11. The Hook by Donald E Westlake - If you're a writer (or an aspiring writer) this is a fun and sort of creepy story about a writing partnership. One bestselling author is blocked and facing a deadline, a former bestselling author can't get any interest in his latest book. There's a catch to the collaboration that's a totally unbelievable, but the parts of the novel that deal with the publishing industry and the daily grind of being a working writer make the silly parts ignorable.
12. Luck In The Shadows by Lynn Flewelling - As the first book in a series, there's a lot of groundwork and back story in this novel. Almost too much, with the action spread thin until the very end. Then there's the inconsistent POV storytelling technique which made me grumble more than a few times. However, the characters are intriguing and wonderfully human for the fantasy genre, so I'll give the second book a try. I'm a sucker for men with men with swords and capes.
13. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox - A young man meets an angel who makes some suggestions on how to live his life. This leads to the man and the angel agreeing to meet every year on the same night, and the chapters follow that fifty-five year relationship. The angel isn't the guardian angel that the young man thinks he is, however, he's an angel that has been granted some special privileges by both God and Lucifer. Ms. Knox's vision of heaven and hell and the creatures that live there are very original and imaginative, and when one of those creatures comes into the very earthy (and very flawed) life of a family of winemakers in the Burgundy region of France, the ground is laid for a book full of spiritual questioning. The answers that the characters arrive at may not suit a reader who prefers the traditional views on God and his fallen angels, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.
14. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin - The second book of what is to be the six part A Song of Ice and Fire series, this is where the action really gets going. Intrigues, politics and alliances are the heart of the plot as a war rages on several fronts in a kingdom split apart by accusations of incest. In a distant land another ruler gathers knowledge and power that will make the current wars pointless. This is a story with many, many, many characters and Martin does an amazing job of keeping all of them moving forward through the story. The only negative thing I can say is he has no qualms about killing of major characters, and as much as that adds to the originality of the stories, it's sad when a personal favorite is gone.
15. Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling - This is the second book of the The Nightrunner Series and it's almost as much romance novel as it is fantasy. Sure, the heroes are on a quest to save their world from evil, and there's an army doing battle that arrives just in time to help save the world. But in between, we get angst and pounding hearts and blushes and all the stuff of new love and lust. It's hard to believe these guys can be so brave in the face of ghosts and evil sorcerers, but they can't bring themselves to just reach out and touch each other until it's almost too late.