The Mane Squeeze
The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll put this right at the start and state that this is first Pride book, in fact, the first Shelly Laurenston / G.A. Aiken that I didn’t enjoy as much as the others in her series.

It wasn’t down to the lack of action, because there was. Nor was it down to the lack of hot scenes because there were plenty. The amount of laugh out loud scenes I’ve come to expect were in full abundance, too.

No, the only reason is because of the behaviour of one or two characters who have already had their books; Ronnie Lee Reed and Mitch Shaw. When Ronnie practically had her head bitten off (er…in a figurative sense. Clarifcation is definitely required with these shifter books), I felt for her. However, what Ronnie does to Gwen O’Neill, the heroine in this book is just plain nasty and mean.

As for Mitch Shaw, Gwen’s older half brother, whilst I get the protective older sibling act, he turns out to be a whiny brat. Although, having Lock, the hero of the piece ‘play’ with him is one of the previously mentioned laugh out loud scenes.

There. That’s the negativity out of the way.

We met Gwen O’Neill, a tigon shifter hybrid briefly in the previous book but Lock, a bear shifter is completely new. In fact, I think the whole concept of bear shifters is new to this series and Shelly Laurenston has done a superb job in translating the ways of a bear into man-format. Right down to the obsession with honey and salmon.

Obviously, whilst may be obvious to everyone else that they are to be with each other. it falls to Blayne Thorpe, Gwen’s hilarious best friend and wolfdog hybrid to launch Project Codename Bearcat to get them together with the help of Jess’s wild dog pack and an Insider.

It’s always great to see Jess and so far, out of this entire Pride series, she’s my favourite and gets a fair amount of page time herself in this book but that’s justified given her and Lock’s history.

As stated, they were plenty of action sequences including the most vicious roller derby match that I’ve ever heard of. There is also an introduction of a story arc involving shifter fights that looks to play out through the next book(s).

As for hilarity, the wild dog Hallowe’en party deserves special mention if only for the reaction that Lock’s costume causes. Although, Gwen’s drape shredding and neck twisting antics also rank high up there.

In fact, aside from the two characters this book would be on a par with the rest of the series. As it is, only 4.5 instead of the 5 that Shelly’s books normally get from me.

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