Moon Called

moon called

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $16.73
Paperback $11.25
Hardback
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441013814
9780441019274 — Hardcover
9781597227520 — Paperback
9781101208434
9780356500584
9781841496832 — Paperback
9780786561438 — E-Book


Readers Annotation

She’s not a werewolf, but she has to deal with their problems.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

This is a pretty well written book with no major errors in continuity or character.

Its a paranormal romance-y deal. People love that genre.

Summary

Spoilers Ahead!

Mercy Thompson is a mechanic in the Tri-Cities. Her neighbor is Adam, the leader of the pack (aka Alpha). She used to work for a Gremlin, but now owns the shop herself. She’s currently working on Stephan’s (the vampire) van. A kid approaches her and asks her for a job. He’s clearly homeless and clearly a new werewolf, he also clearly doesn’t realize that Mercy is a shifter (she can turn into a coyote). The kid says his name is Mac, and Mercy tells him he can help out. She’s trying to win over his trust, so she doesn’t ask questions or offer him unwanted help. Her undercover cop friend Tony shows up to ask Mercy to help out a lady friend of his.

Mac is confronted by generic bad guys/weres. Mercy intervenes. She accidentally kills one of the weres. The bad guys leave. Mercy and Mac pull the body into the garage and she calls Adam. Adam sends a witch (with a super complicated Russian name) to clean up the mess. When the witch gets there she throws some shade at Mercy. Adam arrives pretty pissed (thinking Mercy’s killed one of his wolves) but his anger soon gets directed at the rogues in his territory. He agrees to take Mac in.

Mercy goes home to her trailer, and meets up with Adam’s daughter Jesse.

Some time later Mac’s body ends up on her doorstep. Mercy rushes over to Adam’s home and finds some dead wolves and Adam fighting another. Mercy shoots the invader. Adam is severely wounded. Mercy turns into a coyote to see if she can follow Jesse’s scent to Jesse, but its no use. Thinking the pack may be involved, Mercy bundles up Adam and Mac’s body in her van and heads up to Bran (the Marrok) in Montana to fix him.

Mercy once lived in the Marrok’s pack (but was never one of them). She tracks down Sam (a former love) and Charles. They set Adam up in a cell and help fix him. Sam snaps at Mercy. Mercy works out some of her issues with Bran and Sam. Sam is sent to go back with Mercy and deal with the problems with Adam’s pack (and sends Charles to Chicago to work out the other part of the story). Adam and Sam do some adorable squabbling over Mercy (who just is done with this shit).

Mercy takes Adam to Warren’s place (and accidentally kicks out his boyfriend, which stirs up that can of bees). Mercy leaves Adam and Sam there and goes to talk to Warren’s boyfriend Kyle (and tells him Warren’s a werewolf because Warren can’t tell him b/c RULES). Mercy comes back to Warren’s house to find him standing off with Sam. Adam breaks them up. Adam is going to stay at Warren’s for the time being.

Mercy gets a call from her Gremlin friend for a meeting with someone who knows about the other wolf pack (that had taken attacked Adam). They meet in a bar. Mercy then gets a call from Stephen about Sam. His nest doesn’t like having a new, unofficial wolf in their territory. So Mercy and Sam meet up with Stephen to travel to the nest (the Gremlin gives her a magicked knife).

At the nest, they meet a touched vampire. Then they meet with the mistress, who is entranced by Sam, who is entranced. She drinks from him. Mercy breaks it all up. They are escorted out. They learn that the vampires were paid handsomely to let the other pack into their territory. They get an address.

Mercy and Sam travel back to Warren’s place and finds the rest of Adam’s pack there. There’s a short standoff. The pack decides to check out the address. Mercy is left behind. The address is abandoned when Mercy gets there. Mercy gets confronted at her trailer by the other pack. They talk it out and agree to help her rescue Jesse (and Adam).

They sneak in to get to Jesse. There’s a fight. Mercy figures out that the witch’s witch son is involved and that she’s partially resistant to magic. They take out the witch and confront Jake about his grand plan.

Mercy hires Tony’s girl’s son, goes on a date with Adam and Sam is crashing with Mercy for a while.

Evaluation

Ok, so I actually started this after we listened to Cry Wolf (the first book in the spin-off series). So, we were curious about Sam and Mercy.

This is a fun little read (or listen). Mercy has a great voice and is a good heroine (not super badass but definitely not a damsel in distress). She’s a sarcastic mechanic who happens to have a lot of connections. Adam is a pretty good character too. He’s not like Mercy (he’s more strict and organized). Sam is… difficult. We get a lot of his past, but I don’t always understand him. We get a taste of Bran and Jesse and all of Mercy’s other supporting characters.

The Tri-cities are as described as a city can be, as well as Mercy’s trailer, Adam’s home and where Bran’s pack lives (the name escapes me). They’re not super detailed, but they don’t really need to be.

Look, its a fun little romp. Its an interesting world and an interesting character. There isn’t much steam but its got the beginnings of a great love triangle.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Significance

Urban Fantasy with a lady mechanic lead.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think about this interpretation of werewolves/paranormal world?

What is your opinion of Mercy’s status in both packs?

Discussion on pack politics.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs

Awards

none

Reviews

Amazon

Why I Chose It

Wanted to know the rest of the world from the other book in the spin-off series we listened to. Plus, ties to native culture! Yay diversity!

Other Information

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The Running Man

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $60.99
Paperback $12
Hardback $18.40
Kindle $8.99
Associated ISBNs 9780451115089
9780451197962 — Paperback
9780451230621 — Paperback
9781101212141
9780340952283 — Paperback

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

This Bachman book is pretty great (especially in audio where the countdown becomes just that more visceral) but its not perfect.

This should be bouncing back in popularity due to the popularity of dystopias in general and the political climate.

Readers Annotation

He’s on the run for money… he’s on the run for his life.

Summary

SPOILERS BELOW! HIGHLIGHT TO READ!!

Welcome to the Dystopian future USA. This particular future has television ruling the world (practically). Ben Richards has no job, his wife is hooking to make money, and his daughter is sick with pneumonia. They cannot afford to get her medicine. Richards decides to try to get on a game show to get money. He’s hoping to get something like the show where people with heart conditions run and get asked questions until they have a heart attack, or the one where you swim with alligators.

Richards heads to the studio and stands in line to be interviewed. He takes an aptitude test, gets psych evaluated, and examined. All the while he is thinking unkind thoughts about the whole process, the interviewers, and the system at large. In the end, he and two other men are selected for a show that no one will tell them. They go up an elevator and one of them says that he thinks they’ve been selected for THE RUNNING MAN. When they reach the top, they’re called one by one into the executive Killian’s office. When Richards comes in Killian (a big black man) tells Richards he’s been selected for THE RUNNING MAN. Richards signs the contract, tells Killian he doesn’t want the hookers, and Killian gives him an advance on his winnings (with strings that if he doesn’t earn enough the studio will got after his wife and daughter). He is given a day before he will be set loose. Killian gives him one piece of advice: stay with his people.

Richards spends his day reading books, and sending his advance to his wife. He is told that his wife and daughter are being guarded so that no one will come after them.

The next day, Richards is taken to the studio. He’s given the rundown: twice a day he must video tape himself for 10 minutes and send the tapes to the studio. If he fails to send in the tapes, they will kill his wife and child. He is given some money. They do his intro: Ben Richards: non-conformist, jobless, and societal fighter. His wife: whore. They doctor his wife’s photo and Richards gets pissed. Security guards Killian as he laughs at Richards impotent rage. And then he’s set loose.

— important note on the game: in THE RUNNING MAN, the runner is set loose in the general population. His job is to survive as long as he can. He earns money for getting away and for every “hunter” and person he kills. Regular people can phone in tips for cash rewards. “Hunters” are basically law enforcement, though the studio has its own special “hunter” who coordinates the law enforcement. —

Richards takes a taxi, and the driver says he’s going to send in a tip to get the $100 reward. Richards doesn’t care. He sneaks to a shop where a “friend” can doctor up some fake ID. Then he travels to New York.

