Showing posts with label werewolves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label werewolves. Show all posts

Monday 13 February 2017

Review Time! - Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

Santa Muerte title image

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Title: Santa MuerteSanta Muerte book cover

Author: Lucina Stone

Genre: New Adult/NA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Vampires*, Werewolves*, Historical Fiction* (*ish)

Series: The Daniela Story #1

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.

This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.

I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.

I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!

I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.) faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)

It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.


Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.

In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...

...and wakes up somewhere strange.

This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?

Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.

All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...

Best bits:

I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.

And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.

Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)

And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.

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I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.

All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.

Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)

The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.

The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.

And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.

Not so great bits:

First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
  • depression
  • attempted suicide
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hanging
  • abusive relationships
  • low self-worth/self-esteem
  • racism
  • racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
  • the KKK
  • lynching
  • segregation and discrimination
  • sexual abuse
  • child abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • burning (as a form of torture)
  • attempted murder
  • homophobia
  • grave-robbing
  • missing persons investigation

I think that's everything - v. sorry if I've missed anything out.

There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*

At one point, the phrase totem pole is used in as a metaphor in a non-native setting, which is seen as cultural appropriation, affecting some First Nations tribes (this piece by Robin R R Gray explains more.)

It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.

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Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.

I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.

But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.

I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.

Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.

Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.


This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.

If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.

UPDATE 22nd APRIL 2017:

A couple of people have raised issues with the lesbian and depression representation in this book, as well as a few other matters. Some people have equated Dani's lesbian mother having sex with a man with biphobia.

I personally don't agree with the lesbian rep/biphobia criticism - because if anyone knows that sexuality is fluid, it's yours truly. But I see the validity of the points made.

For an overview of the issues that some people have with this book, see C T Callahan's Goodreads review.

I do find C T Callahan more than a little harsh on this book, but you guys all know that I believe in having all the cards on the table so that you can make up your own minds.

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Monday 29 February 2016

The Month in Review(s) - February 2016

Ah, February - a month of storms and Valentine's cards. And books of course.
Check out all my reviews from this month...

organising, categorising


Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (aka just 'The Lightning Thief') by Rick Riordan - Fantasy, Mythology


Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder - Poetry
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Classics, Romance
The Trouble With Wolves (aka 'The Trouble With Weres') by Leigh Evans - Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves, Fairies/Fae
Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates - Romance (m/m,) Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, LGBTQ+, Short Story

Graphic Novels

Grumpy Cat Volume 1 - Kids, Humour, Media Tie-In
Red Sonja/Conan: The Blood of a God - Fantasy, High Fantasy 

Popcorn Reviews (Film)

Seventh Son (2014)

Monday 22 February 2016

Mini-Review! - Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates

Omega Beloved Aiden Bates coverTitle: Omega Beloved.

Author: Aiden Bates.

Genre: Romance (m/m,) Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Short Story, LGBTQ+

Series: Omega Beloved #1

Amazon: (UK - US)


This is an 18+ book - I mean it! (Stay in school, don't commit crimes, etc. etc. - don't let your parents yell at me. Please.)

This is a book that I mentioned in my post on guilty pleasures - and how we need to ditch the 'guilt' part.

Basically, what we have here is a fairly steamy m/m werewolf romance. It follows the Omegaverse trope - something which will be fairly familiar to fanfiction readers like myself.

It's also quite sweet in places, very well-written, and there's signs of real character development, and real heart.

So, yeah, I thought it was pretty damned awesome - even though, at 35 pages, it's short to say the least. Time well spent.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Pleasure, Not Guilt


No more guilty pleasures.

I refuse to feel guilty about what I read.

The other day, I stopped, I stalled, I hesitated. I didn't want to record books I'd read on my Goodreads - even though that would've upped the number-count on my challenge.

Because, putting it frankly... it was m/m werewolf porn.

Felt the need to put a full moon in here... just because.
So I hesitated - I didn't want family and friends seeing what I'd read, because I didn't want them thinking I was weird (well... ship has probably sailed on that one... weird-er.)

(By the way, the reason that I don't share my Goodreads profile with you lovely people is that it's linked to personal social media accounts, and, knowing my luck, I'll be the one who the crazy mad-axe-murdering stalker decides to fixate on. It's just inevitable.)

So, did I actually add those books to my account?

Damn right I did!

I suddenly realised that I had to - because otherwise I'm sending a message that some types of books are 'worthier' than others. And you know what? That's simply not true.

