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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard

Stray (Shifters, Book 1)

Stray - Rachel Vincent Overall I did like the book but not nearly as much as Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, a novel strikingly similar to Stray in many aspects. This is essentially the poor-man's version of Bitten but with cats instead of wolves. This was particularly the case in the first half, but I have hopes due to the lengthy series that it will come into its own.

The first half of the book was somewhat tedious to read with the info overload Vincent subjected us to. It was not so much the info she was giving us but the manner is which she gave it. The story would be going along and then bam! an interruption for a two page explanation of something someone said. It was very distracting. I realize Vincent needs to let us know details about the werecats but it could have been handled differently.

The other issue I had, especially in the first half, was with Faythe (I won't even go into the spelling of the name). She claims she is independent and does not need anyone but she is absolutely wrong. One minute she will be touting, in a petulant manner I might add, that she does not need protection, she wants her own life etc etc.. Then the next she will have an "oh crap" moment and realize she is wrong. You would think these "oh crap" moments would lead her to change her behavior but it did not, which was frustrating. I truly hope Faythe matures in the coming books because she is the narrator and is therefore difficult to escape!

The second half of the book had less info dumping and more action/interactions. Faythe was forced to act for a large part of the second half and therefore we were saved from her petulant behavior. Hopefully first-half Faythe is gone for good. In addition, I hope her behavior does not destroy Marc, who is a very likeable character.

Overall, I did end up enjoying the book (largely due to the last half) and will continue in the series. Many series start off shakily and hopefully this is one of those.

*Side note/potential spoiler* The disappearance of Andrew, former boyfriend of Faythe, left me wondering. Vincent only notes it in about one sentence but I wonder if it will surface in later books? Her ex-boyfriend suddenly disappears but no one really questions it. Perhaps he is not just human after all? Or maybe it was just Vincent’s way of getting out of dealing with the Andrew/Faythe drama.