Monday, June 2, 2014

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Wild Wolf

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

Jennifer's/Allyson's/Ashley's more than fifty novels have won RWA's RITA award, the Golden Quill, RT Reviewer's Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer's novels have been also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian, Thai, and other languages.

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.

Keep up with her online at her Website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on GoodReads.

Wild Wolf

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In the latest Shifters Unbound novel, a man has resigned himself to a life half lived. But a beautiful, courageous woman has him longing for something more…

Graham McNeil knows that his pack is unruly, but he’s not sure he can take the next step toward pack stability. After losing his first mate long ago, Graham has worked hard to keep his heart in check. Besides, even if he was inclined to choose a new mate, his girlfriend, Misty, is human—a fact that won’t sit well with Graham’s old-fashioned pack.

But Misty is going through a crisis of her own, one that brings danger and death to the pack. With the wolves doubly convinced that there needs to be a shake-up, Graham must now defend his leadership and save the woman he has grown to love—before Shiftertown is pulled into an all-out war.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION’s Heavenly Hellspawn – Erika:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review

After long living wild, Graham McNeil’s unruly pack that was forced in a Shiftertown with a variety of other shifter species. Adjusting is slow going (even 20 years later) and the pack is pressuring Graham to choose a mate and start his dynasty, convinced that doing so will solidify the pack and strengthen his leadership. However Graham’s not terribly eager to have pack politics force him into mating. Graham still battles the grief of having lost his first mate and cub, having been unable to process loss before being charged with raising his nephew after his sister died. Having to maintain control of the pack while facing such enormous loss forced Graham to cordon off his heart, and has also left him feeling a little burnt out. His only source of pleasure is his human girlfriend.

Misty Granger owns a small floral boutique, and lives a quiet ‘normal’ life. The only thing she does that could be considered reckless is dating a shifter, and not just any shifter, a pack Alpha. She knows that the thing between her and Graham is just for fun and will never be long term, and she knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s forced to pick and mate with another shifter, but when trouble literally busts into her life she has no one else to call to help her.

Graham races to her aid, only to discover that Misty isn’t the one in serious trouble—he is. Someone has big plans for Graham. Unsure of what evil stalks him Graham is forced to juggle Misty’s problems, leading a pack, ushering his nephew into adulthood and now raise two orphaned cubs while trying to fight off a spell and stay alive (and sane).

All of Jennifer Ashley’s Alphas are sexy enough to make our knees weak, and Mr. McNeil is no different! Graham is that perfect combination of confident, arrogant, abrasive and noble. Like the others, he lives and breathes by what is best for the pack… mostly. Misty, while unassuming sweet, is strong-willed, outspoken and honest… and she loves to talk. The two drive each other crazy in the best and worst of ways, making for great conflict and even better reconciliations.

Misty accepts that her and Graham are a temporary thing, but once she realizes Graham is in serious trouble she refuses to let Graham shut her out, even if they don’t end up together—which she isn’t sure she wants—she refuses to turn her back on him when he’s in trouble after her did so much for her when she was. Her naiveté causes problems--as it would anyone thrown into a culture they’ve had limited exposure to—but she is convinced she can help and determined to do what she can until Graham is out of danger.

One of the best things about this story was that the author had the characters stay true to themselves; there was no grand personality change that happened after the pair hooked up. Graham stayed Graham throughout the whole book; he was a rough, uncouth and aggressive guy that yelled far more than he talked—from beginning to end—even as circumstances changed and he started admitting that he had deeper feelings for Misty, even when things were great he was himself, unapologetically. Even so, Graham’s struggles with his nephew Dougal and the twins (while simultaneously bearing sole responsibility for the whole pack) are really endearing and show you just how much pressure and responsibility rests on his broad shoulders. But no matter how dire things looked he ‘sucked it up’ and did what he needed to do, for his pack and his family.

Another highlight was how Misty was portrayed sexually: she wasn’t a virgin, she wasn’t shy, she OWNED her sexuality and her desires, which was not only awesome and REALLY refreshing, but something that should start trending in Romance writing as a whole.

It was also really great to see dynamics changing in multiple relationships--not just between the hero & heroine - or between them and their family - but between all of the characters despite their prominence in the story. The character growth was throughout the cast, not just with the leading couple.

So even if you’ve never read the Shifters Unbound series, Wild Wolf is a must-read. Honestly. I have not been this happy or satisfied with a book in quite a while.

Thank you Jennifer Ashley!

Wild Wolf

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