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February 21, 2014

Carmel Talks: Things That Makes a Read Rabid

So excited to have fellow blogger and newly minted virtual tour organizer, Carmel, of Rabid Reads, on the blog today. I've been following her book review blog for quite some time now and have heeded to a few of her recommended reads (which always worked for me, BTW) and really enjoyed the content of her reviews and other discussions. 



What works and doesn't work for you in as far as werewolf/shifter series are concerned? 

Each author’s approach to the various key werewolf elements that make up a furry series can be extremely different, and most writers choose to focus on a few canine specific traits rather than the animal as a whole. As a general rule, my favourite aspect of shifter fiction is the alpha (sometimes alpha couple) because this character is the epitome of what it means to be the top dog. I can’t say for sure where the dominating personality that’s prevalent throughout the paranormal genre originated, but if I had to hazard a guess, it would be the wolf. So, the next time you are mooning over your latest fictional crush, remember to thank this ultimate alpha, because without him your man-candy wouldn’t be what it is today!

Being the top dog isn’t just about being the strongest or the most assertive within a pack; it’s also about putting your family first, doing what’s best for the group, and making tough choices. The alpha werewolf is personally responsible for the survival and well-being of every single member under his care which makes this character one of the most complex and difficult to master in any shifter series. And, when an author does manage to successfully capture the very essence of what it means to be the leader of a pack, it is something truly magnificent to behold.

I have a love/hate relationship with the mate bond that can be found in pretty much every werewolf book ever published. I adore the concept of everyone having “one” fated partner, and when done right the connection between two soul mates has the potential to turn even the biggest cynic into a hopeless romantic. However, this is where things get tricky, and why insta-love is also one of my biggest pet peeves; too many authors have difficulty grasping this concept and take shortcuts which usually result in a lack of chemistry and just an overall non-credible relationship. Paranormal Romances are especially guilty of this mistake because each installment usually revolves around one central couple that changes from book-to-book which means that the writer only has one novel to convince readers of the authenticity of their characters’ connection.

Another crucial element in furry series that’s often times overlooked is the wolf POV. I absolutely love experiencing a story through canine eyes! In my opinion, when your character has two sides to his/her personality, it’s extremely important to demonstrate that by ensuring that there are at least a few scenes or chapters that are told from the animal’s perspective. Nothing annoys me more than an author who omits their protagonist’s other half. I read werewolf fiction specifically for the primal bits so when a writer somehow manages to “forget” what their character is —that’s a HUGE oversight on their part.

The pack is yet another aspect of this genre that I adore; I like the idea of having a family that would die for you—one that has your back no matter what. I love it when an author incorporates detailed shifter mythology into their world-building, and pack hierarchy and dynamics are huge parts of that. And, last but definitely not least on my long list of werewolf must-haves are primal sex scenes. I’m sure you all are familiar with the saying “to fuck like animals”, well in this case it’s actually true! I’m also not opposed to the occasional furry romp, but I do have to draw the line at bestiality. That’s just too out there, even for me!



Ultimate Rabid Reads



Bitten by Kelley Armstrong is of course, my all-time favourite werewolf book, but The Women of the Otherworld isn’t a werewolf series which is why it didn’t make this list. But, if you only ever read one shifter novel, this one should definitely be it!




Riley Jenson Guardian series by Keri Arthur: I read these books before I ever even started blogging, so the fact that they remain in the number one spot after all of this time is a testimony in itself. Arthur nails all of her wolf-y elements while still delivering top notch action, mind blowing sex scenes, and a story that’s in a league of its own.




The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater: Whenever I get asked for werewolf book recommendations, this series is always at the forefront of my mind. Stiefvater’s beautiful lyrical writing style is mesmerizing, and the relationships between her characters are downright magical.




Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: I brought up the mate bond earlier in this post, and no author does it better than Briggs with Mercy and Adam. This series’ plot lines never disappoint and the shifter lore is first-class.




A Wolf’s Pride series by Cat Kalen: This author has mastered the art of writing from a wolf’s POV; her heroine is unforgettable and her story telling is without equal.
Naked Werewolf series by Molly Harper: You can never go wrong with a book by this author; her sense of humour is unmatched and, if you’re tempted to go the audiobook route, you won’t find a narrator more suited for her quirky characters than Amanda Ronconi.


