Kensington Aphrodisia, $14.00
In 1820 Vivienne Dare knows only one way to obtain the money pay for the medicine her child needs to stay alive. The former courtesan uses her body to bring in needed revenue. She especially services affluent males.
When she is directed to sleep with Lord Heath Winthrop, she emphatically refuses. She fears the Lord of Blackmoor will demand more than just a night and she will want to obey his desires. Instead she is ignorant of what Heath wants from her; as the vampire plans to interrogate Vivienne using seduction to obtain answers from her as to what happened to his missing brother Raine. He thinks she may have been involved or her father who made him ten years ago.
Blood Wicked is a terrific erotic Regency paranormal romance starring two individuals with similar needs and ultimately desires. Whereas she willingly would sell her soul to save her child’s life, he understands how she feels from his human days as a father whose daughter died. Character driven, Sharon Page provides another suspenseful Blood Deep historical romantic urban fantasy (see Blood Red and Blood Rose). Harriet Klausner
Del Rey, $16.00
In 1844 in Zanesville, Ohio, clubfooted inventor Hephaestus Sitturd; his Seal islands Creole wife Rapture and their genius five year old son Lloyd receive an invitation to move to Texas. Hephaestus’s half-brother Micah claims they can make a fortune, but his message is enigmatic as he insists he cannot explain how on paper.
Although mystified by Micah’s odd note as war with Mexico seems imminent, the Sitturd family begins their odyssey across America. Lloyd a gifted inventor of oddities learns how to play poker from watching St, Ives a riverboat gambler with a mechanical hand containing a saber; they become partners. He works out the issue of humans flying and encounters robots masquerading as people after meeting the Professor and his two mute wives as ambassadors of Mars. It is Miss Viola who teaches him the ways of seduction as two ancient arcane societies continue their epochal war with one another over the future of humanity with each believing the brilliant Lloyd will be a tipping point. However it is teenage Hattie the escaped slave who teaches the lad how to love.
Starting in Zanesville but a couple of centuries earlier than Kris Saknussemm’s previous Zanesville dark futuristic thriller, preadolescent genius Lloyd holds the exhilarating but enigmatic tale together as he creates oddities and meets oddities. Lloyd learns from the masters while teaching his mentors as well. However, each time the audience feels comfortable, Kris Saknussemm throws a spitball that spins the moral code elsewhere. The author extrapolates the present values back to the nineteenth century arguing that the American dream is a nightmarish facade for most and a dream for few even as early as the Antebellum period. Harriet Klausner
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
In Toscana, the Aridi representatives led by Selethen negotiate a treaty with the Toscan Senate. The two nations have had wars in the past, but with wiser leaders each sees the benefit of trade and security even as they deploy different military strategies. At the same time that Will and Halt toss friendly insults at each other while watching the Toscan military perform under the leadership of General Sapristi, Alyss is part of the negotiating team.
Meanwhile their friend Horace fails to communicate with his comrades in arms as he has spent months in the Nihon-Ja Empire. However, something is not right as the popular Emperor Lord Shigeru is disposed of in a coup d’état. Knowing he should stay out of the internal squabble between those loyal to the Emperor and the Arisaka led Senji rebels, but he feels injustice has come to the eastern kingdom. Soon his worried Araluen friends (Selethen, Will, Alyss and Evanlyn) arrive in Nihon-Ja searching for him.
The latest Ranger’s Apprentice saga is a great thriller that grips the audience as all is quiet on the western front, but civil war has broken out in the east. The story line is loaded with action from the moment the story line shifts to Nihon-Ja and never slows down with heroes’ regretting they have only one life to give to their emperor. Fans will enjoy this powerful military thriller in the Flanagan realm as one person can clearly make a difference if he or she takes the risk.
King Authun leads his men on a raid of a village; but before they arrive at their destination he warns them they will all die. None are afraid as warriors prefer death in combat. The monarch’s mission is to find the royal heir to his throne as prophesied by the Queen of the witches. In a Christian church, Authun finds twin male babies. He takes the pair with him leaving behind his loyal soldiers except one to die. In the North Sea his last comrade raises his sword in combat before diving to his death as no one except the witch, the king and his wife will know the heir’s origin.
Several years later, one of the infants Prince Vali the heir lives with a rival ruler. He loves Adisla and prefers working the land rather than fighting for land. When raiders attack, Vali uses strategy to defend the village successfully though they capture Adisla. Those he saved from certain death loath Vali for using unacceptable tactics as the warrior credo insists on fighting to the death. Cerebral Vali and his feral brother Feileg raised by the Witch Queen as a warrior wolf join on a quest to rescue Adisla though neither realizes they are related. The adventures of the twins are just beginning.
Using Norse mythology, M.D. Lachlan tells a strong quest fantasy that contains two distinct yet related story lines. The first described above is a sword and sorcery thriller while the other subplot involved the intrusion of the Gods on the lives of mortals. Fast-paced and loaded with plenty of action while establishing the Lachlan world order and setting up future escapades; readers will be hooked as the twins chase after raiders to rescue Adisla. Interestingly even with long stretches without either of the polar opposite twin stars, Wolfsangel enchants the audience.