Friday, February 21, 2020

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Title: Smoke Bitten
Series: Mercy Thompson #12
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: March 10, 2020

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

What are you?”


Patricia Briggs never ceases to amaze me. Her world-building is extraordinary. She keeps on bringing new spectacular characters into the fold. 

In Smoke Bitten, there are a few things that are going wrong in the Mercyverse. 

For starters:

-A new being is trying to kill Mercy (nothing new there, right?).
-A pack of werewolves is trying to take over Adam's territory.
-Wulfe decides to tell Mercy something she doesn't want to hear.
-Last but not least, Adam and Mercy's mate bond has gone silent. 

How can anything go wrong with these events happening simultaneously?  I mean, Mercy is right when she says she's Chaos. She should advertise it with neon lights. Of course, Coyote is part to blame.

From the moment I opened the first page, I knew it was going to be a rollercoaster of events. There is non-stop action and poor Mercy is always in the middle of it. She has to deal with Fae, Underhill, Vampire and Werewolf politics to mention a few.

From the above, the one that annoyed me the most was the Pack issues.

For how long are they going to question her motives and when are they going to completely accept her?

Hasn't she proven her loyalty and love for Adam?

I wanted to give some of these werewolves a big slap on the face. I'm getting tired of their attitude. I almost got mad with Adam too until I understood what was going on with him.

One passage in Smoke Bitten made me wonder what might happen in the next book. I'm not sure it was intentional or I'm just reading too much into it. I guess I could only hope. If it happens, that could be explosive all way around.

I love Mercy, Adam, Ben, Jesse, Stephan and so many more. I'm not sure what I'll do when Patricia Briggs decides to stop writing these characters. It will be a sad, sad day.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Roc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It is so exciting to get back into the world of Mercy! Every time I read one of Patricia's books, I know I am in for an action-packed and addicting book. Thankfully, this book was just that! This book was thrilling, addicting, and captivating. I would expect nothing less from Patricia! 

I loved catching up with Mercy and her gang, however, there were some frustrating moments between Adam and Mercy. Adam was acting so...not like himself in this book and his lack of openness and communication with Mercy made me want to rip my hair out. I know their relationship can't be perfect and they will have their up and downs, but this drama felt like it could have been easily solved. Once Adam finally opened up, his actions that previously annoyed me made sense, but I just wish he would have been more open with Mercy from the beginning. Thankfully, Mercy handled the situation with grace and maturity (which I knew she would). Mercy was understanding throughout the entire situation and she didn't jump to any conclusions, which I was so thankful for. WE STAN! 

Once they were able to talk about what Adam was going through, they went back to being the couple I have known and loved for so many years! I WILL NEVER STOP SHIPPING THEM!

Of course there was plenty of wonderful world-building and storytelling in this book, and they were my favorite elements of this book. The plot was so interesting and addicting, I honestly couldn't put the book down! I felt like I never truly knew who to trust or what was going to happen next, which was so thrilling. I can't wait to see what Patricia will introduce to us next, because I know her imagination is endless.

Overall, this was a great addition to the Mercy series! I cannot wait to see what Patricia comes out with next!

4 / 5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Roc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop

Title: The Invisible Ring
Series: The Black Jewels #4
Author: Anne Bishop
Publisher: Roc

A prequel set in the "dark and sensual world" (11th Hour) of the national bestselling Black Jewels Trilogy.

Jared is a Red-Jeweled Warlord bound as a pleasure slave by the Ring of Obedience. After suffering nine years of torment as a slave, he murdered his owner and escaped -- only to be caught and sold into slavery once again. The notorious queen who has purchased him, known as the Gray Lady, may not be what she seems. Soon, Jared faces a difficult choice: his freedom, or his honor.

The Invisible Ring is a Prequel to the Black Jewels series. The story takes place way before Witch is born.

A pleasure slave, Jared, is ready to be sent to die in the salt mines after killing his queen who had abused him. He's ready for his destiny when he’s purchased by the Gray Lady. 

Jared has heard of the Grey Lady and what he knows is that people fear her. When a slave is bought, by her, they are never seen or heard from again.

Before the journey to her home in the mountains begins, she removes the Ring of Obedience and replaces it with the Invisible ring. 

Besides purchasing Jared, The Gray Lady buys more slaves: Blaed, Thera, Garth, and Brock to mention some.

As the journey begins, it seems someone wants to capture and destroy the Gray Lady. At first, Jared is just trying to stay alive but when he starts noticing that Lia, the Gray Lady, is not what she seems, he starts having mixed feelings. He becomes protective of her. At some point, Jared must decide between staying with her or running for his freedom before all of them die. 

A good addition to the series. This story happens before Janelle is born. I like all the characters: Lia, Blaed, Thera, and Jared.  It was a good mixture of personalities and Craft.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop

Title: Queen of the Darkness
Series: The Black Jewels #3
Author: Anne Bishop
Publisher: Roc

Jaenelle Angelline now reigns as Queen-protector of the Shadow Realm. No longer will the corrupt Blood slaughter her people and defile her lands. But where one chapter ends, a final, unseen battle remains to be written, and Jaenelle must unleash the terrible power that is Witch to destroy her enemies once and for all.

Even so, she cannot stand alone. Somewhere, long lost in madness, is Daemon, her promised Consort. Only his unyielding love can complete her Court and secure her reign. Yet, even together, their strength may not be enough to hold back the most malevolent of forces.

My understanding is that the Queen of the Darkness was going to be the end of the trilogy.  As I was reading it, I could see why it had that feeling. The main characters are well developed and ready for battle. A battle that we as the readers knew it was coming. There was no way Dorothea and Hekatah could cause so much harm and not pay for it. After all, everything has a price or so we're told.

Jaenelle Angelline is the Queen. She is a Witch. The most powerful in the world. She also has her own court and she has the Kindred as her friends. 

Daemon is the Queen's Consort. He's powerful, dangerous and devoted to his Queen. So is his brother Lucivar and their father, Saetan. 

When so many are threatened, Jaenelle would do whatever is necessary to keep the ones she loves safe with the help of Daemon and the Kindred. 

Queen of the Darkness was truly enjoyable. The characters have grown over time. Their personalities are well defined. One of my favorites now is Surreal. She has grown on me and she has become vital to the series. Of course, I like the main characters and the Kindred too.

I'm glad that this was not the end of the series and I can enjoy reading more about this world. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Title: Heir to the Shadows
Series: The Black Jewels #2
Author: Anne Bishop
Publisher: Roc

In the second novel set in the “darkly fascinating world” (SF Site) of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy, ambitions unfurl as the realm’s dreams of a liberator have finally been made flesh...

The Blood have waited centuries for the coming of Witch, the living embodiment of magic. But Jaenelle, the young girl singled out by prophecy, is haunted by the cruel battles fought over her—for not all the Blood await her as their Savior. Some dismiss her as a myth. Some refuse to believe. And still others look forward to using her, making her a pawn to their shadowy devices.

Only time and the devotion of her loyal guardians have healed Jaenelle’s physical wounds. But her mind is fragile, barely able to protect her from the horrifying memories of her childhood. Nothing, however, can deflect her from her destiny—and the day of reckoning looms near. When her memories return. When her magic matures. When she is forced to accept her fate.

On that day, the dark Realms will know what it means to be ruled by Witch.

After the events in Daughter of the Blood, Jaenelle has been in a coma for two years. She awakens in the safety of her adopted father's keep and her physical and mental healing begin as well. Slowly, she is coming back to life and before you know it, she is a teenager. Jaenelle is coming into her powers and is learning how to use them. She is also forging alliances with her friends, the Kindred and starting her own coven without no one realizing it. Yet, she's marked by that terrible night at the altar. Her mind was fragmented by the attack and some memories are too painful to remember them.  

Another one who's scarred after that night at the altar was Daemon. His mind became fragile after trying to help Jaenelle and failing. A confrontation with Lucivar only pushes him farther to the edge of madness. 

Lucifer has lost faith in his freedom and is ready to give up until someone helps him take a different path.

Of course, the two evil women, Dorothea and Hekatah continue to fabricate schemes to damage all of them. Jaenelle, Daemon, and Lucivar would suffer through many of their plots. It baffles me that none of the three and or Saetan have killed them. Of course, if they did, there wouldn't be a story.

Heir to Shadows was less bloody and traumatizing than its predecessor. There was plenty of character development and some very humorous parts. The huge drawback was having Jaenelle and Daemon separated for most of the book, it just wasn't much fun. 

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

Title: Daughter of the Blood
Series: The Black Jewels #1
Author: Anne Bishop
Publisher: Roc

The Dark Kingdom is preparing itself for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy--the arrival of a new Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But this new ruler is young, and very susceptible to influence and corruption; whoever controls her controls the Darkness. And now, three sworn enemies begin a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, and the destiny of an entire world is at stake.

The Others is one of my favorite fantasy series. I've been meaning to read the Black Jewels but for lack of time, I couldn't do it until now.

The one thing I love about the Daughter of the Blood is the 4 main characters.

We have a young girl, Jaenelle who has magical powers who can become the most powerful Witch. She is innocent and has been able to make many friends in different realms. She is not aware of how much power she has, so she does things her own way. Jumping from region to another one using magic without her family being aware. She's so powerful that little things magically speaking don't come easy for her, to the point that her family in Terreille thinks she's without much of a gift.

