I picked up By the Book from the bookstore, one of the rare books that I bought not only in paper, but also for full price. It was a gift to myself for a rare child free afternoon. It was an amazing gift.
I fell instantly in love with the book. The main character is an English professor who loves books. She loves them so much she went against her family's wishes and became an academic. Her life if flowdering. She has to get a book published in order to gain tenure at a Southern California university where she has been teaching for the last three years. I work at a large university in Southern California, so I saw a lot of humor in the setting of the novel. I could relate to needing to stop for In N Out fries, and I laughed out loud at the email telling faculty that they could not be in the room for faculty evaluations. I am one of few, I am sure, who found the humor in this as I do course assessment.
I love this book. The characters are very real. They are being thrown by the events of everyday life. The comparison between live at twenty and live at thirty is both sad and humorous. The writing is brilliant. They say that those who can't teach - but thankfully Sonneborn can do both. Well in all fairness I have no idea how well she teaches, but I am sure does quite well at that also. I have no doubt that By the Book is a book that I will pick up many more times.
It is hard to find a new take on urban fantasy, and very easy to make some cliche story. While Don't Rush Me builds off a lot of familiar elements in urban fantasy, it also brings in its own. For one, the main character is a human. Although, she is not quite human and her unique gifts have her thrown into a middle of a missing persons investigation.
Nora entered foster care when she was seven. Her natural ability to attract males made her a target for sexual abuse. If this is a trigger then I would highly suggest that you stay away from this book. The main character is constantly dealing with the trauma of her past. While it builds up her character I do wish that it was dealt with a bit more tack and less of a plot move.
The book is well written with engaging characters. The plot is not a surprise and is fairly straightforward. There are still questions that are left at the end of the book. I am sure they will be addressed as the series progresses. The story could have been more complex and at times it was completely cheesy. However, I really enjoyed reading the book and plan to continue on in the series. The strength is int he word combinations and character development. Although it would be great to see the writers continue to develop more dynamics.
If you like urban fantasy and are looking for something different that is worth the read then I would recommend that you check out Don't Rush Me.
Shifting stories is a collection of short stories in the Mercy Thompson universe. Many of the stories were previously published and were brought together for this compilation. However, there are a few stories that were newly published. In one way this made it easier to read all the side stories to this universe without having to go find and/or purchase a wide variety of books. In another way, this seems like another way of getting money out of a successful urban fantasy author.
I had not previously read any of these stories, with the exception of Alpha and Omega. I have previously reviewed this separately and I skipped over reading it in this book.
The stories are short highlights of the Mercy Thompson world. Many of the stories feature characters that only show up briefly in the main series. It is was a great way to see the world from other character's perspectives. There is also a story that focuses on Ben and another that focuses on Warren. Neither of these were mind exploiting explorations into these characters. However, they were fun reads.
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