Monday, October 19, 2009

A Bunch of Reviews

Sexy Beast VII
Kate Douglas, Anitra Lynn McLeod and Shelli Stevens
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758228703

"Chanku Challenge” by Kate Douglas. Beth learns she is Chanku and her soulmate is Nick. Although she relishes the sex, she must confront her past if she and Nick are going to reach the nirvana like other Chanku have with their soulmates.

"Eye of the Beholder" by Anitra Lynn McLeod. Larra knows the rumors that her new husband is truly a beast. She trembles in fear expecting a disfigured spouse, but Dauer instead caresses her into trembles of passionate happiness.

"His to Reclaim" by Shelli Stevens. Five years ago were-jaguars Gemma and Hunter knew they were soul mates from their first look, but he abruptly vanished. Now as she get ready to marry someone else, Hunter returns to kidnap his beloved.

These three fabulous erotic urban fantasy novellas are terrific tales starring lead protagonists who are great in the boudoir and insure the audience believes in shapeshifters. The added bonus is Kate Douglas’ Chanku Sexy Wolf Tales saga continues with a quality entry matched in excellence by Shelli Stevens and Anitra Lynn McLeod. Harriet Klausner

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

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

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

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

Devour Me
Lydia Parks
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758238009

"Dark Obsession”. Although three centuries has passed since his ship and crew went down, Benjamin Bartlett still grieves and hides from the world. However, four people riding in a van seek shelter at his isolated mansion. He wants to say no, but one of them Star Reid stirs his blood. However, his past and her present threaten both their lives.

"Blood Lust". Vampire Christopher Marsh feels his hunt for a mythical talisman is nearing an end after seeking the artifact that allegedly will return him to mortality and perhaps archeologist Nicole Stephenson, the mortal he is ADDICTED to. That is if he can defeat the vampire who plans to drain his professor of her blood.

These are two interesting vampire romances starring solid depressed hunks and women who feel like they must have come out of a slasher movie as they make horrific choices that place them in danger. Still in spite of the females, DEVOUR ME contains two engaging vampiric romantic novellas that sub-genre fans will want to sink their teeth into. Harriet Klausner

The Prodigal Mage
Karen Miller
Orbit, Aug 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780316029209

Ten years have passed since the INNOCENT MAGE Asher defeated the evil Morg and the Kingdom of Lur (see The Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duo). The land overall has been peaceful due mostly to Asher who as the AWAKENED MAGE has magical roots with both the Doranen and the Olken. However below the surface calm a hostile racial divide remains between the blond haired immigrant Doranen and the black haired native Olken.

Asher just wants to raise his two children (Rafel and Deenie) with his wife Dathne in peace. Just because he wishes for peace does not mean he will get it as Lur has begun to plot anew plots to conquer its neighbor at a time when something bad seems to be happening to the Olken earth magic. Besides fears for the nation, Asher also worries about his feisty children who are beginning to discover their mage talents. Once again Asher will have to try to save the land from the foolishness of its own people as some of them are trying to infiltrate the “natural” boundaries, which means if successful those kept on the other side also will have passage. However; this time he has his family to help him if he can keep them in line and focus on the bigger issues beyond keeping them safe especially the chip off the old block, THE PRODIGAL MAGE offspring.

The first of a duet, THE PRODIGAL MAGE is an intriguing high fantasy as the quest has not begun though the anticipation of learning what is on the other side of the mountains, etc will fascinate readers. The “Fisherman’s Children” story line focuses mostly on Rafel as the title character coming into his own as a mage and the concerns of Asher and Dathne; Deenie’s role is more of an observer. Fans of the first saga will enjoy THE PRODIGAL MAGE as the family that practices magic together stays together. Harriet Klausner

Barely Bewitched
Kimberly Frost
Berkley, Sep 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425229613

In Duvall, Texas WOULD BE WITCH Tammy Jo Trask wants her stolen locket back so she plans to take it from her enemy. However, Tammy Jo has a bigger problem than purloined jewelry. The World Association of Magic demands she defend herself for illegal use of magic. Two witches are assigned to prepare Tammy Jo for her defense under fire.

She has also been told to stay away from master mage Bryn Lyons, whom she is attracted to at a time her former spouse Deputy Sheriff Zach stays away from her having felt he wasted money on her when he got her a shrink whom she drove crazy. While all this is going on Tammy Jo accidentally sends impish fairies on Duvall; just another nasty stretch for a BARELY BEWITCHED novice.

The sequel to WOULD-BE WITCH continues the magical misadventures of Tammy Jo who is accused of practicing bewitching spells without a license. The amusing story line is fast-paced albeit a bit thin even with the heroine struggling with romance, magic, bureaucracy, family, and romance, which for this Texan means toil and trouble as she lands in the proverbial vat. Fans will enjoy the escapades of Tammy Jo in this jocular urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner

The Light Of Burning Shadows
Chris Evans
Pocket, Jul 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 9781416570530

The Calahrian Empire still teeters from the assault of the elf witch Shadow Monarch whose allies include the new even more violent Viceroy of Elfkyna. Their greatest unit against the evil insurgency, the Iron Elves, remains disdained by their people for the tattoo representing their subservience to the Shadow Monarch. The people feel this way in spite of their great victory led by Commander Konowa Swift Dragon preventing the Shadow Monarch from obtaining the Red Star at the Battle of Luuguth Jor (see A DARKNESS FORGED IN FIRE).

Instead of lifting the frost fire curse from his men by using the Red Star, Konowa gives it to the Elfkynal; angering his soldiers who saw brothers in arms die and return as shades or maimed in the battle. Prince Tykkin directs Konowa to retrieve a new Star reported in the Hasshugeb Expanse. Konowa knows the witch will seek the Star too so he needs reinforcements so he sends Iron Elves to recruit those peers who failed to return when the unit was reactivated. He tries to calm down his outraged unit who believe they should be freed first and then defeat the evil while he deems they must defeat the evil first. At the same time the Shadow Monarch sends her servant the Viceroy of Elfkyna to darken the woodlands while a new flame has arisen that eats the shadow from the body until the person expires; death in those cases does not mean returning as a shade.

Although the overarching theme does not move forward, the second Iron Elves high quest fantasy is a great tale as Chris Evans expands the author’s world adding much depth to it. The story line once again focuses on Konowa and his unit who though victorious still hurt mentally and physically from the recent battle and their commander’s decision on the Red Star. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as Konowa seems on the verge of PTSD caused not just by sending men to die knowing they are cursed to become shades, but also having to make difficult decisions, which keep his men in harm’s way. Harriet Klausner

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