Series Review: Cascadia Wolves by Lauren Dane

Posted June 15, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Holly‘s review of the Cascadia Wolves series by Lauren Dane

The Cascadia Wolves series follows the Warden siblings as each finds a mate. The series, mainly set in Seattle, has two standalone stories and four interconnected books with individual HEAs and a multiple book story arc. Reluctant is a prequel novella and FATED is a novella that occurs about a year and a half after STANDOFF ends. The Pellini/Werewolf Mafia story arc: ENFORCER, TRI MATES, WOLF UNBOUND and STANDOFF — all four books follow the story of a biological weapon another group of wolves, an organized crime family is developing and that threatens their peaceful dealings with humans and each other. TRINITY is Jack Meyers’ book and the spin off into a new series set in Boston, de La Vega Cats. The wolves will still be part of the overall world the series is set in, but it’ll focus strongly on the de La Vega Jaguar Jamboree. 

I went on a total Lauren Dane binge last month. I gobbled up this entire series, along with two others, in a matter of days. Rather than writing a separate review for each book I’m just going to review them all in one post.

Enforcer (Cascadia Wolves)Enforcer, Book 1

Nina Reyes is a just barely reformed grifter who has left her past and her criminal record behind. That is until her brother shows up on her doorstep with some rogue werewolves out to kill him.

Nina gets further drawn into the web of intrigue when Lex Warden, Cascadia Pack’s Enforcer, comes to her for help and she ends up needing his protection.

There are missing viral agents, the werewolf mafia, death threats, arson and a whole lot of scorching sex and acerbic wit between them.

Welcome to the Northwest and Cascadia Pack.

This was pretty good. Many times in PNR I’m left feeling dissatisfied over the reaction of the non-paranormals. Dane really took the time to explore that aspect of it. On the one hand it worked. It was good to see that a woman who has nothing but bad feelings toward weres didn’t just fall at their feet. On the other hand, I think she may have taken the reality of it a little too far. Nina started getting on my nerves about halfway through the story. Then I felt awful for her and thought she gave in way too easily when it came to Lex. I did get frustrated with Lex for not being upfront with Nina right from the beginning. He meant to change her entire life, but didn’t discuss it with her first? Big no-no. So..I guess I’m torn.

Despite that, I enjoyed the story. The pack dynamics were interesting and so was the romance. I generally shy away from the “fated mates” trope, except in shifter books. Then I can accept it.

Overall I found this to be a fast, interesting read. 

3.25/5

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here.

Reluctant, Book 2

This story is connected to the Cascadia Wolves series but is completely stand-alone.

Layla Warden had a ten-year plan and it sure as heck didn’t include a mate. She had her flashy car and her corner office and all was right with the world until Sid Rosario sat down at her table and turned her life upside down.

Sparks fly as the two werewolves flirt over dinner and it’s no surprise to either of them when they end up back at his hotel room, naked and sweaty. But Sid is her mate, and they don’t figure it out until the bond is sealed. Layla, driven by confusion and fear, heads out of contact while a frantic Sid looks for her. What comes next helps a reluctant wolf find her way to acceptance.

I didn’t read this book. I feel like I got the salient points from the other books. I doubt I’ll pick it up in the future.

DNR

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

Tri Mates: Ellora's CaveTri Mates, Book 3

Werewolves mate for life. For every wolf, there’s a mate out there. So Tracy Warden is thrilled when she discovers Nick Lawrence, the sexy Enforcer for another Pack, is her mate.

But sometimes lucky wolves get to double dip in the form of the extremely rare Tri-Mate-Bond. And so it is when Tracy discovers that her Anchor bond with National Pack Mediator Gabe Murphy is far more. Suddenly Tracy finds herself with two alpha males whose hunger for her never seems to wane. But their bliss is marred by the heavy hand of the werewolf mafia whose reach goes very high up indeed.

Money laundering, kidnapping, assault and other general mayhem can’t mar the intensity of their bond, but it sure can threaten their lives.

As I read some of these earlier Cascadia novels, I really struggle with some of the plot devices Dane uses. Specifically the fated mates trope and how that automatically means love. I can deal with the fated mates thing as long as there’s sufficient time to develop the relationship outside what’s been fated. I think here, though, the feelings come too quickly. I realize they’re tied to the mating bond, but when the “I Love You’s” are thrown out 5 minutes after meeting it rings false.

Once I move past that, I can’t deny these are compelling reads. I especially enjoyed the way the tri-mate worked in this case. Having 3 people join together for a permanent relationship has always been interesting to me. I give it more leeway because in this world it’s more accepted, but the internal workings of the relationship were fun to read about.

3.5/5

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.


Wolf Unbound (Cascadia Wolves)Wolf Unbound, Book 4

Werewolf Enforcer Tegan Warden has been alone since the death of her mate four years ago. Until she meets Ben Stoner at a local club and she feels something she thought died inside her. Things move very quickly and she finds herself mated to a human man who’s not altogether sure he wants a forever kind of love with a woman he’s just met.

Ben realizes in short order Tegan is not only worth forever love, but a woman who’ll stand at his side without tolerating anything other than a full partnership.

