Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

fire touchedBriggs is on top form again with Fire Touched, the 9th book in the Mercy Thompson series. If you are a newbie to the series then this story can be read as a stand-alone, but I would suggest reading the rest of the series, because it really is excellent.

Briggs must have a Phd in Fae politics by now. Talk about making the grey cells buzz with the sheer magnitude of it all. The pack rules are already quite complex, especially now they have added non-wolf members with whom half the pack has issues.

Mercy and Adam offer protection to someone, who at first sight doesn’t really seem like an important person or the catalyst for a potential fae vs human war. Then again some of the baddies still make the mistake of underestimating Mercy too.

Everyone wants a piece of Aiden, and they are willing to take out everyone and anything to get to him. Fortunately for him he has the pack on his side.

Fire Touched is a fast-paced urban fantasy that packs a wicked punch and keeps the reader on their toes. Briggs has infused the action with her very own brand of Fantasy, which often makes it appear as if she really does negotiate with the supernatural in her spare time.

The only thing I think could have been done a tad better was Underhill. I’m all for mysticism and secrecy, but trying to decipher the who and what of Underhill was a bit confusing. Sometimes it was a she, then an it and often a thing. Is it a place, more than one place or just a fae unto itself. I believe the latter was the actual answer, however I do think a better explanation would have simplified the matter.

Saying that I always enjoy the extra supernatural mile Briggs is willing to go for her stories. She has managed to keep the Mercy Thompson series fresh and intriguing, despite this being the ninth book in the series.

As always this was a great read and a highly recommended one.

Buy Fire Touched at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz

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Noa is swimming in a pool of grief and regret, and not all of it is her grief. Her beloved sister is dead and now she has to redefine herself as a person, in the family and in society. What or who is she without her elder sister?

Poetry features quite heavily in Shattered Blue. It is the Noa expresses her emotions, her pain and how she tells everyone what she is really feeling. It is what separates her from the masses and from the ghosts of the past.

When Callum steps into her life Noa knows there is something different about him, and that they have an unusual connection. I don’t think she was expecting it to be a supernatural one.

Fae wars and dysfunctional fae families are the focus of this story. The boundaries between the mortal world and the fae kingdom are moved and crossed. The family disagreement in one kingdom becomes a fight to the death in the mortal world.

In the midst of all of that Noa also discovers the flutterings of a new love or is it perhaps just a glamouring? Her heart seems to connect with someone completely different during the story, which suggests a heart divided or a lot of confusion on her part.

I wonder how or whether Horowitz will continue the sub-plot of the sister, who visits Noa with a persistence that borders on a haunting from a parallel world. Perhaps death is only a reality in the mortal world?

Looks like Noa’s journey with the fae boys, yes there is a second one, has only just begun.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

A Secret To Die For by Sierra Dean

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The end of Secret McQueen, as we know her, and I for one am sorry to see her go. This Urban Fantasy series has to be one of the most underrated in the ocean of books. It deserves to be right up there with the big guns.

It was an unexpected ending. In a way it was almost a let down. Not exactly the atypical Secret exit. It felt as if Secret was at ease because the end solution gives her perhaps what she wished for all along.

I find that odd and not exactly realistic when you take her friends, lovers and comrades in arms into consideration. How is she supposed to fit in and function or be respected by the supernatural after that?

Apparently Dean is planning a spin-off, so I am sure we will hear from Secret again if only in a side character capacity.

Everyone turns up for the last stand against evil. All the favourites characters and more are there to support Secret. Not everyone gets out of this spectacular meltdown alive. Dean actually swings the great author sword of the main character cull, so expect to be both surprised and perhaps even upset by the demise of one person in particular.

Unlike other reviewers I didn’t feel this was a perfect ending to an admittedly very good series. I believe it was far too sugary sweet and goody two shoes to do Secret justice. However I also think Dean wrote it in a way that leaves a back-door for Secret to return. Why? Because of Aubrey and what he intends to and will do with his newly gained advantage.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Feral Child by Che Golden

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It is reminiscent of the Iron Fey by Kagawa. Young girl sets off on a rescue mission and has to deal with an evil Fae queen.
Although suitable for younger readers there are some creatures and scenes that may be a little too vicious. Then again these are the Fae of myth and folklore and not the dust sprinkling kind.

