Ah, the weekend is over. Why do weekends go so fast? I did nothing very exciting, unless grocery shopping counts as exciting. I didn't even do my laundry. Oh well. Lots of follow-up to do this week after my meetings all week. Hopefully I'll be motivated but I'm not holding my breath. :-)
So I did a bit of shifter binging. I realized when I bought book 7 that I hadn't read book 6 yet in the Lost Shifter series so did a back-to-back reading. Good times.
Ruthless Pursuit by Stephani Hecht (133 pages)
Vapor has been tasked to find and bring home missing brother Andrew. As the best tracker in the coalition this should be a piece of cake, however Andrew has thrown a grenade in his car, shot him, drugged him and managed to escape every time. Andrew has been told he was sold by his family and was raised with two other shifters by a human in an Oliver Twist type situation. They are mercenaries who do anything for money. Although Andrew is starting to get hooked on Vapor and when he overhears his "mentor" telling Shane to kill Vapor, he and Owen decide it's time to leave and try and protect Vapor. This leads to their capture and return to the fold where Vapor finally admits that he is Andrew's mate and Andrew and Owen are pardoned because they saved Vapor's life. I quite enjoyed this, I felt sorry for poor Vapor who kept getting bested, it was very hard on his ego and my heart broke for the three young shifters who had been abused and bullied into working for the bad guy. Although really, how many freaking bedroom do they have in that damn apartment?
A Tempting Distraction by Stephani Hecht (154 pages)
This is Owen's story. He is a genius who is a computer whiz, knows all about poisons and drugs and is so not what Seth, his big brother expected. Owen has serious emotional damage from his time with their "mentor" and has trouble accepting anything without earning it. Garret, a hawk shifter is interested but says no strings, Owen agrees, he just want to get out and have some fun. When Owen breaks the rules, he decides he's really not worth it, leaves and gets himself into trouble. Both Seth and Garret realize they have to pull their heads out of their asses and accept Owen as he is. I found this book really emotional for me. No one had a clue about Owen and no one asked what he liked or what he was working on and they let Andrew carry guns but because Owen hacked a computer once he couldn't even have a lap top. I just thought he was treated very unfairly by everyone. *sniff* (I'm a sucker for the emotionally damaged character that no one understands.). I really hope that we see Shane's character get a HEA of some kind. Shane is their other colleague who is a leopard and they tend to be completely sociopathic and Shane is a cold blooded killer but he cared about Owen and Andrew so I'm hoping he can find happiness with the two guys on the farm.
Olive Green: The Imperial Cat by Kate Cotoner (125 pages)
Hirotaro is a 7th level Noble who's goal in life is to move up a level. One day he sees a small kitten that the royal guards are preparing to kill because a) it's gray which is bad luck and b) it has no tail, double bad luck. However he takes little Tora home and despite being a seemingly innocent kitten, he shows up at the oddest times causing Hiortaro to embarrass himself and ruin any chance he has of advancement. However Tora is not what he appears. He's actually a ghost cat (not sure exactly and I didn't google it) who can shift into human form and he decides that he will help Hirotaro get promoted. He finally reveals himself and he and Hirotaro start an affair that is not looked on favourably by Hirotaro's old friend (and sometimes lover). When an earthquake sets the palace on fire and Hirotaro endangers himself to save the empress and their baby, as well as Tora (aka Katsuyuki), his secret is revealed. This is set in a time in Japan where ceremony and things like which level of nobles can wear which colours (hence the title as level 6 can wear olive green). I had a bit of trouble getting into this. I found the whole level of ceremony and description of robes upon robes and how it all worked a bit not my thing. For those who love those kind of details it will be right up your alley. Also, everyone seems to have male and female lovers and no one seemed all that perturbed when Hirotaro was sleeping with men. Realistic? Not sure. This is not an "historical" I don't think, but maybe it is. Japanese ancient culture is beyond me, but it definitely has that feel to it.
I did like Hirotaro and his hapless attempts to succeed and Katsuyuki's unfamiliarity with how things work at court were amusing. I liked the story better once Katsuyuki and Hirotaro finally got together which doesn't happen until well into the book, there is lots of background and set-up before that. Perhaps that's why it took me a while to get into it. I went back several times and read a bit, then took a break, until the relationship started then I definitely committed myself to reading to the end. I think for those who'd like a taste of something different with a bit of the paranormal thrown it, it will be an enjoyable read.