Monday, February 25, 2013

The Dark Tower Companion is Coming

THE DARK TOWER COMPANION, A Guide to Stephen King’s Epic Fantasy, Bev Vincent, New American Library, $16, 560 pages, ISBN: 9780451237996, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is an an edition of all new material to update King’s additions to the canon of Roland, The Gunslinger. Bev Vincent is the author of THE ROAD TO THE DARK TOWER which Stephen King called "Wonderful". This new edition includes everything up to THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE and the graphic novels from Marvel which may or may not be the last volume of the saga. King can’t even say if there are any more stories tucked away before they pop out someday.

Each book has its’ own section and gives a brief synopsis of the book along with listing characters, places, things and crossovers from other titles. Following that is a listing of other books written by King that have ties to The Dark Tower Canon. There is also a listing of the artwork in each volume as well as information on the contributors of the Marvel comics.

There are also interviews with Robin Furth, Brian Stark, Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman. The listings of places and people in our world and mid-world as well as how things change along the timelines help the reader to understand some of the happenings that may not be clear without re-reading the series as each new one comes along.

Vincent has done a terrific job in putting this together and it fills a need for each “Constant Reader”. It demands a place on the shelf next to The Dark Tower Canon where it can be easily found when a question comes up.

Don’t wait for the April 2, 2013 release date, reserve it at your local bookseller to make sure that it doesn’t slip away.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Shadow Wars by Rod Reese

Rod Reese

First Daughter Norma Williams is stranded in the sinister cyber-world of the not-so-distant future called the Demi-Monde, a world inhabited by some of history’s most menacing villains and where nothing is as it seems. Norma knows she was a fool to be lured into this virtual nightmare of a world, and when the agent sent in the game to save her goes rogue and a long forgotten evil is awoken, it falls to Norma to lead the resistance.

As the shadows of war grow ever darker across the Demi-Monde and Norma is betrayed by those she thought were friends, she must helm the battle against a terrifying force if she wants to survive.

Lost, without a plan, and with the army of the ForthRight marching ever closer, she must come to terms with terrible new responsibilities and with the knowledge that those she thought were her friends are now her enemies. To triumph in this surreal cyber-world she must be more than she ever believed she could be . . . or perish.

Pick up THE SHADOW WARS, the second volume of the Demi-Monde Saga

Friday, February 22, 2013

Press Release

Solaris Rising 2
Edited by Ian Whates

The new SF rises on March 26th (Us & Can) and April 11th (UK)
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-087-0
$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-088-7

Available in paperback and ebook

The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction

“One of the best SF anthologies published this year…
there’s almost nothing here that isn’t good or outstanding”

– Locus on Solaris Rising

Featuring new short stories from top names in the genre, Solaris Rising 2 is the latest galaxy-spanning collection of science-fiction from the leader in SF anthologies.

Showcasing the finest new science fiction from both celebrated authors and the most exciting of emerging writers, it follows in the footsteps of the critically-acclaimed first volume, editor Ian Whates has once again gathered together a plethora of thrilling and daring talent.

From unexplored frontiers to common themes of the genre – alien worlds, time travel, artificial intelligence – this is science-fiction made entirely new in the telling. Paul Cornell, Nancy Kress, James Lovegrove, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Nick Harkaway, Allen Steele, Kay Kenyon, Norman Spinrad and many more prove once again why SF continues to be the most innovative, satisfying, and downright exciting genre of all.

About the series

The SF short story is a groundbreaking tradition that has brought us some of the greatest science-fiction writers in the world. Solaris continues this tradition with Solaris Rising, its series of SF collections featuring both new and established voices in the modern genre.

Bizarre futures, gritty other worlds and strange realms, Solaris Rising exemplifies the diversity and innovation that continue to make science fiction the most thrilling genre there is.

About the Editor

Ian Whates is a director of both the Science-Fiction Writers Association and the British Science-Fiction Association. He is the proprietor and editor of NewCon Press. His novels The Noise Within and The Noise Revealed are published by Solaris, he has also written City of Dreams & Nightmare and City of Hope & Despair.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill


A Deadly Angels Book

By Sandra Hill

(Avon| On Sale: 3/26/2013| ISBN 9780062064639| $5.99 |E-Book ISBN 9780062063878 | $5.99)

It’s finally here! New York Times best-selling author Sandra Hill’s Deadly Angels series has been high on the list of fan-favorites since book one, Kiss of Pride, and its sequel, Kiss of Surrender. But a romance series centering on the seven deadly sins, and sexy Vikings turned into angels, is bound to have one break-out star, and this is it—the one you’ve been waiting for!

Kiss of Temptation is all about reformed vangel Ivak Sigurdsson’s battle to find balance between lust and love—with feisty lawyer Gabrielle Sonnier. With Hill’s trademark wicked humor, this book hits all the right notes: sexy and steamy, laugh-out-loud funny, surprisingly sweet—and it doesn’t hurt that there are vampire Viking angels. Vampire. Viking. Angels. It’s like a trifecta of what romance readers want, created by the inimitable Sandra Hill, and available to readers at a bargain $5.99 price!


Men wanted to be him, and women just wanted him…

In his life as a fearsome Viking warrior, Ivak Sigurdsson was no stranger to the sin of lust, leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. But when a man is as careless about the consequences of his actions as Ivak, he can only go so long without paying the price for his sins—and Viking justice is swift and harsh. After betraying his best friend—and paying the ultimate price for it—Ivak is given a choice: die, or serve the archangel Michael and become a vangel.

One thousand years of temptation…

For one thousand years, Ivak remains celibate, serving a personal penance to Michael, going where he is commanded, and fighting the good fight against the demonic lucipires. But Gabrielle Sonnier is everything that Ivak can’t resist: a sassy, smart lawyer with a heart of gold—and she’s gorgeous, too. Serving as a prison chaplain where Gabrielle’s brother is wrongfully incarcerated means that Ivak can’t seem to avoid her—and he doesn’t even know if he wants to, anymore. Between dealing with a rowdy inmate talent show, a cranky archangel, and the crazy Cajun LeDeux brood of Tante Lulu, Ivak has more than enough to deal with. But when the lucipires start acting up in New Orleans, it’s up to Ivak to protect Gabrielle, and the temptation she provides may just be too great for him to resist.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jack Campbell, Terry Pratchett and Tina Connolly

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight
Jack Campbell
Ace, $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, $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, $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

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Behind the Sun by Sister Hazel

I saw Sister Hazel in concert a week ago and have been constantly playing this song ever since. If you have a chance to catch them in concert please do so. If you like good music, pick up Heartland Highway and any of their other cds.

Behind The Sun

You stand aside and watch the angels pass you by
Just open up to the cathedrals in your mind
Cause no one here can stop a single sand of time
But you try
Oh you try
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you here behind the sun
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you here behind the sun

Believe me when I say I’ll see you once again
And it’s ok, babe, I don’t’ expect you to understand
Cause after all we’re just a part of a bigger plan So don’t you cry, don’t you cry
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you here behind the sun
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you here behind the sun
Now tomorrow you can find your way home
And you’ll see a light if you let love be your guide
But you’re not the same as
You change your heart and you change your name
And I know it’s painful just to say goodbye
When all is said and done I’ll meet you behind the sun
When all is said and done I’ll meet you behind the sun
I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you here behind the sun
Copyright 2010 by Sister Hazel

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More Fantasy Reviews

Ember's Kiss
Deborah Cooke
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451238252

Brandon Merrick denies his Pyr heritage as he refuses to use his dragon-shifting ability to protect mankind from the Slayers who plan to eradicate both races. His action has isolated him from his heartbroken family and his race, but he cares not one iota. Instead he has become a professional surfer working the waves off Hawaii. Chen the Slayer pretends to be an older friend of Brandon, who insists he can help the surfer control his undesirable dragon side. However, Chen in reality has been casting a binding spell on Brandon that will force the dolt to do his bidding.

Marine biologist Liz Barrett arrives in Hawaii to study the reefs. Like Brandon she flees her ancestry as a witch firedaughter. When they meet, their essence ignites the Firestorm as each recognizes their mate in the other. However, Chen has Brandon captured with only Liz, if she deploys her heritage, able to save her loved one and the innocent on the island.

The latest Dragonfire urban fantasy (see Flashfire) is a super thriller starring two protagonists rejecting genetics and a diabolical villain manipulating that denial. Action-packed, series fans will relish this superb entry that profoundly digs into an individual’s desires to include rejecting their inherited nature while also bringing witches into the Cooke mythos. Harriet Klausner

Werewolf in Denver
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451238641

Werecon2012 hosted in Estes Park near Denver focuses on the theme of “Our future in a changing environment.” Scottish were Duncan MacDowell the founder of Werewolves Optimizing Our Future (WOOF) and American were Kate Stillman the founder of “Honoring Our Werewolf Legacy” will debate marriage to human partners. Duncan supports the Wallace Experiment (see Werewolf in the North Woods and A Werewolf in Manhattan) while Kate believes that inter-species relationships are doomed to fail.

When the head WOOF and head HOWLER meet, they are chagrined by their attraction to each other. As they fight their feelings, he knows making her his mate will destroy his work and affirm hers. She knows he only will wed a human to validate his belief. Love may not be enough for this arguing pair.

The latest Wild About You romantic urban fantasy (see Werewolf in Seattle) is a clever lighthearted tale that will remind readers of the marriage between Mary Matalin and James Carville but with fur literally flying. The storyline is fast-paced as the lead couple fights each other and their respective hearts. Harriet Klausner

Fury's Kiss
Karen Chance
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451413239

Working undercover with teammates trying to learn how magical weapons were being smuggled out of Faerie, Dorina Basarab the dhampir awakens to a bloodbath in a lab which she is the sole survivor except for a male staring at her. She tries to kill him, but master vampire Louis-Cesare prevents her from doing so.

The Vampire Senate demands answers to what went wrong as they assume the worst of Dory as everyone knows the hybrid dhampir species fly into berserker rages rather easily. Dory has controlled her urges by going after rogue vampires and evil demons. She does not recall what happened that led to the massacre as if her memory cells were tampered with. As she seeks the truth, Dory faces mad scientists wanting to continue their experiment, fallen angels with malice, and a more malevolent violent vampire subspecies.

The third Midnight's Daughter urban fantasy (see Death’s Mistress) is a dark exhilarating thriller filled with nonstop action yet also enables the audience to look deep at the self-destructive dhampir species. Dory holds the storyline focused as she investigates what occurred in the lab only to run into a horde of nasty adversaries with Louis-Cesare and perhaps her dad having her back. Fury’s Kiss is a strong entry in a fabulous saga. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Books from Joe McKinney, Crystal Jordan and Joelle Sterling

Joe McKinney
Pinnacle, $7.99
ISBN: 9780786029297

Brilliant Stage IV zombie Red Man leads a horde of human and undead. Their current assignment, besides the relentless hunt for their dwindling food supply requiring precise military like tactics, is Niki Booth the notorious zombie killer. Niki, accompanied by Avery Harper and Sylvia Carnes are meeting with Dr. Don Fisher, who allegedly has a cure for zombie fever. Reporter Ben Richardson follows their story.

As zombies starve, the tyrannical Red Man demands his followers kill Niki and her cohorts. Meanwhile the intrepid humans battle the zombies without a respite as they get closer to their destination, Fisher’s lab.

The fourth Dead World urban fantasy (see Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters) is an exciting thriller. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with action, but the non-stop fighting escapades between the Red Man and his minions vs. Niki and her allies supersedes the twin premises of the Malthusian theory’s “population increase would outpace increases in the means of subsistence” and the potential cure. Still diehard deadheads will be grateful for the entertaining albeit improbable Mutated. Harriet Klausner

Crystal Jordan
Kensington Aphrodisia, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758261571

“Hunting Temptation.” After the use of biological weaponry during the Third Great War former Black Ops wolf shifter Kienan Vaughn comes to New Chicago to see his cousin Pierce. After dispatching some hissing muggers, Kiernan meets his mate private investigator Gea Craven, who is mated to businessman Quillian North. With two male hunks as hers, Gea forges a ménage a trois.

“Reclaiming Temptation.” In London mob leader Stefan holds Hybrid cheetah Felicia “Tam” Tamryn’s sister hostage. He demands the grifter steal the crown jewels if she wants her sibling back. Tam’s knows she will lose her mate Constantine Breckenridge when she completes the blackmail, but she must save her sister. Breck plans to rescue the siblings.

These are two exhilarating post-apocalyptic romantic fantasies starring protagonists who make the Jordan world crystal clear and seemingly real. Harriet Klausner

Midnight Cravings
Joelle Sterling
Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, $15.00
ISBN: 9781593094195

With her BFF Naomi going to a private school after her parents learned of the bullying she suffered, Holland Manning decides to do a makeover from nerd to edgy beaut so that her high school crush football star Jarrett Sloan notices her though she knows she will compete with his ex Chaela Vasquez. The teen asks her mom Phoebe the witch to cast a spell to turn her into an alluring beauty though Holland knows the risk as her mother rarely has an incantation work properly.

With his family depending on him teenager Jonas left Haiti for Miami on a voyage in which evil Captain Henri performs human sacrifice and trafficking. When Jonas awakens in in Frombleton, Georgia, he finds himself changed to something his mom and sisters would fear and loathe while he detests the abomination he has become. Holland discovers her sorcerer skills so she and the Haitian team up to fight vampires assaulting the locals.

This is an engaging young adult rural fantasy that never decides whether it is a star-crossed teen romance and a horror thriller. Ironically the fast-paced storyline is at its best when the malevolents attack rather than when the lead characters muse over their woes; as the heroine spends too much time on her new looks and boys (she acts like a teen girl not having to save the town) and the undead hero who reflects on being despicable). Still overall the first Eternal Dead tale is an engaging teen thriller. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dead on Arrival by Cystal Lynn Hilbert

DEAD ON ARRIVAL, Crystal Lynn Hilbert, Eggplant Literary Productions, 9781932207385, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Max was expecting to have a great day then he nicked myself shaving, dropped his razor on the floor, stepped on it and then fell and bashed in his skull. Now he gets to haunt his apartment and the new resident isn’t happy about it.

Charlie is one of the most beautiful women Max has ever seen and she does her best to ignore him. Hilbert has an amusing way of getting Max and Charlie to accept each other and grow into a sort of symbiotic relationship.

As they learn about each other, the story flows well and the story is an interesting one. Max goes as far as trying to take over a body to show his true feelings.

As the story winds down and Charlie is injured in a hit and run, Charlie has an interesting story to tell Max and the story comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Hilbert has a talent and is able to keep the readers interest going and growing with concerns for the characters. This is another solid entry from Hilbert and Eggplant Literary Productions.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Three Parts Dead
Max Gladstone
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765333100

The residents of Alt Coulumb are shocked when the fire god Kos, who kept the city going, dies. The city leaders fear the lack of their deity’s power will destroy Alt Coulumb from within. Thus, these leaders employ necromancer Elayne Kevarian to bring their god back to life before dangerous disorder ensues. Assisting Kevarian are her apprentice associate craftswoman Tara Abernathy and priest Abelard.

The trio starts with investigating the death of Kos. They are shocked when evidence mounts that their deity was murdered. This requires someone with incredible power to have slain the fire god. As the trio continues their inquiry, vampires and gargoyles attack them but Blacksuits’ warrior protects them.

Three Parts Dead is a great fantasy that will make many readers’ best of the year short list. The Gladstone realm is filled with intricate sometimes tongue-in-cheek details like legal contracts between gods and their followers that as a whole make the environs seem plausible. Filled with taut suspense, fans will enjoy this investigative thriller as brave fully developed women escort fans throughout Alt Coulumb in search of a killer. Harriet Klausner

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It
David Wong
Dunne, 25.99
ISBN: 9780312546342

In the Undisclosed Midwestern town twenty-five year old John Dies at the End, not. Though he prefers a constant state of sauce high, John, his and his one-handed fiancee Amy, his only friend David and Molly the dog find themselves either inhaling too much soy sauce or combating monsters.

This time the beasts get into the mouths of people before taking control of the victims’ bodies. As zombies threaten Undisclosed, John turns to soy sauce as the weapon of choice to ignore the contagion in a purple haze of illusions. At the same time, Feds led by David’s therapist threaten John and his one degree of contacts, but the only abomination he and his teammates fear is Carlos the anus tunneler.

The sequel to John Dies at the End is once again a zany horror thriller as This Book Is Full of Spiders and much worse. Loaded with slapstick humor and not so subtle jocular mocking of the genre, fans will enjoy this fast-paced zombie tale as drug and monster induced paranoia rules the minds of John, David, Amy and even Molly while they protect their asses. Harriet Klausner

The Greatcoat: A Ghost Story
Helen Dunmore
Atlantic Monthly, $24.00
ISBN: 9780802120601

In 1952, Great Britain still digs out of the horrors of WWII. Newlyweds Isabel and Philip Carey move to rural Yorkshire where he takes over a medical practice. Philip dives into his work as a country doctor while Isabel suffers from loneliness and a sense she does not belong here rusticating.

On a lonely night, Isabel finds an RAF greatcoat buried in the top of a cupboard by apparently their landlady Mrs. Elizabeth Atkinson. To keep warm on this freezing evening, Isabel puts on the coat and falls asleep. Not long afterward, the ghost of the owner of the coat Alec, a late RAF officer, taps from the outside on the flat’s window. The isolated woman and the dead pilot begin a tryst.

This is an exciting 1950s ghost story that switches between the “present” (1952) and WWII as Isabel obsesses over her new “friend”. Although none of the triangle protagonists are fully developed beyond their prime role, fans will appreciate the tale of the Greatcoat. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reviews from Harriet

Whispers at Moonrise
C.C. Hunter
St. Martin's Griffin, $9.99
ISBN: 9781250011916

After struggling with her recent self-discovery of paranormal power, Kylie Galen realizes what she is while attending Shadow Falls Camp for the supernatural vampires, werewolves, and fairies. However, that does not ease her mind as she has to learn what powers she possesses and how to control them; as no one mentored her when she was younger.

Besides having supernatural skills issues, Kylie struggles with her feelings for two campers as Derek the half fae claims he loves her and Lucas her werewolf boyfriend constantly chooses his pack over her. The rouges want her dead, and her paternal grandfather whom she recently met trusts no one especially Shadow Falls Camp and wants his descendent to leave with him.

The latest Shadow Falls young adult urban fantasy (see Born At Midnight and Awake At Dawn) is a delightful entry as the protagonist has several difficult choices to make with the three males in her life each demanding she pick him. Action-packed and filled with twists, fans will wonder what destiny the teen heroine will choose. Harriet Klausner

Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes
Rob DeBorde
St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99
ISBN: 9781250006646

In 1887 retired marshal Jim Kleberg digs up the grave of Abraham Thomas Alcott whose gravestone states he died in 1874. When the caretaker asks him what he is doing, Jim shows the man a skull and asks if that is him. Jim reluctantly arrives in Portland, Oregon to live with his daughter Katie, her blind husband Joseph, and their twin children (Samuel and Maddie).

At the same time that Jim goes to live with his daughter and her family, Henry Macke resurrects and reanimates the Hanged Man. This zombie seeks a demonic weapon while targeting mentally impaired Jim. Not long afterward a zombie horde attacks Jim and his family as Joseph with his extrasensory skills and Andre Labeau the occultist lead the battle against these undead monsters.

Portlandtown is an exhilarating action-packed western zombie thriller. Fast-paced, the key living cast (especially the Oregon Wyldes’ wild family interrelationships, Jim’s apparent senility and Andre’s quest for redemption) and the Hanged Man are fully developed. Readers anticipate an OK Corral good and evil confrontation. Harriet Klausner

The Wild Road
Jennifer Roberson
DAW, $25.95
ISBN: 978-0756404956

Alisanos the sentient woods continues to change its borders encroaching into the lands of the humans. No one trapped inside this Deepwood Forest remains unscathed. Audrun the mother of five knows this first hand as she, her mate Davyn and their offspring fled their home only to have Alisanos trap them.

Separated from her four older children, Audrun, under the protection of Rhuan the demigod guide, gave birth prematurely to Sarith; only to lose her newborn to a demon. Fearing for her baby, Audrun locates her other kids while Davyn continues his frantic search for his lost family. However, as monsters roam the predatory woods, Audrun realizes Alisanos has changed her children, but she fears what they have become.

The third Karavans family fantasy is an exciting epic as Audrun and Davyn desperately search separately; while fearing the worst as anyone trapped inside of Alisanos can never leave since those outside reject them as different. Fans will be disappointed with the abrupt climax and that the overarching theme moves glacially, if at all. Still diehard readers of the saga will want to know how the trapped not so human anymore family are doing within the dangerous Alisanos. Harriet Klausner

Friday, February 8, 2013

Vampires and Fantasy

Ghosts of Memories
Barb Hendee
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464842

Vampire Eleisha Clevon lives among humans without killing them as she adheres to the Four Laws. Her “life’s” goal is to mentor her species to live in harmony with humans. Thus, Elisha, accompanied by her vampiric protector Philip Branté and their human friend former police psychologist Wade Sheffield, search for other vamps.

Meanwhile Julian Ashton the raging vampire continues his hunt for elders using Eleisha and her associates as his unwitting guides. At the same time in the Seattle area, Christian Lefevre masquerades as a psychic who makes contact with the deceased loved ones of his affluent clients; after each session his customers are left extremely weak.

The latest Vampire Memories urban fantasy (see Memories of Envy and Hunting Memories) is an engaging tale as readers learn much more about the psychology of being a vampire as most live for ages as loners with powers superior and vulnerabilities in comparisons to their sustenance species. Readers find out more about what motivates evil Julian and goodness Eleisha as both are wired differently than the humans that surround them. Filled with action in Wales and Puget Sound, Barn Hendee provides a deep look at what being a vampire feels like while swimming upstream in a human ocean.
Harriet Klausner

Death and the Girl Next Door
Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Griffin, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312625207

In Riley’s Switch, New Mexico, high school student Lorelei lives with her grandparents as she has for the last decade since her parents disappeared. Her grandparents and her best friends Brooklyn and Glitch worry about her the week before, during and after the anniversary of the vanishings.

At school, loner Cameron starts stalking Lorelei as he stands outside her home every night like a sentinel and seems to pop up out of nowhere just about wherever she may be. School newcomer Jared also showers attention on Lorelei. He and Cameron loathe each other at first sight with Lorelei as the cause of their hostility. Their disdain turns to fighting while a stunned Lorelei begins seeing visions of the new teen on the block fighting a monster.

This is a terrific young adult urban fantasy starring a strong cast anchored by the bewildered heroine. Fast-paced, teen readers will want to know the mystery of the “triangle” participants and whether they connect to her missing parents; as Darynda Jones provides a strong paranormal thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Thomas Emson
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312621704

At Religion, a club in London, twenty-eight partygoers take a new drug Skarlet. Anyone who did take it dies. Police Superintendent Phil Burch suspects club bouncer, disgraced veteran Jake Lawton killed these people. Jake had the means with his Iraqi tour; the opportunity as his boss supported by two employees implies he stole the tape of what happened, and the motive since his estranged girlfriend is one of the victims. Insisting he is being set up as he was in Iraq Jake storms out of the club.

Forty-eight hours after the clubbers died, each victim rises from the grave with a thirst for live blood. Reporter Christine Murray who destroyed him allegedly for killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq and Lithgow the dealer who brought the drugs to Religion join Jake as they battle an ancient conspiracy fostered by human avarice.

This is a superb vampire thriller that stars a scapegoat hero and a strong support cast. The fast-paced storyline deftly merges pathos with gore. Fans will enjoy exciting Skarlet as the drug of choice becomes blood. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Reviews from Harriet

Mortal Ties
Eileen Wilks
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425254929

A B&E thief enters Nokolai Clanhome. The felon steals a magical gizmo that Cullen Seaborne was working on. FBI agent Lily Yu and her fiancé Nokolai Lu Nuncio Rule Turner panic as the gadget is far from ready for prime time as it is unstable while the maniacal loyalist to the Old One Robert Friar remains on the loose.

Yu believes the culprit not only knows about the erratic nature of the mechanism, but plans to use the unfinished invention because of that unpredictable and uncontrollable nature. She also strongly thinks that someone inside of the Nokolai betrayed the clan by abetting the theft. While the clan pressures its leader to resolve the breach, Yu investigates as adversaries try to abduct her sister Beth.

The latest Lupi urban fantasy (see Blood Challenge and Human Error in the Tied With A Bow anthology) is a terrific entry. The war between the Lupi and Old Ones is heating up. Readers will appreciate this fabulous thriller with the clan coming front and center as a traitor apparently has sold out his or her “family”. Harriet Klausner

Dark Currents
Jacqueline Carey
Roc, $26.95
ISBN 9780451464781

Pemkowet, Michigan is the true melting pot as the small town is home to humans, paranormals and hybrids. Demon-human Daisy Johanssen serves as the liaison between the mortal police and Hel the Norse goddess chieftain of the underworld.

The Police Chief Bryant wakes up Daisy with a situation at the gazebo. College student Vanderhei was intoxicated when he bet his two friends he could swim the river, but died in the attempt. The Chief says the timeline feels wrong so he asks Daisy to help as magic may have been instrumental in the death. Officer Cody Fairfax has doubts having Daisy assist, but they team up on a case in which the means may have been magical, mundane or both.

This first urban fantasy police procedural is a terrific paranormal whodunit as Jacqueline Carey makes her Michigan world of paranormal and normal living together seem real. With a nod to Rosemary’s Baby, Daisy is a superb protagonist as her maternal values battle with her paternal desire to embrace the “Seven Deadlies”. Action-packed, readers will enjoy Daisy’s dilemma as she and Cody investigate the death of a drunken student. Harriet Klausner

Death's Rival
Faith Hunter
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464859

New Orleans Master Vampire Leo Pellisier orders his employee skinwalker vampire-killer Jane Yellowrock to return to the city. Leo explains someone wants to replace him as the city’s Master Vampire and to achieve this objective means assassinating the incumbent and his supporters.

An attack proves that the adversary displayed an upper echelon level of power, has no qualms about collateral damage in regards to deaths of civilians and knows how to deploy an operation. As Jane investigates, she uncovers a plague that infects vampires leaving their masters accessible for elimination. Jane believes the rogue making a power play is behind the crippling disease.

The latest Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy (see Raven Cursed) is an awesome action-packed thriller as the heroine works a case unaware that traitors pursue her. The inquiry is excellent as New Orleans’ vampire community is in deep trouble with Jane the only hope for their survival even as her life and much more are in peril. Death's Rival is an excellent entry in a strong supernatural series. Harriet Klausner