Category Archives: Shifters

Walk On The Striped Side (Big Bad Bite Series Book 2) – Jessie Lane

Paranormal shifter romance, better than Book 1

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Blurb:

Does he have his claws in her for good? Or is she just yanking his tail?

Elena Demos’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has passed away, leaving Elena and her two half-sisters to deal with their mother’s will and the crazy stipulations it contains. For the three sisters to inherit the substantial amount of money left behind, they have to go to work with two aunts they’ve never met in a family business—Amazons Inc.—they know nothing about. If that isn’t bad enough, Elena runs into the man who once broke her heart, and it’s only their first day on the job.

Gage Ivanov is a stupid beast. He let the woman who should be his mate go because she couldn’t be told of his Other identity. Now Elena’s back, but she refuses to give in to his demands for her to be his mate. The timing for all of this couldn’t be worse, either, because Gage and his circle of friends are trying to subdue a rogue pack of wolf shifters in Germany who threaten to out the Others to the world of humans. Will he be able to juggle the oncoming conflict and win back his mate?

Claws, love bites and handcuffs – OH MY!

We met Gage in Big Bad Bite. He is a hot alpha tiger shifter who is 262 years old. Gage and Elena dated for a while, but he ran because he was getting too attached to the fragile human who he couldn’t tell about being shifter. Two years later, Elena just found out she is an Amazon, and now she knows what Gage is.

…Amazons, which was a species of human that was genetically superior to those around them. As a result, while they still lived an average human life span, everything else in them was wired for survival. They were literally born and bred with unique traits that made them the ultimate fighters. Every single one of them had been endowed with either a unique understanding for strategizing, an uncanny ability with fighting and the use of weapons, or extreme intelligence. It was Mother Nature’s way of taking the next step in human evolution.

I liked this one a lot better than the first because it didn’t have all the infodumps of the first and it had a lot less errors! No problems with the formatting here.

I liked both Elena and Gage. There was a lot of great humor.

I didn’t like that we didn’t progress very far into the overall plot that started in the first book. The action was very quickly completed, and there was lot less of it than in the first one.

There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, but sex is not a big part of this novel.

It was hot! Here’s a snippet:

Needing to do something—anything—to stop this manipulation of her body and hopefully get him away from her, Elena said the very thing she had to convince herself of. “I wouldn’t fuck you again if you were the last man on Earth.”
Gage stopped grinding his cock against her and Elena felt both relief and regret. Her relief, however, was short lived. He leaned into her, completely covering her body with his own so that she felt him everywhere. Placing his lips against the shell of her ear, he whispered, “It’s a good thing I’m not merely a man then, isn’t it, my little wildcat? Since I’m more animal than man I can smell how much you want me right now. The scent of your pussy weeping for me is making my mouth water. I can’t wait to taste it again, and I will be tasting it because I’ll be eating you for a meal, Elena. I’m going to bury my face between your thighs and lick all of that sweet cream because it belongs to me, just like you do. I may have pushed you away once, but I realized my mistake a long time ago. You. Are. Mine. If I have to tie you to my bed and fuck you senseless until you’re unequivocally addicted to me, I will.”

Occasional foul language.

SAFE – no cheating, OM/OW drama, or abuse.

3rd person past tense from both Elena and Gage.

Errors: 13 (wrong words, missing words, subject-verb agreement, words switched around, several words that are one work broken into two like sidearm)


Favorite Quotes:

He really didn’t want to have to lower himself to the disgusting practice of a date to get her in bed. It was ridiculous and unnecessary. Not to mention he had better things to do with his spare time; there had to be a way around all of that.

Curious as to what had riled her lover up, she tiptoed to the closed bedroom door and convinced herself it was not wrong to eavesdrop on the man you had elevated to boyfriend status, a fact she planned on informing him of shortly. Being someone’s girlfriend gave you rights to snoop a little. It was written down in the women’s laws somewhere, she was sure.

