Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series: books 1 through 3

I’m just going to start with the first three books since there are a lot in the series so far. I’ll try to get through them eventually.

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…(book blurb – Goodreads)

This was probably my first kick-ass urban fantasy heroine series. I have to say that I’m really glad this was my first because I’ve tried a lot since then and with the exception of a few really good ones, they can tend to be duds. Briggs does the genre proud and thanks to her and Mercy, I’ve found a few other authors in this genre that I really like.

Mercy is a capable, interesting heroine with a huge heart and incredible courage. She’s immediately engaging. When the action really starts to happen (pretty early on) she lives up to the “kick ass” trope.

The world building is fascinating and it’s clear that Briggs put the time and effort into the little things. This is where many authors fall down. They get the broad strokes of a world, but they forget the minutia and the mundane that actually bring the world to life for the reader. This tiny little building blocks make a huge difference down the line and authors who forget them or just don’t care about them often run into trouble.

The Mercy Thompson series is populated with intriguing and fun characters that drew me in right away. And the males are hawt. Shoooo. Adam? Gimme.

But I digress. This is not a romance novel. This is urban fantasy with a romantic thread. You get hints of romantic interest in this book, but that thread is not the main concern in the story. And even though some characters have a “hotness factor” it doesn’t mean they’re cardboard cutouts. There’s depth and there’s story and world development. It all comes together to make a satisfying read.

Most of my friends have already read this series if they like urban fantasy so I’m not telling them anything new. But those who are interested should seriously jump in.

I’m giving it four beans. Why not five? Why the missing bean? Because the culmination of the mystery is kind of … “what the? … really? … he couldn’t think of any other way to accomplish that? … seriously?” It’s fairly convoluted and, ultimately, contrived. But everything up until then is so well crafted that it’s still a joy.

Rating: 30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

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Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

I bought this book when the Kate Daniels series went on sale earlier this week. It was not on sale but it’s only about $3.99, so I figured I’d grab it too. Glad I did.

Dina runs a bed and breakfast in a small Texas town. Something has been killing her neighbors’ dogs and she wants to know why the local werewolf isn’t doing something about it. After playing coy and calling her crazy, said werewolf – Sean Evans – gets involved where Dina can see him. Which is good because he’s hot when he’s not peeing on all the trees.

The villain turns out to be very nasty, Dina’s inn turns out to be very specialized, and the world is not at all what we think it is. The world building and mythology in this new series is unique and compelling and the characters are very enjoyable.

This story was presented as a freebie serial online and after it was completed the Andrews team took it down, cleaned it up, and self-published it. I deliberately waited for the published version although I know the serial was very popular. They’re working on the sequel now and I’ll wait for that one to be available in ebook form as well. But I’ll definitely buy it when it comes out because I need to know what happens next. It didn’t end on a cliffie, but there are still some things in the overall arc that aren’t tied up and may not be for a few books.

Rating: 30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

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Driven, by Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver)

In the harsh Northern Waste where human life is worth little, ice trucker Raina Bowen has learned to keep her eyes open and her knife close at hand. She’s spent her life on the run, one step ahead of the megalomaniac who hunts her. All she wants is to stay out of trouble and haul her load of grain to Gladow Station–but trouble finds her in the form of a sexy stranger called Wizard. He has the trucking pass she needs, and she has to drag him out of a brawl with the very people she’s trying to hide from in order to get it. She may have rescued him, but Raina’s not foolish enough to see Wizard as anything close to helpless. He’s hard and honed and full of secrets–secrets that may destroy them both. As they race across the Waste, trying to outrun rival truckers, ice pirates, and the powerful man bent on their destruction, Raina’s forced to admit that trouble’s found her. And this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

Found this book because of Book Bub’s sale alerts and thought the blurb looked pretty good. So, so happy that happened!

Raina Bowen drives a high-tech big rig through the post-apocalyptic Siberian wastelands. The New Government Order is supposed to secure a safe and peaceful existence even in this crummy, frozen region, but cronyism has actually secured a ridiculous amount of power to one man. The man who wants to torture Raina to death.

Raina meets Wizard when she “saves” him from her nemesis’s ugly minions. She’d been there to meet him anyway for some finagled documentation, but the actual meet includes a rescue and confused intent. And thus our adventure begins.

Eve Silver AKA Eve Kenin says in the author’s note at the end of the book that the show Firefly was a big inspiration for this world. Considering I’d thought that many times while reading, she did a good job of harnessing the same feel of the characters and the place. Being a big Firefly fan, that’s a huge plus for me as a reader. And they’re truckers! That’s a new one for me, but it works splendidly.

Raina is beautiful and Wizard is hot. They’re both damaged and a bit strange and their chemistry is clearly not something either of them has ever experienced before. It’s totally believable in the story as well as refreshingly different from the typical romance path.

I’m already starting on the next book thanks to my inability to avoid sample chapters at the end of books. There’s also a deleted scene included at the end of the main text that’s pretty darn smokin’.

I don’t know if it’s on sale anymore, but it’s definitely worth the read. My one actual story complaint is that the villain is A Very Bad Man. Meaning, he’s just crazy, evil bad. He has one basic motive, but one doesn’t have to be so Terribly, Terribly Bad and Evil to accomplish it.

I definitely liked this one for a new-to-me Romance/UF series.

ETA: Oooops! I forgot to add the bean rating. I’ve been away a long time, bear with me. I give this one:  photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

Rip Van Winkle Returns!

Well. I intended to maintain this blog regularly, but I disappeared late in 2015. Why? Well, no details, but I experienced some very messed up stuff and I took about a year off from life. So now, a year and a few months later, I’m back to blog again.

Anything to report on my reading efforts in 2016? Well,  I did some re-reading because that’s my comfort zone and I needed it, but I discovered a couple of very good writers in that time as well.

First plug is Grace Draven. She’s a fantasy romance novelist who seems to be completely indy published. I absolutely adore her writing. I’ve read her whole backlist now so she’ll be in the reread pile, but I’m anxious for the next book from her. I just love the way she puts together a story and builds a world. She pulls me in and makes it all very real. I try to savor her books, but I find myself compelled to get back to them whenever I have to put them down. I’ll do some more detailed reviews of the individual books soon.

Second plug is Santino Hassell. He didn’t wrap me around his little finger the way Draven did, but I am really impressed with his writing. He writes M/M contemporary and it’s gritty and emotional and engaging. With the exception of one couple in his Five Boroughs series I found his pairings to be organic and satisfying. The first book in the series, “Sutphin Boulevard”, was a really powerful read.

I’ll try to add some reviews tomorrow and maybe some more commentary. With life being a weird new normal for me, I never know how I’m going to approach things from day to day. Sounds exciting, right? Well … we’ll see.

And with that, I leave you with a photo of my vision of Adam Hauptman from Patricia Briggs’ “Mercy Thompson” series. I’ve always had a hard time picturing Adam, but I finally found the photo that works for me. It’s Tom Hardy. I’ll probably choose him for multiple male roles in the future, but his first casting in the Beanbag Bookbag is Adam.

And on that note … goodnight. Sweet dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg