Book Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross, a Stellar Paranormal Romance

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay A Spell, #1)

Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross (Stay a Spell, Book 1)

Genre: paranormal romance

Rating: 4 stars

Release date: January 14th, 2020

 

I have so many good things to say about this book, I’m struggling to figure out how to form them into a coherent review. Romance, and paranormal romance in particular, can be really subjective and I can definitely get pretty picky about it; though I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romance recently, I had yet to find a new paranormal romance author I loved in recent years until I picked up this book.

Wolf Gone Wild follows Evie,  who works with her sisters and fellow witches at the bar and magic shop they own in New Orleans, alongside ruling over NOLA’s magical community as their most powerful faction. Evie is a witch with a specialty in breaking hexes, and she’s also an unapologetic, delightfully nerdy aspiring comic book artist whose insecurity from a past relationship is keeping her from sharing her skills with the public. Mateo Cruz is a werewolf, and also a metalworking artist/gallery owner, with a very urgent problem–he’s been put under a hex that forbids him from shifting with the full moon and unleashing his wolf on a regular basis, so now his wolf is talking to him. Like, all the time, and it’s driving him crazy. When Evie starts working with Mateo to help him break his curse, Evie finds herself drawn to Mateo–and both Mateo and his wolf are drawn to Evie. But the hex is more complex than it first appears, and it’s going to take help from Evie’s sisters, and a whole lot of forced proximity, to help Mateo and his wolf find balance again.

OK, so as I alluded to before, there are so many great things to talk about with this one. Let’s start with the romance, which manages to be both cute and steamy, and lacks so many of the miscommunication tropes that tend to frustrate me. Evie and Mateo are both genuinely good people, with art as a shared interest, and I really loved how their relationship slowly developed over the course of the book. I also loved how Mateo’s wolf side was handled–because of the hex, his wolf presents as a secondary entity in his mind that argues with him and constantly urges him to give in to his werewolf instincts (I saw one review comparing this to a Venom scenario, and I think that’s pretty apt) which adds a secondary level of interest to Evie and Mateo’s dynamic, and also presents a genuine obstacle in their getting together.

One of my other favorite aspects of Wolf Gone Wild was the side characters, and more specifically the plethora of opportunities for the next books in the Stay a Spell series. Evie has five sisters, all of whom are witches with different abilities and very distinct personalities, and we also meet several of their potential love interests over the course of the book. (Juliette Cross, if you’re reading this for some reason, I’m very much hoping that book 2 focuses on Evie’s older sister and badass head witch Jules, and intriguing vampire leader Ruben, but honestly, I’ll read any book you come out with next in this series.) The side characters never feel gratuitous or underdeveloped, and Evie’s family dynamic of a group of sisters who may disagree but ultimately love and support each other is so much fun to read about.

But I think my absolute favorite aspect of this book was its message. Yes, it’s a stellar romance, and very fun to read, but it’s also a really inspirational story about learning to have confidence in yourself and embrace and nurture your creative aspects, and not to be afraid to share them with the world. It’s a message that I, as an aspiring writer, really needed to hear at this exact moment, and there are quotes from this book I know I’ll return to again and again when looking for inspiration.

Other things I loved (yes, we’re just listing them at this point): the New Orleans setting, which is perfect for a paranormal romance series (and also happens to be one of my favorite places to read about); the multitude of Star Wars discussions; all of Evie’s hilarious T-shirts; and the world-building surrounding the different supernatural entities, including the twist on werewolf mythology where each has a creative talent in addition to their wolfy curse.

To summarize: read this book. I think it’ll appeal to fans of paranormal and contemporary romance alike; it’s very modern, very fun, and also has a lot of heart.

 

I received an eARC of Wolf Gone Wild from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bout of Books Readathon Wrap-Up: Kicking off 2020 Reading!

 

So, that’s a wrap on my first readathon of 2020! I always really love participating in Bout of Books, the round in January in particular, as I do feel that it works well for reading motivation and inspiration, and this time was no different. Despite a fairly busy week, I managed to read a bunch and listen to a lot via audiobook as well, even if there’s always more I could have read. In addition to reading, this round of Bout of Books involved a fairly hectic work week, including one late night at the office that resulted in me reading only one page that day (hey, any reading is still good!); going to see Little Women, which I absolutely adored; doing three escape-room type experiences at 5 Wits; getting my hair done; and getting in some gym time. I’ve had busier weeks, but I did spend the majority of my weekend with friends and family, in addition to working a lot, so I didn’t read quite as much as I’d expected to (but I feel like that’s pretty standard for me for most readathons!), but I’m definitely happy with how it went overall.

 

Grab button for Bout of Books

 

Here are my Bout of Books stats!

Books finished: The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole (scifi romance audiobook), Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood (poetry collection), Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (portal fantasy)

The A.I. Who Loved MeLife of the PartyCome Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

 

Books read, but not finished: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross (paranormal romance), Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (YA fantasy romance), Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow (nonfiction), Followers by Megan Angelo (near-future literary science fiction)

Wolf Gone WildSerpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect PredatorsFollowers

 

Pages read: 147 pages of Life of the Party, 206 pages of Come Tumbling Down, 47 pages of Serpent & Dove, 30 pages of Followers, 28% of Wolf Gone Wild (eARC with no page numbers)

Audiobook time: 1.5 hours of The A.I. Who Loved Me,  7.5 hours of Catch and Kill

 

Did you participate in Bout of Books? How did your readathon go? Feel free to link me to your wrap-up!