- Theme: The sexy, dramatic conclusion to the werewolf romance trilogy that captured my heart and made Olivia Wildenstein my favorite author to date!
- Nature of Review: Olivia is a wonderful human being and provided some lucky readers access to the ARC list! Pinch me, because I still can’t believe I received one! As always, all thoughts expressed below are my own!
- Release Date: APOLAH is set to release August 13, 2019, but we may be lucky and get an early release, as we did with previous novels in the series! While you wait, be sure to check out the first two books in series that are available in ebook and paperback format, both on Amazon and from Olivia’s website and etsy page (where you can get signed copies! Next up on my to-buy list TBH.). Links to my reviews are here: A Pack of Blood and Lies, A Pack of Vows and Tears.
- Warnings: PSA: you may become obsessed. Like seriously obsessed. And may suffer a wicked book hangover equivalent to grad night or your first heartbreak. As for content, there are steamy sex (and non-sex) scenes, colorful language, violent rival encounters, and flat-out war between the two packs. But as a New Adult contemporary, it is all as expected. ☺️
*Spoilers for both Book 1 and Book 2 of The Boulder Wolves! Read if you wish, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!*
I sensed August would stand by me even if he couldn’t hold my hand. The only certainty I possessed in this uncertain world.
A million stars. All of the stars. This book deserves every star.
Another statement before we begin: I want to express my full (unchained) feelings in this rant review, so the format may differ slightly from my other reviews as I’m going to speak what I think as I write. I will go through and comb out any APOLAH spoilers, but there will be no censoring my feelings or thoughts or bias towards August 😉
Picking up right after the events of A Pack of Vows and Tears, when Ness stepped up to be Liam’s second in the battle between Alphas, A Pack of Love and Hate starts off with heartbreak and tension all over. Liam is trying to worm his way back into Ness’s love life by keeping Ness away from August, basically through blackmail that is totally uncalled for. August is blindsided as his mate link with Ness was just starting to work out, and although he’s a man scorned, he provides just as much swoony-worthy content as when they are together. Sarah and Lucas are left with even more tension than before, now that they are members of enemy packs. And Ness… well Ness is torn between saving the Alpha she cares about and making herself happy.
“To him? Am I going to lose you to him?” His words whispered over my nose. “You’re worth fighting for, but I need to know if it’s a fight I have a chance of winning.”
Basically, Liam threatens to go ahead with the duel and, ultimately, kill himself against the Alpha Cassandra if Ness spends time with August. Liam, get the fuck over yourself. I have no patience for your bullshit. If I were Ness, I’d be damn tempted to let him do it. At the end of the day, I think he loves himself too much to be rash anyways. But Ness still cares for him, and I can understand why she tries to back him, but their whole relationship and the overall love triangle is frustrating to me. In my mind, August was always the best choice and the only reason things didn’t progress faster was because he was gone a good part of book 1 and Liam swooped in with his charming ways.
“You challenged me. You’re the only girl who’s dared to challenge me. How am I supposed to become a better man if all I get are pats on the back and strokes to my ego?”
Anyways, Ness doesn’t believe Cassandra is playing fair, and the growing tensions between the packs are causing problems for the whole town. The asshole maniac Justin plays a big role in this novel (which brings out my favorite dialogue from August) and his goonies are enjoying causing trouble for the Boulders, especially now that they own the Inn and have a claim on the territory.
As Ness and Liam try to prepare and get the duel over and done with before the summer is over, their rivals prove to be more dangerous than first thought. And Liam’s stupid-ass decision to duel with Ness at his side, although explained and “justified”, is basically a death-wish. Not to mention Everest’s murderer is now running free, and my girl Sarah is stuck at his mercy, and killing him would mean giving the Creeks an upper-hand in the impending duel.
Now, while I could gush about August and Ness all day (I’ll spare you MOST of the details), I do have to say their relationship does change in this story, and although I hate Liam for keeping them apart, I lived for the steamy tension it provided. Like I mean:
“You look beautiful tonight,” he said huskily. “But if you could avoid wearing dresses and the color red while I’m banned to touch you, I’d be really appreciative.”
“If it saves your life, I’m entertaining many thoughts. Killing Justin’s another. In case you were wondering.”
We also get to see other packs in this book (spin-off maybe?), which leads to an awkward visit for Liam and Ness. And I love the screen time Lucas and Sarah get, and how their relationship is sassy and fierce, which would be an awesome book of its own (pleaasseeee 👏🏻).
On that point, I think Lucas makes a bigger come-back in this novel than Liam, although there are redeeming moments for the Alpha as well. I think all around, all of our characters had a full-circle moment in this book that wrapped up beautifully at the end of the novel.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell Sarah about your secret obsession with vampires.”
A brighter blush slashed his cheeks. “You’re a real pain in my furry ass.”
“But it’s surprisingly endearing, right?”
Now that my feelings on our characters are out in the open, I’ll get back to the plot. There was never a dull moment in APOLAH (there never is in Olivia’s books- everything happens for a reason, and her attention to details is crazy good). Everything unfolded at a natural pace with the characters truly being pulled along for another wild ride. While I didn’t particularly like (for selfish reasons- I can’t get everything that I want) everything that happened, every little thing kept pushing the story forward and never took away from the plot line. Not to mention, Ness is such a strong-minded, wonderful character to follow and I felt like I could’ve been in the story myself with how relatable she is.
Even though tears were probably out of character for the warrior they were painting me as, emotion rose and overflowed.
I think the ending was perfect, exactly what needed to happen for this story to be something as epic and jaw-dropping as the build up of the series. No character gets out unscathed, as it is in real life. They have to live with their actions and the scars they collected, and will always be reminded of their past and having to push past it to continue on. I love how not everyone gets their picture perfect ending, but it was a realistic ending that made me even more satisfied, and it made me fall more in love with Olivia’s ability to push boundaries of YA/NA expectations.
“I respect the hell out of you, Dimples, and I know you’re strong, but don’t ever ask me to stay away or flee. It’s insulting.”
Although I thought it before, this novel proves that Olivia Wildenstein is extraordinary and deserves to be a hugely recognized author for her work. Not only everything I described above, but also her ability to write about pretty much anything and have it come out a masterpiece with so many twists and turns you never know what will happen. But always expect it to be worth every second.
The Boulder Wolves is a series I will always cherish, and it opened me to a new author (to me, anyways) that will always have a spot on my shelf so I can reread her work whenever I need another breathtaking escape from reality. I will never stop writing about Olivia’s novels, I will never stop reading them, and I will never forget how it felt to find my favorite series, without a shred of doubt.