Saturday, February 5, 2011

Werewolves, Prince Charming and Songs of Love

Marked by the Moon
Lori Handeland
St. Martin’s, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312389345

Werewolves killed Alexandra Trevalyn’s parents when she was a little girl. The Jager-Sucher raise her and she becomes a dedicated hunter; suicidal in many ways as she is willing to die in her efforts to kill the beasts.

Werewolf Julian Barlow stalks Alex who killed his mate. When he defeats her, she looks forward to his killing her. Instead he obtains his revenge differently. He changes her into a werewolf so she can learn to stop stereotyping his species as brainless monsters, as not all werewolves were created by the Mengele experiments; he has been one centuries before the Nazi did his dastardly conversions. Julian takes a stunned forlorn Alex to his Alaskan pack where she will either adapt or obtain her wish. Neither realized that an evil predator is killing for sport targeting the pack.

The latest Nightcreature saga (See Thunder Moon) is a fabulous entry in a strong series as the Twilight Zone twist of changing a predator into one your kind is deftly handled mostly by how Alex reacts over the course of a strong story line. The sporting killer segue adds suspense that serves as a key catalyst in moving forward the plot, but clearly this is Alexandra’s tale. With a stark Alaskan backdrop to augment the tale of revenge turns bitter, fans of Lori Handeland’ s romantic fantasy will appreciate Julian’s efforts to change the behavior of his soulmate as she wants to wake up with her in his bed and no knife protruding from his ribs. Harriet Klausner

Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here
Christine Warren
St. Martin’s, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312947941

In Manhattan the firm’s most senior partner octogenarian Matthew Yorke IV directs attorney Danice Carter to find his granddaughter Rosemary Addison and persuade her to file a paternity suit. He blames Rosemary’s pregnancy on the girl’s father Tom who had nothing to do with his daughter. Rosemary’s need for love led her to a low life who ditched her when she became pregnant. Danice wants nothing to do with the personal matter, but refusing is not an option unless she wants her career to end so she is expected to file a palimony suit in Connecticut.

She heads to new Canaan to meet Rosemary, but when she arrives she finds the woman missing in spite of their telephonic discussion just prior to her drive. Soon afterward her inquiry leads half-Fae-human private investigator Mac Callahan to Danice as he is also searching for Rosemary. His purebred Faerie client has been silent as to why a human is sought. Mac decides to return to Faerie, a place he left as a baby, to learn the motive. Danice insists she accompany him though he fears the trip will prove dangerous as he wonders if the treacherous Unseelie Court is the instigator.

The latest Others romantic fantasy (see Born to be Wild and Big Bad Wolf) takes a refreshing brisk twist by cleverly adding a new paranormal species into the overarching theme. The lead couple is a perfect pairing to enable the stunning spin to deftly occur. Neither trusts one another nor appreciates the attraction they feel towards each other. Fans will want to join the adventures of half Fae and the lawyer as they go to court with the Unseelie as their judge, jury, and executioner. Harriet Klausner

Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Editors)
Gallery (Pocket), $26.00
ISBN: 9781439150146

Songs of Love contains seventeen winning well written entries that explore the area where fantasy, science fiction, and romance converge as portrayed in a Venn Diagram with three overlapping circles. The compilation opens up with Dresden battling a nasty foe and his heart in “Love Hurts” (Nazareth is right). Following the fantasy master is historical romance guru Jo Beverly contributing a Georgian thriller with the courtship being love or death. In “The Thing About Cassandra,” Neil Gaiman shows what happens in a second chance at love with an old girlfriend yet Stuart begins to wonder if he ever met her the first time. Fans of Diana Gabaldon will appreciate her time traveling RAF pilot Jerry to the Outlander era, but his family is back in the WWII period. Melinda M. Snodgrass writes “The Wayfarer’s Advice” in which love arrives in deep space and Peter S. Beagle provides love in the laptop age with “Kaskia” and Martin. The compilation is excellent as all authors provide tales of “Star Crossed Love” in various realms (and sub-genres) to the delight of fans who will relish the amalgam zone where fantasy, science fiction, and romance converge. Harriet Klausner

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