Tour’s Books Blog

March 13, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

Having discovered Shelly Laurenston in ebooks, I decided I buy the prints books of her Pride series.  These are the annoyingly expensive large format oversize paperbacks, but in the case of The Mane Event, the book is long enough to warrant it.  Actually, it’s not one book but two books combined – Christmas Pride and Shaw’s Tale, so it’s worth the price.

In Christmas Pride we meet most of the characters that will populate the Pride stories, the lions of the Llewellyn Pride and the Smith Pack of wolves.  Mason ‘Mace’ Llewellyn has just arrived home from 14 years in the Navy, mostly as a SEAL.  He and his friend, Bobby Ray ‘Smitty’ Smith, are planning on starting their own security firm in NYC, where the very wealthy, well connected Llewellyn Pride is also based.  The Smith Pack has too many Alpha males, so Smitty needs to get away and start his own and his very alpha sister, Sissy Mae, and some of the other pack members have joined him.  Lions and wolves don’t usually mix, but serving in the SEALs make for deep friendships.

Mace arrives home thinking about the woman who has been his own personal dream for the last 16 years, Desiree ‘Dez’ McDermott.  One of the Pride males, Brendon Shaw, drops him at the Llewellyn mansion where his sisters await his return “like fucking queens of the Serengeti.”  He’s the only Breeding male of the Llewellyn Pride and he knows what Missy wants – and she’s not getting it, because Mace has plans for Dez, not some lioness.
A Pride male was murdered and a homicide detective want to question Missy Llewellyn.  Thing is, the detective is Dez McDermott and she and Missy hate each other.  Mace walks in the Llewellyn mansion and hears the gravelly voice that has been haunting him for years.  The mutual attraction is nearly overwhelming.  Mace is determined to get what he wants from Dez.  She convinced he’s just looking to screw the one that got away.

Dez agrees to a date with Mace – reluctantly.  Mace is just too damn good looking.  And why does he keep sniffing her neck?  Mace is convinced Dez is trying to drive him crazy with lust. And there’s still that damn murder to solve – and it looks like the Brutales are involved.  And the Brutales are hyenas.  Laurenston does her usual fine job of telling the story of Dez and Mace with lots of laughs as Dez adjusts to the reality of shifters in her city, “There are bears?” – and a lion in her bed scaring the crap out of her trained attack dogs.  Christmas Day the McDermott and Llewellyn meet was excellent – and reminded me of my own family holidays.

Shaw’s Tail takes up part of the story where Christmas Pride ends where a badly injured Brendon Shaw still tried to protect Dez lands in a shifter hospital.  One of the Llewellyn females checks on him briefly and leaves, much to the horror of the wolves who would never leave a Pack mate.  Rhonda Lee Reed came up to New York when Smitty and his sister Sissy Mae, her best friend, decided to start a new Smith Pack in the city.  Anything was better than Tennessee without her friend around to get in trouble with.  When the Pack helped Mace Llewellyn to rescue Dez McDermott from the hyenas and took the seriously injured lion, Brendon Shaw to the hospital, she wasn’t expecting to stay, but Sissy Mae chose her to stay, so she was stuck with the lion.  Thing is, when shifters are healing, they get ‘the fever’ and they’re horny as teenagers.  Ronnie is a bit unnerved and when she gets back to Shaw’s room, there are two humans beat to crap on the floor, their .45’s in pieces.  But no Shaw.  She finds him in the stairwell in his hospital gown – the kind that lets his spectacular ass hang out.  To save him, she ends up bribing a cab driver to take them to her aunt’s house on Long Island, gets abandoned by her aunt and ends up alone with the lion for Christmas.  And just to keep things interesting, they tend to keep shifting forms.  When his fever breaks, Ronnie takes off and runs back to the Pack’s hotel.

Brendon is worried about his half brother Mitch.  He’s been on the run for awhile and Brendon is afraid he’s in too deep with the very wrong crowd – like mobsters.  Then there’s this really hot female wolf that just seems to press all the right buttons for him – and she runs off the moment he’s better.  So now he has to hunt for HER too.  He goes back to the family owned hotel he runs, where his twin sister, Marissa, is unsympathetic about both problems.  But Shaw gets lucky in more ways than one.  The Smith’s are in his Kingston Arms hotel – where he lives.
Of course, it turns out the guys Shaw beat up were cops – maybe jackals and looking for his brother, who isn’t really in the mob.  Seems a LOT of folks are looking for his brother.  Then there’s convincing Ronnie he’s serious about her – forever.

As usual, Laurenston has strong, yet somewhat insecure female leads and males that are not at all afraid of strong females.  Her quirky humor and in your face style makes for a fun and funny read.  Her books are not for those looking for traditional characters, or ever traditional shifter characters where the female ‘submits’ to the male, especially in animal form.  These leads stand toe-to-toe and love it.  In Shaw’s Tail, Laurenston fills in some of the dynamics of the Pride interaction which helps in understanding how male and female lions relate to each other and their young.

The other shortcoming in both stories is the ‘mystery’ is like background music and should have been at least equal to love story parts.  Also, there was very little character development beyond the main romantic leads, so for two short novels, the storylines were pretty thin – more like attenuated short stories.   More substance would have made both stories much better.  Both have more sex and less story than her Mangus Pack series, but unlike most shifter writers, the sex does not get kinky.  The Mane Event stories are fun reads, but not her best work.

My Grade: B


Who would enjoy this book:
Fans of Christine Warren’s Fixed series, Lynsay Sands and Jory Strong’s Angelini books

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: