Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

I’m participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog. I’ve had this Audible version of Blood Rites on my Kindle Fire for a long time! When I came across it as I was browsing my Audible books I realized it was the next book in the series so I promptly started listening.

I’m also participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. Since this is an Audible audiobook it also fits with the Audiobook Challenge hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

blood-ritesBlood Rites
by Jim Butcher
Narrated by James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2004
Audiobook, Purchased
372 pages (13+ hours)
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: For Harry Dresden, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Still, there’s something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film’s producer believes he’s the target of a sinister curse-but it’s the women around him who are dying.

Harry’s even more frustrated because he only got involved with this bizarre mystery as a favor to Thomas-his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can’t quite figure out. But Harry is about to discover that Thomas’ family tree has been hiding a shocking revelation that will change his life forever…

Over the course of many encounters and many years, I have successfully developed a standard operating procedure for dealing with big, nasty monsters.

Run away.

and

“I wish I worried about my uncle’s opinions, and had problems to work out with my mom. Hell, I’d settle for knowing what her voice sounded like.” I put a hand on her shoulder. “Trite but true—you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. People change. The world changes. And sooner or later you lose people you care about. If you don’t mind some advice from someone who doesn’t know much about families, I can tell you this: Don’t take yours for granted. It might feel like all of them will always be there. But they won’t.”

What worked for me:

  • I like the beginning of the book with Harry rescuing puppies! The puppy in this book is very cute and since I like dogs and cats I always like hearing about Harry’s cat Mister and now he seems to have a puppy. Very nice!
  • The movie at the center of this story is an “adult” movie which makes sense based on the facts of the story. I found it kind of funny when Harry discovers this.
  • In this book Harry finds out things about his personal life and family–some good and some bad.
  • We also see more of Murphy in this book and learn about her family and her insecurities. I like we learn more about secondary characters as the books continue.
  • Like any good series as Harry learns about people in his life it sometimes feels like betrayal to him. Sometimes he doesn’t quite know how to react. All very true-to-life reactions.
  • We find out more about things which happen in earlier books. I like the overall arc going on.
  • I like the narrator, James Marsters. He has a good voice for the stories.
  • We find out more about the different types of vampires. Jim Butcher has created an interesting world with lots of different supernatural beings.

What didn’t work:

  • Though I like James Marsters’ narration I think I missed some of the nuances so I’m going to stick to the books after this. I listen to audiobooks while I’m doing other things–cooking dinner, cruising the internet, working on cards so my full attention isn’t always on the book.

My thoughts:

I like the direction the books are going. They are more complex with more characters. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Have you read any books in this series? How do you like them?

 

 

Favorite book quotes

uniquely-portable-magicTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. This week is a rewind week meaning I pick a past topic to write about.

I love quotes and haven’t collected my favorite book quotes here before so that’s what I have this week! I also love the way quotes are often paired with illustrations so I’ve included some of those.

The quote to the left by Stephen King is one I love.

fangirl-quoteAnd the quote at the right from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is from a book I haven’t read yet, but have in my TBR pile. I hope to read it this spring!

The following quotes aren’t necessarily my most favorite book quotes. There are too many for that…LOL. These are some I like quite a bit and in no particular order!

Quotes

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”
― Mark Twain

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice robert-frost

“We read to know we are not alone.”
― C. S. Lewis

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“No woman really wants a man to carry her off; she only wants him to want to do it.”
― Elizabeth Peters (said by character Amelia Peabody)

dr-seuss

Some quotes I like because of the book or the author they are from (Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Peters, for example). Other quotes I like because of what they say to me. Still others I think are funny (the Heinlein quote and Mark Twain). A few I memorized in school (the Shakespeare quote) and still remember them.

The quote to the right…because I love Dr. Seuss and love reading his books and others to children!

What about you? Do you like quotes? Do you have favorites?

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

I’m participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog. I’m also participating in the Book Bingo Challenge.

crown-of-embersThe Crown of Embers
by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns, Book 2
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Greenwillow Books, 2012
E-book, Purchased
410 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Later, when we’ve found this mysterious ship of Hector’s and are safely away, when I have time to rest and worry and a quiet corner to hide in, I will coldly remember that being a queen means being strategic. And I will imagine sending off the man I love to marry my sister. I’ll rehearse it in my head, maybe. Get used to the feeling.

What worked for me:

  • I felt the parts where she questions her faith are the best parts of the book. That was one of the things I like best about the first book.
  • Elisa makes hard decisions in this book, but she second guesses herself a lot. That is one of the main themes of this book–that she hasn’t grown into her queenship so she lets others undermine her.
  • She has to finally grow up so she can be a successful queen. I guess the next book shows if that happens.

What didn’t work:

  • The book is  slow…I don’t feel like a lot happened…even though multiple attempts are made on Elisa’s life!
  • This felt like the middle book–a placeholder for the first and last perhaps.
  • I don’t connect with many of the characters in this book.
  • I can’t figure out why it won’t work out with the man she loves. Why is he so unsuitable?

My thoughts:

This second book is still written in first person, present tense. I don’t mind it in the first book, but didn’t like it as much in this book. So Elisa has to grow up in this book. I thought she had done that in the first book, but she has more to do in this book. Growing up and romance were major themes in this book and I didn’t like them so much.

Have you read the first two books in the series? What did you like or dislike?

Sunday Post: Feb 23

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpgThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

We had warm weather most of the week! On Thursday my son and I spent the day together here in southern Maryland. We had a great time. We explored an area I hadn’t been to before and found a good coffee shop, a great used bookstore and a French Restaurant. I found some old children’s books at the bookstore. Later in the afternoon we drove into northern Virginia and met my husband for dinner. He and I drove home together and agreed it was a great day.

The last of our snow melted with the 60+ temperatures and I see a few of my bulbs poking out of the ground! Nice to see signs of spring.

Blog

I finally set up twitter and facebook accounts this week. I don’t really know what I’m doing yet…so some work on that next week.

Posts on blog

What I’m reading (or listening to)

 Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (audiobook)

What I read

Pivot Point by Kasie West

E-books bought

The Lady Always Wins by Courtney Milan (novella)

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Taking Back Forever by Karen Amanda Hooper

Silent Harmony by Michele Scott

from Audible

Maisey Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Next Week

Around the house

My husband is gone all week on a business trip so I plan to do lots of reading, card making and blogging! Our son starts his new job next week. He’s very excited about that so I hope it works out well.

I think we’re supposed to have another round of cold weather, too, but not nearly what the Midwest will get!

Posts on the blog

  • Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? Are you seeing any signs of spring where you are?

Review: Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

This is the book I’m reading for the February TBR challenge hosted at The Misadventures of Super Librarian blog. The theme this month is Series Catch-Up–reading a book from a series you’re behind on.

The October Daye series is one of my favorites, but during the last several years I didn’t keep up with the series. Since last summer I’ve been catching up and now after this book I’m just one book behind! I read a couple other series books this month, too–Blood Rites (Harry Dresden, book 6) by Jim Butcher (reviewed next week) and Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, book 3)by Ben Aaronovitch.

I’m also participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog and in the Book Bingo Challenge.

Untitled-2Ashes of Honor
by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, Book 6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Daw, 2012
E-book, Purchased
353 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

Nothing is ever simple or easy when Faerie meets the mortal world. There are just times when I find myself wishing it didn’t have to be quite so hard.

and

I didn’t drop my coffee cup–it would take a lot more than shock, fear, and hope, all mixed into  a sick cocktail, to make me drop a perfectly good cup of coffee–but I did go stiff, my fingers locking on the handle until I would have sworn I felt the porcelain bend.

What worked for me:

  • My favorite book in the series so far!
  •  We learn more about Tybalt who is one of my favorite characters.
  • Toby keeps having to find children. This is a continuing theme throughout these books and especially hard after the last book.
  • Lots happens in Toby’s personal life. Toby acknowledges once again she needs people and has people–friends and family–in her life.
  • I like so many characters in these books–Quentin, Sylvester, Tybalt, Raj, April, May, The Luidaeg and many more.
  • The people who are named after months. That’s funny since the Fae have so much more time in this world than humans. Calendars probably don’t matter a lot to them.
  • I like the stories Seanan McGuire spins for us. I’m not quite sure how each book is going to end. She doesn’t spare Toby and others grief, sadness or anger.
  • I feel the characters are more important in this particular book than the story (though I like the plot, too). Since I like what happens with the characters that’s alright!

