Book Review: The Howling Heart by April Bostic

SONY DSCTitle: The Howling Heart

Author: April Bostic

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

I find werewolf stories usually to be less interesting as vampires / witches, mostly because they tend to have pretty basic core, and little originality. The Howling Heart proved me very, very wrong. The author has been inspired by Norse culture and ancient folklore to craft a rather impressive werewolf legend that definitely ranks high on the originality ladder.

Paige, our main character, had it all. Climbing the corporate ladder three steps at a time, so to speak, she thought life couldn’t get any better. It ended up getting a lot worse. Her Dad passed away, and in an attempt to deal with her grief, she travels to the cabin he left for her in his will, a remote cabin far away from civilization, which her family visited sometimes when she was younger.

The setting is a small, remote village. I love those kind of villages, old and traditional, tucked away from the rest of the world, where everyone knows everyone. The setting was described well, and I immediately felt like I could picture the scenes.

Added in is, of course, an alpha male, Riley Gray. I usually tend to dislike the alpha male trope because for some reason, these alphas always act like they’re superior to everyone. Riley doesn’t really act that way though. He’s protective, he likes to take charge, and he’s very good at charming people, but he lacks most of the personality traits I tend to dislike about alphas.

This book is a gritty read, and you know, wolves will be wolves, so the action in the bedroom (and other places) is always a bit on the rough side. I’d definitely recommend keeping this book away from minors.

I enjoyed the plot, characters, setting, and the writing as well. A solid read.

Book Review The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2) by Bree Despain

7831742Title: The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2)

Author: Bree Despain

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 2,5 stars

Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace’s relationship with Daniel is put in danger – in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her – not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to the The Dark Divine.

The Lost Saint is one cliché on top of the other, and that’s being generous. Our heroine, Grace Divine, is in a relationship with former-werewolf and bad boy, Daniel. But as usually in the second book in YA trilogies (and this annoys me without end), a conflict arises between Grace and Daniel. A new guy shows up, Talbot, and he shows Grace a whole new world, a whole new part of herself, a part that is powerful and in control, and that can help fight evil. Of course Grace is attracted to this new power, the possibility of doing something good with the werewolf curse now streaming through her veins. Daniel is almost definitely keeping secrets from her, and he’s being awfully cryptic, and spending more and more time with Kate, a regular, normal girl. As tension rises between Grace and Daniel, they have to find out where their relationship stands…

You’ve no idea how many times I’ve read about the fault-love-triangle from both sides in the second book of a YA series, and it doesn’t work for me. Either go full-blown love triangle, or don’t. And what’s with couples hiding everything from each other? It’s mentioned in almost every single young adult book. It’s hardly original, and it’s not something all couples do. Sure, people go through hiccups in every relationship, but not everyone handles it by keeping secrets from each other.

Then there’s the plot, which was typical for a “middle” book as well. Jude comes back, turned into a full werewolf, unable to control who he is, and he may just be the bad guy now. Grace must learn to deal with her new powers, and there are some demons showing up in town. That’s basically it. Or all I remember of the plot – and I barely finished reading it.

The writing was all right, but the plot dragged on, and didn’t do anything for me. Nothing new under the sun. I had trouble finishing this book, and even took a couple of breaks. Not recommending this one.

Book Review: Bitten by Dan O’Brien

15012058Title: Bitten
Author: Dan O’Brien
Genre: Paranormal Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: November 21st 2011
Goodreads | Author Website | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

Lauren Westlake works for the FBI, and she uses her position with the FBI to dig up ‘cold cases’ that pop up again after several decades. This time her investigation brings her to a town in northern Minnesota called Locke, during a cold, snowy winter. Several gruesome deaths have happened in town, much resembling an old case, and it’s up to Lauren to solve the mystery and capture the culprit before he makes anymore victims.

