Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Howling


Author: Gary Brandner
Genre: Horror
Setting: California
Types of Werewolves: Large Normal Wolves
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Infection From a Bite.

Synopsis: Karen Beatty is attacked and raped in her Los Angeles apartment and her physician suggests that she and her husband move out of the city for a while so that Karen can recover in peace. They move to the small town of Drago where all of the locals seem a bit odd. While in Drago, Karen befriends an ex-nun who shares her theory with Karen that Drago is cursed and one of it's inhabitants is a werewolf.

Review: Spoilers Ahead! The original novel of The Howling is nothing like the movie and it falls somewhat short the Hollywood hit. For one, Eddie Quist doesn't make an appearance at all. Karen's rapist shares the same last name with Eddie, but he never shows up further along in the novel to reveal him self as a werewolf. Which leads me to the point about Karen's rape not being that necessary to the story. I think it was included for shock value since the rest of the novel moves rather slowly. Karen and her husband could have moved to Drago for a number of other reasons. At least the seductive Marcia is there to rescue the novel. The book still has a fun "who's the werewolf" vibe, even if the movie is clearly the better version of the tale.

-Reviewed by Penningtonbeast



Author: Kelly Phillips
Illustrator: Kelly Phillips
Genre: Teen Drama, Horror
Setting: Oregon
Types of Werewolves: Bipedal Wolf Monsters
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Genetics

Synopsis: Teenage werewolf Versa Novak is sick and tired of the hubris and narcissism of fellow classmate and school bully Kayleigh Monroe. Together, Versa and her two best friends devise a plan to scare some humility into Kayleigh and her cohorts during the prom after party.

Review: Vengeance is a vivid and fast-paced look at what the tribulations of high school life would look like through the eyes of a young werewolf. Anyone who has survived high school can relate to the frustrations that Versa and her friends have to put up with on a daily basis. One thing that would have greatly improved the book would have been to include a scene about the original prank that Versa pulled while in werewolf form just so there could be a little more action. Also, if there's going to be a sequel (which I hope there is) I'd like to see Versa take on someone or something with equal or greater power to herself. Maybe another werewolf, but at least something more formidable than the school's alpha bitch. Another thing the book could use is a little more description about the author's version of werewolves (like why Versa has a glowing insignia on her back). And I would have liked to know a little more about what happened to Versa's mother. Other than that, Vengeance is a promising debut novel from a young author and I'd love to see more of Versa in the future.

Vengeance also contains a short graphic novel which, along with the cover, is illustrated by the author herself.

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast

For more info:


To purchase the novel:


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Call of the Highland Moon


Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Setting: Upstate New York, Scotland
Types of Werewolves: Large Normal Wolves and Bipedal Monsters
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Genetics, Infection from a Bite.

Synopsis: Gideon MacInnes is a Highland werewolf taking a break from the stress of pack life while visiting the USA. When in Upstate New York, he is attacked by a pack of rogue werewolves and nearly killed. He wanders into town and lands on the back steps of Carly Silver's book store, Bodice Rippers and Baubles. Thinking he's nothing more than a large, wounded dog she takes him home only to discover the truth about her guest the following morning. Gideon believes that his cousin is behind the attack and now has to keep himself and Carly safe.

Review: Call of the Highland Moon unfortunately contains several of the factors that normally keep me away from the paranormal romance genre. For one, the main male character, Gideon, has little personality traits other than tall, dark, and grotesquely muscular. Carly Silver's character is only slightly more interesting. Another issue I have with the paranormal romance genre, and the werewolf romances in particular is that the whole "destined to be life-mates FOREVAR!" scenario is about as far away from romantic as you can get. The characters don't grow to like each other over time, they just automatically "love" each other as if it's just something they're obligated to do. And it feels particularly forced in this novel. Also, the author spends too much time describing most of the mundane tasks in the book and gives less detail to the action.

The villains of this book and the secondary characters are what keep it readable, I only kept going because I wanted to learn just what the Drakkyn were and how the Destiny Stone gave them power. Overall, I didn't find the characters to be interesting enough to read the sequels. Call of the Highland Moon is okay, but nowhere near great.

For more Info: http://kendraleighcastle.com/

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast

Friday, September 18, 2009

Never Cry Werewolf

Author: Heather Davis
Genre: Teen romance
Setting: Oregon, Beverly Hills -Present Day
Types of Werewolves: Large Normal Wolves
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Genetics

Synopsis: A girl from Beverly Hills gets sent to "brat camp" in the remote forests of Oregon where she meets the mysterious son of a rock star who just happens to also be a werewolf.

Review: It was cute, but simple. I thought the characters were a little hard to relate to because they were all from wealthy families and it made the story a little hard to believe. I don't know if "brat camps" for rich kids really exist. The author relies a little too much on stereotypes instead of trying to come up with unique characters. Also, like, um, like the overuse of the valley girl accent is like, totally annoying. It's a good quick read, but it could have used a little more focus on the werewolf aspect of the story and less of the trials of the main female character at camp. I'd recommend it for kids, but there's not much in it for adults.

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast.

Monday, September 14, 2009



Author: S. A. Swann
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Romance
Setting: Prussia 1220's-1230's 
Types of Werewolves: Bipedal Wolf Monsters
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Genetics

Synopsis: A knight of the Teutonic Order discovers a litter of werewolf pups and decides to train them into lethal weapons for use against the local pagans.  One werewolf named Lilly escapes from her captors and seeks refuge with a local farmer's family. 

Review: Don't let the cover of this book fool you, what looks like a whimsical fairy tale romance is anything but!  Wolfbreed offers plenty of bite and brutality.  This is one of the best and most original werewolf novels I've read this year. The characters are complex and the emotions are raw. Werewolf fans won't be disappointed in Wolfbreed.

Reviewed by PenningtonBeast.

For more info:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hunting Ground


Author: Patricia Briggs
Illustrator: Daniel Dos Santos
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Setting: Seattle, WA. Present Day
Types of Werewolves: Larger Than Normal Wolves
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Surviving a Werewolf Attack, Genetics. 

Synopsis: The sequel to Cry Wolf. Anna and Charles travel to Seattle to hold a discussion with the European werewolf alphas about the Marrok's decision to reveal the werewolves to the human world. During the meetings Anna is attacked by a group of vampires, prompting Anna and Charles to find the motivation for the attack. 

Review:  While I think this story is an improvement from the first novel in the series, Cry Wolf, there are still some things that I find bothersome. First of all, the character who is supposed to be the Beast of Gevaudan is more pompous and cowardly than monstrous and threatening.  That left me more than a little disappointed.  Second, while Anna's character has developed more since the first novel, Charles still lacks much of a personality.  He's overprotective to the point of being smothering.  I also thought that the werewolves acted too much like vampires in this novel and most lacked any ferocity.  For fantasy fans, especially those interested in Arthurian legends, this book may be for you. For werewolf fans, it's okay but it could have been better.

- Reviewed by PenningtonBeast 

For more info:


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Werewolf's Guide to Life


First of all, I want to thank the authors for sending me a free copy of this book to review.  That was extremely nice of you guys and I really appreciate it!

Authors: Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers. 
Illustrations By: Emily Flake. 
Genre: humor, parody
Types of Werewolves: bipedal and quadrupedal. 
How Lycanthropy is Caused: by getting bitten by a werewolf in his/her "wild" state or by having a werewolf father. 

Synopsis: A manual for all the questions and concerns that every newly bitten werewolf has, and a survival guide that every werewolf needs. 

Review: The Werewolf's Guide to life is an original and extensive look into the lifestyles of lycanthropes. It offers in depth explanations about the cause of lycanthropy and how to manage both your wild and dormant states. The book is full of great, humorous illustrations ("We're Here! We're Hungry! Hide!!!") and hilarious titles ( "Navigating Your 
Interactions with the Smug, Effeminate Undead").  The tone is serious during the more urgent of topics, like how to avoid being hunted, which gives the guide a sense of believability. Overall, The Werewolf's Guide to Life is a fast and fun addition to any werewolf fan's reading list! 

For More info:


Reviewed by PenningtonBeast 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



Authors: John Skipp and Craig Spector
Genre: Horror, Suspense
Types of Werewolves: Normal wolves and bipedal wolf monsters.
How Lycanthropy is Caused: by genetics and the use of magic and/or intoxication. 

Synopsis: Blue collar divorcee Syd meets Nora, the most  stunningly beautiful woman he's ever seen, and discovers that there's something wild beneath her surface.  Unfortunately, her bloodthirsty werewolf ex-boyfriend, Vic, is hot on her trail and Syd gets caught in the middle, fighting for his life. 

Review: For the first 150 pages or so, Animals reads more like a trashy romance than a horror novel. Once you make it past those pages though, the pace and violence begin to pick up.  There's plenty of raw emotion to go around and you can adequately feel the panic and helplessness of the characters in tight situations.  Some of the characters you empathize with, others inspire nothing but disgust.  Overall, I would have liked to see some more werewolf gore and less human violence, but it was still an interesting novel. 

-Reviewed by PeningtonBeast