I really feel bad giving it 2 stars. BUT:
- I could not connect with the MCs. The narration was dry, the interaction between the MCs was too easy: A student with a hero worship + a soldier with a PTSD in need of love and care = Uber Quick Instalove
I am not usually the one to condemn love at first sight, but this one wasn't convincing even to me.
- Angie was annoying as hell; she set my teeth on edge every. single. time.
- The evil stepfather was extremely sketchy (literally)
- ...And so was the local playboy - Trevor? Terry?
- Ryan... plenty of him in the past, but he was brushed off many a time at the time of the narrative. Why was he even there? Nothing but a prop, like most (all) of the secondary characters here. I hoped and waited for him to show up in book two, but - nothing.
- Rainbow flags were everywhere (in 'spirit' at least). Everyone was sooooo tolerant and accepting and not in the least surprised about everybody else being gay. Except for the evil stepfather, of course, he was one ugly bastard with a foul mouth.
So, a number of things didn't work for me here. Once again - book's too short? I don't know :( I suspect it might be me, since everybody else loves it.
I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.
Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.
That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(
PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/
This book is all over the place. I am not even sure I am attaching correct tags here.
- Urban history, for example. This could have taken place anywhere. In the woods or in the mountains, for all I care. But there was a mentioning of some humans in cars and apartment complexes so... I guess it's on an urban-y side.
- Law enforcement, PI. Not really. Bert is a beta (read: a butler and a cook and a nanny) to an asshole who happens to be in charge of PBI (paranormal bureau of investigations).
- Secret agent, spy, politician, diplomat. Same - Bert, the PBI asshole's beta, is sent on a diplomatic mission he has no prior training for, obvisly (see "beta" definition above).
There is no chemistry between MC's. None. Except for Will proclaiming his undying love for Bert every couple of pages or less.
And then there is all this talking.... I am surprised the characters (all of them, except for the babies) didn't talk their heads off.
A very frustrating and disappointing read :/ 2 stars.