Into the Beautiful North

By Luis Alberto Urrea

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Back Bay Books, 2009

Genre: General fiction

ISBN: 9780316025263

Audience: Adult, young adult

Number of pages: 338

Setting: Tres Camarones & Tijuana, Mexico, San Diego, CA, & Kankakee, IL

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When narcos come to the sleepy town of Tres Camarones, nineteen year old Nayeli, comes up with a brilliant plan for getting rid of them.  Inspired by the movie, The Magificient Seven, she and three of her friends embark on a mission to find seven warriors (cops or soldiers) to drive off the bandits and help repopulate the town.  Nayeli hopes to travel as far as Kankakee, IL to find her father, who (along with most of the other town’s men) left many years earlier in search of work. Continue reading

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The Night Bookmobile

By Audrey Niffenegger

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Abrams, 2010

Genres: General fiction, short stories

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Night Bookmobile is the first installment of a much larger work, The Library, which has its origins in a dream I had as a teenager” (from the first page of “After Words” at the end of the book).

ISBN: 9780810996175

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: Unpaginated

Setting: Chicago, IL

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Alexandra relates her experiences with the Night Bookmobile and how she came to work at The Library. Continue reading

Death Masks

By Jim Butcher

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2003

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal mystery, paranormal, vampire

Series: The Dresden Files; 5

ISBN: 9780451459404

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 374 (378 including an excerpt from Blood Rites).

Setting: Chicago, IL

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When Harry wanted to get some information about his ex-girlfriend, Susan, he was forced to meet his informer on a television show.  Between his lack of friends on the White Council and his status as a wanted man among the Red Court vampires, most of the people affiliated with the paranormal community, prefer to keep their distances form Harry.  This is all about to change.  Before the night is through, Harry will be sought out by a client, professional hit men, Special Investigations with the Chicago Police Department, his ex-girlfriend, members of the Knights of the Cross, and a very nasty demon. Continue reading

Summer Knight

By Jim Butcher

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2002

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal mystery, paranormal

Series: The Dresden Files; 4

ISBN: 9780451458926

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 371

Setting: Chicago, IL & where it meets Faerie

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Harry Dresden has been feeling guilt ridden and depressed ever since his girlfriend Susan left town.  Instead of working on paying cases, he’s been devoting his time to wallowing in misery while seeking to rectify Susan’s situation and falling behind in rent payments.  He’s also had to dodge a few assignation attempts.  The Red Court still wants Harry dead.  Unfortunately, many of the wizards of the White Council would be willing to give Harry to the Red Court to stop the war between the Red Court and the White Council.  These aren’t the worst of Harry’s problems, though.  Those come with the Winter Faerie Queen, Mab, who wants Harry to do a job for her – find out who killed the Summer Knight.  Harry knows better than to deal with Faeries, especially Sidhe queens, but it turns out that he really has no choice in the matter. Continue reading

Grave Peril

By Jim Butcher

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2001

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal, vampire

Series: The Dresden Files; 3

ISBN: 9780451458445

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 378

Setting: Chicago, IL and the Nevernever

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Harry Dresden and his knight friend, Michael, have been very busy in recent times dispatching agitated ghosts.  Something has been stirring up the Nevernever and this has made the ghosts in Chicago extra ornery and dangerous.  On top of this, a demon, The Nightmare, is targeting some of Harry’s friends and causing them tremendous pain; this demon seems to be linked to the agitated ghosts.  Even if Harry can figure out who or what is behind the attacks on his friends, will he be strong enough to stop it? Continue reading

Fool Moon

By Jim Butcher

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2001

Genre: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal

Series: The Dresden Files; 2

ISBN: 9780451458124

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 342

Setting: Chicago, IL and outskirts (Chicagoland)

Time period: Fall 2000

Plot summary: Work has been slow for Harry Dresden, the country’s only practicing wizard – so slow that he’s been living off of ramen noodles and spaghettiOs for months.  When a friend offers him a steak dinner in exchange for some information, he can’t say no, at least not until he realizes the level of danger his friend will be in with the information she is seeking.  Following an awful exchange, Harry’s evening gets worse.  After months of the cold shoulder, Karrin Murphey from the Special Investigations unit of the Chicago PD finally reconnects with Harry about a case.  But it’s a gristly case and Dresden needs to address Murphey’s lack of trust in him. Continue reading

Storm Front

By Jim Butcher

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2000

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal

Series: The Dresden Files; 1

ISBN: 9780451457813

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 322

Setting: Chicago, IL and outskirts (Chicagoland)

Time period: 2000

Plot summary: Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is “the only openly practicing wizard in the country” (p. 2).  One can find his ad in the Chicago yellow pages.  Business has been slow for him; that changes quickly when he gets a call about a missing person and a call from the Chicago Police Department Special Investigations Unit on the same afternoon.  Soon, Harry will be much busier than he wants to be trying to find a killer.  But there’s no turning back, especially when others start to think that Harry is the one responsible for the magical murders. Continue reading