#wyrdandwonder : Friday Face Off : “bibbity, bobbity, boo”

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(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

FFOHere we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

“bibbity, bobbity, boo” – A cover that features ‘magical things’

Not too difficult to find a cover this week – hope everyone else found it okay too.  (Also, sorry I’ve not been visiting blogs – I’m suffering from very bad wifi at the moment and even creating a post takes an age – hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon).  Anyway, to the covers.  This week I’ve picked Storm Front by Jim Butcher.  This is the first in the Dresden Series – this is a series that I was really enjoying and really need to jump back on board (I think I got as far as No.8).  Anyway, quite a lot of the books feature Harry’s magical staff (not sure if I’m naming that correctly) so that’s the artefact I’m choosing for this week’s theme:

Some very unusual covers here – my favourite two (and I’m sure some of this comes down to familiarity are:

I like the simplicity of the first cover and the second is the series of covers that I’ve become very familiar with and naturally drawn to.  I’m not going to choose between the two.

Which one is your favourite?

Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so we can all visit and check out each others covers.  Thanks

I’ve updated the list and included themes through to the end of 2019 – I’ve also included events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share that let me know in the comments).  I also have a list prepared for 2020 and so will set up a separate page soon for forthcoming themes.  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment.

Next week – A favourite fantasy cover

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers)

2019

(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

31st May –  “simples” – A favourite fantasy cover 

7th June  – “One swallow does not make a summer” – A cover that makes you think of Summer 

14th June – “Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.” – A cover featuring something sweet

21st June – Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – Pagan rituals/standing stones/blazing suns – a cover with your own interpretation

28th June – “And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas” – A cover that is striped

5th July – “The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe… has been answered” –  a cover featuring something/somebody historic 

12th July – A wrap around cover

19th July – “You can’t choose between life and death when we’re dealing with what is in between.” – A cover that is grainy or looks like ‘white noise’

26th July – “Ludo ….. down” – A cover that is Upside Down

2nd August – “There are children here somewhere. I can smell them.” A cover featuring children

9th August – “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

16th August – “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

23rd August – A cover that is a movie tie in

30th August – “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

6th September “Warm September brings the fruit” – a cover that is seasonal for Autumn/Fall

13th September – Friday the 13th – unlucky for some!  A cover with ‘curse’ in the title

20th September – “Your hair is winter fire,January embers.” – A cover featuring hair

27th September – Freebie

4th October – “Feed me Seymour” – A cover that is 60s horror

11th October – ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn

18th October – “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had on the white mask, he stalked the babysitters.” – A cover featuring a scream

25th October – for Halloween – pick any scary cover you like

(I’m hoping that November will once again bring to us SciFiMonth – Twitter @SciFiMonth)

1st November – A cover that is predominantly grey

8th November – “big badda boom” – a cover that features an explosion

15th November – “No thinking thing should be another thing’s property, to be turned on and off when it is convenient.” – a cover featuring a robot

22nd November – A cover that is Futuristic

29th November – “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – a cover that is 60s sci fi

6th December – Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York”  – a cover that puts you in mind of winter

13th December – A cover that features a temple/or religious icon

20th December – Longest Night –  a dark and foreboding cover

27th December – the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.)

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The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day

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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

18th November – The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day – a cover with stormy weather

For the theme this week I’ve chosen:  Storm Front by Jim Butcher (#The Dresden Files).  (I confess I struggled with this theme!)

and my winner:

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I think it suits the theme and the weather in the background looks very gloomy to say the least.

Which is your favourite??

If you fancy joining in with the FFO the themes for the next few weeks are below.  

25th November – As old as the hills?? – A cover with mountains

2nd December – Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements – A cover with fruit

9th December – Soul Meets Soul on Lovers’ Lips – a cover with lips

16 December – Give a Girl the Right Shoes and she can conquor the world – a cover with shoes

23rd December – The first noel… – a cover with angels

30th December –  Ho ho ho! To the bottle I go… – a cover with drink

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, No.7 of the Dresden Files

Just finished reading Dead Beat by Jim Butcher.  The seventh book in the series sees Harry being blackmailed by Mavra – super evil vampire who has incriminating pictures of Murphy and isn’t afraid to use them!  Okay, first things first.  As this is No.7 there may be spoilers for previous books.  Obligatory spoiler alert complete.  Moving on.

