So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.
But he’s human. And a man.
Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.
While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.
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This is a really difficult book for me to review. Even for myself, it was very much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of book. At times, I loved it, at times I hated it. That’s why I’m going with a middle-of-the-road final rating for it.
What I liked: Frankly, it held my interest. Even throughout the tough spots for me (see below), I didn’t think of putting it down. I was constantly interested to see what would happen next. I love this author’s writing style and love the characters she puts together. Well, I may not always like them as people, but I do love the time she puts into crafting them.
One of my favorite things about shifter stories are the different ways authors craft the worlds their characters live in; here, their world is exactly like ours just with werewolves living publicly. I like the marriage of contemporary and paranormal; helps me connect with the story immediately without having to learn a new world or customs. Also, I liked the twist on fated mates; as much as I love fated mates, destined love, etc etc, it was refreshing to read a story where the couple aren’t immediately compatible; I often wonder about that in the fated mates trope; what if it wasn’t just perfect right from the start? We get that here. What I learned? I much prefer the insta-love fated mates stories 🙂
Another thing I really liked here is Jackson’s family; they’re all very supportive and loving. And Mitch, Leo’s roommate and friend. He was, honestly, the most fleshed out character in the entire story for me, and I was super in love with him. I also really appreciated the inclusion of Jackson’s brother, Brandon, who is asexual. He’s a minor character we only see for a short time (he lives in another state), but I connected with him immediately as he spoke with Jackson and explained his thoughts on asexuality in a world with soul mate bonds. I’d honestly love more exploration on that if this author does another book in this universe. Brandon also brilliantly talks about the fluidity of sexual exploration (which I wish Jackson would’ve learned more from, cough cough). Which leads me to…
What I didn’t like: First and foremost, Jackson’s heterosexuality being shoved down our throats. Throughout the entire book he continuously makes sure EVERYBODY knows that he “isn’t gay.” There’s no discussion of bisexuality (aside from Leo briefly theorizing with his friend), no discussion of other types of sexual attraction, no resolution at all; even in the very end, Jackson is reminding everyone (most often Leo) that he’s attracted to women, not men. We get it, Jackson, you like vagina. I would’ve REALLY liked some more internal exploration here, some coming-to-terms for Jackson that sexuality is fluid and, for gods sake, quit forcing your sustained heterosexuality down our throats. This was baffling to me as this author has had other “gay-for-you” (and honestly, I hate that term) characters in other books and it is never as frustratingly handled as it is here.
As much as I liked Leo (and I did like him a lot), I didn’t understand why he kept going back to Jackson. On Jackson’s part, the soul mate bond is (supposedly) very strong, though confusing (see: Jackson’s straight, above). But Leo doesn’t feel this bond the same way. There’s no internal feeling pulling him to Jackson. And Jackson, frankly, treats him like crap. If there was just a tiny reason as to why he kept going back to Jackson, I would’ve been happy. But there was nothing. It took a lot of suspended belief on my part. (At times, I really wanted Leo to tell Jackson to shove it and fall in love with Mitch, but that’s a story for another day.)
And last, there is simply too much going on in this book. It could (should) have focused solely on Jackson and Leo trying to make a wolf-human, straight-gay mating work, or on a wolf-human couple facing down the terrorist group attacking them. Trying to do both was a bit too ambitious and ended up leaving both storylines lacking and incomplete. The ending is rushed, there’s no HEA (not one I believe in, anyway), the terrorist group plot line tied up just a bit too conveniently for the expansiveness of their attacks throughout the story; all in all, it was just trying a bit too much.
I love Anna Martin’s books and can tell that she was trying something new. I respect that; I love when authors step outside the box and keep their stories fresh and varied. I think that this story had a lot of potential, and I’m definitely interested in seeing if feedback from this book can lead to stronger paranormal stories in the future from this author. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.
An advanced copy of this book was received for review on OMGReads.
Jackson, a straight wolf shifter, discovers his mate is human and a man. He can’t believe fate could be so wrong and fights the feelings. Leo doesn’t fare much better. Attracted to Jackson but unable to understand why he pushes him away and then pulls him back. They try to work through their issues while dealing with hatred all around them.
As Leo said about Jackson “You can be Dickish”. And Jackson really was. It took me a while to warm up to him. Leo and his friend Mitch were great. I would of liked to give this book another star but It just never really came together for me, left to many questions and ended abruptly.
Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.
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