May 5, 2014

Burden by Lila Felix

"Everything in my body seized, including my heart, and with an exhale of bated breath, it began again, beating with hers, in time with the female I was created to love...Echo was my mate, my heart, my love and hope for our clan."

In the depths of the Louisiana swamps, a clan of black bear shifters runs free, looked after by their Alpha, Hawke Turnclaw.  When Hawke is informed that a female black bear has been a lifelong prisoner in a grizzly bear clan up north (complete with shock collar), he and his two best friends go up to rescue her.  As soon as Hawke and Echo make eye contact, their hearts began beating as one, because they have found their mates in each other, an instinct all black bears have.

Hawke brings Echo back to Louisiana to live with the clan as she should have been all along, but it doesn't turn out to be all smooth sailing.  

Someone else turns up claiming to be her mate.  It also turns out Echo is only half-shifter and half-human, as well as a healer.  Her mother wants to take her away from Hawke and teach her all about being a healer before the mating ritual can be completed - which turns out to be problematic if she doesn't finish before the next full moon, because the mating bond can be broken and while Echo could move on, Hawke, the male, never would.  How sad would that be?

This is the second novel I've read by Lila Felix (the first being Love & Skate.)  The great thing about Felix is she creates characters you want to go on the journey with.  You care whether they live or die, rise or fall, create or destroy, love or lose.  You care about their choices.  Hell, you even care what they eat for breakfast.  She creates characters you want to hang out with.  You want them to be people in your own life.  These characters need to come home with you and drink sangrias and tell stories.  I would point out Lila Felix's character-developing skills to any wannabe author as how to rock it out.

In addition, the story has good pacing and is never boring.  There is enough going on that the storytelling never stalls, but never so much that it seems like it's just chaos.  The story is told from both Hawke and Echo's points of view, which gives much more insight than one side alone and it is done very well.

I like that it is a story about shifters that isn't about wolves.  I'm kind of over wolves for a while.

I like that it is not just a supernatural love story.  It's also funny.  It's also a story about abuse and surviving abuse and learning to trust again.  It's a story about women having equality with men and being respected.  It's a story about learning who you are and embracing it.

I like that the secondary characters are just as well-developed as the primary characters.  I like that there is a sequel but it didn't end in an obvious "there's a sequel" way.  It is an actual completed book.  Hooray!  

I am soo glad Lila and Mandy (of I Read Indie) asked me if I wanted to read and review this book.  I can't wait for the second book to get written and released!!  Go Lila, go!



Hawke:
"Frustration was my leech and its teeth penetrated deep."

Echo:
"Mate - it was more than a term, I knew that.  There were acts known as mating, and from what I'd heard, the noises that came from the bedrooms at night, there was nothing about it I wanted to experience.  Sometimes, I debated with myself over calling the paramedics."

Hawke:
"(You're called) Coeur, it means heart.  You are the heart of the Alpha pair, the female always is."

Hawke:
"The one who serves his clan and his mate without expectation, shows the real strength of his power."

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