Darkness & Light
Jem is a housewife, married to a control-freak, Peter. She's expected to provide dinners, a clean house, and sex, with little thought to what she needs or desires. She has a BFF, Poppy, and a sister who provide little distraction to the dreariness of her life. And then then dreams start; dreams of a stranger named Sean. Virile, good-looking, sexy...he provides a whole new distraction when this dream-stranger proves he's no dream.
The beginning of this book shows a weak main character. Jem is a slave to not only her man, but her life as well. It's not clear what her motivation is to stay with her man (in the beginning...a little later things change up a bit and her motivation--fear--is quite evident). As Jem escapes one life to start anew, she becomes aware of herself. She begins to embrace her true nature, growing strong and, yes, a little stubborn, as she shakes the shackles of an over-bearing marriage.
You gotta love Poppy. She is so easy to picture; a vibrant, loyal friend who loves Jem and embraces Jem's weirdness without question. She is by far the most well-drawn character in this story...next to Peter, who is scary in his possessive, narrow-minded nature.
Plot-wise, I was left to question a few things. Without giving anything away, there's a break in Peter's routine in the beginning that seems out of character. He keeps a rigid, unfaltering routine, yet there's an event early on where he not only breaks from this pattern, but breaks from it in a drastic way. It shows a mean character beneath the controlling man we all know and despice. With no explanation for this break in character, we're left feeling that the break is contrived to force the coming events, e.g., the beginning of the break-down of his marraige to Jem.
The 2nd thing that left me scratching my head a bit was how Sean's family is aware of the paranormal connection between Sean and Jem. How they came by this knowledge is never quite explained, or, if it was, it was totally lost on me.
The writing, especially the dialogue, could be a little tighter and focused. The dialogue in particular sometimes seemed to go in circles, taking a little long to get to the point. However, J.A. really nails some of the action scenes: tight, suspenseful, on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of writing that I wish carried over to the whole story over-all. The writing is good...just needs a little fat-trimming.
I didn't come away from the story feeling emotionally attached to the characters. Except for the father, who we come to know pretty well, I would have liked to have gotten to know the Holloway Pack a little better. It's a very tricky feat to accomplish that emotional investment. I think more visceral emotions injected into the writing would help that.
Overall, I liked the story,and if you are into shifter stories, you'll think this one is pretty sweet.