Review : Fated Hearts (Shadow Bound #1) by Garrett Leigh

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

There is a free short story prequel to this book, but you don’t need to read it to enjoy this story. Alpha Varian of the Northern Pack is allied with the Shadow Clan against the allied packs of the South. I don’t really understand how this alliance works; it is something to do with the peace accord with other supernaturals (like vampires), but that is never discussed in any detail. Shadow Clan has so far stayed out of the agression. Zio is a beta in Varian’s combat squad, full of rage after the death of his best friend Emma, their wolf healer. When Shadow Clan sends their healer Devan to replace Emma, he must navigate culture shock, distrust, grief and the mating bond in order to save the lives of his new Pack.

The fish out of water element is a great way to explain things through Devan’s POV. Unfortunately, this is completely underutilized. In this world, paranormals coexist with humans, but shifters are treated differently in different parts of the world. The wolves are born with their own supernatural powers, like an affinity with different types of magic…and nothing is done with that except for a few small tremors and some shielding, which is literally a few sentences. There is one human character introduced briefly in the book even though humans try to stop the werewolf aggression and some wolves have human mates. Also, Devan is a different type of shifter…the author purposely doesn’t say what type until well into the book, but it’s on the cover so I didn’t understand the big secret. As an enemies to lovers story, it’s based on the loss of Emma, not that they are different animal spirits. The way humans or paranormals become shadow shifters is something else not well explained because the prequel made me have more questions than the book did–some people die once, while some people die twice…or is that only vampires who become Shadow Clan? I don’t know.

Zio is not in the correct frame of mind, as the reader can tell when his POV is given at key times. The only things that make sense to me about his extremes are either immaturity or PTSD, although that isn’t discussed, yet it’s treated more as a charcter issue that is fixed with the mating bond. This is a book about war, but the action scenes weren’t that gripping. Some shifters die and there are a few horrific injuries, but it is seen at a distance somehow, even with Devan being the one to heal them. None of the other side characters come alive; they are supposed to be close, sometimes having sex after battle, but I never got to feel anything for any of them because that is something the reader is told instead of shown. I wasn’t emotionally attached to whether they lived or died.

Even though Zio was bitten young, he was raised by humans and doesn’t seem to know wolf history or understand wolf biology. That’s convenient to move the story along, but he purposefully never rectified it and willful ignorance isn’t a very attractive character trait. Devan seems to be more arrogant, thinking he can ignore their growing bond, while Zio doesn’t recognize they are mates at all. Frankly, as a healer used to dealing with different kinds of supernatural, Devan should know better. About 60% of the way in, Devan says he likes Zio but I’m not sure why when they have barely spoken to each other and their interactions are contentious or a short sexual activity. All of the sudden, just when they start having whole conversations, there is a manufactured crisis to keep them apart, which would have worked better if the attention to the political details had been in the world-building. Again, while this is convenient for a slow burn romance, it doesn’t really work with the story except as an excuse to wallow in an agonizingly precarious position. Then all of the sudden Devan is dying for no reason. What? At the end, the humans are involved and have some drug to use on shifters, which has to have been stuck in there at the last minute to create conflict for the next book. I really wanted to like this more than I did, but I didn’t connect to this story.

The cover art was done by Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design. I’m not sure it is representative of the mood of this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Fox Love Press
ASINB07XSKC3ZP
Edition Language: English
Series: Shadow Bound

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Fated Hearts (Shadow Bound #1) by Garrett Leigh — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Dead Man Stalking (Blood and Bone #1) by T.A. Moore

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

This story features Agent Luke Bennett, aka Took, a member of the BITERs unit of the Anakim (vampire) police known as VINE. The reader is thrown into the action two years after Luke was Taken and turned. He’s been in therapy and is acting as a P.I. His case throws him in the path of his old commander Madoc, who wants him back at work, and is in love with him. It seems obvious to say Took has PTSD; he can’t remember the night he was taken and his fear seems to be getting worse instead of better, until he becomes consumed by this case and takes back his agency, literally and figuratively. As a former Cardinal for the Anakim, Madoc has always been a type of enforcer. He has a strength that Took finds and matches during the book. It switches between Took’s and Madoc’s POV. These are complex, three dimensional charcters. They have their blindspots, insecurities, and make mistakes; yet, both of these men can be cold, arrogant and prickly. For as much as these characters are not pleasant people, I loved them so much. Yes, the romance relies on the longer, off-page relationship in order to work, but the love scenes are hot (and bloody) and I love their working dynamic and banter.

I liked this new take on vampires, werewolves, and hunters. There was something called a Goat, but there wasn’t much detail about this species. I believe there may be other shifters, but that’s not explored in this book. While the political landscape is painted enough for this story to be successful, I wanted more, even if I think this book wasn’t quite the right time without info dumps that I wouldn’t want. There is also a weird shadow realm that is intriguing and terrifying, but not explained at all. The sorcerers are also not explained very much, but they are not capitalized like everyone else so I guess they are not considered born as their own species. There are times where the chapter or scene starts abruptly and I felt like I missed something until I kept reading and everything was explained: while this is a valid stylistic choice, I found it jarring. Although the secondary characters are all effectively utilized and would be great to build upon in other stories, I would have liked them a bit more concrete. (I did appreciate there wasn’t a formulaic meet these characters that will be the couple in the next book type of setup.) These may be minor things, but they did keep me from giving this a 5 star rating. It was a near thing because I loved everything else about this, so let’s talk about that. This is a book I will reread and be will on my best of the year list.

For those not familiar with this author, she always describes the scenes in stark details–gross, grimy, gory–but effective. This is brutal, as with any police case involving violence. I don’t want to give spoilers, but for trigger warnings and tags you might want to keep these in mind: child abuse, brainwashing, murder, child trafficking, kidnapping, and torture. I found this urban fantasy/police investigation mashup really effective; both the world and the case are interesting and well thought out. The action scenes are really well done. The world-building here is fantastically layered in throughout the book. There is information the reader gleans from the thoughts and instincts of the characters, suppressed memories, flashbacks, dialogue, and the actions and their consequences. All of the events and discoveries lead to logical conclusions, but not always the ones that I thought they would from the beginning, yet I never felt blindsided with too many plot twists. I liked the intricacies of the story that require thought. Now that this world is built, I want so many new cases to be written, but I am also content if they are not. The last sentence of this book was perfect. Don’t cheat, you have to read the whole thing.

The cover art is by Kanaxa. I didn’t love it, although it is striking and conveys violence and blood, which are main themes of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details: ebook, 260 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781644053379
Edition Language English
Series: Blood and Bone #1

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dead Man Stalking (Blood and Bone #1) by T.A. Moore — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: By Way of Pain – Criminal Delights: Assassins by J.M. Dabney

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is part of the Criminal Delights series, which are standalones by different authors revolving around dark themes. Pay attention to the trigger warnings. This book is about a lawyer named Cowan Kingley, who is a hired assassin. The reader sees him at different ages to establish him as not quite right, and much of the book is in his first person POV. The reader also gets the first person POV of the man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ends up kidnapped instead of killed. The key here is the why of it. What would make an assassin not kill a witness right away?

The warnings say dubcon, but I would say this is noncon. The Stockholm Syndrome contributes to the confusion. As a virgin with no experience, the captive has never had the chance to find out what he likes. Once Conway starts with the humiliation, whipping, spanking, choking, and breath play…his captive realizes he likes it. I don’t think this will convince anyone who isn’t predisposed to liking this sort of book. The book really has two acts. The first half is more intimate with just the two of them. The second half has John Wick style action sequences. While the whole book is actually effective, well written, and way more entertaining than it should be with a satisfying conclusion…there is a major issue.

Although Conway thinks of himself as a sociopath and has studied human psychology, I can’t agree since he is able to become obsessed, possessive, and caring–genuinely caring as the reader knows his POV–towards his captive. In the thank you note at the end, the author calls him a psychopath. These are not interchangeable words; they are two different things. One lacks empathy and the other lacks conscience, but neither would care about anyone else, let alone fall in love. This is the downfall of the book. If you are willing to ignore clinical definitions of these mental illnesses and suspend disbelief, it is well done for what it is.

