Archive for February, 2014

The Clockwork Wolf-Lynn Viehl

February 28, 2014

The Clockwork Wolf
Lynn Viehl
Pocket, Feb 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN 9781476722375

In Toriana, Deathmage Lucien Dredmore asks, demands being more accurate, that Disenchanted & Co. dispeller Charmian “Kit” Kittredge interview and protect wealthy widow Lady Eugenia Bestly. The president of the Rumsen Ladies Decency Society, Bestly needs protection from those who will come after her once the media releases the news that she is the affluent arrogant surviving spouse of the savage Wolfman. Ironically, Kit is one of those less fortunate Lady Bestly tried to destroy for being indecent.

Lady Bestly insists someone used magic to turn her docile caring husband into the vile lethal Wolfman. Kit makes inquiries into the creation of these feral wolf-men with assistance from her BFF brothel owner Carina Eagle, her longtime buddy and self-anointed protector police Chief Inspector Tommy Doyle, and Harry her grandfather the ghost; also accompanying her while ordering her about is the dreaded deathmage Dredmore. At the same the creator observes her progress and prepares to destroy this interfering dispeller and her allies.

The latest Her Ladyship’s Curse steampunk adventure (see Disenchanted & Co.) is an exciting alternate vision of America in which M&M is not candy or the 1960’s Yankees, but instead magic and mechanical gizmos. Fast-paced with a fascinating emerging romantic threesome, fans will enjoy Kit’s tour of Lynn Viehl’s dark San Francisco (Rumsen) though the excessive cast makes it difficult to keep track as to who’s who especially early on.

Harriet Klausner

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Sun God Seeks …Surrogate?-

February 26, 2014

Sun God Seeks …Surrogate?
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Forever, Feb 25 2014, $6.00
ISBN 9781455546978

In New York City, convinced she found her sibling’s soul mate, Cimil the Mayan Goddess (see Accidentally… Cimil?) offers human female financially-strapped waitress Penelope Trudeau a million dollars if she has a baby with her brother Kinich the Sun God. Desperately needing the money to pay for her dying mother’s medical treatment from an unknown disease, Penelope still rejects the deal.

For numerous millennia, Nick declined fraternizing with humans but is attracted to Penelope and she wants him too once they meet. As the God and the waitress begin seeing one another, he becomes upset to learn his sister’s role in matching them up. However, he cannot walk away as he loves Penelope and besides he also knows he must protect her from his enemies; who would gladly use his beloved as an expendable pawn to get to him and Cimil.

The latest Accidentally Yours romantic urban fantasy is a humorous tale as the Sun God’s conspicuously colorful sister (think of a female Dennis Rodman in his pre Korean days) seeks a surrogate for him in the midst of a battle with their adversaries. Series fans will enjoy Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s latest fast-paced jocular farce (see Vampires…Need Not Apply?).

Harriet Klausner

Summoning The Night-Jenn Bennett

February 26, 2014

Summoning The Night
Jenn Bennett
Pocket, Apr 24 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451620535

In Morella, California, Arcadia Bell co-owns Tambuku Tiki Lounge where some of her best customers are demons. Several years ago her parents Enola and Alexander Duval were accused of killing three rival mage occultists. When they returned to the States they tried to sacrifice their daughter as their penance, but failed (see Kindling The Moon).

Back at her bar with Halloween coming soon, she is dating Earthbound demon Lon Butler, father of teenager Jupe. However, the Hellfire Club leader Dare asks Cady to investigate a recent series of abductions of paranormal offspring. With Lon as a club member, she dare not refuse. Thus with Lon at her side and assisted by patrons of the lounge, she follows the clues applying her recently activated Moonchild powers. The amateur sleuths soon learn that these insidious kidnapping mirror the snatching of seven children three decades ago.

The second Cady Bell urban fantasy is a superb thriller from the moment Dare assigns the reluctant heroine to end the reign of terror. Fast-paced while the lovers hunt down a devious predator, fans will appreciate the inquiry as the protagonists follow leads into danger.

Harriet Klausner

Kindling The Moon-Jenn Bennett

February 26, 2014

Kindling The Moon
Jenn Bennett
Pocket, Jun 28 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451620528

In Morella, California, Arcadia Bell co-owns Tambuku Tiki Lounge where some of her ebst customers are demons. Cady is not her birth name as seven years ago, her parents, Enola and Alexander Duval were accused of killing three rival mage occultists of the Luxe Order. Although they insisted they were innocent, they could not prove it. Thus the Duval family went into hiding with the cooperation of their order.

