Synopsis (from Goodreads):
What’s an Alpha Male to do when he meets the Alpha Female of his dreams? Step one, hide all sharp objects. All Zach Sheridan ever wanted was to become Alpha Male of his Pack and be left alone. What he definitely didn’t need in his life was some needy female demanding his attention. What he never saw coming was the vicious, scarred female who not only demanded his attention but knew exactly how to get it whenever she needed it.
Sara Morrighan knew this was the best she could expect from her life. Good friends. A nice place to live. A safe job. But when Zach rode into her small Texas town with his motorcycle club, Sara knew she wanted more. She knew she wanted him. But after one sexy encounter with her dream biker, everything is starting to change. Her body. Her strength. Her moods. That new thing she’s doing with the snarling. Even her best friends are starting to wonder what’s going on with her. But this is only the beginning. Sara’s about to find out her life was meant for so much more. And Zach’s about to find true love with the one woman who makes him absolutely insane. Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and strong violence.
What I liked:
I can’t say the author didn’t try to make her paranormal romance novel something different than the ordinary fare because clearly she did. Sara Morrighan was a dynamic character and a strong girl. She worked, she had female friends, she acted like a normal person, at least at first. Although she had scars and murky past she didn’t dwell on it too much. She adapted quickly even if she didn’t know what was happened with her. She had a sense of humour. Right.
What I didn’t like:
This book wasn’t bad, but it felt like a lot of the same thing – sex, sex, and more sex. You might say: why are you complaining, dear reviewer, it is a ROMANCE, right? It is about a girl and a boy meeting each other and falling in love, then promptly falling in bed. Still… my reading was not rocked by their constant sex and physical attraction. The “romance” comprised mainly of the main characters’ finding each other insanely hot and ‘rip-your-clothes-off’ desirable. I just couldn’t see what they saw in each other…other than their emphasis on the other person’s being a “hot piece of ass”, as superficial as it sounds. Most of their scenes (once they got past the necessary open distrust and wariness of the first 1/3 of the book – a feeling laced with pent up lust, of course because nothing less would work here) end up with them naked and humping. After the fifth “he slipped his fingers in my pussy,” my eyes began to skim the sex scenes completely. Which entailed a lot of skimming.
Dear paranormal romance authors, less sexytimes, more storytimes, please. Even if your characters are shifters/vampires/fairies/witches/demons it doesn’t mean you don’t have to build the relationship between them in a believable way. For example here, once the main couple meets, everything happens in a 5 day time span. They meet, they lust after each other, they think the other is a pain in the neck, they fight their attraction, they get together, and magically they are in love. ALL. In. Five. Days. Do you find it believable? What would you say if your daughter/sister/friend announced, after five days of dating a complete stranger, that she found the love of their life?
The main female lead’s friends drove me nuts by the way – I know they were supposed to be ‘tough’ girls who could find their bearings in the company of bikers but it was really ridiculous that they couldn’t show their mutual affection beyond just calling each other (and themselves) bitches, sluts, and whores. Anyone that chooses that sort of language to describe me every minute or so wouldn’t be included on my list of friends. As I’ve already mentioned the language: Sara talks about her own sexual organs using the word “pussy” repeatedly. I guess I can be called a prude, but it grossed me out pretty quickly. Her love interest, Zach, was hardly better: he called her wonderful terms of endearment like “crazy bitch”, “insane bitch”, “psycho bitch”, etc. while he was screwing her (really no kinder word fits here – they were screwing, full stop). I think it was supposed to be funny or original, but I just thought it was stupid, demeaning and rather boring – as unromantic as you can get.
Finally the cover art – insert here a major rolleye, nothing less.
There are reasons I’m not a huge PNR fan anymore and Pack Challenge contains more than a couple of those. I delved into Shelly Laurenston’s book in my search for a humorous paranormal romance. I quickly learned that it wasn’t what I was looking for. Yes, there was a sense of humor, but it wasn’t enough to overcome all of the negatives. Some PNR novels are able to kick it up a notch and actually give us a bit of plot and character development along with the sexy times. And some don’t. This book, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. Overall, this was a quick read (small wonder, with all that skimming) but it didn’t satisfy my craving for high quality PNR shape-shifting story. A total failure, nothing less.