Friday, November 30, 2012

New Ebook form Rowena Cory Daniels

From the best-selling world of King Rolen’s Kin:

The King’s Man
by Rowena Cory Daniells

An ebook exclusive

£3.49 (UK) $3.99 (US)
Available from 6th December

Epub ISBN: 9781849974721
Kindle ISBN: 9781849974738

Return to Rowena Cory Daniells’ best-selling fantasy world

“Page-turning, plot-twisting, breakneck adventure.” – SFX on The Kings’ Bastard

“Pacy and full of action and intrigue.” – Trudi Canavan on The Kings’ Bastard

Returning to the world she created for the best-selling series The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, Rowena Cory Daniells has crafted a brand new novella – available next week from Solaris!

In the Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin trilogy everyone believed Garzik had been killed. This ebook exclusive reveals what happened to him.

When Dovecote estate fell, Garzik, younger son of Lord Dovecote, was captured and sent back to Merofynia as a prize of war. Feeling responsible for the fall of his father’s estate – and therefore, ultimately, the fall of the Kingdom of Rolencia – Garzik must set things right before he can return home.

He decides to turn his misfortune into opportunity, to spy for the rightful king, Byren, who yet thinks him slain at Dovecote. With fortune on his side, he may learn something that could change the path of the war, then escape, return home, find Byren and redeem himself. For Garzik is and always will be the king’s man.

With its explosive mix of political intrigue and magic, The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin remains the best selling Solaris series. Discover for yourself why with this new and exclusive ebook from Solaris.

About the series: The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

Only seven minutes younger than Rolencia’s heir, Byren has never hungered for the throne; he laughs when a seer predicts that he will kill his twin. But the royal heir resents Byren’s growing popularity. Across the land the untamed magic of the gods wells up out of the earth’s heart, sending exotic creatures to stalk the wintry nights and twisting men’s minds, granting them terrible visions. Those so touched are sent to the Abbey, to learn to control their gift, or die. At King Rolen’s court, enemies plot to take his throne, even as secrets within his own household threaten to tear his family apart.

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin
The King’s Bastard
The Uncrowned King
The Usurper

About the Author

Rowena Cory Daniells has been involved in Speculative Fiction for over thirty years -- as a reader and fan, independent press, graphic artist, bookshop owner and writer. She is published in both children and adults’ fiction. Her award-winning fantasy trilogy The Last T’En was published in Australia, the US and Germany. She also writes short stories, which have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Dreaming Downunder which won World Best Fantasy, and Dreaming Again. Rowena has a Masters in Arts Research and has taught creative writing to all ages. In her spare time she has devoted five years to studying each of these martial arts, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai sword.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fantasy Reviews from Harriet

Rogue Rider
Larissa Ione
Forever, Nov 20 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446574488

The angel Reaver removed Reseph’s memory of the terror he caused on earth as one of the Four Horsemen, Pestilence. Reaver sends Reseph back to Earth.

Jillian Cardiff fled Florida for blizzard conditions after the demon assault that left visible scars on her body and even worse on her soul. On her way back to her remote mountain cabin, Jillian finds a hunk lying naked in the snow. She helps him inside her lodging while learning he remembers nothing except he thinks his name is Reseph. The pair is attracted to one another, but their idyll ends when demons murder neighbors. As hunters arrive to kill the demons, Reseph reawakens to the paralyzing guilt of what he wrought as Pestilence.

The final Lords of Deliverance romantic fantasy (see Immortal Rider, Eternal Rider and Lethal Rider) is a superb finish to the strong The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse saga. The protagonists are star-crossed as lovers as he unleashed the demon horde that practically destroyed her. Fans will relish the climax as redemption seems a mountain too high for guilt-wracked Reseph with what he caused to humanity. Harriet Klausner

The Bones Of The Old Ones
Howard Andrew Jones
Dunne, Dec 11 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312646752

In the eighth century Old Mosul is almost as ancient as the Assyrian ruins across the river. Seven Sebitti wizards have cast a spell on Persian aristocrat Najya binta Alimah to find The Bones Of The Old Ones, a source of great power. During a snowstorm blanketing the city, Najya escapes from these dangerous mages; and takes refuge in the home of Dabir ibn Khalil the scholar; also there is Dabir’s friend the swordsman Captain Asim el Abbas.

Dabir and Asim agree to keep Najya safe and liberate her from the Sebitti spell as her soul turns darker with a comingling spirit planning on an ice age like none before. As the pair begins their quest, the wizards send a lethal shapeshifting assassin to kill them. Meanwhile Asim increasingly acts as if Najya enchanted him while Dabir fears their beautiful charge may prove more dangerous to them and Mosul than the stalking killer or the wizards, they make a devil’s deal with their enemy Lydia the Greek necromancer.

The second thrilling eighth century Dabir and Asim sword and sorcery fantasy (see The Desert of Souls) is a great tale as the heroes struggle to stay alive while on their quest. Fast-paced and filled with action in a real locale, the cast makes the tale as Najya, Lydian, the assassin and the wizards provide depth to the adventures of the protagonists in the Jones mythology. Harriet Klausner

The Lady of Secrets
Susan Carroll
Ballantine, Dec 11 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345502957

In 1605, healer Margaret Wolfe feels relief with the death of her mad mom Cassandra Lascelles the witch. Now the Lady of the Faire Isle following the death of her beloved mentor Ariane, Meg returns home, accompanied by Contessa Seraphine Beaufoy, knowing everyone is wary of her power due to her mother’s mad misuse. She plans to lay low and enjoy the sense of feeling safe at last.

King James dispatches Sir Patrick Graham and Dr. Armagil Blackwood to Faire Isle to escort Lady Meg to his court where a witch’s curse devastates the royals. Meg is attracted to the kind Sir Graham while keeping her distant from the sullen physician. Trusting no one especially anyone engaging her heart, Meg deploys her bewitching powers to identify the culprit behind a dangerous magical spell that has placed the monarch, his family and his retinue in peril.

Though the Dark Queen is dead, Susan Carroll superbly continues her historical romantic fantasy saga (see Twilight of a Queen) with a fabulous entry that follows the adventures in magic and love of the newest Lady of the Faire Isle. Fast-paced from the moment Graham and Dr. Armagil Blackwood come for Meg, readers will appreciate this deep thriller as the heroine knows the risk she takes by deploying her paranormal skills at a time when curse phobia has led to witch burnings. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Alien: Illustrated, The Listeners and Legends of Darkness

Alien: The Illustrated Story
Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson (Illustrator)
Titan Books, Sep 4 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781781161296

In outer space, the civilian mining ship the Nostromo completed its mission and is heading home with the crew sleeping in a cryo-frozen state. The Nostromo computer Mother wakes everyone up after receiving an alien distress message. They head to the source of the SOS and soon crewman Kane and others explore an alien ship where he finds an egg. At that moment humanity meets an Alien species.

