Thursday, 29 October 2015

REVIEW - SHIFT - A MACKENZIE GREY NOVEL BY KARINA ESPINOSA

Title: SHIFT
Series: A Mackenzie Grey Novel Bk#1
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Red Coat PR
Release Date: 10th February 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
It's hard enough being an undergraduate student, an intern at Downtown Manhattan's police station, and a bouncer at a local bar. Add her now ex-boyfriend who recently dumped her for the school's resident bimbo—oh, and she's a werewolf. 
Mackenzie Grey meets her match when she is kidnapped by the Brooklyn Pack and tossed between Sebastian and Jonah—the Alpha and the Beta. Being a lone-wolf in the city is dangerous, and now that the Pack has found her, so can every supernatural being in the Tri-State area. And not even her sarcastic, smart mouth can get her out of this. 
When a string of kidnappings involves Mackenzie in supernatural politics, she questions her new acquaintances and finds unlikely allies. Can she escape Pack law and keep her freedom—or will she be condemned to an unwanted path?


PURCHASE LINKS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karina Espinosa is the paranormal author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. She is a blogger for YoungAdultHollywood.com & DirtyandThirty.com. Infatuated with travel, pop culture and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of The Walking Dead and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!

AUTHOR LINKS


MY REVIEW

Title: SHIFT
Series: A Mackenzie Grey Novel Bk#1
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Red Coat PR
Release Date: 10th February 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
It's hard enough being an undergraduate student, an intern at Downtown Manhattan's police station, and a bouncer at a local bar. Add her now ex-boyfriend who recently dumped her for the school's resident bimbo—oh, and she's a werewolf. 
Mackenzie Grey meets her match when she is kidnapped by the Brooklyn Pack and tossed between Sebastian and Jonah—the Alpha and the Beta. Being a lone-wolf in the city is dangerous, and now that the Pack has found her, so can every supernatural being in the Tri-State area. And not even her sarcastic, smart mouth can get her out of this. 
When a string of kidnappings involves Mackenzie in supernatural politics, she questions her new acquaintances and finds unlikely allies. Can she escape Pack law and keep her freedom—or will she be condemned to an unwanted path?


Goodreads Link


PURCHASE LINKS

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I'm always on the look out for a good shifter book, be it werewolf, werecat, panther or dragon! Also I  have recently been reading more of the shifter genre, which is still one of my favourites. So when I found this title on Netgalley I decided I had to to give it a go! 

MY REVIEW
I requested and was sent an e-copy of this book by Netgalley.
The cover has a female on the front, who fits the description and imagery of Mackenzie Grey within the book. Mackenzie has very "werewolf" animalistic eyes that seem to stand off the page! Mackenzie is featured in a kind of soft blurry focus and the word SHIFT (the title of the book) is written in block capitals over the image of the woman. I think the blurry aspect and the word placement is very good and implies that Mackenzie is about to "shift" at any moment. 
So would the cover make me pick this book up from a bookstore shelf? Yes! I find the cover eye-catching, intriguing and I feel I would be compelled to take this book from the shelf to learn more about it.
The main female characters in this book is Mackenzie Grey, who is a werwolf shifter and her non shifter, totally human friend Amy. Amy & Mackenzie are sharing living 
accommodation whilst they both attend college. Amy is the only person that knows Mackenzie is a werewolf. When Mackenzie (Kenz or Kenzie to her family & friends) shifts into her werewolf form she locks herself in a cage so she cannot hurt anyone or be hurt herself. Mackenzie recently broke up with her childhood friend then sweetheart James, she was heartbroken to find out he had been cheating on her with a female the exact opposite of her. He was cheating with Diana Stone, or Barbie as Amy and Mackenzie refer to her! It comes as a surprise that James expects Mackenzie and Amy to still carpool "home" for the winter break and more importantly wants Mackenzie to act as if they are still in a loving relationship! This arrangement leads to some quite funny scenarios and equally amusing conversations between Amy and Mackenzie. 
Mackenzie has an internship within the police force and has been shadowing Detective Michael's for some time now. It's when she is investigating a disappearance of a young man. When she attends the young mans address to speak with his mother who has reported him as missing, the woman seems rather strange and points to Mackenzie saying she cannot come into her home as she is one of "them". It sends a shiver down Mackenzies back but she just assumes the woman to be so upset that she is not aware what she is saying etc. There's quite an amusing relationship between the Detective and Mackenzie as he acts like he lets her go around with him under sufferance but you can see he does have an affection of sorts for her really. Mackenzie has nearly come to the end of her internship so is eager to help investigate the case and makes a rather grisly discovery of a piece of skin.
Mackenzie has to put all that to the back of her mind to get to her job as a bouncer. A great side affect from being a werewolf is her increased strength. So it comes as a shock when she is bested by three guys that look like they belong in HQ magazine. Kenzie can remember an argument and that thy seem to know what she is but then everything goes black. It turns out that the resident pack have found out about Kenzie and are wanting her to conform to their idealistic view of what a Luna (female wolf) should be and do. The three guys who kidnapped her may look like models from the pages of a magazine but they do not escape Kenzies irritation when she wakes up from being knocked out! The three gorgeous guys are,
"Mr Snarky Blue Eyes" the Alpha of the pack Sebastian, and the other two drool worthy guys are the Cadwell brothers, "Mr HQ" Jonah and the other "Mr Smooth" is Jackson. 
Sebastian tries to explain that a lone wolf is not safe, that there are "others" as well as werewolves from packs that would seek to take advantage of her or kill her! Sebastian and Jonah also wish to help Kenzie "free her werewolf" and teach her change when she wishes and to run in her werewolf form rather than cage herself everytime she has to shift. Kenzie insists on going home for Winter break as planned, though Oliver (Ollie), the brother she adores will not be home from the army for the break she will still enjoy catching up with her parents and doing festive things with Amy too. There's lots of arguments and eventually Sebastian allows her to continue with her winter break plans as long as Jonah the pack Beta, is around to watch over her from a distance. The Winter Break begins brilliantly with the surprise that Oliver has managed to obtain a few days leave to see his family over the holidays. When Ollie accidentally meets Jonah he invites him to stay at the Grey household which ends up pushing Kenzie into spending more time with Jonah than she initially wanted. Kenzies beins to relax a little more and listens to Jonah describing what it's like to let your wolf run free and how she could be taught to control her shift, in fact Kenzie begins to feel more open to the idea of spending more time with the pack. Then things take a turn for the not so good when James becomes a little too good at acting affectionate and kissing her to continue to fool his family into thinking their relationship is still full on! Sebastian turns up with news that leaves the holiday plans in tatters really. Jackson has been kidnapped and Jonah is needed to help with the investigation and search. As Kenzie has been interning with the NYPD she insists on returning along with Amy to help with finding Jackson,
There are so many characters to meet and learn about in this book, it's kind of ironic how certain characters in Mackenzie's human life seem to be mirrored and have counterparts in her werewolf life too. Like the tarty, condescending Diana Stone from Mackenzie's human life and the sleazy, mean girl Luna Vivian in Mackenzie's werewolf life. The the other sort of "mirrored" characters, also female are best friend, champion, Amy and the new friend, protector, Blu a Luna in the pack.
There really is so much happening in this book, I feel I have only slightly scraped the surface! There's inter pack politics, the real heritage of Kenzie and where her werewolf gene came from, the search for Jackson, the fact the pack want to treat Kenzie like a Luna, and a rather interesting love triangle too! Kenzie really is a strong independent woman who at times can speak before she thinks. At one point Kenzie inadvertently challenges Alpha Sebastian to a fight! Kenzie is not afraid to stand her ground when she believes she is right.
The pace of the book is just right and has the perfect mix of "human" problems, and werewolf/"other"being drama's too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and as I normally only read at night, I actually found myself looking forward to bedtime and reading the next installment about Mackenzie Grey.
So did I enjoy the book? Honestly? I totally adored it! I'd liken it to Rachel Vincent's Shifter Series. Would I recommend this book? Definitely! I really loved Mackenzie Grey that much, she reminds me of the kick butt female characters of Faythe, Abby, Delilah from Rachel Vincent's books. Would I want to read another book in this series? I can sincerely say that I would have gone right on to read Bk#2 had it been available. I yearn to know more about Mackenzie's true heritage. The ending of the book had me screaming No! get the information you will want later now! I also felt like screaming "choose one, just choose one, for goodness sake!" Would I want to read a different title by this author? Yes, I truly love Karina's style of writing, so I will be checking out any book written by her!

FINAL THOUGHTS
OooOo what a fantastic read. A great start to a potentially excellent series. I want so much more. I want to read more of the pack! I need to know about Mackenzie's true heritage and genetic's which are hinted at in this book. . . .and let's have a Luna revolution! If Mackenzie, Amy, and Blu get together I'm sure the Luna Traditions could be modernised. Looking forward to Bk#2. . . . 

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