Thursday, June 27, 2013

SPARTAN FROST by Jennifer Estep

Title: "Spartan Frost"
Series: Mythos Academy #4.5
Author: Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: June 25, 2013


Logan Quinn, Spartan and boyfriend of Gwen Frost, has left Mythos Academy. He blames himself for the latest attack by the Reapers of Chaos and the near death of his friends. The events of that day still haunt his nightmares, and Logan is determined to protect his friends, even if it's from himself.

But just because Logan is back home doesn't mean that the Reapers are taking the day off.  When the Protectorate learns of a local Reaper hideout, Logan is ready to go with them and get revenge.

My Impression

I was surprised when I found out that this novella was being published.  I was checking Jennifer Estep's website to see when Midnight Frost will be released when I saw the announcement.

This novella takes place two weeks after the events of Crimson Frost and is told from the perspective of Logan Quinn.  I really enjoyed this novella (more than I enjoyed the other novellas in this series).

Even though Gwen has used her psychometry magic on Logan in previous books, this is the first time that we really get to see Logan's perspective.  Whenever Gwen "flashes" on Logan, we learn about his feelings for her, but this novella gives us an insight into how the Reaper attack really affected Logan. For the first time in the series, Logan doubts himself, and I like that his experience really got the chance to be shown instead of explained/summarized in the rest of the series.

I also liked that some of the events in this novella foreshadow the events at the beginning of Midnight Frost, though I didn't realize it at first.

Though this novella had a complete arc, I would have loved it to be longer.  It's a common complaint, but I really would have enjoyed reading more about the inner workings of Logan Quinn's mind and his relationship with his dad.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I am pretty in love with this series, so, naturally, I must read every new story as it appears.

My Rating: Four Stars
Genres: Mythology, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Interested in other books by Jennifer Estep?

Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hello Lovely Readers and Followers!

So, as those who follow this blog will notice, I have been a bit behind with posting reviews (unfortunately graduate school just seems to suck the time out of the day).  But the good news is that IT'S SUMMER!  That means lots of free time to read and review!

Right now I am re-reading Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series in preparation for the release of the next book in the series, Magic Rises.  After I have reviewed the books and novellas from that series, I will be moving on to other books/series that cover the multiple bookshelves in the my apartment.  Since I've already read most of the books I own, it will be a lot quicker for me to read/review them, so I'm hoping to get a lot more reviews out soon!  This will also help me catch up on a lot of the series that I had to put on standby because of school work.

I want to thank those followers that have stuck through this dry spell with me!  I really appreciate it, since we all know there are times when life gets just too dang busy.  I will also be posting a new page on my blog, titled "Summer Reading List".  This is going to be a list of all of the authors/series on my shelves so you can see what reviews will be appearing (hopefully) sometime this summer!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline


It's the year 2045 , five years after the death of James Halliday, the creator of the massive multiplayer virtual game known as the OASIS.  Most of the world uses the OASIS on a daily basis, preferring the  online world over the world's dystopian reality.  But when James Halliday died, he left his fortune, and ownership of the OASIS, to whichever gamer can find the hidden Easter egg within the game.  Anyone with access to the OASIS can search for the Easter egg, but their only clues are a riddle, Halliday's journal (known as Avorak's Almanac) and Halliday's obsession with pop culture from the 1980's.

Wade Watts, known by his avatar name of Parzival, is still on the hunt for the first key to unlocking the Easter egg.  He has seen all of the movies, listened to all of the music, and played all of the games mention in Avorak's Almanac, looking for any clue to the riddle.

Most had stopped searching for the answer to the riddle, but when Wade discovers the answer to the first riddle and finds the first of the three keys needed to recover the Easter egg, everyone is determined to be the first to the Easter egg.  But one group, a media conglomerate known as the IOI, will stop at nothing to be the first to the egg, even if that means killing Wade and the other gamers.

My Impressions

I was amazed by how many pop culture references appear in this book.  There are a TON of references to comics, movies, music, and video games that were popular in the 1980's, though there are references to a lot of "geek culture".  Not only were there a lot of references, but there is a lot of background for the references, such as actors, directors, game designers, evolution of game systems, etc.  It is clear that the author loves pop culture and is extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  I learned a lot about various movies, games, and comics, which I probably wouldn't have discovered outside of this book.

While I loved the references, I can see where some people might not enjoy them.  I was familiar with at least 70% of what was mentioned, and since I love "geek culture", I was able to follow most of the references and their importance to the story.  However, if you are not someone who has an interest in video games, comic books. and/or movies and television, then the pop culture references could get tiresome.  I had trouble following the descriptions of various computers and their capabilities because I don't know much about how computers work in general, so those parts of the book were a bit over my head.

I also liked the dystopia that the novel presents.  Though very little of the book takes place outside of the OASIS, the things we do learn about the economy of planet Earth is an extreme case of our current situation: unstable currency, severe global climate changes, growing populations, poverty, and the desire to escape into virtual reality.  I found it realistic that the characters in the book would spend most of their time in the OASIS to escape, and I believe that our world can end up this way if we aren't careful.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I noticed this book when I was working at Hastings, though I didn't decide to read it until it was selected as the common reading book for all first year undergraduates at K-State.  (For some reason, I associated the title of the book with baseball, so I wasn't interested in it.)

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: Five Stars

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FAIR GAME by Patricia Briggs

Title: Fair Game
Series: Alpha & Omega #3
Author: Patricia Briggs


Anna is worried about Charles.  Since the unveiling of the werewolves, the Marrok's laws have become more strict, and that means harsher punishments.  And when some of the alphas refuse to kill a pack member for a crime that would have once received a warning, Charles is called in to take care of the situation.  Only Anna seems to notice that Charles' responsibilities are hurting him.

