I was excited about this release from the first time I heard about it. It promised an original shifter concept and it certainly delivered on that fron...moreI was excited about this release from the first time I heard about it. It promised an original shifter concept and it certainly delivered on that front. I liked the characters, both main and supporting. I enjoyed the plot direction and pace of events; there was instant attraction and leaking pheromones, but there was a nice build up before anything too physical happened between them. And involving the new wolf, Ezra, in the community and CDC investigation gave the story more depth while everyone waited for him to shift for the first time.
The bad guy was well hidden. So much so that it isn't until the very, very end that it is even clear what his motivation was. There was a long while when I didn't have any idea who it could have been. I love when that happens because I don't want the mystery to be too easy. But was it by design? Even knowing the end and thinking back, I'm not sure I can pick out any clues I could/should have picked up on. We learn relatively early on that the "experiments" are expendable weapons, presumably against anyone opposing the baddy, but once the baddy is revealed I was momentarily disappointed when old-fashioned bigotry and prejudice appeared to be the cause. Luckily, it wasn't the sole reasoning, as more information in the last few paragraphs paint a much larger scheme.
I don't usually mention technical aspects in my reviews because I am certainly no expert, but I find 2 points relevant in this case. They are:
The first point being tangents. Every story starts with basic, somewhat dry facts that grow into something more exciting by way of color commentary. There were quite a few times in this story that the color commentary driving the action and inner dialogue would enhance the facts but would wind itself into circles and on in to left field somewhere before making it's way back to the topic at hand. As most books have instances of this happening at some time or another, I almost didn't mention it here. The only reason I do is because this point is more obvious in combination with my next point.
The word "had." As much as I liked the concept of the story, the characters of the story, and the events of the story, I kept getting sidetracked, setting the book aside. After thinking it over I have decided I am not a fan of the past tense/passive style this story is written in. So much happened off-page, earlier, just outside of "now" so the characters needed to "catch us up." There was no sense of urgency in this high-pressured situation because everyone is obviously fine if they were all sitting around talking/thinking about what just happened. Two potentially awesome, non-typical FBI agents appeared watered down, almost like they were waiting for the answers to just fall in their laps. A quick word search shows that the word "had/hadn't" shows up over 1,000 times in 231 e-book pages, not counting he'd/she'd/they'd/you'd/we'd variations that could have been either "he had" or "he would" depending on the context. The phrase "had been" was used 150 times alone. The following example is a complete paragraph, which may or may not be technically correct, but strikes me weird.
Though [baddy jr.] wasn’t able to move B-H30-5 until the Boss had arrived and told him to cooperate, he had fitted him with handcuffs and promised that a fight would be had soon. B-H30-5 hadn’t listened, of course, but when the Boss arrived, he had submitted to being moved easily enough.
A quick word search of a few stories of similar length that I rated 5 stars has the "had" count falling between 100-200. While this may mean very little to anyone else's reading enjoyment, it tells me that I prefer to be right next to my characters ... when they know, I know. (less)
I am in love with the story idea for this book. It has the friends to lovers thing that I always go for, and it has a paranormal aspect that is common...moreI am in love with the story idea for this book. It has the friends to lovers thing that I always go for, and it has a paranormal aspect that is common for McBride stories but is highly original as far as the rest of the paranormal/shifter genre goes. And Draven Donnor, the Drayner Assassin has a very cool, comic-like ring to it.
If I break the story down to outline form, I am happy. I enjoyed the order of events, especially the twist at the end. I thought I had it figured out early on and was very excited to find out I only had a small part of it right ... and the other parts were a total shock! Loved that it was so unexpected and that there was no real obvious way for things to turn out. And while the story does finish with a questionable HFN ending, I still have a desire to see what happens in the next installment. (view spoiler)[Is Cody just biding his time, using Draven as a test subject before finally killing him or has he really forgiven him? Does Draven forgive Cody for unilaterally killing Drayners, and for continuing his research in order to kill more Drayners in the future? (hide spoiler)]
My only issue with the story is that it didn't seem nearly as fleshed out as it could have been.
1)The beginning chapters are mere flashes of time with very little detail as time progressed in irregular intervals. The following chapters get a bit more involved, but never shake the choppy feeling.
2)A pair of fellow Drayners are introduced in a way that identified them as important but then they completely disappear. Would they have been for or against Draven on the train in the end? That showdown would have made for a killer ending but would probably have considerably shortened the series since they are sure to get their own story at some point.
3)The history behind the Drayners isn't really explained, only hinted at. Draven's training is entirely glossed over, his missions vague. It was his job to go after rogue Drayners, a few being identified as criminals, but were they ALL bad or were some of them labeled rogue simply because they didn't do what the head honchos wanted them to do. I ask this because it is implied that Draven had no choice in becoming an assassin; he clearly had no desire to leave Cody and yet that is exactly what he did, accepting it with very little question. Had others said no and been labeled rogues?
4)The love between the two men appear one-sided, which I'm actually ok with since I don't see anywhere in the marketing that claims this to be a romance. I was quite pleased with the character of Cody; jaded and reserved, not showing too much too soon. What got me was how Draven's obsessive love for Cody was a constant push. I'm not including the initial immature "Drain" of Cody when they were children; it was a selfish and dangerous thing to do but they were young and it works within the confines of the story. It still seemed to work in the small snippet of the pair right before graduation, even though it was still selfish by way of isolating Cody from his peers. And it was almost endearing that his love for Cody got him through the 3 years of separation due to his training. But once they saw each other again it was like Draven was amped up. Pushing for no condoms the first night (and each time after), pushing to move in a few days later, pushing for blood tests right away so Cody would actually agree to no condoms, pushing for an official "mating" even though the events stopped him from actually voicing the last request before everything went pear-shaped. (view spoiler)[Although now that I think about it, Cody must have known Draven was pushing for it since he was listening in to his and Rivas' conversations. (hide spoiler)] All the pushing seemed forced and desperate and was too much for my taste.
Overall, I think a few of the transitions could have been smoother, and a bit more detail was needed to really complete the story. That being said, the originality and imagination throughout makes this a refreshing read.
This is one that you have to be in the mood for. Overall, I'd have to say that I enjoyed the story, but found some of the writing, language, and dialo...moreThis is one that you have to be in the mood for. Overall, I'd have to say that I enjoyed the story, but found some of the writing, language, and dialogue to border, and sometimes cross, the too sweet threshold. Was it her intent to write an exaggerated romance or is she a new author who will only get better with more experience? Since her 3rd installment of this series is what caught my attention, I am looking forward to finding out.
Hawkers bio mentions that she was born in Norway. Not knowing if her stories are written in English as the first language or are the result of translations, I am happy to overlook some of the phrasing and sentence structure but am very disappointed that Silver didn't correct some of the mistakes in editing.(less)
This is the 1st dubcon book that I read willingly. I am not a fan of non consensual sexual violence in my entertainment, but some trusted sources conv...moreThis is the 1st dubcon book that I read willingly. I am not a fan of non consensual sexual violence in my entertainment, but some trusted sources convinced me to try it. I was surprised to find that I didn't really interpret the supposed dubcon as such.
What I saw from Gabriel's POV was his confusion due to the werewolf effects his body was going through, his fear that he was somehow defective. His initial fear of Cal seemed to be based on the fact that he felt Cal was going to kill him because he didn't convert into a "proper" werewolf ... NOT that he didn't want Cal as a Dom or lover. It was clear to me in the story that Gabriel was a sub before his change, but was having a hard time adjusting to the changes to his body, and his thoughts and emotions were all over the place.
The writing was very engaging and I was very interested to see what happened next. I'm not sure how other dubcon authors do it, but I would be willing to try out another of Kari Gregg's work if this is her take on it.
Having said that, I never really warmed to Cal as he seemed a little over the top. The entire story is based on a misunderstanding that happened when Cal left Gabriel alone after their first night together. His actions were a very HUMAN thing to do, but Cal is far from human. He knew that Gabriel would need immediate help dealing with his new reality. Of course, Cal can't know all, but to have admitted to such a big screw up and yet continue to leave Gabriel so much in the dark just forced more misunderstandings. And to then leave Gabriel open to harm by blindly throwing him, literally, to the wolves in some sort of test was awful ... so much more than his first mistake because this time Cal knew what he was doing and what he was risking. This was the time to protect Gabriel, build trust and understanding so that the metaphysical bond that was forming had time to cement. Instead, he seemed to put the pack first, sacrificing the bond, and causing Gabriel to slip that much further into the slave-like state that neither really seemed to want.
