Tag Archives: werewolves

LILY by Xavier Axelson | Horror Novella Review & Giveaway

I’ll be honest. I don’t usually read erotica, but the premise of Xavier Axelson’s Lily drew me in so I gave this short novella a read. I’m glad I did.

Lily CoverAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Seventh Window

Lily is about loss—not the grief that comes with death, but the painful yearning of separation. Pryor suffers this loss when a wolf drags his young daughter, Lily, away. Single-mindedly, he searches for her, but instead of a girl he finds a wolf with fur that looks and smells like Lily’s hair. He hears his daughter’s voice in the forest and she tells him that she will return for one night on Father’s Day, the night she was taken.

While the word “werewolf” pops up a few times, this is not a typical horror tale. Every scene featuring Lily is eerie—especially the climax when Lily returns, but the story is more concerned with Pryor. Throughout the course of the novella, we see how finding love has helped him to cope. We meet Ned, a silversmith who crafts a necklace for Pryor in memory of Lily. Pryor desires Ned and finds that his lust is a welcome distraction from heartache. He pursues the relationship and as he falls in love with Ned, his heart begins to heal.

I loved that this story avoided clichés & stereotypes. The characters and the plot kept me guessing right up until the end. Too often authors paint parents one-dimensionally —particularly in the horror genre. Pryor is a fully realized character. He is vulnerable in a way that father’s are rarely depicted. Pryor’s reawakened sexuality stirs up conflicting feelings of guilt and relief.

This is a story you can easily read in one sitting. Axelson’s writing is well-paced and poignant. I saw the forest he described vividly. Reading his words, you smell the wind and feel the crunch of leaves beneath your feet. His talent for description carries over to the erotica. The sex scenes are graphic and abundant. Erotica fans will not be disappointed.

Personally, I was more interested in Pryor’s relationship with his daughter and wanted more backstory. I was left with too many unanswered questions. I wanted to know how old Lily was, if Lily had any other family, and what Lily’s childhood was like before she was taken. There were many instances where the erotica felt forced and took away from the slow-building suspense of Lily’s impending return.

As for Pryor and Ned’s relationship, I wanted more romance. There was too much focus on their physical relationship and very little devoted to the emotional aspect. I was left wondering why these characters were together. In places, I felt Ned was too pushy and at times abusive towards Pryor. In one scene, Ned pushes Pryor into a car, hitting Pryor’s head in the process. I had a difficult time seeing how this relationship evolved beyond escape to lasting love.

What I liked about the Ned storyline was Pryor’s realization that he could be a lover and a father. One did not cancel out the other. Also, in taking care of himself, Pryor is able to offer his daughter the selfless love she needs.

I recommend Lily to fans of gay erotica that are looking for an original, multi-layered story, rich in atmosphere and character development.

LILY
AUTHOR:
 Xavier Axelson
PUBLISHER: Seventh Window Publications
RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014
GENRE: Horror/Suspense, Erotica
LENGTH: 53 pages (ebook)


About the Authorxavier

Xavier Axelson is a writer and columnist living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include The Incident, Velvet, and Lily. Xavier covers Fringe Culture for the Los Angeles Examiner.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway

Enter to win either an ebook of Lily. Anyone may enter. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, Hook of a Book Media, hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI0/

Xavier Halloween Blitz graphic


Review Clause: The publicist provided me with a review copy of Lily in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was provided.

What Did You Think of SyFy’s ‘Bitten’?

I’m very excited to introduce you to my first ever guest blogger itlookedeasyinthemovies. Like me, she loved Kelley Armstrong’s novel Bitten. She asked me what I thought about the television adaptation, but I haven’t seen it yet so I invited her here to discuss the first season with you.  Okay, enough from me. Here she is! ~Hayley

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Hayley wasn’t able to weigh in yet on Kelly Armstrong’s novel Bitten being turned into a TV series by Syfy, so she volunteered all of you in her place (thanks Hayley!). Now that the series is over I’m mulling over my feelings on how it was handled and would love to hear how everyone else felt.

When I heard Bitten was being turned into a TV show I was tentatively ecstatic. I love the SyFy channel, I love Bitten, but we’ve all seen adaptations go horribly awry. I was prepared for True Blood style plot deviations and got them in spades, but I wasn’t prepared for the disappointing loss of character some of the key players suffered.

If you just hear the plot, Bitten has all the makings of a cliché teen novel. I picked it up one day for a quick read and was so impressed, It’s been on my “re-read when I need a pick-me-up” list since then. Although the idea of a heroine who is one of a kind that everybody wants has been done to death, the characters that Armstrong creates, and even more importantly the unique personal histories, family ties, and pack dynamics that tie them together make the story something above and beyond. Somehow this was lost in the transition to TV.11918

Let’s just ignore Peter and Logan, who we don’t see much in the novel, and move right along to Phillip and Nick. In an angsty werewolf world, these two characters are a breath of fresh air in the novel. Nick is happy-go-lucky and a follower through-and-through. Phillip is the nice guy who is always trusting and supportive even if he isn’t sure quite what is going on. In the TV series, we are left with a bitter Nick who is on his own path of vengeance and a Phillip who is clashing with our main character Elena and demanding answers at every turn. It’s like the loss of an oasis within the desert of werewolf angst and drama.

I can only guess the show’s creators had to make Phillip less likeable in order to explain why Elena is still stuck on Clayton Danvers, since they also made him far less “awww” and a lot more “what’s his problem?” Sure, Clay is savage and antisocial and we love that about him, but what about the moments throughout the book where he’s playful and happy to just be around Elena? In the book, it’s those moments that really sell what Clay and Elena have beyond her damaged view of the world. When you lose those moments, you lose their love story. Their relationship becomes what Elena justifies her flings with Clay as: sex and memories.

The show tries to redeem Clay at the end of the season but in order to show his softer side they end up vilifying the equally important character of Jeremy, pack alpha. Our cold-hearted pack leader (already established by the Logan plot-addition) isn’t the reliable father-figure of Armstrong’s novel and the family vibe that’s so important to Elena’s motivation disappears. I both want to throw my hands up and ask Elena what she’s doing, and I kind of don’t care all at the same time.

Despite all of this, of course I will be tuning in next season. I can only hope that we get to see a little bit more of the complexity and positive natures of the characters I want so badly to love. Am I being too harsh? What did you think?

What I Read in April

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April was a busy month for me! I started writing for WatchPlayRead and I read a lot of books (4 books, 1 audiobook, and 7 graphic novels). I also met bestselling author, Marissa Meyer! I took a ton of notes from when she spoke at the local public library and will be posting all about it soon! But first, here is my monthly wrap up:
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ONYX
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This is the second book in the Lux series. These books are crazy popular and I enjoy the characters but the redundant jabs at Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga have soured my opinion of the series. Particularly, since the Lux series is essentially Twilight with aliens. Both books also have the evil phrase, “I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding.” Onyx has it twice. You can read all about my feelings on that YA cliché and others here. I really want to love this series. So many of my favorite book bloggers do, so I probably will read the third book, Opal, but not any time soon.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE
by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice book cover

Beautiful and moving. I highly recommend this to Young Adult Literature fans! I received this advanced reader copy from Netgalley. The Truth About Alice releases June 3, 2013 and is available for pre-order from Amazon. {Read my full review}

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THE BOOK THIEF
by Markus Zusak

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I finally finished my audiobook of The Book Thief. This book blew me away. I was amazed by the incredible writing. The author has a true gift. His writing is so rich with detail and heart that every sentence felt real. Also, Allan Corduner does a fantastic job as the narrator, death. An emotional read and one that will stay with me.

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THE NIGHT HAS TEETH
by Kat Kruger

The Night Has Teeth by Kat Kruger

One of my new favorite werewolf novels! I loved it and will be posting a full review of it soon! I’ve started the review and hope to have it posted sometime in the next week. I will also be reading the second book hopefully sometime this month! I highly recommend this book to fans of werewolf novels and young adult literature.
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CINDER
by Marissa Meyer

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My favorite book I read this month! I loved this book so much! Such fantastic world building and interesting, lovable characters. I’m not sure if I will be posting a review or not, but if you would like one, please leave a comment below. I also met the author, Marissa Meyer this month and had my copy signed. So exciting! I am working on a post all about it but I have a ton of notes to go through first. I think I may have overdone it. Fangirl overload! I also read the short story Glitches, which is a prequel to Cinder. I will be reading Scarlet and Cress just as soon as I can. Love, love, love this book!
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I have also been catching up on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and reviewing them. I read Angel: After the Fall, Spike: The Complete Series, Spike: Shadow Puppets, Spike: Asylum and volume one of Buffy Season 8. I’m really enjoying my Buffy reading marathon so far. I’ve read most of these before but it’s been a few years. I’m looking forward to catching up to season 10. I included links to my reviews in the titles.

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That’s it for April. Expect a May TBR soon! Now I want to hear from you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Power of WordsA big thank you to Britt from Twintype Books LLC for tagging me in this writing process blog hop! Anyone looking for a great writer blog to follow should check out her site!

What Am I Working On?

I am working on an urban fantasy werewolf novel called Pup about a woman whose son is bitten by a werewolf. There’s more to the plot but I don’t want to give too much about it away until I’ve finished it. I’m nearly done revising it and am looking forward to moving on to the final draft. I am also working with my son on a middle-grade children’s novel called Daemon the Demon.  My son and I came up with the characters and then he maps out what he wants to happen in each chapter. Then I take his draft and write it out. I love working with him. He has a fantastic imagination!

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

I have carried Pup with me for years. It is very personal and while on one level it has all the horror and action you’d expect, it also deals with so much of what it means to be a mother, particularly of a sick child. There is a grieving period that parents go through when they find out that despite doing everything in their ability and loving their child immensely that they cannot protect their children from the worst of the world. I went through this with my son when he was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease. I realized that the only way I could help my son was to let go of my ideals of what his life should be and accept the life he was given.

My character must do the same when she realizes that her son has been turned and that the human life she wanted for him: school dances, friends, going away to college are gone and that she needs to grieve that loss and move on or risk losing her son forever. This may all seem a little deep for a book about werewolves, but I think the moment we as writers start telling ourselves that we are writing just a werewolf book or just a vampire book or what have you, we sell ourselves short. The original legends of so many of these supernatural creatures were stories told to explain some of our most basic fears. To me, it seems only fitting that our modern-day versions of these monsters serve the same purpose.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

I have always been a fan of horror and the supernatural. My favorite stories are ones that blend multiple genres. My favorite television show to this day is Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it was able to blend horror, comedy, romance, action and drama so beautifully.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

This is my first novel so I am learning as I go. I have learned so much about myself through trial and error. I’ve learned that I am a thorough outliner. I sketch out the plot first in a notebook then I transfer it to index cards in my Scrivener program. I make one for each scene. I also draw up some basic character and setting profiles. Once I have the story laid out, then I go through and write each scene until the draft is complete. For me, working out the story before I write my rough draft eliminates much of the constant worrying I used to do over plot points and scenes. I hate realizing that a scene doesn’t work after I’ve written it and then having to throw it out. This also helps as I write because then I am free to enjoy the process of writing, trusting that I have a map of where I am going and that I’m not going to write myself into a corner. ‘Cause no one puts baby in a corner. Not even me.

Tag People!

There are so many great writers I follow, but for this one, I will tag:
Winter Bayne
Natacha Guyot
Coffee. Write. Repeat.
Jodi Llewllyn
Permashift
Write Me a Book John!
MT McGuire
Burgess Taylor
Crystal Goodwin
Just Get it Written
A Writer’s Life For Me