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Loving a Warrior

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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.

276 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 26, 2018

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About the author

Melanie Hansen

10 books736 followers
Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 174 reviews
Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,549 reviews3,802 followers
September 14, 2018

All the books I've read by this author so far rocked my world, so of course I had to get my greedy little hands on this one as well ;)

https://www.google.com/search?q=gimme gimme gif

I can happily say, that I was not disappointed... and that my world was rocked again !!

Matt and Shane meet in BUD/S training. I am gonna be honest here, I had to look some of that shit up :P For instance... BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal.  I didn't know this, and I also didn't know that it is a 6-month SEAL training course, which is held at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center. It is a very extreme training and the first part is the hardest....  Gotta love Google :P


The more I googled, the smarter happier  I became. I love books about military trained men, so I knew I was gonna be in for a treat !! Marines, Seals, Rangers... I think they are all yummy, and Matt and Shane were no exception.

I absolutely loved reading about how hard their training was... I was holding my breath right along with them...not quite as long as them though :P


I really loved this story, but it wasn't the most romantic (which makes sense, with all the extreme training going on). Their relationship is a very slow build one. Sure Matt and Shane are very attracted to one another, right from the start,  but it takes them a really long time to actually get together. And once they do...both of them have the same rule : training comes first and no one is to know about the two of them.


Matt is especially driven to finish at the top.

Now even though I loved reading every single page of this book, it felt a bit unfinished to me. For me, it ends more on an HFN than a HEA. At the end of the book it states that this book is the first in a series, and that there will be a second book,  "Keeping a Warrior". I myself figured it would be about the same couple, but I got some responses on my review by people, stating that the next book will be about a different couple.... So my guess is as good as yours so far.


Whether this couple will get a second book or not, does effect my rating a bit. Because I do feel that things are left a bit....in the open... Could also be that I just really want more Matt and Shawn !! It's still some time away until the release-date though, so I will keep my rating at 4 - 4,5 stars


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This review was posted on Wendy's Wycked Words

Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,585 followers
August 3, 2018

Whenever I see this Author has a new book out I simply cannot wait to read it.She could pretty much write a grocery list and I'd be all over it.

So....even though I'm not a massive fan of Military themes I was never not going to read it.

Matt and Shane meet at BUD/S training.It's intense,full commitment and concentration is required....the last thing either of them need is any sort of distraction....but that's what they get from the first moment they set eyes on each other.

I'm not going to go into their back stories,but they both have them and they definitely have an influence on how they move forward,as far as the training is concerned and their relationship.

If you're a fan of Military MM romance,I'm sure this will be a hit for you.Personally I found all the training exercises a bit too much...they are quite a large focus of the book and while I appreciate they are important in the two men's development,I could have done with a bit less.
Maybe it's because I'm British and don't know enough about Navy SEALs?

It's quite a slow burn and anything else wouldn't have worked here.And when they do get down and dirty it's pretty delicious.

Overall,I mostly enjoyed this,finishing on a strong HFN (which I was perfectly happy with),I'm guessing by the title of the next book ,Keeping a Warrior, that it might be a continuation of their story?

Recommend Read.

Review copy provided by the Publisher,via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,472 followers
October 20, 2018
This is a difficult book to review for me because I have so many conflicting emotions over this one. On one hand, I really liked it but on the other hand, there are some things that really made me feel annoyed. 😌 First of all, this is my first Melanie Hensen .. I know .. I know .. *heads hang in shame* 😭 where have I been hiding not to have already read “Point of Contact” (PS. I already own the book so I hope to read it soon 😁) Anyhow, the author definitely has a beautiful and powerful style of writing and I’m all for that. And have I mentioned rival brothers in arms having an intense UST throughout their training then ended up being together in the end? I was all for that when I started reading this book. That being said, this books needs serious editing .. like serious editing because it could have narrowed down at least a hundred pages in my opinion. 😭 Look, I’m all for Seals in training and hunky men in wet suits and tight shorts. However, I read this book for the romance and not to learn about how Seals train so I really didn’t need to read 75% of the book about Seals training in action with just UST between two MCs. NADA action guys! NADA action! 😒 I was really hooked in the beginning because I mean who doesn’t like to read men grunting, swearing, training while being wet and sandy and not to mention rival seals who are hot for each other but are so competitive and different but after 30% of this same routine, I have to say I got bored. 😩 So I had to drag myself through until 75% and I even seriously considered about DNFing this one but I have to say the last 25% of this book was a saving grace for me. 🙏 It was packed with action, love, lust, tension and struggles between these two career-driven men who are trying to balance a life between love and their careers. I was mesmerized. 😱 I like how it ended although an epilogue with a few years into their future would have been much appreciated. 🙂 So it comes down to how I’ll proclaim my final verdict. Did I like it? Yes, I like it enough. 😉 Did I love it? Sadly, no. 😔 The middle part was really winded and boring. A gal can take so much of men in wet suits training vigorously. That being said, if this book was about 100 pages shorter than this, this would have been a 5 stars for me. So I’d say 5 stars for the beginning and the end but 2.5 stars for the middle. Still, it was an enjoyable book, Matt and Shane were made for each other and I loved the sizzling chemistry between them and the moment they gave in to their urges despite their better judgement. 🔥 I’m quite excited to read “Point of Contact” after this though.

