I only read when my OCD kicks in

I enjoy reading, however, the bulk of reading only occurs while I am in an OCD focus zone. Last year I read over 70 books but I didn't pick up a book from August 2013 until March 25, 2014... I have already read 3 books this year!

Insurgent (Divergent)

Insurgent - Veronica Roth Here is my massive review of Insurgent which is book two of three in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.
Though I was not impressed so much with book 1 Divergent I found this one to be of greater substance. I did find at times that the main character appeared to be whining a bit much but aside from that Insurgent made up for all the limitations of character development and plot holes found in book 1.

The setting takes place in a Chicago in the far future, where Lake Michigan has become one massive swamp.

Background from book 1:

The background to the story, revealed in the first novel of the trilogy, explains how Chicago in the near future is divided into 5 factions:
Abnegation, meant to uphold selflessness;
Amity, meant for the peaceful;
Candor, meant for the honest;
Dauntless, meant for the brave; and
Erudite, intended for the knowledgeable.

The story's protagonist, Tris, tested with equal aptitude for three: Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. This makes her "Divergent" and she is warned never to share this information with anyone for fear of her life. Those who are Divergent, and those who are simply not strong enough in their particular faction, are deemed factionless.


Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Marcus travel to Amity, where several surviving Abnegation are settled in. Amity issues a statement that all factions may seek refuge there as long as they reside in peace. Tris overhears Marcus confessing to the Amity speaker, Johanna, that Abnegation's leaders died to protect a secret. Tris later confronts Marcus, but he refuses to reveal anything.
Erudite and Dauntless traitors soon arrive at Amity to search for the Abnegation. During their search of the compound, Four's tattoos give the group away, and a gunfight begins. During this, an Erudite woman aims at Peter and Tris unintentionally saves his life. Tris, Four, Caleb, and Susan manage to escape and jump onto an oncoming train. The train car is full of armed factionless, including former Dauntless initiate Edward, who escort them to a factionless safe zone. Tris is surprised to learn that the factionless are numerous and have established a society in which the people seem happy and taken care of. The group is led to the factionless leader, Four's mother Evelyn, who was previously thought to be dead. That evening, Tris overhears a conversation between Four and Evelyn, during which Evelyn tells Four that he needs to convince the Dauntless to join the factionless. During this encounter, Evelyn threatens Tris, telling her that she is "permanent" in Four's life and that Tris is only "temporary". The warning only makes Tris' wariness of Evelyn even worse. Caleb and Susan move to a safe zone where more Abnegation are living, while Tris and Four travel to Candor headquarters.
Upon reaching Candor, Tris and Four are arrested and subjected to a truth serum trial. During the trial, Four admits that he joined Dauntless to escape his father's abuse, and Tris admits her guilt in shooting Will. This angers Four and Christina, who were unaware that Tris was Will's killer. The Candor are attacked by Dauntless traitors led by Eric; many people are shot with a new simulation serum. Tris and Uriah, who is revealed to be Divergent, figure out what is happening and try to warn the remaining Divergent, but they are all captured by Eric. He plans, as instructed by Jeanine, to take two of the Divergent back to Erudite headquarters and execute the rest. As Tris injures Eric, the Dauntless burst into the room and take control. They figure out that the new serum allows Jeanine to subject the victims to simulations from great distances and that it won't wear off, giving the Erudite much greater control over the group. Following the attack, Candor leader Jack arranges a meeting with the Erudite, secretly observed by Tris, Four, Lynn, and Shauna. The Erudite, represented by Dauntless traitor Max, demand that Candor turn over Eric, the Divergent, and a list of those who did not receive the new serum injection. Tris figures out that Jeanine is controlling Max via earpiece and must be close by, but before she can act, Lynn shoots Max in the chest from her secret location. Tris, Four, Lynn, and Shauna run to escape the Dauntless traitors but run into Jeanine and her guards, one of whom is Peter, who allows them to escape. As they run away, Shauna is shot in the back and paralyzed.
Back at Candor, Four confronts Tris, telling her that she is being reckless with her life, and that they are finished if she continues to act as such. The Dauntless hold a secret meeting, and Four, Tori, and Harrison are elected as new leaders. They then put Eric on trial for his crimes. He is convicted, and Eric demands that Four kill him, which he does with no guilt. The Dauntless return to their headquarters, and Tris and Four meet with Evelyn and Edward. While Tris and Four are leaving for the meeting, Four tells her that one of his fears in his fear landscape changed; instead of having to shoot a woman, he has to watch Tris die. Four makes an agreement with the factionless to destroy the Erudite and establish a new government. However, Tris doesn't trust Evelyn, who she feels abandoned Four to his father's abuse.
