There are ghosts in my past—ghosts I can’t recognise.
My painting heals me, but Lucas Caine has made me come alive. My past could take both those things away forever. What started out as an undeniable need to create was quickly turning into danger as my longing for memories fed the rough canvases I filled.
Falling for Lucas will force me to revisit my lost memories—and possibly lose myself, my art, and him in the process.
And now he has me skating the thin edge between desire and fear as I use a past I don’t remember to leverage a future I’m not sure I want.
Continuing in the trend of contemporary, first person serials with a touch of suspense, Shelter Me is better-written than most. I have been reading Stephanie Tyler’s work on and off since her debut novel years ago, and she is a strong writer.
I am not always a fan of serialised romance series, however, and there was a touch too much misogyny for my tastes.
Stephanie Tyler’s writing stands out from others creating similar stories because she knows her craft. She is fantastic about the slow release of information, keeping mysteries and secrets and revealing twists and turns. She takes what could be a book about just another “dark and mysterious hot guy” and turns it into a much more complex story. I think she has really improved as a writer over the years, and I really should go back and seek out some of her books I have missed.
I like the way the heroine’s art is worked into the story. Too often characters’ professions are just window dressing, but here her art is her life, and it factors into the plot.
The tense changes back and forth, which I’m guessing was a deliberate choice, but sometimes reading in the present tense was a bit… odd.
Where this book is similar to too many others is in its attitude to women:
Gabrielle was the first outsider – and the first female – in my life I’d ever considered a friend. Susan was my mother figure, but beyond her, I’d always shied away from women.
Meghan (the woman she gets in a punch-up with) was probably the best example of why.
I have a problem with books that surround the heroine with fantastic, hot men – straight and gay – and then paint the other female characters as bitchy rivals. At the beginning of this book the heroine is at a function being held to promote her art, and she has run-ins with not one but THREE horrible women. They are all jealous of her, and openly nasty, and the third one the heroine actually gets into a full-on scratching, punching fight with!
And if that wasn’t enough, she also reached out, pinning me to the brick wall behind me, scratching the bare skin on my shoulder. “I will end you, Ryn. That’s not an idle threat.”
It is also deeply frustrating when the “gay best friend” is used as a replacement for decent female friends. It’s just another way of saying men are better. It’s a startlingly common theme in romance – written BY women FOR women.
Other than that, there is a great deal to enjoy about Shelter Me. However, be aware there is no conclusion to the story here, so if you want to get the most out of it, you’re going to have to commit to reading multiple books. The setup for the next book is very well done, but be prepared for an open-ended last chapter.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.