Archive for February, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance-Aimee Carter

February 28, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance
Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen, Feb 26 2013. $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210671

Kate Winters spent the nine months of her pregnancy in captivity. For most of her incarceration, her beloved Henry was led astray by Walter and Ava to believe Kate accompanied James searching for the missing Rhea. Kate believes her Henry finally knows the truth re her fate. Everyone seemingly wants the unborn as perhaps the most powerful being ever since Cronus the Titan claims the fetus is his (though Henry sired the child) and the Queen of the Gods Calliope makes sacrificial plans for Kate’s baby once born.

Kate knows she can do nothing against either super God as Calliope takes away her newborn Milo. Cronus offers her a deal he knows that she cannot refuse. He will spare her and her newborn Milo and limit human collateral damage in the war of the gods if she pledges her total loyalty to him. She understands the cost of committing to Cronus means Henry, her mother and the Gods will die; failure to pledge means Milo is gone forever and she, much of mankind and her loved ones will probably die.

The final Goddess Test urban fantasy (see the Goddess Test and Goddess, Interrupted) is a strong twisting ending to a fabulous series as a distraught Kate finds herself caught between the love of her family and saving the world by self-sacrifice. Fast-paced and loaded with action, fans of the trilogy will enjoy the final confrontation though they will question Kate’s terrible decisions even factoring in the protagonist’s Olympus levels of stress and depression. Still Aimee Carter provides an engaging end to an entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days-Saranna DeWylde

February 27, 2013

How To Seduce An Angel In 10 Days
Saranna DeWylde
Kensington Brava, Feb 26 2013, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758269171

Irate Falcon Cherrywood believes his punishment does not fit the crime. He admits he shot that pest Cupid in the butt with a fireball, injuring the pink-winged angel. However, he feels replacing Cupid is cruel and anti-angelic punishment since he does not believe in love. To make matters worse, he also is assigned Parole Officer duty.

His criminal is Drusilla “Tally” Tallow, who was sentenced for ten days for knocking the temporary love angel off his broom out of frustration of always finding love in the wrong places with the worst heavenly misanthropes. As Falcon and Tally fall in love, she fears the replacement Cupid will prove a pain in the ass; she’s just not sure whose.

The latest amusing “How to … in 10 Days” romantic fantasy (see How to Marry a Warlock in 10 days) is an amusing madcap tale. A lighthearted frolic, fans will laugh at the antics of Tally and Falcon; as each has strong reasons to ignore their attraction.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight Blue-Light Special-Seanan McGuire

February 27, 2013

Midnight Blue-Light Special
Seanan McGuire
DAW, Mar 5 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407926

Though generations of her family have studied the Cryptid population and kept these “monsters” safe from the humans and visa-versa, cryptozoologist Verity Price is not a chip off the DNA block as she prefers ballroom dancing. However, Verity still proves Price blood flows through her veins when she came to Manhattan to competitively dance only to get sidetracked with the family vocation due to the snake cult (see Discount Armageddon). Still her recent caper led her to meet her maybe boyfriend Dominic De Luca although it is a star-crossed relationship as he is a monster-hunter for her family’s enemy the Covenant of St. George.

Dominic warns Verity that his bosses are coming to New York to inspect the progress he made in species cleansing and to finish the eradication of the Cryptid species from Manhattan. Putting aside her love of dance, Verity needs to prevent a bloodbath by concealing the monsters from the hunters including a traitorous blood relative seeking vengeance.

The superb second InCryptid urban fantasy is an incredibly fast-paced New York tale that except for an intrusive sidebar involving a psychic cousin never slows down as monsters, protectors, hunters and collateral damage humans converge for a Manhattan Midnight Blue-Light Special. Verity adds humor with her asides as she tries to keep a bloodbath from overwhelming the city. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this faster than the speed of light thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Immortally Embraced-Angie Fox

February 26, 2013

Immortally Embraced
Angie Fox
St. Martin’s, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312546670

Having been drafted during the war between the Old and New Greek Gods, Army MASH Dr. Petra Robichaud, a hybrid fairy, pulled off a miracle; not the oracle prophesy she fulfilled that led to the cease-fire she fostered as the peacemaker, but instead finding love in Demi-God Commander Galen. As a reward for her valor and diligence, she becomes a part of a special MASH unit to the paranormal.

Her current patient is an over three thousand years old pregnant gorgon who fears telling her parents. After Petra informs Medusa of her delicate condition and telling her to come back for an ultrasound, Galen embarks on a needed but suicidal mission after ending their relationship. Meanwhile her former lover Mark arrives pleading with Petra to investigate a ghost causing havoc amidst the enemy. Neither is prepared for what they confront and learn nor another Oracle Prophecy.

The latest Robichaud MASH unit military urban fantasy is fast-paced from the opening scene in which the Doctor to the Gods (and wannabes) explains to Medusa that she got pregnant the old fashion way and never slows down until the final confrontation. Filled with satirical humor especially with placing the Greek pantheon in a modern day environment and loaded with action, readers will relish the adventures of the Army doctor though it helps to have read Immortally Yours to best understand the Fox mythos.

Harriet Klausner

The Office Of Mercy-Ariel Djanikian

February 23, 2013

The Office Of Mercy
Ariel Djanikian
Viking, Feb 21 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780670025862

Three centuries ago in reaction to Malthus proven right by 59 billion residents, domed biospheres like America-Five were created. Soon after those who went inside, the Alpha release the Storm that causes pandemic destruction reducing the planet’s population to a few hundred thousand and making the surface hostile. Inside, there is abundance. To achieve their merciful vision of World Peace, Eternal Life, and All Suffering Ended, America Five established the Office of Mercy. Their mission to perform mercy killing sweeps of the starving tribes just outside their dome in order to end the suffering of these plighted poor souls.

Twentyish Citizen Natasha Wiley an Epsilon is assigned to the Office of Mercy as a tracker of the tribes who venture within fifty miles of the dome. Her boss and love interest Jeffrey a Gamma assigns her to reset monitoring sensors on her first venture outside the dome while reminding her that the key to stepping outside is to adhere to the Ethics Code especially no rapport with the tribes. However, her trek outside the dome does not go according to procedure.

This futuristic dystopian thriller is an exciting plausible tale in which the heroine finds the beliefs that she and all of Epsilon and those Generations before them has grown up with contain false premises (sort of like learning the Ten Commandments were a Genesis hoax). Somewhat a coming of age story inside a somewhat muted action storyline, readers will appreciate the 1984 logic of the America Five’s “burden” of saving the external masses by mass mercy murders.

Harriet Klausner

Knuckleduster-Andrew Post

February 19, 2013

Knuckleduster
Andrew Post
Medallion, Feb 1 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781605424934

Minneapolis war veteran Brody “Knuckleduster” Calhoun met battered Marcy a cancer victim at a community center where both slept on cots. Her boyfriend Jonah beat her up so Knuckleduster enters a bar to kick his butt. After the vigilante for hire takes care of business with his knuckleduster brass knuckles, Detective Nathan Pierce arrives to take him to the station for busting up a man’s face for the eighteenth time; both know the violence against women has been halved since he began to mete out an eye for an eye justice. Knuckleduster also needs to recharge the battery in his carotene contact lenses that enable him to see after the Molotov cocktail attack blinded him in Cairo.

Thorp Ashbury, who served with Calhoun in Egypt as peacekeepers a decade ago, invites Knuckleduster to his Illinois farm. When he arrives, Thorp tells him his kid sister Nectar enlisted over his objection. She went to Fort Reagan in Chicago for pre Basic class work training, but when Knuckleduster goes to talk to her he finds she has vanished. As the two vets search for the missing sibling, they begin to uncover a lethal mind-bending corporate conspiracy that leaves Knuckleduster wondering if he has become as crazy as his friend is.

This entertaining futuristic noir sets the tone with little interwoven activities like the electronic monetary card to exchange credits. The vigilante protagonist is a violent Daredevil butt-kicker who defends the downtrodden and paying customers (someone has to fund his expensive contacts). The exhilarating investigation grips readers with a pulp fiction excitement as Knuckleduster battles some nasty adversaries while thinking his paranoid friend is insane as there is no corporate conspiracy to wire wounded warriors.

Harriet Klausner

Neferet’s Curse-P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

February 18, 2013

Neferet’s Curse
P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin’s Griffin, Feb 19 2013, $12.99
ISBN: 9781250000255

In 1893 not every resident of Chicago enjoys the World’s Fair. Sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler has no time for the Ferris wheels since her Mother Alice died in childbirth along with the male baby. Her angry martinet Father, Barrett, head of the First National Bank of Chicago, loathes his late wife for leaving him no male heir. He demands his daughter ignore her grief and teen girl fantasies to take over her Mother’s hostess duties to the city’s affluent and participate as a member of the General Federation Women’s Club feeding the homeless; as expected of the Lady of Wheiler House.

Frightened by her sire’s rage, she obeys her patriarch and begins the transition to replace her Mother. Emily also realizes something is wrong with her Father as he refers to her as frigid Alice. At her first hosted gala, Emily hits it off with Arthur Simpton but Father forbids her to see him or any male. Fearful of her increasingly abusive Father, she flees Wheiler House when he goes too far; only to have the Goddess of the Night Nyx, Marked her as a vampyre.

