Monday, March 7, 2011

Review of Once Upon a Mate by Christine Kirchoff

Title: Once Upon a Mate
Author: Christine Kirchoff
Source: Author Requested Review
Genre: Erotica - Science Fiction
Format: ebook - 173 pages
Release Date: August 1st 2010
Author's Website

‘Boring’ is the perfect word to describe Violet’s life. She loves her job as a novelist but lovers are few and unsatisfying. All that changes when she finds a mysterious hunk in her backyard, blocking her door and saving her from strange masked men who are determined to kill her.

Avery, an escaped wolf Hybrid, has found his mate but so has the enemy. The animal inside him will protect her but it also wants to conquer the desire that sparks between them.

Together they must dodge capture, avoid his erotic brother, and deal with their horrific past. Being a Hybrid mate has never been more dangerous.

Are these mates willing to unleash doomsday for the chance at true happiness?


Rating -


Sexual -


When I first received this book I was very intrigued to read it because I have never come across a novel that has dealt with hybrids before. The whole concept is unique and refreshing to the paranormal romance/erotica genre and I couldn't wait to read it. Suffice to say there were aspects about the plot I really enjoyed. I could see the series continuing on and leading in many different possible directions with the interesting characters and their very unique abilities. However, as I continued to read the novel, I reached a point in the story where I felt the author may have missed the opportunity to delve deeper into the plot and expand on the development of the characters.

The premise of the story surrounds the existence of a secret laboratory that has been around for decades conducting experiments in the creation of hybrid humanoids who have been tortured, killed and revived over and over again to test there physical and mental abilities. Avery is a wolf hybrid who looks completely human except he has fangs, super enhanced sight, smell and hearing and can manifest claws at will. Avery along with six others managed to escape from the laboratory and fend for themselves while constantly on the run from begin caught and sent back to the lab. Each hybrid has their own unique abilities along with the capacity to communicate with each other telepathically. One thing that they discovered before their escape is that the scientists want the hybrids to reproduce however their experiments failed until they realized that each hybrid has a "mate" that they can only reproduce with. Avery is intent on finding his mate who he is somehow connected to both on a physical and psychological level (unfortunately this part is not explained in detail which I wish it had been).

Violet is a lonely novelist who hasn't had much luck with men and seems unsatisfied except for being happy to have the companionship of her dog. This comes to an abrupt end when one night Avery appears by her back door just before the "enemy" attacks her. Avery saves her and during the few days they are together Violet learns about Avery being her mate, him being a hybrid and the laboratory. Up to this point I really enjoyed the plot line and mystery, however it is here that the author missed the mark and started focusing on the sex so much so that the plot got left behind. There was so much potential for the story to completely grab hold of the reader and take them one an amazing journey instead of experiencing page after page of gratuitous and meaningless sex. The characterization of Violet in the second half of the book as a complete nymphomaniac who constantly needs to pinch her breasts which immediately sets her on fire and needs to be quenched with more sex starts to makes her appear one-dimensional. Don't get me wrong I love reading sex scenes and erotica but not to the point that it just becomes a marathon of sex, then they wake up and before eating have another marathon of sex (this did happen in the book).

Perhaps what really bothered me the most was the whole "mate" term got completely lost. Avery is an extremely good-looking wolf hybrid, thus with Violet being his "mate" one would think that a strong, emotional, monogamous relationship develops. Instead we end up seeing Avery sharing his "mate" with one of the other hybrids that he views as a brother. The reason for this is because Violet desires a threesome with his gorgeous "brother" and Avery wants to make her happy. I'm sorry, but it is that this point I feel that this throws the whole "mate" concept out the window. What ensues between the three of them is a marathon of sex which consists of masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, M/M oral sex and Avery's "mate", Violet having intercourse with his "brother". In all the books I have read where one is a "mate" to another the "mate" is never shared nor even allowed to be looked upon sexually without the male being demonstrating extreme possessiveness. That is what makes the term "mate" so sensual and desirable in a story.

Despite the flaws I am really interested in reading the next book in the series as it ended with a cliffhanger. They is so much potential in this series based on the plot, concept and characters alone. I really hope to see the author put more development into the storyline and characters then solely focusing on the sex alone. With a strong storyline (which it has if developed more) and characters (reinforcing the "mate" term and not making Violet just a nympho) I can see this series moving into some interesting storyline territory with the love and sex between Avery and Violet organically occurring alongside the story (no threesome if one is your "mate" please).


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