I discovered Sondrae Bennett’s writing quite by accident. A new author, I stumbled on her first novel Arctic Winds on Amazon when I was looking for something completely different. But the cover was beautiful, the plot intrigued me and it cost me less than a cup of coffee so why not give it a go. And boy, am I glad I did. Chasing Paradise is the second in the series.
Strong writing, different shifter types, strong romance focus, quick read, curvy heroine vs alpha male
Quote that best sums up the lead (female) character:
“In the end, what was more prideful, being miserable and holding everything in or admitting to knowing the facts and being strong enough to deal with them?”
The Alphine Woods Shifters series follows a world where shifters exist in many different forms. Not only do you have the predatory shifter animals but you also have a range of other shifter types. I found the concept of an otter shifter to be charming. Gwen is a beautiful, curvy woman who has been looking forward to finding her mate for a long time but never imagined she would end up with an alpha wolf. And Ethan, who had run away for a holiday in the sun in order to avoid pressure to become mated, never imaged he’d end up well… mated at all really.
The whole premise of this book is whether it’s possible to move on after someone you care about has said a silly, hurtful thing not because they mean to hurt you but because of what’s going on in their own lives/head at the time. And it’s beautifully handled, with strong characters who are focussed on building a relationship. The equal time spent on both Ethan and Gwen’s POV means that what could have ended up an angst-ridden “he hurt me” novel instead ends up as a tale about grown-up relationships. The novella length means you don’t get sick of all the angst and you see enough of the secondary characters to keep interested in the series.
Even though this is the second book in a series, it could be read as a stand-alone book although Arctic Winds gives you the background of the town and how this pack is so different.