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review 2017-10-14 03:46
The effects of war on soldiers, families, friends and communities is often catastrophic.
Wolf Season - Helen Benedict

This book is a wonderful examination of the social, moral, and political conflicts and concerns facing society today. The marvelous cast of characters touches on and exposes the issues with honesty, clarity and a force that will grab hold of your heart and make you look into your own thoughts and beliefs about our enemies during wartime, our friends and family at home, and those impacted by a war they may or may not wish to be involved in, but geographically find themselves in the middle of, experiencing the battles, facing the danger, and dealing with the death and loss of property, family, and life as they once knew it.

It is a terribly painful and emotionally draining story to read as you learn of the debilitating effects of the war on the returning soldiers, on their families and on their friends. As you learn of the devastating effects of the war on those who helped America, essentially, those who then became the enemy of their own country, those who collaborated in some way to rid their country of injustice who were then also considered enemies by those who disagreed with the need to rid the country of the tyrants, those who did not see the injustices perpetrated upon their neighbors everyday, but rather turned a blind eye and forced those that helped America to succeed to become the enemy of both, the vanquished and the victor, the weak and the strong, you will feel overwhelmed, at first, but at the end, you will feel the hope that the author has tried to convey, the hope that all people will one day rise above their differences and unite as one, with love in their hearts, rather than harboring hate for and fear of those that are different.

The brutality our own countrymen inflicted upon each other and our enemies is difficult to put on paper, but Benedict has communicated the full force and effect of the battle-scarred complete with the pain they feel when they are in the field of war as well as when they attempt to return home to the field of peace. The distance from their families, the nightmares and their inability to communicate, in contrast, comes across loud and clear to the reader. The victims of this life, these wars, are carefully laid open so the reader can identify with each of them and experience their individual suffering and scars of war. From the child to the adult, the soldier to the wife, we are enmeshed with them in their loss, their pain, their confusion, and their grief. We are in their flashbacks, their dreams and their nightmares. There are several important characters, in this novel, but even the minor ones are dealing with the difficulty of their wounds of war.

First there is Rin, a mentally, battle-scarred soldier who was unbelievably, brutally raped by her fellow soldiers after her husband was killed on the battlefield. She was already pregnant with her husband Jay’s child when she was attacked. She is always afraid for her safety and that of her daughter, Juney. She keeps wolves on what was once Jay’s family’s property, to fulfill the dream she and Jay had once shared. She also believes they protect her, in spirit and in life, and they are necessary for her well-being and her thin hold on her sanity. She protects both herself and her daughter, fiercely. She has hostile reactions to people, and has visions, what I would call “daymares”, that influence her behavior and made her seem bizarre, but was she really bizarre, or were those who attacked her more sinister in nature? Who was really the sick individual, Rin, her fellow soldiers, the sheriff, the Iraqis, the Americans, the war widow? What made each of them tick, and which of them ticked to the beat of normal and which to the beat of the mentally disturbed?

Juney, Rin’s daughter, is 9 years old and blind. She also has some odd behavioral issues that make her susceptible to being bullied, but she is gentle in nature and very helpful to her mom because of her great insight, her ability to feel things, which is essentially a “sense” for her, like sight is for others. Juney is aware of changes in her mother’s moods and is able to calm her.

Naema is a doctor from Iraq. She is a devoted mother who wishes to protect her son from any further violence from the war she was unwillingly dragged into, in Iraq. Her family was killed by American bombs during the war. Her husband was murdered and their son Tariq lost his leg when their car was blown up by those who resented his collaboration with the Americans. He was an interpreter.  Naema was working in a pediatric clinic in upstate New York, in an effort to be recertified as a doctor in the United States. Juney and Rin were in the examination room of the clinic, at the same time that a hurricane was raging. In a flood as a result of the storm, Naema almost drowns, and Rin is consumed with guilt because of her part in that tragedy.

Beth is Flanner’s mother. Flanner was Tariq’s friend. While Tariq is calm and gentle, Flanner is angry and has begun to act out. She is an unhappy woman who wants more out of her life and resents her husband’s constant absence and redeployments, but also fears his violent returns on leave. She drinks too much and Flanner has begun to resent her because she often forgets that her first responsibility should be to his welfare and not her own. She is vindictive and takes no responsibility for her own behavior which has caused her decline. Both Beth and Flanner want to hurt someone because they can’t hurt the person really responsible for the pain they feel. Both seem obsessed with hurting Rin Drummond. Both seemed consumed with their own needs and do not try to understand the needs of others.