Delta looked at her and deadpanned, “You’re like the Amazon version of RoboCop with your ridiculous mission speak and small armory hidden away in your bedroom. I watch movies like Friday and asked a vampire once if I could rub his fangs all in the name of research. Are any of us normal?”

What they found was Delta laying stunned and confused, sprawled on the ground on her stomach. Lulu had collided into her and then landed with her face down in Delta’s derriere and the rest of her body pinning poor Delta’s legs down so she couldn’t move. The tigress’s nose was buried right in the crease of Delta’s backside, creating a sight neither Chloe nor Elena would be forgetting anytime soon.

When you loved a woman who had the heart of a warrior, you couldn’t try to wrap her in bubble wrap and put her on a shelf. You had to let her be who she was or you’d end up suffocating her fiery spirit. Gage refused to do that to his mate. Besides, he had ways to protect her from the potential dangers.
“Don’t worry about Elena. By the time I’m done outfitting her with weapons, she’s going to be a one woman army. If I were you though, brother, I’d stay away from her after she has fire power. I can’t guarantee she won’t shoot your annoying ass.”


Big Bad Bite (Big Bad Bite Series Book 1) – Jessie Lane

Paranormal shifter romance with some unique lore but also some problems. 99 cents on Amazon.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Blurb:

What would it be like to live in a world where you were considered abnormal even to those who were above the norm?

Jenna O’Conner is not human, nor is she considered the norm for the supernatural Other community. It’s important she hide her true nature from both humans and Others.

Right after moving to a new city, Jenna runs into trouble in the form of a deadly, mouthwatering man named Adam McPhee. He’s an alpha werewolf determined to do two things: figure out exactly what Jenna is and have her all to himself.

As if that weren’t enough for Jenna to deal with, a group of extremist Shifters who consider humans to be cattle and who think that factions of Others should stay within their own species—never to intermingle—come to town. Jenna has to find a way to shut them down, but in the process of trying to do that, she discovers things about herself that even she had never thought were possible.

Who said the wolf was what you had to worry about?

Welcome to the real world—the Other world.


Jenna’s family hid her away for most of her life, telling her she would be in grave danger if anyone else in the “Other” community found out about her. When she finished college, she wanted to be a cop like her uncle. They let her go to the police academy and be a cop in a small town. Then they let her become a SWAT team member in the larger city of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Now it really doesn’t make any sense to me that this “overprotective” family would allow this. But I suspended my disbelief because without this insanity, there wouldn’t be a story. Week one at her new job, Jenna was discovered by Adam, a wolf shifter.

Jenna was a superhero type character, overly perfect, until she met the “Other” world. She’s strong, beautiful, independent, and snarky. Some of the snarky struck me as stupid. She herself realizes that she put her foot in her mouth a few times. Some things just didn’t make sense. For example, she backs down to a tiger shifter because she realizes he could hurt her, but then later shows she probably could have gotten out of that situation when she faces off against two tiger shifters at the same time, and they have to back down. It’s confusing.

Jenna is a virgin. But this makes sense for her character. She was kept hidden at home most of her life. Then she worried she would harm a human if they had sex. Humans were the only option since her family stressed the importance of staying hidden from shifters or any kind of “Other”.

I liked Adam. He’s a possessive, growly, alpha, but he’s also sweet and romantic. But I was not a fan of the setup where Jenna basically has to accept Adam or he’s going to die. I won’t get into the specifics of that. If you read it, you’ll know what I mean. It puts Jenna in a tough spot. The romance was very fast and didn’t feel developed. There are no “fated mates” in this world, so I felt they should have had to get to know each other more before they believe they are in love. It also seemed like the romance was dropped for a large section of the book while other things are going on.

There is a lot of shifter lore in this book. Some of it is unique, which I like. But there are many long infodumps. Some of it comes out in thoughts, some in long dialogue passages. There is way too much for me to get into here. Here is a bit:

  • Wolf, big cat, and bear shifters. Also witches, demons, and vampires.
  • All these are relatively immortal, some living for a couple thousand years.
  • Wolf shifters live in packs with an Alpha and Beta. Their females are basically confined to the pack lands where they can be protected. A “Pack Master” rules over all the alphas in a country or region.
  • Wolves were “sensual creatures with an over-active sex drive”. They often had orgies in the “pack’s lodge”. But Adam hadn’t had sex in over 6 months at the start of the novel. I was not happy with the number of man-whores in this novel.
  • These shifters can shift to their full animal or half shift. When fully shifting, their clothes are destroyed if wearing any.
  • Jenna the human and her wolf are alter egos, Jenna doesn’t think of herself as the wolf. So it’s like two entities in the same body. I’m not a fan of the split personality. I prefer it to be described as her instincts telling her one thing while her reasoning told her another.
  • Bullets can wound, but silver bullets can kill a shifter.
  • Male shifter bite female shifters leaving a mate “Mark”.

There is a lot of unique lore about where each of the different types of “Other” came from. I found it interesting. But it was too much to get all at once. I hope that the following books in the series don’t suffer from this problem because it all came out in the first one.

339 pages. $0.99 on Amazon.

This is a standalone only in that the romance is resolved. The overarching mystery/action plot is not resolved. Jenna and Adam’s story continues in an 82-page novella, Big Bad Bite Returned, $0.99 on Amazon. There are two other full-length novels in the series, each $3.99 on Amazon.

Graphic sex scenes – but not until 70% of the way through the book.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Jenna and Adam. Some chapters have head-hopping issues.

There were many individual lines and some entire chapters where the first line of each paragraph was not indented to match the rest of the book. This was driving me batty.

Some descriptions were very confusing. I swear one basically said, “A bar featuring a bar”.

Other errors: 24 – wrong words, missing words, missing or extra commas, and quotation mark problems. Many phrases were missing “that”. All I had to say about [that] is it’s annoying.


Favorite Quotes:

After getting dressed in a pair of jeans and a tank top, she repacked her bag to get ready to leave; once her room was straight again, of course. It was seriously sad a grown woman could be afraid of her mama’s temper tantrums. However, most mothers couldn’t pick up a house and drop it on you without breaking a sweat. Not that Jenna’s mama would ever hurt her, but one predator knew how to act when a bigger predator was in the room.

Pulling out her shoulder harness from her closet, she slung it on and then pulled out two Sig Sauer .45 pistols from the shelf. These had also been graduation presents from her Uncle Owen. See, who said a girl couldn’t be sentimental without candy and flowers?

The absolute horror of her little brother—who she hadn’t even known existed until this morning—seeing her bras or panties was enough to terrify and humiliate her beyond words. Because she was quickly discovering that the possibility of a little brother, even if they appeared to be over the age of eighteen, seeing your undergarments equaled two words—total mortification.

“You’re a hopeless pervert, Kent.”
“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong, pretty girl. I’m a hopeful pervert.”

Apparently, it didn’t matter if you were human or Other, all men were dogs. Hell, at this point, if aliens landed in front of the house, she’d bet it would only be because they still thought ‘earth girls were easy’ and that would only prove they were dogs, too.

She had that scolding, parental face on. The one she had used over the years, telling her to clean her room or no she couldn’t have a flamethrower for Christmas.

The Bear’s Runaway Bride – Amy Star

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Paranormal bear shifter romance with much more action than romance, horrible writing, and loads of errors

Blurb:

WereBear Alex always enjoyed living the solitary life in the Alaskan wilderness. It is not easy being accepted as a bear shifter so he was happy to keep himself to himself and avoid unnecessary human contact.

However, Alex’s life was turned on it’s head the day that he heard the shouting and screaming.

He followed the noise to see a woman in a wedding dress running through the forest and being chased by a bunch of mysterious men in black.

He did not think twice and he did what he could to save her from these men.

Now she is ever grateful to Alex for saving her life and it is clear that the two of them are about to fall for each other.