That night, Christina and Tris discover a simulation that causes Dauntless members to step off the roof every two days unless a Divergent is given to the Erudite. They save a young girl and Lynn's brother, Hector, but Marlene plunges to her death. Tris is again overcome by grief and guilt. She flees the funeral ceremony, but Christina finds her and forgives her for what happened with Will, understanding that simulations make a person completely controlled by Jeanine. Tris later finds her way to Four's room, intent on sacrificing herself to Erudite. He begs her to reconsider, and she agrees, but leaves for Erudite at midnight while he sleeps.
Tris walks into Erudite headquarters, terrified but accepting of her fate. She agrees to Jeanine's testing as long as the results are explained to her; she is then subjected to an MRI and several simulations. She sees Caleb, who is now working for Jeanine, and is shocked at his betrayal. One evening, Tris encounters Four in the hallway, and discovers that he tried to save her. They are taken to the execution chamber, where Jeanine injects Tris with a terror-inducing drug so that Four will give up the locations of the factionless safe houses. Despite all her efforts, Jeanine cannot find a simulation to control Tris, and when Jeanine loses her temper, the two have an altercation. She then declares that Tris will die the next day. However, Peter, who is meant to be her executioner, helps her, to repay his debt of her saving his life, and Four escape from Erudite instead.
The three travel to the Abnegation sector of the city, where the factionless and Dauntless have gathered. Four leads Tris to his own house after Evelyn kicks Marcus out, and they admit their love for each other. Having been greatly affected by her near-death experience, Tris meanders around her old neighborhood. She bumps into Marcus, who convinces Tris that her parents died to save the information that Jeanine stole. He insists this information must be made public before the Dauntless/factionless army destroy all data in their attack. Under disguise, Tris, Christina, and Marcus infiltrate Amity to update Johanna and ask for her help. She holds a meeting to inform the rest of Amity, and after the decision is reached to remain impartial, Johanna and several others choose to leave the faction. Tris and Christina speak with the Erudite refugees living in Amity, including Will's sister Cara, who agrees to help with the mission to save the information that was stolen and transmit it to all factions.
Travelling back to the city, Tris leads a group disguised as Erudite to infiltrate the faction headquarters. Once they get in, Cara begins connecting the computers to transmit the data to other factions. After an encounter with Caleb, Tris and Marcus realize the data won't be on the main computer. Tris, Marcus, and Christina head up to Jeanine's private laboratory, after Tris remembers what Tori mentioned about security. On the way, the group runs into Edward. After a fight that disables Edward and Christina, Tris and Marcus reach an intersection. They split up, going into two different doorways. Tris enters a simulation that forces her to fight herself. Realizing she is more desperate than her simulation counterpart, she forces the simulation to give her a gun, and, facing her guilt over Will, she shoots and kills her simulation-self. When she walks into the laboratory, she finds Tori screaming at Jeanine to acknowledge her brother, a Divergent, who was killed on Jeanine's command. Tris disarms Tori, and after a struggle, she attempts to explain that she wants Tori not to kill Jeanine so that they can obtain the information from her computer. Tori refuses and stabs Jeanine in the stomach, killing her.
Tori calls Tris a traitor and attempts to have her taken into custody, while Four confronts her about aligning with Marcus. Uriah escorts Tris downstairs, and as they reach the holding area for the surviving Erudite, Candor, and Dauntless, they find an injured Lynn, and comfort her as she dies. Evelyn announces the institution of a new factionless government and society. The Dauntless begin to protest but find themselves powerless, as their weapons have been taken by the factionless. Caleb, Marcus, and Four then enter the room, and Four talks to Tris. They kiss and reconcile, and Tris hopes all the secrets between them are gone for good. Screens in the room begin to play the information retrieved by Four and Caleb: an old video featuring a woman named Amanda Ritter, who later takes the identity of Edith Prior, from an organization fighting for justice and peace. Amanda explains that the world had become corrupt and the faction system was established as the cure to this corruption, as a way to help society regain the moral sense it had lost. The city was sealed away from the rest of the world, but when those identified as Divergent had increased in numbers, the Amity are to open the fence forever and the population should re-enter the world. As the video ends, the room erupts into voices.


