3 out of 5 Stars
*I was gifted a copy of Taken by the Beast by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Charisse Bellamy’s career as a plus-sized model has come to an end, and in order to pay off her mother’s medical bills she returns to her hometown of New Haven to stay with her best friend and try to find a job. When she literally stumbles onto a night club that’s getting ready to open, she thinks she’s found the perfect way to make some money. But the pull to the club’s owner Abram is strong despite his off-putting attitude toward Char. In the mean time, Char’s best friend’s brother Dalton is doing his best to woo her. Deciding between these two completely opposite men is no easy task.
With women who look surprisingly like Char disappearing and townsfolk fearing something in the woods, Char is drawn into a fight for her life. It seems that not one, but two beasts are after her because unbeknown to Char, her blood has magical powers. Char will need to determine good from evil in a world where nothing is as it seems.
Taken by the Beast is a paranormal romance where perception changes in the blink of an eye. It will keep you guessing who is good and who is evil right along with Charisse. The paranormal aspect deals with shape shifters and magical beings. The romantic plot is a bit of a triangle for a while, as Char has two men to consider. One is vying for her attention while the other is pushing her away. She’s attracted to both, and she’ll have to make some difficult decisions to make the right choice.
I loved Char’s characterization. She was sarcastic and strong, and she was plus-sized but proud of her curves and considered herself beautiful. She never wanted to let anyone handle things for her, insisting women could take care of themselves just as well as men. Of course, this attitude also got her into a bit of trouble, but her strength was undeniable. The focus on her size did get a bit old after a while with too many references to her being large, but overall I liked that it was part of her character.
The book drew me in at the beginning as we saw a scatterbrained Char who lost her best friend’s son. It was amusing and intriguing. We immediately got a glimpse of the fact that things had changed in Char’s hometown and not everything was as it seemed. There was a reason for her best friend to be afraid of the woods, although we didn’t learn the reason until much later.
Although this was book one in a series, it could comfortably stand on its own. The ending provides information on the next issue Char will have to face, but it is not a cliffhanger ending. The issues of this book are tied up nicely.
There were some formatting issues and a good amount of grammatical errors, like missing and incorrect words, incorrect punctuation, and sentences mixed together. There was also an overuse of parentheses. Inconsistencies also drew me out of the story. For example, Dalton cracked his knuckles in front of Char while he was supposedly holding her to him with both of his arms. One of the characters was said to be fighting in their beast form when moments before they were in human form and there was no mention of them transforming. This book really needed a good editor in order to clean all of this up.
While reading this book as a romance, as the paranormal aspect didn’t begin right away, I wasn’t really in love with the love triangle. I didn’t like how many times Char changed her mind, but then once she made a decision, she seemed to string the other man along for too long.
Overall, the plot was decent, but there was too much taking away from it for me to fully enjoy this book.