Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Dragon Ship, A Boyfriend from Hell and The Undead in My Bed

Dragon Ship
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Baen, Sep 4 2012, $22.00
ISBN: 9781451637984

Theo Waitley was expelled from the Academy due to Liadan Luck as the focus of violence (see Ghost Ship). Currently she pilots the Bechmio with a crew of one Boss Clarence O'Berin and her dying lover Win Ton surviving so far a deadly nano-virus because of the on-board medical technology. Clan Korval commissions Theo to find a trade route. However, she finds the Bechmio AI is independent as they forge a symbiotic relationship while battling for the dominant role.

At the same Theo pilots the Bechmio, Kamele journeys to Surebleak with plans to rescue Jen Sar Kiladi, who happens to be Theo’s dad. However her efforts to free her lover from the Korval are distracted from what greets her on Surebleak.

Although it behooves the audience to have read Ghost Ship, preferably recently, Dragon Ship is an exciting Liaden entry starring a heroine who knows that if she did not have bad luck she would have no luck as the heroine is the Joe Btfsplk of space opera. In fact her luck is so bad the Bechmio with a personality developed over the ages once again steals the show from Theo. The storyline starts slow as the symbiotic relationship merges, but accelerates once the pair moves past the storming and forming stages (of the Tuchman Model). Fans will enjoy this science fiction thriller although several major themes fail to move forward. Harriet Klausner

Boyfriend from Hell
Jamie Quaid
Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451656350

Law student Justine Clancy works for Andre Legrande in the chemically contaminated Zone of South Baltimore to pay her student fees. She has a record after an arrest while leading a protest that turned into a riot at the undergraduate school in Pennsylvania. As she goes to deliver the day’s receipts to the bank, someone knocks her down and robs her while a limo runs a light hammering crossing students. Liebowitz the reporter refuses to state the Senator ran over the kids and claims no one was near Tina. Her boyfriend Max accelerates her vehicle aiming to kill her as stunned Tina wishes he was in hell. Her wish comes true.

Tina as the Daughter of Saturn finds dormant powers awakening that require her to deal out justice. Meanwhile Max haunts her mirror, insisting to her that he is innocent. Max also warns her someone wants to harm her. With Milo the kitten who leads with a paw, a thief with the perfect M.O of invisibility, Cora of Discreet Detection and Andre, Tina investigates several recent situations as she concludes she is Queen and with her team “We are the champions.”

This is an exhilarating urban fantasy starring a beleaguered heroine who has doubts about the impact of her new powers as she fears for each use, a piece of her soul peels away (think of the puzzle of the owner in the movie Major League). With references to Support Your Local Sheriff adding to the fun, fans will appreciate this brisk, at times amusing thriller as the first Daughter of Saturn is a winner.
Harriet Klausner

The Undead In My Bed
Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper and Jessica Sims
Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451656794

“Shades of Gray” by Katie MacAlister. Noelle the Guardian protects humans from the denizen of Otherworld. While on the set of a ghost-busting reality show in a Czech Republic haunted castle, she meets Grayson the vampire. They team up to stop a Master Demon from killing everyone on location.

“Undead Sublet” by Molly Harper. In Chicago, executive chef Tess goes berserk from fatigue. She rents a house in Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky to get away from the kitchen for a month. However, Sam the vampire occupies the home for the next three months although his ex-wife let the place to Tess. They argue, fuss and fight while falling in love.

“Out with a Fang” by Jessica Sims. Depressed over being alone, were-jaguar Ruby tries the paranormal dating service Midnight Liaisons. Her date is Michael the vampire, whom she knows intimately from when he was the human that she loved but dumped because of her pre-existing condition.

These are three amusing action-packed paranormal romances starring solid leads.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 28, 2012


This is just an informal, informative post to let those of you who read the blog to understand why some of the veterans (myself included) and some others may zone out or appear in distress on one end and not giving a flip about things on the other.

Any comments are welcomed.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event.

When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events.

Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
Bad dreams
Frightening thoughts.

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:

Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
Feeling emotionally numb
Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reviews from Harriet

Dearly, Beloved
Lia Habel
Del Rey, Sep 25 2012, $16.99
ISBN: 9780345523341

By the end of the twenty-second century, much of the planet was devastated; the United States nuked itself into a united wasteland. Central and South America consolidated as New Victoria with the capital in New London, Nicaragua. The society is based on the historians' interpretation of life in Britain during the reign of the late nineteenth century monarch.

Not all is idyllic as the Laz virus has created sentient and feral zombies. Most humans refuse to distinguish between the two classes of zombies as a majority of the humans believe a truly dead zombie is a good zombie. However, some individuals like teenager Nora Dearly knows otherwise ever since she met Punk undead Bram Griswold who saved her life (see Dearly, Departed). The civil rights issue explodes into hostilities especially between the Changed dead and the Murder alive. Collateral damage is an acceptable norm by the two enemies as each believes innocent civilians is an oxymoron. However, as both extremist sects focus on a zombie sympathizer who’s dearly father the scientist seeks a cure for Lax, the heated dispute changes for the worst when a zombie with a new strain of the virus emerges.

The key to this great futuristic urban fantasy is Habel World as the author makes her vision seem vividly real through an insightful historiographical premise and a racist profiling. Action-packed, readers will relish the second Dearly thriller as the heroine and her allies push for equal rights for all, her endeavor enables the Changed and the Murder to agree on one thing: Nora’s permanent demise. Harriet Klausner

Bad Glass
Richard E. Gropp
Del Rey, Sep 25 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345533937

A biological incident leads the government to quarantine Spokane, Washington under military control. There is no information as to what has happened except for sporadic leaks out of the shutdown metropolis.

Photographer Dean Walker breaches the military sentry around the city to sneak into Spokane with plans to take shots of whatever he finds in order to tell the world and gain fame. He is unprepared for what he sees in the embattled city. Dean is fortunate to meet struggling survivors in a world turned grotesquely anti physics as time no longer flows in the same way and monsters are everywhere and people trapped at the subatomic level within solid items as Dean’s mission changed from informing the world to surviving this inner collapsing world.

This is an exciting cautionary horror tale that uses Dean’s photos to describe the grotesque state of Spokane. PTSD becomes a common link between those still clinging to their humanity and theorizing what happened though like readers not knowing for certain. Although a deeper look at the change in physics would have been appreciated, Bad Glass remains one of top horror thrillers of the year, as fans will relish this profound psychological drama of the end of civilization when a city collapses. Harriet Klausner

Jan Coffey
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $14.99
ISBN: 9781479104574

Teenager Killian feels alone as her mom died a few years ago and her dad ignoring her remarried. When she graduates from the Green Mountain Academy in Vermont, her maternal great Aunt Hannah Winthrop invites her to stay at Cuttylea Island with her; she accepts in spite of the isolation with Hyannis being three hours away by boat and limited electronic access.

In a storm, a frightened Killian, who cannot swim, sails in a small boat when the driver picks up Perth, an Olympic Gold medal quality swimmer. Hannah welcomes her niece who will work at the nearby inn. Killian is attracted to Perth, but as a wallflower accepts he is out of her league. When she hears a mother’s plea to rescue her children, Killian is confused as the woman is dead. Meanwhile Perth confuses her as he seems to like her before instantly turning into a grouch. However, Killian becomes concerned when Dr. Davenport and a team arrive ostensibly to study wind energy, but asks questions about Perth’s wheelchair bound father Walter. Wondering what is going on with elderly Lynx warning her to leave, Dr. Davenport’s inquiry and what the birthmark on her lower back has to do with pentagrams inside older abodes. Killian seeks the truth.