With Asil's help, the Marrok finally realizes the seriousness of Charles' condition, so when a serial killer seems to be targeting werewolves, he sends Anna to work as a consultant for the law enforcement investigating the situation.  Charles, unwilling to allow his mate to go unprotected, travels as her bodyguard.

But it isn't just the werewolves being targeted by this serial killer, and when a half-fae girl gets taken from her apartment, Anna and Charles have to hurry if they're going to save the girl and catch the serial killer before the next kill.

My Impression

I absolutely love Anna and Charles.  The two seem like such an unlikely pair just based on first glance, but they are great together.  My favorite thing about them together is that when people take one of them for granted or underestimate one of them, the other is perceptive enough to see the truth. This book proves that further, as Anna senses something is wrong with Charles and has to convince both the Marrok and Asil that she isn't imagining things.  As strong as both characters are, there are times when they need the other to save them, sometimes without even realizing it themselves.

Though there are a few wolves in this book, Charles and Anna are mostly interacting with humans.  My favorite books in this series (and in Briggs' Mercy Thompson series) are almost always the ones that focus on werewolves, so I was surprised that I liked this book as much as I did.  I think the main reason that I enjoyed this book so much (aside from Charles and Anna) is that the book had a clear mystery that needed to be solved; while Cry Wolf had a mystery plot to it, this was one where the wolves are the victims.  I also liked that I got to follow along as Anna and Charles worked to figure out who was kidnapping and killing magical creatures, and is strong enough to do so.  There was also a sense of urgency that caused me to be on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book.  This is also one of the first books where the readers are introduced to a lot of the public's reactions to the existence of werewolves, since most of the books in both series mainly involve interactions with other werewolves, fae, vampires, or witches.

The plot and result of this book (which I don't want to spoil) set some major events into motion, and I can't wait to see how it plays out in the next few books.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I absolutely love Anna and Charles, so I couldn't wait to read more.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs

Title: River Marked
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Author: Patricia Briggs


Mercy and Adam, with a bit of help from their friends and family, are married and off to their honeymoon at a campground near the Columbia Gorge.  Time together, and away from the pack, fae, and vampires, seems to be the perfect way for Mercy to avoid trouble; after all, how much trouble can a coyote and her mate attract?

Mercy becomes suspicious of their vacation when she learns that Uncle Mike had a hand in the honeymoon plans, and her suspicions are only confirmed when her and Adam find a canoe in the river, one whose passenger is injured.  Something in the river is killing people, and it's determined to kill Mercy next.

But river monsters aren't the only thing that Mercy discovers in their campground.  For the first time, she sees the ghost of Joe Old Coyote, her father, and she can't help but wonder why he is suddenly appearing.

In order to defeat the monster in the river, Mercy has to learn a bit about her past, and what it means to be a walker.

My Impression

I loved that Mercy finally learns more about being a walker in this book.  As much as I've wanted to know about where walkers come from and Mercy's abilities, I had to accept that it was information that would never be provided in this series.  Since Mercy's dad is dead and the only knowledge of walkers comes from legends, more information seemed impossible, so I was really happy that this book not only gave more information, but introduced other walkers.  Mercy still doesn't have all the answers, but it was still nice to know a little more.

I also liked the development of Adam and Mercy's relationship.  I'm happy that they are married, but I was glad that their marriage didn't solve all their problems.  The two have a couple of things to work out, which made their relationship seem more realistic.  Along with their troubles, there are still great moments where they are able to confide in each other and we get to learn more about both characters as a result.

It was also nice to get out of the Tri-Cities area.  It seems like the area just attracts a lot of bad guys, and that the fae, wolves, and vampires in the area are the focus of these problems being brought out.  Though Mercy does travel out of the area in Bone Crossed, the villain was still targeting her and manipulating her arrival in the city.  In this book, despite Uncle Mike's hand in pushing Adam and Mercy into the situation, the bad guy doesn't target Mercy until she is in its territory.  It appears more happenstance, like Mercy and Adam partially fell in to the problem and then were expected to be part of the solution.  However, I'm also not sure I like that danger seems to follow Mercy; I can't tell if danger follows Mercy, or if her coyote nature means that she always falls into it.  Of course, without this constant danger, there wouldn't be any more Mercy books, and that would be a bad thing.

Why I Picked Up This Book

It was the next book in the series...need I say more?

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

IN RED, WITH PEARLS by Patricia Briggs

Title: "In Red, With Pearls"
Anthology: Down These Strange Streets
Series: Mercy's World
Author: Patricia Briggs


Warren, the third in  the Columbia Basin Pack, works as a bodyguard and investigator for the clients of his human mate, Kyle Brooks.  Kyle is a divorce lawyer, and though he is good at deceiving his opponents, his clients and sometimes their kids are in need of protection, which is one thing that werewolves are particularly good at.

But one night, a client comes to speak with Kyle.  Thankfully, Warren can tell immediately that she is not all she seems.  Soon, with the help of Nadia, the niece of the pack's witch, Warren sets out to figure out who would be able to create a zombie, and who wants Kyle dead.

My Impression

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with this short story.  I really love Warren and Kyle, so I couldn't wait to read a short story about them.  This story wasn't really about them, though.  While they were definitely the main characters, the story was most concerned with trying to figure out who wanted to kill Kyle; there wasn't much about their relationship, other than Warren has to protect Kyle and he is afraid that one day his methods might drive him away.

