Grace Tydings' Helena was published in April 2019 and Missoula was published in July 2019. Both of them are independently published urban fantasy novels.
Information about Grace Tydings:
Grace Tydings lives in Maryland with her husband and pets. She loves the Urban Fantasy genre and is currently working on the next installment of the Black Paw Series (Release date 2020) and a new series which will be released by the end of the year.
Click here to visit her official website.
Information about Helena:
Sienna Harris is living on the beaches of North Carolina, avoiding the decision of what to do with her life. Trying to live in the human world when you aren’t quite human has its downside, and the urge to be near her own kind grows stronger by the day. Ten years after her mother’s mysterious death, Sienna returns to her hometown of Black Paw, Montana: a town full of secrets.
Black Paw Sheriff, Jack Ross, is monitoring a string of murdered human women in nearby Helena, Montana, becoming distracted when a distant memory returns to town. Nothing like the young girl he remembers standing over her mother’s grave, Sienna Harris is now a breathtaking woman who has consumed his thoughts. As murder lands on Black Paw’s doorstep, can Sienna and Jack find the missing link between past and present before it’s too late?
Information about Missoula:
Julia Cox thought she was in love with her boyfriend, Ron Silas, but discovers she is under a powerful spell. Beginning to build a resistance to the spell, Julia plots her escape from her lover turned captor. Having no family to turn to, she hopes to seek shelter in the place that can offer her the most safety: Black Paw, Montana.
Jesse Ross defended his country overseas with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, he serves his hometown of Black Paw as the Deputy Sheriff. When a Wolfen woman leaves Black Paw to live with her Werewolf boyfriend in Missoula, the controversy spreads through the town like wildfire and Jesse needs Julia’s help to solve the mystery. Along the way, Julia struggles with letting go of her past captivity and embracing her new found freedom.
Can Jesse help Julia break her captor’s binding spell for good?
REVIEW: HELENA AND MISSOULA BY GRACE TYDINGS
Helena and Missoula are the first two novels in The Black Paw Series by Grace Tydings. They're urban fantasy novels for adult readers. Both of them are light and sexy escapism for readers who enjoy modern urban fantasy with mystery and paranormal romance elements. They're a welcome addition to the genre, because they're harmless fun and relatively quick reads.
I don't normally read this kind of urban fantasy often, but I found these novels entertaining, because they felt like tasty snacks between larger and more filling meals. I consider this kind of urban fantasy to be good and relaxing escapism, because it helps you to forget everything else for a while. (I think it's good to mention that if you're not into reading light and fluffy urban fantasy with paranormal romance elements and prefer to read something deeper and more meaningful, these novels may not be to your liking, because they're light entertainment from start to finish.)
Helena tells of Sienna Harris and Jack Ross. The story begins with Sienna driving towards her hometown of Black Paw, Montana. Black Paw is a home to a variety of supernatural beings and is the Wolfen capital of the world. She goes to visit her grandparents. Soon, she meets Jack Ross, who - as a boy - comforted her on the day of her mother's funeral. Both Sienna and Jack notice that they have feelings for each other. Jack is monitoring a string of murders in a nearby Helena and is concerned about them...
Sienna is a Wolfen, which means that she's a distant cousin of Werewolves. Because she's human-like and doesn't change her form, she's been able to live unnoticed by humans, but has had to keep a few things hidden from others. She has come to Black Paw to visit her grandparents whom she hasn't seen in ages, because her father took her away after her mother died.
Sheriff Jack Ross is also a Wolfen. He and his brothers form the whole of the Black Paw police force. He tries to keep things under control and looks after his brothers. He is new to the job, because he was elected sheriff only a while ago.
What happens between Sienna and Jack is handled in an erotic way. These scenes are sure to please readers who love paranormal romance and romantic scenes, because the author writes romantically about how Sienna and Jack feel about each other and how they notice that there's an obvious connection between them.
Missoula tells of Julia Cox and Jesse Ross. It's a sequel to Helena, but it can be read as a standalone novel, because it has an independent story that is partly connected to the previous novel. (You don't necessarily have to read Helena in order to enjoy Missoula, but if you've read Helena, you'll understand certain things better and will get more out of the story.)
Missoula begins with Julia escaping from her boyfriend's house and heading towards freedom. Soon, Julia arrives in Black Paw and meets her old friend, Sienna. She tells her shocking story to Sienna, Sienna's grandparents, Jack and Jesse. When Jesse hears about a Wolfen woman who seems to have gone willingly to live with her Werewolf boyfriend in Missoula, he needs Julia's help in solving the mystery...
Julia Cox is a Wolfen woman who has been held against her will by her boyfriend, Ron Silas. She has been under a spell, but has managed to find freedom. The author explores what being kept a prisoner has done to Julia and how she feels about the happenings. Julia has come to Black Paw in search of freedom, because she remembers that Sienna has mentioned the place to her.
Jesse Ross is Black Paw's Deputy Sheriff and Sheriff Jack Ross' brother. He's a bit more serious and more heavily built than Jack. He has served as a marine in the Afghan and Iraq wars, and has witnessed how people destroy each other in the wars.
As the story begins to unfold, the investigation into the matter of a Wolfen woman living with a Werewolf reveals alarming and heinous things. I won't reveal any details about the story, but I can mention that magic is involved in what has happened to Julia and other women.
The characterisation in these novels feels a bit light, but works surprisingly well, because the author reveals things about the characters during the story. It was interesting to read about what happens (and what has happened) to the characters, because they were different from each other and had different pasts. It's nice that the author pays attention to the Wolfen characters and their lives, because reading about them is intriguing.
The worldbuilding is interesting, because the author has created a town, Black Paw, which is a haven for many Supernaturals. Black Paw is located deep in the mountains of Montana and is protected by magic. The author captures the feel of a small town with her story, because she writes about what life is like in a small town and what kind of people live there. She also fluently tells of what kind of agreements and laws there are between the different types of Supernaturals.
Both Helena and Missoula are easily likeable and accessible urban fantasy novels. The author's clear writing style makes it easy for the reader to get into the story. The author clearly loves modern urban fantasy and paranormal romance, because she has written her own kind of a series which has paranormal romance elements and a fair amount of harsh brutality to spice up the story.
These novels feature erotic and passionate sex scenes. I think that these scenes will please readers who enjoy paranormal romance stories and enjoy reading about what happens between Supernaturals who are attracted to each other, because the author writes boldly about sex.
Grace Tydings' Helena and Missoula are entertaining escapism and harmless fun for readers who wish to read something light and fantastical. They may feel a bit fluffy due to the stories being light and romantic, but they're fun to read. If you're in need of a sexy read, you can't go wrong by reading these novels. If you love sexy urban fantasy, there's a strong possibility that The Black Paw Series may well be your next guilty pleasure.