Tag Archives: shifters

Review of Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles #1), by Carmen Fox

I bought a copy of Guarded, by Carmen Fox.

Description from Goodreads:
When everyone’s existence depends on the lies they tell, trust doesn’t come easy. 

Ivy’s neighbors have a secret. They aren’t human. But Ivy has a secret, too. She knows. As long as everyone keeps quiet, she’s happy working as a P.I. by day and chillaxing with her BFF Florian, a vampire, by night. When a routine pickup drops her in the middle of a murder, her two worlds collide. While Florian knows how to throw a punch, deep down he’s a softie. His idea of scary? Running out of hair product. It’s time Ivy faced facts. Even with a vampire on stand-by, one gal can only kick so many asses. 

For help, she must put her faith in others. A human, who might just be the one. A demon, who will, for a price, open the doors to her heritage. And a werewolf, who wants to protect her from herself. 

Torn between these men, Ivy must tread carefully, because one wants her heart, one wants her body, and one wants her dead.

Sigh, mechanically the writing and editing in this book seem fine. Unfortunately, in my opinion the plot is totally useless. The book is all over the place, but more to the point, I hated it.

As a romance it fails on SO MANY levels. Let me put it like this. She has a condition that after her 25th birthday (because apparently magic knows your b-day, y’all) she literally lusts after every man she sees, even though she actively doesn’t want to. She then goes on to try and date one man, have sex with another (several times), almost have sex with a man in an alley, and love a man. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do any two of those things with the same man. That’s right, she’s trying to date one man, while having sex with another (and lusting over everyone) and then on the last page, last paragraph basically we’re told she loves another. WTF? There was no development on that. But what kind of satisfying romance do you think a book can have if the heroine trying to give her body to every man she meets,?

But, for me personally, the biggest issue is that this idea that women can’t control their own sexual urges is an old, painfully patriarchal one. It’s one of the reasons why they can’t be trusted to own and have authority over their own bodies. We still fight this stupid idea to this very day, in real life. And the book had the perfect patriarchal ending, she pretty much ended up with a man who had the power (extra power she gave him) to control her. She goes against her own natural inclinations to be with him. You know what, author, write historical if you want to write this kind of trite. I ended the book steaming.

The whole thing was only made worse by there being exactly 3 women in the book, other than main character and some background victims (who were raped, because of course they were). Two were characterless sisters, basically just names to fill in the cast. One was the cliched jealous harpy who will probably sell the heroine to the villain in future books, because that’s what the jealous harpy always does in such books.

I bought and read this book because, somewhere along the way I ended up with an audible copy of book two (Bound), and wanted to listen to it. Now, I’m kind of regretting both.

Review of New Beginnings, by Brandy L. Rivers

I picked New Beginnings, by Brandy L. Rivers up for free on Amazon. I later picked up the compilation of books 1-3 in the series. Thus, I actually have two copies of it. Lucky me.

Description from Goodreads:
Jess knew her life would never move forward if she remained a part of Gregory’s pack. Some Alpha’s just don’t know how to take care of their wolves. She had managed Gregory’s bar for years but she knew he would never sell it to her. 

After one giant mistake, he went from bad to worse. As a psychic, she knew it was a downward spiral. 

Taking her future in her own hands, she contacts the Alpha in Edenton. He is happy to sell the empty bar no one has the time, nor desire to renovate, much less run. 

Their attraction is unexpected and the last thing either want, but they find the only thing they need in each other. 

There is just one problem. Slater’s second in command is plotting against him. Liam will use anything to take over as Alpha. 

Plenty of werewolves, an old vampire flame, plus a paranoid second, and don’t forget the psychic with a whole lot of attitude.

I’m gonna have to go with, “No.” I read this as part of a compilation of the first 3 books in the series. I’m fairly sure it’ll be the only one I actually read. My god, the main character is so incredibly unlikeable. Why do so many authors fail utterly when they try and write strong, independent women? This is no doubt what the author was going for, but instead she wrote a raging, insensitive bitch. The sort I’d cross the road before saying, “Good Morning,” to for fear she’s respond, “Fuck off,” even if we’re perfect strangers. She was rude to everyone on sight. There was nothing likable about her, so I have no clue what the male main character saw in her.

Characters were presented with no history and developed to have no depth. The ‘romance’ was ultra-instant, as in the fell in lust OVER THE PHONE, during a conversation about moving logistics. The villain was bad for no apparent reason and just happened to have been turned bad by his secret boyfriend, which I read as he’s gay, therefore he’s evil. The whole thing was as subtle as a stun gun to the temple and it’s chocked full of subtle, internalized misogyny.

Nope, I need no more of this series.

As a side note, I don’t know what the name of the dude on the above edition is, but I am so sick of seeing him on the cover of romance novels that I legitimately avoid books with him on the front. And the dude on the second edition I’ve seen is pretty close behind.

He’s third behind this guy:

And just because I’ve gone off on a little tangent here, this guy and this guy and this guy are climbing the ranks too.

Are there really so few cover models available in the world?

Review of The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters #1), by G. L. Carriger

I purchased a copy of The Sumage Solution, by G. L. Carriger.

Description from Goodreads:
NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.

Max fails everything – magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

I really quite enjoyed this. True, I thought some of the humor—fizzy jizz, spicy cum, etc—crossed the line into stupid-funny and made me roll my eyes and cringe, instead of laugh. And the endless banter sounded exactly the same, regardless of which two characters were actually bantering, which kind of sucked. But for the vast majority of the book I was thrilled. Bryan is one of the sweetest shifter leads I’ve read in a while and Max was a good pairing for him.

I’ve not read the prequel, but I was able to follow the plot and world easily. It does seem a well developed world, though it’s just barely laid out here. I was left with a few questions, but not enough to be dissatisfied at the end.

There were a few editing mishaps. Maximilian, who goes by Max was named Mac on more than one occasion, for example. (Yeah, X and C are next to one another on the keyboard.) But it is pretty clean.

All in all, I was pleased. I’m always a little wary when M/F authors cross over into LGBTQ+ stories. But in the Carriger books I’ve read, she always had strong, positive queer characters anyhow, so she made this transition well. I’ll be looking forward to more of The San Andreas Shifters.