Review - Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Friday, August 29, 2014

       Perfect Ruin 
        By Lauren DeStefano
      Released: October 1st, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
           Source: Purchased

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that Lauren DeStafano tends to be the type of writer that you either love or hate. From Goodreads, it seems like all the readers are pretty evenly split down the middle of their opinions of her Chemical Garden series, as well as her latest book Perfect Ruin. While the Chemical Garden trilogy did have its flaws, the plot was driven enough to keep me interested throughout the series. It had its problems (such as having a United States each coast after the polar ice caps melted), but there was something strangely fascinating about it.

And I’ll be damned if she didn’t do it again!

Perfect Ruin is a story told from the point of view of Morgan Stockhour, who lives on Internment, which is an island floating in the middle of the sky. Yup, a floating island. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, I don’t know what is. Everything on Internment is perfect. Crime is low, people are flourishing and no one is ever left alone – everyone is betrothed at birth. Morgan, her betrothed Basil, and her best friend, Pen all love their home. But Morgan dreams of something terrifying and deadly – of seeing what’s beyond the “edge” of their island. 

When the body of a young girl is found on the tram tracks murdered – a girl who spoke out about what could lie beyond the comfort of their island no less – the entire land goes into lockdown. After all, it’s the first murder to occur in decades. People are paranoid and police escort children to and from school. Morgan begins to question the safety of her home. Her brother, Lex – is a jumper. He attempted to jump beyond the edge and he was one of the lucky few who lived to tell the tale, though he lost his eyesight. Lex continues to question the integrity of the monarchy. Was the murdered girl part of a resistance, one that believed something better lay beyond their island, on the land down below? 

When the accused perpetrator of the murder escapes capture, and shows up in the forest beside her apartment, it’s up to Morgan to unravel the murder mystery and see what exactly Interment might be hiding. 

I’ve been a fan of DeStafano’s prose since I read her first book, Wither. Her words are so fluid and poetic and Perfect Ruin is no different. From page one, I could tell that I was reading a DeStefano book and I was able to heave a contented sigh. I had realized until I read this installment that I had missed her writing. 

Besides the fascinating setting of the book, I was very intrigued by the “utopian” society Internment had to offer. From the details in the story, it seems that there are a strict set of laws. You are born with a betrothed, you have to apply to have children (due to population regulations), you can be considered “irrational” for having different thoughts from those of the monarchy, ect. I really would like to see the government aspect elaborated some in the following installments, particularly since we are supposed to be seeing the monarchy as the “bad people.” I’d love to see why “the baddies” are bad and their reasoning behind it. 

The characters are pretty interesting, too. Morgan is your average girl, save for the thoughts of what lies “beyond” her island. Seeing her struggle with this problem, particularly since her brother went through similar problems, really brings her to life. She worries about being declared irrational. She worries about what would happen to her parents should she jump over the edge. But her curiosity about the murdered girl and the secrets that her home could be hiding is what really sets her apart from other characters. 

The supporting cast is nice, too. Lex is funny; often meant to be seen as surly and world-weary, though he’s only in his mid twenties. Her friend, Pen, is steadfast in her belief of Internment and the “Gods Above.” And her betrothed Basil is definitely swoon-worthy. The fact that he remains by Morgan’s side, despite everything she drags him into, proves that he’s loyal beyond compare. I’d love to see more of his point of view in future books. While he was a loveable character, he seemed a bit flat. DeStafano could really add some character and round him out by giving us a glimpse into his mind.

This is a great YA read. If you’re looking for mystery and a touch of romance, this is definitely for you!

The Liebster Award!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Liebster Award is a tag that it meant to spread the word of great blogs! Here are the rules:

1.) Link & Thank the blogger who nominated you
2.) Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
3.) Tag 11 other bloggers who have 200 or less followers
4.) Ask the 11 bloggers you nominated 11 questions and let them know you nominated them!

