Fair Game

 With the werewolves ‘out’ in society, the time has come for them to start integrating, to show they aren’t monsters without restraints or morals.  When a serial killer is on the loose in Boston, targeting werewolves and fae, the FBI turn to Bran as The Marrock for help.  As the ultimate head of the American werewolves, he sends Anna and his son Charles to help.

Considering that this successful set of books developed out of a short story that was set in the world of the author’s main series, it’s a pretty amazing feat.  That it’s also eminently readable and enjoyable with characters I’ve loved since that short story, is nothing short of amazing and a testament to the writing skill and imagination of Patricia Briggs.

Fair game is book three in the Alpha and Omega series and despite the two year gap in time between the release of Hunting Ground and Fair Game, the flow, writing and characters remained consistent.  I’d been hoping she would return to the characters of Anna and Charles, as they have become as dear to me as Mercy Thompson.  While you do get mentions of the others from time to time, I would dearly love to read a book that had them all in, now that would be heaven!

Anna has come a long way from the mentally and physically abused wolf we first met in Cry Wolf.  She is married to Charles and understands her role as Omega much more.  In fact it was a treat to see her confident and using the power she has grown into.  Charles I adore and want to smack in equal measure which for me, is about the right tone for an alpha male; dominant yet endearing.  I really felt for the problems they had between them, with Charles being his father’s enforcer, carries out the Marrock’s justice.  I don’t know how anyone could have carried that weight around without it affecting them and it was sad to see it causing a rift between them.

I loved the plot of Fair Game, it actually felt more like a supernatural mystery than traditional urban fantasy and a really good one at that.  The interactions of Anna and Charles with the FBI and the police were sometimes very funny, and Anna’s instructions on how to deal with an Alpha werewolf were well done, even if people then chose not to follow them.

These books are just so easy to read, entertaining and engaging that I before I started Fair Game, I actually read the previous books again right from the short story.  It only took me a couple of days and confirmed how much I love them.  As with all series I love, I just want more and I’m hoping that the consequences of the ending means there will definitely be more coming.

Fair Game is a wonderful read that charms and entertains while sneaking ever more into your heart.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

River Marked

Marrying a pack Alpha might have its own problems but for Mercy and Adam, their honeymoon getaway should have been fun and peaceful.  However, when werewolves, the fae and Mercy’s newly discovered heritage get mixed up together, the results become more than explosive.  Has the coyote walker finally bitten off more than she can chew?

It always feels good to be back with Mercy again, every time I get the latest book in the series.  I even feel it when I pick them up again to re-read.  She is one of my favourite and most consistent heroines, and I have never been disappointed when it’s time for the next release.  River Marked takes that enjoyment up yet another notch in my estimation and not only because Mercy and Adam finally tie the knot.

There was just so much in this book.  The romance between the two of them is so sweet and I think the book worked really well in that the cast was actually quite small in comparison to the earlier books.  Not that having the pack around is a bad thing, it just made a nice difference.  It started out great with the wedding and got even better, even though I knew their honeymoon wasn’t going to be all happy and easy.  Things just don’t work like that in their world and I would be disappointed if I expected it to!

The outstanding part for me was Mercy finally learning her history, who her father was… or wasn’t and coming to terms with what that meant.  Also that walkers aren’t quite what she expected.  Another part was Adam trying to be a good husband as well as the pack Alpha, and the conflict between those two roles was well written.  Being Alpha and having to leave most of the tough stuff to Mercy because so much of it involved water; definitely not an easy thing for Adam.

The theological side was a little bit confusing but I was also enthralled by it.  The stories were well crafted and I don’t know how much of it was based on Native American lore but it was intriguing and felt believable.

The action was fast paced and the fights with the river monster were exciting and had so much peril that I seriously wondered if Mercy was going to come out of it OK.

She is just a gutsy woman, aware of her limitations but refuses to give up anyway, has tenacity and love and makes the odd mistake.  My favourite type of heroine!

The letter at the end though, that made me cry.

