Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

    Title: The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.)
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Fantasy
    Format: Hardcover; 496 pages
    Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (April 23, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 0062110837
    ISBN-13: 978-0062110831 
    Author Website:
    Notes: This was a library loan

Once upon a time a man wanted a wife, but no one would have him. Desperate, he resorted to asking for the aid of a man whom he heard tales could help him. Thus, a golem was brought into the world to be his wife. Tragedy, however, struck on the voyage to the new land and the Golem, newly awakened, soon found herself to be without a master, without a home, and with no guidance in the middle of New York City. She'll try to make a life of her own in a world where no others are like her and some would fear her if they knew what she truly was.

Once upon a time a Jinni fell victim to a wizard and was trapped inside a bottle for several hundred years. When he emerged, he found himself to have no powers, as an iron cuff which could not be removed (no matter how hard he tried) kept him bound to human form. While having no power over him, he finds himself at the mercy of the man who freed him and took pity upon him. Now halfway round the world in New York City he is thousands of miles away from his homeland of Syria, trying to make a life for himself--a life he never would have foreseen.

This is their story.


Some people say our lives are like a tapestry and as we go through life it appears it consists of a bunch of loose ends and tangled threads with no set pattern or design to it. When complete, however, we can turn it around and see it the way it was intended to be seen--in its entirety--and find that it indeed held a distinct pattern and see how all the individual parts and pieces came together perfectly to tell a very unique story. Well, that's sort of how I felt about this book. We get patches of details here and there and when the story is done we see how it all weaved together and could be nothing less than what it is, and it all fits together perfectly. The reason I mention this is because if you're like me, you may get to a point where you hope all the individual side stories are not just meaningless rants where the author has gone off on a tangent, which is common among new authors. Rest assured that all the little stories come together beautifully at the end and the whole justifies the author's means.

In some ways the Golem, Chava, who is supposed to be obedient to her master, reminds me of  Ella from 'Ella the Enchanted', the girl who was gifted/cursed with obedience. When Chava has a master she's bound to do his or her bidding, which at first Chava seems to crave, but later comes to see it for the curse that it is. At other times, Chava reminds me a little of Nick Marshall, the character Mel Gibson played in 'What Women Want', who heard the thoughts of all the women around him except in this instance, Chava hears the thoughts of both the men and women. Chava, of course (being what she is) is compelled to try to fulfill all the needs of those around her and has to realize that for one individual to do so and for so many is impossible and she has to learn to ignore the compulsion.

The Jinni, on the other hand, is the very opposite of Chava. Where Chava was meant to serve others, the Jiini was born with the power to have and do whatever he wished. He was one of the most powerful and intelligent of his race. He was not constrained and nothing really bothered him, as any problem he encountered could be easily remedied. This made him careless, self centered, and dangerous to those around him who could not do the same. For him, dealing with the loss of his powers is devastating, and he'll soon learn that actions have consequences even if he doesn't stick around long enough to see them.

Both Chava and the Jinni find individuals to mentor them and help them assimilate into society. Chava's mentor is a Jewish Rabbi who gets into deep discussions with her, yet isn't extremely preachy when doing so. He tells her the story of another golem and warns her, “Once a golem develops a taste for destruction little can stop it save the words that destroy it. Not all golems are as crude or stupid as this one, but all share the same essential nature. They are tools of man, and they are dangerous. Once they have disposed of their enemies they will turn on their masters. They are creatures of last resort. Remember that.” Despite the danger associated with having a golem around, the Rabbi can't justify destroying her, and his ultimate goal is to find her a new master. The questions is who? Chava, however, is somewhat different than other golems in that when she was created by a man who was to be her husband, and who asked that she be curious, intelligent and proper (i.e. not lascivious), and I questioned whether or not finding her a new master is truly the best solution.

The Jinni's mentor, ironically, is a tinsmith. A man of humble means, Arbeely teaches the Jinni how the other half lives, and helps him establish a profession and means to support himself. What I find interesting in regards to the Jinni is throughout most of the book I kept thinking of him as 'The Jinni' instead of Ahmad whereas, once the Golem was named, I almost immediately started thinking of her as Chava. I believe I had trouble associating with the Jinni and couldn't quite categorize him as a human.

