Monday, January 30, 2012

100 Book Challenge Week 18


 
 Book Review #35: Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, Book 2)

Author: Patricia Biggs
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: Anne Latham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son--and enforcer--of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be either... Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan--and it seems like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all--or risk losing everything..

Review:  This lady is one awesome author. Yet another hit novel!

I enjoyed the development of the characters, especially Anna, the growth and learning about themselves experienced by both Anna and Charles, and the introduction of other Omegas, making Anna less of an odd-man-out.

The book, once again, was impossible to put down and the story flew along so fast that I got to the end before I realized, and then mourned that it was finished. I definitely feel this is a better series than the Mercy Thompson set, not that I didn’t enjoy those. This feels more plausible, and allows me to feel more vested in the characters.

I’m sorry there are only three books available in this set. I’d love to read more.




Book Review #36: Private

Author: James Patterson
Genre: Private Detective/Crime Thriller

Blurb: Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multimillion-dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of eighteen schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.

Review:  A murdered wife, match fixing, and a serial killer focused on young girls. Most detective novels take you through one case. This one takes you through three. More than that, Patterson changes voice throughout the book, switching from first person to third person as he goes along. Confusing? Not one bit. Patterson has talent and the entire mess makes a really good-looking stew!

The novel has good flow and, despite switching voice and character, is instantly understandable. At no point did I feel lost, wondering “who is this now?” Masterfully done!

Not only that, but I got a sense of the business of an investigator’s life, with new cases coming in, phone calls to deal with, staff to handle, on top of a personal life that has to deal with late hours, odd phone calls, and secrets. I got the feeling it’s not as glamorous as the movies make out, which may have been the point.

A great book by a great author.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Riled About Tiles


I figured there had to be an easier way to clean tile floors. And waddya know - there is!

Imagine my surprise to discover the best primary cleansing method is.... (drum roll please) ... hot water.

That's it.

No "and", just hot water. Well, maybe “and” a mop!  

Apparently tile floors need to be swept daily, and then damp-mopped about once a week as a Maintenance Clean. Damp-mopped = swish mop head in warm-to-hot water, wring well, mop floor. Repeat.

How easy is that?

Please note: the above ^ assumes you wipe up spills as soon as they happen, especially if they’re yucky spills like dog sick or meat juice. Yeeeughh!

About once a month, or when the water gets dirty really fast, or you think it's about time (whichever level of pickiness you're at), you need to give it a go-over with some sort of cleaning solution. However, good old hot water is the ticket for optimum cleanliness and minimum fuss.

The cleaning solution isn’t much work either (and it’s environmentally friendly).

For ceramic tiles; a capful of rubbing alcohol in a bucket of water should do the trick. Vinyl floors will use a cupful of white vinegar instead of alcohol, and stone floors require only a squirt of dishwashing liquid.  

(Check that your floor isn’t sticky after a wash, you may need to give it a quick rinse if it is.)

Well, well, well. Three holes in a field. (My late grandfather's favorite saying. I love it, and I've never been able to hear anyone say "well" without thinking of it and him.)

P.S. About sweeping, remember that anything abrasive will damage the surface, shine, and (if there is one) sealant of the floor. The best way to sweep the floor is either using a vacuum cleaner with a bare floor attachment, or with a soft duster mop that has a removable head that you can just pull off and toss in the washing machine.

Huh. Himself was right about the sweeping. Sigh. How frustrating! J

Monday, January 23, 2012

100 Book Challenge Weeks 16 & 17


Hurrah! I've caught up with the schedule. Finally! It was a long haul and I shall make a concerted effort NOT to fall behind again. It is a crazy challenge in the first place. I know I read a lot, but compelling myself to read two books a weeks was plain loco! I'll finish the challenge, as stubborn as I am, but I don't think I'll be silly enough to do that to myself again. Until the next time. :)


Book Review #32: 84, Charing Cross Road
Author: Helene Hanff
Genre: Human Drama

Blurb: It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene's sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm, charming, feisty friendship that spans the decades and the miles.

Review: What a delightful book! I found it warm and funny, easy to read yet captivating. I thought I’d find the letter writing format annoying, but actually it wasn’t. What did get me was remembering to read the dates of the letters and placing them accordingly. They covered over two decades of communication. It made me think how transient is human life, yet how much of an impact we make!

Helene Hanff is a hoot, and I would have loved to be able to meet her. Such zany humor and irreverent joy in life is right up my alley. I loved her zest and enthusiasm.

