4 Facts Gone Fans Should Know When Reading Monster by Michael Grant

ARC of Monster by Michael Grant

I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for the ARC!

Four-star rating

When I heard Michael Grant was writing a new book set in the Gone universe, four years after the final, epic battle in Light, my emotions ranged from wild elation, to nervous anticipation, to desperate need, and back again. The Gone books have a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf, ranking among my favorite and most frequently read series. For that reason, I knew that Monster could either be an absolute joy or a crushing disappointment, depending on the execution.

Now that I’ve had an opportunity to read Monster, I would equate the experience to gulping a glass of water after months of walking in a desert: while it didn’t fully quench my “thirst” for more of the Gone characters and their trials and tribulations in the FAYZ, it was still a hell of a relief to be back in that familiar world.

If you, like me, are a rabid fan of the Gone series but are somewhat nervous about whether you’ll like Monster, I would definitely recommend giving it a go. That said, below are:

4 Things You Should Know Going Into This Book:

1) It’s more of a spin-off than a continuation of the original series.

One thing you need to be aware of is that Monster has a very different vibe than the six “original” books in the Gone series. The story picks up four years after the events of Light, when bits of the same outer-space material that the gaiaphage was made of begin falling to Earth. Governments, scientists, civilians, terrorist groups and others race to claim pieces of the space rock, hoping to be granted the same epic powers that the kids in Perdido Beach had acquired four years earlier. Little do these power-seekers know that although the rock will transform them, it will do so in new and terrible ways.

Everything takes place on a much grander scale than in the other Gone books. The powers themselves are crazier and far more destructive, almost to the point where they’re just too much. Sam, Caine, and the other mutants from the original novels, despite having special abilities, were always recognizably human. They had human flaws, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, etc., and this made the triumphs all the more spectacular and the failures all the more distressing. In contrast, the mutants in Monster are transformed to the point of being more like creatures than people. They’re stronger, faster, more dangerous, and less vulnerable, and it robs the characters of some of their human “potency” as a result.

It’s weird, too, to see adult characters in Monster. Part of what I loved about Gone was that the FAYZ was its own little world, isolated from the rest of the planet. This brought unique challenges, such as food shortages, weird plagues, and a breakdown of social norms, and it was up to children and teenagers to solve the problems, fight the battles, etc. In Monster, that’s no longer the case. The events of the book play out on a global scale, with involvement from militaries and governments. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was admittedly wistful for the FAYZ and the “you’re on your own, you poor suckers” aspect.

2) Monster focuses on a brand new cast of characters.

This is important: if you are expecting a reunion of the entire gang from Light, you are going to be disappointed. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of fantastic appearances from beloved characters – I’ll get to that in a minute – but the only main character who’s a carry-over from the first six books is Dekka Talent. While Dekka wasn’t my favorite character in Gone, I’d always liked her and was happy to have at least one familiar face among Monster’s protagonists. She’s the same awesome, sassy Dekka I knew and loved from before, which was a comfort and a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I was a huge fan of any of the new characters in Monster. My biggest challenge was Shade Darby, who plays a large role in the story. She’s driven, manipulative, and determined, with a sharp intellect and a will of iron. Although she’s a complex and interesting person, there’s something about her that just doesn’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on exactly what rubs me the wrong way about her, but I’m hopeful that she’ll grow on me as the series progresses. After all, Sam and Caine, my two favorite characters in Gone, came a long way over the course of the books as far as character development is concerned.

“[Shade] was aware that she had a tendency to analyze people with the intensity and the emotional distance of a scientist counting bacteria on a slide.”

3) There are plenty of references to, and cameos from, the “old” characters.

I realize that so far, my comments may not sound like a ringing endorsement for this novel. However, I really did have a great time reading Monster, and this is 100% due to the wealth of references to the previous books in the series. Even though Dekka is the only person from those stories who I would count as a main character in Monster, many other characters from Gone make an appearance. These moments had me gasping in shock at times and jumping around like a joyful lunatic at others. [BEGIN SPOILER] The last line of the book in particular had me squealing in absolute glee. [END SPOILER]

You get glimpses of where some of the survivors of the FAYZ have ended up, with hints about who’s thriving, who’s had a breakdown, who’s developed a substance addiction, and so on. It’s sort of like those “where are they now?” celebrity specials that are occasionally on TV.

