Finally, a paranormal romance that defies the stereotypes and the cringeworthy tropes.
I must admit, I greatly enjoy the idea of shifters, and I've even written one (very tame) shifter romance that was included in an anthology. But the more I see the ads on Facebook with "first chapters" and hear about the rape-y vibes, the more I'm convinced it's not the genre for me.
Anyone who knows me is aware of my intense hatred for and aversion to human trafficking, but a lot of times that seems to be what many of these stories are peddling: a captive woman, physically and emotionally abused, subject to the "urges" of the Alpha male of a pack, and somehow the story strives to convince the reader that this is what love looks like.
Really, really not my jam. I had enjoyed some parts of a Christine Feehan book recommended to me (I thought it was well written, and she had a clear voice and style) but it was the same unfortunate thing. Some rich, leopard-shifter kidnaps this woman, keeps her on an island and treats her like garbage until she falls in love with him. What the-? Stockholm syndrome much?
So, imagine my surprise when I realized that a paranormal romance author inside our private group, the Author Transformation Alliance (ATA), writes shifter romances that defy those negative tropes and stereotypes.
As I work to help members of the ATA and our sub-group 90 Days to Transformation work to market and advertise their books, I realized that I needed to READ McKenna's latest book before I could understand how to properly define its ideal reader and target audience.
I am so thankful that my work allows me to not only help others, but to also have awareness of so many AMAZING indie books!
Bishop Takes Knight by McKenna Dean takes place in 1955 and serves as an origin story for the shifter agency that plays a role in her contemporary novels. This is the first book of a three-book series, and it's off to a helluva start.
Here's the synopsis:
She's a former socialite desperately seeking work. She didn't expect a boss who bursts into flames, a partner with a vendetta, or a little dog with a BIG secret.
New York, 1955. Former socialite Henrietta ("Rhett") Bishop, desperately seeking work, gets hired by Redclaw Security. But Redclaw is no ordinary operation. Part detective firm and part enforcement agency, Redclaw regulates matters involving the growing population of shifters who have emerged since the onset of the nuclear age.
Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the death of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife's murder.
Together they form an unlikely partnership to search for a missing cache of mysterious technology stolen from Redclaw. But when a dangerous person from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their very lives.
Promising Reviews (from Amazon):
"Dean's story is compelling and masterful. With characters that are not only interesting but captivating, she ensures that you're invested in their stories. And are hooked until the very last page. It's a bumpy ride for sure, full of twists; but it's a ride you won't want to miss. Bishop Takes Knight is an unputdownable tale that takes the paranormal and makes it matter of fact. I'm glad I took a chance on this book - it's a bit of a departure for me. But 2020 is all about expanding my horizons in reading."
"Wow! This book blew me away... This book was a page-turner for me, well written, witty, and entertaining! Will be putting this author on a must-buy list."
"This was a wonderful read. It had originality, humour, tension and a very nice twist to shapeshifter reading. I loved the characters... There is a delightful vintage feel from cover to each word on the page. I can’t wait for the next book for all the right reasons - the plot itself, the characters and eventually a slow heat but with burning potential romance."
"Great story! A truly unique twist on the shifter books. The characters interacted in a entertaining way. The story had just the right amount of action, suspense, and just a little romance. No pages and pages of detailed smut which was a great! If you like shifters and are in the mood for something a little different I recommend this."
"I'd been in a reading slump and pulled this out of my TBR pile on a whim. Thank goodness I did - this book is a treat. Good characters, delightful dialogue, well paced and a good plot. I think Rhett may well be the spiritual heiress to Myrna Loy's Nora Charles and I can't wait to see more of the Redclaw staff in the series."
"This author, people, is the only reason I still look at shifter romances. The only reason.
I’m not terribly fond of shifter stories, you see. They’re too often thinly veiled rape – or at best dubious consent – apologia, with the excuse that the ‘alpha’ male of the shifter pair has no control over his animal urge to conquer and possess the female. Well, excuse me if I fail to find the attraction in some entitled male waving his primal urges in my face. I prefer characters to have a little more depth than that.
Which is why, of all the genre, I read McKenna Dean. She writes about real people, who are likeable. The sort you wouldn’t mind inviting round for dinner. Faulty – yes, of course they are. But you can respect them and understand the reasons they make their choices and decisions because she gives them backstory and depth and – ruddy heck – development and growth. This book is no exception."
Yes, I loved this book! 5/5 stars. When there was action, it was well-described and kept me turning the pages. It drew me in with all the things I love about well-written female characters (no matter the time period) and paranormal stories.
It reminds me of Agents of SHIELD + Wonder Woman + X-Men + Shifters + Warehouse 13 = a captivating combination for a story!
Here is my official review that I left on Amazon:
This was certainly an addictive book, as I finished reading it within about 24 hours. I really loved Rhett and the fact that despite her socialite upbringing, she was a feminine feminist, very strong-willed, proud, and independent. Although she's proud to a fault, it's an endearing, realistic flaw that so many women can relate to.
I also really enjoyed the slow-burn romance with Peter. He was the perfect hero for me, a reader who loves real heroes, gentlemen, and who has a sweet spot for intellectuals. I couldn't keep myself from smiling while I was reading his dialogue or the vivid descriptions of his hilarious and charming behavior.
As far as Redclaw, this was a fabulous introduction to the shifter agency, and Rhett's adventures at her new job kept me eager for more as she sought to go from starving and broke to self-supported and stable. Her fear for losing her job felt very real, even as she fights off advanced technology and shifters.
Highly recommend if you love a build-up, strong woman, a charming gentleman with a heart of gold, action, and shifters.
Get Bishop Takes Knight and Connect with McKenna Dean