Saturday, March 7, 2020

D.D. Ayres - Irresistible Force

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?  

Comment: As it happened with the book I commented on immediately before this one, I was not planning on reading this Irresistible Force. I had gotten interested in the 3rd installment of the K-9 Rescue series while this one is the first. Since I was able to get the first three, I was quite eager to read in order, as I tend to prefer, but once again, I was proven we should stick to our preferences and, just like with the previous post, I was more interested in the premise of the third book instead of this first one.

In this book we are presented to a police force team of one man and his fellow dog partner. 
Police dogs are trained very seriously for them to do their work and looking at t through a certain perspective they are also quite valuable for that. So, this story starts when one of these dogs is being looked for by his human partner, James Cannon, after being kidnapped. Or dog-napped.
In fact, the dog had been rescued by kennel volunteer Shay Appleton and when his rightful owner shows up, scaring in the process too, telling her she committed a crime, she is angry and their meeting doesn't go well. The local police comes to solve the situation but this is only the beginning of a stressful period of time for Shat who, besides the dog dilemma, is also being stalked by her ex.
James helps Shay at one point and they start seeing each other but, will really be more to them except for the dog's dedication to both?

One of the weakest elements I sometimes find in romantic suspense is the credibility that in usually such a short amount of time, two people can really bond strongly. In movies, it's fun and serves a purpose but in books, it just seems like everything is rushed and there has to be something more besides plot. I've noticed some authors who have longer series can do better by developing things from one book to another and when it's a certain couple's turn, their relationship feels more likely to be a solid one.
In this case, being this the first installment, I'd say this is just on of the things  feel the author failed to convey in a believable manner.

The plot of this book is very busy. There are way too many things going on and, sadly, I think the tone and pace weren't well executed.
The premise of the dog being kidnapped is easily solved and could be a good motive for a meet cute. However, the protagonists don't get along very well (except, obviously, for their mutual attraction) but I thought this was refreshing and I hoped the author could develop this idea in a surprising way. However, it wasn't so because the heroine Shay probably could be named one of the most negatively affected characters by plot ever. She has a lot of negative situations happening to her, always bringing her down, always showcasing how despaired and stressed out she must be.
Then the end wants to convince me she magically feels wonderful? I was not convinced.

Shay is a heroine I could sympathize with due to her many problems. The ex problem, the sad tale of no one believing and bullying her when she was a teenager, the financial issues which weren't the worst I suppose but existed, the police thinking she was not reliable, the hero's ex wanting to take revenge on him through her, a little incident with a run over which was not her fault, attacks on her reputation and I think I'm still forgetting something else. 
Poor heroine, she suffered a lot and she had this vibe of feeling like a victim which can be understandable but to read about it can also be tiring and I don't think the author wrote her personality in the best way, didn't convey the emotions in a balanced manner.

The hero, James, is rather blank when it comes to personality. He didn't feel very developed for me, his intentions weren't bad but I had a hard time believing cops would behave like he did in specific situations, I could not believe he was falling in love, I didn't like how we were told about his family at first just for it to be handy in the last chapter, most things about him were a little at the surface level and I could not easily understand why he behaved like he did (how unlikely he was to be intimate with Shay so soon being she yet suspected of something? He is a policeman and he doesn't follow procedure when it came to his dealings with the vengeful ex?).

I think there were too many little details that failed to impress and all combined make for a very confusing story/execution.
I think the author wanted to portray how negative someone's live was but with the right person (or dog) love conquers all. It's a pity this was not a very balanced story and that the heroine could not find her inner strength sooner. It's not like her issues shouldn't matter but then why making this a romantic suspense? She could have been a better protagonist for a woman's fiction tale or something.

All in all, I found the experience of reading this to be rather weak. It was difficult to enjoy reading and I actually wanted to finish as quickly as possible, so I could start the next read.
Perhaps this isn't so bad as it felt to me but then, it's that traditional cliché: it was me, not you.
I might still try the title I initially wanted, for it seems this is the weakest installment in the series according to rating averages, but probably not so soon.
Grade: 4/10

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