Book Review: Shelly Laurenston’s Wolf with Benefits

Posted April 5, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Shelly Laurenston’s Wolf with BenefitsWolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston
This paranormal romance was published by Brava on March 26, 2013 and has 400 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

three-stars

Other books by this author include The Mane Event, The Mane Event, The Mane Squeeze, The Mane Attraction, Beast Behaving Badly, Big Bad Beast, Here Kitty, Kitty!, Hunting Season, Pack Challenge, Go Fetch!, When He Was Bad, Everlasting Bad BoysS, Bear Meets Girl, Howl for It, The Unleashing, The Undoing

Eighth in the Pride paranormal romance series revolving around the Smith Pack — family and friends. The couple focus in this story is on Ricky Lee Reed and Toni Jean-Louis Parker.

I received an ARC from the publisher, and that “3” is generous.

My Take

I just got dumped into the story and it took a while to figure out what was going on. Nor did it feel like a Laurenston until I was somewhat into the storyline. In fact, I kept checking it to be sure Shelly Laurenston was indeed the writer.

It’s more of a mess than anything else. It feels as though Laurenston had a bunch of loose threads, and she threw them into the word pot. As if she only is allowed X number more books in the series, so she won’t be able to create the individual books she should have broken Wolf with Benefits up into. Sure, Toni’s family is a crack-up, but lordy, when you throw these ten geniuses, their parents, all the Reeds and Smiths with their various subplots, Bo, the roller derby team, and Livy’s antics all into one storyline. Well, it will be a mess or 700 pages-plus…

It can’t help but be funny, considering who the author is and the characters involved, but it takes forever to figure out what’s going on with what feels like dozens of little subplots, leaving me feeling cheated.

Toni’s family is totally crazy. Each is caught up in their own universe of selfishness with no thought or consideration for others. Hey, who ya gonna call when you need some major organizational skills? Yup, Bo Novikov (see Beast Behaving Badly, Pride, #5) will set these insensitive little geniuses straight!

I did get a kick out of The Infamous Book of Smells. It would be a fun book for kids!

The Story

It’s Toni’s job to negotiate a hockey game between two bear shifter teams. And Ricky Lee is along to play bodyguard. But that’s not the most difficult task she’s ever had. No, that would be corralling her family of genius siblings in spite of her hapless parents. It’s Ricky Lee to the rescue when Toni’s worry over her hapless, helpless family threatens to derail negotiations.

The Characters

Think of the Smiths as the berserkers and the Reeds as the Romans.

Toni Jean-Louis Parker — she works for Cella Malone (see Bear Meets Girl, Pride, #7) — is the Parker family member who holds it all together for this bunch of jackal geniuses: the eighteen-year-old Delilah is the sociopathic sister; Oriana is fifteen and a dancer; the eleven-year-old Kyle is an artist; Cooper, a concert pianist; Cherise; the nine-year-old, has a phobia about germs; Troy is being courted by MIT; seven-year-old Freddy is a mathematician attending uni; Zia and Zoe are the three-year-old twins with a penchant for foreign languages; and, five-year-old Dennis. Dad, a.k.a., Paul, refers to “himself as a male feminist, ‘because I have too many girls of my own not to be’.” Jackie is his brilliant, impractical violinist wife. Aunt Irene Conridge will never lie; she’s mated to Niles Van Holtz (see When He was Bad: Miss Congeniality, Magnus Pack, #3.5).

Olivia “Livy” Kowalski is Oriana Toni’s best friend, a photographer, and vicious little shifter. Thank god. Even if she does like to break in and sneak around in people’s houses. Dee-Ann Smith is one she-wolf with truly scary eyes you do not want to cross (see Big Bad Beast, Pride #6). And she wants Livy for her special skills.

Ricky Lee Reed is staying at the Kingston Arms — he and his brothers, Rory and Reece Reed — have free apartments from Brendon Shaw (see Mane Event: Christmas Pride, Pride #1.5), a bribe. The Reeds work for Llewellyn Security (see Mane Event: Christmas Pride). Jeff Stewart is a lion who also works for Llewellyn; he just don’t do kids. At least, not the Parkers! Miss Tala Evans is the Reed boys’ mama.

Gwenie O’Neill (Mane Squeeze, Pride #4; Lock is doing well with his woodworking business) is part of the roller derby team along with Blayne. Miki Kendrick and her mate, Conall, (Go Fetch!, Magnus Pack, #2); Sara Morrighan, the alpha female of the Magnus Pack (Pack Challenge, Magnus Pack, #1); and, Angelina Santiago (Here Kitty, Kitty!, Magnus Pack, #3) have a pop-up cameo along with Jess Ward (
Beast in Him
, Pride #2) with her musically inclined son, Johnny.

The Carnivore hockey team includes:
Bo Novikov is an OCD-obsessed bearshifter hockey player; Blayne is his yappy little wolfdog of a fiancée. She’s also a plumber (see Beast Behaving Badly, Pride, #5). Cella Malone is a KSZ contractor/hockey enforcer and a tiger mated to Lou “Crush” Crushek (see Bear Meets Girl, Pride #7). Livy is the staff photographer.

The Russians
Ivan Zubachev owns the team. Yuri Asanov is the greatest hockey coach to live. Vic Barinov is a useful contact for help in Eastern European countries. Genka Kuznetsov shoved Anton Kuznetsov, her brother, out of the Russian pack.

Laura Jane Smith is a self-centered, obtuse she-wolf; dumb enough that the Smith Pack, including Ronnie Lee (Mane Event: Christmas Pride, Pride #1.5), just doesn’t care.

Devon “Junior” Barton is on Iowa’s Death Row. Pete Gowan, a leopard shifter, is one of his guards. Frankie Whitlan. Chuck Roberts and Chris have a sweet little con going.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an enpurpled sky with a full moon hanging in the background and Ricky Lee’s bare chest and those spooky eyes staring out at us. Yup, I can live with those eyes, if that chest comes along with…

Well, heck, just being a part of the Smith Pack is a bonus, but I suspect the title here refers to that lucky Ricky Lee Reed when he meets Toni Parker, and he becomes a Wolf with Benefits.

three-stars

Leave a Reply