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review 2018-04-26 03:58
I still liked but was kind of annoyed too
Strength of the Pack - Kendall McKenna

A Marine werewolf and his commander bring legends to life while surviving combat deployment in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn't know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas' platoon, the Marine Corps' True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant's authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond. During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.

Review.

Dear Kendall MacKenna,

I first read this book shortly after it was published. The characters stayed with me and I have reread some parts of it, but never did a complete reread. I was a little worried that I won’t like the book nearly as much as I did when I first read it since several years passed and I have read a lot of m/m books since then.

For the most part the book hold up for me upon reread, however I certainly saw more problems with its execution than I did originally.

We first meet Lucas when he is training his Marines shortly before their deployment to Afghanistan. The author shows us a young officer who cares deeply about his soldiers and who wants to do his best to ensure they all are trained well and will come back home.

In fact it was clear even to me (a civilian) that the author researched military procedures, military protocols very well. I believe I read somewhere that the author had family in the military (but could not find it now) and couple of book buddies who had military family members also commented upon authentic portrayal of the US Military in her books. Moreover some of the reviews complained that the author went into too much detail in the description of the military protocols and in explaining all the military abbreviations. Please understand that this is not my complaint at all. I enjoyed the well-researched setting very much and thought it helped to show the strength of the main characters.

The book is set in “our” world with the addition of the fact that the werewolves openly serve in the military and there are additional procedures set up to help incorporating werewolves in the military.

When Lucas arrives in Afghanistan he learns that several werewolves will be assigned to his unit and amongst them will be Noah Hammond, True Alpha Werewolf of the Marine Corps. Of course Lucas is confused and worried as to how he would handle Noah, whose rank of the Sergeant and his status of True Alpha set up a conflict of the sort for Lucas because Noah would be enlisted under his command and somebody who would be pretty much in charge of all shifters nearby.

When Noah arrives he very quickly takes charge of the shifters, and does indeed challenges Lucas a little bit, but only a little bit – he does not resist Lucas or anything like that, just checks his worth out I guess.

Very quickly Noah and Lucas realize that they have a connection. Actually, Noah is the only one who recognizes all the possible repercussions of their connection. Lucas did not have much experience with dealing with the werewolves before and his company commander is of no help. He of course realizes the attraction but all he is bothered about is being attracted to somebody who is below in the chain of command.

The fact that their bond is something extraordinary escapes his attention for pretty much the whole book. Noah manages to explain that the fact that he is a True Alpha consented to their bond supersedes chain of commanded, but nothing else was explained to Lucas and this would bring me to my main annoyance with this book.

As much as I loved both Lucas and Noah as honest soldiers and strong leaders, as much as I thought this book had well researched setting, Lucas’ cluelessness as to his connection with Noah eventually got old and pretty fast. Okay fine, he did not have shifters under his command before, but he is living in the world where shifters seem to be treated well, not discriminated at all and he has no clue that his bond with True Alpha just may be something special? The parts I quoted below are early enough in the book, but this idiocy continued through the whole book – with Lucas asking questions and people either promising to explain and explaining nothing, or giving him information in such small doses that it sounded really artificial. This is the main reason why I am lowering the grade the way I did.

 

"Lucas paused, wondering how to answer. It might be easier if he had an answer. “I would if I knew. It’s nothing I can explain. I just know.” Vince glanced at him askance. “Next you’re gonna tell me the two of you know what the other is feeling.” Lucas stared out his window and didn’t answer. “Well I’ll be damned,” Vince muttered. “Does command know about this?” Lucas looked at Vince in confusion. “No. Why would they?” Gunny glanced repeatedly from the road to Lucas and back again.

“The Marine Corps’ True Alpha willingly submits to his human platoon commander; that’s a weapon they’d like to have.” An icy chill swept through Lucas. “Weapon? I don’t understand.” This time Vince shrugged. “I don’t know the ins and outs of it. Have Hammond explain it; it’s werewolf mythology.” They lapsed into silence as Vince negotiated the rough, rutted road. Lucas tried to shake off the dark feeling the conversation had left him with."

 

"“I could feel you start to worry about what was behind you, so I looked.” Noah ran the backs of the fingers of one hand lightly down Lucas’ cheek. “You looked because you felt me sense something behind me?” Lucas fought the urge to lean into Noah’s touch. “That’s how this works, Lucas,” Noah replied, hooking his fingers into the webbing of Lucas’ armor. “I still don’t understand how it works,” Lucas sighed. “But right now, I’m just glad it does.”"

 

"Lucas stared at the captain in confusion. Madison noticed Lucas’ expression. “Christ, Hammond sure is taking his time explaining all this to you. It doesn’t help that Stanley got you absolutely no training on how to handle an Alpha were.” “So explain it to me!” Lucas shouted in frustration."

 

Grade: B-

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text 2018-04-25 16:52
Audio Review: A Taste for a Mate (Redwood Pack, #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Narrator: Gregory Salinas) (DNF)
A Taste for a Mate - Carrie Ann Ryan
A Taste for a Mate

Redwood Pack, #1
Carrie Ann Ryan (Narrator: Gregory Salinas)
Paranormal Romance
September 5, 2014
Audiobook
7 hours and 24 minutes
Audible Romance Package

 

Jasper Jameson has spent his life caring for others, knowing that one day he might be blessed with his mate. He’s fought alongside his family and Pack for over a century but it isn’t until he meets a human who makes his wolf growl, that he knows that there’s something more than fate worth fighting for.

 

When Jasper walks into Willow Delton’s bakery she knows there’s something different about him. But every time he walks back out again, she doesn’t know what to think. When he finally finds the strength to ask her out, a new enemy in Jasper’s life has other plans.

 

A dangerous Pack is on the prowl and they’ve not only threatened the Redwood Pack but brought a demon into the fold as well. Forced into a new way of life, Jasper and Willow must fight not only for their lives but their weakening mating bond. Trust takes time but the two of them might not have as much as they need.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

Kobo

 

 

DNF’d this at Ch. 12 of 29 with 4 hrs and 13 min remaining.

 

A Taste for a Mate is book one in the Redwood Pack series by Carrie Ann Ryan.

 

The prologue is very violent and shocking. The way the wolves change a human is brutal. I don’t know why the fates would give them a human mate, if this is what they have to go through, and their is no guarantee they will survive. And, last their is an overwhelming amount of violence against women in this book, which then provides the men with a lot of anguish. I didn’t care for all the violence.

 

As for the romance. It never felt like any type of romance. This might be classified as an insta-love storyline, but I never felt any type of insta anything. I couldn’t believe that Willow falls in love with Jasper after speaking to him once. It takes humans longer to come around. Also I felt that Willow gave in too easily to everything she was learning and seeing. She accepts it all with out any backward glance. I just couldn’t believe this.

 

I disliked Willows thought process. It was over the top and annoying. At one point she thinks Jasper doesn’t want her. She got this idea in her head and instead of talking or asking him how or what he feels she keeps thinking this. Then we have them sleeping together; before they even go on one date. At this point Willow still has this weird idea in her head that he doesn’t want her, but the author has them sleeping together. This doesn’t work for me.

 

Everything in A Taste for a Mate felt rushed. Things just come at you left and right and their is no time to process. I would have liked things to be drawn out and developed more.

 

Audio: A Taste for a Mate is narrated by Gregory Salinas. This is my first experience with him as a narrator. I unfortunately didn’t care for his narration. The female characters all sounded a little breathy and this wasn’t when they where in the mood, it was all the time. It was exasperating. As for the male voices; Salinas nailed them and I liked the voices for each male introduced.

 

A Taste for a Mate was not the book for me. If the blurb intrigues you, I urge you to give it a shot. Just because it did not work for me does not mean it won’t for you.

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

Challenge(s) (2018): AudiobookTry Something New ~ Author/Series

 

 


 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2018/04/audio-review-a-taste-for-a-mate-redwood-pack-1-by-carrie-ann-ryan-narrator-gregory-salinas-dnf
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review 2018-04-20 21:31
Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz
Witches of East End - Melissa de la Cruz

It was hard to put this book down, even to just fold laundry. However, it should be noted that de la Cruz has a particular writing style - very short chapters, heavy on plot, rotating third person POVs (in this case Freya, Ingrid, and Joanne), and for an adult book, very little sex on the page. I was familiar with de la Cruz's writing after reading three books in her YA vampire series (with one of those vampires making a guest appearance in this book), and it suited to the story she was telling in this book.

 

And what a book it was - a mix of lessons from early American history (the Salem witch trials in particular), Norse mythology (yeah, with names like Freya and Ingrid kind of give it away), and straight up paranormal. Joanne, Freya, and Ingrid are witches and mother-daughters that were exiled by The Council and banned from using their gifts. After a few centuries, each woman was tired of keeping herself on the down low and starting using her gifts for the good of others - honest intentions to help people. As they continue to use their powers, equally crazy shit happens and it is up to the women to find the source and stop it. 

 

I just loved this book. The women were intelligent, thoughtful, and worked together while still being themselves and the romantic elements were there, but not the focus of the book. It was a joyride with heart. I am definitely going to continue reading this series. Forewarned: you have to read the series in order because the end of one book sets up the next book. So although the problem the women faced ended at the end of this book, the epilogue dropped a big plot line for book two.

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review 2018-04-19 15:43
Audio Review: Kiss of Pride (Deadly Angels #1) by Sandra Hill (Narrator: Erin Bennett)
Kiss of Pride - Sandra Hill
Kiss of Pride

Deadly Angels #1
Sandra Hill (Narrator: Erin Bennett)
Paranormal Romance
Tantor Audio
August 18, 2014
Audiobook
11 hours and 8 minutes
Audible Romance Package

 

Is he really a Viking with a vampire's bite? An angel with the body of a thunder god? A lone wolf with love on his mind?

 

Alexandra Kelly, his prey, thinks Vikar Sigurdsson is either flat-out crazy or he's trying to maneuver her into his bed - which is hardly where a professional reporter should conduct an interview, tempting as that prospect might be. Until Vikar does something a teensy bit unexpected, and Alex begins to wonder whether her mystery man could really be everything he says he is: a Viking vampire angel on a thousand-year-long mission with his pack of sinful brothers - and a man who's finally found the woman of his dreams. By then, Vikar is already wrapping his chiseled arms around Alex's body - and sinking his wicked fangs right into her neck. If this is sin, why does it feel so good?

 

Contains mature themes.

 

 

Kiss of Pride is book one in the Deadly Angels series by Sandra Hill and narrated by Erin Bennett. 

 

Well I really wanted to like this book. I found the concept of Viking Warrior Angel Vampires to be cool, but unfortunately Kiss of Pride didn’t work out for me. I had a tone of issues.

 

To start I was confused throughout the book. The explanation’s of things where confusing. We have the Vangels, the good guys, then Lucipires, the bad guys, and then their are their servants who have all these weird names and I couldn’t figure out what they do or their purpose. If I had had the eBook or Book copy I could have re-read that section and seen it with my eyes to try to understand, but I was listening to the audio. 

 

I didn’t care for all the sin, redemption, and crimes against God that are showcased throughout. Most where just run-of-the-mill kinks and non-vanilla sexuality. At one scene the 7 Vangels are reading the details online about the Sex Cruise the Lucipires are putting on to get souls and when they read all the different things to happen, well they come of as old aunties. Then we have Alex’s danger; which is that she is contemplating murder or suicide from depression, because of the death of her husband and daughter by drug lords. This is made a big deal of only; because both are SINS. 

 

Alex’s backstory wasn’t all that good and came across as a way to manipulate the story and reader. The author only obsesses on Alex’s backstory when the story needed angst, but then it’s quickly forgotten, so we can have some goofy hijinks and idiotic dialogue. At another point in the story Alex flips out over Sigurdsson having more then one wife and concubines, but that issue was never discussed or resolved, it was just a way to get Alex outside, so the Lucipires could get to her. Manipulation!

 

Then at one point into the story the author uses 9/11 for one of her Vangels backstories, having him hold himself responsible for letting this happen. Using this convenient background detail to give weight to the character felt a little skeevy. Their where more backstories like this throughout to give weight and depth to the Vangels, but it didn’t work. 

 

I didn’t care for all the different references to things in the 20th century; like Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse, Anne Rice, Buffy and more. At first it was funny, but then it got tiresome. They where overwhelming and redundant. I know the author was trying to be funny, but it was to much. It need less of this.

 

The romance between Alex and Sigurdsson. I didn’t feel it at all. It was to be this fated connection between them, but their was nothing tender, just a bunch of silly lines. And, then we have the near-sex that they have, which was laughable; because no they can’t have sex before marriage it’s a sin, but having any sexual relations before marriage is a sin, but the non-sex is a lesser sin…. 

 

Last, we have the whole blood cleaning thing which turns both Alex and Sigurdsson on. I wanted to know if this is just them or does it happen with others? It was never clear. From what I got the Vangels have to drink the blood of those tainted by the Lucipires to cleans them of the taint that slowly crops them to do sins, but also this cleansing is needed for the Vangels to survive. It was all a bit too confusing and not well explained. At one point I was upset about a scene where they do this blood cleansing thing; because the Vangels are all about free will, yet Sigurdsson takes it away from Alex at one point. What got me is God is all about the free will and this was so contradictory. Yes, they are to save the sinners, but that doesn’t give them the right to take that choice away. 

 

Kiss of Pride was all over the place with contradictions, manipulative backstories, punishing the sinners, redemption, and more. I was so confused and frustrated. I’m not sure as to why I listen to the whole audiobook. I keep asking myself why I did. I have no plans to pick up another book in the Deadly Angels series. 

 

Audio: Narrator Erin Bennett was acceptable. Her voices where distinct and I new who was who when talking. I could tell the different between male and female, but also the different characters. I wasn’t overly impressed only because I didn’t care for the story. Nothing against Bennett. 

 

Rated: 2 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

Challenge(s) (2018): AudiobookTry Something New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

Facebook Twitter Google+   

 

 
Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2018/04/audio-review-kiss-of-pride-deadly-angels-1-by-sandra-hill-narrator-erin-bennett
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text 2018-04-16 14:11
Reading progress update: I've read 79%.
Wings - Aprilynne Pike

Wow a moment in a book the author can "show just how evil the bad guy is" and... doesn't take it. Really refreshing to see. We get to see how evil the big bad is in other, better ways.

 

Also David is still turning out to be OK. Our hero is also being smart. Though she has got that whole "I just can't kill anything" going on. It wasn't produced as inanely as I've seen it before and she does hit the guy.

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