Writer Reading Report: Smoke Bitten

Thanks to NetGalley, I received two ARCs (advanced reader copies) of upcoming novels by two of my favorite authors. Here be my short but heartfelt reviews of the first one I finished. It’s out now, so you don’t even have to wait!

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs.

I expect most people interested in Smoke Bitten have read some or all of the preceding books. Smoke Bitten is the twelfth in an urban fantasy series about Mercy Thompson,  part-time coyote, full-time auto mechanic, Volkswagon owner, seer of ghosts, and neighbor to a werewolf alpha.

So if you’re checking reviews because this book looks interesting, you’re right! It is!

I always recommend starting at the beginning of any series as well=established as this one–or at least with a book closer to the beginning.  That said, if this is the only Mercy Thompson book you can find, it’s a great chapter in the ongoing saga, and a decent introduction to the complex, entertaining dynamics between members of an ever-increasing cast.

Honestly, any plot summary without spoilers would be either redundant or too vague to be useful. The important points. First, as with most other books in the series, the events in Smoke Bitten take place over a very short time frame.  Second, the action is local, and the stakes more personal than world-changing.

The plot shines brightest when Mercy is dealing with her friends and family. Often she’s making hard choices between people and rules, between principle and practicality. In this book, a problem arises from the solutions to problems resolved in previous books.

It’s a tangle of big personalities, old grudges, and buried mysteries, with all the emotionally satisfying, complicated I’ve come to expect from this author.

 

A low-priority request

Hiya friends! I hope StayAtHome Spring 2020 Day X (where x is an integer value greater than zero) is treating you well.

If you have perchance ordered paperback copies of Novices from Big River Online, could you let me know when the book reaches you?  I’m collecting data for science! I expect it will take a lot longer than usual, with books being in the non-essential column compared to a lot of things BRO is shipping right now, and also I’m made of curiousity.

(Big hat tip to Seanan McGuire for my new favorite search-engine-dodging alternative for a certain retailer’s name.)

Note 2: If you care to leave a review for Novices online somewhere, that would be beyond fabulous and I would be ever so grateful, but…well.  I know reviews are hard. True confession, I’m behind on them too. Three reviews on my Habitica to-do list are bright red for being late-late-late.

**Note 3: Also remember that when you alert ME (privately, thx) to any typos/proofing glitches in any of my books, you get entered in a raffle for a free copy of the next book.

On the other hand, if you report typos & errata to Big River Online, the book gets pulled off the website & the creator gets penalized. Just an FYI for those who didn’t realize that.

And that reminds me, I owe someone a free copy of Novices. I do love giving people free things when I can.

AND I need to change the cover picture and add the paperback link to the book page on my website and ask Author Central to link the paperback & ebook entries…ah, all the authoring details. Never-ending fun. (for some values of fun)

Until later, all!

Writer Reading Report: No Longer On Hiatus

I read a lot.  I have Opinions. Why haven’t I been sharing?

Therein lies a tale.

Here’s the story of why I haven’t been inflicting my reading list or any other media adventures on people for…about a year now? Yeah.

I stopped doing it when the sharing started hurting. That happened after I received one too many remarks meant (I think, in retrospect) as compliments. Things like “I could never read that much/you are always reading/how can you get anything else done/So many? I’m lucky I read a book a year/ how do you find the time?” Etc, etc.

I find admiration and envy difficult to parse through. A lot of it comes down to tone, and when I even suspect I’ve made someone else feel inadequate or envious, I have an unavoidable reaction.

I stop doing it. Sometimes forever.

Yeah. I know. Not rational, not proportional, but also…not negotiable.

I was taught many lessons at a young age about the awfulness of flaunting, bragging, or acting superior. So when I get a sense that anyone thinks I’m being a self-absorbed egotistical, conceited asshole about (whatever it is) I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut. Or the head. Or both.

It really, physically hurts.  And every time I think about the activity, it hurts just as badly, all over again. If I shut up and go away & don’t DO whatever-it-is, it stops hurting.

So. That’s why posts about Stuff I do when I’m not writing comes and goes in fits & starts, and why one of my original blog staples — lists of tedious daily life accomplishments–rarely get posted at all now.  (It was making someone feel guilty about not getting as much done, and that sucked all the joy out of it.)

So far, people still universally like hearing about the new house & baking things. That’s why those topics have taken over the blog.

Here’s a happy new twist.

Not-so-long ago I learned that not everyone processes idle remarks as kick- in- the- gut personal condemnations. My kind of reaction to perceived negative feedback is called “rejection sensitivity dysphoria,” and it skips along hand-in-hand with sky-high energy levels, an interest-based attention span, and sensory sensitivities. It’s a real thing.

It isn’t me being thin-skinned, overreacting or childish, it’s just wiring at work.

IT’S SO FUN TO BE ME.

(another fun fact: pair up boundless physical energy with chronic pain/fatigue and you get a result that looks like perfectly normal from average viewing distance! It’s nothing like normal from the inside, where I can feel exhausted even while doing a lot and hurt all the time but can neglect self care because (squirrel!) means I forget to notice. The pairing goes a long way towards explaining how I’ve flown under the diagnostic radar all these years.)

BUT I DIGRESS. As fucking usual.

ANYway. It’s been long enough that the achy, scrapey bruised pain about reading lists has dulled to a bearable level, and also I want to use this new self-awareness of my reactions to break free of the rejection cycle in the future.

So I’ll be giving it yet another try.  Next post, I’ll catch up on What I’ve Been Reading Since New Year. It’ll be synopsis edition, but IT WILL HAPPEN.

Until later!

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Prickles up, ready to face the world. (image: pixabay.com)