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Friday, March 16, 2018

BBReview: "The Big Bad Wolf" by Jus Accardo



About The Big Bad Wolf:
Kensey Deaton comes from an elite werewolf lineage, but just because her family is royalty, doesn't mean she'll fall in line like some perfect little princess. She has plans and they don't include an arranged marriage! 
Slade McAlister has his own family drama. His Alpha father happens to be the most reviled wolf on the eastern seaboard, and it's a stigma he can't escape. So when his neighbor Kensey--the girl of his dreams and his nightmares--proposes a solution to solve *both* of their problems, he sees an opportunity he can’t ignore. 
Kensey and Slade aren't only from opposite sides of the tracks, they're from opposite sides of the war. But if they can sell their 'relationship', they might just make it out of this with their freedom. 
You know, as long as all that fake PDA doesn't turn into more...

Buy Links:
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BBReview:
The Big Bad Wolf was such a great read for me, because it had pretty much everything I look for in the "perfect book" all rolled into one. Young adult, paranormal, alternating POV, a bad boy, and a romance. What more could you ask for? So, let's start from the beginning. 

Kensey and Slade used to be best friends when they were little but had a falling out. Now they are eighteen and are both "royalty". As in they are the next eldest heir to each of their wolf packs' Alpha's. Pack rules say that they must choose a mate that will help better the packs bloodlines and carry on their Alpha's gift. In Slade's case that is the gift of charm. In Kensey's case it is the gift of fire, but women only carry the trait while men manifest it. These days pack members don't mate for love, but marry who will help make their pack better and Kensey and Slade want nothing to do with that for different reasons. Kensey doesn't believe that women should still be carrying on the archaic role that woman have played in the pack (to just be a puppy making machine) and Slade hates his abusive father and wants nothing to do with pack life. So, they agree to fake court each other so that they can both get out of this situation.

Let's start with the characters. The Big Bad Wolf is a pretty quick read and i was pleasantly surprised how much detail and personality were packed into Kensey and Slade's characters. To make me feel a real connection with these characters in a short amount of time really proves just how brilliant of an author Jus Accardo truly is. I loved that Kensey was such a huge rebel. She is so against playing the stereotypical female role that the pack demands and wants more from her life. She does everything she can to go against the system and piss off her dad. Slade has been kicked one too many times. His abusive and manipulative father has him almost completely broken beyond repair, but Kensey doesn't let that stop her from helping him see just how strong and worthy he is of finding love and happiness. I am a huge fan of the "bad boy" role so I was Slade's biggest fan from the beginning, and of course I am a huge fan of strong, independent women so Kensey was a sealed deal too.

I felt the romance between Kensey and Slade was very well done. It didn't feel fake, rushed or flat. They have known each other for a long time, yes they had a falling out, but their feelings for each other were around before the falling out. I think that really helped sell the romance, because it didn't just come out of nowhere. They had crushes on each other when they were little so when they truly get to know each other later and those feelings only got stronger, it really made it believable. The fact that they are both stubborn and not afraid to tell it like it is also made this a multi-dimensional romance. They are constantly going from wanting to kill each other to just honestly being there for one another when they need it most. That made the romance feel truthful and complex. 

What also helped us not only learn who these characters were, but understand their love was the fact that their story is told in alternating points of view. I will forever be a huge fan of this writing tactic, because it not only gives the story shape, but it fills in the blanks when it comes to romances. It really has to be done right or the story falls apart. Trust me, I have seen alternating POV done wrong. It's not pretty. What Jus Accardo did so well is that wherever one left off, the other began. It really helped build the timeline of the story and made it feel seamless when this all takes place over the course of (I think) weeks (maybe a couple months). 

I am definitely a huge fan of all things paranormal, so of course I loved the fact that they were wolves. Adding in a paranormal element just makes the story feel fuller and more complex. Again it has to be done right, and again Jus Accardo came with the win. What I really liked is how she kept the romance the main feature. Yes they are wolves, and that definitely plays a large role in this book, but where some authors might have made pack life the main feature (making pack conflict the main headline and the romance a bonus feature), Jus did exactly the opposite and I loved it! 

My only complaint, which is always my complaint with books I truly love, is that it wasn't long enough. I enjoyed this story SO much and I do wish it was longer so that we could stay in their world a bit longer. However, I did feel the story was complete when it finished. It didn't feel rushed or like there were too many loose ends quickly resolved. I do hope that this turns into a series, because there is definitely more I would like to see from this world and these characters. I would definitely read more!

Overall:
I absolutely adored this book. Kensey and Slade were great characters who were totally made for each other. I loved that they already had a history from when they were younger so it really helped the romance feel authentic and not rushed. I loved that the story is told in alternating points of view, which not only added to the authenticity of the romance, but also helped make the timeline feel seamless. I loved that this takes place in a paranormal world, but keeps the romance as the main event. I really hope this turns into a series as I would love to read more!

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 5/5

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Excerpt:
He took a sip of water and nodded. He eyed the new plate as the girl set it down in front of him. 
“Raw fish? You’re buying me a burger as soon as we’re done here.” 
“It’s Japanese,” I whispered. “Odori don. When you pour—” 
The maid leaned across him and poured soy sauce over his plate. The squid in the center twitched once, then started to squirm with spastic enthusiasm. 
“What the—” Slade flinched and jumped back, falling out of his chair and taking the maid—and the soy sauce—with him. She let out a squeak as the gravy bowl flew from her hands and hit the wall behind us. The ceramic shattered, splintering into a thousand tiny pieces as salty brown liquid splattered in all directions. 
I managed to extract myself from my chair as Slade was helping the maid to her feet. Once she was up, she scurried into the kitchen, mumbling something about towels, and he turned back to the table. “My apologies,” he said with a bow toward our out of town guests. “I wasn’t expecting my dinner to dance.” 
My father stood, the look on his face anything but forgiving, but I didn’t stick around. I grabbed Slade by the wrist and led him up the stairs to my bathroom to clean up. 
“Haven’t been in here in years,” he said as we passed through my room. “Your d├ęcor hasn’t gotten any better.” 
I rolled my eyes and shoved him through the bathroom door. Once inside, I clasped his shoulder and pushed him on to the edge of the tub. “Neither have your manners.” 
“How was I supposed to know the damn thing was still alive?” 
“It wasn’t.” I ran a towel under the water, then rang it out. “It was dead.” 
“Beg to differ. It moved. It fucking started moshing on my plate.” 
I knelt in front of him then paused. This wasn’t going to work while he was still wearing the shirt. “It was the salt in the soy sauce. The muscles in the squid were reacting to it. Take your shirt off.” 
He waggled his brows. “Finally.” 
I sighed and grabbed the back of his collar then gave a hard yank. The material caught on his chin for a second before coming over his head. “Says the guy who insisted I was a horrible kisser.” 
He snorted. “That was years ago.Like I said, you’ve gotten a little bit better.” 
He leaned back and I didn’t miss the way he flexed, the hard planes of his chest moving in an almost mesmerizing way. I also didn’t—couldn’t—miss the scattered assortment of marks and scars. 
“They’re not pretty, are they?” His voice was low calm, but the look in his eyes was anything but. 
“Gavin?” The scars were a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and left very little skin unmarred. 
“For the most part.” He shifted, almost like he was uncomfortable with my scrutiny. 
I cleared my throat and turned away. “Ya know, scars are a sign of honor in the wolf community.” 
“Yeah?” There was a twinge of amusement in his voice and I was glad. “Then pick one. I’ll let you honor it with a kiss.”

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About Jus Accardo:
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and twelve angry chickens.


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Giveaway:

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Book and author info, as well as all photos, were sent by the tour host or found on Goodreads.com.*

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