~Penny’s Rating: B+ ~
Kaje Harper is an author I have been meaning to post about for a while now, because I really enjoy her work. The first two books in the Hidden Wolves series, Unacceptable Risk, and Unexpected Demands are fantastic, and if you have not read them, I highly recommend that you do so before tackling Unjustified Claims. There are also a couple of free short stories in the series as well. You can check out Harper’s complete body of work here.
So why Hidden Wolves? First of all, the series takes place in Minnesota! Yay home state! The novels in this series are hefty and satisfying – Harper tends to write longer novels, which are typically hundreds of pages longer than your standard M/M book these days, and Harper’s take on werewolves in our own universe, or a near identical one, is refreshing, and dare I say realistic? Yes I know, werewolves, but still, you don’t have a hard time believing that her Hidden Wolves live in the Twin Cities and work as technical writers and custom cabinet makers. Or that they buy pastries from one of my favorite Vietnamese bakeries over on University Avenue.
I will also preface this review by saying that I have now read the other books in the Hidden Wolves series multiple times. At lease three times, maybe 4? Harper is one of my go to authors to go back and re-read in between buying new books, and this is one of my favorite shifter series ever. Because they’re just that good. I am also grateful to her for providing me with a copy of the e-book of Unjustified Claims for this review, thanks Kaje!
It is sometimes hard reading new books in a series where you as the reader have such a strong ownership of the characters. Because I don’t think of the characters as belonging to the author anymore. Those are my boys, and I am totally invested. Aaron and Zach, Paul and Simon, hell, the whole pack!
Unjustified Claims introduces a new couple to the series. Brandt Davis is a werewolf who ran away from his pack when they discovered he was gay, bisexual actually, not that it matters to the homophobic were-culture. He winds up in the Boundary Waters in wolf form and stumbles on Ethan Sjulstad, a human who’s managed to severely injure himself in the middle of nowhere, days away from medical assistance. Brant rescues him, and their relationship evolves from there.
My boys, aka Minneapolis West Pack, don’t show up until about halfway through the book. I was waiting for them to come along like an impatient kid. I was so excited when they did!!! I missed them!
Spoilers: Big things, huge, crazy, world-changing things happen at the end of this book! Holy crap! Awesome things happen at the end of the book, and SO MANY FEELS, but there’s a massive cliffhanger for what’s going to happen next. Now I have to wait to find out what happens! How can I go on?
Ethan and Brant’s story makes for a nice edition to the series. I don’t think I ended up as crazily emotionally invested in their stories as I was with the couples in book one and two, but who knows? Maybe a couple re-reads down the road I will be. Still a favorite shifter series for me, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Unjustified Claims Book Blurb and Links
They can face down bigots and werewolves together, but the truth may force them apart.
Brandt Davis loved being part of his werewolf pack, until they found his stash of gay porn. He escaped their anger, running in wolf-form into the wilderness, but he can’t live that way forever. And he can’t hide in fur like a coward when an injured man needs his help.
Ethan Sjulstad knows life is making him crazy when a solo hike into the Boundary Waters seems reasonable. Then a bad fall leaves him injured and facing death.Delirious, he hallucinates being rescued by a big grey wolf and a naked woodland godling. For a man who has always loved fantasy, it’s worth surviving just to find out what the hell is going on.
About the Author
Her first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. This was the first thing she submitted anywhere and was thrilled when it was accepted. There are now three free short stories, and three more novels in the Life Lessons series.
Her free Smashwords book was the first thing that she actually released – Kaje put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and she put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as Kaje was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book.
Now Kaje has other work in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell her what you like and what you don’t, and help make the upcoming books even better. Kaje has a blog on Goodreads, and a website with WordPress, (http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/ ) which includes a complete book list.