Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: Storm Front

Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) (*****)
by Jim Butcher

Storm Front is a sort of who-dun-it, private-eye novel...except Harry Dresden is a wizard and the cases he's drawn into are of an other-worldly nature. In this book, the first novel in a long-running series, Harry finds himself dealing with two cases. The first comes from his private detective business - a woman hires Harry to find her missing husband. She doesn't think the cops can help her, and the husband had some interest in magic. At the same time, Harry was called in by the cops to consult on a police case - two bodies have been found with their hearts ripped out of their chests and no sign of how that was accomplished. Harry takes both cases and finds himself in more danger than he ever could have imagined.

Harry, rather than being all rough-and-tumble, drunk grump, and/or gritty tough guy, is actually emotionally accessible. As he finds himself up against the cops, a Chicago crime lord, an insane and powerful magician, and members of the White Council (a sort of magical police force and governing council), Harry is alternately righteously angry, scared out of his wits, exhausted, and determined. The story is a mix of mystery, humor, and excitement. Storm Front is a page turner and an exciting read, and I plan to check out the rest of the series.

Book Review: The Black Hawk

The Black Hawk (*****)
(The Spymaster's Lady #4 or #5 - there's some confusion in the numbering system)
by Joanna Bourne

The Black Hawk is one book in a series that takes place during the French Revolution and Napoleonic War. The series features characters who are spies for both the British and the French. There are a few characters that carry throughout the series, but for the most part, you can read these as stand alones. This book features Adrian, master spy, one-time thief, and now head of the British Service. When he was a boy (though old beyond his years), he meets Justine (code name Owl, also old beyond her years), who is a girl of about his age and a spy for France. Though enemies, they create a bond then that carries through the years. When the The Black Hawk opens, Justine is in grave danger and goes to Adrian, the only person she can trust. The book then flashes back through the years to times when Justine and Adrian interacted, filling in life events while providing clues the current cause of danger.

Ok, so a few things about this book. Seriously, don't judge it by it's cover. Never does Adrian stand open-shirted in front of an English manor, nor does he wear a cape. The typical romance-y cover makes you think that this is a typical romance-y book, not that there's anything wrong with that. The thing is, Joanna Bourne's books are so much more. The stories in this series are a deep look into a historical period, with political intrigue, gritty spy drama, and a side of romance. The focus is more on the complex relationship between spies of opposing sides who care about each other, and the problems that creates. It's an incredibly well written and engaging read, with smart and savvy characters and a glimpse into an era of history that doesn't get as much focus in romance novels. I highly recommend this series. And if you're turned off by the cover, well, that's what e-readers are for!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Scarlet

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


New Gig, New Nickname: They call me Savvy and I like it

I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am... I am a librarian.
I've got the biggest of big news, folks! I am the new Teen Librarian for Mooresville Public Library! The excitement I have inside of me is bursting out in sparkles and rainbows! So for my friends and followers, read on as I tell you a bit about my new job. For visitors stopping by after reading this super-awesome introduction on the MPL blog, welcome! I will introduce myself even more below :)

The deets:
On Monday, January 23, I will be starting my first official library job with Mooresville Public Library as their Teen Librarian. I'll be working 22 hours a week. Come visit me on Mondays from 9-5, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-5, and Wednesdays from 4-8. Most of that time you can find me here:

MPL Teen Area - Isn't it glorious?

My new desk! I have a desk!
I'll be doing loads of book talks, programs, reader's advisory, and oh so much more! It's so exciting! I can't wait to get in there and get my hands dirty (figuratively, of course, though I guess that could also be literal - we have a crafts program once a week...)!

About Me:

MPL christened me with the name Savvy and I don't think they know how perfect that is. You see, I adore a certain man who uses the word "savvy" quite often. Maybe you've seen him before...

"Son, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?"
Sigh...Johnny. Oh, sorry, where was I? Ah, yes, about me. Things you should know. Or maybe not should, but I'll tell you anyway...

1) YA books are awesome. I'm particularly fond of ones that have some kind of magical or paranormal element or ones where girls kick butt. Ally Carter is a favorite.

2) I drink a lot of tea. Hot tea, that is. The way some people can't function without coffee, I can't function without a cuppa.

3) I don't share Girl Scout cookies. I'll share other cookies, but I'll protect my Girl Scout cookies like Gollum protected his precious. Only better. No Bilbo or Frodo will get his furry hands on my Thin Mints.

4) If the phrases "bow ties are cool," "allons-y Alonso," or "come along, Pond" mean nothing to you, we need to have a chat. You are clearly missing out on the magic and wonder that is Doctor Who.

5) I like big books and I cannot lie.

I totally can't wait until Monday! New adventure, here I come!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Out of Sight, Out of Time

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5)
by Ally Carter
Publication date: March 13, 2012

From Goodreads:
The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from the Circle of Cavan--an ancient terrorist organization that has been hunting her for over a year. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, she must face the fact that her memory is now a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and the dirt under her nails, and all she wants is to go home.

Once she returns to school, however, Cammie realizes that even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers. Cammie, her friends, and mysterious spy-guy Zach must face their most difficult challenge yet as they travel to the other side of the world, hoping to piece together the clues that Cammie left behind. It’s a race against time. The Circle is hot on their trail and willing stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer.

From Me:
I love books that have strong female characters, especially when they're doing something not generally considered feminine. Here, the girls at the Gallagher Academy are all spies-in-training. They're tough and they face danger without losing their femininity. They can break into the Tower of London or zip-line down a building and still get all squiggly about a boy. And I can't wait to read the next in the series!