Fool Moon Review – The Dresden Files

Hello friends! After a long couple of weeks, I’m back in the writing game. I know it’s been quite sporadic, but you’ll have to bear with me. I’m trying!

I’ve been reading rather slow lately. While a couple months ago I could read 150 pages in one night of reading, recently I’ve been reading maybe 30 pages every night of whatever book I’m reading (no matter how awesome it is). I’m just an old person now and when I read more than ten pages I just get so tired. So my actual book reviews seem to be pretty far apart nowadays.

Nonetheless, I’m still reading! And my most recent finished book is the second book in a series I started called The Dresden Files. The series is about a wizard private investigator named Harry Dresden who is often used by the police in the Special Investigation unit. They bring him in if there is a case that seems, well, different. It’s really well written and there are currently 15 books in the series.

The second book by Jim Butcher, the one I just finished, is called Fool Moon and chronicles Harry Dresden’s next case after the first book’s case has been solved. This time: werewolves.

I think I may have mentioned this in the previous Dresden File blog, but I didn’t actually find this book on my own (sadly). I was looking for new genres to read because I kept reading the same types of fantasy stories. I was getting a little tired of the genre, not because I don’t love it, but because I really felt like I had exhausted myself with mystical beings and creatures and lives, and needed a break.

So of course, the next books I started reading were of the fantasy genre. I JUST CAN’T QUIT SOMEBODY HELP ME! HALP!

I read two of the Maze Runner books and ended up frustrated with the writing and never read the third (even though I bought it. side note: I have a serious problem. Does anyone else start reading a book and love it so much you just go out and buy all of the books in the series? Because I do that, and then sometimes I end up hating the series and wasting money on a book. Again, HALP!). But then I did venture out of my comfort zone a little and read Gone Girl. Holy crap, Gone Girl. Easily one of the most suspenseful, intricate, well-written, exciting, and fucked up books I’ve ever read.

But then I was at a loss. I had books that I’d bought and stockpiled, but nothing that I was in the mood for. That was when my boyfriend’s friend suggested The Dresden Files (and just about everything else Jim Butcher has written). I thought it sounded interesting, and definitely different from what I’d been reading: instead of young adult fantasy books, I had graduated to adult fantasy books. BOOYA!

I read the first book, Storm Front, and loved it. I loved the writing style, I loved the story, I loved the creativity, I just loved it. But I didn’t run out and buy the other books of the series (oddly), instead I read other types of books. The Fault in Our Stars, The Legend of Drizzt, etc. But then I couldn’t take it anymore. I bought Fool Moon and the third book, Grave Peril. (HALP ME!)  The good news about me buying Grave Peril is that I absolutely loved the second book. So I’ll definitely be reading the third book.

So yes, I loved the book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark, well-placed humor, a good action-y book, and super creative story lines. My only concern is that it’s 15 books. I’m a little worried I’ll get sick of it, although I can guarantee that my boyfriend’s friend will tell me “ABSOLUTELY NOT. YOU’LL LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT” We’ll see.

5 stars, Jim Butcher, 5 stars.

Until next time, friends.

Rachel

P.S. I’m always open to suggestions if you ever think there’s a book I should review!

email: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Everyone Drop What You’re Doing And Re-Read A Book

Hello blog friends! I’ve been meaning to discuss something that’s very dear to my heart: re-reading. I’m a habitual re-reader and proud. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games and don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve read Hamlet. I just love it. Shakespeare for the win!

But really, it’s an amazing joy for me to re-read books that have meant a lot to me. So I’m here to tell you to do it. Alright, let me rephrase that because you’re your own person and you can do as you please. But let me give you a little insight as to why you should re-read.

When I was in high school I read some of the best books. Not even a part of the curriculum, just good books. When I started college I had so many stories to read as an English major, that I needed the comfort of a genuinely good book that I didn’t have to think about the symbolism for, or have to think at all really. I mean there’s only so many times you can read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman or D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner before you’ve run out of meanings behind it. I mean for Christ’s sake they’re only like 15 pages long!

So rather than lose my shit over the books and stories I had to read, I started re-reading to clear my mind. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I tend to read to relax. So all I wanted was something I didn’t have to think about. The first things I started re-reading like crazy were the Harry Potter books. I’ve read those books since they first came out so Hogwarts is more or less my second home. This was a wonderful thing. Being submerged in a world entirely unlike your own for just a couple of hours, with the characters and places you love, before you have to go back to the real world is something that I’ll never take for granted. It’s freeing to be able to escape for a while.

