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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Arctic Shift by Lissa Matthews

Arctic Shift by Lissa Matthews
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

She believes in myths…can she believe in destiny?

Denali Heat, Book 1

Unlike her adventurous sister, Ruby is perfectly content to let her mind be the wanderlust while her body stays safely in Chicago. Melanie wouldn’t be out of touch this long without a damned good reason, though. Which means it’s time for a giant step outside her comfort zone.

While Denali National Park is like another planet, the myths and legends that saturate this wild land are right up her alley. The wilderness guide waiting for her—naked in her bed—looks about as safe as a polar bear.

Carson’s people are kin to the great beast, right down to the white hair. Before Ruby ever set foot in Alaska, his inner bear knew that Melanie’s little sister was his mate. He’s doing his level best not to let his primal needs scare her, but everything about her sends his urge to possess her into overdrive.

To his surprise, revealing he’s a shifter only stimulates her innate curiosity. Warming her with the perfect fire of their lovemaking, easy. Convincing her that real love isn’t a myth—and making her want to stay in his home, his bed, his heart—now, that’s a problem…

What’s a woman to do when she sets out to find her sister and lands in the arms of someone else entirely? When your heroine is the sassy and inquisitive Ruby, and your hero is the super sexy, part-man part-bear, Carson, the answer is hold on tight, close your eyes, and enjoy the ride.

When Arctic Shift starts, the reader is placed directly in the center of the action. Ruby has traveled all the way to Alaska to search for her missing sibling. What she isn’t aware of are the facts that surround Melanie’s disappearance, as well as the circumstances that have lured her to the isolated area. As she settles into the room she’s rented for her stay and falls asleep, these things become clear. Carson -- the man hired to assist Ruby in her efforts-- isn’t a man at all. And her sister, Melanie, isn’t exactly missing. In fact, everything up to this point has been a carefully constructed plan. It’s impossible to divulge too much at this point, as it’s quite honestly the gist of Arctic Shift. However, suffice it to say you are given all the information you need right away.

Arctic Shift is a shifter story of a different sort, as the mythos of the polar bear shifters is fascinating and unique, offering something diverse in a genre saturated by wolves. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Matthews' take on things, as well as the way she merged man with beast. This isn’t something that you’ve never seen before, though I’d wager that portions of it, especially when it comes to “shifting,” will provide something different. Equally as important are the characters, Ruby and Carson, and they are given a balanced prominence. Whereas Ruby is a city girl, Carson is an outdoorsy man, and never the two shall meet. I enjoyed their quirky and clever banter, as well as their chemistry which was apparent from the moment they appear on the page together.

There is only one thing I disliked about Arctic Shift, and it had nothing to do with the characters and everything to do with the story. The novella, quite literally, ends with the characters trying to resolve the above mentioned issues. When I reached the final page, I continued on to the next, thinking there had to be more. When I learned there wasn’t, I felt as if I’d missed out on something important. Because of this the experience wasn’t as enjoyable as I would have liked. It’s not to say that Arctic Shift is a bad story, rather it ends without providing any resolution, epilogue into the future, or any indication of what happens for our hero and heroine.

With that aside, the writing itself is very good -- with witty dialogue and characters that come to life. While I would have liked more, I did enjoy Arctic Shift and plan to keep an eye out for future works in this series. I’m interested to see where Ms. Matthews decides to take the characters in the future.

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