Stories pop up all over town about ravaging bears or wolves walking on two feet responsible for the murders. People even claim supernatural causes. The sheriff however, Montgomery, is a rational, down-to-earth man who doesn’t believe in the supernatural. If they want to find the murderer, Lauren and Montgomery will have to put their differences aside and work together. But while she struggles hard to find the person responsible for all those deaths, Lauren meets a handsome man named Dominic. They instantly connect, and although she has the faint feeling Dominic holds many secrets, she’s willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Until the secrets sound like they may somehow be connected to the murders…

As a paranormal mystery, Bitten does a pretty decent job. I liked the story, and I loved how the author took werewolves back to their original form. No more softies who hang out in packs and do everything the Alpha says, but ferocious, dangerous animals capable of killing humans without remorse. It’s a nice twist back to old-school werewolf lore. I also liked the main character, Lauren. In the beginning, she seemed very much focused on her job, but the more I got to know her, the more I senses she was just making up for something. When she finally opened up to people, Dominic in particular, I began to like her a lot more. Dominic however – well, I didn’t feel much for him. To be honest, I even liked sheriff Montgomery better. The sheriff seemed like your typical small town sheriff, forced to face problems he’s never heard of before, and who’s in over his head but tries bravely to make the best of it.

What I didn’t like about Lauren however, was that upon meeting Dominic not only did she open up – which was good – but she was also reduced to a giggling school girl with zero personality. Add to that the fact I didn’t even like Dominic, and you can understand my issues. Lauren acted all high and mighty, touch like hell, for half of the book, and then turned into a foolish teenage girl head over heels in love. It didn’t work for me, and thus the romance itself didn’t work either.

As a downside, the narrative often jumps from character to character, and it’s all very confusing. I did love the parts from the killer’s perspective – although they were sometimes VERY gruesome – but I wish it would’ve been clearer what happened at some parts in the novel, and who was doing the talking.

All in all, Bitten was a nice read. It gets great credit for interesting, original werewolf lore and going back to the concept of dangerous predators rather than sweet puppies. I had mixed feelings about the protagonist, and I felt she could’ve been fleshed out better, or at least be more consistent. I didn’t like Dominic, but I very much enjoyed reading about the other characters in Locke. The murders were very detailed, and horrific. It’s a nice horror story, with a decent plot and enough suspense to keep me reading. I wouldn’t mind reading more books about agent Lauren Westlake, provided she shed off the teenage girl attitude and goes back to being a tough cop, but perhaps a bit more open to others.

If you like werewolf books and you’re not afraid of a little gore, you’ll enjoy Bitten.

Book Review: Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen

510iRoQ8o9LTitle: Pride’s Run
Author: Cat Kalen
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Werewolves
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 1st 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Author Website
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.

Seventeen year old Pride is a tracker—a werewolf with a hunger for blood. Taught to trick and to lure, she is the perfect killing machine.
Kept leashed in the cellar by a master who is as ruthless as he is powerful, Pride dreams of freedom, of living a normal life, but escape from the compound is near impossible and disobedience comes with a price.
When she learns her master intends to breed her she knows she has to run.
Pride soon learns if she is to survive in the wild, she must trust in the boy who promises her freedom, the same boy she was sent to hunt.
With life and death hanging in the balance the two find themselves on the run from the Paranormal Task Force—officers who shoot first and ask questions later—as well as her master’s handlers.
Can Pride flee the man who has held her captive since birth and find sanctuary in the arms of a boy who has captured her heart? Or will her master find her first?

I’m usually not a big fan of werewolf stories, although I have to admit I enjoyed the Clair de Lune series as well. But werewolves just don’t give me the same vibe as vampires, fallen angels or even witches do. All alpha werewolves are the stereotype of a dominating, rough and forceful leader, and on top of that, I just don’t get the appeal of people being able to shift into wolves. I mean, it might be nice and all, but if I had to choose, I would say fangs top over werewolf shapeshifting any day. Wings do too, by the way. But it seems like Pride’s Run touched a soft spot deep within me. It casts off most of the stereotypes easily, and instead it installs its own werewolf lore, diverse and entertaining characters, and a background story so sad and disturbing I couldn’t help but like it.

Pride is a caged werewolf, locked up in the mansion of her master along with about a dozen other werewolves. They are treated badly, malnourished, beaten and kept in line by microchips and collars. Food is scarce, and whatever food they do receive, they are forbidden to share with their fellow wolves, although that is one of the rules Pride occassionally disregards. Her master is a cruel and vicious man who only cares about power and money. He even killed Pride’s mother when she tried to escape to find a better home for her child. But what makes Pride decide that enough is enough, is the fact that on the next full moon, she will be forced to mate with Stone, an alpha werewolf who obviously detests her. The master wants her to have puppies, because he’s convinced motherhood will dissolve all her thoughts of running away. Pride, however, isn’t about to let it get that far.