Those books (Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates and Omega in Heat by Heather Silver - you can tell that I usually read a lot of fanfiction, right?) while short, and not what many would consider 'literature,' still had things to say.

And, actually, Omega Beloved in particular was very well-written, and gave a lot of scope for development in the further books of the series.

books on bedTo further fan the flames of controversy -

I've tried to read Possession by A S Byatt not once, but twice. This is a 'literary' and 'worthy' book that a lot of people flap on about and are over the moon for.

I couldn't finish it. I couldn't get on with it. I just couldn't connect; I found it too pretentious and wooden.

Would I say that, to me, the time spent reading Omega Beloved was time better spent than the time I spent trying to force my way through Possession? Completely and utterly.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't read things held in critical regard.

Quite the opposite. I'm saying people should be accepting of both.

I didn't like Possession - a lot of people did. To those who genuinely enjoyed it - good on you. It wasn't my cup of tea, so what?

And if m/m romance isn't your cup of tea? Fine. I don't mind. But please don't think there's anything wrong with reading it - or anything else, for that matter, just because other people don't.

Reading is the key part - and then, you can judge the book on its own merits, instead of on preconceptions of genre or style.

No more guilty pleasures! We shouldn't have to feel guilty about reading what we enjoy.

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Monday 15 February 2016

Review Time! - The Thing About Wolves by Leigh Evans

The Thing About Wolves book coverTitle: The Thing About Wolves (also published as The Thing About Weres)

Author: Leigh Evans

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves, Fairies/Fae

Series: The Mystwalker Series (#2)

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

This was another pretty random read from my library. Honestly, I wander around just going 'ooh! mine now!' and that is how I choose what to read the majority of the time.

This is a sequel (not that I've read the first one,) so I will keep the spoilerage to a minimum (i.e. the level that's in the blurb for this book.)


Hedi Peacock-Stronghold is half-fae (fairy,) and half-werewolf.

She's trying to keep her mate's werewolf pack (that's mate in the animalistic sense, rather than a friend) together in his absence. But what about when he returns?

She thought it would be all her wishes coming true: her mate, Robson Trowbridge, returned to her, and bringing Lexi, her brother, in tow. But things are rarely that simple.

Oh, and there's people trying to kill her. Can't forget those!

Best bits:

A lot of this was really fun - I love Hedi's sarcasm, and some of the situations she ends up in are so complex and random that I enjoyed the sheer 'hell, just go for it!' attitude of the author.

I found Lexi an exceedingly complex character - if you don't feel at least some sympathy for him, you are made of stone. Simple as.

And my mental squeals at Hedi to 'not be stupid and do this instead' seemed to actually be heard! I know! I'm so used to characters taking the stupid route, that it's a pleasant surprise when they decide to do the smart thing for once.

Not so great bits:

There were moments when I lost interest because the plot slowed down or the author seemed to lose some degree of control - these were noticeable, but overall the book managed to scramble its way back on-track.

There are, obviously, spoilers for the previous book in the series - if you want to avoid that then read the books in order.

There's a bunch of swearing and some violence that won't be to everyone's taste - and a few sex-bits (fans self,) so if that isn't your thing, you've been warned.

There's also references to torture, addiction, and child abduction - and probably some other stuff too - that some people may find distressing.


I really enjoyed this book - and it grabbed me. I felt sorry for Lexi, loved Hedi's attitude (and willingness to listen to my mental suggestions,) and the whole fae and werewolf deal-y that was going on; really enjoyable.

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Tuesday 5 January 2016

Review Time! - Dead Ice by Laurell K Hamilton

Title: Dead Ice.

Author: Laurell K Hamilton.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Zombies, Vampires, Crime, LGBTQIAP+ and Polyamorous

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (#24.)

Amazon: UK - USA.

A few starting notes:

I received a free paperback review copy of this book from the UK publisher, Headline, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is #24 in the series - I know, it's a big series. I'd read a few before, and really enjoyed them, but haven't read all of them, and certainly not in order.

Dead Ice can be read as standalone with very little problem, but there are a few spoilers for previous events in the series, so be aware of that if you want to read this book as standalone. 

As usual, the level of spoilerage in this review won't go beyond what's in the blurb of the book.


US marshal, zombie animator, and legal vampire executioner, Anita Blake, is on the trail of someone making zombie porn.

That's ick enough in itself, but there's something different about these zombies... zombies shouldn't be capable of fear.

If that wasn't enough, Anita also has wedding plans to deal with, and relationships - both personal and political - to juggle as well. Things are going to get interesting.

