Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Tour for Once Upon a Tiger by Kat Simons (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Today I'm bringing you a unique and exciting paranormal read with a hero who just happens to be disabled.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of Once Upon a Tiger by Kat Simons and hear from her about the central theme of this book....mating instead of extinction.  Learn my impressions of this book and make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win a $30 bookstore GC too!

Love and Extinction.............
In my Tiger Shifters series, one of the underlying conflicts of the world is that the tigers are on the brink of extinction. The number of females has been dropping for awhile, but they noticed two centuries ago that the female population was dangerously low. No one knew exactly why female numbers had dropped so much, so there was no easy solution to the problem. The imbalance led to some pretty extreme behaviors—death match fighting among the males, gang rapes of females which often resulted in the death of the female. Their entire species stood on the brink of chaos and destruction.
Sounds pretty extreme, right? Well I actually got the idea for this from a real life crisis with the Hawaiian monk seals. Back when I was in college in Hawaii, this issue with the monk seals was so extreme, biologists didn’t know what to do. Female numbers had dropped significantly and no one knew why. Males were raping and killing females in their desperation to breed, which only made the situation worse. The entire species stood on the brink of extinction.
Because my tigers have human intellect, they devised a way to mitigate the problem. They instigated the Mate Run—a single female runs from a group of males during her estrous (or fertile period), she allows one to “catch” her, and they spend the three days of her cycle trying to get pregnant. If they succeed, they can choose to stay together as a couple. Or they can part ways when they no longer want to be together. But unless the woman gets pregnant, she’s not allowed to be with any of the males. This was the only way to make access to the female tigers “fair”.
Entering our modern times, the Mate Run still works for the most part. There are few fights among the males, and they protect rather than gang up on the females. But afterclose to two centuries of this tradition, things are starting to strain at the edges. Love, lust, jealousy, possessiveness, protectiveness, all complicate the basic biological problem of reproduction—just like they do in human relationships. And the tigers still haven’t found a way to fix their population crisis.
This crisis gives me a lot of room to play in the tiger world. And a lot of conflicts to explore! Especially when it comes to love.
Oh and for the record, the Hawaiian monk seals are still endangered. More than just the male/female ratio imbalance and male aggression plagues their efforts to survive. But in 2008, they were made Hawaii’s official state mammal in an effort to raise awareness and increase protection efforts.
Thanks for having me here today to talk about my new paranormal romance world! I hope readers will enjoy the tigers and their complicated lives!
So what do you think of the Mate Run? A good idea to help fix the population problem or a potential disaster just waiting to happen?

She’ll never run.
Among the tiger shifters, Alexis Tarasova is regarded as fierce and dangerous, with a reputation that would make even the most daring tiger think twice about challenging her. Female tiger shifters may be rare and the mating run a critical part of their species’s survival, but Alexis is the only female Tracker and will not back down, even at the threat of tiger law. She will not be forced to mate. So when a handful of males band together to force her to participate in the run, Alexis chooses to stand her ground and fight instead.
He's forbidden to run.
Outcast from the tiger shifters after a vicious childhood attack left him mute, Victor Romanov has never taken part in the mate run. He’s never particularly cared, though, since the woman he loves refuses to take a mate. However, when he learns Alexis may be in danger, all bets are off. Nothing will keep him from her side.
Together, they're unmovable.
The chemistry between them burns wickedly hot and forges them into an unbeatable pair. Alexis knows that being with Victor means she will have to break another one of her people’s laws—a move that might push the tigers too far. But, for Victor, she will risk everything, including her life, and do what she thought she’d never do—run.

To Alexis’ surprise, Victor was standing at her door only a few minutes later. She swallowed and tried not to stare. He was magnificent, muscled and lean, with just the right amount of hair covering his human body. The hard cut angles of his face should have made him look harsh but somehow he just looked more compelling. Black eyes, closely cut dark hair, and a sexy half-smile that made her stomach muscles tighten, all combined to send her heartbeat pounding.
She’d never been around Victor when she was in estrous. In fact, since coming to terms with the knowledge that her obsession with him could never lead to a future, she’d made an effort to never spend time alone with him. He was the head security technician at the elders’ compound, so they crossed paths regularly. But she tried making sure there were others around to keep her from doing something stupid.
Unfortunately, she hadn’t always been successful.
She flashed on a recent memory of literally bumping into him in a corridor at the compound when she’d been too deep in thought to notice her surroundings. He’d held her arms while she caught her balance. The contact sent shivers of desire shooting through her body, forcing her to step back as soon as she could, then apologized.
He pulled a notebook from the back pocket of his dark jeans and wrote, You okay?
“Fine. The job I’m heading out on has me…” She shrugged. “It’s a tough one.”
A friend?
“No. Nothing like that.” She made the mistake of looking up to finish and got momentarily caught in the deep darkness of his steady gaze. Her stomach danced in giddy delight even as her heart tightened. Swallowing, she said, “The tiger I’m going after has something wrong with him. He’s started stalking children.”
Human or tiger?
“Exactly.” Dangerous to their people if he were discovered by the humans. Also dangerous for her as her target couldn’t possibly be sane if he was hunting kids.
Has he hurt any yet?
“No. Fortunately. He came close twice, though. I have to find him soon.”
Do you want help?
She straightened. No one offered to help her. Not since she’d taken the Tracker oath. But he looked serious. And beneath the façade he normally wore, she sensed a hard core of intensity only a stupid person would challenge. His silence was intimidating enough, but for the first time, she saw a dangerous edge to him.
And he was offering to help her. The gesture touched her in ways she wouldn’t have expected. Suddenly, she was aware of just how alone they were and just how desperately she wanted him.
“I’ll be fine.” Even as she said this, her heartbeat quickened and she had trouble speaking above a whisper.
I know. But if you need me, I’m here.
Her pulse pounded loud in her ears as she read. Could he hear it? Did he realize just how much she needed him—just not for the hunt? She found herself staring at his mouth. The urge to lean in and taste him overwhelmed her.
Alexis blinked back the memory and realized she was once again staring at Victor’s mouth. This time, there was no one around to interrupt them and keep her from giving in to the years of wanting. During that previous meeting, a member of his security tech team had required his attention and he’d hurried away, leaving her breathless. She’d brought in the rogue tiger with a little more aggression than she might have normally. And then she’d taken herself off to her retreat here in the mountains to wallow in the frustration of having to resist the only man she wanted.
Now Victor was here. No one between them. And her hormones were making things infinitely worse.
His being naked did not help her control either—which was hanging on by a very tiny, thin thread.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  ARe


As a person with a disability who loves less than perfect characters, I was drawn to this story from the moment I read the synopsis.  Ms. Simons perfectly blended the usual paranormal mythos but added the twist of its hero being seen as disabled and genetically imperfect after a vicious attack by humans left his vocal cords permanently damaged and him having to use sign language and writing notes to express himself.  Though this is a short story it's long on entertainment and is surprisingly fully fleshed-out in depicting its main characters as well as future ramifications for current problems befalling the tiger shifters.

Unlike other female tiger shifters, Alexis has been allowed to help her species by becoming a Tracker and capturing those shifters who've put their secret in jeopardy, as opposed to being forced into mating to keep them from becoming extinct.  She's an expert in her field where she's stronger than most men which is why she's so angry that her circumstances have suddenly changed.  She wants nothing to do with the Mating Run as she knows she has more worth than just for breeding and especially with the knowledge that the only man she wants is unable to fight for her.  With her entire future hanging in the balance though she decides to make a bold claim that will change the future for all tiger shifters in this emotionally intense and sensual story.

Victor is an immensely appealing hero who has been on the fringe of their species since an attack took away his ability to speak.  He's seen as weak and damaged and is forbidden from mating for fear his weakness will be perpetuated.  Victor has been accepting of his fate, thinking that the only woman he wants will never be forced into mating, until the day everything changes.  Victor has always been supportive of Alexis, always there to comfort her and care about her.  He's been willing to hold back his true feelings about her so that she can decide who she wants and this compassion makes him even more endearing.  His mutism is dealt with believably yet subtly to enhance the storytelling and bind him and Alexis together in their own little world.

These two likable characters bring out the best in each other.  They're never judgmental and always supportive of the other's capabilities.  The attraction between them has always been there and the ultimatum Alexis is given allows her the freedom to admit her true feelings and throw caution to the wind to change the Elder's, and other's, beliefs.  From start to finish this was a wonderfully entertaining beginning to what promises to be a sexy and compelling series.  With the introduction of intriguing secondary characters and a game-changing addition to the storyline I'm looking forward to the next installment in Ms. Simon's Tiger Shifter series and highly recommend this to fans of the paranormal.

My rating for this is an A-

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Kat Simons earned her Ph.D in animal behavior, working with animals as diverse as dolphins and deer. She brought her experience and knowledge of biology to her paranormal romance fiction, where she delights in taking nature and turning it on its ear. After traveling the world, she now lives in New York City with her family. Kat is a stay-at-home mom and a full time writer.


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  1. You got my attention with the "Mate Run".

    1. Thanks for stoppng in and commenting, Mary! I hope you'll enjoy Once Upon a Tiger!

  2. Thanks so much for having me here today! I'm thrilled you liked the book but even more delighted you enjoyed Victor and found him appealing, and that his mutism worked for you. I love him and it's very exciting to know someone else does too :)

    1. He completely won me over! Silent and sexy make for a great combination! I'm also intrigued by his loyal friend Joseph and hope to see more of him in the future.....

      The Scarf Princess

    2. Yay! :-) And there will be more of Joseph, because he's super cool. But advance warning, the poor man goes through a lot before his story. I can't say more without spoilers though. :D

    3. Oh man! You're killing me Kat! Great to know there will be more Joseph and who can resist a hero who's been put through the wringer and who you can't help but want to hug and make everything all better?!?! Keep me posted....

      The Scarf Princess

    4. LOL. Sorry to torture you (sort of *g*). Will keep you updated.

  3. You sold me from start to finish on this post! I was completely ignorant of the seal problem, but what a great premise for this story. I look forward to reading it!

    1. I'm so glad you like the premise! I hope you enjoy the story too :-)

  4. Sounds like an amazing read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. There are many things that draw me to the story. First, I'm always intrigued by tiger-shifter outlines. The mute hero is also a draw. And a woman trying to control her own destiny. It sounds like an exciting read.

  6. I love paranormal shifter novels and Tiger shifters definitely catches my attention. I've added this one to my reading list. Thank you for a chance to read the excerpt and enter the giveaway.

  7. Kat...Are you using your PhD somehow? Through volunteer work or through academic writing? Does your academic background show up in your writing? I find that so interesting!