Tangling with the Bears by Lisa Oliver (review)

Tagline: Horny wolf has a doubly unbearable time after a bathroom hook-up

Tangling with Bears Book Cover

Title: Tangling with the Bears
Author: Lisa Oliver

Genre:  Parannormal M/M Shifter Romance
Format:  Novel  (89k words)
Series: Cloverleah Pack #8

Sites: Author |  Goodreads

Publisher: Self-Published (March 2016)
ISBN: 9781311551863

Retail: $4.99

Rating:   star  star  star  star   (I really liked it!)


Synopsis:  Tobias, a wolf shifter enforcer with the Cloverleah Pack, is looking for a quick, no strings-attached, hookup, but finds himself scarred by a toothy chomp on his neck from a restroom. After biting the anonymous wolf during the bathroom quickie, Luke a sometimes awkward bear shifter, immediately leaves to call his mate Kurt.  Both bear shifters are rather surprised that their third mate is not the human female they expected but a male wolf shifter.

Kurt must protect his mate while trying to track down their new mate, dealing with a pack Alpha prejudiced against bear-shifters while convincing himself, as well as the wayward wolf, to trust the fates that brought the triad together.  The bears will discover their immunity to magic might come in handy when dealing with the powerful Cloverleah Pack, which has plenty of shifter power and magical might running within the group as well as in their deadly enemies.

Review: Fans of the Cloverleah series will likely enjoy this latest installment, although I found parts of it to be not quite as compelling as some of the previous titles. Strengths of this paranormal m/m erotic romance series include extremely powerful alpha males, an increasingly complicated supernatural and political plotline, and, of course, plenty of heated male/male encounters.

The relationship at the center of Tangling with Bears focuses on a menage (m/m/m), and the exploration of the somewhat problematic start of this “instant mate” triad is a bit weaker than other parts of the book or series. On the positive side, the author is attempting to examine what can go wrong in a trope establishing an immediate and permanent intimate connection among the mates, giving the reader some “serious” relationship issues wrapped into the broader paranormal/pack plotline.

Luke and Kurt were interesting characters, sometimes just a little stereotypical but overall they served as nice foils for one another. The fears and hopes of Kurt and Tobias contrasted with Luke’s steady trust, and thereby creating the core relationship drama of the book. This trip through the “instant mate” trope, in this case for three mates, was nicely fresh if not always overly compelling to me.

As typical for this series, the author also explored problematic shifter and paranormal dynamics, deepening the pack’s story with, of course, plenty of explicit intimate encounters. Fans of the series will see the overarching plotline continue to develop with a new set of interesting (and nicely different) mates.  It can be read as a standalone, although surrounding characters and the deeper pack/political plotline will be most appreciated by those who have read the entire series.

Recommended for fans of: Cloveleah pack series; Bear shifters; MMM Menage; a lumbering Bear shifter who is sweet and stumbling and fearsome all at the same time.

Sizzle:
Explicit Heat: fire fire fire fire – A fair amount of explicit heat, an important focus of the book, but interspersed into plenty of story.
Passion: heart heart heart – The three-way chemistry was not quite as strong as I would have liked, but the book’s plot centered on the strain between two of the mates which slowly rose and fell, although not always as convincingly as I would have liked.
Genre:  Adult Romance


Other Comments:
As always, this does a great job of portraying fully reciprocal male intimacy.
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Soul Mate for Sale by Kian Rhodes (review)

Tagline: Abused human omega bought and mated by caring Alpha

Soul Mate for Sale Book Cover

Title: Soul Mate for Sale

Author: Kian Rhodes

Genre:  M/M Paranormal Erotic Romance
Format:  Novella (75 pages)
Series: The Omega Auction #1

Publisher: NDP Publications (March 2016)
ISBN: 9781530791543

Bonus: Kindle Unlimited title

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Tagline:  Abused human omega bought and mated by caring Alpha

This was a straight-forward, male/male romance story of an abused human omega sold and rescued by an attentive, caring Alpha werewolf. It’s set in a twist on an “omegaverse” universe where male Alphas knot and impregnate Omegas. The plot was simple, following the omega from abuse to life and love in a new pack. The theme of rescue was fine, but the characters were a bit flat.  While the chemistry between them had some sizzle overall it wasn’t particularly enticing to me.

In many ways, this reminded me of a “Stormy Glenn”/Siren Erotic Romance type of erotic story, which usually focus on plenty of explicit heat and conflict with quick moving plots, rapidly developing relationships and simplistic dialog.  This book has better dialog but much less drama, plot, and relationship conflict. Overall, it was a pleasantly diverting novella, providing a bit of knotting and potential Mpreg (male pregnancy) in a sweet, short Alpha and Omega story. The sizzle was present but relatively tame, punctuating an enjoyable if not overly heated quick and comforting read.

Heat: Plenty of physical tension and explicit scenes building from quick releases to full knotting

Note: This series, The Omega Auction, should not be confused with The Omega Auctions series by April Andrews.