I admit, a substantial part of the book kept the Jinni's and the Golem's tales separate to the point that I began to wonder if the two would ever meet. When they did, it was fun to see these two very different individuals interact and come to respect each other's opinions. Each is different from those around them and together they bond and come to understand the other as well as those around them. In many ways, I felt Chava and Ahmad were like opposite sides of the same coin--different yet both fundamentally the same. I felt the author foreshadowed the Golem and the Jinni's relationship, even though he left the extent of their relationship open to interpretation at the end, by using this statement made by the Rabbi about love: “All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how many people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears. Add to that the effects of physical desire—and the excitement you spoke of—and all good sense and judgment fall away.” The Rabbi paused, then said, “But love founded only on loneliness and desire will die out before long. A shared history, tradition, and values will link two people more thoroughly than any physical act.” Even when the Jinni seemed to have it all, he didn't appear to be happy, and the author makes us question what makes one happy with statements like, “Sometimes men want what they don't have because they don't have it. Even if everyone offered to share, they would only want the share that wasn't theirs.”

Overall, I gave this book 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. A delightful tale which engages the reader with thought provoking questions and insights. While I did at times get a little inpatient with the pace (let's face it the book is long) everything was essential to the outcome. A wonderful debut by Helene Wecker. I look forward to reading more of her tales in the future.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dirty Magic (Prospero's War, #1) by Jaye Wells

Title: Dirty Magic (Prospero's War)
Series: Prospero's War
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback; 416 pages
Publisher: Orbit (January 21, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0316228435
ISBN-13: 978-0316228435
Author's Website:
Notes: I bought this one.

Kate Prospero is a cop whose beat includes the slum portion of Babylon, Ohio known as the Cauldron. Once upon a time she'd been the heir to one of the biggest magical crime syndicates in the city. Ten years ago something happened she's not willing to talk about and she turned her back on magic, joined Acrane Anonymous (the equivalent of AA for those addicted to magic) and went to school to become a cop. For the past five years she's been trying to move her way up the ranks to detective, but her past has held her back. In Kate's world magic rules, but is governed very closely. In the past couple of weeks a new potion has hit the streets. It's been nicknamed Grey Wolf and it's turning regular people into wolf like monsters who crave human flesh and have an immunity to defensive magic. As she starts uncovering clues as to where the potion originated her brother becomes one of Grey Wolf's latest victims and her hunt for a cure and the person responsible for the substance intensifies as her brother's life hangs in the balance.

"Despite what movies suggest, magic isn’t a flamboyant process. It’s not flying lasers from fingertips or flashes of lightning or wands waved and chants shouted. Instead, it’s a subtle art. Adepts don’t force magic on items, we coax and harness their inherent energies."


Let me just say this was one of the best examples of world building I've seen. Jaye does a phenomenal job of creating a world that the reader can relate to and clearly see. I always say little things mean a lot and Jaye must take this to heart because she add quirky little details that bring the world to life within the pages giving the illusion the reader is able to walk right into the story.

In Babylon, magic is categorized into two types--illegal 'dirty magic' and legal or clean 'big' magic which is regulated and created in corporate labs. If you ask anyone who cooks potions, however, they'd say "there is a fine line between the two with little vapor between." There are three major covens in Babylon each of which practice a different form of magic.The Votary specialize in an alchemical form of dirty magic and are the most powerful of the covens.  The Mystical Coven of the Sacred Orgasm, aka the Os, who specialize in sex magic are the next in the magical hierarchy.  The Sanguinarians, aka Sangs, are the lowest wizards on the magical totem poll and deal in dirty blood potions.

Five years ago Abraxas Prospero, Kate's uncle Abe, was the grand wizard of the Votary Coven and the self appointed leader who made sure all the other covens stayed in line. Since his imprisonment, no one has dared to step forward and declare themselves the head of the covens which has resulted in turf wars and the splintering of covens. The introduction of Grey Wolf to the streets brings about many theories as to why it's made an appearance. Someone may be looking to consolidate power among the Votary or a new wizard may be looking to make his mark. What's scary about the potion is that there is currently no cure for the condition and no one knows if it can be reversed.