3.5 Seals in love stars

Disclaimer: An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Martin.
738 reviews392 followers
March 8, 2019
Melanie Hansen is definitely one of my favorite authors.

Her writing is beautifully heart-felt, even while she is dealing with badass military men who put their careers before any budding romance in their life. The attention to detail in these guys' characters is amazing and adds a touch of realism to them.

I love realism in a character, because I feel that realism in romance characters isn't always a given.

Concerning 'Loving a Warrior' there are two things that totally caught my attention while reading it:

There is no plot. I don't even need to worry about something like spoilers, because there simply isn't a plot.

It's two guys going to BUD/S training (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training; thank you, Wikipedia) to become Navy SEALS.
They are both gay, become friends and spend most of their non-training time fighting their attraction to each other. They're not going anywhere or doing anything other than their training. We do get some revelations about their life history, but something old-fashioned like a plot? Not really.

The second thing I found quite odd is the fact that even though it's two gay guys in their 20s who are super-confident macho men, they do not have sex. That is, one of them finds all kinds of excuses, because he doesn't want ANY distraction from his SEAL training. The other one is simply suffering through this enforced dry spell... It's kinda funny, if you think about it.

I think even some celibate Catholic priests see more action than that...

The ending is – while technically gearing a bit towards HFN – perfect for these two warriors in love!

And – sigh – SEALS! Need I say more?


Still, as much as I loved this novel, I couldn’t fully get into these guys’ mindset of their SEAL life coming first. That seems to go against what a romance is usually about in my mind.

4 stars!
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,037 reviews587 followers
October 27, 2018
3 Stars

The second half was better than the first! The first half was overshadowed by the SEAL stuff and that got me bored! I know it’s a slow burn story but still I needed to see more romance! But it was just get wet and sandy! I didn’t need that much wet and sandy but a bit more romance! Told in dual POV, 3rd person. overall, it was an okay read for me and hope you like it!

Thanks to Melanie Hansen, Netgalley and HARLEQUIN-Carina Press for the advanced digital copy in exchange an honest review.
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
662 reviews43 followers
December 7, 2018

And a more than uncertain future...
Bildergebnis für Seal Training gif

Shane Hovland and Matt Knytych bump into each other - literally - during BUD/S training and feel attracted to each other on the spot. Uh-oh... Danger, Will Robinson. Both men are driven by a personal incentive grounded in their past to become Navy SEALS no matter what. Losing focus can get dangerous, not only for achieving their goal, but also for the lives of others, much less their own. Fighting for top score in their class is a welcome alternative and a chance to fight tooth and nail against their attraction. This rivalry, though, only serves as an incitement which leads to mutual respect and earning each other's trust leads to so much more...

I won't go into more detail because I think you will enjoy this story more when you go in more or less blind. Christ on a cracker! First of all, my deepest and heartfelt respect goes to the guys who undergo this kind of training...
Bildergebnis für Seal Training gif

To all of them. Those who graduate and those who try. Melanie Hansen did a great job bringing the virtual blood, sweat and tears to life and my inner SEAL - I wish! - was happy to get to know more about what these guys are going through to become the elite. The best of the best. And I know I could not do it. I would have packed my bags and ran for the hills first chance I got.

I really do admire their perseverance and their tenacity. On the other hand this was maybe the reason why it took me a bit to understand Matt. I didn't found him very approachable - let alone likable - at the beginning. Once he learned that being a SEAL means more than just being the best at what he does and I learned more about his background, I slowly warmed up to him. Shane was a different matter altogether. He was my hero right from the start and I rooted for him from the sidelines every single time.

The whole story had a bit of a YA feeling to it, of which I am usually not a fan of. There was a lot of fighting going on and I don't mean the one during class. But leave it to the author's once again excellent writing that I still enjoyed it a great deal. Matt and Shane as a couple were cute, sweet and also sexy as hell together...
"What do you want?" His voice was a husky rasp, his pulse beating wildly in the hollow of his throat. Letting out a moan, Shane rocked his hips down into him. "I want it all, baby," he murmured against that sexy hollow, unable to keep from darting his tongue out for a taste. "I want it all."

And it still won't be enough.

This is probably the least angsty book I have read from this author so far, but since there is another book coming next year and this one ends on a HFN, I will roll up my sleeves and prepare myself for the heartbreak to come.
"Good" was all Matt said, and he squeezed Shane's fingers once before letting go of him to make his way across the sand and up toward the road.
Shane watched him until he disappeared off into the distance and he just knew...
Someday Matt was going to break his heart.

You might have a point there, buddy... Minor niggles aside, I really had fun with this friends-to-lovers story and recommend it to everyone with a penchant for hot military guys, an intense story and a slow burn romance with the potential to rip your heart out eventually.
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Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,830 reviews5,504 followers
November 27, 2018
This is a hard review for me to write because, well, I don't *want* to feel the way I do about Loving a Warrior.

I mean, I love Melanie Hansen, and Point of Contact will probably be my favorite book of 2018, but Loving a Warrior left me feeling... nothing.

I waited and waited for the whole story to get into it, and I even debated DNFing at 75%, but I pushed on in the hopes that I would like it more. I did, a little, but it just never gelled for me.

The overall impression that I got from the story is that it was very dude-bro. If you like your MCs calling each other "soup" and "clown" and like the majority of the plot to be about trying to be a SEAL, then this book might be for you. I just couldn't bring myself to care about the two guys, either individually or as a couple, and I even spaced out on their names while I was still reading the story.

Look, "Loving a Warrior" is not a bad book, but I couldn't put my finger on why it never worked for me. I feel like the editing was off- too much focus and page time on things I didn't care about- and not enough romance. I'll still forever read Melanie Hansen, but I'm in the minority with this one.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Diana.
512 reviews18 followers
November 26, 2018
Full review now posted 11/26/18

4 Hooyah!! Stars

Loving a Warrior is the first book in this series by Melanie Hansen. This is actually my first book by this author, but it certainly not be my last. I loved the slow burn, very low angst military story.

Shane and Matt literally run into each other the day before they start training at a chance to become a Navy SEAL. At first, it is awkward, but they soon develop a friendship of sorts, to push each other through training.

The author does include details of all the training, to show that these men just can’t go to a bar and grab a beer and watch the game. The training is beyond intense. The physical endurance and mental fortitude it takes to takes to become a SEAL is incredible. These men are pushed beyond human limitations. When they do have down time, they are still training on their own.

Yes, this is a slow burn romance, but that absolutely worked for me. Seeing how their friendship grew with patience and trust because of their training, was perfect. Both Matt and Shane were very likable. Shane was funny and outgoing, where Matt was more quiet and liked to think everything through, but they knew what each other needed. When they finally do get together, it is explosive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, Keeping the Warrior

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Ele.
1,265 reviews41 followers
September 13, 2018
*4.5 stars*

Two things I need to say first. One, there are A LOT of military details about BUD/S training, life in a military base and even Hell's Week here. The reviews are right. The whole story unfolds during Matt and Shane's training to become SEALs, and it's a point of focus.

Second, in the end of this book Matt and Shane don't just stop being SEALs, meaning that they 're not free to just sail off into the sunset. BUT still, the ending is a very solid HFN, or even a tentative HEA for me. Matt and Shane are it for each other, I have no doubt about that, not after these amazing declarations of love.

The military details did not bother me at all. On the contrary, I found the whole process fascinating. Maybe because the writing is phenomenal and didn't let me lose interest. Maybe because next to the military stuff there are strong, well rounded characters with important backstories. Maybe because the UST is off the charts. Maybe it's just because, for some reason, Matt reminds me of...

I loved the romantic part of the story. The relationship they formed was very unique, almost unlike anything I have ever read in MM. Even after they get together, there is a playful competitiveness, a strange, intense connection and a deep friendship. I adored the declarations of love, the push and pull in the beginning and the amazing epilogue.

I have no idea what the second book will be about but I'll be definitely reading it.

Profile Image for Fabi.
1,009 reviews145 followers
November 26, 2018
I'm a fan of military themes. Throw in some super hot alpha SEALS and I dive in. (they're good at rescuing people right? ;-)

Matt & Shane give us a delicious slow burn romance during their BUD/S training.

Since I've (obviously) never been to BUD/S training, I can't tell you if what I just read is realistic or not. What I CAN tell you is that it felt completely realistic.

This is no "mushy little love story." These men are tough.
These men are strong.
These men are committed.
These men are gorgeous inside and out - or they would be if they weren't "wet and sandy" all the time. ;-)

I loved how Melanie Hansen portrayed the men in this novel. They are solidly alpha males. That doesn't mean they don't have big hearts with a capacity to care and caretake. It means that this is a M/M romance novel between two very male leads. ---and I just ate it up. They play sports, they roughhouse, they get loud and rowdy, and they work to the limits of their physical and mental abilities to become Navy SEALs.

It's an action filled slow-burn with loads of UST. These men, at 23 and 27 years old, are just beginning their lives and careers. I loved reading the start of their journey.

I want more stories like this one. :-)

Review ARC graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,226 reviews290 followers
September 14, 2018
Another fabulous military romance from Melanie Hansen, Loving A Warrior carries the same exacting attention to detail as her other works, and has a wonderful couple at the heart of the narrative.

I know other reviewers have mentioned the amount of background work which focuses on the training the SEALs go through in BUD/S but, for me anyway, it was a vitally important part of the story.

Without that deep-seated intensity and the high failure attrition rate, the impact of Matt and Shane falling for each other would have been seriously subdued.

These guys are more than just teammates, in any Special Forces unit, no matter which branch of the Military it is, the bond is forged in hardship and suffering and I felt everything they were going through vicariously.

Melanie's characters are always so beautifully crafted, the intimacy and trust the two men develop, while knowing their careers will get in the way, was so well done.

I adored prickly Matt and wanted to wrap Shane up to protect his sometimes too open heart. I was also glad a certain cast member is pre-deceased as I wanted to cause them serious harm

Two moments stood out for me, the "I'm Spartacus" incident outside the club, and in the Epilogue, when Shane finds the two by four.

For me, they summed up everything :)

Can't wait for book two, which I'm hoping is going to be turning the exceptionally strong HFN into the HEA it really is.

Also, I absolutely love this cover!

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Ky.
483 reviews59 followers
December 5, 2018
*4.5 stars*

After reading Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen and being touched so much by it I couldn't really ignore her newest work which also takes place in the military world. The similarities bwtween the two books though end somewhere around here.

"Loving a Warrior" isn't as emotional or as hard to read. It didn't make me cry, and I'm thankful for that, but it captured my attention all the same. This time we get a friends to lovers theme in a setting where it's forbidden for them to make the transition. I'm not sure if it was against official rules, but it definitely went against their personal ones.

No, there's no denial or internal struggle with sexuality. Both characters are in peace with who they are. The problem is the time and place where they met and I think that the need to keep things quiet came mainly from their desire to focus on training.

I liked the progression of them getting close to each other, of them realising that the other one felt the same, of them taking the first tentative steps to something more.

Now, I'll let you in on something I had no idea about until I read the last page. It's not a spoiler so don't worry. It's just that apparently this is just the first part of a bigger story. I don't know how many more books there are going to be, but I know I'll read them all! I really liked both of the characters and I'm excited to see how they'll navigate their relationship while being in different continents for most of their time.

If you like military romances and the friends to lovers trope you don't want to miss this!

This review has been cross-posted on The Novel Approach Reviews.

*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via The Novel Approach Reviews in exchange for an honest review. *
Profile Image for Christelle.
808 reviews
November 10, 2019
*3.5 stars*

Matt and Shane meet when starting BUD/s training to become navy Seals. Different backgrounds, different personalities, different ways to interact during this training, but both determined not to quit.

It started very well for me. A lot was said about the difficulties of the training, but I admire the mental strength required for such things, so it was all good for me. Add to that Melanie Hansen’s writing that works fine for me. I was hooked.

But then, when Shane had to temporarily stop the training, something snapped in me : I knew that not only I would have to deal with Matt’s internalizing his feelings, but also with a distance, and that is not easy for me to read about. Sometimes, it’s OK, sometimes, I recoil. The latest happened here : argh, when I wish an author was not so good at writing ☹.

Great romance and themes, well fleshed characters, just my fluctuating mood being a real nuisance.

PS : **Thank you Mischievious ElfMinx** for this gift !!! 😘
Profile Image for Sanaa .
1,218 reviews172 followers
August 1, 2018
4.5 stars.

I'm shook. This was a really good read!

Also is there a second book with the same couple? The way it ended it felt like there is. Almost like a HFN.

An arc was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,370 reviews649 followers
November 29, 2018

***4.25 Stars***

Wow! I couldn't put this book down!

"Stay in your three-foot world. Control what you can control."

First off, let me say that this book is about equal parts romance and NavySEAL training. I know for some there may be too much of the training, but I was fascinated! Especially, since the training is such an integral part of Shane and Matt's life. Not only what they're going through now, but what their future holds.

I'm absolutely awestruck at what kind of training military members must go through, and the determination and stamina and all kinds of respectable adjectives needed to get into the elite groups....JUST WOW!

And I'm not gonna lie, I totally fired up G.I. Jane after I finished reading this book!

Image result for gi jane gif

I absolutely ADORED both guys. Both Matt and Shane were such well developed characters. I felt like I knew the heart of each guy so well.

Their relationship was a slow burn that bubbled underneath sore muscles, mental fortitude, and healthy competition. But when that inferno ignited, the passion and yearning couldn't be denied. And both guys quickly realized, even if they couldn't yet say it out loud, that this relationship wouldn't be something they could walk away from.

"What do you want?"

"I want it all baby. I want it all."

And it still won't be enough.

GAH! I just loved these two! And I loved how supportive they are of each other, the way they talked and opened up, the way their competitive spirit fueled so many aspects of their relationship....and I definitely loved their chemistry. A fantastic combination of passion and intimacy.

Everything about this book felt realistic and organic. The way the story unfolded, the way Matt and Shane's relationship evolved, and the reality of their lives and future.

Why not dream?

After all, if anyone had told him he'd go to BUD/S and end up falling in love, he'd have laughed in their face and probably punched it, too.

And that ending was perfect for Matt and Shane. I closed this book with the biggest smile on my face!

***ARC courtesy of publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review***
Profile Image for Laxmama .
575 reviews
September 29, 2018
3.5 STARS I did enjoy this book, the slow burn is one of my things- I want that connection with the M/C's. Matt & Shane's relationship felt honest and real with a getting to know you understanding, that part I did enjoy. As much as I enjoy a good Military story this one felt too technical for me, way too much terminology talk, too repetitive of the wet & sandy, grueling challenges. I would not have minded 2 times but it was almost the whole book and I found myself skimming. Additionally IMO the M/C's personalities flip/flopped from the beginning of the book right in the middle - I felt like they completely changed who they were-relationship wise. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the book, but I could have left out 1/3 .

**** I received this ARC for NETGALLEY***
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,778 reviews242 followers
December 15, 2018
3.5 Stars

There is just something about stories about SEALs being laid low by love that just checks all the right boxes with me. Big, though alpha males discovering that while sex is great, love is even better. Gimme a little angst and tension and I'm probably going to be a happy camper.

Matt Knytych has always wanted to be a SEAL. He's self assured, focused, and driven. He's got no time for distractions, no time for hookups, and certainly no time for love -- especially with a classmate. Though he definitely has the skills needed to be a SEAL, he's still young and has a lot to learn about teamwork and brotherhood. The usual male bonding activities of partying, drinking and hooking up are not Matt's thing, so he has some trouble relating to the other guys at first. But one thing SEAL training will teach you is how to find other ways to bond. A shared challenge and the adage of no one gets left behind help him find his way.

Shane Hovland is a little older. He's familiar with military life, having been in the Marines and he was born to be a leader. Shane is chasing ghosts by becoming a SEAL, but he's also looking for a place to belong. One thing I loved about Shane was his ability to see the fun side of life. Unlike Matt, Shane wasn't always so serious. Maybe that's a side effect of having seen war, because he knows that life is precious and needs to be lived. Shane isn't without issues of his own. He does have some abandonment issues and he's not as driven. He's amazing, though, and definitely someone I'd want on my team. Whatever SEAL team he ends up being on, Shane is going to be the glue that holds them all together.

Melanie Hansen's Loving a Warrior hit most of the right notes for me. There was a slow burn, which I generally like, but this one felt a bit frustrating for me. There was a bit too much almost sex followed by 'no we should wait' for my tastes. If women could get blue balls I would have had them waiting for these guys to get it on already.

After they do, though? I was there. So there. No stupid melodrama, no picking fights, no martyr bullshit. Just two men not wanting to fall in love but not having much of a choice.

There is also a lot of SEAL training and jargon here. A lot. For the most part, I found it added to the story and helped give a sense of the hell these guys are put through. It gave the guys dimension and realness that a less detailed description might not have.

Shane and Matt have a long road to travel and don't magically ride off into the sunset together. These men are -- or will be -- SEALs. They're warriors and they've got a job to do. But, the ending was a solid HFN and it looks like there will be a follow up next spring! Happy day!

All in all, I enjoyed Loving a Warrior and am looking forward to more.
ARC of Loving a Warrior was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,750 reviews157 followers
October 29, 2018
Sexy, sweet, and evocative!

Loving a Warrior is a passionate, military romance that delves into the rigorous physical, emotional, and psychological demands involved in becoming a Navy Seal, and touches on the patience, understanding, support, and trust required to maintain a relationship under those conditions.

The writing is informative and authentic. The characters are rugged, single-minded, and encouraging. And the plot is a slow-burning tale full of explosive chemistry, undeniable attraction, grit, determination, perseverance, sacrifice, competition, and love.

Overall, even though I didn't find Loving a Warrior as raw and emotional as Hansen's previous novel, Point of Contact, it is still an intense, enjoyable, enlightening read that showcases her exceptional knowledge into the expectations, pressures, and challenges of Navy life.

Thank you to Carina Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,334 reviews135 followers
October 12, 2018
My pulse kicks up whenever I see Hansen has a new book coming out. I have an addiction to her angst-ridden stories. She always makes me hurt-so-good. Surprisingly, this time around the angst was quite subdued. I kept waiting for the blow to my solar plexus and had tissues at the ready…but I didn’t need them. And while this is definitely one of her lighter books and not what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it immensely.

Shane and Matt are polar opposites. But don’t you just love a good personality collision that catches fire and burns brightly? Once they connect, it’s as if they are magnetically charged and can’t break free easily anymore, no matter how much Matt thinks he wants to. Shane is captivating and I can guarantee you’ll adore him. Matt is harder to love. He’s prickly, can be rude, and is so focused on his end game, he’s lost sight of the bigger picture. Seal training is more than just himself. He’s no longer one person but part of something greater…well, if he can get there. But the one thing that he always is, is honest. No sugarcoating, no lies, Matt is honest to a fault. And that is more important than anything else to Shane.

What's to like: The obstacle in this story is time. The timing isn’t just problematic it’s dreadful. BUD/S training is no joke. Very few succeed and those that do have my utmost respect. Pure focus is critical. They have no time for distractions. They have no time for emotional interference. But love doesn’t ask for permission. Love strikes whenever and where ever. It’s up to the person to grab on or let it go. Matt thinks it’s simply physical need that is sparking between them. Or maybe he’s just trying to convince himself that’s all it is. Because he had a plan and it didn’t include a sexy marine that pushes all his buttons. He makes mistakes. He can be a jerk. But he’s not too proud to face the music and apologize and work on his faults. I enjoyed their communication. My heart raced with rapt attention during their training. Talk about intense! Hansen paints a severe but passionate picture of their daily battles. It was very well done.

What's to love: As I mentioned earlier, Shane is easy to love. He is bright and bubbly. He is a team player, fierce motivator, and has a heart of pure gold. He’s also harboring a lot of pain. He can trust his brothers in arms when it comes to his life but he’s not sure he can ever trust another with his heart. But then Matt barrels into his life and everything changes. Matt is brutally honest but it’s refreshing and appreciated as far as Shane is concerned. There’s something about him that speaks straight into his soul and before long, he realizes he might be falling for him. But loving a warrior isn’t always easy, especially when it’s a mutual challenge. Both want more but concentrating on their training is the priority. And how can they make it work when the destinations of their futures are uncharted? Gahhhhh! Leave it to Melanie to figure it all out. I was surprised with the HFN ending but I didn’t miss the fact she has a sequel planned. Hoping we see some more alpha loving between these two warriors!

Beware of: Slow burn with intense chemistry. Their relationship takes second place when it comes to their training and I would say the same goes for this story. However, they are undeniably sweet and sexy.

This book is for: Hansen fans, military fans, and anyone looking for two men trying to accept love’s ill-timed knock.

Book UNfunk
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,208 reviews73 followers
November 22, 2018
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Full disclosure, I read Point of Contact several months ago and loved it (5 stars) and was expecting a similar feeling story with Loving a Warrior. I did not get that and so this review will be hard.

Yes, I did absolutely enjoying reading about Shane and Matt, but for me, the intense feelings were missing. I don't know why but I wasn't emotionally invested in these two. Partly I think it could be because the story focuses 100% on their time training to make it thru SEAL training. There are a few glimpses of them outside of that, but their romance was stilted because they didn't want to be distracted during the grueling weeks and months of training. They do redeem themselves because when they finally do get together it's loving and sweet and tender. Sure they are training to be SEALs but they are also caring men who despite the bad timing, are falling in love.

What I loved about this story is the attention to detail Melanie Hansen brought to the SEAL training. I know as much about what it takes to go thru that training as the general population watching movies. If any of what MH says about the training and organization is true, she did a lot of research and this really drew me into the story. I felt like I was suffering right along with Matt and Shane, and OMG, I hate being cold so what they went thru was doubly bad for me. :) The physical and mental endurance these guys have to have to push past what their body is telling them it can do is amazing. Matt has fear of the water and really struggles with that part of the training/weeding out process. Shane is suffering from muscle spasms and his running speed/endurance is lagging as a result. They each prop the other up so when they feel down and as if they are going to be kicked out of the program, they find a way to encourage the other and move beyond that struggle to the next. Shane tells Matt that all you should think about is your 3 foot diameter - don't think about the miles you have to run, or the yards you have to swim, think about what is in your immediate area and control and take it one foot at a time until eventually you make it to the end.

Each are fighting their own demons and their pasts do creep up on them and manage to distract them. I loved how when one was weak or down, the other was right there. It was more than obvious they were going to find a way to be together even if they were on opposite sides of the world. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't feel connected to these two and one reason is because the story focused on their training, and that leads to reason #2. I don't get to see them just living. Every second of every day is about their training and mission. There is no, "oh hey go pick up some milk and bread," or "shoot, the cable bill is late," or any of the other thousands of things couples do in life. And as a result I don't know what their life together is going to be like. How will they really handle being apart during missions, how will they handle being together and telling their teammates (which they both agreed to keep their relationship on the DL) they are in a relationship? Do they want kids, do they want to do anything else with their life when their time with the SEALs is over? I don't know if there will be another book about Matt and Shane, or even a short story catch up. The epilogue was nice and deals with their life after they make it in the SEALs, but we don't SEE them together. There is on page telling that they don't see each other often and they will leave kind of notes behind. It would have been nice to see them finally together and able to relax without all that outside pressure. The good news is I can visualize it perfectly and see them finding their rhythm and making it work.

3 stars, for now.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,471 reviews260 followers
November 18, 2018
Loads of anticipation and some hot romance.
I grabbed this book because of two factors - one military men in their hotness and the MM factor tied with the storyline. I was in the mood for something different.

This is the first time I read this author and she did a great job with the story and the background. Two guys trying to get through Bud/s became very close friends, teammates, and struggled to become more than that.

These two ended up becoming very close friends that knew intimate secrets about each other. They were supportive of each other. Honest and straightforward. But they both had their eye on the bigger goal or so it seems.

I have to admit I was a little frustrated with the story at times because I was looking for more of the intimate connection. Their physical relationship took a long time to show up as the author focused mainly on their emotional relationship.

On one hand I commend her for writing the characters as strong men who were focused and determined. But on the other hand, I felt they could’ve moved along a lot faster had they had a more physical relationship. A lot of the book was the day to day life in Navy SEAL Bud/s training.

I definitely cannot discount the fact that this book was loaded with hot muscular men and there’s never anything wrong with that. A great story with some seriously hot men that connect on an emotional level and definitely, finally, on a steamy physical level.

Tons of anticipation, hot connections, and solid friendship made this an engaging read.

* copy received for review consideration
Profile Image for Jay.
240 reviews43 followers
June 2, 2019
4 stars -- I had this book pegged to get a higher rating while I was reading it because, other than a few things that seemed to come out of nowhere, I was really loving the story and its build. But now that I've finished it, my only real complaint is that the ending didn't quite pack the emotional punch I wanted because the relationship arc's conclusion was rather easy. There was plenty of drama, almost all in their individual lives, but because most of these things were resolved simply by sharing the information/secret with the other and receiving a "it's fine, we can do this" in return, the story fell short of being truly memorable. It didn't help any that the story ended at 87%... My brain was thinking there needed to be another chapter or two before wrapping things up, but after that, it was all preview for the next installment of the series. It's also worth noting that this is only a HFN, even with the included epilogue.

Big kudos on the setting. I've read quite a few books involving Navy SEALs but never one that took place during BUD/S training. Scenes around the training were often cringe-inducing and always interesting.

"Bad! No cookie," though, for having a whole wasted scene which apparently had the sole purpose of introducing one of the characters that will be in the next book's couple. I'm a firm believer that if characters from other books in the series are going to appear as the main purpose of a scene in books other than their own, either before or after they have got their HEA/HFN, their appearances should have meaningful roles in those books. Otherwise, there's no reason for the scene to appear in the first place.

Speaking of that scene though... you'll know when you read it, but I think the "action" of the scene revolved around the wrong character. Just my two cents.
Profile Image for haletostilinski.
1,144 reviews333 followers
August 7, 2018
Wow! This. Was. So. Good!

But this, while angsty, wasn't as angsty as I was fearing, and I was like "OMG! This is isn't heart-wrenching like with Point of Contact or overly angsty with the relationship drama or anything like that!" But then at the end I saw that next year the next in this series, "Keeping a Warrior" would be coming out...


Oh no, if that is when the serious angst happens....*hides*

But anyway, this is the build up to their relationship. This is Matt and Shane literally running into each other on the beach two days before BUD/S training starts, where a spark is born, and then these two slowly falling in love over the coming months.

It isn't smooth sailing and there are some bumps and bumblings along the way, but they eventually figure it out to get their HFN in the end.

Matt starts a bit prickly, and a bit selfish and in it for himself, when he's supposed to be working on building teamwork and handling things mentally.

Shane was in the Marine's, but after the death of his long-time friend Jon, a NAVY Seal, just a few years later he's doing training over again to because a Navy Seal instead.

Matt and Shane's is a really good slow burn. Not too short a time before something happens but not dragged out forever either. I mean, they have to wait a WHILE to have sex because of the training and having to focus on that and all that, but their feelings are known not too late in the game, which is good.

There was heat and chemistry between them and I also love that they called each other out on their shit. Shane could be judgmental at times and Matt could be an inconsiderate ass at times, but neither let the other get away with it. I appreciated that because I feel sometimes, too many times, in romance books one of the MC's forgives the other MC for shit they've done too easily. That didn't happen here, and that was refreshing.

This story built their relationship so well, too. I loved every building block of it, it was written so well, and it never felt rushed, or like their feelings didn't make sense for each other. They 100 percent did.

Their character backgrounds were so interesting, and the plot was so interesting too, it all worked together and I loved it.

I couldn't put this down as soon as I started it and man was I happy I didn't have to be anywhere today so I could just read this to my hearts content without having to stop.

So good! Highly recommend! This is another winner for me from this author <3

***ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Monica Vidal.
687 reviews68 followers
August 22, 2018
OMG I STUPIDLY FORGOT TO REVIEW THIS! And it’s such a great book. It’s different from everything Melanie has written. I’m not gonna lie because I am an angst whore, I just love when my books make me cry on a corner and Mel always deliver but this time there’s no angst at all. It’s just action and sexy and two guys figuring their relationship out.

I got very impressed with all the training and just how fucking hard it is to become a SEAL. I mean, I had some idea, but the reality is a thousand times harder than I imagined and I’m sure Mel put a lot of research into it.

Not to mention the sexy times are HOT. I love it when both my guys are strong and alfas to the core. Just RAWR.

Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,557 reviews229 followers
April 11, 2019
Sexy SEALs!!!

This was one heck of a work-out!! BUDS/S. That’s what we got here: hot men working out like crazy... in the ocean...in the sand...in the cold... in bed.

Having read a lot of SEAL books, I’d never read one that went into so much detail about all that the recruits went through. It was almost too much detail, I thought, because the romance took a back seat.

Of course, that was a main complaint of big MCs: training came first. But the training just took sooooooo long to get to the good part. The “after” training part.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a good book, but the pacing could have been a bit quicker.

This was a NTM author, and I’ll happily pick up another one of her books again!!
Profile Image for Barb ~rede-2-read~.
3,107 reviews83 followers
November 20, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher through Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words in exchange for an impartial review.

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.

What a wonderful story! The author created an interesting, realistic (I assume) look at SEAL training while giving us two men who were not perfect individuals but gelled beautifully together. I got to know them really well by the time I turned the last page. I definitely couldn’t put the book down during this compelling drama, and when real life interrupted my reading, I was not a happy girl. Honestly, though the attraction was there from the beginning, the men had a long road to sexual fulfillment. Definitely a slow burn/UST, one of my favorite themes.

Matt Knytych is fantastic character. He’s wanted to be a SEAL all his life and everything he’s ever done has been with the goal of being a SEAL like his Uncle Rick. So when he meets the gregarious, gorgeous, former marine, Shane Hovland, there’s no way he’s going to act on his attraction to the personable and sweet Shane. Nothing and no one will come between him and his goal.

Things change along the way during training when the two are thrown together as swim buddies and torn apart again when—well, each reader will see for themselves—happens. There was something special about Matt’s character that I can’t quite pinpoint, but he will be with me for a very long time. Maybe because he’s so close to ordinary—in an extraordinary kind of way—and maybe just because the author’s talent is no-holds-barred when it comes to delving into a character’s psyche so we readers can’t possibly fail to want more.

In his own way, Shane was also memorable, but I must admit there were a few times when I wanted to smack him. Again—a character worth reading, and one who improved vastly, in my opinion, over time, especially after his secrets were revealed.

The slow burn romance was perfect, the situations unexpected, the training grueling, the men unforgettable. What more could I ask for? Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Annika.
1,397 reviews88 followers
November 25, 2018
3,5 stars

I might be in minority here, because this book has got raving reviews left and right for months now. So going in, I had some pretty high hopes - and maybe that's on me - but when I realised that there wasn't much more happening in the book beyond what the blurb described I have to say I was disappointed.

BUD/S is not for the faint hearted but Matt Knytych and Shane Hovland are determined to make it through the toughest six months of their lives. Six months of training where only a few will come out on the other sides and can call themselves SEALs. The training is intense, back and bone breaking, but without the team there's no hope of making it.

The story in itself was a good one, it was well written and with some great characters. It was all just a bit too much, too many training details that didn't really bring the story forward. Get wet and sandy - yes we get it, please don't hit us over the head with it. The readers really understood that it was a brutal and gruelling camp and describing each part in so much details was unnecessary. Some of them were absolutely necessary but not all of them. All it did was increasing the word count and made me space out a few too many times.

From the first moment Matt and Shane lay eyes on each other there's a definite zing in the air. The UST and chemistry between them is off the charts and watching them dance around each other was very entertaining and among my favourite parts of the story. There was just not enough of it. Sure I understand that BUD/S is extremely time consuming and leaves you with very little time for romance, but I still wish there was more of a balance between the parts. Less detailed training details, and more of the guys together. I also enjoyed watching them grow, both as individuals, part of a team and as a couple. The ride was't always smooth - far from it but in the end they were stronger for it.

Loving a Warrior is the first in a series and more books will be released. However, while this book was enjoyable I'm not sure that I will pick up the other books, I want more romance in my romance novels.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Myriam.
345 reviews42 followers
November 30, 2018
2,5 for a book that does not meet expectations

This was sadly quite disappointing for me. I had been waiting to finally get my hands on this FOR SO LONG and then got this?! SEALS who absolutely cannot get their shit together emotionally - who wrote the blurb and where are the warriors?

Neither Shane and definitely not Matt meet my definition of 'warrior' and the whole book had a YA feel to it that doesn't fit the title, the cover or the blurb.

What I love about military fiction in any genre are BAMFs with a purpose. I absolutely WANT them to have vulnerabilities, weaknesses and depths but I personally prefer them mature. The sense of camaraderie and bad language was completely missing here. So much obvious research went into this and still it felt utterly inauthentic because sailors don't talk this clean. (I recently rewatched Aliens and those Space Marines are still a benchmark in how to make you care about a group of fighters within the first couple of minutes on screen. Vasques 4 eva <3).

I have seen quite a few movies depicting the SEAL training and the men who go through it perform some of the most impressive feats of physical and psychological endurance imaginable. Reading about it in the kind of detail Melanie Hansen provides should have been right up my alley. And yet I was just...kind of along for the ride?

Matt whines and angsts his way through every part in a way that didn't feel impressive at all. There is an absolute disconnect between his physical prowess and his psychological readiness to complete this training. It doesn't help that the story itself agrees with this assessment. While the narrative seems to believe that he turned the corner at some point I never really bought into it. I really needed more emotional maturity from someone attempting to become a SEAL to have any sympathy.

He handles his attraction to Shane in exactly the same immature manner and it made me lose my patience. Don't have your main protagonists panting after each other like shifters in heat upon their first meeting if all they're gonna do about it for the foreseeable future is angst about that attraction.

I started to get seriously bored around the 50% mark and started skimming. Not even the smut saved this for me.

Profile Image for Morgan  Skye.
2,784 reviews26 followers
September 1, 2018
First I need to warn you that this is a HFN and that this is a book one. I didn’t know that and had I known I’d have waited for the series – just because that’s how I am.

It doesn’t diminish how much I liked this but it does make me want to warn people.

Melanie Hansen’s stories are FULL of ANGST with a capital A – I knew that going in. However, this was less about the Angst and more about the slow burn and – really – the completely untenable situation.

I don’t know how these two are going to make it last – and I’ve finished book 1. I know they want to but I’m concerned about what it’s going to take to make this happen.

The other thing you should know about this is that it is VERY detailed in it’s description of BUDs training. Very.

If you are not interested in what it takes to become a SEAL – you might want to skip this – as it (easily) takes over most of the story. I found it interesting and it definitely helped shape these guys and their relationship so I can’t say it wasn’t needed for the story.

One thing I really liked was that neither of these guys is perfect. Even by the end. They are still making mistakes, not popular, full of ego and bravado… just what you’d expect from the military. That felt really authentic.

I also really loved their chemistry together because it was so antagonistic and based on competition. It was very HOT. But… they did have their moments of feelz – they were just… less often.

All in all I am bummed I have to wait til NEXT SPRING!@#$% for the next book but I’ll happily read it when it comes out.

4.5 of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alisa.
1,758 reviews177 followers
December 23, 2018
3.5 stars

This author is one of my favorites in this genre and I was really excited to start reading this. I was completely wrapped up in this for the first half. It was really more about the SEAL training and their friendship than anything else but it was fascinating. Plus, I've been to Coronado many, many times and I love a book that's set somewhere I'm familiar with.....when the author gets it right, which Hansen did. (And, on a side note, if you ever get the chance to go to Coronado beach go. You still on the beach and watch the SEALS run back and forth all day in their little black swim trunks. It's fantastic)

By about the 70% mark though some of the magic was wearing off. I was getting tired of waiting on these two to get their shit together and get together. I also started getting bored with the details of the SEAL training. It wasn't enough to make me dislike the book but definitely dulled my overall enthusiasm.

This book is different because of the way the training is such a big part if it. I think this will either be a hit or a miss for most readers. I did really like these two guys together though and I was happy for them when they FINALLY got together.

**ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
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