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Affliction (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #22)

Affliction - Laurell K. Hamilton AFFLICTION is the 22nd book in the Anita Blake series. As with many long-running series, certain things can be expected of any new book. Anita will have issues juggling all the men she is sleeping with and handling her powers. both of these are true in this story. All the men - It is lucky that Hamilton has the writing quirk of physically describing each man each time he is part of a scene. Otherwise, they seem to be pretty interchangeable. Most of the men she is juggling in this episode are weres since she is away from St. Louis at Micah's home town and had to bring a number of guards with her.Micah's father has been bitten by some sort of a zombie and has an infection that is going to kill him. The doctors have found a way to slow it down but not stop it. Coming home raises all sorts of issues for Micah. He had alienated his family to protect them from the being that controlled him. His return means he as to deal with the anger issues that created. It also doesn't help that some of his family are religious fanatics who believe that weres are abominations. He also has some anger issues himself about his parents' divorce and his mother's remarriage. He is also unsure how to tell his family that he, Anita, and Nathaniel are romantic partners. Anita quickly gets involved in the problem of the flesh-eating zombies and the infections. This story had an overabundance of zombies! Add rotting vampires into the mix and you have a really creepy plot. Anita and crew, including Edward, have to track down the vampire making the new vampires and zombies before he manages to overwhelm Boulder, Colorado. It seems that he is necromancer like Anita and, like Anita, got some extra powers when the Mother of All Darkness was defeated. The story was exciting, especially for fans of zombies. The sex scenes were frequent and graphic. One in particular really made me uncomfortable. Anita seems to have better control of the Ardeur now but still needs to feed it frequently. I did start to find the sex scenes a little boring and skimmed to get back to the zombie part of the plot. Fans of the series won't want to miss this one but I don't think this would be a good entry point for newcomers.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK was a compelling story that made me ache for its main character. Leonard Peacock has decided to celebrate his eighteenth birthday by killing a former friend and taking his own life too. Before he does that, he needs to give presents to four people in his life who have meant a lot to him.As his day progresses, we see him visiting his elderly next door neighbor. He and Walt have spent hours and hours watching old black-and-white Humphrey Bogart movies. Leonard longs for the black-and-white life that looks so much better than the life he is living. He also has a present for Baback. They aren't friends but Leonard has spent countless hours listening to Baback play his violin in the school auditorium. The music has moved Leonard as has Baback's story of his life in Iran. Leonard also has to give a present to Lauren who is a home-schooled Christian girl that Leonard has a crush on. Lauren has tried to convert him to Christianity but Leonard doesn't have that sort of faith.The final person that Leonard wants to give a present to is his Holocaust Studies teacher Herr Silverman. Leonard feels that Herr Silverman is the only one at school who understands him and connects with him.As the day unfolds we learn more and more about the events that have led to his decision to kill a former friend and take his own life. Leonard is an articulate narrator of his own story. Some random thoughts occurred to me as I was reading this book. First of all, parents should be required to get and maintain licenses before having children. It seems like Leonard got a particularly bad set of selfish, irresponsible ones. Both parents have abandoned him. His one-hit-wonder rock star dad who fell in love with drugs and alcohol before running away to Brazil isn't really much worse than his fashion-obsessed mother who is so busy with her career in New York City and her French lover that Leonard isn't even on her radar. Even when told how unhappy Leonard is, she won't get him help for fear of how it would reflect on her. Second, there are people at his school who care besides Herr Silverman. His AP English teacher and the Guidance Counselor at the school are trying to help. Leonard is able to fool them with his "Hollywood face" though and they didn't push.This story of a young man abused, neglected, and pushed to his limits will linger in my mind for a long time.