Beatrice Prior - (Tris) narrative is from her point of view. She was born Abnegation but chose Dauntless at the Choosing Ceremony when she was 16. She explains her choosing by stating that she felt she was too selfish for Abnegation and wanted to be free. Being Divergent, she is able to control and escape simulations. Tris has an aptitude for 3 factions—Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation—meaning that her Divergence is stronger than most and practically unheard of. She is in a relationship with Tobias Eaton, also known as Four, her former initiation instructor, and they are in love. Her Divergence influences many aspects of her life, as she often exhibits selflessness, bravery and intelligence. Characterized as slight in stature, she is shorter and skinnier than she would like, but she gains muscle because of the fighting during training and in the war. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She has a tattoo of three ravens on her collar bone, representing her family, and also has the symbols of Abnegation and Dauntless on either side of her shoulders. Sister of Caleb Prior. Their parents were Andrew and Natalie Prior, who died to save her life. She scored the second lowest number of fears (six) during her fear landscape, right next to Tobias, who has four.

Tobias Eaton - (Four) is in a committed relationship with Tris. He finished his initiation class in first place, which earned him the choice job position, but he refused to become political, choosing to operate the computerized security center at Dauntless. He is nicknamed Four because his fear landscape showed he only has four fears, the lowest amount ever. His fear landscape also revealed that his father, Marcus, was abusive to him, and several of his fears stem from this violence and abuse. Four admits to choosing Dauntless only to escape his father's cruelty, which is seen as a cowardly choice. Marcus was close to Tris's parents, but Four never accompanied him to dinner when they were invited over. That is why he and Tris didn't remember each other. However, when Tris's mom, Natalie, came to visit her on visiting day, he looked familiar. Tris also remembered Tobias from his mother's funeral, which the reader learns was a farce. He is muscular and tall, dark hair with sapphire-blue eyes. He has all of the faction symbols tattooed on his back, along with Dauntless flames along his side.

Caleb Prior - Tris' brother. He often exhibits his Erudite nature with excessive inquisitiveness. Caleb learns from Jeanine about the content of the important information stolen from Abnegation. He chooses to oppose Tris in order to further the Erudite agenda of control by simulation. He is tall with dark hair and green eyes.

Marcus Eaton - an important Abnegation leader. As revealed in Four's fear landscape, he was abusive to his son privately, while maintaining a pristine public image of service and caring leadership. Four characterizes him as manipulative and despises him. He claims that the Erudite had Abnegation attacked to obtain some important information and prevent it from becoming public. He was very close to Tris's parents, this being because Tris's father, Andrew, was also an Abnegation leader.

Jeanine Matthews - the leader of the Erudite, chosen based on her high IQ. She is the developer of the simulation serum and main antagonist. One of her primary goals is to neutralize the threat posed by the Divergent's ability to crack simulations. She obtained the important information from Abnegation during the attack and has kept it hidden on her private computer. She has also taken a special interest in Caleb. She was killed by Tori in revenge for the murder of her brother.

Johanna Reyes - spokeswoman for Amity, which does not elect a leader. She is described as pretty but with a terrible scar running down her face.

Jack Kang - leader at Candor who administers the Truth Serum.

Christina - Tris' close friend. Christina returned to Candor after the attack on Abnegation. She was in a relationship with Will before he was killed, and she suffers from grief at his loss. Christina becomes friends with Will's sister Cara, who offers words of comfort and encouragement. She is very blunt and honest. She is dark skinned with dark hair.

Will - Tris' friend. They met when they were training for Dauntless initiation, and he teased Tris about her gun-shooting skills. He was under the control of the simulation when he attempted to shoot Tris during the attack on Abnegation. Tris, instead, killed him. She is deeply sorrowful about his death at her hand. He had shaggy-blond hair with light green eyes, a crease often showing between his eyes. Will was Christina's partner before his unfortunate death.
Uriah, Lynn, and Marlene - Dauntless-born in the same initiation class as Tris. Uriah is revealed to be Divergent. Marlene is always smiling and cheerful, an upbeat person. She and Uriah are in a relationship, but Marlene is killed after being controlled by a simulation to jump off a roof. Lynn initially did not like Tris, but the two become friendly. Lynn gets shot and dies during the raid on the Erudite yet right before she died she told Uriah that she also loved Marlene, yet not as a friend, hinting that she might be a lesbian.
Zeke and Shauna - friends of Four. Zeke is Uriah's brother, and he acted as a Dauntless-traitor spy until he turned up at Candor with a wounded Tori in tow. Shauna is Lynn's sister, and she is shot in the back when Tris' party pursues Jeanine Matthews after the secret meeting between Max and Jack. Shauna becomes paralyzed from below the waist and requires the use of a wheelchair. She and Zeke are in a relationship.

