Cover Image: Wild Sign

Wild Sign

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Top fantasy writer whose stories just keep getting better. Sometimes I get behind because I like to have a couple by the same person on my TBR list of the writers who excite me and keep me involved. Werewolves they may be but I feel completely at home among these characters I have read about for so long..The Cornick family keeps growing, new members are introduced and wonderful adventures follow. In this book a long forgotten god is awakened by a group of white witches. The witches break their bargain with him and tragedy follows. Charles and Anna investigate because it takes place on pack land.  Old and bad groups feel its awakening power and head there. Some to grab the power and some to keep it from fully awakening. Many issues of pack life are resolved in this book. Loved every minute of the time spent with these characters.
I received this book from Netgalley. Thanks to them, the publisher and the author. Reviewed because I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.
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Thank  you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of Patricia Briggs new Alpha & Omega novel. I have been reading Briggs since high school when I came across the first book in her Mercedes Thompson series "Moon Called". She is one of my favorite authors and her books never disappoint me. 

This book is a supernatural romance book that throws in some mystery thriller elements. Most of Briggs' stories follow a similar pattern, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In this latest installment, Charles and Anna must figure out what could cause the inhabitants of an entire small town to go missing. Is it fairies? Other werewolves? 

Briggs' storytelling and world building are one for the books.
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My apologies for not writing a formal review at the time.
Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite author and I regularly recommend her to anyone who will listen.
Charles is beyond awesome and it's always nice to spend time with him and Anna. 

Currently reading Soul Taken and you will be able to find my official review on goodreads and amazon.
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Anna and Charles have worked with the FBI in the past, and they have a tentative truce between them, but not the kind where they’re prepared for the FBI to show up on their doorstep. They’re requesting assistance to help locate a missing mountain community. Anna and Charles agree to investigate, and they set off into the Northern California mountains.

Holly: I love Charles and Anna. They’re so great together. I really liked seeing them at home in the beginning of this novel. We learn a lot more about Leah in this book, and I am here for it. What did you think?

Rowena: I really love Charles and Anna too. It’s amazing that after all of these books, their chemistry is still just as great as when we first met them. They’re an amazing team that I love to go on adventures with.

Holly: You’re right about their chemistry. I love how solid they are now, and yet how they are still figuring some things out. They’re a real true-to-life couple.

Rowena: So many couples that I’ve read and watched on TV become so boring after they finally get together but that’s not the case with Charles and Anna. I love how strong their bond is and how strong and confident Anna is these days. Briggs does a really good job of keeping her characters interesting but still true to the characters that we’ve come to love over the course of this series.

Holly: That’s the thing about Briggs, she makes these characters interesting even after all these books (same with Mercy and Adam). I am always left wanting more.

Rowena: I haven’t been the biggest fan of Leah’s ever since we met her but I agree, I’m here for getting more of Leah’s story. getting to know her in this book and seeing the pain of her past made my heart hurt so yeah, I want more.

Holly: I haven’t always liked Leah, but I’ve come around to her the last few years. Plus, I’m always here for a redemption arc.

Rowena: Leah’s redemption arc was a solid one. Once I finally dived into this book, I was all in and Leah was a big part of the reason why. I’m glad that we got her back story and everything about her relationship with Bran makes so much sense. I don’t think I would have survived a life like Leah’s so my admiration for her shot right through the roof while reading this.

Holly: I hope we get to see more of Leah in the future, and that maybe things change with her and Bran. I don’t know that she’ll ever be my favorite, but I’m definitely here to learn more about her.

Rowena: Overall, I enjoyed the story. The mystery of the town, wondering where everyone and everything went had me turning the pages real fast. I’m mighty curious about where our Alpha & Omega crew goes from here though. That was a big bomb that Samuel threw Charles and Anna but I loved how swift their decision-making was. There was no haggling, no hesitation, just straight up, yes. Whatever you need, I’m here for you because you’re family. This is definitely a good one. I’m giving this one 4.25 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: I, too, enjoyed the mystery. I also liked how things between Charles and Anna played out. That bombshell at the end got me super excited! I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5 as well. Bring on the next book!
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The wait between installments in this series can a bit long, but in WILD SIGN'S case, the wait was worth is and then some. It's a bit of a darker, gritter book, but absolutely perfect. Charles and Anna are off on another "adventure" with a new big, bad to hunt down. And boy was the bad a doozy in this case. The danger felt incredibly real, and the stakes were high. I simply could not put this one down once I picked it up. It was that intense.

This book accomplished something I thought to be impossible. It made me actually like Leah. Considering her treatment towards Mercy as well as her overall harshness, etc, I never was the greatest fan of hers. Don't get me wrong her "loveless" mating to Bran couldn't be easy, but she still just rubbed me the wrong way. WILD SIGN added a whole new dimension to her character that was incredibly interesting. It's a true testament to the author's skill at her ability to add such depth to a much hated character this far into this established word. Bravo!

All in all, WILD SIGN is another fantastic installment in the Alpha & Omega series that left me with a smile on my face and I can't wait until the next book's release!
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I love Anna so much. She has always impressed me but in this book she really shinned. There are a lot of triggers in the book. But then Briggs has never shied away from things like rape and incest. I was also confused by some changes she made to people. They completely contradict what we knew from previous books. I feel like she is not happy with some of the portrayals and just rewrote them, ignoring history. There were also several things that did not make sense but hopefully will be cleared up in the next few books, in this series and Mercy’s.
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A delightful book full of adventure, action, and thrills. Fun to read, engrossing world building, and very descriptive imagery made it feel like it was cinematic. It's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. Would recommend.
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Patricia Briggs can literally never write a bad story. She's a favorite of quite a few of our regulars at the library and I completely understand why. This latest installment in her series was just as riveting as the previous ones and I honestly could not put it down.
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If you asked for my my top three authors Patirica Briggs would definitely be there.  To be fair I have read almost none of her Mercy Thompson series.  But I have been an avid reader of all her Alpha and Omega books.  I re-read them all the time.

Charles and Anna are absolute perfect together and anyone would envy their romance.  This book in particular was such a fun ride as the mystery of the bad "guy" was so well written you could not figure out the ending until it was revealed.  It was also nice to learn more about Leah and her past.  While she has never been a character I particularly liked, this book definitely made me understand her more.

And oh my goodness the giant cliffhanger ending!!  I cannot wait until the next book!  I am hoping it might see my two favorite couple from Ms. Briggs' books finally meet up and get to work together.
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I will admit, I'm more of a Mercy fan, but I do still love Charles and Anna. In Wild Sign, they find themselves in California trying to solve a mystery of disappearing people that have been living on the Marrok's land. There is a lot of mystical happenings that prove this is not just an instance of a group of people deciding to move on.

The magical being in this story has powers that surprised me when the Charles and Anna are taken by surprise. I was scared for what was going to happen to Anna a few times. She is strong, but this being can do some crazy things. My heart was breaking for Charles on more than one occasion and I just wanted to cry. You can't say that very often about the strong, scary pack enforcer.

The audio was great as I've come to expect from Holter Graham. I was pulled into Anna and Charles story and my heart stopped more than a few times. This was one of my favorite of the Charles and Anna books. Also, I did pick up the hard cover because who doesn't want that amazing artwork on their bookshelf? I can't wait for more!
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Wow, doesn’t it feel like absolute ages since this series has had a new book? It honestly hasn’t been that long, but I did have trouble finding my footing when I started this book. Because of the wait, I felt like a lot of the previous events were forgotten and Briggs doesn’t really catch readers up very much with this book, so I had to go back and try to remember a lot of what has happened. That being said, I do think it’s best if the series is read in order. You’ll get a much better understanding of the characters as well as the world that way.

In this book, people are going missing. And it’s not just a few people here and there. It’s like an entire small town has disappeared and it’s very concerning. The FBI recruits Anna and Charles to help and with their shifter abilities, there’s bound to be some interesting things happening.

Despite the slow start, I felt like WILD SIGN does take its time to warm up. Charles and Anna’s books in general tend to be a little slower paced than the Mercy Thompson series so keep that in mind when reading. I do think that once it gets going, things progress much quicker and the pacing picks up. I especially think the latter half of the book shines through more than the beginning.

If you’re a lover of shifters, then you don’t want to miss out on this! I felt like I really missed this series so I’m especially glad to get another book about Charles and Anna. Next time, I hope there isn’t such a long wait between books.
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Love, love, love!!  What I love most about Patricia Briggs main characters is that she always makes them equal partners.   The woman doesn’t need to be saved.  Her heroines are kick butt in their own way and the love/romantic partner supports her and is there to compliment that character and help her play up to her strengths.   As usual twists and turns I didn’t expect.  I will read everything she writes.
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And again, Patty hits it out of the part. One day, I'd love a FULL fledged multi book crossover with the Mercy series, but until then? Keep 'em coming and THANK you!
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A small group of people who live deep in the woods are missing. They disappeared without a trace. Normally this wouldn’t have been wolf business but the FBI informs them because the land they were living on is owned by the Cornicks.

Finally the story of how Leah became Bran’s mate comes to light. It doesn’t paint Bran in a better light though. He was trying to do a good thing for Leah but didn’t give her a choice. I thought this story would make me feel differently about Leah but it didn’t. None of what happened to her excuses her poor treatment of others for 200 years. I think the two of them deserve each other because they are horrible people.

The case of the missing community was interesting. A lot of bizarre things were going on involving magic in the area. The use of music to defeat the enemy was funny. The appearance of Coyote was enjoyable. Things that happened toward the end will have an impact on this series as well as the Mercy Thompson series in the future.
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I was very excited when I got my little hands on this book (digitally speaking) and I’ve re-read it, and every time I finish it, I’m left with that good book satisfaction that quickly turns to a sort of sadness that the book is over, the characters and their world no longer vividly a part of mine. All of this to say, I really enjoyed this book. This is the latest in the Alpha and Omega series, featuring the couple Anna and Charles. It is loosely tied to Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, but I’ve read all the Alpha and Omega books without feeling like I was lost, so if you don’t want to read about twenty books to get up to speed on this one, you’ll be just fine. I do think that it is better to have read the other books in the Alpha and Omega series, because you get to see Anna and Charles develop as characters; you get to see them get even better as a couple; and you get to see secondary characters be more fleshed out, like Bram. Anna and Charles are on another mission on behalf of Bram (Charles’s father). The mission brings to light the pasts of Bram and his wife, which are tangled up with that evil mentioned in the blurb–and it really is pretty gruesome. That brings me to a content warning for abuse and incest–it isn’t on the page, but it is mentioned by other characters. What I enjoyed most, and what kept this book from becoming too creepy and scary for me, was Anna and Charles’s constancy and their warm relationship.

The book starts out by showing us one of the secondary characters that is involved in Anna and Charles’s mission. Then we’re shown Anna and Charles having a normal day at home before politics (werewolf-y type politics) rudely interrupts them. This is where we see that warmth I mentioned. Anna and Charles play music for each other, because they both love music and as a game; they enjoy making each other happy in big and small ways. We see this over and over in the rest of the story and it lightened what might otherwise be a fairly dark book. On the page, we get one big battle scene. However, there are other scenes which are almost darker than the battle scene, even if they are lacking in gore. That said, there is no ambiguity in terms of if the big baddy is actually terrible. He is definitely terrible and definitely needs to be stopped.

Anna can be vulnerable and strong with Charles, and Charles can be vulnerable and strong with Anna. This is something neither of them can really express with other people for various reasons. For example, Tag, who is accompanying Anna and Charles on their mission as backup, points out that Charles laughs when Anna is around. Charles is an enforcer among the wolves, which means he holds himself apart from almost everyone, not because he doesn’t care for them, but because he has to be impartial if he should ever have to come after one of the werewolves. Because of his position and his dominance (remember, he is a unique werewolf), Charles is feared by werewolves to varying degrees. But with Anna, he doesn’t have to be impartial. Also, a lot of people think Charles is all muscle in his enforcing, but we get to see in these books–especially in this book–that Charles is not just a great fighter, but a good investigator. He uses his magical abilities that he inherited through his mother (including Brother Wolf) and years of experience investigating other horrible situations to track down as much of the truth as he can.

Anna is Charles’s mirror, in a way. She is the omega that the series title refers to, and because of how Briggs interprets the omega concept, Anna doesn’t have to follow the rules of dominant and submissive werewolves. Also, Anna is friendly and curious and has developed a quiet sort of authority as she’s grown into herself. For these reasons, she can speak to people in ways Charles can’t, and Charles respects her for it. She is also very stubborn. We get to see all of that on display in the book, particularly as it progresses. Charles lets Anna take the lead in a lot of situations–talking to witnesses and other baddies in an attempt to figure out who or what the big baddy they’re looking for is. And when Anna ends up in a bad situation towards the end of the book, she is vital to her escape–yes, Charles is on his way to rescue her, but she is actively rescuing herself, too.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book. It ends on a tiny cliff hanger, and there are some issues that are left on the backburner, so I am hopeful there will be another book in the future. If you enjoy couples stopping actually terrible people/creatures from doing terrible things, go forth and read this book.

Grade: A-
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Wow, what a riveting book! This story opens up so many questions, as it answers so many others. And what a plot twist at the end! My only complaint is that the plot twist at the very end kind of feels like it comes out of left field and has little connection to the rest of the story.
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I love this series and this is book 6 in the Alpha & Omega paranormal series.  Charles and Anna are sent to northern California to investigate the vanishing of residents in a town on  their pack's land.  They take Tag with them for extra protection.  It seems that music feeds the monster who can take over a person's mind and Anna is susceptible to his control.  It seems that Leah is from this area and is also drawn to the area.  This book could be read as a stand alone but you'll want to read the whole series.  It has a mix of witches, vampires and usually has an assortment of vampires and the Fey.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I have a definite thing with the paranormal concept of “mating”, which is mostly understood to be an unbreakable romantic bond that exists independent of the emotional state of love. Obviously, romance novels have certain parameters to them, namely, that there be an HEA or HFN, so mostly they don’t address the glaring problem that a bond like this, one independent of emotion, can represent. So I kind of freak out when writers address the potential disconnect between mated bond and honest affection, because it’s so vanishingly rare. The newest Alpha & Omega novel, Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs, addresses this issue. The only other novel that I can think of that takes on a disconnect between mated bonding and real affection was one of Elizabeth Hunter’s Irin Chronicles, The Secret. That instance was utterly heartbreaking.

I have a pet theory that the “mating bond” acts as a sort of safety net for people writing overbearing asshole types, which many of these shifters tend to be. The whole pack hierarchy of dominance/submission, which is de rigueur in shifter narratives, offers up a steady supply of pushy, domineering alpha males (literally! har har) whose behavior towards women would be legitimately alarming in real world contexts. (Hell, often their behavior towards other men as well.) With the introduction of the mating bond, that more or less ensures the romantic lead won’t go fully physically abusive, though of course the more intangible methods of abusing and controlling one’s partner are still fully on the table. Admittedly, the Alpha & Omega series isn’t quite a romance series, though it includes a strong romantic through-line, so much of my noodling about the mating bond doesn’t apply, exactly.

The Alpha & Omega books follow the married couple and mated werewolf pair, Anna and Charles Cornick, the Omega and Alpha of the series name, respectively. The werewolves in this universe are often incredibly violent, and the pack bonds are just the thinnest check on that violence. This is in direct contrast with shifters like the Changelings in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, whose shifter nature instills a sense of protectiveness and community. Singh’s Changelings are almost constitutionally incapable of abuse; Briggs’s werewolves are all too capable of violent outbreaks, and in some cases predisposed. Further, Charles acts as his father, Bran Cornick’s enforcer, and Bran is the pack leader of all North American werewolf packs, a sort of uber-alpha. His direct pack is made up of the hurt, damaged, unstable, and otherwise not housebroken werewolves. As his dad’s strong arm, violence is literally Charles’s job. His bond with Anna provides ballast for him, a line out to softer, kinder human emotion.

But the mating bond between Anna and Charles — one that seems genuinely enviable — is not the relationship at issue in Wild Sign: it’s the prickly, disconnected connection between Bran Cornick and his mate, Leah. The fact that they are mated but seem to have a deep antipathy for one another has been a thing not just in the Alpha & Omega series, but the Mercy Thompson books as well, where Leah acted as mean step-mom antagonist. Frankly, the way the antagonism between Mercy and Leah was introduced and maintained was indicative of a problem Briggs had writing relationships between women, at the very least in the earlier novels in that series, but really going up to the one that took place in Europe? I find the individual novel names forgettable. Anna’s relationship with Leah has been less antagonistic, but largely Leah is portrayed as a harpy Bran ruefully puts up with. And honestly, if I were Leah, I would be less than impressed with Bran’s lackluster care and concern. His treatment of her as an irritant has never sat well with me.

Wild Sign acts as a corrective to this, and gives us not just Leah’s backstory, but also the origin story for her relationship with Bran Cornick. Anna and Charles head out to the California wilderness to investigate an off-the-grid town full of magical users which seems to have vanished without a trace. Apparently, this town was on land that Leah owns, and both the land and the reason for the town’s disappearance are connected to her mating bond with Bran. Suffice it to say, there’s some real nasty shit in her backstory, the kind of thing even Briggs addresses mostly euphemistically. Her bond with Bran is anything but ideal, almost an echo of said nasty shit, and it’s completely legible why they would hold each other at a distance. They are bonded by trauma, unbreakably so, but trauma isn’t actually ennobling, and intimate violations can play havoc with one’s ability to be intimate.

It’s a lot, and there were certainly points where I wondered if maybe it was too much. But then Briggs has never much shied from really nasty traumas, especially in Alpha & Omega. Charles and Anna met, after all, when he had to execute her pack leader because of the alpha’s brutal sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of Anna and others. And indeed, the antagonist in Wild Sign dredges up this history of violence for Anna — makes her relive it — in a way that felt true to the ways trauma can resurface, even for people who are functionally healed. Shifter narratives, especially those that center on werewolves, deal often with body trauma, I find, something having to do with the werewolf’s lack of control over their body, and the violence of the physical change.

That said, there are some real moments of levity in Wild Sign, like Anna and Charles’s run in with some sasquatch, or the basis for the monster of the week the novel has going. Which is good, because darkness pushes on everything they do, threatening to snuff out the sometimes tremulous light. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next.
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Patricia Briggs is one of the best urban fantasy writers and Alpha and Omega is one of the best series for today's readers. I love the relationship between Anna and Charles and how they grow as individuals and a couples. Wild Sign is a wonderful addition to an amazing series. I love how everything from the past feels like it has built to this moment. With a complex plot and in-depth characters, this will be sure to please even the most discerning reader.
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Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega #6). By Patricia Briggs. 2021. Ace (ARC eBook).

When the FBI asks mated werewolves Charles and Anna Cornick to investigate the disappearance of an entire group of off-griders in the mountains, they suspect an old supernatural threat may be at work. And one had already laid waste centuries ago to the life of Charles’ mother-in-law, Leah; the wife of the packs Alpha, Bran.

Wild Sign is the first Alpha & Omega book and the second book I’ve read by Briggs and the Mercy Thompson universe. It has interesting lore and monsters but a pretty slow vibe aside from a pack hunt that vanquishes the evil. It felt like there were two cliffhangers, one of which I followed because it ties in Wild Sign’s mystery, but the other one was confusing for this novice.
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