The Deepest Night

The Deepest Night - Shana Abe THE DEEPEST NIGHT was lush, atmospheric, adventurous and romantic. Lora and Armand must travel from England to Germany, during World War I, to rescue Armand's older brother who is a prisoner of war in Germany.Lora is still grieving the loss of her love Jesse who became a star in the first book. She is also coming to terms with the idea that she is drakon. While she is getting better at turning to smoke, she is still often unsuccessful at assuming her dragon form. Armand, also drakon, is not yet able to shift into either form. Armand, the rich son of a duke who has been committed to a madhouse, has also fallen in love with Lora who is a nameless orphan and charity student at an exclusive girls' school. Their social classes couldn't be farther apart.They spend time together because they are both drakon but Lora is not ready to fall in love with him. When he turns his home into a facility that provides care for wounded soldiers, Lora is invited to work as a nurse. Her only other option is to work at an orphanage in Scotland which is not acceptable to her. After much practice at turning into a dragon and much planning, Armand and Lora take off to rescue Armand's brother Aubrey. Along the way they face many dangerous situations. Things are even more complicated when Armand makes his first shift into smoke and is almost lost. Lora makes a deal with the stars to exchange her life for his. Armand survives but now Lora is waiting for her life to end. I enjoyed this well-written fantasy novel and look forward to the next book to see what happens next for the characters. Both this book and the first in the series - THE SWEETEST DARK - will appeal to fantasy lovers, romance lovers, and lovers of historical fiction.

Betrayal in Death (In Death Series #12)

Betrayal in Death (In Death Series #12) - BETRAYAL IN DEATH is the twelfth book in the In Death Series. As the cover states, it deals with betrayal in many situations. Eve is at a party at one of Roarke's hotels when she is called to the murder of a chambermaid in the same hotel. The murder is brutal and was clearly done by a professional. It looks like the murder was done to hurt Roarke. Eve is determined to find the killer and protect her husband.Roarke is busy arranging with actress Magda Lane to hold an auction of her movie memorabilia to fund a foundation to assist young actors. The memorabilia could bring in around one billion credits. Eve is concerned about the security surrounding the auction but that is quickly overshadowed first by the chambermaid's death and then by the death of another of Roarke's employees who is also killed in a property Roarke owns.One of Roarke's old friends - long thought to be dead - arrives to visit Roarke too. Mick Connelly was one of the people that Roarke grew up with in Dublin. While Roarke has cleaned up his act, made a lot of money, and married Eve, Mick is still a very charming criminal. Eve worries about what he wants from Roarke. The hired killer's viewpoint is also given. He is a sociopath who lives for the finer things in life like opera, fine foods, clothing and wine. He is utterly creepy and terrifying. As Eve hunts for the him, she learns that the murders are part of a much larger plot.For the more personal part of the story, Roarke and Eve are still adjusting to each other in their marriage. While they are great with each other, they are coming from very different backgrounds and sometimes that takes adjustments from both of them. Mick is a focus that highlights their different reactions. Eve also deepens her friendship with Peabody as she attempts - despite her strong desire not to get involved - to act as a relationship counselor when Peabody and McNab have a falling out. I love this series. Each episode deepens the relationship between Roarke and Eve, which I think is one a fiction's great romances, and each finds Eve expanding and deepening her circle of friends which is a sign that she is finally overcoming the horrible experiences of her childhood. Sometimes the mysteries take a backseat to the relationships but, in this case, the mystery and relationships were integral to each other.

Necessity's Child (Liaden Universe, #16)

