Tag Archives: shifter romance

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Book Review: Silver Moon Rising & Crescent Calls, by Rosalie Spencer

This is a little awkward. Rosalie Spencer sent me a copy of Crescent Calls for review way back in…I think maybe September. I’d picked up Silver Moon Rising as an Amazon freebie and planned to read and review them. However, Amazon did a Kindle update about that time, and no matter how many times I tried, I could not get Silver Moon Rising to open. Eventually, I set it aside in the hopes that time would work out whatever glitch Amazon had going on. And then I basically forgot about it. But I finally managed to come back around to reading them.

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About Silver Moon Rising:

silver moon risingHayley is an Omega wolf. Submissive, low-ranking, and considered less than nothing by her previous pack. Which is why she ran away, fleeing their abusive Alpha. Now, all she wants is to make a life that she can be proud to live.

Cole and Ryland are two Alphas without a pack. With Cole’s unpredictable wolf and Ryland’s suspicious combination of witch and tiger shifter blood, and the fact that you can’t have one without the other, it’s too much for most packs to handle permanently. Instead, they roam from place to place as enforcers, a final solution when a wild wolf needs to be taken down.

When they find Hayley, at first they’re not sure if she’s a spy from the pack they’re trying to hunt down or a victim, but either way they need her. Inconveniently, in more ways than one.

If Hayley can be strong enough to help them, maybe she can overcome her past. And if she can be strong enough to trust again, maybe she can find a way to the life she wants to live.

my review

I think that there is nothing wrong with this book, but that it wasn’t really to my taste, which is a hard review to formulate. On the positive side, the writing is fairly pedestrian but readable. There’s an interesting world. The characters are mostly likable. The heroine has a lot of growth over the course of the book, and there is a fun side character.

On the negative side (for me), that fun side character is VERY OBVIOUSLY a crossover character from some other series. I felt that before I even went to look it up, and I’m generally annoyed by this. It always leaves me feeling like I’m missing something. The interesting world is barely hinted at. The mostly likable characters are only mostly likable because there are some aspects of them that I definitely did not enjoy. And this is where tastes come into play.

Hayley is very sweet. She is small and submissive and gentle and kind. And a perpetual victim. The plot is very much about her growing past this victimhood. But you’ll have to really like scared mouse sorts of heroines to enjoy Hayley. And I really do prefer my heroines with more grit. (But I do think the author dealt with the whole scenario well.)

Similarly, the two heroes were never particularly kind to Hayley. I did not feel the spark between them AT ALL. They’re not quite alpha a-holes, but just kind of a-holes, and I didn’t understand what Hayley was supposed to be attracted to. Even the sex wasn’t enough to bridge this gap for me since there wasn’t very much.

Additionally, never was how small and dainty Hayley is emphasized so often, as during the sex scenes, which was just a little too infantilizing for me. Add to this the fact that it is VERY STRONGLY inferred that what amounts to sexual slavery was part of Hayley’s history; her all but virginal behavior thus made no sense (other than to maintain her innocent miene).

Plus, while I liked the relationship between Cole and Ryland, why they are so bonded and loyal to one another is never really addressed. I think they had a platonic relationship or at least one that never crossed into romance between just the two of them. But I wondered what their relationship was based on before the introduction of Hayley. We’re just kind of told they met and then they’re inseparable.

The plot is also pretty cliched. You won’t find anything particularly new here. But if you like the sort of story it is, you’ll like this one. The book could also do with a little more editing.

Lastly, and this isn’t a critique, just a heads up. This seems to be one of those series in which each book doesn’t have an arc and ending of its own. The book ends on a cliffhanger with nothing of note resolved.

About Crescent Calling:

crescent calling photoHayley has been doing all that she can to not think about Cole and Ryland, the two alphas who turned her life upside down six months ago. On the whole, she’s been doing great besides from them popping into her head every time she stops for more than a second, her days a game of trying to dodge every memory of them.

