This is the first review I've written in years. I tend to stay away from reviews because they're usually completely and totally full of crap. I mean, really--reviews are like THE channel for crap. I can't say how many books I've bought (because of millions of five star reviews) and completely hated them because the reviewers failed to mention they were brain dead whilst they wrote. Anyways, that being said, the author has sort of put out an outcry for feedback, and I've been there, so let's begin. First things first, this is a serial series. I've read Parts 1 - 3. As of right now, I will probably continue the series because I'm invested enough in this damn story line to want to know the end. I just might not have time to leave a review for everything, so I'm doing it now. (No spoilers. The review comes in peace. lol)[ETA - The following review is for Part 1 (mostly - there are some comments that apply to the entire series, but I tried to keep things focused.)
VOICE - The author's voice makes his writing. Sometimes, he gears you up for one thing and completely pulls the rug from under your feet with the most rightly timed irony I've ever read. It's not laugh out loud funny, but the witty person will chuckle because he's such a clever prick. I'd like this book more if I heard more of the author's voice, actually. Less sex and more story -- author's don't get to talk much during sex, and I wanted to hear this guy talk.
INTERESTING CHARACTERS - The m/m stereotypes we normally meet aren't really represented in this book. The author doesn't even really take the time to build up their "god-like" beauty. It's more like, "These are normal guys (who just so happen to be werewolves) -- they work out (sorta), but don't expect rippling muscles at every turn." It's not that the characters are ugly, but it was refreshing to read about people a little bit more...relate-able than your average m/m character. Ben was probably the most relate-able out of all of them. I think that has to do with execution. There was a lot of wonderful characterization done with body language and stuff (for all characters) but I spent the most time in Ben's head and I kind of understood him a lot better than Forrest. Back-story was a little sparse for all the characters, though. Way too sparse. I know lots of people complain about backstory and what not--it gives the character purpose and motivation. Without understanding that purpose and motivation, sometimes the characters read a little crazy. Sometimes, they didn't even read like themselves. Speaking of which, Ben and Forrest's voices are so similar that it was very hard for me to distinguish one from another when they were in the same "room" together. There is also a character named Isiah who I found rather interesting. (More on him below.)
PLOT - So far, so good. For as little backstory as I'm given, I'm still kind of intrigued to figure out what the hell is the big deal between Ben and his brother and the rest of the werewolves in WhiteFall. (That's pretty much the mantle of conflict in this book.) We have some young love gone wrong and a pack with severe family issues. That being said, I would've enjoyed more detail and world-building about the actual werewolf pack. I'm not even really sure I understand it's dynamics, which is probably why some people read that first scene with Isiah and Forrest and said..."WHAT THE QUAD?!" I'm not a super huge fan of werewolf romance (fated mates get on my nerves!) but not understanding why Isiah had the power to do what he did (and still be a functioning and somewhat acceptable being/person in this town) was really hard on my reader sensibilities. (And I can take it pretty rough.) Actually, if that scene had been written from Isiah's point of view, I'm sure I would've understood it a whole lot better. He's the one who seems to be experiencing the most emotion in that scene (despite trying to hide it behind a very gruesome veneer), so that did kind of fall sort for me. But in terms of conflict, he's really interesting.
CREATURES! - Standard werewolves for the most part. I'm not sure if they come in breeds in this world or not. That being said, I do think the author did a neat job with the description of transformations. Even the "inner wolf" is displayed very well when we're reading about how that animal spirit influences each character.
SENSUALITY AND WORD CHOICE - The sex scenes are fully developed -- there is proper mechanics and emotions. HOWEVER, the issue with this series of books has to do with WORD CHOICE. This author's voice is incredibly raw. He says things like "spit, piss-slit, meat, etc." in the most guttural way possible. That works in porn. It doesn't work in books because the word "MEAT" means different things to different people. The word "MEAT" does not conjure an image of a c#$k I want in my mouth. (Or anyone's mouth.) That word is best saved for when males are hanging out in front of the KDP spread, or in the heated throes of the most RAUNCHY sex they've ever had. It should be used sparingly. And it shouldn't be used like "the meat." Use the word C@#K when you're in doubt, son. It will help readers picture the right thing at the right time. NEVER use the word piss-slit again, unless you're trying to invoke the image of piss leaking out of a penis. <THIS IS ALL VERY SUBJECTIVE FEEDBACK. NOT every reader is going to have a problem with this. I didn't have a problem with it, but it SERIOUSLY detracted from my enjoyment of the series. Every time I got into what was going on, someone would say something like "piss-slit" and I was like, "What are they?! TWELVE?!" (I'm being generous right now because I was not that creative at twelve.)
The actual sex suited the characters and did reveal quite a bit about them. That's the point of erotica. The author accomplished this well (save for WORD CHOICE - and that is why people didn't like it more.) The actual sex was pretty tame compared to my neck of the twisted woods, but it does have a rough note and "warm-fuzzies" are rare and far between. I like that edge to my m/m books. I'm reading about men. If I wanted to read something warm and fuzzy, I'd buy a book about squirrels.
MECHANICS AND DESCRIPTION - Awesome description. The boy has chops for that. I could totally see White Fall. The writing itself needs some smoothing in places (we got a little tricky with the pronoun juggling during sex scenes), but it's good writing. Lots of potential.
SERIALS VS NOVELS -- This story needed to be told in longer increments. I don't think being split into a serial is bad -- it's where the cliffhanger is that gets on people's nerves a lot. Don't leave me in a situation where you've cast one of the characters in a less than favorable light. That doesn't make me want to buy the next book. It makes me upset. Leave me hanging the right way -- concerned about this character and their well-being. From now on, no more serials that are less than 10k a part. (Even that is super short. 20k is a better number.) AND no more screwing the character for the reader and then toddling off to write the next part. That's not cool man.
COVER ART - Get yourself a proper cover, kid. You have the writing potential. It needs polish, but it's there. Don't waste your writing on crappy covers. When in doubt, purchase a premade cover. Lots of wonderful designers out there that do beautiful work for next to nothing.
CONCLUSION - Not a bad book. Not a great book either. It's an easy read, and it will appeal to a certain kind of person. (NOTE: I'm not done reading all the parts yet, but that's what I can see (so far.)) Hope this helps!