I believe the book was made into a movie, but I haven’t seen it and have no idea how it would work. I’d be interested to see how they did it.

Book Review #33: On the Prowl
Author: Patricia Biggs
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.

Review: This is a novelette, not a full book, a prequel to a series. I had enjoyed the Mercy Thompson series and was interested when I discovered this one. It’s not an entirely new series; it has many of the same characters, but from an entirely new perspective. Although this was far too short to make a definite claim as to which series I enjoyed more, it definitely held my attention and I look forward to the next book. It’s definitely gripping enough that I’m going to start reading it right now! J


Author: Patricia Biggs
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: Mysteries deepen and dangers multiply as a monster haunts the wilderness. Can Charles and Anna solve the mystery that threatens the werewolves with exposure? And can they manage the strange bond that ties the two of them together?

Review: Wow, what an unrelenting rollercoaster ride this turned out to be. An absolute page turner that refused to allow me to put it down until the very last punctuation mark!

I’m not sure if having read the Mercy Thompson series increased my understanding and thus my enjoyment, or if it was the book itself, but this was way better than any book in that series, IMHO. It just galloped along with breathtaking action, hardly pausing between chapters before dragging you into the next development.

I loved this book. And I have the next…

And yes, this abrupt review is going to irritate the hell out of one of my readers (you know who you are), but I said I liked it and I’m NOT going to analyze it. I want to go read the next one. Deal!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cornflakes Rocks


 Well, they were supposed to be Cornflakes Rock Cakes, but I kinda invented the recipe because I couldn't find the one I was looking for (i.e. memory is bad, don't remember recipe properly so hashed it out), and left them in the oven too long. They were still edible, and tasty, but very very hard.

They were super easy to make (my kind of cooking) and made a good weekend snack.

I used gluten free flour (Orgran Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour), but I don't think it makes much difference.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
I cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or honey
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups cornflakes, crushed
Nuts and dried fruit, to taste, chopped

Mix the butter and sugar together until soft, add syrup or honey and blend.
Stir in flour, then crushed cornflakes and mix well.
Add in chopped nuts and bits of dried fruit, per your own tastes. I made one batch with chopped almonds and currants, and another without. Both were good.
Rock Formation
If the mix is too dry, add a little more honey or syrup.
Take teaspoons of mix and form into balls.
Bake in medium oven 350F/180C for about 10 mins. They will continue to set after baking.

I baked mine for 20 minutes - WAAAAY too long.  If they don't look right, you can adjust your baking time to suit your oven.

Voila! Munchies time!

My problem is eating them straight out of the oven, and burning my mouth! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ve Vish You a Money SMishmas

I've heard of phishing, where a fraudster attempts to relieve you of your greenbacks by simulating a genuine website, but I've never heard of vishing and smishing. Have you?

Turns out that the crooks are getting sneakier, and/or the victims are dumber.

Apparently Vishing is leaving a voicemail message, and SMishing is sending a text message. How on earth they're supposed to get anything out of that, I don't know.

Maybe I should read this article to find out?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dive Tunic

C'est moi - in the Pink Concoction
This is my first, and last, experience with rayon. It's slippery which makes sewing interesting, but it doesn't breathe at all. I wear this over my wet cozzie after diving, and after a 30 minute ride back to shore, my cozzie is still soaking wet. Great when you're cold, to keep the wind out, but not marvelous in the hot and humid conditions we experience here.

Don'tcha love the sultry look?
Still, the benefits it offers - quick to dry and doesn't wrinkle - makes it an ideal tunic to wear over my swimsuit on dive days. Which is why it ended up as one.

Ok, so this was another one of my pattern making disasters, I wanted a loose pullover tunic and ended up with a sack. Eventually I sewed two lines down either side about a hands-breadth in from the edges of the tunic, leaving the edges open. I call them my "butterfly wings". But it's still a sack.

The pics were the best I could create, my camera was not in a happy "let's please" mood, it kept falling over and the lighting sucks. Which translates, of course, to "the photographer is useless" But you didn't log on for the photography, didja?

And, worse luck, the figure inside the sack needs work too. But as you're not reading this because you're into my figure, please enjoy the pics of the sack. :D




Monday, January 16, 2012

100 Book Challenge - Weeks 14 &15

I was told off for giving away too many spoilers in my reviews, so here is a new format to try to avoid that.


