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REVIEW:  The Accidental Werewolf 2 : Something About Harry by Dakota Cassidy

REVIEW: The Accidental Werewolf 2 : Something About Harry by...

The Accidental Werewolf 2 : Something About Harry (Accidentally Friends #8) by Dakota Cassidy

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,

Mary Kate

 

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.

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REVIEW:  Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10) by Gerry Bartlett

REVIEW: Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10)...

Real Vampires Know Size Matters (Glory St. Clair #10) by Gerry Bartlett

Dear Ms. Bartlett,

Every time I see your heroine’s name, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” starts playing in a continuous loop through my brain. Granted, in no way, shape or form can Gloriana Sinclair be compared to the deity to which this song is sung – though, given her predilection for falling into trouble and finding her way out of it, it might be a close thing. The poor vampire’s world IS rather like a war, with skirmishes and battles won and lost so that the greater war can be decided.

When Glory Sinclair was made a vampire, thin definitely was not in. Thin meant you were either poor, dying, cursed or all of the above. Unfortunately, as society progressed, so did ideals of beauty – and her big hips became a big no-no. But our intrepid protagonist has quite a bit more to worry about than the lush sweep of her curves. Not only has her mother, a goddess from Olympus, found her again – but she’s saddled her with a junk food addicted, snarky recovering Siren who’s searching for the meaning of her diet in the bottom of a Ben & Jerry’s pint (which Glory can’t eat). Glory’s boyfriend of decades, the fangalicious Blade, suddenly reveals that his ex, a powerful voodoo priestess, wants him back – and won’t take no for an answer. Then, to top all that fun off, Glory has to clean up another of Israel Caine’s messes, putting herself deeper in hock with various entities, deities and bottom feeders than ever before.

All I can say is that this book was busier than a K & W Cafeteria on half-price senior citizens night. Most of the current story was overshadowed by endless repetitions of everything that went before. It wasn’t enough that one friend or set of friends had to be told about some part of the plot or situation, there had to be on-screen repetitions, repeatedly. The Department of Redundancy Department called and wanted their plot back. They sent an email to follow up, just in case readers didn’t get the phone call. For every step forward the story took toward developing the lives, characters and plot, it took two steps, a backflip and a cartwheel in another direction that vaguely resembled “back.” It could just have been me missing the point of how interconnected everything was, but I somehow suspect that, yes, Glory’s back story is just –that- convoluted and packed with insanity that I’d need a flowchart, a relationship guru and a native Sherpa just to keep up.

All that aside, however – this was a wonderful story that thrived on character development and solid storytelling over flashy writing tricks. I loved how we got to see Glory develop a bit more, discover her confidence and power within herself even as she tried to put out every fire that cropped up. With each book in the series, readers have been able to watch her grow as a person, gotten to see her self-confidence build just a bit more. That’s not to say she’s an island who needs no one – she depends on her friends and loved ones, leans on them in times of need. They’re her support system, even though she’s the one who has to do all of the heavy lifting.

The secondary characters and their development truly help the story pop. The characters have become friends of the reader over the series – each one is as rich and lifelike as Blade and Glory. They aren’t treated as extensions of the story or props, but as the story themselves. As new characters are introduced, their relationship with the reader grows naturally through their relationships with the other characters. It’s almost like we’re standing on the fringes of this awesome group of people, watching and listening in, but not expected to contribute.

There’s such an amazing joy and beauty in Glory and Blade’s relationship, despite all of their hardships and trials, that it makes persevering through some of the repetition worth it. Granted, there were a few times it felt as though Glory’s romantic life was getting a touch, shall we say, Anita Blake-ish, but she got pulled back from the edge of that bed and tossed right into the arms of the man she loves in a realistic manner that had me cheering and bouncing in my seat – until she got pulled out of those arms. Again. I’m convinced Blade needs to develop a new vampire superpower of rubber arms, just so he can keep up with all the directions his beloved is pulled in.

I’m definitely going to give this book a thumbs up. Despite the redundancy and some minor niggly bits with slightly unrealistic reactions, overall it was solid and well-written. Now, however, I have to go back and reread everything that came before. While not wholly inaccessible to new readers, I’d definitely recommend tackling the others in the series before curling up with a glass of wine (red, of course) and this one. C+

Wishing MY Mother was from Olympus,

Mary Kate

 

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.

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