Amanda E Alvarez
Hunting Human

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Heidi

Liz and her best friend, Rachel, are vacationing in Europe and they are having a night out on the town going from bar to bar.  Rachel has had a little too much to drink and Liz decides it’s time to go home.  As she approaches Rachel to leave, a strange man gets in her way.  Liz holds her ground and gets Rachel out of there and they start walking to the hostel where they’re staying.   But before they get there the man from the bar and a couple of his buddies grabs her and threatens to kill her if Rachel doesn’t come along with them as well.

They grab both girls, bind their hands and throw them in the back of a van.  When they are pulled out of the van they are in the middle of nowhere and they find there is another van of captives as well.  All of the hostages binds are cut.  The four men that are holding them tell them that they are going to release them into the woods and they will have all day to escape, but as soon as the moon rises they will hunt them.  One of the men transforms into a wolf to show them just what they’re up against. The leader’s name is Markko and he makes it clear that he has hand-picked Liz for his little brother, Ivan, to hunt.

They are released and they trek through the forest all day.  Liz sees what she believes are headlights going over a bridge and has hope of escaping.  She heads back to where she left Rachel only to find that she has already been killed.  Liz runs to her and Ivan is there ready to kill her as well.  He attacks, but Beth won’t go down without a fight.  She repeatedly bashes him over the head with a rock and kills him, but not before he bit her, eventually turning her into a werewolf.

Since then Liz has lived moving from place to place never quite feeling at home anywhere.  She now goes by the name Beth and is living in Portland and is even thinking of staying there.

Then, Braden, walks into the coffee shop she works at and falls for her instantly.  He pursues her until she gives in and they quickly form a relationship.

Everything is going great until she comes home one day to find Markko sniffing around inside her apartment.  He wants revenge for her killing his brother.  She fights him off and runs out the door straight into Braden.

Beth’s world is turned upside down when Braden shifts into a wolf to defend her and himself.  And she starts to shift as well; causing Braden has his brother, Chase, to think she is in cahoots with Markko.   Chase tasers her and he and Braden bind her hands and throw her in the trunk, very similar to how Markko had kidnapped her.

They take her to their parents’ house and eventually find out what happened and how she has become a werewolf.  They know that she is not safe as long as Markko is alive and insist she stay at the house as their guest until they can take Markko out.  Braden and his family teach her to embrace the wolf within her instead of fearing it.

And when Braden is taken by Markko it’s up to Beth to find and save him before it’s too late.

I never really know what to expect with new authors, especially those in the paranormal realm, but I absolutely loved this book and had trouble putting it down.  It was a fast easy read and one any werewolf lover will love and even those that don’t normally love werewolves, like myself, will love it as well!

I found the characters to be well-developed and like-able, except for the villains of course!  Braden seemed sexy and strong and a bit stubborn as well.  Beth was caring and independent and struggled with her own inner battles.  Chase and Lucy where the brother and sister you’d want to have in your family.  And Braden’s parents were great as well.  And it’s great to know that even werewolves are practicing safe sex these days!

I was captivated by this story from the first chapter and hated that my life got in the way and I actually had to put it down occasionally.  I have not read a book I enjoyed so thoroughly in a really long time and it felt good to devour this one. The story ran at a good pace and there was plenty of humor mixed in as well.  Alvarez delivered gold in her first novel and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with in the future.

Rating- 4 Stars