Jorie Price is an author plagued by nightmares. Fierce shape-shifting creatures haunt her dreams and the only way she can think of to evict them is by binding them in her next novel. However, unbeknownst to her, her latest manuscript is hitting just a little too close to reality for some powerful people. Her agent insists writing this book is dangerous but even he is unaware of the magnitude of the peril stalking Jorie.
Griffin Westmore is a Wrasa, a shapeshifting liger to be exact. She works as a Saru, an elite soldier tasked to protect the secret of her people from the humans. Assigned to determine the source of Jorie’s information, and to eliminate the threat of her people’s secret getting out, the last thing she expected was to fall for her prey.
Kelsey is Jorie and Griffin’s body guard. It’s a far cry from being part of the pack that had previously tried to kill Jorie but she’s determined to make amends for previous mistakes. When Jorie has a vision about a young shifter, Danny being in danger, they send Kelsey to investigate. Teaming up with the teen’s mother Rue, Kelsey must find the missing boy and help him understand who he is before he ends up inadvertently exposing the Wrasa to the world.
Natural Family Disasters
After all the excitement experienced in the first two novels of the series, Jorie, Griffin, and family finally get a chance to relax in five touching vignettes that expose a more intimate side of their lives. With stories that focus on some much needed bonding time, a family Christmas get together to remember, adventures in babysitting, a game of cats and mouse, and an unforgettable high school reunion, we get to catch up with our favourite Wrasa and humans in the sweetest way.
It is clear that Jae invested a cat-load of time developing the lore of the Wrasa and it was definitely time well invested. I thoroughly enjoyed the many details surrounding the biology, culture, politics, and history of our shape-shifting friends, not to mention the snippets of observations about the more mundane (but spectacular in their own right of course) cats in the book.
In the first two books of the series, Jae is able to seamlessly weave action, romance, and comedy throughout the narrative. The combination kept my interest peaked and my enjoyment heightened without ever becoming too intense or too boring.
The characters have wonderful depth and chemistry abounds throughout the series. There is a common theme of love in its many forms that ties the characters together and is explored even further in the last book of short stories.
Abby Craden does an absolutely fabulous job narrating this series. Her vocal range is broad enough to provide distinct voices for the large group of characters in the story, male and female, without ever sounding forced or weird. Her emotive skills and mastery of inflection are equally impressive and help her to not only perfectly embody the character she is acting at the time, but also enhance the author’s ability to invoke an intended feeling in the listener. The result is that you are never confused as to who is speaking or what their intentions are. Craden’s voice is smooth, mellifluous and perfectly paced for the scene being described, enabling the listener to become completely engrossed in the story. Listening to her narrate is an experience and I will definitely listen to more of her work.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
The best part of reading a series is being able to watch characters grow and relationships deepen and that is certainly the case in this series. I really enjoy how these books don’t just focus on one relationship or one aspect of love. Jae draws us into several different iterations of love, plutonic and romantic, extolling its many virtues in terms of what is shared between friends and family, in addition to what is encompassed in more romantic instances.
No cons for me, but in terms of subject matter, there is a cat that suffered cruelty at the hands of humans in the past (the act is not described, just the results), and there is violence and instances of kidnapping.
Listening to this series was a delight. It was a winning combination of engrossing and entertaining storytelling both in terms of the words written, and the performance given. I begrudged those occasions in which I had to hit pause and return to the real world. It is also a very accessible series for readers who may not normally enjoy speculative fiction. While the core of the story is paranormal in nature, the mix of action, comedy, and romance makes it appealing on a broader level. So, if you are looking for something that is exciting, humourous, and celebrates love in all of its forms, this series will make your dreams come true.
Excerpt from Second Nature by Jae
“A Christmas dinner?” Brian set down his glass on the coffee table and licked a drop of milk from his lips. “You know we don’t celebrate Christmas, so why would we start now?”
Griffin stared down at him and at Gus, who was leaning back on the couch and hadn’t yet offered an opinion. “Because I’m inviting you to celebrate Christmas with Jorie and me.”
“Ah.” Her father waved a negligent hand. “Christmas is a stupid human tradition. Invite us over some other time.”
A flare of anger made Griffin’s skin itch. She scratched her forearms. “Jorie is human and she’s my mate, so if you want me to be part of the family, you better get used to celebrating this stupid human tradition!”
“Calm down, you two.” With a lazy stretch, Gus looked up at Griffin and then glanced at his brother. “What’s so bad about Christmas? Spending time with the pride, eating a turkey or two, and solving the mystery of surprise presents—sounds like the perfect feline entertainment to me.”
“What’s so bad about Christmas?” Brian grumbled. “Christmas carols blaring everywhere.” He covered his sensitive ears to make his point. “Human cubs on a constant sugar rush from eating too many cookies, and humans strolling through the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree. The pride hasn’t had a quiet, uninterrupted run in weeks.”
Griffin had to admit that some Christmas traditions were pretty annoying. The lack of privacy in the forest bothered her too. Last night, a family searching for a few fir branches to decorate their home had nearly surprised her as she had been about to shift shape. Still, she was quickly warming up to other Christmas traditions. So far, the mistletoe that Jorie had hung over the doorway was her favorite. Not that I’d need an excuse to kiss Jorie whenever I want. Thinking about Jorie made her anger fade away. She directed a calm gaze at “her father. “The dinner is important to Jorie and to me, not just because of Christmas. We want to tell Helen, and I want both of you there to support us.”
“Tell her what?” Brian sipped his milk again. “That you and Jorie are sharing the same pillow at night?” He smirked.
A frown replaced Griffin’s pleading expression, but she knew her father was just having fun teasing her a little. She took her commitment to Jorie too seriously to laugh about his offhand remark, though. “No.” She scowled at Brian. “Helen already knows that Jorie and I are a couple. We want to tell Helen who and what I really am.”
Milk spattered all over the coffee table. “What?”
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Series: The Shape-Shifter Series
Bits and Bobs
Second Nature: B087SY619Z
True Nature: B08G2VHKR1
Natural Family Disasters: B0C9K49WDJ
Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Abby Craden
Second Nature listening length 13 hours 39 minutes
True Nature listening length 14 hours 2 minutes
Natural Family Disasters listening length 2 hours 26 minutes
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Note: I received a free review copy of The Shape-Shifter Series by Jae. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site