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Review: Claimed By The Mate -Two Book Set: Feral Passions and The Alpha’s Mate

Claimed by the Mate is actually two books in one. “Feral Passions” by Kate Douglas, and “The Alpha’s Mate” by A. C. Arthur. I have reviewed both, one a wonderful story – the other? Not so much.

Parents can be so hateful. So cruel and full of spite, destroying the souls of their children on a whim, trying to force their will, destroying their child’s self-esteem. It never goes away. The pain of knowing that you are not enough, not good enough, not perfect enough, for your parents to love you.

Cheraza “Cherry” DuBois knows all about being unloved. She has her father’s height, his big bones, big breasts and lush hips. She isn’t out of proportion, she is just a big girl. And her parents hate her for that. While her sister got summer camp, Cherry got fat camp. And when she lost her virginity in the back of a car, while the guy took photos and spread them all over the net to humiliate her, he wasn’t punished. Oh, no. While she was kicked out of school and made a pariah by everyone who knew her, her parents made it worse. They cut all ties and threw her out of their lives like garbage. Their daughter wasn’t perfect, she was an embarrassment, and they made sure she knew it.

Now, ten years later, Cherry lives her own life as a marketing analyst, loving her work, but locking everyone but her sister, Christa, and Christa’s best friend Steph out of her life. Cissy and Steph have always been there for her. Always supported her. So when they beg Cherry to come along on a girl’s only vacation, a week at a private wolf preserve, how can she say no? A week in the northern California mountains, at a preserve and resort where only six women a week are allowed, where women can “get in touch with nature without the hassle of guys and all that testosterone-driven need to hike farther, climb higher.” Six women, the total focus of a bunch of really hot guys who are determined to make sure they enjoy their stay. Well, they do encourage you to bring along books, or knitting, or painting, or whatever other hobbies you wish to pursue. No Wi-Fi or cell phone reception, so the idea of total relaxation is quite appealing.

The landscape is gorgeous. The wolves come close, and the air is fresh and clean, just what a San Francisco girl needs to clear her head and relax. And it allowed me to relax as well as I pictured the landscape of the story in my mind. I could almost smell the air and see the wildflowers and the wolves. Kate Douglas paints a beautiful picture of the preserve. And of course, the massage that Cherry gets at her cabin made me way jealous… sigh.

Feral Passions is a lovely little paranormal romance that I truly enjoyed and will read again. I haven’t read Douglas before, but this book encourages me to check out her other works. I loved her understanding of Cherry’s pain and inability to see herself as anything other than ugly and unlovable because of what her family and others did to her. I also loved watching as she began to grow and change, beginning to believe in her own worth as a human being. Thank you, Ms. Douglas, for your eyes-open approach to Cherry’s situation and how her parents destroyed her ability to see good in herself.

The second book in this two volume set, The Alpha’s Woman by A. C. Arthur was diametrically opposed to the mindset of the first book. Honestly, it clashed so deeply with the strong woman character of the first book I found it disconcerting. Kira Radney is the daughter of an alpha wolf, and the mythology of the story is different than most paranormal romance werewolf stories. Here, the wolves came about through Zeus being Zeus, i.e., a complete and total jerk. Fast forward and the wolves have been segregated on earth, away from utopian Arcadia, and are now two warring tribes, the Hunters and the Devoted. The Hunters want to kill off all the Devoted, who wish to live in harmony and peace with humans and the other hidden creatures as well. The Hunters simply with to hunt, kill and rut. Kira is an alpha, born to the Hunters, but when her mother is murdered and her father tries to foist her off on a brutal beta so that she can be controlled, she takes off, only to find herself captured by yet another alpha. An alpha who captures her and drags her back to his home, only to mind rape her and pull the whole “you are going to take it, and not come until I allow you to” crap that some women, for some stomach twisting reason, think is ‘sexy.’ When it got to the alpha telling Kira that she was going to learn to be strong and in control, then tying her to a weight bench and raping her – well, that is when I stopped reading. That sort of cold, manipulative, demeaning savagery makes me sick, and I had to put the book down and walk away. How is rape teaching a woman that she is in control of her own life? The whole ‘out of control’ sexual content of the book, and the weak-minded female character thinking with her vagina instead of her head, was diametrically opposed to the strong female character of the first book. I wouldn’t have put these two together on a bet.

So, one beautifully done book and one bit of sickening, over-sexed savagery. Kate Douglas will get more of my attention, while Arthur will go on my “not again, even if there is nothing else left in the world to read” list.

I received Claimed by the Mate from the publisher in exchange for a realistic, honest review. As you can see, I honestly loved the first, honestly despised the second! Five stars for Feral Passions, zero stars for The Alpha’s Mate.

