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Valkyrie

REVIEW:  Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

REVIEW: Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

Dear Ms. Hogan:

I’ve been trying to read different sounding paranormals as much as possible in hopes to revive my love and interest in them. “Chase Me” is a blend science fiction with traditional paranormal myths however during much of the book I kept regretting I hadn’t started with the first in the series because I did not have a good feel on the world building. It wasn’t until about 40% into the book I discovered that the paranormal beings on Earth descended from supernaturals that crash landed on Earth many years ago. While the romance is sweet but hot, the external conflict remains unsolved and when I closed the book, I felt like I had only visited one stop on a long train ride.

Tamara Hogan Chase Me
Archeologist and valkryie, Loren Schlessinger, discovers a metal box whose metallurgy matches no known substance in a dig site in Northern Minnesota. She believes it is concrete evidence of her ancestors’ existence. While she is strong, smart, and very skilled, she is not a good administrator and so the Council of other beings sends Gabriel Lupinsky, a self described werewolf mutt, to serve as the administrator of the dig site.

As a Valkryie, Loren has to expel her energy through fighting or, well, you can all imagine the second option. She finds herself attracted to the new administrator, Gabe, and as sex is not an emotionally driven act for her, she has no problem propositioning Gabe.

Gabe is initially presented as nerdy, all but legally blind without glasses, considered a mutt amongst the paranormal creatures while Loren is a second and the Council representative for all Valkryies. He believes he is out of Loren’s league but when he finds out that she is just as attracted to him, they both have problems keeping their focus on the dig site.

Gabe’s hesitant but eager thoughts are charming in a genre peopled with Neanderthal alphas. It certainly set him apart. Loren’s unaffected acceptance of her own sexuality was also a relief. Despite Gabe’s ostensible nerdiness, it was repeatedly made clear that he was hot and fit with big feet and matching equipment.

There are some unique twists in the world building. Gabe’s family suffers from a number of genetic defects. His mother and sister have only three healthy limbs. Gabe suffers from macular degeneration and in shifted form is nearly blind. Thus he rarely shifts and denies himself the joy and pleasure of being in his wolf form. The implication is that the genetic defects are the result of centuries of inbreeding.

The momentum of the story is primarily driven by the romance and an external conflict having to do with aliens from outer space discovering Earth’s rich natural resources and attempting to lay claim to the territory. The alien technology is quite advanced and I wonder how the Earth based supernaturals will be able to prevail without their own Will Smith. The romantic conflict partly relied on interspecies misunderstandings. Valkryies have a more sanguine view of sex whereas wolves mate for life. There is a small gender reversal. Lorin feels comfortable about sexual relations but the emotional component makes her uneasy and off balance. Gabe, on the other hand, more readily accepts the emotional developments that arise between the two.

Problematically, “Chase Me” ends with no resolution to anything other than Gabe and Loren’s romance. While many other series are ongoing, often there is a core conflict that is resolved while an ongoing story arc carries us throughout the series. In “Chase Me”, the mysteries remain unsolved and the plot threads are left dangling. There are unresolved story lines from the first book that are discussed in “Chase Me” but have no resolution. “Chase Me” assumes that you’ve not only read the first book but that you’ll read the remainder of the books to find out what happens next. It is not identified as a second in a trilogy, but just one entry in a long connected series of books. This sort of uncertainty and non conclusiveness doesn’t drive me to read more because I’m uncertain how long of a commitment I’ll need to make to be given a reward of finality. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW: Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey Holley

REVIEW: Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey Holley

Dear Ms. Holley:

Thank you for sending your book to Dear Author for review.   I totally loved the excerpt that was sent and I waited impatiently for the rest of the book to be sent.   I am a big fan of pack stories because I love the pack dynamics and the feralness of the characters.   While there are pack issues and appealing leads in this romance, I struggled to see the connections between the emotional leaps that the characters took.

Allison Kendall, a human, lives in the trailer next to Guy and Gracie Fontenot.   Guy is a werewolf with a quick temper and Gracie is free with her favors.   This volatile combination ends tragically when Guy kills Gracie and then comes after Allison who had been housing Dylan, Gracie’s son and the boy Guy had called his own for five years.   That night changes Allie’s life forever.

Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey W. HolleyWhen Dylan grows older, he shows signs of being an alpha wolf. He needs a pack.   Allie and Dylan’s uncle Seth receive an invitation for Dylan and Seth to meet with Cade MacDougall, an Alpha of the Rocky Mountain Pack headquarted in Fremont, Colorado.   Cade’s pack contained a number of Alphas, lones and outcasts – the perfect place for lone wolf Seth and the burgeoning alpha wolf Dylan.

The worldbuilding in this story is not the basic werewolf created by disease but is actually tied to old Norse legends wherein the Old Norse word for wolf translates into Valkyrie Horse.   Valkyries and their mounts were metaphors for the ravens and wolves that would scavenge the battlefield. (It should be noted that I only know of this legend because I played Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Underworld about a month previous which was based on Norse mythology).   The wolves in Yours, Mine and Howls are touched by Eir, a norse goddess, and Cade’s line, in particular, is favored by Eir. I found the norse touched were mythology interesting and appreciated the freshness.

The real problem, as I mentioned in the beginning, was the emotional arcs.   Allie and Cade meet and move from lust to love in pages without meaningful transitions. We go from Allie being irritated that Cade and another Pack member finds her sexually attractive after she overhears them talking about her assets, but then in the next scene, when faced with Cade’s glorious good looks, she is breathless and agog.   Cade himself decides no sex with women in the Pack, particularly around his young daughter.     Cade’s intentions are soon forgotten.   I wished I had some scenes in which I could have seen the emotional transition being made.     There lacked a smooth flow from emotional scene to emotional scene, making the book almost episodic in feel, like I was reading a series of vignettes strung together.

I didn’t really enjoy the protrayal of Allie.   She’s physically gifted with heightened senses and preternatural speed and strength yet she is always blushing and crying around Cade. She is actually referred to as an alpha in her own right and regularly yells at Cade.   Despite this, I felt she came off as weak and posturing.   I had wished that she had a little more self confidence and appreciation of herself as a woman and an individual who had pretty much raised Dylan and kept her little tribe together for thirteen years.

Cade was a fairly typical Alpha male pack leader whose primary characteristics appeared to be portrayed through his uncertain pursuit of Allie. I did think that Cade’s four year old daughter was adorable as were his interactions with the daughter.

There is an intriguing story behind Allie’s power and a connection between Cade and Allie that is bound in myth.   Unfortunately, much of that story is told through long bursts of dialogue in the middle and toward the end.   In the end, I didn’t feel like this story lived up to its initial promise. Your voice is strong and I am ready to try out your next story. C

Best regards,

Jane

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