This is a reprint of the great 1979 graphic comic book as Archie Goodwin brings the film’s plot to life while Walt Simonson’s fabulous illustrations enhance the tale with his pre computer generated art. Fans will appreciate this super adaptation of a fabulous horror science fiction movie. Harriet Klausner

The Listeners
Harrison Demchick
Bancroft, Dec 17 2012, $21.99
ISBN: 9781610880817

The plague struck the city with biblical proportions. Teenage best friends Daniel and Katie know very little beyond the quarantine that isolated them and that medical personnel were evacuated out early on. They also know what Katie’s dad said about the monstrous Listeners who cut off an ear as a ritual of joining. The police, including Katie’s dad, take over rationing supplies but those like Daniel and his mom are beneath the ladder so they receive little. It turns worse for Daniel when his mom went out to the store but never returned, and the broken window allows the airborne virus to enter their apartment.

With no hope, the Listeners, led by Adam the prophet, arrive and give Derek a reason to live and take what they insist should be his rather than hide until the disease turns him into an evil abomination before it horribly kills him. Giving up an ear is worth the price as Daniel joins the Listeners.

This is an exciting horror thriller with a fascinating premise that when civilization caves monsters come out of the holes in diverse packages. Fast-paced, the atmosphere grips the audience as Daniel struggles with adapting to the Listener morality that uses the concept of how young suicide bombers are recruited to die (purpose, food and shelter). Fast-paced fans will enjoy this dark thriller from the opening knock to the final decision Daniel makes. Harriet Klausner

Legends of Darkness
Georgia L Jones
BlackWyrm, Mar 1 2012, $15.95
ISBN: 9781613181218

While her husband Rob is away on business, cosmetologist Samantha Garrett drops her six year old son Chris off at school before driving to Springfield to pick up supplies for her shop. On the interstate heading home, an out of control car swerves across the medium crashing into Samantha’s SUV; her last thoughts before she dies are of her loved ones.

She awakens recalling her final moments. This Death proves confusing as she feels healthy while walking to a funeral in which the body inside the coffin is her and her loved ones deeply grieving their loss. However, her initial thoughts of this neo-existence could not be hell change when she learns what she has become in her afterlife. Samantha is Samoda a blood thirsty warrior in the army of Nuem though she refuses to give up on what she once was as a mom, wife, sister, daughter and beloved human; unaware that failure to move on leaves her, her loved ones and her new comrades like Drake in peril from an avarice traitorous avenger.

Legends of Darkness is a refreshing paranormal thriller that spins an intriguing afterlife premise. Sam is terrific as she holds the engaging storyline together while struggling to adjust to a new world order until she realizes the threat to humanity including her loved ones and to her new species. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate Sam’s efforts to save two realms from a sinister traitor. Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mercedes Lackey, Cathy Benedetto, and Ryk E. Spoor reviewed

Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters
Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Dec 4 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407872

This solid nineteen short story collection focuses on Mercedes Lackey’s historical Elemental Masters fantasy with all entries no later than 1919. In Oahu, “Makana” (by Fiona Patton) tries to emulate his foster father, a fabulous fisherman but cannot be one with the waves. In ancient times, Kyria and Meto are sailing to their marriage when the sirens call in “A Song of the Sea” by Diana L. Paxson. In 1885 Fire Mage and Daily Clarion reporter Jane Emerson notices the little match girl at a time when arsons threaten New York City in Michele Lang’s “The Phoenix of Mulberry Street.” As McKinley is shot, injured black war veteran Nathanial obtains growing paranormal powers at a time his rage explodes due to overt racism in Georgia (Ron Collins’s “The Collector”). In “I Have heard the Mermaid Sing” by Mercedes Lackey, Miriam the air mage struggles to help a family friend earth mage in coastal Maine. Overall this is an enjoyable anthology in which Ms. Lackey’s fans will appreciate though the strife for the most part is kept to a limited personal conflict (i.e., racism, feminism, etc.). Harriet Klausner

The Eyes of Sandala
Cathy Benedetto
BlackWyrm, Oct 31 2011, $15.95
ISBN: 9781613181157

Inside their extinct volcanic Crater home in the Sea of Death, the Shala know they are to protect the humans living in the five nations on the continent of Sandala. Recently strange happenings worry the Shala that the five centuries of peace is coming to an end. Shala TahJeen Teir has a vision that affirms this belief and Sealand on the southeastern coast has closed its borders to its three neighbors.

Fearing what is happening with reports of marauding bands all over the continent, Dania King Sorbonne sends out former Sentinels like Devon to learn the truth. He journeys across Palaton and Sealand reaching the coastal city of Seadawn as an armada from the eastern sea invades the coastal city. From the western sea, another armada invades Dania. As betrayal haunts the Shala, TahJeen struggles to adhere to the prophecy he prefers to ignore in order to mount a counterattack against the invaders and their Quisling allies; having his 7-foot plus back is Ariann.

The first Sandala thriller is an exciting military fantasy though typical of the sub-genre. The storyline is fast-paced throughout though the climax sets up the next entry with little closure to The Eyes of Sandala. Still fans will appreciate the adventures of Devon and TahJeen in a realm where five hundred years of peace has left few if any ready for hostilities. Harriet Klausner

Phoenix Rising
Ryk E. Spoor
Baen, Nov 6 2012, $14.00
ISBN: 9781451638417

The prophecy of the cyclical Chaoswars plunging the Zarathan planet into a dark age appears on the brink of happening again; as apparently the Gods have spoken once more. At a gala in small Evanwyl near the western coast, the aristocratic family of Kyri are betrayed and murdered though she escapes leaving her beloved country behind in chaos; praying to return to free her people one day. Exiled Prince Tobimar Silverun hopes to one day return to his homeland Skysand in the Northeast.

Both flee across the lone known continent as she seeks an ancient armorer to create her a special sword to lead warriors against the forces of the dark that have devastated Evanwyl and he believes he will never go home even as he become a master swordsman. When they meet, each feels they have found a lost kindred soul. Soon a third champion, tiny Poplock Duckweed, joins them.

The keys that make this strong fantasy a great read are the vivid dark world of Ryk E. Spoor and the fully developed cast as the audience visit a planet on the brink while the good, the bad and the ugly seem genuine due to moments of reflective thought amidst the action. Fast-paced, readers will demand more escapades against the forces of the dark by the heroic trio on Zarathan as well as hints of previous Chaoswars leaving a fertile realm for further adventures of other champions. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blowback, Shiver and Alien Vs. Alien reviews

Kristine Kathryn Rusch
WMG, Dec 2012, $18.99
ISBN: 9780615688503

Six months ago on Anniversary Day, nineteen cities were bombed. Those who committed the atrocities got away as authorities have no idea who did the nefarious mass murdering of civilians or why. However, the leadership believes another wave is imminent.

