Book: Shannon Mayer’s ‘Witch’s Reign’ – “I didn’t run, but I did pick up my pace”

Zamira is cursed, nearly the last of her kind and her ex-husband is an awful person, happily she is also stubborn, sarcastic and fundamentally a nice person

These details alone should have made me realise that ‘Witch’s Reign’ was by the same author as ‘Venom and Vanilla’, plus the wall and Merlin. However it was the use of the word “super-duper” that made the connection for me, it’s an odd phrase even for a fantasy book and there couldn’t be two authors who would use it!

Whereas ‘Venom and Vanilla’ was set in a very contemporary and recognisable world – admittedly one with super-dupers in it, contrastingly ‘Witch’s Reign’ is pared back sword and sorcery: lots of horses and knives in freezing bleak wastelands

The plot was predictable, the characters not fully developed – although mildly intriguing due to their blank spots

It was a pretty decent quiet weekend read, not sure I rush to read the next one in the series, however it will make my free Amazon kindle book rental list so maybe next month!

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Book: Chloe Neill’s ‘Lucky Break’ – “Because we fear a zombie apocalypse? And we hope they’re colour-blind”

Generally I don’t buy novellas, for some reason short little ebooks that I have to pay a couple of pounds for doesn’t feel like a good deal.

However I am VERY glad that I bought ‘Lucky Break’, it was fun, quirky and was self-contained enough to be satisfying.

It has made me more interested to read book 11 than book 10 did!

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Book: Chloe Neill’s ‘Blood Games’ – “A vampire sex warrior can never show too much cleavage.”

It was a shock to realise that ‘Blood Games’ is book 10 in the Chicagoland Vampires series – and book 11 has been out for months.

I’d held off getting 10 (or 11) because whilst I like the series I am not convinced that each book actually offers very much new stuff. For example the series can be summed up as having several core themes:

  • There is a big bad who usually lasts for a couple of books
  • Merit eats a lot of food
  • Mallory and Catcher are in it a tiny bit
  • There is usually some other supporting cast who bob about for a bit – ‘Blood Games’ didn’t even feature the shapeshifters!
  • Ethan annoys Merit, they then make up.

blood games book

That is pretty much it and I really should be getting bored by now, however I found myself inhaling ‘Blood Games’ in one sitting.

It isn’t even as if I learn anything from these books – except having super friends is just so super… which lets be honest didn’t need 10 books to hammer home.

I know that I will probably want to read book 11 but I am going to try very hard to wait until it drops in price or I need a present from the in-laws.

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Book: Lisa Shearin’s ‘The Dragon Conspiracy’ – “Not for goblins. Pink is the color of pure evil.”

‘The Dragon Conspiracy’ is a sequel to Lisa Shearin’s ‘The Grendel Affair’ which features the adventures of the SPI – the Supernatural Protection and Investigations , specifically Makenna Fraser who is their newest Seer and is rather out of her depth.

dragon conspiracy_front mech.indd

‘The Grendel Affair’ was odd but intriguing – basically whatever goes bump in the night is thrown into a modern urban setting and manages to be believable. It was a good book but on my initial read I felt it was a little light, however upon rereading it I was pleasantly surprised.

‘The Dragon Conspiracy’ had an interesting premise but felt a little speedy in terms of plot resolution. I think I need to reread it with a quieter mind.

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Book: Last Mercy Thompson book that I owned – paste tense is deliberate.

Popping this up before Monday so that I can get the books to the charity shop this weekend.

The Mercy Thompson series started off so well, Mercy was funny and practical – if a little impulsive.

Then she just got dumber as she spent more time around werewolves.

There are currently eight books in the series (at least 11 are planned) and I owned five out of the first six.

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Bourne – I didn’t have but did read ages ago from the library
  • River Marked – very cheap charity shop purchase
  • Frost Burned – released in 2013 I have not read
  • Night Broken – released in 2014 I have not read

river marked

Either way I don’t own it to re-read and won’t lose any sleep over this!

I do however have ‘River Marked’ and the plot is Mercy has now married Adam but Adam lets the fae send them camping by a river for their honeymoon.

There are monsters in the river and people are disappearing. Which means Mercy now has to save the day at great personal cost AGAIN.

On the plus side we get to find out that Mercy’ father is Coyote – THE Coyote from the Native American legends. Which is probably how she’s survived her stupid stunts for so long.

I am done with this series, the first book was good but everything that followed either wasn’t a good – too much focus on vampires, or was just stupid.

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Book: Patricia Briggs’ ‘Bone Crossed’ – “One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed”

At the end of book 3 Mercy was raped and some aftermath of this event was depicted.

Book 4 ‘Bone Crossed’ starts at the place book 3 let off – there is actually some scene overlap, and then Mercy goes off charging into another adventure.

At this point my suspension of disbelief got annoyed and stopped playing.

bone crossed

If Mercy really is part of the pack now and really is Adam’s mate then why the BLEEP isn’t anyone protecting her?

Why the BLEEP is everyone saying “ok” to her running out of state pretty much on her own – everyone keeps saying how vampires cant be trusted so Stefan shouldn’t count even if he is ok for a vampire, to investigate a haunting at the house of her old college ‘friend’ who just happens to live in the State where a vampire known as The Monster lives!

Everyone treats Mercy as some sort of supernatural punching bag and it just isn’t fun to read anymore.

The plot is rubbish too, but that is almost by the way compared to my indignation at everyone assuming Mercy will be ok and then blaming her when the sh*t hits the fan!

I remember disliking book 3 but book 4 is just boring and stupid.

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Book: Patricia Briggs’ ‘Iron Kissed’ – “It was like being leaned on by a very heavy, warm brick. A sexy brick”

‘Iron Kissed’ is the third book in the Mercy Thompson series and the one that I knew I had issues with.

The issue is largely around my personal feeling that rape is not a valid plot device. I am aware that it is a handy way of putting a female led in peril but it crops up in a fair number of urban fantasy books to the extent that it feels like rape is being trivialised.

With the Mercy Thompson series you can at least say it was foreshadowed so wasn’t a complete surprise, in the first book Moon Called there is heavy implication of something inappropriate and sexual happening to a young teen who is being held hostage and Mercy’s branding of someone as a rapist, in book 2 Blood Bound Mercy concludes the chap she accused of being a rapist probably isn’t but she uses a rape analogy for when a vampire fed from her without consent – I can see why that would feel a potentially appropriate description as it is a bodily violation.

iron kissed

(It is curiously hard to find images of the old UK covers online despite the fact they are far more tasteful than the US covers or the new UK ones)

Which means that is isn’t a huge surprise that book three goes THERE, I dislike the scene but at least Briggs does deal a bit with the aftermath, Mercy isn’t magically expected to pick herself and carry on as normal – except she sort of does.

What I find most disappointing is that the rest of the book is actually interesting, ok so there isn’t much werewolf stuff or shifter stuff but the fae plotline is really interesting and was something that I’d have liked to not associate with rape.

On the plus side, the book does at least make sure the reader will remember to not trust the fae.

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Book: Patricia Briggs’ ‘Blood Bound’ – “Of course, eating him would work, too”

Blood Bound’ is the 2nd book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Mercy is still a mechanic, still a coyote and gradually getting more involved in both the local werewolf pack and with the local vampire seethe.

It seems slightly odd that in book two of a series with a walker/shapeshifter main character and strong werewolf links is primarily interested in vampires. Specifically how the local vampires feel a demonically-possess vampire.

Stefan is an interesting vampire character, he was different to any other portrayal of a vampire that I’ve read – although I’m very open to  recommendations of similar portrayals!

blood bound

There werewolves don’t shine in this book, they are interesting but they aren’t the main focus – apart from the mention that Ben isn’t the rapist that Mercy thought he was in the first book there isn’t that much werewolf character development.

Some people would argue with this statement, but I honestly feel that Mercy making excuses for the two werewolves who want to get into her pants isn’t character development.

A fair few times there were lines that tracked as follows: “It wasn’t his fault, werewolf instincts are very strong.”

It feels that a lot of a book is making excuses for unequal relationships and repressing women – the entire species of werewolves have never heard of female liberation and it is clearly stated that females take their status in the pack from their (male) mate’s status.

If there first two-thirds of the book had contained more action I wouldn’t have been able to dwell on this, but there wasn’t much happening for most of the book so I got to considering how I kept half expecting Mercy to be clubbed over the head and dragged back to a cave by one of the two male leads. This makes me root for Mercy less than I would usually – she is a funny narrator and she is intelligent but she get involved in stupid situations and gets in avoidable trouble by being headstrong.

My biggest issue with the book is I couldn’t shake one phrase “he ate me” – the scene linked to this was unnecessarily disturbing and it really bugged me.

Overall I don’t like this book as much as the first one, I don’t think I want to keep it.

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Book: Patricia Briggs’ ‘Moon Called’ – “Dance when the moon sings, and don’t cry about troubles that haven’t yet come”

‘Moon Called’ is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series – as it features werewolves, walkers, fae and vampires there is a lot of background and scene setting contained.

Mercy (Mercedes)  Thompson is a mechanic and can change into a coyote since birth (as oppose to a skin walker who uses a combination of magic an animal skins).

Despite not being a werewolf Mercy knows a lot about them as she was raised in a powerful werewolf pack.

She moved away from the pack but her next-door neighbour is a werewolf Alpha – as this is an Urban Fantasy book naturally he is also rather hot.

moon called

The plot develops slowly but neatly and Mercy’s role in it makes sense, she can hold her own without being too much of a Mary Sue and it is interesting to see how her friendships with a variety of beasties are beneficial without feeling abused.

There isn’t any romance to speak of but groundwork is laid for future books to build on.

It is very clearly a start of  series as there is a lot of telling but there is still a decent amount of action. It is also nice that the bad guy and their motivations aren’t immediately guessable which is lovely.

Some of the minor details that are mentioned as background are really intriguing, for example that the outed fae live on Reservations and the parallels to Native American experiences of such things.

I will say one thing, I much prefer the tasteful grey & black old UK cover to either the US one or the new UK one.

I like this book and have read it several times without wanting to get rid of it yet – which is a novelty!

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Book: Keith Melton’s ‘Dark Ride Dogs’- “But not being burned as a witch still put me quite a few miracles short of canonization.”

It’s been an odd week, due to a small (and I really do mean small) influx of cash and a few annoyances at work I decided to treat myself to some cheap rubbish that promised to be fleetingly entertaining.

Which is how I ended up buy the sequel to a book that I wasn’t even sure I was ever going to reread – Keith Melton’s ‘The Zero Dog War’ was ok once so I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to by ‘Dark Ride Dogs’.

dark ride dogs

The book is irreverent and mildly amusing, but the team’s constant bickering is slightly grating – I didn’t need reminding quite so many times that the Andrea is holding together a team of misfits who don’t play well with themselves or anyone else.

The sex crazed goblins were more creepy pervy than serious villain material and the ghost clowns were under used.

It was distracting and mildly amusing – which was the aim of buying it, but it did demonstrate how much the original book relied on sheer novelty value to hang together.

Even at the bargain basement price of £2.50 I feel slightly cheated.

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