- Becoming Alpha (2013)
- Avoiding Alpha 2014)
- Alpha Divided (2014)
- Bruja (2015)
- Alpha Unleashed (2015)
- Shattered Pack (2017)
- Being Alpha (2018)
Ever since I accidentally read Shiver and its sequels (by Maggie Stiefvater), I’ve been on the lookout for some more decent paranormal stories. Most of them are weird excuses for erotica (honestly weird), so those are out. I’m always coming across them for free or cheap as Kindle deals, but usually the synopsis doesn’t really sound that great, or the synopsis lies to me, which is obviously within the first few pages.
All that to say, I didn’t really have a lot of high expectations for Becoming Alpha. I like to have a fluff book to read a chapter or two of before bedtime, and thought that I would give this one a try – I’ve been attempting to sift through the gajillion Kindle books I have and actually get rid of the ones that I’m really never going to read. I soon realized that just reading a chapter or two every evening wasn’t going to be enough – I was completely drawn into the story, characters, and world building.
Tessa is not your average teenager. Her entire life, she’s been having visions that she can’t control, visions that are sparked when she touches something, or someone, and gets a “read” from the emotions left behind. At the beginning of the story, her family is moving from California to Texas, where Tessa’s mother still has some family. They are hoping for a new start and also hoping that Tessa’s mother’s family may be able to help Tessa learn to have more control over her visions.
But things only get more crazy when they arrive in Texas. Tessa’s dad’s boss seems very strange, and the whole neighborhood feels off. Tessa tries to fit in at her new school, but things go badly awry at a party one night, and Tessa’s whole life gets turned upside down.
After Tessa gets turned into a werewolf, the series builds from there. Tessa narrates most of the books, but a couple of them are told by/focus on other characters, which was also a lot of fun. I really can’t explain why I so thoroughly enjoyed these, but I did. Most of them were 4* reads for me, and they overall managed to keep the YA angst level reasonable. (Except Alpha Divided, if I’m being honest.)
Although they aren’t as big of players in the later books, one of the reasons I initially got hooked on this series was because of Tessa’s parents. It was SO FANTASTIC to see kind, loving, supportive parents who also love each other. Tessa has a great relationship with her brother as well, and I loved that! It was also really nice to read a series where there wasn’t any extra-marital sex. Despite the fact that Tessa and Dastian are “true mates” (and there are other pairs in other books), they don’t just jump in the sack. There were a lot of layers going on that went way beyond mere physical attraction, and I really liked that. Even after they are married, all sex takes places 100% off-screen so THANK YOU.
There was definitely more swearing than I like to read, and I felt like there was more as the series went on as well. I could definitely have done with about 99% fewer F-bombs. They just feel basically unnecessary to me.
As the books progress, the werewolves get involved with a local witch coven. I wasn’t honestly that comfortable with the witch/religion combination that Erin was using, but as the story developed I was more willing to work with it. It’s definitely a New Age feel with lots of good vs. bad vibes/energy that aren’t exactly Scriptural, but in some ways the dangers of tampering with powers you don’t understand (i.e. calling on demons) is emphasized. I guess I didn’t really feel like these books were actually encouraging witchcraft in real life, any more than it was encouraging people to be werewolves. Instead, it just felt like this whole story was taking place in a different world, and while I wasn’t thrilled with the way religion was involved, I didn’t really find it offensive.
These weren’t perfect stories. Sometimes the action was too slow or felt choppy, and I definitely could have used way less swearing. But overall they were good fun with likable characters and an engaging plot that carries through the whole series, even while each books tells its own story.
If you’re like me and you enjoy some YA now and then, and also don’t mind a good dose of paranormal, these are definitely fun reads. I’m already excited about the next book.