Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Snowfang Bride

I’m excited to be participating in this book blitz for Merry Ravenell’s new release! I haven’t read any of her other work, but I have a soft spot for werewolf stories and this just sounds like fun. It’s available in paperback and also for e-readers. Amazon and Barnes and Noble both have the electronic version for 99 cents at the time of this writing. I bought a copy and hope to write an actual review in a few weeks! Sounds like it’s a good one to curl up with as the weather gets colder. Take a minute to enter the giveaway at the bottom, after you read the short, slightly steamy excerpt. 😉



The SnowFang Bride
Merry Ravenell
(Snowfang #1)
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal

Centuries of political games killed most of the female werewolves. Now only a few survive, and the Elders work to change the old ways of thinking.

Winter, the only daughter of the SilverPaw Alpha, finally meets the soul Gaia has chosen for her: Sterling, the cold, demanding, and entirely-too-human Alpha of the tiny SnowFang pack.

Thrust into a world of human wealth for which she was never prepared, Winter must become Sterling’s flawless wife and Luna from the moment she arrives. The city is full of threats, both werewolf and human, and Sterling’s past is full of secrets best left undisturbed.

When they are betrayed by those closest to them, Winter and Sterling embark on a dangerous game of brinkmanship that will change their lives, and the future of the werewolves, forever.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

EXCERPT:

Sterling had been prepared to be resentful and distrustful of me, certain I was playing along with some ploy to part him from a large chunk of his wealth, or ruin him in some way. Knowing that wasn’t the case after all had to have been the final insult. Him thinking he had been bullied and played, just to find out he wasn’t even worth toying with.

Sadly, for both of us, this wasn’t as simple as me being my father’s pawn.

It would have been a hell of a lot more straightforward if I was bait, and Sterling the nice woolly sheep being led in for fleecing.

Him sleeping apart from me wouldn’t make things any better between us, or easier on the pack. It’d make things worse.

Sterling’s lips compressed a little tighter.

“I won’t make off with your virtue,” I told him.

A glint in his hazel eyes, like a knife twitching in and out of direct light. He leaned forward, his voice like a hand through my fur, “Whatever virtue I had was made off with long ago.”

A little color crept to my cheeks, my insides squirmed, but not from fear. What would those hands feel like on my skin? Rough like the scrapes and callouses on them, or gentler? Angry, perhaps. His fingers pulling through my hair, perhaps just a little too rough.

One thing at a time. Maybe I should find out how his hands got that scraped up before I let him touch me with them.

Sterling kept watching me, observing, learning my every nuance and tick, as mates—especially Alphas—will do. He came to the conclusion my body wasn’t actually on offer just yet. “You trust me to not lay a paw upon you.”

“Should I not?” I asked.

He leaned closer, his breath on my cheek, his lips very close to mine. “When I shake off the shock, Winter, I would not trust me.”

His words were like a rough caress, sending fire over my skin and a single shock through me. Desire overrode the haze of rattled anger and insult. I think I might have whispered something monosyllabic, and certainly imbecilic. It didn’t matter. He closed the final breath of distance between us, his strong body pressed mine against the wall, and kissed me.

I had never been kissed like that. Hard. Rough. Hungry.

My fingers found his shirt and jawline, one set twisting into the fabric, the other raking fingernails along his flesh, enjoying the painful bristle of his unshaven skin.

He grabbed a handful of my thigh, lifted me against him, his touch rough and everything I had never known I needed. No, not rough enough, not nearly enough. He felt so strong, so solid, so rough under those tailored human clothes.

I gathered myself and pried him back a few degrees. “Not tonight,” I breathed. “Gaia may have chosen you for me, but I want to see why.”

 

Author Bio:

Merry leads a heavily caffeinated lifestyle offset by the occasional 5K or 10K. She lives in the North Bay area of CA with her husband and fellow author, David, plus their two cats.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book Review: The Werewolf of Paris

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This is my first finished read for the Halloween Read-A-Thon being hosted by the lovely Lauren at Wonderless Reviews! You can see my complete list in my first post. I picked an older book because I wanted to see some of the beginnings of modern paranormal literature.

19119826 The Werewolf of Paris was first published in 1933. The writing style is definitely of the age, but it also shows marks of the beginnings of modern day novel writing. Apparently they liked their smut in the 1930s too, they just tended to be more embarrassed about it. 😛 The first few chapters in this book made me think that maybe this was going to be more of a bodice-ripping paranormal than I was anticipating, but after the initial set-up most of that dies off. There’s only a few particularly descriptive passages.