A big thanks to Katie from Kittens and Books who nominated me! Be sure to check out her blog!

Here are my answers to her questions:

1.) What are your favorite and least favorite genres? I have so many favorites, ha! But I mostly read YA of all types and Christian Fiction, with a particular love for Amish fiction. My least favorite would probably be Sci-Fi or High Fantasy books, where there are just too many characters or plot twists to keep up with.

2.) Is there anything you want to see more of in books? This is a tough one. I can think of plenty things I'd like to see less of (I'm looking at you, insta-love!) but... Hmm, I guess I'd like to see more "touchy" issues in books, particularly if they relate to young adults today, such as cyber-bullying, LGBT themes, and faith/religion. I've always found it fascinating how each author deals with these issues differently.

3.) Are there any books that everyone seemed to love, but you didn't? The Selection by Kiera Cass. I could hardly make it through the first book and it seems like everyone on Goodreads praises this book. Ugh! I'm so tired of hearing about America and Maxon!

4.) Do you tend to read more e-books or physical copies? Physical copies, definitely. I love actually flipping the pages and sniffing the books and they just look so much better sitting on a shelf. However, I will admit that ebooks have their advantages, such as when you're traveling or trying to acquire a hard-to-find book.

5.) What is the last book you read? Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins! It was sooo cute and I absolutely loved it! Definitely check out Perkins' books if you haven't already!

6.) If you could make everyone in the world read one book, which would it be? Ooh... This is hard. Probably The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's one of the best books I've ever read. It's long, but it's witty, funny, and touching. I try to get as many people to read it as I possibly can!

7.) What book has had the biggest impact on you? Probably the entire Harry Potter series. I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione and as a child I played Harry Potter and write FanFiction and what-have-you. I was a total Potterhead.

8.) What was your favorite book as a child? Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan. I've written a review of the sequel to this book, in which I talk about what an impact the series had on me growing up. I loved the theme of the book, accepting who you are and really finding yourself - particularly since I was an introverted, book-reading and writing kid.

9.) Have your genre preferences changed over time? I don't think they've really changed. I've always liked YA, romance, and Christian Fiction but I do go through phases where I read more of one genre than another.

10.) Which book is so good that you could read if over and over again? Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, The Help, The Book Thief... All of these are great options for rereads. Haha!

11.) Why do you blog about books? Because I love reading! And no one in my house reads, so I have to nerd out over the internet with other book lovers!

Here are the bloggers I nominate for the Liebster Award:

1.) Citrus Reads
2.) The Psychotic Nerd
3.) Always Me
4.) Summer Next Top Story
5.) The Book Cookies
6.) Sleeps With Notebooks
7.) A Perfection Called Books
8.) Time Turning Reads
9.) My Useless Crafts
10.) The Book Butterfly
11.) Lorie's Book Reviews

My questions for those I tagged:

1.) If you could date one character from a book, who would it be and why?
2.) You're stranded on a desert island and you are only given three books for entertainment. What are they?
3.) What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
4.) What was your favorite children's book?
5.) What is one genre that you don't usually read but have enjoyed in the past?
6.) What is your favorite classic book?
7.) If you could have one book that releases within the next year early, which would it be?
8.) What was one book series that left you disappointed?
9.) What's you're favorite "lesser known" author?
10.) What's a book that you love, but no one else really knows about?
11.) I'm going to do something a little different: instead of one more question, I'll ask those tagged to choose at least three of the blogs I've tagged earlier and follow and leave ONE comment on each. (My blog can be included, but you're not required to choose it.) Spread the blogging love! <3

Throw Back Thursday - The Chrestomanci Chronicles

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.

Throw Back Thursday is a post in which I talk about books that I loved and read as a child - and still remember fondly of today!  

In honor of the fantastic author Diana Wynne Jones' birthday on August 16th, this Throw Back Thursday is Charmed Life, the first installment of the popular Chronicles of Chrestomanci series, first published in 1977. If the fact that it's still popular with children nearly four decades later isn't a testament to it's genius, then I can definitely assure you that this series is magical, whimsical, and a whole lot of fun. 

