Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

These TBR lists are easily my favorite lists we do throughout the year – mostly because I love the process of picking out which books to read next. Sometime last year I realized I was spending a lot of time on books I wasn’t enjoying and avoiding the ones I knew I would love because I was “saving them” for a rainy day. Since then, I’ve been actively working on my goal to only read the best books first – life is just too dang short to do anything else. With that in mind, I look at these lists as a helpful aid in figuring out which books I’m currently most excited for, and consider it a badge of pride if I pick up at least half of them before the next TBR list.

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR!

Not a bad list, eh? If you can’t tell, I am in a very strong high fantasy mood, in part because they are awesome, but mostly because I have finally reached my limit on YA novels (at least for now). There are so many good ones on this list I couldn’t even tell you which one I’m going to pick up first. Right now, I’m leaning towards The Merchants Emperor, but that could easily change by this afternoon!

What books are on your list?

By Niki Hawkes


Book Review: The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind

The first confessorTitle: The First Confessor

Author: Terry Goodkind

Series: Sword of Truth #.5

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1/5 stars

Overview: In the time before the Confessors, when the world is a dark and dangerous place, where treason and treachery are the rule of the day, comes one heroic woman, Magda Searus, who has just lost her husband and her way in life.

The Review:

I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a prequel it’s because I’m interested to learn more about something referenced within the main series. As Kahlan is my single most favorite female character from any series, you can understand why the idea of learning more about where the Mother Confessors originated was incredibly appealing to me. The problem is, about 75% of this novel was focused on explaining all of the things readers would already know from having read the main series. Call me crazy, but I think we can safely assume that anybody interested in reading this book has probably read most, if not all of the Sword of Truth books. It’s bad enough Goodkind drills concepts into his readers over and over again throughout the entire saga, but to do it again in a 480 page prequel without showing us anything new was just plain disappointing.

Seriously, it was chapter after chapter of the same old things being explained to Magda (and her in turn explaining them to other people) – how the Temple of the Wind functions, what the Slith is and how she helps the wizards, who the Dream Walkers are (he spent a ton of time on this one), how the devotions to Rahl prevent said Dream Walkers from taking over, and how spectacularly special Magda Searus is. If any of this rings a bell, congratulations – you’ve just been gifted 3/4 of this book in one nifty little paragraph.

Need I go on?

Ugh, I know I sound a little harsh, but I had several cool ideas on where I thought the story was going to go and was really disappointed when Goodkind didn’t explore any of them. I mean, come on! The Mother Confessor is an all-powerful (and kickass) character who has to live with the consequences every time she chooses to destroy a life for the “greater good,” and I was eager to learn what that would’ve been like for someone who wasn’t born and raised into this magic but had it thrust onto them as an experiment. Not to mention the effects this new powerful magic would have on society as a whole. But none of that was explored for more than a couple of paragraphs… it was kind of pathetic.

The thing is, I don’t think my opinion of this title will surprise many lovers of the main series – Goodkind has a reputation for being long-winded and incredibly repetitive. I normally am willing to sift through all of that for the golden moments that make his novels so special, but this is the first time I didn’t get a payoff for my efforts. Well, that’s not strictly true (Pillars of the Earth, I’m talking to you) but I think you know what I mean.

Overall, if you are a fan of the series, I don’t think The First Confessor is worth your time. Those who haven’t read any of Goodkind’s work might find it an entertaining fantasy, but why learn the stuff ahead of time if you just get to spend 10+ books rehashing it over and over again, anyway? For the record, I absolutely loved the series the first time around and highly recommend it… just skip past this particular one and call it a day. :-) 

Other books you might like (better): 

by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Sequels on My Winter Horizon!

top ten tuesday

I know I’ve altered the topic this week a little bit (heck, I can even remember what it was originally supposed to be), but I did so with good reason – there’s another list coming up in a couple of weeks that would’ve been practically identical to this one had I not changed things up a bit. Anyway, I decided to only include second books in a series. I don’t know about you, but I rarely read books in series back to back, so I have dozens of book twos I’ve been needing to get around to – some of which I’m confident are going to be amazing!

Top Ten Sequels on My Winter Horizon!