I also thought there were a few hasty jumps made in the story. While Warren was able to figure out who was behind the entire assassination attempt, I found it hard to connect the dots, and I wasn't able to really follow his train of thought until he had already uncovered the bad guys.  It felt too rushed, and I found myself being distanced from the situation because I couldn't follow along as Warren played investigator.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I really love Warren's character, and I was excited to see more about his relationship with Kyle.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Three Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

SILVER BORNE by Patricia Briggs

Title: Silver Borne
Series: Mercy Thompson #5
Author: Patricia Briggs


Mercy is no longer a target for the Mid-Columbia Seethe, and she has repaid her debts to the fae and the vampires, with interest.  It would seem like Mercy can finally fly under the radar...except that life as a coyote is never peaceful.

In Iron Kissed, Mercy borrowed a book from Phineas Brewster, one that would help her learn some of the basic fae stories and artifacts.  When Tad calls and says Phineas is wondering if Mercy still has the book, she offers to return it. But Phin seems to have disappeared, and there are strange fae lurking around his bookstore and his home.  One thing Mercy knows is that if these fae are interested in the book, the only way she will be able to find Phin is if the book stays hidden.

The fae aren't the only people Mercy has to worry about.  Mercy's new status as pack member and mate to Adam is upsetting quite a few people, and they are doing what they can to get Mercy kicked out of the pack.  And something is wrong with Samuel, something bad enough that his wolf has taken control.  If Mercy can't figure out a way to fix Samuel, then he won't live much longer.

My Impression

I'm glad that this book focused on more of the pack dynamics.  Though Mercy was officially brought into the pack in Bone Crossed, the focus of that book was primarily on "vampire politics".  It was obvious from other books that there are a few members of the pack that barely tolerate Mercy, and that the only reason they don't attack her is because of Adam's protection.  I liked learning about other members of the pack and the unrest that has been taking place.

I also liked the plot with Samuel. This is another story that has been building throughout the series, and it seems pretty logical that Mercy becoming Adam's mate would increase Samuel's depression.  And since we learned in Iron Kissed that Samuel views Mercy as pack, I like that she is the one he turns to, and that the blame isn't placed on her.  It was also interesting to see the differences between Samuel and his wolf, since the only other characters we have seen that kind of characterization in are Charles and Anna.

Though the fae plot doesn't dominate this book, I think I enjoyed it because it built in intensity as the book went on.  It was also pretty cool that the fae that become involved have a history with other characters from the series, so meeting them also meant learning a bit of the past.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I just can't put this series down.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance

My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Monday, March 4, 2013

BONE CROSSED by Patricia Briggs

Title: Bone Crossed
Series: Mercy Thompson #4
Author: Patricia Briggs


Mercy was able to prove Zee's innocence, but at a high cost; as tough as she may be, Mercy still panics at the memory of Tim and his abuse.  She is trying hard to not feel victimized, but it's hard when everyone is walking on eggshells around her.

But Mercy has other things to worry about. When a starved Stefan shows up in her trailer, Mercy knows that Marsilia has discovered her betrayal.  While none of the vampires are making a direct move against her, Mercy's friends soon become targets; so when Mercy's friend comes to visit claiming she has a ghost in her house that is terrorizing her son, it seems best for everyone involved in Mercy goes to investigate.  Mercy believes that leaving town will lessen the targets on her friends' backs, whereas everyone else seems to believe that it will protect Mercy from the vampires' reach.

Either way, vampires don't just live in the Tri-Cities, and Mercy has a tendency to attract trouble, or in this case, the notice of the only vampire in Spokane.

My Impression

My main happiness with this book is that the love triangle has been dissolved. There is still some tension, which I find totally realistic, but I was worried that the love triangle would hold back this series, so I'm glad that it didn't overstay its welcome.  I am also really happy that Mercy chose Adam. While I do like Samuel's character, I never felt that Mercy could have a healthy relationship with him, which she also seemed to be aware of.

However, I also liked that things didn't just automatically work between Adam and Mercy. Much of this has to do with the Tim events at the end of Iron Kissed, events which were painful to read, and while I wish Mercy had been able to escape with less abuse, it did give the series a way of easing into the relationship between the two. (I really hope this doesn't make me sound like a monstrous person.)

The way that Mercy dealt with her rape and abuse was also realistic, in my opinion.  I found it believable that Mercy would quickly become irritated with being treated with pity, especially since she has a hard time controlling her panic attacks.  I also liked that she couldn't just brush away the horror of her rape, which was one thing I also feared with this book.  While Mercy is a remarkable strong woman, it would have been hard to believe that she could walk away without being haunted in some way.

As far as the plot went, I wasn't super interested in Blackwood, the vampire from Spokane, or the ghost haunting Amber's house. I liked that it gave a bit more insight into Mercy's abilities, and that it was one instance where Mercy really got herself into trouble; outside of that, I was more interested in the things happening in the Tri-Cities.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I honestly love this series, as well as Briggs' Alpha & Omega series.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Four Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

IRON KISSED by Patricia Briggs

Title: Iron Kissed
Series: Mercy Thompson #3
Author: Patricia Briggs


Mercy fulfilled her debt to the vampires, but she was only asked to kill one vampire, not two.  Now it is only a matter of time before Marsilia realizes Mercy's betrayal and targets her.

In the meantime, Mercy travels to the Walla Walla far reservation to payback her debt to Zee. Some of the fae have been murdered, and Zee thinks Mercy's nose will help uncover who is behind the murders. But when the killer is discovered dead and Zee is found at the scene of the crime, Mercy refuses to let him be accused of a crime he didn't commit.

