No Such Thing as Werewolves by Chris Fox

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With such a fascinating title, how could I not read this book? If for no other reason than to find out “DO werewolves exist?” Well, right from the get-go…almost.

First off, a little backstory. A team of mercenaries discover a huge, black pyramid in Peru, that might or might not be from some ancient civilization. They don’t so much discover it, as watch it erupt from the ground. Safely ensconced in their helicopters they witness it seamlessly appear through a shimmer of heat. A bit weird and hard to describe; I’m at a loss as how better to describe it. The obvious next step is to investigate. Where would the story be if they didn’t? Just like in horror movies where you scream at the heroine, “Don’t open the door! Jason’s behind it!” The curiosity and stupidity is necessary for the story to go on. The author is lucky he’s not writing about normal people who would high-tail it out of what is clearly a big no-no.

In the beginning it’s only a two-man team sent to venture inside with the strict order to return in ten minutes. Precisely at nine minutes and sixteen seconds they hear gunfire and the sound of people desperately running. So far, the story is strange, yet predictable. Two men dash inside, one wounded, hoping to find safety. But what is following close behind them? Non other than the scary being every reader knew was coming. It’s massive, at least eight feet tall, and is too fast for a barrage of bullets to stop. It comes complete with pretty fur, enormous teeth, and handy claws. Sure enough, it runs like a man, but it howls like a werewolf. The situation only gets worse in a very serious way and you’re left saying, “I told you not to go in there.”

The story wouldn’t be complete without a group of characters trying to save the world, maybe. The obvious hero is Blair, a good man to have when the sun no longer shines. Everybody knows that the really scary stuff comes out at night. Voila, permanent night. Then there’s Bridget, who is not a hero and turns on Blair. Next is Steve, who turns on Blair with Bridget. Liz is a runaway bride, who is important enough to warrant one of the eighty-two chapters named after her. Then there is her brother Trevor, a scientist who obviously loves the gun range, and Jordan, who may or may not be a nasty mercenary. The question is, will humanity survive long enough to find out?

There’s a whole crew of other characters that add to the mix, including the director of the evil corporation Mohn, Co. This expedition obviously wasn’t funded by the government, so it’s clearly backed by a soulless company with too much money and no regard for human lives. It’s obvious early on that Mohn is the one who stationed the mercenaries to be at just the right place at just the right time. Mercenaries are rarely a good sign in a book, especially if it’s Armageddon, but they are expendable.

It’s not a small book and has a whopping eighty-two chapters. So, don’t go into this lightly. It has the predictability of an obviously bad decision in the beginning, which leads to certain death, but then is followed by a lot of weird. Like I said, this is not a light, fluffy read, as you find out by the ensuing chaos.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. The team sent inside after it’s initial eruption and consequent slaughter, is directed to protect a group of scientists who are hopefully smart enough to figure out the pictographs on the walls. Their job is to get inside and do who knows what. After all, this is all being funded by an evil corporation. Think Umbrella from Resident Evil, who had no qualms about destroying all of mankind. Mohn is much the same and don’t think twice about sending these people into the jungle, totally ignorant of what is roaming around outside the pyramid.

These characters, with varying levels of good and bad, are for the most part supportive of each other, as far as it will get them. There’s a smattering of wanna-be romance and old grudges. The book hits upon a lot of emotions and typical human interaction, which makes it more enjoyable. Needless to say, it was packed with action. It’s not horror, but just the right mixture of weird and fantasy.

This is a solid start to a good-sized series. A lot happens and it’s not even halfway through. I was left with several pertinent questions: Who is a werewolf? Who is going to become one? Why are there even werewolves? How does one become a werewolf? Should you want to be one? And once you become a werewolf, is that all there really is to life?

  • Genre and reading age – like I said, it’s not quite horror and not quite fantasy. Due to the excessive bloodloss, it’s definitely a mature read.
  • Sex – there was absolutely no sex, but it’s hard to fit that in when you’re running for your life.
  • Number of tears shed – zero, there simply was no time.
  • Graphic language – surprisingly, not that much, considering what the characters are going through.
  • This is the first book in the Deathless Series, which has numerous books, including novellas and a prequel. The second one is about zombies and the third is about vampires. I think you get where this is going.
  • Number of laughs – there were a few chuckles, but there was too much action for big ha-ha’s.

This is an action-packed, fun read and I’m happy to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ shiny stars.

Available here on Amazon

 

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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This is a tough one and I must preface it with the fact that it is splashed all over Facebook. I mean that literally; everywhere I go I run into IEWU hype. That said, I approached it with a good deal of enthusiasm. Colleen Hoover is a phenomenal author and I respect her greatly. Now, for the review.

It Ends With Us is the story of Lily, the daughter of a severely battered wife, Ryle, a gorgeous neurosurgeon who doesn’t believe in relationships, and Atlas, the homeless boy who captured Lily’s heart at the tender age of fifteen. The book goes back and forth between the present and the past, as written in her journals. The entries in her journal were very personal and I was able to put myself in her shoes. They were powerful, but a good deal of that was lost, due to the fact that they were sprinkled throughout the book. I would have been able to fully appreciate those vital moments if they had been written as one piece in the beginning. As it was, the flip-flop left me a little disconnected, although I did look forward to them. In other words, I much prefer teen Lily to adult Lily. That is due, in part, to the fact that she is unrealistically mature for her age, so I enjoyed her naivety mixed with her unfounded depth. She was raised around a father who repeatedly beat the stuffing out of her mother, but that doesn’t lead a fifteen year old to be deeply introspective. Regardless, I liked her.

At the beginning, adult Lily lacks understanding and patience for her mother, who stayed with her husband. Unable to relate, she creates a distance between them that was sometimes hard to read. I get where she was coming from, but at the same time I disliked Lily for being so hard on her mother. Since she herself was not abused as her mother was, I felt like she had no right to judge her mother so harshly. Of course, through the course of the book that is resolved, but it is hardly touched upon. I wish it had received more attention. After all, it’s her mother.

The start of her relationship with Ryle felt a bit rushed. Normally when I read I feel a strong emotion towards the love interest, whether it be good or bad. I didn’t feel much for Ryle until he threw a temper tantrum. It was fairly early in the book, so my spidey senses told me where it was going. I hadn’t felt much for him before that and after it was nothing but dislike.

Now, cut to Atlas, the homeless boy from the journals. He was loveable and needed her. He provided her the opportunity to find her inner strength, and to a degree she did. She had a traumatic experience at sixteen that made her hatred of her father more valid, which I’m guessing is part of why she holds a grudge against her mother, but it made her grow up a bit. The entries about her worry for Atlas and then when she brought him into her life and heart were wonderful. Teen Atlas was addictive.

Adult Atlas is more of a side note to her present day life. He is still a stronger character, but he didn’t get much attention, especially considering Ryle had the spotlight. The story is trying to address a very sensitive topic that millions of women around the world deal with everyday. I respect Colleen so much for doing that. Thousands of women are connecting to this book and crying torrents of tears, but my eyes remained completely dry.

Let me tell you why. The way it was written into the book did not highlight the true horror of abuse. There were only a few times when it occurred and they were very brief. I didn’t really feel it. It felt dry and more like reading a police report. There just wasn’t enough attention paid to her feelings and inner dialogue. Immediately, he was very apologetic, as a lot of men are, but even that felt weak because it was skimmed over and she was back in his arms, hoping for the best. I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be physically abused, but I have known women who were and this is how these relationships often start out, before they get worse. I wish I had felt more sympathy towards Lily, but the writing felt superficial and it seemed like more attention was given to the running of her flower shop and her relationship with her best friend, Ryle’s sister Allysa. More than half of the book is dedicated to the journals and her budding relationship with Ryle, which means not as much time was given to their marriage and what it entailed.

I loved Atlas, but his character began as someone most women love: a broken boy. Without him, the book would not have had a male character to hang my hope on, but my thoughts are that the book would have been stronger without him. He was a distraction from the message of the story. If the focus had been more on Ryle’s and Lily’s relationship, more attention would have been on how he treated her. As it was, it felt flat.

The ending was not powerful, as I’d hoped, but I was fairly content with the resolution. It could have gone another way, one of redemption, but that is another tricky topic and this one resounded with me, because of how I felt about Ryle and Atlas. Without the author’s note at the end I would have been far less impressed. It was the personal note that really touched me. I wish I had enjoyed the book more and been able to connect with the characters. Am I glad I read it? Sure. Did it open my eyes? Not really, but like I said, I’ve known people.

Now for the rating

  • Genre and audience – possibly romance, but that wasn’t the goal of the book. The audience is definitely mature, but I could see older teens reading it. It could be a good way to introduce girls who are about to jump into mature relationships to the possible danger of abusive partners.
  • Sex – there were only a few scenes and they were artfully done. They were not graphic and were more about the love. There was one possible rape, but that is never confirmed. Even Lily didn’t know for sure, seeing as she was unconscious.
  • Number of tears shed – zero.
  • This is not part of a series, complete stand-alone.
  • Was there character development? – I could see it, but I couldn’t feel it. He’s sorry and wants to be a better person. She takes a stand. The other guy finally finds self worth.
  • Number of laughs – two or three. They were a nice touch, but I never bust a gut or guffawed. The book was serious as intended.

Finally, to borrow a phrase from the book, “the naked truth” is that It Ends With Us was a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Good book.

Available here on Amazon

 

How we review

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Welcome to Bona Fide Book Reviews, where we promise to say it like it is. This might be our blog, but we’re writing it for you, the reader. We post in the hopes of guiding you and preparing you. A negative post doesn’t mean the book is bad. It just means we didn’t care for it. Don’t let that scare you off. We hope that a positive post will encourage you to read the book, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll love it as much as we did.

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  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – It was good, but it wasn’t our favorite
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