5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Shannon West, Victoria Sue

Review: Kiss of the Alpha by Shannon West and Victoria Sue

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Title: Kiss of the Alpha (Supremacy of Wolves: Book Two)

Authors: Shannon West and Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 154 Pages

At a Glance: Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jay Tabor, rebel leader of Territory Three has done something he swore he would never do, and that’s work with Quinn, the Supreme Alpha of the Nine Territories, to save his brother Aaron’s life. Now on the run after his rebel hideout was discovered in Virginia, Jay has found a relatively safe haven for his insurgent group deep in the mountains of Tennessee. His peace is short-lived, however, when he gains a new captive—Devon, the Alpha of Territory Three.

Devon has been beaten, tortured and starved by the rebels in an effort to “tame” him, but when he’s transferred to a new camp, he discovers not only kindness but an unwanted attraction to his new captor—one that goes both ways. Devon has finally found his true mate in Jay, but the man is his sworn enemy, and a dominant, controlling lover, who insists on his independence.

When they’re both kidnapped by forces bent on harming them, Jay has only one chance to save his wolf. He has to prove that Devon is his submissive partner and he has to do it in front of their enemies in order to save their lives. With only one chance to make it good, he has to put on a show or risk losing his lover and his mate forever.

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Review: This is a brave new world, one in which the human population has been decimated by a virus and the wolves are now in power. But the two species don’t know that much about each other, and learning to live under the wolves is hard for some humans to take. This is a story of an evolving relationship between species and there are a lot of unknowns still out there. For instance, can Alphas be “made” not born, and what if the “made” Alpha’s true mate is the more dominant in the relationship – and human? How can that Alpha be an Alpha and still be submissive? After all, wolves are wolves, even if they look human every now and then.

Devon is the new Alpha of Territory Three. Usurping an Alpha who was brutal and malicious, especially to humans, is not an easy task, but Devon is making headway even though he is not a true born Alpha.  He is opening schools and providing healthcare, looking after his people and trying to make his territory a safe place to be for both humans and wolves. But, he is naïve and that costs him when he is captured by enemy human rebels, and tortured. He finds himself given to the rebel leader in charge of his territory, and is shocked to discover the man is his mate.

Jay has an uneasy relationship with the wolves in his world; he hates the wolves that persecute humans but knows that this alpha is not one of them. But Jay didn’t get to be a leader in the rebellion by being submissive, and just because he is the mate to an Alpha doesn’t mean he kneels for the man. There is still too much the wolves need to learn in dealing with humans. Jay and Devon have an interesting road to follow to their HEA, and the authors do a fantastic job of writing the interplay between these two men. Jay is a complicated character, and the domination he has over Devon is as intriguing to read about as the absolute submission that Devon brings to their relationship. Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves. This is a fantastic new series if you love Alpha wolves and alternate realities.

The series begins with Property of the Alpha, continues with Kiss of the Alpha, and then Strength of the Alpha is already out, so head to your favorite bookseller and read book three after you read the first two. The characters and the settings are introduced in the first two books, so reading them first would be nice but is not required – each book does stand alone – you just have better context if you read them in order. I have no hesitations in recommending these books. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one.

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You can buy Kiss of the Alpha here:

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3 Stars, Ceci Thornton, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Saved by the Shifter by Ceci Thornton

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Title: Saved by the Shifter

Author: Ceci Thornton

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 212 Pages

At a Glance: In spite of some niggles here and there, the action sequences in Saved by the Shifter made for some suspenseful reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Nate Palmer is desperate enough to try anything to find his missing niece…

Nate has cared for his niece Beth since she was a baby, and now the sixteen-year old has disappeared without a word. The only clue he has is a letter she left behind from her birth mother. He’d do anything to find her, even if it means turning to a down-on-his-luck private investigator working out of a store front in a strip mall—one with the ability to sniff out more clues.

Dexter Armstrong is a lone wolf looking to use his tracking skills to do some good…

Dexter had a pack once, but left, disgusted by their lack of appreciation for their gift. But business is bad and his roof is leaking. He’s just about ready to throw in the towel on that lonely life when Nate walks in the door, looking helpless and smelling delectable.

Together they will travel to the seediest parts of LA

Even as he’s focused on finding his niece, Nate can’t help but be drawn to Dexter’s powerful dominance. And Dexter becomes more and more certain that Nate’s his fated mate. Can their attraction survive the reveal of Dexter’s true nature? And can they both survive the supernatural perils that they will face in their quest to find Beth—and to find the kind of love and family both have been dreaming of?

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Review: When Nate Palmer’s older brother, Craig, was busted for selling drugs to an off-duty cop and sent to prison, Nate became sole caretaker of his niece Beth. Beth’s mother isn’t in the picture any longer, having fled to parts unknown years before, so Nate truly is Beth’s only hope at a normal life—and they’d gotten along well, too, until Beth hit the terrible teens. Now Beth has gone missing, Nate is beside himself with worry and fear, and his one hope of finding his niece and getting her back home safely seems to be Private Investigator Dexter Armstrong.

That’s the quick setup for Ceci Thornton’s Saved by the Shifter, a novel that taps into the shifter bonding trope, albeit only shallowly, to bring Nate and Dexter together as partners in sex as well as in tracking down Nate’s niece. As I’ve said any number of times before, sometimes the device works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. A lot depends on how well the author convinces me, after that initial spark of lust has struck, that the two guys have what it takes to be a couple. I liked Dexter and Nate, and though I had some quibbles over their initial meeting and the lack of exploration in what they have in common other than lust, the fact they go through hell and back with each other did help to make the bond somewhat more believable. There’s something to be said for not only going into battle together but then surviving.

While Saved by the Shifter is categorized as a Mystery, I have to say I felt Dexter’s role as a PI was pretty well in title only, made so by the simple lack of a true mystery in this plot. We don’t have to wait long to discover what happened to Beth, and Dexter isn’t even the one who searched for the clues to track her down, so we don’t get to see him at work much in that role. The information on Beth’s whereabouts is effectively dumped in his lap, which I felt was a bit of a let-down as I’d prepped myself for a good missing person investigation, but once I understood the storyline was more Urban Fantasy than an all-out Mystery, the positive becomes the author’s ability to write a tense and suspenseful action scene. Of course, Dexter’s shifter half comes in handy along the way too, as he’s fairly certain of the danger Beth is in before it’s confirmed, so that added to the tension in the storyline and made for some excitement during the book’s climactic scene.

There are several things that, overall, I felt could have been explored in greater detail in this book, much of it revolving around Dexter as a character. I think the potential for him to be more interesting and layered was missed in the lack of background details about him—we get a few facts, but to make him more interesting, knowing where he came from, who he came from, what he came from, what shifter mythology inspired his character, would have gone a long way to building interest in him as a supernatural character for me. Essentially, we get no world-building to speak of (which left me with some distracting questions during Beth’s rescue), and even more confusing for me, was a group of shifters that materialized and disappeared from the story and left me scratching my head—one moment they appear threatening, the next, they were there to cover Dexter’s back. There’s a history there that most definitely was missing, and I’d have loved to know more of it—why they were antagonists one moment, saviors the next. And while I’m on the subject of characters, here, I will say I liked the sweet reunion between Nate and Beth, and felt the affection between them was genuine and well portrayed.

In the end, though I feel the book could have used some more exposition, I liked Saved by the Shifter for what it was—a vehicle to bring two likable men together to form their own little pack.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kenzie Cade, Paranormal Romance, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Prickly by Nature By Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

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TitlePrickly By Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles: Book Two)

Author:  Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  260 Pages

At a Glance:  I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

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Review: Dylan and Avery are a little more settled in Prickly By Nature, book two in the Portland Pack Chronicles, but there are definite differences that jump out between the two of them, especially when it comes to their mating and how they view things based on their animals. Dylan, being a wolf, is pack oriented, where family and pack are important; and then there’s Avery, who is more of a loner and doesn’t notice the distance he is putting between him and his mate.  Avery has an almost obsession with finding Lacey, and inadvertently fails to make time to spend with Dylan.  As dominant, growly and protective as Dylan is throughout this book, we also see a slightly sweet and vulnerable side to him as he struggles with worrying over and missing Avery.  In Prickly Business, it took me a while to warm up to Avery, and I found that in the follow up I had the same issue—it was frustrating to see his lack of awareness to what he was doing; although I get it, and once it was pointed out to him, he was more aware.

The mystery of what happened to Lacey, and the other side stories, at times was a little overwhelming to me. The story was good but I wanted more of the romance between the guys. In the end, though, I was happy with where things were left with Avery and Dylan and their relationship. I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

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2 Stars, Abraham Steele, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Hidden Shifter by Abraham Steele

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Title: Hidden Shifter (Fated Date Agency: Book Seven)

Author: Abraham Steele

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 249 Pages

At a Glance: Hidden Shifter is one of those books where I loved the premise but the follow-through suffered under a lack of backstory and knowledge of the -verse.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: “I’m sorry, Mr. Hillwell. Your fated mate is dead.”

Samuel Hillwell is in mourning for a man he’s never met. The handsome alpha waited too long to contact the Fated Date Agency. There was always a stock trade or a trip to Europe that seemed more important. His mate passed away just days before he reached out. As he goes into a downward spiral, questioning everything he’s based his life on, he can only wish he’d had one night with his deceased omega.

Caden Grey is on the run. After surgically altering his face and travelling across the country, the former kindergarten teacher still can’t stop looking over his shoulder for the people who want him dead. Now that he’s arrived in Clover Grove, he should finally be able to take a breath. But he’s just starting to get settled there when a dazzling man runs up to him. A man who knows Caden’s previous name.

