Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wasteland Saga by Nick Colewill be available on October 15

The Wasteland Saga

Nick Cole

October 15, 2013

Harper Voyager

Fiction / Science Fiction / Adventure

$6.99 US

In these three novels Nick Cole, in a style that’s part Hemingway, part Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, sends us on a suspenseful odyssey into the dark heart of the Post-Apocalyptic America.

The Old Man and the Wasteland

Forty years after the destruction of civilization... Man is reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. One man’s most prized possession is Hemingway’s Classic ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ With the words of the novel echoing across the wasteland, a survivor of the nuclear holocaust journeys into the unknown to break a curse. What follows is an incredible tale of survival and endurance. One man must survive the desert wilderness and mankind gone savage to discover the truth of Hemingway’s classic tale of man versus nature.

The Savage Boy:

Amid the Wasteland remains of a world destroyed by a devastating thermonuclear armageddon, barbaric tribes rule the New American Dark Age. A boy and his horse must complete the final mission of the last American soldier. What unfolds is an coming-of-age epic journey across a terrifying America gone savage.

The Road is a River:

An Old Man and his Granddaughter set out across a post-apocalyptic wasteland to free a group of survivors trapped beneath a mountain in the underground bunker at NORAD.

Together, along with a mysterious Boy they rescue in the desert, they face the terrors of a radioactive Las Vegas infested by an army of crazies, journey east into the heart of tribal darkness that is the Apache of the Wasteland and, as they near their final confrontation with the infamous King Charlie, meet a maniacal fool bent on the nonsense of utopia. Post-apocalypse meets Shakespeare’s King Lear in this final and epic conclusion of the tale.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

PHOENIX by Brian A. Hopkins

PHOENIX, Brian A. Hopkins, Terradan Press, $15, 228 pages, ISBN: 9781492101260, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

First of all, I’ve known Brian from chats on Cybling, his writing, and being one of the Coon Hunter (a Martin Zolotow story) and Waders (unpublished at this time) first readers that provided feedback on his work. So I’ve got a sort of vested interest in his writing.

This is his first book in around ten years and it was worth waiting for. It features some stories reprinted from anthology’s he has contributed to, his collaboration with Gene Wolfe (who provides the introduction), and some stories published here for the first time.

Brian is one of those writers that can draw you into the story and immerse you into it with powerful description. Here’s an example from “Black Rider”-“its appearance strikes me as a symbolic scream from Hell, the visual manifestation of an auditory overload, all those billions of souls crying out at once until the landscape becomes the gaping mouthpiece to their torment-but it’s as wide and barren as an ocean, rippling in heat waves to the far horizon where I imagine the clouds sizzle as they touch the red earth.” You can picture this in your mind’s eye and you are drawn in.

“Diving the Coolidge” is dedicated to Dietmar Trommeshauser, who died in 1998 (and another internet friend of mine) and is the story of two divers who find and photograph shipwrecks and the secret of how one of them finds the wrecks. “Black Rider” tells of a motorcycle chase across the desert and what the narrator is actually trying to escape. This is a moving and thoughtful story. “Communion with the Worm” is a Lovecraftian tale of a priest and the Mafioso in Sicily. “The Land of the Awful Shadow’ is a tale of youth that doesn’t turn a blind eye to friendship. “Roadkill” is not what you expect from the title.

“El Dia De Los Muertos”, the Stoker winning story, was previously available in a limited edition is presented here along with “Pieces”. “Eleven Minutes in September”, “Rattler”-with Gene Wolfe, and others fill out this outstanding collection that is for all fans of horror and those who like great writing.

Hopefully, this will not be the last we see from this extremely talented four time Stoker Award winner. It’s available from, Amazon and other booksellers.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Iced and Past Lives reviewed

Karen Marie Moning
Delacorte, $27.00
ISBN: 9780385344401

In Dublin, fourteen year old Dani “Mega” O’Malley lives in the abbey amongst other sidhe-seers and with the unseelie prince Cruces finds the powerful Sinsar Dubh who lies frozen underneath the house. Dani uses the Sword of Light to kill the fae.

Ryodan, owner of Chester’s club, tells Dani he has a job for her. She refuses as he caters to the fae. He takes her to Chester’s taking Dani to a bottom level where a room is frozen with unseelie and human dead. They flee when the room explodes. He asks her to investigate before sending her back upstairs where she kills many fae. An irate Ryodan considers executing her for murder in his neutral club. Seelie-seer Jo makes a deal to serve as a waitress to keep Dani safe. To keep Jo safe Dani signs a contract too. Ryodan takes her to a frozen warehouse which explodes just after they enter. Three more iced places are searched for clues; two explode. A few days later he takes her to a frozen church; Dani stops to touch a baby, but endangers her life. She is taken to Chester’s to heal. Afterward she begins to investigate until Jayne takes her sword away.