In New York he rents a hotel room. He tapes himself with a pillowcase over his head and any identifying marks covered. Every day he wanders out in his disguise. He starts to feel antsy and thinks that someone has figured out where he is. He pays for a few extra nights, leaves as usual and travels to a different part of the city.

He rents a room in the Y(MCA). He’s only there for a few hours when he realizes they know where he is. He flees to the basement, and ends up setting the place on fire as he leaves through the tunnel. He comes up in a different part of town and runs into a black kid.

The kid brings his brother to Richards. They go back to the kid’s home. There Richards learns about the air and how polluted it is as he listens to the kid’s sister dying from lung cancer in another room. They brother knows how to send the tapes without them being traceable. The brother takes Richards to a different part of the state. He tells him of a contact that can help him.

When Richards finds the contact’s home, he discovers he’s not home. So Richards waits with the kid’s mother. She slowly realizes who he is and threatens to call the police. The kid comes home and tries to reassure his mother that Richards is ok and that she shouldn’t call the police. The kid goes to hide Richard’s car.

When the kid comes back he discovers his mother has called the police. Richards and the kids flee. The get to the car and then are chased by the police. They get shot to hell, but temporarily lose the police when the kid takes Richards to an abandoned mall. The kid (mortally wounded) goes off to lead the police on a chase and his inevitable death.

Richards stays the night in the abandoned mall. In the morning he treks through the overgrowth and finds a gas station. He needs to mail his tapes. But he knows if he goes to the gas station he’ll be spotted and then caught. Luckily, a kid and his dog come by. Richards convinces the kid to mail his tapes.

Richards hijacks a car on the road that a woman is driving. He forces her to drive him to the nearest airfield. 

The “hunters” beat them there. Richards threatens the woman’s life and bluffs his way to obtaining a plane and crew. He takes along the big bad “hunter” (whose name I forgot). On the plane Killian contacts them. He tells Richards his wife is dead and that the studio wants to hire him as lead “hunter.” Richards kills the “hunter,” the pilots, and shoves the woman in a parachute out the door. He drives the plane into the studio’s building.

Evaluation

I’ll be honest. I read this because I love the movie. I know what you’re thinking: “What a horrible movie that movie was!” Yes. Yes it was pretty bad, even for an ’80s movie, but it was pretty epic. I love the camp of it all. And while its not great, it did have a message that I appreciated.

Anyway. On to the book.

Let’s start with the obvious: the book is better, and the book is different.

Of course it is! No book is exactly like it’s movie (unless its a book based on a movie… maybe). I remember watching Interview With the Vampire after I had read the books… and even though Anne Rice had helped with the screenplay, it was still different. Point being: DIFFERENT!

The obvious difference is the setting. Book!Ben Richards has full run of the world (though he really probably won’t be taking a plane ride). Movie!Ben Richards has the game arena. Book!Ben’s world is much more scary than Movie!Ben’s. Book!Ben has to be wary of every person he meets. Anyone could turn in information about him for cold, hard cash. Book!Ben hangs out in New York, goes to the sticks and then hops a plane. Movie!Ben hangs on in the arena, which has several themed areas.

The circumstances are different: Book!Ben is trying to get money for medicine for his sick kid and the only way left for him is to be part of the games. Movie!Ben said “no” to a direct order and was captured and forcibly put into the game. These circumstances have huge impacts on the characters and their actions and motivations. Book!Ben volunteered. He needs to stay alive as long as he can to help his wife and baby. He hates the system (and because he does he ends up on The Running Man) and along the way he learns that the air is poisoning the people. Book!Ben has a set of complicated morals and circumstances. Movie!Ben is aggressive and while he’s “fighting the man” it doesn’t really seem like a cause he believes in.

Movie has crazy costumed hunters. Book has regular people and law enforcement hunting the runners.