Louis is another soldier who has survived the battlefield with scars. He is in love with Naema, which is ironic since she is Iraqi and his scars are from that war. He thinks, shouldn’t she be his enemy? Their relationship crosses all lines of conflict and reaches a state of harmony all people may aspire to, but never achieve.

We know that Tariq’s dad, Khalil, was killed in Iraq, Juney’s father was killed in Iraq, and Flanner’s dad is a marine who has been severely damaged, mentally, by his many redeployments. He can be cruel and mean, brutal and violent. His own violent future awaits him in Afghanistan. Louis is a survivor who has learned, with great difficulty, to control his irrational impulses and deal with his war wounds, in ways that the others have not.

The story is filled with the irony of relationships, child to child, man to woman, enemy to enemy, animal to human. The line between enemy and friend is blurred and scrutinized. Through the use of wolves, the reader discovers the meaning of trust and mistrust, safety and danger, fantasy and reality. The reader views logical, common sense responses that are contrasted with impetuous, irresponsible behavior. The interpretation of ideas is paramount. While a wolf may be friendly, its nature is to survive and that comes before your safety, so a wolf may become your enemy, through no fault of its own. In the same sense, in a war, the instinct is to survive, and the soldier sometimes has to cause collateral damage. Friends are put in a position of being the enemy and vice versa. Expedience rules, oftentimes. During the hurricane, there was collateral damage, too. In a confrontation, there is often collateral damage before reconciliation takes place. The line between right and wrong may not often be clear. As the reader continues tp read, the idea of supporting American values or confronting them is imprecise; it feels like America’s actions are being questioned and the jury seems to judge it poorly.

Can your enemy transmogrify into your friend? Are their ramifications for choosing one side over another? What makes a friend or an enemy? What makes a friend of an enemy or an enemy of a friend? Who was the greater friend, the Iraqi Naema or the American Beth? Who had better values? Why must someone be an enemy? Why did it feel like the Americans were the least able to handle the results of the war on their homes and families, while the ones who were different or foreign seemed better equipped and able to deal with the after effects? Was one group more desperate than the other or perhaps more resilient?

The two children who were damaged physically show the reader how different life is when viewed through their eyes or their emotions. Juney saw the world through the colors she made up in her own mind since she could not see. She, in her way, saw more than anyone sighted. Tariq made up for his handicap by treating it as natural, and then by reaching out to someone who had a greater handicap. He recognized that they were both lonely and both bullied. Both of these children were able to view the wolves as beings with power to be respected and admired, not feared unnecessarily, but respected for their strength. Both seemed able to identify with the needs of others and were unselfish. Their relationship with the wolves was spiritual and a bit magical. The book is a tender and tragic tale. It is at once, juvenile and sophisticated, simplistic and complicated, poetic and straight forward. It is authentic and surreal. The author has infused herself into each of the character’s lives and spit out their essence.

It is both anti-war, and pro democracy. It is both anti-American and pro American. All sides of the issues are illuminated and all promote the reader to think about the victims of war everywhere; the communities and the families that are compromised, the families that lose their loved ones, the families waiting for their soldiers to return, the soldiers far from home, the fields of battle, the idea of an enemy and an ally. All have to cope with loneliness, loss, anger, fear, frustration, violence, lack of hope, and broken dreams. Can life ever return to normal for any of them?

My one negative comment is the author’s note at the end in which she specifically casts blame on Trump for the situation of those Iraqis who collaborated with America as interpreters. They are between a rock and a hard place, but to blame Trump, when 8 years of Obama did nothing for them, seemed disingenuous and politically biased. I realize her book is antiwar and anti many American policies, but that is a point of opinion. Blaming Trump is “fake news”.

The book was a Library Thing Early Reviewers Giveaway.

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review 2017-10-13 20:36
great story, great characters
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas - Terry Spear

