Wild About Denali by Sara Blackard

Wild About Denali by Sara Blackard
Wild Hearts of Alaska Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Falling for the single mom? Nope. Not gonna happen, no matter how gorgeous and kindhearted she is. The potential for heartache is too high.

I should know. My mum proved that dating a single parent leaves one open for soul-crushing bachelorhood. Which is why I was determined to keep things friendly with Denali Wilde once I learned that the beautiful police dog trainer came with a kid. Why add the possibility of angst and suffering to my already stressful move to Alaska and opening an animal rescue center?

Too bad I didn’t keep my wits when it came to her son. The problem? The kid is amazing, into rescuing animals just like I am. Fair dinkum, the kid needs a mate about as badly as I do.

I’ve done a lot of crazy things in life. I mean, my TV series on Nature Channel wasn’t called Getting Wild with Wilder for its placid landscapes and tranquil animals. Yet, getting close to Denali and her son proves I have more than a few roos loose in the top paddock. Not only has my admiration for Denali increased with her insane dedication to her son, but he’s buried himself so far in my heart, I’ll never escape.

My determination to keep things friendly with Denali? Yeah, not as easy as I thought it would be. The thing is I’m wild about Denali. I just don’t think she feels the same for me.

Wild About Denali is a laugh-out-loud, heart-melting romcom with a single-mom, an Aussie reality TV star, and kisses that will curl your toes while keeping it clean.

This romance was a pleasant surprise. I took a chance on a new author and I’m glad I did. Wild About Denali is charming, heartwarming, adorable, romantic and fun. What I enjoyed about the writing was the author’s creative phrases, descriptions and idioms, some of which are either downright genius or flat out funny, but all of them contribute to the appeal of the characters found within the story.

Another interesting thing to note was the first-person point of view style – each chapter took turns looking at things from the hero’s, Drew, and Denali, the heroine’s, perspective. It was interesting seeing things from each of their sides because a reader can only interpret from one side at a time. The author had to be very careful in keeping it in the first-person for every switch, and I think she pulled it off nicely. I didn’t notice any hiccups.

There are a lot of family dynamics in this novel. Not just Denali and her sisters and cousins, but Drew’s mom plays a role as well as Vic, Drew’s almost-dad. Well, he has a biological dad too, but we don’t talk about that guy.

Speaking of another guy, there’s Nathan, Denali’s son’s father. It’s not what you think, so don’t be shy about reading the story – there are no custody battles or injury to Sawyer’s mental wellbeing. He’s well loved, adored, cared for and is smart as a whip. In fact, he is quite mature for an 11-yr old, which is showcased in the scene with the bear, and the falcon. Sawyer has a special way he feeds his animal charges and he uses a blender to do it. When I read the history behind the use of the blender, I chuckled, but later on in the story the author used it to good effect to the point it had me laughing out loud and grinning ear to ear. The author has a quirky and fun sense of humor.

I also greatly appreciated the fact that this romance story focuses on Drew and Denali’s growing relationship. There are trust issues, childhood traumas/decisions that affect the present, choices based on responsibilities and not whims, and fear of the unknown. It sounds like a lot of heavy brain power but the author weaves those real, lifelike challenges effortlessly in the course of showing how Drew and Denali are falling in love with each other. The love between both their side’s family members is very clear and strong, and with that closeness comes some well-intentioned meddling and ice cream therapy.

This novel is mostly sweet with a hint of sensual. The kisses are steamy, the eye contact seductive, and the scenes that cause heart-palpitations leave them breathless. And yet, Drew has hard-won mastery over his craving for all things Denali and when nature puts them in danger, Drew’s first instinct is to protect, even to the point of sacrifice. His commitment is that strong, which of course, leaves him open to jealousy. Yeah, the green-eyed monster rears its head and causes an effective plot conflict. But this is a romance story, so a reader can rest assured that the happy ever after wrap up is satisfying and joyful and even includes a couple of lighthearted snickers and giggles caused by a … oh I can’t tell you. That would be a spoiler. I don’t want to ruin your fun.

Wild About Denali has a lot of other details I could have written about – like Drew has a dreamy Australian accent and has a unique turn of phrase, and there are cute animals and that it takes place in Alaska and … well you get the picture. There is a LOT to enjoy and like in this book, and I enthusiastically give this story a double thumbs-up.

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