I came across this series entirely by accident when I was around twelve or thirteen, just pursuing the aisles of Books-A-Million. I was first attracted to the fact that it was a huge book, since I didn't know I was actually buying the bound copy of two Chestomanci stories. The edition that I had was a little over five hundred pages long, and it wasn't until I had already begged my Mom for it that I found out I had two books to read. (I actually have a strict no-omnibus rule now. They just don't look as good on a bookshelf as the individual books.) This turned out to be a very good thing - as I inhaled the stories. I absolutely fell in love with Cat and his magical world, as well as the mysterious and powerful Chrestomanci. So much so, that I forced my best friend Lauren to read it and, since we have similar taste in books, she luckily loved it, too. We actually spent much of our eighth grade year writing a fanfiction that ended up being over 500 written pages long. It's still in my closet, in a huge four in binder, with brittle, yellowing pages. Ah, the nostalgia!

I now have all the Chrestomanci books and I proudly display them on my bookshelf. Even now, I still recommend the children's books to my friends, who are now in college or already out. Amusingly enough, I even made my other best friend, Cassie read them just a couple of years ago. She really liked it, too. And we're well into our twenties.

My advice to you - if you haven't read this series, definitely think about it. Particularly if you're wanting something light and fun to read. If you loved Jones' Howl's Moving Castle, this is definitely for you.

Happy Birthday, Diana Wynne Jones! I wish you were here to celebrate it. But never fear, your works are timeless and as long as I'm around, I'll be praising them!

Review - Panic by Lauren Oliver

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

By Lauren Oliver
Released: March 4th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

I’ll be the first to praise the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I was absolutely fascinated by her worldbuilding; the thought that love could be considered a disease, and that humans had found a way to eradicate it from existence, was something that drew me in from page one and I was a die-hard fan from page one. So when I found out that Lauren had a new book in the works, Panic, I immediately added it to my To-Read shelf. Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to my expectations…

Panic is a game that is played by high school students in Carp, New York the summer after they graduate. All through their senior year, seniors donate a dollar to the Panic games everyday and, by the time summer rolls around, there are upwards of 50,000 dollars to be had – but only if you’re the sole winner of Panic. Panic itself is a series of challenges, oftentimes very dangerous, that students have to face in order to proceed to the next round. Challenges run the gamut – from diving off high cliffs, to walking across water towers, to individual challenges that are meant to pit the participants against their own personal demons. The final challenge, the Joust, determines the winner of the games. 

Each person who plays Panic has their reasons. Some students wish to go to college with the winnings, some wish to get out of miserable Carp. Similarly, our main characters - Heather, Dodge, and Natalie – all have their own reasons. Heather wants a better life for her and her sister, Dodge is out for revenge, and Natalie longs for a future far away from the east coast. They all enter the games and the majority of the novel details the challenges they face as they play the game. 

Now, this is where my first issue with the book comes into play. While the premise of Panic is interesting, there is no way the games would last one summer, let alone the many years that the high schoolers say it’s been going on. The police are depicted as pretty simple and moronic in the book. Every now and then they’ll bust the games and cause the kids to scramble and flee or risk arrest, but that’s about it. They don’t really go to any more measures to see that kids or innocent civilians aren’t hurt. It’s insinuated that the police are actively trying to keep Panic from taking place, but we never see that happening. In one instance, the kids are forced to break into someone’s home and steal – and it wasn’t even mentioned if the police were called! You can bet if a bunch of people broke into my house, I’d be calling the cops and I wouldn’t rest until all my belongings had been recovered. It’s called clues, people. If a bunch of stupid high school kids all illegally entered someone’s house – particularly if they were getting shot at – they would’ve left fingerprints or foot prints in the mud or something. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out who had done it. And that’s only one instance in which the cops prove useless in the story. 

