A MelanieM Review: Little Wolf (Beings in Love #4) by R. Cooper

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Little Wolf coverOn the run from his old-blood werewolf family, Tim Dirus finds himself in Wolf’s Paw, one of the last surviving refuges from the days when werewolves were hunted by humans and one of the last places Tim wants to be. Kept away from other wolves by his uncle, Tim knows almost nothing about his own kind except that alpha werewolves only want to control and dominate a scrawny wolf like him.

Tim isn’t in Wolf’s Paw an hour before he draws the attention of Sheriff Nathaniel Neri, the alphaest alpha in a town full of alphas. Powerful, intimidating, and the most beautiful wolf Tim has ever seen, Nathaniel makes Tim feel safe for reasons Tim doesn’t understand. For five years he’s lived on the run, in fear of his family and other wolves. Everything about Wolf’s Paw is contrary to what he thought he knew, and he is terrified. Fearing his mate will run, Sheriff Nathaniel must calm his little wolf and show him he’s more than a match for this big, bad alpha.

I have read most of the books in R Cooper’s Beings In Love series and have loved them all,  Little Wolf included.  I admit to laughing out loud, emitting more than a few snorts over the dialog and sighing over the very hot sex scenes with Nate and Tim.  But I also recognize that this book also presented more challenges to the reader than I was expecting.  Those issues impeded my connections to the story and to the characters, so let’s get to those first before we get to the story’s strengths.

What were those challenges?  The main issue was the amount of time it took for me to become engaged with the characters and the town of Wolf’s Paw.  Tim is our narrator and we drop into the story as Tim, our “Little Wolf” is watching the mounted tv at the cafe he works at.  The tv is tuned to the soap opera, Dierdre’s Secret and it includes the  first ever “known”  werewolf actor.  The opening paragraphs is jammed full of information about the soap opera, the cafe and its denizens, the town, and the world around it.  We learn that supernatural beings are now a part of the  “normal” world, and the cafe Tim works at is owned by a fairy named Robin’s Egg (for the longest time I thought that was the name of the cafe instead of the owner).

We find out that the town itself, Wolf’s Paw is full of supernatural beings of all types, but mostly populated by weres and humans.  In fact so much world building is thrown at us that its hard to separate out the details we need at the time from the massive amounts of “universe building”being given to us and clump them back into piles of information that make sense to the plot and character.  It took chapters to figure out that Wolf’s Paw, the town, has historically been a sanctuary for those in need.  It has fed them, hidden them, and  protected them at great cost to itself, a situation that continues to this day.  But it is also, oddly enough, a town that puts on strange festivals, geared towards dating, and interspecies sex.  Yep, a sanctuary that sanctions sexual relations between weres, humans, and the like during festival time. Think Tinder or Grinder as a festival, and you’ve got the picture.  That’s just one of the puzzles the reader will have to make sense of when the book opens.

The thing is, Tim’s thoughts jumps around from person to person, from thought to thought that its hard at first to get a idea of his character and situation at  Wolf’s Paw.  His character, inner self, is elusive.  To us and to the rest of the towns folk.  And that fact makes it hard for us to connect with him at the beginning.  I had to plug away at chapter after chapter before Tim solidified into someone I not only cared about but truly loved.

It should never have taken so long.

I understand why R Cooper fashioned Tim and presented him this way but, frankly, it hurts the narrative.  Tim is in fight or flight mode…all the time.  He’s unbelievably stressed out, he’s being hunted, he’s hiding, and against his better judgement, he’s coming to care for those around him…not that he would ever admit it to himself or others.  Plus just the appearance of the town’s sexy Alpha Sheriff makes Tim’s sense go haywire and brings out emotions he doesn’t understand or know how to deal with.

It’s Nate that allows the reader to connect with Tim and begin to understand why he behaves as he does.  Tim is rude, cavalier about peoples opinions (on the outside) and more than a bit of a jerk.  But around Nate, that starts to change even while we still hear the snarky thoughts inside Tim’s head.  Nate the were who appears perfect on the outside and yet is hurting deeply inside while still trying to behave with honor and respect.  I adored Nate from the beginning, and through his interactions with Tim  the story starts to jell.

From that moment on, most of the chaff of the plot falls away, and we are left with the grains, the story we wanted all along.  As our understanding of Tim’s background and true personality fall into place, the dialog snaps with intelligence, verve and vitality.  It’s funny, and poignant and, heartrending at times.  And before we are even aware that it’s happened,  our thoughts and hearts are fully committed to Tim, Nate, and the rest of the complicated people in this oh so unusual town.

This is a long story, 380 pages worth of complicated people and history.  Most of which I loved.  Parts of which frustrated me more than a little.  For a smart, intelligent, and yes, naive young were, Tim makes you want to shake him most of the time.  I think the author has his ignorance go on far too long.  R Cooper has the other characters strewing clues about a certain situation all over the dang story surface, and yet, this brilliant young wolf doesn’t pick up on it?  That got harder and harder to buy into as the plot wore on.

