Kept by Shawntelle Madison
Official Synopsis: If Stephanie Plum were a werewolf, she’d be something like Nat Stravinsky, a charmingly neurotic and totally relatable everygal heroine. She gives this funny, sexy new urban paranormal series its refreshing twist-because being a werewolf isn’t Nat’s only quirk. And it’s not why the cute, charming Nat is still single, or why she’s the family misfit and an outcast from her werewolf clan…it’s because she’s obsessed with hoarding holiday ornaments! Nat’s “secret” is just the first of the delicious, hilarious twists that will delight readers in this funny and inventive new take on the ever-popular urban paranormal genre. In the second book in the “Coveted” series, KEPT, Nat must finally choose between her two great loves: her sexy alpha werewolf ex, Thorn…and a sweet, sensitive wizard, Nick.
At the start of “KEPT” Natalya Stravinsky is exactly where she left off in “COVETED,” at least mentally. Though she fought beside the pack and showed herself to be a brave wolf that will defend her family, she is still not accepted. Farley, the Pack Alpha, is finally willing to give Nat a chance to regain her place in the pack. First, she must succeed in ‘The Trials.’ The trials are a series of boot camp like tests that start with a 10 mile run and end with a fight to conquer the other wolves struggling for a place in the pack. On top of the training for the trials, which Natalya has yet to begin, Nat discovers that her father is missing.
Armed with the assistance of her colorful cast of co-stars and a bag of disinfected wipes, Nat goes on a journey that takes her throughout the North East in search of her father. Like its predecessor “KEPT,” is full action, heartbreak, triumphs and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
“KEPT” is a story that questions right from wrong and duty vs. desire. At the start of the series, we learn that despite their obstacles and past behavior Natalya and Thorn love each other. Thorn went to the west coast and didn’t return for five years. It was Thorn’s abandonment that led to Natalya’s breakdown and ultimately her being kicked out of the pack. Finally we learn what kept Thorn away and why they were separated, still excuses and explanations cannot solve the problem. Natalya is an outcast and Thorn is promised to be the mate of a rich female chosen by his father. No matter how hard they try, these two cannot seem to avoid each other and sparks always fly.
Especially, when you add in Nat’s therapy partner the white wizard Nick. Things with Nick are easy. They get along well, they understand each other and Nick has proven time and again that he will come to Natalya’s aid whenever she needs him. They have a spark, but Natalya cannot seem to let Thorn go.
It’s probably obvious from my earlier review of “COVETED,” that I really enjoyed that book. Loved it, read it quickly and could not put it down. While entertaining I did not love “KEPT.” Perhaps it was because I went into the first book with no expectations and into its sequel full of hope and excitement, but “KEPT,” just did not stand up to my expectations.
First, I thought that Natalya made choices that weakened her character. I don’t mean due to her OCD or the actions she takes to rescue her father and win the respect of the family. No, it is her relationship with Thorn that turned me off to the book. Madison made some choices that really villainies Thorn’s fiancé Erica and even to a lesser extent, Nick. It was as if Madison wanted to give her characters reason to make choices that are not really acceptable.
There were times where I downright disliked Thorn. He’s this alpha male, who has buckled underneath his father’s demands and yet refuses to leave Natalya alone. There were moments where it felt as if Thorn was purposely baiting and making Natalya crazy with jealousy and want. He never takes a step back and always finds himself in the middle of her business as if he wants her to rely on him. Even if she cannot have him. Madison tries to explain this away and make it seem that no matter what his situation, he loves her and must help her. Unfortunately, I made my mind up about Thorn in book 1. Also, Nick really comes through when Thorn is off being a pack wolf.
Love triangles aside, the story progresses in a way that did not stun me. I thought that Natalya’s journey to help her family was interesting, but as a whole I wasn’t wowed. There are new creatures introduced in this book, but I was more interested in learning about the creature we’ve already met. I wanted to know more about nymphs, muses and mermaids. Still, we’re introduced to the Fae and Madison’s vision of them is very interesting. They are terrifying, vengeful and powerful. They have powers that could keep you up at night and at moments I was happy to see their power at work.
Despite being slightly disappointed, I will continue this series. Huge events take place at the end of this story and I really want to see where Madison is going to take her characters from this point.
To be released on November. 27, 2012