Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pre-Order Blitz ~ Blood and Milk by N.R. Walker ~ (Reviews, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Pre-Order Blitz ~ Blood and Milk by N.R. Walker ~ (Reviews, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Title: Blood & Milk
Author: N.R. Walker
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 23, 2016
Heath Crowley is an Australian man, born with two different coloured eyes and the gift—or curse—of having premonition dreams. He also has nothing left to live for. Twelve months after having his life upended, his dreams tell him where he needs to be. So with nothing―and no one―to keep him in Sydney, he simply boards a plane for Tanzania. Not caring if he lives or dies, Heath walks into a tribe of Maasai and asks to stay. Granted permission, he leaves behind the name and heartbreak of Heath and starts over with the new Maasai name of Alé.

From the day of his birth, Damu has always been an outcast. The son of the chief and brother to the great warrior leader, Damu is reminded constantly that he’s not good enough to be considered a man in the eyes of his people. Ordered to take responsibility for Alé, Damu shares with him the ways of the Maasai, just as Alé shares with Damu the world outside the acacia thorn fence. But it’s more than just a cultural exchange. It’s about trust and acceptance, finding themselves, and a true sense of purpose.
Under the African sky on the plains of the Serengeti, Heath finds more than just a reason to live. He finds a man like no other, and a reason to love.


It was twelve months on. A full year had passed, yet my world had stopped completely. The men who stole my life were charged and would serve time for their crime. No one called it a hate crime, but that’s what it was. If I was expecting some sort of finality to come with the court findings, I didn’t get it. 

I was still hollow. I was still numb to the world, and I was still alone. 

I was also awarded damages, civilian victim and medical.

A nice healthy sum that meant I could pay off my debts after not working for twelve months, and more. Though no amount of money would make this right. No amount of money would bring him back.

My mother came along for the final hearing, though I could only guess why. I had barely spoken two words to her in the last year. Maybe she came so she could vie for the sympathy card with her friends. Or maybe she thought she could have one last twist of the knife…

“Now it’s all over,” she said, nodding her head like her words were wise and final. “You can put all this homosexual nonsense behind you.”

I looked at my mother and smiled. I fucking smiled. I raged inside with a fury to burn the world, and maybe she saw something in my eyes―maybe it was a ferocity she’d never seen before, maybe it was madness―and my words were whisper quiet.

“You are a despicable, bitter human being, and you are a disgrace to mothers everywhere. So, when you go to your church group, instead of praying for my soul, you should be praying for yours. You have only hate and judgement in your heart, and you are doomed to an eternity in hell.” I leaned in close and sneered at her. “And I hope you fucking burn.” I stood up and stared down at her. She was pale and shocked, and I did not care. “If you think my words are cold and cruel,” I added, “I want you to know I learned them from you.”

I walked away, for the final time. I knew I’d never see her again, and I had made my peace with that. 

I didn’t care for the money. I didn’t care for anything. I longed for sleep, because in my dreams, I saw him. And that night, almost one year to the day since he was gone, in our too-big bed, in our too-quiet flat, in my too-alone life, I dreamed of Jarrod.

He sat on our bed and grinned. I longed to hear his voice, just once. It’d been a year and I craved the sound of his voice, his touch. But when I reached out for him, even in my dream, as in my waking nightmares, he was gone. I sat up in our bed, reaching out for nothing but air. He was gone, really gone. 

But in this dream, on the bed where he’d sat, was a plane ticket. Mr Heath Crowley, it said. One way ticket to Tanzania.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

Heath Crowley was born with two different colored eyes and the curse of having premonitory dreams. His life is in shambles and he doesn't care if he lives or dies, so after having one of his dreams, he ends up in Tanzania, requesting to live with the Maasai people for as long as they'll have him. There he meets Damu, who they appoint as his guide and takes the name of Alé, learning to live as his hosts. 

Damu has been an outsider all his life, but he's loyal, kind and considerate, happy with what he's been given. As he and Heath grow closer, Damu starts to discover what it is that he'd been missing his whole life and with Damu's help, Heath begins to heal and finds love and trust once again.

 I loved Damu! He was fascinating, patient and trusting, content with his life, even if to Heath it was difficult to imagine why considering he was an outcast in his own village, relegated to doing women's chores. Still, Damu never complained, happy and proud of helping his people in any way he could. 

I adored Heath, too, he was such a fantastic character. He was so strong, especially considering what he'd gone through before getting to Tanzania. I loved that he was open enough to give what he was feeling for Damu a chance and to fight for it, above all. I loved the two of them together, too. Yes, Damu helped Heath heal, but Heath also helped Damu when he needed him the most. They were sweet and hot, perhaps it wasn't electric, but it was the kind of love that just transcends the page and stays with you forever.

N.R. Walker's writing is stellar, as always, and she did an amazing job portraying what life in a Maasai village could be and show us how Heath adapted to live with them, without trying to change their ways to fit his needs. I loved the progression, not too fast or too slow, just perfect to showcase how Heath and Damu's feelings evolve in the time they live in the village. I loved to see them interact with most of the people there, except Kijani, Damu's brother, who was horrible to them. 

The story is realistic, powerful, emotional, hopeful, angsty, romantic and hot all rolled into one of the most perfect books I've had the pleasure of reading. Definitely a must-read!

Rating: 5+  Stars!!!
An extraordinary book, unlike anything else I've ever read. I found myself in awe of NR Walker to be able to paint such a vivid and detailed picture of a culture not widely known. While there will always be fear that an outsider is in no way capable of capturing the true ways of a people they have no first-hand connection to, I felt as if it was done with sensitivity and respect and it left me wanting to learn more about the Maasai people.

What I Loved: Above everything else in this book what I loved was Damu.  His spirit, his innate kindness, the fact that no matter what was thrown at him he continued to take things in stride and hold on to his loving heart. This was a man who did not dwell on things he knew could not be changed, he would simply say “I cannot change it, so I give it no mind.”

As much as I loved him, he broke my heart as well.  He was so loving and loyal to his people.  He respected their ways and held no ill will towards those who treated him like dirt or ignored him altogether.  Those very people that he would have risked his own life for thought of him as “worthless” and “not a man”.  His very own brother thought of him as less than nothing and would have no problem taking his life for loving another man. I have fallen in love with characters before but if I had to choose one who touched me the most, it would be Damu.

“There was a buzz throughout the whole kraal, and I could hear bursts of laughter coming from inside some of the huts, while the elders stood in closed circles trading stories. All the while, Damu was on the outer. If I hadn’t been here with him, he’d have been completely alone. He was never included, he was never part of anything. He simply stood on the outside looking in and seemingly happy to do so. He smiled as they smiled, never an inkling of jealousy or yearning. He was happy because they were happy. His own joy, his own place of belonging, never entered into the equation.”

What I Liked:  There was so much in this story that I liked, the entire read was excellent.  I liked the premise, a unique take on a broken man leaving home and meeting someone who would eventually change his life and inevitably heal him.  While Damu, as well as his tribe, helped to heal Heath, ultimately Heath helped to heal Damu as well.

I truly liked Heath, he was open and committed. He was strong and intelligent. He showed great respect to everyone. He did not try to bestow his own personal beliefs on the Maasai, he chose to learn from them. To adapt to their way of life. He cared so much for Damu and it shows in everything he does.

I also liked the fact that while there were things Heath disliked about the culture and the Maasai ways, there was never any instances in which I felt the author was attempting to say that “The white man knows better”.  This wasn’t a book about certain people being better than others.

What Didn't Work: Honestly, I can't think of a single thing that I didn't like about Blood and Milk.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!  


***A copy of this book was provided to Bayou Book Junkie  in exchange for an honest and fair review.***

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.

She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…  

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