May 9, 2012

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

book cover of How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper  Title: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf [Amazon|GoodReads]
  Author: Molly Harper [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
  Standing: 1st in the Naked Werewolf duology
  Genre: Romance, Paranormal
  Published: February 22nd, 2011 by Pocket Books
  Format: Paperback; 371 pages.
  Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble. For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question. If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

Okay, How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf is really not the type of book I would normally pick up, but I’ve been trying to read out of my box more as I’ve been reading more—else you get bored!  Two things happened this year that led me to Molly Harper: 1) I determined that yes, I do indeed like romance and 2) Melissa Marr bespoke her love for Molly Harper on Twitter.  Harper was described as funny and snarky, and I found this to hold as true as I read, laughing often at Mo’s situations, way of thinking, and occasional witty reference.

I loved our lead, Mo, and I absolutely adored the entire town of Grundy, Alaska.  How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf is full of so many wonderful small-town characters from the cute old man, to the slutty waitress, the neighbors that will do anything to help one another out, and of course, the overly grouchy hot guy.  Cooper, our male lead, reminded me a lot of Luke from Gilmore Girls.  He liked his small town the way it was, he was wary of outsiders, and overly gruff with pretty much everyone besides his cousin.  And since I’ve been in love with Luke for over a decade, of course I was pumped about Cooper!  There’s a decent hate/love thing between him and Mo, which I always enjoy, and even though something about it seemed a bit off (like maybe a little too much I don’t want to want you but I do?), and their relationship went from 0-60 in 10 pages flat, I enjoyed them as a couple. 

Mo herself is a piece of work.  I love that she’s the classic child of the overbearing parents striking out largely to get away from them (yeah, you can see a bit of a Lorelai resemblance here too, but it’s not extreme).  The best part of this?  Her parents are hippies!  Uber hippies.  Her mother is the worst sort of helicopter mom, but not in your usual way.  She’s constantly barging her way in to Mo’s life to make sure that she’s eating organic, and sticking with the values they taught her.  For goodness sake, Mo had to enroll herself in public school at 13, knowing that she’d never learn anything or function in the normal world if she let herself be homeschooled forever.

Now, I’d already decided some time ago that adult sexytimes make me super uncomfortable, and that I don’t enjoy reading them.  Which made me really hesitant to try How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf knowing there would indeed be some beyond PG13 scenes.  All of the romance I’ve managed to get my hands on so far has been very chaste or vague, glossing over things, and I really liked that; but then I realized while reading How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf that I didn’t mind sexytimes so much after all!  I even kind of enjoyed them.  Then I sat down and thought of what turned me off of explicit sex scenes, and I came up with two things.  1) Hearing them on audio, most likely with a parent in the car.  I don’t care that I was over 18 at this point, it’s always awkward to acknowledge sex in front of your parents (unless you have Mo’s parents, that is). 2) Last year I attempted to read Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz.  The book basically opens with one of the main characters giving head to her fianc√©'s brother at her own engagement party.  I was so disgusted by this, I can’t believe I powered through as much of that book as I did.  I know some people don’t mind cheating, or at least reading about it, but I realize now that I really really do, and that it was the infidelity that disgusted me, not the sex itself.  So call me cured, and sign me up for more!

As far as the paranormal elements of the story go, I enjoyed them.  The werewolf lore was fairly similar to Twilight in that wolves could change at will, and that it was a genetic trait passed down in certain native families.  I’m happy to report though, that it’s similarities deviated in two important ways (apparently I’m all about the lists of two this review): 1) there’s no vamps.  The werewolves don’t change because of any threat, they change each generation because they always have. 2) The chicks change too!  Yeah I know Twilight had one chick werewolf, but it was something all new and scandalous because we need men to take care of things after all.  Not so in How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf.  All family members that share the genetic trait change.  Woohoo!  Mo seems to accept the werewolf thing pretty readily, but not instantly.  She spends some time thinking she’s good and crazy, and freaks out a bit, which I appreciated.  Cooper’s desire to run from his past give Mo and him something big in common, and I thought the story was well done—neither too light or heavy.

Finally I just have to point out that I adore the cover art, despite the fact that Mo is supposed to have a pixie cut and this chick really doesn’t….but whatever.  I devoured How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf in a day (a day where I got very little else done), and I’m happy to report that adult paranormal romance can fill a hole where I’ve been avoiding the YA versions as of late.  It’s light and uncomplicated, but sometimes that’s exactly what a girl needs.

Likelihood that I'll be back for more:  Already put the second book, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf on hold!  It centers around Cooper’s little sis, and I’m totally in.  After that, I’ll likely dip into the Nice Girls series.  Because a children’s librarian who’s a vampire?  I can do that.

Recommended for:  Readers sick of YA paranormal romance looking for a more adult read, or romance readers who don’t mind a paranormal twist.  Those who like humor and snark.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  I informed the bf that if we break up, I’m moving to Alaska.  

Get a second opinion:
Lurv a la Mode
Pedantic Phooka
Beckoned by Books

12 comments:

  1. I want to read this one! I am a Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton fan so I think I would really enjoy these :] Yay, adult lit!

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    1. I know, right? I mean I lurv my YA and MG, but sometimes a girl just needs a real adult book. I think you'd like Molly Harper, though this series at least isn't at all dark and gritty.

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  2. YAYYY for adult sexytimes! I'm glad you've been cured- I think it is all about the context and the writing that is the difference between a SEXY sex scene and a gross out sex scene. The giving head at own engagement party sounds pretty horrible...especially if she saw nothing wrong with it. This book sounds really funny and I love the cover too- I think it's really well done. I will definitely pick it up if I see it around x

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    1. I agree, it IS so much about context! I think I have to have some amount of like for the characters if I'm going to find a scene sexy. This was a cute one!

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  3. Amen to this post. Sometimes you just have to distance yourself from all the YA PRN angst . . . and poor writing . . . and sink into something meatier!

    I enjoyed this one, too. :)

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    1. Exactly! SO sick of wishy washy teens, poor writing, and love triangles I could puke. This one filled the bill without any of those things!

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  4. He Ha Ha. You totally cracked me up with this one! I don't mind adult romancey scenes as long as they make sense. Going down on your fiance's brother? DOES NOT make sense. And I'm a little disappointed that THAT'S how Melissa - the same Melissa who wrote one of my favorite paranormal series - chose to start her book. But, I digress. ANYWHO, I like cute romances, and that's the kind of vibe this book gives me. I like the realistic heroine and her cray cray ways, and I'm digging her man already. I'll have to push this up on my TBR.

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    1. Sometimes I get the feeling that authors who write predominantly for younger readers go to write an adult book and feel the need to OVERCOMPENSATE. She's not the first author I've seen go a little crazy with the sex when they suddenly can.

      I'm excited if you do decide to read this one, Asher! I thought it was really fun and cute, and I liked the characters.

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  5. I have this one on audio, and I don't really remember much about it exceopt that I liked the narrator and that it was really funny. I guess it's that kind of book.
    But it did make me want to read next one (about Cooper's sister, I think), so I think I'll do that soon.

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    1. Haha, I know what you mean. It was funny, and worth reading, but not the kind of moving literature or story that will stay with you for any great length of time. Sometimes a reader's brain just needs a break!

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  6. I'm really not a fan of YA paranormal romance. I'm more interested in trying out adult paranormal romance. I read this one but I remember thinking it was just okay? I don't know, I guess it wasn't as fun as I expected.

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    1. That's fair, Chachic. I think I had pretty low expectations going into this one, and maybe since I have less experience enjoying romance in general it was easier for this one to exceed my expectations than it would have been for you.

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