. Don't loose faith. I'll have something to add soon.

God Of Clocks
Alan Campbell
Bantam, Apr 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780553384185

The King of Hell Menoa appears on the brink of achieving what would have been universally thought of as impossible over the past eons. The god appears ready to take over Heaven and therefore the universe and recreate it in his image.

Perhaps the only potential meaningful opposition comes from Menoa’s half-brother Cospinol, but he has hurt his chances of usurping his sibling as he tries to boil out the life essence of mad angel Carnival. However, the fallen angel’s former allies keep seeking a miracle as humanity as we know it will be extinct if they fail. Assassin Rachel, blood-mage Mina, demon-dog Basilis, sop god Hasp and the ghost Dill turn desperately to whom they believe is the last prayer Sabor the god of clocks who controls time. Menoa sends his invincible arconites to kill the last insurgency, but finally aware of the urgency of stopping his half brother is Cospinol, who sends his top aid to destroy the breach that will release a zombie horde; however, he may be too late.

The exciting final tale of the Deepgate Codex fantasy (see SCAR NIGHT and IRON ANGEL) is a gruesome violent finish to a fine trilogy. The story line is fast-paced, filled with bloody action, and a sense of desperation. Adding to the overall feel of violence is none of the Gods care one iota about the lesser beings except as an energy source, which seems apropos for the war of the gods. Although the ending takes a plausible but Twilight Zone twist that supersedes too much history, fans of the saga will overall enjoy the GOD OF CLOCKS. Harriet Klausner

Storm Glass
Maria V. Snyder
Mira, May 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 780778325642

In Sitia the Stormdancer clan is near panicked over some recent deadly incidents. An apparent diabolically clever traitor has killed some glassmakers and destroyed the glass orbs they were creating that is needed to catch elemental power. They know this unknown adversary must be stopped before the realm is devastated beyond recovery by the power of unabated torrents.

Master Magician Cowan assigns glassmaker and apprentice magician Opal Cowan to investigate the deadly incidents as he believes her two skills make her uniquely qualified to learn what is going on. The two males who seem interested in her, Kade the Stormdancer who grieves the death of his twin and Ulrick the glassmaker who is a long time friend, help her. None of them realize the peril they place themselves in from crafty foes; none of whom have any compunction with killing someone even a person they have known for years.

This is a terrific mystery fantasy told mostly by the unconfident Opal, who believes she is a failure due to her inability to expand her magical skills, which is ironic as she was a heroine in MAGIC STUDY. The action-packed story line is fast-paced, but character driven while the whodunit is fun to follow. Fans of the Study trilogy will enjoy returning to that world as Maria V. Snyder writes an entertaining coming of age simply superb fantasy whodunit. Harriet Klausner

Maggie Shayne
Mira, May 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326182

When Lilith awakens, she feels confused as to where she is, how she got there, and why she is nude. Although it is cold at dusk, she feels no discomfort except for her emotional bewilderment. Somehow she knows to walk to Ethan's nearby ranch though she has no idea why that feels right or how she knows the property is near.

Ethan, who was falling in love with her when they were prisoners, informs Lilith that she like him is a vampire trained by the top secret CIA Division of Paranormal Investigations as a killing operative. Also like him, she escaped from the Farm, the DPI's top-secret facility. DPI brass wants both brought in from the cold while Lilith feels an obsessive need to free others from the Farm.

This is a superb romantic fantasy thriller starring two likable legendary escapees struggling to survive as anyone who kills either of them becomes an instant legend and anyone who brings one of them in from the cold to the CIA owns the “farm”. The story line is fast-paced, but driven by the lead couple who knows the danger they confront especially if they try to assault the Farm. Maggie Shayne’s fans will relish this fun fantasy thriller as Lilith and Ethan fall in love while taking the fight to the DPI. Harriet Klausner

Forbidden Moon
Elysa Hendricks
ImaJinn, Mar 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 1933417218

Exiled from Dramon due to her father’s avaricious attempts to steal the throne, Laila DiSanti lives alone in the mountains distrusting everyone and killing slave raiders and bandits while rescuing good people who find themselves in trouble. She sells her services, but no one wants to buy them more than Pace Alastar, who lives in the magically hidden Andacor Valley where the residents are immortal due to crystals; they pay the price of no emotions or desires

When they meet, she believes his valley is a myth; he explains about the earthquake that led to the breaking of some of the crystals. However, the remaining crystals are failing and consequently the people are dying. Their only hope of surviving is with his daughter Aria who can return the crystals back to health, but left the valley when her mother decided to leave because immortality without feelings is like death.. Laila agrees to help him find Aria. On their quest, they meet dangerous foes including the mountains, but it is the attraction between them that is most lethal; as he begins to learn what immortality’s true price is, but to pay the fee of love means leaving his beloved as a widow.

Elysa Hendricks’s delightful updating of Shangri-La is a beautiful adult fairy tale filled with romance, danger form various sentient species, other obstacles, and a quest filled with spins and detours. Part of the tension comes from the romance as viewers of the final scenes of the classic Capra film The Lost Horizon will wonder if that is how this couple’s relationship will end. Filled with varying cultures, the return to the Hendricks Moon realm of crystals (see CRYSTAL MOON and SHADOW MOON) is a winner. Harriet Klausner