Title: Hedging His Bets
Author: Celia Kyle and Mina Carter
Publication Info: Summerhouse Publishing April 2013
I would like you to know that I hate each and every one of you. And I really hate who ever it was that put this book in my path, because I KNOW it was RHG bait and you KNOW I can’t resist that so…
Oh my god, the pain.
He’s a fucking WERE HEDGEHOG. LIKE. AS IN. A SMALL SOMEWHAT PRICKLY THING THAT WUFFLES AROUND IN HEDGES.
ONLY A WERE.
I can’t even.
As far as plots go….there really isn’t one. Honey (yes, really) owns a bar, and has been in an antagonistic relationship with Blake, who is seriously over compensating for the fact that he’s a WERE-HEDGEHOG by being a bad-ass biker dude who wears leather and beats up any guy that looks at Honey at all. He wants her, she secretly wants him (and fantasizing about him while masturbating, which he finds out because he followed her home one night and snuck into her house).
She also adopts hedgehogs.
Of course she does.
Anyway, Honey has an employee in the bar, Katie, who is also a female were-hedgehog (and Honey knows that she is, so we are spared the whole “What do you mean there are were-things and YOU TURN INTO A FUCKING HEDGEHOG” conversation). Blake convinces Katie to beat the shit out him in were-form so that Honey will take him in and take care of him so he can get into her house that way….
He doesn’t factor in that she’d take him to the vet, which results in getting his temperature taken rectally (which he totally deserved) and then she takes him home and arranges a date with the vet. The vet then says to a buddy of his, while Blake is listening, that he’s going out with a fat chick who is obviously desperate for sex and will totally put out. Blake pees on the vet and chews on his fingers, and the vet throws him against a wall. (This kiboshes the date quite neatly.)
Honey lets Blake sleep on her bed (as a hedgehog still). But he turns back human in the middle of the night and they start making out…. until she wakes up and it’s all awkward. She throws him out, and he promptly gets into a motorcycle accident and Honey… brings him back into her house to nurse him back to health. But they still want to bang eachother, but neither of them know the other wants also wants the banging and Honey is all sneaking into the shower to jerk off….
And then they finally end up in bed and it’s perfect because you KNOW were-hedgehogs are able to BRING IT, and that’s basically the end of the book.
Here’s the thing: I think that the book knows how ridiculous it is. It has a “I am not taking this seriously, so you shouldn’t, either” tone that yes, alpha were-hedgehogs are a silly concept.
[Blake] grumbled low in his throat as she turned the car off and climbed out, being careful not to jostle him. On a normal day, he’d gripe about that; just because he was a hedgie didn’t mean he was that delicate. But after the experience with the vet tech from hell… Just let the bastard try and euthanize a werehedgehog. Blake would show him exactly what hell was.
That is the correct tone to take with this premise. I was deeply concerned that this book thought it was the shit, and once I decided that it, like Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters (IN 3D) knew what it was and made no apologies for it, my reading experience was improved.
But the thing about writing a book with a knowingly ridiculous premise is that you have to be a good writer to pull it off (Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters (IN 3D!) was awesome at being the precise type of movie it was). And they aren’t. I did a dramatic reading for Alina, one of my podcast co-hosts, and she didn’t even make it through two paragraphs before she made me stop. The writing is just awkward and clunky.
Blake with his tight leathers that outlined everything he had to offer, from a large package to lots of long, lean muscle. He even had the cliche bad boy tattoos on his biceps. Tattoos she’d like to lick all over… when she wasn’t pissed at him starting fights, that is….
…All right, truth be told, she wouldn’t mind a roll in the hay if she could be sure it was no strings attatched. Except she had a feeling that Blake wanted a little more than a straight-forward friendly fuck. He was one of those, she internally shuddered, long-term kind of guys despite his outward short-term attitude.
It’s never clear why Honey has this problem with Blake. She wants him, but she’s sure he doesn’t want her, except that she knows he does, but she only wants him for a FWB situation, except maybe not, and she thinks he goes for skinny blondes anyway, and not curvy chicks like her, so he's not really interested… none of this makes any sense. You need to have consistency in character, even when the book is silly. ESPECIALLY when the book is silly, or it can’t sustain itself.
While it might have been fun to see Honey come to terms with the existence of were-hedgehogs, I can appreciate the decision to make it clear that she already knows about them, and has come to terms with that paradigm shift. Now she only has to deal with the fact that Blake is one (although it wasn't clear to me if he knew that she knew that shifters are a thing.) (Look, it's a very knowledgable cast, okay.)
While I, as a woman who is not small, liked seeing a heroine who is pointedly not skinny, Honey's constant obsession with the size of her butt or how guys only go for skinny chicks was tiresome. Yeah, okay, it's true a lot of us do that some of the time, but that doesn't mean I want to read about it.
I do feel like the authors understand and love hedgehogs, which added a level of sincerity. (I admit that my experiences with hedgehogs are holding one at a zoo one time and watching youtube videos of hedgies taking baths, which are amazing and adorable and worth every second.)
On the whole, though, this book is utterly ridiculous and knows it, but not well-written enough to hold that up. If it had been trying to take itself seriously, we might be in the coveted F+ territory, but alas, we are not. If it had been well-written enough to take the ridonkadonk to new levels of ridonk, I'd be all over it! Mostly, I'm sad at missed opportunities. As I wrote this review, I got more and more sad.
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So why doesn’t the cover dude have tattoos? That’s all I’m saying.
I don’t know if I’m more grossed out by storing the hedgehog brush touching the family toothbrushes or by Hedgehog Dude touching every single one of the family toothbrushes with hedgehog and who knows what else on his hands.