Aquarian is an exhilarating young adult paranormal mystery that will have the audience wondering like the heroine what is happening at Cuttylea Island. The storyline starts leisurely as the heroine’s personality and the island setting of “no cell phone service; no cable TV; no mall … and no Facebook” are established. Once done, the plot turns into a fascinating tale as Killian begins to learn the dangerous truth about her ancestry and that of Perth. Harriet Klausner

Melissa Darnell
Harlequin Teen, Sep 25 2012, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210565

In Jacksonville, Texas until recently Savannah Colbert never comprehended why the Clann overtly loathed her. At school Tristan Coleman refused to acknowledge she existed as he was warned to keep his distance. That ended when she came back from a week of absenteeism totally changed as Sav and Tristan became an entry (see Crave).

After a warning from the Vampire Council to never see Tristan or else, Sav ends their relationship to protect her beloved from what she is tuning into. Tristan refuses to accept her assertion that it is over as he knows there is more to this. Vowing to find a way for them to be together, neither is ready for what awaits them.

The second Clann teen urban romantic fantasy is an engaging coming of age thriller. Both protagonists mature out of necessity as much as due to their love, while the support cast enhances the insight into the Darnell vampire mythos. Leisurely paced for the most part, readers will enjoy this fresh vampire romance. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fantasies for Everyone

Chase Novak
Mulholland Books/Little Brown, Sep 4 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316198561

In Manhattan affluent Alex and Leslie Twisden want children, but so far failed to have any. Leslie suggests adoption, but Alex prefers their DNA. Researching what is available, Alex learns of the success of fertility specialist Dr. Kis in Slovenia. Though reluctant, Leslie travels to the European nation with her spouse. Using animal extractions on the Americans, Dr. Kis manages a miracle when Leslie births twins, Adam and Alice though the two parents suffer horrible side effects.

A decade later, the mutant siblings, frightened by the behavior of their cannibalistic parents, run away from home. Alice and Adam seek Dr. Kis to learn what happened to their parents. Alex and Leslie follow their children.

Over the top of Mount Triglav and with a much darker and gorier nod to the movie Splice and the Wells’ novel Dr. Moreau, Breed is an exciting thriller. Though Alex’s obsession is never understood, fans who enjoy a fast-paced horror tale will relish this entry; while those with squeamish demeanors will either need to pass or diet. Harriet Klausner

Melissa Darnell
Harlequin Teen, Sep 25 2012, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210565

In Jacksonville, Texas until recently Savannah Colbert never comprehended why the Clann overtly loathed her. At school Tristan Coleman refused to acknowledge she existed as he was warned to keep his distance. That ended when she came back from a week of absenteeism totally changed as Sav and Tristan became an entry (see Crave).

After a warning from the Vampire Council to never see Tristan or else, Sav ends their relationship to protect her beloved from what she is tuning into. Tristan refuses to accept her assertion that it is over as he knows there is more to this. Vowing to find a way for them to be together, neither is ready for what awaits them.

The second Clann teen urban romantic fantasy is an engaging coming of age thriller. Both protagonists mature out of necessity as much as due to their love, while the support cast enhances the insight into the Darnell vampire mythos. Leisurely paced for the most part, readers will enjoy this fresh vampire romance. Harriet Klausner

Alice in Zombieland
Gena Showalter
Harlequin Teen, Sep 25 2012, $18.99
ISBN: 9780373210589

On what should have been her sweet sixteenth birthday, Alice Bell tasted tragedy. Zombies killed her mom, dad and younger sister, and Alice’s innocence. Besides numbing grief and bone marrow deep need for revenge, Alice regrets that she believed her late father was a lunatic when he insisted monsters lived.

Alice believes she is targeted by these evil beasts for death too. She knows she cannot confront the malevolents by herself, but never expected Cole Holland, the student at school with the worst reputation, to become her defender and mentor. With him and his friends accompanying her, Alice prepares for war against the zombies; unaware that her new ally has secrets that make zombies look like preschoolers.

The first White Rabbit Chronicles is an exciting teen urban fantasy starring a terrific protagonist whose entire life changes in a nanosecond. The key cast is fully developed while enhancing Alice’s coming out party. Although references from the Carroll’s classic starts as fun, these citations eventually distract from what overall is an entertaining zombification of Alice. Harriet Klausner

Darkest Desire
Tawny Taylor
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 28 2012, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758265661

The three Alexandre Brothers (Drako, Talen and Malek) have been the leaders of the Black Gryffon for a decade since their father retired at fifty; as expected. Although Drako as the oldest is top griffin, his siblings understand the mission is to protect humanity and keep secret the sources of humanity's power safe from the covetous Chimera. Proud of his offspring, their father reminds them it is time for wives and children so that they too can retire at fifty like he did.

Drako has found his woman Rin (see Darkest Fire). As the second Malek believes he has selected his mate in former sex slave Lei. However, though she is attracted to him, they have a problem with their relationship since both are doms. Adding further complications are Male is in a relationship with Brent and the Chimera targets Lei.

The second Black Gryffon erotic Celtic fantasy romance is an action-packed thriller with an intriguing love between two doms arguing who’s on top. However, neither protagonist feels three dimensional though sub-genre fans, especially those who read Darkest Fire, will enjoy the heated courtship. Harriet Klausner

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sherrlyn Kenyon, Roberta Trahan, Kristen Callihan, and Lina Gardiner reviewed

Time Untime
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Press, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312546618

Many millennia ago, Ren Waya was the Keetoowah warrior Guardian chosen to keep hell sealed while resetting the celestial calendar. Instead his closet friend, half-brother Coyote killed him. However, Ren returned as an acrimonious angry Dark Hunter.

Her late grandmother left Kateri Avani with a precious stone to protect as the Keeper of legend. She scoffs at her grandma’s superstition until beasts like nothing she ever saw before attack her. When she meets Ren, Kateri recognizes him as the man who has haunted her dreams seemingly forever. However, she is not sure whether he is her fantasy savior-lover keeping her safe or the beast that kills her. With a depressed sense of déjà vu, Ren knows what he must do to keep the malevolence from arising but sacrificing his heart may save a world but kill him all over again as the Time Untime to reset the calendar is coming.

The latest Dark-Hunter urban fantasy (see Retribution and The Guardians) is a great fast-paced suspense thriller that uses the Mayan prophecy to great effect. Kateri is a wonderful scientist in distress unsure whom she should trust; while Ren is a fascinating haunted protagonist who has played this tune before but prays for an identical big picture ending and a better personal outcome. Fans will enjoy the countdown as time runs out. Harriet Klausner

The Well of Tears
Roberta Trahan
47North, Sep 18 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612183725

The Order of the Stewardry wizards have waited for centuries for the time for, them to adhere to the pledge of fealty they made in the magically concealed Fane Gramarye Temple in the remote village of Pwll. There they vowed to support the one king of Cymru

In 905, the time has come to anoint Hywel as the King of Cymru. Madoc the elderly Ard Druidh chief mage realizes that he must choose his successor at the Well of Tears, but before he does he sends Guard Captain Aslak to escort sorceresses back to Pwll. The soldier goes for Alwen, wife of King Bledig and mother of two teenage children (Rhys and Eirlys). Alwen, accompanied by her family, travels to Fane Gramarye. However, all is not smooth as traitorous evil from within also has begun to march preferring the chaos of war over the promise of peace if Hywel is crowned and also covets Madoc’s heritage.

