Fire Touched

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

4.5 stars!

The Mercy Thompson series is one I’ve been reading for years. I love it so much and think we are lucky as fans that the series has not ended yet. It’s also one of the best urban fantasy series out there, in my opinion. So every Spring when a new book in the series is published I get so delighted because I really want to see what happens next in the series.

In this ninth installment, Mercy and her Alpha werewolf husband Adam, find themselves faced with issues surrounding the Fae. The past few books have been building up to this, with mentions of the fae disappearing and much more interesting activity afoot. Here Mercy finds herself battling a troll on a bridge with some members of the pack, and unintentionally speaking for the Pack on the stance they take toward the Fae, and claiming the Tri-Cities as their own territory.

What follows is a series of events of Mercy and the Pack defending themselves and entering into intricate bargains with the Fae and other supernatural species.

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This book took a little bit for me to get into, normally when I read a Mercy book it’s finished in less than 12 hours. Fire Touched took me a while longer mostly because I had a bit of trouble finding the reading rhythm (and binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn’t help matters). I loved the bits where we saw the Pack resolving issues that needed to be solved like, 2 books ago. I was sick of the way some members had been treating Mercy and I like that some of that was covered. The introduction of a new and mysterious character named Aiden, the human buy stuck in a Fae world for centuries, turning him into a sort of hybrid. I cannot wait to learn more about him.

Being a romance junkie I would have liked more on Mercy and Adam but I understand that wasn’t a priority. Briggs dropped a relationship bomb in this book and seemed to brush it off very quickly, but we saw that Briggs!!! And it better be talked about in the next book you sly author you! I also cannot help but think there is something going on between Jesse and Ben, or that maybe there will be in the future when she’s not in high school. Nothing obvious is written but I kind of feel that happening.

Anyways, I love this author and this series, so hopefully you take a chance on it and read the first book, Moon Called. You won’t regret it. (And now the year long wait for the next book begins. Grr.)


Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews

4.5 stars!

“I can’t give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you’d set it on fire.”

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I’m a giant fan of urban fantasy. I read all kinds of genres of books, but when I read urban fantasy I get a feeling of being at home. The Ilona Andrews writing team created a universe where when I’m having a bad day or want to have a good time, I can open a paperback, and escape there effortlessly and happily. And that’s exactly what I did with this book. I recently had some crap come up in my personal life, and when I had the chance I transported myself into this world of mercenaries and werebeasts and didn’t want to come back out. So massive kudos to the authors, you did your job right.

In magic flare zone Atlanta, Kate Daniels is stood up. That’s right, she cooked the Beast Lord Curran dinner, and he never showed. Flash forward about a month or so and the two are at each others’ throats. On top of this, there’s a strange shaman who keeps showing up in bars and casinos and trying to magic blast the place with plague and disease. It’s not long before Kate gets called onto the case, and when she does she finds she might be more connected to it than she expected.

This was the best book of this series for me so far. The plot was thrilling, the banter was witty and humorous, and I couldn’t put the darn book down even when my eyelids were slowly closing due to a need for sleep.

My favorite part of the book? The pranks Kate and Curran were playing on each other. When she covered his bed in catnip and he glued her ass to her office chair? Priceless. The addition of the attack poodle to Kate’s daily life only made the story more entertaining.

“….I think a dog is a great idea. I just never pictured you with a mutant poodle.”
“He isn’t a poodle. He’s a Doberman mix.”
“Aha. Keep telling yourself that.”

Also, another reason why this book was awesome? It’s the hook up book! Yes, the Kate and Curran relationship finally comes to a explosive collision in this book and it was all it was cracked up to be.

“I miss you. I worry about you. I worry something stupid will happen and I won’t be there and you’ll be gone. I worry we won’t ever get a chance and it’s driving me out of my skull.”

This was also the book where I finally stopped skimming when it came to the plot. By this I mean the underlying issue or mystery. As much as I love the other books and their stories, there were points when I skimmed. That didn’t really happen in this book. All of Kate’s investigations had me utterly enthralled, and the parts with Kate and Erra was like watching an interrogation between a smart ass and a sociopath (it would make great television, just saying).

And that ending? When they finally got to flip it and Kate took care of Curran when he was injured? Heartwarming. It gave the viewer a small glimpse of what Curran goes through when Kate was injured or sick.

“You don’t pick the family you’re born into. You pick the one you make. I already chose my mate and glued her ass to the chair to make sure she knew it.”

Hunting Ground

Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega #2) by Patricia Briggs
3 Omega stars “She was his and he hers.”

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“Women are the bloodthirsty sex. We get the reputation, but it is only because the women stand behind us, and say, ‘Kill it. Squish it.”

One month after they are mated and married, werewolves Anna and Charles must travel to Seattle to oversee a conference where the wolves discuss the issue of becoming open to the public. While they are there, hired vampire assassins begin attacking the Omega’s, human and wolf.

This one took me a while to get through. I’m normally a huge Patricia Briggs fan, but for some reason this series isn’t hitting it for me like the Mercy Thompson series did.

What I loved:

-Anna and Charles: I think the development of the relationship between these two characters is the only reason I will continue to read this series. Together and separately, Anna and Charles are some of the more interesting and unique characters I’ve read in a long time. But Briggs has a way of doing that.

“I would slay dragons for you. I suspect that finding an unoccupied bedroom will be easier.”

-The world-building: I am constantly wowed at the incredible job this author has done in creating this unique urban fantasy setting. Very few authors have done this for me. I want to go and visit! (Hopefully without becoming prey).

-The setting: It was Washington State, enough said. That place is awesome!

What didn’t work:

-The pacing: OMG the pacing was so off with this book! It would go really slow, and then really fast, but then mostly slow and I had a hard time getting through this book.

-The constant reminders of pack hierarchy: We get it already, when dominant werewolves are around each other shit is about to go down. Stop using 50 pages to reiterate something that happened, but you can’t tell at once because all of the wolves have to pull their dicks out and measure them. UGH.

So overall, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.

“To make great art, you had to expose your soul, and some things should be left safely in the dark.”

Lastly (and Gilmore Girls fans will understand) when they introduced a foreign wolf called Michel Girard, I immediately saw this:
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Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5) by Maggie Stiefvater

4.5 Sinner stars

“I came back for you, Isabel.”

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Sinner is the follow up to Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and in order to understand this book completely, you must read those three amazing books first.

After the events of Forever, Isabel has moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles with her mother, moved in with her cousin and is pursuing a career in medicine. Cole, the haunted musician turned werewolf, has followed her back to the city that played a part in his downfall. Both Isabel and Cole are trying to move on from their past and become better versions of themselves, but are they standing in their own way?

“Did it matter if you changed if no one believed it?”

This book was eloquently written and pretty much everything I wanted in a follow up book about my favorite characters. In this book Isabel is still trying to recover from the death of her brother and the destruction of her family. Isabel is constantly hiding behind her anger and harsh words, but she’s only doing this to hide the fact that she feels too much. Isabel also fears that she’ll fall in love with Cole again, and that when she did, he would break her.

“I had been taken apart and put back together again, and this version of me was unbreakable.”

Cole finds himself reverting back into the life of a rockstar, starring in a unique new reality show and recording a new album. In place of drugs, Cole has used transforming into the wolf as a way to stop feeling, heroine for werewolfism. Isabel is the only person who understands Cole for who he really is. Cole doesn’t need to hide behind his persona when he’s around her, he can be his true self. Their connection comes from the fact that they both see each other for who they really are, and not what other people see them as.

“Why did you come back?”
“I came back because I had to. Because there was nothing wrong in the world except that I was getting older in it.”

Cole swears to Isabel that he came to LA just for her, but Isabel is not a fan of seeing Cole fall back into his old life. For Cole, coming back to LA means facing his demons, and the city can either help him move on, or it could take away the last part of his soul.

“I knew just how it felt when your worst fear was that you would be yourself.”

Los Angeles is a huge theme in this book, signifying rebirth and redemption for both of the main characters. I had fun reading this, being a resident of the greater Los Angeles area, because I could tell that the author either did her research, or has spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and has a key appreciation of it. Los Angeles was not glorified, and it was not criticized, it just was in this book.

The romantic plot was actually the majority of this book. It’s been a while since I read the trilogy before it, but I didn’t remember that much of a focus on romance. Not that I minded, as I said Cole and Isabel are my favorite, so it was a nice change to see Cole just got for it and to try and get Isabel. His determination and devotion to her showed how much he had really changed from his past life.

“Tell me you’ll see me tomorrow.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tell me you’ll see me the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that.”

I felt that the werewolf plot was no longer a priority in this book, at least not as much as it was in the other books. For Sam and Grace, the werewolf issue was about not being able to escape their circumstances. For Cole, it’s his escape from his human self. For Isabel, the wolf is a reminder of everything she’s lost and everything she hasn’t been able to move past. In fiction, a werewolf is never just a wolf, it’s always a metaphor that reflects the character’s true selves.

Overall, I am so freaking glad that Maggie wrote this book and gave the readers an ending they could cherish. Sinner is a wonderful story of redemption and love, and how we need to move past what we once were to become who we really are.

My casting:

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Tiger’s Curse

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Tiger’s Curse is the story of Kelsey, a girl in Oregon who gets a part time job at the circus and discovers a white tiger named Ren. A strange connection forms between the two of them and so Kelsey is hired to help bring Ren back to India. Once arriving there, Kelsey discovers that Ren is actually a man trapped in a tiger’s body for the last 300 years, and Ren needs Kelsey to help break the curse that was inflicted on him and his brother Kishan.

The descriptions and imagery in this book were wonderful. I loved reading about the myth and the tale of the curse. The dialogue was… meh. I kept thinking “wow, most of this would be better as an inner monologue and not dialogue.” And Kelsey? One of the most annoying female characters I have ever read. Ren as a tiger had a lot of personality. Ren as a man made me wish that he was back in tiger form because he was so boring.

So basically this book had a lot of potential, but got a low rating from me due to bad dialogue writing and an unbearable main character. I still somehow enjoyed it, but I guess I expected more. My casting below:

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