Monday, February 13, 2012

Fantasy Reviews

Wicked Circle
Linda Robertson
Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451646955

Torn Between Two Lovers (by Mary McGregor) Persephone "Seph" Alcmedi the witch knows the men in her life, the waerewolves’ Domn Lup rock musician Johnny Newman and Menessos the vampire, have different temperaments and baggage. However the two males share in common the need for Seph to help them and their pledge of love to protect her.

Menessos tells Seph that the Vampire Council distrusts him as they fear he plots a coup. They have sent the three truth seeker vampiric sisters, normally caged in stone to keep the world safe, to determine his seditious acts. While trying to help Menessos, Seph has to honor her pledge to use her magic to assist the waeres, and to prevent her hemorrhoid producing family members (perpetually in trouble foster daughter, her lunatic grandmother and her recently resurfaced mother) from causing dangerous tsuris.

The fifth Circle urban fantasy (see Arcane Circle, Fairy Circle, Vicious Circle and Hallowed Circle) is an entertaining entry that takes its time setting in motion the tsuris the heroine has piled on her by her family and friends. Once established, the exciting story line accelerates into a fast-paced urban fantasy with an extended family drama theme as Seph knows a family member or friend in need is a pest but her pest. With the mystery of what Seph will do adding excitement to the mix, readers will enjoy this sly family affair. Harriet Klausner

Deborah Cooke
Signet, Jan 3 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451235473

His spectacular Trial by Fire show on the Vegas strip makes Lorenzo the illusionist into a star attraction. However, the Pyr and the slayers demand Lorenzo join their side, but he chooses to remain a solo act.

While on vacation in Las Vegas, paparazzi Cassie Redmond attends Lorenzo’s show. She sits in the first row igniting a sparkling display between the photographer and the performer. The audience including Cassie assumes these sparks are part of Lorenzo’s performance, but the magician knows otherwise. This woman lit up the firestorm of his dragon nature. However, Chen has begun gathering an army, but needs Lorenzo the dragon-shifter to join him; if not the mage’s firestorm mate will die.

After six previous “Kiss” Dragonfire urban fantasies (see Whisper Kiss and Darkfire Kiss), the first entry sans a Kiss in the title is a fast-paced, character driven thriller. Lorenzo has a few rude awakenings starting with his mate and dragon mature surfacing as he is the mage of denial until he understands the threat to his Cassie. Fans of the saga will enjoy venturing into the heart of the Cooke mythos as her protagonist is a master illusionist who actually can perform the shapeshifting physics of magic. Harriet Klausner

Sable Grace
Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061964411

Vampyre-Lychen hybrid Dark Breed Kyana Aslan saved the life of Haven when she turned her BFF into a vampire by giving her blood. However, Kyana learns where good intentions lead to when the rebellious raging spirit of Cronos possesses Haven. Cronos plans to use the recently transformed Haven as a vessel to overthrow the Olympus pantheon, but his host has a vendetta too as she needs to kill her once beloved “sister” for changing her into this monster.

Although her bodyguard Ryker the demigod has not mouthed one I told you so, looks tell Kyana that he knows she erred due to her love of a friend. Now she must rectify her passionate saving of Haven because in seven days her BFF replaces Kyana as the new Artemis Goddess of the Hunt and therefore Haven must die before this transformation to prevent her BFF from bringing hell on Earth.

The second enjoyable Dark Breed Greek mythos urban fantasy (see Ascension) is an exciting tale that looks deep into the soul of the heroine as she struggles between guilt over her friend whom she expects to kill, whining over her wardrobe, and lusting over the body of her bodyguard. Fast-paced from start to finish, however the clothing and Ryker issues at times supersede the intriguing hellish Haven horror subplot. Harriet Klausner

Third Grave Dead Ahead
Darynda Jones
St. Martin’s, Jan 31 2012, $23.99
ISBN: 9781250001542

Grim Reaper and private investigator Charley Davidson seeks a missing spouse whose husband acts uncaringly aloof and detached as if he has no stake in the case. However, Charley struggles to focus on her inquiry as her brain seems to contain one icon, Reyes Farrow, the hybrid son of Satan.

Reyes rages at Charley for failing to work his case as the half human supermodel stands accused of murdering his stepfather, which he denies he did. Others need Charley’s distracted attention too while her caring family begs her to take an office job especially when her cases include a bike gang who demands she find a canine killer or face their grim grave retaliation for failing them.

The third delightfully droll Davidson grave romantic mystery (see First Grave on the Right and Second Grave on the Left) is a great entry in which the zany craziness brilliantly comes together into an amusing, exciting dark thriller. Fast-paced and loaded with action, Charley wonders who will betray her first from amongst her heart, her family or her insane clients. Harriet Klausner

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