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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) by Jim Butcher


I had a few ideas of where Jim Butcher was going to go with things in Ghost Story, and one of them was spot on. But I had no idea how he was going to get there.And getting there is quite a ride.

The Dresden Files series has become not just a story of the grey areas between good and evil, but a thesis on choices and free will and consequences - both intended and unintended.

I'm not sure I can say a whole lot more than that without giving spoilers. And this is a book that you really should walk into blind.

Here is the blurb:
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...

As for the writing elements:
  • The plots (plural) are genius.
  • Pacing is mostly okay, a few slow places, a few wordy bits. Nothing major.
  • Prose and dialog were fine (minus the wordy bits, but really, that was only a few pages).
  • Character development is... Wow. We've watched Harry Dresden grow and learn, but that process is exponentially sped up in Ghost Story.
  • World-building continues to be ten levels beyond fabulous.

Jim Butcher took a series that had started to be same-old-thing to a new level with Changes, and he upped the game once again with Ghost Story. I am eagerly looking forward to book 14.

  • Book Rating: Ghost Story: 10 of 10
  • Series Rating: 9 of 10

1 Storm Front (2000)
2 Fool Moon (2001)
3 Grave Peril (2001)
4 Summer Knight (2002)
5 Death Masks (2003)
6 Blood Rites (2004)
7 Dead Beat (2005)
8 Proven Guilty (2006)
9 White Night (2007)
10 Small Favor (April 2008)
11 Turn Coat (April 2009)
12 Changes (April 2010)
13. Ghost Story (July 2011)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

* Anxiously Awaiting as of mid July 2011

If there is new information - a link to Amazon, a release date, an excerpt, or something has changed, then it's red.  I've also put an (e) next to the books that have an excerpt out, clicking the (e) will take you to my listing of excerpts.

I'm really looking forward to Eye of the Tempest next week, as well as many of the other books that come out on the same day:  Ghost Story, Spell Bound, and Shadow Fall.I've complained before about their being a drought of good books and then suddenly a whole bunch are released on the same day.

My best finds this month: the next Cal Leandros book will be named Doubletake, the next Spellman File book will be Trail of the Spellmans, and two books away in Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series we'll have Magic Without Mercy.

I also discovered that Made to be Broken and Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong are being re-released next year. Could this mean she is finally going to continue that series? I really enjoyed those two books and I would love to see more Nadia Stafford books.

07/26/11 Ghost Story (Dresden Files, Book 13) by Jim Butcher (e)
07/26/11 Spell Bound (Savannah) (Women/Otherworld Bk 12) Kelley Armstrong (e)
07/26/11 Shadow Fall (Shadowchaser book 3) by Seressia Glass (e)
07/26/11 Eye of the Tempest (Jane True Book 4) by Nicole Peeler
08/02/11 Home Improvement: Undead Edition by Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, etc.
08/02/11 Retribution (Dark Hunters #20) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (e)
08/16/11 Kitty's Greatest Hits (Kitty Norville series) by by Carrie Vaughn

