Monday, April 30, 2012

Re-Read: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

I have been busy and distracted lately.  Too many things are pulling at my attention.  At times like this I find it difficult to get pulled into a new book.  My mind wanders and I just don't do the story justice. When this mood strikes I know that the best thing for me to do as a read is to go back to a well loved novel and do a re-read. Having been in the mood for an historical, and finding an inexpensive copy at the store, I recently picked up The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt.  I remember loving it the first time around and was curious to see if it stood up to a second reading.  The verdict? Most definitely!  What a great read this was, and just what I needed right now.  I pulled up the review I wrote about it back in 2008 (whoa! Exactly four years ago today!) Everything I said back then still applies now.  So in a fit of laziness, here is my review revisited. I jotted a few current notes in red so you can see my thoughts today compared to 2008.

Title: The Raven Prince
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: Historical Romance

Back cover

THERE COMES A TIME IN A LADY'S LIFE...Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits. What is a gently bred lady to do?
WHEN SHE MUST DO THE UNTHINKABLE...The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior. Dammit! How hard can it be to find a decent secretary?
AND FIND EMPLOYMENT.When Anna becomes the earl’s secretary, both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his “manly” needs. Well! Anna sees red—and decides to assuage her womanly” desires . . . with the earl as her unknowing lover.

When it comes to historical romance, I like my heroines to be spunky. Spunky and not 18 years old. Maybe I am getting old, but I just can't connect to a heroine who is only four years older than the students I teach. I really am leaning more and more towards characters who are...mature. Hey, I'm turning 35 in a few weeks. It was bound to happen eventually.  So it was with great pleasure that I read The Raven Prince. I had heard about this book on another book blog (please don't ask which one, I have no idea. See? Old.) I figured, what the heck, I might as well check it out. When I saw it on the shelf of my local library I quickly plucked it up.  My memory or the book was so positive that I snatched up a copy when I saw it at the store recently for $4.

Anna Wren is a sweet little widow living in a small English town with her mother-in-law. Could be a bad set up, right? Not so, for these ladies. Mother Wren is that rare wonderful creature, a MiL who honestly loves the woman her son married (she even admits her son was a jackass.) It has been four years since her husband passed away, and funds are getting tight. Ana decides that it falls upon her shoulders to step up and earn some cash. She looks into the typical occupations for females (governess, companion to an old lady, etc.) but no one in their neighborhood is hiring. Walking home after a disappointing day of job hunting, Anna runs into the steward of the local nobleman. Huzzah! He is looking to hire a secretary for the Earl. You see, the Earl has a bit of an anger management issue. Temper temper! Hmmm... let's see. Here stands one woman looking for employment and one steward seeking to hire a secretary. What do we get? Women's Lib!!! Ok, maybe not. We get the story of the plucky widow working in a man's world. Temper? pfft! Anna has no problem with the Earl of Swartingham's temper. Perhaps that is because she first dealt with it on page one of the book when he nearly ran her down with his horse. He admired her pluck then, and it keeps her in good standing as him employee.  (Um, I used the word "plucky" a lot.  For that, I apologize.)

From day one, something about Anna speaks to Edward. She seems like a plain little country mouse, but her sexy mouth and sassy attitude just do it for him. So much so that he deems it necessary to hie off to London to visit Aphrodite's Grotto to ease the lust he is feeling towards his secretary (heehee, I accidentally typed sexretary.) Oh but she has him all figured out! Little Anna has a major case of the hots for the Earl. Seems like a mutual thing, right? Oh yeah. Well, if he wants to find his release it better be with her! With the help of two ladies of the night she recently provided aid to (against outcry from all and sundry), Anna travels to London where she dons a mask and participates in some sexing so hot it nearly set the pages of the book to flame. Damn! I'm gonna have to try out some of that. ::fans self:: After two nights of the steamiest love making a mask and an arm chair have ever seen, Anna flees London, realizing that hawt s3x is not enough. She loves him.  The realization that their interludes were a hollow mockery of Anna's feelings was quite heartbreaking.  

Of course, he finds out. Remember that temper I mentioned? Boy howdy!!! The anger runneth over. So does the angst. You see, Edward is engaged! He wants a family. Anna was married four years and no baby was ever conceived. Do you see the problem. Well, I won't say much more. I fear I have already given too much away. But let me just lay out a few more of my favorite points:

- any scene with Anna and Edward verbally sparring Anna gives as good as she gets. Edward actually likes that someone is willing to stand up to him.
- Edward's dog and Anna's quest to find him a name
- Edward and the rose bushes  Such a perfect gift.  At that point even Edward doesn't realize how telling the gesture was.
- Edward getting into brawls
- Edward's insane lust for Anna
- Anna being all feisty and spunky  Strong, determined... there are so many better words to use, Shannon!
- the fact that Anna is 31 years old
- Edward not being a perfect example of male beauty  This was a major issue for the character, but it in fact gives Edward character. All of the men in Ms. Hoyt's books are complex and not quite what they seem.
- Anna standing up to everyone to do what is right
- the hawt hawt hawt love scenes
- Edward's yearning for home and family
- the book

What I found weird:

- the fact that the author used both anatomical names (penis and vagina) and euphemisms (cavern) This actually did not bother me the second time around. I didn't even notice until I re-read this comment.
- the fact that Edward surrounds himself with such strange characters (his household staff) but we never get their stories I definitely want to know more about certain household staff. Edward hints that there is a story there, but never delivers.

The Raven Prince was a delightfully fun historical romance. I would go so far as to say this would be the book to give someone new to the genre. When you take into consideration that this is (I believe) Ms. Hoyt's debut novel, it is truly a wonderfully written book. I strongly recommend that you search this out and read it. I can't wait to read The Leopard Prince. The mysterious Harry gets his own story. I just know this man has hidden depths!

Grade: A

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WWR Wednesday- Nath

So, my mind is even more fried than I thought. Not only have I neglected this blog, but I apologized to the wrong person on Monday. Nath, you are a patient woman. Here is your day. We love you. We thank you. We welcome you!!! Thank you for joining me here (belated as it is, ALL because of my swiss cheese brain.)

What does this woman read?

I wish I could say I’m an eclectic reader. Alas, I am not as I read exclusively fiction. Oh, I do read scientific articles here and there for work and newspapers to know in what world I live, but if it’s for fun, it has to be fiction and preferably romance. Whether it’s contemporary, historical or paranormal, there’s just something special about two persons falling in love with each other and working their way through a Happy Ever After ending :)

I’ll read other genres such as urban fantasy, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, wuxia (kung fu stories) and general fiction as well, given there are strong romantic elements. I don’t really know where this romantic side of me comes from, but It’s been ingrained in me since I was very young LOL.

There is of course the occasional exceptions and that would be in the young adult genre - is an HEA ending believable when the characters are 16-17 years old? That’s why I’m extremely picky when it comes to contemporary YA. The other exception is manga and comic books. By the way, I grew up reading in French and therefore, when I say comic books, I’m talking about European comic books: Asterix, Tintin, “les Schtroumpfs” aka the Smurfs and so on. What do they have in common? Adventures and a strong sense of humor :) As for manga, if I read shoujo then I’m pretty much guaranteed to have romance in it. As for shounen, well it’s the same as comic books: adventures, humor, the character growths and the topic of series. If there’s romance, it’s a bonus, but not necessary for me. I guess it’s about expectations as well.

What turns you on as a reader?

Actually, for me, it’s not really about what turns me on as a reader... but what doesn’t turn me on ^_^; High school drama in contemporary YA, fairies in urban fantasy, vampires in paranormal romance and so on. As we read great amount of books, we all have our quirks :) Ultimately though, I’m willing to give a try to any books as long as I’m enjoying the read; whether it’s the characters, the world building, the suspense, the story, the humor or even the writing style that provides the entertainment. Or any combination of the above.

I do admit though, I enjoy reading about characters that are out of their comfort zones :) My favorite tropes are the “happy-go-lucky heroine thawing up the stuffy hero” and the hero or heroine unexpectedly become the guardian of young children. I also like klutzy heroines, beta heroes and razor-sharp minded characters :)

Then again, the most important at the end of the book though is that something has caught my attention and make me enjoy it :)

Monday, April 23, 2012


Whoa. Real life just buried me under an avalanche. Some of it is quite good, but stressful, nonetheless. I apologize to orianna. I have your WWR Wednesday contribution and am going to schedule it to post on Wednesday. I have been reading. I finished up two books in the last week. I will have reviews coming soon-ish. I swear! Ok, real life and real job beckon. Hope you all have a fabulous day. Let me know what you are reading. I need to figure out what to pick up next!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Please ignore this. I am being a (non-bookish) geek.

