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In a much larger package full of winter holiday gifts for people, I did receive four books this week, two of them about werewolves.
(IMAGE DESCRIPTION: White cover with thin black branches curving down from the top right and up from the bottom left. One of the small leaves on the top branch is red and dripping blood. At the center of the image, CLAIRE DE LUNE is written in black font and “Claire’s secret chose her.” is written in red. Christine Johnson is written in red font below the bottom branch.)
Torn between two destinies.
Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and her crush keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she’s a werewolf. As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she finds her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart. Burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, she will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever.
I have heard really good things about this, and I am very excited to read it, and hopefully to be excited for Nocturne, the next book in the series.
(IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A computer-generated werewolf stands in front of thin dark plants, fog rolling up on the ground. The wolf has breasts with nipples. In blue at the top of the cover is BITTEN BY MOONLIGHT. Beneath it, in a lighter blue, the names of the authors: Catherine Lundoff, Tyree Campbell, Erzebet Yellowboy, and Racheline Maltese. At the botton of the cover, in the same lighter blue, is Edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft.)
The full of the moon is a time of transformation for the characters in this collection of four novellas, in more ways than one. Becca discovers menopause is more than just a question of hormones. Gretchen’s life, which she views with shame and horror, may not be the worst that can happen. Paulina just wanted a place to sleep, but fate has other plans. And are there really vegan werewolves? Terror and joy, love and death, fear and courage: all facets of the human, and inhuman, condition evolve when you’re Bitten by Moonlight.
I have been really excpited about this ever since I heard Catherine Lundoff talking about her werewolf writing. (Her story is “Silver Moon.”) I wish there was a better cover; that werewolf is not doing it for me at all, and by that I don’t mean it’s not sexy and that’s why it’s bad, but because it doesn’t work for me as a werewolf. Still, I have high hopes for the stories.
(The other two books were Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss and Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey.)
So this is the end of the Month of the Werewolf, at least until October 2012. Maybe then I will be able to post every day. Tomorrow, I will be at work for most of the day, but then I am coming home to watch The Howling and Cursed, two of my favorite werewolf movies. I’d hoped to track down some of that Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale, but alas, none of my alcohol suppliers have yet been able to track it down for me. Still, werewolf movies and a gorgeous Halloween night will be a delightful way to celebrate.
Happy Halloween! Happy Month of the Werewolf!
I love mashups, but find books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies problematic because I have issues with men reworking the writing of women to be more ~accessible or ~appealing or whatever. (Plus I am not really a Jane Austen fan, so have had little interest in the mashups, though I really enjoyed Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian. This avoids my issues with men rewriting women’s stories.)
Earlier this month, a friend recommended Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand to me. I really love Little Women (and Little Men, though Jo’s Boys leaves me a little cold), and obviously I love werewolves, so I immediately bought it.
The addition of the werewolf society and the worldbuilding in it was a lot of fun. I missed many of the descriptions from the original; the descriptions here have been starkly paired down. I can see why; the conceit of the book is that this is an early draft that later had the werewolves cut out and all the descriptive bits put in, but I did miss it. Since this was the first time I’ve read a mashup that involved a book with which I was very familiar, I might have been more sensitive to that sort of change.
One issue I did have was the romantic elements. One pairing really did not feel supported by the text, though I was intrigued by what could have been had I thought it better supported. The other just pissed me off, because it felt like pandering to the fans of the original who were upset about the treatment of a specific couple (I am being intentionally vague here to avoid spoilers, but I’m suddenly not sure why, considering how old the original book is, so I will stop). Basically, there are many readers of the original who feel strongly that Laurie and Jo should have married. This mashup plays with that a lot, and in some very interesting ways, but then it snaps back to the original ending in such a way that felt rushed, unsupported, and really disappointing. (And in the original, I love Jo and Bhaer.)
But the werewolf society and the horrifying bits were absolutely delightful additions.
Here is what would have been Month of the Werewolf Days Six and Seven.
Raised By Wolves: At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.
But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It’s Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.
Trial By Fire: There can only be one alpha.
Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.
But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.
Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves.
I cannot wait to read more in this series. Though Raised By Wolves had too much dangerous so therefore crazy, I loved the pack politics, the world building, and Bryn herself. Bryn is amazing. Amazing. She is strong and smart and determined, and I love the way she goes from resenting the way her life is bound by the rules of the werewolves to finding ways to work within them as well as without. Family and friendship are so important in these books.
Barnes deftly handles commentary on democracy, leadership, disobedience, fighting to protect yourself, fighting to protect others, and how to know whom to trust.
Of the two, Trial By Fire is my favorite, with delightful twists and turns and magic and betrayal and friendship and family, but both books — but the series as a whole, because I hope to read many more books in the series — are delightful werewolf stories.
Well, Month of the Werewolf ended up being a fail for me, in part because I either incorrectly set up some of the posts to publish or WordPress had a big glitch, and in part because I got sick and then incredibly busy at work and with my family and didn’t have time to troubleshoot or write more posts.
But there are three days left, and I am going to slip in smaller versions of some of the posts I intended to do. We’ll see how many I can get done. I am also working on a story for an anthology that is due on Tuesday, and I have other work to do, so I must split my time between projects.
Here is what would have been Month of the Werewolf Day Four.
Trick R’ Treat (2007): Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.
I love stories that weave through each other, and I love horror movies, and I love Halloween stories. Mostly, I find Trick ‘R Treat to be fun, sometimes slightly cheesy horror and occasionally a little boring, but I love one of the four stories so much that it really carries the rest of the movie for me and makes it one of my favorite Halloween movies.
Below the cut, there will be spoilers for that plot.
From Werewolve-News.com, I am impatiently waiting on Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale. (IMPATIENTLY, I tell you. I have set my people to work procuring it for me, by which I mean Tech Guru, who has a liquor store hookup, is tracking it down for me. If he can’t find it, I have another source to try.) I don’t even drink Newcastle much, but I want to try this.
Since I haven’t yet and therefore can’t review it here (which I will do when I find it), I provide for you a review from The Beers Gone Bad, which I had never seen before until I went looking for more information about this WEREWOLF BLOOD RED ALE. God, that name, people, DO WANT.
Much like the boys from Beers Gone Bad, when I look at this beer, I think of An American Werewolf in London, which is one of my favorite werewolf movies. The label and the name make me think of drinking in dark pubs with the full moon rising outside and the monsters within just waiting to be free. That or drinking around a bonfire while monsters how in the distance.
I will let you know if drinking it makes me want to howl at the moon. (Huh, this just made me want to write a very specific scene using this beer. I will let you know if it makes it into a story that is publicly available.)
Speaking of drinking, what are your favorite things to drink in the autumn? I love October and need something to drink around the bonfire.
(Image description: Cover for Isaac Asimov’s Werewolves. Picture of a reddish-brown werewolf standing on a cliff, a big full moon behind its head. In the background are pine trees, and the sky has a yellow-green cast.)
This book collects a few of the werewolf stories published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, but I hadn’t read any of them before and really appreciated the anthology format of them. Though I enjoyed almost all of the stories (which is fairly rare for me and anthologies, so kudos for that), three really stood out for me. My favorites were “Boobs” by Suzy McKee Charnas, “Red” by Sarah Clemens, and “Madonna of the Wolves” by S.P. Somtow.
“Boobs” hits one of my favorite werewolf tropes where the main character becomes a werewolf as she comes of age (here, getting her first period). The play of monster and woman is interesting, and the boys who have been tormenting her because of her breasts will have a nasty time of it now that she is embracing her own power.
“Red” approaches woman as werewolf from the other direction, where a young girl discovers why her great-aunt is often shut up in the basement of her antebellum mansion, and nicely captures the feel of decaying estates and the ties of family.
“Madonna of the Wolves” focuses on a young woman who is a governess in late Victorian times. Her charge is being prepared as the heir to the werewolf throne, and focuses a lot on the sexual themes of people with beasts inside. It’s really quite interesting, but it does read like a small part of a larger story. This is because it is. (Later, I would pick up Moon Dance by S.P. Somtow without realizing I had finally found the book from which the story came.) The writing is lush and the violence and sex simmering just beneath the surface delightful.
The anthology covers many different time periods and focuses on very different characters. It is an enjoyable collection of stories, and if you did not read them in Asimov’s Science Fiction or you prefer your stories collected in book form, and if you are looking for more werewolf stories to read, I recommend tracking down this collection.
I know the trailer looks incredibly cheesy. No, really, I do. And the movie is a little cheesy, the special effects not awesome. However, this is one of the best werewolf movies I’ve seen, for a lot of reasons, but mostly for this: Loren, the main character, played by Nina Dobrev, kicks ass. She’s amazing, tough and smart and determined and brave. Things I love: women kicking ass, siblings teaming up to hunt monsters, girls with crossbows and guns, werewolves on motorcycles, dramatic shots of the full moon. Things this movie has: all of that and more.
So yes, at times incredibly cheesy, and I absolutely do not buy Peter Stebbings as this hot new guy whom all the women want, and there is more women-as-victims than I like, but mostly, this movie is a joy and a delight, and I highly recommend it for you Month of the Werewolf movie needs. (Or your horror movie needs. Or your Halloween needs. This movie is multipurpose, obviously.)
Plus, if you like Nina Dobrev in The Vampire Diaries (which I do, though I’ve only seen season one), she’s kick ass and badass and awesome here too.
I actually don’t own this one yet, because I hate the only cover I’ve ever seen in person, which has Loren looking like a victim and is from one of the few scenes I really hated, but maybe I will buy it and then paste this picture on top of it, because it makes Loren look like she’s a motorcycle riding werewolf hunter and oh, god, how much do I need that sort of story in my life? A LOT.
Loren is my favorite werewolf hunter ever.