Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #105 : Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher

This is my last book of my first ever cannonball read, which I am reviewing at 12.15am Jan 1st 2014. I am at home with a chest infection seeing in the new year with some vitamin c and a wet cat (it is the U.K so it is pouring with rain).

It is fitting it is the 10th Dresden Files, the series I discovered doing cannonball and the one I have enjoyed the most. I do not include the Game of Thrones series in this as they are in a class of their own and are definitely my reading highlight of 2013.

I am not really in a ‘reviewing’ mode. All you need to know is that it is Dresden it is AWESOME and you should read it, after you have read the other nine of course!


But I wanted to say that this is the year I lost my Sister-in-Law suddenly and horrifically to brain cancer on February 18th. She was 32.

I was already committed to the Cannonball read by then, but what happened changed the year completely my emotional involvement in this and my ability to read!

So if you wonder at my random selection of books and my less than stellar reviews, this is why.

I would like to dedicate my Cannonball to Zywena; a doer not  a reader (unlike me) but often, like Dresden, seriously kick arse!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #104 : White Night (The Dresden Files, #9) by Jim Butcher

Just when I think the Dresden files can’t get any better….they do!

This is the best one so far. In this one someone is finding female magic practitioners and killing them and making it look like suicide and trying to frame Dresden. That as always is the very bare bones of what happens: from gentle complex exchanges with Murphy to an epic battle against all odds.


This is so fast paced that it is hard to breathe let alone put down. I kept trying to go to bed and the peril just kept building that in the end I had to read it to 3am as I couldn’t stop till all were safe.

There is my favourite bit of Dresden so far with him having to act camp and a lovely bit at the end with his brother who is a fabulous character. I can’t recommend this book more highly. It may not change your life forever, though I am becoming more and more convinced that I may be a bit of a wizard, but it will give you an awesome distraction for however many hours it takes you to read.

And you really should you know. REALLY!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #103 : Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files #8) by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden who had so far spent his adult life under imminent death probation from the White Council Wardens (Wizard Police) became one at the end of book seven ( against his wishes and better judgement but needs must when the devil drives, literally) and in this book we see what that really means for him.


Which is soul searching angst as teenagers are beheaded (by the good guys and his colleagues) whilst he battles the usual big supernatural bad guys at a horror film convention and evil entities that feed off fear.

Anyone who has read any of the Dresden files will know that at least two other things will be happening he has to fix, fight, battle for his and other lives which will all piece together at the end. Think Poirot meets Indiana Jones meets Merlin. It is awesome and I really enjoy how Butcher manages to layer hardcore action with genuine emotional depth and philosophical ideas of good and evil right and wrong.

Butcher and Dresden Rock!


Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #102 : Wrinklies’ Wit & Wisdom: Humorous Quotes from the Elderly by Rosemarie Jarski

‘Old is the new young! Grey is the new black! ” An often, though not endlessly, entertaining collection of quotes about getting and being old from well-known comedians, historians and writers to pithy statements from anon and other unknowns.

It is fun to dip in and out of, and is organised into themed sections so you can flick to what you fancy at the time. An excellent loo book for that reason, and also as the bowels and other bits do get a bit more action as one ages!



As I am fast on the heels of 40 I was encouraged and occasionally uplifted by quotes in this book and also laughed out loud quite often.

Well worth a peruse!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #101 : E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout

Well, this is kind of what it says on the tin title wise. Another thoughts effect the universe self-help book. Though the word ‘prove is debatable. Well, if it comes to that it is all debatable.

I did really like this book, it is practical and straight forward instead of drowning in metaphysical waffityness and these books often can be. I tried the first exercise, I do plan to try the rest, and was rewarded with an hour of rain free walking in an otherwise monsoon day and a rainbow.


Now it could easily be coincidence that it didn’t rain whilst I was out of the house and started pouring shortly after I got home. The fact that I asked it not to rain for an hour or so so I could take a walk could be neither here nor there. I would suggest reading the book and giving the experiments a try, you don’t have anything to lose.

OR do you? I never thought that books like this could hurt anyone, and I think individually they don’t but I saw a really interesting lecture online about how the cult of ‘ the power of positive thinking’ is leading to a hands off blame orientated society.

I had never thought about it like that. But charity donations and volunteering are down in the western world and an ethos of think yourself better is becoming endemic. Why help the poor and the sick when they can just think themselves rich, healthier, happier? And that chimed uncomfortably with me.

I do believe that thinking positively has a physical impact and make you feel better and I think you can play with such notions as long as you are careful to keep an open mind.

BUT I equally do not think that people are dropping dead from brain tumours like my Sister in law this year, or are born into abuse and poverty as they haven’t learnt to control the energy of the universe by their thoughts. I also think David Cameron is an entitled millionnaire c**t because his father was one and his before him. I think we could do with a bit more revolution and a lot less introspection in the millennium.

