Monday, November 28, 2011

Joint Review: Caleb by Sarah McCarty

This review is the first in a series of joint reviews done between Deanna (Paperback DayDreamer) and myself on The Shadow Wranglers series by Sarah McCarty.

Right now there are four books in this series:
1. Caleb (here)
2. Jared (review will be on Deanna's blog Nov. 29)
3. Jace  (review will be here on Nov. 30)
4. Slade (releasing Dec. 6th)

Title: Caleb
Author: Sarah McCarty
My Rating: C+
Deanna's Rating: 3.5 *** 

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Shadow Wranglers #1
Main Characters: Allie & Caleb
Release Date: October 2009
ISBN: 0425230570
Publisher: Penguin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Meet three sexy ranchers-who also happen to be vampires-in the first of a new series by the national bestselling author of Wild Instinct.
Allie always desired mysterious, sexy rancher Caleb Johnson, but he never seemed to notice her. Until the night she's attacked by a vicious animal, and rescued by a shapeshifting vampire that she almost seems to recognize: the baritone growl, the mesmerizing eyes, the inexplicable animal attraction. That's because her savior is Caleb, and now he has no choice but to bring Allie into the shadows with him-to protect her from a rival werewolf pack, and to finally reveal his true feelings for the woman he's been afraid to love.

Our Joint Review:

Caleb is the first book in Sarah McCarty's The Shadow Wranglers series and it introduces us to the Johnson brothers: Caleb, Jarad, Jace and Slade. This first book is obviously about Caleb and him finding his mate in Allie. Allie owns a little bakery shop in a small town and her one constant customer is Caleb Johnson who she is lusting after, the problem is that Caleb isn't showing her any signs that he is interested. One night after she leaves work she is attacked by a huge wolf only to be saved by another. Her savior is hurt in the rescue and Allie ends up going back to try to save the wolf's life...this leads her to the Circle J, which is Caleb's home, and into the change of her life. You see, the Johnson brothers are vampires and Caleb decides to save Allie's life by changing her into a vampire and securing her has his wife/mate. Allie will soon discover that the Johnson's are rogue vampires and not everyone in the supernatural world likes their lifestyle.

Deanna: It took me a long time to get into this story but once I hit about the halfway mark things started looking up for me. I really enjoyed the world that McCarty set up with her vampires. I like the telepathy, the ability to shapeshift, and the night vision...all unique things for me with vampires (for the most part). I really enjoyed the character of Allie. She's a stubborn, strong-willed, modern-day woman. I loved how stubborn she was and how she hated following "orders" because it went against her principle, but I also liked how she could be vulnerable at times as well. While Allie is a modern woman, Caleb is an old fashion kind of guy. He's a sexy cowboy from the 1860's and a lot of his views and values come from that time. Can we say conflict?! Yes, lots of butting of heads...but I enjoyed it all. The interactions between these two definitely had me giggling. What did you think about the vampires in this book Christi? And, of course, please tell us your thoughts on Allie and Caleb (rawr!)

Christi: Omg, we have said it before, but it is worth saying again...vampires that are cowboys. Ummm, Yeah! It does this Texas girl's heart good!!! I loved the Johnson brothers and am so excited that through this series that we get to read each of their stories. I love that together they form this complete cohesive family unit that stands together no matter what, even when they are unhappy with what one of the other brothers is doing. They are there to watch his back and make sure that he lives to see another day. I love books that have strong families! What did you think about the family dynamic, Deanna, and the other three sexy brothers?

Now when it comes to Allie & Caleb, I had some issues with this book. I understand that Allie is stubborn and willful, which normally I can get behind in the heroine, but there were moments in this book, that she was simply ridiculous in fighting things purely for the sake of fighting anyone else's edicts. That whole visit to Sanctuary...seriously, WHY?!!? The other thing that really got to me...I truly hope that the Johnson's are wealthy because I don't think that there was a single instance where Caleb & Allie interacted where they didn't claw through each other's clothes. How do these two have ANYthing left to wear?? What did you think about the clawing, Deanna?

Deanna: LOL. You just had to bring up the clawing didn't you??!! I thought the clawing was a bit much at times but I was glad that Allie at least addressed the issue instead of them ignoring it and acting like that was a completely normal act. It did make for some steamy times. :-D I will agree that at times Allie's stubbornness was a bit much...just not practical especially with her bigger responsibility! The other thing that I didn't get was the fact that she was a successful woman with her own business, yet when the prospect came that she wouldn't be able to continue with the business she never argued over it or brought up the point. :-(

Now the family dynamic was awesome! I loved the four brothers and how they do have each others back even if they don't agree with what one of the others is doing. I had a hard time keeping them all straight but I can say that Jared's book is going to be very exciting and Slade, oh Slade...his nerdy, know-it-all, computer loving self really appeals to me for some reason. LOL. I'm very excited for his book. Did one of the brothers stand out for you more than the others? What were your thoughts on the Sanctuary??

ChristiLOL, how could you not bring up the clawing? Every single time with every bit of clothing. Seriously!?! LOL! You bring up a good point about Allie and her business. There wasn't a whole lot said about her "death" at all. I also really wondered about her family and her own brothers whom she was close with. There was talk about changing her appearance so that she could still live in town without her family knowing, but what happened to that when she had complications with her transition? There were definitely some un-answered questions there.

The brother that stood out the most for me was Jace. I NEED to know what is going on between him and the wolves. You just know that it has to do with a girl and I cannot wait to hear his story. He just seems a bit tortured to me and I love me a tortured alpha male. ;o) Poor Deanna, Slade's book is last so it's going to be a while yet, but I do have to admit...I am REALLY looking forward to ALL of their books.

hmmm, Sanctuary. I am torn on that part of the story. It was very weird and I am pretty sure that whole story line is going to come up again. I am pretty sure that we have just barely scratched the surface of their fanaticism especially with how much they want to get their hands on fertile females. Definitely creepy. I also find it very weird and creepy that Allie had dated Vincent before. He obviously knew her potential so I wonder why he didn't pursue her harder before, but I guess that would have made this book a totally different book if he had.

But back to the wolves and that aspect of the story. What did you think about Derek and the two wolf packs? I personally LOVED Derek and how he was always pushing at Allie & Caleb with his attraction to her. He brought some much need comic relief to the story. I hope that we see a lot more of him in the upcoming books.

Deanna: I completely agree.  While I really enjoyed this book there were a few things that just bugged me...but in the end they didn't overshadow my enjoyment of the book.  I hope that down the road Ms. McCarty does address Allie's family...even Allie was still thinking of a way to still have them in her life toward the end of the book.  With 6 brothers you can't just brush that off!  I also enjoyed Jace and I completely agree with you, he's got the hots for a were-woman and that cannot go very well.  I cannot WAIT for the other three books either!  I'm really enjoying this series and I want to see all the brothers find their HEA.

Now the Sanctuary...yes that part of the story was very weird.  There were so many battles happening inside peoples heads that it became a bit overwhelming and hard to imagine at times.  I drew blanks in my brain-movie of how to picture them.  I do believe that this isn't the end with those crazy vampires and I'm interested to see how McCarty is going to incorporate this war with the rest of the brothers finding their mates.

Boy am I excited that you brought up Derek!!!!  I LOVE him. :-D  I know that this series is about the brothers but there is a HUGE part of me that wants her to write a book for Derek...he deserves to find me...I mean...a woman.  He did have the comic relief that we needed and I love his loyalty.  I'm also very interested in Ian, especially after the description we got from Allie's POV. I'm glad that the D'Nally's are at least helping with this war due to the Sanctuary's crazy plans but with Jace always stirring up trouble I'm afraid we haven't seen the end of the feud between the Johnson's and the D'Nally's....that also means I get a little more Ian time.

What would you say about the book overall if someone asked you if they should read it?  I know that we've both heard not the greatest things about this book and how it was lacking but would you suggest others read it?

Christi: oooh, yes, I had forgotten Ian...that was one sexy were! I look forward to seeing where the story goes with the D'Nally's. I have to agree with you. I don't think that conflict between them and the Johnson's is over yet.

I agree...I would love this series to go on and include both Derek & Ian's story. It's hard to believe that we have only read one book so far in this series. The world is already so deep and developed. I am excited about the possibilities to come in the next several books.

I know that I didn't rate the book very high, but that is misleading, because I would definitely recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and think that the series as a whole is going to be very good. I am excited to dig into the other books!
What are your thoughts so far after this first book?

Deanna: It is crazy that we've only read book one in the series...we're already attached to so many of the characters and so many situations that it's going to be fun to see them all develop.  We'll have to do some research and see if Ms. McCarty is planning any extra books after Slade is released in December.  For me I didn't rate the book very high either, but overall it was a great story.  I definitely agree that I recommend people check this book out!  It has such good world building and on top of that the characters really draw you in...even if you are not supposed to like them.  I think it was a good first book because of all that world building and I believe that the rest of the series can only go up from here.  I'm very excited about Jared and I can't wait to see what we both think of it.

Deanna's Rating: 3.5 Stars (C+ in your rating scale I do believe)


Blodeuedd said...

Great joint review :)

Cowboys, yes that made me want it

Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I just sorted the first two on my TBR shelf that I need to take a picture of LOL (seriously physical TBR right by my desk)

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

You guys had me at vampire cowboy. ;-) You ladies did a stellar job with this joint review.

I've been on the fence about this series but, it looks like I'll definitely be giving it a try.

Diana (@Offbeat Vagabond) said...

Awesome review guys. It seems book 2 is better, still I want to start this series bad. I am with you guys, some of my favorite series have some very strong families. I love finding that in books and this seems like it will fall under that. Thank you guys again, amazing read :)