Cry Wolf

81xFwy1TTTL

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $12.99
Paperback $6.00
Hardback $3.98
Kindle $2.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441016150
9780441018482 — Hardcover
9780425261323 — Hardcover
9781841497945 — Paperback
9781440630811

Readers Annotation

They may have mated, but there’s still trials ahead.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

Pretty well written with no glaring plot holes, though the feel can get wonky with all the different POVs.

It’s a paranormal romance! People love those!

Summary

Here we go!

Okay, so this book picks up immediately where the novella Alpha & Omega leaves off. Bran and Anna are going to Anna’s apartment to pack up her stuff to take to Oregon, and Charles is locked up with the Chicago pack’s doctor in a werewolf proof cell in the pack HQ. Anna and Bran are being escorted by some of Anna’s old pack. Anna’s apartment is sparsely furnish (what with her being poor and all). Anna and Bran manage to pack up like 2 meager boxes before they get a call to go to Charles because he’s being a surly injured werewolf.

Anna and Bran get over to Charles at Chicago pack HQ and Bran warns Anna that hurt!Charles in wolf form is pretty vicious. Anna goes in and Charles gets all defensive of her but is otherwise fine. Bran decides that they all need to fly home that night (to get to a funeral). Charles stays in wolf form the entire flight as Bran (literally) flies them home to Aspen Creek.

Bran, Anna and Charles go to Charles’ home. Anna feels like she doesn’t belong in such a nice place with Charles, and Charles senses her anxiety and changes back even though it will slow his healing. Anna freaks out a little and eventually they calm down and go to bed.

The funeral is awkward. The man was a werewolf gone wrong and Bran had had to kill him. The town was angry that Bran had killed him. So there were glances and a general mood of discontent as Bran and his family showed up. Sam, Charles’ brother, gives a soliloquy and the family does a song. Anna, sitting in the pew watching, gets confronted by Asil, a semi-mad werewolf sitting behind her. Charles gets defensive. Asil says Bran should have killed him when he asked him to.

Bran tells Sam to look at Charles’ wounds (from before) and discovers there was still some silver in there, which is why it was taking him so long to heal. Bran tells Charles there might be a thing that he will need Charles to look into when he’s better (and more settled with Anna).

That night Bran summons Charles because a ranger has been attacked by a were. The situation cannot be left alone while Charles heals. Bran tells him he needs to go investigate. Anna tells Charles she’s going with him. Charles tries to protest, but Bran says it might be good for them, and a good way to bond.

So they pack up all the winter gear and head up the mountain to find the lone wolf. They camp in the snow and eat a lot of food. They eventually get attacked by a large werewolf. Charles chases after the were. Anna meets Mary, a “ranger.” Then gets attacked by a were. Charles comes back and acts all lovey and backs up Anna’s story. Charles and Anna get caught up in a witches spell (the witch is Mary, formerly Mariposa). Anna manages to free them and Charles drives the witch away. 

They meet up with Walter in the woods that night when they try to stay warm despite losing all their gear. Walter instantly latches onto Anna, and Anna to him. Charles and Walter do their wolf thing to keep Anna warm that night.

Asil realizes that the witch up on the mountain is the witch that’s been stalking him nearly all his life. So he heads up the mountain to help Charles and Anna.

In the morning Walter takes Charles and Anna to the cabin he knows of that he used to stay in, figuring that was where the witch had holed up. Asil gets tricked into helping Mariposa (because her wolf guardian is his former mate’s soul, sort of). Charles sets the cabin on fire and the three start down the mountain. 

Bran realizes what’s going on and heads up to help Charles. He gets caught by the witch and cuts off his pack ties so that she can’t get to his pack through him. Charles, Anna and Walter find Asil’s car and head back up the mountain following his tracks.

Bran worries that if Mariposa tries to make him kill Charles that he’ll go beserker again (like he did when his evil mother tried to make him kill Sam once upon a time). Asil lures away his wife. Charles takes on the witch. Anna tries to help. Charles has to fight Bran. Walter takes a hit from the witch to save Anna, killing him. Anna kills the witch. She worries Bran has killed Charles, but he’s still alive. She’s able to use her omega abilities to calm Bran and Charles. Asil’s mate disappears. Everyone’s ok. And Bran buries Walter as part of the clan.

Everything basically works out.

Evaluation

So, like a lot of other people (apparently) I made the mistake of thinking this was the first book in the series. Technically it is, and we didn’t have too much figuring out what was going on, but really the first story in this series is a short story titled: Alpha and Omega.

This may be a controversial opinion, but I may like this series just a bit more than Mercy Thompson’s series. I think that mainly boils down to Charles. Charles is a badass (but a total puppy when it comes to Anna), but he’s also pretty quiet and can keep things close to the vest. I also love the aspect of Brother Wolf. Plus, Charles just has this way of just deadpan saying things…. I just really like Charles you guys.

Anna is sweet, if a little beaten up. Its clear she’s had a rough time of it (boy does her last 5 years or so suck). So naturally she’s pretty meek and her life feels a bit out of control. She did just meet Charles and their already mated. The poor girl is struggling to re-find herself. So, she’s sympathetic character. I think the way Patricia Briggs handles Anna’s past is pretty good. There are some moments where I found myself wondering how Anna isn’t worse off with all the past brutalizing and all, but it all seems to work out mostly.

I almost forgot our favorite Vietnam Vet Walter! And that would’ve been bad. Walter is the tragic hero we deserve. I don’t know what it is about Walter, the ‘Nam vet with serious PTSD, but we loved him (even though Vietnam Vet with PTSD is a huge cliche and we’d always sigh and say “‘Nam” every time). There’s something about Walter.

There’s Bran (Mr. Mysterious aka Charles’ dad aka leader of all the North American werewolves) and Asil (the half mad seer running pretty literally from his past). Plus all the side characters and the big bad witch.  All of whom had their own flavor and personality.

Setting= pretty darn good. Though really you only get a feel for Charles’ home and the side of the mountain.

Plot? Not bad. Semi-mystery, action-y, romance-y tale. I can’t say it was unbelievable (because paranormal romance), but it didn’t have super gaping plot holes (which is always nice). Didn’t super appreciate the random chapters in other characters heads always, but it was interesting to get their side of the story at times.

I liked it a lot, and we really enjoyed the narrator for the audiobook (even though he changes the way he voices people in the second book).

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Significance

… Half native american werewolf?

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think of the way the author handled Anna’s past?

What do you think about the way Bran runs his pack?

Discuss Charles and his abilities.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs

Awards

Reviews

Amazon

Goodreads

Why I Chose It

Wanted a Paranormal Romance for a trip.

Other Information

 

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Soldier’s Scoundrel

y450-293

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook
Paperback $6.29
Hardback
Kindle $1.99
Associated ISBNs 9780062642493
9780062642486

Readers Annotation

Jake and Oliver try to solve a mystery and resist each other.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 3P

This is a really well written regency romance, and the characters are well thought out.

This is a LGBTQIA+ book, that means a lot of people don’t want to read it.

Summary

Ok, SPOILERS

London, nebulous Regency time after the Napoleonic Wars. Jake is a “scoundrel.” He helps ladies. He lives above his sister Sarah’s dress shop. He gets a gentleman caller, even though he doesn’t see gentlemen. The man is good looking. This man is Oliver the son of a duke. Jake recognizes him from a time when he saw the other man in a compromising situation with another man. Oliver wants to know what Jake did for his sister. Jake won’t tell her. His sister tells him he has a lady to see him. Jake tells Oliver he’s welcome to sit and watch. The woman tells Jake that some letters from an old beau have gone missing from her jewelry box. She needs to get them back before her husband sees them. Jake tells her he will help her, but that he may not tell her anything and that he’ll do it however he sees fit to proceed. She agrees. Oliver, doesn’t like how Jake is approaching this situation, he believes the lady should have gone to the police.

He interviews her ladies’ maid, who gives him the lowdown on the lady and her husband (she’s new money, he’s from the gentry, they got caught in a compromising position forcing him to marry her). Jake decides to break into the lady’s home to see what’s what.

Oliver makes friends with the lady’s husband at his club. He also spends a lot of time thinking about Jake’s questionable methods and straddling of the moral line.

Oliver’s sister’s sister-in-law calls on Oliver to tell him that his brother-in-law is back and to get Jake. Oliver waits for Jake at Jake’s place. When Jake comes back Oliver fusses because he’s hurt. Oliver eventually remembers to tell Jake about the brother-in-law. Jake arranges for a man to watch the sister and brother-in-law while he finds someone to take care of the problem.

Oliver and Jake travel to the country to track down leads for their case (flirting all the way). Oliver has trouble taking off his boots at the first way station they stop at and Jake happens to come in and helps him. Sexy-times ensue. When they get to their destination, they hook up again. They question the ex-beau’s new wife, and the former governess. More sexiness.

Oliver decides that they should stop and visit his father. Oliver’s father then tries to malign Jake’s name. Jake gets summoned because the brother-in-law is dead.  Oliver feels torn.

Oliver goes to a party being thrown by the lady in question. Jake goes as his valet (and is not happy about it). Jake puts everything together and works everything out and gets shot for his trouble. Oliver and Jake break up because Jake won’t ruin Oliver’s reputation.

Oliver decides to ruin his reputation with Georgie’s help, in order to be with Jake. Jake catches wind of this plan and stops Oliver from completely ruining himself, saying he’s just low enough on the social ladder for them to associate with each other. 

They buy a flat together.

The end.

Evaluation

Oh man, Regency Romances are a semi-secret favorite of mine. They’re like the epitome of Harlequin romance. This is a gay Regency Romance. The combination of two things I really love. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll admit it, the only negative comment I have about this book is that it can be a little slow sometimes and the juggling of the romance and the mystery can get in the way of each other. There were a few times where the romance between Oliver and Jake was heating up and the plot would interrupt and vice versa and it would frustrate me (sometimes in a good way).

The plot isn’t too terribly unique, but it is a nice little mystery that drives the story quite well. There’s a lady in trouble and our dashingly handsome (and sarcastic to boot) hero needs to help her out (this time by breaking and entering, questioning people and definitely not falling in love with her). Then you have the beautiful brother of one of the women who has hired our hero, who is initially trying to save her honor. Things happen, boys fall in love.

I like that the author didn’t shy away from the fact that this romance was definitely NOT COOL in regency days. She never lets the reader forget that even though these boys are in love, that society just won’t let them be together (openly).

Jake was definitely my fave. He has his eyes on the prize (both solving this case, and winning over Oliver for a roll in the hay). He’s pretty down to earth, and understandably wary of “gentlemen.” He was sarcastic, badass, and just vulnerable enough to let Oliver in (no matter how many times the man was an idiot).

Oliver is just as flawed a character. Fighting to stay in a black and white world after being in a very grey war, and having to realize that the world isn’t black and white no matter how much we wish it to be so. He’s pretty haunted by his past, and fighting his nature because he’s in love with Jake.

The supporting cast is pretty interesting as well, the sisters (both Jake and Oliver’s), the evil brother-in-law, Georgie, Oliver’s dad, and the married couple at the center of the investigation. I’m glad to see that some of these side characters are going to get their own books.

The setting is, naturally, London. I like the way the seedier side is shown, and the contrast to the more upper class end. At odds with both sides of London was the countryside. Each setting had their own flavor and feel, which really worked for the book, clearly delineating between different parts of the story.

This was a good romance, one that I enjoyed even though there were some slower parts. The characters were interesting, and I would be interested in reading some of the other stories in this universe.

Genre

GLBT

Regency (Historical) Romance

Readalikes

Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries

Significance

M/M romance published by mainstream publisher.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss Oliver’s way of coping with reintegrating into society (Black & White outlook).

Discuss Jake’s soft spot for ladies.

Discuss being LGBTQIA+ in Regency times.

