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Shadows of Asphodel
Karen Kincy
1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations
Dawn DeVries Sokol
Writers and Their Notebooks
Diana M. Raab, Phillip Lopate
Writer for Hire, 101 Secrets to Freelance Sucess
Kelly James-Enger
Progress: 123/224 pages
Shadows of Asphodel
Karen Kincy
Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success
Kelly James Enger
Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 2) - Derek Landy Stephanie Edgely never could have predicted the death of her beloved Uncle Gordon would lead to her rebirth as Valkyrie Cain, magical apprentice to the world famous skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant. Instead of attending school, doing homework, and spending time with her family like other thirteen year old girls, Valkyrie sends her reflection to carry out the mundane duties of every day life, while she prowls the streets of Dublin with Skulduggery, honing her abilities and hunting down down villains by order of The Elders back at Sanctuary.

Skulduggery harbors suspicions about head and (presently) sole council member Thurid Guild, suspicions that only increase when one of the Malevolent's most fanatical, intelligent, and powerful general, Baron Vengeous escapes from his secretly located prison. Aided by the vampire Dusk and razor-blade wielding, U.S. import Billy-Ray Sanguine, Vengeous plans to complete as mission Lord Vile set in motion years ago.

With the help of China Sorrows and Tanith Low, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must put together the various pieces of the Baron's plot before he resurrects the Grotesquery (a monster assembled from the most fearsome beasts of legend) and brings the Faceless Ones back to life.

PLAYING WITH FIRE is a swiftly paced novel that delivers adventure and suspense without sacrificing character and relationship development. The relationships between Valkyrie and her mentors have deepened in this second novel, yet we also see a distance being created from her family and old life. Readers will be satisfied with the novel's plot wrap up, yet still hunger for the next installment thanks to Derek Landy's overarching hints and teases of a much larger conspiracy. To sum up, PLAYING WITH FIRE is a clever, snarky, satisfying read.

Originally written for TeensReadToo.com. (Link to that review is forthcoming).