Title: Charming The Alpha [The Crane Curse 1]
Author: Liliana Rhodes
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: 2 Stars
Hannah Crane just graduated college, lives at home with her mom, and has no idea what to do with her life. One night while visiting her grandmother, she’s startled by a wolf and everything changes.
In the forest investigating a recent rash of murders and missing shifters, werewolf Alpha Caleb Overstreet doesn’t expect to run into a human, let alone a witch. Especially not one whose scent tells him she is his other half…or is she?
As the secrets of her ancestry are revealed, Caleb and Hannah are unable to stay away from each other and Hannah finds herself in danger. A rival pack believes her to be at the center of a curse that would enable them to control other shifters. But is Hannah the wolf charmer they believe her to be? Or is she really Caleb’s fated mate?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I read this book as part of the Fated Mates Box Set, so I am planning to give a review to each individual book in the set, and then the set as a whole at a later date. There are twelve books in the set, and it is currently for sale on Amazon for $0.99 at the time this review was written. This is Book 2 of 12.
Let me say right off the bat: I didn’t like this book. Within the first page, I realized that there were going to be a few quirks to this book that I’d have to get used to. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t realize quite how many there would be. I mistakenly thought that once I got further into the book, I’d get some understanding of the author’s choices in the narrative. Alas, it was not to be.
First off, several characters had really odd names with no obvious explanation of why: Pea, Bubbles, Pinky. I have no idea why. I was expecting to have it explained that they were nicknames, but no such luck. I should add that Hannah, the main character, often referred to her mother by first name, but also called her “Mom”, again with no explanation.
The second odd quirk, was the wardrobe of the characters—they were constantly being explained in excruciating detail (and were oddly conservative with turtleneck shirts and pencil skirts), but given that the main female lead wore a dated navy/red cloak with her black skinny jeans, I had a hard time pinning down the time period from the very beginning of the book.
From there, the story was a jumbled mess of plot holes, bad dialogue, and utterly unbelievable characters. At first it was little things: like the fact that Hannah’s house was in pristine condition and livable even though it had reportedly been around since the days of the pilgrims. It stretched believability a bit, but the further I got into the story, the more absurd it got. Seemingly important pieces of information were left out entirely at times, and other times the characters ignored information they already knew, and then were surprised when it came back to bite them.
For instance, Hannah was in complete denial that any supernatural beings lived in her town (including werewolves) but then goes on to explain that she’s a witch, and her mother once told her that her father was a werewolf. God only knows how she reconciled those two bits of information with her distorted worldview.
As another example: Hannah spent her entire life being harassed by her grandmother about the length of her hair. It is even explained to her that her hair gives away a smell that alerts shifters to who she is, and yet when she decides she needs to hide from the shifters and mask her smell, she resorts to using a complicated potion instead of just cutting her hair off as she is constantly being asked to do. She even took a minute to say that her hair wasn’t important and she’d cut it if she had to….but still chose to use a potion.
For the most part, Hannah acted as if she were 15. She whined—a lot. She acted like a boy-crazy teen, and purposefully put herself in danger several times for the hell of it. I found it hard to believe that she was actually in her twenties—and actually went back and checked the narrative just to be sure. This seemed to be a running theme with most of the characters though. They were incredibly flakey—often going back on what they’d said in previous conversations, putting themselves and others in danger for no reason, and jumping to conclusions over the smallest things. The narrative was drama drama drama from beginning to end. *throws hands up in the air*
The dialogue was hard to follow, and unnatural. Sometimes characters would go off on odd tangents in the middle of dialogue, and other characters would respond back to them in ways that didn’t make sense… almost as if a part of the conversation had gone missing. I finally drew the conclusion that at some point the author had either edited the dialogue out, or had imagined it while she wrote, and skipped it entirely. The narrative itself was plagued with misplaced punctuation and oddly phrased sentences. Have some dialogue:
“Oh you’d know it,” she said as she stopped pacing. “Now tell me what Pea said.” “stop trying to change the subject, Mom. I’m allowed to be curious about the strange beings in our town.”
“What? No! You don’t know what you’re talking about? And what if it was? But it’s not,”
“I don’t have time for this. I should leave you here to learn your fate,” he said huskily as his gaze briefly softened. “Many wolves wouldn’t be as honorable towards a lost beautiful human such as yourself.”
I guess the best way to describe this book is: disjointed and unbelievable. The characters actions and the events within the book were so far off the deep end of reality, and with so little explanation, that I found it increasingly difficult to believe any part of the story. By the time it got around to the romance, I’d already washed my hands of it. It’s hard to invest yourself into a romance if you don’t like the characters and most of the time they’re being so stupid that you want to throw your book across the room. The sexy scenes ended up feeling dry and humorous because of this. I just couldn’t get into it.
Would I read this book again? No. Never. Would I recommend it to others? No. There may be someone out there that can sit through this ridiculous story and enjoy it, but it isn’t me. It is in desperate need of a good editor and some beta readers to clean up the plot holes and juvenile narrative. The only reason it got two stars instead of one, is because I finished reading it.