Part 2 of the Laurenston Shifterstavaganza!
Beast Behaving Badly
Him: OCD, anal retentive, superstar hockey player, lion-polar bear shifter hybrid, on Lock’s shifter hockey team.
Her: ADHD, bouncy, goofball wolf-wild dog shifter hybrid, plumber, best friend of Gwen.
Meetcute: Ten years ago, he stared at her…for a long time. She got spooked and ran away. Now they are thrown together through mutual friends, and their cooky opposites-attract vibe is so wrong it must be right.
These two are so cooky they border on obnoxious. Or maybe the go over. It depends on your taste.
If you don’t like Manic Pixie Dream Girls, steer clear of this book. Blayne is definitely that.
Bo is also a hilariously terrible person. He treats his team members, fans, and everyone he knows like shit. You see previously beloved characters jumping to tear out his throat. Fans think it’s an honor to be targeted by Bo’s wrath.
The best part of shifters is that all different breeds have their little quirks, so the even bester of best part is when hybrid shifters can make up their own quirks! Every one of them have slightly different issues with their mixed heritage, and it comes out with hilarious results!
Bo, polar bear-lion shifter, has white-blond hair that suddenly grows a foot if he’s angry or excited. His fangs are more like tusks and his animal is some sort of scary shaggy bear-lion.
Blayne blames her ADHD on her wolf-wild dog heritage, and has to run ten miles every day to stay sane.
Gwen from the previous books, a tiger-lion, can turn her head around 180 degrees.
I love the regular shifters’ slightly mystified reactions to the wacky hybrid results. They call Gwen’s talent her “weird neck thing,” and threatens that she will do it if they piss her off.
You get to see a softer side of both characters before they go back into their wacky caricatures throughout the rest of the series.
Shaggy bear-lion-betusked shifter? That I can believe. The only thing I have a problem with is the odd-couple vibe seems to be really TOO extreme. Can a person obsessed with punctuality REALLY put up with someone as spastic as Blayne?
This is why I read paranormal and regency. If a contemporary novel would put these two together, I would be analyzing their every move and getting extremely upset that they do not actually seem compatible.
Since it’s shifters, I just think, *shrug* #shifterproblems.
Big Bad Beast
Him: smooth, classy, filthy rich restaurateur, amazing chef, head of The Group (the Navy SEALS of the shifter world), owner and goalie of the Carnivores hockey team.
Her: Terse, sneaky redneck cousin of Bobby Rae Smith’s, part of the Smith pack, sneaky assassin, part of The Group, daughter of the scariest shifter assassin. Favorite saying: “Time to go a’killin’.”
Meetcute: met briefly as children, now thrown together with a tenuous boss/co-worker relationship. He lusts after her, but only her nasty apartment brings them together.
Deann and Ric have been in the ensemble cast since the beginning of this series, and Ric has been flirting with her for almost that long. So, I was just kinda…over it.
Didn’t really feel any tension. I like Deann and Ric separately as characters, but I wasn’t much interested in their story.
I do love, however, that Deann is building X-Men type hybrid shifter army, taking in homeless hybrid shifter kids and teaching them how to fight.
We meet some of the kids and it’s fun to see emotionally-stunted Deann try to help them work through their trauma. She’s like Batman!
I like that in this ever-growing rag tag ensemble cast, there are always cooky side characters that keep your attention just as much as the main characters. That’s why I loved The Beast in Him so much. Not only is there a hilarious wild dog pack and the sizzling tension between Jess and Smitty, but there is also an engaging side plot between two teenage characters. They both live in the wild dog pack, but aren’t related, and the boy is trying really hard not to be attracted to the girl, and is failing. Their awkward encounters promise a fun future love story.
I’m starting to see a theme here…
Okay, so in Laurenston’s Shifter World there is definitely an insta-love component. Not so surprising from a paranormal romance. Shifter books especially take advantage of the ability to make up some weird magical primal courtship bullshit. I’m okay with that, as long as it doesn’t get too boring.
This world is more relaxed than most. Wolves are the only ones that “mark” their mates, and it seems more like a cultural thing than a requirement. There’s no death-by-separation bullshit. Each group has a slightly different spin on it: some mark, some get married, some groups aren’t even monogamous. There isn’t some mystical magical moment where they say “mate” and birds, rainbows, and flowers sprout out of nowhere.
Just your normal, everyday Fall in Love By Sight, Rush Into Passion, and Be Irrevocably Paired For the Rest of Their Days type romance.
That part I like. I mean, why would I read silly romance if I didn’t? What gets me is that these particular shifters seem to find their mate WAY EARLY.
Ric and Deann met first when they were 9. Ric took one look at her and decided he would marry her. This happens again and again, yet the love stories start when they are in the perfectly reasonable age of thirty something.
How exactly are all these shifters not ending up 16, paired off, and pregnant?
It’s a small community. Not everyone leaves for years to come back and claim the sweetheart he left behind. You probably catch sight/smell of your mate way early, and then what? Just get together?
I think the magical part of this series is the unerring use of condoms. A condom is always mentioned, and shifters only have kids when they want to. Imagine that!
Bear Meets Girl
Him: By-the-book cop, terse, grumbly polar bear shifter. Works with Mason’s human mate, Desirae. Hockey superfan.
Her: former Navy SEAL, now part of the Group, partner to Deann Smith, ass-kicking assassin, bare-knuckle boxer, single mom, tiger shifter, hockey player for the Carnivores, the only one that can get along with Bo.
Ohh, I loved this. I liked the hero a lot. Because I love growly guys! Bear Shifters are the epitome of growly!!
I could NOT tell the heroine apart from Gwen, a previous character, however. Tiger-lion shifter dates grizzly bear shifter. Tiger shifter dates polar bear shifter. There are many similarities here.
First time showing a single mother! That was interesting.
My other favorite part was that the hero was quietly a superfan, and somehow managed to befriend the obnoxious hockey star Bo.
Wolf with Benefits
Him: Laid back, slow moving, smooth talking redneck, brother to Ronnie Lee, “one of the Reed boys,” part of the Smith Pack, works security at Bobby Rae’s security company. Wolf shifter.
Her: oldest sister of a family of ten child prodigies, master scheduler and planner, doesn’t know how to relax. Only job for many years was being mother/nanny/agent/personal assistant to her ten annoying, genius younger siblings. Jackal shifter.
Meetcute: Run into each other at a hockey game. She rejects him by having one her siblings ask, “are YOU my father?” Later, he is her bodyguard.
I wasn’t so interested in Toni, the heroine. The hero was fun in a laid back way, but not particularly interesting either. Lots of fun, cooky supporting cast members, though! The more the merrier!
I love the format of these books. Even if you are bored by the current couple, you can look forward to the next couple, as well as an ever growing cast of ridiculous side characters. Variety! Fun! Camaraderie! Quippy repartee between unlikely characters! Bo hanging out with the child prodigies is more than a little ridiculous and fun!