This book really blew me away. I read the first one and loved it - witty, smart, heartfelt, and sexy. Worth the Wait brings all of the same charms, delivering a complex, three-dimensional world of shape-shifters and the people who love them that had me laughing, in tears, and turned on in all the right amounts. While the first book focused on one romance, this one tells at least four very satisfying romance stories which are intertwined by the location (a werewolf school in Northwest Maine) and by the politics and relationships of the Pack.
The first half focuses mostly on Grant, a muscular white man/wolf, and Monique, a beautiful and self-possessed Black woman/wolf who is the widow of a leader from a different pack and is now the second to the Northwest Maine Pack leader. Monique & Grant's wolves know that they are meant for each other, but Monique has to find a way to let a new man into her heart and into the lives of her children, whom she has been raising on her own since her husband's death. Meanwhile, Grant must prove that he's up to courting this powerful woman and helping to raise her family.
The second half of the book focuses a lot on Nathan, a lean green-eyed white wolf/man, and his mate... Who I actually don't want to tell you anything about! Her story took me completely by surprise, and it blew me away - let's just say it's a crazy roller-coaster which plays with Ms. McGier's unique take on werewolves and you will love it. And she's a famous pop star!
Those two main stories are not nearly all that happens in this book - the characters from the first book play intimately into this one too. Saoirse & Diego and John & Freddy steal the spotlight and run away with it at various times in the book, and continue to be just charming as hell.
That variety is really what strikes me most looking back at this book - each and every story was amazing and very different in its own way, to the extent where it's impossible to pick favorites, and yet when I finished the book it all still felt like one novel. Ms. McGier juggles the stories so well and keeps you so invested in the characters at all times that it all feels cohesive and satisfying. If the first book was a good meal, this sequel is the giant dessert table you get after the meal with all the tasty things to choose from. Except you don't have to choose, you get them all! Enjoy.
As for the first book in this series?
A. Owen gave this book 5 stars--
I have been a fan of Ms. McGier for some time - this book is her first in a few years, and it does not disappoint, delivering on all of her best hallmarks - well-developed characters, smart writing, a setting that really draws you in, and x-rated sequences to curl your toes.
It has a slow build early on as Ms. McGier builds up the characters and the world, but once it gets going it does not let you go! From the steamy romance between Saoirse and Diego to the tense conflict between the new pack leader and his challenger, you will probably have to finish the second half in one sitting. And speaking of that time Ms. McGier devotes to the characters and setting - it pays off! The setting, a remote school deep in the Maine forest run for (and largely by) shifters, is a very cool concept, and Ms. McGier makes you feel like you're right there discovering it with Saoirse. And the fact that McGier really takes the time to show you who the characters are inside makes the sex scenes as rewarding as they are hot. She also has one of the more interesting takes on shifters that I have read in a while. I've heard this is going to turn into a series, so I'm excited to see what comes next!
My good friend, author Lisabet Sarai took the time to review this book, and here's part of what she said:
Fiona McGier writes contemporary erotic romance, a genre I find all too often is sadly predictable. Fortunately, Ms. McGier brings an original twist to most of her stories. In When a Wolf Howls, she has created a surprisingly rational and believable world in which werewolves exist but are biological flukes rather than paranormal monsters. Lupines have a double identity, wolf and human, and must constantly compromise between the two. The syndrome is inheritable but unpredictable. Until puberty, when an individual undergoes his or her first shift, there’s no way to tell whether someone is a were or not.
The sprawling, luxurious Academy shelters the were-pack along with their non-were mates and associates, in an environment close to nature where their wolves can run free. Once Saoirse recovers from the shock of meeting Diego in wolf form, she’s forced to recognize the powerful emotional and carnal bond between them. Their fairy-tale romance takes a darker turn, however, as she comes to understand what is expected of her as the mate of the new pack leader.
I really enjoyed When A Wolf Howls. It has the luscious erotic heat I’ve come to expect from Fiona McGier, but touches on more substantive topics as well: female agency, child-bearing and motherhood, mismatched expectations between men and women, the clash between moral principles and love. The book is rather loosely plotted, with several crises rather than a single narrative arc, but the conflicts do become more fundamental as the novel progresses, until they seriously threaten Diego’s and Saoirse’s happily ever after.
When a Wolf Howls is warm-hearted, genuine, creative and arousing. Saoirse’s a fantastic heroine, a strong woman who’s ready to fight for justice, her own safety, and that of the people she loves. She’s definitely well suited to be Diego’s mate.