Maddy is the perfect vessel for future faerie assaults and possible friction between the real world and the Fae world. Her inner anger and desire to be with her parents consumes her from the inside, and it is those emotions, which make her such a vulnerable target.

Not that Maddy seems vulnerable, far from it. She has a stuff it and stuff you attitude, which isn’t going down well with her relatives. She seems to be a hard-nosed troublemaker and does her hardest to keep that particular image alive. In reality she is a scared, lonely and hurt little girl.

On one of her many disgruntled ‘I will do as I like, where I like’ walks she accidentally awakens the ire of an otherworldly being and ends up being drawn into the murky world of the Fae.

The relationship between the children changes during the journey. They start to trust each other and the first layers of friendship begin to grow between them.

This promises to be an entertaining series with spirited characters and dangerous adventures.
I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss.

Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton

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At long last the Merry Gentry book with the big baby reveal is here. I will try to avoid any major spoilers, which will be terribly difficult. What I will say is they are

There is a strong layer of maternal emotion throughout the story. Yes, I know Merry has given birth, ergo it is only natural for that aspect to be part of the story. I am talking about the way Hamilton has managed to instill that particular emotion with a strength and abandonment I found quite impressive. Exactly the right amount to extract a coo, a sigh and perhaps even an imaginary whiff of baby.

Regardless whether it was by intention or due to the medical necessity of the storyline, I was relieved by the lack of or minimum use of sexual activity.

Hamilton’s books are often drenched or rather soaked with so much sexual interaction that it bogs down the story, and is often to the detriment of said story.

Hamilton is a talented scribe with the ability to weave the fantastical with a taste of modern to captivate her audience. Unfortunately that talent is often kicked to the side by the stronger tendency to have her characters romp, ravish and fornicate.

Luckily this time it wasn’t the case, well at least not as much as usual.

Merry transfers or awakens powers with skin to skin touch, sexual intimacy and sex in general. She also makes those she interacts with on those levels much stronger. That per se, aside from how often, isn’t a problem. What I found questionable is Merry doing it with individuals she doesn’t like, doesn’t trust and only doing it to awaken their power. Indeed there seems to a waiting list to ‘visit’ with Merry for a special awakening.

Although this part of the popular series is filled with joy there is also a shock and heartbreak in store for Merry and her small bus load of men.

I think Hamilton could use this deep breath and break she has taken from Gentry to take the series in an entirely new direction. The children offer the opportunity of a fresh start. There could be a spin-off featuring the Gentry offspring, whether as a YA or a new urban fantasy series.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

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Two worlds exist simultaneously, mirror images with one difference. The world inhabited by mere mortals is called the Mundane and the second, the Nether, is occupied by the Fae. The Nether is much like stepping into Victorian England. It is a world full of antiquated views and backward thinking. The women are deemed to be second class citizens with no voice and are expected to obey and never question male authority.
No wonder that one of them decided to slip through the tight restrictive net of her family and her society, to try to build a new life in the Mundane. A life she is allowed to control. Where she say what she wants, do whatever she pleases and live in the manner that she wishes.
Unfortunately the Fae do not allow for flighty freedom seeking Fae, especially female ones, and she is captured by one of the head honchos. He has a connection and interest in her that is not only creepy but also dangerous.
The other storyline, which connects to Cathy and her family a little later in the book, is about Max. Max is an Arbiter for the Fae in the Mundane. A combination of police/enforcer of the Fae in the human world. What they do exactly isn’t entirely clear and could do with a little more depth. The two stories merge but not very well and it often seems as if two different books are being presented.
Towards the end of the story Cathy discovers something about the hierarchy of the Fae and how the servants come to be in that position. I think that sub-plot is fodder for the next book.
Overall the idea is a good one, especially in regards to the abuse and oppression of females in the Fae community. I think given more depth and attention to plot purely from the perspective of the potential reader this could be a nifty little series.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.