Title: Wild at Heart | Author: K.A. Tucker | Genre: Contemporary Romance
“‘I need you in my life like I need to fly. Like I need this Alaskan air. More than I need this air.’”– K.A. Tucker, Wild at Heart
As you may already know if you read my review (if you haven’t, read that here), I read The Simple Wild, and I adored it. So, of course, I had to run and pick up the next book in the series, Wild at Heart, right away (and by run and pick up, I mean express ship it to my door). In my review of The Simple Wild, I recall saying that “this book made me feel so many emotions,” so you would think I would have expected the same from the sequel. Nope. I was wholly unprepared for the passionate response Wild at Heart provoked within me.
Wild at Heart picks up almost right where The Simple Wild left off. Calla agrees to move back to Alaska to be with Jonah. Eventually, Calla is left alone most of the time with Jonah off working. When Calla is not alone, she’s being pestered by her new neighbors, some friendly, some, not so much. All the while, Calla is trying so hard to adapt to her new reality in Alaska.
| Character Development |
Once again, K.A. Tucker outdid herself with her character development and scene-setting. I really can’t say anything negative in this regard. Her characters hold multitudes – even the background characters have their own well-defined qualities. I felt as though I was spending my days with these people just as Calla and Jonah were. While we are still in Alaska in this book, we’re in a different part of the state, and the vibe is SO different from the first book in terms of setting. The setting’s description went into such depth I had no trouble imagining where everything was and what it felt like to be in this small town.
| Plot |
This story’s plot was a little bit all over the place but not necessarily in a bad way – it just wasn’t linear. I was captivated the entire time, even though not all that much happened was super noteworthy. But that was okay with me. I loved reading about Calla struggling to acclimate to her new life, getting to know her new neighbors, and her and Jonah’s tumultuous relationship (more on that, later). I will say this story is not as predictable as I thought it would be. I kept waiting for something significant to happen to move us towards the climax, but it all happened so subtly I never really knew what to expect.
One thing about the plot that I find a little bit frustrating is that the climax and all of the falling action occurred in the last one hundred pages or so in both books. Whereas I ended up enjoying the pacing at the end of The Simple Wild, I can’t say the same for this book. The ending felt rushed and, while it did end on a gratifying note, I wish it was drawn out more and not all happening one after another in the last one hundred pages. (Maybe this is why she wrote the novella, Forever Wild? Who knows, but I’m so glad she did!)
Nevertheless, I loved the relationship building between Calla and her neighbors, and Calla’s daily struggles to adjust to her new life were both entertaining and pity-inducing at the same time. Calla’s blossoming relationships with her neighbors are the real VIPs in this plot, if you ask me. The dynamics between them captivated me and left me craving more.
| Romance/Relationship |
As promised, let’s talk about Calla and Jonah’s relationship… but where to start? I’m going to struggle not to spoil anything here, but I’ll do my best. Obviously, their romance spanned the entire book this time rather than that last third. Nonetheless, I found their relationship to be more frustrating than romantic for the majority of the book. Don’t get me wrong, there were times where I think I actually squealed from how adorable they were, but those moments came few and far between. In a sense, this relationship was more real than most book romances, and maybe that’s why I didn’t relish it. I am a Pisces after all, I love floating outside reality.
One redeeming quality about their relationship is that Calla and Jonah’s banter was still so on point. It’s always disconcerting when an enemies-to-lovers romance completely changes to rainbows and butterflies as soon as the couple gets together. There’s nothing more cringe-worthy, honestly (looking at you, ACOTAR). So, I was super happy to see the ardent teasing continued in this book even while they’re together and in love. The spice level was definitely cranked up a notch, with a significant increase in the number of sexy scenes. They still held back and didn’t go into immense detail, but I did raise the spice rating from two to three, i.e., you’ll want a glass of water nearby to either drink or dump on yourself to cool down.
I could go on a massive rant about the specific moments in their relationship that irked me, but I will spare you. Honestly, the fact that I was having such strong reactions to their relationship just goes to show how well-rounded this book is. It didn’t just make me smile and sigh in contentment; it also made me want to throw it across the room and scream.
I read this book in two days, and yes, I am a fast reader, but I will never binge-read a book like that unless I genuinely love it. And love this book I did, despite the immense irritation is generated… or maybe because of it? I gave Wild at Heart three and a half stars. If you loved The Simple Wild, you will surely want to pick this one up next. Just make sure you buckle up because it is an emotional rollercoaster.
Check out my Wild at Heart inspired Spotify playlist!