Category: werewolves


I am so late posting this. So late. Like, I was planning on having this up Wednesday and then work was so much more tiring than usual in the lead up to the store renovation.  This one is courtesy of the author, Michael Okon, this is Monsterland. Enjoy!

Monsterland cover

With zombies, werewolves, and vampires Monsterland promises to be the scariest place on Earth. It might also be the perfect place for Wyatt Baldwin and his friends to finally solve their debate about which is the best monster. Even better, they’ll get a chance to see it all on opening night, with full VIP invites after Wyatt shared a burger with the owner of the park, Vincent Konrad. A park full of monsters, what could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland by Michael Okon reads very much like a first book. There are a lot of good ideas and the frame work is solid but then there are bits that move too quickly. It has some interesting characters and others that don’t quite make it. So, some things work some don’t. That’s every book, and I should clarify, so let’s clarify.

The story for Monsterland is kind of ambitious. We’re started with the werewolves and shown that they didn’t join Monsterland on their own, then we get introduced to our protagonist and the world. It stars a pattern in the story, there’s a monster chapter and then a protagonist chapter. That works really well for me to a point. There’s a weird jump from the monsters as sort of victims of the part and planning to escape to the monsters as monster antagonists. That happens without a lot of build up and feels pretty disjointed. Something similar happens with Wyatt and his friends, they go from super excited about going to the park to thinking it was a bad idea and questioning if it was actually a good thing. Similarly again, we get Vincent jumping from being presented as a force for good to throwing out massive bad guy signals. I would have liked much more build up on all of these things. A slow burn and build and then reveal it. As it stands, while the end isn’t a twist or anything, it also isn’t super satisfying and could have benefited from just a touch more work.

The characters similarly could have benefited from more work. As it stands, they’re more or less sketches of characters rather than being fully realized. Wyatt is interested in zombies and Jade, the cute girl from school, he’s super about Victor Konrad’s plan to save the world with this theme park. His friend Melvin is super into werewolves and messes up his turns of phrase. The other friend is always addressed by his full name and is super smart, he’s afraid of the girl who’s into him. Then there’s background characters, I would have liked a fair deal more with them. It feels like Mr. Okom had a few ideas of what he wanted to work with characters wise, but wasn’t a hundred percent on how he wanted to implement them in the story proper.

I’ve said a fair amount about this needing a touch more work. Thing is, the book is average as it stands, but it has a lot of solid ideas. I liked the one friend’s love interest, Keisha, she had some really interesting moments and I would have really liked to see her do more. Vincent as the villain could have been really good if he was a little more subtle, he just gets a little too cartoony at the end for my taste. The monsters revolting could be built up a little more, show the vampires trying to get in contact with the werewolves. It would have been a fair number of little things, but it could have taken the book from average to good.

That’s pretty well where I’m left with Monsterland, it isn’t bad and it was enjoyable, but it is fairly average. I would read Michael Okon’s next book, and think he’s going to keep improving as a writer. That said, I’m giving Monsterland a three out of five.

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So, I’m behind on this whole Halloween thing. I’d blame work and all the other usual things, but it isn’t any of that. It’s this book, this one that I’m reviewing now. I nearly quit. But I kept going and I’m going to keep going.

The Essential World of Darkness cover

The truest enemy of the Garou is the Wyrm, corruption and pollution incarnate. Its spawn hunt the Garou and contaminate Gaia, bringing darkness and filth to the world. Once there were guardians to keep the Wyrm trapped on its side of the Gauntlet and away from the physical world. Once, but that was a long time ago. Now there’s little more than fragments left, the Great Wolf was shattered and one of its fangs lost, the other guarded by an orphaned werewolf who is little more than a child. If she can’t find the lost fang before the moon is full then the Wyrm and all its horrors will invade our world.

Owl Goingback’s Shaman Moon is the second book in The Essential World of Darkness. In a lot of ways I feel like there isn’t really a good way for me to review this one. This book and I started out on the wrong foot. The bulk of the first chapter covers the main character’s tragic back story in a California orphanage, and this section very nearly made me stop reading the book. We’re talking less than five pages in and I was considering quitting. Because of that, this is going to get kind of spoilery.

Let’s start with the bit that I nearly quit the book because of, because the beginning is always a good place to start. See, our character was found in a dumpster near her parents’ murdered bodies and never felt like she belonged in any of the foster homes she wound up in, so she ran away a lot. This wound her up in an orphanage of nightmares run by a woman the kids referred to as the “Iron Maiden”, a woman who only smiled when she was beating one of the girls under her care with a riding crop while calling them terrible names. This woman has a goon squad of older girls who beat the younger girls until they have broken bones and need hospitalization. They don’t get that though, because hospitals would ask questions, no the only medical treatment the girls at the orphanage get is from an elderly pedophile. It goes on and on. The main character makes one friend who, to avoid getting beaten by the goon squad for smoking stolen cigarettes, kisses her and flirts a tiny bit once. Because of this, best friend character is raped by the Iron Maiden and murdered.  Keep in mind, none of this echoes down into the plot itself, our heroine thinks back to the orphanage maybe twice and both times could have been replaced with almost anything.

In addition to the juvenile ideas of what constitutes dark, the writing in Shaman Moon is less than stellar. There are long bits of out of place exposition and clunky bits of environmental statistics. It leads me to wondering just who this was written for. A fan of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse game would already know a lot of the exposition while someone just looking for a werewolf story would get tired of it pretty quickly and look for another book. There’s big repeated bits that keep covering the same ideas, everything is the Wyrm, details about werewolves’ forms, non-werewolves are at best oblivious to the damage they’re doing the planet, this one type of werewolf is bad. It’s stuff that could have been worked in a lot better or glossed over and left to the reader to understand. Left as it is, it feels like Goingback needed to fill his hundred or so pages but only had forty pages of story.

The environmental stuff gets similarly tiresome, there’s only so much statistics I want to deal with in my fiction reading especially when it’s just shoved in there. Yes, pollution is an aspect of the Wyrm, the werewolves one true enemy, but that doesn’t mean that I need statistics about how it’s expected to affect nature in the coming years. It, again, feels like padding and breaks the flow of the story utterly.

I actually don’t have anything good to say about this one. There were ideas there that could have been solid, but they were covered up in padding and bad writing. At the end of the day and idea doesn’t mean much if nothing gets done with it. Shaman Moon gets a one out of five.

So this is an interesting situation.  I did totally intend to have this posted a couple of days ago but haven’t felt well for the last couple of days and more or less ignored it.  Bad at being timely.  Enjoy the review!

Paranormal investigator Savannah Levine is a powerful magic user, but after a case that tore a family apart she would give all her power to fix things.  Something heard her.  Now she stuck dodging witch hunters and searching for answers as a threat to the entire supernatural world rears its head.

When I requested Kelly Armstrong’s Spell Bound for review I didn’t realize that it was part of a series, much less the penultimate book of a thirteen novel series.  That said, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it usually does to jump into the middle of a series and the book stood quite well on its own.  The characters were, for the most part, quite likeable and written in such a way that it didn’t feel like I was missing major parts of their development having missed several books.  I did find the whole thing with Savannah losing her powers frustrating because of how utterly helpless she thought of herself as being and how much other characters insisted that she wasn’t.  It was a little too real world for what I normally read, but also kind of endearing because people actually have moments like that.

All said and done, I definitely enjoyed Spell Bound, enough even to go back and read the other eleven when I get the chance.  I give it a four out of five for being a totally worthwhile read with a minimum of issues.

After a long and totally undeserved break, I’m back! With summer break just starting an a to read list longer than my arm I should be busy for awhile.  I’m sorting out my library at the moment, so there may be a couple of giveaways down the road for some books that I, unfortunately, just don’t have space for anymore.  It’s good to be back though so, as always, on to the review!

