Tangling with the Bears by Lisa Oliver (review)

Tagline: Horny wolf has a doubly unbearable time after a bathroom hook-up

Tangling with Bears Book Cover

Title: Tangling with the Bears
Author: Lisa Oliver

Genre:  Parannormal M/M Shifter Romance
Format:  Novel  (89k words)
Series: Cloverleah Pack #8

Sites: Author |  Goodreads

Publisher: Self-Published (March 2016)
ISBN: 9781311551863

Retail: $4.99

Rating:   star  star  star  star   (I really liked it!)


Synopsis:  Tobias, a wolf shifter enforcer with the Cloverleah Pack, is looking for a quick, no strings-attached, hookup, but finds himself scarred by a toothy chomp on his neck from a restroom. After biting the anonymous wolf during the bathroom quickie, Luke a sometimes awkward bear shifter, immediately leaves to call his mate Kurt.  Both bear shifters are rather surprised that their third mate is not the human female they expected but a male wolf shifter.

Kurt must protect his mate while trying to track down their new mate, dealing with a pack Alpha prejudiced against bear-shifters while convincing himself, as well as the wayward wolf, to trust the fates that brought the triad together.  The bears will discover their immunity to magic might come in handy when dealing with the powerful Cloverleah Pack, which has plenty of shifter power and magical might running within the group as well as in their deadly enemies.

Review: Fans of the Cloverleah series will likely enjoy this latest installment, although I found parts of it to be not quite as compelling as some of the previous titles. Strengths of this paranormal m/m erotic romance series include extremely powerful alpha males, an increasingly complicated supernatural and political plotline, and, of course, plenty of heated male/male encounters.

The relationship at the center of Tangling with Bears focuses on a menage (m/m/m), and the exploration of the somewhat problematic start of this “instant mate” triad is a bit weaker than other parts of the book or series. On the positive side, the author is attempting to examine what can go wrong in a trope establishing an immediate and permanent intimate connection among the mates, giving the reader some “serious” relationship issues wrapped into the broader paranormal/pack plotline.

Luke and Kurt were interesting characters, sometimes just a little stereotypical but overall they served as nice foils for one another. The fears and hopes of Kurt and Tobias contrasted with Luke’s steady trust, and thereby creating the core relationship drama of the book. This trip through the “instant mate” trope, in this case for three mates, was nicely fresh if not always overly compelling to me.

As typical for this series, the author also explored problematic shifter and paranormal dynamics, deepening the pack’s story with, of course, plenty of explicit intimate encounters. Fans of the series will see the overarching plotline continue to develop with a new set of interesting (and nicely different) mates.  It can be read as a standalone, although surrounding characters and the deeper pack/political plotline will be most appreciated by those who have read the entire series.

Recommended for fans of: Cloveleah pack series; Bear shifters; MMM Menage; a lumbering Bear shifter who is sweet and stumbling and fearsome all at the same time.

Sizzle:
Explicit Heat: fire fire fire fire – A fair amount of explicit heat, an important focus of the book, but interspersed into plenty of story.
Passion: heart heart heart – The three-way chemistry was not quite as strong as I would have liked, but the book’s plot centered on the strain between two of the mates which slowly rose and fell, although not always as convincingly as I would have liked.
Genre:  Adult Romance


Other Comments:
As always, this does a great job of portraying fully reciprocal male intimacy.

The Private Secretary by Summer Devon (review)

Tagline: Struggling middle-class man must work for the upper-crust Victorian gentleman who bullied his lover out of the country

Private Secretary Book Cover

Title: The Private Secretary
Author: Summer Devon

Genre:  Historical M/M Romance
Format:  Novel (141 pages)

Sites: AuthorGoodreads

Publisher: Self-Published (June 2016)
AISN: B01G4OQDIS

Bonus: Kindle Unlimited

Retail: $2.99

Rating:   star  star  star  half-star  (I liked it alot.)


