Monday, February 23, 2009


By: Debbie Kaufman

I confess. I am an obsessive compulsive reader. I don’t know if that is actually an official diagnosis is the psychiatric community, but it probably should be – at least in my case! Because I read so obsessively and eclectically, I have consumed a lot of good books lately and it’s hard to choose just one to share with you. However, I decided that any book that kept me up half the night because I had to finish it deserved a nod.

Author Rachel Vincent, who describes herself as an urban fantasy and young adult author, has a real hit with her SHIFTERS series, the third installment of which, PRIDE, just hit the shelves in February of this year. I started reading with the first in the series, STRAY, a June 2007 release and waited impatiently until her second, ROGUE, followed in April of 2008. It was the cover of her first book, STRAY, which got my attention. And, as it turns out, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.
The main character in this series is Faythe Sanders, a werecat whose non-conformist attitudes and impulsive behaviors keep her on the edge of trouble. The SHIFTERS series follows Faythe, one of the few existing tabbies in the world, as she struggles with finding her place in the pride, a place that is at odds with the patriarchal attitudes of her species. These same struggles impact her on-again-off-again relationship with Marc, a stray with acceptance issues of his own. And, since our theme this month is "Hunky Heroes," Readers, I would have to say that Marc qualifies, and then some.

PRIDE opens rather dramatically with the line, “Miss Sanders, tell us why you killed your boyfriend.” This opening is like the starting bell of a fast-paced story that drives the reader on to the finish line. Not too many books have me experiencing the emotions with the character, but this was one of them. I cheered for Faythe, worried for the outcome of her trial, and even wanted to get right in there and slap one of the antagonists for his self-righteous, smug attitudes.

I don’t want to be a book spoiler, so I am just going to include the blurb for PRIDE:

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.
If I survive my own trial…

When I try to boil down what it is I like the best about this series, I would have to say it comes down to characters. Yes, I like the werecat angle and the well-developed plots, but most of all, I find that Ms. Vincent has created characters that I can relate to and enjoy their journey of growth. That’s usually the thing that brings me back to any series, no matter what the premise.

I am now waiting impatiently for the fourth book, PREY, which is due out in August of 2009. So, what is it that gets you impatiently waiting for the next installment of a series? Care to share your favorite series with us?


Anonymous said...


Great post. I must admit that I don't usually read about shape-shifters and such things, but this series sounds interesting, since she's "the good guy".

What makes me impatiently wait for a sequel? Just what you said about this series...characters. It's the characters who bring you back again and again to a particular series. I can overlook a plot that is up and long as it ends strong...IF the characters are real and I can identify with them.

I'll have to check out this series. I'm interested in how she deals with the romance part of the issue when she isn't human but her boyfriend was.


Anna Steffl said...

Wow, I'll have to check this out. Werecats? How do people come up with this stuff?

Berta Platas said...

I love this series, too, Debbie! I'm torn between buying PRIDE in paper or downloading it for my Sony eReader, and I'm leaning towards the download, and then downloading the first two as well.

Want to get more compulsive? Read Patricia Brigg's werewolf series, staring with MOON CALLED. Really great characters, plots, and sexual tension! - Berta

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Berta:
I know you are working hard to finish your next book, so I'm honored you stopped by the blog. OOOH, and thanks for the recommendation of Brigg's series. I'll have to try it out. There are so many good books out there that it's always great to here what someone else thinks.

Hey Sandy:
We meet the boyfriend in the first book. He's more of a rebel-against-daddy guy who serves to really complicate Faythe's life. Marc, the long-term love interest, is also a werecat.

Anna, I don't know. Isn't imagination wonderful? May we all be blessed with a highly functioning one so we can create our own great series!

Debbie Kaufman said...

OOPS, I meant "hear." Too much going on today :))

Nicki Salcedo said...

Debbie, I'm the worst. I like to wait for a series to be completed so I don't have to wait. My best friend loved Outlander when it first came out. I didn't have the patience to wait years between books so I started reading it years later so I could plow through multiple books in short order!

Cyrano said...

