Highgate Shifters Books 1-3 by Sydney Presley ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

Highgate Title: Highgate Shifters Books 1-3

Author: Sydney Presley

Publisher: Totally Bound

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Jace’s Justice

Finding yourself isn’t always easy—unless your true mate helps you along the way…

Jace has always felt as though he doesn’t belong, that he’s surplus to requirements, alone and destined to stay that way for the rest of his life. His love for Louie, his true mate, is solid and real, but Louie has never shown Jace that they’re mates, has never given any indication that he wants them to be together. Jace is convinced that fate has got things wrong in pairing them—until a stranger arrives on pack land, throwing everything into chaos.

Louie has lived his whole life keeping his distance from Jace—and his emotions. He loves the man with a passion, but knowing Jace might be taken away from him at any moment means Louie has kept his mouth shut. Jace was found on the side of the road as a cub by their alpha, Sergeant, and Louie has always known that one day Jace’s true family will come back to claim him. To save Jace having to make a painful decision—leave Louie or join his family—Louie has remained in the shadows.

But life has a way of changing things, and with the stranger comes knowledge of some terrible things happening on another wolf compound. Things that the Highgate pack feel compelled to fix. The question is, will Jace and Louie mating also change things, or will they remain the same as they’ve always been, forever circling around their love and never admitting it through fear of being hurt?

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Vann’s Victory

Being a Dom in secret—being mated to another wolf in secret—is something Vann has always done, but now he has the chance to be open about his whole life.

Vann grew up under the rule of an alpha at Crossways Compound, who controlled every aspect of his pack members’ lives. Used to obeying without question, Vann suddenly finds himself in a position where he can make his own decisions outside his sexual relationship. In the past, his trysts with his subby lover, Kip, have been in secret, snatched moments away from security cameras or listening devices. Now they’ve been welcomed at Highgate, a safe haven, life should work out beautifully.

But there’s something Vann has to do first. He has to return to his childhood compound to right the wrongs that were done there. Along with Kip and members of the Highgate security team, Vann has to play the biggest role of his life so far in order to bring down the alpha at Crossways and rescue some cross-bred cubs. It isn’t going to be easy, going against someone he’s been conditioned to obey, but for the sake of his pack and the safety of the cubs, he’ll do whatever it takes.

Kip is determined to be with Vann every step of the way. Usually, Kip is submissive in all aspects of their life, preferring to bow his head and only speak when he’s given permission. But their return to Crossways changes all that. The danger there is too great for Kip to wait for Vann’s instructions on everything he does. Kip knows that to keep Vann safe, he must become more dominant—or die trying.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Dillon’s Decisions

Keeping secrets can sometimes be a very wrong thing to do.

When a stranger steps onto Highgate land in the middle of the night, Dillon has to decide whether to chase him off or let him into their pack house. Sergeant, Dillon’s partner and pack alpha, takes the decision out of Dillon’s hands. The stranger looks like a wolf they know from Crossways. He’s disoriented and doesn’t seem to know his own name. Something’s very wrong, and Dillon intends to find out what’s going on.

The stranger turns out to be just that—a stranger and no one they know at all. When the horrifying fact comes out that the stranger has had his face surgically removed then replaced with another, Dillon’s terrible past comes back to haunt him. The government agency he used to work for think he’s disappeared for good—or do they? Have they found out where he lives now? Do they want him back on their books as a spy?

Dillon can’t go back—no way, no how. In order to remain free and at Highgate, he has to work out a plan that will keep every single pack member safe. But most of all he must protect Sergeant, the love of his life and the one man who knows all his secrets.

Or most of them, anyway…

Brandilyn’s View:

I am going to review all three of these stories together. They really do need to be read in order to get the full backstory, as it is not resolved from one story to the next.

First of all, I just want to say that the similarity of the titles in this series to another, unrelated Totally Bound series is a bit off-putting. Obviously, it didn’t stop me from reading this series. (I have already read and reviewed the first 5 books in the other series).

Jace’s Justice

The first book in any series sets the tone for the rest of the series. It introduces you both to the characters and the world of the author’s making. It also tells you whether you want to continue to spend time in the world or not.

Jace’s Justice started off well enough. It was obviously a fated mates trope with wolf shifters. Jace was separated at birth from him biological family and raised by another wolf-shifter pack. It not to like it completely clear why this is such a big deal. Actually, nothing is clearly explained. And explained is the correct term. This tale, as many similar stories, suffers from the “telling not showing” phenomenon. The readers is talked to rather than emersed in the world.

One other pet peeve hit me and significantly lessened my enjoyment of this story. Dillon, one of the mated pair that raised Jace as their own, is repeatedly referred to as Jace’s “mother”. Dillon is male. Men are not mothers. Whether the author was trying to impart the “homemaker” or “maternal” vibe onto one of the male mates or Dillon’s character was originally a female and the author instead changed his gender in order to give him his own book later in the series, I can not say. At best, it is a stupid mistake, at worst is offensive to an entire segment of the readership. Either way, it is a glaring mistake that should have been corrected.

Vann’s Victory

For a secondary storyline perspective there was much movement in second installment of the Highland Shifters series. Vann’s Victory sees our pack going to free Vann’s former back from the tyrannical rule of their alpha. What they find is nothing short of a prison. While I appreciate that this needed to happen for many reasons, I wanted to see more growth in Vann and Kip’s relationship.

They were once oppressed, but I never felt that oppression. We are told of it, repeatedly, but we are never shown it. Therefore, I never found the BDSM heavy scenes to be more than opportunistic sex scenes. They are somewhat hot but didn’t add to the story for the character growth for me. I found Kip’s subservient behavior out of the bedroom to be more telling of their TPE style relationship.

If I didn’t already have a review copy of the third book, I don’t know that I would be reading it.

Dillon’s Decision

Now we get to the reason I read this series to begin with. The blurb for Dillon’s Decisions intrigued me. Unfortunately, by the time I got to this installment in the Highgate Shifters’ tale, I was predisposed to not like it much.

While the first part of the mystery surrounding Dillon’s past intrigued me, the resolution was rather mundane and uninteresting. I tried giving this installment the benefit of the doubt, but alas it was not to be. This will be the last installment in the series I will read.

Buy Links

Totally Bound
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
iTunes / iBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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