Reviewed: July 11, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Naked Werewolf, Book 2
Rating: 4 stars
Length: 352 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Maggie Graham has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders as alpha of the Crescent Valley werewolf pack near the small town of Grundy, Alaska. She has to run her pack, protect them, and, sometime in the future - the further away the better, get mated so she could birth a few pups to help increase the numbers of her threatened species. The responsibilities of an alpha were those she felt she was best suited for after her brother Cooper abdicated his position years ago and she helped kill Eli, the werewolf with a pesky penchant for homicide who took over in Coop's absence.
A big part of protecting the werewolves who depend on her is making sure their existence remains a secret from humanity. Being a 'bite first, bite again, and keep biting until the victim loses too much blood to ask questions' sort, when she finds out a human researcher has shown up in town to seriously investigate werewolves, Maggie's first...well, okay, only instinct is to make the guy's inevitable demise look like an accident. Then she comes face to face with self-labeled zoological anthropologist Nicholas J. Thatcher, PhD.
If the inability to string a coherent sentence together and resultant vapid babbling weren't bad enough, there was the excessive drooling and the heavy panting...while in her human form! How weird is that? No doubt about it, dominant werewolf Maggie Graham, the girl who knows a hell of a lot more about flashing fang and fighting than flirting, is in way over her head as she falls face first into a case of puppy lust with the one human determined to expose her kind's most closely guarded secret.
Harper hits another high note in this followup to her hilarious book, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf. Set about a year after the wacky romance of Mo and Cooper, little sister Maggie, a werewolf with a penchant for sarcasm and a bit of an aggression management problem, tells her story of incautious romance and pack life in this slick and funny book.
I admit, I have a fondness for quick witted smart-asses, tomboys, and strong female characters, so I felt an instant appreciation for Maggie. One I wasn't expecting, actually, but she has mellowed from the major bitch she was in the previous book and embodies a decided sarcastic contrariness without losing likability. That's a very good thing, because I was leery of reading about her as a lead character after her introduction in that one. As it turns out, I found her easier to relate to than the more girly Mo.
Nick was a charmer, too, and made a great romantic male lead. He wasn't the dour grump that Coop was at the start of the first book, so I warmed up to him a little quicker than I did Cooper, and I really enjoyed the way he related to Maggie and his acceptance of his widened world view. They were a strong romantic pair and their relationship was both sizzling and fun.
As much as I enjoyed both of them, and I was thoroughly entertained by the whole of the story, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf wasn't quite as funny as its predecessor, and while it made me chuckle throughout, there were fewer laugh-out-loud moments. The non-romantic plot threads were a little less cohesive, as well, and I found the mystery and outside threat to the pack wasn't as well developed as Eli's thread had been. The level of intensity and danger just missed rising to the same level as the humor and romance, which wasn't a problem in the first book.
There was a nifty plot twist towards the end I didn't see coming, though, and I love when that happens. I didn't so much love the way the story evolved immediately after it, though. It was a strong storyline with a lot of potential for conflict and complex resolution, but it wasn't given as much development as it could have been so it ended up falling a little flat for me. I wish it had been afforded more room to have a larger impact on the overall book.
I ended up feeling largely charmed and amused by The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, but wish that it had gone just a bit further on some of the story elements. It was a highly entertaining read, though slightly lacking in plot complexity. Harper has proven she has a genuine gift for humor and romance, and has done so while utilizing a first person point of view narrative that I normally don't prefer for books in the romance genre. She makes it work for her, though, and with aplomb, by creating likable, sympathetic, and hilarious primary characters and stories that are sheer fun to experience. Like this one.
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