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Book Review: Skin Game

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Skin Game, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Skin Game is the fifteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, after Mab forces him to join his arch nemesis Nicodemus, on a quest into the Underworld. Read the rest of this entry

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Book Review: Cold Days

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Cold Days, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Cold Days is the fourteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, taking up his new mantle as the Winter Knight, and having to save Chicago from disaster on Halloween night. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Ghost Story

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Ghost Story, by Jim Butcher

★★

Ghost Story is the thirteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, following his death at the end of Changes and his attempt to find out who murdered him. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Changes

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Changes, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Changes is the twelfth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, and his journey to save a little girl from a blood ritual by the Red Court. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Turn Coat

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Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

Turn Coat is the eleventh book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, and his adventure proving the innocence of his most hated Warden while discovering the White Council turn coat.


Warning!  Spoilers follow here.

The book starts with Harry opening his door to find Morgan standing there asking for his help.  Morgan has been wrongly accused of killing a fellow warden and asks Dresden to help prove his innocence.  Dresden takes him in, cleans him up, and proceeds to watch over him for the next 48 hours — how much longer Morgan’s veil against the people looking for him will hold up.  Morgan swears he is innocent and woke up in the deceased’s room holding a bloody knife with no recollection of how he got there.  He believes the traitor, who has been feeding information to the enemy for several books, framed him to take the attention off himself while he continues to feed information.  Dresden runs with that idea and seeks out to discover the traitor.  Along the way, Dresden is stalked by a skinwalker — an evil spirit who can take any form.  When Dresden looks upon the skinwalker with his Sight, his mind is nearly disabled at how powerful the being is. He arrives at Will and Georgia’s apartment to take shelter and recover from the vision.  The skinwalker follows him and instigates a fight with the Alphas.  Kirby is killed and Andi is severely injured.  The skinwalker flees.  Dresden, Molly, Thomas, and Morgan attempt to hide in a storage unit.  Binder, a British foe who can conjure these weird gray beings, is introduced and tries to take out Dresden before he can find out anything else regarding the traitor.  Binder, as we later learn, is working with Thomas’s cousin Madeline in cahoots with the traitor.  While Dresden is fighting Binder, Thomas gets snatched by the skinwalker.  After enlisting the help of Murphy and a private investigator named Vince on a side mission, Dresden returns to Demonreach — the island from the previous book — to take everyone out at one time.  The Raiths come with him to aid in the fight.  He brings out the Council, by telling them he has Morgan in his possession, the skinwalker, on the grounds of a swap (Thomas for Morgan), and Binder and Madeline by bringing the Raiths along for the fight.  A huge fight ensues, and the skinwalker shows up toting Thomas.  He has scarred Thomas and turned him into a primal beast.  Listens-to-Wind helps Dresden fend off the skinwalker.  Lara Raith takes Madeline out and Dresden lets Binder go under the agreement to never do business again.  The wardens take Morgan back to Edinburgh to hold his trial and prove him guilty.  At the trial, Dresden uses photos from Vince to reveal that Peabody, the secretary for the Council in Edinburgh, is the traitor.  Peabody enchanted the ink he uses to write with, and when others also wrote with that ink, he harnessed power over them and could control them psychically.  He psychically controlled Luccio to kill the warden, but Morgan made it look like he did it because he loves her and didn’t want her to take the fall.  After a short chase, Morgan kills Peabody and then dies.  Ebenezar walks Dresden back to Chicago and the idea of the Merlin being in on the Black Council comes up.  Dresden decides to team up with Eb and a small group of others to fight against everyone, calling themselves the Grey Council.  The book wraps up with Dresden finally getting to see Thomas since his kidnapping.  Thomas is different and stoic.  After a cold meeting, Dresden assures Thomas that he’s still here for him.  Dresden brings Butters to Will and Georgia’s for game night, which Kirby always held before his death, and they begin a new game.


Where the hell do I start.  I hate what happened to Thomas.  He’s my favorite character.  That shit better get fixed.  The fact that Luccio’s love for Harry was all a result of the mind control was some BS.  The guy just can’t catch a break.  We still know nothing about Michael’s condition from the previous book.  The idea of the Merlin actually being bad is very intriguing, but I don’t see a motive for it.  I do like the secret Grey Council, though.  In the book, it’s mentioned that because Luccio gained a new, younger body she is now receptive to Peabody’s mind control, which is most effective on young people.  I find this a little weak because even though her body is young, her mind and soul isn’t.  I don’t think it should have been that easy to control her. Maybe she wanted a part of it; maybe she’s bad, too.  I never liked her.  Morgan didn’t deserve to die.  He was like the Snape of the Dresden universe.  I give this book a 4/5, because, while gripping, the ending made me feel so much like the HIMYM finale.  So much development to be torn down so quickly.


For Next Time

Changes, by Jim Butcher

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden’s lover—until she was attacked and left struggling with the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Now, she needs Harry’s help. Harry’s enemies have found the secret she has hidden for so long, and he will have to unleash the full fury of his untapped power.

-bn.com

Book Review: Small Favor

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Small Favor, by Jim Butcher

★★★★

Small Favor is the tenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, and his adventure fulfilling his second favor for Queen Mab.


Warning!  Spoilers follow here.

The book starts with Harry playing with the Carpenter children in the snow at their house.  Gruffs attack and everyone runs away to safety.  Shortly after, Dresden is confronted by Queen Mab, who asks that he fulfill his second favor of the three he owes her.  Marcone has been abducted and Mab asks for his safe return.  Dresden sets about to do this when he discovers that Nicodemus and the Fallen are who abducted him. Dresden works with Gard and Hendricks, Marcone’s henchmen, throughout the book to help get him back.  Dresden originally assumes the Denarians want Marcone to persuade him to take up a coin and use his connections to wreak havoc.  As a means of meeting with Nicodemus to talk with him and get back Marcone, Dresden sets up a meeting at the local aquarium as neutral ground and brings along Ivy and Kincaid as neutral parties.  The whole thing turns out to be a setup meant to kidnap Ivy, with Marcone’s abduction having been a huge decoy.  The Fallen want Ivy to accept a Denarian coin to give them an insane amount of power.  Despite a short but intense battle, the Denarians make off with Ivy and Dresden must fight to get her back.  Along the way, Dresden and Luccio strike up a relationship and Dresden is constantly running from the Gruffs – servants of Summer who are out for Dresden for siding with Winter.  Dresden is finally forced to offer up all of the collected Denarian coins, plus Shiro’s sword Fidelacchius, to Nicodemus as a trade for Ivy.  Drunk off the power to wield a Holy Sword, Nicodemus accepts this offer and has Dresden meet him on an island.  Both Ivy and Marcone are being kept prisoner on the island.  Dresden get a strange sensation that the island is familiar to him, and he knows several things about the island once they arrive.  Dresden is accompanied by Michael and Sanya, who throw everyone on the island for a loop and start attacking.  Gard and Hendricks show up in a helicopter and start lifting people into it.  Sanya, Marcone, and Ivy get up safely, but as Michael is being lifted, a Denarian takes a sawed-off shotgun and opens fire right under him, wounding him almost instantly.  The helicopter, suffering from some of the close gunfire, flees, leaving Dresden alone on the island.  After a long battle and a run-in with the final Gruff from Summer, Dresden manages to escape the island.  Thomas and Murphy drive up in Thomas’s boat and rescue him.  Ivy starts recovering, but Michael is left open-ended as to whether or not he’s truly okay.  On a date with Luccio, she tells Dresden that his familiarity with the island is a sign of his Sight strengthening.  Impressed with his ability to ward off Denarian shadows, archangel Uriel offers Dresden the power of Soulfire, a power he can put to good use.  The book ends with implications about Dresden and Luccio’s relationship.


I give this book a 4/5.  I enjoyed it, but not as much as some of the others.  This book does not end with a neat little bow, and is one of the first to do so.  There are lots of open-ended questions at the end.  Is Michael okay?  Why does Dresden now have his sword?  Is Nicodemus actually dead?  Hopefully lots of these will be answered in the next book.  I loved Dresden’s affection toward Ivy and Thomas’s and Dresden’s brotherhood.  I don’t know how I feel about Dresden and Luccio getting together.  And I really want to know who the traitor is, and where they are.  It’s been indicated that the traitor is either on the Council, one of the Fallen, or even in the church.  Seriously, Butcher has dragged this out for like four books or something.  I’d like to think that the next title means we’ll find out, but you never know with Butcher.


For Next Time

Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council-and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Like Harry Dresden. Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake could cost Harry his head…

-bn.com

eBook Review: Solitary

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Solitary, by Travis Thrasher

Solitary cover

★★★

Solitary is the first book in the Solitary Tales series by Travis Thrasher.  The book follows Chris Buckley, a sixteen-year-old who moves from Chicago to Solitary, NC after his parents divorce.  Once he arrives in Solitary, really weird things start to happen.  First Chris starts getting harassed by the local bully, Gus.  Then he finds notes taped to the inside of his locker, telling him secrets, all signed A Friend.  Chris starts to notice the school beauty, Jocelyn, and no sooner after does everyone start telling Chris to stay away from her.  After discovering lots of weird people and weird secrets, Chris decides to start playing detective…and this leads him to trouble.


Warning: Spoilers follow here.

Ever since moving here, Chris has hated his life.  He misses his friends and his former life back in Chicago, and hates how barren and boring the town of Solitary is.  But the feeling is mutual, because everyone hates him, too.  Chris and his mom moved to Solitary because Chris’s uncle – his moms’ brother – lived there.  But ever since they moved there, he hasn’t been seen or heard from.  The first people he meets at his new school are three girls named Poe, Rachael, and Jocelyn.  Chris immediately falls for Jocelyn.  But from day one, Jocelyn (and everyone else) tries to tell Chris to stay away from her.  This doesn’t deter him in the least.  After meeting and getting harassed by the school bully and the son of the most respected man in town, Gus, Chris begins to wonder why everyone is trying to get to him.  And the weird stuff just keeps happening – threatening emails, phone calls, and in-person warnings, weird behavior from all the local townspeople, bizarre rumors of cult behavior.  Newt, a little peon at school, seems to know everything about the town and is able to relay some of that info to Chris.  Apparently, every year around Christmas, one of the local kids go “missing.”  No one knows what happens to them, they just disappear.  What’s more, everyone else in town just pretends it never happened.  There are some really creepy secrets in the air, and Chris wants to solve the mystery of Solitary.  Against Jocelyn’s wishes, he continues to contact her and the two eventually strike up a relationship.  At first, all is well, but after a few weeks, Chris begins being threatened again.  Jocelyn shows Chris a large boulder where the believes sacrifices are made.  She also believes the missing kids from Christmastimes past to be the victims of these sacrifices.  At first Chris is freaked out, but it’s all he has to go on.  After Chris and his mom finally get Internet in their house, Chris realizes he is being tracked online by unseen forces.  Chris finds muddy footsteps on his porch that end at a window.  His bike tires are slashed.  He is constantly warned to stay away, to get away, and to mind his own business.  Toward the end of the book, a mysterious letter arrives for Chris after Jocelyn goes “missing.”  Thinking the letter is from her, Chris opens it.  It’s not signed, but only offers directions and a time, stating that Jocelyn’s life depends on it.  Chris follows the instructions in the letter and meets an unknown woman in an SUV who drops him off in the woods, telling him to scare a group of hooded figures.  She claims scaring them will alert them that they are being watched, and might make them back off.  After attempting this, and ending up shooting one of the hooded figures, Chris runs through the woods, passes out, and then continues through the woods until he ends up at Jocelyn’s house.  Once there, Chris finds the telephone lines disconnected and the Internet out.  There is an email that was never sent on the laptop screen in Jocelyn’s room telling Chris that “it’s going to happen before the new year” and to go to the place she told him about.  Chris rushes to the boulder, only to be too late.  Jocelyn has been sacrificed.  One of the hooded figures tells him to never speak about the incident and to leave.  Chris walks away, and returns home, wondering what to do next.


This book was really great…until the end.  Here’s a screen cap of a review from Barnes and Noble’s website.  I think it sums up a lot of what I felt at the end.

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.14.50 PM

I have SO many questions!  How does Newt fit into all this?  What was Jocelyn’s big secret?  Is Wade back, does he know any of the town’s secrets?  And so many more.  I will add, when I got this eBook, it was a Free Fridays Selection from Nook.  I bought it without knowing it was part of a series, which I think a lot of other people did as well.  I was expecting the book to wrap up, and as I got closer to the end, I realized there were only 20 pages left and it was far from being solved.  Once I finished the book, I looked up the author’s website, and found out it was a series, already up to the fourth book.  Evidently, this series is one long story, as opposed to four separate ones in the same universe.  Really wish I had known that before starting!  I found the writing enjoyable, and well-paced.  Some parts also reminded me of Butcher’s writing.  I read this book in-between Dresden books, because I was waiting on #8, the last one we don’t own, to show up at the library.  Now it has.  I have it.  So I will now read it.  I give this book 3/5 stars.  I liked the writing and the story a lot, but I wish it has wrapped up better.


For Next Time

Proven Guilty, by Jim Butcher

The White Council of Wizards has drafted Harry Dresden as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in Chicago. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in the Windy City, but it’s all in a day’s work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob.
-bn.com