While Kate is a good cop, she's been handicapped because she's an Adept--a person with a predisposition to magic and was one of the Cauldron's best wizards before she left the life behind. Many on the force don’t trust Adepts because they believe magic will corrupted those who wield it. Plus, evidence gathered through arcane means are inadmissible in court and many don't trust Adepts to do things by the book. They also don't wish to take the chance that the evidence collected will come into question at a later date because of an Adept's involvement. This is rather ironic because many times Adepts are their best chance finding the evidence needed to lock away the bad guys.

This book had me had me under its spell from the very first page. It was fast paced and while it had a lot to take in, the information was gradually doled out without the use of a massive info dump. The characters were believable and reminiscent of people (personality wise) one would meet in real life. I loved Kate's inner struggle about her decision not to practice magic and the potential she had to hold back. Her brother's inability to understand her strict stance on magic made things interesting as she finally confides in him and we get the full disclosure of what happened 10 years ago. I felt Kate needs to let him figure things out on his own, but her experience has left her a little jaded where magic is concerned. While her heart is in the right place, her real reason for not practicing magic is unsound. While magic, like drugs, has the potential to harm or even kill others, it also has the potential to help and save people too. What she seems to be forgetting is that there are places which can legally use potions in a controlled environment. Magical powers like she and her brother possess could be used for the greater good.  

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. This series has huge potential, but the ending, at least for me, left much to be desired. Kate started out smart and strong, but found herself in a position at the end that just seemed to be out of character for her. She makes a decision that I thought from the moment she gave her compliance was totally wrong. The situation could have been used as a mechanism to see her grow in regards to her feelings about magic, but instead led to her being manipulated. I wish the author had instead left off with a more dramatic ending perhaps of either Volos or Jace on the cusp of confronting uncle Abe in prison. Perhaps with uncle Abe saying something along the lines of, "Long time no see."  Not a bad ending overall, just one that didn't seem to live up to the expectations I'd come to expect from the rest of the book. Granted, the author could have something awesome cooking up for the next book and have me eating my words later. I sure hope that's the case.

Notes to keep you in the know:
According to wikipedia, "Homunculus (masculine, Latin for "little man", plural: "homunculi"; from the diminutive of homo) is a term used, generally, in various fields of study to refer to any representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth century alchemy and nineteenth century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human. The concept has roots in preformationism as well as earlier folklore and alchemic traditions. Currently, in scientific fields, a homunculus may refer to any scale model of the human body that, in some way, illustrates physiological, psychological, or other abstract human characteristics or functions." ( )

For the record, conjoined twins are always the same sex, but the dual sex makes LM all the more creepy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Early Review of Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses, #7) by Eloisa James

    Title: Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses)
    Series: Desperate Duchesses
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Format: Paperback; 400 pages
    Publisher: Avon (March 25, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062223895
    ISBN-13: 978-0062223890 
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received a eARC loan from the publisher.

Tobias 'Thorne' Dautry was looking for a woman who'd warm his bed, have and nurture his children, and was gently bred to counteract the unfortunate circumstances of his own birth. His children would not be treated with the disrespect that society had shown him. He thinks he's found the perfect woman to do just that-- Miss Laetitia Rainsford. He just needs to convince her parents, and he'll do whatever is necessary to gain her hand.

Lady Xenobia 'Lady X' India St. Clair wants to start a family and the thing that scares her the most about marriage is the fact another individual, her husband, would be in charge of every aspect of her life--what she could do, whom she could see, where she could go, etc. She is looking for a man who will let her be in charge and won't try to control her.

One letter, however, will put these two in each other's path and change everything:

"I know how much your are in demand, but I write with the faint hope that you are free. His Grace's eldest son, Tobias Dautry, has recently acquired a country estate just outside London called Starberry Court. It likely needs some refurbishing, although Tobais bought it with its contents intact. He is courting Miss Laetitia Rainsford and he wishes to ensure that the house is in suitable condition before he invites her parents to the country. Naturally, I told him that you were the only person I would trust in such an endeavor." 

Lady X and Thorn will spend the next thee weeks in close proximity of one another at Straberry Court, a residence carrying the previous owner's taint from using it to entertain guests in a most inappropriate fashion (some would liken it to a house of ill repute which guests didn't have to pay for) and transform it into a suitable household for a wife and family.

 Sometimes what one thinks they want is not always what they need.


This is the 7th book in the Desperate Duchesses series. It should be noted that this is not the first we've seen of Tobias. As a young street urchin, he was known as Juby and as such made an appearance in two of Eloisa's earlier novels--'The Duchess of Mine' and 'A Duke of Her Own'. While it's unnecessary to read any previous books in the Desperate Duchesses series, it might be enjoyable to see the before and after versions of Tobias side by side. I believe I've read both the books Tobias is mentioned in, but may have to read them again just for that sneak peek at how he was in younger years.

Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is in high demand not only by the men in society but by the women too. She has spent the past ten years building a career out of refurbishing and reordering the households of London's most elite with the help of her godmother, Lady Adelaide Swift. Over that time, she's received both indecent and respectable proposals from various male members of the ton. She's never been tempted to accept either type of offer. Goodness knows, once she marries, her husband would have total control over all she does and that is a scary endeavor. She'd learned a valuable lesson as a child when she had to rely on her parents for everything. They often forgot to do the little things--like feed her--and she never wishes to be that vulnerable ever again. The whole experience had left her with issues of trust. Now she's decided it's time to face her fears and settle down and start a family. She just needs to find the right man. A man who is malleable and easily manipulated. The one thing I love about Lady X is that she knows her own self worth and has managed to survive on her own terms since the age of 14 or 15 (double check) when her parents left her practically penniless.

Tobias Dautry comes from humble beginnings. He is the bastard son of a Duke and an Opera singer who'd both abandoned him early on in life. He lived a life on the streets for twelve years that very nearly killed him before his father decided to take an interest in his illegitimate offspring. He's grown into the type of man who likes to control all aspects of his life and everyone in it. Being as he's rich as Midas, he usually gets away with it.

While wise in many respects, Tobias' thoughts of women are that they are interchangeable, with the exception of his stepmother, whom he's grown very fond of and whom he feels they broke the mold after she was made. So his requirements for a wife are rather lax in that he only wants three things in a wife--someone who comes from a good family, someone whom he is attracted physically to, and most importantly someone who will never abandon her children as his mother did him. What I don't think he realizes is that he would like a love match like his father and stepmother have. To him, however, it seems like something out of his reach perhaps due to the lack of affection he received as a child. I think his mother's abandonment affected him more than he realizes and  he doesn't have a good grasp on how to show his affection.

What I loved about these two is that both thought they knew exactly the kind of individual they wanted to marry, but were both wrong. I liked seeing these two get to know one another over the course of three weeks. They're first impressions of one another were not very high, but through correspondence and meetings they get to know each other in a way they probably wouldn't have otherwise. Each needs someone who will challenge as well as respect them. I enjoyed seeing Tobias realize a woman could do more than warm his bed, she can be someone he could confide in and have valid opinions worth considering. I admit at times I wondered what each was thinking as they did things which had me shaking my head, but in the end everything gets ironed out. Additionally, the grand gesture Tobias makes at the end while incredibly foolhardy was also incredibly romantic and for this reason I gave this book 4 1/2 out of 5 roses.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scores a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Son by Philipp Meyer

Title: The Son
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover; 576 pages
Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (May 28, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062120395
ISBN-13: 978-0062120397
Notes: Received a copy from the publisher.

Every story has two sides....

In 1846 Eli McCullough's family took up residence in the new frontier of Texas. Described as a land with trees that had never heard the sound of an ax with rich soil, grass up to a man's chest, and all variety of animal living off the fat of the land; it was a settler's paradise. Three years after the family reached the seemingly promised land, they were attacked by Comanche Indians. Eli McCullough was the soul survivor, his father being away at the time, was spared as well. Eli and his brother, Martin, were considered a valuable commodity and the Comanche's took them for their usefulness. Martin, however, didn't make it far. Having seen his sister and mother raped, tortured, and disfigured before they were killed, he'd lost the will to live. He was cut down before ever making it to their final destination and that left Eli alone. As they made their way into uncharted territory, it became clear Eli's father would not be able to follow where they were going. Seeing no escape or rescue in his near future and being a survivor at heart, Eli assimilated into the tribe and thrived. Years later, he'd found himself thrust back into white society as war and disease took their toll on his Comanche brethren. His transition this time would not be as smooth. This is Eli McCullough's and his family's story.
One Family with one story
Two very different accounts
Three Generations
Two men at odds
One son who may be his father's undoing.