Surprisingly, it was Burke, not Cal that was the second "hero" in this story. He may not have been alpha, but he seemed to be much wiser than Cal. And what was with Jake? For an alpha, even a baby alpha, he was a bit subby ... he may change as he gets older but it was kind of cute when he would curl into Gabriel.
Pause for a werewolf sex question ... The knot that engages when a werewolf mates. Cal says that the knot extends and latches on when a werewolf/wolf is with his mate. Ok, got it. It happens every time they have sex, as seen throughout the story. They are locked together for however long it takes for the werewolf's balls empty and the knot releases and to be forcibly ripped apart would be bad. Ok, got that, too. So what happened when Gabriel gives Cal a blow job? What does the knot latch onto?
The sex throughout the book was pure BDSM so anyone a fan of the genre will probably love that there was so much on offer. I could have done with just a bit less sex, but I see why most of the scenes were there. The only problem I had with it was in relation to Gabriel's understanding ... he knew himself to be submissive, but he never wanted the 24/7 slave-like relationship that he found himself in. He was consistently surprised and conflicted by his thoughts and desires. We later realize that his natural sub tendencies where being compacted by the new omega tendencies and really throwing him for a loop. I get that. But there were times when he tried breaking through and exerting his own will, even being invited to by Cal, and would be punished for his efforts. The most notable when he didn't want to answer Cal's questions and was told "I may not answer your questions, boy, but you will answer every one of mine." It may be a silly line to attribute so much of my opinion on, but to me, that line speaks to an illusion of free will, not the true freedom Cal claimed to be offering.
I would have liked to see some of the moments Gabriel barely mentioned in passing, watching TV and reading the paper. Maybe not those specifically since what's really to say about those two subjects, but something to suggest that Cal wasn't always as overbearing as he came across.
Aside from a few tweaks listed above, I really enjoyed the story more than I thought I would. The reasoning behind the 3 stars is because it felt like the beginning without an end. There is so much about the world that I would have loved to have known. The immediate issue of acclimating Gabriel to Cal's wolf was taken care of, but was that really the entire point of the story? Cal and Gabriel are bonded and Gabriel knows his worth, but what does that mean for them and the pack? There is a simple explanation about omegas being rare, and human omegas being even more rare that rival packs will want him. Do they stop wanting him after he has bonded? What dangers still exist so that we see the bonded pair work together and reach the level of power and cohesiveness that is hinted at. Could Gabriel's father really believe that he would go off the grid without a word? Even if he did, the governmental resources exhausted and media attention caused by their "elopement" is sure to be an embarrassment that would have to be dealt with by the Senator and/or the couple. What about the other wolves? Where are they and how does the Alpha and Omega fit?
I'm not usually a fan of couples who exist inside a bubble so what I'm missing in this story is all the surrounding events and characters that help support the main couple. Keeping everything as is for these 138 pages and adding another 100 or so pages of story would have increased my enjoyment. We were along for the battle, I would have liked to have seen the payoff.(less)
The name and blurb caught my attention right away. It sounded like a comic book serial come to life and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the t...moreThe name and blurb caught my attention right away. It sounded like a comic book serial come to life and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the two main characters as they were slightly exaggerated and clueless in parts of their lives but hyper-aware in others. I could almost imagine the thought/speech bubbles over their heads in a few scenes. The bad guy/crime was tied up relatively easy but followed the comic theme as well.
There is a fine line between comic-inspired and cheesy and this book handled the concept well. I definitely look forward to more in this series as it is obvious to me that there are many more "issues" in their adventure.(less)
As a whole, the trilogy has a well planned arc with very difficult themes. There are many things that I thought were handled well ... if bad stuff HAS...moreAs a whole, the trilogy has a well planned arc with very difficult themes. There are many things that I thought were handled well ... if bad stuff HAS to happen then I have no trouble believing that this is how it could have happened. Both Josh and Kir where likable characters and what they went through was vile. This series is not for squeamish.
So why the 3 stars. Mainly, I felt that the writing was too abrupt for my taste, almost choppy. There isn't anything that I can point to as obviously wrong, but just overall unsettling.
