Book Review: Silence Fallen

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

It’s Mercy! It’s Adam! Need I say more?

I’m not sure why I even attempt to write reviews for the books in this series. Because really, all I basically want to say is:

I LOVE THIS SERIES! I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS! IT’S 100% CERTAIN THAT I WILL LOVE EVERY BOOK IN THIS SERIES.

What more do you need to know?

Okay, trying to calm myself now…

Silence Fallen is the 10th book in the amazing, wonderful, and highly addictive Mercy Thompson series, written by the incredibly talented (and fortunately for us, very prolific) Patricia Briggs.

Each book in the series builds upon those that came earlier. Over the course of the series, we’ve seen Mercy find her place in the werewolf pack, assert her own standing among the not-entirely-welcoming wolves, and discover more and more about her own powers and talents. Through it all, we’ve seen her relationship with Alpha werewolf Adam develop from irritating acquaintance to flirtatious ally to a deep and abiding love.

I love Mercy, by the way. In case that wasn’t clear. She’s strong, she’s a fighter, she speaks up for herself, she defends those who need protection, she’s a good and loyal friend… and yet she’s also a vulnerable woman who has had to deal with some majorly awful blows throughout her life.

In Silence Fallen, Mercy and Adam become separated early on due to a vicious kidnapping — and not only are they physically separated, but their psychic bond as mates seems to be broken too. THIS SUCKS. If you’ve read these books, you know about the power of the mating bond and the pack bonds. The idea of these being damaged is terrifying!

Patricia Briggs plays some interesting games with the story in this book. As the couple are apart for most of the story, their chapters are distinct as well — some from Mercy’s point of view, some from Adam’s. In addition, the timeline twists a little bit, with the chapters not necessarily describing events in the proper order. (Don’t worry, it all makes sense once you read it.)

Meanwhile, the settings include Milan and Prague, and Mercy and the gang end up dealing with a whole range of foes and allies, including nasty vampires, varied werewolf packs, witches, goblins, and a very old mystical being that I won’t say more about. (Read the book. You’ll see.)

My only teeny little complaint about Silence Fallen is that Mercy and Adam spend about 90% of it apart, and therefore we don’t get to see their amazing chemisty. Also as a result of the separation, we don’t get much of Mercy’s interactions with the pack — always entertaining — or the internal pack dynamics that add to the fantastic world-building of the series.

Listen, if you’re a Mercy fan, then you’re going to read Silence Fallen. And if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mercy yet, I strongly suggest dropping everything else and starting the series from the beginning.

One more thing about Silence Fallen, and I only mention this because I’ve already seen it hinted at in most other reviews I’ve seen so far: This book has an amazing (and pretty adorable) twist in it that just absolutely delighted me. I’m not saying anything else about it. But just know that it’s super fun and awesome and — if you’re a fan — you’ll love this little surprise.

Convinced yet? Go read some Mercy!!!

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The details:

Title: Silence Fallen
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Books
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Length: 371 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

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Check out the cover of Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs!

I was so excited to see this on Facebook while I was away on vacation! As a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, it makes me soooo happy to ponder the glories of this cover:

silence_fallen_layout.indd

 

Silence Fallen is book #10 in the series. The expected publication date is March 7, 2017… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Synopsis:

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Did you get chills? I got chills. I’m so scared for Mercy! This sounds amazing. Can’t wait!

Find Silence Fallen at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

And PS – If you haven’t read any of the Mercy books, start with Moon Called and then keep going! Such an amazing series.

Book Review: Fire Touched

Fire TouchedI love this series, truly – madly – deeply. Why do I even bother writing reviews anymore? You know the bottom line is going to be READ THIS BOOK… or for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptmann yet, READ THIS SERIES.

There. Done.

Okay, a little more, perhaps? Fire Touched is the 9th book in the always outstanding Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter as well as a talented VW mechanic. She’s a woman who never backs down and stands up for herself, her family, her pack, and pretty much anyone who needs her protection — and this is what lands her and the pack in a huge mess in Fire Touched.

Mercy is married to Adam, Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack — a werewolf pack, that is. Mercy has just finished recovering from the life-threatening events of the previous book, Night Broken, when a new danger emerges. There’s a giant troll on the Cable Bridge of the Tri-Cities, and the local police are smart enough to call in the pack for help. Mercy and a bunch of werewolves battle the big nasty creature (who seems to enjoy smashing cars like an overgrown toddler playing with Matchbox toys) and ultimately defeat him — but Mercy takes the unprecedented step of declaring the Tri-Cities the territory of the pack and warning the fae that the pack will offer sanctuary to all who need their help.

