Blossom and the Beast finds itself somewhere in the middle of the road. The writing is excellent but the characters really irritated me several times and made me wonder why I was supposed to root for their romance. There's a lot of interesting twists to the storyline but I think it's something actually weighed down by its inspiration as I think the storyline would have benefited from being wholly original versus an attempted adaptation of a classic fairy tale.
The premise is Blossom Alder is a daughter of the Bear lineage who is expected to make a transformation into one of her kind very soon. Now well into womanhood, she's become such a prized beauty that a fantastic offer for her as a bribe is made by a rival clan. This offer is turned down but, days later, she's sold off to a Vice Syndicate who blackmails her father into giving her up.
Kaide Landel is our erstwhile "Beast" and he's a character that I'm sure would be popular with many readers but just really put me off. Basically, he's not remotely ugly as his beastly personality is the problem. He's a violent crime lord/corporate executive carrying around a lot of baggage due to the rape and murder of his sister. Which, fair enough, is going to put anyone into a permanently foul mood.
The problem with making the Beast's personality be the problem rather than his looks is something that may be true to some of the earlier versions of the fairy tale (which had the moral of "suck it up and love your husband, there's no getting out of this"), it doesn't exactly do much to endear the character to modern versions.
The fact the book starts the "romance" with blackmail and extortion into buying our heroine as a slave as well as forcing her to come with him to th big city is that it really put me off seeing these characters get together. Yes, Kaide inevitably softens as we learn a bit more about him and he stops trying to force Blossom into marrying him but by that point, I wasn't inclined to care. It didn't help Blossom was starting to warm to our protagonist because he was rich, gorgeous, and tortured, making me think i was reading Fifty Shades of Werebear.
Blossom is still an extremely likable character and the world is very well-developed. It oddly reminded me of Final Fantasy with its strange mixture of Medieval and Moderm, science abd magic. I enjoyed the culture of the Alderwood people and the religion of the Goddess. Sadly, you could tell whenever characters were supposed to be "good" by how much disdain they held the Goddess' worship in. The story also takes off when it moves away from the typical B&B romance to a more complicated one of politics as well as revenge.
In short, Blossom and the Beast is a decent enough romance novel that will probably appeal to a very large number of readers. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those who enjoys "jackass love interests" who the heroine falls in love with because they're arrogant jerks. That is, unfortunately, the main thrust of this book.