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Beneath a Blood Moon Kindle Edition
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I can see where other writers would be upset this is a "standalone", since it features other prominent characters in the Witch and Wolf series. Standalones depict a story being able to stand on its own without being in a series. This was a full length novel that showcased key figures. If this had been book four of the series and stated such, the standalone complaints would go away, I believe. But for her purposes, it does work - since this features a new character not in the other Witch and Wolf books.
Plot: I happen to like books with a main plot and subplots, since I write those myself. R.J. definitely hit the nail on the head here. While some voiced their frustration with her tactic, she wanted to have the reader experience Sara's -full- journey into the Fenerec packs. The only she could accomplish this was with some of the side trips and adventures because you don't just learn about one person in a pack mentality. In Sanders' case, she had to learn to deal with various parts of a wolf pack, especially with her "special" standing.
Characters: I'm a character driven person. If I hate a main character in anime, games or books, I'll put it down without a second thought. If the characters whine, bitch and moan without good reasons, it's pretty much a game changer for me. But Sara wasn't like that. Sara kicked some ass, despite her constant plot trope. After a while, she sort of got used to it, which made me laugh halfway through the book.
But the other characters made it fun to read about her journey. Between the witty banter, realistic family issues, traumatic experiences and Sara's reservations, Sara and Sanders do grow as characters in the story. There are realistic scenarios and some may make readers angry. That's good. It was intended to make you feel that characters' pain. If it does, R.J. succeeded in tugging your heartstrings.
It would have been nice if I could have hated a character in BABM, though. :) I read this without reading Blood Diamond and the Tales, so I hated Desmond when I got into it. I wanted to still hate him and was kind of mad that by story's end, I liked the devil. (In Winter Wolf, Nicolina made him sound like a vile SOB, which I liked more, honestly. Every book's got to have that one character you hate.)
Pacing: I understand some reader's points of views here, but every other Witch and Wolf novel had their own side trips, too. They weren't as long, but they were there. The slower pacing was necessary for Sara's character development and helped solidify Sara by the story's conclusion. Readers need to understand - recovering from traumatic experiences take time and don't happen overnight. This may be where some readers had the issue with time gaps.
There were time gaps, but writers can't include everything. If she did, then some readers would complain about lack of action. Either way, it's a double edged sword. If you don't like slower pacing, this book probably isn't for you. But you like character growth and development, you'll want to stick around.
This book is worth the five star review. The cover art is beautifully depicted and an improvement over the last art she had. It was hard to read some of the titles because of the coloring and fonts. Here, I'm able to see the title, author's name and thumbnail before I click on its description. The formatting had some issues, but nothing that sullied my enjoyment. Last, the development was excellent and the story did reach its own conclusion.
Fans of the Witch and Wolf series will not be disappointed with Beneath a Blood Moon - but will probably want to read the Tales of the Winter Wolf and Winter Wolf to become more familiar with some of the other characters. It's not a necessity, but you'll appericate the character growth behind some of them if you do :)
“The chaining of Fenrir cost the god Tyr his right hand” – Völuspá, translated to English in The Poetic Edda, Henry Adams Bellows, 1923
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Sara Watson thought her life was bad enough as it was. Working as a stripper and part time Vegas showgirl, she tries to hold down four part time jobs, go to college, and still pay the rent and eat. They say Vegas is a hard place to live, and she knows all about that. But even the hell of her life is better than the hell she ran from in New York. A father that beat and controlled her, a life with no meaning. At least now, if she can get through school, she can start a real life on her own – fake ID or no fake ID.
Yes, life was hard. But nothing as hard as being kidnapped along with her best “friend” (though the idea of friend is Las Vegas equates to ‘what can I get out of you for doing you the favor of being your friend) and dragged out to the desert by her ex ‘I’m-a-cheating-POS’ boyfriend who has tracked her down to Las Vegas to bring her back. Or kill her. Whichever works.
Telling him to get stuffed, taking her beating and broken ribs, then crawling out into the desert to die on her own and free is gutsy enough. I gained a ton of respect for her at this point, though I already respected her for keeping her moral compass (unlike her crappy friend) and going against said ‘friend’ and not going full-on prostitute made me respect her. Yep. She is one tough cookie, with more internal fortitude than any man her age I have ever known. But after the ex and the girlfriend finish doing the nasty and track her down as she crawls across the desert, then turn into wolves and begin eating her alive (literally), even weirder things happen. And suddenly, Sara’s life is more hell than she could have ever imagined.
Let’s get serious here. First, I really, REALLY wanted to give this book five stars with a bullet. Sara is tough and strong, yes. But she isn’t unbelievable, and she has a heart of gold and a strong sense of right and wrong – and did I mention the heart of gold? Then she meets four other women who are an absolute joy. Tough, take no prisoners women with a fetish for guns, not taking any crap off of anyone, and their husbands (pretty much in that order). There is romance, but no sex scenes, which was completely refreshing (if you are an erotica-only lover, skip this one). The story is fast, suspenseful, sometimes terrifying, and kept me totally immersed in the story. The characters are wonderful, the world building is unusual (living in the world as we know it, but with their own governance, etc.) Some of the scenes literally brought me to tears. That’s the good.
The bad came after I had a chance to come down off my ‘reader-high’ and start thinking about what I would write in my review, and realized I couldn’t give it a five at all. The story is complex, and kept my attention throughout, but there were some issues that a really good content editor could have solved. Ms. Blain has a brilliant mind for writing paranormal suspense, but she isn’t organized. She has a few different threads moving through the book, which is fine, I really enjoy books that are more than one-note songs, but she literally dropped the ball about midway through, dropping one of the more interesting story lines and never going back to it. No wrap, just dropped. Poor form. The book is quite long, 564 pages, and I was never bored or wanting to skip pages as I do with some longer books, and her descriptive narrative and conversational style was enjoyable, but dropping the story line, which I was invested in, shows a lack of organization. Editing for word usage, spelling, and dropped words was OK, but not good. Someone put effort into beta reading for that sort of thing, but the continuity is what killed it.
Overall, I will still recommend the book. The story and pace kept me up all night long (literally, yawn) and then the minute I rose I went right back to it and stayed with it to the end. Give this woman a good content editor, or just a whiteboard to write down all of her threads to make sure she ties them all up at the end and a couple of really good beta readers and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of Paranormal Suspense. Recommended, but could be better.
This was a very good book, it was a wild ride with Sara, discovering the world of the fenerec and the adventures in subterfuge. I loved the characters and how the relationships developed. There were a few times I thought details could have been more clear, but I’m sure some of that is having not read Ms. Blain’s other books from the same world. Wonderful read.
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