At the moment, this includes Aiden, who looks like a bedraggled 10-year-old, but is in fact centuries old, having been taken into the fae’s unreachable domain of Underhill as a child and kept there ever since. Aiden has escaped, and now has gifts — including the ability to burn with his touch — and the fae would very much like to get their hands on him. By offering sanctuary, Mercy and the pack have set themselves up in direct opposition to all of the fae, and have potentially set the stage for the werewolf vs. fae war that Bran Cornick, leader of all of the North American werewolves, has been working so hard to avoid.

As the story progresses, we see the implications of Mercy’s declaration more and more. The pack will be under siege from all who question their right to claim territory. There are still pack members who resent Mercy’s membership in the pack, seeing as she’s a coyote and not a wolf, and Adam has finally had enough of the sniping. He declares that all werewolves in his pack will treat Mercy with respect, and if they say or do anything further against her, he will end them. And he means it. Strangely, this finally seems to bring the pack into a united team. A dire and unintended effect of the declaration is a break with Bran. Bran can’t afford to turn this into a global war against the fae, as his priority is always the good of ALL werewolves, so he formally breaks with Adam’s pack.

Sob. I love Bran. I love Adam. No sundering! Please work it out, guys.

Okay, so what did I think of this book? Well, as I said, I just pretty much heart everything about this series, so of course I loved Fire Touched too. That said, though, it’s probably not the best of the best, even though it’s awfully darn good.

What was missing for me here was the emphasis on relationships that my favorites in the series have. Mercy and Adam are in a really good place in their marriage, and I’m happy for them, but we don’t actually spend much time in this book just seeing them together. The pack isn’t terribly present in Fire Touched. Yes, they’re in the big fight on the bridge with the troll, and yes, we see the pack meeting where Adam draws his line in the sand about the pack’s treatment of Mercy. But beyond that, the pack is mostly just background. I’ve come to adore so many of the pack members — Ben, Warren, Darryl, Honey — but they’re not central to the plot here, and I missed them.

A lot of Fire Touched was about the fae and the Grey Lords, and how Mercy and Adam deal with their bargains and deceits. It was engaging, but I missed the pack drama and politics. On the plus side, it was nice to see Thomas Hao and Margaret Flanagan again (and if you don’t know who they are, read the story “Fairy Gifts” from the Shifting Shadows collection).

The bad thing about reading a new Mercy Thompson book the second it comes out is the loooooong wait for the next one! Okay, I’m done with Fire Touched — now what? Patricia Briggs’s website shows that there will be a 10th Mercy book and a 5th Alpha & Omega book (yay!), but no date is listed for either, and I assume whichever is next will be published in 2017.

So hey! If you haven’t read any Mercy books, or if you’re behind, now’s a great time to dive in and catch up! Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Want to know more about the worlds of Patricia Briggs? Check out a few of my previous reviews:

Night Broken
Frost Burned
Shifting Shadows
Dead Heat

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The details:

Title: Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publication date: March 8, 2016
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

On Mercy Thompson and Kate Shugak

I’m having the somewhat mind-warping experience of reading two amazing books about two of my favorite characters right at the same time — and it struck me that despite seemingly huge differences, Mercy Thompson and Kate Shugak have a lot in common.

First, a bit about both.

Frost BurnedMercy Thompson, the heroine of Patricia Briggs’s popular urban fantasy series, is a VW mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of the state of Washington. Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter who seems to always find herself at the center of trouble. Over the course of nine novels so far, Mercy has become more and more involved with the local werewolf pack, first as a neighbor and a nuisance, but eventually as the Alpha’s mate and wife. Along the way, Mercy has taken on a whole host of bad guys, from demonic vampires to volcano gods, and has lived to tell the tale, sometimes only by the skin of her teeth.

15998421And Kate Shugak? Kate is the heroine of a mystery series by Dana Stabenow. Kate is a former investigator for the Anchorage DA’s office who lives on a homestead in the wilds of Alaska and would love to be left alone — except she keeps getting called back into the life of investigating crime and corruption. The bad guys here aren’t supernatural. So far, I’ve read six of the Kate books (out of 20 currently published), and I’ve seen Kate take on oilmen, drug dealers, sleazy businessmen looking to worm their way into exploiting natural resources, and smugglers of native artifacts.

So why do I equate the two? Let’s see:

Kate and Mercy are both outsiders. Kate grew up surrounded by family and tribe, but has spent most of her life wanting to distance herself from her grandmother’s manipulations and native politics. Mercy spent most of her life believing herself to be the only coyote shapeshifter in existence, never quite fitting in among the werewolves who’ve always been around her. Additionally, Kate and Mercy both were raised by foster parents, and seem to both carry scars from the absence of their own parents in their lives.

