Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes ~ Susan Bishop Crispell



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Crispell, Susan Bishop. 2016. The Secret Ingredient of Wishes. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers.

Who can resist a novel where secrets are baked into pies and wishes can some true (with unpredictable results, natch)!  Susan Bishop Crispell’s debut novel is hard to resist, indeed.

Rachel Monroe has been given an unusual gift (or is it a curse?): she can grant wishes.  When she wishes for her annoying little brother to get lost, she discovers the devastating consequences of her ability.  Unable to convince her parents that their other child ever existed, and scaring them with her insistence, she experiences years of therapy and commitment to a mental facility through her teen years.

Driven to resist reading the little pieces of paper containing random people’s wishes which float around her constantly, she lives a lonely life.  When she accidentally grants an unintended wish that could hurt her best friend’s family, she impulsively packs her bags and leaves town, ending up in a place called Nowhere.  There she meets a woman who has the ability to bake secrets into pies and embarks on a new life that provides her a new home, new friends, a new love and the possibility for redemption.

I’ve always been drawn to books with elements of magical realism, perhaps because I remember wanting to magically change things about my own life as a child.  Ms. Crispell has created wonderfully engaging and wounded characters that are fully realized and realistic in their emotions, even if their magical abilities are of the fantastical bent.  Readers who enjoy books by Sarah Addison Allen and Cathy Lamb should find this book irresistible and will find themselves suspiciously hungry for a piece of pie……

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mercy Thompson Series ~ Patricia Briggs




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With the publication of Patricia Briggs’ Silence Fallen coming next month (which I read as an ARC and truly enjoyed), I was inspired to go back and re-read the earlier books in the Mercy Thompson series because I just love getting lost in this unique Urban Fantasy world!

Mercedes Thompson is a walker, from the Native American mythos, and transforms into a 35 pound coyote at will.  Her mother was a teenage barrel racer who hooked up with a rodeo cowboy named Joe Old Coyote who was killed before she was born (or was he)?

The first clue her mother had that Mercy was different came when she went to get her baby from the crib and found a coyote pup instead!  Not knowing what else to do, she sent her daughter to live with a pack of werewolves in Montana, and Mercy was raised by the Marrock, named Bran, who is the leader of the North American werewolves.

In the beginning of the series, Mercy lives in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State and makes her living as a Volkswagon mechanic.  She lives in 1970’s era mobile home on the edge of property owned by Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack.  She keeps to herself, but has a friend who is a vampire, Stephan, and a former boss who is fae named Zee, short for Siebold Adelbertsmiter.

After establishing this cast of characters in the first title, the series goes in many different directions, with adventures involving werewolves, vampires, witches, the fae and even ancient gods.  Mercy is an engaging character who has never really belonged anywhere and who has become quite independent as a result.  Her conflicts with the werewolf Alpha are numerous, often funny, and gradually transforms into a passionate relationship as the series progresses.

Patricia Briggs has created a unique Urban Fantasy world in this series and it’s a lot of fun to see what mischief Mercy will get into in each book.  Her father was Coyote, after all – the Trickster. But Mercy has good intentions in all her actions and most of the plots of the books involve her getting into trouble trying to protect her friends.  If you haven’t visited Mercy’s world, visit your local library to check out the first title, Moon Called, and let me know what you think!