Posts Tagged ‘mates’

Reviewed by Nikyta

The Choosing by Annabelle Jacobs eBookTITLE: The Choosing
AUTHOR: Annabelle Jacobs
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Jerath is facing the biggest problem of his life. When boys in his shapeshifter village Eladir get their fangs, they must endure a coming-of-age rite called the Choosing, so they can take on their animal form. The rite is performed on the full moon, but the trouble is the Choosing involves having sex with a girl, and Jerath’s only interested in boys. Even if he manages to somehow get through the rite, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate in his village, where opposite-sex couples are the norm.

Even worse, he may miss the rite altogether after raiders attack his home and take several young men prisoner. Jerath will need the help of warriors if he’s to free the captive shapeshifters, so with his best friend, Serim, he flees south to find aid. Along the way, they meet Meren, a handsome warrior whose attraction to Jerath is instant and very much returned. But with the next full moon approaching and available time for the prisoners to undergo the Choosing running out, Jerath’s love life is far from his only worry.

REVIEW:

I’m going to shamelessly say that covers are the first thing that draw me in so when I saw this one, I was intrigued. Then I found out that it was not only fantasy but had shifters and I just knew that I had to read it… and I’m very glad I did.

Jerath is eagerly awaiting going through The Choosing, where he can finally find out the nature of his animal. Unfortunately, he can’t do that until his fangs come in, which don’t seem to be in any hurry to grow. One day Jerath and his friend Serim are catching fish as part of their chores only to realize on the way back to their village that raiders have taken over the village and captured some of their people to sell as slaves. Scared for their lives and their captured loved ones, they try to seek help with a southern village, Chastil. The journey to Chastil is long and tiring but comes with a few unexpected surprises. Jerath thought he’d never find a mate but when he meets Meren, one of the warriors from Chastil, that just might change his whole future. The real question, however, is whether Meren and his people can help Jerath free his fellow shifters and whether they’ll both survive it to be able to see where their connection leaves them?

I must say, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. I found Jerath amusing. He’s fierce and possessive but sweet and innocent. It was endearing to see him flustered one moment but then aggressive the next. Meren was the opposite in that he was bold and confident but then easily melted whenever Jerath decided to take the reins. I adored these two and the connection that they make. It’s sweet but intense, loving and hot. I wished there had been more of them because while I feel like I know them, I don’t feel like I know them as well as I could.

The characters are definitely a great addition to this book, however, I think the main appeal was the world the author created. It’s complex but easy to understand. I loved that shifters were freely known about and even that there were whole communities dedicated to them. I liked that the women were born knowing their shifter animal while the men had to wait until they completed The Choosing to know theirs. It added mystery and conflict to the story and made it interesting seeing how the rituals were done. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t just ‘expected’ that they were going to eventually shift but there was always that fear for Jerath that it might not happen.

I had a few niggles with this story. Mostly, I felt like sometimes Serim (Jerath’s female friend) outshined not only Jerath and Meren but the relationship they were building. At times, I felt like the bond between Serim and Jerath was stronger than the one between Meren and Jerath. (This is actually even more prominent when you look at the cover and see the black panther (Serim’s shifter form), which leaves me wondering why is there a black panther on the cover? I would think there would be a jaguar instead.) Personally, that lessened my enjoyment at times because I wanted to see more of the bond between Jerath and Meren not be reminded of the connection between Serim and Jerath. Beyond that, there are a few inconsistencies but I would have loved to see more of Meren’s culture since it seems so different, yet similar, to Jerath’s culture.

Readers should be warned, however, that there is m/f sex in this story. While necessary to the development of the story arc and of Jerath, I know some readers would appreciate being told of this. I’m not all that fond of girly bits in my stories and while I didn’t exactly like this part, I did think it needed to happen so I was fine with it overall.

All in all, even with my issues, I absolutely adored this one. It’s refreshing in a way, unique in others in how different it is from other shifter stories. Add to that, the world is quite fascinating and engaging and the bond that Jerath and Meren ultimately develop was nice to see. I’m hoping Ms. Jacobs decides to write more stories in this world because I’d love to explore it further, especially if that means seeing more of Meren’s culture and rituals.

