Posts Tagged ‘dresden files’

Hello and here I am again with another reading roundup.

Since my last reading roundup, I’ve read five books and COMPLETED MY GOODREADS CHALLENGE!  Go me!  This year so far I have read/listened to 83 books to beat my goal  of 80.  I was wondering if I’d make the challenge this year given how busy my new role has kept me.

Of the books I’ve read since the last roundup the one I enjoyed most was probably Catalyst: A Rogue One Story by James Luceno, which I listened to in audiobook format.  I almost always listen to Star Wars in audiobook format because the narrators, production and sound effects are invariably excellent.  This really brings something special to the story.  Catalyst: A Rogue One Story is a prequel to Star Wars: Rogue One and tells the story of the construction of the first Death Star.  

I really loved this story despite it being somewhat slow and lacking in action.  The characters were beautifully written and the cat and mouse games between Erso, Krennic and Tarkin were excellent.  Galen Erso is a fascinating character with his passion for knowledge blinding him to political issues.  While I don’t believe it spoils the Rogue One movie, it does certainly give some fascinating background information on it.  I gave Catalyst: A Rogue One Story four and half stars out of five.

A close second in terms of enjoyment was A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray.  This is the third and final entry in Gray’s Firebird trilogy, a young adult time travel adventure. A Million Worlds with You was a fitting finale to the series, and solidifies my impression of Gray as an extremely solid and gifted storyteller.  This series is well worth checking out if you’ve an interest in time travel.  I gave A Million Worlds with You four stars out of five.

Another solid series entry I listened to recently was Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book seven of The Dresden Files.  This is another series I invariably listen to in audiobook format due to the excellence of James Marsters’ narration.  He IS Harry Dresden.  Dead Beat has a fun, fast paced mystery and sets up some interesting developments for future books.  I gave Dead Beat four stars out of five.

After some hesitation I did eventually purchase and read The Morning Star by Marie Lu.  I’d enjoyed The Young Elites, but not necessarily enough to want to continue with the series.  I’d heard good things about the finale, so I did pick it up.  I enjoyed it but didn’t love it.  The theme of mortal enemies having to work together for the greater good and Adelina’s journey were interesting and well done.  I gave The Morning Star three and a half stars out of five.

One book I consigned to my did not finish pile was Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist, written and narrated by Fisher herself.  I bought it somewhat on an impulse because the Audible sample was funny and engaging.  Fisher’s narration was especially on point.  I think my issue with this audiobook was that the focus was not what I anticipated, despite the recent publicity about certain revelations.  I was looking more for behind the scenes insight into the making of Star Wars.  This is the first of Fisher’s autobiographies I have read and perhaps one of the others may have the focus I was hoping for.

Currently, I’m reading and enjoying:  

Scythe by Neal Schusterman.  This is the first in a YA series set in a world in which humanity has conquered death and humans are basically immortal.  In order to prevent overpopulation, a group of people known as scythes are tasked with killing a certain quota of people.  We follow two apprentice scythes, Citra and Rowan as they struggle to learn their trade and navigate the murky waters of scythe politics.  I’m about 70% of the way through it and am really fascinated by the world Shusterman has created.  It’s definitely worth picking up.

I’m also reading/listening to The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, the final entry in her YA Tearling series.  I had issues with book one, The Queen of the Tearling, and indeed hadn’t planned to continue with the series.  Some positive reviews of book two, The Invasion of the Tearling, convinced me to give it another go.  I still had issues, but it was a significant improvement for me.  I am now about a third of the way through book three, The Fate of the Tearling and heavily invested.

Upcoming releases

In the month of December there are two releases about which I am super excited.

The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon.  This is a prequel to Shannon’s Bone Season series, a series which has grown on me more and more.  By the time On the Merits of Unnaturalness was released I was completely hooked.  I’m very much looking forward to listening to the beginnings of Paige Mahoney’s story before The Song Rising is released in March.

