Archive for September, 2011

Adam-Jacquelyn Frank

September 30, 2011

Adam

Jacquelyn Frank

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781420109863

 

Four centuries ago, Adam the water demon and Jasmine the vampire met in an explosive encounter that was different than anything either species had witnessed.  Instead of open hostile combat, they were in love.  However, his niece Leah child of Time fearing for the lives of her parents Jacob the enforcer and Isabella the Druid snatched him from his idyllic era top bring him forward four hundreds to keep his younger brother and sister-in-law safe.  Jasmine has her heart broken as if her essence has been drained from her.

 

In the midst of a losing battle against Ruth the necromancer and her consort Nicodemus, Adam abruptly appears.  Totally confused with the changes he failed to be part of including enemy bedfellows as cross species is acceptable unlike when he met Jasmine, Adam struggles to adapt.  His side is still losing until he and Jasmine reconnect in love and hope.

 

The latest Nightwalkers romantic fantasy (see Damien and Noah) is a great refreshing entry due to the powerful cast on both sides of the front lines.  Adam especially makes the thriller work as his bewilderment with changes add a sense of realism while his heart and soul still yearns for Jasmine.  In some ways she is the more fascinating of the time-crossed lovers as she is sort of bipolar with her mood swing from euphoric mania to depressive to euphoric feeder.  Jacquelyn Frank is at her best with Adam’s saga.

 

Harriet Klausner

All Places That Are Not Heaven: Tales of Adrian Talbot and Genevieve de Monet

September 30, 2011

All Places That Are Not Heaven: Tales of Adrian Talbot and Genevieve de Monet

Anne Fraser; Inanna Arthen (editor)

By Light Unseen Media, Sep 21 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9781935303312

 

“Tales of Adrian Talbot.”  The collection contains five fascinating tales starring the amoral “Brat Prince of Toronto” Shakespearean actor Talbot.  Four of the entries from the mid 1990s involve Jake Fowler, who vampiric folklore Professor Talbot meets at a lecture he gives in which the only other attendees are four associates of the speaker (“Rosedale Vampires”).  In the “Vampire Blues”, Jake feels Talbot stalks him, his roommate Max Scheer and his girlfriend Grace Webb; that is until he meets Melantha the singer.  The other two (“Vampire Conventions” and Acting’s In the Blood”) continue to focus on the relationship between the self proclaimed master vamp of Toronto and the grad student.  The final Talbot entry written in 2000 (“Speak Easy”) has Adrian falling in love in 1928 New York with monster Darby Sullivan.

 

 “Tales of Genevieve de Monet.”  The collection contains two fascinating tales (written in 1997 and 2006) starring the savior of Gideon Redoak.  Almost five centuries as a vampire, Genevieve has a major unidentified threat that has killed her offspring.  Her ghoulish cousins and her vampiric children cannot tell her what is coming for her in “Watch and Ward.”  French dragoon Jean de la Mare and Genevieve de Monet meet on a battlefield in Germany where he is dying.  She offers him a cleaner death, but he chooses to be her Undead Guardian in “A Babe in Arms.”

 

Although the two stars possess different ethics, the seven tales are entertaining dark urban fantasies.

 

Harriet Klausner

Thawed Out and Fed Up-Ryan Brown

September 29, 2011

Thawed Out and Fed Up

Ryan Brown

Gallery, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781439171561

 

In a steady rain in Welshland, Texas Sam Bonham wakes up in the alley next to Rack ‘Em Up.  He notices blood all over his clothing, not his; and he has his fillet knife tucked in his jeans.  He has no idea what happened last night, but assumes he is back in a shitload of trouble; nothing new to him.  Six months ago he walked out on his wife Georgia and became a deadbeat dad to their son Sam, Jr.  At the Busy Bee Diner, he overhears two cops talking about the vicious stabbing death of Georgia’s boyfriend Slick on her lawn; the body was found by San, Jr. 

 

Having had a fight with Slick Motley earlier in the day, he believes he killed Slick in a rage though he cannot remember anything from last night; Sam flees East Texas.  He stops in strange Blistered Valley that looks like a movie set of a late nineteenth century town.  An outlaw gang runs the town.  However, the oddity that stuns him most is meeting cryogenically frozen John Wayne who insists he is Ethan Edwards.  Although the septuagenarian Duke is in no shape for a High Noon brawl, he mentors Sam into what it takes to be an American hero like he was during The Searchers.

 

This whimsical fantasy follows the redemption of a badass who goes from selfish loser to risking his life for strangers as a hero.  The transformation of Sam is deftly handled while his thawed out teacher helps him understand what makes any person a hero.  This is an entertaining refreshing allegorical thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Survivors-James Wesley, Rawles

September 29, 2011

Survivors

James Wesley, Rawles

Atria, Oct 4 2011, $15.34

ISBN: 9781439172803

 

While politicians fiddled with fake solutions, the economic Crunch had begun.  The debt officially at six trillion was over 3 trillion when obligations and off line credit card gimmicks were added to the calculation.  Off budget was the only response DC had to the crisis.  The dollar is useless; replaced by precious medals, bartering or stealing.  People horded what they could, but looting and mob murder took over the streets.

 

In Afghanistan, Army Ordinance Captain Andy Laine realizes the Crunch will leave soldiers abandoned so he stashes supplies and begins an odyssey to get to his family in Farmington, New Mexico.  His brother Lars, a 30-point veteran, tries to keep his wife Beth and their daughter Anelli safe on the family farm in New Mexico.  Lars also takes in the three teenage Phelps siblings (Matthew, Reuben, and Shadrack).  Not all maintain their humanity while trying to survive.  Having established a warehouse near Houston to store his loot, Ignacio Garcia forms La Fuerza, a gang that raids unprotected communities in the southwest.

 

Survivors is a fascinating cautionary tale that extrapolates what his happening in DC, Wall Street and around the world to predict the collapse of the American Corporacy and how various people will act and react to the implosion rings true.  Loaded with plenty of data to defend James Wesley, Rawles assertion a collapse is imminent (for instance fighting two wars on a credit card mentality). is believable. The intriguing story line follows a horde of survivors struggling with the ordeal of the aftermath of the Crunch.  Although there are too many stories in the Rawles landscape making it difficult to keep score, fans will relish the “coming collapse” of America.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Alterant-Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

September 29, 2011

Alterant

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Pocket, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439195246

 

In just over an hour, Evalle Kincaid will face the Tribunal on charges that will lead to her eternal lock up.  She feels it is unfair since she was too busy saving mankind from an eight-century old warlord to prepare her defense as the only freed Alterant.  Her other half-breed species are dead or caged by the purebred Belador.  However, Storm the VIPER tracker tells her of Alterant attacks from three escapees.  Brina defends her at the Tribunal of Gods, but Evalle concludes protecting humanity is not enough for the biased Tribunal.

 

One of the Tribunal Loki, to anger another member Ares, suggests she prove herself by bringing in the escaped murdering Alterant.  Brina tells her sixteen not three got out; eight are dead but the rest remain on a killing spree.  Brina is aware that the Belador link is a death trap for her kind so she needs Evalle who she trusts with her life to hunt down the killers.  To succeed in hunting down her now kind, Evalle knows she needs Tristan, an escaped Alterant she sent back to his jail.  He is like Ares in that he wants Evalle dead.

 

 

The second Belador urban fantasy (see Blood Trinity) is an exciting thriller that once again makes the world of Kenyon-Love seems genuine with multiple species.  Evalle is a terrific kick butt heroine while Brina and others show their trust of her by willing to put their neck on the line with the Tribunal.  Although fans will get impatient with the Tribunal, the story line is filled with action and betrayal as Evalle knows when dealing with fickle superiors, deals tend to be flushed as excrement.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Marco: Book 3 of the Books of Insanity-KT Pinto

September 29, 2011

Marco: Book 3 of the Books of Insanity

KT Pinto

By Light Unseen Media, Sep 1 2011, $10.00

ISBN: 9781935303237

 

The Unseelie Fae Queen allows Celeste the vampyress and her companion Vanity the werecat to live.  However, the Fae Queen gives them no choice where she dumps them.  Knights loyal to Cai of Britannia capture the pair.  Cai calls Celeste his sister Morgan and has Vanity locked away in his dungeon.  Celeste knows Cai as the renowned Roman General and vampire Marco.

 

He explains why he changed his name and what he is plotting.  He introduces her to Arturus who Marco believes will make a good king of Britannia, but wants to make him a legend.  She agrees to assist him with creating the legend of chivalrous King Arthur and his knights.  As she develops a money source of prostitutes, Celeste begins the scheme of turning an honorable warrior into a legend starting with the Lady of the Lake and the Sword in the Stone.  With assistance from another vampyre Lucifer, eventually released Vanity, and a surprising third heavenly source, High King Arthur of Britannia will live forever.

 

The third “Books of Insanity” (see Celeste and Vanity) is an intriguing refreshing look at the development of the Arthurian mythos.  Although on the surface Celeste’s history (and that of Vanity) will remind readers of Chelsea Quinn Yarbo’s Count Saint Germain; they are polar opposites when it comes to morality; as she has no qualms about drinking the pure blood of a three year old though even though the toddler will die and she has other choices.  Celeste is a fascinating evil protagonist whose actions keep the story line focused as she and her comrades create a legend.

 

Harriet Klausner

Wolf Among The Stars-Steve White

September 29, 2011

Wolf Among The Stars

Steve White

Baen, Nov 1 2011, $25.00

ISBN 9781451637540

 

Five decades have passed since the alien Lokaron invasion.  The earthlings responded to the annexation of the planet into the Lokaron Empire as a colony by either rebelling or becoming human quislings belonging to the Earth First party (see Eagle Against the Stars).  As a result of the resistance, the mighty Lokaron Empire threatens to implode into a civil war.

 

Captain Andrew Roark investigates the strange death of his superior officer Admiral Arnstein.  The victim’s grieving daughter Rachel, wanting justice for her father, joins him on his inquiry.  They soon uncover a diabolical plan  in which the alien shapeshifting Kappainu manufacture incidents leading to interstellar combat in which they will be the victors.  In a strange bedfellows’ way, Lokaron agent Reislon’Sygnath accompanies the humans; they seek a way to prevent the insidious shapeshifters from shifting the power in the galaxy.

 

Wolf Among the Stars is an exciting action-packed military science fiction thriller.  The story line is fast-paced from the moment the hero investigates the admiral’s death and never slows down as a homicide inquiry turns into a save the galaxy conspiracy tale.  Although there is too frequent use of passive commentary to describe the issues facing the lead trio, readers will enjoy this engaging tale while wondering whose side Reislon’Sygnath really is on.

 

Harriet Klausner

Unleashed-Sara Humphreys

September 27, 2011

Unleashed

Sara Humphreys

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402258435

 

Critics ripped her work for the lack of heart and she failed to sell her art until this morning when her favorite painting was purchased, orphaned as a child Samantha Logan is leaving Brooklyn to return home to her Nonie and the beach; based on a dream of the beach and more.  However before she can go home, her affluent spoiled former boyfriend Roger Van Douson accosts her.  Though scared, something rumbles inside him and she frightens him into leaving her.

 

Malcolm Drew is the last of his family of the Eagle Clan Amoveo shapeshifters.  He knows Samantha is his soulmate having danced with her in their dreams.  Her next door neighbor, he looks forward to her return home though he must be cautious as she is unaware that she is one of his kind.  However, as she learns, rejects and accepts the truth re her DNA; the ancient Caedo clan of Amoveo hunters stalks Malcolm and watches his mate to see if she displays the infection.

 

Although the romantic urban fantasy story line takes time to set the players on the stage, fans will enjoy Sara Humphreys’ Unleashed.  The entertaining story line grips readers once the beleaguered heroine returns home and never slows down while containing a powerful plausible late twist.  Sam is a refreshing lead protagonist as she struggles to adapt to all she abruptly learns about herself, her late parents, and being the guy next door’s little wolf soulmate. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Goblin King-Shona Husk

September 27, 2011

The Goblin King

Shona Husk

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402259852

 

A thousand years ago the druid exiled Celtic King Roan and his warrior horde including his brother into the Shadowlands.  A lump of symbolic gold replaced his heart, but time is running out on the former monarch; if not saved by the love of a human he will either vanish into nothingness or join the soulless Goblin Horde.

 

Eliza Coulter summons Roan to protect her from the rage of her fiancé Steven Slade.  An heiress she trusted Steven after her dad died, but no more.  She knows he has stolen from her and fears his temper.  Thus she has turned to the Goblin King.  Roan hopes to make Eliza his queen, but she would have to give up so much for him.  Destroying his wardrobe will not keep her safe from the abusive Steven, which he knows is his prime mission.

 

This is an intriguing romantic fantasy with an interesting psychological spin in which the duo worlds of Sharon Husk seem real yet also metamorphic.  Roan is a heroic individual who willingly sacrifices his chance for the return of his soul to keep his beloved safe.  Eliza is the more fascinating protagonist as she is the ultimate damsel in distress unable to function without a man’s protection.  However, her passivity to the nth degree helplessness is two edged as readers observe an emotionally crippled person failing to take action beyond calling for help to protect hers even when facing peril but also makes her too damaged to be the lead female in a contemporary setting. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Utterly Charming-Kristine Grayson

September 27, 2011

Utterly Charming

Kristine Grayson

Sourcebooks, Oct 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402248511

 

Ealhswith the witch and Aethelstan Blackstone the wizard are in a custody battle over who cares for Emma the Sleeping Beauty.  In Portland Blackstone accompanied by Sancho Panza hire near impoverished lawyer Nora Barr to represent the wizard in court, but once she hears him admit he has no legal relationship to the comatose woman, Nora says she cannot help him.  Two weeks later, she is his lawyer as Blackstone faces criminal charges of arson and murder in a fire fight.  Soon after that mess is cleaned up she is retained by the pair to hide the minibus containing Emma in her coffin.

 

A decade later, after a one millennium sleep, Emma awakens.  Blackstone knows he is her Prince Charming, but she rejects him; blaming her so called champion for costing her a thousand years of life.  Emma also wants no part of Ealhswith, the other party that has made her the rope in a tug of war.  Instead she asks Nora to mentor her in living in modern day Portland starting with a social security card.  Prince Charming finds himself attracted to Nora but knows his fate lies with Emma.

 

The second charming fractured fairy tale (see Wickedly Charming) is an engaging humorous satire that the late cartoonist Jay Ward would have appreciated.  Filled with jocularity as Emma, Blackstone, Ealhswith and Panza converge in modern day Portland in an epic battle of magic in which the warriors learn modern day combatants require a lawyer.  Readers will enjoy this amusing take on Sleeping Beauty sleepless in Portland.

 

Harriet Klausner