Eclectic Reader Challenge: Cold Days by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #14)

After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which Mab wants first?

Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

His soul.


Title: Cold Days (The Dresden Files #14)

Author: Jim Butcher

Published: 2012 by Roc publishing

Time it took me to read: December 28 – December 31

I’m finding it really hard to write a review about this book. Because how do you write a review about a book that is part of a big series without giving too much away about the books that have come before and about the overall plot. But I’m going to try anyway.

After some previous stuff has gone down, Harry is now the knight of the Winter court. Which means he is under the command of Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Mab gives him an assignment to kill an immortal. Of course, this seems impossible, right? Well, if he wants to survive, he’ll have to find a way. Of course, at the exact same moment, all this other stuff is going down as well and Harry pretty much needs to split himself up into 100 different pieces in order to fix it all. Oh, and it all takes place within 24 hours.

Those who read my post somewhat regularly know that I adore the Dresden Files. If you don’t read my blog regularly, you can also tell that this book was awesome by the fact that it took me only 3 days to read it. Cold Days is a continuation of the awesomeness that is Harry Dresden. I really was very pleased with this book after its slightly less awesome predecessor Ghost Story. As always, it’s full of great adventures and mysteries, plot twists, epic battles, mystical creatures and witty dialogue.

Build a man a fire and he’s warm for a day, but set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life. Tao of Pratchett. I live by it. — pp. 45

“How busy are you today?” I said [to Thomas who had just been shot but he’s a vampire so it’s okay].

“Oh,” he mused. “I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got to get a new shirt now.”

“After that,” I asked, “would you like to help me save the city? If you don’t already have plans.”

He snorted. “You mean, would I like to follow you around, wondering what the Hell is going on because you won’t tell me everything, then get in a fight with something that is going to leave me in intensive care?”

“Uh-huh,” I said, nodding, “pretty much.” “Yeah,” he said. “Okay.” — pp. 182

[To Maeve, who showed up at his birthday party covered in nothing but diamonds and piercings.] “Hi, Maeve,” I said. “You know, I almost wore the same outfit. Gosh, would our faces have been red.”

The Winter lady [Maeve], Mab’s successor and understudy, completed the circle and stopped in front of me, just oozing pure animal attraction. “It is a birthday. I wore a birthday suit.” She took a deep breath, mostly for effect. “I hope you approve.” — pp. 28

There are many more examples but I can’t put them on here without having to either type entire passages or revealing too much of the plot. It is pretty obvious that over the years Jim Butcher has become an excellent writer who is entirely too capable to keep us readers on the edge of our seats throughout the whole book. If you’re familiar with the series (are you out there? Someone? Anyone?) please tell me what you think of the series as a whole and of Cold Days in particular. If you’re not familiar with the series, please give it a go. Please. Just do it. Do it now (imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice while reading this).

Oh and don’t watch the TV series. The TV series were horrible.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities — IMDB



 I was so excited to see this movie. I am quite a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies and I was really curious as to what they have made of The Hobbit, especially as they turned 1 book into 3 movies. Overall I was very much pleased with the film. Even more so, I was pretty damn ecstatic.

From the first scene on,  you’re immediately thrown back in the mood set by the Lord of the Rings, which had such an unique feel about it. The movie starts out with Ian Holm as an older Bilbo setting the scene for a story of an epic adventure. Then time jumps back 60 years and we meet the younger Bilbo, excellently portrayed by Martin Freeman, who is ‘invited’ by Gandalf to join him and a group of Dwarfs on a ‘adventure’. Later that night, Bilbo’s house is overrun by 13 dwarfs who rampage through the house and plunder his pantry. Bilbo, who is a good Hobbit and who would never want to do with anything that is out of the ordinary, doesn’t know what to do with the company as they make themselves at home in his house.

I have to say, I sat in the cinema for 3 hours and I still don’t know the names of all the dwarfs. The only names that I can remember AND know which dwarf goes with it are Thorin and Fili and Kili. But that’s only because Thorin is the top dog and I had a slight movie-crush on Kili.


The dwarfs are lead by the dwarf-prince Thorin Oakenshield, and they are about to set out on a quest to retrieve the treasure and land stolen from them by the fierce fire breathing dragon Smaug. It is explained to Bilbo by Gandalf that they need a ‘Burglar’; someone who is small and quiet and who can sneak in and out of places unnoticed. After initially refusing the offer, Bilbo decides to go with the company to help the dwarfs with their task. They leave the next morning but while traveling through ‘The Wild’ in order to reach The Lonely Mountain, where Smaug resides, they encounter many dangerous foes that make their quest all the more difficult. While the company is fighting off enemies left and right, Bilbo comes across a strange creature, Gollum, who will change Bilbo’s life forever.

I’m not going to tell more of the story because 1) it would contain many many spoilers and 2) it would be way too long so, I’m going to limit myself to writing about the things that stood out to me.

The first thing that I want to say about this movie is that I absolutely loved Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo. Even more so, I thought that pretty much all the roles were really well cast but I mean, Martin Freeman really is Bilbo. He was so perfect in the role of a seemingly awkward hobbit who doesn’t want anything to do with strange things but who then changes into someone who is courageous and clever. Massive props to Mr. Freeman, he really made this movie. Secondly, I really liked the familiarity that The Hobbit has. You can clearly see Peter Jackson’s fingerprint on this movie and, like I said before, it has the same kind of feeling that Lord of the Rings had. But even though it had the same feel to it, it was still different. More innocent maybe. What I mean by this is that it is obvious that Sauron hasn’t had any influence on Middle-Earth yet, although the first signs are starting to show. The flipside, however, to this is that a lot of the scenes left me with a kind of deja-vu feeling, like I have seen it before. For example, when the company is running over the bridges in the realm of the goblins, it kind of looks like both the scene in Moria in Fellowship of the Ring and Saruman’s workshops in The Two Towers. There were a couple more scenes like this but there was so much to see in this movie, I don’t remember them all.

Then the next thing that I loved about this film was the Radagast the Brown Wizard. He was awesome. Simply. Awesome. I want to be the Brown Wizard. As I’m a great animal lover, any character that concerns himself over the well being of a hedgehog named Sebastian is cool in my book. I think my favourite moment in the whole movie was when Radagast offered to distract the Warg riders and Gandalf said that the Wargs were going to catch him quickly and Radagast says “These are Rhosgobel rabbits! I’d like to see them try!” before driving off in a sled pulled husky-style by a bunch of rabbits. That had me giggling in my seat for a good couple of seconds.

Another one of my favourites was the battle with the Trolls. When Bilbo and the dwarfs were nearly eaten and then saved by Bilbo who was smart enough to stall them until the sun came up. Then there was the Goblin King (is that what he’s called? I don’t know) who I thought was very funny (“Yes, that’ll do it”). And finally there was the epic riddle battle between Bilbo and Gollum. It really was one of the best scenes in the film. It was funny and clever and I picked up some great riddles (Thirty white horses ride up a red hill. First they stomp, then they chomp, then they stand still).

Then now for the maybe not so great parts:

It was extremely long, I thought. It was definitely longer than it needed to be. There were several moments in the film where I thougth “Yea.. they have definitely drawn this out in order to get a longer film out of it”. In my opinion, a couple of scenes could definitely have been shortened.

Another thing that bothered me was the amount of action in the film. I understand that this wasn’t really in the film maker’s hands but I’m going to say it anyway. There was a lot of fighting. So much in fact, that at the end of the movie, I couldn’t remember what had happened in the beginning of the movie. First there were the trolls, then orcs on wargs, visit to the elfs, giants in the mountains, goblins, and then the final orc battle. Even Gandalf said it himself; “From the frying pan into the fire“. It’s a lot to take in, in a short period of time.

Ca-caw motherfucker I’m here to save the day


The Hobbit is an epic movie born from same brilliant mind that has created The Lord of the Rings. This holds true for both the books and the movies. It is every bit as magical and amazing as the Lord of the Rings. I haven’t read the book myself (yet) so I don’t know if it follows the book well but form I hear it’s pretty accurate apart from a couple of little things. Everyone needs to see this movie and I can’t wait for the next two.

Rating: 4,75/5

Eclectic Reader Challenge Review: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

prep boek

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

“Lee Fiora is a shy fourteen-year-old when she leaves small town Indiana for a scholarship at Ault, an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts. Her head is filled with images from the school brochure of handsome boys in sweaters leaning against old brick buildings, girls running with lacrosse sticks across pristine athletic fields, everyone singing hymns in chapel. But, as she soon learns, Ault is a minefield of unstated rules and incomprehensible social rituals, and Lee must work hard to find – and maintain – her place in the pecking order.”


Title: Prep

Writer: Curtis Sittenfeld

Published: 2005

Time it took me to read: Dec 4th  – Dec 10th 

Prep is an impressive, insightful story about the development of Lee Fiora, a small town girl who makes the decision to apply to a high-end boarding school. The story describes how she adapts to her new surroundings and social situations. Being a scholarship student puts Lee in a difficult position, never really connecting with those around her.

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. When I first started reading the book, I loved it. I identified with Lee so much, it was like I was reading a story about myself. The only difference being that I never went to boarding school. This feeling was most profound when I read the following sentence: “I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.” When Lee first arrives at Ault, she is an insecure 14-year old with no idea how to interact with the students at Ault who almost all come from a privileged background. This was the part of the book I liked the most, her initial insecurity and uncertainty about the world around her. Wanting to blend in and to have friends but also wanting to be left alone. Because of this I was truly happy for her in those moments when she did finally seemed to fit in, when she found a friend or hit it off with a guy. However, this didn’t stay this way.

As the book progressed I started to like Lee less and less. Because I first identified so strongly with Lee, I felt disappointed about some of the choices that she made during the course of the book. Although it started with innocent insecurity, it soon turned into deliberate isolation. She is often not nice to the people who are trying to be friends with her. Even more so, she throws them away when something better comes along. Among the people who she alienates are her parents. Although Lee feels she doesn’t fit in at Ault, she has also outgrown the small town she came from. I almost get a feeling that she feels above both places, treating both very badly. Not only is she  not very friendly to those around her but she’s also not nice to herself. Convinced that she would never fit in and that she never would make it at Ault, she gives up. When she does this, she forces someone close to her in a difficult position when they pick up her slack.

My disappointment with Lee grew to full out dislike in the last chapter of the book. Her obsession with the school hunk, Cross Sugerman, grows out of proportion. Thinking that she’s finally getting what she’s longed for, for so long, Lee puts herself in an position which can only be described as demeaning. Then, at the end of the book Lee does something that is so naive that I wanted to close the book forever. In the end she even throws away the person who has been there for her the most, because Lee felt resentful towards them for their success. Argh.

In conclusion: it’s a wonderfully frustrating story with a very insightful view of the psychological workings of an insecure girl in an intimidatingly new situation. This book will mostly speak to those who are interested in reading about a person’s development. If you’re looking for an exciting book with plot twists and page-turning scenes, this book is not for you. It’s a little too long, the story was dragged out some, but it was a good read in the end.

Rating: 3,5/5