I usually don’t like short stories. I
tend to feel that many of the short stories I read are more teasers for the
real series and thus lacking substance to reel the reader fully in.
Patricia Briggs’ short stories do not
fall into this category.
Now that said, I would not recommend
this anthology for newcomers to Briggs’ Mercy series. Part of the magic of this
anthology is Briggs’ sensational ability to create compelling stories that fill
in much of the eagerly anticipated backstories of many of the secondary
My personal favorite of these stories
was Silver which illuminated much of
Samuel, Bran, and Arianas’ backstories, thus finishing the story that began in Silver Borne. Readers finally are able
to get a taste of Samuel and Bran’s turning, the torture inflicted upon them
while they were under the control of Bran’s mother, and the love born between
Samuel and Ariana. On top of that, Silver
is more of a novella than a short story, spanning 70 pages, thus allowing
Briggs is really able to get to the meat of the story. Personally I’d recommend
this anthology based solely on this story alone.
Of course there’s more than just this
story, some of my other favorites included In
Red, with Pearls, which is told from Warren’s POV, Redemption, which illuminates Ben’s backstory and is told from his
POV, and Hollow, which is a Mercy POV
story that takes place AFTER Night Broken, so fans of the series that are
already in Mercy withdrawal can get a fix with some events that take place
after the most recent book in the series,
This anthology includes new stories:
Previously released stories:
Star of David
Red, with Pearls
And some extra chapters from Night Broken and Silver Bourne.
All in all, I highly recommend this
anthology for fans of the Mercy series. Many of the stories are closer to
novellas than short stories, and if you haven’t read Briggs’ Alpha and Omega
series, then this is the perfect opportunity as the novella that started the
series is included in the selection of previously released material included in
this book. Great buy.
Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.
She was wrong.
It's time to learn the truth.
The first thing I have to say about
Seanan McGuire is that her October Daye series gets better with each book.
While I’ve liked each book, I’ve found that with each successive book in the
series the overall series and each book got better, to the point that now when
a new book in the series comes out I have to immediately go buy a copy and
often finish it that day.
Winter Long is no exception to this.
Not only is The Winter Long a riveting mystery filled with more action, magic,
and drama than you could swing a Cait Sidhe at, but it also finally answers
many of the questions that were posed in the first book in the series.
On top of it all McGuire has done
something I’ve seen only a precious few other authors do successfully, turn
their entire world upside down. That’s what The
Winter Long is, it’s a complete reversal from everything readers and fans
of the series have known from the first book in the series. This is the turning
point and while McGuire has built upon changes created from previous books in
the series, she executed a perfect shift for the others leaving readers utterly
unable to control their collective jaws from dropping.
This summersault of the story is not
jarring though, McGuire has done a fantastic job balancing the events so that
it is possible, believable, and yet still shocking to readers. Thus tricking
readers and leaving fans of the series shocked and surprised, a truly
magnificent feat for an 8th book in a series.
Through all of this McGuire leaves her
readers stymied and eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, and if
that isn’t the sign of a fantastic book than I don’t know what is. I highly
Jack and his father have never seen eye to eye…until Jack’s dad gives him the chance to transfer to Oakhurst his junior year. His dad sees it as a way for Jack to get into a good college; Jack sees it as refuge from his dad.
Oakhurst is more than an escape—it's a chance for Jack to do something new, to try out for the football team. Once Jack makes the team, he’s thrust into a foreign world—one of intense hazing, vitamin supplements, monkey hormones and steroids. Jack has to decide how far he's willing to go to fit in—and how much he's willing to compromise himself to be the man his team wants him to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed each of the activities that Jack participated in. Richmond does a great job describing the adrenaline pumping excitement of playing football, or the smooth perfection of finally getting a song right as the pieces just fall into place. Reader’s own heart rates will escalate during these scenes, forcing them dig deeper into the story and want more.
Besides the football games and the band practices, Richmond does a great job showing the struggles of resisting peer pressure. Whether that peer pressure be: accepting the school’s traditions in terms of music and learning, accepting the popular pretty girl’s (and quarterback’s girlfriend) propositions, or giving in and taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Richmond describes all of these struggles as they really are, Jack is ostracized from the team for not taking the drugs, he commits social suicide by rejecting Lancy’s offers, and he risks getting expelled for defying the normal types of music.
Of course, this leads to one of the problems of the story. While Richmond does a good job describing each of these struggles, the book sometimes feels a bit clunky with all of the different themes shoved into this short book (280 pages). A result of stuffing to many plotlines into the story is that the characters are not as well developed as they could be. Because there are so many different characters because of the different activities Richmond doesn’t spend the necessary amount of time developing any of them, resulting in the love story aspect of the novel appearing weak and unnecessary. While it would require losing one or more of the themes, I believe strengthening the characters and showing character growth (instead of the two-dimensional characters Always a Catch currently has) would transform Always a Catch into a better book.
That said, Always a Catch is a fun book to read. Richmond does a great job creating riveting action sequences playing football and making music, and the pace is swift and steady, leading readers to keep reading until the end. All in all a good book for fans of Mike Lupica or John Feinstein.
Percy Jackson's take on Greek myths. Similar to Edith Hamilton's Mythology but with a particular spin filled with wit, sarcasm, and adventure. Filled with John Rocco's illustrations.
The first thing I have to say is this
John Rocco’s illustrations are
breathtaking and the book is so professionally done that it could easily become
a coffee table book that even adults would be proud to present.
Of course, that leads to the next
issue, this book while gorgeous, is gargantuan. This is not the type of book
that someone should or even could bring on a vacation to read by the beach,
instead this is a book that you read inside while it’s propped up or laid down
on a table to help support the weight.
Now that said, the e-book version
which is easy to transport does include the gorgeous illustrations in color (if
you have an e-reader or ipad that displays in color). So if you’re insistent on
bringing this book to the beach then there is an available option.
As for the content, Riordan has done a
fantastic job, this book contains the quick wit and entertaining tone that
readers have come to expect from Percy Jackson, while at the same time it does
an amazing job of presenting the Greek myths in a fashion to rival Edith
All in all if you’re a fan of Rick
Riordan or want to learn about Greek Myths from an entertaining source then
this is the book for you. Personally I think this is a book for all ages, and I
whole heartedly recommend it.