Release Date: September 11, 2013
Published by Wilde City Press
Review Copy from Publisher
If this first book is any indication I’m going to LOVE the Pack Partners series. I’ve always been fond of paranormal romance and shifters in particular; there’s something about the pack dynamic and hierarchy of dominance that intrigues me. Accidental Alpha is the story of Lex, an injured cop who suddenly finds himself not only a werewolf but the pack alpha. Talk about being just a little confused.
Poppy Dennison does an excellent job of building this story steadily and patiently. After Lex is bitten by the child he assumes is his neighbor Spencer’s relative, things happen rapidly but never seem rushed. Lex needs to come to terms with the fact that werewolves exist as well as how to be one. His learning curve is pretty short, but again Dennison does an excellent job with pacing; I never felt that the details were unrealistic or that Lex was taking things on blind faith. His internal dialogue is used to convey much of what he’s feeling and how he’s interpreting and applying his new instincts. This perspective is crucial to making this story work.
I was relieved Lex didn’t try harder to fight his new nature, something that seems to be typical in paranormal stories where a character is changed against his/her will. Lex seems to accept his change begrudgingly yet pragmatically rather than get bogged down in bitterness, despair, anger or suffering. Lex’s attitude could be partially fueled by his newfound attraction to Spencer. I mean, a little romance never hurts.
Speaking of Spencer, that’s one alpha story device Dennison managed to completely avoid – Lex’s mate didn’t just fall into his arms because it’s fated to be so. I love this! Spencer fought the bond between them at first and made Lex work to earn his trust. I think this turn of events made their relationship much stronger.
The pack dynamics are what will keep this series a “must read” for me. Dennison introduces many interesting people who clearly have their own stories. You see just enough of them to want to know more. There are those who are willing to help Lex in his new position for the good of the pack. There are also those slower to embrace the new alpha and who want to challenge his dominance. I enjoyed watching these guys jockey for position. None of them became the irritating jerks they had the potential to be, and it was nice to see them all find common ground as “family.” The character to watch for me is Nathan. He’s so lonely and disconnected, and I get the impression he needs comfort and to belong. My heart broke for him a couple times, and I don’t even know his whole story. I need Dennison to hurry up and work her magic for him.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!
Released February 6, 2013
Published by NAL Penguin Publishing
Chloe Neill is a genius. I have no words for all the ways this book was amazing. I knew big things were coming after the way it ended in Biting Cold, and House Rules did not disappoint. I continue to be amazed that after seven books I’m not tired of this series or these characters. Ms. Neill finds new ways to keep things exciting and the action is always moving. With so many plot lines intricately woven, at times I found myself wondering how she would resolve them all in time.
I have to make a shout out to one of my favorite characters in the series, Jeff Christopher. If you’ve read the previous books, you know Jeff’s a shifter that works with Merit’s grandfather. There are so many great Jeff scenes in this book. If you love him like I do, you are going to love him something fierce by the time House Rules is done. I think even Merit may have been a little surprised.
Of course that’s not to say that Ethan isn’t his usual amazing self, not to mention his trademark infuriating self. (Or is that just me?) I really enjoy Ethan & Merit’s relationship – never have two people encountered so many obstacles while fighting to be together. I should really know better than to think things are going to be smooth sailing for them ever, and this book is no exception. (Lacey. UGH.)
Watching Merit grow as a character through it all has to be one of the most satisfying parts of reading this series. She is definitely one of my favorites. Her confession to Ethan at the end of this one could potentially be a game changer (of sorts) and definitely ties into some things from earlier in the series. I’ll just have to wait and see.
So, what are you waiting for? Go read this book! If you’re not familiar with the Chicagoland Vampires series, check them out here.
Shifters Unbound #3.5
Published by JA/AG Publishing
First rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. Same is true in Hard Mated. In this Shifters Unbound novella, we get an up close and personal look at Spike, one of the Austin Shiftertown’s top trackers and fighters. His success in the underground shifter fights is unparalleled, but all that brawn is a cover for loneliness inside.
I love Jennifer Ashley’s incredible ability to describe the Shiftertown world as it exists in Texas. She creates a society that is not only believable but relatable. Spike’s story is action packed – no boring lulls or time to catch your breath. I loved to see his character in depth as he faced, accepted and conquered his obstacles. Bad guys, watch out! He’s one tough jaguar and when push comes to shove he won’t back down.
One thing I frequently dislike about romance novellas no matter the genre – historical, contemporary, paranormal, etc. – is the usually rushed feeling of the relationship between the hero & his heroine. It has to be challenging for a writer to include all the essential elements and in about half the number of pages. Readers are just expected to accept that characters are in love without any reason or proof for it, especially with shifters where a lot of things are attributed to instinct. I didn’t feel that with Hard Mated. There was plenty of tension, build up and the payoff was very sweet.