This series you menationed sounds great. I actually realized I have Stray in my libraray. It's just one of the thousands (and I mean thousands)of books I've bought trolling the book stores, or earned through working the book sighnings at nationals over the past 5 years. I'll have to finish the 5 or so I'm reading right now first before I start that one. I love to read too and stash books in different places, the powder room down stairs, the bathtub edge up stairs, the car, the guest bedroom, the magazine rack on the deck. I'm one of those crazy read more than one books at a time gals.

Nicki, My mother and I and my 60 year old father loved, loved, adored Gabaldon's Outlander series. My mom loved it so much she would force herself to read a chapter a night so it wouldn't end(I've done that too) but I much prefer zipping through a good book like you. I'm tooooo impatient.
Loved the post Debbie!!
Have a great evening,

Debbie Kaufman said...

I know what you mean. I started Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and read several books before I caught up to his publishing schedule. By the time the next one came out, I had lost the thread of that very complicated plot line and was just frustrated. I think I read the Outlander series after they were out, so I didn't have that problem. That is still one of my favorites.

Hi Tamara:
Can I come to your house with a big duffel bag and sneak out with a few dozen :)). Well, do read it. It is a great series. I'm glad the publishing schedule is shortening.

Marilyn Baron said...

I am also a big Outlander fan but luckily I discovered the series late so by the time I started reading, I could plow right through the entire series at the same time. Now I'm stuck waiting for the next one.

I do love the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann. Lucky for me, she's a prolific writer so I don't have to wait too long between books.

I'm also an avid reader like Tamara. I have to have a book whereever I go in the house and out. Last week my daughter convinced me to join the gym so I chose the exercise bike where I could read while I was pedaling. When she came back to check on me she found me reading the book and the machine off. Apparently, I was so absorbed in the book, I had stopped pedaling completely without realizing it.

Marilyn Baron

Tami Brothers said...

Love, love, love the covers. I am definitely going to have to check them out. If you are looking for another neat series, check out PC and Kristen Cast's The House of Night Series. It is a YA vampires series and I really liked them. Of course, I can't leave out Twilight!!!!!! I'm currently obsessed with those, too...

I'm like Nicki and end up waiting until the whole series is out (if I can - Gillian Summers books hooked me from the first one and now I wait on pins and needles each year for a new release!!!).

I had the hardest time waiting between the 5th and 6th Harry Potter books. I had just become a fan and dreaded that long wait. I'm happy JK Rowling found her happily ever after and had her baby, but it was a long HARD wait.

That's just my opinion on these darn series books...grin...


Linsey Lanier said...

Not a part of the romance genre, but I love detective series. Favorites are Robert B Parker's Spenser and Sunny Randall series, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhoune in the Alphabet novels, and after Margie Lawson's workshop at M&M, I've added Stephen White's Alan Gregory and Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar to my list. Great stuff.

You're all right about the characters. The characters are like old friends. You can't wait to find out what they're up to in the next book. :)


Debbie Kaufman said...

Oh Linsey,
We must have been separated at birth, Parker's Spenser, et al, are some of my absolute favorites!

I'll have to check that one out. I was at Wal-Mart at midnight when they put out the last 2 Harry Potters. I then stayed up till 6 am reading them!

I haven't tried that series... yet :)). I know what you mean about the bikes. They were all full at the gym tonight and reading on an elliptical just wasn't the same.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Debbie for a new series to check out! I recommend Kim Harrison. Her Rachel Morgan character is a witch, with a vampire room mate - you have to read this and you will be instantly hooked! Good blog! :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Barbara. Don't suppose that one is any of the books you are going to loan me :)

Carol Burnside said...

Great post. Sorry I didn't get by here yesterday.

My favorite series are JD Robb's In Death series, Harry Potter, Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels (until she changed POV type, then she lost me), and Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels. I have others I'm collecting - the Twilight series and Gillian Summer's Tree Shephard series. Then I'll sit and glut on them. :)

I also think it's strong characters that keep me coming back, plus an overriding storyline that continues from book to book.

Debbie Kaufman said...

My daughter and I always call each other prior to buying the newest JD Robb. We are always both dying to read it, so we rush to be the one to buy it so we can read it first! I love the Lincoln Rhyme novels, and Twilight, and, and, and,....