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Friday, July 30, 2010

Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell



Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (187 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

To hold onto his love, he must release his beast.

Halle Shifters, Book 1

Once a Bear sets his mind on a mission, it’s best to stay out of his way. Alexander “Bunny” Bunsun is that Bear. Something’s not right with his cousin Chloe, and he’s come to Halle, PA, to sort it out, turn his Harley around and head home to Oregon. Until an enticing scent lures him into the local tattoo shop.

There she is. An inked, Southern-drawled she-Wolf with lime-green hair. His perfect mate.

Tabitha Garwood’s rotten day just got worse. Her Outcast status makes her a target for harassment with alarming regularity. And now, in the middle of a root touch-up, looking like a half-melted Skittle, she’s met her destined mate. The only upside? She finally has a protector in the form of a huge, tattooed, shaved-head Bear who vibrates with carefully restrained power.

When Chloe is left for dead and Tabby is threatened, only Alex can keep his growing family safe. Giving Tabby the loving home she needs, though, could come at a price—Alex must give up the control he’s worked a lifetime to attain.

Which means someone could die at the hands—and claws—of his beast.

I laughed, I gasped, I cheered and I had an absolute blast reading Bear Necessities. In fact, I wanted to finish this story so badly, I was late bringing my child to trumpet lessons and I was late getting into work all because I couldn’t stop reading.

It’s not too often that I find a book that hits all the right happy buttons with characters whose personalities, sense of humor, comic timing and even their problems totally have me hooked and invested in their wellbeing. Even at its most dire, when the suspense and drama and action all come together for an amazing pivotal moment in battle, there was humor and a sense that these people are real. By that I mean the author created well defined, relatable and believable personalities for all the people that I met in this story. The dialogue interplay between the hero and heroine and the secondary characters never hit a wrong note and in fact enhanced my enjoyment of the book. There were so many clever quips and little jabs at each other a reader could feel the closeness, the respect and the care they all have for one another. The friendships, the family connections, the love, it’s all there for a reader to enjoy.

I don’t want to come across as all gushy but I completely and totally adored Bunny and Tabby. I am not even sure where to start. Bunny a/k/a Alex is a werebear and a character I just wanted to hug. I enjoyed the depiction of a big, tough manly man doing yoga. And I got hot and bothered with Tabby’s interpretation of how fun Yoga could be. I respected Tabby because of her history, her pride, and her commitment to her friends. But what I really liked was her very open and accepting nature regarding Bunny. She left all that relationship confusion and angst to her two best friends. That situation between Cyn and Julian is another story and one that a reader gets a thorough background in during this book. I loved it and can’t wait for their tale to be told. As it is, Tabby is very enthusiastic about being claimed by her big bad Bunny but she doesn’t know everything there is to know about him. I had a rollicking good time reading the scene when she finds out that Bunny/Alex is not quite as helpless as she thought.

Even the secondary characters have their chance in the limelight. I get a feeling that there is a backlist I’m going to have to dive into because Max, Emma and Gabe were awesome. If this is a series, then this is my first venture into it and I can say that this book completely stands alone on solid ground. One thing it did do was whet my appetite for more by Ms. Bell. Her style of voice, character development and sense of humor as well as the kind of world building she’s done in Bear Necessities has wowed me. I want to know about everyone because the author did such a wonderful job in making them come alive.

The conflict is mostly external but it does have an effect on Tabby’s internal conflict. One feeds the other. I felt sad for Tabby until Bunny stepped in. Then I felt anticipation for what was to come as soon as Bunny came on the scene. No way was a big, growly hunk of a man going to stand down and let his lady try to defend herself. Even if she is a wolf.

Bear Necessities is necessary reading for paranormal romance readers who enjoy tales with a sense of humor, a healthy dose of steamy, and even fun, loving and a plot a reader can really sink their teeth into. Did I say teeth? That’s another thing. I look for sensual bite scenes in my paranormal romances and this book has them. They are hot, hot, HOT and I am a very satisfied reader. I could go on because there are so many delightful twists and turns, revelations and unique characters in this book, I can only recommend this story in the strongest way I know how by giving it the best rating I am able. Otherwise I run the risk of spouting spoilers because there is so much more to share and be enthusiastic about and I want to shout out to the rooftops. I LOVED this book!

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