As I’m about to read SERPENTINE – the latest book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series – and dive into a world of vampires, hunters, and wereleopards, it got me thinking about my love of romances featuring animal shifters. I enjoy a good vampire story, but in the age-old debate over blood suckers vs furry warriors – I’m Team Werewolf. I love werewolves, werebears, werehoney badgers, and everything in between. And how amazing are heroes who also happen to turn into dragons? Recently I’ve read a bunch of fabulous new releases with shape shifters of all sorts as main characters – MIDNIGHT WOLF by Jennifer Ashley, HOT AND BADGERED by Shelly Laurenston, ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WOLF by Terry Spear, WICKED AND WILD by Cynthia Eden, and the anthology THE BIG ALPHA IN TOWN with stories by Eve Langais, Millie Taiden, and Kate Baxter.
Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she’s slippery and not about to be rounded up quietly.
In fact, quiet is nothing Tamsin will ever be. She leads Angus on a wild chase, but he’s determined to bring her in to save his son.
Can Tamsin convince Angus she’s worth helping before she’s locked away by Shifter Bureau, Collared, or perhaps killed?
Jennifer Ashley and Terry Spear write some of my favorite romance novels about animal shape shifters. Both authors have explored the many varieties of shape shifter – wolves, bears, cougars, jaguars, polar bears, and more. In MIDNIGHT WOLF by Jennifer Ashley, Angus Murray is a wolf Shifter and single dad trying to do the right thing for the safety of his cub by tracking down, and bringing in a fellow Shifter to face the inquisition of the Shifter Bureau. In ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WOLF by Terry Spear, Jenna St. James is a bounty hunter who believes it’s her duty to bring in Sarandon Silver for his crimes. Both Sarandon and Angus’ quarry, fox Shifter Tamsin Calloway, have done nothing deserving of being hunted down like criminals but they both unexpectedly find love with their pursuer. Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series and Terry Spear’s Silver Town Wolf series have some things in common that makes them thoroughly addictive for me – great storytelling, amazing recurring characters, and a focus on family. Equally amazing are the key differences between each series. The Shifters in Jennifer Ashley would kill to have the freedom that Terry Spears’ shifters do. Terry Spears’ animal shape shifters are able to be under the radar and don’t have the kind of scrutiny, segregation, and bigotry that Shifters in Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series have to deal with. In the Shifters Unbound books, part of what makes the bond between pack and Shifter Town members so strong is that it’s basically them against the world. In Spears’ Silver Town Wolf series, as well as some of her other books featuring animal shifters, pack members and new couples get a tight bond from facing outside threats while also enjoying together-time. Jennifer Ashley’s series has a bit of an X-Men vibe with meddling humans and evil fae as the primary baddies. In spite of humans and the fae’s best efforts to keep Shifters downtrodden, Jennifer Ashley creates wonderful stories of love, heroism, a sentient New Orleans house that I desperately wish I could visit, and a little magic and a few laughs. In Terry Spears’ Silver Town Wolf books, often it’s fellow werewolves who are the villains, with heroes who are part nice guy-next-door/outdoorsman with a teensy Captain America vibe. Heroines in both series are incredibly diverse and strong in different ways. A Jennifer Ashley or Terry Spear shifter romance will always be a good time for any paranormal romance fan.
The Silver Town wolf pack has your back
Wolf shifter Sarandon Silver’s in trouble with the law, and bounty hunter she-wolf Jenna St. James is determined to bring him in for trial.
Lucky for Sarandon, the entire Silver Town pack is ready to fight for his innocence. But until the case is solved, Jenna’s sticking to Sarandon like glue…
Romance Paranormal [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: May 1, 2018, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492655817 / eISBN: 9781492655824]
Unlike a lot of romance fans, I have no problem reading a series in the wrong order. I rarely start a series with book one, and that’s how I started reading Shelly Laurenston. I started reading Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series after hearing so many readers say what a hoot they are. Those readers were right. It is impossible to read a Shelly Laurenston book without breaking out into laughter at some point. In Laurenston’s world, shifter men rarely make the mistake of underestimating a shifter woman because it could be a fatal mistake. Shelly Laurenston’s heroes and heroines are delightfully flawed. Whether these women are talking trash, playing hockey, drag racing, cracking skulls in roller derby, hunting down bad guys, corralling their eccentric friends and family, or singing karaoke, they are a force to be reckoned with, and a big part of why you should read a Shelly Laurenston book. In HOT AND BADGERED, the opening is like something out of an anime or a big blockbuster action film. If you like a crazy story that will make you laugh, this is the story for you. Honey badgers don’t give a flip, and this half-honey badger/half-wolf shifter heroine Charlie Taylor-MacKeigan is stuck playing defense because of the mess her loser father creates every minute of every day. This is a story about three sisters struggling to live life on their own terms despite their father’s idiocy. Grizzly shifter Berg Dunn is typical of a Laurenston hero – he lets the heroine sort out what she needs to and helps when he can and comes off as adorable and sexy when he does. If you love an entertaining tale that will having you laughing like an idiot, and you enjoy stories without ever having to worry about the heroine being a damsel in distress, this book is for you.
It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.
Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill- tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .
I usually run when I think a book is romantic suspense, but Cynthia Eden is the exception that proves the rule for me. Yes, Eden writes about serial killers, psychotic scientists, and bloodthirsty vampires, but her storytelling is solid, and she writes some of the sexiest romances I’ve ever read. The first Cynthia Eden book I read was one with a shapeshifter hero – ETERNAL HUNTER. Whether supernatural creature or human, Eden’s heroes and villains are an eclectic mix. Her shifters are fierce and fabulous. My favorite werewolf-centered series by Cynthia Eden is her Blood and Moonlight series featuring New Orleans Detective Jane Hart and the tall, dark, and sexy werewolf leader Aidan Locke. I love this series because of the delicious New Orleans noir feel to the story, the sensuality, and the awesome characters. Aidan will appeal to fans of Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series because he has the same kind of emotional honesty and vulnerability coupled with a devotion to his woman as Frost’s hero Bones. Cynthia Eden excels at writing books about transformation, and the hero in WICKED AND WILD can transform into more than one form, but one of them happens to be a dragon. WICKED AND WILD is my favorite book in Eden’s Bad Things series about good versus evil and everything in between. Griffin Bastien, king of the shifters, is a cheeky alpha hero who woos his witch mate with silken phrases and by giving her the kind of strength and support she hasn’t had from a lover before. Valerie Storm is constantly misunderstood. This heroine has been bad for good reasons and been someone who has helped the helpless because she knows what it’s like to not have a friend in the world. Betrayal and loyalty are huge themes in WICKED AND WILD and can be read as a standalone story.
She was wicked…
Everyone knew that Valerie Storm was the baddest bit—um, witch on the block. She might look like Snow White, but she had the heart of the wicked queen. She turned her enemies to ash, she danced on their graves, and she had to be stopped. But who could stand up to someone so wicked?
He was wild.
Griffin Bastien was the most powerful shifter to ever walk the earth. His claws had sent plenty of his foes to the grave. Bloodlust burned fast and hard within him, and when his beast took over, there was no stopping him.
Then Wicked met Wild.
Neither of them believed in love. And neither of them ever expected the firestorm that ignited when they kissed. But some things—some people—can’t be controlled. The need that Valerie and Griffin feel for each other, the white-hot lust, will change their world.
Even hell doesn’t burn this hot.
Too bad that Griffin has been keeping secrets. Too bad that he is the original assassin sent to destroy Valerie. Because when she finds out the truth, there will be no greater fury than a wicked witch betrayed. Even the biggest, baddest beast might discover that he’s absolutely lost when a witch casts her spell, and he will be willing to do anything to reclaim the mate he never expected.
Buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
THE BIG ALPHA IN TOWN is an anthology by two authors I’ve never read before and one I have. As a fan of Kate Baxter‘s Last True Vampire series, I was anxious to discover what types of paranormal creatures she’d choose to write about in her story No Need Fur Love. Because of some convoluted reasoning, related to her jerk father, wood nymph Mia Oliver is on the prowl looking for a potential baby daddy when she happens upon the extremely fine werewolf specimen that is Owen Courtney. True to form, Kate Baxter tells a lust-to-love story with some urgency. Owen is an honorable guy who is protective of his pack and his newfound mate. Mia is forced to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and what drastic steps she’s willing to take to accomplish her goals without a lot of time to decide. The action and romance are balanced in this story and I look forward to Kate Baxter’s next book. The issue of paternity also plays a major factor in Bearing His Name by Eve Langlais. Having never read a book by Eve Langlais before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but much of the story is an enjoyable farce. Somebody is sending anonymous letters to Ark Matis and other werebears implying that somebody is a father. Ark goes in search of the letter writer in hope of finding some answers. What Ark finds is a reluctant mate in the prickly Jade Cadeux. There are some silly yet charming gags in Bearing His Name and the flirtation and snarky responses that litter Ark’s courtship of Jade make an entertaining, if unconventional, romance. This story has made me curious to try other shifter stories by Eve Langlais. Out of all the stories in this anthology, Owned by the Lion by Millie Taiden is the most conventional romance. Ally Fossey is a working woman looking for extra cash for her sick mom’s cancer treatment. Keir is an old family friend of Ally’s as well as a co-worker. Despite their close connections, Ally and Keir have never spent any significant time together. Keir eventually realizes Ally is his mate and uses a dating agency as an excuse to get closer to her. If I were Ally, I would find shifter super hearing and the ability to smell my attraction annoying, but Keir never uses that info against her, or acts smug about it. I like the friendships between the women as well as the ones between the men in this story. I look forward to hopefully reading about Hawk Kingston and Shawna in a future book.
Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today’s hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!
BEARING HIS LOVE
Meeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.
OWNED BY THE LION
Keir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.
NO NEED FUR LOVE
Moving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…
Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head.
- THE BLACK DRAGON by Bonnie Vanak
- TIGER STRIPED by Jennifer Ashley
- STONE COLD FOX by Evangeline Anderson
- DRAGONSWORN by Sherrilyn Kenyon
- DESPERATELY SEEKING SHAPESHIFTER by Jessica Sims
- BITTER BLOOD by Cynthia Eden
- WILD WOLF CLAIMING by Ryannon Byrd
- SAVING HIS MATE by Savannah Stuart
- PRINCESS OF THE PACK by Saranna DeWylde
- MY SISTER IS A WEREWOLF by Kathy Love
- MOONGLOW by Kristen Callihan
- BIG BAD WOLF by Christine Warren
- BRINK OF PASSION by Sondrae Bennett
- BEYOND THE DARKNESS by Alexandra Ivy
- MOON CRAVING by Lucy Monroe
- THE MAD, BAD DUKE by Jennifer Ashley
- TOUCH NOT THE CAT by Tracy Fobes
- THE RAVENCLIFF BRIDE by Dawn Thompson
- THE REINVENTED MISS BLUEBEARD by Minda Webber
- BLOOD MAGIC by Jennifer Lyon