Tag Archives: #Vampires

Briggs, Patricia: Alpha and Omega series

Patricia Briggs books fall into the light-reading fantasy section. Her books are fun and easy to read. In the Alpha and Omega novels we meet werewolves and witches, vampires and fae, all capable of wickedness and heroic deeds. As usual in such tales the characters tend to survive the most amazing things. There is plenty of humor, some romance and lots of action in this series. The Alpha and Omega series has been set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series.

Bran – the leader of the werewolves (Marrock) in the US lives in the hills of Montana. He has two sons, Samuel and Charles. We’ve met Samuel already in the Mercy Thompson books, although he does make a brief appearance in his function as a doctor. Charles is Bran’s other son. He has been born a werewolf, not something that should be possible. Charles is Bran’s assassin. If a werewolf steps out of order, it is his job to take care of the problem. His ability to remain cool and collected while killing is one of the main reasons for having such a job.

CRY WOLF (2008)

“Cover for omnibus” by Lindsey Look (Stunning cover)

Anna, Charles’ mate (to her surprise), has been living with a pack in Chicago. The other werewolves had been abusing her severely. When that came to the attention of Bran, Charles was sent to take care of the matter. That led to Charles and Anna’s wolves recognizing each other as mates. Anna is brought to Bran’s pack to live with them.

Walter Rice, a Vietnam veteran, lives up in the Cabinet Wilderness in Montana. One day he witnesses the attack on a young man and steps in to protect him. Rice ends up being mauled, but survives. When other mysterious deaths occur in the area a rogue werewolf is suspected and Charles is asked to look into it. He and Anna go.

HUNTING GROUND (2009) – Nominee for the Endeavour Award – for best book by a Pacific Northwest writer 2010

Cover by Dan Dos Santos

Charles is trying to convince his father to stay away from a convention of werewolves in Seattle. He feels his father will be in unnecessary danger from the European delegation. Charles’ intuition is acting up. Being an Omega, Anna is able to stand up to Bran without his Alpha influence taking over. After she has yelled at Bran, he is able to listen to what the two have to say.

Bran accepts Charles’ feelings and sends Charles and Anna instead as his representatives. Together they are to try to convince the other delegates of the need to go public. The other delegates aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of going public. Here we see that the timeline is a bit back in time from the Mercy Thompson series. There the decision to go public has already been made and Adam is the werewolves’ outward face.

In Seattle people are being found dead and mauled. When Anna is attacked by vampires using werewolf tricks and magic, Charles has to figure out how to save the situation without getting killed by former lovers and new enemies.

FAIR GAME (2012)

Young Leslie has moved to California with her father. There she ends up in the capable hands of Mrs. Cullinan. When animals and children start disappearing (even Leslie’s new puppy) three people turn up at the neighbors and take her away. The neighbor and the three new people turn out to be fae. When one of them offers Mrs. Cullinan a favor as thanks for her warning, she says no thanks. Instead Leslie ends up being the one owed. But having learned that the fae were powerful and charming and that they ate children and puppies, Leslie was not eager to cash in her favor.

Fair Game is set a while after Hunting Ground but shortly after River Marked. Charles is struggling in his capacity as an assassin and Anna seems the only one capable of seeing it. She keeps on confronting Bran about it, and only Omeganess keeps her from shaking in her shoes. Because of the new rules, Charles no longer feels he is dispensing justice but rather murder and this is causing ghosts to haunt him.

When the FBI call the Marrock for help in solving a spree of murders, Bran chooses to send Charles and Anna to take a look. Anna gets to play good guy and Charles her bodyguard. In Boston Anna meets Leslie and they get to test each other’s intentions.


Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Graphic Novels published 2012 by Dynamite. Adapted by David Lawrence,  illustrated by Todd Herman with additional art by Jenny Frison and a cover by Dan Dos Santos.

Church, T.S.: RuneScape

Tom S. Church writes books based on the online game RuneScape. I have never played it, but my son is a great fan. He bought the books and I read them.

BETRAYAL AT FALADOR (2008)

RuneScape: Betrayal at Falador - Book - NTSC-U (North America)I started reading Betrayal at Falador expecting it to be a quest-like book. It is. While not exclusively for RuneScape fans, Betrayal at Falador will probably suit fans more than it suited me.

Betrayal at Falador begins with the discovery of a young woman by Squire Theodore. Squire Theodore belongs to the order of the White Knights in Falador. The young woman is close to death but the order’s leader, Sir Amik Varze is able to save her. In her possession is a strange sword, a shattered ring and a mysterious flower.

While the Knights are trying to discover the young woman’s origins, a creature is killing and devouring people in the country side. When Theodore is sent to Taverley to the druids to discover where the flower is from. While at Taverley Theodore meets up with his friend Castimir (apprentice wizard), the alchemist Ebenezer and his young companion Gar’rth. All three will become vital to the story in Betrayal at Falador. As the story continues, we meet up with the dwarf Doric. He ends up back at Falador and becomes one of the companions around whom this series revolves.

The young woman turns out to be Kara-Meir, the daughter of a woods-man. She is pursued by the Kinsha knights led by Sulla. He and his men killed her parents and the people of the village she lived in. Now her only aim in life is to gain revenge.

I’ve read the three books written thus far in the series. This first novel was fairly average. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it is TS Church’s first novel. His language was fairly simple and the text did not flow well.

RETURN TO CANIFIS (2011)

Werewolf by Paola Gonzalez

Return to Canifis sees an improvement in the writing of TS Church. The text flows easier. There aren’t as many rocks in the way this time.

The time is some months after the end of Betrayal at Falador. The companions have gone on separate quests, but have agreed to meet at the capitol, Varrock.

At Varrock people have been disappearing mysteriously. A monster is on the loose killing people. Others are being spirited away to Morytania, the land where vampires rule and people are cattle. People are afraid and the king ends up sending the companions off to Morytania, leaving Ebenezer behind. Their quest is to prevent a new King ruling Varrock, namely a vampire King.

As I said, the writing has improved in Return to Canifis. TS Church has tightened the plot, filled out his characters and added tension between the companions.

LEGACY OF BLOOD (2012)

The raging undead by Sam Hogg

Legacy of Blood is clearly the better of these three novels. TS Church has tightened his plot further and his characters, especially Gar’rth have had quite a development.

Now Kara-Meir and Gar’rt are seemingly on opposite sides in this struggle. Gar’rth is with his father in Morytania while Kara-Meir is back in Varrock with the rest of the companions.

All of them will face difficult choices. Not all of them will survive, but in the end the greatest question is whether Gar’rth will prevail or if he will have to be killed by his friends as he succumbs to the blood-lust.

Harkness, Deborah: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls) (2011)

The Duke Humfrey’s Library in the BodleianWhen you go to Deborah E Harkness’ website, you will find information not only on her All Souls trilogy, but also on Ashmole 782, alchemy and a reading guide. Deborah teaches history of science and medicine specializing in the period from 1400-1700. As such, Deborah is Diana  Bishop – our female protagonist.

Diana is not only in Academia, she is also a witch with a few issues. In fact, she is an anti-magic witch and tries to use her magic as little as possible. After discovering a disturbing volume in the Bodleian library, Ashmole 782, her magic seems to be having a will of its own. Ashmole 782 zapped Diana somehow and she banishes the book back to the stacks.

Other creatures like herself (witches) and vampires and daemons have a difficult time believing that she has gotten rid of the book and a time of stalking and persecution begins.

Like Deborah, Professor Matthew de Claremont (our male protagonist) also has an interest in history. In his case it is the history of genetics (among other things) that he researches. Because of the zap, Matthew takes an interest in Diana. Matthew finds himself drawn to Diana, and she to him.

I really, really like the fact that A Discovery of Witches stays at Oxford and the Bodleian through a major part of the book. It is highly interesting to read about the feeling of reverence that Deborah has for the library and the important role it plays in society. Words are music and the music of A Discovery of Witches is the kind that enters your soul and leaves you replete.

Diana and Matthew are fun and frustrating characters. In many ways A Discovery of Witches follows the pattern that a great many action and romance books do. The main protagonists are on opposite sides to begin with and through hardship they are brought together and become friends/lovers.

I’ve read complaints about all of the things that I liked about the book – lots of data, frustrating characters, library. Kind of funny really, how different our tastes in books are and how we are drawn to such different facets of them. I would say that this is a non-typical yet typical supernatural story about adventure and identity.

MacAlister, Katie: Queen of chick-lit

I think I’m finally getting a handle on what chick-lit is. The female protagonist is supposed to be ditsy but gung-ho. Studly, dudly, well-hung male is the job-description for the male protagonist. They fall passionately in love fighting it and each other all the way. Add to this cauldron of passion action and humor and you have chick-lit??????

While I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, I have read some. In my opinion most of it is so, so. Some of it is actually kind of fun while being really frustrating at the same time. The female/male leads are so ….

Katie MacAlister seems to be a big name on the chick-lit arena. It seems well-deserved. I’ve read her “Aisling Grey” series and a book called “The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires”.

The “Aisling Grey” books have great cover art. You can tell the books aren’t too serious, and they live up to that prediction. The cover art on “Vampires” is dorky, but typical of the genre. I’ll take “Aisling” covers any day compared to the alternative.

You Slay Me

Fire Me Up

Light My Fire

Holy Smokes

We meet Aisling Grey in “You Slay Me“. She comes off as somewhat of an air-head right off the bat. As her first assignment for her uncle Aisling travels to Paris to deliver a medieval object. Upon reaching the delivery address, she finds the recipient murdered and meets her male protagonist, Drake. Implicated in the circumstances of two murders, Aisling, the demon she summons for help (and subsequently can’t get rid of) named Jim, and Drake find themselves caught up in a web of lies and confusion that could well result in the demon lords of hell ruling the mortal world.

Aisling and Drake are pretty much what the books are about, with quite a bit of confusion added in. In “Fire Me Up” Aisling ends up in Hungary, having to receive her punishment from the Green dragon sept, find a guardian mentor and save the world from destruction. As we go on to “Light My Fire“, we see that Drake and Aisling still haven’t resolved their relationship. Aisling is still struggling to figure out her powers and has to save the world from imps and demon lords. When we come to “Holy Smokes” Drake and Aisling are getting ready for marriage. But life is never as simple as it might seem, at least not in the super-natural world and Aisling’s new status as demon lord has to be resolved. Being a guardian, wyvern’s mate and demon lord are just not compatible occupations.

I liked these books. They were light, fun and at times quite erotic.

The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires” was along the same lines. Along comes a ditsy, non-believing female onto the super-natural scene and meets the incredibly hot man of her dreams, Theo. Theo loses his nephilim status and gets turned into a soulless vampire who needs blood, blood, blood. Portia’s job is to save his soul and herself from whatever the super-natural world has to throw at them.

Where the Aisling books were a fun read, Vampires was more work. The humor was off and the characters weren’t of the quality of the Aisling series. My advice would be to go with the Aisling books. There the author delivers what the genre promises.

Wells, Jaye: Sabina Kane

Jaye Wells is the author of the Sabina Kane series. Her writing has progressed with each book. In the final installment of the series Well achieves that nirvanic place of writing that I’m certain all authors seek. Her writing flows and she makes me happy to have read her book. The Kane series is entertainment. I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe the books are meant for adults. Some of the content is a bit racy, but the violence avoids goriness. Wells keeps the tension going and the reader hanging on as best they can. This series works is set as an urban fantasy. Most of the books are focused on the characters and not places, so there aren’t a lot of scenic descriptions.

photoSphynx cat – RuthArt

RED-HEADED STEPCHILD (2009)

Sabina Kane is half vampire and half mage – a forbidden product of a forbidden romance. Her grandmother Lavina, is one of the tree leaders of the vampire race. She despises her granddaughter for the impurity that she has brought into the race. Sabina is aware/not-aware of this and does her best to please her grandmother – an impossible task.

Assassin is the only thing that the vampires have deemed Sabina worthy of being, so Sabina makes certain she is the best. When a mischief-demon steps into her living room and stabs her with apple-wood (deadly to vampires), Giguhl comes into Sabina’s life. Slowly, but surely, Sabina’s life changes and magic is introduced – along with the traditional hunky wizard guy who she is bound to fall in love with. One of her magic spells goes haywire and Giguhl gets a form like the above Sphynx cat to use amongst people. You can imagine he was pleased with that.

THE MAGE IN BLACK (2010)

Adam Lazarus by Annie Walls

Learning that she had a twin sister in New York blew Sabina away. She was mostly dreading her meeting with her due to her lack of self-confidence. But Maise accepted her. Now Sabina is in New York and has decided to side with the mages, try to learn magic and work for peace. This enrages her grandmother, who orders her killed. Unfortunately, the process of being accepted by the mages is a difficult one. First she must be cleansed and her abilities decided. In addition Sabina must get used to drinking only processed blood. No more fresh from the vein.