James R. Tuck’s Blood and Bullets is a mix of urban fantasy and action movie with a main character who is a study in over done manly man-ness.  Chalk is a larger than life, gun toting, monster slaying badass and he’s going to tell the reader about it at every chance he gets.  This gets old really quickly.  Chalk is supposed to be the big tough monster hunter who shows up and gets things done, the problem is he reads a lot like a bad self insert from a kid who wants to be the tough guy that solves problems.  This could have still worked out alright if the story had been in third person, the plot itself is fairly solid if a bit underwhelming.  The book is in first person though with the world’s most talkative know it all narrating everything that he does no matter how insignificant it is.  Even with that I would have been alright were it not for the repeat descriptions, Chalk describes his guns and himself at least three times.  His apparent effect on some women is also brought up repeatedly.  I don’t know if Tuck ran out of things to write with these descriptions or just didn’t trust his readers to remember any of it.

The plot, as I said before, is fairly decent.  Good guy gets attacked by more vampires than any of the major players in the city should have been able to put together, discovers the big bad’s existence, and has to figure out how to beat her without losing his rag tag team of monster hunters.  It’s been done, but that doesn’t stop it from working here.  To my mind the things that bring down the plot are, yet again, Chalk’s reiterating things too much, the big bad’s throwing logic out the window because she wants to have sex with Chalk, and the dues ex machina character that shows up towards the end.  I’d have really liked to have seen more of the secondary characters doing what they’re supposed to be good at rather than just taking Chalk’s word for it, it seems like most of them could do pretty well as protagonists on their own.

At the end of the day, the blurb for the next book sounds interesting but this seems like more of a series to borrow from the library than one that I would purchase the rest of.  I’m giving Blood and Bullets a three out of five for decent premise but a miss with the main character.

I’m working on getting my backlog of review copies reviewed and posted so the schedule may be a little wonkier than usual from now until a bit after finals. Things probably won’t get back to what passes for normal here until I’ve got a job for the summer and have gotten my computer checked out for why it’s running slow.

Ana Cordona has been left to defend the remainder of her pack since all the males were killed when someone poisoned their well.  She’s had to fight off the advances of her neighbor, Sean Taggart, another Alpha who wants both her and her land for his own.  When an old flame shows up offering protection for her and her pack it’s enough to accept his conditions and become his mate.

I started reading Katie Reus’ Alpha Instinct expecting a somewhat trashy romance novel with a tough female lead and a thoughtful, maybe a bit sorrowful male lead.  What I got instead was a trashy romance novel with a “strong” female lead and a bull headed male lead who was too wrapped up in being the Alpha and doing what was “right” for Ana to consider how she’d feel or react to his decisions.  The reader is told that Ana has been leading the remainder of her pack fairly well since her father, the previous Alpha, died.  But then Connor Armstrong shows up out of nowhere to claim his woman, his woman who he left for no apparent reason over fifty years ago, and suddenly Ana’s not only not the Alpha of her own pack anymore but she’s also relegated to being a painfully minor character while Connor and his brother go off to hunt down any and all threats.  While the boys are away, Ana stays mostly at home taking care of her sisters and being neurotic about Connor’s actions since he left all those years ago.  She also can’t do anything apparently because he’s the Alpha, this includes sitting down and figuring out what needs to be done to protect all that land that she knows better than he does and has been protecting herself for months.

There was some stuff with the shifters themselves that might have been interesting were it explained better or introduced slower.  There are Alphas, like Connor and some of his men, who are both alphas and warriors and are the one who apparently do all the actual leading.  Then there are alphas, like Ana, who are dominant to betas but aren’t warriors so they can’t lead properly because of something.  It needs to be expanded on a lot before it makes much sense.  Ana can’t complain about Taggart to the werewolves leading body because if she does it means that they’ll send her a man to take over her pack for her, not because she isn’t an Alpha mind but because she’s female, so that’s another thing that needs explaining.  Why are the human with attached animal self werewolves bound by the behaviors of wild animals by their government?

I’m not liking this world of Reus’, its logic doesn’t make all that much sense for me and its characters aren’t terribly likable.  Male wolves here apparently recognize their “destined” mates on sight and that aspect of it isn’t done well enough to keep me from having a knee jerk ick reaction to it.  The male characters take action, and the female characters just are for the most part.  I would read more about the only female in Connor’s pack, Erin, but only if she wasn’t being paired off with some dude as her main role.  I give Alpha Instinct a two out of five.  The writing was pretty average over all, I just couldn’t enjoy it because of the characters.

This might be a bit late.  The last couple of weeks have been a bit wild, trying to get back into classes and then adjusted to a schedule that involves regular sleep and studying.  But I’m back and ready to do stuff, so let’s kick off the new year two weeks late!

She is Lady Death, protector of humans, the enemy of every blood hungry monster around.  But Kat Redding is a vampire, one who fights her very nature, one who desperately wishes she was still human.  When the count of a small house tries to force the local werewolf cult to merge with his house Kat has to stop him.  But with only a few allies and highly illegal weapons will she be able to succeed before her own nature consumes her?

E.S. Moore’s To Walk The Night covers fairly familiar ground in urban fantasy, the monsters have revealed themselves and humanity has adjusted accordingly.  The main differences here are that humanity has been mostly relegated to hiding in the daylight and being preyed upon and there is a stark lack of sympathy for most of the monsters.  The second is quite possibly because of Kat’s own bias as it improves after meeting with the Luna Cult.  I get the feeling that my review for this book would be significantly different if it weren’t for the preview of the next book at the end.   As a standalone novel To Walk The Night falls rather flat, as the beginning of a new series it’s still fairly average but more forgivably so.

I’m going to jump right into the need for more character development and less navel gazing.  This is the kind of book that I would have really enjoyed if Moore could have stopped reminding the reader that Kat is a monster and terrified of losing her humanity every time there was a lull in the action.  Likewise, I liked the Luna Cultists and Ethan, but it felt like there should have been more to them.  I could have also done with either a bit less about her dark and tragic back story or would have liked to see Moore put it off until after Kat’s more developed, it’s something that I’m hoping will tie into the later books but felt like it had too much focus in this one.

On the up side though, Moore managed to do something fairly new with his vampires and werewolves without it feeling forced or gimmicky.  Having the two be different strains of a blood born infection was a pretty awesome way to introduce a bit of science while still keeping it magic.  I’m also kind of counting on the Luna cult dissidents to show up later with their leader as one of the series big bads. He’d be really good in the role just based on his characterization in this book.  It might also be interesting to see Kat have to solve a problem without her weapons since she treats them as her big advantage rather than the skill she has with them.

                I suppose what I’m trying to say is that, while I enjoyed To Walk the Night, it felt very much like a first novel and it moved rather slowly because Kat kept talking about her self hate and doubt.  I’m sure that this will get better in later novels.  The action scenes and the bits with more werewolves than vampires were worth the problems from the rest of the book.  I’m giving it a three out of five and wondering what happens next.

Hi all, this is me popping in sometime after midnight with a review and much mumbling about missed sleep. I’m rather excited lately as classes seem to be getting off to a good start and I finally managed to find some red bean mochi and enough espresso Monsters to keep me for a couple of weeks.  Going to be job hunting for the next while, so my review schedule will still be a bit patchy for until I find employment.  That said, on to the review.

Agent of Death Madeline Black can’t catch a break, deaths are happening outside of what should be, she faces attacks from both inside her own family and without, and dear old Granddad wants her to go on a diplomatic mission for him.  A diplomatic mission to the faerie court where the last, better trained, diplomat was beheaded.  Add to that her bodyguard’s disappearance and what’s a girl to do?

In reviewing Christina Henry’s Black Night I really wish that I’d taken the time to also read the first novel in the series, Black Wings.  It wasn’t so much that this book didn’t stand on its own as that I felt a bit like the new person in a social group who has to have all of the in-jokes explained to them a few times before they get it.  The first person may have had something to do with that, Madeline’s speech patterns can get a bit formal in places and she has a tendency to repeat her opinions regarding other characters every time they’re mentioned. Not that either of those are bad necessarily, just that they have the potential to throw a reader out of the narrative flow.  There was a side plot involving werewolves dying outside of the natural order of death that could have been expanded on easily for another novel that was mostly left alone.

I’m going to admit that some of the sympathy for the devil aspects of the book threw me big time, this is one of the main reasons I wish I’d read Black Wings first.  Madeline seems completely not freaked out that her father is a fallen angel and her grandfather is Lucifer himself.  She gets bothered by their methods and the fact that they want to use her as a playing piece in some vast power play, but what they are doesn’t really seem to play into her reactions too much.  I would have liked to have seen her initial reaction to finding this out.