Definitely recommended for those looking for a different kind of shifter story with an interesting journey and a good HEA.

Nikyta rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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Nikyta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Nikyta J.

Wild Magic (Triad, #4)TITLE: Wild Magic

SERIES: Triad, Book 4

AUTHOR: Poppy Dennison

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

LENGTH: 108 Pages

BLURB: Joseph Anderson was heartbroken when his childhood best friend Dominick Levent moved away. Years later, Joseph is a successful real estate broker with good friends, an easy smile, and a stunning house. When he finds a dying mountain lion who miraculously shifts into Dominick’s sister, Joseph must find Dominick and reunite him with the two young sons she left behind.

When mountain lion shifter Dominick gets a call telling him his sister is dead, he rushes home to protect his nephews and avenge his sister. Seeing Joseph brings back the feelings Dominick tried to bury and he dares to hope Joseph’s newfound knowledge of shifters means they can finally be together.

REVIEW:

First things first. If you haven’t read the Triad series… well, you seriously need to get your butt in gear and read them because they’re great. Different, intense at times but still has enough soft and sweet moments to make it not too heavy but an engaging read nonetheless.

With Wild Magic, it’s no different. While we aren’t experiencing the wolves as much, we’re taken in a different direction in what’s happened to the surviving mountain lions that no one knew about and the fear that they’re still in danger. For those that have read the Triad series, you’ll know why this is so significant. I loved the fact that we got to see more of the cats but also enjoyed exploring how a human reacts to knowing about shifters.

It was interesting to see the relationship between Dominick and Joseph, who were best friends back when they were teenagers. Unfortunately, Dom had to break off their friendship when he realized he was in danger of spilling his shifter secret to Joseph. When they meet again, Joseph is still hurt by Dom’s sudden withdraw but he’s willing to put aside his feelings for the boys… especially when he still yearns to be in Dom’s arms. This story goes beyond that, however, by eventually bringing both types of shifters together that will ultimately set things to right. Along the way is the possibility of trouble and the fear that Dom might not be enough for his nephews to survive while also exploring a little of Dom and Joseph’s rekindling relationship.

I loved that Joseph was so willing to get Avery and Blake to safety even when he just got the shocking of a lifetime. He’s a sweet, successful and tender man. Dominick is hard to explain. When he hears about what happened to his sister, he’s lost. He has no idea how to raise two little boys and even less of an idea of how to keep them safe. It was obvious to me that he still wanted Joseph so I found his need to protect both the boys and Joseph so adorable. Joseph and Dom together fit perfectly, IMO, because where Dom was nervous and unsure, Joseph gave him a shoulder to lean on and where Joseph was unsure, Dom gave him the strength to figure things out. I just loved these two and Dom’s little nephews! Soooo cute! I had this little “OMG, I KNEW IT!” moment when I realized who Avery and Blake were… it was great and I’m curious if other readers will make the same connection that I did.

I only had two issues with this book. One, I felt like Avery and Blake spoke and acted much older than the ages of six and four. Second, the resolution to the conflict was very anti-climactic to the point that I was left wondering if that was it. Beyond that, I wished the story, in general, had been longer so that some of the scenes and what was glossed over could have been expanded on. I wished there had been a tad more emphasis on the romance because there wasn’t enough to make me really understand their feelings (as there were with the previous couples) but I’d love to know where Joseph and Dominick go from here and to see their actual mating.

In the end, I adored this story just as much as I enjoy all of Ms. Dennison’s books. I’ve always loved this world and I’m happy that we got more of a taste from it but from a cat’s point of view instead. It was definitely interesting and I loved the moment when the connection between the previous Triad books and this one became known. I sincerely hope there’s more to come of this series because I’m not ready yet to let it go!

Nikyta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press  ::  All Romance eBooks

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Nikyta J. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS

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Reviewed by Nikyta J.

Shadows in the Night (Leap of Faith, #1)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.

REVIEW:

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.

Nikyta’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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Nikyta J. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
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