Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just Reviews

Captive Desires
Diane Whiteside
Berkley, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425229989

Danae Livingston writes fictional accounts of her warrior hero Alekhsiy in a fantasy realm filled with her desires. However, although she has wet dreams about her hunk, she knows he does not exist except in her libido.

She soon revises her opinion of what reality is when Alekhsiy arrives on Earth needing her help to save his world from evil. He is taken aback to see the woman who haunts his nocturnal desires in the flesh as is she. However, at a fandom fantasy festival, a fanatic demands she writes of the destruction of Alekhsiy’s realm or else face his wrath.

This is a very exciting romantic suspense fantasy with the premise of a writer seemingly having the power of God; although the premise has been used before and Alekhsiy’s realm never comes to life. Still, the story line is fun to follow as a fanatic demands death to Alekhsiy’s world or death to the “creator”, which leads to all types of metaphysical questions. Well written and enlightening, Captive Desires is an engaging heated thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Best Gift
Wendy Markham
Signet, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451228444

On Christmas morning 2009 in the San Francisco Bay area, Clara thinks her life is finally perfect after her disastrous time in 1941 when she learned she has breast cancer and fell in love knowing her GI Jed Landy was going to die at Normandy; he pledged to always find her no matter what (see If Only in My Dreams). Now in 2009 she loves her husband Drew and is seven weeks pregnant.

An earthquake hammers the Bay area. Clara keeps moving back and forth between 2009 and 2012. However what she observes in 2012 frightens her as she pregnant and alone except for boxes; Drew is nowhere and neither is the baby she was carrying in 2009. She begins flickering back and forth to Christmas 2012. She can't figure out what's going on with her future self. She's alone, hugely pregnant and the house is full of boxes. However, she keeps thinking back to 1941 and her eternal soul mate’s pledge.

This is a terrific thought provoking sequel that deftly combines time travel and reincarnation with the underlying theme that true love is forever. The beleaguered Clara is confused as she struggles between 2012 and 2009 but finds solace with her thoughts of 1941. Complicated and nonlinear, Wendy Markham continues her strong saga of love for all time. Harriet Klausner

The Better Part of Darkness
Kelly Gay
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN 9781439109656

On October 13. thirteen years ago, heaven and hell came out of the closet. Mankind had no choice but to recognize the Revelation of the existence of heavenly Elysia and hellish Charbydon, and a horde of biblical legendary mythological creatures residing in both. Atlanta has become an urban center for all these visitors from heaven and hell, which is why the Integration Task Force has a major presence in the city.

ITF single mom Charlie Madigan raises Emma while conducting an investigation with her partner Hank into the death of Amanda Mott, a student at Hope Ridge School for Girls. Charlie, who knows what it is like to die having done so before returning to life, makes the case personal as she knew Amanda who was like a big sister to Emma. Other young people also die as a dangerous off-world drug has hit the streets; ash kills speedily. Charlie and Hank make inquries trying to find the source of the smuggling even as her power grows, but she feels helpless as ash spreads to her family and friends with her fear being for Emma.

Starting with its opening dialogue in which Hank lectures his partner for skeptically questioning an Oracle to prove her statement, readers will be hooked with this super police procedural urban fantasy. The key to the exciting story line is the denizen of green card recipients from Elysia and Charbydon seem genuine. This makes for an enjoyable read as the donkey kicking heroine and her sidekick work the mean streets of post Revelation Atlanta in an enlightening mystery. Harriet Klausner

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