Saturday, 16 June 2018

REVIEW - MATING GAMES - WOLF HOLLOW SHIFTERS BY NIKKI JEFFORD

Title: Mating Games
Series: Wolf Hollow Shifters
Author: Nikki Jefford
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 13th  February 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
A FEMALE GUARDING HER HEART . . .

Hot-tempered, agile, and jaded, Jordan spurns the match her father is pushing between her and the swaggering mammoth, Raider. She'd happily let one of her fawning sisters have him, but her packmates are taking bets on who Raider will ultimately claim. Jordan wants nothing to do with the insufferable beast . . . until he saves her life.

A MALE CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF HIS PACK . . .

All brawn and no brains, that's what most male shifters think when they see Raider. The females treat him as a strong, attractive prize they want to sink their claws into. Only one female avoids him, which is fine with him until they are paired up for patrol. The hot-blooded she-wolf doesn't have to like him, but she'll have to find a way to perform her duties.

ENTANGLED IN A WEB OF DECEIT . . . AND DESIRE

When Jordan’s life is threatened, along with several packmates, the mating games take a dangerous turn.

Something sinister is happening in Wolf Hollow and outside forces threaten the impassioned bond forming between two shifters fated to be together.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I was looking forward to returning to Wolf Hollow to hopefully catch up with Sasha and her half breed mate Tabor. There was also Tabor's sister who is visiting to learn more about her shifter side. The blurb had me interested to learn more about Raider whom we had already briefly met in book one. I was ready to get back into this uncertain world once again, and see how the occupants of Wolf Hollow were adapting and living in this harsh environment with its hazards of humans and dangers of vulhena.

The cover has the dominating male figure of Raider on it, "all brawn no brain" I'm sure we will discover more about him in this book. The female on the cover seems uninterested in the hunky male at the side of her, will that change through the course of the book?

The Genres listed for this book have increased in number and I do agree that this book does touch on many genres, meaning it should appeal to a wide range of readers. Though due to the steamy parts I'd say 18+ readers.

The main theme of this book is that Raider is ready to take a mate. The Wolf Hollow Pack need to pair off and produce offspring to secure the future of the pack. Garrick who played a large part in the last book is also quite instrumental in this book, he is determined that Raider will be matched with one of his elder friend Palmer's three daughters that are old enough to be paired with him. So that has Emerson, Camillia and Jordan, favourites in the betting that Hudson and the younger wolves are running. There's also Raider's old patrol partner Kallie thrown into the mix, but sadly disregarded by a lot of the betting wolves as she is now disabled after being attacked by Vulhena whilst out on patrol with Raider. Raider feels nothing but guilt when he looks at Kallie, he feels it is his fault she was attacked and that if only he had been faster getting rid of the vulhena he had been fighting she wouldn't have been hurt.
Things become a little sinister when Jordan is pushed into the river whilst she is drunk, and then Emerson is poisoned! At first both girls think it could be Taryn, Janelle and Gina that are behind these unprovoked attacks on them.
Sadly it turns out to be someone much closer to them whom they would never have thought could possibly be the guilty party. Jordan, Camillia and Emerson are genuinely upset when they find out who the real culprit is.

I don't want to go into much more detail as it would in my opinion reveal to much. In this book we see a different side of Garrick, whom even his own son is disgusted with from his actions in book one. Garrick does have quite a tender moment with Raider when he more or less tells him to follow his heart and not let anyone or anything get in the way of him and his mate. 

I thought it a shame that at one point in the book Kallie was a possible suspect for poisoning Emerson when she had done nothing to warrant the suspicion. I hope Kallie gets her own story soon and there's an improvement in her social standing within the pack. Everyone seems to be as embarrassed about her disability as she is. I hope she doesn't get stuck with the elder who has his sights set on her. Kallie is used to being a strong contributor to the pack, doing her share on patrol. Since her being attacked she has been moved to the den with the families that have pups to look after. This move was done as a kindness but to Kallie it feels like a punishment seeing the happy families with pups, something she feels she will never have now she is "damaged goods". She no longer feels whole. I really want her to have some happiness.

We also learn more about the humans that are surviving in the changed world. We have already learnt about the humans who trap shifters and pit them against each other in fights to the death. In this book we meet another smaller group of humans, who are also trying to trap shifters, but not to fight. These humans want something else that in a way is as disgusting and distressing as the humans that have shifters fighting. The way they go about obtaining their end goal is so sinister, they have their minds set that what they want to do is somehow a normal and natural thing.
Just because they are only a small group doesn't make them any less dangerous or barbaric in their treatment of the shifters they manage to catch. 

