Archive for the ‘Urban Fantasy’ Category

The Wolf Siren-Karen Whiddon

April 10, 2014

The Wolf Siren
Karen Whiddon
Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 1 2014, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373885930

Her abusive stepfather, Church of Sanctuary preacher Jacob Gideon, treated wolf-shifter Lilly Gideon as an evil abomination due to her body containing a demon inside. For a decade and a half, she was incarcerated and tested like a lab rat with the objective being either to kill the evil wolf and or kill the host body. Her twin brother Lucas Kenyon (see The Lost Wolf’s Destiny) with the help of Pack Protectors like Kane McGraw rescued his sister whom he thought was murdered by Jacob fifteen years ago.

Living in Lucas’ Seattle home with his mate and daughter, Lily struggles to adjust to her freedom after fifteen years in captivity. She psychotically refuses to free the wolf ever; as she had been tortured all those years she was imprisoned to fear the beast inside her. Already concerned for Lily’s mental state, when a viable threat from the cult that tormented his sister surfaces, Lucas asks Kane to come from Texas to help him keep his family especially his sibling safe.

The latest Pack romantic urban fantasy (see The Wolf Prince) is a great character-driven thriller that series fans will appreciate even with the action somewhat toned down compared to previous entries as much of the focus looks deeply into the traumatized heroine’s psychosis. Readers will root for Lilly to heal from her phobias after years of torment while fans will accept love is the elixir cure if she learns to trust her heart, her wolf, her twin and especially her shifter.

Harriet Klausner

Immortal Cowboy-Alexis Morgan

April 6, 2014

Immortal Cowboy
Alexis Morgan
Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 1 2014, $5.75
ISBN: 9780263913910

While visiting her Uncle Ray in his mountain cabin near deserted Blessing, Rayanne Allen becomes spooked when she sees impossible happenings in the “empty” ghost-town. Uncle Ray tells her like him she has the gift.

With Uncle Ray’s passing, Rayanne inherits his estate if she meets the stipulation of his will. While her mom goes berserk over the will, Rayanne takes a leave of absence from the university where she teaches and heads to her late uncle’s cabin to spend the summer there. In Blessing, she meets the ghost of Wyatt McCain, who turns solid for a few days every year to relive the gunfight that left him and a child dead. As the professor and the ghost fall in love, both accept they have no future together, but each tries to help the other as he wants her to inherit and she wants him to move on.

Immortal Cowboy is a wonderful paranormal romance which enables subgenre fans to believe in the love between the star-crossed protagonists. Readers will relish this delightful ghost story as Alexis Morgan spins a warm tale in which love breaches seemingly impenetrable barriers between the living and the dead.

Harriet Klausner

Vampires…Need Not Apply?-Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

March 28, 2014

Vampires…Need Not Apply?
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455546992

While on vacation in Mexico, affluent Spanish physicist Dr. Antonio Acero remains haunted by a woman pleading with him to free her. When he locates a mysterious Mayan tablet that allegedly will prevent the Apocalypse, obsessed Antonio tries to deploy the relic to open the gate restraining his enigmatic incarcerated female. Instead of success, an accident leaves Acero blind.

For seventy long lonely millennia, Ixtab the goddess of suicide has avoided the touch of humans after she accidently caused the death of her beloved. Wearing her veil to conceal her face and garbed in Goth mourning clothes, Ixtab arrives to help Antonio with his quest and regain his eyesight. To her astonishment, the philandering Spaniard not only looks like her memory of her one true love, but somehow survives touching her.

The latest Accidentally Yours romantic fantasy (see Accidentally in Love with…a God?, Sun God Seeks …Surrogate? and Accidentally Married to…a Vampire?) is a fascinating tale due to the lead Goddess’ dilemma that will remind readers of the X-Men’s Rogue. The hero thinks “Heaven Must be Missing An Angel” (Tavares) though he meets her while blind and she hides her visage behind her veil which in his mind means she must be hideous. Series fans will enjoy this fast-paced entry with over the top humor as the overarching theme of mad Cimil making life interesting moves somewhat forward.