 There’s a couple of sequels here that I’ve been sitting on for several years… I loved the first books to all of them, so I’m not really sure what my problem is. Perhaps the issue is that I was much further along in too many other series to focus on these. I do tends to want to read ALL THE BOOKS, which creates a delightful mess of reading ADD. I think I am most excited to read The Dagger’s Path coming out January 13th (my birthday!), but it looks like I have plenty of excellent sequels to keep me occupied until then. :-) 

 What sequels have you been meaning to read?

by Niki Hawkes


Escape Reality Book Club: November 2014’s Nominations!

Escape reality book club

Hosted by The Obsessive Bookseller and Apathy and Rhetoric

The Escape Reality Book Club is monthly feature where members take turns nominating the Young Adult titles they most want to read…Or rather, it used to be. You see, the book club has been undergoing a bit of the reconstruction (hence the lateness). The general feedback has been, while we all love and appreciate YA, many of us are getting tired of reading them exclusively. Because of that, I’ve decided that going forward nominations from any fiction genre will be allowed. As I’m particularly partial to speculative fiction, this change makes me nervous, but luckily most of our members seem to have similar tastes. Anyway, back to what the book club is all about:

We started it because we love geeking out about books, and knew a lot of other people who liked to too. This is a very low-pressure book club where anybody is invited to join. All you have to do is click here to be directed to our official Facebook page and asked to join the group. We host meetings here in Southern Utah, but all of you out-of-towners are invited to participate in a facebook book club meeting (which consists of a Q&A and hopefully some discussion). Although, due to some very lonely meetings, these are now by request only… I talk to myself about books too much as it is. ;).

 Behold! The Nominations (Via Kierra):


Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter

In a time and place not too far away, Mia Snow is an alien huntress for the New Chicago Police Department. Heading up her expert team of Alien Investigation and Removal agents, Mia’s unmatched at battling the elusive enemy among us, and she’s the perfect girl for the job. She’s seen her brother die at the hands of aliens. She’s earned each of her scars. And she’ll die before she cries. Now, a series of killings have Mia and her partner Dallas tracking alien suspects — but a sudden blast of violence leaves Dallas fighting for his life.

The chance to save Dallas appears in the form of a tall, erotic stranger. An alien. A murder suspect. Kyrin en Arr, of the deadly Arcadian species, holds the power to heal the injured agent but not without a price. For Mia Snow, that price is surrendering to Kyrin’s forbidden seduction…and embracing their electric attraction. She’s walking a knife’s edge, risking her badge and even her life. The closer she gets to Kyrin, the more Mia learns about her own heart, her human needs — and the shocking secret that will shatter everything she’s ever believed.

Hardwired by Meredith Wilde

Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation, she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling startup. The only thing she didn’t prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who seems determined to derail her presentation.

Billionaire and rumored hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more than to possess her since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defenses and fights for her trust, even if it means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to. But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it.” In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth – even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you’ve loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you’ve always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life – as we know it – might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

 Comfort of Lies by Randy Meyers

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption. / Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother. / Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him. But when Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband from Tia that contains pictures of a child with a deep resemblance to her husband, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. / And before long, the three women and Nathan are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted. Riveting and arresting, The Comfort of Lies explores the collateral damage of infidelity and the dark, private struggles many of us experience but rarely reveal.

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.

Which book would you like to read?

Voting is closed – check back in January for more fun!

by Niki Hawkes


Book Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Silver shadowsTitle: Silver Shadows

Author: Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines # 5

Genre: Teen Paranormal Romance

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists. Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . . Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

The Review:

It says on my little Goodreads tracker that I’ve read almost 80 books so far this year. Silver Shadows might just be my favorite out of all of them. When you love a book so much, it’s really difficult to convey just how profoundly it affected you. “It was amazing” sums it up perfectly, but doesn’t feel like the proper review the book deserves. In my review of The Fiery Heart, I break down exactly why Richelle Mead is my favorite author: her books are rich, absorbing, creative, and exciting and I triple dog dare you to read them without feeling like you left part of your soul within their pages. They go beyond being just “typical teen vampire” books and into the realm of great characters, heart wrenching conflicts, and brilliant storytelling.

In every Mead book I review, I talk passionately about how much I love the author, the writing, and the stories to the point where I feel like it loses meaning because of how often I repeat myself (what can I say, she is an incredibly consistent writer). So to break up the monotony of my reviews, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – I’m going to explore the characters in a way that is pointedly personal. I recognize that this is incredibly self-indulgent and not really relevant to a professional overview of a book, so just skip down to where the little arrow is if you don’t feel like reading it… I should also mention that it contains a very mild spoiler.

