Wild About Violet by Sara Blackard

Wild About Violet by Sara Blackard
Wild Hearts of Alaska Book 2
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Falling for my fake fiancée? Nope. Not gonna happen. I’m not about to ruin a great friendship with her over a pretend relationship.

Honestly, I had no idea the whole fake relationship front was a thing. When my biggest sponsor for my snowboarding career wanted to partner me up with my stalker teammate for a race around the world, I panicked and claimed my fiancée wouldn’t approve of me teaming up with the lunatic. Normally, I’m not big on lying, but, seriously …the psycho snuck into my hotel room during last winter’s Xtreme Games! Totally creeped me out.

My friend Violet didn’t bat an eye when I begged her to go along with the farce. She’s cool like that, willing to help out, even if it’s something ridiculous like pretending to be engaged. Probably because it gives her a break from the dating game.

You see, Violet hasn’t had the best luck with men lately. I’m betting it’s because of her silly notion that with one kiss, she’ll know if the guy is her one true love. I have no idea how she came up with that idea, but she’s determined it’s foolproof.

So, now we’re racing the globe together, doing insane stunts and puzzles, trying to win ten million dollars for my sponsor’s nonprofit. We’re having a blast, but I’ve got a major problem. I don’t think I want my fake fiancée to be fake anymore. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m wild about Violet. But how do I convince her that her one kiss rule needs to be broken?

I thought the first book in the series was good, but this one is even better! Wild About Violet is not what I was expecting based on the blurb – it’s so much more!

Violet and Kemp are best of friends. They support each other, they have a history of enjoying sports adventures together and they think the world of each other. Their relationship is positive, wonderful and enjoyable. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s the surface view. The story delves into some fascinating issues when it comes to Violet, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Violet’s family basically welcomed Kemp into their fold because they are that kind of loving, generous and giving people, whereas Kemp’s family was rich, snobby, controlling and judgmental. Not that readers will have to slog through any scenes showing that level of dysfunction – its aftereffects on the hero’s upbringing comes into play during the telling of the story. The author felt no need to add scenes creating unnecessary angst and I have to agree; the story is much better off without it. But knowing about it was helpful. It explains some of Kemp’s choices.

Now, Violet is the most interesting heroine I’ve ever read about. Her career in search and rescue is something to be respected. Her art is as unusual as she is, and just as beautiful. But there is a personal issue she has that is something she keeps close to her vest. Even some of the people you would expect to know, don’t know about it. I’m going to switch gears, and I hope this won’t be considered a spoiler. There’s this paranormal romance series I’ve been following for many years. There’s a character named Ethan who has this paranormal ability to memorize things at a glance down to the nth degree. You want to know how many shower tiles are in your bathroom? He can tell you, all he needs to do is glance at it once and he ‘knows’. He can remember everything in all its details down to the time, the colors, smells, what was said and what multiple people wore in that memory. I am sharing all of this because I thought such a thing didn’t exist, that it was truly a ‘paranormal thing’. Guess what? There’s FACT to back up the fiction! How it truly manifests in regular people and how it can affect their lives is at once fascinating and scary/sad at the same time. Ms. Blackard took this unknown-to-me ability and humanized it and made a reader feel the rollercoaster of emotions that such an ability creates in the person who has it. I won’t give the condition a name because Violet has her own reference to it that is unique. But I felt I had to share this in the review because it’s what makes the heroine’s character stand out from most heroines I’ve read about in the past couple of years. It’s also a contributing factor in the momentum of the story. So, yeah, it’s quite effective and important.

This is a sensual, closed-door romance. Lots of kissing and yearning, and close calls. The reasons they both resist taking the next step made perfect sense and made me respect them all the more. The whole plot of the story would have been compromised if the author took the easy path and used bed scenes as fillers. Instead, the main characters had to work through their differences, worries and doubts all while trying to win a race that took them through many countries and cultures.

Speaking of the race. That’s another thing I appreciated about Ms. Blackard’s approach to storytelling. She didn’t overdo, or info dump, nor skimp on the important things. She targeted her descriptions to create the atmosphere of the locales without diverting a reader’s attention from the romance, the focus of the story. It’s a fine line to walk and this author does it with ease. There are humorous encounters with the locals. There are many times I smiled, (chickens) and a few made me glassy-eyed, and one scene of extreme suspense and worry. I really felt for both Kemp and Violet and I not only wanted them to win the race, but I wanted them to win with their romance too. It’s true what the description says about Wild About Violet, it is a rom-com, it is fun and funny and it is heartwarming. But it only works because the author is a strong wordsmith who knows what her audience wants, and she delivers.

The story is told in first person point of view, but it takes turns telling it from Kemp’s side, and then from Violet’s. For me, it worked and I had a great time reading this novel. In fact, I can’t believe how fast I read it. Thank goodness there was an epilogue. Then again, the epilogue once again set me up for impatience. I met the hero for the next book and I can’t wait. One thing’s for sure, this guy is starting from zero in the opinion department because he wasn’t a nice guy back when they were all in school together. It’ll be very interesting to see how he not only wins the heroine over, but her whole family. This is going to be good.

Wild About Violet is a romance worth reading and I highly recommend it. It’s great entertainment, an awesome way to spend an afternoon and it made me feel really happy at the end.

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