Bone to Pick – T.A. Moore

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Author: T.A. Moore
Series: Digging Up Bones #1

Pages: 240

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Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.

In my meager experience with Romantic Suspense I have always found books much more focused on the romance than on the mystery. In some cases, the last was almost incidental… This book is just the opposite, so if you are looking for more romance… look somewhere else.

In this book we meet Cloister, a police officer who is a member of the K9 Unit. His dog is called Bourneville and she never leaves his shadow. He is kind of a rebel. On the other hand we have Javier, an FBI agent who needs to control everything and everyone. For obvious reasons, both main characters tend to clash against each other very often. They are forced to work together when a little kid is kidnapped and they need to figure out who took him before it’s too late.

I wasn’t expecting such a huge focus on the mystery. It has been a very welcome change of pace for a Romantic Suspense book. If you are a fan of C.S.I. kind of shows you will enjoy the mystery in this book. More or less follows the same pattern. The author throws several pieces of evidence, adds a bunch of suspects and lets the reader accompany the main characters in their quest to save the kid. I need to confess that I wasn’t even closed to solve it before they did… It doesn’t help that the author cramps the story with many characters who don’t amount to anything. Or maybe it was just her technique to take our attention from the real suspicious ones.

Even though I liked the mystery quite a lot, there is sometinhg that is still bugging me. The kid disappeared from a vacational complex to let people with money be closer to the Nature. That complex is a known former weed farm run by the same guy who dealt with the drug… Maybe I’m not being fair, but I can’t believe families with pedigree would choose such a place to spend part of their holidays with their kids. Too snob? I just think parents tend to be extra-careful with that kind of things…

I have nothing special to say about the characters. Both of them are OK. Nothing remarkable about Cloister or Javi on their own. When they are together, the fun begins!! The attraction between them is obvious since the first moment, but they can’t stand each other. They respect each other just enough to make their jobs, but Javi doesn’t miss an opportunity to belittle the K9 Unit and Cloister is more than happy to put upside-down the perfectly manufactured rutine of the FBI Agent.

With that kind of relationship, it is no surprise that the sex scenes happen when the reader least expects them. They are not bad, per se. My main complaint is that Cloister sometimes feels out of character during the intimate encounters. There is actually no Romance in this book. It’s just a couple of very naked moments and then both of them go their separate ways. I missed a good talk to be honest with each other and with themselves, but this is the first book of a saga, so… They’ll get there…

At least I hope there is a second book coming. This one was published in 2017 and the author has yet to announce the sequel. Very enjoyable book that reminded me of the best part of the Cut & Run saga…

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Dragonbane – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #24

Pages: 320

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Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan.

Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded.

But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

This is book 24 of the Dark-Hunter saga. 24!! And I’m not even up-to-date. This month, the 27th will be published. Some people may be tired of Kenyon’s crazy world, but I love it even more now that it has got so big. My intention was to catch up with this saga before the new release, but I have to be honest with myself and drop the dream. I like to mix my books to make the hobby more fun. I will catch up, of course, but I’m not in a hurry.

This book is the book of Maxis, the weredragon that has been living in Sanctuary for a long time. He was betrayed by his mate and left her. The dragon thought she was dead, but suddenly appears in Sanctuary looking for him. Unfortunately, she wasn’t alone. Her queen Nala is with her, a long time enemy of Maxis. Even though he thought Seraphine hated him, she doesn’t tell her queen that her mate is close. Everyone leaves except Sera and the make-up ride begins.

The story is rather simple. What is complex is the world that Kenyon has been building over the years, so there are a lot of pieces all over the table. Keeping track of everything could be daunting, but the author does her best to make the book easier for the reader. The cast is so big, that a big chunk of the book is just to introduce one character to another and build the relationship among them. If there is something I love about Kenyon’s style is her sense of humor and outstanding banter in the dialogs. That makes the reading such a wonderful experience. It’s like a Christmas dinner with a family (a rather huge one). It doesn’t matter how long you have been away… you are always welcome!!

That is why I can forigive Sherrilyn almost everything. I can even forgive that this book is a bit… lazy. Several times, she builds tension around a situation and then it ends abruptly: the rescue of Max’s children, the recovery of the Emerald Tablet, the escape of Sera and Max after the accidental stabbing… All those situations seemed pretty huge and dangerous, but they are resolved “behind the scenes”. As a reader, that left me a sour aftertaste. I wanted a big fight against the demons, but I guess that wasn’t in Kenyon’s plans. I was expecting more for those moments, so I’m a bit disappointed by them.

As always, the best part of the book are the characters. It’s obviously that she loves creating new pawns for her world and Im glad for it. In this case, Hadyn (Max’s son) is my favourite addition. I have no idea if she plans to make a book for him, but I hope there is one in the future!! Yeah, I have a weird crush even though we barely know him!!

My favourite moment of the book: the reunion between Nick and Acheron. It’s not a proper meeting, but they get to be in the same room and they behave!! They even exchange a few words!! As a huge fan of Ash and Nick, I am relieved to see that their friendship is not as dead as it seemed. Or maybe it was just that the situation called for adults and not kids throwing tantrums. Nah, I prefer the optimistic explanation. If there is something I have a huge respect for in the Dark-Hunter books is the optimism. It doesn’t matter if everything looks lost, there is always a light that the heroes can follow to triumph.

Obviously, they are going to need that light to face the Apollo and Kessar situation. Is there going to be a bloody conflict or will be resolved easily as the situations in this book? I’ll know the answer with the next one, which I plan to read this year if everything goes as planned.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Beg Me – M. Malone

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Author: M. Malone
Pages: 280

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My c0ck a doodle doo is on strike.

Yeah I know, I can’t believe it either. Years of perfect performance and now this traitor decides to get picky. And the only woman who gets him going is my co-worker. Rival, she-devil and my competition for the biggest ad account this side of the Atlantic.

If we want to win over the hottest wedding designer in the world, we have to prove we understand his business. Love. Passion. Marriage. But it turns out Mya isn’t familiar with any of the above. When I find out she’s never taken a trip to O-town, we make a little wager. Not only will I win the client, but I’ll prove to her that multiple O’s are not a myth.

We work together all day and fight between the sheets all night. But somewhere along the way I discover that winning isn’t enough.

I don’t just want to win.
I don’t just want her body.
I want her to … beg me.

I must admit that I’m an easy catch for Romance Books: a cute/hot cover, a funny blurb or, in this case, a first sentence that makes me re-read it several times in order to make sure I read it properly. Yes, almost any bait works with me. I was pretty curious about this book after reading the blurb and M. Malone is a new writer for me, so I had no idea what I was going to find. Well, I had suspicions… but I was SO wrong.

This s the story of a couple of co-workers in the advertisement campaign industry: Milo and Mya. They were once friends, but now are rivals. Very competitive rivals that dislike each other. There is a new huge customer in the future and both need to work together to nail the campaign. Even though they kind of hate each other, both of them have a secret attraction to the other. Sadly, they are only intesrested in insults when addressing each other.

First the positive about this book: Milo and Mya are great characters. I loved both of them almost since the beginning. Milo is the perfect mix of funny, cocky and sweet guy and Mya’s akwardness is so much fun to read!! I was hooked with this couple very fast, which in romance is a very good sign. There is nothing worse than reading a sex scene with a couple you dislike. So, with Milo and Mya the author gets a really good mark.

On the other hand we have the storytelling itself. I appreciate the “let’s create a funny situation no matter what” style, but I don’t think it always works. The motive for the fake engagement is so weird. I don’t think is sensible that the client was looking for some person planning a wedding or recently married to make his campaign. It’s such a huge constraint!! Besides, the campaign would be polluted with the idea of that person’s perfect wedding. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I felt that situation was unbelievable.

During the book, there are more examples of lazy storytelling: the absurd misunderstanding, the messages to Will (that take us nowhere), the easy resolution of the main conflict among the main characters… But the romance part is so sweet and funny that I can forgive almost everything. A hottie in briefs cooking me breakfast is also a #boyfriendgoal for me ;).

When I read the blurb I was expecting Milo to be more of a jerk and not very nice in bed… But I couldn’t be more wrong (thankfully!!). I have enjoyed a lot this couple. Perfect balance between sweet and naughty. Yes, the story is a bit lazy, but the book has other strengths that make up for it (in my opinion, of course). I have more books by this author on my TBR list, so I hope to read her again sooner rather than later.

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2018 – Book Gallery