Apr 10, 2017

Review: The Animal Under The Fur by E.J. Mellow

TitleThe Animal Under The Fur
Author: E.J. Mellow
Publisher: Four Eyed Owl
Publishing Date: March 30, 2017
Pages/Format: 453, eBook
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From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes an action romance dripping with vengeful delight. 

Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin. 

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length. 

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed. 

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile. 

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter. 

The Animal Under The Fur is a hate-to-loath-to-love standalone novel filled with savagery, secrets, and enough angst to wrinkle the pages you’ll find gripped in your hands.


I discovered E.J. Mellow purely through bookstagram. I'd seen photos of her Dreamland series around, and eventually ended up following her myself. It was through Mellow's Instagram account that I learned about The Animal Under The Fur, falling first for the title and then that cover that makes me want to drool all over the place. Add to that a premise promising romance, murder, and some specialized assassins, and you might as well wrap The Animal Under The Fur up in a bloody red bow with a tag that says "For Rachel." My expectations weren't too high, but I can say that I was definitely interested in it. And now that I've read it, I can say that it wasn't really a disappointment--but it wasn't quite what I had expected.

I thought The Animal Under The Fur would be a lot more serious than it actually was. I was hoping for something along the lines of Stephenie Meyer's The Chemist (though a bit better, since that didn't quite work out for me), something akin to the Bourne movies. That kind of story about a professional killer and the jobs he or she does. What I did get was Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the Jolie/Pitt version) meets The Hating Game. Now, I love love love The Hating Game and this was nowhere near that level, but with the banter and the ship and the hate-to-love thing 3 and Carter had going on, I was very much reminded of it.

The Animal Under The Fur is told from the points of view of 3 and Carter, two professional assassins working for different companies who are unwillingly forced to work together to solve a very big and important case. 3 (aka Nashville Brown) and Carter are different yet similar. She has a close relationship with very few people and keeps her walls up, while Carter, though he definitely has walls, has no problem interacting with people and always having a woman warm his bed. But their biggest difference is that 3 is a superhuman, a rare being with extra strength and heightened senses--perfect for an assassin. (Though that really could've been expanded on and made a larger focus.) They're both the best at what they do, so when it comes to working together any passion is better geared toward trying to kill each other. And it's rather entertaining, if I do say so myself, even if I'm constantly waiting for that hateful passion to turn into something else a bit more passionate.

I actually really liked The Animal Under The Fur and its somewhat addictive quality. And I'm actually kind of shocked that it's well over 400 pages, because the pace never made the book feel long; instead it went nice and quick. However, I do wish that this may have leaned a bit in another direction. This could have been more graphic, more detailed, more serious--more like a thriller or suspense novel. I liked it like this, I really did. But I also think it could've benefited from feeling a bit more adult and bringing something else to the table. (And don't say "poop." Just say "shit.") It also was pretty predictable at times, but not in a way that really bothered me, and a lot of it was just too rushed and quick; take time to tell each scene and the story as a whole. At the end of it all though, I really enjoyed reading The Animal Under The Fur, and I would not, for the record, say no to reading a sequel. Hint hint.

Did I like it? Yes!
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Maybe.
Would I purchase it? YES because I want a physical version of that cover.
Who would I recommend it to? People who like their assassin stories on the lighter side and with some hate-to-love romance.

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