Movie has constant surveillance. Book has mailed in tapes and news coverage.

Movie has cheesy good guys win ending. Book has much more complicated ending with no clear winner.

I love this book.

This book is a believable dystopia (given antiquated technology), with a set of compelling characters and a disturbing setting.

Ben Richards is a layered character. He’s not necessarily good, he’s not bad. He’s a man put in a difficult situation trying to fight an oppressive system which put him in the situation he finds himself in. He feels bad killing people. He cares about other people even when he shouldn’t. He’s not entirely smart. He’s thrown in a situation that he doesn’t know what to do in.

Yes, Killian is evil, but he’s not a cartoon-y bad guy. He knows what will get ratings, he knows what buttons to press, and he knows how to manipulate a situation.

Every place Ben Richards goes to is detailed. We know the situation, we know where we are, and we know what to expect.

The chapters get shorter and more intense as the clock counts down (which is pretty darn brilliant).

Look, I could break it down for you, but I won’t.

This book is a must read for me. Its a great piece (sure its not perfect) that makes you think. Its a heart-pounding thrill ride. It’s…

THE RUNNING MAN

Genre

Science Fiction

Dystopia

Readalikes

The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Distraction by Bruce Sterling

Significance

A dystopia where the government is your enemy, the media is your enemy, and your neighbors are your enemy.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Do you think this is a possible Dystopian future?

Talk about the prevalence of media in life.

What would you have done?

Author’s website

Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

Awards

none

Reviews

Amazon

The Guardian

Why I Chose It

I wanted to read this because I love the awesomely cheesy (and incredibly bad) 1980’s movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Other Information

Guilty Pleasures

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $80.73
Paperback $11.02, $6.00
Hardback
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441304837
9780515134490 — Paperback
9780515136173 — Paperback
9780515144185 — Paperback
9780425187562 — Hardcover
9780425197547 — Paperback
9780785776185
9781596880078 — Hardcover
9780613582926
9781596880283 — Paperback
9781596880061 — Hardcover
9781101146385
9780755355297 — Paperback
9780786528967 — E-Book
9780755374816
9780785125792

Rating (VOYA)

3Q, 4P

The quality was alright. It wasn’t the best written, the characters weren’t the greatest, but it was sturdy and appealing.

Popularity wise, this was a big one from my Readers Advisory class, and it seems as though it must be popular (considering it spawned like, 27 sequels).

Readers Annotation

Someone’s killing vampires, and it isn’t Anita Blake.

Summary

Anita Blake is a necromancer (by any other name). She raises the dead for a living. Her friend is having a bachelorette party at a vampire strip club. But surprise! Its a set-up. The vampires have manipulated Anita into coming to the club to blackmail her into finding the killer targeting vampires. Her friend is now under the power of one of the vampires from the club. Jean Claude (the sexy, French vampire club owner) really wants to be able to mentally manipulate Anita. She reluctantly agrees to look into the killings (not that she has a choice).

A “friend,” a psychopathic former assassin, is looking for the vampire queen. He knows Anita knows something. Anita gets abducted by Jean Claude. She gets thrown into a basement filled with were-rats. She fights them to stay alive. The vamps pull her out eventually. Then she meets the vampire queen, a scary old little girl. She meets their personal necromancer and keeps them from killing him.

She investigates the murders with the help of her cop friend. The psychopath ends up helping. She’s running low on sleep. She figures out who the killer is, there’s a showdown. She confronts the vampire queen and there’s a showdown too.

Evaluation

Of course he’s a foreign vampire with a sexy accent. Of course he’s going to be the love interest. Of course she’s a “badass.” These are all things I found myself thinking at the start of this book. I listened to the audio, which was great. But really, its like all the modern vampire cliches were in this book just to begin. I honestly thought this would be just like One Foot in the Grave, but it wasn’t. In fact, there wasn’t any romance at all, just hints of what will surely come. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it refreshing. I mean, we all know she’s going to end up with Jean Claude eventually.