As luck has it, on her next assignment – she is forced to work as a mercenary for her master – she meets another alpha werewolf called Logan in a bar. Although Pride instantly feels attracted towards the hot alpha werewolf, she doesn’t trust him at all. He’s also the target she’s supposed to kill. But as they are both being attacked, Logan and Pride team up to make their way out of the bar and into the woods. Logan gets rid of Pride’s microchip and together, they run off. Although Logan acts nothing but cvilized towards Pride, and threats her more like a girl than like a wolf, she can’t bring herself to trust him just yet. Because now, after she’s escaped the clutches of her evil master, her survival is at stake. She’s certain the master will do everything in his power to track her down, and to kill her if needed.

I liked Pride. She’s an intriguing main character. As she often states herself, she acts and fights with her intelligence and her head, not with her heart, like many other wolves do. She has learned throughout life – and what a hard life it has been so far – to trust only on herself, to rely on her intelligence alone and to suppress any rebellious thoughts. Her only concern is her survival, and the survival of her fellow wolves. The fact that Pride doesn’t trust anyone, and that she’s genuinely surprised by the kind and considerate way Logan threats her works in her advantage, as it made me feel sorry for her even more. Although she’s technically a werewolf, the emotions and troubles she goes through can be compared to those of a regular human girl whose been held captive practically all her life. They have trust-issues and trouble believing anyone would threat them like a real human being. Pride’s personality is definitely complex, but that’s part of what makes her so fascinating, and what kept me to turn page by page of this book.

Logan, Pride’s potential love interest, well he’s definitely an alpha wolf with a heart. Instead of the regular dominating and forceful alpha wolves we usually meet when we read books about shapeshifters, Logan is actually a caring, loving and kind young man. He wants Pride to trust him, and the last thing he will ever do is take advantage of her. I liked how he could both take the lead and let Pride believe that she was the one in charge at the same time. I also loved how he told Pride he wants them to be equals. He really gets some additional points for that.

The other love interest – yes, love triangle going on here – is less straight-forward, and for some perhaps unexpected, although I personally saw it coming from say, chapter two. Stone, the alpha wolf who was held hostage by the same master as Pride, is madly and utterly in love with her. The fact that he pretends to hate her, is basically just a show. His plan was to help Pride escape the day of their supposed ‘mating’. I have to admit, that out of both potential love interests, I’m definitely on Team Stone here. Logan is nice and all, but Stone was willing to risk his life for her. On top of that, Logan has only known her for what, three days or something? Meanwhile, Stone has been there her entire life. He watched her grow up, they were playmates when they were younger, and it seems only logical that at some point in time he fell for her.

The story itself was amusing and thrilling. As Logan and Pride try to escape through the woods, the master sends his troops after them, and of course, his most skilled tracker now that Pride is out of that picture. Take a wild guess who said tracker is. Yes, Stone. As he’s forced to hunt down Pride, he must decide how far he’s really willing to go for love. Pride on the other hand, has to come to terms with the fact that yet another person might get hurt simply because he loves her.

I’m really impressed by this debut novel by Cat Kalen. I loved the characters and their relationship. Plus, for once, there’s a love triangle in a book that I don’t think is inappropriate, stupid or boring, so that’s definitely saying something. Pride makes for a wonderful and intriguing main character, and both her potential love interests, although different, each have their own set of unique, fascinating qualities. The storyline itself was fast-paced and well-developed. I can’t wait to read what happens next, in Pride Unleashed, which is coming in February 2012. Can I have a review copy, pleaaaaaaaase?

I recommend Pride’s Run to everyone who loves reading about werewolves or young adult paranormal romance. Even if you’re not exactly a fan of shifters, you should definitely give this book a try. Cat Kalen’s writing style is surprisingly persuasive, and her characters are highly addictive. My only request? I want some Pride/Stone love scenes!

This book counts towards the Speculative Romance Challenge, Go Indie Challenge and The Immortal Reading Challenge, category werewolves/shifters.

About the Author

Cat Kalen is a multi published author in the romance genre under two pen names, Cat is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and watermelon. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cat can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.

A maritime native and former financial officer, Cat has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family.

