Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Treecat Wars-David Weber and Jane Lindskold

October 11, 2013

Treecat Wars
David Weber and Jane Lindskold
Baen, Oct 1 2013, $18.99
ISBN: 9781451639339

On Sphinx, because of a fire he cannot send his experienced rangers to a class, Forestry Service Chief Ranger Shelton offers his Provisional Rangers teenage Stephanie Harrington and Karl Zivonik the two quotas he has at the three-month advanced training class on Manticore. Both are interested but Stephanie regrets the timing as she will have no time to spend with Anders Whittaker who just returned to the planet after months away. He encourages her and her parents, Richard the xeno-veterinarian and Marjorie the xeno-botanist, approve her going.

While Stephanie leaves off-planet for school, due to the inferno Swaying Fronds Clan scout Keen Eyes seeks a new home for his Treecat group, but is limited in his search as the two legged species and the Swaying Fronds Clan occupy much of the surrounding ranges. At the same time the Adair Foundation sends xeno-anthropologists from Manticore to Sphinx, but they differ in attitude towards the Treecats than previous off-world visitors.

The third Star Kingdom young adult science fiction (see Fire Season and A Beautiful Friendship) is an enjoyable tale though much of the focus is not on the heroine who is away at school. When Stephanie appears it is more about her long distance relationship with Anders then her bond with Climbs Quickly. The insight into a different culture engages the audience as the two-legged argues over whether Treecats are sentient or not.

Harriet Klausner

Memory’s Door-James L. Rubart

August 16, 2013

Memory’s Door
James L. Rubart
Thomas Nelson, Aug 6 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781401686079

Three decades ago, Reece Roth was a warrior for Jesus but a tragedy cost his faith. Recently God sent four tyros (Brandon Scott, Marcus Amber, Dana Raine and Tamera Miller) to the recluse; for Reece to train and lead them in their upcoming battle with the malevolent Wolf (see Soul’s Gate).

Each of the Warrior Riders has personal issues that give an edge to the Evil One adversary to exploit. Blind and severely depressed while struggling with his lost faith, Reese sees no future for him or his acolytes. As Dana rises up the ladder of success work-wise, she fears she walks the wrong path spiritually. Marcus remains filled with guilt and remorse as he remains gripped by grief over the death of his son; while also fearing he is going insane when he seems to end up in other realms. Meanwhile someone stalks Brandon at his concerts. The Wolf has begun to undermine the Warrior Riders using their human weaknesses leading the quintet to wonder who is friend and who is foe.

The second Well Spring inspirational thriller focuses on how the devil uses human doubts and desires to tempt even the most pious believer to sin. Once again the faithful fab five are fully developed, but it is the good and evil exciting biblical storyline fought as individuals as well as a group in a materialistic electronic age that makes James L. Rubart’s taut tale a great read.

Harriet Klausner

Codex Born-Jim C. Hines

August 14, 2013

Codex Born
Jim C. Hines
DAW, Aug 6 2013, $24.95
ISBN 9780756408169

Five centuries ago, Gutenberg discovered the true power of printed books when he learned to master Libriomancy. Now in the present, fourteen year old Jeneta Aboderin has introduced a new spin when she released a snake from her Smartphone that led to a Porters’ feeding frenzy as every practitioner wants to learn how she did it. Assigned by Gutenberg as one of the 12 elite Die Zwelf Portenaere Doorkeeper Porters Isaac Vainio is the lucky one as Jeneta works under his tutelage in Copper Lake, Michigan though he admits she is more the teacher with her unique knack to bring to life e-books.

Weres report finding the murdered corpse of a wendigo with the smell of a human nearby in the Upper Peninsula. Psychiatrist Nidhi Shah is assigned the investigation. Her girlfriend Lena Greenwood the pulp fiction Dryad and Lena’s boyfriend Isaac assist her. They soon realize the killer knows the Libriomancer organization as if he or she is a high ranking member and a long thought extinct rival group from the other side of the globe resurfaces with a vengeance. Isaac also fears the Devourers are playing behind the curtain wizardry.

The second Magic Ex Libris urban fantasy (see Libriomancer) is an exciting thriller with much of the fun coming from trying to name the title of a book in which an object was magically taken (how else to solve a murder mystery). Action-packed and filled with humor readers will relish this entry though to understand the complex science of Libriomancy it pays to have read the first tale as newbies will feel lost in Hines quantum physics otherwise.