Besides that, it’s really hard to like the main characters of the story. Natalie is seen as something of a whore. She strings along boys for the fun of it and Dodge is downright crazy. To keep from revealing too much, his family was greatly wronged and he’s out for revenge. I can completely understand being angry – hateful even – when someone has done me wrong. But I don’t bike to said person’s house with a knife intending to kill them. Oliver tries to paint him in a sympathetic light, but… I’m sorry. I just can’t feel sorry for someone who so easily feels they can take another person’s life. This kid doesn’t need to be participating in Panic. He needs to be in a hospital somewhere getting counseling. 

Heather is the only likeable character, in my opinion. And her reasons for participating in Panic – while at first were questionable – eventually become admirable. She feels a great responsibility to her sister and I certainly can respect that, considering everything she went through during the games. Not only that, but she seems like the only character that evolved and grew at all throughout the story. She’s unsure, heartbroken, and bitter at the beginning of the novel, but by the end she had transformed into a confident young woman. Her friends, however, remained stagnant. 

The ending wasn’t very satisfying, either.  Much of the conflict that was raised during the book between the friends wasn’t resolved. Well, at least not in front of us. We’re just to assume that they worked through everything, since they were all buddy-buddy and cheerful in the epilogue. I

think the story would’ve been much stronger –  and the characters more well-rounded – had Oliver addressed these issues rather than just stating that everything was fine and honky-dorey.

At any rate, it wasn’t a bad story. Oliver’s prose is nice and I can respect the message she was trying to get across (that things, times, and ultimately, people change) but the execution definitely needed some work. Even now, after review it, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely had its flaws. If you’re a fan of Oliver, like me, I’d say give it a chance. But if you aren’t a loyal fan, it might be best to skip.

Waiting on Wednesday - Battle Angel by Scott Speer

It's going to take a lot more than fame to save the Immortal City in its darkest hour. . . .

With Maddy torn between two loves, Guardian Jackson and heroic pilot Tom, and Angels and humans on the brink of an epic war, the Immortal City is more vulnerable than ever. And when demons descend upon Angel City with the intent to destroy, the humans don't stand a fighting chance without the Angels on their side.

Will Jacks find the strength and forgiveness to enter the fray and fight the demons as a stronger-than-ever Battle Angel? Or has the damage been so great that the Guardians will set off for the next place, abandoning Angel City in its darkest hour?

It all comes down to love-wrecked half-Angel Maddy and the strength of her bond with Jackson in this game-changing, thrice-as-sultry series finale that blends beautiful themes of redemption and renewal with heart-pounding action scenes and jaw-dropping twists.

This week, I'm eagerly awaiting the final installment in the Immortal City Trilogy, Battle Angel, which will release on August 28thAfter reading perhaps the worst cliff hanger ever, I've been impatiently waiting for the final book. I can't wait to see how Angel City will overcome the apocalyptic type disaster that is threatening them.Will the angels band together and save the citizens of their town, even though it would break both their own laws, as well as mortal laws? Who will Maddy choose to stay with? Superstar angel, Jackson Godspeed or pilot Tom? These are questions that I need to know the answer to right now! I never thought I'd be wishing for the end of summer, but come on! I need it to be the end of August!

Top Ten - Authors I'd Like To Meet

Monday, August 11, 2014

Authors I'd Like To Meet

This list was much harder to compile than I originally thought it would be. Once I started thinking about all the books I'd enjoyed over the years, the list started growing pretty quickly and I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to ten, let alone pitting those top ten against each other. More of the obvious selections will be missing on here - such as J.K. Rowling - because, really? Who doesn't want to me her, right? I also left out some of my other favorite authors either because I have already met them (Rick Riordan, John Green, Marissa Meyer, Veronica Rossi, ect) or because I'm still a new fan and working my way through their series (Jim Butcher and Brigid Kemmerer!). 

