Archive for July, 2012

Angel Eyes-Shannon Dittemore

July 31, 2012

Angel Eyes

Shannon Dittemore

Thomas Nelson, May 29 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781401686352

 

Grieving Brielle Matthews the ballerina takes the train from Portland back to her hometown Stratus, Oregon, barely able to move as she suffers from PTSD after the death of her close friend eighteen year old Ali.  Her dreams to make it as a dancer died when Ali died.  Her family tries to help her cope with the heaviness that engulfs her heart and soul, but only offer platitudes. 

 

At Stratus High school, she meets Jake Shield who moved into the previously vacant Miller house next door to her family home.  He seems to be everywhere she is and she begins to heal from the death of Ali though she fears those she loves die as she is attracted to her teenage neighbor.  However, the pair is caught in the middle of angels protecting them from demons wanting them dead.

 

This is an entertaining young adult good and evil urban fantasy as the Dittemore pantheon of angels and demons seems reasonable.  The storyline starts slow as the audience meet the key players through rotation of viewpoints between the two teens, Canaan the guardian and Damien.  Readers will enjoy this engaging tale as Brielle no longer trusts a God who allows bad things to happen to good people until she finds her life and soul (and that of Jake) depends on the angels of the deity she disavowed.

 

Harriet Klausner

My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires-Alan Goldsher

July 31, 2012

My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires

Alan Goldsher

Dunne, Aug 7 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312640200

 

After six centuries residing at the Abbey in Saltsburg, Austria the Mother Zombie tosses Maria the vampire novice out from their order.  Stunned to no longer live with the zombie nuns, Maria obtains work as the governess to the out of control von Trapp family. 

 

She is attracted to the Baroness von Trapp the succubus and the clan patriarch.  Maria changes the family into vampires and marries the father.  The family that performs together sips blood together.  However the hills are alive with the sound of Nazi Undeath Squads hunting the undead including trapping the von Trapp troupe.

 

Taking a sarcastic bite into the Sound of Music, Alan Goldsher provides an overall amusing satirical tale although there are too many gross jokes that overwhelm the storyline.  Fans of rowdy jocular horror (see Paul Is Undead) will laugh at the performance of the von Trapp vampire troupe.

 

Harriet Klausner

Rivals and Retribution-Shannon Delany

July 31, 2012

Rivals and Retribution

Shannon Delany

St. Martin’s Griffin, Aug 7 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312625184

 

In Junction Jessie Gillmansen and the Rusakova family including her boyfriend Pietr take the lycanthropic cure so that they can be “normal” and safe from the mob and the company whose headquarters in town was destroyed (see Destiny and Deception).  However, Pietr has changed, which strains his relationship with Jessie.

 

Menwhile, Marlaena leads her Chicago werewolf pack to take over Junction.  When someone abducts Jessie, Pietr goes berserk with an obsessive need to rescue his beloved.  However, he turns wolf only to imprint with Marlaena.  Like him she loves someone else so neither wants this bond.  At the same a mutual enemy plots the demise of the Lycan while Jessie hopes to save her boyfriend and reverse engineer the terrible scientific experiments.

 

The final 13 to Life werewolf saga (see Secrets and Shadows and Bargains and Betrayals) is an engaging climax to an entertaining urban fantasy.  The storyline is fast-paced, but the enemy who seems menacingly invincible early on fails to live up to their earlier reputation when the confrontation occurs.  Still fans of the saga will appreciate Rivals and Retribution as time is running out to find the cure and deal with the adversarial assault.

 

Harriet Klausner

Dead Mann Running- Stefan Petrucha

July 31, 2012

Dead Mann Running

Stefan Petrucha

Roc, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780451464743

 

The state executed former Liveblood cop Hessius Mann for murdering his wife.  After his death, suppressed DNA evidence proved his innocence.  To atone for their blunder the state applied the Radical Invigoration Procedure (RIP) to reanimate Mann as a Chak in which he is tested every month to insure he does not go rogue.  The side effects are horrid as his IQ is gone along with his memory; his bones break easily and no lotion can help with the dry skin.  He needs money so Mann becomes a private investigator with Misty the Liveblood as his office manager. 

 

He asks who is it to a knock on his office door, but no one responds.  Mann opens the door to see a hand attached to an arm holding the handle of a briefcase; there is no rest of the body.  The arm enters the office taking the case inside with it.  Leaving the case behind on the floor; the arm jumps out of a window.  Misty orders Mann to investigate why an arm left him a suitcase containing two vials of a blue liquid; while adversaries seek the bottles.

 

The key to this super Mann zombie detective is the RIP seem plausible due to little nuances that enable the reader believe a walking arm seem reasonable.  The Livebloods consider the Chakz an inferior race.  Only Misty is an exception as she treats her employer with tough love affection as if he is a senile uncle who needs bullying not because he is a Chak, but because he is filled with self-pity.  The mystery is fast-paced from the moment the hand knocks and never slows down as there are several people who will kill to get their hands on the vial.

 

Harriet Klausner

Shadows Before The Sun-Kelly Gay

July 29, 2012

Shadows Before The Sun

Kelly Gay

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451625486

 

Atlanta police detective Charlie Madigan wants to get her partner Hank the siren released from the siren stronghold Fiallan where Circe tortures the prisoner.  However, Charlie is stunned when she is informed that Hank was executed.  Filled with denial, she vows to liberate Hank any way she can including using the power coming from being part of three races; though Charlie knows that her use of her talent brings Sachath ready to claim her in Death.  Meanwhile mysterious Alessandra offers help again.

 

Charlie heads to heavenly Elysia with Fiallan just beyond.  At the same time, jinn mob chieftain Grigori Tennin searches for the divine dormant Ahkneri.  However, his actions awaken Ahkneri, which places Atlanta in peril.

 

The latest exhilarating Charlie Madigan urban fantasy has the heroine on another mission impossible rescue adventure (see The Hour of Dust and Ashes in which her sister is in peril in Charbydon).  Filled with non-stop action, readers will appreciate this exciting thriller as Charlie risks all to save Hank who may not even be alive.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Map of the Sky-Felix J. Palma

July 29, 2012

The Map of the Sky

Felix J. Palma

Atria, Sep 4 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451660319

 

In 1898 H. G. Wells, author of the War of the Worlds and The Time Machine meets with American author Garrett Serviss who wrote a sequel to the Martian science fiction novel starring Thomas Edison leading an earth invasion of Mars.  Serviss informs Wells that he believes Martians are real and that he saw the ruin of a space ship and an alien found frozen six decades ago in Antarctica in the basement of the Natural History Museum.  Though he has doubts, Wells decides to confirm the assertion.  A drop of Wells’ blood rejuvenates the alien.  The Messenger from space walks out of the museum as H.G. Wells.  Others from his planet plan on total genocide and terraforming earth for their habituation.

 

New York socialite Emma Harlow accepts millionaire Montgomery Gilmore’s proposal if he meets her one stipulation.  Though she is attracted to her wannabe fiancé, she demands he brighten up her otherwise mundane existence by recreating the War of the Worlds.  Montgomery would do anything for the woman he loves especially with her marrying him on the line so he sets out to make a Martian invasion happen. All the players converge on the day Gilmore is supposed to make this invasion occur.

 

The second Wells’ transformation (see The Map of Time) is a fascinating historical science fiction thriller with three fully developed subplots starring full blooded characters who change as time goes by.  Flashbacks are used to tell the present day scenario while also leading to a different ending than previously observed (sort of like the movie Clue).  Filled with paradoxical twists Felix J. Palma pays homage to Wells with this engaging convoluted thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Ashes of Honor-Seanan McGuire

July 27, 2012

Ashes of Honor

Seanan McGuire

Daw, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780756407490

 

One year has almost passed since October “Toby” Daye can claim a good night’s sleep as she suffers nightmarish reminders of who she lost rather than the country she gave up ruling.  Her total focus is on doing her duties as mentor to her squire Quentin and detecting to pay her bills.

 

Etienne the knight retains Toby to find his changeling sixteen year old daughter Chelsea that he recently leaned he sired.  He is worried for the safety of Faerie and his offspring as the untrained teleport leaps into long deserted sectors; which places the barriers that keep the realm secure at risk.  As Toby, Quentin and Tybalt King of Cats search for Chelsea, an unknown adversary seeks her too and will assassinate any individual who gets in the way; at the same time Tybalt needs Toby’s help with trouble in the Court of Cats.

