Find it at your library!

Okay, I am officially on board with this series. Give me all the Harry Dresden you have.

I read the first book at the behest of my lovely husband, and I enjoyed it the way I’ve enjoyed pretty much all the other urban fantasy I’ve read in my life: moderately entertained but nothing much beyond that. Now that I’ve read the second installment, though, I’m hooked.

Like any good urban fantasy writer, Butcher brings it with the action sequences. The entire second half of the book is basically one long werewolf fight. But then he busts out some deep thoughts that I was so not prepared for. It really takes things to another level.

Harry cares deeply about being one of the good guys. We still don’t know a ton of his backstory, but it’s obvious he has baggage in his past that leads him to consider carefully how he treats others. He talks about his magic coming from all the good things in his life, not from a place of vengeance or hate. That resonated really strongly with me, especially because Harry has reason enough to hate some of the people and beasties he comes up against, and it takes a strong man (wizard) not to give in to that.

I am excited to continue the series because it’s obvious there’s so much more to discover about who Harry is (like what’s the deal with his mom??). I’m guessing most fans of the Dresden Files come back to the series again and again not so much because they’re curious about each of Harry’s new crime-fighting adventures, but because they’re invested in his character and want to get to know him better. Sign me up for more, man.

Find it at your library!

I'm not one to second-guess decisions. I'll agonize over options, like which new sofa to buy or what to have for dinner, but once the decision is made, I don't usually struggle with regret. If you are the kind of person who frequently wonders what could have been if you'd made different choices, Dark Matter just might make your head explode.

Jason is an introductory physics professor at a ho-hum college. He gave up a big high-powered research career to get married and have a family. Or at least, that's what Jason believes his life has been up to this point. One night, after being kidnapped and drugged, he wakes up on a gurney in a lab. The people there seem to know him, although he doesn't know them. He learns that in this world, his life is different. He doesn't have a wife or a son. His house has been transformed into a bachelor pad. And he's a wildly successful physics researcher.

What follows, as Jason tries to figure out where he is and what is real, is a lot of scientific jargon that I won't attempt to explain because I know I'll screw it up. However, I can assure you that you don't need much background knowledge in physics or relativity to follow what's going on. Crouch is really good at simplifying concepts into layman's terms and working them into the narrative as needed along the way. Thus, Dark Matter felt nearly effortless to read, like the pages were turning themselves.

A fast-paced, original thriller with a smart, scientific edge—just what your summer was missing.

With regards to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale July 26.