Will Samuel figure out the truth about the tormented omega? And if he gets into Caden’s heart, will either of them be safe?

Hidden Shifter is Book 7 of the Fated Date Agency series. It also stands alone as a complete 200-page gay shifter romance novel with steamy content and male pregnancy.

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Review: Abraham Steele’s Hidden Shifter, book seven in the Fated Date Agency series, is billed as a standalone novel, and I accepted it to read/review under that assumption, so I’ll start by saying that even though this particular installment may feature a new couple in the series, I do feel like I must have missed out on some world-building by starting seven books in. Which, ultimately, was a real detriment to me as there were some things that just didn’t work because I didn’t have enough info going in.

The beginning of the story is great, filled with a lot of emotion and suspense, and I was completely invested in where the author was going with it—Samuel Hillwell finally carving out a niche of time in his otherwise work-aholic schedule to call the Fated Date Agency and find his true mate… Only to discover that the man who would have been his perfect other half had just died in a car crash. I empathized immediately with Samuel at being so close to opening a new chapter in his life, only to have it cruelly taken away, and I liked the emotional connection the author built there.

When we’re introduced to Caden Grey, a few things are obvious, not the least of which is that he’s not who we think he is, but that he’s also fleeing in terror from an unknown but credible threat. And I don’t think it’s revealing too much here, as the blurb does state that Caden Grey isn’t his real name, to say that fate is indeed playing a role in Caden’s life, as his cross-country exodus, with no fixed destination in mind, lands him practically on Samuel’s doorstep. And, even after plastic surgery, Caden can’t hide who he is from Samuel.

Unfortunately, this is also where the plot began to lose traction for me. The one true soul mate trope is a tried and true one, but sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. Where it didn’t work for me here, overall, isn’t in the speed with which Sam and Caden came together (I actually was dying for them to meet and then liked that the author kept us in a little bit of suspense once they did), but in that once they did get together, there wasn’t any significant amount of word count spent on making their relationship solid enough for me to invest in. There were some sexy moment, some sweet domestic moments, but overall there was so much outside angst going on in Caden’s life that him giving in to his and Samuel’s connection didn’t happen until circumstances forced him to commit to the idea of Sam as a full-fledged mate. Reading a romance and then not being able to invest in the romance part of it is a bit of a buzzkill, to say the least.

But where I felt my experience with this book suffered most, as I said at the outset, is in the world-building. There’s no background story here, so we don’t know anything at all about these shifters, their origins, their mythology, or why the gay omega shifters are the only males who can get pregnant and give birth. I honestly was at a loss here, and will say this—on a personal level, a dripping, self-lubricating anus didn’t conjure up any sort of appealing mental images for me. Juicy wet underwear calls to mind an inherently female eroticism, and while this anatomical detail may or may not be canon in the mpreg lexicon, readers do deserve some foundation to make this aspect of the story even slightly more palatable.

By the time the final deus ex machina is pulled out of the pocket of miracles in an effort to save Caden’s life, I was so distracted by all my unanswered questions that I think any resolution to the story would have been less than satisfying to me. The Alphas didn’t act all that alpha-like, and Caden, the Omega, wasn’t as submissive as one would expect an omega to be. In the end, the motivation for Caden’s flight wasn’t thoroughly fleshed out—we’re told why he ran but get no supporting details about why his wolf misbehaved; we’re told that humans are a factor, but there’s technically only one significant human in the entire storyline; and when the danger does arrive at Samuel’s doorstep, the motivation was not only a bit flimsy but the antagonist doesn’t come off as dangerous as much as he does spoiled and juvenile.

Hidden Shifter is one of those books where I loved the premise but the follow-through suffered under a lack of backstory and knowledge of the -verse. Your mileage, of course, may vary if you’re already familiar with the series.

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You can buy Hidden Shifter here:

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Reviewed by Taz, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Vivien Dean

Review: Savage Estate by Vivien Dean

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Title: Savage Estate

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count:  272 Pages

At a Glance: I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: For his twenty-fifth birthday, Alec Savage gets the gift of a lifetime—the chance to meet his father for the very first time. What he finds upon his arrival in Washington, DC, however, is a smashed window, an empty house, and a scrawled note with only his name and a phone number on it. Panicked, he dials the number and talks to an uncle he never knew he had, one who insists Alec is in danger if he stays in the house. That’s when everything starts to get really weird.

Within minutes, he’s teleported all the way to nowhere Montana, in the company of the most gorgeous guy he’s ever seen, hearing about how he’s the latest mage in the Savage line. Alec doesn’t want to believe Rowan Bouchard, but it’s hard to argue with the reality of his new snowbound location or the confirmation from the uncle who greets him. He even thinks staying on the estate while they hunt for his father won’t be so bad if he has Rowan as eye candy.

Except Rowan is more than that. He’s a shifter, the most beautiful black panther Alec could imagine. And according to his Uncle Martin, he’s now Alec’s familiar, too…

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Review: Savage Estate has so many of the things I love: familiars, mages, magic, action. One character discovering he likes guys. All-in-all, a very satisfying read. For the most part, this story follows timid Alec, someone who’s kind of lost until he meets Rowan, right at a crucial turning point in his life. He’s about to come into his powers and, therefore, come under direct threat by those who would rid the world of mages. Rowan, a stoic and dutiful man, arrives on scene to save belligerent Alex, and the story rolls on from there.

Alec and Rowan start a little like oil and water, but feelings quickly develop. While Rowan is supposedly “straight,” or at least had been up until he met Rowan, the instant bonding of mage and familiar unlocked something in him that he’d not known existed. Once the plotline began to unfold, the story took wings. Dirty politics, not knowing who to trust, estranged father reconnected with abandoned son.

While the book was an enjoyable read, and I became more and more engrossed in the story as it unfolded, there were still certain aspects of the storyline which seemed a bit too convenient for my tastes. Primarily it seemed a bit of a cop-out to have Rowan become gay once he connected with Alec. People don’t become gay, they either are or aren’t…or they’re bisexual or asexual, or some other combination of the many identifications out there. I would have preferred that Rowan had discovered his true nature as a gay man, even if his attraction was only, and would always be, for one man. Also, I wish a bigger deal had been made of Alec coming into his powers. The fact he was about to receive his powers at the onset of the book created the conflict necessary for the plot to move forward, and we do get a taste of his powers, but in the end, his magic isn’t what brings us to the climax and ending.

With all that said, I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

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Giveaways, Sue Brown

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Rogue Wolf Blog Tour with Sue Brown

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Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Sue Brown on The Rogue Wolf blog tour. Enjoy Sue’s guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $15 Amazon or ARe Gift Card and 2 further prizes of Sue Brown e-books. Contest deadline is 27th November at 00:01 GMT.

Good luck!

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For a pantser like me, writing a story arc is an interesting process. When I write the first story I have no clue about the world-building ahead of me. The characters leap out whether I plan them to or not. Some minor characters demand their time in the sun, and some roll under the table and are never heard of again. I decided to be more organised with Sapphire Ranch wolves and plan in advance. *hangs head* I can honestly say that I’ve not managed to stick to single word of that plan.

I have a vague idea of who the last two books are about, but somehow I managed to throw in an additional wolf. You’ll have to read The Rogue Wolf to understand. That’s a hint to buy it, you understand. Does that mean I have to write a sixth book or do I stick this wolf in a box marked ‘not this time’?

Zeke and Owen’s story isn’t finished. Zeke has a request, and he’s not going to be happy until he gets it. I plan on their happy ever after, but it might have to wait until they’ve taken out the hunters. Oh lord, that might take another five books.

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The Rogue WolfBlurbWill Owen submit, or will the lone wolf run?

Shifter Owen Pope is a bitter man, a lone wolf, banished by his pack for defying his Alpha. He survives day by day, working as a laborer, sometimes living for months as a wolf. On the borders of Sapphire Ranch, he catches a scent that calls to his wolf as he hunts.

Then he’s cornered, trapped with nowhere to go, and Owen realizes to his horror that the delicious scent belongs to the human pointing a gun right between Owen’s eyes.

He escapes, only to be confronted by two wolves, and his world is turned when he realizes one of them is a shifter from his former pack. Owen has so many questions but he’s not sure he’s going to like the answers.

Zeke is huge and fierce to his co-workers in the Cavalry, but he has one desire; to protect Owen and create a life together. Will Owen submit, or will the lone wolf run?

Buy Link: Love Lane Books

The Sapphire Ranch Wolves series

#1 The Last Wolf

#2 The Hidden Wolf

#3 The Rogue Wolf

#4 The Forgotten Wolf (to come 2016)

#5 The New Wolf (to come 2016)

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Excerpt: Under the cold full winter moon, Owen padded through the fields, now devoid of sheep or cows, and contemplated his options, limited though they were. He could smell something ahead but he couldn’t identify what was teasing his senses. Suddenly he froze, one paw in the air. A tall—no, huge—dark-skinned human, dressed in black jacket and pants, faced him, a high-powered rifle pointing between Owen’s eyes. The human seemed equally still, his eyes locked on Owen. Then he lowered the weapon. Owen managed to recover his senses enough to back away, not taking his eyes off the human who seemed to be the source of the glorious scent. He had the oddest feeling—like the human didn’t want him to leave.

Owen turned and fled, his senses on high alert. As he ran into a clearing Owen spotted two wolves ahead of him. They hadn’t seen him yet, too busy playing like young pups. He should warn them about the human with the rifle.

What the hell are two wolves, two shifters, doing here?

