Review: Belligerent Beta (Pack Partners #2) by Poppy Dennison


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Belligerent Beta coverBeta Dan Keller always assumed he would take over the pack as Alpha if anything should happen to their leader.  But when the dead Alpha’s son chooses a human to become Alpha and lead their pack, Dan wasn’t sure of his place in the pack or his position.  With ex cop Lex Tompkins as Alpha and new pack members, there is a lot of adjusting to do by all. One of the youngest members is also one who is having the most problems.  Nathan Ross, the Omega of the pack, has a troubled past that has not only made him a target to other wolves but left him unable to shift as well.

When Lex suggests to Dan that he needs to get more involved with pack members, become a true beta, Dan never anticipated that the one who needed him the most would be Nathan.  But a broken down car and a offered ride gives Dan a chance to get to know Nathan and to his surprise he finds he likes the shy man hiding behind poor posture and long bangs.  When trouble arrives in pack territory and local animals turn up dead, all clues points to Nathan as the culprit.

Will Nathan and Dan’s friendship and burgeoning romance be lost just as its getting started or will the belligerent beta find his true strength in time to protect a man he wants for his own?

This is such a cute series.  Accidental Alpha, the first story, revolved around an ex cop Lex Tompkins who gets bitten by a neighbor’s toddler which turned him into a shifter and pack Alpha.  The kid was/is adorable and the situation Lex found himself in was funny with a few serious elements attached.  Belligerent Beta is a perfect title for Dan Keller who is still smarting at being passed over for Alpha and by a child no less.  Dan is aloof, intimidating, and in a quandary over his role in the pack.   The story picks up with the pack and Lex still adjusting  to the new order and Lex’s new powers.  Nathan, a young Omega wolf, in jeopardy in Accidental Alpha remains troubled here for an unknown yet hinted at reason.

Nathan’s character is a little shaky here.  His history is one he only told to the last Alpha with hints of abuse or something equally horrific.  He is naive or ignorant about shifter culture.  And his inability to shift has caused him to withdraw even further into himself.  I expected more from Nathan’s history than is revealed here.  Either the reader still doesn’t have the whole story on Nathan or some of the implications were too overwrought,  Either way I felt his character could have used some additional information or substance.  Did that keep me from liking Nathan?  Absolutely not.  As someone in need of support and compassion, Nathan hits all the right buttons in order to connect with him.  Who did I love?  Well, that would be Dan.  Big, gruff, isolated Dan.   Dan is a character that you like the more he opens up and that happens as gradually as it can over 97 pages. And when Dan finally starts to get to know and get closer to Nathan its as cute as a puppy pile.  That’s the best part of this story. It’s heartwarming and so sweet.

If you are looking for drama or angst here, you won’t find it.  That element is almost completely missing from this story.  Any hints of turmoil or large crisis such as we saw in the first story are just so much smoke or a quick reference to Lex’s continued adjustment to his new shifter status.  This is a sweet, adorable romance..  The couple is endearing and they make a perfect pair.  When you are finished,  I think you will find you were happy you spent more time with this pack and their latest mate pairing.  Poppy Dennison continues to flesh out her portrait of this pack and their members with each new story.  I’m not sure who is next up in the series, but I can’t wait to find out.

Cover art by Wilde City Press.  I would call that model a wonderful bear but this is about wolves after all.

Buy Links:    Wilde City Press          Amazon                 ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 97 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Wilde City Press
original titleBelligerent Beta
edition languageEnglish
seriesPack Partners #2

Pack Partners Series:

Accidental Alpha  (Pack Partners #1)
Belligerent Beta (Pack Partners #2)

September 2013 Summary of Reviews


September and Fall

September 2013 Book Review Summary

What a wonderful month it was for books and reviews!  Most of the books I read fell into the 5 and 4 star category, a few into the  3 star and none below that.  Series predominated the ratings this time.  Most notably the series offerings from the Pulp Friction authors. There 3d-person-sit-pile-books-reading-book-26141531were new books in well established series such as Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series as well as followup stories and new series  from such talented authors such as Kendall McKenna (The Tameness of the Wolf series) and Aleksandr Voinov (Memory of Scorpions series).

Other new series includes Poppy Dennison’s Pack Partners , Cat Grant’s Bannon’s Gym) and Harper Kingsley’s Heroes and Villains series too.  My cup (and yours) runneth over with series, all promising more great stories featuring characters we have come to love. And believe it or not, October is starting the same way!  What a fall!

So grab a pen or notebook and jot down those books and authors you may have missed the first time around.  I have linked my review to each one listed.  Happy Reading!

5 Star Rating:

Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by L.E. Harner
Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne (supernatural)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner (contemporary)
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners #1) by Poppy Dennison (4.5 stars)(supernatural)
Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant (4.5 stars)(contemporary)
Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon (4 stars) (fantasy)
City Knight (City Knight #1) by T.A. Webb (4 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley (4 stars)(supernatural)
Sonata by A.F. Henley (4.5 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Summer Lovin’ Anthology (4.75 stars out of 5) (contemporary)
The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft (4 stars)(historical)
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner (4.5 stars)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz (3.75 stars)(historical)
Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga (3 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: none

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: none

Review: Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners, #1) by Poppy Dennison


Book Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Accidental Alpha coverOne year ago police officer Lex Tompkins was stabbed while on the job.  The severity of the wounds and the long recovery time meant disability and retirement for Lex as he could no longer physically do his job.  Bitter, Lex withdraws from everyone he knows, buying seven acres in the middle of nowhere to hide in and retreat from society.  But almost from the beginning his plans go awry. Lex has a neighbor when his real estate agent promised him none.  And that neighbor, Spencer Robinson, always seems to have a ton of people at his house and a party going on.  Plus the guy isn’t even Lex’s type.

When a toddler shows up alone in Lex’s front yard, he knows that there is only one place he could have come from. Lex picks the kid up and starts to head across the street when the toddler bites the heck out of his neck.  Lex passes out and the next moment wakes up in Spencer’s house as the new Alpha werewolf of a small and dysfunctional pack of werewolves.

Faced with new responsibilities that he doesn’t want, Lex also finds himself attracted to Spencer, someone he never looked twice at before.  What’s a bitter excop to do when Fate rearranges his life in ways he never imagined?

Poppy Dennison became a go to author of mine when I started reading her Triad series (now at book four). So when I saw that she had a new shifter story out, I knew I had to have it.  Accidental Alpha, the first in the Pack Partners series, starts with a hysterical premise, what happens when a toddler accidentally turns a person into a werewolf? I love it when an author gives me a new twist on a popular genre and that’s exactly what Dennison has delivered here.

Dennison has created a unique pack structure for her werewolf story which includes the toddler’s position within it and the reason why he bit Lex in the first place.  This is a small and somewhat dysfunctional pack with a few shifters hanging at the outskirts of the core group that is not getting along without leadership.  Into this interesting group dynamics, Dennison thrusts her disabled alpha cop, Lex Tompkins.  I really liked his character, he comes across as a hard core cop who loved his job.  And the type of personality that it takes to be a cop is exactly the type of leadership needed in an Alpha.  I liked the manner in which Dennison  connects those dots not only for the reader  but for Lex as well.  Lex is a man in need of a job that requires him to police and take care of people and that is exactly what he gets again.

This pack is made up of some very damaged, sad, and angry shifters. Each comes with their own set of challenges that Lex must first decipher and then deal with.  That includes his very strong attraction to Spencer which is clearly a werewolf thing Lex needs to get figure out immediately before his own behavior gets out of control.  I liked the pack that the author has created for this story.  There’s the toddler, Aiden, who is quite adorable.  His mother Mia, two special special favorites of mine Ruby and Nathan, Justin and more.  And then there is Spencer, the neighbor and perhaps potential mate.  I connected with the character of Spencer as well.  Quiet and unassuming, he has a reserve to him that works when the rest of the pack is spiraling out of control.  Its a nice yin and yang  sort of relationship that will evolve with the story and the series.  It’s also a lovely change from the wham bam mate thing that overwhelms characterization and plot that I so often read in shifter stories. Poppy Dennsion sets out a structure for not only the pack but for acquiring mates as well.

The ending of Accidental Alpha sees Lex, Spencer and the rest slowly adjusting to each other and the change in pack dynamics.   It’s a new start for them all and an appropriate place to end the first book in the series.  Poppy Dennison had laid her ground work while still leaving room to flesh out the personalities and back history of the individual pack members.  I also expect to learn more about Lex as well.   Accidental Alpha leaves me wanting more of the Pack Partners series and that’s exactly what it should do.  Great job, Poppy Dennison.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next.  Please don’t make us wait too long.

Cover Art © 2013 Wilde City Press Photo by Kent Taylor, courtesy  What a perfect cover!  That’s Lex exactly.

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Wilde City Press