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The Better to Hold You by Alisha Sheckley

The Better to Hold You

by Alisha Sheckley

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1136106,831 (2.74)1



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I'll review this book by responding to the negative reviews and just say that you can't have kick-ass heroines all the time.

I liked this book precisely because Abra was NOT. The foundation of this paranormal romance (and, yes, it IS a paranormal romance) of subjugated female really intrigued me because, 1. it's fairly unusual in PNR fiction and therefore refreshing, and 2. it resonates with an all too frequent scenario (without the paranormal elements) in real life, which makes it relatable. How often does that happen in PNR?

Abra DID escape that seemingly never-ending cycle and found her perfect soul mate and lover in Red.

And, well, Red isn't exactly your archetypal alpha male either, is he? His affinity with animals (OK, I'm a bit biased: I love owls) was heartening and the fact that although he was pretty damn hot, he wasn't perfect. I loved the way he cared about Abra without all the he-man baggage.

I'm really looking forward to being back with Abra and Red, and to further explore the fascinating Northside, in Moon Burn. ( )
  OzMerry | Jan 28, 2018 |
"...This is the first novel about lycanthrophy that I have ever read, and I have to say - I really enjoyed it! It's essentially a paranormal romance, but there was also more to the story than simply that. One thing I learned about romance novels featuring werewolves? They have a LOT of sex. And I really mean A LOT. I have heard this is pretty much true across the board with lycanthrope romances - primal instinct, or the call of the wild or some such thing, I guess, but I don't think it was necessarily too much in this novel, since Sheckley adds a lot more elements to the plot than simply the sex. ..."

For full review, please visit me at Here Be Bookwyrms on Blogger!

http://herebebookwyrms.blogspot.com/2011/10/better-to-hold-you.html ( )
  here.be.bookwyrms | Oct 30, 2011 |
I'll start with this: this book is definitely not typical paranormal romance. The cover could fool a reader into believing that here is another paranormal action adventure or mystery with a roll in the hay on the side, but don't be misled. Alisa Sheckley's The Better to Hold You is a cut above.Or rather, it should be. Sheckley's writing is intelligent and completely absorbing, and she excels at emotional realism. There's a lot to be said for this caliber of writing. If this book is any indication, then her women's fiction is well worth the recommendations. Some people didn't like the realistic relationships in this book, but in my opinion, the author really captured the nuances that make the attraction between a man and a woman so captivating in real life, more powerful than any genre conventions. Subtlety is the key word. She captures perfectly the tone of a flailing marriage, a strained woman, and a situation that cannot but come to a head, even as the world goes cruelly on without her. As another reviewer wrote, Sheckley is gifted at capturing the pain in a common domestic scene. In fact, this spot-on portrayal might turn off some readers. Main character Abra is very intelligent and kind, and her thoughtful insights are fascinating to read. She has one problem: she's more than a little submissive. She is the joke in her life, with a charismatic, selfish husband who makes her feel guilty for his failures, a drama mama, and a boss who makes her question her competence. This is very realistic, and I couldn't help thinking, Abra would probably describe a great many people. There are more followers than leaders in this world. As Abra comments, most wolves are submissive.This might frustrate readers accustomed to admiring a feisty, get-mine heroine who doesn't take gruff from anyone. For Abra, her choices are not so clear, and she flounders for some time. The novel plumbs the depths. Things get worse before they get better -this is especially true of the romance, so be patient, good readers- and there are some dark tinges to the novel near the climax, where the book abruptly shifts from emotional realism with a martyr's despair to a dark Red Riding Hood tale; from urban (in actuality, rural) to urban -rural- fantasy, and it's shocking the number of themes in the original Red Riding Hood that apply here, including Abra's growth as a sexual woman. For me, this sudden shift away from realism to B-movie monsters, when they at last crop up, detracted from an otherwise great novel. I would have appreciated the fantasy aspect more if she had vested this part of the novel with as much realism as the beginning (the heroine actually has her period; 5000 points for that alone). But I'm convinced that this novel was meant to be for Abra, her growth as a person. I'm glad I ignored the few bad reviews and chanced this one. I expect to see Abra's continued personal journey in the next book, Moon Burn. The Better to Hold You can stand alone -the romance question is answered as Happy-For-Now, as well as other questions- but Abra still has room to grow, and the paranormal aspect was short enough to make me curious for more. I don't predict the next novel will mirror any B-movies or trite fables. After all, I don't know any Grimm's tales having to do with moonburn, do you? Is that like rug burn? LOL. I encourage anyone interested who is concerned that the mood, main character or first person narration of this book might turn them off to read the Google preview. That should give a more than adequate impression.Update: the second book is even better than the first (the heroine's stronger and triumphs more often than in the first book for those who didn't care for her weakness) and reminds me much of Patricia Briggs' werewolf series except with an entirely different main character with more voice in the novel. The second book really completes the first and should not be read alone. In Moonburn, there's a little more sensuality since the heroine chooses between men and more of the author's subtle, dark humor. Loved the author's use of lycanthropy (which was full-on in the second book) and ritual as metaphor for Abra's personal evolution and relationships. Also loved the Weirdness, LOL. :D ( )
  new_user | Jun 17, 2011 |
I really enjoyed this book! I love the urban fantasy genre, and while this book stepped out of the typical romance driven formula, it still was an excellent example of the style.

Many reviews I read about this book were bad, but I must disagree. I found all of the characters very engaging!

Can't wait for the next book! ( )
  gypsiesbooks | Sep 13, 2009 |
Abra plays peek a boo with the only possible explanation of whats happening to her life/marriage,and feels sad; over and over again.The writing style is decent and I enjoyed some of the world building aspects. But the dialogue is inconsistent; shifting between engaging conversations, rushed comic book bad guy overshares, and a healthy dose wtf. The scenes of intimacy were sexy, yet each had a off putting spot that knocked me out of the zone, and left me shaking my head. Add to that a few annoying repetitive themes, we get it already: Abra is nun like, Abra is downtrodden, Abra has no self esteem. And the ending is weak, in preparation I'm sure, for a sequel I wont be reading. ( )
  ScarletCorset | Apr 23, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345505875, Mass Market Paperback)

“The sort of book that makes you want to invest in silver bullets before meeting the author.”
–Neil Gaiman


Manhattan veterinarian Abra Barrow has more sense about animals than she
has about men. So when her adored journalist husband returns from a
research trip to Romania and starts pacing their apartment like a caged
wolf, Abra agrees to move with him to a rural mansion upstate in order to save her marriage.

But while there are perks to her new life, particularly in the bedroom,
Abra soon discovers that nothing in the bucolic town of Northside is
what it seems. The local tavern serves a dangerous, predatory
underworld. Her husband has developed feral new appetites and a roving
eye, and his lack of humanity isn’t entirely emotional. As the moon waxes full, Abra must choose between trusting the man she married, taking a chance on a seductive stranger, or following her own animal instincts.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

Manhattan veterinarian Abra Barrow has more sense about animals than she has about men. So when her adored journalist husband returns from a research trip to Romania and starts pacing their apartment like a caged wolf, Abra agrees to move with him to a rural mansion upstate in order to save her marriage. As the moon waxes full, Abra must choose between trusting the man she married, taking a chance on a seductive stranger, or following her own animal instincts.… (more)

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