Title: A Bear Walks Into a Bar
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages
At a Glance: A Bear Walks Into a Bar is well-written erotica, but just wasn’t my cuppa.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.
Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.
And then a bear walks into their bar.
Review: Sawyer Ballantine has his hands full being the king of his mountain. He’s a bear alpha and the last living member of his sleuth; his second in command, Rudy, is a wolf with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and an uppity beta to contend with; and amongst the lone bear and this contentious wolf pack are a hodgepodge of other shifters, including a skulk of horny and oversexed foxes and a herd of elk that like to get Sawyer’s attention by pooping in conspicuous and inappropriate places. Not to mention, there are four strange shifters who’ve encroached on his territory without his permission—one of them another bear—and he intends to find out exactly what their presence means. And to take care of them if needs must.
Dillon, Jerry, Kevin and Brad—the lone bear, two wolves, and one of those horny and oversexed foxes—have formed their own little pack and are just trying to live life on their terms after various circumstances have left them without a pack of their own kind to guide them and teach them how to be shifters. The problem, however, is that they didn’t realize that their setting up housekeeping on Sawyer’s mountain, without his clearance to do so, was going to bring the bear to their bar—which could be bad for their health. Or good for their sex lives. Or that all Sawyer cares about at the moment is getting the situation handled and asserting his dominance before it’s time for him to hibernate for the winter.
If you’re familiar with Eden Winters’ backlist—The Wish, The Angel of 13th Street, Duet, Settling the Score, to name a few—you know she has a flair for writing tug-at-the-heartstrings romance. If you’ve read Galen and the Forest Lord and Naked Tails, you know she also has a flair for writing fantasy with a humorous twist. If you’ve read the Diversion series, you know she has a knack for researching and then weaving a meticulously plotted dramatic story arc. Having said that, if you’re expecting the familiar from her with A Bear Walks Into a Bar, check that expectation right now because this book is some pretty hardcore erotica, from twosomes to fivesomes to kink all thrown into the sexual mix—sex the answer to every issue that arises, sex from beginning to end—and as much as it pains me to say so, this book left me more than a little disappointed, which is a first for me from this author.
Now, having said that, I also want to be fair and say that doesn’t mean this is a bad book—the writing is still all Eden Winters charm, and the characters (especially Jerry and his love interest, Troy, as well as Kevin and Brad) give readers a reason to root for them to find their own happiness as couples within the family of sorts that’s being built. Their storylines are heartfelt and sympathetic, and I bought into them with no reservation whatsoever. In fact, I liked all the side stories more so than Sawyer and Dillon’s. My issue with this book, in the end, is simply that there’s not much plot to speak of. There were perceived threats that upped the anticipation level as the story progressed, but unfortunately, those threats never materialized, which, for me, detracted from what the novel is—erotica, plain and simple.
Does this novel have an audience? Absolutely it does, and for those who aren’t as familiar with this author’s work as I am, I can say that if you love erotica with a little D/s and some kinky stuff thrown into the mix, then you’ll find a lot to love about A Bear Walks Into a Bar. There’s a certain playfulness within some of the more sentimental underpinnings of the bonds that develop between several of the characters, so in some instances the sex matters, while in others, it’s just sex for the fun of sex, for domination, and, admittedly, pretty damn hot. And while I fully support any and every author writing what they love, sex being the whole of a novel just isn’t my cuppa. And with my being more than a little familiar with Eden Winters’ work, as well as her talent for detailed and well plotted storylines, the fact the setup and confrontation resulted in sex as a plot device, adding to that the introduced and then unresolved threats not leading to any sort of satisfying resolution, it all admittedly left me feeling a little bearish myself.
So, while this book wasn’t for me, I can say with all honesty that if you’re looking for a lot of titillation wrapped up in some sexed up shifters, this is your go-to read; just check your previous experiences with this author’s work at page one.
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