His and Her Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Ghost Story (Dresden Files Series #13) by Jim Butcher: Book CoverDetails: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

            • Pub. Date: July 2011
            • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
            • Format: Hardcover , 496pp
            • Sales Rank: 10
            • Series: Dresden Files Series #13

Ghost Story Synopsis:

 

The eagerly awaited new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…

David’s Take:

Harry Dresden is dead. D-e-a-d, dead.  But he still has work to do.  Given the choice between going on to What Comes Next, or going back to save his friends and solve his own murder, Harry decides that his friends are more important that finding out if he’s going to heaven or hell.  Harry returns to Chicago as a ghost, able to walk through walls and teleport, but is only able to interact with the few people sensitive to ghosts. Oh, and he has no magic.  Nevertheless, he plunges headfirst into action.

This is the thirteenth book in the Dresden Files and Butcher’s storytelling gets better with each new novel.  In between action sequences are some very touching introspective scenes, where Harry examines his past actions.  He knows he crossed a line to save his daughter and feels he would do so again. Now he is forced to look at how his decisions have affected those close to him, particularly his apprentice, Molly.

After the ending in Changes, my wife and I had several theories about what would happen next, and why Butcher would kill off Dresden.  One of my theories was close, but not quite the way I expected events to unfold.  I thought this book was a great read and couldn’t stop turning pages.  Reading this book made me want to go back and read the whole series over again.  Butcher continues to grow and develop both his characters and the overall story.  Those new to the series will have to start reading one of the earlier novels to avoid confusion, but those familiar with Harry Dresden, professional wizard, won’t be disappointed in Ghost Story.

Lisa’s Take:

This books requires very little introduction.  At the end of Changes, we find Harry dead and everyone a little lost as to what they need to do.  Harry comes to and is given the choice that he can either solve his own murder or can head on to Whatever Come Next.  In totally Harry style he jumps right to helping his friends and solving his own murder.  He quickly realizes that he is missing some pretty important things.  He can’t communicate with anyone other than a ghost or someone super sensitive.  And worse yet he does not have any magic.  This is probably the biggest challenge but really the question is will he be able to figure it all out in time because things are getting worse by the minute.

Being that this is the thirteenth book the series, it is important at this point that you have read the entire series if you wish to take this book on.  The writing is outstanding and gets better with each book.  It was worth the way of delayed deadlines.  And even though Jim Butcher says that Changes was not left in a cliffhanger it so was!  The additional of many scenes that place Harry in a point of evaluating and understanding that he really crossed some huge lines is what makes this book stronger for me that the previous books.  Harry is really forced to take a good hard look at how he effects those in his life (or death) everyone from his apprentice, Molly, to his daughter.

This was a really page turner, lucky for my husband I was in the middle of another book when this came so he got it first.  Another huge strong point in Jim Butcher’s writing is his amazing ability to bring current and pop culture into his books.  Sometimes in the form of direct quotes from other books, movies, and television shows and other times just mentions of things.  It makes the book relevant and current.  I have not seen anyone else that has this ability down this well.

I had a lot of time to think about what I thought might happen next in this series.  I have to admit that my husband was pretty darn close.  You will have to check out the series and see just how Harry solves the mystery of his own death.

Our Rating:

Loved this book – it was worth the wait and we can’t wait for more!

Other Books In This Series:

Storm Front (#1)

Fool Moon (#2)

Grave Peril (#3)

Summer Knight (#4)

Death Masks (#5)

Blood Rites (#6)

Dead Beat (#7)

Proven Guilty (#8)

White Night (#9)

Small Favor (#10)

Turn Coat (#11)

Changes (#12)

Side Jobs ( a collection of short stories) – My Review

 

* Thank you to Penguin for the review copy of Ghost Story.  All opinions above are our own and not affected at all by the review copy of the book.

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano: Book CoverDetails:  Wither by Lauren DeStefano

 

          • Wither
          • Pub. Date: March 2011
          • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
          • Format: Hardcover , 358pp
          • Sales Rank: 10,406
          • Age Range: Young Adult
          • Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy Series #1

Wither Synopsis:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?

