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text 2018-12-08 20:52
Brief Cases (Dresden Files) - Jim Butcher

I've just checked back in my Booklikes archives, and it appears the last time I was in the Dresden universe was way back in June 2014. Is it seriously that long since Skin Game was released?

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text 2018-11-29 15:14
TBR Thursday
Nairobi Heat - Mukoma wa Ngugi
Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files - Jim Butcher
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean - Morten A. Strøksnes
The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court - Michelle Moran
Small gods - Terry Pratchett

 

Time to buckle down and see how many of my planned 2018 books I can finish before the year's end.

 

Both Doomsday Book and Small Gods will count towards my Science Fiction and Fantasy Project.  I think that Small Gods, Nairobi Heat, Second Empress, and Shark Drunk can all contribute to my 24 Tasks of the Festive Season, too.  Maybe I can find a way to make Skin Game fit, if I am crafty enough!

 

I was supposed to meet my new great-niece on Saturday, but my niece's whole household has come down with some nasty plague, so we are cancelling those plans.  I guess this gives me a day to get caught up on housework, do some cooking (so I have a Menu Monday offering), and read!

 

My car & I were reunited yesterday.  All seems to be well with the tires, so I am happy about that.  Today, I'll be headed off to my retinal specialist for my annual check-up.  Just making sure those retinas stay stuck to the back of my eyeballs!

 

Happy reading, friends!

 

 

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review 2018-11-27 01:22
Burning Alive
Burning Alive - Shannon K. Butcher

I feel like I *should* have liked this more than I did.  I had a hard time connecting.  Helen has had visions of burning alive while a strange man watches her.  When she sees this man while she is dining out, she gets scared.  

I thought Helen was stupid at times.  I found her fear of fire annoying.  I really had a hard time connecting with her (or even liking her).  Drake was okay.  Their relationship developed fast. A bit of an open ended epilogue (dare I say cliffhanger?).

Interesting concepts (the tattooed trees) and I liked some of the secondary characters.  I'm on the fence about continuing on to book 2.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-15 20:03
October 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 15, 2018.

 

 

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

 

This book surprised me and in a pleasant way. Having never read anything by Ms. Howard, I didn't really know what to expect. What I discovered was good UF with half decent world-building. It had shades of the movie Now You Can See Me  only the magic in the book wasn't an illusion.

 

We are introduced to the major players almost immediately. They each have their motivations and that was completely okay. The world-building should have been better because as far as I can see, this book is a standalone. Even if it is to be the first in a series, then it would need to be immersive enough for readers to continue with the sequel. I think it mostly does that.

 

 

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The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

 

Wow! I mean I tried reading The War of the Worlds and failed miserably. If you can make a novel about an alien conquest sound boring, then there isn't much hope that I'd ever like anything you'd write. While playing Book Bingo, I landed on a category that fit this book beautifully. So, I decided to give Mr. Wells another go.

 

I am so glad that I did! Suspense colors the atmosphere in the story and there is a stench of violence waiting to happen. Why don't scientists ever learn? I kept cringing every time the humans faced the monsters (Moreau could give Frankenstein a run for the money)! Some were near misses and some events just foreshadowed the darkness that was to come.

 

The edition I read also came with a summary of H. G. Wells' life history. He had been involved in the formation of League of Nations. Cool!

 

 

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Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

 

This book had issues similar to that I highlighted in the review of Kat Howard's book. Say, vampires do exist and they decide to come out. Won't there be a political upheaval to makes all other upheavals look silly? Nothing like that happened in this book.

 

Meritt caught my interest because she refused to be grateful for being turned into a bloodsucking parasite. She also clashed with the authorities regularly and I liked that she wasn't ready to give in to her attraction towards the head vampire just yet. Her troubled relationship with her gold-digger and nouveau riche parents cemented her authenticity as a person. As did her bonds with her bff and grandfather. What detracted from the believability factor was how she rebelled against her new life and yet gave up so easily on her old one. What of her dissertation? What about going back to school?

 

What did bug me was the identity of the person having humans killed by her minions. As far as twists go, this one was just all right.

 

Even so, I want to read the next one in the series before I decide if I will continue with the rest.

 

 

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The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

 

The humor in these books is always a winner. Consider the two quotes below:

 

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But what I liked, even more, was that the series took a break from the disaster it had become. In case, you haven't yet read the last book or my review of it it was horrible. The author dropped a doozy of a deus ex machina on us. Then she left the readers with a huge cliffhanger that took us back to the prehistoric age (not literally)!

Guess what though? The last part did wonders for the book! I could reconnect with Charley without the usual over-the-top complications. The world was still about to end, but that wasn't going to happen just then. Charley did spend the whole book lusting after her husband even if she didn't know who he was. But that is typical behavior for her.

