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!

reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review #52 In Defense of Food: An Eaters’ Manifesto by Michael Pollan


I am a fan of Michael Pollan, having read several of his books and heard him speak when he’s in town. I hadn’t read In Defense of Food because I heard him interviewed and attended a lecture right around the time the book was published. At the lecture he brought a shopping bag full of things he’d picked up at a grocery store: green tea infused sodas, yogurt with fiber added, and numerous other manufactured foods. His point was that in the United States we practice “nutritionalism” focusing on particular nutrients rather than whole foods, and eating manufactured foods in the process. This is the theme of the book.  Pollan goes through a history of food science, a description of what we are eating today, and his suggestions for a better way of eating.

The phenomenon of nutritionalism was named in the late 20th century, but has been in practice since the 19th century. Currently the popular “bad” nutrient is the carbohydrate. Athe end of the 20th century it was fat, in the 19th and early 20th century, John Kellogg and others extolled the harm of animal proteins. In general, our food research seeks to isolate certain nutrients and determine their harmful or beneficial effects. This isn’t all bad, science has discovered vitamins and other minerals in food and determined they were necessary. The problem is that this form of reductionism also creates over simplifications in our approach to food. Continue reading

Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Reviews #177-181

To save some time, since we’re running out of it, time for me to play catch-up as well.


#177, The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher: 2 stars.

#178, Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart: 2 stars.

#179, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: 2 stars.

#180-1, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket: 1 star.


Reviews are also forthcoming for Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon and One Day, both of which were an improvement upon this recent fare.

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 #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  ;  )

Josephine’s #CBR5 Review #95 : Baddies, Beasties and a Sprinkling of Crumbs! (Crumbs #1) by Tracey Corderoy

I LOVED this! I wish I had discovered this book (and the fact that it is the first of a series) LONG before I dragged my brain through the tedious  and painful broken glass experience of the Goosebumps books! Well I did deserve to suffer a bit I suppose, anyway in this top children’s tale:


“Otto, Martha and Scarlett Crumb are three most unusual children. With their dad, Henrig, busy inventing a special case to protect the Golden Elephant of Heera, they’re expecting to look after themselves over the summer. Yet suddenly Henrig’s long-lost sister turns up – and she’s beastly! The children think things can’t get any worse … but then the Unstoppables, a notorious gang of robbers, set their sights on Henrig’s special case, and it seems they’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on it…”

As I said I loved it, exciting, heart warming and funny. I am going to read them all in 2014.