I know it’s almost blasphemous, but I like this series even better that the Shadowlands series. There’s something about shapeshifters that is so much more fun than the BDSM setting of the Shadowlands.
This is the most recent of the series. The focus is on Darcy, a prisoner of the Scythe, a large, powerful organization trying to learn the secrets of shifters. They control the male shifters by holding the females captive. Darcy is forced into shifting for the first time under extreme pressure. Discovered eavesdropping on the Director, she shifts into her mountain lion form and escapes only to find herself trapped in a form she cannot change back from.
Rescued by the guardian of the territory, she is given shelter and put under the protection of two experienced shifters. The two brothers couldn’t be more unlike. Gawain is a blade-mage, with extraordinary Goddess-give gifts of metal work. Easy going and cordial, Darcy is drawn to his gentleness and goodness. Owen, on the other hand, dislikes all women in general and Darcy in particular. He is grumpy and rude.
In spite of Darcy’s growing love for both the brothers, she is determined to leave Cold Creek and find her brothers, held captive by the Scythe. Her journey makes up the bulk of this satisfying and sexy story from a master storyteller.
Emma is banished from her territory unjustly and is forced to live as an outcast. She stays mostly in her bear form, scrounging for food and hibernating. When a family is attacked by a hellhound, Emma risks her life to save the child. Badly injured, she is forced to raid human campsites for food. When the guardian of the territory and his enforcer set a trap for her, she is caught in the act of breaking the law. Expecting to be punished, instead she is taken to the healer, and placed with the enforcer, a grizzly shifter named Ben, for protection.
Ben is lonely, too. His littermate and he split several years ago, and he has lived alone ever since. He is drawn to Emma, and shelters her gladly.
Ryder, Ben’s littermate, learns the woman he and Ben split over, has a cub—his daughter. Angered by his mate’s selfishness, he left her and vowed no woman would ever have power over him again. He hadn’t known about the cub. and when he goes to check it out, he finds an abused child, mute from the trauma. He takes his child and reunites with his brother. Together the four of them try to make a home.
And then the mother comes to reclaim her child.
Happy at last after years in the foster care system, Breeanne is settled with a job she loves and a roommate who is the closest thing to family she has ever had. Then her world is shattered by an attack by a monster. He kills her roommate, attacks her, and leaves her bleeding and broken. Determined to bring her life back together, she takes the only clue to family she has—an old photograph of her and her parents in front of the Wild Hunt Tavern.
Taking the photograph, she rents a cabin in Cold Creek and sets out to find anyone who remembers her family. In the end, she finds much more that she was looking for. The managers of the Wildwood Lodge, Zeb and Shay, are more than willing to help her in any way they can.
This second book in the Wild Hunt series is as good as the first.
The first of a fantasy series, this is a remarkably satisfying read. Victoria is a Marine sidelined by an injury, now working as a special ops agent. When she discovers a gang of kidnappers, she rescues a young man who is so abused he cannot survive. Before he dies in her arms, he gives her a dying gift and begs her to tell he grandfather of his death. As she attempts to keep her promise, she discovers that his dying gift has more to it that she thought.
Calum and his brother are the leaders of a small pack of shapeshifters living in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Their vigilance keeps their people safe. Now there is something threatening about this new woman in their midst. She is far more attractive than a mere human should be, and there is a mystery about what she is doing in their town. She presents a threat to their way of life, and yet there is something about her is very appealing to the leader of the pack.
As the brothers work out the details of Victoria’s story, their attraction morphs into something more.
Janni Lee Simner
Taking the Icelandic myths as a jumping-off place, Simner weaves a tale of enchantment about a contemporary teen separated from her father, searching for her missing mother. Helped along the way by a raven, a fox and a shape-shifting bear, Haley braves danger to find out the truth and her way back.
I really liked the fox character and wished he had more of a role to play in her search, but he was there when it mattered.
I once wrote a historical novel. It was August in Tucson, and I was stuck in town. So I did second best. I chose a place far, far away. I set my novel in Maine in winter. At least I could mentally escape. Simnel, a fellow Tucsonan, may have felt a similar urge to escape by choosing Iceland for her setting, far away from the desert heat.
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
I never seem to catch the first story in a series by Hoffman, but her writing is so engaging it doesn’t seem to matter. Who cares about what these people are, why they are where they are, and what their relationships are. It’s what happens next that is important.
Nick Verrou has to help his father run a small convenience store and a handful of tourist cabins near a lake. He enjoys watching the people in the cabins, not in a creepy way, but a curious boy way. His attention is caught by the people in the Lacey cabin. There’s something strange about them.
While Nick and we find out about just how strange they are, we discover Nick’s own strangeness. We see him develop from a boy to a man, and are intrigued enough to boy the previous book just to find out more about those Lacey people and what they are up to in that cabin.
This book is actually two novellas: Christmas Pride and Shaw’s Tail
The first tells the story of Mace Llewellyn, a rich beyond imagining lion shapeshifter and the love of his life, a human ex-marine NYPD detective, Desiree MacDermott. Mace has loved Dez ever since elementary school.
After serving his time as a Navy SEAL and bonding with a fellow SEAL who is a werewolf, he decides its time to make his move on Dez.
The story is an excuse to match the two in sex every page or so, yet somehow her humor and joy between the characters pull the reader in. The scenes are full of humor, and both characters enjoy themselves so much the reader is invited to enjoy it, too.
Shaw’s Tail offers the story of Mace’s brother, Brendon Shaw, who starts out badly: three broken ribs, a broken collarbone, broken kneecaps and internal bleeding. If he can only get out of the tunnel where he had an encounter with a pack of hyenas he will probably survive. Too bad he can’t walk.
Then he smells something wonderful and powerful; something to give him a reason to live. He was definitely in love. Rhonda Lee Reed was the most beautiful thing he have ever seen. He would just have to overcome one slight problem:
Both stories are full of joyful sex as the couple work out their differences.
I’m not very interested in rich lion SEAL shapeshfters so I won’t be buying any more of this series. Besides, I’m totally engrossed in her Call of Crows series. I guess I like stories based on Norse saga and eddas better that lions and dogs, also there is a lot less sex, and much more romance.