Read Recently — November 2008

Armed & Magical by Lisa Shearin

Sequel to Magic Lost, Trouble Found finds Raine in trouble on the Isle of Mid, home of the magical college, the Archmagus, and the only hope she has of getting rid of the magical artifact that bound itself to her in the last book. That she gets to spend time with the handsome Mychael Eiliesor doesn’t hurt. But then elvish assassins attack the Archmagus and Michael, and while Raine is instrumental in fending them off, she learns that something else, something sinister, is going on.

As is so often the case in series that start off light, darker elements are leaking in as the story goes on. Still a fun read, though I worry that the whole “romantic triangle” thing is going to get out of hand and take over. But for now, still recommended.

Hounding the Moon by P. R. Frost

Tess Noncoiré is a demon-fighter, trained by the Sisterhood of the Celestial Blade and bonded to an imp, a small demon named Scrap who is so annoying that any prospect I might have had of enjoying this book went right out the window when he came in. Which is right at the start of the book, by the way. Also, Tess is something of a whiner. This is another of those books where I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be funny or not, because it isn’t, but it seems to want to be. That notwithstanding, it’s well-written, and it might be worth looking at to see if it’s actually funny for you–assuming it’s meant to be funny, of course. Slightly not recommended.

Friend of the Devil: an Inspector Banks Mystery by Peter Robinson

A quadriplegic woman in her wheelchair is found dead on the coast, her throat slit. Who could hate so harmless a woman so much? DI Cabbot will investigate, Banks being busy on a case back in Eastvale, but first Cabbot has to deal with a personal mistake of her own that could cast her in danger . . .

Like any mystery series, the individual books can be read quite easily on their own, but you really should read the whole series for best effect and most enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Leaving Mercy Thompson behind but staying within the same world, this book visits with the Marrock’s pack (introduced in the first Mercy book; in fact, the events of this book occur within the first Mercy book) and looks more deeply into werewolf politics. I was also going to say that it introduces some new characters, but the main characters aren’t actually introduced here, but in a short story published in a different collection. Mercedes Lackey did this once, and it bugged me then, too.

Basically, Charles is his father’s enforcer, and since his father is the leader of North America’s werewolves, this tends to give him far-reaching duties. In the course of dealing with another problem, Charles paired up with Anna. Charles is a very dominant Alpha wolf; Anna is an Omega wolf (don’t ask. We’d be here all night). Their pairing up is the story we don’t get here, though we get hints of it. Anyway, a rogue wolf is apparently attacking people in a nearby national park, and Charles goes to deal with it. Anna goes with him. But something more than they are aware of is going on, something dark. Something that may threaten their new relationship and the safety of their and all packs . . .

I’m pissed about the lack of beginning, but the strong ending and good writing in-between is enough for me to recommend this.

Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

If I were going to choose one of Linnea Sinclair’s books for her to sequelize, Gabriel’s Ghost would not have been my choice. Of course, it’s always a bad idea to sequelize romances, at least when that sequel involves the original couple, because that spoils the “Happily-Ever-After” ending that the genre requires. So, yeah, this can’t possibly be my favourite of Sinclair’s works, but it seems we’ll be staying in this universe for a while–the sequel to this one is already out, though it involves a new couple.

Anyway, there’s nothing I can say about this one that doesn’t spoiler the first one, so . . . marginally recommended, because Sinclair is a good writer.

Dead Over Heels: an Aurora Teagarden mystery by Charlaine Harris

Basically, as Roe is sitting in her yard one day (and her bodyguard is mowing; they’ve been taking turns) a man falls out of a low-flying plane and face-plants in the lawn. To make matters worse, it’s someone Roe knows: a police detective she’s been on bad terms with in the past. To make matters even worse, he recently quarreled with the bodyguard, as well. Soon things get worse, as more people are assaulted and some die of it. Weird creepy stalkerish things start occurring in Roe’s neighbourhood. Is someone out to get Roe? Or her very attractive bodyguard, who is going through some personal trauma of her own? Recommended.

God is not Great: how religion poisons everything by Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens is one of the big names of the “New Atheists”, with Richard Dawkins. This book is a bit more strident than Dawkins’ (note the subtitle), but by no means as bad as either the subtitle or the attitude of some reviewers would lead you to believe. Anyway, recommended.

Daughter of Destiny: an autobiography by Benazir Bhutto

Yes, that Benazir Bhutto. This edition includes an epilogue added sometime after the end of the story (which few autobiographies include), covering Bhutto’s death and (briefly) burial.

I’ve said before that I’m a biography fan. So I found this interesting, and recommend it accordingly.

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