Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from Coveted, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Thorn Grantham returned to South Toms River, New Jersey, Natalya lived alone with her stash of holiday trinkets. Her life takes an interesting turn when she faces a difficult challenge: to find a stolen figurine she'd recently won from a magical creatures auction website. It should be simple, just demand for it back from the pesky thief. But a set of events occurs that puts not only her life at risk, but her family's as well.
©2012 Shawntelle Madison (P)2013 Shawntelle Madison
Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
I wasn’t a huge fan of Coveted, the first installment in this series, because I didn’t particularly enjoy Madison’s OCD heroine. So imagine my surprise when the very things that annoyed me about book 1 actually endeared me to Natalya’s character in Collected. This audiobook is a prime example of how some stories are just better when read aloud. Audio Élan does a great job of capturing the essence of Stravinsky’s disorder and giving it form through her tone and rhythm. Her version of Shawntelle’s protagonist is way better than the one I originally inside my head. What a great way to spend an hour and a half!
I enjoyed the triviality of this novel’s plot line; it’s a cute story about a nutcracker gone missing and what lengths Natalya is willing to go to in order to retrieve it. Those of you who’ve read this series know how much this girl LOVES her Christmas ornaments and for those of you who haven’t met Stravinsky yet, this novella is a great introduction to the quirky heroine. The ridiculousness of Natalya’s mission continues to escalate as this tale progresses; one minute she’s making deals with dangerous supernaturals and the next she’s breaking into the leprechaun factory! The hilarity of her using her werewolf senses to help track down her missing treasure wasn’t lost on me either. If I had preternatural powers I certainly wouldn’t waste them on something as mundane as nutcracker sniffing!
I’m glad that Shawntelle Madison gave readers another opportunity to better understand Natalya; I disliked her in the beginning but she’s been slowly growing on me with each new installment. The Collected audiobook is a fun listen that’s sure to leave you with a wolfish grin on your face!
Prequel to the Coveted series.
This is a fun novella about Nat and her brother. She comes home to find that someone has stolen her package. After tracking the theif down, she must complete a task for him to receive even more trinkets. With the help of her brother and Miles, she goes after her prize.
If you're looking for a cute intro to the Coveted series, a fun short-story and/or a quick treasure hunt, this is the book for you!
Audio Elan narrates this short-story. She uses several voices for different characters and really brings them to life. There were a few places where it was a bit hard to understand her immediately, but those were not overly troubling.
Let me just say this, I really enjoyed Collected. I definitely love the Coveted series so far and can't wait for the next one, Kept to come out (due 11/27/12), so this was a great little appetizer to keep me tied over until then. Collected is a great little prequel/novella that takes place 7 months before the first book Coveted. Nat has a bad case of OCD and collects holiday decorations to help bandage some pretty soul deep issues. She wins an online auction for a figurine and is supper excited about it. When it's due to arrive, it's stolen off her doorstep. Now as a collector myself, I totally can sympathize with her. I know I've been driven half mad waiting for something to come in the mail and become a total witch when it doesn't arrive when it should. I can't imagine my "precious" being stolen from my doorstep, the nerve! Anywho, in order to get it back, the perp makes a bargain with her and chaos ensues.
Shawntelle writes a fun, fast-paced story that anyone who collects can surely sympathize with and for those that don't collect, well you'll love the story too.
It's a wonderful story that basically boils down to the moral....be careful what you buy at an online auction, you might just get more then you bargained for.
Update: Shawntelle was sweet enough to ask Toot's Book Reviews to review the new audio version of this story. The audio version is narrated by Audio Élan, whom does a wonderful job bringing werewolf Nat to life. Audio expertly coaxes the listener into Nat's world via a mixed bag of beautifully narrated voices. As a frequent audio book listener, I know how important a good voice actor is to a story. They can either add to it or in some cases really, really ruin it but that is not the case here. Audio does a fabulous job bring depth and dimension to this unique world built by Shawntelle Madison. Definitely worth the download.
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