Author’s website

Cat Sebastian

Awards

none

Reviews

Kirkus

Amazon

Why I Chose It

It’s a legit romance novel (with the cliche cover but with 2 dudes) from a legit publisher (Avon Impulse, which traces back to Harlequin itself). I’ve never seen a legit published, not horribly covered m/m novel before. (Don’t get me started on crappy covers for LGBTQIA+ books)

Other Information

Moon Called

moon called

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $16.73
Paperback $11.25
Hardback
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441013814
9780441019274 — Hardcover
9781597227520 — Paperback
9781101208434
9780356500584
9781841496832 — Paperback
9780786561438 — E-Book


Readers Annotation

She’s not a werewolf, but she has to deal with their problems.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

This is a pretty well written book with no major errors in continuity or character.

Its a paranormal romance-y deal. People love that genre.

Summary

Spoilers Ahead!

Mercy Thompson is a mechanic in the Tri-Cities. Her neighbor is Adam, the leader of the pack (aka Alpha). She used to work for a Gremlin, but now owns the shop herself. She’s currently working on Stephan’s (the vampire) van. A kid approaches her and asks her for a job. He’s clearly homeless and clearly a new werewolf, he also clearly doesn’t realize that Mercy is a shifter (she can turn into a coyote). The kid says his name is Mac, and Mercy tells him he can help out. She’s trying to win over his trust, so she doesn’t ask questions or offer him unwanted help. Her undercover cop friend Tony shows up to ask Mercy to help out a lady friend of his.

Mac is confronted by generic bad guys/weres. Mercy intervenes. She accidentally kills one of the weres. The bad guys leave. Mercy and Mac pull the body into the garage and she calls Adam. Adam sends a witch (with a super complicated Russian name) to clean up the mess. When the witch gets there she throws some shade at Mercy. Adam arrives pretty pissed (thinking Mercy’s killed one of his wolves) but his anger soon gets directed at the rogues in his territory. He agrees to take Mac in.

Mercy goes home to her trailer, and meets up with Adam’s daughter Jesse.

Some time later Mac’s body ends up on her doorstep. Mercy rushes over to Adam’s home and finds some dead wolves and Adam fighting another. Mercy shoots the invader. Adam is severely wounded. Mercy turns into a coyote to see if she can follow Jesse’s scent to Jesse, but its no use. Thinking the pack may be involved, Mercy bundles up Adam and Mac’s body in her van and heads up to Bran (the Marrok) in Montana to fix him.

Mercy once lived in the Marrok’s pack (but was never one of them). She tracks down Sam (a former love) and Charles. They set Adam up in a cell and help fix him. Sam snaps at Mercy. Mercy works out some of her issues with Bran and Sam. Sam is sent to go back with Mercy and deal with the problems with Adam’s pack (and sends Charles to Chicago to work out the other part of the story). Adam and Sam do some adorable squabbling over Mercy (who just is done with this shit).

Mercy takes Adam to Warren’s place (and accidentally kicks out his boyfriend, which stirs up that can of bees). Mercy leaves Adam and Sam there and goes to talk to Warren’s boyfriend Kyle (and tells him Warren’s a werewolf because Warren can’t tell him b/c RULES). Mercy comes back to Warren’s house to find him standing off with Sam. Adam breaks them up. Adam is going to stay at Warren’s for the time being.

Mercy gets a call from her Gremlin friend for a meeting with someone who knows about the other wolf pack (that had taken attacked Adam). They meet in a bar. Mercy then gets a call from Stephen about Sam. His nest doesn’t like having a new, unofficial wolf in their territory. So Mercy and Sam meet up with Stephen to travel to the nest (the Gremlin gives her a magicked knife).

At the nest, they meet a touched vampire. Then they meet with the mistress, who is entranced by Sam, who is entranced. She drinks from him. Mercy breaks it all up. They are escorted out. They learn that the vampires were paid handsomely to let the other pack into their territory. They get an address.

Mercy and Sam travel back to Warren’s place and finds the rest of Adam’s pack there. There’s a short standoff. The pack decides to check out the address. Mercy is left behind. The address is abandoned when Mercy gets there. Mercy gets confronted at her trailer by the other pack. They talk it out and agree to help her rescue Jesse (and Adam).

