Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey
Book Two of the Romancing the Clarksons series
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
Sometimes you just can't resist playing with fire . . .
By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.
Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle . . .
What I Liked:
I feel like the latest Tessa Bailey books have put me in a difficult position, in terms of how I should rate them. On the one hand, there are major things I've disliked about each book. On the other hand, there are other major things that have, in a way, made up for those "bad" major things. So I end up with the three-star rating. I hate certain things about the book, I like other things, and I find myself meeting in the middle to rate and review. Most of her books that I've read have received between three and four stars, which is positive. But I haven't experienced a real "wow" factor book (like my all-time favorite Bailey book, Officer Off Limits).
Aaron Clarkson is headed to Iowa with his little sister Peggy and older brother Belmont. They're road-tripping to the East Coast as per their mother's dying wishes, but Aaron is stopping in Iowa to try and restart his political career. He'll do so by trying to get a job with a senator running for president. Little does he know that the president's eccentric daughter is going to take him by storm.
This book felt like it was entirely Aaron's, which I was okay with. I liked Aaron; he's a player, a one-night-stand guy, a no-feelings, no-conscious smooth-talking politician. But there is so much emotional and mental weight behind those eyes. He thinks everyone thinks he's a manipulator, like most politicians. He thinks his brother hates him. Honestly Aaron doesn't have a high opinion of himself, even if he seems a little arrogant. This book was about how he began to change his view of himself, and how he healed his relationship with his brother (and family in general). And, of course, how he fell in love with Grace and practically regrew emotions.
Grace is... bizarre. Eccentric is the closest word I can come up with to describe her. She's so wild, and needs so much space. Her family doesn't allow her to come to her father's speeches and meetings and debates and such, because she's liable to do something crazy or embarrassing or illegal. I'm sorry, but Grace is a little crazy. To be honest, I didn't love her. But I will say that she is probably one of Bailey's most unique heroines, and she was a well-written character.
I'm feeling kind of meh about the plot, and I already mentioned that I didn't love Grace. I liked Aaron, his emotional journey, and the small scenes we get to see him interact with his family. While I thought the romance happened a little too quickly, I liked how steamy the (few) sex scenes were.
Overall, this wasn't a bad companion sequel. I like the road-tripping, the bonding, the cute pet. This isn't one of Bailey's best novels (in my opinion), but it wasn't terrible either.
What I Did Not Like:
I didn't like Grace very much. Now, I didn't hate her either. I just didn't connect with her, and it makes sense, because we are polar opposite. I'm not wild and carefree and totally eccentric like she is. Let me tell you, guys -- this girl is so weird. And weird is not bad! I had a hard time connecting with her weird.
Also, I just couldn't get passed her committing an illegal crime, and then Aaron having the blame forced on him, and Grace not doing much about this! Um, hello, she did something HUGE and illegal? Regardless of the Robin-Hood-like intentions (which, ehhh, not really), she did something really, really bad. And illegal. Did I mention illegal? It's no wonder her family tries to cage her.
I was furious when Aaron wasn't totally furious at having that crime foisted on him (unintentional on Grace's part, but still). How was he not even a little angry, and didn't resent her even a little? Heck, he felt guilty that she fessed up and told her father the truth. AARON felt guilty?! About that?! I'm telling you, these people are so dumb sometimes. So totally dumb. And this is only after a few hours (aggregate) of interaction between Aaron and Grace. It's like, one-fourth in (really close to the beginning).
I did mention that I wasn't really feeling the plot. It was pretty boring, especially for a romance novel. I just felt like there wasn't much to it! What was the point? Rebuilding a camp? In the grand scheme of things, it felt very unrelated and insignificant. It related to Grace's past, but I didn't really connect it with the overall plot of the series. It just didn't fit well, in my opinion.
One thing I will say about Grace is that I like how she is very direct in her weirdness, and doesn't play games. She doesn't try to make Aaron jealous by exaggerating talking with other men, or anything like that. But still, it seemed like Aaron was totally lovesick after knowing her for two minutes, and he was pushing and pulling, and she was constantly sad about not getting her way.
That probably covers everything! You see what I mean? Positives here, negatives there...
Would I Recommend It:
Honestly I wouldn't even recommend this book. The first book, Too Hot to Handle, was not bad. It features another self-deprecating hero, but the heroine isn't totally batsh*t crazy, and the story seemed to flow better somehow. This book... meh, no. It wasn't satisfying or particularly enjoyable/lovable.
3 stars. I'm disappointed that I'm not rating this one higher, but I didn't love the book. I might actually skip the next one, because I can already see that I might not like Peggy. Or her old man.
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