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on November 12, 2012
I love Sharon Shinn's books. I absolutely love them. I've read all of her other books over and over- I own some of them in hardcover AND in kindle form. That is true love, right? So it is with very deep and sincere sorrow that I say, I cannot stand this series. I would never say that everything an author writes has to be the same, or that they can't branch out into different genres, but in this series, Ms. Shinn has abandoned everything that makes her other books such a joy to read. Her other books are filled with powerful, purposeful characters who are trying to save the world, or defend their king, or what have you. But in her shapeshifters books? Everyone is powerless. The shapeshifters can't control their abilities, which are slowly killing them. The humans who love them live lives filled with sadness and worry. There is no adventure, no mystery, no plot, just "Where is the shapeshifter that I love so much? I am so sad without them. Oh, there he/she is! Yay, my life has meaning! Now they are gone again. I am so sad." Repeat over and over until the end of the book. And now I am so sad too, because she is writing these dreary books instead of a new Thirteen Houses book, or Samaria book, or even Troubled Waters. Ms. Shinn, if you see this review, please don't be upset! I think you are an amazing writer and I am so grateful for all the happiness your books have brought me. I just wish you would go back to writing those happy, exciting, positive books.
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VINE VOICEon December 7, 2012
Still Life with Shape Shifter is the second book in the Shifting Circle Series. Even though it features shape-sifters it is really a story about love, love in all of its forms. I always call Sharon Shinn's stories gently stories. Don't look for non-stop action, a lot of sex, or over the top stories. She writes in a very down to earth style with a lot of character development that builds the story.

Several of the characters from A Shape of Desire are in Still Life. Dante and Maria are side characters here but William is one of the main characters. Still Life follows two women,, Janet and Melanie. Both love a shape-shifter but in very different ways. For the most part their lives are separate but both face loving and losing the person they love. This is the story of how they face that impending loss.

There are other characters that play a major part in the novel. Brody is almost too good to be true. He meets Melanie and has to work hard to win her trust. Melanie's best friend, Debbie is just the kind of best friend everyone wants to have. Janet also has friends that supply a support for her.

Each woman's story is separate and unique but in the end they meet in a sad but true way. There is room for future stories in this universe and I hope more are written.
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on December 29, 2013
I really love Sharon Shinn's work, but sometimes she veers a bit too much into romance for my taste, and this book was an example of that. In the end, it seemed to me that the romance element took front seat to the shape-shifter story, and it was the shape-shifter story I was interested in. And to me, the romance was bit too much of the romance-novel type, meaning I didn't really find it believable. And really, every aspect of this novel was focused on someone's romance.

If you like this aspect of Shinn's work, you may enjoy this book. I did not, and I will not be reading other books in the series. I wish for more books of the Twelve Houses, or even more of the Angel books (which sometimes veered closer into romance than I liked, but I could tolerate it better in that series). If you find the romance in those books tiresome, you'll definitely want to avoid this one.
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Top Contributor: Bakingon January 6, 2013
I've often said I'd appreciate more fantasy/sf books in which no one is trying to save the world, but just live out their personal lives with decency and compassion.

These books do that.

There's romance, but it's taken slowly and lacks the FIREWORKS!!! that so many authors rely on- and the romance here is the stronger for that; it's really love, not a sudden infatuation. The problems people encounter are real problems faced in one way or another by us all, even if we don't happen to have shapeshifters in our lives.

While this is the second book in the series, one does not need to have read the first one to appreciate this one, and I think this was a stronger novel.
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on December 19, 2012
This series startled me. I was expecting the usual urban fantasy with special powers, and instead I found a rich emotional tapestry of lives tangled up with two shape-shifters. Shinn is superb at romance, of course, and the romance is especially rich in the first book. In Still Life the romance is lighter but I found Brody to be charismatic, and outrageously persistent in his pursuit of his woman. The story held lovely mysteries of what would become of everyone, and the personal stakes kept me turning the pages. I must say the lyrical prose is another delight of this book. If you like the paranormal with deep emotional currents, read this one. (You don't have to read the first book to love this one, even though Still Life throws in a satisfying tie-in with the first novel.)
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on December 23, 2012
I'm still a huge Sharon Shinn fan, but I'm disappointed with her Shifting Circle series. I gave the first book a very poor review because it just didn't rise to Sharon's usual talent on many levels. I never got past the first few chapters and never finished it.
This book was cosiderably better to me than the first one in the series, but still not up to her earlier caliber of work. Her character creating skill was again evident, but these urban fantasies do not require her to exercise her world creation skill which I consider to be one of the best facets of her talent.
I'm still holding out hope that she will return to her earlier style.
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on November 9, 2012
I admit to being a Sharon Shinn fan. I love how she can build a world in broad strokes, make you believe, and fall in love with the world and the people. What's interesting in her Shifting Circle novels is that she doesn't need the broad strokes. That part exists. It's all the small details that build her world, now. Yes, it's still fantasy romance, filled with love. But it's so much more. It's the details of life, of living it with love, and finding that love, all in the midst of real life.
This second Shifting Circle novel was better than the first. We have a better sense of her timing and, I think, her timing is better. The world is more fully peopled, and the sense of joy is deeper.
While this is probably classified as urban fantasy, the battles in it are not ones that require armies and broad battles to manage. Rather, they are the quiet battles of everyday life, learning to deal with love and loss and love again.
I couldn't put the book down. As always, Shinn's work is lyrical and wonderful.
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on August 5, 2017
This has not really been read yet but I likek Sharon Shinn's books.
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VINE VOICEon July 3, 2014
Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. Her fantasy and SF just works for me. I like the edge of romance she treads. Reading her books is like visiting another world. It's great to see that she's being very prolific right now, and I can't wait to read her new stuff.
This book reminds me quite a bit of Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveler's Wife", but not in a derivative way. Here the protagonist's beloved sister is a shapeshifter, and we get to see the author's take on how that would play out in our ordinary 21st century American world.
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on November 29, 2013
This shape shifter series is not one of my favorites by Sharon Shinn. I'm a big fan of hers but I felt that these books were written quickly to satisfy a publishers demand. She just doesn't create a new world that you can get lost in. The characters are a little whiney and always overwhelmed and under developed.
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