Book Review: Mercy Thompson Series

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Note: This review covers “Moon Called” through “River Marked”.

I don’t think I could recommend any book series more than this one. I’m not really into supernatural, vampire-monster-magical creature books, but I loved this series. I’ve read Harry Potter, Twilight, Tolkien, and some others that are basically required reading for life but usually I skip most books that are predominantly fantasy fiction. If I’m going to read about big scary monsters, I prefer Stephen King.

But this series was short, easy to read and gripping. The main character is likeable, it’s full of funny quips and it’s pretty relateable. It’s hard to find a book where you aren’t sure which character is your favorite because there are so many great choices. In short – it kicked ass!

I especially like how quickly she writes these. They’re all about 300 pages and she churns them out frequently. Not like some authors where you’ll read a great book and have to wait three years for the sequel.

I thought that Silver Bourne (Book #5) was rushed compared to the others, but that may be because she needed to set up the plot for book #6, which came out right before I headed to Mardi Gras. I finished River Marked (book 6) in less than 5 hours (at the terminal and on the plane to the Big Easy), it was that awesome. Read these books!

NOTE: I was in no way asked, paid or solicited to write this review.


Book Review: Land of Painted Caves

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I’ve been waiting for years for this book to come out. I sped through Jean M. Auel’s previous books in the Earth’s Children series and was overjoyed to see an ad in People for this book. I literally jumped into my car and drove to the nearest bookstore as fast as I could to grab this book.

It was split into three parts – part 1 & 2 were a bit boring, but mostly because my expectations were different than the author’s. I wanted her to explore the social interactions between people and have a lot of embarrassing situations where the heroine eventual triumphs social stigma, like the previous books. Instead, it went into a lot of description about places Ayla journeyed, similar to Plains of Passage (book #4) but less interesting. While I was curious about the places being described, there wasn’t enough interaction going on between the characters. Basically, everyone was happy and there was no drama and what’s a story when everyone is happy?

Part 3 is where the book really took off. All of the staging in parts 1 & 2 finally paid off and I eventually started yelling at characters in the books and squirming in embarrassment for them. Now that’s a good book! Part 3 turned into one of those books you can’t put down even when it means completely skipping the gym. And dinner. It really focused on what she does best – primordial relationship soap opera.

I’m sorry that the saga is over, but the ending was worth it. Overall, worth every penny I spent on it. Adios Ayla!

Book Review: The Last Time I Saw You

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I started a book club at Anonymous Software Company and this was our first book. We spent the entire lunch hour saying how much we regret making this our first choice. Seriously.

The book follows a few main characters as they attend their last high school reunion and explores the difference in who we think people are and who they really are. The first three chapters had me setting down the book in a mixture of disgust and depression – if I’m nearly 60 and have the kind of loveless marriage that the author describes (for multiple characters!), please just put me out of my misery.

The ending angered me. So much. It was entirely unrealistic and she completely skipped the part where all of the characters realize what they’re doing wrong with their lives and fix themselves. It just goes from bad reunion to perfect ending. Gag me.

We voted unanimously to not recommend this book to anyone. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

NOTE: I was in no way asked, paid or solicited to write this review. Obviously, considering I just bashed the book.

Book Review: Pillars of the Earth / At World Without End

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I think I ruined these books by reading them backwards. I loaned Granny Cathedral by the Sea and when I told her it was about cathedral building in Barcelona in the 1400’s she disappeared into her bedroom and came back with At World’s End. She mentioned it was the second book in the series but said that she had lost the first and they were autonomous enough that it wasn’t necessary to read them in order. I do agree with that statement after reading them both, but I’m slightly frustrated that I didn’t read them in the correct order (some connections would have made more sense if I had).

I’m combining them into one post rather than reviewing them individually because they were so damn similar. Maybe it was meant to highlight the fact that even as time marches on and things change, they don’t ever really change. It was disappointing that what I found amazing and ingenious in the second book had already been done in the first. I highly recommend reading them in order.

The first book has been made into a mini-series that’s available on Netflix (when I get my act together, I’m totally getting Netflix!). I haven’t mentioned it before, but I LOVE RUFUS SEWELL. I’ve seen him in numerous parts and every time he’s superb. He has an aloofness but that just screams nobility – he’s played a Noble or Royal in The Illusionist, Tristan & Isolde, The Last King, Helen of Troy, A Knight’s Tale

Plus he’s super fine! See!?!

Right, back to the book review. For some reason I like the second book more – maybe it was the novelty of the plot or just that I identified with some of the characters more. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the first book too. In both books there were some awesome themes going on – especially some ironic twists concerning the sins of the father/mother being visited upon the son/daughter.

I also loved how it follows a few key people and some broader characters through their lives. Plus, I got to learn some more British history. I’ve always loved learning about Henry VII, Elizabeth I, Bloody Mary, Charles I…but this went further back to Stephan vs. Maude vs. Henry II which I didn’t know much about.

I’d highly recommend this series!

NOTE: I was in no way asked, solicited or paid to review these books.

Book Review: The Passage

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Since I had some time to read during my vacation, I decided to borrow The Passage from a friend and it was excellent! It’s a story about a government experiment gone wrong and I heard that the this is going to be the first in a trilogy.

I won’t give too much away, but I really liked how Cronin took a legend and integrated most of it without revealing too much too early in the book. I was able to guess what the turning point was fairly early on, but it was still a great read.

It was especially fun to read because I was reading about the places (California, Vegas) it is set in while I was driving through them! If he comes out with a second book, I’m pre-ordering it!

NOTE: I was in no way asked, solicted or paid to write this review.

Hectic, Harried, & Tired

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I’m so tired today. I bought a book on sale a few weeks ago and just finished reading it last night. It’s called Cathedral by the Sea about a surf who takes his son, Arnau, to Barcelona to win their freedom from their abusive feudal lord. They live their lives as virtual slaves to their family and Arnau becomes involved in some bad situations that threaten everything they have. Eventually it covers war, poverty, famine, a plague, the Inquisition…

For the past few nights I’ve stayed up absurdly late hoping that Bernat and Arnau would finally catch a break. No such luck. Every time they get a little bit of good in their lives, bad stuff happens. Not just bad things, but bad things on a grandiose, ridiculously depressing scale. I’ve been to those “midevel ages” carnivals, and they seemed like so much fun – eating meat without utensils, cheerful music and sweet ballads…this book is making the dark ages look…well dark.

I loved the book and would recommend it as a great read!

NOTE: I was in no way paid or solicited to write this post. I just like the book.