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REVIEW: Must Love Lycans by Michele Bardsley

Dear Ms. Bardsley,

About 1/3 of the way through this book, I realized I’d read another in the Broken Heart series. I think it was Cross Your Heart; I remember something about a ghost and some sort of evil. That was the only book I’d ever picked up in the series, and it was amusing but didn’t push me to jump on another series wagon. I have to admit, I pulled Must Love Lycans off the TBR stack because I liked the fact that Damian (the hero) shows up naked. Yeah, I needed a thrill while on our family vacation since the door to our bedroom never closed.

Must Love Lycans by Michele BardsleyDr. Kelsey Morningstone is a psychotherapist who is lucky to have a job. After allowing a psychotic killer to manipulate her, Kelsey was sued by every relative of the killers victims, lost everything including the shirt off her back and was repeatedly interviewed by the FBI. Adding insult to injury, Kelsey’s mother, a famous psychotherapist (think appearances on Oprah), has cut off all communication. But Kelsey manages to land a job that pays off all her debts and takes care of all her associated problems at the Dante Clinic, a privately funded psychiatric hospital that seems a lot more like Promises in Malibu than Pilgrim State Hospital. It’s weird enough that I wouldn’t take that job, but Kelsey is an empath, hides her abilities, and knows her options are limited to the Dante Clinic or nothing.

Damien is a new patient that is brought into the clinic. Suffering from amnesia, Damien doesn’t know who he is, where he’s been or what’s happened to him. But the minute he senses Kelsey, it all starts coming together for him. Kelsey’s first encounter with Damien is her observation of him after he’s been brought to the clinic. He’s naked, has a giant wang, and hair that the Herbal Essences chick would kill for. So she falls for him immediately. You may be wondering why I’m not writing much more about Damien here. Since the book is written in first person from Kelsey’s POV, I had a hard time getting much of what Damien was thinking or feeling beyond what Kelsey thinks about. As the story progresses, Damien bites her and wants to mate her but fights it because his bite could end up killing her. Surprisingly, the sex was well written for first person, but it could have been in a vacuum because I felt so little connection to Damien.

Kelsey, on the other hand, has an amazing backstory and crazy parental and barely-explored sibling relationships. But obscuring a lot of this (and confusing me) is the fight between the parakind (author’s word) and ETAC (the Ethics and Technology Assessment Commission, tasked with destroying anything alien) which is the thread that helps link all of the Broken Heart novels together. I found following the Para/ETAC stuff and reading all of the Glossary’s (there are three of them) mentally exhausting. Damien has two brothers that are sequel bait, and there is a giant cast of characters that were all in the previous Broken Heart novels. I was able to glean enough from the text to not have to go through all of the Glossary entries with a fine tooth comb, but I’m sure I ended up missing a lot of the humor and how and why all of these people are connected to each other. With all of that, I still managed to read the book in a day and a half, while playing with five kids, four in-laws, swimming, biking, running, hitting the beach and getting hit by a hurricane (Irene). Because I had to repeatedly pause for clarification and couldn’t get more from Damien, this one gets a C.

~ Shuzluva

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Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.


  1. Jane
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 20:11:38

    That is one hideous cover. I’ve never gotten into a Bardsley. I think her sense of humor and mine aren’t a match. That is why comedy is such a tough sell, I think, everyone’s idea of funny is different. The cover doesn’t help though. I think it is actively repelling me.

  2. Christine M.
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 21:08:57

    @Jane: RE: the cover, at first sight I thought the book was (self-)e-pubbed. But I guess that Big Publishers can seriously mess a cover, too.

  3. The Romantic Scientist
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 22:16:24

    The cover isn’t great, but it’s in keeping with the rest of her covers…

  4. Maili
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 06:52:15

    About that cover, I bet it’s the same artist who did the bloke who looks suspiciously like Brad Pitt cover of Laura Leone’s sublime contemporary romance novel, Fallen Grace.

  5. Heather
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 10:05:26

    I read her first few Broken Heart books and enjoyed them, but she lost me somewhere along the way.

    I have to say, I really liked the first book in her other series: Never Again, the Wizards of Nevermore. It came out in March and I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes it. And it has a better/less-cartoony cover

  6. Hell Cat
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 20:33:42

    Funny enough, I love this series. Sometimes I -need- a light read after reading some dark UF like Briggs. And Bardsley is in my style, much like the early MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy series. I haven’t read this, but I didn’t know it was out. I’ve read the rest of the series, though.

    Damien, if he’s the one from the series, is featured more prominently throughout so on the assumption many readers have read those, they know his quirks. I like his other two brothers, too.

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