Friday, July 12, 2019

Feel by A.M. Arthur

Single omegin Brogan Dale is jealous of the loving, stable relationships his omega friends have with their alpha mates. For years, he’s longed to find his own bondmate and create a family, but that hasn’t been in the cards. Just when he’s determined to take the first alpha who’ll provide for himself and his young son Peyton, Brogan scents him across a crowded coffee shop. Too bad his bondmate is the unstable alpha who nearly killed Brogan’s best friend last year.

Mikel Tovey is taking it one day at a time, adjusting to life on his own, away from the oppression and abuse of his cruel sire. All he wants is to complete his probation, make sure his omegin and brothers are safe, and find a way to live with all the mistakes he’s made. When he scents his omega bondmate, Mikel is initially terrified of the older omegin and his adorable toddler. But Brogan is handsome, kind, and Mikel is completely enamored of little Peyton.

With his bondmate in his sights, Brogan does everything in his power to prove Mikel can be a good alpha, a good mate, and a fantastic father to Peyton. But when Brogan’s past comes roaring into his present and puts Peyton’s future at risk, Mikel’s resolve is shaken. He wants to love and support his omega during this crisis, but he doesn’t know how. With Brogan surrounded by friends and chosen family who love him, he doesn’t need Mikel’s insecurities weighing him down, too—but Brogan has found his mate, and he isn’t letting Mikel walk away without a fight.

This time, Brogan has too much to lose…

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law—although times are changing for the better. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. This series is best read in numerical order.

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Book 6
Buy Links

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~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Feel is the sixth installment in the Breaking Free series. This series can be read as standalones but seeing how the characters and storylines intertwine, they are better read in the order that they were written and released.

Brogan is the only single omega left from the fighting ring. He and his son, Peyton, are still living with their foster family. Brogan is eager to find a mate, regardless if it's a bondmate or not. While out with Jaysan and Morris, he scents his bondmate but unfortunately, it's the last person anyone expects.

Mikel is from Jaysan's past. He was hooking up with him for quite a while before Jaysan and Morris found each other. Mikel, while attempting to hurt himself, stabbed Jaysan, which almost killed him. Jaysan has forgiven Mikel but not everyone has. Mikel has sworn off being in a relationship. It's not something he wants, especially right now while he's still seeing a mandated therapist weekly. He knows he can't be the strong alpha that Brogan and Peyton need.

When their bond is too much to fight, Mikel and Brogan come to an understanding that they are strong for each other, something that isn't always the typical alpha/omega dynamic but it works for them.

I did enjoy Brogan and Mikel's story. They both came from broken pasts and were able to find the comfort they needed in each other. And as always, I love getting glimpses of couples past and seeing how the families all interact.

I can't wait for Claimed!!

Honestly, you have to read all the books in the series before you read this so you can understand who is who and all the backstory. Now my mistake was I read book #7 before book #6 on accident. I wasn't confused but I knew some of the things that had happened since reading book #7 first. OOPS. I will say this is probably my least favorite of all the books in the series. It just didn't feel like the book was about Brogan and Mikel. I think they somehow got lost in everything else. I couldn't really feel the connection between them and after a while I read the book to find out more about previous characters than about Brogan and Mikel.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/M Male Pregnancy – non-shifter
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

I have enjoyed several of the book in this series. While I don't think you necessarily have to read them in order, it does help to know how the relationship developed and continue.

This is Brogan's story. He was another victim of the omega ring. He has a son, Peyton, who is adorable in this story. It seems like Peyton can read people's feelings very well. While Brogan is happy for his fellow omegas, he is also giving up on himself ever finding his mate. That changes one day while having coffee with his friend Jaysan.

Mikel is still recovering from a traumatic childhood and early adulthood. His sire is finally in jail, but the scars, both physical and emotional, have taken their toll. Despite being so young, Mikel is worried that he will never make a good alpha because he has his father's blood in him.

This is a story about recovery, loving, and forgiving. Brogan has some hard truths in this book and while surrounded by his family, learns that he also is okay with leaning on his alpha. Mikel learns that sometimes, even with the horrible, he can deserve and be okay with his own happy ending.

This book felt a little scattered – more so than the other books. I'm not sure if it was because we were watching the issues of both characters unfold, but overall, this was not my favorite of the series, thus far. Also, it felt rushed at the end. We didn't really get to see a resolution – we were just told there was one.

I need to preface this review by stating I've handed out very few two-star ratings in the past decade. I rate books by others in their genre that I've read and rated, not all books I've read across the board. If I five-star a novel in MM romance, it's not the equivalent to a five-star in Fantasy. I don't balance genres against one another. I won't lie, I was tempted to rate this three stars to save hurt feelings, but against other three-star books I've rated in this genre, I didn't feel that was fair. This novel is rated against the others in its own series.

No, I don't believe this could be read as a standalone, simply because a new reader would have to skim 75% of the novel, maybe more, to find the plot beneath, due to the fact that the 10 previous main characters and their numerous offspring and friends/relatives/guardians photo-bombed just about every scene, to max confusion. Having read the series recently, even I was confused as to who belonged with whom once everyone was in the same location.

Feel was all over the place, seeming to want to show more of past characters and what was going on within their happily-ever-afters, than focusing on these two characters when we've yet to experience their journey.

Brogan and Mikel were shortchanged, overshadowed by the love-fest, propagation in the series. Pregnancies, births, and heats, none of which belonged to Brogan and Mikel. There were characters everywhere, at all times, the majority pregnant, to where I was wondering if I (the reader) would get any privacy from their constant invasion.

While I understand how other readers won't perceive this as I have, enjoying the nonstop cameos from books' past, it turned every scene into mass confusion for me.

I need to state, back when I first read book one, I understood the foundation and influence as to why the author created this series, with alpha, beta, and omega, and their status within society. As the series evolved, the omegas were gaining a voice, finding empowerment. Their stories were meant to inspire, as they lifted up an entire gender who was living under oppression.

There was a devolution in Feel. The focus on being happy was making babies. Not having a baby, but having MANY babies. Babies everywhere. Everyone was pregnant, just had a baby, waiting on adoption, or delivered a baby. Not one, but TWO deliveries... neither of which was Brogan.

As for the couple, their relationship revolved around coddling, cuddling, enabling, biting one's tongue, walking on eggshells, being perfectly sympathetic, conscientious, all the while acting as if the PC police would call you a bad guy if you actually spoke your mind. They never fought but once (I'll get there next), so this never-ending, saccharine love-fest was so unrealistically disingenuous, that I couldn't buy the romance, let alone their connection.

They both had heavy baggage they were carrying around, yet both behaved in a martyr, self-sacrificing way that didn't balance. I felt the therapy sessions were promising, until the couple went together. It ended up being beyond inappropriate, romantic declarations and a sexual laundry list, with them making-out on the sofa. I'd forgotten the therapist was sitting there, then the doctor spoke, and I was skeeved out.

Not a prude, but it felt like everyone, everywhere was asking each other if they were going to have sex, right down to whether to wear a condom, which meant the conversations revolved around whether or not they were going to 'seed' their mate. No sliding into it with small talk – I wondered if they had any hobbies, jobs, or lives outside of getting pregnant or raising children, which was the opposite of how empowering the series started out.

Where is Brogan's restaurant? What did Mikel truly want to do as a career? I don't know, but I do know the witness was pregnant.

The fight.

Mates. Partners. A week. It was almost a week before Brogan told Mikel something important, something so important it meant unleashing evil on the city, an evil that had already killed many, including his own parents. Then Brogan didn't even tell Mikel all of it. More like baited Mikel into being upset, then basically stormed off to go complain to all of his friends how Mikel didn't let him finish. At this point, I found Brogan to be the most illogical, irrational, childish person on the planet.

'It' happened. The heat. A day passed. They were intimate. He visited a lawyer. THEN, and only then, did he tell his partner, and he had the audacity to act as if Mikel was in the wrong. They're partners, it should be a consensus. A meeting of the minds until a compromise is found. Neither right nor wrong, but being able to voice a different perspective, to show how head-blind one can become. To help one another. Isn't that the point of having two different individuals in a partnership?

Brogan ran off to his friends, where they ALL enabled him, coddled him, and told him he was right. I flipped back, reread the fight three times (it was only like 3/4 of a page), and still didn't get where Brogan was coming from. He was so irrational, to an unhealthy degree. No one should be agreed with simply to avoid confrontation or to save face (that is how I viewed their entire relationship), Brogan needed a dose of reality. Yet again, he was coddled into kind of seeing Mikel's point-of-view by Morris, but it was still tainted by a 'you're always right, he will always be wrong, even when you're wrong and he's right' mentality. Then Mikel apologized, which felt like the victim being gaslit into thinking they were at fault.

There were too many characters on the page, to the point I couldn't keep track of them when they appeared and disappeared, only to reappear, many times over. It's hard juggling dialogue with more than three characters at a time, but when you add the cutesy toddlers joining the already involved conversations... the connection and romance between the couple was overshadowed, and the plot was buried.

Tarek was the saving's grace for me, and his narration came out of nowhere. I was involved with the mystery and how it tied all six books together, even if the threads didn't quite match up correctly. But then we got to the climax, and it was just quickly added in, a few sentences at the end, all told and never shown, so the payoff was anticlimactic and incomplete.

In the end, I feel the author was setting up a time-jump, where the kids will get books. Which, believe me, I think that refreshes a series. I hope that's what she has planned. The only issue is how this overshadowed THIS book, to where there was nothing but seeding future installments and filler from past narrators. Everything that was important was a few sentences, tucked into a series-worth of happily ever afters, shown in THIS book.

Also Available in the Breaking Free Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Saved post.

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Seen post.

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Heard post.

Book 3.5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Stronger post.

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Found post.

Book 5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Whole post.

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur's work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at with your cooking tips (or book comments).

Connect with A.M.

Facebook  ~  Twitter   ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Feel: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free #6) by A.M. Arthur to read and review.

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