Paranormal Romance

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom Book 4), Devon Monk (ROC, May 2010). Read the Review.

Magic in the Shadows (Allie Beckstrom Book 3) by Devon Monk (ROC, 2009). Read the Review.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, Book 2), Amanda Bouchet (Sourcebooks Casablanca, January 2017). Read the Review.

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, Book 1), Amanda Bouchet (Sourcebooks Casablanca, August, 2016). Read the Review.

 

Lion’s Prey, Karin Shah (Soulmate Publishing, 2016)

Lion’s Prey, a paranormal romance by Karin Shah, is the fourth installment of her Chimera Chronicles. It’s Ty’s story, beginning where The Lion’s Share ended: outside of the bank after the robbery.

This book starts slowly, grounding us in reporter Zara Coventry—from a slice of her heritage to work woes and the long day she’s had covering the robbery. The next chapter flips over to Ty. When he protects Zara from danger, he’s sunk—she recognizes him, and his heart races. What’s an assumed bank-robber to do but take his likely mate hostage, then force her to drive him past a roadblock? He’s concerned whether his brother is alive; whether his foster brother Paul will be exonerated. The classic romantic ying-yang tension begins as he yearns for Zara, but fights against the life he’d lead her into.

Once Shah sends the characters into the snowstorm, the pace picks up. By chapter three, and the addition of Sheriff Charlie and her deputy, I was finally hooked. Shah adds the necessary complications to throw the characters together repeatedly, and works in the steamy dreams that connect the mates. That’ll melt the snow! I never knew when Zara, or Ty, would give in to their compulsion for that first, passionate tryst. Even when Zara knows Ty’s a chimera, she doesn’t know all that entails.

To sell the lost drug-plane storyline, Shah slips into three additional points of view. An opener with kids; the character charged with finding the plane; and a different character who’s thrown in at the end for one more twist. I don’t want to spoil the plotline, so I’ll say it reads more like Shah setting up a book for Zara than staying true to Lion’s Prey and what the Gunn brothers would do.

Likewise, a quick scene in the middle sets up for Kyle’s book (Shah’s goal for informally participating in NaNoWriMo is draft one of Dragon’s Flame, #5 in the series) but doesn’t contribute to the plot. Other points of view work since Ty’s brothers and their mates are back in the city of the bank robbery, trying to locate Ty. I enjoy the family dynamics, how the Mara brothers stick together. At the same time, I’m more invested in the main story. It’s a tough line to walk. It’s always fun when the characters shift into their lion or dragon forms.

The first six chapters tend towards purple prose, with loads of adjectives and similes. The point of view slips from tight third-person to more distant, with filtering words like “could see” or “could smell” or “could hear” instead of active verbs grounding me. While that likely continued throughout the book, my reading speed picked up because that’s when I stopped taking my “book review” notes.

Shah works the sexual tension, that blush of first attraction, first kiss, fantasy. A scene in the middle lasts longer than I remembered in previous books, so that pushed my comfort level a tad.

Overall, I enjoyed the book because I enjoy the characters. At their core, they’re good people who want to do the right thing.  They take chances for others. They feel “real.” Shah also has some fun plot twists I don’t want to spoil for readers. The ebook is available. Although I read this in the “advanced reader copy,” I still intend to purchase it when the paperback comes out in a few months.

Follow Karin to get the inside scoop on appearances and upcoming releases, or to check out her other titles.

 

The Lion’s Share, Karin Shah (Soulmate Publishing, 2016)

The Lion’s Share, another paranormal romance by Karin Shah, places Connor Gunn and his twin Tyler Gunn smack-dab in the middle of a bank robbery. While both characters have a role in the plot, Con takes the spotlight, along with the woman who could be his mate—FBI agent Embry Lane. As skilled as she is with a weapon, she can’t compete with the preternatural hearing and reactions of Con and Ty, who fight to keep their lion chimera in check after their stint in the military, and their incarceration. Breaking the law is the farthest thing from their minds, but that’s exactly what they’re doing because of the mess their foster brother Paul got himself into. Shah shows me the lengths Con and Ty are willing to go to help someone as dear to them as blood family.

This is Shah’s third, and I think best, story in the Chimera Chronicles. Shah builds the tension throughout this fast-paced storyline, with a few ebbs where I thought things could turn out all right, then another flow where the situation got that much worse, and I wondered how she’d get the characters out of it. Shah would drop clues so I could shout at Con, telling him what he needed to do, before he finished putting the pieces together himself.

The book would make sense even if you hadn’t read the earlier ones. But for fans who are following along as each novel comes out, we’re treated to the roles that other brothers and their mates play.

Shah builds depth and history into her characters, making me care for Embry, to cheer for her. She’s a kick-butt, take-no-prisoners woman, but when she feels that attraction for Con, I’m never sure which side of her is going to win out.

Using two points of view primarily (Con and Embry), Shah deftly switches the world-view and tone to match the character who’s driving the story at that point. At times she needs other points of view, to show us the sub-plots occurring outside of the bank. It all works, though, because those outside events are equally important to the overall story. I’m invested in the outcomes.

I’m more a reader of fantasy than romance or paranormal romance, so I don’t know the usual conventions of this genre. The generous inclusion of similes might be one of those conventions.

To my taste, Shah does a great job of building sexual tension, the war of desire versus need versus what’s right. When passion deepens, she writes without being graphic to the point of erotic. Romance is important, sure, but this story is also about the characters and the plot. Con and Embry race through one action-packed scene after another, with a twist now and again. Some I saw coming, but the final one I sure didn’t.

If you want a novel that will have you eagerly turning the pages, and hungry for the next story she’s ready to tell (Ty’s), then look no farther than The Lion’s Share.

Follow Karin to get the inside scoop on appearances and upcoming releases, or to check out her other titles.