Friday, October 9, 2015

Two novellas by Jennifer Ashley

Ellison Rowe, a Lupine Shifter, makes it his goal to protect Maria, once held captive by ferals, from male Shifters looking for mates. He likes Maria's resilience and fire, but she's been broken, and Ellison wants more than anything to heal her. When a new danger threatens Shiftertown's cubs, Maria partners with Ellison to stop a cold-blooded criminal.

Cormac has been moving from one Shiftertown to the next in search of a mate. Now he's in southern Nevada, where a beautiful, unmated bear Shifter greets him...with a shotgun in her hands.
Nell is a hot-tempered mother of two cubs, and she doesn't take kindly to new Shifters showing up in town without her consent - even one with a sexy smile and brilliant blue eyes. But when her sons are endangered and she desperately needs help protecting them, Cormac proves he's worthy of her trust as well as her desire.

Comment: Two novellas by Jennifer Ashley in her Shifters Unbound series.
I thought each one was average, I liked them and the characters but somehow neither was super amazing and in some parts I actually had to tell myself to keep reading.
Perfect Mate is bear Nell's story. She's a recurrent character in the series and we know she raised her children alone but she's the alpha bear in her Shiftertown. The story centers around Cormac, a bear that transferred to Nell's town because he's looking for a mate. In fact, the only one available is...Nell. Although reluctant, Nell lets him be around, even replacing her kitchen cabinets. Then one of her sons is kidnapped and Nell accepts any help she can to save her cub.
The story was ok, it was good to see the interaction between characters and what was happening to some of the others. In terms of world progress it was enough information not to make the story feel too isolated. The romance I got it, it was handy, but I never really felt they had to be destined for each other. It just didn't sound as perfect as that. And considering the amount of time the author had, it seems slightly unbalanced when one compares to other relationships in the world. Not that it wasn't be well done, only that I think it lacked something.
Lone Wolf is Ellison's story and follows the previous one right away.
Ellison is very protective of Maria, a human woman who's been rescued from a place run by illegal and feral shifters, along with many other women and cubs. Maria only wants to win her independence, work and be free of shifters - or so she thinks. One guy in the bar where she works tries to provoke Maria but she's immediately helped by Liam and the other shifters that were there, including Ellison. With time Maria starts to accept Ellison's help and protection, especially when the group fights a human man who kidnaps shifters to sell as pets.
This story was also interesting but again I wasn't much convinced about the depth of feelings between Maria and Ellison. They seemed to be a good couple but the affection between them felt rather rushed to fit the relationship. As for the rest of the plot, it was good, we got to see how some characters were too; this is a good thing from the author, she includes many characters and it makes her community look more complete, important, happy. All in all, good but could be better.
I still think both novellas were interesting addictions to the world, a good way to tell a character's story without having to dedicate a whole book to them and thankfully these stories are big novellas, so the development usually works out, even if, in my opinion, the romances could all be better.
In the end, points for plot, not so many for romance.
Grade (of both novellas): 6/10

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