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Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.
Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.
Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.
Wolves and Research
When writing fiction, there is no limit to the author’s imagination. Oftentimes, we ask our readers to suspend disbelief. But being a book reader as well, I know sometimes there is a limit to the suspension before the story is just too unbelievable. Some readers want to be grounded in a little reality, so I think it’s ideal for an author to find a balance between the two. When writing about werewolves that are mostly wolf in nature, I felt it necessary to do some research. Wolves are real, so unless they exist on another planet, I think it’s respectful to retain some integrity for these magnificent and beautiful animals. While writing my paranormal romance novel, The Howling Heart, I read about wolves and watched several nature documentaries. I was conscious of the fact that some readers of this literary genre are avid wolf lovers, and could potentially point out in their reviews the misinformation I may write about wolves. I learned about a female wolf’s gestational period for a very specific reason and it’s explained in the book. I read about pack hierarchy, especially because I decided there should be alphas, betas, and an omega in the Black River pack. Reading about wolves’ physical features and advantages that help them survive in the wild was important. I needed to know how a wolf behaved when it was aggressive, submissive, and playful, because it helped me when writing certain scenes. Although my wolves are essentially “super” wolves that have extraordinary abilities, what makes them similar to normal wolves? I had to learn about the species to explain that question. I even looked for images displaying the variety of fur coloring across different sub-species including the extinct species. Could I write about a wolf with striped fur? Are there wolves with tawny or brown fur? Are they all gray, black, and white? Many of the things I learned about wolves were used as a foundation for my mythical werewolves. And while they don’t truly exist, some aspects about them are rooted in truth. There’s a balance. My advice to any aspiring author writing a story where real animals are main elements to the plot, is to do your research first. You can never learn too much, only too little. Trust me, readers will let you and everyone else know if you didn’t learn enough. Don’t let it be after the fact when it’s too late!
Note this review is a couple of years old. I still love this book and yes, its on my keeper shelf.
I need to be honest with you dear readers. I don’t like shifter books. I’m not sure why except that most of them are erotic, involve a menage, aren’t realistic enough for me or just bore me to tears. Yes, I’ve DNF a lot of them but authors that others rave about. Sigh…In my PNR’s, I like fae, angels, demons and gargoyles. Yes, I’m weird but there you have it. So why did I give this book a 5 Harlie, Recommended Read and Best of 2014? Let me explain:
1. The Plot – Extremely well thought out and it shows in Ms. Bostic’s world building. She showed us the world, not “told” us about it. That’s a huge difference for me. I felt like I was really there in Colorado and New York. Yes, the story takes place in two different settings and that makes it a more exciting book for me to read. It showed the shifter world of Riley and Paige’s world in New York.
2. The Characters – Again, well thought out and richly drawn to keep my interest. Plus, with Riley’s twin sister Quinn as Paige’s new friend, you could tell that again, Ms. Bostic took her time for the characters to get to know one another. It wasn’t insta love/lust with Riley and Paige. Yes, Riley knew that Paige was his mate, but Paige had a lot of questions that needed to be answered. Paige needed some convincing but she wasn’t pushed into her decision. It was a decision that she made on her own.
3. The World According to Ms. Bostic – Good lord, what a world. It wasn’t mythical or enchanting. It was real and how she was able to incorporate the shifter world and the real world was brilliant. It made sense to me and the action flowed from one to another. Another thing about the world that she created, every question that Paige had, I had and Ms. Bostic explained simplicity but didn’t dumb it down for me. Yes, was the taboo subject of having sex with a wolf touched on? You bet. Paige needed answers and she got them. Was the act in the book? NO! (I know that some reviewers raked the book over the coals for that; I didn’t because of the way that Ms. Bostic handled the situation)
4. Mating Ritual – This didn’t happen until over half way through the book. At least them having sex. It was well written but the actual ritual didn’t happen until later. And of course, there was another shifter that wanted Paige. Oooo, the intrigue. Yes, was there a fight to the death? You bet and I loved it. I cringed the whole time but the outcome was well worth it in the end.
5. Riley and Paige – Theirs is such a sweet story. Yes, its sweet. I’m a romantic at heart and to see how their childhood played a hand into their adulthood was sweet. Was Paige confused by it all? You bet but she had Riley and in a sense Quinn to help her figure it out.
6. Complaints – Paige’s mother was a beyotch behind compare. I really, really wanted to slap her, maim her or whatever. Paige was a grown woman and she treated Paige like she was 10 years old. I also felt like the ending was a bit…I don’t know…weird. Yes, did everything work out in the end? Sure but unfortunately, there are a lot of unanswered questions that I will never know. Ms. Bostic has decided to stop writing. Yes, there will be no sequel, no Quinn story…nothing. I’m extremely upset over this because I finally found a PNR author that I adored and shifters that I liked. *pout*
Overall, if you want to dip your toes into the shifter world that makes sense, The Howling Heart is where you need to start. Its a well thought out romance between two people that straddles two different worlds. The outcome is sweet and tender between Riley and Paige. And nothing cringe worthy happens (things that make you go Yuck) either. Plus there is a touch of the Viking in here too and oh man…I loved it!
April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled A Rose to the Fallen.
Her first short story, Right Here, Right Now, released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories–a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled Eros, My Love, and a sexy romantic comedy entitled Love Addiction.
After five years, she released her second novel, The Howling Heart, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April also released her fourth short story in December 2013, a historical paranormal romance entitled A Dark Scandal.
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