The Gray Lords seem content to let an innocent fae take the punishment for the crime in order to protect themselves from public scrutiny, so Mercy has to take the investigation into her own hands.  And she'll soon discover that sometimes the most monstrous people don't look like monsters.

My Impression

The characters in this series often comment that Mercy, like the coyote, seems to attract trouble. While that may be the case, it's more that she does whatever it takes to save her friends, but then she ends up owing favors.  She gets involved with vampire business in Blood Bound because she needed a favor from the vampires in order to save Adam and Jessie in Moon Called. While she is fulfilling her debt to the vampires, she asks a favor from the fae, which results in a debt that drags her into fae business in this book. I like that, though Mercy does seem to always find herself in danger, she doesn't go searching for it, and what may start as repaying a debt quickly becomes protecting her friends.

The love triangle is still there, though I did appreciate that it received more acknowledgement in this one. Mercy is obviously aware of the growing tension, and she knows that she needs to make a decision soon.  By the end, there is closure! (Though I won't say how.)

I enjoyed this book more that Blood Bound, and I'm not sure if that is because this book is focused on the fae instead of the vampires, or if there is some other reason. However, as much as I liked this book, I felt that there was very little focus on the werewolves. Though Mercy has been claimed by Adam, she isn't pack, so I can understand why the wolves aren't always the focus of this series, but I find them more interesting than the other characters, especially since they are the ones who Mercy most strongly associates with.

Why I Picked Up This Book

It's the next book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Four Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BLOOD BOUND by Patricia Briggs

Title: Blood Bound
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Author: Patricia Briggs


After saving Adam, the alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack, and his daughter, Jesse, from the werewolves that had captured them, Mercy is ready to return to her life as a mechanic.

The only problem is that Mercy asked for Stefan's protection when she faced his vampire seethe, so she now owes him a favor.  When Stefan calls Mercy and asks for her help, she has no choice but to agree.

Stefan and Mercy visit a vampire who is visiting town without the permission of Marsilia, the Mistress of the Seethe.  Stefan doesn't trust this vampire, and with good reason.  Death surrounds his visit, and as she digs deeper in to the world of the vampires, Mercy learns that this one may not be an ordinary vampire.  But Mercy has proven that she can handle bad guys, and she'll need every bit of strength to save her friends from the monster that's now living in the Tri-Cities.

My Impression

This book goes deep into the world of the Mid-Columbia Seethe.  I liked that I got to learn more about the vampires in Mercy's world, especially since she is friends with Stefan, despite the warnings she receives from the wolves and fae.  The vampires are very political, much like the werewolves, but it is obvious that everyone who is aware of the existence of vampires is against revealing their existence to humans. I like that Briggs paints the darkness of the vampires in a way that clearly makes them seem monstrous but still allows us to see the moral side of certain vampires, such as Stefan.  As much as I liked this book, and I liked learning about the vampires, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Moon Called.

There is also more development in the love interest in this series, though it does take a back seat to the vampire plot.  It's clear that Adam has feelings for Mercy, but Samuel also has an interest in Mercy, so she has to deal with the competition between the two dominant werewolves, as well as decide which one she wants to be with.  I both love and hate this development.  I think it's realistic that Mercy would still have an attraction to her first love, and that as a dominant werewolf, Samuel would want another shot at having Mercy as his mate; however, I really like the chemistry and understanding that Mercy and Adam have, and Samuel is just getting in the way.

Something I really liked about this book is that Mercy is a unique character, and though she is not always certain that she will come out on top, she is always willing to do what she can to save her friends.  Though some characters have more confidence in her strength and her ability to defeat monsters that the werewolves, vampires, and fae can't, there are still some that doubt her because she can turn into a coyote. Nevertheless, Mercy seems to be able to get herself out of the trouble that she gets into, even if she isn't sure that she can.

Why I Picked Up This Book

After reading Moon Called I wanted to find out what happened to Mercy.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Four Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

STAR OF DAVID by Patricia Briggs

Title: "Star of David"

Anthology: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Series: Mercy's World
Author: Patricia Briggs


David is a lone wolf and a mercenary. Though it has been a long time since he learned to control his wolf, time cannot undo the unfortunate events of his first shift, which left his wife and her lover dead and his daughter forever fearful of his monstrous side.

When his daughter, Stella, calls asking for his help, he can't pass up the chance of connecting with his daughter. But when the help she needs involves other monsters, David will have to choose who to protect his daughter from: the monster out to get her, or the monster he becomes.

My Impression

Overall, I thought this story was okay.

On the one hand, I liked reading about a werewolf who is not part of a pack, since the other werewolves in the Mercyverse are all members of packs.  I also felt a connection to this particular character because he appears in Moon Called, and is an old war buddy of Adam Hauptman. The plot was also different because instead of being about a romantic relationship (like all of the other books/stories in the Mercyverse), this story was about family.

However, the one thing I didn't like about this story was the ending.  I felt that it was too abrupt and that it was unrealistic given the past between David and Stella. (I won't go in to details because I don't want to spoil anything.)

Why I Picked Up This Book

I love Patricia Briggs, and I wanted to read every part of her Mercyverse.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: Three Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

HUNTING GROUND by Patricia Briggs

Title: Hunting Ground

Series: Alpha & Omega #2
Author: Patricia Briggs


The Marrok has decided that the time has come for the werewolves to reveal their existence to the rest of the world; it is only a matter of time before technology proves their existence, and some of the wrong people already know that werewolves are real.  But before this happens, Bran has arranged a meeting in Seattle for all of the European Alphas where they can express their concerns and receive assurance that the Marrok will aid all of the wolves in any way he can.

