Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
Brandon Forte broke Sophie Kim’s heart when he enlisted right after high-school and left without saying goodbye. But since he’s come back to civilian life and opened Hope’s Crossing Kennels in their home town, she’s been there for him as a friend, never hoping for something more out of fear of ruining their friendship, never asking the question she needed answered above all: Why he left.
The reason behind him leaving and him coming back was the same for Brandon: Sophie. He’d do anything for her, even keeping their relationship friendly and strictly platonic if that’s what she wanted. But when she almost dies in a car bomb, Brandon ups the ante. He’s willing to die for her if it means keeping her safe, especially since he suspects he was the one who brought death threats to her doorstep.
While the first two books in this trilogy weren’t exactly literary gems, but I liked (most of) the characters, the dogs, the descriptions of training, the action and suspense, and even the romance, despite them being rather rushed and instantaneous.
In this last installment, I only liked the dog. Haydn was a real sweetheart.
The rest of the story was a mess, really. I was rather ambivalent toward either protagonist not really engaging, not really caring what happened to them or with them. They left me cold, and their supposed romance was no better.
They were supposed to be friends for ages, I didn’t see that, I was merely told they were friends. They certainly didn’t act like friends, merely passing acquaintances, and there certainly was no romantic spark between them, no unrequited sexual tension that would result in two people being attracted to each other, but keeping it all platonic.
The “interlude” at the cabin was boring and plodding in pace, and when they weren’t having sex (those scenes were cold, unemotional, their first time happened from behind with zero eye contact) they really acted like strangers, but instead of talking about weather, they talked about food.
There was nothing more to talk about, I guess, since, for supposed friends for life, they had little to nothing in common—he was a dog trainer, while she owned a cat, for example.
And when they finally had a serious and to-their-relationship meaningful conversation, he finally told her the truth, and she couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with it.
A rushed, instantaneous romance between two strangers would’ve been better than this torturous semblance of love.
The story could’ve been saved by the suspense. It wouldn’t have been a great read, but it could’ve been saved. Unfortunately, that was also a bust. It came on too strong from the beginning—going from safe to almost blown to pieces in a span of a few paragraphs. There was no buildup, no increase in intensity, everything just went boom.
The motive was also a huge problem for me. I could’ve bought it (maybe) if it was a slow burn, but when everything was revealed, and thanks to the pace it all happened at, I couldn’t help but find that particular plot element rather idiotic, convoluted and too over-the-top for a bunch of supposed professionals.
The characters didn’t leave much of an impression, the romance wasn’t there, the suspense was flat and vapid, the pace plodding...But, as I said, Haydn was a real sweetheart.