This is an exciting opening of a new Fever saga that focuses on the actions (sometimes moronic) of a fourteen year old individual with special skills who acts even at inopportune moments like she believes she is invincible. Readers will enjoy that the prime Fever cast plays major roles and the introduction of two new unique dangerous Fae who widen the mythos. Although there is no climax, saga fans will relish following the escapades of dangerous Dani. Harriet Klausner

Past Lives
Christopher Kokoski
BlackWyrm, $15.95
ISBN: 9781613181096

In Louisville, Kentucky, Police Detective James Wolfe takes Courier-Journal outbound sales representative Eric Shooter into custody as he was found unconscious next to murdered pregnant Rosalie Parker; his name carved into her body. A stunned and confused Eric is show four photos of dead females. He denies knowing anything about the brutal homicides. On a lie detector test, he answers he never killed anyone, which registers as a lie. The cops send him to hypnotherapist Dr. Samantha Jones who finds Eric has been a serial killer many times in previous lives.

When another murder occurs and a cop is severely hurt, Eric knows he must confront the killer before he fears his dark side takes over. He soon learns of a connection in his previous psychopathic lives to the present day predator. However, his apparent partner in many lifetimes proves diabolically clever.

With a strong reincarnation premise, Past Lives is an exhilarating paranormal mystery starring a beleaguered protagonist, the vigilant cop, an amazed doctor, and a vile villain. The storyline grips the audience from the horrific opening murder until the final confrontation. Although the short chapters (averaging 2 pages) causes abruptness and restricts depth, fans will enjoy this unique serial killer thriller. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two Reviews from Harriet

Wolfishly Yours
Lydia Dare
Sourcebooks, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402263491

In 1820, Papa places his angry daughter Liviana Mayeux on one of his ships sailing from New Orleans to England where she will live with her grandfather. Worried about his Lycan wild child, he hopes her grandfather can teach her to behave like a proper British lady.

Grayson Hadley’s mother fears for her son, as she feels he is an out of control wild Lycan. She believes he needs to learn to behave like a proper London aristocrat before he gets into trouble. When Livi and Grayson meet, both know the other is a werewolf. Though attracted to one another each believes they can avoid falling in love even as they agree to use one another as a shield against high society and in her case to return to Louisiana as soon as she can.

Wolfishly Yours is a straightforward Regency romance between two werewolves. Although the Lycan elements are passive, fans will enjoy this engaging psychological tale as the Lycan protagonists try to tame the beast within themselves and with their beloved through love. Harriet Klausner

Sara Humphreys
Sourcebooks, $6.99
ISBN 9781402258497

Photographer Layla Nickelsen knows all about her hybrid roots as a human-Amoveo species. She understands that one day she will meet her fated life mate, but refuses to allow even fate to dictate her behavior. In her dreams, she meets her mate only to tell fate and the hunk to kiss her butt.

Corporate lawyer William Fleury realizes Layla is his destiny, but instead of welcoming him she rejects him to his horror. He also has mixed feelings about their relationship as he wants a true partner not a subordinate dependent. When the Amoveo Purists continue their ethnic cleansing of the mixed breed, they target Layla and her family for extermination. William risks his life to keep his reluctant partner safe.

The latest Amoveo Legend paranormal romance (see Untouched and Unleashed) is a strong entry with a female who knows what she is and what she wants and a male who wants her as his equal not his servant. Fast-paced from the first dream encounter until the final confrontation, readers will appreciate two opposites fated to be in love but that is not enough for them to become life mates. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 22, 2013

From a Vietnam Vet Friend

Too Busy for a Friend . . . . .

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes . ' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'.

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists.'

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will b .

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ellen Datlow and William Levy reviewed

Blood and Other Cravings: Original Stories of Vampires and Vampirism by Blood and Other Cravings
Ellen Datlow (editor)
Tor, $16.99
ISBN: 9780765328298

This super seventeen short story collection focuses on paranormal compulsive obsessive disorder and codependency. Each of the excellent entries provides the reader with insight into deviant supernatural cravings. In Kaaron Warren's "All You Can Do Is Breath," the trapped miner witnesses a creature attacking a peer and after being saved sees that same beast outside the mine. The vampire struggles between instinctive hunger and maternal cravings in Elizabeth Bear's "Needles." The mother grieves her son while living only to keep his memory alive in "Keeping Corky" by Melanie Tem. The incarcerated vampire struggles with controlling his needs and his mind in Michael Cisco's "Bread and Water." "The Mulberry Boys" (by Margo Lanagan) know you are what you eat as their bodies convert into silk manufacturing plants. The other contributions are all top rate as Blood and Other Cravings affirms its claim of “Blood and Other Cravings.” Harriet Klausner

Body and Sold
William Levy
BlackWyrm, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181140

They arrived on Pree, an earth-like planet sixty light years from their home world. Their message to the technologically inferior cat-morphs is that we are from earth and come to help. When one of the aliens Barret and native Paum met, they fell in love. The Star-crossed pair found the road to a loving relationship devastated by their respective races proclaiming their mating taboo; even her loving older sister Col loathed having an earthling as a brother-in-law. Along the way they also confronted zombies, his military peers, vampiress, other ilk and his imprisonment to stay together.

Now Paum and Barret are on trial for crimes against nature. The Prosecuting Examiner goes for the jugular while in space feral invaders target Pree, earth and points in between as these deadly plundering warriors have done so before. Meanwhile mad geneticists crave time to study Paum and her cat-morph people as the trial goes badly for the dependents with increasingly the kept-apart star-crossed lovers realizing they have no hope to be together unless a miracle occurs.

The sequel to The Starcrossed is an exciting Pythonesque thriller in which a Romeo and Juliet couple confronts racism in a science fiction-fantasy stew. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced from the opening courtroom drama until the final clever denouement. Readers will enjoy Body And Sold as Paum and Barret face the most lethal species in the universe, lawyers. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Circlet Press Book Release News

For Immediate Release

The Future is Gay

(Cambridge, MA) -- Circlet Press, the 21-year-old independent publisher of erotic science fiction, has just
released the latest volume in the WIRED HARD series of gay-themed erotic short stories, Wired Hard 5:
Yet More Erotica For a Gay Universe.

The WIRED HARD series has always been a futuristic look at gay male sexuality and desire, weaving science fiction themes from cyberpunk to space travel with eroticism.

Huge changes have taken place since the release of Wired Hard 1: Erotica For a Gay Universe twenty
years ago, including the rise of gay marriage, the advent of openly serving gay senators and elected
officials, and the now-common appearance of openly gay actors, musicians, and athletes. But at the
same time, Uganda has tried to approve the death penalty for homosexuality and Russia, host of the
upcoming Winter Olympics, has vowed to arrest any athlete or visitor to the games for even speaking the
word "gay" or holding hands with same-sex husbands or wives. This regression on issues of gay rights
only highlights the need for future-looking gay fiction that is frank and forward about sexuality and desire.

Wired Hard 5 is available exclusively as an ebook. The digital medium has been a boon to writers and
readers exploring the frontiers of sexuality, distanced from the "safe" confines of the familiar. Circlet Press
ebooks are available wherever ebooks are sold or directly from

Monday, August 19, 2013

Simulacrum and Other Possible Realities by Jason V. Brock

SIMULACRUM AND OTHER POSSIBLE REALITIES, Jason V Brock, Hippocampus Press, $20, 252 pages, ISBN: 9781614980551, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In his introduction, William F. Nolan compares Brock with Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Chad Oliver and William Clayton Johnson. H feels that Brock would be right at home with group of authors and after reading this collection of prose and poetry, I am very inclined to agree with him.

There are stories that are written that would fit right into a collection by Matheson, Lovecraft or Bradbury but have a uniquely Brock twist and flavor. This collection will definitely give you a good sampling of Brock’s dexterity and I’m sure that you will develop a taste for his writing with this collection.

“What the Dead’s Eyes Behold” answers that question. “One for the Road” is one of those rest stop gone wrong tales. Witches sue each other in “The Hex Factor”. “The Underground is a tale of the strange folks you meet on the subway. “Van Helsing: His True Story” is exactly that. “By Any Other Name…” is a unique job interview for a unique position. “Black Box” would have made an excellent Twilight Zone episode. Discovering a previously unknown island off the coast of Antarctica and vegetarians is an interesting combination in the HPL inspired “Milton’s Island”. The title story is a very interesting story about Virtual Reality.

“Palindrome Syndrome”, Frac/tion”, “People After Their Murder by the U.S. CIA”, and “poem from the Future” are my favorite poems of those presented.

If you like you horror with a dash of humor, a hearty amount of intelligence, and leaving you wanting more when you have finished, this is the book for you. Thank you Jason Brock and Hippocampus Press for a feast of good reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Druids, Fantasy and The End of the World

Midnight's Seduction
Donna Grant
St. Martin's, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312552503

Three years ago, the evil Druid Declan Wallace captured the Druid-seer Saffron Fletcher. He tortured and blinded her as he did what he wanted to her to break her spirit as Declan planned to exploit her rare seer skill.

Three years after her captivity her friend Danielle Buchanan the Druid helps Saffron regain her sight as Declan’s dark spell is broken. At MacLeod Castle, Saffron struggles with her sight and her freedom. She also obsesses over revenging her trauma by destroying Declan and his evil ally Deidre the Drough Druid. Finally there is her unwanted desire for Camdyn MacKenna. He offers to help her as he too seeks to avenge what Declan did to him. Additionally both struggle to ignore their attraction for one another as vengeance may be served cold but each believes that comes before the warmth of love.

The latest Dark Warriors (see Midnight’s Lover and Midnight Masters) continues the Dark Sword spin off series with an awesome entry starring two individuals who fear love weakens their chance for avenging affronts committed by the devilish Ds. Midnight Seduction is another winner. Harriet Klausner

Sword of Queens
Joan Marie Verba
FTL Publications, $15.95
ISBN: 9781936881116

For over five centuries, Tashtalon the overlord has ruled the patriarchal kingdom of Somerlie with an evil iron fist. No one has ever seen Tashtalon but everyone knows of his presence especially at night when sleeping is dangerous. Each evening, Tashtalon puts his subjects to sleep two hours after sunset; and awakens them each morning two after sunrise with some vanishing overnight. No one has any hope of overthrowing this invincible malevolent God.