Necessity's Child (Liaden Universe, #16) - Sharon Lee,  Steve Miller This story takes place on Surebleak shortly after Clan Korval has arrived. It is told from three points of view. The narrator most known to readers of the Liaden series of books is Syl Vor yos'Galan Clan Korval. Syl Vor is a child who is somewhere between eight and ten. Syl Vor has recently come to Korval from the place where he, his cousins, and his great-aunt and uncle were hidden while Plan B was in effect. He lived under the constant threat of danger. Now that the immediate threat has passed, his older cousins have gone off to their aprenticeships and Syl Vor is at loose ends. He wants to be of use.The second point of view is that of Kezzi who is a daughter of the Bedel who have been hidden on Surebleak for a number of years. They have taken space under some old, abandoned warehouses and come out only to steal stuff they need from the unsuspecting gadjes in the City Above. Kezzi is the youngest of the Bedel and apprentice to the tribe's wisewoman—Silain the luthia. The third point of view is that of Rys Lin pen'Chela. We first meet Rys when he is found beaten almost to death outside one of the entrances to the Bedel's hidden home. He is taken in and cared for by the wisewoman and befriended by the Bedel. He has been so damaged both physically and mentally that he doesn't remember his past or how he came to be where he now is. We watch him heal and come to feel that the Bedel could be a replacement for the clan he lost. But his past, once remembered isn't ready to let him go.These three characters come together when Syl Vor begins to attend school with other Surebleak natives. Kezzi is found on the street and brought to the school too. Syl Vor is determined to befriend her and make her his sister. Kezzi just wants to get back to her own people and leave all this school stuff far behind her. It is the thinking of the adult leaders of Surebleak that they way to make life better for all citizens and to change the social culture is for all the kids to go to school at a consolidated school. They can learn that kids from one Boss's turf aren't different than kids from another. However some adults—notably the remains of the Department of the Interior—do not want Korval's plans for social engineering to succeed. Street patrols have managed to stop most of the sabotage around the new school and capture most of the Department's agents but there is no guarantee that the school will be safe.There fears are justified because the leader of those agents from the Department of the Interior has one more plan in mind and intends to use Agent of Change Rys Lin pen'Chela to carry it out—no matter how he might feel about massacring a bunch of children including his young sister Kezzi and her friend Syl Vor.The story was exciting and we did get some cameos by characters we learned to know in earlier books in the series including Daav yos'Phelium, Val Con yos'Phelium, Miri, Nova, Anthora and Ren Zel. I really enjoyed getting to know at least one member of the next generation of Clan Korval and am eager for more adventures.

Charmed Vengeance

Charmed Vengeance - Suzanne Lazear CHARMED VENGEANCE is the middle book of a trilogy. As a consequence, we don't get to meet the characters or achieve resolution of the larger story. This book is essentially a journey book. Noli is still trying to come to terms with the sprite that evil Queen Tiana put in her head. She is battling for possession of her mind and body. Sprites aren't very smart and are very attracted to the shiny and pretty things. Noli wants to be an engineer. This creates quite a conflict for her. She is also rebelling against the societal notion that all girls of her class need to be married to achieve their proper place in society. After V is forced to break their bond by his mother, evil Queen Tiana, Noli adds heartbreak to the mix. She is offered a place on the Vixen's Revenge where her brother is first mate as an engineer which seems the best thing for her to do until V finds a way for them to be together.V, aka Steven or Stiofan, is on a journey of his own. He is sent by Queen Tiana on a quest for an unusual amusement. All the while, she is hoping that he will die on the quest and has encouraged all fae on Earth to "help" them which in her terms means to hinder them without killing them. Putting them in a situation that might kill them is all right with her, though. V takes his brother James along as a helper and to help him get back to his life instead of constantly mourning his lost love. Kevighn Silver has the third thread of this novel. Kevighn is an interesting character. He is an exile. He has worked as a hunstman for Queen Tiana finding and luring young girls with the Spark to the Otherworld to be sacrifices which are needed to keep the Otherworld functioning. He first met Noli when he was sent to bring her to the Otherworld but then fell in love with her. These three journeys come together first when Noli and Kevighn both end up on the Vixen's Revenge and when one of the children they rescue from a human trafficking ring is an abducted child V and James and trying to bring back to her father in exchange for an automaton for the queen. However, V and Noli don't meet because her friends on the ship, knowing that V broke her heart, keep them from meeting. The journeys also come together because another task of the Vixen's Revenge is locating objects for buyers. They have found some hidden fae artifacts and are preparing to sell them to King Brogan. When Noli and Kevighn get a look at them and know that King Brogan will use them for evil purposes. Kevighn takes them to the Ciarán who is the dark king who, he feels, will use them for the good of the Otherworld.Unfortunately, King Brogan vows to take revenge when they sell his artifacts to someone else. Brogan is V's uncle and the one who deposed and exiled his father. V is waiting until he reaches adulthood to challenge him for the return of his throne. New, he can no longer wait to challenge his uncle. I enjoyed the writing in this story. I like the world building which combines steampunk with magic and the fae. I like the characters and am enjoying watching them grow and change. I look forward to the third book in this trilogy to see how the plot is resolved.

