Archive for April, 2011

Exile-Anne Osterlund

April 30, 2011

Exile

Anne Osterlund

Speak, Apr 28 2011, $8.99

ISBN: 9781101514153

Princess Aurelia travels the Kingdom of Tyralt to meet people and to get away from her murderous ambitious stepsister and her father the monarch who could not care which royal daughter lived or died as long as one of them remained his heir.  Her friend Robert, who loves Aurelia, and select guards join her on her trek.

She wished she could just go about as a commoner, but understands her position prevents her from doing so.  When an assassin tries to kill her, Aurelia learns you sometimes get what you wish for.  She and Robert flee for their lives wearing the disguise of a common couple.  When they encounter bandits, Aurelia meets her mother who is protected by the band.  She is offered a chance to remain with her mom hidden from her father’s world or continue her journey.

The sequel to Aurelia is a terrific high school age thriller as the heroine seeks to get away from her deadly home and meet her subjects.  Robert is her most loyal follower as danger is everywhere from paid assassins to outlaws.  The encounter between mother and daughter is incredible passionate; however the heroine’s inner moral compass will determine what she will do as she has a strong ethical value system (must be maternal DNA).

Harriet Klausner

Blood Law-Karin Tabke

April 30, 2011

Blood Law

Karin Tabke

Heat, May 3 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425240922

Brothers Lucien and Rafael were ten years old when the Fenrir Slayers led by Thomas Corbett attacked the Vulkasin Lycan pack killing many including the twin’s parents and kidnapped Layla the medicine woman.  Thomas is enthralled by his captive.

Years later, the siblings rule their Lycan pack but Lucien has found his chosen mate; Rafael, retuning after a year away, knows she is the enemy Slayer infiltrating their clan.  Lucien kills her leading to a schism between the brothers who through the Gods share one body with one dominating the day and the other the night until the Blood Law of a mate for a mate is avenged. 

In Sacramento Rafael saves a human female from Viktor the rogue Slayer.  He wants to know why a Slayer would assault a human so he tries to learn the truth even as he heals Falon Corbett the orphan who Rafael soon marks her as his mate. 

Blood Law is a super urban fantasy with a deep Lycanthropic background interwoven into the exciting story of rival siblings at war with one another.  Readers will feel Lucien’s rage and frustration towards his brother while Rafael struggles with his own feelings.  With a great climatic twist, sub-genre fans will relish the Tabke universe as Lycan struggle to survive in a world in which the Slayers stalk them.

Harriet Klausner

The Last Kiss-Red Garnier

April 29, 2011

The Last Kiss

Red Garnier

Heat, May 3 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451233134

Ben Newcastle knows he is dying from cardiac arrest following the car accident.  He has one thought as he holds a locket; he wishes he made the last Kiss with his beloved Emma forever.

One year, eight months and seven days have passed since Emma Wilkins’ knew her life ended when her beloved Ben died.  In a Texas bar, Ben’s best friend Carter Bates begins to bring Emma back to life, but also angers an already frustrated Ben watching his beloved from beyond.  She asks Carter the “pirate” to spank her while Ben her “prince” vows to return somehow.  When Ben makes a Faustian deal, he comes back to San Antone and Emma now has two men she desires.  However, Ben owes the devil.

The Last Kiss is an engaging erotic romantic fantasy starring two strong males and a somewhat weaker female although some of her issues are grief.  Ben is an intriguing character as he refuses to move on and in fact chooses to move back.  Carter is a solid caring person while Emma is more an extension of the two men lusting and loving her.  Fans will enjoy this strange exciting triangle.

Harriet Klausner

Extremis-Steve White, Charles E. Gannon

April 29, 2011

Extremis

Steve White, Charles E. Gannon

Baen, May 3 2011, $24.00

ISBN: 9781439134337

The telepathic Arduans fled their galaxy as their sun went nova.  They traveled for centuries until they reached their destination Bellerophon.  However, they are unhappy to find a sentient race recently colonized the planet.  Still after what they have been through to reach their new home, the Arduans believing they are supreme as the only sentient race see the humans as a minor irritant.

Adding to their manifest destiny belief is the feebleness of human existence.  Whereas the humans live one short life as telepathic mutes, Arduans live numerous lives while recalling each.  The warrior caste wants to cleanse the orb and the rest of the galaxy using stolen technology from humans and their allies (Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm) of these nothing species while Ankaht the scientist-philosopher tries to find a peaceful solution to benefit both species as well the indigenous population.

