Tag Archives: werewolves

Review of Silver Moon, by Catherine Lundoff

I bought a paperback copy of Catherine Lundoff‘s Silver Moon.

Description from Goodreads:

Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged and trying to embrace a quiet life, discovers that there are still plenty of surprises to be had when her menopause kicks in with bonus lycanthropy. And she’s not the only one. The seemingly peaceful and dull town of Wolf’s Point has its own all-female werewolf pack and Becca has just become its newest member. But it’s not all protecting Wolf’s Point, midnight meetings at the Women’s Club and monthly runs through the woods. There are werewolf hunters in town and now they’ve got Becca and the Wolf’s Point Pack in their sights.

As if that wasn’t enough, Becca’s cute lesbian werewolf neighbor, Erin, is starting to haunt her dreams as well as her doorstep. What’s a newbie werewolf to do, between hot flashes, silver bullets and unexpected transformations? Can Becca overcome her fears and help the werewolves defeat their greatest enemy?

Review:

I insta-bought this when I read the blurb and saw women who turn into werewolves with the onset of menopause. Heck yeah, older women almost never get to be heroines in UF and you even more rarely see menopause discussed. I was 100% on board for this. Unfortunately, I liked the idea of it a lot more than the execution of it. I thought Becca spent far too long in her head ruminating about her situation, I spent a lot of the book bored, I wasn’t truly certain what happened in and after the climax, and I hated the subplot with the ex-husband because I felt like he won in the end. 

Worst of all however, is that I didn’t feel like the werewolves utilized their wolves. There was a group of hunters trying to kill them all, and the pack’s response was to run them out of town by having the town’s people refuse to serve them and to tamper with their van (and to be more vigilant in their patrols, but nothing seemed to come of this). Over and over the hunters threatened or took direct action to hurt the pack members and then Becca went to sleep and to work the next morning. I didn’t really feel any sense of urgency in that and I didn’t feel the pack was responding appropriately to the very real threat. Maybe the author was trying to emphasize that a pack of female wolves, older female wolves at that, wouldn’t leap to violence like men would (certainly there is a little of that with the Scott comparison) but I kept wanting to yell, ” Ladies, you have claws and fangs for a reason!”

I did think the romantic subplot was sweet, but again ~90% of it is in Becca’s head. All in all, I loved the idea of this book, but was left cold by the story actually told. Plus, there are quite a few editing errors in it. I’ll give Lundoff another shot, but I feel pretty “Meh” about this particular book. 

Review of Wicked Good Witches, by Starla Silver

Wicked Good WitchesHey-ho, choose a cover. I don’t know which is the new and which is the old, but neither of them fits the tone or content of the books, so, go with whichever you happen to like best.

I picked this bundle by Starla Silver up from Amazon while it was free in May of 2015. (I know, I sometimes hold on to books for ages before I get around to reading them.) I chose to read it today because I’ve set myself a challenge to read all the books on my To-Be-Read shelf that include the word Alpha and, of course, book two of this box set is titled Alpha Knows Best. And as other reviews mentioned that these books don’t stand alone, I’ve started from the beginning, with Demon Street Blues.

As an amusing aside, I asked my five-year-old to pick which of the Alpha books I would read first and this is the one she chose. Looking at the covers, I can kind of guess why.

Anyhow, series description: 
The Howard Witches, three siblings charged with protecting The Demon Isle… 

Charlie, the werewolf. 
Michael, the empathic death reader. 
Melinda, living under self-inflicted house arrest. Her gift: prophetic dreams of people about to die. 

Their mentor, the four-hundred year old Vampire, William Wakefield. Charming, ridiculously handsome, and walking a dangerous line between sinking into darkness and living in the light. In constant temptation to declare his love for the one woman that could be his undoing. 

The story begins with an unsolved murder. One that will change everything… 

Come stalk the streets of The Demon Isle… you’ll go up against witches, vampires, werewolves, demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, mermaids, faeries and a host of other devious supernatural creatures waiting to wreak havoc on The Demon Isle. Where fans of the paranormal come to vacation and immerse themselves in fantasy. Where magic comes to life, mysteries abound, and you might just find yourself laughing, crying, and most definitely, falling in love. 

Reviews

Demon Street Blues:
Things I found to be true about all three books I read: simplistic writing, stilted dialogue, names used too frequently to be natural, frequent drastic and disruptive shifts in POV (I don’t think the author actually payed any attention to POV consistency), schmaltziness, cheesy language used during sex scenes, and men tend toward action while girls primarily agonize over love/sex. Lastly, none of the books stand on their own. They are closer to long serial installments than books in a series.

I thought this was an OK read. Really that’s about it. As I noted above the writing seemed simplistic and stilted, but not that much more than many other books I’ve read.

Unfortunately, I found the main character, which I THINK was Melinda (and honestly, shouldn’t that be something I can be sure of) annoying. Her entire personality seems to be guilt, self-doubt and intrusive sexual thoughts.

I also thought her history inconsistent. She’s supposed to have been a recluse for four years, but she’s emotionally distraught because of a bad date and sexual experience. What recluse goes on dates? Where’d she even meet a guy to invite her out? She also acts like she doesn’t know anyone on the island because she’s been in the house for 4 years. But what about the previous 17 years she lived there? She doesn’t know anyone but the sheriff  from that time?

The book ended when what I thought of as a side character finally made a decision about a relationship. It felt very secondary to the plot and like a random place to end the book. It’s not a cliffhanger exactly, more like just a place to break one continuous story, which is what I sense this series is.

It’s not wholly without attractions. The idea of a magical island is an interesting one. The characters, though shallowly written, were engaging. There was some occasional humor. Maybe this is just a matter of taste. If you like schmaltzy books with a sort of (I think unintentional) innocence to them (like a virgin trying to talk dirty) this could be right up your alley.

Alpha KnowsBest:
To repeat, things I found to be true about all three books I read: simplistic writing, stilted dialogue, names used too frequently to be natural, frequent drastic and disruptive shifts in POV (I don’t think the author actually payed any attention to POV consistency), schmaltziness, cheesy language used during sex scenes, and men tend toward action while girls primarily agonize over love/sex. Lastly, none of the books stand on their own. They are closer to long serial installments than books in a series.

My opinion of Melinda did not improve in this book. She just keeps getting weaker and weaker in my mind. She’s had a mental breakdown, been a recluse for four years, trips and falls repeatedly (caught by man, of course), can’t decide on her love, lets one man’s mild possible criticism and poor sex destroy her sense of self-esteem and can’t have sex without felling ashamed and guilty. She’s just broken in a way her brothers aren’t, despite similar circumstances. She is a cliched romance heroine.

Here, in this book, we got much more of a sex scene than the last one and the use of descriptors like, “lusty flesh”(hers) and “lusty throb” (his) to describe genitalia just cheesed me out. Plus the lack of condoms was distracting. I’m not usually someone who insists on condom usage. Fantasy is fantasy, but here I kept getting distracted by, “Doesn’t anyone worry about getting pregnant?”

Plus, we have the establishment of a love triangle. Why? Isn’t it bad enough that the female character is too wrapped up in her own head and thoughts of sex to be concerned with the safety of her brother? Do we have to make her incapable of deciding on a man too? Do we have to add the unnecessary angst of a triangle too?

Then there are the brothers. One is extraneous to the plot, never really doing much of anything and the other seems to be an idiot. The villain is so obvious it felt like the characters had to be being purposefully obtuse not to see it.

Like in the first book though, it manages to skirt by without ever falling into truly bad territory, annoying and trite, but not all out bad. I think there are those who like this sort of writing and story-line and I did really appreciate that Charlie was into full-figured women and it wasn’t made out to be anything special.

Bye Bye Bloodsucker
Things I found to be true about all three books I read: simplistic writing, stilted dialogue, names used too frequently to be natural, frequent drastic and disruptive shifts in POV (I don’t think the author actually payed any attention to POV consistency), schmaltziness, cheesy language used during sex scenes, and men tend toward action while girls primarily agonize over love/sex. Lastly, none of the books stand on their own. They are closer to long serial installments than books in a series.

I’ve said in the review of each book in this series I read that the language around sex was cheesy. I never knew so very many things could be described as lusty—‘lusty breaths,”lust steps,’ ‘flesh,’ ‘throb,’ ‘fire,’ ‘pants,’ ‘shiver,’ ‘sting.’ I could go on. It’s used a lot. But Bye Bye Bloodsucker also included what I’m convinced is the worst line (in a long line of lines involving too many occurrences of peaches, peaks and fuzzy) I’ve ever read in a sex scene.

He groaned, the limp worm swimming in her hot peach, tickling her insides with sudden girth.

On man, that is SO bad. Not just because it’s CHEESY, like disturbingly so, but also because when read in context, I’m pretty sure the POV shifts within that one sentence.  Most the scenes seemed to be of the same sort of tone. I read it to my husband and he just stared at me until the moment stretched so long and we both burst out laughing.

While with the previous two books I was kind of so-so, but never really put off, this one never made the grade for me. I was just reading it to have finished the box set. It even ended on a twist you can see coming from the first chapter. It stayed with the women are klutzy, trouble magnets with little intelligence theme (the mermaids were the worst). There was too much happening and not enough tension allowed to build, such that I never really cared and again, the book ended with most the threads still open. We were just basically given the same happy ending as we’d been given at the conclusion of book one.

Edit: Ha, I have to laugh. I couldn’t decide which cover to use for these books when I posted this review. I happened to be scrolling through my review page on Amazon, just now, and noted they have new covers AGAIN. So, I did a quick Google search. Is this a new things, changing up covers frequently to catch peoples eye or something? I bet I’d find more if I really went searching. 

Authors, obviously this is just my opinion, but as a reader who recognizes book mostly by the cover, this constant change up is really annoying. It means, if it’s eye-catching, which I understand you want it to be. But I end up checking it out over and over, only to discover it’s something I already have/read. And you know what that is? As I said, really, REALLY annoying and a waste of my time. It means I’m likely to avoid putting myself in the same position in the future, by not bothering with your books in the first place. That’s just me, but it’s something to think about. 

Edit #2: Look, they all have new covers AGAIN. I just happened across it, this morning. I wonder how many I’ve missed. 

Edit #3: Look, they have a whole new set of covers again, again, again, again… 

Review of Stephanie Nelson’s Craved (Gwen Sparks #1)

CravedI downloaded a copy of Craved, by Stephanie Nelson, from the Amazon KDP list.

Description from Goodreads:
Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she read about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace was abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and a fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins—he wants her heart.

Review:
I think the most I can say for this one is ‘Meh.’ I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t really all that impressed either. I was expecting to like it too, since it has so many great reviews. But I found myself irritated and confused more often than not.

To begin with, Gwen got on my nerves from the very first page. Her whole ‘he broke my heart’ spiel was like a broken record. Then when it came out that this relationship that ended, broke her heart and left her so bereft she was unable/unwilling to open herself and love again had only lasted 8 months, I just pretty much said a mental ‘pishaw.’ Overreaction anyone?

Then there was the fact that Nelson set up magical rules, but didn’t seem to follow them. Why don’t Gwen and Aiden have a blood bond if Gwen’s same interactions with Ian resulted in one? How did removing Gwen’s magic from Aiden break his addiction if he was addicted before he encountered her magic to begin with? If Gwen had certain magical abilities, how come she occasionally managed to do things she shouldn’t have been able to do? I realise some of this was the development of a new talent, but why was it suddenly popping up?

Then there was the whole premise of witches’ blood being addictive. I have a really, really hard time figuring out how this small fact has remained unknown for all eternity. Seems to me that at some point some vampire would have gotten his/her hand on a witch and gone ‘oh yeah, that’s some good stuff right there.’ So the whole plot of this ‘new drug’ seemed implausible at best.

Then there were the pitiful sex scenes. They were all really, really rushed–some no more than two or three paragraphs and there was very little detail…or for-play. Which was apparently OK because Gwen can, enviably, orgasm at the drop of a hat. (Not to mention the characters odd tendency to hop to it while in otherwise dangerous situations.)

I noticed a few editorial errors and the book was in first person, which I generally dislike. But I admit that the writing was pretty good. And though Aiden often appeared weak, I did really like how much he loved Gwen. Many of the issues I’ve highlighted as annoyances for me might not irk other readers. So, this might just be a case of the right reader for the book.