Re-Release Day Tag Team Review: Warders: Volume One (Warders #1-3) by Mary Calmes

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.

JL and Red here and we're back with another episode of cracky goodness.  Enjoy the show!

JL:  So, what do you know about this series?  Are you going in totally blind or do you know the gist of what it's about?

Red:  Going in blind.  I know nothing.  Just met Ryan Dean though and I like him.  Totally digging Jules and OMG Pheobe is amazing and I love Cash offering to kick ass for Julian.

JL:  I love phoebe!  she's a nut!  Ok, then I won't spoil it for you.  I can't wait until you get to the last third of the book!  I predict your response will be "WTF? "

Red's Review:

This was a great start to the wonderful series that has me hooked, but it’s Mary Calmes so that is just par for the course. Yanno? 

Told in the POV of Julian Nash, we get to know about who he is, meet his BFF Cash and his amazing wife Phoebe and we get Julian as he sees his date on his knees for another man on Julian’s big night.  WTAF you say? Right? I mean, from the first word you get that Julian is an amazing man and it was crazy to see how well he took his date cheating on him because you have to know someone as amazing as Julian deserves nothing but the best in life, work and romance, eh? *nods* 

Red:  Mary writes THE BEST supporting female characters. I passed out last night per my usual but I am now reading at my desk. They are still at dinner but man I can't wait to see what happens when Jules goes some with Ryan. Should I go back and read the blurb for this or just keep reading blind?

JL:  just keep reading blind. that way it will be a surprise.
Enter one Ryan Dean aka sex on two legs. Good lord I adored Ryan and how he shows up and pursues the hell out of Julian with an intensity that was making my fingers tingle through my Nook. It was all sorts of swoony to realize that Ryan has had a crush on Julian and Julian on Ryan and then they hold hands and I fell outta my chair! Really Sara? You fell out of your chair?? No, not really because while that touch was electric, their first kiss had me on my ass! OMG Julian Nash kisses with his soul and let me tell you, I felt it in my toes! Good lord. 

Red:  *swoon* 

“I’m sorry, baby.”  He caught his breath. “That’s okay,” he got out, “and you just called me baby.”  I’d gotten familiar way too fast. It always happened when I liked someone. “Crap. I’m sor—” “Don’t be,” he cut me off, tightening his fingers that were entwined with mine so I couldn’t pull my hand away. “You wanna talk like I belong to you… it’s fine with me.”

JL:  Wait until you get to the kissing part!  He kisses him with his whole soul.

Red:  They just kissed and good lord, I FELT IT! Jeebus that was hot. They are going for a drink at Dante's now. Phew…
You spend the good part of this story in a cat and mouse chase with Julian and Ryan. I was anxious waiting to see what would happen and if Julian would give in to going home with Ryan and how far they would go and then holy plot twist, shit got real! 

Warders. I had no idea what that was.
Yeah, me neither but once I did and once I was told all about them and why they need a hearth I got the biggest heart eyes and melted into a puddle of goo. 

Red:  I have a feeling Ryan is a magical something with his herbs and the whole way he sees Julian, almost like they are fated mates. Like they belong together but Julian has no idea he is something...yet.  They are at Ryan's house making out on the couch.

JL:  I ain't telling you nuthin!

Red:  I think I am at the WTF moment because... WTF?

JL:  plot twist!

Red:  How does she come up with this stuff?? It's amazing and OMG now the title makes sense and OH RYAN! 

JL:  NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE!  Told ya.  Plot twist
He, their hearth—home—is vital and necessary. A hearth makes a home for the warder. Yup, a hearth is important to a warder and a warder is kinda like Buffy and all sorts of amazing. I loved this story and meeting the other warders who will be getting their own books in the series.

Red:  The Buffy reference and how Cash and Phoebe take the whole thing was great! I love Phoebe being ready to lay down salt because she watches Supernatural! 

JL:  Phoebe is so freaking fabulous, isn't she?? such a little spitfire.

Red:  Done with book one! OMG! SO fucking good. I am so on with this crack fest! I need it right now so very bad.

JL’s Review:

Truth be told, I had mostly forgotten about this series.  That isn’t to say that I didn’t love it, ‘cause I did, but after reading so many stories written by The Crack Goddess this series sorta got lost in the mix.  I’m so glad this series is being re-released because it gave me the opportunity to rediscover this vibrant world of warders and their hearths.

Red:  “We fit, and you know it. Like you were made for me.” He kissed up my throat to my mouth. “Julian,” he whispered before his lips covered mine for a moment. “We are so much more than you could even know.” “Oh yeah?” “You have no idea,” he murmured as he shifted against me, over me. I put a hand on the back of his neck and pulled him down so I could kiss him again. “Let me explain it to you.”

OMFG! Please explain because I need to know WTF Ryan was looking for before he listened to Julians heart. What was supposed to change???????

JL:  Crap, I don't remember!  Now I gotta catch up.  it's been so long since I've read these I don't remember most of what happens. 

Red:  I love these. She does so damn good and I just get sucked in no matter what but just like with Change of Heart and Romanus, she brings in these elements that make you understand regardless if you didn't understand before. I love the idea of the Hearth and what it means to a Warder.
At the opening of the story, Julian has just received a promotion at work and is attending a celebratory dinner in his and his partner Cash’s honor.  He’s a bit downtrodden, though, as he witnessed something disheartening just an hour or so earlier.  He doesn’t want to ruin his partner’s night so he puts on a brave face and tries to make the best of it.  Then, in walks Ryan Dean.  Well, as you can imagine if you’ve ever read a Mary Calmes book, sparks ignite an explosive relationship filled with want and need.  And a bit of quirky humor too.  

JL:  “Could you… can I suck that, please?”“Nope,”


Red:  They are so good!
There’s so much fiery passion that I was afraid my screen was going to catch fire.  Ryan just cannot stop touching Julian.  He needs Julian more than he needs air to breathe and Julian, bless his heart, tries his best to keep Ryan at arms-length so as not to get hurt by Ryan and his manwhoring ways.  But Ryan has a secret.  There’s a reason why he’s always been a player.  It takes a special man, a one in a million type, to settle him and he’s hoping beyond all hope that Julian is that man.

JL:  “So you’re thinkin’ maybe you want me?”“Want, need, having, keeping.” His expression changed suddenly, darkening, no more playing. “God, I hope I can. I hope I can keep you.”

Le sigh

Red:  So much Le Sigh.  Ryan's need and angst of wanting Jules so makes sense now that I know the why behind it all.  Ugh.. Just so good.

JL:  Oh yeah!  I forgot about that part of it!  That's gotta be so scary and disheartening to not be able to be in a relationship with most people because [SPOILER]. How lonely that has to be!  Poor Ryan.

Red:  I know! Once you realize why Ryan sleeps around it's so sad.
Once Ryan’s secret comes out the story takes a turn to action and adventure and you get the idea of what the series is really about.  The worldbuilding expands to reaches further than you can ever imagine.  I thought it was brilliant, even more so this time around and I’m eager to get to the next book right away.  And not just because I’m in this story either…

JL: "I am Jael,"

I'm in this story!  She spelled my name wrong though...

Red:  LOL you are and she did!!! I love this part and how Julian reacts and how Ryan reacts to Julian's reaction... It's perfect.

JL:  Heh, that's a lot of reacting you got going on there.

Red’s Review:

I loved grumpy ass Malic when we meet him as he interrupts an important moment with Julian and Ryan in His Hearth. I have this thing for redeemable assholes and Malic fit the bill to a T and we got his POV in this story! But just as much as Malic is grumpy, you know he is missing what a warder needs most, his hearth. I just never expected his heart to be a feisty angel in need of rescue.

Red:  So while Ryan was lovely Dylan is adorable and as you say I wanna put his angelic self in my pocket!!! Only on chapter 2 but I love how they met.
JL:  I TOLD YOU!  I knew you would love him.

Dylan! Goodness. As my girl Jenni Lea puts it; Dylan is so adorable I need to put him in my pocket! I loved him. From the moment he is rescued by Malic, Dylan is in love. He wants Malic at any cost and it was so sweet to know how much he hung around the strip club to talk to his knight in shining armor. 

Now what I liked about this is how it seamlessly moves from the first book and continues on with its stroll through the next couple. We know what warders are and what they do. We know they are so much better when they have a hearth and we know that Malic is stubborn AF! So, it was enjoyable to see him, well fuck up over and over again and his fellow warders and even his sentinel to come to his rescue. Yup, even warders need rescuing from time to time.

JL:  God, I could just eat Dylan up! 
“Can you imagine what your mother would say if you took me homefor Christmas?” I asked him. “She’d be horrified.”  “She’d be impressed,” he assured me. “She wants me to have someone serious about me. If she met you, Malic, she’d be fuckin’ thrilled.”  I couldn’t even get him to be rational.  “I’m starving, feed me.” And he was damn bossy.   “Please, honey.” Christ.
Red:  You're ahead of me now but OMG that is adorable.  I love how Dylan is all for it and Malic is powerless even when he doesn't know it.
JL:  He's so resistant to having anything to do with Dylan but he just can't seem to stop giving in to those anime eyes.
Red:  Dylan stalked the club for Mal??? I love him
JL:  Seriously, I'm moving him up to my top pocket.  He hits every single button of mine.  I think I love him even more this time around.

