WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley

NYPD homicide detective Trina Baskin is having nightmares. Vivid ones. Full of blood, and snow, dead wolves…and a young man with pale hair who howls like an animal. She chalks them up to stress and an overactive imagination, too many Old Country stories from her Russian father who, when he’s had too much vodka, starts to rave about dark forces and things that look like men…but aren’t. 

But then a case hits her desk that can’t be explained. A young man found outside a club with a nasty bite mark on his neck – and not a drop of blood left in his body. With no leads, no theories that bear exploring, too little sleep, and a partner who seems to be willfully throwing his career down the toilet, the last thing Trina needs is a full-on out of body experience…in which her family’s past is revealed to her, and everything starts making a whole lot of terrifying sense.

In 1942, Trina’s great-grandfather, Nikita, is a captain of the Cheka, the Soviet political police – or so it seems. He and his men are sent to Siberia to retrieve a “volunteer,” the boy who’s going to win the war against the Nazis – and potentially unleash hell on earth. 

The world’s immortal population has been living quietly, secretly, hiding from the wars of men, hoping the past can stay buried. But what happens on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942 will change everything.

In 2017, Trina is about to come face-to-face with her own past in a way she never thought possible. It turns out monsters are real – and they might be the only hope for survival. 


Title : White Wolf
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 558
Genre : paranormal (contemporary & historical)
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : October 29, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, as usual I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started WHITE WOLF. I knew it featured a detective but I figured she would be solving mysteries that would be paranormal in nature and.. I mean, it’s not not that, but it’s so much more.

Nikita caught one last glance of Sasha’s falsely brave smile and thought this is why men cave to tyrants. To make brave smiles worthwhile.

As you might have noticed by the page count, this is not a short book. I believe this is an epic series and boy does it feel that way. That being said, I did not expect to be transported to World War II era Russia after only, like, two chapters. But more than that, I didn’t expect to spend 85% of the book in that time period once we got there. And I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much. I actually resented transitioning back to the contemporary timeline because I was so invested in the characters I had come to love (like, seriously, Nikita and Sasha? I adore. but in general I’m such a sucker for an ensemble).

He was a good man! A holy man. He–
Was probably fucking your mother.

Time will tell if I come to appreciate these modern characters as much as the others but there are spoilery things I can’t mention that have me very satisfied with the shift back to 2017 now that we’re likely to stay there. Though who knows where book two (and beyond) will take us.

For wolves — werewolves — it’s unnatural to take a true mate.”
Please. Everybody fucks. That’s the most atural thing in the world.”
For mortal humans, yes, of course. But Familiars aren’t entirely human, and the laws of nature don’t apply the same way.”
You’re telling me superpowered people who live forever don’t fuck? What’s the point of living forever if you can’t get laid?

If you like the paranormal but also like historical fiction, or very detailed mythology twisted up with real historical figures, you should definitely look into starting this series. I’m loathe to recommend it too hard as I’m only just getting started but this definitely surprised me — and in a good way. There is definitely a bit of something here for everyone; romantic elements (though this is not a romance so don’t expect too much page time or focus), comedic elements (unless I’m just warped but I did laugh out loud quite a few times), and darker elements (hello vampires and werewolves and also war time events). I know this won’t be for everyone, some readers may not want so much history, so much time spent on backstory, but this worked for me. It took a few days to get through but each time I picked it up I couldn’t tear myself away.

I’m so keen to dive into book two.

A-HOLE CHARACTERS

Asshole.
Jerk.

Pardon my gutter mouth. I (Micky) have an on/off relationship with ‘a-hole’ characters, particularly in romantic fiction. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I like them, and sometimes I hate them. I think the key to my relationship with ‘a-hole’ romance in particular, is in the writing and, of course, the promise of any book like this is the redemption. Redemption must happen and it must be sweet in it’s transformation, maybe a bit reluctant too. I think my connection with this kind of jerk character all started with Mr Darcy…

My feminist self bristles at the thought of enjoying a good ‘a-hole’ male character but I remind myself that this is fiction and sometimes I want the kind of read that isn’t related to the kind of relationship I would seek in real life. That’s the escapism beauty of reading fiction, especially romantic fiction.

So far, I’ve been talking about this phenomenon in the genre of romantic fiction, yet I wholeheartedly believe it exists in fantasy, both YA and adult. THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black isn’t named this for no good reason, the boy-man is a jerk to the power of 100. Another example is the Darkling from the The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo; he is the kind of jerk I love to hate. Don’t even get me started on Rhysand in A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, even though he transformed early in the series. This is definitely a trope that crosses genres.


