Thursday, May 09, 2013

2008 All unposted

One Bite Stand by Nina Bangs- Daria is a Harpy, and is  unable to find a job because of her reputation for snatching people off to Hades. And when she finally does land a job, it's as the manager of the Woo Woo Inn, not exactly her area of expertise. But to do her job, she has to step up to her A game, call on her inner bitch and stop the monster preying on the Inn's patrons, and with a cosmic troublemaker showing up to create Havoc. But the arrival of a sexy man named Declan MacKenzie, Daria finds herself less interested in climbing the ladder of success and  more interested in climbing into Declan's arms... and his bed. So what if she'd rather bed him than steal his soul and drag it to Hell? Nights with  Declan can make everything better. Or can they? And when Daria falls afoul of her responsibilities, can  Declan step forward to make everything right for her? And does he even want to? I enjoy Nina Bangs' books, but they don't really blow my socks off. They aren't especially hot or have exceptionally interesting heroes or heroines. She is an enjoyable middle of the road author for me, but I don't expect to be blown away. And generally, I'm not. And so it was with this book. If you are looking for a nice romance, then sure, read it. Otherwise, eh. Neither recommended nor not recommended. I wasn't feeling this one.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher- Harry Dresden has long been a Wizard in the city of Chicago, and the City's only Wizard who advertises in the Yellow Pages. Now, the wizard Council is at war with the Red Vampire Court, and their ranks have thinned so much that Harry, although not entirely trusted by the Council, has been made a Warden, one of the magical defenders of the world. However, Harry's friend John, a former Knight wielding a sword made from one of the nails that pierced Christ at his Crucifixion, was badly injured in the line of duty and has had to retire. Now, one of his daughters, Molly, has somehow found her way into magic and gotten in trouble, and Harry must step in to extract her and keep her safe from the Council, who will sentence her for using magic illegally. But will Molly's presence by Harry's side endanger her because of the Black Magic he has been tasked to find. or will she find herself getting entangled in it herself? And Harry has never been the most subtle of magicians. Is he ready to be a Warden, and can he survive his new post long enough to do some good? More to the point, can he survive the chaos that is "Splattercon" without outing himself in a really big way, and will the evil Denarian inside him make his entire job worse? I loved this book, as the idea of an actual wizard at a convention made me giggle, especially *because* it's Harry Dresden. I loved the interaction between him and Molly. Yes, she's the daughter of his best friend, but he can't just be her favorite non-related "Uncle" anymore. He has to lay down a little rough love on her to get her to pay attention to him and what he's saying, and their interactions are priceless, as Harry's usual snark is on fine display here. Highly recommended.

Demonfire by Kate Douglas- I read it again later and reviewed it here:

Armed and Magical by Lisa Shearin- Raine Benares was formerly a seeker, a searcher of lost magic items. Until she somehow ended up with the Saghred in her, as well as all the souls it has consumed over the centuries. Although this gives Raine plenty of magic power, she's desperate to get rid of it and get her old life back, but it's not that easy (did you think it would be, honestly?). The Isle of Mid is the best place she can think of to solve her problem, but some of Mid's magic users only want Raine to use the power she now holds. And if she isn't separated from the Saghred in the correct way, Raine could die. Plus, she's still caught between two men: Mychael and Tam, her would-be lovers from the first book, and are still around, and the Saghred wants to add her soul to the many it's stolen already. But Spellsingers, one of the many types of mages at the Magical School where Raine is attempting to get her problem solved are disappearing, and since Raine is between a rock and a hard place as for as it comes to getting help for her problem, they ask her to look into the disappearances. Plus, a dangerous assassin is after her two friends here, and the elves and goblins are at war again, and Raine is caught in the middle during her investigation Can she find the truth without getting killed, and will her investigation lead her into even worse trouble than she has now? I liked this series. Raine is smart, tough, and snarky out the ying-yang, but she never seems really emotionally affected by being close to death. Some people could find the love triangle tiresome, and it is, in a way, but it's so well done, it's easy to overlook, and the world-building and characters are just fantastic. Highly recommended.

The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin- The opening of a Hellgate leaves the Island of Mid Demon-infested, and it;'d never a good time to have to fight them, But the Demons want something: The key to the powers of the Saghred, which means there is one, and Raine, with her magical powers, can find it, if it exists. But with her recent link with Mychael in order to fight the power of the Saghred, her body is an almost literal battleground between the forces of light and darkness, and if Raine isn'r careful, she could become the magical equivalent of Hiroshima. Now, in addition to her troubles, both sides in the Elven-Goblin war seem to want her dead, and it will take all Raine has to keep herself ahead of insanity, demons and the Saghred itself to keep both her life and sanity. But is she up to the task? This book was more action packed than the last book, and it keeps a pretty fevered pace throughout, leaving me gasping for breath by the end. Quiet moments are few and far between, but the  characters and world continue to enthrall me. Highly recommended.

