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TinaK

She Reads Too Much

There are a million other things I should be doing with my time...cleaning my house, riding my motorcycle, cooking my family dinner, talking to my Mother on the phone. But I can't. I just....can't. There are too many good books to read.

Currently reading

The Forsaken (The Survivor Chronicles #3)
Erica Stevens
The Skin Map
Stephen R. Lawhead

Strength of the Pack

Strength of the Pack - Kendall McKenna Rereading June 2014 in preparation for [b:Strength of the Mate|18221995|Strength of the Mate (The Tameness of the Wolf, #3)|Kendall McKenna|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1397932360s/18221995.jpg|25655232]! And this time I'm gonna write a review. Promise!
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Review written 6/17/14


This the third (and not the final) time I've read this fantastic book and the last two times I've never been able to muster more than "fuck yeah" as a review. Because I just...I can't even!



But really, my inability to articulate my complete and utter joy and happiness with this book is an insult to the how amazing I really think it is. And that needs to change immediately.

So here are my completely scattered and inadequate thoughts and feelings about Strength of the Pack.

The world this book is set in is a sort of alternate reality where werewolves living among humans is accepted and not at all unusual. I almost think that homosexuality is also commonly accepted and no big deal either - because there is never a whiff of "OMG, I'm hot for a man, woe is me" written.

Lucas Young is a relatively young and inexperienced Lieutenant in charge of a platoon of Marines preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan. While he has a few were in his troops he really has only gotten very basic training on how to handle them both emotionally and logistically. The story is told entirely from his point of view.

Then Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned as one of Lucas' Non Commissioned Officers. Not only is he a legend within the Corps he is one of the few True Alphas that exist. Not only is Noah is Über dominant he is physically larger than Lucas and Lucas is instantly attracted to him.

However he has never had high level training on how to command weres, especially weres the level at which Noah is at. What follows is the absolutely wonderful and amazing journey Lucas and Noah taking trying to figure it all the fuck out.

There are several things that are appealing to me in this book. First, as the wife of a military man, I appreciate the research that went into the military aspects of this story. They are authentic and, in my opinion, portrayed very accurately. From dress straight through to battle I had no problem picturing myself with these guys.

I also greatly enjoyed the world McKenna built. It was easy to slide into this world, so similar to my own, yet quite different. She cleverly wove werewolf lore into many famous historical relationships, relayed to Lucas by Noah in an attempt to make Lucas understand Noah's feelings for him. This, of course, failed spectacularly.

As a character, I adored Lucas unreservedly. Not only was he a physically and emotionally strong man, he was sensitive, honorable, honest and trustworthy with an iron sense of right and wrong. It was his own sense of what was right and wrong, his own honor, that caused many of the problems between him and Noah. And you'd think I'd get pissed at that, because there were times he seemed to be willfully ignorant, yet his character was so solid, so dependable it was impossible to get upset. He was trying so hard, denying himself and his own needs, to make sure he was being fair to Noah and not taking advantage of him. In modern military, it is a HUGE no-no for an officer to fraternize with an enlisted troop. There is such an imbalance of power there and Lucas was very aware of that every step of the way.

All sense of Noah is through Lucas, either from direct observation or what is sensed or gathered through their "link". Even though we are never in Noah's head he is an easy character to fall in love with. I mean what is not to love about a man in his physical prime, who has honor, intelligence, a sense of humor and commitment. He is an excellent leader in his own right yet chooses to submit to the leadership of Lucas, a honor that Lucas has a hard time grasping because he is struggling with the morality of the whole relationship. He yearns for Lucas. As the reader you can easily see it, even if Lucas can't.

Another thing I loved about this was the cycles their relationship went though. It gradually ramped up with each full moon. Their physical and emotional bond grew stronger each month, as did their frustration with their situation and their inability to share their true emotions with one another. There was also the added intensity of the fact their the majority of their relationship happens in a combat zone. They never had time to simply sit and be with each other. It added another layer of urgency to their feelings.

Their physical relationship is HOT, the restrained intimacy they have leaves you breathless and frustrated - just like it left them. You can feel there is so much depth there and they just need...to...tap...into...it!

For instance:

“Noah nipped sharply at Lucas’ jaw. Lucas’ cock bounced when Noah softly caressed his leg. Sadness swirled through him like snow flurries, knowing Noah needed so much less from him then he wanted to give. Something nudged the inside of Lucas’ knee.

“You feel so fucking good against me,” Noah whispered, so softly Lucas almost didn’t hear.

Lucas opened his eyes, so he could look at Noah’s gorgeous body. He glanced over the muscles of Noah’s chest and arms. He loved the rugged, masculine look of Noah’s heavily veined hands. Lucas felt dull and dreary in comparison. Lucas’ breath caught when he realized that what had been nudging his knee was Noah’s erection.

The sound Noah made, his face pressed to Lucas’ neck, could have been a sob. “Touch me, Lucas,” he pleaded in a whisper, nipping his way along Lucas’ jaw toward his mouth. “Please, Lucas. Touch me.”


Then? When they finally go balls to the wall and have full on sex.

Holy fucking shit!

Why can't I give this book a million stars? Why?



And when they finally admit their feelings for each other.



There are a lot of subtle political things going on in the book as well, within the military and shifter community. A lot of it seems to be set up for future books which is A-OK with me! Cause as long as she writes 'em, I'll read 'em. But it is all well done and fascinating. You are drawn in as the whole story is seamless...moving easily from scene to scene, never pulling you out of the story. Secondary characters are introduced that you also connect with. Again, an excellent thing because it means more stories (at this writing book three is being released 6/20/14 and it appears there is at least one more in the pipes) in the series.

Really, the writing is masterful. The characters are vivid, three dimensional and easy to connect to. You give a shit about their lives, about their HEA. The setting/world is realistic and vivid.

Man, now I'm just starting to gush and I know I didn't get everything I want to say about his book written right. It's just...

Just....

Just....

Guys?



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Review written 3/17/14
Reading 3/16/14 - 3/17/14. Review still a fuck yeah!

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Review written 12/27/13

Fuck yeah!