Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Reviewed by Joanna

Mo is the daughter of outrageously maniacal hippies, and so damaged by their overbearing nature that, at age twenty-nine, she relocates north to Alaska to get away from them. She needs a period of small-town living to feel normal, and settles into the little town of Grundy, working in the local diner as short order cook.

But Grundy has one resident who has an even stranger background than Mo does. Cooper is definitely not normal. He’s the naked werewolf from the title. At least he’s naked the day he turns up at Mo’s cabin with a bear trap around his leg.

Ah, I do love a good shifter story, particularly a refreshingly gentle sort of tale, as this one is. A few dramatic things happen, but really only as a background plot to allow the characters’ story to progress. The nutshell of this yarn is a woman with her own complicated backstory meets a werewolf, and they have a amusing time falling in love.

The drama is around the wolfy-side of the book. Cooper doesn’t remember much of what happens when he’s in his wolf form, so when hikers and townsfolk start getting killed and eaten, he wonders if he’s the culprit. It was a bit of a stretch to accept this but, like I said, it was really only there to add a little action. The romance itself was sweet and mostly angst free.

The whimsical tone of the book kept me reading. I enjoyed Mo’s extensive history, with her strange upbringing—think mother-earth parenting, home schooling, colon-friendly diets, no media of any kind. It shaped a somewhat spiky character with little chill, but who also didn’t bear grudges or take anything too much to heart.

The dialogue and one-liners had me frequently chuckling. See these examples:

I would have said he looked sheepish, but that seemed like an inappropriate word to apply to a wolf.

He stepped away. “Kissing shuts you up. I’ll have to remember that.” Bastard. Furry werewolf bastard.

Cooper sauntered over to the front door and jerked the handle. I could see that he was about to make one of his patented, oh-so-clever parting remarks, so I beat him to the punch. “You’re still naked!” I called, smiling nastily. “It’s cold outside. Expect shrinkage.” “Gah!” He grunted, phased back into his wolf form, and ran out of sight.

What had this straddling a ratings grade was issues with the overall structure. Mo and Cooper didn’t have anywhere near enough of a set up to develop a connection or chemistry between them, antagonistic or otherwise. Their first kiss, and Mo’s recognition that Cooper was a werewolf, didn’t land–which, as the two key focal points of this story, is pretty huge. I’d have substituted word count spent on Mo’s ex-fiancé and her parents to see her interact with Cooper more.

Also, the book needed a good edit, which I’m finding more and more common in digital publishing. Does this bother you, reader? Minor issues don’t worry me, say a handful of typos or missing commas, but when there are repeated or just plain weird mistakes it pulls me out of the story, and I get frustrated. This is such shame, as it’s not the story’s fault, and certainly nothing a decent copy editor could hoover up.

Overall, I loved the style and may go on to read more in the series if I like the sound of the plot. I’m unclear if there is a set up for anyone else in the wolf pack, but the huge and huggable cousin, Samson, piqued my interest.

Rating: C+/B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
by Molly Harper
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books

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