Medieval Lives: Eight Charismatic Men and Women of the Middle Ages by Norman F. Cantor- This  book examines the Middle Ages through the life of citizens who lived and experienced it, from the Advent of the Middle Ages in Greeks living in the Holy Land, the African Horizon with Augustine of Hippo, Northerners with Alcuin of York, Women with Hildegard of Bingen, and the Glory of it all with Eleanor of Aquitaine, and then takes it to the very end of the Middle Ages with the life of John, Duke of Bedford (although Eleanor of Aquitaine sort of planted the seeds of the Renaissance at her court in France, at least in my opinion). This talks about the Middle Ages in the terms of peoples lives, and specifically, the effects of those lives on the Middle Ages, and vice versa. I liked this book and how it used how and when people lived to illuminate what other lives could be like and were like, This made it interesting where the book could have been dull and too scholarly, but the story of real people made the pages just fly past for me. Recommended.

Sporting Chance by Elizabeth Moon- After having saved her former shipmates from being hunted to death, Heris Serrano and her employer return to the Capital, along with the Prince, who was one of the party who enthusiastically gathered to hunt "the most dangerous prey". They have been subtly blackmailed to return the Prince before his involvement can be known, but during the journey, Cecilia finds the Prince to be dull and rather stupid, which he has never been before, and suspects the Prince has been poisoned. When she mentions the possibility to the King, she is overheard, and people who have never liked her take steps to deal with her while she sends her yacht in to be redecorated, and Heris' former shipmates take off to get surplus military weapons and systems to beef up the yacht, But when Heris receives word that Cecilia has suffered a massive stroke and is now in a medical facility, unable to care for herself or even to understand anyone. The King blackmails her into taking the Prince for treatment for his poisoning... only the Prince is unable to be told apart from his two doubles that provide him with security, and none of them seem to know which is the "real" one, either. Heris takes them all to the Guerni Empire, to be examined by the Doctors there, then returns to Familias space to see Cecilia, who has been rescued from the facility where they were keeping her imprisoned by further drugging her and blinding her to keep her out of the way. Now, she is receiving treatments that will make her better. But there is a traitor on Heris' ship and she must uncover the traitor to find out who is behind the whole mess. But when Lady Cecelia undergoes a startling change, how will it change the relationship Heris and her crew enjoy with their employer? I love this series, which is full of strong female characters, both older ladies like Lady Cecelia and younger women like Heris Serrano, Brun Meagher and Esmay Suiza (who doesn't show up in this book, but gets a series of her own further down the line). This is military SF done right, and we get a sense of how military life changes you by how Heris runs her ship, both in commanding other ex-military personnel and civilian crew. I liked the characters, and I liked the universe here, with characters of all types and colors (Heris is black, and Esmay is brown, but it's easy to forget all of this when you are reading). Highly recommended.