Book Review #28: REMEMBERED DEATH
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Murder Mystery


Blurb: After the sad suicide of Rosemary Barton, life went on. Her sister, Iris, got used to her absence. Her husband mourned her, but began to pick up his life again. Suicide is difficult to recover from, but it appeared that recovery was in sight for the family. That is, it was until some mysterious notes make a terrible accusation: Rosemary Barton, they claimed, was murdered. Murder, not suicide.
With that suspicion, everything changes.

Review: I’ve always been a great admirer of Agatha Christie, and this book is one more intelligent offering. However, I was rather surprised to discover that she did not only write the “Miss Marple” and “Hercule Poirot” mysteries. Neither of them featured in this novel at all.

In the beginning I found the book a little disjointed, but maybe that was just me. It settled very quickly into a terrific flow and a clipping pace. With five possible murderers, I was kept guessing right up to the very end, and the actual HOWdunnit was really very clever.

While dated to the time of her writing, making the speech and activities a little quaint, this could have happened in this town today. The plot is plausible, the characters believable, and the motives as timeless as history. Christie shows a deep understanding of human foibles, particularly those darker traits.

I’m interested to know if the “detectives” in this case show up in any other novels, particularly Colonel Race. However, whether he does or not, I remain a firm Christie fan.


Book Review #29: Dead Man Walking
Author: Sister Helen Prejean
Genre: Non-fiction


Blurb: In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier's death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him--men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing.
Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Confronting both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the needs of a crime-ridden society and the Christian imperative of love, Dead Man Walking is an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty, a book that is both enlightening and devastating.

Review: I have always supported the death penalty for serious crimes. I’ve always believed it was better for society to remove some folks from that society, for the good of the whole. Remove the rotten apple before it corrupts the whole barrel, type of thought. I thought that capital punishment was the best option, cheaper than life incarceration. In actuality, it costs five times more to execute a man than to lock him up for the rest of his days. That money could be redirected into reducing crime by hiring more policemen or countering poverty.

This book made me think deeply and question my standpoint on capital punishment.

I liked that Prejean gives all sides of the story: the victim, the victim’s family, the accused and his family, the government officials who make the decision divorced from the proceedings, and the government employees who personally enact that decision, looking into the eyes of the condemned man.

It has deep questions. Is the State justified in deciding who lives and who dies? Is murder the right consequence for murder? As Prejean says: killing a man who cannot defend himself is murder, no matter how you justify it.

The levels of corruption and ineptitude in death cases was also a surprise, and yet not really surprising. My heart aches for those who have been unjustly condemned to die.


So did I change my stance? Not exactly. I will have to work through this book for a few days, digest the information and formulate a decision, perhaps investigate a little more. In one way, I agree with one of the executed convicts in the book; those who are truly evil, such as a child molester and murderer for example, should not live. Perhaps the death penalty should be more difficult to impose, have greater restrictions, but still be an option for truly heinous crimes?

The question then, however, is how is a crime judged “heinous”. Does the mother of a girl who has been raped and stabbed and left to bleed to death consider her daughter’s death more heinous than the mother of a child shot in a drug war? At first glance, yes. But what if I told you the child had witnessed another murder and had been living in fear of being “offed” as a result? Would the mental torture that child endured make it more heinous? What if the child didn’t die instantly, but bled to death, crying and afraid in his mother’s arms?

It seems to be roiling pot of controversy that cannot be easily answered. The question, ultimately, as far as I can tell from this book, is: does one act of violence justify another?

And what will you do about it when you work out an answer?

Book Review #30: The Quick Red Fox
Author: John D MacDonald
Genre: PI/Detective

Blurb: Travis McGee is looking for blackmailers for a superstar actress. With her personal secretary at his side, McGee is combing the country for suspects who attended a sex party with the sex symbol that produced pictures of all the participants. Trouble is, all of the other suspects show up in hospitals or dead.

Review: You know how some people use the endearments “dear” or “sweetie” to everyone, even complete strangers? Well, it drives me nuts. And MacDonald uses it all the time! Not just for one character, but all the time; with different characters and even as part of the narrative.

He also went off on tangents and totally lost me a couple of times. I was .. er.. what? Did I miss something? Have you SEEN the size of those ants? Ok, if you’re confused now, you get what I experienced.

The storyline wasn’t bad, but I found it more work than I like to read. I read for relaxation. If I wanted to work, I’d get an economics textbook. Unfortunately I won’t be looking out for any other Travis McGee stories. :(

And yes, I noticed he's very popular on Amazon. So? I'm not allowed to have an opinion now?


Book Review #31: Rage
Author: Richard Bachman aka Stephen King
Genre: Psycho-Thriller

Blurb: His twisted mind turned a quiet classroom into a dangerous world of terror.

