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Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Hexbound (Dark Elite #2) by Chloe Neill

Release Date: 7 Dec 2010
Read Date: 6 May 2011
Rating:

Hexbound picks up where Firespell left off. Lily is still learning about her powers and that of the Adepts. “As Adepts, we promise to give up our magic, to give it back to the universe before it turns us into soul-suckers. Reapers don’t. And in order to keep their suddenly hungry power from devouring them from the inside out, they have to feed from the souls of Adepts or humans.” They believe that after twenty-five years, “the magic begins to degrade you, to devour your soul like some kind of rangy tentacle monster.”

Lily and her friend Scout are trying to avoid the “brat-pack drama”, but unfortunately it’s ever present. I do like Lily and Scout, but at times the story seems to be weighed down by too much angst for me. That’s the risk I take when choosing to read YA. I do enjoy the different types of powers Chloe has created in Lily’s world. Some can touch buildings to “read the history”, manipulate fire or ice and some are wicked fighters.

I’m also intrigued by Sebastian. He’s a Reaper who appears to be trying to help Lily. Lily is attracted him and visa versa, but he’s the bad guy. Or is he? We can’t really get a lock on him. I’m looking forward to learning more about him and whether or not everything he’s told her is true.

As Sebastian tells Lily, “…things are rarely as simple as they seem. Sometimes you don’t figure out how the story is supposed to end until you’ve read it.”

I’ll be continuing the series with Charmfall, which is due in Jan 2012.

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Review: Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night . . .

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone’s beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. You’d think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave . . .

 

 

Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten #4) by Sharon Ashwood

Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

Read Date: 20 Jun 2011

Rating:

I have always enjoyed Sharon Ashwood’s Dark Forgotten series. Frostbound was no exception. I think she does a great job of blending UF and PNR. Like a PNURF, paranormal urban romantic fantasy.

This book focuses on one of my favorite characters so far in the series, Lore, a hellhound who managed to escape from the the Castle. He’s acting sheriff during a time when supes are on edge. Why? Because the first supe election is only a month or so away. Supernaturals have only been out of the closet for a short time and the humans are still adjusting.

Talia, a newly turned vampire/former hunter, has been running from her abusive sire and is staying with her look-a-like cousin. When her cousin is murdered Lore investigates, Talia freaks and the who-done-it begins.

While I thought I’d be more drawn to Talia, seeing as she was turned against her will, grew up killing “monsters” and now is having to adjust to being that which she’s always hated … I was only partially interested. I was more interested in Lore, Hellhound Alpha. I did feel like they were a good fit though.

Definitely continuing on with the series.

Series Order:

Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten, #1) Scorched (The Dark Forgotten, #2) Unchained (The Dark Forgotten, #3) Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten, #4)
EXTRAS offered on the author’s website include a book video & excerpt for Frostbound, including excerpts for the previous books as well.  Frostbound was Nominated for Romance Reviews Today Best Book of the Year 2011.

Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead

WooHoo, Baby!  Are You Ready for Season 2?!

 

If you just can’t wait until Sunday, there are other ways to get your zombie fix:

  • Catch the latest trailer with the Sheriff bustin’ some zombie heads like coconuts
  • Design your own zombie avatar with AMC’s ‘Spread the Dead’ application on Facebook
  • Check out their Sneak Peek (US only, unfortunately) video
  • Or the daily Webisodes
  • Pop over to HalloweenCostumes.com and find a wicked zombie getup for this year’s tricks-and-treats day
  • Try your hand at AMC’s ‘Ultimate Fan Trivia Game
  • Or crack some skulls in one of the games at ZombieGames.net
  • And, if you missed out on Season 1, don’t despair, you can catch up here
  • Finally, check out the new book!

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor  

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga,  Published October 11th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books, is available for purchase at Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

Review: Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan

Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires who feed off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman must find her place within that world, before she loses everything…

It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance…

Shadowflame (Shadow World #2) by Dianne Sylvan

Release Date: 26 July 2011
Read: 16 Sept 2011
Rating:

Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. Miranda’s ability and what she experienced (in QoS) could have completely wrecked her. Instead, she overcame her fears, learned to control the powers that had her believing she was insane, and found a man who to care for her while giving her the space she needed to heal. As it happened, that man was her Signet-chosen Mate. The darkness of the Shadow World, Miranda’s new world, doesn’t end there.