So on our trip down the coast I was able to relax and refresh myself. The ocean has amazing healing properties.  I was able to read a little bit, enjoy a cup or two or tea, soak in the Victorian ambiance of the B&B in which we stayed, and poked through gift shops and antique stores. 

I was able to feed my inner geek at one antique store in particular.  You see, I have been either knitting or crocheting for at least the past 10 years.  I started recycling and dying yarn about two years ago.  I have been itching to learn how to spin my own yarn.  Yes, big yarn dork.  Anyhow, I was going to start with a simple, and inexpensive, drop spindle.  It looks like an old spinning top.  One of those kids' toys.  I figured it would be a cheaper and simpler way to get my toes wet and see if I even like spinning my own yarn. 

And then we walked through the antique shop.

There was a spinning wheel.  Beautiful, reasonably priced, antique.  I fell in love. It is the dream to own one. Now I do.  I caved like a souffle and bought it.  It is missing a few parts that are pretty important, but I think I can jury-rig replacement parts for the time being.  Some day I will want to get the whole thing overhauled and real replacement parts made, but it will be pricey and I want to learn to spin first.  If I love it then the investment will be worth it. 

So here she is. My antique spinning wheel.  The final sign to herald in my utter dorkdom.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (Audio Book)

One of the reasons that I was excited about getting my new library card was that I could start checking out audio books again.  When I am at home I want to sit and read.  When I am in the car, however, I need to listen to something.  I'm sorry NY/NJ folks, but the radio stations out here just don't live up to the ones I left behind in Chicago.  Heck, even back home in the Windy City I would tire of hearing the same top hits over and over.  (I love you, Adele, but these stations here have played you to the point of annoyance!) So what do you do when you have at least 30-40 minutes in the car each way?  Listen to a book!

In the past I listened to The Westing Game, books by Tamora Peirce, and other books for class.  I tried Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but found it to be way too intense for my daily commute.  I need something witty and fun and (shockingly) not romance.  I have yet to be able to bring myself to listen to sex scenes read aloud by a stranger while traversing the NJ Turnpike.

So upon getting my new library card I headed straight to the audio-visual room of the library. Wow.  Um, that's a lot of books on cassette.  Do many people still check those out?  Thankfully, as I was about to give up, I saw the section of CD audio books in a separate alcove. (Side note:  this library make me sad. It is so poorly organized and neglected.)  The selection was pretty good and they even have mp3 books so you only have to worry about one disc. Much better than having to switch out the CD while in the middle of driving over a bridge.  The A-V department was closing up for the lunch hour due to low staff numbers so I hurriedly made my choice.  OH, what a fantastic choice I made!

Title:  Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Author(s):  Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Format: audiobook
Series: I wish!

Synopsis:  The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

I really don't want too say too much about this book and ruin it for those who have yet to read or listen to it.  What I can say is WOW!  Why did I wait so long to read/listen to this book??!!?  The characters are hilarious and charming.   You want a chance to browse through Aziraphale's used book store or have coffee with Crowley.  You are happy to have never met the Sisters of the Chattering Order.  You swear you know a girl just like Anathema Device.  You want to visit Lower Tadfield.  I swear I have taught a group of The Them.  The character list is long and brilliant. Even those who only appear briefly are vividly drawn.  For example, Mr. Young appears only a few times in the book and is described as a "serious minded man with a moustache smoking a pipe."  He does things "in accordance with tradition" and is not entirely comfortable comforting a baby because he has always respected Winston Churchill and has a difficult time patting tiny versions of him on the head.

The story itself kept my guessing quite a bit, which it rather impressive.  There are still a few things that my mind is mulling over weeks later, still trying to get straight in my head.  There is some room for interpretation about how things will play out in the future. Every detail is not laid out for the reader.  It is humorous and intelligent.  It respects the intelligence of the reader.

As an audiobook this was FANTASTIC.  Martin Jarvis was the reader and he did such an amazing job voicing all the innumerable characters.  He was recently in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, appeared on a handful of episode of East Enders, and did the voice of Nergal on the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (among many other credits.)  This man is talented and I want him to narrate every British novel I read. Yes, he was that good.

Seriously, this was a great book, a phenomenal audiobook.  If you have never read it GO GET IT.  If you have read it...GO GET IT!  Seriously, the reading is too fun to pass up on and you never know what crazy little detail you will have missed the first time around.  The four horsemen?  The telemarketers?  The hellhound?  The awesomeness that is Pepper?  Like I said, GO GET IT!