Tori and Harrison - chosen as leaders along with Four. Harrison is characterized as being older. Tori is an artist at the Dauntless tattoo shop. She ran Tris' simulation before the Choosing Ceremony and warned her to keep her Divergence a secret. Tori's brother was killed because he was found to be Divergent, and Tori wants revenge. She acted as a spy with Zeke in the Erudite compound and discovered that Jeanine's lab was heavily protected. Tori gets her revenge on Jeanine by killing her in the Erudite compound.

Max - a corrupt Dauntless leader who allied with Erudite to destroy Abnegation. He wanted Four to work with him, but he settled for Eric. Gets shot by Lynn during the story.

Eric - Four's nemesis. Eric finished second in the same initiation class as Four. He is threatened by Four and antagonizes him. He is working for Max and Jeanine. He has greasy long hair and several facial piercings. He is shot by Four at his execution.

Peter - is Tris' main enemy. He is from Candor, and Christina tells Tris that he is always rude and not cut out for Candor; saying that he would beat other kids but, blame it on them when the adults came. Tris says he has "very shiny dark hair". He picks on her by calling her a "Stiff" (slang for Abnegation) and harassing her physically. The reason he hurts her is because Tris has proven stronger than he expected, prompting jealousy. Whenever people are stronger than Peter, he is jealous. A good example is in the first book "Divergent" when Edward was ranked highest, Peter stabbed him in the eye with a butter knife to take him out of the running. His hope was to make him leave the faction and his plan was successful. Peter surrenders to Tris and her group at the end of Divergent after Tris shoots him in the arm and they set off on the train together, with Caleb, Tobias, and Marcus. Peter is muscular and tall with shiny dark hair and dark green eyes.

Evelyn (Eaton) Johnson - Four's mother and leader of the Factionless. She had an affair while married to Marcus and, allegedly, was told to leave Abnegation. Four is initially angry over her abandonment but knows that she was abused by his father. Later he feels that she was unfairly treated. Tris doesn't trust Evelyn.

Andrew Prior - Tris and Calebs' deceased father. Natalie's deceased husband. Former Abnegation leader. Was Erudite but transferred to Abnegation. Marcus's deceased friend. Dies during the attack in "Divergent".
Natalie Prior - Tris and Calebs' deceased mother. Andrew's deceased wife. Was former Dauntless but chose Abnegation to be safe because she was Divergent. Dies protecting Tris.

Edith Prior - She is assumed to be related to Tris, as she bears the last name of Prior. Was originally known as Amanda Ritter before forsaking her life to become part of the new faction-based society.

Star Review
5 stars for Veronica Roth's writing style and character development
3 stars for originality. Similar in many ways to The Hunger Games and other dystopian novels
4 stars for political undertones and the underlying message of home for those that are uncertain as to what their future holds.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré I thought the book was very well written and a solid story line. My biggest issues with the story is that it is very predictable and I don't feel as if the story is very original at all. I also don't think that it is holding up as an all time classic. Not in the category of Narnia or Lord of The Rings at least.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey An intense book from beginning to end. Well written and an incredibly thought out concepts.

The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley A retelling of the Arthur legend for the perspective of the women. This variation has quite a bit of substantial changes to it but some that make complete sense. I like tie in to the Virgin Mary as I believe that there is certainly some truth in this.

The Companions

The Companions - R.A. Salvatore
Written by: R. A. Salvatore
Series: The Sundering
Sequence in Series: 1
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Pages: 384
ISBN-10: 0786963719
ISBN-13: 978-0786963713
Rating: 4
Genre: Fantasy

I received this copy ARC copy of The Companions from Netgalley.

The Companions is the first book in what will probably be a three part series entitled The Sundering.

The Companions starts off with Drizzt remembering the glory years with his companions Catti-brie, Regis, Bruenor, and Wulfgar. Unknown to Drizzt is his goddess Mielikki (of which Drizzt his her favorite mortal) has intervened, giving his friends the option to be reborn to this new world some 100 years later to help Drizzt in the journey to come.

3 of the 4 heroes of old accept the request to be reincarnated. The majority of book 1 entails the reincarnation process, the years to age up until 21 before reuniting with Drizzt.

Typical Salvator although at times I felt as if there was no real plot here. Obviously the story is being stretched out to be a multiple book series. That fashion of attempting to stretch out a story grows old with me and I long for the day of simply getting a giant book all at once.

Salvatore's strengths are present here: fantastic fight scenes, epic world building, sensitivity in the least of characters, but mostly you just fall in love with Drizzt because he could quite possibly be the greatest fantasy character ever created that doesn't have a first name of Elric or a last name of Baggins.