”Blood, chocolate, and a hot shower.” That’s how I felt after this roller-coaster ride. Well, okay, minus the blood. 😉

Shadowflame picks up three months after Queen of Shadows. Miranda is David’s mate and the ninth Queen of the Southern United States. She’s venturing out at night to make her presence known. David tries to reassure her by saying, ”Right now you’re being tested in the eyes of our kind. They want to see how you handle yourself, how tough you are. The longer we stay in power, the fewer fools will try to take us down.” She’s also learning how to deal Signet politics and the “Magnificent Bastard Parade” of Primes as they come to Austin to offer their congratulations and pay their respects to the new couple.

Miranda … well, she wasn’t the type of woman to keep her mouth shut when angry. She spoke her mind, was smart and observant, and David knew that the very qualities he loved about her were going to get them in trouble if she didn’t learn quickly that these old, hidebound men of privilege were not all going to like the fact that David treated her as an equal. During the MB Parade, she’s able to learn from him. Watching his demeanor around the other Primes and learning how, no matter what, he sticks to his beliefs when it comes to what’s best for the vampire society as a whole.

When Prime James Hart of the Northeast visits, things get ugly. Seems this Prime likes to travel with a harem of girls. Wouldn’t be a big deal except these girls aren’t with him of their own free will. Hart is a sick bastard and Miranda has been told she cannot interfere without having it turn into a declaration of war. But, when one of Hart’s “girls” finds the strength to go to the Queen, well, that’s something else entirely.

While out one night, Miranda rushes to the rescue of a human woman. There she meets Prime Deven O’Donnell of the West and its adjacent territories.

Shortly after, the pair learn that Miranda’s body guard, Jake, is missing … well, his body is missing, but Faith and her team have found his hand. Leaving a hand behind is the trademark of the Red Shadow, a secret group of vampire assassins. The couple quickly realizes the group is targeting them. But, why?

Miranda’s singing career continues to prosper. Her best friend, Kat is her much-needed sounding board, allowing her a safe haven where she can vent about the dramas of Signet life. Kat’s life is about to take a change.

Over the last three months, it’s clear these two have truly bonded. Miranda is well and truly in love. He alone could touch her. In all of eternity, all the world, there would never be another man – she didn’t even feed on them. Her time in hell had made sure of it, and the amulet around her neck sealed it. He alone … he alone… Forever. Will this fated mated pair manage to survive the “powerful force from David’s past”? Will he “{leave} a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship”? More importantly, will they be able to survive the assassin targeting them and those they hold dear?

The storyline about the Red Shadow was very interesting. The “Wizard” (of Oz – behind the curtain) was a surprise. So was the last line of the book. Definitely piqued my interest further.

And now, onto what reviewers have termed “The Event”…

**spoilers removed**

With that, I come back to my original thought … Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. So, who knows what to expect. Either way, I am looking forward to reading it.

This is the 2nd book in the series. This series should be read in order.

Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1) Shadowflame (Shadow World, #2) Shadow's Fall (Shadow World, #3)

This review has quite a few spoilers. For this blog review post, I have removed those spoilers. If you wish to read my full review, please refer to my Goodreads review HERE.

Wishing Well Wednesday ~ Bounty Hunter Babe

Wishing Well Wednesday is a weekly feature showcasing the books we have on our wish lists and those we’re looking forward to being published.


Bounty Hunter Babe, Anna Strong

If you don’t recognize the character name, Anna Strong, you are missing out on a great urban fantasy series!


Crossroads (Anna Strong Chronicles #7) by Jeanne C. Stein
Release Date: 30 August 2011

As a bounty hunter, Anna Strong knew how to find trouble. But now that she’s a vampire, trouble seems to have a knack for finding her…

The death of Anna’s old vampire mentor is causing ripples in the mortal world. His forensic report has brought up some anomalies and people are asking questions-questions that no vampire wants to answer. Anna needs to lie low, but the sudden discovery of a slew of drained bodies near the Mexican border brings an old flame back into her life and with him, a new challenge. Then, some stunning news from an unexpected source sends Anna and her friend Daniel Frey on a journey that may change both their lives-forever.



Happy Reading!


Wishing Well Wednesday ~ Space … the Final Frontier

Wishing Well Wednesday is a weekly feature showcasing the books we have on our wish lists and those we’re looking forward to being published.


“Space … the Final Frontier” ~ Star Trek

This week brings us the long awaited next book in one my favorite science fiction series!


Aftermath (Sirantha Jax #5) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: 30 Aug 2011

DEAD HEROES GET MONUMENTS. LIVE ONES GET TRIALS.

Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history…

During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.

Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals…


Happy Reading!


Review: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

One of the hottest new voices in paranormal romance, Shelly Laurenston knows how to do it all, delivering tales that are wickedly funny, action-packed, and scorch-your-fingers sexy. With The Mane Event, she proves just how delicious love can be once you unleash your inner beast…

Christmas Pride

How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That’s what runs through NYPD cop Desiree “Dez” MacDermot’s mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn’t just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes–as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn’t even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It’s more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her…and makes her want more. Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her–in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they’d always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel…

Shaw’s Tail

Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He’s been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn’t think he’d survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go. Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl–even one who runs with a Pack–can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again…

The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Release Date: 1 Oct 2007
Read: 27 Aug 2011

Rating:


Shelly Laurenston’s writing cracks me up! I laughed my way through her Pack series and, after reading Here Kitty, Kitty! I couldn’t wait to start her Pride series. Book 1 did not disappoint. In fact, it was smarter and better written.

The Mane Event gives us two stories. Christmas Pride introduces us to BFFs who are reunited after twenty years. Mace Llewellyn is a Pride male returning home from the Navy. He’s got a mission … “He needed to find a woman. Not any woman, but the woman who had haunted his dreams and fantasies for longer than he could remember.” This woman is Desiree “Dez” MacDermot. When they were 14-years old she “left him” and he’s never forgotten her. She hasn’t forgotten him either. Dez is a human, a former Marine, now Cop, who is investigating the murder of a shifter. Dez doesn’t know the world of shifters exist – yet. Mace served with Smitty, a wolf from the Smith Pack of Tennessee. He and Smitty are a hoot. So is Smitty’s little sister, Sissy Mae. They poke fun at Mace (well, for many reasons, but mostly) because wolves mate for life, not cats. He doesn’t care one bit! He knows Dez is his mate and now, he just has to convince her of that.

Throw in the chaos of holiday family gatherings and you have a LOL, fun, hot story!

Rating:

I wish there had been more to this story. I wasn’t ready to stop reading about this crazy bunch of wolves and cats. But, I enjoyed the second story almost as much as the first. So, I won’t complain too much.

Shaw’s Tail picks up with Brendon Shaw, wealthy hotel owner, lion shifter and Pride male, where his story left off in Christmas Pride. He’s been beaten up and Ronnie Lee Reed, a She-wolf in the Smith Pack of Tennessee and Sissy Mae’s BFF, is watching over him while he’s hospitalized. Ronnie Lee just couldn’t leave the big cat all alone, pack (having someone at your back) is important to her and no one else was there for him. When Shaw wakes up, in the hospital, he’s “sick with fever”. This fever causes him to shift multiple times, act without thinking and more than a tad bit horny. He may not be 100% aware of what’s what, but he and his cat know, he wants Ronnie. Only problem, Ronnie’s a love-um-&-leave-um kinda gal, always has been. She’s all for a healthy romp in the sack, but long-term, no way. He’s dead-set on convincing her they belong together. The secondary plot involves Shaw’s continued hunt for his baby brother.

Rating:

If you are a fan of humorous PNR, Shelly’s books are for you! When I say humorous, I mean LOL-LMAO funny! Just take a look at some of the quotes throughout this one that had me LOL. The books are also full of hot, shifter sex. What’s stoppin’ ya?

I look forward to continuing the series!

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Welcome to the Apocalypse

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Enclave (Razorland Trilogy #1) by Ann Aguirre

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “I was born during the second holocaust.” {Girl15}
Closing Line: “When she opened the door to us fully, we went inside.” {Deuce}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

I listened to this audiobook and it made it so easy to visualize myself in Deuce’s post-apocalyptic New York. Deuce lives in the Enclave where there are set rules and everyone has a job. They do not question those rules. At least she doesn’t, not until a boy from Topside, Fade, arrives and is partnered up with her. He follows the rules when they go along with his own plans. Death is the penalty for breaking the rules. Deuce is a skilled hunter. What are they hunting? Zombies! They are called Freaks in this world. While they used to be George Romero bumbling idiot types, now they are becoming smarter and more terrifying. Deuce is having a hard time trusting Fade, but when you’re outside of the Enclave – just you and your partner – it’s either fight together or die alone.


Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Ann Aguirre was not a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

The only thing not to like about this book is its length. It was over too quickly. Ann’s writing pulls you into her stories, whether they be set in space (Sirantha Jax) or down below a devastated city. The audiobook felt like I was watching a movie. The narrator, Emily Bauer, did a fantastic job of bringing Ann’s story to life. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch the book trailer; it’s a very good visualization. On her website, Ann has also posted drawings of the main characters, be sure to take a look at her vision of Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan. You can also read the first two chapters in pdf or ePub format and listen to an interview with Ann about Enclave and her reasons for writing about the apocalypse.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

This quote sums up the life or death situations they face together.


“I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. All the time.” {Fade}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for Ann’s amazing ability to bring her characters and their worlds to life!




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading


Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Vamp Noir

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports #1) by Cherie Priest

VAMPIRE FOR HIRE

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “You wouldn’t believe some of the weird shit people pay me to steal.” {Raylene}
Closing Line: “I couldn’t help but smile. Life was getting back to normal again … God help us all.” {Raylene}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

I had the best time listening to this book! The narrator, Natalie Ross, sounded so familiar to me. Then, I realized she’s Mac from Moning’s Fever series.

Raylene is an absolute hoot! She’s a vamp for hire and, up until recently, has spent her time hunting for people’s odd missing items. She’s also a thief extraordinaire. She meets Ian, a blind vampire (she was surprised that was possible too), who wants her help retrieving a government document. Along the way, she meets a former Navy Seal turned drag queen. Together they hunt down the document, learn about some scary supe experiments and become friends.


Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Cherie Priest was a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

There wasn’t a single thing about this book I didn’t enjoy. It is one of my 2011 favorites. The series can go anywhere – so many possibilities! I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Raylene next.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

There were a TON of LOL lines throughout this book. Here are just a few of my favorites.
And, whenever a book references “The Princess Bride”, it gets extra points.


“I hadn’t heard him come inside, but that’s no surprise.
I wouldn’t have heard an air horn up my ass while I was feeding.”
{Raylene}

“I wanted to pin him down and demand that he say, ‘My name is Inigo Montoya-you killed my father, prepare to die.’ But, I suspect that would’ve been deeply inappropriate in any number of ways….” {Raylene re: Adrian}

“Vampirism is like Photoshop for the flesh – it fills out, rounds off, smooths over, and brightens up everything.” {Raylene}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for it’s superbness! 🙂
I am desperately awaiting book #2, Hellbent, which is due out August 30th.




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading


Covers Around the World ~ Patricia Briggs’ ‘Mercy Thompson’ Series

My Cover Love Continues …

Last month, I highlighted Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels international covers. This month, I’m sharing another favorite series of mine, Mercy Thompson. We have to wait until *gasp* Spring 2013 for the next book. This time, I decided to share covers with art that differs from the original US cover.

Book #1: “Moon Called”


In order shown: Spain, Hungary, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy, Indonesia & US-redeux


Book #2: “Blood Bound”


In order shown: Spain, Germany, Poland, UK, US-redeux & China


Book #3: “Iron Kissed”


In order shown: Germany, UK & US-redeux


Book #4: “Bone Crossed”


In order shown: Germany, UK & US-redeux


Book #5: “Silver Borne”


In order shown: Germany & UK


Book #6: “River Marked”


In order shown: Germany & US-redeux


Are you waiting for book #6 too? Haven’t started the series yet? Why not? Waitin’ for an official invitation?
Well, consider yourself invited to the Tri-Cities!


To find out more about this series, check out: Patricia Briggs’ Website | Goodreads’ Series Info (including a list of all Mercy short stories within anthologies)