Review: “The Protector” by Cooper West

TITLE: The Protector
AUTHOR: Cooper West
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Mystery/ Suspense; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2014
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Guardsmen are always matched in a bonded pair. The Protector can shift into a weredog, and the human partner is his Handler. They are incredibly rare and highly valued, but people also fear them for their mystical abilities. No Protector in living memory has outlived his Handler—until Alex Taylor.
Now a widower, Alex lives a lonely half-life and faces day after day of grief with no hope for happiness in the future. When he unexpectedly bonds with the young and vibrant Handler Marcus Stephanek, Alex is angry and unwilling to leave the memory of his former Handler behind. He pushes Marcus away and tries to distance himself from their bond. But then a mysterious villain who has been secretly shadowing Alex for years sets his plan in motion. Alex and Marcus must learn to trust their bond and love each other, or risk not only their own lives but the lives of those closest to them


In a world where a bonded pair is rare and if the human dies, the weredog shifter soon follows is the norm, until now. The Guardsmen consist of a human known as the Handler and a weredog known as the Protector. A bonded pair is extremely rare, and with the abilities they possess, the pair are also highly feared. When a weredog Protector loses his bonded mate and doesn’t follow suit it, creates a lot of questions and the length some will go through to find the answers leads the characters in a quest to find answers that ultimately leads them in a fight for their lives.

An investigation gone wrong leaves Alex not just alone but without the other half of his soul. Alex is a Protector. He’s always been unique, and the Guradsman scientists have been poking and prodding him since he was a kid. When he found his bonded mate and Handler, Theo, he fell in love, and that love ran soul deep. Every day after Theo died Alex wanted to follow. Being a Protector without a Handler meant that he was treated as a pariah and most disturbingly, useless. Being a guinea pig for the Guardsmen scientists is all he knows now. When he’s scheduled back at the lab something unexpected happens that leads to an entirely new set of problems that Alex isn’t even remotely interested in dealing with.

Marcus has done everything right his entire life. He has more certifications and qualifications than any other Handler. All he’s ever wanted was to soul bond and finally follow his dreams. At Marcus’s age, most Handlers have already found their mate. As Marcus begins to lose hope of ever finding his Protector, the impossible happens. Marcus knows all about what happened to Alex and Theo, everyone knows. So when a certain smell has him following his nose to the widowed Protector, Alex, he’s in for a world of surprise. Marcus wants Alex, but Alex is still grieving and loathes the idea of Marcus being his Handler. The pain of being rejected takes it toll, and Marcus has to find a way to break through the wall Alex has built around his heart.

This book is insane. In the best way. I absolutely loved it. It was fast-paced and emotionally jarring. I don’t have any nail beds left after reading this. I couldn’t even contemplate putting it down. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. Alex had me crying from the beginning. Poor Marcus had me just as emotionally invested. The plot was gripping, and I was actually surprised at the villain and how deep the deception went. I highly recommend this book. I want more. I need more. This author has made a fan out of me.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Alpha Unit One, New York” by Chris T.Kat

TITLE: Alpha Unit One, New York
AUTHOR: Chris T.Kat
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Cate Ashwood
GENRE: Shapeshifter; Paranrmal; Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 161 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jul 27, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 e-book

BLURB:

The cat’s out of the bag….
In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.
Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.
Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.


Nicholas Reese is 28 years-old. He dreams to be a cop and especially a member of the Alpha Unit One. It’s a unit where humans and shifters work together. Nicholas decides to enter this unit as human and does everything in his power to keep his secret safe, but he didn’t plan to meet his true mate in the person of Sam Black an alpha lion shifter and his boss.
They will have to decide what they really want if they want a chance of a future together.

Alpha Unit One, New York is my first book by the author Chris T Kat. I liked this book.

In a world where humans and shifters are equals and live together, the baby shifters aren’t really free to do what they want. Baby-shifters are humans who can shift into the baby’s form of their animal, no matter their ages or sizes. When they’re in this form, they act like little child, so humans and shifters (the adult ones) decided that the baby-shifters can’t have dangerous work (like being a cop) and when they mate, their mates have all power, decisions and responsibilities over them.

Nicholas is an adult, he’s 28 years old. But when he shifts, he becomes a baby snow leopard and that’s where the problem is. He’s a good cop, strong, and mature, but because of his shifted form, people think he’s a kid who needs to be protected. Mating Sam scares him because he refuses to lose his job, but he can’t resist his pull for Sam too. I adore Nick, he’s strong, mature, very smart and super cute. When he shifts he’s just so cute. His shifted form, named Tiny, is so adooooooorable I wanted to put him in my pocket and never let him go.

Sam is an older Lion shifter. He’s strong, fierce, loyal, very protective and hot, like super-hot and I want to do things to him that I can’t really write right now! Sam doesn’t freak out about Nick’s secret, but all his protective instincts kick in, and he tried to protect his baby-mate, even if he’d be hurting him in the process. I sooo love Sam.

I really liked this book. I was afraid when I read the blurb that the book would be a copy of the “Thirds” series by Charlie Cochet, but it wasn’t at all. Yes, it’s a world where shifters and humans live together, and yes, it’s about a unit where shifters and humans are partners, but it ends there. The plot, the characters, the particularities of this universe, are different from the other series, and it was original and pretty good in Alpha Unit One, New York.

I don’t know if it’s the beginning of a series, so I’m torn, let me explain. If it’s the beginning of a series, this book put just all the ingredients for a good series. The main characters, the plot and subplot, and the background are all introduced in the book but not thoroughly, and it’s okay for me because it mean I will learn more about Sam and Nick, their dynamics, their world in the next books. If it’s just a standalone, well, it was good but too superficial for me.

Anyway, if you like a good universe with shifters and humans, I recommend this book, it’s a pleasurable read. And I do hope to have another one (me? greedy? … Naan)

3.5 Stars for The King Lion and his baby prince!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Wanting the Wolfman” by Louise Collins

TITLE: Wanting the Wolfman
AUTHOR: Louise Collins
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $ 14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Can love be more than a memory?
Three years ago, an attack cost Joel his leg… and his memories. Though he was told a dog he’d befriended savaged him, he has one hazy recollection: the stunning silver eyes of a wolf… or maybe a man. Desperate for the truth, he struggles back into the woods where his life changed in search of his animal friend.
When he finds the wolf who has stalked his thoughts, he demands it reveal its true form, and he meets Guy, the man within the wolf. Guy is guarded, but the wolf knows Joel belongs with them, and gradually, Guy can only agree. Things fall into place, but then Joel inadvertently exposes the man and the wolf he’s coming to love.
Guy and the wolf are forced to flee, but can Joel follow?


At eighteen years old, Joel had an awful accident in the forest that cost him his leg. People told him that he was attacked by a dog, a huge rogue dog, but Joel didn’t believe them, he saw a huge wolf, but he can’t remember the accident correctly. For 3 years, Joel lived in a world of pain, confusion and severe depression. He lost his boyfriend Keen. He lost his relationship with his father, but mostly, Joel lost himself.

One day Joel decides to go back to the forest alone to find the wolf by himself. He didn’t expect to meet Guy and Wolf, and he didn’t expect to reconnect with himself either.
Joel will have to make a choice: take a risk with his safety, or have faith in Guy.
Wanting the Wolfman by Louise Collins is a standalone and the first book that I’ve read from her.
It was a beautiful and poetic story that I loved a lot.

Joel is hurt and lost. He’s hurt after his accident, at eighteen years old, his life changed completely, and Joel lost everything, starting with himself. People around him don’t know how to treat him, except his sister. His friends are awful and Keen is probably the worst human being in the entire humanity. It annoyed me a lot how Joel let people treated him badly, but when he finally fights back, he really fights back. He may have a disability, but he’s not weak and Guy, as well as Wolf, will have to deal with his fierce, strong temper.

Guy and Wolf share the same body but are two entities. Guy is human and Wolf…. Well, he’s a wolf. They aren’t the typical “werewolf” that I’m used to reading, and I loved it. Wolf isn’t in the background and comes only when he’s needed, not here. He has his temper, his own personality but he’s in tune with Guy, they are in perfect symbiosis, the human and the wolf. Guy is a caretaker, a protector. He’s alone and spent the last decade hiding in the forest, protecting wolf and taking care of him. When Joel comes into their life, Guy feels the urge to protect him at any cost. I completely melted for Guy, this guy is THE guy, strong, beautiful, loyal… my dream man!

I loved this book. The story was beautiful. It was written from Joel’s point of view, and the whole book, we follow him. How he connects with Wolf, how they bond and then how Joel has to tame Guy, how he fights hard to be with him, to take care of him too. I loved this! I loved that Joel didn’t have to tame the animal but the human.
The plot reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. The love story between the MC, the bad guys trying to hurt Guy and Wolf, Joel ready to fight and sacrifice everything for them. For me, it was a free adaptation of this tale.

The author wrote a sweet and poetic love story that put a beautiful smile on my face at the end.

I recommend this book; it’s worth your time!
4 OptimuMM’s for the Beast, his human, and their soulmate

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Camwolf” by JL Merrow

TITLE: Camwolf
AUTHOR: JL Merrow
SERIES: No
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifters
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book / $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

“To save his lover, he must become his own worst nightmare. ”
Dr. Nick Sewell. Non-conformist. Werewolf. The first puts him at odds with his colleagues idea of how an All Saints College lecturer should behave. The second, bestowed upon him by an ex-boyfriend, puts him at odds with himself.
There s his tendency to change into a wolf on the full moon. And his visceral attraction to Julian Lauder, a troubled young German student. Despite his determination not to act on his desire, Nick s brutal response to seeing Julian with another man frightens them both. At first.
Then Nick learns that Julian is not only a naturally submissive werewolf, but one who has learned better how to deal with just being a werewolf. That explains the attraction, but it doesn t make it any easier when the tables are turned, and Julian once the student is now teaching Nick who still isn t happy about conforming to the werewolf way .
Meanwhile, reports of a strange wolf stalking the town barely register on Nick s radar until Julian disappears. Accusing eyes both wolf and human are turned toward Nick. Even with the help of friends, hope is growing as cold as the kidnapper s trail. Unless Nick gives free rein to the wolf s inhuman power
Warning: Contains hot outdoor sex, alliterative insults, allusions to abuse, and really awful sherry. “


I enjoyed the book’s concept, and the storyline was definitely attention-grabbing. An older professor pining over a handsome student, yes, please. Add in some paranormal shifters, and I want to happy dance. The characters are very different from anything I’ve read. The alpha in this genre are usually dominating and possessive but not in the same way as this alpha. It was very refreshing. The author did not stick to the general alpha stereotype. She gave him flaws and they were well written. I wanted to punch him and hug him at the same time. Each character adds a different dynamic to the story, and it works.

