Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons Why I Love Wolfsong

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Ten Reasons Why I Love Wolfsong
 
For a book blog that is largely devoted to contemporary romance, I probably talk about this paranormal/lgbtq/romance a surprising amount. But that fact should only go to show what a remarkable story it is and what an impact it made. Today I'm sharing 10 reasons why Wolfsong is so special and why it's one of my (very rare) 5-star favorites. If you've read Wolfsong, then you know. If you're considering reading Wolfsong, maybe this will help convince you. πŸ˜‰


Ten Reasons Why I Love Wolfsong
(interspersed with some favorite quotes)

1. Ox
There's no other place to start than with main character Ox. He is one of those too-good-for-this-world characters who has no idea how special he is. From being verbally abused and beaten down by his father, to being accepted and loved for exactly who he was by the Bennett's, it was beyond satisfying to watch Ox find his place in the world.

“It should have been obvious what they were, but then I wasn’t looking for the incredible buried in the ordinary.”

2. All the emotions.
Wolfsong has them all. The span of the story and the character's journeys display the full range of the human experience: isolation, connection, hope, pain, rage, love, joy.

“Please just let me have you. Please. Nothing else matters if I can’t have you.” 

3. Joe
Oh, how I loved Joe. His backstory was heartbreaking but it was Ox who brought him out of the darkness. From a child who was fascinated by Ox and glued to his side, to a man with staggering responsibilities on his shoulders, I loved Joe through it all.

"You gotta smell him and tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome!"

4. The world-building.
Klune's creation of Green Creek, the small town in Oregon, and the power it held pulled me in from the very start. The werewolf mythology is viewed through the naΓ―ve eyes of Ox, making each revelation about this world that he didn't know existed even more remarkable.

“I’m a witch,” he said.

And I said, “You’re a wizard, Harry,” because I thought there was a very real chance I was caught in a dream.


5. The writing style.
Ox is a bit simple (in the best way possible) and his view of the world around him and the people in his life is wonderfully refreshing. Ox's POV means there is no purple prose, but neither is it overly simplistic. Klune created a vivid world while also making me feel deeply for each character. (For the record, I shed many tears.)

“I need you to know that I meant what I said."

"When you said what?"

"Everything I've ever said to you. Everything, Ox.”

6. Werewolves
I can't say that I am an avid paranormal/fantasy reader so it's not like I'm super familiar with werewolf lore. But I've found that I usually enjoy werewolves in my paranormal fiction over some other magical/mythical creatures (i.e. zombies, angels/demons, wizards, etc.).

“Monsters are real. Magic is real. The world is a dark and frightening place and it’s all real.”

7. Found family
Who doesn't love the found family trope? It was done beautifully in Wolfsong and went far beyond Ox's acceptance into the Bennett family. From Gordo and the guys at the auto shop, to Ox's mom and beyond, the love and acceptance found with those outside the bonds of the traditional family were front and center.

“Am I part of your pack?”

He said, “What do you think pack means?”

“Family,” I said promptly.

Thomas smiled. “Yes, Ox. You are part of my pack.”


8. Every secondary character is unique and necessary.
What a cast of characters! Each one so unique, with their own identifiable voice and purpose. Ox's friend Gordo, alpha Thomas Bennett, Joe's siblings, and all the rest... I adored them all.

“Oh my god, Ox, your life is like those shitty sparkly vampire movies. That I’ve never seen and don’t like at all, shut up.”

9. Perfect blend of character + plot.
I'm 100% a character-driven reader and will always choose character over plot. Wolfsong managed to deliver both and do them equal justice. 

“All I wanted to do was come home, because without you, I don’t have a home.”

10. It's the first book in a series.
That means there's much more to enjoy! I've read Ravensong, the second book, so I still have two more opportunities to revisit the Bennett pack.


Have you read Wolfsong?

The Sunday Post #366 | July 14, 2024

 

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news: a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, 
and share what's coming up on your blog in the week ahead.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

I seem to managing a Sunday Post every three weeks these days. I pop in when I have time and feel like I have something to share. Otherwise... 🀷

It was a four day work week for me since I had planned to take Monday off. My husband had an appointment that I wanted to go to with him. All positive news so that made for a great day. There was a major storm on the way home from the appointment (it was about 30-40 minutes away) - thunder, lightning, torrential downpour. On the drive there the temperature was 99℉ (37℃), but once the storm hit the temperature dropped twenty degrees! It didn't last, of course. Once the storm passed the temp climbed right back up almost 100, but it was crazy to see it drop so quickly.