 

I also fell in love with Cookie all over again after reading this book. The woman has a life of her own, a daughter, and a husband. Yet she put everything on hold to come be with an amnesiac Charley. Even though she can't act worth a damn and kept slipping up and calling Charley by her real name. Cookie rocks! 

 

 

Bring on the next book!

 

 

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Another book that I wish had read a long time ago. Now, I don't appreciate it the way it is meant to be lauded. Firstly, since it is by a female author writing epic fantasy. Yaaaaay! Then because the protagonist isn't white and male, but colored and male. Okay, this deserves a smaller yaaay. Even so, it is still a win.

 

What I wasn't a fan of was the writing style. It felt stilted and kept me from devouring the book in my usual way. Of course, the fact that I have read my fill of epic fantasy might have something to do with it. Although, this book wasn't much concerned with the affairs of the world. It focused on a character's solo journey to get rid of the darkness that he had called from another world.

 

So, I'll reserve the final verdict until I have read the next book in the series.

 

 

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Everwild by Neal Shusterman

 

I can never understand how a children's book can scare the pants off me when so many horror novels have failed to do that! Similarly, I survived watching Jessica Jones being mentally — and otherwise — raped by Killgrave repeatedly. And yet, I have to force myself to sit through one episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events!

 

The idea of kids being in control is a very scary one because they can be very cruel. At times, they won't even realize the extent of damage they are leaving on another kid's psyche. The good thing about kids managing their affairs is that they can take highly complicated concepts of morality and simplify them.

 

I had a great time reading this book for both those reasons. Can't wait to read the next one!

 

 

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Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

 

Have mostly given up on this series ever being anything but cheesy, if I ever thought so in the first place. This novella was a good surprise though. Instead of the swooning heroines, we were shown someone who could fight and hold her own. She was also the one who kept the vampires and their minions at bay while hubby went to ground.

 

Yeah, she was forced into the whole Carpathian mating for life ritual by her husband-to-be. And yes, she couldn't live without him as soon as he arrived at the scene. Little improvements, see?

 

 

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

 

The humor was on point, as usual. Look below for a crack or two:

 

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The relationship between Harry and his brother is slowly developing. By that, I mean they talked to each other about real stuff, like Thomas being thirsty all the time.

 

Susan was awesome!

 

The rest was pretty much as it always is:

 

Harry was trying to save a woman's life.

 

Harry couldn't hit women, even ones bent on killing him.

 

Harry defeated a threat that he couldn't possibly defeat.

 

Harry saves an adorable character who learns how to stand up for themselves and others.

 

Harry is hit with threats from all directions and lives to tell the tale.

 

 

So, this was my October in reading. How was yours?

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review 2018-10-13 03:50
A Few Thoughts about the Audiobook of Changes
Changes - Jim Butcher,James Marsters

Spoilers to follow. This isn't one of my typical posts, so my typical rules don't apply.

 

After starting a few months back, I've pretty much stopped posting about listening to the <b>Dresden Files</b> audiobooks -- there are only so many ways to say, "I'd forgotten how much I like this story" and "Wow! James Marsters did a fantastic job!" Not only does it get dull to read, it gets pretty dull to write. (okay, there is a challenge on finding a new way to say it, but . . . I'm too lazy to find that enticing).

 

But I listened to <b>Changes</b> this week and how can I not talk about that?This is one of my favorite novels ever -- Top 10, Deserted Island Must-Have kind of thing -- highs, lows (and things lower than lows), laughs, tears, anger, shock, joy. <b>Changes</b> has it all (at least for those who've been with Harry for a few books -- preferably 11).

 

Listening to the book was a great way for me to experience it again -- if for no other reason, I couldn't race through it and accidentally skim over things in my haste to get to X or Y plot point.

 

It's silly as I've read everything that comes after this a couple of times, but seeing all the compromises and deals Harry made as his life is dismantled piece by piece really hit me hard. Yet, Harry makes his choices freely and for the best reason imaginable. All for Maggie. The ramifications of his choices and agreements are wide, huge and so-far we don't know all of them -- and Harry'd do it all again, and there's not a fan in the world that would blame him.

 

And Marsters? He gets better and better with every book -- and this was fantastic. I loved where Mouse got to "talk" -- it was the next best thing to reading it for the first time. And, when he got to those lines? You know the ones I'm talking about:

 

And I . . .

 

I used the knife.

 

I saved a child.

 

I won a war.

 

God forgive me.


I had to hit pause for a couple of minutes before I could keep going.

 

Sometimes as a book blogger, you get wrapped up in numbers, ratings, book tours, promotion, and all the other stuff -- but every now and then it's great to remember what it is about fiction that gets you into it in the first place. This treat by Butcher and Marsters did just that for me -- I was entertained, I was moved, I was a little inspired.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/12/a-few-thoughts-on-changes-by-audiobook-by-jim-butcher-james-marsters
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