Review: Ready for Wild by Liora Blake (Grand Valley #3)

Note: This ARC was provided by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books in exchange for an honest review.

"Why me?" 
"Because you make me feel like a goddamn live wire. You're in the room and I feel you. I don't have to see you, even. Because you're fucking everywhere. It puts my teeth on edge and sets my skin on fire. And I can't get enough."

Well, color me surprised! Braden Montgomery is still every bit as surly in this third and final Grand Valley novel, but it looks like meeting his match in Amber Regan was the very spark he didn't know he needed to start feeling something other than detachment and disillusionment. Liora Blake gives readers a story that has a hint of the enemies-to-lovers trope, but set in the rough and tumble outdoors with two people who give as good as they take in Ready for Wild. The back and forth between Braden and Amber was top-notch, providing the perfect kind of tension that you know is going to have a reader like me reaping the rewards as the story progresses. These two undoubtedly had their wild moments, but those were wonderfully counterbalanced by their more intimate ones.

Braden does his job and he does it well, and while he does whatever's necessary, he never signed up to babysit some female hunter with her own reality show. This is not what being a game warden is about, but he drew the short stick--literally!--and the pointed reminders and looks his boss gives him are enough for Braden to play...well, maybe not so nice, but he's going to try not to be too much of an ass. But Amber turns out to be anything but some wannabe huntress looking for attention. Sure, she sometimes wears heels and owns pink camo, but she knows her way around rough terrain and isn't an amateur when it comes to going after her prey. He tries to keep his distance from her, but when temptation comes looking for him, Braden realizes he can only resist for so long. There are so many reasons why being together doesn't make sense, but maybe they just need one to stay together.

In book one, Braden was a jackass of sorts. By the time book two was in my hands, you could see that the guy actually cared. Well, kinda. In his own way. But yeah, he was still somewhat of a jackass. In book three, I've learned that being a jackass is simply part of who he is and he isn't necessarily apologetic about it. What you see is what you get. Here, however, we see parts of him that he's either kept on the down-low or it was a simple case of not having any occasion for the "softer" side of him to come out. Even when it does come out to play, he isn't all mushy. Nope, that grit that's very much Braden never really goes away. So, of course, he needed a female counterpart who wasn't afraid of that sullenness of his or that abrasive manner in which he chooses to handle almost all matters. Hello, Amber, who we get a glimpse of in the second book, but who proves herself to be the ideal foil to someone like Braden. She was a kickass woman who knew who she wanted and full-on went after him.

The end to any series that's captured your heart is always bittersweet, and this was the case for Grand Valley. Each of the books had their similarities, but Liora Blake made them distinct enough that they stand really well on their own while having enough of those ties that bind them all together. Braden and Amber's story wasn't what I'd call sweet. It certainly wasn't sappy, but there was something that made it such a standout. Maybe it's because Braden met his match in Amber, and the two of them together helped to make this such an enjoyable read. We get glimpses at Braden's friendships with both Cooper Lowry and Garrett Strickland, from First Step Forward and Second Chance Season, respectively, that we didn't get to see in the first two books, proving that the guy isn't as isolated as he is. One particular supporting character won my heart: Charley, Braden's Chesapeake Bay retriever. I'm not a fan of hunting, and I was a tad uncomfortable with the scenes that had the two engaging in those activities, but as a whole, Ready for Wild was a trilogy end that captured me, hook, line, and sinker. Five-plus stars. ♥


Read my reviews for the Grand Valley series:

First Step Forward (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review

Second Chance Season (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review

Ready for Wild (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)


Date Read: 06 November 2017

Learn more about Liora Blake.

Purchase Ready for Wild on Simon & Schuster | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo.


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