When Charles has the bad feeling that things will go horribly wrong if Bran attends the conference, Bran concedes by sending the newly mated (and married) Charles and Anna in his stead.  Though this eases Charles' feelings of dread, his and Anna's presence also causes more problems.  Not all of the werewolves are happy about the big reveal and Charles, for all that he is his father's hitman, is not the authority and many of the Alphas do not respect him as they would his father. Anna is still not comfortable around dominant, male werewolves, and a conference full of them is not the best place for her.  And though their mate bond has finally settled in, there are still many aspects of their relationship that both Anna and Charles are still learning to navigate.  Add in a group of vampires using pack magic to attack werewolves, and Charles and Anna have their work cut out for them.

My Impression

I loved this book.  I still love Anna and Charles, and though their relationship seems to be moving pretty fast (after all, they are now mated and married), their problems are far from over.  Their human sides are still learning how to navigate their relationship and how to read the other person.  Charles still has his need to close himself off and his fear that Anna will run any time she sees the killer in him, while Anna still has to call on her wolf during intimate moments and is still learning what it means to be an Omega.  And all of these problems are offset by their love and protectiveness of each other.

I also really enjoyed the expansion of Briggs' werewolf sociology. It's the first time we get to see werewolves from outside the United States and how their governing structure varies from the Marrok's rule.  There is also further development of the varying personalities of werewolves and what it means to be a good vs. bad dominant.  I also liked seeing another pack from the United States, as well as seeing Moira and Tom, the werewolves from "Seeing Eye".

Another thing I liked about this book is the use of Arthurian legend. I love mythology and folklore, so I really liked seeing how King Arthur is discussed in relation to werewolves and the fae.  However, the book keeps the reference simple and explains most of the relevant details, so you don't need to be an expert on King Arthur in order to appreciate or understand the reference.

Something I would have liked to see more of in this book is the Emerald City Pack.  I really liked Angus, the Alpha, and I want to know more about how his pack is run, as well as more about Tom, Moira, and Alan (the doctor and submissive of the pack).

Why I Picked Up This Book

I fell in love with Anna and Charles, and I wanted to see more of them.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Friday, February 22, 2013

CRY WOLF by Patricia Briggs

Title: Cry Wolf
Series: Alpha & Omega #1
Author: Patricia Briggs


With the death of Leo, the Alpha of her Chicago pack, Anna is finally free of the abuse that has come with her three years as a werewolf. Now she is heading back to Montana with Charles, and though her wolf has no problem trusting Charles, Anna's human half still carries the scars of her abuse and finds it hard to trust anyone who is male, dominant, and wolf.

Charles is protective of Anna, and as much as he (and his wolf) wants to claim Anna for his own, he is willing to given her as much time as she needs to be comfortable around him...even if that means giving her the option of finding another mate.

But their relationship is put on standby as reports come in about a rogue werewolf in The Cabinets, one that has been attacking and killing people.  Charles may still be injured from his recent visit to Chicago, but he is the only wolf besides his father that is dominant enough, and controlled enough, to face down a rogue.  Though he is initially reluctant to have Anna come with him, the rogue wolf is not what he expects, and he soon learns that having an Omega along can save his life.

My Impression

This book introduces a new pack of werewolves: the Marrok's Pack of Aspen Creek, Montana.  Though this pack appears briefly in Moon Called, Cry Wolf adds more depth to the characters we have already met (Bran and Leah), while also introducing many other members.  Since I had already seen the dynamics of Adam's pack (from the Mercy Thompson series) and Leo's pack (from "Alpha and Omega"), I liked seeing another pack and the varying personalities among werewolves.  I think Patricia Briggs does a great job of creating a variety of characters.

I also really liked how Charles and Anna try to navigate their relationship.  Both characters have some demons (metaphoric) that haunt them, and I like that they don't suddenly disappear simply because the two found each other.  Both characters have a hard time reading the other person, and they struggle to understand each other and avoid miscommunication. I also liked that there were moments when each character had to put aside their own insecurities in order to comfort the other.  Their relationship seems authentic and realistic, and as much as I want things to be great and perfect between them, I think their relationship becomes more valuable because of the work they put in to it.

Though the mystery plot of this book was complex and not something I could easily solve, and there were times when I was truly worried about the safety of Anna and Charles, I felt myself a bit uninterested in it.  My main interest in this series is seeing the relationship develop between Anna and Charles, and while there is progress in that area, I felt that the plot of the book didn't revolve around them enough.  The rogue wolf is a threat to the Marrok's pack, as well as to werewolves in general, but I just didn't care as much about the outcome.  That's not to say that it wasn't well written, but there were times when I just wanted to read about Anna and Charles' mate bond.

Why I Picked Up This Book

After reading "Alpha and Omega", I wanted to read more about Charles and Anna.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Four Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ALPHA AND OMEGA by Patricia Briggs

Title: "Alpha and Omega"
Anthology: On the Prowl

Series: Alpha & Omega #0.5
Author: Patricia Briggs


Anna Latham has been a werewolf for three years, and for three years she has been abused by her pack.  But when she sees a picture of a missing boy in the local newspaper, even the threat for abuse doesn't stop her from calling the Marrock, the head of all of the werewolves, and telling him that her pack is responsible for his disappearance.

When Charles Cornick, the Marrock's enforcer, arrives in Chicago to investigate the pack's involvement with the boy's disappearance, he is also charged from protecting Anna from her own pack.  Though at first glance she seems to just be submissive, he soon learns that she is an Omega, and his wolf is determined to do more than just protect her.

My Impression

I love this story. Though I typically find novella's lacking in plot, this one had a complete story arc, one that I felt was fully developed and left me wanting to read more.

I also love Anna and Charles.  While the main focus of this novella is discovering the problem with Anna's pack, the attraction between Anna and Charles is present from the beginning, and I loved seeing how they both attempt to navigate their interest.  Charles is not a werewolf who is comfortable being emotionally close to someone and Anna doesn't trust werewolves because of her abusive pack.  It's clear that there is still a lot to negotiate between the two, but I liked seeing the mutual interest between the characters.

Why I Picked Up This Book

One day I was browsing the "Teen" section of Barnes and Noble when my mom noticed this anthology on a display board in the store.  Knowing my love for books with magic and werewolves, she showed it to me.  I'll admit that "Alpha and Omega" was, and still is, the only story I read in the anthology.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

**Note: This story was originally published in the anthology On the Prowl. It has now also been published in the hardcover edition of Cry Wolf, as well as in Alpha & Omega: Call of the Hunt, an omnibus containing this story and the first three novels of the Alpha & Omega series.

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Patricia Briggs Book List

Patricia Briggs is the author of many series, duologies, short stories, and a stand-alone novel.  Her most well known works take place in "Mercy's World".

Mercy's World
An urban fantasy world where werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, witches, fae, and other creatures all exist in our modern world.  This universe contains two series (Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega), as well as a couple short stories, and a prequel graphic novel. For a timeline of how all of these works fit together, click here

Mercy Thompson

In a world full of werewolves, Mercy Thompson stands out. Not only does she change into a coyote, but her change is the result of her heritage: she is a walker, born with the ability to sense and resist magic, communicate with ghosts, and transform into a coyote.  Though Mercy would like nothing more than to stick with her day job as a mechanic, her friendships with Adam (the alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack), Stefan (a vampire), Zee (a fae), and the other supernatural creatures of the Tri-Cities area make it hard for her to ignore the magic of the world; especially when it is often up to her to save the day.

Alpha & Omega

Anna is an Omega wolf, one who stands outside the pack structure and brings peace to the wolves of her pack.  Originally brutalized by her Chicago pack, she escapes their abuse with the help of Charles, the Marrok's son and executioner.  Though her wolf has chosen Charles as her mate, and Charles' wolf has chosen her, the human-halves have trouble following along; both are used to separating themselves from the people around them in order to protect themselves.  But when it comes time to protect those around them, they learn that they make a pretty perfect team.  

Short Stories

The short stories that focus on characters introduced in Mercy Thompson or Alpha & Omega.

**Update: As of now, Briggs is under contract for two more Mercy novels (#8 and #9), as well as another book from Mercy's World.  This mystery project might be another Alpha & Omega novel or it could follow another character.  Either way, Briggs has stated that should would like to write another Alpha & Omega novel, though she isn't currently under contract for another book in the series.  She also has plans for a Mercy's World anthology, which would include the currently published stories, as well as some stories following additional characters, including Samuel and Ben.

Other Works


  • Masques
  • Wolfsbane
  • Steal the Dragon
  • When Demons Walk

Raven Duology

  • Raven's Shadow
  • Raven's Strike

Hurog Duology

  • Dragon Bones
  • Dragon Blood

Stand-alone Novels

  • Hob's Bargain

Short Stories

  • "Wishing Well"
  • "The Price"
  • "Fairy Gifts"
  • "Gray"

MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs

Title: Moon Called
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Author: Patricia Briggs


When a werewolf named Mac shows up at Mercy Thompson's garage looking for work, she's hesitant to hire him.  Mercy is no stranger to werewolves and their instincts, after all, she was raised by them. And while Mercy may look like an ordinary mechanic, she is a walker, born with the ability to transform into a coyote.  She can tell that Mac is new and unfamiliar with his new instincts, and even in coyote form she is no match for a determined werewolf.

After she learns Mac's story and sees the trouble that has followed him to Tri-Cities, Mercy has no choice but to contact Adam Hauptman, alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack.  But when Adam's house is attacked and he is severely injured, Mercy has to decide who she can trust, all while saving the alpha, rescuing his kidnapped daughter, and discovering who is targeting the werewolves.

My Impression

Mercy is an interesting character. While she is involved with the world of the werewolves (as well as the vampires and the fae), she is seen by many as weak.  However, as the book progresses, it is obvious that many people underestimate her and that very few actually understand what she is capable of. I liked that she has to make tough decisions and doesn't have solutions easily fall in her lap.  I think Mercy is a great heroine, and I admire that she sometimes gets herself in over her head because of her determination to save the people she loves.

However, I did get a bit frustrated because many of the people around her acted like she wasn't able to protect herself.  While most of their judgement of her was because she is not a werewolf (and thus doesn't have as much strength as they do), it was a little frustrating to see people not take this obviously intelligent female character seriously.

The other character I loved in this book was Adam.  He seems to be the person that could scowl at Mercy the most because he is a very strong and dominant male werewolf; however, he seems to be one of the few characters that completely trusts and depends on Mercy, and he actually believes that she is capable of a lot of things.  Plus, he just seems like a great character. (I will admit that my high opinion of him might be slightly influenced by later books, but I do still think he is a great character in the context of this book.)

I also really liked the conflict in this book.  Because this is the first view in to Mercy's world, it is almost impossible to predict who the villian is and what is motivating them.  I liked it this way because as Mercy tries to solve this mystery we learn a lot about the world of the werewolves, and it was in a way that didn't feel like I was just being told the information.

