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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wild About You by Kerrelyn Sparks

Wild About You by Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: Avon
Genre Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (233 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

It's not every day that Elsa Bjornberg feels delicate, not when she hosts a home renovation show where she can effortlessly demolish a kitchen. But from the moment she meets Howard Barr, this bear of a man makes her feel like a woman. And the way he looks at her, as if she were a pot of honey he'd like to lick...

Howard is not like most men. For one thing, he's a shapeshifter. And he always thought his celebrity crush would never amount to anything more than drooling at Elsa on TV. When his meddling vampire employer gets involved, the star is suddenly within his grasp—and within a hair of her life. For an ancient curse forbids their newfound love, and Howard is suddenly torn between his desire for her and his desire to keep her alive.

Finally, Howard gets a chance at love. He’s been around in the series for quite some time, always there protecting who needs protecting and watching the vamps find their true loves. What’s a lonely bear going to do when he has secrets of his own that prevent him from finding his own happiness? Pine from afar it seems. Until Roman’s wife, Shanna, got that twinkle in her eye.

I was thrilled to finally see Howard take center stage. His was a very private character that always seemed to be at everyone’s beck and call, and yet he never minded. Why was he there? Why was he so dedicated to MacKay Security? Howard was such a contrary character and the author hinted at his depths early on. He was a formidable opponent yet was such a pushover with kids. How could I not like a big tough guy with the insides of a squishy marshmallow? I had a great time learning that there was a lot more to Howard Barr than anyone could have envisioned. I came to appreciate his inner pain, his self-sacrifice and his determination to somehow right the wrongs and have vindication too. Unfortunately for him, and exciting for me, his plans caused a domino effect that propelled the plot, provided plenty of drama and suspense and kept the pages turning.

Add too that, the plans Shanna put into effect. They had more of an impact then even she could predict, which in turn, made this a very exciting romance story indeed. Shanna found out about one of Howard’s secrets which introduced Elsa to the story. Unbeknownst to both Elsa and Howard, their courtship was going to be one of the most bizarre yet fascinating adventure of their lives. Through the course of the book, they discover some amazing things about themselves, not the least of which is the solving of a hundreds of years old mystery. I was amused at how both sides had different accounts of the same story but when the truth comes out, readers will be in for another dose of intense excitement.

There are old favorites, like seeing Roman, Angus and Shanna again. It’s Roman and Shanna’s son, Tino, that oh, so innocently, adds spice and surprise to the events surrounding the hapless hero and heroine. He really is a cute manipulator - reminds me of his mom. Then I got introduced to Greta and Ula, Elsa’s aunts. They are more than doting aunts to Elsa, and their paranoid ways aren’t without credence. Elsa found that out the hard way.

That nasty bugger, Rhett Bleddyn, is back. And now I know why. What I found out about him made my ears steam. Ms. Sparks created a wonderful villain and I intensely disliked him. His connection to both Howard and Elsa was a surprise though and a clever bit of suspenseful writing.

A book by Ms. Sparks wouldn’t be complete without the kind of humor she’s known for. I’m pleased to say that all the deer, raccoons, and squirrels have a new friend, but even wild pigs don’t play nice. I know I referred to previous characters but rest assured, this is a wonderful standalone read. The author used the additional characters to further Howard and Elsa’s story without diluting it in any way. It was well balanced.

Wild About You is a thrilling story, peppered with humor and populated with characters that readers can fall in love with. Ms. Sparks continues to pen adventurous romance books that always seem fresh, vibrant and entertaining. This book is no exception. Even if readers visit this series for the first time with Howard’s story, this novel encompasses all that made me a fan of Ms. Sparks early on. Try it and see.