Title: Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2)
House Line: Dreamspun Beyond #13
Author: j. leigh bailey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 6th 2018
Genre(s): M/M Paranormal Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Page Count: 223 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A Shifter U Tale
A legendary love.
Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.
When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him…
Simon Coleman is a genius. He got his PhD by the time he’d turned twenty and comes from a long line of academics. Unfortunately, his family also has a bit of a reputation in Academia for their zealous and, sadly, over-publicized quest for the mythical thunderbird cryptid. While they’ve had proof of the mysterious bird’s existence a couple of times it always ends up stolen, wiped, or missing by the time whoever had it goes public leading to shame, embarrassment and besmirching of the family’s good name.
When a position as a professor in the biology department at Cody College opens up it seems fated. Simon had heard about the possibility of a sighting in the area of a thunderbird (the scene toward the end of Stalking Buffalo Bill), and while Simon is determined to prove thunderbirds do exist so he can set the record straight, he isn’t going to go shouting about it in public.
Unfortunately, a junior journalism major writing a get-to-know-him article in the College’s e-magazine puts his family’s quest on the front page, and puts Simon under a microscope, especially with the College’s biology department chair. As a result, Simon’s given a TA, Ford Whitney, as a babysitter to keep Simon in line, and, unbeknownst to Simon, to keep the College’s biggest secret – that it has the largest population of shifter students in the US – secret.
Simon and Ford have instant sparks, and it’s cute to see the signs that Simon is so oblivious to. Now readers know from Stalking Buffalo Bill that Ford is a Thunderbird shifter capable of controlling weather, but, for reasons that are explained pretty late in the story to Simon, Simon is kept unaware of just what kind of shifter Ford is, but since the readers are in the know it lends for some humorous moments.
My ears popped as another wave of staticky pressure rolled over me. Just like on a plane. I wiggled my jaw, trying to ease the tension. I looked around, but no one else seemed to notice anything odd. Maybe it was some kind of stress-induced physiological reaction?
However, the secret about shifters is accidentally revealed, but that turns out to not be the weirdest thing Simon has to deal with, no, the weirdest thing are the guys with guns who seem particularly interested in his research.
Since the story is told from Simon’s first person POV, we don’t really get to know what’s going on with Ford, or how he feels other than the “reactions” that keep happening around Simon that he can’t figure out.
The story itself is interesting, particularly how it piggybacks and expands on the world building from book one, Stalking Buffalo Bill, without being repetitive about it. You could, I suppose, read Chasing Thunderbird as a standalone and not have a lot of trouble following along, but I did feel like it really fleshed things out to know what happened in the first book.
In my opinion this was a fun story with some humor, good characters, and I had a good time reading it, I just wish it was more than a single, first person POV. I would have loved to have gotten into Ford’s head.