I do enjoy this series and feel that after getting off to a little bit of a hesitant start they’ve gathered momentum with each instalment.  Harry has really become a fully fleshed character now and apart from that, and not surprising at this stage of the series, I feel really comfortable with everything going on and all the different characters and conflicting politics.  This is a detailed world.  The good old mundane people of Chicago are blissfully unaware of what really lives amongst, around, below and above them!  There’s a little bit of everything going on here and the world building has been a gradual process over the course of the series with more revelations with each book.

The plotline basically revolves around a blackmail thread.  Dresden must find a sought after item, without assistance or involving outsiders such as the White Council otherwise the pictures of Murphy, that could basically destroy her career, will find themselves on ‘the right peoples’ desks!  It’s no spoiler at this stage of the series to say that Dresden has a ‘thing’ about females in distress and also has feelings for Murphy so of course he rushes off at breakneck speed to sort things out.  Of course, things are more complicated than they first seem.  Mavra isn’t the only person looking for this item and, it turns out, Halloween is almost upon us giving the search for this a whole new meaning.  Crammed full of action, death, necromancy, demons, dreams and fallen angels.  Not to mention a highly enjoyable, in my opinion, reanimated entity that you will have never read about before – named Sue!

I enjoyed this very much.  I thought the story was fast paced.  There was plenty of action and Harry suffers his usual catalogue of injuries as he battles on.  He does receive quite a few well placed pieces of assistance during this story and frankly he needed it as he was a bit out of his depth.  He also seems to draw more attention from unwanted elements – for example, the ErlKing – the fae King of the Wild Hunt – not somebody who you want to mess with!  There are new characters introduced.  We spend a little more time with Thomas and Mouse!  Buttress plays quite a large role and Lasciel Makes an appearance (in Harry’s dreams – and other places!).  On top of that there is a definite twist in the tale that I never saw coming.

I did however have a few niggles.  I think I missed Murphy being a part of the action and kept expecting her to put in a last minute appearance.  I also thought that whilst this series does seem to be getting darker at the same time it feels like in an attempt to inject humour there are a few moments that are a bit sort of, well, silly – like the whole Buttress one man band side of things – what was that all about.  Although, I suppose you could say that about the ‘Sue’ element of the story which I in actual fact really liked.  The other thing, I find myself feeling sorry for Harry and I’m not sure that I want to feel like that really.  He’s a good guy, he’s courageous, he wants to do the right thing but nothing good seems to ever happen to him. Give the guy a break – or at least let him have sex every now and again – he’s starting to become fixated on staring at certain parts of the female anatomy (which, is fine, but for goodness sake the guy’s wound tighter than a tightly wound thing!)

On the whole, I thought this was another really good instalment.  I did have a few little blips but nothing that really affected my reading and I find that I’m still enjoying this series very much.  And, of course, being late to the series means I still have books on my shelf, waiting patiently, to be read with no horrible wait!  Score me!

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

I love this series!  It seems like every book just gets better than the last – which is a pretty awesome accomplishment considering I enjoyed all the previous books in the first place.  How can they just keep getting better and better?  Well, I suppose it’s because we find out a little bit more about Harry during every adventure.  A little more about how he got where he is today and what motivates him, so that whilst every story is individual and self contained, they also follow on and link into one another – that just sounds total nonsense but if you’ve read this series you’ll know what I mean!  If you haven’t then – firstly, what are you waiting for? and secondly, get on with it!  This is a really entertaining series with some great characters.  If you’re not already aware Harry is a private detective working out of Chicago.  So far so normal.  However, he’s also a magician and he has fairly regular encounters with a range of unusual creatures ranging from demons to brownies.  He’s got a great sense of snarky humour, a soft spot for a damsel in distress and an ability to very quickly find himself in masses of trouble.

Blood Rites gets off to a fiery start with Harry rescuing a box of puppies from the clutches of some evil demon monkeys – demon monkeys who throw pooh!  In his escape he’s assisted by Thomas, one of the vampires from the White Court who we’ve met in previous instalments.  Thomas seems to show up unexpectedly on a number of occasions and this time he has a request for Harry.  It seems that somebody who he knows may have become the subject of an entropy curse and two unlucky people have already died as a result of getting in the way of this curse and Thomas wants Harry to intercede before its too late.  This involves going undercover a little bit and in this respect Harry poses as an assistant on a movie set.  The person he is assisting (or protecting) is called Arturo, the producer of pornographic movies who has recently broken away from the main studio to go it alone.  The plot quickly branches out from there with more than one thread being explored.

