Monthly Archives: October 2016

Review of Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #1), by Paige Tyler

Hungry Like the WolfI picked up Hungry Like the Wolf, by Paige Tyler, as an Amazon freebie. It was still free at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
The Dallas SWAT team is hiding one helluva secret . . . they’re a pack of wolf shifters.

The team of elite sharpshooters is ultra-secretive—and also the darlings of Dallas. This doesn’t sit well with investigative journalist Mackenzie Stone. They must be hiding something . . . and she’s determined to find out what.

Keeping Mac at a distance proves impossible for SWAT team commander Gage Dixon. She’s smart, sexy, and makes him feel alive for the first time in years. But she’s getting dangerously close to the truth—and perilously close to his heart…

Pretty standard alpha shifter finds his destined mate PNR. But pleasantly, Gage wasn’t an A-hole about it and, though spunky reporter gets her man is one of my least favorite characterization, Mac was far more self-sufficient that a lot of such PNRs let female characters be, so I rather enjoyed it. I wouldn’t call this outstanding in any fashion, but it really wasn’t bad either. Worth picking up, at the very least.

I did think it was overly long. In fact, three separate times I thought I’d reached the end, only to have the plot pick back up again. I also thought there was too much sex…or not so much sex, as not all of it is on page, but the characters have too much sex. The amount of time dedicated to setting up the scenes contributes to the too long book, I think.

But again, it’s worth a read. I didn’t consider my time wasted.

Review of The Strange Tale of Samantha Ravenwood, by Connie C. Scharon

I won a signed copy of The Strange Tale of Samantha Ravenwoodby Connie C. Scharon, through Goodreads.

Samantha Stewart explores the ruins of Carraig Castle and falls through an ancient time portal. Stunned and disoriented, she finds herself captured and fighting for her life in medieval Scotland. With a swipe of his sword, John Ravenwood saves her life. Samantha falls in love with her rescuer. Trapped in the thirteenth century, she marries him. But a frightening prophecy threatens their happiness. Samantha must choose between John and the life of her unborn child, a choice that will seal her destiny.

This book was a big fat raspberry for me. I mean, the whole thing is one giant anachronism. American girl from 1986 finds herself in 1291 Scotland and easily gets on with life. What? She learns to say, ‘aye’ instead of ‘OK’ and no one notices she’s not local? Um…in 1291, Scotland spoke Gaelic or Pictish and even those who spoke English, it would be OLD English. She would not be able to communicate with these people. Someone is said to have died of a massive stroke….um….did the medical establishment of 1291 (or the healer) know what a stroke was? And the whole thing hinges on someone being raped (and I’ll get to my problem with that in a moment), but as unpleasant as it may seem, the rape of a non-aristocrat by an aristocrat would not have been considered all that grievous at the time. Quite simply, the whole book is based on 21st century mores, placed on 13th century characters. It doesn’t work.

Now, I’ll admit up front that rape in books is a hot button for me. I don’t have any problem with it in general, but I think it is FAR FAR too frequently and easily used, so I’m critical of it when it pops up in a story. And as is so often the case, I thought this book used it to sensationalize how bad, bad, bad the baddies must be. They’re bad….they rape women, they MUST be bad. See? And while one woman, who had to endure years of incestuous rape, does show some trauma from it, the main character is almost raped twice, the second time violently and ten minutes later is turned on and fantasizing about being taken hard by a second man (the hero). Um….no!

There is insta-love/lust. There are endless declarations of romantic love. The sex is redundant. The writing is often painfully purple, especially around the too frequent sex scenes. Problems popped up and were resolved with no build-up or tension. The 20th century 20-year-old speaks, even in her internal narrative, like a 40-year-old medieval scholar. And I do not consider the little bit of a rushed ending the epilogue gives us to be happy.

So, all in all, while the writing is ok, if stiff, this book did not work for me.

What I’m drinking: A mix of Starwest Botanicals Roasted Chicory Root and dandelion root. Annoyingly, I burned myself making it too. 🙁

Review of Hexbreaker (Hexworld #1 ), by Jordan L. Hawk

HexbreakerI purchased an e-copy of Hexbreaker, by Jordan L. Hawk.

Description from Goodreads:
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang. 

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within. 

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved. 

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all. 

I really quite enjoyed this one. Well, it’s kind of hard not to when there is a big, lovable teddybear like Tom involved. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Cicero too. But Tom won the show for me.

I liked the idea of witches and their shifter familiars. I liked the world-building, which was never obvious but I still understood the politics and hierarchies of the world. The writing was mostly wonderful. One of my few complaints is that I thought it faltered into clunky, almost cheesy prose sometimes, but mostly not. My only other real criticism is that the sex scenes felt quite abrupt and a little out of character for where the characters were, emotionally at the time.

It’s a complete story, no cliffhanger and I didn’t feel I was missing information having not read the prequel. Gotta appreciate that. I’ve read a couple Hawk books now and I’ve been happy with each one. I look forward to more.