Review: Guardian’s Mate by Jennifer Ashley

Guardian’s Mate
(Shifters Unbound #9)
By: Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: Sept. 6, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance

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She wasn’t ready to lead…

Chosen as the Guardian of her Montana Shiftertown, wolf Shifter Rae Lyall is facing opposition—for no woman has ever been selected for this powerful position. Still adjusting to the new authority thrust upon her, Rae travels to train with Zander Moncrieff, a Shifter healer, tasked with teaching her about her new role and its responsibilities.

He wasn’t ready to love…

A polar bear Shifter, Zander wears no Collar and follows no rules but his own. Rae finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. Zander has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over Rae’s home, she and Zander must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger…and to each other.



My thoughts…

Rae has been chosen by the Goddess to become her shiftertown’s Guardian. This is a huge honor and burden  for most Guardians, but it’s even more so for Rae. Mainly because not only has there never been a female guardian before now, but Rae still pretty much a cub. So, her fellow shifters sort of turn on her and refuse to accept her new position. Which is how she finds herself on Zander’s boat in the middle of the ocean. She needs to lay low until everyone calms down, learn how to defend herself, and learn how to become a Guardian.

This is only the second book I’ve read from the series. The first being the previous book, White Tiger. Something about Zander’s character really drew me to him and I was dying to get my hands on his story after reading it. So, I was really glad when I realized that his story was next in the line-up. I mean, he’s such an eccentric character that I was really hoping to be able to understand him. Plus, I was hoping the cover would portray what he looks like since his image is described as being so unusual. I mean, he’s a big muscular guy with white hair that’s closely cut to his head except for a couple of dreads with beads in them at the front of his head that dangle down. Plus, he has a black goatee on top of it all. Through it all I still kept picturing a Rastafarian Santa Clause, only with more muscles and less girth. I was really hoping the cover would help me with what he looked like but it did not. No white hair, no dreads, and the guy doesn’t even look that big and opposing. So, I’m still at a lost with what Zander looks like.

Aside from my problems picturing Zander’s character, I really enjoyed his character. I mean, you don’t know too much about him in the previous book. Like I said, everyone thinks he’s a bit crazy but you soon learn that’s not the case. Sure, he lives alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean, which isn’t normal for shifters, but it totally suits him. He’s been touched by the Goddess with the power to heal. However, his healing power comes with a price. No matter what it is that he heals, when he takes the pain, emotions, poison, or whatever out of a shifter, he ends up pulling it into himself. So, it stands to reason that he’s going to be a bit eccentric and want to be separated from others. With the simplest of touches he takes their pain/emotional state upon himself and it really messes with his head. However, when Rae is dropped on his boat and left under his care, he tries to be her mentor and help her with her new powers. Since he’s touched by the Goddess, he knows what it’s like to be different and for others to be afraid or weary of you. He understands the burden, and through that they form a bond.

Rae was also a great character. She is a lupine that was adopted by a feline shifter Alpha when she was a tiny cub. She’s no idea who her biological family is, and because shifters do not mate within their own clans, no one will mate with her since no one knows who her family is. Then you add onto that that she’s been chosen as the first female Guardian, and she instantly becomes an outcast. People are outraged and think she and her father rigged the ceremony so that Rae could pretend to be the Guardian. So, out of fear, her father sends her to the only shifter who can not only protect her but doesn’t care about the fact that she’s a female Guardian. Neither Rae nor Zander are thrilled with the situation they find themselves in but they make the most of it. Rae takes her training seriously, when she’s forced to step up and serve her duty as Guardian way before she’s ready to, she doesn’t run away, she bucks up and does it. She was a strong female character that had the perfect balance of both vulnerability and strength.

There’s a lot of action in this one. Not too long after Rae’s dropped off onto Zander’s boat  the two are off on all sorts of adventures together. I mean, they have a run-in with a shifter hunter who’s dead set on doing whatever it takes to capture them and bring them in, there’s a bar fight, feral shifters, and we are shown what it’s like when both Rae preforms her Guardian duties and when Zander heals someone. There really wasn’t a lot of down time in this book.

One thing I enjoyed was not only the slow building romance but the sense of friendship and family. I mean, Zander is a loner and Rae has no idea who her biological family is. However, in the short time that these two are together, they sort of form a ragtag family along the way. I mean, they are all hurting in some way and when they all come together to help each other out, they are able to heal. I really liked all the secondary characters that popped up in this one and I hope to see them again soon.

I know I am way out of sorts with this series. I really need to go back and read from the beginning. However, I love that these books can be read out of order. The author catches you up on everything and you are never left confused or left out. And for someone who popped in on the 8th book, that’s saying something. This is a great series for anyone looking for a good shifter romance. I not only plan to catch up with the series, but I look forward to the following installments as well.


Favorite quote…

“Now if Zander could get used to himself. One of these days he was going to heal someone, and be so stuck with his or her pain and emotions he wouldn’t recover. That was the fear that woke Zander in the night, the one that made him so crazy.”


Previous reviews from Shifters Unbound
White Tiger



11 Thoughts on “Review: Guardian’s Mate by Jennifer Ashley

  1. What an awesome UF/PNR that you can actually enjoy when you’re jumping in right in the middle. Very few, if any, give you satisfaction if you do that. I wonder if this series is on my TBR – it might be b/c I really like the sound of it. I’m running to check right now!!! Great review!!!

    rasta Santa… nope, doesn’t work for me either 🙁 tee, hee!!

  2. Omg, you just had to do this after I just posted about reading in order. lol. No, but that’s cool they work fine like that. I keep picturing a buff Santa now, though. So thanks for that.

    • I know! LoL After I typed a comment on your post I was like, “I’m pretty sure my next review is one I’ve completely read out of order.” Ha! I like order, but I also like to read out of order if I can 😛

  3. Ooh, I like the sound of this one, Kristin…especially the friendship and family built between Rae and Zander. It seems kinda extraordinary to build those kinds of feelings between these two and I think I’d enjoy watching (reading) it. I’ve only read the first one in this series but I really enjoyed it and I don’t know why I haven’t continued the series. I’ll have to rectify that. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed getting to know Zander even if you’re still iffy on his looks. 🙂

    • It’s so hard for me to keep up with a series nowadays. Primarily because the majority of my reading is review books. I do need to go back and read this series from the beginning.

  4. She does do a great job on making them work as standalones. I came in at 4 then went back to the start with no problem there either.

    And yeah I was bummed on the cover. They didn’t even make an attempt there. :/

    • I’m glad I’m not alone. I don’t normally bitch about covers. I mean, I like them to relate to the story in some way but I was REALLY hoping for the cover to show me what Zander looks like. At the very least it could have just had Rae on it, but the guy on the cover was nothing like Zander. :\ Very disappointed with it.

  5. I hate when covers don’t represent the character well 🙁 I got intrigued by this one just because it says polar bear shifter lol!

    • There are quite a bit of scenes where he goes all polar bear and I loved it. It was interesting to see that type of were-animal since I’ve never read of one before.

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