Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: 'Black Bear Down' by Harmony Raines

Prolific author Harmony Raines obviously loves to write romance filled with magic and love. She is a pro in writing shape shifting romances and for a reader new to her output, this short novella – Book 3 in her Return to Bear Bluff - is a fine introduction.

Harmony’s characters are real – as real as some paranormal characters can be. Writing about shape shifting can be treacherous if the focus is on the transition and not on the character of the shifter, but Harmony handles this with dexterity to the point that, despite the fact that we know we are reading fantasy, it all seems plausible.

The synopsis provided in her Preface offers a fine summary of this action – ‘When his army helicopter crashes in the Himalayas, killing his comrades, Jordan Williams loses much more than his friends. He loses the use of his legs, and his bear. Two months later, he is transferred to Bear Bluff, where he grew up, but he isn’t interested in life. Not until Skyla walks into his hospital room. She’s his mate. But how is he supposed to deal with that, when his life no longer makes sense? With his bear gone, and unable to walk, what kind of man is he? How can he provide for her like a bear shifter should? He should just let her walk out of his life. Hell! If he had any sense, he would push her out of his life. However, in a short space of time, he realizes she is his own hope of salvation. She brightens up his world, which has become dark and soulless. Can this curvy woman pull him out of the darkness and back into the light?’

How does she incorporate the bear sifting into her story? Like this – ‘I think the psych report is flawed. That’s all I’m saying. It was done before he came back here, so it didn’t take into account…” “His other… what do you call it… side?” Skyla asked. There was a reason she had been chosen to look after Jordan while he moved into his new home and learned to be independent again. She held sufficient qualifications: her training, gleaned from working with many injured men and women over the last few years, was on the job, but the real reason she had been chosen was because she knew about shifters. The people who lived among normal people, but who were uniquely able to turn from a human into an animal and back again.’

Harmony is a thoughtful author, willing to recap concepts for the novice reader and invite them convincingly into her fold. And oh yes, there is ample erotica! Very well written book. Grady Harp, November 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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