Reviewed by Nikyta J.
TITLE: Shadows in the Night (Book #1)
SERIES: Leap of Faith
AUTHOR: M. A. Church
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: When Chip Riley’s beloved granny passes away, she leaves him all her money, her land, and a house that needs some tender love and care. She never mentioned the legacy comes with a Native American shifter who intends to claim Chip as his mate.
Jason Sky has lived since buffalo roamed the land. When his totem spirit, a black cougar, saves a little girl, he doesn’t realize that generations later, her grandson will become his mate, leaving him to take on a modern man with modern ideas. But that’s the least of his problems.
Garon, another shifter with a long-held hatred for Jason, plots to kidnap Chip and lure Jason to his death. Soon Chip finds himself in an untenable position between a rock and a hard place. A leap of faith may be the only way to save himself and the man he’s learned to love.
Chip’s life isn’t going as planned. He’s just lost his job and now he’s lost his granny, the only person in the world who’s ever cared for him. Returning to the town she lived in, he finds out he was left with her house and a sizable fortune. Now living in the small town he spent his childhood summers in, he’s meeting all types of new people that make him nervous, including Jason Sky, who makes Chip feel like a bumbling idiot. As they get to know each other, Chip starts to realize there are things out there he doesn’t know or understand like the fact Jason’s a rare black cougar and that he’s Jason’s mate. Chip doesn’t have any time to process what he’s learned before an old enemy of Jason’s plots to use Chip as bait to finally kill Jason. Jason’s finally in a position to claim his mate but will he lose Chip before he can actually complete the mating ritual?
When I started this book, I felt bad for Chip because he’s just lost his job and he’s feeling lonely. When he goes back to his granny’s town, he starts to blossom more because of the country air and doing what he loves most – fixing things. I have a sort of fascination with red heads so Chip appealed to me from the beginning with his flaming hair as a child that turned slightly darker as he aged. I liked the fact that when he finally figures out what Jason is, he’s so freaked out he thinks he’s going crazy. In the beginning, I found Jason sort of annoying. He’s very prejudice against whites and even goes into a few rants about how white folks ruined his people and such. Considering that Chip is white, I had a hard time accepting the fact that he seems to hate white people but yet he’s so eager to mate with Chip. After a while, he mellows out and I liked that he was so sweet towards Chip. He wants Chip happy because a happy Chip is a happy almost mate and a happy almost mate becomes HIS mate. I just found it adorable how much he wanted to dominate but please Chip.
What I liked most about this book was Jason’s inner cougar. He’s an old wise spirit that is sometimes indignant and grumpy. I found Jason and the cougar’s conversation highly amusing because they’re almost like brothers bickering. I also loved Chip’s granny. I loved that even after she passed, she still had a hand in how Chip handled certain situations. More than anything, I found the ending quite sweet and cute. I adored the last scenes and their playing. If anything, I wished there had been more of it. I also liked the world that was created and how Jason’s animal side was his totem spirit. The mates in this series are handled in a slightly different way than in other shifter books. I found how the mates were handled (I refuse to say) gave it a fresh concept that I enjoyed a lot and hope that we get to explore more of in future books.
One of the things that I had an issue with was the way all the characters who had POVs talked to themselves out loud. Generally, I don’t have a problem with this, and in fact, I didn’t mind it in the beginning but as the story progressed and not one, not two but three characters all had this trait, it was hard to differentiate between them. The first half of the book I felt like the characterization was good but the second half they weren’t distinct enough and started to blend together in personalities, especially Jason and Chip who started acting very similar, which I thought was off character for both of them. More than that, I felt like the story overall was predictable. The human identities of the shifters are a mystery to the reader until half way through but I knew right away which was the good one, the bad one, and who were going to play a part in saving Chip when he eventually would get kidnapped and/or injured (which I also predicted correctly). In the end, I was a bit disappointed with the resolution of the conflict; so much build up to kidnapping Chip and then Garon was handled in just a few paragraphs making the resolution feel flat.
Overall, it’s not a bad story. Enjoyable if you are looking for something easy to read that will give you some entertaining moments. The characters are at least funny sometimes and the overall premise had a lot of potential. I’ll be looking forward to reading the next in the series because I have a feeling it’ll be about Chip and Jason’s friends, Simon and Hawk, who I found interesting even though they didn’t have much of a role in this story.
BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press
Nikyta J. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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