by Kari Cole
Series: Mated by Fate #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Who’d think to bring silver bullets to a wedding? When Isabelle “Izzy” Meyers arrives in Montana and discovers her human foster brother is marrying into the local werewolf pack, she wishes she’d brought an arsenal. Werewolves can’t be trusted, and Izzy should know…she is one.
Luke Wyland never planned on becoming an Alpha. He’s still navigating how to protect the pack from the rogue threat that’s been hunting in his territory, claiming his father as one of their victims. Yet the moment Luke lays eyes on Izzy, something primal takes root. Finding a mate who wants nothing to do with him is a complication he doesn’t need, but letting Izzy go isn’t an option.
After a childhood marred by shifter violence, Luke is everything Izzy was raised to hate. So then why does being with him feel so intensely right? With a thinning pack to defend, Luke knows what he has to do: embolden Izzy to unleash her true nature—or risk losing everything.
Despite the fact that I’m not that big of a fan of insta-love, I’m a ridiculous fan of werewolf romances. So, I was a little leery of reading the first book in a series named “Mated by Fate,” but the blurb was irresistible. I’m so glad I did! This was an absolutely delightful read!
Isabelle is ridiculously kickass, and I simply adored her. After their parents’ death in a car crash, Izzy and her twin sister Bess stayed with their grandmother until they were eventually placed in the foster care system. Though she hasn’t been great at keeping in touch, she’s excited about being in her foster brother’s wedding – until she finds out the new in-laws are werewolves. Izzy should know – she’s one, too, though she’s managed to hide it from her foster family. Her backstory is pretty tragic, so it’s no surprise to find that she’s terrified of werewolves, but her first thought is to protect her brother, Freddie, from them. This is probably what really set this book apart for me – Izzy is ex-military, and even when she’s obviously scared out of her mind, she’s thinking of how to protect others. She’s not the only kickass woman – Freddie’s fiancée, Rissa, is another – and it was nice to see someone who’s able to hold her own. I thought her journey from “all werewolves are evil monsters” to “ok, maybe they’re like regular people, just toothier” was well done and believable.
“So. It’s a happy-happy shifter utopia around here. You’re all going around being mundane members of society. Got it. But?”
He gave her a wry look. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh or throttle her. “You’re kind of a wiseass.”
“Just noticing that now?”
I was initially put off by some of Luke’s alpha posturing, but after Izzy put him in his place a few times, he shaped up. Luke’s having a rough time as well, trying to pick up the pieces after becoming alpha unexpectedly when his father and several other pack members were murdered. Despite his best efforts, he’s no closer to finding their killer, and he’s having serious doubts about his ability to run the pack. So the last thing he needs is the added stress of a finding his mate – especially one who seems to have no idea how to be a werewolf and seems ready to kill all of them to protect her brother. I loved the immediate tension between them, but also that they took the time for at least the start of a relationship to develop before giving in to it too much.
The pacing is a bit uneven, especially in the middle, and it did feel like the reader was dropped smack in the middle of things. The secondary plot – the mystery/thriller involving the murders – was fun, if a bit confusing. There’s a lot of history with Luke’s pack and how he became alpha, not to mention Izzy’s brother’s romance. I hope at some point Ms. Cole will go back and write a prequel for how Freddie and Rissa met. I still think the relationship between Luke and Izzy developed too fast, but at the same time I realize it’s pretty par for the course for a fated-mates-type novel. There are a few loose ends left at the end of the book, but it sets the stage well for this being the start of a series.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. If you like werewolf romances with kickass women and a decent thriller subplot, you’ll love this book! I’m definitely looking forward to the next in the series!