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Book Review: Forbes Mates 1-2, by Grace R. Duncan

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Forbes Mates 1-2

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Book 1: Devotion

Will Tanner realize he’s wrong and claim his mate before Finley’s devotion is gone?

Finley Cooper is tired of waiting for his destined mate to be ready to claim him. In deference to human laws, he’s already agreed to wait until he’s eighteen. But now his birthday has come and gone—and his mate has a new set of excuses. Finley doesn’t understand it any more than his wolf does, and he’s beginning to wonder if fate made a mistake.

Tanner Pearce wants nothing more than to claim his mate, but he worries that Finley is too young. Tanner will never forget what happened when his best friend mated at Finley’s age, only to have that mate end up feeling trapped and breaking their bond. While rare, it can happen, and the fallout Tanner witnessed as his best friend tried to deal with the break has haunted him for years.

When Finley finally has enough, he threatens to find someone who will claim him if Tanner doesn’t, and Tanner realizes he needs to come to terms with his fears or risk losing his mate forever.

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Book 2: Patience

Jamie Ryan was almost ready to accept he’d never find his destined mate. They’re uncommon to begin with, and same-sex versions are downright rare. Since his gay best friend found a destined mate, Jamie figured he was out of luck. Until end-of-semester stress forces him to go through the full-moon shift early. Stuck in wolf form, he runs into none other than his destined mate. Who’s human.

Chad Sutton has always had good instincts. They served him well as a detective and continued on when he went private. Those instincts tell him there’s something about the dog that comes up to him while running away from animal control that isn’t quite right. He works to put the pieces together, but is unsuccessful until his dog turns into a human before his eyes.

Jamie has no idea what the mate bite of a shifter will do to a human. He’s terrified to try—and possibly kill his mate. They hunt for answers while working together on one of Chad’s cases. It’s easy to see they belong together, but Jamie fears the gods gave him someone he can’t keep.

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Book 1: Devotion

Book – Devotion (Forbes Mates #1)

Author – Grace R. Duncan

Star rating – ★★★★★

No. of Pages – 220

Movie Potential – ★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to read and follow

Would I read it again – Definitely!

I absolutely LOVE this book! The characters, the plot and everything in between is brilliant and perfect.

Within the first few pages, I was smiling constantly and frustrated with the characters for their stupid decisions. Right from the start, I was on Tanner’s side. I knew his reasons and fears were valid and couldn’t understand, for the life of me, why no one else saw it too. I got that the whole mate idea was something no one walked away from willingly and that made everyone question Tanner’s actions, but if I could see his side, then why couldn’t anyone else?

It was so frustrating to read this constant questioning by Finley, his parents, Tanner’s parents, Finley’s grandparents, Jamie and even the other Alpha, when I knew what was really happening. This is the first book in a long while where I’ve wanted to scream at the characters for being blind fools and tell them what was happening with the other character. That’s what made it so great.

There was a constant anticipation that something big would happen, but no idea when or in what way. There were surprises at every turn and, for a while at least, I hated Jamie for putting more doubts into Finley’s head and for being a temptation for him. My heart – and Finley’s – already belonged to Tanner, so he was an unwelcome distraction and I wanted to rip his throat out, never mind what Tanner wanted. What he did to Tanner on the phone was brutal and broke my heart!

However, towards the end, I loved the banter that Jamie and Tanner developed, the tenderness that Tanner kept hidden away, because his father taught him not to show emotion, while Finley was this ball of fire, with no idea how much Tanner was suffering, while suffering himself and afraid to let Tanner see how much.

There are two downsides – they’re a truck load of on-page sex, which isn’t strictly necessary, but is understandably within the storyline, and there are two instances where a sentence/claim/whatever is recited word for word at one point, as it is said earlier in the book. Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with this story at all.

It was so nice to read a shifter story where the pack had firm beliefs in deities/god, rather than just blaming the ‘mate bond’ on fate or some other factor that couldn’t be pinpointed. I also really loved the flashbacks – mercifully, pointed out as such and divided from the present – and how awkward, but adorable, Tanner and Finley’s first meeting was. It was great to see how they acted, reacted and felt at that time, which gave us some insight into how that had affected their relationship until now. It was also really nice to begin with an already established relationship, even if it was rocky and needed a good kick up the backside.

There was such a sense of acceptance and normality within the shifter pack that was really refreshing. They didn’t doubt the mate bond for any reason and fought it only for what they thought of as valid reasons. At the same time, Tanner admits that his nerves and hang ups come from being too closely raised within the human world, with human attitudes. In the end, it’s all fine and they both realise they were wrong – Finley was wrong to push and doubt Tanner, while Tanner was wrong to never confess his fears, which would have helped Finley understand – and that was lovely. So often, people misunderstand in books and never take the time to talk.

Ugh, the whole thing gave me a major case of the feels. It’s the simplest way to put it. I can’t wait to read book 2 and Jamie’s story. I seriously hope there are more after that.

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Book 2: Patience

Book – Patience (Forbes Mates #2)

Author – Grace R. Duncan

Star rating – ★★★★★

No. of Pages – 230

Movie Potential – ★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to read; few mistakes

Would I read it again – Yes!!

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

Reviewed for Divine Magazine

Again, just as book 1 in this series, this book was a total triumph.

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I genuinely loved seeing Jamie again, though I wasn’t too keen on him in the previous book. That all made sense by the Epilogue of book 1, so I was intrigued as to how I’d feel about him in his own book. I wasn’t disappointed. He went from flirtatious, pushy and brash to a one eighty switch of nervous, jealous and scared, with a hint of his feisty personality to boot.

To me, Jamie is more insecure than the previous book, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He opens up more around Chad, revealing that softer layer and being most honest about his pain and hesitations. In return, Chad accepts what he knows, feels and sees easily, which didn’t really seem strange at all, even before we get the explanation of his history.

Chad was a great mate. The way they met and the way Chad went along with it was brilliant. To see him bonding with Murray, the “dog”, was adorable and really gave me a sense of how lonely he was, but also allowed them to form a real bond, without ever really knowing each other. The entire idea of Jamie being stuck as a “dog” was original and brilliant! It gave them bonding time without pressure or expectation, but also gave a glimpse into the human world, after we’d spent all the previous book in the shifter world. It also gave us time to appreciate just how vulnerable and scared Jamie really is, in terms of finding his destined mate.

The first half the book is really funny. The dog thing and the way Chad and Jamie are with each other, all had me smiling or giggling to myself in glee. Later, the second half becomes more serious and more about their fears, as they navigate this unknown world of a wolf and human mate.

I have very few complaints, but what I did notice was a theme in the series:

  • both books have an almost identical conversation about knotting and pregnancy, after sex.

  • the use of sayings that is very unusual: example, “end-all, be-all”. The real saying is “the be-all and end-all”. Just like the word “shittered” was used in book 1, which I’ve never heard before. It may be a dialect/regional/US thing, but either way, the instances were a little odd and disconcerting.

  • the epilogues introduce the couple that will be the MC’s of the next book, while staying true to the current story.

The travelling was a little repetitive and made the story flag a little. It began with a good pace, keeping me entertained and glued to my reading until around the 50% mark, where the travelling became very same-y and then picked up again at the 70% mark, to return to the strong, well planned pace.

Going back to the positives, there is such good detail about everything that’s important – the medical information, the scenery, the travelling and the library. Everything was very well thought out. Again, I really loved the detail and the use of Gods that were identifiable in the shifter history, using them as a basis for the “fates” that are usually left unnamed, but responsible for mate bonds.

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OVERALL

I really loved it. There were one or two small things that didn’t work, as mentioned above, but overall it was a fantastic read and I’ll be pre-ordering every book still to come in this series. I can’t wait to read Miles’ story, in the next book.

Grace R. Duncan has just become an instant-buy for me.

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FAVOURITE QUOTE

“Jamie let his worries and fears out, his budding feelings and fledgling dreams, putting all of it into the kiss and the care of his mate. The emotions he got back from Chad took his breath away.

When they broke apart, their eyes met, Chad’s wide. “Mate,” he whispered in awe.

Jamie swallowed and nodded, reaching up and cupping Chad’s face. “Mate.””

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