“‘Among survivors of the Perdido Beach Anomaly who did not have any mutations, thirty-six percent have had serious psychological or behavioral problems. Among those with major powers? The number is closer to ninety percent.’”

In a way, the survivors are a bit like celebrities. They’re famous – or infamous, in a few cases – and I found myself grinning at some of the references. There’s a fabulous scene where a woman scornfully derides Dekka for being known only as “Sam Temple’s strong right arm,” to which Dekka responds:

“‘Every single person…every single one…who came out of that hellhole alive is alive because of him. Sam Temple’s strong right arm? You can chisel those words on my tombstone, lady, and I’ll be a proud and happy corpse.”

4) Monster is only the beginning.

In addition to Monster, two more Gone novels – Villain and Hero – are in the works. I mention this because I expect the spin-off series to improve as it goes. There’s a LOT going on in Monster, to the point where it feels a bit disjointed at times. There are moments when the sheer number of pieces in this “puzzle” make it hard to see how they might come together to form a comprehensible picture; however, I’m willing to be patient and wait for the next two books to complete the image. Michael Grant laid the story’s foundation and began assembling his cast of characters in Monster, and I anticipate that once he starts building on this further the series will improve with each installment.

About the Book

Book cover for Monster by Michael GrantTitle: Monster
Author: Michael Grant
Synopsis:

In the stunning follow-up to the globally bestselling Gone series, Michael Grant continues the story of the teens who morph into superheroes—and supermonsters—when they ingest an alien virus.

Four years after the events of the FAYZ, new meteorites are hitting Earth, and the whole world is exposed to a strange alien virus that gives humans unique superpowers.

As some teens become heroes and others become dangerously out of control with their new powers, the world will become more terrifying than the FAYZ—and only a monstrous battle between good and evil can save them.Add to Goodreads Button

Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: Temper by Beck Nicholas

Tour banner for Temper by Beck NicholasAbout Temper

Book cover for Temper by Beck NicholasFREEDOM COMES WITH A PRICE.

Free from the spaceship and reunited with Samuai, Asher should be happy. But thoughts of her dead family weigh heavily on her mind.

Things worsen when temper problems in camp lead to a murder. When Asher volunteers to get the drug needed to calm people down, tension ignites.

Loyalties are questioned.

Jealousy rears its head. Sparks fly.

And when rumor of a second ship hits close to home, all bets are off.

Have the aliens returned? Is this the end of everything Asher has ever known?

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Available at: Amazon | Kobo | Chapters |Google Play | iBooks | TBD

Review

three stars

 


*This review contains spoilers for Lifer, the first book in Beck Nicholas’ Lifer series.*

Ever since I finished Lifer in 2014, I’ve been checking Goodreads and Beck Nicholas’ website for news of a sequel. After continually coming up empty-handed, I began to despair that Lifer had been a stand-alone novel instead of the start of a series. Then, lo and behold, I got an invitation from Chapter By Chapter to participate in the Temper blog tour. Cue the “Hallelujah Chorus!”

Temper begins several weeks after the Lifers’ and Fishies’ escape from The Pelican. The camp the Lifers, Fishies, and Green Robes have established together is a simmering cauldron of fear, distrust, and tension. As Samuai notes, “Freedom sounds great, until people who’ve always lived a certain way are dragged kicking and screaming into a new way of life.” Not only does each group have a very different opinion about how to proceed in their fight against the Company; they’re also dealing with strange after-effects from the experiments the Company performed on them. Violent outbursts erupt and tempers flare at the slightest provocation; the camp is a simmering cauldron ready to boil over.

In hopes of finding a cure for the strange behavioral changes, Asher and Davyd set off on a mission into the heart of Company territory. Samuai is left behind to keep the peace among the camp’s factions until his brother and sweetheart return. This is a hard enough task in and of itself, but it proves even more challenging when Samuai discovers that the Green Robes have been keeping secrets, secrets that could change everything for the people in the camp.

