Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wickedly Charming, The Legend of Michael, Awaken the Highlander, and The Devil's Light reviewed

Wickedly Charming
Kristine Grayson
Sourcebooks, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402248481

Prince Charming and Cinderella are divorced with the former owning and running a bookstore under the name of Dave Encanto. As a single dad he raises their two offspring far from the fairy tale happily ever after life of a royal in the Third Kingdom as the people blamed him for the split with Ella.

Also in exile from the Third Kingdom is Mellie who is upset with being stereotyped as evil because she happens to be a stepmother whose life was ruined by rumors of her abusing her stepdaughter Snow White. Angry with the injustice caused by those mean spirited Grimm brothers for her and her cohorts, she goes to a book fair to protest the lying portrayal of her and other stepmothers as malicious malevolent; she wants her Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight moment as the vampires have recently been redeemed. Mellie and Charming (along with his distrusting daughters) meet; he offers to help her write the true story of her and Snow White. Neither expected an attraction to spring up between them.

This is an amusing satirical take on images, public spins, and the publishing industry as Kristine Grayson provides a charming “fractured fairy tale” that the late Jay Ward would have enjoyed. Filled with jocularity, a clever romance, and an Imp of a child (and her sister) fearing the evil stepmother, fans will enjoy what happens following the happily ever after classic fairy tales; in this addition it does not guarantee a happy ending. Harriet Klausner

The Legend of Michael
Lisa Renee Jones
Sourcebooks, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402251566

At Area 51, deploying the mission of top secret Project Zodius, the military inject alien DNA into two hundred specially selected special ops soldiers in order to turn them into super soldiers. They become a super race superior in every sense than the humans they were once a part of.

General Powell sends his daughter psychiatrist Cassandra to evaluate the GTECH for mental stability. She and Michael Taylor meet and instantly lifebond. However, Michael fears what their mating would do to his lifebond so he tries to keep her from joining him. Soon the GTECHS divide into two distinct enemy groups; the Zodius and the Renegades. Now Michael must keep his beloved safe from the nasty Zodius.

With a nod to Captain America, Lisa Renee Jones provides a great Area 51 romantic military fantasy. The action-packed story line grips the reader from the moment the lead couple meet in “The First Time Ever I saw Your Face” (by Ewan MacColl) moment and never slows down. Fans will enjoy the opening act of Project Zodius as the Super Soldiers split into two adversarial groups with one wanting to dominate the inferior humans and the other protect the inferior humans. Harriet Klausner

Awaken the Highlander
Anita Clenney
Sourcebooks, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402251238

On her family estate near Albany, New York, Bree Kirkland opens a graveyard vault. Inside is Faelen who claims he belongs to an ancient Scottish warrior clan whose mission is to protect humanity from demons. He explains that Druan the demon incarcerated him back in 1860 in this tomb. Her clothing and her fighting spirit surprises him as he has no history of a female like her; his reaction matches his wearing a kilt stunning her.

Meanwhile Druan plans to release a virus to eradicate humanity. Based on his description of the enemy, Bree believes her former fiancé, who is acting strange, may be Druan. Faelen and Bree team up to prevent an extinction event from happening even as they fall in love, a taboo by his clan.

This is an engaging romantic urban fantasy as the twenty-first century feisty female stuns the highlander she has awakened with her wardrobe and attitude. The story line is fast-paced and filled with exciting twists. The couple’s reactions to each other make for an entertaining save the world thriller, as Bree and Faelen united by love take on the diabolical Druan the demon with the stake being the human race. Harriet Klausner

The Devil's Light
Richard North Patterson
Scribner, $26.00
ISBN: 9781451616804

Al Qaeda key terrorist leader, Al Zaroor plans destruction for 9/11/11 that will make the original 9/11 appears like a minor event. He needs a nuclear device, but Al Zaroor knows nuclear bombs left stationary are protected but those moved for purposes of the regional cold war with India is accessible for stealing. He arranges for an incident to heat up the always simmering conflict between Pakistan and India, and has a bomb hijacked while in transit.

Bin Laden announces to the world his team has the bomb and will use it on an American city to commemorate the tenth anniversary. While Pakistan denies the loss of a WMD, the CIA, HSD, and DOD take the terrorist at his word and try to protect America. However, CIA field operative Brooke Chandler thinks it is a hoax as he believes the target is Tel Aviv with the goal being America (and the Israelis) reacting like it did to 9/11/01 by attacking a nation; this time Iran. Chandler fails to sell his argument so he lines up his retired former boss Carter Grey to prevent 9/11 all over again.

This tense thriller makes a powerful plausible argument that history repeats the same mistakes, but worsened by stronger weapons. The gripping story line is at its best with the set up of the brilliant credible terrorist plot that extrapolates from the real world such as America’s ports not very secure. The tension is somewhat deflated when the plot turns to the two Americans trying to thwart the scheme as that follows a pre-ordained path though exciting. Still this poignant tale grips the reader from story to finish with a reasonable premise of what Al Qaeda plans to celebrate their greatest triumph. Harriet Klausner

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