Quickie: A Wizard’s Touch Series by Amber Kell

 

Jaynell's Wolf by Amber Kell
Jaynell’s Wolf by Amber Kell
Kevin's Alpha by Amber Kell
Kevin’s Alpha by Amber Kell
Farren's Wizard by Amber Kell
Farren’s Wizard by Amber Kell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Reviewers: Goodreads

Page count: 90 to 116 pages

I normally do not review a series in one blog post, but rather than have several reviews, I figured I could do one blog post.  This series was given to me by the publisher for an honest review.  For my previous thoughts on book four of the series, Elijah’s Ghost, go here.

Basic Plot:

  • Jaynell’s Wolf:  Jay’s father’s dying wish was for Jay to become a wizard.  But once he gets to the Wizard Academy, he feels out of place and alone.  His powers are just so unusual, he feels as if he would be better somewhere else.  However, he meets werewolf Thomas Sparks who suspects that Jay is his mate.  While they begin their bonding, external forces begin to pull them apart.  Can they survive or is Jay destined to be alone?
  • Kevin’s Alpha:  Kevin is a wizard and James Sparks is the Alpha of the local werewolf pack.  There is instant chemistry, but Kevin is afraid of commitment.  Danger enters by the kidnapping of his friend Jay, and Kevin and cast go to help battle the enemy.
  • Farren’s Wizard:  Farren’s djinn’s blood has always put him in danger.  Now that he is at Wizard Academy, the danger is even more potent.  Farren meets fellow wizard Dan Stewartson and there is instant chemistry, however their timing always seems to be off.  Now that they have finally started going out, can their relationship survive Farren’s past?

Relationship:

  •  Jay and Thomas:  Jay has been lonely his entire life and the sacrifice of his parents has filled him with survivor’s guilt.  Thomas has always been powerful, perhaps even more powerful than his Alpha, but he has no intention to lead.  However, his attraction and devotion to Jay is something that Jay has desperately needed.
  • Kevin and James:  Kevin has always felt second best because of his family.  His powers never seemed that strong compared to them and he never wants to compromise like his mother did.  James has always been the powerful Alpha, can he convince Kevin to risk his freedom for love?
  • Farren and Dan:  Farren is a djinn, which is a powerful and unstable creature.  As he hides his heritage, danger makes him turn to Dan.  Dan has always liked Farren, but was too shy to try a relationship.

Summary:

These books are very short as compared to other series, so there is very  little room for character development.  The books are short and exciting, the focus always on external factors.  The first two books, Jaynell’s Wolf and Kevin’s Alpha are almost like one book, following the danger around Jay.  The strength of the series is the world building that we get throughout each of the novels.  Because they build on each other, we get strong secondary characters that eventually become main characters in the next book.  My only negative point on this series is that there is not much depth in the characters, so don’t expect any profound inner thoughts of our characters.   While they do build on each other, you can get the gist of the other books without spoiling the endings.  Although, I would recommend reading them in order.

I recommend this series if you want a fast read that you can read on a Sunday afternoon.  I plan on keeping an eye out for the next installment and see what other adventures in the Wizard Academy.

StarStarStar

Review: Strength of the Wolf — by Kendall McKenna

SOTWolfOther Reviewers: Goodreads

In all honesty, I should review the first book, Strength of the Pack, rather than this one first.  I recommend reading this series in order, so start with that one first.  I also would recommend reading it prior to reading this review of Strength of the Wolf to limit spoilers.

This series is the first material of Kendall McKenna I have read, although based on her other novels’ blurbs she has a large theme of military.  In fact, you will see that this detail quickly illustrates the strength in her writing.

Basic Plot:

As book 2 in the series, this novel takes Major Tim Madison’s perspective after the conclusion of book 1 (Lucas and Noah’s story).  We are introduced to a civilian True-Alpha, Jeremy Wagner who is coming into his powers.  The sparks between the two men fly.  But can Jeremy handle a military man in combat and can Tim deal with becoming the Dominant of a True Alpha?

