Recently Reread: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs is an author who can draw me back to the paranormal subgenres in a way most others can’t. It has been years since I went near a Mercy Thompson book, and I remembered just enough for this first instalment in the series for it to feel both like an old friend and a new adventure.

The Mercy series is urban fantasy, with a relationship that develops in the background as the series goes on. It’s told in the first person, which I don’t usually love in adult fiction, but really enjoy here.

Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter who was raised by werewolves, but is never quite included in their society. She lives a working-class existence as a mechanic (but running her own garage), and she lives in a trailer that overlooks a mansion. The mansion is owned by the city’s Alpha werewolf, Adam Hauptman.

What’s so solid about this series is that Briggs knows her world inside-out. It’s fantastical, but also believable, and all of her characters are very distinctive. There are a few sad parts in this book, but it’s not a downer.

One thing urban fantasy has going for it over paranormal romance is how many risks an author can take without upsetting their readership.

We meet quite a lot of characters in quick succession in this book, and there is plenty of world building to be done, so in some ways Moon Called suffers from “first book syndrome”. However, Briggs has a very engaging writing style, and is really great at creating fascinating situations in the complex supernatural world most (but not all) of the characters inhabit – in an otherwise typical suburban American existence.

My only issue with this series (and Briggs’ writing in general) is that it – like the work of so many others writing with paranormal themes – has some really misogynistic themes. It’s a curse of all paranormal subgenres: authors seem to insist on making their heroines “special” by making the other women awful. All the women in this series – bar Adam’s teenaged daughter – hate Mercy. It’s too much.

Urban fantasy is not usually my thing, but Patricia Briggs made it my thing years ago. I’m happy to say I enjoy the books just as much now.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbour is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

Vintage Romance?

I don’t want to talk about old-school romance books right now, but romances that are too modern to be classed as historical romance, and too old-fashioned to be classed as contemporary romance.

This has been on my mind a bit recently for a few reasons:

  • In an authors’ group I’m part of I came across several people who wanted to submit manuscripts set in the 1960s and the 1970s and the 1980s, but they had no idea who would even look at them.
  • I am currently working on my father’s Vietnam War commander’s memoirs (my father was in the armoured corps of the Australian Army), and I have the 60s on my mind.
  • June this year sees the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba – considered the second most significant battle Australia fought in Vietnam – and my father is helping to organise the entire national service/memorial (he also did the 40th).

There is so much potential for so many good stories set in the second half of the 20th century. It was a time with so much upheaval. The Cold War, the rise and fall of communism, Korea, Vietnam… Not to mention all the changes at home, with women’s changing roles in society etc.

And yet… where are these books?

I do know of one publisher who has actively been seeking these sorts of stories for years and years: The Wild Rose Press.

However, isn’t it time we start a wider market for these books?

New Book for Joanna Shupe

Joanna Shupe’s The Rogue of Fifth Avenue, the first in a new series, is out now.

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (2019) (The first book in the Uptown Girls series #1) A novel by Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (Uptown Girls series #1) by Joanna Shupe

He can solve any problem . . .

In serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society, Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There’s no issue he cannot fix . . . except for one: the beautiful and reckless daughter of an important client who doesn’t seem to understand the word danger.

She’s not looking for a hero . . .

Excitement lies just below Forty-Second Street and Mamie Greene is determined to explore all of it – while playing a modern-day Robin Hood along the way. What she doesn’t need is her father’s lawyer dogging her every step and threatening her efforts to help struggling families in the tenements.

However, she doesn’t count on Frank’s persistence . . . or the sparks that fly between them. When fate upends all her plans, Mamie must decide if she’s willing to risk it all on a rogue . . .

My Book’s Blurb on Kobo

There have been a few preorder links for my book appearing online, and seeing as it’s up on Kobo now, I assume now I can share the title and blurb. (Huge thank you to Sue and Johanna for renaming it. I was dreading having to come up with a title on my own!)

I expect to receive a cover in the coming week, but in the meantime:

The Landowner’s Secret

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

The Week: 20th – 26th May

My book is up for preorder, complete with new title and blurb. See it on Kobo.

A note: I am spreading the posts I already have scheduled out over the coming months, rather than posting pretty much every day as I have been for ages. One of the main reasons for this is that this blog now feeds into my Goodreads author page, and it’s starting to seem like spam!

How is it only a few days until winter – we’re still having t-shirt weather! (It’s due to change in the coming week, however.)

R.I.P. to Niki Lauda. The Formula One paddock won’t be the same. I used to sit near pit lane at every Australian Grand Prix, and he was always, always there.

Here are some pictures from last weekend. The first is Victorian architecture in Goulburn, New South Wales, where we stopped for lunch on the way home from Sydney (Goulburn features in my books). The second is the approach to the Sydney Opera House the night before:

Happy 20th Birthday to Notting Hill!

NottingHillRobertsGrant Movie Poster

Book Feature: Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Book Feature: Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to do a review for. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

I read the early books in Christine Feehan leopard shifter series years ago, and remember enjoying them. I’m not sure if you can skip ahead to book ten, but Feehan’s books tend to work fairly well as standalones.

Leopard's Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Though born into a leopard’s lair in the bayou, Joshua Tregre’s fighting skills were honed in the rainforests of Borneo. Sleek and deadly, he’s the perfect man to take over a crime syndicate back home in Louisiana’s lush swamplands. His razor sharp instincts give him an edge in the violent underworld he knows so well, but even the watchful leopard inside him isn’t prepared for the threat that comes from the girl next door…

She is a woman who can create beauty out of thin air—and out of the ruins of her own life. The games that dangerous men play have taken their toll on her, but she is bent, not broken. And it’s her fierce spirit that’s like a lure to Joshua, a temptation he can’t resist—even if it means bringing his true nature into the light…

 

Happy 20th Birthday to Notting Hill!

NottingHillRobertsGrant Movie Poster

Iconic romantic comedy movie Notting Hill had its premiere in the United Kingdom on the 21st of May, 1999.

I moved to Notting Hill – the real place in London – in 2001, and the movie’s impact was everywhere. I’d be heading off to the laundrette with bags of washing, only to run into American tourists (and their long-suffering boyfriends!) searching my street for “Hugh Grant’s blue door”. While Portobello Road Market was always popular, things had got totally out of control, and they’d started assigning police officers to the exit of Notting Hill Gate Tube station to do some crowd control, and to help lost tourists with directions.

I’m not much of a romantic comedy movie viewer, but this one is special to me.

The Week: 13th – 19th May

When this post goes up I should be in Sydney. It’s just an overnight trip to see The Australian Ballet’s closing night performance of Giselle at the Opera House. It’s my favourite ballet, and the last one I ever danced.

This week was all about edits on my upcoming book. I’ve almost reached the point of I hate this thing and never want to read it ever, ever again! Quite normal when you’ve already read it eleventy-billion times in the past six months!

R.I.P. to Bob Hawke, who was Prime Minister of Australia for a big chunk of my childhood. I was so surprised to hear he’d died, as he’d been active in the election campaign these past few weeks.

On that note: happy day-after-election day to Australia – ha ha. I have zero confidence in the result (though, by the time this goes up we might already have a result). The world has become a lot crazier over the past decade, and – as the US proved in 2016 – anything can happen.

My father has been working at a pre-polling station for the past three weeks, filling in the time before starting a new management job (he doesn’t understand the concept of “retirement”), and he now has zero faith in the average Australian’s intelligence. A lot of people go to vote and don’t even know what the election is for! Voting is compulsory in Australia, and that’s something I have very mixed feelings about.

Book Feature: Jade by Jill Marie Landis

jade by jill marie landis

My review of First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

Cover Love

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie

Eurovision

Eurovision

I’m not planning on watching Eurovision this year, but seeing as it’s Eurovision weekend (as well as election weekend in Australia!), here’s the best performance in the whole history of the competition: Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka in 2007.

The event took place in Helsinki, Finland that year, and I was actually in the city with my brother at the time. We are in the footage they broadcast from the city’s main square.

 

Cover Love

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie

This different (Australian?) cover for Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake popped up when I set up the Kindle app on my new computer, and I thought it was really interesting. Yes, the woman is wearing poorly-fitting evening clothes in the middle of the day, but I like the Georgian house as the backdrop (it helps that I am a huge fan of Georgian architecture!).

I read this book several years ago, and reviewed it HERE.

Here is the original cover:

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie

And here is what it’s about:

Eight years ago, Lieutenant Luke Ripton made a hasty wartime marriage to protect a young girl from a forced union and then left her protected in a remote mountain convent. Now, Luke is Lord Ripton, but he has been unable to obtain an annulment, which leaves him no choice but to collect a wife he never wanted.

For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-eyed prince. Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself, not a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella’s fiercely independent nature will not tolerate.

But while Luke and Isabella’s fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, never expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind . . .