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Since I told you all of my adventure on the road between Portland and San Francisco I thought I might as well regale you with the final leg of our long, long. LONG, journey. Before I do I want to say my rant against US-101 should be taken in context, as Margot from Joyfully Retired pointed out, the US-101 is a beautiful stretch of highway and if you ever get a chance you should try to travel it. I just make one suggestion, when traveling through the incredibly beautiful and majestic Redwood Forest, make sure it is daylight. We, unfortunately, did not. You’ve heard of not being able to see the forest for the trees? We couldn’t see the forest for the dark. You have no idea how dark dark can be until you have tried to look around in the middle of the night in a forest of large trees. But, really it is one of the most breathtaking sights in our country and completely worth a visit.

Now, that was still part of the Portland to San Francisco run. On the San Francisco to San Diego run there is still some lovely scenery just not as much. And it being an old school highway there are still many places where it is a two or four lane highway. I know there are a lot of these roads across our great land, I’m just not used to them. Add to that not one, not two, but three traffic stopping accidents (thankfully none serious and no noticeable injuries) and it made for a very long end of our trip. And lest I sound like I did not have a good holiday I should say I had an absolutely wonderful time. It’s always a joy to be with my brothers-in-law. They are perfect host and I always felt warm, loved, and well cared for. I had such a good time with my father-in-law and his charming wife. She and I had the most enjoyable conversations with loads of laughs. Thanksgiving with all our friends and family was the exact blessing you would hope the holiday would be. And for that I’m truly thankful.

Now here’s my book review.

I have mentioned before I’m not the biggest fan of paranormal fiction, vampire novels in particular are just not my cup of tea (or I guess blood). But we wanted to listen to a book on tape and we were traveling with my 14. almost 15 year old son, well, you can see where this is going, right?

My husband chose the latest in the Jim Butcher Dresden Files series: Changes. This is the twelfth in the series and while my husband has read a few, neither my son nor I have.

Summery: The new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden’s lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry’s not fighting to save the world…

He’s fighting to save his child. – from Jim-Butcher.com

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. It had all the earmarks of being a book to drive me crazy. There are wizards, monsters, fairies, and vampires. Lots of vampires. More vampires than should exist in any book. Really, there are in inordinate amount of vampires in this particular story. Not being a vampire fan I shouldn’t have liked this story. But I did.

The main character Harry Dresden is a slightly different Chicago P.I. Different because he also happens to be a wizard P.I. the only wizard P.I. in Chicago or for that matter the world. In this novel he takes on a very special case. His ex-love Susan calls him after 12 years to tell him the daughter he knows nothing about has been kidnapped by vampires from the Red Council. I’m going to guess if you read the series you’ve heard of the Red Council and know they are nothing to be trifled with. Even if you have read the series you can tell they are nothing to be trifled with. Rest assured if you have read the series you can easily follow the story. All the on going characters are introduced very well and any back story you need is told easily and understandably. I’m kind of an OCD girl about reading series books in order and it didn’t bother me at all picking up the action so late in the series.

James Masters read the audio version and he does an excellent job and keeping the character voices distinct. He is able to keep the tension in the action scenes and carries off the humor of the book. And there is definitely a lot of humor. Harry Dresden is a snarky, wise cracking, devil may care fellow who is thoroughly enjoyable to follow on his adventures. I think the reason I enjoyed the book so much is Harry which, of course, is what a main character is suppose to do.

Be warned there are so references to sex (we fast forwarded through those parts since my boy was in the car) and a lot of violence. And the blood and guts gets pretty graphic. I tuned out during the more graphic stuff and either of my boys would bring me back when it was over.

I do have one complaint. It is a very long book. For me there were just too many different battles our heroes had to go through. I kept thinking of the final Lord of the Rings movie. Just when you thought it was over and fading to black it would come back with a new scene. This may not bother fans of the series or the genre but I needed it to be a few chapters shorter.