Molly Harper: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Title: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Author: Molly Harper
Genre: Paranormal Chick-Lit
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Pocket Books

Back Cover Copy:
Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . .

My Thoughts:
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf had me laughing so hard I got more than a few strange looks from my husband. Molly Harper really knows her way around a good punch line, and this book was a shining example. She also knows how to build an engaging story. From the first descriptions of Grundy, Alaska she pulled me into the world of the book. I wanted to hang out with Evie and belly up to the bar in the Glacier.

Mo is a strong, independent woman. She’s open-minded but not stupid and has no trouble standing up for herself. I enjoyed her joking and sparring with the various characters in Grundy. As for Cooper, what can I say? Sexy, tortured, secretive, protective. Did I mention sexy? Mo and Cooper have great chemistry too, and the sex scenes between the two of them are hot. Harper did a great job of integrating her wolf culture with Cooper-as-guy. She really developed a believable werewolf without his sexiness simply hinging on his looks. I really enjoyed Cooper’s personality. He’s a little on the possessive side (okay, that might be an understatement), but it didn’t bother me as it fits with his wolfiness.

The plot includes a mystery which Harper executes beautifully. I also really liked the development of the love story. The tension and the attraction between Cooper and Mo is palpable right away, and Mo’s confusion about Cooper builds steadily so that when we get that great payoff, it’s really great. There are a couple of times where I thought, “This is it! Now they’re going to get together!” but Harper is only teasing, tantalizing the reader for the yummy big event. There were quite a few twists that I didn’t expect, but they fit with the story and added a layer of depth that I really enjoyed.

While the resolution of the book doesn’t come easy to the characters, it felt a bit fast for me. That might be because I knew there was a second book in the series. Since I didn’t want to spoil this book, I didn’t even read the cover copy of book two, so I didn’t know it’s not about the same couple. I was expecting a build to an open ending that would lead to further relationship developments for Cooper and Mo, and I was really excited for that. So when their story was wrapped up, as wonderful as the ending was,  I was still a bit bummed. On the upside, I’m pretty psyched for book two. Maggie is kind of a mess, so she’s a perfect candidate for a messy romance. Thankfully, I won’t have to wait long. Book two, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, is out next month!

Kiersten White: Paranormalcy

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Harper Teen

Evie is 16 and can identify paranormal beings on sight – she can see through their glamors to the creature underneath. She’s working for the IPCA, the International Paranormal Containment Agency, who found her as a child when she screamed at the sight of a vampire in a cemetery. They took her out of her foster home and brought her to live at the IPCA center, where she’s home-schooled when she’s not on assignment identifying and tagging vamps, weres, hags, and other supernaturals. Other than her ability to see through glamors, Evie’s just a normal human teenager. Wrong! As the story unfolds, Evie learns that she’s pretty far from normal, in more ways than one. She also learns what it means to be happy, and to be loved, in ways she never expected.

Evie is very much a 16-year-old girl. I love that in a book about what’s normal and not normal, Evie’s more of a normal teenager than a lot of the fully human teens in other YA paranormal novels. She likes to shop and watch television and has a crush on a famous actor. She wants to meet a cute boy who will like her back, and she wants to go to prom. She’s goofy and flirty and at times very insecure, and it makes her easily likeable. Lend is clearly paranormal from the first time we meet him, yet he’s also a very normal teenage boy. I found both characters refreshing in a genre that often expects teenagers to save the world. Now, that’s not to say that Lend and Evie don’t save the world. To find that out, you’ll have to read the book. :)

The story starts out on the more lighthearted side, and it’s told from Evie’s perspective so it’s a little fun and goofy, like she is. As the plot unfolds, the book takes a more serious turn but Evie’s voice is constant. I really enjoy White’s writing style, and I love that she keeps the fun in the story. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to have a little fun, whether young adult or young-at-heart. If you enjoy White’s writing as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that Paranormalcy is the first book in a trilogy, with the second book, Supernaturally, coming out in Autumn 2011.

