Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 10/31/2013)

*Be on the lookout for a Q&A with the authors in the upcoming few weeks.  I'll put links here, but it will be posted at Shelf Inflicted and a few other blogs! WITH A GIVEAWAY! :)

Corrie Swanson needs to make a huge splash on her thesis, as she’s competing in John Jay College’s Rosewell Prize for Outstanding thesis and a junior, like her, has never won before.  After a few failed attempts to pitch ideas to her advisor, a  conversation with the College’s museum/library coordinator leads her to an interesting tale: Oscar Wilde, famed author, heard tales of bear attacks in Roaring Fork, Colorado, in which the bears devoured the victims.  Thinking that she could provide a huge contribution to research in the area of animal markings left on bones, she forces her advisor’s hand into approval and sets out to the rich tourist trap of a town.  The ski resort city, while at first seeming to be friendly and willing to lend her a hand, soon closes the proverbial doors on her.  Things escalate, leaving Corrie in prison for a simple B&E, and Pendergast steps in.  Good thing too, because Corrie’s discoveries reveal that it was something other than a bear that ate those miners a century before… and soon, a serial arson killer joins the fray.  The slow burn becomes a raging fire and a race against time as three massive storylines, along with a Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle thread, reach an explosive, fiery finish.

Wow, what a ride!  This might just be my favorite entry to the series since Book of the Dead.  Not to say there haven’t been some great books since the end of the Diogenes trilogy,  but this one really raises the bar.  Fast-paced, chock full of murders, Sherlock Holmes, shocking twists near the end, great new characters, and even a moment of Pendergast showing some real emotion.

There are three main storylines in White Fire.

1. Corrie’s thesis project, based around the bodies of 9 miners who had been killed and eaten by *something* in the 1870s, when the town was still a huge mining area rather than a ritzy ski resort -- and the powers controlling the town fighting against her solving the mystery.

2. A serial killer and arsonist, murdering townie after townie and burning their bodies and their homes, as Pendergast works with local law enforcement (who are in over their heads with said killer) to catch them as soon as possible.

3. The search for a lost Sherlock Holmes story that Conan Doyle wrote after hearing a disturbing tale from Oscar Wilde at a chance dinner meeting.

All three of them are done well and integrated seamlessly into one big novel.  The ending is cringeworthy, in a good way… it will have you on the edge of your seat as you await the conclusion, which ties up well, and hopefully has brought a new character into our beloved cast of recurring players.

Overall, I give this story a 5 out of 5 stars.  One of my favorite reads of the year, and one of my favorite entries of the series, right up there with Still Life with Crows, Book of the Dead, and my personal number one, Cabinet of Curiosities.

*I was provided an ARC for review by the publisher and Netgalley.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 10/28/2013)

This series is amazing.  Definitely moving farther and farther into my list of favorite series of all time.

I love Harry Dresden.  I love his world.  I love Karrin Murphy, and Billy the Werewolf, and Toot-toot the fairy.  I love the Council, the blasting rods, the vampires, and Chicago.  I love his cat Mister, his talking skull Bob, his religious warrior friend Michael, and his sardonic wit. I love that James Marsters narrates his audio books.  I love that he owes fairies from bargains, has a dark past, and buys pizzas for Toot-toot.  I love that he signs on to help everyone and anyone at his own expense, any where he can, any way he can.  I love that he's smart and funny and loyal.
Needless to say, I love Harry Dresden.

Book 5 next month? I think I will! :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Stolen Luck by Shawna Reppert

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 10/23/2013)

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy for review!

James Dupree is desperate.  His family and his estate all depend on his ability to find his family's stolen Luck -- a token of friendship given by elves decades before that grants his land bountiful harvests and his household and crops and animals freedom from sickness.  Since the Dupree luck was stolen on the night his father was murdered, things have gone downhill... the estate is in debt, and the next year's harvest might well be the last for Dupree Manor.

So he gambles and wins an Elven slave, even though he abhors slavery, in order to gain the elf's aide in crossing into the elvish lands in pursuit of a long missing thief and regain his lost Luck.
As they travel, and gain and break and gain and break each other's trust, James and the elf Loren move forward along the path of retrieving this luck, and building something far greater than anything the Luck could offer... but will it last?

Wow, what a ride!  I've never really been into the romance story scene, but when I requested this from Netgalley, I didn't really get a romance vibe or I missed it somehow.  But the fantasy elements and the sexy elf really helped make the story hehe.

I think the fighting got to be a bit too much, but I still enjoyed the growing love story between James and Loren, and their battle to push through their roles and their obligations and their histories to find something real.

I'd recommend the book as a fun read.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Riddle in Stone by Robert Evert

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 10/22/2013) 

Back in July, I was privileged to have the chance to read a book from a new author, Robert Evert.  He's a nice guy with a good story to tell, and I never got around to posting my review on this blog (as it was set aside for a few months from April/May-ish until now/October.

So here's my review, from Goodreads:

First, I'd like the thank the author for providing me with a copy for review. I've only done this a few times, because I don't like feeling obligated, but I accepted and am so thankful that I did.

This book was just... FUN. It's got a stuttering, know-it-all, lame boring protagonist. Okay, maybe that's how he starts out. By the end, he's brave, honorable, and humble. This character growth was one of my favorite parts of the book!

I enjoyed the story, especially the relationships between Edmund and Thorax the dog and between Edmund and Pond Scum. (I also LOVED the Doctor Who reference of a character called Pond the whole time!).

The villains were fleshed out enough, the bad events were entertaining to read, the hero was easy to root for (seriously... I'm a book-obsessed dorky quasi-stutterer myself!), and the plot was paced properly.

I am really looking forward to reading more of Edmund and Pond's journey to take down the Undead King!

You can get a copy of Robert's book on Amazon: Riddle in Stone, and don't forget to check out the recently released sequel, Betrayal in the Highlands, to get more of Edmund's story.  I can't wait to read the second book!