The Howling by Erin McCarthy
Read: 4th – 7th June 2018
My Goodreads Rating: 1 Stars
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I want you to know that I was lucky enough to be given a digital version of this book for free from the publisher (Kensington Books) after making a request via Netgally.com in exchange for an honest review.
The expected publication date is 26th June 2018.
So what’s this book about?
The Howling is a standalone novella that has been previously published in the anthology The Beast Within. The story is set in modern day Wisconsin and is a paranormal romance featuring werewolves.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t post spoilers or reveal plot twists in my book reviews, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
Beneath the silver moon . . .
For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .
Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .
So, what did I like about it?
I requested The Howling through NetGalley for a number of reasons; the front cover caught my eye – you’ve got to agree, a half naked man is eye-catching – the story description piqued my interest – recurring nightmares, secrets and a lethal sibling rivalry, yes please – and, of course, I love finding authors that I haven’t read before. Unfortunately, The Howling didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected.
This story is only ten chapters and it wasn’t long before I felt that if you removed the explicit sex scenes it could easily be a YA novella; the way the characters thought and reacted to situations, how the plot evolved, the good hard-done-by brother versus the evil power grabbing brother plus the general writing style throughout the book. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of either YA or New Adult stories and books from these genres are never my preferred choice of reading material.
Having said that, I absolutely loved the first chapter, it gripped me completely; I was on the edge of my seat, heart pounding with tension, the action was fast paced and emotive, the relationship between Liv and Scarborough had thoughts and questions whirring around my head and I thought the mystery aspect was very intriguing.
I really liked Liv’s best friend and confidant, Mary Fran; I thought her support and advice was perfect and enjoyed the scenes that she was in.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before you’ll know that I do enjoy a HEA ending and I wasn’t disappointed here; the baddie is bested and the girl gets her guy.
So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
Ok, I’ve already said that YA/New Adult stories are not my cup of tea, so putting that aside I suppose you can tell by my low rating, there have been lots of other niggles for me while reading this novella.
Let’s start with some inconsistencies with my understanding of what abilities a human would possess if they were part wolf; as wolves have superior senses to humans, I assume that werewolves’ senses would be partially heightened too. Sebastian didn’t seem to have any extra abilities; he wasn’t able to tell that Liv hadn’t had sex since he’d “died” or that she didn’t smell like Scarborough. He also didn’t seem to care that Scar would smell Sebastian on Liv once they’d had sex which would surely put her in danger! And while we’re on the subject of sex, yes the sex scenes are quite hot but I found our couple’s first encounter totally unbelievable – Liv doesn’t wake up while having an orgasm and thinks she’s dreaming. Really?!.
Actually, our heroine, Liv, exhibited lots of traits throughout this story that annoyed me; I don’t mind a character starting off weak, oblivious or reliant on others but I expect them to develop and gain strength – I’m not just talking physically but emotionally and intellectually too, fainting females are my least favourite.
I feel that the name an author gives their characters plays an important role in my ability to engage; not only is Scarborough a British seaside town with certain connotations in my mind but in this novella it’s also shortened to Scar – Lion King association were abound in my head – so I was never gonna take a character seriously with that name (sorry).
And finally, the way some of the backstory was explained just didn’t make sense or flow smoothly for me and I found it a little confusing at times; so much had already happened between Sebastian, Scarborough and the pack but we just got quick recaps of past events through memories, dreams and dialogue rather than experiencing them with any sense of depth through the story.
So, basically what I’m saying is…
I think that Ms McCarthy has written a novella that could happily be classed as erotic young adult – is there such a genre? It wasn’t the book for me but I am sure plenty of readers will love the mix.
Due to the explicit sexual content – it’s definitely very steamy at times – I’d rate this novella 18+ and so I’d recommend The Howling to adults who aren’t offended by content of this nature but are fans relationship/romance tales within the paranormal YA genre and looking for a quick, short read.
So, has my review of THE HOWLING encouraged you to find out more? Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author. To see the other books I’ve read, take a look at my profile on Goodreads.
See THE HOWLING on Goodreads.com
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Oh, before I go, I just wanted to let you know that I am part of the Amazon UK Associates program. I don’t work for Amazon, I’m just a woman who loves to blog and share stuff but Amazon (and I) want make sure that you understand that the Amazon UK link that I’ve included in this post is “commercial” in nature.