Author: Paige Tyler

Wolf Hunt by Paige Tyler

Wolf Hunt by Paige TylerWolf Hunt by Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT #6
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 6th 2017
Pages: 352
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two-stars

A STORM IS BREWING...Remy Boudreaux is back in his hometown, New Orleans. He's there with three of his fellow Dallas SWAT officers for a week of training with the NOLA PD. On the eve of a tropical storm, Remy and his buddies prowl the French Quarter. One tantalizing scent captures Remy's senses, forcing him to follow until he is face to face with Triana Bellamy—his beautiful high school crush.
After reconnecting, Remy and Triana are close—very. Remy struggles to keep things casual. Ever since his partner—and first love—was killed on the job, he's kept women at a distance.
But when a mysterious wolf pendant ropes them both into danger, Remy's protective instincts kick in. He may have to reveal his true self...and hope Triana accepts him.

I started out with high hopes for Paige Tyler’s SWAT series, liking the idea of a police SWAT team comprising alpha wolves and the surprising levity that came with Tyler’s storytelling. The idea has sunk in no…few books later and when it comes to setting up action and suspense, I’d be the first to say that ‘Wolf Hunt’ does well. I liked the New Orleans setting for one—the mystical bits especially seemed to gel quite well with the whole werewolf mythology and the unsolved case of Triana’s father’s murder that fell in line along with it. The bigger plot here is that there is an ongoing drug war that SWAT is facing as they fight to keep it off the streets. The cases are peripherally linked in some ways and Triana’s werewolf father adds a twist to the mix.

There are pitfalls though with this series—which is clearly something that affects just me.

I think the problem is that the idea of the werewolf’s soulmate—at least in Paige Tyler’s mythology—conveniently permits ‘destined’ couples to hook up early and without much of a period where even the possibility of being together is considered. But the insertion of paranormal elements, while exciting, reduces the impact of the romance itself because these elements seem to justify the existence of stereotypical character behaviour in this SWAT series and compromising character depth in favour of plot and action.

Tyler’s SWAT men are macho and testosterone filled—more so because they’re wolves—with a sexual appetite to boot (and therefore can tomcat around because their ‘primal sides’ need it), yet fall prey to the One woman (instant love) who can and will tame them after they’ve sampled all that other women have to offer, succumbing to several of the biggest clichés in romance in one fell swoop. It’s all attributed to fate rather than deliberate thought or action on the part of the characters, which just feels like a rehash of the romance trope of the free-swinging manwhore who is downed by one woman in the end.

In the opening chapters, after a brief explanation of being each other’s high school crushes that ultimately went nowhere, Remy and Triana dance, kiss and already plan for a hookup, effectively cancelling the sexual tension or at least some kind of build-up that could have had the readers on tenterhooks. Much of it is explained as though this hookup is merely a way of seizing the opportunity when they’d missed it so long ago and the chemistry that somehow instantly fizzled between them wasn’t entirely believable, especially not after a huge period of separation and losing touch.

Yet it’s as though the years have disappeared and suddenly, physical attraction is king when Triana is no longer the awkward, gangly girl that Remy can find himself ‘safely’ attracted to. Their background is pretty much angst-free, but I had the feeling that getting Remy and Triana together quickly was something get over with (coupled with typical descriptions that no other woman felt like her despite having slept with plenty), rather than it being the main part of the story, considering the action and the werewolf revelation to come, which made their underdeveloped, straight-to-sex relationship sort of trite.

Remy’s confession that he’d loved her since high school however, ruined the romance for me as it seemed not only to cheapen his previous relationship with Jess (whom he’d first claimed was the love of his life) but also the ‘one true pairing’ with Triana which he didn’t do a thing about back then.

Again, these are clearly my own issues with the SWAT team; ‘Wolf Hunt’ has disappointed me in several ways but my fondness for this series means I can’t quite let it go…just yet.

two-stars

A Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler

A Wolf Unleashed by Paige TylerA Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #5
Published by Sourcebook Casablanca on December 6th 2016
Pages: 352
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three-stars

Wolf shifter Alex Trevino has fallen hard for veterinarian Lacey Barton. Getting her to agree to a date is a lot of work—and winning her heart proves even harder.
Lacey can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex, but she has no intention of letting herself fall for him. In her less than stellar experience, men don’t stick around.
When Lacey’s sister is kidnapped, it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and prove to Lacey that he isn’t going anywhere.

What seems like surface attraction really isn’t, it seems. Alex Trevino can’t get his eyes off Lacey Barton for reasons he can’t explain and wouldn’t stop until she agrees to a date with him. There are several peripheral issues that seem unrelated however, until Lacey finds herself involved in a sprawling, complicated case of drugs, kidnapping and abused dogs that calls SWAT into action.

‘Wolf Unleashed’ isn’t a bad read—far from it, in fact— but I struggled with keeping my interest in it because it dealt with very similar issues that had been rehashed over the past few books: the rather clichéd myth about finding ‘The One’ proven to be the werewolf’s soulmate and the eventual acceptance of it, the predictable fallout when female lead character discovers that the guy in question is a werewolf and the rather staid case of dogfighting with the ongoing drug war which seemed separate from Lacey’s and Alex’s developing story.

The story isn’t quite a standalone as well as it does pull many references to the plots of Paige Tyler’s previous books which I imagine could pose some problems for those who jump straight into this story without having read the first few installments. Tyler juggles a huge cast of characters—the SWAT team and their significant others do make repeated appearances—so ‘Wolf Unleashed’ can get confusing at times, especially with a winding plot with threads that only come together loosely towards the end of the book.

I wished though, that other aspects and characteristics of werewolf-ism could have been explored further, like the issue of dominance of the werewolf with dogs, why the ability to scent is stronger than others and whether Lacey’s profession could have contributed to dealing with werewolf anatomy (and not in a dirty way!). Would the werewolf secret be blown open though? I do hope Tyler will take it in this direction, rather than keep this an open secret that seems to be the case in all the books so far. That said, there is a plethora of action and behaviour that thankfully doesn’t quite veer into TSTL territory, which are good enough reasons to take this up.

three-stars

To Love a Wolf by Paige Tyler

To Love a Wolf by Paige TylerTo Love a Wolf (SWAT #4) by Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 7th 2016
Pages: 352
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three-stars

HE'S FOUND THE ONE...SWAT officer Landry Cooper is certain Everly Danu is The One. The problem is, she has no idea what Cooper really is. And as much as he wants to trust her, he's not sure he can share his deepest secret...
When Everly's family discovers Cooper's a werewolf, her brothers will do anything to keep them apart-they'll kill him if they have to. Everly is falling hard for the ridiculously handsome SWAT officer, and she's not about to let her brothers tell her who she can love... Until Cooper's secret is exposed and she discovers the man she thought she knew is a monster in disguise.

Landry Cooper meets his mythical ‘one’ during a bank robbery, saves her life and unintentionally reveals part of himself that isn’t quite meant to be public information which is thankfully covered up by his SWAT teammates. But he gets a date out of it and it all goes rather swell, until a seeming coincidence in the search for a bomb-maker and a brewing storm with Everly’s family cause that dream to collapse.

I liked this book so much better than the last one, which had gone awry for me and was actually looking forward to Cooper’s story. But there is so much about this – apart from the werewolf legends that I wished Paige Tyler had gone into – that had become a compendium of clichés which did made me cringe quite a bit. Without sufficient context and history, there were times when I thought I was in the middle of a blockbuster movie that became a Mexican shootout comedy especially when Everly’s brothers came into the picture.

And there was also instant lust/love and the rather ridiculous notion that love can develop from sex rather than the opposite and the importance of physical appearance (or even smell here), just to begin with. Perhaps the werewolf legend does frame the notion of soul-mates a little more believably, thereby giving an excuse for lust/love to operate with such immediacy, yet there were times when I thought Everly and her friend seemed a little shallow as they ruminated constantly about Cooper and the SWAT team’s attractiveness ad nauseum.

My rants however, aren’t entirely indicative of what I feel about the story, which is a mix of emotions that range from eye-rolling frustration to wry understanding. If Cooper’s quiet, enigmatic personality in the previous books were intriguing, Tyler pulls the veil covering the man himself here and shows him up to be a flawed person who can and will make stupid decisions because he is torn between loyalties. His TSTL moments matched Everly’s which I found amusing, but it didn’t entirely diminish my soft spot for him. The heavy emphasis on bomb making gave the book a military sheen which made it more enjoyable, as did the deeper emotions Tyler briefly explored when it came to PTSD and vengeance. Above all though, I rue, the loss of the doses of lighthearted humour that Tyler has liberally sprinkled in the first two books of the series because that made me enjoy them so much.

three-stars

Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

Wolf Trouble by Paige TylerWolf Trouble by Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 4th 2015
Pages: 352
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four-stars

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.
When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

Light-hearted, funny and not entirely unpredictable, Wolf Trouble introduces the idea of a female werewolf who finds her mate in the squad leader of the Dallas SWAT team, but not after rounds of denial and loads of intoxicating sniffing. As far as a shapeshifter book goes, this one was enjoyable – albeit cliched – and humorous and so action-packed that turning the pages is no hardship, but don’t expect the huge world-building and the complex mythos of other established shapeshifter canons in this one.

four-stars

Hungry Like the Wolf by Paige Tyler

Hungry Like the Wolf by Paige TylerHungry Like the Wolf by Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 6th 2015
Pages: 352
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four-stars

The Dallas SWAT team is hiding one helluva secret . . . they're a pack of wolf shifters.
The team of elite sharpshooters is ultra-secretive—and also the darlings of Dallas. This doesn't sit well with investigative journalist Mackenzie Stone. They must be hiding something . . . and she's determined to find out what.
Keeping Mac at a distance proves impossible for SWAT team commander Gage Dixon. She's smart, sexy, and makes him feel alive for the first time in years. But she's getting dangerously close to the truth—and perilously close to his heart...

Action-packed, entertaining read that actually made me laugh out loud at times (and surprisingly light-hearted given the subject matter). For an Alpha wolf, I actually though Gage was really easy-going and quite a fun character to be around. There are some border-line stupid moments with Mackenzie that made me wonder at her validity as a heroine but I definitely would want to hang onto this series and see where Paige Tyler takes it.

four-stars