As time went on, and the work got more difficult, I read even more (oddly). This time I delved into Amy Tan books. The Bonesetter’s Daughter was read and re-read in less than a week. Hamlet, The Hobbit, My Horizontal Life, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Night, I re-read them all. Of course I don’t want to give you a false impression: I read a lot of new books too, or at least books I’d never read before. But my comfort was more with re-reading books I’d read.

So, here’s what I propose: think of a book that has made a huge impact on you, or at least a book you’ve read that you’ve enjoyed reading, and re-read it. I know re-reading isn’t for everyone. A lot of people think, “I’ve already read it, I know what happens! Why would I read it again??” And here’s the answer: Why not?

There’s absolutely no harm in reading a book you’ve enjoyed again. Yes, you may know what happens, but do you watch movies that you’ve seen before? Seriously, my Jaws DVD is WORN OUT because I watch it so much. I can guarantee that at least once in your life you’ve re-watched a movie. You know the plot, you know who the bad guy is and who gets shot at the end, but you watch it again anyway. So why not try the same with a book? Yeah you know the ending, but it doesn’t make the story any less good. And it certainly shouldn’t make you not want to read it again. It should make you say, “wow, I remember loving that book. I should read it again and understand why I loved it so much.”

Now, I’ll say this: there have been times when I’ve read a book that I loved and then when I re-read it I was utterly disappointed and thought to myself, “This? This is what I was so excited about?” But don’t let that discourage you. Give another book a shot. One you’ve read more recently and know you’d still enjoy. Perhaps you’ll find new meanings in the story – I’m still finding new hidden things in Harry Potter. That shit is loaded with hidden meanings. But that’s why it’s amazing!!!!

So give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments or via e-mail. The books might surprise you.

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Book vs Movie: Gone Girl

It’s time for another Book vs Movie. Psycho murder conspiracy edition. I just finished Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl after weeks of only being able to read a little bit at a time. I have a confession though: I watched the movie first. I’ve mentioned before that I actually don’t find it horrible to watch the movie before reading the book. There are some cases when reading the book first is better (and that’s most of the time) but there are some books (like The Maze Runner) where you need that little bit of extra assistance to really get into the book. This book and movie combo is the former.

When I watched the movie Gone Girl it was because I really wanted to see it, and didn’t want to wait until I had read the book. I was too antsy. So I made the executive decision to go ahead and watch it… Holy crap. That movie is one plot twist after another. I won’t say anything to ruin the movie (or book) for anyone because honestly it just has to be seen to be believed. But I watched the movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I’ve ever seen — so I had to read the book.

I borrowed the book from my sister and started reading right away. For me, the story was kind of slow in the beginning simply because it was almost exactly like the beginning of the movie. It was like reading a screenplay rather than a novel. My issue here was that when I was watching the movie, I was completely enthralled within five minutes. And because the first part of the book (it’s written in three parts) was exactly like the movie, I felt like I was just watching the movie. No extra juicy details they had left out, no different plot twists – just a blow-by-blow of the movie (or rather the movie was a blow-by-blow of the book…hmm…) But nonetheless, the story was great to start out with, I just already knew what to expect.

I was starting to really wish I hadn’t seen the movie first only because the writing was so amazing. Flynn is one of those authors that can make even the most unlikable characters likable, but can also take away any shred of decency in that character in an instant. In Flynn’s case it’s really more of liking the character, unliking the character, liking the character, hating both characters, etc. So, because of all this, I was really starting to get down about it. I thought I had ruined the whole book by seeing the movie. Why did I ruin such a good thing?? But then I hit the last few chapters before Part Two, and oh my god was it amazing! I got to a point where I just refused to go to bed. I was like, “Nope. I know it’s 11:30pm and I know I have to get up early tomorrow, but nope. I’m just gonna keep reading. Que sera sera.”

And thus began my absolute love for this novel. I refuse to tell you anything about the actual story of the book, but I will summarize to you what the back cover/back of the dvd allows its audience to know: On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne reports his wife, Amy, missing. He acts very strangely, and even lies to the police, which causes everyone in their small town, including the police, to wonder if he had anything to with her disappearance.

Sounds like a simple whodunnit, right? Nope. Just…no.