But just who is the bear’s runaway bride and who were the men in black she was running from? And most importantly, what will happen when they return??


If you read the blurb, you immediately get that the bride isn’t running away from the bear shifter but from someone else. So this is not the runaway bride trope.

There is much more action than romance in this novel. It’s the story of a few rescue missions. And it’s a good story. I like action. But I expect more romance, as in the evolution of a romantic relationship, when a novel is categorized as a romance. There just wasn’t a lot of relationship building. I’m giving this two stars because the story was good, and the writing was good in parts. There were just too many errors, which I will get into shortly.

Niomie is a Canada’s First Nation Indian. I like novels that have characters with unique heritage or disabilities. It makes them more interesting. I liked that she was strong, smart, and insisted on being seen as an equal with Alex. I also liked Alex, how his story came out, and how he grew emotionally.

There is unique shifter lore here, but it’s almost like there just is no lore. Shifters exist, but they are normal humans if you exclude their ability to shift and heal somewhat faster. Nothing happens when a shifter has sex, as in becoming lifelong mates. There is no biting, no fated mates, and no shifter culture/spirituality.

SPOILER: There is a HEA, sort of. I really don’t like that it just ends. There is no talk of staying together and where they would live if so, no marriage proposal, no epilogue showing a snippet of their future together. I get that they say they will face whatever comes together, but I would like more specifics!

Graphic sex scenes. Words like labia and vulva are used. These words seem clinical and take away some of the hotness for me. Some of it was really horrible. For example, “His penis deflated and pulled out of her, slick and wet like an insect fresh from its cocoon, and she cringed over top of him.” This description made me cringe too! The language used is so not hot. I feel like the author is trying to say, “They say this book won’t sell without sex in it? Then I’ll punish the readers with my descriptions of sex. They’ll never ask me for sex scenes again!”

Occasional foul language.

This is narrated (3rd person omniscient) instead of 3rd person close. We get some thoughts and feelings from both Alex and Niomie. This is unusual for a romance novel, and many people were put off by it in other reviews. Past tense.

Errors: 59, which is terrible! Wrong words, missing words, misspelled names, phrases that make no sense, and things that should be plural missing the s. “By the time…” is missing “the” – just “By time” – 12 times. But it is written correctly once, proving the author does know the correct form of the phrase. Formatting issues like the first paragraph of some chapters being centered text, a page break after a chapter title, extra spaces, and lines of text in italics that shouldn’t be. The author or editor also doesn’t know how to break dialogue into multiple paragraphs. To have the dialogue continue in the next paragraph, you must leave off the ending quotation mark. But you must have the beginning quotation mark at the start of the next paragraph to indicate it is still dialogue to the reader.

Some reviewers complained about the obscure language used. I’m absolutely fine with the lesser used words in the English language. But if they are used, they need to be used correctly! They are often used incorrectly here. It feels like the author is trying too hard to find good words and isn’t fully understanding them herself. Two examples:

“flat expanse of torn up moss and sphagnum”

…moss and sphagnum… but sphagnum is peat moss. So this basically says “moss and moss”. It makes no sense.

“…to survive so much physical apoplexy but have nothing, in the end, to remind him of it.”

The author is talking about the physical wounds that Alex received. Apoplexy is a specific ailment of stroke victims, generally not being able to speak. It can also be used to mean someone can’t speak – suffering a bout of apoplexy. But it certainly does not refer to generally having been wounded as Alex was.

240 pages. $2.99 on Amazon.

Wolf Hollow (Wolf Hollow Shifters Book 1) – Nikki Jefford

Paranormal shifter romance set in a post-apocalyptic world with unique shifter lore. Currently free on Amazon.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Blurb:

Breed or die off.

The future of Wolf Hollow is in the hands of their single shifters to claim mates and rebuild their pack after a devastating attack leaves them vulnerable.

Sasha is the only surviving female pureblooded wolf in her pack and feels the pressure to claim the pack’s only pureblooded male . . . until he runs off rather than claim her. The elders have chosen a new male for her with no concern for her feelings on the matter. None of her packmates appear to care who mates her, except for one.

An attraction that threatens the future of the pack…

Tabor, a hotheaded half-breed, is the hollow’s only wizard shifter. Constantly overlooked despite his strengths, Tabor believes Sasha is as shortsighted as the rest of the pack until she proves there’s more to her than a blindly obedient lapdog.

Unable to resist the proud and sensual pureblood, Tabor would risk everything to claim her.

Despite her vanishing bloodline, Sasha can’t resist the charismatic half-breed, even as the elders set her up to breed with another pureblood.

Predators are closing in, threatening to eliminate their pack permanently, and there are shifters within Wolf Hollow willing to do anything to prevent the pair from claiming one another.

It’s a savage, Mad Max kind of world where only the strongest survive. Meet the Wolf Hollow Shifters in Nikki Jefford’s dark and addictive dystopian romance series for adult readers.


Wolf Hollow has unique shifter lore I haven’t come across before. There are four different kinds of wolf shifters: pure-bloods who always lived in the wilderness; non-pure-bloods whose ancestors lived among humans and perhaps mated with them – I’m not clear on that point; werewolves who shift into the monster form we’ve seen in movies; and half-breeds who are a mix of wolf shifter and another magical race – the only one we know of is wizards.

This shifter world does not have fated mates. They choose their mates just like humans do. And they can cheat, having sex with other people than their “mate”, which I don’t like. Both male and female claim each other with a bite to the neck, but it doesn’t have to be during sex (as I often see).

“Wolf shifters, in both animal and human form, could only become pregnant during the full moon. The closer to the exact second, the better their chances.”

“Once a female shifter reached her second trimester, her body became incapable of shifting into wolf form until after she gave birth. With pure-blooded native wolf shifters, the opposite was true. When two purebloods mated, the female was stuck in wolf form the moment she became pregnant until she gave birth. Purebloods were considered the strongest wolf shifters in existence, but they were a dying breed.”

I loved Sasha. She is strong, fierce, and honorable. Tabor is the same but fighting against the prejudice and exclusion of his pack growing up. They both grow throughout the novel.

This was a fast paced read with a lot of action and emotion. I only found one error in this novel, so it is extremely well edited. I’m eager to read more in this series.

There are a few sex scenes, but they aren’t detailed.

SAFE – no Other People drama, cheating, or abuse.

3rd person past tense from Sasha and Tabor.

293 pages. Currently free on Amazon. There are 4 more in the series, $3.99 each.



Rare Breed: Leopards Unleashed Series Book 1 – Dina Haynes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steamy, suspenseful, action-packed, paranormal shifter romance

Blurb:

She was exiled at birth. He terrifies the other monsters. Can two outsider wereleopards overcome prejudice and find their own way to love?

Los Angeles. MacKenzie is a loner by necessity, not choice. Hiding from the intolerance of the shifter world by living among humans, she’s terrified when she accidentally kills her date and blows her cover. Not only does she have to elude the LAPD, she’s on the run from the most feared bounty hunter in the were community.

Ramone Hernandes sees his own struggles reflected in his prey’s captivating eyes. So after tracking her down, he abandons his snatch-and-grab mission and instead attempts to clear her name. And the more time he spends with the alluring outcast, the stronger his urge to claim her as his chosen mate.

Confused by her attraction to the beast sent to take her in, MacKenzie must weigh her precarious state as a fugitive against the calls of her heart. And although he’s willing to do anything to protect her, Ramone’s failure to do his job threatens both their lives.

With their enemies aligning against them, can they survive long enough to heal their wounded hearts?

Rare Breed, formerly published as Wereleper, is the first book in the spine-tingling Leopards Unleashed paranormal romance series. If you like tough heroines, steamy scenes, and unexpected twists, then you’ll adore Dina Haynes’s suspenseful saga.



