Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wake a Sleeping Tiger

Wake a Sleeping Tiger (A Novel of the Breeds) by [Leigh, Lora]

Wake a Sleeping Tiger (Breeds Series) - Lora Leigh
Release Date: March 21, 2017

Rating (out of 5):

Synopsis: Once, he was Judd—Bengal Breed and brother to the notorious fugitive Gideon.
After Gideon disappeared, Judd was experimented on until his tortured body knew nothing but agony.
Now he is Cullen Maverick, serving as the commander of the Navajo Covert Law Enforcement Agency in the small community of Window Rock, Arizona. Despite his genetics, Cullen is able to pass as human because his Bengal traits are recessed. He lacks the ability to smell the emotions, bonds and fears that other Breeds take for granted. And he remains tormented that he wasn’t able to mate the woman he loved—at the cost of her life.
He’s no longer a Breed, merely a man. . . or so he thinks. But his tiger is about to be awakened by the one woman destined to be his—Chelsea Martinez. And their world will never be the same...


The newest of Lora Leigh's Breeds series remains focused in the community of Window Rock, part of the Navajo Nation.  It centers on Cullen Maverick, once known as Judd, whose insane twin brother Gideon (now called Graham) has been the focus of the last few books.  Unlike Graham, Cullen is a recessed Breed, his Bengal traits asleep.  The tiger inside of Cullen starts to wake up however, when Chelsea Martinez threatens to leave the Nation because no one will give her the jobs she's trained to handle. Chelsea has been working with the Breed Underground for years, training with the best to work in the field, rescuing escaping Breeds from the Council, and the only job she can get is filing paperwork thanks to her overprotective family.  After saving a young girl in the desert and nearly being knifed by an attacker, Chelsea also winds up with a very overprotective Cullen to deal with.  As the attempts on Chelsea's life start piling up, so do the list of suspects: from Council agents to a local drug cartel to something much closer to home- can Cullen and Chelsea stay alive long enough to figure out their new bond?

Like many of Leigh's recent books, Wake a Sleeping Tiger takes a good plot, adds a lot of unnecessary distractions, and gives the reader ultra hot scenes while not providing too layered character development.    It's hard to get attached to Cullen and Chelsea because we don't know all that much about them.  Hints are there, Leigh will start to give us character depth, and then we get distracted by a new threat to deal with.  Cullen starts to figure out his emotions and then something happens before he can face up to them, let alone admit them to Chelsea.  Chelsea sees her family and Cullen worrying over her as them trying to change her and not loving her as she is, instead of realizing that they might worry about the danger but not want her to be different.  She and Cullen do a lot of dancing around the idea of respect in the first half of the book: can he respect her for who she is, that she wants to fight at his side instead of stay hidden behind him?  It's a challenge that comes up for most Breeds: they fall for strong, independent women and then have to figure out how to balance that core of the woman they love with a desperate need to protect their mate from all dangers.  It was interesting in Tiger to see the question of a woman's role come up not just with Chelsea but also with Cassie Sinclair.  She is running her own op and when Rule questions her, she forced him to realize that he would never question her or make her explain things if she were a male. 

Graham continues to stand out as one of the more entertaining characters and we get to see him here through a twin's eyes instead of his own.  What Cullen calls Graham's "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide" personality keeps scenes with him among the best part of the book- especially a memorable scene where he starts asking a cartel leader about preferred torture methods, because he has trouble keeping people conscious long enough for the good stuff.

Heavy repetition remains a constant in Tiger and I found myself skimming paragraphs at a time because it was the exact same thing I'd read two pages earlier.  This is a particular pet peeve of mine in books, and one I can always count on Leigh to irritate. While heavily complicated and intricate plots might make new readers think they should start at the beginning of the series, it has reached a point (for me at least) where reading previous books doesn't help keep some of the details straight.  There are however, enough characters of interest to keep me reading, and Leigh does a good job of throwing in new twists and new characters with just enough teasing to have you eagerly awaiting the next book.  Will we focus on Ashley?  Will Cassie finally get her book?  What's the story of the new Coyote we meet at the end? Chances seem high the next book will focus more on the Coyotes, who are always favorites of mine. 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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