Tag Archives: werewolves

Raised by Wolves Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Many of my early teen years were spent girl-crushing after the feisty werewolf heroine Vivian from Annette Curtis Klause’s Blood and Chocolate. (Please ignore the absolutely heinous cinematic interpretation…) Klause’s prose was so spell-binding, she had a way of turning everything in our ordinary human world into magic. She made me want to be a werewolf.

Raised by Wolves is the first glimmer of similar wolfy magic I’ve seen in probably ten years. 6905534

Bryn is human, but after her parents are killed in a vicious rogue werewolf attack–or Rabid, as they say–she is taken in by a local pack. The Alpha Callum “Marks” her, thus granting protection from the other wolves and giving her over to be raised by one of the were’s human wives.

But when Bryn is 15 she begins to rebel against the male-dominated intense control of the pack. She longs for autonomy. But even as she tries to pull away, she is drawn back in by something unheard of–a new wolf–a bitten wolf. Chase has survived a gruesome mauling, has turned wolf himself, and clues about his attack ring alarm bells in Bryn’s head.

Maybe the Rabid who attacked Chase is the same wolf that killed her parents…

I was very pleasantly surprised with this book. Once again, the YA publishers have allowed a terribly cheese-tastic cover to mar what is otherwise a great story. (Can I just be in charge of the book cover department, please?) I liked that we had a human perspective into the crazy Pack dynamic and it wasn’t just your typical paranormal romance.

There were butterflies and smooching and all that, but it didn’t overwhelm the story or make me want to puke. I consider that a success. Not to mention, that Bryn wasn’t just a woe-is-me-lay-down-and-take-it type of girl. She stood up for what she believed in, even when it was a difficult thing to do.

I just wish that her “power” over her relationships/pack bonds was explained more. I don’t know if it is meditation or part of her “super survivor” thing, but I don’t really understand where it came from or how it works. Why does she have that ability? Hopefully Barnes will explain it in the next installment!

4 paw prints of 5

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

Obviously, if you’ve followed my blog long enough you’ve heard my sing my girl-crush love about Holly Black many times before. I totally adore her and she’s one of my all-time favorite authors (which is really saying something!)

Holly–if you’re reading this–let’s hang out!

The Poison Eaters has been on my list for over a year now, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. It’s a collection of Mrs. Black’s own fantastical short stories with her signature dark twist.

And, as usual, she’s done a good job with them. She’s managed quite a few anthologies over the years and so I had no doubt she’d be able to seamlessly blend her own tales together.

We got to sample stories about vampires, secret cults, faeries, werewolves, unicorns, and a bunch of other things you’ve never even heard of. And we got to revisit Kay, Roiben, Corny, and Val from her beloved Ironside trilogy.

As with most collections, there will always be stories that rise above the others and The Poison Eaters was no exception. Some of my favorites included:

  • A Reversal of Fortune: kind of like the short story version of the old folk song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Crazy, and you’ll never look at gummy frogs the same way again.
  • The Dog King: werewolves surround a medieval castle, but the real danger may lurk inside its walls.
  • In Vodka Vertias: a school prank gets way out of hand and ample doses of sex are involved…
  • Paper Cuts Scissors: a lonely geek’s girlfriend has willingly trapped herself inside a novel and he’s desperately searching for a way to get her out again.
  • The Poison Eaters: told in the classic rule of three format many fairy tales lay claim to, three sickly girls must follow their destiny.

The aforementioned really stood out to me, but they each had their own little crisp ending that made you pause for a minute after reading. The Poison Eaters is the perfect book to curl up with this fall after your house has fallen asleep and you’ve got a steaming mug of tea in your hands…

4 virgin boys of 5

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

“Grandma, what big teeth you have…”

I think we all remember the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Picnic basket, grandma’s house, red cloak, little girl…drag queen wolf. Whatever. That story is dumb. Who would let a little girl wander off alone for miles in the dark, scary woods by herself? Especially a little girl who was dumb enough to mistake a wolf in a bonnet and nightgown for her grandmother. I mean…I know women tend to grow mustaches after menopause, but get real!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is not that story. Scarlett and Rosie March are two sisters with an irrevocable bond. After watching their grandmother Oma March be brutally murdered and consumed by a Fenris, the girls devote their lives to becoming expert hunters and killing all the werewolves they can. Scarlett’s obsession is fueled not only by the loss of her only dependable family member, but also because she lost her eye and suffered serious injury during the attack–physically and mentally scarring her for life. 

