Monday, July 11, 2011

Soul Song, Almost Final Curtain, The Restorer, and The Vampire Dimitri reviewed

Soul Song
Marjorie M. Liu
Avon, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062019905

Violinist Kitala Bell has always run away from her curse of seeing the future as her visions are always that of violent death. She escapes her vivid nightmarish foresight by burying herself in music and never staying on one place. She always performs to different audiences in differing locations nightly. However, her music fails to keep away the vision of a knife in the head of an unfortunate woman sitting in the front row of the Queen Elizabeth Theater.

Kitala tries to warn this Alice and her companion Uncle John, but instead learns why the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The cops want her, but not for questioning instead they want her dead as she knows too much. At the same time that Kitala is attacked by landlubbers, a soul eating witch sends her imprisoned M'cal the Krackeni merman to use his song to capture the powerful soul of the violinist. Instead M’cal watching Kitala perform is spellbound by her music and knows he cannot steal the soul of his soulmate and live. He risks all defying his “owner” and her enchantment because he believes in the magical music of the love he shares with Kitala

The reprint of a 2007 Dirk & Steele thriller (see EYE OF HEAVEN, TIGER EYE, SHADOW TOUCH, and THE RED HEART OF JADE) is a fabulous romantic suspense fantasy that will hook the audience from the first note to the incredible climatic coda. The fast-paced story line contains two interesting protagonists who are united by love and music as they battle police, a malevolent witch, and much more while trying to stay alive. Harriet Klausner

Almost Final Curtain
Tate Hallaway
NAL, $9.99
ISBN: 9781101514276

Her mom the witch raised Anastasija Parker in St. Paul. Ana assumed her father was a deadbeat dad. On her sixteenth birthday, Ana learned the truth about her sire the vampire king (see Almost to Die For). Her father demands she sit by his side while her mother wants her to remain at home with her.

The confused hybrid learns her blood lines loath each other; wishing the other species a speedy painful death. Complicating her convoluted life is two males who claim her as respectively theirs; Ingress lead singer Nik Kirov the apprentice vampire hunter in training and Elias Constantine her vampire knight betrothed. Ana wants to return to the normalcy of being a Stassen High School student so she tries for a part in the spring musical. Instead she is caught in the middle once again when a powerful ancient artifact is stolen from the Minnesota Historical Society that if deployed would make half of her DNA enslaved to the other half of her DNA.

The latest Vampire Princess urban fantasy (see Almost to Die For) is a wonderful tale due to Ana who has come a long way in a short time; now that she accepts she will not be a True Witch in her mom’s coven, but has doubts about sitting on the vamp throne. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as the heroine tames the most treacherous dangerous in the wild species on the planet: the male while also trying to insure a sort of status quo between her two races. Old students will enjoy touring Minnesota escorted by Ana and her retinue in this delightful fantasy version of High School Musical and the Princess Diaries. Harriet Klausner

The Restorer
Amanda Stevens
Mira, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778329817

Amelia Gray was nine years old when she saw her first ghost while raking leaves with her father at the cemetery he was caretaker of. Her dad told her to never look at them. She became a cemetery restorer, but though she could see ghosts, she adhered to her father’s strict rules.

Charleston PD Detective John Devlin accompanied by the ghosts of a woman and a little girl approaches Amelia. He is unaware that his late wife and daughter haunt him. The haunted looking Devlin explains Emerson College Dr. Camille Ashby sent him to see her. The cop wants to look at the photos she took last week at Oak Grove Cemetery where the corpse of a battered female was found. The headstone provides clues to the serial killer, but only Amelia can interpret them. However, she does not want to get involved as she knows if she does, she will break a rule and have to deal with the two female family ghosts siphoning his energy to remain anchored here.

This is a great urban fantasy whodunit that makes ghosts feel real because of the heroine. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action that grips the reader from the moment Devlin accosts a reluctant Amelia and never slows until a ring is placed as a thank you. Sub-genre fans will appreciate the first dark yet somehow hopeful Graveyard Queen as everyone will affirm they believe in ghosts. Harriet Klausner

The Vampire Dimitri
Colleen Gleason
Mira, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778329824

Charles Woodmore vanishes leaving his sisters to seek help from their guardian, Dimitri the Earl of Corvindale. However, Dimitri is irate with the demanding tone of the note Charles’ sister Maia sends to him. He wishes they would be like all the females of the London aristocracy and just attend balls as simpering females. Instead the sisters interfere with Dimitri’s plan to rescue Chas as their ringleader Maia is foolishly brave; she finds her guardian arrogant and aloof.

However, Dimitri knows he wants his mortal houseguest, but is elated she is to marry someone else. Maia is appalled that she is attracted to Dimitri when she is betrothed to someone else. As their desire grows, Dimitri realizes Maia is in peril, but he cannot get her to back off so he must keep her safe.

The second Regency Dracula romantic fantasy (see The Vampire Voss) is an exciting tale due to the changing relationship between the lead pair. The story line is at its best when the plot remains in tense 1804 London; when the tale looks back too frequently, some of the “current day” tautness is lost although in fairness those flashbacks enhance the Gleason vampire mythos. Readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller as the market price for love is a soul. Harriet Klausner

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