Those go in your MOUTH. That’s all I’M saying.
Reading this with pre-coffee bleary eyes, I thought it was “Hedging his BITS”. Much better title, IMO. This review is a prime example of why I read this blog. Romance genre covers so much ground that it’s impossible to stereotype it down into one dismissible type. Even books that go for the silly are treated with the same literary standards as Historical Serious books. The writing must hold up.
Ok, you’re not going to believe this…but I just read a book where there’s a sort of were-hedgehog. Actually, he’s REALLY a hedgehog, he just disguises himself as a human sometimes so people won’t bother him when he has to take humans messages. (It’s complicated.) He is not (thankfully) a love interest. (His response to the heroine who’s “adopted” him as a hedgehog freaking out that he’s seen her in pyjamas is “so? I’m a hedgehog.”) Perhaps were-hedgehogs are a trend?
The book is Flores de sombra (Shadow Flowers), by Sofia Rhei. It’s actually quite good YA fantasy/romance, but I don’t think it’s available in English. (If it were, you could read it as brain bleach.)
I watch GRIMM, love the weres or wesen that populate the show. And I think hedgehogs are ridiculously cute and lovable. I just can’t … it’s not … Is there a hedgehog fighting form? I mean, six-plus feet of manly, prickly, pointy-face hedgehog that doesn’t just wuffle around the hedges?
It’s too early for this much weird. Awesome review.
I’m with Ren, don’t touch the toothbrushes, urgh!
Oh and Thank You RHG, you have saved us from great pain.
And Terry Pratchett said the hedgehog never gets buggered at all. Clearly vets weren’t taken into consideration.
Laughed so hard I started crying.
RHG, you perform a public service!
OMG. Heather Joyce, you win. I was thinking just that.
A were hedgehog? Seriously? I’m still back at the were hedgie. I’ll be back later for the rest of the review once I’ve worked my way around that.
So I’m thinking about physics or something. Is there a law of conservation of matter? Where does the excess 5 feet 10 inches GO when he becomes a hedgie? And the excess 180 pounds? He’s not a giant hedgie if she’s carrying him around. At least with wolves, tigers, dogs, deer, whatever, there’s not a lot of mystery size lost in the ether.
How does the author explain where the hero’s mass goes when he’s transformed???
I can suspend disbelief and read weres, but I can’t suspend physics.
They don’t, really, I don’t think? (I loaned my kindle copy out, so I can’t reread the section where it describes the change). He’s a were-hedgehog, a wizard did it, I don’t know. I was so beyond questions at that point, I can’t even guess.
Now, I am a big fan of Eve Langlais’ s Furry United Coalition series.. a giant, bus sized saber tooth bunny shifter equals awesome! Her books are just so cute, sexy, and well-writen. Maybe if Langlais wrote a were hedgehog book it would be better. The trick has to be playing up the goof factor.
Okay, yes, the touching / storage of the hedgehog toothbrush with human toothbrushes was gross…but zomg, that video was totes adorbs and I’d just like to thank you, RHG, for bringing it into my life.
I can’t….I don’t…WERE-HEDGEHOG?! Were…..hedgehog. Who the fuck even comes up with these? Big, hot, muscular man turns into an adorable prickly mammal? There is just no way to make that sound manly.
50 shades of Beatrix Potter?
Can I just say that I want a hedgehog now? That thing is ADORABLE! I wonder if Shakespeare knew how cute those things are; I mean if he did, he was really throwing out mixed signals in regards to the non-cuddiliness of Richard III by using it as an insult.
I feel that only the Tenth Doctor can express the what? what? WHAT?! that just went through my brain at the notion of a paranormal romance about werehedgehogs. So here, have a gif!
MatthewGaydos on YouTube is currently doing an amazing reading of this book. Currently he has done three parts and promises more!
Here is the first: Reading “Hedging His Bets” – Part 1
He mocks the writing as he reads and makes the whole experience so much more fun.
I loved the reading of this on YouTube, so thanks Summer for the link. That and this review almost … read it almost … made up for having read this book over the summer holidays.
It almost became a DNF book for me. I kept hoping it would redeem itself somehow and as it was written by two authors I have read and loved before I kept plodding off hoping for a payoff. Some payoff … I wished for brain scrub or a bout of amnesia which I usually experience at the worse of times.
Nope I forget my home address, phone and DOB at the most inconvenient of times but this books sticks firm in my memory. Life just aint fair …
I think it was me that told you about this one. Sorry!
I had almost the exact same experience. I really, really wanted it to be one of those “so bad it’s good” things, but it was just … bad. HedgiePants was a jerk who considered it totally okay to stalk his love interest while disguised as a hedgehog. Ick. Not cool.
Although, the idea that his “beast side” made him soooo alpha was pretty hilarious. Because hedgehogs are totally known for their aggressive masculinity and untamable sexual passion, amirite?
For those who are talking about the mass problem, that bugged me too. I finally decided that he just becomes really, really dense. I think the phrase I used was “like a prickly neutron star.”
And once again, Terry Pratchett for the win. This time in the Tiffany Aching books, when Granny Weatherwax explains the problem with turning someone into a frog.
(Can I just say for the record that Granny Weatherwax is my idol and role model…although as a friend pointed out it would be nice to have Nanny Ogg’s sex life.)
Can I just say, I love your reviews? They make my day~
And while I find the idea of were-hedgehogs er…interesting…I did read a book once where there were, well, were-armadillos. WTF are you supposed to do with that?
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