Thursday, September 6, 2018

Kendra Leigh Castle - Call of the Highland Moon

Gideon MacInnes is a werewolf from the Scottish Highlands. He loves the haunting beauty of his home, but runs away to upstate New York, grappling with his destiny of being his clan's next alpha. As a snowstorm closes in, Gideon is attacked by rogue wolves working for an enemy he never imagined existed. He stumbles, wounded and bleeding, to collapse on the doorstep of Carly Silver's tiny romance bookstore-ironic, as she's never been very good at relationships with men.
A warmhearted woman, looking for a new pet ...
Thinking he's a dog, she takes him home, treats his injuries and wakes up to find a devastatingly handsome naked man in her bed.
Trapped together through the raging storm, Gideon discovers that he's found his mate and Carly has to choose between becoming a werewolf, charged with protecting humankind from the inhabitants of an evil otherworld, or giving up the one man she's ever truly loved ...

Comment: This book has been in the pile since May 2010. Quite a long time but at this time (between 2008-2011 more or less) I was really into PNR as my main genre to read so I've "collected" several first books in a series, with the hope of adoring it so much, I'd have many series to binge on afterwards.
However, as many readers will know from experience, there are more fish in the sea, meaning, books to admire, and I've lost count on what I was collecting and kept on reading several genres.
This book is one of them but, unlike some amazing (now old) gems out there, for me this one was not a success.

In this book we follow the story of Gideon MacInnes, a werewolf who goes to America to experience life in big cities despite his soul and inner wolf craving the wild of Scotland, where he lives. His father and brother don't really understand his drive but let him learn on his own.
In America he is attacked by wolves sent by his evil cousin Malachi and a very hurt Gideon ends up at the back door of Carly Silver's house, who takes him in thinking he is just a big dog.
In the morning Carly sees a strange man in the house and thinks he killed the dog for he is nowhere to be seen but of course Gideon tells her the truth while they both unsuccessfully try to fight the attraction and lustful thoughts. Still, danger awaits...

I can't help wondering that, if I had read this when I was in my "high" from savoring practically every PNR, this would have felt better to me. It's difficult not to compare with other books I've read in the meantime and in several aspects, this comes under the execution of those. But I could also say good books/stories are timeless, right?

Some of the issues I had were the following, I'll enumerate to make it easier:

- The premise is that Gideon finds in this stranger a soul mate but they are different people from different places and how can they be together with a threat behind them. I think this aspect wasn't done well because even allowing for the fact mates recognize each other somehow, nothing in their relationship felt likely. Why are these people a good match besides mythical bonds?

- The romance failed to impress because many of their discussions were based on situations I can't accept as being more than romantic comedy scenarios. It felt their serious issues weren't dealt with in the way that would ensure their lives were on the same track.

- Gideon lied about some things to Carly and that affects how her life is shaped. I can get the idea of "protecting you from things you can't control" but I ended up thinking it was just one way to make the bridge to other parts of the plot.

- The plot wasn't bad but it wasn't appealing to me. The story was boring, I think there was a lack in chemistry between them so the steps taken towards a common goal felt flat. Plus the bad guys weren't presented well. (I'd have skipped them altogether and would focus on the couple instead)

- There were two types of bad guys although it only felt like one at first. Perhaps a way to keep the story going? There are two more stories after all. Things just didn't make much sense but my lack of interest probably explain some of what I know call "confusion".

- Carly is a likable heroine but I feel I didn't get to know her besides the basics and some clichés. Her relationship with Gideon doesn't feel like a complex one nor does it feel like they are intriguing together. The way things solve themselves in the end is just too easy and I'd say that maybe the author chose some settings badly in order for things to make more sense.

All in all, this was not the type of story I expected. There are some shifter "worlds" that are engaging, addictive, offer complex pack structures, family bonds, characters' bonds as well. Here everything was superficial in the sense that we barely understand everyone's inner thoughts or personality besides the obvious, and I feel that this was a huge problem for me to enjoy the book.
It's not one I'd say stands the test of time but... it might work for others.
Grade: 5/10

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