Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

Do I have any Harry Dresden fans out there?  If you are, you are my new best friend.  If you have never heard of Harry Dresden, keep reading and maybe I can convince you why.  Three years ago or so, I was just getting back into reading after sometime taking a break.  You have kids and they consume your life.  I had forgotten how much I loved to read and I was lucky enough to have a young man on my team at work, Matt Davenport, who worked at B&N part time and who is also an indie author. We will talk more about Matt another time.  Anyways, Matt has a very contagious excitement when he talks about books.  He starting telling me about this character Harry Dresden.  Harry Dresden is a Wizard who lives in Chicago.  If you are in the Chicago area, look him up in the phone book. 

Anyone who is cool enough to have an ad in the phone book as a wizard is worth checking out. So, I read the first book in the Dresden File series and was hooked.  About this time every year, I start to get a craving for a little Harry Dresden.  Normally I can hold off until the release of the next book in the series which usually is around Thanksgiving.  However, the next book, Skin Game, has no release date.  NO RELEASE DATE!!!!!  Now, I did find a possible December 3rd release date, however, that has not be confirmed yet.  Now what is a girl supposed to do?  So, in order to sate my appetite I watched the entire TV series that came out about 5 years too early since it was cancelled after the first season.  I recommend you check it out on Netflix if you have it, it's amazing nothing like the book but amazing in it's own way.  This was just the appetizer.  I needed more, so I picked up Side Jobs, which are short stories that occur at various times throughout the series.  My favorites were Backup, The Warrior, and Aftermath.  Here is a list of all of the short stories you will find.

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

Rating: 3 wine glasses, very, very, very full

“Restoration of Faith”- Takes place before Storm Front
“Vignette”- Takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites
“Something Borrowed” - Takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty
“It’s My Birthday Too”- Takes place between White Night and Small Favor
“Heorot”-Takes place between White Night and Small Favor
“Day Off”- Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.
Backup - A novelette, takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat      
The Warrior- A novelette, takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat  
“Last Call”- Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat
“Love Hurts” - Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes 
 Aftermath- A novelette, takes place after Changes

What can I tell you about Harry Dresden.  He is a kick butt wizard and ends of having a lot of issues with vampires, werewolves, Chicago PD, archangels, fae and a whole bunch of bad guys.  He is goofy and clumsy, but somehow he manages to save the day.  Jim Butcher has done an amazing job developing all of the characters in the books and you can't help but fall right into the series.  I will admit that this was the series that started my book binges, yes I have a problem, no I don't care.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Featured Freebie: Brightest Kind of Darkness by Patrice Michelle

Happy Friday everyone! Another week has flown by and the weekend is finally here, providing me with adequate time to catch up on my reading. I am going to post this Friday's Featured Freebie quick so I can get back to reading Cinder. So download, upload and soak up the last of summer's sweet, golden rays with a great book in hand.

Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness #1)
by Patrice Michelle
357 pages
Currently Free on Amazon

Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Something From the Nightside by Simon R. Green

Rachel and I are still figuring this blogging thing out. Rachel already rocks the page and I'm still trying to figure it out.  Rachel is far superior when it comes to her posts and reviews.  Rachel's reviews are full of thought, meaning, and she always has lots of questions.  I wish I could write like her.  When I read, I read for pure entertainment.  I am usually transported into the book and live moment by moment alongside the characters.  I don't analyze why a character does this or why this is the way it is.  That's Rachel and why I like her so much.  So, what you will get from me will be posts that are fairly straight forward and describe how I felt when reading the book.  I'm hopping the more I do this the better I will become.  Please be patient with me.

I'm currently in the process of reading The Good, The Bad, and The Uncanny by Simon R. Green.  This is book 10 of 12 in the Nightside series.  This all started about three years ago, I had just finished the Twilight series for the second time.  Yes, I got caught up in the Twilight hype, but those were the first books I had read in over ten years.  Kids. Needing something to quench my renewed thirst for books, the Nightside series was recommended to me.  I'm a sci-fi fantasy kind of a girl and it sounded like something right up my alley.

By Simon R. Green
Rating: 3 Wine Glasses

John Taylor, left the Nightside for a chance at a normal life as a private investigator in the human world.  He has a special gift for finding missing things.  Years later, John is barely making ends meat in the real world and has just been hired to find a young teenage daughter who has gone missing.  All of the clues lead to the place that John vowed never to return to.  John has to make a decision to return and deal with the consequences he ran away from or let a young girl become another victim of the Nightside.  According to John, the Nightside "is the sick, secret, magical heart of London, where gods and monsters go to make the deals and seek the pleasures they won't find anywhere else."

Reader beware.

I like this series, it gives me the opportunity to be the bad, good guy.  Let's face it, sometimes you just need that.  There are no morals in the Nightside and all of your guilty pleasures come true.  Like a lot of British authors that I've read, there is a lot of description.  I've realized that I enjoy dialog so without a lot of dialog it takes me longer than typical get through reading these.  I've also realized that I can't just jump into the next book of the series I need to wait a while in-between them.  They are thrilling and full of mystery, I just don't like living in them for too long.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on. Last Tuesday, I was working on my Top Ten Books I Wish Had a Sequel list and while looking through my Goodreads shelf I discovered that Nancy Farmer is releasing a sequel to The House of the Scorpion and it is due out next month.