Really, I found the characters… lacking. The plot was interesting. I liked that there was a mystery for the characters to solve, and I think it had just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, but once you looked past that there were some problems. I didn’t completely connect with Anita. She didn’t really seem to deserve her killer reputation (pun intended). She wasn’t entirely likable, even though I loved her sarcasm. Jean Claude was questionable, and really wasn’t developed so well. He came off less sexy, and more creepy, manipulative asshole.

I think the world that was built was interesting. I wonder about having all this supernatural stuff out in the open, but it seemed mostly believable. I thought the human/supernatural conflicts were relatively believable, if not a little muted given today’s world.

I don’t know, overall. I liked it while I was listening to it, but it wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read. I’m really on the fence about it. I think I’ll try another one and see where it leaves me.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Readalikes

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Significance

A sexy paranormal romance without the sexy romance.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Do you think Anita deserves the “Executioner” title and associated fear?

What do you think of the world Laurell K Hamilton has built?

What do you think about this interpretation of vampires?

Author’s website

Laurell K Hamilton

Awards

None

Reviews

Amazon

Why I Chose It

I chose this book because everyone in my Reader’s Advisory class had raved about this series, so I thought I’d try it out.

Other Information

One Foot in the Grave

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $17.59
Paperback $7.19, $5.78
Hardback
Kindle $4.99
Associated ISBNs 9.780061245091
9.780061736490
9780061649165 – e-book

Rating (VOYA)

3Q, 4P

Readers Annotation

Sexy heroine meets sexy ex-boyfriend and teams up to defeat evil undead.

Summary

Half-vampire Cat Crawford now leads a secret government SWAT team that takes out evil undead. She has just lead a semi-successful raid that has left one of her own dead. She has also just let the maker of her ex-boyfriend live instead of killing him like her boss wanted.

She has started dating again, but still thinks about her ex, the sexy vampire Bones. Her best friend has just gone through a whirlwind romance and gotten engaged. Between thinking about breaking up with her boyfriend, her job hunting vamps, and her best friends upcoming nuptials, she barely has time to think about the hit taken out on her.

At the rehearsal dinner she runs into Bones, he is one of the groomsmen, and they have a tiff. She’s still extremely attracted to him, and he to her. He says he’s been looking for her since she left him 4 years ago, and that she’s in trouble. She naturally takes him back.

Bones clashes with Tate, Cat’s friend and co-worker (because Tate’s in love with Cat). It’s discovered that the man who took out a hit on Cat is Bones’ maker, so Bones amasses his forces (the vampires and ghouls that he’s made) and sets a plan in motion. This brings Annette (one of Bones’ former client/girlfriend) back into the picture, and she and Cat bitch fight it out.

The conclusion has Bones, and Cat taking on Bones’ maker in what amounts to vampire court.

Evaluation

This was a really fun romp. I may have made the mistake of starting on the 2nd book (oops), but I didn’t think I really needed the first to get into it. This is sarcastic, sexy, and full of action.

The characters are pretty well fleshed out. They all fit into a lot of the old tropes, but they work well with them. Sexy, badass heroine. British, sexy vampire. Anti-vampire mom. Secret government agency. Evil vampires. Stakings. This one at least has a heroine whose reputation is actually deserved, unlike some other series (Anita Blake). The interactions between the characters is really where the action’s at. The relationship between Bones and pretty much every character who is not Cat is worth the price of admission alone.

This is a pretty well written book, considering. There aren’t a lot of gaping flaws and errors. Its a fun ride all the way.

I think this book is just perfect for its audience. Its sexy, its fun, and its got some great action. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea Paranormal Romance-wise, but its a pretty great example.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur

First Grave On the Right by Darynda Jones

Significance

An interesting take on some old classics, blending sarcasm and sex to make an enjoyable ride all the way through.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Is it believable that Cat is so attractive that everyone wants her?

What do you think about this interpretation of vampire?

Let’s talk about Cat’s wardrobe.

