Book Reviews

Chasing Thunderbird (Dreamspun Beyond, Shifter U 2) by j. leigh bailey at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Students/Teachers/Professors / Shifters / Interspecies / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 06-February-2018

Book Blurb

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….


Book Review

After the hilarity that is ‘Stalking Buffalo Bill’ (the first book in this series set at Shifter U), I was really looking forward to reading another story set in this world. It is a contemporary world where shifters are not known to humans and “band together” at certain universities and places where they feel comfortable. This time the focus is on an ornithology professor in trouble and a shape-shifting grad student trying to protect the shifter population from discovery. All the elements I liked so much in the first volume are present again: a student/professor relationship, secrets, danger, threats, and above all, a wonderful sense of humor. This is not a world that takes itself too seriously, and I really enjoyed a return to this lighter kind of paranormal setup.

Simon is a gifted scientist, having obtained his PhD at twenty, but, as a consequence, he is an extremely young professor and not necessarily taken seriously for that reason alone. He is also looking for evidence of the mythical thunderbird, not something a reputable scientist would consider proper research, but his family has been at it for generations. From the moment Simon begins the semester at Cody College (Shifter U for those in the know), he encounters doubt regarding his qualifications, weird silences, strange animal sightings all across campus, a weird request not to go out in the field on his own, and when he does? He is mugged by military-grade thugs who steal, of all things, his journal. And it gets worse from there. The sense of mystery is really well done, and even though I knew about the shifters, I enjoyed seeing stuff from his point of view. Watching Simon slide into the supernatural was very entertaining, and seeing him fall for Ford despite his best efforts to fight the inappropriate attraction was the icing on the cake.

Ford is Simon’s teaching assistant, and a graduate student with a secret. He does his best to protect Simon from himself, but there is only so much he can do. As an added complication he is really attracted to Simon, and once Simon finds out what’s going on, they spend a lot more time together with Ford answering questions half the time, and joining Simons efforts to find out who is after him the other half of the time. The very real, shared danger brings them closer, but with the many obstacles they face, the romance more of a subtle development until they hit their stride. Ford’s protective streak is a mile wide and is a big hint as to his shifter nature, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise by telling you.

The relationship between Simon and Ford is anything but easy. At first there are secrets between them, then the bad guys appear, and finally Simon has a very tough decision to make. He could exonerate his family by revealing what he now knows about shifters, or he could protect Ford and the shifters’ secrets. Between that and not being sure that what he and Ford share is even real, Simon does not have an easy time of it. I certainly did not envy him, and was pleasantly surprised with the solution the author came up with. And the ending? It warmed my heart and was super cool at the same time.

If you like shifter worlds that feel so believable that they could be part of our reality, if you want to find out more about a dorky professor and the shifter who protects him, and if you’re looking for a read that is suspenseful, funny, and very touching, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I’ll say it again - may there be many more in this series – and may they be published soon!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspiner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 223 pages/58467 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 06-February-2018
Price $4.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback, $9.99 bundle
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