Why I Picked Up This Book

After reading "Alpha and Omega" and loving it, I wanted to read more books by Patricia Briggs. Once I learned that this series takes place in the same world with some of the same characters, I was hooked.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Five Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Monday, February 18, 2013

SEEING EYE by Patricia Briggs

Title: "Seeing Eye"
Anthology: Strange Brew

Series: Mercy's World
Author: Patricia Briggs


Moira is a white witch, but that doesn't mean she is happy when Tom Franklin, the second in the Emerald City Pack, rings her doorbell in the middle of the night.  Though she is ready to slam the door in his face, she hesitates when she learns that Tom's brother has been captured by Kouros, the leader of the Samhain Coven.  Moira knows that Kouros practices black magic, and she refuses to let the death of Tom's brother be her fault.  And along the way, they may learn just how much a blind witch and a werewolf can do when they team up.

My Impression

These are two characters that appear in Hunting Ground, the second book in the Alpha & Omega series.  I liked the way Moira and Tom interacted in the book, so I was excited to see how the pair got their start.

On one hand, I really enjoyed this story.  Moira and Tom are secondary characters in Hunting Ground, and it was awesome to learn more about them as a couple and as individuals.  I also liked that this story was not about their romance; it sets up the potential, but the story is more concerned with Tom's brother being captured, so the romance is just a fringe element.

However, I was also a bit disappointed with the conclusion of this story.  I didn't feel like I had seen enough of these characters, and there was no clear indication that the two end up having a future together.  I wanted a more obvious nudge that something would become of these two characters.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I have been a fan of the Mercyverse since I first read "Alpha and Omega", and I decided that I wanted to see how Briggs expands some of her secondary characters.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Three Stars

Interested in other books by Patricia Briggs?  Check here to read my reviews of other books from this series.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Title: Shapeshifter's Quest

Author: Dena Landon


Years ago, the King had the shapeshifters confined to Carlbine Forest. Every birthing season, the King's priests enter Carlbine Forest and place a tattoo on the cheek of every infant; if any shapeshifter with a tattoo attempts to cross the forest's boundary, the ink in the tattoo will poison them.

But when one of the Elders has a vision that the shapeshifter Brytha will have twins, they make preparations to hide the first of the twins from the priests.

Now Syanthe is eighteen, and she is the only shapeshifter without a tattoo.  Though she has been ridiculed for her difference, the time has come for her to pay her debt.  The King's death magic is leaking into Carlbine Forest, and if Syanthe can't find a way to stop if from spreading, the shapeshifters will die with the forest.

My Impression

I really enjoyed how this book played with the concept of magic. While shapeshifters and death magic aren't new to the fantasy genre, this is one of the first times I have seen them both appear in one book as a sort of opposition to each other: the shapeshifters promoting healing and nature, while the King's priest promoting violent, death, immortality, and the unnatural. I honestly couldn't predict where the novel was going, or how Syanthe could even begin to fight the destruction.

I also liked the little bit of romance that appeared in the book. While the romantic element isn't central to the book (and I would have honestly liked to see more between them), I appreciated that these two characters had obligations that took priority over their romance. When it came down to duty and the fates of their own homes/community, they both chose the community.

My one problem with this book: the ending. The book does a good job of tying up the story arc pretty well, and I wasn't unhappy with how things ended; however, the book leaves a lot of uncertainty about what happens next.  Though the events of the book are clearly a step in the direction towards saving Carlbine Forest and the shapeshifters, there is no guarantee that suddenly everything will be okay.  Syanthe also makes some significant discovers about shapeshifters, but because they are not part of her main quest, there is no resolution to these discoveries.  Basically, this book is in need of a sequel (or two), but since this book was published in 2005, I'm not sure if that is a possibility.

Why I Picked Up This Book

I first saw this book in my high school library. It was on the shelf of "New Arrivals" and I loved the cover/title.  It was a book that I read in one day because I got hooked.

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: Four Stars

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Liebster Award

I am taking a brief detour from my reviews with this post.  I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by two lovely bloggers (A Barmy Bookworm and Robyn).

The Liebster Award is for blogs that have less than 200 followers.  Both bloggers who nominated me have given me 11 questions to answer about myself, which I have answered below; I also have to list 11 additional facts about myself. In return I have nominated 11 bloggers and posed 11 questions for them to answer!

Robyn's Questions

  1. What is your favorite fictional place? Could be a funky bedroom, another planet, another time, gets tricky.  As you'll quickly discover with my answers to some of these questions, I am a bit of a Tolkien fan, so I would definitely say Middle-earth.
  2. What inspires you most?  This is a pretty tough one. I would say that I'm most inspired by genuinely good people, the people who are just overall willing to help other people and don't expect things in return.
  3. Who is your favorite female character on TV or in movies?  My favorite female character is probably Aria Stark from Game of Thrones. She is one of the few characters that I cheer for on that show.
  4. What is your favorite movie-based-on-a-book?  My favorite movies overall are The Lord of the Rings movies, which are based on a book!
  5. If you had a chance to chat up an author, who would be your pick?  I would definitely talk to Tolkien.  I just want to know more about Middle-earth and his life. I basically want to see inside his mind.
  6. How much time do you spend blogging...thinking about it, clicking away, world building on your site?  I honestly have no idea. I spend a lot of time picking books, requesting books through NetGalley, finding books on Goodreads, reading the books, writing the reviews, networking on Book Blogs, pasting my reviews to Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, that I basically spend a majority of my free time on the various sites.
  7. What is your favorite book series beginning to end?  My favorite book series is also The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but for variety I will also say that I'm a big fan of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series.
  8. What book series ended too soon for you?  I'll confess that most of the series that I read are still going.  But two series that I hope get some continuation are Nicole Luiken's Violet Eyes series and Dena Landon's Shapeshifter's Quest (I want it to have a sequel).
  9. What book would you more love to see on the big or little screen?  Hmmm...I would really like to see Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series, simply because I feel like a lot of cool things could be done with it, and I love the characters.
  10. What's the right order, books, blogs, girls/boys (romantically), family, pets, kids? Exclude what doesn't pertain to your life.  Well, from most important to least important: family (I count pets as family), friends, boys (if I am currently in a relationship), books, blogs, boys (if I'm not in a relationship).
  11. What character would you like to kick into a-whole-nother stratosphere?  And my obvious answer is Bella Swan.  As far as female characters go, she is pretty ridiculous.  There are plenty of bad characters out there, but most of them have a motivation.  The fact that Bella only cares about thanks.