08/23/11 The Renfield Syndrom (Rhiannon's Law series book 2) by J.A. Saare (e)
08/30/11 One Grave at a Time  (Cat & Bones #6, Night Huntress) by Jeaniene Frost
09/06/11 One Salt Sea (October Daye, Book 5) by Seanan McGuire
09/06/11 Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter series) by Nalini Singh (e)
09/20/11 Heat Rises (Nikki Heat book 3) by Richard Castle (e
09/20/11 Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions (anth) by Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, and others
??/??/11 Blood Rock (Dakota Frost / Skindancer series book two) by Anthony Francis (e)
09/27/11 Spider's Revenge (Elemental Assassin, Book 5) by Jennifer Estep (e)
09/27/11 Darkness Unbound (Dark Angel series - new Risa books) by Keri Arthur (e)
10/04/11 Better Off Undead (The Bloodhound Files book 4) by DD Barant 
10/04/11 In Charm's Way (A Bewitching Mystery #8) by Madelyn Alt
10/04/11 Angels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Sharon Shinn
10/04/11 Down These Strange Streets by Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon, etc.
10/18/11 Double Dexter (Dexter book 6) by Jeff Lindsay (e)
10/25/11 Darkness Rising (Dark Angel/Risa book 2) by Keri Arthur
10/25/11 The Bite Before Christmas Cat and Bones short by Jeaniene Frost; Argeneau short Lynsay Sands
10/??/11 The Mam­moth Book of Ghost Romance (Anth) with an Elemental Assassin story by Jennifer Estep (e)
Fall/11 Unnamed Kate and Curran Novella from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (e)
??/??/11 Demons at the Gates (Phoenix Chronicles, Book 5) by Lori Handeland
11/01/11 Magic on the Line (Allie Beckstrom Book 7) by Devon Monk
11/22/11 Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich
11/29/11 Killing Rites (Black Sun's Daughter Book 1) by M.L.N. Hanover (e)
11/29/11 Virtual Virgin (Delilah Street #5) by Carole Nelson Douglas
11/29/11 Fate's Edge (The Edge series) by Ilona Andrews
12/06/11 Bound by the Vampire Queen (Vampire Queen Book 8) by Joey W. Hill
12/??/11 Unnamed (Justine Jones Disillusionist Book 3) by Carolyn Crane
01/03/12 Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock, Book 4) by Faith Hunter  
01/10/12 Lothaire (Immortals After Dark book 12) by Kresley Cole
01/31/12 By a Thread (Elemental Assassin book 6) by Jennifer Estep
02/07/12  Fair Game (Alpha and Omega Book 3) by Patricia Briggs
02/21/12 A Perfect Blood (Rachel Morgan / Hollows book 16) by Kim Harrison
03/06/12 Doubletake (Cal Leandros Book #7) by Rob Thurman
03/13/12 Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files #5) by Lisa Lutz
03/27/12 Unti by Jeaniene Frost
04/03/12 Magic Without Mercy (Allie Beckstrom Book 8) by Devon Monk
SPRING/12 Unnamed Vlad and Leila book (Night Prince series #1) by Jeaniene Frost
??/??/12 Liquid Fire (Dakota Frost / Skindancer series book3 ) by Anthony Francis (e)
??/??/12 Tempest’s Fury (Jane True Book 5) by Nicole Peeler 
??/??/12 Unnamed Jaime story (Women/Otherworld Bk 13) Kelley Armstrong
??/??/12 Kitty Steals the Show (Kitty Norville Book 10) by Carrie Vaughn
09/01/12 Daemon's Angel (Dark Hunters) by Sherrilyn Kenyon 
09/01/12 Ashes of Honor (October Daye, Book 6) by Seanan McGuire 
Spring/13  Unnamed Mercy Thompson Book 7 by Patricia Briggs
09/01/13 The Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, Book 7) by Seanan McGuire
10/01/13 Alpha (Dark Hunters, Daria's story) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Not all of the series I keep up with have another book listed as coming out. The authors have stated there will be more, but to my knowledge they haven't said when, or given a title name. I've listed those series below.
* Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton (taking a few years off)
* Bronwyn the Witch series by Candace Havens (teaser in email about upcoming news)
* Caruthers Sisters series by Candace Havens (teaser in email about upcoming news)
* Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
* Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
* Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh
* Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton  

Below are series I follow, but it is unclear whether there will be more books in the series:

* Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong
* Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

* Daughters of Arianne series by Joey W. Hill
* Felix Gomez series Mario Acevedo
* Spellman series by Lisa Lutz (Spring 2012?)
* Anya Kalinczyk / Embers series by Laura Bickle
* Succubus Diaries by Jill Myles
* Master of None series by Sonya Bateman
* Psychic Eye Mysteries by Victoria Laurie

You can read an excerpt of many of these books, to see my list of excerpts please go here

If someone wants to send me an ARC of one of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list, I will read it within a day or two of it arriving (assuming I'm home and I'm not sick or anything), and will get a blog post up of it as soon as I've finished reading it. You may send me a digital version at chained lightning at g mail dot com, or to send a hard copy you may contact me at that email address to ask for a shipping address. If you have an ARC you would like to send that is not on my Anxiously Awaiting list I will attempt to read and review it in a timely manner but it may not be placed topmost in my TBR pile. Feel free to email me to see if I'd be interested in reading something, as well. I've found a few authors this way that I may not have read had I not received a review copy -- and now I'm hooked on a few of those series, just waiting for the next book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

* Excerpts, First Chapters, and Sneak Peeks

Some of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list have excerpts available at the author's or publisher's websites. I've listed the excerpts and snippets below.

I would love to have an ARC for any of the books on this list, or on my Anxiously Awaiting list. See my Review Policy for more information about sending books for review.
 Jeaniene Frost has a blurb up for One Grave at a Time, but no excerpt yet.  Due to be released 8/30
 In case you haven't read them yet, there are also some excerpts up for books released in 2010, and 2011 to date: