Review: Tor (WereWolf Fight League #1) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Tor WWF coverSlave and WWF fighter, Tor is a werewolf whose life has just shattered in the arena.  His mate and love, Jin, has just killed by his opponent in the arena, a circumstance that shouldn’t have happened and is forbidden by Coliseum laws.  Injured by the berserker wolf who killed Jin, Tor wants to die but his Master Marrack has other plans.

Marrack is broke and needs Tor to fight again so he buys a young sex slave to replace Jin.  Sky is a virgin and beautiful.  He is also a sex slave.  When Marrack purchases him, he promises Sky his freedom if he can get Tor to fight again in the arena (all without Tor’s knowledge of course).  The last thing Tor wants is another mate who might be lost to him through fighting.  Who will win out with all that’s at stake?  Will Tor find love with Sky only to lose him to freedom or worse?

I have to admit I approached this story with some trepidation.  I am a fan of Lynn Lorenz. Her Rougaroux Bayou werewolves and her New Orleans stories are always found on my Must Read lists of recommendations.  I normally shy away from fiction with a slave element, especially those with scenes of rape. But a series with werewolves fighting in a sort of gladiator werewolf fight league caught my interest and I just had to know how this author handled such a storyline.

Tor, the first in the series, left me with mixed opinions.  I thought the idea of using the mixed martial arts fighting leagues in a werewolf story intriguing, especially if the setting included a Coliseum.  Ancient Rome has always been a fount of inspiration for authors and using it as a basis for her world building works really well here.  Other creative additions to her WWF series is the PETA modeled Werewolf Rights group  fighting to outlaw slavery and the WWF.   This is such an imaginative use of an animal rights organization when applied to werewolves that I am surprised that other authors have not thought of this (and if someone has please let me know).   I only wish that this element had a larger part to play in this story.  When the issues of abuse at the hands of their Masters, or being raised in substandard kennels is mentioned, it would have added another interesting layer to see this institutionalized combat slavery from outside the societal thinking on the subject.  I can only hope that this aspect might be enlarged in the stories to come later in the series.

Lynn Lorenz has added several new twists to the ever enlarging werewolf lore.  In this series, the werewolves do not mate for life.  They are offered sex slaves (not weres) as mates which then can be taken away if the fighters lose in the arena, the winner takes the other wolf’s mate to do with as they please.  The prettier the mate, the more intense the fight, although never to the death as that would mean a loss of income property and revenue to their masters.   Rarely have I read a wolf shifter story that changes out mates as often as occurs here although Lorenz supplies a good foundation for that. Bonds can be formed between Master and slave, although not considered a mate bond (illegal apparently).   I did wish for a little more background information on the society and universe the humans and weres inhabit, but again that might be supplied as the series builds.

The characters of Tor and Sky are given enough layers to make them interesting and their relationship viable.  But the biggest obstacle to that connection is one that Lorenz made herself.  The beginning of the story starts in the arena, in the middle of a fight between Tor and the berserk werewolf Cosack with Jin caught in the middle.  It’s brutal and it contains the scene that the publisher issued the warning about.  And even with all that, the character of  Jin is a charismatic and riveting one.  He is also referred to throughout the story and innocent Sky gets lost in the comparison.  I liked Sky and thought the background Lorenz provided made him someone the reader could connect to but I never quite bought the Tor/Sky love and the story suffered because of that lack of connection to the romance.

The initial fight scenes that carry the publisher’s warning can be scanned if this aspect is offensive without harming the rest of the story.  In fact, without that connection to Jin, it might work better for some readers.  The rest of the story can be read free of any sort of anxiety over the characters and their love affair.  The two other interesting characters in this story, Dan Stoltz and Ashland, are given the next installment in the series.  I liked these two and can’t wait to read their story.

Would I recommend Tor? Yes with some hesitation.  If you can’t resist a wolf shifter story like me, grab this up.  It has some great new twists to add to werewolf fiction lore.  If you love Lynn Lorenz like I do, grab it up as well.  I have never been able to pass her books by.  This is just the first in the series and it has so many terrific aspects that can be enlarged with each new story.  I will let the rest of you decide on the romance central to Tor as to whether you connected to the characters or not.  And now on to Ashland (WereWolf Fight League #2).

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM them and elements, exhibitionism, master/slave, violence (including rape).

Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing

WereWolf Fight League Series:

Tor (WereWolf Fight League #1)
Ashland (WereWolf Fight League #2)

Cover by artist Mina Carter is a wow.  I love that torso with the WWF brand on the chest.  Sexy, hot and relevant to the story.

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by Loose Id
ISBN13 9781611188110
edition language English
series WereWolf Fight League

Review: Odd Man Out by Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Laura Harner , and T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Odd Man Out 2013 Finale coverChance Dumont. Marcus Prater. Zachary Carmichael. Wick Templeton.  These four men have considered each other brothers, family by choice instead of by blood.  They thought they knew everything about one another and they have been through the worst of times with each other.  Or so they thought.

Now Wick has disappeared and won’t return their phone calls. And the remaining men are left feeling betrayed and angry over Wick’s absence and the events that caused it.  Then the Twins, brothers from Wick’s past, turn up dead, killed in the same manner as other gay young men recently.  The man they thought had been arrested for the previous torture and deaths of gay youth is out of prison.  Could the killer be the same man who killed the Twins?  The killings are starting to look personal, and when a meeting is called at Chances Are, everyone is expected to show, even Wick.

But someone is missing from Chances Are, someone unexpected.  And soon its evident that one of their brother’s has been taken by force.  Is it the killer?  Or someone completely different with their own grudge?  The remaining band of brothers must act and quickly before their family is shattered forever.

Four outstanding series, all on Scattered Thoughts Best of 2013, have been leading up to one explosive finale and Odd Man Out doesn’t disappoint! Each series in the Pulp Friction group (Chances Are, City Knight, Triple Threat, and Wicked’s Way) revolve around a strong, charismatic, and densely layered main character.  In their own series, each man exhibits a magnetism and strength that sometimes push the other characters in their own series into the shadows.  So I was curious as to how the authors would be able to find a balance among such compelling, formidable men.  Would one overshadow the others when combined into one book?  The answer is no, the men and their stories mesh as seamlessly as you would expect given their back stories and history together.

And when by seamlessly, I mean realistically. Because these alphas can spend their time in arguments, shoving, anger and hurt that is the result of letting others close, especially to this almost hermetically sealed off group of men.   As all four series and their main characters collide, each man is in the midst of a personal upheaval caused by the introduction of a new love and partner into their lives.  For some like Ben and Marcus, their acceptance of each other has been relatively easy, or as easy as it can get for a member of this tight-knit brotherhood.  Chance and Rory, Zachary, Archer and Jeremiah too, have also recently settled into a loving partnership.  Only Wick and Ned, well, Wick, is still fighting Ned’s new role in his life in a grudgingly humorous manner expected of Wick Templeton.

So much jostling of roles, so many new men to accept within the tight ranks of family. And it’s not just the original members but Ben, Rory, and Jeremiah who have formed bonds to each other.  I love that as much attention has been paid to the links forming between the secondary characters as it has been to the main ones.  Each author has kept all the threads of their series taut while weaving them into the other stories and the series finale.  It is a testament to how well this group of authors know and like each other that their characters play so nicely and believably with each other.

Each man has some huge issues to work through as they race to save one of their own.  And once again, these problems carry with them substantial emotional baggage that each man must examine before the somewhat broken bonds can be reformed between Wick and Zachary, Chance, and Marcus.  The anger and hurt these men carry because of Wick’s actions resonate through each conversation and scene.  It’s powerful, its authentic and we get it because we have come to believe in these characters and their love for each other.  So when they break trust with each other, we feel the anguish as powerfully as they do.  The four authors have presented the readers with four rock solid characters and made them real and their stories compelling.  How can we not feel as they do?

There is also plenty of anxiety and anticipation to go with the white knuckle suspense of Odd Man Out.  As the authors build momentum and suspense into the search for the missing man, we “hear” the thoughts of the captured man and his tormentor interspersed with scenes of the others gathering clues to help them pinpoint who and where their brother has been taken.  It’s a heart pounding, pulse racing ride and you will be on the edge of your seat every step of the investigation and hunt.

I won’t give anything away but there are moments of humor and funny asides to go with the thrills scattered throughout this finale.  Sometimes it used to alleviate the headache inducing tension that is building, other times it  illuminates a man’s character, a means of hiding one’s true emotions behind a facade.  Odd Man Out is really such a rollercoaster ride of emotions, events and turbulent relationships, a true E ticket (for those who remember them).

I loved this story and all the series connected to it.  I hope this doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Wick Templeton, Chance Dumont, Marcus Prater and Zachary Carmichael.  These characters pack a punch whenever and wherever they appear, whether they are together or separately.  I have come to love them all and would love to see them again wherever their futures are taking them.  They have plenty of stories to tell and I would love to read them all.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Pulp Friction

The Pulp Friction Series of 2013 are:

Wicked Truths coverWicked’s Way Series by Havan Fellows:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #1)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #2)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #3)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Chance In Hell coverChances Are Series by Lee Brazil:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2)
Fifty, Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are, #3)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are, #4)
Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Darkest KNight coverCity Knight Series by T.A. Webb:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)

Duplicity coverTriple Threat Series by Laura Harner:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat, #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat, #4)
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)