Here’s the thing, while I love Sydney and Adrian as a couple and can see exactly why they work so well together, I have never considered Adrian a proper book boyfriend. Even back in the VA series, I was genuinely shocked, and I mean shocked, to discover that other readers were anything but team Demitri. Let me explain… Call it suppressed daddy issues or self-righteousness, or whatever you want, but I have zero patience for addiction and alcoholism. Even worse, when those addictions are the reasons people let their loved ones down. So introduce poor Adrian and I immediately recoil, putting up a wall between myself and this fictional character because I’ve been down this road before. Then Bloodlines came out and Sidney became involved and I found my heart softening towards an even sympathizing with Adrian for the first time. You might even say I started to like him a little bit. Those two brought out the best in each other and I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been wrong. But then, when Sydney needed him most, Adrian let her down.

I was livid.

I found myself not caring that spirit magic makes ordinary life difficult, because all alcoholics have problems they’re trying to make disappear. I found myself not caring that he’s having a difficult home life with his rich family, because who doesn’t have family issues? I found myself not caring that he’s lonely and empty because he has plenty of other people who care about his well-being (and he abandoned them too). Meanwhile, Sidney was living an absolute nightmare but continued to face each day with quiet strength and determination, managing to make the best out of an awful situation using nothing but her own wits and resourcefulness. She was so compassionate and giving, yet the one time she desperately needed something, her one true love lets her down because he is weak and selfish.

I realize this is incredibly jaded and bitter, but it’s not even about the book itself at this point, but an extremely personal exploration of the type of people Sydney and Adrian represent. It’s funny, because of all the female protagonists I’ve ever read about, I find myself relating to Sydney the most (although I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit I wish I had her intelligence). So it kind of makes sense that her attraction to an addictive personality scared the hell out of me. It made me internalize their relationship and make it personal in a way that was unprecedented by any other literary romance.  

–> All of that said, it’s incredibly prudent to point out that Richelle Mead doesn’t write about characters, she writes about people. Their personalities are so complete and their behavior so consistent, that it’s almost like you’re reading a journal from someone’s life rather than a made up urban fantasy world. As if having amazing characters weren’t enough, she finds a way to completely immerse you into the story along with them to the point where their highs and lows become your own. I am in awe with Silver Shadows more so than ever before because the particular combination of personalities and situation really hit home for me.

All of Mead’s work has an element of profoundness, and I will continue to boast to anyone who will listen how brilliant I think she is. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. If you need me, I will be recovering from this book and Google searching information on the next one. If you want your world shattered in the best way possible, read Bloodlines, but it really is in your best interest to pick up Vampire Academy first.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes


October 2014 Recap!

Review Recap

 October was a rough month for the obsessive bookseller. Some of you might know that I’ve been dealing with a crippling dual-wrist injury and I had a particularly bad flareup right at the beginning of the month. I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to keep my new job, so the blog kind of got put on the back burner while I focused every energy I had on getting better. I am not totally healed yet, but things are looking better.

In addition to all of that, I lost my Grandmama… Like I said, it has been a really rough month. I might do a small tribute post for her later to celebrate the life she had, but for now I’d like to just talk about the number one thing we had in common: our love of books.

Books Read:

I have a love-hate relationship with the books I read this month. The top row was fantastic – I especially loved The Assassin King – but the bottom row left a little to be desired. I didn’t like The First Confessor or The Magician’s Apprentice at all, and the other two were solid three-star books but left a little to be desired (don’t hurt me! I know many, many people who loved both). I am actually a little proud of myself because all of these books at one point or another were on my “books I REALLY want to read” list, so at least I’m consistently picking up high-priority titles… Life’s too short to do anything else.

Books Reviewed:

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs – 5/5 stars!

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer – 4/5 stars

Well, if I was going to review only two books I guess these are as good as any. I think the covers of both are gorgeous and they are both paranormal werewolf books that I’d highly recommend, so there you have it.

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Top Ten Series I Want to Start!

 I think I am finally at that point where most of the TTT topics are starting to repeat themselves. I’ve been participating in the feature for well over a year now and, although the topics are worded differently, the books I would choose are nearly identical to the lists I did ages ago. Because of this, I probably should consider dropping the feature unless it’s a topic I’m really inspired by. It’s actually my most popular feature, but I can’t help but think a lot of those are just “hey, I’m commenting on this post so hopefully you will come comment on mine” type of visits that really aren’t helping anybody out. Although, I have met some amazing bloggers through the feature… Hell, I don’t know. I guess a lot will depend on how fresh the topics are going forward. I think I’m making this a lot more complicated than it has to be.