However, Cady is shook when a tape on the news shows her parents have been sighted having returned to the States. The Luxe Order supported by other occults want the three Duval’s dead, but Caliph Superior of her occult gives her an alternate choice of proving her parents’ innocence before she and they become sacrificial road kill. Cady needs to find the Aethyric Albino Demon who actually murdered the trio in order to learn who made the paranormal commit the atrocity. She teams up with earthbound demon Lon Butler whose halo differs from the norm for his race. Neither expected to find a ruthless bounty hunter and the Luxe Order stalk them while the clues lead hell.

The Bennett universe opens with a terrific refreshing urban fantasy thriller starring a delightful mage in peril and the demon who accompanies her on her impossible quest to identify the real killer before the other occults execute her and her family. The keys to this fabulous first fantasy are the various creatures that populate Jenn Bennett’s vision of California seem real and the energy of Cady who is the energizer bunny but under hostile conditions. With an unexpected incredible twist, Kindling of the Moon is a fabulous thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Minerva’s Shield-Derek Hart

February 25, 2014

Minerva’s Shield
Derek Hart
iUniverse, Sep 25 2013, $20.95
ISBN: 9781491708996

The Norton siblings agree that the younger sexagenarian Bob will scatter their parents’ ashes in the Black Hills. Bob, accompanied by his teenage child Ian, drives from Marietta, Georgia to bury his parents and also enjoy a father-son trip.

In Minnesota and the Dakotas, Bob and Ian explore abandoned homes seeking left behind treasures. After disposing of the ashes, they stop at the long closed Black Hills Army Depot where they find anomalies, meet ranchers and uncover a heavy gold coin. Soon after they leave, an odd monstrous storm of the century seems to follow them as they head home. In Marietta, the FBI visits an increasingly paranoid Bob at his home. When the Feds leave, Bob, realizing that same strange storm is coming to the Atlanta area, tells his wife Karen and Ian they must seek shelter elsewhere. As the super storm strikes with vast destruction killing Karen and many of their neighbors, Bob struggles with what he saw in the sky. Still he leads on foot a group of twelve towards Ellijay in the mountains. The gold coin planted by NASA years ago as part of Minerva’s Shield saves their lives, but no other human seems to have survived.

Minerva’s Shield starts off as a leisurely-paced family drama that about a third of the way into the novel turns into a fast-paced apocalyptic thriller. Filled with action while treasure hunting and much more while surviving, fans will enjoy this fabulous opening act mindful of Nevil Shute’s On The Beach (albeit twenty-first century in the North Georgia Mountains instead of 1950s Australia) with a delightful metafiction spoofing of Derek Hart.

Harriet Klausner

Grimm: The Chopping Block-John Passarella

February 25, 2014

Grimm: The Chopping Block
John Passarella
Titan Books, Feb 18 2014, $7.99
http://www.titanbooks.com
ISBN: 9781781166567

In Portland, Brian Mathis and his tweener son Tyler are hampered by the wet grounds while on an internet treasure hunt in Claremont Park. Brian finds the hidden cache while Tyler finds bones buried in a nearby shallow grave.

Portland Homicide Detectives Nick Burkhardt the Grimm and Hank Griffin on his crutches lead the investigation. The ME bleakly informs them that someone cooked the remains before disposing of the bones. Another shallow grave filled with bones is found, but neither Nick nor Hank can figure out how the numerous victims are chosen as the demographics cross all groups. The partners believe Wesen are involved so they consult with Bluthbad Monroe who mentions his grandfather told him a tale of the elitist Silver Plate Society who gathers every twenty-five years to dine on human meat.

The key to this exciting adaptation is the storyline remains true to the theme and the TV cast (Grimm, Hank, Captain Renard, Monroe and Juliette) keep the traits that series fans will recognize and newcomers will appreciate. This action-packed paranormal police procedural is fast-paced fun but the audience will not eat meat while reading.

Harriet Klausner

The Collection-Shannon Stoker

February 22, 2014

The Collection
Shannon Stoker
Morrow, Feb 4 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062271747

In the United States, heeding the warning from her older sister, eighteen year old Mia fled from her vile mate Grant who won the legal bidding to marry her on the Registry auction block. Pursued by Grant’s kill first dangerous henchmen, Mia, accompanied by Andrew and Carter, made it to Mexico; haven to runaway brides from America; but dangerous to US Army deserters like her two male companions.

When the abusive Collection captures her two protectors, Mia becomes fearful for their lives and willing to return to Grant to save them. Before she can sacrifice herself, Mia meets Riley who introduces her to a growing underground movement to return basic human rights to women. However, Grant’s bounty hunters still stalk her as no one lives very long when they make him look foolish and her friends remain subject to torment, deportation and ultimately much worse.