Oh, and by the by, there appears to be a TV mini-series in production for this book. The casting possibilities are spinning through my head!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WWR, Thursday: Christine!

Sorry for the delay.  I could site all sorts of valid reasons for not posting this sooner, but I'll be honest: Cape May, ocean, and wine tastings.  Those are the real reason this feature is coming to you on a Thursday night.  So without further ado, say hello to Christine of The Happily Ever After

What does this woman read? 
The majority of what I read is fiction, but I do read nonfiction now and then. I read from a variety of genres but romance--whether contemporary, historical, romantic suspense or paranormal--is hands down my favorite. I love the star-crossed lovers theme and have a particular affection for fairy-tale retellings. Other genres I read are young adult fiction, urban fantasy, straight fantasy, crime fiction, mysteries, general fiction and graphic novels. Graphic novels are a new source of reading enjoyment for me, having read my first one only a year ago or so. I've read fantasy, contemporary, non-fiction, memoir and classic graphic novels, including adaptations of Shakespeare! Go figure!

In nonfiction, I enjoy memoirs, books on gardening, health & lifestyle and cookbooks. Yes, I am naming cookbooks here because I often sit down and read them cover to cover as I would a novel. I also love a good craft encyclopedia.

What turns you on as a reader? 
I can be pretty forgiving regarding the depth and complexity of a book as long as I'm entertained. However, what really grabs my attention and favor are books with complex, consistent world building and character driven stories in which the main characters show emotional depth and growth. I love when a character has obvious flaws and insecurities and learns a bit about themselves through the conflict of the story.

Speaking of conflict, I love books with 'conflicting' conflicts. Give me shades of gray where the lines between right and wrong, good and evil are not so clear. Those types of stories make me really think about the characters' choices and second guess what I think I would do if I were in their shoes.

Ultimately I'm generally thrilled with a book in which well developed characters have experienced some valuable life lessons in the course of their story. Combined with the added bonus of a meaningful romance built around quality world building and character growth, and I am one happy reader.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greetings from the coast

Hello all, Have no fear. I have not forgotten WWR or the Wednesday feature. It is there in the back of my mind. It is, however, quite far back there. You see, this week is Spring Break. For most of the adult world that means very little unless you have school age children. For us teachers it means a week of freedom and much needed relaxation. Currently, we are relaxing and taking in the sites at Cape May. It is my first visit, which I am thoroughly enjoying. We will return tomorrow evening, at which time I will upload Christine's WWR Wednesday thoughts a day late, I will upload my many photos, and try to put together my thoughts about this trip. I hope you are all having a stress free week. See you back here soon!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Werewolf Reading List

Oh my, where did this week go? I had planned to add a bit more to the blog for Werewolf Week. Between wrapping things up at school before Spring Break and preparing to head out on our upcoming trip, life has sucked up my free time.  Ah well, here I am squeaking in one last werewolf post just before the week actually comes to an end.

When I want a good werewolf or shape shifter story there are a few authors that are on my go-to list.  There are those books I have read and re-read to get my lupine fix. Sometimes the main character is the shifter. In some books they play a supporting role.  Whether the lady in the spotlight or the man on the sidelines, I just love these characters. 

It used to be that I would have to wait until October for a new batch of Paranormal Romances to be released. Halloween was always good for some otherworldly heroes.  Mostly this included vampires. I love me some blood suckers, but we are focused on their furry friends this week.  It used to be a rarity to find books with werewolf characters, never mind were-cats, were-bears, or were-guinea pigs. When Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance hit the big time scores of Halloween readers rejoiced. Vampires in January?  Demons in April?  Werewolves all year long??!!?!?  Huzzah!!!

So now these books are abundant.  With such abundance, however, comes overexposure and a vast disparity in quality.  There is the good and there is the bad.  Let us not dwell on the bad.  Instead, let us list the good.  Together, let's create a reading list of books we have read and found to be exciting, delicious, decadent and down right fantastic.  Share with us your favorite werewolf/shifter book and I will add it in an ever growing reading list.  Let's see just how extensive a list we can compile.