This is a romance, but it takes a while to get there. This was good. I liked it a lot, but I don’t think I would want to re-read it, so 4 stars. I read it fairly quickly, but it did drag in some parts, possibly because I wanted to get to the romance already. The romance is more of an end game thing. It is more suspense and action than romance.

Dina Haynes has built a unique shifter world here and did very well with that world-building. I’ve read many shifter romances and always enjoy the tweaks authors make to the standard shifter lore out there. In this world:

  • Humans know about shifters and live in relative peace with them. There is prejudice and hate like racism in the real world.
  • Shifters live very long lives, seems like at least 150 years.
  • Shifters can fully shapeshift from human to their were-species. There are big cats (leopards, lions), wolves, and bears mentioned.
  • Shifters heal completely if they shift from one form to another.
  • Shifters can heal with their saliva. Mates “tend” to each other this way, creating a stronger bond.
  • I was confused about how two shifters become mates. Early on, it is said one male is always careful to pull out during sex because not doing so would tie the pair together for life. This is a common part of general shifter lore, usually accompanied by a bite, which is not part of the lore here. But later in this novel, someone does not pull out, and nothing happens immediately. Beyond that, we are also told that wereleopards don’t always mate for life. I never got a clear idea of the “rules” here.

This is the story of MacKenzie, Mac, a “mutant” born to two wereleopards. Mac can’t fully shift into a leopard, so she also can’t heal quickly by shifting forms. This also makes her very weak in comparison to other shifters. Most were parents would kill a “defective” child like this at birth. Mac’s mother wanted to kill Mac, but her father refused.

Mac’s unique condition means she has almost no shifter scent, making it easy to hide from other shifters among humans. Mac had been living among humans for a long time at the start of the story. She had gotten so “human”, that she has a dog! It is very odd for a cat shifter to have a dog, but I love Chunk, the French Bulldog. He adds a lot of humor to this story.

I liked the characters. They are far from perfect, but that makes them interesting. Mac is a strong, independent woman who consistently saves herself. Her struggle is allowing emotional connections with others and accepting help.

At the beginning, Mac has a casual sex relationship with “the male”. We later learn his name is Doug. I was amused that Mac keeps thinking of Doug as “the male” long after learning his name. It was obviously a ploy to distance herself from him emotionally. From the blurb, I expected the male romantic lead to be Ramone, so I was confused and put off by the sex and other intimacy with Doug. It’s not cheating, but I still only want intimacy with the main romantic partner. This is a strong preference of mine.

There are some trigger warnings. Mac was abused by her parents. She was sent to the were-jail when she was 16, and she was routinely beaten and raped there by the guards. There is also dubious consent in some of the sex scenes – Mac is physically restricted from moving, and her partner is not taking no for an answer, but intercourse does not happen until Mac is fully along for the ride.

Some graphic sex scenes. Scenes with the male romantic lead don’t occur until after 50%. They aren’t very explicit. Common language used in erotic novels is not used here.

Occasional foul language.

HEA.

1st person past tense, all from MacKenzie.

This is very well edited. I only found 11 errors.

323 pages. $2.99 on Amazon and part of Kindle Unlimited.

I downloaded this for free via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Quotes:

I pulled off the 10 freeway and rolled down the window so Chunk could suffocate himself in the wind. After a bout of snorting and hacking, he stepped back inside and looked at me as if to say, Did you see how I almost died there?
I glanced at him and said, “Glutton and punishment. Put them together in a sentence and that’s what you are, buddy.”
He stood back up and stuck his face out the window again.

The old me was thinking, Don’t trust that bitch. But the new, emotional me was like Sex is good, let’s keep him.

He caught my leg as I crawled away and pulled me to him. Chunk let go a whine. “Hey, mutt,” he said. “I’m about to do stuff to your mommy you won’t like.”
As if Chunk understood every word, he threw me a worried look, then jumped off the bed and left the room.