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. 

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