REVIEW: Big Bad Wolf by Christine Warren
Dear Ms. Warren:
I went out and bought this book for myself. *runs around in circles* A while back I blogged about the seeming dearth of werewolf books, at least books that focus on the pack dynamics and the myths of the beast. Another reader suggested I try Christine Warren’s Big Bad Wolf. I admit that the one book I had tried didn’t make me a fan but I was willing to take another chance. I went off to the bookstore that evening and bought the book. I read and finished it that same evening.
Graham Winters is the Alpha of the Silverback Werewolf Clan. He is bored to the point of celibacy with all the hot Otherworld women around him. He doesn’t have any problem getting it up, but no amount of sexual innovation from even the most gorgeous paranormal is floating his boat anymore. Thirteen days ago, he walked away from one super model look alike and now he’s wondering what he’s going to do with himself. (For a werewolf, thirteen days is like a decade).
Then at the same party in which Graham is bemoaning his celibacy and dearth of women to whom he is attracted, he catches a whiff of something delicious; something that makes his beast stand up and howl. The carrier of the scent is Missy Roper, a kindergarten teacher, and friend of his best friend’s new wife. Graham seems to recognize instantly that Missy is his soul mate. The problem is that she’s human and he doesn’t do humans. But the mate bond knows no boundaries and he grabs Missy and carries her off to his lair. Literally. Because Missy is trying to run away from the party and from Graham (she doesn’t really know he wants her), Graham panics and picks her up and doesn’t let her down until they are in his townhome.
Missy is torn. On the one hand she has had a bad, bad crush on Graham forever. On the other hand, Graham hasn’t noticed her at all before. He was the BEST MAN, for god’s sake, while she was the matron of honor at the same wedding. Who really has the strength to withstand the sexual onslaught of your long crush? Not Missy. After Graham has had his bad, sexy way with her, however, Missy is pretty sure she needs to get away. This only serves to confuse and create more panic for Graham.
Missy was a fun heroine. Self deprecating and pretty self aware. She acknowledges that she is kind of the clichéd kindergarten teacher. “After all, someone had to be the frumpy spinster. ” Missy doesn’t suffer from some horrible self esteem issue, but she does think that she’s out of Graham’s league and can’t believe that she’s anything to him but the slut du jour. She questions Graham about his change of heart:
“Just because I teach kindergarten does not make me a simpleton. Don’t like to me, please.”
“I’m not lying.” He had to force himself to concentrate on the conversation. “I really am a moron, and I really do think you’re utterly gorgeous and sexy. Didn’t you figure that out when you had me so hard and hot that I devolved into a monosyllabic cretin just because I couldn’t wait to get inside you?” He shook his head. “That’s not the kind of thing I can fake.”
“From what I understand, you don’t have to fake a thing,” she snapped. “You’ve got quite a reputation, Graham. I hear there’s not more than a handful of women you’ve ever met that you haven’t ended up in bed with. So forgive me if I don’t think it’s an accomplishment that I gave an erection.”
Graham, however, knows that Missy is it for him, despite her humanness. It’s not like werewolves live long lives anyway. Because of their tendency for challenges to the death, their impetuosity, and their wrong headed belief in their own invincibility, male werewolves tend to have even shorter life spans than humans. As much as Graham would like to do nothing more than woo Missy (which mostly consists of giving her mind blowing orgasms again and again and…well, you get the picture), he has to deal with his cousin Curtis. Curtis would like to be Alpha but he’s too weak to sustain a physical challenge. Thus Curtis tries to get the Pack to push Graham out by shaking the confidence of the Pack and higher governing Pack bodies; and by suggesting that Graham is not suited to be alpha since he is old (34), childless and trying to make friendly with the Other paranormals.
It is true that Graham is trying to change the philosophy of the Pack by shedding some old, bad Pack philosophies and move the Pack into the modern age. He believes that the Pack will be strengthened by Other specie alliances and that the dated mores of the Pack hurt more than help.
This is a very sexy werewolf story. It reads quick and there’s a satisfying conclusion. But. But, the romance rests too heavily on the mate bond. One minute Graham can’t even remember meeting Missy before and then next her scent is so intoxicating that he cannot live without her. One minute they are shagging each other’s brains out and the next Graham realizes he loves Missy. I didn’t get to see any of the growth in his feelings for Missy. Missy had strong feelings for Graham all along, but we don’t get to see her crush mature into love either. The entire romance takes place over a few days. There simply wasn’t enough attention paid to the emotional connection of the characters. Finally, the last sex scene involved Graham in his shapeshifted form and well, I paged through those quickly. I don’t regret reading this story. As I said in the beginning, the pace of the book was snappy and I was entertained. Overall, though, it lacked substance. C+
This book can be purchased at Amazon. No ebook version of this book. It’s from St. Martin’s Press who either don’t do ebooks or charge $14.00 for it. However, this is apparently a version of it from Ellora’s Cave called Fur Factor.
