Archive for November, 2012

The Eldritch Conspiracy-Cat Adams

November 30, 2012

The Eldritch Conspiracy

Cat Adams

Tor, Jan 8 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765328748

 

Siren Princess Adriana and Rusland King Dahlmar agree to a political marriage of convenience to the delight of their respective families.  However, the Guardians of the Faith oppose the merger as their mission is Siren genocide.  They have killed several individuals with close ties to the royal bride.

 

The family enlists Adriana’s cousin hybrid vamp-siren Celia Graves as a bodyguard bridesmaid with the threat from the Guardians growing.  Celia proves her value when she prevents an assault on the bride’s wedding party at a bridal salon.  Adriana returns home to prevent a coup from occurring while Celia stalks the terrorists and the mage abetting their ethnic cleansing agenda.  She also needs to set aside time to find a dress for the wedding.

 

The latest Blood Singer urban romantic fantasy (see Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, and The Isis Collar) is a superb thriller starring a fabulous soul-searching heroine who wonders where she belongs as a no longer human hybrid.  While she ponders her place in one of three societies, the impact of feeling like an outsider on her personal life is negatively immense.  Fans will appreciate her latest escapades as she hopes to make it to the royal wedding in a kick butt dress after sending the Guardians and their mage to well-deserved graves.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Heaven To Wudang-Kylie Chan

November 30, 2012

Heaven To Wudang

Kylie Chan

Harper Voyager, Nov 27 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062210340

 

Hong Kong based John Chen is also Xuan Wu the Dark Lord of the Northern Heavens.  His Dark Lady Emma Donahue has proven to more than just have his back as she fought at his side and with him missing to defeat the demons of Simon Wong; with the help of Leo the bodyguard she also kept his rebellious teenage hybrid daughter Simone safe after he vanished.

 

However, neither John nor Emma has time to rest and heal as allies of Wong remains out there as does Kitty Kwok.  As Wudang Mountain turns extremely dark, the enemy creates identical replicas to trap and kill ailing Emma, defiant Simone and amnesiac Xuan Wu, who returned home sometimes as a human and as a turtle. 

 

The third Journey to Wudang Chan’s mythological fantasy (see Hell to Heaven and Earth to Hell) is an exciting thriller with plenty of over the top of Wudang Mountain action.  The protagonists are solid but display little growth (except for Emma) since their introductions in the previous Dark Heavens trilogy (see Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix and White Tiger); while the antagonists prove to be strong adversaries.  At times the poignancy slows down the plot, but fans of the saga will relish Emma’s exhilarating escapades.

 

Harriet Klausner

Midnight’s Warrior-Donna Grant

November 25, 2012

Midnight’s Warrior

Donna Grant

St. Martin’s, Nov 27 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312552596

 

A decade has passed since Tara Kincaid thought she could rely on Declan Wallace to have her back at a time when her family went to the dark side of druid magic and became Drough.  When she realized he betrayed her with his scheme to manipulate her into turning into a Drough, she fled.  For the last ten years she has been in hiding in Scotland looking back over her shoulder for deadly Druids and the wicked Warriors.

 

Now a tour guide, Tara fears that Wallace and his minion have found her.  However, she remains ignorant that the Warriors have also located the skittish Tara.  Powerful Druid Warrior Ramsey MacDonald is assigned to protect the reluctant Tara who trusts no one.  As they fall in love, he knows he owes the truth about his extraordinary hybrid magical skills but fears his beloved will flee into the night at a time when Dark Warriors, Darker Drough and the darkest Druid Declan come for her.

 

The latest Midnight’s Warrior continues the Dark Sword spin off series (see Midnight’s Lover and Midnight Masters) with another terrific wicked Wallace entry (see Midnight’s Seduction).  The protagonists are a fascinating pairing as each is motivated as much by their respective fears as by love; Tara is afraid that love weakens her chance of survival and Ramsey is afraid of deploying his full power.  Although the threat by the evil Declan does not seem different from his assault by the lead avengers of Midnight’s Seduction, series fans will relish adventures of Midnight’s Warrior and his reluctant Druid.

 

Harriet Klausner

Last Kiss Goodnight-Gena Showalter

November 21, 2012

Last Kiss Goodnight

Gena Showalter

Pocket, Dec 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451671599

 

Michael Black found the three Otherworlder newborns just after their biological parents abandoned them on earth.  He arranged for them to grow up with human families while he trained Solomon Judah, John No Last Name and Corbin Blue to be elite black operatives. 

