Review: Bloodfire by Helen Harper

Posted March 16, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 71 Comments

Review: Bloodfire by Helen Harper
Bloodfire by Helen Harper
Series: Blood Destiny #1
Published by Indie
Published on: December 29 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 248
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Mack might be, to all intents and purposes, a normal looking human, but she lives with a pack of shapeshifters in Cornwall in rural England after being dumped there by her mother when she was just a young child. She desperately wants to be accepted by her surrogate family, not least because a lot of them hate her for merely being human, but for some reason her blood just won't allow the transformation to occur.

With a terrible temper to match her fiery red hair, Mack is extraordinarily useful in a fight, and when her pack alpha is brutally and abruptly murdered, she swears vengeance. Unfortunately, his murder also draws in the Brethren - the leaders of the shapeshifter world - who will slaughter everyone in Mack's small rural pack if they discover her true identity. Unfortunately Corrigan, the green-eyed muscle-bound Lord Alpha of the Brethren, doesn't let much slip by him...


I’m not really sure how I stumbled across Helen Harper and her Blood Destiny series. I think I was in one of my Urban Fantasy funks (in which nothing but UF holds any kind of appeal, but I’ve read and re-read any of the mainstream, published UF that I’m interested in, and am desperate for new reading material).

Anyway, whether I found it through one of Goodreads “Readers Also Enjoyed” lists, or Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item . . . ” lists, doesn’t really matter. I’m just glad I did.

Mackenzie Smith is a lone human living in a shifter pack. After her mother dropped her on the Cornwall pack’s proverbial front porch (when Mack was a child), and then placed a geas preventing the pack from revealing Mack’s humanity, she grew up not knowing why her mother abandoned her.

And that’s kind of a big deal—the pack is governed by a set a rules and regulations, one of the more prominent rules being basically, “Don’t allow humans to discover our existence on pain of death for E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E.” But the Cornwall pack is in the country and more stable than other packs, so Mack grows up without being discovered (b/c no trouble equals no interference from the shifters-in-charge: the Brethren).

Or no Brethren interference until the pack leader (Mack’s surrogate father) is murdered.

So of course it’s when Mack is reeling from the loss of the only stable parent-figure she’s ever had that the Brethren shows up to investigate/oversee the appointment of a new Alpha (as per regulations). And this necessitates that Mack remain as inconspicuous as possible to avoid being detected as a human while in the midst of her grieving.

“Inconspicuous” is SO not Mack’s middle name.

And even if it was, it’s difficult to fade into the background when Mack’s blood (literally?) boils when she gets angry or stressed out, which she certainly does when the smokin’ hot Lord Alpha starts taking an interest in her.


I know, I know . . . it sounds exactly like every other UF book you’ve read. “Human” or ordinary girl tries to stay hidden amongst supernaturals, but gets pursued by ridiculously attractive Alpha male, and girl turns out to be not only not human, but a super, special snowflake.

All I can say to that is that it’s popular for reason. AND while the characters/situations may seem stock, the story isn’t. It’s not as obvious in Book 1, but by Book 2 this series becomes something of a Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series/Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews mashup, and that is not a bad thing to be.

But what really sold me on Bloodfire is the relationships. Mack may be the only human in her pack, but she has true friendships with many of its members. There are a few members that loathe, detest, despise, and abominate her, but bigots suck no matter what they’re being judgmental about, so screw ’em. And while Mack and Corrigan (Lord Alpha of the Brethren) may have insta-attraction, they do not have insta-love

Mack herself is an MC of the kick-ass persuasion which means she not only has super fighting skills, but also super snark. I L-O-V-E snark. It makes me laugh. So does Mack.

The only problems I really had with this series are that Mack has an irrational dislike of pet/nicknames that gets a little tiresome after a while—let it go, dollface. You’ve got more important things to be worrying about (like figuring out what the bloodfire you’ve had your whole life means about what you really are)—and I had to willfully suspend disbelief slightly more than I usually would to believe that Mack truly thought she was an ordinary human her entire life. B/c really? You really think your mother dropped you off with shifters completely arbitrarily? And the “bloodfire” thing never, not once, tipped you off that strange things were afoot?