Harriet Klausner

The Midnight Witch-Paula Brackston

March 24, 2014

The Midnight Witch
Paula Brackston
Dunne, Mar 25 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9781250006080

In 1913 London, Lady Lilith Montgomery watches sadly as her late father is lowered into the ground. She knows her opium using brother Freddie has become the Duke of Radnor, but she inherited her dad’s other title Morningstar the Lazarus Coven Head Witch though only twenty-one and feeling dreadfully unready for the responsibility.

Her fiancé Louis Harcourt the witch renews his vow to die if need be to keep her safe and to help her protect the Elixir of Life from adversarial sorcerers especially the Sentinels necromancers. As WWI explodes, Louis becomes despondent when a distracted Lilith falls in love with artist Bram Cardale; leading to each failing to defend their prime security mission in life; leaving the Great Secret in jeopardy which has not happened in generations.

The latest Paula Brackston’s bewitching drama (see Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch) is an entertaining WWI paranormal historical. Although alone in many respects, Lilith embraces the liberating radical changes that “the war to end all wars” wrought on English society. The engaging storyline contains some reiteration of Edwardian upper class behavior; however treks such as to war-torn Uganda provide freshness to the tale. Fans will appreciate The Midnight Witch as she hopes to follow her heart while also insuring the Elixir remains safe from those who would abuse it for personal gain.

Harriet Klausner

Half-Off Ragnarok-Seanan McGuire

March 5, 2014

Half-Off Ragnarok
Seanan McGuire
Daw, Mar 4 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756408114

Cryptozoologist Alexander Price takes a research position at the Columbus Zoo where he studies non-urban cryptids and assists on the basilisk breeding program. His hidden reason for accepting the move is to help his family especially with what happened to Cousin Sarah and to grandpa. Visiting Australian Big Cat zoologist and Alex’s girlfriend Shelby Tanner also conducts research at the Columbus Zoo.

Something deadly and strange occurs at the zoo when corpses partially turned to stone begin to appear everywhere. To Alex’s trepidation these deaths most likely mean a serial killing gorgon and he knows of one very nearby though he refuses to accept this individual as the psychopath. At the same time, the Aeslin mice warn Alex that his cousin is losing control, which if true makes her extremely dangerous. As he investigates, Shelby wonders what is going on with her man and at the zoo.

The third InCryptid urban fantasy (see Discount Armageddon and Midnight Blue-Light Special) remains fresh as this entry relocates from Manhattan to Ohio and changes lead from Verity to her older brother; while keeping reader fascination into the Price family and the monsters they fight. Fast-paced with a strong support cast, Alex struggles between ending the terror of a stone cold serial killer, being there for his family and hiding secrets from the brilliant woman who rocks his world.

Harriet Klausner

White Hot Kiss-Jennifer L. Armentrout

March 4, 2014

White Hot Kiss
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Harlequin Teen, Feb 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373211104

Although she is grateful to her adopted family, hybrid Warden-demon teenager Layla Shaw wishes she was a normal purebred gargoyle like they are. Though the seventeen years old Layla accepts that she can never be fully accepted as an equal especially to her off limits crush Zayne, she helps the disproving (of her subpar genetics) Wardens with their demon-hunting by her skill to see souls and mark demons for her family to track.

When Layla and Roth the full-blooded demon meet, he mesmerizes her with his claims of knowing her biological family secrets that she knows nothing about. His lack of a soul enables him to steal kisses from her; further rocking her world. As she learns more about her roots and a demon revolt centered on her, Layla fears associating with Roth will cause her to be marked as an enemy by the family who raised her. Additionally she remains ignorant as to the rebellion’s worldwide ramifications.

This Dark Elements young adult fantasy (see Bitter Sweet Love e-novella; not read by me) is an enjoyable tale due to the Armentrout world feeling genuine with its vivid competing supernatural cultures possessing differing views re humans. Roth is a terrific complicated super-bad dude whose White Hot Kiss melts a confused Layla. Although a late underdeveloped threesome arises for no apparent reason except as a sub-genre “requirement” in which I would have preferred the tri-relationships remain inside the heroine’s head only, fans will relish this fabulous teen otherworldly tale.

Harriet Klausner

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

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