Monday, December 3, 2012


I've been doing quite a bit of reading for pleasure. I've downloaded onto my kindle lots of books to read later. I kinda like the idea of a library with capability of holding so many books but take up very little space. 
There is a saying about how we can't choose the family we are born to but we can choose our friends who can become closer than blood. I love stories that create those sort of bonds. Family dynamics have always fascinated me, whether it's family we've created or families to which we are born. Grace Burrows does a beautiful job with her lush historicals of the Wyndham family—but that's a review for another time. 
I did discover another author I have read over the years but not her new shifter series. While I love a good paranormal story, truth is, I get a little tired of the same O type of stories. I like it when an author creates a fresh perspective on a world and it's citizens. Such is the case with Jennifer Ashley and her Shifters Unbound series. I had seen the books but hadn't felt the inclination to read one--shifters are very popular and everyone and their sister is writing something about them. But I knew Jen wrote some compelling stories which I enjoyed over the years, so when she offered Bodyguard for 99 cents, I thought, why not? I bought it. 
Boy am I glad I did! Great story with some solid characters and issues. And a fresh, well crafted world.

Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed robber by a giant Kodiak bear who shifts into a large, well-muscled, and fully naked human male. But when it's revealed that the robber is the brother of a dangerous criminal, Elizabeth finds herself the target of a vendetta. Ronan, the Bear Shifter, takes her to Shiftertown for safety, where Elizabeth learns that the mateless Ronan, alone in the world, takes care of Shifters who have also been left on their own. Having grown up in foster care, Elizabeth can only admire how protective Ronan is. But Ronan will only let Elizabeth leave the confines of Shiftertown if he becomes her 24/7 bodyguard. Elizabeth chafes at the restriction, but agrees. The trouble is, the sassy human Elizabeth is triggering Ronan's long-buried need to find himself a mate.


This was my first visit to Shiftertown, but I assure you, it won’t be my last. 

I loved my visit to Shiftertown and the close knit community that lives there. The family bonds and the willingness to make a family when none exists. This is a world where shifters, a dying race created by the Fae, have come out to the human world. For the most part, humans don’t believe in magic but they can’t deny the shifters are real and scary. In the human eyes they are little more than dangerous animals that can walk as humans. There is a lot of contempt for this race of beings now controlled by collars that are supposed to keep the shifters at less than full power of their animals. In United States, the Government has herded them into reservation type living areas and basically stripped them of many rights other citizens take for granted, limited their technology, their ability to travel, make a living, and segregated them. Yet, despite this attitude, the shifters thrived and are doing better now than when they were wild and unknown. 

The story is set around two very strong main characters—Ronan and Elizabeth and their families. There’s something special about Ronan that just draws you in—loving and protective, but with a fun sense of humor. Bears aren't pack animals and they tend to keep their distance in the wild and yet Ronan overcame that need for distance to be a part of a great community. I loved the fact he is a foster dad to several bear cubs and little Olaf was a sweet little polar cub. I also liked the fact he was willing to come to the rescue of a strong and self-sufficient human woman, Elizabeth. She is funny and tough and has made her way through the school of hard knocks and knows what it’s like to be an outsider and having to create a new life and home for her and her sister. She’s fought against the odds without any help. Ronan changes that with one act of kindness.

Jennifer creates a fresh take on shifters, their origins, world, and finding a mate. She adds a compelling story dealing with issues common to all. Her happy ever after is sexy and fun but is carved from a world  fraught with danger and prejudice. And sometimes, love is the greatest risk of all.