E-Originals: An Anthology from Adrienne, Fox, and Mikels, plus Carlyle | Xpress Reviews

Week ending April 14, 2017

Adrienne, Kerry & others. Mated: A Paranormal Romance Shifter Anthology. Carina Romance Promise: Harlequin. May 2017. 267p. ebk. ISBN 9781488078552. $7.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
mated041417Built on the concept of the “mate,” this anthology opens with Adrienne’s Saving His Wolf, in which bear-shifter Powell rescues injured wolf-shifter Olivia during a raging blizzard. Born blind and unable to shift, Olivia is escaping her pack, which will force her to marry the loathsome Alpha wolf Alfred. Powell, though a bear, immediately recognizes her as his mate, the one partner for whom he is meant. When Powell is captured by Alfred’s pack after trying to help Olivia, she discovers her inner strength in order to free him. The theme of rescue continues in Sionna Fox’s Wolf Summer. Sam MacTire is a wolf-shifter who has always been in love with his nonshifter best friend Callie but has kept her at a distance. When she is gravely wounded in an accident, Sam bites her, turning her into a shifter in order to save her from certain death. This sparks a torrid romance but also draws Callie into a dangerous web of pack infighting. In Drawn to the Wolves, by Shari Mikels, empathic sketch artist Kate is on vacation when she runs into some scary characters and some rather large wolves. This triggers an intense childhood fear of the animals. Luckily, her response awakens a preexisting psychic bond with Callan, a local wolf-shifter who sweeps her off her feet. However, when Kate learns that Callan is part of a community of wolf-shifters, she flees. Will she be able to reconcile her fear of wolves with being in love with one?
Verdict Each of these stories offers an interesting take on shifter mating. Copious detailed lovemaking as well as action and suspense makes this a winning anthology. Highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Carlyle, Christy. A Study in Scoundrels. Avon Impulse. (Romancing the Rules, Bk. 2). Apr. 2017. 272p. ebk. ISBN 9780062572370. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Jasper Grey is the most scandalous member of a notorious aristocratic family, but when his teenage sister runs away, Grey is determined to save her from a man whose reputation is almost as bad as his own. Sophia Ruthven is the decorous daughter of an etiquette expert, well known in her own right as the author of a revised edition of her father’s must guide for young ladies. Secretly, she is also penning a much less proper novel following the adventures of a lady detective. In search of inspiration for her scoundrel villain, Sophia encounters the predatory Lord Westby and dangerously charming Jasper Grey. Sophia joins Grey in his search for his sibling, and as they trace her from London to Cambridge and beyond, the attraction between them grows. But Sophia is a proper lady and Grey a dishonorable man. What can he offer her that she would possibly accept?
Verdict Carlyle’s (Rules for a Rogue) latest is an uneven but entertaining work that manages to pack in nearly every setting of the classic Victorian romance: the tea party, the departing train, London mansions, country estates, boarding houses, a masquerade ball, and a sickroom. The story shines in several key scenes and in the dialog between our protagonists. However, the logistical sections, especially the many comings and goings to and from London, and some of the devices designed to advance the plot are less strong.—Lindsay Morton, Pub. Lib. of Science

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