Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Vampire, Shapeshifters, Paranormals and Dark Fantasy

Dark fantasies from Harriet. Hope you find something of interest.

My Wicked Vampire
Nina Bangs
Leisure, Oct 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843959550

Sparkle Stardust welcomes botanist Cinn Airmid to the Castle of Dark Dreams. However Cinn insists she does not need the cheerleading team spirit pizzazz as she works with plants who are loners. Still Sparkle mentions her soul mate Mede who came close to being vampire fodder on the road to Galveston.

Although Cinn is sinfully good with plants and may have made a sentient species, she scoffs at vampires, demons, and cosmic chaos creators. However, she has to reconsider what she knows of the universe when she meets Dacion, who has played dead as an undead for almost six centuries to avoid his sire Stephen, who with his minion is coming.

The “Wicked” return to the Castle of Dark Dreams is filled with pleasure, fantasy, humor, and danger, as the cosmic trouble making duo are one night’s bite from trouble as their overarching subplot takes quite a twist. The vampire and the botanist are a wonderful pairing of love with the paranormal minion converging on them. Fans of the saga will appreciate MY WICKED VAMPIRE while newcomers will enjoy this tasty tale and seek the wicked urban romantic fantasy backlist to learn how far Ganymede and Sparkle have come. Harriet Klausner

The Hunt
Anne Marsh
Love Spell, Oct 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505528247

At the Temple of Amun-Ra, Miu hesitantly enters the tunnels. Her quest is to save her sister and to complete a loyalty pledge she made to her employer the thief master Lierr. She must steal a powerful moonstone necklace from the crypt and escape the legendary Guardian warriors who are said to be shapeshifters; although she believes they are mortal warriors only everything she heard is no female ever escaped THE HUNT.

Jafar the Guardian notices Miu and concludes she will prove to be a pest as she refuses to undergo the standard virginity test. Amun-Ra orders Jafar to follow Miu to learn why she is here confident and disobedient unlike the other frightened females. Jafar does not know how much trouble she causes as he catches her stealing a necklace and begins to believe she is his mate, but she deserves a stiff penalty as he was betrayed once before by a female.

The moment Miu breaks the laws by entering the tunnels this exciting romantic fantasy gets its claws into the audience who go in with her and never let’s go until the final confrontation with Amun-Ra. The key to the Marsh mythos is realm of THE HUNT seems genuine as the author provides enough lore interwoven nicely into the (too many) subplots for readers to believe in its existence. With a nod to Egyptian mythology and a strong support cast, fans will cheer on the lead pair through action to the nth degree while each has doubts about a relationship between them. Harriet Klausner

Silent Night, Haunted Night
Terri Garey
Avon, Oct 27 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061582042

Psychic Nicki Styx and her lover ER Dr. Joe Bacombe hope for a quiet Christmas together as each has had their fill of demons, spirits, and possessions. However, neither get what they want most as this holiday season is paranormally insane for even this pair used to psychopathic visitors from the Dark.

Joe is under a nocturnal sexual assault from Selene the succubus abetted by her Fate sisters; their plan is to get at Nicki through her beloved. Nicki has her own problems dealing with a spirit who committed suicide and her son who make demands on the psychic. Finally as all hell breaks loose, the devil pays Nikki a courtesy call.

This is a humorous lighthearted urban fantasy as Joe probably has to believe in the Nazareth tune Love Hurts since he is an easy victim of possession by feisty paranormal females (YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I HAUNT); before he met Nicki A MATCH MADE IN HELL was metaphysical. Spirited and “Scrooged” while not yet thirty Nicki is terrific as she battles the latest visitors who assault her and her beloved while she should hum the Charlie Daniels Band’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia to fiddle with the heroine. Harriet Klausner

Out Of The Darkness
Jaime Rush
Avon, Sep 29 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061690365

Tattoo artist Zoe Stoker is frightened after receiving an enigmatic cautionary message from a dead person; allegedly CIA. However that seems calm compared to an assassin who tries to kill her. Cheveyo saves her life, but though she does not trust him she goes with him to a recently created support group, the Offspring; as she is one of the children of psychic parents who participated in a government sponsored experiment (see A PERFECT DARKNESS).

Rand Brandenburg also recently joined the Offspring although he preferred not to. His uncanny gambling skill made him known to those who want the Offspring under control or dead like original experimenter Gerard Darkwell. Rand feels for the wary Zoe, but she knows from her past not to allow emotion to control her as her out of control telekinetic skill sends objects flying; however she also finds him to be the first person she cannot keep outside of her heart.

The names alone are great symbols with Cheveyo, Stoker, Brandenburg and Darkwell, etc. providing hints of a dark urban fantasy landscape. This second thriller is fast-paced with the suspense building up from the first Darkness novel; leading to a hooked audience wanting the next entry yesterday. However, in spite of the terrific overarching saga, the keys to OUT OF THE DARKNESS is the lead couple as he embraced his ability for personal gain while she fled her ability out of fear mindful of the X-Men’s Rogue. Fans will root for this couple and have dark thoughts about flying bodily objects. Harriet Klausner

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