But these two, they were so much fun because you know Malic wants Dylan but fights with the age gap and you know Dylan could care less. Hell, Dylan didn’t bat an eye when he found out what Malic was from the ever mysterious yet intriguing kyrie named Raphael. Nope, he found out and was ready to be with Malic and hopefully be his hearth. 

That end though? OMG was that not the sweetest and most perfect ending ever? Le sigh.

JL’s Review:

This is my favorite of the series.  Malic is so curmudgeonly and Dylan just needs to jump right in my pocket. 

JL: Ohmygawd, I knew I loved Dylan but I forgot just how much I loved him.  He's so freaking adorable I just wanna squoosh him!  Dylan!  You get in my pocket right now, Mister!

Red:  Dylan is so pocket worthy!!!  Malic is earning Sophie's trust with a feather from his angels costume??? Mother effing swoon.  I love that we get more of the demon/supernatural stuff early with this since we know what Malic is.

From the moment Malic set eyes on the cherubic angel he was a goner.  Dylan may have been three sheets to the wind when Malic happened upon him being accosted in the bathroom of a nightclub but what does that matter when faced with such beauty?  It’s too bad Dylan’s just a baby, though, ‘cause Malic would tear that shit up in a heartbeat if he were older.  Dylan, though?  Well, Dylan ain’t having it.  Malic WILL be his, by God, and he’s not taking no for an answer.

JL: “Same reason,” he said, and then he coughed so that when he spoke his voice was low. “No, Dylan, we cannot have sex without protection . Step away from the penis.”

lol, love Dylan!

Red:  I have to finish my chores! You're killing me…

JL:  I just can't get enough of him! 

“Dylan,” I said, stilling him, surprised at how much my shirt gaped open— he already had a lot of buttons undone. “I’m a warder. I kill demons.”“Yeah, I know,” he said, shaking my hands off. “Hey, you’re gonna like having my legs wrapped around your hips when you’re buried in my ass.”

Red:  You.  Are. Killing.  Me.

I could go on and on about Dylan.  He really made this story for me.  There is a plot in this book, complete with demons and fighting and heroism but, really, all I wanted was more Dylan.  This book could have been entirely written as one long conversation between the two and I would’ve been just fine with that.  There’s just something about Dylan that makes me go all gooey inside.  I could read about him for days and never get tired of him.  And his interactions with Malic?  Out. Of. This. World!

Red:  "I'm the one who is gonna make your life a fuckin' joy to live, you grouchy-ass bastard! "

I love Dylan!!

JL:  “Pay the bill, and let’s go home.” Home? “Dylan, you and I don’t live at the same––”“We will,” he assured me. “But c’mon, take me home, Malic.”“You mean let’s go to my house,” I corrected him. “Yeah.” He shrugged. “That’s what I said. Let’s go home.”

I could quote him all day.

JL:  “I’m ready for my lovin’ now,” he announced. The brown eyes looking at me were so soft, so warm, and so full of everything anyone could ever hope for that, of course, my first instinct was to growl at him. What the hell was wrong with him?

Ok I'll stop now
If you read this series for nothing else, read it for Dylan.  I’m smitten.


Red’s Review:

We met Leith before and we know that the warder is gorgeous with his long hair and even in the shape of a shepherd to help save a girl from a blood demon and we know he has a hearth already. So this was a bit different as we get an established couple but just because they are established, doesn’t mean that there is any loss of romance or discovery in this world we are just beginning to explore.

Red:  So Raphael gets a book and we get more of Dylan and Malic!!! I'm so happy.  I like Simon and Leith right now but boy they need to figure their shit out.

JL:  LOL, I haven't even finished Malic's story yet.  I got lost in FB.  Lemme go catch up.

Told from Simon’s POV, we know that he has been Leith’s hearth for the last six months. We get how they met and boy oh boy was is all sorts of sexy and just be still my heart, but we get that it’s not easy being a home and grounding force of a man who fights demons and keeps the innocent safe. Simon and Leith are so in love with one another but they treat each other with kid gloves so they don’t lose their love and really, are trying to figure out this whole warder/hearth relationship. 

When Simon has a run in with his ex-boyfriend, he begins to open up and let Leith take care of him which is all Leith wants to do. But when Simon is called away for work and has to leave, it causes stress with the couple. 

This story goes a bit darker than the previous ones as Simon seems to be at a work training at the Overlook hotel that has more than Jack as a resident and is pretty Buffy-ish over the hellmouth. Yup, he is in a crazy hotel where a demon wants to recruit all that are there for his new army. When Simon and his friends/co-workers start to feel uneasy about the hotel and are cut off from the outside world, he gets a visit from Raphael who explains it all. But just when a rescue shows up, Simon knows he can’t leave his friends and that’s when this story gets deeper. 

I really adored seeing how in tune Simon and Leith are with one another even when Leith doesn’t actually know who Simon is. They have this connection that cannot be broken and this need for one another that cannot be satisfied regardless of form or place. It was simply gorgeous to watch the moments Leith came through and how Simon could remind him of who he really was.

JL:  From what I understand, this one, Raph's and Marcus's book are all part of one main story arc.

Oh, and this:  As he held me, I understood what it was to be cherished.


JL:  BUT WAIT!  There's more...

All the words he could have ever said to me would never compare with the truth he had just shown me.  No matter who he was or what he was, I was still his, and he loved me.

I'm all the way dead now.

Red:  I so love Simon and Leith.  I like that we get to see the established relationship of the warder/hearth and how it's not always so easy to do.  And good lord, how they met??? So swoon worthy and just hot and when Simon tells Leith he needs him after the Eric deal???  I love how she gives us such strength in vulnerability with these men.

Red:  Even when he doesn't know Simon he KNOWS him.  So romantic.  What's that saying, in a crowded room full of priceless art,  my eyes will always find you.

Once again, that end was pretty much perfect but um, what Raphael asked of Simon and knowing who the next book is about? Yeah, I need that because um, Jackson has a hearth already but what do you do when a kyrie wants a warder of his own and how in the world will that work out?

JL’s Review:

Wow, this one was great!  It took everything I loved from the first two books and kicked it up a notch.  It’s a bit different from the other two books as Simon and Leith are already a couple when we meet them.  I wouldn’t say an established couple as they’ve only been together for six months and they’re still in the process of settling into their life together.  Simon was just coming from a failed relationship when he met Leith by happenstance.  He’s not used to being someone’s whole world so he keeps a bit of himself apart from Leith.  It’s not until both he and Leith are put in danger and separated that he finally understands all that it means to be a hearth.

JL:  Ok, maybe I haven't read Simon and Leith's book because I don't remember ANY of this. This is some freaky deaky shit.

Red:  OMG I love this one! It wasn't as light as the  first two but so intense.  What part are  you at? And goodness these two are amazing when they give in and Raph is back... I NEED HIS BOOK!!!! 

JL:  I'm at the part where some demon swordsman has apparently claimed Simon and they just entered the manor and some women (can they speak?) are leading away Chale and Jess.  And now Simon's been thrown over the demon's shoulder like a sack of taters.

Red:  Eep! Okay.  Keep reading because this is good stuff.  Kinda reminds me of Jin and Logan at times... Gah.  I love Mary!

This story had me on the edge of my seat!  Since I know Mary has a tendency to go really dark at times I was a bit scared to read parts of this story.  I was afraid of what she was going to put Simon through and for good reason.  Poor Simon! 

JL:  OMG!!!!  WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS BATH?????????????

Red:  KEEP READING!!!!!!!!

But, in true Mary fashion, she managed to make it all okay in the end.

JL:  Oh. Em. Gee.

Red:  Right? This is why she is a Goddess.  So good.

JL:  I am dead.  She's done gone and killed me.  HOLY CRAP!  WTF happened to him?!?!?!?  BRB, gotta finish this scene.

Red:  My thoughts exactly.  A Warders love for his hearth knows no boundaries.  So swoony and intense.  I love this series! Again... Raphael in this... That kyrie needs to be read.

This is why I love Mary’s writing so much.  She never ceases to surprise me.  She will throw a twist in and get me so worked up that I’ll be afraid to turn the page because I just know it’s gonna kill me.  And she does this to me every single time.  Even though I know she would never let me down, she writes in such a way that I end up thinking, “Is this it?  Is this the time she actually goes through with the terrible thing?”  I imagine she’s sitting there in her home cackling about what she just put me through.  She’s an evil genius, that Mary. 

JL:  People don't give Mary enough credit.  She writes some of the best stories.  I dunno why anyone would turn away from her books.  They're so passionate and swoon worthy and so full of love and OMG I just love her to pieces!!!
Red:  And she kicks ass at world building!!!

Dreamspinner Press


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