I remember once hearing a story about two friends who fought over something they saw. An individual walked around in a new hat and the two friends each saw it. The one friend insisted the hat was one color while the other insisted it was another. As it turned out, they were both right and both wrong. The hat was indeed both colors, but each side sported only one of the two colors. The friends had seen only one view of the hat and assumed they knew exactly what the hat looked like as a whole. In other words, they only saw one side of the hat and many times we only see one side of a story. When you put the two together, however, it can alter your perception of the whole. That's what this story reminds me of.

Colonel Eli McCullough was thought by all to be a hero. He'd survived an Indian attack, living in captivity, and the settling of a part of Texas that was one of the last frontiers of the United States. His name, thanks to his great-granddaughter, was beginning to make its way into the history books. But one thing can change all that. As the story begins, Jeanne Anne McCullough, granddaughter to Eli McCullough, lay dying in her family home. One of her last thoughts is of the one thing she left undone..."The papers, she thought. She had saved them from the fire once and had not gotten around to destroying them. Now they would be found."

As the story begins, we get three distinct views from three very different people of one man, Eli McCullough. One view is from Eli's own perspective, one is from his son's, Peter's, and the last is by Eli's great-granddaughter's, Jeanne's. Eli is a man's man. He's charismatic and easy to like and has that quality that makes people follow him. An air, if you will, that he knows what he's doing and that calls to many people. His son Peter, however, is a more gentle soul and has a very different view of his father than most. I have to admit at times his perspective came off as annoying because he pretty much hated his father yet constantly tried to gain his approval. Toward the end of his diary entries, he realized if he ever was to be happy, he had to lead his life on his terms and not those of his father. He could never be the son his father wanted. He didn't want to be that person.

My favorite of the three McCulloughs was Jeanne. In a way, she was her great-grandfather's great-granddaughter. The two were very much alike. Jeanne and Eli were both straddling two worlds. Jeanne was smart, ambitious, and had a good head on her shoulders and was a woman trying to fit into a man's world. A world who thought women should stay home barefoot and pregnant. At one point, she states, "People made no sense to her. Men, with whom she had everything in common, did not want her around. Women, with whom she had nothing in common, smiled too much, laughed too loud, and mostly reminded her of small dogs; their lives lost in interior decorating and other peoples’ outfits. There had never been a place for a person like her." For Eli, he was trying to fit back into a white man's society when part of him would always long for the lifestyle of the Indian's who'd stolen him. Neither Eli or Jeanne  felt they entirely fit into either of the worlds they were straddling. Perhaps that's why they bonded so easily to one another. Unfortunately, they both ended up surrounded by others, yet very lonely.

I loved Eli's story. If you're looking for a romanticized view of the west, this is not the story for you. This story depicts a harsh, often brutal look at a land untamed with little to no law. Where people would be there one day and gone the next--the victims of a deadly attack. Where neighbors would often work together not for the good of the whole but to claim the land of another. Where you took what you wanted, and killed any who tried to take it away. Where the law could be bribed to look the other way and killed when they didn't comply. As Eli stated, "There is a myth about the West, that it was founded and ruled by loners, while the truth is just the opposite; the loner is a mental weakling, and was seen as such, and treated with suspicion. You did not live long without someone watching your back and there were very few people, white or Indian, who did not see a stranger in the night and invite him to join the campfire."  and "Only bullets and walls make for honest neighbors."

Meyer does an excellent job of emphasizing the theme that there are two sides to every story. He does it when Eli gets Toshaway's account of why the Indians hate the white man and what was done to them as a group. Again, the theme is repeated when Maria tells the folklore of the handsome young Mexican who fell in love with a rancher's daughter and met a horrible death because he tried to over step his social standing. Peter tells a very similar, but very different version of what appears to be the same story. In his version, the young Mexican who meets a similar fate is not a man with noble attentions,  but a horse thief whose killing was justified.

