Top Five Friday: Hungry Like the Wolf

Halloween weekend is upon us, so we thought we’d share some highly rated ~spooky~ reads from Red City Review. Today’s titles all feature everyone’s favorite furry menace: werewolves. What’s awesome about werewolves is that authors can use them as either hero or villain – whichever their stories call for. The complexity of pack behavior and “lone wolves” lends itself to any number of narratives, but we often see a common thread of “finding one’s true self” wherever werewolves come into play. Each of the books below gives the loup-garou different treatment, so there’s a story here for everyone whether you’re looking for romance, thrilling fantasy, or something a bit more difficult to define.


Silenced by Darcie Peck


silencedLeah was raised in darkness and isolation, removed from society and forcibly stripped of her ability to speak aloud. She has suffered through abuse both mentally and physically, only to escape captivity and then be struck by a Range Rover. Flashes of light speckle Leah’s unconscious mind, opening it to streaks of a world alien to her. Electric vibrations and shocks reverberate through her very core as the driver of the car rushes the two of them to his pack’s doctor. Devin, Alpha of the local werewolf pack, who’s accidental wreck with this girl opens his inner wolf’s eyes to a similar electrifying current which is known to the werewolf kind as finding one’s soul ‘mate.’ The two discover a kindred spirits within each other following the days and weeks of her hospital stay. Leah’s life of abuse and torture has been forgotten by a case of amnesia. Devin now attempts to reintroduce her to “normal” werewolf life, only to find, Leah’s forgotten past, is not so distant after all.

Darcie Peck puts Silenced of the Bound Trilogy – Book One, at the top of personal genre favorites. So often werewolf story lines become muddled, broken, and strung out. Silenced is not that. The point of view shifts used to change perspective is brilliant, opening a new method of reading that can encourage other writers to do so in a similar fashion. Silenced is hands down a great read, five stars does not do it its due justice. With non-stop action, suspenseful drama and a love story that will forever get your inner wolf snuggling, Silenced will touch the inner wolf in all of us.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.


Bottomless Dreams by Ryan Power


Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.36.44 AMBottomless Dreams by Ryan Power is a collection of 25 short stories that, quite frankly, can’t be summarized in one paragraph. Not only are there 25 plot lines, 25 settings, and 25 casts of characters, but there are also scores of psychological themes and dozens of metaphysical quandaries set across several, often concurrent, genres. In other words, there’s a lot going on in this collection, and it’s pretty awesome. Bottomless Dreams tells very real tales alongside the fantastic, carrying readers around the globe and across the universe, through the past, present, and future, to explore the inward and outward bounds of the human condition. As per the stories themselves, they speak of surfers, old men, and coming-of-age children, as well as of beasts, werewolves, witches, and others. But what the stories speak of is not nearly as remarkable as what they speak to, which makes Bottomless Dreams, at the bottom line, a prime example of literary fiction. Isolation. Fear. Pride. Conviction. That’s what these stories are about, and then some. Power presents a buffet of themes and topics, dishing on everything from parenthood, masculinity, and absurd rites of passage, to the sanctity of life, enlightenment, and familiar questions about life, death, and religion. Plus, there’s a little sex, drugs, and jazz tossed into the mix, and the pages are scattered with original artwork—25 title pages for each of the 25 stories, as illustrated by interior artist Court Dheensaw.

All told, Bottomless Dreams by Ryan Power is a one-of-a-kind, somewhat strange experience. Many of the stories deal with “messed up” things, but do so in a way that’s insightful and illuminating. Power’s writing is also rather exceptional, full of powerful words, phrases, and devices that effectively communicate his messages and fuel further thinking. That said, however, be aware, Bottomless Dreams is not, by any means, a poolside novel. It’s neither a quick read nor a light read—but, it’s definitely a good read, and it comes highly recommended.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.


Storm Wolf by Stephen Morris


storm“‘I remember the celebrations when we were given our freedom in 1816, a year after I killed the great wolf and skinned it,’ Edvin told his grandson. ‘Don’t let the wolf skin make you a serf again, bound to it rather than the land. It should serve you, not you serve it.’” Remembering his dream, Alexei knows that he disobeyed his grandfather’s warnings about how to use the wolf skin he passed onto Alexei before his death. The pelt’s transformative powers are intended to help protect Alexei’s Estonian villages. Alexei’s selfish choice results in enough destruction that he has to leave his beloved land in search of anyone who knows the old practices from his grandfather’s generation, which can be used to heal Alexei. But en route to find that certain someone, Alexei is unaware of the many challenges he will have to face before he can be healed, if that’s possible.

Morris puts a new spin on Baltic folklore in his latest novel. A unique coming of age story set in the latter part of the nineteenth century, Morris’ plot features Alexei, a young man whose lack of understanding in old-world traditions gets him in Lycanthropic trouble. Basically, Alexei has the ability to transform into a werewolf. Morris surrounds his unseasoned character with an interesting cast made up of thunder dragons, wind hags, and storm goblins, to name a few, as his journey takes him through Latvia, Lithuania, Silesia (Poland), and Bohemia (the Czech Republic). Morris even includes the legendary Frau Bertha (or from the German, Perchta). Sprinkled with Estonian language, Morris’ narrative follows typical folktale storytelling. Replete with all the whimsical trappings, readers can expect a flurry of surprises amid anticipated scenes. A fantastical read that appeals to young and old alike.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.