Monthly Archives: August 2017

Review of Marked by the Werewolves, by Meg Ripley

I received an Audible credit for a copy of Meg Ripley’s Marked by Werewolves box set.

Description from Goodreads:
I never imagined the drama that would ensue once Dwight stepped into my life. 

All I wanted to do was to make a name for myself–to claim my little piece of the pie–and buy the neighborhood bar I’ve been working at for the last few years. Little did I know that I’d be attracting the Wolf Brotherhood into my life. 

They want to stake their claim on my bar, but just because they’re the most feared werewolf biker pack in Portland doesn’t mean that I’ll just roll over and let them have what they want–not without a fight. 

Well, I went a little too far one night and really ticked them off, and now Dwight has this twisted plan to stage my death to get the ‘Brotherhood off my back. He’s my maker, and my lover, so I should be able to trust him–and God, there’s just something about the fire in his touch that makes my troubles melt away; something about his deep, alluring gaze that pulls me in every time–but Dwight also happens to be a member of the ‘Brotherhood…

Now my sister Sera is getting roped in on the drama, and they’d better not lay a finger on her. Rumor has it, she’s teamed up with a rival pack to get to the bottom of my “death.” 

They’ll stop at nothing to take me out, but I’m tired of being their victim; the Wolf Brotherhood has no idea what’s about to hit them. 

They’ve messed with the wrong chick this time.

This box set contains all three stories in Meg Ripley’s werewolf romance series, Packs of the Pacific Northwest: 

Book 1: Claimed By The Wolf Brotherhood 
Book 2: Werewolf Baby Daddy 
Book 3: The Wolf Pack’s Revenge

I don’t usually use star ratings on the blog, though I often begrudgingly  assign them when I cross-post to other sites. But for this one, I think I need numbers.

Overall, I’d give this compilation a 2.25. But I’ll discount the first ‘book’ and its rating and round up to 3. Below you’ll find my thoughts on the individual books. Veronica Holly did a fine job with the narration. I noticed a couple hiccups toward the end, but not enough to really bother me.

Claimed by the Wolf Brotherhood
Not a story, barely even a prologue. If I was incline to rate it on its own, as opposed to part of the boxed compilation of books 1-3 I have, it would be very low indeed. It’s basically useless on its own.

Werewolf Baby Daddy
Not an abysmal showing, and not outside what you’d expect from a fated mates werewolf novella. But full of shallow, undeveloped characters, insta-love, sex=relationship, no world-building, a shadow villain that you won’t even know at all if you haven’t read the useless-on-its-own-but-apparently-vital-this-book-so-why-is-it-seperated-out 30 page prequel, Claimed by the Wolf Brotherhood, and a cliffhanger. So, not a real winner but again there is a whole sub-genre of just this sort of pared-down stories that some people seem to like. I was pretty meh about the whole thing and bitter about the 30 page “book 1.”

The Wolf Pack’s Revenge
2.5, round up to 3*
Better than the first two “books.” I put that in quotation marks because “book 1” isn’t a book by any definition I can imagine and I’m irritated by this trend authors seem to be developing of publishing teasers without accurately labeling them as such. But none of these stories stand alone, so I can’t just pretend it didn’t exist. Either way, The Wolf Pack’s Revengeis an improvement. The writing is better and it was a more complete story than either of the previous stories. The characters were still shallow, though I have to admit to liking how caring the heroes are (no alpha A-holes). The plot was still thin. But it is still only a novella, so what can I expect. All in all, ok if you like this sort of pared down story.

Review of Land of Gods (Falls of Redemption #1), by Justin Sloan

I received an Audible copy of Justin Sloan‘s Land of Gods. I believe I requested it when the author was offering codes for free.

Description from Goodreads:
In a world where men believe they can become gods, Narcel searches for his missing brother while trying not to let the girl of his dreams slip away to his older cousin. Evidence for his brother’s disappearance points to the rival warrior clan, the Mawtu, a viscous group of warriors… which could mean only one thing: war on the horizon. 

The FALLS OF REDEMPTION trilogy: A young man is forced to become the warrior he never wanted to be, attempts to earn the love of a woman he seems destined never to get, and struggles to find himself in a world of betrayal and intrigue.

Sigh, I think this was a case of wrong book for the wrong reader, because while I have no issue with the violence or even that the plot just kind of plodded along, the feminist in me couldn’t not notice the treatment of females in the story. I’ll grant that one of the leaders was female and that’s a plus. But she was virtually characterless. Other than her, every single woman was there to be sexually available. Maybe they were all meant to be prostitutes, I don’t know, but it was very noticeable.

Then there was Kaire, the love of the main character’s life. She was just an object, a prize for two men to fight over. But that wasn’t what sent me into a froth though. What got my goat was the way she was supposed to vacillate between two men. I can see what the author was TRYING to do. Unfortunately I cannot express how poorly he accomplished his goal.

The problem was that Sloan’s characters were as subtle as a sledge hammer, making one a “good man” and one a “bad man.” So, Kaire’s affections for the bad man made no sense. She’d have to be very, very stupid to honestly not see it and she wasn’t supposed to be. Sloan tried to do too much. She was supposed to love one man with all her heart, but still want the second guy. (I kept hoping that she was playing some deeper game, a spy or something.) It made no sense, was not believable and basically ruined the book for me.

It’s the same sort of dissonance Sloan created when he tried to convince readers a person would change national and familial loyalties and become a perfect warrior in six months, but also still be loyal to their homeland. You just can’t do both. So, this whole book was full of contradictions that made no sense to me.

I also lost track of the time line, so people’s ages. But none of them seemed old enough for what they were doing. And I felt quite a lot was left unexplained. Why, for example, did Narcel kill Jordan? What is the ‘room of contemplation’ (or something like that)?

The writing itself is fine and Hays did a fine job with the narration. I imagine guys (who are less likely to be attuned to the poor/stereotypical use of gender in the book) will like it a lot more than me. I gave the author a try and, while they’re a fine writer, they’re not for me.

Review of The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water #2), by E.J. Russell

I received a copy of E. J. Russell‘s The Druid Next Door through Netgalley. I read and reviewed the first book in the series, Cutie and the Beast, last month.

Description from Goodreads:
Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling? 

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101. 

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse. 

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever. 

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway. 

This was cute in much the same way as book one of the series, but this one I had a hard time liking. In fact, I didn’t. There is a real dominance and submission theme in it that I never got comfortable with. I considered it coerced. Period. Russell tried to dress it up as something else, but I couldn’t get comfortable with the power dynamic. I considered it essentially slavery and was basically disgusted with it. I totally see that Russell was going for something else, but I never got there. Plus, it required about a 180 degree shift in one character’s personality that I didn’t at all feel believable and the second character I didn’t feel I got to know well enough to judge, but it didn’t feel right for him either. So, fail for me.

Outside of that issue, there is no romance (just coerced lust, IMO). The quest/mystery was amusing and I enjoyed that aspect of the book. But it was the smaller portion, to be sure. The writing and editing were fine, as far as I was concerned. I’m sure others will like it. I just couldn’t.