“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are being eagerly anticipated.
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
goodreads – September 2nd 2014 by Ace
Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…
Includes the new stories…
“Roses in Winter”
…and reader favorites
“Alpha and Omega”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”
First off: love the shout-out to Fiction Vixen! Nice to see a blogger in a summary – especially one as awesome as FV. 🙂
So, is anyone else CRAZY excited about this anthology? I genuinely tagged this cover #OMG when I spotted it on Pinterest. Any Patricia Briggs announcement is an exciting one, but the Mercy ones are best of all.
Also: I totally ADORE the cover of this anthology. I have never been the biggest fan of the US covers, mainly because of all the bare mid-drifts. But it seems as though the talented Dan Dos Santos (and the publishers) is finally moving away from that trend. The recent Alpha & Omega and Mercy covers (this one especially) have been totally up my alley! LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #2
Published by Ace/Roc, Orbit
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
Also in this series: Cry Wolf
Anna 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...
Thoughts: How many ways can I say I love Patricia Briggs? No really, give me some suggestions, because I am running out of “I HEART BRIGGS” variations.
Once again, I adored another of Patricia Briggs’ novels. The Mercy Thompson world is such a glorious one, and this second Alpha & Omega book proves that the quality of her spin-off series wasn’t just a one off. Briggs has created something magical with the Alpha & Omega series.
On to the book itself: the first thing that struck me about Hunting Ground was its setting in the universe. It is set around book 3 or 4 of the Mercy Thompson series, and handles an issue mentioned in the Mercy books but not one I had considered requiring its own book. Of course, I was wrong! Because of Charles’ status in his father’s pack, this Alpha & Omega installment gave us a chance to see the wheeling and dealing behind the politics spotted in the Mercy books. I love a good bit of negotiating (especially when it includes bloodshed – see my review of Pride by Rachel Vincent for evidence to that effect).
Anna and Charles’ relationship development was as solid as ever. Considering how little they know each other AND how little we know them (this is only book 2, after all), it’s rather extraordinary how attached they are and how attached I am to them. Of course, this is because Patricia Briggs is excellent at writing real adult relationships, creating complex characters etc. etc. – you’ve heard the pro-Briggs spiel before.
But what truly surprised me about Hunting Ground was the quality of its background characters. Briggs had me in tears over a character I’d met only pages ago. This is horrid, of course, as all of her characters eventually end up going through hell! But still. Her beautiful, wonderful, horrible secondary characters were all deserving of their own spin-off.
Two minor “complaints” that were annoying but did not detract from the quality of the read. These could be considered somewhat spoilery, so tread with caution!:
- The summary on the back of my edition had major spoilers for the novel. The death it describes takes place more than two-thirds the way through the book. I wrote a whole rant about it here: #PublisherFail Spoiler Summaries
- I also worked out the identity of the villain rather early on. Since that NEVER happens to me, it must have been rather obvious to other people. That said, the aforementioned summary-from-hell did help rule out some suspects. So… it could have been that?
Bottom line? After reading Hunting Ground, I desperately want to read the next installments in the Mercy and Alpha & Omega series… but I am saving them for my next reading funk. Patricia Briggs can get me out of the most dreadful of reading slumps; she’s that good.
In this month’s recap: I visit the glorious Gladstone Library, get some serious reading done and decide to feed my ebook addiction.
The Gladstone Library
This month, I spent a wonderful weekend at the glorious Gladstone Library in Wales. This is the UK’s only residential library (or so I’m told), so I actually got to sleep with all the books. It was bookworm’s dream come true. You could take books up to your room, visit in the wee hours, have a glass of wine in their honour bar, and dinner in their dining hall. I wanted to move in forever.
The primary Gladstone collection is made up of Prime Minister Gladstone’s books, so they date from the 1800s and cover mainly theology and politics. However, the Library is also living collection, with a special fund established by Gladstone to buy new books. So while I didn’t spend too long perusing the theology section, I was able to find plenty of fiction and non-fiction to satisfy my tastes.
The historic element of the Library did, however, allow me to handle original copies of the Strand magazine that featured the first publication of the Sherlock Holmes stories. It was insanely exciting for me.
Original Strand magazines from the 19th century. These featured the first publications of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.
Feed My Reader
Book blogging has had a serious impact on my shelves. I buy/receive/am gifted more books than I will ever read. Even though I always try to get rid of the copies I don’t need or want, space has become a serious issue.
So, I’ve made the executive decision to expand my e-book collection. Though you will still see “real” book hauls, I’m going to be doing many more e-book hauls on Dead Book Darling: they’ll be entitled “Feed My Reader”. Though still not my preferred method of reading, I do love the convenience and manageability of e-books.
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
I took part, once again, in the glorious Dewey’s 24-hour readathon. It was an absolute blast and really helped break me back into the reading habit! I loved the hourly challenges, my favourite, of course, being my own. Check out the Show it Off! Challenge I hosted for a peek at some bookish treasures that participants shared!
