Archive for December, 2012

Ever After-Kim Harrison

December 26, 2012

Ever After
Kim Harrison
Harper Voyager, Jan 22 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9780061957918

Elf Trent Kalamack’s top security expert, Quen Hanson wants to hire witch-demon Rachel Morgan to protect his employer so he can spend quality time with Ceri and their babies (Lucy and Ray). Though she knows she desperately needs the money, Rachel declines the offer due to her bi-polar history with the mogul.

The ley line Rachel created is rapidly eroding the demon Ever After realm. At the same time, Rosewood syndrome infected children start vanishing with Rachel as the only suspect after the ley line disaster; while an insane extremely powerful demon abducts Ceri and Lucy. With no choice, Rachel teams up with Trent and Quen to prevent the end of the demonic realm (and her life) and rescue the security expert’s family while betrayal awaits their efforts.

The latest Hollows urban fantasy (see A Perfect Blood) is a great entry that series fans will relish as the transition to the end game countdown has begun. Filled with action and numerous exciting subplots containing a sense of pending doom (including Rachel’s convoluted AFU personal life and insight into the demon-elf hostilities), the Hollows readers will enjoy this thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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Dark Wolf Rising-Rhyannon Byrd

December 23, 2012

Dark Wolf Rising
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885626

The Silvercrest Lycan scouts stopped the human female as she was driving up the Maryland mountain towards their town Shadow peak. On emergency leave from her Smythe, Virginia professor position, Chelsea Smart shows them a photo of her missing younger sister Perry while threatening to shoot off their manly extremity if they touch her. Erik Drake, who prefers his species to mate with lycans, intercedes by telling her nicely to leave before darkness sets in as he insists it is unsafe. To their mutual chagrin, each is attracted to the other. As he tells her to go, she uses a common to both species middle finger gesture. When her vehicle fails, Erik drives Chelsea back to Wesley.

When Chelsea learns that rogue Lycans are drugging women to kidnap and pimp them as prostitutes, Erik agrees to help her save Perry, end the prostitution ring, and protect his Solvercrest pack. As they work together, their lustful attraction turns to love.

The latest Bloodrunners (see Last Wolf Standing, Last Wolf Hunting and Last Wolf Watching) romantic mountain fantasy is an exciting thriller as the latest alpha meets his independent mate while she searches for her sibling. Fast-paced with a dark background, series fans will enjoy the latest visit to Maryland.

Harriet Klausner

A Love Untamed-Pamela Palmer

December 22, 2012

A Love Untamed
Pamela Palmer
Avon, Dec 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062107510

Once he was Kieran the Therian, but now he has become the latest rendition of Fox. He was the only one of the new shapeshfting Feral Warriors who did not attack the team veterans (see Ecstasy Untamed). Still as the rookie, Fox needs to prove as much to himself as his teammates he belongs as their equal in their endless war against the evil Daemons.

He is assigned teaming with Melisande the Ilena warrior who loathes shapeshifters. Expecting his teammate to be like all females wanting him, Fox is stunned by her hatred and distrust of him. As he begins to defrost the ice warrior, they become snared inside a daemon mage trap. Working together to escape before time runs out on them, Melisande and Fox find love and trust as the keys to freedom.

The latest exciting Feral Warriors romantic urban fantasy (see Rapture Untamed) is an enjoyable entry as two warriors, a newcomer and a shapeshifter hater, pair up. The storyline is fast-paced but has a somewhat déjà vu feel with the couple falling into a spirit trap. Still series fans will appreciate this tale as only love can save the lives of the Feral and Ilena Warriors.

Harriet Klausner

Darkship Renegades-Sarah A. Hoyt

December 22, 2012

Darkship Renegades
Sarah A. Hoyt
Baen, Dec 4 2012, $14.00
ISBN: 9781451638523

Kit the Jarl mule clone and the daughter of wealth Athena know they are fortunate to escape Earth and her past. They leave with a price on Thena’s head are going to Eden to live together in love and peace. Instead they face treasonous charges as a powerful individual uses the duo as fodder to manipulate his way into becoming Eden’s first dictator.

The couple accompanied by his sister mule Zen and another mule Doc Bartholomew team up with their mission to learn how to grow powertrees so that Eden no longer depends on harvesting earth tree powerpods, which as a byproduct will free the solar system. However, the quest starts badly when Kit is injured before they depart. Bartholomew tries a dangerous medical procedure to save his life. The method seemingly works, but as Kit recuperates, he increasingly does not behave like her beloved husband. Instead he has the memories of his “sire” Jarl reengineered to rule Earth. With their mission on the brink of failure, Thena knows she must prevent the transformation of her husband and will do whatever it takes including killing him; while she also understands her only out if they do not succeed on their original mission is her death.