My younger sister had Covid two weeks ago and is still feeling pretty lousy. Yesterday morning I did a quick grocery run, came home and cooked two dinners for her (and her family), packaged it all up and dropped it at her front door. I'd been offering for over a week to bring dinner but she kept saying no. I finally decided to do it anyway and she called me later to say it was just what she needed. Sometimes people need a helping hand no matter how much they protest. 

I was sad to see that Richard Simmons passed away yesterday. I always liked him. He was so upbeat and positive and genuinely wanted to help others. Such a sweet man.

This week's throwback song is Let's Groove (1981) by Earth, Wind & Fire. Makes me want to put on my roller skates again (except I haven't skated in 40+ years and would probably break or sprain my entire body LOL). Enjoy!




ON THE BLOG

Wednesday, July 10

Thursday, July 11


WHAT I READ

   

  

This covers the last three weeks.

Kindle: Forgotten Desires by Corinne Michaels - 4.25★
Audio: Home is Where the Bodies Are by Jeneva Rose - 3.5★
Audio: The Never King by Nikki St. Crowe - 3.75★
Audio: The Dark One by Nikki St. Crowe - 3.5★
Kindle: The Outlaw Noble Salt by Amy Harmon - 5★
Audio: Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams - 3.5★
eARC: Slow Dance by Rainbow Rowell - 4.25★

CURRENTLY READING

     

Kindle/Audio: The Feud by Sawyer Bennett
eARC: Five Brothers by Penelope Douglas

NEW ADDITIONS



Loving this special edition of Obsidian! Hardcover, sprayed edges, and bonus content. 😍

TOTALLY RANDOM



HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

Review: The Outlaw Noble Salt | Amy Harmon

 


The Outlaw Noble Salt

by Amy Harmon
Pub: April 9, 2024
Genre(s): historical fiction, alternate history, romance
5 stars



From New York Times bestselling author Amy Harmon comes a sweepingly romantic tale of risk, redemption, and what happens when America’s most famous outlaw falls in love.

When infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy decides to go straight, he discovers that too many of the powerful men he crossed won’t let bygones be bygones. To have a chance at a new life, he’ll have to become someone else entirely.

A brief, fateful encounter with the celebrated singer Jane Touissant on the eve of his escape offers a glimpse of what might have been, but Butch disappears, leaving her behind, until their paths unexpectedly converge again in Paris.

Despite having discovered his true identity, Jane trusts the outlaw and enlists his protection on her upcoming American tour. Although Butch is reluctant to agree, fearing his sordid past may put the woman and her young son in danger, the salvation she offers is too hard to resist.

As they set forth on their journey, Butch’s past and Jane’s secrets put them at risk from threats far greater than the law, and this legend of the American West will have to decide what matters most—his life, his legacy, or the woman he loves.


________________________________________________________________


By many accounts, outlaw Butch Cassidy never took a life. And while he did rob trains and banks, he was also something of a folk hero for using some his of ill-gotten gains to help others (paying off a widow's mortgage, helping farmers who could not pay their bills). In The Outlaw Noble Salt, Amy Harmon reimagined a life for Butch Cassidy where he fell in love with a beautiful and talented singer and turned his life inside out to protect her and her young son.


The whole world weighed heavily on Noble, yet he bore it and asked nothing in return.


Just after the turn of the 20th century, Butch Cassidy meets the famous singer Jane Toussaint. In a case of mistaken identity, Butch takes the pseudonym Noble Salt and neither forgot their brief encounter. A serendipitous meeting six years later brings them back together and changes the course of both their lives.


"I'm giving it to you as straight as I can. I'm a lawyer, but I try not to be a liar."

Butch Cassidy smiled at that. "And I'm an outlaw, but I try not to be a crook."


At a glance, Butch and Jane were an unlikely pairing and had nothing in common, but both were attempting to escape their past, just as they continued to be plagued by it. Harmon painted Cassidy as an introspective man, reflecting on has past, and unhappy with where his choices had led him. Jane’s life, despite outward appearances, had not been easy and she was escaping a gilded cage. Her hard exterior and cold demeanor, along with her incredible resilience, were all for the protection of her son and herself. And speaking of her son, Augustus (Gus) was remarkably precocious and the purest of souls. Born with a facial disfigurement that made him susceptible to harsh judgement and outright cruelty, Gus was still an empathetic soul. I adored his sweetness, his curiosity, and forthrightness. And his relationship with Butch was so honest and heartfelt, making it one of my favorite aspects of the story.


"Butch Cassidy is an outlaw," Butch said. "And Augustus Toussaint is the real Noble Salt. As noble as they come."


The secondary characters were just as vividly drawn, some fictionalized figures (like Harry “the Sundance Kid” Longabaugh), and others invented by Harmon. Butch’s complex relationship with his brother Van was an interesting addition to the story, and so many of the ancillary characters felt so real that I was certain I could look them up in history books.


He'd always told himself that doing bad things didn't make him a bad man. But he'd come to believe that bad things was the only measure that mattered. Doing good things didn't make you good, he supposed, but if good was done, what was the difference?


As always, Harmon’s writing was simply beautiful. With just a few words she could make my heart ache, make me smile, or make me stop and ponder the truth in her words. One addition that I adored was Butch’s penchant for hokku. These were used throughout the novel, including being used as chapter headings, and were often poignant and added to the story.


"I've always been good at taking care of people. But I've taken care of the wrong people and hurt the people who needed me most. I don't deserve you. I know I don't. But the way I love you... I don't even care if you love me back."


This mix of historical fiction/alternate history and romance was everything I love in a book. Amy Harmon had me utterly entranced by the gentleman outlaw, and I found myself wishing for another hundred pages because I was not ready to say goodbye. This redemptive story with its oh so flawed characters will stay with me for a very long time. 





Have you read The Outlaw Noble Salt?
Do you enjoy historical fiction?

WWW Wednesday #137 | July 10, 2024

 

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.
Just share your answers to three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you'll read next?


How's your week going?
I took off on Monday, making it a four day work week, which means the week
is almost half over for me. I could get used to this! πŸ˜‰ I continue to swelter every 
day but there has been some rain so I'm thankful for that. What's it like where you live?

What are you currently reading?

     

eARC: Slow Dance by Rainbow Rowell
Audio: Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams

Currently readingIt's been far too long since I've had a contemporary novel from 
Rowell to dive into. I'm fully immersed in characters Shiloh and Cary and the alternating 
past/present chapters are doling out their story bit by bit. Very much enjoying it.
Current progress: 40%

Currently listening: This is the second time I've tried to listen to this one. Last year 
I DNF'd it but since I recently read two dark romances back to back I decided 
something light and fluffy was in order. Even so, this one might be too sweet and 
cutesy for me. I like the main characters but I'm finding it pretty saccharine.
Current progress: 35%

What did you recently finish reading?


Kindle: The Outlaw Noble Salt by Amy Harmon

Recently readLoved it. absolutely loved it. My second 5-star book of the year. 
My review will post either tomorrow or Friday. 5★

What do you think you'll read next?

     

never know what I'm going to read next but Sawyer Bennett's The Feud is a 
possibility. I also have an ARC for Five Brothers by Penelope Douglas that 
I'll be starting very soon.


What are you reading today?

Short Take Reviews: Fragile Sanctuary | Forgotten Desires | The Friendship Pact

 


Fragile Sanctuary
by Catherine Cowles
Series: Sparrow Falls #1
Published: 5/16/2024
4.25 stars

✔ Grumpy x Sunshine 🌞
✔ Brother's Best Friend 🀡
✔ Broken Hero πŸ’”
✔ Found Family πŸ‘ͺ
✔ Serial Killer πŸ—‘

The big picture: Rhodes tragically lost her family in a fire. Anson walked away from his FBI career after a devastating loss. When Rhodes is targeted, Anson steps in to protect her and find who is behind the escalating incidents.

What I liked:
Catherine Cowles + small town + romantic suspense = a book I'm going to love. As always with a Catherine Cowles novel, the prologue provided the perfect set-up and had me invested immediately. I loved Rho and the way she focused on gratitude and did not let her past define her. Anson's back story was heartbreaking and explained his need to keep people at arms length. The mystery aspect had me suspicious of virtually everyone... and I still didn't get it right. I love that! Rho's found family was priceless and I adored them. I can't wait for future books with their stories.

But not so much:
I admit that Cowles has a formula and doesn't seem to stray from it. Damaged character(s), serial killer or stalker, heroine is held by the bad guy near the end until hero shows up and saves her, heroine often ends up in hospital but obviously pulls through. Formulaic? Yes. Does this stop me from inhaling each and every release? Not in the least. πŸ˜‰

Forgotten Desires
by Corinne Michaels
Series: Whitlock Family #4
Published: 6/5/2024
4.5 stars

✔ Second Chance Romance πŸ’•
✔ Single Dad πŸ‘§
✔ Marriage of ConvenienceπŸ’’
✔ Billionaire πŸ’°
✔ He Falls First 🀡

The big picture: Brynlee and Carson met during college spring break and quickly fell in love. Carson left without saying goodbye. Ten years later they meet again. Brynlee agrees to marry Carson to help him gain custody of his 4-year-old daughter. The old feelings are still there.

What I Liked:
I loved it all! Brynlee was kind and generous and willing to help anyone (including donating an organ to her absentee father). She had a heart of gold. Carson was amazing. He fell first and he fell hard. This man would do anything for Brynlee and the lengths he went to to make her happy and protect her made my heart melt. I loved how their marriage of convenience felt real from the very start. Carson's daughter Layla was a sweetheart. And Brynlee's brothers (and their partners) loved, supported, and showed the true meaning of family. This is the way to end a series.

But Not So Much:
Um, nothing? If I'm going to nit-pick, I'll say that yes it is improbable that a one week affair that happened a decade ago would having such a lasting impact on both their lives, but I don't even care. I don't read romance for reality. lol I happily went with it because I loved these characters so hard.

The Friendship Pact
by Jill Shalvis
Series: Sunrise Cove #2
Published: 6/14/2022
3.5 stars

✔ Second Chance Romance πŸ’•
✔ Small Town 🏑
✔ Military Veteran πŸ…
✔ Childhood Trauma 😒

The big picture: 
April had Tae when she was just fifteen and they struggled for years. April said Tae's father was dead, but Tae learns otherwise. Riggs, Tae's high school friend/one night stand, just returned to town and they still have chemistry. Riggs has a complicated relationship with his brother.

What I Liked:
I admired Tae's independence and her ambition. Riggs had an interesting backstory and I applauded how far he had come. I loved the organization that his brother founded for wounded warriors and the opportunities they provided for both veterans and disadvantaged youth. I had such compassion for Andy and his quiet acceptance of decisions that were made by April. 

But Not So Much:
April and Tae's relationship was co-dependent to the point of toxicity. Theses two needed to put space between them and develop as individuals in the worst way. Tae could be prickly and stubborn and it meant her relationship with Riggs often felt like one step forward and two steps back. But it was April's choices concerning Andy that really left me infuriated. She altered the lives of two people and robbed them of a relationship. Regardless of her reasons, I couldn't get past that. 


Have you read any of these books?

WWW Wednesday #136 | July 3, 2024

 

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.
Just share your answers to three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you'll read next?


How's your week going?
Tomorrow is a holiday and I'm taking off Friday and next Monday so I'm heading into a 5 day break. πŸ˜Ž Today is my Friday and even though it's only 9:00 AM I'm already feeling antsy and ready to put work behind me for a few days. Unfortunately I have a 1:00 PM meeting to prepare for so I need to get busy. Here's what I've been reading... 

What are you currently reading?


Kindle: The Outlaw Noble Salt by Amy Harmon

Currently readingI am loving this one. It's been quite a while since I read anything by
Amy Harmon and I forgot how beautiful her writing is and how her words pull me into 
her stories. Based on the prologue (and history), I know where this one is headed, and I 
know my heart will be broken, but in the meantime I'm loving the journey.
Current progress: 55%

What did you recently finish reading?


Audio: Home is Where the Bodies Are by Jeneva Rose

Recently read: This was a rather lukewarm thriller for me. It was interesting, but not
exactly thrilling. None of the characters were particularly likeable which left me only
mildly invested in the outcome. Even so, it was enjoyable enough to listen to and had 
a couple red herrings (even though I was already fairly certain who the baddie was). 
3.5 stars

What do you think you'll read next?


never know what I'm going to read next but Slow Dance is a strong possibility.


What are you reading today?

Top Ten Tuesday: Red, White, and Blue Edition

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Red, White & Blue Edition
 
This week's prompt is book covers with your favorite color, but since this week in the U.S. in Independence Day, I'm going with a red, white, and blue theme. For those that recognize/celebrate the holiday, happy 4th of July!





Have you read any of these books?