Jackson Pearce: Sisters Red

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Little, Brown

The premise of this book piqued my interest right away – a meaty werewolf story based on Little Red Riding Hood, only Grandma dies and Little Red Riding Hood grows up to be a werewolf slayer. The book starts out with the very definite promise of sadness, with Scarlett, the older of two sisters, having to defend younger sister Rosie from the wolf that killed their grandmother. Flash forward 7 years, and Scarlett, covered in scars and with only one eye, has devoted her life to hunting and killing Fenris, soulless men that transform into wolves to feed on young girls. Scarlett and Rosie are on their own, both having dropped out of school to train and hunt the Fenris. Scarlett’s best friend and hunting partner, woodsman Silas Reynolds, has just returned from San Francisco. Rosie and Silas are the only people in Scarlett’s life, and she drives them to hunt through guilt and their love for her. Silas, however, sees more in Rosie than a hunter, and Rosie starts to realize that while she owes her life to her sister, maybe that doesn’t mean she has to hunt beside her forever.

Pearce delivers two complex and passionate women in Scarlett and Rosie. Rosie and Scarlett each narrate alternating chapters, but in many ways this is Scarlett’s story as she has the most emotional growth ahead of her. Scarlett is physically strong and mentally determined, yet emotionally she’s a mess. She needs Rosie and Silas to hunt with her, to support her. Her strength of purpose isn’t enough to make up for her insecurities about her scars and her regrets about what life could have been for her, and she can’t see that she’s taking away Rosie’s choices just as the Fenris took hers.

It was with Rosie that Pearce really pulled me in. Rosie doesn’t have the physical scars from the wolf attack, but she has all the emotional scars. I wanted Rosie to have everything she could out of life. It made me root for Rosie, and for Scarlett.

Sisters Red is very much a book about sisters, but I also really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Rosie and Silas. Pearce gives all the hints and clues and allows the reader to anticipate the future and to ride along with Rosie as she experiences her first love. Unfortunately I didn’t feel as positive about the main plot. There were points in the story where the book felt stagnant and the characters seemed to be thinking and saying the same things over and over. Fortunately the sluggishness doesn’t last long as the main plot picks up quickly once the lovers are outed.

When Rosie and Silas started to fall in love, I was sure that the book would end in tragedy, with one of the main characters making the ultimate sacrifice for the other two. Pearce deftly pulls out an ending that I didn’t expect. Quite a few of the steps on the way to that ending seemed predictable, and some of the characters’ feats pushed on the borders of what I would consider believable, but by the climax of the book I was so wrapped up in the action that all was forgiven. All in, Sisters Red is an enjoyable read, and a reminder that sisterly love knows no bounds.

The Twilight Saga

Twilight

A few weeks ago a purchased a hardcover copy of Twilight, just to see what the big deal was about. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie, and since the movie was coming out on DVD soon it seemed like time. So last Wednesday evening I opened my copy and started reading. By Thursday afternoon I had finished it and was at the bookstore buying New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I was addicted. Watching Bella and Edward fall in love wasn’t enough, I had to know what would happen next.

I finished Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final book in the series, late Saturday night, and purchased Twilight the movie Sunday morning. I wasn’t sure if the movie would be able to capture the book; it’s hard to fit so much emotion and action into only two hours of screen time. While I still feel that the book tells the story so much better than the film, the film does hold it’s own. It’s definitely worth watching whether you’ve read the book or not – but if you’ve seen the movie and haven’t read the book, I recommend reading the book next.

As of this writing, New Moon the movie is in production, scheduled to be released late this year, and the movie version of Eclipse is planned for a 2010 release. I haven’t seen anything yet about a film version of Breaking Dawn, but I would assume that’s coming also, probably quick on the heels of the others. I’d imagine it’s a bit hard not to want to film these back-to-back since many of the characters don’t age, but of course the actors do! As for additional books in the saga, there’s no news yet. Midnight Sun, the companion to Twilight told from Edward’s viewpoint, is on hold indefinitely while Stephenie Meyer works on other projects. I have a feeling if she starts work on it again she will remain mum about it, and we’ll only hear the good news once she’s finished writing it. I, for one, have my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll hear more about Bella and Edward. Meyer may be done writing about them for a while (I refuse to believe she’s done permanently!!), but I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of reading about them.

If you’re addicted like me, you can hear more about her writing and publishing process, read outtakes, and even see photos of the Cullens’ cars at Stephenie Meyer’s website.