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Friday, December 16, 2011


Author:  Dani Harper

Plot Type:  SMR
Ratings:  V4; S4; H3
Publisher and Titles: Kensington
        Changeling Moon (5/2011)
        Changeling Dream (6/2011)
        Changeling Dawn  (12/2012)
        Changeling Shadow (tentatively scheduled for 2014)

     This post was revised and updated on 2/14/13 to include a review of the third book in the series, Changeling Dawn, which appears at the end of this post after an overview of the world-building and reviews of the first two books: 

       This is a standard paranormal romance series with werewolves (here called Changelings) as the main characters, specifically the Macleod family, now living in Dunvegan, a small town in the forests of northern Canada on the Peace River. The Macleod clan lived in Scotland for centuries, but this branch of the family moved to Canada almost two centuries ago to flee the wolf extermination program in Scotland and begin a new life in the vast wilderness of northern Canada. 

     Changelings are unknown to mortals, so they generally live close to wilderness areas where they can run and hunt freely, undetected by humans. They follow the two primary laws of the Changeling world: Never harm a human, and never turn a human against his or her will.

     The series follows the four Macleod brothers (Connor, James, and twins Cully and Devon) and their sister (Kenzie) as each one finds, woos, and beds his or her soul mate. There is an older sister (Carly), but she has already found her mate by the time the series begins. All of the mates are human—at least they start out that way.

     Changelings are not dependent on the full moon and can shift into their wolf forms at will. When they shift from human to wolf, their clothing passes into another dimension, and when they shift back, they are fully clothed. (It's magic, peoplejust go with the flow.) The series theme, which plays constantly in the background, is that humans are on the verge of finding out that Changelings exist and that the consequences of that discovery will be devastating to the Changelings.  

     Here are the romantic couples for each book:       

       Changeling Moon: Connor Macleod & Zoey Tyler 
       Changeling Dream: James Macleod & Jillian Descharme 
       Changeling DawnKenzie Macleod & Josh Talarkoteen  

     If you like to read paranormal romances with traditional characters and not-too-graphic bedroom scenes, you might enjoy this series. The characters are stereotypical—the same ones you'll find in any wise-cracking-werewolf-brothers-find-love-with-sassy-human-women series. Here are some read-alike series with the same types of characters and plots:
Vivian Arendt: GRANITE LAKE WOLVES (SMR—V3, S4, H2) 
Jennifer Ashley: SHIFTERS UNBOUND (SMR—V3, S4, H3) 
Cynthia Eden: Never Cry Wolf (SMR—V4, S4, H2) 
Susan Sizemore: PRIMES (SMR—V4, S4, H2) 
Terry Spear: WOLF SERIES (SMR—V4, S4, H2-3)
     To find more series featuring werewolves, click HERE to go to my CREATURE SEARCH page. Scroll down to the section titled "WEREWOLVES AND OTHER SHIFTERS" and click on any pink-link series title.

          BOOK 1:  Changeling Moon          
     The series opener begins in the middle of an ice storm when Zoey Tyler, the young and beautiful human editor of the local newspaper, is stalked and bitten by a rogue Changeling. When the local veterinarian (Connor Macleod) happens to come along in the middle of the attack, he saves her life. Zoey has recently changed her name and moved here from the big city in order to escape her famous psychic family and the unwanted publicity that has followed her all her life. She hates her psychic abilities because they never show her the future in time for her to prevent tragic events. Connor and his family have lived in the area for many, many years, but he leads a lonely, workaholic life and his family worries about him. Other characters in the story are the townsfolk—some human and some pack members. 

     The plot follows Zoey and Connor as their romance moves along the usual rough and rocky road until they reach their HEA. The villain is the rogue Changeling who bit Zoey in the first scene as he continues to wreak havoc among the mortals. A secondary villain is a reporter for a paranormal newspaper who has read reports of past werewolf sightings in the area and is determined to out the pack. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Changeling Moon (scroll down about half-way to find the excerpt).

          BOOK 2:  Changeling Dream          
     The second book tells the romantic story of the eldest Macleod brother (James) and his soul mate (Jillian Descharme), who is a young and beautiful human veterinarian. We had a brief introduction to James's story in the previous book, but haven't met him until now. Thirty years ago, James lived happily on one of the Macleod farms with his young, pregnant, human wife. One day he returned home to find her shot dead in their burning home. As James ran to his wife's aid (but too late), the human murderer shot him and left him to burn up. James managed to escape by shifting into his white wolf form and has never Changed back to his human form since that day. His wolf took over the primary role in his human/wolf body so that his human grief wouldn't drive him to suicide. 

     After all these years, the wolf is still strongly in charge, and that presents a few problems when James is attracted to Connor's new assistant vet, Jillian. When Jillian was a teenager (15 years ago), she was raped and beaten as she jogged in the woods, and James's wolf saved her life by chasing the thugs away. She has dreamed of the wolf ever since and credits him for helping her regain her sanity after her traumatic experience. Now, Jillian is dreaming of the wolf again every night and doesn't know why. Well, we know why, don't we? 

     The plot follows the romance, which includes LOTS of angst-filled interior monologues—mostly by James—as he tries to balance his wolf and human halves and fights his feelings for Jillian because he believes that hanging around with him will get her killed—just like his wife. The villain is a deranged human man who hates werewolves with a passion. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Changeling Dream (scroll down about half-way to find the excerpt).

          BOOK 3:  Changeling Dawn          
       In the third book, Kenzie Macleod finds her mate as she begins an archaeological dig in Alaska. Kenzie is the intellectual of the family. She has two doctorates (in anthropology and archaeology) and is a renowned archaeologist. Her primary goal in life is to prove the truth of an Ahtna legend that once upon a time, every person was able to shape-shift. She keeps this goal to herself, though, for fear that the scientific community will think that she is nuts. Kenzie was traumatized by a childhood incident back in Scotland in which she was hunted down and nearly captured by humans who were on a mission to kill all wolves—both real wolves and Changelings. That memory has haunted her over the decades (She is more than 100 years old) and has engendered in her a distrust of all humans—even tall, handsome, sexy male humans.

     As Kenzie is driving through the Alaskan back country on her way to her dig, she stops to help a good-looking male motorist with car trouble. Josh Talarkoteen is an officer for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and as one of the Tahltan people who have always had an affinity for wolves, he immediately recognizes that Kenzie is a shape shifter. He also recognizes that he has a powerful attraction to her. Josh is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD episodes that manifest themselves in hallucinations of a little girl who died while Josh was transporting her from a bombing scene. The story is told in the third person, shifting between Kenzie's and Josh's POV. The couple's romance is complicated by the fact that Kenzie's obnoxious ex-lover, Nate Richardson, shows up looking to rekindle their relationship.

     When Kenzie discovers a young wolf cub in the woods near her camp, she contacts Josh for assistance, and their romance begins. Although Kenzie recognizes her attraction to Josh, she fights it because he is human. In the meantime, Josh's hallucinations of the little Afghan girl become more and more frequent and he begins to fear for his sanity. The plot follows the romance as it intertwines with the secondary (slightly stereotypical) plot in which a secretive and sinister human organization imprisons werewolves for experimental purposes. Eventually, Kenzie is put in danger in the requisite showdown scene, and Josh must rescue her, thus proving his worthiness as a mate.

     This is another typical romance in which two emotionally damaged lead characters travel down a rocky road to their HEA, stumbling all the way. The good guys are flawlessly honorable and the bad guys are rotten to the core, with all characters being fairly one-dimensional and minimally developed. The humans-experiment-on-shifters plot line is a familiar one with just a slight twist or two to make it slightly different from the rest. If you enjoy traditional werewolf romances, you'll probably enjoy this series, but if you're looking for something new and different, this one is not for you. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Changeling Dawn (scroll down about half-way to find the excerpt).

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