I do not consider this YA, however, I can see how some will give it that label. Part of the Forgotten Realms books. I would also suggest reading earlier Drizzt based books before delving into this one since you will want to understand the depth of the relationships for these characters.

Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha)

Infidel - Kameron Hurley Not sure why this book took me so long to complete. It is crazy awesome.
First off imagine a world exclusive to Muslims. Yes, they still like to blow other people up. The twist in Kameron Hurley's Muslim world is the women dominate and the men are practically tools for sex.
The first 40% of this book is somewhat slow to develop but after that it just takes off.
If you like bad ass women, Bounty Hunters, religious zealots, crazy magic/science system then this book is for you.

It is all about the bugs baby. It is all about the bugs.

Murder Strikes a Pose (A Downward Dog Mystery)

Murder Strikes a Pose - Tracy Weber Tracy Weber writes with wit and irony and this is a funny and fun loving story.

In a nutshell this book falls short of satisfaction. The story is all about the dog Bella, George the homeless guy, and Kate the yoga instructor. You are left wanting more and the book feels like it ends without getting to know the characters.

The big negative for me is that there is very little character development. The relationships are fast paced and quite honestly the only character that is completely understood and is a logical fit is Jake.

Breakdown Review:

Storyline: I give 3 out of 5 stars fast, exciting, and yet quite predictable, however, there is a cliff hanger at the end that doesn't make sense because you don't even know what happens to Bella.

Writing style: 4 out of 5 stars. A very easy and fast paced read. Would be fine for young teens. There is only one somewhat boring romantic scene. I would definitely read more from Tracy Weber.

Depth/Inspiration: 3 out of 5 stars. Despite the flaws this book is bound to inspire the creative gene in others. It is about the salvation of the dog Bella.

Entertainment/Education value: 3 out of 5 stars. Not as entertaining as the book cover would lead it to be. It was an "ok" story but the book cover has a very funny, comical and entertaining picture and feel to it that is sure to sell the product. I give the cover a 5 star rating without a doubt.


Rubicon - Mark Long, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Capel, Rebecca Taylor, Mario Stilla I haven't read very many graphic novels.
With that said I found Rubicon to be action packed, exhilarating, and true to life.
I suspect that this story has a basis on actual events, I did not read that anywhere but it has the feel of reality or in the very least this exact scenario could have played out over in the Middle East and the majority of us would never know.

Exceptional art work and great pen work. The storyline is fantastic. The only thing that I think I would have like to of seen more of would be greater development in the love stories.

Well done! I look forward to more titles from Mark Long in the future. I highly recommend this graphic novel to anyone that is a fan of modern war literature and reality fiction.

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill Review Copy of Media provided by NetGalley.

Title originates from Shakespeare's Macbeth:
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time' and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death."

This is a fast action packed YA thriller. Definitely a movie in the making.
This story has somewhat of a John Green feel to it... in the romance scenes at least. Combine John Green in "Looking for Alaska" and the movie "The Butterfly Effect" and you will wind up with All our Yesterdays.

The only downside to this book and maybe this is a knock against YA in general but the action is so fast that it makes the character development somewhat lacking. Hard to get to know a person when they are running for their lives from the very first chapter.

The story starts out with Em and Finn buried in a secret government prison cell. Thanks to an earlier back in time event they make a break to travel back in time 4 years to erase creation of the time travel machine and save the future of the world. The mechanism for time travel? A particle collider/acceleration machine that is code name Cassandra. Apparently this is the 14th effort that Em and Finn have made to go back and stop the process which leads to time travel. On this last effort they have to kill the "doctor" who invented time travel. The problem.... in the past the "doctor" is a close friend.

I give this one a 4 star review because like so many YA titles there is not enough character development and world building. With that said this book does a better job in both categories than most YA titles. I would have also liked to see the author delve more into the science behind "Cassandra" although once again YA titles are not known for their intellectual dissertations.

A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics)

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens This was a struggle to listen to on audio. I may revisit this story on paper in the future.... Not this year though.

The two cities in the tale? London and Paris.

The time setting is during the French Revolution.
The novel tells the story of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period.

Tale of Two Cities is broken up into 3 sections:
Book the First: Recalled to Life
Book the Second: the Golden Thread
Book the Third: the Track of a Storm

Tune: Still Life

Tune: Still Life - Derek Kirk Kim Advanced Review Media provided by NetGalley

A second volume is the series Andy becomes a zoo exhibit for an alien race. Along the way he realizes that he has become duped and the Aliens aren't as smart as he would like for being able to lead the perfect life they sure have forgotten a few key ingredients.