The second Darkship space opera (see Darkship Thieves) is an entertaining science fiction thriller that continues the adventures of Thena. There are too many reflective treatises by Thena that slow down the pace of the overall exciting storyline. However, these interludes also provide insight into the historical, political, economic, science and technology. Fans will enjoy traveling on a Darkship piloted by Athena and her mates exploring the believable Hoyt galaxy.

Harriet Klausner

Rising Sun-Robert Conroy

December 18, 2012

Rising Sun

Robert Conroy

Baen, Dec 4 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451638516

 

The attack on Pearl Harbor left America especially its Navy reeling in shock and dismay as much of the Pacific Fleet especially the vaunted battle ships were destroyed by the Japanese air assault.  Still morale remains high fueled by a need for retaliation.  In June 1942, anticipating a glorious victory the US Navy prepares to engage the enemy near Midway.  However, before the prime sea battle, Japanese subs sink two American carriers (Enterprise and the Hornet) and their planes and crew.  The Japanese Imperial Navy wins an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Midway.

 

Former assistant principal, Admiral Spruance’s staffer Lieutenant Tim Dane survives the sinking of the Enterprise.  At a hospital in Hawaii he meets civilian Nurse Amanda Mallard who is helping him recover from his injuries.  Meanwhile the United States struggles to rebound from this pivotal defeat.  The Japanese Army invade Alaska and the Navy blockades Hawaii.  Admiral Yamamoto, who told the Emperor Japan cannot win the war, orders constant bombing of the American West Coast cities to try to end the hostilities by bringing the fighting to civilians, further crippling morale.  As America fights back; Spruance adopts Dane proposal to fully take the war to Japan while the FBI investigates alleged enemy activity inside the country.

 

The latest Robert Conroy alternative WWII military thriller (see Himmler’s War) focuses on changing the outcome of a pivotal point due to an unfortunate plausible happenchance (if you are the Americans) at the Battle of Midway.  However, the overarching premise feels similar to 1942 although that novel used Pearl Harbor as the change agent.  Still readers will appreciate Rising Sun as Mr. Conroy brings his exciting version of the war.

 

Harriet Klausner

Indigo Awakening-Jordan Dane

December 13, 2012

Indigo Awakening

Jordan Dane

Harlequin Teen, Dec 18 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210763

 

In Los Angeles, Mia arrives at the apartment of her younger emancipated seventeen year old sister Rayne with a cop demanding her sibling hand over their brother Lucas.  Mia insists Lucas is sick and needs drugs while Rayne believes Mia’s Church of Believers hunt people like her sibling.

 

The meds have finally left his body so that Lucas can hear the voices and the music that was muted too long.  He vanishes into the Sunset Boulevard area after cautioning Rayne not to look for him as she would place herself in danger from the Believers who hunt the “Indigo” teens like Lucas.  Rayne rejects her troubled brother’s warning as she searches for him on the mean streets of the city.  There she meets mysterious loner Gabriel Stewart, who she feels compelled to protect though he frightens her; she scares him with her belief that deep down he cares and worse how much he wants to protect her.  Reluctantly Gabe assists Rayne in her quest while the Believers stalk them.

 

The first Hunted teen romantic fantasy is a great thriller as Jordan Dane makes her world if special power teens and a Church hunting them down seem believable in an X-Men way.  The lead characters and Lucas seem genuine, but it is the fanatics (though somewhat stereotyped) like Mia who make the tale work as they recognize what the Indigo mean to the present dominant species.

 

Harriet Klausner

Scent of Magic-Maria V. Snyder

December 11, 2012

Scent of Magic  

Maria V. Snyder

Mira, Dec 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778314189

 

Everyone believes that the last known healer Avry of Kazan is dead after saving the life of King Tohon’s strongest adversary Prince Ryne from the plague that devastated the Fifteen Realms (see Touch of Power).  However, she and Kerrick of Alga, who saved her life when her villagers decided to execute her, go on separate missions though both share the BHAG of preventing evil Tohon from ruling in terror over the Fifteen Realms.

 

In disguise as she knows there are plenty of people who want her dead starting with General Jael, Avry joins the forces of Tohon’s enemy High Priestess Estrid as a troop instructor in silent movements; unaware that Tohon has created new invincible soldiers who are already dead.  She also plans to reconcile with her sister who is on Jael’s staff. 

 

Prince Ryne sends Kerrick to the wilds north of Alga to investigate whether the barbarians are invading his realm as rumored.  A pact signing with Tohon by his brother leaves a stunned Kerrick left with too small a force to repel the invading northerners; let alone protect his Alga Realm from the duplicitous ruler.

 

The second Healer fantasy is a strong thriller with plenty of military and political intrigue.  The Snyder Realm feels real partly because the romance between Avry and Kerrick remains muted as the focus is on the seemingly upcoming war; for the most part they are apart.  The storyline is fast-paced switching subplots (and locals) at times to abruptly, but fans will relish the further adventures of Kerrick and Avry as they battle the malevolent minion of Tohon the terrible.

 

Harriet Klausner

Enchanted Ever After-Robin D. Owens

December 11, 2012

Enchanted Ever After

Robin D. Owens

Luna/Harlequin, Dec 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803477

 

In Denver, Kiri Palger loves online gaming though her job of the last two years at a national computer firm has left her drained of more energy than losing at Fairies and Dragons.  Needing to unkink after a long day on her butt at the office, Kiri takes a walk in Mystic Circle where she lives.  A man with a runner’s physique accosts her saying he is from Eight Corps, Human Resources, parent company of Fairies and Dragons where she hopes to work at one day.  He refers to her neighbor Jennie Weaver as a reference, but calls her Jindesfarne Mistweaver Emberdrake (see Enchanted No More).  When he floats his business card to her, a frightened Kiri rushes home while hybrid Lightfolk Lathyr Tricurrent watches her retreat.

 

At a neighborhood party that Lathyr attends, Jennie hires Kiri to work on a new game.  As she spends time with Lathyr, Kiri works on the new project while she finds herself obtaining mystical new powers.  Soon she and Lathyr are on a magical quest as Kiri “tests” in real life the game she is helping to create.

 

The third Mystic Circle romantic fantasy (see Enchanted Again) is a fun entertaining thriller as the real and virtual worlds merge.  Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Kiri’s lighthearted romp as she must choose between magically in love or ennui in the mundane. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Firebrand-Gillian Philip

December 8, 2012

Firebrand

Gillian Philip

Strident Publishing, Aug 13 2010, $8.40

http://www.stridentpublishing.co.uk

ISBN: 9781905537198

 

The Veil separates the world of humans from that of the Sithe.  Because of the radical different life spans, the underlying philosophies of the two species are polar opposites.  The humans’ strongest value is fear of anything odd or new as change threatens their possessions even those with nothing.  On the other hand the Sithe’s most significant value is trust of one another regardless of station as ages of living together require belief that those in your community have your back.

 

The unthinkable happens when Sithe Queen Kate NicNiven has plans to destroy the Veil and subjugate the humans under her rule.  To do this she must eliminate her most powerful opponent Lord Griogair MacGregor.  When Griogair is assassinated, his two sons (Seth and Conal) flee to the mortal realm.  They vow to return one day to claim their inheritance, but first the siblings must avoid the human witch-hunt at a time when Restoration divisive fervor has savage Scotland in a deadly turmoil.

 

This is a strong historical fantasy in which two mythical siblings struggle to survive as strangers in a strange hostile land.  The key to this engaging storyline is that the Sithe society seems genuine with its construction built from the premise of the species’ longevity.  The plot accelerates once the brothers cross the Veil and find themselves held in suspicion by just about everyone while stalked by cleansing fanatics on both sides of the restoration fight.  Readers will appreciate the first Rebel Angels thriller wondering why the Queen wants to conquer the pathetic race on the other side of the Veil.

 

Harriet Klausner

Kalimpura-Jay Lake

December 6, 2012

Kalimpura

Jay Lake

Tor, Jan 29 2013, $27.99

ISBN 9780765326775

 

 

In Copper Downs, sixteen year old Green realizes her pregnancy especially the last month was a dull affair having been a courtesan, an assassin, a God creator and the killer of an Immortal.  Breaking custom by delaying the naming ceremony for one week after giving birth to twins, Green and the sire of her babies Speto complete the rite praying for a long life under the protection of Endurance for their children Marya and Federo.

 

Feeling guilty for the changes she wrought to her friends in Copper Downs, Green feels strongly she must sail across the Storm Sea to Kalimpura in search of the kidnapped child of Ilona stolen by Bittern Court diplomats (see Endurance).  However, she knows the voyage is too dangerous for her babies but fears leaving them behind as they will be vulnerable to the Copper Downs’ deities who would claim them (and her) as theirs or sacrifice them and even distrusts Ilona to keep them safe.  Making matters more difficult for her is Green knows the Kalimpura Gods and the Bittern Court likewise demand the blood of her and her newborns.

 

Green’s latest awesome adventures showcase how far she has come since Endurance as she returns to Kalimpura, the Bittern Court and the Lily Goddess in search of the abducted child.  The storyline is much more reflective (and consequently less action) than in Green and Endurance (even with the latter’s overly long soliloquys).  Fans will enjoy the heroine’s struggle to keep her twins safe and keep a promise to Ilona but must breach yet avoid capture by the Bittern Court who she knows has plans for the slayer of the Immortal Duke.

 

Harriet Klausner