The latest entry in Steve White’s Starfire saga collaborating with David Weber (see The Stars at War) and Shirley Meier (see Exodus) is a terrific military science fiction that is at its best during the non-combat scenes.  The battles are entertaining, but it is the philosophical debate on belief systems, species profiling and ethics especially from the alien perspective that make for a powerful timely thriller with applications in our society. 

Harriet Klausner

Witches of East End- Melissa de la Cruz

April 29, 2011

Witches of East End

Melissa de la Cruz

Hyperion, Jun 21 2011, $23.99

ISBN 9781401323905

North Hampton is almost as difficult to find as Brigadoon as maps fail to locate the hamlet.  Across from the town is abandoned Gardiners Island where Fair Haven has not been occupied for decades until now.

Nineteen year old Freya Beauchamp works as a bartender thanks to her license which dates her as twenty-two.  She met Bran Gardiner due to a dress strap snapping and now they are engaged.  However, though she loves Bran, she is in love with his brother Killian.  Like her older sister Ingrid the librarian; and their mother Joanna, Freya is a witch.  Due to the messy Massachusetts massacre from a few centuries ago, The White Council has placed strict limitations on magic usage, but the immortal Beauchamp females are recently leaking magic.  The townsfolk feel fortunate as things seem to go their way until incidents turn ugly and supernatural beasts arrive from beyond while humans starting with a girl drinking a Freya’ special cocktail vanished.

Filled with delightful twists and the strong establishment that witchcraft and other paranormal beings exist, this is a superb bewitching thriller.  The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but it is the three Witches of East End who make this a wonderful supernatural tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Undertakers: The Rise of the Corpses-Ty Drago

April 28, 2011

The Undertakers: The Rise of the Corpses

Ty Drago

Sourcebooks, Apr 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781402247859

After getting over the shock of observing his walking rotting neighbor Ernie “Dead Man” Pratt and John Towers Middle School Assistant Principal Titlebaum and some teachers turn into zombies, twelve years old Will Ritter struggles with controlling his instinct for flight and fright instead of fight.  Kids like him recruit Will as a member of The Undertakers, a dedicated unit of non-adults whose mission is to fight zombies. 

Joining the youth squad means your previous way of life no longer exists as adults do not have the ability to see zombies. The teen and preadolescent Undertakers like Will vow to clean the world of the Zombie manifestation starting with their home town.

This is an engaging fast-paced tale from the moment the talking smelly Pratt puts his hand on Will and never slows down as the young warriors learn the key questions in life is not can I have Pop Tarts for breakfast or how to comb one’s hair, but can you see the living dead and how do you kill a dead person?  With nods to Wild in the Streets (zombie style) and Zombieland, middle school students will enjoy Will and the Undertakers mission to save the world as readers will agree with the book’s quoting an anonymous person that “Children make the best heroes.”

Harriet Klausner

The Disunited States of America-Harry Turtledove

April 28, 2011

The Disunited States of America

Harry Turtledove

Tor, Apr 26 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780765328243

Time Traders laterally travel from our realm to other timelines to sell slightly better products than the locals make. Each Time Trader knows that when one is a Crosstime Traffic trader they must never display too much technological superiority as blending in with the more backwoods natives is the key to success.

Recent high school graduate Justin Monroe comes from a family of Time Traders. Currently he and Time Trader Randolph Brooks are in a version of the United States that is not united and in which states constantly are at war with one another. He looks forward to going home to start college as his gut tells him this trip seems more dangerous than any he has been on.

From Southern California, Beckie Royer accompanies her Gran and “Uncle” Luke as they head to Elizabeth, Virginia to sell assault rifles to African-American rebels. With the country of Virginia on the brink of a racial civil war, neighboring country to the north Ohio sends a deadly virus into their nation that could only come from a Crosstime Traveler. As they are quarantined while people die from the deadly biological attack Beckie meets Justin and Randolph

This reprint of the fourth Crosstime Traffic book is a superb alternate history science fiction tale that grips the young adult audience from the moment that Justin is trapped and never let’s go until the final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced, but makes a strong condemnation of racism and war with the fractured disunited States. Beckie is a terrific protagonist who provides insight into her world with little interwoven tidbits like no one in Ohio or Virginia messes with someone carrying a passport from the superpower California. Justin is also a fine character as he tries to hide his origin while wondering who from his timeline broke the law. THE DISUNITED STATES OF AMERICA is another winner from Harry Turtledove.