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

 Okay, so I admit my lack of activity with this feature has less to do with what I’ve been going through and more to do with the lack of upcoming titles on my book horizon Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of books coming out that I want to read between now and next May, but I’ve kind of sort of already featured them all. For the record, The Heir is very near the top of that priority list.

That’s my month in reading… How was yours?

by Niki Hawkes


Coming Soon: The Heir by Kiera Cass

the heirTitle: The Heir

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection #4

Genre: Teen Dystopian (sort of) / Romance

Release Date: May 15, 2015

The Overview: 20 years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

The Selection is easily one of my all-time favorite books. I remember the experience of reading it for the first time and how completely engaged I was throughout the entire thing. It was delightful. Even though the second and third books weren’t quite on the same level for me, I am hoping The Heir will bring back some of the more lighthearted elements that made The Selection so much fun. I would like to admit that even though I am a huge fan of the Bachelor  (and competition shows in general), I actually love the Bachelorette even more. Come on – twenty-five men vying for the affections of one women – what’s not to love? Anyway, my point is, I am looking forward to this book perhaps even more so than The One. I absolutely love that Cass continued on with this angle and can’t wait to see the flip side of the selection process! Is it May yet? 

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes


Book Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

NightshadeTitle: Nightshade

Author: Andrea Cremer

Series: Nightshade

Genre: Teen Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: The first time I read this book was several years ago when it was just an arc. I remember liking it enough to want to continue on, but by the time the second book came out I had forgotten almost everything. In my defense, I read the arc several months before the first book’s release date, and then it was well over a year and a half before I got my hands on the next installment. I always knew I wanted to go back and reread, but it kind of got put on the back burner. Earlier this year, however, I finally found the motivation I needed to pick it back up. You see, my book blogging friend Chanzie at Mean Who You Are had made it one of her nominations for people to vote for as her Book of the Month. We ended up having a read-along, and it was so much fun I can’t wait to do another! In any case, I want to thank her for getting me back on this series because, while I appreciated it the first time around, I absolutely loved it the second time!

The Review:

This is actually my second time reading Nightshade, and I liked it much better this time around. I have to thank Chanzie over at Mean Who You Are for letting me read along with her chosen Book of the Month because I think without her it would have been a very long time before I picked this series back up… not to mention the read along itself was a ton of fun!

I can’t say enough good things about the writing style – Cremer has such a strong voice, and the way she put together words to describe even the most mundane things was beautiful. I’m not saying she was flowery with her descriptions, by any means, I just appreciated how she composed her sentences. Even to the point where I’d be willing to read just about anything she writes because I’m certain the craft side of it would be done beautifully. Come to think of it, when I first read Nightshade, I was not the aspiring writer I am today… I think we may have figured out why I liked it a whole lot better the second time around. Isn’t it weird how books can do that to you?

One thing my pre-writing self and I agreed on is that the characters in this book are a lot of fun. Even though they’re not incredibly dynamic yet (I have high hopes for the second book), they are interesting and easy to get behind – their conflicts really tug at your heartstrings. Let’s take a moment for some girl talk: my first inclination was to crush on the new boy in town, Shay. In fact, during the first read through I did just that. Now, however, I have found a new appreciation for Ren, the boy who Calla has known since she was a child – the one she’s supposed to marry. Each boy has flaws, which is what makes them realistic characters, but the unfortunate thing is that the flaws are kind of deal-breakers for me in the relationship department. Shay’s actions tell me he’s not as concerned with Calla’s safety as I think he should be (it’s not malicious, but he does take a lot of risks where she would pay the price) whereas Ren is kind of a man-whore (but I at least think he’d be loyal to Calla). Five years ago, Ren’s promiscuity threw me off immediately, whereas now Shay’s actions bothered me more. Anyway, to make a long story short: go team Ren! While I’m on the subject of characters, I should also mention that the secondary characters (primarily the fellow pack-mates) were fantastic. I was just as interested in their conflicts as I was the main character’s and am really excited to see how things change for them going forward.

The only thing I could say I didn’t like about this book is that its beginning was a little too much of a whirlwind. It was difficult for me (both times) to wrap my brain around what was happening and I got slapped over the head with what felt like a major instalove. My advice is to stick with it. It only takes a couple of chapters before it transitions into a highly entertaining story. I have read a lot of werewolf books, but I’ve never read one quite like this. :-)

Overall, Nightshade is an excellent start to this series and perfect for fans of teen paranormal. If you can be forgiving for the first couple of chapters, you are in store for excellent writing, great characters, and a cool concept!

Other books you might like:


by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Series I Want to Start!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 Hey, everyone! The Obsessive Bookseller has rejoined the world… Have you missed me? And it looks like I chose the right moment to make comeback because I love talking about the books I am most looking forward to reading.

Top Ten Series I Want to Start!

You may recognize couple of these titles from this month’s Escape Reality Book Club Nominations, and that’s no coincidence –  I nominated them because I am dying to read them! Especially The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong because I’ve since discovered it ties into her urban fantasy “Women of the Otherworld” series (which I am loving). I am also excited to start shifting my reading attentions away from YA and more towards fantasy and science fiction. I’ve found I’ve lost a little patience with angsty teen love stories (as much as I love them) and am craving slightly more robust epic adventures. Not to mention I’ve now read most of the teen books I was excited to get my hands on, with the exception of the five series listed above. Of all the books on the list, I am probably most excited to read Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb. It’s the only series of hers I’ve yet to explore, and with the second Fool’s Assassin more than year away, I’m going to need something to keep me occupied! 

So, those are my top picks… What new series are you eager to discover? 

by Niki Hawkes


Book Review: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

shifting shadowsTitle: Shifting Shadows

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson (Short Stories)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger… A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…

Includes the new stories… “Silver” / “Roses in Winter” / “Redemption” / “Hollow”

…and reader favorites “Fairy Gifts” / “Gray” / “Alpha and Omega” / “Seeing Eye” / “The Star of David” / “In Red, with Pearls”

shifting shadows 2

The Review:

Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite urban fantasy writers, and the fact that she usually only comes out with one novel per year has me feeling perpetually impatient. I completely devour her books as soon as they come out and am always left craving more. While that speaks volumes of Briggs’ talents, I’ll admit it hurts my heart a bit every time I realize I have a full year to wait before finding out what happens next. So, the release of Shifting Shadows – a compilation of short stories set in Mercy Thompson’s world – felt like the ultimate treat to this uber fan!

Every single story did one of two things (and in some cases both): 1) allowed us to delve a little deeper into the lives of some of my favorite secondary characters (we essentially got treated to their fascinating backstories while viewing the world from their perspectives) and/or 2) expanded on the world-building within this already brilliantly-conceived universe. It was amazing, and I now want to go totally fangirl and start blabbing about Bran and Samuel and how cool it was to see their origins, or perhaps Warren (my favorite member of the pack) and the chills I got while learning about his strength of character, or even Kara and Asil, the stars of my favorite short story of the collection, and the wolves I’m now most eager to read more about. And that’s just to name a few!

Patricia Briggs is such an amazing writer. This is something I already knew, but Shifting Shadows made me appreciate her even more. She is just so great at characterization that you always feel like you’re reading about real people. It probably helps matters that Briggs considers the characters her imaginary friends, to the point where these fully-formed people in her head are mostly responsible for driving their own stories. She gives them a problem and then sits back and watches how they all deal with it. At least, that’s what she said during the Q&A of one of her book signings, and I’m inclined to believe her. 

It’s one thing to fall in love with characters and get to know them over the course of a multi-book series, it’s a whole other ballgame to get to know them within the confines of a short story. I’m seriously going to go back and study these stories for tips on how to make my own characters stronger – it was that good. Writing aside, there wasn’t a single point in this entire book that I wasn’t highly entertained, which is saying something because I don’t usually have the patience to pick up short stories (yes, I realize how ironic that sounds). As I said before (but it warrants repeating) every story either gave me insights to characters I’d been curious about or made Mercy’s world more vibrant… in fact, many of them did both.

All I have to say is, if you’re a fan of Mercy Thompson, these short stories will knock your socks off! If you’re not yet a fan, you’ll probably enjoy them because the writing is that good, but I think already having a deep connection with most of these characters is what took the book from great to amazing. Along those lines, if you haven’t read them, I highly recommend picking up the book that started it all, Moon Called.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes