Heed the warnings for this one because this gets dark:
Mental torture, forced drug use, drug addiction, detailed description of past child sexual abuse, violation of autonomy
I was worried after the last couple of books that this series would end with a whimper instead of a bang, but thankfully I had nothing to worry about. And I can reiterate, definitively, that book 4 can be skipped as everything that's revealed there is brought up here - not in every detail but enough to know what you missed. I was also worried I'd have to endure more of Freddy and Mikey's POV, but thankfully that didn't happen. Sadly
Freddy and Mikey are still alive at the end of the book, so I might have to put up with them again later,
but I can deal with that when I get there. I was hoping to see
the ever-elusive Nicky but he was again MIA. I'm getting mighty curious about him and what powers or abilities he may or may not possess.
The big showdown with the Duke has come at last and it's just as messed up as I'd thought it'd be. I got so angry at Freddy and Mikey multiple times, and I still can't really buy their relationship - and thus Freddy's motivation. I'd more easily believe that Freddy's pride was insulted by his dad presuming to take a plaything away from him than I do that he actually cares about Mikey but whatever, it was a smallish part of the plot and not lingered over too much.
It was neat to see Windsor take a more active role in the story, now that he's a little older and learning new words. :D Lawrence and Quentin are put through the ringer in this one though and it's often difficult to read because all their weaknesses are used against them. Both of them have grown and changed so much since the first book and their adventure here tests all of that growth to its limits. I really had no idea how this was all going to be resolved, which just added to the angst and intrigue.
This was a wild ride and once the action gets going it doesn't really let up until the end. It was hard to put down at times and it went quickly. We get a nice little epilogue that hints at what the next arc is going to be dealing with, and I for one will be eagerly awaiting that release.
Little Bear has a favorite chair, and he doesn't want anyone else to sit on it. When his stubbornness gets in the way of his friendships, Little Bear has to decide what's more important to him.
This is a wonderfully illustrated story for children aged between 3 and 8. I loved it!
I love the colourful illustrations done by Alena Paklina. They bring this short story to life and will engage a child who hasn’t fully grasped how to read yet, but who can follow the story with ease as it's been read to them by their parent. It compliments the short story written by the author, so one is transported directly into the tale. Depending on the child’s age and reading ability, the author has written a charming story that is easy enough for a young reader to follow, as she uses simple words that will not confuse a child.
The story is a simple but important one about learning to share. Little Bear has a lovely chair but refuses to share it. Because of his selfish behaviour, he has been left out of the fun and become lonely, which is no fun at all. He learns that by sharing, he is included in all the fun and games with his friends. This then translates into teaching the young reader how it is better to share when playing with their friends or siblings. Some adults reading this book may decide that this book is also about bullying as Little Bear is not exactly nice to his friends. However, this is not the impression I found when reading it. I suppose it depends on your upbringing and what your life experiences have made to you as a reader, and how you interpret a book in a certain way. I can only go on my impression of this book, and I think it’s a lovely book that can entertain as well as educate. Everyone’s opinion is different, so I will leave you to decide if, after reading the sample, whether you would want your child to either listen to you read it, or they read this book on their own.
This book is suitable to read as a bedtime story, or anytime at all, especially if a child has a short attention span. It is a quick read, so even if they haven’t settled down, the lovely pictures will entertain the children.
Claressa Swensen is a new author to me, as I have not read her other children’s books. However, I would definitely read more of her books in the future.
I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards and to adults looking for a fun but educational read for their children. – Lynn Worton
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey originally had me quite frustrated because I felt that the labeling (the library's call number) misrepresented the content of the book. [Essentially The Bad Guys was labeled as a Young Reader meaning that the intended audience was anywhere from 2nd-4th grade depending on the reading level of the child. I feel that it was more accurately categorized as an Easy Reader (1st-2nd grade) which is quite different and generally means there are less words and more illustrations per page. I'm mentioning all of this because while it might not matter to some (like if you're not picking up books for your kid(s)) it may have an impact on others.] This is the first book in a series (6 so far) which follows a crew of 'bad' animals: a wolf, snake, shark, and piranha (who is the funniest and fartiest). The wolf decides to round up fellow bad guys to change their image and reform their behavior. He is initially met with skepticism but throughout the book the other members of the club start to come around to his side and become quite enthusiastic about the enterprise. Their first mission is to break 200 dogs out of an animal shelter but from the outset there are large obstacles in their path...mainly how 4 dangerous animals are going to get in the front door of an animal shelter. Cue the shark coming up with a rather camp solution... The appeal of this book rests mainly in its silly humor and quick pacing. Young audiences will surely gobble this up and ask for the next in the series immediately. 7/10 because it didn't totally blow me away but I could see myself reading more for a quick palate cleanser (I may or may not have read the #6 already).
