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Friday, May 4, 2012

'Bear Meets Girl' Pride series #7 by Shelly Laurenston

From the BLURB:

He's big, burly, and way smarter than your average shapeshifting bear. He's also about to get trapped by own his game. . .

Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy. But once someone starts killing the scumbags he works so hard to bust, that really gets under his fur. Especially when that someone is a curvy she-tiger with a skill set that's turning Crush's lone-bear world upside down--and bringing his passion out of hibernation. . .

As a member of an elite feline protection unit, Marcella Malone has no problem body-dropping anyone who hunts her kind. But Crush is proving one major pain in her gorgeous tail. The only reason she's joined forces with him is to track down the wealthy human who's got her entire species in his ruthless sights. It sure isn't because Crush's stubborn and contrary attitude is rubbing Cella in all the right ways. . .

Marcella Malone has a few problems. Number one is that she just woke up wrapped around a big, gorgeous polar bear named Lou Crushek (who also happens to look like a crazy biker junkie). Second is the fact that her eighteen-year-old daughter is a brainiac nerd, getting ready for final exams and being a bit of a bore at home. Third is that Marcella’s fellow feline aunts are hounding her to start dating – and one aunt in particular is getting on Marcella’s last nerve. Fourth is the elite feline protection unit Marcella is dedicated to and currently working on an investigation with – while also kicking butt on the ice-skating rink as a mean and talented ice-hockey player.

But let’s go back to problem number one – the gorgeous polar who Marcella enjoys teasing, and who happens to be ex-undercover narcotics officer, Lou Crushek. . .  and who could help Marcella with problems three to four.

‘Bear Meets Girl’ is Shelly Laurenston’s seventh book in her paranormal romance ‘Pride’ series.

This book took me so long to finish reading. According to Goodreads, I began on March 27 and didn’t finish reading until April 24. Phew! That is a very long reading time, for me. Honestly though, I knew things weren’t going great for this particular ‘Pride’ installment when I took it to read on the train. A weird way to measure one’s enjoyment of a book? Perhaps. But with all other Shelly Laurenston books I haven’t been able to read them on public transport – because I just knew I'd laugh, guffaw and embarrass myself reading them in public. With ‘Bear Meets Girl’? No such worries. Sure, I chuckled while reading, but this seventh book didn’t elicit the same unmitigated joy as all other ‘Pride’ installments did in the reading. . .

In all other ‘Pride’ books, I felt Laurenston did a fantastic job of balancing the laughs with the lust. In this seventh book the romance takes a long time to develop and is somewhat overpowered by complex side-stories. Lou is stubbornly opposed to dating Marcella for a good long time. When he wakes up with her, naked, in his lap the morning after a big party (jello shots are to blame, but nothing transpired) he is horrified and embarrassed. Lou continues to be horrified and embarrassed when he keeps bumping into Marcella, at the police station where he works in the new supernatural unit and where Marcella works for the crack feline unit. And then Lou keeps seeing her at the ice-skating rink, where Marcella just so happens to play on Lou’s favourite ice-hockey team (and he learns, is descended from hockey royalty). Throughout these encounters Marcella revels in flirting with Lou, because it makes him so awkward and flustered (polar bears tend to hate change, while cats love mischief);

“My goal is to get you to loosen up. You’re so uptight.”
“Why do you care if I’m uptight or not?”
“Because I’m a caring and giving person.”
Imitating her stance, Crush crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at her.
Finally, after a couple of minutes, she finally admitted, “All right, fine. In truth, I just like how your face gets all red when I embarrass you.”
“Honesty. How nice of you to finally use some.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I only torment those I actually like.”
“Why would that bit of information make me feel better? That’s like saying ‘I only set fire to the ones I love.’”

It takes a lot of back-and-forth and figurative pulling of pigtails (Lou’s) before these two admit they have actual feelings for one another. In my opinion, it took a little too long. The laughs and awkward moments were cute and all, but it meant that when things did get hot n’ heavy, there had been just a little too long of the goofing around so the transition to intimacy felt skewed.

I also think this particular ‘Pride’ installment had a few too many side-stories and minor characters. In this book Laurenston brings in the supernatural crime unit (headed by Dez from first book ‘The Mane Event’), plus the paranormal ice-hockey team (owned by Ric Van Holtz, from ‘Big Bad Beast’). I prefer the ‘Pride’ books in which one group of paranormals is in focus – like ‘The Beast in Him’ being all about the Smith wolf pack mixing with the wild-dogs. On another note; one thing I really like about the ‘Pride’ series is getting to meet minor characters who will eventually become main protagonists when their books come around – with Lou and Marcella, this is the first time we’re meeting them (at least to my memory), so I wasn’t previously invested in their romance.

I will admit that ‘Bear Meets Girl’ was still pretty funny and when Lou and Marcella stopped goofing around and actually got serious, they were pretty hot. But I felt like it was a long, slow slog to get to the good bits in this seventh book (whereas other ‘Pride’ books are usually consistent with chuckles and blushing). But all in all, this has been the worst in an otherwise unblemished series.



  1. I agree, this wasn't the best out of the series, which is too bad because I had been looking forward to reading another bear-shifter hero from Laurenston.

    I think we have met both Crush and Marcella before, but they played extremely minor roles. I know Marcella was the feline-shifter that Dee was always fighting with in Big Bad Beast. I don't remember which book Crush is in, but I'm pretty sure one of the main characters in a different book briefly approaches him for help with something. LOL I know that doesn't help much.

    Hopefully, the next installment in the series will be better. :)

    1. Ohhhhhh... no, I have no recollection of meeting Crush or Marcella, lol. Still, I wasn't impressed with this book overall, glad I'm not alone.

      I have my fingers crossed for better instalments. In particular, I want Johnny and Kristan’s story! (the wolfdog and wolf teenagers of Jessica Ann’s pack.)

    2. I also want the story of Johnny and Kristan!!
      It would be so interesting for sure.

  2. I've only read this author as GA Aiken. I need to try this series.

    1. And I haven't read GA Aiken yet, and I need to :) 'Pride' is amazing (this book, more so-so) definitely need to give it a read.

  3. Hi! I'm an old gfc follower of yours. :)
    I'm sorry to bother you, but if you have time, Would you please visit my blog and follow me back?

  4. I know quite a few people who love this series, but I haven't actually managed to get to read it yet! One day...maybe.


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