Ember and Ash
For over a millennium, two races have battled over the Eleven Domains. Ember, the daughter of the Last Domain warlord Arvid and his wife Martine, is to marry another domain’s heir to bind these two clans in peace. Only the elemental Fire God is irate with the affront of seeking peace by his followers with another God’s followers. Ember’s new husband dies in flames and all fires in the land are vanquished unless the new widow agrees to be the deity’s lover.
Ember and a seer’s offspring Ash begin a quest to travel to Fire Mountain in the land of another warlord the ice King. There they plan to capture the elemental fire to bring home to relight the land. Both know the Ice King will kill them and that the Fire God will do likewise. Failure means the ancient wars will reignite while other dormant elementals begin awakening with a fury.
Taking place in the realm of the Castings, Ember and Ash is a terrific quest fantasy as the hunt for fire awakens the dormant Gods who demand obedience from their subjects, which includes war not peace with other clans in the Eleven Domains. The story line is complicated by following the escapades of other key characters like visits to the Last Domain and the awakening elemental Gods, while Ember and Ash are on their trek. Fans will enjoy returning to the Castings as the “Gods must be angry”. Harriet Klausner
Outskirts Press, $15.95
In Sorrento, Italy Olivia was the daughter of a servant working for the Santoro family. Lucian was heir apparent to the Santoro wealth as he would one day replace his father as the Chief Magistrate of vampire clan disputes. When they fell in love almost two hundred years ago, he chose his vampiric destiny over her. Olivia was forced to marry Daughton Gaspard. They had two sons (Kaden and Julian) who have long left the nest, but he was cruel to his wife until he was murdered five years ago. His killer was never found but deep in her heart she knows who he is. Now after decades of loneliness, Olivia is ending her torment with poison so everyone she loves can be free of her.
Julian calls his mom over his concern that his older brother is out of control. Olivia flies to New York praying she can obtain redemption before her suicide by reuniting her estranged sons. She learns the powerful Vampire Council led by Lucian believes Kaden is a serial killer and demands his execution. Lucian loathes Olivia as he believes she betrayed him, but admires her courage she did not have during their time together, as Olivia defies the Vampire Council and its chief to investigate the horrific murders.
The first Misfits of the Lore tale is an exciting second chance at love urban fantasy starring a beaten down female trying her best to do the right thing for her loved ones including killing herself. Lucian is torn between his rage at his “mate’s” betrayal and his love for her as he distrusts Olivia; obstinately refusing to understand what really occurred. Readers will relish this superb tale in which the paranormal reside amidst the normal but conceal their inner essence. Harriet Klausner
A virus threatens to destroy the Dragonstar pure-blood shapeshifters. The clan healer Dr. Quinn Maguire desperately seeks a cure but time is running out as the death counts mounts. Quinn knows he needs specialized help. He pleads with CDC purebred human hematologist Dr. Jasmine Kane to come to the New Mexico desert where his species is spiraling towards extinction.
On sick leave while healing from an explosion on her last overseas assignment, Jasmine agrees to help. Quinn and Jasmine are attracted to one another as he knows in his gut that she is his life soulmate. While another clan wants the Dragonstar community extinct, the leather clad rebel and the button down stuffed shirt fall in love. Each knows saving his species remains the objective over exploring their future until she catches the infectious disease.
The second Dragonstar Embers romantic desert fantasy (see Dark Embers) is a super thriller that contains three fabulous subplots, which tie together while moving forward the overarching theme. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of opposites who heat the pages when taking a respite from their save the clan quest.
Syn In The City
Cara Augustine is kind and gentle, but though she comes from a long line of witches she possesses none of the family traits. Her parents ignore her as being beneath them; as do most of her relatives. The only exceptions are her cousins Evika and Sonya, born on the same day as Cara.
When the three cousins turn twenty-one, Evika persuades Cara to go clubbing in San Francisco. Cara wakes up the next morning to find a corpse sharing her bed. He is actually a Nightkind demon who drinks blood. He took her home after her cousin was attacked by an ooze coming out of her compact mirror, grabbing her and taking Evika into another realm.
Searching for her beloved cousin turns on Cara’s dormant magic as she is a Synemancer- one who draws energy from other magical beings and converts it into a powerful force. She struggles with controlling her skill, which leads to demons attacking her even as males become bound to her. Heading to her Aunt Amelia for help, she turns Tom the Werewolf into her familiar and binds Paul the Wizard and Ronan the Nightkind to her. Cara seeks to rescue Evika and also prevent an Aztec demon lord from opening a portal that would enable one of the most powerful otherworldly essences Texcatlopoca from entering the mortal plane.
Mertianna Georgia has written a creative urban fantasy filled with plenty of paranormal action and a fascinating cast especially the heroine. The fast-paced story line is filled with twists and insight into the various paranormal species intertwined into the plot. Still this is Cara’s coming of age tale as she keeps the exciting thriller focused with her struggles to control the men and the power in her life while searching for Evika and stopping a vicious demon lord from crossing. Harriet Klausner