Tune is an easy read, fun graphics, and witty dialogue. I am sure that every person that reads this will find there self relating to Andy in one way or another, as I suspect that is the author's intention. This is a more comedic interpretation of the Truman Show concept.

I would have preferred greater detail in the artwork, however, what we have is fine and fun.

Tune 2 has a blending of genres. Definitely science fiction and comedy. It is Honey Mooners meets 3rd Rock From the Sun.

I give the writing style 5 stars. Great dialogue, funny and to the point. It carries the story from page to page with wit and irony.
I give the creativity 4 stars. The story has been done before, however, it was done tastefully and unique enough to make for a great read.
5 stars to a believable story. Yes it is science fiction. Yes, it is comedy With that said, the story still reads as "This could happen to me."
5 stars to entertainment value. Clean enough for the most part to be able to read to kids and makes for some great night joint reading efforts with the spouse.

I look forward to more work from the author and will buy the actual book instead of a digital copy once it becomes available to the general public.

Death Masks (The Dresden Files, Book 5)

Death Masks - Jim Butcher Summary:

8 months after Summer Knight Harry is asked to to be on a talk show. While taping The Larry Fowler show each of the guests is on the show to actually meet Harry: Mortimer Linquist, a local medium, tells Harry that his girlfriend Susan is still alive and is somewhere in Peru. Father Vincent, a Vatican priest, wants to hire Harry to find the shroud of turin. A university professor by the name of Ortega is a Red Court Vampire and challenges Harry to a duel to simplify the battle and to make an offer to have Chicago be a neutral zone in the war with the courts.
On top of all that the police detective in charge of the strange and unknown, officer Murphy, hires Harry to to investigate a man who has died of every disease all at once.
Outside, Harry is attacked by the Denarian Ursiel, a fallen angel attached to a mortal host. Michael Carpenter and two other Knights of the Cross, Shiro and Sanya, rescue him and ask him to drop his case, but Dresden refuses.
In his Lab, Dresden consults Bob his oracle skull. He learns the knights received an angelic prophecy: if Dresden is involved, he will die. However, they did not receive the whole prophecy, which states that if Dresden is not involved, all the Knights will die, as will everyone in the city of Chicago.
The Archive, a little girl that Harry names Ivy contains the sum of humanity's written knowledge, and her bodyguard Kincaid, arrive to make the arrangements for Ortega's duel. A neutral mediator selected by the White Council, she is the guarantor that the duel is conducted by the Accords.

Harry Dresden tracks the Shroud to a boat and is captured and handcuffed by the thieves while trying to recover it. Deirdre, another Denarian, attacks the boat and kills one of the thieves. Dresden fools the Denarian into taking a decoy safe that does not contain the Shroud and leaving. To save her life, the surviving thief, Anna Valmont, steals Dresden's black leather duster and flees with the Shroud. Valmont returns a short time later to un-cuff Dresden and he is able to escape.

Since Michael is out of town, Shiro volunteers to be Dresden's second in the duel with Ortega, whose second is Thomas Raith. They meet at McAnally's Tavern to settle the details of the duel: the weapon is "will", at sundown the next day, at Wrigley Field.

Susan, who has been in touch, is waiting outside McAnally's with a tux and a limo. She has tickets to a high society art sales charity event run by Johnny Marcone, where the Shroud will likely be sold. Marcone attempts to evict them, but they evade capture and locate Anna. The sale is interrupted by the Denarians, who seize the Shroud and kidnap Dresden.

Nicodemus, leader of the Denarians and father of Deirdre, pressures Harry to join with the Denarian Lasciel or die. Dresden refuses. Before Nicodemus can kill him, Shiro arrives and trades himself for Dresden for 24 hours. Dresden is almost re-captured, but Susan, enhanced in battle from her semi-vampire status, fights Deirdre to a standstill allows him to escape. Susan and Dresden are pursued back to Dresden's apartment, where he activates the powerful defenses. However, this means Susan cannot leave until dawn. She is nearly driven mad by the scent of the blood, dripping from his wounds. To save his life and hers, Dresden magically binds Susan and has sex with her in order to quell her hunger. (She finds the hungers similar.) She reveals that The Fellowship of St. Giles is an organization of half-turned humans. They helped Susan understand and control her new, semi-vampiric nature; and now, she's helping them exterminate Red Court vampires in South America. Martin is her Fellowship mentor, not her boyfriend. Her commitment to The Fellowship is the reason she is abandoning her old life in Chicago.

In the morning, Susan and Harry leave the boarding house and seek out the Knights. They discover that Father Forthill has an Eye of Thoth tattoo similar to the one on the unidentified corpse in the morgue, which he and Vincent received. Harry deduces that Vincent is a phony, the Knights defeat Saluriel posing as Vincent, and Harry forces him to reveal that Nicodemus' plan is to create a deadly plague curse, powered by the Shroud. The spell will be cast that evening at the airport. As an international travel hub, O'Hare Airport is an excellent place to disseminate their plague.
With Susan as his new second, Dresden heads to Wrigley Field to fight his duel with Ortega. The Archive brings out a piece of mordite, a stone of anti-life. It is enchanted to move by willpower, the chosen duelling weapon. If it touches either duellist, or either camp cheats, they die. Being overpowered, Ortega draws a weapon but is shot by Martin. A swarm of Red Court vampires surge onto the ball field, attacking everyone and covering Ortega's escape. Dresden, Kincaid, Susan and The Archive defeat the vampires. The Archive asks Kincaid who cheated first. Kincaid said he didn't see it, but that Dresden was winning when the shots were fired. Dresden wins the duel by default.

Dresden races to the airport with the Knights to save Shiro and stop the plague curse, finding him severely tortured and near death. Shiro entrusts Fidelacchius to Dresden, telling him to pass it on to the right person. Shiro reveals, dying, that Nicodemus is going to St. Louis by train to spread the plague curse, which can be stopped by taking the Shroud from Nicodemus.

Dresden enlists the aid of Marcone and Ms. Gard to catch up to the St. Louis train. Dresden, Marcone, and the Knights battle the Denarians to retrieve the Shroud. Thanks to a hint from the dying Shiro, Dresden finds Nicodemus' weakness (his noose) and takes the Shroud, cancelling the plague, but fails to kill him. Dresden and Michael almost die while escaping from the train, but Marcone rescues them.
Dresden recuperates in Michael's home. He receives a two-week old letter from Shiro. He had been diagnosed with cancer and came to Chicago knowing he would sacrifice himself to save Dresden. This news comforts Michael and Sanya, making Shiro's actions into the deliberate acts of a courageous man.

The next day, Ebenezar calls and tells Dresden to watch the news. In a freak accident, an old Soviet satellite, Kosmos 5, crashed into Casaverde, Honduras—Ortega's secret fortress. There are no survivors. Dresden realizes that McCoy has deliberately killed Ortega with the satellite.
Dresden trails Marcone to a secluded, rural hospital. He discovers that Marcone had the Shroud stolen hoping to cure a comatose girl. Dresden tells Marcone it will take three days to see if the Shroud will heal the girl. After that, the Shroud must be returned to the Church. Marcone agrees.
After the Shroud is anonymously returned to Father Forthill at St Mary's, Dresden goes to Michael's house for Sanya's bon voyage barbecue. Nicodemius drives by, tossing a coin into the yard. Michael's youngest son Harry is about to pick it up, when Dresden snatches it just in time to prevent the child from becoming a Denarian. Harry rushes home to bury Lasciel's coin in his basement lab.

The second Fall

The Second Fall - Charles Hurst Sometimes the enjoyment of a book goes beyond the plot.
The Second Fall is such a book. Just about every human being knows the story of Jesus Christ. His crucifixion, his life, his legend, and the prophecies of his impending return. Even Jews who adamantly disagree with the New Testament portion of the modern day bible agree that such a man once walked the earth. Interesting enough I find myself intrigued more with the "pulse" and the burning emotions that are behind the actual story.
Second Fall is for any American but I think that the "Friends " and "Generation X" will get this story more so than others. Second Fall story is somewhat predictable for anyone that attended Sunday School or had a Christian friend during high school. Thanks to those friends most Joes today have more than a little animosity for Christians and a bit of skepticism to their namesake. A tightly written and crafted story that walks you through the gathering of the modern day disciples to the dramatic closure of the final countdown.
I suspect that the majority of the smaller stories involving the disciples are probably versions of real world events that surrounded Mr. Hurst's life. An original and creative story for an age worn plot line. Beautifully written for those that look for more than blood and guts in a book.

A great read, not a masterpiece but one well worth the dollars and the the thought provoking what ifs.
You'll see yourself in one of the characters in the very least.... hopefully not Jack Reynolds.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)

The Gunslinger - Stephen King The Gunslinger A.K.A Roland of Gilead is the story of the gunslinger and his quest to catch the man in black.
The story takes place in an alternate universe type of place that is somewhat like the American Old West.

