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review 2017-10-13 11:49
"Iron Kissed - Mercy Thompson #3" by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs

"Iron Kissed" stepped this series up from good urban fantasy with a likeable, strong heroine and a satisfyingly complex supernatural world, to something that really gets face to face with abusive power and what it does.

 

In less than three hundred pages, Patricia Briggs managed to move from a fairly conventional (by Urban Fantasy standards) who dunnit, with Mercy trying to prove that her mentor did not murder seven fae on the local reservation, into a book that is really about what men and women do with power.

 

Mercy is brave and loyal and smart but she's not powerful and she doesn't have any magical healing ability. If Mercy gets hurt, she stays hurt.

 

Mercy grew up surrounded by male werewolves with an impulse for violence and the physical power to tear her apart. She survived by learning not to draw attention to herself. That's not an option for her any more. The two earlier books gained her the attention of the local werewolf pack and the local nest of vampires. In this book she is dragged into the affairs of the fae.

 

It is Mercy's vulnerability that makes her courage remarkable. When she stands up to those more powerful than her, with no ability to protect herself from the consequences, it means something.

 

The first part of the book expands our understanding of the fae, a not at all human set of people who will always put their security above the lives of the humans around them. Mercy negotiates a route through their threats where she can and initially this seems like another urban fantasy book where clever humans can outwit the monsters. Then Mercy is cornered by something powerful that wants to kill her and that she cannot fight or outrun.  Her only option is to seek protection. What I liked about this was her reaction: fear, not wise-cracking arrogance; guilt for putting others in danger, not a "hah, trapped you" joy; an understanding that, if things continue as they are, one of the many monsters she is surrounded by WILL kill her.

 

In the second part of the book, things get darker. Much darker. Mercy comes to understand that not all monsters are supernatural. She falls prey to one of them who hurts her, diminishes her and takes her to the brink of self-abnegation.

 

This was not easy reading. We'd left fantasy far behind and become entangle in the worst things we do to each other.

 

Mercy's reaction and the reaction of the people around her, made me cry.  I wanted to cheer but crying got the better of me.

 

The novel avoids a soft, pain free, happy ever after ending. Damage is not so easily undone but, it turns out, hope is not so easily extinguished.

 

I'm hooked now. If this standard of writing continues, I'll be with this series until the end.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-09 15:30
When Mercy Thompson Blew Me Away
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs

Trigger warning: Rape

 

This is the Mercy Thompson book that left me feeling raw for hours. I am glad that I got a chance to re-read it for Halloween Bingo 2017 though. I recall this book had me in tears a few times and that I loved how Briggs wrote this story and the continuation of Mercy's fallout from a brutal attack.

 

In "Iron Kissed" Mercy's boss and friend Zee is arrested for a crime that she knows he could not have committed. Though Mercy is warned off by Zee and a bunch of other people, she keeps investigating. While dealing with that, she finally has to face who she wants to be with in the future, Adam, Alpha of the local Pack or Samuel the son of the leader of the Werewolves in North America. 

 

Mercy is a fighter and when one of her friends or loved ones is in trouble, she goes all in, however, this time there are repercussions to Mercy forging ahead. Mercy is already starting to see that her feelings for Adam are stronger than her feelings for Samuel in this one, but she still feels hesitant to make a choice even though she finds out later that Adam has made a choice that will cause problems with his Pack if it's not resolved soon.

 

I know others have mentioned that it's a shame that Mercy doesn't have more real life girlfriends in this series, and I have to agree. Especially considering what happens to Mercy in this one, I am surprised that Mercy didn't reach out to her mother and her one time best friend that was mentioned three books ago. 

 

I will say that the series doesn't get better with regards to Mercy having a close female friendship. Considering how close Honey is to Mercy (or at least she is to my mind) I hope that gets resolved in the series. Or heck, have Mercy actually talk to Anna once in a while (Charles wife and mate). 

 

Adam is the best. Seriously you guys. He is the perfect book boyfriend. I loved him from beginning to end in this one. He loves and gets Mercy and nothing is ever going to change things for him at all with regards to who he wants to be with. 

 

We get appearances by many characters we know and that I love (Jessie, Warren, Ben, and Honey) and I loved each and every one of them. 

 

We get some interesting insight into the werewolf Ben in this one. I maybe cried a bit when something in his past is revealed. We get to see that though Mercy doesn't realize it, that Ben really does care about her. I did get annoyed about how Mercy treats Ben in one of the later books (River Marked #6) especially based on this scene, but at least Briggs hasn't done that again since that time. 

 

The first part of the book moves a little slow though. When we have Mercy investigating what Fae could be behind some deaths I was not invested. When all is revealed though it took my breath away. And when Mercy is raped I had to put the book down for a bit. It's a lot. Briggs spares nothing and you are wholly in Mercy's head as she deals with the fallout from being raped. I applaud how thoughtful Briggs was to write this story and how we get to see Mercy dealing with the fallout from the events in this book for the rest of the series. 

 

I have to say that I loved how things ended in this book. We have Mercy choosing to go on from what happens to her and choosing to love the man that she wants to be with in the future. 

 

 

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review 2017-10-09 02:33
San Diego: Four Sun-Kissed Romances by Cathy M. Hakes & Joyce Livingston
San Diego: Four Sun-Kissed Romances -

Contemporary Romance: Couples-to-be seek love and romance in this uplifting four-story collection. Vanessa is surprised to feel her heart beating madly when a father and son with matching soulful brown eyes enter her pet store. Valene is startled to realize that handsome Navy fighter pilot, Jordan, shows a strong interest in her, despite social disparities. Della realizes that fairy tales come true when Brandon wanders into her bridal shop, and Tessa learns that even when pride and unforgiveness have torn a marriage apart, love can make a comeback. Will these couples find the key that unlocks lasting love? couples find the key that unlocks lasting love?

Amazon.com

 

 

A quick rundown of the interconnected stories themselves:

 

"Love Is Patient" and "Love Worth Finding" are written by Cathy Hakes while Joyce Livingston contributes "Love Is Kind" and "Love Worth Keeping". 

 

The stories, in the order they appear:

 

"Love Is Patient" : Pet shop owner Vanessa gets involved with widower / single dad Nathan after his young son visits her shop and becomes interested in a dog. 

 

"Love Is Kind" : Remember Vanessa from the first story? Well, now her twin sister, Val, gets the spotlight. Val's neighbor, Jordan, accidentally hits her dog with his truck. The dog survives, Jordan steps up and offers to help cover the cost of the dog's post-op care (as well as lending a hand with the dog's in-home recovery process as well). Spending so much time with Val, Jordan starts to see himself developing deep feelings for her. 

 

"Love Worth Finding" : The story of a romance between "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" type bridal shop owner Della and former Navy SEAL Brandon Stevens (of course, these romances seem to almost always feature a SEAL somewhere nowadays!) who now works in construction. The bridal shop is located next to Vanessa's pet shop (from "Love Is Patient") and Brandon's construction job has him working with Vanessa's love, Nathan. This story is also set about a year and half after Vanessa's story takes place. 

 

"Love Worth Keeping" : You met Vanessa's twin sister, Val, in "Love Is Kind". Now Val's best friend, Katie, is in the process of planning her own Christmas Day wedding. Katie's parents have been separated for 8 years now and even now are not on the friendliest of terms. Still, Katie hopes she can bring them together and get them to get along for her special day. 

 

MY TAKE:

 

Having been born and raised in San Diego County myself, I'm naturally always curious to try out stories set in my home turf. Deciding to pick up this collection prior to a trip back home this summer, I was sadly let down. These were SO not my cup of tea. 

 

I somehow missed the fact that these were Christian romances. It's not all that advertised on the covers, though looking back on the back cover synopsis after finishing the stories, I do see one of the story blurbs makes one mention of "God's love" but I guess my eyes glanced over that part in my excitement to get into San Diego stories. Guess I should've taken a clue from the titles of the stories themselves (a nod to the famous "Love is patient, love is kind," etc, etc Bible quote used at nearly every wedding I've ever been to, including my own LOL) but it escaped my notice until I finished the book. These stories having a Christian theme generally wouldn't deter me from enjoying them. It's just that every one of these was SO heavy-handed with the preachy tone (IMO) that it was off-putting! That, combined with the fact that I just honestly didn't find the stories to be all that well-written made this whole collection a general NOPE for me. And what was up with Nathan knocking Vanessa's love of Doris Day movies? "Great woman but her taste in movies stinks." Seriously? You're going to fault your girl for liking some of the cheeriest movies on the planet? So she likes her some solid HEA in her life. Catch of a guy right there. 

 

The banter between the couples was often of a very boring, vanilla quality and the romance aspect was ruined for me when SO MUCH EMPHASIS was being put on getting the "non-believer" one in a couple to pray more or start attending church. Having strong faith is an admirable quality, I just get annoyed at this idea that you have to walk away from someone you otherwise find absolutely perfect for you JUST because their spiritual beliefs might be a shade different from yours. And this idea came up repeatedly in these stories.

 

I don't mind a beautiful story of someone coming to find faith if it has a natural flow to the process. These characters were just too strong-armed in their methods for me to like them. Val's story especially illustrated this. Val's parents came off pretty hypocritical, the way they said they raised their girls to only be in relationships with Christians, even though the father started out as a "non-believer". Also, Val basically using blackmail to get someone to attend church was unbelievably messed up. 

 

The last story, "Love Worth Keeping", (for me) had the most warmth to the writing, but that's not saying much, given how little I liked the rest of the stories. This one won't be a keeper on my shelf of hometown stories. 

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text 2017-09-19 14:56
Kissed by a Dark Prince By Felicity Heaton Free!
Kissed by a Dark Prince (Eternal Mates #1) - Felicity E. Heaton

Step into a passionate, lush, and powerful paranormal romance series packed with dark elves, vampires, demons, fae, shifters and angels from New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Paranormal Romance Author Felicity Heaton.

A dark elf prince. A demon-hunting doctor. One bite will change their lives forever in...

Kissed by a Dark Prince (Eternal Mates Paranormal Romance Series Book 1)
Olivia thinks it’s her lucky night when a dangerously handsome unconscious fae ends up on her inspection table. He’s her chance to redeem herself with her employer, the demon-hunting organisation, Archangel. But when the tall, dark and deadly immortal warrior awakes, she gets much more than she bargained for…

Attacked by his enemy in the elf kingdom, the last thing Prince Loren expects when he comes around is a beautiful angel watching over him and medical technology of the mortal realm. Hazy from his injuries, all he can focus on is the pulse ticking in her throat and the sweet allure of her blood.

One single bite reveals she is his eternal mate, triggering a bond between them that will leave him weakened until it is completed… or broken, and pulling Olivia into the crossfire of his ancient feud.

To protect his people and his mate from the machinations of a madman, Loren must risk everything by working with Olivia at Archangel to find a way to break the bond blossoming between them.

But will Loren be strong enough to place duty before desire and give up the one thing he has waited millennia for and craves above all others—his eternal mate? And will Olivia be able to resist the incredible heat that burns between them and the temptation of her dark prince’s kiss?

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review 2017-09-11 15:57
Loved this Werewolf Story From A Fav Author
Blood Kissed - Keri Arthur

4.5 stars Keri Arthur writes characters that I love to read. They are well developed, quirky, off centered, and snarky, just the way I like them. This series has two witches who are in the lower cast of witches just trying to make a living running a bakery in a small town run by a werewolf pack that hates witches. They bake do simple fortune telling and charms keeping under the radar for many reasons. They are semi hiding from their families. All is going well till, something wicked comes to town and the werewolves are forced to work with the witches who say they're really not witches to try to save the town for a blackness. Things go from bad to worse, and it gets dangerous.
There s some sexual tension, life threatening tension some fantastic snark, yummy treats, and a whole lot of fun. I loved the human familiar for the witches. The weres were hot headed, strong, sexy, and mysterious. The book ended with a cliff hanger and I need the next book. I recommend this book to fans of her writing or lovers of witches and weres. it's a good fun story.

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