A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: His Consort by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Jason Thorpe, former military, opens a quaint little shop in a home he inherited when one of his former buddies was killed in action. He meets a gregarious and beautiful woman named Ode, who becomes his best friend and business partner and settles down. Little does he know, however, that New Orleans is heavily populated by a vampyr population—some born and some made (result of a vampyr and human mating). Oddly, when he’s around, the two groups don’t feud, but it isn’t until later in the story that we learn of his personal connection to the world of vampyrs when he meets Prince Varic, his apparent mate.

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I had hoped. I’m a huge fan of Mary Calmes and rarely dislike one of her characters, but in this instance, I couldn’t warm up to either Jason, the “everyone loves me” character, so typical of her stories, or to Varic, the vampyr prince—dark, handsome, alpha male.

Like the Change of Heart series, the author needed to build this world from the ground up and though it was interesting, there was more on-page time devoted to the background and world-building than there was for any romance. While building the vampyr world, the author also introduced a whole host of vampyr characters, including those who were pure and those who were made. There was also the world of the royalty: not only Prince Varic, but information about both his parents, the courtesans, and two other characters who had a major role in Varic’s life and in this story.

And then there was Jason and his host of friends, because of course, he’s one of those people who are too good to be true and attract friends like flies to honey. He didn’t work for me because his character didn’t seem to fit with his past behaviors, like his military background and the life choices he’s made. And then that background and life experience didn’t fit with someone who would swoon at his vampyr mate and more or less play the role of a dainty maiden. Granted, he fought alongside the vamps a few times, but he continued to be super sappy over Varic, and I couldn’t warm up to him at all.

Now Varic is another story. In fact, I didn’t like him at any point in the story. He was, as one would expect a vampyr prince who is hundreds of years old to be, quite full of himself. Self-centered, know-it-all, super-alpha male, not considerate of how his actions affect Jason, at first, and simply too OTT. Definitely not my cuppa, and as I said, even toward the end, I was not a fan.

Add to the fact the characters weren’t believable as loving mates, the overabundance of new facts in the world building made this much less than I’d hoped. I liked it. Yes, the story was complex and interesting once I understood the various factions, but I never moved beyond minimal liking it.

The cover by Reese Dante features a gorgeous, long-haired man in a black suit—the perfect representation of Varic.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages
Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640809628
Edition Language English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Kairos by Mary Calmes and Michael Fell (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

This was a nice heartwarming story. Kade pushes Joe to talk to his family, going as far as getting them close to his hometown when they need to go away from their home for a bit.

Joe can’t see that Kade greatly cares for him just as much as he does for him but it was easy to see while hearing the story from Joe’s perspective.  Kade is a broken man but Joe has been a big help in holding him together and when Joe’s mom decides to keep him it’s just the additional reassurance he needs.  The story was focused more on Joe and Kade figuring their way around more than the conflict of Kade’s past.

Michael Fell did a nice job narrating this story.  The voices for the most part the different voices he used help keep track of the story but he sometimes changes the accents up or said the words differently that would confuse me for a second.

Cover art by Reese Dante is great and I loved the visuals of the characters.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 10mins
Published March 16, 2018 (ebook first published December 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

A Lila Audiobook Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What they say this book’s all about?

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Late in the Day is a story of second chances and hard happily ever afters. It starts right into the action and personally, it took me a moment to make the connection between the end of the last book and the start of this one. One thing I didn’t like was the switch between the current moment and snippets of past events. By the time the characters moved back to the current timeline, I was ready to skip over.

Like many of the author’s stories, we have met Conrad before and we get to see many others helping us discover the events that shaped Conrad. Also, to learn how he fell in love with Efrem. Perhaps a bit far-fetched but it works in the end.

I did want more time with Conrad and Efrem. It seems as if we lost the majority of their love story within other books. Don’t get me wrong, they have great chemistry but I wanted them to show it, not having it be implied. It does end with a pretty wrapped up, sigh-worthy HEA.

And definitely, kudos to Mary Calmes for having characters over forty; getting closer to fifty. 🙂

As always, Greg Boudreaux did an excellent job bringing to life the new characters in this book and bringing the rest from the previous ones. It was easy to feel what the characters felt and this added to the listeners’ enjoyment.

The cover by Reese Dante has a lovely depiction of Conrad. The strength in his gaze shows through the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours and 41 minutes

Published: March 7, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07B86XWF8
Edition Language: English

Series: The Vault
Book #1: A Day Makes
Book #2: Late in the Day

A Lila Release Day Review:Twisted and Tied (Marshals #4) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He’s head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he’s doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely… until they’re not.

Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team he’s come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian’s individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he’s pretty certain everything just went up in smoke. But before he can even worry about the future, his past comes for a visit, shaking his world up even more. It’s hard to tell what road he should truly be on, but as he learns some paths are forged and others are discovered, it might be that where he’s going is the right course after all. If he can navigate all the twists and turns, he and Ian might just get their happily ever after.

Twisted and Tied is my favorite book in this series. Perhaps because it brings all the plot lines to an end and after several volumes, it’s easy to follow the connections with other books by the author. Also by now, we know all the characters well and small details, like brand name mentions, are part of the narrative.

Even when the book is only from Miro’s point of view and in the first person, we get to see and understand everyone’s’ actions and their part in the story. The author is known for her detailed descriptions–from settings, physical aspects to the weather, foods, and clothing.

I will recommend reading Together Tied before this book, not because it’s necessary, but because it brings the relationship between Kage and the Marshals to a different level. Then it’s easier to understand certain decisions Kage takes here involving Miro and Ian. These books definitely are not stand-alone but in my case, I haven’t read the original books with Kage and Jory.

As for this story’s plot, it’s a lot simpler than any of the previous books. The reader has time to appreciate the changes happening in Ian’s and Miro’s lives and they didn’t spend long periods of time apart as they did before. We get updates from other characters and get to know new ones with potential for other series.

The beginning is slower than we are used to but it has enough information not to get you bored. I did a bit of crying around the eighty percent of the story but it was because I didn’t expect something to happen as it did. Perhaps I was naive enough but in the end, it worked well. I was hoping for an impossibly happy ending. But hey, a girl can dream.

The ending was a little anti-climatic but fitting. It brought Miro’s life full circle and set the path for his future with his friends, family, and work. Ian is more of a secondary character in this story than one of the main character but it still worked.  Overall, this is a great ending to the Marshals series.

The cover by Reese Dante matched the previous ones and gives several hints about the particulars of this story.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | Nook

ebook, 266 pages
Published: March 13, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640801721
Edition Language: English

Series: Marshals

Book #1: All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals, #1) 

Book #2: Fit to be Tied (Marshals, #2) 

Book #3: Tied Up in Knots (Marshals, #3) 

Book #3.5: Together Tied (Marshals, #3.5)

Book #4: Twisted and Tied (Marshals, #4) 

A Melanie Release Day Review: (PreRelease Review) Kairos by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Kairos is the greek word for the moment when everything comes together, the right time, an opportunity to have the perfect whatever you are searching for in your life…which is what Mary Calmes’ new book is all about.

Joe Cade fled his family after coming out for a life as a PI in Chicago. However his main focus in life is his partner Kade Bosa, the man he loves in secret and his best friend.  He’s Kade’s support and his family.  Kade’s troubled past is never far away from them in Chicago and their present job is just another link to it.  That it turns into something that alters all their lives irrevocably is something they never could have imagined.

Kairos is another wonderful  convoluted romance from Mary Calmes.  Two smitten partners who don’t let on to each other just how much they love each other, a criminal element, and in this case a lovely young rent boy, Declan, who I hope will get his own book sometime in the near future.

This is pure Mary Calmes, from the characters to the situations.  I loved it and felt right at home from the banter between Joe and Kade to the angst that arrives mid story and the wonderful storylines to come (no spoilers here).  If you’re a Mary Calmes fan, you’ll feel right at home here.

The only thing that troubled me was the quick resolution to the criminal element.  I was sure it was going to play out a little further only to have it end without their needed involvement.  That was sort of a shame.  However the page count should have indicated there just wasn’t room for more.  How I wish this was a larger novel….

If you’re a Mary Calmes fan, then this romance is for you.  Even if you’re new to the author, you’ll enjoy this fast-paced romance, spiced up with a hint of danger, a young rent boy who I hopes gets his own story and two special men who get their own HEA.

Grab up Kairos by Mary Calmes and have a wonderful read.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Love this cover, unusual and attractive, it caught my eye.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 154 pages
Expected publication: December 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640804975
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Second from The Vault

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

I loved the first story in The Vault series, A Day Makes, so I couldn’t wait to see what the sequel would bring.  Late in the Day brings into focus a character we’ve met before in other stories,  not just A Day Makes. Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne, these are all names that Darius Hawthorne has gone by at one stage of his life or another.  In a series of flashbacks throughout the story, much like the first novel, we see the progression of events that lead up to the man Darius is when the story opens.

It’s an effective format and one that pulled me in immediately.

Mary Calmes engages her reader on many levels from the opening scene.  We’re let into a moment fraught with danger, we understand the personalities of the men involved, and the author sets out an explosive start for her tale that pulls us in emotionally and intellectually.  And then starts to explore why this event has so much impact to Darius and his future.

