by Theolyn Boese, paranormal (2008)
Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-693-4
Over The Wall has simply the most adorable prologue ever. This, folks, is one good example of how an author can depict a precocious young girl in a realistic manner without going overboard or making the young girl come off like the author herself wearing a Miley Cyrus outfit and trying to blend in with her own characters in her own story.
The precocious young girl has since grown up to become... well, Cassia Anne Kinsley's life is not as depressing as that of Sandra Bullock's character in While You Were Sleeping before that woman met a certain charming carpenter, but Cass lives alone and spends her free time chatting with her online friend "Grimalkin". Cass is no ordinary human, by the way. The people on her mother's side have the ability to shift shape due an old family curse and her entire family, including her, have this gift as a result. Only, they aren't exactly your average pack of proud werewolves. Cass can transform into a mongoose, her late mother into a squirrel, and a late grandfather was said to be a literal horny old goat. Cass has a shape-shifting skunk for a cousin. There are your rabidly horny and proud alpha werewolves and then there are... these people.
Because Cass' jobs don't allow her to meet guys often, she wonders whether she will ever find a guy to do that mate-mate-mate-forever thing with. Well, she may get her wish in the form of Dar, a colleague at her new work place. Dar turns out to be "Grimalkin", as you can probably guess. But how would Dar react to her secret, not to mention her assorted eccentric family members?
I want to like Over The Wall, I really do, because this is not a typical alpha-male shapeshifter story. Dar actually screams like a girl at a few points in this story and I find that so cute. No, really, there are some very amusing oddball scenes here that have me laughing out loud and those scenes that lead to poor Dar screaming like a girl are just some of them.
Unfortunately, what kills this story for me after the most charming prologue is the horrible pacing of the story. The story takes what seems like forever to move into its more energetic late third or so. Ms Boese can spend paragraphs after paragraphs describing to the smallest detail scenes like Cass walking around her room preparing her microwave dinner while waiting for Grimalkin to go online from pages 8 to 10 in my PDF file of this book. My goodness, these scenes seem to drag on and on as I wait for the author to move on to the next scene.
This story is so... wacky so this is one of those stories where the reader has to read it herself to gauge how well the author's often over-the-top humor works for her. Many characters here are odd for the sake of bringing on the comedy. Personally, I find the author's sense of humor most effective here and I laugh at quite a number of scenes here. It's just that every time I feel that the story is going to get really good, the author will bring everything into a standstill by dwelling unnecessarily on a small scene of Cass doing something that is not at all interesting. As a result, the momentum of the story never really gets going. Reading this story is like being stuck in a car that keeps breaking down at various intervals.
Because of the patchy pacing, Over The Wall doesn't quite succeed in being the memorable winner that I am hoping it to be.
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