Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reviews from Harriet

Spells & Stitches
Barbara Bretton
Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425241059

In Sugar Maple, Vermont, Sticks and Strings knitting store owner Chloe Hobbs, a sorceress in training, struggles with her out of control half-human hormones as she is over eight months pregnant with her first child that comingle with her magical DNA. Chloe owes a zillion favors from her otherworldly pals for clean up duty such as sending two women from Boise on a magical mystery tour and sending a fire ball at her mate’s mother Bunny when caught by surprise by the woman entering her establishment; apparently someone leaked to the MacKensie brood that a grandchild is coming. Chloe’s significant other Police Chief Luke MacKensie, the only purebred resident of the town, is ecstatic over the upcoming birth of his first child.

Laria is born healthy while the parents and others go gaga over her. However, raising a baby and running a business or enforcing the law is difficult. Raising a baby with magical skills is impossible especially trying to conceal the paranormal from his family.

This bewitching charmer is filled with humor as it takes a village to raise a baby sorceress. Fast-paced the collision between the MacKensie human horde and the paranormal residents of the Vermont village is jocularly entertaining. However, it is Laria who makes this a fresh tale as she has typical baby needs and some extraordinary extras as Laria has unique ways of “communicating. Although it behooves sub-genre fans to read the previous A Knitting Mystery romantic Green Mountain village fantasies (see Spun by Sorcery) to understand family dynamics, Barbara Bretton provides an engaging tale of parenthood. Harriet Klausner

That Old Black Magic
Michelle Rowen
Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425244913

In Toronto, psychic Eden Riley loves Darrak the cursed demon whom she met when he possessed her (see The Demon In Me). They still seek a way to end his centuries old curse, which would free him, keep her alive, and have a happy new beginning together in two separate bodies. Though tempted especially when his body surfaces Eden avoids using her recently required new black magic, but finds increasingly controlling her skills very difficult as she sets her blackberry on fire.

The psychic and the demon agree they need help as her soul-destroying black magic deploys without her employing it. They find a cure for the curse and control of her magic, but the risk to Eden is her life.

The third Living in Eden Canadian urban romantic fantasy (See Something Wicked) is an engaging finish to an enjoyable trilogy. The amusing story line is fast-paced from the moment the heroine lights up her blackberry and never slows down until the final manifestation; that ironically fans of the series will intuitively know before the lead couple does. That Old Black Magic is a winning climax to a fun series. Harriet Klausner

Ellen Connor
Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425243400

A dozen years ago the Change brought the Dark Age Dawning of evil into the world (see Nightfall). Most magic practitioners turned to the amoral side with no thoughts of mankind beyond expendable pawns. Penelope “Orchid” Sheehan remains persistent with her belief to help the surviving humans against the forces of General O’Malley, especially his hellhounds.

Pen wants to destroy the O’Malley murdering raiders, but is a prisoner of her enemy who plans to sell her as a slave to the highest bidder. Her childhood friend Tru Daugherty the lion skinwalker rescues her. She pleads with him to joins forces to take the battle to O’Malley. However, although attracted to Pen, Tru is a loner so he wants to say no though he fears for the life of the woman he always loved. Separately they will die; together they can change the world.

Daybreak, the final Dark Age Dawning romantic fantasy (see Midnight), is a great finish to a strong post-apocalyptic thriller. Extremely fast-paced throughout, yet vividly descriptive of the dark landscape and starring two fascinating heroes, fans will appreciate the climax as Pen will go after O’Malley with or without the shapeshifter she loves. Harriet Klausner

Hearts and Swords
Robin D. Owens
Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425243411

“Heart and Sword”. As supplies and calm temperament run out, Captain Kelse Bountry confronts a mutiny while seeking a planet for his earth fleet to colonize while his wife Fern has his back.

”Heart Story”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in Druida City Blush Willow hid her Heartmate Dri Paris from her murderous insane mother. Now a year after her mom died, she hopes to have a second chance with her Heartmate, but their past remains an obstacle and his family’s dire straits make her even more unacceptable.

“Heart and Soul”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in small Gael City Tinne Holly’s ex wife Genista Furze obtains work assisting a clockmaker as Nista Gorse. GentleSir Cardus Parry is attracted to her, but she has no wish for any mate after her scandalous divorce shocked the FirstFamilies.

“Noble Heart”. Over four centuries since the Colonization of Celta, in Druida City during the Passage, Walker Clover learns he has the Flair, which is so prevalent his family rises to GrandLord level. He must wed a member of the FirstFamilies, but wants none of them as he only desires the enigmatic Sedwy Grove.

This is a strong quartet as Robin D. Owens fills in some of the gaps in her terrific Celta romantic fantasy saga. Harriet Klausner

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