There was enough courtly intrigue to make me really want to see the faerie queen, Amarantha, take a long walk off a short pier along with just about every other named faerie.  Really, the faeries here seem to pretty well be an entire race of jerks with over inflated sense of self worth.  I can’t say that I was a big fan of most of the side characters, but I did enjoy reading Beezle and Madeline’s interactions.  Gabriel was probably supposed to be sympathetic, but he just came across as a bit of a nothing character or a pretty piece of scenery for Madeline to worry over.  I’d want to see more character development for just about everyone down the road.

So, what’s the verdict?  I enjoyed Black Night while reading it, but it isn’t terribly memorable.  I get the feeling that I would have enjoyed it more as part of the series because the writing is fairly solid, but as a standalone novel it’s kind of bland.  I give it a three out of five and a check through the local bookstores for the first one

Head ache tonight, took a nap after dinner and woke up past midnight.  Posting review anyway.  Enjoy!

Ellen Connor’s Nightfall is one of those books that I looked forward to because I wanted to see how one of the authors I really like’s style works with that of another author.  I’d never read anything by Carrie Lofty before this, read the book entirely because of Ann Aguirre’s involvement.   I enjoyed it a good deal in some parts, in others I wanted to scream at the main characters to sit down and talk instead of posturing and grousing at each other.  This is the third or so time I’ve started writing this review.  Each previous time I’ve tried to start with a plot summary without spoilers or ruining the ending.  Each time I’ve failed miserably and wound up rambling about Jenna and Mason’s unresolved sexual tension for three paragraphs.  It really wasn’t going anywhere, so I’m skipping the plot summary this week.

Both Jenna and Mason are damaged, though in different ways.  She came from a home where her father was seldom around and expected her mother to drop everything for him when he was there.  He was kid without a supportive family who fell in with, gasp, Jenna’s dad’s survival group and latched onto them.  Both of them crave something approaching normal while the world ends around them, but neither will admit that they need the other.  It got old pretty quickly, especially when Doctor Chris was introduced and Mason got territorial without saying anything about being attracted to Jenna.  The magical demon dogs were a cool idea as well as a great twist on werewolves.  The slow introduction of magic as something other than the demon dogs was interesting.  The minor characters were pretty awesome when they got to be in the scenes.  But never have I wanted so badly to whack the main characters.

I mentioned earlier that I had a tremendously difficult time trying to come up with a plot summary that wouldn’t spoil the ending.  I didn’t lie, even just going off of what the blurb referred to I would have to skip so much that it would seem stiff and confused.  Yes, Mason kidnaps Jenna to save her life and then more survivors show up.  Yes, Jenna and Mason have some kind of passionate bond between them and whatever magic is happening changes Jenna.  It’s more than that though.  Nightfall sets up the next two books, including what I’m pretty sure is the set up for the final in the trilogy.  It’s also a lot of navel gazing regarding why Jenna feels the need to defy Mason, why he’s drawn to her, and the nature of the new world.

So, how do I rate it?  I’m giving Nightfall a three out of five.  There was a bit much exposition for my taste and the explanations about what was going on got kind of repetitive,  but I’m also going to read the next two to see what happens next.

Some of you probably remember the post I made earlier in the week regarding a book called Six Moon Summer, this is just a quick up date on that with some links where you can find out more about it.  Also, the awesomeness of it being released to the general public happens today.

Six Moon Summer can be found at:

Barns and Noble
Amazon

Happy reading!

S. M. Reine’s first novel Six Moon Summer is released this Friday!  To celebrate, I”m posting the trailer here as well as a quick synopsis of the synopsis.

Rylie’s parents are going through a rather tough devorce, so they ship her off to camp to get her out of the way.  But the other girls at camp single her out as a loner and bully her until she runs away into the woods.  There, she’s mauled by a wild animal. She thinks that she’s going to die, but wakes up the next morning in her cabin with only a few scars to prove that anything happened.  Rylie only has six months to find a cure.  Will it be enough?

I’m really excited to read this, so you’ll be hearing more about it in the next few weeks.