OK! I pre-ordered this book and read it almost as soon as it downloaded to my Kindle. From 11:30 p.m. until 7 a.m., I was stuck to this book like glue... except for bathroom and food breaks... and below are the reasons I gave it 4 stars (novel length, about 407 pages [e-book], 5723 marked locations, Table of Contents included):
1.) I actually would like to give it 3.5 stars instead of 4 stars... I liked it, but it was not as funny or engaging as other Pack/Pride books by Shelly Laurenston. The intimate encounters between Lou "Crush" Crushek and Marcella "Bare Knuckles" Malone are pretty hot, but not as romantic or emotionally engaging as in previous books. The story line intros a shifter "group" seemingly from no where, and although this is much more of an ensemble cast of characters, details of each character -- except Crush and Cella -- are slim... you will have to read other Pack/Pride books for their details. Cella's family is pretty detailed, but Crush's family is only moderately touched on. Crush's character also starts out with another nickname: Lou "By The Book" Crushek, but by the middle of the novel, he's pretty much given up his moral high ground. Not even sure why, other than something to do with shifters versus humans and Crush starting out as a under-cover vice cop for the NYPD (human division). Oh, and his foster mother is a crazy bear shifter with her fingers in a lot of illegal honey pots, and Crush enjoyed being on the good side of law which drove her even more crazy. The only other detail you'll find is that Crush has two brothers... but I don't want to spoil that surprise, which is a little bit of a funny read.
2.) Yes, I read bits about the main characters in previous books, but only the character of Marcella Malone was previously written in some detail, Lou Crushek was an almost unknown character -- but... Polar bear shifter! Yum!
3.) S. Laurenston tried out a slightly different writing style in this book -- VERY short sections of descriptions/dialogs that jumped back and forth between the characters in parts of the book... my guess would be that she was trying to convey two things happening in the exact same time frame, but in different locations or from different character points of view. It made the story a bit too choppy to be read comfortably at times.
4.) The action was OK, not great. The constant brawling between the Cella Malone and Dee-Ann Smith characters is getting old. Stale. Redundant. Stale. Annoying. Redundant...
5.) There was no introduction to any possible new romances for another book... this is something that is definitely missing from this book. Even the 'Big Bad Beast' had a few hints for possible new stories -- nothing as concrete as 'Beast Behaving Badly,' when it was pretty obvious that Rick and Dee-Ann would be getting together in their own story -- but, nothing even hinted for the next issue... A new character was introduced, Sophie DiMarco, thief, full-human, who might end up with a shifter mate in a future story, but will she be on the good or bad side? Or, possibly, in the middle, working as a full-human for the Group? She gets quite a bit of play in this story -- will she be an "ancillary character" or an "awkward romance?" Who knows?
6.) Umm-hmmm. I can't think of anything else at the moment. Except, maybe this one will not make my "Read Again and Again" book list. I've read S. Laurenston's other Pack/Pride books at least twice each. Other titles -- Go Fetch: Magnus Pack (Book 2), Here Kitty, Kitty: Magnus Pack (Book 3), The Mane Event, The Beast in Him, The Mane Attraction, The Mane Squeeze and Beast Behaving Badly -- I have read at least 3 or 4 times. They make me laugh out loud!! Every time!!
I was really hoping the next Pack/Pride book would be from the Magnus Pack series. Those character stories were some of the funniest and most delightfully entertaining -- and HOT! -- books by S. Laurenston -- or any paranormal romance writer I've ever read. I really liked it when the Magnus Pack were mentioned in some of her other stories as well, like The Beast in Him. It kind of tied the whole lot together, which was fun!
I am looking forward to the next G.A. Aiken "Dragon Book #6" but I can't wait for a new Pack/Pride book either. HINT, HINT!