All's Fair in Mate Bonds and Publishing by Alana AnkhRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Killian Marsden is an editor for a romance publisher. He’s also a hybrid, which means half-human, half-wolf. He’s weary of reading paranormal romance submissions that always portray a dominant Alpha wolf getting it on with a submissive heroine. Plus, they always get the werewolf stuff wrong. Considering his own Alpha wolf father abandoned him before birth, Killian’s got a good reason to feel antsy.

One day he gets a submission from a disturbed woman, Anastasia, who had her submission rejected. Now she’s accusing Killian of plagiarizing and makes some pretty nasty threats. Killian takes the matter in stride—until an Alpha werewolf, Brett Wolfe, comes to his place of business and accuses him of the same thing, apparently being the crazed woman’s fiancé. But the two men figure out that not only did she make up the whole thing, but also that two of them are mates. And that just makes matters worse for Brett who has an obligation to marry Anastasia and for Killian who sees no upside in getting involved with an Alpha.

After reading the blurb, I immediately wanted to read this. I expected that because the author professed to knowing the clichés of paranormal romance she would deliver a funny tale with plenty of surprises. But… and isn’t there always a but? But… this story does point out a bunch of these clichés, yes, but it sure doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, just added a couple of new spinners on for show.

In short, the plot points out all the typical stuff through Killian who hates them—and yet they’re all present in this story: One hero who has a foot in both the human and the wolf world and a strong reason to hate the wolf bit; another hero who has a prior straight engagement and a whole pack to run; an insane female lead who is, of course, attached to one of the heroes; a pushy family who don’t give a toss about their son; plotting and scheming to overthrow Brett; a horrible caricature of a woman who in the end sees the light and is unbelievably redeemed; and last but not least, a challenge fight to the death in wolf form. Did I miss anything? Hmm.

The reason I point all these things out is that the author seems to think that by stating these common tropes out loud we should accept their appearance in the story as humorous. Yet I didn’t really find a lot of chuckles here, even though I really wanted to and searched hard for them. That was disappointing because if the author writes about knowing all the tropes, why not go beyond them and give readers a real twist, something new that’s never been done? Based on the blurb, that was what I was expecting—and didn’t get.

All that said, this wasn’t a bad book. No, in fact I kind of liked it. This is a typical werewolf mating story. The trimmings don’t change the dish, though, in a point of phrase. If you lower your expectations of novelties in characterization and plot lines, then you’ll like this as a regular paranormal romance with two hot guys, an enemies-to-lovers story with lots of hot sex, and suspense through political intrigue and the actions of a crazy Alpha bitch-wannabe. If you accept this tale as just another shifter M/M romance in a long line of similar tales, and already like that genre, then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this. I liked it as such—but in the end it wasn’t as memorable and novel as I had hoped. Nonetheless, I have no doubt many readers will love this as a fine example of the paranormal romance genre.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

susan sig

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