A MelanieM Review: Heart of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf #4) by Kendall McKenna

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Rating: 2.5  stars out of 5

heart-of-a-warrior-by-kendall-mckennaTerrell Hubbard, decorated Marine sergeant, proudly serves as Beta wolf to his True Alpha and Dominant. During a mission, he meets Staff Sergeant Kai Thayer, Pack Leader of the Camp Fallujah sippe. Terrell is thrown completely off balance by the strength of their mutual attraction and the intensity of their passion. His entire world felt perfect though, each time they came together to mark and claim one another.

In the chaos of a surprise attack Kai shows poor judgement, driving a wedge between Terrell and him, and landing Kai on the True Alpha’s bad side. Terrell is torn between his ferocious loyalty to his True Alpha, and his new but powerful feelings for Kai. In the battle’s aftermath, Terrell and Kai are drawn together in passion, hoping it’s not the final chance to mark their claims.

First off let me say that I love this series and its author Kendall McKenna.  The first story was one of those novels that combined  all sorts of unusual elements (the Marines, Afghanistan, deployment, a unique shifter mate bond) and pulled them all together in a powerful story and beginning of a first series.  I adored it and so did tons of other readers.  I’ve followed it through the sequels and the love affair has continued.   Then came Heart of the Warrior and I have no idea what’s happened here.

Heart of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf #4) by Kendall McKenna is really only a third to a half of a story and a fractured one at that.  Its the story/romance meeting of Terrell Hubbard, Marine sergeant and Staff Sergeant Kai Thayer, Pack Leader of the Camp Fallujah sippe (both characters we have meet in previous stories).  As with the other stories, a sniff sets the pair into motion but here its a flawed usage.  We get little feel for the characters. I think we are supposed to remember them more than we do but its been a while since the last story.  While Terrell is the strongest (in every way) MC in Heart of the Warrior and couple, Kai suffers from lack of time as a character present in the story here other than as a bed partner.  His character seems to shift from one personality to another or maybe because its just that we don’t know him that well.  Anyway the bond we feel towards the fleeting couple is limited because of the treatment he gets here.  He’s supposed to be an important Pack Leader of the Camp but we get no indication of that here, a flaw in the story that’s carried forward in the relationship.

Also this tale slides around, jumping ahead over apparently key scenes from previous stories you are supposed to have remembered if you’ve read the other stories.  If not you are completely out of luck and totally confused.  The battle scenes we drop in and out of?  Have no idea what’s going on.  Its one big mess.  And that’s unusual for this  series.  Its as though scenes from other novels were used here.  In fact, parts of this book feel more scrapped together than intentionally written.

The ending is perhaps the worse.  It just abruptly ends.  As if it was just a chapter in a much larger story.  But here it goes no further.

There’s not to say I didn’t enjoy parts of this story.  I did.  It holds promise as does this couple.  But you have to put the pieces together from a jumbled mess of a story.

Who should read this book?  I suppose those who are addicted to this series and need a fix.  You will get glimpses of your favorites couples.  But if you are new to this author and series.  Give this story a pass.  It does justice to neither.

I like the cover for the story.  Its terrific.  Wish I could say the same about the novel.

Sales Links

MLR Press

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Book Details:

ebook
Published August 19th 2016 by MLR Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: The Tameness of the Wolf  – add to your Goodreads shelf here

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Cowboy’s Home (Montana #3) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 3 stars out of  5

a-cowboys-home-by-rj-scottOne burned and broken man finds his way home. Can he find peace in the arms of a man easy to love?

Justin made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, battling domestic terrorism, never the man he really was, using hate to avenge the death of his best friend. The friend he’d killed.

What he doesn’t count on is getting shot, and if he’s going to die he wants it to be on Crooked Tree soil. Home.

Sam is as much a part of Crooked Tree as any of the families, and the offer to buy into the ranch is a dream come true. But falling for a hidden, secretive, injured man isn’t the way to keep his head in the game.
I’m thrilled that I was given the opportunity to read book three in this series for review. I loved book two so much I went back and read book one so I was more than ready for book three. I had high hopes that this would be even better than book two, which was full of action, danger, and intrigue. And though this book had action, most of it was in the telling of past events, and the potential intrigue and danger of Justin’s return home after a twelve-year absence was easily resolved and not suspenseful at all.

On the down side, there was quite a bit of time devoted to Justin’s inability to make up his mind about what he would do next, where he wanted to live, what he could safely share with others, and how unfit he was to share his life with another man, particularly Ben. And though they grew close while Justin was injured, once he left and later returned, he avoided Ben for reasons that were shaky at best, boring at worst.

I did have to suspend disbelief to get past how the mystery was cleared up, and I was so done with Ethan and Adam and their behaviors long before the big reveal. And that’s upsetting because I really like both men in book two. They were so strong and together, but in this one, Adam walked around like a zombie with Ethan as his protective mama. Justin’s father, Marcus, was totally cluelessness and had his head so far in the clouds (or in his own you know what!) that I could barely tolerate him. I just found that there was way too much time spent worrying and doubting and spinning in circles without accomplishing anything at all for much too much of the story.

So, sadly, this wasn’t on a par with the others, and certainly not as good as book two. I liked it, mostly because I was already invested in this group of people, but I really can’t see giving this one more than three stars.

Cover art by Meredith Russell depicts both good-looking MCs against an outdoors Montana background. The soft colors and artwork tie it to the others in the series.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 8th 2016 by Love Lane Books Limited
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-cowboys-home.html
SeriesMontana #3

A Caryn Review: The Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-eleventh-hour-by-elin-gregoryThis book has it all! Action, adventure, romance, spies, car chases, explosives, intrigue, cross-dressing…

Wait. What? Cross-dressing?

Yes indeedy. London, 1928. Ten years after the end of the Great War. An anarchist threat against the British Government foiled by a cross dressing linguistic specialist.

I loved it all. I was immediately drawn into this fast paced adventure where field agent Briers Allerdale teams up with linguistic agent Miles Siward to track down and neutralize the vicious terrorist Andrija. Briers has been stationed in the Balkans for years, and is one of the only men who’s ever seen Andrija’s face, and those of his comrades. He gathered intelligence that Andrija was on his way to London with his henchmen, but no one knows what Andrija has planned, or what his target is. They only know that Andrija’s girlfriend and co-conspirator has taken up a position as a nanny next door to a diplomat with the Foreign Office. With nothing else to go on, the home office decides to station Briers and Miles to do surveillance of Josephine and try to discover the rest of the plot. The catch? They must pose as a married couple in the rooming house across the street.

Although Miles hasn’t been an active field agent, he is a very talented actor, and the home office has used him to impersonate women in the past, though only for very minor and short missions. This mission will require him to be much more convincing on a longer term, as he needs to fool not only the people in the rooming house, but Andrija’s girlfriend as well. While Miles might be unassuming, his alter ego Millie is brash, brave, and intelligent, and more than up to the task. Briers is impressed first with Millie, but over time he recognizes that Miles is braver than he thought, equally clever, and worthy of respect. Affection grows between the two men, but their focus remains on the mission, on bringing down Andreja and saving England.

The book is, therefore, primarily an adventure. The romance is secondary, but I still enjoyed watching as Miles and Brier went from wary colleagues to casual lovers to a true couple. The descriptions of being gay at this time in England were very interesting, especially how men of the lavender persuasion went about finding other like minded men. Miles’ female impersonations, though necessary for national security, opened him up to ridicule and derision, and I loved how the author described his inner conflict of enjoying becoming his alter ego while concurrently being ashamed of enjoying it. Briers had a great deal of sensitivity about it as well, recognizing that Millie is actually an essential part of Miles.