Unfortunately, Rosie doesn’t share her sister’s same obsession and longs to live a life of normalcy–learning to dance, going to school, falling in love… When long-time family friend Silas Reynolds starts to see Rosie as more than just his hunting partner’s little sister, her opportunity for a normal life calls her like a siren’s song. But how can she abandon Scarlett’s quest for vengeance and concern for other girls’ safety for something as trivial as love? Especially now, when the Fenris packs are on the prowl for the next Potential…

“Now our hearts link only when we’re hunting, when Scarlett looks at me with a sort of beautiful excitement that’s more powerful than her scars and then tears after a Fenris as though her life depends on its death. I follow, always, because it’s the only time when our hearts beat in perfect harmony, the only time when I’m certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are one person broken in two.”

I usually enjoy fairy tale re-imaginings, and Sisters Red was no exception. I’m all about books with kick-ass heroines setting injustices right. I liked the Fenris as monsters, and I thought it was pretty believable the way Pearce spun them–part horror-movie monster and part creepy sexual predator. Nice. Also, the alternating points of view in every other chapter–switching between sisters–was well executed and didn’t take away from the story.

Through partial fault of my own (due to a very busy as of late personal life) it took me two weeks to finish this book. I’m not sure if it was because of my sporadic reading time, or simply a very-quickly driven plot, that made it seem like everything fell into place really quickly. I didn’t feel the anxiety the trio was under during their research, or really get into Scarlett’s obsession with hunting hunting hunting. I also thought Silas and Rosie got together a bit too seamlessly and I didn’t buy the whole “be all end all” of it.

I did like the fact that it was set in the South, and I’m partial to books with a supernatural flair that take place here…. (Anyone remember me reading the Beautiful Creatures series, or the Sookie Stackhouse series? Yep). Worth the read, Sisters Red had a bit more grit than a beach read but a little less teeth than Holly Black’s Ironside series.

3 keloid scars of 5

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris

So, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris was just released recently and I just finished it today. It includes a short story about Sookie and Sam attending a wedding, a series timeline, recipes from Bon Temps, a FAQ section with Harris, an interview with Alan Ball, and a character dictionary. I thought it would be a great read since I love the series and the show, and I’ve read all the Sookie Stackhouse books to date.

I was wrong.

Charlaine Harris’s companion guide to her series was a total nose-dive in my opinion. I really enjoyed the first 80 pages, which were the short story about Sam’s brother’s shifter wedding. The recipe book was also pretty cool. The rest of it? Absolutely useless.

The FAQ section didn’t jump out at me, as many of the questions seemed like they should have been common sense for a true fan who has read all the books (or even followed the HBO series). Also, Alan Ball’s interview was a total waste of time because he gave indirect, noncommittal answers to almost ever question he was asked and I finished reading the interview with more of a WTF? feeling than an Aha! feeling. I get that you’re the producer/director of a television phenomenon and you don’t want to disclose too much, but come on! This interview is going in an actual book–one that will probably sell hundreds of thousands of copies, if not millions–not some trashy newsstand gossip rag. 

The time line was horrible because it was basically a summary of everything that’d happened in all the books, a plot synopsis for everything. I don’t need to know the exact year, month (down to the day) time line of every thing that’s happened. I know Hurricane Katrina is mentioned in some of the books, and I can fill in the rest for myself from there. *sigh*

The recipe section was cute, because it consisted of reader-submitted recipes that mimicked those mentioned in the series, like Caroline Bellefluer’s famous chocolate cake. And since I LOVE southern cooking, I was all about this.

But, above all… The absolute bane to my existence was the character dictionary. THE BANE TO MY EXISTENCE. I went into it thinking Oh, cool we’ll learn more about the backgrounds of all the stand-out characters.

Then I noticed it was like, 250 pages long.


