Book Review – The Alpha’s Mate by Beth Laycock

Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews for the opportunity to read and review.


This is a new to me author and I’m already hooked. I got drawn into Addison and Drake’s story very quickly. I loved the characters and the world building was a little different which I liked. I particularly liked the take on fated mates which is a trope I love. An added bonus for me was the UK setting, as it’s one I enjoy.

I liked that the shifters are familiars and protect witches, and that their other form is a dog, rather than a wolf. And that other packs might not necessarily be dogs. I thought their reasoning for needing to stay hidden from humans made a lot of sense. I also liked how their breed of dog reflects their personality.

Drake and Addison are both interesting characters, and come from very different worlds. The plot twist is nicely done, and I loved how Addison didn’t follow the usual rules about how to react around an alpha as he doesn’t know anything about pack protocol. I thought his grief over the death of his foster father, and how alone he feels came across very well. Drake, too, struggles with what he wants and what he perceives he should do, and I was cheering him on, yet wanting to smack him in case he’d left acting too late.

The showdown with the bad guy was well written and exciting. I liked the twist in which someone I thought was involved gave them the clue they needed.

Although Drake and Addison’s story has closure, I liked the threads left dangling for more of the series, which I’m going to have to read. I loved Zander so I hope I’m right thinking the ending hints at the next book being his.

5 out of 5 stars.

Penhul Pack, Book 1

Alpha of the Penhul pack with a human mate? Never going to happen.

Addison knows grief can do strange things to people, but when he’s wandering Pendle Hill and witnesses a dog leap out of thin air, he thinks he must be going crazy. When the border collie morphs into a man—a very naked man—he has to be dreaming. Only when he wakes to find himself cold and alone, locked inside a bare stone room does he wonder if it was the start of a nightmare.

As the youngest alpha the Penhul pack has ever had, Drake knows he has a lot to prove. Increasing their dwindling numbers is hard enough but convincing his pack they can do so by working alongside humans is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks. He was taught, as all familiars are, that humans can’t be trusted, especially not with their secret. It’s no surprise, then, that he has no idea what to do when a member of his own pack brings a human prisoner to their den. But he’s definitely not prepared for the reaction the human elicits from him.

Can Drake put aside their differences, and Addison come to accept their similarities, to save the Penhul pack from danger? A threat that may end up costing Drake not only his life but that of his fated mate?

Universal Link | Goodreads

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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