The House of the Scorpion is a futuristic novel set in Mexico. America's power is shrinking and the government has allowed an opium drug lord to take over a strip of land in present-day Mexico along the US - Mexican border. As part of the deal, the drug lord, El Patrón stops illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States. When El Patrón's men catch an illegal, they embed a computer chip in the person's brain which renders them a robotic slave until the day they die.  To prolong his life, El Patrón is creating clones of himself and harvesting their organs.

I read House of Scorpion back in 2007 and it was just one of those novel that has always stuck with me. Since then, I have been forever wishing it had a sequel and September 3rd that wish will finally come true.

The Lord of Opium (Matteo Alacran #2)
by Nancy Farmer
Release Date: September 3rd 2013

The new book continues the story of Matt, the boy who was cloned from evil drug lord El Patrón in The House of the Scorpion. Now 14 years old, Matt rules his own country, the Land of Opium, the only thriving place in a world ravaged by ecological disaster. Though he knows that the cure for ending the suffering is hidden in Opium, Matt faces obstacles and enemies at every turn when he tries to use his power to help.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Ten Books Set in an Alternate Realm

This is our second Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

This week's topic: Top Ten Favorite Books With (X) Setting

When Rachel and I sat down last week to discuss what to do for this weeks top ten, we pondered a couple of choices. Dystopia or Alternative Realms. Apparently, most of our reads lately have fallen under either of these two settings which we are lovin' right now. We decided on Alternative Realms as the setting because our top ten list for books set in a dystopia would be: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, and The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver. We can offer you slightly more of a variety with books that were set in alternate realms or maybe not. Here they are...

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  2. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  4. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  5. Forsaken by Heather Fleener
  6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  7. Chosen by Heather Fleener
  8. Firedancer by  S.A. Bolich
  9. Windrider by S.A. Bolich
  10. Lichgates by S.M Boyce
Can you think of anymore to add to either of our lists? What is on your top ten list for this week?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Sibylline Oracle by Delia Colvin

The Sibylline Oracle (The Sibylline Trilogy #1)
by Delia J. Colvin
Rating: 3 wine glasses

I was really excited to read this book since I am a huge fan of anything to do with Greek mythology. Don't get me wrong, I did like the book. The flashbacks were enchanting, transforming and enhanced the story. I hope to see more of those in the series' second book,  The Symbolon.

However, the book starts out slow. I got a little restless. It takes about half of the book for the reader to get the full background, but don't give up on this too hasty. The author does a good job with the storyline once she devolves more.

I will provide you with the background that you don't find out until about halfway through the book to entice you without spoiling the ending.

Valeria is really Cassandra, the beautiful Trojan woman who Apollo bestowed the gift of prophecy upon, reincarnated.

She is Alex's soul mate. They make each other feel complete. The author explains this beautifully, but pretty much he is willing to wait millenniums just to have a couple minutes with her. Wow...there is the definition of eternal love.

Alex is also blessed with the gift of prophecy. He is immoral and he will remain so, as long as no one kills him in the same manner he was originally killed.

Each time Cassandra is reborn, Alex tries to find her but each time she is reincarnated she always dies on her 26th birthday. When the book starts Valeria's 26th birthday is only a couple of weeks away and time is running out.

Things that took away from the story - the exclamation points. They were overused to the point I felt like the main characters were over excited about everything (the books they enjoyed, the weather, etc) and on some happy-go-lucky drug. I got more used to it as the book continued, but I had trouble relating to the characters since they were over enthusiastic and not realistic.

I still want to read the rest of the books in the series to see where the author takes the story and how she develops the characters.

I received the book for free through Goodreads First Read in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Showcase Sunday #2

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, ect. Here is my showcase for this week. 

Checked Out:  

While I have a bookshelf covered in books yet to be read, I still convinced myself that a trip to the local library was essential to finding my next book to read. I went there with three particular books in mind, Cinder, City of Bones and Maze Runner.

I have been in the mood for a fairy tale book and I have been eyeing Cinder for a while so hopefully it will live up to my expectations. I also picked up Scarlet in case I wanted to start the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series once I finish Cinder.

City of Bones has also been on my to-read list for a while now and since the movie is being released this month I thought, "What the heck. It is either now or never."

I intended to get Maze Runner for my boyfriend since he is looking for something new that is comparable to Divergent and the Hunger Games. I was hoping that I could get him to scope it out for me to see if it is worth all the hype it has been receiving. Since the library didn't have any copies, I picked up the Witch and Wizard by James Patterson, which is yet another series that I have heard about but haven't had a chance to read yet. My boyfriend is a fan of James Patterson's Alex Cross series so maybe he can get into this series as well.


I tried not to go too crazy on freebies at Amazon and Barnes & Noble this week, but it is almost impossible to talk myself out of downloading books when I know I am not spending any money.

What books did you pick up this week?
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