Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review of Pack of Lies by Vanessa Vaughn

*This post is part of the Pack of Lies Blog Tour. Check out Vanessa Vaughn’s website for more information.*

Vanessa Vaughn
Pack of Lies
Ravenous Romance, 2010

Not officially yet, but the author has let me know that this is supposed to be the first book in a series and that the next book will have the same main characters.

When Jack is attacked by a powerful werewolf one moonlit night, his world is forever changed.
Marcus is that wolf, the strong leader of his pack, who never imagined a mere mortal could ever escape him, much less ever become one of his kind. And yet, as time passes, he can't deny the handsome human is slowly beginning to change.
No longer the civilized architect he used to be, Jack feels a new power coalescing inside of him. He barely even recognizes himself as he becomes more sexual, more impulsive, more wild in every way.
But as the bite transforms him, it also binds he and his attacker together forever. The two share a powerful unbreakable link, no matter how forcefully they may each try to deny it.
Marcus is already hiding secrets from the other wolves, and his position as Alpha is threatened. Could Jack be the new ally Marcus needs to set things right, or will their desire for one another draw them away from all they know and alter the course of their lives forever?

Genre & Keywords:
M/M M/F/M, M/F, Paranormal, Werewolves, Gay For You, Violence, Bloodlust

Why I read it:
The author sent me a copy for review.

Alpha wolf Marcus attacks Jack who turns gradually into a werewolf after his rare escape. There’s a connection between the two men from that point on, in which they share – highly erotic – dreams. When they finally meet, it’s explosive and it gets harder for Marcus to hide his preference for manlove from his pack, which threatens his leadership. The pack challenges him by capturing Jack.

My opinion in short:
This book was thrilling and enchanting me from the first page on, although after reading the first scene involving girl parts, I needed some time to get over the fact that this wouldn’t be a regular m/m romance. But once I submitted to that I fully enjoyed the sensuality of Ms Vaughn’s story. Her excellent and melodious writing is what kept me spellbound. The harshness and cruelty of her wolf world kept me intrigued. And Jack’s inner turmoil when he realizes what’s happening to him, turning into a werewolf and feeling attracted to a man instead of a woman, kept me fascinated. Only, when I finished the book it felt as if it only just started, the ending was a bit abrupt and it left me somewhat unsatisfied. Now I know there’s more to come, as the author is writing a sequel and I hardly can wait for it to be released.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
The first introduction to Marcus didn’t make me like him very much, although I felt for him to be in the difficult position in which he was forced to hide his sexuality. Especially in his wolf form he was rather frightening; cruel, ruthless and lusting to kill. Not very charming, but still quite fascinating. When his human side becomes more present as the story goes on, Marcus becomes more alluring. And when he and Jack get together the pages are nearly burning. Jack is the one who stole my heart. He’s a victim to his circumstances and the way he’s dealing with all the changes is so understandable. I love that he kept his strength and self-confidence while he tried rejecting the cruelty of his faith and embraced his new homosexual feelings.
In alternating chapters we follow both Marcus’ and Jack’s point of view, in first person. But only 7 of the 18 chapters are from Marcus’ POV, the others from Jack’s. Jack’s struggle is worked out well but Marcus’ battle – with his pack about the leadership and with himself about coming out – was a little bit underexposed. I’m hoping to see more of his thoughts in the sequel.
To be honest, the plot is the weakest feature of this book. Not because the pace isn’t right, or the plot has holes or discontinuities in it, or what’s happening is boring. The contrary! No, it’s the strong feeling that it’s only the first half of a book. We get a fairly elaborate introduction of our heroes and when they finally get together (without it being an attack or dream) we’re almost three quarters into the book! So, when I closed the book I felt a bit unsatisfied because I couldn’t shake the feeling off me that this story only just started. The ending was not just a bit abrupt, but also kind of open. Jack and Marcus had their HEA moment, don’t worry, but I thought that actually came out of the blue and way too fast, since they rather knew each other.
While this is mainly an M/M romance, it also has M/F/M and M/F scenes in which the main characters take part. These scenes take place before the heroes get together and fit them, since one of them is hiding his sexuality and the other hero isn’t gay until then. Personally I don’t mind these kind of erotic scenes at all, but I know of a few M/M lovers who would appreciate a warning when girl cooties are involved. ;)
I absolutely loved Marcus’ and Jack’s first real sex scene. It was sexy as hell to see these two hotties fight for dominance, while slowly shifting to wolf form. And I mean literally fighting! There also were handcuffs involved and a lot of sensual groans and moans. Very sexy and explosive!
Writing style
Ms Vaughn’s writing is definitely the strongest characteristic of this novel. It’s excellent; sensual, rhythmic, beautiful, evoking and compelling. Here’s an example of how it flows (when Jack’s starting to realize he’s different):
“I felt none of my usual aches and pains. Instead, I was positively brimming with energy. I felt recharged and renewed.
But this wasn’t something miraculous. It wasn’t brought on by fantastic immune systems or excellent hospital care. This was something strange, something unnatural. It was something inside of me, and I could see from the look in Ivy’s eyes that it was in her, too.
Though we couldn’t put it into words, we both knew it. We could sense it in our bones. And we could feel it growing stronger with every breath we took.”

Favorite quotes:

“As he stared back at me with soft green eyes, his submissive stare told me everything I needed to know. ” [Marcus]

“I was not myself, and that frightened me. Absolutely nothing of this intensity had ever happened to me before.” [Jack]

“I gasped weakly into the mattress. Marcus was invading everything, pushing into the very core of me.
He thrust in deep, stretching me almost beyond what I would have thought my body could tolerate. I moaned, but it sounded like more of a howl. My claws tore at the mattress.
His movements were designed to prove his dominance over me. It was humiliating that he was clearly so much stronger, so clearly the alpha male. But it was also exciting. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” [Jack]

Vanessa Vaughn’s website | on Twitter | on Goodreads
Buy Pack of Lies here


  1. Quickly dropping in to wave hi...need to skim review for now because I'm reading it as well but have to concur on the writing style, me likes it a lot too :)

    Counting down the hours hon :)

  2. I agree with you hon, and even with the feeling of dissatisfaction at the end - I actually thought it was a good thing..

    It's different...

    It means something else is coming (another book)

    and it nice to have an author jump outside of the follow me regime that happens alot with shifter books...

    I read this and really enjoyed it - bring on the follow up book Ms. Vaughn..


  3. Sounds interesting and I could always skip over the F sex scenes. I'll wait for the sequel though before adding it to my buy list.

  4. I have this on my reader, and I plan to skip the F scenes, too - and now I'm probably going to wait for the sequel to come out before I read it!

  5. Well honey this sounds like a great read after your review!!!

    But I am so jealous... you know why.. **stomps foot like a child with hands on hip and pout on my face** I wanna goooooooo.....

    Hugs and lots of smooches, i iz going to miss you!!!

  6. I don't mind girl cooties ;) I'm in the mood for something sexy, this one is speaking to me.

    Nice review Janna!

  7. Lovely review Janna - thank you! I do quite like the sound of sounds like a dark werewolf world :) Fingers crossed it appears on Fictionwise sooner rather than later!

  8. @Leontine: I can't wait to hear what your final thoughts are!
    Counting down: 1 1/2 hours to go! :D

    @EH: I totally agree, it was a great read and I look forward to the sequel as much as you do! :)

    @Lily & Chris: There are only 2 F scenes if I remember correctly, so skipping is doable. I think you'll like this book even without the sequel being out yet. But I can understand why you want to wait. :)

    @Cecile: Thanks hon!! Ow you're so welcome to come with us, Cecile! Just hop on a plane and take the leap! :) See you in a day! ;)

    @KC: Yes, I think you'd really like this book! It's sexy and sensual! :D

    @orannia: You're absolutely right about the dark werewolf world. I found that very intriguing! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too. :)

  9. Love the cover and I am intrigued by the ww aspect - it's...

    Sorry, got distracted by your very own boy boyfriend... oh...he's...gorgeous...[sigh...

  10. Great review Janna! This book is the first M/M book that I've put on my TBR! I so need to put on my big girl panties and just read it! :P

    I've read a couple of reviewers comment on her great writing style which is the main reason I need to get this one. Not to mention-- hot alpha's -- um, hell yeah!

  11. @Sassy: LOL! He's stunning, isn't he? The ww in this book is certainly very intriguing! :)

    @Tanya: Thank you, I'm happy that you're hopping by at my place! :)
    Grin, you made me smile with your big girl panties remark! You'll see it's not that scary at all ;) This book is definitely a great read with hot alpha's! :D

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