Series: Shifter Undercover #1
Published by Montlake Romance on December 13, 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Romantic
Sexual Content: Explicit sexual scenes.
Reviewed by: Rebecca
For vet and animal whisperer Charli Avers, talking to bears is all in a day’s work. But when she finds a man—a very sexy, very alpha man—where a bear ought to be, the wild comes close to home. Charli is drawn to this mysterious stranger. She wants to help him piece together the past he can’t remember—even if that means shedding her human misgivings and embracing her more carnal desires.
After shifting from bear to man, Barry believes he’s finally found his mate. Now he just needs to find himself. He doesn’t know much about the animal within him, but his human heart aches for Charli. She ignites his instincts to protect her from all danger—including their electric attraction.
The stakes climb as Charli investigates the mystery behind Barry’s memory loss and how it may relate to strange sightings and thefts in this little corner of Oregon. Without answers, she may lose Barry—and herself—to the wild side forever.
The best thing about BEARLY IN CONTROL is the title. It sets up expectations that there will be puns, bears, and people getting a little bit wild (oh my). Did I mention puns? They’re recycled over and over until a one sentence pun becomes an unbearable two pages of butt jokes. There’s bears, though the bear in question only shifts twice, including when he is found at the beginning of the novel. People getting wild? Well, I suppose if you consider the unprofessionalism of all of the characters then that counts too.
If you’re shot at, would you tell the police force that you work with? If you find a naked, amnesiac man, would you push for a missing persons search? If you find bags of money and jewels, would you think they’re related to the robberies you were debriefed on? Charli Avers, veterinarian and animal mind-reader, wouldn’t. In fact, none of the characters in BEARLY IN CONTROL ever consider the obvious, even when the solution is staring them right in the face.
There is plot to the novel but it’s quickly passed aside to make way for the sex scenes between Charli and Barry, the bear-shifter without a past. The sex scenes are detailed, explicit, and, unfortunately, dominate most of the novel. If the characters aren’t having sex, they’re thinking about it. The overarching plotline—likely to carry over the rest of the series—hints at a evil-doer creating shifters through experimentation and torture. An interesting concept disregarded almost entirely in the rest of the book. There’s even a one-line reveal that aliens are real—that no one remarks on. Aliens! The investigation storyline is followed through by the side-characters, Devin and Russel, who are obvious setups for the next books.
BEARLY IN CONTROL is the first of the Shifter Undercover series but the world seems tied to Milly Taiden’s other book lines. Characters drop information, like two souls, shifter population areas, and investigation teams without full explanations. This problem persists throughout the novel, where information and characterization is inconsistent or dismissed immediately. I think there’s a golden writing rule: if you start a book with an amnesiac main character, by the end you should have either uncovered their identity or at least discovered an important clue.
Milly Taiden is a prolific writer and if you’re familiar with her other series, you’ll likely forgive the book’s flaws. Bears might be the new wolves in shifter novels, but if you’ve got a hankering for a new grizzly/teddy bear paranormal romance you might want to look elsewhere.Series Titles:
- Bearly in Control