Kate is an Aleut. Mercy is of Native American heritage. Both have to deal with the blatant and implicit biases and injustices that come their way as women of color.

Kate is a kick-butt investigator who isn’t afraid to fight, is amazing with firearms, and can defend herself and anyone around her when things get dangerous. Mercy is a highly trained martial arts expert, who throws herself into a fight when needed, and will always do whatever she can to protect anyone who needs her.

Kate and Mercy have relationships that matter to them, but they’re also strong women who would never take orders or be less than 100% themselves just because of a man.

Kate and Mercy are survivors. They’ve been through hell. They’re scarred. They’ve risked themselves time and time again to do the right thing and protect those weaker than themselves.

Kate never goes anywhere without her huge dog Mutt, half-Husky, half-wolf. And Mercy seems to always be surrounded by her very own pack of wolves, most especially her beloved Alpha wolf Adam.

Kate and Mercy are both highly self-sufficient. Kate lives alone (with Mutt) at her homestead, miles from the nearest town, where she single-handedly hunts, chops wood, fetches what she needs, repairs building and vehicles, and keeps herself alive throughout Alaskan winters. Mercy is a talented mechanic who can fix anything with a motor, skilled with her hands and making a go of being a woman in a man’s world, defying gender roles on a daily basis.

Above all, they’re both smart, strong women who love deeply, cherish their independence, champion those who can’t stand up for themselves, fight for justice, and take no bull from anyone.

So despite the vast differences in their worlds — one full of the supernatural, the other a mundane world full of complicated people and politics — both Mercy and Kate are stand-out heroines who deal with tough surroundings and dangerous threats, but always remain true to themselves.

See, this is what I get for reading the new Mercy novel while in the middle of a Kate audiobook! I find the two running together in my mind, and can’t help thinking that it’s too bad that they belong to different worlds. They’d make an awesome team.

In any case, I absolutely love the world of Mercy Thompson, and I’m falling more and more under the spell of Kate Shugak. I hope to have many more books about both in my future!

 

Fire Touched has a cover!

I was so excited to see this on Facebook today! As a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, I feel totally justified in having a blog post dedicated to the joy of this cover:

Fire Touched

Fire Touched is book #9 in the series. The expected publication date is March 8, 2016… which can’t possibly get here soon enough!

Find Fire Touched at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

And PS – If you haven’t read any of the Mercy books, start with Moon Called and then keep going! Such an amazing series.

Thursday Quotables: In Falling Snow

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

In Falling Snow

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl
(published 2012)

I’m about 100 pages into this WWI-era historical novel, and I was quite taken by the contrast between lust and other emotions in the opening pages:

They made love there on the floor. Later she got up and surveyed the room, their clothes leading from the door, his boots, the last thing to come off, at the bottom of the bed. She would remember none of those details but would never forget the long lateral muscles of his back, where angel wings would start. And the shame. She would never forget the shame.

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

Thursday Quotables: Bone Crossed

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
Bone Crossed

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
(Mercy Thompson series, book #4 – published 2009)

I’m working my way through this amazing series for a 2nd time, listening to all the audiobooks. These snippets don’t really show much about the plot, but they do capture the insane world that’s just a given in these books.

It was strangely intimate, Stefan holding me as he drank from Adam’s wrist, and Adam leaning harder into me as Stefan fed. Intimate with an audience. I turned my head to see that my mother still held her gun in a steady two-handed grip, pointed at Stefan’s head. Her face as calm as if she saw burnt bodies appear out of nowhere, then rise from the dead to sink fangs into whoever was closest to them all the time, though I knew that wasn’t true. I wasn’t sure she’d ever even seen one of the werewolves in wolf form.

One more:

He was huge, an earthly mass of gray and blue, still vaguely human-shaped, but his face looked like it had melted, leaving only vague bumps where his nose should have been. His mouth was pretty easy to spot — it would be hard to miss all those big teeth. Silvery eyes, too small for that huge face, glared out from under sparkly blue eyebrows. He shook himself, and the sparkly dust scattered again, melting as it touched warmer surfaces. He was shedding snow.

In the silence that followed, a small cranky voice said, “Freakin’ snow elf.”

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Leave your link in the comments — or, if you have a quote to share but not a blog post, you can leave your quote in the comments too!
  • Visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

Book Review: Shifting Shadows

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy ThompsonIn a way, it’s silly to write a review of a book of stories such as Shifting Shadows. If you’re a fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, then you’ll want to read this. If you’re not, this is not the place to enter Mercy’s world. Which, by the way, is amazing… so if you like urban fantasy filled with unique characters, exciting plots, and fascinating relationships, start with Moon Called, and then keep reading! I dare you to stop.

