Dear Ms. Cassidy,
I knew, from the first time I picked up one of your books, that your novels and I would be the best of friends. There was just something about the myriad of characters – from the motherly Marty to the foul-mouthed, homicidal Nina – and the oft-times hilarious situations they found themselves in that called to me. That friendship was cemented one evening at a convention (whose name I forget) when you plopped down next to me and started chatting as if we were old friends. So when I saw you had a new book coming out, well, it was a no brainer.
Once again, you didn’t disappoint.
Human accountant extraordinaire for Pack Cosmetics, Harry Emmerson, has a great job (which he loves) custody of his niece and nephew (whom he loves more than life itself, though he’s a little in the weeds with the whole “parent” thing), and a teensy tiny little hirsuitism issue that just started. Mara Flaherty is a chemist at Pack, friend to all, and a werewolf woman with a dream – all she wants is to have a baby. She doesn’t necessarily want, or need, a man to do it – especially not with current Pack laws. Thanks to her brilliant mind and a misplaced bottle, Mara gets her baby – only he’s full grown, Harry (and hairy), and comes with plenty of attitude. It’s up to the Mara and the ladies of O.O.P.S to help Harry adjust to his new state of being (despite his obvious reluctance and insistence he’ll find a way to reverse it). There are just a few tiny (read: major) wrinkles. First of all, what Mara did isn’t only illegal, but absolutely game changing for the entire werewolf community. She’s facing jail time, if not worse, if the gang can’t conjure a way out of it. Secondly, someone is decidedly unhappy about the burgeoning romance – or at least togetherness – between Mara and Harry. And whomever it is will stop at nothing to see them apart. The largest wrinkle of all? Mara has been in love with Harry almost since the moment she saw him. And now he’s got some serious issues about his creator.
Filled with hilarity and enough twists and turns to make a West Virginia mountain road jealous, the story is everything, and more, I’ve come to expect from one of your books. The characters are well developed and, in some cases, so over the top that I’m looking for the roller coaster and Candid Camera crew. I was rather surprised that Harry, upon discovering his driving need for waxing and shaving care, didn’t look around for Ashton Kutcher’s “Punk’d” cameras.
Now, lest readers of this review think that your books are all fluff and no stuff, let me just say this: Despite all of the laughter and outrageous situations, you tackle some fairly heavy topics head on, without slowing down, in what SHOULD seem like a bull-in-a-china-shop maneuvers. But they’re not. In many cases, they’re so subtle and delicate, that realization has the light bulb not only going off, but exploding in shards of paranormal-scented brilliance. I love how you tackled a factor of Pack politics I’ve not really seen done anywhere else. What happens when a werewolf female wants a baby, but doesn’t necessarily want any of the male choices available to her? I’ve seen it handled in other stories, but you attacked it with subtlety wrapped in Nina’s fangs. It wasn’t until I’d read further into the book that I was able to see the way you coiled the question around, wrapping it up in plot and insane situations. And I think I love you for that.
There were times, however, that the story felt just a little bit draggy. The beginning, while clever and funny, lacked the oomph I’ve come to expect. It was almost a difficult book to get into, with a little struggle to maintain interest. Newer readers might be a bit put off by Nina’s sharp fangs and sharper words if they’re not used to the level of, shall we say, earthy, orally gifted, creative levels of verbal expression characters like Nina so often employ. That is to say – the book can get downright crass in places. You can dress a pig up in a tutu and tiara and take it to the ballet, but it’s still just a pig in a tutu and tiara.
Overall, I loved the book. Reading it was like settling in to catch up with old friends over high-octane hot cocoa. My current dream job is to be the new receptionist and part-time call-taker for O.O.P.S. Do you think the ladies are hiring?
Forever with Fur and Fangs,
As a reader who’s old enough to know better and young enough to not
care, I’ve breezed through the gamut of everything books have to
offer. As a child, I used to spend summer days happily ensconced in
one of the Philadelphia public libraries, reading everything and
anything I could get my hands on, thanks to the love and support of my
parents and aunts – teachers, mothers and/or librarians all. One aunt
started me with Nancy Drew books (whose pages are worn from hundreds
of re-reads) while another thought I needed introduced to C.S. Lewis’s
land of Narnia. By the time I was 8, I’d read everything the library’s
children’s section had to offer and had “graduated” to the adult room
downstairs. Fortunately for my very supportive parents’ sanity, I
didn’t discover romances until college. My days are currently spent
working in law enforcement (dispatchers unite!), working with first
responders, and trying to dig my writer/editor/reviewer husband out
from his latest pile of books. I’m a devoted fan of all manner of
romance (though I prefer my romance to have a hint of laughter and
self-awareness), mysteries, and urban fantasy.