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    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    Forced into a fake relationship by an outdated matchmaking ritual, Cas and Saphir each face the upcoming season with their own agenda.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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    AUDIO REVIEW: Fated Hearts by Garrett Leigh

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    Shadow Bound: Fated Hearts – Garrett Leigh

    “He’s not a wolf.”

    Devastated by the death of his best friend, Zio is a soldier with one thing on his mind: revenge. Consumed by a conflict that’s raged as long as he’s been alive, he’s had little time or inclination to learn the legends of the shifter world he was raised in. And he certainly doesn’t have time to deal with a shifter of a different kind, even if it’s for the good of the war effort. For the good of his pack. The fact that he’s already crossed paths with the new face in his unit is almost irrelevant.


    Do no harm. Give life not death: it’s the oath Devan was reborn to live by, so when he’s sent abroad to embed with a wolf pack as their resident healer, he doesn’t hesitate. In the supernatural world, some bonds are instant—soldiers become brothers, pack become family. But others run deeper and before long, Devan’s at the mercy of instincts he can’t control.

    Zio’s inner wolf is desperate to be with Devan, while Devan struggles to keep the pack safe. But as the war escalates, and new love is tainted by anguish and pain, the battles within might prove the toughest of them all.

    “I won’t let him die.”

    We are dropped right smack in the middle of a war in this captivating shifter romance by Garrett Leigh. It quickly grabbed my attention and didn’t let go.

    Fated Hearts is the first book of the Shadow Bound series. There is a short story prequel that I haven’t read yet. I’m guessing it will more or less give us an idea of how or why the Northern pack and the Southern packs are at war with each. This prequel is also the story of how the Shadow Clan’s alpha met his fated mate who is a vampire. From the hints given in the story, it’s just as good as this novel.

    So anyway, the world is basically already established and we get right into the action. There are a lot of characters who are assumed to be known to the reader already. I felt it would have been ideal if I had known their backstories beforehand. However, overall, piecing together everything wasn’t a hardship and did not greatly undermine my enjoyment of the story.

    Apparently, the shifters here stopped aging once they are turned. I liked this version of shifters. There are wolves and feline shifters as well as vampires with humans very much aware of their presence. Magic is present but low key. There is also mention of human weapons used in the pack war and their impact. I’m curious to see what other supernatural creatures are present and where the author takes the series. The Shadow Bound world is definitely worth exploring.

    Zio is a soldier of the Northern pack who just lost his bestfriend, Emma, the pack healer. He took the loss hard and had a hard time accepting her replacement. Zio is a bit of a hot-head but a good leader of his squad. Orphaned as a baby, the pack is all the family he has ever known, the other soldiers his brothers.

    Zio first met Devan at a club when he smelled something very enticing and followed his nose right up to a mysterious man in the dark. They had what they assumed was an anonymous hook up and thought they wouldn’t see each other again. Much to his surprise, the rando turned out to be their new healer.

    Devan is a shifter from the Shadow clan. He has a calm, grounding presence. He’s also mature considering that he looks 21 but also makes sense since he’s been a shifter for 20 years.

    The attraction between the two was undeniable. Zio, who is quite naive of some basic shifter biology, cannot seem to understand why he is so strongly drawn to Devan. The healer was hesitant to explain why for some reason but couldn’t help getting close This is where most of the delicious will they or won’t they tension comes from. I could feel their frustrations and longing leaping off the page.

    This created a lot of angst, especially coming from Zio. His grief, anger, desire for revenge, desire for Devan all made him run away from others. We could see how young Zio is. He was turned when he was a baby 20 something years ago so his shifter age and biological age are the same.

    Even when they finally acknowledged that they were mates, Zio and Devan were forbidden to complete the bond due to shifter politics. Things are so much bigger than just the two of them. War takes its toll and death inevitable.

    I felt bad for those who lost their mates especially mated pairs who had major appearances in the story. The deaths weren’t Game of Throne levels but the results could still be felt strongly especially right after showing the close bonds and camaraderie among pack and their alpha.

    Dan Calley, who is the narrator of most Garrett Leigh books, did a great job bringing the characters to life. The voices he used for each character really suited their personality. My only niggle is that I wished there was a pause whenever the POV shifts from one MC to another. I wouldn’t immediately realize that the POV already changed because the sentences were read without any change of pacing.

    Among the shifter stories I’ve read, Fated Hearts is one of the well-written ones. Even without the build-up, it’s easy to get swept away by the story and root for the characters. The development of a shifter relationship amidst war and politics was portrayed beautifully, the HEA hard-fought and satisfying.

    The war is not yet over. We haven’t seen the last of the Northern pack and the Shadow Clan yet. I’m looking forward to the next book!


    Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Garrett Leigh books here.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Latch
    Artist: Kodaline
    Album: In a Perfect World

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    Soldati Hearts: The Soldati Prince – Charlie Cochet

    One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.

    Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

    An attempt at shifter/human paranormal romance that fell short of the mark. I appreciate the fluff and cute that are liberally sprinkled throughout but I could trade this with any typical shifter romance story be it  m/f, m/m or f/f and it wouldn’t make any difference. It’s that generic. It didn’t help that the narration was lackluster and flat. I’d say pass on this one.

    2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

    Soundtrack: Something About Us
    Artist: Daft Punk
    Album: Discovery

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31509168-the-soldati-prince)