Though at times the overall entertaining storyline slows down due to too much mundane detail, fans will enjoy this engaging post Arthurian fantasy. Character driven by a strong cast who makes the Trahan mythos seems real while also somewhat limiting the action, readers will wonder who the traitor(s) is as the time to crown the King and select the Ard Druidh successor have arrived with good and evil competing for both jobs. Harriet Klausner

Kristen Callihan
Forever, $7.99
ISBN: 9781455508587

In 1883, widowed Daisy Ellis Craigmore feels euphoric to have escaped the stranglehold of a lousy six-year marriage to an abusive mate though she knows that is not nice thinking. However, she did her time in marriage with 366 days, ten hours, fifteen minutes faking mourning. She considers herself no longer a Craigmore in sham mourning. Now she plans to enjoy life.

However, her euphoria ends abruptly when she witnesses a homicide. Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, pushes passed the crowd claiming to be a doctor though he had not practiced in almost two decades. He knows what happened here as he avoided his kind for seventy years but his kind has intruded on his self-imposed exile. When he smells a woman nearby, he moves the body to find Daisy underneath. Questioning her while keeping her safe, Ian knows he must eliminate the culprit before the law finds the rogue. However, his attraction to Daisy is an unwanted mistimed need that Ian cannot ignore.

This Darkest London Victorian historical fantasy (see Firelight) is a fabulous paranormal investigative thriller with an incredible opening scene. The lead couple is a nice pairing as the murder mystery plays matchmaker while neither feels comfortable with falling in love at this time. Kristen Callihan provides an entertaining paranormal whodunit as London remains dark even in a Moonglow. Harriet Klausner

Black Moon Awakening
Lina Gardiner
ImaJinn, $15.00
ISBN: 9781610260930

The Therian Senate assigns top field agent Jude Black the shapeshifter to investigate Eideroche Medical Research Center; accompanied to Jude’s chagrin by the magistrate’s nephew Perry the rookie. A loyal operative for a decade who understands the need to erase completed missions from his brain, Jude has issues for the first time with the Senate as they demand erasing what he knows about the vanishing of his brother Garrett.

Still he and Perry conduct passive surveillance for a few weeks. That changes when they observe two underworld thugs carry a woman into the center. Making an on the spot decision, Jude rescues Letitia Hawkes, but Perry is burned in the process. Wiese is his race’s enemy, a werewolf whom he is attracted to. However with his cover blown, Eideroche killers pursue the two shapeshifters as they fall in taboo love.

This is an exciting fast-paced romantic urban fantasy starring star-crossed lovers. Though the villains are evil incarnate with no redeeming qualities, this tale loaded with suspense inside the Gardiner mythos. Fans will relish this entertaining thriller as Letitia teaches Jude the eternal lesson of sentient species: the female turns the male into quivering knots. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Four from Harlequin

Kissed By A Vampire
Caridad Pineiro
Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 16 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885589

Two millennia ago, a betrayal by her beloved turned Stacia into a vampire who trusts no one so she roams the night alone. While on the prowl for chow in South beach, she finds a mortal near death. Though she cannot fathom why, instead of biting what was left of his life, Stacia saved him (see Death Calls).

In Miami, DEA agent Alex Garcia works a human trafficking case that targets young girls. When he runs into Stacia, Alex is stunned as he assumed the beautiful female haunting his dreams was a fantasy caused by his near death experience. Stacia realizes why she saved Alex’s life as she is attracted to him just like he is to her.

The latest action-packed Calling paranormal romance (see Fury Calls and Blood Calls) is a fast-paced romantic urban fantasy starring an elder vampire and a DEA human. Fans will enjoy their Miami joyride as they team up in love to rescue the girls and take down the vicious criminals. Harriet Klausner

The Witch’s Initiation
Elle James
Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 16 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885572

While attending college in Chicago, Aurai Chattox vanishes without a trace. While her four older sisters come to the Windy City, CPD undercover operative Cal Black investigates the disappearance of the sorority sister. To Cal, the case is personal as he was once engaged to the victim’s sister Deme until she left him without a word one year ago.

Deme prefers Cal to leave the quest to her and her siblings. However, dedicate cop that he is, Cal refuses to abide by the wishes of the woman who broke his heart. As they work together over her objections, Cal begins to see impossible things occur and soon learns Deme dumped him for fear of how he would react to learn the Chattox sisters are witches. When they find the darkness, the cop and the witch, realizing they remain in love, also know their chances of survival are slim at best.

The Witch’s Initiation is an exciting fast-paced romantic urban fantasy that will have readers believing in the paranormal in Chicago. The lead couple is fabulous second chance at love (after mission accomplished, if they live long enough) pairing. Although the climax is abrupt, fans will appreciate touring Chicago with Deme and Cal as our guides. Harriet Klausner

After Moonrise
P.C. Cast and Gina Showalter
Harlequin HQN, Oct 23 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9780373776481

“Possessed” by P.C. Cast. Psychic detective Kent Raef uses negativity to catch murderers. Lauren Wilcox asks for his help to find her twin sister’s murderer so her sibling, who communicates with her, can move on.

“Haunted” by Gina Showalter. Artist Aurora Harper believes she witnessed a vicious murder that her conscious mind repressed while subconsciously she paints the deadly scene. She turns to Detective Levi Reid, who struggles with memory lapses of unaccountable time, for help in finding the victim and the killer.

These are two engaging paranormal romantic investigate thrillers starring strong characters and a firm belief that the otherworldly essences exist. Harriet Klausner

A Lady Of Expectations And Other Stories
Stephanie Laurens, Nicola Cornick and Kasey Michaels
Harlequin HQN, Oct 23 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373777235

“A Lady of Expectations” by Stephanie Laurens. Considered a rake, Jack Lester wants a family but needs a wife who loves him. As such he conceals his wealth from the Ton. Jack believes Sophie Winterton is for him; but though she loves him, she rejects his courtship as she believes he needs to marry a wealthy heiress to save his estate.

“Secrets of a Courtesan” by Nicola Cornick. Eve Nightingale was once a mistress to the Duke of Welburn, but left him to settle as a respectable shopkeeper in Fortune's Folly. Five years after she vanished, Welburn arrives in the village.

“How to Woo a Spinster” by Kasey Michaels. Lady Emmaline Daughtry accepts her spinster status as a foregone conclusion. When Captain John Alistair tells her bad news, he admires her reaction. Obsessing over helping her, he remains nearby.

These reprints of three entertaining historical romances are fun reads that showcase the early talent of the authors though the plots are straightforward. The Nicola Cornick entry is part of her Brides of Fortune series (see The Confessions of a Duchess and The Undoing of a Lady) and the Kasey Michaels' contribution is a Daughtry family tale (see How To Tame A Lady). Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Fatal Stain
Elise Hyatt
Berkley Prime Crime, Oct 2 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425255230

Daring Finds furniture refinishing storeowner Candyce "Dyce" Dare is running out of diversions as her mom and her BFF Ben Colm demand she join them to plan her wedding to Goldport Serious Crimes Unit Chief Investigator Cas Wolfe. Dyce struggles with their concept of Pythagoras dressed in a tuxedo as the Best Cat and fears whatever else the dynamic duo has in mind.

While sanding a table she bought at the semi-permanent garage sale, Dyce uncovers a stain that looks like blood. Though she knows it is probably her imagination running wild due to growing up in her parent’s mystery bookstore, Dyce visits the garage sale location accompanied by E. She learns the last owner vanished; so she wonders if the disappearance ties back to the stain.

The latest A Daring Finds investigation (see French Polished Murder) is an amusing amateur sleuth starring a likable but immature heroine. The mystery is fun to follow though Dyce has no real reason to make inquiries. Still fans will enjoy this cozy and appreciate tips on restoring furniture.
Harriet Klausner

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance
Paige Shelton
Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425251614

In Broken Rope, Missouri, Miz Winston owns Gram’s Country Cooking School; her granddaughter Isabelle “Betts” Winston works closely with her. Betts’ best friend, Broken Rope’s Historical Society historian and fake sheriff Jake asks them if they can host a busload of foodies whose reservation was messed up and provide cooking lessons. The two relatives wonder where anyone will stay except the floor as their establishment is not a hotel; Betts arranges accommodations for the foodie crowd.

Soon afterward, Miz and Betts encounter the ax-wielding ghost of patricide murderer Sally Swarthmore. She pleads with the pair to find her diary that will prove she is not the notorious cold-blooded killer of legend. They also find one of their guests dead with a noose around his neck; two other foodies are missing. Betts turns to her boyfriend Cliff of the local police department while also doing an inquiry.

The latest Country Cooking School Mystery (see If Fried Chicken Could Fly) is an entertaining amateur sleuth starring a heroine struggling to adapt to communicating with ghosts though she has a mentor helping her adjust. The pair of whodunits engages the audience though the solutions of each seem obvious early on. Still fans will enjoy Betts working paranormal and human murder cases. Harriet Klausner

Spy in a Little Black Dress
Maxine Kenneth
Grand Central, Oct 2 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780446567428

In 1951, CIA rookie Jackie Bouvier feels better about her espionage work after surviving her first assignment (see Paris To Die For) and having received some need training. Deputy Director Allen Dulles asks the Washington Times-Herald photojournalist to meet and flirts with Jack Kennedy as he wants the Massachusetts Congressman to become “a friend of the CIA.”

Jackie is sent under the guise of her photojournalist job to Cuba. There she is to learn what she can about revolutionary Fidel Castro by getting inside the Communist Party. The CIA wants to better understand his objectives and whether he is a viable threat to the brutal regime of Battista.

The second Jackie Bouvier, CIA operative thriller is a fun over the top of Pico Turquino espionage tale. Fast-paced with plenty of action and anchored in time and place by real persona like Hemingway and Sinatra, fans who relish an exciting implausible action thriller will enjoy Jackie meeting Jack and Fidel as the Spy in a Little Black Dress. Harriet Klausner

The Gemini Virus
Wil Mara
Forge, Oct 2 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765324313

In Ramsey, New Jersey, Bob Easton dies in horrible agony from an unknown illness that had him suffering from large pustules on his entire body and total delirium,. However before he passed away, Bob spread the disease to others. Six more people are dead while the local health responders are overwhelmed with the sick.

Centers for Disease Control Epidemic Intelligence Service epidemiologists Michael Beck and Cara Porter investigate the horrific deaths. As they work the New Jersey epidemic trying to identify what the killer is and whether Easton is patient zero, the disease spreads exponentially across the United States and beyond. America panics as does the world.

With a nod to the movie Contagion, The Gemini Virus is a vivid (the audience will become mysophobia agoraphobic), exhilarating lethal virus thriller. Part of the fun is the reactions of people as some welcome the biblical End of Days while others blame the government. Fast-paced from the first cough and sneeze, the storyline never takes a respite as the Gemini Virus goes viral. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ghosts, Paranormal and Fantasy

The Black Isle
Sandi Tan
Grand Central, Aug 7 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780446563925

In 1922, Ling was born a few minutes before her brother Li. She was the stronger of the twins so starting with the midwife and her parents, Chinese society blamed her for being a female. Her family doted on the male hero while Ling was treated as a lesser sidekick. However, over the next few years Li took care of his sister. When they are seven, they sneak to the park where an old man encourages Li to break the neck of a cat, which he does to the horror of Ling. His action causes a schism between the twins and she suddenly has the ability to see ghosts.

Leaving their mom behind, the twins and their father leave Shanghai during the Japanese occupation sailing to the Black Isle though lonely Ling watched a young ghost swim and kept her brother alive though their blood connection. Lonely Ling sees ghosts everywhere in the Black Isle but ignores them except when her once gentle but abusive father and other men in her life make demands of her. Deciding to embrace her talent, she changes her name to Cassandra.

This is a powerful twentieth century paranormal historical anchored in a gruesome realism that displays the worst of humanity. The storyline reads like an autobiography as Ling-Cassandra tells her epic adventures during several troubled decades. Ling’s voice makes for a discerning at times grisly (and repulsive but apropos) thriller in which fans will want to tour The Black Isle during this tumultuous era. Harriet Klausner

Trucker Ghost Stories: And Other True Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road
Annie Wilder (editor)
Tor, Aug 7 2012, $12.99
ISBN: 9780765330352

This is a fun collection (unless you are the authors) of short shorts written by people who insist they met unnatural phenomena while on the road. The true encounters are divided into four chapters: Just Plain Weird, Messages and Assistance from the Spirit World, Haunted Highways: Legends and Lore of the Road, and Time Slips. In some cases, the entry reads like a campfire ghost story and in others like the driver entered the “Turnpike to the Twilight Zone” as R. Dustin Mercer discusses about a trip in the Pittsburgh area he has done many times but this time is eerily different.

The first entry George Stern, Jr. “Demon In Texas” sets the tone as no one will sleep near an Indian burial ground. Matt McFadden’s firsthand account of the “Girl in the Window” staring at him as he drives. Stacy Eldrige discusses Uncle Jim’s “Uninvited Passenger” who faded into thin air. When Lee Honawu was fourteen he drove his grandma’s truck with his younger brother as a passenger only they saw a “Skinwalker in Arizona.”

If you are looking for tight editing and perfect grammar you need take a detour away from this anthology; as a major part of what makes these stories fascinating are the observers’ writings on roads like “Old Highway 666 in New Mexico” by Susan Miller and “Ghost Rider on Highway 666” by Carl Smith. Harriet Klausner

Gustav Gloom and the People Taker
Adam-Troy Castro and Kristen Margiotta (illustrator)
Grosset & Dunlap, Aug 16 2012, $12.99
ISBN: 9780448458335

The neighbors on Sunnyside Terrace demand the city do something about the eye-sore Gloom House and its five year old resident Gustav Gloom. The Mayor’s office sends Mr. Notes who asks Gustav if his parents are home; Gustav says he does not know as he does not know where their home is only they are not here on Sunnyside Terrace. After debating rudeness, seventeen minutes later Mr. Notes flees Gloom House.

Five years later, Gustav watches the What family move into the house next door. A shape tells him the younger of two daughters, ten year old Fermie What likes spooky tales. Worried about both girls but especially Fermie, Gustav plans to warn her. When Fermie watches her cat’s apparent shadow pursue her cat she follows it into Gloom house. There she finds an enigmatic world in which books exist that have not been written yet and shadows, including her own, dine at a feast. The People Taker plans to abduct Fermie and her family and take them to the Shadow Country; only she and her new BFF Gustav Gloom can prevent this calamity.

This is a great tweener horror thriller starring two delightful ten year old children and a strong support cast including shadows like that of Mr. Notes and the vile People Taker. Adam-Troy Castro’s exciting tale is enhanced by Kristen Margiotta’s wonderful illustrations that affirm Gustav Gloom looks like the unhappiest child ever seen. Harriet Klausner

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Ruth Long
Dial, Aug 16 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780803735804

Siblings Jenny and Tom were walking past some small trees at the edge of woods while he played his flute. She is horrified when the trees grab Tom. Over the next seven years her family takes Jenny to see psychiatrist though the nightmares never abate.

Now seventeen and filled with survivor guilt as well as knowing the trees abducted her brother, Jenny finally returns to the scene of the kidnapping where she hears Tom’s flute playing. Following the tune, Jenny bravely enters the Realm of the diverse fae. Frightened but intrepid Jenny stumbles on her quest to bring home Tom. When she meets Jack a broken Fae who warns her to keep her distance, she cannot as she knows Jack would never harm her. Jack and Jenny team up to rescue Tom in a Realm in which betrayal is the norm.

This is an engaging tweener-young teen quest fantasy starring a wonderful courageous but scared heroine and the Fae who has her back (maybe as this Realm is known for The Treachery of Beautiful Things). Written as a series of superb short adventures with Jenny jumping from one fire to another against ruthless enemies, readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller though it never quite feels like a long novel.
Harriet Klausner

Devil’s Gate
F.J. Lennon
Atria, Aug 7 2012, $15.00
ISBN 9781439186602

Kane Pryce burned out after years exorcising spirits though he is only twenty-eight years old. Suffering from PTSD, Kane left his day job as a paranormal Soul Trapper to focus on music as a band guitarist.

Although he vowed to never use his late dad’s soul trap to enable spirits to leave earth (willingly or not), Kane realizes that something malevolent entices people to commit kill themselves at Pasadena’s Suicide Bridge; these unfortunates remain trapped underneath the edifice. Reluctantly he decides to liberate the captive souls. However, to achieve his lofty objective, Kane must first learn what incarcerates them at the Devil’s Gate before he goes after the evil with the Soul Trap.

The second Kane Pryce paranormal thriller is an exhilarating urban fantasy starring an anti-Ghostbusters reluctant hero. Ironically his walk on the wild side of Hollywood music and even crazier trysts seem as dangerous to Kane (self-inflicted) as the wicked monster who haunts Suicide Bridge. Readers will appreciate his latest battle with supernatural and natural psychopaths. Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chimera, Savage and Enchanting the Lady reviewed

T.C McCarthy
Orbit, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316128179

The Subterrene War is over (see Germline and Exogene) and the victors begin a sweep of those Germline genetically engineered female soldiers who refuse to accept termination. Stan Resnick is the best at hunting and executing runaway Germline; so why many celebrate the end of the hostilities, he remains on the job.

Resnick’s current assignment is locating a religiously revered figure in Thailand. He knows how difficult her status makes it for him to even get near her as the government protects her. Stan not only must reach this Germline, he needs to obtain her cooperation in his hunt for Dr. Chen; the scientist allegedly tampering with Germlines' expiration measures to expand the lifespan of these genetically engineered females beyond the protocol of two years. Resnick, Lucy and Jihoon Kim begin their quest while rumors abound that the Chinese-Korean "Project Sunshine" has created much worse engineered monsters.

The third Subterrene War urban fantasy continues the profound look at what a human is and what faith is as the Germline believe they belong to God with their "faith and death" imprint while their creators are atheists (except in a foxhole) whose creations are killing machines in God’s name. The cast is solid as once again Germlines seem real and the even more way out results of Project Sunshine does too. Ironically Kim used to monitor psychos like Resnick who eat and breathe war as the team up to prevent an engineered combat escalation. However, it is the thought provoking questions about organized governments and religions need to kill in God's name as a stairway to heaven for expendable soldiers that make this trilogy a winner.
Harriet Klausner

Willow Rose
CreateSpace, Jun 16 2012, $16.08
ISBN: 9781477662397

In 1983 after completing three years of med school at a university in his home country Denmark, twenty-two year old Christian Langaa is unhappy that his dad arranged with a friend Dr. Kirk for his son to stay in St. Augustine while attending med school there. He would prefer to stay home until he sees the country club opulence he will reside in for the next year and meets Maria the maid who will do his laundry and cooking unlike back in Odense since his mom died. Making it even tastier to the Dane is his host’s daughter Heather and her friends.

Christian, Heather and others go on a trek to show him a live alligator in the swamps. However, he soon finds himself in a deadly situation until a jaguar appears out of nowhere to pull him from the alligators to safety before vanishing. Confused, Christian begins having visions that include his feline rescuers and wondering about the beautiful neighbors who seem to possess supernatural powers. When he meets Aiyana from next door residents, Christopher falls in love but the jaguar haunts him.

The first Daughters of the Jaguar thriller is a terrific romantic urban fantasy starring a male who seems to have it all and knows it. The character driven storyline narrated by the Danish medical student grips the audience from the moment the arrogant Christian finds the swamp too wild for his tastes and never slows down as he learns lessons in humility while obsessing over mysterious Aiyana. Harriet Klausner

Enchanting The Lady
Kathryne Kennedy
Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402269820

In 1882 London, duchess-of-honor Felicity Seymour is worried that she legally will lose her inheritance as she lacks the magical gifts of her parents; Prince Albert's rule states that no magic equates to no duchy. Lion shapeshifter Sir Terence Blackwell enjoys finding ancient relics, but also is a close friend of the Prince, who asked him to participate in the test of Felicity. She ignominiously fails, but Terence feels something was not right as he experiences a trace of relic-magic in use, which makes no sense.

Terence decides to court Felicity somewhat because he is attracted other; somewhat because he feels sorry for her as she is now a pariah like he is as a shapeshifter; and somewhat because what he believes destroyed her test is too similar to what killed his brother. He needs to know whether Felicity is the user or the victim of dark magic. However, Terence never expected to fall in love with her.

The Relics of Merlin’s Enchanting The Lady is a reprint of a fantastic late Victorian romantic fantasy that casts a magic spell on the audience from the moment the heroine expects to fail her test and never let's go until the final magical revelation. The story line is fast-paced with an underlying paranormal mystery that enhances the prime romantic plot; the fantasy elements provide a unique look at 1882 England as Kathryne Kennedy provides her readers with a wonderful thriller. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey and Bill Evans

The Great Hunt
Robert Jordan
Tor, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765334343

The Dark One’s minion Trollocs and Myrddraal raid Fal Dara where the heroes who defended the Eye of the World are gathered. The evil horde free Darkfriend Padan Fain who before fleeing the border village absconds with the Horn of Valere which when blown brings legendary heroes to fight the user’s side and also takes Mat's soul-stealing dagger.

Lord Ingtar puts together a team to include the three male defenders of the Eye of the World (Rand, Perrin, and Mat) to retrieve the stolen relics. At the same time their female comrades Nynaeve and Egwene travel with the Amyrlin Seat Aes Sedai witch Siuan Sanche to Tar Valon to begin their training.

The reprint of the exciting second Wheel of Time fantasy is an action-packed thriller especially when the focus is on the quest to repossess the purloined Horn and dagger; the female training comes across as weaker sister distracting from the prime plot. The different people met on the journey enhance and expand the Jordon mythos while the five heroes of the Eye of the World seem to have lost their coming of age maturity they obtained during their previous harrowing adventures. Still overall this is an entertaining quest fantasy that sub-genre fans will appreciate.
Harriet Klausner

The Girl Who Heard Dragons
Anne McCaffrey
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765333643

This is a reprint of a wonderful 1994 short story collection; only the title story occurs in Pern. "The Girl Who Heard Dragons" introduces readers to Aramina and her family on the run to keep her from being abused due to talent to communicate with dragons; to learn more about her fate read “The Renegades of Pern”. The space colonists find a planet seemingly abandoned for no obvious cause in "Velvet Fields". Combat Dr. Bardie Makem feels attracted to "A Sleeping Humpty Dumpty Beauty" comatose soldier. Humanity continues to expand across the planet leaving no room for large animals in the wild and consequently there are a dwindling few riders left in "The Quiet One." A woman offers "The Greatest Love" by wanting to carry her brother and sister-in-law’s fetus but charges of incest and adultery are filed against the trio and the Ob-gyn who performed the first such fertilization. During the Civil War, the Arab female slave protects a plantation’s residents horses included in "Zulei, Grace, Nimshi, and the Damnyankees." B&W drawings enhance the compilation that showcases the versatility of the late great Anne McCaffrey who wrote several other wonderful series besides Pern. Harriet Klausner

Blackmail Earth
Bill Evans
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765327833

Anyone who kept their head buried in the sand over global warming knows they were wrong as climate change has left the United States suffering from a horrific extended drought. While America is in a heated presidential campaign, around the world weather conditions are not any better as rising sea water from the melting caps threaten to submerge island nations. In the Maldives, al-Qaeda affiliates blame the West for the rising oceans that, if continued on its current pace, will submerge the archipelago. They plan a suicide bombing to reverse the trend from global warming to global freezing; The North Koreans also plan an even more dangerous assault.