Synopsis:  After his middle-class father inherits wealth and squanders it away, Ezra Seton is left to care for his younger brother.  Unable to compete with his lover’s memory of a previous beau who swept Francis off his feat as well as bullied him mercilessly, Ezra is devastated when his love leaves him behind.  Desperate to support his brother, the young man seeks employment in the very house of this memorable bully, the wealthy Victorian gentleman Robert Deeme.  Accepting a position as secretary to Deeme’s off-kilter cousin means Ezra will be spending a great deal of time with the man he despises.  His position exposes him to continued interactions with the man who bullied his love, an erratic and eccentric cousin, the pitfalls of lunatic asylums in Victorian England, and, of course, a growing physical attraction to the pretentious gentlemen.  When Francis returns and eyes the “rude” gentleman just as relatives released from the asylum arrive, the secretary’s world is laced with passion, jealousy, and potential lunacy.

Review: This is a sweet (if a tad brief and sometimes simplistic) historical male/male romance set in Victorian London. Robert, the wealthy man of society, and Ezra, the struggling but educated man of middle class origins trying to take care of his siblings, were a nice combination.  There was a fair amount of disdain to accompany plenty of attraction and character growth as well as a little between the sheets sizzle.

I found some elements of the work to be strong and interesting, including a (sometimes abbreviated but) believable enemies-to-lovers plot and “cross-class” themes. There was also a particularly interesting glimpses at 19th century/Victorian Britain (including sanatoriums, upper class researcher scientists, a touch of upstairs / downstairs flavor, and a bit of “Society” mores).

As with other works by this author, the setting is a nice draw for fans of male lovers set in 19th century British society. The characters are sympathetic without being perfectly wonderful or awful, including the protagonists, the surrounding family/household, and the foils. The weakness is in the sometimes quick-moving and/or overly pat plot and relationship developments, conflicts, and/or resolutions. In other words, it’s great for a diverting, relatively quick, and entertaining read (rather than a deep or really angst/passion-filled or breathtaking/enveloping romance).


Recommended for fans of:  Historical romance; Victorian England; sweet stories.

Sizzle:
Explicit Heat: fire fire fire – Some sizzle with explicit content.
Genre:  Adult Romance


Other Comments:
Overall, I find Summon Devon stories to be entertaining and diverting, providing a pleasant trip into Victorian England with generally pleasant and sweet portrayals of male/male relations in a sometimes very repressive society.

Mane and Tail by Sean Michael (review)

Tagline: Unsatisfied executive meets otherworldly man who says he can fulfill his secret wish to be kept as a pony – for a supernatural price

Mane and Tail Book Cover

Title: Mane and Tail
Author: Sean Michael

Genre:  Gay Erotica (pony play – D/s)
Format:  Novella (32k words)
Series: Modifications #1

SitesGoodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-Published (June 2016)
ISBN: 9781988377117

Retail: $3.99

Rating:   star1 star1 star1 star1 half-star  (4.5 stars – I really liked/loved it!)

Synopsis: Eric Martin is an executive who is missing something in life.  When he meets a rather forward and somewhat strange man named Daryus, he is unable to stop thinking about the stranger’s promise to make his fantasies come true.  At their second meeting, Daryus leads him to a world of stables and to Soren, a trainer of pony pets.  Eric’s deepest and darkest secrets are laid bare at the talented hands of the master groom. Soren’s skillful hand tries to force the executive to face his desired fantasy and attempts to bind him to his wanted and wanton fate.  In the end, will he be willing to pay the price to truly live his in his true nature?

Review: The author frames a somewhat intriguing but also very erotic story of a master groom attempting to guide a man (who is accustomed to being in charge) through a descent into a fully trained pony/servant mindset. The pony training is framed with a brief and nicely whimsical but also potentially dark supernatural theme.

The core of the book is a relatively gentle but firm pressure on a needy, unhappy executive to look at his more secret fantasy – serving as a fully trained and cared for pony by a strong but attentive master. The somewhat forced training highlights a very Dominant/submissive theme. It is explored here with less outright pain and force than I have found in many romance or erotica with a BDSM or D/s label. In many ways this approach seems much more realistic (and true to my own experiences) than more typical harsh, painful, and/or brutally controlling domination found in much BDSM-D/s fiction/erotica. The author includes a well-written, step-by-step journey (with just enough emotion and motivation) through the mechanics of becoming a trained pony, from light currying to fully functional, well-attached reins and finally to the ultimate in tail and cart play.

Much of the story, especially the personal reactions through the heart of the training, are viewed through the groom’s eyes, one who is fervently dedicated to mastering, dominating, loving and transforming his pony. One small critique may be that the reactions from the submitting, bound man are increasingly described in physical (and at times very heated) terms rather than through his thoughts and emotions – but in some ways that just reinforces the potential pony’s ultimate choice of whether to be reactive pet in the hand’s of a master groom more than an active instigator in his own right.