 

The bombing of Black’s office left Black fading and his three adult mentees missing.  Evil Gregory Star captures the three Otherworlders.  Solo awakens inside a magical cage as a freak attraction on display.  The malevolent owner Lukas assigns his abused deaf daughter Vika to take care of the latest animal the Allorian they just purchased from Star as she does all of the captives.  Solo recognizes Vika as his though his initial reaction is to kill her due to her carrying out the orders of her brutal father.  He soon realizes she does her best to keep the “animals” safe and hopes this Allorian she wants can save her just like she tries to save him.

 

The opening Otherworld Assassin is a super ultra-dark urban fantasy starring two soulmates trapped in cages as their relationship positively evolves until they recognize that “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon).  With biblical citations like that just mentioned to enhance the sense of something epic going on, fans will appreciate this thriller as the warm romance and the brutal viciousness serve as counter weights to a strong introduction to Gena Showalter’s newest realm.

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Winter-Diana Pharaoh Francis

November 21, 2012

Blood Winter

Diana Pharaoh Francis

Pocket, Dec 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451613865

 

In Horngate, the ice-cold wintry weather makes scarcities of food, water, and heat severe.  Desperate townsfolk turn to the only salvation in town, Earth’s Last Stand fundamentalist Preacher Sterling Savage for sustenance whose fiery message to his growing flock as the self-proclaimed Hand of God is to destroy the ungodly magic practitioners.

 

As the protector of the Horngate coven, Max learns that Savage is a witch whose voice of God is a diabolical demon.  Max also concludes she and her allies have no chance against their adversaries unless she risks her life by voluntarily walking into what she knows is a trap to save the world starting in Horngate.  The Earth’s Last Stand shows the soul of their captive to everyone including her lover Alexander the Shadowblade warrior as Max fears she may have lost her beloved anchor and with him her hope.

 

The latest Horngate Witches urban fantasy (see Shadow City, Bitter Night and Crimson Wind) is an exhilarating dark entry starring a dedicated heroine who seems to always be “enslaved” to nasty soulless individuals.  Filled with dangerous action, series fans will relish this thriller as Max offers up her life and soul as sacrifices to save people but it is Alexander’s reaction that could cause her to finally give up the good fight.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Soul So Wicked-Sharie Kohler

November 20, 2012

A Soul So Wicked

Sharie Kohler

Pocket, Dec 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781451611427

 

 

In the first century, raging Tresa the witch pledges her loyalty to Balthazar the demon in exchange for his placing a curse on the descendants of the aristocrat who murdered her family.  One of the heirs Darius stalks the witch, as he has for centuries, who cursed him and his family.  He prays that killing Tresa will bring an end to his immortal life as a Lycan.

 

When Darius and Tresa meet, each is shocked by how wrong their perception of the other is.  Both seek to free themselves from their respective bonds while wondering if their love will prove a savior or a curse.  Meanwhile Tresa “sees” the murders of Balthazar’s latest recruit the Rose Petal Killer.

 

The sixth Moon Chasers paranormal romance (see Night Falls on the Wicked) is an exciting Lycan redemption thriller.  The storyline follows the most obvious path that readers expect and the changing relationship between the haunted and the haunted seems unlikely in spite of raging hormones.  Still fans will enjoy this romantic urban fantasy as the lead couple team up in love to end the reign of terror of the Rose Petal Killer.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Armageddon Rag-George R. R. Martin

November 20, 2012

The Armageddon Rag

George R. R. Martin

Bantam, Jan 30 2007, $16.00

ISBN: 9780553383072

 

In the 1960s Sandy Blair was a happy protesting radical.  Under two decades later, Sandy is an unhappy establishment novelist in Brooklyn.  He knows he has met the system and the system won.  Hedgehog magazine publisher Jared Paterson offers Sandy an assignment.  Sandy reminds the a-hole he fired him seven years ago, which Jared gleefully acknowledges that he sold the rag to the mainstream as he points out both of them sold out.  The publisher wants his former reporter to do a story on the murder of Jamie Lynch, who once was promoter of the Satanic band Nazgûl.  Excited as he has not been since he became a pulp fiction writer, Sandy agrees but on his terms.

