Monthly Archives: July 2018

Review of Silver Wolf Clan, by Tera Shanley

I picked up a copy of Silver Wolf Clan, by Tera Shanley, when it was free on Amazon…in 2015.


Loving him will be legendary…if she can survive it.

What happens when monsters turn out to be real? One summer night while camping in the woods, Morgan Carter finds out in a big way. A tall mysterious stranger, Greyson Crawford, risks his life to try and save her sister from the vicious wolf attacking their camp. When he’s bitten and disappears into the night, Morgan can only assume the worst.

Greyson shows up a year later, and he’s a different animal altogether. His eye color shifts constantly and the rumble in his throat sounds more animal than human. She hasn’t any idea where he’s been all this time, but a good guess as to what he’s become.

Grey is determined not to let the darkness of his new existence affect Morgan and the little girl in her care. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Morgan but knows he should stay away and let her live a normal life. That’s easier said than done, though. A new danger pulls him from the shadows to keep her safe, and he’s no wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Can she accept what lurks just below his surface? More importantly, can she survive him?


This review contains spoilers.
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This was SUPER cliched. Every aspect of it has been done and done better. What’s more, a lot of it irritates the living daylights out of me.

Let’s start with the fact that there are 4 women in it. 3 of them have been subject to violent male attacks. (And all we know is that no attack is mentioned for the fourth.) So, women are all victims. The hero is forced to rescue the heroine from a random rape. Because of course heroes always have to save their loves from random rapists. That’s what happens if a woman goes out alone, you know? (Can this particular plot point die already?)

The single adult, non-mated woman is evil. Because of course single women can’t be trusted, especially if they’re sexy. They’re obviously all jealous, evil bitches who will kill because they can’t get the man they want. (As if there are no other motivations for women than men.)

Then, when the heroine is turned into a wolf she is special, because of course she is. But not just normal, cliched special. But extra cliched special. She’s special because she’s the only female wolf who can have breed children. (Nope, I’ve neverread that plot before and it’s not just the unexplored norm of a female character. *sigh*) So, of course male werewolves will forever be trying to forcibly claim her (a euphemism for rape). And of course so far, no one has bothered to tell her, because this is her mate’s problem, not hers apparently, since it’s his responsibility to protect her, not hers.

And those are just my issues around gender. How about how little sense it made to let the evil, untrustworthy person walk out with the biggest secret in werewolfdom? Nope, I can’t see that coming back to bite them in the ass…nope, not like that’s just a totally stupid and unbelievable act that is setting up a totally predictable rest of the plot. *sigh*

It needs some editing assistance too, to catch things like terms being dropped into use and never defined. We’re told, for example, that Grey let his wolf go and became a “Ripper” (capitalized). Then someone else says, “thank goodness you’re a Ripper.” So, apparently this is something Grey and other wolves knew about, a known characterization, but it is never defined for the reader. I had no idea what a Ripper was supposed to be.

While I’ll grant that Grey was a sweetheart and I liked the addition of a child, I have NO interest in any more of this series. It hit just about every I-hate-these-PNR-tropes button I have. And honestly, to have so many too-often used tropes in one book is just a sign of bad writing.

Review of The Queen of Lies (Architects of the Grand Design #1), by Michael J. Bode

I received a free copy of The Queen of Lies, by Michael J. Bode for signing up to Queer Sci-Fi‘s mailing list.

Description from Goodreads:
Maddox is a mage with dreams of immortality and a drinking problem. Heath is a faithless priest working as an assassin for hire, paired with a sentient sword. Jessa, the last daughter in a long line of Thrycean tyrants, is a timid young woman seeking to escape her domineering mother, Satryn.

Rivern, the greatest city in the Protectorate, is a place of arcane magic and mechanical wonders that has stood for five hundred years as a bulwark against the tyrannical Stormlords of Thrycea. But Riven’s strong foundation is beginning to crack. People are dying in their sleep, the dead are walking the streets, refugees are flooding the city, and a mysterious Harbinger has returned with dire omens that could mean the end of the Protectorate.

Murder, magic and politics create a menacing tangle that the three must resolve before the Protectorate is crushed. But first they must save each other.

Review:
This took quite a long time to come together, but eventually it did and I enjoyed it. I liked a lot of the characters and I didn’t immediately figure out the mystery villain, which is always a bonus. Having said that, I never felt overly connected to anyone as we’re only ever given a shallow understanding of them. The coda felt extraneous (for a lot of it I wasn’t even sure it was connected to the primary story at all), there is quite a lot of anachronistic language, and the book really needs another editing pass. All in all, an interesting, though not perfect read.

Review of Stray City, by Chelsey Johnson

I won a copy of Chelsey Johnson‘s Stray City through Goodreads.

Description:
Twenty-four-year-old artist Andrea Morales escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood—and the closet—to create a home and life for herself within the thriving but insular lesbian underground of Portland, Oregon. But one drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend’s betrayal, she recklessly crosses enemy lines and hooks up with a man. To her utter shock, Andrea soon discovers she’s pregnant—and despite the concerns of her astonished circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby.

A decade later, when her precocious daughter Lucia starts asking questions about the father she’s never known, Andrea is forced to reconcile the past she hoped to leave behind with the life she’s worked so hard to build.

A thoroughly modern and original anti-romantic comedy, Stray City is an unabashedly entertaining literary debut about the families we’re born into and the families we choose, about finding yourself by breaking the rules, and making bad decisions for all the right reasons.

Review:
I really wanted to love this, but I simply didn’t. The writing is lovely and I adored how strongly you could feel the late 90s, Portland lesbian scene. I liked that Andrea had a strong female friend base and that there was quite a lot of diversity in the book.

However, for a book about a lesbian, half the book is dedicated to her single heterosexual relationship; and I didn’t even understand why she had that. Sleeping together the once, sure, in the context of the book I could see that. But she didn’t particularly like it, so I don’t understand why she kept going back to him.

Then, between one chapter and the next a decade passed and we went from a fetus-in-utero to a ten-year-old child. Past the halfway mark, the POV broke from Andrea for the first time, introducing the POV of two other characters. And Andrea was given a lesbian happily-ever-after that felt like an after thought.

Add to all this the fact that I didn’t feel Andreas parents payed their dues and that Ryan got some sort of free pass on his behavior, and I just ended the book on a solid, “MEH.”