Review: Kept by Shawntelle Madison

Kept by Shawntelle Madison (Coveted #2)
Urban Fantasy
November 27, 2012

Reviewed by May

Kept is book #2 in the Coveted series, and it takes off shortly after the first book ended. Given the content and pacing of Kept, I believe most readers would find themselves rather lost and book 1 should be read first.

Nat lives with her friend in a small New Jersey town where she works at an antique shop, and is just newly back in her family after being estranged for years. Nat has issues with OCD, collecting Christmas ornaments, and she really struggles with fitting in. She goes to a supernatural therapy group where her friends range from a mermaid to a wizard- and those characters are the best part of both books.

I really like that Nat is a different kind of heroine, but I felt like as a character she didn’t become stronger in this book from a writing standpoint. I didn’t learn more about her, I didn’t grow to like her more. Let me explain a bit more. In this story our heroine once again is battling her various mental illnesses and issues, as well as trying to come to terms with her ex-boyfriend getting married to someone else, deal with her father’s moon debt, figuring out where Nick the wizard fits into her life, and finding her place both in the pack and the family. Her father’s debt to another werewolf, as well as her need to compete in trials to earn a place back in the pack are the two main sources of action that drive this book.

The plot was a problem for me because it was almost like two novellas stuck together in one novel. First, we deal with the moon debt and what that means and how she can fix it with the help of her variety of friends. Then, we are back in her home town in New Jersey and have to deal with the pack, her feelings for the men in her life, and the challenge of rejoining the pack. Each half has a clear leading man, and the romantic aspects didn’t add up at all and given the ending of this book I think things could have been done a lot differently for a more enjoyable reading experience.

What disappoints me most is that all of the potential issues and small problems I had with book one developed into full blown fails for me here in book two. I had hoped we would be shown an emotional journey, instead Nat is spouting some garbage about the man of her heart and the other man who has her soul. Hmm, in my mind, they should go hand in hand. He should be the man of your heart, mind, and soul really, nothing less. At least, not anything less than that in a romantic UF series.

The biggest problem for me here is indeed the romance. It guides all of our heroine’s actions, but because it is such a mess, and because we are never at any point given any compelling reasons to believe in the couple as a true love match, it ruined this book for me. At no point did I understand why this man would be Nat’s choice. This is why I dislike love triangles in books, because it weakens the romance and if the man who will ultimately be picked isn’t the clear winner from the start it can really turn off a reader as this book did to me.

A hot topic addressed in this book, one that can be a deal breaker for many romance readers myself included: Infidelity. This comes up, is dealt with in this book so badly, that I lost a lot of respect for our heroine. I really don’t care if he’s unhappy or doesn’t like the woman he’s in a committed relationship with, it doesn’t make cheating ok. Indeed, I understood the woman’s need to beat up our heroine and smiled at that scene. I would have kicked the crap out of her too.

Now wait a minute – is that what the author meant me to feel? I don’t think so, as our heroine inexplicably is able to suddenly jump up, be strong, and perform feats I had no idea she would be capable of.

I’m attempting to not put any spoilers in here, so I won’t say more except to tell you as a romance this utterly failed for me, and as a UF novel it was neither cohesive nor compelling to read on to the next chapter of this story. I found myself quite simply done by the time this book ended, which makes me gravely disappointed because I so enjoyed the first book.

Grade: F

Recent Reviews:
Brazen Reads
Urban Fantasy Investigations – 4/5
The Secret Sanctuary of Books – 3/5
Fiction Vixen – C+

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  1. says

    YES! Agree!

    “our heroine inexplicably is able to suddenly jump up, be strong, and perform feats I had no idea she would be capable of.”

    I didn’t know where this came from. I thought maybe I had missed something the whole book or missed something by not reading the first one.

    “At no point did I understand why this man would be Nat’s choice.”

    He wasn’t even very likable. There was no depth. I am still not sure he was 100% her choice because the end was a little open.

  2. says

    I am sooooooo disappointed to hear this. I enjoyed the first book with the exception of the love triangle setup, but was REALLY HOPING the author would work it out. Oh maaaan.

  3. KatieIct says

    I HATED who she ended up with!
    I’m hoping he’s not her final choice and she’ll grow some balls and self respect in the next book.

  4. Anne says

    I enjoyed the first book enough to see what happens, but it had some of the flaws you mentioned in Kept, so I can see them becoming worse in Kept. Flawed characters can be interesting, but they have to stay in character and can’t be doormats and superheroes.

    The author does tend to flip flop a lot. Her parents basically disown her and don’t support her, then she’s back in. What’s the deal? No one stays in character.

    Nat needs a psychiatrist for more than her hoarding.

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