Friday, October 9, 2020

Wolf Awakened

Wolf Awakened is Avery Song's latest book and let me tell ya...this book is BIG! But I'm not complaining. I love big books and this book has a lot going for it. This book has it's good points and then it has it's low points, but overall it truly is an enjoyable story and one that I found myself blazing through.

In Wolf Awakened, the author introduces readers to Willow/William. Willow can alter herself into a man, and during the day she is William. At night, she is Willow, but no matter what persona she is she dominates in everything that she does. Her father despises her for being "weak" and not being able to shift into her wolf form, but Willow has hardened herself into being something more and it won't be long before she makes her father regret the way that he has treated her. Now! This book does have some dark themes, but since I like dark...I found this book to be absolutely delicious. The introduction of the four brothers...welcome to New York boys. LOL! At first, I didn't think that I was going to like them. At. All. I was prepared for: ego, bad attitudes, name it that's what I was expecting. What I got?? Surprise! I got calm, smarts, intellect, and more! I love how different each of them is. I even have a favorite brother!!! No, I won't tell though, but it's the one who appeals to me the most. lol!
I truly appreciate how the author warns readers of the darker elements of this book so that if readers have an aversion, or have certain issues that might be triggered by this book then they can avoid it and find something else to read. This book does have quite a bit of struggle and darkness in it, but I can easily say that the author doesn't delve so deep into it that she gets lost and drowns in it. You get just enough to give you a good picture of the things that not just Willow went through, but Onyx as well. So you get a two for one with the background story, but of course, things were worse for Willow.

Now, while I did enjoy this book, there is a reason why I am declaring 4.5 out of 5 instead of a full 5-star rating. Since things take a long while to connect to the prologue, it gives you a future scene and then begins the book with more of the "present" I don't see the point of having read it. Also, as is the case sometimes with longer books, there was a bit of repetitiveness in spots that were just a bit too close together. In the beginning, for example, the author states how tall Willow is in her female form. That was fine, but then literally a few pages later, hardly enough time for me to forget that one detail, it's repeated again. That particular detail wasn't needed. Then there were places where there was a bit too much thought-process going on, basically, the characters reflecting and going into a bit too much detail. Sometimes less is more, and in some places, I felt like it was just filler that really wasn't needed. It slowed the book down, so when I started coming across these places my brain would literally hunt for the important information and skip the rest to keep from getting bogged down.

My only other issue is Willow/William. I'm disappointed in their lack of empathy towards others. I get that you are literally taking your life into your own hands and giving to another when you are a part of the mafia, but I'm still disappointed. Willow/William shows little to no empathy for the individual their father murders simply because he's "displeased." These individuals aren't the reason why he's angry...they are just a convenient target. I'm not saying that they should cry about it, but to show some empathy wouldn't be so bad, especially when they are the reason for that individual losing their life. But that's just me.

All in all, I am loving this story and I can't wait for what comes next. So I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. Willow/William is a fascinating character in both forms and I can't wait to see how they move forward to conquer NYC and show the don't mess with the Forbidden pack. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Dough or Die

 Dough or Die is the fifth book in Winnie Archer's A Bread Shop Mystery series. While this book is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. This book takes readers on a plot-driven mystery to discover the truth behind the near-death hit and run of a cameraman in front of Yeast of Eden bakery. With the encouragement from the local sheriff Ivy is on the hunt to figure out who tried to kill him, and why. But she's going to have her own issues from the past to come and put her on the lookout for her own dangers to come.

Dough or Die really caught my attention since I am an avid baker myself so I was excited to read this book and really enjoy the ride. The book all in all is a good read. The book is easy to get into and follow along with what is going on with the different characters. What I enjoyed the most about this book is the mystery element of it all. The cameraman is the victim of a hit and run and then the legwork of trying to discover what could possibly drive (no pun intended) to want to harm him. He seems to have such a clean record, but it's not the past that is trackable that holds the answers in this case. I love the small-town vibe of this book and how there are some real-life tie ins as well. It helps to elevate the story in places to really keep readers engaged. 

The pacing of the story is good, but I also found it a bit flat. There isn't a lot of drama and tension that I have come to expect and anticipate with a mystery, even a cozy mystery. It left me a bit disappointed. Since this book is fifth in a series, all of the relationships have already been established and so there is very little of that build in this book, so it left me feeling a bit disconnected from their relationships. There are some references to past situations and issues as well, but the author doesn't go in-depth with them. I'm sure so as to not confuse the readers on things that don't truly get addressed or have any connection to the storyline now. I was also disappointed that we didn't get a proper description of Billy's fiancee Em earlier in the book. We get multiple descriptions of Ivy, but only when Ivy asks Em how she is going to do her hair for her wedding do I get any clue that she's a black woman. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't a really gripping mystery that had me frantically page-turning to learn the truth behind all the events that happened in this book. I am rating this book 4 out of 5 stars. The truth behind all the tragedy is truly heartbreaking, but the ending is decent enough. I may go back and read the series from the beginning and maybe I'll enjoy it more. But for those who enjoy a nice quiet cozy mystery with just a hint of danger here and there then this book would be a perfect fit for them. Plus, the author includes a couple of delicious sounding bread recipes at the end as well.