Okay, as per usual, I’m in love with T.S. Joyce’s latest release. I promise I’m not T.S. Joyce in disguise. I have my own shifter novels that are definitely not hers.
The beautiful thing about reviewing Joyce’s books is they’re all so original that I never have an issue making the review different from the others. They’re all hilarious, and they all have that rugged mountain man archetype (or swamp man, that one time, but very similar), and they all rely on some of my favorite tropes, but somehow they’re all unique.
Mountain man with his shit together but struggling with an unexpected financial burden. Train wreck of a girl who doesn’t have anything together but is happy with her life, except this is Christmas, and she comes from a wealthy, traditional, very expectant family. And she’s chronically single.
You know this one. You know what trope comes next.
Slight twist on it: Leslie WANTS a shifter for a fake-boyfriend. She thinks it will impress her family. It doesn’t. Also, she specifically requests a non-predatory shifter, and Kieran lies. He’s the most predatory of predatory. But he figures it doesn’t matter. It’s just a gig. It won’t matter that predator shifters can’t take human mates because she’s not really his mate.
Again, you know this one. That becomes a problem.
Leslie is perfect. She’s painfully awkward, forever tripping and saying the wrong thing, but not in a cringey way. This isn’t a girl you’d avoid because you felt uncomfortable around her. She’s the one who you’d invite to everything because she’s guaranteed to entertain. Kieran is laidback, easygoing, and fits in wherever he is. Not a chameleon, but no matter where he is, he fits, even if it’s in that black sheep sort of way.
Also, he has a brother, and I’m already waiting on that sequel.
My one complain in this: otters are obligate carnivores. They are adorable to us because they can’t eat us, but they are terrors to aquatic animals, and they use tools, so they will fuck up some shellfish.