Bryn Kolt can’t seem to stay put—or perhaps she can’t seem to find what she’s looking for. Traveling the country ever since cancer took he...

Review || Lurking in the Woods by Annie Stryker

Lurking in the Woods by Anne StrykerBryn Kolt can’t seem to stay put—or perhaps she can’t seem to find what she’s looking for. Traveling the country ever since cancer took her mother five years ago, Bryn has yet to fill the ache death left behind.

When her grandmother wills her a cabin, she isn’t expecting to discover the old woman’s ramblings about magic are true. But sure enough, Rhyeos, a shadow wolf guardian, enters her life as casually as if he had always been there, bringing with him the promise of adventure.

Soon there’s more for Bryn to dwell on than the flirty Guardian of the Forest’s advances, however. Somewhere deep in the magical world Beyond a villain known as The Beast threatens to tip the balance toward darkness. What’s worse? He wants to meet her.


Bryn Kolt didn't have a close relationship with her batty, eccentric and wealthy grandmother so imagine her surprise to find that she's been left her cabin in her will. After all, she'd only met her twice and only called once a year on her birthday to be polite. All that rambling her grandmother did about magic and another realm full of mythical creatures... Bryn's been rambling for years, but the lure of a rent-free place to live is too much to pass up. When she discovers that all those stories her grandmother told her are true, well, she's in for a treat and a bit of danger as well. 

One of the first characters she meets is Rhyeos, the Wolfen protector of the realm. While Bryn is very approachable and feels like an average girl next door, I hated Rhyeos, which made it difficult to fall in love with this story. He repeatedly calls her "babe", which she points out from the go that she doesn't like. While occasionally he is charming and witty, for the most part, I find his teasing obnoxious. He's also an inappropriate flirt, like the drunk at the bar who thinks he's got game with his icky one-liners.  Bryn is relying on him to walk her through this new world, but all he does is constantly dodge her questions. I'm sure it's to "protect" her, but whenever danger comes up, he's vague and vacillating. Even when she calls him on it, he continues with a great Scarlett O'Hara impression of "Let's think about it tomorrow".

There is a lot to love about Lurking in the Woods though. 
I enjoyed the world building that came with the new environment behind the veil. I wish we could have explored it more in depth. We meet fairies, an oracle, a magical stag, sirens, and all kinds of other mythical creatures. The world that the author creates is a beautiful, magical place and I'm sad that we couldn't spend more time on those details.  As an aside, I'd love to learn more about Bryn's grandmother and hear her story too. She sounds like a very interesting character. The pacing of Lurking in the Woods is on point and never feels heavy. The plot and mystery are engaging. I enjoyed the duality of the light and the dark and the ominous aura of Beast waiting just over the hill. It cast just the right amount of tension into the beauty of the veil.

If you are a fan of adventure, fantasy and a bit of whimsy mixed in, I think you'll enjoy Lurking in the Woods. While it's a clean romance, those who love paranormal romances will probably love Rhyeos and his flirty ways.