Author’s website

Jeaniene Frost

Awards

None

Reviews

Amazon

Reviews

Why I Chose It

It sounded like a ridiculous paranormal romance, and I wanted to try that out.

Other Information

Kraken: An Anatomy

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook  $39.98
Paperback $17.00
Hardback $17.00
Kindle $12.99
Associated ISBNs 9780345497499
9781596063372 — Hardcover
9780345521859 — E-Book

Rating (VOYA)

5Q, 4P

Really well written, plotted and thought through.

Who doesn’t want to read about a cult of Krakenists and the end of the world? Some people may not appreciate this book for what it is.

Readers Annotation

A Kraken has vanished. Billy Harrow discovers a world of magic to find it.

Summary

A Kraken has gone missing from a London Museum. It just vanished. No one knows how. Billy Harrow discovers it missing while giving a tour. The police question him. He mentions it to his friends at a pub that night. The next day he finds a body in a jar.

London’s magical police, the FRSC, try to recruit Billy as they tell him about the other side of London. Billy and his friend Leon run into the supremely creepy Goss and Subby, who kill Leon. Billy is rescued by Dane, a Krakenist.

Dane takes Billy to the Church of God Kraken, who think he’s a saint. They tell him he has a connection to the Kraken. Dane fights with the church, gets excommunicated and takes Billy with him. They’re looking for the Kraken.

Billy and Dane recruit Wati, a former grave idol turned Socialist who has been running a strike of magical familiars in London. Watty can inhabit anything with a face. They think that the Tatoo is behind everything. They track down the man who transported the Kraken after following his familiar (a tribble). The man is haunted by himself because every time he beamed himself somewhere he killed himself in the process. Billy, Dane and Watty run from Goss and Subby and go to the Londonmancers. Dane gets abducted by Chaos Nazis (hired by the Tatoo) and Billy and the Sea rescue him.

Meanwhile, Leon’s girlfriend Marge is looking for answers and the FRSC, lead by Barron, Collingworth and Vardy, are trying to solve the Kraken mystery and hunt Billy down.

Billy and Dane suspect that Grisamentum is behind everything. They find the Kraken, and abduct the man who wears the Tatoo. The Krakenists are attacked and Billy and Dane recruit the survivors to fight Grisamentum.

Marge gets a protective iPod. Marge meets the man with the Tatoo, who lures Goss and Subby to them. Wati gets smashed by Goss. Goss and Subby get killed. The police show up. They all go to find Billy.

Billy and Dane attack Grisamentum. Dane is killed. Everyone converges at the Embassy to the Sea. The Sea takes out Grisamentum. Grisamentum is not the one trying to end the world though…

Evaluation

This book is now one of my favorites. I loved this book so much I’m trying to convince everyone I know to read it. This is my favorite type of book: alternate magical universe. Its sarcastic, its weird, its over the top, its everything you could want in a book… plus a Kraken. China Mievelle said it was a book that he wrote “if one were to take a cult of Kraken seriously.” Love this book.

The plot is complicated and messy, and just right. You get just the right amount of information at the right time. The characters are wonderful. I became very attached to Wati. They’re all different and every the nebulous Grisamentum is pretty well fleshed out even though he’s not mentioned too much. Magical, unseen London is pretty great. It was one of the stars of this book.

I think people would love this book. Its a fun romp, with a satisfying ending, and plenty of interesting world building. It could cross over to mainstream readers.

I think I love this book too much to see any flaws.

The audiobook is really amazing, especially when they get to Marge’s magical iPod.

Genre

Urban fantasy, Weird fiction

Readalikes

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Significance

A cult of Kraken taken seriously? Great characters in an interesting alternate reality?

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss Dane and his motivations.

Favorite magical entity/religion?

What did you think of Magical London?

Author’s website

China Mieville

Awards

Library Journal Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Locus Awards: Fantasy Novel

Reviews

Kirkus

NY Times

Why I Chose It

I chose this book for its title. I didn’t need to know anything else, I knew it would be great.

Other Information