Review: The Werewolf’s Wife

Reviewed by Jen

As the new head of his werewolf pack, Ridge realizes that it’s time for him to find a mate and start a family.  But before he can do that, he needs to get a divorce from the woman he married in Vegas during a one-night stand 13 years ago.  As hot as their drunken roll in the hay was, it ended very badly when he started to shift in bed –and the fiery witch responded with a powerful zap to his gut.  He hasn’t seen her since.

Just as Ridge shows up on Abigail’s doorstep, her son is kidnapped.  The mysterious abductor demands that she track down a particular vampire to trade for the boy’s life.  Ridge agrees to help her get her son back.  And as they work together, all the old sparks start flying again.

My biggest complaint about this book is that it’s predictable.  Basic math skills tip off the possibility of the child’s paternity from the get-go.  We know that Ridge is starved for family and what better payoff could there be, other than one that’s ready made?  The identity of the kidnapper is pretty transparent as well.

My other beef?  The very idea that Abigail could reignite this relationship while her son’s in mortal danger.  Sure, I can see her leaning on this stalwart man and reaching out for his goodness and strength. But I just don’t buy any mom putting her terror on hold to get laid.  Nope.  Her son has been kidnapped; his life is in jeopardy and she’s going down on wolfman.  And then some.

The book is part of Michele Hauf’s Beautiful Creatures world and references events and characters in the Wicked Games series.  You don’t have to read those books to understand what’s going on, but as a new reader, I could definitely feel I had missed something, with the large amount of backstory we’re filled in on.  Also, as someone unfamiliar with the world-building, I got a little confused about what Ridge’s were-form was.  It was explained, but not until very far in the book, that it’s part-man, part-beast.  And then I got a little squicked out thinking about him having sex that way.

The book was ok reading in parts.  I liked Ridge and I wanted him to get his HEA.  But overall, it wasn’t great.

Rating: C-

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Werewolf’s Wife
by Michele Hauf
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne

Guest Post & Giveaway: Michele Hauf

Paranormal Romance author Michele Hauf is here to talk about her contribution to the new anthology, Crave the Night.

My latest, Cruel Enchantment, is featured in the anthology CRAVE THE NIGHT. The story brings together Revin Parker and Sabrina Kriss, who both appeared in Her Vampire Husband. I knew when I was writing that story I wanted to get those two together. I also knew Rev would not have an easy time of it. I’ve heaped him with torture. Sorry, couldn’t be helped. Not only does he become victim of the werewolves’ blood games (in which, the wolves starve vampires of blood, induce UV sickness, then force them to battle it out in a cage match to the death), but Rev also develops an addiction to faery dust. If you’ve read Forever Vampire, you know faery dust is very addictive to vampires, much like meth is to humans. Now usually a hero like that needs a very strong woman to help bring him up from the depths, but in this case, while Bree is strong and independent, she, as many of us, has her own issues, and she may be just as addicted to Rev as he is to her. It’s an interesting combination that I enjoyed exploring on the page. I hope you will enjoy their story!

To purchase Crave the Night, visit Amazon or Swell Cat Press
Click here to learn more about the Beautiful Creatures world.
Find Michele on Facebook, Twitter, her website or her blog.

Michele is generously giving away a copy of A Vampire for Christmas, a new anthology featuring her work, along with stories by Laurie London, Caridad Pineiro, and Alexis Morgan.  Fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave your comments!

Review: Crave the Night

This anthology contains four novellas, each featuring a different brand of supernatural love story. There is not a lot of cohesion among the offerings. They vary in everything from the tone… to the hot-factor… to even the species of supernaturals involved. There wasn’t one that was boring, but I enjoyed the last two quite a bit more than the others.

Hidden” – Lila is in trouble. The beautiful Fae princess has made a binding deal with a human trying to take over the forests where her people live. Now she must convince the neighboring werewolf pack to give him their lands instead. Of course, the wolves aren’t interested, so she resorts to kidnapping their leaders to force their cooperation.

Rafe, the Alpha’s son, crosses Lila’s path when he comes to rescue his packmates. He’s immune to most of her magic, but her beauty and her personality are harder to ignore. Can the two of them work together to find a way to save both of their homes?