Bertrand Caillet is the main character, but his story is mostly told by others – a young American who finds a written account of his crimes, and his adoptive uncle (the writer of the account).

The first third of the book has an entirely different flavor than the later parts. It sets up the story of Bertrand’s parents, leads us up to the full onset of his condition, and generally paints him as a sympathetic character. There is a lot of action and a decent amount of dialogue. After Bertrand’s arrival in Paris as a young man, however, the narrative devolved horribly into a dry, boring history lesson on the Franco-Prussian War – I had SO MUCH trouble staying focused!

I really struggled with how Bertrand was portrayed. As I said, at first he seems like a truly sympathetic character – his werewolf nature is in his blood, it’s not something he asked or encouraged. His uncle keeps anything he learns about it from him. He is locked up as a teenager, a prisoner in his own house. He believes his rampages are dreams. So far, so empathizing. BUT. THEN. He begins to figure it out…and he doesn’t fight against it, at least not at first. He is only conscious of his need and desire…he feels shame and sadness when he comes to himself, but he doesn’t truly seek for a cure until later. His relationship with Sophie was truly sad…all the passion of young love (though, what HER mental issues were, I never quite figured out) with so much sickness and no help at all offered to them. No one took pity, no one tried to truly understand, they just tried to force them into acceptable societal roles. 😦

Overall, this book didn’t strike me as a horror novel, but more of a tragedy. Even reading it after dark didn’t help with that! I even took it to bed with me and read IN the dark with my backlight…yeah, not scary. I’m giving 3/5 stars. While of course there are some gruesome bits…I was mostly just overwhelmed by sadness for Bertrand, for Sophie, and for their families. Not the thriller/scary book I was hoping for.

That said, I can definitely see where this was an influential book for paranormal movies and novels in the modern world. Now I really want to delve into the history of the legends!

Halloween Read-A-Thon

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I’m so excited to have found a group of people to do this with! As I wrote in my beginning of the month post, I was already planning to spend most of the month with Halloween-type books. This just makes it so much more fun! Many thanks to Lauren at Wonderless Reviews for putting it all together and making the gorgeous graphics available. Pretty much the rest of my month is going to be filled with spookiness and indulging my sense of the paranormal. 😀 😀 😀 I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading.

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My pick: Stalking Jack the Ripper. This cover gives me a slight chill every time I look at it (there’s not actually blood pictured…but I keep thinking I see blood on the knife…), though from what I hear it’s not all THAT creepy of a book! I intend to find out.

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My pick: Dracula. I’m listening to this version from Audible, with different narrators for each person. So, sort of dramatized, but not exactly. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, but I keep getting annoyed at the way the women just accept being second-class citizens.

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My pick: Something Wicked This Way Comes. I don’t know a whole lot about this book, to be honest, but it sounds creepy AF. Lory at Emerald City Book Review posted about it a little while back and I put it on my list!

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My pick: The Werewolf of Paris. I’m trying to read some of the original supernatural stories this year, stories that started or shaped our modern day ideas of vampires, werewolves, etc. Obviously the legends of these types of creatures have been around much longer than even these books, but I thought this and Dracula were both good starts.

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My pick: Treat – Throne of Glass. I still have so many other books to read I have to mix it up a little or I will NEVER get through my pile of library books!

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My pick: The Architect of Song. While not specifically relating to Halloween, it does have a good deal to do with ghosts and again, sounds creepy AF. I am SO EXCITED to read this one!!

Fingers crossed I will get to all of these! Are you reading anything special for Halloween or autumn in general?

Book Review: The Dream Thieves

Usually, the desire to fangirl over a book turns me into a heart-fluttering, obsessive mess. However, the fangirl aroused by THIS book, was inspired by much deeper feelings. Feelings that just left me staring off into space and generally just trying to process. This book, you guys. This. Book. (WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK)

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“I’ve been all over the world. More than one country for every year that I’m alive…I’m not saying that to show off. I’m just saying it because I’m trying to understand how I could have been so many places and yet this is the only place that feels like home. This is the only place I belong. And because I’m trying to understand how, if I belong here, it…”
” — hurts so much,” Blue finished.

And that is how I feel about my lovely home in Virginia (I swear Maggie Stiefvater patterned Henrietta after my adopted hometown). Because even though I don’t live there now, and won’t for who knows how long (if ever)…I’m pretty sure it will always, always feel like home. It hurts, because it doesn’t make the most sense for me to live there, because there are part of it that make me angry and sad, and yet…this. So much this. That someone understands all the deep, intense emotions I have about home is so rare, and then to find it in a book…I’m pretty sure that The Raven Cycle is going to be one of my all time favorites.

 

It was a massive old forest, oaks and sycamores pushing up through the cold mountains soil. Leaves skittered in the breeze. Ronan could feel the size of the mountain under his feet. The oldness of it. Far below there was a heartbeat that wrapped around the world, slower and stronger and more inexorable than Ronan’s own.

For beautiful, heartfelt, feel-it-in-your-blood prose like this.

Anywho. Gansey, who actually plays less a part in this one, nevertheless starts off with a bang as he spouts off one of the most hilariously quotable lines in the book (I’m practically stalking for an opening in a conversation so I can use it):

“So what you’re saying is you can’t explain it.”
“I did explain it.”
“No, you used nouns and verbs together in a pleasing but illogical format.”

Bahahahahahaha. Ahem.

The Dream Thieves continues the story of the Raven Boys and Blue Sargent as they search for the Glendower, the long lost king of Wales. This second of four books focuses more on Ronan Lynch than the first, and he is arguably the MC/POV but all the others still figure well into the story. For myself, I kept wishing we would see more of Maura and the Gray Man, but then the book would probably have been too long…ah well, maybe in the next one.

Ronan is still a complete and total dick. No worries, guys, your daredevil bad boy isn’t going anywhere. He just proves to a be a badass with a soft spot for home, and family, and the balls to go with his sharp tongue. He’s the emo, complicated boy type at its finest. With a couple of twists. Like the whole dreaming deal he has going on. I’m trying reeeeeeeally hard not to give actual spoilers but…yeah. Oh, and Ronan also has an extremely quotable line (I’ve already used this one, and I want the fucking t-shirt, damn it):

“I am being perfectly fucking civil.”

His depth of love and commitment to his family is his most redeeming quality. Ronan is so far from perfect…but the Raven Boys and Blue need him. They need him as the avenging angel that will sacrifice himself to do whatever is needed to protect them. Ronan has pretty much given up his right (and let’s be honest…he gets off on the thrill so it hasn’t been THAT hard for him) to an easy conscience. He still doesn’t do anything SO bad…but he will protect his own, no matter what it costs him. We still get to see a softer, more vulnerable side sometimes – with his brother Matthew, and with Chainsaw. Who knew a raven could be cute?

There’s a lot of development of the other characters as well, almost to the detriment of the overall plot. I suppose that’s a point against, but I didn’t actually mind it, I was so interested in seeing more of Ronan’s family, and Blue’s 300 Fox Way family.

For Blue, there was family – which had never been about blood relation at 300 Fox Way – and then there was everyone else.

I adore Blue…she’s some awesome combination of spunky and unsure and sweet…someone I’d want for a friend. Her killer kiss curse isn’t quite so much in the forefront in this book, which I liked. This one just overall felt less like high school. They were focused on more important things in general, even though there’s still a bit of tension of love/like between them. There’s one part in particular where Blue and Noah – Noah, of all people! – almost broke my face in half, I was grinning so hard at their awkward adorableness – totally non-romantic, but adorable. I loved that we saw more of Maura, and that she was more than just Blue’s mom. That’s something so often left out of YA novels, it was very refreshing. Especially as an older reader, I felt like I could relate to her.

The appetizers were delicious, not because of the kitchen, but because all food eaten in anticipation of a kiss is delicious.

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The waiting, yo, the waiting.

Last but not at all least, there is Adam. To me Adam has always been a sympathetic character and one I could identify with, for several reasons. I guess in the first book he sometimes seemed a bit whiny, but really…his backbone, ability to pick himself up again and again, and his work ethic won me over. His pride, which so often gets in the way of others helping him, is so much a part of him that no one really wants him to get rid of it. In this book he’s struggling with the parts of him he’s inherited from his father, struggling with being able to express himself without being cut down (either literally or figuratively) for it – and guess what? He’s a teenage boy. With issues. It’s hard. He makes mistakes. But he’s just…he’s such a sweetheart. And the fact that, of all the Raven Boys, he feels the most alone…it just breaks my little heart. I wanted to make him hot chocolate and tuck him in bed, to make him feel safe and cared for.

If he had no one to wrap their arms around him when he was sad, could he be forgiven for letting his anger lead him?

I really hope that Adam finds some real happiness in the next two books. If he doesn’t, I swear…I’ll be reduced to writing fanfic to give him some.

I gave this book 5/5 stars, which surprised me, especially since the first one was only 3.5/5! I just loved it so freaking much, for so many reasons. I really fell in love with all the characters in this one, much more than in the first. I’m still very intrigued in the Glendower part of the story (especially with the complete realization of Ronan’s ability to dream things into being), but right now I would follow these characters anywhere.