Manhattan TV meteorologist Jenna Withers covers a story in upstate New York where she meets and is attracted to farmer Dafoe Tillian who has issues with pagan rites held nearby that turn ugly when their leader is murdered. POTUS names Jenna on a task force working to use technology to end global warming. At the same time reporter Rick Birk is in the Maldives on assignment.

This climate change thriller is an exciting tale as the several subplots begin to converge with Jenna as the focus. The entertaining storyline is filled with action from start to finish except for the unnecessary romance between the intrepid (way too skilled) heroine and the farmer, which feels more like a requirement of the genre. Still fans will enjoy the exhilarating Blackmail Earth. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

Krampus: The Yule Lord
Harper Voyager, Oct 30 2012, $27.99
ISBN: 9780062095657

In impoverished Boone County, West Virginia on Christmas Eve, songwriter Jesse Walker is raging and depressed since his wife Linda, taking their child Abigail with her, left their trailer park home to move in with crooked cop named Dillard. Jesse wishes Santa would return his family to him. However, he stops his wish-making when he observes seven devilish looking people chasing a man in a red suit. All eight enter a sleigh pulled by eight reindeers; who take to the sky. Stunned Jesse hears screams in the sky followed by a red satin bag falling near him. To his shock, Jesse realizes he has Santa’s magical sack, which he plans to use to bring his family home to him.

The horned Yule Lord Krampus escapes from the cave that Santa incarcerated him in centuries ago. He wants vengeance but his top priority is to take back what Santa took from him as the Yuletide season belongs to him. That means obtaining the red satin sack that Jesses possesses. Father Christmas meets Jesse first and they agree to prevent the Yule Lord from achieving his objectives while also enabling Jesse to win back his wife and child. Not sure who to trust the troubled Jesse cannot fathom the hostilities between these ancient enemies who have him in their crosshairs.

Krampus is an exhilarating gory Christmas tale as Santa and Lord Yule battle each other while the mortal matures as he gains confidence and esteem while moving away from self-pity and debasement. Fast-paced from the moment Santa and the devils fight and never slows down, fans will appreciate this coming of age holiday horror thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fantasys from Harriet

Archangel’s Storm
Nalini Singh
Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425246580

Overlooking the Hudson at the home of Raphael the Archangel, Dmitri the added almost millennium old vampire and Honor Archangel’s Blade the powerful Guild Hunter ancient language expert marry (see Archangel’s Blade for their adventure). During the reception, Raphael’s spymaster Jason the angel learns that Archangel Neha’s consort Eris was murdered. Compounding the horrific timing is Neha was already certifiable, but now grief further drives the archangel over the edge.

To prevent a Neha rage that would devastate earth killing the innocent, Jason offers to find the killer. Having been betrayed by her late consort and her sister years ago, Neha agrees with the stipulation that Jason blood vows to her niece, offspring of Nivriti and Eris. As Jason and Mahiya investigate though wary of one another, more homicides follow.

The latest Guild Hunter romantic urban fantasy (see Archangel’s Consort) is a terrific whodunit as two distrusting souls fall in love but never lose sight of the mission. Fast-paced from the moment Jason learns of the murder, readers will enjoy visiting the vivid Singh realm as time is running out on planet earth as we know it.
Harriet Klausner

Dragon’s Moon
Lucy Monroe
Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99
ISBN 9780425246627

In 1142 Scotland, three Chrechte, Faolwolf shifters (Galen, his twelve year old sister Ciara, and Luon) are on the sacred hunting grounds when they accost two young raven shifters. Galen and Luon threaten the frightened pair to the horror of Ciara when a roaring dragon kills the two males. A shocked Ciara rushes home but when she informs her mom that Galen is dead, her mother commits suicide. Grieving for her losses, Ciara vows to never love anyone again.

In 1149 Scotland, Ciara meets Ean Prince Eirik, the only known dragon shifter who she hates for killing her loved ones seven years ago. However, Ciara knows from her dreams she must find the lost wolves’ sacred stone or the Chrechte race will become extinct. To accomplish her quest she needs help, which only Eirik can provide.

The fourth Children of the Moon romantic historical fantasy (see Moon Craving and Moon Burning) is a superb medieval paranormal Scottish Highlands thriller. The quest is riveting while the romance between enemies gripping (including other couples). However, it is the deep look at shifter subcultures that make for a powerful thriller while more mall murders follow. Harriet Klausner

Brachman's Underworld
Vlad Vaslyn
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Jun 10 2012, $17.13
ISBN: 9781463698911

Raging Delilah Brachman visits Lowell General Hospital to see her dying father the colonel; whom she has not seen in twelve years. He apologizes for pushing her away when she was twenty, but Del tells him to stuff his too late at being there for her. Still she gives him hope that she forgives him but sarcastically dashes it with euphoria that he is dying. Del leaves only to get caught with a little boy in a crossfire between cops and a felon; she shields the child with her body.

When Del awakens she learns the only decent thing she did in her miserable life has given her temporary in-betweener status with six days to find a way to avoid oblivion. Her ticket is to ride the Tuesday Train while awaiting judgment. In her take no prisoners style Delilah battles Noc the diabolical lonely demon and Honest Jack the torturer. Combating this pair and other hellish, heavenly and outside entities is child’s play for acerbic Del who holds all with contempt as she rips asunder horns and halos by tearing away their veneer. However, Del faces internal strife when she meets Lucy who offered her friendship and is attracted to Kevin as her manta is the only good relationship is no relationship.

Sarcastic Delilah brings freshness to the afterlife in Other Lowell and Lowell with her attitude towards others humans, demons, believers, etc. as she makes Don Rickles seem more like Mother Theresa. Readers will surprisingly go from believing Del gets what she wrought to empathizing with her as her emotional defense mechanism in life and death is hammering others. The acrimonious protagonist makes Brachman's Underworld a unique reading experience. Harriet Klausner

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Collaboration Between Larry Niven and Gregory Benford

"A collaboration between Gregory Benford & Larry Niven is one of those dream-team arrangements that publishers and readers, um, dream about." - Russell Letson, Locus

Releasing next Tuesday: BOWL OF HEAVEN (Tor Hardcover; $25.99; October 16th
2012)--the first collaboration from science fiction icons Gregory Benford and Larry Niven. This astonishing tale of alien encounters and strange technologies is brimming with unique concepts and was recently named on io9.com's list of "This Fall's Must Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books."

The limits of wonder are redrawn as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star. A landing party is sent to investigate but are soon separated-one group captured by the structure's alien inhabitants; the other pursed across its strange and dangerous landscape. Soon the mystery of the Bowl's purpose will lead the voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Gregory Benford is a recipient of the United Nations Medal for Literature and the award-winning author of Timescape. Larry Niven, New York Times bestselling author of Lucifer's Hammer (with Jerry Pournelle) and the classic Ringworld series. Science fiction are eagerly awaiting the publication of BOWL OF HEAVEN.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Into The Woods by Kim Harrison reviewed

Into the Woods
Kim Harrison
Harper Voyager, Oct 9 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780061974328

This excellent anthology provides readers a strong glimpse at the full Harrison realm to include inside and outside the Hollows.

Part one focuses on The Hollows with three short stories and four novelettes; six previously published and a new tale of Rachel and Trent (“Million Dollar Baby”).

The second section contains four “Beyond The Hollows” fantasy short stories that apparently were never published before (“Pet Shop Boys”, “Temson Estate”, Spider Silk” and “Grace”). In "Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil" Inderland Security Homicide Division cop and living vampire Ivy seeks a killer who knows her every move even as she evades the moves of her boss Art an undead vampire.

Teenager Rachel recuperates from I.S. disease that killed her father and nearly killed her, but left her new powers as a witch in training; however, she missuses her new skills with a resurrection that may prove lethal in "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel." Jenks the pixy and Bis the gargoyle investigate a case involving pixy children in Ley Line Drifter." In “Million-Dollar Baby,” Trent and Jenks go on an elf-quest. Will Temson inherits much more than he bargained for when he gained "Temson Estates." In "Spider Silk" the angry tree spirit rages at three generations of females (Emily the grandmother, Meg the mom and Lilly the child).

The collection is quite good providing more insight into the Hollows and into the rest of the Harrison mythos. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Into the Woods by Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison
On Sale 10/9/2012 ~ Harper Voyager ~ ISBN 9780061974328 $24.99 ~ e-ISBN 9780062207906 $11.99

“Elegant and taut as a gymnast’s cartwheel, Harrison’s polished prose drives a story that will have readers

swerving in their seat.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“With more than 2.5 million “Hollows” books in print, Harrison has definitely tapped a nerve — or a magical ley line.”
— San Antonio Express-News

“I wouldn’t miss a Kim Harrison book for anything.”
— Charlaine Harris

In the tradition of Side Jobs, A Touch of Dead and Strange Candy, top bestselling urban fantasy Kim Harrison delivers a special treat this Halloween season to her legion of readers: INTO THE WOODS, a new collection of short stories from the #1 New York Times bestselling author. The collection features an all-new full length novella plus a variety of new short original works, along with a carefully curated assortment of previously-published stories. Fantasy readers will be thrilled at the contents of INTO THE WOODS, giving them insight into the world of Harrison’s “The Hollows,” a magically-altered take on modern Cincinnati, as well as some original stories that lead one to wonder what the author will explore next as this beloved series of books, featuring bounty hunter/witch/demon Rachel Morgan, heads to a breathtaking finale.

The short story fans have been waiting for:

Many have wondered what happened in PALE DEMON to draw elven entrepreneur Trent Kalamack and Jenks the pixie north to Seattle while Rachel fought for her life against a tribunal of witches. The original novella “Million Dollar Baby” finally solves the riddle of their disappearance – and explains how Trent returns to the Hollows with his own newborn progeny – a baby no one in the world, Inderland or human, knew existed.

Other Hollows-set short stories in the collection include:

· “Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” - Provides some fascinating history on the living vampire Ivy, who “is both her crutch and her saving grace,” according to the author.

· “Dirty Magic” - Banshees are amongst the most feared species in the Inderland community. This chilling tale featuring Mia the banshee will prove to readers why they deserve to be kept at arm’s length!

· “The Bridges of Eden Park” is Kim Harrison’s love letter to Kisten, a character whom she and legions of readers still miss.

· “Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” is a ghostly tale featuring Rachel and her brother that introduces a powerful witch from the past into the Hollows community.

· “The Bespelled” is an eerie short story featuring the demon Algaliarept, originally published in the mass market edition of The Outlaw Demon Wails.

· “Ley Line Drifter” – A story told through the pint-sized perspective of the larger-than-life pixie Jenks, this tells the cautionary tale of a pixie and a gargoyle doing battle with a wicked dryad; originally published in Unbound.

Harrison also ventures outside The Hollows to share four chilling tales set in alternate realities:

· “Pet Shop Boys” – Harrison relates that she’s always loved the idea of the fey living in a world twin to our own, and wondering what might happen when the veil between worlds thins. In this short story, we find out how much of a dog-eat-dog parallax it might be!

· “Temson Estates” –Written during a period when Harrison found herself pondering the existence of dryads, this is an evocative (and somewhat spooky) tale of land, man and spirit.

· “Spider Silk” –This longer tale about a strange woodland spirit and the family he has beguiled and terrorized for generations is dark and eerie: not something you should read alone in the woods as night approaches!

· “Grace” – The character of Grace has haunted Harrison for years, and this is the perfect story to complete this urban fantasy collection.

About the author: New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in Michigan, and has recently returned there. Her bestselling Hollows novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, The Bad, and The Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction and Pale Demon. She is also the author of The Hollows Insider, the bestselling Madison Avery YA series, and the graphic novel Blood Work.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Reviews from Harriet

Queen of Wands
John Ringo
Baen, Aug 7 2012, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451637892

In Algomo, Mississippi devout Christian Barbara Everette is a soccer mom raising three kids (Allison, Jason and Brooke) and a husband Mark who appears to be in charge. Barbara asks Mark if she can take a needed respite from the family, which he approves as he assumes she will take a few days in Gulfport to clear her head. Instead, the Foundation for Love and Universal Faith (FLUF) agent has been hearing voices and seeing demons riding on people unaware of them. Barb assigns her oldest offspring teenage Allison to run the house while she is away.

Barb consults with sexagenarian FLUF agent Sharice Rickels who tells her she has gained the Gifts of the Sight of demons and the Ear of the thoughts of demons and other creatures. FLUF operative and Special Circumstance FBI consultant Augustus Germaine asks Barb and Sharice to come to Chattanooga where Asatru priestess Doris "Janea" Grisham is near death because her ka has been removed from her body. FBI Agent Kurt Spornberger arrives from Atlanta working the Madness cases as he and the FLUF operatives head to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Facility where evil abounds with walking dead people who lost their ka and ba. As Janea fights for her existence, Barb and associates fight to prevent a zombie takeover.

The sequel to Princess of Wands is a fun urban fantasy starring two intrepid heroines fighting evil on different planes though the book comes across more like three interrelated satirical tales rather than a novel. Mindful of Julie Kenner’s amusing Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom but bloodier and gorier, fans will enjoy the adventures of Barb and Janea even with an odd ending. Harriet Klausner

Meljean Brook
Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $16.00
ISBN: 9780425256046

Several years ago, Annika Fridasdottor inadvertently placed at risk Iceland when she revealed the mechanical secrets that protect the island from the Horde and other invaders. However, her sister Källa said she was culpable and was exiled from Iceland. Filled with guilt, Annika took a position on the airship Phaeton in search of her sibling.

Years ago an experiment went bad leaving David Kentewess without the use of his legs and a hand, and left his mother dead. Physically, David lives a normal life due to nanoagents and prosthetics while working as a volcanologist. Emotionally he misses his beloved mother; so for two decades David obsessively needed to complete her last request to return her to her home Hannasvik, but has lost hope of ever succeeding though he keeps trying. Booking passage on the Phaeton, David meets Annika and thinks he recognizes the accent he last heard so many years ago. However, instead of exposing her as he threatens to do, David and Annika are stranded on a fjord with an obsessed maniac in pursuit.

The latest Iron Seas romantic steampunk fantasy (The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel) is a superb thriller that grips the reader with the conflicting obsessive quests of the protagonists with each on a personal mission that makes them enemies who initially judge the other as unworthy. Filled with action on the ship and the glacier, fans will be Riveted by Meljean Brooks’ latest adventures. Harriet Klausner

Black Bottle
Anthony Huso
Tor, Aug 21 2012, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765325174

Lovers Caliph Howl the blood mathematician mage and Sena Iilool adept of the Shradnæ witches control Stonehold. However, during the combat, Caliph died and soon afterward Sena, using an incantation from the ancient Cisrym Ta tome, brought him back to life.

