Kensey Deaton comes from an elite werewolf lineage, but just because her family is royalty, doesn’t mean she’ll fall in line like some perfect little princess. She has plans and they don’t include an arranged marriage!
Slade McAlister has his own family drama. His Alpha father happens to be the most reviled wolf on the eastern seaboard, and it’s a stigma he can’t escape. So when his neighbor Kensey–the girl of his dreams and his nightmares–proposes a solution to solve *both* of their problems, he sees an opportunity he can’t ignore.
Kensey and Slade aren’t only from opposite sides of the tracks, they’re from opposite sides of the war. But if they can sell their ‘relationship’, they might just make it out of this with their freedom.
You know, as long as all that fake PDA doesn’t turn into more…
Hey guys! This is my blog post for Entangled’s The Big Bad Wolf tour, which will include the review, excerpt AND A GIVEAWAY. (not necessarily in that order.)
Click to expand excerpt
He took a sip of water and nodded. He eyed the new plate as the girl set it down in front of him. “Raw fish? You’re buying me a burger as soon as we’re done here.”
“It’s Japanese,” I whispered. “Odori don. When you pour—”
The maid leaned across him and poured soy sauce over his plate. The squid in the center twitched once, then started to squirm with spastic enthusiasm.
“What the—” Slade flinched and jumped back, falling out of his chair and taking the maid—and the soy sauce—with him. She let out a squeak as the gravy bowl flew from her hands and hit the wall behind us. The ceramic shattered, splintering into a thousand tiny pieces as salty brown liquid splattered in all directions.
I managed to extract myself from my chair as Slade was helping the maid to her feet. Once she was up, she scurried into the kitchen, mumbling something about towels, and he turned back to the table. “My apologies,” he said with a bow toward our out of town guests. “I wasn’t expecting my dinner to dance.”
My father stood, the look on his face anything but forgiving, but I didn’t stick around. I grabbed Slade by the wrist and led him up the stairs to my bathroom to clean up.
“Haven’t been in here in years,” he said as we passed through my room. “Your décor hasn’t gotten any better.”
I rolled my eyes and shoved him through the bathroom door. Once inside, I clasped his shoulder and pushed him on to the edge of the tub. “Neither have your manners.”
“How was I supposed to know the damn thing was still alive?”
“It wasn’t.” I ran a towel under the water, then rang it out. “It was dead.”
“Beg to differ. It moved. It fucking started moshing on my plate.”
I knelt in front of him then paused. This wasn’t going to work while he was still wearing the shirt. “It was the salt in the soy sauce. The muscles in the squid were reacting to it. Take your shirt off.”
He waggled his brows. “Finally.”
I sighed and grabbed the back of his collar then gave a hard yank. The material caught on his chin for a second before coming over his head. “Says the guy who insisted I was a horrible kisser.”
He snorted. “That was years ago.Like I said, you’ve gotten a little bit better.”
He leaned back and I didn’t miss the way he flexed, the hard planes of his chest moving in an almost mesmerizing way. I also didn’t—couldn’t—miss the scattered assortment of marks and scars.
“They’re not pretty, are they?” His voice was low calm, but the look in his eyes was anything but.
“Gavin?” The scars were a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and left very little skin unmarred.
“For the most part.” He shifted, almost like he was uncomfortable with my scrutiny.
I cleared my throat and turned away. “Ya know, scars are a sign of honor in the wolf community.”
“Yeah?” There was a twinge of amusement in his voice and I was glad. “Then pick one. I’ll let you honor it with a kiss.”
I was absolutely shocked at what this tame book cover was hiding. The cover has little to do with the author of course, but I have to say, my biggest beef is with the cover. It’s very….peppy? I guess. The color tones gives it a very upbeat almost contemporary vibe. The guy is too clean cut to fit my mental image of Slade… It seems like it will be a fluffy upbeat novel. You guys know how I am. I can enjoy an upbeat novel but by far my favorite books are DARK.
And THIS BOOK HAS IT. IN SPADES. I was blown away. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, and most of the time, that saying is WRONG. You CAN judge a book by its cover….. but in this case, it was true. Y’all. Don’t. Judge this book. by. its. cover.
the first chapter or two seemed a smidge quick when it came to their relationship. They were on bad terms with each other but seemed to get over it a bit too quick. That’s somewhat explained later when they discuss their bygone friendship. I tend to get super critical of books I love. So critically speaking, I would say that the friendship aspect seemed to be an element that was added later. It explains their willingness to work together….So the start was a bit bumpy, but hang in there. Big Bad Wolf presents itself as having the standard Alpha’s daughter dilemma. In which case, Kensey’s is forced to pick a mate. One that’s politically/socially beneficial to her pack.
First off, I love his name. It’s a real name, it’s not trying too hard to be a bad boy name, but it still has an edge to it. Great job with the character names. Like perfect.
Second of all, WE GET HIS POV. YAS. Male POV’s are my favorite. They seem so much more direct, but at the same time more visceral. Usually at least!
Slade’s POV doesn’t disappoint. I found it generally more put together and deeper than Kensey’s. Kensey’s plot line is of course that she has to escape an arranged mating. But Slade’s got much more serious. It had multiple facets that brought the depth this book needed.
He struggles with his temper, his lack of control over his wolfs instincts and its influence on him. At moments, he struggles with the enjoyment of violence, bred into him by his abusive father. He ruminates with great guilt about the things he’s done for his father.
Now, before you get all up on this post for “promoting domestic violence” or whatever, hold it right there. This violence isn’t inflicted on Kensey. It doesn’t get into weird blurred lines 50-shades/Edward Cullen territory. Though she’s hurt once and it’s Slade’s fault, but it was 100000% unintentional and he regrets it for the rest of the book.
Slade’s inner thoughts are so well expressed. There is NO BS here. He didn’t immediately fall in love with Kensey, and he doesn’t pretend as such. He doesn’t make sudden and large sacrifices for “reasons he can’t explain” like so many novels do. That was extremely refreshing. In fact, it was one of my favorite aspects of this book. It’s something that sets it apart from other werewolf romance attempts.
Another harsher critique, I’d say that there were one or two areas that seemed a little redundant. And if I wanted to be selfish I would say that I would liked to have seen Slade’s physicality brought into the romance. I felt he was a little bit too restrained when it came to the physical romance.
Then again, he DOESN’T CHEAT. Despite some situations where he could have. He bares a vulnerable side to Kensey which is my favorite part of wounded heroes.
Another thing that set this book apart was the ending. It was wonderful, to see a sacrifice made intentionally. One that the character knew couldn’t be returned.
Our underdog (lol. Pun, sorry, not sorry) Slade, doesn’t fall victim to a stereotypical ending. He doesn’t head out of town and then at the last minute, have an epiphany, turn around and decide to be the hero.
It’s not one of the love interests that turns their relationship positive. It’s a friend that serves as catalyst (you don’t see that every day). Slade comes to terms with his nature. With this new perspective, he realizes that sacrifices don’t have to be the results of a demand. (as it was so often with his father). He realizes that sacrifices can be given and remain unregretted afterwards.
Gracefully avoiding stereotypes, and Slade’s inner struggle and journey is what truly earns this book 4.5 stars from me. It might be the best werewolf YA I’ve read since Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade series. (which, dude, the last book was published in 2012. Where the heck does the time go?!)
It gives me a lot of affection for this author, and I’d love to see a spin-off or two. I’d like to see more of this world and I want to see more wounded heroes. I’ll be checking out Jus’s other stuff.