Twentyish Gill is like everyone else living in fear of the evil ruler; wondering if she will disappear next and knowing how helpless it is as nothing can defeat Tashtalon. Gill wonders why the overlord’s most enforced law is that no woman will yield a sword with the penalty of breaking his code instant death though she assumes it has to do with females being subservient to males. As she begins her required quest year “To Find Herself”, Gill thinks of her elderly grandma’s tales of life before Tashtalon. On her journey Gill learns that the magical Sword of Queens can destroy Tashtalon.

Sword of Queens is an excellent coming of age quest fantasy starring a likable heroine. The vibrant Verba world of magic seems real while the vile villain is made even stronger and eviler by the fearful whispers of his subjects. Sub-genre readers will enjoy Gill’s adventures in an engaging good and evil thriller. Harriet Klausner

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End
Manel Loureiro and Pamela Carmell (translator)
AmazonCrossing, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612184340

From Galicia, Spain he began the blog because his psychiatrist suggested he do so. His first entry on December 30 dealt with Spain broke or not broke, stockholder clients making money or not making money and an incident in one of the former Soviet “Stan” republics in the Caucasus Mountains. His next entry focuses on that explosion in Dagestan apparently caused by Islamic guerillas seeking nuclear material. He later writes Russia closed its border.

He continues his blog as he speculates why no news from ground zero in Dagestan has surfaced as if all are dead inside the nation; the silence also engulfed its neighbors like Georgia and now American troops patrol Fifth Avenue. He soon learns the consequence of the event in Dagestan as humans turn into monsters attacking the normals. Governments try to keep order, but fail as the disease turns pandemic. Many of the remaining humans struggle to survive the onslaught creating not so “Safe Havens” that are more prisons than enclaves. The blogger begins an odyssey of survival for him and his cat Lucullus while keeping his blog current with what his happening in his life.

The beginning Apocalypse Z horror tale is an exciting end of the world thriller. Even with much of the novel using the blog and a journal to tell “The Beginning of the End”, the storyline is fast-paced. Readers will admire the blogger though doubt a lawyer could adapt as easily as he does (unless he was an extreme survivalist) to the chaos and constant peril with everything including electricity failing. Still Manel Loureiro provides an engaging zombie thriller starring an admirable hero telling his tale. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Classic, A Thriller and A Paranoral, Oh My !

Today we feature a review of a classic Philip Jose Farmer adventure wherein he does a pastiche of Tarzan and is one of the stories that led up to his other novels featuring characters who might have been related and read as pulp fiction by our fathers. We also have a futuristic thriller by Peter Hamilton and a Viking paranormal from Paul Lewis.


A Feast Unknown
Philip José Farmer
Titan Books, $12.95
ISBN: 9781781162880

In 1968 septuagenarian Lord Grandrith looks back at his life as he enjoys living in Africa looking like a thirty year old person. He learned early on that he is the illegitimate son of Jack the Ripper and over the years has become almost as famous in his own right as the Apeman, Lord of the Jungle.

Grandrith is also aware that he becomes aroused when he kills so he must control his urges to complete the opponent’s death. His greatest adversary is legendary Doc Caliban, the Man of Bronze and Champion of Justice, who shares with Grandrith the secret of eternal life. They know they will one day meet with only one of them walking away. However, to the chagrin of both of them before they can have that ultimate climax that each desires, each obsesses over identifying who the third party foe(s) manipulating them into their coveted duel to the death.

This is a reprint of an exciting late 1960s satirical thriller that retains its controversial freshness with the ripping away of the goodness mythos of two pulp fiction heroes. Filled with gore and more gore and with the twist of the Apeman’s sexual appetite, fans who appreciate something different will want to read Lord Grandrith’s engaging memoir. Harriet Klausner

Great North Road
Peter F. Hamilton
Del Rey, $30.00
ISBN: 9780345526663

In 2004 Kane North uses family money to hire the best geneticists to work a cloning program. Over the next few years three clones of him are born with severe defects. In 2012, triplet clones Augustine, Bartram and Constantine are born. In 2020, Wan Hi Chan’s theory of trans-spacial connection proves instant travel as doable leading to links to rival interstellar programs. In 2034 Augustine, Bartram and Constantine form the Northumberland Interstellar Corps. However, by 2087 the siblings split up with Augustine remaining at Northumberland while his brothers leave the firm becoming rivals.

In 2121 on the planet St. Libra someone slaughters Bartram and his family. The police arrest Angela Tramelo who is convicted and given a life sentence; she insisted she was innocent and that an alien killed them. Over two decades later, an eerily similar slaughter of a North clone occurs in Newcastle, England. Detective Sidney Hurst leads the investigation that he knows will prove a career killer regardless of what he does. He and others also know Angela has the perfect state sponsored alibi. She is freed to search the planetary jungles for the deadly predator as the only survivor of the alien psychopath while he investigates the slaying in England.

This is an exciting futuristic thriller that is at its best when focusing on clone creation, instant interstellar travel and a great murder mystery in Newcastle and on St Libra. The Zanth assault on human colonies at first seems out of place as if Peter F. Hamilton switch the theme, but he shows his skills as an author when he cleverly brings everything together in a taut science fiction detective tale. Harriet Klausner

Immortal Betrayal
Paul Lewis
BlackWyrm, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181133

In 1085 AD Eric returns to Iceland after an exile insisting there is a better warmer land to the west. His old traveling buddy Kallock, accompanied by his wife Callie and their nine year old son Darien, joins him on his quest. Diligent Kallock becomes concerned as the numbers going with them grow out of control with 500 men, women and children. He also pleads with hedonistic Eric and others to end their visits to the women in taverns before a disease decimates them. Not long afterward the sickness spread until many die including Callie. With her death, father and son grow apart as she was the loving bind between them. They complete the journey to Greenland and over the next decade Darien and Eric’s son Leif become friends though their temperament differ as each take after their respective father.

Stephen Santos and Rachel Davenport arrive at the hall in Greenland to hire the best shop and crew from the legendary Eric the Red. He offers to pay a fee and supplies while Eric volunteers his son and Darien. Not long afterward her brother Randall and another man arrive. On the journey Darien falls in love with Rachel, but she belongs to someone else. Soon Darien finds his Viking loyalty shook over Rachel as he also confronts vampires and werewolves.

Immortal Betrayal is an exhilarating refreshing Viking paranormal thriller that gives new meaning to the Dark Ages. The story line is fast-paced with a strong cast especially the two generations of BFFs, Rachel and the supernatural. Paul Lewis provides a fabulous historical fantasy filled with twists and plenty of action and a forbidden love. Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 16, 2013

Apocalypse Z, Black City and Renegade reviewed

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End
Manel Loureiro and Pamela Carmell (translator)
AmazonCrossing, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612184340

From Galicia, Spain he began the blog because his psychiatrist suggested he do so. His first entry on December 30 dealt with Spain broke or not broke, stockholder clients making money or not making money and an incident in one of the former Soviet “Stan” republics in the Caucasus Mountains. His next entry focuses on that explosion in Dagestan apparently caused by Islamic guerrillas seeking nuclear material. He later writes Russia closed its border.

He continues his blog as he speculates why no news from ground zero in Dagestan has surfaced as if all are dead inside the nation; the silence also engulfed its neighbors like Georgia and now American troops patrol Fifth Avenue. He soon learns the consequence of the event in Dagestan as humans turn into monsters attacking the normals. Governments try to keep order, but fail as the disease turns pandemic. Many of the remaining humans struggle to survive the onslaught creating not so “Safe Havens” that are more prisons than enclaves. The blogger begins an odyssey of survival for him and his cat Lucullus while keeping his blog current with what his happening in his life.

The beginning Apocalypse Z horror tale is an exciting end of the world thriller. Even with much of the novel using the blog and a journal to tell “The Beginning of the End”, the storyline is fast-paced. Readers will admire the blogger though doubt a lawyer could adapt as easily as he does (unless he was an extreme survivalist) to the chaos and constant peril with everything including electricity failing. Still Manel Loureiro provides an engaging zombie thriller starring an admirable hero telling his tale. Harriet Klausner

Black City
Elizabeth Richards
Putnam Juvenile, $17.99
ISBN: 9780399159435

The horrific war in Black City left the humans and the Darklings devastated. Each side blames the other for atrocities as hostilities remain stratospheric even with a high wall separating the enemy races.

Sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher the hybrid Half-Darkling and Natalie Buchanan the human meet and fall in love. Their star-crossed love is the number one taboo of the humans. Making matters worse for the couple is Natalie is the daughter of a murdered sentry (by a Darkling) and a high government Emissary; Ash possesses a realistic outlook of being a condemned pariah unaccepted or welcomed by both of his races even his human father hesitates as he knows firsthand the cost of a hybrid offspring. Each knows their forbidden relationship means state execution, but neither wants to deny how they feel.

The first Black City Chronicles is a dark romantic thriller set in a world still reeling from a terrible war that settled nothing. Though the plot can slow down at times, readers will appreciate this engaging character driven, tale as the lead teens know as star-crossed lovers their execution is imminent but each feels every moment together is worth the consequences as both expect to be caught.
Harriet Klausner

J.A. Souders
Tor Teen, $17.95
ISBN: 9780765332455

In the underwater nation Elysium sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters feels her life is perfect as she trains to be Daughter of the People. Thirteen years ago, Mother selected Evelyn for her position because her genes were perfect.

