Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase

Plot: Roz Wells is a lawyer who just moved into her best friend's old apartment. In the courtroom she's tougher then nails and can take on anyone or anything.  In the bedroom, she's unsure of herself and shyer then shy. Her reason for moving into the building is to protect her friends.
One of her new neighbours, Konrad Wolfensen, is about to need her protection, as he's just been arrested for a crime that is twenty years old. Konrad on the other hand, feels he's the one who needs to protect those around him, from Nathan downstairs, to Chad upstairs, to Morgaine on the second floor.
Roz soon learns that not all is what it seems, as Nathan is a shapeshifter, Chad's a ghost, Morgaine's a witch and Konrad is a werewolf. The worst part is, she's head over heels in love with Konrad.  This is one day in court Roz might not want to loose.

Even though, this is the second book in Ashlyn Chase's paranormal series,{her first being Strange Neighbours} this was my introduction to her work.

I have to say right off,  I have mixed feelings about this book.  Part of Sourcebooks Casablanca selections, it is not your average "romance" novel.  

I felt like I was reading two different books that just managed to end up in the same covers.

I adored the paranormal angles of this story.  The idea that you would have a building that housed some of the city's supernatural characters was something I was looking forward to exploring. (such as why one building would be a magnet for them?)
Making two of these characters witches, Morgaine and Gwyneth,  who are as different from each other as can be, but still giving them "normal" jobs (sex phone operators) was a fresh way to deal with what could have turned out too much a cliche.

The werewolves mythos that she used has just enough research to be believable (protecting the pack and mating for life). Having given Konrad not just a back story that included the pack, but a twin brother added to his layers like a cake.
I do however, think too much time was spent on the human angles of this novel and not enough of the paranormal was accounted for.
A few questions that surrounded the characters of Chad and Reginald- the two ghosts- one of which being about their leaving their buildings, left me wanting to know more about their back stories and mythos, but sadly, this was something the author just left open.

As well, I felt disappointed by the court scenes.  I felt like I could have found any of the crime scenes on an episode of Law and Order.  There was just very little meat on the bones in this area of the story.

Personally, I would have loved to have seen a bit more time given to the characters of Nathan and Morgaine.  Nathan's character seemed to be where the dry wit was hiding, but rarely got to shine in the story.

I wasn't as thrilled with the "romance" angle of the story.
I myself write this way, with sex scenes that border more explicit language then what you would find offered most of the time.  But in this case, I have to say less would have been more. It just seemed like every three pages there was a sex scene, which for me was over kill. I would have like to have been given one big one at the front of the book, and one big one at the end instead of the six or so that filled the pages.
This is straight up erotica and can not be classified as a romance at all.

As I said, this is part of a series, and coming into it midway like this, I can't help but wonder if some of the paranormal issues have been explained in the other books?  If so, then it is safe to say the author's works are not very well at being "stand alone" books.


  1. Hey, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Great review! Following you :)
    Sounds like it could have been a great book too, if executed better - thanks for the warning ;)
    Also, can't stand when they hide erotica behind the label romance.

  2. Thanks!

    I might just be old, but to me a romance has less sex and more plot.