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Review: Brand of the Pack by Tera Shanley

Brand of the PackThere are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. – Noam Chomsky

A lot has happened since Book Two of “The Silver Wolf Clan: Black Wolf’s Revenge.” Misunderstandings led to pain, pain led to loss, and, from my review of book two:

“. . . a botched disclosure of just how rare she is, and how much danger she and Lana are in due to her Silver Wolf status, has Morgan running back to her little house in town, far away from Grayson and the Dallas Pack. Heartbroken, she determines to protect herself and Lana on her own.”

Which really didn’t work out well for anyone concerned. Now, Morgan and Lana are back where they belong, with her beloved Grey. Grey’s Demon Wolf needs a job, a big one, to calm him down, and having Morgan and Lana, as well as the adopted daughter of the Denver Pack alpha and his mate, Marissa, to care for, Wolf is starting to calm. And calm is necessary after Morgan’s kidnapping and brutal abuse at the hands of a savage alpha. It is going to take a while for Morgan to open back up to Grey’s attentions, and the fact that Grey has not one, but three females in his pack, and one, Morgan, is a Silver – a breeding female, the only one in existence at that – is sure to cause massive problems for Grey’s little pack. Keeping them safe and healing their pain, everyone’s pain, including Grey’s, is a full time job. Especially when every wolf for miles around starts showing up on his doorstep, wanting to challenge for right of “ownership” of the Silver Wolf. As if Morgan wants anyone other than Grey and her little family!

Morgan set her blazing glare on the stranger. “Why do you want me? You don’t even know me!”

“I don’t have to know you. You are Silver Wolf.” Rodrigo said it so matter of fact, as if the title was the only important thing about her. “You will bring honor to any wolf you choose.”

Grr. Asshat. He doesn’t even use her name….. And Morgan would sure as sugar rather lick a port-a-potty than be a kidnap victim again.

But challenges aren’t the only issue this fragile new family has to face. For the past, both the recent, and the ancient, are back. A sociopathic female, the same one who forced the change on Morgan, and the ancient being called Dragon are determined to destroy Morgan at all costs. Morgan and her Silver Wolf have no intention of allowing that to happen. And Demon Wolf will destroy any who threatens his pack.

Storm clouds are gathering.

smiling gray boxer pup

I received “Brand of the Pack” from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. “Summit of the Wolf: Book 4 of the Silver Wolf Clan” is due out September 1, so you have plenty of time to read the first three before it comes out.

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Review: Shiftless – Aimee Easterling – A Paranormal Fantasy

Sometimes, being a female werewolf can be a flat out nightmare. Especially when your father, the pack alpha, is a brutal, psychotic mess whose only interaction with you is to issue orders on your birthday every year, then walk away. And things are made even more difficult when you can’t seem to manage your shifts, making the thought of saving yourself from the situation even more impossible.

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A new author with a fresh perspective on the werewolf world. Worth spending a bit of your precious reading time with.

Hated by her own father and marginalized by her father’s repressive, misogynist pack, Terra struggles with her change and, when her father demands on her sixteenth birthday that she be mated and bred, Terra finally gathers her strength and flees her fathers hateful pack. Now on her own, life as the equivalent of a teenaged runaway is hard, cold, and more often hungry than not. Then, when the unthinkable happens, Terra knows that it is time to step up and bring her wolf under control – to lock her away and live solely in the human world.

Flash forward ten years, and we find Terra curled up in a chair in a bookstore, intent on a Patricia Briggs novel. If she can’t have a pack, she can at least read about them, right? But again, fate deals her a blow as a pair of werewolves, an alpha – on leash of all things – and his beta walk into the bookstore, and straight into Terra’s life. Oh, shit. Not another alpha! And the world continues to crash around her when her father reappears in her live with ultimatums and torments, threatening to force her back into the life of servitude she has worked so hard to escape.

Will the alpha known as Wolfie and his highly unusual pack be able to protect Terra and her nephew from the torments of her father? Or will she be forced to give up her life, to bend to the will of her brutal former pack in order to save her nephew and the members of Wolfie’s pack?

This is a first novel for Aimee Easterling, and for a first, it is very well written. Even more pleasant, it is well edited, which in and of itself is a positive. The book has many of the same tropes as the ubiquitous werewolf and paranormal romance novel, which in itself is not a bad thing. Ms. Easterling has put her own unique twist onto the culture, especially in regards to Wolfie and his oddball, loveable pack. They were my favorite characters, from the yahoos (you will get the reference when you read the book) to the lesbian couple, something one doesn’t often show up in the werewolf/paranormal genre, and is a pairing that I found quite refreshing.

Overall, this is a pleasant, quirky read, recommended for a lazy afternoon with tea and a quilt, curled in your favorite chair. The book does end on a tiny bit of a cliffhanger, but not unpleasantly so. I look forward to reading the next book and watching to see if wildly disparate groups can learn to function as a community.

