Archive for August, 2012

The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book One-Jess Lourey

August 31, 2012

The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book One

Jess Lourey

Toadhouse Books, Jul 17 2012, $14.99

http://www.toadhousepublishing.com

ISBN: 9780615644578

 

In Depression Era Alabama, teenager Aine and her younger brother blind Spenser live with Grandma Glori.  Day after day nothing changes in their routine.

 

Out of nowhere Grandma warns Aine and Spencer to flee with Gilgamesh while seeking three objects that will take them to their mom in Tor Na Nog.  Before the shocked kids can leave, they learn Grandma’s companion Moondragon is dead and soon afterward Bilbos sliced Glori in half.  Gilgamesh takes the siblings into a Fairy Ring followed by their new friend Tru.  As Bilbos pursues them, they dive into the Toadhouse.  He explains to them they have resided inside a book that Bilbos will destroy as he comes after Aine.  Only the three objects can save her and her sibling as they must enter other novels to survive and bring balance to their world.

 

With a nod to Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next, The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book One is a great young adult fantasy starring a wonderful courageous cynic who risks her existence to save others.  Using two forms of metafictive devices, readers will enjoy the this Fast-paced adventures of the siblings’ lost in the lands of The Time Machine, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Tale of Two Cities, and the Ramayana.

 

Harriet Klausner

Downward to the Earth-Robert Silverberg

August 29, 2012

Downward to the Earth

Robert Silverberg

Orb, Aug 7 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765331731

 

After years of exploiting the natives of Holman’s World, the human Company left.  Though the Company never looked back at what they did to the flora, fauna and two sentient populations (the elephant-like Nildoror and the ape-like Sulidoror), a remorseful Gundersen returns to Belgazor as the planet has returned to its pre Company name.  He seeks redemption for what he did as a manager.

 

Gundersen meets the last of the humans at the decaying hotel.  He is taken aback to observe the Sulidoror are doing many of the assignments the Company enslaved the Nildoror into doing when he last was here.  He heads to the interior where the Nildoror allow him to continue if he returns with the human who committed an atrocity against their species.  Later he meets transformed by the Nildoror rebirth ritual Kurtz and decides to undergo the same.

 

This is a reprint of a classic 1970 science fiction in which Robert Silverberg makes his two alien species seem genuine as he questions what is sentient (similar to Avatar).  Readers will feel Gundersen’s guilt as he seeks atonement for what he allowed to happen to the indigent species including the abrupt departure by the earthlings after years of enforced servitude.  With a nod to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, this is a strong look at the Europeans leaving Africa in the 1960s.

 

Harriet Klausner

Downward to the Earth-Robert Silverberg

August 29, 2012

Downward to the Earth

Robert Silverberg

Orb, Aug 7 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765331731

 

After years of exploiting the natives of Holman’s World, the human Company left.  Though the Company never looked back at what they did to the flora, fauna and two sentient populations (the elephant-like Nildoror and the ape-like Sulidoror), a remorseful Gundersen returns to Belgazor as the planet has returned to its pre Company name.  He seeks redemption for what he did as a manager.

 

Gundersen meets the last of the humans at the decaying hotel.  He is taken aback to observe the Sulidoror are doing many of the assignments the Company enslaved the Nildoror into doing when he last was here.  He heads to the interior where the Nildoror allow him to continue if he returns with the human who committed an atrocity against their species.  Later he meets transformed by the Nildoror rebirth ritual Kurtz and decides to undergo the same.

 

This is a reprint of a classic 1970 science fiction in which Robert Silverberg makes his two alien species seem genuine as he questions what is sentient (similar to Avatar).  Readers will feel Gundersen’s guilt as he seeks atonement for what he allowed to happen to the indigent species including the abrupt departure by the earthlings after years of enforced servitude.  With a nod to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, this is a strong look at the Europeans leaving Africa in the 1960s.

 

Harriet Klausner

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me-Phillipa Bornikova

August 29, 2012

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me

Phillipa Bornikova

Tor, Sep 4 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765326829

 

In New York, due to her connections with a powerful vampire family, Yale Law School graduate Linnet Ellery obtains an associate position at White-Fang law firm where the partners and most of the senior staff are vamps.  She finds being a human at the law firm bitingly tough as she runs into prejudice all the time.

 

As the lowest lawyer, Linnet takes over a case that has gone nowhere for years involving a billion dollar security firm owned by werewolves.  Chip Westin who has been the solo attorney on this inheritance fiasco warns her “This Case Is Gonna Kill Me” and probably her.  They work together late when a werewolf arrives at the office and kills Chip; Linnet somehow survives and kills the deadly beast.  She begins to uncover information that the werewolves prefer buried and target her to stay silent.

