BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bea & Jax Review Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #12
Read As A Stand Alone: Maybe, not recommended
Publisher: Ace
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 17th, 2020
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository*  | iBooks* |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Our Thoughts:

J: At the start of every book, I wonder what bit of myth or fairy tales Patty is going to twist into a fun new story. I really loved this one. I hadn't come across it in over a decade, so it actually stumped me to the end.

B: I figured out the fairy tale, based on clues another character gave Mercy but I was less certain of other motivations, villains, and events. Patty's use of the fairy tale was creative for sure. Like Jax, I'm always curious about what myth or fairy tale Patty will use. It's fun to try and identify them.

J: Another fantastic aspect of these books is watching Adam and Mercy - they do and don't have their happily ever after. Life and marriage don't work that way, and it's wonderful to see them find their way through insecurities and the aftermath of trauma.

B: Maybe it's because I've never been married, but I get worried when my fictional friends have marital problems. I know it's more realistic, and when reading romance I actually like the marriage in trouble trope, but not in my series! My heart hurt for both Mercy and Adam. There wasn't an easy fix though better communication would have helped. Neither are the sort to complain or share their feelings and boy, did that cause problems. 

J: It is hard to watch the strain between them. It's funny, because I like this trope in my series better than in one shot romances. :)

J: Speaking of Adam - for those who are long time fans - does anyone else get the feeling that Bran is grooming Adam to be his replacement? Maybe not just Adam, but Adam and Mercy as a team. Let's face it, the Marrok has been around for a very long time. We all hate to think of a world without him, but he's not immortal.

B: I have had that feeling for a few books now. Charles and Anna would be good replacements but so would Adam and Mercy. I wonder if Bran would step down and retire? It seems unlikely, he can't mind his own business, but it would make for a heck of a story.

B: One thing I didn't like, and this is a frequent problem in Patty's books, is how overly convoluted the plot was. I long sometimes for a plot, a story, that's simple. The story felt at times like it was tripping over itself. I know that every story needs a Big Bad, a threat that is severe enough to challenge Mercy and the pack, but honestly, I think Patty could scale back a little. The story did move the overall series arc forward, added to previous story threads, and I am looking forward to seeing how things shake out, Now that I think about it some more, most of what happens in this story is the result of previous events and issues. While it was good to see them addressed, it also felt a bit repetitive at times. I'd like to see new problems, new issues, and new angles.  

J: I agree - it's hard to do a simple plotline in a series that has lasted as long as Mercy's. Each book has to up the ante. I would like to see Mercy finally be accepted by the pack. There needs to be another reason for there to be trouble in the ranks. (B: YES!!!)

Bea's Verdict: A good story, interesting, moves the series forward, but not a must-read for me. 3 stars.

Jax's Verdict: A fun read. I always enjoy the Mercy Universe. But not the best book in the series. 3 stars

Some of our favorite quotes from the digital ARC:

Adams's alpha dominance didn't make me want to drop to my belly in instant obedience--it made me want to stick out my tongue or smack him on the nose.

I snorted. "You underestimated your mother's ability to get people to perform in the Stupid Olympics for her."

"Mercy wanted it to be at three in the morning," said Aiden. "But Adam told her that he wanted everyone functional."

He took a sip of his coffee and then exploded into expletives that had a couple of the wolves taking out their phones to look up a few of the words he used.

"I just need to quit hitting people with my cars and we'll be good," I told him. "If only," he murmured, "you don't run into any more who need to be hit." Proving he knew me.

"My car is fine," Jesse said cheerfully. "Dad, you and Mercy have got to take better care of your stuff. Do you think that money grows on trees?"

Check out more quotes at Bea's Friday memes post.

Previous reviews:

#3, Iron Kissed
#7, Frost Burned
#8, Night Broken
Shifting Shadows, anthology
#9, Fire Touched
#10, Silence Fallen
#11, Storm Cursed


  1. This was always a series I wanted to try but at #12, I'm not sure I'll ever get around to it. It does sound good, though.

    1. Yeah, it's hard to jump in when a series is so well established and there are lots of books to catch up on.

  2. Nice joint review, ladies. I did enjoy this one - not in the top Mercy books, but still good. I was VERY frustrated with how this one opened - we've been there, done that. But I did like how things progressed. I too guessed the "bad guy" which was a lot of fun.

    1. Yes, I agree about the opener. I feel like there has been a LOT of repetition in recent books.

  3. Good review, Bea and Jax! I like your conversational format. I keep wondering whether to start this series or not. How dark is it?

    1. Thanks Lark! :)

      The series tackles some dark and difficult subjects, such as rape, abuse, bigotry, and suicide. The overall tone is not dark but it has dark moments.


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