5 star review

Review – Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched.

This is book 9 in the Mercy Thompson series, a series which features coyote shifter Mercedes (the Volkswagen mechanic) and her adventures being the lone coyote in werewolf territory. There is also a side series, Alpha & Omega, which has 4.5 books. There is some argument as to whether or not you really need to read Alpha & Omega to get the series as a whole (I say that you do), but whichever side of that argument you fall on, one thing is certain, you just can’t start here. Seriously, go and read them all, this blog will still be here when you get back.

Of course my bias for  A&O may be because I came to that series first through an anthology I had picked up for some other author. It captivated me, and once I finished that it made me go back and take a look at Brigg’s other works. I had completely passed over the Mercy series for the very shallow reason that I found the covers rather offputting. I looked at those covers, and with a sneer…I put them back.

Yep, I thought, really? That is a serious mechanic? And I dropped it before starting. I don’t know who they were trying to market to, but I find the covers weird, and not representative of Mercy at all. Not that there is anything wrong with those outfits in and of themselves, it just had to do with the description of the series paired with those images. Like, she was luring us with a description of a kick@ss mechanic and then was going to give us a helpless damsel instead. I couldn’t have been more wrong. But the series, it is actually amazingly good. And Mercy is one of my favorite heroines. She is a tough, no nonsense mechanic who stays true to herself. And honestly, I can’t really imagine her wearing any of those outfits, particularly to work in.

As for this book, it is completely awesome. I can’t promise to to make this spoiler free, because there is a lot going on, but I will try.

Basically, the war between the world as we know it and the fae has been heating up off page. And eventually, chaotic coyote that Mercy is, she has to draw her own line in the sand. This leads to Adam FINALLY tying off the nebulous thread to the plot arc of the pack’s animosity toward Mercy (which was welcome), but also leads to what I consider a surprise move from the Marrok.

But it is exciting. There is fighting, and mystery about the boy Aiden, and favorite characters like Zee and Tad are back. And if you read the short stories, two very interesting characters make quite the appearance, it is absolutely FANTASTIC. (Here’s to hoping the get some more page time in the next book, I think it will be good for all involved …including a conspicuously missing character. And it will be fun to watch too.) I hadn’t made the connection when the one character previously appeared, but a ton of things made better sense from that.

As for the rest of the story arc, I’ve been wondering where things were going, but man-oh-man I did NOT see this coming. You wonder sometimes, at the disparate things that come about as a series develops. Is that some random deus ex machina? Does it have purpose? Does the author know where he or she is going with this? So it was delightful to see that Patricia Briggs knew EXACTLY where she was going, or at least is a good enough story teller to pull things off with great aplomb.

And damned if there wasn’t the absolute strangest thing to be sad about too. When you get to around 96%, come back and talk to me about it, surely I am not the only one who was almost unbearably moved. But don’t be saddened to much, Briggs finishes off on a really, really high note.

So, final thoughts, there was a much higher level of humor in this one than others, the relationship angst and overall angst are at almost negligible levels, and it gives us readers some breathing space after the trauma and drama of past books and also resettles the story in ways that are hard to explain. It was an excellent installment and makes me that much more antsy to see what Charles and Anna, the titular Alpha & Omega, are up to now, since I think one of their stories will be next (see what I mean by needing to read both series to get the full picture?). Unfortunately I guess that will be happening in 2017, which is a long ways to wait, but made slightly bearable by the fact that we leave them in such a good place.

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

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3 star review

Review – Some Were in Time by Robyn Peterman

Some Were in TIme

All I wanna do is marry Hank, have 2.5 beautiful little Werewolf babies and live happily ever after while having sex on a very regular basis. Oh…and I still want to shoot stuff occasionally.
Apparently no one got the memo.

Instead of complaining about the price of flowers, cakes and the fact that my gay Vampyre BFF, Dwayne insists on wearing a dress at my nuptials, I’m locked and loaded trying to ascertain who wants my ass six feet under. With Hank at my side and some surprising allies at our disposal, we will take on the bad dudes…one bloody clusterhump of a sucktastic battle at a time.

