Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Guest Review: Wild Hearts (Jessica Burkhart)

Wild Hearts (If Only . . ., #4)
Title: Wild Hearts
Series: If Only..., Book 4
Author: Jessica Burkhart
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Content Rating: Teen (kissing, minor violence)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads

Brie Carter's father's land development business has taken her family all over the world, but as soon as they arrive at their new home in Lost Spring, Wyoming, the town turns out to protest. They don't want a new hotel if the resident mustang population will be displaced or hurt as part of the deal. Then Brie meets Logan, a gorgeous local who has a special connection to the mustangs, and she is immediately drawn to him . . . and the horses. However, with Logan's father leading the protests and Brie's father refusing to budge, it's clear that their parents are heading towards an all-out war. Can Brie and Logan find a way to save the mustangs and be together? Or is their love doomed from the start? 

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Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!

Guest Review by Brett

In a Nutshell:

I wanted to love this book - I really did. I love the idea behind Bloomsbury's If Only... series, and I've really enjoyed the others that I have read. Unfortunately, Wild Hearts didn't quite live up to my expectations. The plot itself was good, but it wore thin a few times. The characters were good, though they occasionally did things that I didn't think felt true to their characters. And the writing was good - except when it wasn't. There are only so many things that you can blame on it being an ARC. And while it wasn't as bad as some other books I've read, there was definitely some insta-love going on. 

The Characters:

Our main character, Brie, was a bit of a rebel. She went from being perfect, working with her father in his office and never really getting into trouble, to running around and hiding her new boyfriend, Logan - in only a few chapters. While there was some inner monologuing about how she hated to have secrets from her parents, it never really felt like she was actually sorry about it. In the end, she and her parents were good again, but in my eyes, she never really redeemed herself. 

Logan, the love interest, is supposedly one of the boys that all of the girls at the local high school swoon over - but the only other teenager we ever see in the book is Amy, who conveniently becomes Brie's best friend. While I thought Brie and Amy's friendship itself was pretty realistic, I couldn't get past how perfectly everything fell into place. Logan and Amy themselves were decently well rounded characters - maybe it's because they weren't POV characters, so I wasn't as critical of them. Logan is a dreamy book boyfriend, perfectly sweet to Brie. Amy is the best girl-friend I've always wanted to have. Logan and Amy were two of the redeeming points of this book for me.

The Story:

Like the rest of this book, the plot was just so... convenient, for lack of a better word. The obstacles were solved too easily and the characters were always exactly where they needed to be. While you expect certain things from a book like this - a cute romance with a happy ending - things shouldn't be so easy. Without conflict a story is boring, and the conflict that was there wasn't enough to make it compelling for me.

The Writing:

Oh, the writing in this book. First of all, it felt more MG than YA in my opinion. Second, there were brand names everywhere, which kept pulling me out of the story as I tried to figure out whether this was an actual brand name, or a made up one - there were both. (By the way, if you're writing a contemporary book, don't come up with your own social networking site called Space-book.) Third, I know that it was an ARC, but the amount of typos, formatting errors, and grammar mistakes were really throwing me off. I don't know if those were fixed in the final version, but there were just so many of them. 

The Horses:

The horses were the biggest redeeming factor of this book for me. I love horses, and it seemed like the author really knew what she was writing about. The horse parts were the few parts where I could forget how convenient everything else was and just enjoy the romance and the horses.


I may not have loved this book - the issues were too much for me to ignore - but I didn't hate it either. If you're okay with insta-love and a super convenient plot, then I'm sure you'd love this book. For me, it was a solid three star read. I will most likely not be re-reading this book, but I look forward to the next book in Bloomsbury's If Only... line, and hope that it will meet my expectations a little more than this one did. 

For Fans Of: horses, cowboys, insta-love

Note from Skye: I originally requested this title to review myself. I love horses and thought I would enjoy it, but I had many of the same problems with it as Brett did and was unable to finish. As I only got 56 pages in, I wanted Wild Hearts to get an honest review on a full read - thank you, Brett! :)

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Brett Jonas is a writer, reader, Christian, lover of chocolate, and over-user of smiley faces. After being homeschooled her whole life, she's now taking classes at the local community college and working in her family's business, Goat Milk Stuff, with her seven younger siblings. In the rare moments when she's not writing, reading, working, or doing homework, you can find her wasting time on Twitter as @BookSquirt, where she loves making friends, and using too many exclamation points.

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