change of heartStory Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 3 stars

Narrator: Sean Crisden
Length: 6 hours, 16 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible
Book Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK

Werepanther Jin Rayne was kicked out of his pack for being reah. Whereas reahs are rare and highly valued, they are normally female, and in the eyes of his pack and most importantly, his family, Jin was an abomination.  Jin—along with his best friend, his beset and protector, Crane—has traveled from pack to pack, city to city, always hiding who he was. Jin knows what he is and there is no changing it, but he doesn’t have to like it. Reahs are fated to be mated to semels; semels are meant to be strong and keep their family line strong… with children. Not that it matters because Jin doesn’t want a mate. It’s why he avoids meeting semels at all costs. Until the fateful night he and Crane save a woman from a group of werepanthers.

throwback thursdayThe woman turns out to be one of the three local semels’ sisters. Jin’s fate is sealed. Now unwittingly on the pack’s radars—as they know of him and adore him, but are unaware of his status as only a semel can spot a reah—Jin is faced with the choice to either leave town again or stay and hope he’s not found out. He hopes to slip out of town without notice and just the opposite happens. When two of the semels try to stake claim on Jin and he rejects them, the third semel’s advisor thinks it’s only fair that Jin gives him a chance, so he does. And that’s when he meets Logan Church. His mate.

Jin never understood fated mates and having the choice of finding someone to love being taken from you, therefore he never wanted it. Then he found Logan. But Logan is set to be mated to another… a woman. Not only that, Logan has never been with a man. In the beginning, their mating is tumultuous. Trust has to be earned, liberties are taken, and mistakes are made. Jin and Logan must learn to compromise and to forgive if their mating will ever work for the sake of their relationship and the sake of their pack.

I love Jin and Logan with all the love of a trillion baby llamas. That’s how much. I have all the awws and lust for both of them and for this story. This was my first Mary Calmes paranormal story and in true Mary form, the world and characters captivated me from the beginning. And just so you know, this is not my first reading of Change of Heart, but it is my first time to listen on audiobook. And just so you know, this book is my cherry all around. My very first audiobook ever (that I’ve actually finished).

Okay so the story:  Yes, I love it. I love Jin’s stubborn set and fierce determination to be his own man regardless of what fate and his birth pack have intended for him. But then I love the way he finds himself in his role as reah—the caregiver and protecter of his semel. It’s a bit of just dessert for Jin because he’s so against being everything he secretly longs for, then suddenly he’s faced with it. And Logan—God—I love a good alpha male and let me tell you Logan Church is all alpha. Domineering, growly, bossy, protective, over reactive, soft hearted, vulnerable to Jin, and able to give in when needed—that’s what Logan is. And don’t even get me started on their chemistry. The scene outside the limo… geez.

The world is fantabulous. I love a good paranormal world, but big cats are probably my favorite and the way the author makes it her own is phenomenal. The structure of the pack is solid. Nothing is left to the imagination. Each role is cleverly and explicitly well-defined, and even so, I love the anomaly that is presented in Jin–the way he owns it and makes it his own, but also how Logan’s pack make him their own as well. It’s perfect.

Okay, so I love the story and it will forever be one of my favorites, but the audiobook just didn’t do it for me. Right off the bat I had issues because scene one is the introduction of Crane, Jin’s best friend. I like Crane and he holds a pretty big role in the story, so hearing a character that sounds like Kermit the Frog throughout the book threw me off. Crane is beset to Jin—his bodyguard. How is Kermit intimidating?  The narrator did an okay job with choosing distinct voices for each character, but to me they didn’t match the characters. For example, both Christophe and Domin sounded flimsy where they should have had a stronger, alpha tone, as they were both, in fact, alphas.

And then there is the inflection of tones. There were times when the narrator would say things and I would laugh where I should have maybe gasped or fill-in-the-blank-lusty-reaction. It’s so random—after sex, during intimate moments—the narrator is so matter of fact. It was like he was simply reading from the page and not reading the story.

It’s not all bad. The pacing of the narration is very well done and I enjoyed, of course, the story overall. But I’m sure I would have gotten more enjoyment from sounding out the voices in my head. Sadly, this is not an audiobook I’d recommend, though I’d recommend the heck out of the book.

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

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