Harriet Klausner

Internal Affairs-Jes Battis

April 27, 2011

Internal Affairs

Jes Battis

Ace, May 31 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780441020454

The Occult Special Investigators (Tess, Derrick, Lucian and Miles) head to the morgue to claim the corpse of a boy found on a nearby beach.  The lad may not be human and almost definitely is not dead. 

At the morgue, a demon attacks the four agents.  The unit subdues the adversary capturing adult demon Basuram.  They take him and the not dead boy who is the child Ru to OSI headquarters.  Basuram demands they hand Ru over to him, as the High Court of the Ferid directed him to bring back the boy to face criminal charges though the demon admits he does not know what they are.  However Earth is considered sanctuary so Tess, backed by her three teammates refuses to hand over Ru without further information.  As she and her partners, investigate the claims Tess begins to uncover information about her own still cloudy heritage.

The latest occult special investigator Tess Corday urban fantasy (see A Flash of Hex and Inhuman Resources) is a terrific thriller as the heroine struggles with balancing her personal life with the demands of 24/7 on call duty.  The story line is loaded with action from start to finish while the heroine and readers begin to learn more about whom (perhaps what is the better descriptor) Tess Corday is; while she and her teammates struggle with being in the middle of a demon fight.

Harriet Klausner

As You Wish-Gabi Stevens

April 27, 2011

As You Wish

Gabi Stevens

Tor, Apr 26 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780765365040

In Arcani, Regina Scott has done well for herself in spite of the fact her mother is ashamed of her lack of wizardry skills.  Reggie is fine with being a Groundling although her childhood was tough as her parents tossed galas to showcase her lack of talent and sent her to an Arcani School where she was placed in special education for the gift-less.  There she met her two best friends Tommy and Joy; who though Arcani have special needs.

She opened up The Star Bright Bakery in Del Mar, California after graduating from a non Arcani university and hired Tommy and Joy as her bakers.  However, on her twenty-seventh birthday, the three fairy godmothers (Aunts Lily, Hyacinth and Rose) inform Reggie she is the newest godmother; not a good thing when you lack talent and when the authorities have a woman hunt for godmothers (see The Wish List for why).  However, she suddenly has a different type of power while the Council is aware of her being chosen.  Finally she meets Nate and Jonathan, who seem to want her.

Although fundamentally this book is Reggie’s magical coming out show with Luc the villain in pursuit, Tommy and Joy steal the stage as two Arcani with Down’s Syndrome unaware they use magic to make special pastry.  The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as Reggie is caught in the middle of the Godmother revolt.  Fans will enjoy this strong urban fantasy with a romantic subplot and a strong message involving intellectual and development disabilities as Gabi Stevens (like the author I have an IDD offspring) makes a strong case for support to the Best Buddies program.

Harriet Klausner

Korval’s Gate-Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

April 26, 2011

 Korval’s Gate

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Baen, May 3 2011, $12.99

ISBN: 9781439134399

Plan B.  As part of the Liaden rulers’ covert war against Clan Korval, the Department of the Interior hunts the heir Val Con yos’Phelium who once was a DOI Agent of Change killing machine until he met his beloved lifemate former mercenary hybrid Miri Robertson. They try to forge an alliance between his clan and her mother’s Clan Erob at a time the Yxtrang military attacks.  At the same time his desperate cousin Shan yos’Galan and his lifemate Priscilla believe time has run out so they deploy Plan B.

I Dare: Fleeing the DOI hunters, Val Con and Miri have been separated.  Meanwhile his cousin Shan and Priscilla search for him because they believe this is the only chance the DOI assault will have on lan Korval as the Liaden rulers offer another cousin of Val, Pat Rin yos’Phelium, leadership of the clan if he allies with them.

Newcomers to the Liaden Universe will be better suited reading the books preceding Plan B, especially Carpe Diem, which ends where Plan B begins; I Dare follows immediately after.  Both reprinted tales are entertaining outer space adventures with the recurring theme of the evil empire trying to destroy the most dangerous clans so they can succeed in their plan for domination.  The heroes are fully developed while Pat will prove to have depth beyond being a shallow cousin.  This is an enjoyable omnibus reprint.

Harriet Klausner