Cat Kalen | Facebook | Twitter


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Book Review: Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2) by Christine Johnson

8567502Title: Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2)
Author: Christine Johnson
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Young Adults, Drama
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 23rd 2011
Rating: 3,5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Claire feels like her life is finally settling down and she couldn’t be happier. She’s been filly initiated into her family’s pack of female werewolves, her best friend Emily is back in town, and the gorgeous Matthew Engle us now her boyfriend.
But Claire knows all to well that life as a werewolf is never simple. And when she discovers that new girl Amy knows more about her than she’s letting on, Claire feels that things are beginning to unravel.
Claire knows that if her werewolf identity is exposed everyone she loves will be put at risk. And, as her human and wolf live continue to collide, Claire must fight to keep her secret safe.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t read Claire De Lune, the first book in this series, so for me, Nocturne was really a start-from-scratch project. I had to get to know the characters, their personalities and in which way they were all related, I had to find out – albeit briefly – what happened in the first book and what brought them to this point in their lives. However, I figured this out quite easily. The characters are straightforward (that doesn’t mean that they’re not divers because they are, but they are easy to comprehend and relate to) and although no real flashback is given, I sort-of figured out what happened in book one along the way as well. So for those of you new to this series as well, don’t let the fact that this is book two discourage you!

Although Claire and Emily have been best friends since the dawn of time, she can’t confess to Emily that she’s a werewolf. That leaves Matthew, Claire’s boyfriend, as her only source of help when it comes to werewolf stuff. And boy, some things certainly are going wrong in that department. For instance, Claire has trouble lightning fire with her mind. It’s something every werewolf should be able to do easily enough as being standard procedure, but for Claire it’s an almost impossible task. The fact that if she can’t do it properly within two weeks only adds to the pressure. If she wants any chance at combining a normal life with her nightly escapades as a werewolf without Matthew’s dad suspecting anything about actual werewolf living in the area, she’s going to have to be very, very careful.

Unfortunately fooling your best friend isn’t always that easy, and having to say ‘no’ to every invitation she makes under the assumption that spending time with her boyfriend is more important than spending time with Emily, is driving Claire mad. Add the fact that Amy is making a move on Emily in terms of wanting to be her new best friend, and it’s enough to make Claire go completely berserk. Although she isn’t so sure as to what Amy’s gameplan really is – the girl is acting nice enough, but Claire doesn’t easily trust people, especially not people trying to take her best friend away – and she happens to be everywhere she shouldn’t at the wrong time. At the same time, Matthew begins pulling away from Claire, causing her to be even more on guard than usually. When things spiral out of control, who can Claire trust? And who is betraying her?

I absolutely loved the dynamics between Claire and her best friend Emily and I could totally understand Claire’s feelings as to being on guard around Amy, who she considers to be an unhealthy element in her relationship with her best friend. It seems to her that Amy can have everything she can’t: a normal life, time to hang out with Emily like a proper friend should, and perhaps even having fun with Claire’s boyfriend Matthew, something that Claire herself doesn’t get around to as of late, with him acting strange about the werewolf stuff. Naturally she feels threatened by Amy, and I must say that if it were me, I would feel threatened as well. Amy seems nice enough, but you never know what’s hidden behind that.

Apart from Claire’s struggle with her werewolf side and her struggle with school, her friends and her relationship, there is also an element of mystery and suspense in this novel as Matthew’s father is a lycantropologist or something along those lines and tries to investigate the existence of real werewolves, possibly exposing Claire and her fellow werewolves in the process, something they can’t let happen. Plus, there’s also prom coming up, and we all know that prom is usually an excuse for heavy-hearted teenage drama.

As I already mentioned, I loved most of the characters in this book. Claire is awesome. Her inner struggles are very convincing, and she’s suffering from the same teenage angst as most teenagers do. With her werewolf abilities on top of that, she is definately in a difficult spot. Emily is a wonderful best friend. She keeps on forgiving Claire for not showing up when she promised, and she keeps on creating opportunities for Claire to step up and do the best friend act. On top of that, she stays a loyal friend till the better end. Encouraging and inspiring, to be honest. But I did feel like slapping Emily around the head sometimes and say: “Figure it out sometime, girl! Your BFF is a werewolf. It’s not that hard to figure out!” In any case, the Claire-Emily friendship dynamic was at all times entertaining and interesting, and the solid bottom this book is built upon.

In regards to Matthew, let me say that I love him as well. I can’t wait to see what happens to his relationship with Claire in the next book, as they’ll probably be tested even further. For a regular highschool guy dating a girl who happens to be a werewolf, he sure manages to keep his cool. The only downside of this book, character-relationships-wise was Claire’s relationship with her Mom. Claire’s Mom doesn’t appear like an actual Mom. She’s more like a roommate, or a boss-type person, but not a Mom. That’s a bugger, because I like to read about good family relationships. Oh well, not every one has a perfect Mom I suppose, although this one does appear to be very cold and distant.

There wasn’t enough mystery or suspense in this book either. It reads like a contemporary novel with some werewolves thrown in just to turn it into a paranormal romance book instead. Perhaps not always a good idea. Paranormal books do require a higher level of mystery or suspense than contemporary novels and I’m not sure if Christine Johnson succeeded.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nocturne and read it in one setting. I recommend it to all fantasy and/or werewolf fans who are up for a nice, light read with an amazing cast and some old-fashioned highschool drama. I’m looking forward to book three.

Book Review: Glimmer by Vivi Anna

10579642Title: Glimmer
Author: Vivi Anna
Genre: Novella, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Faeries, Werewolves, Adult
Rating: 2 stars
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.
Goodreads | Author’s Website

Although Nina Decker’s father is one hundred percent human, her mother is not. She belongs to an ancient and rare race of people called the fae. But these fae are not those written about in fairytales, with pretty gossamer wings and fairy dust, no they are sinister, malevolent and unkind, dwelling in another realm called Nightfall. More prone to destroy than to create. Abandoned at the age of ten, to be raised by her father, Nina has never forgiven her mother for that or for ruining her father. A man of only sixty, he appears to be closer to eighty with a frail body and mind. He’s been fae-struck and is slowly fading away to nothing. This is one of the reasons why Nina has never gotten too close to any one man. She doesn’t want to seal his fate like her father’s has been.
But she can’t deny her fiery connection to Severin Saint Morgan, a sexy as hell werewolf and the alpha of the Vancouver wolf pack. He’s an Australian immigrant working at the university as an associate professor, and the publicized face of the werewolf species. He makes her blood boil with desire and makes her tremble with fear. But its only when her mother reappears with startling revelations about an upcoming war between the fae and the werewolves that Nina realizes that she may be a pawn for both sides.

Glimmer is a novella-length paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel about a half fae, half human woman named Nina Deckers. Nurse by trade, fae by legacy and birth, Nina has some trouble staying unnoticed in a society where creatures like werewolf have already gone public. Scared off by human’s repulsion for the unknown, and their prejudice towards werewolves, Nina is terribly afraid of what might happen if they find out what she really is. Back at home, she has a fae-struck father to take care of, who is in a condition close to dementia, and is still hopelessly in love with her runaway mother and fae princess, A’lona.

When Nina meets the sexy alpha werewolf Severin, she believes she may finally have met her match. However, Severin is hiding dark secrets, one of them involving Nina. When an otherwise-harmless pixie starts attacking her father, and she figures out the creatures of Nightfall are trying to assassinate the both of them, Nina must do whatever it takes to protect both herself and her father. On top of all that, Nina feels herself changing, and she is slowly becoming like the creature she loathes more than anything. Her mother.

Glimmer is a rather interesting and entertaining read, but it left me feeling very dissapointed as well. The trouble is that this is a novella, and the author is trying to include either too much or too little – that I have yet to decide. We are introcuded to a wide cast of characters, but we hardly get to know any of them in-depth thanks to the short length of this novel. I loved Nina’s father and mother, the human and the fae princess, and how they did manage to love each other one day. I somewhat-liked the character of Nina. I found her struggle to keep her fae side a secret very entertaining and realistically described, but I thought her attraction to Severin, the alpha werewolf, exaggerated and unnatural. She reminded me a lot of the average love-struck teenage girl: swooning over a hot boy so much that they can barely see what’s going on around them. Last time I checked gazing in the distance for ten minutes after a guy kisses you, is not normal. Add to the fact that Nina really isn’t a teenage girl, but rather a grown-up woman of twenty-eight, I found her behavior when with Severin rather childish and immature. I didn’t like this part of her personality.

