GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Strayed (Caged #6) by Amber Lynn Natusch | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Review: Strayed (Caged #6) by Amber Lynn Natusch

Strayed (Caged #6)
by Amber Lynn Natusch
Published December 16th 2014 

(If you haven't read the other books yet, you might not want to read this)

Reunited at last, Ruby and Scarlet have tried to mend their fractured relationship. But Scarlet's unwillingness to share what she did during her three week expedition has Ruby frustrated and Sean seething. When Ruby starts to remember events she never witnessed, it becomes clear that Scarlet's days of secrecy were far more nefarious than she let on.

As though that weren't enough, an enigmatic note and key entangle Ruby in an off-the-book murder investigation. Detective Alan Beauchamp will stop at nothing to uncover the truth surrounding the death of his mentor. But when he and Ruby attempt to retrieve the evidence necessary to solve the case, they soon find themselves in the killer's sights.

With unknown assailants after her and Scarlet's dark deeds surfacing, can Ruby survive long enough to find a way out of death's path, or will events already set in motion lead to her ultimate demise?
In my pre-reading research, I stumbled upon a report that Natusch was recommending readers re-read Fractured (Caged #5) and Tarnished (Caged #5.5). I’ve gotta say, I balked at that suggestion. There are too many books, too little time as it is, and to ask readers to re-read an installment? Well, that takes balls. I admit, I’m a rule-follower with a whisper of a non-conformist streak, so I compromised so as to give Strayed a fair shake. I don’t usually do novellas, but I read Fractured and, wow, am I glad I did. Not only did the novella fill in a lot of gaps and set the table nicely for Fractured, it also granted readers some quality time with first-rate alpha Sean.

So, if you haven’t read this series, for the sake of all that is holy, stop reading this review and get a copy of Caged immediately. You won’t be sorry and I’ll totally envy you your fresh reading journey. I’ve come to the determination that Caged is among my top five paranormal series. Not one installment has disappointed. It’s action packed and riveting, and the characters rock. All of them.

The novel opens with Ruby reconciling herself with her sinister other half, Scarlett. Scarlett has been roaming the earth and has stories to tell, but she’s clammed up and isn’t talking. Ruby also knows that her otherworldly boyfriend, Sean, is less than forthcoming. Unanswered questions, an ever-expanding pack, and a suspected high-level conspiracy have Ruby reeling. Throw in the constant ominous chirping of the elusive Gavin and you have a manic plot line that sucks the reader in for the duration.

Sometimes a book grips me. Like really grips me. So much so that I read on my lunch break, I read while making dinner, I’ve even been known to finish a page mid-diaper change. Strayed is one of these books. The characters, as previously mentioned, are interesting and endearing. Ruby is the perfect combination of strength, softness, and quirk. Her internal other-self, Scarlett, does cool , philosophical psychopath so well. Sean, who struggles with his own inner duality, is equal parts fiercely protective, loving partner and stone-cold asshole. And, what para devotee can resist an asshole?

In short Natusch delivers. Rereading Fractured was unnecessary. The author does a good job reminding the reader without being redundant. So, although I didn’t heed it entirely, Natusch is allowed to make a ballsy suggestion. Her series is the whole package.

5 sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
So I stole this directly from the Biography page in Caged. It’s my take on the traditional “About the Author.” 
If you’re dying to know more about me, allow me to put you at ease. I’m a sharp-tongued, sarcastic cancer, who loves vegetable smoothies, winter storms, and the word portfolio. I should NEVER be caffeinated, and require at least eight hours of sleep to even resemble a human being. At thirty-four, I just now feel like I can keep a straight face while saying the word “rectum” (which is actually a huge lie because I just laughed out loud while reading this to my husband). I live with my iPod firmly affixed to my body, drive too fast, and laugh/cry at inappropriate times.

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