Review: Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Format: Trade Paperback (also available as an ebook)
Pub Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Length: 407 pages (ARC length, finished edition may differ)
List Price: $14.00
FTC: ARC courtesy of the publisher

I got my hot little hands on this ARC a few weeks ago and did a happy dance. I needed a funny book, and Shelly Laurenston never lets me down. And of all of Laurenston's shifter books, I love the bear ones best. They. Are. Hysterical. There's something about the bears that make me happy.

It begins with Jello-o shots. Or the aftermath of a few too many of them, to be precise. Lou Crushek wakes up at a friend's house, naked, with an equally naked woman he doesn't know draped over him. And Cella, the unknown woman, gets way too much enjoyment out of torturing the hungover, confused polar bear shifter.

She sat up. "Well...now I'm awake."
"How annoying for you." Crush struggled to sit up, ignoring the screaming in his head.
"What are you so cranky about?"
"You basically just told me you used me like a giant pillow."
"You were comfortable. And you didn't yip once. I hate the yipping."
Crush is less than pleased when he's forced to transfer out of his NYPD unit into an elite shifter one. He was comfortable where he was doing undercover work and has a deep, abiding hatred of change. Adjusting to a new partner and division is stressful enough, but then he discovers that his Jello shot compatriot is not only known to everyone in the division, she's also an enforcer on his favorite pro-hockey team.

Most of the book is filled with Cella messing with Crush. He's a little stodgy and she is anything but.  I loved the interaction between the two, and Crush's grumpiness is adorable.

I only had a few minor issues with the book. One: there was little to no back story explained. Now, I've read the whole series, but someone new to the series would likely be lost. Really, really lost. Because we get a lot of characters from previous books thrown into this one. Fun for fans, but confusing for newbies.

My other complaint was about the integration of a plot about shifter hunting. It honestly felt like it was added in after the romance to increase the page count. It didn't fit well with the overall hockey/romance elements. The multiple shifter law enforcement agencies in here were left largely unexplained, and the 'investigation' seemed to happen largely off screen except for when it was time to fight. It was weird. I would have liked it to be a little more evenly spaced in the book, or if the hockey parts were minimized.

Overall, though, Bear Meets Girl was as hilarious as always, with trademark SL humor and silliness galore.

My Grade: B

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...

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