Also note that this list is largely based on nostalgia, too. Many of the authors you might not think as that great, but I completely adored them as a child. Also, unfortunately, the first three authors had low rankings because they are deceased and I'll never be able to meet them. *Tears up* But I still gave them honorary spots, because if they were still alive, I'd be first in line for a signing.

Without further ado, here's my list!

10.) Diana Wynne Jones (August 16th, 1934 - March 26th, 2011) - Oddly enough, I didn't read her most famous work of fiction, Howl's Moving Castle, until a few years ago. (I wanted to watch Miyazaki's interpretation of it, so I read the book first.) Instead, I read another series she wrote, called The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, which consists of seven books. It deals with a very powerful enchanter, called the Chrestomanci, who rules the world of magic where he lives. He sort of protects the world from evil-doers who use magic. He also has nine lives and is able to travel through dimensions. My best friend and I absolutely fell in love with the series and its magical elements and humor, so much so that we wrote a fanfiction that is over 500 written pages long! I still have it tucked away in my closet. And now, years later, I still remember the books fondly. Diana, keep writing, cause I expect some manuscripts when I meet you in the afterlife!

9.) Brian Jacques (June 15th, 1939 - February 5th, 2011) - When I was in middle school, we had something called Accelerated Reading, in which we were required to get a number of points for the grading period. We got these points by reading books - the longer the book, the more points - and taking tests over them. Luckily for me, my school library stockpiled the Redwall series and I was able to far exceed my goal every six weeks. Not only that, but they were a great fantasy series with plenty of action and suspense.  The stories are told from animals' point of view, mainly ones that live at Redwall Abbey in Mossflower woods. The main character of the first few books, Matthias the mouse warrior, was hard not to fall in love with and root for. He was full of heart and courage. As I grew older, I started to grow out of the series but I still remember and credit good ole' Mr. Jacques for hours of entertainment.

8.) Louisa May Alcott (November 29th, 1832 - March 6th, 1888) - Well, I had to put at least one of my favorite classic authors. And I'm not going to be one of those predictable girls who are all,"OMG, Jane Austen is SO awesome!" I never hopped aboard the Jane Austen bandwagon. Instead, I proudly carried around my battered copy of Little Women. Little Women has a special place in my heart because it was the first "classic" book I ever read. I connected with Jo immediately (Alcott actually based Jo off of herself!) and all the March sisters. No matter how many times I read the book, I still laugh and cry. In fact, I still have the poem Jo wrote, called "My Beth," memorized from when I had to recite my favorite poem in 8th grade. I even went on to read Jo's Boys, though I never thought it was as good as the original. I hope my own daughter (if I ever have one, ha!) will find a special love for this special book.

7.) Markus Zusak - The Book Thief. What else do I have to say? I absolutely love the book. It's humorous, heartbreaking, and has a ton of heart. Despite the fact that Death annoys me from time to time, I absolutely love Liesel and her bravery. I've always been a sucker for a good historical book, as well, and I find World War Two to be one of the most fascinating time in history to read about. No matter how many times I read the book, I laugh and cry - I just can't praise it enough. Not only that, but it has a great movie adaptation, to boot! Unfortuantely, Zusak lives in Australia - damn you, Australia! Why do you have to be so far away?! So, unless I decide to take a trip down under, I'll likely never meet him. A shame, really. He's pretty easy on the eyes, too! Haha!

6.) Fannie Flagg - In addition to my affinity to historical books, I also LOVE to read Southern Literature, particularly if it is set in the 60s, around the Civil Rights era (such as The Help and Secret Life of Bees). It's just so fascinating! I gladly lay the blame of my love for this niche on Fannie Flagg, who wrote the best-selling book, Fried Green Tomatoes at Whistle Stop Cafe. I remember my Mom watching this movie all the time when I was younger. It wasn't until I read the book for a paper in high school that I really sat down and watched the movie and understood all that was going on in the book. With plenty of humor, Flagg weaves together a story with historical elements and a touch of mystery. It's hard not to love the heroines Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. I've read a couple of Flagg's other books, too and was never disappointed. Definitely check her out. For those of you who have read, Fried Green Tomatoes - barbeque, anyone?

