Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: Taming Alaska by Diana Downey

Shane O’Flannery is no Prince Charming.

He is uncouth, uncultured, untrainable.

Damn this man! How dare he humiliate Texas heiress Cynthia Diaz by turning her down, even if she was underage at the time?

When Shane first meets Cyn, his attraction to this frustratingly hot, flirtatious spitfire almost gets him into trouble when he discovers she’s only sixteen. He cannot forget the temptingly sweet taste of this woman-child, so for two years he does his damnedest to avoid this young siren.

Even though Shane’s body was chiseled from granite and Cyn compares every man’s caress to Shane’s panty-melting kiss, she dreams of her true knight in shining armor. So shortly after meeting charismatic, well bred, and breathtakingly handsome Mr. Waits, the perfect man in every way, she marries him. She fully expects a fairytale honeymoon in Bora Bora, Fiji, or Maui. Much to her chagrin, he whisks her off to the Alaskan Interior. When her life is threatened, she must rely on the ill-mannered Shane to survive—a man who has never read the Prince Charming manual.

I obviously read a different book than everyone else who has reviewed this one because my thoughts are polar opposites from what others have said. FYI: This is going to be one of those reviews that is blunt and to the point. It's meant to be constructive even though it may not come across as that at times. I'll be blunt ... I found Taming Alaska to be frustrating, irritating, infuriating, demeaning and all negative -ing adjectives that I just don't have time to list here.

I guess I'll start with the characters. Since this book starts off when Cynthia is a young teenager, I was hoping to see some growth from her but there wasn't one iota of the personal growth I had wished for. She started off as shallow and immature and ended as the same. She acted as a petulant child would throughout the entire novel. She whined and complained at every single turn. Cynthia was a materialistic, spoiled brat and absolutely my least favorite character I've EVER read. Now, I want to explain that least favorite comment ... some characters are meant to be hated and when you do, then it enhances the story but that was not the case with Cynthia. I didn't think that her juvenile behavior added even one smidgen of substance to the plot line. I would like to think that the author wanted us to like her. But that is most definitely NOT how it came across.

And Shane. The leading man that I'll be excited to forget. He had no depth to him. I actually found it a bit disgusting that he was lusting after a young teenage girl. Yes, it should have been something innocent in the story because I'm sure that it's happened in real life but the way that he was written made it come across as creepy and disgusting. Then again, the way that Cynthia was acting like a dog in heat at that young age towards Shane also turned my stomach. It painted a distorted portrait of what young love is. This wasn't sweet, it wasn't innocent and it most definitely wasn't something that will make the reader reminisce about their first love.

Every author writes sex scenes differently. That's a good thing! You should be able to enjoy these moments just like any other significant moment within a romance novel and it should bring an extra dimension to the story. Instead of enjoying them, I dreaded each and every time the characters got in the mood. The scenes were stiff (pun not intended) and uptight. The dirty talk should sound sexy and not juvenile or come off as it is trying too hard. Prime example: Hershey kiss nipple. Really? You've got to be fucking kidding me. In no way is that attractive. The sad part is that the edition of the book that I received did not state that it was an advanced copy, which means that damn phrase is in the final edition. Ugh. Speaking of the sex scenes, they played a much bigger part in the plot than they should have. Let's say you're running for your life in an extremely dangerous location for days ... would you really be thinking about having sex 24/7? I'd sure as hell hope not. It was totally unrealistic and it was a disservice to the plot. It added nothing to the storyline except creating explosive irritation on my part.

The story had 387 things going on. You've got being stranded in the wilderness, copious amounts of sad and strangely worded sex, rabid wolves, vindictive bears, gun toting scary dudes, vicious murders, a shoddy kidnapping, embezzling, theft of furniture, drug dealing and drug lords, gay men posing as straight men, shitty accounting and on and on and on. That is too many damn things going on. If it had been chiseled down to roughly 150 issues in the plot, it would have read easier. It was too difficult to keep up with every little thing that was going on and after a while, I just could care less.

And THEN the blurb for the book states that this is a standalone novel. Standalone means ... it stands alone. And if that were the case, it wouldn't end in a cliffhanger!! A cliffhanger signifies that there is more to come which means it is NOT a standalone. I also take offense to the blurb stating that is a friends to lovers novel. To be friends, the characters have to like each other and they sure as hell didn't read like they liked each other.

Needless to say, this will be the last book that I read by this author. The only reason that this book didn't get one star in my review is because I finished it. I kept hoping that it would redeem itself in the end but it didn't. At. All.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: April 5th, 2016

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