All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

So Tough To Tame – Victoria Dahl

on September 23, 2013

So Tough To TameSo Tough To Tame (Jackson #3)
Victoria Dahl
Harlequin MIRA
2013, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Charlie Allington is reeling from a scandal that sapped her of all the professional respect she’d built up for herself over the years. It’s also a scandal that very nearly landed her in jail. She’s been lucky enough to get another job but the patronising scrutiny of the wife of the owner/manager (and her former school friend) means that most of the time, Charlie feels more uncomfortable than grateful. As head of security for a new resort that is about to open, accommodation is one of the perks of the job. However Dawn’s constant snide remarks and her habit of always looking over Charlie’s shoulder and knowing what she’s up to (and judging her on it) means that Charlie is desperate for her own place. Thanks to her cousin, she’s able to secure a place at the ‘Stud Farm’, an apartment building in Jackson, Wyoming belonging to an older woman who usually only lets her apartments out to young, good-looking cowboys. However she’s gone a bit soft in recent times and Charlie isn’t the only woman living in the building.

The apartment opposite hers is occupied by Walker Pearce, who Charlie knows from school. When she was 16, she tutored Walker Pearce and daydreamed about the hot cowboy who was way out of her league. Well school was a long time ago and Charlie has changed a lot since then. She’s no longer timid and shy, shunning any and all interactions with boys. She’s aggressive and self-confident and she knows what she wants. And what she wouldn’t mind is a hot fling with Walker, the cowboy she’s always wanted to try.

Walker liked Charlie back in high school – they were friends. When he finds out that she’s moved in across the hall, he’s surprised at the temptation Charlie provides now. Walker has avoided long term relationships but things heat up between the two of them very quickly. But both Charlie and Walker are hiding secrets and it’s going to take an awful lot of trust for them to be able to confide in the other.

So Tough To Tame is the third novel in Victoria Dahl’s series set in Jackson Hole Wyoming. I’ve enjoyed the other two books in the series – they’re fun and sexy and feature cowboys. What’s not to like? So I was pretty excited about this one, especially as Walker featured in the previous book and I was pretty sure he was going to be the ‘hero’ in book 3. I was right, so I was really keen to hear his story.

Unfortunately, this one falls short of the mark for me. The other two books sucked me in to the story right away and I felt the chemistry between the characters. This one didn’t really do that – I didn’t find myself warming to Charlie at all in the beginning and unfortunately this didn’t change throughout the whole novel. There were some things she did that were unbelievably stupid. Her reckless attitude irritated me instead of making me want to cheer her on and the way in which she put up with the way Dawn and her friends spoke about her within her hearing drove me nuts. I know she’d hit rock-bottom professionally and had taken the new job gratefully but sitting there listening to people run you down is just ridiculous. She was uncomfortable with the whole thing – the job, the scrutiny from Dawn, the claustrophobia of living on the premises, the bad feeling she got from Dawn’s husband. Moving out was a good start for her state of mind even though it gave Dawn more ammunition against her. Dawn was a character that just bothered me. She was so cardboard cutout villain in the beginning of the book and then I think there was an attempt later on to give her depth, hidden layers and insecurities and motivations but it didn’t really work for me. It came off as awkward and a bit clumsy, like she was two different people with two really different characters.

I liked Walker in the previous book and I didn’t mind him in this one either, but I just didn’t really enjoy the two of them together. There seemed to be a lot of misunderstandings and Charlie was attempting to push Walker into doing something that he didn’t want to do. She was lacking information about why he didn’t want to and she did want the best for him but the way that she kept going, even when he became so uncomfortable, didn’t sit well with me. Walker should’ve just told her his issue, but I also understand why he didn’t – he was embarrassed. And he’d been ridiculed for it all his life by his father, who believed him to be stupid and worthless. I’m not quite sure how their feelings came to be love – Walkers says at the end of the book “Is that love? I don’t know” and then about a page later, he tells her he loves her. So I guess he figured it out pretty fast. However, their interactions didn’t seem to be enough to warrant such strong feelings. I felt like there wasn’t a huge amount of time devoted to developing their relationship and taking it to that next level. They were attracted to each other and had some hot interactions and some hot sex. Also when Walker learns of the scandal (I find it hard to believe no one knew, given her schoolfriends knew and this is a small town, stuff like that spreads like wildfire) he immediately believed the worst about her. So much of Charlie seemed to be an aggressive projection that I wasn’t really sure what her character was truly like. And likewise I got the feeling Walker hid a lot of his true self too, which made it doubly difficult to really get behind them in any way.

A bit of a disappointment for me, but it’s written in the same style as the previous two and many will probably still enjoy it.


Book #244 of 2013




2 responses to “So Tough To Tame – Victoria Dahl

  1. I didn’t know that the next novel in Victoria Dahl’s Jackson series was being released tomorrow! *Scampers off to pre-order*

    In all seriousness though, I was really excited to see your review today as I had enjoyed my experience with Dahl’s previous two novels in the series, Close Enough To Touch and Too Hot To Handle (Particularly the latter!) While they only garnered three and four stars from me respectively, I find there’s something pleasant and comforting about Dahl’s work and I enjoyed the world that she had established over the prior two instalments. Plus, who doesn’t love a novel featuring a hot cowboy?

    All that said, I was a little disappointed to see that So Tough To Tame seemed to fizzle rather than sizzle and that your experience with it was a little disappointing for you, although given your comments in this review I can certainly understand why. I find that characters are key in a romance novel, so it’s certainly understandable that your inability to connect with Charlie in any significant way would effect your overall feelings toward the novel. I was also frustrated to hear that there seem to be communication issues between Charlie and Walker, something which I find I have little patience for in these sort of stories. Misunderstandings because of a lack of communication drive me up the wall and often feel contrived.

    While I’ll still likely read this novel as I enjoyed the previous two in the series, I’ll definitely be approaching it with an abundance of caution as I have a feeling I might encounter similar issues. It’s a shame because I really do like Dahl’s work, but I guess they can’t all be winners!

  2. I also had no idea that Dahl’s next book was coming out. I’ve enjoyed her last couple of titles, so it’s a shame that the couple in this one didn’t quite work for you. I still haven’t made up my mind on this one yet!

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