Joint Review – Shiver (The Unbreakable Bonds #1) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot

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Publisher: Self
Publish Date: 27 Oct
Reviewed by: E & Heller
How we got this book: ARC from the authors

Lucas Vallois is always in control. He’s building an empire in the glittering city of Cincinnati and created his own family from his three close friends. The self-made millionaire has everything he wants within his tight grasp. But his world starts to crumble after he’s jumped by a trio of thugs late one night after leaving a club. The warning is clear—give up his new property venture or end up dead.

Caving to the demands of his friends, Lucas accepts the help of bodyguard, Andrei Hadeon, as as he hunts for the source of this new threat. But as Lucas gets closer to uncovering the danger, he realizes the sexy Romanian bodyguard poses an even bigger risk to his carefully constructed world. Trapped by a need he never expected, Lucas must find a way to deny the shiver of longing he cannot control.

His brother. His warrior. His heart. Four friends. Unbreakable bonds.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

E: Elliot who also writes as Dani Worth is an author who quickly joined my autobuy list when I first discovered her. I had heard about Drake but for some obviously strange and silly reason I don’t think I had read her before. So when I heard they were collaborating on a m/m series I was curious. After looking at the blurb and some of the teaser promotion material I became even more curious. So when I was offered a chance to review Shiver I didn’t even have to pause to think “yes” despite the fact that this fits in two subgenres that I don’t read extensively. I am a sucker for bounds of friendship, determined characters, control freaks who find they can’t control everything, and the spice of danger so I thought Shiver had a lot of promise. I am happy to say I found that promise completely realized.

Heller: Oh, I didn’t know Elliot was Worth. I’ve enjoyed her writing in the past but I came into this one blind. Drake is a new author to me and I read this knowing nothing about it but the blurb but I do enjoy m/m books so I was more than willing to dive into this one.

E: Lucas seemed to have it all. He was a self-made millionaire with a knack for opening the most exclusive night clubs and then closing them only to open a new concept. Demanding and detail oriented he gave his passion to his projects and expected those who worked for him to also give their best and their passion without any open regard to interpersonal relationship. His only exception was the longtime close friendship he had with three other men. They bonded during a rough time and kept their initial friendship tight as each provided what the others needed to work through their demons. I really enjoyed seeing how open, protective, and caring they were towards each other even as they demonstrated it in different ways. I also really liked how they were aware of each other’s sexuality and preferences and did not judge or shy away even if their individual preference wasn’t exactly the same. I really got the impression without their bond none of the four would still be alive and or out of jail.

Heller: This was a rough start for me and I had a hard time with the first few chapters of this book. I felt a bit like I’d been dropped into a second book of a series. The characters had well developed storylines but oddly almost too much to the point where I felt bombarded with backstory and angst where I couldn’t really get a handle on where the story was going. The friendships had very strong ties and obvious history that will be doled out more in the next books but I did feel very overloaded by the beginning.

E: Then everything changed as the threatening letters he received about his latest project turned into an almost deadly assault one night. His friends insisted on paying attention to the threats and he was “gifted” with a bodyguard, Andrei. I absolutely loved how Andrei was so silent and effacing when “on the job” yet his presence loomed large to Lucas’ perception. The building tension between them, their flirtatious comments, and yet their tentativeness made everything seem so much more intense. And the release of that intense tension **fans self**. I thought Elliot and Drake did a great job showing how Lucas struggled to deal with his lack of control as he made some questionable decisions. I thought his reaction to the fallout of his decisions was also rather moving especially since he had not admitted to himself anything other then his wrong decision.

Heller: Once Andrei was introduced the story smoothed out for me. There are a lot of strong characters here so focusing on just Lucas and Andrei worked better for me. Subtle humour and ultra hot chemistry between the two men really amped the story up. Lucas became much more real to me and could see through his burgeoning relationship with Andrei the strength of this ties to his friends who are his family.

E: I also found the escalating mystery about who was behind the threats, violence and why intriguing. I will admit I had a suspect in mind but I was completely wrong. It was refreshing to read a story with a lot of romantic suspense, which never tempted me to yell at the characters for their decisions. One decision was predictable but the logic and capabilities of the character making that decision allowed me to go along with it and not roll my eyes.

I enjoyed so much about Shiver. The friends, their backstory, current relationships with each other, and to what extent they were willing to go for each other. Watching them balance the status quo with the inclusion of some new individuals was a lot of fun. I have my hopes that a certain police investigator becomes a permanent cast member. I am really looking forward to more stories in The Unbreakable Bonds series.

I give Shiver an A

Heller: I actually wasn’t sure where the story was going and the reveal surprised me. I liked that and I’m curious to see where things go next. I have my hopes about a certain police investigator as well. There are a lot of strong personalities in this read. It took me a bit to figure out if these were characters that I’d even like but the more I read the more intrigued I became and this was a definite winner.

I give Shiver a B+

3 thoughts on “Joint Review – Shiver (The Unbreakable Bonds #1) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot”

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