As you’ll know by this point we’ve been introduced to the White, Red and Black courts – all vampires, but all different in terms of their behaviour.  In this particular story the black court are still determined to make Harry pay for his past misdemeanours (at least in their eyes).  The Black Court vampires are particularly nasty!  The White Court on the other hand have always felt somewhat ‘softer’ somehow – that impression is set to change slightly in this story as we become familiar with some more of Thomas’s family and in particular the feared head of the family.  As we do so we get to see a different side of things altogether.

Straight away Harry is thrown in at the deep end.  He has the black court jumping out of dark corners at him at every opportunity and on top of this he’s trying to come to grips with the entropy curse and exactly what the motive is behind it.  He ropes in Murphy to help make discreet enquiries without drawing attention and then further needs her aid in helping to try and destroy a Black Vampires nest that has been established in the town.

Why did I really love this particular story.  Well, although it doesn’t appear to have any out and out wars in this one, more Harry trying to stay alive and solve a case whilst surviving no end of cuts, bumps and bruises, I really enjoyed the extra knowledge that comes with this story.  Thomas gains family in a most unexpected way.  He also finds out a few home truths about his mentor Ebenezer which don’t sit too easily with him.  We get an insight into Murphy and what takes place in her personal live – and OMG – her sister!!!  On top of this Bob obviously makes an appearance and Kincaid also reappears on the scene – and we get to see a different and darker side of him than previously, particularly when Harry uses his ‘sight’ to see what’s really there.

Harry’s adventures are always fast paced, rough and tumble.  There’s always plenty going on.  If you like dark urban fantasy with plenty of humour thrown in for light relief plus a mystery to be solved then you’ll love Harry.  Clearly Jim Butcher, has found in Harry, a character that is going to keep growing with every story thereby endearing him more to his readers and, as is proving to be the case, ensure his longevity.

I love this character and definitely recommend this series.

 

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: Ghoul Goblin

I just finished reading Ghoul Goblin which is a graphic novel combining six comics plus extras such as a summary of the series.  The story is set in the world of Harry Dresden and is a completely unique story (as oppose to being one of the already written books turned into graphic format).

I enjoyed this.  I can’t say that I’ve read extensively of graphic novels, because frankly I haven’t, but I find it’s something that I think I could quite easily become enamoured with!  That being said, I’m clearly no expert – I just like what I like – so, if I come up with a pile of gibberish in the eyes of all the experts out there than that’s my defence!

The story in Ghoul Goblin revolves around a family that seem to have been the subject of a curse.  Harry becomes involved when one of the local lawmen seeks his help following a couple of grisly murders of two of the Talbot family members.  This involves Harry travelling away from his usual Chicago stomping ground to the quiet town of Boon Mill in Missouri.  Of course not everybody there is pleased to make his acquaintance and he becomes particularly unpopular after causing havoc at the funeral for the most recently deceased.  The story involves near death experiences with a ghoul and a goblin, being thrown into a cell by the local law – who think he’s some sort of charlatan and seeking the help of a guardian spirit.  Something which is far from easy and involves encountering a rather large, okay huge, snake.

What I particularly liked about this is it’s a unique storyline that fans haven’t read before.  It gives everybody a little snippet of Harry whilst they’re waiting for further instalments and it brings together all the usual Harry trademarks.  The duster, Bob, the VW and Harry’s strange aversion to anything electronic, or more to the point the fact that he’s the glitch in the system.  It was also interesting to read a story about Harry accompanied by graphics – although I think Butcher does such an amazing job in the books that visuals aren’t really necessary. I thought the graphics were well done, the story, although obviously much shorter than I’m used to when reading about Harry, was intriguing and the overall experience of reading a graphic novel is so refreshingly different, almost less intense, than reading a novel (or do I just like ogling the pictures!)

In terms of criticisms.  I didn’t have anything major although I felt like the graphics could have been slightly darker.  That could simply be that my only experience with graphic novels is the Sandman series which is very dark but the Dresden Files is certainly not a series aimed at a YA audience.  It can be quite violent and doesn’t shy away from the grim and harsh realities of the strange world that Harry inhabits.  I think I wanted more creep factor is all but this wasn’t enough to spoil the experience for me.

I think if you love Harry and you’re just dying for your fix then this will be a great pick me up in between instalments.

I received this from Net Galley in exchange for a honest review.  The above is my own opinion.

 

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