Joint Review: Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)       
Grade-C+(Kay) B(Anne)
Hotness Level-Blaze
Kink Level-No Kink
Series-Pride #9
Genre-Paranormal
Reviewed by Kay & Anne
384 pages

From Kay:I got approved to read this book from NetGalley and was so excited. I’m a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series and have enjoyed most of them. I love the humor she brings into every story. Yes, sometimes it’s over the top and ridiculous but that just seems to endear it to me even more. This installment is about Vic, a tiger/bear mix and Livy, a honey badger. I know what those of you that haven’t read a Laurenston novel are thinking. Wtf?

In this book you get love, suspense and as I mentioned before, hilarious humor. I belly laughed quite a bit as I always do. Livy’s fight to be accepted for who she is and the career she wants was very fun to read about. I mean, she’s from a crime syndicate family and could probably lead that family but no, she wants to be an artist.

Vic has a law enforcement past and is an all around nice guy. His reactions to Livy are very sweet. He’s very much the calm to her storm.  He dives right into helping her with no prodding. I loved the behavior description of Vic in the story. He’s laid back, like a bear, until he can’t be anymore. He has feline moments where he’s kind of a hot mess.  Now, Livy is a hot mess all the time.

There were a couple of creep factor moments for me in the story though. They both had to do with during or after their lovemaking and his tail would pet her. Eww, I don’t like mid-shift love scenes. That was my big complaint with this novel. If I had to pick the main reason for my lower than normal review rating for a Laurenston book, I just didn’t warm to the characters as much as I have to other ones in this series.

I don’t want to give too much away because this author can really tell a story and fans of this series want to savor every word from her. I am so very sad that she is going to take a break from this series for a while. What will I do without an update on my favorite characters from her other books? Mace, Dez, Smitty, Sissy Mae, Ronnie Lee, those Reed boys, Gwen, Cella, Irene, the Van Holtz family, Blayne, Toni and her siblings? Or my very favorites, the Shaw brothers, DeeAnn Smith and Bo Novikov? I’m already in mourning.

Side note- Anne, I will not get over my mourning by reading this author’s Dragon Kin series, so don’t even suggest it yet. I’ll get there eventually.  (Note from Anne: you read my mind!  But I’ll keep my mouth shut!)

In close, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from this series.

“You just carry around piles of condoms?”-Vic“In case I feel like taking on the hockey team one night. You know, when I’m bored.”-Livy

“I can see it in your big, dumb cat eyes.”“Well, that was unnecessarily mean.”

“I don’t ask the hyenas to do it.”“No. But you associate with the Smith Pack, Demon dogs of the Underworld.”

From Anne:I was also really looking forward to reading this book.  Shelly Laurenston is one of my favorite authors, in my top ten for sure.  This was certainly not the best book in the Pride series, but I really liked it.  Usually Kay and I text Laurenston quotes back and forth to each other as we read.  It’s taught me to be very careful about texting.  It’s a little awkward when you text your 20 year old son a line from a Laurenston book.  So, yeah, my Laurenston reading time is generally punctuated by careful texting.  That didn’t happen so much in this story.  It was really funny, but not so many of the one liners we text to each other.

For me the weakest part of the story was the romance between Vic and Livy.  The sex was hot, but their romance wasn’t really memorable.  I did have the same issues with Vic’s tail as Kay did.  I don’t have have half-shifter issues, but a tail with it’s own mind… yeah, that didn’t work for me.

I did really enjoy Bo having a decent role in this book.  And the panda shifter, Shen was the best new character introduced to the series since Bo.  Well, Livy, too.  Best new character since Livy.  His panda ways really kept me laughing!

Even though we didn’t text about it, we did share some emails, so here’s our conversation:

AnneI thought Bite Me read more like a Sci Fi book with a romance sub plot.  I mean, their relationship is clearly the focus of the book, I guess it just wan’t really romantic for me.  What did you think, Kay?

KayI felt something was missing from the book. I was left wanting more. The humor was there but not in the over the top way it usually is. I have commented before about her heat level declining from earlier books in the series but now the humor is too. I read somewhere that she was taking a break from this series and maybe that’s a good thing. Get some fresh ideas. Write about the Reed boys but include the Smith pack. Write about Marisa’s Shaw or Mace’s sister. Or Irene’s kids. 

This is still worth reading but for the level of excitement I had, I couldn’t help feeling let down.

AnneWas there anything you really liked?  For me it was the relationship between Bo and Vic.  It just cracked me up!  I also really liked how she was always hiding in the cupboards.   

Anything you didn’t like?  For me it was Vic’s tail.  The thought that it had a mind of it’s own, even jokingly, pretty much squicked me out!

Kay

I did like the relationship between Bo and Vic. Also the cabinet hiding was great and I totally agree about the tail. Ewwww.

I liked Toni’s part a lot, she made me laugh. The Panda was hilarious too.

In closing, we both enjoyed the story and would recommend you read it.  If what Kay heard about Laurenston taking a break is true, I’m sad!  But I’ve always got G.A. Aiken books to read, so I’ll survive!

Short Rides by Lorelei James

Short Rides (Rough Riders, #14.5)
Grade-B+
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-Moderate
Series-Rough Riders #14.5
Reviewed by Kay

Let me start by saying that this will be a joint review between Kate and I. We have each done a review with Anne but not one together. I’m super excited about it! We’ll each give our reviews, a list of our faves of the series and our not so much faves. I hope you enjoy the review as much as we enjoyed the book and writing it.

This novel has three separate parts-

The King Of Hearts is about Cam McKay who is the deputy of this hometown since his discharge from the armed services. He was badly wounded and ended up with part of one leg and hand amputated. On Valentine’s Day there is a murder suicide committed and he is on the scene. It was very disturbing because of the nature and brutality of the crime. It also talked about PTSD and getting treatment for it. It was okay for me but a little preachy about gun control. I did enjoy his scenes with the kiddos.

Rough Road was about Trevor, Edgard and Chassie Glazner. They are a committed triad. If you are unfamiliar with that, it means they are all lovers in a committed relationship. They all have children together and raise them together. This story deals with prejudice against their lifestyle involving their son. He’s bullied by a child at school and he questions his parents about what the “F” words means.
I do want to point out that the parents of the bully were worst case opinion people. Not every one who disagrees with someone’s lifestyle is a jerk about it. I loved the support they got from their extended family and the lovely vacation they got to take.

All Knocked Up is about Jack and Keely Donohue who are awaiting the arrival of baby number one. Between work schedules and pregnancy hormones it’s a wild ride. The bonus to this story is that we get multiple babies!

I enjoyed all three stories and can’t wait for the next installment in this wonderful series.

My personal favorites in order are (I didn’t rate the novellas):
Raising Kane
All Jacked Up
Cowgirls Don’t Cry
Chasin’ Eight
Rough, Raw and Ready
Kissin’ Tell
Branded As Trouble
Cowgirl Up And Ride
Tied Up, Tied Down
Long Hard Ride
Shoulda Been A Cowboy
Rode Hard, Put Up Wet
Cowboy Casanova
Gone Country

Don’t get me wrong, I liked them all but some more than others. Now, on to Kate.

What does a series that already has 14 full length books (#15 is slated to be released on 6/18) and 2 novellas need? *waiving hand in the air* OOH, ooh, pick me. I know. An anthology containing a short story and two novellas!

King of Hearts featuring  Cam and Domini left me feeling a bit flat. It gives a glimpse of their home life, but it was lacking the heat that I’ve come to expect from a Rough Riders book.   D, blaze

Rough Roads revisits Chassie, Trevor and Edgard as they celebrate their anniversary and deal with issues their oldest son is having at school. I loved this one.  B+, inferno

All Knocked Up follows Jack and Keely through the end of her first pregnancy. This one made me laugh out loud. B, inferno.

For those of us waiting for the next installment in the Rough Riders series these stories will help fill the void and pass the time. I’m curious to find out how many of you are riding the Rough Riders train? What was your favorite book so far?

Kate’s favorites in order:

I’ve not listed them before and it was funny because some of them I actually felt my lip curl just reading the title. And Kissin’ Tell would have been a few spots lower on the list except for Lorelei James’ masterful use of a trampoline 🙂 Makes me smile every time I think about it. I’m curious to know what your favorites are.

1. Rough, Raw and Ready
2. Raising Kane
3. Tied Up, Tied Down
4. Branded As Trouble
5. Cowgirl Up and Ride
6. Strong, Silent Type
7. Cowboy Casanova
8. Kissin’ Tell
9. Should Been A Cowboy
10. Cowgirls Don’t Cry
11. Gone Country
12. All Jacked Up
13. Long Hard Ride
14. Rode Hard, Put Up Wet
15. Chasin’ Eight

Lover At Last by J. R Ward

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)
Grade-B
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-Low
Series-Black Dagger Brotherhood #11
Reviewed by Kay

Beware there are spoilers below!

Blay and Qhuinn? Where do I start? I loved it! I just loved it! Okay, first off, I am so glad J.R. Ward finally brought them together. We have all waited forever. The relationship has been painful to watch over the years. My heart has always went out to Blay and in the last two books, Qhuinn. Before that, Qhuinn was kind of an asshat. I know he was in denial but come on! Watching their love unfold in this novel was beautiful. I couldn’t be anymore happy.

The fight for the throne? Yikes, I’m kind of scared about this one. It should be very interesting how this unfolds. Wrath and Beth? A baby? I hope so. Wrath handling the glymera? Loved it!

Qhuinn’s brother? Hmm? We’ll have to see about him. I’m still mad at him for his previous treatment of his brother.

Xcor and Layla? Wow! I can not freaking wait for their story!

Trez and Iam? Oh, please, please, please. Now!

Saxton, what’s he up to? I really like him. I wonder if he’s gonna upset me.

Qhuinn and Layla? What a wonderful relationship! I’m glad Qhuinn has an actual female friend.

An induction into the Brotherhood? Qhuinn? What about John Matthew and Blay?

I had three big problems with this book though. One was Blay’s dishonesty with Qhuinn about the end of his relationship with Saxton. Two was Qhuinn being okay with what he thought was cheating with Blay against Saxton. And three, Assail, in general. Don’t like his character.  I hope I will learn to like him like I did Rev.

This was a great read and I can not wait for the next book! I wish the next book was Xcor and Layla but no, it’s Wrath and Beth. Oh well!