Thursday, November 29, 2012

ARC Review: Kept by Shawntelle Madison

Author: Shawntelle Madison
Publication: Ballantine Books (November 27, 2012)

Description: A funny and sexy new paranormal romance, perfect for fans of Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs, Kept features the charmingly quirky werewolf, Natalya Stravinsky, as she navigates the minefields of love and war in the Garden State.
Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she's now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.
Nat's father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss's deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.  

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this quirky story. Our heroine Natalya is coping with her OCD, pining for Thorn who is her former boyfriend and now planning for an arranged marriage with Erica, and confused about her relationship with white wizard Nick. When her father doesn't return home after doing some sort of job for an old colleague in Atlantic City, Nat, her brother Alex, and Thorn go there to find out where he is.

Nat learns that her father had incurred a blood debt that was finally called in. The first part of the story is about Nat assuming the responsibility for the debt and heading off to Maine with a truck she can't drive and an unknown cargo. She battles some supernaturals along the way and calls her friend Nick to help her out. Nick comes along with two other friends from their therapy sessions - a mermaid who is afraid of returning to the ocean and a Muse who can only be seen by supernaturals and the authors she inspires. Nat has to show that her OCD doesn't handicap her when she needs to do something for her family. This part of the story involves battles and contact with fairies who are ruthless and bloodthirsty.

The second part of the story is about Nat preparing for the trials that would allow her to re-enter the werewolf pack. But training for them is difficult if you are busy solving your father's problems. And they are difficult if you have to deal with your former boyfriend's jealous fiance.

I liked the cast of quirky characters and the confusion that Nat feels when she thinks about the two men in her life. As her wise grandmother tells her, one is her heart and the other is her soul. She has to figure out which is which.

This story was a nice read for fans of paranormal romances. The characters were likable and well-rounded. The fact that the main character has a mental illness added to the story. I really liked the variety of supernaturals that the author included. And I liked the strong family dynamics in Natalya's close knit Russian family.

Favorite Quote:
My damn knees buckled when Nick tried to deepen the kiss.

No romantic moment for me tonight. His lips ended up making out with my nose and I got a mouthful of his chin.

Yep, it was a awkward as it sounds.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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