alpha and omega by Patricia Briggs
Note --> I only read the short story Alpha and Omega out of this collection.
I guess now's as good of a time as any to confess -- I don't like short stories or novellas. I never really have. I enjoy fully developed characters and a complex/in depth plotline and that can be hard to do well in a short story (not impossible...just difficult).
Briggs does a pretty good job in Alpha and Omega. The main reason I picked this anthology up was to read her novella before I started the full "Alpha and Omega" series (as has been recommended to me to do by several people). The big complaint that I saw in regards to the full series is that Briggs really begins the plot with this novella -- and I think they are correct in that determination.
Briggs really jumps into the action with this novella. The whole of the plot takes place within 24 hours or so...and a LOT happens. The world is the same world as the Mercy Thompson series which I really enjoy. One of the main characters is Bran's (the Marrok..ie. leader..of the werewolves) son Charles who we meet briefly in the Mercy Thompson series (at least it's a brief meeting where I am at in the series at the moment...I don't know if he comes into the stories in later MT books). Charles is known as the Executioner and he is sent to Chicago to settle a matter amongst the local werewolves. While in Chicago he meets an intriguing young female werewolf and he discovers, unbeknownst to her, that she is a rare gem among the werewolf hierarchy - she's an Omega.
It held my interest fairly well, but I don't know if I would have chosen to read it had it been a standalone novella. One thing that I enjoyed about it was that it didn't read like pure set-up for the full-length series. Briggs may have written it for that express purpose, however, you could read this novella...put it down...and be satisfied with the story without going on to read the accompanying series.
So...four stars for a decent novella (despite my personal bias against them). If you are a fan of the Mercy Thompson world definitely check this one out.
Life. Sometimes it just gets in the way...you know? I hate that I didn't manage to get a TBT review up this week. From an awful week at work to some big life changes starting to evolve...it's been an eventful week. Every time I crack open a book (or turn my e-reader on), my eyes would just drift closed and...whelp...that's all she wrote. Hope to get back to the routine this week - including the Weekly Newbie and TBT. In the meantime, started working on an ARC copy of Mary Balogh's latest Regency-era romance.
So how about I do a "bonus" Weekly Newbie post since I didn't manage a TBT post? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, I'm going to do it anyway.
The Weekly Newbie - The Escape by Mary Balogh
Expected Release Date: July 1, 2014
Back Cover Blurb:
In this poignant novel of longing and salvation, a hopeful widow and a resilient war hero discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.
After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws—until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.
Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.
I'm about 20% through the ARC copy of this latest installment of Balogh's Regency romance landscape. I think it's considered number three in "The Survivor's Club" and I was slightly worried I would be lost since I have not read one or two. So far, however, it reads as a standalone that you know fits into a larger picture but reads perfectly fine by itself. I'm not sure if it will have anything that will make it stand out from a lot of her other novels...but I'm only 20% through which means anything can really happen. Oh, and I receive the arc from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Hope to post said honest review within the next few days so keep an eye out.
Time to give a new weekly post a whirl. Introducing "The Weekly Newbie" - a spotlight on an up and coming book that will be released within the next few weeks or months. I'll list the back cover blurb and then a little blurb of my own. Enjoy!
The Ophelia prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher
"The Ophelia Prophecy is the thrilling new sci-fi romance from the author of 2013 RWA RITA finalist Ghost Planet...
Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters -- the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.
* * *
Asha and Pax -- strangers and enemies -- find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.
Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource -- information -- viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.
Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.
Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.
With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past."
***Available to buy starting April 1, 2014***
I am pretty excited to check this one out. I have the ARC copy sitting on my Kindle (or would "in my Kindle" be the better grammar?) as I type this and can't wait to get started on it. I'm slightly cautious only because of my tepid response to Ghost Planet - a book, which in hindsight, I did enjoy...except there were so many holes it resembled an aged Swiss Cheese. I enjoy a good sci fi novel...and to throw romance in the mix can only serve to make it better...right? Hope to tackle this one soon!
Blood rights by Kristen Painter
Living her whole life in this form of slavery, Chrysabelle is ready to flee her master and escape her gilded cage...only to find, on the eve of her escape, her master murdered in their home. On the run and suspected of murder, Chrysabelle teams up with a rogue vampire named Malkom as they uncover a political web of lies that aim to tear down the veil that has been hiding the existence of supernaturals from ordinary people.
I apologize for that run on sentence.
Anyway, like I said, this book started out really strong. It has a beautiful cover and stays away from the recycled vampire plot and world. Painter's idea of the comarré is an interesting one and the twist she throws in about their world was quite good (let's just say they don't just feed vampires their blood).
But about a third of the way through things started to change. Oh, the world was still fun and the revelations were interesting...but Chrysabelle started to turn into a bit of a Mary Sue...she's the best comarré, she's the best fighter, she's the best blah blah blah. It got old. She's the best. At everything. Got it.
And the plot, which had been moving along quite nicely, devolved into political mush. Oh, there are other things happening in the story other than politics...but it seemed politics were the main focus with some fighting in between scenes.
Then it happened...Malkolm started his monologue about his past (which happens just under halfway through the book or so?) and I knew how the book would end. I hate that. I think if I had stayed immersed in the plot, the big plot twist at the plot climax would have been really great...instead, I felt disconnected from the story and had a general feeling of "yep...saw that coming".
I think this read is three stars because of the world building and it really did start out as an interesting read. Maybe I just read the book at the wrong time or something. As it stands at the moment, however...I don't plan on continuing the series.
The Hunger by L.J. Smith
This book celebrates its 20th birthday this year. First published in 1994, The Forbidden Game starts my favorite series from L.J. Smith. In fact, this book has a treasured spot on my "all-time favorites" shelf.
In this first installment of the trilogy, we meet Jenny Thornton who is searching for a fun gift to bring to her boyfriend's party. She stumbles upon a store she never knew existed and meets the store's only employee, the oh-so-gorgeous Julian, who sells her a game in a plain, white box. Once she makes it to the party, however, Jenny thinks she may have made a mistake. Her friends decide to give the game a try, however, and in doing so they begin the fight for their lives.
This book is part Labyrinth and part Jumanji. A young David Bowie can easily be imagined as Julian. And a game coming to life and forcing its players to fight for their lives within the constraint of The Game? Well...that's obviously Jumanji (although I think Jumanji came a short while later?)
If you've enjoyed The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle, be sure to check out this other gem from L.J. Smith. This is easily my favorite Smith book/series.