Finally of course on December 16th we have the audiobook of Star Wars Rogue One.  That is an auto buy for me.

That’s all I have for today.  Back soon with my yearly roundup.

Reading roundup – December 4th 2016 was originally published on Canadian eReader

Hello and welcome to another reading roundup.  Since my last roundup I have read two pretty good books which I’d like to share with you.

Reading roundup – November 12th 2016The Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
Series: Court of Fives #2
Also in this series: Court of Fives
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Georgia Dolenz
Length: 13 hours and 2 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

four-stars

I received an Advance Reader Copy of The Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott at BEA.  It’s been on my TBR for a while, but it’s only recently I read it.  The Poisoned Blade is the second book in a planned trilogy (I believe) and continues the story of Jessamy, a young woman caught between two cultures whose passion in life is playing the game of Fives.  In this second book, Jes is drawn into court politics and has to deal with the fallout of her decisions in book one.  I listened to The Poisoned Blade in audiobook format and very much enjoyed Georgia Dolenz’s narration.

What I liked

The characters.  I really liked our protagonist, Jessamy.  Her conflicts between her love for the Fives, her need to protect her family, the limitations placed on her by her heritage and her affection for Kal were expertly written.  

The pacing.  The Poisoned Blade didn’t suffer from middle book syndrome at all.  There were enough conficts and resolutions to keep me well satisfied.  I will certainly be picking up the final book in the trilogy.  Personally, I’ve found Elliott’s series lose steam as they go on and for that reason I’ve not finished many of them.  This one I do intend to finish.

The worldbuilding.  Continuing on from Court of Fives, Elliott has created a wonderful world for our characters to live in.  

What I didn’t like

There was little I didn’t enjoy about The Poisoned Blade.  It is my favourite of Elliott’s series.  

I gave it four stars out of five.

My review of Heartless Reading roundup – November 12th 2016Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Format: eBook
Pages: 464 pages
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

four-stars

Probably my most anticipated release of the year, Heartless is Lunar Chronicles author Marissa Meyer’s origin story of Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts.  I really wanted to listen to this in audiobook format, however technical issues meant that it wasn’t available to Canadians on Audible.com for several days after release.  This was rather disappointing as i loved Rebecca Soler’s narration of the Lunar Chronicles.  I ended up reading it on my Kindle.

What I liked

The writing style.  I really loved Meyer’s, fresh, immediate writing style from the Lunar Chronicles and Heartless is no different.  This time it’s spiced with Lewis Caroll whimsy and the blend is magical. As a note, it probably does help if you’re familiar with both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

What I didn’t like

Somewhat predictable.  Of course, as an origin story, it’s tricky to be completely unpredictable.  There’s no escaping the fact that Catherine becomes the cold hearted Queen of Hearts.  However, certain other plot points were more easily guessed than I would have liked them to be.

Character development.  I felt this was better done in Fairest.  There was a more logical progression in Levana’s transformation to the wicked Queen than Cath’s becoming the Queen of Hearts.  Cath is much more of a positive character at the beginning, so her transformation was always going to be more difficult to plot.  At times I felt each step in Cath’s journey was a little unexpected, unearned or not wholly justified by the steps before.

In summary, I did enjoy Heartless, but I prefer the Lunar Chronicles.  I gave Heartless four stars out of five.

In other news:

I am currently obsessed with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Yes, I know, it’s not released until next week, but everything I’ve seen and heard about it indicates it’s going to be absolutely magical.  Rowling’s Wizarding World in 1920s New York?  Sign me up!  I’m especially loving all the hints about Grindelwald and his rise to power in Europe.  There must be some wonderful stories to tell there. I can’t be the only bookworm who has planned a day off work around a book release, surely?  Not only is the movie released on November 18th, but we also get a book of the script and a LEGO Dimensions Story Pack!  I can’t wait!

Also this week I have been watching Netflix The Crown, the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne and the first few years of her reign.  I’m enjoying it very much; Clare Foy has taken the role of the Queen, with former Doctor Who Matt Smith as Prince Philip,  Both are giving excellent portrayals and I recommend this series.

That’s all for now folks.  Back soon!

four-stars

Reading roundup – November 12th 2016 was originally published on Canadian eReader

The next few weeks are relatively quiet in terms of upcoming book releases about which I’m excited.  I’m thinking therefore that this could be a good opportunity to catch up on my TBR pile, specifically in terms of catching up with series with which I have fallen behind.  Generally, I like variety in my reading so it’s unusual for me to marathon a whole series, even if I enjoy it immensely.  So, without further ado, here are some of the series I really should catch up on.  (NB, these are series which are not necessarily complete, but for which I’ve not read up to the latest published book.)  It goes without saying that I’m up to date on Game of Thrones and am eagerly awaiting Winds of Winter.

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

This series is about an ancient Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan and his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon, who live in modern times.  Each of the novels – currently seven, with an eighth due out next year – is relatively self contained, and tells of a new adventure, but builds up the world of the Druid and its inhabitants.  I have listened to books one to three, and this is one series I definitely choose to experience in audio format.  The audiobooks are narrated by Luke Daniels who does an awesome job of bringing the characters to life.  Recently I was looking for a quick listen to get me through the last few hours of a long shift at work, and picked up Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles.  Listening to this reminded me of just how much fun this series is, and that I need to get onto the rest of it ASAP.  

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Another series I enjoy in audiobook format is Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.  These centre on Chicago’s first “consulting magician” Harry Dresden and his adventures.  The books are narrated by James Marsters and is one of the best narrator-character matches I’ve come across so far. Marsters IS Dresden to me.  I have listened to five out of the fifteen books, so I have a lot yet to go.  Each book builds upon the previous ones.  A few months ago, Amazon had a great sale on this series so I picked up the next few books.  Yep, this is another one I must get onto.

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

Yet another series I want to experience audioly.  Nathaniel Parker is wonderful with all the different characters and their voices/accents.  So far I’ve read five of the eight books in the series.  My problem is, these books are just so laugh out loud funny that I want to keep saving them as a pick-me-up for days when the world seems a blue and scary place.  That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them any other time though!  Another lot for the TBR list.

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

This YA dystopian series is one that, I admit, took me several attempts to get into.  It is written in a slightly unusual style which I found both intriguing and off-putting.  Once I got into it and began to bond with the characters, I couldn’t put it down.  At this point, I’ve only read book one.  I’m hearing that Mafi does some really great things with character development and the love triangle in the two subsequent books and novellas and I really should get reading the continuation of Juliette’s adventures.

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

To date I’ve read three and a half books in the series and my interest was rejuvenated by Starz’ fantastic television series.  As an aside; no Emmy nominations for Caitriona, Sam or Tobias?  Seriously?!?  Did they not watch the Wentworth Prison and To Ransom a Man’s Soul episodes?  Anyway, I digress.  I started the series several years ago, and loved it, but hit a brick wall right in the middle of book three, Voyager.  My issue was that I felt that Claire and Jamie’s adventures had come to a natural stopping point and really struggled to get past that.  I’ve got past that now, and am enjoying their adventures; I have just got distracted by other books.  But dammit, I want to know about Jamie’s ghost from book one!  

A.N.G.E. by Anne Robillard

This is a series in French by Quebecoise Anne Robillard.  It’s kind of X-Files meets the apocalypse.  There are ten books in the series of which I’ve read seven.  Robillard’s strength as a writer is her wonderful characters – you can’t help but root for them; they feel so real and human (even if they’re not, in fact, human.}  The reason I’ve not continued with the series thus far is that where I’ve stopped, the series arc is at its lowest point for our characters.  Everything they touch just seems to turn to merde, and the world is falling apart, literally, around them.  Think the end of Empire Strikes Back.  I found it a little too depressing to continue.  I really should finish it. 

