Monday, March 28, 2016

Fire Touched: A Mercy Thompson Novel --by Patricia Briggs

Fiction / Urban Fantasy

350 pages / 1476 KB
5 Stars

I only have one complaint for Patricia Briggs's books – I read them much faster than she writes them! And as much as I whine about that, her books are worth the wait. If she rushed through writing them, they would not be. And she gives enough information at the beginning that if you read the last one, you'll know what's going on, and if you didn't read the last one, you'll know what's going on and won't be thinking, "Huh??"

Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite characters, and her universe one of my favorite places to visit. Being invited to come into that universe and play with the characters is always fun, and I never say, "No." Never. And I'm never, ever, sorry I entered their world.

Mercy and Adam have taken in a foster child who is not quite what he seems to be. Aiden is human, but "raised" by the fae, Underhill. And Underhill wants him back, as do other fae, and not for anything nice. Mercy and Adam have accepted him, in the beginning, under the rules of guesting, and refuse to hand him over. The whole pack will protect him as long as he does not break the rules. (Does trying to burn down the house count as a breach of etiquette?) The fae want this child, and they want him badly enough to start an all-out war with the humans and the wolves in order to get him. And the Marrock has severed all ties. (For those not familiar with the series, the Marrock is the Alpha Alpha of the North American werewolves). Mercy, Adam, & the pack are on their own!

Had I started this book earlier in the day, it would have been a one-sit read. However, I began it too late in the day, and it actually took me two days to read. A great read, and well worth your time and money. Buy it, read it, review it.

Dragon Blood --by Patricia Briggs

Fiction / fantasy
275 pages
5 Stars

The story of Ward continues (from Dragon Bones). Hurog Keep lies in a heap, destroyed by powerful magic, and Ward must rebuild it. He takes his duties as Lord Hurog seriously, and wishes only to protect his people from wars, starvation, and evil.

Unfortunately, rebellion is brewing against the evil usurper High King Jakoven, and Ward is sucked into joining the rebels. But the High King has a secret weapon, and nothing will stop him from using what he has to gain what he wants, and he wants Ward, the "simple" Lord of Hurog.

I love it when I find a 'one-sit' read, and Patricia Briggs write those kinds of books for me. I have no choice to sit and read until the end, and then I'm usually sorry I did because it is The End and I must leave a great read about a fantastical universe populated by people I'd like to know in real life. Well, some of them. Briggs has the right balance of humor (I laughed out loud more than once) and adrenaline.

Please, Ms. Briggs, bring us more of this universe. Do not let this be a two-book series.

Dragon Bones --by Patricia Briggs

Fiction / fantasy

304 pages
5 stars

Yes, it's another book about dragons. But, oh what dragons! These are dragons like you've not met before, and they are wonderfully, marvelously created by a master storyteller.

Ward Hurog is smart enough to survive, and protect his younger siblings, from a father who wants to see them dead. Ward is, to all outward appearances, a simpleton, due to the beatings by his father. And he is the heir to the old Hurog keep, and the curse that goes along with it.

When his father dies in a hunting accident, and Ward becomes Lord Hurog, he is yet too young (and simple, don't forget that) to take over the duties, so his uncle steps in to act as regent. Only the old ghost who only shows himself to Ward, Wards mute sister who is an easy target for the ruffians because she cannot speak in her defense, and Ward knows about the dragon bones in the dungeon. For that matter, only they know about the dungeon. But there are old stories out there about the bones, and when a war is fought to gain Hurog Keep, and the bones, Ward must do the unthinkable to save not only the Keep, but the Kingdom. For whoever has the bones, has a great and terrible power.

Briggs is a master at weaving stories with both bright and dark threads, perfectly balanced, into a tapestry one does not soon forget. When I finish a book, I want to feel better for having read it, for having lived in a different time and place, than when I picked the book up and began reading. Patricia Briggs meets that criterion for me, every single time, and this book is no exception.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

House of Rejoicing: Part 1 of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (Volume 1) -- by Libbie Hawker

Fiction / Historical
476 pages
4 Stars

This is the first Libbie Hawker book I've read. It will not be the last!

I love reading about Ancient Egypt, especially about Amenhotep/Akhenaten and the upheaval he caused.

Let's be clear about something right off the bat – this is FICTION. Does she write about some of the characters as I think they might have been? No. But I like her ideas. Like some reviewers, I thought it ended rather abruptly, and then I realized this is Part 1 of 2 parts, and the rest of it must be in the second part? Perhaps? Do ya think?

Ms. Hawker has obviously done a great deal of research for this series of books, and I found her characters if not to my liking, pretty well developed, with the possible exception of Akhenaten, but I'm willing to see if he develops in the later books.

One of the fun things about historical fiction, especially about times so far gone in history as to be at best covered in dust, is the author can do anything she wants, and tell the story the way she wants to. And this is a great story. I look forward to reading Part 2. And it still falls within the realms of possibility and reality.

A great read. Heartily recommend it.

The Invisible Ring (Black Jewels, Book 4) --by Anne Bishop

416 pages
5 Stars

This book is set in the same universe as the Black Jewels trilogy, only considerably earlier. This is a stand alone book, not part of a set (but is part of the series), so we only have one book to meet the characters, and read the story.

I read the trilogy first, so knew a bit of the background; however, I think one can read it without knowing everything the trilogy has to offer. Knowing some of the characters helped, though.

Jared, a young warlord, is tricked into becoming a pleasure slave, and eventually reaches his breaking point, and kills the queen who abuses him. Slated for the mines, he is bought by a young queen, and freed, only to be held by the invisible ring, which is stronger, and more powerful than the crippling pain-inducing ring of a pleasure slave.

Anne Bishop not only develops unique characters, but unique universes. Seldom have I enjoyed playing in such diverse and well developed places with such marvelous people. I really do hate to reach those final two words, The End, or her novels, because I want more. I don't want to come home to dishes and unmade beds, I want to stay outside and chase the fireflies, or whatever. When the books end, I hate to say "Goodbye" to my new and best friends.

Marked in Flesh --by Anne Bishop

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
416 pages
5 Stars

This is the fourth in the series about "The Others" by Anne Bishop. The main, and only problem, I have with her books is I read them sooo much faster than she writes them! Ship the kids to Granny, send the husband to work, call your boss and take a sick day (mental health counts!), make a pot of coffee (or whatever you drink) and sit back and go for the ride. Better yet, check into a hotel with room service. Fewer disruptions. And they'll let you read while luxuriating in the hot tub.

If you've not read the first three books, stop right now, go get and read them. Although you can read this one as a stand alone, it will make so much more sense if you read the others first. Besides, then you can stay a whole week in that hotel with room service—and your husband's credit card ;-)

Yes, these books are that good!

Problems come to a head when an international ring of pig-headed humans decide it's time to get rid of The Others and claim Earth as theirs, and theirs alone. They have lived with The Others for generations, and have become complacent in what they are, and what they can do. They have signed treaties they don't like, and now think the time has come to arise, and put Humans First, Last, and Always.

All of our favorite characters are here, especially Simon Wolfgard and Meg Corbyn. We meet new friends, lose a few friends, and fight a war of survival.

Meg, a human blood prophet, comes up with ways for her fellow blood prophets to hopefully get away from cutting themselves to see prophecy and possibly lead more "normal" lives.

Simon, the leader of the pack, must do his best to save at least some of humanity from the wrath of the ancient Others. The older ones are by far the most powerful, and truly desire to rid the entire planet of humans. All humans. But not all humans deserve annihilation.

Some authors have a hard time carrying a story from book to book, but not Ms. Bishop; each book reads better, faster, and ever more engrossing than the preceding one. I don't know how many books are scheduled in this series, but I will be sorely sorry when it's over. I really enjoy my time with Meg and Simon and all the characters in the Courtyard.