Best bits:

I love the frenetic energy of these books - things happen in a whirlwind of personal, professional, fur (there are wereanimals,) and fangs.

Anita's sarcasm and exasperation are, quite simply, awesome. And she's pretty kick-ass in general.

This series is pretty much the pinnacle of urban fantasy (and I do love me some urban fantasy - what with all the paranormal faffing around cities and everything...) and this instalment does justice to Hamilton's reputation as the queen of this genre.

The plot here is involving enough to keep you reading - keeping the right mix of Anita's personal and professional lives with the promise of a criminal case leading through it all.

Strangely, this book is also pretty emotionally healthy. Nope, I mean it.
Sure, bad stuff happens, a lot, and everyone is slightly broken because of it (of course,) but Anita and her household work pretty damned hard to make sure everyone is open, and no-one ignores what they're feeling. Nice and refreshing in any book.

Not so great bits:

Not everyone is going to be happy with the references (though no graphic scenes,) to BDSM.

There are also explicit sex scenes, including with wereanimals, which ultimately aren't going to be to everyone's taste. They are however handled about as tastefully as you could reasonably expect of explicit sex scenes.

There's a lot of characters here - which can get a little confusing when you're trying to remember who said what with who. But overall, it's not too difficult to regain your bearings.

Some of the LGBTQIAP+ representation - especially regarding intersex people - might be a bit off; though there is so much going on here that it's difficult to fully define that. Overall though, just having this amount of LGBTQIAP+ rep in a book is great.


An enjoyable instalment in a tried-and-tested urban fantasy series, showing that Ms Hamilton has enough in reserve to keep the involving plots and intrigues going for quite a while yet.

Buy Now UK - Buy Now USAGoodreads - Author's Site

Amended 29th October 2016

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Time to Review the Evidence - The Shape Stealer

Thursday 30 July 2015

Reviewing the Evidence - Shiver

Title: Shiver (US Link)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: paranormal, romance, ditzy, werewolves, ya
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls (#1)

A few starting notes:

I didn't really have many preconceptions about this book - I knew it was YA, and a paranormal romance, so probably also ditzy (I was right.) For those of you who aren't familiar with my own special brand of genre designation, ditzy is best described via personification - she's like a teen girl who keeps laughing in that way that sounds like dolphin noises. You know, the dolphin noises? Yeah, her.


When she was 11, Grace was attacked by wolves. Unlike most normal people, who would probably stay away from wolves after that, she becomes obsessed with them. Lucky for her (and for the plot) these wolves are not quite what they appear to be. Cue a teenaged Grace, another kid getting attacked by wolves, and a heap load of s**t hitting the fan. (Sometimes I think I write far better blurbs than the ones on the backs of books...and then I remember that's because no-one's paying me.)

Best bits:

The character of Isabel is awesome sauce! At first, I didn't like her - because she's painted as the kind of girl that we're not supposed to like: popular, gossipy, b***hy, rich, and privileged. But after a while, she comes into her own. She rocks. Honestly, she makes up for all the craziness.

I also like Sam - it's nice to have a book where the boy is more in touch with his feelings than the lead girl. Plus, a slightly traumatised bookish boy who's head over heels in love, and plays guitar, is pretty much what any girl would fall over themselves for, lets be honest. His song lyrics are terrible, but I'm willing to overlook it.

Ms Stiefvater also has some interesting twists on werewolf lore - can't say anything for fear of spoilers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attempt to bring some originality to the genre.

Not so great bits:

There's some stuff in here that'll upset some people - negligent and sometimes abusive parents feature, references are made to self-harm and suicide attempts, and there's much blood 'n' gore and an unfortunate syringe scene (*shudders*) but it probably won't bother people who don't have the paralysing fear of needles that I do.

There's also some virginal sexy times involving older teens (I think they're 18, or close to it,) which may offend the sensibilities of some, but it doesn't get that explicit.

I found that the urge to slap Grace was pretty high - though she was better in a crisis than I thought she would be. Generally speaking though, she's not a character I really liked all that much - maybe because she's so bland and yet so very incredibly stupid. Who obsesses over the wolves that attacked you in such a creepy way? Argh! It just felt like she was a bit too cookie-cutter paranormal romance heroine (I'm talking Bella Swan levels of cardboard and lack of chemistry) and that was slightly disappointing. But, like I said, she perks up in a crisis, so there is hope yet.


This is readable and enjoyable - and will certainly appeal to tweens and teens who like to dive into paranormal romances. Isabel and Sam are the saving graces - unlike Grace, who needs a suffusion of personality before the next book.