5.) Ann Brashares - This is one of the authors that made it onto the list for more nostalgic reasons than anything else. While I didn't really like Brashares new book, The Here and Now, I'm a huge fan of her previous - and probably most popular - series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This is a book that me and one of my best friends bonded over - and, yes, you bet we wrote fanfiction about it. It's also one of the earliest Young Adult books I read. I was pretty excited to see that she made a companion novel to the Sisterhood, dealing with the four friends after they had grown up, but I'm reluctant to read it. I kinda want to remember the series as it originally ended. But we'll see. I'm eager to see what Brashares will put out next.

4.) Natsuki Takaya - While I wasn't a big manga fan growing up, I did go through a little phase in which I was experimenting with different mangas that I might enjoy. Eventually, I decided that I preferred novels to manga - but not before I discovered Fruits Basket and went crazy for it. It basically deals with a family that is cursed to change into a different animal of the Chinese Zodiac when hugged by the opposite sex and I devoured all the volumes of the series in quick succession. Since then, I've been a big fan and I even have the complete series on DVD - I even made my brothers watch it with me, haha! Not only that, but I've roleplayed Fruits Basket with friends for years. Yes, this series has provided hours of entertainment.

3.) Beverly Lewis - I was in high school when I discovered one of my favorite genres - Amish Fiction. (Seriously, it turned into an almost uncanny fascination, ha! I studied Amish culture in college anthropology classes and I even have an Amish outfit in my closet I dress up in at Halloween.) Beverly Lewis is largely celebrated as the pioneer of this genre and the first book I read by her, The Shunning, is considered an Amish classic. I definitely enjoyed it and now I have several authors I keep an eye on who write great Amish fiction. Hopefully, I'll be one of them someday. I'm working on a manuscript right now that's Amish fiction! I'd love to meet her one day - the only problem would be deciding which books I'd want to get signed. She's written so many!

2.) Erin Hunter - I've already proclaimed my love for the children's' series, Warriors. So, it comes as no surprise that I'd like to meet the fantastic author behind the series - or should I say authors. There are actually six authors who work together in conjunction to write the Warriors, Survivors, and Seekers series. While I'm strictly a Warriors fan, my brother has read a few Survivors books and claimed they're pretty good. But I think I'll stick to my cats. So, I'd really like to meet the main Warriors series writers, Chereth Baldry and Cate Carey. I've already met James Berry - who illustrates for Warrios and soon I'll have the chance to meet Tui Sutherland, one of the Hunters who writes the Seekers series. But I'd really love to meet the other two!

1.) Cassandra Clare - And, lastly, I want to meet the fantastic author who gave us Jace Wayland, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs! I've heard quite a bit of controversy about Ms. Clare, mostly about plagiarizing fanfiction in her early years? (Despite the fact that any fanfiction is considered plagarism.... But whatever.) The fact still remains that she can put together a fascinating world, a great story and loveable characters. Some people are already hating on the Shadowhunter series, saying they're tired of it and want something new, but all I've got to say is - if it ain't broken, why fix it? All her Shadowhunter books are best-sellers, and as long as there's a new story, I'll be first in line to get it when it comes out. She did a book signing in my town a few years ago for Clockwork Prince but I hadn't read The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices series by then. Sigh... But I'll keep up hope that she'll come back down my way! Until then, I'll be eagerly awaiting Lady Midnight and Emma Carstairs' series!

And that's my list! What do you all think? Was it good and did I share some of your own favorites? Or was there an author you think should've made the list? Share with me your favorites!