Making no progress on her inquiry and fearing a second round of deadly terrorism, United Domes of the Moon Chief of Security Noelle DeRicci asks former Retrieval Artist Miles Flint to investigate. Though retired to spend time with his daughter Talia, Miles accepts the job. With the help of shady individuals and Talia, Miles begins to uncover an inconvenient truth as increasingly the evidence points to terrorists close to him.

The latest Retrieval Artist science fiction thriller (see The Possession of Paavo Deshin) is an engaging investigative whodunit starring popular Miles Flint on a comeback mission. The suspenseful storyline is fast-paced and filled with twists as the hero comes out of retirement to confront his worst nightmare. Harriet Klausner

Karen Robards
Gallery, Dec 4 2012, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451678673

In St. Louis, twentyish single mom of four year old Tyler, Samantha Jones attends EMT certification classes while working nights repossessing cars. She arrives to tow away a BMW only to find critically battered and shot Danny Panterro in the trunk.

Danny is an undercover FBI agent, who was outed when the drug cartel he had infiltrated blew up the safe house he was hiding in. That explosion confuses Danny as it seems wrong for drug lord Veith to blow up the townhouse before collecting the missing money. Sam saved his life, but he knows she and her son are now in peril as vicious drug runners pursue them with one objective, three deaths.

Shiver is an action-packed romantic suspense thriller that starts off with an incredible opening scene and never slows down as nothing is quite like it seems. Fast-paced and starring two intrepid protagonists, readers will enjoy Shiver as the bad guys keep the lethal pressure on the good guys. Harriet Klausner

Alien vs. Alien
Gini Koch
DAW, Dec 4 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407704

Jeff and Kitty Martini resigned their positions as Centaurion Division exterminators-commanders to raise their hybrid infant Jamie, who while in the womb sent fluids to his mom that led to her obtaining superpowers. The family moved to Washington DC as head diplomats at the recently established Centaurion Embassy.

Currently Kitty and Jamie are near the Kennedy Space Center visiting her in-laws at Martini Manor. Florida senior Senator Vincent Armstrong arrives from Miami after Kitty kept giving him excuses of being too busy to see him. He shows her naked pictures of Kitty with Chuckie Reynolds though both know they are fakes. Kitty wonders what the originators want to gain from these. Soon afterward, an android claiming Chuckie directed him, assaults Kitty leaving her to also wonder who wants to separate her from her strong support system of earthlings and Cantaurions and why.

The latest Kitty Katt Martini amusing satirical science fiction thriller (see Alien Proliferation, Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango and Alien Diplomacy) is a superb jocular entry that is filled with twists, spins and humor as the heroine seems to constantly step in it. Fast-paced, readers will believe the two species are real (as are other feral ETs); while the Jamie effect continues to nuke the lifestyle of the parents. Fans will appreciate Kitty’s nine lives as once again sh*t happens but the tongue in cheek manner hopefully rolls down someone else’s hill. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 23, 2012

Reviews from Harrriet

The Accidental Genie
Dakota Cassidy
Berkley, Dec 4 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425253243

The OOPS (Out in the Open Paranormal Support) 800 help line team take a paranormal girls’ day off to go shopping while one of them Marty persuades her brother-in-law Sloan Flaherty to work the phone. He finds the job tedious until caterer Jeannie Carlyle calls from her cell phone asking if OOPS is real as she is trapped inside a bottle. She explains to Sloan that she opened an old bottle at the request of a client only to become trapped inside as someone else popped outside; making matters worse is her ancient looking harem garb.

Sloan comes to the rescue by finding the bottle and rubbing it. Freed from her glass prison Jeannie calls her savior master. The OOPS quartet and Sloan struggle with truly liberating Jeannie but know nothing about djinn as their genie companion keeps granting wishes.

The latest Accidental romantic fantasy (see The Accidental Werewolf and Accidentally Dead, Again) is a fast-paced amusing tale starring an engaging lead couple and the return of the previous stars. Lighthearted, fans will laugh at the scenarios that the OOPS squad confronts due to Jeannie’s out of control wishes. Harriet Klausner

My Lord Eternity
Alexandra Ivy
Zebra, Nov 27 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420128611

Over two centuries ago, Nefri, the most powerful vampire, used the magic of a Medallion to create the Veil that separates the world of mankind from the realm of the undead. Recently Nefri fears an undetermined threat that could destroy both planes. Knowing the Medallion is the avenue for the evil ones, she breaks it into three parts before hiding them amidst three young mortal ladies unaware of what they possess. However, Nefri realizes three avaricious vampires plan to take the objects; so she sends trustworthy vamps to protect them.

The vampire Great Council assigns Lucien Valin to protect Jocelyn Kingly who possesses one of the three parts of the powerful Medallion used by Nefri to create the veil separating their realm from the mortals. Though he knows dangerous rogue vampires target Jocelyn to obtain her amulet, he looks forward to the task as he prefers field work to musty tomes. Jocelyn helps the unfortunate but is short funds so she takes in Lucien as a renter as a series of brutal murders rock the neighborhood. Lucien knows his evil enemy is closing in on Jocelyn who already owns his heart.

This reprint of the second Immortal Rogues vampire romance is an entertaining thriller starring a strong human female, a bewildered arrogant vampire and a vile villain. Fast-paced even though the storyline reads somewhat similar to My Lord Vampire, paranormal fans will enjoy this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Baen, Nov 6 2012, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451638455

Unlike the rest of his family, the ambition gene skipped Captain Ivan Vorpatril. He enjoys working as an aide to General Desplain in the Barrayaran military on Komarr as that planet keeps him away from his mother Lady Alys and other imperial relatives. Barrayaran civilian Byerly Votrrutyer visits Ivan to ask a favor of him. She wants Ivan to take out Akuti Tejaswini Jyoti ghem Estif Arqua on a date. By fails to inform Ivan that Tej is in hiding from a change in power on Jackson Whole in which her House Cordonah fell; her companion Rish is her bodyguard.

However, when Ivan arrives at Tej’s house, Rish welcomes him with a stun gun before tying him up. Two men invade the apartment, but Ivan’s warning enables Rish to stun them. They flee to his home while he calls the police about the intrusion. When Komarran immigration authorities demand he hand over the women to them, Ivan marries Tej instead and hires Rish to protect her. His mother rejoices at the news, but his attempts to annul their marriage are disallowed while Tej’s House welcomes the dupe their style.

The latest Vorkosigan Saga science fiction (see Cryoburn) is a fabulous fresh frolic due to the comedic missteps of the hero; as mellow Ivan is the polar opposite of his heroic cousin Miles. Lois McMaster Bujold captures Ivan’s intrigue avoidance laid-back personality as the antihero just wanted a “Blind Date”. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyberpunk and More

The Sum of Her Parts
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, $15.00, Nov 27 2012
ISBN: 9780345512024

Namericans Dr. Ingrid Seastrom and Whispr the emaciated thief continue their effort to understand the data thread made from a material that cannot exist. Each has different motives as Seastrom hopes this is the beginning of saving a planet ravaged by centuries of manmade abuse and Whispr seeks to sell it to the highest bidder.

Genetically enhanced to be an army of one ruthless killer Napun Molé stalks them, they trek across Africa trying to reach a the South African Economic Combine (known as SICK) research facility in the Namib Desert where experiments have occurred. Embarrassed by his failures to assassinate the pair (see Body, Inc. and The Human Blend), Molé needs to kill them as much as for his self-esteem as for his mission. Besides the raging psychopath Molé, Seastrom and Whispr struggles from a lack of water, vicious animals seeking to make them meals and other predators wanting to control the filament.

The action-packed final Tipping Point futuristic industrial espionage science fiction satire is a fast-paced thriller that is fun to read though the constant danger and rescue seems over the top of Namibia’s Brandberg Mountain. Still fans will enjoy the misadventures of the doctor and the thief as the world has gone beyond the Tipping Point of what a human is. Harriet Klausner

Bleeding Edge: Cyberpunk Short Stories
Ramsey Lundock
BlackWyrm, Oct 31 2011, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181041

“Information Super Highway.” Rachael is a driver on the police force. She seeks the only other driver in the city as this rogue breaks the law while apparently working for the hacker the Code Master.

“Captain’s Quarters.” Pirate Captain Lopez captures Navy Ensign Spearman whose father owns a major ship yard. She demands a ransom accordingly.

“Binary Angel.” When Cybernetic Research Institute security guard Yawako is near death after an assault on the facility, Cyan the cyborg demands they save the life of the female he loves.

“Dead Zone.” Near Jacksonville, Loki enters Green Oak, a dead zone area where no signal occurs. He meets with bank owner Slim who hires him to investigate a bank robbery.

“Children and Emperors.” In twenty second century Japan, Tenriki demands the long vacant emperor’s throne as a 49. Four 3s children challenge his claim.

“Fable of the Fox and the Crow, Version 2.0.” On Mars, Raven and Vixen are a team of bounty hunters with her being the brawn while he is the face. Stritous Pen captures and crucifies Vixen. Though Raven knows his Vixen could easily kill him which means Stritous is even deadlier, he confronts the enemy as he risks death to save the female he loves.

These are six exciting violent entries in realms in which society has no heart but individuals prove they do. Filled with action and solid protagonists, fans will enjoy this entertaining twisting anthology as Ramsey Lundock’s Cyberpunk realm will remind readers of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. Harriet Klausner

The Fangover
Erin McCarthy and Kathy Love
Berkley, Nov 6 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425253236

In New Orleans the Impalers vampire rock band and their manager Stella Malone throw a wake to honor their lead singer Johnny Malone who committed suicide. The alcohol-blood concoction flows as the band members grieve their loss but not as much as Stella who feels alone with her brother dead.

Stella and bass Wyatt Axelrod find solace with each other until he says the L word love which sends her fleeing like a bat in hell. Berto Cortez awakens wondering if he converted washboard player Katie Lambert into a vampire before or after marrying her. Keyboard player Saxon has a cross etched on his head giving him a headache. Finally the other Impaler Drake lost a fang. Each wants to know what happened last night.

This is a fun lighthearted vampiric take of the Hangover as a vampire quartet have one hell of a wakeup call as they try to piece together what happened last night. Fast-paced and amusing, readers will want to know what else was in the alcoholic blood drinks. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dragons, Medics and Thieves

The Thieves of Genesis
William I. Levy
BlackWyrm, Sep 15 2012, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181348

Irv is driving in Iowa when distracted by boring Heartland music; he fails to see the Hole. In Nexus the Crossroads of the Universe, City Father Timez and his apprentice Calla worry about disappearing humans who are coming home minus a heart. As the pair fight Zarthok “the Merciless” and his gang, Irv and his car drops through a Hole landing on Timez. Calla, after slicing Merciless’ hands, attacks Irv who shocks himself when he uses magic to stop her. Timez comes out of the rubble and assigns Calla and her protector Bumper the assassin to escort Irv to a safe-house.

On their journey, the trio travels through a Hole but fail to reach their destination as someone with power changed the Hole. Instead they land in Post Tarnum earth where the two males become prisoners while Callas is left behind. That changes when a tormentor threatens to capture and torture Calla, which leads Irv into a rage induced magical attack that injures his hands but frees the pair. When they catch up to Calla, she likes her skinny hero being protective of her, but Bumper wonderwhy this nobody seems be the most powerful mage in the land even if her Irv cannot control his magic.

William I. Levy’s exciting romantic fantasy stars an unlikely hero and a kick butt female warrior. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced throughout while Weng Shu’s words of wisdom at the start of each chapter adds humorous commentary. Although the extremely short chapters (averaging just over four pages per chapter) keeps the cast thin (even Rubensque Calla), readers will have a great time following the misadventures of The Thieves of Genesis. Harriet Klausner

Ian Hardoc
BlackWyrm, Jul 31 2012, $19.95
ISBN: 9781613181294

United Bay Autonomies Lieutenant Dr. Macintyre knows his side lost the war that truly ended war as was previously known as the seeming victors Northwest Alliance was left with an apocalypse. Still he drives behind enemy lines seeking to help any survivors of the doomed Lost Patrol and also gives aid to others. The Medic Macintyre battles Seeker robots who kill randomly due to lacking ethical codes and insane fanatics still are fighting a war in which everyone lost except perhaps war lords; at the same time he brings health care to those in need.

He comes across severely injured UBA Corporal Jacob Markowitz who says he and five others hid in a bunker for three years. He admits he killed his captain as he felt her order was suicide. Macintyre executes Markowitz as enforcement is his other duty. Though an AI red ambulance, Macintyre remains wary yet optimistic that humans will come out of the ruins stronger though he also fears the brutal suppressors remain violently in charge.

This is an exhilarating post-apocalyptic thriller starring an intriguing AI who sees life in a stark black and white code; as he is prepared to provide medical care to the ailing yet also mete out justice to those who deserve punishment in his mind. The thrilling storyline takes too long to deliver the prime premise; yet fans will appreciate the non-stop action and the Hardoc landscape vividly bleak as readers will believe they ride the Macintyre ambulance tour guided by the Medic! Harriet Klausner

Bard’s Oath
Joanne Bertin
Tor, Nov 27 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312873707

For millennia, the Dragonlord dragon-human shape-shifters have ruled the world with a caring kindness. However, in this paradise evil ambition emerges.