THE KISS THIEF by LJ Shen
VICIOUS by LJ Shen
TROPHY WIFE (formerly THE DUMONT DIARIES) by Alessandra Torre
RULE by Jay Crownover
THE WALL OF WINNIPEG AND ME by Mariana Zapata
KULTI by Mariana Zapata
MISTER WESTON (formerly TURBULENCE) by Whitney G
TWO WEEKS NOTICE by Whitney G
LEAD by Kylie Scott
FIGHT OR FLIGHT by Samantha Young
RIDE by Harper Dallas
BURN FOR YOU by JT Geissinger
BAD JUDGMENT by Sidney Bell

THE CRUEL PRINCE/THE WICKED KING by Holly Black
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J Maas
OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L Armentrout
THE CAPTIVE PRINCE TRILOGY by CS Pacat
IRON AND MAGIC by Ilona Andrews
GOLDEN DYNASTY by Kristen Ashley
MASTER OF CROWS by Grace Draven
MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
THE DUCHESS DEAL by Tessa Dare
THE DUKE OF MIDNIGHT by Elizabeth Hoyt


What title tops your list of favourite books featuring asshole or jerk characters? We’d love to know!

SHE SAID, SHE SAID…#2 TOGETHER

Remember our opposites post last week #forreaderseyesonly? This blog post is all about where we agree; where we screenshot and message our heart-eyes out over the best books in our little world. Sometimes we even buddy read them together, particularly when it’s a series where we’ve both adored the one (or ones) that came before.

Buddy reading with Hollis is, erm, different. Hollis reads at the speed of Formula One and Micky is driving at 50. Add onto this the fact that Micky is a polyreader and Hollis is monogamous, it’s not easy. We have a system that works where Hollis is on a tight restraint regarding which chapter she can read to and where Micky puts the other books down and gives the buddy read her full attention (Hollis is so blessed).


The Venery duology by Suanne Laqueur
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
BURN FOR YOU and MELT FOR YOU by JT Geissinger
INTO THE WILDERNESS by Sara Donati
WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare
London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker
Outlander series by Diana Galbadon
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
HUNTED by Meagan Spooner
THE HATING GAME and 99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne
DEFY THE STARS by Claudia Gray
ENTREAT ME by Grace Draven


We’d love to hear about your last buddy read or what book you and all (most?) of your buddies all agree on. Particularly if it’s not on this list. We might just have to make it our next joint read!

RECOMMENDED PICKS FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED

I’m (Micky) the kind of reader that occasionally flits in and out of a KU subscription, sometimes a complimentary 3 months (lets have more of this please). Along the way I’ve found some great reads that are mostly in the romance genre and some quick, hot, reads. I make no excuses for the quick, hot reads, sometimes that’s the flavour your mood requires. I’ve also found some fails; which aren’t included in this post.

This KU list relates to what I’ve read on UK Amazon and so there may be some regional variability. Also if you come to this post a little late, titles do move in and out of the KU subscription according to the author’s preference.


Thiller/suspense
THE GHOSTWRITER by Alessandra Torre

Sports romance
RIDE by Harper Dallas
CRASH Harper Dallas
LONG SHOT by Kennedy Ryan

A-hole romance (yes, I’m inventing a new sub-genre)
THE KISS THIEF by LJ Shen
VICIOUS by LJ Shen

Royal themed romance
THE SWEDISH PRINCE by Karina Halle
THE NORDIC KING by Karina Halle

Slow burn romance
LUNA AND THE LIE by Mariana Zapata
FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE by Mariana Zapata (this could also go under sport’s romance)

Contemporary romance
LIKE YOU MEAN IT by Jillian Liota
FRENCHED by Melanie Harlow
NOT SO NICE GUY by R.S. Grey
HEARTBREAK WARFARE by Heather M Orgeron & Kate Stewart
WALLBANGER by Alice Clayton
BEFORE I EVER MET YOU by Karina Halle

NA romance
DRUMLINE by Stacey Kestwick

Quick, hot reads (aliens, humans and everything in beween)
ICE PLANET BARBARIANS series by Ruby Dixon

Fantasy
HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling

Dystopian/Apocalyptic with romance
EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski


If you’ve got any KU recommendations from any genre that you’ve really enjoyed, we’d love to hear them.