This month was a pretty good one (thank you readathon!). I read:
- Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee (review here)
- The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
- Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2) by Patricia Briggs
- Blue-Blooded Vamp (Sabina Kane, #5) by Jaye Wells
- Rush (The Game, #1) by Eve Silver
My favourite was – surprise surprise – Briggs’ Hunting Ground. That woman can do no wrong (though her publishers can, a fact I covered in #Publisherfail). I was slightly disappointed by Blue-Blooded Vamp, which wasn’t quite as fierce as its predecessors. The Adventures of Superhero Girl wins the title of “most unexpectedly awesome book”. It was unexpectedly awesome – a fierce, feminist, generation 2.0 read. Loved it.
The back of “Days of Blood and Starlight” by Laini Taylor is perfectly non-spoilerific. Other summaries, though? They can be pretty bad.
I’ve been reading long enough to know that there are a lot of bad summaries out there: be they in the form of an incorrect literary reference (“It’s just like the Hunger Games except it’s not!”) or by adding in a romantic triangle that doesn’t exist (“Dru can’t choose between the boys… because she doesn’t care!”).
But last week I have had the displeasure of reading a book whose summary has committed the worst of sins: spoilers.
The offending summary can be found on the back of the UK edition of Patricia Briggs’ Hunting Ground – an absolutely amazing book, but one in which the action on the back cover did not take place until 2/3rds the way through the book. To make matters even worse, the summary spoils a major character death from the book*. WTF?
Here’s the offending summary (hidden to protect those of you who wish to remain pure):
View Spoiler »Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could get – until she became a werewolf. And now she’s not just part of any pack, but under the direct supervision of Bran, leader of the North American werewolves. And her mate is his son Charles, the pack enforcer.
With all the advances that have been made in forensics, the werewolves will not be able to hide their existence from humans much longer – and Bran wants their coming out party to be on his terms. But his European counterparts don’t see things the same way. Anna and Charles are chosen to represent Bran at a key meeting. But when a French werewolf, one of Bran’s most vocal opponents, is found murdered, Charles’s reputation shoots him to the top of the suspect list. And among the wolves, there is one penalty for breaking the law: death. The killer must be found, or Charles will take the fall.
« Hide Spoiler
Of course summaries are, by their very nature, bound to give away a certain amount of the plot. I understand that. I mean, even saying “Harry Potter is a wizard” is technically a spoiler for the first 4 chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But that is to be expected. Saying “Harry meets Voldemort in this first book!”, however, is a spoiler I do not expect to find in my summary. And that’s what happens in Hunting Ground.
Spotting this offender made me look back at the summaries for some other books I’ve read recently… and I found another sinner in the pack. This summary for Scarlet by Marissa Meyer not only manages to spoil the ending of Scarlet, it also sets up the plot of the third book, Cress!
View Spoiler »This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . . « Hide Spoiler
Exactly what drugs were these publishers on when they thought these summaries were a good idea… and how can we get them to rehab?
* It is worth noting that although this summary was on my edition, the US edition seems to have a much better one.
2012 was actually a very busy year for me, reading-wise…. but not book-wise! I read a lot of fanfiction – 98% of it absolutely brilliant – and only a few books. Truth is, most of the books I picked up I did not enjoy. I have quite a big pile of books in my room half-read… including some from series I adore.
But there have been some great books in 2012. Here’s a wrap-up of them all with the help of The End of the Year Book Survey hosted at Perpetual Page Turner!
1. Best Book You Read In 2012?
There are three that come to mind immediately… but I’d have to say If I Die by Rachel Vincent. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was because it was such a surprise – I expected a good-or-just-OK novel, and instead got a brilliant one.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Easy: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. God, this book was just so frustrating. I had read so many great reviews of the book but found riddled with cliches and featuring the most idiotic of love triangles. Never got round to reviewing it as I couldn’t face revisiting it…
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan – I enjoyed the first book in this series, but didn’t think it anything special. This book proved me wrong!
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
The Soul Screamers series, by far.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas – I am not really a romance reader, let alone a historical romance reader… but the first two books in this series were just SO entertaining and well written.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Again, Lisa Kleypas.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I’d say the Vampire Academy graphic novel. I was my first full-length graphic novel ever, and I really enjoyed it!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Instead of a single book, I’d say the entire Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent. Even in my reading slump, I devoured these.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year.
Probably A Study in Scarlet by ACD – it’s a classic for a reason.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
The UK cover of Muse by Rebecca Lim, by FAR.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
I adored Mercy Thompson in River Marked by Patricia Briggs this year. She has always been exceptional, but she was even more badass in that book.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Meh… none of them. All great – none “beautiful”.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I’d say Pure Blood by Caitlin Kitteredge… and not for a good reason. I loved the first book in this series, but this book made me want to hit things. That it came after reading two other UF novels with similar female leads didn’t help…
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre. I had adored the first two books in the Jax series, and I wish I had dived into the sequels sooner!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
– A Study in Scarlet
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
I think the longest book I read this year was actually only half a book: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I read the first 500 pages, but put it down as it was getting horribly depressing… The shortest would have to be Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs (graphic novel).
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The scene with Faythe and Jace in Prey by Rachel Vincent – I knew it was coming but… WTF?!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Vel and Jax in the Sirantha Jax series – I heart these two SO MUCH, even in spite of one of them being a bug alien… rather impressive, me thinks.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously.
River Marked by Patricia Briggs: the woman is a legend for a reason.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else.
It is really rare for me to read a book without first getting a recommendation from someone… so, all of them.