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Search tags: Kate-Sherwood
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review 2018-03-08 04:06
Pure Bred (Shelter #4)
Pure Bred: Book Four of the Shelter Series - Kate Sherwood

This series has been kind of a mixed bag. I really liked that the focus was on those living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, and that it was more people of color than your average M/M. However, I also felt that too often the couple got together way too quickly. That happens again here, with Trey and Seb. Trey's been kind of a mystery for the series since he's been mostly on the fringes of the other books. Seb is completely new. He's supposedly a law student but not particularly well-spoken in tense situations. Hopefully, he stays away from trial law. ;)

 

Mostly, I liked Seb and how he was able to self-assess and realize how easy his life has been once he has his eyes opened by Trey and the others. Seb grew up in a well-to-do family, with supportive parents and sister, a cousin who's also his best friend, and never having to worry about where his next meal will come from. He took it all for granted until he realizes how much harder life is without any of that stuff. And then he stands by his newfound convictions despite everyone else being worried about his safety and future.

 

What was kind of weird was the extremely weak sauce D/s dynamic between Seb and Trey. On the one hand, I extremely dislike D/s so I was glad that it wasn't a big part of the story and that it was pretty mild, because the little bit that was there left me cold. On the other hand, I'm not sure why it was there at all. There was already a lot going on to examine power dynamics with the class difference between Seb and Trey, so adding this wasn't really needed. So yeah, weird.

 

The conflict between Seb and Trey was predictable as hell and was resolved rather predictably also. But I liked that the main conflict that carried over from the previous book was handled realistically in terms of the fallout for the neighborhood. And the epilogue from Dodger's POV was cute!

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review 2018-02-24 03:09
Twice Shy (Shelter #3)
Twice Shy: Book Three in the Shelter Series - Kate Sherwood

Since Micah has spent most of the previous two books in a constant drug haze, it was nice to get to know him once he's free of the drugs. He's smart and philosophical, and he's realistic about his situation and the people he hurt with his drug habit. He knows he's got to keep working the program, even the parts that seem silly to him, and he doesn't get defensive when he's called out for veering off the rules. He knows he's got a lot of bridges to rebuild and relationships to mention, especially with his found family who he betrayed in the previous book. So getting know the real him was great.

 

I also liked that he was just miraculously clean after a stint in rehab. He's still tempted, and he's aware of his triggers and his pitfalls. Being idle is bad for him, so when his fellow rehab friend Austin gets his brother to offer Micah a job, he jumps at it.

 

Jake, Austin's brother, is a down-to-earth guy trying to grow his landscaping business, but he also has to take care of his younger brother, whose recovery is not going as well as Micah's. And with all his issues with Austin, I really couldn't buy it that he'd jump so quickly into a relationship with Micah. Yes, he questions the wisdom of it several times, and this is one of the few times the mid-book breakup actually makes sense. And even though this relationship develops over a few weeks, as opposed to the first two books which were both over a handful of days, this felt more rushed somehow. Maybe because I didn't really feel the connection, because I kept wondering why Jake, or even Micah, would risk a relationship at this point in their lives, and Austin's just another complication.

Really, this is a massive spoiler. You've been warned.

(spoiler show)

And I kind of felt that killing Austin off was just a little too "easy" for getting rid of that complication. Obviously, not easy emotionally for the characters, but easy narratively for the author.

(spoiler show)

 

I'm not sure what to make of the gentrification plot that's introduced here and which will be resolved somehow in the next book, which makes this kind of a cliffhanger. I guess I'll wait and see that resolution before deciding on it - though reading the blurb for the next book, I can already guess where that's going to go.

 

The three little snippets or interludes at the end were more like teasers for the next book than anything else, fun to read but not necessary.

 

Oh, and no way is that African violet surviving. They're way too picky and finicky to grow under the best of circumstances.

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text 2018-02-19 09:23
Reading progress update: I've read 53%.
Embers - Kate Sherwood

“Why’d you really come by here tonight?” Jericho asked, trying to keep his voice level.
Wade’s smile was a horrible mix of sweetness, regret, and ironic detachment. “I can have multiple motivations, Jay.”
The knock at the front door was the only thing that kept Jericho from punching the duplicitous bastard in the face.

 


 
Too bad. Time to stop being a f.... doormat!

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review 2018-02-03 22:07
Lap Dog (Shelter #2)
Lap Dog: Book Two of the Shelter Series - Kate Sherwood

Dang you, Sherwood! I was supposed to quit this book halfway through in a boiling rage, ready to rip Simon a new one. Instead, I grudgingly liked him by 25% and was rooting for him about halfway through and just hoping everything would work out. 

 

 

This still isn't perfect. Simom Yeung is the first prominent main character who is Chinese-American in any of Sherwood's books that I've read, and he's in a crime family. Really? And just because the characters call this out doesn't really take away from the problems of this, just as having them call out the old school family honor/respect stereotypes doesn't really mean she's not using those stereotypes. 

 

Yet despite that, this was a great story. I don't know if I'd categorize it Romance (™) but Simon and Tristan do come to first respect each other, then kind of like each other, then warily admire each other and finally care for each other. I didn't think it was possible from the initial set up that opens the story, but their journeys and getting to know each other were well-paced and given the time to really breathe, despite all the chaos going on around them. The resolution was perhaps too easy and convenient, but I honestly don't care because I wanted these two to get their HEAs - not just with each other but for themselves as well. They still have things to figure out about their new lives though, so there's more room to tell more stories about them later. (And hopefully resolve a few more of those dangling threads that didn't get addressed here.) 

 

It was also great seeing Shane and Noah again, and seeing glimpses of their relationship throughout. They even get a short story interlude at the end of the main story. It felt more like it was there to explain why Shane doesn't label himself asexual (though he is clearly on the spectrum) but whatever label someone wants to use or not use is up to them.

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review 2018-01-29 04:12
Lost Treasure (Audiobook)
Lost Treasure - Kate Sherwood

For a story about a guy going up to Canada to settle his estranged grandmother's estate, this is a refreshingly angst-free story. Sure, Kyle has regrets about his grandmother, but mostly he spends the book remembering why her cabin by the lake was once a happy summer retreat for him and realizing that he's been a little too compliant with his parents' expectations for his life. 

 

He also gets reunited with his childhood friend Ryan, who of course has grown up to be a total hottie, and who has a great kid who is freakishly well-behaved but not a total pod person. Since Kyle isn't planning to stay, they decide to just stick to being friends. Of course, that doesn't last long. Look, can someone explain to me why getting beat up is such a turn on? What is the appeal here? I don't get it.

 

In the meantime, Kyle has to hand out his grandmother's bequests, which is a series of baffling "interviews" with various townsfolk who all have their own stories to tell about Kyle's grandmother. And isn't it great that they all became better people? :D

 

This is a short, sometimes sweet sometimes funny but mostly average romance with a dash of self-discovery thrown in for good measure.

 

The narrator did a decent job, though he really made me want to fast-forward through the sex scenes even more than I usually do.

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