No one ever said the Werewolf life was going to be easy, but this week we couldn’t catch a break if it bit us in the ass…

The gang is back and more ridiculous than ever. I’m almost sure this book is offensive to everyone everywhere…or is that every were? Anyway, between the Gay Vampyre Dwayne and gender ambiguous, deadly farting, were cows….I just can’t, literally, I can’t. And frankly that doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of the over the top insanity that is this story. There are plot holes large enough to ride a were cow through, particularly when you add this installment to the events to the last one. It is just something you have to go with.

Do I recommend this though? That is a tough one, it isn’t going to be for everyone that is for sure. But if you like the ridiculous, zany, and over the top, this may be the book for you. We’ve got heart warming happily ever afters for a large number of characters, villains were vanquished, mysteries were solved, and I can’t even begin to explain what all else.

Jesus Hesus Christ, where does Peterman come up with this stuff? And where the heck are my happily ever afters for Dwayne, Junior, Dami and Granny? Because I seriously want them.

Some Were In Time (Shift Happens #2)

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3 star review

Review – Ready to Were by Robyn Peterman

Ready to Were

I never planned on going back to Hung Island, Georgia. Ever.

I was a top notch Were agent for the secret paranormal Council and happily living in Chicago where I had everything I needed – a gym membership, season tickets to the Cubs and Dwayne – my gay, Vampyre best friend. Going back now would mean facing the reason I’d left and I’d rather chew my own paw off than deal with Hank.

Hank the Tank Wilson was the six foot three, obnoxious, egotistical, perfect-assed, best-sex-of-my-life, Werewolf who cheated on me and broke my heart. At the time, I did what any rational woman would do. I left in the middle of the night with a suitcase, big plans and enough money for a one-way bus ticket to freedom. I vowed to never return.

But here I am, trying to wrap my head around what has happened to some missing Weres without wrapping my body around Hank. I hope I don’t have to eat my words and my paw.

***This novella originally appeared in the Three Southern Beaches collection released July of 2014. This is an extended version of that story.

I had read and enjoyed the first three in her Hot Damned series, so when this one popped up as a freebie I snapped it up, and it has been languishing on Mt. TBRdoom ever since. It is still free if you are thinking about picking it up.

This is something like a cross between Maryjanice Davidson and Eve Langlais; pure, unbridled, over the top ridiculousness. Essie is vapid and high octane and self absorbed, and when she feels she’s been betrayed by her fiance she sneaks off in the middle of the night to go become become a WTF (Werewolf Treaty Federation) Agent.

So there are a few things that could turn some people off. One is of course the aforementioned ridiculousness (I adored it, but YMMV). The other issues are that this is a fated mates, Big Mis, AND Big Secrets all wrapped up in one over the top package. There is also a bit of time where Essie is a just a twit and overly like a doormat. The rest of the time she relatively kick-ass, so I found it if not forgivable, then at least acceptable.

Which all makes it sound like I didn’t like it, but I did, it was funny. But those were my issues with it. But the characters were hilariously funny caricatures, the mysteries were just too ridiculous for words, and I found myself wanting to read more of their shenanigans. It was simply put, fun.

There is just one description for this story, and that is “over the top”. I had to stop myself from using it even more than I already have. But if you like Maryjanice Davidson and Eve Langlais, and have an hour to read, I definitely recommend this freebie.

Ready to Were (Shift Happens, #1)

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3.5 star review

Review – Ice Moon by Lisa Kessler

Ice Moon

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Jared Ayers works outdoors, embracing a solitary life, hiding from his inner demons. But after so many of his Pack brothers have found their mates, he starts wondering if there might be a mate in his future too. His world turns upside down after he’s hired by the “Ice Queen of Lake Tahoe”. One touch is all it takes. One touch to send the wolf howling within…

A gifted psychic with pyrokinesis, Taryn Goldstone wields fire beyond her control– sometimes with dire consequences. With Jared, she discovers that some flames are meant for passion–and healing. She has enemies who covet her powerful gift, but they are about to learn just how far a wolf will go to protect his mate.

