Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HBIC Review: Yours, Mine and Howls (Emily @ What Book is That?)

Title: Yours, Mine and Howls
Author: Kinsey W. Holley
Page Count: 402 pages (Word document format)
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Samhain
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review.

50 words or less: Whenever you're having a bad day, just remember: you're not in charge of raising an orphaned alpha werewolf, you haven't died and been resurrected into a female werewolf who can't shift, your daughter doesn't think she's a cat, and nobody you know is secretly a few centuries old.  It. Could. Be. Worse.

Yours, Mine and Howls is a fun book with an interesting story, fun characters who don't always do what you'd expect them to do, a romance that comes to a slow boil, and enough adventure and family drama to grab your attention and hold on for dear life.  While there were definitely some parts of the story that were smoother than others, as a whole this was a thoroughly enjoyable book that was an excellent way to spend an evening after work.

Easily my two favorite elements of this story were a) the role that the hero's daughter, Becca, played in the starring couple coming together, and b) the interesting take on the role of the alpha and what that means for a relationship.  Lots of books include the element of the snarly, bossy alpha but not all of them take the tack that such an individual might be, shall we say, a complete pain in the butt to live with.

As a heroine, Ally is certainly made of strong stuff.  She's not afraid to take on responsibility; if anything, she has trouble letting other people be responsible for themselves when the time comes.  She takes on the task of raising Dylan, a young wereworlf orphaned by a horrifying instance of domestic violence, and keeps her small pack of four together until it becomes apparent that she can't provide the guidance Dylan needs.

Enter our hero, stage left.  Cade, Rocky Mountian Pack Alpha and owner of a successful horse ranch, agrees to take Dylan on as a ward and to help grow into a productive, happy young man instead of a derelict or a lunatic.  Cade didn't realize that the foster mother in the situation was Ally, strong woman and hottie extraordinaire.

Cade has a lot on his plate- raising his four year old daughter, Becca (yes, the one who thinks she's a cat,) running a business, keeping his pack together, and struggling for legitimacy from a hierarchy that doesn't take well to newcomers.  Finding out that Ally is his mate is the last thing he needs, but it's the key to solving all of his problems (including his Mommy issues- yikes!) and watching him unravel his emotional tangle made for a very entertaining read.

This is where the part about addressing the role of the alpha comes in.  Cade is a great leader and a powerful man with a tremendous amount of responsibility, as well as lofty goals and high hopes for the future.  This means that there are times that he can be, for lack of a better phrase, a righteous douche bag.  Ally takes it in stride, though- she doesn't freak out, she doesn't swear a blood oath of revenge, she doesn't even punch him in his overbearing forehead.  No, she calmly and quietly goes about her business, executing her plans as if all the drama didn't happen.  This doesn't resolve the issues, naturally, and these two do end up having to talk things out like adults, but it goes to show that neither of them is going to take this relationship lying down, and neither of them is willing to be steamrollered by the other.

My criticism of the story has to do with the way things wrapped up at the end.  So much of the book was devoted to the blossoming relationship between the main characters that the resolution to the story- the role of the fae, the role of Becca's semi-estranged grandmother, the role of Declan, the annoyingly smug Irish wolf, and the side plot involving Aaron's father, all kind of came out of nowhere to careen towards an ending.  When it was all over, a ton of elements and plot lines had been introduced and resolved, but I wasn't able to articulate what had actually happened, besides the happily ever after.

Beyond that, though, this was a really fun, spicy pepper of a book.  I'm pleased to read that there will be more books starring this cast of characters as there were a number of interesting secondary characters scattered throughout the book.  You can count me in for reading future installments for sure.

Overall Grade: A-
BWB Rating: 3/4


ParaJunkee said...

Great review Em. I'm really impressed with this book also.