When Autumn Leaves
Amy S. Foster
Overlook, Oct 6 2009, $14.95
Avening is a small town on the Pacific coast; a magical hamlet populated by people with psychic powers. Autumn is a member of the group Jaen, who watches over humanity as they have even before mankind invented the wheel. She has spent a considerably long time in Avening, whose residents see her as a kind witch keeping track of the magical undercurrents that encourage natural gifts to bloom.
Now the Jaen has promoted Autumn and directed her to select and mentor her replacement; she has one year to pick from a group of fifty seemingly worthy people. She initiates a contest starting with an essay with the winner getting her Book of Shadows that contains magical knowledge that will enable the next witch to get off to a good start because first impressions are critical. On Autumn’s last day in town she has select twelve people to join the Jaen but finding the thirteenth who will be her successor and the leader proves more difficult. The clock is ticking with only hours left and Autumn doesn’t have a clue where to find the thirteenth.
There are many believable characters with a wide range of differing personalities and talents throughout the small town, but the star is Avening, a remarkable place that is the product of one woman’s dream. Even with a thin plot, this is a remarkably enchanting fantasy as each potentially chosen one brings differing magical skills to the table adding to Autumn’s dilemma. Character driven, fans who relish something dramatically different will encourage Autumn while singing the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did you ever have to make up your mind; Pick up on one and leave the other behind; It's not often easy and not often kind; Did you ever have to make up”. Harriet Klausner
Harlequin Spice, Sep 2009, $13.95
"The Enchanted Forest”. Catherine once ran marathons; now she runs the rat race. Thus with a few days of R&R, Catherine returns to outdoor activity. However, her hike into the forest seems to be calling her to go deeper as if someone is calling for her.
“Disenchantment“. Maryanne knows nothing has gone right lately as each man she meets on line has proven not up to the image they depict. However when she meets Dan she falls in love and him with her until he begins to find Maryanne’s biting flaws pushing him to sever the relationship.
“Dying For It”. Anna and Vincent are opposites as she is an introvert and he is an extrovert; that is what each displays to others. Inside Anna is an extrovert while Vincent is an introvert. When they meet, each conceals a dark secret that define their personalities in public and in private, but neither quite understands blood will tell.
“Expecting”. Emilie sees the blue mark that indicates uncertainty to her and David whose comfort feels alien. Yet her dreams increases her trepidations that what happened will occur again as she is locked away with Dr. Rozzi providing therapy, but she knows they are expecting her soon.
“Flowers for Angela”. In the psychiatrist’s journal, the first entry mentions middle age patient Eleanor dealing with the deaths of her husband and her shrink, but nothing is quite what it seems as her negative emotions are modified so every moment is joyful.
“Jimmy”. The clairvoyant warns Sara that Jimmy the incubus haunts her to get at her boyfriend, Ray.
“The Incentive Program”. In 2019 Georgia runs a simulation program that predicts humanity’s future. She likes what she sees in 2304 especially what happens to volunteers Cassie and Peter as she wants that for herself.
These seven well written erotic tales run the gamut between the supernatural and science fiction as Nancy Madore enchants those who prefer something different.
Berkley, Sep 2009, $15.00
A former vengeance demon, Valerie took an oath of celibacy to serve Aphrodite as a high priestess bringing together couples in love. Her former lover, demigod Demitri the tiger-shapeshifter still loves her as he has for three millennia.
They each meet and are attracted to shapeshifter Leon Dupree, Val's current project. However, unable to resist, Val breaks her vow to Aphrodite by having sex with the hunks; this releases the demon side of her that has been buried since she pledged fealty to the fickle Goddess of Love. Val expects Aphrodite to kill her, but instead the Goddess shows clemency by giving Val a chance to merge her two opposite personas into one person, but must do so in two weeks. Demitri and Leon must assist her; if they refuse or fail, all three will die.
The sequel to MORTAL TEMPTATION is an interesting erotic romantic urban fantasy starring a likable lead trio whose sexcapades include ménage a trois and MM and a strong schizoid premise. However, even with the clock ticking away, neither of the males or the two faces of Val never seem emotionally passionate beyond sex. Still fans will enjoy the latest immortal “Mortal” tale enhanced by a couple of seemingly single forever yuppies. Harriet Klausner
Child of Fire
Del Rey, Oct 2009, $7.99
In Hammer Bay, Washington, the ecomony is booming due to the toy factory; however, residents even those who work at the prime employer fail to realzie that some of their offspring can use magic.
Twenty Palace Society field agent Annalise Powliss hunts and kills rogue magic practitioners. Convicted felon Ray Lilly is her chauffeur, but they share a not so kind past as he betrayed her so he knows she plans to kill him at the most opportune time. The Society learns of the goings-on in Hammer Bay and led by take no prisoners Annalise plan to destroy the factory and kill anyone of any age who uses magic. However, the execution fails and Annalise is hurt; Ray must finish the assignment against a much more powerful sorcerer who sacrifices humans especially children to gain incredible amounts of power.
The key to this small town fantasy is the use of magic as collateral damage is not only acceptable it is preferable if needed to complete a mission. That premise ties the rogue and the Society together as innocent bystanders die in high numerical waves, which in turn brings a sense of realism to the exciting story line. The dysfunctional relationship between the driver and his boss enhances the tension of an exhilarating High Noon paranormal thriller. Harriet Klausner