If you want even more recommendations, see my top 10 werewolf books of 2013 & 2012.

Thanks so much for having me on Talk Supe, Braine, writing this post was a great refresher on the many reasons as to why I love werewolves!




Carmel is the owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. I also offer virtual assistance to authors and webmaster services to bloggers. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!


Stalk Carmel!





Rabid PR offers a wide range of administrative, editorial, marketing and technical support services designed to meet the individualized needs of authors, both published and pre-published.

Services include: social media account management, newsletters, street teams, virtual book tours, blogger to Wordpress transfers, review requests & coordination, scheduling, graphic design, code & template tweaks, internet marketing, beta & proof reading, media kits, market research, and more.





60 comments:

  1. Thanks again Braine! The post looks great. Happy Friday. :)

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    1. Hey lady!

      Thanks again for guesting, I love the post and you nailed my thoughts on werewolf books! I'm a were lady myself, I'll take wet dog smell any day, Petco sends coupons on a regular basis so grooming won't be a problem. "Dogs" are very loyal, I'll have them over dead creatures, spellcasters, etc.

      Thanks for helping me moderate this post! Had a semi-busy weekend so I haven't gotten round to this yet.

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  2. I think I discovered Rabid Reads on here too and I agree, I love your blog Carmel! Thanks for the recommendations! I enjoy shifter book (especially Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series) but I've always been interested in Bitten, I actually just saw the first episode of the series and feel guilty about watching it first before reading the book. I heard good thing about Wolves of Mercy Falls series and would def check it out! :)

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    1. I don't read a lot of non-werewolf shifter books but I've been meaning to check-out Nalini Singh's series; thanks for the recommendation, and the love. :)

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    2. Always happy to introduce people... I'm binge watching Bitten too! Thank goddess for on demand :)

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  3. Uhh yeah no beastiality for me either. I agree I love the wolf POV but we don't get that often. I am sometimes not a fan of the mate bond thing either. A great post with a lot to ponder. I am a fan of almost all those series you mentioned.

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    1. It's only happened to be once and I think it's scared me for life. That book should have come with a major warning!

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    2. I was LOL-ing over that bestiality comment.

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  4. I love all your top picks well except A Wolf's Pride series, I've never even heard of it. I'll fix that now.

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    1. I miss you, Amber I! Thanks for stopping by to check out Carmel's post!

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  5. I've always been hesitant when it comes to shifter books, and I think that has a lot to do with the alpha male thing. I like alpha males, but not when they are so overbearing and super protective - that bugs the crap out of me. I like an alpha who is completely secure with their woman, who backs her up instead on telling her to "go home" or "stay here." Eff that. lol

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    1. That's why I said "alpha couple". I love it when authors switch things up and make the female the more dominant one for a change.

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    2. I feel you which is why I got easily tired of Alpha males in erotica. It's different with PNR/UF books though, the bond "secures" the relationship.

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  6. Two series I wasn't aware of..YAY! Not a total lost for my Friday :) Looking forward to Cat Kalen and Maggie Stefvatier's work.
    Great post, if someone knows their wolves..Is Carmel at Rabid Reads!

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    1. Stiefvater's series is even available on audio. Just for you Loupe! :p

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    2. Yes, Carmel specializes on them wolves! LOL

      I want to try Cat Kalen too!

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  7. I have my issues with the mating bond as well, especially when it's insta-love...not a true fan of it. Great post Carmel! I have a couple of series to add to my never ending TBR now :)

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    1. I'm happy to be able to add wofly reads to everyone else's TBR piles for a change! :D

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    2. Thanks for stopping by & commenting, Lori!

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  8. I love shifter books, especially wolves. I agree that all to often the furry side of the shifter is glossed over. It makes the book so much better if that side is explored as much as the human. Great post Carmel!

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    1. Exactly! What's the point of making your character a werewolf if he/she NEVER wolf's-out?

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    2. Amen, ladies!

