Skin and Bone – T.A. Moore

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Author: T.A. Moore
Series: Digging Up Bones #2

Pages: 240

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Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.

But the job doesn’t always end there.

Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?

With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.

Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.

And since when has he cared about that?

When I finished the first book, I was scared that the saga was cancelled. Two years between the first and the second book is not something normal in Romance. In that genre you can even find authors who publish a book every two weeks. Although I would bet the quality in those stories is not as high as in the books of the Digging up bones saga.

We obviously follow again the adventures of Cloister, Javi and the K-9 unit called Bourneville. This time, a trans woman is attacked in Plenty and Cloister saves her life just in time. It’s up to him and Javi to discover who is behind the attack. Meanwhile, they must also discover what the hell is that thing brewing between them.

As in the previous book, the mystery takes a huge chunk of the story, what makes the book feels special. I think it would be a perfect story to introduce someone to the genre, because is not heavy in the romance and the suspense part is developed with enough care to entertain a mystery lover. But it has a tiny problem. It is a bit hard to follow. At least for me. There are too many names and important events being mention and mixed at all times. So many leads that collide with each other… It makes me wish to have taken a notebook to draw a schema of the case, because more than once I was lost. It doesn’t make the book less enoyable, but days after finishing it I still have some questions about what really happened.

The love part is infuriatingly slow. Don’t get me wrong, that is what makes it greater than other love stories. Since the first moment, the author lets the reader know that Javi and Cloister are perfect for each other. But, at the same time, doesn’t allow the characters to acknowledge it. We have to witness an endless string of excuses and half-hearted fights among them. I found myself yelling at them more than once. Usually a classic: Kiss already, you idiots!!! It was really unnerving sometimes (sweet unnerving, though). When I ship so hard for a couple that means they are giving me what I enjoy most in the Romance genre: slow brewed love. These guys are following all the steps one by one in order to make sure they have something real and durable. I wouldn’t mind if they speed thing up just a little bit and stop being so stubborn, though. Maybe in the third book they will finally hold hands or something equally cute.

The cuteness of this book is hoarded by none other than Bourneville, the partner of Cloister and eerily amart dog. I know Cloister keeps reminding us that Bon is not a pet. That cuddling her is not really a good idea, but she keeps being cute and melting hearts everywhere. It comes to my mind the time she was pretending being asleep to avoid being kicked from the couch. Or her adorably crush on cats. How in the Hell can anyone stop petting her in those situations? Sometimes I think Cloister wants her all by himself. That’s not cool, man!!

Will we have to wait another two years for the third book? I hope not, but I’m already loyal, so I will wait no matter what. So far, I’m enjoying this couple and I wish this format were more common in the genre. I mean, the same couple for several books instead of a different couple in every book. Which is also great, but the scales are much more favourable to the later, so…

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Boy Toy – R.R. Banks

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Author: R.R. Banks
Pages: 338

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I have a secret…
I don’t want people to know me as Eleanor the billionaire.
Or Eleanor the crime boss’ ex-wife.
But Hunter’s crystal green eyes behind those glasses,
his hard body cut like diamonds,
makes me want to become Eleanor the cougar.
Purr… Hunter just became the hunted.
I will show him what a woman in her prime can really do.
But will my past and secrets catch up to me before I find my happiness?

I don’t usually like books with billionaries, because they tend to solve all they problems throwing money at them. And I don’t think I would like a Romance book were the characters are mobsters or part of a mafia family. So, the blurb of this book wasn’t really interesting. Then why I picked it? Damn cover…

In this book we follow Eleanor, the ex-wife of a crime boss who has sensible data about the criminal and her life is in danger. On the other hand we have Hunter, who is just a hunbky nerd who has to accept the role of the Knight in shinning armor. They have to scape danger from a boat and end stranded in a desserted island where they have more than enough time to get to know each other.