Giguhl and Adam Lazarus continue to be Sabina’s side-kicks – to a varying degree. Giguhl has the humorous part in this play while Adam plays the romantic lead. Sabina struggles with all of the demands placed on her. Whatever a Chosen is, she knows she isn’t it – not matter what the wizards say. Meeting an old flame isn’t doesn’t exactly make life easier on her. But Maise is turning out to be someone Sabina likes and that lightens the burden a little.

GREEN-EYED DEMON (2011)

Maisie has been kidnapped and Sabina sets out to rescue her. First they have to figure out where she is. When all clues lead them to New Orleans, Sabina, Adam and Giguhl travel together to try to find a way to rescue Maisie. As dear grandmother was the one to kidnap Maisie, Sabina worries about the state her sister will be in when they find her.

A local witch and voodoo practitioner and her transgendered assistant find it in their hearts to help in the search. Old acquaintances of Adam end up helping the gang. Will this be enough to do the job?

With Green-Eyed Demon we begin to see the depth of Wells’ writing. She does a good job at portraying her figures. Giguhl is my favorite one. Sabina shows the difficulty of going good when she’s been soooo bad.

SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL (2012)

Cover shoot by Shirley Green

Maisie is back, but she is in trouble. The kidnapping and having to draw blood to survive has taken its toll. Sabina tries to support her, but feels out of her depth. Figuring out who to trust is turning out to be more difficult than she had thought possible, and Sabina is now becoming more and more pessimistic about the possibility of peace between the three races.

Then a string of sadistic murders begin happening, and suspicion falls on Sabina. At the same time her relationship with her lover, sister and demon are getting stronger. Sabina’s investigation into the killings turn up frightening questions and Sabina has to make some difficult choices.

BLUE-BLOODED VAMP (2012)

Now we get to the final book in the series, “Blue-Blooded Vamp”. Sabina is after Cain to revenge the killings of people Sabina has loved. Unfortunately, Cain is hunting Sabina, too.

Abel, the mage who bound Cain is the one who can help Sabina. Sabina sets out for Rome with her friends to find Abel and get some answers. When she gets there, Sabina discovers that the role she and her sister are supposed to play is a game of the gods and she is one of the key pieces.

Good ending. Happily ever after kind of. Wells has given the urban fantasy genre a new and interesting way of portraying the paranormal creatures out there.

Gaiman, Neil: The Graveyard Book (2008)

Graveyard Book McKean 2.jpg
Bod in the graveyard. Art By Dave McKean

Neil Gaiman is another of my favorite authors. Each story I have read has captivated me. The Graveyard Book flows and left me with a sense of having enjoyed something wonderful. His texts lend themselves to being read out loud, and they would be fun and interesting for both reader and readee. However, reading to yourself is just as enjoyable. This is a Children’s story, but it is definitely not for the very young. Perhaps at least 8 years old due to some of the violence.

Nobody, or Bod as he is called, is a loveable boy. He’s completely believable and the characters around him are fascinating. I love his “mom” and “dad”. What a place to grow up and what friends to have. Like any kid, Bod accepts the world around him just as it is. His unusual childhood prepares him for whatever comes his way. I wish I could be more like him. Accepting people for what they are rather than what I think they are would be an incredible gift.


The Graveyard Book is available in four versions:

  1. The children’s version, illustrated by Chris Riddell;
  2. The adult version, illustrated by Dave McKean and
  3. The slipcased edition, illustrated by Dave McKean.
  4. Read by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal, Hugo Award for Best Novel, Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the Carnegie Medal for 2009. It was also nominated for the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for 2009.

Briggs, Patricia: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson I) (2006)

Moon Called - The last full moon of october

This is the image that I feels illustrates Moon Called best and it shows Mercy (Mercedes) as I had imagined her from the words Patricia Briggs has written about her in Moon Called.

I am a fan of Ms. Briggs’ writing. My adventure with her began with the Hurog saga. Then it sort of developed into a full-fledged love affair and here I am writing about yet another series of hers.

Poor little teen-ager Mac/Alan. Little had he thought about the possibility of werewolves being real. Then all of a sudden he was mauled and changed into one by nefarious people. The Marrok (Bran) calls this rape. To make matters worse, Mac was experimented on and kept in a cage. One day he manages to escape and turns up at Mercedes’ garage (auto-shop). She is a softie and takes him under her wings, eventually introducing him to the Alpha of the Tri-Cities area, Adam Hauptman.

