Monthly Archives: April 2020

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : white knight

White Night (The Dresden Files, Book 9) by [Jim Butcher]

white knight

by Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s reviewApr 28, 2020

When the magical inhabitants of Chicago begin dying under mysterious circumstances, Harry Dresden, wizard and warden of the White Council, uncovers links that may prove the deaths are in fact murders and not the suicides under which they are disguised.  At the same time, a shadowy figure is masquerading as a warden to make the magical community believe Harry may be the culprit.  Harry will have to join forces with an old flame, his strangely reluctant brother, a fellow warden Carlos Ramirez, and some old enemies to clear his name and stop the violence.

This latest volume in The Dresden Files features a large group of returning supporting characters from Jim Butcher’s Dresden universe.  We see Molly, the young warlock Harry took as his apprentice in Proven Guilty to save her life, struggle within the confines of her training and desire to prove herself as a magic wielder and adult.  We see Karrin Murphy, who was chastised and demoted within the Chicago P.D. for assisting Harry but still determined to fight supernatural forces at his side. 

There is a very humorous scene where Johnny Marcone, the mafia boss of Chicago, attempts to “handle” Harry when Dresden pays a visit to one of Marcone’s establishments.  There is also a later scene between Dresden and Harry that I believe sets up nicely some foreshadowing to the events revealed in the trailer for the upcoming release of Peace Talks, due out in July.

Harry, by this point in the series, has grown and evolved from where he began in the first book, Storm Front.  He is less impulsive, more likely to plan, and more willing to accept help from others, even those reluctant to offer help.  The amount of aid he is able to command proves crucial in the pivotal scene where he returns to the stronghold of the White Court vampires and faces not only the current enemies, but also the larger force behind the conspiracy, in an epic battle that involves vampires of multiple factions, ghouls, wizards, mercenaries, and a trip into the Nevernever.

This latest book by author Jim Butcher is a multi-level story that not only contains an absorbing mystery for Dresden to solve, but also details major events happening around the larger universe, with political, ethical, and military implications for the wizarding society that lies unseen by most of humanity.  The sense of foreboding that Butcher gives the reader builds an almost irresistible suspense for the next works in the series.

I give this book five stars, and can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel soon.


Happy Earth Day!

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the celebration of International Earth Day, a day devoted to addressing issues that affect this planet we all share.

Earth Day is acknowledged as a time for groups of individuals from diverse nations and cultures join together to protest the actions that cause pollution of air and water, and negatively impact our climate for ourselves and future generations;as well as engage in activities to help cleanup and nurture our environment.

The very first Earth Day celebration in 1970 heralded a movement in the United States that let to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air, Water, and Endangered Species Act. Many other countries adopted similar laws.

While most of us are living in quarantine at the moment, there are still things we can do to support this movement and help make our world just a little bit cleaner, greener, and healthier for us all. We can commit ourselves to recycling; properly disposing of waste products that contains harmful chemicals like batteries, paint, electronics, aerosol cans, and other materials that can harm our environment; and planting trees in our backyard or community. For information about proper disposal see the link here:

If you need ideas about how you can celebrate Earth Day at home or want to join the live discussions, the main website for Earth Day is here:

For myself, I hope to spend some timeworking in my garden and enjoying nature!

Happy Easter!

I know we have all been living under a dark cloud for a while now, but today gives us a welcome chance not only to put our worries aside, but also to celebrate this season of rebirth and renewal.


I hope that wherever you are, you find a way to share this day with loved ones, and enjoy the peace and hope that are inherent to this day, and the season.

From my family to yours, Happy Easter and a blessed Passover.


Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Elementary, She Read

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1)
by Vicki Delany (Goodreads Author)

Amy Caudill‘s review


The first installment in this lovely cozy mystery series features Gemma Doyle, who may or may not be related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and is part-owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore and Emporium at 221 Baker St., West London, Massachusetts.  This series, set in the present, contains many allusions to both Victorian literature and “Sherlockians,” fans of the great detective.

As a fan of Sherlock myself, I was intrigued by the concept of a modern day version of the detective series, and I love that the main protagonist, Gemma, while not actually a fan herself, seemingly has much in common with Sherlock Holmes.  She is extremely observant and direct to the point of bluntness, facts which her friends tolerate and understand but strangers sometimes find unsettling or offensive.

Her partner Jayne, co-owner of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, next door to the bookstore, is pulled into playing Gemma’s reluctant John Watson, as Gemma investigates the murder of the owner of a potentially valuable first edition print of one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories that is left hidden inside her store.

With a supporting cast of characters including a local reporter named Irene, a former love interest for Gemma in Detective Ryan Ashburton, a rival/foil in another Detective, Louise Estrada, and a comic relief character in Jayne’s boyfriend Robbie; author Vicki Delany has set the stage for a rich “universe” to draw on in furthering this series.

The mystery itself involves greed, theft, inheritance and multiple murders; and includes a number of suspects; though the true killer isn’t revealed till nearly the end of the story.  Gemma conducts her own investigation, alongside and in spite of warnings from the police, and has plenty of false starts and leads that don’t pan out before the exciting conclusion, which contains the only scene where the action is present and not just a dead body after the fact.

The author also included numerous references to books written in the Holmesian style by other authors, both classic and modern, as well as other detective stories from the Victorian and Edwardian era, which is only appropriate as one of the main settings is a bookstore.  Unfortunately, the distraction was too great for me as I stopped reading multiple times to get on Amazon and find out more about the different books mentioned!

Overall, this book contained a number of interesting characters and an absorbing plot, so I will look forward to exploring more in the series.  I give this book 4.5 stars.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Own Your Everyday

Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley

Own Your Everyday: Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You’re Made to Do
by Jordan Lee Dooley
Amy Caudill‘s review  

While I don’t often read so-called self-help books, I was gifted this one for Christmas this past year by someone who is really a big fan of Jordan Lee Dooley’s podcasts and blog, so I decided to read it and was definitely impressed. 

The author takes a positive, optimistic view of life-as we make it for ourselves-and who doesn’t need a little extra help being positive in today’s current world crisis?  She uses simple language to layout her views, and shares her own experiences in a straightforward manner that draws the reader in and allows us to relate to her as if we were having an intimate, one-on-one discussion at her kitchen table.

Dooley shares with the reader that our attitude and perspective can make all the difference in how we view our lives, our goals, and our current situation and living conditions.  She uses the reasoning that we can actually turn our circumstances around being simply changing our point of view-we simply need to view failures as learning opportunities, setbacks as a chance to try a new direction, and uncertainties as a time to evaluate and refocus on our goals.

The overall theme of the book is its okay to be who we really are, and not just the idealized labels that we want others to perceive as us.  We are human beings, and worthy of love without having to earn it through our achievements, work ethic, or whatever demands we place on ourselves.

I feel the author raises a lot of good points, and while the book is more geared to the female mindset-she addresses the reader as “Sister” frequently-I feel that many of the “truths” she shares are applicable universally. 

This is definitely worth reading for any who needs a little boost in spirit or a little help in finding their purpose in life (and who doesn’t need that from time to time?)  I give this book five stars.