This author also does lovers reunited like nobody’s business.  That would include Efrem Lahm, the one man that Darius fell deeply in love with and never got over.  The  effect on the reader of these two men meeting again is so strong, so vivid it’s almost gut wrenching. I love it when an author can pull that sort of emotional response from me, making me aware of how powerful a ground shift it would be for a character to see this man again. Mary Calmes does it here…over and over.  And not just from Darius.

Along with the romance, there’s suspense, action, and, yes, humor albeit on the darkish side.  Yes, I think this book and series really has it all going for it with fascinating characters, a complicated series foundation, and outstanding cast of characters.  What this book is not is a standalone novel.  Late in the Day exists within a specific universe, that has its own framework of morality, carefully interlocking family of characters, and even other stories that can be joined to this by weaponry.  Don’t miss out on the note at the end for other stories by Mary Calmes that will connect with this one.

At the end of the novel, I was so happy that I was ready to go back to the beginning of the series and read through the two books all over again.  I can’t wait to see where the author is taking this series next.  Until then, I highly recommend you read Late in the Day if you’ve read A Day Makes, and both books if you are new to the series.  If you are a Mary Calmes fan, you are already ahead of me.

Cover art by Reese Dante is perfect for the character and makes a stunning cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339802
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series The Vault :

A Day Makes (The Vault, #1)
Late in the Day (The Vault, #2) 

An Ali Audiobook Review: A Day Makes by Mary Calmes and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Mob enforcer Ceaton Mercer has killed a lot of people in a lot of different ways – he stashed the last two bodies in a toolshed belonging to a sweetheart marine researcher in an idyllic island community – but he’s really not such a bad guy. Over time he’s found a home of sorts, and he even learns he’s found a place in the hearts of the people he works with…at least enough so that they won’t put a bullet in his head because he’s outlived his usefulness to the boss.

But he never thought he’d find one day could change his life, and he’s about to discover how wrong he is.

Because in a single day, he meets the man who looks to be the one, the love of his life. It’s an improbable idea – a man who deals in death finding love – but it’s like it’s meant to be. That single day gets weirder and troubles pile up, forcing Ceaton to take a hard look at his dreary life and accept that one day can change everything, especially himself. His future might be brighter than he expects – if he can stay alive long enough to find out.
 
Lot’s of my friends love this author.  I always see her books with 5 star reviews all over Goodreads.  So about every two years I feel like I’m missing something so I try one, thinking that this will be the one I connect with.  It never works out for me.  It’s time I admit defeat.  This writer’s story telling style just does not work for me.
This story begins with Ceaton meeting a mob boss and going to work for him.  This was where I first had to suspend belief.  Ceaton’s character was discharged from the military for not following orders and he did that because he was so full of integrity that he couldn’t follow an order that would kill people, but now we’re supposed to believe he’s thrown all those morals away to work for the mob and kill people?  The suspension of belief needed to follow this plot was just too much for me.
The story was slow and repetitive.  Lot’s of killings and mob related things.  Ceaton doesn’t meet the other MC until the later part of the book and then it is an insta-love thing.  I found the ending to be even more far-fetched than the beginning.
The narration was done by Greg Tremblay and I thought he did a very good job.  There are a number of different characters and a number of different accents that needed to be done for this story.  Some of the accents were Serbian and Russian and I do not know if they were accurate but they did sound different and distinct and I enjoyed the narration a lot.
I rated this based on my enjoyment of the book which isn’t completely fair.  I disliked the story itself a great deal but on the flip side I feel like the narration was probably a 5 star.  If you typically enjoy this author then I definitely recommend this on audio.  I think you will enjoy it.
 
This cover was done by Reese Dante and I think it’s a great cover.  I really like it alot and it was part of the reason I chose to try this book.
Book Details:
Audible Audio
Published June 19th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published April 19th 2017)
ASINB0721R5PTF
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: You Never Know by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Wellllllll……huh.  Normally, Mary Calmes can do no wrong for me.  I gobble up her stories like mad, doesn’t matter whether they are supernatural love stories or contemporary romances.  I just love them.  But every now and again, a book like You Never Know comes around that remind me that authors are human and aren’t made to churn out amazing stories like machines.  And perhaps we shouldn’t expect them to.  But whatever the case, You Never Know just didn’t do it for me for a number of reasons.

It does have that second chance at love element that has served the author so well in her other novels, but not really here.  I love this trope, it’s one of my favorites.  But you have to feel that the couple is now right for each other, has made amends or grown substantially or done whatever it takes to have their reunion and new relationship make sense once more.  And I’m not one hundred percent Calmes makes that argument here.  One Hagen Wylie is back after an unrecounted horror of a tour during war time.  He was captured, tortured, and the implication is, something heinous happened during his confinement.  But it’s never directly spelled out.  The reader, however, can read from his reactions to certain things and make their own conclusions.  Its  pretty obvious with his interactions with Mitch and the things he says what happened to him.  But that compounds one of the problem I have with this story.  The implication that love can fix anything including deep emotional trauma including PTSD and worse with one leap into bed.  Uh no. So strike one.

Two, Hagen already has a love interest.  It’s not Mitch, it’s an actor named Ash. So there’s time taken away from the  main couple to dwell on this segment. It really doesn’t help that the pictures you get of Mitch make him unattractive in the cowardly personal sense either.  Like the kids, not so the man he used to be. Or even the man he is now.  He’s still seems to be all about what he wants and needs, not about what is in the best interests of Hagen or anyone else for that matter.  Does he press Hagen for what happened to him?  No.  It’s lets have sex…that will fix it.  As you can see, I never warmed up to this character or the pairing.  This time unrealistic didn’t do it for me.

If you know Mary Calmes’  writing and characters, then you know how the townspeople feel about Hagen or Hag as they call him.  He can do no wrong.  They all adore him.  They rallied around him when he was hurt and in the hospital, etc. He’s beloved by the community which he serves in a number of ways. Honestly, it’s a character type I have always loved from this author and have never gotten tired of.  I love Hagen.  I just never felt that any of the men in this story felt right for him.  How about that?  Loved the kids though.

Anyhow, I’m going to be nice and give it three stars because I loved Hagen and the kids.  The townspeople too.  Nobody does a warm town and community like that like Mary Calmes.  Love infused!  So I’m waiting on the next one to come out.  Those Mary Calmes fans have already read this. Those of you new to Mary Calme, find Frog or her superlative supernatural series A Change of Heart or the contemporary Timing series. So many to choose from. But I really don’t think I’d start here.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  It’s a gorgeous cover. But again, does it really connect me to the story?

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 212 pages
Expected publication: July 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339079
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Day Makes by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Don’t look for  Spoilers – You  Won’t Find Them Here!

Mob enforcer Ceaton Mercer has killed a lot of people in a lot of different ways – he stashed the last two bodies in a toolshed belonging to a sweetheart marine researcher in an idyllic island community – but he’s really not such a bad guy. Over time he’s found a home of sorts, and he even learns he’s found a place in the hearts of the people he works with…at least enough so that they won’t put a bullet in his head because he’s outlived his usefulness to the boss.

But he never thought he’d find one day could change his life, and he’s about to discover how wrong he is.

Because in a single day, he meets the man who looks to be the one, the love of his life. It’s an improbable idea – a man who deals in death finding love – but it’s like it’s meant to be. That single day gets weirder and troubles pile up, forcing Ceaton to take a hard look at his dreary life and accept that one day can change everything, especially himself. His future might be brighter than he expects – if he can stay alive long enough to find out.

Well, this was just that amazing and then some!

A Day Makes by Mary Calmes is just sort of that.  It charts the single day in the life of Ceaton Mercer and all the amazing changes in his life that happens during the course of a day.  And as  odd as it may seem, it’s not hokey, or unbelievable or any of the “un’s” you might want to throw in there.  Its simply outstanding.

Now, while we are following Ceaton as he proceeds through the day, we are also learning about Ceaton’s past history…in detail.  Calmes’ ability to connect us fully to this man is achieved through memorable passages of Ceaton’s past life and the experiences that have made him the man he is and brought him to this life changing day. We feel his emotions deeply, his pain and hurt over his discharge from the Marines, we know what drives him, so yes, we can connect with a mob enforcer and look through his eyes at people, recognizing the things he’s done.  Ceaton still carries many of the author’s characteristic personality quirks about him.  He doesn’t realize how handsome he is while being alarmingly so.  He’s loyal, capable, and until he met Grigor, the mob boss, he was adrift and in need of a family.  Soon, it’s Grigor and his  men who are grounding Ceaton and providing support and we get it absolutely because the author has laid all the groundwork for us and made us believe in it.

Mary Calmes is great about giving us not just the main characters but an entire cast to care about which here includes other enforcers and the mob culture which she uses effectively to create a dark family that Ceaton serves and comes to love in his way.  She distinguishes between the different groups and languages, even mob organizations pulling us into Ceaton’s world.

And when he does meet the potential love of his life?  I totally bought into it.  Yes, the way the author explains it, gives it a background and the character, how I love the character, well, yes, I fell for him just as hard as Ceaton did.  And it wasn’t who it was I thought it was going to be.

