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Archive for January, 2011

Contest! Nook Giveaway!

A good friend of mine turned me on to this fantastic giveaway at bookalicio.us with a Nook Color as the grand prize! Head on over, check it out and enter to win!

There are eight second place prize packs available, featuring lots of good books so even one of those packs would be worth entering the contest.

The link to the blog is embedded above but here it is again, just in case: http://bklc.us/2y

Thanks to bookalicio.us for the awesome giveaway and good luck to all who enter!

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Storm Front, published nearly 11 years ago in April of 2000, is the first book of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, featuring  Harry Dresden of Chicago; devil-may-care wizard, rugged yet dashing gentlemen and ass-kicker extraordinaire.

From the author’s website (where sample chapters await your perusal):

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.

From my thoughts, where spoilers may await your perusal:

This first installment of the series starts off with a bang and introduces us to Harry, of course, as well as Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of Chicago P.D.’s Special Investigations unit. Grisly murders: check. Damsel in distress client: check. Bad guy gunning for Harry: check!

I’m not trying to say that this book reads like a checklist. On the contrary, when I first read it I was wowed by the novelty of the story. Novelty to me, at least. I was immediately captivated by Harry, the unlikely hero who advertises his services as a wizard in the phone book and has to field crank calls as a matter of course. He doubts himself but still tries to do what’s right, and not just because there’s a Warden of the White Council waiting to lop off his head with a magical sword if he steps out of line.

No, not a checklist… my reason for checking off several aspects of the story was to point out that Butcher sets the scene early on for an edge of your seat read that packs a wallup of a punch. He also squeezes in a hell of a lot of information about Harry’s skills and indeed, his whole world, without making you feel like you’re slogging through lengthy information dumps.

Another tidbit that took me by surprise was that Harry really takes a beating throughout the course of this book. Oftentimes, the hero/protagonist eeks through the story with barely a skinned knee, but Harry… oh, poor Harry, just gets the crap beat out of him! And he feels his pains, he doesn’t just pop back upright like a Weeble Wobble and tarry forth to fight evil. Nay… he crawls and pukes and bleeds and has to get tucked into bed just like reg’lar folk do when they’re hurt as badly.

That really impressed me. That, and the way Butcher grabs the reader (or listener, in this case, though I have read the actual book) by the scruff of the neck and drags them right into the story. You almost feel as though you can hear the sizzling demon spit, feel the cold rain on your skin and see the flash of the lightning. I also have to say that I absolutely love the way Harry is so snarky and literally laughs in the face of danger. Fun to read but awesome to listen to.

James Marsters is the reader on this audio book, as on all of the others, and I noticed that his reading wasn’t quite as animated in this first book as he was in Side Jobs, which I recently finished. Not that I was bothered by it, but one thing I’m looking forward to as I re-listen to the entire series in preparation for the release of Book #13, Ghost Story (which sadly just got bumped back three months to a July release) is to see how Marsters changes his reading style a bit to add more emotion. Because I tell you, in the later books when he yells “Fuego!”… it really gives a girl shivers!

One of my fave lines from the book: “Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.”

Wiser words were never spoken.

Check out my other Dresden Files reviews:

#2 – Fool Moon

#3 – Grave Peril

#4 – Summer Knight

#5 – Death Masks

#6 – Blood Rites

#7 – Dead Beat

#8 – Proven Guilty

#9 – White Night

#10 – Small Favor

#11 – Turn Coat

#12 – Changes

#12.5 – Side Jobs

#13 – Ghost Story

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For A Few Demons More is the fifth installment in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series about witch and independent runner, Rachel Morgan. Taking place a couple of months after the end of book #4, summer in Cincinnati finds Rachel as a bridesmaid in Trent Kalamack’s wedding?!

 

From Audible.com:

Despite dating one vampire and living with another, Rachel Morgan has always managed to stay just ahead of trouble…until now.

A fiendish serial killer stalks the Hollows, claiming victims across society, and the resulting terror ignites a vicious Inderland gang war. And while the ancient artifact Rachel is hiding may be the key to stopping the murderer, revealing it could also create a battle to the death among the numerous supernatural races that live in and around Cincinnati.

For every action has its price, and when the vampire master Piscary is set free and the demonic Algaliarept dares to walk openly under the sun, even Rachel Morgan can’t hide forever.

 

Rote spoiler warning!

I’m really rushing through these audio books, partly because I have SO many books on audio that I want to get to but also because I’ve been approved to read a galley of book #9 in the series, Pale Demon and I’m extremely anxious to refresh my memory of events in the later books of the series to date before I begin reading that.

This book has the usual antics by Rachel, her partners and her friends including Trent Kalamack begging her to attend his wedding as a bridesmaid/bodyguard because he wants her to rescue Stanley Saladin from his stint as Al’s familiar. Trent apparently blames Rachel for Lee’s imprisonment, though she had actually tried to keep Lee from being taken by appealing to his better nature, even though he didn’t seem to have one at the time.

We also see the Focus that Rachel kept Nick from stealing in the last book begin to wreak havoc on Rachel’s world by causing her alpha David, who’s holding onto the were artifact for Rachel, to accidentally turn women he’s slept with into werewolves. Damn. And as if that weren’t bad enough, we have Newt, the insane demon that Rachel met in book #3 after Al took Lee, traipsing across the lines and blaspheming the church to hunt for something of hers that she claims is in Rachel’s possession. Double damn.

So the scene is set for yet another face-paced adventure with demons , vampires, werewolves, pixies, elves and one very snarky witch.  Yes, I said demons as in plural. Not only is Al back -and Newt- but we meet Newt’s demon familiar, Minias. Newt and Minias have similar accents and for some reason, Gavin gives Al the same accent that she creates for the other demons, instead of the British accent used in the previous books. His character lacks something because of it and it’s difficult to think “Al” when hearing her read his parts, I keep thinking “Minias”.

That oddity aside, I still enjoy Gavin’s reading, especially the personality that she gives to Rachel. Here are some of my favorite Rachel quotes from this book: “I wasn’t often recognized and it was even more rare that I didn’t have to run away when I was.” and “Do you think I’m stupid? Don’t answer that!” Also, Jenks’ “Piss on my daisies, I knew there was something I liked about the little cookie maker!” was hilarious enough to make me laugh out loud.

The funny aside, there’s plenty of edge-of-your-seat action to be had during the course of this book and I’m ready to plow through (or fly through, rather) the rest of the series to get to Pale Demon, hopefully by next weekend!

One thing that I need to get off my chest about this book (the series, really but this book in particular) is the whole love=sex thing in regards to Ivy. It is possible for people to express love without having sex but when Ivy is talking about sharing blood with Rachel, she talks of them (love and sex, that is) as though they’re the same thing. For some reason, I couldn’t say exactly why, that really bugs me. That and the fact that everyone feels the need to continually admonish Rachel for not wanting sex with Ivy as though she owes it to her just because Ivy loves her. Again… love doesn’t equal sex! Aaand end rant. :o)

I really wasn’t looking forward to listening to The Outlaw Demon Wails on audio because Gigi Bermingham replaces the usual narrator, Marguerite Gavin so I bought the paperback and will read it, instead. This way I don’t need to worry about the mispronunciations and unfamiliar ‘voices’ that make me shake my head in resignation and/or gnash my teeth in irritation… I’ll get back to audio and Gavin in Book #7, White Witch, Black Curse.

By the way, there are excerpts from the books at the other end of most of these links I post, but you knew that, didn’t you?

 

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