Surface Dweller Gavin Hunter accidentally arrives in Elysium, shaking the core of the secluded haven as his appearance exposes the Utopia fabricated on lies. Evelyn begins to reconsider all she believed as she realizes her perfect life is a sham. Memories seem contradictory and Evie concludes her mind and even her body are controlled by someone else. Worse is her beloved Mother is not kind and caring but a manipulative ogre with plans to destroy paradise. As Evie considers fleeing with Gavin, she learns the worst secret of all; that her mind is a weapon of destruction ready to ignite.

Renegade is a super teen fantasy starring a wonderful heroine whose awakening makes the storyline work as she begins to question who Mother is and who her mother is. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the “low-life” Surface Dweller and Daughter of the People trainee as they learn the truth about this underwater Utopia. Harriet Klausner

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Demon's Wife by Rick Hautala

THE DEMON’S WIFE, Rick Hautala, Journalstone Publishing, $31.95 hardcover, $18.95 trade paper, $9.95 ebook, 314 pages, ISBN: 9781936564972, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Sadly, Rick left us earlier this year, but I hope he was able to see the cover for this one. It shows a lovely redhead in an embrace with a handsome fellow with the hint of a tail in the background and it is perfect for this book.

Claire McMullen is out with her roommate, Sally, looking for Mr. Right but would settle for Mr. Right Now when she meets Samael and is smitten with his charming good looks. He leaves before they make a full connection.

In a nutshell, Claire is attacked as she is leaving the bar, Samael saves her, sweeps her off her feet, she falls in love with him almost immediately, and when she takes him to bed discovers that he is a demon.

Samael has also fallen in love with Claire and decides to reform his demonic ways and regain his angelic status. The only problem is that Hell will do anything so that will not happen.

This is a fantastic example of Rick’s writing; great characters, a strong story line and an ending that’s fits the storyline rather than being “Happy ever after”.

Although I never got to meet Rick in person, I interviewed him for in 2000 during the release of 999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense, in which he had a story. He was a one of a kind writer who could make you think you knew what was coming and then branch off with a surprise or two. He will definitely be missed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Circlet Press Book Sale

The End of Summer Reading Sale has now commenced at Circlet Press!

All titles will be a dollar off on all retail sites until August 31st, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, and Google Play.

A 21-year leader in erotic, fantasy/SF and contemporary romance, offering their titles in the three most popular ebook formats (PDF, mobi, and epub), the wide selection at Circlet Press takes over where 50 Shades of Grey leaves off.

See for a comprehensive catalog of titles, and a complete list of participating retailers.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

House of Sable Locks

House of Sable Locks, Elizabeth Schechter,, 276 pages, $4.99, ISBN: 978-1-61390-090-1, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is one of the more unusual titles I’ve seen from Circlet Press. They are well known for their erotic and steampunk titles and have published some of the best-selling retellings of alternate lifestyle adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare.

This novel is the story of a house that caters to everyone and each of the floors is for different tastes. The second floor is for those who like women; the third floor is for those who prefer men. The fourth floor is home to The Succubus, with whom each visitor meets on their first visit, but never meets again. That is until she meets William Sotherby.

William is the son of a master Articifer, who helped develop artificial intelligence. Lady Helena Smyth is also an Articifer who, along with her late husband, helped create the Cerebral Engine that is used in running the automatons that inhabit and service the clients in the House of Sable Locks. A problem develops with The Succubus and William is called on to help solve the problem. William finds a surprise as he corrects the problem and makes some improvements as well.

Add in William’s story of his adventures in India, an overbearing guardian, and a series of murders make this a story of brutality, carnality, betrayal and love that plays out in a well told and interesting story that giving to many details would spoil the surprises that are there to be discovered by the reader.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fantasy-Adult, Urban and Christian

The Ogre and Other Stories
William Levy
BlackWyrm, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181034

This is an entertaining adult fantasy anthology in which William Levy sets the tone in his introduction with his comments on Julie “Catwoman” Newmar (as adolescent males wanted to make her purr and teen females envied her statuesque purrfect feline form).

In the “Dragon at Mackenzie’s farm”, Coleridge insists he is not a wizard to the investigating sheriff. Erv Largo is introduced to lovely Ms. Tessa and knows instantly by his bodily reactions she has sex “Appeal”; note that no bananas were hurt during this tale. Only eight years old, Lida is given the “Burden” to watch over her younger siblings in the hidey hole while a wizard and four fighters arrive to take her parents as prisoners to the king. If you have a queasy stomach you don’t want to know “What They Did To Me On My Summer Vacation.” The Martian Girl’s green body had male eyes (and other parts) bulging, Posey begins to rise from the third shift convenience store clerk position in “Out Of Space.” Finally there are the seven engaging Ogre entries to round out a fascinating short story collection. Harriet Klausner

Cocaine Zombies
Scott A Lerner
Camel Press, $13.95
ISBN: 9781603819039

In Urbana, Illinois Chloe and Thomas visits Sam the lawyer. Chloe explains her companion has been charged with class X felony of selling cocaine. She says in spite of the fact he did not sell drugs; if Thomas is convicted he will spend the rest of his life behind bars due to his criminal record.