Map created by Michael Enzweiler
Map created by Michael Enzweiler

Adam and Mercy will according to all the foreshadowing become a couple. Mercy and Adam are very alike, yet incredibly different. She is a shape-shifting coyote, he is the alpha werewolf of the Tri-Cities area. If the two of them decide to become mates, his pack will have to accept Mercy as his second. At least one of the members of the pack seems to have done so already, Warren.

Warren is a sweet-heart. He is a gay were-wolf with an open lifestyle. Meeting Mercy changed his life for the better. For once he met another predator who did not care what gender he loved. Then she introduced him to Adam and Adam accepted him as well. That did not mean that the rest of the pack managed to embrace him as one of their own, but that is the way of the world. We all have different prejudices. Some are more vocal and open about them than others. Sadly, getting to love the person you love is not something we all get to experience.

Just now it really struck me. What if I refused to accept a person because of who they loved? How would that change me and the person I met like that? It is a concept I find terribly confusing.  It would be like me refusing to accept a person because of the color of their skin or hair or eyes. Being on the receiving end of such prejudice must hurt terribly.

Mercy is the kind of person that opens up her heart to a great variety of people. Vampire, werewolf, fae or human matters not. If the other person seems to be decent, then there is room for them in Mercy’s life. Her attitude does create problems when some of her friends meet others of her friends, but Mercy just expects them to be polite to each other no matter how much they might despise each other (vampires vs. werewolves comes to mind). And people often do what Mercy expects. For reasons they do not always understand themselves, Mercy is definitely a person they want to have in their lives. What a gift, and possibly, what a curse.

Her being a mechanic is a bonus for me. As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things and mechanic was one of them. There is something satisfying about being able to take things apart. Sadly, I stink at putting them back together again. Then there is the goo. Goo is the loveliest thing on earth. Mercy gets to fix cars and is a whole lot better at putting them back together again than I am. My “niece” is a mechanic. Even here in Norway it is still unusual for a girl to choose such a career. I absolutely love that my “niece” chose such a line of work. So the idea of a mechanic that happens to be a woman is an added attraction for me.

Just so you know. One of Patricia Briggs series also begins at the time of Moon Called. When Bran sends Charles off to deal with a problem in Chicago the series Alpha and Omega starts.


Amazon Kindle


Reviews:


Moon Called as cartoon:

SKU: C1606902032
Rating: Teen +
Cover: Amelia Woo
Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence
Penciller/Inker/Colorist: Amelia Woo (digitally painted)
Genre: URBAN FANTASY
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Comic Book Collection
Page Count: 104+

ISBN-10: 1-60690-203-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-203-5

Just because I like pointing out the obvious. Do the images below remind you of anything? Anything at all??

Layout 1

 

Cook, Glen: Sweet Silver Blues (1987)

Sweet Silver Blues is the first book in a series about P.I. A. Garrett. It’s a humorous story about a world filled with gnomes, blood-suckers and various other elven creatures. The tone is ironic and the action plenty.

Garrett has to track down the woman his dead pal Denny left a fortune in silver to. On the way he is attacked by various “people” who are after this treasure. Fortunately he has the aid of Morley and his grolls. Otherwise, this would truly be a mission impossible.

Humor is tough. We all laugh at such different things. Some like this type of humor, while I’m more into the dry wit of Terry Pratchett. Without googling him, I would have guessed that Cook is from the US (he is). While the British humor sneaks up on you from behind and taps you on the shoulder, some US humor is more direct.

Which is why commenting on humorous books is practically impossible. Having said ALL that, Silver is well written.

Andrews, Ilona: Kate Daniels

Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

“Magic Bites” starts off the series about Kate Daniels, yet another urban fantasy series. As an urban fantasy this series is above average. It follows Kate Daniels, a mercenary with interesting and mysterious abilities, who is exposed to the shapeshifting and vampire societies through various mysteries that she and they have to solve.

We get to see how her relationship to the King shape-shifter, Curran, develops. We also get to follow along on her discovery of her magical abilities and get a look-see into her mysterious ancestry.

Thus far, the books in this series are:

Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays.

I guess the series would be comparable to Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson, Devon Monk: Allie Beckstrom and Jim Butcher: Dresden Files. These are all good examples of quality writing that does not take itself too seriously. It’s ambition is to entertain, and entertain it does.