Word spreads to the nearby empires in the south whose monarchs want the Cisrym Ta and will sacrifice anyone to obtain it. Arriving from Pandragor, Taelin Rae wants to establish the Nenuln Church in Stonehold but feels she must kill the evil Sena who is an affront to God. At a time when Caliph is expected to attend a regional leader summit, a plague has crippled Stonehold and there is the enigmatic Uncle Nathaniel, who works in mysterious ways as he assists his nephew with ancient enemies.

The sequel to The Last Page is an entertaining but convoluted high tech fantasy with much of the action occurring from passive sources like dreams and books. Caliph and Sena are courageous champions while the mystery of Nathaniel enhances the tale. Still not for everyone, fans who relish the convergence of math, science and fantasy in a complicated but difficult to follow thriller will enjoy Anthony Huso's blood magic. Harriet Klausner

Devil Said Bang
Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager, Aug 28 2012
ISBN: 9780062094575

Avenging Nephilim James “Sandman Slim” Stark sarcastically thinks what a hell of a way to escape from hell (the second time around). To his chagrin the monster killing monster has become a cosmic joke as the new Lucifer (see Aloha From Hell); a job with more paperwork than a government agency. Stark loathes being Hell’s top hell-raiser but also knows with his new armor comes a crosshair encouraging the wannabe horde (from heaven, hell and points in between and outside) to challenge for the filled leadership position.

To escape the bureaucratic work, Stark returns to Los Angeles, which can be more hellish than hell. He soon learns of a serial killing ghost terrorizing the city and worse his angelic side that he needs to become whole again has vanished inside of the lost days as a cabal rewrites reality. Maybe Milton is partially right that it is "better to reign in Hell than to serve” on earth.

The forth dark Sandman Slim fantasy is a fabulous sarcastic satire that humorously continues to mock society and organized religion though at a diminished rate compared to the end of days’ twister of Aloha From Hell; as nothing remains sacred inside of the Kadrey pantheon. Action-packed with a nourish feel to the storyline, Sandman Slim learns for the second time you can’t go home when someone can alter reality. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ravenstone Press Release

Showcasing the very best in literature for the young, Ravenstone will publish one book a season. It will exist to highlight works of genre-busting adventure, and incisive and challenging writing.

The imprint’s launch title will be the beautiful debut novel Lupus Rex, by the high-profile musician and writer John Carter Cash. To be published in June 2013, Lupus Rex will have enormous appeal to children and older readers alike. This astonishing new tale is in the tradition of Watership Down, The Rats of Nimh, the Redwall series and Duncton Wood.

Isyl and Cormo are two quail who must risk their lives when they are driven from
their home by the crows when the Murder fractures over the decision of who shall
rule the Tree. The disorder this brings to the region comes to the attention of the
wolf Asmod and he sees an opportunity to make himself King. To restore order the
quails must venture far from their home to seek an audience with a potentially
dangerous ally, the hawk Pitrin. As the forest trembles with the approach of
Asmod’s army, the two quail will find themselves entangled in an epic struggle,
as they fight to bring peace to the Field.

This is a major release from a debut imprint and Cash shows himself to be a beautiful
writer in his first novel. With a stylish and classic cover by ‘Wicked’ series artist
Douglas Smith, this tale of nature is full of strong characters and sets the bar very
high for an emerging literary talent.

Ravenstone’s titles will be published in hardback, paperback and e-book formats in
the US and the UK, allowing new generations of readers the chance to explore new worlds and new horizons. They will be distributed by Simon and Schuster.

Editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver said: “The Young Adult market is a vibrant and
exciting melting pot of genres and ideas and I’m delighted to lead us into this
territory with our new imprint.”

About Ravenstone

Showcasing the very best in literature for the young, Ravenstone is a brand new publishing imprint bringing works of quality fiction to young readers around
the world.

Dedicated to highlighting works of genrebusting adventure and incisive and
challenging writing, Ravenstone will be launched in September 2012.

About John Carter Cash

The only son to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, John Carter Cash is a singer-songwriter and record producer.

He is also the author of his mother’s biography, Anchored in Love. His first children’s book, Momma Loves Her Little Son, was released on March 24, 2009 and published by Simon & Schuster. Artist Marc Burckhardt provided the unique and beautiful illustrations. In May 2010, the second book in the series, Daddy Loves His Little Girl, was released. John Carter’s third children’s book, The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit, was published as a Spring 2012 release and is illustrated by Scott Nash. Lupus Rex is his novel debut. John Carter Cash owns and operates
the Cash Cabin Studio near Nashville, Tennessee. His production company is Cash Productions, LLC. He often performs and works in the studio with his wife Laura Cash, who is an accomplished fiddle player and vocalist.

John Carter Cash lives in Hendersonville, TN and is the father of three.

Genre-busting adventure
Challenging writing
Showcasing the very best
in literature for the young
Welcome to Ravenstone!
Rebellion Publishing is proud to announce the launch of its
new line of Children’s and Young Adult fiction – Ravenstone.

‘Lupus Rex is a wonderful, wise book. I was entranced. The message within these
pages is one the world needs to hear.’ Douglas Preston, co-author of The Relic

Monday, October 1, 2012

100 Years of Tarzan

Happy 100th Birthday to Tarzan

Tarzan of the Apes was run as a complete story in the October, 1912 issue of The All-Story magazine and it was enough of a success to create interest in further adventures and a hardcover book deal. The first hardcover was published by McClurg in 1914 and the first edition sold out in three months. And as they are prone to say, the rest is history.

There have been 24 original Tarzan novels and other authorized and unauthorized stories told. Not to mention countless comic books, newspaper comics, movies, television series, and radio presentations, Tarzan is still a popular character the world over.

In his fanzine, FADEAWAY #31 for October-November 2012, Robert Jennings has a terrific article on “Tarzan on the Radio” that tells the story of Burroughs and his creation from his creation as a story to his last radio adventure in 1936. It’s very interesting reading and is distributed through the Southern Amateur Press Alliance (SFPA). Limited copies may still be available from Jennings at 29 Whiting Road, Oxford, MA 01540-2035. Subs are available for $18 for 6 issues.

There are two new books in the Tarzan series from Open Road Media on October 16. They will both be released as ebooks at $7.99 each.

TARZAN: THE GREYSTOKE LEGACY, Andy Briggs, Open Road Media, ebook, $7.99, ISBN: 9781453262931.
In this modernization of the Tarzan story, Jane’s father is an illegal logger in the Congo. It is also a hot bed of poaching activities used to finance the war that is going on.
Tarzan is doing his best to protect his family from the loggers and the poachers when he saves Jane’s life and her adventures begin.
Briggs follows the major plots of the original adventure with the apes, D’Arnot, Kerchank and all the other things you expect to find in a jungle adventure. In this version, Tarzan’s parents were conservationists whose plane went down and they were declared missing.

TARZAN; THE JUNGLE WARRIOR, Andy Briggs, Open Road Media, ebook, $7.99, ISBN: 9781453262948.
In this continuation of the first adventure, we meet Nikolas Rokoff a notorious hunter and poacher who is contracted to find a rare prize that will cause Tarzan to go to any length to return the prize to its home.
Jane and her friends continue to find out about who Tarzan really is and finds there is a reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Lord and Lady Greystoke.
This adventure causes Tarzan to leave the safety of the jungle and go into civilization to accomplish his quest.

Both titles are geared for a younger generation and are filled with plenty of action and adventure that should help a new generation rediscover the magic that was Tarzan and hopefully will seek out the other original stories and find that “sense-a-wonder” I and others found upon reading them for the first time.

Kudos to Andy Briggs and ERB, Inc. for celebrating the centenary with new adventures from an old favorite.