Can’t Wait Wednesday: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Long running urban fantasy series featuring magic, wizards, vampires, werewolves, fae and great stories

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Peace Talks

by Jim Butcher

Series: The Dresden Files #16

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication date: July 14

400 pages

Synopsis: When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago–and all he holds dear?

………………………….

This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series and it has been a few years since Jim Butcher wrote a new book in the series. And I have several books to read so I’m ready for this one!

Review: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

I’m participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. This book will go into one of my series squares.

dead-beat

Dead Beat
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 7
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2005
E-book, Library
435 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: When a killer vampire threatens to destroy head of Special Investigations Karrin Murphy’s reputation unless Harry delivers the powerful Word of Kemmler to her, he has no choice. Now Harry is in a race against time to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.

 

I mean, we’re all going to die. We know that on an intellectual level. We figure it out sometime when we’re still fairly young, and it scares us so badly that we convince ourselves we’re immortal for more than a decade afterward.

Death isn’t something anyone likes to think about, but the fact is that you can’t get out of it. No matter what you do, how much you exercise, how religiously you diet, or meditate, or pray, or how much money you donate to your church there is a single hard, cold fact that faces everyone on earth: One day it’s going to be over. One day the sun will rise, the world will turn, people will go about their daily routines–only you won’t be in it. You’ll be still. And cold.

What worked for me:

  • This book starts out almost a year after the last book. His ball of fur, cute puppy (Mouse) has “…gone from fuzz ball to fuzz barge.” And Thomas is living with him still. Harry invited him at the end of the last book–just until he found his own place. Almost a year later Harry is getting tired of having a roommate, but feels guilty since Thomas is having a hard time.
  • Mouse is a great character…happy like a dog, but also wise.
  • This is the first book which mentions Waldo Butters (at least I don’t remember him before this) and he’s a good character. He’s a medical examiner who loves polka…and polka is important in this story!
  • This is the seventh book in the series and all that has happened to Harry has changed him. He’s battered, more cynical, still idealistic but doesn’t trust as easily. He’s learned his past actions–even if well meant–have far-reaching consequences for his life and others. He still tries to stand for the clueless, innocent humans. And he realizes he’s important to a lot of people.
  • These books deal a lot with Harry trying to do the “right thing.” Trying to prove he isn’t evil just because he killed someone before he even knew what the rules were. Many wizards in the White Council think he will fail at any time, but he’s determined to prove them wrong even though he’s seeing the world in more shades of gray than just black and white.

 What didn’t work:

  • I’m tired of Harry being depressed. Maybe if he had a girlfriend he would be happier…but probably not!
  • What happened to Mister (Harry’s cat)? In the latter part of the book he isn’t mentioned.

My thoughts:

The first part of the book is kind of depressing. Harry is  angry with Thomas and feels guilty about it. His apartment is small and usually messy since Thomas is there. Karrin Murphy heads off to Hawaii with someone (and Harry isn’t sure how he feels about that!) A vampire threatens to ruin Murphy’s career. I thought I might need a break from this series because I was getting depressed! However, by the end of the book I decided I’m ready to read the next one and find out what happens. However, I put it on hold at the library so I may have to wait awhile–which is probably for the best!

Do you read this series? How do you like it? Did you like this book?

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?

 

 

Review: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

I read this book during Fraterfest Read-a-Thon hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This was a fun read-a-thon and I managed to read two books during the five days of the read-a-thon! Fool Moon was a good choice because it takes place in October and is about werewolves!

Fool Moon
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden File series, #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2001
e-book, Library
421 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Harry Dresden–Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…

 

» » » » » » » » »

My magic. That was at the heart of me. It was a manifestation of what I believed, what I lived. It came from my desire to see to it that someone stood between the darkness and the people it would devour.

What I like about this book:

  • The many types of werewolves shown in this book–lycantrhopes, hexenwolves, werewolves, loup-garou.
  • The mysteries is interesting and kept me guessing for quite awhile. Even when I decided who must be behind the murders I didn’t realize the full extent.
  • Harry is an idealist. He doesn’t take the safe course if there’s someone who needs protecting.
  • Some of the same characters from the first book are in this book–Lt. Karrin Murphy, John Marcone, Susan Rodriguez.
  • There’s a bit of romance between Harry and Susan. Also a strained sort of friendship with Harry and Karrin Murphy.

What I don’t like:

  • By the time the book ends Harry thinks someone may be trying to kill him. However, when Harry has the chance to ask someone who might know who this is he doesn’t ask. (Although he did ask someone earlier in the book.)

» » » » » » » » »

My thoughts: 

This is a good second book in the series. It hints that someone is trying to kill Harry. (Though the way that’s handled is one of the aspects I didn’t like.) I’m looking forward to the next book and I have that e-book on hold at the library. Since I’ve read books 4 and 5 in the series I know this series only improves as we go on!

» » » » » » » » »

Do you read The Dresden Files series? Are you continuing to like them?

Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm FrontStorm Front
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2000
E-book, Library
322 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Harry Dresden — Wizard

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or
Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed

» » » » » » » » »

I don’t want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I’d rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don’t come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p’s and q’s. My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I’m in the book.

What I like about this book:

  • Harry is a great character. He’s a wisecracking, irreverant private detective/wizard. (“I’d made the vampire cry. Great. I felt like a real superhero. Harry Dresden, breaker of monsters’ hearts.”)
  • Lt. Karrin Murphy, Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Toot-toot are well-developed characters even in this first book. They have distinct personalities.
  • The book is set in Chicago where I’ve spent a lot of time over the years.
  • The ironic and wry way the author writes. He shows the ironic even in dire circumstances.
  • The world building is interesting. For example, a wizard can gaze into a person’s eyes and see their soul. The other person can also see into the wizard’s soul…a disturbing experience especially for the nonwizard.

What I don’t like:

  • The book starts a little slow.

Interesting Detail:

  • The book was published in 2000. Amazing to think how much has changed: film and cameras using film are important in the story, but now 13 years later we don’t use film at all.

» » » » » » » » »

My thoughts: This is a good start to the series. The characters are introduced and I got a good feel for them. Since I’ve read the fourth and fifth books in the series I know some of the recurring characters who show up in this first book. It’s also good to get some of the back story for Harry and some of the other characters. A good start to the series even if I did find the book a little slow at first.

» » » » » » » » »

What do you think? Have you read any of this series?

Review: Death Masks by Jim Butcher

death-masksDeath Masks
by Jim Butcher
Series: Dresden Files, book 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Roc
E-book, from library
373 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for.

A duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards…

Professional hit men using Harry for target practice…

The missing Shroud of Turin…

A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified…

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

………………………………………..

This is the second book I’ve read in this series and I need to go back and start at the beginning, I think! Even though I haven’t read those first books I don’t feel lost and I’m really enjoying this series. They are so much fun to read. Lots of action, lots of Harry Dresden style humor and heroic deeds–what more could I want?

Harry is very busy in this book. The war between the White Council and the Red Court (which Harry started) is still going on and the Red Court is still trying to kill him. He’s challenged to a duel by a Red Court vampire, his ex-girlfriend Susan shows up in Chicago, he’s hired to find the Shroud of Turin which has been stolen in Italy and brought to Chicago. There’s lots of action happening in all these events and Harry needs to use his magical prowess as well as his intelligence to figure out what’s going on and how to stay alive.

As one of the characters comments in this book Harry has to deal with many shades of gray. He has done things in the past which caused him problems then and now. He made mistakes before he realized what he was doing and he is open to temptations, but he deals with his shades of gray by acting as honorably as he can and trying to keep his friends safe. This is his biggest strength and his biggest weakness–his friends. He fights the duel with the vampire because his friends are threatened. But his friends also keep him grounded and fight with him when he needs them.

I enjoyed this book. The characters in these books aren’t always safe and people die and people have to change sometimes and move on. I like that the characters grow and change. There is also a large cast of people who come and go in these books sometimes having more of a role in one book or another. Jim Butcher does a good job describing them and making them interesting. They grow and change with the series.

I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series!

Review: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

This is the first book I’ve read by Shelley Adina–sorry…this book is by Jim Butcher(!) and it’s listed with the Literary Escapism blog for the 2013 New Author Challenge.

