Book Review: Alpha Kaden

cover-review-Alpha KadenTitle: Alpha Kaden [Alpha 2]

Author: Midika Crane

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Werewolves

Rating: 3 Stars (3.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Everyone knows of Alpha Kaden, a man of twisted riddles and cryptic puzzles. His identity is one of them. His touch, another. He is feared throughout all 13 packs for his reputation of stealing young women out of their beds. And tonight he has come to steal Mara to make her a player in his wicked game.

But when Mara discovers the truth behind his sadistic mind games everything changes and she finds herself questioning what is real, and what is not. Mara always assumed her mate would be a man from her own pack. A good man. Not a sadistic, sinful Alpha named Kaden.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have mixed feelings about Alpha Kaden by Midika Crane. From the synopsis, I assumed this was going to be a very dark romance tinged with bits of insanity–which is something I don’t often read, but I do find fascinating… but that isn’t really what I found. In fact, let’s be clear: the synopsis is incredibly misleading.

There were definite elements of darkness and insanity to the story (and a whole lot of romance) but not in the way I expected–and I’m not sure how I feel about that. At first, the romance between Kaden and Mara was everything it promised. There was this element of darkness and insanity that made the situation between the two lovers sultry and taboo…but then part way through the book there is a twist (and not a bad one at that!) that completely changes how we readers see Alpha Kaden.

Without giving too much away, he went from being this bad-ass, devilishly charismatic man… to being, well… kind of a wimp. On the one hand, I understand why the author changed his personality mid-way through, but on the other hand, I don’t think it was the best way to handle the situation. Kaden is an Alpha… just because the twist happened, doesn’t mean he stops being an Alpha. Frankly, I liked him before the twist a lot better than after. Mara didn’t agree with me apparently. She went from hating this man beyond words to falling madly in love with him n the course of a page—which was annoying, to say the least.

That being said, the chemistry between the characters was steamy, and everything you want from a romance once you get past the initial shock and confusion. The world building was interesting, the characters, though maybe a bit shallow, were compelling enough to carry the story. The writing itself was easy to read and flowed well. I just wish the Alpha hadn’t become such a Beta. It felt rushed and sloppy the way it was handled.

If you like paranormal romances with suspense and werewolves, you’ll probably enjoy Alpha Kaden. Despite its flaws, it was entertaining and definitely worth reading, but this isn’t going to be one of those books that you re-read over and over.

Book Review: Charming The Alpha

 

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Title: Charming The Alpha [The Crane Curse 1]

Author: Liliana Rhodes

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

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.