Her nights, however, have been taken up by dreams of an elf she rescued, who vanished into thin air leaving her with nothing but the mark of a little blue flower on her wrist. At first, Hayley thought the dreams were just that but now, now she worries that something is wrong with her dream man. Hayley embarks on a trek through Otherland, despite her wolf having been missing for the last six months, ready to do anything to save him. Anything, that is, except for escaping the dragon.

Neosai has lived for almost a decade next to the elven capital Leith, ten long, lonely, miserable years waiting for Haladaver to wake up and realize he was there, waiting. Ten years of collecting treasure, of preparing things to say to his elven ex-best friend, ten years of pining for a future he knew they could have together if they just found a creative solution. Ten years, until a silver-haired omega wolf waltzed onto his territory with Haladaver’s mark on her wrist.

Ryland has been hunting for months, trying to finish Blake’s pack off once and for all, and desperately trying not to think of the omega wolf who he knows isn’t thinking of him, or his ex-pack mate Cole. He left them together so their relationship could flourish. Or so he thinks, until Cole finally finds him, revealing that he’s gone wild without him. When they hear that Hayley is in trouble, Cole has only one thing on his mind; finding her again. Ryland has no choice but to follow.

my review

I liked this second book in the series better than book one. Hayley is a little more established, a little less mouse-like. I thought Neo was hilarious, and I liked seeing them get to know one another. Of her four mates, he is literally the only one we’ve actually seen her spend any pleasant time with.

Honestly, that’s one of my biggest complaints about this series so far. Hayley is supposed to be falling in love with these men that we, the reader, don’t get to know. Or worse, we get to know them and wonder why she’d love them. I have not warmed up to Ryland at all. And I’m a little disturbed that he is the only obvious person of color and also so obviously meant to be disliked. Maybe I’m supposed to feel sorry for him. But I don’t. I just dislike him.

I do have to say; I love that both pairs of men appear to be queer, platonic life partners. With Neo and Hal it’s explicit. Neo, after all, says he and Hal “were as gay as anyone could be without actually desiring the male form.” It’s not stated so baldly with Ryland and Cole, but the vibe is the same. This does leave Hayley feeling a little like a tool to give these men permission to love one another rather than being desired for herself, though.

There is also just something off in the series-scale pacing. Here, for example, we spend almost all of our time with Hayley and Neo, get only spicy-time flashes of Hal, and Cole and Ryland (who we spent the last book with) are afterthoughts. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be getting attached to here. Where the reader’s attention is directed feels somewhat lopsided.

Lastly, like in book one. The writing is simple but functional. But the whole thing could do with just a little more editing.

Other Reviews:

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Book Reviews: Apex Society 1 & 2, by C. Rochelle and Cassandra Featherstone

I received a signed copy of C. Rochelle and Cassandra Featherstone‘s Come Out & Prey in a mystery box I ordered from The Story of My Life Bookstore. Then, Because it’s a prequel (and I, therefore, knew that it wouldn’t be a whole story and I’m avoiding such scenarios), I preemptively ordered Let Us Prey to read with it.

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In this world, you’re either predator or prey.

I come from a long line of pure-blood predators, but when my shift finally happened, I turned out to be prey.

A bunny to be exact. A freakin’ bunny.

The guy I’d been promised to since birth rejected me. My own father has turned his back on me – shipping me off to Apex Academy even though it’s practically a death sentence with what I am.

Oh, and of course, my ex-fiance and his friends are here at the academy and more than happy to make my life a living h***.

But then I met my teachers. Five incredibly gorgeous apex predators, each one more mysterious than the last. And all of them, very much off-limits.

There is something dark at Apex Academy – something that’s killing off students and teachers alike. As prey, I’m afraid I’m the easiest target, but who can I trust to keep me safe?

my review

Come Out & Prey:

I really wanted to like this. I did. I went into it with such high hopes. But it doesn’t live up to its potential in several ways. For one, it’s a prequel that isn’t enjoyable. Sure, it gives everyone’s tragic backstory—Delores’ especially—but what fun is reading 230 pages of people being miserable in entirely predictable and unimaginative ways?

Second, Delores is so very ‘not like other girls’; it honestly made me cringe…repeatedly. The book is at least self-aware on this front. But that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to read.