SummerKnightSummer Knight
by Jim Butcher
Series: Dresden Files, book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Roc
E-book, from library
388 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower.

The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him — and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case.

………………………………………..

I watched the Dresden Files when it was on the SciFi channel several years ago. I was sad when it was cancelled after the first season. I’ve been wanting to read this series for several years, but just hadn’t quite found the right time. When I saw some of the books were available as e-books from my library I knew it was a sign! Even though this is the fourth book in the series I’ve read it first because it was available first!

Even though this was the fourth book I didn’t have a problem picking up the threads of the book…perhaps because I had watched the TV show which has some of the same characters and aspects of the book. Things that happened earlier to Harry Dresden and other characters are referred to and I hope to go back and read the earlier books.

This book opens with a rain of toads which Harry and his friend Billy the werewolf are checking out. Harry needs to find out if the toads are magical or real. If they are real it’s more of a problem…showing that things are out of whack with the world. He does figure out the toads are real and also manages to survive an assassination attempt. All that in the first few pages!

Harry has to deal with the White Council (the wizards’ council) and the Faeries. He doesn’t want to deal with either, but quickly finds he has little choice. He also realizes he’s going to have a hard time coming out of this alive…both the Council and the Faeries threaten to kill him if he doesn’t succeed in finding the Summer Knight’s killer and clear the Winter Queen.

My Thoughts: I like urban fantasy with a strong main character, engaging supporting characters and a good mystery. Summer Knight has all these. I like Harry even when he’s depressed and sad at his inability to help his girlfriend (former girlfriend?) who was hurt in an earlier book. Harry has a strong set of ethics and tries to follow what he thinks is the right way even when it’s not the easy way. Not everyone likes him and a number of people think he’s dangerous and out-of-control. He doesn’t let that stop him from doing what he thinks he has to. However, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a great sense of the absurd. He’s very human.

I slammed the doors open a little harder than I needed to, stalked out to the Blue Beetle, and drove away with all the raging power the ancient four-cylinder engine could muster. Behold the angry wizard puttputt-putting away.

….I growled at myself. “Stop whining, Harry,” I said in a firm, loud voice. “So what if you’re tired? So what if you’re hurt? So what if you smell like you’re already dead? You’re a wizard. You’ve got a job to do….”

He’s also smart enough to be afraid, but also knows he has to step in and try to save the people he cares about or who’ve volunteered to help him. He has no allusions about the danger Faeries represent.

I leaned against my door with my eyes closed, trying to think. I was scared. Not in that half-pleasant adrenaline-charged way, but quietly scared. Wait-on-the-results-of-the-medical-tests scared. It’s a rational sort of fear that puts a lawn chair down in the front of your thoughts and brings a cooler of drinks along with it.

I was working for the queen of wicked faeries–well, Queen of Winter, of the Unseelie faeries, at any rate. The Unseelie weren’t universally vicious and evil, any more than the Seelie, the Summer fae, were all kind and wise. They were much like the season for which they had been named–cold, beautiful, pitiless, and entirely without remorse. Only a fool would willingly associate with them.

He got tangled up with the Faeries in the past and hasn’t been able to completely untangle himself. That’s how the Queen of Winter has trapped him…that and other past actions on Harry’s part have brought him to his present predicament–working for the Queen. During his investigation he meets people from his past as well as changelings and faeries. He faces many dangers and doesn’t always know who to trust. The mystery of who killed the Summer Knight and why he was killed is a good one. The book is well-written, the characters are interesting and complex and the world building is excellent.

I plan to read more books in this series and am so happy there are lots available to read! The 14th book–Cold Days–was published last November and the next book Skin Game doesn’t have a publishing date yet.

Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

I found this Meme at the “The Broke and the Bookish” blog (http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/) and I like the idea of making a list about books each week. After reviewing my list of series to start I realize I already have a number of these books and I need to start reading…so many books and never enough time!

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

2. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.

3.The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin.

4. The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold.

5. Shifting Circle series by Sharon Shinn.

6. The Sun Sword series by Michelle West.

7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor.

8. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

9. Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance.

10. The Touchstone series by Andrea K. Host.