Judgment in Death (In Death Series #11)

Judgment in Death (In Death Series #11) - JUDGMENT IN DEATH is the eleventh book in the In Death series. This is a re-read for me as I am enjoying the series again by reading all of the books in order. For me, I divide the books into three parts. The first part is the mystery itself. The second part is the growth of Eve and Roarke's relationship. The final part is how Eve's circle of friends is expanding.First the mystery. Eve is called to one of Roarke's bars and finds that a cop who was moonlighting as a bartender had been brutally murdered. The investigation ties him to a previously blown investigation into crime boss Max Riker and to police corruption in the 128th Precinct. While I don't always remember various mysteries, this time I did remember who the murderer was. It was still entertaining to watch Eve do the investigation as she investigates Riker and the officers in the 128th.Second the relationship. Eve and Roarke have a fight here because each of them is determined to protect the other. Eve goes to taunt Riker even though she knows that he and Roarke had a previous business relationship and Riker wants revenge on Roarke. Worse still, she panics and lies to Roarke about it. Roarke gives Eve the cold shoulder which throws her out of balance. A cute scene is the one where she and Mavis get drunk together and talk about what Eve should do. Even though this is the eleventh book in the series, by internal chronology, they have only been married for one year. Both of them are testing the boundaries of their relationship. Third Eve's circle of friends. Lieutenant Don Webster, now of Internal Affairs but formerly a one night stand for Eve, plays a big role in this episode. He makes a pass at Eve and Roarke beats him up which just compounds the problems he and Eve are having. Dr. Mira also admits to Eve that she thinks of her as a daughter which Eve characterizes as "weird but nice." What I find interesting is that we don't see Roarke's circle of friends but he is fitting seamlessly into hers. Anytime one of Roarke's friends makes an appearance in the series, they are always characterized as someone who was a friend from earlier in his life with whom he has lost contact. This was another great story in a series that just gets stronger with each book.

Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar Mysteries)

Deal Breaker - Harlan Coben I enjoyed this first Myron Bolitar mystery. Bolitar is the kind of competent, smart-mouthed character that I like as the hero of a mystery. I have rather more mixed feelings about his partner Win who seems to me a little amoral or sociopathic for my taste. Bolitar is a sports agent negotiating a contract for a talented quarterback when the story begins. He and the quarterback have a connection. The quarterback was the fiance of a young woman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The young woman was the sister of a woman Bolitar had a romance with and who he hasn't gotten over. Now the woman is back in town because her father was killed and she is sure that there must be some connection between her father's death and her sister's disappearance. Bolitar and Win begin investigating and are soon deep into the porn trade and the seedy side of negotiating contracts for pro athletes.Bolitar is quick with a quip and dogged in his pursuit of the truth about what happened to Kathy Culver. I liked the twists and turns in the plot. The murderer came as a surprise to me but, looking back, I can see some hints that I overlooked as I was reading. I am eager to read more of the books in this series and will have to add them to my wishlist. It looks like I have nine more novels to read in order to catch up.

