Archive | June 2014

Review – Alpha and Omega (#0.5) and Cry Wolf (A & O #1) by Patricia Briggs

cry wolfThose of you that are familiar with Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series will recognize Charles Cornick, a very minor character in those stories.  He is the son of Bran, the Marrok, so he plays an important role in the werewolf world.  As an enforcer, he is a dominant wolf who takes care of problems for his father.

Alpha and Omega is a novella that introduces Anna.  She is an Omega (although she doesn’t know what that means) who is being abused by her pack.  They are being some bad, bad wolves so she ends up calling Bran to ask for assistance.  Once she and Charles meet, it is clear that we have a pair that is meant to be.  While this is a pretty short story, it packs a good bit of emotion and action into the pages.  4/5 stars.

After finishing the prequel, I immediately picked up Cry Wolf to learn more of their story.  It’s impossible not to root for Anna.  She’s been through a horrific time but is coming through okay.  While I liked the addition of the “Omega” wolf angle to the story, I do have to admit that it isn’t my favorite.  Her ability to calm an errant wolf seems a little too convenient as a way to solve tricky plot issues.

As always the writing is well done and the story engrossing.  Any readers who hate insta-love may have an issue with Charles and Anna’s love story.  You have to accept that they knew pretty much immediately that they are meant to be mates.  My only issue is that he didn’t have to work hard enough to win her over.  I tend to enjoy those stories where the male has to woo the female over several books (like Mercy and Adam or Kate and Curran.)

Even with the few minor issues I had, I would still give this one 4/5 stars and I’ve already purchased books 2 and 3 to read soon.  Recommended to UF fans.

Review – The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

the silence of the lambs“Hello Clarice…”

The Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies.  It’s the perfect combination of horror and thriller.  There is some gore but it’s the psychological aspect that sticks with you.  Can you hear the words “fava beans” without thinking of Hannibal Lecter?  “It rubs the lotion on its skin” is a good way to give a friend the creeps.

I’ve had this on my to read list for quite a while but was nervous because I do love the movie.  Most of the time, either the movie or the book will be a disappointment.  (Let’s be honest, it’s usually the movie that doesn’t live up to the book.)  This read did not let me down.  It is tightly written and stands up even 26 years after first being published.

The movie seemed to stick very closely to the original novel.  I almost felt like I was reading the actual script.  There were a few minor changes that I noticed but, overall, it’s about as close a match as I can remember.  And, even thought I knew exactly what was going to happen, I still was almost hyperventilating by the end.  That’s why we read horror.  Sometimes you want to be a little scared.

Buffalo Bill is a great bad guy and CREEPY!  Clarice is a wonderful protagonist – strong female who has to deal with a lot of sexism (it was the 1980s!) but manages to remain in control.  But, it’s Hannibal Lecter who is the star of The Silence of the Lambs.  He is one of those characters who will never go away and will always be part of our pop culture.  A killer, a cannibal, a manipulator.  You find yourself wondering why you like him.  Is it because he is clever?  Maybe his intelligence.  I don’t know.  All I can say is that, even when you know you shouldn’t, you kind of pull for him to get out and create mayhem.  Well, at least on the written page.

5/5 stars.  Totally worth the time and money.

Review – Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland

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Mark of the Demon is the first book in the Kara Gillian series.

Kara is a cop who has a secret life as a summoner of demons. When a summoning goes wrong, she inadvertently pulls through a Demonic Lord that she cannot control. Somehow she survives this encounter but she needs to figure out what happened. At the same time she is assigned as the lead detective in a serial killer case that also has arcane characteristics.

Overall this is a pretty good book. There is a strong plot and the writing is well done. There were just a few things that didn’t work for me. First, it’s hard to believe Kara would be assigned as the lead in this case. She has no experience with investigating murders and the reader isn’t left with the impression that she is more than an average detective. Second, while Kara is a likable and strong protagonist, she is undermined by the dialogue she is given. Too much “aw shucks” and “yep” make her seem less than the intelligent woman she is meant to be. (And don’t get me started on her aunt calling her sweets or sweetling. Vomit.)

And, the ending. Too convenient with too many questions left unanswered.

I will be reading the 2nd in the series to see if it’s a bit tighter with more of the Kara I want to see.

3.5/5 stars. Good but not great.