Monday, January 25, 2016

review || EXTREME HONOR { blog tour } by Piper J. Drake

Forever | January 26, 2016 | Romantic Suspense
True Heroes, book 1


David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.

Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else—and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .

{ about piper j. drake } .

Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

{ excerpt } .

Her heart rate had picked up, fluttering at the pulse point under his touch.

“Yeah?” The urge to slide has hands over more delicate areas grew and he couldn’t help running his thumb along the inside of her arm.

Awareness grew in her gaze and she bit her lip as she nodded.

He leaned toward her, focused on her plump lip caught under her teeth.

“What else do you like?”

She opened her mouth to answer but he didn’t plan to let her get a word out. Maybe later. He bent his head to capture her lips.

And seventy five pounds of fur jumped up on his side.

“The hell?”

Lyn gasped. “Atlas!”

Af.” Mindful of the dog’s injury, Cruz gave Atlas a gentle shove.

The dog dropped back to all fours, his tongue lolling. Looking from him to Lyn and back again, Atlas lay back down on his belly.

Jealous. Damn dog was jealous.

{ review } .

I read two books at the same time that dealt with working dogs -- this one, as well as Kathy Clark's AFTER LOVE (review likely posted only on Goodreads in the coming days). So I just have to remind myself of Atlas's book, and not Harley's book ;) One of the books I'm writing (or will be writing, when it's time is up in the queue) deals with working/therapy dogs as well, and the more I read others' stories with them, the more I get nervous about my own story --

Because these books and the working dogs in them are fantastic.

In this particular book, a second series for new author, Piper Drake, we have ex-PJ David Cruz, who works with a couple of friends from the service. Together, they work with dogs at Hope Crossing kennel and the current case has them scrambling. Just before a friend's death, he sent Cruz an odd text that was brushed off as drunken slur. But when Calhoun ended up dead, pieces start to come together and Cruz, along with the Hope Crossing gang and dog whisperer, Lyn, start to wonder just how many answers Atlas himself has riding on his shoulders.

I really enjoyed the few scenes with Boom, Alex Rojas's daughter. There weren't many, but she seems like a fun girl and I can't wait to see more of her in the coming books. As for Lyn and Cruz, our heroine and hero of this book, I enjoyed them for the most part. I liked how protective of Atlas Cruz was, but equally I liked that Lyn stood her ground and forced Cruz to listen to her and her opinions. After growing up with a military step-father who didn't hold back just what his opinion of her was, she learned to speak up for herself. Did she had timid moments? Sure, but she also had her spunky moments where she wasn't afraid to be vocal.

It wouldn't be a full story when you have ex-military men and dogs without a little big of drama, and between Lyn and her relationship with her stepfather, and the mystery behind Calhoun and Atlas, there was enough fast-paced times to keep the pages turning.

...and the jealousy Cruz and Atlas battle was another fun little line.

For the most part, I found Ms. Drake's writing to be on par for what I've seen of her work. Two books in and not too much deviation from the voice she's started. While I still see her writing growing over her next few books, I like that she has a consistent voice in her storytelling. She does well with the romance line -- the lead up, the falling, the sexy, the heat -- and she continues to grow on the suspense front. However, I will say... there is at least one scene in EXTREME HONOR that the writing was too blatantly obvious and the rest of the scene became terribly predictable.

{ coming soon! }

...and I personally am super excited! Alex and his Boom...
Book two in the True Heroes series-  Ultimate Courage
Available July 26, 2016
Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope’s Crossing, Pennsylvania.
Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he’s building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope’s Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.
When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it’s obvious she’s running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope’s Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he’s certain he won’t be able to live without…
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{ giveaway } .

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