Thursday, June 28, 2012

Angels, Shifters, The Undead and Soul Seekers

A Temptation of Angels
Michelle Zink
Dial, $17.99
ISBN: 9780803737266

Sixteen-year-old Helen fell asleep to the sounds of arguing in the family library when her frantic mother awakens her while it is still dark outside. Her mom gives her strange directions to go to a house before sending her child through a hidden doorway in her bedroom that the teen never knew existed. As her house burns with her parents inside, a shocked Helen flees to the address her mother admonished her to go to for her safety.

Brothers Darius and Griffin Channing welcome Helen into their London abode. They explain to the stunned teen that she, like them, is responsible to protect the planet as Keepers are descendants of an angel species. The siblings further explain they are the last ones as an assassin has killed all the others and targeted Helen before she can be skilled. If their kind becomes extinct so will the earth.

Although this exciting young adult fantasy starts confusing due to the introduction of a horde of characters forcing readers to need a scorecard, once the Zink mythos and cast is established, the storyline turns into a fast-paced High Noon thriller. Helen is terrific as she has no time to grieve due to the demands of gruff Darius; she also has two men attracted to her, Griff and her childhood friend Raum. Vengeance may be the Lord’s domain, but the three remaining Keepers (the parents of the brothers suffered the same fate as those of Helen did) claim it as theirs.
Harriet Klausner

Temptations Rising
A.C. Arthur
St. Martin’s, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312549107

Two years ago, a strange cat like creature saved the life of Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Kalina Harper from an assault. Confused by what happened, she still dreams of this beast, but has never told anyone about what she saw.

Her boss assigns Kalina to go undercover at Reynolds & Delgado law firm seeking connections between partner attorney Roman Reynolds and a South American drug cartel as he sends plenty of money to South America. Like all the women in the office, Kalina is attracted to Rome, but is unaware that as a jaguar he saved her life two years ago. However, his concern is with whom murdered Senator Mark Baines and his daughter three weeks ago as Rogues apparently have moved into his Faction as they have in the other zones too. Though he knows he must ignore Kalina to focus on the Rogues, Rome finds he cannot ignore her as he begins to believe she is his mate.

The first Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy is an exciting thriller as readers will feel the Arthurian paranormal DC world is genuine. Fast-paced with a courageous heroine struggling to accept what she is learning and a strong leader unsure whether to tell her the truth that residing amidst purebred humans are shifters. Harriet Klausner

The Blood of Heroes
Joseph Nassise
Harper Voyager, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062048752

The war fought in the trenches was the most brutal in history as men died to move the front inches. It became even more vicious when deadly gas was released onto the battlefield. However, the Germans, knowing they are losing, turn the combat evil when they deploy the ultimate weapon T Leiche; the “corpse gas” that reanimates dead soldiers to return to the western front. By late 1917, the Kaiser and his army of dead appear heading to victory.

His superior officers assign American Expeditionary Force Captain Michael “Madman” Burke with his artificial “clockwork” arm to rescue his estranged half-brother, legendary American ace Major Jack Freeman; captured behind the lines. Burke assembles a small team consisting of his top aide Sergeant Moore, big-game hunter Clayton Manning and Tesla protégé and supernatural expert Professor Dan Richards. To reach the prison where Freeman is held, the quartet must travel across land controlled by the shamblers, undead soldiers and other monstrous German creations. If they miraculously reach the prison, they will learn why the brass sent them on a suicide mission.

The first Great Undead War historical urban fantasy is a fabulous fast-paced thriller that never slows down throughout. Filled with action, readers will wonder what harrowing stuff Joseph Nassise will next toss at his heroes. The military gadgets enhance the fun of a terrific steampunk paranormal historical military thriller mindful of Lester dent’s Doc Savage. Harriet Klausner

Alyson Noel
St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99
ISBN: 9780312664855

Daire Santos struggles with being different. Animals follow her while crows mock her. Glowing strangers stalk her. Finally there is the boy with the blue eyes who stars in her dreams. Her widow mom Jennika is beside herself with worry. However, not as much as Daire’s paternal grandmother Paloma Santos who knows the danger to the last of her line.

Sent to visit her grandma in Enchantment, New Mexico, Paloma explains to Daire that like her and her late dad, she is a Soul Seeker who travels between the mundane world of the living and the surreal world of the dead. Fated to either save or destroy the world of the living, Daire trains to control her paranormal skills. However, as her grandma mentors her, she adapts reasonably well until she meets Dace, the star of her dreams. Although attracted to him even before they met, she wonders if he is her soulmate or her Judas.

The first Soul Seekers urban fantasy is a superb thriller starring a “troubled” young lady who learns she holds the fate of the world in her hands. The key to this absorbing tale is the heroine who makes the Noel mythos seems genuine as she enters the underworld in a soul searching rescue mission while wondering whom does she trust. Filled with twists, this is a winning opening act. Harriett Klausner

Harriet Klausner

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