Third, and relatedly, Delores is the only female character in the book who isn’t over-the-top evil in utterly cliched and slut-shamey ways. Why do female authors keep doing this, villainizing all other women?

Fourth, the naming convention of putting pred and prey in EVERYTHING was distracting and frankly embarrassing after a while. It was shtick that went on WAY too long.

Fifth, there is no progress on the relationship fronts at all; considering I picked up this series expecting erotic fantasy romance, that was a disappointment.

Sixth, the book needs editing…or maybe there are just some really odd formatting choices. The random ‘okay’ at the end of several paragraphs was especially confusing.

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Let Us Prey:

I don’t use star ratings on the blog. But if I did, this would honestly barely make it out of the two-star range and only then because it’s competently written. As with the prequel, I wanted to like this. I expected to. I recently read Rochelle’s The Yaga’s Riders and liked it a lot. I had no reason to think this wouldn’t be equally as enjoyable. I’m down with the premise. But it was utterly disappointing.

The quirky naming convention nearly drove me to distraction, I hated it so much. If used sparingly, it might have been amusing. But it’s constant and felt like a schtick that went on far too long.

The plot meanders endlessly. The book is relatively long, and several times I wondered if there was still a plot or if we were just off doing whatever random thing popped up with nothing tying it together. I’m still not wholly sure.

There is very little spice in the book. And I don’t mean that as in, ‘the book didn’t have as much sex as I’d like.’ Instead, with the list of triggers in the beginning, blurb, cover, and five mates, there isn’t as much spice as the book sets the reader up to expect. It makes promises it doesn’t keep.

I have never read a co-authored book where the individual chapters are labeled who wrote them. I was confused in the beginning. I couldn’t figure out why the random ‘Cassandra’ was in the chapter heading. Once I figured out what was going on, I found it distracting, even as I tried to look over it.

The gay BFFs were cliched. The Heathers (yeah, they’re modeled on those Heathers) were too. And I cannot tell you how saddened I am every time I read one more book, especially a female-authored book, in which all other women except the main character and her small circle are horrible in some manner. And to have them horrible in very Kardashian ways has been done a million times and is probably steeped in more than a whiff of internalized misogyny.

The mother (who is the primary face of villainy) was beyond cartoonish. The men were buffoons, and only one of them was meant to be. If I had to read how perfect Deloris was one more time, I might have instituted a vom prom of my own. The dialogue got stiffer and stiffer as the book progressed. And, while Deloris (note the name) is technically over 18, the book plays with pedophilia in some subtle ways.

The occasional joke did land. We don’t talk about Bruno, after all. And I liked the heroes on the surface. I think that’s what makes this so disappointing. I can see how it could have been everything I was hoping for. But it went for slapstick ingénue over just about everything else, and I was eventually simply glad to come to the end of it (even with the cliffhanger).

Other Reviews:

Book Review: Wolf’s Lady, by Jessica Marting

I recently asked for recommendations for monster romance or PNR that stood alone. Jessica Marting‘s Magic & Mechanicals series was one that someone suggested. And as I happened to already own Wolf’s Lady (book one), I gave it a read.

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The only mistake Lady Adelle Thornber ever made turned into a scandal that rocked London and saw her banished to Scotland, the reluctant bride of a reclusive baron. But Lord Henry MacAulay isn’t what she was expecting: he cares deeply for his barony and for her.

As the sole heir to the Roseheath title and werewolf alpha, Henry knew that he had to take a mate someday. He just didn’t expect to find her in a disgraced noble’s daughter forced into marriage with him.

As he falls more deeply in love with Adelle, he can’t bring himself to tell her what he really is. But if he doesn’t, it may not be his werewolf nature that could tear them apart.

my review

I thought this was a sweet, if predictable, shifter romance. I liked Adelle and Henry. I especially liked that they were plain-spoken and simply told each other what they wanted from the other. This meant that, outside the obvious deception mentioned in the blurb, there was very little angst in the development of the relationship. However, I also thought the villain was overblown and cliched. And the plotting is pretty shallow. There isn’t a lot to the story. But for a sweet, fluffy, easy read, it’s worth picking up.

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