A Barmy Bookworm's Questions

  1. What do you get from your blogging?  Well, the main reason I started blogging was actually to force myself to review books. I got into the habit of reading books, having a vague inclination about whether or not I liked a book, and then moving on to the next one. I decided to start reviewing books because it makes me really look at a book and grapple with my opinion of it.  Not only does blogging hold me accountable for my reviews, but since I like seeing what other people think of the books they've read, it seemed appropriate that I put my opinion out their for others.
  2. What makes good reading for you?  For me, a book is interesting if I get sucked into the world. The level of realness it forms in my mind mostly influences how I react to a book.  If I become involved in that world on an emotional level, I'm hooked.  If I also connect with and love the characters, the book is perfect, despite any flaws it may have.
  3. What makes you want to share good reading with others?  I love reading, and I love finding new books and authors to fall in love with.  Since I often rely on seeing what other people have read, I believe other people do the same thing, and I wouldn't want them to miss the chance to discover a new author or book.
  4. Which books do you think everyone should read, at least once in their lives?  As cheesy as this is, I believe everyone should read Tolkien's work.  However, I think this is best done in a classroom setting, especially for people who don't necessarily like fantasy.  I think that it is a great series that shows how heavily influential mythology is in the construction of modern stories, but it also is really influential to other fantasy writers.
  5. Which author would you like to/would you have liked to have met, and why?  Tolkien, for the reasons to the question above and my answer to Robyn's similar question.
  6. What's the most challenging book you've ever read, and why?  The most challenging book I ever read was The Silmarillion.  I tried to read it back in 7th grade, right after I finished reading the trilogy, and I actually had to put it down and return to it a few years later.  The content is very dense and not written the same way the other books are written.
  7. What's the funniest book you've ever read, and why?  I honestly don't remember.  I know I have read a few books that have had me laughing to the point of tears, but I don't remember which ones they are.
  8. What's the best book-to-film adaptation you've ever seen?  The best adaptation I've seen is A Game of Thrones into the first season of Game of Thrones.  I didn't read the book until after I watched the first season, and it was so hard forcing myself through the book because the two were SO similar.
  9. Has any book ever inspired you, and why?  I think all books inspire me.  Every time I read a great book, I always want to write my own book, which I have tried and failed to do multiple times.  I also always want to go out and have epic adventures.
  10. Do you stop reading books you don't like? Or keep going regardless to the end?   I typically try to make it through the entire book. It might take me a few months to make it through the book, since I can only handle small doses, but I feel like giving the book a chance to tell its story and (rarely) redeem itself.  There is only one book that I never finished reading, and I can't even remember the name of it.
  11. Do you get rid of books you've read? Pass them on to others? Or fill up your home with them till there's no more room for you?  If I like/love a book, I keep it; I almost always re-read books, so I don't like getting rid of them unless it is a book I know I won't read again. I let other people borrow books on occasion, but I'm super picky about creases in the spines of books and damage to pages, so there are few people I trust with my books.

My Eleven Facts

  1. I saw The Fellowship of the Ring a total of 12 times in theaters...I don't know how many times I've seen it since then.
  2. I almost always have multiple creative "projects" going on at once.
  3. I have a dog that is bigger than me.
  4. I love being outside.
  5. I once lent a friend a book and it was damaged when they returned it, so I bought a new copy.
  6. I don't like 3D movies.
  7. I read Tolkien criticism for fun.
  8. I have a ridiculous amount of tea in my never know when you'll want tea.
  9. I love going on adventures.
  10. I am hyper organized.
  11. I'm one of those people that goes to a bookstore and takes about an hour deciding which book to buy with my extra money. (It's a tough choice!)

My Nominees

The Questions for My Nominees

  1. What made you decide to start blogging/why do you continue to blog?
  2. What is the first book you remember reading?
  3. If you could only read ten books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
  4. What is your worst reading experience?
  5. What is your favorite book-to-film (can be movie or TV) adaptation, and why?
  6. What are your feelings about used books? Do you love them or do you only buy new books?
  7. Are you an e-book reader, or do you need the feel of the book in your hand?
  8. If you could redo the books shelving system at bookstores (i.e. romance, teen, fantasy/sci-fi, etc.) how would you organize the books?
  9. If you could spend a day with any author, who would it be and  what would you want to do?
  10. What is your favorite fictional land from a book? Where would you most like to live?
  11. What fictional character would you most like to be like, and why?

Instructions for My Nominees

  • Copy and paste the award onto your blog
  • Answer my 11 questions
  • Come up with 11 questions, 11 nominees with less than 200 followers, and 11 facts about yourself
  • Leave a comment on your nominee's blog telling them about the award
  • Thank your nominator