In the end, the ultimate questions are asked, with a delightfully devilish touch to complete the story

Recommended for fans of:  pony play; slow and patient but firm journeys into submission to a Dominant; pet play; BDSM -D/s with gentle but firm domination.

Sizzle:
Heat: fire fire fire fire fire – Fully sizzling D/s erotica, with explicit step-by-step assertions of control and submission, not too harsh but nicely firm heated encounters.
Passion: heart heart  heart  – Extremely strong on the Groom’s side with a bit less exposition but more implied from reactions and actions on the pony’s side.
Genre:  Erotica


Other Comments and More Personal Reactions (including spoilers):
I started posting on this blog to feel more free to include rather personal reactions to stories, and this one evoked such pleasant memories I am taking advantage of the personal space to react more, well, personally.

 

The author includes a well-written, step-by-step journey through the mechanics of becoming a pet pony.  The progression and range struck me as right, slowly moving into more and more serious submission, moving from light currying to fully functional, well-attached reins and finally to the ultimate in tail and cart play.  Kinks explored included currying (which made me purr), binding, blinders, hand feeding, piercings, reins, cuffs/mitts (the feel of lambskin – oh yes!), dressage and cart runs, spanking, stocks, and even a touch of light whipping (if only there were a riding crop…).

 

Favorite Quotes (spoilers) with personal reactions:

 

“Please help me.” This world was so wrong.
“I am, Petyr. I am. You need to give everything up to me and trust I’ll take care of you,” Soren said softly, voice so gentle.
Life didn’t work that way, though. Nothing worked that way.
(Fortunately, it sometimes does!)

 

Some trainers use constant pain, but that’s not me.”
(Nice to see a range in kinky, D/s stories)

 

He did the wrist restraints first, knowing those were easier mentally for his pony. He slid the lambskin-lined leather around each wrist and tightened the straps.  (Makes me whimper from a wonderful flesh memory)

 

He put the reins over Petyr’s shoulder, then dragged them along his pony’s skin so Petyr could know what it felt like. Then he attached the clasp of the reins to Petyr’s right nipple, then his left, letting the leather hang down and pull against Petyr’s them. Petyr’s chest moved, his pony beginning to pant for him, obviously a bit worried.  (But it’s the most delicious kind of worry!)

 

 As he kissed, he reached behind Petyr and gently tugged the reins, letting his pony feel them. Petyr jerked, his whole body bucking. The only reason Petyr didn’t pull completely away was because he was bound in the stocks. (And the feel of that kind of binding on one’s limbs and actions just drives the senses into overload.)

Coin Tricks by Willow Scarlett (review)

Tagline: Big, bad bouncer and the waifish twink encounter life, family, and each other

Coin Tricks Book Cover

Title: Coin Tricks

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Romance
Format:  Novel (71k words)

Sites:  Goodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-published (Feb. 2016)
ISBN: 9781311339621

Retail: $4.99

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sweet, slowly developing but truly heartfelt friendship between opposites in a complicated, economically struggling, life-loving, and a bit exotic setting
Synopsis: Wiremu is a very large bouncer and security guard who catches Sid when the skinny, young gay man attempts to shoplift from his superstore.  The oversized Maori draws upon the support of his extended (but also a bit divided) family when he discovers just what desperate straights face the small, freckled red-head. Sid is too proud to accept much charity for himself and the little girl in his charge, but the big man persists in trying to befriend the library assistant. Can two young gay men who appear to be opposites in almost every way find trust, friendship, and possibly more?  It might take a trick or two, or perhaps a bit of magic, too overcome their differences.
Review: This is a story of a developing relationship between very different men – a huge, native Maori, rugby-playing tough guy versus a quiet, effeminate library assistant who loves magic.  The strength of the writing explores Wiremu’s careful concern for a vulnerable young guy along with his internal struggle to provide help, friendship, and more without scaring the vulnerable man away. I appreciated the struggle of a very strong guy with uber-tough,  homophobic, and hyper-masculine role models coming to grips with his own sweet and gentle center.  His care for a sometimes swishy, troubled, and earnest “twink-like” waif of a man made for a compelling if sometimes a little slow moving read.
The story is set in Auckland, New Zealand and significantly incorporates the protagonist’s native/indigenous family culture, and the dialog is sprinkled with Maori terms. The cross-cultural aspect was very significant but just one of many interesting themes explored, including abandonment, isolated nuclear versus extended family environments, gender issues, homophobia, and difficulties in trusting due to a history of abuse. This jumble of (sometimes conflicting) ideas and feelings creates multi-dimensional and imperfect characters working their way through their coming-of-age, shouldering of adult responsibility, and budding relationships. The role of magic is sometimes subtle but almost always present, from mundane coin tricks and slight of hand diversions to the enchantments cast by true friendship, family, and love. Overall, the author explores a nice array of emotions and hesitancies in this short, sweet, and caring story about two young gay men trying to make it in a sometimes hostile world.
Recommended for:  readers who like a very gentle and sweet, personal story of friendship and possible romance between two young but very different gay men; those looking for “comfort” read with a theme of rescue from abuse; fans of family settings for LGBT stories.