Owen was an Arctic wolf and a Private Investigator/ P I. Hed knew that the white wolf he had seen across the river wasn’t one of the Arctic wolves which had changed him and his friends. Five years ago Owen and his P I partner david was out hunting for bear. David had a heart attack neither Owen nor the guide they had hired could help david way out in the woods. The wolves wouldn’t have bitten David if owen hadn’t asked for the guides help. They had bit David to give him their enhances powers to repair his heart or David would have died. Owen was bitten because of what he had seen without paying the consequences- become  one of them or die. After that the pack took them in , they had to because Owen and David had no control over shifting Owen wanted to find the other arctic wolf it could mean he or one of his bachelor male buddies could have a mate. But he couldn’t find her as she was with friends and he didn’t know which female was the actual werewolf. Then her and her friends took a canoe trip after a couple of days and Owen never knew what became of her. Owen finally opened a new P I shop in White River Falls. Minn. He was eager to make a go of it. Business again after seven years of working online. Every  since  that day in the woods Clara had been a whole different person with her world turned upside down. Her friends were no longer her friends, and her adoptive parents had disowned her. She had changed her name to her pseudonym that she wrote her books under- candace Mayfair. Candace moved from Houston to the wilderness in South dakota. After two years Candace came to grips with what she now was. Candace had realized she had to isolate herself from everyone she had known in the past and did it. She settled into her new life and wrote about the subject she now knew best - werewolves. Using her former talent in writing suspense romances she wrote Arctic wolf romances. Owen got a call first thing when he was the only one in the office to find Clara/Candace  as she has a month to claim her inheritance her parents had left her who had been rich or her uncle would get it. Through an old co-worker Owen found out Clara and Candace were one and the same person. Owen shows up at Candace’s house and finds out one of the pups of his small pack had bitten and turned Candace. Candace had been dealing with this all by herself for two years. Owen offers to run as a wolf with Candace and she agrees. She actually really likes having another wolf to run with, Owen wants her to come meet his small pack - there were three  single males and a coupple with their kids/ pups that were triplets one being the one who had bitten Candace by accident. While on their run they end up rescuing two snowmobilers and the third man had filmed them by the request  one of the men they had rescued. That night someone had been snooping around Candace’s house and that had never happened before the rescue. Candace decides to pack up for a little while and go meet owen;s pack until the rescue had all blown over. Candace would stay in owen’s cabin with him since she had already met him. They packed some essentials for Candace and left the next morning for Minn.

I loved this book, it was a good,easy fun read, I loved the plot and pace. Also a little different spin on werewolves. I loved how candace didn’t have to be alone anymore unless she chose to. But even then she could always call Owen or the other members of his pack. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book. I loved how Owen took care of candace anyway that he could. I also loved owen and candace’s relationship grew over time. I loved the characters and the ins and outs and I highly recommend this book

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review 2017-10-09 01:59
good story and characters
Wolf, Interrupted (Wolf Lords of London) - Jillian Stone

Elle and Jullian  were scheduled to work the most dangerous   part of the Chelsea Physics Garden. Elle looked forward with this with a quiver of fear and a slightly elevated  pulse rate. Time shifted for Elle and she was a child next to her father’s paralyzed body. Her mother’s cry as clear and heartbreaking as it had been eleven years ago. As head gardener Elle knew her father’s death hadn’t been an accident that he knew the difference between Aconitum and Delphinium. Then Jullian got attention back to the present. Then Jullian said “ you saw something”. Elle nodded and said “ In the Covent Garden Station last night. Jullian replied that was the second sighting in a week. Elle was a botanist as was Jullian but he was a new fellow to the Chelsea Physic Garden. There was a kindness in Jullian and Elle was drawn to that. Jullian and Elle hit it off immediately. They were already making plans to someday open a apothecary together. Aconitum Napellus- prince of death- the plant that had killed her father. Then Detective Inspector Durant CID showed up and asked for Elle then told her he was there about the mauling in the Underground the night before. The Detective wanted to discuss the report  Elle had given and asked if there was somewhere they could go to talk Then Elle agreed to meet the Detective at 4 pm at the Cafe that was on the north end of the property. Abelseth who is the Detective was waiting for the train Elle had awoken the beast inside Abelseth. Then Abelseth’s cousin Phelan appeared to him from near the tunnel. Then Abelseth told Phelan that Maccoon had called a conclave and wanted Phelan. There. Phelan said it had been five years and he was out. Abelseth was no longer  duty bound to his pack. Elle was sure she had seen a werewolf. Abelseth was sloppy, out of practice, had partial shifted showed a real loss of control and could have exposed him to the public. Abelseth was on the job less than a month and already he suspected one of the werewolf packs behind the mauling.  An attack on a human was bold and unnerving. Maybe now was the time to see if Dermot Crowley to see if he had any preliminary thoughts. The man had died from the maul with several bites on  him but he was wearing an expensive custom made suit. Elle was twenty five and and got tingles from the Detective , no man had ever made Elle feel that way before. The waitress Lucy had told Abelseth where she and Elel would be clubbing that night and he ended up there and ended up dancing/grinding with Elle. Then Abelseth kissed Elle. Elle ignited a seething feral arousal Abelseth wasn’t  prepared for.  Abelseth had thought Wolf Hunter when he had met Elle. But after tasting Elle in the kiss he knew Wolfen. Abelseth had heard stories of wolf blooded humans. Then as Abelseth, Lucy and Elle were leaving Elle was grabbed  and abducted. Elle had a male pushing her on but he had someone with him. Then. Elle was sure they were in the Underground, Elle had tricked herself into believing she could live a normal life. But a day or two off lycanthrope  suppressant and and they had found her. Then Abelseth showed up in the room Elle was being held in It took time to learn how to ride the currents of time-space. Newbies like Elle thought they were starved for oxygen even though they really weren’t. Abelseth brother - Maccoon had helped rescue Elle and Abelseth. Maccoon  was the leader of the wolf pack - The Lords. Pelham showed up and said the wolves that had grabbed Elle were outlaws most of the packs really didn’t want them. Her mother had warned Elle for years that fully engaged werewolves had extraordinary abilities ; sensory and otherwise. Without her daily fix Elle’s senses were becoming more acute, as her dual nature emerged there would be other issues like strange lycanthrope powers. Abelseth. Uncle told Abelseth to get in his car. Abelseth hadn’t seen his uncle the Earl of Wessex  in five years. yHe told Abelseth the man who had been mauled was Ignatius -Iggy-  unknown chemist entrepreneur. Iggy was the man elle got her suppressant from that hid the wolfen part of Elle.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick read. Although I felt it was a little rushed. But I still liked the story a lot. I wished there had been a longer ending also.  But I loved Abelseth and Elle together. Then to find that Elle and Abelseth had actually been promised to each other since she had been born. Was a thrill. Definitely a different and unique werewolf story. I didn’t really care for Abelseth’s brother Maccoon. This kept my attention with no problem. And I didn’t want to put this down. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend.

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review 2017-10-08 21:16
Cry Wolf
Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs
There was something unsettling about this graphic novel as I began to read it. I felt as if the characters were telling me the story instead of living it and I wasn’t too excited about continuing it. It was the illustrations that motivated me to continue reading while I hoped things would turn around and I would see the characters in action. This was a fast-paced graphic novel that in my opinion, got better towards the end. The characters began to live out the story instead of telling me what had occurred and the illustrations brought the story to life. I really enjoyed the illustrations as they weren’t overly busy but using vivid colors, each panel concentrated on what was important.
 
Just who is Anna and what makes her so desirable? Unaware that werewolves existed, Anna is bitten by a werewolf when he comes to her rescue while she is being attacked. Anna doesn’t trust the male members of her pack and looking at the illustrations you can see her hesitation when they are around. When Charles arrives, he believes that Anna is his mate and that there is something special about her that no one else is aware of. He tries to persuade Anna to go with him as he hunts down a powerful wolf. Using both of their abilities, Charles believes they are the perfect individuals to bring this wolf to his knees.
 
I liked how the novel ended and I realize now that I will be picking up part #2 of this series to see how Anna is doing and if she truly is something special in the werewolf world.
 
I already read a novel for my Werewolf square for Halloween Bingo and I have my free space already read also. I guess this was just a fun horror read for me.  If only the holds I got from the library corresponded to the bingo calls, I would have a bingo but I am reading my stack of library books based on when they are due.  :(

 

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review 2017-10-07 20:34
Legal Wolf's Mate - Eve Langlais

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

This book was a nice discovery in the realm of paranormal genre. It had all the ingredients for a good paranormal book, and a good series starter.

Gavin is super sexy and super smart. Very stubborn too, which I guess you have to be, if you're going to be a lawyer. I liked how confused by Megan and by the way he felt for her he was, but I also liked that he was really trying to make the entire situation better and to save her.

Megan was a mystery. While the book is told both from hers and Gavin's perspective, at times I felt just as confused and in the dark about Megan as he was. It isn't until towards the end that we get to understand exactly the what, why, and how of it all, and let me tell you, I was surprised. I was expecting some kind of twist, but definitely not that.

The book is pretty fast paced, and I enjoyed reading it. The werewolf mythology was interesting, especially with how they shift. I'm curious if other shapeshifters are affected the same as wolves. As I said, I had a moment of confusion towards the end, but I certainly liked the book enough to want to read more books from this author. And I'm super ecstatic that there are at least two more books in this series, since we all know how much I enjoy paranormal series. Definitely check this one out if you like paranormal romance.

Source: rubys-books.blogspot.com
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