Find it at your library!

Okay, I am officially on board with this series. Give me all the Harry Dresden you have.

I read the first book at the behest of my lovely husband, and I enjoyed it the way I’ve enjoyed pretty much all the other urban fantasy I’ve read in my life: moderately entertained but nothing much beyond that. Now that I’ve read the second installment, though, I’m hooked.

Like any good urban fantasy writer, Butcher brings it with the action sequences. The entire second half of the book is basically one long werewolf fight. But then he busts out some deep thoughts that I was so not prepared for. It really takes things to another level.

Harry cares deeply about being one of the good guys. We still don’t know a ton of his backstory, but it’s obvious he has baggage in his past that leads him to consider carefully how he treats others. He talks about his magic coming from all the good things in his life, not from a place of vengeance or hate. That resonated really strongly with me, especially because Harry has reason enough to hate some of the people and beasties he comes up against, and it takes a strong man (wizard) not to give in to that.

I am excited to continue the series because it’s obvious there’s so much more to discover about who Harry is (like what’s the deal with his mom??). I’m guessing most fans of the Dresden Files come back to the series again and again not so much because they’re curious about each of Harry’s new crime-fighting adventures, but because they’re invested in his character and want to get to know him better. Sign me up for more, man.

Find it at your library!

I got myself into a bit of a pickle with this series. It started out innocently enough (as all pickles do). On a typical trip to the library, I checked out Moon Called, the first book of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I also checked out a bunch of other books that were on my to-read list. I was confident enough in my speed as a reader that I figured four weeks would be plenty of time to get through the pile. 

And it would have been. Except I decided to read Moon Called first. And I was so instantly sucked into the world of shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, and fae that the author (in my head I affectionately think of her as “P Briggs,” like a rap name) created, that I returned three books to the library unread and requested the remaining six books in the series immediately. (There is an eighth installment due out in 2014.)

Of course, when I showed up at the library to check out the books, I learned that the seventh book, Frost Burned, was new enough to qualify as a 14-day loan. So therein lay the pickle: I had two weeks to read all of them, assuming I wanted to read them in order.

Due to this deadly combination of consuming interest and deadline pressure, I went on a little bit of a bender. I read all six of the remaining books in one week. That’s about 2,000 pages of nonstop werewolf battles, fairy spells, and vampire feedings. It was amazing. But by the end of the week, I told Adam I felt like I needed to lay off reading for a while. Every time I stepped out of the story to resume normal life, I felt like I had been asleep or underwater or something. I think P Briggs caused me to OD on reading, is what I’m saying.

However, it was all totally worth it, and I will read the eighth Mercy Thompson book with glee when it is released next year. This is what the world should have been reading instead of Twilight. Mercy, a VW mechanic and shapeshifting coyote, is everything we wished Bella had been: tough, capable, intelligent, raw, strong, and sexy. Her relationship with the pack’s Alpha werewolf, Adam, proves that romance can be a great storyline even if it’s not dysfunctional. They have a great connection and interact with honesty, mutual support, and a tantalizing level of heat. One of the sexiest couples I’ve read in a long time, and the scenes weren’t even that steamy. Who knew faithful monogamy could be such exciting reading?

Fair warning: the cover art is ridiculous and embarrassing. For example, the cover of my favorite book, Iron Kissed, depicts Mercy leaning over a car engine with a tramp stamp showing. I did receive some flack for that one. But when the books are this good, who cares about a little tramp stamp?