Chaoswar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

Shadow of a Dark Queen was the very first book I ever bought on my Kindle, and I credit Feist with rekindling my love of reading.  He really is a master storyteller.  The Chaoswar Saga is the final three books in his Midkemia series and I’ve not yet read them, shame on me.  I suppose what’s holding me back is a reluctance to say goodbye to Pug and all the other characters I’ve grown to love.  That’s not really an excuse though.

Are any of these series on your TBR list?  Which of these should I tackle first?  Let me know in the comments!

It certainly isn’t a good week to be a bookworm in Quebec.  Canada’s Globe and Mail is reporting that Quebec’s legislature has opened a hearing on pricing for new books.  Being discussed is the question of whether or not to prevent the price of new books being discounted by more than 10% for the first nine months after release.  The stated intention behind this is to protect the smaller bookstores, especially smaller Francophone ones, from the big hitters such as Amazon and Walmart.  Now, while I can appreciate the sentiment, I’m really not certain that keeping book prices high is really going to help anyone.  Smaller bookstores are never going to be able to compete with Amazon on price, so perhaps the government should concentrate on supporting them other ways.  For example subsidising author signings in the province, sponsoring book groups, or subsidising the cost of Quebecois francophone books.  Most Quebec produced books are still noticeably more expensive than their English counterparts.

This week I have been working nightshift.  As my job is very reactive – sitting around waiting on servers burping, not many human callers – I find it’s a perfect time to enjoy some audiobooks.  The books help to keep me awake, but I can keep my eye on my computer screen at the same time watching for issues.

I couldn’t decide what to listen to.  I was torn between Insurgent – the second book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Summer Knight (Dresden Files book four), Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic or Golem and the Jinni.   Now, I can often tell by the sample provided by Audible how much I’m going to enjoy the book so I went and took a listen.  It was a very close call, but Summer Knight just edged out Cold Magic.  Here’s the winning sample.

[mp3j track=”http://samples.audible.com/bk/buzz/000005/bk_buzz_000005_sample.mp3″ volslider=”y” title = “Summer Knight”]

James Marsters’ narration of this series is pitch perfect, and this sample is an excellent demonstration of the talents of both writer and narrator.  It rained toads.  Let me say that again.  It rained TOADS, great big slimy TOADS!  And, of course, things don’t get any better or easier for poor Harry.  If you have not yet started this series about Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only consulting wizard/private eye I can strongly recommend it.  It’s also an excellent one to start on audiobooks thanks to Marsters’ wonderful work.  

The sample for Cold Magic also drew me in and had me wanting more – it will be one of the next books I listen to.

Added to my library this week

Audible gave me a free $5 voucher, so I spent it on Hammered, the next in the Iron Druid series.

With Cold Magic, I’m on a bit of a Kate Elliott kick, so I added King’s Dragon to my library.  This is the first in a the Crown of Stars series, one I’ve read before apart from the last book.  I had been reading it in hard copy, and they got donated to a secondhand store when I left New Zealand.  This is why I love my Kindle!

I made the mistake of browsing Amazon’s monthly deals on my Kindle Fire, and ended up purchasing two cat mystery books.  One, Murder in a Casbah of Cats apparently tells the story of a PI who cat sits for a millionaire thinking it will be an easy job.  Sounds like famous last words… I have a feeling he’d rather be back with the criminals!  Sounded like a fun read for a couple of dollars.

The second one I picked up was Kitty Kitty Bang Bang about a pet therapist dealing with upper crust kitties in Laguna Beach whose owners keep turning up dead.  That sounded fun, too.  Again this is on special for a couple of dollars.

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season.  Some people are even calling Shannon the next J.K. Rowling.  That’s high praise indeed.  I couldn’t resist, so I added it.  I will of course let you know what I think.  I picked it up in both Kindle and Audible formats.

Sigh.  My TBR list keeps growing rather than getting less.

What did you add to your library this week?  Let me know in the comments.