Blood Lite by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kelly Armstrong, Sharyn McCrumb, and many others. This is a book about the Dead and the Undead and those that have to interact with them. "The Ungrateful Dead" by Kelly Armstrong tells the story of a necromancer who masquerades as a psychic who can contact the dead. But when one dead spirit discovers her secret, can she resist doing one last request for the dead? "Mr. Bear" by Joe Lansdale has an ordinary man encountering a very famous Bear on a plane. Can he survive a jaunt with him? "Hell in a Handbasket" by Lucien Soulban Has a very special child end up in Hell, turning the place upside down. What is this child, and what will be her fate? "The Eldritch Pastiche from Beyond the Shadow of Horror" confronts a writer with the truth about his work, and why he must not stop... "Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues" talks about the King of Rock and Roll's last day alive and how he became a vampire. "No Problem" by Don D'Amassa shows us the problems encountered by a descendant of Victor Frankenstein when he attempts to improve on his ancestor's work. "Old School" by Mark Onspaugh shows how bad public schooling can be deadly. "The Sound of Blunder by J.A. Konrath and F. Paul Wison tracks what happens to a couple of stupid mobsters who lose their boss a Kilo of Cocaine and then attempt to "fix" the situation with an antiquity of the elder gods... "An Evening with Al Gore" shows a Green Couple leaving the US with a bang- and take a bunch of polluters with them..."Dear Prudence" by Steven Saville deconstructs a relationship in a series of letters from a man to his wife. "A Good Psycho is Hard to Find" by Will Ludwigsen shows what happens to the survivors of a Psychopath attack,  "High Kicks and Misdemeanors" by Janet Berliner Involves a man with a group training animals as Special Ops attack forces, and an uncle who just might be dead, but sure as hell has his opinions... "PR Problems" by Eric James Stone Shows a ghoul with PR Problems over a murderer. But when he gets the chance to take on the murderer and rescue his latest victim, will he give his own secret away? "Where Angels Fear to Tread" by Sherrilyn Kenyon has an accountant who wishes for a different life, but will he enjoy who he gets to be? "A  Very Special Girl" by Mike Resnick, has a girl who creates havoc for a Mob Bookie when his zombie associate meets a girl of the same persuasion. "Love Seat Solitaire" by D. L. Snell pits three drinking buddies against a ghost, "I Know Who You Ate Last Summwe" by Nancy Holder shows the relationship between two Fine Young Cannibals. But can they trust each other to keep their secret? "Bitches of the Night" by Nancy Kilpatrick has a Vampire Lord and Master who finds himself in the worst of places. "The Bell from HELL" by Jeff Strand has a man convinced that the plastic bell he owns can summon Satan. But can it? "Dead Man Hand" by Sharyn McCrumb has a NASCAR team resort to raising the Dead to get a leg up on the competition, "Day Off" by Jim Butcher  has Harry's Plans for a Day Off and a date with Anastasia Lucco combust spectacularly in a combination of a Lab Accident, a confrontation with a wannabe Black Magician and a pair of Werewolves infected with Supernatural mites. But as it all goes to Heck, can he keep his relationship alive? This was a pretty excellent collection of stories. I didn't like every one, but they were all entertaining and kept me reading, and "Day Off" was my clear favorite, especially for how it ended, and Lucco's reaction to the situation. Definitely recommended.

Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur- Half-vampire Riley Jensen has settled down with her vampire lover, Quinn, and into her job at the Directorate. But when she's assigned to two cases at once- One a series  of killings by Zombies, the other to investigate a series of killings in the world of old, powerful vampires, something has got to give, especially with the coming of the full moon bringing her werwolf senses and desires to a boil. Riley had planned to sate her lusts at the usual clubs, and with Quinn, but there is a new player in town- another werewolf by the name oi Kye  Murphy, and the way he appeals to Riley's inner wolf both makes her hot, and disturbs her. Because she's committed to Quinn, but she may have found her true mate in Kye, and both halves of her are fighting it out to see who wins- and combined with the mysteries she has  to solve, that could end up with her dead very very quickly. But what will decide for Riley- her heart, or her instincts? And can she survive the fallout from finding the one thing she didn't think existed for her- her true vampire mate? This was an incredible book to read. I love Riley's world, and no matter how long its been since I read the novels before, I quickly get sucked back into Riley's head and problems. And this one is heart wrenching. Kye exists to be her perfect other  half sexually and emotionally, but she doesn't know if she can trust him. since he's a mercenary. At the same time, Quinn loves her, and she loves him, and she can't give him up, either. No matter which way she goes, someone is going to be hurt, and Riley is going to hurt as we;;. A wonderful mix of dangerous mysteries, and heartbreaking choices she won't be able to put off for long. Highly recommended.

Magic's Design by Car Adams- Magic in our world has become scarce- the Tree of Life, which  enables magic, has  become dangerously weak and in danger of dying. To prevent this from happening, a man named Talos has crossed from his own magically powerful world to try to protect the tree with his powers over fire. Mira, a woman of our world, has vast healing powers that she is blocked from using by a lock on her memory, ostensibly done to protect her, but noe which causes  her to have seizures and pain. It's only after meeting Tal that she begins to remember and reclaim her powers, which his own powers over fire can empower even more. But will their efforts be enough to protect and heal the tree and keep magic in our world? And can they find the love that will make them nearly unstoppable? I love C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp's writing, but this book was more  than a bit uneven, with the characters being stupid for story reasons, which I find incredibly irritating. Characters  who act without logic or common sense annoy me, especially if the reader is left going, "Really? Come on!" And this had quite a bit of that at the beginning. However, I liked the romance aspects and some of the  worldbuilding was nice, so this evened out at a solid "Meh." for me. I'm glad I read it, but it was a mix of the engaging and enraging rhat I'd rather not read again.