Book 5 in the Moon series and up to this point it has seemed like the action was really ramping up. So Kessler changed the tune and really hit us in the feels. Dang but Taryn has had a hard row to hoe. And meeting Jared just doesn’t initially make it any easier. Fortunately for her he’s a hottie who knows what he is doing (when he isn’t being a bonehead with testosterone poisoning), and fortunately for us, this is romance so we know we’re going to get that happy ending.

It is a good installment. We’ve got wheels within wheels conspiracies and counter conspiracies. We have both an adorable plot-moppet AND a plot-pet. Both too cute for words. I shouldn’t really call them that, both characters are integral to the plot and not merely sops for cuteness. And we have a rugged, sensitive, rough-tough-cream puff for a hero. And then there’s Taryn, who for some reason reminds me of a Nalini Singh’s Ashaya from Hostage to Pleasure.

I’m still intermittently struggling with the alternating first person POV, it didn’t suck me in quite as well as it did with Gareth and Nadya (those two are still my favorite couple), but I do enjoy getting to be in both people heads throughout their courtship. How’s that for contrariness? But seriously, I think that you get a much richer sense of both characters this way, it is just that spending so much time in both characters heads has a tendency to slow the pace of the story down and, for me at least, the action. But that is a personal preference, as any long time readers here know, I tend toward more action-adventure Bruce Willis-esque stories.

As for the plot of this particular book, we took some strange and interesting turns, we’ve got some insight into multiple characters, and a pretty exciting conclusion to this books’ individual story arc. Though the overall series arc seems even more shrouded in mystery than ever. It is hard to say much more than that, since this is a series that definitely adds up, but suffice it to say I can absolutely see where the showdown is coming from.

But even with the small lags I mentioned, I find this series addictive. I like the characters, and I really love how the author is building up to a completed and cohesive story arc. This is the sort of thing you can easily binge on.

3.5 stars and I am eagerly anticipating the next one in March, bot because I am super curious who our hero is,and because it puts us that much closer to Book 8-the finale and the amoral hero that I love and love to hate.

Ice Moon
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2.5 star review, 3 star review, 3.5 star review

Review – Harvest Moon (and the rest of the series so far) by Lisa Kessler

Harvest Moon

Some wolves were never meant for a mate…

Dr. Jason Ayers unleashes all of his rage and his frustration through fists and brute force in an underground boxing ring. The werewolf may be the pack’s doctor, but he can’t even heal his coma-stricken father after the Nero Organization’s attack stopped his heart. And as his Pack brothers settle down around him, he still refuses to believe in the fairy tale notion that every wolf has a true mate…

In hiding and on the run, nurse Kilani Akamu is a loose end that Nero is desperate to tie up. She can’t afford to be attracted to a doctor—especially one as unexpectedly hot and complex as Jason. Yet the sexual sparks arcing between them are undeniable…and Kilani’s precognitive senses warn her that temptation is inevitable.

All it takes is one touch to send Jason’s wolf howling. But even if he could protect her from Nero, he can’t protect her from himself…

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Have you ever requested something, and then by the time you got it, you didn’t know why you wanted it in the first place? Yeah, this was one of those books for me. I apparently requested it, and then when it was sent to me, I didn’t even recognize the blurb and wondered a bit, “What was I thinking?”. This is book 4 in a series that has a shadow organization and is building up to something. So not a stand alone. So I dutifully picked up the other books in the series so I could catch up. I’ll share some brief thoughts on the first three books before diving into the main review. I’ll try not to say anything too spoilery, but no promises, except this is one of those series that doesn’t immediately take hold, in my opinion, so don’t give up after the first book.


Moonlight

Alternating first person narrated between wolf male (Adam) and jaguar female (Lana) shifters. Wolves and jaguars are mortal enemies in this mythology, though it isn’t initially clear why. It was clearly marked whose head we were in. But it was mostly telling and not showing, the story happening in the respective characters heads. It was a bit clunky though and often dragged. Plus, the secrets and duplicity just left me irked. But the premise was interesting enough even if the execution lacked something. And it left me intrigued enough about the next book to keep reading. But, if definitely suffers from firstbookitis.

2.5 stars

Moonlight (Moon #1)

Hunter’s Moon

This book features another wolf (Aren, the twin brother of the hero from the previous book), and another jaguar female (Sasha a former cop who was turned) with alternating first person narratives. It starts back up right where the previous book stopped with the new couple dealing with the aftermath from the first book. There wasn’t nearly as much ridiculous duplicity, and the two main characters in this one were much more forthright and interesting to me. Both the narrative and the dialogue were much smoother and didn’t drag nearly as much as the previous book. We also learned quite a bit more about Nero, the evil shadow organization. I am pretty sure I have guessed one major thing though regarding the connection to the heroine in the first book. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The second book is significantly better than the first one and I bought these two as a couple more than the previous two.

3 stars

Hunter's Moon (Moon, #2)

Blood Moon

This book features Gareth, a wolf who has been isolating himself in grief and anger over his brother’s murder, and Nadya, sister to Sasha from the last book. At the end of the last one, Nayda was bitten by one of Nero’s mutated wolves and no one quite knows what will happen with her. Gareth really wants to stay out of it, but he can’t seem to help himself when it comes to her.

Holy heck, this one was a ride. At this point in time I am sort of feeling bad for the people who didn’t get into the first one and opted not to continue. I’ll admit, if I didn’t have a goal of getting to the 4th one, I might have stopped myself. This seems to be one of those unicorns, a time when leaping at a mid-series book hasn’t bitten me in the butt. I absolutely fell in love with Gareth and Nadya. And I don’t know if it is just that I’ve gotten used to the first person alternating format, or if I just liked these characters that much, but this time it seemed like a benefit rather than something to overcome. Action, pacing, and dialogue were all much smoother, and the supporting characters were much more fully realized and helped round the story out more. Nero’s back and even more reprehensible than ever, and the enigmatic Sebastian has been hit with something he just can’t ignore. I am seriously hoping we get his book, I don’t know how Kessler would pull it off, but it would be something to see. But the real star of this story is the relationship between the couple, and it was a lovely romance.

3.5 stars

Blood Moon (Moon, #3)

Harvest Moon

And now we are at the main event. I took about a week-long break after my glom of the previous books so I wouldn’t burn out and could come at this one fresh.

Dr. Jason Ayers is riddled with guilt over previous events, weighted with the frustrations of his responsibilities, and quietly imploding where even his pack can’t see him. It is kind of making him a jackass, particularly with Kilani. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Sebastian is at once more visible, and more opaque than ever. The author tells me that his book is the book 8, and the final in the series, and I simply don’t know how I am going to wait any longer.

But back to the main characters. After the main stumble over honesty, there was a lot of straight up front honesty and disclosure that really helped the relationship move forward. There were things they held off on, but even then they acknowledged there was something that needed discussing, And as an extra bonus, rather than a too stupid to live heroine, we have a too stupid to live hero. Granted, he got a hell of a wake up call, but it was nice to have a nice, sensible, rational heroine. It was a sweet relationship.

We also got some more information on Nero, and the substance of how the skills and personnel of the Pack will come together to defeat that organization is starting to take shape. It was an exciting and heartbreaking installment. If I had to pick a favorite so far, it would still be Harvest Moon, but only by the slimmest of margins. November can’t come soon enough for the next book.

Harvest Moon
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3 star review

Review- New Pack Order

New Pack Order
by Eve Langlais

3 stars



This is the fourth book in Langlais’ Pack series and Roderick is finally dead, but the consequences of his actions are still snowballing. Antonia is one of Roderick’s experimental activated dormants, Marc is on a mission to redeem himself from the things he’d done as a minion, and Thaddeus is a vampire with a price on his head. There’s quite a bit of action and the world building and story arc has progressed quite a bit with this entry, though it turns out that we’ve traded one villain for a new and scarier super villain, identity unknown. But, Nathan’s character, from Defying the Pack has completely changed, and not in a good way.

This was a quick fun read that introduces new characters and new story arcs. The romance between the three protagonists was nice and steamy, and of course, since it is Langlais, it’s humorous as well. I’m hoping the next turn in the series makes Nathan and his pack pull their heads out of their butts.
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