Harriet Klausner

Daysider-Susan Krinard

August 11, 2013

Daysider
Susan Krinard
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 6 2013, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373885756

In the San Francisco Enclave, Aegis Director of Field Operations McAllister has doubts about assigning his best operative Alexia Fox on a key illegal investigation as one year ago the Court deported her brother. Still he assigns her and her partner Michael Carter to break the fragile treaty by entering the zone to learn what she can about the new illegal Nightsiders’ colony.

At the same time their enemy the Opir dispatches Damon the Daysider to obtain Intel re the illegal human colony. When the two parties meet, each side denies the colony is theirs. Michael leaves to obtain additional help while Alexia and Damon team up to infiltrate the illegal colony, origin unknown. As the duo faces danger and fall in taboo love, Alexia loses her patch that enables her to eat food, she knows as a Dhampir only blood can give her sustenance.

This exciting romantic urban fantasy grips readers due to the brevity yet depth of the amazing Krinard world as readers will marvel at the variety of vampiric species. The lead protagonists are a wonderful pairing of star-crossed lovers with trust issues (her mom drilled her as a child) causing them unsuccessfully to fight their attraction. Although there is too much passive reflection, sub-genre fans will relish the tsuris caused by the Daysider and the Dhampir falling in forbidden love.

Harriet Klausner

Plain Fear: Forgive-Leanna Ellis

August 8, 2013

Plain Fear: Forgiven
Leanna Ellis
Sourcebooks, Aug 6 2013, $14.99
ISBN 9781402279799

Though he did it to save the lives of former cop Englisher Roc Girouard and his shunned wife Rachel, Samuel Fisher feels guilt for committing fratricide following his shooting his brother Jacob; even if his sibling had become the vampire Akiva. Even his sibling’s “funeral” feels wrong though man of god Roberto Hellman insists this is the only way. At the same time Remiel the Angel takes Jacob with him though the latter pleads to let him go back to keep Samuel off the dark vampiric path he followed; the angel says he is too late.

Meanwhile their father sends Samuel to help his injured other brother Levi. He prefers not to go as he fears bringing his tsuris to Levi who married Rachel’s sister Hannah who Samuel once courted but staying seems worse especially with his Mamm’s fussing. Soon he and his friends including his first love Naomi face a vampiric horde while Jacob begs Remiel again to let him try to help his brother.

The third Plain Fear Amish-vampire urban fantasy (see and Forsaken) is an engaging thriller as Samuel struggles between surrender to the dark side like Jacob did and adhering to scripture. Though the level of remorse rivals the stratospheric suffering of Rachel in Forbidden giving the entertaining storyline a déjà vu feel, series fans will enjoy this entry wondering which way the beleaguered protagonist will go.

Harriet Klausner

Thy Will Be Done-Julie Fisher

June 26, 2013

Thy Will Be Done
Julie Fisher
Outskirts Press, Nov 2 2012, $13.95
http://www.outskirtspress.com
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

Eight Million Gods-Wen Spencer

June 6, 2013

Eight Million Gods
Wen Spencer
Baen, Jun 4 2013, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451638981

In New York City, Nikki Delany has two obsessions. First she needs to escape from her control freak mom the US Senator who tries to have her committed as she believes her daughter is a psychotic, dangerous to herself. Second she compulsively needs to write on any surface. Her BFF since childhood, Miriam thinks her college roommate is eccentric but their other roommates Yip and Yap the dogs accept her as a boring member of the family. Thanks to the canines. Nikki escapes her mother’s latest effort to lock her away.

Two months after her latest mommy dearest episode, Nikki joins Miriam in Osaka. While eating out, she tells Miriam about the death of a character in her novel when two cops arrest her as she described the murder of an American with a blender. Nikki has an alibi but Miriam reported the incident to the consulate so mother should arrive soonest. As she searches for the truth of how someone stole her homicidal idea, Nikki realizes that her writings foretell the future. Also Nikki ponders if she is insane as she has an invisible companion claiming to be the spirit of a samurai living in a stolen katana taken from a temple; with her loyal sidekick she wonders to whom of the Eight Million Gods the spirit worships. Matters turn crazier when she meets Leo Watanabe of Shiva.

