Mind Mates is the second book in the Pull of the Moon series and boy, does it have some crazy, wild, complicated stuff going on. It is one heck of a magical, paranormal, shifterey ride!
One thing I learned while reading Mind Mates is Ms Hughes writes some seriously nasty bad guys. I mean the bad guys (plural) in this book were icky. Very, very icky. Like "feel sick in your mouth, make you want to throw up, disgusting" kind of icky. And there are multiple bad guys. The plot is complicated. There is usually the main plot with the main bad guy and the protagonists working to resolve the issues caused by Bad Guy #1. But then there's Bad Guy #2 and you don't quite know what #2 is up to but you also kinda do. So when you think the main plot is resolved, there's also this other sub-plot that needs to be resolved before the main characters can have their happy ending. Bad Guy #1 in Mind Mates was one evil, entitled prick. Bad Guy #2 was greedy, malicious and cruel. They were both horrible in their own way. Excellent job on the bad guys, Ms Hughes.
Did I mention the story was complicated? It was because of the dual plot lines and the curve balls Ms Hughes kept throwing at Emma and Gabriel. Each time you think they solve a problem, another one popped up. Each time they tried to talk to each other about an issue, some emergency would crop up and put the communication on hold. That last bit annoyed the crap out of me. If there's one thing that drives me bonkers, it's aborted communications. Fortunately, in this story, most of it led to internal doubt and lack of self-confidence rather than manufactured misunderstandings between Emma and Gabriel. That saved it from me wanting to hurl my Kindle across the room.
In Mind Mates, we also get to visit with Sophia and Noah from Heart Mates again, though the circumstances are not a happy reunion. The couple play an integral part in the plot of Mind Mates and we continue to see the world where the Witches Council frowns on mixed witch/shifter pairings. We also get to see more of Aunt Linda (I love her ditziness), Mr Kibbles and Jayden. I do like Jayden a lot. I'm very curious about him and the mystery that surrounds him. I hope he comes back in future books because I think he has a very interesting history for us to learn about.
Aside from the bad guys and the complicated plot, Ms Hughes writes excellent heroes and heroines. Emma is smart, funny and cute. She's also the lowest of the low in the totem of werewolf shifter hierarchy. Couple that with her self-loathing and guilt towards her special shifter power, she's a hot mess of self-doubt and low self-esteem. Even with that on her psyche, she's a fighter. She believes in better for herself even though she's been kicked, knocked down and ground to a pulp. Deep down in her core, she's a kind, compassion and loving person. She does what she can to be that person and fortunately for her, Gabriel sees who she really is and loves her for it. I loved that she's tiny compared to Gabriel too. I have a thing for cute, tiny heroines. When Emma finally accepts who she is, she's a bright shining light of strength and courage. She didn't need Gabriel to be her white knight to swoop in and rescue her, she did it herself. Way to go, Emma!
Gabriel is your typical royal witch prince and a battle mage to boot. Tall, gorgeous, sexy and protective as heck. All the things I like about a hero. But he's also geeky and goofy and tells badly timed bad jokes. It makes him seem very human and approachable while still being uber strong and sexy. The best thing about Gabriel is his core of goodness. He showed it right from the start when we meet him in Masked Attraction and it continues through to Heart Mates where he helps Sophia with her troubles and in Mind Mates as he cares for and protects Emma, while severely handicapped by Bad Guy #1. He's resourceful, resilient and he doesn't give up.
Both Emma and Gabriel make mistakes along the way, but nothing so monumental that it cannot be fixed. And being the responsible, caring adults they are, they accept and deal with the consequences of their actions.
Another very interesting installment to the Pull of the Moon series. I'm very curious as to where Ms Hughes will take us towards the next phase of the prophecy. After all, we did learn some rather surprising things about it in this book.
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