Thursday, October 5, 2017

[Throwback Review]: "Hedging His Bets"

Jen's got another Throwback Thursday Review for you. This time for a silly paranormal that's sadly not worth the (outrageous!) price.

Hedging His Bets by Celia Kyle
Publisher: Pronoun (January 26, 2017) Republished
Series: Honey and Fur, 1
Genre: Paranormal novella

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. 

Where to Buy*:
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Jen's Review:

So, maybe this only counts as a throwback review to me, but like all good throwback reviews, this starts with a story. Everyone has a secret group of internet friends on FB, right? Well, I’ve been chilling with my crew there for at least ten years? Holy shit, that’s a long time. Anyway, back in 2013, someone in the group claimed that the shifter romance had definitely peaked, because they’d just heard about one starring a were-hedgehog. And everyone was like, “Hey someone should read it.” OBVIOUSLY, I volunteered as tribute. It was a public service to my friends, and also it was summer and I was bored. Looking back, I have to thank that scrappy were-hedgehog, because it’s probably the first inkling I had that reviewing romances would be so fun.

Let me say, that as soon as I started reading -- and to this very day -- I am absolutely convinced that Kyle & Carter wrote Hedging His Bets as either a bet or a dare. This book is a 100% ironic, snarky take on the shifter romance and not even trying to hide it. The version I read even clocked in at exactly 69 Kindle pages. I mean.

The book opens with an introduction to our intrepid werehedgehog and local bad boy, Blake. His

idea of planning ahead was making sure he had enough beer for the weekend. 

He knows being a werehedgehog is ridiculous, at one point thinking about the townspeople,

If they knew the truth, they'd be running for the hills. That, or die laughing. 

He doesn't shift into his hedgehog shape all that often, but regardless, his "were-ness" imbues him with super strength and sexiness. He has his sights fixed, laser-like (or whatever the appropriate metaphor there is for a hedgehog), on the owner of a local bar. Our heroine is Honey, a curvaceous and tough bar owner, who, I SHIT YOU NOT, keeps hedgehogs as pets. Her "hedgies" are her secret joy, and she is considering rescuing another from the local Hedgehog Rescue League.

I'll just let you ponder that for a second before I get to the plot points, of which there are really NONE.

The major conflict, if one could call it that, is that Blake is quite possessive of Honey. He feels intuitively that she is "his" and will start brawls at the bar when he sees other men hitting on her. Honey, to her credit, is pretty sure that she doesn't want anything to do with this behavior and has kept her distance. She intuitively senses that

Blake wanted a little more than a straightforward friendly fuck. He was one of those...long term kind of guys despite his outward short term attitude.

After the opening fight at the bar, Honey evades Blake's friendly advances in the parking lot and heads home. She hangs out for a while with her pet hedgehogs, then hits the bedroom to masturbate. She's really into it, using both hands, imagining Blake is fucking her, and based on her daydreaming, we are to understand that she regularly jerks off (Janes off? Lack of good female masturbation terminology coming into play here) to fantasies of Blake. Of course, this left me wondering the obvious question: why doesn't this woman have a vibrator?!?

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Honey, Blake has followed her home, discovering that she keeps hedgehogs as pets, and also that she's a rocking-and-rolling to fantasies of him. I would be remiss if I were not to tell you that Blake is a biker, you know, on a big motorcycle. And, hilariously, in only two chapters, the word "leathers" was used SIX times to describe what he's wearing. (Thank you, Kindle, for the search function on that one.)

In the next few chapters, Blake cooks up a rather ridiculous scheme in order to ingratiate himself with Honey. He turns into his "hedgie" and has his only other werehedgehog friend injure him. Along comes Honey! She hears a strange yipping noise and thinks,

An animal had to be in trouble, but where!

This was definitely one of the moments I felt like this thing was definitely being written as a dare. This is the fucking Wonder Pets theme song! I don’t even know how to feel about invoking a child’s cartoon in your erotic romance, but whatever. They also lay in this line

Unlike some of the bigger weres, a werehedgehog's change was elegant and refined.

Which just seems like an obvious reference to that Elegance of the Hedghog book that was popular around then.

Honey discovers the injured hedgehog, names him Norman, snuggles him against her breasts, and sets off to save him from his grievous injuries. She takes Norman/Blake to the emergency vet where 2 important things happen:

1) Blake is on the receiving end of a rectal thermometer, prompting the following outraged thought

His butt was a strictly 'no-entry' zone, thank you very much! 


And 2) Honey lands a date with the cute vet who saved Norman's life.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering what the point is of the Norman ploy? I mean, what is this going to accomplish? The answer is nothing, really. Blake just wants to be close to her. For such a short book, you'd be surprised at how tedious and ridiculous this entire middle section of the book was. One of my FB friends slyly suggested that the rectal thermometer was “predictive of a three way with the vet.” Sadly, that was wasted foreshadowing and a missed opportunity.

Anyhoo, it all goes terribly wrong when Honey snuggles up into bed with Norman one night, but calls out for Blake in her dream. He changes back into Blake, and they start making out. She wakes up and is rightly freaked out to see that Blake is in her bed! He admits that he *is* Norman, but Honey is angry at being lied to. She kicks him out. Blake takes off on his motorcycle and gets into a terrible accident.

For fuck's sake was this tedious. Also, at this point, it's like 85% through the book. Will these two ever get it on?

Honey goes to the hospital, yells at Blake for deceiving her, but then insists he return to her house to recover from his injuries. A few days later, she's stark naked and about to head into the bathroom to masturbate in the shower. Blake is also naked in the bathroom! She discovers he's fully recovered and has been lying about his injuries to prolong his stay in her house.

Of course, given that they are both naked, they jump all over each other. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by just how extensively dirty this scene was. There’s butt stuff, they fuck, and then finally declare their true love for each other. The end.

I mean, as for a rating, I guess it depends on the metric. As a romance, it’s just too silly to live and deserves 1 star. But as a book produced for a bet, it’s pretty funny--so maybe I’d give it a 4? But then, again, it costs $2.99, which is a lot of money for what it is, about 35 minutes of entertainment. I’m going to even it all out to 2 stars and call it a day.


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Jen bought this book.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! This . . . this is possibly the best review EVER. Butt stuff and Janes off and rectal thermometers, oh my! 

Have you read an over-the-top silly romance/erotica title like this? Or have you read any of Celia Kyle's books? I know she has a TON. I wonder how many are similar to this one...


Until Next Time,

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