The key to this strong urban fantasy is whether mom’s assertion her daughter is insane or whether the protagonist actually writes about murders before they happen and runs into all sorts of paranormal phenomena. Fast-paced and filled with action, readers will enjoy Wen Spencer’s super thriller as the heroine keeps the storyline focused while the audience wonder psychotic or paranormal.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Star Dawning-Elyse Hendricks

May 16, 2013

Dark Star Dawning
Elyse Hendricks
ImaJinn, Apr 30 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781610261272

Victoria Hart grew up a wanderer as her mother could not stay in any one place for very long. When Tori managed to stay in a residence for more than a cup of milk, she was with a foster family. She relishes settling at one address in Hope, Ohio where she runs an antique shop.

Widower Captain Reese Taren arrives in Hope seeking the Heart of Destiny, an artifact he does not believe exists but his Emperor sent him to find it to save what is left of his world from alien invaders. He kidnaps Tori who Reese thinks is the key to destroying the feral enemy he loathes for killing his wife, child and others. However, he never expected her to be his Heart of Destiny, but knows what must happen to his beloved to save a world and perhaps a universe.

Dark Star Dawning is an entertaining science fiction romance starring a heroic male and a bewildered female feeling out of her element within a worlds collide setting. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the dilemma the lead couple confronts as the risk for Tori is almost certain death, but doing nothing means billions die. Although the plot contains several inconsistencies, Elyse Hendricks provides an engaging sci fi love story.

Harriet Klausner

Interrupt-Jeff Carlson

May 14, 2013

Interrupt
Jeff Carlson
47North, Jul 23 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781612183640

In 27,000 BC in what is now France, Nim leads his Neanderthal tribe as they tracked reindeer. However, he soon finds the Dead Man Cro-Magnon also hunting the reindeer. Nim knows the enemy has reach and size but his people have stamina. However, the magic of what happens in the sky tips the war towards the Dead Man.

In present day Los Angeles, biologist Emily Flint struggles with an auto accident, her upcoming wedding and an argument over the use of prenatal vaccine and existing conditions. However, also in California, Emily’s woes seem irrelevant when Marcus Wolsinger discovers an increasing level of solar flare activity not seen in several millenniums assaulting the earth. At the same time in the South China Sea, Naval Lieutenant Commander Drew Haldane flies his fighter jet to investigate a Chinese electromagnetic pulse weapon. As the world stands on the brink of total collapse into a new Ice Age, Marcus begins to lose control between being a modern man and a Neanderthal throw-back; while Emily’s eight year old autistic nephew P.J. suddenly becomes the Southern California Neanderthal leader.

Interrupt is an exhilarating end of the world thriller that takes a whack at science drawing absolute conclusions by filling Grand Canyon size theoretical gaps with speculation. The storyline is fast-paced though the transitions are not smooth. Still readers will enjoy the dawning of a (not so) new dominant species as survival of the fittest takes a strange twist in Jeff Carlson’s exciting Ice Age thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Passion’s Prey-A.C. Arthur

March 28, 2013

Passion’s Prey
A.C. Arthur
St. Martin’s, Mar 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312549121

FBI Agent Xavier Santos-Markland the Topetenia jaguar-shifter works the deadliest predator cases mostly in the Washington D.C. area. He drops in at Athena’s topless where he watches Caprise Delgado perform an exotic dance that has him and the other patrons drooling. Though his senses are overwhelmed by his desire, Xavier realizes Rogue shifters, who abandoned the Etica code of ethics and deserted one of the five tribes to most likely join drug dealing Topetenia Sabar Tavares’ gang, are nearby. With no explanation, he escorts the hybrid dancer to safety where their mutual attraction is temporarily satiated though each craves more.

Xavier knows Caprise conceals something that frightens her from him. He offers his help but she rejects his aid, which angers and frustrates him as he fears for the woman he knows is his life mate. Her stalker continues to threaten her; as this hybrid killer also claims Caprise as his mate.

The latest Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation Rising and Seduction’s Shift) is an action-packed entry; as A.C. Arthur expands her realm by introducing other tribes and a new hybrid. The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed feisty mates though their first encounter following her performance seems very doubtful; while the psychotic villain adds sinister tension to an exciting triangle of life and death.

Harriet Klausner