What was compelling about the story, and makes for an excellent book club read, is that it focuses on a variety of aspects of human nature as well as history, which make for great discussions. What makes a person happy? What makes a person's life worthwhile? With statements like, "Of course you wanted your children to have it better than you had. But at what point was it not better at all? People needed something to worry about or they would destroy themselves" there is much to stimulate conversation. Plus, once we get both sides of the story, you have to decide what your thoughts of Eli McCullough are.  Is he a hero or a killer? Were the Indians killers or the settlers? Did Eli take away the correct message from his Comanche family or did he misinterpret it? At the end, who led the happier life? 

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2  out of 5 roses. It had a good pace and interesting story. It's one of those books that makes you think and see the two sides giving us a taste of how the West, and America in general, was won. To the victor goes the spoils, and as Eli McCullough stated, "No land was ever acquired honestly in the history of the earth." The question is, was acquiring all the riches and land in the manner that they were worth the constant need to look over your shoulder to make sure no one is attempting to take it away? Does land and riches truly make one happy? I'll leave you with one last thought from the epigraph, "the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works . . . buries empires and cities in a common grave. --Edward Gibbon"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs

    Title: Night Broken (Mercy Thompson)
    Series: Mercy Thompson (Book 8)
    Classification:  Adult Fiction
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    Format: Hardcover; 352 pages
    Publisher: Ace (March 11, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 042525674X
    ISBN-13: 978-0425256749
    Author's Website:
Notes: I bought this one.

It was shortly after breakfast, when the phone rang...

"Adam," Christy said. "Oh, Adam." She sobbed, a small, hopeless sound. "I'm in trouble, I need to come home. I've been so stupid. He won't leave me alone. He hurt me, he killed a friend of mine, and he follows me everywhere I go. Can I come home, please?"

"Call the police," Adam said. "That's what they're there for."

"He'll kill me," she whispered. "Adam, he'll kill me. I don't have anywhere else to run. Please."

Werewolves can tell when people are lying. So can some of the other supernatural critters running around like me, for instance. Over the phone is a lot trickier because a lot of the telltale signs involve heartbeat and smell--neither of which is possible to detect over a phone line. But I could hear the truth in her voice.

Adam looked at me.

"Tell her to come." I said.

This is the eighth book in the Mercy Thompson series, and let me just say where others fail, Briggs wows. Part of a long term series I started reading over 5 years ago, Briggs manages to keep if fresh, keep it real, and keep it interesting, and those are the three 'k's that keep me coming back for more. In other words, they're the 3 'k's that make a book a true Keeper.  

Christy, Adam's ex-wife, is once again her annoying manipulative self. While she doesn't lie about being stalked, she uses the situation to try to worm her way back into the fold and does her best to drive a wedge between Mercy and the pack. Gone for years, she seems to think the world revolves around her, and she can pick up where she left off. She even takes over the kitchen leaving Mercy with no method of baking all those chocolate goodies which help her to relieve stress in a peaceful manner. Mercy, of course, bites her tongue and takes it all gracefully, not because she's a pushover, but because she loves Jesse and would never attempt to drive a wedge between her and her mother. Christy, after all, does a fine enough job doing that all on her own.

Meanwhile, if Christy isn't bad enough, Alistair Beauclaire, the Gray Lord who declared the Fae independent from the US and all human dominion, makes a surprise appearance. He's demanding Mercy give back the Walking Stick, the Fae relic that used to follow her around before she gave it to Coyote. He's not disguising the implied threat he's making if it's not returned within a week. Don't get your hopes up too high for Beauclaire's appearance, it was disappointingly short and little more than a cameo, but we did glean some interesting information about Zee from him.  

Additionally, a supernatural serial hunter has reared its bloody head in the Tri-Cities area. Apparently, the gruesome predator is thumbing its nose at Adam and his pack by hunting in their territory. The scent is like none that Mercy has encountered before. If you have a queasy stomach, be forewarned this is by far one of the gruesomest crime scenes I've had the displeasure of reading, but fits perfectly with a supernatural predator attempting to make a statement in a big way. If listening to the audio, you may wish to make sure you are not in the midst of eating or about to sit down to dinner when listening to the second half of chapter 5 and the beginning of 6. Yeah, it's that bad.

