Title: Audrey, Wait!
Author: Robin Benway
Rating: 3.5 Stars
When I first came across Audrey, Wait! in my library, I dismissed it as being a rather silly novel. You see, I can be a very snobbish reader. Unless a book screams "DEPTH!" to me, I usually walk away from it. Well, then I joined GoodReads and virtually all my friends have loved this novel - even those who aren't fans of contemporary literature. As such, I couldn't help but pay my library another visit and check out the excruciatingly bright hardcover edition of this book. I kept expecting myself to be similarly blown away by this novel as my friends were, but I wasn't. Nevertheless, I do have to admit that Audrey, Wait! made me laugh at a time in my life when I wanted to cry and the amount of time I spent immersed in this fun-filled world is one I don't regret. Not one single itty-bitty bit.
Audrey, Wait! is the simple story of a girl who breaks up with her boyfriend. Or, not so simply. When your boyfriend is in a band, he might just end up writing a song about you. And that song might just gain attention and publicity. And that might just make you famous as well. Which, in turn, might just make falling in love with the cute guy at the ice cream shop you work at a lot more public than it needs to be. Or going for a concert. Or even sleeping in class. Needless to say, Audrey's life is turned upside down by the sudden fame she receives from breaking up with her boyfriend and if you thought being a celebrity was fun, Audrey will make you think again.
One of the best aspects of Audrey, Wait! is its narration. From the first page itself, Audrey grabs you and doesn't allow you to put down her story. Not only is she spunky and sarcastic, but her dialogue and life story is surprisingly relate-able and real. From the deep bond between Audrey and her best friend, Victoria, to the adorable crush she has on James, and the understanding relationship she maintains with her parents, this book never let me stop smiling. In fact, I blame this book for making my cheeks hurt so much by the end of it. If that wasn't good enough, though, Audrey loves music and the lyrics dispersed throughout the chapter titles made me grin even more. Audrey, Wait! is also a surprisingly solid representation of paparazzi and the culture of today's world, which I most definitely appreciated. It wasn't too over-done, like the crazy paparazzi of many movies, but it wasn't subtle either, striking a good balance.
Yet, unfortunately, Audrey, Wait! really does lack depth. Audrey not only gets along perfectly well with her parents, but any issues she has with Victoria and James are swiftly dealt with as well. Audrey's school nemesis is seen as "that girl" that exists in every novel to make the protagonist appear a little better and with the exception of the multi-faceted and flawed personalities of Audrey and Victoria, not much else proved that this novel was worth the hype it received. Thus, my rating is based solely on my thorough enjoyment of this tale and the fact that, every once in awhile, we all need a good laugh. For the next time you find yourself in that kind of mood, pick up Audrey, Wait! It'll have you in splits of laughter within pages. Just see if it doesn't.
Title: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Moon Called is a promising start to a new urban fantasy series. Although it definitely starts out on a stronger note than, say, Magic Bites, I can't see it trumping Kate Daniels for my favorite UF Series anytime soon. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into the world of Mercy Thompson. Mercy, a mechanic, is the type of protagonist you cannot help but love. Not only is she independent and sassy, but her strong will and witty humor kept me flipping the pages frantically. Mercy has grown up with werewolves although she isn't one herself. Instead, Mercy is a rare type of shapeshifter called a 'walker' and known for her ability to shift into a coyote. Although a coyote is no match for a werewolf, Mercy's connection with werewolves makes her the perfect narrator for this UF Series that promises plenty of paranormal fun.
When Moon Called begins, Mercy has just accepted a new trainee, a young boy who has recently become a werewolf. Mac, the boy in question, has no idea that the wolves he is running away from will find him yet again, but when they do, Mercy is forced to involve her handsome neighbor, Adam, the alpha of the local werewolf pack. In an unexpected turn of events, Mac is killed and Adam's teenage daughter, Jesse, kidnapped, leaving Adam disastrously wounded. Mercy now turns to the only people she can count on - the werewolf family she grew up with. Little does she know, though, that things are about to get a lot more interesting...
I simply ate up Moon Called like a starved child. Mercy is a delightful heroine and although her narration isn't close to as funny as that of Kate Daniels, it was refreshing. For fans of romance, though, Moon Called may be a tiny bit disappointing. Samuel, the werewolf who Mercy has been in love with since she was a teenager, makes a reappearance and the dynamic between him, Mercy, and Adam is sizzling. Although I despise love triangles, the romantic entanglements were so muted in this novel - not to mention unique and interesting - that I find myself looking forward to the drama sure to ensue in the sequels. Adam and Mercy share an interesting relationship, to say the least, but once again, any type of tension between them is very subtle with a greater emphasis given to the plot.
Yet, from Moon Called, you wouldn't think that Patricia Briggs is a particularly good author. Granted, her characters all have their fair share of depth, but at times, the dialogue is stilted and the writing itself is awkward. It becomes a little difficult to follow the plot at times and just past the half-way point, the story drops and becomes ever-so-slightly boring. Even in the beginning, despite its riveting quality, the novel is bogged down with long passages of world-building that could have easily drawn away a less perseverant reader. Nevertheless, as with most UF Series, I suspect everything will really begin to pick up with the second novel and you can be sure that I will stick around for the long journey in front of Mercy Thompson.