Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Big Bone Lick Pack by Kendall McKenna, Jambrea Jo Jones, Cherie Noel

Big Bone Lick PackTitle: Big Bone Lick Pack by Kendall McKenna, Jambrea Jo Jones, Cherie Noel
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal, Anthology
Published January 23rd 2014 by MLR Press
Length: Novel 79,000 words

Rating: 3 Stars


Welcome to the Big Bone Lick Pack: A more friendly and hospitable group of werewolves you'll never meet! Visit with; 'Devil Dog & Bad Wolf', a 'Big Bad Bear' and enjoy some 'Shifty Fox Shenanigans'. Watch yourself, 'round the state park, 'cause we had a grizzly on the loose, just a bit ago. Our brave men and woman of the Boone County Sheriff's Department have everything under control. (Except maybe their own love lives!) But if find yourself needing a doctor, head on down to Rabbit Hash clinic, or St. Elizabeth's Hospital is just up the road a piece. We hope you enjoy your stay.

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From the title, you can tell this is a humorous shifter story with lots of sexy in-bed scenes. In general, all the characters don't try to fall in love too fast. Even though they know their mates/destined lovers, they still have doubts and insecurities about their relationship. These short stories are meant to be short and fun and a happy ending is guaranteed for everyone.

This is a very enjoyable and fast read. It's best to read the stories in order. Even though the three stories happen at roughly the same time, the characters and major events are introduced in order of the story listings. Overall, this is a cohesive anthology set in the same world with the same set of characters interacting with each other. The last few pages are a combination epilogue for all three pairings.

Devil Dog and Bad Wolf   - 4 stars
Seth goes camping alone in Big Bone Lick state park to prove werewolves don't exist but gets mauled by a grizzly bear. Asa, alpha wolf in this territory, fights off the bear before the bear can kill Seth, who is Asa's mate.

I liked this story the best. It has a good set of characters and I love the emotional build up in the story. Asa's fight with a grizzly bear is epic and the hospital waiting room scene is full of heavy emotion like fear and dread. Even though Seth doesn't put up a fight against the reality that werewolves exist and he's mate to a werewolf, it's not hard to suspend my disbelief since his mentality is well explained.

The Big Bad Bear  - 2 stars
This is sort of like a sequel to the first story and focuses on the bear. Kane is ordered by the alpha, Asa, to hunt down the bear that attacked Seth. Dov, the bear, is actually Kane's mate and he suffers from a head injury that caused him to randomly attack strangers.

I feel like the romance is lost and everything moves too fast into bed. I keep worrying about Dov's head injury since Kane doesn't insist on getting Dov checked out by a doctor even though he knows that head injuries are serious. Kane isn't being the responsible boyfriend. It's also disappointing that the mystery of why Dov crashed isn't solved. It's not clear whether Dov's accident was accidental or attempted murder. I feel like the story stirred me one way but didn't follow up and left me at a cliffhanger in terms of the mystery. Overall, everything can be developed further in this story, but it's nice to know the bear gets his happy ending.

Shifty Fox Shenanigans   - 3 stars
Josiah is trying to gain a higher status than an omega in the pack hierarchy but he's acting like a lone wolf, a worse status, by avoiding all pack functions. His mate is Simon whose shifter identity is unknown, was raised as a fostered child, and had a bad boyfriend experience.

I like the complexity of the MCs' backgrounds and it makes for an interesting story. Josiah have to woo Simon and break the news of the shifter world to him. They don't fall in love instantly but the attraction is there. I have lots of clarifying questions about the omega position, why some shifters first shift so late, and dream shifting since these are not fully explained in the story. Overall, I enjoy reading their progression from strangers to lovers and like the previous stories, this is a fun and sexy read.

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