For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.
Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.
This was a bit of a frustrating book to be honest and I really wasn't sure what to rate it. There are some good bits of funny and ironic humour and then we get a lot of boring bits that slow the story down and make my mind drift off to other places.
OK we'll start as always with the good. I liked the fact that our heroine was a werewolf with OCD and a desire to hoard Christmas related items. She has panic attacks over dirt, dust, people being untidy and the thought of parting with her stash. I liked these human qualities and it leads to some funny scenes with Aggie. Aggie is a werewolf and Nat's only friend, who has a compulsive eating disorder and loves making food, turning the kitchen into a mess and getting Nat twitchy! Nat's brother Alex has managed to get an irate tree nymph pregnant and Quentin the necromancer janitor who likes Nat, commands an army of zombies. This is where the humour in the book comes from, giving us the best parts of the story. The author was really creative in giving real personality to these characters. I also liked sending Nat to a therapy group for supernaturals.
Funniest bits? Nat's date with Quentin especially when she gets to meet Neil. Neil's obsession with serving the lasagne. Aggie being threatened with death each time she makes a mess. Nat's shopping spree after her therapy session.
The problem for me is that we have those great characters then we have the one dimensional plank of wood that is Thorn, the ex lover, and his new uberbitch girlfriend who picks on Nat all the time. I don't feel any chemistry with Nat and Thorn. He picks her up when he wants then throws her away when things get difficult and I just didn't like him. I never really felt that he was genuine about loving Nat. His bitch girlfriend bugged me and Thorn never seemed to warn her off from upsetting Nat. If he was alpha and loved Nat, he would have told her to stop it. Adding in the guy from the support group as another potential love late in the book didn't work for me either. I much preferred Quentin who we should have seen much more of.
The other issue for me was the lack of a good strong plotline. Thorn is back just as a rival pack plan a takeover but we only hear brief bits of news about it and two minor threatening moves on Nat by p124. Instead we get countless pages of Nat being shunned by the pack, mooning over Thorn and continual visits to her idiot family. If it had not been for the amusing personality flaws of the girls, I'd have given up way before this point. If the attacking pack is the main plot, it should feature more heavily instead of this relationship drama that plods along and smothers the decent parts of the story.
This book had massive potential but it seemed to get a bit lost trying to decide whether to be urban fantasy or paranormal romance, and coming up a bit short. This author has really good writing skills and had tightened up the plot by the end of the book, adding in some good tension and action. It was just that over emphasis on Thorn and Nat's family issues that let the book down a bit. I'd still recommend it as there is a lot going for it but I don't know that I would go on with the series. I would look at other work by the author though as I think she has great potential for the future.