 

This is an enjoyable legal urban fantasy starring an intelligent, “lucky” heroine who makes the Bornikova mythos of vampires, werewolves and other of their ilk seem genuine by her interactions with the paranormal.  Mindful of Fred Ward’s character in Cast A Deadly Spell, Linnet uses her knowledge of the law to battle the supernatural.  Although the storyline starts slow as the realism of a newbie in an office setting is highlighted and the supernatural as genuine established, the plot accelerates into a delightful thriller. 

 

Harriet Klausner

In a Fix-Linda Grimes

August 29, 2012

In a Fix

Linda Grimes

Tor, Sep 4 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765331809

 

Ciel Halligan the “aura adaptor” can make herself look exactly like someone else so that it is almost impossible to separate her from the original person.  To catch the overall demeanor of her subject requires a little background into the person.  Thus Ciel makes a nice living by taking the place of a client.

 

Ciel’s current customer is high society Wilhelmina “Mina” Worthington who cannot be with her boyfriend Henry “Trey” Harrison III at a luxury cabin in the Bahamas.  At the cabin Trey shouts at “Mina” to leave the bungalow; someone else does likewise.  Ciel rushes outside just before an explosion occurs.  Trey and the Good Samaritan are gone.  While her adoptive cousin Billy and FBI agent Mark warn her to stay out of this mess, Ciel investigates.  Her findings lead to Vikings.

 

This is a fresh romantic urban fantasy starring a wonderful heroine whose ability to emit a copycat aura is genetically driven while others like Mark share her skill.  The cast is solid especially the lead triangle as Ciel is attracted to both overly protective hunks.  Though Ciel’s motive to investigate is weak, readers will enjoy this unique paranormal amateur sleuth.

 

Harriet Klausner

Ghost Town-Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Tim Waggoner

August 29, 2012

Ghost Town

Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Tim Waggoner

Gallery, Oct 9 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451613827

 

In late October at a bookstore in Exeter “the most haunted town in America” books suddenly fly off the shelf like missiles killing employee Tonya Jackson.  At about the same time, the Ghost Trackers (Trevor Ward, Drew Pearson and Amber Lozier) arrive in Exeter to give a presentation at the “Dead Days” convention and sell some books.

 

Soon other mysterious deaths occur that has the three Ghost Trackers concluding that the Dark Lady is behind the paranormal serial killings.  This follows by realizing who awakened the dormant Dark Lady; as the trio must choose whether this individual is a friend or foe while a town filled with locals, visitors and three Trackers face death.

 

The latest Ghost Trackers paranormal mystery is an engaging tale with the protagonists searching for a deadly ghost.  Some of the breathing support cast is stereotypical, but the lead trio and the key ghosts are fully developed.  Fans will enjoy the hunt for the lethal spirit and the twist of who is the catalyst as this is a fun ghost hunting and busting thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Place Called Armageddon-CC Humphreys

August 28, 2012

A Place Called Armageddon

CC Humphreys

Sourcebooks, Sep 1 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9781402272493

 

The once mighty Byzantine Empire crumbles from within and from the assaults of the Ottoman armies.  By 1453, only Constantinople remains free of the enemy.  Advised by Hamza Bey, Sultan Mehmet II leads a force of 100,000 warriors to take the “Red Apple” as a symbol of Muslim supremacy over the weak Christian infidels.  Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos leads 10,000 soldiers defending the walled city, but without the professionals he knows they fight a losing cause.

 

One of these mercenaries Gregoras Lascaris vowed to never go home; as Constantinople is the place where his twin Theon betrayed him turning him into a disgraced outcast; his scarred visage reminds him of what his popular sibling did to him including taking his beloved Sofia.  However, he returns to Constantinople to defend a city that he realizes has become a death trap since he left.

 

This is a powerful fifteenth century thriller that focuses on the Battle of Constantinople by rotating perspectives between various people from both sides.  The storyline grips the audience as we learn why some from side come to fight (or defend) like Venusians, Achmed the farmer and John Grant the Scot.  Although the myriad of cast can be confusing, each character adds depth to a vivid picture in which armchair fans will believe they are witnessing the siege of Constantinople from within and outside circa 1453.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

 

The Ragnarök Conspiracy-Erec Stebbins

August 28, 2012

The Ragnarök Conspiracy

Erec Stebbins

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 9 2012, $15.95

ISBN 9781616147129

 

FBI agent “Mad John” Savas is still grieving though over a decade has passed since his son died in the 9/11 terrorist mass murders.  John believes he will always be angry and in mourning until the day he dies.  However the Fed takes some solace in his job as a counterterrorism unit Intel 1 agent.  Divorced John also feels his romance with FBI agent Rebecca Cohen gives him a sense of normalcy in his troubled mind

 

An unknown cabal using runes of Norse code to communicate is assassinating and bombing Muslims around the world.  John has an affinity with the unknown anti-Muslim killers who take the war on terrorism back to the source.  Still he tries to do his job right as he keeps reminding himself terrorism is terrorism.  When Muslim-American agent Husaam Jordan joins the unit, Savas and others resent him initially until he proves himself worthy of their respect and support.

 

This is an entertaining thriller in which the protagonist must overcome his prejudice to not just work with a Muslim-American, but to end the assaults on innocent Muslims.  The fast-paced storyline strongly pushes tolerance though he recognizes how difficult that can be to someone who lost a loved one due to intolerance.  Although some of the key life changing events lack depth to persuade readers of their authenticity, fans will enjoy this unique global war on terrorism thriller as we get inside the head of an emotionally hurting counter agent.

 

Harriet Klausner

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 9 2012, $15.95

ISBN 9781616147129

 

FBI agent “Mad John” Savas is still grieving though over a decade has passed since his son died in the 9/11 terrorist mass murders.  John believes he will always be angry and in mourning until the day he dies.  However the Fed takes some solace in his job as a counterterrorism unit Intel 1 agent.  Divorced John also feels his romance with FBI agent Rebecca Cohen gives him a sense of normalcy in his troubled mind

 

An unknown cabal using runes of Norse code to communicate is assassinating and bombing Muslims around the world.  John has an affinity with the unknown anti-Muslim killers who take the war on terrorism back to the source.  Still he tries to do his job right as he keeps reminding himself terrorism is terrorism.  When Muslim-American agent Husaam Jordan joins the unit, Savas and others resent him initially until he proves himself worthy of their respect and support.

 

This is an entertaining thriller in which the protagonist must overcome his prejudice to not just work with a Muslim-American, but to end the assaults on innocent Muslims.  The fast-paced storyline strongly pushes tolerance though he recognizes how difficult that can be to someone who lost a loved one due to intolerance.  Although some of the key life changing events lack depth to persuade readers of their authenticity, fans will enjoy this unique global war on terrorism thriller as we get inside the head of an emotionally hurting counter agent.

 

Harriet Klausner

Say You’re Sorry-Michael Robotham

August 28, 2012

 

Say You’re Sorry

Michael Robotham

Little, Brown/Mulholland, Oct 2 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9780316221245

During a blizzard that cripples much of England, someone brutally murders Patricia and William Heyman in the home.  From inside the Heyman house, Augie Shaw called the police reporting the deaths of the couple.  The police hold Shaw as the only suspect as he is uncooperative refusing to explain why he was at murder scene.

To help them on the case the police turn to psychologist Joe O’Loughlin to profile Shaw.  Joe concludes Shaw suffers from delusions so is unlikely the killer as these homicides were militarily précised strikes.  However Joe also believes the suspect conceals something that may not be connected to the murders.  Joe and retired cop Vincent Ruiz find a link between the killings and two missing teenage BFFs (Piper Hadley and Tash McBain) who vanished three years ago.

The latest Joe O’Loughlin psychological thriller (see Shatter and Suspect) is a taut tale that starts off as a profile of a potentially schizophrenic murder suspect, but effortlessly switches gear into a race to save the Bingham Girls.  The storyline is fast-paced from start to finish as the former cop and the clinical psychologist convince the police that time is running out for the living abducted teens.

Harriet Klausner

A Lady and Her MagicTammy Falkner-

August 28, 2012

A Lady and Her Magic

Tammy Falkner

Sourcebooks, Sep 1 2012, $6.99

ISBN 9781402268120

 

In 1817 the widow Duke of Robinsworth, Ashley Trimble struggles with the temper tantrums of his daughter Anne.  At the same time Sophia Thorn is told she will lose her wings if she fails to help the petulant child.  She arranges to meet father and daughter when she intervenes during an incident and calms down raging Anne to Ashley’s shock.

 

Not long after their first encounter, Sophia and her grandma obtain invitations to a house party hosted by Robinsworth.  He is already attracted to her, but she reciprocates when she hears him play the piano with passion.  As they fall in love, Sophia knows the cost of loving a mortal is while Ashley fears her reaction when she learns everyone believes he killed his wife.

 

A Lady and Her Magic is a charming Regency romantic fantasy starring star-crossed lovers and a horde of mischievous matchmakers and match breakers.  Fast-paced from the first meeting between the scandalized duke, the raging daughter and the feisty fae until the final scandalous encounter; sub-genre fans who enjoy something whimsically different will appreciate Tammy Falkner’s marvelous magical mayhem.

 

Harriet Klausner