But ultimately, with a sexy Alpha male, a hilarious surfer-dude mage of a sidekick, an evil-incarnate demi-goddess, and a strong, clever heroine, Bloodfire has all the components of an excellent Urban Fantasy series. Don’t wait until you’re despairing for new reading material to give these books a shot. Learn from my experience and try them now—this indie series is WAY better than a lot of the traditionally published series I’ve read.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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71 responses to “Review: Bloodfire by Helen Harper

  1. This series has ME as written all over it. I swear it’s like they said, here’s a book for Berls LOL. I think you had me when you said ““Inconspicuous” is SO not Mack’s middle name.” I LMAO at that statement but it means Mack is so my kind of character – I love snark and kick ass chicks. And Alphas…. *sigh* the REAL alphas are too few IMHO. It sounds brilliant (and a Fever comparison! That’s an all-time fav series of mine) – I hope it’s on audio because I’ll get to it faster that way. But no matter what, it’s going on my reading calendar. Great review Jessica!

    • Yay! I really hope you like it. This was actually the second time I read this book, and I liked it as much as the first time, so it wasn’t just a matter of being desperate for reading material, LOL. And Fever and Kate Daniels are BOTH on my favorite UF list. But like I said, the Fae don’t really start showing up until book 2, so this one is more Kate. Fyi 😉

  2. wow! This sounds amazing and it sounds like something I would enjoy. I’ll have to check this out. I love a kick ass tuff as nails women and hot alpha *sigh*. Great review Jessica! Thank you.

  3. Oooh….this sounds awesome Jessica! I’m loving the sound of all the different characters – they’re all so unique and I love that! 😀 But I think the romance sounds the best! 😉 I’m all for another alpha male romantic interest! Definitely going to acquire a copy of this one ASAP…it definitely sounds promising! Thanks for sharing Jessica, and, as always, brilliant review! 😀

    • Zoe, darling, I heart you. Truly 🙂 And I hope you like it! I feel that I should let you know that this is definitely a slow-burn romance. Like both of the series I compared this to, Mack and Corrigan’s relationship evolves over several book’s time. The good news is that the series is complete, so no pesky waiting around to see what happens next 😉 And oh! If you like unique characters, you’ll LOVE it when you find out what Mack really is . . .

  4. Pabkins  

    See i pretty much almost never touch indie these days. I’ll consider it tho because you have read just as much UF as me all over the place so if you say its good I totally trust you. Haha. I still haven’t even read Moning or Daniels!

    • I can’t even . . . just stop, LOL. I think you say these things to hurt me. But seriously, if you have room for a new UF series, Kate Daniels is the way to go. I’ll even read them with you. You just say the word . . . 😉

      • Pabkins  

        To hurt you with mad fits of cackling laughter?! Yes – that is totally my intention. Kate Daniels check. When your husband gets done building the time machine I’ll be sure to warp over in my TARDIS….wait …did I get that right?

      • I’ve never paid much attention to the speed capabilities of the TARDIS. A time machine doesn’t really need to go fast does it? But it is also a space ship . . . idk. And I’ll stop pestering you about Kate, and let you focus on your 34 books for review 🙂

      • Pabkins  

        More like 12 for this year lol. Some of those 34 are going into the tbr pile and being removed from my spreadsheet count. Some end up that way every year lol

  5. I didn’t know about this series, but it sounds perfect for me.
    While adding it to my TBR I noticed there are already five books published, that’s great. I hate to wait for next installments.
    Great review. 😉

  6. I’ve been in a UF funk for a while.. :/ I haven’t come across any interesting Urban Fantasy books in a while and it makes me sad because UF is my brain candy.

    I am definitely going to pick this up and if I don’t like it.. I know who to blame ^_^

    Wonderful Review, Jessica!! 🙂

  7. sometimes even if the topic is quite common when it’s well done it’s perfect! I didn’t know this one I confess, I don’t think I even know the author but I’m glad you discovered her to makes me discover the book lol.

  8. Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    Ooh, this seems like a winner. Would be great when I want to venture out and read something other than YA, and I love a book that has a reread potential. And bonus-no insta love 🙂 Will have to keep my eye out for this one.

    • This series or Kate Daniels (my favorite UF series that this one reminds me of) would both be a good place to start in a venture outside of YA. Neither has insta-love, and Kate Daniels in particular I’ve re-read at LEAST four times 🙂

  9. Adding, adding, adding!!! Holy wow!! It’s only $2.99 on Kindle, too! Sweeeeet 🙂 I really can never get enough of Alpha males. And I love the point you made about ‘tried and true’ – there is a reason why there are so many of those special snowflakes! They DO work and I DO love them!!!

    Fantastic review, girlie!!!

    • Yep! That’s the wonderful thing about indie series—they’re cheap! And I love my super, special snowflakes too. Some may mock, but do you know anyone who wants to read a book about Jane Doe? ‘Cause I don’t, LOL. And thanks 😉

  10. I have times when I switch from one genre to another, seeming to crave one or be over one. Urban fantasies are usually high on my list, unless I am on a murder kick. Thanks for the great review and have a Happy St Pat’s day.

  11. I admit I keep seeing this book recommended on my Amazon page, but I was staying away because I really abhor that particular font they used for the name of the series. I know, irrational! 🙂 Excellent review, Jessica. At least now I know I can pick it up without fear.

    • I laughed for a minute and half at least!! I don’t think I even noticed the font until you said that, LOL. Thank you, and I glad I was able to subdue your abhorrence for that font 🙂

  12. I get into those same UF funks quite often, and this sounds right up my alley! I doubt I would have discovered it for myself. I see what you mean about her not realizing that she’s not human… it’s kind of strange and unbelievable. But you did mention an Alpha male, and there’s a snarky heroine… so yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading this soon. 🙂
    Thank you for the review.

  13. The abandoning thing is very much common in real life too so it’s nice to see that it’s not only necessary for the plot but also hooks with real life as well. Swoon you say? Gimme ’em feels, girl! And I don’t really mind insta-attraction as long as it doesn’t turn into insta-love so that’s good:) Whoop! Snark! Girl, I must speak of this book to my friend Jenny. She loves swoon and snark and UF:) Haha. It’s funny if you think of it–the fact that in this crazy world with all of this going on you have issues with nicknames? lols. Well, I guess it’s also awesome at the same time since um, gives a sort of identification to a character? Idk. Anyhow, I’m so happy you loved this and that and indie UF blew your mind. Seriously! I never thought I’d see a day where an indie UF works so well for a person. Yay! Great review, Jessica:)

    • There are definitely only a few indies that I more than tolerate, especially in UF. I can’t handle the lack of editing, both grammar and content. But this series is one of the few good ones, and part of that I think IS mixing the supernatural with the ordinary (like abandonment and nicknamey quirks). And yeah, I’m totally cool w/insta-attraction too. All I ask is that whatever’s going on be believable. And thanks, Siiri! You’re a peach 😉

  14. Oh I haven’t heard of this one and I’m glad you put it on my radar! I’ve been in a UF must have lately so I can relate. 🙂 I don’t mind if some of the old tropes are there, this still sounds like a lot of fun. Much check this series out!

  15. Now this book is totally new to me, which is not a surprise considering that I’ve read only handful of mainstream UF books, which I loved – needless to say. Also this one sounds like a really typical story I’m so glad that it was more. The combination of Fever and Kate Daniels in one seems great to me. Great review, Jessica 🙂

    • Yeah, I personally can’t think of a better combination than those two series. But they’re different enough to be new and interesting on their own merit. And thanks! Always a pleasure to bring new books to someone’s attention 😉

  16. Yay! I’m glad you liked this one. I reviewed it back in July and loved it. I still need to make time to read all the others in this series but it is one that hasn’t been forgotten. I loved the snark too and I agree Corrigan (swoon). 🙂

    • Yay! I’m glad you liked it too! I’ve read all but the last one (b/c it wasn’t out when I found them), and they only got better. I hope you find the time to get back to them:)

  17. Faye M.  

    OOOOOOHHH. From your review, I kind of got Written in Red vibes. Lone girl hiding from some people, hides with a supernatural pack, and they all kind of want to protect her and shiz. Seriously, it’s like Meg and Simon all over again (please tell me it’s kind of like that?? haha) and I’d love it to be so. I just added this to my TBR since you love it so much 😀 4 stars! woot woot. It’s high praise given it’s an indie series, too. So many of them are being churned out everyday you need to give special effort to find that needle in the haystack. Awesome review, Jessica. I knew I could count on you if I wanna find my next UF fix. /wink wink

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

    • I would love to tell you that b/c I know it would make you happy, but I’m going to have to apologize for somehow making it sound like that instead 🙁 It’s more like Kate Daniels–Mack is neither sweet, nor innocent like Meg, Corrigan is alpha, but he’s a cat alpha, and cat and wolf alphas are like . . . well, cats and dogs *snickers* And yeah 4 stars is high for indie and it really was only the nickname thing and “so you think you’re a human” thing that kept it from being a 5 (which almost NEVER happens).

  18. Don’t you just love discovering a new author and series? Especially when it happens so randomly! Its fate, I tell ya! I will definitely check this book out. I do enjoy shifter romances and a feisty heroine is always fun! Great review Jessica! 🙂