MD Grimm, $1.99, ISBN 978-1005879983
Fantasy Romance, 2021
Oh, there’s a bullshi… oh wait, I mean bull shifter in MD Grimm’s Love Is a Whirlwind. Hmm, I can’t say I have ever looked at a cow and I say, “Hmm, I’d would like a piece of that!” but hey, I suppose some people are into this kind of thing, and more power to them so long as whatever they are doing is legal in their neighborhood.
Caleb O’Connell has a secret. The rancher’s prized bull Whirlwind is also his hot friend Ryan, whom he is teaching How to Act Like a Bloke 101.
He had a broad chest and shoulders, with a thick waist, thighs, and arms. He resembled a bull even in human form, not simply because of his brutish face, but his temperament. It wasn’t surprising, considering Ryan’s mother was an actual cow, and his father had been in bull form during his conception. It was incredibly rare, nearly impossible, for shapeshifter offspring to be born from an animal and a shifter. Ryan was certainly one of a kind.
Wait, Ryan’s father turned into a bull to knock up a cow? What… why would the author even write about this?
Reading this story makes me feel like being sucked up by a whirlwind myself, because for a long time, this is a love story between a whiny boring little pipsqueak and a bull. Caleb is one of those characters that seem to have nothing to do but to spend his entire waking hour going on and on about what he thinks are his unrequited fee-fees for the bull. Meanwhile, he may not be a wolf but Ryan certainly behaves like a typical “You sniff at my mate! I will kill you!” territorial type, only with the added awkwardness of how he doesn’t think, emote, or behave like a normal fellow. I wonder what Caleb sees in this guy aside from the usual thick assets of that bull, but hey, what do I know. I don’t like the taste of beef, so I avoid it (yes, even steak), and I certainly don’t want to have sex with a bull, so perhaps I am missing the big picture here.
Plus, does this mean that Ryan has four stomachs? At any rate, given my morbid curiosity about Ryan’s physiology and biological functions, it’s almost disappointing that, after so much is made about Ryan being a bull with a capital B, the bull in question doesn’t mount Caleb in bull form. Almost, that is, because while I’m fine with reading such things in the context of a horror story, stumbling upon such a scene in a romantic context will only make me feel like I need to take a long bath and confess to a priest afterward.
Then, abruptly, Ryan gets kidnapped and all of a sudden, into the picture comes this super-secret agency that protects all shifters. What? The story up to that point feels like a typical soap opera, so I find it pretty jarring for this Agency to abruptly show up just like that and change the tone of the story altogether. It’s like watching Yellowstone only to have the X-Men unexpectedly show up later in the season to go pew-pew-pew at everyone. If the author had wanted the story to be more of a fantasy type, the Agency and other fantastical elements should have been played up more in the first half of this story. As it is, this one felt like it started out as a small town romance, only for the author to change one of the guys into a shifter because that kind of story sells the most, and then later decided to just go ham and pop in an Agency thing so that she can keep writing future sequels. The whole is just… disconcerting.
Also, because this is the present day, the author inserts some “say no to homophobia” stuff in a heavy-handed manner. Only, because we are talking about bulls shagging humans and other fun stuff here, I wonder whether the author should be preaching acceptance for zoophilia instead. Oh, and good luck with that one.
Back to Love Is a Whirlwind, the flow and the tone as well as the structure of the story all feel off, so much so that I feel like I am reading two different stories that have been clumsily spliced together. Also, the author fails to sell me the idea of a bull being sexy. I know, that one is a tough sell because I don’t even eat beef, and come on, I have also smelled and stepped onto the pies these cows leave behind on the field. Romantic, sexy? Nah, I’ll pass. In fact, I’m passing it right now as I rush for the exit.