Reviewed: April 30, 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Biting Love, Book 4
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Length: 296 Pages
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Nook
If you like your paranormal romances with a serious plot full of serious characters, Mary Hughes' Biting Love series isn't for you, but there are lots of paranormal romances out there that are better suited to that tone. If, however, you enjoy a book that doesn't take itself any more seriously than you should take it, then Mary Hughes is right up there with Shelly Laurenston (with her Magnus Pack series and Pride series in particular) for laugh-out-loud humor and sexy, erotic loving in paranormal romance. True, I think the Laurenston books feature characters that are better developed and plots that are more compact and tightly written, but Hughes has her good points, too. No one does quirky lead characters like Hughes, that's for sure.
Biting Me Softly is no different. Liese Schmetterling is a self-professed geek with trust issues a mile wide. She works for Meiers Corners' Blood Bank doing just about everything, including manning the front desk and keeping track of inventory. Logan Steel, CEO of Steel Security and a character we met in Biting Nixie, is in Meiers Corners for a couple of reasons...none of which include drooling all over the reluctant and doubting Liese, and yet...
While Liese can't help but melt under the supersexilitious power of Lord Logan, she doesn't trust him as far as she can throw him, and for all his shizzle, as long as she wears the glass mockery of an engagement ring her dud ex-fiance gave her, she'll keep her heart - if not her body - firmly to herself. Just...what's with Logan's fangs and red eyes??
As always, Hughes makes me laugh. Her characters make me laugh. And pant. There's no doubt Liese is a bit whacky, especially when she's having serious arguments with Good Liese and Bad Liese, the shoulder angel and demon that pull her this way and that at every decision. She's also insecure and unlike Hughes' other female leads, utterly unconvinced of her own worth. She's the first one to tell you she'll fight to the death for others but won't say boo for herself. That's a problem for this book because it's long, and it's all in Liese's first person POV. After a while, her rabid insecurity and unwavering belief in her lack of appeal started to drag the story down and I wish there'd been more of an external conflict as a driving force of plot in this book instead of the biggest conflict being Liese's own trust issues.
Also, I felt Biting Me Softly was a bit more like the first book in the series, Bite My Fire than the second book, Biting Nixie, in a few unfortunate ways. Like Bite My Fire, the male lead character was almost negligently defined. Where I got a real sense of Julian from Biting Nixie, all I was able to really understand about Logan's character was that he had an issue in his past that hurt him, and he was wildly, insanely hot for Liese. Excellent for her...not so great for a reader, because his character was very two dimensional. And again like Bite My Fire, which I didn't like nearly as much as Biting Nixie, the end of the book leapt to a romantic conclusion that hadn't been sufficiently developed through the book. Lust is not love - it's hot, it's fun, and it's delicious when it's Logan-shaped, but it's really not undying love and I think that Hughes too often gives us nothing but one for a whole book, then tries to push the other onto us too precipitously and with no true development. If Hughes can find a better balance there, and develop both her lead characters and her plot a little bit more, she can be as entertaining as Laurenston is for me. She's just not quite there yet. Still, I enjoyed Biting Me Softly, and appreciate the absolute quirky fun of Meiers Corners, all of its inhabitants, and the vampire mythos created for and around it.
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