Fearful Symmetry: The Goblin Wars, Book Three

When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears - Kersten Hamilton WHEN THE STARS THREW DOWN THEIR SPEARS was an amazing conclusion to an outstanding epic fantasy trilogy. It had it all: great danger, epic battles, humor, romance, and characters so real that you'd swear you knew them. I was a little concerned when I began this book because I had read the second late in 2011. I've read a lot of books since then. But by Chapter 2, I was back in the story and pulling for my favorite characters to survive and make the world right again. The characters in this story are so wonderful. Teagan Wylltson is smart, beautiful, serious and caring. She is a goblin who has chosen to be a healer. Her little brother Aiden is a bard and a typical six-year-old. Tea will do anything to protect him from the evil creatures that want to keep him from saving Mag Mell. Tea's boyfriend is Finn Mac Cumhaill who is this generation's goblin killer and who lived on the streets before being placed with Tea's family. Then there is Abby who is Tea's best friend, a mafia princess, and who adds a lot of humor to the story. The adults in this story are wonderful characters too. John Paul Wylltson is a librarian and bard and, although he is completely human, he knows the stories and the poems and the songs that his children need when dealing with the creatures and worlds that are real to them. Mamieo is a wise old woman who adopted Tea's mother and who has been a mentor to Finn. Zoë is Aiden's dance therapist and friend and seems completely at home in Mag Mell despite the fact that humans can't go there. A new character is introduced in this story. Seamus McGillahee appears first as a lawyer sent to get Tea out of jail after an incident at her high school. He is young, brash, and, as Mr. Wylltson says, as smart as he thinks he is. He also hates goblins and is in denial about his father's Irish Traveler heritage. He is one of the characters who changes greatly during this story. He moves from a smart guy with no real purpose in life to a man who has a destiny. There are many non-human characters too. Sprites like Lucy who hides in Aiden's hair, a Phooka named Gil, an angel named Raynor Schein, a tree named Joe, and all sorts of cat-sidhe. Like all epic fantasy, the characters are tested to the limits of their souls. There are heart-breaking losses and triumphs too. Shining through it all is love of all kinds - love of family, romantic love, love for all humanity. This book is made of awesome. I think this whole series is vastly underrated and under-publicized. But, don't take my word for it, visit your local library or bookstore and find Tyger, Tyger and In the Forests of the Night and see for yourself. I don't think you will be disappointed. I can hardly wait until school begins again to share this trilogy with my students. I know that this whole series has been added to my keeper shelves and my Kindle.

Dark Waters

Dark Waters - Toni Anderson Anna Silver is jolted out of the safe but boring life she has made for herself when she gets a phone call from her ex-con father Davis who says he has stumbled on a plot to steal $60 million which he has diverted and moved to another account. He says he is sending her proof and wants her to go to his best friend to keep her safe. Then her father is killed.Anna travels to an isolated part of British Colombia to see Brent Carver who was her father's cellmate when he was in prison and who is his best friend. Brent was sentence to life in prison at the age of sixteen for killing his father who was beating Brent's younger brother again. Brent feels guilty for killing the father he loved. So guilty that he has isolated himself from anyone who might get close to him. He discovered a talent for art while in prison and is now a famous painter though he uses another name.Brent will do anything to keep from going back to prison. He isn't eager to get involved when Anna comes to see him. But he owes her father a debt because of their friendship. And, besides, he is halfway in love with Anna because of the letters she wrote her father that he read aloud over and over again. The villains are ex-military who earned their money doing black ops and mercenary activities. They will do anything to get their money back and really want the information Anna's father mailed to her. The prime villain is a loony named Rand who gets off on raping and torturing women. Finding Anna will give him the opportunity to do that as well as get their money back. Another plot thread features Anna's mother Katherine and her second husband Ed. Katherine didn't handle her first husband's conviction as an embezzler well but Ed was their to pick up the pieces. Now she is stronger and beginning to resent how controlling Ed is. When she finds out that her first husband has died, she feels a mixture of guilt and grief. The story is filled with action and excitement. It is also filled with Anna and Brent falling in love despite the obstacles of their backgrounds and their current problems. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to more by Toni Anderson.

Peter Lubinsky and the Magician's Dog

The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog - Frances Sackett This story was entertaining, engaging, and thought provoking. Peter Lubinsky is a pretty ordinary twelve-year-old. He prefers reading and chess to action and adventure. He's quiet and rather shy. He has two younger sisters - Celia and Izzy. He also has a dad who flies fighter jets and who has been deployed. Peter is an Air Force brat. He knows that all dads who are deployed don't come home. He is bottling up his worry, fear, and anger. Oh, and Peter is afraid of dogs. So, absolutely nothing surprises him more than hearing his mouth say that he wants a dog for his birthday. A trip to the shelter results in them bringing home The Dog. The Dog is no ordinary dog. He can talk and he tells Peter that he was a magician's assistant. He tells Peter that he can be a magician too. The Dog wants Peter to rescue his magician who has been turned into a rock. Peter would like to be a magician so that he could bring his dad home. But things aren't that easy. In order to do magic, Peter has to become angry and has to let the anger change him and take over his life. The Dog says that is the cost of doing magic. The Dog says that his boy was once a nice kid but becoming a magician turned him into someone who does nasty things just because he can.Peter doesn't know if the benefits of becoming a magician would be worth what it would cost him. He doesn't want to be angry all the time and he certainly doesn't want to hurt people. But he really wants his dad back home with the family. It takes some scary things, like dinosaurs coming to life and threatening his sisters, before Peter finds a way to do the right thing. I really liked this story. I thought it had enough adventure and excitement to encourage middle graders to read it and I thought it had a really good message too. I will be buying this one for my elementary media center this fall.

Hunter Moran Hangs Out

Hunter Moran Hangs Out - Patricia Reilly Giff Hunter and Zach Moran have all sorts of exciting adventures in the four days before they begin sixth grade. A friend overhears a kidnapping threat and the twins are busy trying to keep their five-year-old brother Steadman safe. Of course, their older sister Linny thinks she might be the victim. When the family dog Fred disappears the hunt picks up steam.Could it be the strangers who have moved into the empty house across the street? Is it Linny's friend Becca who doesn't like Fred anyway? Why is the local bully Bradley hanging around the bottomless pond in the woods? What is going on at Gussie's Gym?Other things are happening in this action-packed story too. Mom is getting ready to have baby number seven and all the kids have come up with names for the new arrival. And, worst of all, Hunter and Zach have put off their summer reading and now have just four days to read three books.The story is filled with slapstick humor and middle grader logic. It is a quick read that will have middle graders trying to solve the mystery along with Hunter and Zach.

Saving Paradise

Saving Paradise - Mike Bond SAVING PARADISE is a twisty mystery with a cast of thousands and a large school of red herrings. Afghan war veteran, convict on parole, turned surfer dude Pono Hawkins stumbles onto the corpse of journalist Sylvia Gordon when he is out surfing early one morning. Pono served a couple of tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Special Forces and isn't unfamiliar with dead bodies. However, something touches him about Sylvia's and he is determined to find out what happened to her.Little does Pono know that his investigation will uncover corruption from the Governor's Office to Hawaii's Electric Utility to Hong Kong businessmen who want to build casinos and subdivisions to land companies that control large parts of Hawaii. Circling all through this is a company called Wind Power that wants to build huge wind farms on Molokai and lay underground cables through coral reefs and habitats of endangered species. Pono has a huge number of suspects who stand to make or lose billions of dollars in the whole wind farm scam. And many of them would very much like Pono to be the next one to die. We follow Pono as he runs through the beautiful Hawaiian Islands trying to investigate while eluding the groups who would like him dead. I, personally, lost track of all the characters in this story. All of them had, potentially, motives that would make them part of the scam. I also didn't really connect with Pono until near the end of the book. I felt closer to his surfing dachshund than I did to him even though the dog was killed in the first third of the book. The environmental message was clear and repeated frequently by almost every person Pono talked to. Wind power was a scam that would cost billions for little reward and would do immense ecological damage to Hawaii. No one wanted it except the corrupt politicians and businessmen who would rake in immense profits at the government's and taxpayer's expense. At times, the message seemed to overpower the mystery.Fans of Bond's work will enjoy this frenetic, twisty tale. This one requires close reading to keep track of all the suspects, love interests, and assistants. Note taking might even help.

