Review: Toxic

Reviewed by Shelly
 

I’ve read McBride’s ‘Imperative Series’ and I very much liked the first two stories in the series. I didn’t really understand the motivation of one of the main characters in the third and last story, but I’m sticking with the theory that two out of three isn’t bad. So when I saw this new series coming out I was intrigued enough to read. Small disclaimer before going on – there’s a message on the book blurb with a couple of things: 1) This is a revision of a short story “Sex and Chocolate: Toxic” (publisher not mentioned). 2) This series follows Educating Evangeline (Doms of Dark Haven 1) and precedes Hunting Holly (Doms of Dark Haven: Western Night). I’ve not read any of those so I can’t tell you how these characters are related.

Briony Theale is the town veterinarian. Her unusual connection and empathy with animals has led to both her profession and the Wildlife Rescue center. Other than the animals, Briony has a thing for chocolate and Wildlife Rescue ranger Rico. Rico has his own thing for chocolate and it includes Briony with her sweet chocolate scent. After a very casual dinner, Rico and Briony share a kiss. They then realize and admit that they share mutual feelings of attraction. After returning to her clinic, Briony reassess her chocolate addiction and its contribution to the extra pounds on her hips (and everywhere else) and decides that going cold turkey is the way to go. She decides to throw away everything including that secret stash.

I had a very hard time writing this review. I have what I consider a very simple theory – make it make sense to me. I don’t care the genre, contents, location, anything – just make sense. Maybe what’s missing for me was I didn’t read any of the other stories and maybe those would have explained more about this story. For me, this book started out with promise –especially about the person who ends up raising Briony — so exciting! It had me going to the point that I was pretty sure Briony would take on some of those skills, but that didn’t happened. To be honest, I wasn’t disappointed in that at all because I liked where the story went… until the end where I think I was supposed to have had a lobotomy; more on that later. I thought that Briony held her own just fine. She’s smart, funny with a kind heart. Her attraction for Rico came off as real and sincere and I wanted her to get her man and I wanted him to get his woman.

The problems that Rico has with eating the chocolate is the same problem that dogs have with theobromine, but even though he hated being compared to dogs, like a dog he’ll eat things that are bad for him. I didn’t have a problem with that either, because it was good drama. What I wasn’t so sure about was Rico who said that he had control – why wasn’t he able to control his wolf?  I didn’t realize that chocolate could make the Rico’s wolf harm himself.

There’s a lot of mystery around an organization name Abraxas – maybe that’s something that’s mentioned in the Doms of Dark Haven series, not sure there. But this organization has the ability to manipulate something in people to produce a certain behavior. I had a lot of questions as to how, what, when and where but maybe that’ll be explained in future installments of the series or maybe it already touched in DoDH. But my butt really got chapped in the ending on this book. I would have definitely liked it more if the ending was more about Briony and Rico, but to me it wasn’t. And somewhere along the line I must have missed the basic biology/science topic – how can a transgender male to female be an alpha female? Did the surgery change XY to XX? That just didn’t make sense to me and totally took me out of the story’s enjoyed. I’d already suspended my belief as far as it would go.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: C+

*Book provided by Loose Id via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Toxic
by Belinda McBride
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Loose ID

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