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Friday, August 22, 2014

ARC Review: Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayers

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: August 26, 2014

When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire…

For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.

Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?

Irresistible Force left me on the fence about whether or not to continue reading the series.

Abuse victim Shay Appleton has spent most of her life running from her violent past that has left her more than nervous. When she adopts a beautiful dog to be her companion and guardian she thinks that at last she might have some semblance of peace in her life. Unfortunately for her, her new dog already has an owner, and a job. When his handler, Officer James Cannon comes to collect his missing K-9 police partner, Shay is understandably distressed.

James is almost certain that Shay stole his dog Bogart but once he begins to question her, he knows she’s not responsible for taking Bogart. He also learns that she is in desperate need of protection and he can’t help but want to be the one protecting her.

What originally attracted me to this book was the cover and the series title. I’m a dog lover and so a dog on the cover with a series called K-9 Rescue Series is going to get my attention! That’s the only reason I requested this book at a time when I had a review pile as high as my ceiling to sift through.

The beginning half of the book was pretty awesome, there’s was a lot of suspense with regards to Shay’s ex and the escalating acts of vandalism and violence towards her. It almost seemed like James was way in over his head with her. Never knowing when, where or how the antagonist was going to strike was nerve racking and of course made me keep reading to see what was going to happen next. I loved Bogart, the lovable Belgian Malinois (One of my favorite breeds) who could go from goofball to K-9 cop in seconds. The obvious affection that James and Shay had for him was endearing and made me like both of them in the first half of the book. The growing attraction between James and Shay also had me thinking that Irresistible Force would be a very promising read.

However, my enjoyment of the story slowed to a turtle crawl during the second half of the book for a number of reasons. The first one was Shay herself. While I acknowledge that the author did a great job of creating a credible background for Shay and gave her all the mental, emotional and physical side effects from her violent background, it was almost too much for me to deal with. I didn’t expect Shay’s issues to be glossed over but it seemed like every page was bogged down with her issues to the point where she became her own worst enemy and too much of a victim if that’s possible to believe. She didn’t want to be a victim any more yet her actions belied her words. Again, the details with Shay’s background and her resulting trauma were well done, but for a romance, it was just a tad too heavy with Shay’s problems.

James, oh goodness I wanted to smack him something fierce in the second half of the book. Here’s why: He’s supposed to be a bad ass law enforcement officer, known for his intelligence and his skills yet even knowing Shay is being stalked, harassed and threatened, he makes some of the stupidest and might I even say rookie mistakes in regards to her safety! Who doesn’t arrange for some kind of protection for the woman he is supposedly falling in love with when he’s unable to be around her himself?! I mean if he can’t officially call in someone to look after her, then at least have some buddies drive by and check in on her right? No, he gives Shay’s stalker the perfect opportunity to strike. By the last quarter of the book I severely doubted James’ efficiency as a law enforcement officer.

And we’re back to the antagonist, or should I say antagonists in the story. While Irresistible Force started off with once clear villain, by the last page there were not only more villains but they each had a different motive for wanting to get rid of Shay. It sounded a little rushed and forced. I think keeping her ex as a villain and identifying who stole Bogart and why would have sufficed in terms of conflicts. Shay alone had enough problems to create conflict for the entire book, no need to weigh it down with even more conflicts.

Final Verdict: The details that when into Irresistible Force are both a blessing and a curse for the overall story. As a romance, it spent too much time focusing on the heroine's issues. As a romantic suspense, it excelled at creating a suspenseful, unpredictable conflict that pushed the characters together and created an environment where James and Shay could get to know each other. Would I read another book in this series? Possibly.

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