Background:

Before detailing the characters, I need to mention the werewolf culture.  There are werewolves, these shifters are not in hiding, but a part of the “normal” world, although there is an aura of awe when normals talk about them.  In this world, they are part of the military easily (although I believe this is going to our over-arching conflict of the series) and there are codes for how to handle werewolf situations just like the military codes of conduct.  Book 2 is after Lucas and Noah get together, in fact Noah is True-Alpha for all werewolves in all branches of the military.  We could say that they are the “main characters” of the series, although this book did focus on Tim and Jeremy’s relationship.

True-Alpha are well, Uber-wolves, those that are born with the power to be a leader of the pack.  This is greater than just a normal alpha pack leader, almost like the “alpha” is normal and the “true-alpha” is magical.  Certainly there are very few True-Alphas and they are revered when discovered.

Dominants (not sure if they are only human or just happen to be humans in these first two books) are the mate partners to the True-Alphas.  There is a magical connection between the two.  This is not a true Dom/sub relationship like you would see within BDSM, it certainly has nothing to do with who has “control” or who “tops” in a sexual situations.  It is more about the actual connection between the two characters, the Dominant is able to connect to both sides of the True-Alpha, man and wolf and through that connection and power we see the role of the Dominant.  You should really read the first book to get a better understanding (than my feeble attempts to describe) of the roles.

Jeremy Wagner:

Throughout both books, the main characters and side characters are all military, so Jeremy is a bit refreshing.  If he is confused about military talk then we get explanations.  He is a young architect who we are introduced when the men come back into the States.  He is in the process of transforming into a True-Alpha, which is something we do not see in book 1 as Noah was already an established one.  Jeremy is slightly out of control when we first see him as he has had no trainer or pack to help him through this.

“Shut the fuck up and fight,” the kid growled.  His hands curled into fists at his sides.  His breathing was visibly rapid.  His body practically vibrated with aggression.

“Noah,” Lucas said warningly.

“It’s okay,” Noah said quietly.  He was obviously on alert, but he wasn’t showing his typical aggression.  “He can’t help himself.  I’ll take care of it.  You guys just stay out of the way.”

This is an intense introduction to Jeremy’s character, but we quickly realize that he is in need of help not that the is some roid-rage out of control alpha.

What I like about his character is he is a “normal” person, we see through him how spouses of military have to deal with their mates in combat and the long distance apart.  Add to that the fact that they can feel each other’s emotions, like fear and we understand the complexity of this relationship.

Tim Madison:

Tim is our view-point in this book, so all emotions and dialogue is from his perspective.  The same can be said for the first book, we only got one perspective there as well.  However, because of the connection between True-Alpha and Dominant, we are still given glimpses of the state-of-mind of the True-Alpha.

Tim is the commander of Noah and Lucas and his recent role is the military commander of the wolves within the military.  Consider it like he is the liaison between military and the True-Alpha.

“I thought that’s what you were for.”  Tim couldn’t help it, Lucas was too damn fun to tease.  Right on cue, the lieutenant’s face flushed bright red.

“Fuck you.”  Lucas shoved Tim’s shoulder.  “Sir.”

The rule they’d observed during the last year was in effect now.  They were both off duty and discussing Lucas’ and Noah’s pack of werewolves, so rank was set aside.  Right now, he wasn’t Captain Madison, Lucas’ company commander.  He was just Tim.

And this balance between advisor, friend, and commander is something that Tim excels at and makes him unique.  Certainly if he did not have both Lucas and Noah’s respect, he could never do his job.  Tim’s understanding of the wolf and the man makes him a good friend, boss, and Dominant.

Theme Summary:

I really have found two themes within the book.  There is the basic, “can they accept each other to become mates” theme that runs through each book and each main couple’s story lines.  But I also feel that there is this overarching theme regarding the wolves roles within the military.  This is just me, but I feel that we are going to end up with some sort of conflict between the weres wanting to fight for their country and the human military wanting to use Noah and Lucas’ power to CONTROL the weres.  This is just hinted in the first two books, so we will see in book 3, Strength of the Mate.  What I would like to see is when we get to the “final show-down” we get another book of  Noah and Lucas’ perspective like the first.  But we will see, maybe I am just imaging this entire conflict.

