Review

Review: Bears Behaving Badly by MaryJanice Davidson (2020)

BeWere My Heart, Book #1

Heat Factor: Aww, this is so playful! … Oh … Oh MY! … That escalated quickly.

Character Chemistry: They have this cute crush thing going on

Plot: Secret Shifter version of CPS has a little problem with some missing kits and cubs

Overall: So silly and fun. Not full LOL, but definitely my jam.


’m just gonna get out in front of this and say that I didn’t picture David like the cover model at all. He’s a bear not, like, svelte and ripped, right? He’s like a mountain man. That’s how you’d picture a werebear, right?

Anyway. 

MaryJanice Davidson is a wordsmith. Reading this book was a pleasure. It’s silly, and it’s fun, and it involves a driving stream-of-consciousness aspect that clicks. 

For example, here’s how she describes David’s shift:

It was the delicious agony of pulling off a scab every time. He could feel his mind receding into quasi-sentience as his senses adjusted to being ten, thirty, a hundred times stronger, as everything got bigger and brighter and more, as his bipedal concerns 

(rent, unrequited crush, oil change, Skittles) 

faded, to be replaced by other, simpler worries 

(new territory, potential intruders, potential mate, protect cub, Skittles).

He prowled and swam and ate a trout 

(all wriggling and shiny and tastes like summer) 

and when the sun was down and he had satisfied himself they were 

(safe) 

alone he remembered his other self 

(two legs no fur too small can’t smell but can think and talk-talk-talk)

The voice is also a bit cheeky, and even though it’s a suspense novel, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, when Annette’s foster-brother Oz, a forensic accountant, comes to talk about some shady things he’s found, here’s how it’s described:

“That’s missing the point right there! And then there’s his property. Warehouses, sure, but right on the floodplain? Just to insure them properly would cost more than the buildings are worth. Not to mention accounting stuff accounting stuff shell companies and more accounting jargon, and then jargon jargon, accounting stuff, and more jargon. Right?”

And that’s not the only time Davidson uses place-holder words instead of fully fleshing out some dramatic moment. I’ve never read this before, but as I did here I thought, “this is actually quite perfect.” I didn’t quite reach full lol with this book, but it was definitely humorous all the way through.

But the romance tho, right?

When I first saw this book on NetGalley, I was pretty sure it was categorized as romance, but when I went to download it, it was solely listed in the sci-fi/fantasy category, so I’m sort of straddling that smut-adjacent fence. Technically, I would say that Annette and David’s relationship does form a central storyline, although it might not be the primary one. There is also more than just kissing happening before the end of the book (not that that’s required, but it tipped the scales a bit for me in favor of smut), and I would say that we are looking at an HFN on account of they do get together in the end. And it’s an optimistic ending, if rather pragmatic/realistic (relationship-wise). So maybe this is for the light-on-sex, HFN-is-a-legit-ending-for-a-romance crowd? It’s the first in a trilogy, so maybe we’re dealing with a multi-book romance arc. I can’t find anything currently describing the plot of book 2, so it could just as easily be about a secondary character in this book.

Now that all that’s out of the way, I guess I’ll summarize the story? This is backwards, but I started with the important stuff first, so that’s how we’re doing this today.

Annette and David both work for the same Shifter version of Child Protective Services, Annette as a case manager and David as a security consultant. They are both beautiful, rare, and badass werebears. Annette thinks David is hot but is never going to ask him out and gets embarrassed when her co-workers bring it up with her. David thinks Annette is hot but is sure that if he gets with a Shifter it’ll ruin her life because he has some personal baggage. He is also confused as to why people at work are bringing up a relationship between himself and Annette. Crushes totally exist on both sides, but it’s not like they’ve spent much time together. Then they end up working on the same case when one of the kids Annette has to protect is brought in by David. Completely outrageous (we are dealing with shifters here) and sad (child abuse is super not good) crime-solving ensues, and naturally this brings Annette and David closer together. 

In terms of relationship, Annette and David are terrible communicators because they keep saying stuff they absolutely don’t mean (like, “We’re never going to get together”) and the other one believes this, and that should be a lesson to all of us not to lie. Because lying is bad and can also ruin true love situations before they begin. And there’s plenty of egging Annette and David on by co-workers and friends. And also plenty of “this is an inappropriate time to be distracted by how hot he/she is because there are bad things happening” situations as well.

If you’re in the market for a fun, well-written, shifter story with a low-key romance, this is a very good choice. Even if you’re not in the market, consider reading it just because it’s a fun literary exercise. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.


Buy Now: Amazon


Looking for more books like this? As always, suggests here:

Shifters! Shifters! Shifters!

Adventurous Smut Adventures!

There’s something fishy in the state of Minnesota

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