Monday, November 26, 2018

Release Blitz ~ Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen (Reviews + Giveaway)

Release Blitz ~ Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen (Reviews + Giveaway)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 77,300 words approx.

Publisher: Carina Press


BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.

Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.

Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.

Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.

After all, the only easy day was yesterday.

4 Stars

While I enjoyed this story, I wouldn’t say the romance is the main focus. Scott and Shane making it through BUD/S training to become Navy SEALS is definitely the main focus of the story with the romance portion taking a backseat to that. Although I wasn’t quite sure how two men who seemed to hate one another and couldn’t even have a friendly game of one on one basketball without them both ending up bloodied and bruised could ever find love together, once they did, they were all in.

Shane and Scott had amazing chemistry and the sexual tension between them was palpable. It took FOREVER for them to give into the physical need/want, but once they did, they were explosive and hot together.

I actually found it interesting to watch the process of them going through training. I can’t even imagine what these men go through. I was exhausted and cold just reading all the drills, workouts and not to mention them constantly being wet and caked in sand. Yea, no thanks.

The story was well-written and for the most part, it flowed well, it was just maybe a tad slow in the middle. It was also obviously well-researched and the author clearly has a lot of knowledge on the training process to becoming a Navy SEAL. I’m glad this will be a series, because not only am I looking forward to getting to revisit Scott and Shane in the future, but I’m curious as to whose story will be next. I found there were a few loose ends left, and I’m hoping they will be tied up as we get to revisit Shane and Scott in future stories in this series. This was an enjoyable read that I’d definitely recommend!

*copy provided by author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

4 Stars 

A 'proper' SEAL tale, by a quality author who doesn't stint on her research and who has...

... more than a little experience with things 'US military'.

I was lucky enough to be a beta for this tale, which isn't a fluffy, romanticised, 'pays lip service to' SEALS one. It's one that keeps it real by showing us how tough the training is mentally and physically, and how many candidates don't make it despite their backgrounds that in theory could/should have prepared them for the role. It gives us leads who are not softened, romantic, swoon-inducing versions of tough guys, but believable, real tough guys, and it does so without using any tropes. I admire MH's confidence in writing the book she wanted to write, the one that spoke to her, not one that she felt she needed to write to meet a certain criteria for it to be a success in MM romance. I think it's a very different tale to what many might assume, which I mean as nothing but a compliment.

As always, a MH book shows her undisputed talent and quality - which ranges from the harrowing Unquiet and the heartbreaking-and-yet-affirming Point of Contact, two books which caused floods of tears, to this one that had me in awe of her research and knowledge. It has a lot of detail and reality, and it de-glamorises and debunks the many SEALS tales that abound. It's a sometimes raw, sometimes brutal, intelligent and satisfying read, because MH always does her research, and here she's drawn on some of her family's close connections to the US military to portray everything authentically and accurately.

So, is it a romance novel? Hmm. I think that could be up for debate; accurately it's listed as Fiction>Gay, Fiction>Romance>Gay, as I think it's a mix. For me, personally, technically, yes it was, because there's love and caring and respect in this, and a relationship that will endure, and there were parts that were very romantic, but not in expected ways. And, technically, maybe also kind of not, in the pop sense of what readers likely expect from MM these days, because it's not an out-and-out, hearts-and-roses, sweet, gushy romance. But, I believed in Shane and Matt, and their connection, so much more than in the many tales where guys talk a lot about feelings and dreams and hurts and traumas and pasts, and about fluffy bunnies, kids and picket fences and the likes. I think this is a book that's equally a girl's and a guy's tale, and that may even gain MH more guy fans.

The 'not' part is despite the leads being attracted to each other from the start, because their personal quests and mission and country come first, and because MH kept it real. That might make the guys sound selfish, but as you read the tale you'll see why - each has had a very different journey to get to this point, and very personal and very different reasons for wanting to be a SEAL, and for one in particular, it's been his driving force and his redemption, and for both, it's warts and all. Wanting to be *the* best warrior, wanting to challenge each other, wanting to prove something to themselves was what pitted them against each other, but also honed them for a relationship that distance, duty, country and time spent apart couldn't and wouldn't lessen.

As the title says, they're first and foremost warriors, but there's a strong connection between them and the camaraderie they build and the trials they undertake cement them in ways that pure romantic/traditional romance and/or sex could not. For me, the depiction of Matt and Shane's love and commitment at the end of the tale says more than a sex scene or words could, it was something that spoke louder than words, and this was one of the romantic parts for me. And yes, greedy me wanted to see the next chapter in their lives, because theirs will never be easy. But, I have it on good authority that we'll see more of them in the next book in the series, which goes where MH has not yet gone before. I think some readers will be surprised, and I suspect it'll gain her a whole new audience. For me, if she writes it, I'll read it.

Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.

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