I am more comfortable with a buddhist ethos of love others, live in love and show your love through action.  Don’t think. Do!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #100 : Tauron the Pounding Fury (Beast Quest #66) by Adam Blade


It is only with this last quest of mine into the ahem world of Beast quest, that I discovered that the Author doesn’t actually exist!

Adam Blade is a composite of the team of writers who write these books. Maybe having a lot of writers is what keeps them fresher than the horrific treadmill that is Goosebumps!

The fake bio for ‘Adam Blade’ is  a great story in itself. He is allegedly in his late twenties, and was born in Kent to history teachers and amateur artist parents. He grew up surrounded by his father’s paintings of historic English battles  “which left a lifelong mark on his imagination”
As did the ancient sword and shield that hung in his father’s office,  Blade family heirlooms apparently!I am a bit embarrassed that it took an internet tip off  for me to make such a discovery as to his fictionality. It is clear form the below that he is just too cool for school/reality let alone book writing.

“When he’s not writing Beast Quest books, Adam enjoys visiting museums and ancient battle sites. His main hobbies are fencing and football. He also spends a lot of time at home running around after his two exotic pets – a tarantula named Ziggy, and a capuchin monkey named Omar. These little rascals were the inspiration for two of the Beasts that Tom faces on his Quest – Arachnid and Claw.”
I like how they give their young readers a face behind the words. And actually Hemingway did  really climb mountains and hunt lions so you never know!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #99 : Spikefin the Water King (Beast Quest #53) by Adam Blade



The Evil Warlock turns a poor hapless fisherman into a terrifying spiked mer creature and so the fifth quest for weary Tom and Elena is set.

I don’t know if there is some kind of hidden message in these series about the nature of evil. A lot, though not all, show the tortured creature inside the beast. And in this particular quest Tom and Elena stop the other Fisherfolk from killing Spikefin as they know of the innocent man inside.

Are they saying that Inside every monster there is a core of goodness struggling to free itself?

Maybe it is a subtle treatise on the influence of politics and big business on the small indigenous fishing industries?

Or even a nod to the act of pollution on the worlds oceans and the wests moral ambivalence in such matters?

I feel a PhD coming on!

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #98 : Ursus the Clawed Roar (Beast Quest #49) by Adam Blade


693151181_oIn this Beast Quest Tom and Elena have to battle a giant bear, previously guardian to the peaceful village before the Warlock let loose his evil magic.

What I like best about these series is the equivalence between the boy and girl heroes, Tom and Elena. They both get cool weapons, they both encourage each other and they both kick arse. Tom is defintiely the main protagonist with more to do and access to the magic talismans of the beasts, but Elena is no damsel in distress.

I watched the film the Princess Bride the other day for the first time in a long time and loved it as always, but was also struck by how the Princess does virtually NOTHING to help herself.

Am glad young girls now have more of a choice in their fictional counterparts. I would have LOVED these when I was little. I was always Ji the jungle boy, or Spiderman, or Han Solo. And although I am always going to pretend to be Han Solo a bit, I would have liked to have had the option of being Elena the master archer and rider and Beast killer.

Though I would have still probably been Tom as then I get to carry off the princess! Be a few years yet before a gay hero or heroine star in these kind of books I should think!


Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #97 : Koron, Jaws of Death (Beast Quest: The Pirate King #2) by Adam Blade

Ok! It was with great shame that I took these books (this one and the next three reviews) out of the children’s section of my local library, shame and trepidation.

Shame that my lack of reading speed had brought me to books I could read as quickly as possible, like these fighting fantasy series aimed at 7 year old and up with, gulp I can hardly bear to write this… pictures…sigh…yes that’s right… PICTURES.


Trepidation as my flirtation with the Goosebump series was like having my brain gently cheese grated. BUT-

Even though I am still ashamed, a bit, after I read the first one I seized on the next happily as (drum roll please, you will have to imagine one as I don’t know how to link sound files) THESE WERE FAB! And have a kick arse female protagonist along side the male one. Now THAT…THAT…is progress!

There are about eight books in each series where Tom and Elena have to thwart a specific villain across the books and battle a terrifying beast that evil magic has made. In this series it is the Pirate king and in this book he has made a giant tiger with a scorpion’s tale.

Also I know there is a 100page limit on this race and these are all at least that, but I don’t know if there is a book age limit, I didn’t check so apologies if I have broken rather than bent the rules.

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #96 : Dogstar by Philip Dalkin, Alan King

Here is what it is about- “The year is 2347. Every living thing has to move to a new planet. But along the way, the Dogstar, a space-ark filled with all the world’s canines, goes missing. The Clark kids set out on a brave quest to rescue their beloved pet, Hobart. But with an evil genius and a rock-throwing alien tribe pitted against them, will they ever find him?”


I will give you three guesses whether they find him or not but I don’t think you will need that many. Another really good children’s book that frankly KICKS GOOSEBUMPS ARSE! Though to be fair it is very different subject matter. Well written and funny. I liked it a LOT!

Oh and even though it is the picture of the audio book, I read the paperback, all the words, all by myself! That’s what an MA in English can do for you  ;  )