      That's why I enjoyed Mercy Thompson and even Amanda Carlson's series because of the wolf POV's

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  9. Great post ladies. I've always like shifters and I've added so many series to TBR because of Carmel. If I want to know if a were/shifter read is worth my time I look to see if Carmel has read it.

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    1. I was so proud of you when you went on a werewolf reading tear in January. A girl after my own heart.

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    2. Yup, that's what I told her. Carmel's werewolf go-to LOL

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  10. Werewolves in Paranormals will always be my favorite. I love the pack element as well. I think it's amazing, the whole order and what they would do for each other. I agree the wolf POV can be overlooked.

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    1. Some readers find the pack too constraining but personally, I love it!

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    2. I love the packs too! The pack members, esp the betas, bring so much to the table in terms of the story. Plus some of them are so awesome they get their own series so the universe gets expanded.

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  11. Awesome and so true about the bond..I need to feel it and yes Adam and Mercy are the best example of it. Ooo I agree the wolf POV. thoughts are always awesome.

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    1. Every time I read a Mercy/Adam book, I fall in love with them just a little bit more.

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    2. Ok ladies, just so we're clear, I'm calling dibs on Bran ok?!

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  12. I like the wolf POV as well! Bitten was actually one of my first paranormal books I read, I remember my dad picked it up randomly for me when I was a teen (2002ish?) and gave it to me. If he only knew the addiction it caused hahaha

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    1. I read Bitten right around when it was first published too. Man, do I ever feel old.

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    2. Man your dad is so cool to pick that out for you!

      P.S. we're all seasoned LOL

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  13. Mmmm, Alpha-licious! I love a good alpha. I too love/hate the mating bond. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just straight up annoying.

    I love my girl at Rabid Reads!

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  14. I love pack dynamics and the sense of familial bonds and loyalty that come with being a part of it. Great list!

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    1. Thanks! I probably could have kept going but Braine would have been like "what have I gotten myself into... asking Carmel to guest post for me." LOL

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    2. Carmel, you could've added your honorable mentions and I don't mind recommendations. I'm new to the UF/PNR genre so I still have yet to get acquainted with the rest of the good stuff.

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  15. YES! There is a serious lack of wolf POV. The only series I've come across that really embraces that aspect is Jane Yellowrock, and Beast's perspective is one of my favorite parts about those books. But Beast is not a wolf :/

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    1. I really enjoy Beast's POV in that series too; now if I could just get into the rest of the characters, I'd be all set. o_O

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    2. Jane Yellowrock is another series I'd like to try next esp after you girls mentioned the Beast POV.

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  16. I never really thought about why I love the Shifters so much, but you certainly nail it Carmel. Thanks for the recommendations as well, I have only read Patricia Briggs from those. Another favourite of mine is Jennifer Ashley.

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    1. I just finished Wild Wolf by Jennifer Ashley yesterday, and I can certainly understand why you're a fan! Going to have to go back & read the rest of the series now.

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    2. I've only read one Ashley book and didn't like it. Welcome & thanks for stopping by Aurian!

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  17. I looooove Briggs :D And Bitten was my first UF so it will always awsome

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    1. I don't think Bitten was my first UF but darned close. It was love at first read anyway. :)

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    2. I love Briggs too!!!

      Insta love Carmel? LOL

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  18. That's a really great post thank you and I loved the books chosent, totally agree with them!

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    1. Yay! Glad you liked my recommendations!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  19. I'm with you in regards to the insta-love, sadly many authors use it as a way to bring couple together without any further couple development.
    One think I haven't thought about was the importance of the wolf's POV, now that I'm considering it I also like to see into the wolf's head.
    From your recommendation the only ones I have read are Mercy Thompson and Molly Harper's books. I'm sure going to check some of the others you recommend.

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    1. That pesky insta-love... there's just no escaping it unfortunately.

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    2. Ugh! I'm so over insta-love. Insta-crush I'd buy, but love? nah!

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  20. I haven't read a lot of shifter books/series. I liked The Mating series by Nikki Charles, and definitely The Wolves of Mercy Falls. Thanks for the fun post!

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    1. I will check out Nikki Charles, thanks for the recommendation, Andrea!

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