Strong Points:

The largest strength I see within this novel is the quality of writing and the realism of the military scenes.  As a reader, we are instantly drawn into the world and there were many times when I felt like I was watching a movie, not just reading a book.

A wall of heat slammed into him like a runaway Humvee.  A skull-shattering roar filled the air.  Tim hit the ground hard, sharp pain spiked through his shoulder and hip.  The impact jarred every bone, forcing the air from his lungs in a mighty whoosh.  His teeth rattled and his ears rang.  The coppery taste of blood filled his mouth.  Tim couldn’t move; he couldn’t get air back into his lungs.  All he could see was white light, the only sound was a high-pitched ringing.  Tim’s chest burned, the side of his tongue throbbed with a stinging pain.  He had to get to his feet, he was vulnerable on the ground.  Where the fuck was his weapon?  Was he wearing his sidearm?

This attention to detail draws us into the picture and we can feel the sweat, smell the blood, and understand the fear.

What could be better?

I would not say “better”, but there seemed to be quite a bit of sex in this book.  On my second read through, I actually started skipping those scenes toward the end.  This might be more of a preference rather than say a question over quality.

In all fairness, I preferred the first book better, mostly because I found the relationship of Lucas and Noah more compelling.  But that is not really fair as their relationship is far different from any other partnership we might find in this series.

Conclusions:

This blog post pretty much wrote itself.  I enjoyed the book and I loved getting the glimpses into the military life that seemed realistic in nature.  The focus on the trauma (long-term and short-term) that our men and women face in the field is not glossed over here and made me appreciate how they keep us safe.  I loved how we saw Jeremy grow into his True-Alpha powers and how he gained his pack.  A very solid second book in the series, I look forward to the next one.

Bea

Review: Prodigal Wolf — by LE Franks and Sara York

Prod_WolfOther Reviewers: Goodreads

For full disclosure this novel was given to me for review by the authors, LE Franks and Sara York.  However, my review is unbiased and based on my opinion only.

Basic Plot:

This book is divided into two parts:  Angelo and his struggle to get Carlo back into the pack as the new returning Alpha, and the second part Carlo’s beta’s search for lovin’ on the South Carolina Beach.  We are introduced to two humans, Kevin and Grady, friends who might be more, but first they have to realize that each one loves the other.  Are they ready to settle down and commit to love?

Background:

Before this book, I had no knowledge of either author, although I did have this book on my Amazon Recommend list, so maybe it was fate.  I was in the mood for some for wolfie lovin’, thus the excitement for this book was high!  Let’s take a look at what I thought.

Angelo:

On the surface, Angelo is what we could call the stereotypical Alpha werewolf.  He is our warrior leader:  tough, rough, and practical.  He altered his life for the better of the Pack and for Carlo, even if Carlo does not realize it.  We see this responsibility from the beginning of the novel:

It would be a relief to walk away from South Carolina and everyone he knew if it also meant leaving this mess behind.  The part of his mind hardwired to his inner wolf snarled at that thought.  He wasn’t fooling himself.  The pack would survive without him but he couldn’t slink away in the night without fixing the current situation.

I loved Angelo!  I love a character who fights to make things right and take the hard way, knowing that it is the best route, even if it is not the easiest route.

Carlo Montefiore:

Get ready, when you first meet this character, you’re going to think he is some sort of conceited punk.  But we come to understand that how his father died and how Angelo took over the pack deeply scarred young Carlo.  Now, he is becoming the man he should become.  The time we see him on his own is actually vital to his character development as we can see him journey back to being the Alpha of a pack he was born.  I loved the picture that Ted painted of Carlo:

He still wondered if one day he’d see Carlo standing on the front steps, his chin high, telling the world he didn’t give a damn, that he was gay and an Alpha.

Carlo has more depth than we think and I look forward to seeing him grow.

Strong Points:

I enjoyed the back story and the cultural descriptions that we get for this werewolf culture exists.  We get to learn about how the Montefiore family came over to America and how the family dealt with being werewolves.  I enjoyed the time the authors spent letting us get to know them.

The tradition of speaking Italian within the Montefiore family had been passed down to Carlo and Angelo, along with the other rights and responsibilities of being an Alpha.  The Elders objected to Angelo’s lack of Montefiore blood when Con began training Angelo as Alpha.  Eventually Carlo joined him in the lessons.  Con’s decision proved to be prophetic at his death. Without that foresight, the pack would have been in shambles.

