Monthly Archives: September 2013

Harry Dresden-Wizard: A review of Storm Front by Jim Butcher


Title: Storm Front

Author: Jim Butcher

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Reviewer: Kristen Rinaldo

Storm Front is the first book in the Dresden Files series that is now up to 14 books and counting.  I read this book during college and have kept up with the series since then.  I wanted to reread this book to see if it held up in comparison to the rest of the series and to see how the story held up the second time around.

Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire in Chicago. His ad in the yellow pages reads:

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.

Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.

No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment

In the city of Chicago people are dying in a messy and frightening way. Black magic is afoot and the police do not know how to handle it so they call in their wizard on retainer, Harry Dresden. There are factions on all sides that do not want this mystery solved but the police are looking to Harry for answers and they need them before the killing happens again.  His past transgressions, no matter that they were in self defense, has Harry on the White Council’s watch list. This makes it risky for him to figure out what kind of spell is killing people and to find the murderer, but it is important for him to figure it all out before he is framed as the murderer or taken out by the killer himself. 

Harry is a great character and is my favorite part of the story.  He is funny, intelligent and is a genuinely good guy. He is a sucker for a damsel in distress. He may not always know exactly what to do but he will work hard to get the answers. Though he is a good man he is still tempted by evil.  He struggles with the temptation that comes with great power, especially when he encounters the magic that causes the murders.

Unfortunately for Harry Dresden, but fortunately for us, the author is not afraid to hurt his characters.  Both physically and emotionally the story is a gauntlet for Harry.  The story says NO to him just when things seem to be going right in the case and in life. This not only creates an entertaining story but also prevents things from going too easy for Harry.  This leads to character development that will be present across the entire series of books.

I tried to come up with a negative criticism of the book but I could not.  It has a well developed story line, well developed characters and the plot moves at a good pace.  The ending is well thought out without giving any crutches to the main character.

Earlier I mentioned the re-readability factor since I had read this before.  You may be able to tell from my review, but to make it clear it was just as good as I remember and rereading it was a great experience. If you have read this book in the past I would recommend doing so again. It contains all of the elements that have kept me loyal to the series over all of these years.

My rating:

5 out of 5 bookmarks. I would recommend this book to lovers of urban fantasy or mystery with paranormal elements.  If you read and like the first chapter you will get sucked into the book and into the series. Try it, you’ll like it.





Filed under Adult, Fiction, Kristen's Review

Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

World's Strongest Librarian

Title: The World’s Strongest Librarian

Author: Josh Hanagarne

Genre: Adult Non-Fiction

Source: Library

Reviewer: Emily Bedwell

Summary via Goodreads:

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7” when—while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints—his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman—and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison—taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

My Thoughts:

I will freely admit that I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. It’s not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it’s much harder to get lost in the world of non-fiction than fiction. I tend to enjoy reading as a hobby/passion, not because I want to think too hard. That being said, I found Hanagarne’s memoir to be a poignant, challenging, inspirational story. Hanagarne lived with undiagnosed Tourette Syndrome for years before he was properly diagnosed. A diagnosis is only one part of the battle, though. After he knew what caused his ticks, he still had to learn how to live with them, instead of letting them rule his life.

What happens is a rarely seen look into the world of someone afflicted with Tourette Syndrome and how it can affect and control every part of his life. Almost by accident, Hanagarne finds himself in one of the world’s “quietest” professions, serving as a librarian in Salt Lake City. Through his early adulthood, he is in and out of school, trying to figure out what he really believes about his Mormon faith & upbringing and trying to learn how to control this thing that has always controlled him.

Hanagarne writes with unabashed humor and wit, holding nothing back. He writes about his first ticks, his first love and meeting the trainer that changed his life with the same sense of honesty and urgency. Even when he admits that he questions his faith, he does it in a way that is not alienating to his readers, regardless of their faith and beliefs.

Overall, I found “The World’s Strongest Librarian” to be an interesting book, full of the sage advice of someone who has been there before. As a future librarian, I understood many of his jokes and descriptions of what it really means to work in a library in a way others might not fully appreciate. The only shortcoming I felt was the way his strongman training almost seemed to be a non-point in the book. My understanding is that there is a lot more of that on his blog, but I felt like that segment of his story was a little too rushed.

My Rating:

4 out of 5 bookmarks. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good read and worth at least checking out from your local library.


Filed under Adult, Emily's Reviews, Non-Fiction, Review