For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense. Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.
There are many werewolf/pack/shifter stories out there. Many of those stories have multiple supernatural creatures like fae, witches and necromancers. What makes Shawntelle Madison’s debut series “Coveted,” stand out is her unique, completely messed up and incredibly entertaining characters. This book has a motley crew of obsessive compulsives, hoarders and germaphobes. Natalya, the heroine of this story, is at the top of the dysfunctional pyramid being in possession of all three.
This book is action packed with battle scenes, malicious attacks and even a hoard of zombie warriors. The writing is entertaining and flows so wonderfully from page to page, that it’s easy to breeze through and difficult to put down. In just about every version of werewolf fantasy novels, the Pack is portrayed as old school, incredibly brutal and not at all fair. The pack in “Coveted,” is no different. What is different is the quite compelling idea of how a werewolf with a mental disorder as debilitating as OCD, is not only treated, but viewed in this tough animal like world.
The story begins with the return of Natalya’s ex-boyfriend, Thorn. From the first moment his name is mentioned, it’s clear that Thorn is a trigger of Natalya’s condition. Her anxiety and discomfort grows just from the mention of his name. The minute he appears, all goes south. It’s easy to say, “well, that’s love,” but Madison takes her character to a different level of complexity. While Natalya is pleased at his return, she is terrified that he will see what she has become.
Natalya’s OCD is viewed as more than just a weakness. It is seen as a potential threat to the pack. She is more than ignored or abused, Natalya was tossed aside due to the pack’s inability to understand or help her. Thorn’s abandonment pushed her over the edge and allowed her disorder to swallow her up. His return forces her to face her issues and seek help. It is her desire to improve herself and regain access to her pack that pushes Natalya to join a quite awesome therapy group filled with supernaturals. The group ranges from a mermaid who is afraid of returning to the ocean to a dwarf who is too tall to find love within his own people. Their disorders and issues are wide ranging, faintly ridiculous to consider and yet so well mirrors real life problems.
In the midst of group therapy and reconnecting with her food addict best friend named Aggie, the werewolf pack from Long Island attacks. The Long Island pack takes the brutal and sneaky mode of action. The invading pack sneaks in kills the weakest and kidnaps beloved members of the pack for ransom. Being an rogue wolf and weak, Natalya is instantly marked for execution. While trying to keep her extremely neat world in order, Nat is constantly under attack, spurned by her fellow wolves and getting mixed signals from Thorn.
What follows is an incredibly entertaining story that ends with a battle so awesome and engaging, you will be cheering on these characters to the end. Throughout, there are moments of injustice, amusing Russian family dinners and adventures with an intriguing white Wizard, named Nick.
There is enough paranormal activity, romance, tension and amusing situations to keep fans of Urban Fantasy entertained.