Do not read below if you don't want this twisting tale ruined for you!!!

As Roland travels across the desert with his mule in search of the man in black, he encounters Brown, who kindly offers to allow him space to sleep for the evening. At this time Roland has a flashback of time spent in Tull. Tull was a small town which Roland came to not too long before the start of the novel. The man in black had passed through the town previously; he brought a dead man back to life, and left a trap for Roland: the town itself. After Roland spends some time there, the leader of the local church reveals to him that the man in black has impregnated her, and has turned her against Roland. She turns the entire town on Roland; men, women, and children. In order to escape with his life, Roland is forced to kill every resident of the town, including his lover, Allie. Telling this story seems cathartic for Roland. When he awakes the next day, his mule is dead, forcing him to proceed on foot. Before Roland leaves, Brown asks his permission to eat the mule.

At the way station Roland meets Jake Chambers, who died in his own universe when he was pushed in front of a car while walking to school in Manhattan. Roland is almost dead when he makes it to the way station, and Jake brings him water and jerky while he is recovering. Jake does not know how long he has been at the way station, nor does he know exactly how he got there. He hid when the man in black passed by the way station. Roland hypnotizes him to determine the details of his death, but makes him forget before he awakes (since Jake's death was extremely violent and painful). Before they leave the way station they encounter a demon in the cellar while looking for food. After their encounter , Roland snatches a jawbone from the skeleton in the hole, from which the demon speaks.

After leaving the way station, Jake and Roland eventually make their way out of the desert into more welcoming lands. Roland rescues Jake from an encounter with a succubus who is an oracle, and then couples with the oracle himself in order to learn more about his fate and path to the Dark Tower. Roland gives Jake the jawbone from the way station to focus on while he is gone. After Roland returns, Jake discards the jawbone. As Jake and Roland make their way closer to the mountain, Jake begins to fear what will become of him.

Jake and Roland make their way into winding tunnels below a mountain, the move along by an old mine cart. During the journey, they are attacked by the "Slow Mutants", monstrous subterranean creatures. Roland fights the Slow Mutants off and they proceed. Eventually they find the Man in Black, and as Jake dangles precariously from the tracks, Roland comes to a pivotal choice; save Jake or pursue the Man in Black. Roland chooses to follow the Man in Black. Jake tells Roland, whilst hanging: "Go then. There are other worlds than these." He lets go of the edge and falls without screaming.
After sacrificing Jake in the mountain, Roland makes his way down to speak to the man in black. The man in black reads Roland's fate from a pack of cards, including "the sailor" (Jake), "the prisoner" (Eddie Dean) "the lady of shadows" (Odetta Holmes), "death" (but not for Roland), and the Tower itself, as the center of everything. The man in black states that he is merely a pawn of Roland's true enemy, the one who now controls the Dark Tower itself.

The man in black creates a representation of the universe, attempting to frighten Roland by showing him how truly insignificant he is in the grand scheme of things, and asks him to give up his quest. Roland refuses, and is made to fall asleep by the man in black. When he wakes up, ten years have passed and there is a skeleton next to him — what he assumes to be the man in black. Roland then sits on the edge of the Western Sea, contemplating the three people he now is charged with bringing into All-World - the Prisoner, the Lady of Shadows, and the Pusher.


Foundation - Isaac Asimov This story never gets old. Prophetic. Pure science fiction that borders on science faction.

Foundation is essentially 5 short stories that tell the tale of a group of scientists who seek to preserve knowledge as the civilizations around them begin to regress and degenerate.

Mirror of the Nameless

Mirror of the Nameless - Luke Walker Interesting book.
It just misses the mark for me in several areas.
The story surrounds a dystopian setting in London area. The world is infected with Nazi like radicals that feed human "sacrifices" to a 200 ft. zombie god. The story is based upon the life of Dave Anderson. He is rescued by his daughter's boyfriend Tom and the vast majority of the story surrounds their adventures to find Dave's daughter and to make a plan to leave the earth for a new one.

The writing style is overly simple and I find that the action scenes are to "dumbed" down. He is a prime example: " The passenger fired a couple of shots at us and then the car was a racing block of metal coming to us." Yeah, I get the picture but it is to simple for the target the audience. The themes within would imply the target age for this is greater than 8 years old.

The character development is pretty good though as you can easily relate to Dave's personality influenced by the situations that he is finding himself thrown into.

For a 200 page book it doesn't read very fast as I think that the story is just missing to much information to hold a persons interest.

I am not bashing the book, I would just like to have seen greater world building and more detail in how the creatures came to be and some of the science behind this dystopian alternate universe.