Forever, Feb 28 2012, $7.99
After two years as a couple and a few days married, Chris died. Fourteen months later, his grieving widow Leigh Kelly decides she cannot live in their home filled with too many memories. She moves to Chimney Rock on Whidbey Island.
Former Special Ops soldier Niles Latimer and his werehound Team are diligently watching the newcomer to keep her safe from rogues assaulting women. However, he also senses Leigh possesses something unique that could prove her compatible as life mate for a werehound. Nile realizes she knows nothing about her DNA or the existence of werehounds as he and his Team vow to protect her while the evil enemy senses who she is too and pledges to take her.
The first Chimney Rock romantic urban fantasy is a superb dark thriller in which Stella Cameron creates a deep mythos that feels genuine; inside of a fast-paced good and evil battle for Leigh. Loaded with chilling action, a strong lead couple and two camps of werehounds and other ilk, sub-genre readers will enjoy a visit to mysterious Whidbey Island where the paranormal is the normal. Harriet Klausner
P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin, Jan 31 2012, $12.99
Today Lenobia is the horse mistress of the House of Night in St. Louis and Zoey Redbird’s favorite teacher. She and her mother were servants in 1788 at the Chateau de Naverre in Evreux, France. Her father the baron seduced her mother, impregnated her and cast her and their offspring aside. That child Lenobia looks identical to her spoiled half-sister Cecile.
When Lenobia is sixteen years old, the legitimate daughter dies from ague. Leonia’s mother arranges for her daughter to masquerade as Cecile in order for her to marry an affluent aristocrat. The plot works perfectly as Lenobia and other unmarried young ladies travel by ship to New Orleans to marry rich French aristocrats. While traversing the Atlantic, evil sorcerer Bishop Charles recognizes and announces the fraud as he coveted her back in France and plans to make her his mistress. A nun protects her and she decides to go to the cargo hold on the last level of the ship where she meets Quadroon Martin in the stables. She falls in love with him and the Percheron horse that his employer bought. He sent Martin to go to France so that he could take care of them over the long sea voyage. n The Bishop soon makes his move to rape Lenobia using all means available to him while Martin vows to keep his beloved safe.
The latest House of Night Novella (see Dragon’s Oath) focuses on the teen years of a secondary but popular character. Readers learn what shaped Lenobia’s present mysterious life as the child is the adult even if two centuries have passed. At sixteen, Lenobia displays the same traits she shows as a teacher: courage, honesty and inner strength. She wanted to be happy, but her choices were limited to be or not to be until a third option was offered. This is an engaging biographical fiction as the Cast crew entertains their fans. Harriet Klausner
Putnam, Nov 29 2011, $17.99
The Republic of America has twenty million citizens and seems to be at constant cold and hot war with its neighbors the Colonies. The laws are strictly enforced regardless of economic and social placement though the elite have all the special advantages and privileges.
From a highly prominent affluent family, fifteen year old June is mentored to become a member of the inner most military leadership. However, her fast track to the top is derailed when her brother Captain Metias is murdered while officially hunting for criminal teenager Day, the number one most wanted person in the Republic, who, in spite of security video cameras all over Los Angeles, his face remains a mystery. Commander Jameson claims Day killed June’s sibling. She vows to avenge her brother’s murder.
Although the High Noon encounter goes the way one would expect even with a fascinating twist, this is a superb futuristic dystopian police procedural. The storyline is fast-paced as readers will appreciate the teenage chess match between the elusive felon and the obsessed soldier; as checkmate is an intriguing spin. Marie Lu provides a fabulously exciting thriller starring two teens from polar opposite sides of the track. Harriet Klausner
Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Harper Teen, Jan 24 2012, $8.99
In Southern California, sixteen years old Claire hopes this time she and her mom stay in one spot so she can makes friends at the Emerson Academy that she attends on a scholarship. Her nomadic mom has them relocating seemingly even before they can open their bags. At the school Claire meets new student Alec, an angel attending school for a bit of R&R though if caught by the Elders he will be executed for desertion. He explains to her why her mother constantly is on the run; as Claire is a half-angel, a hybrid species considered an abomination by the angel Elders.
Alec and Claire fall in love while Helena begins sending visions to Claire with a warning to tell no one, not even her beloved, of her psychic powers. Unable to resist Claire reveals all to her friends. When her life is threatened, Alec risks his to keep her safe.
Although angels are a large population in the paranormal romance subgenre (see His Dark Bond By Anne Marsh), team James provide an entertaining teenage romantic urban fantasy. The storyline is fast-paced while the antics of the heroine are fun to follow as her hormones war with her brain. Although the support characters are out of the genre’s typical casting mold, Alec is a unique individual who is wary and in love. Readers will enjoy Claire’s coming of age not so angelic Los Angeles joy ride. Harriet Klausner