Something I really enjoyed about Temper – as terrible as this is going to sound – was watching Samuai shift from the bright, optimistic boy that Asher first fell in love with to a more practical, somewhat cynical young man. He’s still the great guy I fell for in Lifer, but he develops a harder edge in Temper, growing more suspicious and more disenchanted, his faith in people shaken by the secrets he’s unearthed. It made him an even more interesting character than he’d been before.

Davyd, too, remains one of my favorite characters in this series. He’s just as unpredictable and fun as he was in Lifer, and I loved his role as instigator, charmer, and manipulator. You never know for sure which side Davyd is on or what his motivations are; what you do know is that he’ll always keep things exciting.

One complaint I had with Temper is that there wasn’t quite as much romantic drama as I anticipated. One of the aspects I liked most about Lifer was the love square that developed between Megs, Samuai, Asher, and Davyd; to be perfectly honest, I was more concerned with their relationships than the rest of the plot. That being said, I couldn’t wait to see what would transpire between the four of them when they were all brought together in Temper. I was hoping for some fireworks, or at least some confrontations and awkwardness. There was a little of this, but I can always use more relationship angst!

Temper also suffers from a mild case of second book syndrome. At times I felt like its primary purpose was to set up events for Fighter, the next book in the series, and serve as a bridge between books 1 and 3. That being said, it was still an engaging read, and I remain a big fan of this series. I’m anxious to find out more about the mysteries of the Company, the direction the characters’ relationships will take, and what the heck will come of Temper’s cliffhanger ending!

I received a free copy of this book from Chapter By Chapter in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Beck-Nicholas-head-shot-248x300

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

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Giveaway

You could be one of 5 winners to receive a digital copy of Temper by Beck Nicholas! To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. The contest is open internationally and ends March 11, 2016.  

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Giveaway and Cover Reveal: Heart of the Guardian by Desiree Williams

It’s finally here – the cover reveal for Heart of the Guardian, the final installment of Desiree Williams’ Heart Song trilogy! As beautiful as the covers of Heart Song and Shifter’s Heart were, Heart of the Guardian is hands down my favorite; in fact, it’s probably one of the most stunning covers I’ve seen this year.  In addition to this great reveal, I’ve also got an excerpt for you from Heart of the Guardian, as well as the chance to win an awesome giveaway courtesy of the author herself. Cheers!

About Heart of the Guardian

The time has come. The war ends now…

Syrina’s inner energy has not been the same since the Guardian Alanna saved her that day in the market. A burning need to help others drives her to seek permission to join the caravan headed to the Rebels camp. Lady Alanna and Prince Jerric have given Syrina and her mother so much, and in return, Syrina wants to spread that kindness to the Guardian’s army in any way she can.

It was supposed to be another easy plan. Until an amber-eyed stranger flipped her life around, throwing her into the strange world of Guardians and Warriors. Now, Syrina faces challenges she’s never even dreamed of as the missing piece in the War on the Lands is found.

New enemies and allies surface in this never ending war. Syrina and the Guardians lock onto the measure of goodness they’ve been given while evil threatens to rip it from their hands.

When the battle hits home, nothing will be the same.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…the big reveal!

Book cover for Heart of the Guardian by Desiree Williams

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Excerpt from Heart of the Guardian

“Do you need your energy back?”

Syrina jumped at how close his voice came. Whipping around, she found Emer a few feet from her. She hadn’t expected him to address her again, or to close the distance between them. She swallowed, unable to look away from those amber eyes. “Excuse me?”

He pointed to the barrier still around him. “You energy? Do you want to pull it back?”

“Oh, um, you can hang on to it, if you’d like. The barrier will continue to move with you, and once you’re finished just stretch your arms past the border. The edges will dissolve and the energy dissipate into the air.”

Syrina opted for a friendly tone, but her response made Emer’s frown deepen—if that were possible. He crossed his arms, watching her until she wanted to squirm.

“What did you do to him?” He pointed his chin toward Janson, who was now in a jovial mood, showing off the wares he’d transported from Aldonnia.

