Dana and Mtsnow review Tracefinder: Changes (Tracefinder, Book 2) by Kaje Harper (Self-published by Kaje Harper, August 4th 2016, 469 pages) To read the review for Tracefinder: Contact click here.
Note: A copy of this story was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: Brian can Find a lost child or a wanted criminal, but when his secret gets out, even Nick’s skills and connections may not be enough to keep them safe.
Brian Kerr is now free of his dangerous boss and his domineering brother. He’s eager to start using his psychic Finding talent to help people, if he can figure out how to do that safely. His dyslexia, and his tendency to act simpleminded under stress, make building his new life a daunting challenge. And while his not-quite-boyfriend, Nick, is willing to support him, in bed and out of it, Brian doesn’t want to lean on Nick. If their relationship is going anywhere, he has to be a full partner and handle his own problems.
Nick Rugo’s walking a tightrope instead of settling into the ordinary cop’s life he’d hoped for. He’s hiding too many things from too many people. He has told professional and unprofessional lies that will come back to haunt him. Now, with Brian determined to start Finding again, he’s not sure he can protect the man he cares for. If all that wasn’t enough to make him start punching walls, he also has a suspicion that Brian’s brother Damon and sister Lori may be out there, lurking, ready to complicate their lives.
MtSnow’s review: Last year I had the opportunity to read the first book in this series, and when I heard this second one was available, I couldn’t pass it up. Well, it’s Kaje. Autobuy author. New release. Book 2…and Dana offered me the chance to do a duo review. Win-win!
This one was an absolute winner for me. It should definitely be read AFTER book 1, so the reader can get a feel for Nick, Brian, ‘Bry’, Charlie, and all the other supporting characters. The first book barely seems to be the tip of the iceberg. This one, well it’s a big ol’ CHUNK of the iceberg. Real people. Real flaws. Bad choices. Not so bad choices. And lots of wondering what the heck will happen next.
In my opinion, there was barely a touch of romance in book 1 of this series, but it had to be done to lay the strong foundation of THIS story. In book one it was a real challenge to see how the author could make it so it didn’t feel like 25-yr-old, hot-tempered, sexy cop Nick was taking advantage of a naive, ‘seemingly’ mentally-challenged and sheltered 21-year-old ‘Bry’. Only 4 years younger. But. We really didn’t know what we thought we knew, did we?!
This book, we get to see the ‘real’ Brian. And the addition of a first night in a gay dance club, an awesome therapist, Charlie (a friend from the past that helps Nick keep it together) and Luger, Brian’s faithful, furry, protective companion helped too. And intimacy, and sexy times. They do happen. Even as these guys fumble their way through unknown territory.
Honestly, yes, I did feel yanked around a little, and scared for both Nick and Brian, but this one ended without a great cliffhanger. Our MCs are just starting to get their feet under themselves, but make an awesome couple, each able to be what the other needs.
Oh. And don’t let me forget to mention the cover. This REALLY helped me get a better idea in my head how Brian could be bigger but not all gym-muscle dude. The way he’s described as ‘soft and doughy’ was a little hard for me to imagine as attractive to Nick. But this cover model does have an edge of softness to him, looking rather cute and not ‘frumpy’. The description of almost albino was used as well in the book. Bravo. Good find for cover model!
There were many twists and turns that made me wonder how things could ever be good for these guys, and even a bit of violence and hard choices, but Kaje didn’t let us down. I’m so looking for more in this series! And even though the number of pages may seem daunting, huge action kept me flipping pages and getting the story read in 2 days. Fantastic. Highly recommended!
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
Dana’s review: I was lucky enough to review book one of this series along with MtSnow last February and was intrigued by the characters and the world the author created. I was very excited when we were offered a review copy. The books really need to be read in order to understand the plot and events that went before. Though the main character Brian has abilities that might be considered paranormal, it is a very contemporary setting in which the world is much like the one we live in.
The story starts shortly after the events that happen in book 1. Nick is still trying to earn back trust from the police department that he worked for after not being completely honest about the undercover job he did. Brian is trying to escape the shadow of his other personality, Bry. Bry was a slower version of Brian, good for hiding his abilities and hatred for his old boss, but not good for entering into an adult relationship with Nick. After Brian ropes Nick into trying to find a missing woman, his abilities are brought to the attention of the people Nick didn’t want to discover them. So Nick and Brian embark on a new path that quickly slips out of their control.
Now, I can completely understand the police wanting to use Brian’s gift to help save people, even Brian can see the benefits to using his Finding in a positive way. However, the treatment he and Nick receive at the hands of the department really had me seething. The author definitely writes the characters in this story so you can feel their emotions and understand why they might do the things they do. No matter how good or bad the character might be, you can see that they are two dimensional and more than what they seem. So much happens in this story for the characters’ development, as well as the plot development. To keep Brian safe, compromises might have to be made for several characters.
In the previous book there was definitely a spark between Nick and Brian, but physical intimacy was kept to an minimum. In Tracefinder: Changes, Brian definitely fits the title well. He makes so many changes and when he distances himself from the child-like, mentally challenged personality of Bry, he and Nick can interact romantically on a more level playing field. It’s not just Brian changing, though.The devotion they have for each other definitely brings out the better sides of both of them. I could believe in them as a couple.
As far as the secondary characters go, I wasn’t a huge fan of Brian’s brother Damon and sister Lori in the last book even as I understood that they really do love their brother. Because I care for Brian, there is a part of me that wants to see the siblings find a way to be healthy, happy, and together again. I hope to learn a bit more about their fates as well as the mysterious Doc who seems to be an interesting character for sure. The addition of Nick’s friend Charlie into this story is also important. Nick is not known for showing a lot of emotion outside of his temper, but through Charlie and Brian we get to see a slightly softer side of Nick.
The story is far from over, at the end of this book. It isn’t a cliffhanger ending, but there is more for Brian and Nick to get through before they get their happily ever after ending. I will definitely settle for the happy for now they have. I love the imperfect but “real” characters and world that the author created and am looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend the Tracefinder series. Even though I enjoyed the character growth in this one more, it is important to read the series in order.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.
My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.
My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.
I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better.
You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.
You can also find me on my WordPress blog – https://kajeharper.wordpress.com/