Ready for WildAuthor: Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #3
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Featuring Liora Blake’s signature “funny, endearing, and more than a little hot” (Library Journal) style, the third novel in the Grand Valley series features a rough-talking game warden going toe-to-toe with a TV star who unexpectedly turns his life upside down.
Braden Montgomery is certain about three things: one, luck is for suckers; two, time spent outdoors is what keeps him sane; and, three, when it comes to sharing his bed, there’s only one female he’s willing to put up with—his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Charley. Braden’s constructed his life on these beliefs, and he’s quite content with the status quo.
But when a moment of bad luck lands Braden toe-to-toe with a blonde bombshell with her own television show, his stubbornly structured reality begins to unravel.
As for Amber Regan, her brand has been built on camo, cut-offs, and cleavage. With her own hunting show on the foremost sports channel and enough social media followers to garner her plenty of endorsement deals, Amber’s come a long way from the tomboy in a small Texas town she once was. Unfortunately, ratings are down and her contract for next season is in limbo, so she’s in desperate need of a reboot to save her show—and filming a rough and tough archery elk hunt in Colorado might be the way to do just that. Too bad the local game warden grunts more than he speaks, seems determined to despise her—and makes her heart race in all the most inconvenient ways.
The Faerie Queen’s review
Nothing like a book to expand your mind past the stereotypes and beliefs you had for another kind of life. That’s one of my favourite things about reading: exploring other people’s lives and trying out new ways of thinking. And that’s what happened in this book. Much like Braden had to face his contempt for TV shows featuring hunting, I had to face my issues with hunting itself. I mean, Bambi, guys.
Luckily, this book was written in such a way that I was hooked on the characters and their attraction, enough to distract me from the fact that they enjoyed killing things. But more than that, it showed me that while there are idiots who go around doing it irresponsibly, there are people who go hunting for the challenge, and who don’t do it just to hang up trophies but actually use the animal for sustenance. (For the record, I am one of those people Braden mentioned early on who is better off pretending the meat I buy is from a magical land where nothing gets hurt. I like steak too much to be a vegetarian, sorry.)
But enough about that. You want to know why I’ve given this book four stars, don’t you? Well! A few reasons.
First of all, yes, the hunting thing. It was new ground for me, and it meant the characters were inherently different from others I’ve read. Both Braden and Amber are very self-reliant and hardy, able to handle the wilderness on their own for days on end. They had skills that are pretty enviable, such as archery and, well, basically just surviving without plumbing. I even made a vow to check protein bar packaging in the future.
They were also different in other ways. Amber was so sure of what she wanted, and she had no qualms with speaking her mind, taking no shit from Braden. She didn’t apologise for liking both “masculine” and “feminine” things. She worked hard and took responsibility for her actions and her life. On the other hand, Braden was your typical brooding mountain man, but he went further than that, enjoying isolation and reading.
Braden earned a whole star on his own in one particular scene. There’s a trend in romance novels to have these alpha males who have to swoop in and save the day. They want to protect their women from other men AKA stake their claim. This is often seen as swoony and caring, but it’s also condescending and controlling to assume the women can’t handle the situation or want their help. In Ready for Wild, there was one such scene where I was preparing myself for Braden to play the hero, but then he did something that actually made him a hero. I won’t spoil it for you, but when you reach the scrawny cowboy scene, you’ll know.
And it didn’t stop there: he was very attentive to what Amber wanted when they overcame the tension between them. Which, by the way, was wonderfully shortlived because those two could not help themselves. Especially with Amber being so upfront about their shared attraction. There was no fade-to-black when these two got those pesky clothes out of the way, but I didn’t find it overly gratuitous either. I really liked the creativity of some of the scenes. 😉
My one niggle? WHY did she have to be petite? Why are heroines always teeny tiny things? Why can’t they be a normal height and size?
All in all, I liked this! It was sexy, fun, and educational, in a good way. I’ll have to give the rest of the series a go soon!