Advanced Book Review: Phoenix Reborn by J.D. Tyler

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Phoenix Reborn, by J.D. Tyler
Series: An Alpha Pack Novella (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Berkley/InterMIX
Release Date: March 15, 2016

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
1-5-of-5

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summary

Wolf shifter and Firewalker Phoenix “Nix” Monroe has finally met his ultimate Bondmate–Alpha Pack nurse Noah Brooks. Unable to accept his own sexual identity, Nix rejects Noah despite the intense attraction he feels towards him.

By the time Nix realizes he has cast aside the love of his life, it may be too late to save Noah from a terrifying enemy…

tropes-tags

Paranormal
Gay M/M
Romance
Shifters (Werewolves)
Mates
Internalized Homophobia
Daddy Issues
Alpha Male (Alphahole)

Trigger Warnings, including:
Homophobic Language
Kidnapping
Suicidal Thoughts
Attempted Suicide
(See below for more.)

REVIEW

Phoenix Reborn is the first and (so far) only M/M work in the M/F paranormal romance series Alpha Pack by J.D. Tyler– and from what I can tell, the first M/M work by this author under any of her pen names. I haven’t read any other books in the series, but it seems similar to J.R. Ward and other shifter alpha-male M/F erotica.

But wow, this reads 10000% like a novel written by someone who has never read M/M romance. It’s also so full of awful stereotypes/cliches, ridiculous characters, and badly-written sex scenes that it just feels like a half-assed attempt to cash in on the M/M genre.

I’m not even going to write a review about this novel. Instead, here are the notes that I took while reading Phoenix Reborn. (Contains spoilers.)

  • It’s like the author googled “gay stereotypes”, clicked on the first link, and called it a day.
  • Oh, it’s another “I’m not gay because my dad was an asshole and stamped it out of me” cliche!
  • “If he gets to know me then he’ll eventually love me!” Ugh sweetie no, your soulmate is a jackass.
  • Do people actually find writing like this sexy?

    [He] melded their lips together. The impact was like a solar flare detonated inside him. Sweet baby Jesus! God, the man could kiss.”

  • The hot and cold reads less as ‘character struggling to come to terms’ and more as ‘I’m too lazy to make this characterization consistent’.
  • What an evil son of a bitch!” — no, sorry, let me fix this for you: “What a stereotypical evil son of a bitch!”
  • Okay, but seriously with the super unsexy sex scenes:

    The rhythmic slap of skin was music to his ears, and he loved the feeling of being owned. Possessed. There was no way he could hold back his orgasm under such a passionate assault, and his release erupted long before he wanted.

  • Why do all of the “sexy” buff men have really weird names? Nix? Aric? Kalen? Like, really, have you ever met an Aric? (The author’s website says there’s also a Jaxon, Zander, and Ryon. Because Jackson, (Ale)Xander, and Ryan are too boring for such magnificent shifter specimens!)
  • There just conveniently happens to be an evil enemy lurking in the shadows to attack Noah!
  • There just conveniently happens to be Nix’s dad coming out of nowhere!
  • Homophobia + Nix being an asshole time! Oh, wait, that’s actually 75% of the book.
  • Wow this is the creepiest kidnapping scene I have ever read bar none. I’m not joking… he literally forces Noah to drink his blood, which makes Noah super aroused, and Noah’s going to soon be brainwashed because the blood makes him hard? Gross, on so many levels.
  • HELLO TRIGGER WARNING FOR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS!
  • Oh look it’s a happily ever after complete with magical sex that doesn’t need lube or condoms (“Shifters don’t need condoms. Of course, you know that.” AHAHA this book what even.)

This book is 105 pages long short. It crams the plot of a 300 page novels into 1/3 the space, which means there is absolutely zero room for character-building, for showing emotions, or for building a relationship. The plot comes faster than Noah when Nix is magically pounding his ass.

I’m bored of novels like this. Stop giving us poorly-written stereotypes and lazy writing in an attempt to cash in on the M/M genre.

(I’m giving this 1.5 stars instead of the 0.5 stars it deserves, because Noah would actually be a bomb-ass character with a better author, and I enjoyed the world-building that we glimpse.)

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J.D. Tyler is also the author of several other books in the Alpha Pack series. You can find J.D. on her website at http://www.jdtyler.com/.

You can buy Phoenix Reborn from the publisher or Amazon.com.

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

7 thoughts on “Advanced Book Review: Phoenix Reborn by J.D. Tyler

    • I’ve read a lot of M/M with stereotypes and terrible writing… but from a well-known M/F author and a Big 6 publisher imprint? I definitely expected better. MUCH better. Especially since this imprint puts out some really phenomenal M/M.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One thing I’ve noticed is that some M/F authors seem to think they can just switch pronouns and have a M/M book. It doesn’t work that way and I think it’s a reason why some of these are so stereotype and cliche ridden. While the M/M and F/F genres have grown in popularity it is still far from mainstream and until then people are going to continue to perpetuate stereotypes. Many are completely ignorant of the fact that what they are doing is harmful. She probably has never read the genre, may not even have wanted to write it, but M/M makes money and if she was asked by the publisher to write it … why not? This is why I have issues with so many white hetero cis women writing the M/M genre. Some do it incredibly well – then we have books like this. If you don’t have any idea what you’re writing about, please stay in your lane and pass on this subject.

        … er, mini-rant over. Sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I just find it crazy that all these series seem to relegate M/M relationships to short stories without having very much buildup… It’s like someone (author, editor, whatever) isn’t willing to commit to writing a whole M/M book in the series, so they mash it up into a short story and think it’ll do.

    An author who I think is going to do that but has been building it up properly is Elle Kennedy with her Killer Instincts series, where the M/M couple have been featured in nearly every book so far, slowly building up their relationship.

    Anyway, I will be posting a review to this lackluster one on All Things Urban Fantasy later this month, and will be linking to this review too. Thank you!

    Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! I’ve noticed this too! It’s definitely just a chance to grab some of the M/M market, especially since a lot of M/M readers aren’t interested in M/F romances.

      Elle Kennedy actually co-writes a really fantastic M/M series with Sarina Bowen (who also writes M/F), so I’m really excited to see what she comes up with in her future books. Their book HIM was really excellent, and the sequel US comes out tomorrow!

      Please let me know when you’ve posted your review, I’m really looking forward to reading it!

      Like

  2. Your review of this book truly make me laugh out loud. Like all the others I’m sad when books like this happen. Though I’m not shocked at all even with a big name author and a big 6 house behind them. In fact, that’s what I would have expected anyway with those factors.
    I desperately want to read Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen’s HIM. That book has been on my TBR list forever!

    Like

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