I liked the storyline, as far as it concerned faeries. I loved Nina’s mixed heritage, and her struggles with her growing wings, and to accept the fact that she’s half fae. The addition of iron-disease was an interesting bonus as well. The portal in the garden, the pixies, Nina’s father’s fae-struckness, etc. were all nice and original additions to the story. What I didn’t like, were the werewolves. For instance, I had no idea what exactly they were doing, or what their importance for the storyline was. There is nothing in any faerie lore that even suggest a connection or a war with werewolves, and I imagine faeries would rather fight humans, or other supernatural creatures in general, or even fight each other, then they would go through the trouble to declare a century-long war on werewolves. To be honest, werewolves aren’t exactly the most interesting supernatural beings out there. And even if you add the changes Vivi Anna included with regards to werewolves – they apparently don’t need full moon to change, they don’t age, and they can spot faeries – then they are still not-all-that-interesting. At least not when compared to the timeless and immortal beings that are faeries.

I hated Severin. Really. He just seemed to be stuck-up, full-of-himself bachelor number forty, with an unkeen interest in our heroine from the start. And why exactly? His motives aren’t all that pure, but even though so, he still manages to act like a love-struck puppy by the end of the novella. I just had the feeling that on the one side, everything was happening too fast to really let me grasp everything that was going on, from the werewolf-faerie war, and Nina’s change into a faerie, to Severin’s secrets and his relationship with Nina, which developed at lightning speed. On the other hand, I had a feeling that nothing was happening at all. So we meet Nina and her Dad. They get attacked by pixies gone rogue with a keen desire to kill the both of them. In comes Severin, the sexy werewolf and love-interest for our heroine. Then Nina gets ill, and grows a pair of wings. Then some more things happen, which I won’t include for spoiler’s sake, but by the end of the novella, we’re still nowhere. The journey is yet to begun, Nina has yet to make her descend into Nightfall, we don’t know why half of the things that happened did happen (for example, I’m still wondering what got that woman who died at the beginning of the story. Sure it wasn’t a werewolf…then what the heck was it?) and I had the feeling this was still just the beginning of the story, and the real story had yet to begun.

I think this novella would have been a lot better had the author decided, rather than make a series of short novellas, to write one full-length novel, that would cover the entire story. I don’t know what it is with authors preferring to write series of short stories nowadays rather than simply write one novel, and wrap things up nicely by the end of it, but it certainly isn’t something I prefer. I can imagine the appeal of a novella to some readers – it reads faster, you don’t have to indulge in unnecessary details – but the downside is that you cannot connect with the characters, the storyline is sometimes lacking and leaves you with a lot of loose ends, and the story just feels unfinished. As I already said in one of my previous reviews, it takes a special skill to a novella that actually works. I just had the feeling this wasn’t the case here; and I’m pretty sure I would have liked Nina’s story a lot more if it had been longer and I could relate to the characters more.

There were some original ideas introduced in Glimmer though. As I already stated, I loved the whole faerie-thing, from the wings, the portals, the runaway Mother, to the assassination attempts from Nightfall. The writing was decent as well, and the plot offered originality, a fast pace and some nice twists. If you want to relax for half an hour to an hour, or if you just want to doze away to a world where faeries walk in the mortal realm, and werewolves have gon public, then this novel is something for you. I did enjoy reading it, but it left me unconvinced. It has potential, but in the end, it doesn’t come through.

Book Review: Catching an Evil Tail by Mary Abshire

10546083Title: Catching an Evil Tail (The Soul Catcher #2)
Author: Mary Abshire
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.
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Half-demon Jessie Garrett wants to live a normal life among her friends and keep her soul catching ability a secret, but supernatural creatures keep popping up in her world. Adding to her struggles, her vampire lover remains out of the country, and when he offers no valuable explanation as to why he hasn’t returned, she wonders if she should move on without him.
As if Jessie doesn’t have enough worries on her mind, the demon yearning to seduce her shows up at her home. She longs to liberate herself from the debt she owes him, and when he asks for her help, she jumps at the chance to make a new deal with him—one that will guarantee her freedom. The only catch? She has to send the soul of a werewolf to hell.
Love, trust, and loyalty are on the line. Torn between her feelings for her vampire boyfriend, a hot Alpha wolf, and a demon vowing to protect her, Jessie must figure out her heart’s true desires.