They noticed him and stood rock still, the three of them at an impasse. Owen made the first move, retreating backwards into the darkness. They could take their chances. He breathed a sigh of relief when they didn’t follow him, but it was short lived as he contemplated the identity of one of the wolves. They weren’t the first wolf shifters he’d met since his banishment, but none of the others had been from his previous pack. He would have to move on now he’d been discovered. What was Cal Pope doing here, so far away from home? Owen had questions. Lots of questions, but he wasn’t sure he was going to like the answers.

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Sue BrownAbout the Author: Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. Sue discovered M/M romance at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The kissing was hot and tender and Sue wanted to write about this men. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

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Kenzie Cade, Piper Vaughn

Guest Post: Prickly By Nature by Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

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Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Piper Vaughn on the Prickly By Nature blog tour. Thanks so much for joining us.

Enjoy!

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Knotty By Nature by Piper Vaughn

Hi, all! Thanks to The Novel Approach for having me. :D

In case you missed it, my book with Kenzie Cade, Prickly By Nature, book two in the Portland Pack Chronicles just released on November 16th.

If you’ve read the first book in the series, Prickly Business, you’ll know that one of our main characters is a hedgehog shifter and the other one is a wolf. And if you’ve read a lot in the shifter subgenre, you’ve probably run across knotting, which also occurs in this series.

What is knotting, you ask?

Well, allow me to explain. :3 In reality, when wolves (and other canines) mate, the base of their penis swells and essentially locks the penis inside the female wolf. The female wolf’s muscles play a role in this whole process, but essentially, the swelling of the knot (aka, bulbus glandis, for the scientific folk) prevents the male from withdrawing to promote insemination. Basically, Mother Nature is trying to produce more wolf pups ASAP. (There are videos of wolves being locked together and being pretty pissed off about it, while others simply settle down to grudgingly wait it out.)

The concept of knotting is something I’ve read in a lot of fanfiction, but it’s showing up more and more in shifter books lately. Some people hate it, some people love it, and I’m in the latter category. Yes, I am a fan of the idea of two mates being “tied” together for a certain period of time during sex. In real wolves and dogs, this can last up to 30-35 minutes. The timing runs across the gamut in the stories I’ve read—from a few minutes to an hour. In our world, it’s only a few minutes before the knot wanes… and let’s just say our hedgie shifter (Avery) is a fan of his mate’s knot. ;)

For those who haven’t read about this yet, but would like some recs, these are some of my favorites. And, of course, every book in the Portland Pack Chronicles will feature a scene or two.

First, we have Toni Griffin’s Holland Brothers series, starting with Unexpected Mate. This is one of my favorite shifter series, and there is knotting in every book. My favorite of them all is Forbidden Mate, which I love, love, LOVE.

Then there’s The Protector by Cooper West. These are dog shifters and the world building was really unique. The “Protectors” can shift into dogs, and the “Handlers” are their human partners. The main character, Alex, is the first Protector to outlive his Handler, and he’s crippled by grief with no hope for the future…until he unexpectedly bonds with another Handler, which is an unprecedented event. I loved this story!

There’s also I, Omega by Kari Gregg, and actually she has a couple of others with knotting too. This had some hurt/comfort and the mate bond, which is a concept I always enjoy, and alpha/beta/omega dynamics, which I like reading about. And Kari Gregg can write one helluva sex scene, let me tell you.

And for a more recent—and free!—title, check out Ezekiah by Lisa Henry, which included some BDSM, knotting, a/b/o dynamics, and great chemistry between the characters. I’m really hoping she’ll do more in this world at some point. (Warning for some dub-con, though.)

Last but not least, He’s Just Knot That Into You by Nico Jaye. I mean, I was hooked by the title alone! I love a good pun (if you can’t tell from the title of this blog post). It was different than the norm, set in a world where everyone knows about werewolves already. Tanner is on the hunt for his mate when he sense him but can’t figure out who he is. Bad date hijinks ensue!

What are your knotting faves? If you haven’t read it before, would you be willing to try a book that featured knotting scenes? It might just be an acquired taste for some, but I think it’s fun… and it can be really sexy too, in the hands of the right author. ;)

DividersPricklyByNature 500x750Blurb: In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

Buy linksAmazon || DSP || ARe 

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Author BioPiper Vaughn Bio: Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life… even if it’s only in a book.

Visit Piper at: Website || Facebook || Twitter || Google+

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3 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Retrograde by Bailey Bradford

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TitleRetrograde (Southwestern Shifters: Book Eleven)

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Page/Word Count:  242 Pages

At a Glance:  I found myself skimming through some of the pages of Retrograde, and just couldn’t get into it for most of the story.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Letting go of the past to embrace the future…

Things are changing for Marcus and Nathan, in more ways than one. Nathan is still trying to deal with the action he took in order to save Marcus’ life. It isn’t easy to do, and sometimes he fears he’ll give in to all the doubts and fears plaguing him.

What they need is some time alone, without guards shadowing their every move, no one to interrupt. Because soon, they’ll be busier than ever.

A short vacation before the annual gathering of Alpha Anaxes at the compound, that’s what they decide to do. But their vacation isn’t so private when they discover a wild pack of young shifters barely surviving.

Changes are coming.

A strange young shifter with abilities neither Marcus nor Nathan have ever seen before. Alpha Anaxes and attitudes. An intruder in their midst. And with the help of Shania, the pack doctor, the most important event of Marcus and Nathan’s shared life is about to happen.

Changes are coming, and they’re coming fast.

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Review:  When I first found the Southwestern Shifters series (not that long ago), I read all eleven books back to back. I couldn’t get enough and was looking so forward to this one, but was somewhat disappointed. I love Marcus and Nathan, but as I was reading, I actually kept hoping for a little less of them. Retrograde isn’t my favorite book in this series. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite.

Things seemed so repetitive in this story, with a lot of details included from the previous book, and I found myself skimming through some of the pages and had a hard time getting into it.  Once we meet Asher and the other younger shifters, though, it got more interesting. But, then I found myself wishing they had been more of the focus instead of Marcus and Nathan.

Now, let me say that I enjoy sex in the books I read, and I have no issues, the majority of the time, if there is an abundance of sex, but as good as Bailey Bradford is at writing those scenes (each was awesome), there was a lot of Marcus and Nathan going at it. It was hot but there were just so many and I found myself wanting to skip them.

With it being close to the end of the series, there were some loose ends being tied up to set things up for what is coming in the final book, which I’m anxiously awaiting, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance

Review: Behind the Eight Ball by M.A. Church

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Title: Behind the Eight Ball (Fur, Fangs & Felines: Book Two)

Author: M. A. Church

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages

At a Glance: Behind the Eight Ball had much more depth to it than the first in this series, and was much richer in terms of character development and interpersonal conflict.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.

Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, and then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.

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Review: Heller is a bigot. Admittedly, when it comes down to it, there is a hard reason he hates humans but nonetheless, he paints all of them with the same wide brush—including the one he has just discovered is fated to be his mate. Lawson is a unique human in that he is fully aware of the paranormal world, and that of shifters, for he is best friend and roommate to two of them. And, they are some scary shifters to boot.

However, nothing Lawson has gone through has prepared him for the extreme pull he feels towards Heller, who is more than likely to be running from his mate than embracing him. Then a mysterious threat appears on the horizon—seemingly aimed right at Lawson–and Heller not only changes his tune, he fervently hopes that it is not too late for Lawson to forgive him and consider being mated to him for good.

I must admit I was so pleasantly surprised when author M. A. Church opted to focus on the disgruntled and fairly nasty beta Heller Wirth for her second installment in the Fur, Fangs & Felines series. I was so certain that Remi would be her next choice, and by choosing Heller, I felt there was so much more to explore in terms of his background and obvious distrust of humans. I also felt it was quite a smooth move to introduce other shifters in the form of the snake duo, Marshell and Janelle. What I found most fascinating about this next chapter in the series was the depth to which we plumbed Heller’s character. I was so impressed by how all of his history was unpacked, and along with it, all his insecurities and fears that no one would ever really see him—beneath the beta exterior—the real him.

I felt there were such lovely poignant moments between Lawson and Heller—particularly when Heller really broke down and discussed his past experiences with humans and how deeply one in particular had hurt him. This may see an odd comment, but once you read the book you will understand. I was so relieved that the conflict that formed Heller’s mistrust and hate was not a physical one—a rape or torture driven memory. Instead, the additional characters from the past were sadly realistic, and how they affected and interacted with Heller was so very sad to read.

I was also quite taken with Marshell and Janelle and the idea that they survived off human blood and yet did not kill the host. Rather they paralyzed them, fed and released them. I look forward to book three in this series in hopes of reading more about this race of shifters. Perhaps the only drawback for me in this novel was some of the repetition of storyline from the first novel. I understood that the author was attempting to bring new readers up to speed, but I felt that the near verbatim explanations from book one were a bit annoying and could have possibly been addressed either in a forward or a more cleverly disguised format within the body of the novel. Quite a few times I found myself distracted by having to read about clowder events and rules that were nearly identical to the initial introductions to those same rites in book one.

However, in the end, Behind the Eight Ball had much more depth to it than the first in this series, and was much richer in terms of character development and interpersonal conflict. It’s a worthy and entertaining addition to the series.

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5 Stars, Eli Easton, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton

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TitleHow to Walk Like a Man (Howl at the Moon: Book Two)

Author:  Eli Easton

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count: 267 Pages

At a Glance: These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

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Review: Although parts of How to Walk Like a Man will completely break your heart, Roman’s happily-ever-after is worth it. So sweet!

Roman is innocent and loyal, and the way that Matt interacts with him just warms your heart. All of the books that I have read by Eli Easton, this one included, fall into the happy book category for me. These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon, the kind of book that when you get to the end you feel like letting out a contented sigh…warm and fuzzy, comfy-cozy-type books.

Roman questioning Lance when things came up that he didn’t understand had me cracking up. Seeing Lance stutter and stumble through trying to help his friend, but being so embarrassed he had trouble getting the words out, and having to either hand the phone to Tim or find his pen fascinating, were some of my favorite scenes.

This was definitely a slow burning romance between Roman and Matt, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed…dare I say, even more than How to Howl at the Moon?

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3 Stars, Charlie Richards, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Not a Line of Bull by Charlie Richards

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Title: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip: Book Six)

Author: Charlie Richards

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 89 Pages

At a Glance: An interesting tale of a shifter that has been sequestered by an alpha who has very strange ideas about how to lead – and his rescue by his beloved.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Just a little love bite: The instinct to please your peers should never be stronger than your conscience.

Cassium Jones is closing in on his fourth century mark and over the years has held many roles, from farmer to soldier to vampire enforcer. Now, he’s ready to settle down in moderate relaxation…if working a cattle ranch can be considered relaxing. He loves the wide open spaces, the fresh clean air, and even tending the animals. Handling the maintenance and care for the Angus cows in the northern pastures offers plenty of solitude, and he should have been left pretty much alone. Instead, Cassium stumbles upon an injured Angus bull amongst the livestock, and realizes the bull is not only a shifter, but his beloved, his soul mate. Cassium learns Garth has been driven from his herd for disobeying a controlling alpha, leaving behind two young children. While Cassium is happy to help reunite the bull shifter with his kids, is he ready to take on the role of parent when all he wanted was to retire?

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Review: Note: Not a Line of Bull is book six in the A Loving Nip series, and while it’s helpful to have read the other stories in the series, this novella can easily be read as a standalone.

We met Cassium Jones in a previous installment of this series, when he becomes the unlikely hero in A Rose for Paul’s Protector and rescues the beloved of his cover master as he is going into “retirement” so that the humans don’t notice how he doesn’t seem to age.

As he’s repairing the fences in the pasture near his cabin, he sees and smells blood and recognizes it as not fully animal. He’s convinced it’s a shifter, and he locates the seriously wounded animal hiding in the herd. But, he knows he’s not a bull only, and he convinces the guy to shift, though he’s so injured that he can’t even remain conscious for the short trip back to Cassium’s cabin.

Cassium is somewhat adept at first aid, so he bandages up his guest as best he can. During bouts of consciousness, Cassium manages to get out of the bull shifter that his name is Garth, and he’s from a herd that is close by, but he’s obviously not in any shape to do much more than talk. It’s pretty apparent, really quickly, that Garth has been injured by his own herd’s enforcers, on orders from the alpha. Also, as Cassium gets to know Garth, he determines that he’s been very isolated from his herd and has some pretty farfetched ideas about not only shifters but other paranormals as well. He’s also very, very young compared to Cassium.

But the real surprise is that Garth has children, and he is extremely worried for them. Cassium explains to Garth a good deal about paranormals and the mate bond, and also confesses that he’s much older that Garth. Cassium decides he definitely needs backup, and contacts the head enforcer for his coven, and also their doctor since he’s still concerned about Garth’s injuries.

Of course, Garth’s herd is not content to just let him go, and once Cassium and his coven know children are involved, there is a concerted effort to make things right for Cassium and Garth.

These two are very sweet, and it was nice to see Cassium change as he realized what his life could be after all his years without his beloved. Garth is a sweet and naïve character who is a good man and a good father, and who knows a good thing when he sees it. :) Another enjoyable addition to this series.

 

 

 

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4.5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Victoria Sue

Review: Broken Circle by Victoria Sue

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TitleBroken Circle (Sirius Wolves: Book Two)

Author:  Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: So, is this book good? Yeah. Any book that can make me care that much about characters and cry so hard is awesome.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Blaze, the most powerful werewolf on the planet has found his omega, Aden. Together with Conner and Darric they finally become true mates, fulfilling an ancient prophecy by the goddess Sirius and forming Orion’s Circle. The battle against the terrorist group, the Winter Circle, has begun.

Blaze, however, is fighting his own battle. Aden is due to birth a child, and despite Blaze’s six hundred years of being an Alpha, nothing has prepared him for his hardest challenge yet — how to become a father. His struggles are hurting the people he loves the most and threatening their bond.

The madman who kidnapped and tortured Aden still hasn’t been caught, and when the worst happens and their circle is broken, Blaze has to fight his biggest threat yet – his own inner weakness – an enemy against which his Alpha strength will be useless. Blaze has to learn that true strength is only found in forgiveness, and sometimes the most powerful weapon is love.

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Review: A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, and I was absolutely delighted by the world Victoria Sue set up. The mythology, the characters, the storyline…all of it was so fresh in a shifter-saturated market. This second book continues the story started in the first, and follows Aden, Blaze, Conner, and Darric as they discover the joys of fatherhood and navigate an increasingly dangerous world.

Seven months have passed since the first book, and Aden is ready to give birth to a baby. Yes, he is male, for readers just tuning in, so this book does have mpreg. The logistics are explained in the first book, and I found it fascinating as Aden and his alphas dote on their child. But there’s a lot at stake. Orion’s Circle is getting more powerful, but Aden and Blaze have not finished their bonding ceremony, and there are new threats to contend with. The villain, Madden (from the first book has disappeared), and a terrorist group that seems to be made of wolves is threatening wolf/human relations.

I can’t say much without giving too much away, but I will say a few things. First, you absolutely must read the first book to get the full story. The author does a decent job of catching readers up, but not everything is explained. Second, this book is devastating. There is a major character death and I sobbed in bed, reading to the end through wet lashes. That’s how much I was affected. I honestly didn’t think it would bother me as much as it did, and I had to eventually take my glasses off because they were so blurred with tears.

So, is this book good? Yeah. Any book that can make me care that much about characters and cry so hard is awesome. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, however. Like the first book, there are some inconsistencies. The baby’s name is mentioned before Aden and Blaze decide on it, which is frustrating. There are also instances of repetition that could have been cut. I started skimming at one point because it got to be just too much, but in the end, the author’s character building really brought me in and kept me engrossed in the story. I just really wish more attention had been payed to the editing.

Now, there is a third book, and I currently hold it in my hands. I’m afraid to read it, though. Why? I don’t think my heart can handle another blow like it did with this one. And I’m all out of tissues. Any more tears and I might need to start using the towels in my bathroom to sop up the mess.

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5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Victoria Sue

Review: Eternal Circle by Victoria Sue

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TitleEternal Circle (Sirius Wolves: Book Three)

Author:  Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 143 Pages

At a GlanceThis book in the series is by far my favorite.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: How can you repair something that should have been unbreakable? Darric, Blaze and Conner had been together for centuries, and their bond, like their love, should have been eternal. Blaze is trying not only to hold his family together, but stop himself falling apart.

The fragile relationship between the werewolves and the humans is at risk once more, and the goddess Sirius seems to have deserted them. Inexplicable changes are taking place to their little Omega, and while Aden’s powers are increasing, Conner seems to be losing his.

The terrorist group, The Winter Circle, is getting bolder and placing everyone in danger. Worse, there is a traitor among them, perhaps someone a lot closer than they want to admit. Just when Blaze thought the worst that could have happened is behind them, the traitor is revealed, and Blaze realizes that their circle is not only broken, but in danger of being irreparably torn apart.

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Review: I’ll admit it. I read this book the same night I finished the second one because I’m clearly a masochist and like being in pain. I just couldn’t leave the wounds alone and had to find out what happened next to Aden, Blaze, Conner, and Darric. I’m happy to say that after even more crying, I was happy with the ending I got.

 

This book in the series is by far my favorite. Characters reach new depths, more of the legend of the wolves is told, and an even more evil villain shows up. And it’s someone I never expected. I was completely blown away, and right before it was revealed, I literally proclaimed, “NO WAY!” and could hardly read fast enough.

Well played, Victoria Sue. Well played. I did NOT see that coming. Holy cow.

This third book follows the boys as everything gets more intense. Conner is losing his empathic abilities, and Aden is struggling with this second pregnancy following so soon on the heels of the first. Blaze struggles to keep it together and be strong for this mates, but there’s still a traitor to unearth, wolves making trouble, and revealing their presence to humans.

Kellan, a former pack member of Aden’s, is causing trouble, and Conner finally gets to the bottom of it, but his inability to accurately sense emotions could doom them all. Again, I was not expecting the resolution to this one, either. Wow.

Just as in the first two books there are inconsistencies and some discrepancies with the other books that could be fixed with stronger editing. However, either I’ve gotten used to it or they weren’t as prevalent in the other books, because I didn’t mind nearly as much, and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

This book cannot be read as a standalone. You absolutely must read the first two, because the events in this book directly follow what happens in the first two. Could you get away with it? Probably, because the author did a good job of getting the readers caught up to speed, but why would you want to? Go back to the first two books and enjoy the ride.

Now, can I please have the next book? I want to know more about Ricoh and his mate(s) and the young snow white shifter from the beginning of the book. Oh, and I’d like to see more of Kellan as well.

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Cover Reveal, Eli Easton, Giveaways, Self-Published

Cover Reveal, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway: How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton

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BLURB: Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

BUY LINK: AMAZON

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EXCERPT: “Now Roman, remember. You’re going to have to stay very conscious about not exhibiting any… er, dog like behavior during this meeting. We can’t afford to raise suspicion.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll be on my guard.”

Roman didn’t need to be reminded how important it was that humans remain blissfully unaware that quickened–dog-human shifters–existed. But he could tell Lance was anxious and his chatter was down to nerves. Sweat beaded on Sheriff Lance Beaufort ‘s upper lip as he steered the car and–Roman sniffed as subtly as he could–Lance smelled wary, suspicious. Roman’s inner dog wanted to whine at the unease of his pack leader, but Roman swallowed it. No dog behavior.

They were driving to Fresno in Lance’s white Sheriff’s department SUV for a big regional law enforcement meeting. The DEA was giving a presentation, and Lance had asked Roman to go along. It was probably because he wanted company on the long drive, but Roman had been thrilled. Since he’d become a full-time deputy with the Mad Creek’s Sheriff’s office, he had a purpose in life again, and he liked being included in Lance’s plans. Besides, he loved to ride in cars! It was even better when you didn’t have to drive and could roll down the window and stick your hand out, feel the wind buffet your skin.

With the window rolled down, a scent caught Roman’s nose on the warm September air. He turned his head as they zipped past endless pine trees. There was something dead out in the woods–something small, like a groundhog. If he were on foot he’d go find it just for the fun of it. But not today. Not today.

He smiled and looked at his hand as he tried to catch the wind. Today he was a man, and it was still amazing. Hands were amazing. Lately he’d been finding his own body more fascinating. He’d been quickened for two years now, but sometimes he felt like he was just now wakening from a dream–only to find it wasn’t a dream at all.

“I think it’s very different,” he said, wiggling his fingers. “Being quickened from birth, like you were, and getting it later in life. Living as a dog first.”

“I’m sure it is,” Lance agreed. “Incredibly different.”

“I’m glad I was who I was. That I had that time in Army K-9. With James.” Lance said nothing and Roman felt a pang of self-doubt. Maybe he was being too open in an ‘un-human’ like way. Lance was pack, but he was also Roman’s boss. He cleared his throat and rolled up the window. He’d better stick to talking about work. “So. What do you expect to happen at this meeting today?”

“I don’t know.” Lance frowned at the windshield. “I’m hoping it’ll be good news, but–”

“We haven’t had any trouble. Not since that night those drug dealers shot up Tim’s house.”

Lance’s frown deepened. “I know. But I have a sense something’s coming, like… a prickling on my neck. I’ve had a bad feeling for days.”

Roman didn’t have any such ‘bad feeling’, but he didn’t say it out loud. As a border collie shifter, Lance worried about his territory obsessively, more than Roman or any other quickened. So if Lance sensed something, he was probably right.

Roman’s heart beat a little faster. “Do you want me to carry my weapon, sir?”

Lance laughed. “No, I don’t mean I expect trouble at this meeting. Coffee and donuts and a lot of ass-kissing is probably as dangerous as it’ll get. But the DEA’s presentation… This is the first time they’ve called us all together for something like this. I’m assuming it’s not going to be good news on the war-on-drugs front. I just hope, whatever’s brewing out there, it has nothing to do with Mad Creek.”

“Because that would be bad.” Roman knew Lance’s philosophy: fly as under-the-radar and away from things as possible. Mad Creek was in the middle of nowhere for a reason.

“Yes, Roman. Because that would be very bad,” Lance said darkly.

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THE GIVEAWAY

Thanks for joining us for Eli Easton’s How to Walk Like a Man cover reveal! To add to the celebration of the book’s upcoming release, Eli’s offering the chance for one lucky reader to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

All you need to do to enter is click on the Rafflecopter widget, easy as that.

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3 Stars, Elizabeth Coldwell, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Into the Arena by Elizabeth Coldwell

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TitleInto the Arena (Lionhearts: Book Four)

Author:  Elizabeth Coldwell

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 146 Pages

At a Glance: The book starts off strong, but some parts were too much of a stretch.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: He will fight for the one he loves, no matter what it takes.
Cesare Bianco is a shifter without a pride. Exiled from his home town of Padua after losing a leadership fight to his corrupt, self-serving uncle, he travels to Rome in search of a new beginning. A chance meeting sees him taking a job on the catering crew of a Hollywood blockbuster. When he meets the movie’s handsome lead actor, Hayden, he knows he’s in the presence of his mate. But Hayden is human. Even though he offers the possibility of lasting love, Cesare must fight all his instincts to make it happen.
Hayden Skarz is on the verge of the big time. Landing the lead in sci-fi adventure Thrown to the Lions has put him on the road to stardom. Filming in Rome is a difficult new challenge for him, though being around Cesare, the hunk who works in the catering truck, makes his job much sweeter. Sex between them is passionate and wildly inventive. But Hayden has a stalker, who’s tired of being ignored in favor of other men. When what started as a crush turns into murderous obsession, can Cesare help Hayden make it off the film set alive?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and bondage.

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Review: So far I have really enjoyed the Lionhearts series by Elizabeth Coldwell, and I was looking forward to this next installment. And while it is a good book, it did not live up to the other books in the series. It started off strong, but by the time the big reveal came for Cesare, I was pretty incredulous.

You do not need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this book. They all work as standalones, even if other characters are briefly mentioned. The main character from Vintage Pride is mentioned in about two sentences in this book, and then never is brought up again. Cesare and Hayden are new, as is the location. When Cesare is forced to leave his pride after a failed attempt at taking over, he travels to Rome where he helps Gail feed actors on a movie set. When he meets Hayden, he knows he’s met his mate.

I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, for the most part, but there didn’t seem to be much at stake for them. Yes, if they got caught together they’d be the talk of the set, but Hayden is already out as an actor, so it’s really not that big a deal. And while he has a stalker, it doesn’t turn really dangerous until the end. I never felt the tension I did during the other books. What bothered me the most was Cesare’s reveal to Hayden that he’s a shifter. Hayden mentions in passing that he felt a connection to the lion that was on set (Cesare after a forced shift), and when Cesare reveals it was him, there’s a page, maybe two, of Hayden not believing him, and then he’s suddenly accepting and, “Hey, I guess it makes sense.” Reading that threw me off. It just didn’t feel right, and I even backtracked a bit to see if I had missed pages. Likewise, the danger at the end was over so quickly, and easily resolved. I never felt that Hayden and Cesare were really in danger.

As a final note, the publisher warns of violence and bondage. Is there violence? Yes, but I’ve read worse in books without a warning. Is there bondage? Yes, to a small extent, but with a warning on it, I was expecting much more. Do I honestly think it was necessary to put either there? No.

If you’re a fan of the series, I’d be interested in seeing what you think of the book after reading it. If you’re new to the series, I recommend reading one of the first three books prior to reading this one.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy Into the Arena here:

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Grace R. Duncan, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Devotion by Grace R. Duncan

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Title: Devotion (Forbes Mates: Book One

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

At a Glance: Devotion is a solid story that shows us the connection between destined mates, not just the lust but also the love.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Finley Cooper is tired of waiting for his destined mate to be ready to claim him. In deference to human laws, he’s already agreed to wait until he’s eighteen. But now his birthday has come and gone—and his mate has a new set of excuses. Finley doesn’t understand it any more than his wolf does, and he’s beginning to wonder if fate made a mistake.

Tanner Pearce wants nothing more than to claim his mate, but he worries that Finley is too young. Tanner will never forget what happened when his best friend mated at Finley’s age, only to have that mate end up feeling trapped and breaking their bond. While rare, it can happen, and the fallout Tanner witnessed as his best friend tried to deal with the break has haunted him for years.

When Finley finally has enough, he threatens to find someone who will claim him if Tanner doesn’t, and Tanner realizes he needs to come to terms with his fears or risk losing his mate forever.

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Review: Devotion is an entertaining shifter story that follows two destined mates who must overcome some obstacles to be together. I enjoyed it but thought it was a little bit longwinded and needed a better edit.

I love my shifter stories, and I have read enough to know from the first couple of pages whether I’m going to like a book. Tanner and Finley are destined mates. They have known this from the first moment they met. There’s an age difference, with Tanner being older and wanting to wait to mate until Finley turns twenty-one. Tanner wants to give Finley some time to grow up and to grow into his own man. Well, Finley is not happy and he’ll do anything in his power to provoke Tanner, including going out dancing, which drives his mate crazy. Tanner has his reasons for waiting, and they are cute and funny. As a couple, Tanner and Finley meshed! As the future alpha, Tanner was a little dominating, and Finley was much more carefree. They had a few funny scenes that I enjoyed and, overall, when they were both on the page, that’s when the story got interesting and flowed. And to throw some tension into the mix, they butt heads about their mating, and Finley takes off to his grandparents to think and get some space from Tanner.

Here is where it gets longwinded—the constant repetition of why they can’t mate, and the unending inner monologues of both Tanner and Finley. I just felt like the same points were repeated over and over, and it got tedious to read. I wanted the story to move a little bit faster.

Another love interest is introduced, Jamie, who is instantly attracted to Finley, and they even try to fool around, but Finley’s wolf will have nothing to do with Jamie because Jamie is not his mate. The scenes between Jamie and Finley were pretty good, and I can’t wait to read Jamie’s story. The break leads both boys to think more on why they are apart, and finally, events come to a head, and Finley gets a reaction from Tanner. Tanner races across country to get to Finley, and their reunion is very sweet. They do resolve their issues and the truth comes out about why Tanner wanted to wait. They finally have their claiming ceremony. The sex scenes were really good, and numerous! There was definitely good chemistry between the two.

Devotion is a solid story that shows us the connection between destined mates, not just the lust but also the love, a fulfilling ending and a setup for the next installment, which I can’t wait to read.

TNA_Signature_Lana

 

 

 

You can buy Devotion here:

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Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Kenzie Cade, Piper Vaughn

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Prickly By Nature by Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

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Hi, everyone! Thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting us today. Kenzie Cade and I are thrilled to share the cover for our upcoming release, Prickly By Nature. As with the first cover for Prickly Business, book one in our Portland Pack Chronicles series, this one was designed by the fabulous Reese Dante. We love the covers she’s made for us and can’t wait to see what she comes up with once we finish book three, but in the meantime, check this one out! We hope you love this cover as much as we do!

~Piper

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Blurb: In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

Pre-Order Links: Dreamspinner Ebook || Dreamspinner Paperback

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Excerpt: Running naked through the woods was exactly what Dylan Green needed. Thank the weather gods they’d held back the rain for the past few days. At least the ground was drier. Although wet forest floors didn’t matter to Dylan’s wolf. He was ready to stretch all four legs. It had been too long. Even longer since he’d run with his mate.

“Can you not get this heap to move any faster?” Avery practically vibrated off the seat next to him. Good thing he’d chosen the Firebird over his bike today.

“Hey now. Phoenix is not a heap.” Dylan patted the pristine dash, brushing over the treated wood with love. After glancing at the speedometer, he said, “We’re going the speed limit.” Which, yes, he knew was an anomaly for him, but only when he was on his bike. Phoenix required more finesse.

Before he could say anything else, Avery snorted and cut him off. “Phoenix?”

Unabashed, Dylan kept his focus on the road. “Firebird. Phoenix. Phe and I have been through a lot together. She’s pa—”

“Did you just nickname the car you call Phoenix? And dear God”—Dylan grinned at Avery’s pronunciation of God. It came out more like “Gawd.” He loved how Avery’s accent took over when he was teasing or passionate or angry—“please don’t tell me you’re about to say this mash of metal, oil, and leather is part of your family, our family. I do not, nor will I ever, claim a hunk of junk as a child. You can bet your ass I won’t be wiping its behind.”

That, in fact, was exactly what Dylan was going to say, but thinking about it at the moment, he had to admit how ridiculous it sounded out loud. Though he’d never say so to Avery.

Avery continued, “And let me guess, you talk to your baby.” Dylan could practically hear the giggle Avery was working so hard to suppress. “Does Phe talk back?”

The road up to Forest Park was narrow and curvy, so turning to look at Avery would have to wait. However, he did roll his eyes and reach over to pinch Avery’s thigh. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Cars don’t have verbal skills.” And, yes, he did talk to Phoenix, because until Avery came along, Phe had been the one thing in his life he’d pampered and taken care of that had never let him down. So what if he talked aimlessly to a vehicle? He’d worked hard to build her. That bond was unbreakable.

He thought of Avery, then amended himself. Almost unbreakable.

Phoenix was his baby. She had seen him through many tough times, and he had done the same for her, but there was no connection stronger than what linked Dylan and Avery. Sitting only inches away and not touching, Dylan still felt Avery like a second skin. So much so that, as he turned off the road to park near one of the forest trails, he felt Avery’s mirth in his bones. Without looking, he knew his mate would have a sparkle in his earthy hazel eyes and a smirk on the lips Dylan craved so much.

He even knew Avery would chuckle before he did, but that had more to do with knowing the man than an actual feeling.

“So what you’re saying is Phoenix doesn’t talk back when you ask how her day went?”

Dylan pulled into an available spot, turned off the engine, and opened his door. “You’re such a pain in the ass,” he replied with a wink and unfolded himself from the front seat.

“Aww”—Avery chased him from the car—“you say the nicest things.”

The brush of Avery’s palm over his ass had the ever-smoldering embers of need inside Dylan blazing to life, completely trumping the lighthearted teasing. How was it possible he wanted Avery more every day?

“You know,” Avery said in a low but conversational tone as they walked to where Lucas, Sawyer, and Kirk were parking their bikes. “I like it when you’re a pain in my ass. What do you say we blow this run and….” He trailed off, quirking his brow at the obvious.

Dylan groaned. Temptation had nothing on Avery Babineaux, and Dylan’s first instinct was to give in to the suggestion, but then he remembered why they were there in the first place.

In the months following Avery’s rescue from the warehouse and Melnyk’s entry into protective custody, Avery stayed true to his word. With help from one of Lucas’s ex-flings, Avery was currently a proud PI’s apprentice. It would still take months—many of them—for Avery to complete the hours of training needed to gain his own license, but he was well on his way. Corbin Reid, Lucas’s ex’s cousin, had taken Avery under his wing and in turn consumed most of his downtime. Dylan had only rare moments with his mate, depending on Avery’s busy work schedule—honeymoon phase or not. Visits to Wolfhound and even nightclubs with Avery were few and far between. Avery spent long hours immersing himself in the world of investigation and soaking up every little thing Reid was willing to teach. And when he wasn’t working, he was searching for Lacey.

By the time they’d broken the first link in the chain of the trafficking ring, Lacey had been missing four months. They had just crossed over into February, which made it six months, and from what they’d heard, the police were no closer to finding Lacey than Avery was. It didn’t help that Wallace, the shifter detective they’d been getting updates from, had gone silent once he transferred into the Human Trafficking Task Force.

While days turned into weeks and weeks into months, Avery hunted the dregs of every single lead he could scrounge up. Dylan watched helplessly as the effects of dead end after dead end weighed heavily on his mate. To say he felt useless was an understatement.

Then Mother Nature smiled down on them, with cloudless skies and sunshine in the middle of the wet season. It gave Dylan and Avery the opportunity for the one thing they both needed. Fun.

Dylan hadn’t enjoyed a run in weeks, and it had been longer since he’d played with Avery in the woods. A run was long overdue, and as great as a long hard fuck sounded right then, Dylan knew Avery’s hedgehog had to be aching for freedom too. Besides, having his mate naked and writhing under him was always a possibility when they got home.

Or in the car before they left the park. Dylan smiled, thankful he’d driven Phoenix, even on such a beautiful day. It was an inspired decision. He could definitely see some hot and dirty backseat action in his future.

Looking down, Dylan’s heart filled at the contented look on Avery’s face. All signs of worry and stress were vanquished for the moment. Dylan wondered, not for the first time, if they would ever have a break, ever have time to enjoy their new mating, or whether it would be a never-ending struggle, with outside forces constantly interfering.

“What?” Avery squinted, perplexed. Knowing Avery felt his concern warmed him.

Damn, Dylan didn’t think he’d ever get enough of his mate.

Avery’s nostrils flared, and Dylan knew he sensed his arousal as much as smelled it. He pulled Avery to him and brushed their lips together. As with most things between him and Avery, the kiss quickly deepened. Avery slipped his hand from Dylan’s hip to his chest and tweaked his nipple. Dylan groaned and pushed his tongue into Avery’s mouth, claiming what was already his. It was a battle of wills Dylan knew all too well as Avery’s perfectly orchestrated dance of want and desire balanced on a thin thread Dylan threatened to tear down each time. All of Avery’s taunting and flirting—it was foreplay, and Dylan could hardly wait for the fireworks. It was always worth the wait with Avery. Always.

“For the love of God, could you two get a room?” Lucas complained as he walked up. “Is it impossible to go five minutes without mauling each other?”

Dylan’s only response was a chuckle into Avery’s mouth as he pushed his fingers through Avery’s hair, holding him in place to prolong the kiss. He didn’t have to look to know Avery flipped off Lucas, mostly because he heard the laughter coming from their other friends.

When he pulled his mouth away, Dylan rested his forehead on Avery’s, breathing heavily. Christ, he loved the dazed, sated look Avery got when he was ready to drop to his knees, his cheeks flushed, and his lips swollen. All because of Dylan. Maybe Dylan should kick his own ass for not taking Avery up on his offer.

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Author BioBios:

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book. 

Visit Piper at: Website || Facebook || Twitter || Google+

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Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/Long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes the fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.

Contact Kenzie at kenziecade.author@gmail.com. You can also find her online at her blog: kenziecade.wordpress.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kenziecade.author; and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thekenziecade.

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THE GIVEAWAY

An E-copy of Prickly By Nature and $10 Gift Card to ARe, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon (Winner’s Choice)

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Annabelle Jacobs, Giveaways

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Altered 3 by Annabelle Jacobs

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Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Annabelle Jacobs to share a bit of her new book The Altered 3 with us. Enjoy Annabelle’s post and excerpt, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of a book from her BACKLIST (excl. The Altered 3).

Good luck!

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Firstly, thanks, Lisa, for having me on your blog today.

My latest book, The Altered 3, was released on October 1st and is the final instalment in the Lycanaeris series.  Each of the three books focuses on a different character pairing, and this story is about Matt and the newest addition to the group, Thomas.

The majority of The Altered 3 is set in Cornwall, which has some of the most beautiful countryside and beaches.  I was lucky enough to go on holiday there in August this year, to the same place mentioned in this book.  The car park at the top of the hill gives you a great view of the sea and the beach, and the surrounding countryside, but is not so much fun when you have to walk back up after a day of swimming and running around.

When I describe Matt’s home in my book, this is what I’m picturing, (with a few less houses)

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And this is the beach below it.

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The Altered 3Blurb: Matt is a single shifter living in a house full of couples. It’s not that he begrudges his friends their happiness—especially after everything they’ve been through—but he wants someone for himself. He wants a mate. Living out in the Cornish countryside there seems little chance of him finding one.

Thomas’s life has recently been changed for ever. Newly altered, he finds himself in danger as his mother, a prominent politician, works to put a stop to the mistreatment of altereds and bring those responsible to justice.

To keep him safe, Thomas is sent to Cornwall where Matt and his friends offer him refuge until he can return to his home in London. Despite the circumstances surrounding his arrival, Thomas and Matt bond in a way neither of them were expecting. They struggle to come to terms with what this might mean for their future once the threat is eliminated.

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Excerpt: “Daniel?” He strained to hear anything but the whole farmhouse seemed quiet. His senses were a little overwhelmed after being effectively dampened for the last three hours, but after thirty seconds or so he could hear the tread of footsteps outside and a car approaching the farmhouse.

Jordan’s black Volkswagen T5 pulled up onto the gravel drive at the same time as Matt opened the kitchen door. Daniel walked over to meet him as he got out of the van, holding his phone out for Jordan to see. Whatever was on there had Jordan tensing up immediately.

“What’s wrong?” Matt called out, making Daniel jump, but Jordan didn’t even flinch already fully aware of his presence. He walked over to them, and looked pointedly at Daniel.

Daniel motioned for Jordan to give him his phone back and handed it straight over to Matt. “I got an email from Shaw.”

It took Matt a good few seconds to recognise the name. And when he did, his chest tightened at the memories it invoked. It wasn’t that anyone had forgotten what happened at the facility, but it wasn’t exactly a popular topic of conversation either. Shaw, along with Ash and a Dr Adams, had been injected with the serum by Chambers and had ended up a partial altered. Whatever he had to say, Matt doubted it would be anything good.

The email was short and to the point. Shaw hadn’t bothered with pleasantries, and Matt felt oddly pleased by that. They weren’t friends, and he was glad no one pretended otherwise. He read it again to make sure he hadn’t missed anything and handed the phone back to Daniel.

“So.” Matt glanced up at the sky, knowing their peaceful existence was about to change. But he asked the question anyway. “Are we going to take them?”

Buy links: Amazon US || Amazon UK || All Romance ebooks || Smashwords

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Annabelle_Jacobs_logoAuthor Bio: Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Author Links: Twitter || Website || Email || Facebook

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THE GIVEAWAY

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
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4 Stars, Annabelle Jacobs, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Altered 3 by Annabelle Jacobs

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Title: The Altered 3

Author: Annabelle Jacobs

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 166 Pages

At a Glance: The Altered 3 is a suspenseful and romantic end to this series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Matt is a single shifter living in a house full of couples. It’s not that he begrudges his friends their happiness—especially after everything they’ve been through—but he wants someone for himself. He wants a mate. Living out in the Cornish countryside there seems little chance of him finding one.

Thomas’s life has recently been changed forever. Newly altered, he finds himself in danger as his mother, a prominent politician, works to put a stop to the mistreatment of altereds and bring those responsible to justice.

To keep him safe, Thomas is sent to Cornwall where Matt and his friends offer him refuge until he can return to his home in London. Despite the circumstances surrounding his arrival, Thomas and Matt bond in a way neither of them were expecting. They struggle to come to terms with what this might mean for their future once the threat is eliminated.

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Review: I’ve so enjoyed The Altered series and some of the fresh concepts Annabelle Jacobs has brought to the paranormal world her characters reside in. The shifters in the series aren’t the product of supernatural mysticism or the result of being bitten by another infected. The shifters in this series are the product of a bit of science fiction and government corruption, which adds a layer of intrigue and danger to the storyline, as the altered are stigmatized and ostracized by society’s prejudices and irrational fears, forcing them to hide their shifter status.

While shifter families aren’t designated as packs, nor are the more dominant members of those families technically considered the alphas, there is definitely the inference that Jordan and Daniel, Keira and Charlie, Sam and Ash—the mated pairs—and the lone single, Matt, are at least pack-like. They fight for each other, protect each other and, while Keira is definitely a dominant personality and a force to be reckoned with, there’s little doubt that Jordan would be the alpha if such a thing existed. What is also prevalent, though it’s never specifically called a fated mate bond, is the serum triggering the mating instinct in these human/shifter hybrids. It may not be fated, it may have nothing to do with magick, but there’s no doubt it’s potent and, from what we see, it’s an impulse that must be obeyed.

This series begins with the world-building and fulfills our romance needs at the same time in the relationship that evolves between Jordan and Daniel in book one. Their story is a great blend of action set against their resistance to the idea that there’s something calling them at a soul-deep level to be together. As the story arc progresses in book two, the overtones become decidedly more romantic as Ash and Sam resolve not only their feelings for each other but the challenges from Sam’s past, as well as the difficult transition for Ash to his status as a newly turned altered.

The end of this trilogy brings all the action and political intrigue and danger to a head, with Matt’s story and the disheartening reality that he is the lone partial shifter in a family of mated pairs—five full shifters and Daniel, a seer. His status as what he sees as the weakest link in the altered chain, not to mention the odd man out as the only one who doesn’t have a significant other to share his life with, started the story off with me immediately wanting to wrap him up in hugs and reassuring him everything would be okay. In other words, the author plays on our empathy, and it works. At least, it did for me. The surprise isn’t that Matt finally meets his mate, but the surprise for Matt is that his mate turns out to be a man, Thomas Knight, the son of a prominent government official—who also happens to be the woman determined to blow a plot to create a shifter army wide open.

In retaliation of his mother’s interference, Thomas is kidnapped and infected, forcing him into hiding not only to escape danger but to protect him until Teresa Knight can ensure a safer world for all altereds. The horrible miscalculation on the part of the villains in this story is that their plan to subdue Ms. Knight served only to infuriate and give her more motivation. Never underestimate the power of a mother when her child is being threatened. Lesson. Learned.

The building of Matt and Thomas’s relationship happens quickly, as is the norm in this sub-genre of romance, and even though Matt had never explored his attraction to men, his attraction to Thomas was handled well. I believed they were meant for each other, and in the end, that’s what all good stories do—make us believe in the impossible, the improbable, and the great mystery that is the chemistry of a physical, mental, and emotional attraction between two people.

While there may not have been any great twists or surprises leading up to the climax of the story, or in the way Annabelle Jacobs wound things down to the book’s happy ending, it moves along at a brisk pace with some really good suspense thrown in as the danger ratchets up toward the end. This series is a fun way to escape reality for a while and spend some time with hot, sexy shifters.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy The Altered 3 here:

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2 Stars, Extasy Books, Melody Lane, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Midnight Passion by Melody Lane

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Title: Midnight Passion (City Shifters: Book One)

Author: Melody Lane

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 98 Pages

At a Glance: Midnight Passion left me disappointed beyond belief.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Dr. Ryan Collen detests being a vampire although there is hope on the horizon in the form of a monthly infusion. Not only does Ryan hunger for the light of day but the touch of the man who might save him from his demons.

Eric Beck is a shapeshifting recovery agent by day and Muay Thai kickboxer by night. While assisting at the aftermath of a vampire convention attack, he meets his old high school flame Ryan who ignites a craving inside him like he’s never known. Can Eric help crush the evil that threatens to destroy many lives and lose his heart at the same time?

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Review: My love of vampires knows no bounds, but Midnight Passion left me disappointed beyond belief. The story did have an interesting plot, but the author did not develop it at all. I’m guessing here, but I think humans turned into vampires through some DNA mutation. There are shifters and other paranormals, too, but there’s no info or backstory on them, so we are left in the dark.

Ryan, the vamp, runs into his high school crush, Eric, who happens to be a shifter. There is nothing I love more than a hot vamp and shifter getting it on, but here the characters were just mediocre. I think the biggest issue I had was the dialogue. I can only describe it as amateurish and cringe-worthy. It didn’t convey passion or sadness, so I was not interested in the leads or in what they were doing.

The writing can also be described as only so-so. The descriptive language should paint a three dimensional picture, but here it was one dimensional, boring, and not interesting.

At the end of the day, Midnight Passion left me cold and unsatisfied.

TNA_Signature_Lana

 

 

 

You can buy Midnight Passion here:

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3.5 Stars, Kathryn Sparrow, Loose Id, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Alpha Coder by Kathryn Sparrow

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Title:  Alpha Coder (Geek Pack: Book One) 

Author:  Kathryn Sparrow

Publisher:  Loose Id

Page/Word Count:  251 Pages

At a Glance:  A lot of side-stories happening alongside the main plot were a bit too much.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: As the second son, Liam Reed never expected to be a werewolf Alpha. He preferred to develop software for Soft Corp, but when his brother Jason died in a car accident, their father forced Liam to assume leadership of the pack. Liam plans to govern with compassion, instead of ruling through fear, but pack member Bradley Karr undermines Liam’s leadership, biding his time before challenging for Alpha. Tired of pack politics, all Liam wants is to program and find his mate, but he fears that neither is in his future.

When his mate, werewolf Cody Jones, starts working at Soft Corp as Liam’s intern, sparks fly. However, a relationship with Cody could get them both fired for fraternization. And, that’s not the worst problem. Cody doesn’t seem to accept Liam as his mate.

Liam’s only chance at happiness is to win Cody over while keeping their relationship a secret. But really, Cody would never stay with an introverted geek like him, an ineffectual Alpha failing to live up to his brother’s legacy. Would he?

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Review: Alpha Coder was a pretty good story. I got through it quickly, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I thought Liam was great, definitely not what I would have thought of when they mention that he is a geek—with the exception that he does coding, he didn’t come off as all that geeky to me, but regardless, I liked him. I liked him even more once he got together with Cody, who was so sweet.  I think the two complemented each other, and I liked how the relationship between the two developed.

The issue I had with the book was that there were so many things happening as side-stories.  There was Alice, and there was Julie; there was Bradley and issues with Liam’s dad and brother; and, of course, the Tiger HR guy.  I thought it was all just a bit too much. I find this is has been happening more and more lately with the books I’ve been reading, though, so it is possible it’s just me and that I’m happier with a simpler story.

Alpha Coder was good, and I will definitely read more from this author, but it just wasn’t great for me.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Alpha Coder here:

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Brad Vance, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Werewolves of Brooklyn Blog Tour with Brad Vance

Werewolves of Brooklyn Banner

Please join us in welcoming author Brad Vance to The Novel Approach today, as he makes the round to tell readers a bit about his new novel Werewolves of Brooklyn. Brad took the opportunity to answer a few interview questions from Will Parkinson, so enjoy, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Good luck!

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WP: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Brad Vance, author of Werewolves of Brooklyn. Hi, Brad, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Brad: Thanks for the opportunity!

Q: Talk to us about your characters in this book. What makes them unique?

Brad: I really set out to make my werewolves unlike any others. I’ve resisted doing “shifter” stories my whole career, even though I know they’re lucrative, because the genre felt tapped out, creatively. But my werewolves aren’t cursed, they aren’t slaves of their natures, the full moon has nothing to do with it. I researched the lives and habits of actual wolves, and based my story on that.

Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in getting your book from start to publish?

Brad: Darien’s journey from the time he’s first exposed to his “wolf nature” is one of burgeoning self-confidence, energy, sexuality, joy. I realized how much I’d changed myself since I started writing, especially since I went full-time. I’d gone from a passive participant in my own life to having full agency, and as I wrote Darien, I realized in a lot of ways I was writing my own story.

Q: Have you ever gone to a convention? If so, how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to do in the future?

Brad: I haven’t been. I’d like to someday, but right now I’m struggling financially, especially with the new Kindle Unlimited compensation system. My travel’s been limited to research trips and total decompression vacations!

Q: How do you like being a full-time writer?

Brad: I love it. It’s stressful, since your income can be five figures one month and barely four in another. But I’m my own boss, and I’m finally paid for my labor and not my time – nobody is making me warm a chair and punch a clock to prove how much I’m working. When my work is done, I’m done. Even on my worst days I think, what would you be doing right now if you still lived in Cubicle City? And that adjusts my attitude!

WP: Design the ultimate pizza.

Brad: I gotta say, right now I’m addicted to the Round Table garlic chicken pizza. Extra garlic, extra chicken. I’d have a hard time beating that.

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Werewolves of Brooklyn CoverBlurb: Darien Mackey wasn’t looking for an adventure. For ten years, he’d been happy living in Brooklyn, working as a butcher in the same job, living in the same apartment, dating some “nothing-special” guys. Until one night his buddy Jacob talked him into taking ayahuasca, the soul-changing drug. And Darien had a vision…of a wolf, its all-too-human eyes on him, its paws on his chest, its enquiring mind in his own…

Darien Mackey is changing. He’s more confident, more assertive, hungrier, hornier. And his world is changing around him – his job, his home, his beloved Mechanic’s Library all falling victim to the predations of unscrupulous developers, bent on demolishing the old Brooklyn he loves and replacing it with a forest of condos. But he’s no longer a passive observer of his own life, and as this thing, this power, grows inside of him, he resolves to fight back, to preserve the way of life he loves.

And he’s not alone in the fight. The Lipsius Preservation Society of Brooklyn stands ready to assist in the battle, even though it seems like a bit of a joke to Darien, with its King and its Duke, Marquess, Earl and Viscount.

But there’s nothing funny about his growing attraction to Albeus Finley, King of this mysterious Court. And when slumlords and condo-mongers start to die mysterious, violent deaths at the hands of savage animals, Darien begins to realize that something is afoot in Brooklyn – something supernatural.

And it’s afoot in him, too…

Buy the book: Amazon

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Author BioAbout the author: Brad Vance writes gay romance, erotica and paranormal stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Given the Circumstances.” Keep up with Brad at BradVanceErotica.wordpress.com, email him at BradVanceErotica@gmail.com, and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/brad.vance.10.

Where to find the author: Blog || Facebook || Pinterest || BradVanceErotica on Google+ || @BradVanceAuthor on Twitter || Email

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A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Dates & Stops:

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

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3 Stars, Charlie Richards, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Driving Borscht Batty by Charlie Richards

Title: Driving Borscht Batty

Author: Charlie Richards

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

At a Glance: A cute story of a vampire and a bat (I see what you did there, Charlie ::heh heh::) discovering they are mates, and another adventure rescuing more captive shifters.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Out of the Cage: Sometimes dealing with unexpected events can drive you crazy…but that isn’t always a bad thing.

Borscht Kuznetsov is the master of his vampire coven. He likes his donors silent, his people obedient, and his life orderly. When an alarm on the northern outskirts of his property alert him to intruders, he leads the charge to drive the humans from his land. To his surprise, Borscht discovers they were chasing an Egyptian fruit bat. Confused by his sudden onslaught of protectiveness, he realizes the little creature is a shifter…who refuses to shift.

With his only memories that of his time spent in captivity, Sekani doesn’t know much. He can’t even understand the words of the people around him after he escapes from his prison. Still, one of them smells really good…and the man saved him from the hunters. When the man finally says a few words in halting English, Sekani learns that his world is so much larger than he could ever have imagined.

Can Borscht handle his beloved’s overabundance of excitement, especially when he learns that Sekani has friends that need rescuing?

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Review: We first met Borscht Kustenov in The Vampire’s Geek, number twenty-six in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series. Borscht’s younger brother Tullion is the protagonist in that story, but we meet the whole Kustenov clan when Tullion turns to them for help. We know that Borscht is a good guy who is happy that Tullion has found his beloved – despite him being a human male. Not all of the family is so understanding, however.

In this story, Borscht goes out to confront a disturbance on his property, and he discovers men hunting. He finds a small bat is their intended quarry. He’s overwhelmed with wanting to protect the little guy, and as he returns to his home, he realizes that the bat is a shifter and that he is most likely his mate – his beloved. But Borscht doesn’t even know what kind of a bat he’s found, and his little bat won’t shift.

After trying to communicate with him in English rather than Russian, it appears that the bat is finally understanding him, and he shifts. Turns out he’s an Egyptian fruit bat named Sekani, who has basically spent his whole life in a cage and been the subject of the scientist’s experiments that entire time. His only friends are other shifters who were also captives. Even though he’s obviously a mature bat and human male, he has no concept of many things – like eating with utensils, a refrigerator, a bed, many foods, etc. He doesn’t like many clothes, and he is very nervous around people and Borscht’s family at first. Borscht’s brother and sisters are kind to him, offering to teach him about all the things he missed out on, but mostly he just wants to be with Borscht. He doesn’t understand his desire or his reaction to Borscht either, and has to have sex explained to him.

Borscht is so kind to Sekani, and he doesn’t want to push him in any way. He adores his little bat, and he desperately wants to protect him. Sekani is worried about his friends, who were being moved at the same time he escaped, and so Borscht calls in the Stone Ridge team and we get to see Jared (YAY!) and company come to the rescue. We also get cameos by some of the other Stone Ridge pack, including Raul, Lyle (the monitor lizard shifting human), and Dr. Carmichael. There are some really intense moments as the scientists and hunters try to get to Sekani, but you know if Jared’s on the case, they’ll never win.

Borscht and Sekani are cute together, and there is a lovely little surprise with Sekani’s taste in clothing. Borscht also puts up with no crap from his homophobic brother, and determines that he’ll do whatever is best for his mate. All in all an enjoyable, quick, cute and quirky read about our paranormals; and any story that has any Jared in it is full of win for me!

For fans of this series, this is a fun one.

 

 

 

You can buy Driving Borscht Batty here:

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2.5 Stars, Ali Atwood, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Bound to Brody by Ali Atwood

Title: Bound to Brody (Shifters and Lovers: Book One)

Author: Ali Atwood

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 78 Pages

At a Glance: This is a mystery with a paranormal twist that, though the storyline was interesting enough, never got off the ground.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Does a second chance at love have a price?

Zac McQuade is a former marine living two lives. On the surface, he’s a special agent for the FBI but undercover, he’s an assassin for the Secret Intelligence Service. When Zac returns to his childhood home for his niece’s christening, the last person he expects to see is Brody Maitland, his former college crush. Though Zac’s attraction to Brody has gone unfulfilled, he still thinks of him as the one who got away.

Dr. Brody Maitland is a practicing psychologist with a few secrets of his own. Though he has always admired Zac, he thinks he is terminally straight. Currently, Brody is conducting an off-the-record investigation, in search of a young male patient who’s gone missing. Believing Zac’s cover story, Brody enlists his help to solve the intricate case, plunging them both into a deadly game of intrigue and deception. As the attraction between the two very different men heats up, they are faced with the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

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Review: Zac McQuade is a government assassin who comes home for his niece’s christening. He reconnects with his college crush, Brody Maitland, who’s now a doctor. Brody’s investigating the disappearance of one of his patients, and he ropes Zac into helping him; albeit, the whole setup was not plausible at all because they haven’t seen each other in a number of years, then all of a sudden they are “working” together, and the police are okay with their help. Then, add to that that Brody turns out to be a shifter. To me, this plot development felt as though it was just thrown in without any thought to it. It wasn’t developed at all, and felt that way.

There’s also a crazed, yet typical, madman who is abducting gay men. He was a bit over-the-top, and I felt that at any minute he was going to do a maniacal laugh and twirl his mustache.

The two leads were likeable enough, and they embodied the type of characters I enjoy, but in a mediocre story, they became mediocre too. The plot also had a number of continuity issues which were distracting. I wish that it’d had a better editor to clean up these, and other, plot issues. I love reading shifter stories, but Bound to Brody was a disappointment. This is a mystery with a paranormal twist that, though the storyline was interesting enough, never got off the ground.

TNA_Signature_Lana

 

 

 

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