The cover by was done by Natasha Snow. The covers of the whole series are stylized and match

Sales Links:  Amazon Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published May 20th 2019 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB07PKQZ23C
Edition Language: English

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: By Way of Pain – Criminal Delights: Assassins by J.M. Dabney — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Rook by T. Strange

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Rook is sent to the alien prison planet B-226 for twenty three years for killing his husband. The average life span on the hostile planet is three weeks. His plan is to live as long as possible to honor his husband’s wishes, and then die and join him. Upon landing he is partnered with a prisoner named Stevie to help guard the miners, or he won’t get fed. There is a strange thrill in fightening off the local fauna and surviving, or having a specific daily purpose, that Rook didn’t count on. Their days are stressful, consisting of violent episodes bracketed by fighting boredom for concentration. Through his POV, the third character is Rook‘s dead husband Carlos. Stevie walks a fine line of teaching Rook how to survive, being wary of any attack or signs of madness setting in, using him for company and sex, but trying not to care too much in case Rook gets killed like all his previous partners.

I found this plot enticing as I personally enjoy when an author explores the psychology of a character. This is a new author to me so I really didn’t know what to expect. The main question here was always going to be, are they just together because of the circumstances? While that is actually asked, finding out the real answer takes the whole book. Bonding over shared trauma isn’t bad as a short cut, as long as it’s not the only thing there. While they are just trying to survive, they don’t actually know anything about each other’s previous lives. What they do know is: how they each react in an emergency, if they are trustworthy and to what extent, how each deals with conflict and triggers, and what factors motivate or de-motivate them. I would argue not knowing facts about someone’s life, or even their particular thoughts at any given moment, is less important than knowing if they can be counted on. I loved that there were so many issues touched on like the complications of choice, personal sovereignty, stages of grief, and PTSD. Having said that, it’s shocking that no one even makes a mention or an attempt at trying to deal with said mental health issues.

There are parts of this book that at times reminded me of movies like Predator, Reign of Fire, Pitch Black, Starship Troopers or Enemy Mine. I mention movies because I saw this story as pictures in my mind. That the author manages to sustain a feeling of suspense and terror for such a large (80-85%) portion of this book is amazing. There are breaks in the tension just when they are needed. There are breaks in the setting, just when they are needed. The focus of this book is very narrow, with the characters in their own world, creating a very intimate rather than epic feel so without the breaks, this could have been stifling. As it is, I felt like I went through everything with them.

Romance is not the point of this book. Finding someone you love and can get along with during one of the worst times of your life is another thing altogether. Sex is also not the point of this book–mostly it is fade to black, or described as a celebration of survival or stress relief as a realistic part of Rook‘s life and circumstances. While there is a HFN/HEA here, it is done in a realistic way consistent with the flavor of the novel as a whole. I am so thankful this author didn’t just slap a bow on it and negate all the work it took to get to the end of this journey. I thought this story was great and complete as it is.

The cover designed by Aisha Akeju is evocative of desolation and beauty. You can clearly tell it is science fiction. I do appreciate the use of the jungle as both reality and allegory.

Buy Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

 

Book Details: ebook
Published February 7th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684311804
Edition Language: English

 

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

***Sadly, Less Than Three Press has gone out of business.

Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ian has feelings for his best friend Blake, who doesn’t reciprocate. In a moment of impulsiveness, he takes home a stranger named Jesse. But Jesse isn’t who he seems to be and suddenly Ian and Jesse are thrown into circumstances that will change their lives. While the general population doesn’t know vampires exist, branches of the government and law enforcement do. Most vampires are in covens that follow the rules laid out by the Vampire Liaison and Crimes Division so they are no longer hunted and killed. But some vampires like to kill and are not happy about being monitored. The cast is rounded out by: the coven leader Raphael, Jesse’s sire and former lover Peter, Ian’s best friends Blake and Cate, and Jesse’s best friend Lys.

When Blake joins the VLCD, things get complicated. The circumstances put everyone in danger as one bad decision after another happens at a frantic pace. On the one hand, this helps pull the plot along without a lot of time to question or poke too many holes in it. On the other hand, I kept wondering why everyone just went along with the crazy parts. Although Blake’s POV happens occasionally, I wanted to know way more about his job and training, so I am hoping that will be another book. I thought how all the police just jump up and do whatever Raphael says at times unbelievable.

There are several things that make this book work: the chemistry between Jesse and Ian, having someone a reader can love to hate, and the friendships which give the book heart. Although the relationship between Ian and Jesse is fast, with the way things happen I didn’t have an issue with that. Where this author shines is individual scenes between characters. The book is very entertaining with likable main characters, but it could have been great instead of just good with more detailed world building, especially a more realistic view of the relationship between the vampires and law enforcement.

The cover artist is Garrett Leigh. Since both Ian and Jesse are tall with dark hair, I have to guess, but I would say this is Jesse. Along with the title, it hints at Jesse’s past and is appropriate for the story.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2XQCbgv

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2J1E19X

Universal Link: books2read.com/WoundedSoul

– Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 245 pages
Published April 28th 2019
ASINB07R8TMVYK
Edition Language: English

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Shift by Joel Abernathy, Flesh And Bone 3

Shift cover

I would rate this 3.75 stars.

This is the third book in the series about werewolves, vampires, and hunters. These should be read in order for the overarching storyline. These books don’t have white hats, but shades of gray with graphic sex and violence. This is Andrei’s story of how he meets Mihail showing alternating POV. It makes sense, in this world, that they would end up thrown together–both know death and the hunt. This is a coming of age story in many ways and shows their gradual loss of innocence, breaking away from their family influences/duties and finding out who they are and what they can live with.

After all the nontraditional pairing in the first two books, I’m not sure why everyone expects Andrei to just fall in line with tradition, especially with his past. This has that Romeo and Juliet quality, except they actually have known each other for most of their lives. The plot is similar to the second one featuring Mason and Vasil, so the author had to throw us a curveball out of nowhere in regards to Andrei. That’s not quite fair, there was a little foreshadowing, but I feel like the actual plot didn’t need it on top of everything else. It just seems to be there for a certain type of sex to occur. This is trope city with friends to enemies to lovers, dirty little secret, alpha/omega, first time, and dubcon all present.

One of the emotional components I really liked about this story was something I understand: abuse, being feral, and then being vulnerable when you feel loved and unable to access that rage for protection anymore. There are so many psychological issues that ring true to human existence included to help ground the story a bit. That’s especially important when writing about characters who are not “good” or necessarily likeable.

In the beginning the story seems slow and clunky, but gets better as you see the threads of the plot weave in and tighten. The author is consistent and committed to this over the top, angsty style so it makes sense to just revel in it. Then it all ties back to books one and two, making it all inevitable. All the interesting world building from book one isn’t really used or visited again. It’s also a shame that we see all the characters from the first two books, but they have just walk-on parts with no sense of their personality. These books have been about finding home and someone who will love you, scars and scarred psyche and all, yet I didn’t really feel it. The way this book ends for Andrei and Mihail, the way the series ends, has a nice symmetry.

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Joel Abernathy’s Facebook

L.C. Davis’s Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This book starts out with a civil war started by King Taen by appropriating the lands of Lord Mavren, making them an enemy. Really there are huge ideological differences between the two and Mavren speaking out against what they see as issues in their society has lead to this. Lord General Aiomonni is the head of King Taen’s military and Lord Mavren’s previous lover. Mavren becomes King of their own rebel Catalyst forces. The reader is thrown into the mind of a Soldiercaste of the Augment Empire during a battle in which they are captured by the enemy. The Augment are a cybernetic species that need organic tissue for digestion, or a host body to assimilate. They are bipedal, yet insectile. This soldier becomes Nact of Quen and the reader will follow them as they raise up in the Catalyst army after their defection. When Nact and Aiomonni engage in battle beyond the charted galaxy to land on a hostile planet, their only hope of survival lies in cooperation, and maybe more.

I would recommend reading an excerpt to see if this book appeals to you. It is written with agender pronouns (ne/nem/nemself/nir). What makes this so compelling is that Nact’s POV shows what freedom and choice look like to someone who’s never had it. It takes six years for Nact to become a general, due to their skills, not because they were born into it. They channel their anger for how their caste was deprived and ill treated into battling King Taen’s forces. By the time they are sent to capture Aiomonni, my sympathies were engaged with them. But for all their privilege, Aiomonni is as much a captive of the system, of convention, as Nact was. The crash shows Aiomonni that their crew have skills beyond their caste. Alive on a populated planet named Colti, being Augment seems more important than their civil war. Showing Aiomonni’s POV makes them extremely sympathetic. At one point they have a common enemy, Plackart, who the author gives a moment of his own: a chance for the reason to see and understand who he is. (I used the he pronoun here although I have no idea if this species is agender also.) This would have been more poignant and heartbreaking than it is, if it had been explored more so my sympathies lay with him also, but that opportunity passes–it is an intellectual scene showing the psychology of his character rather than an emotional scene where I felt his pain and loss.

I feel like the whole book takes the first 25 percent to set-up until they crash land. Then, it gets really interesting. There are so many ethical issues raised throughout the book: the caste system, ruling by fear, being a parasitic race, acceptable behavior during war, what makes a person a person, the parameters of loyalty, etc. This is obviously not a traditional romance. Intimacy is earned by respect or allegiance, but there are layers to the intimacies they grant and even having larvae together doesn’t guarantee anything approximating love. There is never any doubt that these are alien creatures. The sex is completely alien. The sex scenes show aspects of their culture and personal characters as a normal part of life, however, at least for me, they weren’t terribly erotic. This book captures that forbidden feeling of wanting your political enemy whilst being stuck by duty of birth, oaths, and family obligations. This book is so intriguing because the characters are acting honorably–in their own fashion. Their temporary alliance for the greater good allows them to live in a bubble and indulge themselves, but it is temporary and the vanities of others await–continued war still awaits.

I would have liked to get to know some of the other passing characters more. At first I was not sure about the purpose of the character of Feylc, but they become a good foil and I realized it is something I’ve missed in other books as it’s an underutilized tool these days. Still, they are the only other Augment with a real personality here.

I’m not going to say this wasn’t sometimes a little difficult to fully picture, because it was. I’m not going to say the non-binary language wasn’t sometimes confusing (even having read many non-binary characters previously), because it did get awkward in places since the author still uses we and they. What I will say is that for me the effort was worth it. I liked that the world building was character focused and driven without all the extraneous descriptions of things that have no real bearing on the story. There is little attention placed on the various home worlds, which may annoy readers who expect and enjoy that type of detail. While there is tech involved, this is not hard science fiction in any way. The reader is told that things work, not how they work. The end wraps up in a satisfactory way with a (mostly) HEA, although it was startling to be narratively told, like a voice over, after living in the character’s heads for so long. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. If you like things that are different from the norm, give this a try.

The cover was designed by Aisha Akeju. I suppose it shows the ship going through the wormhole. It really isn’t intriguing enough for this book.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon |  Barnes & Noble
Book Details:
ebook, 214 pages
Published February 15th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
Original Title Dangerous Times
ISBN 1620049554 (ISBN13: 9781620049556)
Edition Language English
Literary Awards Rainbow Award for Best Transgender Debut & for Best Transgender – Sci-Fi / Futuristic, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Fantasy Romance (2017)

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

***Sadly, Less Than Three Press has gone out of business.

 

Review: Chained by Kim Fielding, Bureau 4

Chained_Cover
Cover Art:  Reese Dante   http://www.reesedante.com

I would rate this 4 stars.

This is the fourth novella in a losely tied together series about The Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. Usually these show the darker side of humanity. As with all of Kim Fielding’s work, she draws the reader in with damaged characters. They can be read in any order.

Edge and his brothers, Duke and Holt, were bought and trained to be security. Edge has the most difficult time as “the boss” tends to abuse him the most. Terry works for the Bureau’s West Coast HQ and goes undercover at the estate to investigate a Hollywood agent named Whitaker. They grow close while Terry is staying at Whitaker’s estate. As a dog shifter, Edge has never known any other life but to obey, yet he isn’t as good at it as he should be–he’s not broken. The details paint a heartbreaking picture. Terry’s background explains his empathy with Edge and their quick connection. Using Hollywood as the backdrop for a tale of greed, power, abuse, and temptation seems like a no brainer.

The connection between the two characters is well done. The story does get magically resolved so everything is neatly taken care of. It’s a little upsetting that Duke and Holt did nothing earlier to help their brother. While hope and a happy end is the point of a romance, it is wrapped up with no mention of recovering from the long term affects of abuse. Still, the happiness I felt for Edge in the end was worth it.

Proceeds from the sale of this series are donated to Doctors Without Borders.

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Kim Fielding’s Website

Review: Wrong Way Home (Criminal Delights: Taken) by K.A. Merikan

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This series has very dark themes. Each book is by a different author and can be read as standalones. Please pay attention to the trigger warnings and tags.