Raven Flight: A Shadowfell novel

Raven Flight: A Shadowfell novel - Juliet Marillier After I found out that RAVEN FLIGHT was the sequel to SHADOWFELL, I was a little worried that I would be lost reading book two before book one. My fears were not realized. While I am sure my experience would have been more complete, RAVEN FLIGHT stands alone quite well as a fantasy novel. (Although I will be reading SHADOWFELL as soon as I can.)When this story begins, Neryn has reached Shadowfell among the rebels and is regaining her health and strength. She is learning about her powers as a caller who can command the fae and wrestling with the boundaries between what she can do and what she should do. The rebels are slowly building the support they need to defeat the evil King Keldec when they learn that they have a deadline. One of the eight chieftains will throw in his support for the rebels if they are ready to act in eighteen months. Neryn needs to find the three Guardians she has not yet met and learn from them so that she will be ready. She also needs to enlist the aid of the fae in the kingdom to help with the revolution. She and Tali go off looking for the Hag of the Isles while dodging Keldec's Enforcers and other perils of the road. They need to find her, learn from her, and then go on to find the Lord of the North before winter.All the while, Neryn is thinking about her friend and love Flint who is an Enforcer who is acting as a double agent trying to balance being the king's best friend with the needs of the rebels. She is worried about him and often sees him in her dreams. They do manage to cross paths a couple of times during the course of this story too. The language is lush; the world building interesting; and the various Good Folk interestingly portrayed. The story is exciting and it was wonderful to watch Neryn grow in her powers and in her determination to overthrow the tyrannical King Keldec. I can't wait for the next volume to see how the battle goes.

The Resurrectionist: A Novel

The Resurrectionist - Matthew Guinn This was a fascinating book that talks about the early practices at medical schools and current political cover ups when those practices are brought to light. In the 1999 portion of the story, Jacob Thacker is working PR for his medical school as he serves out a suspension for drug abuse when bones are discovered in the basement. The bones of those of primarily black people who were used for teaching of the medical students in the pre and post Civil War era. Their existence is a PR nightmare for the Dean of the school for whom the school's untarnished image is paramount. The second part of the story tells the story of the early days of the medical school and the black man named Nemo Johnston who was purchased to be the school's janitor, butler, and resurrectionist. He was charged with raiding the black cemeteries to supply the cadavers the medical students needed to learn anatomy and surgery. His portion of the story gives great insight into what it was like for a black slave in that time period. Nemo was atypical in that he was educated and knowledgeable. He even taught the anatomy classes but still did all the menial work too. Jacob learns a lot, even about his own family, when he begins to research the history of the school. He has lots of pressure on him to do the cover up. In fact, his future in medicine depends on it. This parallels the pressure put on Nemo Johnston in earlier times. The story was well-written and engaging and it was in interesting look at a time with attitudes much different than now.

Runt

Runt - Nora Raleigh Baskin This book was less a novel than a series of vignettes showing a group of middle school kids coping with the jungle that is middle school. We have Elizabeth whose mother is a dog boarder and who always is covered in dog hair. She is also a talented writer. We have Stewart who acts like the typical bully and big basketball star but who has a handicapped older sister that he really loves. We have Matthew who is talented at basketball but doesn't quite fit in with the other kids. He's suspended from school for punching Stewart in the nose despite the fact that Stewart urinated on his shoes first. We have Maggie who decides to put up a fake web page making fun of Elizabeth and then can't take it down before others see it because a hurricane knocks out the power for a week. We have Freida who is a talented artist and self-conscious about her braces and weight and who dresses in her own unique style despite her older sister's urging to be more normal. All of these kids, and a few other two, bounce off each other as their paths cross during the course of time in a typical middle school. It was an interesting story. I did feel that the adults were mostly ineffectual and clueless about what was going on among the students though.