Warders: Volume One (Belen’s Review)

review masterTitle: Warders: Volume One (Warders #1-3)
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 28th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 280 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Most humans live in blissful ignorance, never dreaming of the frightening surprises and paranormal danger that lurks in the night. Most… but not all. These few who stand against the darkness are the Warders, men who fight demons and square off against all kinds of creatures from the pit with only their brothers-in-arms and their lovers—their Hearths—to strengthen them in the unending battle of good versus evil.

Novellas included:
His Hearth
Tooth & Nail
Heart in Hand

His Hearth (July 2010), Tooth & Nail (November 2010), Heart in Hand (May 2011) were previously published individually in eBook format by Dreamspinner Press.

Three novellas included on one volume. All three stories are single POV.

His Heart 4 Stars

Julian Nash should be excited: he’s just earned a huge promotion at work and is going out to celebrate. But his happiness fades when he discovers his date cheating on him an hour before. Suddenly alone when everyone knows he’s supposed to have a plus one, Julian is set for a long night until longtime acquaintance Ryan Dean bails him out of the embarrassing situation. During dinner, they discover they have more than just friendship between them: there is mutual admiration and heated attraction. But getting to know Ryan better—and finding a place in his life—will bring Julian frightening surprises and paranormal danger he never expected or dreamed existed.

I really enjoyed this story, from Julian’s stiff upper lip at having just being cheated on, to the super-steamy heat generated between Ryan and him, to the side characters who are well fleshed out for a novella.

Tooth & Nail 3 Stars

Nineteen-year-old Dylan Shaw is possibly the most beautiful thing Malic Sunden has ever seen. After Malic rescues Dylan from an attack, Dylan makes it very clear that he is more than interested, but Malic won’t even consider sleeping with Dylan because of his age. Malic is sure he’s not good enough for Dylan, who has his whole life ahead of him, and can’t conceive of burdening Dylan with his secrets.

But the darkness in Malic’s life won’t be denied, and soon Dylan is drawn into the dangerous paranormal world that is Malic’s reality. Malic fights tooth and nail to push Dylan away, to keep him safe… no matter that Dylan is the key to Malic’s strength and the only hope for his future.

I liked how Dylan persevered going after his man, but I got a little tired of Malic constantly pushing him away and also taking unnecessary risks. Though I liked that there was a bit more meat to the plot and a bit of conflict to spice things up.

Heart in Hand 2.5 Stars

Simon Kim is very much in love with Leith Haas, but Leith is a Warder. His job—hunting demons—is dangerous and important, and Simon doesn’t want to distract the man he loves more than life with the small stuff. But he doesn’t quite get that when a Warder takes a Hearth, the Warder gives his heart without reservation. When Leith claimed Simon, Leith bared his soul, leaving himself vulnerable before the only man he’s certain he’ll ever love.

When Simon is sucked further into Leith’s perilous world—and into an alternate dimension—Simon realizes that the only strength he can give his Warder is the strength of his love. Can Simon sacrifice the control he has come to treasure for the man who already owns his soul?

We come in to the story with Simon and Leith as an established couple, which is a huge departure from the meet and insta-love of the first two stories. Also different, instead of the single POV being from the Warder, this time it’s Simon who narrates the story.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Three different tales set in a fantastic paranormal world where demons, vampires, kyries, and all manner of things that go bump in the night are not only real, but are fought against by an elite group of chosen who are stronger, faster, and able to heal better than any normal human.

I liked the premise, and it’s certainly an interesting one, but the world-building needed filling out. I wanted more information about the Warders – how they’re chosen, tests, trials, etc., and just didn’t get it. The bones are here, and it was certainly a page turner, but, ultimately, I felt like something was missing.

Warders Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Warders: Volume One (Warders #1-3) provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

I liked the premise, and it's certainly an interesting one, but the world-building needed filling out. I wanted more information about the Warders - how they're chosen, tests, trials, etc., and just didn't get it. The bones are here, and it was certainly a page turner, but, ultimately, I felt like something was missing.

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I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future