Blabey's website with the total list of books in this series (as well as his Pig the Pug series which is great fun): Aaron Blabey books.
What's Up Next: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
What I'm Currently Reading: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett & When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Another fun compilation of short stories and novellas set in the Dresden universe. I finished my read of the currently available books almost three years ago and have been waiting impatiently for Peace Talks ever since, along with everyone else. So I was happy to see this come out to break the dry spell a bit - and also impress upon me the need to do a relisten at some point in the near future. :D
A Fistful of Warlocks - 3 stars
I spent the first half of this trying to remember who Luccio was. Whoops. She never made much of an impression as a character, so it took me awhile to place her, especially since I heard19th century and got excited that maybe we were getting a story about Ancient Mai. Alas, no. Still, Wild West, Wyatt Earp and Warlocks - what's not to love?
Cassandra Campbell narrates this one.
B Is For Bigfoot - 4 stars
Harry must deal with bullies targeting Bigfoot's kid. Irwin is pathologically pacifist, and Harry's intent on making him understand that he can still stand up for himself. As ever, Butcher takes what should be a fairly straightforward issue and complicates the hell out of it. Plus, it's about time Sasquatch makes an appearance in this world.
AAAA Wizardry - 4 stars
Harry's again playing mentor, this time to young wizards. Harry shines when he's taking care of kids and teaching others how to be better. The classroom setting is intertwined with a case that Harry worked where things ... wait for it ... went wrong. I know! That never happens to him, right?
I Was a Teenage Bigfoot - 3 stars
Irwin's again in trouble, and Harry's sent to help out. This one is fairly straightforward, on the Dresden scale, and we don't get as much interaction with Irwin this time around. And you will NEVER guess the motive for this one. :D
Curses - 5 stars
I actually never heard of the Billy Goat curse, and the way Butcher comes up to explain it is classic Dresden, whimsical and offers some of the most hilarious moments in this collection.
Even Hand - 3 stars
Oh, Gentleman Johnny Marcone. I don't care for him, but he's hardly the worst villain out there. He reminds me a lot of Xanatos from Gargoyles, actually. Unrepentantly evil, but with his own moral code and rules. The best rule being "no kids." So when Justine come to him asking for help protecting a child, well...what's a cold-blooded mafia-type man supposed to do?
Jim Butcher narrates this one. And...well...Hermoine would approve his narrative style. His pronunciation is always very proper and precise - and as a result a little on the stilted side.
Bigfoot on Campus - 4 stars
Bigfoot Irwin's all grown up and in college and has a girlfriend whose not what she seems. What could go wrong? Harry's got a condition on this one though: Papa Bigfoot has to meet his son, who is more than a little ticked off for being kept on the sidelines his whole life.
Bombshells - 4 stars
Molly's trying to fill the shoes of Harry after the event in Changes, and she's finding it to be quite an overwhelming task. I've always liked Molly, so was happy to see her POV and get inside her head. She's made some questionable decisions, and seeing how she navigates the world of wizardry as a result of those decisions and what she's learned since was fascinating. Plus, she gets company of Justine and Andi while she tries to figure out how to save Thomas. (I forgot Andi was dating Butters.)
Cold Case - 5 stars
Two Molly POVs in a row! And this one hurt. Molly's first assignment as the new Winter Maiden pairs her up with Carlos as they go up against monsters Alaska, and it doesn't go anything like she thought it would. Her new "mom" Mab is as cold and vicious as always, and a stark contrast to Charity. Mab's not here for sentimentality. She's here to fight a war. She does offer Molly the opportunity to find a better way to fight that war though, so hopefully that means Molly will be able to do that someday.
Julia Whelan narrates both of Molly's stories, and she does a great job.
Jury Duty - 4 stars
Harry Dresden has been found - by the government! Dun dun DUUUUNNNN! Jury duty happens. Wackiness ensues. Good fun.
Day One - 4 stars
BUTTERS! I love Butters - and totally forgot he was a Knight now. Whoops. He's called to his first mission as a Knight of the Cross and he does an excellent job of it. Oliver Wylan does the narration on this one and he captures Butters perfectly.
Zoo Day - 5 stars
Harry spends his first full day with his 10-year old daughter Maggie and it's adorable. Of course, this is Dresden Files, so it can't just be a nice family outing. There's a lot going on here, and we get to see not just Harry's POV, but Maggie's and Mouse's too. Yes, you saw that right. Mouse gets his own POV here. Maggie's an amazing little kid, and Mouse's POV was charming as hell - in between all the horror, lol.