Friday, December 10, 2010

Health Update and Reviews from Harriet

Here are some from Harriet. I have some reviews I need to write, but am having problems with diabetic retinitis and am seeing double. I'm wearing a patch for a month to see if it will clear up. I'll keep doing what I can.

The Big Stink
David Lubar
Starscape (Tor)
ISBN: 9780765323439

Belgosi Upper Elementary has a mold problem that forces the class of ten-year olds to share a room with first graders. As humiliating as that is, the eighth graders soon join them in the crowded classroom.

No longer the “giants” in their new classroom Nathan Abercrombie the accidental zombie and his two best friends Abigail, and Mookie now must put up with Ridley the eighth grade bully who out-means his younger brother Rodney the bully. Meanwhile Nathan complains about the putrid odor that he feels is all over town. He and his BFFs begin to investigate the cause of the foul odor that he believes might be emanating from RABID; while Abigail and her Uncle Dr. Cushing seek a cure for Nathan’s rotting limbs and organs, and Mookie reads comic books seeking clues on living life to the fullest as a zombie. While all that is going on, there is also Nathan’s trashy mission for BUM.

The fourth Abercrombie tweener zombie (see Dead Guy Spy and Good Soup) is an amusing tale in which the middle school audience will enjoy the vividly gross humor as the young reader will smell The Big Stink and see the high level of vomit pollution. Yet with the smell of a decaying body and crass puns, fans will laugh throughout that is when they hold back the bile.Harriet Klausner

Juggler in the Wind
Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin
Chiron Books, $8.95
ISBN: 9781935178071

In Buchanan, Kansas, fourteen year old Randy Carmichael lives with his single mom, an alcoholic. Randy is bored as they go nowhere; not to Topeka or even nearby Emporium. When the Circus Olympus arrives in town setting up near Randy's house, he is thrilled and looks forward to going. However, he is stunned when mom says no that he is not going without an explanation except she is the parent. His mom warns Randy to stay away from the circus.

Unsure why she feels so strongly, Randy cuts school to attend the show. Unable to explain to himself why, Randy leaves town with the circus. Meanwhile the performers turn out to be the ancient Greek pantheon of Gods, who though immortal have fallen mightily since they were worshiped deities. Their circus is nearly bankrupt and the law seeks to arrest them. Randy begins to suffer from odd dreams that apparently singer Johnny “Dionysus” Vine has sent him. His mom follows ready to explain who he really is though she fears she may be too late.

This is a terrific young adult thriller that provides a fascinating look at the ancient Greek Gods (mindful of classic Star Trek’s Who Mourns for Adonis?). The story line is fast-paced from the moment Randy holds a magical wand and soon gets into all sorts of adventures while joining the troupe with his panic-stricken mom in hot pursuit. Although Dionysus’ powers feel out place re his Olympus peers and their need for Randy, the Y.A. crowd and fans of Greek mythology will want to read the first Wand Bearer rustic fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Drink of Me
Jacquelyn Frank
Zebra, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420109856

The Prime Ruele and his pack arrive at a house filled with their enemy the jackals who hold one of the pack members Chayne nailed through his extremities. They know that jackals feed on emotional anguish and proceed carefully because one bite will kill them. Ruele senses someone else nearby filled with pain and sorrow. As his team kills the jackals and frees a severely hurt Chayne, Ruele finds a woman huddled on the top floor. He goes to her only to be stunned when she tells him “sange, banter mo” before going unconscious. They take her to their city Jeth. The female is battered all over her small body and when she awakens she does not know her name, how she got to the building, or how she got hurt. She calls him her mate and says he is hung well. Ruele informs her no one wants a Sange as a mate except their own kind as other species believe his is perverted due to their orgasmic bites.

Ruele calls her Mystique which she likes. Mystique seduces Ruele telepathically as he thinks of what she first said “sange, banter mo”; drink of me a sange mate affectionate phrase and sensual action. For the first time he is losing control of his mind and the rest of the pack feels it as his energy is the strongest. She begins to display telepathic and healing powers, but remains a mystery and much of the Prime remain suspicious of her and her past will soon catch up to her.

This is an enjoyable stand alone romantic fantasy that is not part of the Nightwalker-Shadowdweller saga. The Frank world is solidly established and the lead couple is an interesting pairing as both have extraordinary paranormal powers while the support cast especially his pack is strong. Although the villain is weak, readers will appreciate Jacquelyn Frank’s entertaining tale. Harriet Klausner

Haunted Honeymoon
Marta Acosta
Gallery (Pocket), $15.00
ISBN: 9781416598879

Milagro de Los Santos Milagro is unique as the only known individual to survive the vampire infection. Her reputation has spread with people from everywhere interested in what allowed her to be immune. She currently is seen with powerful Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, but loves and misses her former fiancé Dr. Oswald Grant and misses his lunatic relatives.

In London, all hell breaks out with horrific murders seemingly everywhere Milagro goes. Though the prime suspect, she flees to her favorite “asylum”, the Grant family ranch, to ponder who would kill to frame her. However, her deliberations end when an accident leaves Milagro suffering from amnesia. She has no memory of being a vampire or Ian. Instead, Milagro returns to being the carefree party girl she was before her conversion.

The fourth Casa Dracula fantasy (see The Bride of Casa Dracula and Midnight Brunch) is a clever fascinating entry as Marta Acosta brilliantly uses amnesia to bring the heroine back to her pre Happy Hour at Casa Dracula carefree roots. Fast-paced, Haunted Honeymoon is a brisk breezy thriller as Milagro proves you can go home, sort of. Harriet Klausner

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