Steam:

Heat:  fire fire  (some explicit sizzle) – This book is centered on building trust and friendship, with romantic feelings definitely present but almost secondary.  There are two scenes of appropriate but explicit intimacy, just crossing the line to “Adult Romance” for me.

Passion – heart heart heart heart  (passionate friendship turning into something more) – More about friendship and trust, the chemistry between the two seemed real, the magic between them slowly building.  (I found the sexual tension to be underplayed.  I would have expected the long, celibate delay – between young men at their hormonal peak who sometimes shared a room and a bed – would have kept both of them much more on edge than seemed to be described.  However, this was a story more about the magic of trust and friendship and love than the passion between the sheets.)

Other Comments (with a minor spoiler):

Although it was touched on fairly briefly, I greatly appreciated Sid’s “admission” of his gender fluid identity.   His fear of rejection for sometimes acting effeminate and also embracing the feminine side of himself struck me as incredibly genuine and authentic to the real world.  The acceptance from a large, tough man like Wiremu, especially given his masculine role models, was touching and comforting.

The dialog includes a smattering of interesting Maori terms, hyperlinked to definitions in an appendix. The linking mostly worked in my epub copy using the iBooks reader on an iPad. Other reviewers have indicated the linking may be problematic using other formats/applications/platforms.

The summary for this story on various book sites call Sid a librarian, but within the book the description of his position (and his economic hardship) seem to indicate he’s a library assistant (I.e., he works in a library, but doesn’t have the full, advanced degree need to be a professional librarian). Overall, it’s not a big deal, but it’s similar to calling anyone who works in a medical office a doctor or a nurse, even when there are plenty of medical assistants, orderlies, office attendants, etc., who provide some level of service. I expect and don’t particularly mind when the general public lumps everybody together (e.g. anyone who works in a library must be a librarian, just like anyone who provides assistance in a medical office must be a nurse, etc.). I do appreciate it and generally expect authors (or in this case, perhaps a publicist) to be accurate about these types of details. (From what I can tell, New Zealand has advanced qualifications for someone to be a professional librarian like the U.S., U.K., and Australia do.)

Themes include homophobia, friends to lovers, gender fluidity, effeminate gay men, magic and magicians, family, siblings.

Series Review: KinKaid Wolf Pack by Jessica Lee

Tagline: Series of wolf shifter romantic erotica (gay and bisexual)

Bloodlines Book CoverMake Me Book Cover
HeatRisingimg_0079

TitleKinKaid Wolf Pack Series
Author: Jessica Lee

Genre:  Paranormal Erotic Gay and Bi (m/m/f) Romance
Format:  Series of 4 connected stories (166k words)
Series: KinKaid Wolf Pack (4 titles)

Sites: AuthorGoodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-Published (2013-2016)

 

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Uneven but heated series with a range of sizzling relationships (two m/m and one MMF menage) and a bit of a story, but best for the (sometimes a bit dominating) sex
The first three installments (two novels and a short story) focus on a pair of wolf shifter twins and their struggle to assert their non-traditional sexuality as it collides with pack traditions and treachery along with plenty of heated encounters.  (These first three were also republished together in a trilogy.) The fourth title (a novella) is set in the same pack, but is not particularly tied in with the previous pack storyline and instead is focused on a new relationship.