Review: I’d never heard of Richard Bachman before. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King, but that was a long time ago. So I was lucky enough to read this book without any expectations, and I’m glad of it.

The book is a psychological thriller, and there is quite a bit of social examination throughout it. A lot of Bachman/King’s viewpoints are luridly true, the sorts of truths we all know but nobody talks about. Brave or foolish? Probably both, but it’s not likely to change the world much, so we don’t need to worry about it. J

Oddly enough, the book was not depressing, although you’d think it could be. It is dark, though, and the ending reminded me a little of Lord of the Flies.

I enjoyed this intelligent psycho-thriller. I’ve managed to find another Bachman book, and I look forward to reading it.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and borrow this book from the library. Stephen King has taken it off the market, apparently, and it is now a collector's item. Unless you WANT a collector's item, in which case, hope you've got a lot of moola!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Starting the Year off with a Tux or Two

This post is old and long overdue, so why not use it for the first project of twenty-one-two!

Aaarrrghhhh! I slay me.

Ok, so a friend's husband and son have a birthday really close together. As the son was celebrating his first year, he didn't mind sharing his birthday party with dad. (They're not going to get away with that for many years, so may as well make the most of it now! LOL)

With no idea what they would like as gifts, and as they were having a celebratory BBQ, I had this crazy idea to make a Mapron (man apron) in the form of a tux for both dad and junior.

I seriously need to get my head read. I don't think it's screwed on straight!

Anyway, I went to the local thrift store and bought two mens shirts, one black-y sort of striped concoction and a white one. I used the black one for the mapron (front was front, back was backing) and the white collar for the collar of the mapron. The rest of the white shirt front became the tux bib.

Never, ever, EVER again! That was the fiddliest most awkwardest most finger-damaging project I think I've tried yet! I made several mistakes, the worst of which was my regular (you'd think I'd learn) forgetting to include seam allowances.

Furthermore, despite having a dream sewing machine that does everything except make coffee, I managed to mess up the seam lines trying to sew over multiple layers that were all uneven too. Another mistake was going by thumbsuck, rather than actually cutting a pattern.

I'd like to say I learned my lesson. I think I have:

Don't try this again!

Anyhoo, the recipients were suitably impressed and gave me a photo to show off. Methinks I did ok.

 Oh, and I didn't want buttons that could be pulled off and swallowed, so those were sewn too. Cute, hey?


Monday, January 9, 2012

100 Book Challenge Weeks 12 & 13



Book Review #24: Unlikely Friendships
Author: Jennifer S Holland
Genre: Non-Fiction: Animals

The author is a National Geographic journalist, and it shows in this charming collection of stories of unusual interspecies friendships. The stories are short, and very “news article” in style, which spoiled the book for me, just a tad. I would have preferred less “reporting” and more personality, but that’s just my sorry little opinion. Please don’t let that deter you, though, this is an “awwwww” read to be enjoyed.

From a wild rhinoceros and its warthog pal, to a homely cat with its best-bud rat, this book has a wide range of phenomenal, unexplainable, but heartwarming friendships between two animals that would normally never look at each other. Except, perhaps, as lunch.

Some “friendships” were deliberate introductions by game- or zookeepers trying to provide a companion for a lonely inmate. Others were natural progressions of animals that found themselves in each others' company. I found the wild, non-human-interference friendships were the most intriguing. Like the leopard who befriended a cow, or the lioness and the baby Oryx. Explanations are attempted, but who knows, really?

Each story is accompanied by beautiful color photographs, which add to the overall pleasure of reading the book.

Whilst not strictly “animal” friendships, Holland has included a few animal-man interactions that are quite remarkable. Lucky folks, these, to have experienced wildlife so personally.


Book Review #25: Maigret Loses His Temper
Author: Georges Simenon, Translated by Robert Eglesfield
Genre: Crime

A quaint little book with rather an odd ending.

It is obvious from the writing that this is an old book. Which I checked the publication date, it was printed in the early sixties. It certainly didn’t feel that old, but perhaps, like Paris, the city in which it is set, it is timeless and can be enjoyed in any decade.

Chief Superintendent Maigret gets involved in a crime with no bad guy and no motive. The more he investigates the murdered, the less he finds reason for him to be killed. He is an upstanding citizen, a faithful husband, a good father, a respected businessman, he even pays his taxes.

While Maigret manages to identify the killer, he still cannot find proof or a motive, and this annoys him, like a personal insult.

The book is not fast-paced, as modern novels often are, but plods along like a good detective, working its way from one clue to another logically and determinedly. It doesn’t let you become bored with too much information or unnecessary drivel, but it reveals to you the information the Chief gathers, pulling you along relentlessly until, at the end, you know the truth as he does.

I enjoyed the book and may have looked for more titles by the same author (the name of the book suggesting this is part of a series), except for the very odd ending.

Now, I’ve been told I give away too many spoilers in my reviews, although I try really hard not to, so I’m not going to tell you any more than that.

But I would love to hear your opinion on the ending. If you read it, make a comment?


Book Review #26: The Captain and the Enemy
Author: Graham Greene
Genre: Human Drama

This must be my week of strange stories.

Victor Baxter is an unhappy boy at an English boarding school, who is taken away by "the Captain", who claims he won the lad from his father in a backgammon game. Victor gets a new name, Jim, and a new life with Liza, the woman who always wanted a baby of her own.

What follows is the eccentric account by the youngster as he grows up of his experiences with the Captain, who appears and disappears throughout his young life. Dispassionate in parts, confused in others, Jim recounts his memories, discusses his confusion, and works through his feelings about his imposed family, to whom he refers as his adopted family.

The tone of the book is one of reminiscence, in the sense of looking back over a part of your life that you never understood, didn’t really care for one way or another, and recall only because you’ve been asked about it. Overall, it held my fascination the same way a snake fascinates a rabbit, with some sort of sense of impending doom you are powerless to avoid.

And yet, while it is not remarkable enough that I shall remember it, it’s not so bad that I regret reading it.

I guess this is one of the books critics love to rave over as “an indepth exploration into the angst of the teenage soul and children with detached parents” or some such. I’m afraid to admit that I’ve never had much time for that sort of verbal diarrhea, and I’m not about to start with it now.

Suffice to say, if you like human drama-ish stuff, have at it.


Book Review #27: Pacific Vortex!
Author: Clive Cussler
Genre: Private Eye

The front cover bills this as the “first Dirk Pitt adventure”. The back cover describes Mr. Pitt as being a “death-defying adventurer”. Hmm, ambitious, this author.

When America’s newest uber-fancy submarine goes down in an area known as the Pacific Vortex (a Bermuda-triangle-esque disappearing ships spot), the authorities call on Dirk Pitt to help them find it.

Unlike the Bermuda Triangle, however, the Pacific Vortex is discovered to be far less arcane than originally thought, and Pitt discovers he has to deal more with genius and lunacy than ghosts and aliens.

While I do think Cussler was somewhat ambitious, the story was interesting and made a good afternoon read. If I stumbled across another Dirk Pitt adventure I wouldn’t turn it down, it’s easy reading and an entertaining means to while away some spare time. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We Should Wake Up in an Uncomfortable Bed


I've long been of the opinion we've got it all wrong.

We should be born old, grow younger and more stupid, and die as babies, utterly helpless and totally happy.

Also, we should go to sleep in a warm, snuggly bed that is just perfectly molded to our bodies, and wake up in the morning in a cold, uncomfortable, pulled-tight bed that makes us get out of it in a hurry.

Wouldn't that make for an interesting life?

However, as we're stuck with the get-in-with-it-made-and-pulled-tight, get-out-when-it's-warm-and-snuggly beds for the foreseeable future, we have to find bedding that suits our budgets, tastes, and color schemes. All very well and good, but have you tried shopping for bedding lately?

Himself has given me permission to decorate. (I can't say REdecorate, because we've not really done any decorating since we've been together, just smooshed together whatever we had into a relatively acceptable format.) Now that  we're in one place for the next few years, I want to make this place "home", rather than "the house we live in". And so I want to decorate.

I've been creating look books and idea books for years, but I finally settled on a color scheme for the bedroom: blue and yellow. It's quite a popular scheme, I've discovered, but I don't care. I like it.

Over the past few days I've been browsing bedding options. There are a confusing array of options out there, and the  first part of "confusing" is what they call everything. What's the difference between a quilt and a  comforter, for example?

Houzz must have heard my silent plea for assistance and actually posted this lovely little look book for my edification. Such nice people!


Here's my "before" photo. Love da kitty! Don't hold your breath for the "after". I've only gotten as far as buying the curtains, I can't find a bedding set I like. :(

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Weirdly Expensive Parody

Ok, I've been known to accidentally spend a serious chunk of change on Kindle ebooks, primarily because it's "invisible:" money. Each time you buy a Kindle book, it processes the order immediately, you don't rack up a 'cart' as you do with normal Amazon shopping. So, instead of seeing a nice lump sum and going "HOLEY MOLEY!" and removing some of the titles, at the end of the month you get your bank statement and say several words that your grandmother definitely would not approve of.

