Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Release Day Review - Coveted by Shawntelle Madison - 4 Qwills

Author:  Shawntelle Madison
Series:  Coveted
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
Publisher:  Ballantine Books (April 24, 2012)
Price:  $7.99
Language:  English
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Review Copy:  Printed ARC provided by publisher


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.

My thoughts:

Natalya Stravinsky is one of the more unique main characters I've read about in Urban Fantasy.  She's a beta werewolf with OCD who is no longer a member of the local pack to which she once belonged.  She's fragile and broken.  On the other hand she does not spend the book loathing herself or bemoaning her fate. She knows that she has problems.  She's trying to cope.  One of the strengths of Coveted is the remarkable supporting cast.  Ms. Madison has created a wonderful family for Nat even though they too have issues with her. The therapy group that Nat joins is also terrific.  I enjoyed Ms. Madison's realistic portrayal of the characters.  The characters are complex, have issues, weaknesses, and strengths, which made them seem more real to me despite the fact that the majority of them are supernatural.  There is also a sort of love triangle developing between Nat, Thorn (her ex-) and a wizard. I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops. I have a favorite.  All of this is set against the background of impending werewolf territorial battles in New Jersey!

The reasons Nat is outcast and the reason the head of a rival pack is after her are presented at odd points in the story for me.  I spent a lot of time wondering why she is outcast and then why she is marked for death.  I wish this had been presented earlier in the story so that I could have understood what ramped up Nat's OCD a bit earlier in the story.  Despite this minor quibble I enjoyed Coveted.

The novel is well written and moves along at a steady pace. Coveted features quirky characters, werewolf battles, and a heroine with heart.

I give Coveted 4 Qwills.

Read Shawntelle's Guest Blog - Writing a character with OCD - here.

And take a look at Kept (Coveted 2), which will be published in November.

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.


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