Title: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)
Author: Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre(s): Shifter, Paranormal, Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 240 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate….
Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming.
They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.
As a spin-off from the Camp H.O.W.L books, this story has, as secondary characters, a number of individuals from that earlier series. Camp H.O.W.L is about werewolves, but in the last book in the series, it introduced another type of paranormal creature. This was out of keeping with that series but clearly sets the reader up for this new series. Sadly, there are no real differences in personality, so it is very easy to forget species differentiation and identification. Some quite uncommon animal and creature types are used, but no attempt is made to explore their culture or origins. The plot makes use of characteristics of the individuals and their familial ties, but this is handled in quite a superficial way. There is some emphasis on differences in social standing, but despite this clearly being of some historical impact, it is treated quite negligently here. The point seems to be that differences in species and class are largely irrelevant where love is concerned, which may have some accuracy, but does little to enrich a plot.
The story is interesting and well structured with a number of themes being developed and interwoven. The writing style is approachable and it is easy to follow the plot. There is a lack of tension throughout, as every potential point at which a scene could be tightened the situation is quickly and painlessly defused. Nevertheless, there is plenty happening to keep the reader’s interest.
The relationship between the two lead characters is never in doubt. There may be concerns raised both explicitly and in internally but, as with other aspects of the plot, these are smoothed over. Where sensuality is discussed there is some detail provided in actions short of penetrative sex, but actual sex events are passed over.
The story as a whole has a steady pace. The multiple threads allow for a constant stream of issues to be faced and overcome. As such it is an interesting if somewhat diluted read.
At the end of the book, the plot lines are resolved neatly but there are quite a number of outstanding points that could have been explored. However, like much of the book, these are issues that are presented but not explored.
For a series of stories that started so well, even the introduction of new locations and species do little to lift what are little more than light romance novels, and this story is no exception.