Review - Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Saturday, August 9, 2014

 Storm Front 
By Jim Butcher
Released: April 1st, 2000
Genre: Fantasy (Urban)
Source: Library Loan


Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m the scum of the earth when it comes to book nerds. You know those illiterate morons you come across at work or school, who think they’re too cool to read? Or those stuck-up people who turn their noses down to any genre other than their favorite? I feel like one of those assholes right now. Simply because I spent the first 24 years of my life without reading a Jim Butcher book. 

Yep, definitely the scum of the earth. But first, let me back pedal a bit and fill you in. 

About last year, a good friend of mine started reading the Dresden File books and quickly claimed it was awesome. She started nagging me to read them, but I was too busy on my steady diet of Young Adult and Amish fiction (yes, I know, a weird combo) to give it much of a second thought. That was, until around last week, when I finally got my hands on a copy of the first Dresden Files book, Storm Front. It wasn’t even available in my town’s library branches! (That, in and of itself calls into question the integrity of our literary resources of my town – remind me to file a complaint later.) So, I borrowed my grandmother’s library card, who lives in a larger town about thirty miles away, and finally got my copy. I cracked it open about eleven o’ clock at night. And I had to be a work the next morning. That was a bad decision. I stayed up reading that book. All night. And it was that awesome.

Storm Front begins by introducing us to Harry Dresden, who is the only wizard for hire in all of Chicago. Seriously, look him up. He’s in the phonebook. Anyway, we’re told that magic exists in all sorts of forms, right alongside humans on a daily basis. There are fairies, demons, witches, trolls, vampires – everything. And while Harry is trying to run a struggling private investigation business, he occasionally gets called into crime cases with a supernatural aura about them by his detective friend Karrin Murphy. On one such case, Murphy calls Harry in to help solve a double murder in which two individuals were killed in the throes of lovemaking – by their heart exploding right out of their chests. 

It’s up to Harry to try and figure out who the murderer is before any other people – especially himself – get killed.  What ensues are action packed scenes with just the right amount of humor, grit, suspense and mystery! 

For those of you who know me, I’m a huge sucker for a good mystery book. While I like to stick to cozies most of the time, I really like mystery books with a supernatural twists to them. For example, Dark Currents by Jaqueline Carey was very good. And this book is similar in taste. But while I remember the main character from that series, I don’t really remember much more about the side characters and the love triangle and what-have-you. Everything that I thought could’ve improved with Dark Currents was achieved in Harry Dresden. 

First of all, the characters of the book are outstanding. Harry is the main character, and – of course – you’ll root for him from page one. He’s snarky and sarcastic, and sweet and awkward. He’s a realistic hero – one who gets himself into all sorts of serious trouble trying to solve his cases and, more often than not, has an even harder time getting out of the trouble. Then the side characters – Murphy, Susan, Bob, Marcone – just about everyone you meet has a distinct personality all their own. There were times when I even felt sympathetic for the villains and bad guys. Rarely can an author create such a find cast of characters. This is all a testament to how wonderful a writer Jim Butcher really is.
The mystery aspects of the novel? They’re fantastic. I’ve read two so far and, more often than not, I’ve been left completely clueless until all the final pieces of the puzzle fall together. All the elements of a good mystery are represented in Storm Front and you’ll be guessing who the bad guy is up until the final chapters! 

All in all, it was a great mystery book and everything a good urban fantasy reader could want. I’ve already spent half my paycheck getting the rest of the series. Thank God Butcher’s written, like, fourteen of them already. I’d have gone absolutely bonkers waiting for all of them to be released. Even now, I still have to wait for at least six more to be published! Until then, I’ll be eating this series up like potato chips.

Also, did you know he wrote another high fantasy series called The Furies of Calderon and that it’s based off of Pokemon? Yes, for real. Is it on my bookshelf now? You bet it is. I have no doubts it’ll be just as awesome as Harry Dresden. 

Do yourself a favor and go read this book and the rest of the series now. Don’t be like me – don’t be scum.