The third installment of the Naked Werewolf series by Molly Harper, How to Run With a Naked Werewolf, is hopefully not the last. I have grown fond of Grundy Alaska and the pack. There is still a lot of room for more stories coming out of Grundy.
Full of interesting dialogue, funny and realistic characters, a decent story line and just enough action and steam, this was a great read. I love the books like the ones in this series. They are fun little books. Even with a dark undertow like here (the spousal abuse that our main character Anna is running from) they manage to stay light and fun.
While there were definitely aspects that were predictable – as soon as the reader finds out what Anna is running from, it’s clear that she will be caught at some point – we can live with it. Because we know that there is joy and happiness coming for our characters. Unlike the PNR with the EOW scenarios, there is no under current of evil that we know will cause trouble for the entire series and be so bad and ugly that the fate of civilization hangs in the balance. That dark cloud isn’t there, and so these books are more lighthearted and easier to enjoy. They are chuckle-out-loud amusing and there isn’t the dreaded feeling about what might come in the next chapter and worry about where the series will be when this installment is done. Instead, the joy with these books is that it is also clear from page one that our main lady (here, Anna) and guy (Caleb) will prevail. I mean, that’s why we read these books right? The romance and the happily-ever-after fairly tale ending that we all know is coming before turning that last page. It keeps us buying these books.
My reading habits are pretty predictable. I read an EOW scenario (like BDB or Lords or Demonica) and then need a book or three to lighten the mood. And I mix in the YA story too to make sure all seems right with the world before diving back into a world where there is such evil the author is literally talking about demons and hell. For all the supernatural reading I do, across genres, I love these light-hearted fun PNR books best. They are the perfect mix of chuckles and steam. Even if they have a subtle “moral of the story” somewhere in there. For me, the Naked Werewolf series ranks right up there with some of my favorites – Erin McCarthy’s Vegas Vamps, Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Wild About You and Ashlyn’s Chase’s Strange Neighbors (aside: I want more of those series!!!!!! 3 was not nearly enough from the Strange Neighbors and the Vegas Vamps needs more too!!!!)
The more serious side, that is a subtle message of what a too controlling relationship looks like, can be found if that’s what you want to get out of this book. I will note it is a message that is judgment free. Women who end up in relationships where they think everything is fine and slowly is turns ugly can be smart, well educated and right in front of anyone. And they may not know it at first, or even when it’s too late. It’s like boiling a lobster; when the lobster is in cold water and you slowly turn the heat up, they don’t realize they are being cooked. Sometimes, like with the Anna character, something gradually turns up the heat. Luckily, Anna finds a way out. And we only get this story as back story. We don’t really see the ugliness until the very end when Glenn shows up to take back what he thinks is his. And it’s once that this is backstory. The author doesn’t make it her mission to hit the reader over the head with the lesson. It’s there, but a reader can also just choose to enjoy the relationship that is Anna and Caleb.
I will note, I do like my gals of the ass kickin’ variety. And while here Anna is a little more clumsily lucky than ass kicking’ I do like that she is strong. The whiney I-can’-be-with-him-becasue-blah-blah-blah and I-need-to-be-rescued crap is only readable by me in small doses. While some might argue that Anna isn’t very strong, I think when you look at who she is, what she accomplishes, and pay a little attention to the moral of the (back) story you can see she is. Sarcasm in female characters is also always the recipient of bonus points in my book too.
Hope I get to visit Grundy and the NW pack again soon!
**Glossary (and mental note as to what these mean, since I don’t want to include these footnotes on every review/post/page):
BDB – Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward
EOW – End of the World
NW – Naked Werewolf
PNR – Paranormal Romance