Previously to reading Catching an Evil Tail, I already read and reviewed the first novel in The Soul Catcher Series, Claiming the Evil Dead. I have to admit that I liked Catching an Evil Tail better than the previous book. Probably because I’m more a fan of Jeremy/Jessie than of Drake/Jessie. Or maybe because I knew the characters better, understood their thoughts and actions (whereas in Claiming the Evil Dead, I often felt puzzled and confused) or maybe because the storyline seemed more appealing to me. I guess it’s a mix of all of these components.

After the events in Claiming the Evil Dead, Jessie’s vampire-boyfriend Drake goes to Europe to take care of some urgent business. Although he promised Jessie he’d only be gone for two weeks top, six weeks eventually pass with barely a sign of life (notice the irony? an undead vampire giving a sign of life…alright well, I thought it was funny!) from Drake, and Jessie is seriously worried about their relationship. Like that isn’t enough trouble, her roommate Dani keeps blurting out things about Jessie’s private life, like her ability to sense ghosts. And on top of that, the demon Jeremy, is back in town. Although he helped Jessie defeat the evil vampire Alexander about a month prior, Jessie still isn’t sure whether or not he is a trustworthy ally. But this time, Jeremy asks Jessie’s help to claim the soul of a malicious werewolf who challenged the Alpha werewolf of a nearby tribe. Reluctant to agree at first, Jessie gives in eventually, and travels half-way across the country with none other than Jeremy. And obsessed as the demon is with the girl who he thinks is his soulmate, he will stop at nothing to seduce Jessie and get her in his bed. But he’s not the only one who is interested, as the Alpha werewolf seems to have an eye on Jessie as well.

I liked the storyline of this novel, the fact that it’s now Jeremy tugging Jessie along rather than good ol’ Drake, and I loved the addition of werewolves, witches and another warlock. Go diversity. I also loved most of the men playing a part in this book, especially Jeremy (talk about determination) and Alan (great leader figure), and the brief appearances from Drake were a nice touch as well. The combination between romance, action and suspense is spot-on as well, and I cannot recall feeling bored while reading for one single moment. Catching an Evil Tail is a well-written, relaxing and entertaining book, and I’m very glad to have read it.

Now, let’s continue to the things I didn’t like all that much. Jessie, our protagonist, isn’t exactly the most likeable character on the entire planet. She claims it takes a lot to earn her trust (for instance, she still doesn’t trust Drake completely, she doesn’t trust Jeremy at all, etc.) but then again, she has no trouble doing things that aren’t exactly trustworthy, like cheating on her so-called boyfriend. The one moment, she whines about being totally and completely in love with Drake, but then she lets herself get kissed by Jeremy roughly five minutes later. Then she bitches about how he continues to try and seduce her – while in fact, she is constantly leading him on, and playing the tease. Another major problem of the main character, is that she comes across as being rather egocentric, selfish and stuck up. In Jessie’s world, there’s hardly room for anyone but Jessie. And in this novel, it became all the more clear that for a half-demon with considerable powers, and a grown-up woman, Jessie is actually quite childish, immature and irresponsible. In this novel, it’s clearly the guys saving the day, because they do make up for a lot of Jessie’s flaws, up to the point that I’m wondering what any of them actually sees in her. But oh well, fantasy heroines have a tendency of not being all-that-likeable.

Now I think about it, this may have something to do with the fact that this novel is written in first person. It takes a lot of skill to pull this off, and although I think Mary Abshire did a marvellous job portraying the feelings of the other characters, even though writing in first person’s perspective, Jessie’s feelings may seem oversized, or over the top, simply because of the fact that it’s her talking. I don’t know if I’m explaining this well, or if I’m even getting my point across at all, but when writing in first person, the character talking will often seem more self-absorbed and emotional simply because we constantly see what’s going on in their mind. It’s a psychological thing, I guess.

If you like erotic paranormal romance, then Catching an Evil Tail is definitely one of the best books in the genre. If you like strong female characters, then Jessie will not dissapoint. If you like action, suspense and romance nicely tied together, then Mary Abshire’s series is exactly what you’re looking for. If you like a cast of interesting, diverse characters, then you will be in for a treat. You might agree with me that Jessie isn’t exactly the person you’d want to be friends with, but her adventures are exciting and thrilling enough to get past that. Mary Abshire’s writing is very promising, and I have high hopes – since I did like this book more than the previous one – that the next book, Fighting Evil, will be even more delightful to read.