In the bedroom it’s another story, as Ben has finally found a sexual submissive with a spark, and Tegan a man worthy of her submission. Together they work toward building a permanent relationship even as the specter of danger from the Pellini Group grows in the world of wolves.

All around them, the rising violence threatens the Packs and the only thing they know for certain is one another.

This book has BDSM themes. Something I’m not always comfortable with. I like the way Dane writes it. It never seems humiliating or degrading, like it does in other cases.

I really liked the progression of the overall story arc here. There’s a theme based around bio-terrorism that’s been ongoing for the last few books. I think that aspect is very interesting. As the violence escalates we see more of a united front from the pack.

The main romance is also a good one. I enjoyed the progression of the relationship and the way the story arc played into helping them decide their future. Ben is human, so he doesn’t really understand the mating bond. Tegan was mated once and isn’t necessarily interested in anything permanent. But when the mate bond happens she’s thrilled. Ben, not so much. I like that it wasn’t all hearts and roses, but that they were able to work through it.

3.75/5

This book is available from Samhain Publshing You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Standoff (Cascadia Wolves)
Standoff, Book5

Cade Warden has put his Pack first for most of his life and now Warren Pellini and his thugs threaten everything he holds dear. Into that life of intense focus and increasing loneliness walks the woman he’s been waiting for. 

Grace Pellini isn’t just Cade’s mate, she’s the sister of his greatest enemy and she’s been putting herself in grave danger to gather information to aid the Nationally Allied Packs. Cade is everything she could have hoped for in a man even if he is overprotective and pushy at times.

Against the backdrop of their increasing passion and deepening bond, they race against time to find a key to stop Pellini’s biological weapon. And then the stakes rise again when Pellini calls an ancient Challenge. It’s up to Grace to stand by and let her mate risk everything for his people. And his life is in her hands.

I think this is one of my favorite books in the series.  I love that Cade respected Grace and pushed her to be herself, as well as a part of him. Too often these alpha-males come across as asshats. Cade was in some ways, but he also understood Grace enough that he let her be who she needed to be. That’s a pretty important thing in any relationship. And come on, how cute is it that he bakes when he’s upset?

I was glad to see Grace put Nina in her place. As the series has progressed, I’ve found myself liking Nina less and less. Her overall attitude has seemed to get worse, and her actions toward Grace were completely out of line. 


I enjoyed the continued progression of the overall story arc. Things finally come to a head here. I won’t spoil it, but I was happy with the way things turned out (though I was a bit disappointed at how easy it seemed..relatively speaking). 

4.25/5

This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here.

Fated: Cascadia Wolves seriesFated, Book 6

Just because Fate brings you your perfect mate doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.
A Cascadia Wolves story.

Could there be any worse fate than a road trip from Seattle to L.A.—with one’s mother—to attend a wedding? Why yes, when one isn’t married yet, like Megan Warden. Toss in a grandmother and a carload of already married sisters and it’s a recipe for sneaking sips of “special” coffee while someone else drives.
Shane Rosario has better things to do than attend a wedding where his father’s relatives will be at him nonstop about getting married and having children. If it weren’t for seeing his anchor bond, Layla, he’d have taken a pass on the entire weekend. It would be easy, since he’s become adept at hiding who and what he is.

When the two weren’t even looking, Fate steps in and before they know it, their bond is sealed. Bonded pair, married in the eyes of their people. Two people tied together in every way. Trouble is, Shane’s not sure he wants all that comes with Megan. And Megan’s certain she’s not willing to live outside her pack, pretending to be human.

The distance between them is more than geographical. It’s a widening gulf rapidly filling with resentment…an emotional divide only acceptance could bridge. Can Shane can accept himself to cross it? Only if they let love take control.

This was actually the first book of the series I read. I didn’t realize it was the 6th book until I’d already finished it. The pack has settled down and there hasn’t been the same threats from outside forces. Megan is pretty lonely and doesn’t look forward to going to go a family wedding, but you gotta do what your mama says, right? She’s pleasantly surprised when she meets a sexy man in an airport..until she realizes he’s her sister’s anchor.

An anchor is basically like a best friend. In this world, if a mated female doesn’t have an anchor bond with another male, she’ll go insane. To form the anchor bond, they have to sleep together. Which means the hot guy at the airport isn’t just her sister’s best friend, but they got naked together. That makes him off limits in Megan’s book. Except it turns out they’re mates…

Shane is thrilled that he’s finally found his mate..except not. He was raised to think the wolf part of himself is dirty and wrong, and Megan is loud and proud about being one. He wants her to leave home and live as a human with him. Something she isn’t willing to do. Add into it jealously over his anchor bond with her sister and things go from bad to worse.

Dane explored the true mates thing in depth, which I appreciated. Yes they were mated, but it wasn’t easy for them.  Both Megan and Shane had some hard decisions to make. He expected her to give up her entire life for him and she just couldn’t do that. It was also interesting to see that Shane didn’t except the wolf part of himself.

It was an emotional read. I even teared up toward the end.

4/5


This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here.

Overall I enjoyed the series very much. It’s flawed, but still compelling and very readable.


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One response to “Series Review: Cascadia Wolves by Lauren Dane

  1. I have this series, why have I not read it yet? It looks like the series gets better as it progresses. Thanks for the reviews!

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