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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Black Gold by Vivian Arend

I'm really glad I discovered this series. Entertaining and fun, this paranormal romance had me hooked from the first page, until the very end. It might sound silly, but I wish I had discovered this book a few years back when I was doing a reading challenge where I wanted to read one book set in every state of the USA and province of Canada. Yukon was always one that I could never find, or at least I couldn't find a book that interested me instead of boring me to tears. The setting of the book is definitely majestic, and I love the way the author takes the time to describe the wonders of the north.

The interactions between the two main characters is what makes this book worth reading. Shaun is a lone wolf from the far north that's set in his ways, but has been having some strange, lonely feelings lately. The urge to find his mate couldn't have hit him at a better time, as he and Gem stumble upon each other, quite literally. Their instant attraction is because of some primal werewolf instinct, and while I'm always skeptical about these mating urges, it was pretty well done in this case. Their initial contact ends up with a steamy scene but the way their relationship develops is what makes this mating thing more believable.

Gem, is from Georgia, so she and Shaun couldn't be more different. Raised in seclusion and with a protective father, she never got the taste of true freedom until coming to Yukon on a research project to finish her studies. I think her father's protection is a little over the top, especially since she didn't meet her first human until she was ten years old. That proves how little freedom she had growing up and I can't blame her for wanting to get away from all that, by going as far north as possible. As the main character, I had a little trouble with Gem because she always seemed to be this naive, gentle belle from the south, without any werewolf strength or guts. I mean I admire her for deciding to visit the Yukon on her own, and apparently she has all this werewolf mojo, but she doesn't really act upon it, leaving all the hard fighting to Shaun.

Shaun is exactly how I would picture a northern werewolf. His independence is obviously something he thrives for, but at the same time, his dedication to the pack is ingrained in his wolf DNA. I think he and Gem are good for each other because she learns about freedom from him, and he learns about attachments from her. The heartwarming love story isn't necessarily original but definitely enjoyable. The steamy love scenes are quite numerous but well placed, without making the book only about the sex and the mating. Shaun and Gem do end up in some trouble, with them being kidnapped, and I wish the story could have been a bit more elaborate on the intricacies of the different shapeshifting politics. It's nice that the author wanted to concentrate on the developing relationship, but getting more in depth explanation behind some actions could have made the book a little more action packed.

One thing I was a little peeved about is the fact that in one scene, the main characters were snubbing Perrier, more or less saying that it's a drink for sissies and that it's disgusting. Personally, I love Perrier and it's one thing to say that they don't like it, but it's another thing to completely insult the people who do like it. I mean, this isn't something that would prevent me from reading the rest of the book or buying another of the author's books, but for that small moment in the story, I didn't like the characters and I didn't like the author for writing that scene. Just thought I should point that out.

A fast paced story and likable characters is what stands out the most, for me, about this book. The steamy love scenes are definitely an added bonus and the mating attraction kind of has you wish something that deep and soulful existed for humans too. The banter between Gem and Shaun kept the story light and fresh. These werewolves aren't your blood thirsty shapeshifters but you definitely don't want to mess with them and their politics. When I think of paranormal romance, this is exactly the type of book that comes to mind. The fact that it's about werewolves makes it that much better.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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