 

The latest October Daye urban fantasy (see One Salt Sea) is a terrific noirish thriller as the heroine and her companions set out to save a teen changeling, a world, and a kingdom.  Readers will want to join Toby and her team as they traverse Faery on this fast-paced, action-filled tale with a strong twist re the consciences of the second order effect of magic.

 

Harriet Klausner

Hearts Of Darkness-Kira Brady

July 26, 2012

Hearts Of Darkness

Kira Brady

Zebra, Aug 7 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420124569

 

Norgard assigns Hart the mercenary werewolf to obtain a necklace.  He watches the grieving human, alleged wearer of the necklace when Hart notices the ancient adversaries nearby.  He muses over the bloody war between the self-proclaimed human protectors Kivati and the Drekar while detesting both sides but feeling the latter are honest in what they want.

 

Nurse Kayla Friday flies from Philadelphia to Seattle to identify the body in the morgue; her pregnant sister Desi lies dead on the slab.  Stunned Kayla begins to do something that has Hart warning her to stop before she dies.  He demands she give him the necklace he claims she stole from his employer while shocked that she is human.  Hart finds the card of nasty Kivati Raven Lord Emory Corbette amongst Desi’s final possessions.  He tells her to run back to Pennsylvania, but his advice proves too late when Rudrick and his thugs enter the morgue.  Soon they are teaming up investigating her sibling’s murder, seeking the necklace and falling in an uneasy love that shakes the Aether.

 

This is an exciting romantic urban fantasy that has a horde of diverse paranormal running wild in the streets of Seattle.  Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this thriller from the moment Hart tells Kayla to run and never slows down to even a walk as Kira Brady provides a fabulous first act.

 

Harriet Klausner

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault-Ari Marmell

July 26, 2012

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault

Ari Marmell

Del Rey, Jul 24 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345534026

 

They seek what is inside the Abomination Vault left behind by the Nephilim.  If they achieve their objective they will have at their disposal weapons of universal destruction that will end the fragile cold war peace between Heaven and Hell. 

 

The only surviving Nephilim are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Death recognizes the threat to the universe from the shadows.  With memories of what happened when his species committed all types of atrocities, he and his brother horseman War set out to prevent the raiding of the Abomination Vault; knowing failure is not an option.

 

This is an entertaining companion prequel piece to the Darksiders and Darksiders II games.  Part of the fun is comparing the personalities of Death and War as the former prefers stealth sniper while the latter is more an infantry charging the hill.  Although Death’s barrage of amusing asides detract from the tension as at times he acts more like the Grim Reaper in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey than a horseman assigned to prevent the end of days war, fantasy fans (not just gamesters) will enjoy the two Horsemen riding ironically to stop the Apocalypse from happening.

 

Harriet Klausner

Thirteen-Kelley Armstrong

July 26, 2012

Thirteen

Kelley Armstrong

Dutton, Jul 24 2012, $26.95

ISBN: 9780525952831

 

The barriers that separate dimensions rapidly are vanishing.  Creatures no one has seen before have crossed over to earth as the Supernatural Liberation Movement has used their powers to batter the earth and shake Otherworld.

 

Investigator Savannah Levine still lacks her witch powers, but knows she must be there with her friends when the confrontation occurs.  She needs to be with them though she knows she risks her life and that some of her loved ones will surely die.  She joins with the man she wants as her lover Adam, her guardians; her two siblings (one of whom she recently rescued from the SLM) and others to defend earth from within and from the paranormal invaders who no one knows how to defeat.  War as perhaps not seen in eternity has descended on earth

 

The final Women of the Otherworld is a great finish to a strong urban fantasy saga.  The storyline is fast-paced while bringing to full circle the series starting with repeating the first chapter of the opening act (see Bitten) in a fabulous good and evil confrontation.  Though it is preferably better to have read the entire series to see how far the Women of the Otherworld have changed over the years; at a minimum newcomers should read the previous two entries (see Waking the Witch and Spellbound) that lead directly to Savannah’s maturing into a responsible caring adult.  Kelly Armstrong provides great final act to a wonderful long running show though fans will want curtain calls.

 

Harriet Klausner