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Carnal Secrets (The Phoenix Pack Series Book 3) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 377 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I have numerous issues with the writing of this particular book, although I like the series as a whole and the world that she has created.
1. Suzanne Wright has fallen into the writer's trap where she mistakes belligerent childishness for strength. Her female leads in general, and Shaya in particular, come across as snotty, petulant, inarticulate teenagers. Shaya is constantly cussing out Nick, smacking him, and calling him names. This is portrayed as being "strong" but that's not strong character at all. Nick is strong, an alpha in fact, and yet you do not see him flouncing around, slapping at everyone, and sniping.
2. The premise was not laid out well. Shaya would be unwilling to accept Nick because she believed he found her unworthy. He looked right through her for months as if she wasn't even there. Based on her first relationship, she now believes that Nick just can't bear the physical pain of not claiming her, still finds her unworthy, and is merely telling her what she wants to hear so she'll accept him. It's about more than being "rejected". She doubts what he really thinks of her.
3. This heroine is impossible to like, get behind, or care about. Nick drives her to and from work, is very careful to go at her own pace, fixes anything and everything broken at her place, makes her feel special and unique, is mouth waveringly fit and handsome, and is very sweetly courting her. The only thing missing is for him to say, "I fixed your dish washer, but darn the luck, my clothes got stuck and tore off. By the way, I'm sensitive, straight, and will love only you forever, and you're beautiful." Shaya routinely calls him "Beavis", which is in essence calling him stupid. And then she does the unforgivable, and goes out on a date with a stranger. She wants to hurt and betray Nick on purpose to see if he will leave her then. What kind of person hurts a man who is courting her deliberately? That is so cruel. All that does is make her untrustworthy. She's savagely jealous of Amber for merely liking Nick. Nick has never given Amber even a hint that he would welcome her affections. Shaya, on the other hand, goes behind Nick's back to go out on a date with another guy. She plans to tell him about it later to see what he would do. In the real world, if Nick stayed with her, he would never be able to trust her. Plus it shows that Shaya will not be careful of Nick's heart and feelings, nor does she respect him. She calls him "Beavis" every day, so she's made it clear she thinks he's stupid. I would expect this behavior of a 16 year old, who would regret her actions later, not an adult. Ms Wright needs to research what a strong female actually is. She can have class, self control, calm, treat others well, and heel toe it through a room without acting like a piece of garbage.
4. If the former guard was confronted in front of his buddies with sexually abusing the minors in his care, he would have denied it. Him not denying it, and his cohorts sticking with him, makes his character seem cartoonish.
5. Why would it never occur to Nick that Shaya would be a target of extremists for going out with him? Why would a street savvy man think that she was safe if the extremists didn't know she was a shifter? His failure to explain about the "game reserve" made her ignorance dangerous.
6. Since Shifters are out of the closet, why are they not used to help solve crime? Why wouldn't a shifter have told the police that this was not a turf war, and the perpetrators were right there? Why didn't The Nazi tell the police extremists were murdering his wolves? Why didn't the rebels tell the cops that they were dealing with a serial killer and not fighting their alpha? Why didn't he work with the FBI on the Serial Killers running the Game Preserve? Speaking of which, why is everyone in the book OK that the local alpha is called the "Nazi"? Is this like the murder all the Jewish people Nazi, Neo Nazi, the Soup Nazi or just someone who is super strict? When asked why he was called the Nazi, the answer was "because he is one"? Huh? And Nick and Derren stated they didn't care about that, just that he was a drug lord. I'm sorry, am I supposed to give a sh*(* about main characters who have no issues with a Nazi. Again, it depends on if this was in the spirit of the Soup Nazi. But this was not explained. Why the heck was he called a Nazi? This seems rather cartoonish, where the bad guys set up a vandalism, the cops conveniently blame the shifters, but no on seems to actually ask the shifters anything. Convenient.
7. Why did Shaya keep her salient submissiveness a secret? That wouldn't have been considered shameful in Shifter society. There was no reason why it wouldn't be known about her.
8. How do Shifters meet their true mates? It sounds like Shifters only socialize with other packs when they go clubbing, or if they attend a wedding at another pack. So that would make it rather difficult for Shifters to find their true mates if they were not in the same pack. Since this is a metaphysical phenomena, why do true mates happen to be in the same geographical area? Why not Japan? In the series, Shifters are described as casual about sex, and usually averse to imprinting on anyone other than their true mate. Since imprinting can happen within a few months of a relationship, that would require everyone to either be sleeping with everyone else, or no one. If most shifters avoid relationships to prevent imprinting, and are OK with casual sex, then they would really have to sleep around even if they wanted to have sex once a year. Otherwise, they would be sleeping with the same people, and be at risk of forming a relationship. And in the books, the alpha is always worried about who the female might have slept with. So sleeping with too many people is still frowned upon. That seems like a paradox. If this was a real world, then I would think that shifter packs would make an effort to have some sort of large event annually, or at least every 5 years, in which the packs all mixed. That way it would provide an opportunity for shifters to find their true mates outside of their packs. Otherwise, how in the world would they ever meet unless they happened to live in neighboring packs? You would think that shifters would go on walkabout and scour the globe if they didn't promptly find their true mate at 18.
9. It is casually mentioned that Shaya's evil child abusing hateful mother found her true mate in a human. Is this rare? Common? Kind of curious as to why Shaya's father stayed with the woman who neglected her and left her alone as a toddler, even leaving her for 4 days alone as a 4 year old. Most kids that young would die left on their own.
10. They capture an extremist who tells them the Game Preserve is run by a shifter they know. Their immediate response is to question him further. Just kidding! They immediately kill him. No pesky questions like, "What does he look like? Name? Description?" Nope, they kill their only lead the second he hints he actually knows something.
11. The author forgets the rules she's created for this world. Darren remarks that it's funny that the extremists don't know that shifters can only procreate with their mates. That's stated multiple times in the series. But wait a second. In Taryn and Trey's book, Kirk was the hybrid offspring of his shifter father and human mother, who was most definitely not his mate, because that would be Trey's mom. Another example is where it's repeatedly stated that the wolves can't understand language, and yet Roni responds to questions with a growl or a nod in wolf form, and she reacts to what Amber says. She could have explained this better. Is the wolf in charge of the body, and the shifter side is in the background, or is the shifter driving the wolf body, with some wolf instincts in the background?
12. The author keeps rapidly alternating between points of view, sometimes from one paragraph from the next. Usually, if a story alternates, it's done one chapter at a time, or one section at a time. But she rapidly switches POV within the same section. It's jarring, and undermines her writing.
13. In book one, Taryn immediately stood up to her uncle when he criticized Trey as her mate, saying he would be cut out of her life if he didn't treat him with respect. I'm curious why none of the alphas in the first 3 books returned that favor and loyalty when various family members and frenemies crossed all sorts of lines of acceptable behavior. Greta should have been told point blank in book #1 that if she wanted to keep her place in the pack, she had to stop insulting the alpha female. Instead, by book 3, Greta is still calling Taryn an unworthy hussy, but now she's doing it in front of Taryn's toddler. And Taryn slings mud right back, equally ineffectively. Really? Either alpha male or female cannot get one elderly woman's respect or kick her out? They are going to raise their child to hear his mom denigrated and called a slut, right in front of his face? The same goes for the various other family members. It appears that the only familial relationship that works in this world is between siblings. I cannot find a single truly healthy relationship between parents on down the line, and if you think that Nick's mom is nice, wait for the next book. I'm also at a loss as to why Amber (or Glory in book 2) were a problem. It was established that she wanted Nick for herself and was trying to undermine Shaya, so her friendship should have been 86ed, with her sent back to Nick's old pack. What's the problem? Forget about Shaya needing to prove herself to Amber. If a "friend" wants to more than a friend, and to undermine your relationship, she's not loyal and not a friend, so you get rid of her from your life. Any questions? Instead, Nick went in another direction and actually trusted an obviously untrustworthy female in a fight where his mate was involved. He just sat there and did nothing, except narrow his eyes a couple of times, when he caught Amber with jealousy on her face or giving Shaya a backhanded comment. Did these guys not experience books 1-2? Selma? Glory? Perhaps they should read the books so everyone gets on the same page.
I still think that Suzanne Wright is a great writer. All of the above issues could be resolved by using advanced reader copies and an editor. She is more than capable of rising to the challenge and writing really good books with steamy plots.
We know there are some reasons behind his not wanting to mate with Shay, but nothing that made me forgive him for what he was doing by refusing to have her yet making sure no one else did either. As his much more compelling reasons for his reluctance are revealed, we finally understand why he has forsaken his mate. I felt a little softening toward him, but still completely got Shay’s play of leaving.
When he finally gets his head out of his hind end and tracks her down things get interesting. I was happy that Shay did not immediately forgive and forget. The girl has some backbone and she used it. Then I realized that Nick wasn’t the only one who was withholding information. Shay had a secret too, and her secret pissed me right the eff off. Why, because if she had been forthcoming on the front end and found a way to communicate with Nick, some of this FUBAR mess could have been avoided. Shay then took her refusal to forgive to new levels which got old…..fast. In fact, I think 30% of this book could have been cut if Shay had gotten HER head out of her rear end in a timelier manner.
Once everyone’s heads were where they needed to be the pace picked up and it went from a good book to a great book with loads of action. The shifter-haters along with the possible government legislation against shifters ended up being a plot line that I found fascinating. I loved seeing old friends and found myself laughing at all the banter (as usual with an SW book). Although not my favorite Phoenix Pack book, it’s still a good one and well worth reading.
This series isn't numbered, but please read them in order to get the most enjoyment out of them.
1- Feral Sins
2- Wicked Cravings
3- Carnal Secrets
4- Dark Instincts *(coming April 2015)
Suzanne- The only 2 cons I have after reading this book is (1) with little ones now in the picture, I wish the swearing was toned down just a little (no motherf****king's please) and (2) there's so many characters from different packs re-entering, with no reminders of who they are. I know that if you're reading a series most people don't want previous story lines rehashed over and over- but a quick little "This is so and so" when an old character is reintroduced would be nice. It wasn't until the end of this book that I realized that Caleb was Taryn and Shayla's childhood BF. I kept thinking, 'I should know who this is', but just couldn't place him. Still waiting for Dominic's story- hint, hint.
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Yep, this is just going to keep happening isn't it?Read more