The next part I want to say is kind of awkward without giving things away. . . it turns out the culprit of the "accidents & misfortunes" that the Palmer girls are on the receiving end of is somehow in league with this small band of humans. I would have liked a little more information on why, and how as well as learning more about the culprits end fate. (though I guess that could be touched on in a later book).

Like Jordan and a few other pack members I initially thought Raider would be all bulk/brawn and no brain or softer side. He is described as being large, bulky and muscular in his human form and in his wolf form has the strength and aura of an Alpha so could probably force any of the female shifter']s in Wolf Hollow. Not that he would need to as many of the females would happily throw themselves at his feet and be happy to be claimed and give birth to multiple pups with him.

Garrick the character I loved to hate in Wolf Hollow, was featured in this book up to his usually conniving ways, trying to make sure that one of his close elder friends Palmer, had one of his daughters become matched with Raider.This would then secure him a way to possibly still have a say in Pack politics and rulings as Raider has a place on the council with the elders and a union linking Garrick and Palmer could only be beneficial to Garrick.  We had met Raider already in book one, Wolf Hollow and he came across as a bit all body and no brains or personality, but we certainly see another deeper, softer side in this book. However when he is needed to be, Raider is a serious, calculating. authoritative male shifter. I liked that Raider was not arrogant, and he could have used his position on the council with the elders to have any female he wanted. Raider didn't want that though, he wanted what Sasha and Tabor had, a real loving relationship. Raider wanted someone to look at him the way Sasha and Tabor looked at each other and not just wanting to be his mate for status. 

Of course thanks to their father Palmer, Jordan, Camillia and Emerson are all being closely watched to see who is going to end up with Raider. Emerson seems to be the obvious choice, where as Jordan is irritated by the whole thing. She isn't ready to settle down and have pups with anyone. Sure she'll have some fun with the male wolves especially when she'd had some of the moonshine when it is available.
So who will Raider end up with? Will it be one of Palmer's daughters as his father Garrick wishes or will it be someone else. Will Raider get the love he sees between Sasha and Tabor for himself?

Just when it seems Raider has made his choice, his future mate disappears. . . Raider knows she must be in some sort of trouble and being prevented from returning to Wolf Hollow and him. He is desperate to find her, knowing what happens to a wolf who loses his mate. He is determined to find her by any means at all, meaning Tabor's sister performs a spell to help. A search party is formed and Raider is resolute that he will come back with his mate and he is unwavering in what punishment will be given out to anyone who has hurt her.

My immediate thoughts on finishing this book was that it was another great installment in the Wolf Hollow Shifters Series!


I slipped back into the world of Wolf Hollow Shifters really easily and fell in love with the characters this book was centered on almost instantly. I loved the way Jordan was fiercely independent and determined not to follow her father's will. The way Emerson was quite happy to openly flirt with Raider in an attempt to become his mate. I also thought the addition of a relationship between two females was slipped into this book too. Maybe we will learn more about this in a later book in the series too. Though there are the parallels and basics of the traditional wolf pack and its politics there is also a more modern feel in the way Nikki Jefford is taking the Wolf Hollow pack. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

REVIEW - THE BIG BAD WOLF BY JUS ACCARDO

Title: The Big Bad Wolf
Author: Jus Accardo
Genre: Teens & YA 
Release Date: 5th March 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Kensey Deaton comes from an elite werewolf lineage, but just because her family is royalty, doesn't mean she'll fall in line like some perfect little princess. She has plans and they don't include an arranged marriage!

Slade McAlister has his own family drama. His Alpha father happens to be the most reviled wolf on the eastern seaboard, and it's a stigma he can't escape. So when his neighbor Kensey--the girl of his dreams and his nightmares--proposes a solution to solve *both* of their problems, he sees an opportunity he can’t ignore.

Kensey and Slade aren't only from opposite sides of the tracks, they're from opposite sides of the war. But if they can sell their 'relationship', they might just make it out of this with their freedom.

You know, as long as all that fake PDA doesn't turn into more...


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I have read and adored other titles by Jus Accardo so her name drew me to this title and of course, the fact the book is published by Entangled is another plus point. The fact the genre is paranormal shifter, was the main attraction for me as I enjoy the pack politics and ancient rites and laws so I was hoping this one would be right up my street.

The cover has a couple on the front, a long blonde haired male in a suit and a long darker haired girl with her arm around the male and her head on his shoulder. This is a difficult one for me but I stand by always being honest and the truth is I really do not like this book cover. I guess it could be the two main characters, Slade and Kensey but to be totally honest, neither of the people on the cover are anything like I envision them to be from Jus Accardo's descriptions within the book.

The genres I have seen listed for this book and agree with are Teen, YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, and Romance. I would add that this book also has a contemporary feel to it as well. I think it will be a popular read that will appeal to a wide range of ages. 

The basis of the book is two packs, the elite, wealthy and well respected Deatons and the McAlisters a more lowly or as some call them more low-life family of misfits. The Deatons and McAlisters live in close proximity to each other, in fact they have been next door neighbours for some time. 

The two main characters of this book are Kensey Deaton and Slade McAlister, they used to happily play together in the wood surrounding their properties when they were younger. Then one time whilst they were in Kensey's tree house something happened and they stopped hanging out together.

Now both of them are older which means their families are putting pressure on them to claim a mate. Not all claimings are love matches some, in fact it seems most, are pairings arranged by two packs wanting to better their own pack's social position. So Alpha, Sam Deaton is putting pressure on his daughter saying she should look for a mate as if she doesn't choose someone herself he will choose for her. Kensey certainly doesn't want to think about the possibility of being paired with Carter Pennington the son of a man who has ingratiated himself into Sam Deaton's radar for possible matches for his daughter. Some packs arrange and force pairings against the free will of the female. Within a pack the males are considered to have all the power.

Living next door to Kensey, Slade is subject to a similar pressure to take a mate, though Slade has more of a hook up now and then, relationship with a pack member called Lupe. Lupe seems to be hoping for more of a future with Slade, where as he is happy as he is with the odd hook up. Slade has had a rough life with his father Gavin, who makes him do "jobs" for him and if he deosn't deliver well enough either he beats up Slade or his two enforcers Teegan and Mick beat up Slade on Gavin's orders.

Each pack has a special ability within them, such as the McAlister's have some sort of "mojo switch gift" which when in use makes the person they are working it on attracted to them and also makes it much easier for them to coerce them into doing whatever the McAlisters want! The Deaton's have the gift of fire within them, so to say Kensey is fiesty is an understatement! I would have loved to have known some of the other packs special gifts as well as how they could be used, to their pack's advantage.

Though Kensey comes from a wealthy pack her father and Alpha Sam wishes to arrange suitable males for her to choose from, though when she expresses that she would prefer to choose for herself he is fairly happy for her to choose someone for herself. Until she chooses Slade McAlister. Kensey talks Slade into pretending they are in a relationship together. Which he agrees to thinking he has nothing to loose and in return Kensey agrees to talk to her father about dissolving the trouble making McAlister pack which would set Slade free from his father and enable him to move away and start anew elsewhere. Kensey's father isn't so easily beaten and demands that Slade and Kensey have a formal courting.. . .Can the two former friends pull off this mutually beneficial pairing long enough? 
I really loved the love/hate kind of relationship between Slade and Kensey. They had once been good friends, in fact once there had been a hint of them maybe being even more to each other. Both sides have to compromise with each other spending time with each others family/pack. It's not as easy as they thought it would be to fool everyone.

I loved the book and would have to say Jus Accardo is one my favourite authors. Her books flow so well, making them easy to relax with and read. Jus had me caring about what happened to both Kensey and Slade within reading a couple of chapters. I had inklings how things would perhaps end but that didn't spoil my reading and there were still a few surprises in store as the plot unfolded. There are some tender moments between father and daughter, as well as some tense scenes between father and son too. Gavin McAlister really enjoys provoking Slade and when he sees his son with Kensey, a possible mate he knows he has yet another way to get Slade to carry out his orders.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were, that it was a great blend of paranormal shifters with a contemporary romance feel, I loved it. Didn't want to put this one down once I started reading it. It took just two reading sessions! This book could be the start of another potentially brilliant shifter series!

I really hated having to put this book down! Of course after just 26% of the way into the book I was already hoping for a happy ending for Slade & Kensey ..... maybe they could run off and start their own pack?! I had forgotten how addictive Jus Accardo books are!