 

Sandy learns that Nazgûl is making a comeback though the band collapsed with the murder of the lead singer Patrick Henry Hobbins during a live performance.  Apparently promotor Eden Morse has replaced the late Hobbins with plastic surgery enhanced singer Larry Richmond who she calls Pat.  Eden asks Sandy to promote Nazgûl as he did in their heyday.

 

This is a reprint of an early 1980s tale that takes a close look at how aging hippies fondly recall their protest days of less than two decades earlier through Sandy’s investigation.  The paranormal elements never quite gel and the plot feels dated as only hippie geezers whose memories recall the good while ignoring the bad and the ugly will appreciate this tale.  Still us geriatrics and DOPs (dirty old people to be politically correct) will appreciate this engaging tale with its references to the counterculture of our youths. 

 

Harriet Klausner

I’m Not Sam-Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

November 20, 2012

I’m Not Sam

Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

Cemetery Dance, Dec 31 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781587673535 

 

“I’m Not Sam.”  Artist Patrick and forensic pathologist Samantha are a happily married couple deeply in love with one another.  Both enjoy their respective work, each is very fond of Zoey the cat and still enjoy love-making after years together.  Everything seems perfect in their shared world.  In the middle of the night, Patrick awakens to a scream.  He finds naked Sam in a corner crying and telling him not to touch her as he hurt her.  However her other contention confuses and panics Patrick when his Sam insists she is Lily who knows Zoey but not Patrick while she wants her Teddy liberated from being locked amidst the Barbies.  Patrick wants to know what happened to his Sam as the days pass and she continues to act like a young child.

 

“Who’s Lily?”  She awakens knowing something is not right as she has a bandage on her foot though she knows not why, feels wet and sticky, and has two weeks of hair growth on her legs.  She wakes up Patrick who calls her Lily.  Sam asks him “Who’s Lily?” and

 

I’m Not Sam is an exciting psychological thriller starring a perfect couple facing their first crisis.  Fast-paced but character driven, readers will appreciate this dark novella; made even darker by the related stunning short story coda Who’s Lily?

 

Harriet Klausner

Touch of the Demon-Diana Rowland

November 20, 2012

Touch of the Demon

Diana Rowland

Daw, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0756407759

 

Beaulac, Louisiana Police Detective Kara Gillian is a demon summoner who has a contract with demon Lord Rhyzkahl.  However, Rhyzkahl’s apparent rival demon Lord Mzatal summons an uncooperative Kara into the demon realm.  Kara expects Rhyzkahl will rescue her, but the Bayou cop is not waiting for that to happen; as she plans to free herself.

 

While Kara works on her extraction, she also wonders why her abductor wants to end her bond with Rhyzkahl as part of an end game she cannot fathom.  She hypothesizes that Mzatal’s objective links with what she knows about FBI agent Ryan Kristoff, but not sure why and how she fits in the demon’s scheme.

 

The latest Kara Gillian Bayou fantasy (see Mark of the Demon) is a terrific entry that turns the Rowland mythos inside out as the heroine searches for answers to her questions but instead finds betrayal awaits her.  Fast-paced, series fans will appreciate this stunning entry though newcomers need to read Sins of the Demon first as that storyline’s cliffhanging climax feeds Touch of the Demon

 

Harriet Klausner

The Circle-Bentley Little

November 19, 2012

The Circle

Bentley Little

Cemetery Dance, Dec 2012, $19.99

ISBN: 9781587673009

 

“Helen” answers the knock at her door to find a strange child oddly dressed.  The boy enters her house and goes to the bathroom where he releases a dump in the toilet.  However, his excretion turns out to be diamonds.  He enters her garage where he continues to drop gems from his butt to the exhilaration of his hostess and her spouse; until he begins releasing a horde beetles.

 

“Frank” is an eighth grader whose family lives near Helen.  He and his friend visit the backyard dump of a neighbor rumored to be a witch as allegedly her altar is there.  They plan to make a request not understanding that the witch will demand remittance.

 

“Gil” is Frank’s father.  A hysterical teen who accompanied Frank on their adventure tells him what happened. He goes to confront the obese lady professor who many believe is a witch.

 

This is a reprint of a dark graphic (never look at poop in the same way) horror thriller told in three related stories that flow in a Circle starting with the middle tale before shifting to how it began and ultimately climaxed. 

 

Harriet Klausner