The underlying story of a shifter pack going through chage extends through the trilogy (2 novellas and one short story) and had plenty of interesting elements, although the strength of this work (especially the first two installments) is clearly the erotic encounters, so I classify it as romantic erotica.  The fourth book combines some of the strength of the relationship building found in the third book, but with a return to a focus on a male/male relationship with two very strong (and one more dominant) males.

The writing starts weak, although the first two installments have decent m/m sizzle.  Somewhere in the third (MMF) book, the story, dialog and character development exposition become significantly better, and the plot becomes more compelling before the heat rises again. While the fourth book returns to a male couple, the characters and relationship building remain stronger and are more than just filler for the sizzle.

Heat: 7/10 – explicit, repeated (25-30%), some kink (variety of MM, including Domination; MMF)

 


Bloodlines Book Cover

#1- Bloodlines – Free Novella (42k words, 192 pages), m/m
Evin, alpha heir to the KinKaid pack, is banished by his father when he refuses to mate a woman to cement a family and pack alliance. The gay shifter in exile encounters Mason, a human heir to a powerful family also rather outcast because of his sexuality. When the sparks begin to fly, the heated intimacy has great implications for both males’ families, health, and position.
Story is not the strength of this first installment, but there is plenty of m/m heat – (full review)

Make Me Book Cover

#2– Make Me– Short Story (8k words, 30 pages), m/m

The alpha and his mate face threats to the pack from outside, resulting in some fear and relief that leads to hot discipline from the dominant wolf.

Short story with “Yes, alpha!” sizzle –  (full review)


Heat Rising Book Cover
#3 – Heat Rising – Short Novel (59k words, 220 pages), m/m/f
Rosa, twin sister of the KinKaid pack’s alpha, is on the cusp of going into “full heat” and therefore needs to choose a mate, but choosing one of the males she longs for would wound one of her best friends.  Kaleb learns his friends’ secrets and only is likely to spill his own when he’s had one too many.  Landry, the bisexual pack enforcer, knows his lineage and unrequited longings prevent him from pursuing his friends, but his resulting trips to the BDSM club have endangered the pack.
Some nice MMF menage sizzle in a bit of a wolfy story  –  (full review)

 


Sins of the Wolf Book Cover
#4 – Sins of a Wolf – Novella (49k words, 180 pages), m/m
Aydin, a rough wolf pack enforcer with a troubled past, is on probation with his new pack, but biting a human in a bar room brawl is not going to make his position any more secure.  Sin, a recently discharged special forces veteran with family issues of his own, jumps in to help another gay guy from getting bashed in the bar room brawl, only to get bit in the process.  Aydin must track down the fleeing human, as an unaware individual turning into a wolf in the midst of a human population would be problematic in so many ways. The resulting heat between the two tough men is palpable and palatable, but each must overcome past decisions, traumatic memories (including PTSD), and family complications if the connection between them has any chance of deepening.
Palpable and, amidst a bit of outside and “humans dealing with wolves” drama, eventually realized heat between two strong males, one a bit more dominant than the other –  (full review)

KinKaid Wolf Pack Book Cover

#1-3 –KinKaid Wolf Pack Triology – 2 Novellas + Short Story (111k words), m/m, m/m/f

Includes the first two novellas and a short story in the series, exploring twin wolf shifters struggling with sexuality in the midst of pack politics and treachery. Plenty of male/male and MMF sizzle in wolf shifter setting –  (full review)


Sins of a Wolf by Jessica Lee (review)

Tagline: Tough biker vet with PTSD bitten by a wolf

Sins of the Wolf Book Cover

TitleSins of a Wolf
Author: Jessica Lee

Genre:  Paranormal Shifter M/M Romance
Format:  Novella  (49k words)
Series: KinKaid Wolf Pack #4

Sites: AuthorGoodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-Published (Feb. 2016)
AISN: B00FEQGRWU

Retail: $2.99

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Heat: 4/5 – sizzling – plenty explicit, repeated, and with just a touch of Top/bottom domination

Synopsis: Sin, a closeted special forces veteran biker, comes to the defense of a fellow gay man in a bar brawl and gets bitten in the process. Aydin, an enforcer with a troubled past still on probation with the alpha, knows he needs to make sure Sin’s transition to being a shifter does not expose his pack to the human world. The chemistry evident between the two tough gay men could be helpful.