The second Registry dystopian thriller is an exciting tale that continues to extrapolate the present war on women into a total gender surrender scenario. Although readers will anticipate behavior by the key male players, Riley brings freshness while Mia has come a long way from her opening act as she embraces “Freedom changes everything”; but knows her journey remains dangerous since her personal psychopath continues the hunt. Action-packed with a rotating perspective, The Collection is an entertaining middle saga.

Harriet Klausner

Ruberah: Age of Jeweled Intelligence-P. Christina Greenaway

February 21, 2014

Ruberah: Age of Jeweled Intelligence
P. Christina Greenaway
girl by the sea, Mar 19 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9780615949871

The Age of Jeweled Intelligence ends with the destruction of Az’Rayelle when the Ruberah Kingdom Princess Li’ram fiddles away her time thinking only of her love for Emerald Kingdom Prince Da’krah while the Dark Master assaults her land. Realizing too late she allowed her desires to supersede her people’s safety, self-loathing Li’ram pleads with the River Spirit to grant her a chance one day for redemption.

Eons later in the Kingdom of Kernow, teenage Princess Tamara refuses to perform her official duties compounded by her defying customs. Her anguished father decrees his rebellious daughter will be changed into a river of tears.

In the present, as Americans Mitch Devere and Miriam Lewis drive a car across the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall, she is stunned by seeing a glowing girl floating on the river. This jogs an odd memory of a vow she made a long time ago and also recalls flashes of a royal life in the ancient Kingdom of Ruberah. Confused, Miriam believes she made a sacred pledge in a previous life that she feels a deep commitment to honor. To do so she must rely on the River Tamar spirit to guide her and Mitch; yet unaware that her otherworldly ally is limited with what she can do to help. Miriam’s arrival also awakens the dormant Dark Master.

Written in Ruberah is a superb romantic fantasy as M&M aided by the river spirit have a second chance in the war against the Dark Master. The key to this vivid thriller is that the prime players past and present seem genuine. Readers will appreciate this exhilarating tale as redemption does not guarantee defeating evil.

Harriet Klausner

Empress of the Sun-Ian McDonald

February 18, 2014

Empress of the Sun
Ian McDonald
Pyr, Feb 4 2014, $17.99
ISBN: 9781616148652

Everett Singh inadvertently takes the Everness on a Heisenberg Jump to an earth and solar system like none that he or his crew ever seen. This Alderson Disk consists of all the inner planets up to and including Jupiter tied together on a humongous flat surface that would take a civilization millions of years advanced beyond those on the Everness to have created Pratchett’s Diskworld. The crew meets these creators, the lethal Jiju dinosaurs who make the outsiders’ survival chances seems unlikely as the Everness needs rapid repair to jump out of this alternate before they become extinct.

On the readers’ Earth, Everett M battles the Nahn nanobot invaders while knowing he must avoid their touch or die as these bots suck up living essence. Finally Charlotte Villiers sets in motion her latest nefarious scheme to obtain the Infundibulum map of all universes.

The key to the third exciting Everness parallel universes saga (see Planesrunner and Be My Enemy) is the growing complexity; as Ian McDonald honors the intelligence of his teenage audience by not dumbing down scientific theory while also paying homage to Terry Pratchett. Though it remains difficult to keep track of who’s who amongst the multiples (Everett, Charlotte and others) without a scorecard, young adult readers will appreciate this thrilling entry.

Harriet Klausner

Broken Homes-Ben Aaronovitch

February 16, 2014

Broken Homes
Ben Aaronovitch
Daw, Feb 4 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756409609

The car crash between two speeding vehicles left Allen Frust dead and Robert Weil severely injured. First first responder PC Slatt notices unaccountable blood in Weil’s car that leads to him being the prime suspect as a mutilating serial killer. A spell involved in the crash leads Queen’s Peace Constable and magician’s apprentice Peter Grant summarizing the case to his boss-mentor Nightingale the wizard that Weil may be a mundane serial killer or a ward of the infamous Faceless Man.

The Southwark Council plans to tear down a housing monstrosity, Skygarden in Elephant and Castle. However, efforts to demolish this ugly high rise complex meet eerie opposition. With political pressure on the police to resolve the interference, Peter and his apprentice peer Constable Lesley Mai investigate to determine whether the Faceless Man prevents the demolition and, if as expected yes, why.

The fourth Rivers of London police procedural fantasy (see Midnight Riot, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Under Ground) is an entertaining thriller that makes the magical elements seem to be a real force of nature. The human and supernatural cast is strong and Peter continues to grow as an apprentice mage and constable. Action-packed with a terrific twisting finish, fans of the series will appreciate Ben Aaronovitch’s lampooning government sponsored housing projects used to warehouse the poor in isolation until the land is needed for something considered more important than filing away the impoverish.

Harriet Klausner