This strength of creativity and complexity is the strength of the novel, the politics of the werewolf culture is what kept me interested.  However, in this case, the strength can also lead to the weakness.  The entire focus of this book (on the werewolf side) is how the conflicts and misunderstanding of that transition phase has colored both of their future vision.  When we got to see Carlo and Angelo together, it was magic and I wanted to find out what happens between them.

The authors spent time developing secondary characters Ted and Joey.  What we realize is that Ted and Joey are Carlo’s only true friends and they are the only ones he trusts.  Once we understand that, it makes the character development time with Ted and Joey more important.  While they were interesting, I really could not have cared less for their sex interest in the two humans.

What could be better?

I have two issues with this book and they connect.  The authors spent a great deal of time focusing on the human beach neighbors of Carlo: Kevin and Grady.  The only HEA we get is theirs and as far as I know they have no real connection to the two main characters.

To be perfectly honest, while Kevin and Grady’s story might be sweet, I had no urge to find their conclusion.  It seemed like the filler sex scenes because the authors knew they would not get to Carlo and Angelo’s love life.  Which I guess that would be fine, but I would have rather have had no sex and see more of Carlo and Angelo.  What I found interesting though is that I actually found Ted an incredibly interesting character.  I hope he gets his own book!

The other issue is rather a personal preference rather than any technical problem.  A few weeks ago I talked about a serial series by Kol Anderson.  The discussion there revolved around how serials are different in plot development, the focus is on the journey not the destination.  So in, Prodigal Wolf, what we have is Act 1 of the story and we will pick it up in book two.  I hope that we get to focus more on our Carlo and Angelo than any other side characters.

While this style is not my favorite, your mileage might vary.  In fact, if you like this series, you might like Poppy Dennison’s series, Triad.

Conclusions:

Overall, I enjoyed the novel.  While I gave the book a three star rating, most of that is because this was just the beginning of the story and I was not satisfied with the ending.  I would have rather just had the story of the werewolves and kept the main story going.  But, I did not write this book, did I?  So I will just trust that the authors have a plan and their pace is slower than my impatience.

I have a feeling, that as the book(s) continue and we see more of Angelo and Carlo together, I will improve the rating.  I think that, if you enjoy reading a story in a serial fashion, you will love this book.  We get a great beginning look into the culture and the ending sets us up for the next conflict.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Bea

Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole

I remember reading somewhere that Kresley Cole began writing romance books because she was so dissatisfied with how a book had ended, that she knew she could write a better ending.

For me, this is a dark series in tone, something that will often have you closing the book to step away for a bit.  I always imagine that I am Joey in Friends; I might have to put it in the freezer for a little while. It’s at times all of these things: scary, horrifying, loving, emotional, heart-warming, and sexy.  To me, this is one of the most complex paranormal romance series out there.

What makes this series so complex?

First off, we do not simply have vampires, but also, witches, valkyries, demons, vemons (vampires and demons), fey, furies, werewolves [Lykae], and phantoms.  All of these beings have individual lore, and Ms. Cole does an outstanding job of dishing out back-story for all.  What I enjoy about this series is that she alludes to something that we might see a book, or even several books ahead.  Always giving us a just enough to make it interesting.  Just think of Kresley as Nix!

The basic world

These mystically beings are generally hidden from humans, and one of the centralized areas for witches, werewolves, and valkyries is New Orleans.  We will often travel over the world (in an instant if we are Vampires or Demons).  The series plot line revolves around The Accession, when basically “good” immortals fight against “bad” immortals every 500 years.  Think of it as immortal population control.  From the Glossary of Terms from the Living Book of Lore:

“And a time shall pass that all immortal beings in the Lore, from the Valkyrie, vampire, Lykae, and demon factions, to the phantoms, shifters, fey, and sirens… must fight and destroy each other.”

The “bad” immortals are known as Horde vampires.  These are vampires that drink directly from the tap (a big no-no in this world).