My Thoughts:

Admittedly, I knew nothing about this book when I picked up at the library other than there was a ton of hype about it and I loved the cover.  This cover has an incredibly strong presence but did not at all prepare me for the outstanding story that is Wither.  Lauren DeStefano creates a world that is so hard to imagine yet so real that you can’t help but think that this time is just around the corner when women will live to be twenty and men twenty-five due to humans messing with our genetics.  Rhine is one of the strongest characters I have read all year.  She is ripped from her home, already horribly broken and is sent off to become the bride of a man who can give her anything she wants, that is except her freedom.  While living in this wonderful house with Linden’s two other brides she discovers more and more strange things happening in the house and they all seem to revolve around her father-in-law.  She becomes the first wife which means she gets the opportunity to leave the property.  She says time and time again that she will get out but she has to make it in time or she will die like the others.

The terrifying premise to this story is solid throughout the book, it never waivers from the idea of getting an antidote to keep people from dying but it takes many different forms as the book moves on.  The relationship from Linden and Rhine, to the servants, and between the wives themselves really make this book incredibly strong in my opinion.  It is difficult to build as many relationships that are in this book and make them all compete and consistent but Lauren DeStefano is a master at doing just that.  I enjoyed getting to know each of the wives and how Rhine felt about each one.  Also, how she felt about each person around her.  For me, this was the strongest part of the story and the one that I enjoyed the most.

The plot is also strong and I felt that Wither was left in a great place so while there was a bit of a cliffhanger for the next book in this series, I was not left frustrated and wondering what happened.  All the way around, I felt that Witherwas a well planned and executed book.  This was the first book that I have read by Lauren DeStefano and I can tell you right now that there will be many more to come.

My Rating for Wither:

5 Penguin

An outstanding story that left me wanting to know what was going to happen next!

*All opinions are my own and I borrowed this book from my local public library, Oxford Public Library.

Review: A Life that Fits by Heather Wardell

A Life That Fits by Heather Wardell: NOOK Book CoverDetails: A Life that Fits by Heather Wardell

          • Pub. Date: May 2011
          • Publisher: Heather Wardell, via Smashwords
          • Sold By: SMASHWORDS – EBKS
          • Format: NOOK Book (eBook)

A Life that Fits Synopsis:

Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea returns home from a business trip to find Alex, her boyfriend of fourteen years, nervously waiting for her. Assuming he’s finally going to propose, Andrea’s instead horrified to learn he’s been cheating on her and is leaving to be with the other woman, who he calls Andrea’s opposite.

At first Andrea’s paralyzed by shock and sadness, but the business analyst soon forms a plan: change every last detail of her life and become her opposite so Alex will come back to her.

It’s a challenge at first, but soon Andrea’s loving the changes she’s making, the new activities she’s doing, and the new people in her life. But will she change enough to get Alex back? And if she does, will he fit into the wonderful new life she’s creating for herself?

My Thoughts:

Once again, Heather Wardell has exceeded by expectations with A Life that Fits. This is a story of what I think to be many women in their late twenties.  Andrea come home from a business trip expecting her boyfriend of many years to be waiting for her, but when she arrives she find him nervously waiting but something just doesn’t seem right.  While she is expecting an proposal, he is breaking up with her and puts her whole life in a tailspin.  Over the course of the next few days, she realizes that she doesn’t even know who she is anymore and decides that she is going to change her life and focus on being the opposite of who she is today.    She starts this process to get her boyfriend, Alex, back but more and more changes along the way.  She learns about who her friends are and who they are not and has a lot of trouble along the way.  The biggest question in her mind is can she win Alex back or has she lost him forever.

My favorite part of this book is that it is so real, a situation that women face every day.  Heather Wardell has an outstanding ability to take situations that as women we are face with yet find very uncomfortable to deal with and write about them then in a way that allows each woman to feel empowered about herself and her life.  Not an easy task at all.  Also, it brings to light that even the most educated woman who is successful in her job has a need to be in a relationship and to be wanted.  It is something that I know might irritate some readers but for me this was an important part of building the story.  For sure, this is a book that is meant as light reading, not deep to the point of making changes in your own life but rather the story of a woman and how she transforms after really thinking that the life she wanted was all over.  Self awareness and growth is really what I saw in this book.  Heather Wardell has consistently brought me great joy in her books.

My Rating

4 Penguins(really 4 1/2, but I don’t have a 4 1/2 picture)

A Life That Fits is another great story that I think truth empowers women.

Other Books By This Author:

Life Love and The Polar Bear Tattoo – Review Here

Go Small or Go Home – Review Here

Stir Until Thoroughly Confused – Review Here

Planning to Live – Review Here

*I was provided with an ecopy of this book for review from the author.  This in no way affected my opinions above.