Huh.

But it was that ending,  That smack my head, ‘didn’t see that coming’ ending that if I could give this more than 5 stars I would.  If you see reviews out there with spoilers and you’re going to read this book, don’t read them.  Honestly.  You want that surprise to come up and hit you.  And leaving you stunned and smiling. And if you are one of those who read the endings first (yes, you know who you are), don’t.  Read up!  You’ll thank me!

A Day Makes by Mary Calmes is a beautifully written story, full of great characters, vivid descriptions, a lively narrative with an ending that I’m still in stunned joy over.  Yep, going to make my Best of List.  Grab it up and get reading!

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  The design is simple.  Not sure it really speaks to the story or grabs my attention.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: April 19th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635335744 (ISBN13: 9781635335743)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Melanie Release Day Review: Chosen Pride (L’Ange #3) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

chosen-prideJon Slade finally met his mate, but instead of it being the happiest day of his life, it became the saddest when wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy chose his obligations over their fated bond, leaving Jon to pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams. Lucky for him, Roman Howell, his boss and the owner of L’Ange, saw promise in the forlorn lion and put him to work so he wouldn’t have time to sit around and lick his wounds while he waited for his wounded spirit to heal.

Then the wolves make an official visit to L’Ange, and Jon finds out Kelvin’s pining for him is taking its toll on his position as the king’s champion. Though Kelvin’s training and the expectations of others steer him toward an intended mate, Jon has an unbreakable hold on his heart, and it’s no longer possible for Kelvin to keep himself from where he truly belongs.

But the conclave brings more than Kelvin to the château. It also brings a challenge to jackal alpha Quade Danas, a threat that Quade and Roman, Arman and Linus, and Jon and Kelvin may have to fight in order to keep L’Ange’s family intact. Jon never wanted to lead a pride, but the loyalty and devotion to one is ingrained in him. Kelvin was raised to punish anyone who questioned his king, but the calling to protect others runs through his veins just as deeply. To come out on the other side of the battle together, Jon and Kelvin will have to hold the darkness of solitary pride and broken hearts at bay—and find strength in belonging to something bigger than themselves.

Mary Calmes’  L’Ange series became a favorite of mine from the very first story Old Loyalty, New Love.  An old chateau, a mix of shifters, dark men with mysterious and painful pasts?  Yes, yes, and hell yes!  And as with my deeply loved Mary Calmes stories and series, a connecting story thread that both pulls at your heart and mind.  A vast estate that seems to beckon to isolated, wounded shifters and an Alpha set to  rule them  all.  An estate huge enough to hold the promise also of mates for them all as well.

Jon Slade, a lion shifter, was one such lone male without a pride who was taken in by Roman and Quade (after a rocky start).  His story began in the last amazing tale,Fighting Instinct (L’Ange, #2).  Chosen Pride picks up in the resulting aftermath.

If you had to ask me why Mary Calmes has such a large and loyal following, I would point to her ability to create characters such as Jon Slade.  Golden, strong, and unbelievably beautiful on the outside and yet now broken by the rejection of his mate.  Calmes makes  Jon and his heartbreaking situation so real, so painfully cruel that you almost bleed for Jon,  Doesn’t matter how pretty, how strong Jon is because those qualities won’t help him here.  Not even the strength of a lion can bring him his mate.  The irony.  The author has the reader so invented in Jon and his plight that you can’t even think about putting this book down, not for a minute.

There is also an equal tragedy going on with wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy.  He’s caught up in a vicious tradition that regards him as little more than a beast within his society, something to be breed for size and strength, nothing more.  We’ve gotten to know him during the last story too and become wrapped up in his complicated life and turmoil that led to him rejecting Jon to Jon’s and our astonishment and pain.

In Chosen Pride, Calmes brings out the best in her characters, and her series thread.  Other main couples appear in strong supporting roles necessary to both this story and the series.  There also a fox shifter that’s a sexy delight.  The minute I finished the story and went back and started it all over again wanting to see what details I had missed the first time around.

There’s several clues here, about the journey to another kingdom, the perils that await there.  I expect that Mary Calmes will use that in an upcoming book.  She doesn’t lay false trails.  Now I’m anticipating a journey that will make my heart stop and angst as well.  I can’t wait.

This is an amazing series.  So don’t start here.  Go to the beginning story and proceed from there.  It will become a favorite of yours as it has mine.  Its one I highly recommend.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  Such a gorgeous cover.  Its perfect for Jon and I love it.

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Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: December 26th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634779010 (ISBN13: 9781634779012)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series L’Ange: