Friday, July 5, 2013

Reviews from Harriet

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, $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, $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

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