Bloodlines by Denise Carbo

Bloodlines by Denise Carbo
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, sci-fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (276 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

They have been here for centuries. Their planet was destroyed by war, and they now hide among us. Malcolm Donovan, a dragon shifter, rules over one of four clans. When a clan member is murdered, he must find the killer. Nothing will disrupt his pledge to protect his clan. Nothing that is until he finds his mate. Elsie Monroe, human to the bone, and the resort manager for the Donovan family finds herself falling in love with the charming Wyoming town, and she can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious, Malcolm Donovan. His rude attitude is atrocious, but his kisses can bring chocolate to a boiling point. Not to mention what he does to her body and heart. Soon Elsie is dragged into a world of secrecy and violence. Creatures she thought were fantasy are actually real. And she is left wondering if love will be enough to capture and tame her own personal dragon.

Finding his mate is the last thing Malcolm wanted.
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Malcolm’s life is stressful but well organized. As leader of his clan, he has maintained an uneasy peace with the other clans. Then one of his clan members is found brutally murdered. To make matters more complicated, Elsie appears to be his mate. Unwilling to accept that a human could be his mate, Malcolm fights his attraction to Elsie, but is this a battle that Malcolm can win?

I found the concept of shape shifters coming from a different planet interesting, and I’m intrigued by the nature of the shape shifters Ms. Carbo has created. I want to know so much more about them! What exactly makes them different from humans? How were the aliens able to adapt so well to Earth? I also want to know more about the animals they shift into. It seems that the animals they can shift into are not restricted by familial ties. I’d love to know how their body determines which animals they can become.

I must say I found the relationship between Malcolm and Elsie to be problematic. While there is an instant physical attraction between them, there is nothing else to anchor the relationship. Malcolm immediately discards the idea that Elsie could be his mate because he’s never heard of his kind mating with humans. While I understand that Malcolm has a lot on his plate, I would have thought that such a powerful reaction to a woman would have made him think twice or at least seek out more information. They barely spend any time together, and when they do, Malcolm treats Elsie atrociously. He’s possessive, demanding, and rude. He alternates between seeking her out and pushing her away. I don’t find any of this behavior attractive. I also feel their happy ending is very abrupt. So much time is spent agonizing over the nature of their relationship, and Elsie is kept in the dark about Malcolm’s true nature for the majority of the book that it just seems unrealistic for them to reach their happy ending so quickly after Elsie discovers the truth.

Despite my issue with the romance, I think the story is well paced, and I genuinely wanted to know who the murderer was. I enjoyed learning tidbits about the shape shifters, and I also liked seeing Malcolm cooperate with another clan. From what I gather, clans working together is rare. I hope this is the beginning of more open communications between the clans.

I think Bloodlines is a good read. While the Malcolm and Elsie’s relationship might not be for everyone, I did find the world of the shape shifters intriguing and worth exploring.

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