Book Review: Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

Guest Review by Lisa Lester

book review hunger moon by melissa snarkWerewolf Victoria Storm knows all about duty.  Alpha to a dwindling pack decimated by war with the Barrett family, and with new pups on the way, she must find safe harbor away from the pursuing human hunters that have sworn to wipe her pack from the face of the Earth. After praying to her goddess Freya for guidance, Victoria is led to Sierra Pines, California to find an Alpha to protect and shelter her pack.  Arik Koenig, a powerful alpha male with a murky past, promises to be the protector her pack so desperately needs, and agrees to be Victoria’s mate.  Yet nothing is ever easy, and Victoria soon finds that the wickedly handsome Arik comes with his own baggage; his murdered wife’s spirit cries out to Victoria to protect her son, Logan, who has been rumored to be his mother’s killer.  Can she trust the attraction she feels with Arik, despite the rising contention between father and son?  Or will the mystery of his wife’s death lead to the destruction of her pack?  She has to find the answers, and fast, to keep herself and her pack safe.

This book was literally a page turner for me.  This was one of those books where I would look at the clock, groan aloud at how late it was, and move on to the next chapter, until I finished it in one sitting.  Melissa’s concise writing style keeps up a good pace without slowing down, and the characters are alive and seem to leap off the page.  I also loved the inclusion of Norse mythology into the story; the world and mythos building here is just enough to be immersive without bogging down in the details.  Another aspect of the book I liked was that even in their human forms, the shifters in this world still have characteristics of their animal counterparts, such as showing submissiveness to a dominant pack leader.  I particularly enjoyed the snappy dialogue between Victoria and Logan, as well as the sparks that fly between her and Arik.  Let me tell you, parts of those interactions were definitely hot! While I missed the first book in the series, that is definitely a mistake I will have to rectify.  I’m intrigued to see where Melissa takes Victoria and her pack, and to learn more about the role she plays as a Valkyrie and the dynamic between her and her goddess Freya.  A definite must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

Book Review Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

 

About the Book

Valkyrie Victoria Storm desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain… obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety.  Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible.  Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…

About the Author

A friend asked me once how I chose my pen name. I told her the following: “Melissa, because when people mix up my first name, it’s the most common goof up. Snark, because it amuses me. A) I love the word ‘snarky’ and B) I love Lewis Carroll.”

As an individual, I’m sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I’m not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I’ve got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I’ve worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.

I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.

Follow Melissa on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website. She also invites readers to email.

About the Reviewer

Lisa Lester lives in a humongous house with three cats, three dogs, two dudes (one of which she’s married to, the other one is a refugee from New Jersey) and a partridge in a pear tree…okay, just kidding about the pear tree.  And the partridge too. When she’s not working for the Man. she’s reading or killing stuff on World of Warcraft. She also enjoys nerdy things like Star Wars, crocheting, and pretty much any kind of music.

 

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Book Review: It’s a Wonderful Undead Life

Guest Review by Tsuki Mew

book review it's a wonderful undead lifeI really hate giving books a “Did Not Finish” rating but usually it just means I didn’t like it enough to trudge through it in order to give it a one-star review.  When it gets to that point I wrestle with the concept of reviewing it when I did not even finish it.  How can I truly give a review when I never got to the end and in this case, only 45% in?

This is my reasoning behind my decision to review it anyway.  I am a negative review reader.  I want to know what the problem was for some people.  Sometimes it is the price and other times it was inconsistencies in plot or poor storytelling.  In this case it was a little of everything from characters to plot to mythology.  I pretty much had an issue with everything.

The story begins with a vampire killing a human.  The opening seems like an attempt to set the stage like in many paranormal romances.  The reader gets a glimpse of the paranormal elements and the first (or sometimes only) conflict.  Quickly the story shifts to Cailey who is having a terrible time with the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life(hence the title).  Cailey is attacked by the vampire in the prologue and left for dead.  From there she meets vampires and becomes one herself.

I pretty much stopped reading right after she became a vampire. At that point I realized I couldn’t stand another moment of the vampire family or Cailey’s ridiculous behavior.  I also cared very little for the villain, secondary characters or pretty much anything.

