Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moon Called and Magic Bites, the adventures of Mercy and Kate

This week I read the first book in two different urban fantasy series. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews is the first book in the Kate Daniels series. Both of the series started a couple of years ago, so there are several books out in each series. 
Mercy Thompson is a skinwalker, she changes into a coyote, and can shift quickly, easily, and at will. She lives next door to the werewolf pack’s Alpha, named Adam. Mercy runs a repair garage and mostly works on German cars. She has acquaintances among the vampires, the weres, and the police force. However, she doesn’t really belong with any of those groups, and she hasn’t met any other skinwalkers. She was raised by werewolves in Montana, and now lives in Washington state. This first Mercy Thompson book requires Mercy to return back to the pack that raised her and ask for help. 
Mercy is a smart aleck, she has that in common with Kate Daniels. Both tend to make smart comments when the smart thing would be keeping quiet. It was refreshing to see a skinwalker that wasn't the bad guy. In the Kate Daniels books, the vampires are not the sexy creatures of the night that most series present them as. They are kind of gross really. 
Kate Daniels is more of a mystery. It is not exactly clear what she is. She could belong to the order of magickal humans who help keep peace, but instead she is a member of the guild of mercenaries. She tries to keep her head down, but instead she ends up getting tangled up with the Pack, who are the shape-shifters, and with the People, who are vampires and necromancers. Curran, the Lord of the Pack, is a great alpha male character. 
I enjoyed both of these series and have already started the second book in the Mercy Thompson series. 
I am going to give Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, 5 Stars, and I will give Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, 4 Stars.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Deadliest Bite is the last book in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin. Jasmine Parks is an assassin working for the CIA. Well, at least she used to work for the CIA. In this book, Jaz is pretty much fighting for her life. She has had a demon trapped in her mind, and he has been trying hard to get out, and Jaz won’t survive the internal struggle much longer. 
Luckily for Jaz, she has some really good friends. Vayl, her vampire partner, and lover. Cole, her good friend fighting his own demon. Bergman, her answer to James Bond’s Q. Plus, her twin Dave and his girlfriend Cassandra, a psychic. Oh, and of course Raoul, her guardian angel of sorts. Not a bad team to have at your back when demon fighting. 
I really love this series, I think Jaz is a lot of fun. She reminds me a little of Anita Blake, without the porn. Vayl is a fun vampire, and the rest of the team is well rounded. I forgot to mention Jaz’s malamute, Jack and her robokitty Astral. Astral was a gift from Bergman, and one of my favorite characters. Maybe because I’m a cat person. 
There are also some Jaz Parks short stories that have been coming out to round out the Jaz Parks series. I am sad that this series is at an end. The author, Jennifer Rardin, passed away in September 2010. I am glad that the last book was able to be released. My heart goes out to her family for their loss. 
I am going to give The Deadliest Bite by Jennfer Rardin, 4 Stars
It was a fun read,  and hard to put down!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Wordy Shipmates and The Bookman

The Wordy Shipmates is a book by essayist and This American Life contributor, Sarah Vowell. It is a snapshot of history that tells the story of the Puritans that founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was a very interesting story, and Vowell did a great job of making the history relevant. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read more  by Sarah Vowell.
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar was an interesting and entertaining book. It has elements of steampunk, alternate history, and science fiction. The main character of the book is named Orphan, and he is in love with a girl named Lucy. The queen of England is a lizard-woman, her family usurped the throne after they were discovered on an island in the Caribbean. The Bookman is working to destroy the lizard royal family. He forces Orphan to work for him. Orphan sets off on a fantastic journey. 
Tidhar uses a lot of very descriptive language, certain passages of the book read like poetry. I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the sequel, Camera Obscura.
I am going to give The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, 4 Stars.
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar, receives, 4 Stars also.