We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: m/m paranormal
Two books in one!
The first was Diagnosis Wolf by Poppy Dennison. Andrew, a male nurse with an almost constant inner monologue that often escapes into an outer monologue is an appealing character and his role as a nurse makes for a sympathetic insta-relationship with Caleb, the seriously ill scion of a powerful and wealthy shifter family.
Andrew's early naming of Scowly and Scowlier was quite fun as are a good number of his musings. Though it does seem odd that an established and wealthy family of shifters wouldn't have a doctor on-call... or a shaman/medicine woman, or maybe a vet!
This tale doesn't expand upon or use much shifter lore, and its attempt at the thriller aspects of the story were only tepid and the romance parts weren't particularly well motivated.
Dennison's tale felt a bit perfunctory, like a rounding the bases after an out of the park home run. Sure it touches all the bases but doesn't feel very in-depth or exciting. No new insights, no characters that we identify with and/or really grow to care about, but a satisfactory way to spend some time.
In this tale Jeff Gelder's narration felt like it could have been practiced more. His voice was appealing enough, and for the most part, his narration was good if not great, but at several spots throughout the story I felt myself pulled out of the tale by thoughts like "I'd have read that differently."
Landslide by Mary Calmes is in some ways the opposite of its companion piece. The tale is chock full of lore related to demons like Cael, the protagonist's employer. It's also refreshing to see a protagonist that's not a perfect physical specimen. Though this one's told in first person with ex-marine Frank as the protagonist/narrator, its really Cael, the incubus demon that I identified with most strongly. Both Frank and the demon do get a bit more character development than in the first tale and I connected more strongly with the romance as a result.
In Landslide, Gelder's narration felt more natural. The first person perspective and the more plentiful dialogue may have helped. There were still instances of odd emphasis and timing but it seemed less jarring than in the first piece. Of course it may just have been familiarity.
Co-incidentally, both stories are set in Arizona. Who knew that that state was such a hotbed of paranormal characters?