Monday, July 22, 2013
ARC Review: Lions, Tigers and Sexy Bears Oh My! by Candace Havens
Author: Candace Havens
Publisher: Entangled Covet
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
A Montana town where no one is who they seem.... Everything about runaway heiress Ainsley McLeon screamed trouble—from her luscious midnight locks to her Louboutin-clad toes. Yet sexy, stoic bar owner Luc couldn’t deny the instant connection he felt to the tempting stranger…or the long-dead feelings she evoked. She could work in his pub until her truck was fixed but after that she had to leave town for good. Ainsley traveled with her own emotional baggage and there was no way she'd fall for the bear-tempered Luc...no matter how many passionate nights she spent in his bed or how safe she felt in his muscular arms. Can these two opposites find love in the middle of a blizzard, or will Luc's darker side and Ainsley's past catch up with them?
After reading this book I'm left with the overwhelming urge to read more books about hot, alpha bear shifters. Actually, hot, alpha bear shifters who are not only hot, but are also strong, protective, growly and, oh yeah, hot. Is that too much to ask? If it is then I guess this book will be getting a lot of re-reads because at this point I just can't get enough of Luc.
Before I get into the meat of this review let me first say that Shifter books tend to be hit or miss for me. Either the author hits it out of the park or it ends up feeling like a romance with people who can shift. I'm happy to say that with this book the author nailed it and though it might not be a home run, it's at least a triple!
We first meet Ainsley as she's driving through a blizzard. She crashes her vehicle when she spots a tiger, yes a tiger, and she's pretty certain she's going to freeze to death or be tiger food. Thankfully for purposes of the story, this doesn't happen. Instead, this encounter puts her in the path of Luc, the sexy, brooding, grumpy, alpha who's a bear shifter. Yes, I said a bear.
And despite there only being only 164 pages to this story Ms. Havens packs the book with both emotion and sexy times that burn up the pages. Though it did get a bit annoying that Ainsley was pretty perfect in every way and in everything she did (or seemed to be for a good portion of the book), I still liked her. (Except for one portion which I will refer you to later in the review.) The plot was good for a book of this length and even though the romance happened quickly, this is almost always the case when it comes to shifter books so I didn't mind a bit.
Besides, how could you not fall head over heels with one look at a tall, dark, handsome, grumpy bear of a man?! *wink*
The book also had it's humorous moments. When Ainsley gave the troublemakers at the bar a talking to (and a bit more!) for being obnoxious, she cracked me up. As did Luc's reaction. Here was Ainsley, a woman who was born and bred in Beverly Hills, working in a dive bar and telling a bunch of shifters to behave. It wasn't cheesy or out of place either. With Ainsley's character and who she was, it totally fit.
Most of the suspense part of the story takes place off screen. We hear about it but we don't get much with guns a-blazing. This is good since it's not an overly long book and so the focus is on Ainsley and Luc instead. The biggest problem I did have with the story was when Luc and Ainsley made things a bit overly complicated. Or rather, Ainsley did. As is often the case in these kinds of books, miscommunication occurs and the happy couple is not so happy for a time. I was not happy at all with how Ainsley handled things. Sure Luc freaked out. This is normal. Hell, anyone would have that kind of reaction but with what Luc went through how he reacted was totally acceptable. And he tried to apologize. Repeatedly. But instead of understanding this Ainsley played games and one point seemed to be testing Luc. When this happened, I was seriously pissed off at her. I think given the field I work in I am especially sensitive to this situation (and I know I'm being vague about what happened between the main characters but I don't want to give it away!) so maybe this is why I had the negative reaction I did. Maybe others won't be bothered it. But it just is not a trope I'm found of. So I was eternally grateful that it didn't last that long and was resolved without too much delay.
The only issue in terms of editing/narration I had were that, at one point I thought the setting was in Montana. But then they mention going to Upstate New York and then back home in a day. I re-read those parts a few times, thinking I got it wrong, and I'm still not sure. Maybe my eyes were tired at the time or I totally read it wrong. Whatever the case, it doesn't really matter in the end and it didn't distract too much from the overall story. It was the events that took place during this time -not the specific location- that was important.
Oh, and there is an epilogue. I loved it. I'm not sure if this book will be part of a series or not but I am kind of hoping it is. I really liked the world the author built and of course Ian needs to find his mate!
And now, after reading this book, I'm on a shifter kick. I need to find some more PNR-shifter books like this-a well written, tight plot. careful world building and interesting, fun and sexy characters. Have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
*I received this ARC from the publisher, Entangled Covet, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*