Cailey is completely unlikeable and unrealistic in most of the scenes.  She whines about the movie and Christmas.  She rationalizes walking home in a seedy part of town in the dark because her ride needs five more minutes at work.  Frankly I was hoping the vampire would just kill her by this point.  She then gets attacked and runs away from the people trying to help her.  She rationalizes her need for blood and sensitivity to light in about three paragraphs and just accepts it.  She actually formulates a plan to survive, which I respected, but she implemented it horribly.

Gabe (the hero, I guess) was also so childish and unrealistic as an ancient vampire I had to put it down multiple times to get over the laughing.  Gabe acts like he’s twenty-two years old or younger.  He has insta-love with Cailey or at least instant attraction.  When she says something about her ‘mentor/sire’ being horrible he gets offended even though it is obvious she is talking about the vampire who attacked her.

The entire vampire family is unrealistic.  I understand sibling dynamics and I love them in paranormal romances but this was ridiculous.  The siblings act like four twenty year olds with little wisdom or actual life experience.  Michaela (Gabe’s sister) wants to let Cailey die although she believes in healing people.  Metta (Gabe’s other sister) spends the time while Cailey is dying to rhapsodize about the hero.  Rafe (Gabe’s brother) is like the kid brother everyone finds annoying.  They act like a group of people no one would want to hang around.

Not only are the characters unrealistic but events shift so much I couldn’t keep up.  Cailey mentions she’s dying and sort of seems like one more breath will kill her.  She then spends a few pages discussing Michaela’s research, Cailey’s ex husband, and political correctness in vampire society. If I was dying those would all be the last of my concerns. Also I might want them to start going on and on about how my becoming a vampire saves their butts.

The other major issue I had was the technical terminology used.  I understand Cailey worked in the medical profession but anything pertaining to medicine was overly complicated and spiffed up to sound pretentious. The author used words/phrases like ‘sphygmomanometer’, ‘oximeter’, ‘subnormal temperature’, etc.  As someone who is not in the medical profession this threw me out of the book and made me skim through hospital scenes.  Say her temperature is low and they’re monitoring her and then move on please.

I had trouble with the writing style and the ‘as you know’ writing. The mythology seemed thrown in to easily explain ‘good vampires’ and ‘convenient plot points’ rather than a real grasp of vampire mythology.  I have no problem with creative mythology but it seemed like it was a hybrid of a bunch of different mythologies to the point it made vampires seem normal and humans abnormal.  Also the combination of Nyx and Cassiopeia seemed a little too convenient.  It left me wishing for better story-building.

I struggled on each page to read about Cailey and Gabe.  I hated both characters and the situations in the book.  When she became a vampire I actually thought it would have been a good ending place.  All the book would have required was a quick stand-off between Gabe and Vincent.  That was it!  That point in the story would have set up another novel and left things shorter.  I would have much preferred it.

This was not my cup of tea at all.  I wish the author had taken a little more time developing the characters and building the world around them.  It had potential with the general premise and the idea of the vampire family but if fell way short.

About the Book

It’s been a rough couple of years for Cailey Kantor. Facing her first Christmas alone and bad financial news, she prays for an angel to fix her problems. Instead, a sadistic, sociopathic vampire, with the goal of starting a vampire war, attacks her and forces her to drink blood stolen from the Nosferatu Gabriel Blautsauger.

Gabe must complete Cailey’s turning or she will die. In doing so he risks losing his yet unfound soulmate. But something about the lovely mortal speaks to his heart. Once her transformation is complete, he and Cailey find themselves embroiled in a battle that could cost them all they hold dear.

Faced with lies, abduction, and betrayal Cailey wonders if the vampire she is falling fangs over heart for is in it for love or if she’s just a means to stop a war.

About the Author

 R. E. Mullins was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. She has also lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Springfield, Missouri and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Though she has loved each area, the Ozarks hold a special place in her heart. That is why she set her fictional town of Amber Heights there.

She worked as a Phlebotomist for ten years and assisted in a Continuing Education Course in Phlebotomy for several years. Now she is concentrating on writing. Visit her at any or all of the links below.

Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Wild Rose Press

About the Reviewer

Tsuki runs her own reading/review blog at http://tsukibooks.blogspot.com. She’s  a lover of all things romance–which means Happily Ever Afters are a must. (Frankly the tragedies can stay on the shelves for the most part.)