 What didn’t work:

  • It all worked!

My thoughts:

I loved this book! I didn’t mind this was more character-driven than others in the series. There were a number of loose ends in this book. There’s room in future books to revisit some of the issues left open in this book. I’m looking forward to reading Chimes at Midnight!

I love blogging and reading…

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week.

when-i-open-a-book-quote

This week I talk about my love for both blogging and reading.

Blogging

…new books and authors found since I became a blogger.

…wonderful blogs and the people who write them.

…a creative outlet–writing blog posts, figuring out technology, talking about books.

…sharing a good book with someone I’ve never met, but who loves reading the same kinds of books I do.

Reading

…a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother read to me, took me to the library, talked to me about books.

…Mom and I shared so many books back and forth through the years. So many great memories.

…We didn’t have bookstores in the small town I grew up in, but we had a wonderful library and I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons browsing the bookshelves.

…Books transport me to new places in this world and out of it.

…With a book and a blog I’m never alone.

…My husband and children share a love of reading and talking about books.

 

Sunday Post–Feb 16

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

Snow and cold this week…we didn’t get out too much. The snow was beautiful. I took lots of pictures and we had so many birds coming to our bird feeders. The cats and I love watching them! Our son came to visit…a fun day together…lots of talking and catching up.

I hope everyone had a fun Valentine’s day. I did–I made and sent Valentine’s cards!

Blog

What I’m reading:

Pivot Point by Kasie West

What I read (of listened to):

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (audiobook)

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire (ebook)

The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

E-books…just a few this week!

Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lyn

Midnight Masquerade by Marcia Lynn McClure

The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

from the library:

The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley (digital audiobook)

Next Week

Around the house

A three day weekend at the start of the week (for President’s Day). Nice my husband is home! We considered going somewhere for the three day weekend, but with the continued cold weather and more snow and rain this weekend decided to stay home. Warmer weather later this week. I think I’m ready for spring flowers!

I have lots of birthday cards to send this week, too. However, first I need to make them!

Posts on the blog

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • February TBR Review (series catch-up challenge)–Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
  • Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? And what are you planning for next week?

Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

Rachel Bach is an author I haven’t read before so this review is part of New Author Challenge I’m participating in. This challenge is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Please visit their blog for more information.

œF� � $¿�Ƒ$�8 Ò�ò¤»�däå  ¸R8BIFortune’s Pawn
by Rachel Bach
Series: Paradox, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Published by Orbit, 2013
E-book, Purchased
330 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

Did I pick safety or ambition? The slow and steady or the gamble? I smiled. Put like that, it wasn’t even a question.

What worked for me:

  • Devi is a swashbuckling mercenary. A very distinct character.
  • She’s ambitious and very competent. She signs on as a mercenary aboard The Glorious Fool (a very funny name for a ship which seems to have lots of bad luck!) with a goal in mind–get lots of fighting experience so she can come to the attention of a group of mercenaries she wants to join.
  • I like other characters–even Jayston Cotter, the other mercenary hired for security, who is a jerk, but quite good at his job!
  • The book has expected plot elements–lots of fighting and attacks–but there’s more going on than a simple shooting story (under the surface in this book). The plot twists at the of end of the book are unexpected.

What didn’t work:

  • The names (Lady Gray–Knight-class armor; Sasha–anti-armor pistol; Mia–plasma shotgun) Devi gives her weapons are silly.
  • I don’t understand why her weapons–which seem practically unbeatable–have such limitations. Why doesn’t she carry another thermite blade? More ammunition? I understand she can’t be all-powerful–because where’s the challenge in that?!–but if you’ve set her up with all these weapons and an awesome suit don’t make them only work for a few minutes.
  • The story can’t decide if it’s a gritty, military science fiction or a science fiction romance.

My thoughts:

I book is entertaining and fun, but I had questions as I read. As I mentioned the book is contradictory and at times was jarring to read.

The series is set up pretty well, but if the first book hadn’t been on sale it wouldn’t have come to my attention. The second book–Honor’s Knight—is set to publish at the end of February. However, the price is high so I won’t buy it right now. I pay over $8 for a digital book only a few times a year.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

 

Review: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

I’m participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog and also in the Book Bingo Challenge. This book fits both of these challenges.

Whispers undergroundWhispers Under Ground
by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant, Book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Del Rey, 2012
E-book, Purchased
418 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

Not being invited in is one of the boxes on the “suspicious behavior” bingo form that every copper carries around in their head along with “stupidly overpowerful dog” and being too quick to supply an alibi. Fill all the boxes and you too could win an all-­expenses-paid visit to your local police station.

and

My mum translated this in her head to “witchfinder,” which was good because like most West Africans, she considered witchfinding a more respectable profession than policeman.

What worked for me:

  • A fairly gritty urban fantasy, but with an irreverence which leavens the story–keeping the book from getting too dark.
  • The setting is London–a nice change from the United States.
  • Peter Grant is a likable character. His superiors in the police force feel he may help with supernatural cases, but also think he’s a loose cannon and a not-very-good constable.
  • Peter’s interactions with Lesley are interesting.  Unlike Peter she’s considered one of the best young constables around. They’re good friends and Lesley is also learning to use magic, but things which happened in the last book are still affecting both of them in this book.
  • In this book Peter has to work for not only his own superior officer (and wizard) Inspector Nightingale, but also with Detective Inspector Stephanopoulos  and Detective Chief Inspector Seawoll. They don’t appreciate either his humor or his penchant for creating chaos.
  • Race is present in this series, but I get a different vibe in this series about race than from many books set in the U.S. Peter is very matter-of-fact about who he is. It’s part of his identity, but not more important than another part of his identity.
  • I like the way this book has moved the overall story forward. Peter and Lesley learn more about magic and how to use it and about the people around them.
  • Much of the book happens in the tube stations, underground tunnels and sewers under London.
  • The way magic, mythology, history and terrain around London are used by Ben Aaronovitch is so interesting. For example, the rivers of London and the false houses. (I was very excited when the false houses were also used by Sherlock in one of the latest Sherlock episodes on Masterpiece Theater!)

What didn’t work:

  • It’s important to start with the first two books in this series. Lots happens prior to this book. This didn’t bother me since I read those books. Some police procedurals (which this is a cousin of perhaps) can be picked up wherever in the series. Because of the world building and what happens to characters in previous books it helps to know what is going on by starting at the beginning!

My thoughts:

I like this series a lot. This was a solid book for the series moving the story along with a good mystery. The fourth book–Broken Homes–was published in the United States on February 4, 2014 and I’ve bought it so I can read it soon!

If you click on the link below this map you will find a Google map Ben Aaronovitch created which shows the places in London Peter and other characters went during this book (and other books). Great fun!

Sunday Post: Feb 9

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpgThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kim for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

My husband arrived home Friday in time to watch the opening ceremonies for the Olympics. We both thought the ceremonies were well done. The 11 year old girl who performed the aerial acrobatics was really something to see. We also enjoyed the technology with all the projectors and the music and ballet. On Saturday we watched some ice skating, skiing and hockey. The mountains are certainly spectacular.

We also explored a little more in southern Maryland along the Potomac. Beautiful sunset.

Blog

I added a book review index page listing the reviews I’ve done by author.

What I’m reading or listening to:

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (audiobook)

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire (ebook)

What I read

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

E-books bought

Many books again!

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen

Disenchanted & Co. by Lynn Viehl

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Bones of the Fair by Andrea K. Hst

Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

Gilded by Christina Farley

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Generation V by M. L. Brennan

A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Audiobooks

I discovered a site called LibriVox. LibriVox is a site with public domain audiobooks to download for free. The books are read by volunteers so the quality will vary! I haven’t checked out LibriVox yet, but it sounds intriguing. Book Riot has a post about the site which offers tips on using LibriVox.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

A Serpent’s Tooth by Craig Johnson

Next Week

Around the house

My son starts a new job, but is taking two weeks off in-between the two jobs so he may come visit for a day next week. That will be fun! I also plan to watch more Olympics, read more and send cards and letters.

Posts on the blog

  • Review: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? And what are you planning for next week?