Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cold Days - Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is back...and totally screwed...just the way we like it...

After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.
He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill. 
Guess which Mab wants first?
Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday. 
Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…
His soul."

Many of you know that Harry Dresden is my book crush. He kinda reminds me of my husband, tall and handsom (not dark, as my true love has blonde hair and blue eyes), intelligent, caring, a man of action, a smart ass...every girls dream right?

Now, I have to say that as much as I loved Ghost Story (the book previous to Cold Days), I felt it wasnt up to par with the other books in this series. I just had a hard time buying Harry as a ghost and not having his wizarding abilities. It just felt a little strange. I've read some reviews with people bitching that it just wasnt a "Dresden book" and that Jim Butcher kinda went away from the format of the story that has made Harry Dresden so awesome. But I think all the nay-sayers who complained about Ghost Story, will love and feel better about Cold Days because, holy shit, it is non stop for our favorite wizard. Not just with the action scenes, but also all the mental stressers that Harry has to go through with being the Winter Knight.

Harry Dresden is a character purposly written to be a throw back to the chivalry idea: respect for a lady, the knight in shinning armor, the do-gooder. But all this has a darker under current that has slightly been touched on throughout the books (Cold Days is #14 in the series ladies and gents. yeah...#14...). But when Harry accepts the Winter Kight's mantle and become's Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness's errand boy, that primal and darker side of Dresden fights it's way to the surface. I always enjoy Harry's internal monologues as they dont only explain him and his thought process, but also raise questions to say "If it were me, what the heck would I do?" As the Winter Knight, harry feels the constant pull and tug and increasing pressure to give into his darker nature, which now that I think about it, makes me think of that Nickleback song, Figured You Out. All rounchy and wrong and sexually charged for all the bad reasons.  

Along with all the internal struggle of dear broken and battered Dresden, there is a heavy dose of action and mystery and plot twists....Oh My!! A lot of the characters from previous books have returned and there are also some really intersting and strange new villians introduced. The new villians,  The Outsiders, are from a different plane of existance and are trying get through to the Nevernever are in line with all of Butcher's villians in that they are creepy and power hungry. Oh course, they are totally going to play a huge part in the next book. Yeah. I said it, there's going to be a #15 book.

So my dear Harry is no longer leading an ordianry boring existence any more. I mean, within the space of a year, he has returned from the dead, been made Winter Knight, and Warden of Demonreach (Demonreach is an living island and would take waaaaay to long to explain). He fought and kicked two high level Outsiders and lived, led the Wild Hunt with the Erlking by his side. He has battled the Summer Knight in single combat and won, and was granted personal vaors by the Archangel Uriel.  Like I said...not an ordinary life.

Holy Crap! How could I forget about that kiss?! The one between Dresden and Karin Murphy? And I'm not saying it was a romantic kiss. Hell no. It was a primal, heat of the moment in the middle of battle, we might not make it out alive kiss! It was so passionate and real and raw. Some of the best writing in this book if you ask me, and about damn time. Even if nothing happens between Dresden and Murphy, and they stay nothing but friends forever, its good to know that they got it out of their system. But I'm a just a romantic...

Jim Butcher served this story and a silver plater and I'm not going to lie, I devoured it all up. It had everything I love and need: a smart ass hero, and band of heros and villians that so well crafted they are almost real, balls to the wall action, internal struggle that is borderline Dostoyevsky, and a world that I so wished I could live in. It was so wonderfully satisfying...and I cant wait to see what kind of hellfire and torture Jim Butcher puts my hunky bookcrush through. Oh Harry are sexy...

Remember guys...
Be yourself...unless you're a pirate...then always be a pirate!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet - Darynda Jones

Oh hey there's it going? Oh wow...not so good? Well, at least there's Reyes. Grrr...(that's a sexy grrr...not an angry one...)

"Welcome to the world of grim reaper extraordinaire, Charley Davidson. Try as she might, there's no avoiding her destiny. Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, "grim." And since Charley's last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above . . . or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she's insane. But the more they refute the woman's story, the more Charley believes it. In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley's life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans."

I love a good series. And this one is one of the bests. If you go through my blog, you'll find that I have read all these books and have had nothing but absolutely awesome things to say about them. And this book.......oh my god...kick ass!

Where do I start in raving about this book? How about the beginning? Sure why the hell not? Darynda Jones has this amazing way of start a book off where it might sound like something serious, but then Charley's quirky sense of humor cuts through the dark and lightens up the story. I feel that Charley is everyone woman's crazy best friend that knows not only how to have a good time, but also know how to talk herself out of trouble. We still have that awesome personality, but it seems to be tempered by PTSD  which was caused by the man who tortured her in the previous book (I wont go into as I do not want to provide you with spoilers. However, if you havent read this series yet, shame on you).  Her though process and denial is very Charley, however, we are still able to relate with her and cheer her on. Whether she is contemplating the name of her couch (I really liked Malibu Barbie), saving a deaf teen from being possessed by demons, learning about her supernatural heritage, or getting to know Reyes in the physical realm.

Yeah. Reyes. Let us talk about him for just a second. Ms. Jones' obviously spent a lot of time making this man the sexiest man in all of paranormal romance. A Brazilian Supermodel dipped in sensuality? Yep. Pretty Much. And that scene with him and Charley...oh my goodness, I'm fanning myself just thinking about it. Charley and Reyes are complete opposites of each other but the cannot help but be drawn and attracted to each other, no matter how much they drive each other bat shit crazy.

I loved all the little sub plots and their twists and turns, providing Charley with a good amount of challenges to overcome and face. My only issue was Swoopes. He is just such a great character or Charley to play off of, however in this book i felt he was short changed as a character. He was moody and bipolar...which yeah I get since he died and came back. However, I felt that he was a little out of place in the book. I felt that Swoopes had to be mentioned in the book, and all his interactions with Charley awkward and forced. But that's just me....

I really love this series and I absolutely loved this book. Also, Darynda Jones is one cool lady which is just a bonus. Back at the beginning of the year, I won the audio book for Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. I mentioned my amazing good luck on Facebook and she commented on the status congratulating me. She is so nice and gracious with her fans. It really makes me love her books even more.
I applaud your awesome-sauce, Darynda Jones. Bravo!

On a side note, I'm on vacation this week, so lets hope I can knock out a review or two and shave off a book or two off my to be read list.

Remember folks: Always be yourself....unless you can be a pirate....then be a pirate!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Carrier Of The Mark - Leigh Fallon

(this review is bring written from the blogger app on my phone. I apologize if the format looks a bit funky because of that.)

Okay. Catchy title. Gorgeous cover. Set in Ireland. Yeah. I can totally get into this book, I thought. Oh was a struggle...

"Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs. But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction."

So let me preface this review with this statement: if you liked this book, don't take this review personally because honestly, I don't have a lot of nice things to say. Okay. That out of the way...

I'm going to keep it real here and tell you guys the truth. I was really disappointed in this book. So much so that by the time I got to end, I didn't like the book. I started out really wanting to like this book. I really did. And at first I was kind of into it. I love all things Irish. But three chapters in this book started to sound familiar to me.

Let me explain.

So Megan is a pretty girl who doesn't know she's pretty with a father who seems to have checked out of his daughter's life. There is a mysterious family where she feels an instant attraction to the one named Adam, and his family instantly loves her and lies for her to Megan's father. There's a quirky sister and the older brother is an understanding jerk. Oh, the DeRis siblings have a guardian who is always around for information dumps. All this is going on and there is a secret society after Megan and the DeRis family.

I'll let you think about it for a second...let it sink in...

This book sounds an aweful like...oh...I don't know...Twilight perhaps?! Yeah. You can totally lay several scenes from each book ontop of each other and they are exactly the same. Identical. Holy shit. Really? And there in lies my disappointment in this book. The concept is brilliant and pretty original in young adult books. Howrever, I am so freaking over the weak pretty girl that doesn't know she's pretty but everyone just seems to love. For what reason? Megan started out a half way decent lead character but then a juicy piece of Irish man meat introduces himself and suddenly it "my existence is all about you." Really? Unbelievable.

The only this that this book has going for it is a gorgeous cover and the stories concept. However, everything feel flat and I felt nothing was delivered to me that made me really like or care about Megan.

I look at this review and I feel slightly bad about ripping this book apart, but the fact that the chacters personalities and scenes and interactions are obviously ripped off from Twilight makes it pretty darn easy to call it out for its flaws.

So the question stands to be asked: will I read the second book? Probably not. I don't mind similarities with in genres as that is to be expected. But you might want to try a little harder to hide the fact that you were obvioulsy inspired by Twilight. At least its sex fan fiction like Fifty Shades of Gray...

Go forth and read friends:
The good, the bad, and the ugly...all books deserve to be read at least once.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

I opened this book and read the first page…and I…well, there are no words…just completely gobsmacked…

“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”

So I’m not too sure where to begin with this review other than, well, some curse words. Holy shit. This story is amazing. There are so many elements in this unique tale that make it such an outstanding read. But still the question remains? Where to start? Well, I suppose at the beginning. And since there is so much in this book, I'll keep this review focused on just a couple of things. Because I could in turn write and entire book about this book. And really, who has time for that?

Karou is a strong female hero, with a mysterious past that she is unfamiliar with. She is a perfect combination of realistic teenager and fantasy lead. Her blue hair and tattoos make her stand out in public, however, her attitude make her a likable character. Which, by the way, is an awesome relief. I have read a ton of young adult books that have lead female characters that by the time I finish reading the books, I am really not liking who is suppose to be our hero. But Karou…I love her. She is a genuine character who you can totally get behind and root for.

My favorite thing about this book was probably the setting. How many books have you read where the stories were set in Prague? The way Laini Taylor described the city made it absolutely beautiful and mysterious. The world building Laini Taylor does is seamless and breathtaking. The reimaging of demons and angels was interesting and intense and (like everything else in the book) mysterious. There is not too much I can go into without giving away a big ol’ chunk of plot and stuff…but trust me when I say that right near the end of the book…shit gets real.

Like all first books in a series, there were parts that did seem a bit slow, but I was totally okay with that as like all first books in a series, there is a ton of world building. However, I didn’t feel like I was getting information dumps at random parts in the story. All the information that we are provided is given to us as the readers at just the right points in this tale.

So do I suggest this book? Hells yes I do. This is an epic tale filled with action and mystery and love and betrayal and anything and everything between that makes a story about a girl with blue hair living in Prague caught between an ancient war between angles and demons. It is not only beautiful, but heartbreaking.

Damn I love books.
Until next time folks: keep reading!

(As a side note...this is what the first page looks like. Tell me right now that does not make you want to stop what you are currently reading and go find this book?)