Archive | December 2013

Review – Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

blood boundBlood Bound is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.  While I don’t think it was quite as successful as Moon Called, it was still an enjoyable read that is better than most Urban Fantasy out there.

Mercy is called upon by Stefan, a vampire friend, to accompany him while checking in on a visiting vampire.  Since she is a coyote skinwalker, he asks her to take that form and just be an observer.  Things don’t go as planned and Mercy is pulled in to a fight that includes many of her friends.

As with Moon Called, Mercy is the best thing about the book.  She is tough, resilient, loyal and smart.  If I were choosing fictional characters as friends, Mercy would be one of my top picks.  Adam, Samuel, Stefan and the other supporting characters are well-rounded.  Each play an important part in the story.  And there is a good story as the backbone of Blood Bound.  Patricia Briggs knows how to suck you in and make you feel you are a part of their lives.

That brings me to my only real issue with the story.  Adam, the local shifter pack leader, has claimed her as his mate.  Mercy believes it was done just to protect her but we know he has it bad for her.  Samuel, a shifter she’s known most of her life, wants her as well.  His human side is drawn to the fact that she would probably be able to bear him children (and that’s a big deal since most shifter females cannot carry a cub to term.)  Sam’s wolf believes she is his mate.  This triangle didn’t bother me in book one as it was so well done and Mercy didn’t participate in any of the normal “I don’t know who to pick” yuckiness.  If Blood Bound continued in the same vein, it would have been preferable.  Instead both Sam and Adam are making moves and it felt a little more cliché.  Plus, it turns out that Mercy has other admirers.  I’m just not a huge fan of stories that show women who are irresistible to all men.  I get it – Mercy is hot.  But, I don’t buy that everyone is in love with her (a la Sookie Stackhouse).

And, the cover…Mercy’s defining characteristic is not her physical appearance.  I can’t imagine that she would be caught dead hanging around her shop wearing her coveralls unzipped below the navel with only a bra underneath.  I have no problem with sexy covers.  But, I do think it needs to make sense for the character. This one doesn’t work for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this installment and am looking forward to continuing Mercy’s journey.  Yes, I’ve already picked up book three.  4.5/5 stars.

Review – Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Magic SlaysMagic Slays is the fifth installment in the Kate Daniels series.  Can I just tell you that I am completely obsessed with Kate and Curran’s story?  As soon as I finished MS, I wanted to pick up the next one immediately.  My brain was trying to remind me that I have so many other books that I need to read first but my heart just wanted more Magic.  Happy sigh…

If you read this review, it will contain spoilers for the prior books.  Be warned!

Kate and Curran are mated and attempting to live together at the Keep.  Kate also now has her own a business which is starting slowly, to say the least.  So, when she gets a call from Ghastek asking for her assistance catching a loose vamp, she takes the job.  While she quickly catches her prey, she soon finds that there is much more going on here.

We are seeing the effects of a world where humans, vamps, shifters and mages try to live together.  As in real life different groups are not always tolerant of each other.  Some simply want to wipe out those that they see as a risk because they aren’t like themselves.  Other, especially new, authors should take note – this is why the Kate Daniels series is so effective.  Yes, yes…we all love the Kate and Curran relationship.  But, there is a STORY to back it up.  It even makes sense.  Humans are afraid of those with special abilities.  The people (who control the vamps) and the shifters don’t trust each other.  Everyone uses everyone else to get what they want.

This is the world that Kate lives in.  As I mentioned in a prior review, she’s trying to learn to trust.  There is a wonderful conversation between Kate and Curran where she asks him some of the questions that are haunting her about their relationship.  Her growth over the last five books is shown in her willingness to take the leap and ask those questions instead of just running away and assuming that she cannot trust him.  But, I do love that she will still kick him in the head when she needs to.

My favorite quote: “No, it’s not the beast in us that makes us lose our balance.  It’s the man.  Of all the animals, we’re the most aggressive and the most predatory.”

5/5 stars for my favorite Urban Fantasy series.

Review – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

COS“It is our choices, Harry, the show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

The second in the Harry Potter series gives the reader even more magic than the first.  We continue to learn about each of the major characters and meet new friends.  Dobby, one of my favorite characters, plays an important role in COS.  His struggle to warn Harry about the danger facing him at Hogwarts this year is tempered with the hilarious, and not so, results of his actions.  Because we know the ultimate fate of each character, it becomes even more bittersweet.

I also especially loved the description of Ginny.  Her raging crush on Harry brings back so many memories of that awkward, horrible middle school time.  It took a long time for Ginny to grow on me when I originally read the series.  Now, I have so much more sympathy and love for her.

Lastly – Tom Marvolo Riddle.  J.K. Rowling is a genius.  Enough said.

COS isn’t one of my favorites (those spots are reserved for the later books where “people stop being polite and start getting real”.)  Still, 5/5 stars and a must read.

Review – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

the sorceror's stone“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

One of the most popular book series begins simply with the Dursleys.  They are “normal” and do not tolerate anything outside of that box.  This is the unfriendly world where Harry Potter spends most of his early life.  On his 11th birthday everything changes and his own normal life begins.  A life filled with friendship, heartache and magic.

I first read Harry Potter many years ago when it came out.  Reading it now, as an older (hopefully wiser) person, I appreciate it so much more.  The world J.K. Rowling created is not just entertaining.  It also teaches about the importance of being yourself.  For me, the heart of the story has always been the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione.  Reading about the start of this lifetime relationship was especially wonderful.

The Sorcerer’s Stone is considered a middle-grade book.  Kids love it – my 8-year-old nephew is currently reading it for the first time.  But, adults, seriously, if you haven’t read this then you are missing out on one of the most special series written.  Don’t let the fact that it was originally targeted towards a younger crowd dissuade you.  It is very profound in spots.  (For example, the Mirror of Erised shows you your strongest desire.  The temptation would be to sit in front of it and live a false life where you could see those you’ve lost or do things you are unable to do.  However, if you stay there, then you are missing out on your real life.  A lot of adults today could learn from this.)

My second read-through was so much fun.  It was interesting to remember some of the details I’d forgotten and also pick up on things that I missed the first time.  How was I supposed to know how special Sirius Black was when Hagrid mentioned very early on that he borrowed the motorcycle from him?!?!?  Mind blown.

A review is impossible.  What hasn’t already been said?  I loved it.  5/5 stars.