Sam wonders what the relationship is between his client and the mysterious Chloe. Still he takes on the case, but almost immediately afterward he begins suffering nightmares in which people die; only to learn when awake the stars of his dreams indeed died. Sam asks his friend Bob to help him understand why he has these deadly visions when he sleeps. They learn about a German pharmaceutical company testing a highly addictive form of cocaine developed by the Nazis but lethally enhanced by herbs and voodoo. When his client’s head is found in his refrigerator, Sam expects the cops to suspect him of the murder forcing him with Bob at his side to confront the evil turning humanity into enslaved living zombies.

This is an exciting paranormal legal investigative thriller as a drug derivative and voodoo equate to Cocaine Zombies. The cast is sold though somewhat stereotypical as Chloe is a femme fatale while Sam is that law abiding good neighbor and Bob is a knowledgeable nerd. With a fun who do voodoo spin, fans will enjoy this taut twisted tale. Harriet Klausner

Dark Halo
Christopher Kokoski
BlackWyrm, $15.95
ISBN: 9781613181287

Thirtyish Landon Paddock closed his business and deserted his wife and teenage daughter. He moved back onto the family plantation in Southern Indiana and turns to drink to ignore what he fears he sees.

Two years later during a nasty storm, Landon sees unnatural things that he assumes came from too much alcohol until he sees a naked winged stranger outside his abode. Sneezing when he is nervous, Landon opens his door holding his rifle only he shoots at his fifteen year old daughter Katie; thankfully he jerked upward and missed her. She had a fight with her mom over her boyfriend Brian who took her to her dad. Big bruising Brian attacks Landon before turning to Katie who prays to Jesus; who Brian knows. Desperate he uses the rifle butt to temporarily stop Brian. Landon realizes the choices are the wings outside or the ogre inside; thus Father and daughter flee into the night with their only hope residing with his estranged family as evil stalks them.

This is a great action-packed Christian horror tale starring a besieged father and daughter struggling to survive against monsters hunting them. Landon is fully developed with little idiosyncrasies like sneezing when he bluffs in poker that make him complete while fans will feel Katie’s ire towards her dad every time she calls him Landon. Readers will relish this dark thriller as hell has come to Indiana. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More from Harriet

The Mongoliad: Book Three (The Foreworld Saga)
Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and Cooper Moo
47North, Feb 26, 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612182384

In 1241, the Mongol Empire horde continues their feral assault from the east on the European Christian countries. Only the Shield-Brethren company of warrior priests seems to offer any resistance to the Khagan Onghwe Khan and his invading army as the Holy Roman Church remains divided with Cardinals split into rival camps each claiming Jesus supports their quest for power. The resolute Shield-Brethren have doubts as they bury with honor fallen comrades like Finn.

From within the Mongol Empire, the desperate few surviving Shield Brethren holy knights (Raphael and Percival the initiates, Yasper the alchemist companion and exiled Old Man of the Rock knight master Feronantus) deploy a drastic dangerous plan to get to the Khagan. While each expects to die on the mission in the middle of the enemy’s ever expanding empire; in the Holy City of Rome the angrily splintered Cardinals turn to Father Rodrigo Bendrito who insists he has found the savior. In Hunern, the Shield Brethren led by Rutger the Quartermaster of the Rock Knight Master prepare for the war to come to them.

The Mongoliad: Book Three is an action-packed climax to an entertaining alternate historical saga. The storyline never slows down whether it occurs in the East, Rome or Hunern; yet also provides insight into thirteenth century beliefs as the forces of Christ are divided while the Mongols appear more monolithically in support of the Khan of Khans. Ironically, the myriad of subplots mostly are tied up in the 700 plus pages, but also several seem short-shifted. Still this entry and its Foreworld predecessors provide fans with a great epic. Harriet Klausner

Immortal Ever After
Lynsay Sands
Avon, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062078117

“Igor” came every night to give his caged female prisoners drug-laced oatmeal, fruit and water except the one his master chooses for his “night out” dining. This evening the vampiric psychopath selects veterinarian Valerie Moyer as his latest bloody snack. However, far from being docile, she stopped eating the oatmeal after her last “night out” Valerie surprises and stakes Igor. She calls 911 but the dispatcher thinks she is on drugs when she mentions six other women, stakes, bites and a vampire who has come for his meal. Wounded and exhausted, she escapes only to faint.

Monitoring the 911 call, vampiric enforcer Anders Andronnikov leads a team into the house. The vampire is gone, but they tend to the women and the police answering the 911 call. Anders finds Valerie and with Bricker takes her to home of Lucien and pregnant Leigh Argeneau. The enforcer also knows Valerie is his lifemate while the vet feels the attraction.

The latest Argeneau romantic urban fantasy (see Under A Vampire Moon and The Lady is a Vamp) is an enjoyable thriller due to the likable protagonists and a self-trained rogue vampiric survivalist. The sister bonding between Leigh and Valerie adds freshness while the horde of cameo visitors detracts from the plot. Still series fans will enjoy this engaging triangle. Harriet Klausner

Night Resurrected
Joss Ware
Avon, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062018670

In 2010 near Denver, fire chief Wyatt suffered injuries rescuing a woman from a blaze. The next day he kisses his wife and two kids as he leaves to join his friends exploring caves in Sedona.

Five decades later he and his comrades leave the cave to a world shattered by the Change. Feeling left behind as his buddies have gained supernatural powers while all he has is grief over the loss of his family and guilt for not being there when the calamity occurred, Wyatt lacks hope and detests himself for betraying his memories by his attraction to Remington Truth who he treats shabbily as a defense mechanism to avoid caring. Remy feels the same way about the only man she cannot understand especially his hostility towards her. As she heads to Envy, zombies and Strangers hunt for Remy and the crystal her late grandfather gave her while Wyatt’s compulsion to protect other propels him to find and accompany her.

The latest Envy Chronicles romantic apocalyptic fantasy (see Night Forbidden and Night Betrayed) is an exciting entry as the last of the Sedona fab five to star finds the truth sets him free to love again. Fast-paced with the trademark blighted land in the background, series fans will relish this entry as Joss Ware provides a strong thriller even if we agree with the heroine that Wyatt is a dick. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stardust by Neil Gaiman re-issued, Souls Gate by Jame Rubart and The 13: Fall by Chevront and Reed

Neil Gaiman
Morrow, $30.00
ISBN: 9780062200396

Tristran Thorn grew up in the in the Wall, a town abut to the wall between Faerie and human realms. He loves beautiful Victoria Forester, but she acts aloof and cold in response. One day, they see a star fall from the sky landing on the other side of the barrier. He tells his beloved Victoria he will retrieve it for her if she agrees to marry him. She accepts his terms as nobody crosses the wall outside of the enchanted flea market held every nine years. The young man also is unaware that he was conceived when his parents attended one of those galas.

Tristran enters Faerie on his heart’s quest. Malevolent others also seek the star for evil purposes. As he talks to mythological flora and fauna, Tristan battles against witches, goblins and trees. However, as Tristan learns from the star what love truly is, the Lord of Stormhold’s children deploy their nefarious plot.

This is a reprint of the engaging coming of age romantic fantasy. Tristan initially seems pathetic as a hero yet perseveres as he begins to understand right from wrong. The motives and respective backgrounds of his star-seeking adversaries are developed so that the audience obtains an enjoyable tale. Harriet Klausner

Soul’s Gate
James L. Rubart
Thomas Nelson,$25.99
ISBN: 9781401686055

Three decades ago, Reece Roth was a warrior for Jesus who could enter the soul of another person and help guide them to the righteous path. However, a tragedy occurred when he remained inside too long and has turned him into a wounded recluse unable to perform the Lord’s work anymore.

In the present, God sends four tyros (Brandon Scott, Marcus Amber, Dana Raine and Tamera Miller) for Reece to train and lead. Reece knows he needs to find his lost faith if he is to mentor the rookies he will take to Well Spring high in the Colorado Rockies. The prophecy says for four to battle the rise of the Wolf. However Dana calls saying he cannot make it as he is too busy with the Titanic. Reece leads his students to the ranch where he instructs them on their mission with the final exam to cleanse their own souls.

Soul’s Gate is a powerful inspirational thriller that grips the reader from the moment God calls on the lost soul Reece and his three acolytes to begin the mission. Fast-paced with a fully developed quarter and a unique vision of souls in a materialistic electronic age, readers will relish James L. Rubart’s fabulous first Well Spring tale. Harriet Klausner

The 13: Fall
Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed
Barbour, $12.99
ISBN: 9781616267698

In 2025, The Prophet begins sending warnings to the President of the United States that the Lord’s reckoning of judgment day is coming if the country does not return to the true faith. Concerned about national security as the messages threaten the country with terrorism but also fearing the source may be God, POTUS assigns an elite team to capture The Prophet. CIA agent Jon Keene blames God for his wife’s death, FBI computer hacker Megan Taylor is a devout Christian; and former special ops warrior Bozwell Hamilton has become a pastor.

At the same the trio searches for The Prophet, they struggle to form into a viable group as Keene ridicules the notion of Godly intervention labeling the prophet as a terrorist; while Boz somewhat embraces the concept of heavenly fire and brimstone on a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. At the same time, a high ranking official betrays the country by enabling the Chinese to enter America allegedly to drill for oil.

The first installment of The 13 is an exhilarating fast-paced suspense thriller in which trends since 9/11 are extrapolated one decade into the future. As the lead threesome go through the phases of Tuckman's Model of Group Development especially with their debates re God, the readers will want to know whether the Prophet is the Lord’s messenger or a terrorist. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Briar Rose by Jana Oliver Available September 12

Briar Rose believes in fairy tales ...And now, because of a family curse, she's living one. Doomed to fall asleep for one hundred years on her sixteenth birthday, Briar has woken up in the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of -- miles away from the safe, boring small-town life that she has left behind. Briar must fight her way out of the story, but she can't do it alone. She always believed in handsome princes, and now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up ...