MEC reviews BSB August 2019 Releases

My favourite from BSB this month was Sit. Stay. Love –  I’ve only read a few of Karis Walsh’s books, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them as solid romances with a dash of dogs or horses thrown in for good measure.  Who could resist that cover?   It’s so damn cute and fits the title perfectly.   Although I liked the Chasing Sunset cover, I think it got pushed out of contention for best cover by the dog.  Sorry, Missouri …  if you had added a cute hound peeking around Iris in the passenger seat (and in the story), you would have won.

Sit.Stay.Love by Karis Walsh
I’ve decided that Karis Walsh is a sure thing when I want good romance read. Add rescue dog and a litter of puppies and you’ve got me hooked.

This is a fish out of water kind of story and a good bit of the low key humour is around Alana’s adapting to the added responsibility of leading the outdoor activities including leading trail rides, whitewater rafting and fishing rather than just planning events for the future ranch guests. Luckily, the local vet, Tegan, is on hand to help. Originally coming to the small Washington town to rebuild her tarnished reputation and return to the big city hotel jobs she is used to, Alana slowly begins to build the connections and attachments she didn’t know that she has been missing. Alana and Tegan are sweet, easy to relate to and you can’t help but root for them. Although there’s the dark cloud of Alana’s plan to only stay for a short time in her new job, Walsh doesn’t overplay the angst card as both characters openly acknowledge it. The romance happens over a short period of time, but Alana and Tegan spend much of that time together and there’s a nice rapport between the two that starts with attraction, moves to friendship and then to romance.

This is a pretty quick read – and left me with a smile on my face. The banter and antics were not as laugh out loud as Love on Lavender Lane, but I quite enjoyed this one.

Recommended.

Cause of Death by Sheri Lewis Wohl

This is the third in a loosely linked paranormal romance series set in Spokane, Washington.   I would recommend you read the first two, Necromantia and  The Tale Bearer; but, I would warn you not to read them one after the other as there is a definite pattern that works when read in isolation, but becomes annoying if read back-to-back or in a relatively short period of time.  This may be why I didn’t seem to enjoy this one as much as the previous books – sometimes OCD reading habits are a detriment.

Vi Akiak has moved to Spokane to attend medical school.  After the brutal murder of her mother, and because she’s visited by the dead, she has resolved to pursue a career as a medical examiner as a way of using her abilities to help others.  Alone and new in the city, she rents a small cottage from Kate Renard,  part time farmer and member of a K-9 Search and Rescue group.  As with the other books by Wohl, bodies start popping up with an alarming frequency – and Vi is stunned to find that the murder’s distinctive signature matches that found in her mother’s death.   Circe Latham and Zelda make a rather significant appearance in this book – linked to Kate as they are both part of the Search and Rescue team and linked to Vi in their ability to see the dead.

This is a pretty light read and follows a similar formula to the other books in the series and focuses more on the characters than the procedures or mystery/investigation with the murders.  The killer’s POV is included but I don’t know that it worked as well as it did in the previous books or maybe its just that I read them too closely together.   He’s no Jaguar (how bad is it that I loved the villain in the last book so much) and I may be reaching my level of credulity that there are so many smart serial killers in one town who are able to hide their crazy-ass selves so well and for so long.   If there are any more in Spokane – they better band together and go after Circe and her crew as they are pretty adept at uncovering hidden bodies.

The romance was light and PG – there was a bit of an instant attraction, reinforced by the fact that Kate’s dog approved of Vi as soon as she saw her, and they kind of hurtle forward in the story both in pursuing the murder investigation (omigod, Kate … you are an idiot sometimes) as well as in a relationship.   I actually found myself back-paging because I missed their first kiss and the fact that they actually had sex.   Things moved along so quickly and without a lot of depth and I just didn’t get the chance to really connect with the characters or the story.  I would have loved to see a bit more about Vi and her background, she should have been a much more riveting character based on her background, her abilities and how she has taken the chance to move from Alaska to Washington in order to pursue her goals.

Overall – a light paranormal romance with a psycho-killer and some great dogs.

Side Note: I’m seriously beginning to worry about Spokane – this city seems to be a mecca of bat-shit crazy serial killers who manage to run under the radar while they perpetrate gruesome murders.    Also, if I were a member of the Spokane police department, I would start wondering a bit about Circe and how often she stumbles across dead bodies – yeah, she’s a K-9 Search and Rescue volunteer, but don’t killers often insert themselves into investigations?  If nothing else, I’d put a tail (and full on CSI team) on her 24/7 as there is a high probability that she’s going to find another body.   In fact, I’d probably be looking closely at any lesbian with a dog in Spokane as suspect.

Chasing Sunset by Missouri Vaun

I’ve enjoyed  Vaun’s contemporary romances and this was a nice addition to that category.  Chasing Sunset is a nice lazy day read – its a romance with some humour and a good amount of chemistry between the leads.  Finn is biding her time as a limo driver in Atlanta, building up her nerve and a nest egg, to strike out to Hollywood to become a stunt driver and Iris is an actress who needs to get back to LA after a rather disastrous audition for a new TV series.  The two meet over a misinterpretation of Finn’s actions (always a good way to start any kind of relationship by throwing a glass of water in someone’s face … but you gotta give Iris props for standing up for herself and the young woman at the diner).

The romance between the two is sweet and has a nice little build of both their characters ad their attraction as they tour around Finn’s hometown.  Once they are out on the road its a bit of 0 to 60 in seconds and no  real “will they or won’t they”. 🙂    Finn is confident, charming and attentive and there’s little doubt as to why Iris would be attracted to her.  Iris is smart and her confidence has taken a bit of a hit after the audition, but she’s pretty level headed and realistic regarding her career and the life in LA.

Although the blurb and cover made me think that this was going to be mostly a road trip kind of book – the actual road trip was only a small part of the whole story and due to the fact that they were driving an old convertible through the southern states during summer, there wasn’t much opportunity for the heart-to heart discussions you normally expect in a road trip.

I think Finn was the more detailed/fleshed out character – Iris seemed to have her shit together from the beginning, and her confidence improves as the novel progresses.  Finn seemed to be searching for what she wanted to do with her life and when she found what she thought she wanted, it isn’t all she expected.  Finn seemed younger/less mature and some of her actions (especially the argument when in LA) just made me shake my head.  Luckily she pulls her head out of her ass and there’s a HEA (hey … it’s lesfic romance, there’s always a HEA).

I’m not sure if I want to mark this as recommended – I like Vaun’s stuff, but the massive miscommunication drove me a bit bonkers – both characters were kind of idiots during the big argument.

Blood of the Pack by Jenny Frame

This is the third in Frame’s paranormal romance Wolfgang County and probably would not work well if you read it without reading the first two (Heart of the Pack and Soul of the Pack) as characters and plot lines from the first two are carried through into this one.

As you may have deduced from the series name and the cover – this one is all about werewolves.  In this one we meek Kenrick, the soon to be alpha the Scottish Wulver pack and cousin of  Dante.   Kenrick has arrived in Wolfgang County to learn the ropes of being an alpha in the 21st century from her cousin.  Enter Zaya, a submissive wolf who has been hiding from the abusive Lupa  pack for years and ends up taking shelter in Wolfgang County.   Kenrick, and her wolf, are instantly attracted and begin to try to woo the gun-shy Zaya who has some pretty serious apprehensions around dominant wolves.

If you’ve read the other two books and enjoyed them, you’ll probably like this one as well.  Unfortunately, the issues I had with the first two are still present in this one and I was pretty much disappointed.  Lots of tell rather than show , the characters were two dimensional, the plot kind of meandered (there’s the big battle with the Lupas before the halfway mark and was underwhelming after two and half books of Leroux being this dastardly villian). The dynamics between Kenrick and Zaya were also off kilter.  I know that the whole dominant/submissive thing is popular in werewolf novels (and I have no problem with it in other books), but the way that Frame presents is a bit off-putting.

Sigh.  I think this one has done me in for Frame’s paranormal novels.


August Releases Not Reviewed

Scene of the Crime by MJ Williamz – Based on previous novels I’ve tried by this author, I took a pass

Party of Three by Sandy Lowe – The blurb didn’t grab me, so I skipped it.

Double Down by MB Austin – This is third or fourth in a series that I am not following.

Where the Lies Hide by Renee Roman – DNF. The story, characters and writing just didn’t work for me.

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