The latest House of Night Novella (see Lenobia’s Vow and Dragon Oath) uses Emily’s 1893 journal to tell the tale of her transition from female teenager to Neferet. The journey from coddled teen to Queen of the Night is well written as the Cast team enables readers to feel Emily’s changing myriad of emotions mostly depressingly pessimistic until the sly optimistic climax when she takes action. In spite of fans knowing what happens to Emily as Neferet over a century later, series fans will appreciate her “sweet sixteen” conversion as she finally reacts to her Father’s abuse.

Harriet Klausner

The Arena Man-Steve Englehart

February 17, 2013

The Arena Man
Steve Englehart
Tor, Feb 19 2013, $28.99
ISBN: 9780765325006

In between his war against supernatural evil, former Vietnam grunt Max August the immortal but destructible magic practitioner and his apprentice lover Pam continue their unsuccessful search for the lost soul of his first wife Val. The pair ends their current investigation when they learn troubling information. The Necklace cabal of international magickal societal leaders and the demonic Belia’al have united. The powerful malevolent union plans to deploy Black Ops and magick to cause an attack that will gain everyone’s focus as thousands will die from their mass murder against man.

At the same time Alexsandra the diabola pretends to be the lover of the Gemstone leader of the Necklace Lawrence Breckenridge. She hides her real agenda behind her farcical tryst as her plot is to defeat Belia’al. Max takes over the identity of a dead conspirator (whose body he places in the Collective Unconscious) in order to get inside to learn what the cabal and the demon plot. At the same time, Pam seems trapped inside the Subconscious even as she needs to bring the Key to Max.

The latest Max August fantasy (see The Plain Man and The Long Man) is an exhilarating hyper-paced thriller. With a comic book style of non-stop action, series fans will relish this rousing entry as Max knows he must be a mad man playing the superhero to save those who disdain him against a seemingly invincible enemy who has the support of those same people he tries to rescue (to the PR goes the masses).

Harriet Klausner

Supernatural: Fresh Meat-Alice Henderson

February 17, 2013

Supernatural: Fresh Meat
Alice Henderson
Titan Books, Feb 19 2013, $7.99
http://www.titanbooks.com
ISBN: 9781781161128

This part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains has an infamous history as here inside the Tahoe National Forest is where the Donner Party resorted to cannibalistic survival. In the present something evil emulates the Donner Party by dining on humans with a paranormal dessert. Those losing their lives reanimate while an unidentified flying monster continue unabated attacks.

After learning about the supernatural killer in the Sierra Nevada’s, evil hunters Bobby Singer and brothers Sam and Dean Winchester arrive to end the malevolent murderer’s malice. Trapped by a blizzard and trusting no one but themselves, the intrepid threesome must survive the weather while also avoiding becoming Fresh Meat for a diabolical adversary who can shapeshift into a human.

The latest super Supernatural novelization takes place in between season seven’s “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” and “Slash Fiction” episodes as Alice Henderson in her first outing deftly fits this thriller inside the series. Fast-paced from the first assault, fans will enjoy this action-packed urban fantasy as the overwhelming odds of survivor reside with evil over the outgunned hunters.

Harriet Klausner

Wolf Hunter-J. L. Benet

February 14, 2013

Wolf Hunter
J. L. Benet
Belfire Press, Dec 3 2012, $10.99
ISBN: 9781927580035

Aware that the Third Reich was losing the war, Himmler authorized the creation of super soldiers. In a remote part of the Forest of Rhineland at Castle Schlosshuelchrath, scientists experiment in turning into werewolves Karl “Bear” Wahlsevski, Luther “Mountain” Grutzmann, Dr. Albrecht “Spy” Pactwandler and Hitler Youth Viktor Huelen. Luther dies while the other three succeeds but as Lycan they are uncontrollable. Viktor escapes settling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In the present, University of Michigan student Steve Williams is an obsessed genius researching the werewolf mythos with a particular interest in Dr. Worklauf’s Nazi Lycanthopker experiments as he has a compulsive need driving him. At the same time, Jack the Ojibwa shapeshifter, hunting the Lycan abominations, kills a dying Albrecht in Chicago. Meanwhile, knowing what Viktor is, Steve demands the Lycan convert him; while Jack seeks to kill the werewolf and the wannabe.

Fast-paced, the gripping brisk Nazi experiment subplot affirms that war brings out the best and the worst in people as each side will have amoral people willing to do anything to gain the victory. When the storyline changes into an exciting modern day urban fantasy, the well-written horror plot becomes typical of the genre. Wolf Hunter is an entertaining though provoking thriller.

Harriet Klausner