Review: Uncaged

Uncaged Uncaged by Candace Blevins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What really happened to Ghost's mother? I could care less because she was obviously some idiot criminal who abandoned her shifter son during a dangerous time. Whilst her husband was serving the country, she did some stupid stunt. So when a story came out featuring Keisha, Ghost's mother, I was going to pass. And I admit, reading about a black woman jailed for drug trafficking is not my cup of tea. As in, who cares and it just plays into the stereotype that I don't want to read about. However, it is a Ms. Blevins book and I love her writing. I picked up the book and figured I would read a few chapters and then go to bed. Several hours later and completely wrung out, I shook my imaginary fist at Ms. Blevins and cursed her for yet another night foregoing my much needed beauty sleep.

This book caught me off guard and disarmed me. The characters pulled me in unexpectedly. Keisha is nothing like who I am and I doubt we would be friends. Yet Ms. Blevins made her relatable. Keisha is a character who is multifaceted and grew up the hard way. I did feel bad for Keisha, but not pity. Keisha fully owned up to her stupid mistakes and instead of whining about it, she did something about it. I was impressed with Keisha's drive and determination to become independent. Comparing and contrasting of Keisha before and after prison is nicely done. Understanding how and why Keisha made a mistake and was heavily penalized for it is Ms. Blevin's gift of storytellling. Within a few chapters, I wanted to know everything about Keisha. I became heavily invested in what would happen to her. I liked how Darnell, her ex-husband did not make it easy for her and still supported her.

What did I like about this story? I loved how it brought to light a big problem we have in our society. We tell criminals, do the crime, do the time. Then after they do their time, they are free to go. But are they really free? No. They are not. There are no easy answers for former convicts to reintegrate into society. Most employers turn them away because of federally mandated laws that hold a company responsible for hiring a criminal. But, these people are no longer criminals, right? They did their time. Yes, but no one wants them and if they have nowhere to turn legally, what is the other option? This entire situation is a set up for failure. Yes, this may make me come across as a bleeding heart crying about "reformation" and "rehabilitation". Not so. Because I understand for some, no matter the chances given, some people choose the easy way … breaking the law. How does one separate between those who want to take advantage of their second chance and those that will never learn? It is a quandary that many have debated for millenniums and still there are few good answers. Ms. Blevins comes up with her solution and I loved it.

Now, obviously, the solution here only works in the paranormal world, but what if we did adopt some of these ways to help people who need a second chance? Wouldn't our world be a better place? Watching Keisha struggle to keep her second chance humanizes her and helps me understand this plight better. Keisha faces adversity not just because of her record, but because she is a black woman. The stereotypes that she combats are unfair but it doesn't get her down. She works it so that people who perceived her one way due to her skin colour changed their mind. In essence, she is a catalyst for people to be better and more understanding. I loved this underlying moral lesson. We never know the story of why a person is the way they are, but through actions and empathy, we can find common grounds. This story left me energized to be a better person and remind me to see people as individuals. Because stereotypes save time but are an over generalization.

Now, this story isn't a lecture. Ms. Blevins delivers a compelling story of a spoilt princess who grew up the hard way and found love again. And oh boy, Ms. Blevins does not skimp on the erotic parts. Sexy and smoldering, Keisha and Darnell burn up the sheets. The light kink and anal scenes are delicious. Watching a broken relationship slowly heal and to see trust forming again between two lovers, it is beautiful. Darnell's obvious caution changes to all out dominating sex fiend. The sex is nicely blended into the conflicts of this story. The ending moves rather fast and is all nicely tied up with the help of a powerful friend. It is good to have friends in high places.

This paranormal romance is recommended to erotica readers who love second chance themes with lovers reunited.

*gifted by the author for an honest review


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