Marc gives 8/10 pots of gold for Cardeno C and Mary Calmes’ “Control”

Why I read this book: I am a huge fan of both authors and when DSP gave us the choice of any three books to test us as ARC review blog, I knew my choice from the very first second. I wanted to read the hawk and bear shifter book by two of the best authors in this genre *g*. I hope you like my review and click the DSP link on our blog to buy the book to let them know you like our reviews and they should provide us with wonderful ARCs so we can present you with our perspective on the books to help you make those difficult book-buying decisions 🙂

71xDABN6A4L._SL1350_ (1)

BlurbVy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot. 

Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn’t recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date:April, 17, 2014

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Page Count: about 220 pgs

 Buy This Book Now at Dreamspinner Press!!! ❤


Excerpt of “CONTROL”:

Being an out and proud gay man, my logical human side was confused, wary, and defensive. I no more wanted a mate than I did a hole in my head. I wanted to pick the people who shared my bed based on desire and compatibility. But the shifter in me, the hawk, the animal, had no interest in logic. The hawk wanted his mate, and nothing else mattered. I would go out of my mind if I didn’t claim what was mine.

Her smell was everywhere in the back of the store, and I was incensed that my choices had been stripped from me, buried under an avalanche of lust, need, and hunger. I had never guessed such an intense animal craving could take up residence in my chest. I was the kuar. I was in charge. People lived and died on my word. But I was suddenly a slave to an ancient thirst that lived deep inside my blood.

“The irony here is if my grandmother had just waited, she would have had a straight grandson after all. Tell me that shit isn’t funny.”

Lou squinted at me.


“Remember when I said I was out there in the cruiser watching you come in and out of here like a madman?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, I’ve been out there for an hour, and I only saw one other person come in, and that was not a woman.”

I froze.

Lou’s gaze locked on mine.

“What are you saying?”

“I think you know what I’m saying.”

Brushing by her, I charged up to the front of the store and leaned over the counter to look at Mrs. Choi.

“I like your father, not you,” she said bluntly, glaring at me from where she was sorting bolts on her desk.

“Yeah, I know,” I placated her. “But, Mrs. Choi, I gotta ask: Besides me, who’s been in here today?”


“Ma’am,” Lou said pointedly, giving her the cop stare. “Please let’s just answer his question.”

Mrs. Choi took in Lou’s dark eyes, the hard line of her pressed-together lips, the severe tight bun her hair was pulled into, and her crossed arms. “That biologist—botanist—whatever he is. He was in here to get a hammer and nails and some chicken wire. He said he found some wounded birds and didn’t want anything to get at them while he was out collecting rock samples or water… I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening. He talks a lot. Smiles too. I don’t like him.”

The only important part of what she’d said was “him.”

Suddenly my life made sense again.

Copyright by Cardeno C. and Mary Calmes


My Review:

Cover: The cover is beautiful and peaceful.<3

Title:The title is short but hits the theme of the novel perfectly and makes readers curious, especially if they have already read other shifter novels and know how important control is when the animal part of yourself comes out to play now and again 😉

Story: As a big fan of both Mary Calmes and Cardeno C I was super excited to read this book and see how their very different styles mashed. When I heard that there was a hawk shifter book coming, I just had to read it 😉

I kept myself away from any spoilers and didn’t even know that the hawk shifter would fall in love with a bear shifter. A very unusual pairing in the shifter genre and I soon learned that the two authors happily left behind any shifter cliche I could think of 🙂 The hawk alpha may be strong, but he’s also small like avian shifters in this book tend to be. He is also a control freak, who craves to release the control in bed. The bear shifter is even stronger and dominant in his human form when he is in bed with his lover, but he is usually completely tame and couldn’t hurt a fly as it seems. He’s even a vegetarian (like me – yay!) and it makes for very striking oppositions between the characters.

So we have the gentle giant, a vegetarian environmentalist who suppresses his need to shift to keep his powerful bear in control and an easily irritated hawk alpha who struggles to keep his ket in check. I loved that they aren’t just opposites, they complete each other and there was a lot of chemistry from the very first time they met. I also really liked that for a change them being gay is not the focal point of the novel. There are a lot of books that deal very well with that topic, but I thought it was a fresh approach to have the realistic problems some Ket members may have had in the past and focus on something different, namely CONTROL 😉

The sex scenes in this book are really hot, the twist on dominance work really well for that and I loved how I could feel that is was more than just a little fun, it clicked. There was chemistry and a growing, emotional bond between the MCs, But as the blurb already says, the fact that Robert never shifts, even if he might have understandable reasons, is a heavy burden on the budding relationship.

This different take on bonds was actually one of my favorite aspects of the book. Well, let’s say the different perspective one of the MCs had. Insta-love is usually not my cuppa, so I applauded him for not letting fate determine his destiny. I could understand him wanting to take destiny into his own hand and make his own decisions, wanting control over his life.

I must admit it took me a little to get into the world, it feels so different from anything the authors have done before or other shifter books. It felt like they spent a lot of time researching the animals and their behavior and didn’t just use the animals because they were cool, but really gave the people strong characteristics of the animals. The animal halves seemed to be a big part of the characters and I loved the mythology of this world and the heartbreaking backstory of one of the MCs.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in this town and it was fun to watch the characters interact 😉

Above all, this was my first true avian shifter book and I loved it. The freedom of flight was absolutely awesome and gave a completely new dynamic into the mix. Just think about it – I don’t want to give too much away, but think about other shifter books and what a difference it would make if you can shift into something so small and light as a bird and take to the sky *g*

However, I did feel like the different styles of the authors weren’t completely smooth and I hope they can work on that some more, because I really would love to read another book in this refreshing universe, but would love it to feel more polished! All in all, though, I can really recommend this book. Try something that’s different. And come on… a hawk AND a bear. That’s pretty awesome, right?


Buy This Book Now at Dreamspinner Press!!! ❤


Author Bio:

images (9)

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset. 

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”


download (3)

Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.



5 thoughts on “Marc gives 8/10 pots of gold for Cardeno C and Mary Calmes’ “Control”

  1. Hi Mark! *waves* I’m like you, in that I try to read as little as possible about a book before I read it, so when I write my review it feels fresh and isn’t colored by any other opinions I’ve encountered. I happened to review this one just last week, and was excited to read your take. How interesting that we felt exactly the same about the overall flow of the combining author’s writing styles. I love these two authors separately, and together they created a unique world with thought provoking characters. I too hope to see more from this talented collaboration. Nice review! 🙂


  2. I love this book!!!! Mary and Cardeno together is like a dream comes true… It’s a beautiful story and different from the other shifter books I’ve read… Marc as usual you have written a perfect review and I agree with you sometime I was able to see the two styles but it didn’t bother me


  3. Absolutely loved this story. Great review. I got this one when it went on presale, lol and read it in one sitting. and you are so right, how can you not love a hawk and a bear?! Yum!


  4. Pingback: “Control” Interview with Cardeno C. (Part One) @CardenoC @dreamspinners #LGBT #Shifters #Live | Rainbow Gold Reviews

  5. Pingback: ‘Control’ by Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. #LGBT #AudioReview #ReviewItAgainRGR | Rainbow Gold Reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.