This was a pleasant, easy read. It wasn’t too much of a love story, though you could say it’s the beginning of one. It’s got simple world-building with an easily defined obstacle and a creative solution.

One Soul to Share” – Nolan is on a quest to replace the soul he lost when he became a vampire. He has discovered that he might be able to obtain one from the old sea hag, so he ventures out to find her. He meets a mermaid named Sarina, who agrees to act as his guide to find the hag’s underwater lair. But Nolan has no idea that Sarina is really hoping he’ll survive long enough for her to trade him to the hag for her sister’s soul.

The two of them meet one challenge after another as they journey toward the hag. In their own way, each reveals themselves to be something beautiful and something monstrous. They are kindred spirits and eventually come together in something more than their missions.

It’s not everyday you get a vampire/ mermaid underwater love-story. And I found that I kind of liked it. The story wasn’t like anything I’ve read before and that’s a rare thing. Both main characters are believable (in their own fantastical ways) and romantic in the ways they were willing to sacrifice for one another.

Cruel Enchantment” – The fairy Bree has no idea what to expect when she is kidnapped by werewolves and locked up with a hungry vampire. She certainly would have never dreamed that the vamp would be her Intended mate. She knows fairy ichor is like a drug to vampires, but she allows Rev to drink from her anyway. They go their separate ways once they make an escape, but they never forget one another.

It took Rev months to overcome his addiction to fairy dust, but now he’s clean.  His job investigating the vampire fight clubs has brought him face to face with Bree again. It turns out that she is an informant who has stopped helping his organization. When the two meet again, their connection is undeniable. But it seems like they are doomed before they can even begin. Rev can’t be with Bree without wanting to drink from her. So how can they make something work between them?

This was one of the stronger stories in the anthology. It’s sexy and hot. I found myself wanting Rev to ravish Bree almost as much as she did. The story is part of Hauf’s Beautiful Creatures world, but this works easily as a stand-alone. Dark, steamy, and tough to put down.

Enemy Embrace” – They saved the best for last with this uber-hot demon story. Nicole is a half-demon, on the hunt for revenge against the vampire who killed her family. But she is outmatched… until the sexy demon Dak comes along. From the moment she lays eyes on him, all she can think about is, jumping his bones. She discovers they are meant to be mates. Once they sleep together, they will be tied to one another for the rest of their lives. But Dak is reluctant to make such a huge commitment. He tries to teach Nicole to draw on her demon side to help her prepare to the fight the vampire. And the more time they spend together, the less they can fight the attraction.

This story was HOT. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for these two to come together. Patti O’Shea… where have you been all my life? I haven’t read from this author before, but I’ll be looking for her other work after this.

Overall, it was kind of a mixed bag. Though there were no stories I disliked, the last two were definitely more of a hit for me. A little less than 4 stars.

*ARC provided by an author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Crave the Night
by Patti O’Shea, Lori Devoti, Michele Hauf,
and Sharon Ashwood
Release Date: October 5, 2011
Publisher: Swell Cat Press

Review: Ashes of Angels

Reviewed by Jen

This book actually contains two stories: a novella that’s about 40 pages, called “The Ninja Vampire’s Girl,” in addition to the full lengths Ashes of Angels. Both are part of Michelle Hauf’s ongoing series Of Angels and Demons. And believe me, it was very apparent that I came into the series late.

I’ll talk first about the full length story, featuring Sam, a Fallen Angel, and Cassandra, his muse. The story starts out with too many characters and too much terminology out of the gate. For people who have been reading this series all along, that’s unlikely to be a problem. But I, on the other hand, was scrambling to the Club Scarlet online page to see if the glossaries or character description pages the author provided would help me fill in the blanks. They helped a little, and in all honesty I did eventually figure out what was going on, but my utter cluelessness distracted me in the first half of the book.

For those of you unfamiliar with the world-building, I’ll save you some trouble. A long time ago, a group of Angels decided to fall from Heaven (or Above as they call it). Their primary motivation was lust; they wanted to experience carnal pleasures with human women. Before their feet hit the ground, a handful of Fallen were snatched away from their brethren… destined to become demons who would hunt the others who fell. After a time, a great flood swept the remaining Fallen into an otherworldly planet, where they have lived ever since. Some have made it back to Earth, though, with their minds set on finding their Muse… the one human woman who is their predestined mate.  The thing is, not all the Muses are willing partners, but the Fallen don’t care. They just want that carnal pleasure. And physical unions result in pregnancies and, later, births of hideous flesh eating monsters called Nephilim.