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey is a retelling of the story of "swan Lake", but from the point of view of Odile. the daughter of Rothbart, the magician who considered the death of his wife an incredible betrayal and who intends to take his revenge on all women. Odile fears her father, and with good reason, but when Odette, a Princess and the most feisty of his captured maidens become Swans, wrings from him a bargain that could free her and all the other women he has captured, Odile promises to herself that she will make her father keep his bargain, even if he doesn't want to, and she must use  her own magical talents against her father to ensure that Odette and her lover, Siegfried, win the contest. But if and when her father dies, what will become of Odile, and her guilt over the way her father treated the Swan Maidens, and the way he forced her to treat them? There might be a happy ending to Odette's story, but will there be one for Odile and the rest of the maidens? I found this story a little troubling in the parts that occur after the canonical  end of the ballet "Swan Lake", because Odile comes off as a bit too shy and retiring for someone who was so instrumental in bringing down her own father, The ending was lovely, but the parts leading up to it gave me a feeling of disquiet I found hard to shake off, and it wasn't all that satisfying. I think it was that Odile never breaks free of her role of staying in the background and trying to blend in with the furniture, so to speak. She does change, but in a strange way, it is forced on her by those who are her friends, and thus, it seemed ultimately unsatisfying to me. A Good book, but the ending left me uncomfortable. Recommended, still, because the  book is very well written.

Angel Blood by Nalini Singh- Angels exist and look after the morals over which they rule, served by the vampires they can create. Sometimes, though, the mortals they change aren't suited to be vampires, and they go bad, running amok and killing indiscriminately. That is when the guild is brought in. Merely human, the guild has to be tougher and better than the vampires they hunt, otherwise, it would just lead to the death of the Hunter and even more mortals. But  even in the Guild, Elena Deveraux is the best. So when an angel goes bad, she is assigned by the guild to hunt him down and deal with him- as she is the only one with the possibility of being as good or better than an angel. But as she hunts down Uram the Archangel, she has come to the attention of Raphael, the Archangel who rules New York, who Elena despises for his cruelty, And she is unable to keep her sarcasm and sass inside when he pursues her, which only sparks his interest even further, and Elena comes to despise herself for being unable to resist his interest or contain her own. But as the hunt nears its end, Rafael must make a choice. Can he survive Elena's anger and fear over what Rafael must do to save her life, and will it only make her despise him more, and can Elena live with the changes that will come with her new status, and the love of a millennia old Archangel? And can she somehow remain the woman she has always been? I loved Nalini Singh for her Psy-Changeling series, but this one is just as wonderful, and introduces us to a new world where Angels live among us-but these aren't your Christian Angels. They don't serve God and they are hard and cruel because they have to be. They are dangerous, powerful and completely inhuman- humans under them feat, respect and worship them. And they feel no need to conform to human mores- but they do demand respect, which is why Rafael is so intrigued by Elena being unable and unwilling to do the same.Archangels scare people into obedience and respect, and Rafael might scare her, but it won't stop her from sassing him. I loved reading this book and all the characters that will wind up in the ongoing series. Highly recommended.

The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills- Gerald Dunwoody was only a low, third-grade wizard until an explosion at a magical factory making magic wands for sale. Now, he's lost his job as an inspector and must take up a new job as the King of Ottosland's Court Wizard. But King Lional is lying to Gerald, and wants to use him as a scapegoat for some magical shenanigans he's planning, and Gerald seems to be too innocent to realize just what is going on around him. But he does have allies on his side in the form of his friend, Monk, another, more powerful wizard who has been tutoring him and Melisande, a witch who might just turn out to be his friend. He's also coming to realize that the accident at the factory may have made him more powerful than anyone realizes, but can he master his new powers, and wise up about his employer, before it all comes crashing down on him? And what will happen to the King when Gerald's normally pleasant attitude turns to rage when he discovers what Lional was planning to do to him? I liked this book, as we get to see Gerald, who has never had a very high opinion of himself or his magic change and grow over time. But along with his newly expanded level of powers comes a far greater degree of control than he is used to. But it was nice to see him shed his low self-confidence as the story progressed and see just how much he could do, and the unlikely friendship he develops with the witch Melisande is also wonderful, as Melisande is not one to suffer fools lightly, and she thinks Gerald a fool at first. I really enjoyed this story and this world. Recommended.

Cold Moon Rising by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp- Tony Giodone has come along way since his days as a low-level hit man for the Mob. Now that he's married to his former mark, Sue, he's had to step up and become a real pack leader, stronger than his former pack leader, and deal with the other Sazi, as Tony has a rare and unusual power: he can see into the past by tapping other people's, and even other Sazi's, memories. But now it seems that a group of Sazi want to wipe out the human race, something that puts Sue and her entire family at risk, and neither Tony nor the other Sazi can let the plan come to fruition. But Tony is going to have to team up with Ahmad, the leader of the Sazi Snakes, to defeat the plan, and Ahmad is going to have to deal with a very dangerous ex-girlfriend who he was forced to betray, and Tony, who had inadvertantly formed a psychic bond with Ahmad stronger than the one he shares with his mate, can't help but get drawn into Ahmad's thoughts and memories. But can the two of them handle the crisis? And can Ahmad Patch things up with Tuli? And more to the point, can both of them idssolve this strange bond that holds them together unwillingly? And can they keep the humans safe? This was a wonderful story that showed how long the Sazi live and it was also a pretty rip-roaring adventure with plenty of danger and menace. It was an exciting read that was deepend by the connection between Tony and Ahmad. It didn't cease entertaining my until the end of the book, and it's nice to see Tony and Sue continue togrow and change. Recommended.

Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: City of the Dead by Rosemary Jones-  Sophraea Carver's family has built and maintained the monuments in Waterdeep's City of the Dead for Generations.. She hates her family's job and wants nothing more than to have adventures, and possibly take up a job as a seamstress. But when an old grudge stirs up the dead and puts her family, and the entire city at risk for the walking Dead escaping the graveyard. To stop the threat and find out who is behind the conspiracy to loose the dead, Sophraea must team up with the mage Gustin Bone, who has come to Waterdeep to enjoy the sights. But his sights might be limited to those beneath the soil and in the ctypts full of the dead beneath the City of the Dead if they can't put an end to the plot.  Can Sphraea and Gustin keep her family safe? This was a wonderful book by the same writer who wrote "Crypt of the Monaing Diamons", and it's full of the same wonderful characters and spot-on humor. It's a story that pulls you along as you read it, and it's incredibly hard to stop it and put it down, because you'll be itching to go back to it the moment you do. Excellent book, and highly recommended.

Supernatural Sleuths (anthology)- This book deals with supernatural mysteries. "Lonely Train A'Comin'" by William F. Nolan tells the tale of a Cowboy who sets out to stop a Devil Train that takes people death. But can he overcome the train and its master? "Vandy, Vandy" by Manly Wade Wellman tells the story of a girl hounded by the suitor of an ancestress with the same name. But can the man who loves her save her from the beast? "The Ghost Patrol" by Ron Goulart has a man visiting his friend, who is being protected by Ghosts from those who have a thing against "Freeloaders'. But can the situation persist? "The Adventure of the Ball of Nostradamus by Mack Reynolds and August Derleth is a Solar Pons mystery (a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes) involving a certin crystal ball which once belonged to Nostrademus and which is said to have his powers... "The Gateway of the Monster" by William Hope Hodgson is a Carnacki tale, of a detective of the Supernatural, investigates a haunted "gray room", where a spirit attacks those who attempt to sleep there and rips off their clothes. Can he survive a night with the monster? "A Good Judge of Character" by Susan Dunlap is about the impulse to kill oneself that comes out of nowhere, and a very strange camera theft. "The Angel of the Lord" by Melville Davisson Post entails a theft and murder among cowboys. But can they discover who did the crime? "Falling Boy" by David Dean has an airplane pilot encountering a boy falling out of the sky. But who and what is this boy and how did he get to fall? "The Existential Man" by Lee Killough has a detective trying to discover the identity of a mummified corpse found washed up in the river, and deak with a seemingly uncaptureable criminal. Can the two mysteries be connected? "The Midnight El" by Robert Weinberg has a detective investigating the Midnight El to find a woman who disappeared. The Midnight El is the train of Death, and he must find a way to free her to return to the husband who loves her. But what Prince must be paid to do so? "The Cardula Detective Agency" by Jack Richie has a detective striving to discover who tried to kill the old man who was about to disinherit his whole, extremely odd,  family.. But who was behind the deed? "The Chronology Protection Case".by Paul Levinson has a Physicist investigating the disappearance of another Physicist who worked in Quantim Mechanics. What caused the man to disappear? "Children of Ubasti" by Seabury Quinn has a detective solving the murder of a man mauled and drained of blood, supposedly in a car accident. But can the detective find the creature or thing that did the deed?  Finally, "Death by Ecstasy" by Larry Niven has a detective who discovers that a relative of his died in mysterious circumstances in an apartment he rented, in a place he never would have gone. But how did he die and why? This was an interesting collection. Most of the stories were mysteries, but some were more akin to outright horror. My favorites in this volume were "Lonely Train A-Comin'", "The Midnight El", "The Existential Man" and "Death by Ecstasy". The rest were only okay by my reaction. Still, not a bad collection. Recommended.

The High King's Tomb by Kristin Britain- Karigan G'Ladheon has been a King's Rider for some time now. She is in love with King Zachary, the monarch who she serves, and he feels the same about her, but he is constrained by politics to marry Lady Estora of Coutre, Karigan's friend. When he reveals this to her, however, Karigan reacts with jealousy, treating her friend differently and almost breaking their friendship. Sent on errands by her superior, Captain Mapstone, who seeks to break the relationship between Zachary and Karigan for the sake of the kingdom. But "Grandmother", the leader of the Second Empire,is looking to restore the original Empire, and to do that, she must use the Blackveil Forest to break the D'yer Wall, and all attempts to control and pacify the forest have failed. To break the wall, though, "Grandmother" must read a magic book at the tomb of the Sacoridian High King, which is part of the wall, raised by magic. With part of the wall breached, the sttrength of the wall is quickly failing, and no one seems to be able to do anything about it. As part of her duties, accompanied by a Rider-in-Training, Karigan discovers that Estora has been kidnapped by agents of "Grandmother", and despite her jealousy of her old friend, she proposes a ruse to free Estora by changing clothes with her and takes her place, only to later escape with the help of Lord Xandis Amberhill while Estora has escaped to Sacor City on Karigan's horse. Since Karigan has discovered the plot, she also returns to Sacor City to try and stop it. Karigan joins the Weapons, the guards who protect the Tomb of the High King, and enters the Tomb along with them to try and stop the tome from being read. But can she stop it in time, and why does the tomb accept her presence so easily? What and who is Karigan exactly, and can she stop the second Empire from rollinh ovrt her home Kingdom of Sacoridia? I love this series, and have read each book. Karigan started out as a merchant, but has grown with each book in the series, and I love hearing about her adventures. This latest one was no exception, and the end of the book reveals quite a surprise about Karigan. Highly recommended, both the series and the book.

Witches Incorporated by K.E. Mills- Now recalled to the capital, Gerald Dunwoody is considered a Rogue  Sorcerer for the events of the last book, but this is perfect for a secret government agency, who has hired Gerald to look into a company where things are going on...  strange and weird things. They put  him into the role of a very junior janitor, but needeless to say, things go south for Gerald when he uncovers a Saboteur working at the company to shut it down. But why? Meanwhile, Melissende, and her friend Reg, who used to be a Queen until she was turned into an immortal, talking bird, have gone into business with Monk's sister, Bibbie, have gone into business together, but aren't doing very well at keeping the business afloat, until Melissende wins in a magical cooking competition, which gets them a paying client. However, their case beings them into the same case that Gerald is working, only from a different angle. And, as Gerald considers them friends, he tries to keep them safe when things go south, and is forced into some really horrible choices, which he manages to get through in a heroic fashion, but not without suffering damage mental, physical and emotional in the process. The question is, can he bring the culprits to justice, or at least his superiors, while keeping those he loves safe?. This book was a bit of a letdown after the last book, because it focuses far more on Melissende, Reg and Bibbie, than Gerald, who I thought was the main character in the series. It's also a bit slow to take off, much like the first book was, and the humor here isn't going to appeal to everyone. Despite all those things, I enjoyed it immensely, and I would definitely recommend the book to other readers- just be aware that, even if you read it right after (or even soon after) reading the first book in the series, you may find it hard to get into at first. Recommended.

Don't Know Much About the Bible by Kenneth C. Davis-This book examines the Bible, showing where various interpretations of the Bible come from, specifically the documentary hypothesis and it also examines the various stories and myths in the Bible for the lessons that are commonly drawn from them, as well as connections readers may not have realized, and relates the Bible stories to Jewish history, the Babylonisn Exile and more. If you don't know a single thing about the Bible, this is a book you will want to read. If you know a little about the Bible, it becomes even more helpful. Kenneth C. Davis presents facts and interpretations in a clear and understandable way, and the book is easy and fun to read. Highly recommended.