Awakened by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis #Review

Awakened by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis #ReviewAwakened by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis

Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Nocturne on June 1, 2016
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour Provided
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Some opening scenes leave you breathless, others curious, but how about with a fit of the giggles?  In a ‘who’s been sleeping in my bed?’ moment, wolf shifter, Brice Walker, realizes that is no sweet little Goldilocks he rouses, but a petite red-headed spitfire who doesn’t need a wolf’s claws to fight back.  And Cassie has the shock of her life by the sexy, naked werewolf who blunders into her room and claims to be a guy she has been crushing over for a while.

Talk about awkward introductions!

But then Brice is forced to face his grandmother’s fading health which is the reason for his return from exile and the promise she exacts from him to make amends with the father and pack alpha who threw him out for causing the death of his brother.  For a reason he doesn’t want to explore too closely, Cassie soothes him and he needs her with him because she can’t be his mate.  She’s human.  And besides, he won’t claim a mate because he plans on accepting an appointment that won’t allow him to have a mate.  So why does everything in him cry out that she is his true mate and why does he absolutely need to protect and possess her?

Cassie grew up with an alcoholic for a mother who would do anything for her booze and then left Cassie alone after succumbing to her bad liver.  Cassie will rise above her beginnings as the trailer trash daughter of an alcoholic and she has a plan to do it.  The plan does not include forming attachments or letting a certain pushy, sexy wolf shifter distract her.  It’s hard enough learning that werewolves exist, but now this one thinks they’re mates.  And another one that scares the willies out of her thinks she’s prey.  While a third one insists Brice is hers and Cassie will stay out of the way or else.  For all that she fights her feelings and attractions for Brice, Cassie can’t abandon him knowing that he is weighted down with guilt over his brother’s death, his exile from his home and pack, and his grief over his grandmother.  And as stubbornly as she clings to her independence and need to take care of herself, a part of her wants to believe Brice about being his.

The story is a nice blend of shifter romance, intrigue, passion, humor, and strong character development.  The opening was a little confusing for me to sort out what was what, but once I got up to speed, I enjoyed the overall story, characters, and romance.

The author built in some intrigue and conflict that suited the story.  There is much more going on than meets the eye to give depth, though, in essence, it isn’t too complex.

The conflicts involve the struggle of Brice and Cassie individually with their own personal demons, but also with each other.  And then there are external issues crowding in involving pack members, family issues, and pack politics.

There’s actually a lot going on.  This was probably my only niggle.  It doesn’t confuse me, but it does clip along so that some things feel rushed or glossed over by the end.  I would have liked to see Brice’s reunion with his pack and family teased out more just like an understanding of the rivalries with the other packs.  What happened at the big climax and reveal scene left me feeling partly dissatisfied.   I got the general idea, but just wanted more, I guess.

I thought it was refreshing that the author wrote Cassie as scared and reluctant with her introduction to the world of wolf shifters.  Cassie is forced to believe because she sees Brice shift into a wolf and back, but that doesn’t suddenly make her a fan.  The author also paints her wolf shifters as people, but there is a darker side when the wolves go rogue and their harsher laws that frighten Cassie.

I also liked how the true mate bond is portrayed.  This isn’t insta-love.  Both Cassie and Brice struggle with the attraction and have their reasons for denial, but they can’t seem to help themselves, either.  She was very damaged by her upbringing and has abandonment and trust issues while Brice has something similar going on for different reasons.  She shuts down and he denies, but they also both reach out and offer comfort and reassurance to the other.  Oh, and look out if someone else shows an interest.  They each might deny and ignore, but at heart, they know the truth.

All in all, I was well pleased with my first time reading this author’s books and her engaging shifter romance.  Her infusion of humor and heart to the passion and intrigue of her story kept me well-satisfied.  I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy spicy paranormal romance and particularly shifter romance.

My thanks to The Herd Presents for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #206 PNR
New To Me #85 author

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I have no idea why the heck I COULD NOT stop staring at that freaking cover! Usually those types of covers, when they pose awkwardly like that, turn me off and I’ll go about my way, but NO, this one made me stare at it for all I was worth. With that being said, I love the sound of this book! <3 It sounds like int has a lot going, but it doesn't seem like you would have a lot of time to get bored with it. 😉

    • You know, I found the colors of the cover so soothing and eye-catching so I’m like you in the staring department. 🙂
      Oh yes, lots going on and all very captivating.

  • Debbie Haupt

    Thanks for the fab review, I want it 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, Debbie! Hope you get the chance to snag it.

  • The who’s been sleeping in my bed scene sounds like a fun start of the book. An opening scene sure can set the stage for the book. And those awkward scenes in books can be so much fun! It sounds like a good paranormal romance with some conflict going on. That sounds interesting with how Cassie is a bit reluctant at first to get introduced to the werewolves. It’s always interesting seeing how characters react when they find out the supernatural is real.

    • Haha! Yes, I laugh a little each time I remember that first chapter. It was a hoot.

      I’m the same way. I find it interesting how the author will write the human’s first encounter with a paranormal.

  • Ha! It’s always a riot when you toss family drama and politics into a story. I remember hating pack politics, until I fell in love with my bae, Curran. Now, I think I can handle more of this genre. Great review!

    • Oh yeah, the pack politics are sometimes as quirky and amusing as any huge family group can produce. I share your Curran love and well that whole world, for sure. Thanks, Lekeisha!

  • Wow, that sounds really good. I do love the shifters and this one sounds like a book I’d really like.

    • It was a fun one. I enjoyed trying a new shifter series. It’s creative.

  • oh yay, I am so glad you enjoyed reading this one. I have been curious about this book. I am glad it wasn’t a insta love theme. And yes for some intriguing pack politics.

    • Yes, it was enjoyable with so much going on and a different flavor to the shifters. Yeah, I liked that they had to develop the romance, too. Haha, this pack and their politics was a fun element.

  • It has been a long time since I read a Harlequin Romance but I do enjoy them. I like the sound of this one since shifter romances are always one of my favorites. Great review!

    • Thanks, Carole! This was my first in a while with Harlequin, but it’s fun to try new to me authors and series particularly a shifter.

  • LOL about the opening scene. 😀 I have not read a Harlequin romance in a looooong time! This cover is not so great in my opinion, but the book sounds good. I’m glad the bond-mating aspect is well written!

    Great review, Sophia. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • It was a hoot. I haven’t read many Harlequin, either, but I wouldn’t say no to one that sounded interesting. Yes, the shifter bond in this was was done well the way it slow developed things.

      Thanks, Alyssa.