Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review - Sanctuary by Moira Rogers

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Moira Rogers
Page Count: 296 pages (pdf format)
Publisher: Samhain - Purchase at MBaM
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by Veronica at Strictly Reviews in exchange for an honest review

50 words or less: The stories of Abby and Keith and Brynn and Joe, two werewolf couples trying to find their way to happily-ever-after when war is coming fast to the community of Red Rock.

Sanctuary is actually the combined release of two separate, shorter stories; Cry Sanctuary is the story of Keith and Abby and comes first, chronologically, while Sanctuary Lost is the story of Brynn and Joe. I highly recommend reading them in order and back to back in order to get the full effect of the story, because it is definitely an effect worth getting, no doubt about that.

The stage for an excellent werewolf story is set from the first pages. Red Rock, Montana is a sanctuary for wolves escaping from more violent, corrupt packs. In Red Rock, residents are treated with dignity and respect; in other, less stable packs, members are treated however the alpha feels like treating them. The plight of new wolves caught in the clutches of cruel, brutal or just plane insane alphas is an issue the wolf world is trying to resolve.

Abby Adler is one of those new wolves. She was turned against her will because the freaky alpha of the Helena pack decided he wanted her; now she's on the run with her friend Dylan to try to make it to safety before they're hunted down and killed. Keith figures he'll rescue the two trapped wolves and bring them to Red Rock and that'll be that; he doesn't plan on the epic, immediate attraction between him and Abby. They do an okay job fighting their attraction to one another, but then Abby's sister is kidnapped by her old alpha and the whole scene goes to the dogs (literally) in a big hurry. Abby has to learn to control herself and rely on Keith if there's any chance of saving Brynn's life.

Cry Sanctuary has all the ingredients for an excellent story- great, believable characters, a realistic and detailed setting, a spicy (and I do mean spicy) romance, adventure, danger, and a believable setup for the second story. I think being able to dive right into Sanctuary Lost helped me enjoy this story a little more, since the two really do read like one longer novel instead of two novellas.

Grade: A

While Cry Sanctuary is all about the alphas and what it means to be strong, Sanctuary Lost is about recovering from trauma and relying on the strength of someone else, and how that's okay too. Brynn (Abby's sister) is trying to come to grips with a) what happened to her while she was Alan the crazy alpha's prisoner, b) dealing with her sister being a werewolf, and c) trying to figure out if her desire to be changed is genuine or just a reaction to the stress that's spewing all over her life. Her conflicting feelings for Joe, one of her rescuers, certainly aren't helping things either, and Joe's just as conflicted as she is. The story is angsty and emotional and gut-wrenching; I sympathized with Brynn while at the same time feeling excited for her to get to her happy ending. The fact that a lot of important decisions are brutally ripped out of Brynn and Joe's hands only sweetens the deal for the end of the story.

Sanctuary Lost takes a different approach to the relationship between the hero and heroine. There are lots of stories out there about an alpha pair finding their way to each other, but not so many where one of the characters is less dominant than the other. Sanctuary Lost explores that concept very efficiently without ever painting the characters as stupid or naive. It left me wanting to read more of the series like, now.

Overall Grade: A

If you're interested in trying a sample of this series, there are two free short stories available for download from the author's website

Book Reviewer: Emily

Strictly Reviews Note:

Book received by author for this review. Sent to and reviewed by our new book reviewer Emily. Review will also be posted at Emily's review blog here and may also be posted here as well by Emily.

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