Today on The Book Pushers we have a rather fun conversation about Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston for you. My special guest is rather well known on the bookosphere. You might have seen her as Mad4rombks or NovelSidekick or even Fatin. You can find her on Twitter as @mad4rombks or @novelsidekick. You can also find her at RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk or Novel Sidekick. Regardless of the name she is another passionate book person. In fact my poor wallet winces whenever I look at her Goodreads wishlist or she starts asking if I have seen… During one of our twitter exchanges we discovered that another author we really enjoy is Shelly Laurenston also known as G. A. Aiken. When the opportunity to review Bear Meets Girl came up I immediately wanted to talk about the book with someone and the first person I thought about was Fatin. To my great pleasure she agreed. Below we answered the same questions separately and we hope you enjoy.
Publish Date: Out today
How we got this book: From the publisher
Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy—especially for a shapeshifting bear. 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 who’s bringing his passion out of hibernation…
Marcella Malone is a member of an elite feline protection unit, and 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. But there’s no denying that beneath that big, burly exterior is a man who knows how to rub her in all the right ways…
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
E: Bear meets Girl is the seventh in Ms Laurenston’s Pride series. Welcome Fatin to The Book Pushers. Thank you for joining me in this discussion *g*.
Fatin: I’m so thrilled you asked me to do this with you, thank you!
1. What is it about Ms Laurenston’s writing that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more?
Fatin: The wicked humor she puts into her books. I know when I start a new Shelly Laurenston or G.A. Aiken book that I’m in for a fun ride and I try not to read them in public because the majority of them have me giggling like crazy to the point that I get weird looks if I read them out in public. Actually, that also goes for reading them at home. The girls, especially my oldest, always ends up making a comment of “You’re laughing that much over a book?” I am looking forward to the day that she’ll take me up on my offer to see why I laugh so much when reading Shelly’s books.
E: I love the over the top characters, men and women both. Their personalities are so distinct and even when a character appears to be less openly fierce then the others their hidden depths come out. I also really enjoy how her characters and their relationships aren’t limited to their same species but still have to deal with prejudice and cultural differences. The heroines never sit back and wait to get rescued but sometimes need someone to calm their reaction slightly. Their friends are around not just as the trusty sidekick acting as a foil but you can actually see why they became friends and are still really good friends. In other words the friends are just as crazy as the primary characters. I always know that when I read something that Ms Laurenston, also writing as G. A. Aiken, has written I will start off giggling and end up in full-blown laughter. In fact when I am re-reading for the umpteenth time I will often start giggling in advance of certain scenes.
2. What were your thoughts about Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone when she first arrived in this series? What do you think about her now?
Fatin: I think I remember saying “ouch!!” the first time I read a scene between her and Dee-Ann. Mercy, they’re vicious in their fighting and yet there’s also a friendship in between all that physical fighting. From the start of Bear Meets Girl, Cella had me giggling off and on with the way she acted with Crush and with her family. Her loyalty to her family, team and to the Group was everything to her. She is who she is and she makes no apologies for it.
E: When Marcella first showed up I had no idea she would become a heroine. I thought she was just another example of how Dee-Ann never really got along with most people but I should have known better. Getting to see inside her mind and her struggles with her family, her daughter who well…lets just say they didn’t quite understand each other, and then her fears regarding her sports career. I never would have guessed. There was the way she handled both ‘Ric” van Holtz and ‘Bo” Novikov in their regular discussions about the management of the hockey team. The way she tormented poor Crush and yet demonstrated that she paid attention to what he wanted. Her determination to take down whomever was after her kind. Marcella ended up being extremely complex and a lot of fun to learn about.
3. What about Lou “Crush” Crushek? And his total obsession with hockey?
Fatin: I was hoping Crush would get his own story when we met him in the previous book, Big Bad Beast. He’s so by the books when it comes to his job and then he’s put together with Dez, Smith & Cella and he had no idea how to react. So funny! His obsession with hockey was hilarious. He was so standoffish at times but then when it came to hockey he was such a super-fan and I loved seeing his reaction every time Bo was around.
E: Lou was such an enigma in his earlier appearances. He never had much to say, did appear to get along with McDermont aka Dez but also seemed to be just one of many. I loved his hockey obsession because it brought so much depth to his character. One of the many scenes that made me laugh was when he got to meet a few of his hockey heroes in person. I have come to the conclusion that, so far, bears appear to be the most stable of all the guys. Umm *remembers other bears* or maybe they are just harder to rile up. Crush was the perfect balance for Marcella with his absolute horror of her to begin with and then later how he finagled to get her to see she had a lot more then just being “Bare Knuckles”.
4. What did you think about the villain(s)? Do you think they got what was coming to them?
Fatin: They were so cold-blooded that yes, they did get what was coming to them and I’m slightly bloodthirsty that I wanted it to be worse. See? Bloodthirsty. Heh.
E: There were three different types of villains. The ones that enjoyed hunting Shifters, the mastermind behind that particular organization, and then those directly targeting Crush and Marcella due to her involvement with him. The first group I think directly gets what is coming whenever they get caught. The third group also had a less then pleasant ending. I will admit I was glad Crush didn’t have to do something I think he would have regretted for the rest of his life. As for the mastermind…well you will just have to see. *evil grin*
5. How about the inclusion of the supporting cast, both those new to the series and old friends?
Fatin: I loved seeing all the previous characters in the story. This series is just so fun to read. I’m hoping Cella’s BBF Jai will have her own story in the future.
E: I really enjoy seeing throughout this series how characters I have met in previous books are currently doing. I think it adds to Ms Laurenston’s world. Watching them stay true to their previously established personalities while continuing to deal with the ever-changing situations is always fun. I think it also supports how characters with a cameo appearance in an earlier book have their starring role in a later book. With Ms Laurenston continuously introducing new characters the series stays fresh. I also get to wonder about who I think might be the next to have their story told.
6. What did you think about Crush and Bare Knuckles together?
Fatin: They were perfect. He needed someone like Cella in his life to shake it up some. I absolutely loved how she told him she loved him. That was just…so Cella. Anything different would have just felt very off in that scene, you know?
E: I enjoyed their personality differences and think that each one provided something the other needed. They seemed to fit the saying that “opposites attract” in a very good way. Crush needed some excitement and focus in his life outside of his job. Marcella needed someone who saw her as more then a hockey player and bare knuckles fighter. Together they provided me with a lot of laughs.
7. What was your favorite scene or quote?
Fatin: There were so many. The first scene when they wake up in bed together. The scene where Crush finds out who Cella is on the hockey team. The scenes with Blayne and Crush, how he didn’t know how to handle her. His gushing super-fan moments with the team and Cella’s father. Oh, and the scenes where Cella pretended that her daughter was too young to care for herself and Crush thought she was the worst mom ever. Those had me giggling.
E: I think my favorite scene is when Crush was panicking about his hair cut and ends up meeting Blayne who drags him to Gwen who cuts his hair. I thought that scene totally captured all three of their personalities.
8. Any other thoughts on Bear Meets Girl?
Fatin: I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. Although Bo and Blayne’s book is still my favorite of the whole series, Crush and Cella are now in the #2 spot for me.
E: With Bear Meets Girl I think Ms Laurenston went back to the humor and depth of characterization that I found sadly missing in Big Bad Beast. The complexity of her plot threads keeps growing as hockey, various secret enforcement groups, humans, and different species politics are all involved in taking what appears to be very simple and adding several different layers between the good guys and the bad guys. Sometimes it seems as if different enforcement organizations were making things worse because none of them were willing to work together. I was caught up wondering who was going to get to the mastermind first and what was Crush going to do about his own personal threat as things continued to escalate. And umm the smexy times were really hawt!
9. What do you think is going to happen to the Bear Protection Council (BPC) that keeps turning up?
Fatin: I don’t even know now that the head of it is no longer in charge. Will be interested to see who will take over.
E: I don’t think they are going to completely go away but I think we might see some potentially messy politics amongst the bears as they decide who is going take it over and what role they will play in the overall shifter community.
10. Who would you like to see next?
Fatin: At first, since I’ve read this whole series, I was hoping Hannah or Abby would get their story. Probably Hannah before Abby but now? Meeting Sophie and seeing that little bit of Mikey Callahan, I’m actually interested in those two characters more. What makes Sophie who she is?
E: I am torn between Hannah, the oldest of the hybrids, rescued by Blayne in Beast Behaving Badly and Sophie, the poor full human, who got involved because she rescued a shifter who was escaping from the clutches of the hunters.
We both decided this book was an A.
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