Review: The writing and plot in this installment is much better than in the first two stories in the KinKaid Wolf Pack series. The heat, however, continues to sizzle with several steaming scenes between two very strong and aggressive males. As in the first two books, the sexual intimacy focused on a very masculine man and his strong partner, with a bit of rough and tumble but also straightforward heat between them.

Recommended for: Good for those who like a bit of tough man on man action and love, with one tough guy a bit more dominant than the other, in a wolf shifter setting. Unlike the first two books in the series, the plot and relationship building is present and explore in more than just a few quick sentences here and there. In terms of strength of story, this is more like the third book in the series, although this fourth installment is all male on male.

Comments / possible spoilers:
One dispppointing aspect is while both men are very tough, one becomes significantly more dominating and commanding over another who normally tops, but the slightly less aggressive man only bottoms in the story. However, the author does a better job than some writers in exploring male/male sex outside of just full-on intercourse (although intercourse is still clearly the ultimate physical connection between the two).

This one is on the verge for me  between Adult Romance and Romantic erotica.  There certainly is enough of a plot to have a coherent story beyond what is provided in basic erotica, and the story and relationship building has more foucs and development than just the sex scenes.  Still, the main reason to read this is probably the sizzle, although the story is strong enough to merit interest and attention.

Omega Nanny by Penelope Peters (review)

Tagline:  An omegaverse story of a widowed alpha and an estranged omega
Omega Nany Book Cover
Title: Omega Nanny
Author: Penelope Peters

Genre:  Paranormal M/M Romance
Format:  Novel (281 pages)

Publisher: Self-Published (April 2016)
AISN: B01EBA527U

Bonus: Kindle Unlimited title

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

A widowed, straight alpha needs a nanny for his child and discovers an estranged, single, and straight omega.  What are two straight men to do, especially a desperate employer and an employee who needs a job, when the pheromones start to drive them wild?  Is it the mating drive or the mutual respect that could overcome the “not my type” and “don’t jeopardize the job” vibes between the two?

Overall, it was a sweet and explicit omegaverse story with enough plot and relationship tension to keep things interesting in addition to two heated and sizzling encounters.  There was certainly a bit of manufactured feel (falling in love in 2 weeks), but elements adding to the tension (a beta friend who was not a girlfriend) and interesting if underdeveloped supporting characters (former wife, protective alpha friend, meddling sister, and sweet daughter) helped give the quick novel life beyond the sizzled. Some setting information, especially regarding the usually ignored role of betas in an Alpha/Beta/Omega omegaverse was a nice touch.  Also, I’m not always appreciative of Alpha violence and protective instincts, but I was pretty pumped when Thomas goes a little alpha in support of a non-alpha.

A nice read for fans of omegaverse stories with a some focus on the relationship and setting along with the mating heat (although knotting was only briefly mentioned and the mpreg was slipped past into the epilogue).

Omegaverse and a little gender fluidity:

In a surprising (to me) twist, the male omega had a cock, an ass that was breedable, but no testicles. At first I was surprised and a bit disappointed by this, as one of the reasons I like omegaverse stories is the male-male action, especially leading to pregnancy.  I’m already a bit hesitant about some of this genre, as Alphas are often hyper-masculine and, except for their equipment, the male omegas often take on very traditionally feminine roles.  Although I very much appreciate gender-challenging characters, I am also a bit disappointed when it’s always the top, Alpha who takes on the masculine roles and the receptive, bottom, omega who takes on traditionally female roles.  (Also, tops that constantly penetrate their male partner but who never let a bottom near their own entrance is a particular turn off of mine, but par for the course in omegaverse novels.) When these roles are so strongly separated, it seems to me one might as well just write male/female stories.

However, as I thought about the extra “hitch” (or lack of one) in this story a bit more, if I think of omega with a penis but no balls who takes on typically female roles, “male” might not immediately jump to my mind, but it is a very gender fluid character.  So it took a little time to wrap my mind around, but I am warming up to viewing this story as a cool traditional gender bending/more gender fluid setting, almost like a paranormal transgender romance.  If the omega identifies as male, even if he has some characteristics more often associated traditionally feminine traits, it’s still a male/male story to me, perhaps just with a nice bit of transgender/gender bending flavor to challenge my assumptions.

Of course, now I am very curious about female alphas mating with omegas, continuing on with the challenging roles this society makes about gender behavior and roles.