Dr. Nick Sewell is a professor at Cambridge but also a recently turned alpha werewolf. He’s content with being alone after the brutal way things ended with his ex. That is, of course, until a certain breathtaking young man catches his eye. Now I get to play devil’s advocate and say that although Nick’s character is quite unique, there were a couple of things that bothered me. He claims not to be obsessed with Julian, but he clearly is. Before they even properly meet, Nick is practically stalking the guy. Then he does a complete one-eighty and wants to take things slow because Julian is too young. The conflict is a little I want him until I have him and then let’s slow down and be adults. It didn’t gel.

Julian fits the omega stereotype until he doesn’t. He is very unique in that he’s strong enough to escape an abusive ex and the pack he was born into. I wish it explained a little more about why he participates in sexual situations that he’s clearly not comfortable with. Is it a compulsion caused by his omega nature? Is he doing it to spite Nick? Julian has so many facets to his personality that I really enjoyed getting to know him.

This is not my first JL Merrow book, and it will most certainly not be my last. I love the heart and soul put into the characters. They are all so uncommon that I don’t feel like I’m just reading the same old books on repeat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the plot and the different facets of the characters. Just don’t expect this to be anything you’ve read before.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Night Owl and the Insomniac” by J. Leigh Bailey

TITLE: The Night Owl and the Insomniac
AUTHOR: J. Leigh Bailey
SERIES: Shifter U
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: New Adult; Shapeshifter; Paranormal;
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Shifter U Tale
Long nights lead to intrigue… and infatuation.
Chronically ill with a mysterious condition, Yusuf “Joey” Franke escapes his smothering family and doctors by moving halfway across the country to enroll in Cody College. Not long after arriving on campus, some of his symptoms disappear, only to be replaced by debilitating insomnia. Joey spends his nights wandering the halls of his dormitory and hanging out with gregarious and affable Owen, who works the night shift.
When he suddenly shifts from a sick college kid to a massive Asiatic lion, Joey discovers another side to Cody College—it’s a haven for shifters like himself… and like Owen, a part-time great horned owl. And being a shifter is hereditary, which means his parents have some explaining to do.
When Joey and Owen investigate, they discover more than they bargained for—a family deception, a dangerous enemy with international connections, and a love that might be too new to survive the backlash.


The Night Owl and the Insomniac by J. Leigh Bailey is the third book in the Shifter U series and the twenty-third book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. I have read the other books in the Shifter U series, and this book while taking place at Cody College like the rest of the series, is a standalone book. There are cameos of Simon and Ford from the second book Chasing Thunderbird, but you do not need to have read the other books to understand what’s happening in this book. The Night Owl and the Insomniac is well written. I enjoyed the plot and that all of my questions were tied up by the end of the book. And I loved that Yusuf and Owen get their happy ending.

I like the attention to detail that the author gave to her characters. Both Yusuf and Owen’s characters fit the animal half of their personalities. Owen is a great horned owl and is both intelligent and extroverted. He loves to talk and also loves to mother hen people. Yusuf, on the other hand, is an Asiatic lion. Because of health conditions, he’s grown up isolated from society, which has resulted in him being introverted and socially awkward and figuring out his sexuality.

I really liked Yusuf “Joey” Franke. He has grown up being chronically ill with ever-changing symptoms, which has resulted in him being a Guinea pig for all kinds of test and treatments. Finally, fed up with it he escapes by enrolling in a college halfway across the country and moving there. Not long after arriving on campus, some of his symptoms disappear, only to be replaced by debilitating insomnia. With nothing else to do, he spends his nights wandering the halls of his dormitory and hanging out and playing chess with Owen, who works the night shift.

I also liked Owen. He was such a happy, upbeat person. Always including Joey in his activities like getting lunch with the guys and just hanging out. And forcing him to try new food combinations. I loved all of the little things he does each day to remind Joey that he’s thinking of him and there for him while they are apart. I also like how Owen has a grounding influence on Joey’s lion and is able to keep him calm and collected so that he doesn’t shift when he gets stressed. I liked how Owen was there for Joey when he shifted for the first time and helped him uncover his past to find the answers that he needs. I like how he complements Joey. They are just perfect together.
Overall, another great book in the Shifter U series and so far my favorite of the series. And another book in the Dreamspun Beyond series that hasn’t let me down. They are fast becoming a favorite of mine to review.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis