Author: Christie Ridgway
Series: Cabin Fever #1
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
From USA TODAY bestselling author Christie Ridgway comes a sparkling new series set in the California mountains, where Hollywood glamour meets rustic charm, and the sparks fly among the unlikeliest of couples…
Poppy Walker has a plan to restore the family resort, and she's sticking to it. So when a good-looking guy with plenty of cash rents one of her half-repaired vacation cabins, she figures he's just what the handyman ordered. But when a late-winter storm blows through, it takes down some trees, her roof and then…her self-control. Even though she's been burned before by a wealthy passer-through, she can't stay away from the brooding but gorgeous stranger in the bungalow next door.
Former teen idol turned Hollywood exec Ryan Hamilton wants a private place in which to endure his very personal heartbreak. Finally, at this rustic mountain cabin, he has all the seclusion one man could want—until sparks begin to fly with his sexy, formerly chilly landlady. By the time the weather dies down, they're both hot, bothered and certain they're still wrong for each other. But there's no telling how they'll face the new storm brewing on the horizon…
Here I am again, with another romance. When will the insanity end?! I probably would have passed Take My Breath Away up if it hadn’t been set in California. What can I say? I love my state. I think I need to stop doing that, though, because where a book is set definitely doesn’t guarantee it will be good. Am I saying this book wasn’t good? To an extent, I suppose. To be honest, I wanted to DNF it a few times, but felt compelled to keep reading. If I had quit reading, I don’t think I would have missed out on much. I’m sure other people will feel differently though.
The story is told from two POVs … no, wait, four POVs. See, the blurb only mentions Poppy and Ryan, but there is a whole other storyline with two different characters, as well. When Linus and Charlie’s story was first introduced, it threw me a little off kilter. It was a bit odd how it was thrown in there, and with flashbacks. The flashbacks are done like a movie script because Linus is in “The Biz”, but I can’t decide if that was clever or lame. Their storyline does crossover with Poppy and Ryan though – Linus is Ryan’s brother, and Charlie is Poppy’s cousin. They have a second chance at love story that was actually kind of good; I was just oddly placed at times.
Okay, back to Poppy and Ryan. Ryan hates March. Something very tragic happened in his life during March four years earlier, and every year since something disastrous happens. So he ends up at Poppy’s rundown cabins she is trying to fix-up. Poppy was an okay character, but she annoyed me in the beginning. I can’t stand when characters act “stunned stupid”, as Ryan describes it. Poppy gets all flighty and weird when first meeting the guy, literally running away like she doesn’t know how to act. Seriously, do people actually behave that way? I mean, she’s in the hospitality industry, so I would expect her not act like she has a social anxiety disorder. At twenty-seven, Poppy is completely clueless about movies, television shows, or anything regarding them. I could believe this to an extent, but there are too many factors playing in her life for her to be as clueless as she was. Her utter cluelessness is important though, because Ryan is a very well known celebrity.
As for Ryan, I really didn’t care for him. I understand he was going through a rough time and wanted to push Poppy away, there were things about him that rubbed me the wrong way though. He would get angry and take it out on her with sex because he could tell she was so inexperienced. She was willing, but his intent was to scare her away with his roughness and being ‘cruel’ so she wouldn’t want him. There were a couple of instances like that, and then it would be okay the next day. It was weird and super dickish. He seriously needed medication, but apparently only in March, and then he’s totally different. So everyone says. I’ve read many books with characters who have that kind of dynamic and it works, but it didn’t work for me in this one.
Oh, and Poppy has a five-year-old son Mason. His mom may not know who Ryan is, but Mason sure does; he practically worships him. Ryan and Mason’s dynamic was kind of cute. The kid constantly followed him around and Ryan would try to brush him off, but at the same time he was actually good with him. However, there is some drama that involves Mason’s dad that mostly got a big eye roll from me.
There were a few funny and sweet moments, but there was a lot I just wasn’t feeling. If you’re the type that doesn’t like fast moving romance, then beware, because this whole story takes place within a month. Not even a full month of getting to know each other since they barely interacted the first part of it. I usually don’t mind at all, but this time it felt off. There were times when I liked their dynamic, but mostly it didn’t feel all that authentic. I don’t know, maybe it was just me.
So. What did I learn for Take My Breath Away? Not every book set in California is amazing. But they should be! Seriously though, I wish I could have loved this book and its characters. I guess we weren’t meant to be.