She shrugged a shoulder. Syrina had no idea how she’d done it, so it wasn’t like she could explain it. Not that it would be wise to tell this Rebel anyhow. “Not sure I know what you mean.”

Her heart skipped several beats before a small half-grin pulled at Emer’s mouth. She couldn’t stop herself from wondering what he’d look like if he truly smiled.

“You can keep your secrets, Miss Syrina. You’ll find we all have a trove full of them.” He strode past her, saying, “Welcome to the Rebels’ camp.”

Author Bio

Photo of Heart Song author Desiree WilliamsDesiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at www.desireewilliamsbooks.blogspot.com.

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Giveaway

This is one giveaway you don’t want to miss – a lucky winner will receive a gorgeous rose gold heart pendant necklace, a $15 Amazon gift card, and Heart Song trilogy bookmarks. For a chance to win, enter the giveaway below. The winner will be announced on Desiree’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter account the morning of August 11.

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Blog tour banner for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Praefatio by Georgia McBride! As part of my stop today I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the novel as well as a chance for you to win a copy of this book for your very own. Enjoy!

About Praefatio

Book cover for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway…

After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety.

Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true?

Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

Excerpt

Officer Sarah Bladen sighed heavily.

“When you’re ready to talk, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll go see if your mom’s here.” She threw the newspaper she’d been holding on the table in front of me and left the room. I grabbed it before it hit the tabletop microphone. I flipped the paper around to find Gavin’s photo under the headline: ROCK STAR ARRESTED IN DISAPPEARANCE OF MISSING PEAK GIRL

Gavin Vault, lead singer of Venus Unearthed, was arrested on Christmas Day for the kidnapping and attempted assault of Grace Miller, daughter of Broadway actress Vivienne Miller. Miss Miller, seventeen, was reported as a runaway two months ago by her legal guardians, Victoria and Kenneth Larson, with whom she’d been living since her father, Gabriel Miller, died in a motor vehicular accident. Mr. Vault is considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Miss Miller’s brother, Remiel, fifteen, and the Larson’s daughter, Jennifer, also fifteen. The two teens were reported missing three weeks ago. At the time of Mr. Vault’s arrest, Miss Miller was found on the Vault estate in questionable physical condition. She is believed to be suffering from a condition similar to Stockholm Syndrome.

Something in the article triggered a flood of coherent thoughts and memories. When I tell them, when I finally answer their questions, it’s not gonna be good. They thought I was protecting Gavin; that I was his victim somehow. What were they going to say when I told them what really happened? What was Mom going to think?

My stomach churned as I took the last sip of the liquid they proudly called “coffee.” The door to the interrogation room swung open. I stood to throw the coffee cup away, and saw Gavin leaning against the wall in the hallway across from me. My stomach churned again, and a great sadness followed.

Every bit the rock star and not a hair out of place, he looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Gavin laughed with the same officers who’d arrested him, and I noticed he was in the clothes he’d been wearing when they took him away in handcuffs. I wish I’d told him how good he looked earlier. I wish I’d done so many things differently.

Can you hear me? I tried speaking to him telepathically. He didn’t answer or even acknowledge that I’d spoken, so, I opened my mouth to call to him.

Our eyes met, and my mouth clamped shut. I was suddenly at a loss for words. One of the officers began leading him down the hall. I wanted to run to him, but my legs were jerked back into place by what felt like shackles, though there weren’t any on me. I tried again, but could only move about a foot from where I stood before being yanked back into place.

“Gavin!” I yelled. My voice echoed off the walls of the interrogation room and out into the hall, making me sound way more desperate than I’d intended.

Gavin lowered his head as if the sight was too much for him. Hot tears streamed down my face, stinging my skin. “Please, Gavin, wait!” He kept walking. as if Gavin didn’t know me at all.

Officer Bladen reentered the room and closed the door.

Still, I heard them laughing and talking outside; it surprised me that I could hear them through the walls. Or was I just hearing voices again?

“You really make a lasting impression, huh, Vault?” One of the cops joked, followed by laughter from the others. By his tone, they seemed like they could have been old high school buddies.

Rage and humiliation got the best of me. I lunged forward, only to be pulled backward by the invisible shackles around my feet.

My landing wasn’t as graceful as I would have liked. Refusing help from a rather amused Officer Bladen, I stood, dusted off my knees and took a seat.

***

We sat in silence, occasionally staring at one another, listening for anything at all. The only interruptions were Officer Bladen’s rubbing of her arm at seemingly timed intervals and the dings of her cell phone. The fly was gone. He caught the flight out when Bladen opened the door. Smart fly. I found myself missing his flitting and buzzing.

A knock on the doorframe brought us both out of our bored trances. I think I was actually counting Officer Bladen’s arm hairs at the time.

“Ms. Miller,” intoned a cop who poked his head in from the hallway. Leaning in slightly and holding onto the doorframe as if the room were contaminated, he continued, “Your mother’s arrived and is right outside. I suspect you’ll want to start with your videotaped statement now.” He crooked a long index finger and motioned for Officer Bladen to follow him out into the hall. And then she was gone, leaving the lingering smell of her perfume.

A voice came from somewhere on the other side of the two-way mirror.

“Hi, Honey. Go ahead with your statement. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

A red light on the video camera above the mirror came on. I hadn’t noticed it until now.

“Mom?” I stood, ready to leave with her.

“Sit down, Grace,” Mom’s voice ordered. “Just give your statement and this will all be over with.”

“Mom…you’re not coming in?” My voice was small, almost mousey. The sound of the metal chair scraping along the concrete floor echoed in my ears as I sank back down.

“No, honey, just please give them your statement so we can be done with this whole mess,” Mom had not come to get me at all.

“Miss Miller, please. Look into the camera, state your name for the record, and start with your earliest recollections leading up to when we found you tonight, how you met Mr. Vault, came to be on his property, anything he may have said about your brother, Remiel, or Jennifer Larson from as far back as you can remember. Just take your time, Grace. If you need a break, let me know,” Sergeant Mullane’s voice boomed through the overhead speakers.

I squirmed, took a deep breath, cleared my throat and spoke into the microphone, “Archangel Grace Ann Miller.” My voice was barely above a whisper. I could still take it back.

“I’m sorry, Grace. Can you repeat? Not sure we caught that,” Sergeant Mullane requested.

I know what I am. I know what I saw.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I repeated, only slightly louder.

“Did she say what I think she said?” It was Officer Bladen’s unmistakably snarky voice.

“Grace, I’m sorry. Can you please repeat your name and speak directly into the microphone in front of you?” Sergeant Mullane instructed.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I stated as loud as I could without yelling.

I didn’t hear anything after that.

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About Georgia McBrideAuthor photo for Georgia McBride

Georgia loves a good story. Whether it’s writing her own, or publishing someone else’s, story is at the heart of everything Georgia does. Founder of Month9Books, YALITCHAT.ORG and the weekly #yalitchat on Twitter, Georgia spends most of her days writing, editing, or talking about books. That is, of course, when she is not blasting really loud music or reading. She lives in North Carolina with four dogs, a frog, a parrot, two kids, parents and a husband. Praefatio is her first novel.

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to be one of five readers who will receive a digital copy of Praefatio The contest is open internationally, and winners will be selected on April 27, 2015.

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Review: Shifter’s Heart by Desiree Williams

Shifter's Heart Book Cover Shifter's Heart
Desiree Williams

As the flames of Varkadon spread, war rips through the Shifter Territory…

With the Aldonnian kingdom celebrating the news of her brother’s soul bonding, Laelynn seizes every opportunity to drive herself to the brink of exhaustion. If her body is worn, then her brain would be too tired to dream. Laelynn knew the men who’d captured her were gone from this world, but that didn’t stop the haunting images from plaguing her mind. Not even the pesky thorn-in-her-side Shifter Prince could keep the dreams at bay. Though Dustan’s commentary through their mental bond had kept a lingering smile on her lips, despite the battles that rage within her.

Yet when Dustan distances himself Laelynn questions the connection between them. Those fears rise when her own talents begin to morph and grow into the unexpected. Torn between love and faith, Laelynn strives to find the purpose behind the evolving gifts. What she discovers is far more than she ever imagined.

As tragedy befalls the Shifter Territory and brother battles against brother, Laelynn knows what must be done. Face her demons and triumph, or she’ll never claim the song of her heart.

Review:

If you’re in search of a tender romance that also contains action and humor, you need look no further than Shifter’s Heart, the second book in the Heart Song trilogy by Desiree Williams. If Heart Song was a good book, then Shifter’s Heart is a great one. Williams really steps up her game in this installment, bringing to the table excellent descriptions, sweet but steamy relationships, and plenty of banter to keep you laughing even in the midst of a battle between good and evil.

The war that began in Heart Song between Aldonnia and the evil Varkadons continues in Shifter’s Heart. Alanna, Jerric, and their friends and family must rally their forces and hone their magical abilities if they have any hope of defeating the Varkadons and stopping their enemies’ reign of terror. This mission is a compelling one, but I found I was less interested in the fight to overcome the Varkadons than I was in the love story developing between Laelynn, Jerric’s sister, and Dustan, High Prince of the Shifters.

Dustan and Laelynn were my two favorite characters in Heart Song, so I was overjoyed when I realized they were going to be taking center stage in Shifter’s Heart. I’m gaga over Dustan – the mischievous shape-shifter is thoughtful, romantic, and hilarious, with a flair for drama and a talent for playing pranks and stirring up trouble. The margins of my ARC were filled with comments like “Geez, I love Dustan!” and “Oh, Dustan – you crack me up!” Laelynn is a gem, too. She’s loving and kind, but she has enough spunk and attitude to make her feel human and relatable.

Laelynn and Dustan make a great pair – I adored them as a couple. The physical relationships in the book are limited to kissing and cuddling, but Williams somehow manages to make the romance steamy AND sweet. You can feel the attraction between the characters, and it’s enticing without getting out of hand. I had a big grin on my face for much of the book, mostly due to this very fact.

There’s a lot more humor and banter in Shifter’s Heart than there was in Heart Song, something that I loved. Both Dustan and Laelynn cracked me up, and I loved how they interacted together. The teasing, joking, and sarcasm between them never gets old, and it made me laugh out loud at several points in the book. Here’s a scene where Laelynn (who can control plants) is playfully arguing with Dustan:

“You’re insufferable, you know that?”

“It’s what you love most about me.” Dustan nuzzled Laelynn’s cheek, pressing his nose along her jaw line while she fought to shove him off. Vines leapt from nearby plants, tangling around Dustan’s waist, lifting him off the ground.

His gray eyes glowed silver at being captured, and a slow smile tipped the corners of his mouth. “Contain yourself, beloved. You’re only supposed to tie me up when we’re–”

A large leaf smacked over Dustan’s mouth, muffling the remaining words.

The only thing thing I wasn’t crazy about in Shifter’s Heart was something that also bothered me in Heart Song, and it’s more personal preference than anything else. Although I love romance, I’m not wild about books that read like romance novels; the language tends to be a little too cheesy. There are times when Shifter’s Heart skirts romance-novel-language territory, like when characters’ souls are supposedly calling out to one another or when eyes are constantly described as “blazing with love.” Still, this sort of thing is minor compared to all the other, beautiful aspects of the love story.

In addition to writing a compelling romance, Williams also excels at writing beautiful descriptions and poignant, hopeful scenes. I have several passages underlined in my ARC simply because I loved how they were worded. The chapters set in the Shifter territory are particularly lovely:

The trees broke apart to reveal a small clearing ahead. Dustan dropped her hand as he waded alone into the waist-high grass dotted with orange and yellow wildflowers. A gust of wind stirred the long stems, their fragrance swirling around her in a welcoming embrace, beckoning her to enter the field.

Isn’t that just gorgeous? And it’s just one of many exquisitely-written scenes!

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better sequel to Heart Song. Williams has really grown as an author, presenting a delightful novel that will make its readers laugh, cry, and swoon in turns. I can’t wait to read the final installment to find out what new joys Williams has in store!

A free ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.