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    LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(August 17, 2022)

    Here are the rules:

    Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?

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    I rarely post reviews of books lower than 3-stars because usually I can’t be arsed to finish them. Also, I’m such a mood reader that sometimes, no matter how good a book is I still couldn’t finish it if I’m not feeling right.

    So here are some books I keep promising I would get back to…

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    Rocket Science by K.M.Neuhold

    Relationships aren’t rocket science. If they were, I might stand a chance of figuring one out.

    Normally, I’d be all over the awkward nerdy types but unfortunately, I wasn’t connecting with either MCs. I read up to the middle up but I’m not sure I would continue with this one.

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    NoX by Adrienne Wilder

    One is a dying man.
    The other is a man who died to live.

    This is a really good take on the shifter trope and a very gripping story too but all the intensity, the haunted memories and primal lust was too much for me. I kept imagining how these people stink to high heavens with their 15-man orgy and being cooped up in a van. I got tired of people going on and on about Luca’s brother Koda. He took over the story but I wanted more focus on Luca and NoX. I wanted Dr. Dante to have a happy ending too.

    I started this last year and kept promising to get back to this but up until now, I’m still stuck in the middle.

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    Criminal Past by Gregory Ashe

    It all starts to go wrong at the shooting gallery.

    I love this series. I love Hazard and Somers. I simply got tired of Hazard’s ‘voice’ and thought processes. This series is written in dual POV but it’s really Hazard’s story. Which means from his POV, everybody was described in unflattering ways except Somers who is all sunshine and rainbows.

    I am a pessimistic person myself but jeez, lighten up will you..

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    The Seven of Spades has upped the ante. If Levi and Dominic don’t play their cards right, they’ll end up losing everything.

    This picks up after Levi and Dom’s break up which was kind of stupid really because they still end up having sex when they bump into each other. This is fine.

    What I didn’t like was how everybody was poking their noses on Levi and Dom’s business. I know their friends mean well, but I didn’t feel like going through all their nagging. I’m putting this on hold until I’m in the right headspace. I’ll still continue with this because I need to see if my guess as to the identity of the SOS is on the money.

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    Thrown to the Wolves by Charlie Adhara

    Agent Cooper Dayton is going to meet his boyfriend’s werewolf family. Unarmed. On their turf.

    And he’s bringing his cat.

    I was on my shifter binge when I started this. Unfortunately, the mood petered halfway. I will pick this up again when the mood strikes again. I had enjoyed the first two books so far so I know I’m gonna like this too.

    How do you feel about DNFing a book? Are you a mood reader too?

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    REVIEW: The Wolf At Bay by Charlie Adhara

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    Big Bad Wolf: The Wolf At Bay – Charlie Adhara

    Going home digs up bad memories, so it’s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he’s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple…or not.

    When Park’s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper’s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they’re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They’ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper’s dad put behind bars.

    The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper’s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can’t figure out what’s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he’ll lose someone he… Well, he can’t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he’s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer…he may not have a choice.

    I am currently on a shifter binge and Charlie Adhara’s wolves are my favorite wolves. Hers are simultaneously very wolfy and also not.

    Case in point: Oliver Park. Proving that the seasick werewolf is the best werewolf.

    Hints of him being not only just an alpha but quite possibly The Alpha. He did very alpha wolf things, like intimidate the other wolves into submission. That includes dogs. He’s also afraid of water, not good with boats and needs reading glasses he’s too embarrassed to wear in public. A refreshing change from the usual indestructible, tough guy specimens we normally get.

    As much as I would like to see major wolf action (shifting, marking, etc), I also enjoyed the novelty of having a shifter book focusing on realism rather than the paranormal. The book felt like a very low-key commentary on the genre. They are serious about the whole werewolf business but there’s also a sense of not taking it too seriously. Cooper and Oliver constantly exchanged repartee that, among many things, made fun of wolfy stuff including the mate aspect. Which is probably what I would do too, if I suddenly find myself in the company of supernatural creatures.

    Said exchange of repartee is what made the The Wolf At Bay come alive. I live for Cooper and Park’s banters! I could listen to them all day. Park is a normally taciturn person and I enjoyed the moments where Coop drew out his playful side. They just CLICKED!

    “As you pointed out before, I’ve made my feelings clear. So.”

    Silence. He glanced up and was caught in Park’s slow smile.


    The smile widened. “Papa, no! I luurve him,” Park said dramatically, and put a hand to his brow.

    Also, ♡ porcupine ♡!

    Obviously, I love Park. The man is a sweetheart. He’s good for Coop. I like it that they’re also really good friends aside than whatever else they were. And, yes!!! been waiting for it, the story shed some light on his background. Not too much but enough of a teaser for the third book. Still not fully shifting tho.

    Cooper is more difficult. But I get him. I get the anxiety and the fears. He and Park talked about anything and everything, constantly dancing around the thing they actually wanted to talk about. Coop took baby steps. I wanted to hurry him along but these things need to be taken at one’s own pace. And Park, ever patient bless him, never failed to let him know he will be there every step of the way.

    So here I am at the edge of my seat, on high alert for any tiny gesture or small words that spoke volumes of how they really felt. Until they finally took the plunge and it was all very ♡✧。(◍>◡<◍ ⋈ )。✧♡!!! (And in keeping with the character of the series, they joked about that moment later on too).

    Like most book twos, The Wolf At Bay is a transition to the next installment but there’s so much more to it. It’s a story about coming to terms with the past and the present. Also a cleverly written mystery and just cleverly written overall. There were major strides in character development, romance and family relationships. The dialogues were sharper and wittier than ever.

    The case was a really good one. I was completely in the dark until the end. It was complex and multi-layered, unearthing not only a literal skeleton but many other skeletons of the Dayton family and the rest of the neighborhood. It made you question, how well do you really know the people you grew up with?

    This dreaded hometown visit was a long time coming. It took Park, and us, on an awkward tour of Cooper’s childhood. Coop had to confront childhood monsters, adolescent crushes and his own brother and father. There were ghosts that needed to be exorcised. The air (desperately) needed to be cleared. Everything eventually tied in with the werewolf business and it only got messier. Yikes!

    All in all, The Wolf At Bay is a great second book. I loved it better than the first.


    Big Bad Wolf should be read in order. Book one, The Wolf At The Door here.

    Other paranormal/shifter series you might be interested in:
    Flesh And Bone
    Green Creek

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: I Love You
    Artist: Under The Influence Of Giants
    Album: Under The Influence Of Giants.

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    “So I get it. I know you’re this ridiculous superhero and you always have been. Shit, you might not believe in magic, but to me you’re as close to magical as anything I’ve ever known. And not just because of the whole werewolf thing, but because you’re you. All special and brilliant and patient and funny and you know, sort of good-looking sometimes, I guess.”

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    REVIEW: The Wolf At The Door by Charlie Adhara


    Big Bad Wolf: The Wolf At The Door – Charlie Adhara

    A former FBI agent is partnered with the enemy in this suspenseful male/male shifter romance from debut author Charlie Adhara

    Hunting for big bad wolves was never part of Agent Cooper Dayton’s plan, but a werewolf attack lands him in the carefully guarded Bureau of Special Investigations. A new case comes with a new partner: ruggedly sexy werewolf Oliver Park.

    Park is an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization working to ease escalating tensions with the BSI. But as far as Cooper’s concerned, it’s failing. As they investigate a series of mysterious deaths unlike anything they’ve seen, every bone in Cooper’s body is suspicious of his new partner—even when Park proves himself as competent as he is utterly captivating.

    When more people vanish, pressure to solve the case skyrockets. And though he’d resolved to keep things professional, Cooper’s friction with Park soon erupts…into a physical need that can’t be contained or controlled. But with a body count that’s rising by the day, werewolves and humans are in equal danger. If Cooper and Park don’t catch the killer soon, one—or both—of them could be the next to go.

    I’ve been reading three shifter stories in quick succession. So far, each of them brought something different to the table and kept things from being same-y. All Souls Near & Nigh has gods and magic galore and Hexhunter has witches, familiars and its own toned-down magic.

    The third book, The Wolf At The Door has no magic at all, except maybe for the part where people can change into wolves. It’s an engaging first novel that blended were-wolves with police procedural. It puts a fresh spin on the shifter genre and offers another delightful couple to root for. So I’m happy my first Charlie Adhara is a win.

    First, I really liked how this series avoided the usual insta-love fated mate thing and made the whole set-up as realistic as it can given the premise. It treated the wolves as ‘normal’, almost like a racial minority who had to fight for their rights and deal with bigotry.

    The wolves came out to the government but still a secret to the general public. The Trust, their oversight organization, collaborated with the Bureau of Special Investigations to investigate possible wolf-related serial killings in the town of Florence. Cooper was the agent chosen to investigate and he was assigned Park as his Trust partner. Cooper survived a werewolf attack, which was the reason why he started working at the BSI and being partnered with a werewolf was bound to get his hackles up.

    “Something bothering you, Agent Dayton?” 

    “Nope. Just want to solve this case. And go home and hug my very live cat.” 

    “Should have known you were a cat person.” 

    “Why, because I don’t like you?” Cooper muttered as Park left the trailer.

    Cooper is insecure, not a small talk person and more often than not tends to be harsh. Meanwhile, Park is unflappable, caring, and kind of perfect really with a vulnerable side that makes you want to hug him, especially when Cooper was being particularly bitchy. This combination has worked pretty well for other mystery/paranormal series such as Holmes & Moriarity and Psycop and the same fantastic chemistry could be felt in this series too as viewed from Cooper’s perspective. I also liked how the progression of their romance was paced and where they are in their relationship when the book ended.

    Mystery-wise, I guessed the unsub early on. However, I didn’t really mind. Even with the predictable part, the book was well-written and had a lot of surprising twists, suspenseful moments and snarky humor to keep me listening until 4 am. I enjoyed tagging along with Cooper and Park in their investigation. I was also more focus on Park who was a big mystery himself. It didn’t help that the were-wolf was close-lipped when it comes to himself and his family. There were many things hinted at, the Parks, were-wolf politics, the ominous “it’s bigger than us” declarations, a lot of hush-hush stuff. That’s also as far as the world-building goes and boy, do I need to know more!

    So color me intrigued. And hooked! I’m definitely sticking around for these big bad wolves.

    Recommended for those who like ’em growley but low-key.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Safe
    Artist: David Bowie
    Album: Heathen