Yet for all these issues, most of the time I still wanted to give this perplexing story a 5 star review!  Why?  Those same characters and situations that made me want to gnash my teeth are the same characters that had me reading until early in the morning.  I had to see the personal explosions I knew were going to happen, the clash of hunted vs hunter…to see evolve what Tim had been telling us all along…that the Little Wolf has teeth, claws and the predator abilities of a piranha, or werewolf as the case is here.   What scenes those were!  A white knuckle ride several times over, full of drama and action that had you holding your breath in suspense…it made that dense beginning so worthwhile to have plowed through.

R Cooper writes in the foreword that this story took her 2 years to write, and it shows, for good and for bad.  With a firmer editor, tighter reorganization, and a little ruthless pruning,  Little Wolf would be the 5 star read it has the promise of being. As it is, I give it 4 stars and the recommendation that, even if you want to stop reading several chapters in, keep at it.  Both Tim, and the story are deserving of your attention and time.   Have patience and you will be rewarded with a story and couple that will have you howling for more of them and this special town of Wolf’s Paw.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is perfect, at least for the little  wolf.  He has a feral quality that works.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  – All Romance (ARe)Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 380 pages, also in DSP Paperback
Published May 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632169761
edition languageEnglish
seriesBeings in Love #4

Books in the Beings in Love Series:

A Mika Review: Piece Us Back Together Collection by Raine O’Tierney. L.J. LaBarthe, and Cate Ashwood

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Rating: 3.5 star out of 5 stars

Piece Us Back Together Anthology coverA M/M Romance “Healing” Anthology

Red Runs Through coverRed Runs Through by Cate Ashwood/3 stars out of 5
Carter McClintock’s life is uncomplicated. For the past five years, he’s spent so much time in hospital scrubs that one day bleeds into the next, and that’s just the way he likes it. That is, until he meets Matthew Nolan. Carter has never had a patient affect him the way Matthew does. During Matthew’s stay in the hospital, the chemistry is unmistakable, and once he is discharged, Carter asks him out.

Despite the obvious attraction between them, Matthew’s HIV status keeps him from handing Carter his heart, refusing to believe anyone could ever truly want him. When Matthew’s past comes to light, their budding relationship is threatened before it has even begun. But Carter isn’t one to give up without a fight and he will do anything to show Matthew the lengths he will go to keep them together.

I like the author for writing about a topic that we seldom see in m/m romance stories. I did not like the execution of the story with these two characters. I had a hard time believing that Carter just accepted Matthew with no reservations or anything. I do think it was too convenient for Carter to be taking medication to prevent certain illnesses. Outside of their initial meeting, I didn’t feel a connection between the two. I was kind of bored reading it honestly. I do think we ever got to see Matthew develop as a character. I found myself skimming through the story. I wish I could have seen them in another light. I did like the author’s writing.

All That shimmers coverAll That Shimmers by Raine O’Tierney /Rating 3 stars out of 5
Beau Bell is a former Olympic hopeful, left paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. He has every reason in the world to be pissed off and miserable, yet he’s training for the Paralympics Men’s 100m—S6 division. The chair? Just a part of who he is now. Beau’s attitude is golden. If only he could contend with this one little issue: errant erections and no way to relieve them!

Nikša Meríc is a lonely scientist and really bad poet living underneath the old building where he does his research. Every night he watches his neighbor through his basement window as he undresses in his wheelchair. Although there is no apparent reason for Nikša to be unhappy, he’s struggled with depression his whole life and has tried to kill himself on multiple occasions.

When Beau proposes that his “voyeur” come over and help him experiment with the erections he can’t actually feel, the relationship they build is a sexual one. But the relationship they need is one that will heal each other’s hearts as well.

I liked this more than I thought I would. I found the relationship between Beau & Niksa meaningful. I really liked Beau as a character. He was assertive, confident, and sweet. I didn’t understand his disability a lot when it came to being in the Paralympics. I found his drive really attractive. He didn’t let being paralyzed stop him from living his dream. Goodness when he yelled at Niksa through the window that it still works, I was laughing uncontrollably. He had no modesty. My faults lied with Niksa, he was such a depressed character. I felt sorry for him, he’s only 24 yrs old and so alone. I get it, I understand that need to have people around, and just have someone. My heart broke for him, but those poems literally made my skin crawl. They were so morose, and at the time I felt like Beau should have driven him to the nearest 72 hour hold facility. I’m glad he didn’t because he opened up and hopefully he’ll get better not for Beau’s sake but his own!

Swimming with Elephants coverSwimming with Elephants by L.J. LaBarthe/ Rating 3.5 stars out of 5
After suffering a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, Garrett believes his life is over. Depressed, bereft, in pain, and unable to return to the career he loves as an arborist, he sees no hope or future for himself. But a trip to Havelock Island in India turns his world upside down. He meets Jai, an Indian nurse, and becomes smitten with him. Near the end of his trip, while swimming with an elephant, he tells Jai how he feels.

After Garrett returns to Australia, he wonders if he can ever be healed of all his pain—physical, emotional, and mental—and fears that love and romance will never be his again. But then Jai turns up in Perth and brings with him astonishing news.

I liked this story. I thought it was very refreshing. For me, the character Jai made the story refreshing. It was such a thrill to read about a character that was just positive, spiritual and there for you.

Garrett was suffering from a tear in his rotator cuff that left him unemployed, depressed, and brokenhearted. It never fails to surprise me what people do to one another. To break up with someone after you spent 4 years with them because of a shoulder injury is outrageous. Garrett found himself travelling to India for a physical therapy resort upon going there he meets Jai a beautiful India man who is a nurse but works all over the world. I liked it alot, it was a slow burn. They were friends for 2 years before anything happened. I actually liked that they took there times. Yes Garrett annoyed me at times with his self-pity, but he eventually got over it. I liked them together, more than that I liked Jai’s sunny disposition on life. I’ve never read anything by this author, but I look forward to more.

Cover Art by Paul Richmond as are all the covers: I like this cover. I think it shows unity and love which every story covers.

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press (collection link):   

Red Runs Through by Cate Ashwood
All That Shimmers by Raine O’Tierney
Swimming with Elephants by LJ LaBarthe

Individual Sales links are listed under the titles.

All Romance (ARe):

Red Runs Through by Cate Ashwood
Swimming with Elephants by LJ LaBarthe
All That Shimmers by Raine O’Tierney

Sales Links at Amazon:

Red Runs Through by Cate Ashwood
Swimming with Elephants by LJ LaBarthe
All That Shimmers by Raine O’Tierney

Buy          Them               Here

Book/Collection Details:

eBook, 260 pages, May 20, 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

Each Story Sold Separately or as a Collection:

Piece Us Back Together at Dreamspinner

Red Runs Through (Piece Us Back Together)by Cate Ashwood

ebook, 90 pages
Published May 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

All That Shimmers (Piece Us Back Together)by Raine O’Tierney

book, 90 pages
Published May 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

Swimming with Elephants (Piece Us Back Together) by L.J. LaBarthe

book, 95 pages
Published May 13th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC

A Mika Review: Kick At the Darkness by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 5 star out of 5 stars

 

To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00067]College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.

But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.

A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.

When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?

Kick At the Darkness by Keira Andrews surpassed all my expectations. It was really good from beginning to end. No, let me say Parker surpassed all my expectations. Here I thought he was going to be this pretentious idiot but he was not. He was a fighter, and sure, I would have freaked out as well in his shoes. I thought the writing was very good. Loved Parker snarkiness. Can I just give K.Andrews a big ass high 5^ for naming him Parker Osborne, seriously You Rock!!!

Dude, this book helped me if there was ever a zombie apocalypse in the future. Now I know what to do and what not to do. I thought they were fortunate about the things that they were able to do and say. Also great? The pacing of the story. In situations like these, it always seems to me like Marshal law is the first thing that happens so I don’t know if I would be brave enough to leave my house in a situation like this. Unlike Parker.

For me the best part of the book was the FREAKIN DIRTY TALK. Parker, who is 18, is one of the dirtiest boys ever! I enjoyed every second of all the words that came out his mouth. The story was at 85% when Kiera Andrews wrote this scene and I damn near fainted because I can picture that in my mind! I re-read it 3 more times to make sure it said what it said. It wouldn’t be a zombie apocalypse book without some crazy people. Yeah that whole entire Pine resort thing was nice, but I seen crazy coming from a mile away.

I do wish I could have gotten a better ending. I understand it was 10% of Parker finding what he was looking for, but that’s it? We just are going to coast along. Hmmm that was a little disheartening. Overall I really enjoyed this book.

Cover Art by Dar Albert. I thought the cover was fitting considering the situation. I liked just seeing Adam & Parker plus Mariah the faithful motorcycle.

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe)Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

265 pages
Published May 28th 2015 by KA Books (first published May 26th 2015)
ISBN139780994092410
edition languageEnglish

Dive Into Love with a Side of Kink with “For Real” by Alexis Hall (giveaway)

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ForReal_200x300

 

For Real by Alexis Hall
Published by Riptide Publishing

Cover by Simone
Release Date: June 1, 2015

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

Alexis Hall quickly became one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words “Must Have, Must Read” Authors with his stories Glitterland, Waiting for the Flood (both Spires universe books),  and Sand, Ruin and Gold.  Now comes another standalone novella in the  Spires universe, For Real released June 1st.

Check out this wonderful author below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the end.  Make sure to include your email address where you can be reached if chosen.

About For Real…

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable.  Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.

ForReal_200x300Book Details:

Author: Alexis Hall
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-279-0
eBook and  print release: Jun 1, 2015
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-280-6
Word count: 125,000,Page count: 437
This title is part of the Spires universe.
– Read an excerpt at Riptide’s For Real book page.

About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Connect with Alexis:

Website : http://www.quicunquevult.com/
Blog:  http://www.quicunquevult.com/blog
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/quicunquevult
Goodreads:  http://http//www.goodreads.com/alexishall

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 23. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing.