Monday, December 10, 2018

Slow Shift by Nazarea Andrews Blog Tour

One angry, grieving boy.

Chase DeWitt is fourteen when his mother dies and he stumbles into the woods beyond his home, angry and heartbroken. He didn’t know that it would change the course of his life.

Two broken, lonely men.

Tyler Reid is twenty three, grumpy and angry, trying to take care of his injured brother, while rebuilding a life blind hatred destroyed in one night.

But he understands the boy who stumbles out of the woods and into his life, understands the grief in his eyes and the rage that makes him shake. And there is something in that familiar grief that makes Tyler trust Chase, when trusting humans has only ever lead to disaster.

And a falling down house they make a home.

As the summer passes and the years turn, as Chase cares for Tyler’s brother, as he helps rebuild the house in the woods—as they help each other rebuild a life beyond the little house, Chase realizes two important things: these men matter to him, could be family.

And they are not nearly as human as they seem.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I’m going to be straight up honest with you, this was a difficult book to read in the beginning. Why? It's written in third person, present tense and it’s not a format I’m accustomed to reading. As this is the first book by Nazarea Andrews I’ve read, I don’t know if this is her usual writing style or not. I’m not opposed to it, it just felt awkward when I began reading. Added to that is the author’s use of head hopping to tell the story from the various characters’ points of view. A LOT of head hopping, sometimes with rapid shifts in the point of view. Being as most of the main characters are male, the head hopping was a bit jarring to begin with because there are no obvious warnings to the point of view changes and the third person writing results in a lot of HEs. So more than once I had to reread a couple of paragraphs to reframe the scene for the correct character when I realized a head hop had occurred. HOWEVER, after a few chapters, once I got to know the characters and became familiar with their voices, the point of view shifts weren't as jarring because I could almost always tell whose point of view it was. And then I got sucked into the story. I stayed up all night reading it. My point? If you’re like me and find the writing style jarring, stick with it because the payoff is tremendous.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was sooooo much better than I envisioned. Slow Shift does not fit neatly inside a genre box. It’s part coming of age, part paranormal romance with a bit of an age gap, and part fantasy with a whole lot of action. Because the book begins when Chase is fourteen, we get to see him grow up over the years as he deals with grief, mortality, unrequited love, and duty, all while he cobbles together a family of his own making. The loss of his mother at fourteen reinforces what Chase already knew – that family is everything and there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for those he loves and considers family. Stumbling upon a wounded and kindred spirit in Tyler and a keeper of secrets in Lucas, Chase finds a place to heal and a family to call his own, much to his father’s dismay when he finally puts the pieces together. Despite an initial, near disastrous, knee-jerk parental reaction, truces are forged and bonds are formed that strengthen over the years as the men in his life come to terms with what is in Chase’s best interest. They commiserate in shared fear as they realize the boy has become a man who will do whatever he must to protect those he loves, even when the consequences of those actions can and do harm him. For Chase, no price is too steep when it comes protecting his ever-growing family.

Slow Shift is one of my top reads of the year because it’s not my typical shifter romance fare. Not only does it cross genre lines, but the characters became so real to me – being in their heads and privy to their thoughts, while at first jarring, made the story unfold in such a way that not even sleep could pull me away from it. I don’t remember the last time I stayed up all night reading, unable to put the book down until I finished it. And the twists! There were things that happened that I never saw coming. Yes, there were predictable threads, but Andrews crafts a world that is more than just shifters and humans and does it such a way that the surprises and twists felt right and not over-the-top. Much like Chase did a time or two, I held my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, rolling with the punches, and hoping beyond all hope that Chase and his chosen family would make it through. While the inevitable romance between Chase and Tyler plays out, it doesn’t take center stage the entire time, and I think this is what contributes to the coming of age feel in the beginning. Another reason I enjoyed the book so much was that I got to see their relationship develop and change gradually over the years, cementing the foundation for the family Chase was building even before he was aware of it. This adds to the poignancy of the story and makes the suspenseful scenes when Chase’s resolve is tested, even more moving. My only complaint is that there's nothing to indicate Slow Shift is the first in a series and I want to spend more time in Andrews’ world!

3.5 stars

This is the story of a grieving boy who meets two men in the woods. What happens next is both Chase’s coming of age story and the story of the relationship he builds with Tyler and Lucas.

This is a difficult story to review without revealing key plot points. The first half of the story is about Chase growing into himself. It’s about the way he works through his grief and relates to his friends and to his father. It’s about the second family he starts to build with Tyler and Lucas. The second half of the book is a world away from the first. Action, suspense, and drama make a fairly domestic story into something much closer to Urban Fantasy.

I enjoyed the storytelling and worldbuilding in this book. I liked the characters, but it took me some time to fully engage with the story. I found the first half of the book a little bit too slow and the second half slightly bewildering. This is a long book and at times I found it hard work. I enjoyed Chase’s personal development more than the bigger plot strands that emerge in the second half of the book and I really liked many of the platonic relationships that develop across the story.

For me, it’s the writing that lets this story down. I’ve never enjoyed novels written in the present tense. In this book, I found the writing jarring and I was never able to ignore the writing and settle into the story. The story flashes between perspectives and I found myself re-reading to figure out who was telling various scenes. I feel like there are also too many continuity issues – ages, times, years, and seasons didn’t always make sense to me. Some of this is personal preference, but some of these issues are editing problems that I hope will be rectified before publication.

Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her Twitter and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.

Connect with Nazarea

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Slow Shift by Nazarea Andrews to read and review for this tour.

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