Sunday, 1 January 2017

DOUBLE REVIEW - RELUCTANT MATE & PACK ENFORCER - CASCADIA WOLVES BY LAUREN DANE

Title: Reluctant Mate
Series: Cascadia Wolves
Author: Lauren Dane
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 1st December 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
"I can't touch you yet. Once I do, it's over."  

As daughter of the ruling Pack family, Layla Warden is under pressure to settle down. Find a nice wolf mate from a nice wolf family and have nice wolf babies. Layla has other plans, but when you're a werewolf, biology trumps plans. And when Layla meets Sid, the sex is so intense, so hot, so consuming, it's more than just a connection. It's a mating bond.  
Sid Rosario wasn't expecting to find his mate so soon—some wolves never find theirs. Now that he's found Layla, he's never letting her go. But lust and desire alone aren't enough to secure their bond. If they want this incredible happiness to last, there's one more thing they'll have to do…

~ This  book was previously published under a different title ~

REVIEW
I have to confess I think I may have read this Reluctant Mate & Pack Enforcer in the wrong order. So I discovered this book covers the story of Layla and her mate bonding with Sid, that was referred to in Pack Enforcer. Though I feel I should say after reading this book, I personally think they can be read in either order. 

The cover features a back view of a muscular male and woman embracing. Then the author’s name appears in the mid section of the cover, with the title smaller directly beneath Lauren Dane. If someone described this placement and sizing of author name and title, I readily admit I would probably scrunch up my nose presuming it would not look aesthetically pleasing but it truly works. I do like both the placement of the title and its font style. The bottom third of the cover has a rolling hills landscape with a forest of trees, which upon reading the book I would conclude is the land which surrounds the Warden’s private home. I love the wolf in the bottom left corner, how it forms part of the landscape, giving the perfect place for the series title, Cascadia Wolves.This cover would draw my eye to it on a book store shelf and encourage me to lift it from the shelf to learn more about it, so I’d say the cover does its job very well.

So the main kick butt female character at the centre of this novella is Layla Warden the eldest daughter of the Cascadia Wolves Pack. Which means Layla is part of the ruling pack family. Layla is described as a tall, busty red head with beautiful china blue eyes. The other female heavily featured in the novella is Layla's best friend, pack member Tia Mathers. The three males featured in the plot are Sid Rosario, a tall, dark, dangerous man who oozes rebellion! who has short black hair and a row of earrings in his right ear. Sid is an artist who normally resides in Tucson. The other two Rosario's are Sid's cousin Adam, who is quite well known to Layla and Tia, in fact he has dated and slept with Tia. The other cousin who is called upon for help by Sid is Shane Rosario. Shane is higher in his pack hierachy than Sid but is tall and dark haired like Sid and is close to him as it is Sid's family that have shown him the werewolf ways as his mother is human. Layla is under increasingly more pressure to settle down, find a mate and have little werewolf babies to carry on the family line. This book is set in 1996, ten years prior to Pack Enforcer which was one of the glaring clues that informed me I had read the books in the wrong order. Duh! Well I was suffering an ear infection at the time! Layla is fiercely independent keeping her pack life and work life totally separate, unlike her female cousins who all work in a pack family business. Layla is adamant she is sooo not ready to settle down and procreate, no matter what her family and pack wishes are! 

It's during a night out at Nautica that both Layla and Tia end up bumping into Adam and Sid. Sid spots Layla and Tia and questions his cousin Adam about the females. Adam replies quite literally giving Sid the females "pedigree". Sid is insistent he is not interested in Layla's pedigree, but he does find her instantly attractive and feels drawn to her. So it's up to Adam to introduce everyone. Layla also eels a strangely strong pull towards Sid. . .she feels lie she is falling under some sort of spell. When Layla learns that Sid is her mate and bonding to him she panics and goes on the run, away from pack, family, friends and Sid. Layla is finishing it difficult to accept and she knows she has to complete the tri-bond too or she will slowly go mad. Initially it's suggested that Adam be the one to complete the tri-bond. but naturally the fact Adam has slept with Tia complicates things in Layla's mind so Sid generously contacts another of his cousins to complete the bond. Layla knows she needs the tri-bond desperately and is eventually found by Sid. Both Sid and Shane take things slowly and try to make the tri-bond as easy as possible for Layla. I won't explain what the tri-bond is other than to say it is an important and totally necessary part of the mates bonding.
There is an epilogue at the end of this book which has what I would consider a small spoiler for Pack Enforcer regarding Nina and Tracy, so I feel for me that I read them in the correct order. 

I loved the Cascadia Pack dynamics and how they are not necessarily set in stone, nor seem to force the females in the pack to be succumb to the males will, or be at the makes beck and call. Even after the bonding I am sure that Layla will continue doing the work she wants to do. Sid seems to be type of werewolf that will come up with a compromise with her on all aspects of their lives, from her working to them procreating.

I should probably say that these titles are a little steamy, certainly 18+ in my opinion, though I personally would not class them as erotica. To me erotica is pure sexual scenes, and very little plot or character building or background. These novella's are definitely plot driven so to me are not erotica. I found I thoroughly enjoyed them and am eager to read more when they are available.  To be honest if the next one was out now I would be purchasing it to read! I can truthfully say I have found another author to add to my favourites list.


Title: Pack Enforcer
Series: Cascadia Wolves
Author: Lauren Dane
Genre: Paranormal, Shifters, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 1st December 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
This wolf mates for life… 
Nina Reyes knows trouble when she sees it, and Lex Warden, Enforcer for the local werewolf pack, is nothing but. When her brother gets in too deep with some dangerous wolves and comes to Nina for help—dragging super alpha protector Lex into her life—she can handle it. She might have put her grifter past behind her, but she's still got what it takes. If only she didn't find Lex—his body, his scent, even his domineering nature—so intoxicating. 
As Enforcer, it's Lex's job to protect his people. Nina might be more capable of handling herself than he initially thought, but that doesn't mean she's safe from their enemies. His need to protect her is more than just pack business—Nina, a human, is his mate. Bedding her once is not even close to enough; to satisfy his wolf, he needs a true bond.  

The heat between them scares Nina, but sometimes the reward is worth the risk, and the thought of living without Lex terrifies her more than any threat the werewolf mafia can pose. Lex will do anything to keep her safe. And when the Rogues catch up to them, he'll get a chance to prove it… 
This book was previously published under the title of Enforcer ~ GR Link

REVIEW
To be truly honest I was in a bit of a reading rut and I was awaiting a few titles I had already signed up to read and review to become available for me to read. So I decided to sit down and think out of what has become my usual reading comfort zone of the dystopian, and the post apocalyptic genres. I went back to an older favourite genre of shifter romance. . .and found this re-released title on Netgalley and chose to read this book.

My thoughts whilst approaching reading this one were quite mixed after seeing the genres readers have classified this book as “erotica” and I do not read that genre. Whilst reading this book, which I would say is an 18+ more adult read due to some steamy scenes I have come to the conclusion that I may perhaps have a different idea on what I would call erotica than other readers. I think of erotica being made up of vast majority of sexual scenes with very little plot line. I would not categorise this book as erotica as it has a strong plot line, great characters that draw you into their lives and dilemmas, and hold you there for the book journey.

The cover features a back view of a muscular male holding what could be a weapon. Then the author’s name appears in the mid section of the cover, with the title smaller directly beneath Lauren Dane. If someone described this placement and sizing of author name and title, I readily admit I would probably scrunch up my nose presuming it would not look aesthetically pleasing but it truly works. I do like both the placement of the title and its font style. The bottom third of the cover has a rolling hills landscape with a forest of trees, which upon reading the book I would conclude is the land which surrounds Cade and Lex Warden’s private home. I love the wolf in the bottom left corner, how it forms part of the landscape, giving the perfect place for the series title, Cascadia Wolves. I certainly prefer this book cover to that of the previous edition of the book. This cover would draw my eye to it on a book store shelf and encourage me to lift it from the shelf to learn more about it, so I’d say the cover does its job very well.

So I’ve already mentioned that some readers seem to classify this book as falling into the erotica genre, personally I do not totally agree with this. Yes it is aimed at adults as it contains descriptive steamy scenes so I’d agree it is an 18+ aimed book. I would also add the genres of fantasy, paranormal, romance with shifters/werewolves. Another point I should add if you are a romance reader/fan this book comes along with the Carina Press Romance Promise! - which says a book “comes with all the romance you are looking for!”

So how does the female human Nina Reyes become embroiled in the Cascadia Wolves problems? Well to explain you need to know more about Nina’s earlier life. Nina has had to be tough since her parents died, when she was just 12 years old. Though distant cousins took her in along with younger brother Gabriel, they were only wanted for the income housing them gave. Nina soon took on the role of mother to Gabriel, trying her best but regularly failing to keep him out of trouble. They run away when it seems the authorities are about to place them into care with a strong possibility of them being parted from each other. Nina does what she has to in order to survive, pay rent and support herself and her younger brother such as stealing, and petty theft. She goes on to finding a more legitimate form of income doing cleaning. With help from her employer she obtains an education and becomes a computer geek/hacker! Though Nina does break the law she does so only long enough to give herself and Gabriel a fresh start elsewhere. Things are ticking long nicely, Nina has her own florists shop but then trouble finds Gabriel once again with him getting into a bar brawl. . . the trouble is he is also bitten and given the lycanthropy virus which mean he is now a werewolf. Nina has mixed feelings on this but accepts her brother as she always has and hopes being part of a “pack” will help him settle down once and for all. Sadly Gabriel is helping pack brother Tommie look into some problems within the pack concerning pack members quite high in the hierarchy. Tommie is shot, Gabriel is on the run with the “evidence” on a laptop and unsurprisingly turns to his beloved sister Nina for help, dragging her into an already dangerous and volatile situation. Though it’s not all bad as she ends up meeting the “most feared wolf in North America”, Lex Warden! Lex totally underestimates Nina, her love and protectiveness towards her brother, as well as mistaking her for the quiet, nerdy, “librarian like” she likes to portray but he soon learns differently. Irrespective of her disguise Lex soon realises she is his mate and quickly becomes over protective when her brother, home and business are targeted by the rogues and those who are woring against the pack from within it.
Nina quickly learns Lex doesn’t take no for an answer and neither does his brother and Cascadia pack Alpha Cade. She is stubbornly independent, and soon shows she is determined to stay that way. Nina also shows that though she is what is considered a weaker human she is not afraid to face death to stand by her love or her brother.
I could seriously ramble on and chatter on and on about this book. Wow this book is brilliant I fell in love almost immediately with the Cascadia Pack. I am eager to read more and am so glad that the series seems so extensive. I am also interested in discovering some of Lauren Dane’s other shifter book series, such as “de la Vega Cats”, “Cherchez Wolf Pack”, and “Diablo Lake”, having said that I did enjoy Lauren Dane’s writing style, so maybe I should branch out and try one of her more contemporary genre book series too.

I had lots of favourite characters within the Cascadia Wolves already, from the main characters to the rogues and the extended Warden family. Naturally I love the kick butt female character of Nina Reyes, with her long curly hair and hazel eyes she is an independent woman who hides behind a severe hairstyle and fake glasses on a daily basis. When there’s a need to dig around within the pack to find out who is betraying them Nina isn’t afraid to step up and put her own life on the line to discover which of the three suspects is the guilty party. Then there’s the two main hot hunks of the Cascadia Wolves pack, Cade Warden, 40 year old, hazel eyed, still single pack Alpha who commands and receives great respect from the other pack members. Along with his 6” tall, brown/blonde haired, gorgeous green eyed brother and pack enforcer (Alexander) Lex Warden. Hmmm gorgeous! Er where was I? . . Aah . . . other characters I felt an immediate kinship towards the following female character along with the possibilities of great future plot involvement, with Megan and Tracy both kick butt young woman. Even the rogue suspects in this book had a few tiny likable qualities!

My first thoughts upon finishing this book was. . . .What a great introduction to a fantastic new shifter series for me to work my way through! Then I remembered that this series isn’t actually “new” as such but it seems the first couple of books have been re-tweaked etc.  So my next thoughts were: When can I read the next book? Is the rest of the Cascadia Wolves Series being tweaked and re-released and if so when will they be available to read? To sum up I have to add that this is another brilliant shifter series to add to my list of greats which include Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain Series, Kelley Armstrong’s Women Of The Otherworld, Karina Espinosa’s MacKenzie Grey Series, J.A. Belfield’s Holloway Pack, as well as both of Rachel Vincent’s shifter series, Shifters and Wildcats.




No comments:

Post a comment