Originally a Ellora’s Cave story which was rewritten and expanded. I remember reading this when it first came out and enjoying it because it was a short, fun read and I hadn’t read anything like it at the time. And it was very sexy. I wonder how this version would stand up years later. Might have to run out and get it for old time’s sake.
The original was called Fur Factor in case anyone wants to know.
Edited to add: Ugh. Sorry, Jane, I repeated what you already had in your after note. I tend to ignore those now since they’re usually about the FTC regulations.
I am surprised that Fictionwise is still able to sell the original. I suspect that’s a mistake since EC isn’t selling this work anymore.
I discovered Christine Warren about 6 years ago, when she first got published at Ellora’s Cave. “Fur Factor” was the first of her stories I ever read. I actually re-read it several time. I found it very sexy and an extremely fun read. This allegedly expanded and improved version I couldn’t even finish reading. I had to put it aside. Let’s see if I find the motivation to finish it sometime in the future. One thing I can say, however, is that I haven’t enjoyed her St. Martin’s books as much as I enjoyed the EC ones, so she’s scratched off my autobuy list.
I have to agree with Mireya – I read and enjoyed all of Warren’s EC books but have been underwhelmed by her St. Martin’s offerings. They aren’t terrible – just kinda blah.
There are actually a few ebook authors who were autobuys for me but once they made the jump to print, their books seemed to become less interesting, blander. Warren is in that category for me.
Does the author explain how Graham could ignore Missy at one point then be completely captured by her smell? Did her smell change for some reason or did Graham change? Just wondered.
@Susan/DC I didn’t remember it, but someone pointed out to me that it was that she stood so close to her friends that their perfumes overwhelmed her scent and now she was sweaty and scared, her personal scent was stronger. I’d have to look at the book which I don’t have here.
@Mireya Fascinating. I’m tempted to buy the ebook to see what the differences are.
@AQ So you are saying I should go buy it right now? It has the most hideous cover.
Jane, I think that’s the original cover. Seems to me that the EC cover changed throughout the years. I wouldn’t purchase it unless you really want to read the original version. Four or five years ago, it was very enjoyable, fun and quick. Quite sexy (I’d just discovered EC and really had never read anything like it. It was quite the sexual fantasy story that hit the spot at the time.) Now having read offerings from EC, Loose-ID, Samhain, and the NY publishers it seems like it would be rather passe. I should find the original and re-read but it’s on my old Windows 98 machine and well…I’m too lazy to set it up.
I’ll third Mireya and Lil, Warren used to be an auto-buy for me because I had so much fun with her initial stories at EC. Her St. Martin’s books don’t seem to have the same “something” but I’ll still buy her on occassion just because I like to support my former favorites and I keep hoping that the spark I originally loved will be there once more. It really could just be me and have nothing to do with Warren’s writing. Tastes do evolve. Right now I want a lot more plot mixed in with the sexiness and the fun.
I’ve been really annoyed with Warren the past two books. They’re just longer versions of short stories she had previously written. For me, that’s just money grabbing. Armstrong’s Men of the Otherworld was the same deal, except all those stories were free on her website. She just complied them and sold them. To me, that’s just cheating.
Randi, these books might have been subsidiary rights purchases by SMP so the author wouldn’t have had any control over them. I don’t know if that is the case with these works, but it is possible.
Kelley Armstrong “regifted” those previously free stories to a charity – the proceeds from Men of the Otherworld that would ordinarily go to the author are going to a literacy charity (which one I don’t know). Apparently the number one question she was getting on her website was “where can I get these stories in print”.
Kelley Armstrong has an explanation of what happened to the previously free stories at her website.
Men of the Otherworld/Tales of the Otherworld proceeds go to World Leteracy canada (http://www.worldlit.ca/). And as it is, most of her free fiction is still available on her website. Personally, I’m quite glad to have some of these stories in book form, with new shorts as an extra and proceeds going to a good cause.
I enjoyed the book and read it in one go…like reading about all the characters that have appeared in the series and look forward to the new ones due to ocme out..I’m glad the ebooks are revisited and sold in book form…hate to say it but nothing beats holding the book…sitting reading a story on the pc isn’t the same or as comfortable!
and i love the ‘shifter’ stories, one of my old faaovurites form years ago was The Wolf’s Hour …still my favourite
@Annie: I never read my ebooks on my pc or even a netbook. I use a handheld device that I can bring with me everywhere. It is a misconception and misperception that to read ebooks you have to read them using your PC. That is only true if you are not able to afford a handheld. In that case, I’d say, go for the print version always. To me ebooks offer convenience, ease of use, and instant gratification. I still read print books too. Not all the books I want are available in eformats. I have to check the book you recommend, don’t think I ever read it :) Have you tried Shelly Laurenston’s stories?
Such a usefule blog wow !!!!