Werewolf/Shifter Read List

Alpha & Omega series  by Patricia Briggs
     On the Prowl (anthology)
     Cry Wolf
     Fair Game
Alpha Instinct  by Katie Reus
Desire Unchained  by Larissa Ione
Last Call Kamikaze  by Moira Rogers
Mercy Thompson series  by Patricia Briggs
     Moon Called
     Blood Bound
     Iron Kissed
     Bone Crossed
     Silver Borne
     River Marked
Night Play  by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Psy-Changeling series  by Nalini Singh
     click here for full reading order
Sin Undone  by Larissa Ione

So which books have you read that should be added to the list?  I know I am missing a ton.  Which books have you loved that all lovers of werewolves (and shifters of all shapes) should read?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WWR Wednesday: Katie Reus

In honor of Werewolf Week and the release of Protector's Mate, Katie Reus has graciously agreed to join me at What Women Read as the first guest contributor to the new weekly Wednesday feature.  So without further ado, let's give Katie a warm WWR welcome!  WooHOOOOOO!!!  ::waves arms wildly::

What does this woman read?

Katie Reus: I read across a broad spectrum, but I’ll freely admit that romance is my go to genre. While I’m not big on the straight contemporaries (I need outside action), I tend to read a lot of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Oddly enough, even though I write about shifters I read a lot more about vampires and other different supernatural beings. I also tend to gravitate toward series books, especially in pnr. If I like a world I want to keep revisiting it! Other topics I enjoy reading about are: military memoirs, military history, the ecology of various animals especially apex predators, world mythologies and criminal behavior to name a few.

What turns you on as a reader?

Katie Reus:  First, a really good back cover copy description will suck me in and make me pick up a book. But it’s all up to the characters to keep me hooked. I love a strong heroine, but the hero has got to be well, a hero. While I prefer my guys to be alpha, I also love a good beta now and then (Charlotte Stein writes some amazing betas). A hero can be a complete alpha but still respectful of his significant other. If he’s not then I don’t think he deserves the title ‘hero’. He deserves something more along the lines of a**hat. In romance it’s all about that chemistry and heat. I can overlook a lot of things including okay world building if the characters jump off the page. That’s not to say I don’t like action driven stories because I’m also a really big fan of external drama and I love it when things blow up or a couple is on the run from an evil villain, but I’ve got to connect with the main characters in some way. So…my rambling answer boils down to one thing: likeable characters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What is it about werewolves?

Just what is it about werewolves?  What makes them so compelling? Why do I scan through book titles and descriptions, and find myself with a growing pile of books about Alphas and mates and pack relations? What makes them sexy instead of scary?

It is all in the writing, or course.  An author with a mind to create truly scary werewolves could do so with great success. A man who turns into a ravening beast, controlled by his base instincts?  This could be terrifying.

Or damn sexy.

The werewolf's history is as long reaching as that of the vampire.  Herodotus wrote of an ancient Greek tribe that transformed into wolves once a year for several days before returning to their human forms.  Ovid and Virgil tackled lycanthropy in their writing, as well.  The ability to change into animal form has been attributed to sorcerers, as well as saints.  Some scholars had even considered lycanthropy to be a form of devine punishment.

Werewolves and shape shifters cross cultural and international borders. You can read of the skin walkers in Native American legends. In Haiti Je-Rouge is a werewolf spirit that can possess the unaware and cause them to nightly transform into a cannibalistic lupine creature. While in Mexico the nahual does not kill, but instead steals cheese and rapes women.  Legends of such creature can be found in nearly all European countries, from Italy and France to Hungary and Russia.

Hollywood has long been fascinated with werewolves and shifters. You can look back to Lon Chaney Jr. to see the terror of a beast stalking the night.  An American Werewolf in London took a horror-comedy turn with the old trope. Werewolves have been portrayed as the villain (The Howling), the sympathetic victim (the Harry Potter series), and the oppressed (the Underworld series).  Legends of lupine shifters have been used to muddy the waters in such movies as The Brotherhood of the Wolf. (If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend you get it ASAP.)

Authors have taken an equally diverse approach to the theme. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Patricia Briggs, just to name a few.  In Romance, however, the werewolf and their shape shifting bretheren are more often than not the heroes.  Not always, of course.  Just as there are good and bed humans, there are good and bad shifters.  What is important to note is that authors of paranormal romance treat their were-anything characters as they do their human characters, with the added bonus of powers and a mating bond.  The lycanthropy does not shape who they are at a deep moral level, though it influences how they might react.

As I said earlier, it is all in the writing.  An author who really puts the time and detail into world building creates a canvas against which these larger than life creatures can come to life.  Tough men with a strong protective instinct.  Men who are in control of themselves and their environment.  Men who are in control of their inner beast.  Werewolves are the embodiment of both our humanity and our animal sides.  These characters live within the greater world, but also within the world of their pack structure.  The laws that govern them tend to harken back to days of old, to feudal law. They are strong in mind, body and passions.  They will fight to protect what, and who, belongs to them.  If you threaten what is theirs, be prepared to face their wrath.  If you are the object of their desire... you just may be one lucky lady.

So what is it exactly that keeps me coming back to these werewolf and shifter centered Paranormal Romances?  It is everything mentioned above and something extra.  Some indefinable something.  These are men you would likely avoid in real life.  That deep instinctual fight or flight response would kick in and send you walking in the opposite direction.  But for the time it takes to read from cover to cover in the book, the reader can live dangerously.  You can flirt with the creature and live on the edge.  One can allow possessive behaviors to set their heart a flutter that would, in reality, have steam pouring from their ears. You can be overwhelmed and over powered and love it in the safety of the pages of a book.

Just what is it about werewolves?  It's just about everything.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Protector's Mate by Katie Reus

I adore Paranormal Romance.  It is quite possibly my favorite genre. Recently I have been all about the werewolves and shifters.  So here at WWR I am hosting a week about werewolves.  To kick things off, I present a review of a book out just today!

Title: Protector's Mate
Author: Katie Reus
Genre: Paranormal romance
Format: ebook provided by the author

Sysnopsis: After two years in a war zone, werewolf Felicia Serna has finally returned to find another pack has taken over her territory…and the new second-in-command is the very man who haunts her fantasies.

Alaric has wanted Felicia from the moment he laid eyes on her, and now he’s ready to claim her. When a threatening shifter begins stalking them, he’s determined to protect her…even if it means putting his seduction on hold. But even in the heat of danger, their red-hot passion cannot be denied.

I feel the need to preface this with saying that I have a love-hate relationship with novellas. I love the idea of them.  A short, quick shot of romance.  You aren't always in the mood for a long book.  The novella steps up to fit the bill.  At the same time, this short format usually leaves me... unsatisfied.  Just as the story feels like it is gaining some steam, the author rushes to wrap it all up.  You see, love-hate.

All that said, I jumped at the chance to read Katie Reus's newest release (OUT TODAY!)  I strongly enjoyed Alpha Instinct, so when she said new newest, Protector's Mate, was in the same vein I had to read it.

Felicia has baggage. Not your average emotional baggage, but a full matching set of traveling luggage. Her early experience with pack life caused her to leave home, choosing the life of a lone wolf. Against her Alpha's wishes, she went to college and then escaped to Afganistan to work as a nurse.  Returning home took more courage than facing the dangers of the war torn country. Upon arriving home, she is met with the news that her Alpha is dead and another has taken over his territory.  This news is delivered by Alaric, the one wolf capable of making her heart beat faster.  He arrives at the airport to pick Felicia up, with no prior warning.

The spark flare between Felicia and Alaric from moment one. Her ability to trust, however, poses quite a stumbling block.  Alaric knew the moment he met her years ago that Felicia was his mate.  He also knew that she was not ready for the relationship he wanted from her.  Alaric stepped back and gave her the time to grow into adulthood, unaware of the warped dynamic inside her pack and the damage it would do.  He kept tabs on her as she went to college and, later, when she was overseas.  Eventually he contacted her via email and began to build the foundations for their future relationship. Felicia wants to trust Alaric, but she learned her lessons the hard way with her previous Alpha. Her wolf knows that is can trust Alaric, but her human side was still wary.

Ms. Reus does a fine job of quickly building the world in which these characters live and developing enough of a backstory that you believe Felicia and Alaric have a connection.  There is a dangerous conflict that arises that provides both plot tension and a setting for steamy moments.

I did like the story.  I think Katie did a credible job of weaving all the treads together.  I do wish she had been able to put these characters into a full length novel.  There is so much more I want to know about their story.  I was not fully satisfied, but still pleasantly entertained. If you like novellas you should definitely read this one.  If you find the format too short you should skip and go straight to Alpha Instinct.  If, like me, you have that love-hate relationship with novellas... go for it.  If is certainly worth a read.