This book was reviewed at the request of Readergiveaways.com. All remarks and thoughts are my own.

Review: The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston

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I laughed so hard I had tears running down my cheeks – and the mystery was good too!

It is sort of silly on my part, reviewing The Mane Event. I mean, let’s face it, Shelly Laurenston is a well-known Paranormal Fantasy author (read, more shifter sex than shifter adventure, but there ya go). I really do try to review mostly unknown and Indie authors. This book has, as of this moment, 135 reviews on Amazon, and mine is just one more. But I have to tell you, the reason I am reviewing? Well, because I laughed my ass off!!! And I mean that in a good way, not a “I laughed because the book was so bad I couldn’t help myself.” Instead, I laughed because Shelly Laurenston is just darn FUNNY! I laughed long, and loud, and with tears running down my cheeks and the occasional “OMG I am going to have to change my underwear soon” sort of laughter I haven’t been able to enjoy in a very long time. There is, of course, a lot of sex in the book, as is to be expected from the genre, so one must keep that in mind. However, the dry wit, subtle humour, and occasional outright outlandishness of the book more than make up for the sex scenes, if you aren’t a person that likes that sort of thing. And if you do like that sort of thing? Well, those parts are well written and hot as heck – so what’s to lose by immersing yourself?

This book is really a ‘two-fer’ in that there are two complete, and yet tied together stories included. In Christmas Pride you first meet Mace Llewellyn, former Navy SEAL, now retired, and the only Pride Breeding Male of the Llewellyn line. Well, at least he would be a Pride Breeding Male if he would stand for that sort of bull. Instead, he is determined to track down and capture Desiree “Dez” McDemot, his true ladylove since the age of fourteen. Even if capturing requires ‘taking care of’ any other male who happens to have the misfortune of being in the path of his goal. Imagine his surprise, therefore, when Dez is on site as the lead detective on the murder case currently being investigated at the Pride home. Now, the chase is on, and Mace has no intention of letting Dez escape – Bronx accented, tough, Puerto Rican, full-human that she is. A chase that infuriates Mace’s sister, Missy, “f’king queen of the Serengeti” and leader of the Llewellyn pride. The very rich, very entitled and elitist, and very purist leader of the Llewellyn pride. Allowing Mace to claim Dez is absolutely NOT on Missy’s agenda – especially as Petrov, the only other Pride Breeding Male in residence has just been murdered.

While the mating chase of Mace and Dez is funny, interesting, and hot as a cast iron skillet just out of the oven, what is really interesting is the murder mystery. What happened to Petrov? How did someone get to him, and who-dun-it and why? There is something going on here, something that could put the whole Llewellyn pride in danger. And the fact that Dez is the person in charge of finding out what drives Missy right out of her ‘tree’ and leads to a plot that is much more serious than anyone could have expected.

Add then there is Mace’s friend and fellow soldier Smitty and his pack. “Pack and Pride, dog and cat’. . . the military created strange bedfellows.” Especially when Mace is rich and entitled, and Smitty is a no-holds-barred Tennessee redneck. With Smitty and his pack now firmly ensconced along with Mace in New York while they set up their security business, the opportunities for hysteria are numerous.

The second story in the book is Shaw’s Tail. We meet Brendon Shaw at the climax of the previous novel, as he is located in the tunnels beneath the city by Dez and the wolf pack. Severely wounded by a vicious hyena pack and barely able to stand, Brendon is rescued and taken to hospital – but not before getting a whiff of something wonderful, powerful, and delicious – and catches a glimpse of a pair of beautiful hazel eyes. Oops. Cats and dogs, anyone? For Brendon Shaw is a proven Lion Breeding Male, and his new obsession is in no way, shape, form, or fashion going to be acceptable to Missy! Because Ronnie Lee Reed is a redneck Tennessee Hillbilly Beta wolf, with attitude to spare.

Stuck with babysitting duty in the hospital with Shaw by her Alpha female, Sissy Mae Smith, Ronnie is in for a lot more than just babysitting duty. When Shaw takes down two strange humans with jackal scent all over them in his hospital room, Ronnie whisks Shaw away to her aunt’s house in Long Island, only to have Shaw’s ‘healing fever’ cause a world of trouble for her, and a world of hysterical laughter for me. Can we all say “full grown lion doing the Mamba in the neighbor’s front yard?” And then there is always the doggy “play bow,” front down, ass in the air (and do you think he is EVER going to live that one down . . .?)
There is action and adventure in this story line, hot nookie and laughter, and a good dose of mystery and suspense. All in all? I am now deeply addicted to Shelly Laurenston and her Pride Series. If you like paranormal romance with a good dose of mystery, action, and laughter, you can’t go wrong!

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