Tour’s Books Blog

February 16, 2009

BOOK REVIEWS: Mangus Pack Series by Shelly Laurenston

Pack Challenge

Go Fetch!

Here Kitty, Kitty

By Shelly Laurenston

These 3 full length novels are all good to very good, though my hands down favorite is Here Kitty, Kitty. It’s the stories of 3 friends – Sara, the tough kid with the damaged leg and unknown shifter heritage; Miki, the brilliant and slightly off kilter genius with boundary issues and an FBI arrest record for hacking; Angelina, a drop dead gorgeous Latina girly girl with anger management issues and great fashion sense. All three survived various kinds of childhood neglect thanks to their close friendship and their bond goes on into adulthood. They have each other’s backs. It helps that none of them is entirely sane. I wouldn’t classify any of these as ‘erotic’ romance, as the sex does not dominate the story as it does in what I consider ‘erotic’ romance. All have liberal use of various forms of the ‘f’ word, so if you’re easily offended by cursing, read a different set of books.

The books are available as ebooks from My Book Store and More and as trade paperbacks at Amazon.

Pack Challenge: Sara Morrighan, raised by a crazy and vicious grandmother who died unmourned 6 months ago, suffered serious physical injury as child that seems to suddenly be getting worse. And wouldn’t you know it, there are lots of strangers in town, including a biker group whose leader, Zack, seems real interested in her, some handsome, tall, well dressed blonds that don’t like her at all, and then there are the wolves who always have been around her house – oh, and someone keeps trying to kill her.

This first book sort of sets the stage for what follows in the next two books. Of the three, I found this one the least interesting, but even so, it was a good book.  It does help in understanding the interaction of the three friends in the subsequent books, but you really don’t need to read them in order.

My Grade: B-

Go Fetch!: Six months after Pack Challenge – Miki Kendrick is dividing her time between work, obsessing about defending her doctoral dissertation and worrying about having to see – and resist – her own personal wet dream again, Conall Viga- Feilan, a huge blond Nordic god of a werewolf. It doesn’t help that Conall just happens to be the best friend of the Alpha wolf of the Magnus Pack – Sara’s mate, Zack – and Zack and Miki have a strong mutual dislike going. But someone – or something – is threatening Miki, so Conall goes with her to Seattle – where he not only mates with her, but gets her pregnant and well, he figures it might be best to wait to tell her. OOPS!

The back story about the mysterious assaults on Sara from Pack Challenge gets some additional explanation here and more of that ongoing story unfolds. The supporting characters in the form of Professor Conridge, a really tough, no nonsense advisor, who happens to be married to a pack alpha herself and her family are an interesting addition to the book, but don’t really get enough ‘screen time’.

My Grade:  B

Here Kitty, Kitty: When Angelina sees Miki off for her flight to visit Sara, she literally bumps into a gorgeous hillbilly in the airport. A week later she’s heading off for her own flight to California for Sara’s birthday celebration when she’s attacked hyenas and saved by – was that two tigers who jumped to the rescue? She wakes up naked in a strange bed to see a tiger walking down the hall, it stops, walks into the room and shifts into the hillbilly from the airport – gloriously naked. Never one to rely on others, Angie plans to save herself. She fakes nausea, gets him to help to the bathroom, smacks him with the toilet tank lid, makes a run for it wrapped in a sheet, gets cut off by his 2 tiger brothers, runs to his bedroom, finds a shotgun and cuts loose when he gets near the door. (Angie gets huge points from me for moxie!)

Nikolai Vorislav figures his brothers have a lot to answer for kidnapping and then dumping the Latina termagant in his house. Finding out she’s best friends with Sara Morrighan, alpha of the Mangus Pack, makes things harder. A phone call to Sara and Zack and Angie learns about the attack on Miki and her pregnancy. So Angie figures it would be safest for everyone if she just sits tight till the pack can rescue her. She also decides her delicate sensibilities can only be soothed by shopping therapy. AmEx Black never looked so good. Sara has her inner wolf and a killer instinct, Miki has all those brains, but Angie, the girly girl of the three friends, ends up being the one that learns the unpleasant truth about the death of Sara’s mother and manages to bring peace to Pride and Pack – along with great fashion and high heels.  And those Ferrgamos end up being put to very good use.

Laurenston hits her stride with Here Kitty, Kitty and this book has the best cast of characters beyond the two leads. Angie and Nik are fun. Nik’s relationship with extended Vorislav family is well developed and really plays a major role in the story. Thanks to Vorislav’s and Angie, this story becomes better than just good.

My Grade: A-

Who would enjoy these books: Here Kitty, Kitty would have more universal appeal to romance readers than Pack Challenge or Go Fetch!  For those who like strong, independent female leads.

Though content varies, over all I’d rate these R to NC-17; I would not call any of them ‘erotic romance’.

You can read the review in Dear Author as well.

BOOK REVIEW: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

Long before House became a popular TV series, before actor Hugh Laurie was well know in the US, he wrote a book. A very good book. The Gun Seller.

“Imagine that you have to break someone’s arm.

Right or left, it doesn’t matter. The point is you have to break it, because if you don’t …… well, that doesn’t matter either. Let’s say bad things will happen if you don’t.

Now, my question goes like this: do you break the arm quickly – snap, whoops, sorry, here let me help you with that improvised splint – or, do you drag the whole business out for a good eight minutes, every now and then increasing the pressure in the tiniest increments, until the pain becomes pink and green and hot and cold and altogether howlingly unbearable.

Well exactly. Of course. The right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to get it over with as quickly as possible. Break the arm, ply the brandy, be a good citizen. There can be no other answer.


Unless, unless, unless.”

The arm being broken – and very, very slowly, is Thomas Lang’s, ex-para and minor thug for hire. But he does have scruples. Not many, but some. He doesn’t kill people. OK, he doesn’t kill people for money and the guy trying to break his arm doesn’t count. What follows is a caper thriller novel in the best tradition of Ross Thomas or Donald E Westlake. Blackmailed by threats to do something he really doesn’t want any part of, he never stops looking for the edge that will get him out alive.  Clever, witty dialogue and lots of plot twists keeps things moving.  No one is who they seem, not even Thomas Lang, who might just have a shade more good guy in him than he likes to admit. Written in the first person, with verve and character, Lang is an observant, sarcastic, sanguine about his circumstances, and morally flexible about most things when it comes to his own survival and that of the woman he’s become attached to. When the dust settles, he knows he has to ‘do the right thing’. And he does.

This book was a surprise and a very pleasant one. Settle in and go for a ride.

My Grade: A-

Who would like this book: Fans of caper novels by Donald E Westlake, Ross Thomas, Lawrence Block’s burglar series and those who like Blackadder TV series.  My rating would be PG-17

Create a free website or blog at