Thursday, January 8, 2009

first two books of the new year

I almost bought this first book at B&N when it debuted a while back. They sent me a coupon and the hardcover was reasonable with the discount. Instead I ended up buying two paperbacks. Not quite a mistake, but I put off reading a great story. So, when I found the paperback version on sorting day at the bookstore, I grabbed it for the trip.

"Garden Spells" is a wonderful read from Sarah Addison Allen. I'd have to classify this book as magical realism....small bits of otherworldly stuff thrown in a very real setting. The Waverly sisters have always had a bit of magic to them. Claire is a caterer whose dishes have a way of influencing people and events. Claire's sister Sydney returns home after a life on the run and discovers her magical gift. Of course, Sydney's issues follow her and provide a nice bit of conflict as does her return to her hometown and the reaction of those she left behind. The story has a perfect blend of characterization, plot, dialogue and description. She added in a wonderful dose of romance and several very interesting sideline characters. This book gets two enthusiastic thumbs up and I'm ready to read more from Sarah Allen.

The second book I read was "Cry Wolf" from Patricia Briggs. I've seen Briggs' books at B&N, but as the library still has a pretty poor urban fantasy collection, I'd never read one. I'll be on the hunt for Briggs' books next time I'm at the bookstore. Even if I have to pay top dollar. "Cry Wolf" is a werewolf story, no vampires, no fairies, just some bad ass wolves facing down an evil witch. Because the novel takes place in a world Briggs explores in her Mercy Thompson novels, it took a bit to orient myself. Once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Anna is an Omega wolf...the peace bringer to a pack, and a very rare wolf indeed. Her mate, Charles, is the son of the Alpha wolf and the pack's enforcer. I was intrigued by the world building in this novel and will look for the Mercy books to learn more about the people and places Briggs has created. Again, two thumbs up for this book.

What a gift to read two good books as I start off the new year.

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