The first two chapters are Colin’s POV as he takes a new route home to visit his parents and ends up seeing a murder. The horror elements are well done. I understand the negotiating–believing maybe if Colin tried to offer favors it might save his life or improve his quality of life in the situation. I think for me, the attraction was too quick on Colin’s part after what he witnessed. Chapter three shows Tarin’s POV. He’s not a psychopath, but he is a survivalist and definitely follows his own rules and moral code. After the initial awkwardness in transitioning them from captor/hostage to actual lovers, the book gets very intriguing when absorbing the reader in what might be Stockholm Syndrome. The sex here is raw, wild, and brutal the first few times and then gets intense with intimacy as the book progresses. As the rest of the book alternates between them, both characters get their layers peeled away.

I liked the blurb and got drawn into the possibilities presented, but the book ends up having a very different feel than what I thought it would be. The original murder is explained and Tarin ends up being quite thoughtful, if stubborn and damaged by past trauma. Colin starts out as not terribly happy and filled with anxiety about decisions and disappointing his family. He and Tarin are strangely well suited and while he may not realise it, his true personality comes out once he feels “safe” enough to fight with Tarin. The noncon/dubcon part of the scenario would have always hung over them unless it was addressed; so while it is addressed, I think I might have liked Colin and Tarin to have more time apart and Colin to have come back on his own, on equal footing. I’ll not spoil it, but there was an opportunity to bring some of the horror elements from the beginning, back into the story and the authors chose a different path. It is also awkward in parts and the plot is a bit thin. Overall, this is a surprisingly sweet romance about two men who might have never met but for fate. They both learn what having a relationship actually means (working together towards a common goal, compromise, listening to each other, respect) and that they are stronger and happier together than apart.

The cover design is by Natasha Snow. Almost all the covers by these authors are dark and stylized with bright fonts. The covers for this series are all similar. This shows Talin and makes sense to the story on more than one level, so I thought it was well done.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published April 15th 2019 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
ASINB07P9MVC31
Edition Language: English

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wrong Way Home (Criminal Delights: Taken) by K.A. Merikan — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Fracture (Unbreakable Bonds #6) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

This is the sixth book in the series. If you don’t read these in order, you will miss some inside couple things, references to their friends and background for Jude’s family. Still, this plot is not connected to the other books, so you could jump in with this one and follow the story, it will just have less emotional impact. There is enough recapping to get by for new people, and annoy those already following the series.

Someone hurt Jude’s 21 year old brother, Jordan, who works construction for their uncle. When Jude starts looking into what might have happened to his brother, he realizes something has been wrong for awhile. What did Jordan get into and how does Jude really know him anymore? Has Jordan changed so much while his brothers Jude and Carrick got busy in their own lives; there is a thirteen and twelve year age difference respectively. Jordan isn’t a child anymore and he is making his own way in life. As Jordan lies in the hospital in a coma, Jude struggles with his emotions and trying to find out who did this and why. It’s his boyfriend’s turn to be the rock this time.

It’s nice to see the other side to both of them as the normal roles are reversed with Jude being the one who is a mess and Snow having to be the strong, rational one.

In this book, Snow’s past is both a curse and a blessing. This sort of plot makes more sense in the Ward Securities spin off series than these things continually happening to medical professionals, a businessman, and a chef. I understand Rowe, Andrei, and Noah getting involved in these sorts of plots, but how many times in real life is this going to realistically keep happening to normal people? In trying to make the book accessible to those who haven’t read the other five books, or remind people of past events if they haven’t read them in awhile, the recapping throughout the book highlights all the implausibilities in the previous plots. I think this is why even though the book is well written, it seems to plod along. Also, the scenes that have other popular characters in them are more like walk-on parts without adding anything to their characters.

I like these characters. I like their loyalty and the family they’ve built. The love scenes are erotic and passionate. The connection and love that Snow and Jude have is well written. I think this is their HEA, even filled with shame, guilt, and nightmares. Everyone is coupled up and starting families, so I’m not sure where else this series can go, but it is enjoyable and it’s difficult to say goodbye to characters you like.

The cover art is by Stephen Drake of Design by Drake. I admit I have no idea who is on the cover or what it has to do with anything. Since this is supposed to be about Jordan, my guess would be he is whose life has been fractured by the events in this book.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Published March 29th 2019 by Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC
ASINB 07P51MQNH
Edition Language: English
Series: Unbreakable Bonds

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Fracture (Unbreakable Bonds #6) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words