Years ago, a loved one’s death left the heart of Master Bard Leet filled with rage and loathing as he vowed vengeance against those he blamed including his brother-in-law. He became adept at dark magic until he deployed his plan by using a blood-drinking harp that musically enslaves listeners to do anything even murder. Evidence overwhelmingly proclaims horse breeding Bard Raven Redhawkson of a homicide though he swears he does not recall killing anyone. Dragonlord Linden Rathan believes his friend would never commit murder so he investigates the homicide; even as the human leaders prepare to execute Raven.

The first Dragonlords fantasy in years (see The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix) is an engaging investigative thriller that enables the audience to see close up the Bertin world enhanced by the concept that the music is the magic. Although the storyline is low-keyed as Leet’s scheming seems minor (unless you are the victim or the accused), fans will enjoy Rathan’s magical murder mystery tour. Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 19, 2012

Be a Pirate

Win the chance to be the Space Pirate King (or queen).

LONDON, UK, Nov. 19, 2012 /PirateWire/ -- Get yourself written into bestselling science fiction author Stephen Hunt's next book as the most evil person in the universe.

Author Stephen Hunt needs to be naming the king (or queen) of the space pirates... a fine character to appear in his next scifi novella.

Could it be ye' own name, ye' space lubber?

Enter the free draw to win this here grand prize. If ye' be a-feared of entering and appearing in his swashbucklin' adventure... don't apply, ye' mangy child of a zero-gravity biscuit eater!

X marks the URL spot here...

About Stephen Hunt

Stephen Hunt is the creator of the much-loved 'Jackelian' series, now on its 6th book, published across the world via HarperCollins alongside their other best-selling fantasy authors, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Raymond E. Feist and C.S. Lewis.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Edge of Infinity is getting closer

Edge of Infinity
Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Mankind takes its giant leap on 27th November (US & Can) and 6th December (UK)

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-056-6
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-055-9

Available as an ebook

“Easily the best original science fiction anthology of the year, by a good margin.”
– Locus
“Revel in stories that speak to both head and heart. ”
– SFX on Engineering Infinity

“One giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong’s immortal words have echoed down the decades – heralding the moment the human race’s destiny became to reach out to eternity.

Solaris is delighted to unveil Edge of Infinity – an exhilarating new SF anthology, featuring some of the biggest names in SF today, including Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, and Stephen Baxter.

Brought to you by the creators of acclaimed anthology Engineering Infinity, Edge of Infinity looks at the next giant leap for humankind: into the Solar System. From the eerie transformations in Pat Cadigan’s “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” to the grandiose vision of Alastair Reynolds’ “Vainglory”; the thirteen stories span the whole of the human condition in its race to colonise Earth’s nearest neighbours.

Featuring stories by Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, James S. A. Corey, John Barnes, Stephen Baxter, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Elizabeth Bear, Pat Cadigan, Gwyneth Jones, Paul McAuley, Sandra McDonald, Stephen D. Covey, An Owomoyela, and Bruce Sterling, Edge of Infinity is hard SF adventure at its best and most exhilarating.

About the Editor

Jonathan Strahan is an award-winning editor and anthologist. He co-edited The Year's Best Australian Science-Fiction and Fantasy anthology series in 1997 and 1998. He is also the reviews editor of Locus. He lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and their two daughters.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ken Waters

Just got word that Ken Waters passed away on November 6. He was discovered at home. He was only 43.

Ken was an artist in the Chattanooga area and was publisher of the short lived Vox 13 line of horror novels. They included Michael Oliveri's first novel DEADLIEST OF THE SPECIES, the first hardcover of Douglas Clegg's GOAT DANCE, LORD BLADE, LADY FIGHTER by Sharon Green and Brian A. Hopkins THESE I KNOW BY HEART.

Cause of death is not sure at this time, but it may have been complications of MS that had bothered him for a while. Rest well old friend, you will be missed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Three of The Hadrumal Crisis:
Defiant Peaks

By Juliet E. McKenna

The trilogy reaches its climax on
27th November (US & Can) and
6th December (UK)

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-058-0
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-057-3

Available as an ebook

“Juliet's own unique writerly voice makes this a title that was more than a joy to spend some time with.”
– Falcata Times on Dangerous Waters

“McKenna exhibits traits from many previous great fantasy authors pulled
together in threads that make her eminently accessible to fantasy readers.”

– Fantasy Book Review on Dangerous Waters

With The Hadrumal Crisis, Juliet E. McKenna reinvented the magical world she created for Solaris. Now she brings the latest saga of wizards, wonder, and war to a thundering climax with Defiant Peaks.

Archmage Planir and the wizards of Hadrumal have demonstrated their devastating powers and the corsair threat is no more. But the mainland rulers' relief is overshadowed with fear of one day facing such a threat to their own dominion. Corrain, Baron Halferan and Lady Zurenne believe they have finally won respite from all their trials. Yet the lull before winter descends from the distant northern peaks will be a short one.

Now is the perfect time to read the whole trilogy – one filled with pirates, politics, wizards, and adventure, which confirms McKenna’s place amongst the pantheon of top fantasy writers with a thrilling reinvention of the genre.

The prequel for the series, The Wizard’s Coming, is available as a free eBook (free to download as an ePub, PDF and Kindle) and introduces some of the characters and events leading up to this stunning fantasy series from a major voice in fantasy writing.

Other books in the series

The Archmage of Hadrumal enforces the Edicts of the Council of Wizardry as all his predecessors have done. Foremost is the ban on magecraft in warfare.

But old certainties have been shaken. There is rumour of rogue wizardry in Lescar’s recent civil war and corsairs raid the Caladhrian Coast. In Hadrumal, Archmage Planir waits and watches, keeping his own counsel. That doesn’t suit the Masters and Mistresses of the Elements. There are too many whispers and doubts about Planir’s judgement lately, in Hadrumal and on the mainland.

Written to be accessible to readers coming fresh to McKenna’s magical world, The Hadrumal Crisis is a powerful epic filled with incredible characters.

Dangerous Waters

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907519-97-0 (available as an ebook)
$7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907519-96-3 (available as an ebook)

Darkening Skies
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-76-6 (available as an ebook)
$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-77-3 (available as an ebook)

About the Author

Juliet E McKenna has been interested in fantasy stories since childhood, from Winnie the Pooh to The Iliad. An Abiding fascination with other worlds and their peoples played its part in her subsequently reading Classics at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. After combining bookselling and motherhood for a couple of years, she now fits in her writing around her family and vice versa. She lives with her husband and children in West Oxfordshire, England.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ack-Ack Macaque is Coing in December

Ack-Ack Macaque
By Gareth L. Powell

Monkey business begins on
18th December (US & Can) and
3rd January (UK)

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-060-3
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-059-7

Available as an ebook

“Fizzes with wild ideas... A ripping yarn about murder, mayhem and monkeys”

– Philip Reeve, author of Mortal Engines series

“Gareth Powell is going to be a major voice in SF.”

– Paul Cornell

Monkeys. Ninjas. Zeppelins. A science-fiction novel with a Steampunk sheen and a primate twist, Ack-Ack Macaque is a blisteringly fun SF masterpiece from master storyteller Gareth L. Powell.

In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is he’s actually a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything – including his own existence!

A century later, when nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois is drawn into a deadly game with the man who killed her husband and stole her electronic soul, while the heir to the British throne goes on the run. Meanwhile, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon...

Inventive, unusual, full-on: Ack-Ack Macaque is the next title from the author of The Recollection, which brought a stunning breath of fresh air into epic science-fiction.

About the Author

Gareth L. Powell is the author of the SF novel Silversands, and the critically acclaimed short story collection, The Last Reef. His work has been published all over the world and featured in a number of recent anthologies, including Shine. Gareth lives in the English West Country with his wife and two daughters.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

Veterans Day 2012

I was honored today to be able to lay a wreath for all the Veterans of World War I. The ceremony was the 58th Anniversary of Veterans Day and was celebrated at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month and is the time and date of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. It was called Armistice Day until 1954 when it was renamed Veterans Day by an Act of Congress.

Our ceremony is held at Myrtle Hill Cemetery where graves of veterans of the Civil War and all other wars are remembered and honored each year. Myrtle Hill is also the home of the Tomb of the Known Soldier, Charles Graves, who died in France during World War I.

The speaker was Bob Kerr, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He said that he speaks in order to keep the memories of Pearl Harbor alive. Too often history is not being taught to the youth of today. He mentioned that recently that while being introduced to an elementary class, the teacher said that he would be speaking about Pearl Harbor when one of the students raised their hand and asked “Who’s she?”

He also mentioned three facts that I did not know about Pearl Harbor.

1. On December 4, 1941, the base was put on alert. All pilots were available, all planes were gassed up, all ammunition and bombs were loaded, The Navy personnel were aboard ship and all ground troops were at the ready. On December 6, 1942 at approximately 6pm, the alert was cancelled and the troops returned to normal duty. To this day, no one knows who or why the alert was cancelled.

2. On the afternoon of December 6, 1942 a Navy ship reported a periscope off the coast of Oahu and radioed the sighting in. When told that there was no submarine activity in that area, the target was fired on and no other thought of it until a submarine was recovered in that spot many years later. It was a Japanese submarine.

3. On the morning of December 7, 1942, a radar operator called in and said that he had blips on his screen. He was reminded that there were twelve planes due in at some time that morning. He reported that there were a lot more than twelve blips on his screen. Since radar was “new”, he was told to perform maintenance on it because something must be wrong with it.

If any of these three items had been followed up on, things might have turned out different and who knows what would have happened to change the course of World War II.

Who knows what would have happened to change the course of history and the wars of the future.

After these services, a Flag Retirement Service was also held. I have never seen one of those and was impressed by seeing in person what I only knew about from reading about on Flag Day. Flag Day is no longer celebrated like it was when I was younger.

I was fine with all of the ceremonies until the end of each one when the 21 gun salute and the playing of TAPS occurred. It was then that my composure disappeared and the tears welled up in my eyes.

God Bless all the Veterans who have fought for this country and have kept us free. I am proud to have served among their number and am proud to call them Brothers. I call them Brothers every day, not just on Veterans Day.

Thank you to all of those who have served and “Welcome Home” to all those who came home to a less than deserved “job well done.”

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vampires, Witches and Paranormals

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Maggie Shayne, Mercedes Lackey and Crystal Rain-Love

Mark of the Witch
Maggie Shayne
Mira, Sep 18 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778313335

Indira Simon was once a practicing Wiccan, but became a doubter. However, recently her dreams have become real as she wakes up from a nightmare to find bruises on her arms. Though her reaction to what is going on will remind her why she left, Indy contacts her former High Priestess Rayne for help.

Growing up, Father Thomas heard the tale of the three witches. Now he believes what he thought was mythos is real and that the trio is reborn to assist their master. Father Thomas believes he needs to be there to aid the witches; of which he thinks Indy is one. Mentored by Father Dom, Father Thomas risks everything to protect Indy; however, he was not expecting his heart was at risk too. As death seems imminent for both of them, they have their faith and their love.

The first Portal romantic urban fantasy is a superb tale that interweaves ancient Babylon into a contemporary thriller. Fast-paced and filled with twists, the key cast makes for a strong opening act as readers will believe in the magic of Maggie Shayne. Harriet Klausner

Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Oct 2 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756407452

In Valdemar, Herald trainee Mags displays unique skills as he is fluent in Mindspeech and shows a penchant towards stealth. The King’s Own Herald Nikolas trains Mags as a royal spy.

His first assignment is to investigate the strangers who recently have arrived in Valdemar as his mentor needs to know who they are and more important why they entered the city. Unaware when he began spying on the newcomers, they are interested in him. When they kidnap him, Mags knows he needs to escape soonest or face death and perhaps something worse as he realizes these new arrivals targeted him from the onset.

The fourth Valdemar Collegium Chronicles (see Changes) is an entertaining fantasy starring a likable lead character who has come a long way from his Magpie slave days (see Foundation). Fans of the saga will enjoy the engaging storyline due to the 5-whys mystery, but Mags fails to assimilate as he does not move forward much even in captivity; he remains a stranger in a strange land though he learns more of who he is. Harriet Klausner

Slayer's Prey
Crystal Rain-Love
ImaJinn, Oct 1 2012, $14.00
ISBN: 9781610260909

CFFs Jacob Porter and Bobby Romano take a short cut home through an alley. Jacob is nervous while Bobby is fearless. Vampires attack the two tweeners. Bobby is killed while a female voice tells Jacob to run, which he does. A cat attacks the vampires killing three of them, but one Demarcus escaped though she clawed him and he bit her. The feline becomes Jacob’s pal but conceals from the child she protects that she is a shapeshifter; while he vows to slay the species who murdered his friend.

Sixteen years later Jacob and his kitty Alley follow a vampire blood bath from Baltimore to Louisville. Alley loves Jacob, but because of the bite has no hope for a future with him. Still she decides she needs to be in human form if she is to keep Porter safe as he goes after a deadly predator. Thus Nyla Katt the huntress appears. As they team up to assassinate Demarcus, he needs one of them to purify what the shapeshifter did to him; so to trap his adversaries, he has spread bloody breadcrumbs from Maryland to Kentucky.

The second Blood revelation romantic urban fantasy is a fabulous thriller starring two appealing protagonists and a stalking vampiric psychopath. Readers anticipate the High Midnight confrontation supplemented by an intriguing refreshing romantic subplot. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Press Release


By Ben Macallan

Out now in US, Canada, UK and Ireland!

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-0-511
$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-0-528

Available as an ebook

Desdaemona has Hell at her heels!

"Riveting... A gripping ghost-ride through the daemon-haunted landscape of modern England."
– Charles Stross

“A bizarrely mature message for a perpetually immature subgenre... Despite all the melodrama and the neuroses, I wrapped up Desdaemona keen to know what happened next.”
– Pornokitsch on Desdaemona

’s done a bad, bad thing. Again. So she’s back on the road; and where better to look for shelter than with the boy she was running from before? But trouble follows. If it wasn’t Jacey’s parents who sent the deadly Twa Corbies in chase of her, then who was it?

Ben Macallan, pseudonym of award-winning crime and thriller writer Chaz Brenchley, returns to the urban fantasy world he created in Desdaemona with another terrifying, sexy, sinister story that treads the line between mundane reality and the supernatural.

Deep under London, among the lost and rejected of two worlds, answers begin to emerge from Desi’s hidden past. Answers that send her north, in a flight that turns into a hunt, with strange companions and stranger prey.

This is a whole new kind of urban fantasy: dynamic and emotionally charged, Pandaemonium will delight fans of Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker.

Also by Ben Macallan


£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907519-62-8
$7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907519-63-5

Also available as an eBook

“One of the most innovative and sophisticated writers of horror fiction.”

– Tangled Web Books

New town. New girl. New job. That’s good, right?

Not really. Not when the girl can pretty much tear a vampire in two and the job is trying to find her kid sister, who’s in trouble with creatures even worse than the ones that have been trying to find you for how-many-years-has-it-been?!

About the Author

Ben Macallan is the boy your mother warned you about, the one with the motorbike and the cool clothes and the dangerous superpowers. He shoots round corners without looking, can put on his socks without bending and finds new planets as a Sunday afternoon hobby. He may be watching you, but you’ll never know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spy in a Little Black Dress and The Gemini Virus

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Strange Reviews

Wicked Whisper
Nina Bangs
Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $15.0
ISBN: 9780425253137

At the Castle of Dark Dreams on Galveston Island, guest Murmer the demon informs his friend Bain that he needs to find an isolated place to release his music power before he harms someone when he loses control due to his ability if turning into an internal torture. On a beach with no one in sight, he begins his tune.

Newly hired personal assistant to Sparkle Stardust whom she has not yet met, Ivy Lowe is on the beach when she hears the music. She cannot stop herself from dancing until Murmer joins her before freeing her. Ivy dreams of Murmer in spite of her efforts to focus on the job only. Holgarth the Wizard warns her to stay away from the dangerous Murmer whose music leaves others dead. Neither the dark Underworld soulless one nor the innocent human can avoid their attraction. However, Bain needs Murmer’s talent and has plans for Ivy involving the rescue of his love trapped with the Slaugh Sidhe Unseelie horde.

The latest erotic Castle of Dark Dreams romantic urban fantasy (see Wicked Fantasy and My Wicked Vampire) is an enjoyable wicked entry tale starring an intriguing demon whose power leaves fear in just about everyone; yet this nonentity holds her own with him. Though the lead couple’s relationship seems similar to that between the virginal angel and the sinful demon, fans will enjoy this fast-paced star-crossed lovers’ thriller. Harriet Klausner

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nerve, Darkwater, and More Deadtime Stories

Jeanne Ryan
Dial, Sep 13 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780803738324

High school junior “Little” Vee is the one who hides behind the curtain designing costumes and applying makeup to others. Matthew challenges her to audition at a prelim Dare for a spot on the popular Nerve reality show that fans pay a fee to watch. Deciding to enter, she pours cold water on her T-shirt; her friend Tommy sends her Dare to the show.

Now she, Ian and several other chosen ones team up and back stab as they begin taking on challenges with coveted customized prizes as their rewards. The stunts increasingly turn dangerous as each participant debases themselves in the not so friendly competition.

is an unnerving thriller as Jeanne Ryan asks readers how far someone will go for fame and fortune. The storyline is frantically-paced as Vee and the other contestants seemingly answer that question with anything though psychologically what motivates each of them is not very clear. With a nod to Chuck Barris’s Gong Show and Andy Warhol’s wry comment “In the future everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame”, fans will relish this insightful look at the contestants inside the coliseum. Harriet Klausner

Catherine Fisher
Dial, Sep 27 2012, $16.99
ISBN: 9780803738188

Trevelyan gambled away Darkwater Hall and lost all his money. He and his sixteen year old Sarah reside with their former servant Martha in her dilapidated cottage. Her dad remains domicile depressed even as the villagers scorn and humiliate Sarah; while her employer schoolmistress Mrs. Hubbard is even crueler. When Mrs. Hubbard canes Emmeline Rowney, Sarah intercedes; only losing her position. Observing her and seemingly impressed by her courage, Darkwater Hall owner Lord Azrael offers her a chance to regain her family home and atone for the hideous misdeeds of her ancestors. She accepts his demand of her soul, which he will collect in a century.

One-hundred years later, fifteen years old Tom and his mom live in Martha’s Cottage. His mother works as a cleaner at Darkwater Hall School. Tom wants to attend the school where his great-grandmother was once a student, but knows he has no chance. Professor Azrael offers him a deal that has Sarah trying to prevent from happening as she does not want the teen to make the same mistake she made when she sold her soul to Azrael.

This is a superb young adult Faustian thriller told in two parts: Victorian England and the late twentieth century. The storyline is fast-paced yet the key cast members are fully developed. With several stunning twist especially a great climatic spin, fans will root for brave Sarah to keep Tom safe and find a loophole in her damning contract with mysterious Azrael. Harriet Klausner

Invasion of the Appleheads: Deadtime Stories
Annette and Gina Cascone
Starscape/Tor, Jul 3 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765330680

The Lawrence family is divided by generation as to their feelings towards their new hometown Appleton. The parents love the time warp cozy village while the two children (Katie and Andy) are bored.

On Halloween minus one night, the adults take the kids on a haunted hayride at an apple orchard; once allegedly owned by a witch who created a potion to change the apples so that kids taking a bite would become zombies. Katie and Andy notice their peers acting weird as if they are zombies and also observe adults including their parents changing into applehead dolls. Frightened, the pair concludes witches have spiked the cider with an evil potion. They must save their parents and the townsfolk from the wicked witches of Appleton as time ticks away.

This Twisted Sisters’ Deadtime Stories provides a fast-paced scary tale that middle school readers will relish; especially the premise that adults are blind to the threat while kids must save the night. The siblings make a terrific team as they hold the storyline focused while preparing to combat evil. Horrifically vivid (to the delight of fans) the Cascone siblings entertain their audience with a taut horror thriller. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Walter Mosley, Diane Duvall, and Deadtime Stories

Merge /Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion
Walter Mosley
Tor, Oct 2 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765330093

“Merge.” Lottery winner Raleigh Redman finds an alien in his home. He calls the ET Wood since the creature arrived on earth as a dead tree branch who, like others from their homeworld, needs to merge on earth to survive.

“Disciple.” Data entry minion Trent Tryman hates his tedious job. His life changes when he finds himself saving civilization.

The second double Crosstown to Oblivion novellas (see The Gift of Fire/On the Head of a Pin) contains two engaging science fiction tales though both themes have been used before. Harriet Klausner

Phantom Shadows
Dianne Duvall
Zebra, Oct 2 2012, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420118636

Though he agreed to join the Immortal Guardians, Bastien Newcombe trusts no one especially his new teammates. For centuries, Bastien has always been a lone wolf and prefers living that way. His new warrior cronies treat him with wary disdain so the feelings are mutual.

Human Dr. Melanie Lipton seeks a cure to prevent the lethal insanity brought on by the vampire virus. Unlike everyone else who would like him gone preferably in a body bag, the medical researcher treats Bastien with respect as if he belongs here. Hell she even listens to his intelligent but differing ideas. As their admiration turns to attraction and love, a new threat, deadlier than the deposed Vampire King has surfaced.

The third Immortal Guardians romantic urban fantasy (see Darkness Dawns and Night Reigns) is a terrific action-packed thriller. Bastien brings the freshness to the mix as a lone ranger who has never felt a need to belong with anyone (the antithesis of the third step of Maslow’s Hierarchy) until Melanie. Readers will enjoy this enjoyable entry as love and a new danger keep Melanie, Bastien and fans hopping.
Harriet Klausner

Little Magic Shop of Horrors: Deadtime Stories
Gina Cascone and Annette Cascone
Starscape/Tor, Sep 4 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765330758

The school hosts a talent contest with the prize being a twenty-one-speed mountain bike that student Peter Newman covets. Making matters worse is Mary Margaret looks like a sure shot winner. While the girl did her act during the preliminaries, Peter’s BFF Bo Olson sling shots an M&M causing a fiery debacle that Janitor Bob puts out. Janitor Bob tells the two boys that this is strike three.

Peter, accompanied by Bo, visits the Little Magic Shop of Horrors where he buys a $9.95 magic kit to include a special amulet. He changes from Peter Newman to "Peter the Great", who can perform magic that no master magician has ever done before. However, his tricks are real and as far as Peter knows from the fine print permanent. Still he enters and wins the contest with his incredible final curtain call, removing Bo's head.

The latest Twisted Sisters’ Deadtime Stories once again targets the middle school children with a fast-paced scary tale based on sometimes you get what you wished for. Peter is terrific as he holds the storyline focused while critiquing other acts, using magic, and finally wondering how to undo what he wrought. On the other Bo is obnoxious with his not so harmless pranks, which Peter condones by omission. Fans will answer the Lovin’ Spoonful question “Do You Believe In Magic?” with a yes when reading the Cascone siblings’ latest horror thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jack Campbell, Terry Pratchett, and Tina Connolly

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight
Jack Campbell
Ace, Oct 2 2012, $26.95
ISBN: 9781937077822

The ruthless Syndicate finds its violent control of its people in peril because of the inability to defeat the Alliance forces led by "Black Jack" Geary nor defend some of their worlds from aliens. As the Syndicate appears on the verge of implosion, The Midway Star System becomes a hotbed of activity because the sector is a nexus of hypergates to and from other Syndicate systems. Distrust of the brutal Syndicate forces runs throughout this sector as the locals expect to feel the terrorizing crush of their “protectors” and worse from the “snakes”.

Syndicate Commander Arthur Drakon led the ground forces in the Midway Star System, but he and what is left of his units are exiled. Instead of hiding, Drakon makes a rebellious bid to take over leadership of Midway starting with ridding the system of the snakes. To succeed, he needs to ally with a natural enemy CEO Gwen Iceni. Together they mount a counter attack on Syndicate units in the sector with a strong focus on those dominated by snakes. After declaring their independence from the Syndicate, each distrusts the other, but failure to do so will allow the snakes to regroup abetted by traitors.

This brilliant sidebar new series occurs during a period between the Beyond the Frontier last two entries: Dreadnaught and Invincible. Though there is plenty of military outer space combat, the storyline centers on the strange bedfellows’ codependent but tremulous alliance that Drakon and Iceni forge to bring their nebulous vision of a better democratic future for Midway. Jack Campbell runs a strong saga shown from the viewpoints of the Syndicate at a time when the vicious totalitarian military regime teeters on the brink of total collapse. Harriet Klausner

Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins, Sep 25 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780062009494

In London, two thugs beat up a young woman when Dodger the thieving tosher jumping out of a drain intervenes. She begs him to help her escape as her assaulters want to take her back to the monster she has run away from whose battering of her led to a miscarriage. As he lives up to his name with his snake like speed, Charlie Dickens the author and Henry Mayhew the social reformer arrive at the scene causing the brutes to flee. Charlie and Henry call Dodger Galahad.

Calling the mystery girl he rescued Simplicity, Dodger tries to help this woman he is attracted to; while also trying to prove he is worthy of her. Dodger soon meets Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria and Sweeney Todd in his quest to live up to the reputation of Sir Galahad.

Dodger is an enjoyable historical fiction tale that brings to life Victorian England. The key to this entertaining thriller is Terry Pratchett capturing the vernacular of the era and the tone of several real historical personas though mostly through their interplay with the title character. Although the mystery of Simplicity is more a device to propel the plot forward and there is not a disc in sight, fans will feel they are touring London with Dodger as their guide. Harriet Klausner

Tina Connolly
Tor, Oct 2 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765330598

Several years ago, humans and the forest dwelling fey fought The Great War to end all wars. Now, everyone is trying to return to normal. A victim of a fey curse that forces her to wear an iron mask to prevent the scar on her face from causing others to go into a rage, Jane Eliot answers an ad for a governess in a “delicate situation."

The child's father Edward Rochart the enigmatic mask-maker hires Jane to work with his son Dorie, whose late mother was "taken over" by a fey while she carried the lad. Dorie possesses telekinetic powers that Jane hopes she can teach him to control. However, to her horror and fear, Jane concludes the hostility with the fey apparently is not over.

This is a super Victorian gothic fantasy that provides a paranormal take on Jane Eyre. Fast-paced with a growing sense of foreboding built on what has already happened to the lead triangle, fans will relish the survivors struggling, in a war ravaged alternate Victorian world, to cope with their personal cursed PTSD. Harriet Klausner