Hedging His Bets by Celia Kyle and Mina Carter

17791344Summary (from goodreads.com):

Honey loves running her bar and grill, catering to humans and shifters alike. But there are two things that dim her love of the place: cocky assholes who think they own the world, and cocky assholes who think they can flex their muscles and wreck her bar when throwing a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, the drop-dead gorgeous, hotter than hot, shifter man she secretly loves is both.

Blake wants the curvaceous, gorgeous Honey in his bed. Now. He’s lusted (but not loved, let’s get that straight) after the luscious woman for months. True, he looks like a bad-boy biker mixed with a player and, yeah, he’s broken a few things in her bar… But only because the guys were hitting on his girl. With no hope of winning her over in sight, he does what any red-blooded werehedgehog would do in his position. He lies.

Review:

Okay, is that not the BEST PREMISE YOU HAVE EVER HEARD? And by best, I mean most wonderfully ridiculous. Fat lady bartenders? Awesome! Werehedgehogs? Bring it on! I am so pleased that this is a real thing in the world that I downloaded it from All Romance eBooks to ensure that the authors got a decent cut of the proceeds from this sale. That said, here’s the review I posted on Facebook (which is how I ended up reading a werehedgehog shifter BBW erotic romance novella in the first place):

“In general, I try not to trash books; most books that don’t work for me are someone else’s cup of tea. But boy howdy, Hedging His Bets is a cluster. Absolutely no chemistry or believable feelings of love between the hero and the heroine, some super problematic “sexy alpha” bs (note: stalking, manipulating, and lying to women to get them to sleep with you is not a testament to your love; it’s abuse), and some truly [awful] sex scenes that were the written equivalent of bad porn. ALSO THE HEROINE REFERS TO HERSELF AS “FLUFFY” AT LEAST THREE TIMES WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN. At least there was a werehedgehog fight in a dark alley?

“Which is to say: some people like this sort of thing. I am not one of them. And that’s okay. We can all still be friends.”

I’d like to add that the quality of the writing and the tone of the sex scenes so didn’t work for me. I also wish there had been more backstory. There was no depth to the characters or the plot, and I prefer my outlandish concepts to be balanced with a healthy dose of emotional realism (or at least plausibility). Also, the heroine’s behavior with her rescue “hedgies” seemed really weird to me. I definitely curl up on the floor with my dog for cuddles while I baby talk to her, though, so I am in no position to judge fictional pet owners.

I’m kinda bummed, to tell you the truth, because this story had the potential to be something I really liked! (It’s pretty much exactly what I expected it would be, but I was secretly hoping that it would be completely different.) Badass biker shapeshifter is insecure about the fact that he turns into a hedgehog? Let’s question our assumptions about masculinity. Fat woman who thinks hot guys aren’t into her because of her size? Let’s totally deal with that shit in a realistic way. The bones of this story are great, as far as I’m concerned. But the execution was SO not my thing. (Although it has quite a few 3, 4, and 5 star reviews on Goodreads, which means that this story will probably work for you if you’re a fan of the genre/style.)

Seriously, though, kudos to these authors for going all in with this concept. I can’t tell if they’re rocking out with their own weird interests (if so, rock on!) or if they thought that “werehedgehog shifter BBW erotic romance” would catch people’s attention and sell well. Maybe a little bit of both? Personally, I hope that it started as a joke between the authors. “What’s the least sexy shifter out there? Hedgehog, definitely hedgehog. OH MY GOD LET’S WRITE A STORY ABOUT THAT IT WILL BE AWESOME.”

Anyway. In summary, not recommended for readers who aren’t interested in quintessential self-published erotica.

Quality Rating: 1/5 crowns

Spiciness Rating: 5/4 chili peppers (There were only a couple of sex scenes, which were REALLY GRAPHIC. Like, “I can’t read this” graphic.)

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