“In the first chaos of the Lore, a brotherhood of vampires dominated, by relying on their cold nature, worship of logic, and absence of mercy.  They sprang from the harsh steppes of Dacia and migrated to Russia, though some say a secret enclave, the Daci live in Dacia still.”

This series then is building to that great fight (at least 12 books and we are not there yet) as the “good” side builds alliances.

Conclusion:

The books differ enough on character personalities and tone that you might not like every one of them equally.  There are some, like Regin’s book that I really just did not like.  Mostly because I just cannot stand the character of Regin.  The farther along the series, the darker it gets as the over-arching plotline unfolds.  This is not my favorite series, but it is in my top 5 and I have re-read many of these books numerous times.

Bea

The Books:  These should be read in order

  •  The Warlord Wants Forever [#1] (2006) Main Characters: Nikolai Wroth and Myst the Coveted
  • A Hunger Like No Other [#2] (2006) Main Characters: Lachlain MacRieve and Emmaline Troy
  • No Rest for the Wicked [#3] (2006) Main Characters: Sebastian and Kaderin the Cold
  • Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night [#4] (2007) Main Characters:  Bown MacRieve and Mariketa the Awaited
  • Dark Needs at Night’s Edge [#5] (2008) Main Characters: Conrad Wroth and Neomi Laress
  • Dark Desires After Dusk [#6] (2008) Main Characters:  Cadeon Woede and Holly Ashwin
  • Kiss of a Demon King [#7] (2009) Main Characters: Rydstrom Woede and Sabine
  • Deep Kiss of Winter [#8]: (2009) Main Characters:  Murdoch Wroth and Daniela
  • Pleasure of a Dark Prince [#9] (2010) Main Characters: Garreth MacRieve and Lucia the Huntress
  • Demon from the Dark [#10] (2010) Main Characters:  Malkom Slaine and Carrow Graie
  • Dreams of a Dark Warrior [#11] (2011) Main Characters:  Aidan the Fierce and Regin the Radiant
  • Lothaire [#12] (2012) Main Characters: Lothaire and Elizabeth Peirce

Review: Darkness Everlasting by Alexandra Ivy

Intro:

I mentioned on the landing page how there are various types of vampire lore, ranging from undead, demons, or just different species.  I also mentioned that this series does not just cover vampires, but other paranormal creatures as well.  I began this series from the beginning, but I believe it is possible to skip around.   There is enough reference in later books when another character enters the scene.

Basic Plot:

Styx the vampire Anasso (think King) kidnaps Darcy because he is suspicious of why the werewolf leader (Salvatore Giuliani) wants her.  Darcy awakens within Styx romantic and possessive feelings that he never knew he could feel.  Darcy finds this stoic male compelling and intriguing.  Danger comes close to Darcy from several levels and Styx must fight to protect her.

Background:

This world is enormous, and vampires are not the only powerful paranormal creatures.  Historically, vampires have been savage creatures, rarely working together but fighting for supremacy, but with Styx’s lead he hopes to advance the species.  Styx describes their history:

Of course, she had no notion of the endless years of barbaric hostilities they had endured.  Or the brutal slaughter of hapless demons caught in the fray.

But how is a human made a vampire?  Not every human bitten becomes ones; in fact it is a rare thing.  Humans can be converted and then become demons themselves:

“Most die, of course, but on rare occasions a human will share enough of the vampire’s essence to rise again.  There is no way to know which human will survive and which will perish.”

This series shares the concept that vampires are more animalistic than humans.  Demons, they are no longer humans, no longer recalling their lives as humans.  This makes their personalities completely different, their values and morals nothing like what humans would consider essential.

Female Lead:

So, understanding how the mindset that the vampire world has, we see Darcy enter, a human who has no experience with anything paranormal.  She has no idea that werewolves or vampires exists, so in many ways she represents the reader.  As we learn about this world so does she.

I loved Darcy!  She is emotional, practical, and funny.  I adore her sassy mouth and she would say things that I could utterly relate.  Early on we see her spunkiness:

“Look, I’ve tried not to become one of those hysterical women who flap their hands and faint on cue, but if you don’t start telling me who you are and why I’m here, I’m going to scream until I get some answers.”

Her irreverence and gentleness of spirit is what draws Styx to her, and watching him fight that attraction is what makes this book so wonderful to me.

Male Lead:

I must admit, that Styx is one of my favorite male vampires, no matter which series.  There is something about him, his loneliness, his anti-social behavior, his gentleness with Darcy, and his violent skills just compels me.  To me, he is the epitome of the demon vampire, fighting the normal vampire tendencies to be the man who Darcy wants.  Darcy describes him:

The beautiful bronzed features took on that aloof expression.  It was an expression she was beginning to suspect he used as an unconscious defensive mechanism.

His devotion to Darcy puts him on top of my list of favorite male vampires is illustrated toward the end of the novel.  I do not want to give it away, but you will know it when you read it.

Theme Summary:

The main theme within this book revolves around family.  Darcy has always been alone, never knowing whom her family is.  She discovers her true family and has to make a decision on if they are worth knowing.  Styx on the other hands has no family as he has been reborn as a demon.  He creates his family by his surrounding vampires and his Ravens.  However, truly, they both discover that together, they can make their own family.

Strong Points:

This vampire world is different from many, and I love the concept of the clan markings and the mark of a “true mating”.  I love the mystical aspect of the markings, giving Ivy’s world a uniqueness that we do not see in others.  I also loved the vampire culture, how principles are different and we see how it contrasts with humanity with the introduction of Darcy.  The intricacies of this world draw the reader in and each book adds texture to the tapestry.

What could be better?

There is very little that could be better in this book.  There was enough mystery that I turned the pages in eagerness until the end and the relationship development is compelling as they discover each other.

However, when I consider this series as a whole there are highs and lows. I have enjoyed every book, but there are only two books that I have read repeatedly (this one and Jagr’s).  I am not sure why the other books were not as compelling, whether it is the lead characters’ personalities or the lore.

Conclusions:

If you like paranormal romances, then this series is a must read.  If you find that other books (this is Book 3) in this series are not compelling, try this book.  I enjoyed the character development of both and the romance was hot and spicy.  Well worth the read!

Bea

Guardians of Eternity by Alexandra Ivy

I have reviewed several vampire series, so I will not go through what makes a good series to me.  Look at the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, Breed Series, and the Vampires in America Series for my opinions.  Alexandra Ivy’s Guardians of Eternity series has both similarities and differences from each of these series.

Is this series a vampire series?

That’s a good question.  This world is an example of one that is “paranormal”, meaning there are many species represented in this world.  We have werewolves, vampires, gargoyles, goddesses, fey, water sprites, etc.  So yes, there are vampires (and my favorite books in this series focus on vampires) but you are not limited to one species.


World Lore

The lore within this series is multifaceted; the primary two are vampires and werewolves series.  There are many more, but I will focus on these two.

Different series handle vampires differently, for example, they can be either “undead” or an entirely separate species.  The vampires in this series are the typical “undead” types.  They are created by being bitten and then die to be reborn as vampires.  The lore is interesting because after they are turned, they have no memory of their past lives.  From Darkness Everlasting:

Of course, as a vampire Styx had no tangible memories of his life before rising as a demon.

The leader is called the Anasso (think King) and he is a leader by might, not by bloodline.

The werewolves on the other hand can be both “created” (called Curs) as well as be purebred.  The Curs are more animalistic and more controlled by their fury nature.  The purebreds rule the weres, but then are a small fraction of the population.  The purebreds seek for ways to allow purebred females to successfully give birth as they are dying out.

 

Conclusion:

I will be honest: while it is interesting how varied the species and lore is, it can be overwhelming.  You might like one book but you may not like the other.  For example, I really like the vampire books better than the rest of them.  Nothing against the writing quality or storyline, I suppose I like vampire stories better.

No matter what, you will enjoy this series.