This is one of the most interesting and edge-of-your-seat movies I have seen in a really long time. But this is one of those cases where I just wish I had read the book first. The book had so much more detail, and so many more plot twists. And even the characters were slightly different after the first part! Reading the second half of the book was like someone telling you ahead of time, “Dumbledore dies!” But then reading Harry Potter and finding out *SPOILERS* Snape killed him. It’s knowing one thing and reading another.

This book was excellently written, and wonderfully executed. It was a really great book. But don’t get me wrong! The movie was spectacular!! They chose all of the actors perfectly, and they truly did a better job turning a book into a movie than a LOT of other movies based off of books I’ve seen. I would say the movie was 90% accurate to the book, and that’s a big amount of correctness.

So yes, the movie was great. But hands down the book was better. Book: 3 Movie:2.

My sister argued, however, “The book didn’t have Ben Affleck’s penis in it, so the movie automatically wins.”

Valid point.

Until next time!

Rachel

The Genre Dilemma

I’m at a dilemma. After reading The Mime Order I’m kind of stuck in a rut due to my current love of the supernatural.

I ought to give you the whole backstory. You see, I have a predisposition of getting obsessed with a genre and sticking to it for a really long time until I get bored with it and move on. I do this a lot – the most memorable and long obsessions began about two years ago, when I started reading books about Asian culture.

It all started with the wonderful Amy Tan and her first novel The Joy Luck Club which chronicled a group of older female Chinese immigrants and their daughters in San Francisco. I had actually read an excerpt of the novel and was absolutely fascinated to the point where I just had to read the book. It was, and remains, one of my favorite books of all time. It’s heart warming, heart breaking, and everything in-between.

After that I decided to read her newest book The Valley of Amazement about a Chinese/American woman living and working in multiple courtesan houses. Now this book was incredible. I’ve mentioned before that a great book makes you feel as though you’re the character. That their pain is your pain, that their activities are your activities. That is exactly what happened here. I felt so connected with the main character that I actually took the book with me places so I could read while I was waiting for appointments or classes or whatever I had going on that day. I would literally break down in tears while in public reading this book. In fact, I was waiting for a class to start (I had two hours before it started) and decided I would buckle up and read the rest of the novel. I finished it in an hour and a half, and spent the next thirty minutes crying in the women’s restroom. It, too, was spectacular. Absolutely amazing, and gut wrenching at the same time.

Soon I had read nearly all of Tan’s books (I only have one of her books left! I’m saving it for the perfect time!) and was watching a documentary on olden days China on Netflix when I came across a documentary on Geisha girls in Japan. Oh my god was I fascinated. I was so fascinated that when I finished the documentary I immediately ordered Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, who was featured in the film. I was so entranced by his novel that I actually ended up writing an entire essay based on Geishas and their customs. It took a lot of documentaries and a lot of books, but I couldn’t have been happier doing that research.

So, for me at least, finding a subject that I enjoy and want to learn more about means reading a ton of novels based on the topic. My sister and I even went to Boston and I saw a woman reading a book on the subway based on a Japanese family’s life over the span of something crazy like 100 years, and I took note of the book and author so that when we got home I could buy the book. That happened about 7 months ago. I was on this Asian kick for nearly a year. I was that obsessed.

Now, I’ve moved on to supernatural/fantasy novels, usually young adult. I’ve always loved this genre – I mean my blog name is based off of a line from Harry Potter! But last January when I read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, I began to slowly integrate fantasy novels into my repertoire, until it became all I was reading. I read books in the meantime (and I’ll admit some of them were about Asian culture – you never get rid of a love!) but I waited an entire year for the Bone Season sequel to come out. That was “my precious.” Then I finally got and read the sequel, The Mime Order, all I want now is for the next book. My next “precious.”

And this is where the dilemma begins. After reading such an wonderful novel, it’s so hard to find something similar that can live up to my expectations. So, I can either stick to my guns and continue reading supernatural/fantasy novels (I’m currently almost done with The Maze Runner by James Dashner) or I can reach out and find a new topic to hone in on. I was thinking of switching over to romance novels – I just bought One Day by David Nicholls, or perhaps a John Green novel… but then fantasy novels are just amazing, and so exciting to read! Dilemma, dilemma…

Let me know what you guys think. Maybe I’ll start taking some suggestions!

In the meantime, let’s get reading! Until next time.

Rachel