A truly great read and a brilliant addition to the series.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Books I can’t wait for in 2011

There are so many books in already established series’ I am looking forwards to reading this year, not to mention new ones I have yet to discover.  Here is a selection that I really can’t wait to get my paws on :

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

January

A Hard Day’s Knight (Nightside) by Simon R. Green (Ace Books)
Kitty goes to War (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

March

River Marked (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs (Orbit)
Invincible (Chronicles of Nick 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (ATOM)
Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

April

Ghost Story (Dresden Files 13) by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Born of Shadows (League 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)

June

Hunt the Moon (Cassie Palmer) by Karen Chance (Signet Books)
Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy) by Mira Grant (Orbit)

July

Kitty’s Big Trouble (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

August

Pale Demon by (The Hollows) Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager)
Retribution (Dark-Hunter) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)
Downpour (Greywalker) by Kat Richardson (Piatkus Books)

October

Envy (Fallen Angels) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

Fantasy

March

Land of Painted Caves (Earth’s Children Book 6) by Jean M. Auel (Hodder & Stoughton)
Twilight’s Dawn (Black Jewels) by Anne Bishop (Roc)

April

Shadow Chaser (Chronicles of Siala) by Alexey Pehov (Simon & Schuster)

Chick Lit

February

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell (Headline)

March

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde (Century)
Kiss and Tell by Fiona Walker (Sphere)

May

Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson (Corgi)

Crime

January

You Belong to Me by Karen Rose (Headline)

May

Virals by Kathy Reichs (Arrow (Young))

Silver Borne

Mercedes Thompson is one of the most exceptional mechanics in the Tri-Cities area.  She’s also a Coyote skinwalker but that was a birth thing rather than a career choice.  Raised by the local Werewolf pack whose Alpha is Bran, The Marrok gave her a pretty good idea of the differences between her own abilities and werewolves.   Now in love with the Tri-Cities Alpha Adam and part of his pack, she is still trying to come to terms with her earlier attack and also deal with resentment from other pack members that Adam brought her into it.  Add in a depressed, suicidal werewolf, a book about the Fae that it seems they will go to any lengths to retrieve and it all equals Mercy having another bad day.

This is the 5th book in the Mercy Thompson series and when I get some time (ha!) I really need to go back, re-read the others and review them as they truly deserve it.

Mercy is a character that I utterly love.  She’s sassy and bold yet has her insecurities and is well aware of her limitiations.  That doesn’t stop her pushing beyond them when those she loves are in danger however.  I love her Coyote character as well, very much Mercy but ‘other’ too.

The other major characters are just as fascinating.  Adam her pack Alpha and mate is a great strong and not so silent type and his interactions with Mercy can be downright hilarious.  Samuel, her roommate who is the Marrok’s son but a lone wolf so not part of the Tri-Cities pack.   He’s usually right up there with Adam but his role in this book is one of sadness.  I really felt for him when he made his decision but when his alter-ego Sam the Wolf took over there are quite a few moments that made me giggle.

The humour aside, this book also has its darker side – betrayal and scheming from those you don’t expect as well as the Fae being involved and after Mercy as they believe she has something of theirs that is powerful and utterly dangerous.  By the end I felt a bit of a nervous wreck but loved the way it turned out, even if not all of it was pleasant.  And I’m not ashamed to admit I cried for much loved Medea… twice.

A great addition to the series and leaves me hungry for more.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Recommendations: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the pioneers of supernatural romance.  I’ve loved her work right from the first book I read and she remains one of my absolute favourite authors.  Her characterisations and stories are amazing and I have no idea how she keeps the plotline running through 19+ books but she does and and the results are outstanding.

So what do you do when you have devoured everything she has written?  Here are some recommendations for other authors in the same genre or with a similar style who I also love, and hopefully you might too!

J. R. Ward

Another author with a long running series, who has an amazing ability to bring her characters to life and into your hearts.  Features vampires, hot men and sassy women, who could ask for more?

The following authors also write supernatural romance/urban fantasy but they are not quite as epic in scope as Sherrilyn Kenyon or J. R. Ward.

Keri Arthur

Keri Arthur’s ‘Riley Jensen’ Series are a great addition to the genre, with a gutsy, sexy heroine who is half-werewolf, half-vampire.  The ‘Nikki and Michael’ vampire series has action as well as romance and the ‘Damask Circle Trilogy’ are definitely recommended reading too.

Patricia Briggs

For some werewolf love, Patricia Briggs brings the ‘Mercy Thompson’ Series to life and  is an excellent, engaging, action packed read.  Recently she has started on the ‘Alpha and Omega’ series from the same world, with two great characters who started out in a short story and are proving just as engaging.  Lighter on the romance side than Kenyon but the story makes up for it.

Karen Chance

The ‘Cassie Palmer’ clairvoyant series has a bit of mystery going on, even with the numerous supernatural elements and makes for an exciting, sometimes heated mix. In addition to the main series, Karen Chance has recently begun a spin off series featuring the daughter of one of the main cast, which is shaping up to be a good read.

