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Currently Reading: Mercedes Thompson Series

mercedes thompson series

As I mentioned before, I love all things related to vampires, werewolves, magic, witches and fae. So when was done with the previous series that I was re-reading, I picked up the one that went back to urban fantasy. I picked Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson series.

Mercedes Thompson, the protagonist of the series, is flawed (as all interesting and believable characters are) and human, even though she isn’t fully human. She can change into a coyote at will and just so happens to be working as a mechanic in a workshop previously owned by a gremlin and she’s neighbours with the Alpha of the local werewolf pack.

Mercy, as she’s called by those close to her, seems to have a habit of getting into trouble, though not always her fault. It just seems to follow her around. Living in a city that’s packed with supernatural beings, there’s bound to be trouble some where.

Moon Called is the first book of the series, where we’re introduced to Mercy’s world and the creatures in them. We get to know her background and also her relationship with Adam Hauptman, the werewolf Alpha. As the series progresses, we see a relationship develop and we get to know more of Adam’s pack as well as Mercy’s friends, and of course, enemies too. In each book, Mercy gets tossed around, hit, shot, bitten, basically hurt really bad. Clothes get torn and bloodied and people die.

What I love about this series is that, Mercy doesn’t take shit from anyone, not even werewolves who could kill her with just a snap of their jaws. In fact, what ever is dished out at her, she returns it at least double and she’s not above fighting dirty. She’s funny, smart-mouthed, loyal and stubborn to a fault and refuses to be rail roaded to do anything that she doesn’t like.

Other than the four books, Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed, there are 2 other books in the series, Silver Borne and River Marked.

Other than these books, there is also the graphic novel.

mercedes thompson - homecoming

Homecoming is about how Mercy came to live in the Tri-City area and working as a mechanic. It’s not necessary to start with the graphic novel. Each book can be read as a standalone novel but it’s always better to read it chronologically as it is more comprehensive that way.

I’m actually halfway through River Marked at the moment and absolutely enjoying it.

One of the things that this series had me thinking, what if our world was like Mercy’s; where the fae and werewolves are openly part of the community, though still not fully accepted. Would it be extremely scary to have what we used to think as just fantastical make-believe creatures are actually real and may be your neighbour? Think about it.

Currently Reading: Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdom (Series)

tales of the five hundred kingdoms

Lately, I’ve been going through my collection of high fantasy novels, taking a break after all that vampire stuff for a while. My current reading list includes the first four books from the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdom series by Mercedes Lackey. This series is basically a re-imagining of the different fairy tales that we grew up with, like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. Add in a dash of romance, magic and battles, you get the wonderful series

The Fairy Godmother
The first book of the series gives us an introduction to the Five Hundred Kingdoms and how the Fairy Godmothers steer the Tradition, which is the magical force that determines how things turn out, into the path of least danger and hopefully happiness. This story tells of what happens to a girl who was supposed to be the Cinderella of the kingdom, but due to circumstances that prevent her from fulfilling her role in the Tradition, ends up being a Godmother.

Being the first book that started me on the series, I have to say, this is my favourite out of the lot that I have. Strong female characters who are on equal footing with their partners, are always a good read.

One Good Knight
This is like Clash of the Titans. Ya know, princess being offered to the creature as sacrifice to protect the kingdom? What if there’s more to it than just simply to keep the kingdom safe? This book introduces dragons, a very special knight and a very smart princess.

Once again, you have strong, smart female characters. See a trend here?

Fortune’s Fool
Katya, seventh daughter of the Sea King, is the eyes and ears of her father on dryland. When she meets Sasha, the seventh son, Fortunate Fool and Songweaver of the King of Led Belarus, sparks fly and they fall in love. As always, something happens and they get separated, leaving Katya to figure a way out the danger she’s in and Sasha, finding a way to get to her, with help from unexpected places.

I’ve never heard of the folklore of the seventh child until I read this story. I don’t know much about it other than the fact that the seventh child is granted with special powers or gifts.

Totally not relating to this story, the only seventh child I know of is Seventh Son of the Seventh Son by Iron Maiden.

The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen, Godmother Aleksia, is falsely accused of stealing men and killing whole villagers. When she discovers that an imposter had claimed Aleksia’s title as her own and is the one causing all the disappearances and deaths, Aleksia goes out to fix the problem herself.