That is not likely to happen with this ebook.

Weirdly Expensive

I see there have been no reviews. Perhaps I'm not the only one to think WTF???

Monday, January 2, 2012

100 Book Challenge Weeks 10 & 11


Book Review #19: Blood Bound – Mercy Thompson Book 2
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy
Whilst continuing from the previous book, each book stands alone allowing one to join the party at any point. Briggs managed to introduce characters to new readers without boring existing readers with facts they already know. Quite a talent, that!

In this second book, Ms Briggs explores the vampire world as Mercy is drawn in to assist with a rogue vampire due to her unique skills and resistance to vampire magic. Things go, predictably, amiss and Mercy has to depend upon her wits and creativity as she works out how, why, who, and where are the bad guys.

It’s a bit like looking at a place or person you’ve known for ages and suddenly seeing them for the very first time. She introduces ideas and concepts that are alien and unusual in such a way that you accept them as reasonable and normal. It’s great fun!

Yes, I enjoyed this book very much.

However, while book one advised you of a love triangle, book two introduces a love… er.. rectangle? Quadrangle? No idea, anyway, there are four of them now. Poor Mercy!

Wonder how many there’ll be by the end of the next book? LOL

Book Review #20: Iron Kissed – Mercy Thompson Book 3
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy

Book 1 – werewolves. Book 2 – vampires. Book 3 – the Fae. Each book is an interesting exploration of new peoples, whilst still keeping you abreast of everyone else you’ve already met.

Mercy has a talent for getting herself into trouble, quite without meaning to, of course. It may have something to do with her automatic reaction of doing exactly what she’s told not to do, her stubbornness, and her loyalty to her friends. Whatever the cause, most of the characters in the book spend a lot of time dumbfounded by how much trouble she gets into, and the fact she survives. I love it!

This is such a fun series. I’m going to be rather disappointed when I run out of books.

Book Review #21: Bone Crossed – Mercy Thompson Book 4
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy

Book 4 and we’re back to vampires. I was very interested to see what the “theme” of the next book would be, as I figured we’d covered all the major types of preternatural beings in this book.

Mercy learns new truths about her abilities in this novel as she battles the grand-daddy of nasty vampires. It was a very tightly written book and, although it’s over 400 pages long, it felt half that. The story whisks you along so fast, you risk getting whiplash if you look back. It’s a terrifying, exciting ride!

There was a point in the beginning where I worried that Mercy would become foolish and ridiculous, a la Bella in the Twilight series, but should not have been concerned. She is one feisty, independent fighter and her guts, perseverance and persistence resonate with me. I truly enjoy her honesty and development as a character.

Great book, Ms Briggs. You get better every book.

Book Review #22: Silver Borne – Mercy Thompson Book 5
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy
Wow! Just wow.

Each of these books gets better and better. This time the book dealt with both fae and werewolves, weaving the truths of species into the thread of the story and then spinning it tighter and tighter until you can’t breathe until the end of the book.

Phew!

Mercy Thompson is feisty, intelligent, loyal, stubborn, and lucky. She has a fantastic team behind her on whom she depends in times of trouble, and her believe in them lends her confidence in everything she does.

A great role model.

Well, except for her tendency to get into trouble, of course. J

Book Review #23: River Marked – Mercy Thompson Book 6
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy
This is the last book in the series that I have, and it is definitely worth the wait. Here we learn about Mercy’s heritage, and she gets a few of her questions answered regarding her past. Her relationships are smoothed out, her position with the wolves is finalized, and her life seems to be in order.

Does this make it a boring read?

Not on your life!

This is a finale of note! Mercy’s ability to attract trouble takes her to whole new heights. And lows. And she is tested to the limits of her courage.

An excellent book, a terrific series. Book 6 is, to me, a fantastic end to the story and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the ride. Better than Six Flags, by far!

I’ve heard a book seven is in progress. I’m not sure I want to read it. Book six tied up all the knots so neatly; I’m loathe to start a new ball of yarn.

Well, not all the knots. I mean, is she going to sort out Marsilia or not? And do Gabriel and Jesse get together without being eaten by the Alpha? Hmm... well, guess I have to wait until it’s published. Not much I can do before then anyway, right? Wink