REVIEW: Jumping the Bull by Jenn Burke
Ben Beaufort, badass bison
Everyone who looks at Ben and sees his six-foot-plus, muscular build assumes he’s in construction. Or the military. Or something that requires brawn over brains. In truth, he’s a mild-mannered human resources professional—or at least he was, until he got laid off. Now he’s looking for a second career as a Furry United Coalition agent, to discover how truly badass he can be.
Oliver Zuraw, whoop-ass whooping crane
Oliver’s enjoying a second career too, from exotic dancer to the FUC Academy’s yoga instructor. Big, badass men like Ben are totally his type—but he’s sworn them off, because they’re never good news. Except Ben is defying all of Oliver’s preconceived notions and making him wonder if maybe this bison is just the right type of badass for him.
A simple undercover mission that turns out to be not so simple
When an undercover mission needs a bison shifter, Ben jumps at the chance to put his training to use. A twist of events forces Oliver and Ben to pretend to be married…which leads to an invitation to work for the bad guy on his bad guy ranch doing bad guy things. There’s no way they can pass up the opportunity to infiltrate the criminal operation.
Even if they’re a recruit and a civilian instructor who barely know what they’re doing.
And even if there’s only one bed waiting for them.
Jumping the Bull by Jenn Burke is an EveL Worlds novella set in Eve Langlais’ Furry United Coalition (F.U.C.) World and available on all platforms.)
Dear Jenn Burke,
I feel like my review will be shorter than this very nicely written but very long blurb. However, I never do plot summaries in my reviews, so I kind of feel like I have no choice but to leave the blurb in.
I am a fan of your series (both written with a coauthor and solo), so when I stumbled on your new solo novella, I was intrigued. I love shifters and always look for a new stories about them, so that tempted me even more. The fact that this story was written in another author’s world (never heard about her unfortunately, but I am guessing she is well known author) would usually scare me, but once again I figured why not.
The introduction to the world was very lovely. I didn’t feel confused at all about the existence of shifters and the agency that protects the shifters from the bad guys. Awesome!
Ben the bison was a great guy, who rather than exercise his skills which he would have as a bison shifter (brutal strength), wanted to use his brain and his analytical skills and went to work in corporate HR. The day came when Ben was fired and he ends up as a student recruit in the FUC Academy where, as blurb tells you, he meets yoga instructor Oliver.
So far, so good. They are both lovely and interesting guys and I was looking forward to getting to know them. Of course I was a little nervous about a novella length story having enough page length to make the romance convincing. You know how it could happen right? On page one they meet, on page two they cannot live without each other, and by page fifty they decide to live happily ever after.
For the most part I thought the writer did a good job. I thought they had convincing chemistry, although of course rather than reading a summary of their conversations I would have liked to read more of the actual conversations. Incidentally, I cannot come up with a single example of Oliver being smart from the book. Oh, he was not doing anything stupid either, don’t get me wrong, but this is such a good example of why “show not tell ” works so much better for me way more often than not.
“The other man was patient and dedicated to his goal of making Ben more bendy, and during their after-class walk—which had become a thing—he showed he was witty, kind, and very smart. If he was being honest, it was those conversations that Ben looked forward to most… but admitting that seemed a little less than professional.”
I did enjoy them together though, even if I wanted more, and the suspense/action storyline was enjoyable too. When I stopped being annoyed about the not so enjoyable part of it that is.
The blurb talks about this, so really I am not revealing anything more. Ben and Oliver get sent into an undercover mission when Ben had just started his learning (more or less) and Oliver never was a field agent.
Now, don’t get me wrong, story has some lovely humorous moments and I was fully prepared to shrug it off, thinking hey the mission will turn out to be humorous so it won’t matter. Yeah, no, when you send them into actual danger and acknowledge that maybe that’s a bad idea, that just throws me out of the story.
Somebody said that the reader may eagerly go along to buy into something big in the story if you make the small details believable. I so agree. I liked what they did while undercover, but the set up for the action storyline annoyed me so much that I was ready to stop reading. I will read more about their adventures when they are more experienced agents presumably.
Grade : C (Goodreads page)