Historical fiction buffs will love this, with the realistic trivia of daily life in interwar London. Action aficionados will love the car chase (high speed was less than 40 mph then!) and the sewer reconnaissance. Readers like me who enjoy character development will appreciate how two quite different men came to know and love each other. Highly recommended!

The cover art is different, murky.  Not sure what to think of it exactly.

Sales Links

Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Manifold Press
ISBN139781908312402
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://manifoldpress.co.uk

Jay Northcote’s Into You Release Tour

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Jay Northcote – Into You

Author: Jay Northcote
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Length: 57,000 words
 
Release Date: September 9 2016
 
Buy Links: Amazon US Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 
What do you do when the body you wake up in isnít yours?


Olly and Scott promised to be best friends forever. They grew up on the same street, went to the same school, and did everything together. But one hot summer night, teenage experimentation caused hurt feelings and confusion, and their friendship was destroyed.


Four years later theyíre both eighteen years old and in their final term at school. Scott is a football star and Ollyís preparing for a main role in the school play. After a heated argument in the streetówitnessed by their mysterious, elderly neighbouróthey wake up the next morning stuck in each otherís bodies.


With no idea how to get back to normal, they have to co-operate in order to hide their secret. Spending time together rekindles their friendship, yet feelings run deeper for both of them. With the end of school fast approaching, the clock is ticking. Unless they discover how to change back, they could be stuck in the wrong bodies forever.

 

 
Excerpt


The sound of music playing pulled Scott from a thick blanket of sleep into
wakefulness. He lay curled on his side; his room was darker than usual, as though someone had come in and closed the blinds while he slept. His bed felt weird, softer than it should be, and it smelled different.
He sat up, blinking in confusion as he looked around. He took in the room, the details unclear in the half-light that crept around the edges of the blind, but it was enough for him to realise where he was.
The posters on the wall were new, but the layout hadnít changed in four years.
What the fuck?
It wasnít possible. Logic told Scott there was no way this could be happening.
Heíd gone to sleep in his own bedóhe hadnít been drunk or high. So why the hell was he waking up in Ollyís room with no recollection of how he got there? And where the hell was Olly? The music that had woken him was coming from a phone on a docking station by the bed. He picked it up and pressed some buttons until it stopped. His brain was fogged with sleep and he couldnít think clearly.
Scott got out of bed on shaky legs. His hip ached as though it was bruised.
Actually, his whole body felt weird. Perhaps he was sick? Maybe this was all some bizarre hallucination?
Pulling the cord to raise the blind, Scott flooded the room with light. He looked down at himself, onlyÖ.
He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them again, he still didnít see himself. His body was too thin, his skin too pale, the hair on his legs darker than usual, and he definitely didnít own any snug purple briefs like the ones he was currently wearing.
Stomach roiling with disbelief and terror, Scott turned to the full-length mirror on the wall and blinked.
Ollyís reflection stared back looking as horrified as Scott felt. Scott raised his hands to his face, and so did Olly in the mirror.
ìThis isnít happening,î he said.
The voice was Ollyís too, softer and a little higher-pitched than Scottís own.
It was the weirdest, most vivid dream Scott had ever had.
He pinched himself hard. ìOuch!î
Why wasnít he waking up?


Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!
Olly shot up, heart pounding at the shrill sound. He opened his eyes and blinked in the sunlight.
Ugh. Too bright.
He looked around wildly and closed his eyes again, refusing to believe what he saw. Obviously he wasnít awake yet because he couldnít be in Scottís room. He hadnít set foot in Scottís house in years.
Olly cracked his eyes open again but still saw the white walls, the posters of Scottís football heroes that Olly remembered from years ago, and the freakishly tidy desk that definitely wasnít his.
The alarm clock by the bed was still making an awful racket, so he found the button to silence it.
ìScott?î he said hesitantly, then coughed.
What the fuck was wrong with his throat? His voice was deep and rough sounding. Oh God, no, please donít let him be getting a cold. He couldnít afford to lose his voice with all the play rehearsals coming up.
He pushed the duvet off and swung his legs around to get out of bed. Heíd find
Scott and work out what the hell was going on. Maybe he had some weird amnesia after his accident yesterday, although he hadnít hit his head. There had to be some explanation for why he was apparently in Scottís bed rather than his own.
Then Olly looked down at his legsóand froze.
They were thicker and more muscular than they should be. Olly only dreamed of having legs like that. The hairs on them were light brown instead of dark, the skin more tanned. He looked at his hands, they were all wrong too, thicker and sturdier than they should be. He lifted one to run it through his hair, the way he often did in times of crisis.
ìWhat the fuck?î No long floppy fringe falling in his eyes. Instead he found short-cropped hair and his ear piercings were gone.
Now convinced he was dreaming, because that was the only possible explanation, Olly got up to look in the mirror. Scottís handsome face stared back at him, the mouth slack with surprise and the blue eyes wide.
Olly shook his head in disbelief. No way could this be happening. No way. This was the stuff of Hollywood movies, not reality. But cold, creeping panic rose in his gut, because apart from the fact that he appeared to be in the wrong body, everything else felt normal. Way too normal for it to be a dream.
ìNo,î he said loudly, putting his hands up and touching Scottís nose, Scottís
cheekbones, Scottís lips. He felt every brush of his fingertips. ìOh, Jesus Christ on a bike, this is not happening. No.î

 

Author Bio:

 
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
 
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short storyÒjust to see if she couldÒand found it rather addictive. She hasnÌt stopped writing since.

Its Release Date for Bread, Salt & Wine by Dev Bentham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Bread, Salt and Wine
Author: Dev Bentham
Series: Tarnished Souls #4
This can be read as a standalone
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance

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BLURB

Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. At thirty-eight he’s a troubled man. Escaping his miserable life as a banker in New York, he moves across the country to start again in Los Angeles as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant. Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be—flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is amazing. But even after the two get close, George is crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

**Bread, Salt and Wine was previously published by Loose ID in June 2013, but is being re-released with a fabulous new cover, designed by Jordan Castillo Price.**

Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon

Find the rest of the Tarnished Souls series here: Goodreads

EXCERPT

It was after midnight by the time we got everything cleaned up and stowed away back at the restaurant. I got change for the five one-hundred-dollar bills the financial manager had pressed into my palm as we left, and doled out fifty dollars to each of the four waiters, the busboy/dishwasher, and the bartender. I stuffed one into my pocket and the others into an envelope to give the kitchen crew.

The group started toward the staff locker room, and the kitchen emptied out. Except the cute one, Kenny.

He waved his money at me. “And the momma? Was she pleased?”

I shrugged. “She says she’ll call if she needs catering. We’ll see.” He watched me expectantly until I added, “Thanks for pointing her out.”

“No problem. Glad to be of service.” He shifted his weight onto one hip and looked at me from under his eyelashes. “Chef sometimes forgets to schedule me. Maybe you could put in a good word.”

I nodded. He smiled and turned to leave, throwing a “good night” over his shoulder as he sauntered out the door. I stayed behind to check on the preparations for the next event, Sunday brunch for a hundred. I reviewed the work schedule and was surprised by the pang of disappointment I felt when Kenny Marks’s name wasn’t on the list.

Giveaway: 5 lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Bread, Salt and Wine!!

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About the Author

dev-author-pic

I write contemporary gay romance. My characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know they’re looking for true love, but when they meet their bershert, their true love, their lives are transformed. My stories are set in the real world where gay men have gay friends, families who do or don’t accept them, personal histories they’re not necessarily proud of and a myriad of experiences that have made them who they are.

I live in Northern Wisconsin with my Boston Terrier and Chicago spouse. I’ve published short stories, poetry, newspaper articles and academic papers and have worked in nearly every profession from restaurants to retail to open-water diving and now write m/m romance out of my fascination with love, courage and gender.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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