Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Smoke & Mirrors (THIRDS #7) [Dex & Sloane] by Charlie Cochet

~sigh~ this book.. I really don't know where to start.. I think it's my favorite though it's really hard to choose (and yeah ALL the other ones in the series also got 5 stars rating). I LOVE Dex and Sloane, I really enjoyed getting Ash and Cael and Calvin and Ethan's stories but Sloane and Dex are epic in their own right. This book shows us exactly that while revealing A LOT of secrets from the past, as well as what's been going on behind their backs with TIN (a sort of CIA agency with Therian agents) and a little about the villains running the show from back when Ash and Sloane were kids, before they even turned. This book was not only action packed it was also SO DAMN EMOTIONAL, because of the consequences of the action, but also because Sloane and Dex have to deal with their inner demons and it's not easily done. 

Returning to focus on Dex and Sloane means getting into A LOT of trouble, first off, the book starts with Dex being kidnapped, we actually got simply the knowledge of that in the previous installment. I HATE cliffhangers, but at least the book started right to business, not stretching our nerves too much.. Sloane is besides himself and TIN (and Sparks) are being as annoying as only they can be.. But somehow Dex is found and rescued yet what he finds during his captivity confirms his suspicions - his parents have been murdered, they were not killed in the riots, being in the wrong place at the wrong time..  Not only that, his mother had a lot of knowledge about Dr. Shultzon. What was her involvement, that's the big questions because someone is looking for the file she was compiling even if it's been 30 years ago. 

The throw back into the past is not the only thing Dex and Sloane has to deal with, there is something physically wrong with Dex. Dr. Shultzon knows something about that but his cryptic words doesn't make any sense as it is, it just upsets both of them. It wasn't what I was expecting, nothing of it, I had other theories in mind but not that. I like the outcome though there is more to be learned about the whole thing. It was a nice evolvement really. It also explains some of the things Dr. Shultzon found out so many years ago regarding the kids he was experimenting on. 

I loved the whole arc of Dex and Sloane's journey. It wasn't easy on both of them but I think it was a final step needed to formalize their relationship or rather bring them to the point "of no return" in how much they belong to each other. The Epilogue broke my heart. AT LAST no cliffhanger, but a beautiful heart breaking moment instead. I couldn't have ask for more, the whole thing was epic. 

Besides our main couple we get to see the team in action again but there is very little about Calvin and Ethan and maybe a little bit more of Cael and Ash. I loved seeing the mature and collected version of Ash, giving Sloane advice he could have used only months before when he was struggling with HIS emotions. I loved that he has grown so much, mainly that he realized that finally, at last (!) he is allowed to enjoy his life and be happy. He SO deserved it and he isn't willing to pass it, and he isn't willing to let his best friend ruined the happiness he recently found with Dex. Ash have something to deal with in this book as well.. a bet going all wrong.. :D :D :D Another Laugh Out Loud moment was when they were reminiscing about a case they were working on where Ethan was in his Therian form getting himself mixed up with colored balls he couldn't stop chasing :D :D :D Reminded me of the box scene in the previous one. I'm so happy Charlie added this scene into the book. First off - Ethan in a funny scenario - YES PLEASE! but also because that's a side of the job we don't see very often. Yeah there are a lot of funny moments I can't hold a loud laugh but THESE kind of funny are more rare I think (like the gummy bear getting stuck in the rifle! ROFL!)

One last thing to mention, Seb and Hudson.. In the previous installment we got a bit from Seb's point of view through the conversations he had with his brother Ethan. In this one it's Dex and Hudson finding time to chat about being marked with Dex trying to think of how to bring these two together when he realizes they both still care deeply for one another. Yet the instance Dex makes a certain move towards that he puts both in danger causing Seb to stay on Hudson's side as his protector (that's not exactly what he had in mind..). I guess it's the best way to start their book (the one after the next one in the series) in which they are both stuck in a "can't leave" situation. I'm really curious about these two. I can't wait to see them returning to each other's arms, it's obvious they are both in pain, mentally AND physically. 

Okay so I have a little bit more to add :) TIN.. we are getting more and more about this organization and I guess it means Charlie is making the little steps needed to connect this series into the spin-off coming out next year. Sparks is an interesting character, much more complex than meets the eye. We got to see her somehow differently in this one. It was refreshing and in one instance even heart warming. 

This turned out to be my absolute favorite Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy (MM) series. I don't remember when I had this much fun with a WHOLE series, usually I have more resolves / misgivings about SOMETHING, in this one I just drink each book up, unable to stop. Yesterday I almost read the whole book, I decided to force myself to sleep because with the previous one I DIDN'T stop and the day after I was the walking dead hehe

HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Start with the first one, with this series it's a must, every book leans on the previous one in the general story line though each book does deal with a certain villain or "situation". 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 279 pages, 14-15 November 2016 / On GoodReads


THIRDS is my absolute favorite Paranormal MM Romance / Urban Fantasy series. It's the first I've read by Charlie Cochet (and wasn't the last!). I absolutely ADORE the series, each book was simply superb! There's a lot of action in the books, but there is also A LOT of laugh out loud moments as well as heartfelt ones between the MCs. I couldn't have asked for more. This series has it all!

The world building is AWESOME, it's explained right in the beginning of the series - A biological weapon used in the Vietnam war caused a mutations that made the Therians, a new species of half man - half animal. What we usually call "shape shifters". The world is struggling to deal with this new species, a lot of prejudice, a need to register and somehow contain the new members of society. The THIRDS - Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron is formed to help the "human police" deal with Therian threats.

The series focuses on the "Destructive Delta" team, mostly the leader - Sloane a Jaguar Therian and his new human partner Dex (with 3 novels focus on other couples). 

The Destructive Delta Team:
Sloane Brodie (Therian Jaguar) - Dexter "Dex" J. (Justice) Daley
Ash Keeler (Therian Lion) - Julietta "Letty" Guerrera 
Cael Maddock (Therian Cheetah) - Rosa Santiago 
Ethan Hobbs (Therian Tiger) - Calvin Summers

The series contains 10 novel but Dex and Sloane's journey continues on the spin-off - TIN (Therian Intelligence Network)

HIGHLY HIGHLY Recommended! 

Each book contains a cast members list and a glossary, but if you want MORE - about the books, characters and the world of THIRDS - look into Charlie's dedicated site THIRDS HQ.

1. Hell & High Water [Sloane & Dex] (Published 5 July 2014) ★★★★★
2. Blood & Thunder [Sloane & Dex] (Published 3 August 2014) ★★★★★
3. Rack & Ruin [Sloane & Dex] (Published 7 November 2014) ★★★★★
4. Rise & Fall 
[Sloane & Dex] (Published 2 February 2015)

5. Against the Grain [Cael & Ash] (Published 3 August 2015) ★★★★★
6. Catch a Tiger by the Tail [Calvin & Ethan] (Published 5 November 2015) ★★★★★
7. Smoke & Mirrors 
[Sloane & Dex] (Published 8 July 2016)

8. Thick & Thin [Sloane & Dex] (Published 1 February 2017) ★★★★★
9. Darkest Hour Before Dawn [Seb & Hudson] (published 25 April 2017) ★★★★★
9.5 Gummy Bears & Grenades [Sloane & Dex] (published 4 October 2017) ★★★★★
10. Tried & True [Dex & Sloane] (published 24 November 2017) ★★★★★

THIRDS Universe 
These are side stories of characters mentioned throughout the series and will center around THEM (not the Destructive Delta arc) so they could be read as stand alone. Yet be advised they MIGHT contain spoilers to the main series. 
Currently there is only one book published with quite a lot of promised couples - Dom & West ; Wolf & ??? ; Taylor & Angel ; Lou & Bradley ; Felipe & Bram Zachary ; Brayden Kavanah & Eden Zachary 

Love and Payne [Austen Payne & Osmond "Zach" Zachary] (Published 4 September 2018) ★★★★★


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