Anyway, Cassandra is a Muse who has been preparing for the day she would need to defend herself against her Fallen. But when Sam finds her, she discovers he is nothing like the others of his kind. He wants to stop the other Fallen and protect the Muses, in the hope he may one day return to live Above. He’s actually a good guy; and that’s very fortunate, because the vampires are summoning the Fallen back to Earth. They want more Nephilim created, because they think the monsters are the key to help them one day walk again in the sun. Cassandra and Sam decide to work together to foil that plan and protect the Muses.

While Sam’s motives are pure, he is still fiercly attracted to Cassandra. And with her desire for danger, she finds she wants him too. Now, I understand what’s going on with Sam, but frankly Cassandra’s thing for flirting with danger was a turn off for me. Her grandmother groomed her since childhood to fear and fight the Fallen. And here she is with her tongue in his mouth in a New York minute. Oh yeah… and other stuff too. That’s a lot of trust for your life-long enemy, Caz. No matter how hot he is.

There was just too much for me to take in. And for Cassandra to be this woman who is trained and prepared and smart, she struck me as pretty stupid to let herself be lead by lust. I don’t know if I would have loved it, even if I knew what was going on the whole time. (I know I would have never been ok with Sam calling Cassandra “Bunny” in any scenario.) But I am sure I would have at least enjoyed it more than I did.

As for “The Ninja Vampire’s Girl,” this short story features Cassandra’s sister Coco. At the beginning of the book, the author recommends that you read this first. I wish I had. It clearly and consisely lays out the world building that took so long for me to grasp in the full length book. Unlike Cassandra’s story, this was told in first person, switching back and forth between Coco and Zane’s perspective. Basically, our hero and heroine meet as Coco is trying to steal a halo to give to Cassandra for protection. Zane is hunting the Fallen it belonged to. And as they book work toward their respective goals, their paths cross and a spark is born between them. I liked this novella quite a lot. It was action packed, straightforward and sexy. More than the full length story did, the novella makes me want to check out the backlist in the series.
3 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Ashes of Angels
by Michele Hauf
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne

Review: Forever Vampire

Reviewed by Jen

Vail is a vampire who hates his own kind. He was raised in Faery and has sustained himself on the essence of the Fae. But he was kicked out and is now having to make his way in the mortal realm.  His step-father has reached out to him, inviting him into the family business.  Vail is wary, but he accepts the job when he is tasked to find a missing vampiress named Lyric and the stolen Fae gown she was last seen wearing. Of course, he’s not doing it out of the goodness of his heart, but because his stepfather has agreed to help him find his birth-father, Constantine, as payment.  Vail has always wanted to get his hands on Constantine, so he could kill the vampire who raped his mother all those years ago.

There is more to the Lyric’s disappearance than meets the eye. Was she kidnapped or did she run away?  Is her disappearance about the stolen Fae gown or something more?  Finding her is easy for Vail.  Not so easy, is fighting his attraction for her.  It takes no time at all for the two of them to get physical (and can I just say “Yay!” for that.)  Of course, finding Lyric is only half the mission. Vail also needs to get his hands on the dress, but Lyric is resistant to put it back in his hands.  And the two end up working together, to figure out what is really behind her mother’s deal to hand over the dress to a member of the Unseelie court.

There was a lot I liked about this book.  I am always a sucker for a good tortured hero. And with a name like “Vail the Unwanted,” you know our vampire qualifies. It’s easy to see how Vail’s hate for vampires reflects the disdain with which he has been treated his whole life. I loved watching Lyric worm her way into his heart and help teach him his worth.  She is a likeable heroine and it was very easy to root for them as a couple.  The sex was great and so was the emotion behind it.

My only beef was the combination of information overload and black holes in the history at the beginning.  It felt like there was a lot of backstory we were getting on Vail in a very condensed form…. especially when it came to Vail’s murky family ties.   This probably would not have been the case if I had read Seducing the Vampire, the story leading up to his birth.

It was absolutely worth braving a little confusion, though. The story was action packed and the love story was really good.   4 solid stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley