REVIEW: Notorious by Charlie Cochet & Macy Blake
Shifter Scoundrels: Notorious – Charlie Cochet & Macy Blake
New Paranormal Romance from Bestselling MM Authors Charlie Cochet and Macy Blake. Modern-day Bridgerton with shifter royalty, a snarky fox, and the tiger who refuses to fall for his charms.
Caspian Drake knows what it takes to get ahead in modern-day shifter society. He is an Earl, after all, and known for his wit, style, and ability to charm the pants off of anyone he chooses. Getting his best friend Brandr, the Prince of the Dragons, in and out of trouble is only one of his many talents. When a horrible attack shakes Cas’s world, he’s forced to pair up with Saphir Vepkhia, the esteemed tiger shifter and former Captain of the Royal Guard.
Upon retirement, Saphir is granted the title of Baron Archer and, much to his dismay, becomes part of royal society. Years later, when he’s summoned to the palace, the last thing Saphir expects is for the king to request a favor that ties him to the scoundrel, Caspian Drake. Despite his misgivings, Saphir accepts the assignment, knowing it will give him the access he needs to infiltrate the wealthy and powerful while trying not to get outfoxed by the exasperating Earl.
Forced into a fake relationship by an outdated matchmaking ritual, Cas and Saphir each face the upcoming season with their own agenda. The secrets pile up as the two mates navigate the complexities of a modern world that plays by historic rules. But the closer they get to the truth, the greater the danger–and their attraction to each other–grows.
With their lives on the line and the very foundations of their society at risk, Cas and Saphir must unravel the mystery, even if it means creating a scandal more notorious than their newfound love.
I wouldn’t have associated Bridgerton with the paranormal but bless the talented author duo, Charlie Cochet and Macy Blake, for making this combination work. And to spectacular results at that!
Notorious is Book 1 of Shifter Scoundrels, an alt-universe ruled by a dragon king who created their world based on his favorite human era. As a fan of Bridgerton, I reveled in all the ton intrigue, the ridiculously expensive finery, the amusing rules of etiquette, and of course, the endless balls.
I initially expected the anachronisms to be cheesy or jarring, but the blending of modern-day Bridgerton and shifter lore was beautifully seamless. Even the fashion was a fabulous mix of historical and contemporary, something I would really love to see on screen. While they behave with Regency manners, they also possess cell phones, cars, and other technology.
An interesting twist is the outdated ritual where eligible shifters are matched, and a hunt ensues. If they catch their match, the couple is together for the duration of the season. If not, the hunted has the right to turn down their pairing.
The story opens with a murder, and the king tasked the crown prince’s best friend, Caspian Drake, Earl of Brus. to find the killer. Unknown to the Earl, the king also tasked his trusted friend and former Captain of the Guard, Baron Archer Saphir Vepkhia, to keep him safe.
The rakish earl and the gruff baron want nothing to do with each other, but they are paired by the matchmakers. Cocky Cas boasts no one has caught him yet. To which Saphir smugly responds, we’ll see about that…
The romance is enjoyable, but it’s just what could be expected of an enemies-to-lovers + fake relationship story. It’s the rest of the plot and the very entertaining supporting cast that had me hooked. The series is peopled with sharp-witted matrons with deadly tongues and even deadlier secret skills, as well as charming young lords and ladies, both naïve and worldly.
The first chapter saddened me because the short time he appeared on page, I already liked the murder victim’s character. The first half slowly established the setting and plot. Then it picked up pace with the latter half sweeping me into a whirlwind of antagonistic shenanigans, espionage, murder mystery, action, and adventure. One complaint is how Cas and Saphir missed the very obviously villainous bad guy and instead latched on to the very obviously clueless side character.
Three interesting characters I’m keeping my eye on are the scarred and mysterious Lord Everard, spacey scientific genius Lord Quentin, and purveyor of gossip and dandy extraordinaire Lord Beaumont. Lord Everard’s book is next. Now this man knows how to make an entrance!
Notorious is my first Macy Blake, but I’ve read many Charlie Cochet books. One thing’s guaranteed, it’s always going to be fun! This series opener is no exception. It has a plot that takes you on a wild ride, characters you’ll fall for, and deftly executed writing that captures the best of both worlds! It’s definitely quite a catch!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soundtrack: Catch You
Artist: Dashboard Confessional
Album: Crooked Shadows
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SOUNDTRACK: Catch You by Dashboard Confessional
Soundtrack to Shifter Scoundrels: Notorious by Charlie Cochet & Macy Blake
Catch You by Dashboard Confessional for a book about nobles with secret lives, and their hunt for murderers, lovers, gossip, and truth.
Dead on the shadow knows, the light exposed, the darkest holes
In confidence you hold for you and yours to keep alone
But I heard the story goes a little less like what you told
Well I’m no angel but I’m willing to watch over you
It’s a long way up
To fall all the way down
But when you’re ready
I’ll be waiting
To catch you