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Her Donut Shifters by Mia Harlan


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Her Donut Shifters

by Mia Harlan
July 18, 2021

It’s come to this, my friends. During a panel at Baycon, a panelist mentioned having read a book about donut shifters. I could not let this rest. This is a reverse harem, fated mate, shifter erotica with what I can only assume is a UTI waiting to happen.

I had so many questions! Questions like: How? And Why? I read the book. Dear Bitches, I give you Her Donut Shifters by Mia Harlan, with spoilers.

This story (it’s only 27 pages long) is about Jetta, a woman who is highly sensitive to magic and who also despises donuts. When a trio of donut shifters (three men who shift into donuts) opens a bakery next door, the mere smell of donuts threatens to ruin Jetta’s life. She is truly miserable.

She goes for a drive to escape the smell and ends up at a cafe (the setting of the next book, Moonlit Nephrite) where she drinks a spelled pumpkin spice latte that sends her rushing to the location of her fated mate(s). Yes, she is fated to love that which she most hates – the three hunky donut shifters who own and run the donut shop. What to do?

Before I try to explain…anything, it’s only fair to mention that the writing is quite good. There’s not enough room for much characterization, but each of the three shifters has their own voice and personality, each of which highlights a different aspect of the physicality of being a baker and of being donuts. Andres enjoys the physical labor of running a bakery. Brooks loves the feeling of kneading dough and the happy memories that this elicits. York is able to match the perfect donut to each customer and takes emotional satisfaction in making people happy. It’s more thought out than “donuts are yummy” although certainly the taste and texture of donuts is discussed.

In their human forms, the three guys are tall and muscular (see: physical labor of running a bakery). York shifts into a jelly donut when he is startled or when he laughs (I found this to be adorable). Brooks is a ‘sympathetic shifter’, so whenever anyone around him shifts, he does too (into a lump of dough). Andres turns into a donut-shaped stress ball toy with a painted smile. I have so many questions, only some of which are answered!

When in donut/dough form, can they talk?

No.

Do they have eyes and ears etc?

Not really, but they can see and hear apparently. They can glare “on the inside” whatever that means. 

Can they move in donut form?

No, they just sit there.

When donut shifters eat donuts, which they do, is it cannibalism?

Discussed but left unresolved.

Is the concept of donut shifters silly?

Discussed: The donut shifters love being donut shifters, but face a lack of respect in the shifter world, which discriminates against them for being “small and squishy.”

Jetta is mentally and physically repulsed by the thought, taste, and smell of carbs, gluten, sugar, and fat, including donuts and pizza. Is this a personality quirk, an allergy of some kind, or something more concerning?

Not discussed.

Frankly, I’m impressed that any of these questions are answered, and Jetta thinks of many more excellent questions, which are unanswered because she gets distracted by sex.

With regard to the sex, well…I’m both relieved and disappointed. No donuts go into any orifices other than mouth (not our shifter donuts, other, non-sentient donuts). No one even makes direct contact in donut form. Honestly, the sex would be exactly the same if there were no shifters at all, just three guys and a girl experimenting in an empty donut shop (this behavior can’t be sanitary, though). I regret to inform you that, despite the lack of penetration by anything other than a human penis, poor Jetta is still fated to likely have a UTI, because she likes the sensation of sugar on her clitoris (apparently the texture is interesting).

My personal feeling here is that I fervently do not want to read about donut sex, nor can I imagine what that might look like. AND YET, if I’m going to pay $2.99 for a book about donut shifters having sex, there had better be something other than four perfectly human people smearing frosting on each other. I read the book because the question of ‘How would donuts even have sex?’ would not leave my brain, and the answer, “They don’t” is a bit of a letdown.

The human group sex is perfectly fine, if surprisingly tame, apart from the UTI risks involved, but it’s not, you know…donut sex, per se. Not even the stress ball toy gets directly involved. There’s just a lot of delectable substances being rubbed on and licked off, which is great, but not really shifter sex specifically. Given that the entire plot is about whether Jetta and the guys will get it on, this is a big problem if you like, or at least expect, your shifter sex to involve aspects of the shifter forms. If you bought the book because you wanted to know how donuts get it on in donut form, then you will be disappointed.

All in all, this was a cute story that was much more thoughtful, humorous, and clever than I expected. The characters were adorable and the resolution to the conflict was clever. Although this is a fated mate story, no sex occurs without specific consent. It’s all very cozy. I’m even tempted to read the sequel about Andres’ cousin who turns into a giant block of ice and is framed for murder (Wynter). Just don’t expect any actual donut intercourse in this book, for better and for worse.

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