Book Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

172764Title: Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian Series #1)
Author: Kerri Arthur
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Adult
Rating: 3 stars

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

Riley Jenson and her twin brother Rhoan are what people would call hybrids. They are half-vampire, half-werewolf, an unexpected result from one night when their mother (who happened to be a werewolf) was raped by a newborn vampire. Although cast out from their pack because of their differences, Riley and Rhoan manage well in the outside world. They share an apartment together, and both work for an organisation that specialises in Other Races. However, Rhoan is a guardian within the organisation, where Riley chose not to be. She isn’t a killer, or so she claims. But when she finds a naked – yes, a covered in mud, but otherwise naked – vampire at her front door, and her brother goes missing, Riley believes it’s time to take action. Teaming up with the previously-naked-but-now-clothed vampire named Quinn, she is determined to find her missing brother. But someone is after Riley as well, and an attempt on her life, makes her suspect she’s in even more danger than she at first had anticipated.

Had the story stopped there and gone on with the detective/solving mysteries/locate the missing brother vibe, I would have definately rated it a 4. Full Moon Rising is fast-paced, action-packed and leaves you on the edge of your seat a lot of times. Although I had some trouble throughout the middle part of the story to keep on reading – the action slowed down a bit there, to be replaced by talking, and other stuff I will get to soon enough – but I have to admit that this story has some nice twists and turns, some original plotlines and a nice cast of characters. But, then there’s the other half of this book.

Actually, the title says it all. Full Moon Rising. Which means that most of the events, no matter how unlikely because there is so many stuff happening, all happens in the course of one week, namely the week before the full moon. Now, try to keep up with me while I explain this to you the best I can. In Keri Arthur’s series, the week before the full moon, werewolves don’t get extremely bloodthirsty, or feel like killing every animal or human that stands in the way; nor do they suffer from some unexplained illness or have access to superior strength. Oh, no. The week before the full moon werewolves get horny. Yes, you read that right. Horny. Every single moment of every single day they feel like having crazy, kinky sex. Doesn’t matter with who. Since our main character is a werewolf, you can already guess what’s going on. Half of this book is filled with countless descriptions of our heroine having intercourse with one or another partner – did I also mention that they don’t take monogamy that seriously in the werewolf community? No, it is actually mentioned that one of the werewolves had up to seven partners. Guess they never heard of aids or other sexually transmittable diseases in werewolf-land. Our heroine Riley keeps it rather simple, as she keeps to two or three mates. Cheers, people, because you know, reading about a main character basically having sex with everyone she meets during this novel, is highly entertaining. Not.

Now, I’m not old-fashioned and I read a lot of adult romances, but this one is just over the top. Had the novel focused more on the possible relationship Riley/Quinn, it would have rated higher on my score list. I’m also thinking one werewolf mate would have been quite enough, why would you need several? Moon heat, as it is called on numerous occassions throughout the novel, just sucks, people. I mean, you can barely go to work, or hang out with friends, or even watch TV for an entire week every month simply because you’re in moon-heat-phase. Damn, I wouldn’t want to be a werewolf. Rather give me a walking corpse that hasn’t showered in over a century then.

I did like the story. I thought it was original, the writing wasn’t spectacular, but it was decent, and when you skipped through all the uncomfortable passages – but I have to tell you, there are a lot of uncomfortable passages, and sometimes I was actually saying “what the hell…” while I was reading – this is actually a pretty interesting novel, if not a very interesting one. But for some reason the author went totally over the top with the sex scenes, the multiple partners, and the casual way people talk about all that stuff. Plus, do you have to keep dressing our heroine like a hooker? I mean, come on. I don’t like reading a novel when the main character has to degrade herself to dress like a hooker in order to slip into factories or gain information – especially not when said heroine doesn’t mind at all. A little self-respect, Riley. Please.

Another thing I noticed about this novel, is that there are hardly any humans in it. No human character is ever mentioned, and everyone is either a vampire, werewolf or something inbetween. Humans are mentioned occasionally, but that’s it. This wasn’t exactly bad, as I did enjoy the entire supernatural-races-club-thing that was going on.

Nevertheless, I will probably read the next part in the series, Kissing Sin. Why? For starters, as I already mentioned, the story does have some original points of view, and I would like to know what happens next. And secondly, maybe I’m just another silly little human being with a dirty mind.