Kelley Armstrong

The ‘Otherworld’ series is going from strength to strength and Kelley Armstrong has a great way of telling stories through different character’s viewpoints.  It starts with werewolves in Bitten and goes through several great characters who are witches, demons, sorcerors and necromancers.  I love how she crosses their paths with other characters and often sets up the scene for following books as minor plots in the current one.

Rachel Caine

Two excellent series so far – ‘The Weather Wardens’ and their abilities to control the elements along with the enigmatic Djinn and her Young Adult series ‘The Morganville Vampires’.  Both are excellent reads and highly recommended.

Kim Harrison

Witches, vampires, pixies oh my!  The ‘Rachel Morgan’ series is a  good solid read, inspired titles, humerous at times yet has its extremely poignant moments.  Fast paced, full of action and definitely one to read.

Karen MacInerney

‘Tales of an Urban Werewolf’ are an easy, interesting and fun series to read.  Doesn’t take itself too seriously but packs a punch when it needs to.

Carrie Vaughn

The brilliant ‘Kitty’ series (a misnomer since it’s about werewolves) just keeps getting better and Carrie Vaughn brings kick ass Kitty to life with style and panache.


If you have any other authors or books you feel would be enjoyed by people who loved Sherrilyn Kenyon, feel free to comment on this article with your recommendations.

Hunting Ground

Following on from Cry Wolf, Anna is still coming to terms with her past and being married and mated to Charles.  She is now firmly established as Omega in the Pack and learning about her new status.  Bran as Marrok continues his plans of bringing the American Werewolves out into the public world.  He sends Charles and Anna to Seattle to meet with international Alphas to settle any concerns they might have and has the meeting arbitrated by one of the Fae.   The French Alpha, after provoking a fight ends up being murdered and all evidence seems to point to Charles.  Knowing he’s innocent, Anna sets out to discover who is responsible for both the murder and framing Charles.

I read this book straight after Cry Wolf and it was a very smooth transition, just sucked me right back in as if I hadn’t switched books.  The plot was a bit more complex this time but didn’t detract from the heart of the book, the characters of Anna and Charles.  Her growth from being a submissive victim to a more confident, loving and protective young woman has been really well done.  The development of her human side was well written, and the werewolf aspect almost secondary.  On the opposite side, seeing Charles becoming more relaxed, getting used to having a mate and having to be softer with Anna has been just as good.  Even with the bond they have as mates, communications still get mixed up and it can sometimes be amusing as they sort it out.

There are a lot more characters in this book than the last and it was interesting to see how Charles and Anna interacted with them all both as a couple and separately.  I didn’t predict the ending at all which surprised me, the clues I spotted led me in a completely different direction and I thought it was cleverly done.

It was a good second book, as easy to read as the first and I fell in love with Anna and Charles all over again.  I really hope there are more to follow!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Cry Wolf

For Anna being a werewolf was about pain, torment and submission.  Even after she was rescued by Charles, the Marrok’s enforcer, and claimed as his mate, she expected more of the same.   Finding it hard to believe not all werewolves were as sick and brutal as the ones she left behind, she reluctantly journeys to Montana with the wounded Charles and learns she is a special type of wolf – an Omega.  Neither submissive nor Alpha, she has the power to soothe the savage beast within others and as such should have been a much valued member of the pack.  Her wolf side was all for the mating with Charles but the human side is too scared to let go and trust another person, even the one she was meant to be with.

Anna and Charles first appeared as minor characters in the Mercy Thompson books and then had their own short story told in the ‘On the Prowl’ Anthology.  I’d read those and thought they were interesting characters and was happy to hear they had been built on and now had their own book.  I didn’t really have many expectations as it doesn’t always work and sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.

Having just finished the book my impression is of having read a very touching story of survival and cost, and learning to trust again.  Familiar themes within urban fantasy but as with the Mercy Thompson books, Patricia Briggs has a fluid and easy to read way of writing that drags you into the story.  I loved the characters of Anna and Charles, Anna being very sweet and likeable, Charles being an Alpha and dominant wolf but tempered with intelligence, his position within the pack and his obvious love for Anna.

From the start the empathy with them returned, pretty much picking up where the short story ended and I liked that.  The original tale was quite brutal and I needed to know that for Anna it was starting to work out – and this book delivers on that front.  The plot was good, not very complex but since the book is character driven, it didn’t need to be and by the end I was firmly in love with these characters.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Patricia Briggs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)