Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Home is Where the bark is & Passion Becoms Her" review

Home is Where the Bark is by Kandy Shepherd
Release Date: July 6th, 2010

It’s a doggie dog world out there and no-one is learning this better than Nick Whalen. A recently retired FBI agent and new private investigator, Nick’s newest case has sent him to the “Paws-A-While” doggie day care and spa. His job is to investigate the owner for possible identity theft. Nick is convinced, since many of the recent victims have been clients of the business, that there has to be a connection. So armed with his aunt’s Yorkie Poo Bessie and his determination to crack the case, Nick enters “Paws-A-While” only to come face to face with the loveliest woman he has ever faced. The case has just entered a direction Nick was not planning on heading in. 

Serena Oakley’s new business is booming. At least it was. Lately a lot of her clients have been pulling out due to “financial troubles”. Therefore she is determined to make sure her new client stays, and when he does it’s for more than one reason. Nick Oakley and Bessie are the weirdest dog-child and human pairing Serena has seen since she started her business. Nick is way too masculine of man for a fru fru dog like Bessie. One thing Serena knows is the moment Nick came into her shop is that things are going to be getting fairly hairy quite soon; just how hairy Serena could never guess. 

I have to say I rather enjoyed this book. Living in a house with five dogs I found myself laughing at the doggie humor in Home is Where the Bark Is. I found myself relating to Serena’s dog-kid talk and Nick’s “a dog is a dog” talk at the same time. Speaking of Nick and Serena, their relationship is masterfully planned. There is some lust at first sight, but it took a while for the characters to realize they trusted and truly loved each other. Serena had to get past her issues as the result of a crazy stalker and an ex who dumped her by email on Valentine’s Day. Nick has to stop seeing Serena as a possible suspect. It was sweet seeing them bond over Mack and the other dogs in the story. You could almost track their relationship as progressed over the weeks. Truly nothing brings people together like animals and this story exemplifies it. 

The stories side subplot of indentify fraud is well written as well. You really go through all the motions believing that one person is guilty only to find them cleared. Then as you get nearer to the end of the book, you start getting suspicious of one particular character. So suspicious you find yourself mentally yelling at Serena to listen to Nick and stay away from said person. The big reveal at the end is wonderfully written and really brought things full circle. So if you’re a doggie person that likes mysteries with romance, than this book is for you. ~

Rating: 4 Bunnies

Passion Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee 
Release date: July 1st 2010

What does a highly skilled thief do after retiring? This is a question that Asher Cordell ponders as he executes his final theft. He is not cut out to be in the clergy, nor quite eager to join the armed forces. The only thing left for him to do is become the gentleman farmer everyone believes him to be. The last thing left to do is to steal the Ormsby fabled jeweled necklace to get back at the bastard for killing his grandmother’s beloved dog out of spite. Asher does not plan on having his theft foiled though; certainly not by a young lady intent on stealing something from Ormsby as well. Asher is thoroughly surprised to learn the young lady he grabbed to prevent his discovery is his old neighbor and childhood friend Juliana Greely. He is even later more surprised when Juliana shows up days later and asks him to steal some letters her sister had written to Ormsby. Perhaps retirement won’t be so boring after all. 

Oh, things are not going well for Juliana Greely. Her foolish younger sister has written scandalous letters to Lord Ormsby when she was in school and now he holds them over her. He demands that Thalia marry him or he’ll make the letters public and ruin her sister's engagement to the Earl of Caswell. Juliana’s father does nothing but fret and thus it’s up to her to get the letters back. Juliana decides that the perfect place to steal them will be at the ball Ormsby is holding. She just doesn't plan on getting accosted by a stranger in her attempt to find them, nearly getting caught by Ormsby himself, and getting dragged out onto the terrace by so stranger. Imagine her surprise when she discovers the stranger is no other than her long time neighbor and former childhood friend Asher Cordell. The person it seems may be her only hope at securing the letters and preventing her sister from ruin. 

I’m a bit on the fence with this book. I really liked the plot and the characters. It’s just that sometimes during my reading I felt that things went too smoothly for the characters all of the time. Everything happens to perfection and no ill or troubles seem to befall them except the stealing of the letters and an untimely murder (which is solved rather too quickly and easily). It felt like a bit of a sellout. I wanted more intrigue, more suspense, more…. substance. Things were a bit too happy go lucky. I almost expected to see the care bears come down from the sky sometimes. Perhaps I was expecting too much. White Collar rather spoiled me with the plot theme of a professional thief turned good guy. I was expecting a storyline along with what the show produces in historical context. That’s not to say the book wasn’t a good read. It was. I rather enjoyed it. I just can’t give it a high rating because there was too much happy go luckiness and perfect coincidences that happened at the right moment. Nobody has that much luck. I would recommend this book to those people who like Amanda McCabe. If you like her writing style you’ll like Shirlee Busbee's

Rating:  3 bunnies