They sneak in to get to Jesse. There’s a fight. Mercy figures out that the witch’s witch son is involved and that she’s partially resistant to magic. They take out the witch and confront Jake about his grand plan.

Mercy hires Tony’s girl’s son, goes on a date with Adam and Sam is crashing with Mercy for a while.

Evaluation

Ok, so I actually started this after we listened to Cry Wolf (the first book in the spin-off series). So, we were curious about Sam and Mercy.

This is a fun little read (or listen). Mercy has a great voice and is a good heroine (not super badass but definitely not a damsel in distress). She’s a sarcastic mechanic who happens to have a lot of connections. Adam is a pretty good character too. He’s not like Mercy (he’s more strict and organized). Sam is… difficult. We get a lot of his past, but I don’t always understand him. We get a taste of Bran and Jesse and all of Mercy’s other supporting characters.

The Tri-cities are as described as a city can be, as well as Mercy’s trailer, Adam’s home and where Bran’s pack lives (the name escapes me). They’re not super detailed, but they don’t really need to be.

Look, its a fun little romp. Its an interesting world and an interesting character. There isn’t much steam but its got the beginnings of a great love triangle.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Significance

Urban Fantasy with a lady mechanic lead.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think about this interpretation of werewolves/paranormal world?

What is your opinion of Mercy’s status in both packs?

Discussion on pack politics.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs

Awards

none

Reviews

Amazon

Why I Chose It

Wanted to know the rest of the world from the other book in the spin-off series we listened to. Plus, ties to native culture! Yay diversity!

Other Information

Bird Box

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $28.88
Paperback $10.83
Hardback $25.99
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780062259653
9780062259660
9780062259677
9780062326928 — Paperback

 

Readers Annotation

Don’t open your eyes.

Rating (VOYA)

5Q, 4P

This book is superbly written. Its detailed in the right places and vague in the right places. It really makes you feel the situation.

I want so bad to give this book all the high marks, but its a 4P because not everyone enjoys a horror novel (even one as great as this one).

Summary

All of the Spoilers ahead (in chronological order)!

In the beginning, it started with one incident in Russia. Malorie is living with her sister Shannon. Malorie finds out that she’s pregnant. There are more incidents, and they’re spreading. Shannon gets more paranoid as they cross the ocean and occur in Alaska. People start blocking their eyes and covering their windows. Malorie doesn’t believe yet. 

An incident occurs in Michigan by Malorie and Shannon’s parents home. The sisters call their parents. Soon the incidents are widespread. Malorie and Shannon have holed up in their apartment and covered all the windows. They don’t hear from their parents anymore. Malorie hears something upstairs one day and goes up to check on Shannon. Part of a window has been uncovered. Malorie finds Shannon dead in the bathroom.

Malorie remembers seeing an ad in the newspaper that said there was a house offering shelter. No longer able to stay where her sister has died, she somehow drives to the town and home. At the home they let her in and pat her down. 

The roommates tell Malorie about the creatures and of their situation. The cellar is packed with canned food. There’s a well in the backyard. Everyone takes turns doing chores (like emptying the wastebuckets). Tom is the outgoing guy. Don is the paranoid guy. Jules has the dog (Victor). There’s Cheryl and the other guy. Tom has ideas. He wants to explore other houses for stuff, he wants to do things. The group calls random numbers hoping to contact anyone.

There’s another knock on the door and Olympia joins the group. She too is pregnant. She had been living next door. She heard them one night and made her way over to them blind.

Tom wants to find dogs (and use them as seeing eye dogs). He and Jules explore the block blind. They find a tent in the road and note that that is weird. They come back 2 days later with two huskies.

Then Gary shows up. Gary tells the group about his former group. They were not military but became militant, except for Frank. Frank wrote in journals and thought there was no harm to the creatures. He escaped one day after taking down all of the window coverings. Gary left after that.

Malorie is suspicious of Gary. She nicks his suitcase one night and rifles through it, finding “Franks’s” journal. She wants to tell the group. Don has grown close to Gary and she doesn’t trust him.

When Tom eventually comes back, she blurts out what she’s found out about Gary. The roommates kick Gary out.

Don holes up in the basement. Eventually the roommates get Don out of the basement and both Malorie and Olympia go into labor. There’s a storm raging, and they take the two women to the attic to give birth. There’s a fight on downstairs which sounds like it turns violent. Then Gary appears in the attic. Don has uncovered all the windows, and Gary is crazy. 

Malorie gives birth first as a creature comes up to the attic. Olympia gives birth and sees the creature. Malorie pulls Olympia’s baby towards her and covers both of their eyes. Olympia jumps out the window and hangs herself with her umbilical cord. Gary and the creature leave.

The phone rings. Malorie traverses the house with her eyes closed, stepping unknowingly around the bodies of the roommates as she goes in order to answer the phone. Its a man and he says there’s a safe place down the river and tells her how to get there.

4 YEARS LATER

Malorie has decided that she and the children are leaving. She recalls that they have not had much of a childhood and that she may have been cruel to them.

She has trained them to awaken with their eyes closed. She has trained them to hear everything. 

She knows that it is foggy outside and decides that today they will take the river. She grabs the children and some food and they head to the little rowboat in the river. 

Malorie puts the boy in front and the girl in back and sits in the middle to row, blindfolded down the river.

They get stuck on a bank, run into a crazy man on a boat, and get attacked by some wolves (who injury Malorie). Malorie wishes she had Victor, but he went mad after seeing a creature when she went to get microphones and amplifiers.

A creature stands in front of them and tries to take off Malorie’s blinfold as they approach the split in the river, but she tells it not to take it off her and it listens and walks away. Malorie needs to take the middle right arm of the river, which means she needs to open her eyes. She does and marvels at the brightness of the world before putting on her blindfold again. They take the split and are hauled ashore at the compound and welcomed warmly. They see that some people have been blinded and are afraid, but the man in charge explains that they don’t do that anymore.

Evaluation

Straight up: This was a great book.

Its creepy. There’s a real emphasis on different feelings and senses. It evokes different feelings from other horror novels. Its atmospheric.

This book is not going to jump scare you, this book isn’t a slasher flick. This is a creeping horror that sets right into your bones and seeps. This sits with you. It leaves you feeling creeped out and gross.

Its amazing.

I went in with zero expectations (though high hopes). And it was amazing. At one point I picked it up, knew I couldn’t finish it in one sitting and knew that I had to do it in one go and so put it back down.

The setting is creepy. Its not super described, but you get the feeling of it. And really, that’s what the book is all about.

Our characters are well thought out and shown (and boy did it drive me up a wall not to know why Boy and Girl didn’t have names). Malorie is an interesting character, and the choices she makes are hard. The roommates are different archetypes that work well for the story, without being one dimensional or stereotypical. Gary freaked me right out, and he wasn’t even that big of a role! …..Gary…..

I loved that we got NOTHING about the creatures (and really that’s the crux of the story: to know is to go mad), except that there are creatures and you will go crazy if you see them.

The plot unfolded beautifully. Jumping between two periods of time really kept the reader in the dark about certain parts of the book and led to a dramatic climax.

This isn’t my new obsession, but it is a stupendous book.

A great creepy read.

Genre

Apocalyptic

Horror

Readalikes

The Silence by Tim Lebbon

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

Significance

Creepy and sensory, with minimal other-worldly aspects

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Why do you suppose Malorie didn’t name the children?

Would you have trained the children like Malorie did?

How would you have reacted to the news in the beginning of the story?

Author’s website

Josh Malerman

Awards

LibraryReads Favorites: 2014

YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Horror: Better Dead than Unread (2017)

Reviews

Kirkus

PW

Why I Chose It

I heard about Malerman’s newest book on a podcast and they also talked about how great this one was, so I decided to try this one first.

Other Information

I’m very excited to say that this is my first book that I’ll actually be leading a discussion on! Can’t wait!