Tag Archives: shifers

Review of Shifted Fate (The Wolves of Forest Grove #1), by Elena Lawson

I’m still working on the giant task of thinning my digital bookshelves. I’ve made it almost to the end of the Ms now. But, as I had chores to do today, I did manage to listen to an audiobook. I received an Audible code for a copy of Elena Lawson‘s Shifted Fate.

Description from Goodreads:

Jared Stone is a freaking wolf. And I don’t mean that metaphorically, either…

I thought I had it bad—living in my dead Dad’s old hunting blind in the woods, barely staying alive on apples and ramen…that was before the storm hit and destroyed the only form of shelter I had left.

Enter, Jared. The hottest—and most unavailable—guy at school. Except he wasn’t Jared when he pulled me out of the mud. He wasn’t even human.

As if that wasn’t unsettling enough, when he brought me back to his cabin, I found he wasn’t alone. Another guy, one I’d only ever heard about in whispers beneath the bleachers, was there too. Clayton Armstrong: bad boy extraordinaire. And it turned out, he wasn’t human either.

Mindf*ck, right?

At first, all I want to do is run away. But I have nowhere to go, and for whatever messed up reason, Jared is insistent that I stay. Despite Clay’s loud protests.

So, now I’m stuck in a cabin in the woods with two hot as hell wolf shifters. One who wants to protect me. And another who wants to eat me for lunch…

What could go wrong?


I’d say this was OK. I’m pretty burned out on YA, but I still liked this enough to tentatively be interested in a sequel. The main character is self-sufficient and makes good decisions. The heroes are adorable and patient in their own ways.

But I do have complaints. One, the main character has a serious case of ‘not like other girls.’ I have to ask, what’s wrong with being like a girl? What does it say about internalized misogyny that young heroines always have to be “unlike other girls.” Second, (going along with the not-like-other-girlness) large parts of her personality aren’t explained. She’s willing to live in a hunting blind in the forest because she doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone. That’s a pretty drastic choice. Her father taught her to hunt and fix motors, etc. This all felt very extreme, like they were Preppers or something. But none of this behavior is ever even addressed.

Third, this is labeled a reverse harem. However, throughout the book, there is only the one guy she is interested in and showing interest in her. Nothing else comes into play until literally the last page. I suspect it will become a reverse harem, but it sure wasn’t here.

Fourth, I thought the whole kidnapping scene broke the pace of the plot and felt out of place. Similarly, the fact that she didn’t guess the twist is pretty unbelievable. It was fairly obvious.

Lastly, the book literally ends when the most interesting thing happens. What felt like it should be midway into a longer, more complete story. As such, I suspect this is more of a serial than a series. I prefer to be warned of this going into a book.

All in all, I didn’t hate it. As I said, I’d read more. But it’s not flawless.

Review of Venom & Vanilla (The Venom Trilogy #1), by Shannon Mayer

I borrowed and audio copy of Shannon Mayer‘s Venom & Vanilla through Amazon Prime. (I’ve just realized I can do this for audio books!)

Description from Goodreads:

Successful Seattle baker Alena Budrene doesn’t want to die. But when she’s infected with a lethal virus spread by supernatural beings, her only chance for recovery is to make a deal with the devil—or in this case, a warlock.

Though he saves her life, it looks nothing like the life she once knew—and neither does she. Alena is a new breed of “Supe” no one has ever seen before. Even the supernatural police don’t know what she is. Now exiled to the northern side of the Wall, which marks the divide between humans and Supes, Alena is thrust into a dark and magical new world.

But just as she begins to adjust to all things supernatural, she realizes that her transformation is the least of her worries—and it was no accident. She was chosen…to be killed by a Greek hero trying to make a name for himself once more.

Alena was brought up to be subservient, preferring creating to fighting, and vanilla and honey to blood. But that was then. Now, to survive, she must stand up for herself—and this time she’s got fangs. But will she be ready to use them?


I was not impressed. Another reviewer, who is on Mayer’s street team, says the author calls this an urban fantasy parody. That makes the whole ridiculous thing a little easier to swallow. But it still just isn’t very good. Maybe it needed to be more or less of what it is. More parody, if a parody or less parody-like if a serious novel. I don’t know. Maybe an author who writes in the urban fantasy genre shouldn’t be writing parodies of it unless they highlight what it is in big neon letters. Either way, almost everything about the book irritated me. 

First and foremost the stupid non-cursing grated like sandpaper. Hearing an adult woman, who is supposed to be kicking ass and taking names call someone a donkey’s butthole instead of a jackass was not cute. It was super irritating. Similarly, wanna RUIN any sexual tension you have going on? Throw in a “He grabbed my bumm.”

Mostly though Alena was just too perfect. She wakes up with the perfect body. She’s loyal and sacrificing. She makes allies out of enemies with nothing but her sass. She defeats her foes with aplomb. She saves the day and gets the guy (if she wants him). And while all of that sounds fine, to have it all in one character is over-reaching and moves right into underdeveloped and unbelievable. 

All in all, this was a big old bust for me. No thank you.