Shifting Shadows is definitely a gift for fans, and it’s a pretty wonderful gift at that. There are 10 stories in Shifting Shadows, all set in Mercy’s world. Six stories have appeared previously in various anthologies, and four stories are new. Although I’d read all  of the six older stories already, I still enjoyed re-reading them in the context of this collection.

The previously published stories are:

“Fairy Gifts”  – Set in Butte, Montana, this is a short, sweet tale of redemption and old debts focusing on a vampire and a fae, with a distinctly old West feel to it.

“Gray” – A ghost story/love story set in Chicago, “Gray” is quite lovely. This story of vampire Elena and her quest to reconnect with her late husband has both action and emotion.

“Seeing Eye” – The story of werewolf Tom and white witch Moira, set in Seattle.

“Alpha & Omega” – Even though I’ve read this story 3 or 4 times already, I never get tired of it. This novella was the original work that started the Alpha & Omega spin-off series of novels, and tells the story of Charles and Anna’s first meeting. Such wonderful characters, and a truly great addition to the Mercy-verse.

“The Star of David” – Focusing on werewolf David Christiansen, this is a holiday tale of family connection and personal redemption. Action-packed, and touching as well.

“In Red, With Pearls” – Werewolf Warren is the star of this one. Need I say more? Warren rocks, always.

New stories include:

“Silver” – An origin story for Bran and Samuel, which mostly focuses on Samuel’s first encounter with Ariana. I would have liked more Bran, but that wasn’t the point of this story. Still, quite interesting to finally hear the tale of how Bran and Samuel were turned.

“Roses in Winter” – Tells the story of Kara, a young girl introduced in the Mercy books, and how old wolf Asil cares for her when her life is on the line.

“Redemption” – Ben gets a story! I’ve always loved the character of Ben — so outwardly awful at first, until we learn more about his history and the traumas and abuse he’s suffered. Here, he really gets a chance to shine and be the good guy — even a hero! — for once. Plus, this story is really funny. Loved it.

“Hollow” – Mercy finally shows up in one of the stories! “Hollow” isn’t really about Mercy for the most part, but more about a troubling case of a haunting that Mercy helps solve. But hey, all Mercy is good Mercy, and we even get some Adam!

In addition, Shifting Shadows wraps up with two outtakes from published novels — deleted scenes, I suppose — from Silver Borne and Night Broken.

If any or all of the above made any sense to you, then congratulations! You’re a Mercy fan! And in that case, make sure you grab a copy of Shifting Shadows, and enjoy.

And just to repeat myself… if all of this seems like gobbledegook to you, that’s a sure sign that you haven’t yet been introduced to the wonderful world of Mercy Thompson. Moon Called is waiting for you…

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The details:

Title: Shifting Shadows
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Length: 450 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy (short stories)
Source: Purchased

Wishing & Waiting on Wednesday: Shifting Shadows

There’s nothing like a Wednesday for thinking about the books we want to read! My Wishing & Waiting on Wednesday post is linking up with two fabulous book memes, Wishlist Wednesday (hosted by Pen to Paper) and Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine).

My most wished-for book this week is:

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson

Shifting Shadows: Stories From The World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
(Release date: September 2, 2014)

This one is strictly for the fans! If you love the Mercy Thompson series, then you’ll be as excited as I was this week to learn that a collection of Mercy stories will be released this fall — to include a mix of new and previously published stories.

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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…
“Silver”
“Roses in Winter”
“Redemption”
“Hollow”

…and reader favorites
“Fairy Gifts”
“Gray”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Seeing Eye”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”

I’ve read some — but not all — of the already published stories, and can’t wait to catch up on the ones I’ve missed and read some new ones as well. The Mercy series is one of my favorites, and since there won’t be another new novel until 2015, I’m delighted to get a story collection to hold me over!

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Looking for some bookish fun on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

The Monday Agenda 3/24/2014

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Despite another week of real-life craziness, I did manage to read some great books!

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)Grasshopper JungleThe Summer I Wasn't Me

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs: Loved it! My review is here.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith: Weird and wonderful. My review is here.

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi: Done! Watch for my review and blog tour post about this terrific YA book on April 5th!

The kiddo and I have more or less ditched Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper, although we may end up giving it one more shot. We also read the first chapter of Treasure Island, but we’re feeling very non-committal at the moment.

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, but I did get a few e-ARCs that look pretty terrific:

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

The Shambling Guide to New York CityThe Storied Life of A. J. FikryVisible City

I’ve just started The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty, and so far, it’s a riot.

After that, I’ll be diving into:

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Visible City by Tova Mirvis

And also in the works:

echoThe Outlander Book Club’s re-read of An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon continues! Coming up this week: Chapters 49 – 53. Want to join in? Contact me and I’ll provide all the details!

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

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