**I had never read anything from Joely Skye but the latest Wolf Town releases have caught my attention, and as I understand that the Minder series, Northern Shifter series, and the Wolf Town series are all connected, I have to start at the beginning. Especially since one of my book club members is a huge fan and keeps adding them to my ever growing TBR list. (less)
I was very taken with this story. I had seen similar ideas where the subject of a portrait was a ghost or a gateway to another world or, like Dorian G...moreI was very taken with this story. I had seen similar ideas where the subject of a portrait was a ghost or a gateway to another world or, like Dorian Grey, a living replica fueled by their own painting, but this is the first one I have read where the man IS the portrait. Very cool twist. And the title is a clever play on words.
The pace was perfect for me. The book opens with the MC Tyler having had a good six months to come to grips with the break-up of his previous relationship. There are relevant bits sprinkled throughout the rest of the story, but we don't have to witness his darkest days. Thanks to his friends, there are several romantic options available to him throughout this story, but nothing seemed forced or out of place. Tyler's thoughts and responses were a very natural progression for a man with a healthy desire for sex but wasn't ready to jump into a string of one night stands. His preoccupation with Maxwell Friedland, the man in his nude painting, provides just the right amount of stimulus for his body and his mind.
The mystery surrounding the portrait is the first thing that has caught his attention since his break-up and he is happy to indulge in his historical training, digging around online and in old police files. What I really liked about this was that it wasn't all explained up with a bow. There is a nod to TV and how a convenient witness or a smoking gun would be found at just the right time, but that isn't how it happens in real life. The fact that important pieces of the puzzle were discussed and yet still ended up as dead ends went a long way in the believability factor of Max being trapped in the painting in the first place.
The way the paranormal aspect of this story is handled was as understated as it was genius. This is a love story above everything else so the "why" of Max's entrapment is explained in detail but the "how" is kept very simple. We see Max contemplate some of the most obvious explanations, but again, as with Tyler's searching, the way Maxwell's existence is portrayed over the decades isn't what I was expecting. What he is able to see and hear limits his POV, but he is able to fill the reader in when Tyler's research turns up gaps. And what Max is able to feel and experience in his current state was very well done, again, shooting holes in all the "convenient" outs that K C Burns could have used. The differences between Max as a consciousness and Max as a painting is amazing.
By the time the end came around I was more than ready to believe that each man knew enough about the other to be falling in love and I was wondering if we would get a chance to see how those closest to Tyler would react. No need to worry, it's in there.
I try not to recap the synopsis or give a play by play as to what happens in a book because most readers would rather experience the reveal themselves...moreI try not to recap the synopsis or give a play by play as to what happens in a book because most readers would rather experience the reveal themselves instead of hearing about it in a review. I am making an exception here because I found my response to this story may seem odd out of context to the events. Especially having given my very first 1 star rating.
Mainly, I was beyond disappointed in this sequel. The synopsis of this one is what had me going back to get the first one so I could read them in order and get the most out of the storyline. Oliver and Angus was really good. Loved the Australian setting, loved the dingo shifters, loved the characters.
Jacey, Fynn & Aden didn't have the same feel to it. What I didn't like about this book I REALLY didn't like. Fynn and Aden were bullies, in my opinion, and I didn't find anything about their relationship with Jacey to be romantic or appealing.
It started out all right, picking up a few weeks after the events of Oliver and Angus' book. We all know Jacey is a closet case so it's only a matter of time before it all comes out. We also find out he has no censor instinct what so ever. I was fine with that. My problem starts when Fynn and Aden (both Dingo shifters who know Jacey is their human mate) have decided they are tired of waiting.
They are jealous because his account of the previous night implied he had been with a woman. The fact that he had gotten drunk enough to black out and yet still drove around seemed to only be an annoyance - something they used to take his keys, insist he not go anywhere without their permission, and - even though he is 100% single - his women days are over. When Jacey calls them out for being crazy he is picked up and deposited in a water trough.
Admittedly, this scene could have been hysterical. But Fynn's attitude when he did it and then his comment about Jacey receiving worse punishment if he didn't stop his toddler behavior didn't sit right with me.
As Jacey tries to deal with the aftermath, Aden finds him and is so overcome with lust that his inner Dingo takes over and he overwhelms Jacey in the shower. Had it stopped with a kiss then that would have been fine. But as soon as Jacey allows the kiss Aden releases this kind of mating "musk" that is rare "gift" among shifters and, we later find out, known to "... bring straight men to their knees begging for it" and "... men predisposed to want Aden, it was devastating."
We are in Jacey's head long enough to know how bizarre the situation is, how his body is enjoying it even though he is exhausted and he can't believe this is happening. Aden makes a lame attempt to make sure Jacey is all right with what is going on and all I could think was how shitty it was and no, he couldn't really answer since he was all loopy from the "musk." Asshole.
Add to that, Fynn eventually shows up - because Aden calls him telepathically - to join the party and he dives right in, literally. His only passing thought about the musk is how much harder it makes him. His attempt to make sure Jacey was okay was much better, but still not fair. Jacey is so out of it by this point he doesn't know what he needs; he just knows he needs something. Then they order him not to come! Finally, after they both have claimed him with a bite, Jacey passes out.
When he wakes up the next morning, Jacey is surprisingly okay with what happened. He was tired of fighting the attraction anyway. He's a little weirded out by hearing their thoughts but so far, so good.
The next bit of trouble is when he hits the kitchen and his friend Oliver starts some good-natured teasing about where Jacey spent the night before. When Jacey teases back, suddenly its not okay. Fynn and Aden accuse him of creating tension between Oliver and his mate, Angus, who is the Dingo Alpha. Afterwords, Jacey gets through the day without incident, but then Fynn and Aden later corner him to punish him for what he's done. Apparently, getting held down and having both of them beat your butt and legs is the proper punishment for when you tease your friend's mate into revealing that the sweet sounding endearment spoken in Angus' native tongue actually means "little fire."
Eventually, the pain and magnitude of the situation is too much and Jacey shuts down. He is aware without the ability to process. His body channels those sensations into the only remaining release available to him ... and aren't Fynn and Aden proud! They got him to his "sub space."
I've read many bdsm books. They run the gamut from light to intense, and everywhere in between. Most of them done well enough to give me a healthy appreciation for the lifestyle and why it would be so appealing and necessary to some. I've read some where the characters themselves weren't aware they had this need inside of them. This series of events does not fall within those guidelines.
This breakdown, as it is currently written, is pure self preservation, as made even more obvious as Jacey once again becomes clear. Hearing that the other two think this was all fabulously beautiful and they weren't ever going to let him go, Jacey panics and makes a run for it as soon as he gets free. Unfortunately, he doesn't get very far in his efforts and Aden has him thrown over his shoulder again as he gets taken back to the bedroom. Fynn's response is as follows ...
"We will let that one go this time around, pup. We know you're scared, but run again and we will need to repeat the whole process. The pain you would experience being separated from us would be worse than the pain of discipline."
As we found out from the first book, once the claiming has happened the mates can't be separated without severe pain. I can't remember if it is a limited time or not, but Oliver and Angus are still going through it months later so I'm thinking it's there for the long haul. Just another thing Jacey never asked for.
He gives it the good ol' college try though. Jacey attempts to cut off the psychic link between them from inside his own head. Only after the blinding pain, nausea and sweats does he re-open the link. Then he has to lay there and listen to how wonderful their connection is and how they will build on the trust they have between them. How he was scared and overreacted and they are happy to "explain" things to him. And oh darn, because your body orgasmed when you lost your mind earlier, spanking isn't a suitable "disciplinary experience" anymore ... because you liked it!
And Jacey feels their pain; even "had the grace to blush...," which turned on his two mates and initiated a page of sex, finally ending with both of them biting Jacey at the same time which, you guessed it, "... two warm, smooth, male bodies enveloped him before sleep swept him away in its serene embrace."
Yeah, serene because he is finally away from those two.
Very cute, enjoyable read. It held up to my expectations and is a great start to this new series. Would have liked a little more detail. As-is, the ti...moreVery cute, enjoyable read. It held up to my expectations and is a great start to this new series. Would have liked a little more detail. As-is, the timeline is fairly vague, but works okay for this story since it is a short one.
I really liked the imagination and originality that went into creating this story.
Both Stryver and Blue are very likable. Stryver is working as a mer...moreI really liked the imagination and originality that went into creating this story.
Both Stryver and Blue are very likable. Stryver is working as a mercenary in order to fund his dream of tending a quiet farm and settling down. And Blue is such a fun character. He is a "godchild" in the same sense as the Greek or Roman gods. As his confidence grows, so does his colorful personality.
I'll get the cons out of the way since I truly loved the story and want to spend more time on the good stuff.
The beginning third of this story was a bit slow for me. I initially thought it seemed repetitive, but after being questioned about it, I re-read it and decided that it wasn't so much repetitive as 1 long, continuous thought. We get a limited amount about Stryver, who he is and where he comes from, and Blue's history is deliberately kept vague. Because the answers about Blue's identity is such a major plot discovery, I understand the reason we are kept in the dark. Unfortunately, it dominates a lot of the inner dialogue from both sides without really telling us anything. This train of thought is followed closely by their attraction to each other. Stryver would be in the middle of strategizing and then glance at Blue and get hard and distracted. The fact that Blue had no idea what an erection was is cute and fits what we know about his life at the Abbey, but is then contradicted by the fact he knows the word "cock." It just doesn't seem to fit with how naive and sheltered he was. Added is the fact he didn't know how to dress himself. Even if he had someone else dress him everyday of his life he should have known that to change clothes you have to take off the ones you are wearing in order to put the new ones on. If the garments themselves are tricky then ok, making an attempt to pull at the clothing or getting his arms or legs out and then needing Stryver's help to finish up would have made more sense. The fact that he was completely clueless didn't sit right with me.
Ok ... now to the good stuff.
I loved how well the two men got along. I liked that Stryver didn't talk down to Blue for being naive and Blue didn't talk down to him for being human. And when Stryver began to get a sense of who Blue really was, he didn't outwardly freak or desert him. Giving him a name was a great choice, much more sentimental and individualized than calling him "godchild."
The story really became real to me about the time Blue danced on the beach. Stryver hadn't been sure up until that point about Blue's identity, but that moment cemented it for him. Instead of running away, it was almost like he became more protective of Blue. And Blue uninhibited was beautiful. He got an inkling of his power and was humbled by it.
I loved the little village they visited. All the people there were so lively and cheerful and added depth to the story. It is here that legend and lore is introduced. What started out as a bit of storytelling becomes crucial to whats about to happen. Stryver has been promising Blue that he would teach him about "passion" and his erection and the friendly, comfortable, and seemingly safe place is the perfect time. Having waited, I think their connection to each other was stronger for it. Because of who Blue is, his match had to be equally as impressive. Trust, strength, courage, and affection had to be established and tested so that when they gave themselves to each other it was much more than bodies. I forget the exact phrasing used, but it was very obvious that they became hyper-aware of each other. This sensitivity allowed Stryver to know that Blue was in danger.
And what happens to Blue in this section is both brilliant and heartbreaking. The detail and creativity in this section makes up for all of the vagueness in the first part of the book. There are many twists and turns, both from inside forces as well as the people chasing them. I hesitate to say too much about it because I don't want to give anything away. I definitely think a surprised reader would find this part more fantastic.
The ending third of the book is done just as well. By this point I think the reader can probably guess who the mastermind is; as does Stryver and Blue. The why is still very much in the air. Going through the motions, both of them seem determined to protect and save the other one. As the events unfold and the bad guy seems more and more unstable, the likelihood of survival is really questioned. The suspense felt very real. Stryver learns the truth about a few past events and Blue really comes into his own. Most stories are HEA stories so I had to assume that they would both make it out, but in what shape? I loved that it wasn't predictable or easy.
Overall, this story is definitely worth checking out. It has elements for a few different genres without being hardcore in any - fantasy, action, suspense/thriller, and even a bit contemporary. A nice balance, wonderfully written.
Mary Calmes is a must buy for me. I love how a very common theme (shifters) seems original because of how she's approached it. The hierarchy of the sh...moreMary Calmes is a must buy for me. I love how a very common theme (shifters) seems original because of how she's approached it. The hierarchy of the shifters in this story is very fascinating. The main characters are colorful and interesting. There wasn't a lot of sugar coating going on, though. Some of the characters where mean and said horrible things ... mainly because of the couple being gay.
The are 2 reasons this is a 4 and not a 5.
1) repetition ... it had to have been said 6 or 7 times about how Jin was a male Reah, how that was so rare for the shifters to see a Reah at all and to find a male Reah was unheard of. We get Jin's back story too many times ... whether it be inner dialogue or when he was telling someone new. As good as the story is, repeating the same thing over and over was hard to overlook.
2) Jin's personality change. The first quarter of the book we hear about how he doesn't want to be mated because he feels the magically connection takes away his free will to choose his own partner. As a reah, he is chemically fated to only bond with a semei, the leader of the tribe, making him subservient to his partner and somewhat drone or slave-like to the connection. He isn't wrong. That's almost exactly what happens. There is still some bits of his tough-guy personality left, but mainly Jin becomes as tame as he feared. His stubborn trait is alive and kicking so that is the main reason he doesn't completely change his personality. Its also what has him convinced that Logan only wants him because of the novelty of the magical bond. And the fact that Logan is just as much a slave to Jin helps balance the changes so that it doesn't get too annoying.
Even with those 2 issues, I LOVED this book. So much happens that it is never boring.(less)
There has to be at least 2 more books in this series for the story to be complete. Its a very good start, though.
I think the intent of this novel was...moreThere has to be at least 2 more books in this series for the story to be complete. Its a very good start, though.
I think the intent of this novel was to introduce the characters to readers. There are two surprise events that hijacks the story, one of which becomes the namesake of the book. The second is a crime that gets stumbled upon as part of the original investigation. The only problem about that there is only so much that can be included without it just being a crowded mess so the original case isn't wrapped up. If there isn't at least one sequel planned then it could be a major flaw. Hopefully, there is already one in the works.
The initial relationship between the two is kind of funny. There are times when Flynn knows how he effects Jerry and there are others that he just seems clueless. Watching them each do a version of the man-grunt as they find their footing around each other is entertaining.
The case takes a drastic turn when the two go to question a witness. Because of the paranormal aspect, Flynn is now solely reliant on Jerry to regain his balance. That speeds up their relationship, but almost shuts down their case work. What gets accomplished is more dumb luck and ego than anything else.
I love the new communication concept. I love that it wasn't too easy right off the bat. The struggle showed a lot about them. The gift also supplied many comedic moments, which is always a nice touch. I really liked what they had to do to get privacy, and it was great to watch them both blush when something too personal gets through.
And because the gift is so new, Flynn makes a snap decision that should lead into at least 2 more stories. One being the completion of the original story and another one to find out what happened to Flynn's sister. Assuming these two are planned projects then I would definitely recommend picking this one up.(less)
The beginning starts out very quick … in that “I can’t believe I’m doing this but I just can’t help myself” sort of way. Hea...moreThis is a fantastic story.
The beginning starts out very quick … in that “I can’t believe I’m doing this but I just can’t help myself” sort of way. Heavily sexed for the first 15%-20% of the book. Its hot and very consuming.
What happens next is the lead up to the “human” side of the plot. We see everything from Matt’s head so we have to wait for him to find out what is going on … and Channing is very honest but tight lipped. Matt isn’t real sure why he trusts him but he does. The scenes leading to Channing’s testimony are very endearing, witty, a bit gritty, and revealing. Especially when Matt finds out about the wolf.
One scene in particular, Channing is detoxing and is convinced he sees a spider, terrified that it is going to hurt Matt. He’s tearing up the bed and searching the room while Matt is telling him that there is no spider, that he is hallucinating. Chinning isn’t willing to take that chance. He starts describing it to Matt in great colored detail. Once Matt points out that it was dark, he couldn’t possibly have seen any color on the spider then Channing is able to calm down and become more aware of his surroundings, slip back into bed sleep much more soundly. This scene is done with such great ease that we know that Matt isn’t the only one who trusts so blindly.
Just about the time the human crisis looks to be over, someone isn’t so ready to let it go and the couple is threatened again. Here is where the shifter and human world collide.
In the 2 books that I’ve read by Jez Morrow, I see that she prefers to write 80%-90% from 1 POV … jumping into the other brain only after the majority of the story has been laid out. Usually the silent character acts a bit of a jerk, or has a big secret and makes the vocal character (and the readers) wonder what he is doing with such an asshat. It is only after we see into the big lugs head that we realize that the previously silent guy has been gripped with fear, worry, and a bit of pride in his overwhelming, and sometimes overbearing, protection of his love.
Something that I have come to appreciate greatly in Jez Morrow’s work is the originality. She isn’t the 1st to write about wolves or undercover cops. But I love that she doesn’t go for the obvious. No cookie cutter here, as far as I can tell.
There aren’t any “mate” bonds or super strength. No wolfy, technological, science or family structure. Any information gleamed from the book blurb is easily less than half of what actually happens. The criminal trial isn’t even really shown because Matt only comes in on the tail end of the proceedings.
The dialogue is smart, tight, and with very little fluff. The details of both men, who they are and where they come from are surprising and individual. The events follow each other seamlessly.
And, of course, I like a good supporting cast. Matt’s talents and intelligence make a big difference in how the wolves live. His simple, yet modern solutions and quick thinking ensures that all they silently wished for becomes a reality.(less)
Dragon Streets really did exceed all my expectations. The book blurb caught my attention right away. I’m not much of a fantasy reader, so what drew me...moreDragon Streets really did exceed all my expectations. The book blurb caught my attention right away. I’m not much of a fantasy reader, so what drew me in was the more contemporary, real world setting of the novel. This was one of the rare books that had me shutting out everything else until I reached the end.
I must admit the prologue threw me off. It was very much like those movies and tv shows that start in the middle or the end of the chaos and then flash “36 hours ago” across a black screen. Sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn’t. Depending on how important that scene is in the overall structure of the story, I usually don’t know how I feel about that kind of opening until the end of the story. In this case, it may have been necessary if only to comfort the readers into knowing that Dale will be alright. That he will eventually know all that he really is. Because up until that scene comes around again, taking its proper place within the story, the future of our friend Dale is in question.
Chapter One begins the story back in real time, giving the reader a real good look at Dale, his life and love. Pearce does a very great public service in pointing out stereotypes within the m/f dynamic; about who is weak and who is strong. In the face of sweetness, it is easy for an outsider to believe the liar because it has been drummed in to society that men are the aggressors.
Still so many months after his broken relationship and heartache, Dale is trying to make sense of his world. A world were he craves the body of a man more than the body of a woman. Finally decided, he puts a plan in motion. Unfortunately, his plan backfires and help comes in the form of Phirun, a dragon with a nice twist.
This twist is one of the most original ideas I’ve read. I just took for granted that he would be a shifter of some sort. He is not. I don’t want to spoil the creativity of the revelation, but I was impressed with how it was handled.
I am not a fan of love at first sight: undying love after only a few hours. And while I was reading I saw it happening and yet, again, it was handled in such a fine manner that I couldn’t help being impressed. It was a little touch, a firmer hold than was quite necessary, or a gentle kiss to the temple as Phirun helped Dale in this new world that included dragons. Subtle and honest.
I really liked that Phirun continued his mission; a mission that he’d built his life around. It would have been unrealistic for him to have dropped everything after such a short time of Dale being in his life. But with Phirun kept busy, Dale had to navigate the human side of the war and try to piece together seemingly random events in the hopes of finding out why he himself was a target.
The addition of Vivian was, at times, both confusing and comforting. Comforting because Dale wasn’t alone in his search. As a cop Vivian had suitable resources and skill to help uncover the truth. Confusing because of the heightened feelings on both sides that came along with being nearly isolated with a confidant in a very stressful situation. It is still unclear who he will choose all the way up to last few pages.
Staying off guard is definitely a theme in this story. I read a lot of mysteries and consider myself fairly good at figuring out the why’s and what-for’s. This kept me guessing. I like that. Instead of the normal building block method of mystery writing, Pearce chose the puzzle piece style; some pieces being easier put together than others. An “a-ha” moment fading to black at the end of a scene to be picked back up in some unexpected place. A bit of confusion while your brain tries to work out the clues on your own but still trying to read the words that are on the page because you don’t want to wait for your brain to figure it out, you just want to “know.”
When I reach the end and the answers I got are more than I came up with on my own then I consider the story to be well thought out and well executed. Dragon Streets is that in spades and well worth the read!(less)