Turns out it’s about every Tom, Dick, and Harry ever mentioned in any one of the books, short stories, or novellas. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I’m not just talking Jane Bodehouse, the town drunk specific, I’m talking Unidentified Vampire #2 and Unnamed German Shepard Shifter specific. Seriously. Every single person, every single relative of that person, every single brother’s sister’s aunt’s uncle’s cousin’s in-law’s mother. Seriously. If it wasn’t for my book-reading compulsive disorder I would’ve completely ditched the guide at this point. I remember all the main characters and some of the more interesting side ones, and that’s it. That’s all I need to know. I sincerely doubt Harris even remembered all of these herself. That’s how many there were.

If you’re a hard core Sookie fan, then my suggestion is to check this out from the library. Read the short story and write down some of the recipes, but just stop there and turn it back in for the next person to use. For real. I know this sounds harsh, because I love True Blood, but this book was an epic fail in Charlaine Harris’ otherwise long and successful series.

2 of 5 stars

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

“Oh, the ball that’s thrown, the ball that dared,

Does it not fill your hands differently when it


made weightier; merely by coming home.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

So, this weekend I the pleasure of finally being able to finish the much anticipated third and final installment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve been really stoked about this series for a couple of years now, ever since my roommate checked Shiver out of the library and left it laying around for my word-hungry eyes to find. She never could get through it, but I couldn’t put it down. It was the same with Forever.

 The end of the series revisits and alternates between the perspectives of the four main characters: Sam Roth, Grace Brisbane, Isabel Culpepper, and Cole St. Clair. Now if you haven’t read the two previous books, Shiver and Linger, I’m going to go ahead and warn you that SPOILERS ARE TO FOLLOW:

In Forever, the young lovers Sam and Grace are still together– but the tables have turned. Grace has now been infected with the werewolf virus and Sam has been “cured.” In this cruel twist of fate, it is now Sam who must endure lonely winters waiting while the one he loves roams the frozen Boundary Woods. However, when Grace changes back for the season, the couple doesn’t get to enjoy peace for long. They learn that in light of several fatal wolf attacks, the politicians of Mercy Falls (including Isabel’s father) are plotting a mass extermination of the wolves. And by wolves I mean the werewolf pack that Sam used to be a part of, Grace is now a part of,  and that is lead by his now full-time-wolf father figure, Beck.

Talk about drama. Not to mention the fact that a local missing girl was found naked with her throat torn out on Sam’s property, and that Grace is still “missing” in the eyes of the authorities. Police and townsfolk are now watching the yellow-eyed nineteen year old with loathing suspicion.

Cole (a werewolf/missing rock star) and Isabel (Grace’s best friend) are further into developing their hate/love/hate relationship and in between caustic remarks must come together to not only help Grace and Sam stay together, but to help both of them stay alive.

To cut to the chase, I really, really liked this book. Obviously, if I’ve followed the story through to the third round. Stiefvater has enviable talent when it comes to poetic lines like: “My pulse was shallow and fast, a moth destroying itself on a light” making what could come across as slow moments in the plot enjoyable to read. Kind of lets the reader roll the flavor of the moment around on one’s tongue. I also LOVE the concept of temperature/seasonally based lycanthropy versus the traditional lunar lycanthropy.

My criticism of Forever would be that I wanted to see a little more solidity in what was holding Grace and Sam together. There weren’t many tender, “alone together” moments to remind you why their bond was so strong. I like that their love is sweet, but it seems to lack passion. Sam’s extreme sensitivity was a bit of a turn-off for me, but it may be appealing to the younger audience.When she changed back into her human skin, they didn’t even kiss for several days, which I didn’t understand at all. The love of your life (whom you’ve been waiting months for) comes back to you and even knowing you only have one short summer to be with them, you don’t smooch them right away? Come on!

I also wish that the Cole and Isabel thing had gone farther, because both of them are so damaged, putting them together could only result in (amorous/arduous) fireworks. I feel that Stiefvater left enough of their relationship unexplained that she could easily revisit them in another book. Which I hope she does.

All in all, this Forever was definitely worth the wait.

4 of 5 stars