First of all I have to say I wasn’t expectiong at all what I have read in this book. The blurb is vague, very vague. It doesn’t represent the story at all. It fails to mention the characters are trapped on a deserted island, which is the body and soul of the whole book. Due to that, the action packed first chapters were a total and welcome surprised. I thought it was going to be a book with endless conversations about impossible relationships, but nothing like that at all. At least not at first. Once they are out of the island, the story gets boring pretty quickly. The last three or four chapters are a torture and I couldn’t wait to get rid of them…

My experience as a reader with this book is confusing. Sometimes, I had the feeling I wasn’t reading a standalone story. It felt like the ending of other book and I didn’t know what was going on. There are too much name dropping that doesn’t make any sense until the end, where the author explains there are several characters from a previous book. That wouldn’t have been the problem, except the story of those characters is almost as important as the story of the so-called main characters of Boy Toy. So, yeah. Sometimes I got lost. It doesn’t help that the story is told through the point of view of at least six characters. SIX!! Too many…

The main characters are not bad per se, but Eleanor and Hunter are totally underdeveloped. She at least has some kind of backstory, but Hunter is just a chunk of meat. His virginity (that is what it is…) could have been a nice plot element, but he must be a sex prodigy or something. It doesn’t make any sense how natural he seems pleasuring a woman when he has never done something like that. I would have never thought less of him for needing help traveling the woman body.

And then we have Gavin, the third person who get stranded on the island with them. Due to the fact that are several chapters from his point of view, I thought that I was in front of a love triangle or even a future threesome. I was kind of hopeful for that, because he is by far the most interesting character. But he is a just another piece of the story, one that is thorwn away once it has completed its task. I wonder if he will be used in another book or something. It would be a waste of a nice character otherwise.

As I said before, the ending is horrible. It’s not only too long, it also destroys the little faith I had in the romance between Eleanor and Hunter. You can’t just have a severe fight in one paragraph and a wedding in the next… It’s not right. And don’t make me start about the weird advice that makes Hunter change his mind about Eleanor. “You have to decide if the lie is more important than the person” or something like that. Edwin is way older than me and possibly wiser, but that is a huge pile of bullshit. If a person is lying about herself, how can you decide that? How can you choose the person when you know that you don’t really know that person? I think it was meant to be a pretty piece of wisdom, but in my opinion is openning the door to a long life of unhappiness.

Thankfully, most of the book is pretty entertaining with a nice couple of twists; so it’s a nice reading for a slow day.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Isola Di Fiore – Lou Watton

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Author: Lou Watton
Series: Under the Uniform #4
Pages: 160

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Francesco Di Fiore is a handsome bellboy at a luxury Venetian Hotel. On an average day you can find him in a dashing burgundy uniform with sleek golden streaks. He is popular with guests of both sexes, who spoil him with lavish gifts. He is at ease with his colleagues, many of whom he has also got to know well. He loves his job and rarely leaves his hotel. His hotel is his cocoon that protects him from the elements outside. No wonder he feels no urge to venture out.

One night his life takes an unexpected turn and all because he decides to take time off and taste the world outside. He goes on a date, has a good time and finds himself too drunk to notice that his date has wandered off. When he sobers up, he is walking alone through the dark streets of Venice. He stops to watch passing gondolas, but sees something very different. He watches a man tightening a noose about his neck by a bridge down the canal. Francesco dashes through the labyrinth of narrow streets to get to the man just in time to save him. They fall down in each other arms on the cold stones by the canal. When Francesco opens his eyes, he realises that the turmoil in his life is not going to end here.

The stranger in Francesco’s arms is every bit as attractive as he is vulnerable. Francesco senses trouble. His protected life in a five star paradise is about to come to an end. He brings the stranger to his tiny loft room at the top floor of the hotel. The stranger’s name is Ralf and he is a full time artist and a makeshift poet. Francesco hears a story of a desperate heartbreak and feels unable to show his guest the door. They fall asleep together in his single bed. This is how their turbulent relationship begins.

Ralf settles in Francesco’s room and Francesco provides both the roof over his head and counselling. Soon neither of them can say whether Francesco’s sensitive care is the kindness of a stranger or the affection of a kindred spirit. They begin a passionate affair against the backdrop of the great city. They lose themselves in the web of narrow streets and snaking canals, caught in the whirl of their frenzied emotions. They divide their time between the splendour of Venetian palaces and a farmer’s hut on a rural island in the Venetian lagoon. Will Francesco’s lifestyle and temptations of high life destroy their volatile arrangement, or will Francesco Di Fiore once again rescue his troubled poet and whisk him away to a rustic paradise, where they could belong only to each other?

Have you been able to read the blurb? What a huge chunk of nothingness… OK. I have the mean mode ON. First of all, I have to say that I hate reading a book and then learning it was the fourth part of a book series. Granted is a saga of standalones that doesn’t share characters or universe, but yet… I consider myself a tidy reader. Always following the numbers forwards. It’s not a big deal, but I would have read the first one if I knew about it.

This book follows the story of Francesco, a bellboy in a luxury hotel. One day, he was walking after work and found a guy that was trying to commit suicide. That guy was Ralf, an artist going through a bad time after a break-up with his boyfriend. Francesco saved his life and took him to his room to take care of him. Quickly, that act of goodness turns into romance…

What did I like of this book? Maybe that it’s a very short one, so the torture doesn’t last long (even though feels like it). Everything else is meant to be forgotten as fast as possible. The book is bad. As simple as that. Francesco and Ralf are some of the most uncharismatic characters I have ever met and the story is SO boring. For a moment there I thought I was going to give up. I gave it a chance, but it doesn’t deserve it.

I don’t understand the behaviour of any of the characters. Francesco treats Ralf as a lost puppy with half the brain. He seems very concerned about his well-being and wants to be with him, but somehow he manages to ignore him and flirt with everyone in the hotel. Take a pick, man!! You can’t have both behaviours! They are mutually esclusive!! And Ralf… I need some kind of user manual to understand that guy… I get he is sad, but his reasons to end his life are weak. He is totally a spoiled guy, who wants to spend lots of money he doesn’t have. He has crazy jelousy attacks and has a really mean manipulative drive.

The romance between a guy who behaves like an overprotective daddy and a guy that is dangerously addicted to attention is a joke. One of the worst couples I have ever read in my life. Utterly unbelievable and that is saying something in the Romance genre… It is supposed to be a HEA book, but I don’t think they are going to last. Even the sex is weird. Not bad, but… I don’t know. I skimmed over it, because I didn’t like how it was being described.

The narration style is also rather poor. It’s not fluid at all and for such a short book it gets stuck in some loops. Keeping focus on the story was so hard… My mind was constantly drifting to other things, avoiding the slow paced and boring book I was forcing into it. There is no emotion. No sense of humor. Nothing… The blurb is actually a nice mirror of the whole boook… A bunch of letters that gets you nowhere…

I know many people have liked this book. I guess it’s not for me. In the future I will check more books by Lou Watton to see if this is her style or it’s just this book. Not anytime soon, though.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Bound By The Demon’s Shade – Olivia Dark

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Author: Olivia Dark
Pages: 82

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When a demon causes a car crash, it is up to the demon hunter Paige to find it and destory it. But when she runs into Kalen, the mysterious man who saved her from a hostile demon encounter the day before, she agrees to work with him only if she can look past the fact that he’s a demon himself.

By working with Kalen, Paige gets a direct lead to the demon they’re hunting. However, Paige starts to develop feelings for her partner as they begin working alongside one another, and when their hunt is over she can’t help but invite him back to her place even though she knows she might regret it in the morning.

Confession time: I spend hours looking for free Kindle books in Amazon. I have thousands!! I don’t know why I do this, because I don’t usually read them. I will try to pick one of those now and then. I have picked this one randomly. My first surprise: it’s no longer in Amazon. No one knows who Olivia Dark is or anything about this book. Only a dozen ratings in Goodreads… I have the feeling I have read a phantom book!! I use the term book loosely. It’s a short story that can be read in under an hour.

The main character of this story is Paige, a demon hunter. One night she is biting more than she can chew (or something like that…) and has to be rescued by the gorgeous Kalen. Twist: the hottie is also a demon!! At first it seems that is going to be a problem, but five minutes later they are already kissing. Later, the damsel in distress is again in distress and the demon has another chance of looking superheroic.

It’s a fast pace story, as its length suggested. I have missed some sense of humor to make it special. The way it is is just plain normal. You have an OK feeling after reading it, but nothing else. I think there was potential in her story, so I’m suprised that the author hasn’t written anything else and this book is in some kind of limbo…

There are also a couple of thinks that I do not like. The point of views are a mess. Most of the book is first person from the point of view of Paige, but there are several parts that are told from a third person point of view. I have always thought that is a symptom of a bad planification for your story. The other detail I don’t like is Kalen’s love… He drops the L word when he barely knew her. So weird…

It’s such a short story that I would recommend it to kill some time, but it seems that the book can’t be purchased anywhere…

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2018 – Book Gallery

Intensity – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Chronicles of Nick #8

Pages: 400

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It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. The don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever.

I have already said this over here, but I don’t mind repeating myself about that matter: Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my favourite authors ever!! I love her crazy universes where anything could happen. Her sense of humor. Her love for redeeming the irredeemable. Her sense of adventure. Kenyon’s books are always a pleasure to read!! The Chronicles of Nick is the saga that I enjoy the most. But Intensity is the book I have enjoyed the least; but it’s not a bad book at all.

It’s hard to say what is the plot of this one. Is there really a plot? It feels like the last chapter of a TV Show where the main character just makes a tour among their people to say goodbye. Everyone must get some minutes for a proper ending. The problem with Kenyon is that she likes her books packed with characters, so this book is 90% talking with other characters without any further development. Yes, Nick has some trouble… but it’s not really the most important part of the book. The story is all about more revelations about the Malachai history and little more.

This is meant to be the last book of The Chronicles of Nick saga, but Kenyon, being true to her nature, couldn’t stop here and she is planning a new set of books with Nick and his son Cyprian: Shadows of Fire. This is really good news because I love the characters. But it has also meant bad news for the ending of The Chronicles of Nick. It has been weak, leaving a lot of holes that I guess will be filled nicely in that new saga. It’s not fair, though. This saga deserved a big ending and not this huge menage of characters with a couple of minutes for each.

The reason I love Kenyon’s crazy universes is the same reason I have been a bit lost reading this book. Granted, I’ve been away for too long from the Hunterverse and my knowledge of the characters isn’t as exhaustive as before. It’s the kind of saga where you need a notepad to make notes about all the cast and facts. Otherwise, you are going to feel overwhelmed sooner or later. I could barely keep up with all the characters in this last book of The Chronicles of Nick. As I’ve said before, it seems that almost every character had something to say to Nick…

When I was almost at the end of the book I had a bad feeling about the ending. There were a lot of plot lines that needed to be closed and the author wasn’t aiming for any of those. What happens at the end has left me speechless and a bit angry. I will have to re-read it, because I’m not sure if I have understood it. The jumps in the timeline are crazier that usual, which doesn’t help at all with my understanding of the final book.

I know this review looks bad, but the book is very enjoyable. Nick is as saracstic as always and that always makes me smile. I LOVE all the characters of this Universe, so I’m glad everyone had a moment to at least say something. Fingers crossed we will see most of them in other books of the Hunterverse.

By the way… what is the deal with the cover?? They have broken the template of the saga with this one. It’s not a bad cover per se, but it is very disappointing. I guess it is as weird as the the book itself, though.

 

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2018 – Book Gallery