We get to see the appearance of two new characters whom, I think, or rather hope, will play more active roles in future books--Laughing Dog and Zack. Laughing Dog, another coyote walker, is Mercy's half brother. While at first I found Laughing Dog's personality rather abrasive, by the end of the book, I grew rather fond of him. Zack, the other character I hope to see more of, is a new submissive wolf who enters Adam's territory. A back story on this wolf is hinted at, but nothing definitive is revealed. All I'll say is his behavior reminds me of Anna's in the first of the Alpha Omega series. Could there be a link? Only time will tell. Additionally, there is a third character which I'll say nothing about because I'd enter into the realm of spoilers, but let's just say I'm looking to see how they also assimilate into series because I did not see what happened coming.

Alas, my theory that perhaps the dead rabbit was a sign that Mercy was pregnant, did not pan out. Can I help it if I'm curious if she and Adam can have live furry offspring? I thought things could get interesting with the pitter patter of little paws.Would it change the dynamics of the pack's feelings for her? Would they be shifter or a walker? Who knows. Perhaps Mercy never plans to have cubs. We'll have to wait and see.

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. IT contained lots of action, a touch of mystery and a sprinkling of awesomeness. There were friends of old, something blue, and a story about a shoe that was anything but new. *grin* (Read the book and you'll get it) Plus, we were given plenty to wonder about. Like what will happen to Zee's son, Tad? What are the Fae planning? And what is so special about that walking stick?

I'll leave you with one last thought--Why doesn't Mercy have an Native American name? I hope at some point in the future, Briggs considers giving her one. Perhaps add a touch more native American Indian influence to the series? I would so love that.

Notes to keep you in the know:
Guayota, "in Guanche mythology, was the principal malignant deity and Achamán's adversary. According to Guanche legend, Guayota lived inside the Teide volcano, one of the gateways to the underworld. Guayota was said to be represented as a black dog and was accompanied by demons, also in the form of black dogs, known as Tibicenas.
According to legend, Guayota kidnapped Magec (the sun) and shut it up in the Teide, plunging the world into darkness. Humans prayed to Achamán who saved Magec, and instead locked Guayota up in the Teide. Guayota is the king of evil genies, and was worshiped in the island of Tenerife in the Guanche religion.
Guayota shares features similar to other malignant deities inhabitants of volcanoes, as in the case of the goddess Pele in Hawaiian mythology, who lived in the Kīlauea volcano and was regarded by the native Hawaiians as responsible for the eruptions of the volcano.[1]" ( )

Just for fun:
And last, but not least by any means, is it me or has Mercy grown during this series? While she has as an individual, I'm talking about 'growing' in another way and not by height. Take a look at these covers:

Is it me or are the cover artist attempting to make mercy more like the graphic novel Mercy?

Did I bust this one wide open? You be the judge.

Order of the Mercedes Thompson series:

Order of the Alpha & Omega series:

 Graphic Novel Prequel to the Mercedes Thompson series (I read it in a books store):

 Novellas in Anthologies for the Mercedes Thomson Series:
- "Star of David" in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology
- "In Red With Pearl" from the Down These Strange Streets anthology

Novellas in Anthologies for the Alpha & Omega Series:
- "Seeing Eye" in the Strange Brew anthology
- "Alpha and Omega" in the On the Prowl anthology ***HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read before reading Cry Wolf, the first book in the Alpha & Omega series.***

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Most Anticipated New Releases of March 2014

The following list is comprised of books and novellas my friends, family, and I are most looking forward to reading in March. It also consists of books by popular authors and others I've heard a lot of hype about. I am not flawless and sometimes I'll accidentally leave one or more books off the list that I shouldn't. Let me know if one of your favorites is missing. Sometimes my search techniques just don't work as well as I wish they did.

The list is divided into weekly releases. If you'd like to read a book's description, just click on the cover photo and you'll be magically transferred to Goodreads. Remember a book a day keeps the boredom at bay! Happy reading.

March 1st - Long Knives by Charles Rosenberg
March 1st - The Rented Mule by Bobby Cole

March 3rd - Act of Mercy (PSI-Ops / Immortal Ops) by Mandy M. Roth
March 3rd - Crashed (The Driven Trilogy) by K. Bromberg
March 4th - Bone Deep (A Doc Ford Novel) by Randy Wayne White
March 4th - The Bootlegger (An Isaac Bell Adventure) by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
March 4th - Cole's Redemption: An Alpha Pack Novel by J.D. Tyler
March 4th - Dead Between the Lines: A Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery by Swanson, Denise
March 4th - The Fall of the Governor (Part Two of The Walking Dead Series) by Bonansinga, Jay
March 4th - The Finisher by Baldacci, David (Young Adult)
March 4th - Inherit the Word by Daryl Wood Gerber
March 4th - Murder of Crows: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop
March 4th - Pearls and Poison (A Consignment Shop Mystery) by Brown, Duffy
March 4th - Half-Off Ragnarok: An Incryptid Novel by McGuire, Seanan
March 4th - Panic by Oliver, Lauren
March 4th - Reaper's Vow (The Shadow Reapers) by McCarty, Sarah
March 4th - The Return of Brody McBride (The McBrides) by Jennifer Ryan
March 4th - Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend (Jewels of the Ton) by Galen, Shana
March 4th - Silence of the Wolf (Heart of the Wolf) by Terry Spear
March 4th - Steeped in Evil (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Childs, Laura
March 4th - Theirs to Cherish (A Wicked Lovers Novel) by Black, Shayla
March 4th - Toxic (The Ruin Series Book 2) by Rachel Van Dyken
March 4th - Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver
March 4th - Werewolf in Las Vegas (A Wild About You) by Thompson, Vicki Lewis
March 4th - The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski
March 5th - Just To Be With You by Bella Andre
March 6th - Wayfarer: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness) by St. Crow, Lili
March 6th - Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive) by Sanderson, Brandon

March 11th - Afterburn & Aftershock by Sylvia Day
March 11th - Be Careful What You Wish For (The Clifton Chronicles) by Jeffrey Archer
March 11th - Confession by Carey Baldwin eBook only
March 11th - Mentats of Dune by Anderson, Kevin J. and Herbert, Brian
March 11th - Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel) by Patricia Briggs
March 11th - Night of the Hunter: Companions Codex, I by Salvatore, R.A.
March 11th - Power Play: A Novel by Steel, Danielle
March 11th - Resistance by Jenna Black
March 11th - Ruins (The Partials Sequence) by Wells, Dan
March 11th - The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
March 11th - Stone Cold (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C. J. Box

March 18th - Citadel (Languedoc Trilogy) by Kate Mosse
March 18th - The Course of True Love (and First Dates) (The Bane Chronicles) by Cassandra Clare
March 18th - The Death Factory; A Penn Cage Novella (Kindle Single) by Greg Iles
March 18th - Feral Heat; Shifters Unbound Novella by Jennifer Ashley
March 18th - Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
March 18th - Missing You by Harlan Coben
March 21st - Vile: The Faces of Evil Series: Book 8 by Debra Webb

March 24th - NYPD Red 2 (NYPD Red #2) by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
March 25th - Between the Devil and Ian Eversea: Pennyroyal Green Series by Long, Julie Anne
March 25th - Bite Me (The Pride Series) by Laurenston, Shelly
March 25th - Blossom Street Brides: A Blossom Street Novel by Macomber, Debbie
March 25th - The Brightest Night (Wings of Fire (#5) by Sutherland, Tui T.
March 25th - Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek) by Novak, Brenda
March 25th - Dash of Peril (Love Undercover) by Foster, Lori
March 25th - Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran
March 25th - The Midnight Witch by Brackston, Paula
March 25th - Moonlight on My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston
March 25th - Notorious (Max Revere Novels) by Allison Brennan
March 25th - Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase
March 25th - The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs) by Quinn, Paula
March 25th - Shadow Spell(The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #2) by Roberts, Nora
March 25th - Spirit Animals (Blood Ties #3) by Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean
March 25th - Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Vintage) by Thomas, Rob and Graham, Jennifer
March 25th - Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses) by James, Eloisa
March 25th - Twisted (The Tangled Series) by Emma Chase
March 25th - Unwound: The Mastered Series by Lorelei James
March 25th - Waiting On You (Blue Heron) by Higgins, Kristan
March 25th - Waking the Dead (Cafferty & Quinn Novels) by Graham, Heather
March 27th - The Forgotten Girl by Jessica Sorensen
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