Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Alrighty, time for another review. Here is the first book in the Riley Jenson Guardian Series by Keri Arthur. Here's Full Moon Rising...

Title: Full Moon Rising
Author: Keri Arthur
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: December 26th 2006
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

From Keri Arthur's website:

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before...

Well Full Moon Rising certainly gets off to an interesting start. Riley Jenson is heading home when she notices that the night is quiet...too quiet. Then she scents blood on the wind. Though not a Guardian (an enforcer of sorts) for the Directorate but an office worker, she decides to check it out. She finds a massacre and two vampires lying in wait, a messy fight ensues where Riley (not being a trained fighter) uses the only weapon made of wood she has to hand to stake the attackers....her high heels. Luckily she comes out on top, not too surprising when we learn she is a rare mix of vampire and werewolf aka. a dhampire, one who has the extraordinary strength of the two races behind her. 
When Riley thinks her night can't get any stranger she arrives back at her apartment to find an ancient, powerful and deliciously naked vampire on her doorstep. Having no idea who he is, and finding the vampire to be little help in that department, Riley assumes that the vampire (later discovered to be called Quinn) is trying to find her flatmate and twin brother Rhoan. Unfortunately Rhoan is missing having not reported back from one of his missions as a Guardian for the Directorate of Other Races. Riley's investigation leads her to be drawn deeper in to the heart of the Directorate as well as causing her to spend an awful lot of time with hansom Quinn. The investigation leads to a cloning laboratory and risks Riley's life multiple times as she battles to rescue her brother, and it starts to look like the perpetrator might be someone Riley knows. And before the investigation closes she is betrayed by one she holds close....

Well, this is certainly a new take on werewolves for me. Riley and other werewolves are driven by what's known as the moon-heat (the week before the full moon) to mate. Basically in that week she has lots and lots of sex, fortunately for Riley she has two partners, Talon and Misha, who are always around to help her through the heat. Vulnerable because without sex Riley will go mad with blood lust she takes 'relief' where she can, and this time Quinn (the naked vampire) is more than willing help her out as well. Naturally there are a few steamy scenes in this book but nothing too graphic. There is detailed exploration of the wolf clubs where werewolves go to 'dance' and humans are not allowed in case one of the wolves injures them in the process of 'dancing' due to the superior strength of the werewolf population.
The book is set in Melbourne, Australia where supernatural creatures live in the open and are policed by the Directorate of other races. It's well written and the characters are well defined, even Riley and Rhoan's lovers (of which there are many). I'm glad that Rhoan was written as a gay character and throughout the series you get to see how his relationships with both Davern and Liander change. Honestly I think Rhoan's love life and personal relationships are more interesting than Riley's, though Riley does have a strange and sometimes volatile relationship with Quinn as he does not like to share, where as it is Riley's nature to 'dance' with many wolves during the moon heat....something Quinn does not understand. By the end of the book you realise just how strong a woman Riley really is, she is tried and tested in every way and still comes out sane at the other side....just.

I do really enjoy this book, and have found it to be one of the best of the series, but if you enjoy paranormal romances where by the end the two main characters can't live without each other then this probably isn't for you. Having said that it is still a good read and I would recommend it to fans of the genre.

My Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Another review coming up, Moon Called is the first book in the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Here's to Mercedes, the VW mechanic.

Title: Moon Called
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: 2006
Series: Mercy Thompson Series, Book #1
Source: My personal copy

Synopsis from back of the book:
Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic - and a damn good one - who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf - literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. As such she's tolerated by the wolves but definitely down the pecking order. As long as she keeps her eyes down and remembers her place, the pack will leave her in peace.
Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly a normal young lady... and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy....well what can I say, she's a shifter with an Alpha Wolf for a neighbour, a Fey for a mentor, and a Vampire who brings the Mystery Machine to her garage upon occasion (yes, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo). Needless to say Mercy leads an interesting life that not only becomes weirder but more dangerous when teenage runaway Mac shows up at her garage looking for work, because Mac is not an ordinary runaway. He's a Werewolf. A new Werewolf and therefore dangerous and unpredictable. But Mercy can't turn her back on a kid who so obviously needs her help, however knowing that Mac is Werewolf means Mercy is actually going to have to have a civil conversation with her hot tempered neighbour, Alpha Wolf Adam. Mercy's relationship with Adam is complicated at best due to the dominance of wolves over coyotes...well that and the small issue of Mercy being unable to help ticking him off, she's not too keen on Adam telling her what to do and is quite willing to retaliate in the best way she knows.
When there's an attack at her garage by two unknown Werewolves Mercy has to turn to Adam to help keep Mac safe. However when Adam is severely injured and his daughter kidnapped, Mercy is pulled back to where she grew up, somewhere she'd hoped never to return. She becomes embroiled in Werewolf politics and is kept under the watchful eye of the Alpha of all Alpha's (Bran) and his son Samuel (aka Marcy's ex). There are twists and turns along the way including witches, the Vampire seethe and a Werewolf community. Mercy will come face to face with her past among Werewolves while trying to find Adam's missing daughter and naturally Mercy will get into trouble along the way, she can't help it....

Well first off, the Mercedes Thompson series is more Young Adult than Adult Urban Fantasy. This is not to say that it won't appeal to older readers, but you can tell it's aimed at young adults. I enjoyed this book immensely, you're thrown into a world where the Fey live in the open but they're not the only supernatural creature that walks among us, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and of course the occasional Coyote Shape-shifter.
Mercy is an extremely strong, independent woman who has a serious dislike of being ordered about, though she isn't stupid her mouth has a tendency to get her into trouble (especially with Adam). She tries her best to stay out of werewolf business, considering her childhood and history with a certain wolf it's not surprising why, neither is it surprising that she hasn't been back to where she spent her childhood in a very long time. She's a brilliant lead character and if there is trouble about you can pretty much guarantee that Mercy is right in the middle of it....though not necessarily by choice. Adam is also a very well written character, the no-nonsense alpha wolf who has to put up with his pesky neighbour. Though there is a certain spark between Adam and Mercy, she seems determined to fight it. Mercy certainly does not want to be tied to this domineering man, yet they seem inexplicably drawn least until Mercy's first love Samuel re-enters her life, then things become rather complicated.

I applaud Patricia Briggs for this book as it is a very good introduction to the Mercy Thompson series, well written, even the background characters like Zee are done well. This is one of those unusual books that can appeal to both young adults and adults alike. I am a big fan of the whole series and can tell you now they are all definitely worth a read.

My Rating: 4/5

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