 

The Books:  These should be read in order

  • [Book 1]  When Darkness Comes (2007) Main Characters: Dane [Vampire] and Abby Barlow [The Chalice]
  • [Book 2] Embrace the Darkness (2007) Main Characters: Viper [Vampire] and Shay [Shalott]
  • [Book 3] Darkness Everlasting (2008) Main Characters: Styx [Vampire] and Darcy Smith [Werewolf]
  • [Book 4] Darkness Revealed (2009) Main Characters: Conde Cezar [Vampire] and Anna Randal
  • [Book 5] Darkness Unleashed (2009) Main Characters: Jagr [Vampire] and Regan [Werewolf]
  • [Book 6] Beyond the Darkness (2010) Main Characters: Salvatore Giuliani [Werewolf] and Harley [Werewolf]
  • [Book 7] Devoured by Darkness (2010) Main Characters: Tane [Charon *Vampire] and Laylah [Jinn]
  • [Book 8] Bound by Darkness (2011) Main Characters: Ariyal and Jaelyn [Vampire]

Bea

Review: To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear

Intro: 

This is book three of Terry Spear’s Werewolves Series; note that you do not have to read the books in order.  I would advise it purely because there are relationships referenced from previous books that improve the readability.

Basic Plot:

Tessa lives on the coast and finds a handsome man washed onto the beach as she goes to collect firewood during a winter storm.  The mysterious man, Hunter is a lupus garou who has lost his memory because of a fall into the icy water.  They are instantaneously attracted to each other, but they are cautious to start a relationship because they don’t know if he is married/mated.  She has a stalker and Hunter offers to stay in the house and protect her and discover if her brother has been framed for a murder he did not commit.  Hijinks ensue.

Background:

The catch of course in this story is that her stalker is a beta lupus garou who wants her.  Hunter recognizes this and feels the need to protect her and if her brother’s girlfriend was killed by a lupus garou, then he has to deal with it in his own way as opposed to using the human justice system.

Male Lead:

I really enjoyed the Alpha character of Hunter.  Ms. Spear tends to write male characters that are not assholes, if you forgive my language.  This is refreshing to read about an Alpha male who is kind and considerate, rather than arrogant and snarly.  He is dominant, but softer edged than you might find in a J.R. Ward book for example.  Again we get to see how Ms. Spear integrates wolf characteristics into a human in a very sexy method.  For example, here is a quote from the novel:

Her gaze shot up and he sensed her fear—the look in her eyes, the smell of it on her skin, the hint of perspiration on her brow, the tension in every muscle returning.

Female Lead:

Tessa’s character is that of a loving sister who struggles to deal with this new world of lupus garou as she figures out that something just isn’t right.  She is not the strongest female lead I have run into, in fact that is one of the challenges that she faces is that she might not be Alpha enough to be a love match to Hunter.  However, there are moments when she is a spitfire and you are pumping your fist for her:

The first man seized her arm and dragged her toward the truck.  She dug in her heels and tried to jerk free.  With as quick a move as she could manage, she slipped her right leg in front of him, and he tripped and fell.

Theme Summary:

The weakness of this book is in the tropey behavior.  That being said, it was difficult for me to find a theme.  Hunter must overcome his preconceived notions of what he should look for in a woman, and Tess must gain the self confidence to believe that she is good enough for Hunter.

Strong Points:

The strengths of this book are in the relationships we see in the beginning of a new pack and how the characters relate to each other.  We see how betas communicate and fall into the hierarchy and how Alphas work together in a crisis.  There is plenty of sexy time and relationship development between Hunter and Tessa as he resolves if he can turn her or not.  It has been something he was against before.

What could be better?

The downside of this book (and perhaps series) is that the conflicts are pretty stereotypical romance.  For example, he washes up on the beach hurt with his memory lost, typical.  Her brother’s been convicted of a murder he didn’t commit and she needs help proving his innocence, typical.  Hunter tries to fight his attraction because she’s not one of his kind, typical.  This book is full of tropes and most of the other books fall into other trope circumstances.  So we have in essence The Bourne Identity, The Fugitive, and Romeo and Juliet.

Conclusion:

This makes it sound like it was a bad book, but I don’t want to leave you with that impression.  It is a book that I read often when I want some fun, light reading.  This is a well-written book, the relationship between Tessa and Hunter is compelling, the dialogue is interesting and the sex scenes pretty steamy.  While the situations are contrived, how Ms. Spear handles them is entertaining.  I would start with book two of the series and see if you like it.  If you enjoy book 2 then you will like the series as a whole.

Bea

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