Second, we have Daemon Sadi SaDiablo, one of the two princes, sons of Saetan. He is terrifying in his "coldness".  For centuries, he has been forced to live as a pleasure slave. A pleasure slave that hates being used this way but who sometimes uses it to his advantage when it's necessary. He has a Ring of Obedience which is used to hurt him by Queen Dorothea.

Third, we have Lucivar, the other son. Also a slave in another region. He's less dangerous than Daemon but has a bad temper. Sometimes, he wants to stop the pain but he hopes that someday, he could serve a Queen who deserves it.

Last, we have Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell. He was forced to leave his two sons in the hands of an evil woman who wanted nothing else than to cause him pain and destroy his kids' will in the process.

Jaenelle, a young girl will be the catalyst for these 3 powerful men to dedicate their lives to love her and protect her.

I enjoyed the storyline but I do have to mention, there were plenty of scenes that were hard to read.  Most of them involved rape, sexual abuse, and torture. If you can't stomach it, please skip this book.

I'm intrigued enough by the story, to continue reading the next book in this series.

Cliffhanger: Yes

3/5 Fangs

Monday, February 10, 2020

Night Prey by John Sandford

Title: Night Prey
Series:  Lucas Davenport #6
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Porsche-driving Lucas Davenport, who has just returned to duty after recovering from a serious gunshot wound, is charged with saving the political life of Rose Marie Roux, the ambitious police chief who has her eye on a Senate seat. He's given the assignment of tracking to ground the sex-crazed perpetrator of a series of murders of young women. Davenport's unwelcome colleague in this case is feminist Meagan Connell, an abrasive State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator who's obsessed with catching the killer before she dies of cancer.

Also bedeviled by the ill-timed assignment of a new partner, a yuppie who was formerly assigned to the grade schools as "Officer Friendly" and who happens to be the husband of the mayor's niece, Davenport is additionally saddled with the mystifying death of an elderly woman who died rather conveniently, freeing some local hoods to profit from a real-estate scam.

The killer is dropping bodies all over the metropolitan area ... and makes the mistake of becoming a little too obsessed with a potential victim and thus leaves a trail that Davenport and his fellow officers finally discover.

Lucas Davenport is now officially back as a cop working under new leadership. The new police chief

Rose Marie Roux needs help with a possible serial killer. Megan Connell is a Minnesota State investigator who believes multiple women have been murdered, at least one every year.

The unsub's name is Koop. He picks his female victims carefully. Usually, women who are quiet and unassuming. He's also a cat burglar. When he gets into the apartment of Sara Jensen, he becomes obsessed with her. He even gets her perfume to be able to recall her smell. 

It's up to Lucas to figure out who Koop is and how to get the guy.

I liked Night Prey. Koop was a completely crazy animal. Sara Jensen triggers in him such a violent response that he starts making mistakes and other people's lives are taken by him due to his frustration.

I like that Lucas is living with his girlfriend Weather Karkinnen. She brings the best out of him. She's smart and funny. Of course, Lucas still has a wandering eye but at least he refrains from much.

Lucas dealing with Meagan Connell was also different. Meagan is dying from cancer and she wants Koop taken care of before she dies. I felt sad for her. 

As always in this series, we get funny moments, sad ones and a lot of action too.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ninth House
Series: Alex Stern #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo 
Publisher: Flatiron Books 
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”

I have to say, Ninth House is not Six of Crows. 

If you have read my review of Six of Crows, you know it's one of my favorite fantasy books EVER. 

Was I disappointed that it was not as amazing as Six of Crows? probably yes, but after a slow start, I began to warm up to Galaxy. I was able to enjoy the story of Yale, the secret society houses, the greys all over campus, and Alex's special gift. 

Galaxy "Alex" Stern is a survivor. At a young age, she discovered that not everyone saw the world as she did. She understood there were souls that hang out after death. Alex was able to see these ghosts, who are called Greys in this world. She has been attacked by them and only through certain street drugs she was able to forget about them. Her life has been a dark and dangerous road before getting to Yale. 

At Yale, she has tried to keep up with the school assignments but she is failing miserably. She's also part of Lethe, the Ninth House. The one with less magic but who is supposed to police the other houses to make sure magic is not being used in the wrong way. Then, a young girl who's not part of Yale is found murdered and Alex is sent to investigate the case. At first, everything points to the boyfriend as the culprit but the more Alex discovers, the more she's sure a house is involved in her death.

The Ninth House has two timelines. One set in Winter and one set in Spring. During winter, we get to know Darlington, the college kid who's teaching Alex all about magic and the other secret societies. During Spring, we learn that Darlington has disappeared and the details of his disappearance come in slowly as the story progresses.

Like I said earlier, I warmed up to Alex and I really loved Darlington. I hope to see him again in the next book.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs