Archive for June, 2013

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island-Michael Phillip Cash

June 30, 2013

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island
Michael Phillip Cash
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Jun 21 2013
ISBN: 9781484196090

Allison Russo dies from cancer leaving behind a grieving family. Long Island Mcmansion realtor Paul struggles with the death of his wife while needing to be there for their children, the teen twins (Jesse and Veronica) and their youngest Stella Luna. Paul suffers from nightmares in which a demon holds his beloved Allison captured; Stella sees and hears her mommy’s ghost; Jesse is filled with rage; and Roni feels alone as she cannot help her twin and feels guilt for feeling glad her mom died after watching her waste away.

Melissa Andrews commissions Paul to sell Stillwell Manor owned by her husband Craig. She tells him that she had the mansion cleaned from the gore caused by her father-in-law murdering his wife before committing suicide. Paul visits Stillwell, only to find blood splattered everywhere; but on a second look sees pristine rooms. He learns that during the Revolution John Wendover and Hannah Andrews fell in love; when she vanished, her father the squire had John hung. Hannah’s picture could have been Allison. As Paul obsesses with knowing the fate of what happened to John and Hannah; he feels solving that will solve many of his present day problems.

Stillwell is a fabulous haunted house ghost story as the widower struggles to help himself and his children cope with the loss of their mother. Although Paul’s difficulty to form a new normal without his mate is well written and adds depth and realism to the characters, it also slows down the exciting haunting storyline. Still readers will relish Paul’s quest to solve the mystery as he believes the truth will set him, his children, his late wife and several other spirits free.

Harriet Klausner


Cobra Slave-Timothy Zahn

June 30, 2013

Cobra Slave
Timothy Zahn
Baen, Jun 4 2013, $15.00
ISBN: 9781451638998

On Aventine, following the Troft War, Nissa Gendreves, second in command to Governor-General Chintawa, accuses the extended Moreau-Broom family with sedition for providing ISIS technology to their allies the Qasaman Empire. Cobra Lorne Broom provides testimony explaining what happened to Chintawa, Commodore Santores head of a fleet of visiting Dominion of Man warships, DOM Marine Colonel Reivaro and Dorian warship Captain Barrington Jame Moreau.

After completing his sworn statement and answering questions, some very hostile, Lorne, his Uncle Corwin and other family members agree that the DOM seem more interested in the Qasama Empire than what happened during the recent war and control of the five Cobra worlds. Corwin explains he is erasing Qasama information. However, Lorne’s sister Jody knows the location of the Qasama and needs to leave Aventine ASAP. She is too late as DOM Marines abduct her and take her recorder that contains Qasama data. At the same time, their oldest sibling Merrick is undercover trying to destroy a Troft life and death gaming human enslavement ring.

The first Cobra Rebellion entry is an engaging military science fiction thriller as the DOM fleets make first contact in decades with the objectives to annex the Cobra worlds and look into the Qasama. The freedom fighting is fast-paced excitement on land and in space that series fans expect from Timothy Zahn though the enemy leaders are too pretentious in their superiority belief; ignoring the evidence by refusing to accept that century old technology defeated the Troft.

Harriet Klausner

Thy Will Be Done-Julie Fisher

June 26, 2013

Thy Will Be Done
Julie Fisher
Outskirts Press, Nov 2 2012, $13.95
ISBN: 9781478719656

In 1904, Nicholas says goodbye to his family as he begins a journey from England to San Francisco. In the city by the bay, he obtains work as a delivery boy for shopkeeper Mr. Hadley. When he arrives with dresses to Ellen Wilkins, Nicholas intercedes with calming her birthday present devilish Othello the horse. His actions anger employee Michael. Ellen and Nicholas fall in love, but he suddenly left without a word.

In the present day, Luke has not had a decent night’s sleep since he was five years old and the nightmares began. He always dreams of the Monster and the lovely lady who he loves though she does not exist and has cost him relationships like what just happened with Janine. Desperate he visits Dr. Child, a specialist in sleep disorders. Soon afterward he sees Ellen, the star of his dreams, at a club and in his class on Early American History at Evergreen University. Abigail Lockhart thinks the professor looks like the star of her dreams Nicolas.

Thy Will Be Done is a terrific romantic-horror thriller starring two stunned individuals who share the identical dream of Nicholas, Ellen and the Monster. Though there is some repetitious phrasing (for instance get lost in a bathroom), readers will wonder (like the protagonists do) what is going on and whether true love is enough against an eternal darkness that never gives up.

Harriet Klausner

The Long War-Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

June 21, 2013

The Long War
Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Harper, Jun 18 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062067777

The Stepping process enabled mankind to cross into a seemingly infinite number of parallel Earths. None of these alternate earths contain human life while the farther you journey from the earth the weirder the planets become. Very few people have the ability to Step out without assistance; those like Joshua Valiente and Lobsang who can are in demand as they create the Long Earth.

Over a million steps from the origin Datum, the colony Valhalla has thrived in spite of the demanding control policies of the mother planet. Rage and frustration spread thought this colony as the Valhallans demand freedom. Lobsang pleads with Joshua to prevent the hostilities from going hot as war seems imminent across the Long Earth. Married to Helen for nine years with a son, Joshua prefers to remain home in Hell-Knows-Where, America, but duty calls especially with the trolls turning mute.

The sequel to the Long Earth is a fascinating science fiction tale that uses the dispute between Colonial America and Mother England in the eighteenth century as the basis for a parallel revolution. The parallel conflict to the American Revolution is clever and as with the first thriller the stepping premise is intriguing. However the anecdotal asides like taking a wrong step are more interesting than the main hostilities storyline.

Harriet Klausner

The Seven-Petaled Shield-Deborah J. Ross

June 20, 2013

The Seven-Petaled Shield
Deborah J. Ross
Daw, Jun 4 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406219

The powerful Gelon army has Meklavar under siege. Severely wounded King Maharrad understands the invaders King Ar Cinnath Gelon will not negotiate as he needs the Meklavar monarch’s corpse to frighten the other small kingdoms into surrender. Maharrad tells his wife Queen Tsorreh she is the guardian who must flee with their fourteen year old son Zevaron and protect the te-Ketav heart stone of the legendary The Seven-Petaled Shield that must never fall into the hands of their adversary.

The city is overrun and her husband dead amidst the slaughter. The heir Prince Shorren tries to kill the Ar-King son in a suicide rush. As Shorren dies, Tsorreh and Zevaron flee with the te-Ketav praying they reach her home kingdom. However, the fall of Meklavar releases the Fire and Ice chaos that ancient King Khored and his six siblings defeated so many eons ago when they deployed the Seven-Petaled Shield.

The first tale of a new fantasy, the Seven-Petaled Shield is an exciting tale from the opening fall of the city though the adventures of the mother and son who are separated during their journey. Readers will appreciate this entertaining opening gamut as a critical inventive spin brings an exciting uniqueness to the good and evil quest theme.

Harriet Klausner

Sovereign- Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

June 19, 2013

Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
Faith Words, Jun 18 2013
ISBN: 9781599953595

For over four centuries since the release of the Legion virus, the planet has been peaceful under the control of The Order. However, humanity died with Legion as everyone became human Corpses. In 471 since the Legion went airborne, Jonathan was born as the first throwback living human whose blood converted the Corpses into Mortals. Guardians like Rom Sebastian risked their lives to keep the new hope future Sovereign safe, but failed six years ago when Jonathan was assassinated. His most dedicated followers sipped some of Jonathan’s dripping blood and reverted to Mortal.

The Order has defeated most of Jonathan’s followers. The insurgents’ morale is low as their faith is gone since almost all no longer believe in Jonathan’s resurrection; as they originally did when he died. Rom leads a party of forty-nine doubting rebels struggling to survive against the all mighty Order that plans to eradicate them and the Corpses that distrust these living Mortals.

The third Books Of Mortals Christian allegory is an exciting action-packed finish to the symbolic laden fantasy. Fans need to have read Forbidden and Mortal to understand better the imagery (often seemingly vague) references and how the hero and others got to this point. Sovereign is a strong completion of the Circle of life with an emphasis on the color Red for blood.

Harriet Klausner

In Thunder Forged-Ari Marmell

June 17, 2013

In Thunder Forged
Ari Marmell
PYR, Jun 4 2013, $18.00
ISBN: 9781616147730

In 605 AR Llael, war is on everyone’s mind but no one wants to talk about it as the Kingdom Khador aggressively moves into the western front, but that is far away from Leryn. Lyrran, Garland seduces Goodman Lyrran Tolamos the alchemist, but places something in his wine that puts him to sleep. Before he snoozes she questions him about Thunderhead Fortress, the Golden Crucible and Idran di Meryse. Not long afterward, she waits in the cold while holding two vials.

In Llael’s ally the Kingdom of Cygnar, there is shock over what transpired as the formula could change the war in favor of Khador. Sergeant Bracewell and her elite unit, Lieutenant Katherine Laddermore and Lady Dignity Underhurst the spy mount a desperate retrieval mission.

The first Fall of Llael military fantasy is an exciting Iron Kingdoms Chronicles based on the Warmachine game. Players will especially enjoy this opening gamut; while outsiders who appreciate an entertaining espionage military steampunk plot with strong women on both sides of the hostilities will also want to read Ari Marmell’s engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Twin Flames: A Love Story Across Time and Dimensions-Carolyn R. Prescott

June 17, 2013

Twin Flames: A Love Story Across Time and Dimensions
Carolyn R. Prescott
Outskirts Press, Apr 11 2013, $18.95
ISBN: 9781478715085

Seventeen year old twins Lily and Catrina Johentzen are total opposites except when it comes to the “Annoyance” AKA younger brother. The three siblings and their parents are on vacation in Browning, Montana when they wander into a closed area because the prohibition sign was misaligned. A shard of glass cuts Lily in her forehead. She is rushed to the hospital while over the next few weeks she has vivid visions of someone named Sings to Flowers of the First Nation People. The Wind knows who she is even as a stunned Lily tells nurse Mary Tall Chief about these dreams that seem more like memories especially of her loving Little Bear and having that love destroyed; yet not destroyed as she feels a deep resolve to find her Little Bear.

Little Bear died two centuries ago. He has transcended to the fifth dimension as Ahhatome but remembers his time on the third dimension called earth. Looking at the Record of his time as Little Bear, Ahhatome recalls his love for Sings to Flowers who remains everything to him.

Twin Flames is a fascinating look at a Native American belief system through mostly the filters of Twin Flames united in love. Character driven by the star-crossed lovers and to a lesser degree Catrina, readers who relish something different will appreciate this complex look at eternal spiritualism.

Harriet Klausner

Stoker’s Manuscript-Royce Prouty

June 16, 2013

Stoker’s Manuscript
Royce Prouty
Putnam, Jun 13 2013, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399158551

In Chicago, an anonymous customer hires rare book dealer Romanian-American Joseph Barkeley to travel to London to authenticate and if so bid on the alleged original Dracula manuscript and related Stoker notes that are going on the auction block at Christie’s. A recluse who never got over his childhood in Romania so that he wanted nothing to do with the old country; he knows he and his brother Bernhard were fortunate to come to America to live in an orphanage run by nuns.

Now if the work proves genuine and he wins the bid, Joseph will be coming home to deliver the prize to his Romanian customer. Joseph learns that Stoker planned on including a prologue and an epilogue, but never did and wonders why. He will learn the truth about Stoker, Dracula and his own ancestry when he arrives at Bran Castle in Transylvania with no hope of ever leaving.

This is a super contemporary horror thriller that uses major events of the 1890s to anchor the “parallel” present day storyline. Action-packed from the moment the protagonist arrives in Transylvania, readers will appreciate this modern day conflict between a human and his host as each antagonist finds their true respective inheritance.

Harriet Klausner

Sleeping With The Entity-

June 15, 2013

Sleeping With The Entity
Cat Devon
St. Martin’s, Jun 4 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312591465

In Chicago, Danielle Delaney plans to open up Heavenly Cupcakes, but the neighborhood business association led by bar and grill owner Nick St. George oppose Little Miss Cup Cake. Danielle cannot fathom why, as Nick hides his real reason from her. He and his clan of vampires want to stay below the radar and she would be the first crack in their concealment.

He tries to compel her to obey his order to leave, but shocking Nick and his clan she ignores his efforts. Instead Danielle uses her red velvet cupcakes to win support, but shocking her no one seems to have a sweet tooth for her sugary concoctions as this group prefers liquid red. As she opens up Heavenly Cupcakes, Nick becomes her protector only wondering who will keep her safe from his desire to taste her.

Sleeping With the Entity is a fun lighthearted vampire romance. The protagonists are a delightful coupling while the support cast is eccentric. The storyline cleverly uses irony to add humor (for instance, Danielle tells her friend that “all the good men are taken … the rest are vampires.”) to an engaging paranormal romance.

Harriet Klausner