I don’t know much of the story of the Snow Queen other than she takes little boys who are naughty. That’s about it. To me, this is the weakest of the four books. The ending was abrupt and hurried.

As I was looking for pictures of the book covers, I discovered that there’s a fifth book in this series, The Sleeping Beauty, which I’ve yet to read. I think a trip to the book store is in order the next time I’m in town.

Currently Reading: The Historian

the historian Truthfully, this is actually my second attempt at reading this book. I bought it a couple of years back at a cousin’s recommendation, read about a third of the book but got distracted by something else. I’d lent the book to Dude but he never got around to reading it so I thought, why not give it another go.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is a refreshing new look at the Dracula myth and lore. The story starts out with the main character writing down her story for her successor. She retells her story from her late teens when she first discovered the lore behind Dracula and the history of the man. The interesting bits start happening when her father goes missing and she goes in search of him while at the same time, trying to evade something ominous that’s following her.

The book is an interesting read but it can be a little draggy in the beginning. I’ve read about two thirds of the book and I must say that it’s at its most interesting and I can’t wait to finish it.

So, what do I think of it so far?

I found it most fascinating and interesting that the story isn’t told in the usual third person or a singular first person point of view. The story and the entire background of the whole book was (so far) told through multiple first person point of views; the main character’s, her father’s and even the father’s mentor. I love that some of the more interesting background stories were told through letters.

I love the fact that the movie included a lot of factual history about Vlad the Impaler. It was like reading both a horror book and a history book (which I love) at the same time.

However, it does get a little confusing. I had to go back and check whose point of view the story was being told in when I wasn’t paying attention to the punctuation being used.

I must admit that I’m a big fan of horror movies and books. I don’t get creeped out that easily or get nightmares very often from them, but this book does creep me out a little and I even had trouble sleeping due to my over active imagination.

Overall, I think it’s a really good book, just don’t expect the vampires to be like what you’d see in the movies.

Currently Reading: In 5 Easy Steps by Lum Kit-Wye

In 5 easy steps by KW Lum (small) Some time last year, I heard that Marshall Cavendish was organising an Asian based chic lit competition. The winner will then have his/her manuscript published. I’d initially wanted to join the competition but I needed to revise my plot completely to suit the theme and I had to do it in two months. So it is suffice to say that I never got around to doing that (even though the manuscript has been hanging out in my hard disc for at least two years).

A few weeks back, at one of my monthly book store visits, I came across In 5 Easy Steps by Lum Kit-Wye, the winner of the contest. I’d already reached my quote of book purchases that month so it took me a few more weeks before I got it. I started reading it while on the way to work today and so far, I’m enjoying it.

From the back of the book:

All Elaine Chan has ever wanted is a loving husband and a houseful of children. But when her almost-fiancé unceremoniously dumps her after a humiliating episode involving childhood enemies, condoms and puking, Elaine realizes that a change is in order. Armed with an article promising to show her how to re-invent herself in just 5 easy steps, Elaine finds herself on a one-way coach ride to a new life, a new future, a new her.

But the complete makeover of Elaine is an arduous process, and is threatened with derailment by distractions like the mystery of the neighbour’s vanishing Indonesian maid, with which Elaine finds herself strangely obsessed. Her efforts to keep all the balls in the air as she plays glamour-puss, model girlfriend (to Evan, a hotshot young lawyer form work) and sleuth extraordinaire all rolled into one enticing depilated package, frequently lead her into situations that verge on the bizarre.

Thank heavens then for her neighbour Kai, her mainstay of reason and humour through all the perils that seem to dog her evolution, and whose relaxed attitude to life reminds Elaine of how she used to be.

As Elaine struggles to emerge as an elegant butterfly from the dowdy chrysalis that was her former self, she cannot help asking if these five steps are taking her to where she really wants to go.

Sounds interesting, isn’t it?

The beginning itself had already gotten me hooked, just like Undercover Tai Tai, another Asian chic lit briefly mentioned here, and Tales of Saffy & Amanda. I like my chic lit funny and even though I’m only on page 46, Chapter 4, it seems promising. I didn’t want to put down the book actually but what with work and all… I’m looking forward to what else Elaine has in store for herself.

The book is available at Kinokuniya. There’s even a Facebook page for it too. Check the book out and let me know what you think.